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What is the Last Film You Watched? - Part II

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I'm all for that, but a line must drawn somewhere. What would The Godfather have been without the Italian mafia?

'Course, some unfaithful adaptations have actually turned out to be better than the original.

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Well, I think it's a bit unfair to use The Godfather as an example....You've got two of the best films ever made, that were adapted from a trashy novel. The films are totally different in spirit than the books.

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Of that specifically, I don't know...but when talking about adaptations, I always immidiately think about the HP series. The first two were faithful to the words of the books and thus, I felt, were only filmed accessories to the books. The third one was not faithful to the words of the book. In fact, it left out a lot of major things. But, on the other hand, it was faithful to the spirit of the book. That is where good adaptation comes from. If I wanted to experience the book, I'd read the book. I'm here to see a film. I want the director to capture the essence of the book, while still imprinting himself on the film.

Of course, only if it is a book I liked. I don't care for directors accurately capturing a book I didn't care for. Like Memoirs of a Geisha. Not good book + Faithful adaptation= Not good movie. But on the other hand- Titus Andronicus. Not good play + Revisionist adaptation= Very good movie.

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The film Adaptation is an interesting take on the original source material, as it really doesn't lend itself to a good translation to film. But Charlie Kaufman saw a different take on it, and make a terrific movie out of the idea.

Or something like Tristram Shandy.

Then you have movies that are created from historical books, like All the President's Men or JFK, which are specifically based on books, and not just general history.

And Titus Andronicus is a fine play. It's not Shakespeare's best, not by a long shot, but it's hardly bad.

Tim

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Hello everyone. A long time no see! Here is a small update with some of the things I have watched over the last months.

The Wind That Shakes The Barney: Good but not great. Too short to thourougly deal with the material.

Lady In The Water: Easily the best M. Night Shyamalan so far. Never knew good ol' Night could be funny.

The Prestige: Nice entertainment but I had hoped for more. A bit shallow like most movies coming out of Hollywood.

Stay: Flop.

Battlestar Galactica Season 1: Likable Action SF series.

Battlestar Galactica Season 2: Still likable in the second season.

Middlemarch (1994): Good BBC Mini albeit a bit traditional. Rufus Sewell, one of the actors, is born for this.

Vanity Fair: Another very good BBC miniseries. The direction is a bit more "modern". It works very well.

The Way We Live now: Very good BBC miniseries and with an amazing David Suchet. Again, the direction is "modern".

War and Peace (1972) : Classic BBC miniseries with the great Anthony Hopkins. A must-see!

Heimat 1: Eh ... Brilliant!

Heimat 2: Again, brilliant! However, since this is about intelligent people it is less accessible than the first.

Deadwood Season 1: Brilliant. The answer to the dissappointing silver screen output that is coming out of Hollywoodland.

Deadwood Season 2: Not as brilliant as the first season but still very good. Can't wait for Season 3.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada: Just OK.

Don't Come Knocking: Just OK.

Borat: Sometimes very funny but I didn't laugh that much.

Volver: Just OK. I'm not a big Almodovar fan.

The Proposition: I couldn't care less for this "praised" Aussy western.

X-Men 3: Dumb third installment. Singer is missed.

Superman Returns: What a senseless movie. What happened to Singer?

The Secret Life Of Words: An adult tearjerker. A very good Sarah Polley.

Greets,

Alex

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Just purchased and viewed Nixon. I enjoyed the movie a lot, although I was dissapointed not to hear all of The Turbulent Years during the intro sequence. It would have been cool if Stone had used it like they had used the prologue for JFK.

Anthony Hopkins is the PERFECT Nixon, I think this may have been one of his best performances. One thing I have to say though...he made made me feel sympathetic for Nixon, and I don't feel he warrants that sympathy.

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Lady In The Water: Easily the best M. Night Shyamalan so far. Never knew good ol' Night could be funny.

I can agree with that, but I'm not sure if I want to see this again.

The Prestige: Nice entertainment but I had hoped for more. A bit shallow like most movies coming out of Hollywood.

No more shallow than pretty much anything else from Hollywood from last 5 years (or maybe even more).

Karol

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You've actually read Jaws?

Twice, actually. It was so bad I thought I had missed the point the first time around. The second time it only got worse.

ps- getting Sticky Fingers as we speak :banghead:

Enjoy the sister morphine.

-Ross, who guesses he has to go get Rome now.

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YOU'RE STILL ALIVE?!?!?!

Of course I'm alive, Morlock! I've have moved house and have been (and I still am) without any connectivity to the internet.

OK, some other titles I've have watched are:

The Da Vinci Code: Not good but watchable. In the end it was pretty predictable.

The Constant Gardener: I didn't care for it. Strange, I really thought this would be a winner.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire: Best one yet and I didn't miss Williams for a second.

The World's Fastest Indian: Fantastic feel good movie with the ever great Hopkins.

The White Countess: Ivory's best title in years. Loved the performances, especially that Chinese/Japanese guy.

The Black Dahlia: Mediocre as well pretty much always when De Palma is directing.

Alex - who bought a laptop and is sitting in coffee shops and cafés so that he's able to be on the net and chat with you guys.

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War and Peace (1972) : Classic BBC miniseries with the great Anthony Hopkins. A must-see!

Indeed it is. :banghead:

I watched three miniserieses in the last few weeks - first I watched The House of Cards (brilliant) and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (absolutely amazingly brilliant), in memory of the late Ian Richardson, and Tinker, Tailor inspired me to watch the less-gripping but extremely satisfying Smiley's People.

I also bought the I, Claudius DVD set, and I can't wait to watch that again.

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Well it's good to hear from you again.

Well, thanks, Mark. I've missed talk (or debate) with you guys.

I also bought the I, Claudius DVD set, and I can't wait to watch that again.

That's still the BBC's crowning achievement. Terrible production values but a story and cast to die for. Just ask Stefancos, I'm sure he will agree.

Alex

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You've actually read Jaws?

Twice, actually. It was so bad I thought I had missed the point the first time around. The second time it only got worse.

As with most novels Jaws has more to the storyline, but thankfully Spielberg and co cut most of the uneccessary fat from the script and made the characters more sympathetic and likable.

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Well it's good to hear from you again.

Well, thanks, Mark. I've missed talk (or debate) with you guys.

And you're stimulating presence has been missed.

I'm surprised you even saw De-Vinci Code...agree with you there. Not good, but watchable (mainly for McKellen).

I also thought you'd go gaga for Constant Gardener...I liked it, but it didn't leave a strong impression on me.

Totally disagree on Potter, I thought it a terrible film.

White Countess didn't look all that appealing to me...but I'll check it out. A serious gap of filmic education of the past 20 years is the fact that I don't believe I've seen a single Merchant/Ivory film. SERIOUS gap. I can't find A Room With a View, Howard's End, or Remains of the Day anywhere here, and I'm dying to see all of them.

I hated Black Dahlia, though I disagree about DePalma in general.

I agree about X-Men and Superman, though both had fun villains.

I liked Volver a lot, even though I too am not an Almodovar fan.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was more than just ok.

The Prestige was a big dissapointment.

Agree with you The Wind That Shakes The Barney.

Morlock- on his way now to a double feature at the Cinemateque: The Quiet American followed by the local premiere of Letters From Iwo Jima

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I didn't hate The Black Dahlia, I just didn't particularly like it either.

As for De Palma in general, well I very much enjoy:

Sisters

Carrie (probably my favourite)

Obsession (even though it's his most blatant rip-off)

The Fury (the most enjoyable trash I've ever seen)

Dressed to Kill

Blowout

The Untouchables

Casualties of War

Carlito's Way

Femme Fatale

Snake Eyes, M:I and Scarface were also good entertainment (though I find the latter to be incredibly overrated).

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White Countess didn't look all that appealing to me...but I'll check it out. A serious gap of filmic education of the past 20 years is the fact that I don't believe I've seen a single Merchant/Ivory film. SERIOUS gap. I can't find A Room With a View, Howard's End, or Remains of the Day anywhere here, and I'm dying to see all of them.

Well, it's certainly worth watching, mostly for the acting. However, the film doesn't flow as effortlessly as Howard's End or Remains Of The Day, which are probably Ivory's best. Those, Morlock, should be very high on your list! You should order these, pronto! Shame on you!

Alex

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Alex and have have not seen eye-to eye on most things, and he has on more then one occasion shown contempt for me, my opinions, my posts and my taste of music and love for Williams.

Yet when I saw his name here, I was glad to see it again.

Glad to have you back Alex.

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No not yet, Alex has not demeaned either me, you, Morlock or Joe in any way. :banghead:

Btw Alex, how can you move house without having an Internet connection?

That just doesn't make sense to me......

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White Countess didn't look all that appealing to me...but I'll check it out. A serious gap of filmic education of the past 20 years is the fact that I don't believe I've seen a single Merchant/Ivory film. SERIOUS gap. I can't find A Room With a View, Howard's End, or Remains of the Day anywhere here, and I'm dying to see all of them.

Well, it's certainly worth watching, mostly for the acting. However, the film doesn't flow as effortlessly as Howard's End or Remains Of The Day, which are probably Ivory's best. Those, Morlock, should be very high on your list! You should order these, pronto! Shame on you!

Alex

Man, I can't praise Remains of the Day enough. That movie just absorbs you and takes you along with it. One of my favorite films ever.

Tim

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Okay, back from the Cinematque. First film was The Quiet American. Good, with top notch performances. Brendan Fraser is quite effective as in the title role, who's sunny, idealistic point of view gets on the nerves of both the protagonist and the audience. Michael Caine delivers one of his best performances as the world weary (A cliched term, but it fits) correspondant. Craig Armstrong scored the picture with rather uninteresting results. The film feels like a ***1/2 film, but I'm afraid I didn't have enough affection for it. ***/****.

Second film was Letters from Iwo Jima. Very good film. Far better than Flags of Our Fathers, I knew and liked and sympathized with characters in this film. Film rarely felt corny (unlike it's companion piece), and I always felt like the movie was moving in the right direction (again, unlike it's companion piece).

At it's core, it's the story of two Japanese soliders, one a general, one a private, with other good supporting characters added into the mix. Ken Watanabe gives a fantastic performance- he is an actor who has the uncanny ability of having his character be evident on his face. I looked at his face and was transported. His dignity, humanity, loyalty, his thoughts of home, his conflicted feeling about the Americans (he has genuine affection for America). And he is the first person on the island to fully grasp how hopeless the Japanese situation is. It is a rare thing to see on film, a general in the heat of the battle not anxious and angry because he's not winning, but because his soldiers are fulishly wasting their lives and futily dying instead of making their deaths count.

And, on the other side, the private, who is the antithesis of your typical war movie protagonist- he is not particularly patriotic, not especially friendly, not especially manly- he is just a guy thinking of his wife, and not at all in corny, fake, way.

And of the supporting characters, most impressive is the former Olympic champion, who, like Watanabe's character, has great affection for the Americans.

Film is designed, shot and cut with the same skill as it's counterpart was. Score is a definate improvement. It is the same kind of score, used as frequetly and with a similar feel, but I like the theme for this one, as opposed to the terrible maudlin one FoOF had.

Now, truth be told, I did not find the film to be so great while watching it. Only upon a bit of reflection did I realize how impressive it is. It is unlike any war film I've seen, in that the side we see is the side generally portrayed as vicious animals. Over here, Eastwood does a remarkable job of painting a fuller portrait of the battle, and of war in general. While the films are not anti-war per se, they do show the stupidity and sadness of all these young boys death, and, just in showing us both sides of the battle, he makes a powerful anti-war statement. While on a global scale one side may be more just than the other, on this scale, no side is better or worse than the other. Both are equally human and inhuman. I was quite startled when I realized during one of the battle scenes, that this is the first time I've ever seen a protagonist being attacked by an American soldier in battle before. Never has the American soldier been the bad guy before.

The film may feel a bit long at times. Never boring, but a bit too slow, especially since you know the outcome. And I think it is lacking a larger view of the battle (not larger battle scenes, but even just a post script out lining the human toll). Because of that, I do not believe it can be called a great film. However, it has many great and powerful things about it, and is extremely thought provoking, much more than Flags of Our Fathers, which, upon contemplation doesn't get any better.

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

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The Prestige.I felt let down with the improbable endlessely twisting ending,which I did not fully understand and did not feel like watching again

The Illusionnist was a better movie.

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Although also felt The Illusionist was a let-down, I too think it was a better film. It looked fantastic, had a good score, and the magic trick scenes were truely magical.

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There's a screening of Zodiac tonight which I really really want to see (and thanks to a facebook group, I'd be able to get in free) but I don't want to drive all the way to the MoA when I know it'll be full before I get there.

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Well....did you get to it? I can't wait for Shire's score, and the movie lloks interesting.

I saw Dreamgirls. Good movie. Biggest problem were the songs. The vast majority of them are not very good or memorable. There are a couple of good ones, though. I personally liked 'Dreamgirls' and 'One Night Only'. I don't think that the big deal around 'And I'm Telling you I'm not Going' is justified, I don't think they did a great job of it. For acts of desperation, Chicago's was far better.

The performances were excellent, with Jennifer Hudson far ahead of the pack. Everything that was said about her is true. It is her movie, she is the star. Her performances are the best thing in the movie. If it weren't her movie, it would be Eddie Murphy's. While I don't think his performance is so amazing, I think he took a small and not very important role and made something out of it.

Beyonce was fine, was best when she was singing. Danny Glover was nice, a pleasant presence in the film. Jamie Foxx was fine, I do not think he was particularly impressive. I liked Keith Robinson a lot.

Sets and costumes were fine, nothing particularly impressive. Some of the choreography was very good though.

To sum up- it was very good, very entertaining, and I had a huge smile on my face at the end. I don't think it is quite as impressive or unique as Chicago was, and the songs certainly ain't nothin' special, but it was a very, very, satisfying time in the theater.

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Yesterday I watched Edward Norton's movie "Keeping the Faith". Quite old one, but I hadn't seen it before. I liked it very much. It is not common for american filmmakers (sorry) to do a romantic comedy that is both entertaining and intelligent. Not to mention that two main characters are a priest and a rabin, which is very unusual for a rom- com... or for any non-religious movie, in fact. It paid off, because it allowed the filmmaker to avoid many cliches and gave him a chance to experiment with a quite worn-out genre. What is more, the movie has splendid cast even in minor roles (one can even spot Milos Forman). Last but not least - Jenna Elfman is lovely.

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I saw Bridge on The River Kwai a couple of weeks back. I've always concidered the film among my favorites, even though I got a strange vibe off of it. This time seeing it, maybe the 5th-6th time, I came to the conclusion that it is not a great film at all. It has elements of greatness, great scenes, one of the best finales ever (though even that's muddled), but it is not a great film. It is uneven and unfocused, and while it is much shorter than Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, feels longer.

And anyone who denies that Arnold won the oscar for anything but the use of the Colonel Bogey March is a fool. The score is generally quite bad, terribley loud, intrusive and melodramatic. He's got one excellent theme in there, and that's about it.

That's a dissapointment. I've had films drop a few levels on my favorites list because of over-exposure (Amadeus, for one. I saw it about 5 times in the course of a month, and didn't touch it again for two year), but don't recall a favorite film being demoted clear beyond the ranks of favorite.

***/****.

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I remember liking it when I saw it, but not really justified as being "one of the greats"

I finished off 24 Season 2 last week after like a 6 month hiatus(waaaaaaaaayyyyy better than season 1), now working my way through Season 3(Already don't like it much, too much DRUGS ARE BAD FOR YOU, EVERYBODY IN THE SHOW IS INVOLVED IN IT NOW SO YOU WILL KNOW, EVEN JACK)

And I just out of the blue watched Punch Drunk Love again (Bill Nighy's favorite film apparently), a nice short film that says what it needs to without a lot of fluff. Hoffman is amazing in the 5 minutes he's in the film.

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I watched The French Connection. Very good film with superb performances and a bizarre but appropriate score. Very well-directed by William Friedkin. Love the ending.

I bought the Papillon DVD yesterday, and I'm looking forward to watching it (for the first time). I also hope to see Hot Fuzz at the weekend...

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I liked season 1 of 24, it was very good, though it suffered from the fact that they didn't know they could do a whole season; part of season 2 was better, part of it was worse. Season 3 is the most brilliant piece of television I've seen since The X-Files and Twin Peaks. I just can't stop gushing over it. There was almost no bad episode in it.

Season 4 was a letdown though. I have to begin watching 5 now.

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The first season of 24 was excellent. Thrilling, gripping, mostly because the characters in danger were actually individuals you cared about. Season 2 wasn't bad, but already suffered from "everything has to be bigger". A problem that got worse with each new season, though nevertheless, the last episodes of S4 (I think that's the one) were extremely exciting again.

I have yet to finish season 5.

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The first season of 24 was excellent. Thrilling, gripping, mostly because the characters in danger were actually individuals you cared about. Season 2 wasn't bad, but already suffered from "everything has to be bigger".

I didn't really mind that as much in season 2. I just had a blast watching that. But it has become something of a problem since.

With the exception of the second season, which I think is great fun, the show so far seems to suffer from reverse Star Trek syndrome: odd ones great, even ones, not as much. Season 4 was a deep lowpoint, and I so far haven't been particularly impressed by season 6 (although we're not halfway through it yet, so things might still change - season 5's most interesting episodes came about two thirds into the season).

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The Black Dahlia. It has it's moments but somehow I just did not really get this. I never really felt conected with the characters. DePalma is in top form the script just seemed to lack heart. 3 out of 5.

A Scanner Darkly. Great stuff. An intelligent adaptation which doesn't just pluck an idea from the novel and go somewhere diffrent (pretty much any of the other PKD movies.) Performances are great. 4 out of 5.

The Mosquito Coast. An interesting film that deals with some powerful concepts. Harrison Ford is surprisingly good. Some of the hostility from Rev Spellgood is a little far fetched. 4 out of 5.

The Last Temptation Of Christ. The most thought provoking film I've seen in probably 6 months. For some reason I grew up thinking this movie was about Jesus banging Mary and then dies somewhere in India. While a lot of it's plot takes quite a few liberties from the gospels I think it's strength is that it's the only film version of the gospel where I actually believe that Jesus is a human being. To me, no matter if your are Christian or otherwise this is much more powerful. Jesus actually being human with all of our doubts and fears and yet somehow still managed to go through with crucifixtion just enhances and makes me appreciate the story all the more. I'm willing to forgive it's other flaws just for that. 5 out of 5.

Justin

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