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Old July 26 2010, 06:04 PM   #601
Wynterhawk
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Ninja Assassin: For what it was, an action flick, the fighting was well... fighting. Sequences were tight and fast and compelling. Story line was... better than most, considering a lot of things out there are reboots. I enjoyed that there was a Black female lead. Most of these types of movies don't have that, so it was great to see Naomie Harris getting some work. B

Predators (2010): Good night this movie was boring. I never felt more disdain for a bunch of people slogging through the jungle as I felt with this lot. Adrian Brody did give it a good try with his raspy and low monotone delivery. Everyone else was just a stereotype and the attempt at humor fell short with a splat. D - (Brody saves it from being an F, but not by much)
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Old July 26 2010, 10:53 PM   #602
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Zombieland - B. Fun horror romp with some memorable scenes and quite a good soundtrack. Loved the use of Metallica in the opening sequence. Also has the best cameo I've seen in a movie in a long time, but I won't spoil it here.

Ran - B+/A-. I'm not sure whether to give this an A- or a B+. It was a great movie, but as a retelling of a classic tale it felt a bit too familiar. I think that Kagemusha and Seven Samurai were stronger Kurosawa. I still have yet to see Yojimbo.
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Old August 1 2010, 09:11 PM   #603
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

164. Ong Bak 2: The Beginning [D+]
165. A Clockwork Orange [A]
166. O Lucky Malcolm! [C+]
167. Inception [B+]
168. The Dark Knight [B+]
169. Metropolis [A]
170. George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead [D+]

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning: The rumor is that Tony Jaa went crazy during the making of this film. Like most film-related rumors, it's probably greatly exaggerated, but it's not hard to believe given the final product. Slow, with far too many sequences that try hard to be arty, the movie seems to forget that Jaa's movies only work when they have wall-to-wall martial arts in them. Here, the fighting scenes are few and far between, and never as exciting as in previous films with Jaa.

A Clockwork Orange: The HD transfer could be better, but the film is pretty close to being perfect. McDowell's performance is spot on, and I could talk about Kubrick's mastery of composition or the way the film effortlessly incorporates the Nadsat language all day. Still brutal enough that it's hard to watch, though.

O Lucky Malcolm!: A feature-length documentary profiling Malcolm McDowell and a few of his feature roles, I can't help but feel that I've barely caught a glimpse into the man at the end of it. The actor mentions being in a slew of bad films, but he doesn't go into great detail about them, which is too bad. He's an actor who has had great highs and great lows--and 100 minutes isn't long enough to do any of them justice.

Inception: I'm still taking this film in--I may just have to see it twice. I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by it. I'm particularly struck by how shallow most of the characters were. In my short review in the movie-dedicated thread, I called them chess pieces, and they still seem that way to me. At times, the movie can be visually terrific (the variable gravity scenes) and at times it's a little to plain for a movie that has license to do just about anything (these are dreams, after all). My grade might go up or down upon second viewing--we'll see.

The Dark Knight: I didn't intend to watch this again, but it was on, and I couldn't help but be drawn into it. Heath Ledger's performance is still terrific (given a little time, I might even like his performance a bit more), which is good, because the schemes the Joker gets away with are preposterous. I'm not sure how he got those explosives on the ferries, or how he convinced Harvey not to kill him, or how he managed to escape in the crowd after attempting to kill the Mayor...but his performance is so magnetic that it doesn't really matter. The Oscars, like all Hollywood award shows, are nonsense, but Heath Ledger deserved his award. It's just a shame that he couldn't be there to collect.

Metropolis: I saw this for the first time earlier this year, but this was a theatrical screening of the newly restored version which returns about 30 minutes of footage to the movie. To be honest, I don't know how the movie was coherent at all the last time I saw it, so much material (both entire scenes and many individual shots) having been removed from it. A few shots are still missing here, and the new footage, taken from an aging 16mm print, isn't nearly as good as the old footage (though it, newly restored, looks terrific), but it's still a worthwhile experience and I was lucky to catch it in a theatrical screening. I look forward to the Blu-Ray.

George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead: I had high hopes for this. Unlike most people (or so it seems) I actually liked Romero's last film in the series (Diary of the Dead), and the idea of promoting the minor character played by Alan Van Sprang (a villainous National Guard/Mercenary) in that movie seemed promising. Alas, the film is a complete mess. Acting is usually hit or miss in a Romero film, but it's particularly bad here. Even Van Sprang isn't very good, especially when he's trying to be emotional (which the script articulates by having him shout and shoot random things). A twist relating to a twin sister late in the film had the small audience I saw it with laughing pretty hard. Given the final shot, and Romero's mostly good track record, I wonder (for a moment) if the humor wasn't unintentional, but I'm probably giving the film too much credit. I never thought I'd see Mike Hammer from the Red Green Show get eaten by a zombie, though. And the final shot is preposterous and hilarious. There are isolated moments that work, but not enough to warrant a grade higher than a D+. Easily Romero's worst zombie film (it's probably worse than the original version of The Crazies, a sort of zombie film).
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Old August 3 2010, 03:51 AM   #604
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Updates (in bold):
Aliens in the Attic (6)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Big Battle (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Roots of Ambition (8)
Armored Trooper Votoms: The Last Red Shoulder (8)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Pailsen Files: The Movie (7)
Boondock Saints (10)
Boondock Saints: All Saint's Day (9)
The Book of Eli (8)
Broken Blade (7)
Cargo (7)
Cencoroll (8)
Les Chevaliers du Ciel (8)
Clash of the Titans (2010) (8)
Crazy Heart (6)
Dante's Inferno (2010) (7)
Date Night (7)
District 9 (8)
Eden of the East: The King of Eden (9)
The Edge of Darkness (9)
Evangelion 2.0: You Can [Not] Advance (9)
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (8)
Fist of the North Star (1995) (4)
G-9 (6)
Gamer (6)
Green Zone (7)
Higurashi no Naka Koroni Chikai (7)
Inception (10)
Inglorious Bastards (7)
Iron Man 2 (9)
Jonah Hex (6)
The Killers (6)
The Last Airbender (8)
Law Abiding Citizen (9)
The Lovely Bones (6)
Lupin the 3rd: First Contact (7)
Lupin the 3rd VS Detective Konan (7)
Lupin the 3rd: The Secret of Mamo (9)
Lupin the 3rd: The Last Job
Naruto Shippuden Movie 3 (8)
Oblivion Island (6)
Oceans (Documentary/ Rating is NA)
Oldboy (9)
Pandorum (7)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (8)
Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind (8)
Summer Wars (9)
Sunshine (4)
Sword For Truth (6)
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lagann-hen (8)
They Were 11 (9)
The Uninvited (7)
Wicked City (8)
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Old August 3 2010, 09:39 AM   #605
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Just saw the Clash of the Titans remake. The original is one of my campy faves from childhood, so I was prepared to hate the new one, but surprisingly, it didn't totally suck. I'd give it a C+ or maybe a B-.

Enjoyed The Green Zone. Damon was very convincing, as always, and the film struck a nice balance between being a thriller/drama and an all-out action/war flick. B+.

Book of Eli. WTF? I was kind of hoping for a less slapstick version of the Road Warrior, but instead I got a preachy, pro-faith film. The acting was superb, however, and the film was beautifully shot. I'll give it a C+, for Gary and Denzel, otherwise I'd chuck that sucker in the D- pile.

I have Kick-Ass and Hot Tub Time Machine on the way from Netflix. I have my fingers crossed.
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Old August 4 2010, 02:25 AM   #606
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Nightmare Alley - Reportedly, Tyrone Power Jr was unhappy with his career because he got sick of playing swashbuckling types and wanted more gritty, psychologically complex roles. This movie must have been his ideal. It's a very strange but compelling story of an overambitious carny who becomes a renowned "mentalist" using cold reading tricks familiar from Vegas acts. Power is great at walking the fine line between hero and villain, and never quite letting the audience know which side we should be on.

Departures - Touching Japanese movie about a failed cellist who becomes (reluctantly at first) a mortician, though in Japan the job has very specific ritualistic overtones (and is considered a pariah type job). A bit sappy in places - they should have toned down the music.

Inception - Yall have probably heard of this one. Fun, worth your $10, but is more impressive from the perspective of commerce - Nolan's ideas of dreams never stray too far from the car chase/explosion/video game demands of summer popcorn flicks, a decision fully justified by the massive b.o take - than philosophy or art. As for the ending,

Scaramouche - A real museum piece, but fun if you're into 50s costume dramas. The 6 1/2 minute, multi-level swordfight in a Paris opera house between Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer is worth the price of admission. Oh yeah, and Stu should have dumped pallid Janet Leigh and married Eleanor Parker instead, with whom he had a lot more chemistry.

EDIT: Throughout the movie, the guy who played Stu's younger adoptive brother was driving me crazy with that whole wherehaveIseenhimbefore???? thing. I finally IMDB'ed him - he's Oscar Goldman from The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman!!!

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Old August 4 2010, 04:12 AM   #607
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Tonight I saw *Salt*. I meant to say, go see it.
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Old August 4 2010, 10:45 PM   #608
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Just saw

500 Days of Summer: Actually pretty delightful. One of those artsy boy meets girl type movies, though it's not actually a boy-meets-girl-together forever. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance was charming as was the out of nowhere dance sequence. I didn't expect to like it, but it was entertaining.

Also

Mysterious Skin, another of JGL's movies about the effects of molestation on two young boys. Lots of people reviewed it and found it rather disturbing, but I beg to differ. While the subject material isn't pleasant, I wasn't disturbed by it. Relatively decent performances all around.
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Old August 5 2010, 01:42 AM   #609
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I saw three movies this weekend.

The New Daughter. Not very good. Terrible ending. C-

The Invention of Lying. Very unfunny. Terribly disappointing. D

Moon. Fantastic! Intelligent science fiction. Is there anything better? A
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Old August 5 2010, 03:59 PM   #610
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The Runaways [B] - servicable, but could have been much better if any effort had been put into it

Hot Tub Time Machine [B] - funny about 3/4ths of the time. I'd recommend it.
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Old August 5 2010, 05:33 PM   #611
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

NONE for me .
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Old August 6 2010, 01:11 AM   #612
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

171. Toy Story 3 [B+]
172. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle [B+]
173. Crazy Heart [B+]
174. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder [C+]
175. Southern Comfort [C-]
176. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay [C-]
177. Infernal Affairs [B+]

Toy Story 3: I liked it, but I don't think it's the best film of the year. The opening short was very creative, though. And the mix of darkness and sentimentalism in the ending is done well, which is a relief. The ending is much more satisfying than the ending of Wall-E, though Toy Story 3 a whole is never quite as satisfying as the first two acts of that Pixar movie. I still need to see Up.

Harold and Kumar go to White Castle: At times, it's over the top, but for the most part it is a pretty clever comedy about race relations (also, pot and hamburgers). Far more intelligent than the premise would suggest, and the two leads (Kal Penn and John Cho) have terrific chemistry with each other.

Crazy Heart: I've put off watching this one for a while, since I'm not very enamored by country music, but it turns out my fears were unwarranted. Bridges is terrific--for once, the Academy got it right (though the underlying motivation of voters was probably to award a performer long deserving of recognition, his performance is terrific--and that includes the songs, too). Better yet, it never devolves into a young babe saves/inspires older man into improving himself narrative. 'Bad' has problems, and the film never shies away from them to give him a false sense of redemption.

Starship Troopers 3: As promised, it's better that the last sequel by a wide mark, but it's still nowhere near as good as the original. The satire is much more present, at least, though it's still not as pervasive as in the first film (we get a number of great FedNet scenes, though). The effects also fall short--several digital backdrops and most of the visual effects of spacecraft make the whole affair feel like cutscenes from a late 90s videogame than an actual movie. On the other hand, 'It's a Good Day to Die' is so catchy that if I heard it in another context I might confuse it as an actual propaganda song along the lines of 'I'm Proud to be an American' and other jingoistic crap. Casper Van Diem fits right back into his role (he's aged, but not dramatically), though the rest of the cast is pretty hit or miss.

Southern Comfort: It's pretty obvious this action movie made in 1981 (but set in 1973) is channeling a Vietman allegory, but, with the exception of the last twenty minutes, it's just too preposterous to be taken seriously. In the film, a platoon of Louisiana National Guardsmen (led by Keith Carradine and Powers Boothe, who would reunited with director Walter Hill in 'Deadwood' decades later) go into the bayou and fuck up just about everything they do. It's no wonder a bunch of Cajuns open fire on them, after they steal their boats and fire machine guns at them [they're blanks, but c'mon]. Next, they capture and torture a Cajun who probably doesn't have anything to do with the ones they fought with, and then one of the guardsmen paints a cross on his chest and blows up the guy's house. Earlier in the movie, the platoon’s token Mexican opened fire (blanks again) on a superior officer in a crowed training area—yet somehow, the platoon is still cleared to go on. As they slosh through the swamp shouting orders about stealth (even the soundtrack can't cover up how much noise they're making) my attention wandered. The last twenty minutes, when the last two survivors end up in a Cajun town and become consumed with paranoia are filled with terrific suspense, though. It's just a bit much to slog through the first 80 minutes to get there, though.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guntanamo Bay: The best part of the film is the flashback scene to Harold and Kumar in college, but the rest of the movie is so preposterously ungrounded in reality that it just isn't as funny as its predecessor. Penn and Cho still have wonderful chemistry, but having their characters smoke up with George W. Bush and almost get raped in Guantanamo Bay don't work. Neil Patrick Harris returns, and then is killed (until the credits fix that) in a moment that should be as funny as a certain scene in Burn After Reading, but is directed so unevenly that it falls flat. I hope the third movie gets smaller, not bigger, because these characters don't work on such a broad campus.

Infernal Affairs: I saw this film earlier in the year, but I'm always happy to return to it when the opportunity presents itself. It's still miles about the American remake which shan't be named, but I've seen it enough times (ten times?) that the cracks are starting to show. The music, for instance, is far too heavy handed when its trying to sell sentiment. And the American movie posters that fill the frame when two leads play a cat and mouse game are distracting. Still, it's a strong movie. It's just no longer one of my top ten.
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Old August 7 2010, 07:06 PM   #613
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

I just saw INCEPTION!!! Like 10 minutes ago and man, I'm glad I didn't attempt to stream it online. It is definitely a movie to see on the big screen. Good Lord. There are very, very few movies that I come away from with that feeling of "Oh wow, that was a good movie". I had no hopes for this movie, so maybe I enjoyed it so much that I had nothing to be dashed. But yep, this was a good movie.
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Old August 7 2010, 07:54 PM   #614
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

178. New Year’s Day [D-]
179. The Ghost Writer [B ]

New Year’s Day: I’ll give this movie the Gentleman’s “F.” Actually, it’s less of a movie than a collection of scenes strung together with the thinnest of narratives (A man moves to New York and finds his new apartment is still occupied by the old tenants). Most of the characters are self-absorbed people who offer each other pretentious psychoanalysis that the film wants us to accept as profound. Far from profound, it’s not even amusing. A young David Duchovny appears here (as I continue in my perverse effort to watch his entire filmography) but his role did little to engage my interest. Some "romantic" scenes are downright creepy. Apparently writer/director/star Henry Jaglom has made better movies, but I'm in no rush to see them.

The Ghost Writer: I'd like to hate the films of Roman Polanski, given his personal life, but I've enjoyed every one that I've seen (Chinatown, The Pianist, and now The Ghost Writer). This film is a terrific thriller very much in the mode of Alfred Hitchcock. It's driven by three robust leading performances and too many excellent actors in supporting roles to name (Kim Catrall, sporting an acceptable but not outstanding British accent may be top billed, but her role isn't central). I've heard a few critics complain about the ending, but it works for me, particularly the final shot. Where the film doesn't work is on a technical level. Polanski (due to his criminal history) was forced to shoot the film in Europe. The green screen backdrops of New England look as fake here as they did in Shutter Island, and this film doesn't benefit from that film's loose reality. The twisty plot also relies on several photographs of Pierce Brosnan and Tom Wilkinson in their younger days--photographs which are horribly photoshopped and seen in unforgiving close-up all too often. These technical shortcomings are pervasive enough to drop this film by a letter grade, unfortunately, but it's still a worthwhile and engaging thriller (and probably the best channeling of Hitchcock that I've seen in a long time).
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Old August 7 2010, 11:20 PM   #615
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

My problem with the ending (as noted in my review many, many pages back) was that it requires the protagonist to come down with an extreme case of stupidity after behaving with a modicum of common sense for most of the way through.
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