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Old 01-07-2015, 10:43 AM   #2836
rayw
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 6/10
I about gave up on this 30min in, read wiki synopsis & reception, lotta "Oooo ahh!", gave it another chance, finished it - meh.
The reviews gave it a lot of credit for being great scifi for which I admit the CG tech is so good (credit where credit due - it is) that I ceased watching it as scifi and watched it as polisci, in which case I thought it was childish and poor.
There's no way the two populations could be so close to each other and not be aware of each after ten years existence.
I realize < 1/500 of the human population remains, but surely someone would have figured out a neural zone between the two populations.
Barter systems and commerce of some sort would have emerged.
Simple negotiation strategies were completely ignored.
It was just all so ridiculous.
But it did look great.

Horseback monkeys with machine guns was da bomb!

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Old 01-08-2015, 12:43 AM   #2837
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Edge of Tomorrow: Live, Die, Repeat - 7.5/10
Technically well made & shot.
Story is fair, not great, not bad.
Writers did a good job avoiding the 'Groundhog Day' cliché, too.
Would watch it again in a few years.
Irritates me TCruise having all his grey hair dyed out. Pfft. "Dude... Give it up."

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Old 01-08-2015, 10:25 AM   #2838
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Stray Dogs directed by Tsai Ming-liang - 6/10
The first Tsai film that didn't really do it for me. This has the most extreme form of his style in the form of an approximately 20 minute static long take shot with no dialogue and two characters that are practically not moving. Rather than being a great film on alienation with a really interesting set-up, this is a film with a half-interesting set-up and the best parts of the film are the parts Tsai chooses not to focus on, instead he becomes more deliberately confusing and alienating the audience from the film instead of showing characters that speak to the audience's alienation with the world.

Becoming John Ford - 5/10
Talking head documentary on possibly America's finest director in an interesting period of his career. Not much that's interesting here though, a few nice anecdotes but the documentary didn't really show me anything I couldn't have read on Ford's Wikipedia page.

Herbie directed by George Lucas & Paul Golding - 5/10
Maybe as a student film this could be seen as okay, but as far as I'm concerned Lucas isn't very good at making abstract films either.

The Romancing Star directed by Wong Jing - 6/10
Very fun HK broad comedy featuring Chow Yun-fat in a film filled with moments referencing and poking fun at the film that made him a star A Better Tomorrow. Maggie Cheung is absolutely adorable in this film too, and it's just a blast to watch. I have mixed feelings about the supporting players, Eric Tsang and a few other HK faces that I know but whose names I do not know, they just weren't given the best jokes but they did the best they could with them.

Viennale Walzer directed by Agnes Varda - n/a
Just a decent trailer, the version I saw had no subs so I didn't understand it, I'm not sure it would have been a revelatory piece of cinema.

The Romancing Star II directed by Wong Jing - 4/10
Gone is Chow Yun-fat, in comes Andy Lau in one of his most unlikeable roles. Some fun moments, but this film doesn't sustain the fun the way the first film did.

The Romancing Star III directed by Sherman Wong - 3/10
Even less star power in this film with Andy Lau only jumping in occasionally (much in the way that The Happy Ghost did in all of the sequels to that series, but especially 5 which has less appearances), again some fun gags but not that many. Overall, I think this series is a third-rate version of the Lucky Stars series without the martial arts or the crazy stunts, fans of that series will enjoy the first film but the other two just aren't that good.

Fahrenheit 9/11 directed by Michael Moore - 7/10
Okay, the filmmaking is good, very good but this film is very manipulative and one-sided so I can't give it a higher rating since that bothered me. It also goes on for a bit too long. There are some really emotional moments though, I prefer those to Bush-bashing (but that's just me since I was a child during this era and just heard Bush-bashing too much already).

She's Gotta Have It directed by Spike Lee - 8/10
Wow, what a great debut by Spike Lee! How did he make this with only $20,000!? The black & white cinematography is gorgeous, the film already has signs of Spike Lee's use of more experimental formal techniques to enhance his story, and it establishes his Woody Allen-esque persona. Not a perfect film by any means, but I think it's pretty great.

Baby Burlesks starring Shirley Temple - 2/10 (overall average for these 8 short films)
I love Shirley Temple, but this is not her best work. All short films are creepy, most sexist, many racist, and none of them are entertaining from beginning to end.

Chungking Express directed by Wong Kar-wai - 10/10
I finally got to watch this HK classic that I wanted to watch for many years, and I ended up loving it! I won't make a long review here, but I just think this film is pretty much perfect.

By Indian Post directed by John Ford - 7/10
Nice short film by the master, it's basically a slapstick comedy Western. Unfortunately the plot is set in motion due to a racist set-up, but the rest of the film is just all fun, especially the ending which is pretty rebellious for 1910's standards!
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:56 AM   #2839
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Last night I watched Don Hertzfeldt's "It's Such a Beautiful Day" I don't know how I missed this before (but I've been pretty out of touch when it comes to animation these days). Absolutely stunning, provided you have a taste/tolerance for lo-fi animation. I was expecting morbid surrealism (his "Rejected" short is one of my favorites), wasn't expecting it to be so serious. Also: his narration sort of reminded me of John S. Hall.

It's on Netflix, so if you have it, watch this. Doubly so if you have any experience dealing with/supporting someone with mental illness.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:48 AM   #2840
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What Maisie Knew - 8/10
Excellent quiet drama about a young girl caught up in her parents' custody battle.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:50 AM   #2841
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshL View Post
Last night I watched Don Hertzfeldt's "It's Such a Beautiful Day"...
I love 'Billy's Balloon' and 'The Animation Show'!

[YT]Fpc5vgi9zbM[/YT]

[YT]lZzKAZODy2c[/yt]
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:49 PM   #2842
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The War Zone (directed by Tim Roth). Again, one of my favourite films. 9.5/10

Where to begin with this...

This is a stark contrast to other films dealing with the subject matter (incest/abuse) or for that matter any taboo family subjects. It really speaks from an emotional stance rather than a judgemental one. To simply label it "disturbing" is to underestimates its power. It speaks loudly, and doesn't flinch in its narrative. It also speaks as a film about the bonds of family, and how relationships complicate matters. Tom isn't one who discovers what it happening and immediately blackmails or goes running and telling. There is definitely a deep look into family dynamics and how that clouds our responses and decisions in light of distressing revelations.

Anyway, without being more of a bore about it:

Acting is astounding, as is the direction. Roth (I believe this was his first feature) does a superb job. Cinematography is spot on for the desolate feel of the film, mirroring the wanton desperation of the characters. I can't find anything to really dislike about this film (but I never give anything a 10/10 other than the mrs ... not even Katy Perry.)
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Old 01-17-2015, 01:07 AM   #2843
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[YT]CUrd-VWiBZM[/YT]
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:07 AM   #2844
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Locke - 6.5/10
It's alright - but you kinda gotta be in the mood to watch this kind of story.
Looks good, acted well, fair enough story.
Lotta hate for it, which if I paid money to watch this in the theater I also woulda hated, but for free from the public library and watching it from the slouchy comfort of my livingroom couch and nothing better to watch - it was fairly decent.
Mostly I wanted to see what could be done with one on-screen actor and a single location. The story benefits from a lot of "implied" action by merely taking place in a moving vehicle down the highway. Try to do this with a guy at his office desk and... it might not turn out so well.


American Horror Story: Season One, Two, & Three - 10/10
Incredible story telling.
The consistency of quality story construct and twists has my respect. I almost want to give up ever writing/producing anything because I can't write as good as this.
How the actors are re-roled in different seasons is fantastic. Love it.
Definitely a must see series - and I've given up on both the much ballyhooed Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones series for too much drama and not enough story. Not with AHS.
Looking forward to the current season going to DVD.
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Old 01-21-2015, 09:41 PM   #2845
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayw View Post
Locke - 6.5/10
It's alright - but you kinda gotta be in the mood to watch this kind of story.
Looks good, acted well, fair enough story.
Lotta hate for it, which if I paid money to watch this in the theater I also woulda hated, but for free from the public library and watching it from the slouchy comfort of my livingroom couch and nothing better to watch - it was fairly decent.
Mostly I wanted to see what could be done with one on-screen actor and a single location. The story benefits from a lot of "implied" action by merely taking place in a moving vehicle down the highway. Try to do this with a guy at his office desk and... it might not turn out so well.


American Horror Story: Season One, Two, & Three - 10/10
Incredible story telling.
The consistency of quality story construct and twists has my respect. I almost want to give up ever writing/producing anything because I can't write as good as this.
How the actors are re-roled in different seasons is fantastic. Love it.
Definitely a must see series - and I've given up on both the much ballyhooed Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones series for too much drama and not enough story. Not with AHS.
Looking forward to the current season going to DVD.
Please watch The Wire.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:03 AM   #2846
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Rio Bravo - 3.5/5
Apparently Dean Martin was the Dude long before Lebowski came along.

The Immitation Game - 4/5

Harvey - 3.5/5
So the rabbit was...real?

Sgt. Bilko - 3.5/5
Not sure why this film got such bad reviews. It's pretty funny.

Hot Tub Time Machine - 4/5
For some reason this comedy really works for me. The Crispin Glover nearly losing his arm gag was funny.
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Old 02-02-2015, 03:35 AM   #2847
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The Bagman. I liked it.

The Interview. It starts out quite strong, then looses some of that in quality. But I thought it was fairly amusing.

I watched a string of scary movies. Fortunately, none of them turned out to be too terribly scary.

The Possession. It was okay.

At the Devil's Door. Not too bad.

Haunt. So-so.

Contracted. On the downside, it plays rather like an Evangelical PSA. On the upside, it's quite a good premise: Spoiler: how a zombie virus (or whatever?) gets loose into the wild, or the general populace. I would have liked it better if we saw Spoiler: her victims reanimate....I think. But then again, it might have been the best choice not to show that. Not sure. We could presume that Spoiler: they did reanimate later on. And the lead was well cast. I thought about giving up on the film at times due to the usual sort of silliness almost inevitable in the genre. But I kept watching because she's quite good, and, quite lovely to look at and watch.

And hey...come on. If you're gonna do it, do it right. Spoiler: Mealworms? Nuh-ah. Right = maggots. Geesss.

Entity. Fairly decent for what it is. Reminded me quite a bit of Devil's Pass, which I liked a bit better. They're quite comparable.

Z Nation. I liked it quite a bit. I think it's better than Walking Dead. More entertaining, anyway. More action. Better acting. Or perhaps writing. I don't know. I only wish there were more than one season to watch (on Netflix).

Up. Finally bought the Blu-ray. Hadn't seen it again all these years. It really is a gem from Pixar. I only wish I had a 3D set-up so I could enjoy it to its fullest. I remember the 3D being quite excellent when I saw it in the theater.
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:48 AM   #2848
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Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!): I hadn't seen this one in years. As a kid, it was my least favorite Charlie Brown movie and it still is, but it was better than I remembered. It's a shame the four Charlie Brown movies aren't that well known these days as they're all above average, but with any luck, the new one coming out this year will draw attention to them.
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Old 02-05-2015, 01:06 AM   #2849
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Horns - 5/10
Interesting idea with unrealized potential in execution.
Radcliffe was clearly the main draw and only "paid" actor amid a dozen buck-fifty cast members, still missable.
Pretty sure the production budget was considerably above the box-office take, but everyone seems mum about the budget.
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=horns.htm
Can't call it rubbish, can't recommend it, either.



Automata - 6.5/10
Another film that fell short of its potential (third act fumble), but is worth seeing.
(Beats the cr@p outta 'The Signal', 'The Machine', 'Europa Report', 'The Last days on Mars', or 'Transcendence.')
They certainly did well for either a $7M or $15M budget. No, not in revenue. Total bust there. But it looks great!
First couple of acts really had that 'Blade Runner' vibe going on, but then the writer/director/producer/actors all gang-bang bukakied "humanity" all over the otherwise pretty good premise in an abortive effort to connect with the audience.
Sigh...


SCORE!: [yt]GIszQyz3EJ0[/yt]

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Old 02-05-2015, 02:36 AM   #2850
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What We Do in the Shadows - 9/10

This was absolutely hilarious. I'm not sure why they are doing a Kickstarter right now to get into American theatres... with Funny or Die behind them that shouldn't really be an issue. However, I bought the New Zealand edition of this to watch. Absolutely hilarious "documentary" that I can't recommend enough. It's a true art in terms of lighting and holding the documentary film style even though it's a comedy mockumentary kind of film. Would I back them on KS? No. Rewards are overpriced. Would I recommend buying the digital New Zealand edition? Yes.
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