Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Have you seen Miss Potter, CR? I can't remember if I asked you this before or not, so I thought better safe than sorry.
5-time MoFo Award winner.

Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained (2012)

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Genre: Western
Length: 2 hours 45 minutes

Premise: In 1858 in the deep south a German bounty hunter comes across a group of slaves. One of them is Django, the only witness to the identity of three outlaws being hunted by the German. Django is freed and joins forces with the bounty hunter. As a reward for the former slaves help, the pair travels to a notorious plantation in Mississippi to rescue Django's wife who's a slave there.

Review: If you don't care about logic or characters acting within the framework of the movie, then you just might like Quentin's nod to the Spaghetti Western. At almost 3 hours I found the movie painfully long. If you're going to make a 3 hour movie it needs to be a sweeping epic or have deep characters who's complexities grow during the length of the movie...But that doesn't happen here. Django Unchained is just a fun, shoot up film to enjoy while you guzzle your favorite beverage and eat voluminous amounts of your favorite snack.

Django Unchained ask you to swallow a lot too, all in the name of kitsch film making. We are introduced to the film with a promising start, the German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) is the one interesting character in the film. The German is smart, savvy and uses the letter of the law to his own advantage. With his silver tongue and fancy vocabulary he can get out of sticky situations.

SPOILER......Yet towards the climax of the film, the German stubbornly refuses to shake the hand of the plantation owner, after being forced to overpay for a slave. Because Quentin wants to get to the blood bath scene that follows, he has the German do something stupid and out of character.... he shoots the plantation owner, then turns and says, 'I couldn't help it' as he is cut down by a gunmen in the room. But wait! the bounty hunter is a fast draw and a crack shot and he had one more shot left in his derringer, but doesn't bother to use it...very illogical.

But that's what one expects when the director has to plaster his own face in the movie. Tarantino makes fast food films. Don't expect the characters to act true to their nature. The director doesn't care and he expects the audience won't either.

After all the only thing this movie is good for is a high body count. And you'll get that. Along with an annoyingly, ecliptic movie soundtrack. What a waste, this could have been a great film, but then again it's a Tarantino written and directed piece of entertainment.

I agree with a lot of what you say about Django Unchained, but I wasn't bothered by the running time at all...I was so intrigued by going on that I didn't feel the length of the film at all.

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
I had seen a trailer for Miss Pettigrew some time ago and it looked very worthwhile, and after reading your review and comparing it to an old Carole Lombard movie, i will DEFINITELY be picking this one up at my local library this week.

THANKS for both the review and the reminder of a very good movie to watch.

Interesting you really like Big Eyes Citizen. I really wanted to, but I had really high hopes for it.
It had 3 things that I really like in a film: Period Piece, Bio Pic, Interesting true story.

Did you see American Hustle CR?
No I haven't seen it. I read about it and wasn't sure if it was my kind of film...but now that I see it has Amy Adams, I might just watch it

Have you seen Miss Potter, CR? I can't remember if I asked you this before or not, so I thought better safe than sorry.
I don't think you did mention it. I did see Miss Potter, I liked it too. My wife loved it.

I agree with a lot of what you say about Django Unchained, but I wasn't bothered by the running time at all...I was so intrigued by going on that I didn't feel the length of the film at all.
I'm kind of use to old films 1930s-50s and most of them were 90 minutes. Some of the early 1930s films were only 60 minutes. It seems films are getting longer and longer. That's OK if they need the time to tell the story but sometimes they end up padding the movie too much. Django Unchained, was a fast paced movie so I don't remember being bored.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Director: Lasse Hallström
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Genre: Drama Romance Comedy
Length: 122 minutes

Premise: The Kadam family is a close knit Indian family who have a small open air restaurant in India. When it burns down they move to the country side in southern France. There they buy an old run down restaurant and start up a business specializing in Indian cuisine. One hundred feet away is a renowned Michelin Star restaurant, famous for serving traditionally French cuisine.

Review: An interesting and fun little film, set in gorgeous southern France. Through this film we learn of another life, that of the restaurateur and aspiring chiefs who serve in the kitchen. Hassan played by Manish Dayal is a young man who understands that food has a spirit. His training is informal at the tutelage of his mother but his skill as a cook is unparalleled. In France however he's just another cook as he hasn't worked his way up to chief by the time honored methods. It's not an easy task either for this young Indian transplant to win over the traditional French.

Across the street is the highly acclaimed and award winning restaurant owned by the prideful Madame Mallory, played to perfection by Helen Mirren. She will go to any lengths to insure that the new upstart restaurant won't succeed.

Working at Madame Mallory's is another aspiring chief, Marguerite played by Charlotte Le Bon. She catches the eye of the young Hassan, but is hesitant to help out someone who could be her revival in the world of fine cuisine.

If this sounds silly, it's not, thanks to the director everything is kept in the believable range. A very lovely film to look at and the characters were accessible thanks to skillfully acting and direction.


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The Thing (1982)

Director: John Carpenter
Writers: Bill Lancaster(screenplay),John W. Campbell Jr(story)
Cast: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror

Premise: In the dead of winter in Antarctic an alien spacecraft is found frozen under the ice by a Norwegian research team....Later, some sort of alien creature-thing invades the U.S. research station. The men can't tell who's human and who's the Thing.

Review: I first watched The Thing in 1982 when it was released at the theater. On the big screen The Thing blew me away. The story was creepy and suspenseful and the setting in a remote Antarctic research station made the movie forbiddingly desperate. Kurt Russel is really cool in this one too. Without him I'm not sure if the movie would have worked as well as it did. I always considered this one of the greatest sci-fi films made.

It had been 15 years since I last seen it. Last night I revisited The Thing and I seen a different movie. Perhaps the 32 year old special horror effects just didn't stand up. Yes, I know it's not fair to judge an old movie by today's CG standards. But the close up horror/creature scenes were a distraction to me and got in the way of the real story, which is one of suspect, paranoia and suspense. The scenes in the Norwegian camp, and in the dog kennel were effective and added to the suspense, but some of the other scenes were over the top. As the camera zoomed in for a close up of the creature, I couldn't help but see the props as fake. There's an adage in film making 'show horror elements in brief, dark scenes'. I wish that had been done here.

John Carpenter has style and a knack for flair, but he doesn't pay close attention to details. Had he been more detailed orientated, he could have made a tighter film. It's the small details that could have been changed that would have made this into a 5 star film.

The other aspect of the film that bugged me was the poor dialogue and characterizations. Some of the dialogue sounded like first draft stuff. Especially after they find a spaceship, and then find a dead mutant alien... then they see a dog transform into a hellish looking creature!...that's when we get the scene where Childs is playing the antagonist by calling BS on the idea that the Thing is from another world. Hell! he just seen a dog mutate into a monster, how much more convincing does he need?

On the plus side I wasn't bored, the movie is exciting and suspenseful...The Thing held my attention and I enjoyed it. Is it a master piece no, a fun flick, yes!

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Brazil (1985)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Writers: Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard
Cast: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro
Genre: Sci Fi
Length: 132-142 minutes

Premise: In an overly bureaucrat future a low level administrator tries to save the girl of his dreams by fixing an administrative error. His attempts are mistaken for terrorist activities, putting his life in peril.

Brazil...Is a highly stylized film by director Terry Gilliam. If you like Gilliam's work you'll love this one.

I loved the sets, they're the films strength. Brazil's unique view of the future with mundane items like old TVs and typewriters being retro-modified to have new 'futuristic' functions was very cool to see. The dark cavern like sets that seemed to go on forever added ambiance & atmosphere. The cinematography is well suited to the look and style of the film. This films stylish look set trends in movie & advertising and is still being emulated today.

But I didn't care for the story and was bored. I found myself checking how much longer the film had to go...and it was a long film! Too long at almost 2.5 hours. I could have done without the dream scenes. They took too much time and creating confusion as to what was real and what was a dream.

I felt like I never was introduced to the lead character, sure I knew he was a clerk stuck in a dead end job who dreamed...a lot! But I have no idea who or what he was about. There was a romance with a hard boiled woman who seemed an odd match for this simple clerk. Perhaps there's deeper meaning here. People claim there's hidden meaning in Gilliam's films, so you might need to watch this one more than once.

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You can't make a rainbow without a little rain.
Brazil (1985)
People claim there's hidden meaning in Gilliam's films, so you might need to watch this one more than once.

I didn't hate Brazil, but I didn't like it enough to watch it a second time either.

The Weapon (1956)

Director: Val Guest

Cast: Steve Cochran, Lizabeth Scott, Herbert Marshall, Jon Whiteley
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Length: 77 minutes

Premise: In post war London among the bombed out ruins, a boy (Jon Whiteley) finds a hidden gun. Scared the boy runs away and goes into hiding. The gun turns out to be the missing clue in a 10 year old murder case. Both an American Army investigator (Steve Cochran) and a shady underworld man chase the boy down. Meanwhile his mother (Lizabeth Scott) is frantic to get her son back.

Review: What a neat find this film was! The Weapon is a little known British film, shot on location in the bombed out ruins of post war London. It's a tight, well done, unpretentious suspense thriller. Hitchcock fans and those who love classic British suspense films should definitely watch it. The story is told straight forward without the usual twist and turns. The opening scene powerfully hits the viewer straight in the gut.

The Weapon was Lizabeth Scott's second to last feature film. Lizabeth was a mainstay in film noirs playing the throaty, blonde femme fatale. She expertly plays a heartbroken mother who's wrought with worry over her missing son.

Jon Whiteley plays the hapless boy who's running scared. He doesn't have many lines, he doesn't need them...his facial expressions relay what we need to know.

The male lead is Scott Cochran, who does an fine job in his role. As does the British actor Herbert Marshall.

What I enjoyed most about the film was the tight story line, the acting and the actual scenes of post war London. This little known gem deserves a closer look.

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Yay! You're back! I hope you had a wonderful vacation! Missed your reviews!

Hi Funny Face! and Thanks!...I'm glad to be back it was a great vacation. Remember we discussed hiking, I did a good long hike in Alaska and wow was it beautiful. I'm going to make a thread about it as soon as I get my photos in order.

Looking forward to seeing your pictures! I'm looking up hikes for my next (and overdue) trip to Oregon. Did you go on a zipline when you were in Alaska? I feel like everyone I've spoken to that went on an Alaskan cruise talked about going on a zipline at some point.

Nope! I seen one and it was huge, very high and very long...but expensive like $135 for a few minute ride. That's more than I could afford.

This is the one I seen, Icy Strait Point zip line which is advertised as the world's longest at 5330 feet long, 1300 elevation drop.

A short 1 minute video