What was the last movie you saw at the theaters?


Saw The Departed this weekend. It was much better than I thought it would be, a truly great mob drama. It was one of the few movies I've seen lately where I really had no idea how it would end, and who would die.

Originally Posted by sith_rising
Saw The Departed this weekend. It was much better than I thought it would be, a truly great mob drama. It was one of the few movies I've seen lately where I really had no idea how it would end, and who would die.
Me too and The Departed did rock, but when Costigan gave Gwen that envelope then said, "Don't open it unti I call you"... uh... what was in that envelope?
The first rule of F**** C*** is... you do not talk about F**** C***.

I think this is free of any major "spoilers", but I'll include it in this thread just the same...

Flags of Our Fathers (Clint Eastwood)

Based on the stories of the soldiers who raised the flag in the most famous photograph of World War II, sadly it misses being the masterpiece it might have been. Adapted from the non-fiction best seller of the same name, a dying man's son researches his father's war experiences he never talked much about including being one of the six men who hoisted Old Glory atop Mount Suribachi during the battle for Iwo Jima. The photograph was so popular and instantly iconic back home that days afterward three of the surviving six men from the snapshot were sent back to the States for a whirlwind publicity tour to raise money for the war effort. And while you'd think those three plot strands of the investigation of the son, the battle itself and the subsequent tour would make for an interesting narrative, astoundingly Flags for Our Fathers can't make a consistently compelling movie from them. Segments of the film work wonderfully, and all the combat footage on the island is remarkable, but the structure is a mess. I'm guessing the idea behind the structure was to make the viewer as disoriented by it all as the men who lived it, to play up the insanity of being surrounded by the horrors of war one minute and parading around for pretend days later, and also to make what really happened with the flag raising a bit of a mystery and to show some of the son's process of discovery. Whatever the intent, the result of the badly paced and disorganized movie is no real emotional attachment to the core characters.

The three young leads are fine. Ryan Phillippe does good, quiet work as "Doc" Bradley, the Navy Corpsman who did his best to tend to the wounded during that horrific battle and Jesse Bradford is well cast as the good-looking Marine Rene Gagnon. But it's Adam Beach as Ira Hayes, the Native American Marine, who gets the most opportunites to stand out, and for the most part he does very well. Bradley and Hayes were both haunted by their experiences on Iwo Jima, though they dealt with it differently. Bradley buried it all inside himself while Hayes tried to dull the pain with alchohol. But as an example of where the film falters, Bradley's pain was centered around the loss of his buddy Ralph "Iggy" Ignatowski (played by Jamie Bell). Iggy was captured one night and found later in one of the island's many tunnels, mutilated in horrible ways. While it's understandable how that would haunt somebody, we really never get to see the bond between Bradley and Iggy, so there's no specific emotional attachment to the loss for the viewer. I mean it's obviously a horrible death among the many horrible deaths in that campaign, but the movie doesn't give any insight or even devote more than a minute or two to the men interacting as friends. Part of this is due to the disjointed structure, but even within the flashbacks the scenes of their friendship simply aren't there. There's also a hollow deathbed moment between Bradley and his son, but because we haven't really seen them interact either it's also one of those things where, yes, we can project a basic amount of empathy for the idea of a son losing his dad, but there's nothing in the body of the film to give any weight to these two specific characters.

And while the structure and the lack of emotional connections are the main problems with Flags of Our Fathers, there are also smaller issues that weaken the movie further. The one that I found most disappointing were a couple of minor roles that were very badly written and acted. Most specifically the General who after a bond drive event at Chicago's Soldier Field makes some racist comments about Hayes and his drunkenness and has him removed from the rest of the publicity tour. This character, though only in two brief scenes, is ridiculously over-the-top and arch, and frankly it isn't necessary for him to be so one-dimensional. This was the problem I had with Eastwood's last film, Million Dollar Baby, that Maggie's family was used as a bunch of White Trash stereotypes and a plot device rather than real characters. At least in that movie the main characters were portrayed with such grace, complexity and subtlety that I could get past the simplistic way her mother was drawn. In Flags the three main soldiers do not get the same level of care as the three main characters in Baby. And though the function of the racist and blustery General is not as key to the goings on, it's definitely a weakness just the same.

OK, enough of the flaws. What the movie does best is the chaos and Hell of battle. It doesn't do it any better than Saving Private Ryan's D-Day opening, but it is definitely on that level. The scale of the invasion and the confusion and blood of combat are all perfectly recreated. The black sand and jagged rocks of Iwo Jima will stay with you. The post-photo bond drive also has many highlights, and the points about the crass necessity of selling War to the public are well made and the deconstruction of the myth of the famous photograph is important. Flags of Our Father's ultimate theme of what makes a hero is earnest and certainly has darker edges than a typical John Wayne flick. The central performances are all good, and another melancholy musical theme by Eastwood is integrated very well. All of that is why is so frustrating that the structure is so unsatisfying and there isn't any emotional wallop brought out of the characters. Perhaps there was just too much story to tell? The movie is only two hours and ten minutes long, and I can't help but wonder if another forty-or-so minutes couldn't have fleshed out the characters more. Though frankly three hours with this flawed narrative structure still would have been disappointing.

You'll definitely want to stay all the way through the end credits. They start with a dedication to Phyllis and Bummy, being two longtime Eastwood collaborators who recently passed away: casting director Phyllis Huffman and legendary production designer Henry Bumstead. Then throughout the credits are photos of the actual men and the action on Iwo Jima, ending with the photo. As flawed as it is, I'm now even more excited about Eastwood's companion film, Letters from Iwo Jima, which will tell the battle from the Japanese perspective. Other than as the enemy seen briefly on the battlefield, Flags offers almost no glimpse of the 23,000 Japanese soldiers, though the discovery of Iggy's body and the noises Ira investigates in the tunnels atop Suribachi make me want to see the other movie even more.

Flags of Our Fathers has plenty to recommend seeing it, but it is flawed and simply isn't one of Eastwood's best works nor does it rank with the greatest War films.

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

The Queen (Stephen Frears)

A docudrama cheifly recounting the week after Diana's death and how both the Royal Family and the Prime Minister handled the news, it's given weight and interest by Helen Mirren's excellent central performance. The film starts with Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) meeting the Queen after his landslide victory in May of 1997. He is respectful though awkward around the Crown, and the Queen and her inner circle including husband Prince Philip (James Cromwell) and Her private secretary Robin Janvrin (Roger Allam) don't seem to think much of the new Prime Minister. Then the narrative leaps to Saturday August 31st, 1997 and the car accident in Paris that took the life of Diana. Though they had separated in 1992, Charles and Diana's divorce had only been official for a year when she died. She had been stripped of the Her Royal Highness designation, but through her high-profile charity work and worldwide celebrity status she was far more popular than The Royal Family. And that is the central conflict of The Queen.

Standing on tradition and what she believes her subjects and the world stage expect from the monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II and the Family do not make a public statement in the days after the news. The entire Family was in residence at their Balmoral Estate in the Scottish countryside when Diana died, and it is decided that they will remain there rather than return to London. Diana was no longer their concern in any official way it is reasoned, and the Queen thinks it would be better for William and Harry to begin dealing with the loss of their mother in private rather than the scrutinty and hot glare of media attention back at Buckingham Palace. And besides all that, whatever affection she once had for Diana has long since been exhausted. The public, however, still has deep reservoirs of love, and during the Sunday and Monday after the news hit, hundreds of thousands of British citizens brought flowers and candles to the Palace gates in tribute. This confused the Queen, but did not change her mind. Blair on the other hand recognized the groundswell of emotion immediately from the perfect storm of Diana's celebrity and the nature of her death and urged Her Majesty to acknowledge Diana publically. She refused, and soon the wrath of the Press and a seemingly large portion of the people was aimed not at the Paparazzi who caused the accident but at the Royal Family who seemed so out of touch with the event, their feelings and the times in general.

Not to spoil recent history for anyone, but by week's end The Queen does decide to return to London in time for the public funeral and makes a live national address. The movie imagines what the emotional turnaround in The Queen specifically might have been like. Mirren, who has been an excellent actress for a long time, may finally have won her Oscar. She plays the public, the private and the political aspects of Elizabeth II perfectly. While the initial reactions to Diana's death can seem cold - and were certainly perceived as cold by many, the film delves into what's behind that Royal facade, and throughout the week how and why she changes. It's a layered and ultimately very sympathetic portrayal. The Tony Blair of the movie is largely sympathetic if a bit whiny, and Michael Sheen does well enough. Alex Jennings plays Prince Charles, and in the first half of the film he is tender and admirable. His emotional response to Diana's death and quiet outrage at his Mother and Father's reactions are very well done. But in the second half Charles is painted as an insecure and even paranoid twit. The Queen only peripherally addresses the details of Charles and Diana's marraige and the Camilla factor (Camilla is not portrayed in the movie), and while William and Harry are in the film they are not the focus and are purposefully kept in the background, as is their grief. Frears and the script aren't interested in those tabloid aspects. Allam is quite good as the Queen's secretary, who realized long before She did that the initial judgement was incorrect. Mark Bazeley gets some of the film's best lines as Blair's top advisor and speech writer Alastair Campbell, somebody who has little regard or use for the monarchy. James Cromwell is appropriately cold and old fashioned as Philip.

The plot of sitting around an isolated estate and taking a bunch of phonecalls deciding if a trip should be made to London is more engaging than it may seem on paper because of Mirren's work and Stephen Frears' tone and focus. There aren't any real suprises, other than perhaps the conversation between The Queen and The Queen Mother where Elizabeth II is so dumbstruck by the will of the People that she seems to even consider abdicating. Don't know if such a thing was ever really discussed, but through Mirren's characterization you definitely understand the sentiment. Even if these weren't real, living, famous people and recent history, Mirren's performance is so good you'd get wrapped up in it anyway. I'm an American citizen and no Royal watcher on any level, yet I definitely found her Queen an interesting character.


there's a frog in my snake oil
Nice review Pikey. As a Brit, but no Royal-watcher or worshipper either, I was impressed with how Mirren and Frears etc brought out both the 'mythical' and 'homely' in this peculiar family. Kind of felt like sitting on an antique chair in a museum and finding it stable, and almost comfy.

(Yes - to take this metaphor to an even stranger place - i would happily sit on Helen Mirrim )

Now, if someone could just explain what the hell was going through the Diana-worshippers' minds, everything would be clear...
Virtual Reality chatter on a movie site? Got endless amounts of it here. Reviews over here

I am having a nervous breakdance
Mirren does look a lot like the Chief Skirt in that picture, I'll have to say.
The novelist does not long to see the lion eat grass. He realizes that one and the same God created the wolf and the lamb, then smiled, "seeing that his work was good".


They had temporarily escaped the factories, the warehouses, the slaughterhouses, the car washes - they'd be back in captivity the next day but
now they were out - they were wild with freedom. They weren't thinking about the slavery of poverty. Or the slavery of welfare and food stamps. The rest of us would be all right until the poor learned how to make atom bombs in their basements.

So so. Jack Black is a comedy genious but this movie fell a bit flat. Funny moments. It seemed to end rather suddenly. I'd give it about 5/10.

Our project is soon to launch and our screenwriter is busy preparing. I hope our script has less plot-holes in it than this one did...
Attempting to make movie history at www.milliondollarscreenplay.com

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Hey the last movie we saw was The Wicker Man

-Greer and Chris
Peter Stormare UK Fan Site

Last Movie i saw was Crusaders (crociati) and though it's a low budget Italian flick, the story was absolutely amazing.Right from the start when Peter was born it had my full attention and some things i didn't forsee happend.

Good unknown movie 7/10
I Amsterdam

And do check my "art": Deviant

The Prestige (Christopher Nolan)

A tale of rival magicians in turn of the century London that works better as a story of obsession than as a mystery or a magic trick. Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) are two up and coming magicians in training, working as audience plants in an established stage show (headlined by magician-turned-actor Ricky Jay) while the brain behind the magic, played by Michael Caine, teaches the young men about the art of illusion and showmanship. Angier's wife (Piper Perabo) is the assisstant in the show, and when a bit of Borden's recklessness leads to her accidental death, two mortal enemies are born. An escelating series of tit-for-tat double-crosses and sabotages ensue as each man tries to become the preeminent magician in Europe. The narrative jumps back and forth in time from Borden's trial and imprisonment for Angier's murder backstage during a performance through their entire history together, piecing together which man has gotten the ultimate revenge. The trail also leads to Colorado Springs, where the genius/madman inventor Nikola Tesla (David Bowie) may have discovered something in his experiments that can help or destroy one of the magic acts.

As far as the "mystery" of who is doing what and how, I found it pretty easy to put the puzzle back together. The Bale character's secret is easy to deduce, especially the way one character remains so obviously hidden and the clues given. The final twist with the Jackman character's secret is better hidden, though still decipherable by the end of the Colorado sequences. But even without a "surprise" for me in the plotting, The Prestige is still engaging and fun because of the obsessive central relationship. In the end I found it much more successful as a parable about revenge than the bells and whistles of the tricks and deceptions being played on the audience and the characters within the story. Jackman and Bale are both good, dropping their superhero screen personas to play flawed and dangerous men who will stop at nothing short of outright murder to outdo the other. There are a couple minor plot holes in the convoluted mystery aspect that are par for the course in a movie like this, I suppose, but the style, pacing and central conflict carried me past them.

Christopher Nolan, who got his ticket into Hollywood punched with the success of Memento (2000) and got something of a blank check after the success of Batman Begins (2005) has fun playing with the period milieu, the good cast (which also includes Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis and Roger Rees) and the presentation of illusion, but the strength of the film is that remains the story of essentially two men even with all the other flashiness going on. Adapted by Nolan and his brother from Christopher Priest's 1995 novel, it could have become too comic booky and impressed with it's own machinations in other hands, but because of the rooting in character and the performances of Bale and Jackman it all works. Nolan's regular D.P. Wally Pfister and production designer Nathan Crowley do a great job with the look of the film, and the actors do the rest. The aged Caine is good as always in the mentor role, Bowie adds an appropriate air of otherness with the mythical presentation of the real-life Tesla, Bale can play darkness without going over-the-top as well as any actor of his generation and Jackman makes a good star turn as the man who's obsession blinds him a little too much, even when he's holding the most marked cards in the deck.


I saw The Departed and honestly, it really is as good as everybody is saying that it is. Man. I wanna see it again!

last one i saw was Jackass 2! amazingly funny!

Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola)

Sofia Coppola decided to make a movie about a historical figure while purposefully leaving out most of the history. It's an odd way of dealing with the material, and what's even odder is that it mostly works. The film follows the young Marie (Kirsten Dunst) from her arranged betrothal from Austria to the young heir of France, Louis-Auguste (Jason Schwartzman, in a finely understated comic performance). Even though she was a born aristocrat and accustomed to the trappings of a court, even she was taken aback by the lavishness of Versailles under King Louis XV (Rip Torn) and the seemingly endless layers of rank and procedure within the palace. But the young girl soon learned to enjoy the excesses, ordering expensive wigs, gowns and jewels with little or no thought about the cost of it all. Though there was much delay in the process and much pressure, she did eventually produce an heir to the throne with the birth of their second child, thus securing her place. When the King died of smallpox and Louis-Auguste was crowned King Louis XVI, Marie became Queen of France. We all know how the story ends, with the storming of the Bastille, the French Revolution and the execution of Marie Antoinette.

Coppola's movie teasingly doesn't give us the imprisonment or beheading, but ends as she and her family are taken away from the palace. What the movie focuses on in between her arrival as a girl and departure as a captured Queen isn't in chronicling the formulation of the Revolution, but an emotional portrait of Antoinette. Taking the basic idea and some of the cues of the Queen from Antonia Fraser's best-selling biography Marie Antoinette: The Journey which dispelled some of the long-standing myths about the woman who never said "let them eat cake", the narrative is almost completely from Marie's perspective. As she is isolated from any of the real world in the court and has no mind for or influence over the political sphere of her husband's world, Coppola's movie is almost completely devoid of history. If you're a tenth grader who has to write a paper on the period, you won't be able to shorcut anything by watching Marie Antoinette and you'll look like a moron if your assignment slips in any details from this flick. But without the history around at all, really, what remains is how a fifteen-year-old girl thrust into such a bizarre situation as little more than a sexual and hopefully child-bearing object might take it all in and develop in the lap of such outrageousness. Looking at it that way, the movie is successful.

At twenty-four, Dunst is still able to play a teenager believably but also convey the blossoming into a woman. In Dunst's most popular movies with her young fanbase like Bring It On (2000) and the Spider-Man franchise she isn't asked to do a whole lot as an actress other than look pretty. Though she has had roles that taxed her a bit more and showed a darkness underneath over the years, such as Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow (2001) and Sofia Coppola's first film The Virgin Suicides (1999), they are the exceptions. At the center of this Antoinette, she's actually cast appropriately. As the idea of the movie is that Marie was essentially an innocent who was too young and corrupted by the isolated excess she was encouraged to indulge in, Dunst is a good vessel for that kind of limited transformation. There isn't much psychological examination of the character going on, but an emotional presentation.

In addition to the lack of history, the movie also doesn't attempt at all to recreate period attitudes or speech, and certainly not any French. The modern American dispositions amidst the late 18th Century setting and dress wind up working in the context of what Coppola is doing. There is also a largely anachronistic score with 1980s music from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Bow Wow Wow. And while I was sure I'd absolutely despise those musical cues going in, they too manage to fit in with Coppola's vision. It seemed to me as if Sofia, who is only thirty-five, was filtering the emotional character of Marie Antoinette through her own experiences in a fundamental way. Rather than coming off as gimmicky or easy or backward, the choice to re-make Antoinette with the behavior and attitudes of a young American girl of the late 20th Century, including a soundtrack that might have touched and inspired a girl who was fifteen in 1986, makes it feel like a personal statement from the director. It's an honest and unusual way into the character that might otherwise be out of her grasp, and saves it from feeling too dry or emotionally forced. Rather than dutifully research all the history and replicate the foreign and long-passed customs and attitudes and try and guess which Mozart concerto would have appealed to a teeanager from Vienna, she has imagined what it would have been like for her to have traveled such a path. Because Sofia can be so specific and accurately depict on screen the feelings of angst and joy and confusion and isolation and privilege of a modern teenage girl, it actually lends some timelessness to the cinematic portrait of what this young woman goes through. That it happens to be Marie Antoinette and not Christina Onassis or Sofia Coppola isn't important to the emotional core of the character.

I never would have thought such an approach could work as organically as it does unless I had seen it, but I found myself going along with it all...despite the fact that it is largely anachronistic and historically bereft at best and inaccurate at worst. As a movie, it works. Not to say that it's a cinematic masterpiece, because this unique way into the material is ultimately very limited, but if you give yourself over to the fact that it isn't striving to be a biopic in any real way (which is evident from the first shot of the movie and the opening credits), it's an enjoyable filmgoing exercise.

There's a fine supporting cast as well, including Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, Marianne Faithfull and Danny Huston along with Torn and Schwartzman, but this is Dunst and Sofia's movie, for good and for bad (mostly good).


In Heaven Everything Is Fine
The Prestige

"No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul." ~ Ingmar Bergman

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Do look out for the I WANT CANDY montage, though. It's rather good.