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The Last Movie(s) You Watched... (quick one or two sentence reviews)

The Scribbling Man

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^^ same here. Rewatched both in recent years and still prefer Kagemusha.
 

Racerx1969

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^I remember Kagemusha as being mostly a story of political intrigue and maneuvering, right? I remember it feeling slow at times, but it's helpful if you know all the real historical figures and can feel more engaged in how the script plays with public perception of them and their actual history. The battle seems to almost come out of nowhere, I honestly wasn't really expecting to actually see any action in the film.
Yes, it is more about the political deception. But even that seemed to get pushed to the side and at least for me it became more about the impostor's experience. Ultimately for me it felt like the movie couldn't decide between following the impostor, the political thread, or the clan conflicts. This one just didn't click with me as well as the others I've recently watched from Kurosawa.
 

mnkykungfu

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Fosse/Verdon (2019)
A 7+ hour mini-series that may work better binge-watching than as episodic TV. It explores the early career and personal life of dancer/choreographer/director Bob Fosse and his muse/star/partner/lover Gwen Verdon. I knew more about the former than the latter, and seeing her get credit (and a jaw-dropping performance by Michelle Williams) is the major highlight. You won't believe this was network TV and not HBO or something. More here.

The Stranger (1946)
I was recommended this as an alternative to Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, which covers similar ground: a possible villain hides in small town America and only a naive young woman may be able to root him out. Unfortunately, I had all new, all different issues with this film than I did with Hitchcock's. I'd only recommend it for fans of Orson Welles. More here.

First Reformed (2017)
A dense film that left me reeling after I first watched. I'm glad I knew that there was something divisive about the ending, because I think it helped prepare me to accept it. For anyone who resists the great Ethan Hawke, this is a performance that might change your mind. I attempted to sort out my thoughts on the film here.
 

Racerx1969

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Wendy (2020) This is a VERY different take on the Peter Pan story. It's much darker & grittier than the typical treatment, and to me it works. It leaves some things vague with only hints and for the viewer to decide (Where exactly is Wendy's house? When exactly is this? Where exactly is Neverland?) With this, you get past the obvious feral kids adventures and into some deeper questions.
 

mnkykungfu

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St. Patrick's Day coming up, a good time to look at some Irish cinema.

The Secret of Kells (2009)
The Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon has gotten a lot of buzz this year with Wolfwalkers, but this was their first feature film. It wants to be both a tribute to art/drawing and a boys' adventure story, but falls a bit short in both. Worth watching if you like their other films, but I wouldn't start here. Full review.

Grabbers (2012)
A bit like Attack the Block, the small town Irish version. The central conceit is excellent, that alcohol is poison to these alien bloodsuckers, so the way to stay alive is to get pissed! However, it's only fully-realized for a fraction of the runtime, and the rest of the film is just so-so. Full review.

The Quiet Man (1952)
This John Ford classic of John Wayne moving to Ireland starts out as a nice, slow-paced exercise in tone and character, but turns into an old-fashioned rom-com. Has all kinds of weirdness in the script, like quoting "the Marquess of Queensbury rules" for boxing when there are no gloves or ring, saying that Pittsburgh is in Massachusetts rather than Pennsylvania, and following a bunch of "courtship" rules that I'm pretty sure were dug up from some obscure text and not actually practiced. If you're not turned off by archaic gender treatment, this is a fun enough film, but hard to take all the Oscar nominations seriously. I'll give them credit for the first drinking scene, where the bartender has the Guinness properly set up instead of pouring it directly. More thoughts here.
 
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mnkykungfu

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A few just for the fans:
Dead Space: Downfall (2008)
As an animated film, you're unlikely to be wowed by the art. Voice casting is pretty good, but the dialogue is fairly stripped down. Seems aimed at 13-year olds and fans of the game. More here.

Assassin’s Creed: Lineage (2009)
A hybrid of live actors and animated backgrounds, this is 3 short films combined into one that acts as a prelude to the game Assassin's Creed II. It's seamless with the game, using the same actors, deluxe costumes, backgrounds, etc. Pretty decent actually, though people were harsh on it, perhaps because it doesn't stand alone. More here.

Superman III (1983)
I watched a V2 of Father Merrin's "Smallville Edition" of this and reviewed it on its page. However, in terms of the film in general... yeah, it's not good. I mean, none of those movies have humor or logic that dates well. We've just seen too much better in the past 10 years. More here.

Looper (2012)
I watched the Extended Edition fanedit of this and reviewed it on its page. However, in terms of the film in general... totally changed my mind on it. The time travel doesn't work, and the central premise of the film is idiotic in retrospect. A balanced look at it here.
 

Racerx1969

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Raya and the Last Dragon (2021) Went ahead and got the right-now access to this since the kiddos really were looking forward to it. It's a fun morality tale set in a fictional Asian background. Several of the Disney movie tropes are there, but they work in this one.
 

Omaru1982

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The Land of Hope (2012) I watched it for two reasons, I am fascinated by Sion Sono's films, I don't always love the ones I've watched but I always end up still grateful that I took the time to watch the ones that I didn't. And secondly because it was close to the anniversary of the earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan a decade ago.
I wasn't expecting an Emmerich/Bruckheimer disaster movie and I didn't get one. Just some really good slice of life, character driven drama.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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The Secret Garden (1995)
This movie is right up there with The Black Stallion. It creates an atmosphere through visuals, camera work and non verbal acting that movies these days with their 2-3 second neck brake camera shot changes just can't achieve. It's not my favorite story in the world, but the cinematography and acting is top notch for a child's film, and any film to be honest. You believe these characters are who they present to be. The only time you realize these people are actors is when you finally see Maggie Smith as Mrs. Medlock, but even then she blends in in an instant with her superb acting. Top notch. 8/10

The Secret Garden (2020)
The anti-thesis of everything I just wrote above. This is stale, and overly stylized. The turquoise blues are out of control and the garden is more of an Alice in Wonderland acid trip than it is a real place. The characters are rather lifeless and uninteresting. The creative licensing to the story is unwanted and unnecessary. Firth is tired as is his acting here. The only real high light is the young actor who plays Dicken. He manages to capture the charm of his character while still existing in this psychedelic inspired by, or rather referenced, remake. 4/10

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
To be honest, I never have sat down and watched this movie all the way through. I don't care for movies like Red that make light of violence and murder and always thought of this movie in the same area, but I thought I'd finally give it a full go. It does go into that area that I don't care for a few times, but I'll admit that aside from Thor: Ragnarok, this is probably the best, in terms of fun entertainment, Marvel film. The amount of detail to the world building is impressive. This movie is everything The Fifth Element could have hoped to be. Immersive, inventive, funny, action packed, and just plain fun. The cast is phenomenal and has incredible chemistry that rivals the original Star Wars crew. If Marvel was smart they'd just start a Guardians of the Galaxy weekly tv show. Most everyone would love it and it would probably become one of the most successful sci-fi shows ever. Anyway, I digress. Great movie. 8.75/10
 

DigModiFicaTion

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Stargate (1994)
Still one of the best sci-fi movies I've ever seen. While this one isn't an acting showcase reel, it does have some of the best aesthetics I've ever seen in a movie. The sets are spot on and the costumes for Ra, Anubis, Horus, and the others are simply spectacular. David Arnold delivers a soundtrack that is beautiful and atmospheric. It captures the beauty of exploration and wonder while simultaneously delivering terror and fear. The only real negatives I have against this movie are the ineptitudes of O'Neal's squad and the movie's over use of the 90's gun cocking sfx. I can't imagine trained soldiers would be cocking their guns multiple times when a target is coming after them and be caught completely by surprise so often. Besides those two nitpicky things, this movie remains a sci-fi masterpiece.....now if only the show was at the same level of quality. 9/10

Playing free on YouTube right now. If you haven't seen it, pop some popcorn and have a sci-fi adventure night.
 

TM2YC

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^ I was obsessed with 'Stargate' the film (hated the TV show) back in the 90s. I think I saw it at the cinema. I haven't seen it in a while though.
 

Racerx1969

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Godzilla (2014) What's not to like? It's a kaiju movie. The CGI wasn't overdone and the movie was pretty much what you would expect for this genre. I kind of miss the guy in a rubber suit stomping around a miniature city set, but there's plenty of the original Toho movies for that.
 

mnkykungfu

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Was visiting the fam and got waaaay behind on logging films...back on St. Paddy's, I watched
Leprechaun (1993)
Holy crap, I could not have chosen a better film to throw down with a few pints of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. This isn't merely a good-bad movie, it's that special kind of camp chocked full of tongue-in-cheek gags that lets you know that they know how schlocky the film is. Full review.

Knock Down the House (2019)
I didn't watch this back in the day, but being back home with moms was a perfect bonding opportunity. The women here trying to speak truth to power and challenge the political establishment are awe-inspiring. There's one real heartbreaking loss and one triumphant win. If you don't keep up with your politics, I won't spoil it. Full review.

Saboteur (1942)
The rare Hitchcock film that is actually better than its legacy, I found this very engaging. The script takes turns bucking and playing with the conventions of this kind of man-on-the-run story, so much so that I couldn't predict which way it would go in a given moment. Well worth seeking out. Full review.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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Heart of Batman (2018)
Great documentary of the greatest Batman show that will ever be made. Yep I said it. It doesn't delve into certain aspects of the show, but it gives some great insights in to the process and the people behind its creation. 8/10
 

Racerx1969

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Kong: Skull Island (2017) It is gloriously awful. Certainly not a retread of the classic King Kong, this one goes its own way. There's lots of nods to other movies (how many Apocalypse Now call outs were there?) that caused giggles. John Riley's performance was a highlight for me. The story itself was pretty weak, and character motivations were nonexistent to paper thin. But I didn't expect more--it was all just to get to Kong in the big kaiju fight at the end.
 

mnkykungfu

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^I second that Batman doc. I posted it in the "Awesome Youtube Videos" thread a couple months back.
For me:

WandaVision (2021)
I can't help but think that whoever the target audience for this 4 1/2 hour movie truly is, they've already watched it. A lot of people are going to be either turned off by the early episodes or the late ones, but if you make it all the way through then it's pretty good. Not great, but good. Moves both characters much further towards their comic book portrayals....sooooo...watch if you think that's a good thing? More thoughts here.

F for Fake (1973)
A hard watch. Within the first minute of the film, I looked up from my tacos and said "Oh...oh!" This was going to be a real, attention-demanding movie. I got excited...and spilled my taco. But I was tuning out by midway through, my attention exhausted by Welles' insistence on obfuscating the narrative and turning in a video essay that seemed like it was written the night before the due date in a caffeine and Ritalin induced feverish pitch. More here.

Finest Hour (a Dunkirk/Darkest Hour supercut)
Finally got around to watching this fantastic fanedit, and I recommend everyone do the same. Whether you've seen the original films or not, this will likely become the best way to watch for you. I believe it's nominated for Best Fanedit of the Year, so watch soon. More thoughts here.
 

mnkykungfu

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Three for Easter:

Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)
Is it even a holiday if there's not a classic Rankin-Bass stopmotion production of it? First watch of this, and it wasn't one of my favorites. But it definitely was for Henry Selick and Tim Burton! Full review here.

Life of Brian (1979)
Probably watched this a dozen times but it had been quite awhile.... and it plays a lot differently in 2021. Far be it from me to judge a 40-year-old film by modern wokeness, but I will say I might've outgrown this a little. The laughs were few this time. Full review.

Risen (2016)
Jokingly referred to as "CSI: Jerusalem", but that's not far off. This first part of this film is interesting, and has a really great battle sequence I wasn't expecting in a Jesus movie. That Kevin Reynolds can direct some action. Second half: meh. Full review.
 

Racerx1969

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) This was about what I expected of it. Actually, more as there even was something of a plot trying to explain all the kaiju (nee, "titans"). Of course the whole point was to get Godzilla to run around and fight other giant monsters and you get lots of that here.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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Zappa. Pretty good documentary. Definitely had footage I hadn’t seen before but as a long time fan, there wasn’t much new learned.
 
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