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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 05:57 am:   

By jk on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 03:34 pm: Edit
Justin Timberlake's in Southland Tales. How could it not be good?

By jk on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 03:35 pm: Edit
Did you read the graphic novels too? Isn't that the movie where you need to read the graphic novels to know what's going on? That's kind of presumptous on the director's part if he thinks people are going to slog through graphic novels before they watch his movie.

By jk on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 03:41 pm: Edit
Speaking of bad movies I saw Herzog's Wild Blue Yonder recently too. Really terrible. Brad Dourif plays an "alien" who looks like a bum standing in front of a wrecked building, spouting nonsense about his alien race that's come to earth. In between Herzog inserts footage of divers underneath ice, which is supposed to be his "alien world with a sky of ice", then shows interminable shots of astronauts in space doing nothing particularly interesting. I guess it's supposed to be some commentary on how man is wrecking the planet, but it's just a mess.
Maybe would have been better as a 15 minute short. Or maybe not.
The score was kind of cool though. Impov cellist with different world music vocalists. Only good thing about it really.

By Robert Devereux on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 06:44 pm: Edit
Darn, I was interested in Wild Blue Yonder.

By Brendan Connell on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 02:06 am: Edit
Actually, I sort of liked Wild Blue Yonder. I don't really think it's a mess. It's just not a conventional film.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 06:03 am:   

No, I didn't read the graphic novels.

It's...I don't know. I'll post my review.
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jk
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 10:45 am:   

I can usually find something to like in most of Herzog's films, but Wild Blue Yonder just seemed half-baked to me.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 03:35 pm:   

Well, yeah, it is half-baked. I guess it is the kind of film you have to watch in the right state of mind. Without expectations. It is not the kind of film you watch while eating popcorn, but more the kind of film you turn on at 2pm on a snowy day while drinking an anisette.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 08:48 am:   

That's how I felt about watching Babel. It's overlong and overwrought, but I watched it very sick on a Saturday afternoon, and it had a nice lack of dialogue so as not to aggravate my headache.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 09:41 am:   

Watched ROAD, a very interesting film by an old college classmate of mine, Leslie McCleave, over the weekend.

It significantly exceeded expectations, a picturesque road movie with creepy environmental and existential overtones. I can unreservedly recommend it.
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Clint Harris
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 10:12 pm:   

"Babel" did something very amazing, in my opinion. It somehow turned a string of gratuitous moments into one really long, boring, steaming pile of crap. Each little vignette was just long enough to make you say "ick" and just short enough to completely lose the audience as they flashed back and forth.

"21 Grams" did the same thing for me.

"Crash" was at least successful in tying all the stories together, but I found it preachy and the synchronicity of it came off as contrived. And other smart-ish things to say about those films.

To be honest, the only reason I don't bag on Crash is because out of the three films, it was the only one I was able to finish.

For vignette movies, I think the Canadians do an excellent job. Anyone seen "Exotica"? It tends to be artsy, but the end makes up for pretense. Another Canadian movie staring Sandra Oh, called "Last Night" does well with different story lines converging as well. It's good enough to forgive the Canadians for "Blow Up" and their tennis-playing mimes.

These aren't new movies, but there ya go.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 08:58 am:   

I kind of liked watching Babel in a stupor, especially the parts with the deaf Japanese girl at the rave and then getting naked. That was nice.

The connection between the stories was, um, strained. The mom gets capped in Morocco right when the kids are stranded in the desert with their nanny? And don't get me started on the Japanese hunter with the gun thing...

Most of the movie seemed like it was designed to induce anxiety in white people. Leave your kids with their Mexican nanny, who takes them down to Mexico, driven around by a drunkard who then dumps them in the desert. Or just go to North Africa and get capped while bitching about your marital problems. Nice.

Were we supposed to be sad when the nanny got deported? If those were my kids, I'd want her in Gitmo.

Crash had some contrived moments too. I remember the Matt Dillon character's speech to that black officeworker. It just seemed so stilted and toothless, not how a real right-wing white guy with those particular beliefs would speak.
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Clint Harris
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 10:23 am:   

Viewers might have to Mr-Skin (term used as verb) those parts of Babel, Luke...

What? What?

That's what Mr. Skin is there for. A valuable service!

The Moroccan kid jerking off to his sister pushed the movie beyond the Pale, I thought. As did spinning the heads off the chickens at the fiesta. Oh, and the rest of the movie. That I was able to watch.

It was certainly a film that warrants CAV. Chemical Assisted Viewing.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 05:33 pm:   

Where was PETA for that poor chicken?

But that chicken got off easy compared to the one in Pink Flamingos.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 09:25 am:   

Finally had a chance to absorb all four hours of Peter Watkins' TV doc EDVARD MUNCH. I thought it was pretty good, well researched, full of excellent context. It really gave a great feel for the fabric of life from which Munch emerged. Illness, insanity, repression, misogyny, etc. Very uncomfortable to watch, as it should have been. You have to like Watkins' fictional documentary approach, but if you can get past that, and you have a real thirst for info about Munch, you couldn't do better.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 05:22 pm:   

I didn't even get that the boy was jerking off to his sister. I thought she was a maidservant or something. It wasn't exactly OLDBOY or HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER.
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jk
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 12:45 pm:   

Munch sounds interesting. I rented Watkin's companion piece to Munch, the doc on August Strindberg called The Freethinker. Uses "staged interviews, improvisation, photographs and written text." "Seemingly random structure, multilayering of media types invites myriad diverging interpretations" etc.
Er, might be a hard slog at 274 minutes. I'll probably have to watch 90 minutes or so at a time.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 01:34 pm:   

A hard slog, but a worthy one.

Strindberg is a prominent character in MUNCH. I am not familiar with his work, but he comes off like a jerk as a human being...
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 02:32 pm:   

Shocking. Nightmarish. Dystopian. Watched the first half of Hubert Sauper's doc DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE the other night. It shows how the Tanzanian communities around Lake Victoria have crumbled since the introduction of the voracious predator the Nile Perch. Cargo planes fly in with loads of clandestine armaments for civil war and fly out loaded with fish the locals can't afford. They are left to poverty, AIDS and hopelessness. I want to see the end.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - 07:59 am:   

Second half as harrowing as the first. I made the mistake of trying to eat my dinner during the scenes in which the poverty-stricked locals, who just cleaned costly perch filets for export to Europe, feast on filthy fish carcasses and maggot-filled fish heads. Really really awful.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 06:29 am:   

Watched FINISHING THE GAME. It's a mockumentary about finishing The Game of Death after Bruce Lee's death. It examines the attempts to cast a replacement for Bruce. It mostly exists to lampoon the view of Asian men in popular culture. It's fairly funny, but while the Asian characters are well drawn, the non-Asians are caricatures.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 01:58 pm:   

Hey, here's a fun idea for a thread-within-a-thread while Lucius is away...

..."Before they were famous": bit parts by soon-to-be-major-stars in well-known movies. I find this amusing, anyway...

1. The guy who tries to rob McDowell's fast-food restaurant but is foiled by Eddie Murphy in COMING TO AMERICA: Samuel L. Jackson

2. The NYC policeman who starts shooting randomly at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Larry Cohen's GOD TOLD ME TO: Andy Kaufman

3. The male half of the couple who looks at the apartment under Sister Theresa/Christina Raines in the final scene of THE SENTINEL: Tom Berenger

Can you guys think of any?
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:13 pm:   

A crackhead wrapped in the American flag smoking a pipe in NEW JACK CITY: Chris Rock

Older mustachioed stoner named Wooderson in DAZED AND CONFUSED with line "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.": Matthew McCounaughey

Loser who fails senior year and spends DAZED AND CONFUSED chasing freshmen to paddle their buttocks, only to get paint dumped on him: Ben Affleck

Bearded stoner who spends entire film smoking out of Honey Bear bong on couch in TRUE ROMANCE: Brad Pitt
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:16 pm:   

Plus a bit role by Laurence Fishburne in APOCALYPSE NOW.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:50 pm:   

Luke, I think Chris Rock's Pookie in NJC might be too big a part to qualify. But the other examples are good.

THAT was Mischa?
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:52 pm:   

Tim Blake Nelson and Paul Giamatti as FBI wiretap operators in DONNIE BRASCO.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:54 pm:   

THE SENTINEL is full of these: Jeff Goldblum as fashion photographer, Jerry Orbach as TV commercial director, Christopher Walken as Eli Wallach's largely-mute detective sidekick.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 02:59 pm:   

Bob Balaban as the kid who becomes Joe Buck's first "trick" in MIDNIGHT COWBOY.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 09:02 pm:   

Thug who menaces Woody Allen on the subway in BANANAS (1971): Sylvester Stallone.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 09:08 pm:   

And two of the patients in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST are Christopher Lloyd and Danny De Vito. IMDB.COM says that De Vito also had a small role in BANANAS but I don't remember it.
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Huw
Posted on Saturday, December 01, 2007 - 01:29 am:   

I seem to recall the old 'classic' (ahem) CHUD having quite a few soon to be well-known faces in it.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Saturday, December 01, 2007 - 06:48 am:   

Another one that amused me: in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971), the young student/love interest is Paul Michael Glaser ("Starsky").
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, December 03, 2007 - 06:33 am:   

Guy who hassles Susan Sarandon at a pay phone ("Hey lady, how 'bout it?") in THE HUNGER: Willem Dafoe.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, December 03, 2007 - 06:36 am:   

Lady TV reporter saved by Dirty Harry in THE DEAD POOL: Patricia Clarkson.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 06:12 am:   

BFF of Vanilla Ice's girlfriend in COOL AS ICE: Kathy "Cold Case" Morris
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 01:18 pm:   

The gangbanger with the high-pitched nasal voice talking in the county lock-up about getting "Pac Man" in COLORS: Damon Wayans
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 05:19 am:   

Watched WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM. Intriguing Herzog film about mining in Australia and coming into conflict with the Aborigines regarding land rights.

Unrelated to that, I was trying to think of actors who have had success in music, and musicians who have had success in acting. I wasn't thinking of one shots (like Eddie Murphy's song "Party all the Time"), but people who have careers in both fields.

Some I could think of aren't necessarily artistically interesting, but are financially successful:

Will Smith
Ice Cube
Ice T
Minnie Driver
Jared Leto (music through 30 Seconds to Mars)
Elvis
Frank Sinatra
Dwight Yokum
Jennifer Lopez
Meat Loaf
Jack Black (music through Tenacious D)
Jessica Simpson (not many movies yet)
Beyonce Knowles (not many movies yet)
Jennifer Hudson (only one film, but she did get an Oscar for it)
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 06:03 am:   

David Hasselhoff
Marc Anthony
Method Man
Jewel
Eminem
Lindsay Lohan
Hilary Duff
Robert Mitchum recorded a couple of albums
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 06:13 am:   

Ringo Starr -- I just discovered that his costars in CAVEMAN were Dennis Quaid and Shelley Long
Bill Mumy had a hit with "Fish Heads"
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 06:22 am:   

I alwasy forget about Hasselhof since his music success comes overseas.

I guess Eminem would fall into the "not many movies yet" category.

Lohan is a scary thought. I initially thought "she hasn't had success as a musician" but AllMusic says her 2004 album reached #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and her second album reached #20. That's better than most that I thought of.

I wouldn't consider Jewel successful as an actress. 1 movie role and 2 TV episodes is all she's done. I only considered Jennifer Hudson for her one role because she got an Oscar for it, and that is often an indication of a further career.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 06:41 am:   

I consider Mumy to be more of a "one shot" for music. He's done other music, but Fish Heads is the only success I can think of. I'm trying to think of people who have had careers in both fields, and I'm not sure his music qualifies as a career.

I don't think Steven Seagall's music would count as a career either.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 06:59 am:   

Sure, I'm just throwing some data into the mix. It's up to you how you define a successful career.

FYI, I think Jennifer Hudson has some more movie roles in the works. IMDB.COM says she has a part in the upcoming SEX AND THE CITY film. Me, I want to see her play opposite Martin Lawrence in a new "Big Momma's House" movie.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 07:00 am:   

I disagree on Seagal!!!!

I thought "Fish Heads" was done by Barnes & Barnes. Was Billy Mumy part of this group?

LL Cool J
Snoop Dogg
The Kemp Brothers
David Bowie
Will Oldham
Gina Gershon
Juliette Lewis
Joe Strummer
Lee Ving
Levon Helm
Greg Allman
Mick Jagger
Henry Rollins
John Doe
Sting
Tom Waits
Debbie Harry
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 07:35 am:   

The list keeps getting larger, I guess they aren't as rare as I thought. I am disappointed that I forgot Rollins, since I was thinking about him last night when the idea came to me. His acting choices haven't been interesting (Johnny Mnemonic), but he works consistently.

Mumy was a member of Barnes & Barnes. Maybe that could be more of a career. It's always hard to say since there's no easy way to say X number of albums or Y number of roles, each album or role has a unique amount of impact.

What about Chris Isaak? Was his show considered acting, or simply playing himself?
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 08:00 am:   

Isaak was also in FIRE WALK WITH ME.

How about Flea and Aimee Mann for THE BIG LEBOWSKI? Big Daddy Kane for POSSE? Richard Hell for SMITHEREENS? Or are these considered one-role wonders?

Richard Edson
John Lurie
Arto Lindsey
Grace Jones
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 08:05 am:   

David Johansen
Tina Turner
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 08:31 am:   

How could I forget the brothers Wahberg, Mark and Donnie?
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 10:07 am:   

Or Gwen (The Aviator) Stefani? Or Courtney Love?
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 10:14 am:   

Another one: Jada Pinkett Smith, besides her acting, she fronts the metal band Wicked Wisdom. Not as successful as many of the other actors turned musicians though.

Perhaps Sebastian Bach from Skid Row...he had a recurring role on Gilmore Girls
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 10:41 am:   

Anyone heard William Shatner's album with Ben Folds Five? Funny stuff.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 10:43 am:   

Jason Schwartzman of Rushmore, Royal Darjeeling and Spun fame, puts out electronic music but refuses to tour or publicly perform.

Keanu was (is?) the bassist for Dogstar.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 10:48 am:   

Esther Balint from STRANGER THAN PARADISE made a bunch of indie records.

Bjork in DANCER IN THE DARK.

Johnny Depp had a band, P, with Gibby Haynes
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   

Did Dogstar go anywhere?

I like Shatner's duet with Rollins.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 02:12 pm:   

I actually saw Dogstar. Amazingly, they were not half bad.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 02:19 pm:   

Recent viewings (bless the inventor of the DVR):

THE HUNGER -- despite a cheesy, uninteligible ending, much better than I remembered it. Bowie is credible, and the frothy style compliments rather than detracts.

THE PROPOSITION -- really impressive. Great cast, good performances, extraordinary grit and good dialogue by Mr. Cave. The sexual tension between Emily Watson and the scruffy, Leone-esque outbackers is really creepy and palpable.

NOTES FROM A SCANDAL -- great three-way between Dench, Blanchett and Nighy. Cate well captures the knife-edge dance between shameless self-abasement and illicit lust.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 02:25 pm:   

On the music-movies tip, how can we forget Russell Crowe's 30 Odd Foot of Grunts?

Bruce Willis' The Return of Bruno?

The Blues Brothers?

Much as it sickens me, Harry Connick, Jr?

Justin Timbertoes?
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S. Hamm
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 09:06 pm:   

WHERE IS MOS DEF???

Jason Schwartzman was the drummer and songwriter for Phantom Planet, and has since started a new act called Coconut Records.
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Jean-Daniel Breque
Posted on Thursday, December 06, 2007 - 09:20 pm:   

This is fun.
Some French actors/singers/songwriters:
Charles Aznavour
Johnny Hallyday
Patrick Bruel
the late Jacques Brel
the late Maurice Chevalier...

Bruel is unknown outside of France, I think, but the other ones should be familiar to you.
JD
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 06:34 am:   

Tia Carrere also put out an album.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 04:35 pm:   

Back from NYC, saw a ton of films and a few great concerts. Will tell all. Need a rest, first.

L
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 09:03 am:   

There Will Be Blood, Paul Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel, Oil (shorn of most of its political matter), possesses the scope and gravitas of an epic yet proves in the end to have been something smaller and much more idiosyncratic: an intense portrait of man driven to separate himself from the rest of humankind. Anderson’s depiction of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) stands with Welles’ Citizen Kane (a film it somewhat resembles) as one of the great character studies in the American cinema, and Day-Lewis’ enthralling performance deserves a much more prestigious award than any the Academy can give. Hard Eight, Anderson’s early film, announced the advent of a new cinematic voice, but thereafter I lost faith in him. His subsequent films were rife with immature, excessive flourishes--one had the sense that he felt he could do anything and it would be praised. It was as if he were showing off, waving his hand about in order to draw attention to himself. With Punchdrunk Love, it seemed he was attempting a different sort of movie, a mature work, but he was hamstrung by the limitations of his leading man, Adam Sandler. In There Will Be Blood he has rid himself of all such baggage, honed his story-telling to a nicety, refined his language into elegant, authentic period dialogue, and fashioned a movie that people will be watching and re-watching for decades.

The film opens with a visceral, nearly dialogue-free fifteen minutes that shows the arduous labor and dangers attendant upon wildcatting for oil in the late 19th century, yet even here we have a sense that there is something askew in Plainview’s drive for success, something false about his forthright manner and his displays of affection toward his infant son, H.W. We then jump forward thirteen years to 1911, to a point at which Plainview, accompanied by H.W. (Dillon Freasier), travels to New Boston, a settlement in the California desert, where he bilks the locals of their land and begins drilling the field that will make him wealthy. The drilling is dangerous. Accidents occur, people die, and H.W. is injured in a well explosion, losing his hearing as a result. Caring for a deaf child doesn’t suit Plainview’s style, and what he does to solve this problem is our first clear indication of the depth of the man’s iniquity.

During this long middle section, Anderson peels and picks away at the layers of Plainview’s personality, gradually exposing the sociopath beneath. “I hate most people,” he says at one point. “I want to earn enough money so I can get away from everyone.” But Plainview is more than a mere misanthrope, and he proves this by his casually malefic actions toward the people of New Boston, among whose number he finds his great enemy, the teenage evangelist Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), eldest son of one of the bilked families, a boy every bit as manipulative and false as Plainview himself. By slighting Eli, Plainview guarantees a vendetta and, eventually, Eli humiliates him publicly and coerces him to accept Christ and be baptized by means of withholding a vital lease that would allow him to build a pipeline to the Pacific. Into this situation comes a derelict (Kevin J. O’Connor) claiming to be Plainview’s brother--he tells him that their mother is dead. Grudgingly, Plainview takes him in and before long confides in him his true feelings about mankind. When he learns the man is not his brother, he is quick to exact his revenge. The movie’s final half-hour takes place in 1927, when Plainview, his goal of solitary wealth achieved, mad as a fly and living alone except for a manservant, is visited at his estate first by H.W. and then by Eli, events which build to the pictures’ stunning climax.

Robert Elswit’s camera lingers over the ramshackle buildings and scarred landscapes of the film, lending them a parched beauty, and the symphonic score, by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenway, effectively deepens the picture’s moods. The performances are uniformly strong, notably Kevin J. O’Conner’s pitiable conman and Paul Dano, who brings a combination of canniness and hysterical energy to the role of Eli. But it’s Daniel Day-Lewis’ embodiment of Plainview that commands the film. Delivering Anderson’s lines in an orotund tone that brings to mind John Huston’s evil tycoon in Chinatown, he projects an almost demonic presence that grows more pronounced throughout the two-and-a-half hours, and yet he appears, during the movie’s last scene, to collapse back into human form. I have no idea how he pulled off these extreme transformations, but I’m certain I witnessed the purest alchemy of an actor’s art. I watched the movie at a Writer’s Guild screening in New York. Usually after these gatherings the talk is of the screenplay, and there was some of that, for sure, with people remarking on the quality and precision of the dialogue; but the lion’s share of the conversation related to Day-Lewis’s performance. It takes one hell of an actor to make a roomful of writers give primacy to a performance over the written word. Daniel Day-Lewis proved, if he had not done so before, that he is one hell of an actor.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 09:04 am:   

There Will Be Blood, Paul Anderson’s adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s muckraking novel, Oil (shorn of most of its political matter), possesses the scope and gravitas of an epic yet proves in the end to have been something smaller and much more idiosyncratic: an intense portrait of man driven to separate himself from the rest of humankind. Anderson’s depiction of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) stands with Welles’ Citizen Kane (a film it somewhat resembles) as one of the great character studies in the American cinema, and Day-Lewis’ enthralling performance deserves a much more prestigious award than any the Academy can give. Hard Eight, Anderson’s early film, announced the advent of a new cinematic voice, but thereafter I lost faith in him. His subsequent films were rife with immature, excessive flourishes--one had the sense that he felt he could do anything and it would be praised. It was as if he were showing off, waving his hand about in order to draw attention to himself. With Punchdrunk Love, it seemed he was attempting a different sort of movie, a mature work, but he was hamstrung by the limitations of his leading man, Adam Sandler. In There Will Be Blood he has rid himself of all such baggage, honed his story-telling to a nicety, refined his language into elegant, authentic period dialogue, and fashioned a movie that people will be watching and re-watching for decades.

The film opens with a visceral, nearly dialogue-free fifteen minutes that shows the arduous labor and dangers attendant upon wildcatting for oil in the late 19th century, yet even here we have a sense that there is something askew in Plainview’s drive for success, something false about his forthright manner and his displays of affection toward his infant son, H.W. We then jump forward thirteen years to 1911, to a point at which Plainview, accompanied by H.W. (Dillon Freasier), travels to New Boston, a settlement in the California desert, where he bilks the locals of their land and begins drilling the field that will make him wealthy. The drilling is dangerous. Accidents occur, people die, and H.W. is injured in a well explosion, losing his hearing as a result. Caring for a deaf child doesn’t suit Plainview’s style, and what he does to solve this problem is our first clear indication of the depth of the man’s iniquity.

During this long middle section, Anderson peels and picks away at the layers of Plainview’s personality, gradually exposing the sociopath beneath. “I hate most people,” he says at one point. “I want to earn enough money so I can get away from everyone.” But Plainview is more than a mere misanthrope, and he proves this by his casually malefic actions toward the people of New Boston, among whose number he finds his great enemy, the teenage evangelist Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), eldest son of one of the bilked families, a boy every bit as manipulative and false as Plainview himself. By slighting Eli, Plainview guarantees a vendetta and, eventually, Eli humiliates him publicly and coerces him to accept Christ and be baptized by means of withholding a vital lease that would allow him to build a pipeline to the Pacific. Into this situation comes a derelict (Kevin J. O’Connor) claiming to be Plainview’s brother--he tells him that their mother is dead. Grudgingly, Plainview takes him in and before long confides in him his true feelings about mankind. When he learns the man is not his brother, he is quick to exact his revenge. The movie’s final half-hour takes place in 1927, when Plainview, his goal of solitary wealth achieved, mad as a fly and living alone except for a manservant, is visited at his estate first by H.W. and then by Eli, events which build to the pictures’ stunning climax.

Robert Elswit’s camera lingers over the ramshackle buildings and scarred landscapes of the film, lending them a parched beauty, and the symphonic score, by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenway, effectively deepens the picture’s moods. The performances are uniformly strong, notably Kevin J. O’Conner’s pitiable conman and Paul Dano, who brings a combination of canniness and hysterical energy to the role of Eli. But it’s Daniel Day-Lewis’ embodiment of Plainview that commands the film. Delivering Anderson’s lines in an orotund tone that brings to mind John Huston’s evil tycoon in Chinatown, he projects an almost demonic presence that grows more pronounced throughout the two-and-a-half hours, and yet he appears, during the movie’s last scene, to collapse back into human form. I have no idea how he pulled off these extreme transformations, but I’m certain I witnessed the purest alchemy of an actor’s art. I watched the movie at a Writer’s Guild screening in New York. Usually after these gatherings the talk is of the screenplay, and there was some of that, for sure, with people remarking on the quality and precision of the dialogue; but the lion’s share of the conversation related to Day-Lewis’s performance. It takes one hell of an actor to make a roomful of writers give primacy to a performance over the written word. Daniel Day-Lewis proves in this film, if he has not done so before, that he is one hell of an actor.
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PM
Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 03:51 pm:   

I detect a happy Lucius, satisfied with a film.

Yah! I'll be on the lookout for this one.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 04:01 pm:   

Good, solid movie...maybe a great movie. It's very uncommercial, but I loved it.
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PM
Posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 - 04:33 pm:   

Uncommercial works for me.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 11:49 am:   

Watched The DaVinci Code (it was finally on a cable station I get). I didn't read the book, so I'm not sure how much of the crappiness was the source material and how much was the adaptation. It seemed to embrace every suspense cliche, save for a romance between Tautou and Hanks. I suppose the best thing I can say about it is that it's not as awful as National Treasure (another mess of ridiculous conspiracy theories and suspense cliches).
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - 01:00 pm:   

You dont think? Gee, I thought Tom Hanks with a mullet explaining stuff to/having stuff explained by Ian Mclellean was about as low as you could go...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 05:17 am:   

The dueling exposition scene was low, but not quite as low as relying on magic sunglasses to decipher clues. Overall I felt National Treasure was more logically challenged (i.e. things obviously made no sense, compared to DaVinci where the lack of sense wasn't quite as blatant).
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 06:18 am:   

Six of one, half a dozen of the other, I figger. I take it yoo're not going to NT2?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 06:19 am:   

Oh, yeah...I thought the miracle of the shaving cut was super lame as well.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 07:03 am:   

I saw Margot at the Wedding, which--surprisingly--I liked. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nicole Kidman were outstanding as sisters who've been estranged and one (Kidman) comes to attend the other's wedding. It reminded me of one of those old Woody Allen Bergmanesque movies a la Interiors, only done right. The director, Noah Baumbaugh (The Squid and the Whale), really has that fucked-up family dynamic thing down. Jack Black as Leigh's fiancee is better than all right but not as stellar as the women. By turns, funny and horrifying, it's well-crafted, great dialogue, and probably not for everyone.
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david h
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 11:47 am:   

Hey Lucius, your review of There Will Be Blood really has me looking forward to it. Daniel Day Lewis is fun to watch be it in bad or good movies, but it sounds like he's on fire in this.

On another note, I'm not sure if there are any Farscape fans here, but have you guys heard that the show is making a comeback? There are going to be some webisodes on sci-fi.com in the near-ish future and, hopefully, a revival of some sort to follow. I was happy to hear this. After hearing this, I went back and watched some of the series on DVD for the first time since the show aired. It's holding up well I think. I loved that show...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 12:14 pm:   

It's a fine movie.

No Farscape fan here.
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david h
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 12:21 pm:   

>>No Farscape fan here.

No? You muppet hater. ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 12:22 pm:   

Especially scifi muppets...

:-)
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 01:13 pm:   

I enjoyed Farscape, it's easily the best thing Sci-Fi channel has done.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 01:16 pm:   

Gearing up for the last season of The Wire starting Jan 6 by watching S4 On Demand. TV doesn't get much better; I feel like I miss a few plot cues just turning my head away for a minute. Looks Life on Mars Season 2 hits BBC America soon as well...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 01:23 pm:   

Never got into the Wire and then I cancelled showtime, so...

Looking forward to life on mars...

Better than BGalactica?
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 01:55 pm:   

My DVR just justified its expense by enabling me to watch Peter Sellers' THE MOUSE THAT ROARED with Jean Seberg. Love that stuff.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   

BG struck me as something that was well done, but despite the quality I didn't want to watch it. Farscape was a more enjoyable show.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 02:49 pm:   

Zooming back from PDX yesterday (great to hang out, Lucius!!), I did something I rarely do: I watched the in-flight movie, a recent MIA flick with Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett and Alan Alda called RESURRECTING THE CHAMP.

Spoilers a'-comin', if you are planning on seeing this.

The gist of it is this: Hartnett is a stringer for the sports section of a Denver daily who can't get a break. After a fight, he stumbles across SLJ, who claims to be ex-prize fighter Bob Satterfield. Hartnett sees the down-on-his-luck fighter as his ticket out of the box-score ghetto; SLJ sees Hartnett as a source of spending cash and booze. Long story short, Hartnett's piece launches him into the stratosphere, including a tryout as a Jim Grey type for Showtime. Fly in the ointment: Satterfield died 20 years earlier and SLJ is actually only an also-ran who has been impersonating him for years.

This triggers the predictable ethical crisis, Hartnett owning up to his teased son, writing a mea culpa that becomes portentious voice-over narration ("a writer is like a boxer...they both stand alone"). Fade to blecch.

Anybody know the background of this? All I could think was: how could a professional journalist be so stupid and how could a big-city paper be so sloppy? Don't they fact-check their magazine cover stories? How does a guy get a job writing boxing at a daily when he doesn't even know boxing has a hall of fame? Wouldn't step one be logging onto the internet and finding basic info about the guy you are writing about? Granted it was 1997, but surely there were online resources. Why didn't the guy contact one of the well-known boxing experts for background?

How do you invest a f***-up this dumb with dramatic weight? How can you get worked up about stuff this foolish?
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 03:06 pm:   

Not sure you can really compare BSG and Life on Mars, but with only two seasons LoM was consistent through the end (the upcoming US version is another story). Life on Mars is definitely a fantasy although it's an ambiguous one as the question of exactly what's happening to John Simm's character (time travel? madness? secret experiment?) is pivotal to how it works. And the acting's off the charts.

I'm not sure I ever made it far enough into Farscape to the point where people were really starting to praise it. My favorite muppets are still the two in the balcony.

The Wire, just about every season I find it hard to crack the initial episodes, it's usually around #7-8 where the epiphanies start kicking in. Season 3 was probably one of the most sublime pieces of television I've ever seen.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 03:39 pm:   

Same here, Dave...

I heard about the Hartnett--sounded mega stupid.

Loved the Mouse!

I'll have to check out the Wire on DVD...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 04:21 pm:   

"how could a professional journalist be so stupid and how could a big-city paper be so sloppy? Don't they fact-check their magazine cover stories? "

Sounds like the general state of political journalism. I'd like to think that sports journalism would be a little better though.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:03 am:   

I went to a screening of I Am Legend tonight and for about a hour, hour and fifteen minutes, I was really into it. I liked Francis Lawrence's first film, Constantine--considering he was stuck with Keanu Reeves as a star, I thought he did a pretty good job of capturing the feel of the comic--and I had hopes for this one. But after a terrific set-up, accompanied by a splendidly realized mise-en-scene, the movie dissolved into a bunch of bad CGI and a dopey climax and just fucking ended. This is the second film I've seen recently (Michael Clayton being the first) that didn't have a third act, and this one had barely a sliver of a second act. It's as if the screenwriters ran out of paper and just said, hey, we'll go with what we've got. Really disappointing. I hope that this doesn't become a trend, the Hollywood half-movie. Anyway, i'm probably going to do a longer review of this, so I'll save the rest for later. One thing, though. I can't figure out how come they used CGI instead of prosthetics for the vampires. All they did was bite and scamper about. Whatever, it looked cheesy.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:37 am:   

That crash at the end seems to be common to just about everything that comes out of Hollywood lately. Intelligent premise of interest turns to monster bash em and an ending that fulfills nothing. And I don't even hate Will Smith.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:40 am:   

It has an end, it just doesn't have much of a second and no third act. It ruined the movie for me.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:05 am:   

I was rather impressed with how watchable Constantine was. Too bad about I Am Legend. At least is sounds better than previous adaptations.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:52 am:   

I liked Constantine a lot. I guess this Legend is better, but like I said the lack of a thrid act ruined it for me.
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david h
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 11:01 am:   

I read recently that the director was made to reshoot significant pieces of the the end of I Am Legend. It sounded like the studio called an audible. I figured they decided that Will Smith needed to live or some such Hollywood stuff. Anyway, it always seemed like more of a remake of the old Charlton Heston flick and not an adaptation of the book.

Oh yeah, I also read that, after seeing the prosthetics in a working print, the director didn;t like them and CGI-ed right over top of them in post production, or something like that.

Regarding Battlestar Galactica: The first season was its best. But the show developed serious problems in season two. The writers consistently failed to write to the alotted time slot and deleted crucial plot stuff from episodes. They also failed to deliver on the setup in any meaningful way. They retconned the crap out of characters. And they developed this lazy habit of telling us we were seeing one thing while showing us nothing of the sort (i.e. told us that Adama was a great leader, showed him doing things that were just stupid). Plus all the political allegory stretched to the point of silliness (a presediential press corp for a woman with a constituency the size of small village etc.). I think the show just took a nose dive after the Pegasus story...never bothered with season 3.

I don't think that BSG can hold a candle to Farscape. It had a bit of a so-so start, but Farscape was a real serial with strong writing and a great cast. The third season in particular was fantastic, though the fourth season was uneven.

Firefly and Serenity were pretty good though. Better than BSG by far, I think, but not as good a Farscape. Crippled by a lack of muppets I'd say.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 11:18 am:   

I don't do puppetry. :-)

I believe Lawrence is a good director, so I credit the report you cite. I sad to hear, if true, that he chose the CGI.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 12:09 pm:   

In defense of puppets, I'd have to reference the Angel episode where he gets turned into one. Damn funny.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 12:17 pm:   

I especially don't do vampire puppets. :-)
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 12:59 pm:   

Are there more than one? :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 01:03 pm:   

Not to mention TEAM AMERICA WORLD POLICE...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 01:51 pm:   

I don't know--didn't James Peach have one in the Nightmare Before Xmas?

Now Team America...I might have to make an exception for that.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 02:17 pm:   

There were vampires in Nightmare Before Christmas...but do you put stop motion animation in the same category as puppets?

Team America isn't really worth making an exception for. Depraved puppet sex doesn't make up for it being a crappy movie.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 02:44 pm:   

Der Human Must Vin!

Puppets...stop-motion...it's all toon-ish to me.
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david h
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 03:33 pm:   

>>Depraved puppet sex doesn't make up for it being a crappy movie.

Really? I kind of think it might. ;)

I wish Ridley had done LEGEND. It deserves a good adaptation. Although, he's done some crap in recent years, and putting Ahnuld in it would have sucked. You'd think that three tries would be enough to get a decent film made.
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david h
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 03:44 pm:   

By the way, does anyone here know anything about Cloverfield. It's a JJ-all-exposition-Abrams film about a monster...or something like that. It seems to have somehow managed to maintain absolute secrecy during production and it's being marketed with really annoying viral stratgies.

People are speculating that it might be based on a Lovecraft story.

I don't know how or why I know this crap. What a waste of brain space.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 04:25 pm:   

Ridley? You mean Ridley Scott, the hack who turned America Gangster into a feelgood movie, who turned Blackhawk Down into a music video? Believe me, Lawrence was a better choice.

Cloverfield, as I understand it, is a dinosaur movie, one big and lots of little ones. I think it's been retitled Escape From Lost Island.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1060277/
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 04:44 pm:   

I thought I read somewhere Cloverfield was about dinosaurs - several and that it's basically one guy running around with a video camera filming the events as they happen.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 04:49 pm:   

Maybe we'll finally find out what the foot is in Cloverfield. :D
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 05:38 pm:   

It's about an attack on NYC as experienced by a small group of peeps...
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jk
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:32 pm:   

Here's a new Lovecraft-inspired film, which looks horrendous. Tori Spelling is in it.
"Home is where the horror is. The death of his mother prompts a gay professor's return to his hometown, where he encounters an ancient evil in this horror film inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Nominated for an Independent Spirit Producer's Award, the film follows Russ (Jason Cottle), whose homecoming brings him face to face with a sinister presence -- and with his dad, whose New Age cult may hold the key to the dark events."
H.P. must be spinning his grave.
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jk
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:32 pm:   

Oops, spinning in his grave.
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jk
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 09:37 pm:   

Saw a great British thriller from just after WWII called Green For Danger, with Alastair Sim.
He plays an irreverent police inspector looking into a series of murders at a hospital during the war. I'd never heard of this one before, but it was really enjoyable.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:24 pm:   

Green for Danger IS cool. Sims ruled.

The words "inspired by the work of HP Lovecraft" alone are enough to make me shudder.... :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:39 pm:   

I was reading back in the thread and came across mention of Billy Mumy. I was at comicon in San Diego a few years back and caught a celeb band fronted by Mumy and a coked-up Mel Ferrer (he performed a manic Like a Rolling Stone) at the con. Afterward, I rode up in an elevator along with Mumy and a fan of his who kept staring wetly at him. Mumy had two guitars in soft cases slung over his shoulders and the fan, still staring, said, "You know, with those guitars on your back, you look just like an angel."

Eeeuuw!
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jk
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 11:17 pm:   

Was Oliver from Brady Bunch in his band?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 04:48 am:   

Naw, it was just a bunch of comic book writers, Mumy and Miggy...
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 04:59 am:   

"Inspired by HP Lovecraft" usually means the movie is scary, but not in the right sort of way. More like the "I can't believe how awful this is" way.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 05:46 am:   

Yup. And what's more, I take it to mean "inspired by HP (executed by hacks)"....
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 08:06 am:   

Aren't some of those indie HPL films like the silent Call of Cthulhu supposed to be OK? I've been burnt too many times to risk em myself.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 08:18 am:   

Call of Cthulu is the silent film made by the HPL Society and is OK. "Some of those films" may be a reach.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 08:24 am:   

I always got the impression HPL left a lot of the horrible stuff up to your own imagination, which means any reveal of Shub Niggurath or whatever CYCLOPEAN CHTHONIC EVIL is only bound to be disappointing at best.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 08:30 am:   

Always been on the fence about Daniel Johnston. Saw Jeff Feurzig's THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON last night and found it a very compelling and enlightening doc that really taught me a lot about the guy and where he was coming from. It also, perhaps inadvertently, threw a little light on the very iffy relationship between the hipness hounds of alternaculture and the troubled and troubling "savants" onto which they project their fantasies. Still not a big fan of his music, but I feel like I understand his sich and his fans' take a bit better.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2007 - 08:58 am:   

Yeah, I feel the same way about Johnson. Good movie.
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jk
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 12:32 pm:   

Lucius, have you seen the movie Corrupt, with Harvey Keitel and John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten? Might be amusing to watch Johnny's "acting." Although his whole Johnny Rotten schtick is a big act anyway. Keitel plays a corrupt cop who holes himself up in an apartment with killer Leo Smith (Rotten) for a battle of the wits. Heh heh.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 12:54 pm:   

Nope, never heard of it/ You gonna check it out?
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jk
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 01:32 pm:   

Yeah, I rented it, gonna watch it later. Keitel is supposedly in Bad Lieutenant mode.
It was also called Order of Death. Strange, allmovie states it was released in 1977, Netflix has 1983. 1977 would have been kind of early for Rotten to land an acting role.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 06:57 pm:   

IMDB says 1983. They also say an alternate title was Corrupt Lieutenant. Foreshadowing Bad Lieutenant?
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 09:27 pm:   

Here's a film that supposed to a real hoot, unintentionally funny, a biopic that doesn't engage its subject, featuring a hilarious double performance by Natalie Portman... Goya's Ghosts directed by Milos Forman.

The lives of a great artist, a corrupted holy man and a beautiful woman cross paths at a crucial moment in history in this epic-scale historical drama from director Milos Forman. Near the end of the 18th Century, Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgard) is a gifted but controversial artist whose provocative and often satirical work has earned the enmity of the Spanish government as well as the Catholic Church, who hold tremendous power as the Inquisition rages.

Surprisingly, Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a monk involved in the Inquisition, has hired Goya to paint a portrait of himself, and to prove to the Inquisitor General (Michael Lonsdale) he's not in cahoots with the renegade artist, Lorenzo targets Ines (Natalie Portman), one of Goya's favorite models, as a possible heretic.

Under torture from Lorenzo, Ines signs a false confession, and her wealthy and powerful father, Tomas Bilbatua (Jose Luis Gomeza), offers Lorenzo a taste of his own medicine by brow-beating him into signing a document confessing that his mother was an ape. Lorenzo flees Spain as his reputation lies in tatters, and Goya earns greater infamy as he paints a wildly unflattering portrait of Queen Maria Luisa (Blanca Portillo) under commission from her husband, King Carlos IV (Randy Quaid), but Ines remains in prison thanks to her coerced confession.

Fifteen years later, Lorenzo has become a follower of the Enlightenment, and returns to Spain as Napoleon's forces storm the nation and the Inquisition finally collapses; Lorenzo attempts to liberate Ines from prison, but a shocking discovery awaits him...

Randy Quaid as King Carlos? WTF?

It might be worth 20 bucks.
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 01:19 am:   

Yeah, I think I remember seeing a review of that Forman film stating he's completely lost it.
Watched Corrupt. It wasn't very good. Kind of an interesting premise. There's a cop killer and Lydon shows up at corrupt cop Keitel's apartment confessing to being the killer. Keitel doesn't believe him, but beats him up and keeps him captive in his apartment, since he thinks he has something on Keitel. As the film progesses a weird domestic situation arises, Lydon walks around in a robe telling Keitel what to do as the tables slowly turn. It's not very well written though. The surprise ending isn't much of a surprise. And the picture quality of the dvd is horrendous. Probably the worst I've seen. It looks like an ep VHS tape which has been watched about 1000 times was just transferred to DVD. You can actually see the lines from where the tape breaks up and the tracking needed to be adjusted. And for some reason the curse words are all edited out.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 07:04 am:   

Sounds like the Servant, only horrible. ;)
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 11:00 am:   

The Servant was pretty great. I'm surprised they haven't done a bad remake of it yet, with Will Smith maybe.
Corrupt was an Italian production, so imagine a terrible looking Fulci film from the early eighties, but instead of horror, it's crime drama, with psychological pretensions. At least there weren't a bunch of badly dubbed actors in it a la Fulci or Argento. I remember on one of the commentaries on an Argento disc I watched, they asked about the bad dubbing, and he said it wasn't dubbed, that they had accents. Haha. Accents where their mouth moves and the sound comes out a few seconds later?
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 12:16 pm:   

The servant should be remade with either Tom Cruise or Josh Hartnett... :-)

I don't really get Argento or Fulci. Their best movies aren't THAT great, and their average stuff is seriously overrated.
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 01:41 pm:   

Yeah, Cruise would be great in a remake of The Servant. :-) I wonder how his new Nazi movie will go over? What's that saying about Nazi uniforms in lots of closets?
Cruise should have done a biopic about Douglas Pierce from Death In June. A perfect fit for him.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 02:14 pm:   

Well, I guess...

A new Nazi movie for TC?
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 02:35 pm:   

Yeah, called Valkeryie. About the plot to assassinate Hitler. Cruise plays one of the Nazis that tries to blow Hitler up.
It's been all over the news that the German government isn't happy with little Tommy's scam religion and are trying to outlaw Scientology in Germany, and were giving him grief about shooting there.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 04:38 pm:   

Oh, yeah. I heard about it.

"Cruise plays one of the Nazis that tries to blow Hitler up."

I think the word "up" is unecessary here. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 05:31 pm:   

We watched the great Alastair Sims in a Christmas Carol last night, the best version of the story, as far as I'm concerned. Which brought to mind other excellent Sims performances. Steven Potter in School for Scoundrels (not to be confused with the horrid Billy Bob Thornton vehicle, but the excellent Brit comedy featuring Terry Thomas and Ian Carmichael), for example. I think the best Sims performance may be as the fake psychic, Mr. Squales, in London Belongs to Me, a movie I've only seen once, during a retrospective on the work of Sydney Gilliat, who made a number of terrific British crime movie. London Belongs to Me is equal parts comedy. suspense thriller, a chunk of social realism on the eve of WW2, and a psychological drama. Here Sims is a nasty fellow, a con man who has persuaded one Mrs. Vizzard of his powers and convinced her to marry him. The scene is a South London boarding house and the other tenants--a young criminal (Richard Attenborough), a revolutionary socialist, a carnival worker, a cloakroom attendant, etc, are all featured equally. It's a wonderful movie, and I really wish I had a DVD of it. Sims has to go down with Peter Lorre as one of the oddest personnas ever to make a mark in the movies. I tried to think of others who could rival this pair but couldn't manage it. Bobcat Goldtwaite, maybe, but he didn't make that much of a mark. There must be others who would qualify, I just can't come up with them.
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:44 pm:   

Cool. I love those old British comedies. I haven't seen School for Scoundrels yet but it looks great, so I bought it. What a crock they don't have it at Netflix. But they have the Billy Bob version of course.
London Belongs to Me looks good too. Hopefully it'll get a dvd release.
Got Belles of St. Trinians too. With Alastair Sim. Gilliat was the producer/screenwriter on that. Sim has a dual role as the severe headmistress and her bookmaking brother. Looks like it might be good too.
Wasn't Alex Guinness' character in Ladykillers supposed to be a parody of Alaistir Sim?
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jk
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:47 pm:   

Oops, spelled his name wrong. Well, I know it's not Aleister like in Aleister Crowley. heh
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:48 pm:   

School for Scoundrels is awesome, and Terry Thomas sort of steals the show. Belles is a bit dated, imo, but alastair sim in drag...how can you go wrong? :-)

I didn't know that about the Guiness character.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 07:52 am:   

Saw some interesting stuff over the wknd, including WAL MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE, Todd Field's LITTLE CHILDREN and a doc called STRANGE CULTURE, about a radical artist working on pieces about genetically modified food who is being prosecuted as a bioterrorist.

Really enjoyed LC, although I found the voice-over narration by the PBS Frontline guy a bit distracting and kind of a lazy technique. Jackie Earl Haley was pretty good as the child molester. How can you go wrong in a film when you've got Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly?

SC was a pretty scary indictment of our post 9/11 panic culture and raises some serious questions about who our govt is working for.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 08:08 am:   

I didn't like Little Children at all, though Kate W was persuasive. SC sounds interesting.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 08:29 am:   

SC is a fascinating story, but instead of following the legal controversy, it takes an artsy po-mo detour, casting actors to play the artist and his wife in dramatized scenes that sit alongside the straight doc stuff. Still worth seeing, though.

Kate W could definitely persuade me. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, December 17, 2007 - 08:47 am:   

I'm going to try and pick it up.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 01:59 pm:   

Another good "uncredited cameo by someone before he got famous":

wincing schoolboy in the front row who watches Leo DiCaprio get paddled in The Basketball Diaries: Chris Penn
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 02:30 pm:   

Ya mean, before he got dead, don't you?
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 02:43 pm:   

Before both...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 - 10:23 pm:   

Here's the Cloverfield trailer, which has the look of a big budget urban Blair WItch Project and has been hyped by a similarly mounted Internet campaign and seems to consist mainly, from the various clips I've watched of handheld shots of young or youngish actors scurrying about in a panic and not knowing what's going on. It looks to me like a massive pile of crap, exactly what I'd expect from JJ Abrams, but you be the judge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvNkGm8mxiM

I watched a French supernatural thriller with an ingenious device tonight. It's called Ecoute le Temps and stars Emilie DeQuennes, who played the title role in Rossetta, the Palm D'Or winning film by the Dardennes brothers.

Charlotte (DeQuennes) is a young sound engineer who works mostly on nature documentaries. When her mother is murdered, she returns to the rural village where her mother lived and worked--she was a clairvoyant and was considered a witch by many of the villagers. She settles into the decaying family home. Soon she begins to hear snatches of conversation that she realizes have taken place in the past and, using her professional equipment, hoping to solve her mother's murder, she attempts to map the sounds and align them with her mother's acquaintances--the mayor, who owns a fertilizer factory, and his promiscuous wife; an organic farmer; a neighbor's adult son, who's somewhat slow; her father, long divorced from her mother; a couple whose child has vanished.

The solution comes too easily, but it's an eminently watchable film thanks to the direction by Alante Kavaite, which lets the story unwind without overexplaining things, and because of DeQuennes' performance, which is remarkable. She manages to convey so much with her face and body, the film's many dialogue-less, solitary scenes are completely compelling. This one is due for a Hollywood remake to be entitled Fissures, but if I were you I'd catch the original instead.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, December 21, 2007 - 05:06 am:   

DeQuennes also was the love interest in Brotherhood of the Wolf. Sounds like it would be worth checking out.

I made the mistake of trying to watch "Let's Go to Prison." It's supposed to be a comedy, but after 30 minutes without laughing, I turned it off. I knew it would be bad, but I hoped for at least a few laughs out of Will Arnett.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 21, 2007 - 05:36 am:   

It's not bac--could have been better, could have been more suspenseful, but it;s worth a look..
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2007 - 07:29 am:   

God help me, I watched Superbad and liked it.
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PM
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 03:14 pm:   

At least I'm not post-apocalyptically alone.
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Alan
Posted on Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 06:35 pm:   

I liked I am Legend although I was disappointed that it did not do more with the theme of the book, which was that the zombies had become a competing civilization, not a sick/doomed population. It suggested that the 'zombies' (victims) retained intelligence and organization, as well as some rudimentary feelings. I thought that at the end Neville would somehow negotiate with the zombie leader because he clearly was there because his 'wife' had been taken captive, in addition to the usual flesh eating stuff. And his 'wife' was laying right there obviously getting better. I would have liked at least to see him try to communicate, instead of just napalming them all.

The deserted Manhattan was brilliant, and probably made the movie. The Omega Man just had lots of paper flying around, if I recall it correctly. But I thought that Heston's character was more like the Neville in the novel; cynical, heavy drinker, not at all the kind of guy to have washboard abse and wake up and do 100 pull ups. I mean what are the odds that someone like that who was also one of the world's leading virologists would survive an epidemic. And that he wouldn't just go to pot after his family is killed before his eyes and then the entire of humanity dies or goes rabid? Please.

In Hollywood land, any hero must be superbly physically fit and win the day by explosives or guns, period. When was the last time someone thought or talked there way out of a problem? Is that just too every-day? Most people can't do that either. Even intelligent thrillers (of the Mamet variety) usually end with people just getting shot. Wish fulfillment I suppose - since I doubt anyone who works in Hollywood can shoot or fight their way out of a paper bag.

I guess I was just annoyed that even in a movie I liked the good guy made me look like a fat slob.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 07:02 am:   

I've already weighed in on Legend. The first act was fine, the second act was way slight, the third act didn't exist.

I don't recall that many foreign thrillers ending with a full-on conversatiom. :-)
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 11:19 am:   

Just saw Marjoe last night. It made me nostalgic for the sweet and simpler hucksterism of the past.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 12:16 pm:   

Interesting Wikpedia entry on Marjoe. He makes a living sponsoring celebrity golf tourneys. Wish he'd finished that unfinished movie.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe_Gortner
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Alan
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 08:33 pm:   

Lucius: Any view of No Country for Old Men. Everyone raves about it; do you?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 - 09:21 pm:   

I commented earlier. It was all right. It's just a serial killer movie with good art direction and cinematography, an decent adaptation of subpar McCarthy book, with a stock performance by Tommy Lee and an entertaining one by Bardem. It's no masterpiece and not half the movie that There Will Be Blood Is...
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 09:55 am:   

I hope Marjoe is faring well with the golf after his struggling movie career.

I wonder if he ever looks on the riches pulled in by modern scam artists like Ted Haggard and regrets his decision to do the documentary. He could always have repented, said he was trying to look cool for the liberal, longhaired, chain-smoking filmmakers, then gone into some Christian reprogramming center...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 10:14 am:   

My take...He's happy and well-off without that shit in his life. Running golf tourneys is not as predatory as evangelism.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 04:37 pm:   

It'd be interesting to do a brainscan on someone like Ted Haggard, say when he's preaching at his megachurch and then when he's getting blown by a male masseuse on meth.

There must be some serious mind-fuckery going on.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 08:12 pm:   

I'n not that interested in Ted, frankly.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 08:16 pm:   

Bad news for Gondry fans-Be Kind, Rewind is a commercial flick.

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/magazine/16-01/ff_gondry
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PM
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2007 - 09:18 pm:   

Ah but what were the chances that it would appeal to you anyway...:-)

One wonders if Jack Black is going to do to Gondry what he did to King Kong.
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Rich Patterson
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 02:44 am:   

Hey, Lucius. Hope you're enjoying lots of holiday goodies...

Gave up on China and I'm in Kazakhstan for a while. Just bought a DVD about the Almaty mafia. Will let you know if it's any good.

Cheers,
Rich
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 07:19 am:   

Caught up on my "regular guy" cinema on the hotel PPV over the holiday. I was surprised that, despite its occasional forays into the American Nitwit mind-set, KNOCKED UP was surprisingly intelligent, humanistic and sweet without resorting to the usual treacly platitudes. That having been said, Apatow's work has never come close to that level of insight and empathy again, IMHO.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 07:32 am:   

Saw a very strange, interesting and surprisingly stylish film called BROTHERS OF THE HEAD, a "mockumentary" about Siamese twin brothers who are launched as punk rock "auteurs" in the mid-1970s. I thought it was technically a rather beautiful film with good performances and an intersting approach, although the ending is rather abrupt and there are missed opportunities to recreate the early punk scene.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:14 am:   

I've heard good things about Brothers in the head. Didn't like Knocked Up as much as parts of Superbad. To me, KU was like a haute cuisine pizza with clams and braised peacock tits as toppings.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:17 am:   

Hey, Rich...what happened to Malaysia? Thought you were headed there.

Good to hear from you. Yeah, the DVD sounds cool. Khazakistan. Wow. I envy you.

Take care of yourself, man.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:26 am:   

Mmmmmmmmm...braised peacock tits...
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:27 am:   

Best part of SUPERBAD for me, besides the cops, was Fogell .
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 08:47 am:   

You know I thought the cops were cliched. I liked the relationship between the kids.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:44 am:   

Oh, one last thing. In a season of crap, I was happy for a brief respite with the tv version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL starring Patrick Stewart as Scrooge and Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit. Maybe not the best, but very enjoyable.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:59 am:   

yeah, I'm still a fan of the Sim version. Stewart is no Alastair Sim.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 12:50 pm:   

Good news for mankind. A friend of mine, John Alan Simon, has just finished directing Radio Free Ablemuth. It's a low-budget picture (and that's a virtue, IMO), featuring some known actors (Shea Wiggam from Wristcutters plays Phillip K. Dick) and a bunch of unknowns, along with Alanis Morisette, who contributes an original song to the movie. He's done an interview with Ain't It Cool news about the picture, which should run in the near future, and he hopes he can finish the FX and editing in time for this year's Cannes Film Festival. One way or the other, it should be viewable in the states by mid-year.

I'm stoked to see this. John and I have talked a lot about the movies, and he appreciates quality. From what I know about John and his commitment to good writing (he also wrote the script), I'd be shocked if this wasn't one of the two or three best adaptations done of Dick's work. Here's the IMDB link:


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1129396/
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jk
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:06 pm:   

Yeah, sounds interesting. Looking forward to a non-crap adaptation. And Nicolas Cage isn't in it, that's always a selling point.
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jk
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:09 pm:   

Brothers of the Head was written by Brian Aldiss. Will have to check that out.
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jk
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:12 pm:   

I hope Alanis Morissette doesn't wreck that movie.
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Rich Patterson
Posted on Friday, December 28, 2007 - 09:29 pm:   

I was about 3 months in Malaysia. Big cultural clash happening there. The government like to think of it as a model of tolerant society, but there’s a lot of tension under the surface (especially between the Indians and bumi putras). Finally left because, like you said, I was never not sweating :-)

Kazakhstan has more of the same stuff I liked about Inner Mongolia; fresh air, blue skies, mad Russians.

Just pre-ordered your greatest hits book from Amazon. Looking forward to catching up on the stories I missed and re-reading some favorites!
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 04:23 am:   

From what John tells me, Alanis has matured into a pretty decent actress and a smart young woman. She now knows the meaning of ironic... :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 04:38 am:   

Rich...See, I told you. Like an old cheese.

K-stan sounds great. Wish I was there instead of Vegas (I'm covering a fight).

Enjoy el book.

I'm going back to sleep...
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jk
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 01:01 pm:   

Lucius, have you seen the Czech new wave film Daisies?
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2007 - 03:21 pm:   

Daises. No, I don't think so. I know it's some kind of whack comedy but have no knowledge aparty from that.
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Huw
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 05:27 am:   

I watched The Zombie Diaries last night, and it turned out to be a tedious, uninspired mix of Blair Witch and Dawn of the Dead.

Happy New Year everyone.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 06:11 am:   

HNY, Hiuw...
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Huw
Posted on Tuesday, January 01, 2008 - 06:55 am:   

Thanks, Lucius!

p/s I have just started reading Dagger Key at last, and am greatly enjoying it. ;)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 07:10 am:   

I watched about 90 min of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (Palm Sunday to crucifixion) last night because the Sugar Bowl was such a rout. What a bizarro flick! Jesus walks off the cross because God decides to bail him out and marries not only Mary Magdelene but Lazarus' sister (wtf??). He confronts Paul who is preaching the traditional story of the death and resurrection and is told that the truth doesn't matter, since the resurrected Christ is more useful to people.

Damn! I never expected this movie to be that bizarre! Have to give kudos for the Jesus-Judas relationship that prefigured the discovery of the Judas Gospel by 20 years. But, anybody know where Scorsese got his rather twisted take on the gospels?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 08:15 am:   

Perhaps from Nikos Kazantzaki's novel, upon which the film was based? :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 08:18 am:   

And St. Paul murders Lazarus to destroy evidence of Jesus' miracles? Whaaaa...?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 08:23 am:   

Again, I refer you to the novel. Kazantzakis was also the author of Zorba the Greek.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 03, 2008 - 06:42 am:   

Watched the orphanage, a very creepy, albeit derivative, Spanish horror movie--it's produced by del Toro and the whole thing reels of his influence and the whole Spanish romantic, fairytale-ish horror thing...yet it's effective. Great lead performance by Bayon Rueda as Laura, a woman who returns to the orphanage where she grew up (in beautiful Asturias, where I was last summer). Creepy kid with sack over his head, lots of jump scares. You've seen it all before, and you know it while you're watching, but it still scares the crap out of you. Probably viewed best in the theater.
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david h
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 08:43 am:   

Hi Lucius. You know, I'm surprised that you're being so charitable with The Orphanage. My girlfirend and I watched the trailer online, and we both thought it looked hilariously bad. It's just a montage of a woman screaming a name, the creepy sack headed kid, and what looked to be moody location footage Del Toro didn't use in his last film. We couldn't help but laugh.

That said, it's gotten a lot of positive reviews. I wonder if they botched the trailer trying to make it appeal to the Final Destination demographic? Anyway...

Happy new year to you all!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 09:43 am:   

I liked the central performance and I __was__ caught up in it, despite the derivative elements. Maybe I just dug the scenery in Asturias. :-)
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david h
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 10:35 am:   

That's cool. I am interested in it despite the fact that I can't get excited about anything del Toro does. I'm just not sure I'm interested enough to pass up seeing There Will Be Blood. I don't see nearly as many movies as some of you guys do, so I'll probably only see one or the other.

I did finally see No Country For Old Men recently though. It was really good, but not great. I'm past the point of entertaining the notion that Tommy Lee Jones is an actor though. I think he just *is* that character.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 10:49 am:   

The Grumpy, Crusty Old Dude. Yup.

See There Will Be Blood. Seriously. Daniel Day Lewis is fucking great!
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 11:10 am:   

Is this the same Lucius who said he wasn't a PTA fan just about a month ago? :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 11:47 am:   

yeah, he changed my mind. I still think his earlier movies were, to be kind, indulgent.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008 - 08:41 pm:   

Saw One Missed Call, directed by Eric Valette--he also directed Malefique, the superb Lovecraftian prison flick. The movie isn't great. How could it be with Edward Burns and the cast of last years The Real World. But it''s a cut above, a small cut, and has some nice touches thanks to Valette...

Hollywood Strikes Again...
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Jay Todd Steneker
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 06:55 am:   

speaking of hollywood strikes again has anyone seen michael haneke's hollywood remake of Funny Games.
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Jay Todd Steneker
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 06:58 am:   

Curious to see if Haneke stayed in hollywood for his next film i went to imdb and found this
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1149362/

Sounds pretty damn good, so Im betting funny games was the done for the cash.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 09:14 am:   

Yeah it does.

I'm kind of interested in Funny Games. It supposed to be identical to the original, only in Englsh. I want to see how the killers come off.
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jk
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 10:33 am:   

Malefique sounds interesting. Guess it never got a region 1 release, can't find it anywhere.
Wonder what they'll use for the music in the new version of Funny Games instead of John Zorn? Probably some toothless emo band. Heheh.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 12:28 pm:   

Malefique is superb. A really cool film. I'm surprised it never got an all region release.

Only one way to find out about the emo band! :-)
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Jay Todd Steneker
Posted on Saturday, January 05, 2008 - 11:33 pm:   

Rewatched In My Fathers Den a very good new zealand flick directed by Brad McGann who unfortunately died not long after making it.

A war journalist returns home to a small town, disillusioned he starts up a friendship with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, when she goes missing he becomes the prime suspect. I wont go into any further but its a pretty amazing flick cleverly plotted with great performances from the cast, really well paced with something meaningful to say.

Ithought I'd mention it as it's getting a region 1 release soon but if you're interested you can get it from Australia pretty cheaply.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 07:42 am:   

Thanks, Jay. I'll look forward to that.
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Huw
Posted on Sunday, January 06, 2008 - 10:57 pm:   

Just got home from seeing AVP2: Requiem. In a word: ugh. Avoid if you value your brain cells!

I just ordered Malefique, with I'd never heard of before. Thanks for the tip, Lucius.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 05:07 am:   

No problem, HUW. Enjoy.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 06:12 am:   

Watched and enjoyed Olivier Assayas' CLEAN with Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte. Thought it was quite well written and acted, and I liked its somewhat realistic depiction of the music biz. Critics unfavorably compared it to the similarly-themed SHERRYBABY, but I preferred it.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 07:17 am:   

I got that on queue. Love Maggie.
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Mike McLatchey
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 10:42 am:   

I saw AVPR over the holidays. Don't think I've laughed as hard at a movie in years, but that's usually the reason to go, at least for me. These days I'm surprised a bubble with "TM" doesn't follow the aliens as they burst out of tummies now :D.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 11:13 am:   

I watched Curse of the Golden Flower. It was a very pretty movie, the costumes and set design were incredible. Plus, they actually had a thousand extras for the big battle scenes. Still, I didn't find it very interesting, despite the multiple layers of double crosses (everyone had their own plots going on to screw over everyone else). I guess I never really felt suspense since it seemed like the type of film where everyone dies at the end.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 11:47 am:   

Speaking of unthinkable sequels, Stallone has a new Rambo movie out this month?????

Me, I'm waiting for AVHP (Alien vs. Harry Potter). Now, THAT I would spend $10 for.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for: my review of the new Steven Seagal epic, URBAN JUSTICE. ETBH, it is not. I would say it is up to the standard of an uninspired, professionally-made Sat. afternoon TBS time-filler. As such it will take its place alongside THE FIRE DOWN BELOW and MARKED FOR DEATH.

Seagal plays his usual glowering, badman-from-a-shadowy-quasi-military-background character, this time searching for the gang members who offed his police officer son. SS rents a fleabag apartment in a building run by the too-hot Latina with a heart of gold character, although not many sparks are ignited there. (But this galpal gets to shoot at bad guys!) After routinely clobbering a couple of gangbangers ("This is my hood, homes!"), Seagal puts the arm on the weak-ass homey snitch, gets a sitdown with Latin gang supremo Danny Trejo ("We're bad men, with good intentions") and is put on the trail of hustling drug lord Armand (Eddie Griffin, in an entertaining "Nino Brown" turn) and his co-conspirator, the son's former LAPD boss.

The best Seagal is full of hammy high-points, but this one is competent, professional and unmemorable. By the time things devolve into an uninteresting final shootout (like most DTV Seagal, the stand-in heavy fight scenes all look like they were shot at the bottom of the Marianas Trench), you are well and truly ready for it to be finished.

Good news: Team Seagal are scrambling back up the ladders from the nadir of TODAY YOU DIE. Bad news: SS and his in-house screenwriters still have not learned how to peel back the slightly-moldy veil of menace and re-inject the pure fun of OUT FOR JUSTICE'S barroom scene.

One-half a thumb up.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 12:04 pm:   

Seagal's on the uptick, huh? Is that good news or bad?

Those chinese period pieces...I'm starting to think if you've seen one, you've seen em all.

AVPR is a DVD for me, if that.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 12:34 pm:   

He's rebounding from the shelving of the Onion movie featuring his turn as the "Cock Puncher."

I note that Seagal's favorite move is no longer the "pool-cues-as-punji-sticks" thing. It is now the more mundane "kick in the balls," which he uses at least half a dozen times in UJ. So maybe his production values rise as his martial arts technique declines.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 01:23 pm:   

Any one seen It's a Free World...I think you would like this one Lucius (if you like Ken Loach that is).
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 04:29 pm:   

Love Ken Loach. Is that a new one.

Hey, B, I'm going to be in Switzerland for a few months this spring or summer. Hope to see you!
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 11:51 pm:   

Yeah, I think its his newest. It's about a 33 yo lady who decides to set up a head hunter business and gets jobs for lots of Poles, Albanians etc for starvation wages.

Cool! I should be around and of course you're always welcome. We never did get beyond the aperitivo last time.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 06:22 am:   

That reminds me of a old Jeremy Irons movie, Moonlighting, about Poles working shit jobs in London...I think it won Cannes in the early 80s.

Thanks. We'll definitely work something out. The appertivo was fantastic.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 06:24 am:   

PS -- my fave Loach remains Land and Freedom. I guess I'n just a Commie at heart. :-)
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 06:57 am:   

I have been thinking of seeing that. It is the one in Spain, right? Is it in Spanish or English, just out of curiousity? It is one of the few that I haven't seen. I like all his films, but Ladybird, Ladybird, seems like one of the more powerful ones. Raining Stones is up there also. Really though, I can't say I dislike anything I have seen by him.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 07:30 am:   

Right, the Spanish Civil War film. I don't know if it's his best, but I like the way it treated war and death (people don't die blowing backward 12 feet and shit, they just fall in an inconsequential way) and how it showed the earnestness and innocence of the rebellion. The print I saw was in Engish and Spanish.
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Jay Todd Steneker
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 08:25 am:   

I love Loach's films as well. The only film I've disliked of his was Ae Fond Kiss which i just coulden't get into, i don't know why.

My Favourite of his, maybe Carla's Song though I like The Navigators a lot too.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 08:50 am:   

Yes, I'll have to check it out. I havent really seen any good films on the Spanish Civil War yet, though I know there are supposed to be some (well, For Whom the Bell Tolls wasn't bad).

Actually, I have a Spanish film called Vacas that is supposed to touch on it a bit, but I havent had a chance to watch it yet.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 08:52 am:   

Yeah, I didn't dislike Ae Fond Kiss, but it certainly is my least favourite of his. Actually, the one fault I have with Loach is that he has really crappy sex scenes. I think this is something he should just stay away from!
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 11:12 am:   

A good friend of mine from college is in LAND AND FREEDOM. Wasn't MOONLIGHTING by the guy who did one of my faves, THE SHOUT with John Hurt, Alan Bates and Tim Curry?

Another movie I saw this wknd that I can recommend for fans of the blaxploitation genre is ACROSS 110TH STREET. Great performances by some very familiar character actors and pretty good turns by Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto. Gritty, good writing and action. Neither Antonio Fargas nor Tony Franciosa was ever better.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 01:30 pm:   

Yes, Across 110th street is good. Didn't Curtis Mayfield do the soundtrack?
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 02:32 pm:   

Bobby Womack, I believe...
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 08, 2008 - 04:18 pm:   

Yup, solimovsli...Moonlighting's really good.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 05:58 am:   

Is THE SHOUT on DVD. Now, there's a good movie people have forgotten about.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 06:24 am:   

Yeah, but not on region 1.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 01:20 pm:   

Tried to watch Knocked Up tonight and lasted only 20 minutes. Switched to Eastern Promises and only lasted 38. In the end watched La Città sconvolta: caccia spietata ai rapitori, which was crap, but at least it didnt have guys with bad Russian accents drinking vodka. You would wonder if these guys who make these films have actually ever met any Russians.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 02:03 pm:   

Last night I tried to watch THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST from the beginning. I saw a big chunk from the middle the other day and thought it was OK. Last night, I got 30 minutes into it and I had to nuke it. Leaden pace, obtuse script and dialogue that was so mumbled I found myself shouting "SPEAK UP" at Dafoe and Keitel.

I have a thing about bad spelling. When I saw they spelled "principal" p-r-i-n-c-i-p-l-e in the Kazantzakis excerpt that began the film, I knew I was in trouble. Did everyone at Scorsese's production company miss the most common spelling error in the English language?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - 02:50 pm:   

Yes.

:-)
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david h
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008 - 07:52 am:   

Is it true that there is a sequel to The Host in the works? I read about it on some trashy movie news site...
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Dave G.
New member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1405
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 06:52 am:   

Been seeing lots o movies. Loved HEAD ON, liked WAH-WAH, Ulli Lommel's TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES and Nick Cassavettes' ALPHA DOG. AD hit all my favorite subgenres, the Capers Gone Wrong subgenre, the Skinhead Ultraviolence subgenre, the Cute Teenage Sluts Gone Wild subgenre...Even Justin Timbertoes was OK.
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Dave G.
New member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1407
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 07:02 am:   

Bai Ling busted for stealing magazines and batteries at LAX...
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Rich_p
Moderator
Username: Rich_p

Post Number: 104
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 09:35 pm:   

Hey, the board is back! Lucius, read in your blog that you'd seen Kekexili (sp?) (Mountain Patrol). Great flick! There’s another one in the “Himalaya” vein called "Salt Men of Tibet" that you might like.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7085
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 02:52 pm:   

You never know, Robert. One of Jack's tats may turn into a little monkey and learn to tapdance.
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Jwk
Junior Member
Username: Jwk

Post Number: 279
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 11:51 am:   

Saw Chabrol's Cop Au Vin, one of his two Inspector Lavardin movies. Really pretty entertaining. People in a quirky small town start getting murdered and out of town cop Inspector Lavardin tries to find the murderer.
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7088
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 04:36 pm:   

Chabrol's usually entertaining. I'll look for them.
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Sigil23
New member
Username: Sigil23

Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 11:36 am:   

I'm watching Lost, never gladder I stuck with it this season. Breaking Bad is still kicking ass too.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1411
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 01:02 pm:   

I have a conflict because an old friend of mine is directing Breaking Bad, but I'm hooked on it, and not just because I love Anna Gunn.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 246
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 05:06 pm:   

I'm shunting this over from the I4+1, as this seems like a more appropriate forum...

Re Daniel Day-Day Lewis - agreed. He has to win. But the trade off will probably be Atonement taking Best Picture.
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7093
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 05:29 pm:   

Atonement is execrable, it cannot be atoned for...ever.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 247
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 05:54 pm:   

Execrable? Maybe it's just my soft spot for Miss Knighley, but I don't think I'd be quite that harsh...

But it doesn't deserve an Oscar for best picture. I wouldn't have given it the BAFTA either.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 248
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 02:37 am:   

Whether you've seen the film or not - actually, especially if you've seen the film - you should definitely pick up the novel. In many ways it's the kind of story that could only work as written fiction; I don't see how you could ever translate it onto the screen and expect it to have the same effect.

Same with The English Patient. It's like both novels were reduced to 'tragic love story', and so that's all that made it to the screen.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7097
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 04:05 am:   

Oh, yeah read 'em both and you're right--they should never have been movies, especially those movies.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1412
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 07:31 am:   

Saw INTACTO the other day. I am going to take the unprecedented step of watching it twice, because there were a couple of little plot points I missed first time around. Nice to see Van Sydow in something worthy of his talents again...
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7098
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 07:59 am:   

Intacto's a fine motion picture.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1413
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 09:28 am:   

Also saw and liked Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and wonder whether you have a view on Spike Lee's satire BAMBOOZLED...
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Robdev
Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 997
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 11:46 am:   

I liked Intacto.

I re-watched Stardust when it came out on DVD. I think I'll revise my list of good 2007 releases to exclude it. It was fun to watch once in a theater, but a second viewing made me realize how bad it was. Most of the charm from the graphic novel was lost.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 249
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 12:11 pm:   

I liked the Stardust graphic novel as well, but i didn't see the film. I wonder how many of the people who really liked it weren't already familiar with the source material?

Saw the trailer for the forthcoming Indiana Jones movie on TV a little while ago. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to it. I'm a big fan of the first and third instalments. I just hope the new one isn't another Temple of Doom...
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7101
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 03:17 pm:   

I'm going to see The Signal. Aready watched it on DVD, but want to see it on the big screen.

I didn't really like Stardust the movie--didn't read the comic.

Dave, I haven't seen Bamboozled. Not real interested in Lee anymore.
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Robdev
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Username: Robdev

Post Number: 999
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 03:39 pm:   

The comic is a cute fairy tale, I don't think you'd like it.

I have the fear that the new Indiana Jones will be closer to Temple of Doom.
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7104
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - 05:51 pm:   

Yeah, I get a doomish vibe also...
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 250
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 04:24 am:   

Well I'll resist all doomish vibes until May. Then if it turns out to be a pile of crap I'll take all the I-told-you-so's you can thow at me. :-)
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7105
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 07:32 am:   

Not even one pile before then? :-)
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 251
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 09:13 am:   

*Old enough to know better Indiana Jones fan quickly ducks*
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7106
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2008 - 11:01 am:   

:-)
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Rich_p
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Username: Rich_p

Post Number: 107
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, February 22, 2008 - 11:45 pm:   

Just finished watching an old BBC series called the "Singing Detective" (about a bedridden mystery writer and his dark hallucinations). I vaguely recall tuning in to this mid-series when it first aired (80's?) and thinking it was rubbish. It's great stuff.
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Huw
New member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 152
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 23, 2008 - 12:28 am:   

I'd never heard of "Singing Detective" before, Rich - it sounds good.

I just watched the latest film by Kon Ichikawa (director of The Burmese Harp), called "The Inugamis" (or "The Inugami Clan" - I'm not sure of the exact English title). It was quite good, although a little too drawn-out and talky toward the end (not to mention predictable). It was basically a murder mystery with a healthy dose of black humour - a sort of blend of Agatha Christie and Takashi Miike (albeit a fairly restrained Miike). Worth a look, for those who like their Japanese mysteries.

Has anyone seen the remakes of "One Missed Call" and "The Eye" yet? I wonder if they're as bad as all the other Asian remakes.

It's good to see the board back up! I thought it had disappeared for good for a while there...
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7107
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 23, 2008 - 05:16 am:   

Oh, yeah. Michael Gambon! The singing detective! There was an unfortunate remake with Robert Downey recently. The original was awesome.

I saw about a half hour of the Eye and walked out and went to see Gone Baby Gone instead, which was all right, marked by a vert good performance the actress playing the crackhead--she nailed how eerily annoying they can be.
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Robdev
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Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1000
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:40 am:   

I saw In Bruges, it was entertaining. I always found Colin Farrel to be annoying, and he was very well cast here, he was perfect as an obnoxious Irish gangster.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7108
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 10:56 am:   

I thought Kristie Alley as a scientist in Village of the Damned and Elizabeth Shue as a cold fusion physicist in the Saint were pretty godawful.

Which pic was Farrel in?
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 253
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 12:19 pm:   

Pretty godawful applies just as well to The Saint full stop.

There was mention of One Missed Call above, the remake at any rate. I've kind of lost track of the whole J-Horror thing, but I like Miike. Anyone seen the original and thinks it's worth a look?
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 153
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 12:51 pm:   

I liked it, Alan. It wasn't original (probably Miike's most conventional film to date), but it was a fun, creepy horror movie.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 254
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 01:15 pm:   

I can do fun and creepy. For Miike at his best, I'll watch Audition again. If I can bear it (boy, did that film ever give me nightmares...)
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7109
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 04:03 pm:   

Alan, you ought to see The Happiness of the Kakaturi's, if you haven't...though I like the Korean film it was taken from, Quiet Family, even better....
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1001
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 04:47 pm:   

Farrel was in "In Bruge." Two Irish gangsters screw up a job and have to hide out in Belgium for a while. The other was Brendan Gleason. It's basically a comedy.

I've been tempted to see Be Kind Rewind when it comes to Pittsburgh, but I'm not in a rush.
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7111
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 10:38 pm:   

Oh, cool. Thanks.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 255
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 01:48 am:   

Yeah, saw The Happiness of the Kakaturis (The hills are alive with the sound of screaming!) but not the original Korean version.

Also, now the Ghostbusters theme tune is playing in my head. A lot.
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 154
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 05:42 am:   

I liked Happiness of the Katakuris, but preferred the Korean original (The Quiet Family). Miike's film was more deliberately wild and weird, complete with surreal musical numbers, but I thought Kim Ji-woon's version got it just right.

Kim Ji-woon's other films are well worth tracking down as well, for anyone who hasn't yet seen them (I expect most have seen A Tale of Two Sisters). His early comedy The Foul King is a good one (about a hapless, would-be wrestler), and A Bittersweet Life is a pretty good (if familiar) revenge flick. His latest movie should be out this year - The Good, the Bad, and the Weird. Song Kang-ho (from The Host, The Quiet Family, and about every other Korean film) plays 'the Weird' character...
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1002
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 10:25 am:   

The Oscar ceremony was dull as usual. I was disappointed with Jon Stewart's performance. He was much funnier the first time, but his jokes were more harsh as well. This played like a safe version of his jokes.

I hated the music from Enchanted, at least the winning song wasn't bad.

The only really entertaining moment was Tilda Swinton's acceptance speech.
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Lucius
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Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7113
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 10:51 am:   

I've seen all Kim Ji Woong's film and second HUW's rec.

Yeah, the Oscar's were dull and, like I said on my blog, Swinton was the only good part, except for Juno not winning much. What the fuck was Diabolo Cody wearing? Oh, she's so eccentric! These fucking fake people...Jesus.
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Dave_g
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Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1415
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 12:44 pm:   

Hey, she was a STRIPPER! You're probably just intimidated by her forthright, in-your-face sexuality!
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7114
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 01:40 pm:   

You ever read an interview with her?
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7115
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 06:04 pm:   

Watched Oshima's Naked Youth, the movie that started the Japanese New Wave, billed as the Japanese Rebel Without a Cause, but a much better film. Cool nihilism, hoplelessness and criminal pigeon selling in Post-Hiroshima Japan.
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Alan_frackelton
Junior Member
Username: Alan_frackelton

Post Number: 256
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 02:00 pm:   

That's one of the benefits of living in the UK: to watch it live I would've had to stay up to the wee small hours, and I prefer to use the wee small hours for sleeping. Well, most of the time.
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Jwk
Junior Member
Username: Jwk

Post Number: 282
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 03:54 pm:   

I've seen enough interviews with "Diablo Cody" to know that she irritates the crap out of me. And it doesn't seem very believable for a kid that age in the movie to utter those kind of lines. Seems like pretty much all the lines in that movie should have been coming out of Diablo Cody's smart-ass mouth, not those of well-developed characters. She looked like she was on the way to a try out for Jane in a new Tarzan movie at the Oscars.
They should have given a special award to Jason Reitman too. For being the son of Ivan Reitman. Congrats dude!
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7118
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 05:26 am:   

Yeah, it was shit. And you're right, the characters were stuffed full of lines that they'd never say. Good point about Reitman...

Cody's next script is about a demonically possessed cheerleader. The anti-Buffy.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1416
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 10:17 am:   

Didn't see Juno, but you do have to give it to Cody for, at very least, exploiting her persona and background and getting paid for it. Can we ever have enough tattooed ex-pole dancers-turned-screenwriters?
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7119
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 10:26 am:   

Yeah, if they're as skanky as the double-chinned Cody.
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Jwk
Junior Member
Username: Jwk

Post Number: 283
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 11:20 am:   

Didn't the phoney "Diablo" have some kind of gimmick that got her crappy script noticed, like a blog chronicling her alleged stripping exploits, or something? She created some kind of stupid "buzz" somehow, that script would have been tossed in the trash if it was in unsolicited.
Speaking of Oscar assholes, anybody hear about the reputation of Scott Rudin, who picked up the Oscar for best picture with the Coen brothers? This guy's really a piece of work.

"Those who have worked for someone like Scott Rudin (producer of "The Addams Family" series and "Ransom") are comparable to Green Berets. Rudin, who once went through 30 lackeys in a 15-month period, who has the digital readout on his office phone system programmed to demand "String cheese NOW!" at the press of a button, is generally acknowledged to be the king of demanding Hollywood bosses. Here's how the foul-mouthed, phone-hurling Rudin, who once threw a tantrum on a movie set when his assistant brought him the wrong kind of sushi, is remembered by one of his former slaves:

"I walked into the office at 7:30 a.m. and picked up the messages," recalls Rudin's ex-assistant, "and there were messages time-stamped 11 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6:30 a.m., all from Scott -- the guy doesn't sleep -- saying, 'Remind me to send flowers for Anjelica Huston's birthday.' 'Remind me to call Mike Ovitz.' Then the phone rings -- it's 7:35 a.m. -- and it's Scott, saying, 'Start on those calls.'

"This goes on until about 11 a.m. He's in the office now. I'm making calls, and suddenly he screams, 'You asshole! You forgot to remind me to get flowers for Anjelica Huston's birthday!' And as he slowly disappears behind his automatic closing door, the last thing I see is his finger, flipping me off."
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7120
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 - 01:12 pm:   

Yeah, apparently Rudin a real shit, though Bruckheimer's partner Don what's his name, was the model for Kevin Spacey's role in Swimming with Sharks, the defiinitive movie on the subject...

I heard something about Diabolo's viral propaganda. She just fucking disgusts me.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1417
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 09:43 am:   

Simpson. Didn't he die or something?

I think Cody wrote a book, didn't she?
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7121
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 10:28 am:   

Yeah...drugs were blamed.

I don't know about Cody's book.
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1004
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 03:44 pm:   

She apparently wrote a book about stripping, "Candy Girl : A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper." Looking at Amazon, it apparently came out in 2005.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7122
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 07:53 pm:   

I must buy it at once. :-)
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7123
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 07:56 pm:   

News on Diabolo Cody's (Juno) script in progress: it concerns a demonic cheerleader. Jesus. The Anti-Buffy. And now we have years of this shit to look forward to. It may appear I'm being especially hard on her, but she's just the poster child for what strikes me a disturbing trend in the industry, i,e., stuffing characters full of lines they are unlikely to say in order to allow the scriptwriter to get off (or attempt to get off) a few zingers. Another recent film that does this is In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, which I just saw this afternoon. It's supposed to be a black comedy about two hit men hiding out in Bruges, Belgium, but like Juno tries way too hard to be hip and hilarious. Though there are some good things in the movie--for one, Farrell's performance almost makes me forgive him for Alexander, and Gleeson is, as always, solid, but saying that is like praising a flatulent for dropping an odorless fart. The director, ex-playwright Martin McDonagh, has nothing even marginally original to say. He offers us yet another odd-couple hitman team who are on temporary vacation in Bruges, ordered to do so because of a botched hit in London, and are forced to shit out one-liners and monologues so as to display McDonagh's wit and etc. Some of his wit involves midgets and dwarves--there are at least half-a-dozen references to Herve Villechaise--and overweight Americans and pansy Canadians. Some of it hits the mark and McDonagh is glib to a fault, but it's all so tired and done-before (like Juno's I'm a planet line, not to mention many other Cody lines). Ralph Fiennes, their hit-boss, who alternates between doing Mamet and doing a Ben Kingsley-in-Sexy Beast impression, breaks up the funfest by ordering Gleeson to off Farrell and, of course, a warm father-son relationship then develops between the two. Then there's the alternation between ultraviolence and shits-and-giggles that Tarantino popularized, then wore out...and then the imitators had their way with the trope. And hey, why not throw in a dream sequence with a dwarf--everyone knows dwarves are not only damn funny, they're symbols of...well, whatever you want them to be. Like with David Lynch. McDonagh attempts to inject a moral into his story by laying on some Christian symbolism and making an attempt to redeem Farrell's character, but the character is so vile you don't want him redeemed. This is the cinematic equivalent of a guy who tells fag jokes to illustrate society's insensivity to gays. It's got a lot of style and swagger, and that makes it easy to mistake for an engaging film; but it's all show and no substance. I'm thinking its main value is as a test-mention it and if people say they like it, excuse yourself and walk quickly away. Black comedy? If this is black comedy, so is cleaning out a sewer.
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 155
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 01:39 am:   

I tried watching Rob Zombie's remake of HALLOWEEN last night but turned it off after twenty minutes or so. It seems he's deliberately removed all of the sense of mystery and supernatural possibilities that were such a big part of what made the original a decent little horror flick. The thing I found scary about Michael Myers in the original was that I knew little about him - he seemed inhuman, possibly of supernatural origin, and there was an air of dread and mystery every time he appeared. The remake goes out of its way to explain precisely why he became a killer, and is all the more dull for it.

I'm watching BLACK SHEEP tonight - anyone seen that? Looks as though it could be fun, at the very least...

Oh, and while I'm probably the only Welsh guy on the board: Happy St. David's Day, everyone! :-)
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7124
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 06:15 am:   

I've been to Swansea and environs. Does that count? :-)

I saw Black Sheep...it's a bit better than ok, in my view.
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 156
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 09:09 am:   

Enough to make you an honorary Welshman, I reckon. :-)
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7125
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2008 - 12:52 pm:   

Christ, is that all it takes? :-) Ever seen Twintown?
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 157
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2008 - 12:30 am:   

I haven't seen Twintown, but I remember reading somewhere (Ebert, maybe?) that it was pretty grim. I only have vague memories of passing through Swansea by train when I was a young child. I'm more familiar with the Cardiff area (have quite a few relatives there) and Llanelli, but 99% of my time spent growing up in Wales was on the far south-west coast, in St. David's. It's a beautiful, wild, remote place, and about as far west as you can go before ending up in Ireland. I'm getting homesick just thinking about it...
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1419
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 01:52 pm:   

One of my best pals is from Llanelli.
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 158
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 02:04 pm:   

Good for him! :-)

The Llanelli Scarlets are a pretty great rugby team.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1420
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 06:03 am:   

I'll have to remember to ask him about that. He's a big rugby fan. In fact, went to France to see the World Cup last year.

A movie I wanted to raise: During a particularly dreary afternoon, I watched a very modest, low budget thriller called POPULATION: 436, about a town where the population has remained exactly the same for a hundred years. Not a revelation, but a taut, interesting little thriller that held my interest and didn't feel like a cheat. Mostly, I was interested in the costarring performance of former Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. Now, I have never for a moment liked LB or Durst from a musical perspective, but I was pleasantly surprised at Durst's work in a relatively unchallenging role as a small-town deputy. No great range there, but I thought he was natural and believable. Might see more from him, I think.

Anyone else seen this film, which stars Jeremy Sisto from Law & Order.
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Rich_p
Moderator
Username: Rich_p

Post Number: 108
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 06:40 am:   

Jeremy Sisto? Law and Order? Luxury! I'm sad to say that I've been watching shit loads of "West Wing" (this particular box featuring Jimmy Smitts)

K-stan is decidedly low tech. Right now, I'd give anything for high speed internet access. :-)
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 159
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 06:46 am:   

Dave, I saw POPULATION: 436 a while ago on DVD (I think it went straight to disc, probably) and agree that it was a pretty decent little thriller.

Your Llanelli friend will no doubt be as happy as I am with the way Wales are dominating the 6 Nations tournament right now. Two more games to go until we win it.... :-)
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1006
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 07:10 am:   

Haven't seen Population 436, but I'll add it to my Netflix queue once it gets reactivated (I'm in the middle of a 3 month hold on the account).
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7127
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2008 - 04:26 pm:   

I saw Pop 436. Typical rip off of the Lottery, IMO. Nothin Special. Knew everything that was going to happen pretty much. Certainly nothing you'ld set out to see. If it shows up on TV, yeah, why not.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1421
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, March 07, 2008 - 06:20 am:   

Yeah, I was going to say that the Lottery parallel was really apparent. Guess Pop436 benefitted from my low expectations...
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1422
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 07:06 am:   

Had a chance to see Robinson Devor's ZOO last night. An interesting documentary about an almost unthinkable subject: a clique of bestiality fanciers who congregate at a rural WA farm and the fallout from the tragic death of one of their number.

At 75 minutes, it's pretty short, and the interlocking narration makes it hard to tell who's saying what, but the visuals are very arresting. I like the subtlety, the attempt to show compassion, the lack of moralizing. But a subject such as this begs that some direct questions be asked and answered, and, ultimately, the viewer is left in a quandary, without much more understanding than he went in with.

Still, the movie is stylistically rich enough to make me want to seek out his earlier film POLICE BEAT, and to make me wonder what he comes up with next.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1423
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 08:40 am:   

Also saw Lynch's THE STRAIGHT STORY, which I liked a lot. Moving w/o being treacly.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7130
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 01:06 pm:   

I almost watched Zoo but decided that I just wasn't that interested.

The Straight Story was pretty cool.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1424
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 02:11 pm:   

I thought Farnsworth in TSS hit the nail on the head. He was the Old Sage Touching People With Life Lessons, and did this most difficult role with believability and gravity without sentimentality. I was impressed with how effective Lynch could be without the backward-speaking midgets and such trappings.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1425
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 02:12 pm:   

And Harry Dean Stanton practically made the movie in a part that featured three lines and lasted about four minutes.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7131
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 - 02:15 pm:   

Yeah, I know. He's not bad when he gives up his schtick.
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1007
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 06:57 am:   

IFC signed an exclusive deal with Blockbuster, IFC distributed films will be only available at Blockbuster for 60 days before retail sales. After that, they claim Blockbuster will have exclusive rental rights for 3 years, but First Use doctrines mean Netflix and others will be able to buy and rent copies.

My first impression was thinking IFC made a bad deal, Blockbuster isn't indie friendly, and will likely require edits to carry some stuff. I was tempted to avoid IFC films in the future, but when I looked at their track record, I think I've been avoiding them for years. Out of 124 films that they've distributed, I've seen Fahrenheit 9/11, Lost in La Mancha, Finishing the Game, and The Baxter. I saw three of them in the theater, and the fourth I saw on cable, so rental options never mattered. But finding 3 entertaining movies out of 124 isn't a good track record. Looking at the rest of their films, I'm just not that interested. So it turns out to be a company that I basically ignore deciding to deal with another company that I ignore.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7132
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 09:28 am:   

After Cloverfield, I thought I was done with the Blair Witch mode of home video filmmaking. I was wrong. First time director Oren Peli has taken the form and, working with basically a two character cast and from a totally improvised script, has made a horrifying ghost story whose allusive and unsettling nature will leave you exhausted and unsettled. Much credit must be given to the actors, Micah Stoat and Katie Featherston. They play a young couple who have just moved in together--Katie has felt haunted by some indefinite presence her entire life and Micah decides, half-tauntingly, to record their nights while they sleep. Katie begs him not to disturb the entity, but Micah's ego won't let him hear her, and so it begins. I'm not going to tell you any more about the movie, except to say that this makes Blair Witch seem like a used sandwich and though it's always a stretch to guess what will scare people, I'd wager you won't make it through the movie with some major anxiety. The picture's paced so well, the actors are so persuasive...this movie take a we've-seen-it-all-before-scenario and succeeds in adding to the canon of horror cinema. Peli has now signed with CAA so you can expect Paranormal Activity to be showing up in a local theater--you better not miss it.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7133
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 09:32 am:   

Re IFC. Farenheit 9/11 wasn't a good film, imo. Right-thinking, but it was basically yellow dog journalism.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1426
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 09:54 am:   

Don't usually enjoy "romantic comedies," but I love THE BAXTER. Michelle Williams and Justin Theroux are hysterical in it.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7134
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 09:59 am:   

I just watched it this morning-pleasant little movie, but way too self-conscious about its own cuteness,
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1008
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 10:12 am:   

F9/11 was the one I didn't like. There didn't seem to be a central thesis beyond "Bush is evil" and that wasn't argued very well. He did better with Bowling for Columbine, but his stunts with Kmart and Heston hurt that film. Pull out the stunts and it would have been a good 1 hour documentary.

The Baxter was good, I wouldn't have watched it without Dave's recommendation. It's interesting how it completely follows the romantic comedy plotline, but pretends that it doesn't.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7136
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 08:21 pm:   

I'm looking for a recent movie about a soccer hooligan who becomes a high profile criminal in the UK...can't recall the name. Sound familiar to anyone?
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Jts
New member
Username: Jts

Post Number: 19
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 08:37 pm:   

Are you thinking of Green Street Hooligans
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385002/

I watched simon peggs newest yesterday and have to say was somewhat disappointed in it, despite it being being a very pleasant, enjoyable film it was marred by all the usual british rom-com cliches eg the loser leading man, the strange sex addict best friend etc. Though I thought Pegg was quite good in it, it just didn't have the touch of unique genius the other 2 films had.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7137
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 09:09 pm:   

Nah, that's not it, Fuck, I wish I could recall it. A Something Something, I think it was called...or maybe not.

Yeah, I know people are going to feel that way and to an extent i agree, but I appreciated seeing that pegg could go mainstream and still get off. Now he can go back to being with the tubby guy.
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Huw
Junior Member
Username: Huw

Post Number: 160
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 - 10:28 pm:   

Was it The Football Factory, Lucius?
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7138
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 04:47 am:   

Nope. Rise of the Footsoldier. But thanks....
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1427
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 06:27 am:   

I tried to fill in some of my missing film background last night by watching Delbert Mann's MARTY with Ernest Borgnine. I've always liked Ernie, who I think gets a bum rap and who has a natural, likable quality on camera. But I was really surprised with how disappointing Paddy Chayevsky's screenplay was, particularly in the way he "resolved" all the conflicts at the end. Hard to believe it was the same guy who wrote NETWORK.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7139
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 10:19 am:   

I can't recall the ending. I just remember a pleasant but unchallenging film that tried very hard for Da Sica style socia realism and fell short in my view.
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1428
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 10:47 am:   

Chayevsky set up this whole dynamic, with Marty's budding romance against the peer pressure of his jackass friends and against the objections of him mom (who thinks Marty's "college girl" will want to put her out of the house).

He resolves these conflicts by having Ernie slap his forehead in a "road to Damascus" moment among his pals at the diner. Really unsatisfactory.

Anybody seen the German or US versions of Haneke's "Funny Games"?
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7140
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 11:12 am:   

I've seen the original--it's very effective. I'm sure Watts and Roth will do a good job, but can't imagine that the villains of the piece will be as good...at least judging by clips I've seen.
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Jts
New member
Username: Jts

Post Number: 20
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2008 - 07:58 pm:   

The Austrian original is indeed very good. Though, a warning dave its in no way a pleasent film to watch and it can be at times almost impossible to sit through. Basically haneke's intention is to torture the audience as much as the characters.

I'm curious about the U.S. remake though, I'm really curious to see how American audiences react to it as well.

Watched a really good film recently called Shooting Dogs. Set during the Rwandan genocide (its much much better than the other english language film about this time Hotel Rwanda)a really god film about how far you are willing to go to help those in need, really powerful and a good performance by Hurt.

Jay Steneker
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7141
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2008 - 12:54 am:   

Yah, it's good. It's called Beyond the Gates over here...
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Dave_g
Intermediate Member
Username: Dave_g

Post Number: 1429
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 06:15 am:   

I may be revealing way too much about myself, but I am looking forward to a Funny Games/Funny Games US double feature. That's how I roll.

My viewing for this weekend included THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD, which I know LS didn't care for but which I wanted to see for my Forsythe fix, and THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, which I really enjoyed.

I love "capers-gone-wrong" movies, so I enjoyed DENVER, even though I definitely got the feeling I had seen it all before: Walken as the mysterious kingpin, the oddly-poetic antihero, the plethora of too-kyewl-for-school nicknames...A good renter, and any Forsythe is good Forsythe. Anything with Forsythe and Glenn Plummer can't be bad. I was really surprised by NIXON, which I thought was really different, basically the portrait of one man's disintegration set against a vague political backdrop. And a VERY cool bit of acting by the far-too-rarely-seen Michael Wincott as Sean Penn's aggrieved brother.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7142
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 07:26 am:   

I think the double feature would be pretty boring. It's a shot by shot remake, and well....I've seen enough clips to recognize that I wouldn't make it through.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7143
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 07:29 am:   

I saw Doomsday, one of the worst films in recent memory. Hard to believe that the same guy who made the Descent directed this. It's just awful--I'll post a review soon.
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Jts
New member
Username: Jts

Post Number: 21
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 08:35 am:   

That's a shame, hope this isn't the start of a trend for Marshall.
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7144
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 08:55 am:   

I don't know what to think after Doomsday--it's truly bad. I guess we just have to wait and see. It's not doing well at the BO, so maybe that'll get him back on track...
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Robdev
Intermediate Member
Username: Robdev

Post Number: 1009
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 10:26 am:   

That's too bad. The trailers didn't excite me, but I hoped Marshall would do a good job with it.

I watched the painfully bad ERAGON yesterday. While the production values were fairly good, the writing was far terrible. In my youth, I used to read D&D novels, and those seem like high brow literature in comparison. At least most had the sense not to exploit every awful fantasy cliche, they would stick to a few per book.
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Clint_harris
New member
Username: Clint_harris

Post Number: 34
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 01:54 pm:   

Doomsday looked like it sucked from the trailer. The only piece of that clip longer than 1.3 seconds was the close in shot of Rhona Mitra's ass. The rest looked like a bad parody of "The Warriors" and "Escape from New York."
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Lucius
Moderator
Username: Lucius

Post Number: 7145
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2008 - 02:50 pm:   

Etragon...Zowie. That must be like mainlining bleach!

Trailers are not even close to being a good indicator of a movie's worth. Occasionally as with Doomsday it works out, though you can't really grasp how witless a film it is....

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