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Old October 1 2011, 12:53 AM   #751
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

148. L.A. Confidential (A-)
149. When Harry Met Sally (A-)
150. Tombstone (C+)


L.A. Confidential: I'm still not crazy about Russell Crowe surviving at the end of the movie -- the way its staged doesn't suggest much hope for his survival -- but I really like the movie otherwise. It has a great cast, makes excellent use of real LA locations, and presents an interesting look at the underbelly of Hollywood in the early television era.

When Harry Met Sally: Still an excellent, funny movie, although I wouldn't rate it as high as This is Spinal Tap if I was comparing Rob Reiner-directed comedies.

Tombstone: An excellent cast elevates a decent Western that is unfortunately quite clumsily structured. Major characters completely disappear with little explanation (Wyatt Earp's wife vanishes and it's not until the end that a voice over establishes that she died of a drug overdose much earlier in the narrative) and most of the third act is compressed into a quick montage for no discernible reason. Kurt Russell is better in the role of Wyatt Earp than Burt Reynolds, though, and Val Kilmer was never better as Doc Holliday. I wouldn't be surprised if much of this could be explained by a turbulent production (the original director, who wrote the film, was fired, and his screenplay was subsequently chopped up). It's a shame that it isn't a better movie, because from a visual standpoint it's fantastic, boasting great production design, art direction, and costume design.

159 films seen so far this year.
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Old October 1 2011, 05:32 AM   #752
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

The Enforcer (1976)

The third Dirty Harry film and unfortunately one of the lesser entries. That's not to say that it's an enjoyable film but it just doesn't have the same feel as the first two. Maybe it's because John Milius didn't have a go on the script or maybe it's because this was the only film in the series that didn't have a score by Lalo Schifrin.

Sudden Impact (1983)

The fourth Dirty Harry film and a much better entry than the last. The only film in the series that was directed by Clint Eastwood, I enjoyed the fact that this is one of the few films I've seen that uses a female serial killer. I do think it's odd that Harry let Jennifer Spencer get away with the killings when he set himself at odds with the vigalante cops in Magnum Force. I was also glad that Lalo Schifrin returned to produce the films score.
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Old October 1 2011, 11:55 PM   #753
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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
12. Kick-Ass (2010) - B
13. Thor (2011) - B+
14. X-Men: First Class (2011) - B
15. Easy A (2010) - B
16. Bridesmaids (2011) - A+
17. Super 8 (2011) - B+
18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010) - B-
19. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - B+
20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011) - B
21. Robin Hood (2010) - B-
22. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) - B
23. The Adjustment Bureau (2011) - B-
24. Moneyball (2011) - B+
25. The Lion King (1994) - A+

Moneyball

Living in the Bay Area and following the 2002 Oakland A's, this movie hit close to home for me, and I think the thing I really liked about it was it really captures behind the scenes of a GM of an organization. I mean here is a guy who was thrown such a small amount of money by the owner and he had to come up with a way to replace 3 stars in Damon, Giambi, and Isringhousen. To see the process of how he went about doing that was really enlightening, and how he used the idea of advanced stats (Or Sabremetrics as it's known now) was probably the highlight of the movie. I mean the scene where Beane is on the phone at the trade deadline with like 3 different GMs and actually succeeds in getting Ricardo Rincon was probably one of the best scenes in the movie.

I've been listening to Baseball Podcasts this year in which the hosts come across as kind of arrogant when it comes to these advance stats. I mean if anyone is familiar with Keith Law (Scout based out of Arizona), he has come out and pretty much said that RBIs and Wins are irrelevant and we need to start looking at stats like OPS, and WAR (Wins Above Replacement). The problem I have with a lot of what the experts say really comes down to the fact that I don't understand these things, and they do come across as a bit holier than thou. Well, one of the things I liked about the movie was that it was a clear illustration as to why these stats matter and why they have a place in Baseball. Over time I might actually research these stats (Baseball Reference and I've heard FanGraphs are the best websites to go with this) and I thank this movie for introducing it the right way and making fans see that it really isn't all about star power.

I think my only quibble with the movie was I don't remember the conflict between Art Howe and Billy Beane, and maybe Seymore Hoffman (Who I like) wasn't as passionate in the role as I would have liked, but other than that, a great movie.

The Lion King

I've made it a bit of a rule that I would only review movies I have not seen in this thread, but I'm making an exception to this one. There are some movies I would love to see on the Big Screen again, and The Lion King was one of those movies. Ok, I didn't see it in 3D, but to get the nostalgia, I don't think I needed to. This movie is just as great as I remember it and the music was some of Disney's best. One reviewer on rotten tomatoes said this movie wasn't Hip enough. Well, I beg to differ. I think we need more movies like this, where there are dark moments to scare the kids without going overboard, but once we get to the end and everyone can walk out of the theater with a smile, it's all worth it. I wish more classic movies were brought out to the big screen again, but I'm glad Lion King was because it was just as awesome and just as memorable as it was when I was 10 years old in 1994.
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Old October 2 2011, 01:14 AM   #754
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

The Ledge, written by Matthew Chapman. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Terence Howard and Christopher Gorham. Charlie Hunnam plays a man who walks out onto a ledge. Terence Howard plays the policeman who comes to persuade him to come inside. Hunnam's character slowly unfolds the events that led him there. As it happens, he and his gay roommate (played by Christopher Gorham,) strike sparks with the Christian couple in the apartment down the hall (played by Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler.) It is fairly obvious where the plot is going and it is played out fairly leisurely but the dialogue and performances are excellent. A thriller which manages to be a serious drama as well. About an hour and forty-five minutes.
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Old October 2 2011, 02:04 PM   #755
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Tomalak301, this is the second review from someone I've heard that Moneyball was really good. I like sport movies and while baseball isn't my sport of choice it's the struggle/triumph arc I find appealing in them. My friend called from Atlanta who's visiting her brother and we had planned to see it but she went with him and gave it praise as well. I may wait for DVD but if I find time I'd like to catch this one.
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Old October 2 2011, 06:46 PM   #756
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The Perfect Host, starring David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford. Bank robber meets psycho is the story. Never heard of Crawford but he did a great job. The voice in particular is fascinating. This is a dandy little suspense, not a brain in its head, but very skillfully done. The performances are beautifully theatrical, the plotting insane but crisp and the soundtrack very effective.
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Old October 2 2011, 11:56 PM   #757
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


130. Contagion (B+)
131. The Age of Innocence (B+)
132. The Remains of the Day (A+)
133. His Girl Friday (A)
134. Howards End (B+)
135. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (A)
136. The Lion King 3D (A+)
137. Paths of Glory (B+)
138. Big Fish (B+)

A Tim Burton film with bright colours and no Johnny Depp! Helena Bonham Carter's here in a small role, so he didn't go completely off-reservation, at least. Though this film was a financial disappointment, so maybe there's a reason he doesn't do this more often. The film feels a bit like if Forrest Gump, Jr. was trying to make sense of his father's account of his life. The "tall tales" are a little meandering in places (and not really as interesting as the film often thinks they are), particularly early on, but the film acquires a good amount of emotional heft as it goes on. My own father passed away earlier this year, so perhaps I was particularly susceptible, but I liked it a lot. Billy Crudup, who's a good actor, is kind of bland in the part of the son, but the others do well with more vibrant characters (there's also an early English-language appearance by Marion Cotillard back when nobody outside of France knew who she was).

139. The Magnificent Ambersons (B+)

Orson Welles' followup to Citizen Kane, and the victim of one of the most egregious cases of studio interference. It's kind of hard to fully judge a film that had so much taken out of it (though, to be fair, people who saw the original cut said it had problems too). The cuts came mostly from the concluding segments of the film (including an added ending which is very obviously discordant with the rest of the film), which are the weakest, particularly, as I said, the ending. However, even the 88 minute version is still a pretty good film. The cinematography is stunning (I find that inventive uses of the camera are a lot more noticeable in older films where just planting it and letting it role was a lot more common). There are a number of very good performances. If Welles' original version (or a reedit overseen by Welles himself) existed, who knows what might have been?
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Old October 5 2011, 04:49 AM   #758
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


200. Shichinin no Samurai [Seven Samurai] (1954)
This is the film everyone needs to watch no matter what your opinion on it ends up being because it is so influential. It's strange that I've never seen it before. So much has been written about this film that the only thing I have to say is that it really is one of the greatest films ever made.

I watched this film on the Criterion blu-ray about two months ago but I've only just finished with all the special features. This blu-ray is fantastic. Picture and audio quality are as good as you're going to get for your home. The extra features include two commentaries, four hours of documentaries and a booklet with essays on the film. They are superb. Most film commentaries and extras I would only listen to and watch once but these extras are so good that the next time I watch this film I'll reverse the order and go through the extras first. If you watch films at home, Criterion blu-ray is the best way.
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Old October 5 2011, 12:11 PM   #759
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Henry's Crime, a meta love story/caper movie. An unhappily married man falsely accused of bank robbery goes to prison. Upon release, he conceives the desire to actually rob the bank he didn't attempt to rob. He finds there was a tunnel from the next door theater to the bank (for hiding booze during Prohibition,) and ends up playing Lopatkin in The Cherry Orchard, while falling in love with the Buffalo diva playing the lead.

Henry's "crime" is robbing the bank, stealing the diva's heart and rewriting Chekhov. The outcome of the plot is withheld.

The diva is played as a larger than life bitch-goddess by the redoubtable Vera Farmiga. Peter Stormare is the unconscious Voice of God as director, displaying one of his finest accents. James Caan is the friendly confidence man turned bank robber and Fisher Stevens is the evil safecracker. This is a very droll but emotional (yet ironic) piece. But Trekbbs is forbidden to watch this, under any circumstances, for Henry/Lopatkin is played by Keanu Reeves!
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Old October 5 2011, 09:28 PM   #760
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


Machine Gun Preacher - free screenin'
The Ides of March - free screenin'

The first two of four free screenings this week...

...Machine Gun Preacher made me feel guilty after watchin' it, in a "what have I done with my life lately?" kind of way, but still well worth checkin' out. Be warned, it does earn its R ratin' for drug use, language, violence, gore & such.

...The Ides of March would have really been better if Aaron Sorkin had written it. But, still, ya can't argue with the cast, and Clooney did put a lot into the movie, with his starrin' role, co-writin' the movie & directin' it.

Tonight, I'll be at the Real Steel screenin' with the Footloose remake scheduled for tomorrow!

And Fireflies in the Garden next week! Still don't know if I'll get a pass for The Thing requel or not....
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Old October 6 2011, 03:20 AM   #761
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Maurice wrote: View Post
Here's what I can recall seeing thus far this year. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch.
  • (A)sexual (B)
  • Beginners (B+)
  • Black Swan (B-)
  • The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story (B)
  • The Pixar Story (B-)
  • Tales From the Script (B)
  • Walt & El Groupo (B)
  • The Universe of Keith Haring
  • The Bourne Identity
  • Waking Sleeping Beauty (C+)
  • La Ronde (A)
  • Ocean's Eleven (2001) (C)
  • Bob Le Flambeur (A)
  • The Good Thief (B-)
  • The Score (C)
  • X-Men First Class (B)
  • Your Highness (F) (Visual Effects Society Screening)
  • True Grit (A-)
  • Kinsey (B+)
  • Judas Kiss (2011) (C+)
Since my last post:
  • Tree of Life (A)
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (B+)
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla (D-)
  • Microcosmos (B)
  • The Adonais Factor (C)
  • The Life of Reilly (B)
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Old October 7 2011, 03:06 AM   #762
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


140. Dumbo (A)

Simple little gem from Disney's early years; watched this many times on VHS back in the early 1990s, but haven't seen it since then. Walt himself was minimally involved in this one due to other commitments, so it's rather different from the other features of the period stylistically (much closer to Warner Brothers humour in some places). There's some very imaginative animated sequences that still come across as such today (the delivery of all the babies via stork made an impression on me as a kid, I recall).
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Old October 7 2011, 05:59 AM   #763
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


Machine Gun Preacher - free screenin'
The Ides of March - free screenin'
Real Steel - free screenin'
127 Hours - HBO on Demand

Last week, a friend of mine asked me to keep an eye out for Real Steel passes. I didn't really want to see it, but he did...so, I got passes for us to see it last night. There were freebies - a sports towel & bottle opener - and two trailers for fall movies that didn't really interest me.

But, hey, the movie was a lot better than I expected it to be, and there is a bit of an homage to Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots in the first robot vs robot fight. Hugh Jackman does most of the heavy liftin' for the film, but the kid co-star does a good job, too. And nice to see Kevin Durand again, after Lost & X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

This afternoon, I watched 127 Hours via HBO on Demand...that was a pretty intense movie. I can see why James Franco got the Oscar nomination for it. Don't think I'll be in much of a rush to watch it again, but I can say I've seen it now.

I did skip out on the Footloose screenin' tonight...I just didn't feel like drivin' across town for it. But I do already have passes to see it next week at a theater closer to where I'm stayin'.

I've also got passes for Fireflies in the Garden & The Way, fingers crossed I'll get passes for The Thing, too.
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Old October 8 2011, 03:15 PM   #764
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140. Dumbo (A-)
141. Smiles of a Summer Night (A)


Hey, a non-depressing Ingmar Bergman film! Still shot through with bits of melancholy and one moment near the end that anyone familiar with Bergman's later work would interpret as a shocking tonal swerve (which actually makes the joke work better). It's a comedy more of smiles than laughs, but it's very enjoyable and extremely well-acted.
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Old October 10 2011, 04:29 AM   #765
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Philip Seymour Hoffman double-bill.


140. Dumbo (A-)
141. Smiles of a Summer Night (A)
142. The Ides of March (B)

Not a great movie, but a good one. It's rather like Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck in that the trailer pitches it as much more dramatic than it actually is; Clooney's dramatic instincts on his own projects tend to be fairly low-key. As the reviews have noted, there's nothing new here in terms of message, though to be honest I'm not sure whether there's much new to be offered about the moral nature of modern political campaigns. It's a dirty business, and everyone knows it. Anyway, the film's a solid piece of adult-oriented filmmaking. It has a great cast who all do good work, including another strong Ryan Gosling performance this year. The cast standout is really Evan Rachel Wood, whose role contains the most surprises if you're only watching the advertising; if anyone here deserves awards consideration, it's her. The director himself is also very good in his big scene at the end.

143. Moneyball (A-)

Baseball bores me to tears as a spectator sport (as do, well, most spectator sports other than hockey), but this was a very good movie. Capote, Bennett Miller's previous movie, I thought had an admirable level of craft but was too antiseptic to fully succeed. Here I think he strikes a much better balance; it never becomes sentimental, but the human element really comes across. Particularly given that this is a movie about statistics supplanting "common sense" baseball tactics, the balance of statistics versus sentiment is especially important. Soderbergh was originally going to direct this, and it'd be interesting to see how he approached it, but I think Miller's style is a pretty good fit with Soderbergh. Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillan's screenplay does a great job of making a movie that is basically about statistics interesting to watch; fittingly, given the subject-matter, the actual players are only seen in glimpses and none have real arcs, but the bits we see of them are very effective. Brad Pitt gives a great lead performance, backed up nicely by Jonah Hill in a supporting role considerably more understated than then norm. The final message about succeeding in changing the game but not personally winning the big prize is nicely bittersweet (and taken from real life, so I suppose they really couldn't approach it another way).
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