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Film in 2012


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#81 Izo

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:38 PM

I keep adding to this:

Moonrise Kingdom

For a director more associated with “quirky” indie comedies, why is the feeling I most associate with Wes Anderson’s films one of resigned sadness? His characters are rarely if ever happy, and they speak about simple, sad truths that Yasujiro Ozu excelled at. I’m constantly reminded in these pictures of the brilliant question in Tokyo Story, stunning in its simplicity and sadness: “Isn't life disappointing?” Moonrise Kingdom is a wonderful film, possibly one of Anderson’s best, if such a thing can even be measured, and it features like all his films, an underlying theme of unhappy familial life. As we‘ve come to expect from a Wes Anderson Movie, the film has a layer of superficial artificiality to it, but that layer is only there to hide the intensely painful reality just underneath.

The actors are great across the board, but the one that stands out the most is maybe the least expected: Bruce Willis as the “sad, stupid” police officer. Willis has a scene with young Sam that really reminds you of what a subtle, understated actor he is capable of being. I suppose the scene has moments of humor, as when Willis pours Sam a beer, but to me they feel more like moments of absurd punctuation than actual gags. To me, it feels almost disrespectful to laugh here, when Willis’ character is so emotionally naked. In fact, I rarely find myself actually laughing during these supposed comedies, but I’m not sure if that’s because the humor is lost on me or there’s a slight mislabeling of the film’s genres. It’s ultimately unimportant if the film works on one level or the other for a viewer, and for me Anderson’s films resonate in a big way.*

I guess what I'm trying to say is that in Anderson's movies I don't remember the laughs nearly as fondly as the moments where I'm chocking back tears or feeling intensely uncomfortable for one of the characters' embarrassment. I wince every time I watch Rushmore and Max is confronted by Mrs. Cross about the potential cheapness of sex. And this is really one of the reasons why I hold Anderson in such high regard, because he can illicit that response from me with every picture he makes. Wes Anderson makes me feel for his characters.

*I should also note that there are clearly some very funny moments in all of his pictures, including this one, but that isn't what I remember most about them.

#82 clydefro

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:49 PM

^ I don't know if you can talk about or review a Wes Anderson picture with any effectiveness in the usual way of discussing plot, acting, blah blah blah. There's a poetry that takes place, a sad poetry oftentimes, which tends to dominate the mood of one of his films. The multi-part video essays Matt Zoller Seitz did a few years ago are great but I'm not sure I've ever come across any writing that truly captures what I find so beautiful about Anderson's films. Hong Sang-soo carries a similar burden. At any rate, I don't think I can do it.

Similarly, I don't know if I can explain why Beasts of the Southern Wild is so impressive. I'm a little afraid that too much attention will ruin it so as deserving of accolades and audiences as the movie is, I kind of hope it gets discovered quietly instead of developing an impossibly glowing reputation which will then surely cause disappointment for many. There's something I loved about the film that I kind of understand and kind of don't. It's become rare for me to feel like I could watch something again very soon after exiting the theater but that happened here. I considered some potential criticisms but quickly rejected them. What registered strongest was the feel that I got for these characters and their setting and just how different it all felt from anything else playing anywhere else. The world created here is extraordinary. My usual hour and a half sweetspot I have regarding running times didn't feel like nearly long enough of a time to spend in that world.

#83 mikesncc1701

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 02:51 AM

I'm not going to attempt any analysis of Moonrise Kingdom. As with any Anderson film, I really just enjoy the hell out of it. His films are set up as sort of a stage play and usually the environments are vibrant and just wonderful. Performances were great from all, the humor has much to do with the editing (namely the Troop 55 battle with out protagonists in this case) and it's just an all around sense of wonderment. Anderson's films are all the same sans variation in the narrative but that's not a bad thing at all. You know what your in for when you see something he's created and to this point, I'm not tired of his style yet. Moonrise is definitely the best film I've seen this year so far.

#84 sexy rancheros

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:46 AM

Haywire(dir. Steven Soderbergh)
I think the major problem I had with the movie is the main actress. She's kind of a non-entity and this would be fine if the film didn't place her among a buttload of charismatic movie stars. The action scenes are pretty much the antithesis to stuff found in, say, the Bourne movies, due to the lack of cutting and the viewer's ability to make sense of what's going on. Even if this approach is refreshing at first, it sort of grows old by the end of it. I really think the "movie star" portion is what I enjoyed about it the most. It almost makes me wish he did another Ocean's movie, only if it'd be as good as the first one.

We Need to Talk About Kevin(dir. Lynne Ramsay)
I kind of hated this. I went into it expecting the whole devil child thing that I find lazy and uninteresting, especially in light of this subject, but I did not expect that it'd have that bullshit fragmentary structure that makes no sense other than to hang the audience along until the filmmakers decide to reveal the actual event in question. You could make a case that it's merely a reflection of this woman's mental state, but I don't buy that in the least. A good amount of the shots are also just awkward and trying a tad too hard to be "artistic." There's this whole thing with jelly that feels like Ramsay and the material was trying to equate with blood or something that I thought was dumb as hell. Tilda is good at playing shellshocked I guess. I'd be lying if I said that none of it affected me because with this subject, it's kind of hard for it not to. And there are some moments that are geniunely well-handled and make me happy to see Ramsay back at it. It's just that so much of this is unappealing and a good brunt of the complaints could probably be levied towards the source material itself.

Moonrise Kingdom(dir. Wes Anderson)
I'm not into this whole I love all Wes Anderson movies equally hubbub. He definitely has an overbearing style, but I feel like each of his films are different enough to warrant ranking. Personally, I don't care for Fantastic Mr. Fox much at all because I'm not keen on that animation style and then there's stuff like Darjeeling that just feels hollow compared to Tenenbaums. I remember Matt Zoller Seits mounted a defense for Darjeeling by saying that the whole "learning" that the brothers go through coming across as pretty much bullshit was the entire point, which I still can't really buy. And then the last time I watched Rushmore, I was put off by how extreme the feud gets. I think Ebert had the same complaint, which is kind of funny to me. But anyways... I think Moonrise Kingdom might be his best film. During viewing, I felt like the space this occupies is the space that Anderson has been constantly trying to achieve, but never really has. It's a space away from other modern movies and I'd even say other Anderson movies completely. I'm not saying that this isn't an Anderson movie. I think what I'm trying to get at is that this is the first time I feel like this entire world on the screen could be labelled Wes Anderson-land in real life and it wouldn't surprise me. It's just so richly realized and perfect in its Anderson-esque way. I also think it might be his warmest film because unlike his others, I feel like the melancholy is on the edge more and the joy is at its core. You could easily see these kids turning into any of the characters in Tenenbaums, but I feel like the film is about this period of time where they're just on the cusp of the misery that is being an adult in a Wes Anderson movie and how these characters, including some miserable adults, banded together to prevent that from happening quite yet for our central couple. It's about trying to prolong the summer break before the harsh school year of life. It's remarkable. My favorite film of the year so far.

Brave(dir. IDK Pixar)
I knew pretty much nothing going in and was sort of surprised by how touching it was in spots. I mean it's fluffy and sort of forgettable, but I definitely prefer it to the last Pixar picture. And I think the lack of narrative sophistication or whatever people are complaining about makes no sense since I feel like Pixar loves to do manipulative and not particularly sophisticated narrative stuff all the time. Stuff that happens near the end of this one drove me up the wall just like it did in the last Pixar movie and another previous one that's highly regarded as well. I don't know. When I see shit like Ebert saying how this isn't the groundbreaking Pixar movie like some of the others, I just want to pull my hair out. Damn you, Pixar.

Mirror Mirror(dir. Tarsem Singh)
I think once the dwarves enter the picture, the entire thing takes a giant nosedive. Mainly because I think the art direction in the castle, especially during its ball sequence, is bizarre and interesting, especially in light of its PG rating, and then once Snow White goes into the forest to hang with the dwarves, it turns into what you'd except from a PG rated movie. The dwarves are annoying and the art direction becomes bland as hell, but Lily Collins is charming and makes the thing, at least, somewhat visually appealing regardless. I was surprised I enjoyed any of it to be perfectly honest.
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#85 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:50 PM

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012: Timur Bekmambetov) ***/****

I have been looking forward to this since I first saw the poster aglow on the wall of the cinema. While I had no previous interest in the Seth Grahame-Smith novel (who also did the screenplay), I saw that this had Tim Burton as a producer and Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted) as the director and I am already salivating at the thought. After watching a few trailers of the film I was even more intrigued. I did wonder who else would actually be excited by this and if it would actually be good according to my own bizarre and ineffable criteria. I wisely did not bring the axe to the theater or dress like Abraham Lincoln, but I would have loved to see a rowdy bunch dressed with stovepipe hats and fake beards attending the show brandishing their rubber axes. I wonder how many ICP fans were looking forward to this movie.

I was able to stakeout my favorite seat in the last row toward the middle. There was a new Fandango (I will not reiterate my hated for these commercials) and an unmemborable Mountain Dew commercial that had a Dark Knight tie-in. Trailer comments: Savages just does not interest me and why was there so many couples watching the film? There were a few kids that were a little annoying during the trailers, but during the film their mom became the nosiest person there. I call her “The Clapper.” Every action scene moment was involved with vigorous clapping. I have no issue with this; I like when people get involved with a film and I just found it more hilarious than anything else though sometimes it does take you out of the film while you fight the urge to shout obscenities (I fight this urge and occasionally give in everyday).

When I write I feel I have to be honest. Whether these feelings eschew “common sense” or betray an intelligent cinematic acumen so be it. I liked and enjoyed the film.* Of course coming into the movie my preconceptions of a martial arts imbibed Abraham Lincoln with a penchant for an axe and body part decapitations like he was in a Chang Cheh directed film was soundly met. There were even the Hong Kong ubiquitous training scenes.

So much on this film rides on Benjamin Walker’s performance. While he does look like a younger Liam Neeson more than Abraham Lincoln, he does have the height (almost) and plays the role with a deadly seriousness. For me this helped the film, though I know many were expecting camp and kitsch.

Every vampire film seems to come with its own set of rules. Here we have the ability of daytime vampires, who have to wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, and they cannot kill one another. Adam (Rufus Sewell in an effective performance), the progenitor of these vampires, created a enemy when he killed Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) only to turn him into a blood sucker so he can suffer for eternity (or whenever you get dispatched by a vampire hunter) after he watched his wife’s death at the hands of Adam. Adam did not conceive that Henry would be that most rare of vampires – one with some remnants of a soul. He then makes it his mission to find and train hunters for his cause to wipe out the bloodsuckers while he is, of course, a bit hypocritical and feeds on the living (only the evil living). He finds and trains Abraham who had lost his mother years ago to the fanged fury of Jack Barts who had recently fired Abraham’s father and demanded, but did not get what he considered owed to him. And then we get to learn the unsung history of Lincoln and his fight against the undead.

The film is unsurprisingly weak on the historical attention to detail, though its tone is appropriate if you are a Yankee. Some of the secondary characters could have used more attention like the triangle of friendships with Joshua Speed and Will Johnson and I did wonder why they did not do more with the Stephen A. Douglas character which he was alluded to as a vampire (this is not necessarily a fault, just an observation). And some of the dialogues made me cringe such as: “A man only drinks like that when he's planning to kiss a girl or kill a man. Which is it?” But I still quite enjoyed the movie.

Bekmambetov’s cinematic style (with Caleb Deschanel as the cinematographer) seems to owe a lot to Guy Ritchie with his use of CGI, slow motion mixed with real time in action scenes. He lacks the sagacious use of depth and montage that Richie uses in his kinetics, but I found the action scenes quite fun here as they are more geared toward the fantastical than realism (as one might expect from a film with Abraham Lincoln and vampires). The horse stampede/fight scene was impressive. The vampire throwing the horse like he was doing a hammer throw was freaking cool. That was not expected. There is a later train sequence that is equally as impressive with its suspense and conflagration.

I watched this in 2-D as I read that this was not filmed in 3-D, but had the effects applied later. There was no extra after the credits. I will be getting the BD and/or DVD and a newer axe.

* When reviewing a film I like to find critics who agree with you. It gives you piece of mind that you are not a complete moron for your views. I am glad Roger Ebert gave it ***/****, though he took some derisive hits from IMDB commentators for giving it a positive review. Armond White does not like the film, but he gives kudos for “Two visually lush sequences in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter belong in a great movie.”

http://nypress.com/a...of-abe-lincoln/
http://rogerebert.su...VIEWS/120629989
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#86 Duke Togo

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 06:26 PM

^
You have sold me. I wasn't really that skeptical or anything, I did want to see it, but now I'm a bit excited. It was your plot summary that helped the most, it actually sounds fairly interesting.

I wonder if some of this production will be working on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2013).

#87 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:11 PM

^
You have sold me. I wasn't really that skeptical or anything, I did want to see it, but now I'm a bit excited. It was your plot summary that helped the most, it actually sounds fairly interesting.

I wonder if some of this production will be working on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2013).


If one comes at the angle of historical interest then one will be dissapointed or even angry such as Armond White's review. Though I was expecting it to be much worse in that area then it is. I just had a lot of fun with it and was never bored :).

Are you going to watch it in 3-D or not? Reminds me that I need to read Pride and Prejudice.
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
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#88 Duke Togo

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:22 PM

I would figure historical accuracy would not be so expected from such a premise. Just a few nods here and there to actual events and figures is all that is really necessary.

Will I see Abe Lincoln in 3D? Probably not, though if I am invited I will happily go. Thanks to your warning that the 3D was done in post I would prefer to see it in 2D if seen at the theater.

#89 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:29 PM

... The action scenes are pretty much the antithesis to stuff found in, say, the Bourne movies, due to the lack of cutting and the viewer's ability to make sense of what's going on. Even if this approach is refreshing at first, it sort of grows old by the end of it. ...


Can't believe I haven't seen any you posted.

Anyways, what action scenes from this year do you consider good? What factors do you take in consideration for an action scene to be good? I've seen two of the Bourne films recently (catching up on popular films), but was annoyed (especially by the second) by the action scenes. I caught a glimpse of the third (I will watch soon), but felt nauseous after viewing a bit of it.
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

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#90 sexy rancheros

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 12:52 AM

I think Haywire is the only film I'd categorize as having action scenes that I've seen from this year. I mean 21 Jump Street had some, but yeah.

I don't know what makes a good action scene for me. It's much like a musical number. It's kind of a mystery. I think usually when there's humor involved or something really inventitive, I'm more into it. Like, say, killing a helicopter with a car. Or the entirety of Hard-Boiled.

Saw the other Soderbergh from this year, Magic Mike. Disappointed in it because it starts off reasonably non-judgemental in its exploration of this male stripping world and I found that appealing and then all of sudden, it introduces hard drugs and becomes a story about the horrors of excess or some such nonsense. But I got to admit, Soderbergh pulled off something miraculous by making Olivia Munn even bearable to me.
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#91 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 04:34 PM

The Amazing Spider-man (2012: Marc Webb) ***/****

Do you ever get into the movie line with a few minutes to go for the trailers to start (you have ten to fifteen minutes before the actual film starts) and one person is holding up the line? I already have my gift certificate at hand, only third person in line and yet an older male seems to be asking question after question. This seems to happen more than I would like. Finally I get in and after a detour to the restroom (best advice you can give to a novice filmgoer is that you should always start the movie on an empty bladder) and low and behold I get a good seat in the back towards the middle. I made the first trailer, but unfortunately I avoided the anthropomorphic bags spawned by Satan and the liquid crank commercial. So I was in a good mood. However, all good moods will eventually be extinguished. The theater was somewhat full (it is the largest screen and has the most chairs in the complex), but plenty of space for newcomers. There was a couple further down in the back row, so there was enough space. However, a group of four noisy twenty-somethings had to sit in-between that space. Looking down at several empty rows, I was reminded of an analogy that no matter where you are using the urinal, someone has to use the one closest to you.

Good and horrific trailers stick with you. The mediocre ones do not and certainly do not get you excited about seeing the film even if you can remember them. I do wonder if the funniest part of the upcoming The Watch will be when they shoot the alien over and over again as shown in the trailer. Now what the heck were the other trailers I saw or was I just upset at the overly talkative caffeine-stimulated young “adults” near me?

While I enjoyed this film, I am still not convinced that a reboot was really necessary. Of course the box office take has already made this point moot as it has passed the US 200 million dollar mark. But was there really as much difference between this and the 2002 version? I do not care that he created his web shooters in the new version versus the organic nature of the earlier film (which technically as in the later comics). Can you believe there are debates on this? I also do not care if one or another is more faithful to the comic book. I judge it as a film, not as a faithful adaptation of a different medium. But rambling rant aside; you can compare the particulars of both films quite easily because both are origin stories and both use very similar plot structures. The CGI is definitely better in the newer one, but I am not sure I would state that anything else is. Compare the transformation from nerd to superhero. It seems too easy in this one compared to the first. I liked the nerdish Tobey Maguire’s performance more than the brooding Andrew Garfield who while being too old for the part (28 years old looking like he belongs in 21 Jump Street), his acting was quite good as Peter Parker, but a little underwhelming as his alter ego (stop taking off your damn mask everywhere). I am definitely interested in rewatching the Raimi directed film to draft a better comparison between the two as my current memories might just be a combination of nostalgia and old age.

Instead of the Green Goblin we get Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) as the villain of the film. A scientist who has ties to the death of Parker’s parents as well as an imminent scientist whose loss of one arm has led him to a lifetime of monomania on cross-species genetics so he can grow his arm back first and then later solve many conditions and diseases. With inadvertent help from Parker, he creates a formula which turns him into The Lizard which is almost impossible to kill and looks like a combination of Randy Couture and Kurt Angle. Luckily Parker accidently got bit by a radioactive spider which gave him spider like powers. But I think we all knew this.

Where Marc Webb is strongest in the film is when he is dealing with relationships and multifaceted characters such as Dr. Curt Conners and the bully Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka). Though I was somewhat underwhelmed with the main relationship between Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). I did not think he was particularly sublime with the action, sometimes teetering on goodness like with the basketball scene though he completely destroys it with that dunk (as often in films in which the dunk is completely overdone and appears ridiculous.) I felt underwhelmed with the ending as well.

Ultimately I found this a fun enough film to recommend, especially to comic book movie fans. There is enough action and storyline that kept me interested throughout. I liked it more than Spider-man 3, but not as much as the first two in that series.

Random notes: yes there is a Stan Lee cameo and there is an additional scene after the first set of credits which leads to the answer of a sequel, but nothing after the end of the credits.

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Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#92 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:50 AM

Magic Mike (2012: Steven Soderbergh) **½/****

I like to arrive for a movie just in-time for the beginning of the trailers. Occasionally I have too much time on my hands and come in early. Usually this is because I could not waste enough time outside of the theater. There is only so much you can check on the car and hang out at the local coffee shop (Serrano Social Club) where I like to bug the baristas and local hipsters in a variety of topics from film (of course) to wherever the conversations may lead. However, the place was deserted and I had finished my drink and did not bring a book to read. Soundgarden was playing a bit too loud and the barista was unusually spastic and catatonic in a caffeine-addled state. Off to the theater.

The line was short and quick to get in, but parallel to me was a growing line for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises [this was Thursday]. I still had plenty of time to shred, so I check every poster that is new and even read the rules of conduct for the first time. This would prove to be prescient. I arrived early to the theater, picked my usual spot in the back and at the time there were only three women right in the middle of the theater. I was regaled by one of them and her very loud explanation of how her husband borrowed her new car to a trip to Vegas and used all of her gas. More banal conversation was to follow. Many more women would come in at various times through the trailers and only one male with his wife among the bunch making me feel more conspicuous as the only single male watching the film (might not have been the best time to wear my silk shorts and dress shirt). This crowd ended up really sucking: a woman who sat near me texted throughout the whole film, the male had a whole business conversation in Spanish which was so intrusive the texter even glared at him, and there were more flashes of cell phones in this film than in any other films I have seen this year. Obviously people do not read the rules of conduct. Rhetorical question: what is the point of paying for a movie and texting throughout the damn thing? If the film had been better I would have been really pissed.

My feeling for the film is somewhere between liking it and thinking it was just OK for Steven Soderbergh’s second directed film this year (I still need to see Haywire). The cinematography with the film is quite good and the musical numbers are often a high point with the movie though sometimes the adoring female fans, which were shown Ad Nauseum, got to be a little obnoxious. I noticed the fans in the film resembled much of the audience. Other than Mike (Channing Tatum who was an exotic dancer when he was younger), who was a well thought out character, most of the other male strippers were lackluster. I was hoping more detail was going to go into the strippers, their relationships, day-to-day struggles and that this film would be more of a nuanced look into the male entertainer industry. However the film completely misses some salient issues such as steroid abuse, the dieting and exercise routines that are not only commonplace but sometimes fanatical, and the fact that many are not there to just party but to make a life for themselves and quite often their family.

Mike lives a few lives. He does construction, wants to build a company refurbishing furniture and at night is a male stripper for a local entertainment club owned by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). At a construction gig, he befriends Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a construction neophyte soon to be stripper neophyte, and gets him a quick job picking up females for his stripper club. He gets hired on and serendipitously later gets a very awkward chance to dance for his keep (his dancing does not get much better during the film either, he seems quite out-of-place regardless of what the script says). The Kid proves to be quite popular and becomes the protégé of Mike while Mike is slowly falling for Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn).

I almost want to recommend it, but cannot quite do it. I know some of you will certainly like this more than I did and will accept the film for what it is. There are certainly some funny moments in it (picking up a large girl and jumping up-and-down is a no-no in the profession), though I was less enthusiastic with the melodramatic content. Though to counteract that, I was quite impressed with the cinematography and Channing Tatum’s athleticism. Matthew McConaughey is outstanding with his performance. His character Dallas was not as interesting though. In some films there comes a moment you hope does not come, but you know will come. Sexy had already mentioned this and stated when the exact moment where the film seems to go downhill – when the hard drugs come into play (and loose women, especially ones with a pet pig) which you know the protégé will become entranced with. Then the plot starts to feel even more formulaic.

Weird moment was noticing that Kevin Nash (Tarzan) was one of the dancers as I saw him in Rock of Ages not too long ago. He really seemed too slow for a dancer, especially with his years of abuse as a professional wrestler. I would have been more interested in a movie about a broken down older stripper with a knee brace than this plot, but I digress. Weirder moment was the unfocused penis pump in the foreground of one shot. That got a reaction from the crowd – even from the one texting.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#93 sexy rancheros

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:38 PM

I think I prefer Magic Mike to Haywire, even if Haywire's quality is more consistent. I think my favorite moment in Magic Mike was when Mike was giving a lapdance to some chick as Brooke watched. There's this weird desire by proxy thing going on that was pretty bizarre and exciting.

4:44 Last Day on Earth(dir. Abel Ferrara)
I didn't expect a graphic sex scene between Dafoe and Ferrara's partner(or wife?; I don't know) within the first ten minutes, but I should have, considering his history(before he went "legit," Ferrara cast and directed his girlfriend at the time in a porn and he wasn't a "performer" in it). Shanyn Leigh, his partner, doesn't fare all that great in her role, but she's good enough. Willem Dafoe is better as he should be, but I don't think acting is necessarily the appeal of Ferrara's films. I honestly can't think of another narrative filmmaker that uses superimposition as much as Ferrara, especially after this, and I love superimposition so it has that going for it. The constant use of Skype made it feel almost like a feature-length commercial for the program, but I could understand if it's due to a low budget, which is what I assume. There's beats in this that are not entirely surprising to find in a Ferrara film. It's just that you don't expect them to be in a film about the apocalypse. And that's to me the appeal of this movie. If you want to see how Ferrara crafts a tale about the apocalypse, then see this. If you're not a fan of his form of sleazy poetry, then you're probably not gonna be big on this, but I am and I'm big on this with some reservations.

Oslo, August 31st(dir. Joachim Trier)
This could actually fit kind of perfectly with 4:44 as a double bill in a strange way. I haven't seen the original Malle film so my reaction might be more positive as a result. I think what I really dig about this movie is that it's a movie about a depressed individual that doesn't feel the need to make the audience depressed along with him. You could argue that might shortchange the protagonist's feelings or whatnot, but Lies' performance is solid and Trier deftly captures the character's disconnect through his cinematic arsenal that the film never feels like it's leaving its protagonist on the side of the road. I think Trier could be seen as a premier filmmaker of the sort of detachment seen here and Reprise. There's some "experiments" within the film that I don't know if they necessarily work, but they're still exciting to witness nonetheless. While it didn't fill me with utter glee like Reprise and I can't imagine rewatching it three or four times like that film, it's still, funnily enough, a delight to watch, despite what transpires in the film, all thanks to the uniformly strong and appealing cast, elegant cinematography, and often pitch-perfect editing. One of my favorites of the year so far.

I might post more elaborate thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises in the Nolan thread, but for right now, all I want to say is I didn't care for it at all.

LIST:
1. Moonrise Kingdom(dir. Wes Anderson)
2. Goodbye First Love(dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)
3. Oslo, August 31st(dir. Joachim Trier)
4. 4:44 Last Day on Earth(dir. Abel Ferrara)
5. Magic Mike(dir. Steven Soderbergh)
6. Mirror Mirror(dir. Tarsem Singh)
7. 21 Jump Street(dir. Some dudes)
8. Haywire(dir. Steven Soderbergh)
9. Brave(dir. People at Pixar)
10. We Need to Talk About Kevin(dir. Lynne Ramsay)
11. The Dark Knight Rises(dir. Christopher Nolan)
12. Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie(dir. Tim and Eric)
Need to see: Damsels in Distress, Dark Shadows?, Journey 2, The Kid with the Bike, Killer Joe, Taken 2, The Turin Horse
Not sure about the order, but the top four are much better than what follows, top three especially.
I don't know if Miss Bala should be considered this year or not.

I need to update the release calender on the first page with title changes and remove G.I. Joe since it got pushed back to next year for some reason.
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#94 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:03 PM

I think I prefer Magic Mike to Haywire, even if Haywire's quality is more consistent. I think my favorite moment in Magic Mike was when Mike was giving a lapdance to some chick as Brooke watched. There's this weird desire by proxy thing going on that was pretty bizarre and exciting.
...


Scenes like that made me think more of that was going to come. I thought there would be the almost inevitable jealousy (not counting Abel Ferrara's real life) that comes after an initial fantasy of liking someone in that industry, where you become more considered on how they earn their twenty spot. There are so many facets that they film could have delved into, but did not.

I have gotten weird responses from people when I have told them I saw Magic Mike (well I got weird reactions about Rock of Ages as well, except my friend who owns a Chinese/Japanese restaurant who was intrigued by the film).

From the trailers, I just have not had much of an interest in seeing Haywire. I'm going to try to get to it this year though.

Interested in your thoughts of The Dark Night Rises, which I saw yesterday. I'll post some of my thoughts in the Nolan thread after I do some more reading of reviews (so probably Monday). My opinion seems to be higher than yours but less than Mike's. But it is one of those films like The Avengers where I can talk with many people about.

What are your thoughts (or anyone else) on best actor and actress so far this year?
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#95 Opale

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:57 PM

Updated my list on the first post of this thread. Its Fantasia festival right now they generally have a lot of big films but this years it seems pretty boring... The only one I got to see was Wakamatsu' 11/25 The Day mishima chose his fate wich wasn't bad at all but I was lost at some point because I don't know much about him and what was going on at the moment...

I created a new category on my list for We need to talk about Kevin...

Trier's Oslo, August 31st is out today I'll try to catch it next week...

Oh and I won't go watch the dark knight because I don't care at all about it nor Nolan...

#96 sexy rancheros

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:17 PM

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

***** out of ****
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#97 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:07 PM

The Watch (2012: Akiva Schaffer) **/****

“I do wonder if the funniest part of the upcoming The Watch will be when they shoot the alien over and over again as shown in the trailer.”


Yes.

100+ degree (Fahrenheit) days are great to escape the heat and/or work to spend in the theater (as long as the air conditioning is working). The only thing that can ruin it is the crowd and/or the movie. At first I was a little wary of a group of thuggish 20-somethings who were a bit too loud in their tales of fighting and other posturing palaver that was eventually drowned out by the trailers and the ongoing incoming crowd.* I seriously did not think the crowd was going to be ten people much less the plus-thirty crowd on a Thursday afternoon. It has been over a month since I have seen a Fandango commercial, I count my blessings every time, and the trailers were mostly benign so I was going into the movie in a rather good mood. I was hoping that Roger Ebert’s two-star review was not a correct summation of The Watch.

Ben Stiller is Evan a childless suburbanite who runs a plethora of neighborhood clubs and is an outstanding employee of the local Costco. A coworker Antonio Guzman was brutally murdered and had his skin removed. This led to Stiller to create yet another club – The Neighborhood Watch (the original title of the film which was changed at the last minute because of the Treyvon Martin shooting, the theater that I go to still have some The Neighborhood Watch props) to find the murder and prevent other additional crimes. Far from a starting success it does attract a few malcontents in Bob (Vince Vaughn) a well to do parent who is looking for some male friends, a loner sociopath in Franklin (Jonah Hill) who could not make the police squad and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd) a recent divorcee who is just looking for friends. I think Vaughn ends up being the funniest of the bunch with Hill close behind (my favorite comedic role of his so far is him in 21 Jump Street) while Ayoade is just bland and Stiller plays his character too straight and stiff, especially as the film goes on.

But this group of social outliers is not taken seriously by the police, former drill sergeants or local teenagers. However, little did they know what they were getting into when they uncovered an alien plot to take over the world starting with their own little town. There are a couple of subplots with Stiller’s problem with child bearing (has sterility ever been funny in film) and Vaughn’s trouble with his daughter which gets to show the juxtaposition of Vince’s from fun friend to overbearing dad and back again.

I tend to like Ben Stiller – especially when he is directing (Zoolander, Tropic Thunder). I liked Akiva Schaffer’s previous Hot Rod. Where did this film go wrong? I blamed Seth Rogan in my head as a joke while watching this unbeknownst that he co-wrote this. I should have realized that with the amount of penis jokes in the film that Rogan has his two hands on some aspect of this movie. I guess if there are script issues insert some more penis references. They were so overused that a flatulence joke now and then would have seemed like a breath of fresh air.

The Watch felt like a PG-13 movie trapped in the body of an R-rated one. It is one of the films with a premise that felt forced into the realm of Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips without really knowing why or what to do with that material. How about gunshots to the aliens’ groins over and over? Not particularly funny the first time it was done, a lot less the hundredth time. The same goes for the aliens’ blood which resembles to them green spooge. How many times was that going to be milked?

The movie was funny when it was absurd, which was one of the particular strengths of Schaffer’s Hot Rod (I loved the cool beans skit and the dancing Richardson), but not when male member naughty bits are discussed at length and yanked off and/or blown off of aliens. I think if it was up to Seth Rogan we would have seen full-monty aliens. When they have scenes such as blowing up everything from a cow to a barn with an alien device, Jonah has a particularly funny scene trying to impress his friends in front of his mother and when they drag a kid to the cops berating him as they do it, I found all of that funny. Along with the multiple shooting of the alien there are some good moments. However, they are all also all in the trailer.

No extras after the credits. I was really expecting some in this film. I noticed comedies that are mediocre tend to have a bigger chance of having after the credit sequences.

* Scariest looking crowd I have been apart of was the opening night for American Me (1992). It was sold out, packed with gang colors from different gangs (when gangs were a bigger issue in Modesto), but the night went without much mishap except for a few people flagged for smoking in the theater.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#98 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 11:58 AM

Ted (2012: Seth MacFarlane) **½/****

At least two members of the audience thought this was the funniest movie ever. Their loud laughs, guffaws, bellows, spit-sounds, flatulence and various assorted noises coming from every orifice that can expel air dominated many of the jokes. They acted as the theater’s laugh track. Of course some jokes I found funny were met by dead silence from the audience. Do you ever see a homage and want to state out loud where it comes from? There is a pretty big homage to Airplane which would probably be funny for those who have not seen it. Nevertheless, do you ever secretly wish that an audience member would explode like Weird Al Yankovic’s head in Spy Hard?

The film starts off to great promise with narration from Patrick Stewart to the explanation of Ted’s (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) anatomically incorrect creation as a Christmas wish, to his stardom and eventually his fall from fame like a modern day Corey Feldman. Now in the modern day, we have a 35-year old John (Marc Walhberg) as a rental car worker in Boston who has a stunning corporate girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis) who tolerates his adolescent and repressed lifestyle of weed, Flash Gordon obsessing, and DVD watching, but yearns for him to make more of himself. His “thunder buddy” Ted has been a catalyst in all of this.

Lori gives John an ultimatum to clean up his act. This forces Ted to live on his own. This leads to one of my favorite scenes in the film where Ted goes for a job interview in a supermarket. How long will this separation of Ted and John solve the relationship issues between John and Lori?

Surprisingly this film is really a romantic comedy. It has the whole basic template of boy girl in long relationship, boy goofs-off one two many times to break-up relationship, they later get back together because boy finally reforms. Yes there is even a comedic “meet cute” in the film. Throw in a few additional familiar elements like the loser protagonist (Failure to Launch, Management, The Bounty Hunter) goof-off friend (who just happens to be a live drug addicted fowl-mouthed teddy bear) who always gets the protagonist in trouble (You, Me and Dupree) and a boss who wants to go out with the girlfriend and threatens the fabric of their relationship with lies (they even show scenes in the film from Bridget Jone’s Diary). Add in a teddy bear stalker in Giovanni Ribisi (my favorite role of his was in My Name is Earl) and you pretty much know the whole arc and flow of the film.

I do not particularly find pot heads funny. Some of the things they do can be peculiar or bizarre, but the act itself is not hilarious. However cokeheads are a different story -- the laughs in Scarface for instance and the party scene here with Mr. Flash Gordon himself Sam Jones.

I know many of you will like the film more than I did. The film has been a critical hit and box office hit domestically (over 200 million dollars) and even worldwide where people have wanted to see a surly and scurrilous stuffed teddy bear. For me though, it was a mixed result. Where this film is funniest is when it deals with a variety of topical, cinematic and cultural references and oddball jokes. At its worst is when the plot is typical boilerplate, dime-a-dozen, cookie-cutter rom-com. Maybe I have seen too much Family Guy, maybe I was just in a bad mood, maybe my hatred toward anthropomorphic creatures are too great, but too often I was just restless with the material, though I had a decent amount of laughs. Now if there had been more hooker poop …

No extras after the credits.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
My Amazon Reviews

#99 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:45 PM

I am going to consider this a 2012 release since it was released here in the theater and DVD this year (as well as the New York city release was also in 2012). If anyone objects please state your reasons :).

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011: David Gelb) ***½/****

This has been one of my favorite documentaries of the past few years. I was looking forward to it before I bought it and was quite happy after viewing it. I have a fascination with monomania in individuals. While often a theme in both literature (Moby Dick) and cinema (almost every revenge film) it is interesting to see it in a real life scenario and put to good use. I read some complaints about Jiro’s work ethic and how it affects his family, but I think it is something to be admired. Here is someone whose parents left him at an early age and was forced to find work at the age of 9. He is still bitter about it and this can be seen when he is visiting his parents’ grave and he mentions it a few times as well. But the fact that he rose from poverty, eventually became rich (this would happen after the sons were born; they have several stories that go over how poor they were) and taught his sons a craft which they both excel at is something to admire. In fact he states he was extra hard on his sons in teaching them the craft of sushi and this is coming from a man who makes his apprentices spend weeks learning to properly wring a towel (this reminds me of the story of John Wooden who would make all new recruits to UCLA relearn to tie their shoes).

Jiro Ono is an 85 year-old shokunin and the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro a ten-seat sushi restaurant located in a Tokyo subway station, where you have to make a reservation a month in advance and was the first sushi restaurant to be given a three-star Michelin Guide rating (though it is not the only one, Mizutani who was an apprentice of Jiro and appears in this documentary also obtained one for his restaurant Sushi Mizutani; Mizutani’s personality is quite interesting as well as he is completely frank about everything). His eldest son Yoshikazu is waiting to take establishment of the restaurant while his youngest son Takashi is in charge of a similar restaurant (I am not sure if he owns it or his father Jiro does, the father makes it sound like it is his sons; this restaurant has a two-star Michelin Guide rating). The film poses the question what will happen if Mizutani takes over, but also gives us the information that he was the chef every time Michelin came over to rate the establishment.

You learn so much about high-end sushi in this documentary with much information coming from food critic and unabashed Jiro fan Masuhiro Yamamoto. I am certainly curious on the restaurants portrayed here, though I do not know if I could spend so much for one meal – especially Jiro’s where you are about done in 15 to 20 minutes making it one of the most expensive meals in the world. I have had decent sushi in my life and the one aspect it changed for me was that I know have trouble eating the majority of mediocre sushi out there. But one very important aspect that is mentioned time and time again in this film is the quality of your vendors. You get to meet a motley crew of very unique individuals who have the same exact standards for their profession as Jiro does.

Warning, if you like sea creatures you might want to skip this. The suffocating of the octopus is the one I have read the most complaints on. Some of the extras are even more graphic in their slow demise, especially one procedure which make a fish brain dead, but keeps its body alive.

The commentary by Director David Gelb and Editor Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer is worth listening to though you get the feeling that Gelb is much more knowledgeable about sushi and pretty much everything else in the film in his full feature cinematic debut. If I remember correctly, I don’t think Brandon had even tried sushi by the time of the commentary. Gelb stated that some of the cinematography was directed influenced by The Fog of War. The additional extras (deleted scenes and a Masters section which goes over in more detail each of the vendors shown in the film) certainly help understanding not only Jiro but pretty much everyone else in the documentary as well. Jiro’s wife however is not shown, not that the director did not try as mentioned in the commentary, but he did not state the reason(s) why she does not appear. The extras also make Jiro appear more human than the stolid portrait that is shown in the film. Did you know he is considered an excellent bowler?

The DVD seems a bit high on Amazon. I bought the DVD at Best Buy for 15 dollars. There is also a separate BD release.

This is a fascinating documentary and if you are a fan of documentaries and/or sushi then I think you will like this. This film has a good chance of being in my top 10 for the year as well as being upgraded to ****. Has anyone else seen this? Is anyone else interested in this? Anyone here like sushi?
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
My Amazon Reviews

#100 Opale

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 11:56 AM

Masterpieces:
Faust (Sokurov)
The Turin Horse (Tarr)
A separation (Fahradi)

Great:
The Kid with a Bike (Dardennes)
Hors Satan (Dumont)
Habemus Papam (Morreti)
La Noche Enfrente (Raul Ruiz R.I.P :( )
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Ceylan)

Must see:
Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier)
Camion (Raphael Ouellet)
Moonrise Kingdom (W. Anderson)
La mer à l'aube (Volker Schlondörff)
Elena (Zvyagintsev)
Cosmopolis (Cronenberg)

Recommended:
Wuthering Heights (Arnolds)
The Almost Man (Martin Lund)
Guilty of romance (Sono)
11/25: The day Mishima chose his fate (Wakamatsu)
A Danderous Method (Cronenberg)
Carnage (Polanski)

Ok:
Polisse (Maïwen)

Meh:
We Need to talk about Kevin
The Raid: redemption

Want to watch: Amour (Haneke), Alps, Rust and bones (Audiard), Holy Motor (Carax), Beast of the southern wild, Post tenebras lux (Reygadas), Master (Anderson), Après Mai (Assayas) , Bella Andormentata (Bellochio), Outrage beyond (Kitano), Thy Womb (Mendoza) , To the Wonder (Malick), Wadjda, Mud (Nichols), Angel's Share (loach), Jagten (Vinterberg), Like Someone in love (Kiarostami), Captive (Mendoza), L'enfant d'en haut (Meier)




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