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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
@ The Messenger

I remember the first half being very good and the second being not quite on the the same level. However, with great clarity, I remember the rehearsal dinner scene being exceptionally bad -- drunken interruptions, singing... bad. The acting was very good no matter the poor turns in script.

I was considering Vampyr as I looked at the dusty DVD box but I'll be holding off for another day. Or week. Or month. This'll free up time to do something else. I'll let you know.


Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:56 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
(2009) Brothers (*** out of ****) - A well-made, intense depiction of a family torn apart by war and the affects it has on not only the mental state of a once strong-minded soldier (Tobey Maguire), but his family at home, as well as the brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) who is tending to his wife (Natalie Portman) and daughters after he goes missing in Afghanistan. What could have become a full-blown, over-the-top melodrama is actually paced to perfection by a master of the drama genre. While one of director Jim Sheridan's flaws is that he cuts away too soon at times when his actors are about to show incredible emotion, what he puts together with this piece is undoubtedly a success.

Tobey Maguire gives his most nuanced performances yet, one that ends up being completely shattering. Natalie Portman once again demonstrates why she is an A-list actress, as she skillfully captures the troubled nature of her character and what she must live with. There are some problems with this piece, but the explosive finale, which I originally anticipated might handicap the film, ends up making it jarring and unforgettable. It is not Sheridan's most accomplished work (In the Name of the Father is a masterpiece, and My Left Foot is very, very good), but this is certainly a quite well done film.

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Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:13 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
majoraphasia wrote:
@ The Messenger

I remember the first half being very good and the second being not quite on the the same level. However, with great clarity, I remember the rehearsal dinner scene being exceptionally bad -- drunken interruptions, singing... bad. The acting was very good no matter the poor turns in script.


Agree completely. And yep, that was one of the scenes that stood out to me. I was getting very worried at that point, luckily it recovered rather nicely.

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Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:14 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The Reelviews forum is probably more inclined to remember Gigantic (2008) than the average movie fan. James Berardinelli slammed the film during the Toronto Film Festival but significantly upgraded his thoughts (to 2.5 stars) based on a re-watch. However, the real draw is apparently the first (and so far only) onscreen nudity from lead actress Zooey Deschanel. The plot follows a young mattress salesman (Paul Dano) whose dream it is to one day adopt a Chinese baby. Along the way he falls in love with the quirky "Happy" (Deschanel) and is randomly assaulted by a homeless person (Zach Galifianakis, who does not speak any lines). This movie is a complete mess. It starts with some silly drowning rat story (Dano is the rat that doesn't swim) and what follows in no better. By far the worst aspect of the film is the Galifianakis character. He's clearly meant to be imaginary, but the damage he does to the protagonist is real. Fight Club does this too, but here the protagonist and his family are shot at by the homeless person and must take cover. It's one of many odd things in an awful, awful film. JB was right, but only the first time. This never deserved the rating upgrade and, apart from a few decent performances (Ed Asner and John Goodman are excellent), it's entirely worthless. 3/10.

Postscript: I decided not to mention the nudity in my thoughts because there's nothing to talk about. If you're into seeing some skin in a darkened room from a considerable distance away then feel free to see the film.

Kenji Mizoguchi's Sisters of the Gion (1936) is often called the director's best pre-war film but, with only Osaka Elegy for comparison, I'd have to disagree. It's not bad film (I'd certainly recommend it) but it isn't as good as his previous effort. Much of the praise is undoubtedly because of the film's politics. The film is by far one of the most pro-feminist I've ever seen. And this in 1936! Kenji was clearly a man ahead of his time. The movie tells the story of two sisters, both geishas, who live in the pleasure district of Tokyo. The older sister cares deeply for men and continues to love (and even financially supports) her "patron" after he becomes bankrupt. The younger sister is more cynical and insists that men feel nothing real for geishas and uses them to get ahead. Overall, the story is merely decent until the bleak ending which packs a serious punch. Of course, Mizoguchi is the reason to see this. His camera is often so fluid in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes it follows characters as they walk behind walls or gazes at them through translucent curtains. It's clear that the man has skill and based on the little I've seen I'm actually prepared to call him better than Ozu (but then, I haven't seen much from Ozu either). 7/10.


Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:45 pm
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ed_metal_head wrote:
It's clear that the man has skill and based on the little I've seen I'm actually prepared to call him better than Ozu (but then, I haven't seen much from Ozu either). 7/10.

I haven't seen a Mizoguchi film, but Ozu does so much more with the camera, editing, and framing than most people give him credit for. For example, he breaks the 180 degree line pretty much all the time.


Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:57 pm
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Antichrist

Is it a valid artistic goal to do all that is in your power to induce the audience not to give a crap about your art?

I tried to buy into this movie on so many levels--not because I particularly felt like giving it more chances than I'd give to any other movie, but because it invited me to. This film is a scattershot of different approaches, each of which is abandoned just as soon as it starts to get interesting. On occasion, Antichrist presents images carefully composed and undercranked to bring out unseen qualities, the sort of poetry of motion that is only possible in cinema. Their frequency dies off quickly. The next idea Antichrist tries out is violating conventional film grammar by kicking the 180 degree line to the curb and whip-panning hard enough to keep the film's sense of spatial integrity in a sense of total disorientation. Before the film can settle into this style, even before it can be read as a psychological comment on the characters, this too, is abandoned. The half-horror hokum, half-humdrum dialogue is mostly on the nose--characters talking strictly about the problems that move the story--which can be somewhat forgiven, given the therapist/patient dynamic. The husband finds his wife more interesting as a set of problems than as a person, which starts to generate mild interest. But this, too, goes by the wayside when the film quickly invests its remaining bulk in farcical gore porn, which I guess is some kind of comment on misogyny. But if there is a point, it's off by a mile. It is at this point that Antichrist exhausts even the meager goodwill that it originally mustered just by trying to provoke a little more thought than the average flick.

This film is such an oddity that it seems like it should be significant and worthy of comment--much more than it actually is. But its ultimate crime is that it doesn't feel like much of anything. It doesn't carry any of the weight that seems to be trying for, which is a shame.


Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:20 pm
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

What's wrong Abel Ferrera? U mad since you mad a piece of shit and Werner Herzog made something that didn't suck? Granted, it does have its problems especially with an ending that has to be satirical since it's so utterly stupid to take at face value and the wackiness is calculated wackiness just like the other movie had calculated shock.

But Nicolas Cage can out-wacky anyone and he makes something that should be soulless and boring at the half-way mark into a force of nature that you cant' look away no matter how hard you try. And somebody needs to pimp Xzibit's movie career NOW!


Also, Val Kilmer's barely in this...what's up with that?

7/10


Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:01 pm
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
What an interesting movie! Martin, I mean. IMDB calls it a Crime/Drama/Horror film but it never tries for horror and uses crime (very, very briefly) as a means to proving a point about the fabled American Dream.

Martin is a chaste dreamer in the late 19th-century mode; his family believes he's partially retarded, lazy but relatively harmless and is best-served by taking up residence with relatives, using their good intentions to keep him safe, and keeping a string of menial jobs to keep him busy. He's also orthodox when it comes to the truth -- he won't speak unless he's saying something that he believes is true and he takes everyone he meets for their literal word. He, along with his elderly cousin, believes he's a vampire but "not the kind you find in movies." When the urge strikes ("I start to feel shaky,") he drugs his victim, apologizes to them for what he's going to do, and drinks their blood with the help of a razor blade.

George Romero's non-zombie films don't get a lot of discussion but Martin offers proof that he's no one-genre wonder. The film is stone-faced drama about a man that uses vampirism to maintain personal integrity. And this may be the only film that uses vampirism as a metaphor for America's earliest hopes in the Industrial Revolution. Martin is part of an old, sweet optimism that is tethered to the immigrant's dream of a better life as well as the religious faith that folded those new Americans deeper into the dream. Martin adapts well -- he knows who he is, has embraced the idea of a permanent multiculturalism and he's not one to condemn others for their questionable moral choices. The obverse is his cousin and, in a battle (which ends, I believe, on a sincerely tragic note) between the Old Country and New Country the victim looks just like a big, white whale.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:16 am
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sorry guys, been caught up with work, mood swings, and all that delightful business. Here's what I've caught since my last posting here:

Kokkuri - 4/10
Gulliver's Travels (2010) - 3/10
The Curse of the Werewolf - 5/10
The Three Caballeros - 7/10
The X from Outer Space - 4/10
"Mystery Science Theater 3000": Robot Monster - no rating
Spontaneous Combustion - 5/10
I'll Be Seeing You - 7/10
Yogi Bear - 4/10
Sh! The Octopus - 4/10
The Ape (1940) - 6/10
The Bridge - 5/10
Suicide Club - 4/10
The Brides of Dracula - 6/10
Ghoulies - 4/10
Ffolkes - 5/10
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats - 6/10


Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:48 am
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
Antichrist

Is it a valid artistic goal to do all that is in your power to induce the audience not to give a crap about your art?

I tried to buy into this movie on so many levels--not because I particularly felt like giving it more chances than I'd give to any other movie, but because it invited me to. This film is a scattershot of different approaches, each of which is abandoned just as soon as it starts to get interesting. On occasion, Antichrist presents images carefully composed and undercranked to bring out unseen qualities, the sort of poetry of motion that is only possible in cinema. Their frequency dies off quickly. The next idea Antichrist tries out is violating conventional film grammar by kicking the 180 degree line to the curb and whip-panning hard enough to keep the film's sense of spatial integrity in a sense of total disorientation. Before the film can settle into this style, even before it can be read as a psychological comment on the characters, this too, is abandoned. The half-horror hokum, half-humdrum dialogue is mostly on the nose--characters talking strictly about the problems that move the story--which can be somewhat forgiven, given the therapist/patient dynamic. The husband finds his wife more interesting as a set of problems than as a person, which starts to generate mild interest. But this, too, goes by the wayside when the film quickly invests its remaining bulk in farcical gore porn, which I guess is some kind of comment on misogyny. But if there is a point, it's off by a mile. It is at this point that Antichrist exhausts even the meager goodwill that it originally mustered just by trying to provoke a little more thought than the average flick.

This film is such an oddity that it seems like it should be significant and worthy of comment--much more than it actually is. But its ultimate crime is that it doesn't feel like much of anything. It doesn't carry any of the weight that seems to be trying for, which is a shame.


Oh Antichrist, how I love thee! You've said "provoke" (although it was related to "thought") and you're not too far off base here. Lars von Trier is probably one of those directors who is an auteur second and a provocateur first. And how he provokes here! The tasteful black and white, ultra slow motion cinematography that gives way to an insertion shot. It's jarring, and is exactly what he wants to do. As soon as you think you have a handle (or Handel :D ) on the situation the movie changes and this happens throughout. I love most everything about this one, including (especially?) the way it was shot. Saying that there might be "a point" is selling the film a little short. There's a lot going on here and I don't believe that any single point exists. That those points are open to conjecture and aren't entirely clear doesn't necessarily strike me as a weakness. In fact, a compelling argument has been made that the film isn't misogynistic at all and could actually be considered feminist.

A.J. Hakari wrote:
Sorry guys, been caught up with work, mood swings, and all that delightful business. Here's what I've caught since my last posting here:

Kokkuri - 4/10
Gulliver's Travels (2010) - 3/10
The Curse of the Werewolf - 5/10
The Three Caballeros - 7/10
The X from Outer Space - 4/10
"Mystery Science Theater 3000": Robot Monster - no rating
Spontaneous Combustion - 5/10
I'll Be Seeing You - 7/10
Yogi Bear - 4/10
Sh! The Octopus - 4/10
The Ape (1940) - 6/10
The Bridge - 5/10
Suicide Club - 4/10
The Brides of Dracula - 6/10
Ghoulies - 4/10
Ffolkes - 5/10
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats - 6/10


The cure for your mood swings probably isn't implanted in a pill. I'd prescribe seeing more good movies this week, AJ.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:51 am
Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ed_metal_head wrote:
A.J. Hakari wrote:
Sorry guys, been caught up with work, mood swings, and all that delightful business. Here's what I've caught since my last posting here:

Kokkuri - 4/10
Gulliver's Travels (2010) - 3/10
The Curse of the Werewolf - 5/10
The Three Caballeros - 7/10
The X from Outer Space - 4/10
"Mystery Science Theater 3000": Robot Monster - no rating
Spontaneous Combustion - 5/10
I'll Be Seeing You - 7/10
Yogi Bear - 4/10
Sh! The Octopus - 4/10
The Ape (1940) - 6/10
The Bridge - 5/10
Suicide Club - 4/10
The Brides of Dracula - 6/10
Ghoulies - 4/10
Ffolkes - 5/10
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats - 6/10


The cure for your mood swings probably isn't implanted in a pill. I'd prescribe seeing more good movies this week, AJ.

I agree. All those low ratings...


Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:59 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
I'm impressed you saw Gulliver's Travels and Yogi Bear, though I'm not sure why. You now need Season of the Witch to complete the suckfest.

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Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:40 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Syd Henderson wrote:
I'm impressed you saw Gulliver's Travels and Yogi Bear, though I'm not sure why. You now need Season of the Witch to complete the suckfest.


Oh, Season of the Witch will be in a couple of days. :D

Yeah, I've had a bad run of flicks, but I started watching The Water Engine and A Bucket of Blood, both of which I'm having fun with in their own ways.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:14 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Black Swan (2010):
What a wild ride, this movie is.

3.5*/4*

P.S. Discussion, now!!!!


Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:57 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Into the Arms of Strangers ***
Compelling Holocaust documentary that's a bit too long and a bit scattered, covering the story of the effort to get Jewish children out of Nazi Germany. Probably would be better as a dramatic film covering one particular child.

Blue Valentine *** 1/2
Depressing "love story" with phenomenal performances by Gosling and Williams. The feel-bad movie of the year.

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Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:01 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
ed_metal_head wrote:
The Reelviews forum is probably more inclined to remember Gigantic (2008) than the average movie fan. James Berardinelli slammed the film during the Toronto Film Festival but significantly upgraded his thoughts (to 2.5 stars) based on a re-watch. However, the real draw is apparently the first (and so far only) onscreen nudity from lead actress Zooey Deschanel. The plot follows a young mattress salesman (Paul Dano) whose dream it is to one day adopt a Chinese baby. Along the way he falls in love with the quirky "Happy" (Deschanel) and is randomly assaulted by a homeless person (Zach Galifianakis, who does not speak any lines). This movie is a complete mess. It starts with some silly drowning rat story (Dano is the rat that doesn't swim) and what follows in no better. By far the worst aspect of the film is the Galifianakis character. He's clearly meant to be imaginary, but the damage he does to the protagonist is real. Fight Club does this too, but here the protagonist and his family are shot at by the homeless person and must take cover. It's one of many odd things in an awful, awful film. JB was right, but only the first time. This never deserved the rating upgrade and, apart from a few decent performances (Ed Asner and John Goodman are excellent), it's entirely worthless. 3/10.

Postscript: I decided not to mention the nudity in my thoughts because there's nothing to talk about. If you're into seeing some skin in a darkened room from a considerable distance away then feel free to see the film.


Glad to hear this sucked. I remember seeing the previews and thinking that just because a movie is "independent," doesn't mean it's not schlocky and formulaic and stupid.

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Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:23 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The deep humanist spirit of John Cassavetes lives on in Derek Cianfrance's terrific Blue Valentine. What a pleasure it is to see an entire film with the force and control of the dinner-table scene in Faces; the rhythm of the film is wholly natural, never stepping into operatic overdrive that plagues so many domestic chamber dramas. And, once again, we're shown that people aren't who they are only as they speak -- Cianfrance (and, equally importantly, writers Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) know the value of letting the characters shut up when absolutely must.

Everything fits together wonderfully -- performances, style and that awesome script that knows the difference between sadness and pain. If it may have been too understated at times I'll chalk that up to my personal preference for some stylistic differentiation between the good times and rougher. Cianfrance leaves it up to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to supply the visual flourish and, in a scene where she dances for him as he hams it up (but not really... he's just pretending to pretend) on the ukulele, we get the joy that only fireworks could better symbolize. We get fireworks, too. Great movie. And, finally, I can say: James Kunz, you'll love this.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:31 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
majoraphasia wrote:
The deep humanist spirit of John Cassavetes lives on in Derek Cianfrance's terrific Blue Valentine. What a pleasure it is to see an entire film with the force and control of the dinner-table scene in Faces; the rhythm of the film is wholly natural, never stepping into operatic overdrive that plagues so many domestic chamber dramas. And, once again, we're shown that people aren't who they are only as they speak -- Cianfrance (and, equally importantly, writers Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) know the value of letting the characters shut up when absolutely must.

Everything fits together wonderfully -- performances, style and that awesome script that knows the difference between sadness and pain. If it may have been too understated at times I'll chalk that up to my personal preference for some stylistic differentiation between the good times and rougher. Cianfrance leaves it up to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to supply the visual flourish and, in a scene where she dances for him as he hams it up (but not really... he's just pretending to pretend) on the ukulele, we get the joy that only fireworks could better symbolize. We get fireworks, too. Great movie. And, finally, I can say: James Kunz, you'll love this.


It does seem like the director did absolutely nothing visually to differentiate the two time periods in which the film took place, which definitely caused some confusion at first in the audience (I heard a few "wait, is that him?" remarks). I actually wish that the director had been a bit more adventurous--ok he wanted the rawness and directness of digital (including that awkward running scene), but sheesh, talk about minimalism.

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Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:34 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
majoraphasia wrote:
The deep humanist spirit of John Cassavetes lives on in Derek Cianfrance's terrific Blue Valentine. What a pleasure it is to see an entire film with the force and control of the dinner-table scene in Faces; the rhythm of the film is wholly natural, never stepping into operatic overdrive that plagues so many domestic chamber dramas. And, once again, we're shown that people aren't who they are only as they speak -- Cianfrance (and, equally importantly, writers Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) know the value of letting the characters shut up when absolutely must.

Everything fits together wonderfully -- performances, style and that awesome script that knows the difference between sadness and pain. If it may have been too understated at times I'll chalk that up to my personal preference for some stylistic differentiation between the good times and rougher. Cianfrance leaves it up to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to supply the visual flourish and, in a scene where she dances for him as he hams it up (but not really... he's just pretending to pretend) on the ukulele, we get the joy that only fireworks could better symbolize. We get fireworks, too. Great movie. And, finally, I can say: James Kunz, you'll love this.


Oh I am so there.

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Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:36 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
firefly wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
The deep humanist spirit of John Cassavetes lives on in Derek Cianfrance's terrific Blue Valentine. What a pleasure it is to see an entire film with the force and control of the dinner-table scene in Faces; the rhythm of the film is wholly natural, never stepping into operatic overdrive that plagues so many domestic chamber dramas. And, once again, we're shown that people aren't who they are only as they speak -- Cianfrance (and, equally importantly, writers Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) know the value of letting the characters shut up when absolutely must.

Everything fits together wonderfully -- performances, style and that awesome script that knows the difference between sadness and pain. If it may have been too understated at times I'll chalk that up to my personal preference for some stylistic differentiation between the good times and rougher. Cianfrance leaves it up to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams to supply the visual flourish and, in a scene where she dances for him as he hams it up (but not really... he's just pretending to pretend) on the ukulele, we get the joy that only fireworks could better symbolize. We get fireworks, too. Great movie. And, finally, I can say: James Kunz, you'll love this.


It does seem like the director did absolutely nothing visually to differentiate the two time periods in which the film took place, which definitely caused some confusion at first in the audience (I heard a few "wait, is that him?" remarks). I actually wish that the director had been a bit more adventurous--ok he wanted the rawness and directness of digital (including that awkward running scene), but sheesh, talk about minimalism.


The only differentiation offered (other than hair and other minor visual aids) is, I think, I creatively fine one: the scenes in the past are scored, the scenes in the present are un-scored.

And I'll take the running (backward, with jogging camera) scene for the great close-ups in the first car ride -- that's the kind of immediacy that the director wanted and he got it.


Sun Jan 16, 2011 6:42 pm
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