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Black Water (2007)

The film’s characters (which seem insanely idiotic even by horror film standards) drag the film down quite a lot.
How are the characters idiotic? Please back this up with examples. I disagree completely because they are acting out of depseration rather than stupidity; there's a difference. Getting into the water is the only chance they've got; it's either that or starve. I agree with some of the points mark made about the film being simplistic, but not this.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



How are the characters idiotic? Please back this up with examples. I disagree completely because they are acting out of depseration rather than stupidity; there's a difference. Getting into the water is the only chance they've got; it's either that or starve. I agree with some of the points mark made about the film being simplistic, but not this.
SPOILERS BELOW:
Getting in the water isn't anything I'd call idiotic, since I would've done the same, but they were also considering waiting for rescue after they went off with an unofficial tour guide in an incredibly vast stretch of water with little hope for rescue. There were a few times where the characters were staying at the bottom of the tree in the croc's attack range, acting as if they were safe; when the boat tipped, the last girl stayed in the water and waited for the guy to come down and get her; the characters went from overreacting to certain things to under-reacting. In hindsight, calling the characters 'insanely idiotic' was a stretch (calling them annoying would've been more apt), and I did consider the range of shock they all could've been in, but it was the type of film where the characters angered me and had me feeling agitation as opposed to suspense (thus making their situation harder to relate to).

As for the private post comment you sent me, I didn't mean to come off as vindictive in any way man, much less verbally attack anyone. I actually watched the movie from your recommendation, and I did end up enjoying it for the most part.
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SPOILERS BELOW:
they were also considering waiting for rescue after they went off with an unofficial tour guide in an incredibly vast stretch of water with little hope for rescue.
Disagree. This was just a form of exposition. The characters were merely vocalising the audience rational thought process, and they come to the logical conclusion that rescue ain't a comin'. I'd wager that if you and I were in a similar situation that same topic of conversation would arise. Plus their guide was just that; a local experienced armed guide. I don't see what the word 'official' has to do with it. Do you mean like the 'official' boat trip in Rogue? Ha!

There were a few times where the characters were staying at the bottom of the tree in the croc's attack range, acting as if they were safe;
First off after the first death none of the characters in this movie ever act like they're safe. Secondly they're not reptile experts and have no idea of it's attack range until later on in the movie.

when the boat tipped, the last girl stayed in the water and waited for the guy to come down and get her
Only because she's in severe shock after having a croc flip her boat and eat one of it's occupants. Unfortunately She's not Sigourney Weaver; she's just a normal gal too scared to move.

In hindsight, calling the characters 'insanely idiotic' was a stretch
I'd say so.

As for the private post comment you sent me, I didn't mean to come off as vindictive in any way man...I actually watched the movie from your recommendation.
I gathered that, and are you sure you didn't decide to jump on the bandwagon after mark's review? Come on you posted it next to two other (inferior in my opinion) Croc flicks and blantantly gave it the lowest rating. You're entitled to your opinion for sure, but your comments sound like you just didn't want to like the film. Your post smacked of antagonism, and I'm more than happy to bite on this occasion. Pun inteneded.



Disagree. This was just a form of exposition. The characters were merely vocalising the audience rational thought process, and they come to the logical conclusion that rescue ain't a comin'. I'd wager that if you and I were in a similar situation that same topic of conversation would arise. Plus their guide was just that; a local experienced armed guide. I don't see what the word 'official' has to do with it. Do you mean like the 'official' boat trip in Rogue? Ha!
You got me with Rogue, but I didn't have much of a problem with that aspect in either film. Was just pointing it out to support my prior comment.
First off after the first death none of the characters in this movie ever act like they're safe. Secondly they're not reptile experts and have no idea of it's attack range until later on in the movie.
When the guy saves the girl after the boat flips, they hug each other when they both reach the bottom of the tree, relieved and obviously convinced enough that they're out of dodge. Being an expert has nothing to do with it, it's just common sense that a croc could jump at least a foot out of the water and snag something.
Only because she's in severe shock after having a croc flip her boat and eat one of it's occupants. Unfortunately She's not Sigourney Weaver; she's just a normal gal too scared to move.
It's not a matter of her hulking up, but to lapse into shock that quickly (before she even knew the guide was killed, if I remember correctly) was weak willed enough to aggravate me, and stood out more as a failed attempt to try and garner suspense. Not questioning the realism of it though.

The more I type it out and think about it, the more I feel similar to an average movie-goers cliched reaction to a teen slasher flick. You obviously don't relate to it in the same way, but the film just didn't have as strong of an effect on me.
I gathered that, and are you sure you didn't decide to jump on the bandwagon after mark's review? Come on you posted it next to two other (inferior in my opinion) Croc flicks and blantantly gave it the lowest rating. You're entitled to your opinion for sure, but your comments sound like you just didn't want to like the film. Your post smacked of antagonism, and I'm more than happy to bite on this occasion. Pun inteneded.
Given what you just said, I doubt I can veer your opinion much, but I don't jump on any bandwagons, and I don't let other people's opinions influence mine. I didn't even remember Mark's review by the time I wrote mine, and I knew very little about the film before I watched it.

Believe me when I say that I wasn't attempting to compare any of the three films to each other (but, subjectively speaking now, I did enjoy Black Water the least, as hard as that may be to believe). My negativity is just something I have to watch out for in the future.

I actually watched Rogue first, and after enjoying it, I felt in the mood for some more like it. I currently have Alligator and Dark Age on my 'to see' list.



I went a little Hitchcock crazy this week so far.

Rear Window
In my opinion Hitchcock's best film. This film will have you at the edge of your seat.


Vertigo
This film is an excellent thriller packed full of one detectives obsession with a friends wife.


North By Northwest
Some great classic scene's in this one. This film keeps you glued to the screen during this cross country adventure.


Blade Runner
This film was well made and interesting but im not a huge fan of Sience fiction films so my rating might seem a little low.


The Graduate
Hoffman brings to life every young guys dream in this tale of lust and love.



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
Arlington Road (1999)

I really enjoyed this, despite being a bit overdone. The ending was by far the best part.

Dead Men's Shoes (2004)

An impressive turn from Paddy Considine fuels this story of intimidating Richard, who exacts revenge on a gang of drug dealers who tormented his simple minded brother. A strong film.
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Little did he know that ...


Day of Wrath (1943 ) Dreyer

Very small rocks and ducks "
 
When the son of pastor visits his cradle robbing father; sparks are going to fly between his second wife, who is even younger than him and beginning to chafe in a joyless marriage. Her fate is sealed in the twinkle of an eye.

The thin veneer of pious respectability in a small Danish village, circa 1623 ill conceals the sensual world of emotion underneath. Religion is used to hide the bubbling cauldron of small minded bigotry and spite, and piety is used like a personal sledge hammer to dispose of those villagers they dislike or fear.

The film begins with the pathetic hounding of a frail old woman accused of being witch. Although her sins only appear to be that of being mildly opinionated, and refusing to be cowed into servile conformity. Not to worry, after a couple of days of official sanctioned torture and she'll agree (surprisingly!) to any and all the crimes to which she's been accused of. Which is made all the more horrifying by the passive acceptance by the vested authorities and the good people of the village. In this world, the ending begets the beginning and the whole cycle repeats itself endlessly.

I liked the white collars were used to frame the face, and later the face to frame the eyes which carries the majority of the acting in the film.

This film could be read as a parable of living in a totalitarian society where questioning authority usually results in serious prison time or death. Or an exploration of following orthodox mythology to such a point that common sense and intelligence are trumped by willful blindness. Whatever your take, this is one surprisingly spry 68 year old film.



P.S. Shame on me, this is my first Dreyer film.


* The title of course, refers the Monty python crew using to Socratic logic to determine whether or not someone is a witch.



True Grit
Not going to compare it to the original which I last saw way back on its release date at the cinema, so can hardly remember it at all. I've read the book much more recently and I think the Coen's film compares very favourably with the spirit of the book. Hailee Steinfeld looks very authentic as Mattie, her face is open with innocence and unwavering self belief.
It's read a few reviews saying this film lacks the Coen's signature dark humour, but it does have the humour of the book which lies in the language and that they've transferred very well.
Jeff Bridges is perfect as the slovenly Rooster, and Matt Damon as the ramrod straight LaBeouf is straight out of the book.
The cinematography is gorgeous and while I don't think it deserves best picture or even best director but I do think young Hailee could have a chance at best supporting actress and the Coens for best adapted screenplay and definately the genius Roger Deakins deserves one this year for cinematography.



I got for good luck my black tooth.
Super Mario Bros.

From what I understand, this has a bad reputation, but it was a lot of fun. If the idea of a giant anthropomorphic lizard in a suit playing the harmonica doesn't appeal to you, you should probably only watch Scandinavian movies about how much life hurts.

Willard (2003)

I watched this because I have a newfound respect for Crispin Glover after having seen Trent Harris' Beaver Trilogy (whereas before I mostly just knew him as the amusing creepy guy in the Charlie's Angels movies). He was fairly good in it, although his was a rather one-note performance. I thought the film was decent enough, but I was put off by all the violence toward animals involved.
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Nice to meat you. If you know what i'm saying.
Blade Runner Theatrical Cut 1982

My first time seeing this version, not an entirely different movie from the new versions. The narration is hillarious and really inapropriate after having grown to the movie watching the new versions. As well the ending is different, ending with stock footage from The Shining ? Check this out if you've only seen the director's/final cuts.

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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The American (Anton Corbijn, 2010)
- Sexy, entertaining hitman thriller, set in Europe, is mostly a cat-and-mouse flick but with a few extra layers of complexity involving trust and guilt.

The Moon is Blue (Otto Preminger, 1953)
+ - Once considered a smut film (after all, it first used the words "virgin", "seduce" and "mistress" in an American flick), this romantic sex romp is amazingly alive and funny today, especially with unsung Maggie McNamara able to control both William Holden and David Niven. Unfortunately, this is a film which needs a major restoration because the print which even TCM shows is horrible.

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (Richard Fleischer, (1955)
- Straightforward tale of the rivalry between architect Stanford White (Ray Milland) and paranoid rich kid Harry Thaw (Farley Granger) over gorgeous teenager Evelyn Nesbitt (Joan Collins, sexy in a lousy performance) is OK entertainment.

The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)
- Early Kubrick noir thriller provides juicy roles for plenty of Hollywood icons as well as his playing around with timelines and narratives four decades before Pulp Fiction. Much of it remains fresh and raw today.

Springfield Rifle (Andre De Toth, 1952)
- Civil War western with Gary Cooper earns most of its positives by being shot on location in snowy mountainous landscapes. It's really an average flick but the location photgraphy is often breathtaking.

Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)
- Convoluted sci-fi mystery holds one's interest but never really crystallizes into something all that deep or meaningful. The film is watchable and has a good cast but ultimately comes across as a bit silly despite painting a new world which unfortunately seems ridiculous in the end.

Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
- I still like this film and give it the same rating I did at the theatre, but watching it after Strange Days made it seem slightly less significant than the first time. While being thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking, I've decided that Nolan needs to lighten up a bit to allow his best attributes to breathe.

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)
- Thoroughly overwrought film, in almost every manner possible, is probably the director's worst and certainly his most monotonous. Even the parts which are interesting are smothered by a smug archness, and the whole thing just goes on and on.

The Misfits (John Huston, 1961)
- Visionary film seems better now than when it was released, telling a still-pertinent story about how someone can survive in this world without bowing down to "The Man". Marilyn Monroe gives her finest performance and is just about matched by Clark Gable, Eli Wallach, Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter. Unfortunately, this Arthur Miller (Monroe's then husband) screenplay was the last film for both Gable and Monroe who died shortly afterward.

Chicago (Rob Marshall, 2002)
- Best Picture Oscar winner is an entertaining musical with a cast fully attuned to the material. I didn't like it quite as much this time but that could perhaps be attributed to a sense of familiarity. What it really needs is Bob Fosse's living hands on the project instead of his spirit guiding things from the grave, but even so, it's undeserving of the seeming backlash it continues to receive.

The Slender Thread (Sydney Pollack, 1965)
- Powerhouse cast in an interesting flick about an attempt to stop a suicide from happening. Anne Bancroft plays a depressed Seattle wife and mother who cannot find anyone to talk to her about her feelings so she takes some pills and prepares to die. Only after this does she find a suicide hotline and puts in a call to Sidney Poitier who tries to get her to reveal her location while the authorities try to trace the call. Supporting cast includes Telly Savalas, Steven Hill and Ed Asner.

The Caine Mutiny (Edward Dmytryk, 1954)
- Wonderful naval comedy/drama concerning Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), the new skipper of a minesweeper during WWII, whose authoritarianism and seeming cowardice causes a conflict between him and his subordinates. The film is directed with a real authenticity which adds immeasurably to its power. What's really surprising is how funny the whole film is considering how dramatic the overriding events are. If you don't care for the romantic subplot with the young secondary leads, it doesn't take up that much of the film, and it's all leading to the great court martial scene at the end with Jose Ferrer as the defense attorney.

Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)
- Time capsule movie which shows off Los Angeles and its streets in 1969 while ostensibly telling of a romance between a lonely French model (Anouk Aimee) and a serious young man (Gary Lockwood) who's worried about being drafted and going off to Vietnam. There are other bits of plot involving the man's MG roadster about to be repossessed and the split between him and his girlfriend (Alexandra Hay), but mostly it's a film about being unsatisfied and unable to control one's destiny. It's set to a score by rock band Spirit who also make an appearance in the flick.

Nothing Like the Holidays (Alfredo De Ville, 2008)
- A Puerto Rican family based in Chicago come together to spend another Christmas but this year may well be the last considering that the parents aren't happy with each other and their children have a few problems of their own to work out. Unlike most recent Christmas films, this one is mostly dramatic so it works better than many by not being so ridiculous upfront. Then again, there isn't anything terribly original going on here except hearing some Spanish dialogue sprinkled throughout.

L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997)
- Rock 'em Sock 'em police thriller tells of corruption and lost Hollywood dreams in the early 1950s as both television and tabloids are beginning to influence people's everyday lives. I've lived in the Los Angeles area most of my life, and this film addresses the problems which have well been established within the police department for years including racism and brutality. What makes this film so watchable is that the three main police characters (played by Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce) are all so different that you never know what they're going to do, but by the end of the film, it adds up to almost everything. Throw in a romance or two, a murder mystery and several well-staged shootouts and violent rampages, and you've got the best period thriller since Chinatown.

When Michael Calls (TV, Philip Leacock, 1972)
- Simple movie about a divorced woman (Elizabeth Ashley) who keeps getting phone calls from her dead nephew Michael. This occurs at the same time that her ex-husband (Ben Gazzara) shows up to visit his daughter. Eventually people who try to investigate begin being murdered, so the husband and the wife's brother (Michael Douglas) take it upon themselves to investigate. It's not terribly exciting but has a few moments of suspense.

The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963)
- Vivid parable about the gulf between master and servant in '60s London and how in this case the gulf begins to shrink and almost blur so that it's unclear who is actually the servant to whom. Dirk Bogarde is great as the Gentleman's Gentleman who comes to work for a young wanker (James Fox) who's definitely idle and fancies himself rich. When the servant's sister (Sarah Miles) is introduced into the mix, things change dramatically, especially considering the relationship between the Fox character and his fiancee (Wendy Craig). The Harold Pinter script is full of moral wavering while being extremely accurate in peeling away the veneer of civility inherent in many relationships, and Losey is aided immeasurably by Douglas Slocombe's brilliant black-and-white photography.

All Night Long (Jean-Claude Tramont, 1981)
- What is usually played as a male midlife crisis melodrama comes across here as a breezy souffle of a charming romantic comedy with Gene Hackman and Barbra Streisand both excellent in offbeat roles. He's an executive who snaps at work and gets demoted but comes to the realization that his marriage and career are over and that he'd like to be an inventor and settle down with a distant in-law (Streisand) trapped in a loveless marriage. I really love this quirky gem, and the use of Chaplin's score from City Lights pushes it over the top for me and makes this my Valentine's Day movie of the year.

Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010)
- Good vampire flick, not quite in the league of the Swedish version, about loneliness and what it's like to be an outcast 12-year-old from two dramatically-different perspectives. On its own, it works a mostly quiet magic and adds a couple of new scenes to keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, the F/X occasionally go overboard but luckily those moments are few and far between. Good performances by the cast although I never really noticed before how much Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins looked the same with glasses on.

Doppelganger (Avi Nesher, 1993)
- Awful Drew Barrymore flick with plenty of flesh (plus two Drews!) means this is right up honeykid's alley. The story is utter crap, the direction and editing are amateurish, the F/X are garish and inappropriate, and Drew acts like she's playing the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. Still, I'll admit that I had to watch the whole thing just to see what new cinematic abomination would occur.

Journey to Shiloh (William Hale, 1968)
- This seems like a made-for-TV flick and a cheap one at that, but it's aided by two things. First, there's the story. It's about a group of seven naive but earnest young men from West Texas who decide to enlist in the Confederate Army at the beginning of the Civil War, so they travel by horseback to Virginia and en route have their eyes opened concerning the horrors of war and slavery. Secondly, the seven men are played by this cast: James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, Harrison Ford, Don Stroud, Jan-Michael Vincent, Paul Petersen and Michael Burns. For those students of the Civil War and the Bible, yes the film's title has a double meaning.

(l. to r.: Don Stroud, Michael Sarrazin, Jan-Michael Vincent, James Caan, Paul Petersen, Michael Burns, Harrison Ford)

A Life Less Ordinary (Danny Boyle, 1997)
- This overlong romantic comedy-fantasy has a lot of things wrong with it but somehow it gets by due to the enormous cast and having its heart in the right place, no matter how ridiculous that place seems at times. Ewen McGregor and Cameron Diaz have some chemistry as a couple on the run, but it's the supporting characters who are often so outrageous that you have to laugh at them, especially dentist Stanley Tucci and the "hitmen angels" (don't ask) played by Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo.

While She Was Out (Susan Montford, 2008)
- Thoroughly lousy thriller set on Christmas Eve follows the struggle of a silly wife/mother (Kim Basinger) who ends up having to defend herself from a crazed multi-ethnic gang who decide to commit murder to avenge their "honor" in spite of them being totally in the wrong. Although the female lead does seem to grow stronger as the film progresses, it's an utterly disheartening experience seeing her turn into an adept killer. The film seems to want to be a distaff version of Straw Dogs but without any moral or intellectual weight or motives to help give it any meaning. Then they have the friggin' audacity to play Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" over the end credits. Bah, Humbug!
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The Golem (Carl Boese, Paul Wegener, 1920)
I checked this movie out thanks to re93animator's comment on it several posts ago. It's a fascinating early German sci-fi film about a Rabbi-Kabbalist who makes a humanoid monster out of clay and animates it using secret knowledge borrowed from a celestial being. The film takes place in 16th-century Prague where the Jews are in danger of being persecuted by the royal court, but many of the characters in this (not least the Rabbi's daughter and his assistant) are highly problematic and keep it from becoming a simple morality play. The remarkable set design seems to be frequently cited as an example of expressionism but I feel that term is not descriptive enough for this movie, which also seems strikingly reminiscent of art nouveau in the organic design of things like the gate to the Jewish city and the Rabbi's laboratory with it's conch shell-like staircase. The version I saw was accompanied by selections from Bach's Brandenburg concertos and with the complex story involving demonic magic, persecution, sexual intrigue and murder, as well as the great music and art design this is a highly engaging and rich silent film.




Manual of Ninja Arts (Band of Ninja) (Oshima Nagisa, 1967)
Kamishibai-style historical epic of Japanese ninja, Warlords and peasant rebellion based on a 1950s manga by Sampei Shirato, who began his storytelling career as a Kamishibai man himself, but became famous for his iconic ninja manga Kamui Den (cf further down in this post: Kamui Gaiden). This is something that will require a couple viewings just to get a sense of who's who, since there are a lot of characters and subplots. Furthermore, the style of the film -- which consists of stills of Shirato's art carefully panned or rhythmically sequenced to give a sense of motion and continuity, instead of traditional cel animation -- is fast-paced and information-heavy both in the images and words. In other words it's not forgiving for subtitle readers. The story and politics are interesting and complicated and there are elements of man-made as well as phantasmagorical horror interlaced with humor, such as when one ninja gets decapitated and his head seemingly continues to laugh and live on for months in story-time (plus the spooky sequences are all accompanied by theramin sounds). All-in-all it's a pretty enjoyable and unique entry in the action genre and well worth checking out for those interested in comics, ninja-fiction or experimental animation.




Shanghai Blues (Tsui Hark, 1984)
Early "mainstream" rom-com by Tsui Hark, who had previously been known for his visually striking but extremely dark and humorless exploitation/genre pastiches. The story begins with couple of characters meeting under a bridge during the Japanese bombing of Shanghai and without ever seeing each others' faces vowing to hook up again after the war is over. This is used as the setup for a series of gags as well as beautifully melodramatic scenes about mistaken identity and missed chances in postwar Shanghai, a city with a booming black-market and sleazy entertainment industry. Got to see this and Band of Ninja thanks to Harry.





Tricky Brains (Wong Jing, 1991)
Stephen Chow plays a prankster for hire with tricky brains in this tasteless, completely off-the-wall parodic-farce by Wong Jing. When I say tasteless I mean there's a scene where Chow needlessly tricks a date into thinking he's a homosexual dying from AIDS (moreover, claims chow "AIDS turned me gay"), just to watch her squirm as he spreads his saliva all over their table. Chow and straight-man Andy Lau play off each other well and the gags, while anything but subtle, are fast and crazy enough to keep you one your toes, and to cap it off there's a final prank fight between rival "handsome trick experts" that includes a cream pie-filled adaptation of the flying guillotine weapon from The One-Armed Boxer II.





Supercop (Stanley Tong, 1992)
Stunt-heavy actioner has Jackie Chan's breezy Hong Kong "supercop" and Michelle Yeoh's stuffy Mainland-Chinese security chief going undercover as a brother-sister pair to infiltrate a gang of heroin-smugglers. The plot is stronger than usual and Chan is in top form but what sets this apart from countless other of his vehicles is Yeoh's triumphant return to film after her 3-year retirement/marriage to a rich businessman named Dickson Poon (...). This movie has the famous climactic fight in Kuala Lumpur in which she jumps a motorcycle onto the roof of a moving train and then seamlessly ditches it for some fisticuffs. The director, Stanley Tong -- who also began his career as a lowly stuntman -- certainly deserves plenty of credit for testing many of the more dangerous stunts on himself before allowing his actors to attempt them.


I have more to say about some of these, as well as about the rest (especially Straw Dogs and The Lost World) but not enough time right now.

Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971)
-
Maboroshi (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995)

Revanche (Götz Spielmann, 2008)

Le Corbeau (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1943)

Jackie Chan's First Strike (Stanley Tong, 1996)
-
The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946)
-
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Stephen Spielberg, 1997)
+
A Better Tomorrow III (Tsui Hark, 1989)
+
Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)

The Learning Curve (Eric Schwab, 2001)
-
Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945)

Kamui Gaiden (Yoichi Sai, 2009)

Bring It On (Payton Reed, 2000)




Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)

This film will keep you interested for the full running time of four hours. With all the desert raids, train blow ups, and camel attacks their is no arguing the fact this film deserved to take home the statue.

2001: a space odyssey (1968)

This story of evolution is more an art piece then a film. The score is excellent and the effects are ahead of its time.

Psycho (1960)


On The Waterfront (1954)

A film about corrupt union bosses and one member standing up for whats right. Superb performance by Marlon Brando.

Do The Right Thing (1989)

This film is about hate and racism or is it just about pure stupidity and ignorance. Either way some knock out performances excellent screenplay and great directing.



Kenny, don't paint your sister.

Humorous and enjoyable western, although some scenes (i.e. pushing the arrow through the shoulder) gave me absolute pain. Eastwood and MacLaine have sensational chemistry, both perfect for the roles. The climax scene actually got boring. I felt like it was just killing, explosion, Clint Eastwood, killing, explosion, Clint Eastwood, etc. It got quite redundant, but the only complaint really. The script and story were good, and just a good watch.

Two Mules for Sister Sara:
+




While the storyline was decent, it isn't terribly original. Honestly, I dozed off and it didn't really hold my attention. I forced myself to stay awake during the climax, which turned out okay. That's if I'm not confusing it with Dallas that I watched the end of right before.

Springfield Rifle:





I think I figured out exactly where this movie goes wrong. "A hero is only as good as his villian" rang true here for me. The only truly evil thing The Penguin seems to do comes at the end, Catwoman is practically falling in love with Batman, and Max is a corrupt businessman. These villians are a far cry from the murderous psychopathic Joker in Batman. Therefore, Batman loses a little of his edge. It really doesn't surprise me that Keaton only agreed when he got a major pay upgrade. It isn't unenjoyable or a bad movie. It just falls short of its potential. Burton was the perfect director for this and the cast is awesome. But, the pacing was off, character development is almost overdone, and left a lot to be desired for me.

Batman Returns:
+




While this movie felt a little slow, I enjoyed it a lot more than I would've imagined. The storyline isn't anything terribly special, but the Billy the Kid part of it was a surprise to me and adds a lot to what would be general John Wayne fanfare. I would recommend to watch this when you haven't been watching many westerns because it's really just a standard western plot. It's got a good cast, decent script, and some beautiful cinematography to enjoy though.

Chisum:





This movie went very slowly for me. While Donner puts in a number of memorable shots and scenes, it really could've been cut down some. Things didn't really get exciting for me until the very, very end. The love story between Superman and Lois leaves quite a bit to be desired, but Kidder and Reeve make a nice couple. Reeve really seemed to create the personality of Superman, and I liked Kidder as the snappy newspaperwoman. Gene Hackman really stole the show for me though as Lex Luthor. Ned Beatty as his dimwitted henchman provides a handful of laughs too. Overall, a fun and well-done movie, but fell short on excitement.

Superman:
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Classicqueen13




Sorry you felt both Batman Returns and Superman fell short. Those are two of my favorites - especially Superman.
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"I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries." - Frank Capra
Family DVD Collection | My Top 100 | My Movie Thoughts | Frank Capra



Wanted to go back and do write-ups for the rest of the movies in my last post. I already went back and added a some comments on Supercop but I'll re-post those as well, just in case they were missed.



Supercop (Stanley Tong, 1992)
Stunt-heavy actioner has Jackie Chan's breezy Hong Kong "supercop" and Michelle Yeoh's stuffy Mainland-Chinese security chief going undercover as a brother-sister pair to infiltrate a gang of heroin-smugglers. The plot is stronger than usual and Chan is in top form but what sets this apart from countless other of his vehicles is Yeoh's triumphant return to film after her 3-year retirement/marriage to a rich businessman named Dickson Poon (...). This movie has the famous climactic fight in Kuala Lumpur in which she jumps a motorcycle onto the roof of a moving train and then seamlessly ditches it for some fisticuffs. The director, Stanley Tong -- who also began his career as a lowly stuntman -- certainly deserves plenty of credit for testing many of the more dangerous stunts on himself before allowing his actors to attempt them.




Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, 1971)
I'm curious what the usual reading of this movie is. Dustin Hoffman plays an emotionally impotent mathematician, which seems to be a bit of a stereotype at first but when he eventually lets down his guard he reveals a much more odd and compelling character. The presentation is interesting because while it's part western in how the bad guys are portrayed, it also starts becoming more and more of a horror film towards the end. If you view it like that, a couple of the plot-inconsistencies start to make a bit more sense. Overall a pretty interesting film.
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Maboroshi (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995)
I looked up the average shot duration for this film, which at least one source estimates at over 25 seconds. That puts this film in Tarkovsky territory, but the story scans much more easily than, say, The Mirror. It's about a woman grieving the enigmatic suicide of her first husband, even six years later when she's re-married. The way the movie is structured (I think the only really happy and warm moment in Yumiko's second marriage comes somewhere in the middle of the movie) foregrounds the lack of closure for this woman. 25 seconds is still pretty long and demands a lot of either contemplation or boredom from the audience, but it's also helped by a strong sense of composition and light. The visual tone is generally somber and cool as well, with a lot of scenes filmed at long range, characters grading into the scenery. Another strength of the movie is the setting. Much of the film takes place on the rough, weather-beaten west coast of Honshu (cf. Warm Water Under a Red Bridge.)




Revanche (Götz Spielmann, 2008)
Another, seemingly more optimistic film with a rural setting about coping with the loss of a loved one. This has much more of a narrative direction and is probably a little more accessible than Maboroshi. I think my ranking this a little lower is based on lighting.




Le Corbeau (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1943)
Entertaining mystery-thriller about an anonymous letter-campaign to destroy a doctor, set in a provincial French Village. Strong use of the camera to convey that everyone in the town is a mute witness and potentially the villain, with a clever revenge subplot that turns on this notion.




Jackie Chan's First Strike (Police Story IV) (Stanley Tong, 1996)
While it has a number of fun set-pieces (notably a fist-fight in the shark tank at an aquarium) and a globe-trotting, bond-like plot, there are quite a few Jackie Chan films that I would recommend over this.
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The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946)
Somewhat middling 40s crime film in which a pair of illicit lovers schemes a way to get rich and stay together, but is predictably torn apart by their own actions. Unlike Scarlet Street (another well-regarded "film noir" that I watched recently) the focus here seems not to be on the moral choices of the characters, but in the comic-madness of their exploits and undoing. The dialog and acting is humorously camp.
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The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Stephen Spielberg, 1997)
Inconsistenly impressive sequel to the original Jurassic Park that follows the same formula as the original versions of The Lost World and King Kong, and in a couple scenes seems to prefigure Peter Jackson's adaptation of the latter film. I felt this was inconsistent at just about every level. The opening scene with the family having a picnic with amplified/T-Rex-like waves in the background worked for me. It's pretty over-the-top and far from subtle but I like that layering and I found the tone of the scene kind of nightmarish and bizarre. On the other hand there is plenty of stale imagery, the most redolent example of which is probably the ending shot as we exit the island (the splendor of cg monsters reclaiming their island looks posed and cramped, like a poorly designed museum diorama). Some of the continuity is excellent and exciting while at other times it's incoherent and clumsily advances the plot. Likewise with the characters, there are a couple compelling supporting people (particularly Pete Postlethwaite's sensitive Big Game hunter) but most of the main characters come off as malicious doofuses propped up as venial do-gooders. The bad guy is one-dimensional even by blockbuster standards (money money money). Overall I ended up liking it though. I believe a lot of the corny stuff is knowing and even the stuff that seems less-intentional is still pretty silly and fun.
+



A Better Tomorrow III (Tsui Hark, 1989)
This is actually a prequel to the first film with Chow Yun-Fat traveling to war-torn Vietnam to safely bring home his Cousin and Uncle. There's plenty of action and some emotionally powerful moments but overall the movie is just o.k. After John Woo (who directed the first two movies) and Tsui Hark had their falling out over The Killer, Woo did his own Vietnam-Hong Kong epic Bullet in the Head, which is about as good as this.



The Learning Curve (Eric Schwab, 2001)
Stylish film by Brian DePalma's frequent assistant director. It holds your attention and has a cynical sense of humor (mostly about the entertainment industry) but the ending is bit obvious and underwhelming. Worth giving a shot.
+



Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)
Occasionally-tense drama about a two-faced bastard who somehow convinces his wife that she's insane. Some of the ambiguity and suspense would work better if his evil plot wasn't so obvious to everyone other than the woman.




Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945)
Blacker-than-black "noir" about a would-be-painter who gets scammed by a couple of heels and in turn makes a few shady choices of his own. There's some obvious self-reference in how his paintings symbolically (but sometimes bluntly) reflect characters and scenes in the film, along with an ironic ending showing how his passion and moral failure eventually drive him insane but I couldn't really care much about what happened and the clever parts seem somewhat mechanical to me.




Kamui Gaiden (Yoichi Sai, 2009)
Easier to follow than Ninja Bugei-cho but still pretty convoluted Sanpei Shirato adaptation that is also much more conventional. The wire-work and computer effects are laid on pretty thick as is the gore. The first half of the story is available in two translated volumes (Legend of Kamui), which I would recommend tracking down instead of the film.




Bring It On (Payton Reed, 2000)
Tongue-in-cheek teen romance that has a little bit of charm and a couple very funny scenes. (My favorite character is pictured above).



Good whiskey make jackrabbit slap de bear.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Not Kubrick's best work, but still, a dazzling, graphic vision of a future shock world, with a top performance from Malcolm McDowell as a thug with love for Beethoven and ultra-violence.

Bringing Out The Dead (1998)

A surreal Scorsese, with Nicolas Cage as a burnt-out parmedic, haunted by visions of the girl he couldn't save. A great soundtrack and a good turn from Cage saves this film.

Rain Man (1988) Rewatch.

Falling Down (1992)

I finally watched Falling Down, and, well, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Michael Douglas was terrific and the script was well-written, but I just can't put my finger on why I didn't enjoy as much as others.



How much did you think you'd like Falling Down, TD? You've given it more than Bringing Out The Dead and half a popcorn less than Clockwork, both of which you sound (to me anyway) to have enjoyed more.