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Old January 26 2014, 06:48 PM   #76
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:

13. Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012) -- B+
14. Agent for H.A.R.M. (1966) -- F


If you're a fan of Ricky Jay or are curious about magicians or illusionists, Deceptive Practice will be of interest. Of course, you're not going to learn any secrets of his trade (Jay is intensely secretive), but you will gain a little insight into the man and see him perform a few fantastic feats.

On the other hand, I can't think of a single reason why someone might be interested in Agent for H.A.R.M., a discarded television pilot turned theatrical release from 1966. Even the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version is a bit of a slog. Peter Mark Richman is woefully miscast in the lead (TNG fans might remember him from "The Neutral Zone"), Gerd Oswald's direction is on par with his second episode of Star Trek ("The Alternative Factor," which is to say, it's terrible), and the writing (which is filled with cliches and devoid of action) is an excellent explanation for why Blair Robertson's career didn't take off.
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Old January 27 2014, 03:53 AM   #77
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

1) Wargames - B+
2) Play The Game - B

Andy Griffith's last movie is about finding a companion and this is the perfect movie for a night in with someone you care about.

It is a nice romantic movie with Griffith and his son, played by honestly one of the worst actors I have ever seen, trying to find the "one."

Where the movie gets it strengths is from Griffith and the grandson's girl played by Marla Sokoloff, especially in her last moments soliloquy about how she was playing the player guy that comes off as cute.

If you see it, pick it up for one of those quiet nights in.
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Old January 28 2014, 06:23 AM   #78
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

The Devil's Double - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Future War - Netflix Instant
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay - Netflix Instant
Stephen King's Graveyard Shift - Netflix Instant
Charge - Netflix Instant
The Eiger Sanction - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Laserblast - Netflix Instant
The Joneses - Netflix Instant
The Reich Underground - Netflix Instant
In the Loop - Netflix Instant
The Other Man - Netflix Instant
Our Nixon - Netflix Instant
Broadcast News - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Final Justice - Netflix Instant
The Blob (1958) - HuluPlus
American Breakdown - HuluPlus
Spy Kids 3: Game Over - Netflix Instant
The Beast with a Million Eyes - Netflix Instant
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - Netflix Instant
Escape from Alcatraz - Netflix Insant
River of No Return - Netflix Instant
The Apartment - Netflix Instant
Rewind This! - HuluPlus
Ping Pong - Netflix Instant
Schooled: The Price of College Sports - Netflix Instant
Bronies - Netflix Instant
Le Lac Des Zombies - Netflix Instant
Cockneys vs Zombies - Netflix Instant
Humanoids from the Deep - Netflix Instant
The Haunting in Connecticut - Netflix Instant
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia - Netflix Instant
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis (1984) - Netflix Instant
Dinosaur Island - Netflix Instant
Age of Dinosaurs - Netflix Instant
The Dinosaur Project - Netflix Intant
Baby Boom - Netflix Instant

Well, I watched the '84 pop music version of Metropolis last night. I still haven't gotten to the original version of the silent film, but I will, 'cause while this version was interestin', there was clearly something missin' from it.

Went on a dinosaur kick today, watchin' the three non-educational movies Netflix Instant had available.

DI was just a soft core porn flick with bad special effects, cheesy sound effects, terrible actin', and boobs.

AoD was an Asylum production with day glow dinosaurs, Ronny Cox (TNG's Jellico), and over the top awfulness all around.

TDP was a found footage film about a modern day British expedition to Africa that discovers dinosaurs and gets eaten by them.

Watched some second season Being Human (U.S.) with my sister tonight.

And now I'm watchin' Baby Boom starrin' Diane Keaton.
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Old January 28 2014, 05:38 PM   #79
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:

15. House of Games (1987) -- (B)
16. Le Samouraï (1967) -- (B)


House of Games is a difficult movie to get into. The characters act in a way that could be described as mechanical. This is not always to the movie's detriment, nor a mistake -- the beauty in Mamet's script and direction is watching all the pieces of the big con move and come together -- but it's definitely a choice that took me twenty or thirty minutes to accept. When the con comes together, though -- not to mention the ending, which is all kinds of crazy -- the movie is aces.

There are some scenes in Le Samouraï, perhaps Melville's most famous film, that are truly exceptional. The first murder is shot and edited in a way that is visceral and immediate. The long sequence of the police round-up and questioning is superb. I found other parts of the movie to be more plodding. The look, though, certainly emulated, at least in part by John Woo's Hart Boiled, is wonderful.
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Old January 28 2014, 06:25 PM   #80
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014







6. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit: B
7. Just Go With It: A-
8. The Road: B

The end of times film that follows a dad(Viggo Mortensen) and his 10+yr old son as they travel South to reach the coast. South from where is never said but the map they are following it appears they are coming from maybe the upper north PA/westward area of NY state? I kept thinking I'd see a highway sign or something tipping me off, maybe I missed it. It's never explicitly stated but it appears mass nuclear weapon discharge got us as has long been a fear.

It's a very bleak look at how things could go vs these type film that end on a note of redemption. Of mankind pulling back together, society reforming. Here it's seen as being much more nomadic, barbaric and something akin to very ancient times when civility was not yet a coined term.

The film, while not shot in b&w, is playing on such a neutral palate that when a rainbow is seen it plays stark contrast within the films bleakness. I'm glad I saw it and think the acting was well done but it's not one you'd want to re-watch over and over every few years. I grade it high for the production values and acting but the vagueness of things keeps me from loving it enough to grade it higher.
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Old January 30 2014, 03:28 AM   #81
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:

17. Man Of Steel (2013) -- C-

I was at the library today, and in the mood for something loud and dumb. Well, I guess you should be careful what you wish for. I read much of the critical reaction to this movie when it came out, but I was still surprised by how many major missteps there were. And, to be fair, my interest in comic book movies has been in a precipitous decline since 2012. It's possible I've missed a few things, but...

--Why did Zod and co. take Lois Lane with them on the ship? Why'd they let her live? (So that they would have a reason to dump exposition and so that she could escape with the knowledge to defeat Zod, as far as I can tell).
--The tornado scene (This has been discussed to death, so I'll leave it at that).
--The first 20 minutes on Krypton (It's almost all exposition, the weird use of hand-held camera mixed with random zooms is totally ineffective at providing these total fantasy environments with any sense of reality, and Michael Shannon cranks it up to eleven -- and then twelve and thirteen).
--The ending was practically apocalyptic. So why not devote a single scene to the damage (or, heck, a single shot to that family Superman saves at the end by killing Zod)? The movie is devoid of humor (Nolan's Batman movies, of all things, are funnier), so why adopt that goofy tone for the last scene?
--Nolan's pounding, percussive score, like many things in the movie, seemed designed to beat the viewer into submission.

I love Batman -- but unless the trailer (and the reviews) really wow me, there's absolutely no way I'll be back for the sequel. I should have given this one a pass, honestly, but it was free.
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Old January 30 2014, 07:44 AM   #82
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

The Devil's Double - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Future War - Netflix Instant
Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay - Netflix Instant
Stephen King's Graveyard Shift - Netflix Instant
Charge - Netflix Instant
The Eiger Sanction - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Laserblast - Netflix Instant
The Joneses - Netflix Instant
The Reich Underground - Netflix Instant
In the Loop - Netflix Instant
The Other Man - Netflix Instant
Our Nixon - Netflix Instant
Broadcast News - Netflix Instant
MST3K: Final Justice - Netflix Instant
The Blob (1958) - HuluPlus
American Breakdown - HuluPlus
Spy Kids 3: Game Over - Netflix Instant
The Beast with a Million Eyes - Netflix Instant
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - Netflix Instant
Escape from Alcatraz - Netflix Insant
River of No Return - Netflix Instant
The Apartment - Netflix Instant
Rewind This! - HuluPlus
Ping Pong - Netflix Instant
Schooled: The Price of College Sports - Netflix Instant
Bronies - Netflix Instant
Le Lac Des Zombies - Netflix Instant
Cockneys vs Zombies - Netflix Instant
Humanoids from the Deep - Netflix Instant
The Haunting in Connecticut - Netflix Instant
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia - Netflix Instant
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis (1984) - Netflix Instant
Dinosaur Island - Netflix Instant
Age of Dinosaurs - Netflix Instant
The Dinosaur Project - Netflix Instant
Baby Boom - Netflix Instant
Blindsided - Netflix Instant
Hobo with a Shotgun - Netflix Instant

Watched two movies today while I had the house to myself.

First up, Blindsided, a "thriller" about a blind woman terrorized by two men lookin' for stolen diamonds in her penthouse apartment. It was pretty lame, and sad to see Michael Keaton, who used to be so awesome, in such a dull film.

Followed that with HwaS, which was pretty bad, too. Way over the top torture by the villians, a city full of folks who were too bloodthirsty, and the way it was filmed, with almost every scene oversaturated to be one or two colors - lots of reds, yellows and blues.

Watchin' the fourth season of Dexter tonight.
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Old January 31 2014, 04:52 AM   #83
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:

18. 20 Million Miles To Earth (1957) -- C
19. Mud (2013) -- A


Ray Harryhausen's effects are about the only thing of note in 20 Million Miles To Earth, which begins with some nonsensical narration and then moves on to a romantic subplot in which the male lead verbally abuses the female lead until they, uh, fall in love? In between there's the Ymir, one of Harryhausen's best character creations. It's from Venus, which I suppose makes this science fiction, but it really wouldn't be out of place in one of his fantasy movies. It's a shame the creature is so well-realized and the movie isn't, but what can you do?

Take Shelter was a strong movie anchored by a terrific performance, if a little undercut by a "have your cake and eat it, too" ending. Mud is a better movie in all respects, and one of the best I've seen this year. Jeff Nichols is definitely a filmmaker worth watching.
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Old February 1 2014, 04:22 AM   #84
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

1) Wargames - B+
2) Play The Game - B
3) Battle Los Angeles - B+

It didn't get great reviews, but if you were going into this expecting any more than a popcorn action flick, what were you thinking?

It's not beautiful and the characters are the same stereotypes, but you always find yourself rooting for them anyways,
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Old February 1 2014, 06:32 AM   #85
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014


6. Inside Llewyn Davis (A)

On my way home from seeing this I came across a street guitarist, and gave him a few bucks, mostly due to the after-effects of the movie.

This has gone down as the main "overlooked" film of this year's Oscar season (notwithstanding its two deserved nominations, including cinematography), particularly since Her kind of stole its thunder as the critical cause celebre. I'm kind of surprised it missed out on Picture and Screenplay, since A Serious Man made it in a few years ago, and this strikes me as a more accessible piece of work on the whole; maybe it was just too competitive a year.

In any event, this another typical success from the Coens, about trying to be an artist and not succeeding. It's an interesting portrait, and it's equivocal how much of it is Llewyn himself and how much is the world around him. Oscar Isaac is terrific in the lead part. The eclectic supporting cast generally has one a few scenes apiece, but all well-cast (including Star Trek: Voyager's Ethan Phillips), though the side trip with Garrett Hedlund (seemingly more or less reprising his performance from On the Road) and Coens regular John Goodman seems kind of superfluous.

Cinema: 4 (+1)
DVD: 0
Computer: 2
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Old February 1 2014, 09:06 AM   #86
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

On a TV:

20. Gods and Monsters (1998) -- B
21. In The Mood For Love (2000) -- A


Gods and Monsters is a fictionalized account of director James Whale's final weeks. It was made for peanuts, and Bill Condon's style feels a little small at times, but the writing is sharp and the performances (especially Ian McKellan, in a breakout role, and Brendan Fraser, who needs to do better movies) are excellent. The recreations of scenes from Bride of Frankenstein are a lot of fun, too.

In The Mood For Love is the first Wong Kar-wai film I've seen. It was absolutely beautiful to look at and the performances from the leads were sharp. There's some good dialogue scenes here, too, despite much of the movie playing without words. I know this film has a relationship to Days of Being Wild and 2046, but I'm not sure how closely the films are actually linked. Anyone here know?
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Old February 1 2014, 09:09 AM   #87
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

I keep meaning to see that, because both it and the director get so much praise.
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Old February 1 2014, 05:37 PM   #88
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014


I resolved to finally watch a few iconic movies that I've never seen before and I've decided to start with the Rocky series.

13. Rocky (✩✩✩) - Netflix - It felt good finally watching a classic but I found it a little too talky, though it does provide a good look into the life of a down and out boxer in Philly. Not sure what's so great and iconic about the big run up the steps but at least I got to experience it. I guess it's just one of those things.

14. Rocky II (✩✩✩½) - Netflix - I thought this one was a little better because it raised the stakes with Rocky facing the health consequences of too many blows to the head.

15. Rocky III (✩✩✩) - Netflix - The first movie of the series that's more of a mainstream motion picture and less of an artsy film that the first one was, and it's very predictable. I did like that Rocky has advanced to super stardom though, and Mr. T played a formidable adversary. I was also wondering how Apollo Creed would react to having been dethroned by Rocky in the previous film. We didn't get much, if any of that reaction, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was worked in as Rocky's new trainer and friend. It was a nice development. The match with Hulk Hogan was also a hoot and I liked that it ended in a friendly manner. And nice soundtrack with "Eye of the Tiger" which was written for the film at Stallone's request. That song is in my head more than the more familiar Rocky theme is. Then there's my favorite bit of dialog…
Thunderlips arrives in the arena, towering over everyone in the crowd…
Rocky: Why are they carrying him?
Mickey: He's walking.
16. Rocky IV (✩✩✩½) - Netflix - The mainstreaming of Rocky continues and I have to be honest, I like it. Very 80s and they managed to up the stakes yet again by having him go up against the Russians. Very indicative of the Regan years both in its politics and in the way it capitalizes on the action genre of the day. I do think it was a little overdone with the speech at the end though. And hey, I never thought I'd see a Rocky movie shot in Vancouver.

17. Rocky V (✩✩✩) - Netflix - I sort of saw this movie years ago because the TV was on but it feels fresh so I'm adding it to my list as a new-ish movie. So, where can they go after defeating the Soviet Union? Back to Rocky's roots, both in terms of story and style. Yeah, they dialed back the 80s action/blockbuster thing quite a bit and went back to doing a more dramatic piece. I didn't like that the character had to go where he did or how it happened but I came to appreciate the idea somewhat. What followed was a weak and meandering story culminating in a fight that I both love and hate. I loved where it took place because it reflected his refusal to enter boxing again but at the same time, I didn't quite love it because it felt underwhelming. I also found Rocky V to be a nice cap to the series despite what critics say.

18. Rocky Balboa (✩✩✩✩) - Netflix - This movie is appropriately titled since it's more of an addendum to the series rather than a "part 6". It also doesn't work as a standalone film but as a revisit to an enduring and iconic series, it's excellent right up to the way they ended it. I was deeply moved when it ended.

All in all, a good series that had humble beginnings just like it's lead character and evolved in a similar fashion over it's 30 years, reaching great heights and going back to where it began. From what I've read though, we haven't seen the last of Rocky Balboa. I look forward to seeing him in Creed. Stallone still has it even after 40 years.

Netflix: 10
Live TV: 1
Download: 7
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Old February 1 2014, 05:39 PM   #89
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

January Rundown (18 Movies)

5 Stars
None

4½ Stars
None

4 Stars
Pain & Gain - Download
Rocky Balboa - Netflix
The Manor - Live TV

3½ Stars
Drive - Netflix
Rocky II - Netflix
Rocky IV - Netflix
The Spectacular Now - Download

3 Stars
Blue Jasmine - Download
Byzantium - Netflix
Carrie (2013) - Download
Our Idiot Brother - Netflix
Rocky - Netflix
Rocky III - Netflix
Rocky V - Netflix
Runner Runner - Download

2½ Stars
The Roommate - Netflix

2 Stars
Battle of the Year - Download

1½ Stars
Closed Circuit - Download

1 Star
None

½ Star
None

0 Stars
None
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Old February 1 2014, 05:55 PM   #90
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Re: Movies Seen In 2014

Captain Phillips ★★★ - nothing special. Terrible acting outside of he two leads.

Elysium ★★ - It's no District 9. Jodie Foster is sleepwalking with a terrible accent

Rush ★★★ - It's technically proficient and I liked the main performances, but it just falls flat everywhere else.

In A World ★★ 1/2 - I started off really enjoying this movie, but the first half of the script is much better than the cheesy second.
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