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Old August 26 2011, 03:58 AM   #676
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


110. The Tree of Life (B+)
111. The Lady Eve (A-)
112. Sullivan's Travels (B+)
113. The Palm Beach Story (A+)
114. A Passage to India (A-)
115. Glengarry Glen Ross (A-)
116. Hail the Conquering Hero (B-)

Wrapping up my tour of Preston Sturges' golden period (less The Miracle of Morgan's Creek). After making five movies between 1940-1942, he skipped 1943 entirely and released three films in 1944, thanks to the studio holding back some of them for years. These films are the first ones to be made while America was actually involved in World War II (the others are all set/made in the interesting period where World War II was going on in Europe but America was a spectator, which leads to some interesting details). This is a satire of the home front of sorts, which is fairly interesting for a production released during the war itself - in this case, a man returns to his hometown after being flunked out of the army for hayfever, and through various contrivances is mistaken for a war hero. The lead, Eddie Bracken (also the lead in Morgan's, another homefront satire), is kind of annoying most of the way through. A lot of the film's satirical elements now seem rather tepid, though I imagine they had a lot more bite in the 1940s. Strangely, it finds its best moments toward the end, where it becomes mostly a drama.

117. The Great Moment (C+)

The sole drama in the collection, and a victim of studio editing interference; this set has the 80-minute cut of the film, but I understand that there are versions of it that run as long as 90 minutes. This is Sturges' third film with Joel McCrea as the lead, and, indeed, he has virtually all his usual actors on hand, despite the shift in genres. William Demarest tones it down quite a bit, though his part still has a comic edge. There are some nonlinear elements to the storyline, which was comparatively rare in this period. It's the story of a battle over credit for a discovery, not unlike something like The Social Network, though considerably less intense. There's not a lot of real drama here, though the subject matter provides some interest. My main issue with it is that while Sturges' seems to suggest that others' greed and his own nobility caused Dr. Morton to lose out on a patent for his anesthesia treatment, near as I can tell he in fact didn't deserve a patent, because he didn't actually invent anything new, he just found a new use for an existing product.
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Old August 27 2011, 08:17 PM   #677
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


110. The Tree of Life (B+)
111. The Lady Eve (A-)
112. Sullivan's Travels (B+)
113. The Palm Beach Story (A+)
114. A Passage to India (A-)
115. Glengarry Glen Ross (A-)
116. Hail the Conquering Hero (B-)
117. The Great Moment (C+)
118. Platoon (A)

Oliver Stone's most famous film and 1986's Best Picture winner. One of the iconic Vietnam films, and its depiction of the war has been very influential, so it's slightly less distinct than it would have been at the time it was released. Nonetheless, it's a powerful film, with numerous tense sequences. For a 21st century viewer, it's quite interesting to see so many young talents in the film, most obviously Charlie Sheen when he was a promising young talent instead of the freakshow he is today, but also Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker, and character actors like Keith David, John C. McGinley (though having first encountered him as Dr. Cox, it's weird to go back to when he was primarily a dramatic actor and specialized in playing tough soldiers), Mark Moses, and Tony Todd. Willem Dafoe plays a good guy for once. Tom Berenger is good as the villain, but his physical appearance is a little overdramatic (likewise, Dafoe's famous death scene strikes me as a little much; it was much more brutally effective when Berenger just shot him). I would also say that Charlie Sheen is only competent as the main character, though even as written he doesn't have that many distinctive traits.

119. Atonement (A+)

Being between DVD shipments, I finally got around to rewatching Atonement, which I'd been planning to do for a while; originally I was going to do it back when Wright's most recent film, Hanna, came out back in April. I recall that back in 2007 I was split between this and There Will Be Blood for the best film of the year. I should rewatch the latter film one of these days, but this film definitely holds up magnificently. The score deservedly won the Oscar, and it lingered in my memory for all the years in between viewings, particularly the Dunkirk segment. Joe Wright is one of the most visually interesting directors currently working, and the cinematography of the film is great. Of course, it's all built on the performances of the actors playing Briony, Cecilia, and Robbie. James McAvoy is, of course, perpetually overlooked by awards bodies. Saorise Ronan was the big find of this movie, earning an Oscar nomination that I think she should have won; Wright certainly knew he had a good thing, since she was the star of Hanna and will be reteaming with Wright, McAvoy and Knightley again for Anna Karenina next year, one of my most anticipated films. That will be the third film Knightley has made with Wright (as well as a perfume commercial and a domestic violence PSA where he beats the shit out of her), and the two that have been made so far constitute her best work as an actress (though I have a lot of love for Bend It Like Beckham and the first Pirates too). The DVD commentary also confirmed something that I had noticed in a couple of places, namely, that the actor playing Cecilia and Briony's brother is definitely playing Leon like he's incestuously attracted to Cecilia.
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Old August 28 2011, 04:58 PM   #678
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Buried: It stars Ryan Reynolds and the whole thing takes place in a coffin. It's pretty engaging, but the fact that he had enough air even with his lighter on was a bit of a stretch.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Good fun movie about a kid learning to use magic. Nick Cage was good too. Alice Krige and Monica Bellucci didn't get much screen time.
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Old August 28 2011, 08:48 PM   #679
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011



61. Boken Flowers - A-. I really enjoyed this movie. Excellent direction and understated performance by Bill Murray (which is his forte nowadays I suppose). I felt for his character at the end of the film, looking for something he didn't even know that he wanted, but which probably is never to be.

62. The Amazing Screw-On Head - A. Not a movie, but an animated pilot from the sci-fi channel that was never picked up. I though this was just great. Loved the animation style, the voice acting, the weird alternate-history vibe to the whole thing.
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Old August 29 2011, 02:24 AM   #680
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


75. Rocky V: B-
76. Conan The Barbarian('11): B-
77. Dinner for Schmucks: D
78. Nothing But the Truth: B
79. Snow Angels: B+


Snow Angels(2008), an indie film, with Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell is the story of a couple in a small northern town who are divorced and have a tragedy they have to work through. The tragedy takes place midway through the movie and it was a sad thing to observe.

The parallel is a story of another couple who have marital issues but seemingly patch things up. It's unclear but I think their proximity to Kate(Annie) and Sam(Glenn) they make it work.

Despite the drama involved I felt it dragged a bit at times otherwise the movie would land in the A range for me. It apparently got a very limited release of 47 theaters according to box office mojo but Nashville clearly wasn't one. I thought it was DDVD for sure.
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Old August 29 2011, 03:12 AM   #681
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


120. Patton (A)

I watched this on VHS back in the 1990s, so this rewatch was the first time I'd seen this movie in widescreen. Certainly it has an impressive scope and still looks good today.

The main talking point about this movie is George C. Scott's Oscar-winning lead performance. Scott is magnetic. It's one of the best acting performances ever put on film. He carries the movie. Indeed, the main flaw the movie has (the thing that keeps me from rating it A+) is how unsupported Scott's performance is; this is a great example of how valuable a strong supporting cast is. Despite the movie being nearly three hours long, the only character who's developed at all is Bradley (played with customary excellence by Karl Malden). Patton has no foils of any interest (Montgomery is pretty much a caricature), nor any well-developed relationships other than Bradley. He's constantly surrounded by a bunch of officers, none of whom I could name if asked; one of them dies in Tunisia and despite that it's the better part of an hour in, we really knew nothing about him, so it's hard to care. When he bids goodbye to the Third Army at the end, there's emotion, but it's entirely on Patton's end, because we know nothing about any of his supposedly fiercely loyal staff.
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Old August 29 2011, 04:08 AM   #682
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Updates in Bold:

The Adjustment Bureau (8)
Afro Samurai: Resurrection (7)
Arashi no Yoru ni (One Stormy Night) (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Alone Again (7)
Armored Trooper Votoms: Finder (8)
Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (8)
Babylon 5: River of Souls (7)
Babylon 5: Thirdspace (7)
Black Swan (9)
Bleach Movie 4: Hell Chapter (9)
Broken Blade 3: The Mark of the Assassin's Dagger (9)
Broken Blade 4: The Land of Disaster (9)
Broken Blade 5: Death's Horizon (9)
Broken Blade 6: Bastions of Sorrow (9)Cowboys and Aliens (8)
Captain America: The First Avenger (8)
Cutthroat Island (9)
Drive Angry (7)
Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance (9)
Godkiller (6)
Green Lantern (8)
Hanna (8)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (8)
Honey and Clover (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)
Pirates of the Caribean: On Stranger Tides (9)
Priest (5)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (9)
Source Code (9)
Super 8 (8)
Thor (9)
Time of Eve (10)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (9)
Unknown (7)
Versus (6)
X-Men: First Class (8)
Your Highness (3)
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Old August 29 2011, 07:19 AM   #683
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Terminator 3
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Old August 29 2011, 03:40 PM   #684
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

One Week, starring Joshua Jackson and Liane Balaban. A guy played by Joshua Jackson finds out he has cancer and a less than 10% chance of survivial. He then purchases a motorcycle, leaves Toronto and his fiancee behind, and heads out west with no particular agenda in mind. Along the way, he encounters people and situations. A lot of the entertainment comes from a voiceover narration rather than the actual situations he encounters. We see a lot of Canada's back country and there are appearances from Emm Gryner and Gordon Downie. There's also a twist at the end that I liked. Good movie.
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Old August 29 2011, 05:08 PM   #685
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

131. Days of Heaven (B+)
132. Restless (C+)
133. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (A)


Days of Heaven: The fourth film by Terrence Malick that I've seen, this might be my least favorite, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. It's almost a silent picture -- much of the dialogue that was scripted and filmed was culled during the long editing process -- but this isn't that off-putting once you get used to it. I agree with Captain Canada about being emotionally distanced from the characters, but the film is so beautiful that it's not much of a problem.

Restless: Gus Van Sant's latest film, starring the son of Dennis Hopper (the resemblance is quite obvious) and Mia Wasikowska never quite decides what it wants to be. In set-up (two quirky characters meet going to other people's funerals) it's definitely similar to Harold and Maude, but for the most part it's tone is to plainly sentimental to share much in common with that (superior) movie. It has all the trappings of something darker and less Hollywood, but in execution it's more like Van Sant's mainstream fare. The epitome of the film's waffling is a scene that comes about half-way through. Wasikowska's character has cancer, and Hopper runs in to find that she has died. It's weepy in its sentimentalism, with over-the-top melodramatic music playing over it. It's also, as is soon revealed, a ruse that the characters have set up -- the music is being played on a tape recorder out of frame, and Wasikowska isn't really dead. The problem is that the weepy, melodramatic tone perfectly characterizes the rest of the movie. It's not a bad movie -- it's just one that never quite works.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: One of my favorite films from 2010, it only gets better the more times I see it. A shame it died at the box office, but (director/co-writer) Ed Wright seems to have gotten right back up again.

Up to 142 films this year, but I've slowed considerably. CaptainCanada might lap me this time.
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Old August 30 2011, 03:39 PM   #686
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


120. Patton (A)
121. Pan's Labyrinth (A+)

I'm always torn as to whether this or The Departed was the best film of 2006. Incidentally, 2006 was the year of three major films by Spanish-language directors (this, Cuaron's Children of Men, Inarritu's Babel), and I've always been annoyed that only the last one, which was supremely overrated, got a Best Picture nomination. Though Pan's Labyrinth won three Oscars, the second-most of the night (while, ironically, losing Best Foreign Film). Child actors can often be hard to work with, but Ivana Baquero was a genuine find, and the supporting cast is also extremely strong. Sergi Lopez as the ultimate evil stepfather is up there with Christoph Waltz's Landa as one of the best villains of the 2000s. His final comeuppance is truly poetic. Every rewatch makes the skill with which Del Toro weaves in his themes about death and rebirth more evident.
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Old September 1 2011, 09:10 PM   #687
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


120. Patton (A)
121. Pan's Labyrinth (A+)
122. The Debt (B+)

The third 2011 movie I've seen in a row to feature Jessica Chastain (and there's still four more to go before the year is out). Whereas she was supporting in the first two (and, I believe, in all the others due out later), she's the main character here (co-shared with Helen Mirren). Set in both 1966 and 1997, I would say the split is about 70/30 in the former's favour, and a common thread in the reviews of this film is that it would have been better if it had been all about the 1966 piece. I don't think that's true, personally; the 1997 sequences I think add value. Sam Worthington, who I've seen in a few fairly bland action roles, does very well in a more serious dramatic part (which I'm told he used to do a lot more of in Australia); I also thought that Jesper Christensen as the villain stood out. But the main reason to see it is Chastain, who's excellent.
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Old September 2 2011, 01:54 PM   #688
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


Killers - Netflix Instant
Push - DVD rental
Ron White: Behavioral Problems - DVD rental
All*Star Superman - DVD rental
Captain America: The First Avenger - midnight screenin'
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night - DVD rental
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One - DVD
The King's Speech - DVD rental
Get Low - DVD rental
Dan in Real Life - DVD
Thor: Tales of Asgard - DVD rental
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights - DVD rental
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths - DVD
Planet Hulk - DVD rental
Alien vs Predator: Requium - Unrated - DVD rental
Fright Night (1985) - DVD
John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) - DVD
50/50 - free screenin'
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules - DVD
Repo Men- Unrated - DVD

I wanted to watch something new last night, and the unrated version of Repo Men was the best I could come up with.

I saw the theatrical cut at a free advance screenin', and I'm pretty sure this was my DVD, but since my sister paid for it, she kept it. Ah, well...

The addidtions don't change a whole lot - there's some more violence, a couple of added scenes, John Leguizamo & very brief boobs nudity. It isn't any better or worse than the theatrical version.

Still, worth watchin'...
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Old September 2 2011, 09:21 PM   #689
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63. Inland Empire (David Lynch) - B. A pretty good and generally trippy David Lynch film. For a three hour movie it does a pretty good job of not feeling overlong, but it didn't seem to have the resonance of his best films.
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Old September 3 2011, 02:07 AM   #690
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


76. Conan The Barbarian('11): B-
77. Dinner for Schmucks: D
78. Nothing But the Truth: B
79. Snow Angels: B+
80. Everybody's Fine: C-


Continuing my Kate Beckinsale mini-marathon of catching up on her films that didn't see a wide release is Everybody's Fine. This movie also has Sam Rockwell in it as did the last film, Snow Angels where he played Kate's ex-husband. Here he's playing her brother along with Drew Barrymore as a sister with Robert DeNiro playing the recently widowed father.

The adult kids were supposed to come home and visit their father but all of them cancelled on him last minute. We find out through the course of the movie that Frank(DeNiro) was hard on all his kids to be the best. He was just a utility pole lineman and wanted his kids to be better and do better than him. With exception most ended up living modestly in modest professions or not near the top. With their mother dead they fear their father finding out the truth of their lives. Plus one other depressing shocker they wish to keep from him.

I feel the film is meant to have a sense of drama and human connection but it falls flat. It's saved the "C range" grade cause the ending does pick up a tad to qualify as a "happy" given how the film went.

Two more Kate films to go in my marathon.
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