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

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Old November 28 2011, 02:19 AM   #871
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


160. Immortals (C+)
161. J. Edgar (B)
162. City of God (A)
163. Cinema Paradiso (B)
164. Three Colours: Blue (B+)
165. Three Colours: White (A-)
166. Three Colours: Red (A-)
167. The Muppets (B+)
168. Election (A)

Alexander Payne's second movie, the one that really got him noticed, and it's at least arguably still his most famous. I recall seeing bits of this on TV at some point in the past, but this is the first time I sat down and watched the whole thing (complete with all the swears). Reviews of Glee in its original, satirical configuration always made comparisons with Election, and I can definitely see that (Tracy and Rachel, in particular, have a number of similarities). It's quite adroit at balancing people's sympathetic and unsympathetic qualities (apart from Chris Klein's character, where his incredible decency is probably the main joke).

169. Le Havre (C+)

One of the more successful foreign films of this year, and Finland's entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar (tipped to be one of the nominees). A comedy-drama about illegal immigration from Africa, it has a purposefully detached style and seems to be aiming for dark humour in places; there are a couple of really good moments, but I mostly thought it was listless and neither funny nor dramatic. A largely unsuccessful attempt at absurdism.
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Old November 29 2011, 04:15 PM   #872
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


170. Almost Famous: The Bootleg Cut (A+)

Arguably the highwater mark of Cameron Crowe's career to date: the 80s and 90s were his gradual ascent, capping it at the turn of the New Millenium with this autobiographical story that won him his Oscar. And he was on the precipice of a "low, dishonest decade" where his two features would both be poorly received (though the first one made lots of money), and take a nearly six-year break between films. We Bought A Zoo is getting very strong reviews, so perhaps he's finally back is business.

I vaguely recall watching this on TV, but I only remembered scenes are a very general sense of the plot going in. This is the director's cut, which is about 40 minutes longer, and it's a sign of a good director's cut where I can't really imagine where those 40 minutes were cut out (from what I've read, there are only a few new full scenes, but a lot of extended existing scenes). It's a great, great movie, with a lot of great performances. Patrick Fugit really hasn't done much since (but he's in Crowe's new film; loyalty!), which is a bit disappointing. It's always surprising and sad to see how magnetic Kate Hudson is as Penny, considering what happened later. Then there was the minor find that Cam from Modern Family is in the movie as a hotel clerk.
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Old November 29 2011, 06:30 PM   #873
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Saturday night, I attended a screening of Gone With The Wind at the Egyptian and went to see The Muppets last night.

Gone With The Wind was an amazing, magical experience; I've been a fan of the film for a long time, but this was the first time I'd had the opportunity to see it on the big screen and it was well worth the wait!

Muppets was fun too. Lots of great songs and cameos and an all-around good tme.
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Old November 30 2011, 03:30 AM   #874
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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
Fireflies in the Garden - free screenin'
The Thing (2011) - free screenin'
The Crow: City of Angels - Netflix Instant
Poltergiest II: The Other Side - Netflix Instant
Poltergiest III - Netflix Instant
The Way - free screenin'
Beneath the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Escape from the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Knight and Day - More Max/Cinemax
The Last Man on Earth - AMC on Demand
The Kids are Alright - Cinemax on Demand
The Rite - HBO
Unstoppable - HBO on Demand
Psycho (1960)- Cinemax on Demand
Psycho III - Cinemax on Demand
Jeepers Creepers - FLIX on Demand
Black Sunday - Cinemax
John Carpenter's Halloween - AMC
Halloween III: Season of the Witch - AMC
Psycho II - Cinemax
Land of the Dead - HBO Zone
Psycho (1998) - DVD
The Muppets - theater
Death at a Funeral (2007) - DVD

I had a freebie rental coupon from Blockbuster, and used it to watch the original Death at a Funeral.

I'm sure it would have been funnier if I hadn't seen the American remake first, since the scripts are almost exactly the same.

Still a good movie, and I was amused that Alan Tudyk played the unliked boyfriend in the original while Ron Glass played the father who didn't like the boyfriend in the remake.

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Old November 30 2011, 07:13 PM   #875
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011



89. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2: A-. I'd actually watched this a couple of week ago but forgot to review it. Suitable end to the series but not among the strongest of the films in my opinion.

90. Heavy Metal (rewatch) - C+. Animated boobs and gore set to heavy metal music, how could this go wrong? Well, quite a few ways actually. Some of the animation is really ugly, I mean ugly from an aesthetic perspective but also ugly from a crudeness of the technique involved. I really am spoiled by the current animation renaissance we are living in, and movies like this that were made on the cheap just don't hold up to modern standards very well. It doesn't all look bad though, the last segment is pretty sharp. Most of my enjoyment here came from the satirical moments, in particular John Candy's narration of the Vallejo-inspired second segment and the Zap Brannigan-esque segment on the space station. The movie seems to lack a point, unless the point is to stay away from floaty green balls of evil, in which case point received.

91. Crumb (rewatch) - A+. Probably my favorite documentary of all time. Crumb's mix of genius and dysfunctional personality is absolutely mesmerizing. The outtakes on this new Criterion edition are really worthwhile, in particular there is one bit where Crumb is explaining the evils of American capitalism and he outlines pretty much note for note the exact same things that the OWS movement is saying now (and he was saying this 20 years ago).

92. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Extended Edition) - A+. The additional material here is really great. This is probably the best of the 3 films.

93. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition) - A+. This is the longest and the best of the extended editions in my opinion. By best I don't mean the best film, I mean that it's the most improved of the three films by what is added back in. I think The Two Towers is still the strongest film overall, but the extended edition of Return of the King would probably be my second favorite.
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Old December 1 2011, 07:48 AM   #876
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

185. The Muppets (A-)

Funny, moving, and with the right level of nostalgia. It's not The Muppet Movie, but it's close. Frank Oz seems like a bit of a stick-in-the-mud for not participating, and it's a shame, because if there's one aspect that falls short it's the voice of miss Piggy, which is just off without his voice behind her.

186. X-Men: First Class (B-)

I've been putting off seeing this film, after being so disappointed with the last two X-Men movies, but I'm glad I finally did. Having said that, although the leading actors are excellent -- especially Fassbender and McAcoy -- the supporting cast of mutants is pretty inconsequential. I'm sure Fox wanted to have more options for merchandising, but anytime a dramatic moments hangs on one of the tertiary characters it doesn't really work because they're so thinly developed. Also, January Jones is completely mis-cast as Emma Frost. Her shtick fits Betty Draper, but it's completely wrong for the icy manipulator she's playing here (and many of her line readings leave something to be desired, honestly). Other than that, though, it was a solid (if not great) superhero movie, and I dug that it was a 60s period piece.
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Old December 1 2011, 04:05 PM   #877
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

127 Hours: The true story of that guy who got trapped in a narrow canyon with his arm wedged between the canyon wall and a boulder. James Franco is good in the leading role and the movie itself is gripping eventhough it's just Franco trapped in one place. The movie's full use of sights and sounds as well as the occasional dream sequence make the time go by. I was dreading the moment when he'd have to cut his own arm off, but it wasn't as grusome as I thought it would be and it was well shot, again making excellent use of sound and good cinematography to take us through the experience. I didn't recognize Clémence Poésy, but somehow, I knew she was French when I saw her move her lips without sound. Weird. Anyway, great movie. I wonder if they'll do a sequel where he gets the other arm trapped. I kid.
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Old December 2 2011, 03:58 AM   #878
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


170. Almost Famous: The Bootleg Cut (A+)
171. About Schmidt (A-)
I've now seen all the majors in Alexander Payne's filmography, apart from The Descendants, which hasn't come to a theatre near me yet. Haven't seen Citizen Ruth, his first film, though. I remember all the acclaim for Nicholson's performance the year this came out, but I didn't see the movie (I didn't discover our town's arthouse cinema until the following year). And it is indeed an amazing performance, one of Nicholson's best (and chronologically the first performance I've seen of his in a long time that isn't dominated by his normal crowd-pleasing acting tics). Payne's movies acquire an increasingly elegaic and less satiric tone the more they go on; he can combine realistic sadness and humour, without falling into pointless bleakness, and always finds humanity.

172. Drive (B)

Nicolas Winding Refn's minimalist, but exceptionally stylish, thriller finally arrived in Charlottetown. Visually arresting, and featuring performances that are quite good within the constraints of the picture. Most of the attention has focused on Albert Brooks, who is indeed genuinely menacing as the film's main villain. The action sequences are short and amazingly bloody; Winding Refn's really not out to thrill the audience with his protagonist's actions here; you cringe every time. Ryan Gosling made three very different films this year, and displayed considerable range in all of them; here he's The Driver With No Name, and is a very credible action hero. Carey Mulligan is sweet as his love interest of sorts (after appearing in a couple of meh films post-An Education, she's also been having a very good 2011).
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Old December 2 2011, 01:22 PM   #879
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

The final destination 5, The last air bender, Cow boy vs aliens, A walk in the cloud, maid in Manhattan, Harry Potter and the deathly hallows, Clash of the Titan, and Transformers 3. These are the movies I watched in this year.
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Old December 2 2011, 09:21 PM   #880
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(500) Days of Summer: A great love story with all the ups that come with a fun relationship and the downs that come with unrequited love. Lots of tragedy that's effectively made up for by a kick-ass ending. Zooey Deschanel is perfect as the cute girlfriend and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a fantasic job in his role. I also found it interesting that the movie took place in the present but had a retro 50s-style look with the clothes and choice of locations.
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Old December 2 2011, 09:28 PM   #881
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

^^^
I think that great ending is with Minka Kelly. Currently in the December BOW Madness!!
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Old December 2 2011, 11:10 PM   #882
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

187. Mimic [Director's Cut] (C)

I picked this up for less than five dollars through Amazon, so I can't say I was too disappointed by the purchase, although the film wasn't as good as I had hoped. Visually, it's obviously from Guillermo Del Toro (and as excellent in look as you would expect), but on other levels the film isn't nearly as successful. The characters, for one thing, are barely developed. Even the lead, played by Mira Sorvino, is pretty thin. She's a scientist, she loves her husband, and she's pregnant. That's about it -- and she's the most developed character in the movie!

Still, in terms of atmosphere, the movie is an excellent work of horror-sf. When it gets down to having a handful of capable people trapped in the underground of New York, fighting off giant insects, it's executed about as well as a movie with that premise could be. Alas, with a re-write or two, it could have been so much more. For one thing, the original ending that Del Toro describes on the DVD is chilling just to hear. It's a shame he was never able to film it.

I caught a preview screening of Sleeping Beauty last night, but I think I need to let the movie sit with me before I make any judgments about it. Tammy Macintosh (Jool of Farscape has a supporting role -- it's nice to see her getting work in something this visible internationally).
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Old December 3 2011, 03:56 AM   #883
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011


170. Almost Famous: The Bootleg Cut (A+)
171. About Schmidt (A-)
172. Drive (B)
173. Hugo (A)

Martin Scorsese's megabudget 3D children's film was, from a distance, one of the odder projects scheduled for this year. Notwithstanding the fact that Scorsese, regardless of his place in the popular imagination as the director of gritty crime dramas, has always had considerably more range (he directed a musical with Liza Minnelli, after all), it still seems like a particular stretch. The first trailer was a little confusing. Then the critical acclaim started, and became an avalanche; now it's one of the year's best-reviewed movies, and the newly-minted winner of the National Board of Review's Picture and Director prizes.

Virtually all the reviews and even cast interviews for this film spoil the central plot twist, the true identity of "Papa Georges", around which the whole plot turns. I'll omit that here, in case you haven't heard it, but in any event, it turns out that this project is really a vehicle for Scorsese's love of film, and film history, which powers the whole second half of the movie. It's quite magical. I do wonder, though, whether this ostensible children's film would really be that appealing to children (not being one myself anymore, I can't say). Scorsese incorporates plenty of whimsical humour, but the story is generally pretty measured in pace, and I don't know whether the film history angle would hold interest. I hope so, because it's a wonderful film, one of the best I've seen this year, but this seems like a dicey commercial venture (the trailers make it look rather fantastical, but there's at most a small dose of steampunk, and a lot of Dickens).

Performances are strong across the board. The eponymous main character is played by Asa Butterfield (who I swear looks like a young Stanley Kubrick in certain shots; it's mostly the eyes), and he's an able lead, though his character arc feels progressively more sidelined as the movie goes and and becomes more and more about Sir Ben Kingsley's Papa Georges. Kingsley's become a great thespian most notable for doing paycheck work most of the time, but he's wonderful here. Chloe Moretz, one of the up-and-coming child actors, and she's very fun as the Hermione-ish Isabelle. There's a large adult supporting cast of secondary characters, including Sacha Baron Cohen as the seemingly cartoonish station superintendent who pleasingly turns out to have some depth.

This is a lovely demonstration that Scorsese can deliver one of the year's best films without any of his usual dark storytelling motifs.
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Old December 3 2011, 03:57 PM   #884
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Funny People: A Judd Apatow comedy that was more like a drama with some poignant humor. Seth Rogen was his usual self and Adam Sandler did quite will in his dramatic role. I found it to be an enjoyable movie.

Captain Craig wrote: View Post
^^^
I think that great ending is with Minka Kelly.
Yep. It's her.
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Old December 4 2011, 12:54 AM   #885
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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
Fireflies in the Garden - free screenin'
The Thing (2011) - free screenin'
The Crow: City of Angels - Netflix Instant
Poltergiest II: The Other Side - Netflix Instant
Poltergiest III - Netflix Instant
The Way - free screenin'
Beneath the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Escape from the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - HBO Family
Knight and Day - More Max/Cinemax
The Last Man on Earth - AMC on Demand
The Kids are Alright - Cinemax on Demand
The Rite - HBO
Unstoppable - HBO on Demand
Psycho (1960)- Cinemax on Demand
Psycho III - Cinemax on Demand
Jeepers Creepers - FLIX on Demand
Black Sunday - Cinemax
John Carpenter's Halloween - AMC
Halloween III: Season of the Witch - AMC
Psycho II - Cinemax
Land of the Dead - HBO Zone
Psycho (1998) - DVD
The Muppets - theater
Death at a Funeral (2007) - DVD
The Frighteners: Director's Cut - DVD

My friend D & I got this one out of the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart last week (or the week before, I forget), and finally got around to watchin' it last night. I've seen the theatrical cut, but not the director's. It was her first time watchin' the movie, period.

She liked it, thought it was pretty funny.

I still like it, but don't think the added scenes really do anything to majorly alter the movie one way or the other.
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