Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index Flipside Movie Emporium
Discussion Forums Locked & Archived for Browsing
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

What did you watch this week?
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 54, 55, 56 ... 72, 73, 74  Next
 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Jordanio
Camera Operator


Joined: 29 May 2004
Posts: 93
Location: West Bend

PostPosted: 07.27.2004 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/19-7/26

Gandhi (Attenborough, 1982)

I, Robot (Proyas, 2004)

Napoleon Dynamite (Hess, 2004)

Se7en (Fincher, 1995)

The Battle of Shaker Heights (Potelle/Rankin, 2003)

The Bourne Identity (Liman, 2002)
_________________
www.myspace.com/jordanmuehlbauer
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address MSN Messenger
HoRRoRFaN
Cinematographer


Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 07.27.2004 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Fast Company is easily my least favorite Cronenberg, although not because it is a far departure from horror, but rather because the movie itself is too formulaic. Don't even get me started on the absolutely improbable and morally questionable conclusion. Still, it's worth seeing to watch Cronenberg develop his style, since Fast Company is more distinctly recognizable as a Cronenberg movie on a visual level than either Shivers or Rabid. Oddly, the two short films included in the Fast Company SE -- Stereo and, especially, Crimes of the Future -- which preceded his first two feature-length movies, stylistically resemble Cronenberg's later, more developed work even more. Go fig. I suppose this might suggest that Cronenberg had deliberate ideas about the composition of his movies, but perhaps found it more difficult to incorporate them while filming feature-length movies than shorts.


It's been such a long time since I've seen FAST COMPANY, so I'm gonna try to rewatch it soon... Don't remember much from it other than I did enjoy it on some level... Cronenberg is a brilliant director and has directed a few of my favorite films: CRASH (my favorite), VIDEODROME, and DEAD RINGERS.
_________________
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." -Stanley Kubrick
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 07.27.2004 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:
Fast Company is easily my least favorite Cronenberg, although not because it is a far departure from horror, but rather because the movie itself is too formulaic. Don't even get me started on the absolutely improbable and morally questionable conclusion.


I completely agree about the awful ending. The entire story is rather pedestrian--for the uninitiated, it involves an aging drag strip hero being pushed out by a corrupt sponsor--but the conclusion is, indeed, both "improbable" and "morally questionable." Fortunately, the movie's fringes, which focus on the minutiae of mechanical life on ramshackle strips, offer something like a pulse. Is it Cronenberg's worst picture? Well, at least it makes more dramatic sense than, say, M. Butterfly.

Eric
_________________
"When I was in Barcelona they showed pornography on regular television. I'm assuming it's the same way in Mexico since they also speak Spanish." - IMDb user comment
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Michael Scrutchin
Studio President


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 832
Location: Pearland, TX

PostPosted: 07.27.2004 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From July 19 to July 25:



  • Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1975) A

  • Party Girl (Ray, 1958) B+

  • They Live by Night (Ray, 1949) B+

  • The Invisible Man (Whale, 1933) B-

  • The Philadelphia Story (Cukor, 1940) A-



I can't even begin to say anything about Tarkovsky's Mirror. It's amazing. Party Girl and They Live by Night are damn good noirs directed by Nicholas Ray, who I admire more with each film of his I see (I'd previously seen In a Lonely Place and, of course, Rebel Without a Cause). Whale's Invisible Man is fun, but its campy sense of humor is often more groan-inducing than genuinely funny, unlike his masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein. I loved The Philadelphia Story -- Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart... it just might be one of the most purely entertaining movies I've ever seen. So much fun; I wanted to watch again right after it ended.
_________________
Michael Scrutchin
Flipside Movie Emporium
www.flipsidearchive.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
HoRRoRFaN
Cinematographer


Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 07.27.2004 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to see that THE MIRROR had that effect on you, Michael!
_________________
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." -Stanley Kubrick
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 08.01.2004 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dressed to Kill (Roy William Neill, 1946) C+ A particularly weak entry in the Rathbone/Bruce Sherlock Holmes series. It's amusing for a while seeing Rathbone inhabit a role that suits him so well, but this is little more than competent hackwork - not anywhere near as rollicking as a Sherlock Holmes picture should be. If you like Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, you'll especially be dismayed by how Nigel Bruce plays Dr. Watson as an ineffectual buffoon, when he should be an enthusiastic scholar in his own right, fascinated by Holmes' genius.

The Manchurian Candidate (Jonathan Demme, 2004) B The original is a masterpiece, I think - the greatest political thriller I've seen - so it is indeed impressive that Demme achieves many of the same effects with his own stylistic scheme. Time has marched on and the story remains prescient: the plot is exaggerated pulp, of course, but the idea of the government brainwashing its public for its own gain is nerve-racking during these days of High Alert and the Terrorist Scare. Awesome, unsettling camerawork intentionally shoots scenes out of focus and sways often during conversations - its own way of making us feel uncomfortable and nervous. Well-done.

Witness for the Prosecution (Billy Wilder, 1957) B- I love Wilder - The Apartment is one of my favorite movies - but this is most uninspired of his I've seen. (That may have to do with the fact that Wilder took the job at the request of his friend Marlene Dietrich, who wanted Wilder to direct her in this role.) Based on an Agatha Christie novel, it has a surprising twist ending and effective comic relief (especially between Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester), but Dietrich's performance, instead of seeming unglamorous (which she wanted), often seems plain dull.

Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2002) A+ This is being released into theaters soon (the Chinese DVD has been available for a while), and I saw a sneak preview of it (this was the second viewing). Zhang's stunning, masterful epic is the greatest martial-arts movie I've ever seen. He uses the story of a nameless assassin as a catapult to question the efficacy of using violence to battle violence, as well as an appreciation of Chinese culture: kung-fu is compared to chess, mandarin music, and calligraphy at different times. Visually, thematically, and emotionally a brilliant film.

The Last Samurai (Edward Zwick, 2003) C+ SPOILERS! Tom Cruise's American Captain regains his dignity - and rediscovers contentment - when he is sent to Japan to train the national army to battle the powerful samurai, only to fall in love with the samurai code of honor and loyalty. Its appreciation of Japanese/samurai culture and its criticism of European and American imperialism were well-done; I only wish they would have gone farther. Before long, this becomes a simple-minded, if well-meaning, parable of acceptance. If the movie intends to fully condemn imperialism, what sense does it make to have Cruise's character fully inhabit the role of the samurai he killed in battle, indeed become the only samurai to survive a horrific battle, single-handedly preach to the Japanese emperor about the importance of the samurai way, and save Japan from foreign takeover? The American hero becomes the savior of a waning Japanese lifestyle he only become a part of months ago; the movie strains so hard to make Cruise the fully redeemed, completely heroic savior that it loses most of its credibility in the process. Oh, well; it's beautifully photographed and Ken Watanabe's performance is commanding.
_________________
"I don't like talking to people I know, but strangers I have no problem with." -- Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HoRRoRFaN
Cinematographer


Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 08.01.2004 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

July 25th - 31st

Boiler Room (Ben Younger, 2000) 61

Certainly no WALL STREET, but then again, it doesn't exactly try to be at any point (there's a scene in this where Younger's characters are watching Stone's film and are all following along with Gordon Gecko's dialogue), nor does it pretend to be anything that it is not. I thought that the relationship aspects were well written and understood, as we rarely see a relationship that lead character Seth Davis (surprisingly good Giovanni Ribisi performance) has with his judge father (Ron Rifkin). This relationship is the real conflict and the core of the film, and you can really see how deeply affected both characters are by their choices like a scene late in the film when Seth goes to his father for help. No matter how likable that she may be in her role, Nia Long seemed kinda wasted to me and only was introduced to serve as a plot mechanic. The rest of the supporting cast is memorable and seems to fit fine, especially Vin Diesel, playing a character who, despite the piles of money that he rakes in, still lives home with his mother and he also seems to be the only co-worker that Seth respects and trusts enough to confide in. And even Ben Affleck's Alec Baldwin character is memorable, delivering one of the most important lines of dialogue in the film, "They say money can't buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face." At the end of Michael B. Scrutchin's review, he says that the movie is really sad as soon as you reflect back on it, which can't be more true. There's another quote that's delivered by Affleck: "A sale is made on every call. Either you sell them what you are selling or they sell you an excuse." It explains how fast people can be destroyed with only one phonecall. This is a cold, cruel, and convincing world that the characters inhabit and the screenplay, written by Younger himself after he researched and interviewed real brokers, allows much honesty in the characters and his taut direction oozes authenticity. Near the end, Younger rushed things far too much, and there's quite a few contrivances that are not worth mentioning because they are obvious I think when the scenes are introduced. I liked this movie though, the hip-hop vibe, the characters (none are evil per se but blind more than anything and even ones less flawed than others are guilty and implicated), and I liked the snappy pacing. Alternate ending on the DVD is worth a looksee; I prefer it to the one in the movie because it wrapped up the story (not only the subplot) better I think and the resolution darker as a result.

The Clearing (Pieter Jan Brugge, 2004) 37

Although well cast with Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe and Helen Mirren, THE CLEARING (based on actual events) fails to deliver any thoughtful message or powerful themes that we can ponder during the 90 minutes. The film evidently wants to be a character study, which I suppose is a level that works best for some, but because I was distanced from the characters too soon, I didn't care about them. I was baffled by Redford's dull character, who is abducted by Dafoe's and held for ransom, when he is given chance after chance to escape from him: one time, he runs away from Dafoe in the woods where he has taken him and for some reason, he reveals himself to his captor, and there is another time when he actually decides to fight back, knocking out Dafoe but Redford sticks around until he regains possession of his gun. These only are a couple examples of contrivances in the simplistic plot that is no different than any thriller with a similar plot. Brugge's time structure is probably the only fresh element that the movie has going for it. I was put off unfortunately, disinterested because this factor does not disguise the screenplay's obviousness. Worst of all though, I was extremely bored by a pace that's painfully wearisome. Nothing ever truly happens in the movie, characters that don't serve the plot in any way are meaningless, dialogue between Dafoe and Redford may seem amusing but never take the movie anywhere. Dafoe's character proves to be nothing more except for that he is pathetic. There are a couple moments where at least Mirren as Redford's wife opened to us and her pain was heartfelt. Other than that, Brugge's directorial debut disappointed me a great deal.

Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (Olaf Ittenbach, 1997) 13

None of it was fun for me, a waste of time too with its unrelentingly mindless gore that annoyed the hell out of me rather than shocking me for every gallon of gore on the screen. The movie is about a fallen angel who wants to return to Earth. Very poorly filmed and just unpleasant from the start, though if any one wants to see a braindead, lame as all hell zombie flick featuring the type of gore of DEAD ALIVE status along the lines of Raimi's EVIL DEAD, then check this out. But beware of many awful things about this crap: the screenplay is a structural mess with horrible dialogue, the cheap filmmaking is so atrocious that it is embarassing, sequences never seem to end, and the performances are shockingly bad. I hated this movie...

Cut and Run (Ruggero Deodato, 1985) 65

Coolest Deodato film I've seen so far; I really hated THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK and wasn't a fan of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST when I watched it a long time ago, so maybe another viewing is necessary. But this is just awesome stuff methinks and interestingly enough, the movie was supposed to be directed by Wes Craven, while Deodato was asked by producers to be direct the sequel project for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. This film was made by him right after it, and I had a lot of fun watching it. It's about an American journalist and her camera crew travelling deep within the jungle, in the midst of a violent drug war, to rescue their boss's missing son. We see a tribe led by Michael Berryman attacking drug operations, and him and his pack slaughter everyone involved, raping the women. I know how the hardcore fans of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST say how "meaningful" that the film is and how it's not exploitation but about human nature we are real savages blah blah and all that crap, but with just a single viewing of this film, I don't think I can say that it has a deep meaning. The most obvious, best presented theme is concerned with the face of the media and especially how ugly and painful violence is often shown as a form of entertainment. This film has some crazy gory sequences (a character split in two is some sick shit for real!), great score and performances, and none of it struck me as boring. Cool action flick, even with the odd and simplistic plot, I actually wanna see more Deodato now. In conclusion: moviemaking that never ceases to excite or shock with its jaw-dropping, eye-opening visuals.

Against the Ropes (Charles Dutton, 2004) 30

Not much to say about this other than I disliked it, but it's not bad or anything like that to the point where its unbearable to sit through. Despite that the movie is based on Jackie Kallen, the first-ever female professional boxing promoter, there's many cliches, one after the other. The screenplay by Cheryl Edwards has a major problem that was easy for me to notice while I was watching the characters: none of them are more than either good or bad, everyone plays on one note, good or bad, that's it -- this doesn't allow the cast to work with much. In his directorial debut, Dutton's intentions are well meaning but flawed, especially as his vision of Jackie Kallen (played by Meg Ryan) loses focus, not seeming to know what to focus on -- her story or Luther Shaw's, a drug dealer that Omar Epps plays. Shaw's character is too thin and underdeveloped, so I didn't want to focus on him when no insight was given, and because Shaw is important to the film, it's a shame that Dutton overlooks this. Could have been made for TV because that's what it felt like to me. Like many made for TV movies, AGAINST THE ROPES is flat, silly effort in telling an obvious story, with a predictable end that distanced me from the action; I did not feel any involvement or excitement like I should have felt. I thought Ryan's performance was adequete, but the transformation her character goes through in the film didn't convince, nor did Epp's work. Follows the regular old formula and does it well but not without various stupid moments such as the opening title card, a scene where Ryan is noticed in a bar, her odd and annoying facial expressions, and so on...

Dementia 13 (Francis Ford Coppola, 1963) 52

Leisurely paced, Francis Ford Coppola's homage to PYSCHO, DEMENTIA 13 is flawed but nevertheless worth a look for its creepy, unsettling atmosphere. You'd be surprised by how the artist Coppola, who would later direct some of cinema's most memorable, masterful works in THE GODFATHER and APOCALYPSE NOW, would be behind this small, simple film. He made it when he was 22, assisting Roger Corman on a set in Ireland, which is where Corman had allowed Coppola to use for his film. Its story surrounds a greedy woman Louise who visits her deceased husband's estate in Ireland to obtain some of the family forture. The family still is suffering from a tragedy that they experienced years earlier and Louise tries to con her mother in law, and with her appearance on their estate, an axe-weilding murderer arrives. Quiet, slow pacing may pose as a problem for some people, but because the movie is short at 75 minutes or so, I didn't have a problem with it. In fact, I liked it and the eerie score worked great with the black and white visuals. Onto the flaws that I noticed: the mystery aspect is really meaningless and wasted since the killer is palpable from early on; most of it is basic, forgettable (a few shots are cool but that's about it), the ending is a huge letdown, very abrupt and because of the build up, the movie deserved a stronger resolution. It is surprisingly not a slasher film even if it may seem as if it is one -- for its time, I bet that it stirred up some controversy with its violence that is extremely tame but still unlike anything that I've seen before 1970.

/Mystic River/ (Clint Eastwood, 2003) 75

Can't really give an analysis nor can I tell if it held up on this second viewing since I was kinda drunk and it was late at night anyway. It wouldn't be fair at all if I were to change my current rating so it'll remain. Definitely will revisit soon enough...

The Bad Seed (Mervyn LeRoy, 1956) 39

Classic comedy; I couldn't stop laughing during the entire movie honestly. The movie, based on a book and staged play, is about Rhoda (Patty McCormack), an 8 year old suspected of killing one of her classsmates by her mother Christine (Nancy Kelly) becomes increasingly convinced that she is a bad seed especially after she learns of a shocking revelation about her past. A plot as absurd as this was shocking I suppose, when it was released in 1956. But when watching it today, it couldn't have been more ridiculous; there are were too many unintentionally hilarious moments to mention, so I'll do my best to remember most. Off the top of my head, there are a couple of scenes when the mother of the deceased boy arrives in Christine's household drunk. You aren't supposed to laugh at these moments because the woman is mourning the death of her son, but I couldn't help it on account of awfully strange dialogue (Christine calls the mother a "poor creature" to another character). I loved the scene when Christine's father arrives and him, his daughter, and a law professor discuss what makes a killer. Is the killer born with no remorse? Whether it is a boy or a girl, is it hereditary or is it based strictly on the environment they grew up in, where they learn by what they see? This is an obvious question that the film repeats over and over again. The funniest scenes are when Rhoda plays outside, the family's cleaning person LeRoy confronts her and in one scene, he even tells her that there are electric chairs for little boys and girls that are blue and pink. The film's ending, which attempts to solve the problem in such a tacked-on manner, was added by the studio after they believed that the play's ending was unforgiveable, but it would have been appropriate. Nothing can excuse the ridiculous "twist" in the last frame of the movie. Performances are so-so; they really can't do much in a movie as staged as this. Maybe McCormack's performance is the best thing going for the film itself, chilling on its own, but that does not mean that her character was convincing enough for me. I find it hard to believe that anyone, particularly ones who know her best, are so blind that they can't notice obviously manipulative behavior. Basically, if you are looking for a classic horror, don't look here. But if you want a comedy posing as horror, then THE BAD SEED has a ton of scenes that deliver in that respect.

The Devil at 4 O'Clock (Mervyn LeRoy, 1961) 41

Contrived and hackneyed, THE DEVIL AT 4 O'CLOCK is nevertheless entertaining in its story of a priest (Spencer Tracy) and a trio of convicts (including Frank Sinatra) who try to save the patients of a children's hospital from an earthquake and erupting volcano. It's a disaster picture that wants to be much more, involving the loss of faith that Tracy's priest character feels, and the way that he finds it again. Although its well meaning, the religious themes are wasted and overdone, beaten into the ground. It works simply on an adventure level with surprisingly sufficient special effects for the time and budget. The visual scheme struck me as effective, worthwhile in its colors.

/Swingers/ (Doug Liman, 1996) 64

Hellboy (Guillermo Del Toro, 2004) 50

Instead of being merely based on a comic book, it feels like a comic book and the effects of this feeling are as lively as they should be; I sure had a specially fun time and I liked it for its sheer energy and ebullience more than anything else. As Hellboy, Ron Perlman was very well cast, carrying the movie all on his shoulders; except for John Hurt, the rest of the cast is wasted, as the characters that they play were poorly written. The movie's pace is snappy, but before the ending, there are at least attempts to understand Hellboy. Perlman's performance works best because of personality that he breathes into the character, the dry sense of humor, his sensitive side as well as his jealous side, and his flaws; he is not like every other superhero that we know about. Professor Broom's father-figure character was understood well and fleshed out in the relationship between him and Hellboy, but as I said earlier, the supporting cast is disappointing because there's not much for them to work with. Each of superhero characters obviously have a background, but we are never told where they came from or who they are exactly. Del Toro masters the dark atmosphere here by the interesting use of color and impressive FX. The only problem that I had with his otherwise exciting, fresh direction was the group dynmatic that is a waste. He wants to open up the relationship between Hellboy and Liz (Selma Blair), a set-up moment that is supposed to be developed, but there is zero chemistry and pay-off. Lack of plot is also a problem, as characters will often show up seemingly out of nowhere, then they vanish from the frame. This is all that happens during random moments, but when Del Toro manages to throw in action, the events are marred by holes in the script... Of course, there were flaws in this movie that easily stick out for me, but I still managed to enjoy myself.

Watch Me When I Kill (Anthony Bido, 1977) 63

Haven't seen many giallo's that weren't directed by Argento, but I enjoyed this one directed by Bido (who has a funny cameo as a dance teacher), which opens to he murder of a pharmacist in Rome and there is an eyewitness who flees the scene with the killer on her trail, so of course, murders follow. While they were violent don't get me wrong, the murders weren't ridiculously gory and the direction in this area of the giallo veered away from the way that Argento would have directed. In other words, Bido is in complete control -- the film thankfully does not want to reveal too much, the mystery aspect is strong and it is not fucked with until the appropriate moment is revealed. It isn't without the trappings of the genre, and with all of the red herrings, we only see the killer's gloves or his trenchcoat. Score was strong and all, except that it pretty much reminded me of the SUSPIRIA score. Acting is good, but the dub that I was watching may have affected it. Dunno how I feel about this now, but while watching the movie, I was put off by the fact that there are lots and lots of characters in this thing, maybe too much that the movie fails to keep track of. And I'd understand if there's some people who find this to be very confusing and convoluted because I was confused at first -- after all, there is a twist even after the first twist that serves as the explaination to the killer's motive.

Phantom of Death (Ruggero Deodato, 1988) 55

First half of this film is great as it wonderfully builds up the tense story of Robert Dominici (Michael York), a well known pianist, who is stricken very suddenly with a rare disease that will cause his body to grow old awfully fast. This disease transforms a normal and well liked man in his mid-30's into a crazed maniac killer, and pretty soon, no women is safe around him, not even his loved ones. Donald Pleasance plays (no surprise here) the police inspector thats on the case, and Edwige Fenech is Helen, Robert's girlfriend that gets pregnant with his baby. Written by Gianfranco Clerici, the screenplay sharply observes Robert and his relationships in the first half. By the end, we understand that despite brutal murders committed by him, he is not a form of evil but a victim himself -- his mind is committing the murders, which seem to be sudden acts of violence rather than premeditated. York is an entirely convincing presence that goes through a scary and rapid age transformation. Second half changes in tone -- as a result, PHANTOM OF DEATH loses any intensity that it set up so well previously. The pace slows down a lot, also. On the level of police procedural, the movie fails the most and because of it, the Pleasance is wasted, who looks kinda tired and bored with the formula anyways. Violence is not exploitative as one might expect from Deodato, seeming very Argentoish though, evident in the film's best murder sequence where a woman is stabbed unrelentingly. Could have been great, but while the film is partly weak, it is nowhere near as awful as I heard it was.

Body Count (Ruggero Deodato, 1987) 41

Along with PHANTOM OF DEATH, I was very lucky to see this because neither are released officially on DVD yet and are rare finds. That said, this Deodato effort has its share of flaws that are common, expected with this type of horror movie. It didn't specifically disappoint since I was not expecting a great movie within the rather ordinary slasher plot, though there's still some fun to be had here. Venturing into Italian FRIDAY THE 13th territory, BODY COUNT is about a campground owned by David Hess and his wife that is haunted by an Indian Shaman, who kills anyone who trespasses; sure enough, a pack of college students arrive on the couple's property to camp out (better known as: getting naked, having sex, then getting murdered), then of course all hell breaks loose. A routine, by-the-books plot like this includes holes in the script and flaws that are very hard to dismiss: stupid and weakly drawn characters that are far too many to care to keep track of anyways, laughably retarded dialogue, awful acting etc. You actually laugh at the way the people are oblivious to the missing members of their party. Also, why are any of us supposed to care about these people when they don't even care about each other? I could not bring myself to sympathize, though the Indian Shaman was damn scary, also gaining my interest was cool killing sequences. It's possible that Deodato had a feeling that the screenplay that he was working with was too predictable, so he inserts a little twist at the end -- it was good that I did not guess ahead of time who the killer was, too. Took me a while to be satisfied with a rating; I didn't like or dislike this film (despite problems, its always watchable), I kinda felt the same way about Eric Stanze's SAVAGE HARVEST.

D.O.A. (Rudolph Mat?, 1950) 62

Seemingly in a hurry, a well-dressed man makes his way through a police station, walking down a corridor and stopping when he finds the Homicide Division office. He reports a murder: his own. This is how D.O.A. begins, and from this point on, when the man recounts his story in a flashback, the following is taut and gripping in a highly original noir. Edmond O'Brien is Frank Bigelow, an accountant who wants to get away from his business for a little while and go on a vacation. During his first night, a slow-acting toxic poison is slipped into his drink, and after he realizes his fate, he rushes to find out who is behind his own murder before his time runs out, resulting in his death. When he is told what is to happen to him, Frank of course cannot believe what the doctors have told him, so he storms in another doctor's office for another opinion. He is told again that he is going to die and may only have a day left. The camera is focussed and frantic now; he does not know what to do except trying to regain his composure leaning on a newstand that is selling copies of Life magazines. His plight feels real and sad, somber the most because of how senseless that his murder is. Without giving anything crucial away, he is killed over bearing witness to a file that he probably didn't even remember or care about on one of his workdays. O'Brien's presence is unique because instead of expecting a familar face in a noir around this time, we are given a doomed portrayal of a man with human flaws that is forced to accept his fate, by fighting back. The character's major flaw lies in his feelings towards Paula (Pamela Britton), his girlfriend and secretary. Arriving at the San Francisco hotel, it is clearly shown to us: his weakness is his attraction to other women. Unfortunatley, Mat? doesn't trust his viewer to pick up on this, which lies in O'Brien's facial expressions, so the soundtrack adds noticeably loud wolf whistles whenever he sees a woman. Surely, there is no need for this to carry on the way it is. While watching, I was under the impression that Frank had no honest connection to Paula, and that he is taking time off of work because he is annoyed by her (as I sure was with her character). But I think that it may be that he doesn't know how to express true feelings, explaining why his inescapable demise brings them out. This is why I don't think their love was professed suddenly; the romance angle hardly is the appeal here, though.

/Before Sunset/ (Richard Linklater, 2004) 97

Still can't put my finger on why this movie is so special to me; I just fucking adore every frame of it for a reason that is hard to pinpoint exactly. This viewing, being my third, was even more rewarding than the first viewing that blew me away. I admit that I was not happy to hear that Linklater was filming a sequel to his 1995 film. As profoundly sad as it is exquisitely lovely, the sequel delves deeper than the original when Linklater's direction immersed in the heartbreaking damage that the two characters feel. Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply could not have done better work IMO, especially considering subtle touches and facial expressions that convey more than any type of dialogue exchange. Adolescent romanticism that was so wonderful to allow unfold in the original is replaced with existentialism. Fallacies within yourself is vigorously dealt with, as Jesse admits how he lives his life how other people around him expect to live it, religion is an important issue in the film because of how Jesse searches for the meaning of his life, and how prospects in life and their optimistic or pessimistic possibilities are established by choices made, I could go on and on. As Rosenbaum properly stated in his essay for the film, "Both characters, now in their 30s, have many more protective layers to peel away before they can gauge their feelings for each other, and the nature of those feelings is harder for them (and us) to recognize and define." I love how both of these people perceive the other's thoughts and how intelligible the moments are after their confessions, then they are stripped completely from the shield they safely hold to protect themselves, which is why the dialogue spoken after revealing their truest thoughts provides assuagement. Like I did with the original, I want to guess what will happens after the sequel fades out concluding itself with a wordless sequence that is staggeringly tense, but because Linklater will direct a third eventually, my interpretations will probably not be true. Still, I'd like to think for now that sex that Jesse and Celine will have is most likely going to be rough, charged with confusion and anger with many complications and doubts. In BEFORE SUNRISE, a sex scene is never shown to us. Instead, Linklater leaves it strictly to the viewer's imagination on whether they did or didn't have sex with each other. Based on the enchanting ambience, they had pure sex that was gentle with FRIDAY NIGHT-ish sensuality, so much that Celine must have thought it was a dream after all the years afterwards.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2004) 28

No matter how much I wanted to enjoy myself with this movie, I simply couldn't. At times, while watching a comedy such as this, fortunately the viewers who enjoy themselves will at least notice that it is extremely goofy and stupid in the humor department but despite of this, they think that it was funny. I can understand this, but it definitely wasn't the case for me in regarding this movie, even if a few bits made me laugh. The director's own poorly written screenplay is about Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), the lazy owner of a gym called Average Joe's, and how his friends who hang out in the gym seemingly on a daily basis, try to raise the money that the gym is in debt for. Before the gym is seized by White Goodman (Ben Stiller), the group forms a dodgeball team so they can compete in the dodgeball championship in Las Vegas, the prize being $50,000. Nearly every joke in this movie is truly predictable, and even the cardboard characters have nothing to add: there is an abhorrent villian, a decent good guy, the typical nerd, a love-struck teenager, a black man, the wheelchair bound maniac, etc. The movie, which has a passable concept that dies once it decides to take off, manages to overuse every one of its gags that aren't even very funny or inspired to begin with. How many times are we supposed to laugh about the incredibly moronic physical comedy? And what was the point in the lesbian joke? I definitely didn't mind the pay-off to this, but it unnecessary like the pirate character was. What is the most irritating and overdone is the Stiller performance and very rarely did I find his retarded dialogue funny. I like Vince Vaughn and even his work in OLD SCHOOL was pleasing, but the only thing that he does here is deliver dry humor that is nowhere near as satisfying as it should be. Rip Torn, who plays a character that unbelievably appears out of nowhere introducing himself to Peter in one scene, is the most amusing. Even with the physical running gag that begins with him, he has some memorable one-liners that are the biggest laughs during the entire movie.

The Untold Story (Herman Yau & Danny Lee, 1992) 62

Along with the darkly twisted humor, the very fact that this was based on actual events further makes it one of the most shockingly disturbing films that I have ever seen. Set in 1986 Macau, the film opens to a beach, where a mother and her two sons are gathering shells, only to soon discover severed limbs found in a bag that has washed up from the tide. In hiding for his past murder years earlier in Hong Kong, Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Wong) has now relocated, and has taken over the 8 Immortals Restaurant. The well known special on the menu is barbecue pork buns; the sadistic new owner of the restaurant is chopping his victims to pieces, grinding them, adding them as ingredients to the selling product. Police are called in to investigate, but similar to the incompetent cops in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, they delay doing any work and are dawdling in the process. The Macau police seemed considerably small, comprised of few male detectives that are interested solely in sex, the only female detective that gets made fun of regularly, and their Cheif (Danny Lee) does nothing for the film's first half but arrive to work with prostitutes. When Wong is arrested by them, the police cannot get a confession out of him, so they resort to unrelenting torture until he confesses. The film interlaces humor with the unsettling horror in violence that pulls no punches, and the effect worked for me only after the images sunk in. During bits of humor involving the detectives, I thought that some of their dialogue was funny, but still felt that it was unnecessary, out of place, wrong to be included in the film. Though still distracting and indecorously repetitive, humor is partially necessary with the police because of how, in real life, homicide detectives sometimes are lazy or inefficient in their efforts, while there are brutal murders being committed by a pyscho. Comic relief (very common with Hong Kong cinema, I should mention) doesn't undermine the severe inhumanity or lack of remorse that Wong feels, and his chilling performance is also quietly subtle. What's the most audacious is Yau's singular structure, which dares the viewer to examine this pitiful man's calculated and decrepit mind. He wonders if the viewer will sympathize with him after the torment he faces before his confession. I was under the impression that police in Macau rarely ever receive cases like this, which explains why they are amateur and reluctant. After being motivated by their Cheif, the detectives adapt to the deranged violent tendencies of the man they beat the confession out of. Not many films have made me feel as physically sick or as repulsed as THE UNTOLD STORY did.
_________________
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." -Stanley Kubrick


Last edited by HoRRoRFaN on 08.01.2004 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.01.2004 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Hero (Zhang Yimou, 2002)


Ahhh! I bought it in March and I totally forgot to watch it! Good reminder!
_________________
Danny Baldwin

View My Reviews
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 08.01.2004 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/26 ? 8/1/04

?And Justice For All (Jewison, USA 1979)

The Bourne Supremacy (Greengrass, USA 2004)

In the Mirror of Maya Deren (Kudl?cek, Austria 2002)

They Drive By Night (Walsh, USA 1940)

Plus four Three Stooges shorts: Disorder in the Court (White, 1936), Brideless Groom (Bernds, 1947), Malice in the Palace (White, 1949), and Sing a Song of Six Pants (White, 1947).

The documentary In the Mirror of Maya Deren, about the American avant-garde filmmaker of the ?40s and ?50s, is simultaneously the week?s most fascinating and disappointing experience. The movie is fairly standard in construction, top-heavy with talking heads and cutaways to Deren?s films. I was disappointed that the movie didn't delve deeper into her movies, offering analyses of why her art is considered significant, influential, and enduring. Mostly it is presented chronologically, and while much of the material is interesting, I never felt a rhythm?narrative, historical, aesthetic?emerge. The best portions are interviews with experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage, who uses his compulsively listenable voice to recount several amusing Deren anecdotes.

Matt - I totally agree about Hero, which would have made my Top Ten last yeat except I was holding out for the American release this year. I've seen it at least a dozen times, and it just keeps growing in stature. It succeeds first as a martial-arts epic, but later viewings reveal a social, political, and emotional heft that lingers far longer than the choreography does. A masterpiece, indeed.

HorrorFan - I found Bunman: The Untold Story difficult to stomach, too, but I think it's a very good picture. Despite the misplaced comedy routines put on by the silly police force, the film is one of the most gripping and dramatically satisfying of all Hong Kong films. Anthony Wong is absolutely chilling as the killer--but he also earns our sympathy after being arrested and tortured into a confession. That bizarre dichotomy, that unhealthy look at unacceptable violence in two forms, is the film's strength.

Eric
_________________
"When I was in Barcelona they showed pornography on regular television. I'm assuming it's the same way in Mexico since they also speak Spanish." - IMDb user comment
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
HoRRoRFaN
Cinematographer


Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 08.02.2004 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
HorrorFan - I found Bunman: The Untold Story difficult to stomach, too, but I think it's a very good picture. Despite the misplaced comedy routines put on by the silly police force, the film is one of the most gripping and dramatically satisfying of all Hong Kong films. Anthony Wong is absolutely chilling as the killer--but he also earns our sympathy after being arrested and tortured into a confession. That bizarre dichotomy, that unhealthy look at unacceptable violence in two forms, is the film's strength.


When he is arrested and tortured in confessing, you almost forget about the previous events in the film, the brutal murders that he commits -- it's one of the most intelligently daring devices that a director could use in a film like this, where we hate the killer so much.
_________________
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." -Stanley Kubrick
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.03.2004 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

7/27 - 8/2

In preferential order:

Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995) - An amazing love story, which I had quite a time defending in a room of opposition. Beautiful dialogue and performances (even though Ethan Hawke may seem awful at first, you'll soon realize where he's going).

The Village (Shyamalan, 2004) - I thought it was absolutely brilliant, only flawed by a somewhat unlikeable predictable first, little twist. I suppose that's just to destract you before Shyamalan's haunting finale is delivered in full form. The sense of intimacy of the villagers, exhibited through the way the camera pans and focuses on select things in some scenes, is rather memorable. Tonally, this is a masterpiece.

The Manchurian Candidate (Frankenheimer, 1962) - Opens to a confusing beginning, in which much is laid upon viewers, but this only makes it more intriguing. The middle act has some great dialogue and acting, but I found myself rather detached. However, all this becomes nearly insignificant once the absolutely unpredictable ending is instituted. What a way to finish, Frankenheimer! I look forward to seeing the Demme/Denzel remake sometime soon, but want to wait to finish reflecting on this one.

The Bourne Supremacy (Greengrass, 2004) - Comments were posted on this thread.

The Big Bounce (Armitage, 2004) - The light tone of the thing makes it feel breezy, but also instantly foregettable. I liked Owen Wilson in it, along with some smart one liners. A few points must be awarded for the beauty of leading actress Sarah Foster, as well. All in all, it's not even half bad. Probably a third, though. Very Happy.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) - Comments were posted on this thread.

Dreamcatcher (Kasdan, 2003) - A movie with Timothy Olyphant that I don't like. Hmmm. Well, it's actually rather terrible, opening to a somewhat average act and falling on two that are absolutely awful. It's almost offensive how cheesy it is; I couldn't believe Stephen King actually handled "shitweasels" with taste, while reading the book, but here, it's apparent how hard that task really is.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Leiner, 2004) - I actually found parts of Dude, Where's My Car? funny, but this is a huge misstep for Danny Leiner, let alone the film industry as a whole. John Cho is kind of amusing and Kal Penn is likeable, but I was disgusted for most of the duration, only laughing twice. This one has the crudeness of Bad Santa and none of the ambition. Not that that picture had a ton in the first place, anyway.
_________________
Danny Baldwin

View My Reviews
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
HoRRoRFaN
Cinematographer


Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 128

PostPosted: 08.03.2004 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait to see THE VILLAGE, especially after hearing so many bad things about it, then great things about it; it seems to really split viewers, almost more than I expected it to. I'm seeing it Wednesday along with THE BOURNE SUPREMACY or HAROLD AND KUMAR if I can squeeze it in.
_________________
"A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later." -Stanley Kubrick
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 08.03.2004 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
The Village (Shyamalan, 2004) - I thought it was absolutely brilliant, only flawed by a somewhat unlikeable predictable first, little twist. I suppose that's just to destract you before Shyamalan's haunting finale is delivered in full form. The sense of intimacy of the villagers, exhibited through the way the camera pans and focuses on select things in some scenes, is rather memorable. Tonally, this is a masterpiece.



MINOR SPOILERS

Comparing The Village to The Sixth Sense illustrates the inherent problem I had with The Village. In The Sixth Sense the plot twist at the end of the movie alters how the audience views the story, but doesn?t fundamentally change the story. The plot twists in The Village, on the other hand, gradually reveal that every interesting aspect in its premise, which we were so curious to see resolved on its own terms, is completely arbitrary. By the end, if I was left appreciative of the issue Shyamalan explores, I was also left wishing Shyamalan had saved it for another less intriguing storyline, and allowed the one he promised at the beginning of The Village to follow its own course.

REAL SPOILERS

That said, I think the first twist (the costume reveal) almost works, functioning as an apt metaphor for the climate of fear the United States is currently weathering in the first decade of a new century, and how people use culture and community to try and mitigate that fear. But the problem lies with the fact that the movie is all metaphor and no story, especially when considering the last big twist (the present day), which, as I said, throws the premise up in the air like a deck of cards, and renders many story elements utterly contrived. Why monsters in the woods? Why choose to emulate a certain era in history? Why the "bad color"? Furthermore, why send a blind girl into the woods when sighted people get lost there more often than not? Why not instead just send one of the town elders who was in on the secret? (You could doubtless come up with a better story surrounding his survival than "magic rocks.") And isn't it convinient that a creature costume was hidden in the floorboards for crazy guy to find and terrorize the blind girl with?
_________________
"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

-David Cronenberg
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 08.04.2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that contrivance is a necessary part of the exercise. With this type of movie, the statement is made through the metaphors and the suspense and twists are maintained in bending the plot. I don't think Shyamalan needs a heavy realist influence, as long as his imagination keeps things believable, in their context. (Is the town's existence any more real than what happens in the story?).
_________________
Danny Baldwin

View My Reviews
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
the night watchman
Studio Exec


Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 1373
Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 08.04.2004 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right, the contrivance is necessary. That's the problem. I was so jarred from the story that, afterward, I was aware of nothing but plot mechanics. SPOILER Had the movie not gone for the "big twist" at the end, i.e., had the movie really taken place in 1896, and followed the consequences of the town elders' deceit, Shyamalan might have crafted something really profound and brilliant. As it is, the premise is revealed to be nothing more than a set-up, and an illogical one at that, to allow Shyamalan to pull the rug out from under the audience. It struck me as lazy storytelling.
_________________
"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

-David Cronenberg
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.    Flipside Movie Emporium Forum Index -> Movie Talk All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 54, 55, 56 ... 72, 73, 74  Next
Page 55 of 74

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001-2007 phpBB Group