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What Is The Last Film You Watched?


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Bigger Than Life (1956). DAMN was everyone right about Nicholas Ray. This film is even weirder and more troubling than In a Lonely Place! I prefer that one, but this film, about a grade-school teacher (James Mason) whose personality is altered by taking Cortisone is troubling and potent. Like the former film, I could barely believe the modernity of this movie's themes- mediocrity, loneliness, The American Dream, addiction...It's also one of the cases where the production-code era ending makes the whole film even more twisted than it already was.

Richard III (1996). A co-op between co-writer/director Richard Loncraine and co-writer/star Ian McKellen, this is a spirited, abridged, Richard III, set in 1930's scenery and costumes. For some reason, I was only mildly taken with this film. I mean, it's all there. Looks great, good performances across the board (Although Robert Downey jr.'s accent was distracting), excellent pacing...above all, it's an imaginative re-setting without being too blunt about it. I think the reason I merely liked it is probably becaause of MGM's annoying 90's tendency of releasing English-language movies on DVD without English subtitles. It's so much more of a strain without them, and I missed a bunch of words here. I got a sense of the movie, without really entering into it. Damn MGM.

Gimme Shelter (1970). Albert and David Maysles classic documentary. Somewhat different than what I was expecting...didn't quite feel like 'the end of the 60's', or anything as big as that. In fact, after all I'd heard about the film, I was really surprised by how specific this film felt- not about much beyond the actual situation at hand: Hell's Angels are in charge of security, provoke or are provoked by the crowd, enter into several fights with the flower children attending, ending in four people dead. All while The Stones are wrapping up their US tour, and singing 'Under My Thumb'. I was fascinated by the interactions shown at Altamont. A fly on the wall watching the crowd, the Angels, the Stones, The Dead, Jefferson Airplane and the violence. The footage of the Stones at Madison Square Garden didn't seem necessary to me, but I assume it was meant for the context, a 'before and after' thing. I didn't need it. I was dissapointed that this film didn't have nearly as much to say as I thought it would, but also impressed by how strongly it said what it did. All that other stuff is there in an abstract way, but this is the story of an event, not a movement or an era or a spirit (no more than any other documentary is).

Gave Parks and Recreations a try of the first few episodes...not for me (or should I say Knope?). I like Amy Poehler in general, and she realy bugs me here. She is entirely without a center, doing her best rejiggering of Michael Scott. The whole style and tone is also that of The Office...weak. Very weak. The only field where it actually lives up to The Office comparison is that of the main theme. It's got an actual insturmental main theme, one that is nice and fun and catchy. Kudos on that, if nothing else.

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I take it you're not into mainstream film anymore, Morlock?

I just finished the first season of Six Feet Under and so I bought:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (perhaps it's still good for a few laughs)

Then She Found Me (directed by Helen Hunt and with Matthew Broderick - how bad can it be?)

Trading Places (a classic, I would say)

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (heck, why not?)

Henry And June (Hey, it's got Daniel Day-Lewis)

Angel Heart (haven't seen it since ages and it features The Wrestler!)

Daniel Deronda (if it's adapted by Andrew Davies then it can't be bad)

Alex

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Oh, I'm still into mainstream film. Just filling in a few of the many, many, many, many, many gaps I have in my 'films I need to see' list (The list just keeps growing...two out of three films I see lead me to two or three more).

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I have that with HBO. One show or one season leads to many other shows and seasons.

Anyway, I went back to the store because of a special deal they are offering: Turn in one DVD (any DVD) and get a discount of 6 Euros on a Blu-ray. SO I FINALLY GOT WATCHMEN!!! I also bought on Blu-ray The Matrix, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Shining. Everything for 51 friggin Euros! Plus a 10% discount! That's 41 friggin Euros!!!

Alex

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300 might be not much more than an exercise in style but Zack Snyder showed me something that I haven't seen before and I was highly entertained for the whole duration.

If you saw Sin City you've seen it before.

I wasn't talking about the technique.

Revolutionary Roads: Good, but I sometimes had the feeling it was a stage play. Kate Winslet gave a praiseworthy performance. I thought the photography was very stylish (Ah, Roger Deakins, that's why it was so good). I don't know why, and I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but the shots that showed walking people or a walking crowd (people going to work) looked kinda 'surreal'.

Alex

I saw Revolutionary Road today too and share your feeling about the surreal crowd shots which I loved.

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I saw Revolutionary Road today too and share your feeling about the surreal crowd shots which I loved.

Yeah, those shots keep on lingering in my mind. I don't know how they did that. Perhaps they added a little undetectable slow motion to those shots or maybe they used a strange lens.

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I have that with HBO. One show or one season leads to many other shows and seasons.

Anyway, I went back to the store because of a special deal they are offering: Turn in one DVD (any DVD) and get a discount of 6 Euros on a Blu-ray. SO I FINALLY GOT WATCHMEN!!! I also bought on Blu-ray The Matrix, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Shining. Everything for 51 friggin Euros! Plus a 10% discount! That's 41 friggin Euros!!!

Alex

thats closer to 20% not 10%, sounds like a bargain

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Gave Parks and Recreations a try of the first few episodes...not for me (or should I say Knope?). I like Amy Poehler in general, and she realy bugs me here. She is entirely without a center, doing her best rejiggering of Michael Scott. The whole style and tone is also that of The Office...weak. Very weak. The only field where it actually lives up to The Office comparison is that of the main theme. It's got an actual insturmental main theme, one that is nice and fun and catchy. Kudos on that, if nothing else.

The show really picks up after the third episode or so. It might not still be your thing, but you might the later episodes much more enjoyable than the first two, as I did

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I saw Revolutionary Road today too and share your feeling about the surreal crowd shots which I loved.

Yeah, those shots keep on lingering in my mind. I don't know how they did that. Perhaps they added a little undetectable slow motion to those shots or maybe they used a strange lens.

While I haven't rewatched the scenes to confirm this, my feeling was that the crowd just moved unnaturally unrandomly.

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I watched a good portion of Paranormal Activity today while I had nothing to do at work. God what an awful movie. Why does it have 85% on RT?

Wait, wait, wait...you're saying Spielberg's endorsement alone does not a good movie make?

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Those terrified audiences are fake, not mention they can't have a real trailer because nothing happens in the movie. Incredibly boring, it's like a feature length episode of Ghost Adventures. Both times that I went into the theater to check it out, a person would bad mouth it to me. Once I was just standing down by the front, and this guy came up behind me and said "This movie is fucking awful! All they do is sit in that bedroom." I laughed and he walked out.

Second time was at the end of the movie, and a guy coming down said "I can't believe this is even considered a real movie."

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I saw Up in 3D last week. Not quite up there with Wall-E and Ratatouille, but it was very funny and heartwarming.

And I finally watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this evening. Exceeded every expectation I had - the pacing was superb, performances much more mature (Broadbent steals the show completely) and overall look was much more how I imagined the Potter world. Easily my favourite film of the series, and I consider it in a completely different league to the first two films, which were way too pedestrian.

And as much as Hooper's music can be criticised for its simplicity, it worked damn well. But combine this film-making team, possibly with Williams, and I think we're in for an amazing franchise finale.

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It was indeed an excellent sequence. I still think the "Wall Rat" scene from Ratatouille is one of their finest. That last shot of Remy going up the building and arriving on the roof is just delicious, rich with atmosphere and wonderfully scored by Giacchino.

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FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART III

A decent way to start off the horror marathon I suppose. Not the best film in the series by a longshot, but it's pretty good fun once you get past all the distracting 3-D gimmicks - this copy was in 2D - but it doesn't have the impact of the better films in the series (1, 2, 4 and 6).

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And I finally watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this evening. Exceeded every expectation I had - the pacing was superb, performances much more mature (Broadbent steals the show completely) and overall look was much more how I imagined the Potter world. Easily my favourite film of the series, and I consider it in a completely different league to the first two films, which were way too pedestrian.

I consider HP&HBP a complete opossite of what you wrote here, maybe except that thing about Broadbent, whose performance was good as usual. I found this movie terribly disappointing given I really enjoyed OotP.

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And I finally watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this evening. Exceeded every expectation I had - the pacing was superb, performances much more mature (Broadbent steals the show completely) and overall look was much more how I imagined the Potter world. Easily my favourite film of the series, and I consider it in a completely different league to the first two films, which were way too pedestrian.

I consider HP&HBP a complete opossite of what you wrote here, maybe except that thing about Broadbent, whose performance was good as usual. I found this movie terribly disappointing given I really enjoyed OotP.

I too found HBP to be terribly underwhelming. Its mainly a lot about uninteresting and vaguely developed teen love stories and the overarching Potter vs Voldemort plot of the series is barely even advanced. Its sole reason for existence is to move some characters into position and introduce an 11th hour plot device for the finale. That said, the filmmakers cannot be said to shoulder all the blame as the HBP book shares all the same failings. Where you could trim 70% out of OOTP to its skeletal plot to get a pretty cracking thriller out of it, the same cannot be said of HBP unfortunately.

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And I finally watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this evening. Exceeded every expectation I had - the pacing was superb, performances much more mature (Broadbent steals the show completely) and overall look was much more how I imagined the Potter world. Easily my favourite film of the series, and I consider it in a completely different league to the first two films, which were way too pedestrian.

I consider HP&HBP a complete opossite of what you wrote here, maybe except that thing about Broadbent, whose performance was good as usual. I found this movie terribly disappointing given I really enjoyed OotP.

I very mostly agree with Rich. Broadbent wasn't good, he was outstanding. And where OotP started out very well and pretty much fell apart in the last third, HBP was consistent and maintained the (refreshingly un-hectic) pacing and atmosphere until the end. I still say that leaving out the battle was a bold and good choice.

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Batman Returns in HD on ABC Family? Still the best Batman movie. And boy did it look good.

It's a Batman movie in a loose sense only. Still, I enjoy it for what it is.

whats that supposed to mean, its as much a Batman as the boring Batman Begins which is hardly true to the original spirit of Batman, he was never a fucking ninja warrior. thats what every inept writer from this era does, makes someone an ninja, how original.

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Somebody wanna cover this one? I'd really rather not have to explain this again... :(

does it bother you that some don't like the reboot of Batman into something it never was before.

I'm glad for the Dark Knight because it was more about gadgets and detective work, and less about some new backstory that makes no sense unless you're on ritalin.

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I'm glad for the Dark Knight because it was more about gadgets and detective work, and less about some new backstory that makes no sense unless you're on ritalin.

Translation: Batman Begins had substance, plot, and coherence, whereas The Dark Knight had pacing, eye candy, and a terrific villain. ;) The former made perfect sense to me, sans Ritalin...and honestly, I can be kind of stupid when it comes to understanding plots! :(

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Dark Knight is a better film on all levels, including story, don't sell it short. BB had its share of eye candy, but the film suffers from Nolan's lack of skill as a director of action scenes, even those in DK are rather static.

The acting is terrific in all the characters except the main character. C. Bale is the weak link. But he's good as Bruce. Still Michael Keaton was better.

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Dark Knight is a better film on all levels, including story, don't sell it short.

I disagree. In some ways, I do enjoy it significantly more, but the story department is one in which I think Batman Begins is the VERY clear winner. The whole film ties together very nicely and provides an actual plot arc, whereas TDK seems to just stagger from high-octane action scene to riveting Joker scene to brooding philosophizing and back again, introducing a second unrelated villain AND killing him off all in the last half of the film. It's hard for me to follow it.

BB had its share of eye candy, but the film suffers from Nolan's lack of skill as a director of action scenes, even those in DK are rather static.

I agree with this statement up until the part about them being "static." If anything, I find the problem to be that they move too quickly, in such a way that it's difficult to follow what's happening. But that flaw is by no means unique to these films or this director.

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The Bicycle Thieves (1949). Absolute classic that I finally got to. 100% worked for me. I'm glad- so often I have a cerebral appreciation of classics I see for the first time, without the emotional one. Absolutely stunning film. Seeing as I am unemployed, the joy of the main character upon finally getting a job was one I had a very deep reaction to (among many other things). Absolutely a masterpiece of neorealism, yet without the unfortunate modern trend of losing cinematic convention of the well-composed shot or score. About to watch another De Sica classic, Umberto D. Also rented John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock and Fritz Lang's Clash by Night.

BTW, I want to catch up on Wim Wenders, as he is coming here in a couple of weeks. I've only seen The American Friend and Wings of Desire. I know I need to see Paris, Texas and Buena Vista Social Club...can anyone recommend others?

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Somebody wanna cover this one? I'd really rather not have to explain this again... :(

does it bother you that some don't like the reboot of Batman into something it never was before.

I'm glad for the Dark Knight because it was more about gadgets and detective work, and less about some new backstory that makes no sense unless you're on ritalin.

*sigh*

Batman has had martial arts training for DECADES. It was in the comics, and it was in the wonderful Timm/Dini animated series--not in this exact form, but the whole going around the world and getting martial arts training thing? Yeah, it's been a part of the mythos for a long, long time. What exactly was this "new backstory that makes no sense unless you're on ritalin"? Let's see here...Bruce Wayne's parents are killed. Check. He goes around the world, learning about criminals, life, the universe, and everything, and comes back to Gotham to don the appearance of a bat and be a symbol of fear for the criminals of Gotham. He has friends and allies in the form of butler Alfred, colleague Lucius Fox, and Sergeant/Lieutenant/Commissioner Gordon. Where are you getting lost?

And I agree with Datameister, I find Begins to be a much better paced film, and one that I am able to enjoy on a pure storytelling level more than TDK, even if I appreciate that the latter IS excellent. I felt the former definitely had much more of a Batman vibe than TDK, as well, where the latter really stretched the whole "grounded in reality" thing to its limits; I don't want to see a Batman film more "realistic" than TDK.

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I might add, by the way, that the me of a few years ago would be surprised that I'm now defending Batman Begins. The first time I saw it, I found it rather dull and didn't even bother finishing it. It was only after I saw TDK that I went back and watched its predecessor straight through (and then watched TDK again right after!). It then seemed very clear which film presented a more coherent plot. I'm telling you, without the Joker (or with a less engaging performance), TDK would not have all that much going for it. All the film's strengths revolve around the Joker.

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The Bicycle Thieves (1949). Absolute classic ...

Damnit! I wanted to see that movie! It's supposedly one of the very best ever made. Did you see it on DVD?

The Librarian III: Very terrible.

Babylon A.D.: Terrible. Does everything a SF movie shouldn't do.

Alex

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Babylon A.D.: Terrible. Does everything a SF movie shouldn't do.

Even the director disowned that one. It's a shame that Kassovitz has been stuck with these iffy projects. The Crimson Rivers had some very good stuff in it, even though it had a terrible ending.

The Bicycle Thieves (1949). Absolute classic ...

Damnit! I wanted to see that movie! It's supposedly one of the very best ever made. Did you see it on DVD?

Loaded Criterion DVD, with an absolutely fantastic booklet that includes a number of great essays.

Saw the less loaded but still great looking Criterion DVD of De Sica's Umberto D. Doesn't feel quite as over-arching as Bicycle Thieves, but in it's own way an equally beautiful film, about an old man and his dog, trying to hang on to his apartment. These two films deeply affected me...I must check out more De Sica and more Cesare Zavattini, the main scenarist of both films, and many of the other essential De Sica films.

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Up and it was absolutely superb. Easily Pixar's most ambitious film to date and one of the surrealist mainstream animations I've seen. Better than last years Wall-E, Up is stunning on the eyes (as usual), laugh out loud hilarious and incredibly touching - a passage of time sequence early on bears the Pixar stamp of genius we've come to expect - their delicate handling is just so pitch perfect, it's one of the finest standout scenes they've ever created. Who needs Spielberg, when the wizards at Pixar continue to cast their spells with the degree of slight of hand rarely seen nowadays and with such reliable consistancy.

In 20 years Up may be regarded as their defining picture.

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Up is certainly a very intriguing picture, it has a depth to it that I didn't expect from an animated film.

I found the staunch Doberman talking in the high-pitched voice most highly amusing, was kind of bummed when they dropped that gag shortly after.

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In 20 years Up may be regarded as their defining picture.

Unfortunately, yes. Defining because of the cynicism of its makers. They think that a brilliant opening will carry the rest of the film, even if the rest of the film refutes the opening. It's a masterpiece that becomes a nice looking roller-coaster ride. Still good, but fake. Hopefully Toy Story 3 will get them back on track, as this has been happening over their last 3 films, each one more problematic on a thematic level than the last.

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I do not enjoy all Pixar films equally, but their approach to filmmaking is just so...encouraging to me. I'm a big Disneyland nut, and I spend a lot of time monitoring and thinking about and debating what Disney is currently doing with their parks. Unfortunately, a lot of what they're currently doing smacks of commercial greediness and lack of creative integrity. And there are some who defend that, saying that it's a business and that business will be most successful when business is the whole reason you're doing business in the first place. Pixar demonstrates that this is not the case. They clearly are conscious of what will and won't make financial sense, but they don't make creative compromises at all, and you know what? The films do deservedly well in the box office and with critics. It's a wonderful example of pure creativity (reined in by financial prudence) doing well, which gives me a lot of hope for the human race. :lol:

Cars and Ratatouille weren't my favorites, though.

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Cynicism is never a word I'd use to describe Pixar. Not now nor I suspect in 20 years. Pixar have no need to "get back on track", since they remain firmly attached to it already.

Half an hour of Up says that fairy-tales end, that death is part of life. The other hour says that they never, ever, do, and that everything will be really, really, really, okay. It seems like the unbelievably gutsy move of having real, actual, red blood scared them to death, going from a movie that acknowledges mortality to a film that says that the old guy will live forever and ever as the sidekick of the little kid. It's cynical to think that these two parts will work together simply because they're Pixar and everything they do is gold. It's not that the escapism is bad, it's that it comes after a refutation of escapism.

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