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TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

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Old October 20 2010, 10:15 PM   #751
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

A Serious Man - C+. An interesting peek at jewish culture via send-up but a lot of the jokes were probably lost on me. I think I've seen one too many of these type of movies about a passive and unsympathetic leading character. Bizarre opening and ending scenes.

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown - B. Fairly solid documentary about the cult writer. Who knew there was an actual Cthulu religion?
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Old October 21 2010, 02:35 AM   #752
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

233. A Fistful of Dollars [B+]
234. For a Few Dollars More [B+]
235. Deathwatch [B-]
236. Se7en [B+]
237. Wonder Bar [F]

A Fistful of Dollars: The first Italian Western directed by Sergio Leone (which is also the beginning of the genre as it has come to be known stylistically) is leaner than any other film he made, and as much as I love the "spaghetti" westerns he would direct afterwards, there's a certain appeal in a move that can get in and out in 100 minutes. The Eastwood character (named Joe here) is also harsher, with a more nihilistic attitude towards human life (he watches a pair of massacres without the thought of intervention) and no American co-star to temper his character's attitudes. He plays the two feuding families in the town against one another, watches them kill each other, and then finishes off Ramon and the last few who remain in the final reel. Only a bartender and the coffin maker are left as Eastwood rides out of town. This was certainly not your typical western.

For A Few Dollars More: This one is more colorful than its predecessor, and the relationship between Eastwood (called Manco here) and Lee Van Cleef (playing Colonel Mortimer) adds a note of levity, despite both characters being bounty killers. There's some silliness, though. Leone demonstrates that he has absolutely no idea what the effects of marijuana are, adding some unintentional comedy to scenes that want to be played serious. There's also a peculiar lack of blood in the repeated flashback where the young man in pristine white pajamas is murdered--the pajamas go without a scratch. Still, overall, it's a much more slick film and providing Eastwood with a few one-liners doesn't hurt at all.

Deathwatch: This peculiar prison drama from 1966 might be of some interest to sf fans, since it stars both Leonard Nimoy and Michael Forest (who played Apollo in a second season episode of STAR TREK), and was directed by Vic Morrow (who appeared, among many other things, in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, where he tragically was killed in an on-stage accident). It's based on a French stage play (if I'm not mistaken), and the staginess starts to show about half way through, but the performances are strong (Nimoy gets to stretch, but it is Forest who is the real standout) and the gritty, handheld black and white photography is very effective. Morrow allows some character flashbacks to interrupt (or co-exist, via long dissolves) with the action, however, so it's not completely locked into the location.

Se7en: Fincher's second film, in which he had more say an control, is a vast improvement over ALIEN 3. The constant rain, darkness, and grime that pervades everything (until the final sequence in the desert) is perfect. Morgan Freeman hits all the right notes as a homicide detective who is ready to retire, totally done with the awful city he lives in until a particularly nasty murder case appears. Brad Pitt is less effective, unfortunately. This was pretty early in his career, when he was still transitioning from character work to being a leading man. He's still a little broad, a little too naive, and a little too pretty for this character. It's not an awful performance, but it's not quite there. Still, it's a very effective modern noir and a touchstone for the genre since in terms of visual style. Also, Leland Orser is introduced partway through and doesn't become the murderer later on, so that automatically earns it points.

Wonder Bar: This Al Jolson-headed film works as a light comedy about a Paris nightclub with musical numbers (directed by the great Busby Berkeley) and humorous interludes between two older couples...for the first two-thirds, anyway. Then it ends with the most racist musical number I've ever seen, and it's one that goes way over the top, too. Hundreds of actors (old and young) appear in blackface along with Jolson (of course, in blackface, too) in a number about black[face] heaven. In case you didn't know, this mostly includes wild animals, watermelon, and fried chicken, each prominently on display in case you missed it. It's utterly appalling, and manages to trash any goodwill I felt towards the picture up to this point.
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Old October 21 2010, 03:00 AM   #753
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Harvey wrote: View Post
For A Few Dollars More: This one is more colorful than its predecessor, and the relationship between Eastwood (called Manco here) and Lee Van Cleef (playing Colonel Mortimer) adds a note of levity, despite both characters being bounty killers. There's some silliness, though. Leone demonstrates that he has absolutely no idea what the effects of marijuana are, adding some unintentional comedy to scenes that want to be played serious. There's also a peculiar lack of blood in the repeated flashback where the young man in pristine white pajamas is murdered--the pajamas go without a scratch. Still, overall, it's a much more slick film and providing Eastwood with a few one-liners doesn't hurt at all.
For a Few Dollars More is my favorite out of the trilogy; it has the best music, the coolest 'feel'...and some cool leading characters.

I recently saw:

*Dead Man
*The Vanishing American
*My Darling Clementine
*Love and Death (The funniest Woody Allen film I've seen)

Currently watching:

*Brokeback Mountain
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Old October 21 2010, 03:23 AM   #754
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Toy Story 3 [A]
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Old October 21 2010, 03:59 PM   #755
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

doubleohfive wrote: View Post
So far?

I've watched far too many movies at home to list here, so I'm just going to stick to ones I've seen at theaters:

The A-Team
Twilight: Eclipse
Goldfinger
Thunderball
The Goonies
The Naked Gun
The Naked Gun 2 1/2
The Untouchables
Iron Man 2
That's my list from July 12. Here's an update/addition:

Inception
You Again!
Toy Story 3
The Town
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Old October 21 2010, 04:08 PM   #756
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
*Love and Death (The funniest Woody Allen film I've seen)
I liked this one too. Napoleon and his obsession with "Beef Wellington" cracked me up. I saw "Days of Heaven". Looks-wise, it's the most beautiful movie I've ever seen. A lot of it was shot outdoors at times where the sky was the most amazing shades of blue or orange and pink from the sun setting at dawn or dusk. The shots of nature like fields and rivers were also captivating. It's too bad the characters and the story were so lifeless, but if you have any appreciation for the technical aspects of cinema, it's worth watching for the amazing cinematography.
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Old October 22 2010, 03:38 PM   #757
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Black Christmas (1974) [B-]

Interesting film. Odd that the killer's motivations are never even slightly revealed.
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Old October 22 2010, 03:53 PM   #758
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Last night me and some friends got together and watched 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, the direct to dvd sequel.

It really was a notch above many direct to dvd movies. Worth seeing.
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Old October 22 2010, 08:31 PM   #759
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Ginger Snaps [C+] I think this one is overrated. I just really couldn't get into it, and the last 20 minutes or so are really boring.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) [D] Awful. I knew it wasn't going to be good beforehand, so at least I wasn't too disappointed. They somehow neutered Freddy and made me cheer for all these kids to die.
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Old October 24 2010, 01:22 AM   #760
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

70. The American (B+)
71. The Kids Are All Right (B+)
72. The English Patient (A-)
73. The Town (B+)
74. The Social Network (A)
75. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (B+)
76. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (A-)
77. RED (B+)
78. Winter's Bone (A-)

This was the big find of last year's Sundance, and has generated a ton of buzz for 19-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, who may be among the year's Best Actress nominees (it's an unusually competitive field this year, so maybe not). One might call it the white trash Precious, with its teenage protagonist growing up in a deeply and historically impoverished part of the country (rural Missouri, in this case). Ree's straits aren't as dire as Precious' in a lot of ways - instead of a tyrannical mother and a rapist father, she's got a mentally ill mother who's basically another child to look after in addition to her two younger siblings, and an absentee criminal father who put their house up as bond and then went missing before trial. The movie is, I guess, a crime thriller, but there's not a whole lot of plot, per se; basically, Ree goes around asking questions and trying to find her father, dead or alive. The movie generates a surprising amount of suspense and foreboding with very little visible effort; the whole thinking is soaking in atmosphere. The resolution is an interesting combination of the depressing and the exceedingly mild light. Lawrence (who looks a lot like a young Renee Zellwegger) is getting most of the acting plaudits, but John Hawkes as her uncle is also a standout.
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Old October 24 2010, 01:46 AM   #761
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

238. Casablanca [A]
239. Blackmail (silent version) [C+]
240. The Keep [D-]

Casablanca: It has all kinds of story problems (the infamous "letters of transit" being a rather silly plot device), but who cares? Bogart is excellent, and so are Claude Rains, Ingrid Bergman, and all the rest. It's wonderful from start to finish, and I need to pick up the Blu-Ray of it at some point, because the DVD just doesn't do the picture justice.

Blackmail: This is more often seen in the sound version (which I'll be getting to on Tuesday), but Hitchcock also filmed a silent version at the same time (mostly with the same cast, but there's a few minor changes). It's an imperfect picture, without a lot of action or intertitles for the first 20-30 minutes, which drags the film to a hault, but once the inciting event (a police officer's wife goes off with a man behind her husband's back, the man tries to rape the woman, she kills him with a knife and sneaks away) occurs, the film takes off. A chase through the British museum, which eventually ends up on top of the structure, is a prototype for many sequences in later Hitchcock films, especially the opening chase in VERTIGO. The ending, which lets the crime be pinned on a man who is innocent of the crime (though guilty of blackmail), was particularly surprising. The music, however (recently composed for the DVD version I saw) is plodding and nearly put me to sleep.

The Keep: Michael Mann's second feature film, this one is a mess from beginning to end. A promising premise, taken from a popular novel, is quickly demolished as the film gets more and more ridiculous. Instead of going through the film's many faults, I'll just link to this article and leave it at that. Since it's not available on DVD (I saw it on 16mm), I doubt many people here will see it, anyway. Don't be confused by the film's compelling cast--it's for Mann completists only.
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Old October 25 2010, 02:31 AM   #762
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

70. The American (B+)
71. The Kids Are All Right (B+)
72. The English Patient (A-)
73. The Town (B+)
74. The Social Network (A)
75. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (B+)
76. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (A-)
77. RED (B+)
78. Winter's Bone (A-)
79. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (C+)

The Glee tribute episode aires on Tuesday, so I figured I should probably see the original property beforehand. This is the sort of film that's a little hard to review; it's clearly pitched as ridiculous in the spirit of the old 30s-50s schlock films, so that nothing about it makes much sense is beside the point, and better production values would harm the atmosphere. All the same, one keeps thinking that the parody could have been a lot more sophisticated; the initial pleasure in the absurdity wears off after about a half hour, and there's not much to occupy oneself with. Indeed, the first half hour has virtually everything about the film that everyone remembers (all the good songs, the iconic scenes, etc.) - I was watching with with my friend, who even said that this was only the second time she's watched it all the way through.

80. The Corpse Bride (B)

I missed this on its initial release, but my friend and I were on a pre-Halloween viewing binge. Tim Burton's ventures into stop-motion animation, actually directing instead of just being widely assumed to be the director of someone else's film, and, of course, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are along for the ride. The animation is nicely atmospheric (albeit in the same way pretty much every Tim Burton is), and there are some good bits of humour. However, there's really not much story, and the villain's actions at the climax don't make a lick of sense (and he was barely there to begin with).
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Old October 25 2010, 02:35 AM   #763
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

That's the way I feel about Rocky Horror. I barely made it though the movie the only time I watched it. The first part was really good, then I was checking my watch every minute.
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Old October 25 2010, 07:36 PM   #764
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

Animation Express (Blu-ray) - B+. One niggling thing before I start- why do all of the National Film Board of Canada compilations have cutesy names? Why not "National Film Board of Canada presents". Are they afraid the word "Canada" will scare the Americans away? Anyhow, this is a solid collection of 39 animated shorts from the NFB, most from the past five years or so. It's a bit much to try to watch in sequence, which any completist like myself is bound to do to make sure he hasn't missed any. I ended up breaking it up over the course of two evenings. There are at least 10 shorts here that I would rate excellent, another 10-15 that were very good, and a few that seemed really inconsequential. It would have been nice if they had dipped further back into the archives for high definition versions of some old classics like The Big Snit, Neighbors, Walking or even The Cat Came Back. Oh well we can't have everything. Some of my favorites were Come Again Next Spring, The Necktie, Madame Tutli-Putli, Sleeping Betty (hilarious), and Ryan which looks amazing in it's new high def transfer.
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Old October 26 2010, 10:55 PM   #765
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Re: Movies Seen in 2010

The Collector [F]

Someone told me to check out how bad this movie was. I obliged. It's downright awful. I don't even suggest reading a synopsis.
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