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A few reviews

ranger613

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Moe_Syzlak said:
Saw this one over the weekend. I couldn't help but imagine the studio pitch: "it's like Hunger Games meets the Raid!" I liked it but it felt a little more hollow than I hoped.

Haven't watched this other than a few thoughts-- What a stupid title.. I've never heard of it... Why are people on FE talking about it?
So I watched the trailer and checked wiki-- few notes:
1. The movie is not American, it's in ENglish but made by Bong Joon-ho, who made one of (imho) the best monster movies of all time "The Host"-- which Tarantino also called one of the best movies since 1992.
2. Stars Chris Evans (Captain America), Song Kang-ho (Mr Vengeance himself! from Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and JSA), Tilda Swinton, Ewen Bremner (trainspotting), Jamie Bell (ugh) and John Hurt (who seems to be doing that Midnight Express/ 1984 thing)
3. The reason its unheard of where I am is because it was sandbagged by the Weinsteins:
"On 9 November 2012,
The Weinstein Company acquired the distribution rights to Snowpiercer from CJ Entertainment, based on the script and some completed footage, with a plan for wide release in North America, as well as throughout the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.[SUP][139][/SUP] It was released in the US on 27 June 2014 in just eight theaters in selected cities.[SUP][140][/SUP] This delay was caused by Harvey Weinstein, an owner of The Weinstein Company, requesting 20 minutes of footage be cut and opening and closing monologues be added. Bong refused to cut it. American fans anticipating the film were outraged, spawning the Free Snowpiercer petition campaign (founded by cinematic activist Denise Heard-Bashur) demanding the director's cut of the film to be released in the US.[SUP][141][/SUP] Eventually Bong succeeded in getting the film released in an uncut form;[SUP][142][/SUP]however Weinstein retaliated by relegating the film to Radius-TWC, which meant the film only received a limited release in art house cinemas.[SUP][143][/SUP] On 3 July 2014, it was announced that thanks to the positive reviews and buzz the film would get a wider US release and play in over 150 theaters.[SUP][144]"

[/SUP]
The movie looks pretty damn good--reminds me for some reason of Bioshock 1, and will definitely check it out

 

ranger613

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A few reviews:

Elite Squad 2 (2010; Brazil)-- this has a 93% on RT and is the highest grossing film in the history of Brazil. One thing it is not though is anywhere near as good as its predecessor. It's the French Connection 2, you know the one where Gene Hackman becomes a drug addict? This movie starts off very promisingly with a daring prison raid which is brutal, fast paced and action packed, but then immediately falls into a two hour meandering treatise on bureaucracy and social injustice peppered with ridiculously cliched conventions (bad guys going after family, etc), whole somehow managing to be incredibly boring. Avoid at all costs, unless you enjoy a wannabe movie about 'social injustice' with an abrupt montage ending. Only one good scene.
Score: 1/5 (terrible)

Man of Steel (2013): Rewatched this. Movie which divided everyone on its release, but not me--it was pretty damn bad. I'm not a comic book fan so the Superman mythos deviations weren't so much of a bother for me, but what did it for me was the main character being completely unlikeable-- mopes around, is shut off and is unrelatable-- Christopher Reeve was a guy we rooted for because despite being an alien superhero he conveyed that human vulnerablility and everyday qualities in the form of Clark Kent that made him so likeable and those films classics-- yea they were silly, but loved. This movie is gritty, dark, realistic (I mean not really-- by making the overall tone more 'realistic' you only succeed in pointing out how silly the entire concept of 'superman' and space aliens are-- which is a fatal flaw in this film that the original avoided through clear conceptual setup). Henry Cavill is a fine actor (he should definitely be the next James Bond), but I think I can safely say that Snyder is not a good director-- the film is cluttered and overwrought, you don't care about anyone. The visual effects and music were forgettable. And that ending, with murder and threatening the US government, establishes that while the Man of Steel is certainly the lead character, he is definitely not a hero.
Score: 1.5/5 (avoid if possible, revisit the originals instead)

12 Years a Slave (2013)-- Rewatched. Not much I can say for this other than, avoid it if you are not into heavy drama,ie. if you are offended/put off by this movie's historic predecessors "Schindler's List" and "Shawshank Redemption", don't bother watching it. That said, this is one of the greatest films ever made. Unflinchingly brutal and honest, its the only movie with a scene I look away every time (I've seen em all from Flwrs F+B to Serbian) just because of how gut-wrenching it is. McQueen's direction was great, cinematography was magnificent (absolutely Loved those shallow depth of field shots), Hans Zimmer's music was fantastic, and the acting was amazing (Fassbender kills it again following Hunger and Shame as one of the scariest villains because he was, well, real). It's not something you would watch more than once in a long time, but not something you will forget either.
Score : 5/5 (perfect)

 

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I feeling lazy, so...


Django Unchained 7/8
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage 7.2/8
Antiviral 5.5/8
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 7.3/8
 

MusicEd921

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ranger613 said:

Saw it during a pre-screening. Maybe it was the mood I was in when I saw it, but I found it pretty bleak and dark and I wasn't a huge fan. I felt like the idea was there, but the ending just didn't sit right with me. I'm curious what you think of it when you see it. If you remember, PM me and we can get a conversation going about it.
 

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Vultural said:
Snowpiercer - 2013 - 4/10

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Affix piece of paper to back part of my belt.
Paper reads: Just watched Snowpiercer. Kick me.
I just now got done watching it myself. (Netflix Streaming)

... Yeah, not too impressed either. Just where the hell was everyone else sleeping? What do all those killer goons do between revolts years and years apart?

The movie looked beautiful, and I definitely want to spend two or three days on the train, so there's that. And I of course get that it's an overpopulation metaphor, or something. But if you're gonna be all sci-fi, why not do a realistic depiction of what the overpopulated world might look like a few decades from now? (Of course, it's unfair to ask a movie to be a different movie than it is; I get that.)

But when I got to the end, I definitely thought "That's it? That's all you got?!"

Uh, I'll go... B-? For what it was, it was pretty well-done.
 

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Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)


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I liked this fine on Netflix Instant. But let's just recap for a moment, shall we? Several years after American Wall Street corporations cause a global financial crisis (a crisis that, by the way, goes completely unmentioned in the movie, though we do get a shot of the burning World Trade Center), an American corporation gave us a movie in which Wall Street must be defended against a foreign plot to cause a global financial crisis. Shockingly, the zeitgest was not captured, and a smash hit did not ensue. Power to the people! Occupy Paramount Studios! ¡Viva Elizabeth Warren! :p

B-, because Kenneth Branagh, and it's a lot shorter and less idiotic than Skyfall
 

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Sabotage (2014, available on Netflix Instant)

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Take it away, San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick Lasalle:


Those determined to miss the point might call "Sabotage" far-fetched, but there has never been anything "close-fetched" or "regular-fetched" about Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, in his late 60s, remains a pretty extreme character onscreen. Schwarzenegger is the defining reality here, so if the story of "Sabotage" makes little sense, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that the writer-director, David Ayer, understood his job and did it.

In place of coherence, "Sabotage" mainly offers spectacle, not the spectacle of action or blood, though there's plenty of both, but the spectacle of characters in collision. It's Schwarzenegger and [Olivia] Williams in a dance, sometimes working together, sometimes clashing, pursuing their own interests, coming together and coming apart. The story and all the other elements are a frame for that interaction and for Schwarzenegger himself, who has somehow, over the years, become interesting.

Everything else you can throw out. "Sabotage" cannot be called a good movie, not with a straight face. But as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, it has something.



I totally agree, and give it a B-. For a Netflix stream I'd already purchased, I got my evening's worth of entertainment.
 

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A Nightmare on Elm Street ('84)

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Watched this for the first time last night. Some clunky dialogue and acting, but also some suspenseful and artful sequences. The climax, though, in which Nancy defeats Kreuger by renouncing her fear, was much too pat a resolution for my tastes. It was like something out of a Disney movie - and, indeed, is pretty much the same resolution as that of James and the Giant Peach. And then the Freddy car coda was just dumb.

A better ending would have had Nancy and her dad simply drive off into the night, vowing never to return to the town, not knowing if doing so would ensure her safety. But maybe an even better ending, albeit a much darker one, would be for Nancy to confront Kreuger in her mother's bedroom... and accept her fate, eyes open, uncomplaining. He'd stab and kiss her at the same time, then take her down a staircase through her mother's bed (oh, the symbolism!) into the underworld. If you're going to make a horror story, why not go all out?

C+
 

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Upside Down (2012)


Ugh. Sci-fi romance about two planets with opposite gravity, joined together. One is poor, one is rich. If you're born on one planet, you fall towards it even if you're on the other planet (i.e. you'd fall up). The very idea is as dumb in execution as it is in theory. There's a high rise building that is literally connecting both worlds. How does it not fall apart with the worlds spinning? They aren't spinning? Ok...where does the gravity come from? Just one of the many problems with the main plot device. Also, it's a mushy melodrama with a ludicrous ending.


On the positive side, the visuals are fantastic (despite occasional lens flare), and I really enjoyed the score. And Kristen Dunst is fun to look at.


4/8 pink pollen bees...wait, what? Ugh again.
 

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Perhaps they're tidally locked?
 

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Not sure. Let's ask Batman.
 

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Vultural said:
Byzantium - 2012 - 6/10

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Arched vampire film (sounded like a play to me) set in Hastings and Dublin.
Dual threads of modern girls eeking a living by petty crimes and prostitution, being trailed by two men in blue gloves. Secondary thread is of same girls, two hundred years earlier, and how they came to be "turned."
Slow, low on thrills, yet avoids the usual cliches. Mysterious order and isolated cave involved.
Violates vampire rules such as daylight and mirrors - I am seeing this more often lately.
Top crew led by Neil Jordan.​
Just watched this, after circling it for years - like its detectives, I can be a patient predator. From the reviews, I was expecting a moody, slow-burn, minimal-dialogue artsy take on vampires with a feminist edge, and that's what I got. Just when my patience started to wear thin, however, the plot kicked into gear, and I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely the whole story fit together, with a genuinely suspenseful conclusion. Fans of Carnivàle's very deliberate first season should appreciate this film, which could absolutely share its universe. And now I want to spend a few days walking around Hastings.

B+
 

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Gaith said:
And now I want to spend a few days walking around Hastings.

5drorm.jpg


Hastings is well worth a daytrip if you get a posting or port in UK.
Don't know if the US actually has any naval stations there, however.
 

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Birdman (2014)

Ultimately it didn't hold my interest. What was it about in the end? Stage vs screen? Art vs. the business of entertainment? These are clichéd topics and the film doesn't even really offer anything new on the subject. It also doesn't seem to trust itself to convey this through the action on the screen. The theatre critic seemed to be almost entirely there to explain what the movie is about to the audience. The single long take format was impressive, but more distracting than narrative compelling. There doesn't seem to be much point to it other than perhaps to lend some of the staging challenges of theatre to the film. Contrast this with Touch of Evil or Children of Men where the long takes were essential in creating tension. Both also feel natural and unforced to the point where they could easily go unnoticed. In short, they add to film whereas I felt Birdman's structure ultimately detracted. The performances were all top notch, but I still found the characters rather two dimensional. Perhaps again that's the point. The fact that so much of the on-screen character relies on the audience's knowledge of the actor's off screen history also felt gimmicky to me. I guess ultimately I may have been kinder to this film if I had seen it before the hype. It wasn't a bad film, but it wasn't great either.

6/10
 

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Vultural said:
5drorm.jpg


Hastings is well worth a daytrip if you get a posting or port in UK.
Don't know if the US actually has any naval stations there, however.
Oh, I'm getting out of the Navy in either 9 or 12 months (preferably the former), thanks, before they finally get around to sending me overseas in one of their floating prisons. So, I fear it'll likely be a long time before I return to the UK; I may even get to New Zealand first. :)
 

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Fury_2014_poster.jpg


ranger613 said:
2. Fury-- if Sam Peckinpah were alive today, this would be his follow up to cross of iron. Hard hitting, violent, bitter, no nonsense nonPC war movie. Not for everyone. Brad Pitt is tank commander Wardaddy ( Aldo Raine is a light hearted caricature of this guy) all American Nazi killer, commanding, brutal and a d**k most of the time. Shia lebouf in his first actual movie as bible quoting southern tank gunner, actually did a good job. Tank battles were awesome. Some sequences could have been removed and more character development would have helped make you care more about the characters, but I personally love these kinds of movies. Recommended if you're a fan of wild bunch, Alfredo Garcia, pat garrett, straw dogs and cross of iron.
Score 3.5/5
Seriously legit war movie - unlike The Hurt Locker, it has more than one interesting character, and unlike Saving Private Ryan, it doesn't center around a silly (entirely made up) main plot. (Full credit to SPR for the D-Day sequence, though, and its final battle is good, too.) The whole cast is great, including Peña and Labeouf and 'the girl' (man, is she pretty), but the most props go to Pitt. Never having been bad in his younger years that I know of, he's become a real cinematic treasure, just effortlessly captivating, elevating even muddled stuff like The Counselor and just plain stupid stuff like World War Z with pure manly dignity every moment he's onscreen.

The third act is a bit over the top and absurd, but I didn't really mind. I did mind, however, that the movie makes a big deal of Pitt shaving in a house halfway through, but then that very afternoon he's all stubbly and grizzled again. WTF?! That had to have been an intentional fudge on Ayer's part; I just can't believe that didn't occur to them while filming.

A-
 

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Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Just saw this American film which takes place half in Tokyo and half in Minnesota. It's about a Japanese woman who believes Fargo to be a true story and goes to the US in search of the cash Buscemi buried. It sounds like a wacky cross-cultural comedy but it's actually a depressing story of a severely lonely and delusional woman wandering around in the cold. Not what I expected from the description. It was loosely based on a true story of a Japanese woman who committed suicide in Minnesota; news reports at the time said she was looking for the treasure in Fargo but that turned out to be a misunderstanding. So that makes it somewhat exploitative as well. Anyway, it's not a bad movie, but the tone was so off-putting that I stayed in a bad mood for some hours afterward. Last time I see a movie on recommendation from my mother.
 

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The base was holding a free advance screening of the new Vacation movie, so I went. Walked out after ten minutes or so, dismayed at both what was on screen and the moderate laughter from the crowd. Just garbage.



Vultural said:
Grand Piano - 2013 - 6/10

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Variation on the “locked room” mystery.
Reclusive pianist (Elijah Wood) makes a stage comeback after his mentor’s death.
Once onstage, he sees a written note and earpiece, then warnings to play faultlessly or die.
A laser on the sheet music, and silencer gun strike on the floor convince him.
Clues arrive slowly, as do reasons. More tension than action, with the narrative rarely leaving the stage.
OK time waster if the only alternative is television fodder.
John Cusack provides the voice of the villain.
On Netflix Instant.

Wow, what a beautiful movie. Swooping cinematography, amazing colors and shading and subtleties and a razor-sharp image... damn. I'm not sure I've quite seen its equal in that regard.

So, okay, Frodo has to play faultlessly or die. That's a recipe for tension, granted, but is there an actual story involved? Turns out there is. A very, very silly story that borders on sci-fi, in a way. Alex Winter steals scenes; the conductor is a dead ringer for Star Trek's Ron D. Moore.

Not as good as Phone Booth, but for fans of experimental/enclosed-space movies, not a waste of time. B-




The_Monuments_Men_poster.jpg


A very oddly scripted movie. For instance: a bunch of older dudes are assembled into a special WWII Army unit, and get wildly different ranks. Now, I'm in the actual Navy now, but even so, I have very little idea why who got what rank. Prior service, maybe? Had any of them been in WWI? The movie doesn't say. And the actors are so recognizable and the characters so thinly sketched that you never see them as characters, it's just Clooney and Damon and Co. jaunting around Europe.

That said, it was a pleasant, low-key watch, and I don't regret its existence, or having seen it. It struck me as a popcorn movie for geezers, much like this year's WWII-themed Woman in Gold, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. B-, also.




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Much buzzed-about movie new to Netflix Instant. After half an hour, I gave up, read the rest of the plot on Wikipedia, and am glad I did. Charming houseguest soldier guest turns badass turns bad guy. So what? Nothing but thin stereotypes. So you got a handsome lead and a synth score? To quote Shania, That Don't Impress me Much.
 

Neglify

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Gaith said:
The base was holding a free advance screening of the new Vacation movie, so I went. Walked out after ten minutes or so, dismayed at both what was on screen and the moderate laughter from the crowd. Just garbage.

That's a shame to hear. The trailers looked ok and I dig the cast.
 
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