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What is the Last Film You Watched? - Part II


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I agree. This is certainly his most visceral movie. I think it does stand as an oddity for Spielberg. it feels like his most minimalistic movie, story-wise.

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You and I know nothing, there's only one opinion that counts:

Some say that his scrotum has its own small gravity fieldand that once, preposterously, he had an affair with Lukas Kendall... all we know is, he's called Mr Breathmask.

Dammit. I already have a signature.

- Marc, who thinks CE3K is one of Spielberg's best or is at least a personal favorite, prefers the theatrical cut, and thinks it's the best Williams/Spielberg finale ever (yes, it beats E.T.).

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I need to buy the blu-ray ultimate edition so I can see it.

Oh, has anyone seen the trailer for Funny Games? The Shining was the only movie that ever truly scared me, this looks like it could be #2. It's at least better than all of the crap horror movies released these days.

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Tonight I will be seeing Blade Runner on the big screen. It's playing here in Philadelphia, and I can't wait.

Ted

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The Living Daylights - Boring Bond vehicle enough to wake even the most comatose of insomniacs.

The Golden Compass - I lost my bearings after the first 15 minutes. Thank God for blonde usherettes in tight miniskirts.

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Harry & Tonto. Likable and corny film. I suspect that it was far more rare when it came out, but we've seen nice old coots since too many times. Still, charming little film, with Art Carney's wonderful character and performance making for a very likable character. ***/****. Incidentally, this was part of a Paul Mazursky retrospactive, and he was present, and we had a very nice chat before the screening of his most recent documentry (Apprantly, no one else recognized him. I did from his Sopranos and Carlito's Way guest spots and The Producers DVD).

Collateral. One of my favorite films of recent years. It's a great film until the last 15 minutes, which are, while not bad, certainly not up to the par the rest of the film set. Still, a terrific film. Javier Bardem out Walkens Walken with his scene. ***1/2/****.

American Gangster. Overall, left me cold. Very workmanlike all around. Seems like everyone retreated to safe-ground, making a mildly entertaining film. Josh Brolin was the only person who impressed, making a wonderfully charismatic villain. Also, the guy who plays the vietnamese general, who's in every single 'serious' production set in the Orient, was lighter than his usual intense characters.

Denzel totally phones it in, mostly doing Training Day all over again. It's fun, but unremarkable. Crowe was miscast and boring, his character inflated far too mouch both in screen time and in the constant hammering in of what a crappy human being he is.

Cinemtography was very dissapointing. This is what happens when people criticize Scott for his great looking films. He makes a boring looking one.

Music was effective, I liked the theme.

Reading the above, you may think I hated the film. I didn't, but it was lacking pizzaz, except for a couple of scenes. One of those scenes, the raid on the drug lab, was sensationally well done. Really got my pulse going. And it was sporadically entertaining.

Overall, a dissapointing outing. I knew I was right with my low expectations. No one deserves any accolades for this film except for maybe Brolin.

Although my gut instinct is **, I suspect it will probably level out at **1/2/****.

Brief Encounter. Fantastic, intimate drama from David Lean. I really got into this one. The story of an affair between two married people, played by Celia Johnson and Travor Howard. Very touching, very affecting, a small, quiet piece, elegantly set to Rachmaninov's 2nd piano concerto. I don't like make spurious connections in a filmmakers work (where every single film must be connected to every other film), but undoubtably, something in Lean's great talent for small, human stories (I've seen this and Great Expectations, which I love) gives him a great basis on which to weave his later breathtaking epic, where character is always key, always leads the epic visuals. ***1/2/****.

Lives of Others. Still a great movie the second time around. Definitely my favorite movie of '06, and I think a genuinely great movie. I didn't put much stock in the score the film time around, but, this time, I really noticed how well it supports the film. ****/****.

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American Gangster. Overall, left me cold. Very workmanlike all around. Seems like everyone retreated to safe-ground, making a mildly entertaining film.

I must say, it kinda entertained me in the same way The Departed did. But I sorely miss the artistry that I see in Scott's first three films (where his images and tone make a lasting impression). Today he's just a good craftsman concentrating more on story and acting. Yes, I thought the acting was overall very good.

Josh Brolin was the only person who impressed, making a wonderfully charismatic villain.

Was he that guy from the "Special" unit blah, blah, blah? Yes, he was a villain alright! He stood out even though his role was very one-dimensionally. I was also impressed with Denzel and Russell, the latter being quite understated this time, which I thought was consistent and good.

Cinemtography was very dissapointing. This is what happens when people criticize Scott for his great looking films. He makes a boring looking one.

I agree but I thought this was done on purpose. I felt Scott wanted no distractions, it's like he wanted the photography to serve the story and not the other way around. If you ask me, the razzia in the projects was filmed pretty damn intense.

Music was effective, I liked the theme.

I was never agitated so I guess the music was well done. I miss some personality in it though. The "period" music was good too. I'm glad they didn't go for some popular gangster rapper guy.

Reading the above, you may think I hated the film. I didn't, but it was lacking pizzaz, except for a couple of scenes. One of those scenes, the raid on the drug lab, was sensationally well done. Really got my pulse going.

Yep, it truly is the highlight of the film! Somehow it made me think of Alien, you know, corridors and panic. I almost wished that he would do another Alien film.

Alex

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I must say, it kinda entertained me in the same way The Departed did. But I sorely miss the artistry that I see in Scott's first three films (where his images and tone make a lasting impression). Today he's just a good craftsman concentrating more on story and acting. Yes, I thought the acting was overall very good.

For me, The Departed had a good story, and once it got that in place, then it went for the drama. Over here there was no separation, and I felt like it was preaching that the story is character as well as drama, instead of a setting in which drama can happen. Lost the fun of the story and the power of the drama.

I saw From Dusk Till Dawn. Fun flick. I liked this unpretencious B movie far more than the Grindhouse flicks. This was real trash, not something saying 'We're trash....but since we're saying that, we must really be art'. And the first half was terrific Tarantino. Even Tarantino gave a decent performance. And George Clooney gave a fantastic performance. I feel bad for thinking about him as the guy from Peacemaker and Batman & Robin for so long (until discovering he can act), because he had this one in the can before. Second half was not bad, but the endless fighting was kinda boring. Although seeing Fred Williamson and Tom Savini in there killing vampires was fun.

Good time in the cinema, as far as I'm concerned. ***/****.

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Over here there was no separation, and I felt like it was preaching that the story is character as well as drama, instead of a setting in which drama can happen. Lost the fun of the story and the power of the drama.

Damn, you and Ebert have grown apart! I miss the days you and him were the same.

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Over here there was no separation, and I felt like it was preaching that the story is character as well as drama, instead of a setting in which drama can happen. Lost the fun of the story and the power of the drama.

Damn, you and Ebert have grown apart! I miss the days you and him were the same.

Ebert is rather old-fashioned in his ways of reviewing a film. I sometimes agree, sometimes not. I find a lot more value in the criticism of people like Pauline Kael, Jonathan Rosenblum, David Danby and Andrew Sarris. I may often disagree with them, but they are really serious reviewers, they write mini-essays on a film, and why it is good or bad.

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Speaking of Ridley Scott, Blade Runner on the big screen: amazing.

I agree. Was it a digital screening?

Alex - who just bought the Blade Runner Trilogy CD. My god, the packaging is gorgeous!

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I saw From Dusk Till Dawn. Fun flick. I liked this unpretencious B movie far more than the Grindhouse flicks. This was real trash, not something saying 'We're trash....but since we're saying that, we must really be art'. And the first half was terrific Tarantino. Even Tarantino gave a decent performance. And George Clooney gave a fantastic performance. I feel bad for thinking about him as the guy from Peacemaker and Batman & Robin for so long (until discovering he can act), because he had this one in the can before. Second half was not bad, but the endless fighting was kinda boring. Although seeing Fred Williamson and Tom Savini in there killing vampires was fun.

Good time in the cinema, as far as I'm concerned. ***/****.

The first half completely dominates the second in my opinion. In fact, I wish it would have stayed with that style and narrative instead of going into the B horror movie genre.

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From Dusk Til Dawn is enjoyable all the way through. It may be my favorite Rodriguez movie, though Planet Terror was quite fun as well.

Ted

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I watched Ghost Rider (Nicholas Cage) for the first time last night. I rather enjoyed it and thought the special effects were pretty good.

I bought Spider-Man 2.1 and watched that the other day. I actually like the extended cut for Spider-Man 2 better than the theatrical edition, especially for the Train Fight sequence. Of course the music editing is still horrid and even more horrible in the Train Fight sequence.

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I'm going to see the IMAX release of I Am Legend. I really don't need to see that particular release for any real reason for the movie itself, but its the only way to see the 6 minute trailer for The Dark Knight, so that's what sold me.

Tim

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After listening to all the complete scores I was in the mood to plow through The Lord of the Rings again. I may have quibbles (both in interpretations of/changes from the book and the filmmaking itself), they may have flaws, but overall they are superbly made films worthy of Tolkien's work that will stand out as true classics of the age.

I can't help but compare them to the Potter films as they started at the same time and so I was discovering both worlds at the same time. It's remarkable in a relatively short space of time how much better the LotR films have aged. I can barely watch the early Potter films anymore.

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The Incredibles: I've seen this before, and I thought it was okay. This time, however, I really noticed the style(s) of the movie: there's the (almost) average family, and the old spy theme. The music (or lack of music) really helps the movie, I really appreciate Giacchino's score more. The whole movie is amazing, I love the usual detail one can expect from a Pixar film.

***1/2/*****

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American Gangster.

Basically a bunch of boring and interesting scenes with no connecting themes or ideas. It was, I suppose, entertaining. Catchy opening music. According to an interview with Richie Roberts, there was a very emotional moment during the trial in which Frank Lucas wept after witnessing some of the horrors of his drug dealing. Why wasn't this scene written into the movie?

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Sense And Sensibility: Nice and airy costume drama with all the cliches present. Mind you, it's not on the par with Howard's End or Remains Of The Day or not even with The Winslow Boy. Ang Lee's film (thanks to Thompson's script) has a pretty cohesive narrative but perhaps it's just too fluffy to make a lasting impression.

Finding Neverland: Again, nice and sad but not really up there. Come to think of it, Marc Forster never really does it for me. He wants to do the right thing but as a director he's just not powerful enough. Acting-wise, I've seen Depp and Winslet doing better things. I was, however, very impressed with the kid named Peter.

Alex

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American Gangster.

According to an interview with Richie Roberts, there was a very emotional moment during the trial in which Frank Lucas wept after witnessing some of the horrors of his drug dealing. Why wasn't this scene written into the movie?

It's not cool enough. They paid lip-service the damage Lucas was doing. In an attempt to make a serious argument that he was just like Rockefeller, they downplayed the evilness of what he was doing.

Sense And Sensibility: Nice and airy costume drama with all the cliches present. Mind you, it's not on the par with Howard's End or Remains Of The Day or not even with The Winslow Boy.

I quite like The Winslow Boy.

As Good as it gets. Strange situation. Here's a movie that, on a macro level, doesn't quite work. But it is so terrific on a micro level, that on a scene-by-scene basis, one believes it works. It's just one wonderful scene after another, with terrific performances, consistantly funny and touching dialogue. It almost makes up for the wrong ending of the piece. Pleasant low-key Zimmer score. ***1/2/****.

Un homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman), 1966. I've never seen anything by Claude Lelouch before, but I saw that he going to be in attendance at this screening, so I fugred, what the heck. I quite enjoyed it. It looks like a French new-wave film, and it's got the cross-cutting and varying color palette, but it is a small, unconvoluted love story that I found quite charming. I was shocked to see Jean-Louis Trintignant as the young protagonist- the only other place I've seen him is as the smarmy Jazy in Under Fire. Too much footage of cars, an obvious interest of the director, and the famous theme by Francis Lai does get a bit annoying after a while. Lelouch was very pleasant in person, and seemed quite happy when I expressed how much I enjoyed the film (which I didn't think I'd like. I was expecting something like Jules et Jim, which I am not a fan of). ***/****.

3:10 to Yuma (2007). Still good. Score's terrific.

Seargant York. Typically corny Hollywood Golden age production. But Gary Cooper's good (I am constantly impressed by how many Golden age stars are really good actors), despite the distractingly heavy-handed southern accents everyone has here. The movie's preachiness about intervention is annoying, but the battle scene itself is pretty good. The score is typical Steiner, except that I'm not sure Steiner did anything but adapt traditional tunes with stringy Steiner sound. A couple of the unnecesserily dramatic cues, maybe.

The Fallen Idol. The movie totally failed to draw me in. Dissapointing, concidering how much I love The Third Man (probably in my top-10). It is kind of interesting to see two B&W movies about British servants in a few weeks. It was kind of strange that Robert Rodriguez and George Clooney engaged me so much more than Carol Reed and ralph Richardson.

The Golden Compass. I think I kinda liked it. Way too much heavy symbolism, too many Nordic names (it seems like a pthetic attempt to connect this story to Norse mythology, in tone at least), disjointed story-telling, funny pacing, and some really annoying and dumb-headed elements. But I did like the little girl's performance a lot, not something I can say for a lot of cutesy young actors. I liked Kidman, too. And I loved seeing Tom Courtenay on screen (though his sad face is buried under a beard and big hats).

The score was dissapoitning. Except for some of the action music (which I think Desplat is very interesting at), it failed to draw me in. And the song over the end credits was absolutely horrendous.

I don't know....didn't make much of an impact, but there are things in there I liked. I liked the VFX.

BTW- what on earth was Christopher Lee doing in this movie? And being a lackey to Derek Jacobi?? Someone got confused as to the pecking order of British screen personas.

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I Am Legend. (***)

Great movie, really fun theater experience. I really liked how it was more focused on Will Smith's character and how he deals with being the last man on Earth rather than the action and vampires. He provides some really good acting and definitely knows how to sell a movie (it made 29.5 million in 1 day). The main problem with the movie were the CGI effects. They were decent for the vampires, I suppose, but for the animals they were poor and took away from the overall experience. Despite that minor inconvenience, the movie itself was extremely intense and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. James Newton Howard's score fit perfectly for the reflective and character driven scenes, and his absence of music throughout the main portion really helped build up the anticipation of what's gonna happen next.

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Seuss on the Loose(1973): It was on ABC Family, so I taped it. It is basically 3 Theodore Giesel books that were made into cartoons, each one introduced by the Cat in the Hat. The three stories were: The Sneetches (I believe the book was called The Star-Bellied Sneetches, if that rings a bell), The Zax, and Green Eggs and Ham. Overall, I would say it was a very nice trip back to the days when I was young. Very entertaining, if you liked the Grinch cartoon, then this is right for you! ****/*****

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