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 What I've Just Watched: Part 2

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:13 am

Iron Man 2 (1st view) - Not quite as good as the first one I don't think. Then again I don't like Rourke or Johansson, so their presence doesn't help. But it was, for me anyway, good fun. Downer Jr is s likeable as ever, with Don Cheadle as an effective replacement for Terrence Howard. Quite funny at times, and the action sequences are generally less distracting than the previous film - 4/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 7:15 am

Jindabyne (1st view) - Four friends in a fishing trip near the Australian town of Jindabyne discover the body of a murdered Aboriginal woman, but don't report it until after their trip. When the townsfolk realise this, it leads to hostility towards the men and their families. Superb performances from Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney.


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 9:58 am

One Hour Photo (2002), written and directed by music video director Mark Romanek, his first film in 17 years since Static (1985). It's a very brooding and dark thriller, something Hitchcock would probabily have done if he'd still been with us. But, the best thing about it is a creepy and unsettling turn from it's star, playing against type after being known then for sentimental films. It has photo lab technician Seymour "Sy" Parrish (Robin Williams) who works in the photo processing lab of a big supermarket. One of his regular customers are the Yorkin family, who are husband Will (Michael Vartan), wife Nina (Connie Nielsen), and their son Jake (Dylan Smith). He's developed a good acquaintanceship with the family over the years, but it turns out Sy's got an unhealthy obsession with the family. And has been making extra prints of the family for years, and Sy becomes obsessed with the family, wanting to be part of it, and even stalking them. But, he soon discovers all is not what it seems with the family, and Will is being unfaithful, so Sy decides to see to that. This is a very unsettling film, and what makes it all the more scary is that there's people like this in the world today. Williams played brilliantly against type here, and saw a brief step into bad-guy roles with this, Insomnia (2002) and Death to Smoochy (2002). It's a pity he didn't keep it up, he showed great confidence with it, and why hasn't Mark Romanek made more films?? 4/5



Coming Home (1978), from director Hal Ashby, one of the great unsung filmmakers of the New Hollywood era, whose films included Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973) and Being There (1979) comes this thoughtful but powerful post-war film. It's a Vietnam film, but a different kind of Vietnam film. It's not on the front line, it focuses on the aftermath, and the plight of many a wounded soldier. It has Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) volunteering to work at a war veteran hospital where her Violet (Penelope Milford) works. While working there, she meets an old friend Luke Martin (Jon Voight), a soldier back from Vietnam, but now paralysed from the waist down. He is trying to get back into society, but is having trouble coping with his disability. Sally helps him one step at a time, and love blossoms between the two, despite the fact Sally is married to an Army captain called Bob (Bruce Dern) who is serving in Vietnam. It's a powerful romantic drama, and it feels like it could be a true story, though it was inspired by the story of Ron Kovic, whose own life was adapted by Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July (1989). But, this is a powerful film with good performances and a brilliant soundtrack with songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Creedance Clearwater Revival. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 9:59 am

The Osterman Weekend (1983), Sam Peckinpah's last stand. After spending nearly half a decade in the wilderness after Convoy (1978), no-one wanted to work with him, his reputation with Hollywood had soured badly and his health had worsened. But, he was given one last shot at the big time with this adaptation of Robert Ludlum's 1972 novel. It's not perfect, but it does have it's moments of suspense and action. It has TV presenter Bill Tanner (Rutger Hauer) being told by CIA director Maxwell Danforth (Burt Lancaster) and agent Laurence Fassett (John Hurt) that Tanner's 3 college friends Bernard Osterman (Craig T. Nelson), Richard Tremayne (Dennis Hopper) and Joseph Cardone (Chris Sarandon) are working for a Soviet spy syndicate known as Omega. They're all going to Tanner's house for a weekend break, as they have done, but Fasset has installed video cameras everywhere to keep an eye on them, but tensions rise during the weekend. It's got some good moments, but it feels quite dated now, and there isn't enough action. But, it has a good cast, and when it does get gripping it works. It could have been better, but it was Peckinpah's last hurrah. 3/5



Love and Death (1975), after the futuristic slapstick of Sleeper (1973) and before the Oscar glory of Annie Hall (1977), Woody Allen took on Leo Tolstoy and Imperialist Russia. It is one of his funniest and best films with some of his best dialogue and comedy. It also marked where he was going, he was maturing as a director, and was heading towards the so called 'later, serious films'. In this, it has Napoleon invading Russia, and Boris Grushenko (Allen), a coward, being drafted up to fight with his two brothers. But, despite his cowardise, he is able to cause a group of French generals to surrender and he ends up marrying his cousin Sonya (Diane Keaton), who he has always loved, but she had married a fish merchant, who accidentally shot himself with his own pistol. Boris and Sonya's marriage has little money but plenty of philosophical debates. Sonya comes up with the bright idea of killing Napoleon, which Boris is against. This is the most epic of Allen's early comedies, and very thoughtful too. It's beautifully shot by Ghislain Cloquet, and the locations used in Paris and Hungary are exquisite. Allen's dialogue is amongst his best, and some of the set pieces are well staged. Allen was never like this again. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:00 am

Oil City Confidential (2009), from Julien Temple, best known for music documentaries such as The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1979), The Filth and the Fury (2000), Glastonbury (2006) and Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007) comes this compelling and entertaining documentary about one of the great rock and blues bands of the 1970's whose influences are still felt today. The band in question are Dr. Feelgood, whose origins are in Canvey Island, Essex. A town situated below sea level who were hit by a big flood in 1953. But, out of this town on the so called "Thames Delta" came 4 men. Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson, John Martin (The Big Figure) and John B. Sparkes (Sparks), who formed Dr. Feelgood, who grew from their home town to London and then Europe and beyond, having Number 1 hits and even having a following in America. But, hardships within the band followed, leading to a sad fallout between once good friends Brilleaux and Johnson. It's a good story, and there's something quaint and eccentric about the town of Canvey Island as well. It's compared within the documentary to being like a British equivelant to the Mississippi Delta, and there is similiarities. But, Dr. Feelgood's music was excellent and this documentary does them justice. 4/5



The Kids Are Alright (1979), even before the death of their beloved drummer Keith Moon, a documentary about The Who had been in the works. It shows the band in a good light and it also has new footage of the band in concert as well as loads of archive footage of the band at their peak. It follows The Who from their beginnings in London and it starts off with their infamous appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, as well as their appearances at Monterey and Woodstock and other various TV shows, including the long unavailable spot on The Rolling Stone's Rock and Roll Circus doing A Quick One. It has archive and new interviews with the band members, (Peter Townsend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwhistle and Keith Moon). As well as the achive footage, the new concert footage was shot at Kilburn in 1977 and at Shepperton Studios in 1978, which would turn out to be Keith Moon's last performance with the band before his untimely death. It's a very good documentary, with some good old clips of them throughout, and it also has appearances from people like Ringo Starr, Ken Russell and Steve Martin thrown in there too. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:01 am

Boxcar Bertha (1972), after his no-budget debut Who's That Knocking at My Door (1967), Martin Scorsese was offered to do a film for producer Roger Corman, who had a long standing deal at American Internation Pictures, a famous studio known for exploitation films. And Scorsese did a film for them. It's not perfect, but from this film, there's the evidence of what was soon to come from Scorsese over the next few years. Set in the Great Depression of the 1930's, it tells the (sometimes true) story of Bertha Thompson (Barbara Hershey) and "Big" Bill Shelly (David Carradine), two train robbers and lovers who find themselves in the plight of railroad workers in the Deep South of America, they find themselves teaming up with Von Morton (Bernie Casey), to take down corrupt railroad magnate H. Buckram Sartoris (John Carradine). But, as they rob more and more people along this railroad route, they find themselves in more and more danger. Made for $600,000, and shot in 24 days in Arkansas, it's actually well made and has some good sequences well shot. What The Sugarland Express did for Spielberg, this did for Scorsese, it was the springboard onto greater things... 3.5/5



The Aristocrats (2005), a documentary from Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza, this is about a joke. A particular joke shared amongst comedians, as a sort of of secret handshake between them. They talk to loads of them about this one particular joke, and their versions and interpretations of the jokes. It's structure is a little off, but at least some the interpretations of the joke are funny. The joke starts off the same way, "A family walks into a talent agency, and they say they have an amazing act for them to see", the joke ends with "The talent agent says, 'What do you call the act??' and the family says 'The Aristocrats'. Between the start and end of the joke, you have to push the envelope, coming up with incest, group sex, graphic violence, defecation, coprophilia and necrophilia. Some interpretations of the joke are sick, some are funny, but it has some welcome input from people like George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Howie Mandel, Eric Idle, Eddie Izzard, Penn & Teller, Don Rickles, The Smothers Brothers, Fred Willard and Robin Williams. Oh, and if you haven't heard the South Park version of the joke, check it out on YouTube!! Very Happy 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:02 am

Absolute Beginners (1986), one of the most notorious flops of the 1980's, and one that nearly brought down the British Film Industry. it helped bring down Goldcrest Films, along with Revolution (1985) and The Mission (1986). But, the simple fact is that the film is flawed, but it's not the big disaster that everyone makes it out to be. It's like a serious version of Hairspray and/or Cry-Baby, and it's visually amazing too. Set in 1958 in London, and it follows the transition from the 1950's rock era to the pop movement of the Swinging 60's. It's seen through the eyes of naive photographer Colin (Eddie O'Connell), and he's in love with fashion designer Crepe Suzette (Patsy Kensit), but she's romantically linked with Henley of Mayfair (James Fox). Colin decides to have a shot at the bigtime, and gets in with advertising mogul Vendice Partners (David Bowie). Meanwhile, racial tensions are growing in and around London. Director Julien Temple made a brave choice by turning Colin MacInnes' book into a rock musical. But, it's a visual triumph, and it's that which holds up the films shortcomings, the musical sequences are like what Temple did with his music videos, while the opening is a wink to Touch of Evil and One from the Heart. The supporting cast, including Lionel Blair, Ray Brooks, Steven Berkoff, Edward Tudor-Pole, Robbie Coltrane and Irene Handl help keep it up. 3.5/5



The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), from Tony Richardson, best known for Look Back in Anger (1959), The Entertainer (1960) and Tom Jones (1963, which won him the Best Director Oscar), comes this remake of the 1936 Errol Flynn adventure film, which in turn was based on the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. But, Richardson's version was to be done with a dark satirical eye. It's quite surreal in parts, but it's visually amazing with good performances. Set in 1854, it focuses on the events leading up to the Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 during the Crimean War, which would nearly wipe out most of the troops in a battle against the Russians, who had invaded Turkey. The army superiors including Lord Cardigan (Trevor Howard), Lord Raglan (John Gielgud) and Lord Lucan (Harry Andrews), and when the worst happens, not one of them will take responsibility for what's happened. It's a film about the folly of war, quite relevant now as well. But, it's a film about the pomposity of the upper class, and how they always feel they're right about everything. It's brilliantly shot by David Watkin, with a good score by John Addison and newspaper sketch style animation by Richard Williams. Oh, and David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave (Richardson's missus at the time) are in the film too. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:03 am

Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), directed by Peter Medak, best known for The Odd Job (1978), The Changeling (1980) and The Krays (1990). He was offered a script by Road House writer Hilary Henkin. He took it on. It's not perfect by any means, as it tries to be a modern day film noir, but it's thunder was stolen by The Last Seduction (1993), and alot of it is a bit silly. It has dirty cop Jack Grimaldi (Gary Oldman), who has a loving wife Natalie (Annabella Sciorra), and an doting mistress Sheri (Juliette Lewis). But, Jack finds himself in deep water when the police are being outwitted by a Russian assassin called Mona Demarkov (Lena Olin). Italian-American Mafia kingpin Don Falcone (Roy Scheider) orders Jack to kill her, or face the consequences because of his dirty dealing. He soon gets alot more than he bargained for and more, and learns things the hard way. It's trying to be a cleaned up version of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant (1992), but with a noirish twist. But, alot of it is over the top. It is a bit hard to follow, and it could have done with a tad more action, but it's well shot by Dariuz Wolski. It leaves a lot of room for improvement though. 2.5/5



Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco (1981), one of the most notorious, controversial and critically acclaimed films to have come out of Brazil. Héctor Babenco's gritty and depressing look at street delinquents on the streets of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, seen through the eyes of one young boy. The boy in question is Pixote (Fernando Ramos Da Silva), who has been picked up by police in regard to a robbery, and he's sent with several other kids to a form of borstal, which is in place to rehabilitate kids, but there isn't much of that going on in a place like that. After the guards frame a couple of the streetkids there with a murder, Pixote and several other kids, Lilica (Jorge Julião) and Dito (Gilberto Moura) end up back on the streets doing drug deals and they eventually end up in Rio. and they find themselves as pimps for aging, poorly prostitute Sueli (Marília Pêra), who becomes a mother like figure to the boys, but happiness doesn't last. It's a very grim and harsh view of a very real situation, and even 30 years on, it's still going on today. The film serves as an indictment of a failing system. It helped Babenco get to Hollywood and make films like Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Ironweed (1987), but neither of those were as good as this film. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:04 am

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), made in a time when the western was having a resurgence in popularity, despite the rise of the New Hollywood era. Director George Roy Hill and writer William Goldman took on a western legend, but in the process, gave it a quite modern attitude. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. And it also had one of the best pairing of two actors. Set in the late 1890's, it focuses on the exploits of Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford), who are part of the Hole in the Wall Gang, who Butch is leader of. But, when one robbery goes awry, Butch and Sundance find themselves on the run, and they eventually decide to head for Bolivia with Sundance's lover, Etta Place (Katharine Ross). When they get to Bolivia, they find themselves holding up banks there, but they also now work at a mine for American named Percy Garris (Strother Martin). While the robbery's take place, they earn the title of "Bandidos Yanquis". It's a very enjoyable, and very well shot film. Both Newman and Redford gave brilliant performances as the titular duo. The icing on the cake to this film is Burt Bacharach's score, which lifts the mood. 4/5



The Producers (1968), before the stage musical and it's 2005 remake, there was the original. The directorial debut of Mel Brooks, who had worked for ages as a stand-up comedian and a comedy writer on alot of American TV shows. He had had an idea to do a film about a producer he'd worked for when he was younger, and this was the result, with a brilliant stageplay within the film thrown in, brilliant performances and alot of laughs. It begins with failed Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel), who now seduces little old ladies to get cash for whatever his next play may be. He had employed an accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) to help him. Bloom discovers a producer can make more money with a flop than a hit. So, they devise a scheme to get rich by finding the worst play ever and putting it on Broadway, they find it with 'Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden' written by Nazi Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars). They hire the worst director to do it, Roger De Bris (Christopher Hewett) and give the role of Hitler to a hippie called L.S.D. (Dick Shawn). Will it be a flop?? This put Brooks on the road of a marvellous film career and he got it off to a brilliant start with this film. Zero Mostel is inimitable with his role, and Wilder, Mars and Shawn all provide laughs. But the musical number Springtime for Hitler is the best of all, if only there were more like it!! Don't Be Stupid Be A Smarty, Come And Join The Nazi Party!! Very Happy 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 10:36 am

Blame It On Rio (1984), directed by Stanley Donen, best known for films such as On the Town (1949), Singin' in the Rain (1952), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Bedazzled (1967) comes this romantic comedy that feels quite dated, and it could benefit from a remake, but it managed to do well when it was released originally. It has Matthew (Michael Caine) and Victor (Joseph Bologna) who work in a big company in São Paulo, Brazil. Matthew's marriage to wife Karen (Valerie Harper) is in doubt, so the men decide to go on a holiday to Rio de Janeiro, where they rent a nice house with a good view. Along for the ride is Matthew's daughter Nikki (Demi Moore) and Victor's daughter Jennifer (Michelle Johnson). At the beach one night, a moment of passion comes over Jennifer and Matthew. The next day, Jennifer declares her love for Matthew, much to his fear, what's going to happen if Victor finds out, so he tries to cover it up. Alot of the comedy in the film doesn't work, and a plot like this would have been more suited to someone like Blake Edwards, indeed it does feel like a cash in on 10 (1979). There are laughs, but not alot. Unsurprisingly, it was Donen's last film. 2/5



Iron Man 2 (2010), a sequel to Iron Man (2008) was inevitable, it helped get Robert Downey Jr.'s career back on track and was a huge world success. For the sequel, they could have gone darker like most other sequels, but they haven't, they've retained the same amount of fun that the first film had, and a very good cast. It has Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) struggling to come to terms with the fame of being the CEO of Stark Industries and being Iron Man, he now has rivalry from business rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), Stark makes his loyal personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) the CEO of Stark Industries, but to make matters worse, the Iron Man suit is making Stark weaker. Then, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) turns up, as superhero Whiplash, posing a threat to Stark. Hammer see's potential in Vanko, and employs him to build his own line of Iron Men, after Stark refused to hand over the design for Iron Man to the American Government. It is a great piece of entertainment, with Downey Jr. again making a good action hero and an amusing playboy with a big ego. The only niggle is the best action comes half way through at the Monaco Grand Prix, and the end is like the first film all over again, but it's still good, fun with good support from Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury!! Very Happy Oh, and stick through the credits for a little treat!! Wink 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sat May 01, 2010 11:27 am

Huge update!!

_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Tue May 04, 2010 8:49 am

La Règle du jeu/The Rules of the Game (1st view) - Classic satire set in pre-war France about a party at a country house. I can see why it has a reputation for being so good - 4/5*




Distant Voices, Still Lives (1st view) - Drama set in post-war Liverpool. Divided into two halves, the first sees Pete Postlethwaite as the abusive father of three children, the second part has the children grown up with families of their own. Completely non-linear but brilliantly acted by all and utterly compelling - 4/5*




Harper (1st view) - Paul Newman stars as a private investigator, hired by Lauren Bacall to find her missing husband. Pretty lame overall - 2/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu May 06, 2010 1:37 am

Rollerball (1975), director Norman Jewison was highly successful during the late 1960's/early 1970's, making such films as In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). His streak of success continued with this adaptation of William Harrison's short story, Roller Ball Murder. It's a gripping piece of action, and it is a cautionary tale of the influence big businesses have on the world. The sport is Rollerball, which consists of 2 teams in a circular skating rink trying to get a ball and score for their team. One team is based in Houston, and the star player is Jonathan E (James Caan), the team is owned by Energy Corporation, which is owned by Mr. Bartholomew (John Houseman). Turns out Bartholomew wants Jonathan E to retire, but he won't give in without a fight, and he refuses to retire, and meanwhile, the game of Rollerball is becoming all the more violent, involving death. It's a very good film, and you could imagine the world becoming like this one day, where the world is run by the corporations rather than governments. The Rollerball sequences are well done, and brilliantly shot by Douglas Slocombe, and the film uses classical music arranged by Andre Previn. The less said about the 2002 remake, the better. Razz Oh, and there wasn't enough of Ralph Richardson. 3.5/5



Benny & Joon (1993), a small sleeper hit in 1993, from the director of erm... National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), but it's actually a very touch romantic comedy. It gives it's star the chance to show of some amazing physical comedy, this is the film that should have made him a megastar, but that would come 10 years later. Set in a small town in Washington state, it has car mechanic Benny (Aidan Quinn) struggling to look after his schizophrenic sister, Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson), and is looking at the possibility of placing her in care, after she's scared away all of her caretakers. All seems lost, until Joon wins a poker game, and ends up 'winning' the cousin of Benny's friend Mike (Joe Grifasi). The cousin in question is Sam (Johnny Depp) an oddball cinephile, who acts like Chaplin or Keaton. Benny allows Sam to stay, and Joon falls for Sam, and Sam becomes the new housekeeper, using his silent movie star pratfalls as a way to clean up the house, but Benny doesn't know that Joon loves Sam. It's a touching romance, but some of the comedy stunts Depp does are unbelievable, it has a good supporting cast with Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and Oliver Platt. This film also made I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers famous in America. Director Jeremiah S. Chechik should have gone on to better things on the strength of this film, but he followed it up with Diabolique (1996) and The Avengers (1998). Razz 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu May 06, 2010 9:20 am

Race To Witch Mountain (1st view) - Much better than the original Witch Mountain films, and Dwayne Johnson has an oddly likeable screen presence. - 4/5*




Leave Her To Heaven (1st view) - Classic melodrama about a woman who becomes insanely jealous of her husband. Brilliant - 4/5*


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Mon May 10, 2010 1:19 am

Tom Jones (1963), after Look Back In Anger (1959), The Entertainer (1960) and A Taste of Honey (1961). Director Tony Richardson decided to do something quite different, and chose to do an adaptation of Henry Fielding's 1749 novel 'The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling'. It was a very unconventional adaptation of a classic novel, and it ended up winning 4 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Did it deserve it's glory?? The film focuses on the life and times of Tom Jones (Albert Finney), brought up by Squire Allworthy (George Devine) as one of his own, after Tom's mother Jenny (Joyce Redman) abandons him as a baby. He grows up to be a handsome man with a lively attitude, he loves only one woman Sophie Western (Susannah York), but because of his mothers reputation, he cannot marry her, but he won't give in, even though Sophie's father Squire Western (Hugh Griffith) is trying to get her together with Blifil (David Warner) who she hates. What Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid did for westerns, this did at the time for the English period drama, although this had an unusual comic style, starting off like a silent movie, and it has characters breaking the fourth wall with the audience. It's well made with good performances, and the screenplay by John Osborne is a change from what he'd done before. As for the Oscar glory, well it's better than what was nominated that year, but it wasn't the best film of 1963. Put it that way. 3/5



Lawrence of Arabia (1962), David Lean had won Oscars for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), how do you follow that up?? Lean found a suitable follow-up with with an adaptation of Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1922), the autobiography of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, who acted as a well respected liason during the Arab Revolt against the Turks from 1916 to 1918. It's a brilliant grand old adventure film that people don't make anymore. It also brings out the best of the desert. It begins in Cairo, where T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) was a misfit, upsetting his peers with his behaviour, until he is sent by Arab Bureau chief Mr. Dryden (Claude Rains) to assist Prince Faisal (Alec Guinness). Lawrence convinces Faisal to take a daring attack on Aqaba against the Turks, so the British can send supplies in, rather than retreating, and it works, and Lawrence ends up being lauded by his Arabian peers, and even leads a guerrilla war, becoming a hero. The film eventually won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It is a brilliant adventure film, the 70mm photography by Freddie Young is exquisite, and O'Toole is a brilliant Lawrence, and it put him on the road to fame, even if the film did take liberties with Lawrence's life, Lean paints on a huge canvas, and it's really engaging. The supporting cast are also brilliant, including Anthony Quinn, José Ferrer, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quayle and Omar Sharif as Ali, Lawrence's aide. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Mon May 10, 2010 1:20 am

Easy Money (1983), Rodney Dangerfield got his own starring vehicle, after the success of Caddyshack. He got a small deal with Orion Pictures at the time, this was the first film to come from that deal, an enjoyable comic romp that is obvious inspired by Brewster's Millions. But, Dangerfield is a likeable presence. It has him as photographer Monty Capuletti, a hard-living, heavy drinking, weed smoking, gambling family man. His lifestyle annoys his mother-in-law Mrs. Monahan (Geraldine Fitzgerald), who cannot believe her daughter Rose (Candice Azzara) married him. But when Mr. Monahan dies in a plane crash, she leaves her successful department store to the family, and $10 million, but only if Monty can give up booze, smoking and gambling for a whole year. Monty doesn't think he can do it, but he has support from his friends Nicky (Joe Pesci) and Paddy (Tom Noonan), who do all the things that Monty isn't supposed to do for a year. It's an amusing film, and Dangerfield's one-liners and dialogue are always amusing, but that's just about all that holds up the film, and the ending seems a bit rushed and ill-thought through too. But, it's still an amusing comedy while it lasts. 3/5



Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), the title of this comedy beggars belief, but appearances can be deceptive, directed by Steve Pink, (who wrote Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and High Fidelity (2000)), directs this highly hilarious time travel comedy, it's a spin on the genre, and described as many as Back to the Future meets The Hangover. That's partially true, but it has alot of depth, and plenty of good laughs. It has 3 friends, Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry) and Nick (Craig Robinson) who after alot of bad luck in their lives go to Kodiak Valley Ski Resort, where they spent alot of breaks in their youth to get away from it all, along for the ride is Adam's nephew Jacob (Clark Duke), who can't survive without the internet. The resort is now run down, but they get a party on in their room's hot tub. When they wake up the next day, they discover it's 1986, and it's one specific weekend in 1986, where Adam, Lou and Nick made choices that changed their lives forever, and there's a mysterious Hot Tub Repair Man (Chevy Chase) in their room. It's a brilliant concept, and you don't care about the paradoxes these 3 cause, the laughs come thick and fast, most of them come from Corddry and Robinson. It's captures the essence of the 1980's too, and the cast make a good team. I loved it, it has gross-out comedy, but in a good way, and it makes me nostalgic for the 1980's again!! (I never thought I'd say that.) Best comedy of 2010. :cool: 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Tue May 11, 2010 12:25 pm

Pan's Labyrinth (2006), between the two Hellboy films, Guillermo Del Toro headed for Spain to do a film based on doodles, drawings and ideas he has in his always present notebooks. It's a dark but highly imaginative fantasy film, and Del Toro should be making more films on the basis of this film. Set in a remote part of Spain in 1944, it has Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) travelling with her heavily pregnant mother Carmen (Ariadna Gil), to live with Captain Vidal (Sergi López i Ayats) at his military post in the woods. It turns out Vidal is the father of Carmen's unborn child, he takes an instant disliking to Ofelia. Meanwhile, Ofelia finds a labyrinth, and discovers a Faun (Doug Jones), who says Ofelia is the reincarnation of Princess Moanna of the Underground Realm, who had escaped to the real world, and forgotten her past. The Faun gives Ofelia 3 tasks to prove that she is the reincarnation, and she can return. Meanwhile, Spanish Maquis guerrillas are attacking the military post, and Ofelia's mother Carmen is becoming weaker and weaker. It's a visually amazing fairy tale, and it cements Del Toro as one of the best directors of our time. The cast are brilliant, and the fantasy realm hints at things to come with The Hobbit. He should hurry up and get that made, this is a man brimming with so many brilliant ideas for films. 4.5/5



Demon Seed (1977), Donald Cammell only ever directed 4 films. Performance, Demon Seed, White of the Eye and Wild Side. This was his second film and first set in America. Based on the 1973 novel by Dean Koontz. It's a quite scary film, although bits of it are quite silly. But, it's quite effective while it lasts. It has scientist Dr. Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) overseeing the completion of Proteus IV (voiced by Robert Vaughn), a supercomputer who has just developed, on it's own, the power of thought. After Harris refuses to let Proteus IV study humans, the compiter takes the matter into it's own hands, and eventually sets up home in the house of Harris' estranged wife Susan (Julie Christie). Proteus takes over the house's automated computer, and traps Susan within the house. Proteus IV has even created from Susan's cells a form of synthetic spermatozoa to impregnate her. And she will give birth in 28 days to a baby. But, a battle of wits goes on between Susan and Proteus IV, This is the film where Julie Christie, essentially gets raped by a house. Shocked As silly as that sounds, (hilarious in fact), it makes for a very effective sci-fi thriller. The scary thing is that one day, with the way technology is going, it could happen to someone. Christie gives a good performance, and Cammell's direction is quite trippy, with all the psychedelic pieces that portray the mind of Proteus IV. He should have made more films. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed May 12, 2010 8:31 am

How To Train Your Dragon (3D) (1st view) - While it's not as good as any Pixar film, this is probably the best Dreamworks animation so far, though Over the Hedge was funnier. Very enjoyable, and the 3D was the best I've seen so far as well, a good thing too as I had hoped to see it in 2D - 4/5*




Two Lovers (1st view) - Not bad. Quite good actually. Better than director James Gray's previous films and with some fine performances, particularly from Phoenix and Vinessa Shaw - 4/5*




Two Rode Together (1st view) - Despite the fact that I love westerns, there are very few John Ford films of the genre I like. This is the second, following The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The fact that they both star the great James Stewart may have something to with it - 4/5*




An Education (1st view) - There's something about Carey Mulligan that I just don't like, even since her Bleak House days, and while I can't deny she was good in this, she wasn't the greatest thing ever, which it was quite easy to think a few months ago with all the press she was getting, The rest of the cast are excellent - 4/5*




Night Train To Munich (1st view) - Fantastic espionage thriller set on the eve of World War II. Similar in many ways to Hitchcock's sublime The Lady Vanishes, not the least train setting, the same lead actress and the inclusion of the same supporting characters, Charters and Caldicott. Superb 4/5*




I've Loved You So Long/Il y a longtemps que je t'aime (1st view) - One of the finest French films I've ever seen - 4/5*




Windtalkers (4th view) - I like it. Might be the only who does though. It works well as an action film, but it could have been much more had it focussed less on Cage's character and more on the work of the code talkers - 4/5


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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu May 13, 2010 9:42 am

It Happened Here (1st view) - Shortly after the retreat from Dunkirk, the German army successfully invaded Britain, managing to repress the resistance within months. In 1944, a nurse, who has seen friends killed during a partisan uprising, reluctantly becomes a collaborator and the bulk of the film follows her progress. A fascinating idea and an intriguing, though heavily flawed, final effort - 4/5*



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We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu May 13, 2010 10:53 pm

Tremors (1990), a cult comedy horror that harks back to the old monster B-Movies of the 1950's, but would also serve as a sort of template for films like Eight Legged Freaks (2002), Snakes on a Plane (2006) and Slither (2006). For a lowish budget film it's quite effective, and it spawned a few sequels, a prequel and a TV series. It has odd job men Valentine McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) who live in the small town of Perfection, Nevada, whose population is only 14 people. A new addition to the town is seismologist graduate Rhonda LeBeck (Finn Carter), who has discovered some weird goings on in the land surrounding Perfection. When people around the town limits are discovered dead, Valentine and Earl discover that something is going on, and then they find the cause. Giant worms burrowing their way through the ground, killing everyone in their path. Now, with the whole town in danger, it's a race for survival, but the worms are smarter than they appear. It's a very silly film, done mainly for laughs but it does have it's moments. Bacon and Ward make a good double act though, and the worms are effective. It's director Ron Underwood then did City Slickers (1991), Mighty Joe Young (1998) and The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), the latter killed his promising career. :sad: 3/5



Transformers: The Movie (1986), after the success of the Transformers TV series and toy chain which started in 1984, a movie was inevitable, and it came. It was hyped as the best animated film of all time by it's own makers, it had a good heavy metal soundtrack and a good vocal cast, including Leonard Nimoy and Eric Idle. What could possibly go wrong?? Well... time hasn't been kind to the first film version, at all. The plot is almost impossible to work out, but it has a robot planet called Unicron (voiced by Orson Welles, his last film role, what does that tell us??) that goes around eating up planets. And the Autobots are fighting the Decepticons, as they've taken control of the Transformers planet. Optimus Prime is killed so Ultra Magnus takes over, and they go off to destroy the planet which has become a giant robot and is working with the Decepticons... OH I CAN'T GO ON!! I loved this when I was a kid, but it's just unwatchable now!! There's moments which must only be watched through smoked glass as they'll give you an epileptic fit, and it just reeks of the 1980's. The TV came in bite size chunks, a whole hour and 20 minutes of this is just too much, and make my head hurt badly. Watching this film makes me PINE for Michael Bay's version, and Shia LaBeouf/Megan Fox. I never thought I'd say that... 1/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Fri May 14, 2010 6:51 am

Donald McKinney wrote:
Watching this film makes me PINE for Michael Bay's version, and Shia LaBeouf/Megan Fox. I never thought I'd say that... 1/5


Blimey! It must be bad!

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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Sun May 16, 2010 9:56 am

Frequency (4th view) - Every time I watch I think I find new plot holes, but it's always enjoyable. And I watched it on glorious VHS tape, which made it even better! - 4/5*




Half Light (1st view) - Despite being derivative and cliched, it was going quite well until the final third, Shame really - 3/5*




Grosse Pointe Blank (3rd view) - Great fun, but it needed to have more of Alan Arkin's doctor - 4/5




Wild Wild West (3rd view) - Stilll naff, but strangely entertaining - 3/5


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We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
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Behold! We are the Nine,
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Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Mon May 17, 2010 12:45 pm

Alice (1990), Woody Allen suffered a nervous breakdown while making this film, although this came before his scandal with Soon-Yi Previn. For the film in question, it was partially based on Federico Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits (1965). It's a weird little film, and has the structure of one of Woody's serious films, but it's concept is gently amusing. It has Alice Tate (Mia Farrow), an upper-class New York housewife who has been married to Doug (William Hurt) for 14 years, and she has a brief encounter with Joe Ruffalo (Joe Mantegna), and these feels cause her pain. So, she goes to see Asian herbalist Dr Yang (Keye Luke), who deducts that she feels no love for Doug, and gives her herbs. These herbs change her personality and there's other changes too. She goes invisible and spies on Joe, and later she's contacted the ghost of her first lover Ed (Alec Baldwin). The herbs seem to cloud Alice's judgement on who she should choose all the more. It's a well structured film, and it has it's laughs too, but not many. It's also a Woody Allen film that no-one really remembers, it's not half bad, and it's a pleasant enough experience, and Farrow makes a good lead, and the supporting cast are very good too. 3/5



His Girl Friday (1940), based upon the 1928 play The Front Page, written by Charles Lederer, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, which was made into a film in 1931. This take on it has the main character of Hildy Johnson was changed from male to female, and it works too. The dialogue is fast and funny, and it takes a while to keep up with the film, but it makes for a good story. Set in one day, it has newspaper editor Walter Burns (Cary Grant) learning that his ex-wife and ace reporter Hildegard "Hildy" Johnson (Rosalind Russell), is to marry insurance man Bruce Baldwin (Ralph Bellamy) the following day. But Walter convinces Hildy to do one last scoop, and that's to cover the execution of murderer Earl Williams (John Qualen). Walter still has feelings for Hildy, and will do anything to stop her from leaving for a new life, and then Earl Williams escapes and finds himself holed up in the newspaper office, with the police surrounding him, and Walter and Hildy have to go to great lengths to hide him. There's some brilliant moments in this, and the dialogue is brilliant, they don't make films as sharp and to the point as this anymore. Grant and Russell spark of each other, and Howard Hawks' direction is tight and fast, and very, very fast too. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Wed May 19, 2010 3:41 am

The Calcium Kid (1st view) - Mockumentary starring Orlando Bloom as a naive milkman, thrust into the limelight as a boxer when he unwittingly defeats a champion when sparring. Not all that original and quite unfunny, you know you have a problem when Orlando Bloom gives the best performance in the film - 2/5*




Robin Hood (2010) - One of the best film versions of Robin Hood I've seen. Not as good as Scott's previous historical epics, but still a great watch - 4/5*


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We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched: Part 2   Thu May 20, 2010 1:05 pm

The Bourne Identity (7th view), The Bourne Supremacy (4th view) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2nd view) - All very good, but I do have a fondness for the first film that makes me rate it slightly higher than the sequels. It helps, of course, that you can follow Liman's action scenes more so than Greengrass'. Matt Damon is excellent in the main role, but he's supported by some very fine character actors - 4/5


_________________
We renounce our Maker.
We cleave to the darkness.
We take unto ourselves the power and glory.
Behold! We are the Nine,
The Lords of Unending Life.


Frakkin toasters!

So, what, the murder weapon was a top sirloin?

He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek!
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