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ls
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 07:41 pm:   

, 2006 - 08:02 am:  Edit

I've started a new rule for movies. If a movie opens in the US and isn't screened for critics, I won't go. That's in addition to my previous rule - if Freddie Prinz Jr is in the movie, I won't watch it. I can't think of any other movie rules I follow strictly.
   By Dave G. on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:05 am:  Edit

Never see a movie whose lead ad blurb comes from Peter Travers.
   By LS on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:06 am:  Edit

Actually, I have a lot more faith in the Argentine director than Cronenberg at this juncture, plus the poster rocks...

And yup. SH has developed serious reekage....
   By kellys on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:36 am:  Edit

"Never see a movie whose lead ad blurb comes from Peter Travers..."

I'd add to that list Joel Siegel, Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, Rex Reed – you get the picture. Critics who are lap dogs for the studios.

Yeah, the poster for El Aura rocks. Did you find a reputable site to buy the Spanish disc from?
   By LS on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 08:54 am:  Edit

Nope. But I have a query in to Xploited films, asking if they'll carry it.

Rules for movies that I try to follow -- Never see films by Zemeckis, Chris Colombus, Speilberg, and directors of that stamp, but of course I have to sometimes because of the gig.
   By Robert Devereux on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:08 am:  Edit

Ebert somehow managed to review Silent Hill. It got 1 and 1/2 stars and a comment that it's visuals are good, but the rest isn't.

I don't think having a lead blurb from Travers or other critics guarantees a terrible movie. It's likely, but there can be exceptions. I set my rules based on things I think guarantee terrible movies. Having a lead blurb from Travers doesn't guarantee it, it just makes it very likely. So I'm willing to use that as a guideline rather than a rule, although I might revise it to involve not paying for a movie with a lead blurb from him. Even free, I won't watch an FP Jr movie.
   By kellys on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:15 am:  Edit

Ironcially, a package just came in the mail containing A History of Violence, a movie that didn't awe me on first viewing but which has grown on me. The lead blurb on the DVD is by...Peter Travers.

So, Robert, you are absolutely right -- there really are no guarantees, when it comes to crticial praise, to judging a good or bad film.

And Lucius, surely there must be at least one Spielberg film that you like?
   By LS on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 09:21 am:  Edit

Yeah, I liked Jaws. After that, about midway through Close Encounters, he lost it....
   By MarcL on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 02:53 pm:  Edit

SILENT HILL:

Absolute crap. Stay away. Far away. Let's just say I took a bullet for the team.

Absolute crap. At one point it turned into a full-on Cormanesque witch-burning comedy, sadly minus Vincent Price. Any hopes I had for decent dialog from Avary were totally misplaced. I can't even think of a videogame recently that has had writing this bad.

P.U.
   By LS on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 03:19 pm:  Edit

Thanks, Mark, Whew. I nearly went....

Sorry.
   By MarcL on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 03:35 pm:  Edit

Among the many jawdropping moments: Towards the end, there is a lengthy expository sequence narrated by the little girl. It's as if they put you in a narrative submarine and take you for a hermetically sealed tour of the backstory with grainy film over the portholes to make it look like you're in an interesting stylish realm. I haven't seen such desperately amateur attempts to salvage a movie in a long time.
   By ls on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 05:08 pm:  Edit

It's hard to believe that Christophe Gans did that. It must have been that he made his movie, then whoever had the last cut made it "more accessible."
   By ls on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 07:38 pm:  Edit
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ls
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 07:50 pm:   

El Aura will be available from Exploited Films around May 17....
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kellys
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 08:58 am:   

Thanks Lucius. I'll definitely be buying a copy of El Aura. And thanks Mark for the warning about Silent Hill.

Finally saw a Japanese film that's probably old news to everyone on this message board: Battle Royale, a bold but not necessarily great film, which reminded me of Clockwork Orange in its blending of ultra-violence and satire, comedy and horror.

Also watched the disaffected youth film, Blue Spring, by the Japanese director who did 9 Souls. It's about small-time high school gangs who, faced with no future prospects after high school, turn to murder, suicide, the Yakuza, etc. It's a pretty one-note film without much character nuance, but the the director's unrestrained eye for violence and use of a cool punk-rock score kept me awake till the end.
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 09:07 am:   

You might want to try All About Lily Chou-Chou? It's, IMO, the most interesting thing about Japanese youth, at least the best I'm aware of.
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kellys
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 09:54 am:   

What version of Chou-Chou do you have? According to DVDbeaver.com (a great place for DVD comparisons), the Japanese version is by far the best disc for picture quality, yet it doesn't have subtitles. They bash the US, UK, and Hong Kong releases. I noticed YesAsis is selling a Korean version, but couldn't find a review for that disc. I'm usually not so anal about finding the perfect disc, but from what I've read, this film deserves the best visual presentation. Thanks.
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ls
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 10:26 am:   

I don't have it to hand, lent it to someone, but I'm pretty sure I've got a Japanese disc with subtitles...I'll check.
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ls
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 10:36 am:   

I have the HK version and it seemed fine to me. But then I lower standards visually...
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ls
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 11:13 am:   

__have__lower standards...
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kellys
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 12:26 pm:   

Cool -- the HK versions are always significantly cheaper than the Korean and Japanese discs.
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kellys
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 03:48 pm:   

Saw Brick this afternoon which, while not revolutionary, is a tightly plotted rendition of Chinatown in a high school. The film opens with some growing pains, as it takes a while to accept some of the stylized dialogue, but once you get over the fact that the director isn't playing with reality, the story hits all of the right noir bases and is quite entertaining. Easily worth my $6 for a matinee.
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 04:20 pm:   

Now I have to think about how much I want to see Chinatown in a high school....OK, I thought about it. :-)
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kellys
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 05:38 pm:   

Damn, I should've come up with a better tagline.
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ls
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 06:06 pm:   

Chinatown in a seraglio might have been better. :-)
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 07:12 pm:   

I watched Uno Bianca, which was a drab made for TV Italian deal about a real gang in Italy who drove white Unos, and really existed--barely watchable, and then only for cultural matters. Next up -- Antarctic Journal.
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 08:00 pm:   

Oh yeah, Uno Bianca was made by the same director who made Cemetary Man or Dellamorte dellamore or whatever. Michele Soavi.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 02:53 am:   

that's a shame about SILENT HILL.

i saw THE INSIDE MAN yesterday, which i actually thought was a decently bank robbery film. if all films were better, i'd say it was nothing but a middle of the range, ordinary, decent film, and if you'd get your money and time out of watching. these days though, it feels like it's something special. still, not bad.

b.
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ls
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 05:08 am:   

Yeah, ain't that the truth. I'm just happy when I get through a movie without using a barf bag.
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kellys
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 08:28 am:   

I've seen mixed reviews for Antarctic Journal, basically because reviewers have had a hard time accepting its manic nature, as the film allegedly can't decide whether it's a pshychological or supernatural thriller. I've been intrigued by it, though, as the photography of the Antarctic looks georgeous, and any film that echoes Carpenter's The Thing is worth a look in my book. Lucius, I look forward to hearing your verdict.
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LS
Posted on Sunday, April 23, 2006 - 08:53 am:   

Well, we'll both have to wait a while, because my copy of the film is a lemon--I'm sending it back for a replacement on Monday. Bummer. Gave up on it last night and went to a club. I actually am very glad, because Jandek was in town, playing a rare live show....so I lucked out.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 07:23 am:   

Oh, man! You saw Jandek? I told you, you Portlanders are so culturally spoiled...Have you seen the Jandek documentary?
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 08:35 am:   

Nope, not seen the documentary. Jandek was scheduled to play the Hollywood Theater on the 20th, and then played an informal gig the next night at Sabala...That's the one I caught. He was intense.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 09:09 am:   

Been a Jandek fan ever since the Units days. He used to regularly send WZBC boxes of Corwood LPs. Wish I had kept more of them! One of my Boston chums also played in a pickup group w/Thurston Moore on the Jandek tribute CD.
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 09:36 am:   

The guy has about a hundred albums. I have a couple now. He's pretty remarkable.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 09:58 am:   

Apparently Showtime is doing a second season of Masters of Horror. Miike is in discussions to direct an episode, otherwise it looks like more of the same.

I still wish Tom Savini would get funding for the series he's been trying to launch. The pilot was a lot more entertaining than Masters of Horror (and a lot cheaper to make).
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ls
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 10:21 am:   

I've had it with MOH. I watched way too much of it. Don't know about the Savini thing.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 11:05 am:   

Savini's been trying to get funding for a horror anthology series called Chill Factor. He started well before MOH. He managed to get a pilot done with virtually no budget, a lot of Pittsburgh filmmakers and crew volunteered time hoping for work if it got funded. A good friend of mine worked on it.

The pilot was 25 minutes. It wasn't great, but it was better than MOH. More info here: http://www.tomsavinischillfactor.com/
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ls
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 11:12 am:   

Oh, yeah, I remember you mentioning that. Thanks.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 11:43 am:   

Them releasing each of the MOH episodes as a separate DVD is baloney. Even the eps I enjoyed I wouldn't spend DVD money on. The only one anyone is going to plump for is the Miike. Why couldn't they just release the entire season as one set with the Miike as a "bonus"? Bonehead marketing, IMHO.
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kellys
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 12:10 pm:   

I checked out Joseph Losey's The Servant, a British psychological thriller from the early 60s that has a wee bit more going for it than any episode of MOH. Losey, born in Wisconsin, was blacklisted and consquently made a series of highly regarded thrillers in the UK. This is the first of them I've seen, which is a profound examination of the master-servant relationship. Dick Bogarde plays the servant who systematically breaks down the psyche of his effete, emotionally dependent master. The b&w photography and Losey's fluid camera are gorgeous, capturing an atmosphere that starts out realistic and ends up near to surreal. Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay -- good stuff.
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ls
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 12:42 pm:   

Oh, yeah. Great movie. Dirk Bogarde is the shit.
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 01:39 pm:   

A less sinister yet similar movie is The Dresser, with Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. And then there's another Losey-Pinter collaboration, The Caretaker, with Alan Bates and Donald Pleasance. Both terrific movies.
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kellys
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 01:50 pm:   

Thanks -- I'll keep an eye open for those. Another Losey that's supposed to be good is The Criminal, a crime film -- duh! -- deemed "The Toughest Film Ever Made In Britain!" on its 1960 release.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 02:06 pm:   

For those of you who enjoyed Night Watch and Day Watch, I just read that the director will be making the third chapter here in America -- in English, with a whole new cast. I haven't seen either yet, so I don't know whether I should care. But it's pretty crappy news regardless. The Machine sucking up yet another foreign director.

On a different note: has anyone seen the Russian film Burnt by the Sun, about the old Revolutionary who's targeted by Stalin's secret police? Is it any good?
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 02:35 pm:   

Burnt by the Sun is awesomeness personified, Mikailkov is a great director. Also worth a look, Durga, or Close to Eden.

The news about Night Watch has been out for a while and Is mentioned in a bad light in my review of Day Watch. Bekmambetov is not a very good director -- he wants to be a Hollywood guy. But what I worry about is that the weirdness of the movies will be lost.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 04:50 pm:   

I just bought COME AND SEE. Can't wait to check it out.
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 05:07 pm:   

Another great movie. What's wrong with us? We're talking about good movies on the Good Movie thread.
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PM
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 08:03 pm:   

Ok I'll break it up.

I watched two movies over the weekend at the theater that were unexceptional. No need to sweat the details as they've already been commented on...
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ls
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 08:16 pm:   

Silent Hill Victim Alert :-)
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LS
Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 09:46 pm:   

I just saw a wildy original movie from Russia called 4 (Chetyre), I'm not sure it's coherent, I want to watch it again, but it's exceptionally cool. The first half follows the lives of three people who meet in late night bar and is relatively animated, the last half takes place in a village where it seems nothing but old people live, and old women make dolls out of bread to sell to tourists and is very surreal, grotesque. Written by avant gardist Victor Sorokin and directed by first-timer Ilya Khjranskovsky (sp), it's an amazing piece of film. The subject matter is the new Russia and the old Soviet Russians who are tragically at the end of their lives, worthess, like garbage waiting to be burnt. It's by turns lively and unpleasant, but it's far and away the most compelling movie I've seen this year.
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ls
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 06:08 am:   

More on 4 -- I see I was kind of gibbering when I wrote the last post, but rather than clarify and risk overexplaining, let me just say that this is the first russian movie that strikes me as having a new sensibility, a sensibility of the new Russia.
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kellys
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 06:40 am:   

I've been weighing whether to purchase 4. What's kept me away is that I'm afraid its avant garde nature will override any actual story -- is there a deeper thread to this movie than just images?

Also, last night I watchd Jean-Pierre Melville's naturalistic crime film, Le Cercle Rouge, which stars Alain Delon. Its story, which is a combination police procedural and heist film, follows a recently released prisoner, an escaped convict, and an alcoholic ex-cop who come together to stage the perfect heist.

Melville's crime story feels overly simplistic yet epic, thanks to its emphasis to detail (similar in feel to Leone's take on the Western). Ironically, though, it also feels like one of the most realistic heist films out there. Its paradoxes are what make it so intriguing. Highly recommended.
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 01:38 pm:   

It took me a long time to realize that Pinter essentially writes horror...or, anyway, terror. I'll have to look up those films.
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LS
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 01:58 pm:   

Yeah, Kellys -- I have to watch it again, because I'd been awake a long time yesterday. But its theme seemed clear, and I think the guy's gonna be important, and I was carried along throughout. There is a story, but it's not an easy film. I'll get back to you,

There's no horror like Pinter -- I always thought of Donald Pleasance as Pinter's creature, more familiar than actor.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 04:40 pm:   

Speaking of horrific plays, I finally got to see ABIGAIL'S PARTY. Wow. Topnotch Mike Leigh. I've heard about it for years, but it was not a disappointment.
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LS
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 04:49 pm:   

Cool. I'll see if I can track down a copy.

I got so many movies to watch...and no time to watch them--I need a vacation.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 09:03 pm:   

Netflix...if I actually had to buy all the movies I want to see, I'd have (a) no money (b) no room left.
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jk
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 09:36 pm:   

Is it just me, or does anyone else think the idea of a movie based on Flight 93 is really distasteful, and unnecessary?
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LS
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 10:31 pm:   

In 141 years, there's never been a traitor in the Secret Service...

Ack! I was having a Michael Douglas flashback.

jk, ascribing any kind of moral or aesthetic standard to Hollywood is a mistake. There will be lots of stirring music and ordinary joes rising above their humble origins to save Amurica.....A dose of Vanilla Extract would be more upsetting. Distasteful? I don't know. Depends of how much vanilla you can stand. Predictable...yeah. Boring? Oh, yeah.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 03:40 am:   

I'm not really interested in the "historical reenactment" of Flight 93.

Or being stuck upside on a cruise ship for another Hollywood remake "adventure". I sort of like Kurt so maybe the film will give him some additional exposure. I was going to make a suggestion about his getting "better" roles but that assumes that there are actually better films :-)

"Ack! I was having a Michael Douglas flashback." ---
Are you unhappy that he didn't return for Basic Instinct 2? Or as of yet hasn't made Wall Street: The Prison Years?
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 07:50 am:   

And what is this about Adam Sandler producing a 9/11 movie called "Love, Reign O'er Me?" Now, that sounds truly horrific. Personally, I think Hollywood is going to learn a bitter lesson about 9/11...that nobody wants to relive it; I know I certainly don't.
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LS
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 08:09 am:   

Stone's 9/11 movie with Cage sounds atrocious, But you won't have to relive it -- it won't be anything like the reality.


As for Douglas, I can't wait till we can start using the term "the late Michael Douglas."
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jk
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 10:52 pm:   

Anyone see Spider Forest? A pretty good Korean horror. The plot is kind of confusing, and sort of David Lynch-like, but there are some good scenes, like a guy having sex while eating an apple, then he gets it with a sickle later on.
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Huw Lines
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 04:22 am:   

Hi, I'm new to these boards (but an old Lucius Shepard fan, ever since reading The Jaguar Hunter in the '80s). I've been reading through the movie-related threads with interest (you folks seem to like most of the same films I do), and thought the following site dedicated to Asian cinema might be of interest to you: http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/index2.htm
Snowblood Apple - Movie Reviews A to Z Index

I don't necessarily agree with all of the ratings and assessments there, but the reviewers are quite knowledgable and passionate about Asian film. Hope it's of interest, and apologies if it's old news...
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ls
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 08:36 am:   

Thanks, Huw Lines --- I checked it out and it already has inspired me to watch one of the movies I've had lying around here for a while -- Acacia.-- because of their review.

jk, I saw Spider Forest a couple of years back, and it struck me, as it did you, as pretty good, but it didn't make a lasting impression. I recall the murders, the creepy forest, but not much more.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 01:52 pm:   

I would be seriously remiss if I did not share with you my notes on the newest Seagal epic MERCENARY FOR JUSTICE. In terms of quality, I would put it north of twaddle like SUBMERGED and TODAY YOU DIE, and slightly south of the more coherent BLACK DAWN. The plot is, even by Seagal actioner standards, fairly incomprehensible, something about Seagal and a band of mercenaries fighting the French (?!) on an island in Africa, then getting embroiled in a plot to free a gunrunner's son from a South African prison, etc. etc. Along the way, there is a kidnapping, a bank robbery, payback to a corrupt CIA man. You know, all the trimmings.

It seems like as he gets older, Seagal has come to prefer playing this "best in the business" mercenary-black ops soldier guy over his old cop guy because his fighting can be done with big guns and there is less hand-to-hand work.

The one really notable/depressing thing about MFJ is the presence as an effete-omnipotent-ultra-connected-ultra-fey puppetmaster-type guy of Roger Guevneur (DO THE RIGHT THING) Smith, who at one time back in the late 80s was a rather promising young actor. Here, he plays the part with an arched eyebrow and a diabolical vocal lilt that would have made Vincent Price cringe.

Got to hand it to him. Seagal sees 'em on the way up (Sharon Stone) and on the way down (RGS).
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ls
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 02:21 pm:   

Well, golly....Thanks. Oh, god, ohgod, I can't wait. :-)

There's so much Seagal product out there (witness last weeks Spike Van Damme-Seagal weekend), I'm ODed.

Stallone needs to get back in the game. Now that'd be funny.
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PM
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 05:47 pm:   

Is another Rocky and Rambo just not enough?
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ls
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 06:33 pm:   

He's not doing another rambo is he?
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Huw
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 09:24 pm:   

Glad you found Snowblood Apple to be of interest! I wasn't so taken with Acacia myself, though I know a lot of folks who rate it highly. I liked some of the imagery but ultimately it all felt a bit flat to me. Certainly worth a watch, though (especially for yarn lovers, I guess...).

I enjoyed Antarctic Journal a lot, but then I'm a sucker for mysterious goings-on in remote locations. The score by Kenji (Ring/Dark Water) Kawai was hauntingly effective, as was the photography (shot in New Zealand, apparently). I loved the idea of this bunch of explorers struggling to reach their destination before the sun sets and they're plunged into darkness for the next six months, and all the while at the mercy of what may be supernatural agencies. It reminded me somewhat of another Korean film, one I'm not too struck on, called R-Point, although the settings couldn't be more different (R-Point was set in Vietnam).

Has anyone seen a film called Rampo Noir? It's on at the cinema where I live (Taiwan), so I'm hoping to see it over the weekend. I'd never heard of it until I saw it advertised when I went to see Miike's The Great Yokai War, but I like Edogawa Rampo's stories so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's something a little different. After seeing the likes of Wig, Cello, The Red Shoes, Face, Bunshinsaba and (seemingly) countless others over the last year or two, I think I've well and truly reached my saturation point as far as the usual girl-in-long-white-gown-with-hair-obscuring-face type ghost movie is concerned.
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LS
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 10:50 pm:   

I didn't like R-point. The only reason I watched it was it sounded like a story of mine. I'm looking forward to Antarctic Journal. I love polar movies. Haven't seen Rampo Noir. It's not playing in the area and isn't on DVD, but it's gotten good reviews. If you see it, let us know how it struck you, okay?

Know what you mean about girl in long white gown syndrome. I stopped watching J-horror for a while because of it.

Do you know if a Taiwanese movie called the RED LOTUS SOCIETY ever made it onto DVD?
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 11:53 pm:   

i've heard his doing a fourth rambo film. something about having a family or some such thing in this one. in fact, IMDB backs it up:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462499/

stallone's even listed as the director.
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 06:01 am:   

Wow. The hits keep coming. Ugh. Too early in the AM to comment.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 03:16 pm:   

Huw, What's the verdict on the Great Yokai War?
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LS
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 07:38 pm:   

I own Yokai War but I didn't watch but ten minutes of it-- I didn't realize it was a YA movie. I don't like YA stuff.


I watched 4 again and I love it. The opening image alone is great -- four dogs on a Moscow Street, resting, and then four enormous drill stab down and start breaking up the street. I don't know if it has enough story for you, kellys, but it follows the characters throughout. It's more like a dream, a nightmare, and it has the internal logic of a nightmare. I think it's great, but I can't say if you'd like it.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 09:06 pm:   

Yeah, I was hoping Yokai would be Miike for my kids.
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ls
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 09:11 pm:   

Judging by ten minutes, it is.....
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kellys
Posted on Sunday, April 30, 2006 - 09:19 am:   

Thanks Lucius. The NYT reviewed 4 a couple weeks ago, which means it's making the arthouse rounds in the US, so I'll wait and see if it makes a trip to my town before shilling out the $30-plus for an oversea's disc.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 08:15 am:   

Say what you will about Tower, they have an eclectic little DVD section. Bought SUICIDE CLUB and THE WISHING STAIRS on Sunday. Will report once I've had a chance to view.
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ls
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 08:22 am:   

Was anyone saying shit about Tower? I used to live next to one, I loved it.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 09:04 am:   

They also had HEAD ON, which I would have bought if I hadn't already ordered it from somewhere else.
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LS
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 11:51 am:   

Head On -- Great movie.
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ls
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 05:56 pm:   

Has anyone seen the nearly five hour director's cut of Wenders' UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD? Any good?
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 06:17 am:   

I caved in and re-opened my account at Netflix. I can't be as active as I want right now (broken toe), so if I'm stuck sitting, I might as well watch movies. First up will be Cabeza de Vaca. I've been trying to get it from various rental places for a few months, but had no luck.
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ls
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 09:29 pm:   

Cabeza de vaca is fucking GREAT!

Saw Jaime Balagueros' Fragiles. starring calista fuckwit...er, flockheart. not good. looks like balagueros may have peaked with the nameless. calista is awful. best thing is the cinematography, which is, albeit murky, pretty good.

better is an Eduard Noriega vehicle, El Metodo, about 7 young people contending for a position with a huge corporate entity. Think Survivor meets Enron. It's clever, engaging, great cinematography, Noriega is excellent. The ending's disappointing and a bit hamfisted....
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Huw
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 10:21 pm:   

Sorry I didn't reply earlier, guys - I've been down with the flu for the last few days, and trying my best not to use the PC for fear of puking on the keyboard...

Marc, I thought THE GREAT YOKAI WAR was okay - it's basically a Miike film for kids, retaining some of the weirdness of his earlier films but with far less violence. I found it fun in places because you get to see lots of Japanese folkloric creatures (which I've always been interested in), such as Rokurokubi (the woman with the stretching neck), Tengu, Kappa, and so on. It was all a bit cheesy, and the Kappa was one of the more annoyingly over-the-top characters in the movie. Miike fans might enjoy it, as long as they're not expecting the usual ultraviolence and adult stuff.

I don't know if RED LOTUS SOCIETY is out on DVD - I searched around for it but haven't had any success so far. I'll try asking at one of the local videostores in case it had a local (Taiwan) release.

Haven't been to see RAMPO NOIR yet - I'm hoping it'll still be on by the time I get rid of this damn flu thing.
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ls
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 10:42 pm:   

Thanks for checking on Red Lotus. I appreciate it, And feel better....
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fjimenem
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 12:40 am:   

About El Metodo ...
It's based on a stage play by Jordi Galceran, who, coincidentally, had a part in the script of Fragiles. The play is good, and is being an huge success in Madrid and Barcelona where it opened two years ago. When adapting it to a movie they made important changes, particularly in the end, that Galceran was really unhappy with. I haven't seen the movie, but the consensus seems to be that he was right.
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ls
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 04:43 am:   

Yeah, I knew it was from a play. but thanks for the info -- I'm glad to know I;m not off base about the ending. Pretty good movie, except for that. What part did Galceran play in Fragiles...?
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fjimenem
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 05:49 am:   

Arghh ... my English fails me again. What I meant is that he co-wrote the movie.
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LS
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 06:25 am:   

Ah...thanks. well, el metodo is well-written, but IMO fragiles is pretty much by-the-numbers horror stuff. Galceran must have been going for the bucks,
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 11:36 am:   

I finally saw COOKERS. I liked almost everything that didn't have supernatural overtones; the ghost angle pretty much spoiled it for me.
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ls
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 12:08 pm:   

What you got against ghosts, man:-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 01:05 pm:   

I thought that the ghosts were completely overshadowed by the scariness of those tweaked out crank freaks...If I was a ghost, I woulda got the hell outta there!
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ls
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 01:17 pm:   

yup...me, too...
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jk
Posted on Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 10:45 am:   

Anyone see Peter Greenaway's The Falls? If you have insomnia, this will sure cure it! Over three hours of faux-documentary about people whose last names begin with "fall". 92 people are described in voice over, and each discussion consists of nonsense about a VUE (violent unknown event) and birds and various nonsensical things the people do. Argh! I admire the visuals on some of Greenaway's later films, but this thing is a little too arty for it's own good.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 12:59 pm:   

I haven't seen that, but The Bone Collector is a great cure for insomnia. I've fallen asleep every time I've tried watching.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 01:03 am:   

I saw a very cool movie last night called "LA Banda del Gobbo" Which translates to "The Band of the Hunchback" but the US title I think is "Brothers will Die". Anyhow, it stars Tomas Milian - one of the coolest actors of the last century - who plays The Hunchback of Rome as well as the hunchback's afro-headed brother Vincenzo. Anyhow, great stuff for anyone who likes Italian crime films from the 70's. I don't know whether the English version is dubbed or subbed though. Dubbed would suck, because half the dialogue is the hunchback cussing - which would certainly lose something in translation.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 10:46 am:   

I didn't enjoy the Constant Gardener. It started very slowly and never had good pacing.

As for Cabeza de Vaca, I'm not sure what I can say about it, beyond that it was very good. It was very surreal at times, and was able to convey a lot without a lot of dialog.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 02:04 pm:   

I agree, The Constant Gardener was average at best, not to mention a disappointing follow-up to City of God (Meirelles clearly wants to become a Hollywood director). I thought its thriller elements lacked any thrill. However, its depiction of a husband-wife relationship, for me, felt realistic.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 02:10 pm:   

Just saw City of God this evening which was good. Sounds like I should skip Meirelles other films though.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 03:41 pm:   

i liked THE CONSTANT GARDENER. i did think it lacked a certain thriller element to it, but i thought it gave a nice (if simplistic) tour of medical aid issues in africa. plus, the photography of it was excellent, and i liked how the film was put together. i didn't really think it signalled meirelles wanting to become a hollywood director, though.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 06:52 pm:   

Ben, you're probably right, it doesn't necessarily signal Meirelles' desire to become a Hollywood director. A part of me, though, was severely letdown by Constant Gardener, primarily because it lacked the edge of City of God and felt too much like an "important" political film (whereas City of God felt like a "real" political film, albeit one drunk on cinematic devices). During the scenes in Africa, I was surprised Angelina Jolie didn't make a cameo. Overall, though, it's probably better than 90% of Hollywood movies, so I shouldn't criticize it too harshly. I just wanted more from Meirelles.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 08:15 pm:   

I wasn't as big on CITY OF GOD as so many other people were. Maybe it just came down to misguided expectations; I went in thinking I was in for a realistic, minimalist film, and instead I felt like I got a Tarantino wannabe. Maybe I should see it again, and take it on its own terms. It'll be a while, though.
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ls
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 09:31 pm:   

I agree. I thought it was overrated and an obvious bid for Hwood attention. The rhythms of Brazilian life have nothing to do with COG...
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 07:07 pm:   

kelly, it might be because i haven't seen CITY OF GOD that i've no problem with THE CONSTANT GARDENER. i should see it, though--it's being sold cheap at JB round my place, so maybe i'll pick it up this arvo (even though nathan and lucius aren't up on it ;)). but that said, y'know, i like it when i go see a film in a cinema these days and it's not made for kids or people with vegetative state IQs. ain't many of them.
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ls
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 08:55 pm:   

Ben, I like COG,but I viewed it as a blaxploitation flick dressed up as an art film, a lot of flash and dazzle, and not as many critics feel, a great movie.

Want to see a great movie? Gianni Amelio's L'america, which I just watched for the third time.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 04:01 am:   

lucius, cool. i couldn't find CITY OF GOD anyway. shame. i'll keep an eye out for L'AMERICA.
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ls
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 07:08 am:   

so Ben, does this arvo mean this afternoon...
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 12:03 pm:   

Good. I thought I was the only person not hip on arvo.
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LS
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 12:22 pm:   

:-)
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John Joseph Adams
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 09:35 pm:   

Lucius --

Have you seen the Korean SF film, Natural City? It was just released on DVD here in the States.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 11:03 pm:   

heh. yeah, it means afternoon. seriously, guys, why aren't you up on your sydney slang?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 05:43 am:   

Yeah, jja, I saw Natural City. It's basically Bladerunner with State of the Art effects. For what that was worth. It's all right, you just keep thinking Bladerunner while you're watching,

Ben, I'm too busy working on my Sydney knowisms to keep up with slang. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 07:38 am:   

With some anticipation, I went to see the hotly-touted HARD CANDY by director David Slade.

Although Ellen Page, who plays the precocious 14-year old lured away by online stalker Patrick Wilson, is a fine performer, from whom big things can be expected, the film left a bad taste in my mouth.

I think that, like IRREVERSIBLE, it is exploitation cinema in arthouse clothing. Slade tries very had to shock, and some of the violence is gruesome, almost Miike-esque, but the whole set-up is both pretty implausible (a petite 14-year old slapping around a fit, young guy twice her size) and quite predictable.

Just as movies like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE used the women's movement and female empowerment as a trojan horse to sneak hideous ultraviolence onto the screen, so HARD CANDY rather cynically uses the recent hysteria over online sexual predators. The social conscience here is about a millimeter deep.

As straight-up shock cinema, well, the Japanese do it better, and less pretentiously.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 05:45 pm:   

lucius, lucius, don't you know the knowisms and the slang go together. there's nothing like driving your knowism home with a, 'see you this arvo, mate,' at the end. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 07:00 pm:   

Sorta like, being I'm from Sydney, I know you're an ass, G. See you this arvo, mate.

Gotcha.

I'll work on it. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 07:02 pm:   

Sorta like, being I'm from Sydney, I know you're an ass, G. See you this arvo, mate.

Gotcha.

I'll work on it. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 09:01 pm:   

pretty much. though instead of ass, you're better off using cock or cunt

:-)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 06:18 am:   

they're interchangeable down under, are they? :-)

Watched Pray, a J-horror flick about two people who kidnap a kid who turns out to be a ghost. I dug it.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:27 am:   

Twitchfilm.net reported that the Danish crime saga, The Pusher Trilogy, will be released on UK DVD this June. These have been near the top of my To See List for quite a while. Anybody have a chance to catch any screenings of these?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:50 am:   

I own Pusher and Bleeder. Both pretty great.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 04:21 pm:   

we're an open minded country, we are :-)

i saw MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 the other night. the things you end up seeing at the last minute are always the ones you regret. though this had some nice action pieces, but in the end, you leave the film being unable to explain what it was about.

'tom cruise running?'

'yeah, but he did that in WAR OF THE WORLDS.'

'maybe he's doing a trilogy of running.'
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PM
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 04:31 pm:   

Maybe he'll star in a remake of the Running Man.

Or Logans Run to satisfy the sophisticates.

Maybe I won't give a ...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 04:47 pm:   

Run Silent Run Deep ... that would be good.
Ben, I can't believe you gave MI3 a good review, I mean didn't you cringe when he began imitating his oprah freakout?

Kelly....I think Bleeder was released under another name. All three, BTW, are playing at the Seattle film festival.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 05:45 pm:   

Watched Primer recently. So-so. I would have enjoyed reading it more I think.
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 09:04 pm:   

lucius, i don't know if good is what i'd say it was. it was okay for a thing cause abrams did some nice action, but it was stupid. cruise, however, has never bothered me as a guy on the screen. he's the same guy in every film, i guess, but since i don't pay attention to the oprah freakouts and scientology insanity too much, it doesn't seem to worry me. i was even partially fascinated by how his wife in it looked like a better looking katie holmes and how absolutely crazy he looked when you could only see his eyes...

(that said, i could have done without the i love you stuff and anything that had him expressing emotion and not running)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:14 pm:   

I though the action was better in the other two -- underwhelmed by abrahms. But scientology stuff annoys me, esp. in WOTW.....
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 10:56 pm:   

nah. woo really disappointed in the second, i think. but i guess it's all mileage, though. i'd still be interested in seeing a woo film, whereas i wouldn't go and see whatever abrams did next. which i think is star trek, so i'm safe there...

(or until i'm standing in a cinema with friends and they say, 'what should we see? this teenie bopper comedy or that star trek film.')
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 04:26 am:   

Holy crap! Was there Scientology stuff in WOTW?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 05:24 am:   

sure, Nathan, the martians coming out of the ground, for instance, was right out of LRon...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 05:49 am:   

I don't have much interest in Woo anymore. MI 2, Paycheck, Face/Off. With a record like that, and future projects like He-Man and Metroid, why bother?

It's been 14 years since the last decent work from Woo, but it's only been 2 since the last decent Abrams (the pilot for Lost). I'm more willing to give him a chance on future films. However, Star Trek isn't one I'll give him a chance on.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 05:57 am:   

with woo, I think it's a case of high expectations. Abra ms action shit seemed flat to me, no better than woo's.

Abrams is a TV hack who had one good moment.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 06:55 am:   

Since Woo's career is virtually over, having never been able to transpose his style to American films, I'm more looking forward to an eventual re-release of Hard Boiled and The Killer on Criterion DVD than any of his future theatrical features.

However, there's always rumors that he's going to make one more Chinese language film with Chow Yun-Fat (another great film-maker destroyed by the American movie system). I'll believe it when I see it though.

And I agree with Ben on MI:3 – Abrams directed some nice action set pieces, especially the one on the bridge, but Cruise's on-screen obsession with preserving his relationship with that Katie Homes' stand-in was unforgiveable. Still...as a summer popcorn film, it was an amusing 2 hours.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 07:26 am:   

Let it be noted, Kelly, that you have a peculiar notion of fun, :-)

I sorry, I absolutely loathed it;
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 08:14 am:   

For me, fun and Tom Cruise don't go together. So I don't have much interest in MI3.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 09:26 am:   

I'll put my neck out and say...I've actually enjoyed quite a few of Tom Cruise's movies. In fact, P.T. Anderson's Magnolia is one of my favorite films of recent years, and I'm a sucker for anything Michael Mann touches, so I also really like Collateral (though the finale leaves some to be desired). It's hard for me to dismiss a Tom Cruise film simply because he's in it.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 09:39 am:   

well, I can. Cruise's presence creates an indelible stain for me, if he's doing anything other than romantic comedy, Apart from that, I thought Collateral was a logical mess--the movie should have been over when the body hit the taxi. As for Magbolia, Cruise's weepy redemption was intolerable and Anderson hasn't worked with an editor since Hard Eight and it shows.

But to each his own...
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 09:44 am:   

The 90-minute Punch-Drunk Love? Certainly this film was the answer to critics who posed your criticism about an editor.

But, as you said, to each his own.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 06:50 pm:   

Yeah, but punchdrunk love was a waste of Emily Watson--I can't think of any other reason to remember it, there are dozens of foreign films, perhaps hundreds, each year that do what punchdrunk did better, ie, illuminate a small story. Punchdrunk is only notable in context of American film and that's simply not much of a context.

dave, I found a movie featuring william forsythe, madsen, hopper, ice-t, and eric roberts...Luck of the draw. Enough B actors to start a studio.

Got in Blood Rain, a Korean medieval murder mystery that supposed to be right good. Looking forward to it...
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PM
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 08:56 pm:   

I feared the collateral damage when Cruise was teachin' Fox bout jazz.

Foreshadowin'...

(Wonder if there's any truth the studio was concerned with the the aliens sproutin' out Spielburg's...and nixed it.)
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 03:59 am:   

i can stomach cruise in films where he runs a lot and saves the day. there's not much required of him, y'know? but i gotta agree with lucius that COLLATERAL blew. it was stupid to a degree that really is unforgivable for mann. plus, tom cruise as a nihilistic killer? at the start of the film he does a bag switch with jason statham, who isn't a bad actor. i would've preferred an actor switch there.

i didn't think LOST was anything of note outside the plane crash scene, but even that wasn't big shakes. i gave up after it became clear the show was about backflashes and nothing on the island.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 06:05 am:   

Yeah, the opening shot of Lost was exceptional, and I admit I watched the first year -- but I gave up on it for thr reasons you cite and because they kept adding cast members when things got slow. That's gonna be one overpopulated island by the time they finish. it reminds me of myst...

I can't think of any movie cruise has done that wouldn't be improved by his absence....
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006 - 06:49 am:   

I thought Cruise was better in Collateral than his other films, for whatever that is worth. I think he is much more realistic as a nihilistic killer than a heart-throb or secret agent. As a rule though, I don't support Scientologist actors.

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