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Everything posted by Morlock

  1. Boring trainwreck, I'd say. I was falling asleep in the last hour. Saw The Hong Kong movie The Stool Pigeon, by someone names Dante Lam. Atrocious. Also saw Errol Morris' Tabloid. Terrific.
  2. Once Upon a Time in The West. No matter how many times I see it, I'm always surprised by the way the story unfolds. It was also smaller than I remembered. I don't think it's Leone's best, one loses sight of the relationships and motives, and the idea of Henry Fonda in the role is slightely better than Fonda actually is in the role- he isn't half as compelling as his employer, the crippled Morton. Still one hell of a magnificent movie, with a an amazing collection of brilliant cinematic moments, most of which I'd forgotten about, or at least forgotten the details of. It seems apropos in light of the recent conversation here to part with the best exchange from the film: Harmonica: "The reward for this man is 5000 dollars, is that right?" Cheyenne: "Judas was content for 4970 dollars less." Harmonica: "They were no dollars in them days" Cheyenne: "Mmm. But sons-of-bitches, yeah."
  3. Most films are manipulative. It's not that the good ones are necessaily better at hiding it, I think it's that we allow ourselves to trust the artists at work enough to be manipulated by them.
  4. Symbols, maybe. The rest? I don't see them as themes in del-Toro's movie.
  5. Saw the finale again. Probably one of my favorite episodes of television, like, ever. The whole experience of watching a beloved work adapted is new to me...I finally get the feeling of something one loved in a book feeling so utterly right when on screen. I loved how the last scene totally got across the weight of the last word of the book.
  6. I fail to see the connection. Thematically, they have practically nothing in common.
  7. Too much of the torture for my tastes. But I recall being quite involved in it, particularly liking the performance of the guy who played Pilate.
  8. For a Few Dollars More. I always forget just how strange these Sergio Leone films are. They're are so genuinely and delightfully eccentric. Not the sharpest of the bunch, this is still one hell of an entertaining film. I was surprised to realize that Clint Eastwood isn't even the main character! He's really Van-Cleef's side-kick. Johnny Guitar. Another genuinely eccentric film, this time from Nicholas Ray. It's no wonder he is one of the greatest inspirations for one of the greatest film waves in history, every Ray film I've seen so far has been rather remarkable. It's one of the most venal films ever- everyone around the main character is driven by sex, sex, sex. A strange, marvelous film that should totally be a train-wreck but is totally thrilling. Great Victor Young theme, too. Anti-semite! Morlock- who also kinda thinks that The Passion is good
  9. Huh? I don't feel that strongly about True Grit, aside from really, really liking it. That it's better than most of the other touted films from last year isn't saying much.
  10. Zulu (1964). Not bad for a vanity project. It's got a great, genuine, 'on location' feel, and is defintely some of the least racist colonialist propoganda I've seen. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how well the music worked. I've been familiar with the theme for years, of course, and it really worked like gangbusters. Dodsworth (1936). After my great experience with The Heiress, I was hoping for another great prestige William Wyler adaptation. Alas, the story wasn't nearly as multi-faceted or interesting. But Walter Houston is magnificent in the lead, and makes the entire thing come together. I was surprised that the score was Alfred Newman, as the cut-and-paste-traditional-tunes dull score sounded like classic Steiner (though there was one good cue in there). This practice in Golden age film scoring is one of the most irritating film-music trends ever. X-Men: First Class (2011). Matthew Vaughn may be a rather pedestrian filmmaker who bought his way into the business...but as far as I'm concerned, he's 4 for 4. Easily the best film made of a Marvel property to date. If the wit, humor, and storytelling of this film would have been the model Marvel studios went with for their films, I'd accept the "they're just supposed to be fun" argument. It convincingly lays out the origin story, yet does it without breaking a sweat, as if it is desperatly trying to make this all work. Kevin Bacon is fun, McAvoy is good, Fassbender is better, and there was no one who I really minded aside from the poorly written and performed character January Jones was stuck with (perhaps she really is just one note). The score was not terrible, which was a pleasant surprise. It had a theme that actually sounded like a theme, and it didn't sound like a Media Ventures theme-like idea. It sounded like an uninspired real score, as opposed to an uninspired MV score. Most fun I've had with a summer movie in a couple of years.
  11. Saw Hannah. Good movie, though I didn't care for the ending. Very good score by The Chemical Brothers. Like the film itself, this is a score that actually felt like it had a real point of view, and one that I cared for. I was very much impressed by Joe Wright's genuinely eccentric touch.
  12. ...and? Rango again. Story's unfortunately thin, but still lovely to look at. Too Big To Fail. Quite good, and, in a way, more compelling than many of these star-studded made for tv movies about recent history. It is also more disturbing than most of them. Superb cast, of course, doing superb work. And the Marcello Zarvos score wasn't terrible. Still, it's sad to see Curtis Hanson reduced to this. The Borgias. Great fun. It's so wonderful to see a real filmmaker get a chance at this trashy tv format. Good music, too. The Incredible Hulk started well enough, but got quite boring by the end. I wouldn't be surprised if X-Men: First Class is the best movie to be based on Marvel characters to date. And Edward Norton can be very annoying, but there are about 3 films where he is absolutely perfect (I agree with Alex, he did hurt The Illusionist, though I do still like the film). Directors don't mind input from their actors. I really don't think that's the reason.. Depends on the director. Don't try and improv with the Coens. You make it sound like they're agressive on the set...they generally allow their actors to improvise. They just don't use it. Morlock- who attended a Q&A with the Coens a couple of weeks ago
  13. My only optimism for it was because of Branagh's involvement. But from what I've heard, it sounds just as crappy as the other Marvel films.
  14. Glory? It was a rather dull score. It felt like he wasn't really trying.
  15. Saw Pirates 4 as well. Not good, not terrible. Missing Verbinski's wit.
  16. I was in the process of moving, and had very limited computer access. Also limited access to movies, which is why after I moved I saw about 10 of them within a couple of weeks.
  17. Been seeing a bunch of good old movies recently. Rebecca (1940). I know it's not considered to be a great Hitckcock picture in the strictest sense...but I was mesmerized by it. Terrific plot, marvelously realized, excellent central performance. To go on at length would just be an exercise in hyperbole. The Heiress (1947). A few years back, Alex mentioned this as a film he loved, and it was in the back of my mind ever since. I don't know if he still feels this way, but it is one of the finest dramas I've ever seen. I almost couldn't believe how nuanced it was, and how heartbreaking. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, it revealed a depth I couldn't imagine. Ralph Richardson in particular amazed me, by portraying one of the best screen parents I've ever seen, then becoming one of the cruellest. Magnificent. Winchester 73 (1950). The second Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart western I've seen (after The Naked Spur), and the weaker of the two. I just didn't find it particularly interesting, and the visual splendor I associate with Mann didn't really come ot the fore here. Man of the West (1958). Now that's more like it. Mann's final western, with Gary Cooper playing a good man with a dark past. A bit too stagey (written by 12 Angry Men's Reginald Rose), but Mann's incorporation of nature into the film is wonderful. No western I've seen has more realistic looking outdoors- it never feels like a studio's outdoors set (a convention I often can't stand from the period, one of the reasons I hate the film of Oklahoma). Mann's frames are unlike anyone else's. My Darling Clementine (1946). I'd realised I'd only seen 4 John Ford films (How Green was My Valley, The Searchers, Stagecoach, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance- still my favorite of his films), so I caught up and saw a couple of his most famous ones. This one frankly felt a bit undercooked- it's stuck a bit between the focused narrative westerns Ford is known for and the easy-going, slow-paced conversational western that Hawks famously perfected with Rion Bravo. Didn't really work as a straight narrative, but it has a whole of wonderful scenes and moments. Fonda's good, but for me Victor Mature stole the picture as Doc Holliday. And this is probably my favorite Walter Brennan role- hard-edged and serious, not the comic side-show he often plays. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). It starts out rather painfully, pure kitch. But after about 10 minutes, it settles into a lovely pace, and goes on to present a low-key and convincing portrait fo Lincoln. It takes pleasure in showing Lincoln as a shrewd and manipulative man, not just a saint sent down to embiggen America. I could have done without the opening and the closing frames of the Lincoln memorial set to 'Battle Hymn of the Republic', but, all-in-all, far more pleasant and bearable a film than it initially seems. Citizen Kane (1942). Seen it several times before, but the cinematheque was showing it, and I couldn't pass up the chance to see it on the big screen. The movie was great as ever, a thrilling, entertaining and thoroughly michievious film that is about as excitingly constructed as any film has been, but it was a particular delight to find that the screening, in the big theater, was practically sold out. For all those times I've thought about how film as a great communal experience is over, this gave me hope. I can't tell you how great it was to hear audience member's who've never seen the film before gasp as 'Rosebud' was revealed.
  18. My viewing party for the first episode was postponed for a couple of days, so I haven't seen it yet...but I just finished rereading the books. Took me only slightly longer than it did last time, which is surprising, given that last time I was unemployed. I'd forgotten the empty feeling I get upon completing watching or reading something as great as this. It's like when I finished The Wire, or Breaking Bad...it's all downhill from here. Though I finally feel like I have a firm grasp on all the particulars of the world. I can imagine the show failing to connect with many people who'll be frustrated by the amount of details (kind of like the way I feel about the massive history presented in LoTR).
  19. I actually prefer Duck You Sucker to Once Upon a Time in America. Seeing it the first time was a real revelation, it didn't seem to have the pedigree of Leone more widely- watched films...but it is pretty darn glorious, and surprisingly heartfelt. It is interesting to note that with each successive film, Leone went less comedic and more emotional, starting with a quasi comedy and ending in a huge tragedy. The main theme from Duck You Sucker is also probably my favorite Morricone love theme. Morlock- who saw Source Code and liked it, though it recedes from memory. Good score, though, heavily influenced by The Ghostwriter (not a bad score to be influenced by).
  20. I just wanted to check what posting as a guest was like. I didn't do it very well. Morlock- who could not remain silent at Alex putting Snyder in the same company as Mallick and Kubrick. The Wagner in the movie is hardly subtle, nor is the music in his first two pictures. I agree with Alex, 'subtle' isn't what Mallick is going for (in fact, the opposite might be more accurate).
  21. I'd almost given up all hope...started rereading (so far, so good- 300 pages into book 1. only 3000 to go...)
  22. You are weak. It's a terrific movie. Saw North by Northwest with a friend who hadn't seen it before and I don't think I've ever enjoyed it more. Saw I Am Love (2010). Marvelous. All the passion I was missing from 99% of 2010 movies and then some.
  23. Saw Machete. On the one hand, I think it's really not doing the film justice to watch it without a roudy audience. On the other hand, it is too shoddily made and conceived for it to deserve that.
  24. It's... definitely not boring subject matter. The real story, yeah, maybe, but you'd be amazed what the film does with it. Did John Barry not even get an acknowledgement? He was the first one in the 'In Memoriam' segment.
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