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Default What I've Been Watching: The Catch-All Film Thread

January 5th, 2009, 16:09
Death Race
Stupid. The 50% racing are quite spectacular, the rest is boring and predictable. D.

Wanted
Terrible. The actors are wasted, the story is predictable, there's no suspense, and the fantasy elements make no sense. Not even the action is good. E.

Doomsday
Better than expected. Quite a decent rip-off of all the well known post apocalytic classics, plus some cannibal stuff. Very brutal, lots of action, a couple of well known guest stars. C for the uncut version. Fans might even give it a B.

Grosse Point Blank
A well known classic with John Cusack and Dan Aykroyd. High school reunion comedy combined with killer story. Light-weight, elegant movie with a great script. Quite funny at times and the action scenes are harder than one would expect. Definitely an A.
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January 5th, 2009, 16:55
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Grosse Point Blank
A well known classic with John Cusack and Dan Aykroyd. High school reunion comedy combined with killer story. Light-weight, elegant movie with a great script. Quite funny at times and the action scenes are harder than one would expect. Definitely an A.
I've been meaning to watch this movie for some time, I had completely forgotten about it. Grosse Point is a small town just East of Detroit, about 20 minutes from where I live. I go there quite often to visit several relatives. From what I understand, only a few scenes from the movie were actually shot there though, the majority of it was filmed in California.
Last edited by JDR13; January 5th, 2009 at 17:23. Reason: Grammar
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January 6th, 2009, 04:53
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
@magerette- When they first animate the skeleton army, watch the ones in the background closely. Someone had some fun with their work. Nothing bad, they just did a lot more animation than was really necessary for background stuff. Outside of appreciating that, the movie was pretty much a dud.
If you're meaning
Spoiler – spoiler
yes, that was pretty much the highlight of the movie from where we were sitting, and got a laugh. I picture a couple of junior graphics guys doing that while the boss was otherwise occupied.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 6th, 2009, 12:56
Babylon A.D. (Euro Cut)

Not as bad as the director made it. High production values, typical classy French visual style (think 5th Element, Transporter, Brotherhood of Wolves). Vin Diesel plays a character which suits his acting talent.
Surprisingly the movie is pretty good in the first half. But then the action kicks in and the plot jumps around. The 2nd half feels as if 30 minutes are missing. It's nearly impossible to understand who does what why.
Babylon A.D. is a potentially good movie hidden in a train wreck. As it is it's still solid entertainment, good enough to watch once. At least it's not mediocre and faceless.

The US and the UK got a shorter cut (90 min.) made by Fox. DVD releases may include the longer Euro version. Make sure to watch the 101 minute version (+/- NTSC conversion). I've heard reports about 3rd version for NA DVD. That's unconfirmed though.
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January 7th, 2009, 12:16
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
And a movie for little children and people who still feel young. If the child understands German it doesn't get any better than Das Sams (old TV version, not the cinema remake). Absolutely wonderful puppet work. Creative, really funny, harmless and easy to identify with, without being trivial. That's a clear A.
Ah, I saw parts of it on TV when I was young. I loved so many works by them.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 12th, 2009, 16:44
Finally a few good movies after so much mediocrity

RocknRolla:
Guy Ritchie's latest gangster chaos. I won't bother to explain this, you either know Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch or you've missed something. RocknRolla is exactly like them, but "only" good. B. A for the other two movies.

The Prestige:
Dir: Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), with Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie.
"Prestigio" is the third act of a magic performance on stage. The part in which the artist shows the surprising solution and is rewarded with applause.
Two illusionists in London ca. 1900 are obsessed about being better than the other. Espionage, sabotage, dirty tricks … and much more. This is a calm, fascinating, very well played movie (exception: Scarlett Johansson makes nothing out of a great opportunity) full of surprises. Two talented and very intelligent enemies try to catch each other in a spider's web. The twist ending is logical, hints are spread throughout the movie. The Prestige has many layers, it gets even better the 2nd time. It's quite untypical that neither of the main characters is sympathetic. Both are addicted, both receive equal screen time. The viewer doesn't really know who is good or bad, if any.
The movie reminded me a bit of The Usual Suspects, without being strikingly similar. An obvious A.
Last edited by Gorath; January 12th, 2009 at 16:51.
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January 18th, 2009, 08:14
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Babylon A.D. (Euro Cut)
The US and the UK got a shorter cut (90 min.) made by Fox. DVD releases may include the longer Euro version. Make sure to watch the 101 minute version (+/- NTSC conversion). I've heard reports about 3rd version for NA DVD. That's unconfirmed though.

I think I need to see that Euro version because I just got done watching it over here and I'm scratching my head wondering what the hell just happened. The overall plot seemed like it could have been good, but they left way too many things unexplained.
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January 18th, 2009, 15:57
The Midnight Meat Train
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In a typical Western horror film style that we all familiar, "The Midnight Meat Train" contains brutish, unflinching and in your face brutality. But that does not meant there is not originality at all. Beside you'll see one of the best evil guy portrayed in horror films by the hulking Vinnie Jones, it also most effectively depicts the use of hammer in killing peoples. Of course, a violence movie always come with lot of blood, dead bodies, but it actually has rather prominent and detail scenes of human butchering.

As the movie was based on Clive Barker's short story by the similar title, you are expected to see the type of story-telling, violence and horror from him. In fact i did felt it had some traces of familiarity with the famous Hellraiser series.
Last edited by Remus; January 18th, 2009 at 16:05.
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January 18th, 2009, 17:00
We watched Get Smart last night … I expected it to be abysmal, so I was surprised that it was actually fun with some decent laughs. As a big fan of the TV series I expected to hate it … Anne Hathaway was the low-point for me. Seeing so many of the original series folks scattered in cameos was nice.

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January 18th, 2009, 21:31
Gorath wrote:
RocknRolla:
Guy Ritchie's latest gangster chaos. I won't bother to explain this, you either know Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch or you've missed something. RocknRolla is exactly like them, but "only" good. B. A for the other two movies.
Thanks for the heads up on that one. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was hilarious, even considering that we had to watch subtitles to follow the Brit accents and slang.

Independence Day Watched this on TNT last night and I was amazed at how awful it was, as I had remembered it as being a decent sci-fi, end of the world type flick. This time around the cliches and the horribly corny script really got in the way, though Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith made the best of a bad bargain.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
Last edited by magerette; January 19th, 2009 at 15:43.
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January 18th, 2009, 21:54
Last week we got around to watching Babel and I am Legend … and decided to get back to more stuff that the whole family actually wanted to watch. Our trend has been a bit too intense for my younger sone (and wife) at times … all my kids recall about Babel is kids shooting the bus and the young Japanese girl not wearing underwear.

— Mike
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January 18th, 2009, 22:47
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Last week we got around to watching Babel and I am Legend … and decided to get back to more stuff that the whole family actually wanted to watch. Our trend has been a bit too intense for my younger sone (and wife) at times … all my kids recall about Babel is kids shooting the bus and the young Japanese girl not wearing underwear.
Violence by kids + Japanese girls not wearing all that much = Battle Royale !
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January 19th, 2009, 01:07
I've watched some of the earlier John Woo movies again over Christmas.

A Better Tomorrow (aka City Wolf)
The movie which invented the Heroic Bloodshed genre. Unfortunately it didn't age well. The story is too melodramatic, it has been copied hundreds of times and the typical Hong Kong overacting is almost unbearable. I suspect ABT should be watched in the original language with subtitles, to get at least the terrible translation out of the way.
A couple of emotionally touching scenes are very well done, and the shootouts are of course very good. Unfortunately they have been copied by Hollywood so often, with bigger budget, that they can no longer be considered outstanding.
Of course ABT's historic importance cannot be overestimated, so I still give it a C- for its fast forward appeal.

A Better Tomorrow 2 (aka City Wolf 2)
ABT 2 is basically the same movie. John Woo only made it because one his friends needed money. Although the critics consider it weaker than ABT I think it's actually better. It's faster, more precise and even more brutal. The showdown has to be seen to be believed. Maybe the 3rd best choreographed ultra-violent shootout in film history (#s 1 and 2 see next movie).
I give it a B- because one terrible sub-plot almost ruins it.

Hard Boiled
John Woo's masterpiece. The most spectacular action movie of its time. Approximately 30 people get shot in the restaurant shootout in the beginning alone. The finale in the hospital is really intense.
A-

All three movies have a couple of negative things in common:
The actors have a tendency for overacting, although they have shown their qualities in other films. Which hints that Woo was unable to lead them correctly. Most of them are charismatic and well cast though.
Character development doesn't follow Hollywood conventions. A exchanges 3 sentences with B. Then they are suddenly best friends. "Uncle" or "brother" is no indication for a part of the same family.
Many characters do outright stupid things. Logic and a sense for the own health are largely absent.
There are too many sentimental scenes.
Hard Boiled improves most of these things to a certain degree.

Still in the pipeline:
The Killer (I've seen it in cinema. It's great, and much more serious.)
Once a Thief
Bullet in the Head (I didn't like it the last time.)
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January 19th, 2009, 03:46
me an my dame watched Apocalypto. Pretty cool at times, not a lot has been done on the Mayans.
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January 21st, 2009, 18:09
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
All three movies have a couple of negative things in common:
The actors have a tendency for overacting, although they have shown their qualities in other films. Which hints that Woo was unable to lead them correctly. Most of them are charismatic and well cast though.
Character development doesn't follow Hollywood conventions. A exchanges 3 sentences with B. Then they are suddenly best friends. "Uncle" or "brother" is no indication for a part of the same family.
Many characters do outright stupid things. Logic and a sense for the own health are largely absent.
There are too many sentimental scenes.
Most Asian most likely never noticed the things you mentioned such as the overacting. I am not very sure about the reason but these could be related to cultural characteristic of Asian movie-making, ways of carrying a character by actor/actress and expectation of audience.

Before i exposed to Hollywood stuff almost two decades ago i thought those movies were awesome. Issues of over-dramatic, excessive amount of deus ex machina used by filmmaker, or the over-acting hardly ever noticed. Everyone actually expecting those elements and liked them. Many movies and TV series in Hong kong and Taiwan follow very formulaic plot-structure, story-telling and pretty same movie-acting style. I noticed Japanese movies and TV series contain over-acting element as well as in on-stage traditional performance.

But now, i'm accustomed to realism and natural performance as in many western movies. Many of those old classics you mentioned and new movies just doesn't suit my taste anymore. However i also found considerable amount of Chinese/Japanese movies that don't have those elements, mostly serious art house movies. E.g see the earlier films by Zhang Yimou "Ju dou", "raise the red latern", "Red Sorghum", "To Live", "The Road Home", etc; plus films by Ang Lee and couple others from mainland China and Taiwan.
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January 24th, 2009, 00:02
Just finished watching The Fountain for the fourth or fifth time, and it remains one of the best films I've ever seen.

I don't think you can really get any closer to pure art that successfully transcends the complete subjectivity which is its source. The message, obviously inspired by deeply personal experiences, is so universal that I personally perceive it as perhaps the ultimate proof of how close a bond humanity shares, despite our many differences.

One of the most profound masterpieces of modern times.
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January 25th, 2009, 03:43
The Pianist -

It was alright, i mean, seeing someone gradually driven to almost prehistoric type of existence in the wreckage of the Warsaw ghetto. As w/ most of Polanski's films (one of my favorite directors), it's a character study, and I think it's well done on the technical and character building front. The main character is not an action hero, he's not a genius, he's not a hunk. He's a normal guy, thrown into a situation that would drive most people over the edge. That's what I like about Roman's films. What would I do? Here there is no question of the sanity of the protagonist, what he perceives is indeed very real - he's deep in the heart of German-occupied Poland and things are getting real ugly.

I often have a hard time w/ a lot of WWII movies in their depiction of the Nazis, basically as a monolithic group of inhuman monsters one and all, and this film does tend to have one despicable act after another rolled out for the viewer (Think that was shocking? Well watch THIS! Think that was gnarly? What about TTHHISS! baM!) to cement the fact that nazis=pure evil. However, the fact that it's centered on the Warsaw ghetto, one of the historically fiercest fronts in the Nazi Vs Jew lore of the period, makes it a little easier to swallow as the monstrous atrocities stack up. A Nazi near the end is depicted as more than a soulless ghoul, and I have to say that quite surprised me.

Then again, Polanski himself a native of Poland, literally lived thru the Holocaust. How could I ever truly know what it was like? I just know that I have played thru enough WW2 games killing evil nazis, and seen enough WW2 movies about evil nazis, and endured enough invocations of Godwins Law during the silliest of internet arguments to make me wonder if the timeworn given of the seeming mass-demonic possession of the German army during the period was perhaps just a little over-hyped. If anything, it's just terribly cliche and becoming more groan-inducing as time goes on.
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January 26th, 2009, 02:01
Resident Evil: Degeneration
—————————————————-

Computer generated animation base on Capcom's Resident Evil video game series. Nothing outstanding about the CG quality and animation - occasionally it looks very good but most of time feel generic and so-so when compared to "Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within", and certainly less classy against "Steamboy". Overall, slightly better than pretty cut scenes you would see in recent big title Japanese console games.

One thing assured is of course, truckload of shambling zombies hanging around which seem rather boring, especially not after you have seen the fast moving type in "28 Days" or "Left 4 Dead."

A scene of Leon and Claire delivering uninspiring lines.


I'm suspecting tons of time been invested to make the female lead looks good while everyting else looks much less.
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January 31st, 2009, 19:32
Religulous

A good documentary about religions and why the world would be a better place without most of them.
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