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Mr. Breathmask

What is the last film you watched?

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Speed Racer (***)

I went in with low expectations after all the bad hype, but it was pretty good. Amazing production design and CGI work, and it was very colorful and exciting. The Wachowski Brothers did a good job at keeping the feel of the cartoon with the panning portrait shots and the camera angles. Acting was decent, the entire cast was great and well chosen. Matthew Fox was my favorite, I liked how he broke away from his typical Jack-style acting from Lost. Giacchino's score was the best part of the film for me, it worked really well and perfectly incorporated the original music without overdoing it. My biggest problem with the whole movie was the kid and his monkey. Aside from being ridiculously annoying, they ruined the end of the movie. If they were taken out, it would be 20% better. I'm glad they took advantage of the PG rating, unlike most movies, and used a little language and violence.

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Speed Racer (***)

I went in with low expectations after all the bad hype, but it was pretty good. Amazing production design and CGI work, and it was very colorful and exciting. The Wachowski Brothers did a good job at keeping the feel of the cartoon with the panning portrait shots and the camera angles. Acting was decent, the entire cast was great and well chosen. Matthew Fox was my favorite, I liked how he broke away from his typical Jack-style acting from Lost. Giacchino's score was the best part of the film for me, it worked really well and perfectly incorporated the original music without overdoing it. My biggest problem with the whole movie was the kid and his monkey. Aside from being ridiculously annoying, they ruined the end of the movie. If they were taken out, it would be 20% better. I'm glad they took advantage of the PG rating, unlike most movies, and used a little language and violence.

Never one single time in the history of movies has a monkey in a movie been annoying.

They are ALWAYS gold.

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Saw Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Wow. None of the pathos or observation of Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Just balls out mad filmmaking. Stirring stuff. My biggest problem was the dialogue track. It may seem sacrilegious, but I found the German dialogue track to be quite annoying in how out of synch it was with the lips of the actors, so I saw it in English. I don't feel anything was lost. It still was not a great match, but at least most of the actors were actually mouthing the dialogue in English.

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Saw Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Wow. None of the pathos or observation of Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Just balls out mad filmmaking. Stirring stuff. My biggest problem was the dialogue track.

I agree.

BTW, have you noticed how Peter Weir very possibly borrowed elements from Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre for his Mosquito Coast?

Alex

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David Lynch's The Elephant Man. Should watch it again, I didn't click with it at all. We've been working on a book with photographs of the real Joseph Merrick, at my work, and seeing John Hurt with make up didn't help me to relate to him. It was brilliant make-up, yes, but nothing can beat the original.

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David Lynch's The Elephant Man. Should watch it again, I didn't click with it at all. We've been working on a book with photographs of the real Joseph Merrick, at my work, and seeing John Hurt with make up didn't help me to relate to him. It was brilliant make-up, yes, but nothing can beat the original.

This film can't beat a person with real elephantiasis? What a strange thing to say.

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No, I'm saying that having the story (and Merrick's appereance - he had Proteus syndrome, btw) modified for dramatic purposes, effective as they may be, completely removed me from the film.

The subjective first person is key here.

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Saw Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo. Wow. None of the pathos or observation of Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Just balls out mad filmmaking. Stirring stuff. My biggest problem was the dialogue track.

I agree.

BTW, have you noticed how Peter Weir very possibly borrowed elements from Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre for his Mosquito Coast?

Alex

Haven't seen Mosquito Coast yet. I really should. I admire three of the four Weir films I've seen.

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No, I'm saying that having the story (and Merrick's appereance - he had Proteus syndrome, btw) modified for dramatic purposes, effective as they may be, completely removed me from the film.

The subjective first person is key here.

your explanation rings about as truthful as crackwh***s alibi. Alex nailed you, nice try but unbelievable. BTW it wasn't modified for dramatic purposes, it was a close it could be given Hurts bone structure.

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Something the Lord Made, which mulls pride, prejudice, and power dynamics in the context of groundbreaking medical research. Plot, script, production values are comfortably within bounds of a made-for-TV feature, and the Christopher Young Americana hardly strains for indelibility. But in a preteaming of two Hitchhiker's Guide actors, Mos Def brings a thoughtful, unshowy quality to his role, while Alan Rickman lends his typical gravitas. An interesting subplot echoes somewhat of W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington -- themes that resonate still today as Bill Cosby makes headlines and we contemplate electing our first Black president (Bill Clinton not withstanding) -- but the film gestures at a kind of co-existing complementarity between the approaches and seems to consider the differences to be as much dispositional as they are philosophical in origin.

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Which ones, out of interest?

I'm a big fan of Gallipolli, The Truman Show, and Master & Commander. Not so much of Witness, even though it has some good things about it, to be sure.

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Forrest Gump was on tv last night and I ended up watching the entire movie and its still a classic.

Yeah, between Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, and The Shawshank Redemption, 1994 was really a pretty great year for movies.

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Well yea. But I still wasn't as entertained as I thought I would be. I think I'd enjoy them if they were both cut down to about an hour plus...but at 1hr 45min for Planet Terror and nearly 2 hrs for Death Proof...the good stuff was a bit spaced out. Maybe its just not my thing...

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Saw Criterion's fantastic release of The Burden of Dreams, which chronicles some of the production of Fitzcarraldo. It has much of the same effect as the production it is chronicling, and the two feel rather inseperable to me. Also on the DVD are Herzog's reflections on the film, and, as always with Herzog, fragments of his world view in general. The amount of contradictions this man presents and represents is astounding (I do not mean that AT ALL in a negative way). The major one, for me, is the accessibility and congeniality of the manner in which he presents things (he would strike me as the last person to provide commentary and behind the scenes information on his films, yet he is quite a prolific commentator on his own films), compared to the topics he chooses to present. A fascinating filmmaker, and a fascinating individual.

Also presented on the Criterion DVD is Werner Herzog eats his shoe, the result of Herzog's dare to Errol Morris to make The Gates of Heaven. Herzog, as usual, makes even this short something more than a funny afterthought- he's both in on the joke and laughing, as well as being depressingly grave about the matter at hand.

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Watched my DVD of I'm Not There today, really disappointed that it didn't make it to blu-ray. I still give it the (****) review I gave it back in '07 when I saw it in theaters. Fantastic film, great style, editing, cinematography, acting. Bob Dylan couldn't get more interesting.

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You Can Count On Me (2000): A very nice actors' movie that's moving without being mushy. Mark Ruffalo is a discovery for me. I never noticed him before. Even Matthew Broderick is good in this one. This year, Kenneth Lonergan, the director, will see his second film premiere. ***/****

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What's not to like?

I just saw Barbet Schroeder's Terror's Advocate, a documentry from last year about Jacques Verges, a French lawyer who became notorious for defending some of the most seemingly undefendable people to be tried in the past 50 years, including several terrorists, dictators, and Nazis. The film was fascinating, but, for my money, did not go as far as i would have liked. It is relatively long, 137 minutes, and a large portion of that veers off, telling specific tales of clients of Verges, which, to me, did not feel like the best way to present it. Also, it felt like Schroeder should have pressed on regarding some of Verges dealings (Specifically, the likes of Pol-Pot, Klaus Barbie, and the African dictators- men who, unlike terrorists, seem to me to be indefencible even by the most liberal of standards).

I was surprised by how lenient the film seemed to be towards Verges. But, despite my problems of the presentation, it still paints a fascinating portrait of the man.

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Iron Man (2008): What it lacked in excitement, it more than made up for in simply being a well-made, charming movie. Jon Favreau is filling a void in grand, simple entertainment, an art lost on a great deal of Hollywood fare these days.

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001): Not one of the Coens' best, but perhaps this is unfair. It's still a very involving movie; wonderfully twisted, dream-like in its meshing of film noir and the idiosyncrasies of the Coen's aesthetic and narrative style. A very good film.

On tap: I'm Not There, and The Savages

Oh, and You Can Count On Me is a terrific movie; one of my favorite American indies of the 2000's.

Ted

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I saw First Blood last night at the theater in a special one night only showing. Its a classic movie and it was fun to see it on the big screen. While listening to Goldsmith's score I realized that they just don't make them like they used to, film and score wise.

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Prince Caspian and it was great. Definitely much better than the first. It is much darker and some of the creatures are creepy and very disturbing to look at. You'll know the ones I'm referring to when you see it. There is a lot of action in the film, and a great sneaking around scene. The battles were more on the scale of Lord of the Rings, although I won't dare say they are as good because I know I'll get yelled at with big bold letters.

Note: I never read the book so I don't have that to compare it to.

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Youth Without Youth

Pretty overwhelming, not sure whether that's bad or good in this case. I don't think I can comment on it adequately until I watch it again.

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Prince Caspian and it was great. Definitely much better than the first. It is much darker and some of the creatures are creepy and very disturbing to look at. You'll know the ones I'm referring to when you see it. There is a lot of action in the film, and a great sneaking around scene. The battles were more on the scale of Lord of the Rings, although I won't dare say they are as good because I know I'll get yelled at with big bold letters.

Note: I never read the book so I don't have that to compare it to.

I enjoyed the movie, though I'm not sure I'd agree that it's definitely better than the first. I think The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has a clarity of plot and theme that Prince Caspian is mostly lacking. (Although the acting is mostly improved this time around, and the action scenes and effects are steps forward also; so it probably balances out, for me.)

I still just can't help but feel that it's little more than Diet Lord of the Rings. But that's an unfair comparison, and not a particularly useful one, either. I don't love Narnia, but I definitely like both movies, and I'll be more than happy to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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Youth Without Youth

Pretty overwhelming, not sure whether that's bad or good in this case. I don't think I can comment on it adequately until I watch it again.

How's the music?

Definitely works in the film. There's a couple nice cues I noticed but I don't think I'll be going out and buying it.

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The Mexican- I enjoyed this one. It was all over the place, but very funny overall. The score by Alan Silvestri was interesting, and fit the film well.

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Babel (***1/2)

Finally watched my blu-ray of it after like a year :) Fantastic movie, great direction and acting. Even Santaolalla's score couldn't bring down Innaritu's brilliance. Although, I don't really see any other composer that can fit his style, so I can accept Gustavo as a pair with the film.

Once Upon A Time In The West (****) and then some

Breathtaking, genius, flawless...just some words to describe it. I only saw this film once before, and I knew that I needed to watch it again. It ranks tied for my favorite film with The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. I don't know which one is better, it is an extremely tough call. All I'll say is that the score destroys pretty much all of John Williams' work.

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Prince Caspian

Not perhaps as enchanting as the first, but then again it isn't meant to be. I thought it was a little slow towards the beginning and the Telmarine politics were hard to follow, but once the kids meet up with Caspian I think it really picks up. This is a darker, grittier sequel, and it does a good job conveying the disenchantment of the heroes. The battles are extremely well-done, and I found the raid on the castle to be a brilliant sequence, both fun and emotional. All the kids are pretty much badasses, and it's great fun to watch.

Although this film lacks a brilliant villain like Tilda Swinton, the acting is all around improved and I enjoy the family dynamics. There were still a few of those moments where they will linger on a little joke for too long, but it seems more self-aware ("You might have to call me again?" "Oh, shut up."). I also appreciate the film as an allegory (quite an obvious one in fact), which is how the story was written, but that's all I'll say on that "touchy" matter. :)

The score, though rehashing an unfortunate amount of music from the wondrous original, is overall darker like the movie, and Prince Caspian's theme is always an epic treat to hear. In terms of both the the film and the score, it is perhaps not as magical as the first, but as good a sequel as I could have hoped for and I'll look forward to seeing it again sometime down the road. B+

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Mr. Brooks: What a fun and entertaining film this was. The script wanted to be smart and thereby the film sacrificied meaning and depth, but I didn't mind that. Kostner and Hurt are a delight to watch. I want Mr. Brooks 2!

Alex

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I'm an absolute fan of Mr. Brooks. In the beginning I feared the worst (oh no, a thriller! There we go again!) but I suddenly loved it from the moment Kostner closes the curtains till the very end. I thought it was humorous in a darkish way. Ah well, it's probably a love it/hate it affair, depending on your personality.

Alex

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Cloverfield

A lot of the impact is lost after the first viewing, but it doesn't detract from the excellent visual effects and sound design for the budget they had. There are small nitpicks I have but they're gone just as fast as they come because of the great pacing. Director's commentary is a good listen and he says some nice things about Giacchino at the end.

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