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 What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again

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Gimli The Avenger
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:32 am

Cockneys vs Zombies (1st view) - Does what it says on the tin. Enjoyable enough, especially if you like sweary OAPS taking out zombie - 3/5*



_________________
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 4: There And Back Again   Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:17 am

Ender's Game (1st view) - Ponderous sci-fi about kids who save Earth from an alien invasion. Harrison Ford has rarely looked so bored - 3/5*


_________________
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 4: There And Back Again   Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:31 am

Ratcatcher (1999), the feature film debut of Lynne Ramsay, who had done a few short films which had been financed by BBC Scotland. Ratcatcher grew out of one of Ramsay's shorts, and it made quite an impact upon release. While the setting may make it look like a hard hitting and gritty film, it has a poetic, sparse beauty about it. Rather like Terrence Malick's films have, and it has a haunting and eerie quality about it too. Set in Glasgow in 1973, in the squalid and rundown suburb of Govan, which has horrible living conditions and families living in rundown estates. 12 year old James (William Eadie), who is coming to terms over the death of his friend Ryan (Thomas McTaggart) who drowned in a nearby canal. James feels guilty for what happened, as he could have saved Ryan from drowning. To try and escape from the monotony of his squalid life and his family, he travels to the outskirts of Glasgow, and explores new estates being built, and he befriends Margaret Ann (Leanne Mullen), who is bullied by a local gang, and they find solace by hanging out together on the estate. It's a film which requires patience, but it pays off in the end, and for a film populated with non-professional actors, they all give convincing and moving performances, while most films set in Glasgow have a stigma of being down and gritty, this has a fantastical quality that sets it aside. 4/5



Morvern Callar (2002), after the success of Ratcatcher (1999), which put writer/director Lynne Ramsay on the map as a talent to watch out for. She immediately set about putting her next film together, based on Alan Warner's 1995 novel of the same name. This is a film about alienation and existentialism, about how people cope with grief in different ways, and the consequences that can happen in the wake of grief. Set in a remote port town in Northern Scotland, Morvern Callar (Samantha Morton) is a supermarket worker who keeps to herself, but also has a free-spirited streak about her. But, her life takes a turn when one Christmas morning, her boyfriend (Des Hamilton) has committed suicide. Morvern finds that her boyfriend has left an unpublished book and a bank account full of money, which was intended for Morvern to spend on his funeral. But, on a whim, Morvern sends the manuscript to various publishers, while she takes her best friend Lanna (Kathleen McDermott) on a holiday to the Costa Del Sol, just to get away from it all and start again. You can accuse the film of being pretentious, you can accuse the film of being full of plotholes and unanswered questions pertaining to the boyfriend. However, look at the film in a more thoughtful way, and it's a perfect bedfellow with The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) and Under The Skin (2013), it's that kind of film, not for everyone, but worth a go. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:10 am

Withnail and I (1987), written and directed by Bruce Robinson, who was once a jobbing actor who turned to screenwriting and got an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for The Killing Fields (1984). For his next film, he did this semi-autobiographical black comedy which grabbed the attention of George Harrison, who produced it for Handmade Films. It's a very peculiar film, but one with a lot of laughs and hilarious dialogue. Set in Camden Town in 1969, two struggling actors Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann) live in absolute squalor, they drink all day, they struggle to get any acting work, and there's something growing in the sink. They need to get away from it all, and after a meeting with Withnail's Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths), they end up going to Monty's country cottage in the Lake District for a holiday. But, when they get there they find their situation is no better. Matters aren't helped when an intruder breaks in, but it turns out to be Uncle Monty, who takes a shine to Marwood, who Withnail told Monty was gay so they could get a loan of the cottage. It's a bizarre film, but it has some absolutely brilliant dialogue in it, and it doesn't shy away from the dire situation of our heroes. It might have divided audiences and some critics when it came out, but it's a gained a well deserved cult status, and it deserves to have it. Plus, this is a holiday you won't forget in a hurry!! 4/5



How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989), after the success of Withnail and I (1987), writer/director Bruce Robinson started work on his next film, which was a satire on the cutthroat and ruthless work of advertising. While the film might be written off as Robinson's "difficult second film", it does have a monster movie ethic about it's bones, it's not perfect, but some of it works although for the most part, it doesn't. Set in London, advertising executive Denis Dimbleby Bagley (Richard E. Grant) is very erratic and mentally unstable. It doesn't help that he's at loggerheads with his boss John Bristol (Richard Wilson), and any help his wife Julia (Rachel Ward) tries to do to help Denis doesn't seem to work. After being assigned to come up with a marketing campaign for a pimple cream, Denis discovers a boil growing on his right shoulder, which starts to come to life, and starts taking over his body, even though Denis only seems to see it, and no-one else can. It's an even more peculiar film than Withnail and I was, and while it might have seemed like a good idea at the time, it just seems like a hotch-potch of ideas with no central core holding them together, which is a shame as Grant has the time of his life in the lead role, and the film has no satisfactory ending either. 2.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:19 am

The Way of the Gun (2000), written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, (Oscar winning screenwriter of The Usual Suspects (1995), and director of Jack Reacher (2012) and Mission: Impossible 5 (2015))< this action thriller harks back to old fashioned violent thrillers of the 1970's, but McQuarrie wrote it out of desperation when he struggled to get work after The Usual Suspects. It's a very good and very violent film. It follows two thugs, George Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Harold Longbaugh (Benicio del Toro), who are looking for a job, and at a sperm donation clinic, they overhear about a surrogate mother called Robin (Juliette Lewis) who is being paid $1 million to carry the child of local millionaire Hal Chidduck (Scott Wilson.) Parker and Longbaugh kidnap Robin in a violent shootout, with bodyguards Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obeck (Nicky Katt) in pursuit. However, Chidduck calls up bail bondsman Joe Sarno (James Caan) to act as a middle man into getting Robin back alive. While you might have seen kidnap films like this before, but this one is well made, and it has a really good cast to it's name, and it's shame that McQuarrie hasn't directed more films, as he has a taut style which never lets up. It might owe a debt of gratitude to the films of Sam Peckinpah, but McQuarrie makes it his own. 4/5



A Cock and Bull Story (2005), after the success of working together on 24 Hour Party People (2002), director Michael Winterbottom and star Steve Coogan reunited to take on Lawrence Sterne's seemingly unfilmable 18th Century metaphysical satire The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Through the eyes of Winterbottom, it's turned into a very funny satire on filmmaking, with an all star cast on board. Steve Coogan plays "himself", who is making a film version of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Where he plays Tristram Shandy and Shandy's father Walter Shandy, while Rob Brydon plays Shandy's Uncle, Captain Toby Shandy. The film within this film is about Shandy trying to write his autobiography, but failing to get past his birth. Meanwhile, Coogan and Brydon spar on set, especially when Brydon claims to be of equal importance to Coogan in the film, and after seeing an early cut of the film, Coogan suggests whether it would be better if they brought in Gillian Anderson to play the Widow Wadman. It's a very unconventional film in the way it's made, but it owes a massive debt to films like 8½ (1963) and Stardust Memories (1980), with the hardships of making films and how it can take over the artists' life. As for Coogan and Brydon, this was a dry run for The Trip (2010), which they would make with Winterbottom. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:35 pm

The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), directed by Sidney Lanfield, (You'll Never Get Rich (1941) and The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)), and based on the 1902 novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this adaptation marked the first of 14 Sherlock Holmes films that would star Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. It's a good adaptation, done with a good cast, but the film ends too abruptly compared to other adaptations. It begins when Doctor Mortimer (Lionel Atwill) comes to London to see Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) regarding a case about the Baskerville family, and a curse that's hung over the family, including that of a demonic hound which has prowled the moors near the family home. Holmes sends Watson (Bruce) out to the Baskerville family estate to investigate. The last Baskerville heir, Sir Henry Baskerville (Richard Greene) has just arrived in England to claim his right to the estate and fortune. Holmes notices that nothing is what it seems with the family, and that they all have secrets to hide. Then Holmes turns up, and someone seems to want to have Holmes killed. It was made in Hollywood at a time when a load of films set in England were made in America, but this one is done convincingly, to a point. Rathbone makes a good Holmes, and the story is well made, but the following films were done as B movies, and don't reach the quality this film achieved. 4/5



The Van (1996), based on the 1991 novel by Roddy Doyle, the final novel in his Barrytown Trilogy, and directed by Stephen Frears, who had directed another Doyle adaption, The Snapper (1993), and filmed this while Mary Reilly (1996) was delayed in post production. It's a good adaption, with a lot of local humour and colour you would expect from Dublin. It has a good cast, and it is a good look at working class life in Ireland. Set in 1990, in the run up to and during the World Cup, Brendan "Bimbo" Reeves (Donal O'Kelly) has just been laid off from his job as a baker. On a whim, Bimbo buys an old fish and chip van, which has no engine and is absolutely filthy. But Bimbo gets it up and running, and goes off selling fish and chips with his best friend Larry (Colm Meaney). It proves to be a lucrative business, especially as Ireland are going well throughout the World Cup, and Bimbo and Larry end up getting a lot of business. But the years long friendship between Bimbo and Larry is put to the test when Bimbo's wife Maggie (Ger Ryan) gets involved in the enterprise. It's a good comedy-drama, and Meaney acted in every film in the Barrytown Trilogy, playing a different character in each film though. But, it does end a tad abruptly, but maybe that's the point, and Doyle captures the locations and characters perfectly. Oh, and look out for Brendan O'Carroll (Mrs. Brown) in a quick cameo. 4/5


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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:28 am

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), based on the play Juicy and Delicious by Lucy Alibar, and the directorial debut of animator Benh Zeitlin. This low budget fantasy film caused a critical buzz upon release. Made for $1.8 million, using non-professional actors and filmed on 16mm film, this sparse and poetic film owes a massive debt of gratitude to Terrence Malick, but it has an old fashioned,  endearing ramshackle feel about it. Set in Southern Louisiana, in a small run down bayou community called the Bathtub, which is cut off from the rest of the world by a levee. 6 year old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her hot tempered father Wink (Dwight Henry), who is slowly dying from a mystery illness, which he hasn't told Hushpuppy about. After an argument, Wink vanishes, and then a massive storm wipes out most of Bathtub. Hushpuppy is reunited with Wink, but he's badly weakened, and the residents gather together on a floating pontoon until the waters go down. But after Wink tries dynamiting the levee to get rid of the water, the authorities descend on the residents of Bathtub. It's a good idea for a film, with the philosophy that floods are caused by prehistoric creatures called "Aurochs" trapped in ice. It's not a film for everyone, but it shows how a small minority live in America at the minute, it's a 21st Century take on a Tom Sawyer existence, but it has some great performances in it, especially from first timer Wallis, who on the basis of this, got the lead in the remake of Annie (2014). 4/5



Bridesmaids (2011), directed by Paul Feig (Unaccompanied Minors (2006)) and produced by Judd Apatow, the latter wanted to give Saturday Night Live comedienne Kristen Wiig the chance to write her own film, after an amusing cameo in Apatow's own Knocked Up (2007). Wiig with writing partner Annie Mumolo, worked on a script that showed the pains and stresses of weddings and their preperations, but it has some good gags and some very good performances. Annie Walker (Wiig) is in her mid-30's, and her career is going nowhere, but she's asked by childhood best friend Lillian Donovan (Maya Rudolph) to be her maid of honor at her upcoming wedding, Annie agrees and is hoping it'll be brilliant, but then she meets the other bridesmaids that Lillian has selected, there's Lillian's scornful cousin Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Lillian's friend Becca (Ellie Kemper), the very raunchy Megan (Melissa McCarthy), and Helen Harris III (Rose Byrne). Instantly, there's clashes over what they want, and disaster ensues from a food poisoning outbreak to a riot on a plane to Las Vegas. It starts off slow, but it slowly builds up, snowballing into comedy showcasing the forces of nature going on, and it's got some good jokes along with way with rivalry and bitchiness with how to do the wedding, and it has good appearances from Chris O'Dowd, Jon Hamm, Rebel Wilson and Matt Lucas. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:16 am

The Keep (1983), Michael Mann's alleged "difficult second film" is actually a contender for one of his very best films. True, it was brutally recut by Paramount before it's release, and Mann has since disowned it. But, look closer, it is actually a very good and very suspenseful and mysterious horror-thriller. It's a shame Mann has stuck his feelings about this one, as it's a lot better than most films from that time. Set in Romania in 1941, it has a group of Nazi's, led by Captain Klaus Woermann (Jürgen Prochnow), going to a mysterious citadel in a remote mountain village, which they are to guard. It contains a deadly supernatural forces that kills many of the Nazi troops. The villagers are blamed by the brutal SD Sturmbannführer Eric Kaempffer (Gabriel Bryne), who believes there's a more reasonable explanation for this, until local Jewish Dr. Theodore Cuza (Ian McKellen) and the arrival of the mysterious Glaeken Trismegestus (Scott Glenn) prove that it really is the work of other-worldly forces. The Keep is a very underrated film that is genuinely creepy and it did have some very good special effects for it's day, Mann gets the best out of it's cast and location. (Shot in a slate quarry in North Wales. Razz) But, the biggest weapon in it's arsenal is the eerie electronic score by Tangerine Dream and perfect cinematography by Alex Thomson, who shot so many good films back in the 1980's. 4/5



Interstellar (2014), after completing the Dark Knight Trilogy, and making blockbusters intelligent with Inception (2010), the sky is no longer the limit for writer/director Christopher Nolan. Who picked up this space adventure his brother Jonathan Nolan was writing in 2007 for Steven Spielberg to direct. However, Nolan makes it his own, and despite the absolutely stunning visuals on display, it's a very grounded human story. Set in a near future where Earth is facing an agricultural crisis, where crops are dying and the earth faces massive dust storms. NASA physicist Professor Brand (Michael Caine) comes up with a plan to move Earth's population to another planet in another solar system, using wormholes in space to get there. Brand asks ex-NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to pilot a spacecraft with Brand's biologist daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway to a potentially habitable planet in another solar system. This means Cooper has to leave his 10 year old daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and 15 year old son Tom (Timothée Chalamet), a tough decision to make. It's a film of two halves, the struggle for survival on earth, and then the struggle for survival in space. There's some brilliant set pieces in the film, including the potential planets discovered. The science may leave your heads aching with the information, but it's a visually stunning film, with a brilliant ensemble cast to boot and some amazing visual effects. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:58 am

The Heat (2013), directed by Paul Feig (Unaccompanied Minors (2006) and Bridesmaids (2010)), and written by Katie Doppold (MADtv) this is a hilarious buddy cop movie, although it's females kicking ass this time instead of men. It references and sends up the likes of Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour and Bad Boys, but this is truly the funniest comedy of 2013, and it's leads make a brilliant pairing, and it manages to mix violent action with rude, laugh out loud comedy with ease. FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is brilliant at her job, but no-one likes her because of her arrogance. She's sent to Boston to investigate a drugs kingpin called Larkin, it should be an easy job, but Ashburn is dismayed to find she's been partnered up with Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who a loose-cannon and very foul-mouthed, but she gets the job done and doesn't give in. Instantly, Ashburn and Mullins are at each others throat about how they do the job, and they end up running in with DEA Agents Craig (Dan Bakkedahl) and Adam (Taran Killam), who don't want Ashburn and Mullins getting in the way. However, Ashburn finds herself warming towards Mullins, and getting to know Mullins' family, who hate Mullins as she sent her brother Jason (Michael Rapaport) down for drugs. This is the kind of cop films that should be made, and has some hilarious set pieces, McCarthy absolutely steals the film, while Bullock makes a perfect straight woman to her badass attitude. It ticks all the boxes in the buddy cop movie cliche handbook, and it's all the better for doing that, and there's already a sequel on the way. Bring it on!! 4.5/5



Begin Again (2013), written and directed by John Carney (Once (2007)), and produced by Judd Apatow. This gentle comedy-drama is a charming delight with some good music, and it's music that carries the film along. Carney wrote the film shortly after the release of Once, and it makes a good companion piece to Once. Made on a shoestring budget with a very good cast to it's name, it's a enjoyable bit of musical fluff. Record label executive Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) is stuggling to connect with today's brand of music, he's estranged from his wife Miriam (Catherine Keener), and things go from bad to worse when he's fired from his job. But when he meets singer-songwriter Gretta James (Keira Knightley), who has just broken up with her boyfriend Dave Kohl (Adam Levine). Inspired by Gretta's style of music, he wants to record her music, but they can't find record labels interested. So, Dan and Gretta plan to have the album recorded on location on the streets of New York, with Dan and Gretta calling in a lot of favours from friends and recording artists. It's a light bubbly film, but it does have some very good music to it's name, and it's the music that drives the film, although it has a very good cast, including appearances by music artists like Mos Def and CeeLo Green. It might not be as good as Once, but it shares it's themes with independent music and stuggling to get famous. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:27 am

21 Jump Street (2012), based upon the popular crime drama series created by Stephen J. Cannell, this action-comedy take done by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)), might have a Starsky and Hutch (2004) approach, but it's very clever and smart too, with a very likeable lead cast and some very well timed jokes and sharp dialogue as well. It begins when former classmates Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) meet up again 6 years after their school days in police academy. Schmidt was a clever nerd while Jenko was a dim-witted jock, but they help each other get by in the academy, and they're soon on their first assignment, in the cities park. They arrest drug dealer Domingo (DeRay Davis), but they didn't read him his rights correctly, so Schmidt and Jenko are reassigned to a speciality division on 21 Jump Street, in a Korean Church led by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), who has them go undercover as high school students to stop a deadly drug smuggling ring. They are able to blend in well, but it's not long before Schmidt and Jenko end up doing all the things they were told not to do while undercover. Razz It's a very good action comedy, and it treats it's depiction of high school with respect, unlike what a lot of films do. Hill and Tatum make a brilliant double act, Hill looks brilliant slimmed down and is always hilarious while Tatum shows a brilliant comedic side. It makes for a very entertaining and hilarious film, the best comedy of 2012 so far. 4.5/5 



Tammy (2014), the directorial debut of comedian and actor Ben Falcone, who co-wrote this comedy caper with his wife and star Melissa McCarthy, and produced by Will Ferrell. This is a very silly road trip which owes a massive debt of gratitude to Thelma and Louise (1991). It might not be original and it's been done before, but there's some funny set pieces throughout, but it's got a good ensemble cast holding the film. Tammy (McCarthy) is having a bad day, she hits a dear on the way to work, then she's fired from the fast food joint she works at for being late and then she finds her husband Greg (Nat Faxon) having an affair with neighbour Missi (Toni Collette). At her wits end, Tammy decides to leave town and hit the road, she has her grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) in tow as well, and Pearl is a heavy drinker who likes a good time. While stopping in Louisville, Kentucky, they meet Earl (Gary Cole), and his son Bobby (Mark Duplass). Earl and Pearl get it on immediately, while Tammy finds solace in Bobby, but Pearl's behaviour gets her and Tammy into trouble. Despite all the bad reviews this film got, it's not that bad, and McCarthy and Sarandon make a good double act in the film, and there's some good physical comedy thoughout. It's not perfect, but it's a good bit of brainless comedy if you need a laugh for an hour and a half, there's worse comedies than this out there. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:53 am

Wild Target (1st view) - Some fun to be had watching Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt, but this is quite a tepid comedy - 3/5*





Only God Forgives (1st view) - Hypnotic - 4/5*





Killing Season (1st view) - A Cat and mouse thriller between Robert De Niro and John Travolta, the latter sporting a dodgy accent and looking like his head's on upside down, Yes please! - 4/5*





After Life (1st view) - Drama about people who, after death, are able to create their own heaven based around a perfect memory. Stuck with me after watching more than I initially thought it would - 3/5*





Mr. Turner (1st view) - Back in August I saw Calvary and said that if I see a better performance in a 2014 film than Brendan Gleeson's then it will be a great year fo acting. Well, it toook a few months but I found one with Timothy Spall's take on J. M. W. Turner. Possibly a career best performance in a career filled with great performances, but he's aided by a host of great actors playing great characters. Mike Leigh can do no wrong. Easily film of the year - 5/5*





Nightcrawler (1st view) - Hardly a subtle film, but it's centered around such a creepily powerful turn from Jake Gyllenhaal I can forgive the film most of it flaws. Jakey G as Lou Bloom is currently third in my list of performances of the year - 4/5*





Sabotage (1st view) - A rather horrible bunch of characters get bumped off one my one and Arnie teams up with Olivia Williams to find out why. One or two good action moments - 3/5*


_________________
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 4: There And Back Again   Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:13 am

The Raid 2 (1st view) - The most boring action film of all time gets a sequel, and it's just as laborious to watch. Plus, it's longer then the first so we get even more tiresome fights. It's probably really a two star film but I enjoyed the prison mud fight and the subway train hammer attack quite a lot. But everything feels so intensely choreographed that the fights lose all sense of spontentaity and momentum, you can pretty much see people roll around on the floor, injured just long enough to be ready to fight again once another assailant has been despatched - 3/5*


_________________
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 4: There And Back Again   Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:18 pm

The Train (1964), directed by John Frankenheimer, and based on the non fiction book Le front de l'art by Rose Valland. This is a war film which showed a different side to World War 2. While there were battlefields across Europe and the Far East, one side of the war showed works of priceless art that could have been destroyed had it not been for the brave attempts of a few, who wanted to keep people's heritages alive. Set in France in August 1944, Nazi German Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) is attempting to move thousands of works of priceless art from France to Germany, Waldheim is an art lover and has to get the art to Germany at any cost. However, French train inspector Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster), who is also a member of the French Resistance, has an agenda all of his own. Labiche plans to stop the train and get the art back, but it's a race against time as Paris is about to be liberated by the Allied Forces. The plan involves tricking the Nazi forces driving the train by relabeling train station names, but it's only a matter of time before Waldheim finds out. It's a very good war film, and the same story inspired The Monuments Men (2014), but this one is better, as it has Lancaster a lot of his own stunts, and it's a heavy going and down and dirty story. Shot in a stark black and white, it's a brilliant depiction of the true cost of war, and also whether art is worth a human life. 5/5



Code 46 (2004), after the critical success of 24 Hour Party People (2002), director Michael Winterbottom and writer Frank Cottrell Boyce reunited for this low-budget sci-fi film, which was partially inspired by Brief Encounter (1945). It's a thought provoking film about genetics which combines a futuristic setting shot in various locations around the world and it has an other worldly language spoken throughout too. Set in a futuristic setting where society has to reproduce by forced choice and are designated to specified zones and cities, it has insurance fraud investigator William Geld (Tim Robbins) travelling from Seattle to Shanghai to look into the allegations of people moving between cities. His investigations lead him to Maria Gonzalez (Samantha Morton), who has been forging paperwork for people to move around, William got the truth out of Maria using an "empathy virus". But William becomes captivated by Maria, and instead has someone else prosecuted, while he embarks on an affair with Maria, while he has a family back in America. It's a well made film, even though it was done on a shoestring, and Winterbottom made the most of locations in Shanghai, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and London. It's not a film for everyone, and the language which mixes foreign languages with English has a unique touch. But it's a cold film with little emotions going on. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:59 pm

Dogma (1999), from Kevin Smith, comes this controversial but very funny and clever satire on religion, and the state of Catholicism, and he makes a point, sort of. Smith is a Catholic himself, and is obviously well educated enough to make serious points in a hilarious way on the hypocracy of religion. It caused outrage upon release with Miramax being forbidden from releasing it in America, but Smith got his religious romp out there. It has abortion clinic worker Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino), is given a task by angel and voice-of-god Metatron, (Alan Rickman), he wants her to stop two fallen angels Bartleby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) from getting back into heaven by entering a church in Red Bank, New Jersey, that's celebrating its Jubilee as part of the Catholic Dogma, entering the church, their sins would be forgiven, and they'd be allowed back into Heaven. On this quest, Bethany is helped by two 'prophets' Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Razz Plus, they're also helped out by 13th apostle Rufus (Chris Rock) and muse Serendipity (Salma Hayek). It is a very funny film, and one of Smith's best films, complete with his trademark foul-mouthed dialogue but it's certainly not anti-Catholic, it pokes fun at the loopholes within the religion, but it isn't nasty about it. Plus, the film has cameos from Jason Lee as Azarel, Janeane Garofalo as Bethany's co-worker Liz, Bud Cort as John Doe Jersey, the late, great George Carlin as Cardinal Glick and Alanis Morissette as God!! What's not to like?? Very Happy 4/5



Series 7: The Contenders (2001), written and directed by Daniel Minahan, (I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and TV's Game of Thrones), this pitch black comedy satirises the grow in reality television. While this sort of thing had been done the year before in Battle Royale (2000), this has a brilliant sense of humour, and the way it's shot makes it looks like it's appealing to the lowest common denominator, but it's an intelligent film. The Contenders is a TV show, where players are selected as part of a random lottery, and they're put together in one town and they have to kill each other until there's one person left. Series 7 is taking place in the town of Newbury, Connecticut. Reigning series champion Dawn Lagarto (Brooke Smith) is back, and the new contestants are Connie Trabucco (Marylouise Burke), Jeffrey Norman (Glenn Fitzgerald), Anthony Reilly (Michael Kaycheck), Franklin James (Richard Venture) and Lindsay Berns (Merritt Wever). The setting is also Dawn's hometown, and it turns out she was once lovers with Jeffrey, which puts her in a very tight spot. It's a very biting satire on reality TV, and it's almost like a savage, nihilistic version of The Truman Show (1998), filmed and edited as if it's the real thing, it's well put together and it makes a serious point of how far people will go to get their kicks from TV entertainment and the scary thing is, a show like this could really happen. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:59 am

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - part 1 (1st view) - Tyrannical overlord murders his subjects on a whim and the one person who could stop him is more concerned about a boy who once chucked a bread roll at her head - 4/5*


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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 4: There And Back Again   Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:06 am

Where The Truth Lies (2005), written and directed by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter (1997), Felicia's Journey (1999) and Devil's Knot (2013)), and adapted from Rupert Holmes' 2003 novel. This dark erotic thriller is heavily inspired by the plotting of Citizen Kane (1941), although the plot here is quite unbeliveable and despite the best efforts of the two inspired leads, despite it painting a labyrinthine whodunnit, it feels derivative. In 1957, entertainers Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) are at the top of their game, and after hosting a marathon 39-hour-long polio telethon in Miami, head to a hotel in New Jersey where student Maureen O'Flaherty (Rachel Blanchard) is found dead in a bathtub. Even though they had nothing to do with the death, Lanny and Vince dissolve their partnership. 15 years later, writer Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman) has accepted an offer to ghostwrite Vince's autobiography, but she gets sent chapters from a book that Lanny has been writing, and it's though this that she discovers what really happened to Maureen O'Flaherty. It's a good idea for a film, but it flits too much between 1957 and 1972, and the scenes with Firth and Bacon doing comedy schtick as the two entertainers is the best, and it should have focused more on that, and despite Egoyan's best efforts, as he relishes on tales of dark human nature and desires, it doesn't feel right. 2.5/5



Mr. Turner (2014), written and directed by Mike Leigh, who is best known for dark and realistic kitchen sink dramas, he does a biopic, not the first time he's done one, he did Gilbert and Sullivan with Topsy-Turvy (1999), here, he takes on the life of landscape painter J. M. W. Turner. Something like that might have come across as boring, but it has some brilliant performances and some beautiful cinematography. The film focuses on the last 25 years of the life and times of Joseph Mallord William Turner (Timothy Spall), renowned painter and a bit of an eccentric. He has a close relationship with his father William (Paul Jesson), who helps sell Turner's paintings to high bidders, and he has a on-off relationship with his housekeeper Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson). But after visiting Margate to paint seascapes, he becomes a regular visitor of a boarding house owned by Sophia Booth (Marion Bailey), and Turner becomes infatuated with Sophia, and they become lovers after her husband dies, but Turner's work starts to suffer. It's a very well made film, maybe a tad overlong, but it's worth it for the lead performance by Timothy Spall, who relishes the role, and plays the gruff eccentric card in his favour, and its a powerhouse performance, (Spall learnt to paint over 4 years to an expert level), and Leigh keeps it focused on Turner and the people he encountered. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:50 am

Knightriders (1981), written and directed by George A. Romero, better known for making horror films like Night of the Living Dead (1968), The Crazies (1973) and Dawn of the Dead (1978)), makes something completely different. An action-drama set around a medieval fair troupe. It's a long film, but it's Romero's most personal film, and one where he opens his heart and soul. It makes you wish he'd made more films like this one. Billy (Ed Harris), leads a group of travelling performers who specialise in doing jousts on motorbikes, and Billy has the title of 'King William'. The troupe, also consisting of Morgan (Tom Savini), Alan (Gary Lahti), Merlin (Brother Blue), Little John (Ken Foree), Linet (Amy Ingersoll) and Julie (Patricia Tallman) live on the road and live off what they can, but the strain is beginning to show as they can't afford to keep up this lifestyle, and when Billy ends up in jail after an altercation with a corrupt cop, the rest of the group get tempted with an offer by promoter Bontempi (Martin Ferrero), who offers them good pay and better living and working conditions. It's a good film with some very well done motorbike stunts, and for Romero, the change of direction was just what he needed. But hardly anyone got to see it when United Artists, already on their knees because of Heaven's Gate (1980), had to sell off the U.S. rights to a smaller distributor. Which is a shame, as it's an original breed of film. 4/5



The Imitation Game (2014), based on the 1983 book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, and directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters (2011)), this is a biopic about Alan Turing, an eccentric mathematician who managed to achieve the impossible, in face of adversity and scorn from his peers. It's a well made character piece with a powerhouse lead brilliantly capturing how this man helped crack an enigma. Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a mathematician who was employed by Major General Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) and Commander Alastair Denniston (Charles Dance) to work at the top secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, to help crack the German Enigma code that could help them win the war. Turing has come up with a blueprint for a machine that could break the code, but despite scorn and opposition from fellow code-breakers Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) and Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), Turing is determined to succeed, but he has a dark, illegal secret that will be his downfall. Benedict Cumberbatch really excels at playing Turing, a man who was notoriously impossible to get along with and always kept to himself, but knew what he was doing when it came to solving the impossible. It's backed by a good cast, and while it does go back and forth across Turing's life a bit rapidly, it's a well made film. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:05 pm

Aladdin (1992), in the late 80's/early 90's, Disney were trying to revive their fortunes after a financial slump, they succeeded with The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991), with this they hit gold with their adaptation of Scheherazade's folktale of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from One Thousand and One Nights. Although Disney took advantage with the tale, they managed to have one ace up their sleeves which blew the whole film apart and made it a classic... Set in the ancient Arabian land of Agrabah, it begins when evil Jafar (Jonathan Freeman), Grand Vizier to the Sultan (Douglas Seale) tries to retrieve a magical lamp from the Cave of Wonders, however he's denied entry, and it has to be a 'Diamond in the Rough' who can retrieve the lamp. Jafar finds one in street urchin/thief Aladdin (Scott Weinger), who has been romancing the Sultan's daughter Jasmine (Linda Larkin). Aladdin retrieves the lamp, and is trapped in the cave, but he unleashes the lamp's Genie (Robin Williams), who gets him out of the cave and makes Aladdin a rich prince so he can woo Jasmine, but Jafar see's right though the disguise. It's a brilliantly animated film with punchy, epic songs and lavish landscapes. But, it's Robin Williams as the Genie which steals the film from everyone else, using his comedic improvisation to brilliant, hilarious effect. The result is Disney's best film of that era, and 20 years on, it still stands strong against them all. 5/5



Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), from Marvel Studios, based on the comic created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and adapted and directed here by James Gunn (Slither (2006) and Super (2010)), this is Marvel's riskiest film to date, and it could have been an absolutely insane mess, but the final result is a heart-felt, old fashioned sci-fi adventure with some brilliant characters and some genuine belly laughs too. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was taken by aliens in 1988, and now he's a thief going by the name of Star-Lord, and he's stolen an orb, which is also wanted by the fanatic Ronan (Lee Pace), who sends his personal assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to get the Orb back. When Quill tries to sell the Orb, he's intercepted by bounty hunter Rocket (Bradley Cooper), who happens to be a raccoon, and his personal muscle Groot (Vin Diesel), a humanoid tree. The four of them end up being arrested and thrown in a jail on Kyln. They manage to escape with Drax (Dave Bautista), to try and get the Orb back and stop it from falling into the hands of Ronan. It's a film with one foot looking forwards and the other foot firmly planted in past, giving nods and winks to all the great sci-fi films of the 1970's and 80's, but it's a brilliant origin story and it has a brilliant ensemble cast holding it all together, and the sequel cannot come soon enough!! This is Marvel's best film to date. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:25 am

Nashville (1975), Robert Altman has always had a taste for making offbeat character pieces, combining the comedic and the dramatic. Here, he sets a gold-plated standard, with a satirical look at the country and western music scene in it's titular capital. This sprawling epic is set over a few days in Nashville, Tennessee. It follows groups of characters performing throughout the city in the run-up to America's Bicentennial birthday, which will climax with a political campaign by the mysterious Hal Phillip Walker. Such stories include reigning queen of Nashville Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley), curious BBC journalist Opal (Geraldine Chaplin), superstar singer at the Grand Ole Opry Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson), married couple Del Reese (Ned Beatty) and Linnea Reese (Lily Tomlin), the latter is having a clandestine relationship with folk-rock singer Tom Frank (Keith Carradine). It's a brilliantly realised film, combining Altman's trademarks of overlapping dialogue, improvisation from the actors, (they wrote all their own songs!!) and documentary style shooting. (Altman shot so much footage, that it nearly became two films) It's a brilliant cast, and it is a very powerful, with some dark humour throughout, and it's a better film than Short Cuts, and once you see this film, you will become a fan of country and western, bluegrass and the Grand Ole Opry. Plus, you'll want to go and visit Nashville too!! One of Altman's very best films, and look out for cameo's from Elliot Gould and Julie Christie as themselves... 5/5



The Drop (2014), written by novellist Dennis Lehane, author of novels like Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone and Shutter Island, this was adapted from a short story Lehane wrote in 2009 called Animal Rescue, this adaptation is directed by Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead (2011)), and it's a good crime drama with a well put together cast, and while there have been loads of films like this before, this benefits having a good script. Set in Brooklyn, Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) works as a bartender in a bar called Cousin Marv's, which is ran by Marv (James Gandolfini), who is Bob's cousin. The bar is used as a drop point for local criminals to launder money. Bob meets local girl Nadia (Noomi Rapace) when Bob finds a pitbull in Nadia's bin outside her house, but he later finds out the pitbull belongs to Nadia's brutal and unpredictable Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts). There's also a robbery at Cousin Marv's, and Bob is able to identify one of the thieves, which seems to upset Marv a lot, even though Bob thought he was doing the right thing reporting it. While there's a lot of films like this, parts of this have the feel and structure of a chamber piece, a tight character piece which is blessed with some good performances, but it has added poignancy, as it's James Gandolfini's final film, and he puts in a great performance, and he definitely had more to offer as an actor. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:40 am

Whenever I see the poster for Where The Truth Lies, I always think she looks like a mermaid! Laughing

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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,
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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 4: There And Back Again   Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:14 am

Dellamorte Dellamore (2nd view) - Reminiscent of Re-Animator, The Evil Dead and Braindead this is both accomplished in its gory nature yet also rather endearingly naff at the same time (you can see strings used in some of the effects scenes). Very funny at times, plenty of gore, and for those who want it, sex with zombies. So a winner all round really - 4/5






Interstellar (1st view) - I really liked it though I'm still trying to get my head around gravitational time dilation - 4/5*





Twenty-Four Eyes (1st view) - Yeah, a film about 12 schoolkids was never going to be popular with me - 3/5*


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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 4: There And Back Again   Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:45 am

Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott, who had made his feature debut 2 years before with The Duellists (1977), he chose something completely different for his follow-up, written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett (Total Recall (1990)) and produced by Walter Hill. This little low budget film was made at the right time, and it started a massive franchise which comes and goes to this day. The first one will always and forever be the best. At some point in the future, the spacecraft Nostromo, which is transporting cargo across space, the ship's computer awakes the crew from a deep sleep statis to investigate a distress signal. The crew consist of Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Ripley (cc), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Kane (John Hurt), Ash (Ian Holm) and Parker (Yaphet Kotto). They go to where the signal is coming from, an alien spaceship with eggs on board. While Kane investigates the eggs, a creature bursts out of one of them, smothering his face. The creature has acidic blood, but when Kane awakes, that isn't the end of it... Even 35 years later, this is still a very engaging and suspenseful horror/sci-fi/thriller, which was meant to be a reaction against the wholesomeness of Star Wars, and something altogether nihilistic. It managed to get Ridley Scott recognition in Hollywood, and it made a star out of Sigourney Weaver as well, who returned for 3 sequels. 5/5



What We Did on Our Holiday (2014), written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, who created the hit BBC sitcom Outnumbered. They used the same methods applied to that show for this film, indeed this actually started out life as an Outnumbered movie, but they left the chance to do the film a bit late, so Hamilton and Jenkin decided to make this as an original film. It works and it has some very funny moments. Doug McLeod (David Tennant) and his wife Abi (Rosamund Pike) are in the middle of a separation, with a pending divorce on the way. However, they've both agreed to go up to both travel up to the Scottish Highlands with their children Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) for the 65th birthday of Doug's father Gordie (Billy Connolly), who is suffering from terminal cancer, but Doug's brother Gavin (Ben Miller) has arranged a lavish party for Gordie. With the kids causing mischief around the house, Gordie takes the kids to a beach where he used to play as a boy, what happens next shocks everyone. It's a touching but charming little British comedy, and there is some genuinely funny moments and it has real heart as well. It has a good cast, and it has DNA with Outnumbered, but also the sort of charm you'd expect from an Ealing comedy, with a group of people thrown into an unbelievable situation beyond their control. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:12 am

Dark Star (1974), directed, co-written, produced and scored by John Carpenter, who co-wrote this one with Dan O'Bannon, (Alien (1979)). This was Carpenter's feature debut, made for a meagre $60,000 and filmed at the University of Southern California. Where Carpenter and O'Bannon had studied filmmaking, making numerous short films between them. But this trippy little space odyssey set both of them off to Hollywood. In the mid 22nd Century, a spaceship known as the Dark Star has been on a 20 year mission to destroy unstable planets. The crew consists of Lieutenant Doolittle (Brian Narelle), Sergeant Pinback (O'Bannon) and Corporal Boiler (Cal Kuniholm), meanwhile Commander Powell (Joe Saunders) is in a cryogenic stasis after a fatal accident. The ship is in a state of disrepair and the crew are easily bored. Then, soon after the crew travel en route to destroy another planet, the ship is hit by a bolt of electromagnetic energy, which malfunctions the hermostellar bomb they were to use on the unstable planet, meaning the ship could explode unless the crew fix it. It's amazing what you can do with a low budget and a bit of imagination, and it benefits from having some genuinely funny moments, and a catchy theme song called Benson, Arizona. (Written by Carpenter). After this O'Bannon worked on Jodorowsky's unmade take on Dune then Alien. We all know what Carpenter went on to do... 4/5



Bad Lieutenant (2009), not a remake of Abel Ferrara's 1992 cop drama, instead this is something quite original and mad, and it's by Werner Herzog, maybe the maddest director of them all, and certainly Germany's greatest export. Here he makes one of his more accessable films, and it could put him in good stead to finally cracking Hollywood. Set in New Orleans shortly after Katrina has hit, this has Lieutenant Terrence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), who after saving someone is perscribed to medication for life after saving someone from drowning. The months go by, and McDonagh becomes more and more addicted to illegal drugs he claims from crime scenes. He finds solace with his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes), and he's in debt with his bookie Ned (Brad Dourif). However, when 6 illegal immigrants from Senagal are found murdered, the main suspect is one Big Fate (Xzibit), but with one of the witnesses gone AWOL, and no leads, McDonagh decides to use Big Fate, and use him for his copious amounts of drugs. This is Herzog's darkest film, it's not the sort of film you'd think Herzog would do, but after you watch it, you can't imagine anyone better doing it. Cage gives his best performances in well over a decade, the glue that holds this mad, crazy decent into hell together. Plus, the bits from the animals POV just add to the film's unique strangeness. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:31 am

2 Guns (2013), directed by Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavík (2000) and Contraband (2012), and based on the 2007 comic book written by Steven Grant and published by Boom! Studios. This is an action-comedy with owes a great debt to the buddy cop movies of the 1980's. It is old fashioned in it's tone and structure, and while it's leads are a winning combination, the plot is all over the place. Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) are two criminals who commit a bank robbery, and make off with $43 million, when they were expecting a fraction of that. But, Stigman betrays Trench, and discovers Trench is an undercover DEA agent, while Stigman is an undercover Naval Intelligence Officer, who takes the money to Commander Quince (James Marsden), who plans to use the money for covert operations. But, the money belonged to corrupt CIA agent Earl (Bill Paxton), who wants his money back, so Trench and Stigman have to team up to retrieve the money, even though it seems impossible. It's fun entertainment while it lasts, even though it has too much going on and it makes it hard to work out what's going on and who's playing against who. But, it manages to have good performances in it and good action, and it has the feel and structure of those great action films that came out of the 1980's. 4/5



Paddington (2014), based upon the character and series of books written by Michael Bond, and directed here by Paul King (TV's The Mighty Boosh and Bunny and the Bull (2009)), the legacy of Paddington Bear has lasted since his creation in 1958 coming and going in books and even in cartoons. This live action film could have been a disaster, but it isn't, the result is a pleasing and utterly charming and a pleasant surprise. After an earthquake in darkest Peru, a young bear (Ben Whishaw) heads to London to find a new home, and he is found at Paddington station by the Brown family. The father, Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is non-plussed at having a bear in the house, but his kindly wife Mary (Sally Hawkins) feels pitty on the bear and wants to give him shelter, and she calls him Paddington, after where he was found. Paddington immediately causes havoc around the house, much to the ire of Mr. Brown, who wants Paddington out, but not before Mrs. Brown wants to find out more about Paddington, and taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) wants Paddington too. It's a very old fashioned sort of film, but with a wonderfully dotty, eccentric feel about it. It has beautiful set designs done in an old fashioned way and it has a genuinely funny sense of humour, and the result is a shocker, it's one of the best films of 2014. Wes Anderson would have killed for this. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:12 pm

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014), the third film in the Hunger Games franchise, and following on from the success of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), the decision was made to split Suzanne Collins's 3rd and final book in the literary trilogy, Mockingjay (2010) into two films. This is Part 1. There are parts that feel spread too thin, and as the original book is only 390 pages, you wonder whether it was necessary. After being rescued from the Quarter Quell, (the 75th Hunger Games tournament), Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) was whisked away by rebels and now resides underground at District 13. Rebel President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) tells Katniss that her actions have caused riots in the capital and Alma asks Katniss if she'll become the Mockinjay, the symbol of the rebellion. She agrees, but only if they rescue Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), where he's being tortured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Alma agrees, but they have to send a message to Snow. Katniss and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) help to defend District 13. It's much more of a slow burner compared to the last two films in the franchise, but director Francis Lawrence does his best with the material, and it does have some very good performances, but it does leave you wishing they'd made just one film rather than splitting it into two films, but it leaves you wanting to know what happens next. 3.5/5



Unforgiven (1992), by the late 1980's and early 1990's, Clint Eastwood's career had a question mark over it, and his films as actor and director didn't feel as fresh anymore, Pink Cadillac (1989) and The Rookie (1990) proved that, even Clint's longtime studio Warner Bros. were losing faith. Then Clint decided to adapt a screenplay by David Webb Peoples (Blade Runner (1982)), which he'd optioned a decade earlier, that changed everything. In 1880, the town of Big Whiskey in Wyoming is ruled by Little Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman). When a prostitute called Delilah () is disfigured by Davey (Rob Campbell) and Mike (David Mucci), but Daggett decides to do next to nothing as the girl wasn't murdered. Outraged, the brother madam Strawberry Alice (Frances Fisher) puts out a reward to have the men killed. The Scofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett) goes to old gunfighter William Munny (Clint Eastwood) and his old partner Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) to do the job,  the first one to take on Davey and Mike was English Bob (Richard Harris), who was run out of Big Whiskey. It's a dark western, and it doesn't shy away from the uglier aspects of violence and how myths about the old American west can be distorted. It was a massive boost to Eastwood's career, which came at just the right time, and the film would win 4 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director awards for Eastwood as well. 4.5/5

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