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

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Old April 29 2011, 09:15 PM   #406
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


50. GoodFellas (A)
51. Spartacus (A+)
52. The Deer Hunter (B+)
53. Reservoir Dogs (A)
54. A Clockwork Orange (A)
55. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (A+)

I'm a huge fan of Amadeus (should probably rewatch that in the near future), and while this film, Milos Forman's other big one, isn't quite in that league, it's extremely strong.

As a production, it's notably different from the novel it was based on in a number of ways. In the accompanying production documentary, Forman talks a lot about how his motto was "make it real", which is directly contrary to a lot of what Ken Kesey was doing stylistically. The novel (told from Chief Bromden's perspective, but that would never have worked on film) was a product of the 50s/60s counterculture movement, written in a very surreal style (Bromden's perspective), with Ratched and her "black boys" as manifestations of a vast invisible machine enforcing conformity and oppressing the ward. Here, while still repressive and, by the end of the story, thoroughly dislikeable, the story is a lot smaller, and a lot of the ideas about wider society aren't in evidence. Also, lacking Bromden's paranoic perspective, it's evident that most of these people really do need help, even if Ratched is perhaps not the best person to provide it. The resulting story has a lot more in the way of moral ambiguity.

Great acting all around. Jack Nicholson is playing what nowadays seems like a pretty standard Nicholson role, but, as Michael Douglas notes in the feature, he wasn't known for this sort of thing at the time. It's a shame that the careers of the film's other two Academy Award nominees (winners, in one case), Louise Fletcher and Brad Dourif, never amounted to a whole lot after this movie. Dourif, in particular, has mostly been stuck playing stock psychos. The supporting inmates include a number of people who are now recognizable names, including an unrecognizable Danny DeVito.
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Old April 30 2011, 01:36 PM   #407
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

"Cuckoo's Nest" is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Boogie Nights: 5/5
-I wish I hadn't waited so long to finally get around to seeing this. It was pretty damn good.
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Old April 30 2011, 03:38 PM   #408
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


38. The People I've Slept With: C
39. Grown Ups: B-
40. The Conspirator: A-
41. XXX: State of the Union: C+
42. Fast Five: B+

Saw it last night and despite the absurdity of some of it I enjoyed it. It's clearly set up for another one. If you had told me 10yrs ago that this would be a franchise most likely going in for a sixth entry I'd have laughed. I admit I enjoy them, they are guilty pleasures.
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Old May 2 2011, 04:00 PM   #409
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Home From The Hill: 4/5
Jeanne Dielman: 4/5.
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Old May 3 2011, 06:46 AM   #410
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

1. Alice in Wonderland (2010) - C-
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) - A
3. Black Swan (2010) - A+
4. The Social Network (2010) - A
5. Cannibal! The Musical (1996) - B
6. Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (2009) - B
7. Winter's Bone (2010) - C+
8. The Kids are All Right (2010) - A
9. The Lovely Bones (2009) - D
10. 127 Hours (2010) - A
11. Source Code (2011) - B


Wow, it's been since February since I've seen a movie. I guess that's what happens when I'm either busy or watching as much sports (Stanley Cup Playoffs) as I do.

Anyway, saw Source Code tonight and really enjoyed it. Going in, I thought it would be kind of a rehash of VOY's Relativity, but there was a whole lot more to it. It seemed like a cross between Groundhog Day (Which is a much better movie) and Quantum Leap.

I liked the characters and actors, especially Gyllenhall did a pretty good job. Liked the concept and it was one of those fast thriller movies that kept my attention all the way through.

However, I didn't love this movie and the reason for that is mainly due to the ending, but also the length of the film and the explanation of the program that led to that ending. I wish the movie was a bit longer, with a better explanation of what the Source Code is. What we got seemed to be of the Treknobabble variety and the ending almost seemed like the movie was breaking it's own rules. Without giving too much away, I guess I wanted more background on what this program was and what it was trying to do.
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Old May 3 2011, 01:48 PM   #411
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

The Red and The White: 4/5.
Make Way for Tomorrow: 5/5
-Orson Welles was right. This should make a stone cry.
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Old May 4 2011, 03:43 PM   #412
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Syndromes and a Century: 4/5
Fists in the Pocket: 5/5.
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Old May 4 2011, 04:47 PM   #413
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


Source Code - theater
Rio - free screenin'
The Fighter - DVD rental
Invictus - Cinemax
Scream 4 - theater
Fast Five - midnight screenin'
THOR - free screenin'

Went to see THOR (yes, all caps) at a free screenin' with some friends last night.

And it was in 3D!

I liked it, even though I'm not a fan of Thor comics...maybe it helped that he didn't wear that winged helmet much. I always thought that looked silly.

Stan Lee's cameo was funny, and I liked the other Avenger cameos in it, too.

We stuck around through the credits for the bonus bit, which was good.

No arguin' with the cast for the movie. Can't believe they got Rene Russo for what? three scenes?

I'd put THOR up there with The Incredible Hulk but not as high as Iron Man. One of my friends said he thought it was better than Iron Man 2, and I can agree with that.

I've got passes for Jumping the Broom and Bridesmaids this week, too. Not sure yet if I'll use 'em...
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Old May 4 2011, 07:38 PM   #414
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


50. GoodFellas (A)
51. Spartacus (A+)
52. The Deer Hunter (B+)
53. Reservoir Dogs (A)
54. A Clockwork Orange (A)
55. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (A+)
56. Gone With The Wind (A+)

Looooong. I had to schedule two sittings on two different nights to watch this. I had planned to do this a while ago, since I read the book something like two months previous, but it took until now.

It's quite a faithful adaptation of the book, at four hours long, though it still omits things (like Scarlett's children by her first two husbands). A lot of the changes from the book are to its advantage, because the film is much, much less racist than its source material. It's still got a number of problems in that respect, of course, but we don't have the lengthy pontifications on why everything was better off with slavery, or Rhett being jailed for killing a black man who disrespected a white woman in the street, or all the men being Klansmen. It still propagates the Dunning School idea of Reconstruction, but that was the historical standard at the time. Unfortunate as this stuff is, Hattie McDaniel's work as Mammy is still a superb performance, and you can see why she won the Oscar; she comes across as a real human being, which was rare enough for screen portrayals of blacks in this era.

Vivien Leigh's performance as Scarlett is a tour-de-force. Clark Gable is also good, particularly when Rhett's facade is down, though I think he's hampered a bit by so much of Rhett's screentime being in his wry unflappable persona, because it's hard to bring a ton of dimension to that. Olivia de Havilland as Melanie is also excellent. Leslie Howard is really the only disappointment in the main cast; he's too old for this part, and I just didn't feel the heat/conflict he's supposed to be giving off in his situation.

I've been watching a lot of older movies lately, and the production design of this one really stands out. It feels very modern, particularly the camera work, which feels mobile rather than static. The colours are amazing (one can imagine how this must have looked to people raised almost completely on black-and-white, since colour was only just getting off the ground), particularly the reds. The only thing that doesn't feel very cinematic is the intermittent uses of text to bridge segments of the film.
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Old May 4 2011, 10:59 PM   #415
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Updates (in Bold):

The Adjustment Bureau (8)
Arashi no Yoru ni (One Stormy Night) (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Finder (8)
Black Swan (9)
Broken Blade 3: The Mark of the Assassin's Dagger (9)
Broken Blade 4: The Land of Disaster (9)
Drive Angry (7)
Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance (9)
Godkiller (6)
I Am Number Four (8)
Infernal Affairs (7)
Kamui (4)
The Garden of Sinners Movie 8: Epilogue (9)
Loups=Garous (8)
The Mechanic (2011) (9)
Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Awakeening of the Trailblazer (8)
Munto: The Movie (6)
Musashi Miyamoto (6)
Outlander (8)
Source Code (9)
Time of Eve (10)
Unknown (7)
Versus (6)
Your Highness (3)
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Old May 5 2011, 10:27 AM   #416
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

61. Fat City (B+)
62. Beginning of the End (F)


Fat City: For some reason, this film by John Huston isn't available on DVD. That's a shame. It features a number of strong performances (led by Stacey Keach and a young Jeff Bridges) and some terrific cinematography. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a solid character piece about a couple of boxers at different stages in their lives. The awkward silence of the last shot feels both crushing and true -- things you'd be lucky to find in a drama these days.

Beginning of the End: Another Bert I. Gordon travesty about giant insects, there's absolutely nothing that can save this C-grade sf horror from 1957. The visual effects are awful, but they seem to match the dialogue and the performances. It's an easily riffable movie if you're looking for that sort of thing (MSTK 3000 makes mince-meat of it).
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Old May 5 2011, 01:46 PM   #417
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

When A Woman Ascends The Stairs: 5/5
The Social Network: 5/5
-I don't care for his music, but I've always been consistently impressed with Justin Timberlake as an actor.
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Old May 5 2011, 06:36 PM   #418
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


50. GoodFellas (A)
51. Spartacus (A+)
52. The Deer Hunter (B+)
53. Reservoir Dogs (A)
54. A Clockwork Orange (A)
55. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (A+)
56. Gone With The Wind (A+)
57. On the Waterfront (A)

Terrific mid-1950s drama/morality play set in the world of longshoremen, with one of the truly iconic lead performances in film history by Marlon Brando (while the classic "contender" speech has been parodied a million times, Brando's performance here I found much easier to watch than his work in The Godfather). He's supported by a number of other great performances, including the recently-late Karl Malden, and Eva Marie Saint. Two things hold the film back a bit for me: the final scene, which is more than a little melodramatic (and after Malden's character already said getting into a fistfight was the hoodlum thing to do); and the fact that the whole thing is Elia Kazan's obnoxious justification for naming names to HUAC. Because obviously, murderous and corrupt mobsters are equivalent to Kazan's friends exercising their political freedoms.
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Old May 6 2011, 12:25 AM   #419
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

63. The Prestige (B-)

Christopher Nolan's (stealth SF) film about two feuding magicians works great the first time you see it. Seeing it the second time, however, a bit of the luster is gone the since you know about the twist surround Christian Bale's character right off. Make-up might have hid the twist that he's playing two characters the first time you watch it, but the second time it's immediately apparent. Sure, the atmosphere is pretty terrific, and most of the performances are solid, but it's not as interesting when you know what's coming. This is probably Nolan's weakest film to date, but it's by no means a bad film -- it's just a puzzle film that doesn't work once you've done the puzzle.

I do appreciate that he brought David Julyan rather than Hans Zimmer onboard to score the movie. If Nolan makes another small film like this I hope he brings Julyan along for the ride. It provides a little different flavor that Zimmer's constantly blaring brass section.
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Old May 8 2011, 03:53 AM   #420
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Galaxy of Terror (1981)

Another of Roger Corman's Alien rip-offs, this is a better film then Forbidden Planet. The acting, while not really notable, is a vast improvment. We even get a few well know names such as Robert Englund, Sid Haig and for fellow Trek fans, Ray "Boothby" Walston. The story is interesting, though the ending doesn't make a ton of sense and the gore effects are top notch. This film is aparently infamous for a scene involving a giant mealworm and I can understand why, it was pretty funky.

Thor (2011)

The latest of Marvel's adaptations, I admit that I enjoyed this film much more than Iron Man, Iron Man 2 or The Incredible Hulk. The story moves quickly, too quickly in my view, and is somewhat thin here and there but that only detracts from the film a small amount. I enjoyed how director Kenneth Branagh created a two interesting worlds in Asgard and Jotunheim and handled the melding of science and magic. I also thought the portrayal of Loki and the Frost Giants was excellent

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