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Mike
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 08:36 am:   

Ever since my wife and I started subscribing to Netflix (a company that mails three DVDs to you at a time, and all you have to do is pop a DVD back in the mail once you've watched it to get the next one a few days later -- and no late fees!), we've been movie junkies.

Here are some of the good ones we've seen, along with some oddball ones, and the occasional new release in the theaters:

"Ataranjuat: The Fast Runner" -- not sure this is one I'd recommend, as it's really slow, but I thought it'd be a good recommendation for SF and fantasy writers, as it immerses you into the world of, well, Eskimoes. I was amazed at the lives of these people -- their lives revolve around getting food for their next meal and surviving the cold. At almost 3 hours, it's lengthy, too. Not sure I'd watch it again, but gives a good feel for an alien world, in a way.

"The Secretary" -- Highly recommended story about a girl who is a "cutter" who ends up working for James Spader. Also good for SF/fantasy writers to see, because they don't portray the female protag, played AMAZINGLY by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the dominating lawyer played by Spader as freaks -- they portray them as completely normal. It's quite a feat, and it's also quite a love story. See it, now.

"X-Men 2" -- Great popcorn flick, much improved over the plodding first movie, with better effects and pacing, right up until the third act, which bogs down and makes little sense upon further examination. Still worth seeing, even if the ending disappoints. The scenes in the school as it is under attack by commandoes is PERFECT, as is the opening scene with Nightcrawler attacking the West Wing.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 09:57 am:   

I'd add Spirited Away which is a truly sfnal/fantastical film and full of sucj crrepy, creative moments that it should be a primer for how to really scare young people. And its beautiful.
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Samantha
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 11:45 am:   

I liked Existenz. It came off the heals of The Matrix, so didn't get so much attention. It was very good, but had only the VR thing in common. Everything else from the style and the plot are very different. Anyway, it's a good movie that I'd suggest watching.

Not Thirteenth Floor, that one was kind of a waste of time. The boys in the movie weren't even all that good looking, although the main character manages to look both crazy and lost at the same time.

Also City of Lost Children, if you haven't watched that yet.
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Mike
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   

Excellent -- three more movies to add to the queue! I've heard lots of good things about Spirited Away and City of Lost Children. And maybe I'll give Existenz a try.

Sam, I'm trusting you on the no-cute-boys-equals-bad-movie rule... ;)
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 05:01 pm:   

"Spirited Away" should be on everyone's must-see list. Beautiful and moving and totally for kids of all ages and sizes. I'm a dead loss on Oscar pools, but I tagged that one the moment I saw it in the theater.

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Samantha Ling
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

Lol. here's my thing, if the movie sucks, it better have some good looking people for me to oggle. You know, like that dragon in the future movie....I can't remember the title. But at least the two main characters ran around without shirts often enough to keep what little attention I had left to finish watching it.

You know what was really bad? The TV Movie of the Week: Helen of Troy. I fastforwarded through so much of that the four hour mini-series only took two hours to watch. Talk about bad dialogue, bad acting, bad plot. Totally not worth your time.

But something that is worth your time is "The Usual Suspects".

Oh and also "Run, Lola, Run".
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 09:27 pm:   

You're thinking of "Reign of Fire" which I have not seen. I've been trying to catch "Run, Lola Run" on IFC, but they haven't shown it in a while.

I will recommend "Amelie" to everyone who hasn't seen it. Beautiful film. Also, and you can laugh at me all you want, "Chicago" was an amazing adaptation of a Broadway musical to the big screen. I loved that movie. Very glad to see it win awards.

Along that vein, I also loved "Moulin Rouge" (didn't care for "Romeo + Juliet" but thought "Strictly Ballroom" was fun) and nominated it for a Hugo that year. But, my wife and I have seen MANY 40s, 50s, and 60s movie musicals (her mother owns 100s of them) so it was fun to see what someone did to modernize them.

Along that line, I'll watch anything with Nicole Kidman in it.

JK
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 03:31 am:   

Great suggestions! I'd go see "Usual Suspects" again in a heartbeat. A movie with a similar twist ending that we finally got 'round to seeing was Edward Nortorn's debut, a murder-mystery w/ Richard Gere call "Primal Fear" (I was so proud of guessing the Big Surprise in that one, compensating for being floored by "The Sixth Sense" ending).

"Reign of Fire" really pissed me off. Awesome effects and setting, even some cool chraracters, but NO STORY! Man, let me write a script for that one. Me, or that monkey in the corner...

"Run Lola Run" is also marvelous stuff. A better version of "Sliding Doors".

While I really enjoyed "Moulin Rouge" more than a musical-hating guy should have (John Leguizamo at Letrec was inspired casting), I can't bring myself to be interested in "Chicago" -- what's the big deal with that one? None of the trailers I've seen have done much for me.

SPeaking of Nicole Kidman, her first big movie is one worth watching again -- "Dead Calm" with Sam Neill and Billy Zane.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 05:40 am:   

In my honest opinion, I think you have to be open to musicals in the first place to get into "Chicago." What they did with this adaptation, instead of just having people break out into song in the middle of the street, they set it up as the musical numbers being what was happening in Renee Z.'s character's mind.

Her character, Roxie Hart, wants to be a song and dance girl like Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones-Douglas) but isn't good enough. So, she imagines in her mind being in those roles. And when she finds herself in jail for killing her lover, she imagines that whole court proceedings as musical numbers.

I just feel that the director did a good job of making the story feel plausible, unlike, say , "Oklahoma." I mean, c'mon, how many tap-dancing cow pokes are there? Or what about "West Side Story"? Who's afraid of a gang that dances so well in unison? But in Chicago, the only musical numbers that aren't in Roxie's head are ones that make sense: Roxie goes to a club early on in the movie and watches Velma Kelly on stage, etc.

Again, if you're opposed to musicals, you probably should skip it. My wife's family loves them, and moving to the NYC has helped me open my arms to them more since I can get to Broadway and see what the big deal is.

JK
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 09:08 am:   

If you haven't seen "The Gift" you should check it out. It's what Sam Raimi made while waiting for production to start on "Spider-Man."

JK
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 10:39 am:   

"You're thinking of "Reign of Fire" which I have not seen"

Don't. Two hours of my life I'll never get back. Even the fx annoyed me. Although we did have fun moaning about how bad it was as we were watching it (for free, thank god)...
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 11:01 am:   

John -- that's EXACTLY why I can't enjoy musicals. So maybe I'd like "Chicago." I don't like a world in which people suddenly burst into song. It frightens me. ;)

I really liked "The Gift" as well -- good call. But hell, anything with Kate Blanchett in it has got me watching it. Speaking of, she's in "The Shipping News" all too briefly, but it's still a surprisingly good movie, with a great ending.

Of course, I'll see ALMOST anything Kevin Spacey is in, too (except for "K-PAX" and that awful-looking "Pay it Forward.").

I wish I'd seen "Reign of Fire" for free. That way I wouldn't be out anything but 2 hours...
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2003 - 11:07 am:   

My wife put it to me this way (my version of the conversation): "If you want me to sit through a movie with weird aliens and ray guns, you'll have to watch people singing and dancing in the street." Eventually they grow on you.

BTW, I have intention of ever watching "Reign of Fire." I mistakenly sat down to watch "A Knight's Tale." When I realized it was cable and not a tape, I switched channels.

"About A Boy" was surprisingly good.

JK
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Dave Hoffman-Dachelet
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 09:08 am:   

When you rent Spirited Away you might as well get Princess Mononoke as well. Not only are they visually beautiful, but they posses a compelling moral ambiguity between good and evil. For those of us watching with our kids, the intricate and complicated stories (missing from most movies, let alone animated ones) reward multiple viewings. I've had to watch them half a dozen times in the last two week and find something either visually or thematically revealing on each viewing.

Also by Miyizaki are "Castles in the Sky" and "Kiki's Delivery Service" which are pretty good too. "Castles" has some great sfnal eye-candy. "Kiki's" is a little less fantastic, though makes up for it with a gentle sweetness.

Though nobody has asked, here's a couple more movies adults can watch with kids:

The Secret of Roan Inish
Into the West
Shrek
The Princess Bride
Willow

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Samantha Ling
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 01:47 pm:   

I will double ditto The Princess Bride and Willow! I remember when I first watched The Princess Bride. The local theatre had a bring two empty liter bottles of Pepsi and you could watch the movie for free, so I did that and I remember how I was in love with the Wesley character. Hey, I was eleven years old, give me a break!
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 05:24 pm:   

Yeah, John, I was pleasantly surprised by "About a Boy." I'd read the novel by Nick Hornby and thought the movie was better than the book (which was marred by too many Kurt Cobain references).

As for romances and the like, my wife kicks me out when she wants to watch 'em, usually, though I thought "Sweet Home Alabama" was pretty well-done. I'm a fan of Reese Witherspoon, tho...

Hey Dave!!! Great to see you here (congrats on being a ratbastard!). I'm adding "Mononoke" to my Netflix queue, and "Roan Inish" as well (and any other John Sayles I can find!). Excellent recs. "Shrek" was great.

And Sam -- that's inconceivable!!! ;)
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 05:59 am:   

Ooh! I just thought of one that I think people should see! I have to recommend DEAD MAN starring Johnny Depp directed by Jim Jarmusch (Permanent Vacation, Down by Law, Ghost Dog). It's one of the most beautiful-looking films I've ever seen. The whole thing is in black-and-white (I think someone else mentioned B&W films on here?) and the scene transitions are all fades, no cuts. Also features Lance Henriksen, Crispin Glover, Gary Farmer, Michael Wincott, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Bryne, Robert Mitchum, and John Hurt. Great cast, strange little film about an accoutant who moves out West before the turn of the century (19th to 20th, that is) and finds out by the time he gets there, his promised job is gone.

I have a soft spot for romantic comedies (which my wife loves) but I can easily get tired of the same conventions over and over again. I view them as celluloid versions of Restoration Era plays like "She Stoops to Conquer," "The Beaux Strategem," or "The Country Wife," which while I enjoy them quite a bit, are very derivative of each other (but then, isn't everything?).

JK
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Mike
Posted on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 06:39 am:   

Ah, yeah, I remember reading about DEAD MAN. Sounds VERY cool.

I'm adding a link to Netflix so I can just leap over there and add stuff to my queue with little hassle.
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Samantha Ling
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 02:14 pm:   

Netflix also has some really bad movies that you have to watch out for. I mean, they look really good, you know, nymphoids, dinosaurs, last woman on earth. I mean, how can you go wrong with that?

*snicker*
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Mike
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 05:11 pm:   

Wow -- is it any wonder SF and horror have such bad reps???
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 06:23 am:   

Dave Hoffman-Dachelet! Hello! Good to see your name in phosphers.
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Dave Hoffman-Dachelet
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 06:35 am:   

Hey Maureen. It'd rather see it in ink, but nobody's paying me to spout off about movies so I'm crashing Jasper's party.
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 07:13 am:   

I love that preview of "Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell." No need for dialogue, just a funked up 80's style music overlay. It's like a music video done by the Doctor Who guys.
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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 08:23 am:   

All party-crashers are welcome, of course. Just don't forget to PayPal me that cover charge...
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 05:45 am:   

Dave,

Dorothy Parker said the two most beautiful words in the English language were 'Check Enclosed'. But failing in that, one can get a modicum of satisfaction in a post.
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Mike
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 02:32 am:   

"Matrix Reloaded" -- a pretty good sequel that's plagued with WAY too much talking and self-importance in the first act. It also suffers from having a protagonist who's becoming more and more remote, more than human. In the first flick we had Neo to relate to, as he's no longer in Kansas anymore. Now he's almost God-like, whisking around the air like a deus ex machina, saving people at the last minute (always the last minute), and doing some pretty nifty magic.

This is a good action movie that would have benefitted from one last polish, chopping out 10% of its running time. As it is now, I found myself looking forward to the next action scene more than worrying about the characters' development.

And the damn trailers gave away WAY too many of the cool action scenes!!!
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dave hoffman-dachelet
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 09:32 am:   

My Geek wife(tm)made me go to "Matrix Reloaded" on Thursday, and I mostly enjoyed the experience. If you're headed out for a summer-movie, eye-candy special-effects "sci-fi" movie, then there's a lot in the movie to please, though I never got the "wow" I did off the first. I agree with Mike, that the talking heads get too much screen time. I remember leaning over to Rachael at some point and commenting that there wasn't a chance in hell that I'd ever join a movement which took itself quite so seriously. Sure, they're fighting for the very existence of the human race, but be human while you do it. If humanity means mirrorshade, black leather, and poser attitude, then for god's sake let it die out now.

Mostly, I'm suffering from an original Matrix hangover. In the first movie, thematically about the nature of reality and the perception, Neo, through Morpheus's mentoring, learns that he can manipulate the reality of the Matrix. It has always troubled me that the central metaphor for that manipulation is violence. Other than the obvious cinematic ones, why the hell couldn't they come up with something more interesting than a couple leather boys slapping themselves around? (Okay, that does sound kinda interesting.) If Neo can stop bullets by waving at them (albeit with a look of deep concentration on his face,) why can't he manipulate the reality of the Matrix in more compelling ways the a few nifty hurricane kicks and the bullet-dodge limbo.

So I came into "Reloaded" already bearing a grudge against the whole stupid, violent premise, and, sadly little was done to allieviate my grudge. The violence is pretty enough to hold your attention, but at times and it stoops to the ridiculous. (Anybody want to defend that truck top nonsense?) The first movie's playing with perception and reality is overshadowed in Reloaded by questioning the existence of freewill. (In fact, they should have saved us all some time and titled the film "Matrix Reloaded: In which we ponder the existence of freewill?") Only it's always an artificial freewill, a choice between Door A or Door B.

****SPOILER ALERT**** Skip down to the "all clear sign if you haven't seen the movie.

{{When Neo is given the choice to save Trinity or save Zion. I wanted him to pick "none of the above" and put his new found powers to use. Hell, what he should have done is said, "Here's your fucking anomaly" and blown his own head off (all in slow motion, 360 degree, gaeta-cam action.) That'd put a serious crimp in the ARCHITECT's diabolical scheme.}}

****I'm better now--ALL CLEAR***

And the false freewill merely gives a choice between what brand of violence you want to practice. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for violence as much as the next guy, but if they'd been more clever in the choices they'd posed for Neo, I'd have been more interest in the discussion "Reloaded" was pretenting to have.

And the shittiest part of it all: I'll be there in line for the next one, 'cause in the face of media saturation advertising, the lure of pop culture, and geeky wives who like to eat popcorn while watching chicks in leather blow up shit, I got nothing that approaches freewill.
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Dave Hoffman-Dachelet
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 11:37 am:   

The above said, I pretty much agree with John Shirley's Matrix Reloaded Review from Locus.
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Samantha Ling
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 04:45 pm:   

I didn't mind Matrix Reloaded so much. I went into it knowing that it was a bridge film that had much more emphasis on the martial arts and look than it did on plot. Some things are made for eye-candy, others for it's point. Matrix Reloaded is definitely eye candy. It's worth a look-see at least. What I can't wait for is The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. That looks like a lot of fun.
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Mike
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

Dave -- I'm totally with you on the violence and the lack of need for it in the movie, especially the first movie's "ballet" of gunfire as guards are getting blown away left and right. Why couldn't they have just flown up to the room where Morpheus was? And don't get me started on the Gatling gun in the helicopter that CONVENIENTLY missed everything in the room, including Morpheus and the three agents...!

I guess that's what keeps us all writing -- to write something BETTER than what's up on the screen or on the page.

Or hell, at least more LOGICAL.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 07:24 pm:   

Dave,

I, too, kept sitting there thinking

SPOLIER ALERT******

shoot the bastard. What happens to everything then? But of course, the next movie is the twenty-four hour countdown to save the world.


ALL CLEAR******

I also never saw a movie where I wanted to sit so many women down and feed them a good meal. Especially Trinity.

Still, like you, I enjoyed it. And like you, I will see the next one.
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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 08:24 am:   

Another flick worth watching -- "The Road to Perdition." Though it has a Hollywood ending that felt completely inescapable -- Amoral Guy Has to Die Despite Heart of Gold -- this is a pretty engrossing movie, with Tom Hanks doing a nice turn as a dark, unemotional character.

Overall, the movie itself is almost unrelentingly dark and rain-filled. Nice visuals, and great period sets and costumes (takes place in '31), though a somewhat simplistic story.

Not a great movie, but a very well-done movie.
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 09:05 am:   

"One-Hour Photo" is great visually. I know many people do not care for Robin Williams. I like him, so I recommend this film. It's very creepy.

Watched "The Good Girl" and "Far From Heaven" this weekend. They felt very similar, but I would only recommend "Far From Heaven" of the two. It was better made.

Friday night, while my wife was chaperoning prom, I was flipping through the channels and saw that "Reign of Fire" was on. Should I watch it? I was really only going to be out time since I had nothing else to do...oh wait, I had the last episode of Buffy on tape. I watched that instead.

Then, later, after I cleaned the house and collated the zine, "Reign of Fire" was on again. (I get East and West versions of HBO, Cinemax, Encore, and Showtime, so if a movie is on the EAST version, three hours laters it will be on the WEST version) I decided to watch it, bracing myself for how horrible it would be.

Well, it wasn't great, but since I had no expectations of it, I didn't hate it. I thought McConaughey gave a great enthusiastic preformance (over-acted perhaps) as a dragon-hunting version of Captain Nemo with Christian Bale filling the role of Ishmael. (where was Queequeg...perhaps Izabella Scorpuro?) [http://tinyurl.com/crqk why don't I remember her looking like this in the film?] So, I didn't regret it as much as the others on this board, but you all had me set up for the movie to be not good, so I could appropriately lower my expectations.

JK
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 12:49 pm:   

Hey John -- I thought "One-Hour Photo" could've been really creepy, but they didn't do ANY character development. I didn't care about anyone in that family Sy the Photo Guy was haunting. I did like the washed-out colors they used throughout, though.

"The Good Girl" was crappy, I thought. Another case of blah characters, and somewhat insulting to people who live in small towns -- very stereotypical.

I need to see "Far From Heaven."

"Reign of Fire" -- oh man, don't get me started. What a waste that movie was, made worse by what it could've been. I also liked Pretty-Boy Matt's acting in that one. Just no story -- it simply ENDED. Lame.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 12:50 pm:   

Small nit to pick, Mike: I thought the gatling gun managed to hit all three agents while missing Morpheus. Wasn't that the point? It was quite a while ago, though, so I may be misremembering.

That aside, agreed on the Matrix.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 02:51 am:   

Nicholas -- you're right, of course. I just don't know how he didn't hit Morpheus. I mean, was he controlling the bullets?

I just felt like it was just an excuse to show all those bullets dropping from the gun in slo-mo...
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

Um, if Neo can do anything in the Matrix, why doesn't he just destroy the aliens?

JK
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Samantha Ling
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:59 am:   

It's interesting that people think Neo can do whatever he wants in the Matrix. He is still bound in many ways, I think, by his mind. Although there is no spoon, there's still spoon residue. He's very powerful, but not omnipotent. Besides that, he uses up his CHI and he has to rest to restore it. You know, kinda like mana or stamina points when you play RPGs.
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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 06:25 am:   

Just watched THE PIANIST last night. Fantastic film. Great performance by Brody. I can't recommend it enough. Anyone read the source material?

JK
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Dave Hoffman-Dachelet
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 06:57 am:   

WINGED MIGRATION is thoroughly fascinating. It's an hour and a half of art/nature-documentary about birds. Not much narration, just lots of stunning footage of birds shot against some amazing vistas.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 08:56 am:   

I'll have to check out The Piano -- thanks, John. That one came out about the same time as another drama I'd like to see -- About Schmidt. Time to update the queue at Netflix...

And the bird flick sounds cool, too, Dave. And hey -- I recognized your story in RABID TRANSIT II!!! I was having flashbacks to '96. Good stuff. You changed a couple things from then, I think...
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 11:49 am:   

Over the weekend rented THE RECRUIT and STAR TREK: NEMESIS (neither of which we'd seen in the theaters). NEMESIS wasn't that bad for a trek picture, although it certainly isn't the best. And I enjoyed THE RECRUIT, for all Pacino continues to chew on scenery in every movie he's in. Man's turned into Jack Nicholson.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   

Nemesis was pretty good for a Star Trek flick, but they rehashed a lot of elements from The Wrath of Khan, especially the space battle at the end. I also thought it was a bit too easy for the Remans to take over Romulus, especially when the Romulans rely primarily on espionage. You'd think they'd know it was coming. Plus, the land rover scene where the bad guys are shooting and missing every shot and the good guys manage to hit almost every shot nearly made me laugh out loud in the theatre.

Gah. I'm such a geek.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 05:40 am:   

A good flick -- "About Schmidt." I laughed my ass off at the dark humor in this one, and I probably appreciated it way more because I'm from the Midwest and could totally see Jack Nicholson's character in many of the older people I know back there. They really skewer the whole concept of "Midwestern nice."

I was really impressed that ol' Jack took this role, because it was really unglamourous, and his character is hard to like almost throughout the movie. At first I thought they'd gone too far, and made him devoid of any personality, but when he starts writing his letters to the young boy in Nigeria he adopts, the movie starts firing on all cylinders.

Makes me not miss my trips to Omaha, the only "City" nearby while I lived and taught for two years in rural Nebraska. Funny how that time has almost completely faded from memory... "About Schmidt" brought all that back.

You also must see this for what they did to Dermot Mulroney's HAIR.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 06:02 am:   

Recently watched "Frida" and "Catch Me if You Can" and enjoyed both films very much. "Frida" is a Julie Taymor picture. If you've seen "Titus" you know what I mean. If you haven't, well, don't expect your typical bio-pic. The cool thing for me with this movie was sitting with my wife, who studied art (along with everything else) in college, who pointed throughout the picture that the clothes Salma Hayek wore as Frida, was nearly always clothing that Kahlo painted herself in her paitings. Even many of the scenes were reminiscent of Kahlo paintings. Very poignant, moving film, filled with transitional scenes of surrealism. Example? Early on when Kahlo is in a bus accident that nearly takes her life, her pain-occlouded mind is filled with scenes of animated Day of the Dead skeletons speaking the parts of the nurses and doctors that surround her.

"Catch Me if You Can" will be fun to watch if you have no expectations of it. I think it was a good role for both main actors, in that the characters they played felt plausible for who they are. (unlike DiCarprio in "Romeo + Juliet"; or Hanks in "That Thing You Do")

JK
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 08:32 am:   

Hey John -- we watched "Catch Me if You Can" recently too. It wasn't all that memorable, though I liked the irony of the DiCaprio character's job by the end of the flick. The father-son thing was a bit overdone, tho.

I really liked the structure of the movie -- lots of flashbacks and moving back and forth in time.

And it had a nifty animated opening sequence.
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 02:11 pm:   

I recently saw Tadpole and rather enjoyed it.
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 09:16 am:   

Saw Hulk yesterday.

What an incredible ball of suck.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 09:19 am:   

That good, eh, Greg?
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Liz Williams
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

John - Hayek apparently took the making of this film extremely seriously (very much her own project) as Kahlo is a national heroine in Mexico and she wanted to do her justice. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I plan to rent it - I like Kahlo's work, and also that of Diego Rivera.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 10:08 am:   

You should really enjoy the film, then. Kahlo's artwork is suffused throughout the film. I like Julie Taymor a lot, there's something to be said for someone with a theatre background moving into artistic film work. It makes for visually stunning work.

My wife wanted to see the film becuase she likes Kahlo's work, stuided Spanish in college (lit and language) and knows quite a bit of Spanish-speaking countries history.

I, however, was sold on Salma Hayek being in the film. <g>

JK
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 05:50 am:   

Saw a flick last night that might interest you: FRAILTY, starring Bill ("Game over, man!") Paxton and Matthew McConaughey, in a gruesome little tale about two brothers whose father wakes them up in the middle of the night and tells them the three of them have been chosen by God to become demonslayers. Very interesting, and a bit bloody. Good atmosphere, tho'.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:41 am:   

Hey Jon -- we actually have FRAILTY sitting there next to our DVD player! We just haven't had time to see it, and I think it may not be Elizabeth's cup of tea... But I really like Bill Paxton -- I think he also directed it. TRAVELLER is a good flick with him in it as well.
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:51 am:   

Now that's funny. I saw it last night on HBO. Ended up watching it because Lisa wanted to see it (I knew nothing about it) but since it was supposed to be scary, she wanted me in the room. Delivered pretty well, and yep, Paxton did direct it. Did a reasonably good job too. As for TRAVELLER, I might have to check that one out too.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 06:36 am:   

Ooh. I thought FRAILTY was kinda bad, Jon. Maybe I was just tired, but I slept through some of the opening, and didn't really enjoy what I was awake for. I think they should've brough the whole demons thing up front sooner -- once they got to that it was cool, if familiar in a "Sixth Sense" sort of way. Just didn't work for me.

We watched AMISTAD last night, and that was a surprisingly good flick. Anthony frickin' Hopkins as John Q. Adams, the original son-of-pres before Dubya, stole the show. Don't know how historically accurate it was, and Spielberg goes over the top a few times with the dramatics, but overall a powerful story that is worth experiencing and remembering.
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 07:46 pm:   

Well, if it put you to sleep in the opening sequence, that's not a good thing. That's ok, it don't bother me none.

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:14 am:   

We watched a fun action flick last night called "The Transporter." Some great fight scenes, with a couple remarkable kicks by lead Jason Statham. My wife thought he was "yummy." She made me say that.

There are some silly bits, and a female lead who's remarkably weak, but I kept thinking how nice it was to see non-CGI effects in the fights and street chases. Just a bunch of guys and cars running into each other.

I also kept thinking, especially after looking at this photo on the movie's website, that Statham would make a great lead if one of Frank Miller's SIN CITY comics were ever made into a film. He's got the look.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 06:32 am:   

Statham got his start with the Guy Ritchie movies, LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (which has Sting, who my wife thinks is yummy), and SNATCH. He was also in GHOSTS OF MARS. You're right, though, he could totally play SIN CITY.

We recently saw THE HOURS, THE EMPEROR'S CLUB, and OLD SCHOOL (which was my WIFE's choice...go figure).

THE HOURS. I enjoyed THE HOURS quite a bit. I liked the way the story wave the stories of the three women together. I'd be interested in seeing how this worked in the book.

OLD SCHOOL. Well, if you saw the preview, you need about the first five minutes to set up the film and then it's done. Total lack of direction. Tried to redo ANIMAL HOUSE, but without the plot.

EMPEROR'S CLUB. Since my wife teaches, we see any teaching movie that comes out. This was interesting, in that it played with the teacher-hero myth and did some unexpected things. However, it suffered from poor writing. There was a female character who I think was supposed to Kevin Kline's love interest (interesting, I just type Klima about five times before I could get my fingers to type Kline) who is not explained and wanders in and out of the movie. I liked that it was not your typical 'this teacher fought the odds and won over these kids' type movie (I do enjoy those) but I can't recommend it.

JK
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Ling
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 08:37 am:   

Skipping back a bit to FRAILTY. I didn't like it all that much and wouldn't reccommend it to anyone either. I guessed what was going on a third into the movie and that's never any good when I can guess. So I say stay away.

And stay away from Jason X too.
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

I really loved the idea of OLD SCHOOL -- guys who are in a rut in their lives and want to relive their party days, so they create a fraternity -- but yeah, it ran out of gas fast. And at Blockbuster they made this big deal out of the fact that they were renting the "Unrated Version" to us, and they were checking IDs and everything. Ummm... was there something in the movie I missed? I saw much raunchier stuff in "Stripes" when I was an impressionable pre-teen (on cable, of course).

I'll have to check out EMPEROR's CLUB -- I read the Ethan Canin story it's based on, "The Palace Thief," so it can't be all bad. I like Canin's work, even if he's mainstream and all that.

Not sure about THE HOURS. Looks WAY depressing!

Ling -- I hear you about FRAILTY. It just didn't work for me. And thanks for the tip about Jason... :-)

Did you know they're doing FREDDY VS JASON as a movie???
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 10:19 am:   

I saw commercials for Freddy vs. Jason last night and laughed my ass off. You know it had to happen sometime.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 11:16 am:   

They've been talking abotu Freddy vs. Jason since 1989. I can't believe that garbage is getting made. Check that, of course I can believe that.

JK
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Thursday, July 31, 2003 - 10:42 pm:   

"Freddy vs Jason" is directed by veteran Hong Kong director Ronny "Bride With White Hair" Yu. Mr. Yu has previously revitalized the sagging "Childs Play" franchise with the surprisingly fun, well made, and enjoyable "Bride of Chucky". I'm actually looking forward to FvsJ, because of this...

-jl
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Mike
Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 06:39 am:   

Hmm... I'm still not sure about Freddy vs. Jason, Chucky director and all, Jeremy. :-)

I'm still waiting for a kick-ass version of Aliens Vs. Predators myself, a la the old Dark Horse comics. Or hell, even Superman vs. Batman.

Speaking of comics, should I even waste my time with the DVD of Daredevil?
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, August 01, 2003 - 01:38 pm:   

yeah... IF you are a fan of the Frank Miller version of Daredevil, it captured the feel very well. IMO, its the most successful translation of a specific creators vision of a superhero to film ever.

If your not a big Frank Miller/Daredevil fan, the movie may leave you cold. The low budget nature of the film shows through sometimes. Additionally, If you are the type of person distracted by popular actors you don't like, and Ben Afflec is an actor you hate, then definitely stay away... he's competent in this one, as he usually is when he has a strong director... but don't look for an Oscar winning performance.

Similarly, the fight sequences are another place the low budget nature of the flick show through. The wire stunts/fight scenes are not quite up to crouching tiger, hidden matrix standards. They're not bad... they just suffer compared to some of the higher budget movies which spent a lot of time and budget on the physical/martial arts training of the actors. Or maybe I'm biased towards Hong Kong fight choreographers.

Though Iím a big comic book reader, I usually donít care for cinematic translations of superhero characters. Surprisingly, I liked this one enough in the theaters to buy it on DVD the day it came out. In fact, Iím having a ďsuper hero movie nightĒ at my place... Daredevil, and Xmen. Capes are optional. Come on by if your in San Francisco. :-)




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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 10:32 am:   

Hey Jeremy -- finally got around to seeing Daredevil on DVD. It was all right, but damn, they should've given it another half hour so they could've crammed all those characters into the flick AND have it make sense.

As it is, at an hour and a half, there's NO character development of ANYONE. Here's a thought -- take out Kingpin and focus on Bullseye, a cool psychotic character.

And develop Electra's character, fer crissakes. She meets a blind dude and then gets into a fight with him? Come on.

I didn't read all the older Frank Miller comics, but I did read Born Again and LOVED it. I saw how they set up that plotline for the sequel. Eh.

And Ben Affleck... sigh. And the fight scenes... lame. As my wife said, "That was a lot of fighting." Nuff said.

The interviews with the comics creators and current writers and artists (with the exception of Kevin Smith, who came off as an arrogant Hollywood type, and John Romita Jr, who came off as a money-grubber) were fascinating.
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 07:27 am:   

Watched SEXY BEAST yesterday, to finally clear it off the TiVo, where it had been lurking quietly for almost a year. Interesting movie. I wouldn't say it was packed with surprises, but the editing was nicely done (there's a scene where a character is telling a story that was told to him by someone else that was told to him by someone else and they jump back and forth between the tellers) and it moves along nicely. Besides, it was great fun seeing Ben "Gandhi" Kingsley terrorizing the place.
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Liz W
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 07:35 am:   

Yeah, I avoided it for a long time because of the title (made the same mistake with FIGHT CLUB) but it's a good film, IMO.

Saw DAREDEVIL the other night, which was OK. Garner has only two expressions (Deeply Anguished and Mildly Perturbed) and Affleck has only one, so wasn't impressed on that score.

Went to see PIRATES of the C last week and thought that was a lot of fun, particularly Depp's Keef Richards impersonation. Otherwise watched XMen on the plane minus sound (no loss) and FINDING NEMO, with which I was greatly taken.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 08:12 am:   

Mine! Mine! Mine!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 09:39 am:   

Mine?

Mine?

It's funny Liz -- my wife and I took our 3 year old nephew to see NEMO this weekend. It's a great flick, beautiful, with a good lesson that's not TOO preachy (I did an internal moan when I first saw the "lucky fin," thinking this was going to be a Message Movie). And some laugh-out-loud bits. Loved the Ellen Degeneres blue fish with the memory problem.
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Liz W
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 10:50 am:   

Laura Anne started the "Mine? Mine!" thing with me because she knows we are plagued (PLAGUED!) with seagulls down here - they are literally outside my window now, shrieking and cursing.

Hand me the twelve bore, Jeeves. There is an 'S' in the month.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2003 - 12:04 pm:   

Mike,

I couldn't stop laughing, mainly because I have a friend named Dori who is Just Like That. Only she talks faster than Dori-the-fish does.

And the rather odd looks Liz was giving us as we chorused, before she had seen the movie, was almost funnier than if she _had_ seen it. *grin*

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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 06:31 am:   

Hee hee. Those Pixar movies are great -- something for everyone, of all ages there. Smart writing and great visuals. What more could you ask for?

We still haven't seen PIRATES. Maybe we'll see it at the second-run theatre here in town (Raleighwood) so I can have a few beers and a burger while watching the pirates pillaging and frolicking.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 12:02 pm:   

I saw Pirates this weekend and absolutely loved it. I like how Liz characterized Johnny Depp's performance, as a Keith Richards imitation, which is pretty apt. He sounded like he was drunk the whole time, but he was frickin hilarious.

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