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

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:01 pm

The Interview (2014), directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, (This Is The End (2013)), who also came up with the story for this. The Interview is already infamous for the controversy it's caused, being at the centre of Sony's hacking scandal. But it's certainly not a dangerous film, it's a very silly film, somewhere between Spies Like Us (1985) and Frost/Nixon (2008), it has some good laughs, but it's not a perfect film by any means, yet it's still quite entertaining most of the time. U.S Talkshow host Dave Skylark (James Franco) hosts a popular talkshow, with his loyal producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) by his side. They end up learning that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a fan of Skylark's show, and Rapoport arranges for there to be an interview. However, CIA Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) wants Skylark and Rapoport to kill the dictator. Which both reluctantly agree to do, and when they get to North Korea, they find Kim Jong-un to be a likeable person, and a Katy Perry fan, leaving Skylark to believe the CIA are wrong, or are they? It's an extremely silly film, but there are some extremely funny moments in it, (look out for Eminem), but it could have been a lot better, and if it was more provocative and was more dangerous, it might have been worth the hype, but it's a funny espionage spoof. 3.5/5



Moonrise Kingdom (2012), directed by Wes Anderson, and his return to live-action after his dive into animation with Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), this is a very odd and absolutely eccentric romance. But, it's everything we've come to expect from Anderson, who has a brilliant visual style that's inimitable and recognisable. It's a sweet film with brilliant performances and amazing mis-en-scene. On the Island of New Penzance, just off the coast of Rhode Island in 1965, 12 year old cub scout Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) has fallen in love with Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), and Sam will stop at nothing to be with the girl he loves, and they agree to meet up and run away. Sam runs away from the scouts, much to the shock and concern of Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton), who calls in the services of the Island's Sheriff Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). While searching for Sam, Suzy's parents Walter (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) find out their daughter is missing and end up in the search for Suzy and Sam. Meanwhile, the scouts are looking for them too, but Sam and Suzy prove to be a match for everyone looking. It's a sweet film, and even if it is a simple story, the way Anderson tells it is anything but simple. But, it's his use of camerawork and editing that makes his films stand out from the rest. The young leads somehow steal the film from seasoned pros like Willis, Murray and McDormand. But, it has amusing cameos from Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban and Harvey Keitel. So far, this is the best film of 2012, a nice surprise too. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:30 am

Silence (2016), Martin Scorsese's passion project for 27 years, adapted from Shūsaku Endō's 1966 novel, Scorsese was given the book shortly after he finished The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), but it took another 2 and a half decades to get the money together and Scorsese also procrastinated with other films, but he finally got Silence made, it's a hard, draining film to take in. In the 17th Century, word reaches Portuguese Jesuit priests in Macau that Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) has renounced his faith after being tortured in Japan, where Christianity has been outlawed. Ferreira's pupils, Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver) refuse to believe that Ferreira has abandoned his faith, and decide to travel to Japan to find Ferreira. In Japan, they find a fishing community where there are people secretly practicing Christianity, and the presence of Rodrigues and Garupe give them hope, only for the samurai, led by the Inquisitor (Issey Ogata) torture some of them and burn the dead in pyres. Rodrigues and Garupe split in their search for Ferreira, but soon Rodrigues soon questions his faith. Silence is not a film you could watch repeatedly, it's one you need to make time for, and it's an emotionally draining and moving film, you can see why Scorsese made the film, and it is a visually stunning film, but if you're not a religious person, you might not appreciate it fully. 3.5/5



The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), after Don't Look Now (1973), Nicolas Roeg went off to America for his next film, even though it was made by British Lion with an English crew, based on Walter Tevis' 1963 novel. It makes for a sparse, experimental sci-fi film, but it's beautiful to look at and has a good game cast with a brilliant singer/musician in his screen debut showing confidence and charisma. It has a mysterious stranger, Thomas Jerome Newton (David Bowie), who is a humanoid alien sent from the planet Anthea, to find water as Anthea is dying due to a terrible drought. In order to do this, he brings from his home planet, designs for many inventions on Earth, with help from patent attorney Oliver V. Farnsworth (Buck Henry), and eventually Newton becomes head of his own company World Enterprises Corporation. Newton meets and becomes romantically involved with hotel worker Mary-Lou (Candy Clark), and they begin a sexual relationship. Meanwhile, Newton's closest confidante Dr. Nathan Bryce (Rip Torn) learns that Newton is an alien, and Newton's origins becomes the focus of much press and political scrutiny. It's an engaging and moving film, with locations out in Albuquerque and Artesia in New Mexico, which look as remote and alien as any planet out there. Roeg gets the best of of Bowie, who is a perfect fit for Newton, giving it an other-worldly quality, with brilliant music by John Phillips and Stomu Yamashta, this is a sci-fi film for grown-ups, and proud of it. 5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:54 pm

Just realised I've not posted in here since November. Got a lot of catching up to do!

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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   Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:45 am

Paul (2011), Simon Pegg and Nick Frost ride again, this time without Edgar Wright (who opted for Scott Pilgrim), but they got Superbad's Greg Mottola to direct this funny sci-fi comedy based on a screenplay what Pegg and Frost wrote. Although it spoofs alot of sci-fi films, deep down, the film is a passionate love letter to Spielberg's classics of old. It has aspiring sci-fi writer Clive Gollings (Frost) and sci-fi artist Graeme Willy (Pegg) attending Comic-Con, then completing their trip to America by taking an RV and going cross country looking up famous UFO spots. On the way, they witness a car accident, at the wheel of the car is an alien called Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who is a wise-cracking, laid back alien, he immediately bonds with Graeme, while Clive takes time to get used to him. However, hot on Paul's tail is Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman) who is working for "The Big Guy" (Sigourney Weaver). Turns out Paul has escaped from the facility he's been held at for years, as they want to learn about his powers. So, Graeme and Clive, along with bible-basher Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) to get away from the feds. It's a very silly film, less subtle than Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but it is very enjoyable and very funny with Rogen stealing the film voicing Paul, and some amusing appearances from Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch and Jeffrey Tambor. Spielberg will be proud of this. 4/5



La La Land (2016), written and directed by Damien Chazelle, (Whiplash (2014)), this charming and colourful old fashioned musical was written by Chazelle in 2010 when it seemed like he'd never break into film, but after Chazelle got acclaim with Whiplash, he pitched La La Land, and he got it made.. It's a beautiful and cheerful musical with some lovely musical pieces and a good attitude. Set in Los Angeles, aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) encounters struggling jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), twice in one day. First as road rage on a Los Angeles freeway, and again that night when Sebastian loses his job as a jazz pianist in a bar. Months later, they meet up again. Mia can't understand Sebastian's love of jazz, but he explains it to her, and with Mia trying to break into acting, Sebastian takes her to see classic films at the cinema. Meanwhile, Sebastian gets an opportunity from high school friend Keith (John Legend) to play keyboards in Keith's band, although Sebastian is a bit annoyed that it's mostly pop, although it provides a steady income, while at Sebastian's suggestion, Mia focuses her energies into doing a single actress play, which proves to be difficult. It's a very colourful musical, while it's story might not be original, the way it's told and shot is certainly unique, and it looks beautiful. Overrated? Hard to say, but if you're down in the dumps, it's certainly one to lift your mood and it's professionally made. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:18 pm

If I was down in the dumps La La Land would leave me even more depressed.

_________________
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   Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:36 am

Why!? Surprised

Sing (2016), written and directed by Garth Jennings, (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and Son of Rambow (2007)), this is a animated musical film made for Illumination Entertainment, now on a roll thanks to Despicable Me (2010) and The Secret Life of Pets (2016)). This is a deep, multi-plotted character piece with an all-star cast. It might seem derivative, but it's likeable and is colourful. Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a dapper koala who owns a theatre that has fallen on hard times, to boost business, he decides to hold a singing competition. What should have been a $1,000 prize is accidentally advertised as $100,000 prize. Competitors include con-man mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane), mobster's son gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton), Shy teenage elephant Meena (Tori Kelly), mother of 25 and housewife pig Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and punk-rocker porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson). Auditions begin, and we follow the characters building up confidence to perform on the night, while Buster tries to find more money. It's a nice enough film, overly familiar, but sometimes, it's simple things in life that end up being reliably entertaining. The characters are likable, with good vocal performances behind them, it's just the sort of thing to cheer you up. 4/5



A Monster Calls (2016), directed by J.A. Bayona, (The Orphanage (2007), The Impossible (2012) and Jurassic World 2 (2018)), and adapted by Patrick Ness from his own 2011 novel. This is a dark fantasy drama which is quite original in it's execution, it slightly harks back to the coming-of-age fantasies you used to get back in the 1980's, but this has a more solemn yet moving tone to it. Set in the North of England, 13 year old Conor O'Malley (Lewis MacDougall) lives with his mother Lizzie (Felicity Jones), who is suffering from terminal cancer, his strict grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) wants Conor to move in with him, while Conor's estranged father (Toby Kebbell) lives in America, but has no room for Conor in his life, and Conor is getting bullied at school. One night, he's approached by a tree like monster (Liam Neeson), who said he will come back and tell Conor 3 stories, and in return Conor will tell the monster his story, and his darkest fears. As life for Conor goes from bad to worse, the monster comes back each night, his stories ranging from that of a prince getting even on a witch, a traditional chemist who uses herbs, and an invisible man tried of being ignored. It's an unusual dark fantasy, and it's not the sort of film you'd watch to be uplifted, it's a tearjerker and very moving, but it's certainly unusual in the way it tells it's story. It's not the sort of film you could watch again straight away, once is quite possible enough. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:28 pm

The Honeymoon Killers (1970), the only film credit of writer/director Leonard Kastle, who before this was a composer and had done some operas and had done music for the NBC Television Opera Theatre in the early 60's. He did his own research for the film, and convinced television producer Warren Steibel to make the film. It cost $150,000, and it's a shocking but effective crime thriller which stands the test of time. Beginning in the late 1940's in Mobile, Alabama,, it follows overweight nurse Martha Beck (Shirley Stoler) who lives with her mother (Dortha Duckworth). Martha's picture is put in a lonely hearts magazine, and she gets a reply from Raymond Fernandez (Tony Lo Bianco) from New York City. They have a brief relationship, then Raymond breaks up from Martha, but she finds out that Raymond is a conman who seduces and swindles lonely women. Raymond lets Martha in on the scam, but when one swindle ends up in the death of Myrtle Young (Marilyn Chris), from there on then, there's no going back. Even though Raymond promises he'll never sleep with any of the women, he does manage to get close to some of them, which leaves Martha trying to kill herself. Shot in a stark black and white to the strains of Gustav Mahler, it's an independent take on Bonnie and Clyde (1967), it's a shame this was Kastle's only film, as he shows good confidence, in fact, producer Steibel originally hired Martin Scorsese to do it, but it didn't work out. Shame. 4/5



Mark of the Devil (1970), written and directed by Michael Armstrong (writer of BBC's The Troubleshooters, and writer of Eskimo Nell (1975), Adventures of a Private Eye (1977) and House of the Long Shadows (1983)), this is a nasty yet atmospheric Euro-horror made on the back of the success of Witchfinder General (1968), it's actually well filmed, and has a well filmed finale as well. Set in 18th century Austria, it follows Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom), a witchhunter who goes from town to town, acting as judge, jury and even executioner. His apprentice is Count Christian von Meruh (Udo Kier), who soon begins to question his job when he finds Lord Cumberland strangling a man to death for calling Cumberland impotent. Before long, the penny drops for Von Meruh, and he see's the witch trials for the scams that they are, and how people are robbed of their land, possessions and money through these laughable trials, and Cumberland uses them as an excuse to seduce the ladies of the town. It's not long before the townspeople revolt. This one was banned in the UK during the video nasties scare of the 1980's, but it's tame to a lot of films that have come from around the same time, and even since. It's not perfect, but it makes good use of it's locations and it manages to look good as well. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:08 pm

Citizen Kane (1941), the debut of Orson Welles, whose Mercury Theatre had gained acclaim and notoriety in equal measure. Seeing potential, RKO Radio Pictures signed a deal with him, Welles pitched an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and an original story idea Welles had been working on with Herman J. Mankiewicz, based on the life of William Randolph Hearst. The rest is history. When newspaper magnate and mogul Charles Foster Kane (Welles) dies, his last works are "Rosebud". reporter Jerry Thompson (William Alland) is tasked with finding out the significance of Kane's final words and their meaning. Thompson interviews people who played parts in Kane's long life, from Kane's second wife Susan Alexander Kane (Dorothy Comingore) to Kane's best friend Jedediah Leland (Joseph Cotton). It's revealed in flashbacks that Kane was raised in the wilds of Colorado, but when gold was found on his families land, Kane was sent away to be educated, and by the time he was 25, he'd moved into the newspaper industry, which deals in tabloid journalism, which makes him both a hero amongst some, and an enemy to those in power. It might not be the greatest film ever made, but for it's day, it was very well filmed, and has some good set pieces throughout, and Welles showed confidence as actor, producer, writer and director, sadly for Welles, he started at the top, and worked his way down from there. 4/5



The Burning (1981), directed by Tony Maylam, (The Riddle of the Sands (1979) and Split Second (1992)), and written by future Miramax honcos Bob and Harvey Weinstein and future Paramount head Brad Grey)), this is a slasher film arguably made to cash in on the likes of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). Though it does have some good moments of horror and suspense throughout. At Camp Blackfoot, a prank was played on the caretaker Cropsy (Lou David), which backfired horrifically, and Cropsy was left with horrific burns, and 5 years later, he leaves hospital and finds himself at Camp Stonewater, where the kids there are aware of what happened over at Camp Blackfoot to Cropsy, and it all makes for an amusing camp fire story, although when one of the kids, Alfred (Brian Backer) claims to have seen Cropsy, no-one believes him. But when Alfred and the other kids including Todd (Brian Matthews), Michelle (Leah Ayres) and Eddy (Ned Eisenberg) take a boat trip down Devil's Creek, Cropsy follows them, and inevitably, the body count goes up, and it become a story of survival, and staying one step ahead of Cropsy, and trying to stay alive in the wild. It's a daft knock-off of Friday the 13th, but it's notable for having early career appearances from Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter. Oh, and it has an appropriately spooky score by Rick Wakeman, which adds to the violent yet daft mood. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:37 pm

The Monuments Men (2014) George Clooney is back as director, his 5th film as well, which he also stars in and has also co-produced and co-written it with production partner Grant Heslov, this one is based on a non fiction book by Robert M. Edsel. You can see what Clooney has done here, created an old fashioned war caper with a big all-star cast. Yes, it's a very smug film, but it's a lot better than the critics say it is. In 1943, art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) is tasked with saving arts and treasures claimed by the Nazi's. He gets together a team of art historians and curators, sculptors and architects, consisting of James Granger (Matt Damon), Sgt. Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Sgt. Walter Garfield (John Goodman), Jean-Claude Clermon (Jean Dujardin), Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) to go into mainland Europe to locate the missing art, and return it to their rightful owners. They're scattered across France and Belgium at first and Granger gets a lot of help from museum curator Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett). While the tone of the film might seem a little uneven, (it does shy away from the real horrors of the war), but this is a unashamedly old school film. It's not all perfect, and it does come across as a thinking man's 'Allo 'Allo! in places. But it does focus on a part of the war that people don't know about, but it's a well made film. 4/5



Trainspotting (1996), directed by Danny Boyle, whose debut Shallow Grave (1994) created a big splash upon release, Boyle along with producer Andrew MacDonald and screenwriter John Hodge planned their next film, they settled upon Irvine Welsh's 1993 heroin soaked debut novel. What Boyle and Co. created was a revolution, which spoke to the mid-90's, Britpop generation and changed British cinema. Set in Edinburgh, it follows heroin addict Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his "friends", Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson (Jonny Lee Miller) lso an addict), dim Daniel "Spud" Murphy (Ewen Bremner); clean-cut athlete Tommy MacKenzie (Kevin McKidd) and aggressive psychopath Francis "Franco" Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Renton wants to get off heroin, but he finds it hard, but he falls for schoolgirl Diane (Kelly Macdonald), but after nearly OD'ing on heroin, Renton moves to London, but Begbie and Sick Boy soon follow, and living together soon becomes nearly impossible, poor Tommy has succumbed to heroin and contracts AIDS as well, while Spud ends up in jail. Once Spud is released, Sick Boy suggests selling a big amount of heroin, Renton has a secret agenda. It's still a powerful and well made drama with some dark laughs and a soundtrack that defined a generation, it helped it's lead actors go on to success and director Boyle never looked back, you can argue that British cinema was never the same since. 4.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:51 pm

Manchester By The Sea (2016), written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, (You Can Count On Me (2000) and Margaret (2011)), this was brought to Lonergan by Matt Damon, who took pity on Lonergan after the nightmarish post-production on Margaret, and brought the idea to Lonergan, who adapted it. It's a heavy going film, but it benefits from a good script and some very powerful performances. Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is a sullen, lonely janitor who lives in a basement apartment on the outskirts of Boston. One day, Lee gets a phone call that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has suffered a massive heart attack, when Lee arrives in Manchester By The Sea, he learns that Joe has passed away, he'd been ill for some time. Lee is now faced with the hard task of breaking the news to Joe's 16 year old son, and Lee's nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Lee stays at Joe and Patricks house while arranging the funeral, and Lee is shocked to learn that he's been named as Patrick's legal guardian. This throws a massive spanner in the works, as years earlier, when Lee was married to Randi (Michelle Williams), a massive tragedy drove Lee from the town altogether. It's a powerful and emotional drama about grief and coming to terms with death and also facing up to your demons. It benefits from powerful, confident performances from Affleck and Hedges. Be warned, it's not a film to watch if you're easily depressed. 4/5



T2 Trainspotting (2017), a little over 20 years later, director Danny Boyle returns to the film that catapulted him and it's cast to stardom. Using Irvine Welsh's original 1993 novel and it's 2002 sequel Porno as spiritual guides. T2 is a fast but sombre piece about nostalgia and looking back. It's clear that it's impossible to make it as good as the original, but it comes close and it works incredibly well. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) now lives in Amsterdam, and is a fitness addict, until a heart attack makes him take stock of life. He returns home to Edinburgh, reuniting with Spud (Ewen Bremner), still an addict, and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), who now runs a rundown pub. Both are angry that Renton betrayed them, but Renton wants to make it up to them. He wants to help Spud get off drugs, and help Sick Boy in his private enterprise with his Bulgarian partner in crime Veronika Kovach (Anjela Nedyalkova), which involves prostitution and blackmailing the rich. Meanwhile, Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has been in jail for 20 years, but he escapes and when he learns that Renton is back in town, he swears brutal revenge, and he also reunites with Sick Boy and Spud along the way. It's a more flashier and slicker film compared to the grime and grot of the original. But, Boyle and the cast manage to have fun along the way, and it has some good visual moments of inventiveness and it harks back to the original and compliments it too. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:39 pm

Hacksaw Ridge (2016), directed by Mel Gibson, his first film as director since Apocalypto (2006) and Gibson's numerous meltdowns, he needed a film to direct, and after a few aborted projects, he settled on this project that he'd turned down once before. It's religious undercurrent appealed to Gibson, and it's heroic story against impossible odds. It's clichéd for the most part, but once it hits the battlefield, it finally shifts into gear. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grew up as a Seventh-day Adventist, and after nearly killing his brother, has vowed never to kill anyone or bear arms. When America joins the Second World War, Desmond signs up to fight, much to the annoyance of his alcoholic father Tom Doss (Hugo Weaving). But, as Doss is a conscientious objector, he intends to work as a medic, plus he refuses to handle a weapon, much to the anger of Drill Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn) and Captain Jack Glover (Sam Worthington). But, Doss is eventually allowed to go into battle without a weapon, and during the Battle of Okinawa on an inhospitable cliff known as Hacksaw Ridge, when the Japanese ambush the American troops, Doss uses his wits to save a lot of men from Hacksaw Ridge, and he won't stop using the grace and belief in God. It might come across as a bit preachy at times and very clichéd as well, but it manages to work thanks to Garfield's likable and spirited performance, (his second religious themed film in a matter of weeks), but it's a remarkable comeback for Gibson, who exudes strong confidence once again as director. 4/5



The Lego Batman Movie (2017), after the success of The Lego Movie (2014), spin-offs and sequels were inevitable. After Batman's appearance in The Lego Movie, he got the first spin-off, and after the dour, overblown Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), this is the opposite end of the spectrum, closer in tone to the 60's Batman, tongue firmly in cheek, but it manages to work splendidly, and it's great fun. Batman (Will Arnett) is a loner, who can't commit to responsibility, he manages to save Gotham City everytime, but lives alone with butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) and Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), who Batman accidentally adopted. After upsetting The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) by saying The Joker meant nothing to Batman, The Joker gets revenge on Batman by voluntarily handing himself over to the police, as does every other bad guy. Frustrated at this, Batman goes into a rut, but he decides to banish The Joker to the Phantom Zone using the Phantom Zone Projector, stolen from Superman (Channing Tatum). But, that's what the Joker wants all along, in the Phantom Zone are bad guys more deadly than the ones Batman is used to fighting, and before long, the Joker unleashes all hell upon Gotham, and Batman needs all the help he can get to fight these baddies. It's brilliant fun, and there's some very funny and clever moments throughout, including references to past Batman films, and it's the best Batman film in a while, and in these dark times, this is the Batman film we need now, something daft and silly and knows it is. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:25 pm

I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016), written and directed by Billy O'Brien, (Isolation (2005) and The Hybrid (2014)), this is a project O'Brien has been wanting to do for a few years, based on the first in a series of books by Dan Wells, the first of which started in 2009 and is still going now. Although, it was made for $1.5 million and it was filmed in little over a month, O'Brien manages to do a lot with very little and still manages to make it look great. Set in Minnesota, teenage sociopath John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) suffers from homicidal impulses, but he manages to stay on the right side of the law by sticking to strict, self-imposed rules and talking to his therapist. It doesn't help that his mother April (Laura Fraser) works in a funeral home, and John usually see's dead bodies, especially when it comes to embalming. When someone is murdered in their town, John notices a pool of black liquid around the victim, he investigates to find out who could have done it, and it leads him to his elderly neighbour Mr. Crowley (Christopher Lloyd), who John see's murdering a vagrant by morphing into some unearthly creature. Knowing no-one will believe him, John keeps a close eye on Mr. Crowley, and it sinks John, already emotionally delicate, over the edge into madness. It's a very engaging low budget horror, with a dark sense of humour, but it's worth it for it's engaging performances from Records, (seldom seen since Where The Wild Things Are (2009)), and Lloyd as well. With a bit of luck, this will put O'Brien on the road to greater things. 4/5



Logan (2017), and so it's come to this, Hugh Jackman's final film playing Wolverine, reuniting with James Mangold after The Wolverine (2013), but compared to that, this is pared back, very gritty and very violent. It's a different beast to the other Wolverine films and indeed the other X-Men films, but this is the Wolverine film that it's all been leading up towards, and it's bloody brilliant, engaging, entertaining and heartbreaking. Set in 2029, mutants are nearly extinct, and James "Logan" Howlett (Jackman) is an alcoholic, and is dying from Adamantium poisoning, and is heavily dependant on the drink to drown out the pain, and he can't heal as fast. He lives just over the border in Mexico with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), now in the throes of dementia, and being looked after by Albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). But, when Logan gets a message from Mexican immigrant Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez) to take a girl called Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota, Logan initially refuses, but when Lopez is killed, he has to accept, with Laura and Xavier in tow, and with militant Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) in pursuit. It turns out Laura is cloned from Logan, and she shares his abilities and strength. It's an emotionally draining but ultimately satisfying film to watch, it's bloody violence is what we need, and it's a film about death and it's unescapable inevitability. It's heavily inspired by Shane (1953), and it shares it's themes, it even looks, feels and plays like a classic western. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:22 am

Mean Streets (1973), This is the film that catapulted Martin Scorsese to prominence. A gritty and down to earth film, semi-autobiographical in Scorsese's case, based on actual events he saw growing up. After doing the explotation caper Boxcar Bertha (1972) for Roger Corman, Scorsese did this, and it's a powerful and gripping tale of life in the rough parts of New York, and it made stars out of it's lead performers. Set in the Little Italy district of Manhattan, it follows the lives and fortunes of a group of young men, including Charlie (Harvey Keitel), who is trying to move up in the world in the circle of the local mafia, in particular his Uncle Giovanni (Cesare Danova), where Charlie goes around as a debt collector. But, his chances of moving up in the world of the local organised crime are hampered by his destructive friend Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro), whose destructiveness and psychotic nature threatens to hamper their fortunes of a better life. Matters are also hampered by Charlie falling for Teresa (Amy Robinson), who just happens to be Johnny Boy's cousin, which Charlie is criticised for doing, and eventually, Charlie has to make a tough decision. Scorsese had two two no-budget films before this, but he always considers this to be his first proper film. It's very dark and murky, and Taxi Driver aside, Scorsese hasn't done a film as gritty and grainy as this since, everything else seems polished and fine. But, this is where it all began, with good lead roles from Keitel and De Niro, this put Scorsese on the road to better things. 5/5



Moonlight (2016), written and directed by Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy (2008)), and based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, which was ultimately never staged. It came to the attention of Jenkins, and Brad Pitt's Plan B production company helped put up the cash for the film. It's a good, powerful drama, time will tell if it deserved the Best Picture Oscar. Set in Miami, it focuses on the young life of Chiron (Alex Hibbert/Ashton Sanders/Trevante Rhodes), as he grows up. As a young boy, he gets bullied but he finds solace in local drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali), who takes pity on Chiron, who is nicknamed Little at school. Chiron's mother Paula (Naomie Harris) is emotionally abusive and a drug addicted prostitute. Chiron also has a friendship with Kevin (Jaden Piner/Jharrel Jerome/André Holland), who seems to stick up for Chiron when no-one else will, Chiron get's bullied and called gay, and the truth is, he's struggling with his sexuality, which reaches breaking point when he and Kevin share an intimate moment on a beach. Years later, Chiron returns home, after years away in Atlanta, he receives a call from Kevin, now working as a cook, so Chiron returns home to face his past and demons. It's a very hard hitting film, but it also has a quiet, gentle tenderness to it, it shows America for how it really is, no glamour or happiness here, slums and realism here. It's the closest to an African-American Ken Loach film as you'll get. But, it's a good film, but not a classic. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:19 pm

Donald McKinney wrote:
Why!? Surprised



Every review I read of the film says it's feelgood. How can it be feelgood when the end is so bloody depressing. At best it's bittersweet.

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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   Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:37 pm

Gimli The Avenger wrote:
Donald McKinney wrote:
Why!? Surprised



Every review I read of the film says it's feelgood. How can it be feelgood when the end is so bloody depressing. At best it's bittersweet.

It's all about perspective, but I was taken in by it's visual look. Anyways...

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



Last Vegas (2013), directed by Jon Turteltaub, (Cool Runnings (1993), While You Were Sleeping (1995) and National Treasure (2004)), and written by Dan Fogelman (Cars (2006), Bolt (2008) and Tangled (2010)), the screenplay for this ended up on Hollywood's 'Black List' of best unproduced scripts of 2011, then it got a lot of attention, and attracted a lot of top talent. It's not perfect, but it's appealing enough with it's camaraderie. It begins when Billy (Michael Douglas), announces to his 3 best friends Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) that he's finally getting married. These are friends who have been together since the mid 1950's, and have all attended each other's weddings. They all head out to Las Vegas for a weekend bachelor party, however it doesn't all go to plan. Paddy has a beef with Billy as he didn't attend the funeral of Paddy's wife, and they're all horrified to learn that Billy's fiance Veronica (Weronika Rosati) is only 32. They decide to have a good time, but plans change when they meet jazz singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen). It's a very silly film, and there are parts of it which come close to the antics that would occur on Last of the Summer Wine, but it's a lot more deeper than it's "Hangover with pensioners" marketing would have you believe, there are some laughs to be had along the way, but it's a poignant look at what it's like to grow older. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat May 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Beauty and the Beast (2017), in Disney's recent trend of doing live-action remakes of their most popular animated films, it's come to Beauty and the Beast, the 1991 animated original now made real thanks to Bill Condon, (Gods and Monsters (1998), Dreamgirls (2006) and Mr. Holmes (2015)), rather than go back to Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's original story and make a more traditional version, they use the 1991 version as a template, songs and all. It looks beautiful, and it manages to compliment the animated original well. Set in 18th century France in the village of Villeneuve, Belle (Emma Watson) dreams of a better life outside the village and wants to go on adventures, she lives with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline) who goes out to sell music boxes. On route, he gets attacked by wolves, and finds refuge in a derelict castle, owned by the Beast (Dan Stevens) a cold hearted prince who was transformed into the Beast after shunning a beggar. Belle finds Maurice emprisoned in the castle, and takes Maurice's place as prisoner, with the Beast saying she'll remain prisoner forever. While Maurice finds help from rogue soldier Gaston (Luke Evans), who wants Belle's affections, Belle befriends the castle's servants Lumière (Ewan McGregor), Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) and Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), who let her free from the dungeon, and give her a comfortable room and food, and eventually Belle helps Beast show feelings and even shows that he can be caring and compassionate. Meanwhile, Gaston betrays Maurice, and finds out about the Beast, and tries to have it killed. It's a beautiful film, very well filmed and done on a massive, epic scale. While it didn't have to go the Psycho (1998) route of being almost shot for shot, and in this case song for song. But, Condon has fun with the story, and you can see why it's done well. It has a massive, ensemble cast who all manage to have fun with this blockbuster musical. 4/5



Kong: Skull Island (2017), after the 1933, 1976 and 2005 versions of King Kong, Legendary Pictures and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer (2013)), come up with this new take on the Kong myth. However, it's a different kind of Kong movie, one which doesn't have a climax on a building, but it takes it's inspiration from Apocalypse Now (1979) and indeed that film's influence, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It's got a massive ensemble cast to it's name, and it injects new blood into the Kong franchise. It begins in 1973, just as the Vietnam war is coming to a close, and U.S. government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) wants to lead an expedition to Skull Island, located in South East Asia, he hires Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) to be their tracker, also in the team are gung-ho Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his team, fresh from the hell of Vietnam, as well as photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). On Skull Island, they encounter Kong, a giant gorilla. The attack separates the team, and they end up having to survive on the Island. Packard wants to bring Kong down, especially as Kong killed some of this men, but Randa, Conrad and Weaver learn that Kong was trying to protect them from something else far more sinister, which they find out when they find a huge wall built by the natives. They also encounter Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an American pilot who has been on the island since 1944. and he fills them in about Kong being the guardian of the Island, and what Kong was protecting the expedition from. It's a daft, cheesy adventure, but it's an original take on Kong, now punctuated with rock songs from the Vietnam era, and a good, solid cast as well. But, given what's come before with King Kong, it might not live up to those films, but it doesn't have to, it's proven itself as it's own beast of a film, it's got some original touches and above all, it looks stunning as well. 4/5


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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun May 14, 2017 12:44 am

Multiple Maniacs (1970), now here's a rarity, from the great John Waters, before he unleashed Pink Flamingos (1972), Desperate Living (1977) and Polyester (1981), this was his first full feature film with sound, his prior film Mondo Trasho (1969) was mostly silent. But here, Waters finally got some proper sound recording equipment and a new 16mm camera. It's been almost unavailable for years, but now it's been digitally restored and remastered, so now everyone can savour this sick, shocking and camp oddity in it's true trashy glory. Set in Baltimore, as are all of Waters' films, this follows Lady Divine (Divine) and her travelling show, The Cavalcade of Perversion, which has acts committing sickening perversions and fetishes. Times are desperate, and they end up having to force unwilling punters to come and see the show, and Lady Divine and her cohorts including lover Mr. David (David Lochary) and prostitute daughter Cookie (Cookie Mueller), end up robbing them at the end of the show. Eventually, Lady Divine gets bored of this, and ends up murdering the punters instead. After getting out of this, Mr. David begins an affair with Bonnie (Mary Vivian Pearce), Lady Divine gets sexually assaulted by glue-sniffers, she finds God and a lesbian lover in Mink (Mink Stole) after having sex in a church. But, this is where it all starts to go horribly wrong, and Lady Divine's life suddenly explodes into a downward spiral of madness, where her nearest and dearest end up dead, and Lady Divine ends up being sexually assaulted by a giant lobster, and that tips Lady Divine well and truly over the edge. It's absolutely insane, and no review or words can begin to describe how repulsive, disgusting and hilarious this film is. Waters was just starting out here, and his mind was fertile with disgusting details, and far much more disgusting was to come, but here is Genesis, Waters might not have made many films, but they're always worthy of celebration. 4/5



The Driver (1978), written and directed by Walter Hill (The Warriors (1979), The Long Riders (1980), Southern Comfort (1981) and 48 Hrs. (1982)), this is a fast and furious crime thriller heavily inspired by Jean-Pierre Melville's film Le Samouraï (1967), and it's a very unpretentious kind of film, it's to the point, and it has some very suspenseful and beautifully choreographed car chases. Even in a time when Fast and Furious films do big bucks, nearly 40 years on, The Driver is still a brilliantly tense and intriguing film to watch. The Driver (Ryan O'Neal) is a nameless getaway driver who steals fast cars and uses them to commit high speed robberies. One such job is a casino in downtown Los Angeles, which The Driver makes his getaway, but is witnessed by The Player (Isabelle Adjani), who later questioned by The Detective (Bruce Dern), but she denies having seen him. Plus, The Detective is obsessed with catching The Driver, but The Driver has always been able to say one step ahead of The Detective, because The Driver has a handler, known as The Connection (Ronee Blakley), who has been responsible for selecting the jobs, but The Connection won't risk her life for The Driver if things go wrong. Meanwhile, The Detective comes up with a plan to trap The Driver. It involves using real captured criminals to commit a real robbery, and hiring The Driver to be the getaway driver. However, The Detective's colleagues don't believe this sting will work, especially as it's completely unauthorised, and if it fails, it could mean the end of their careers in the police force. This was Walter Hill's second film, and he exudes great confidence as a director, and he keeps the tense mood up, and it's well filmed and it has a natural coolness, and it's more arty than other car chase films like Bullitt (1968), but despite commercial indifference at the time, it's become a cult favourite, inspiring films like Drive (2011) and the upcoming Baby Driver (2017). 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun May 14, 2017 2:03 am

Elle (2016), Oh yes! He's back! Yes, Paul Verhoeven, Holland's best director is back! It has been 10 long painful years since he unleashed Blackbook (2006) onto an unsuspecting audience, but it took a decade for Verhoeven to bring this to the screen. Adapted from the 2012 novel Oh... by Philippe Djian, Verhoeven had tried to get this made in America, but when funding repeatedly collapsed, he relocated it to France when he found money there. The result is one of the most provocative and shocking films Verhoeven has ever made, but also one of his best. It begins when Michèle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) is raped in her home by an assailant in a ski-mask. Instead of calling the police, she promptly cleans up and carries on with her life as normal. Michèle works for a computer game company, where the male employees are either resentful of her or infatuated with her. Michèle is having an affair with co-worker Robert (Christian Berkel), who is married to Anna (Anne Consigny), Michèle's business partner and best friend. Michèle even has a brief flirtation with neighbour Patrick (Laurent Lafitte), whose wife Rebecca (Virginie Efira), is a very devout Christian. Michèle has an estranged relationship with her son Vincent (Jonas Bloquet), himself in an unhappy relationship, and even Michèle's mother Irene (Judith Magre) has affairs with younger men. Michèle doesn't want to call the police, as something happened when she was a girl, and she decides to take the law into her own hands, and deduce who might have raped her, whilealso trying to get her own life under control. It's great to see Paul Verhoeven back, and he's made a taut, tight, Hitchcockian thriller, which is buoyed by a strong, confident performance by Isabelle Huppert, who thanks to this is enjoying a massive boost in her career. It's gripping, suspenseful and totally engaging and Verhoeven relishes the material and it's brilliant to have him back with a brilliant film too. 5/5



Paterson (2016), written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. (Down By Law (1986), Night on Earth (1991) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)), this is a simple, gentle comic drama. The likes of which Jarmusch is a master at, painting pictures of the lives of the eccentric and offbeat, and finding humour in the absurdities of life, as well as being able to tear genres apart and find new things in them. This one is pure, undistilled Jarmusch, non of the flights of fancy that Ghost Dog or Only Lovers Left Alive, it's more closer in spirit to Broken Flowers (2005). Set over the course of one week, it follows bus driver Paterson (Adam Driver), who happens to live in the town of Paterson, New York. His wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), dreams of being a country music star. Paterson also writes poetry, something Laura always encourages him to do, and while driving the bus, Paterson listens to his passengers talk and he takes inspiration from this, and he writes poetry during his breaks, and he finds solace his favorite site, the Great Falls of the Passaic River, where he's truly able to let his poetry flow out, in the evening he takes Laura's dog Marvin out for a walk, and Paterson goes to a nearby bar owned by Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley), and he also takes inspiration from watching Doc and the other punters in the bar interacting. Not much else happens in Paterson's week, it's mostly the same routine day in day out, aside from the bus breaking down on one of the days. But, he never makes copies of the poems he writes, even though Laura always asks him to do so, but Paterson is caught up in life itself to even contemplate doing that. It's a film where nothing happens, but the quirkiness of Jarmusch's way of directing always makes it engaging and you want to know what's doing to happen next. It's buoyed by strong lead performances by Driver and Farahani, but it's what we've come to expect from Jarmusch, and he can do this sort of film in his sleep, but this has a strong engaging quality. 4/5



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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Thu May 18, 2017 3:01 pm

I loved Kong. So much fun.

_________________
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   Fri May 19, 2017 8:51 pm

It was good cheesy fun. Anyways...

The Godfather (1972), the biggest gamble of 70's cinema. Paramount Pictures optioned Mario Puzo's 1969 novel and thought it would make for a cheap, easy picture. Then they hired Francis Ford Coppola to direct the film and co-write the screenplay with Puzo. Coppola's creative choices ruffled a few feathers at Paramount, hiring a lead who was difficult to work with, then unknowns whom Paramount had no confidence in, and choosing to make it a near 3 hour epic. However, it worked, and it still shows it's power and engaging energy now. Set between 1945 and 1955, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) runs a powerful New York crime family, and when he's gunned down in a hit by Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (Al Lettieri), after Corleone refuses to get involved in the narcotics industry. Vito's oldest son Sonny (James Caan) is put in charge of the family affairs, but he wants to settle it by getting involved in narcotics. But, Vito's youngest son Michael (Al Pacino), decides to settle it properly, by killing Sollozzo and corrupt police Captain Marc McCluskey (Sterling Hayden). Michael goes on the run to Sicily. Back home, all out war erupts. Vito's middle son Fredo (John Cazale) also goes on the run to Las Vegas, as Vito recovers he tries to settle the peace, but then Sonny is killed when he tries to protect his young sister Connie (Talia Shire). Michael comes home, marries his sweetheart Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) and takes over the family business from an ailing Vito. Michael never wanted to be put in charge of the Corleone crime family, but with other crime families posing a real threat to the Corleone family, Michael has to take real action soon. 45 years on, this is still a powerful and engrossing crime drama, with some powerhouse performances in it, and it helped put Pacino on the map as one of the greats, and reiterated Brando and it gave him one of his most iconic roles. As for Coppola, he'd proven Paramount and all his naysayers wrong, and it shows that sometimes, risky gambles do pay off. 5/5



Female Trouble (1974), John Waters rides again. After unleashing Pink Flamingos (1972) upon an unsuspecting audience, Waters was soon behind the camera, the plot was inspired after Waters visited Manson Family member Charles "Tex" Watson in prison. He got most of the gang back from Pink Flamingos, including Divine whose cult status was on the rise. It's a more focused plot compared to what Waters had done before, and it has some brilliantly sick and repulsive moments throughout, but you wouldn't expect anything less from Waters. Teenage troublemaker Dawn Davenport (Divine) gets into trouble in school and runs away from home on Christmas Day after her parents didn't get her the "cha-cha heels" she wanted for Christmas. She gets raped and impregnated by mechanic Earl Peterson (Divine again), and raises her brattish daughter Taffy (Mink Stole). Divine marries Gator Nelson (Michael Potter), whose Aunt Ida (Edith Massey) wishes was gay. When the marriage fails, Aunt Ida extracts revenge by throwing acid in Dawn's face, even though she's hideously deformed, Dawn finds support in eccentric high fashion freaks Donna and Donald Dasher (Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary), who want Dawn to model for them despite what's happened to her. Meanwhile, Taffy goes looking for her real Dad, Earl, who drunkenly tries to rape her, but Taffy kills him. Meanwhile, Divine's reputation thanks to Donald and Donna continues to rise, they kidnap Aunt Ida and keep her in a cage in Dawn's apartment, Taffy ends up having an epiphany and decides she want to become a Hare Krishna. From reading the plot, it's surprising there's any laughs to be had in this film, but there are, dark and dirty laughs, but Waters is having fun with this crazy plot, and Divine is simply marvellous in this film. But, it was onwards and upwards for Waters and his team, this along with Pink Flamingos saw that he got recognised domestically and internationally. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Fri May 19, 2017 10:48 pm

The Godfather Part II (1974), after winning plaudits, awards and acclaim for The Godfather (1972). Paramount begged Francis Ford Coppola to do a sequel, Coppola was initially reluctant, but was swayed when Paramount promised him complete creative control. Hot off The Conversation (1974), Coppola and Mario Puzo crafted a different kind of sequel, one which took parts from Puzo's novel that weren't adapted and a new original story. It's both a prequel and a sequel, and it's as powerful, engaging and gripping as the first film was. It's 1958, and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) now lives in Lake Tahoe, Nevada with his family, but trouble arrives when Corleone family associate Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) asks for help regarding a rival gang who work for Michael's business partner Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg). Michael refuses, and he and his family survive being assassinated, with wife Kay (Diane Keaton) fearing for their lives. Michael goes to Roth, who claims he knows nothing about the assassination. Meanwhile, loyalties are split when Michael and Roth travel to Cuba, as they have interests in Cuban businesses, but Michael's heels are cooled when the Revolution happens. Then he thinks his brother Fredo (John Cazale) betrayed him, when Fredo had a side deal with Roth, but knew nothing of any assassination attempt. This also contrasts with the early life of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), from 1901 to 1921, how he came to America from Sicily, his rise to power in the streets of Little Italy in New York, and would eventually take revenge on those who killed his family in Sicily. While it's a good, powerful drama, the 1958 sequence does require attention to follow, and there should have been more of the 1920's sequences with young Vito Corleone starting out, as they're the most engaging moments in the film. But, Coppola ensured lightning struck twice, ensuring more Oscars and critical acclaim, ensuring Coppola's place as an artist. 4.5/5



Selma (2014), directed by Ava DuVernay (I Will Follow (2010), Middle of Nowhere (2012) and 13th (2014), and produced by Brad Pitt. This real life drama follows a true even that happened in Alabama in 1965, and made America wake up. It's a dark look at one of the darkest hours in recent American history, and it shocked the world to it's core, all because it's government overlooked the African-American community who had suffered enough injustice. It's a powerful drama, even though it does take a lot of liberties with what really happened. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King (David Oyelowo) asks President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) for federal legislation to allow black citizens to register to vote without being prevented by bigoted registrars, but Johnson refuses claiming he has more pressing things to worry about, like the Vietnam war. King and his team travel to Selma in Alabama, which is where some of the worst racism in the Deep South is occurring, and after a confrontation with the local police, which ends up with King and most of his team and protestors being arrested, Alabama Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) speaks out against this movement, while at the same time the FBI are trying to discredit King. But, King goes ahead with a planned march from Selma to Montgomery. However, the police attack the marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma with baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire, some on horseback. This is all captured on television, all for a shocked nation to see, and it prompts a reluctant President Johnson into action, but King is determined to complete his march from Selma to Montgomery with no interruption. It has good intentions, but it's a very heavy going film, and it's even more shocking that America allowed this sort of thing to happen, and there's a sadness that might happen all over again under Trump. But, it has some good performances in it, and it addresses some difficult historical issues. But, always remember, history never repeats itself, people always do. 3.5/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:53 pm

Free Fire (2016), co-written and directed by Ben Wheatley, hot off his adaptation of High Rise (2015), and with his star on the rise as a director, he wanted to make an old-fashioned, traditional action film like in the old days with no CGI or flashy effects, and keep it mostly confined to one setting. While there's more than a hint of Reservoir Dogs (1992) about this film, it's still an entertaining film to watch, and it has a very good cast to it's name. It's taut, tight and focused, and it has some brilliant dialogue and is filled with colourful characters. Boston 1978, and there's a meeting at a warehouse with IRA members Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) with go-between Justine (Brie Larson) and her representative Ord (Armie Hammer), also with small time crooks Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti). They go in and meet flamboyant arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley), and his associates Harry (Jack Reynor), Martin (Babou Ceesay) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). Things get up to a bad start when it turns out Vernon supplied the wrong weapons, but Chris and Frank agree to have them, knowing there's no alternative available. But, it goes from bad to catastrophic when Harry recognises Stevo, as they two were involved in an altercation the night before, extending from Stevo having assaulted Harry's cousin. A fight breaks out which is only barely contained, but it's not long before the guns are out and bullets are fired, and now two groups are firing at each other in this derelict warehouse, and there's a case of money from the deal in the middle of it all, and both parties want it. But, there's also a third party spying on all this in the warehouse. It's a very good thriller, and it makes for a refreshing change from all the big budget action films you get all the time these days, Wheatley has fun with the concept and setting, while it's a very gritty, dirty film, it has an unmistakably old school feel to it, and it has some good moments in it, (Copley steals the film), and it shows that Wheatley is the one to watch. 4/5



The Ladykillers (2004), The Coen Brothers remake the 1955 Ealing Comedy originally written by William Rose, but something's lost in translation. The Coen's were never initially supposed to direct it, they'd accepted it as a writing gig, and while directors like Barry Sonnenfeld and Robert Harling were attached, it never came to fruition. When the Coen's accepted the gig, hot off the heels of Intolerable Cruelty (2003), it fired into production. While parts of it do work well, and moving it to the Deep South was an inspired idea, it does feel a bit off kilter. Set in the Deep South, this has the eccentric Professor Goldthwaite Higginson Dorr Ph.D (Tom Hanks), coming to the door of religious elderly widow Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), enquiring about a room to let, and also using the basement for musical rehearsals. Munson, while suspicious of Dorr's eccentric nature, readily accepts. But, it's all a cover for an elaborate crime, which involves using the basement to tunnel into the vault of a nearby riverboat casino. Dorr's team includes explosives expert Garth Pancake (J.K. Simmons), tunnelling expert The General (Tzi Ma), inside man Gawain MacSam (Marlon Wayans) and doofus Lump Hudson (Ryan Hurst). It all seems to be going to plan, well apart from MacSam's attitude nearly getting him sacked from the casino, but the only thing they didn't count on is Mrs. Munson. Plus, when she stumbles upon what they've been really up to, she orders that they return the money, otherwise she's going to the police, so Dorr and his team come to the dark and unavoidable conclusion that they will have to kill Mrs. Munson, unfortunately that doesn't go to plan either. It's a good film, but the Coen's could have done so much better with the material, even though the whole story is perfect as it is for them, but there's too much focus on racial issues and bad language, but it's Hanks' splendidly devilish performance that keeps the film from falling apart, but despite the eccentric dialogue and baffling character names there's something missing. 3/5


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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:46 pm

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 foPeter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot ot 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



Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), it was inevitable they'd return, after the surprise success of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which took comic books about space operas and painted it in a shade of 80's nostalgia and cheeky banter. The bands back together with writer/director James Gunn at the helm. Marvel Studios are riding the crest of a wave with these heroes, and it's great to see them back, and while this one might not be as good as the first film, it holds up and has added emotion and humanity at it's heart too. Shortly after the events of the first film, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have been tasked with protecting valuable batteries for Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign race. However, Rocket steals some of the batteries, and they end up on the run, Ayesha tasks Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and his crew with finding them. However, after they crash on a nearby planet after being attacked by Ayesha's drones, Peter finds the one thing he least expected, his father Ego (Kurt Russell), who has been searching for Peter since he was a boy. He takes Peter, Gamora and Drax to his home planet while Rocket and Groot guard the ship. Ego explains how he evolved over millions of years, took a human form then came to Earth and fell for Peter's mother, Ego had sent Yondu to come and get Peter, but Yondu never delivered Peter. Ego's servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) warns Drax that Ego is not all he seems, while Rocket, Groot and Yondu end up captured by Gamora's sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). It's good to have the gang back together, and it's a great sequel with some brilliant set pieces, some very funny moments and a great soundtrack. It's a more emotionally engaging film, but it gives the film depth, but there's room for fun to be had and this leaves the door open for another sequel or two. But, we'll be seeing the gang soon during Avenger: Infinity War no doubt. 4/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:49 am

The Gong Show Movie (1980), have you ever wondered why TV talent shows are never made into films? This is why. Chuck Barris, creator, producer and host of NBC's The Gong Show, which ran originally from 1976 to 1980, was given an offer by Universal Pictures to transfer the successful to the big screen, maybe show acts that were unsuitable for broadcast? Good idea, but Barris turned it into a bizarre vanity project heavily inspired by Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963), it's a mess of a film, but a unique and entertaining mess nonetheless. The film follows a week in the life of Chuck Barris, playing a fictionalised version of himself...sort of. It follows his struggles with getting The Gong Show made, auditioning loads of different acts for the show, some bad, some catastrophic. He also has to tape an unrealistic number of shows a week because it's that popular, he has to deal with one guest having a heart attack after his performance. There's Barris' run-in's with eccentric and pushy network head Buddy Didlo (James B. Douglas), who chastises Barris for the show's sometimes lewd content. Barris struggles in his relationship with girlfriend Robin (Robin Altman) and encountering rabid fans of the show who want to be on it, even though they're as bad as the catastrophic acts he has audition week in, week out. Barris ends up having a nervous breakdown and just wants to run away from everyone and everything, he's under so much pressure that it's tearing him apart. He finds himself running away first to rural California, then the desert of Morocco. But, peace in the wilderness doesn't last. You can see what Barris had in mind, but it's a mess. He concocted the idea with avant garde filmmaker Robert Downey, who was the original director, until Barris took over as Downey took forever setting up shots. It's a mainstream avant garde film, which was trying to make a serious point about seeking fame and it's effects, but it got lost in the mess. Barris' career never recovered. 2/5



Alien: Covenant (2017), 38 years after Alien (1979) and 5 years after Prometheus (2012), Ridley Scott returns to the franchise that made him famous in the first place for another Alien sequel. However, this one is a direct sequel to Prometheus, but it sets the wheels in motion for more alien sequels which will tie in with the original Alien saga. However, this comes off a bit half-cocked, it's very derivative and doesn't really add anything new to the well worn franchise, despite some good scares and a good ensemble cast. In 2104 the colonization ship Covenant is heading for a distant planet with 2000 humans and a 1000 embryos on board. However, when the ship hits an electrical storm, the crew are prematurely awoken from cryogenic sleep, and their captain Branson (James Franco) is killed. While repairing the ship, the crew led by Oram (Billy Crudup) receive a distress call from a nearby planet. He decides to lead a team to go down to investigate, consisting of Daniels (Katherine Waterston), android Walter (Michael Fassbender), Sergeant Lope (Demián Bichir) and Maggie (Amy Seimetz) to investigate. On the planet, two of their crew become infected with alien spores, leading to them becoming immediately infected and alien Neomorphs emerge. They find refuge in a nearby abandoned city by David (Michael Fassbender again), who is the same model as Walter. He explains that he is the sole survivor of the Prometheus mission, and that he's used the time to try and understand the way of the alien, and maybe create a new species. It's only then the crew realise they're in danger. After getting a shot of adrenaline from The Martian (2015), Scott seems to be treading water on past glories, reliving the first Alien film beat for beat rather than coming up with something new. That's not to say it isn't good, it is, but it's all been done before. This leaves you wondering what Neill Blomkamp's abandoned Alien sequel would have been like. 3/5

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PostSubject: Re: What I've Just Watched Part 4: There And Back Again   Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:12 pm

Free Fire I really wanted to see. It was shown once at my local cinema. Once!

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