Discussion in 'Entertaining Diversions' started by Inigima, Jan 16, 2012.
I recall seeing that with a friend , but I'll be damned if I remember anything that happened in it.
'The Avengers', finally (I started watching it one day with my son but he lost interest so I ended up turning it off). Hugely enjoyable but sort of shallow as well. Mark Ruffalo was great (as always) but the Hulk stuff was sort of confusing - can Banner control himself when he changes?
Saw Jack Reacher last night. I liked it a lot more than my wife, who got bored at one point. Some clunky dialogue in parts and an annoying out-of-character decision at the end of the movie made for no reason other than to set up a straight-out-of-80s-action-flicks fight scene. Also, it ends on a kind of weird note. Still, I really enjoyed it. Tom Cruise runs, has a great car chase, shoots some dudes and the whole time Werner Herzog looks on with disapproval. Also, lots of people that made me think 'do I recognize that person?' where it turned out that the answer was no. Apparently Rosamund Pike has been in a lot of things, but I have not seen any of them.
Yes, no, kind of, not really. The Hulk is not necessarily Banner (the two have a somewhat antagonistic relationship) but your modern Hulk isn't the savage creature from the earlier films. Which is why he loses control when Loki's fucking with his mind and we get a truly savage Hulk. Later in the film when he changes under his own control, the Hulk a more controlled team player. Though as seen in his teamup with Thor, he's still kind of a dick.
A lot of this has been covered in the official Avengers thread.
Watched Ted the other night. It was awful.
I CAN'T WAIT!
At some point Tom Cruise is going to blow out his knee or something, and will lose his ability to Run With Intensity. I don't think his career is going to survive that.
We went to see Lincoln last night and I got really pissed off at Smithsonian Magazine. See, a few months back they had an article called "Mr. Lincoln Goes to Hollywood," which, purportedly, was about the history behind the movie and how it was made palatable to modern movie audiences.
As far as I can tell, the author of the article saw the movie and did one of those press junkets where she gets five minutes with Spielberg and five minutes with Tony Kushner, and then she went off and wrote her article. So basically it's someone who liked the movie telling you, "And then there was this part, and Lincoln said..." Yes, there's the obligatory part where Spielberg says he decided to focus on the 13th Amendment, and where Kushner says he did a lot of research and tried to write the script like four times. All things you'd get in those press junket interviews.
Every fucking story that Lincoln tells throughout the movie was in the article. Imagine a friend spoiling every joke in a movie with very few jokes. Fuck you, Smithsonian. Write better articles.
Paranormal Activity 3. I really liked the first film, mostly because I went to an early screening back when people were actually not spoiling things and I knew absolutely nothing about it. I enjoyed the second film quite a bit because they did something I didn't expect, making it both a prequel and sequel to the original. This third one, however, I was liking it at first, but the end was sort of... eh... while I felt the second film managed to expand the lore without creating contradictions with the original, this film has some glaring problems as it doesn't jibe with the conversations the girls have in the original film about things that happened to them as kids.
At that point we can just have Andy Serkis play Tom Cruise.
Much of the second didn't fit with the first in the same way though. I think the producers simply retconned the first and kept subsequent ones consistent. This was probably a decent option as the back story told in the first wasn't particularly interesting. Involving both sisters rather than just Katie opened up the story options considerably.
I really jammed the last part of my vacation with some great flicks. I don't have the energy for writeups on all of these, but in the past three days I watched:
Ministry Of Fear. A paranoid's wet dream, Fritz Lang directing a Graham Greene "entertainment". Solid film noir ratcheted up by Lang's perfect eye for shadow and composition.
The Miracle At Morgan's Creek. Superlative screwball comedy from Preston Sturges about a wacky dame that gets herself knocked up by a soldier passing through town.
Bunny Lake Is Missing. Crazy Otto Preminger movie about a woman who's daughter has gone missing... except nobody can find any trace that the daughter actually existed. The ending of this movie is mind-blowing, sort of like if the final scene of Psycho was twenty minutes long. Also has The Zombies playing on a pub TV for no discernible reason.
21 Jump Street. Surprisingly funny. It probably helped that my expectations were hovering around zero, but I really thought it was hilarious. Also, you get to hear Ice Cube say the word "Twittersphere", which might be worth watching the whole movie for.
A Matter Of Life Or Death: Near the start of Powell & Pressburger's phenomenal peak, during which they somehow made this, The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp, Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes (among others) in the space of just a few years. Really deserves it's own post, but any lover of Terry Gilliam or British fantasy in general should watch it.
This is the absolute pinnacle of David Niven's stoic English gentlemen routine. Too bad for him that Raymond Massey yanks the carpet out from under his shoes with a fraction of the screen time.
It's also one of the best movies anyone will ever see on a movie screen. Powell and Pressburger really excelled at exploiting every trick of the trade, and for the most part their films really only come alive (I believe the in word is "pop") when you're watching them in a grand scope. The elevator sequence isn't the same when watching it on even a home theater, it just plain needs the scope that only 70ft of screen real estate can offer.
There's also something to say for the way only large format cinema can bring symbolism to life, demanding you pay attention to the details of important stories. A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH is full of religious symbolism, not all of it as blatant as the story would have you believe, and it's only through the scale of the cinematography that you can process the intricacies of the story. But, hey, this is "your" film to post about, not mine, you should write about it! :) Suffice to say, it's one of my three favorite Powell and Pressburger films.
Speaking of favorites, the fact that P&P's finely honed skills ultimately culminated with Powell's PEEPING TOM still blows my mind, and, good Lord, what a culmination it was.
Limitless. The movie was less interesting that the conversation it sparked. If there was a drug you could take that would essentially make you super smart and creative, but it had the possible downside of killing you, would you take it? Could you resist it? Beyond that, I like the way the movie used color - washed out when he was normal, vibrant when he was "high".
Rod Argent's old group?
That sounds amazing.
I actually really liked Limitless, too-pat ending notwithstanding. I donno why everyone wouldn't have tried to do what Cooper tried to do in the end. But the part where his ex-girlfriend uses the drug to escape from the baddies is pretty satisfying.
Yeah, it's really odd. It's a pretty clever way to shoehorn in a band into a movie, but the movie literally just stops while some people in a pub watch The Zombies on the old "Ready, Steady, Go!" program.
Oh, and I forgot: I also watched Rashomon on bluray. There's nothing I can say about Rashomon that hasn't already been said by people much better than me, but here's my suggestion if for some insane reason you've never watched it: Go watch a pile of Hollywood movies from 1950, and then watch Rashomon.
Go watch the episode of the Cosby Show where someone breaks Cliff's brand new IBM PC and he talks with Rudy, Vanessa and Theo about it and each of them tell a slightly account of events which ultimately leads Cliff to the realization that he accidentally broke it when he was making Jell-O puddin' pops for Cockroach.
And then watch Rashomon.
I started watching Death Race (the Jason Statham one) last night. Ultimately I decided to go to bed at about the midway point but I found it surprisingly enjoyable and hit record on the PVR before I went up. I'm tentatively looking forward to the rest.
God I love that movie, that and Crank began my love of Statham movies (good and bad). :)
'Looper' last night. Very very good. The premise is, in the best tradition of the truly great sci-fi romps, bonkers but I followed the advice of Abe and Old Joe and didn't think about the time travel stuff too hard. JGL's impression of Bruce Willis is fantastic but the make-up was a little distracting in places. Also - and this is the most arbitrary nitpick in the history of nitpicks - the diner scene drove home the fact* that their earlobes don't match: JGL's are attached to his neck, Willis' lobe's hang loose. Nearly ruined the film, that did.
'Rise of the Guardians' today. Big fat meh. Some of the animation was outstanding and the voice work was excellent (Jude Law seemed to be channeling Paul Bettany, in a good way) but the story itself was barely mediocre.
* DROVE IT HOME
Forgot to mention that every film I see Emily Blunt in just makes me more determined to have her children.
I was coming here to mention Looper, which I just saw.
I only want to know one thing: Did anyone else think that it could have been a slightly hairier Lum (our host, Scott Jennings) playing Abe? Even the personalities, if Lum was actually a time traveling crime boss...
More than honey: Well, damn. I'm normally pretty unimpressed when it comes to documentaries, mainly because I get bored extremely easily and react rather violently when it comes to platitudes. Which is, for example the reason why I really didn't like Chimpanzee and was also rather unimpressed by the Cave of forgotten dreams http://www.imdb.de/title/tt1664894/, even though I really like primatology and the latter one had my specialization in Archaeology as a topic (...maybe amend that to a because) and I love the schmaltzy stylings of an unrestrained Werner Herzog.
But this movie really impressed the hell out of me, I guess partially because I'm simply not used to quality like this, when it comes to swiss movies. Still, even with that caveat: If you have the opportunity to see this movie, do it! I'd give it five thumbs up out of three mutated, sticky hands.
Imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2263058/ (not really a whole lot to see here unfortunately)
Official website: http://www.morethanhoney.ch/ (some stuff, including a trailer. Unfortunately is the entire thing in German, for some arcane reason)
I just watched this for about the eight thousandth time (shut up - it calls itself a movie right there at the start) and it's still hilarious. You should give money to those brave men. Then they can explain to you what's going on in this thing below here, which they covered in their live Reefer Madness show (along with an hilarious short film about actual grass), which I also watched and found quite enjoyable, though they did run out of gas a little around the middle of the feature.
Warning: I'm going to guess that if you watch this while intoxicated it could have permanent effects.
I thought it was excellent. A strange, beautiful piece of film-as-psychiatry. I don't know how it compares to the rest of Cronenberg's work, but it's got a very black undercurrent and slightly cold atmosphere seems to hold underneath the film. It's actually quite menacing too. I really enjoyed it, and I would have put it in my top 10 of 2012 had I watched it at the time. There's an eerie atmosphere and a cold otherworldliness to the enterprise that I find myself very drawn to.
It is glacially paced and it could be accused of stretching itself a little. It's very dialogue heavy as it really wants to be an 'ideas' film. The problem with a lot of the dialogue and the setting is that it makes a the film feel like a play. I actually think that with some minor changes you could transplant the film directly to the theatre- that's not intended as a knock to the film. The actors are universally very good (Sarah Gadon was in two Cronenberg films last year) although I'm still on the fence as to whether Pattinson was cast correctly. Don't get me wrong, he performs excellently and gives the material a very good turn, but I'm not sure if he was the right person for the role.
I also got a copy of Lost Highway in the post, so apparently it's Off-kilter week.
This that may or may not mean something: it's charting at 62% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. The S&S poll of critics and academics placed it as 8th in the top films of 2012. Cahiers du Cinema put it 2nd on their list. Personally, it probably would have made my list had I watched it in 2012.
I'm going to say it doesn't mean anything, to be honest.
I'm not sure why this ended up on several people's best movie of the year list.
I liked it well enough. It wasn't a movie that annoyed me or anything, and I enjoyed the scenes with the sing-off and the general talent that goes into A cappella, but the whole movie pretty much felt like the singing version of Bring it On. Mostly, it because I felt there was not enough alternative style A cappella until the final few moments in the movie, or very much singing throughout the whole movie itself. A lot of time was spent between Anna Kendrick and generic bland college love interest, a guy who I found borderline douchey. Not enough to hate him or anything, but I don't think he brought anything to the role, nor had any palpable chemistry with his co-star.
I also had hoped there would be more interaction between the Bellas, what's with their weird mix of personalities, but very few of the actual bellas had their time to shine beyond being cut away jokes when the movie needed it. Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson were pretty entertaining for the most part, but they were the only two of the entire bellas to feature any sort of storyline or arc.
Mostly though, the whole thing felt like a very competently executed high school movie that just happened to feature singing and a few jokes. It helps that Anna Kendrick is an entirely watchable presence and Rebel Wilson is funny when she isn't going totally nutbar. So I was entertained, but not moved or anything.
We watched Sleepwalk with Me which is on Netflix nowadays. It's the This American Life-produced movie that takes one of their regulars, Mike Birbiglia, who is a stand-up, and turns one of his stories into a movie.
It was fine. Funny, but not "oh my god, that's funny!" funny. A bit twee, but good performances, and probably the best part is Birbiglia's voiceovers which aren't really voiceovers because they cut to him driving somewhere and telling the story to the camera.
We also watched The Big Year, which is a Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson bird watching movie. I've just got to give this one a, "What the hell is this?" It's not particularly funny. It's not particularly dramatic. It's a competition that really no one cares about and that's acknowledged throughout the movie. The villain isn't really a villain and has his own problems and is just kind of sad by the end. And there are Big Stars throughout in all sorts of little parts. How did this get made? Why is Steve Martin in it? I guess this is the Steve Martin, "I need a paycheck" of The Pink Panther and Cheaper by the Dozen.
The bottom line is that it wasn't awful. It wasn't good. It was absolutely medium in every way, shape, and form. Like if you needed a baseline zero movie to judge all other movies by, then The Big Year would be a pretty good zero.
Tried to watch Videogame High School which seemed amusing when it was a YouTube web series, but is annoying and brainless when it's presented as a movie. It's like ABC Family decided to do a series about videogames. I turned it off after about 15 minutes.
I think I liked it so much because of how hard it is to get a movie like this right, and they succeeded. Sure it's a trifle, but it's just really charming and endlessly rewatchable. The evil dude team was funny, as were Elizabeth Banks and John Something Higgins. It's a good comedy, and those are rare.
Yeah, I can see that. I did enjoy Elizabeth Banks and "guy who I thought was Fred Willard for the entire movie until credits". And I always enjoy Anna Kendricks' presence onscreen so I didn't feel as if I wasted my time.
Watched Lincoln. Oblogatory holy crap on Daniel Day Lewis.
I thought it was really interesting how they put it all together. I haven't read the source material, but I know Doris Kearns Goodwin is all about the politics and people and not so much the nitty gritty of war. It wasn't your typical Civil War era movie with overt mistreatment of slaves and big battle sequences. Interesting to see it from that perspective, with all that at an arm's length.
Oh man, I had no idea they had shit on hulu. My world has changed.
(Don't worry, I've given them a fair amount of money. I even gave it for that short you linked!)
On my yearly 'long time on an airplane'-trip, I watched a few newer movies:
Men in Black 3:
Surprisingly the best in the series. Brolin did a pitch perfect young Jones and most surprisingly of all, I was actually genuinely touched by the reveal in the ending. Also a cool bad guy/alien.
Great action movie, horrible Judge Dredd adaptation.
Total Recall remake:
OK action movie with some nice sci-fi touches. Bad Total Recall remake - a bloodless remake in more than one sense.
Ok comedy. Slow to get started but quite fun around the end. Jonah Hill is the best.
Hotel Transylvania (Hey, my kids saw it with the wife while I was away. I wanted to be able to talk to them about it... and I like the traditional monsters):
It was... ok. I still like the monsters and some were good.
Saw Moon for the first time this weekend, at
Aurora 's insistence. I think it's pretty much a perfect movie. I knew the broad strokes of what was coming, but it totally does not rely on STUNNING REVEALS pretty much at any point, so it didn't impact my enjoyment at all (also people who scream and gnash their teeth over spoilers are weirdos)
My only very minor criticism of the movie is the unnecessary 5 seconds of radio/tv snippets at the end reassuring us that the dude landed ok and there's even senate hearings about the case. Would have preferred it be left open. Otherwise, yeah.
The only reason I'm OK with that last part is because Duncan Jones said he's like to do more stories within the same universe that Moon takes place in, so that might tie into some other movie down the road. Otherwise, though, I agree that Moon is an almost perfect movie, and Sam Rockwell is incredible in it.
Saw Perks of Being a Wallflower this weekend. Emma Watson is vivacious without going too far into Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory. She's free-spirited without being flighty; and she treats the protagonist as a little brother rather than as a love interest to be saved. And I could easily relate to the midwestern high school, having grown up there ten years after the movie. My only quibble is that the main character's problems are just a bit too specific and far too traumatic for this type of movie.
Overall, though, as a fan of coming-of-age movies, this hit the spot.
I watched Butter, cuz it showed up on netflix and had a long recognizable cast list (Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, and a cast of folks I've seen in other stuff). It was okay, not great, but not terrible. Had some funny bits, the adopted dad, played by that guy I've seen in so much stuff but never remember his name, has some fun scenes with the girl, some of which look like they were ad-libbed, judging from the blooper real at the end.
The Hobbit - being that I haven't read the book 5 times a year since birth and in fact haven't read it in well over a decade, I really enjoyed the movie and didn't mind any of the changes. I also felt the 3D worked well exactly because they weren't shoving things at the screen. Much like when I saw Avatar, I felt it added physical depth to the scenes and aided in pulling me into the film.
Ruby Sparks - Enjoyed it. Not sure I'm terribly satisfied with the end... how does he explain that to people who met Ruby?
Safety Not Guaranteed - Loved it, warts and all.
There's probably not a lot I can say about it that people on here haven't already said, so I shan't repeat them, but I'm going to say a couple of things. The first is that it was daring, brave and entrancing, and that it's coldly intelligent (and possibly subversive of itself). The second is that it compares rather oddly to Lost Highway. For a start, Lynch feels more of a pure, abstract fantasist where the two Cronenberg films I've seen have a dead-eyed reality to them. They're both wonderful in their own way, if wonderful is the right word to use. Maybe terrific?
Obligatory disgust at remake goes here, another plug for Antiviral too (some similar themes, I think, but not as good).
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