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What is the Last Film You Watched? - Part II


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I agree. If it had been told and presented differently, audiences could've believed. As it is, it came off as absurd, pretentious, and extremely self-aware (and not in the way it tried to be). And I fully wanted and expected to love the film. Oops.

Ray Barnsbury

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Has anybody seen the film Man Push Cart? It's a wonderful example of how great filmmaking can involve any subject matter or "plot."

Ted

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Has anybody seen the film Man Push Cart? It's a wonderful example of how great filmmaking can involve any subject matter or "plot."

Ted

I haven't seen it, but that's a big generlization you're making there. Any example would not prove that filmmaking can involve any subject matter or "plot" (And, BTW, the word plot being in parentheses is also not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about "plot", I'm talking about plot, a very specific thing). It proves that a filmmaker can find a good film in an unpredictable place. In general, I'd bearguing your point of view. But with this film, I have encountered a story that I do not believe could possibly be good in film form.

There have been good films made with more rediculous story lines, thats for sure.

Look, this film was technically impressive- looked great, sounded great, was well-acted (well, except for Shyamalan, who was not good in the role for more reason than one)- but still, it was a bad movie. And I believe that is because the story is so ridicules, so utterly unimpressive, containing too many bad elements to make a good film, no matter how well everything else in it is done.

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The Inconvenient Truth. I enjoyed it but found those random trips into Gore's past and feelings, irrelevant. Oh and the visualization of the Polar Bear trying to get on the ice was hilarious.

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Anyone familiar with The Shop Around the Corner? It's an old Jimmy Stewart film. I found it highly enjoyable; hilarious and sweet. I guess that makes it a romantic comedy (romedy?).

I think it had a great cast of fun and interesting characters.

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The Good Shepherd. Wonderful, brilliant. Probably the best film of 2006. Damon pulls this role off incredibly well, he's also supported by a fantastic supporting cast like Angelina Jolie, Michael Gambon, and William Hurt. The real winners here are Eric Roth and Robert DeNiro who gave us a truly stunning screenplay and beautifully directed picture. Compared with Roth's previously unfocused dramatic attempt with Munich this is a much tighter and well built breath of fresh air. 5 out of 5.

Justin

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Anyone familiar with The Shop Around the Corner? It's an old Jimmy Stewart film. I found it highly enjoyable; hilarious and sweet. I guess that makes it a romantic comedy (romedy?).

I think it had a great cast of fun and interesting characters.

Well, I'm going to get shot for this but I think the remake, You've Got Mail, is terribly underrated. I know, I hate Meg Ryan too, but the movie was also highly enjoyable... for a mushy afternoon. Truly one of Ephron's best (which is like deciding who was the best out of the Three Stooges).

The original I really couldn't connect with. I should watch it again.

-Ross, who has been watching the Jeeves and Wooster shows lately. Good Lord, how stupid it makes my attempts at writing look.

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I'm still waiting to see several films, including Pan's Labyrinth, Volver, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Three Times, the Death of Mr. Lazerecsu, Brick and many many others before I make my Best of 2006 List. As it stands now, The Queen is by far the best movie I've seen this year.

Ted

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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

Excellent film! I thought that was from 2005, though, otherwise I'd have mentioned it in my list.

OK, I cannot begin to rank them, but these are the films I really enjoyed last year:

  • The Black Dahlia
  • Casino Royale
  • Children of Men
  • Clerks II
  • The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
  • The Departed
  • An Inconvenient Truth
  • Pan's Labyrnith
  • The Prestige
  • The Queen
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Snakes on a Plane
  • United 93
  • Volver
      I haven't yet seen Stranger than Fiction, The Good Shepherd, Brick, Flags of Our Fathers, and quite a few others.
      I enjoyed a lot of films in 2006, though most of the big budget ones (The Da Vinci Code, X-Men - The Last Stand, Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest etc.) were disappointing.
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I agree with you about the disappointing ones, Rob. All three of those were very disappointing. I would add World Trade Center to that list as well. Adding to my list of movies to see, some ones you mentioned like Stranger than Fiction, Flags of Our Fathers, and The Prestige. Hopefully I'm seeing Children of Men tonight (it just came out here in the States) and Pan's Labyrinth next week. Some recent films I enjoyed: A Scanner Darkly, An Inconvenient Truth, and Thank You For Smoking. I didn't much care for genre pick like 16 Blocks and The Black Dahlia, but they weren't bad.

My unofficial tops list currently is as follows:

The Queen

United 93

The Descent

Miami Vice

Little Miss Sunshine

Borat

Dreamgirls

V For Vendetta

Ted

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Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Absolutely hilarious. I haven't laughed this hard at a film in ages. Some of these stunts are priceless. I wouldn't know what the rewatch value on this is, really, but the first view was definitely great.

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So nobody saw Rocky Balboa except me? I highly recommend it.

It's not out in the UK yet. I plan to see it when it arrives.

- Rob, who likes Rocky and Rocky II, but not the others

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The Prestige opens today here. I have my finger crossed since it is my most anticipated film of the year.

Karol

You better damn well enjoy it.

I'm serious.

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Has anybody seen the film Man Push Cart? It's a wonderful example of how great filmmaking can involve any subject matter or "plot."

Ted

I haven't seen it, but that's a big generlization you're making there. Any example would not prove that filmmaking can involve any subject matter or "plot" (And, BTW, the word plot being in parentheses is also not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about "plot", I'm talking about plot, a very specific thing). It proves that a filmmaker can find a good film in an unpredictable place. In general, I'd bearguing your point of view. But with this film, I have encountered a story that I do not believe could possibly be good in film form.

The plot is not the story. It is just a very minor (in the cinematic medium) element of the story. The story you're referring to sounds to me more like plot, the script. You're saying it could not have been good. I never said that any script can make a good movie. You are right that a good director can make a decnt or even good film from a mediocre script. However, that's besides the point. My point is that there is no story not worth telling on film. Depending on the exercution, any story can be told effectively in the cinema. That is the beauty of the cinema as opposed to other narrative driven art forms. I agree that certain plots are indeed hard to make into decent films, but that was never my argument.

Ted

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Lady in the Water

Bought it on dvd and I was pretty optimisitic about it beforehand, wasn't keen on Night putting himself in the movie in a bigger role and whatnot but I could get past it and enjoy the flick (I enjoyed The Village). But ugh, so many poor spots in the movie, right now for me it's the EXPOSITION EXPOSITION EXPOSITION OF BLUE WORLD and YARGH I HATE FILM CRITICS.

Some good camera work but not as inventive as his previous films and the score works, although I was a little disapointed with what they showed in conjunction with the Great Eatlon climax.

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So nobody saw Rocky Balboa except me? I highly recommend it.

I saw it a couple weekends ago. It was alot better then I expected, with the fight being the real highlight of the movie, if you ignore Stallones age for 15 minutes. However, I felt that the Adrian scenes dragged on WAY too long.

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Anyone familiar with The Shop Around the Corner? It's an old Jimmy Stewart film. I found it highly enjoyable; hilarious and sweet. I guess that makes it a romantic comedy (romedy?).

I think it had a great cast of fun and interesting characters.

Well, I'm going to get shot for this but I think the remake, You've Got Mail, is terribly underrated. I know, I hate Meg Ryan too, but the movie was also highly enjoyable... for a mushy afternoon. Truly one of Ephron's best (which is like deciding who was the best out of the Three Stooges).

I haven't really seen that one. I'm not a Hanks or Ryan fan. Come to think of it I'm really not that much of a fan of any modern actor/actress.

I like Shop Around the Corner mostly because it's funny and not so much the romantic part. It's all right, but I love mostly the humorous interaction between all the characters at the shop.

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Lady in the Water  

Bought it on dvd and I was pretty optimisitic about it beforehand, wasn't keen on Night putting himself in the movie in a bigger role and whatnot but I could get past it and enjoy the flick (I enjoyed The Village). But ugh, so many poor spots in the movie, right now for me it's the EXPOSITION EXPOSITION EXPOSITION OF BLUE WORLD and YARGH I HATE FILM CRITICS.  

Some good camera work but not as inventive as his previous films and the score works, although I was a little disapointed with what they showed in conjunction with the Great Eatlon climax.

For some reason, although the film is crap, I never really minded Shyamalan's role. Maybe it was self-absorbed for him to do that, but I thought he was fine in the part. In regards to your comment about the climax of the film, I totally agree. As Howard's music is blasting so gorgeously, we see that ridiculous half muscular guy waving a pool net at the CGI wolf (aka, the "scrunt"...don't get me started). And I don't mean to be offensive, but the 500-pound girl stalking around the pool wielding a kitchen pot is just hard not to laugh at. Though I love Howard's score, I don't think it fit or even enhanced the film all that well...it's so beautiful that it mostly just highlights the idiocy of what's happening on screen.

Ray Barnsbury

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Children of Men

Absolutely amazing, I mean wow.

Wow.

The shots that he was able to pull off, just amazing. Definately in my top three films of the year (I count it in '06 since it came out everywhere else except here) if not THE film.

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Children of Men

Absolutely amazing, I mean wow.

Wow.

The shots that he was able to pull off, just amazing. Definately in my top three films of the year (I count it in '06 since it came out everywhere else except here) if not THE film.

Lady in the Water  

Bought it on dvd and I was pretty optimisitic about it beforehand, wasn't keen on Night putting himself in the movie in a bigger role and whatnot but I could get past it and enjoy the flick (I enjoyed The Village). But ugh, so many poor spots in the movie, right now for me it's the EXPOSITION EXPOSITION EXPOSITION OF BLUE WORLD and YARGH I HATE FILM CRITICS.  

Some good camera work but not as inventive as his previous films and the score works, although I was a little disapointed with what they showed in conjunction with the Great Eatlon climax.

For some reason, although the film is crap, I never really minded Shyamalan's role. Maybe it was self-absorbed for him to do that, but I thought he was fine in the part. In regards to your comment about the climax of the film, I totally agree. As Howard's music is blasting so gorgeously, we see that ridiculous half muscular guy waving a pool net at the CGI wolf (aka, the "scrunt"...don't get me started). And I don't mean to be offensive, but the 500-pound girl stalking around the pool wielding a kitchen pot is just hard not to laugh at. Though I love Howard's score, I don't think it fit or even enhanced the film all that well...it's so beautiful that it mostly just highlights the idiocy of what's happening on screen.

Ray Barnsbury

My apprehensions about Night were from beforehand but I agree with you, I didn't mind him either, although the actress playing his sister stole the show from him.

Edit: Liked Jeffrey Wright's character though, along with his son

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Dreamgirls

A film with a great story but sadly it was poorly executed. It seemed as if the film makers loved every song that was written for this play and couldn't part with them. Well they should have cut at least half of them. The film is filled with song after song after song with only maybe two or three minutes of real dialogue. And so to move the story along almost 90% of the film is montage. Now while Eisenstein would be proud it doesn't work. The story is great as I said, uplifting, heartbreaking and a truly disturbing look in the sacrifices people make for fame. However the song after song pace slows the film down to an almost halt. After the fifth song with nothing more than a 45 second gap in between each the audience was both ready to go and dreading another tune. I will admit I rolled my eyes too when they began singing again. While the filmmakers moved the story along while using music, it still didn't help the feeling that you were watching a montage/music video. But anyways the positives. Great cast, great music loved almost every song. The acting was on point from every ball player. Fox was a charming villain, Beyonce was great the girl can act yeah she has a long way to go but at least she can do it, Murphy was fantastic great to see him try not to be funny. And then there is the talked about Ms. Hudson. While her performance is great it isn't amazing. For someone's first time on screen she did an excellent job however, what really made you fall in love with her performance is her voice not her acting. The girl can sing. The audience applauded even before she stopped singing And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. She really does have a voice that can shake foundation. So all in all story, great, acting, great, music, great, execution mediocre. I just want to cut at least five songs out of the movie. Then maybe I could give it a 9 out of 10 or a 4 out of 5.

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The Prestige opens today here. I have my finger crossed since it is my most anticipated film of the year.

Karol

You better damn well enjoy it.

I'm serious.

I did immensely! What a fun movie to watch. All of the cast did a very good job. And the movie even smarter than it seems to be, given the fact that the major twist is solely to once again to trick the audience. I think the s-f sollution isn't the the sollution after all. But I have to rewatch it to be sure.

Besides, it is so much Nolan's film. I mean, he developed his own voice throughout his short career. His films don't try to be showy. People do like them, because they're really solid. Even Batman Begins made as much money because of good word of mouth, not marketing. I respect that.

Oh, the score is horrible. Like in most Nolan's films. (And no, Mr. Cosman, I don't mean Van Helsing kind of crap, so even you won't enjoy it. ;) ) Bland and irritating. I'd rather this movie to be unscored. Fortunetly, the it's so good, so it can overcome these shortcomings.

Definitely ma favourite of 2006!

It comes out on DVD this February. I'm looking forward to it.  

Ted

So am I. But, until then, I think I'll go to see this again and again and again ;)

Next: The Fountain.

Karol

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You better damn well enjoy it.

I'm serious.

I did immensely! What a fun movie to watch. All of the cast did a very good job. And the movie even smarter than it seems to be, given the fact that the major twist is solely to once again to trick the audience. I think the s-f sollution isn't the the sollution after all. But I have to rewatch it to be sure.

Besides, it is so much Nolan's film. I mean, he developed his own voice throughout his short career. His films don't try to be showy. People do like them, because they're really solid. Even Batman Begins made as much money because of good word of mouth, not marketing. I respect that.

Oh, the score is horrible. Like in most Nolan's films. (And no, Mr. Cosman, I don't mean Van Helsing kind of crap, so even you won't enjoy it. ;) ) Bland and irritating. I'd rather this movie to be unscored. Fortunetly, the it's so good, so it can overcome these shortcomings.

Definitely ma favourite of 2006!

So am I. But, until then, I think I'll go to see this again and again and again ;)

Next: The Fountain.

Karol

The ending in the movie is a great improvement to the one in the book, the book just sidewined off another plot and then left the reader hanging.

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Superman: The Movie

I got this for Christmas from my cousin. Again and again I'll say, it's one of the best films I've ever seen. Sure, the effects might not be as convincing as last year's Superman offering. But by golly it has so much chemistry, emotion, acting power and action. Not to mention a sublime score. I'll never tire of it.

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Superman: The Movie

I got this for Christmas from my cousin. Again and again I'll say, it's one of the best films I've ever seen. Sure, the effects might not be as convincing as last year's Superman offering. But by golly it has so much chemistry, emotion, acting power and action. Not to mention a sublime score. I'll never tire of it.

I actually didn't find Superman Returns' special effects very convincing. They were too glossy. However, with Superman - The Movie I never think about the fact that I'm watching special effects. Donner filmed them realistically - he filmed them in just the same way as he filmed everything else. Take the example in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith of the opening sequence, where the "camera" unrealistically tracks following the two Jedi fighters - there is no way a camera can do that, so it draws attention to the fact that it's not real. If they're FILMED realistically, i.e. as if they were filming them for real, it's easy to overlook a bit of less-than-perfect bluescreening. That's my opinion, anyway. ;)

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I can agree with that. But let's admit - the moments of "stop motion" aren't as fluid as the flying and speed running scenes now. Not that they bother me at all. But I still grin when I see Clark running alongside the train in the film like a marionette puppet!

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I can agree with that. But let's admit - the moments of "stop motion" aren't as fluid as the flying and speed running scenes now. Not that they bother me at all. But I still grin when I see Clark running alongside the train in the film like a marionette puppet!

How do you know that's not how people from Krypton run, normally? ;)

Anyway, I haven't posted my recent film-watchings for quite a while, so here goes:

Casino Royale (2006)

My third time in the cinema. Great movie! Easily the best Bond film since the 1960s, and Craig is now my second-favourite Bond (behind Connery, but ahead of Dalton). The only criticism I can think of is a few clunky lines in the script - though nothing on Die Another Day's level - and it's a minor quibble anyway. The action is great, not believable as such, but not complete fantasy like the Die Another Day parasurfing. Arnold's score is pretty good. Mads Mikkelsen is memorable as Le Chiffre. The torture scene was much more effective this time round. When I saw it (December 23) it had been out for over five weeks - and the cinema was easily 2/3 full. That can't be a bad sign. I give it a ***1/2 out of ****.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Possibly the most overrated film of all time, but still excellent. This is Morgan Freeman's show, definitely. It is overlong, and a few scenes don't quite work, but over all it's extremely satisfying entertainment. Beautifully shot by the great Roger Deakins, and effectively scored by Thomas Newman. Again, ***1/2 out of ****.

The Killing (1956)

Superb film, with generally good performances. Unlike Kubrick's later films, this one is very tightly paced, with a complex (but highly effective) plot. Gerald Fried's score is intrusive at times, and extremely melodramatic. This film deserved better. However, that is the only significant flaw in an otherwise brilliant film. If I was to compile a list of my favourite movie endings, I'm sure this would rank highly. I watched this with my family on Boxing Day, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. ***1/2 out of ****.

Star Wars (1977)

I wasn't going to buy these limited edition DVDs, but equally, I didn't turn them away when I was (much to my surprise) given them for Christmas. The film is much more entertaining without any of that CG crap or Jabba scene. And Han shoots first! It's amazing how much difference that few minutes-worth of tighter pace can make. Even with the crappy transfer on this edition, I can not imagine ever wanting to watch either revised version again. Oh, and the score's pretty damn good. ***1/2 out of ****.

Superman Returns (2006)

What a boring, pretentious, dull, overlong, bland piece of crap. All I can say in its favour: Brandon Routh does an admirable job of following in Reeve's footsteps, and Kevin Spacey is great as Luthor. But two good cast members can't save this turkey. John Ottman's score is awful. The action is boring. Wasn't it Richard Donner who said that the biggest crime a film could commit was to be boring? Given how much Singer seems to like paying "tribute" to Donner, you'd have thought he might have listened to that advice. */****

2001: A Space Odyssey

I know there's not a lot of love for this film on these boards, but it's probably in my all-time top five. I have no criticisms whatsoever. It is not dated in any way (apart from maybe the old-fashioned news broadcast - but who cares?), the special effects are still the best I've ever seen, and despite the long periods of time with nothing much happening, I find it utterly gripping. And as much as I love North's score, Kubrick's choice of music - for me - equals, if not surpasses, what North did. ****/****, no question about it.

Chinatown

Wow, my opinion of this film completely changed. I first saw it when I was 15 (so about five years ago), and to be honest I thought it was a bit boring. Now, I feel completely differently. I was absolutely gripped from start to finish. Jack Nicholson's performance is dead-on perfect, easily his best role. It's beautifully shot by John A. Alonzo, who also did Scarface and Farewell, My Lovely. And then there's Jerry Goldsmith's score - absolutely fantastic, fits the film perfectly. The theme is beautiful. Roman Polanski has a memorable cameo. I can now happily give this film ****/****.

Superman: The Movie

Excellent film, the first time I've watched the theatrical version in about four years. I have sent off for the corrected discs with the (superior) original soundtrack, but the Thau mix didn't bother me too much most of the time. For me, the Krypton and Smallville scenes are perfect, and Metropolis scenes are very good, but the final act isn't quite up to the same standard. The ending (turning back the world) still feels like a teensy bit of a cop-out, but the film is too fun for me to care. ***1/2 out of ****.

The Usual Suspects

Hmm. A very strange film. The two things its famous for: Kevin Spacey, and the ending, are both superb. In fact, the whole second half of the film is brilliant. I thought the flashback scene was a bit disturbing, and didn't need to be so. However, the first half is really not that interesting. The performances are still great, but the plot is just a bit too confusing for its own good. A goood film, but not one that I have any desire to revisit in the near future. ***/****.

and finally...

Die Hard

A really good fun action film, from a director who is at his best when making really good fun action films. Willis and Rickman are perfectly cast. Michael Kamen's score is effective, but - curiously - the most memorable musical moment is the tracked Aliens cue, by James Horner. The script is more than adequate, with lots of memorable lines. Not one of the best films ever made, but it's certainly one of the most entertaining of the last 20 years. ***1/2 out of ****.

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Die Hard

A really good fun action film, from a director who is at his best when making really good fun action films. Willis and Rickman are perfectly cast. Michael Kamen's score is effective, but - curiously - the most memorable musical moment is the tracked Aliens cue, by James Horner. The script is more than adequate, with lots of memorable lines. Not one of the best films ever made, but it's certainly one of the most entertaining of the last 20 years. ***1/2 out of ****.

Kamen's score doesn't jump out and waves at you in an attempt to get noticed, but it's bloody effective in the film.

Horner's cue feels out of place.

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It doesn't fit with the rest of the score, but for that scene alone I think it works.

Do you know if Kamen wrote anything for that scene? It would be interesting to compare them...

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I remember seeing Die Hard for the first time and being very surprised that I was suddenly hearing what sounded like the Wrath Of Khan music, even my mother commented on that.

To my knowledge Kamen wrote nothing for that scene.

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You better damn well enjoy it.

I'm serious.

Speaking of which.....I just came back from the cinema seeing The Prestige. One of the most anticipated films of the year for me. I didn't like it. I was either too smart for the film, or too dumb for it. That is to say, if I did indeed understand the film correctly, than it was plainly obvious from the word go. No big surprises, the big trick was not impressive or surprising....just meh. Huge dissapointment.

Children of Men

Absolutely amazing, I mean wow.

Wow.

The shots that he was able to pull off, just amazing. Definately in my top three films of the year (I count it in '06 since it came out everywhere else except here) if not THE film.

I don't know, didn't you find it a bit...simple? I mean, sure, great vision of the world in decay, but we've seen that. The story itself was so simple. And I didn't feel the main character went through anything important....it looks amazing, yes, but I didn't feel like the story matched it. In particular the ending. I was also disspointed by this film, one of my most anticipated of 06, but I liked it a great deal more.

My apprehensions about Night were from beforehand but I agree with you, I didn't mind him either, although the actress playing his sister stole the show from him.

Edit: Liked Jeffrey Wright's character though, along with his son

I did mind him there. He cast himself as a struggling writer who would only be truely understood after he dies.....come on! How big an ego can one guy have?

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Little Miss Sunshine

One of my favorite films of the year, and it was just as good on DVD. The cast all work wonderfully together, and the score is quirky and heartfelt, just like the film. A hilarious, emotional, top-notch movie. A

Charlotte's Web

Not bad, but I was rather underwhelmed. It seemed so short, yet it kind of dragged on towards the end. Elfman's score, though it's kind of just Big Fish Part II, is a delight to hear, and rather more enjoyable than the film. B-

The Holiday

Saw this with my family, and I actually liked it a lot better than I thought I would. I found it quite funny and enjoyable, the most exciting part being Jack Black's film composer character. There was a scene where he went through several different films and hummed the themes, and when he played the Raiders march on the piano, Kate Winslet even said Williams' name! It made me very happy. :P

I was surprised to find that I actually liked it better then Charlotte's Web, but it was really good for a romantic comedy. B+

Children of Men

What an excellent film. I expected a lot from Alfonso Cuaron after PoA, but wow. With bleak cinematography and sparse unnerving score, it is somewhat reminiscent of Minority Report and even V for Vendetta. Cuaron's artistry really comes through in this film, in everything from the jarring appearance of the title to the literally heart-pounding scene in which a group of rebels ambush and open fire on the main characters, who are trying to escort a pregnant woman to safety in a world which hasn't seen a newborn baby in eighteen years. This scene, among others, is all one continuous take, shot (as with most of the film) with a handheld camera.

Excellent performances all around from: Clive Owen as Theo, a cynical deadbeat who becomes a hero; Julianne Moore as Julian, a rebel leader and Theo's ex, who, surprisingly, is killed relatively early in the film; Michael Caine as an old ganja-smoking hippie; and Pam Ferris (Aunt Marge!) as a good-natured friend of the pregnant girl, as well as newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey as the scared young woman who has to give birth to the first baby in nearly two decades. Children of Men is a brilliant, bleak, and even touching vision of the near future from a true master of the silver screen, Alfonso Cuaron. A

~Sturgis

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