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Marian Powell
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 10:36 am:   

Beowulf's preview looks really good.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is terrific.

& I can't wait for THE MIST.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 04:26 pm:   

I have a hard time getting behind Ray Winstone as Beowulf. I love Ray. But I don't think he's that kind of hero
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 04:37 pm:   

I gotta check out No Country for Old Men. Though I doubt anything from the Coen Brothers will ever match their magnum opus, the best movie ever: The Big Lebowski.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2007 - 09:18 pm:   

The Dude abides.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 11:46 am:   

That's one of those movies I can watch over and over again. The Dude's ability to maintain mental equilibrium in the superficial, striving metropolis of L.A. is amazing, truly Buddha-hood, and Walter Sobchek's expostulations remind me of many a flame warrior.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 12:16 pm:   

I'd like to see The Dude mainatin his mental equilibrium facing the killer from NO COUNTRY. See the movie & you'll see what I mean.

And isn't Ray Winstone's body digitally liposuctioned for Beowulf? He's a terrific actor.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 06:47 pm:   

I'd rather bone Ray than Brad any day. But that's just me.
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Lee R. Shipp
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 08:48 pm:   

Seems like a leeetle too much information, there, Marguerite. :-)
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Clint Harris
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 11:12 pm:   

Nice marmot. Ray Winstone is the man. Has anyone else seen "The Proposition" yet? Very gritty role. His character is monstrous and sympathetic all at once.

I don't like that they trimmed him down to 300 level proportions, nor that Grendel's mother is now a MILF. Doesn't sit well with me at all, no sir.
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Clint Harris
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 11:16 pm:   

Let me clarify.

Nice marmot=what the Dude says just before being attacked by the Nihilists' ferret in his bathtub.

Ray Winstone starred in "The Proposition."

The last paragraph was concerning Beowulf.

It's late and I'm not wearing my reading glasses, so I didn't really preview that whole post very well.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 02:05 pm:   

Has anyone seen Beowulf yet? I'm debating going.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 02:58 pm:   

I'll be seeing Beowulf on Thursday. This afternoon I saw the director's cut of Blade Runner in a digital cinema. Awesome.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 08:54 am:   

I'm waiting for I Am Legend. From the previews,it looks like they may have gotten it right this time.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 08:58 am:   

If it works, I will forgive Smith for the I, Robot disaster.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 09:24 am:   

I am very tired of seeing the Fresh Prince in supposedly serious movies.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 07:04 pm:   

Just saw THE MIST. OK version, but the ending is strikingly different than King's novella. Hard to understand why the studios would let them put that ending on the film. Oh well, it's their $.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 07:32 pm:   

I still have to see American Gangster.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 03:53 pm:   

So R.Wilder, did you see Beowulf? How would you rate it?
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Sean Melican
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 04:12 pm:   

As much as I hate to say it on account of I like Neil Gaiman, Beowful is awful. Couple thoughts:

(1)We saw the 3D version, which wasn't very 3D.

(2) John Malkovitch's character has an abrupt change of heart without substantial justification.

(3) The worst part was an extended fight scene with Grendel, in which Beowful was naked. Every time his genitals were about to appear, the camera would turn (so to speak) so that some object kept the movie from being NC-17. The first time or two it was amusing; after 10 or 12, it was sadly tedious. Notably, Angelina Jolie's breasts and groin (which was devoid of genitalia, rather like a Barbie doll) were exploited numerous times. So much for equality.

(4) Too much time is spent on the extended fight scenes at the expense of character as well the conflict between the Norse gods and the Christ.
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R.Wilder
Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 - 08:56 pm:   

I did not see Beowulf. After Sean's comments I'm not sure I want to. I did see Enchanted, and was mildly charmed, even as I was being schlocked. Amy Adams is a redeemer. Otherwise, forget about it.
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 10:53 am:   

"character has an abrupt change of heart without substantial justification."

I assumed it was a ploy on his part, but they never came back around to it. None of that made sense to me.

The best scene is in the trailer (typical), when Beowulf is ripping Grendel's arm off. At that moment, the hero has only the thinnest of connections to his humanity.
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   

I saw NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. You're right Sam, it is a terrific film, undoubtedly one of the best Coen Brothers films-- if I weren't a Lebowski devotee, I'd say it is THE best.

[SPOILERS AHEAD.]

I'm not sure what to think about the last third. It is one of those situations where I can intellectually appreciate its subversion of genre expectations while my gut moans. I mean, everything in the first two-thirds is absolutely point-perfect, a riveting struggle... and then it all unravels and drifts away into existentialist pontification. It becomes a more thoughtful film, but I wonder why this particular film had to be thoughtful in this particular way.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 05:58 pm:   

I just saw Beowulf. Wow! What a really interesting failure! And I do agree it's a failure and oddly, I have to blame Neil Gaiman. I love Neil Gaiman's work. I loved Stardust the movie. I loved Neverwhere, the Ananzi Boys, Good Omens and American Gods. One of the biggest problems with the movie is the tone in the first half. It's straight out of American Gods and it's totally wrong for an epic. Plus the movie starts in the wrong place. It badly needs to introduce Beowulf in some way. Instead, after a long boring scene Grendle wreaks havoc on the uninteresting, unlikeable humans and then Beowulf shows up and you have a flashback to an earlier adventure of his. To work, it should have started with his earlier adventures to establish who is and that he's a good guy, then switch to Grendel attacking and Beowulf hearing about it, riding to both the rescue and the hope of glory and then falling into corruption after his victory.

So it's a mess. I think if you're going to make a movie out of an epic like Beowulf, you have to treat it as an epic and not as a satire. So it needed Peter Jackson to treat it seriously like LOTR.

But of course the real thing here is the use of live actors and animation, I don't know the term for it. Is it the wave of the future? To be honest, it doesn't work for me. It is too distancing. I can get involved in pure animation but not this odd almost real quality. What does everyone think? Can this technique be effective or is it just a new toy?
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Marian Powell
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 06:30 pm:   

I had never read Beowulf so I went googling and found what looks like an easy and lively translation here http://www.lone-star.net/literature/beowulf/
It shows that the movie bears the same resemblance to the poem as the movie of Starship Troopers does to the novel.

I clicked on the introduction. Fascinating. Only one copy of Beowulf survived and it was partially burned. Sounds like quite a story just in the history of the manuscript. Anyway, that's the site and for the poem, click on "The Adventure Begins"
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GSH
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 07:02 pm:   

The Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf is excellent. The poem was intended to be heard, not read. Heaney's voice performance is available on a HighBridge Audio 2-cd set. With luck you might find it at the local library.

Here's a 1.7 MB mp3 audio clip.
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GSH
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 07:11 pm:   

Here you can find some mp3 files of bits read in the original Anglo Saxon.
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Sean Melican
Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 07:15 pm:   

Feh. All the copies are checked out.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 12:22 pm:   

I know what you mean, Luke, about NO COUNTRY, but in its case I make the assumption the Coen's knew what they were doing. I'm going to see it again, now that I've digested the "plot".

They say McCarthy's book is even more bleak, so I'm also going to read that too! McCarthy was the first writer to win a Pulitzer for speculative fiction (for the post-apocalyptic THE ROAD), so I figure these people are all smarter than I am, and I embrace the challenge.
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 07:53 pm:   

Sam I wouldn't bet those people are smarter than you are. I have no fucking idea why The Road won a Pulitzer.
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Clint Harris
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 10:43 pm:   

I have my opinions on "The Road" and few of them are good. I think the reason it's speculative fiction, is because readers are supposed to speculate just how the fuck it got published.

One good thing I will say about it is I got $4 store credit on a buyback from Hastings for it, which will contribute nicely to the Christmas fund. There, that's the only good thing I have to say about "THE ROAD".

Now, much like the legendary issue of F&SF, here's what the printer left out of McCarthy's book. Use them as you see fit.

""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""
"""""""""""""
""""""""""""""""
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Karlb
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 09:40 am:   

If anybody's got a copy of Kingsley Amis' COLLECTED STORIES, check out "Hemingway in Space," originally published in Punch. He had the tone down perfectly, IIRC, though it's being a looooong time since I read that one.
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Clint Harris
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   

Back on the subject of movies, it's not in theatres, but the other day I rented Day Watch. The sequel to the Russian fantasy/horror/action movie Night Watch. Good stuff. Really sets the imagination off in a lot of places. It ran a little bit long, but there wasn't five minutes where something krazy wasn't happening.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 06:46 pm:   

Everybody, I just saw NO COUNTRY again (I never read the book)and like it better the 2nd time.

S P O I L E R S---I'M S E R I O U S

I think one has to ignore the foreground action as being the point of the movie. Josh Brolin's character is practically killed off-screen, his whole mission to get away with the money wiped away with barely a shrug, and the movie continues on without him. Woody Harrelson's character is killed almost as an afterthought, right before Bardem answers the phone, and Harrelson's body receiving the gunblast isn't actually shown (his body is hidden by the chair he's sitting in). Brolin's wife is killed completely off screen (I make the assumption she's killed because Bardem, after he kills Harrelson, lifts his boots off the floor to avoid the gathering pool of blood; after he leave's the wife's house, he carefully checks the heels of his boots on the porch, as if for blood).

Good deeds are not rewarded, or assist evil people: Brolin goes back to give water to a dying man and is discovered by the bad guys; the guy who gives a fleeing Brolin a ride in his truck is shot; a young boy on a bicycle literally gives Bardem (who he sees only as an injured accident victim) the shirt off his back, assisting him in tending to a broken arm and easing his escape.

You cannot save yourself, despite your grit and resourcefulness; you cannot save your wife; the law cannot save you; hired guns working outside the law cannot save you, nothing can save you except blind chance (the 50-50 coin toss).

Jones' character retires because he can't take the evil in the world; his last monologue is about a dream in which his father "rides on ahead to build a fire to keep back the fire and darkness. Then I woke up." Keeping evil at bay is just a dream.

Also, I noticed the motif of the number 13: Harrelson makes a comment that he counted the number of floors in the building and there seemed to be one missing (an obvious reference to the absence of a 13th floor in many buidings); Brolin is discoveed by Bardem and shot at in Room 213 of the hotel; the two side-by-side rooms at the motel where murders took place are rooms 12 & 14.

I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm sure there was (a pessimistic) intelligent design behind this movie!
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Luke Jackson
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 07:11 pm:   

Very astute post, Sam. Matthew Cheney also had some interesting things to say about the movie at the Mumpsimus blog.

There was a lot about the element of chance in this movie, like the scene where Bardem flips the coin to determine the fate of the guy at the gas station. But on the other hand, the Bardem character was almost like a machine, and (almost) everyone who crossed his path was exterminated in a deterministic fashion..
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Marian Powell
Posted on Monday, December 03, 2007 - 10:22 am:   

I'll have to confess that I don't like movies that are filled with metaphorical meanings. Searching for them interferes with my ingestion of popcorn.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 11:59 am:   

Marian, if your ingestion of popcorn isn't hampered by human bodies being ripped up and bloodied by automatic firearms or human skulls being punctured by cattle stunguns, I think you'll handle the popcorn&metaphor combo just fine :-)...have a Coke to settle your stomach, maybe...
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 04:25 pm:   

Popcorn interferes with my ingestion of movies....
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Marian Powell
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 09:47 am:   

Golden Compass got one rave review and one cool review but even it thought it was well done but cold. Anyone seen it?

Interesting discussion of I Am Legend http://movies.msn.com/movies/hitlist/12-07-07?Gt1=7701

If you're a fan of Will Smith, you'll see him and a dog for most of the movie so be happy. If you're not a fan, you'll see him and a dog for most of the movie so be warned.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Friday, December 07, 2007 - 09:49 am:   

Marguerite, that's blasphemy. I cannot consume a movie without popcorn.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 03:57 pm:   

Just saw a sneak preview of Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's bloody version of the musical "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I think they brought it off pretty well, but its strange fare for the Holiday Season. The audience applauded at the appearance of Borat as a phony Italian snake-oil salesman.

Throats are graphically cut; people are baked into pies and eaten; a woman is shoved screaming into a furnace. Good popcorn ingestion flick? You decide!
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Michael Meddor
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 07:05 am:   

I went to see The Mist last night. Just me and the empty seats. It held my interest until the car trip started. Thats when the awful choral music began. Obviously someone's attempt to invest the ending with a meaning that the script wasn't going to deliver. And then - an ending only a thirteen year old would think was full of irony and pathos.

The awful singing continued into the credits. Being a Hollywood type, I usually stay for the credits, but I had to walk out this time.

Oh well, Darrabont can't win them all. And it was a matinee, so it didn't cost me much.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 11:51 am:   

Yeah, The Mist ending was pretty disappointing (I was hoping for at least a Bambi vs Godzilla finish, to close things out with a laugh) but compared to REVOLVER, The Mist is like a personal visit from Jesus telling you Dad likes you best. Don't see Revolver. Don't even look at the posters. Worst movie in the last 10 years.
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GSH
Posted on Monday, December 24, 2007 - 11:19 am:   

The BBC version of Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather" was on Ion last night. A wonderfully strange holiday movie! Guess it'll be out as a general release R1 DVD sometime in March.
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Sam Wilson
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2008 - 03:17 pm:   

Anybody see "There Will Be Blood"? Another stupendous performance by Daniel Day-Lewis (I voted him Best Actor in the SAG Awards) but a depressing view of the human race. If you're feeling just too optimistic and full of joy and hope for mankind, see this, and Sweeney Todd, and No Country for Old Men, and The Mist, one right after the other. All released during the Christmas Season!
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Marian Powell
Posted on Monday, January 07, 2008 - 07:48 pm:   

I Am Legend catches the tone of the novel. I saw the movie today. Wil Smith is great in it. The best of the movie is the whole first section where it's him and a dog alone in New York City three years after the end of the world. Unfortunately the rest of the movie is more ordinary with a real struggle to have a happy ending, well, hopeful ending. And unfortunately the zombies are out of Shaun of the Dead so far as I was concerned.
Interesting question. Can you create a zombie that doesn't make you giggle(even while you're hiding under your seat)?
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David Sanders
Posted on Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 12:22 pm:   

"I Am Legend" stunk, except for the grand images of a deserted NYC. Less than an hour into the flick I was fantasizing about leaving the theater and going home.

The first two movies based on the book are much better. One of the whole points of the novel and the two movies (in my humble opinion) was that the last man could interact with, and still had feelings for, the mutants/zombies/vampires. He had to kill them and fight them to survive, but he still retained feelings for them. After all, they were once his friends and fellow citizens. Murderous, insane Matthias and the family from "The Omega Man" were more terrifying and believable than their latest "I Am Legend" counterparts, which were right out of "28 Days/Weeks Later" and the silly remake of "Dawn of the Dead." Newer, slicker, bigger budget, and lots of special effects and loud noise don't always result in an improvement on earlier films.
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David Sanders
Posted on Friday, January 11, 2008 - 10:14 am:   

Sorry for employing the word "stunk," it is a bit harsh and unsophisticated!
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Marian Powell
New member
Username: Marian

Post Number: 60
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 08:29 am:   

But accurate. After a really great beginning with Wil Smith and his dog in the deserted Manhattan, the whole thing just went downhill. Although even the beginning doesn't make sense if you think about it. Why did he stay in such a dangerous situation? A vague explanation is given about needing to be in the center of things but that hardly makes sense. He could move his equipment and set up his lab and do his research in a much safer location.
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Scott Dalrymple
New member
Username: Scott_dalrymple

Post Number: 2
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 11:59 am:   

I liked I AM LEGEND quite a bit. I agree that the second half went downhill-- hard to argue with that-- and I disliked the ending, which smells like "focus group" to me. It could have been a great film if the early mood had been sustained, sort of a post-apocalyptic version of CAST AWAY. But I thought the first half was beautifully done, chilling even. When Smith sees the moved mannequin, for instance, I found the scene frightening and filled with genuine pathos. I could watch the first half over and over. Four stars for the first half from me, 1.5 for the second, zombified half.

On another note, I just took my 10-year old son to see SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES. He loved it, and I enjoyed it to. I've not read the book, but the film was intelligently scripted and well shot, with pretty nice special effects.

Scott
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Marian
New member
Username: Marian

Post Number: 61
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 03:56 pm:   

Scott, have you seen The Quiet Earth (from some years back)? Again the beginning is absolutely great with a man discovering he is the last man on earth. The rest of the movie gets more conventional but stays good, just not great.
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Scott_dalrymple
New member
Username: Scott_dalrymple

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Friday, February 15, 2008 - 04:08 pm:   

No, I haven't seen THE QUIET EARTH-- but I just added it to my Netflix Queue. Thanks for the lead. As JJA obviously knew when he envisioned his excellent WASTELANDS anthology, there's something primal and appealing about last man (or woman) stories, much like there's something primal about stories of the sea.

Scott

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