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What Is The Last Film You Watched? (Older Films)


Mr. Breathmask
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Big Trouble In Little China - the local arthouse cinema's latest 'cult classic' screening choice was this, and hey ... who was I to argue?

A still ridiculously enjoyable action/fantasy/comedy flick, with Kurt Russell's headlining turn as lunk-headed trucker Jack Burton (the type of guy who frequently has a knife between his teeth but always has little between his ears) being a fine send-up of 'action heroes' and a particular highlight.

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Made back in the days when a single eff-word got you a 15 certification in the UK, because the 12 one was yet to be invented (which is absolutely what BTILC would be given if made nowadays ... I mean, there's much more blood visibly spilled in the first 2 Indy movies (by way of comparison) than there is in it).       

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young-sherlock-holmes - SCERA

 

Young Sherlock Holmes

 

My first time ever seeing this film!  I really liked the script and production design - it's a clever idea they had here, to tell a typical Sherlock Holmes investigation case, but with everyone being younger to give it a different feel - and also to have the villain's plan involve hallucinogenic darts, so the visions that the victims see before they die can be realized on screen with really fun an innovative practical effects - and some of the first CGI effects!

 

Unfortunately, what held the film back from being as good as it could be, I found, was surprisingly the acting!  Most films I see that don't quite work for me, the acting is usually still fine, and it's the script that is the problem.  Here I really liked the script, and the way everything was staged and shot was good too.  But man, was just about every single cast member just kind of... blahhhhhh.  The main trio felt like they were told to understate everything, the victims hammed it up way too much, the villain was either stiff or over the top depending on the scene... all the other supporting parts were just unmemorable if not outright distracting.  The acting was all over the place, and kind of ruined the movie for me.  Can't say I'm compelled to watch it again.  And it's no surprise the entire movie there wasn't a single actor I've ever seen before, this movie clearly wasn't a launching pad for anyone's careers, which sort of reinforcements my opinion that this film just doesn't have any good acting in it!


What was pretty funny, was to view it through a post-Harry Potter lens.  We kept noticing more and more things that reminded us of Harry Potter, and joked that Rowling must have watched this a lot when writing the books.  The main trio even looked like the main Potter trio (though the personalities were swapped around), the school looked like Hogwarts at time completely with the great hall, there was characters that reminded us of Hagrid, Snape, Quirrel, Dudley, Malfoy, Filch, etc, etc.  Pretty funny.  And then of course the underground cult they discover mirrors Temple of Doom so much, it's kinda of crazy this came out one year later, and with Spielberg's involvement.  Weird.


Bruce Broughton's score, I can't make up my mind on.  On the one hand it was nice and lushly orchestral, with memorable themes I caught while watching and could hum along with.  But on the other hand, there was many times where it felt limp, or held back, where I could have pictured John Williams really going for it with an amazing set-piece cue.  A world where John Williams scored this film (what else was he doing in 1985 anyway?) probably would have resulted in another major classic in his repertoire, and we'd extend his "golden era" to be 75-85 instead of 75-84.  Oh well.

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21 minutes ago, Jay said:

My first time ever seeing this film!  I really liked the script and production design - it's a clever idea they had here, to tell a typical Sherlock Holmes investigation case, but with everyone being younger to give it a different feel - and also to have the villain's plan involve hallucinogenic darts, so the visions that the victims see before they die can be realized on screen with really fun an innovative practical effects - and some of the first CGI effects!

 

I've seen this I think twice, long ago, on TV (i.e. dubbed). It always felt like a missed opportunity to me - a project with much potential, and clearly plenty of budget and design put into it, that fares quite well throughout the exposition but then somehow goes flat long before the finale and just ends up making me feel sad that it never half as good as I thought it could be.

 

It was featured in one of my computer graphics textbooks back at university!

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The only thing flat for me was the acting, I think it scaled up from 3 kids attending school to defeating a murderous cult hiding in London pretty well, well effective set pieces along the way to make it more of an action adventure just just an investigation.  Sure, it was blatantly obvious who the villiain would be at Sherlock strangely gets sidelined during a large part of the action climax, but I thought the pulled off what they were going for pretty well, apart from the acting

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I saw this at the cinema (March, 1986, at the Plaza 2, Lower Regent St., if you must know), and was not impressed. Over time, however, it's grown on me. The score is one of Broughton's best.

@Jay "...just about every single cast member just kind of.... blahhhhhh".

Er...what? I wouldn't call Freddie Jones, Nigel Stock, Susan Fleetwood, Anthony Higgins, and the great Michael Horden, "kind of blahhhhh".

I completely agree with it being proto-Harry Potter

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I'm not familiar with any of those names, and I did not recognize a single face in the entire film from start to finish.

 

Maybe actors in this film have been terrific in other films or television shows, I have no idea, but I was not impressed by any of them in this film.

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I think in some territories, Young Sherlock Holmes had ' ... And The Pyramid Of Fear' added to its title. Y' know, just in case it didn't already bear ENOUGH of a resemblance to an Indy flick :lol: .    

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26 minutes ago, Sweeping Strings said:

I think in some territories, Young Sherlock Holmes had ' ... And The Pyramid Of Fear' added to its title. Y' know, just in case it didn't already bear ENOUGH of a resemblance to an Indy flick :lol: .    

 

The lovely re-creation of victorian England: a total waste in aid of a stupid storyline. A kid Moriarty would have provided a perfect foil (the Draco Malfoy of its day), instead we get an overblown underground cult totally put of place in ACD's world. And they didn't even recycle the TOD sets, which would have made the decision understandable, at least from an economical standpoint.

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1 hour ago, Sweeping Strings said:

I think in some territories, Young Sherlock Holmes had ' ... And The Pyramid Of Fear' added to its title. Y' know, just in case it didn't already bear ENOUGH of a resemblance to an Indy flick :lol: .    

Yes. It was called this, in the UK.

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6 hours ago, AC1 said:

Sounds like a straight-to-video Rutger Hauer movie.

 

Warlock was really weird because everything about it felt like what you described. But there was enough about it that felt like "Wait, are they actually trying at this movie?" Like having a Goldsmith score!

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58 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

 

Warlock was really weird because everything about it felt like what you described. But there was enough about it that felt like "Wait, are they actually trying at this movie?" Like having a Goldsmith score!

 

The last point was the least tall order, having the guy who just had done 'Rent-a-Cop' and 'Alien Nation' (rejected).

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The Irishman 

A consistently engaging story about the banality of evil and all that.  Had this been released in a worse year like 2020, it would have easily won best picture over Nomadland (the toilet scene best sums up my feelings on that movie).  Has an unfair reputation of being "boring" (which happens to coincide with Scorsese criticizing the MCU.  I'll let you decide)

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Not Mr. Big said:

The Irishman...Has an unfair reputation of being "boring" (which happens to coincide with Scorsese criticizing the MCU. I'll let you decide).

Agreed. Hollywood doesn't like being criticized, especially by one of its own.

I've not seen NOMADLAND, so I'll bow to your superior knowledge, regarding all things toilety. 

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Some of us just don't like crime dramas from the outset...

 

I never empathize with the characters in a crime drama anywhere near to what I want to empathize with characters in a story. Because, well, they're criminals!

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6 hours ago, Not Mr. Big said:

The Irishman 

A consistently engaging story about the banality of evil and all that.  Had this been released in a worse year like 2020, it would have easily won best picture over Nomadland (the toilet scene best sums up my feelings on that movie).  Has an unfair reputation of being "boring" (which happens to coincide with Scorsese criticizing the MCU.  I'll let you decide)

 

 

 

This is a great movie! It has similarities with Scorsese's earlier maffia movies but this one is more reflective about aging. I still think it's too bad that it was a Netflix film and therefore didn't get a big cinema release before it hit home video and streaming.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Some of us just don't like crime dramas from the outset...

 

I never empathize with the characters in a crime drama anywhere near to what I want to empathize with characters in a story. Because, well, they're criminals!

 

Have you seen The Old Man And The Gun? I 'sympathized' with bank robber Robert Redford more than I did with any other movie character in the last decade. 

 

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1 hour ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I've wanted to see this, for the longest time.

I'll watch anything that Redford does.

 

Did you see All is Lost? I'm not a big Redford fan (I think he has a niche that he's amazing at) but I loved this film and I can't get anyone I know to watch it.

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35 minutes ago, Tallguy said:

 

Did you see All is Lost? I'm not a big Redford fan (I think he has a niche that he's amazing at) but I loved this film and I can't get anyone I know to watch it.

Yes, I have. I like it. I like most of his recent stuff. A WALK IN THE WOODS was good, as was THE COMPANY YOU KEEP. LIONS TO LAMBS was a party political broadcast on behalf of the Democrats.

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3 hours ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I've wanted to see this, for the longest time.

I'll watch anything that Redford does.

 

Please do, it's his farewell movie.

 

1 hour ago, Naïve Old Fart said:

I like most of his recent stuff. 

 

He even pulled off a very decent corporate villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 

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24 minutes ago, AC1 said:

He even pulled off a very decent corporate villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 

Meh. The whole fact that he was playing the role tipped the movie's hand. It was worse than

Spoiler

casting Max von Sydow in Minority Report.

 

The only possible way that Redford would play the head of an intelligence agency would be if he or the agency were the villains or in this case both.

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3 hours ago, Romão said:

And do you really need to empathize with a character? There Will Be Blood is one of the greatest movies of the millennium, filled with pretty despicable characters

 

It certainly helps. I have trouble connecting to movies or shows that have zero relatability. Characters like Walter White or Don Draper have little I can empathize with, despite being well written and interesting protagonists. 

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Right.

 

That isn't to say that a character needs to be a goodie-two-shoes to be relatable. But if we don't at all empathize, all we're doing is watching the mechanics of the plot play-out, and that's not what the best stories do, I find.

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2 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Yes.

 

9 minutes ago, Koray Savas said:

It certainly helps. I have trouble connecting to movies or shows that have zero relatability. Characters like Walter White or Don Draper have little I can empathize with, despite being well written and interesting protagonists. 

 

That's really interesting, though. How much distance one can have between the protagonist and one's self. But I suppose, to an extent, you can recognize yourself in some of the protagonist's less noble qualities, even if you don't sympathize

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35 minutes ago, Romão said:

you can recognize yourself in some of the protagonist's less noble qualities, even if you don't sympathize

 

For sure.

 

But there's a difference between "less noble qualities" and the protagonist being a vile criminal and murderer from the outset.

 

I mean, I empathize tremendously with William Wallace and he straight-up mauls defenceless foes, but its still not the same as the kind of bloodshed we see in Goodfellas or The Irishman, or the Godfather sequels, or The Sopranos.

 

I empathize with Siegmund and Sieglinde's incestuous affair, and yet its not the same as the kind of sleaziness we see Once Upon a Time in America.

 

To use a different example, I empathize with a good Othello who ends-up murdering his wife after five whole acts of being prodded by Iago, or a TE Lawrence who takes three-hours of battling with megalomania, sadism and several misadventures to become the sort of person who can command a massacre. That as compared to the characters in most crime-dramas.

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2 minutes ago, Romão said:

That's really interesting, though. How much distance one can have between the protagonist and one's self. But I suppose, to an extent, you can recognize yourself in some of the protagonist's less noble qualities, even if you don't sympathize

As long as there’s something there I can latch on to I’m good. Breaking Bad has Jesse, and that was enough for me. I stopped watching Mad Men after Season 4 cause there just wasn’t anything there to keep me interested, though I do want to go back and revisit it. 

 

I just recently saw Uncut Gems and didn’t enjoy it for similar reasons. 

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To reference a Scorsese film, I do have sympathy for Travis Bickle because it takes a while for him to be reduced to the kind of person who would plan a murder, and even longer (virtually the entire length of the film) to actually carry such a deed out. I think there was more to be made of Travis' normalcy early on, but still.

 

That's completely different to watching Goodfellas where the characters are already embroiled in organized crime from minute one of the film.

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I just don't think you really have to have sympathy for these kind of characters, not in the sense that you have for Clark Kent, Harrison Ford in Witness, or William Wallace. They just have to be interesting and engaging. Unlike the ones in The Godfather, you can see the characters in Goodfellas or The Sopranos are real people, just like you and me. 

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21 minutes ago, AC1 said:

Unlike the ones in The Godfather, you can see the characters in Goodfellas or The Sopranos are real people, just like you and me. 

 

They're NOT like you and me.

 

You and me don't have people murdered!

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12 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

They're NOT like you and me.

 

You and don't have people murdered!

 

But they are ... with the exception that they are bad boys. They went to the other side and offer us insight into that world. 

 

Yes, movies like Star Wars or Marvel flicks need a hero that you can sympathize with but dramas like Raging Bull? I don't think so. They work in a different way. 

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I'm liking this conversation. Although we agree to disagree, what we can agree on is that we all appreciate cinema, and enjoy discussing it, here.

We also have the ability to accept others' value judgements on fictional characters.

Time and again, I've been criticized by friends for judging a person in a film too harshly. My reply is always the same: "It's a character in a trick of light, so I can pass any ****ing judgement I like!".

Unlike some, I can tell the difference between fantasy, and reality.

 

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5 hours ago, Chen G. said:

They're NOT like you and me.

 

You and me don't have people murdered!

 

You're not a mediaeval Scottish warrior, but you apply your imagination to get some sense of what it would be like to be such a person in such circumstances.

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