What have you been watching? (Cinema)

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby tfactor on Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:52 pm

OK so haven't been here in forever, so long in fact that I forgot how you need to save your writings every so often, so as not to lose a huge post that you spent the last 20min writing.

So now the short version:

I've been thinking of you guys for the last week since I watched TDKR on opening night. Which though Athena disagrees with me - I think this movie was a huge let down and even bigger missed opportunity. The lack of finality combined with the piss poor action sequences and just dumb fights.

So we went to see Spidey as redemption, which it was. That movie was actually suprisingly Awesome! which got me to thinking - if I only had time to come visit the Zone more often: then I may have been better prepared for both movies. Unfortunately there is that fine line between knowing enough to be prepared and knowing Too much, which I know you all can appreciate - has happened to you.

To sum up: Spidey = Awesome BUT Batman = Lame!

OK so thats my two scents but more importantly I want my main message here to be simply - I miss you guys! Long live the zone.

lots of love
-T

btw that picture of that kid above is brilliant. I look forward to seeing it used frequently or becoming the new Sad Dawson pic ;)
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby tfactor on Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:56 pm

ironic name wrote:
John-Locke wrote:Juno Temple gets proper nekkid

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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby so sorry on Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:07 pm

tfactor wrote:I look forward to seeing it used frequently or becoming the new Sad Dawson pic ;)



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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby BuckyO'harre on Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:33 am

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Here's a film that would be easy to praise even based only on the merits of its production-- funded by a non-profit production company grant, cast with many locals without acting experience, based on a play co-written by the director himself, and shot on 16mm. As for the movie itself, not only is it a great debut work, but would also be a proud piece for someone already established. However, with all the buzz it has received, I think it important to tell everyone that they may not so much love it as be refreshed by it. You may even be annoyed with it at first, as I was, but it wins you over in the end.

Mild spoilers ahead.

It's about the intertwined life and imagination of a little girl named Hushpuppy*. I say intertwined because for her- and by extension,us -there is no distinction. She also narrates her view of the world throughout the film so it gets to be like 'Days of Heaven' meets 'Where the Wild Things Are'. Hushpuppy lives with her father in a bayou community known as "The Bathtub" where the only pastimes are drinking, eating and sleeping (heavy emphasis on the drinking), and the only occupation is survival. She is constantly, and almost exclusively, educated in the skills and ideology of self-reliance. There is no material wealth, possessions only have value because they're pieces of home, and home is the most important thing in the world. You don't abandon your home come hell or literal high water. And it does come. The ice caps start melting (here's one part where it gets a bit annoying) and not only does the water come, but frozen within the ice that breaks off are ancient creatures called aurochs. In reality the ancestors of cows, but in the film giant, horned boars. The sequence wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the frequent cutting back to lingering shots of the melting ice, and Hushpuupy saying how the universe can be thrown out of whack by a just a small piece being out of place. Putting monsters in the ice doesn't make up for its heavy-handedness. The aurochs don't come out of nowhere, mind you. The Bathtub's teacher/healer woman had described them to the children in "class" and they come to represent the raw power of nature's order, good and bad, to Hushpuppy. Everything that happens builds her inner strength so she can eventually face them. There's more to the story that I won't get into here because the less you know about where it goes the better. At times it almost feels like a documentary of a culture, and I don't think it glorifies or condemns the mindset, just presents it. Obviously many of the ideas are daffy to us, rightfully so, and they do lead to some tragedy for the adherents, but they don't feel sorry for themselves. And as I see it, the film isn't asking you to feel sorry for them either. It's just how they want to live.

The Katrina parallels may bug you,and there are moments of unnecessary shakey-cam, but I hope some of you give it a shot. There's plenty to think about and discuss here.


*For our foreign friends: Hushpuppies are not just a shoe, but also a southern side dish of fried cornmeal balls. Of course, it may make just as little sense to you to name a kid after a food as a shoe, but there you are.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Wolfpack on Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:03 pm

It could also refer to a young dog who is bound by Omerta.
"Alright Shaggy - you and Scooby head over that way. The girls and I will go this way."
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby SilentBobX on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:19 am

Finally after many weeks of intense negotiation, procrastinating, and laziness, I finally saw Moonrise Kingdom, and I have to say: I enjoyed it quite a bit. More so than Dark Knight Rises(yes, heresy and I proclaim it proudly). It was a great coming of age love story and very well directed and written. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman do a splendid job as two damaged kids coming together to form an unbreakable bond. Beautiful low key film that has a stumble or two(kids speaking just a little too much like adults at times) but delivers solidly. Harvey Keitel's a hoot as a scout master. You'd almost believe he does it in real life at one point.

See it to escape a summer full of empty noise.



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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Like Bucky O'Harre, I too saw BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and I feel it is an excellent film. I'm sure there's lotsa subject matter in this film that is more prickly for American audiences, but I just found it a sweet engaging film that achieves a whimsical tone without becoming nauseating. The standout is definitely the little girl who plays the main character. The expressions they get out of her feel so natural and she's such a cute little kid.

The film deals with a camp of gypsy-like squatters in Louisianna. And although it wasn't necessary for the story they are telling in this film, I did find myself wanting more information about them and their lifestyle. They didn't really want to be part of society and I got that, but I wasn't sure just how many generations this community had been around. Were most of the people in this camp raised in this culture, or did they end up here after lousy lives and stints as hobos? We also don't see their interactions with the outside world, although it is implied that they do interact with society because they have things that couldn't be obtained solely through scavaging such as alcohol in sealed bottles and gasoline in their primitive vehicles. Did they steal or trade to get that stuff? But like I said, it doesn't really matter, I just wanted to know because I'm like that. I also found it odd that they had gas stoves and electricity, but whatevs. This is a nice original movie and I too would recommend it.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Wolfpack on Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:14 am

Finally got to see "Moon." Can anyone tell me why "Battleship" got wide release but not this little gem?
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Al Shut on Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:50 pm

Life is unjust?
Note to myself: Fix this image shit!
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby ironic name on Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:11 pm

battleship was hilarious.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby BuckyO'harre on Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:04 am

Hope Springs

Don't you love when you're the only person under fifty and single in a theater? It's great fun seeing how a Halo4 featurette plays to the Metamucil crowd. :roll:
But at least the film was worth it.

This stars Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a long-married couple whose relationship has stagnated to the point of being devoid of affection, and nothing more than a routine of courtesy. Then one day the wife takes a chance and books a week-long session of intense couples counseling out of state. Obviously there's nothing new in the premise, but this is just a simple, sweet film for adults that shows a bit of restraint. These days you'd expect a movie like this to kill itself trying for zaniness and raunchy, awkward humor. Like Betty White playing a Dr. Ruth sort who explains a Dirty Sanchez and suggests the right model of dildo, but no, there's very little of that. It's all very innocent. Perhaps even too white bread for some to take seriously, and might accuse it of playing up a cliche of old people knowing nothing about sex. Having personally grown up in a very prudish environment, I bought it. The cast really elevates the material too, which is no surprise in Streep's case, but I think folks will be surprised at how well Jones plays the vulnerable moments. Steve Carell is also great as their therapist. His performance is grounded and completely sincere.

So as far as movies about fogeys with intimacy issues go, this is one of the better ones.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby TheBaxter on Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:38 am

i went to see that total recall movie remake movie. i don't remember much about the original film (maybe i need better "recall"... har har) but i remember enough to know this is way different. for one thing, there's nothing involving mars. it all takes place on earth. i'm sure there's a lot of other different stuff, but like i said, i don't remember all the details of the first one. i think the original was a bit more twisty-turny, i think it planted more doubt about what was real and what was just an implanted memory, maybe. also, i haven't read the dick story these films were based on, so i don't know if this was more accurate to the source material.

overall, it was a decent action movie til the end, when all the ridiculous logical inconsistencies and problems overwhelmed it. first, and worst, of all, the central concept involves some giant earth elevator that connects the United British Federation (England) and Australia (the Colony) by traveling straight through the earth and right by the earth's core, these apparently being the only two places on earth still inhabited after a massive biological war. i'm sure some geologist could tell me why this whole idea is completely preposterous and impossible, but i suspended disbelief long enough to accept it (and to accept how incredibly expensive, time-consuming, and technologically advanced such a project would be for the human race, after 95% of the world's population has been decimated by biowarfare). i could suspend that much disbelief. but i couldn't quite suspend disbelief when a trip from one end to the other, straight through the earth (which google tells me is about 8000 miles), took approximately 5 minutes. that works out to about 96,000 mph. earth's escape velocity is 25,000 mph. so apparently when this giant space elevator reaches australia, it would just keep going until it left the atmosphere and landed on the moon. or mars. and then colin farrell would meet his double played by arnold schwazenegger and the movie would've been a lot more interesting. even if they somehow did manage to have some technology that could propel you through the earth that fast, right past the core without burning up, and out the other side, that doesn't explain how colin farrell and jessica biel managed to open an escape hatch and walk around the outside of the giant earth elevator while it's going full speed. i'm pretty sure if you tried to walk around the outside of something travelling at 96,000 mph, you wouldn't fare too well. i think this movie was written by someone who watched The Core and thought "this is a pretty good movie, but i think they put too much thought into the science part of it."

and then there's the whole business with the leader of the fascist govt who not only decides to accompany his invasion force to australia through the giant earth elevator but who also turns out to be a UFC fighter who can take on his own special forces operative and not only survive, but even beat him up a little. but i guess when you have people walking around the outside of giant elevators moving at 4x escape velocity, anything goes. so basically, this is a really, really stupid movie and the person or people who wrote it are also really, really stupid.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:56 am

So I took SilentBobX's advice and saw TED. I also took my own advice and waited until it hit the last run cinema because I am cheap.

I thought it was a really good movie. I really dislike FAMILY GUY, but this movie had none of the things that make FAMILY GUY (and most other comedy) so boring to me. This film has a story and every scene advances that story, the characters are consistent, and the humour comes from setup and payoff.

Walhberg gives a winning performance here. He plays it totally sincere, which is key. His physique is way more toned than a 35 year old stoner would probably be, but other than that he totally commits to playing this guy. I find a lot of these modern comedies don't really get that you need to play a certain amount of the movie sincerely for the shock value stuff to have impact, and that usually applies to MacFarlane worse than anybody.

The dialogue has a good natural roll to it and so does the overall film. It never feels like a bunch of comedy sketches all stacked end to end. It feels like a real movie.

So this is a steadily funny movie. I laughed throughout the whole film and thought it was an all around well made picture. Best comedy I've seen in awhile.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby BuckyO'harre on Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:35 am

The Master
Is it the meanest?
Is it the prettiest?
Is it the baddest movie low-down around this town?*

Perhaps.
Provided you're interested in what it's selling. The point is neither the destination, nor the journey, but a direction-less look at our need for direction. An examination of personalities and ideologies attracting and repelling one another. Joaquin Phoenix and PS Hoffman make for one of the greatest two-man shows you'll ever see. Their performances say "This is acting, assholes.Remember it." Some might discount Phoenix because he employs so many affectations. Well "nuts" to them, I say. As a crazy person myself, I'd like to think I can judge a good impression of one.

Obviously this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if Denver gets one of those mythical 70mm screenings then I'll definitely be seeing this again.

*Tired of "The Last Dragon" jokes? Then you can fuck off. :mrgreen:



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Oh, Clint. What's happened to you?
This isn't a bad film, just a little too sappy and predictable. The cast makes the best of the material, but you hate to see them wasted on it in the first place.
The main problem I think comes from trying to pull too much emotion too soon. It isn't earned. A scene of Clint singing "You Are My Sunshine" by his wife's grave might have worked had it come later in the movie, but not barely into the first act. Yes, you read that right, but lest you think he's totally wussified, he also warns a guy that he'll cut his "fucking face off" with a broken beer bottle.

I'd only recommend this if you're a baseball-movie nut, or a parent looking to bond with their (mature) kids.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:50 pm

KILLER JOE

This is an exploitation film directed by William Friedkin, who is still alive. It feels prettymuch like the type of redneck fetish feature Rob Zombie would make (except Sheri Moon would be in the Gina Gershon role).

I found it hard to get into for two reasons. The first being Emile Hirsch's dreadful performance. He talks in that phoney Leonardo DiCaprio type voice with that delivery that always feels too rehearsed and he also projects too much, like he's in a stageplay, despite movies having microphone technology that allows people to talk normally.

The second thing that kept me at arms length with this one was that there was no real hesitation in the first act. A father and son prostitute their young teenage sister/daughter to a hitman as a retainer on a hit against their mother/ex-wife so that they can benefit from her life insurance; and neither of them really ever seems to show much unease about this. There's no real internal conflict to make these characters interesting.

Thomas Hayden Church plays Hirsch's father and is okay, at least he's better than Hirsch, but he also doesn't feel completely natural and his performance lacks the nuance that I think somebody like Woody Harrelson would've brought to it.

The movie does come alive when Matthew McConaughey shows up as the title character (a cop who performs hit jobs on the side) and is interesting whenever he's on screen, which is most of the film. McConaughey gives the performance of his career here, and not just in that Albert Brooks in DRIVE way that he's playing against type. The dude is just so fucking creepy in a way I haven't really seen before. This film is full of these long scenes where he manipulates and degrades people that are probably the longest sustained discomfort I've felt in a movie in a long time, possibly ever. He provides tension because he's fucking frightening, but it probably would've been more tense if Hirsch and Church had any moral centre to them because I would feel scared of what Killer Joe might do to them. As it was, I didn't really give a shit, they kinda deserved anything bad that came their way as far I'm concerned.

Juno Temple gives a solid performance as the sister/daughter. I found certain aspects of her character to be either too ambiguous or underdeveloped. I'm specifically talking about the suggestion that she is psychic.

The film gets better as things don't go as planned, which serves to twist the dynamic between several characters. And all the really uncomfortable scenes put a knot in my belly in a way that I didn't think a movie could do anymore. Friedkin can still bring the shock like nobody's business. And McConaughey deserves an Oscar for this motherfucker. So the film has plenty of merits, but wasn't a big winner for me because it had a few to many things bringing it down and keeping it from being engaging, especially in the first third.

P.S. in the climax, it really fucking annoyed me when McConaughey is plummeling Hirsch's face full force with a can of beans yet he doesn't die. I was expecting a shot of Hirsch's face looking like it exploded but then he's just bloody and seemingly semi-conscious....until Juno Temple shoots him.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby ironic name on Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:53 am

LOOPER:

see the movie first!
it's like Rian Johnson took my half remembered memories and put them in a blender, with added Bruce Willis, cobra commander and revolvers.
I don't say that to sound awesome or something despite what peven might think - I have no job and no girlfriend, I consume pop culture - the place where you remember to brush your teeth? I have images of superman's pitstains and the drug you put in your eyes and it tells you lies from Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.
where you spend nights partying with girls, I spend time explaining to myself why superman can fly [it's solokinesis, after centuries of destructive wars, the kryptonians imposed a form of genetic manipulation and mandatory meditation to slowly stop kryptonians from being able to kill each other with their minds, so now superman can make himself move, but can't lift a coin] - I'm telling you this so that this isn't hubris.
that being said, this movie surprised me for a few seconds when we seeyoung joe kill old joe after just seeing old joe escape from young joe, I thought maybe the movie was going to show us old joe's POV of what happened when he escaped young joe, instead it showed us what happened to make young joe become a junkie and an old man who came back to escape young joe, and while I could tell each plot twist was coming after that not to mention little things like kid blue hitting his head, there was those few seconds between old joe dying and 'year one' where my brain was trying to understand what was happening, it was the first time in my adult life that I felt that way, and Rian Johnson is a fucking genius for making that happen.
I liked the fact that it had an ending about nurturing instead of killing, very much an asian perspective.
I felt like the movie cribbed from Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man with the eye drugs, and the terminator with a guy from the future killing suburban kids, which I guessed he was gonna do from the library scene.

this is the first story since akira that has blown me away, I can't recommend this movie enough.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby bastard_robo on Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:54 am

Looper is pretty goddamn great.. ALL OF YOU SHOULD SEE IT.. DON"T QUESTION ME!
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Crimson King on Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Ugh, haven't been to the movies in a long time.

At the moment I can't seem to remember what I last went to go see. Still gotta watch Dredd, End of Watch, Looper, The Master...

Since it seems like the Zone isn't getting much action these days, I'll go ahead and discuss The Dark Knight Rises. I was, as many of you were, super stoked to watch this movie. I felt tremendously disappointed. Some of the characters introduced were useless. That time could've been better spent making Bane a more menacing villain. I felt he lacked the kind of tension present whenever the Joker was on-screen. Some have said it's because of Ledger's performance, but I though Nolan did a much better job making the Joker unpredictable. I mean, he terrorized the city with bombs and bullets. I never felt that vibe fro Bane, which I thought was unfortunate 'cause he was otherwise pretty badass.

Also, I hated that it was such a cliche, the atom bomb somewhere in the city, then he flies it out before it explodes and seemingly dies only to be shown alive at the end? After the awesomeness of The Dark Knight, this is how you choose to end one of the best comic book franchises ever? Disappointing.

Also disappointing...the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It didn't feel legit at all.

Overall, very disappointed.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:47 pm

TAKEN 2

I don't really remember the first TAKEN. I doubt I'll remember this one. I am hoping this series will go the DEATH WISH route in that the first two will be kinda the same semi-amusing movie and then the third and fourth will just go fully ridiculous. And yes, they do set up TAKEN 3 and 4 in this one.

This installment features lots of taking. People getting taken, then taken to different places, then escaping only to get re-taken, then the tooken overtake the takers and take their lives. It's a takey good time. This film features lots of the same stuff as the first one. Ya know, Liam calmly talking a panicky female character through a bunch of steps she must take to avoid being taken. I think they tried to top the first one by making Liam calmer and having way more steps that he relays to more panicky females. Maybe next time he'll detail a whole recipe over speakerphone to a room full of flaming ladies. There's also lots of that shakeycam stuff where dudes fight by slamming their forearms against each other.

So I think if you're a big fan of the first, and apparently there are big fans of that movie, you'll probably like this one. I think guys with kids like these movies because of that whole 'protector' instinct thing that I was born without. They get to imagine themselves being the world's awesomest dad and saving their daughters. I forget whether the first film also had stuff about being the world's awesomest ex-husband, but that's in there too. Neason gets to save his ex-wife played by a sad drunk-looking Famke Janssen.

More observations:
I think Liam's daughter is younger this time, it could be my memory playing tricks on me though. It's the same actress, but for some reason I remembered the daughter seeming like she was near the end of high school last time. This time she is also dating a guy who is clearly a drug dealer, yet that never really seems to come into play. Maybe Luc Besson just thinks that all American youths resemble characters in THE RULES OF ATTRACTION.

Also, if you're trying to save somebody and they load her into a pannel van and are driving away, I would probably not shoot at the van because, ya know, you might hit the person you're trying to save. I'd aim for the tires.

Liam Neason drinks your milkshake. Literally.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby bastard_robo on Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:59 am

I saw The Perks of Being a Wall Flower...

I haven't been so head over hells for a film in a while. It's just a goddamn beautiful film, I can't explain it any other way.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby TheBaxter on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:35 am

all i know about it is it's got emma watson, who is a goddamm beautiful chick. i can't even watch the first few harry potter movies any more, because i think of what she's become and i feel like a perv lusting after her. (then again, i can't watch the first couple anyway because their juvenile shit). it's the same problem i have with the professional, i see natalie portman the way she is today and feel weird seeing her as a kid.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby BuckyO'harre on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:50 am

A whole lotta (potential) awesome drops this weekend. Along with Wall Flower there's also Argo and Seven Psycopaths.

And for you parents of six and uppers, Frankenweenie is quite good.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby bastard_robo on Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:06 am

Watched Sinister..

FUCK was a pile of crap. IT GOES NOWHERE! It has one jump scare worth anything, but fuck is it pointless. The "Twist" is even set up a mile away.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby TheBaxter on Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:11 am

i'll be seeing PA4 this weekend. because seeing it anywhere and any time else would be pointless. or at least, more pointless than seeing it this weekend.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby SilentBobX on Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:45 pm

Saw Looper this past weekend. Great movie, even if I saw the ending coming. Won't spoil. Great, sparingly used FX, dialogue and the performances were absolutely solid. Levitt and Willis are great together. Highly recommended.


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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:52 pm

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COMPLIANCE

This film is a dramatized composite of several incidents that occurred across USA in the previous decade in which a man prank called fast food restaurants pretending to be a police officer. He would say one of the restaurant's employees had been accused of stealing from a customer and then he would demand that the manager of the fast food place detain and search the accused employee. He would gradually demand increasingly degrading and bizarre requests from the employees and even go as far as to demand that the accused do nude jumping jacks so that any stolen money stuffed up her kunis would fall out.

They put the words 'INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS' in letters bigger than the film's well-selected title at the beginning, probably because it's the most important aspect of the film. I think most people would have a hard time believing this happened once let alone more than 70 times. If you want to read a journalist's account of these events, you click on this link which details the incidents as well as the psychology at play:

http://www.courier-journal.com/hoax

I found this film to be very engrossing and incredibly tense. I think they did an excellent job showing how this guy could manipulate people over the telephone. He had that whole 'cop voice' down pat, but he also was clever at alternating between use of threats, praise, empathy, and impatience to motivate his victims to act. They also show the social engineering process of extracting information out of people in effect good.

The actors generally do a good job. The actress (Dreama Walker) playing the teenage girl who gets accused of stealing was maybe the weakest link. She sometimes seemed a little to bright and confident to be putting up with the degrading behaviour she's forced through.

The director makes the obvious approach of going with a very documentary feel without actually going fully into the found footage zone of trying to make it really seem like a documentary. Lots of handheld camerawork and a minimalist score.

I don't think this is a film for every one. I can see lots of audience members either not believing that people could have such bad judgement, or just not wanting to watch a movie about people with such bad judgement. But this movie got me right where it wanted me, which is right in between the disbelief at what I was watching and the sad acceptance that it's probably more true to life than I'd like it to be. I consider this to be a good psychological film.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby RogueScribner on Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:33 pm

SilentBobX wrote:Saw Looper this past weekend. Great movie, even if I saw the ending coming. Won't spoil. Great, sparingly used FX, dialogue and the performances were absolutely solid. Levitt and Willis are great together. Highly recommended.


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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby BuckyO'harre on Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:30 pm

bastard_robo wrote:I saw The Perks of Being a Wall Flower...

I haven't been so head over hells for a film in a while. It's just a goddamn beautiful film, I can't explain it any other way.



I saw it today and was quite surprised. I was fearing something much more twee. Very strong performance from Logan Lerman as well.
But much like the show Wilfred, it hits close to home, and I'm not sure if it's more entertainment or therapy for me.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby TheBaxter on Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:44 am

this past weekend i saw Paranormal Activity 4, or as i'd like to call it, PA4: More of the Same. i've seen all 4 of these films in the theater. there really isn't much point to seeing them any other way, since usually the audience is the most entertaining part of the film. since there's not really much to say about the film, i'll just give the audience a review, and say, by this point in the series, the audience has become too self-conscious. people know how they are expected to react and so they seem to be playing the role of frightened audience member, rather than simply react naturally. the first couple film's audiences were much more enjoyable, since you could tell the reactions were genuine. but starting with part 3, and especially now with part 4, you're constantly wondering if the murmurs and gasps and screams are for real, or just people acting how they think they're supposed to act. i think this 4th film might be the one where the PA audience finally jumped the shark.

i guess i should say a couple things about the film itself. this film was the biggest cocktease of the bunch. very little "paranormal" stuff happens until the very end (in contrast, i also rewatched PA3 earlier on and that one has some of the best moments of the series, though the ending kinda blows). it's mostly a bunch of "creepy kid" scenes, which they kind of already did with the last one, but at least they added some ghosts in that one too. here the fun stuff really doesn't start til the end. but i will say, of the 4 films, this one had the best ending. it's almost worth watching just for the last 5 minutes. if you've seen this series, you know the endings of these films can be a bit.... abrupt. this one is no different, and just like the other ones, nothing really gets explained or makes any sense when it's over, but at least viscerally the final scenes here are much more effective and satisfying than they have been in the previous 3 installments. as for logic or story consistency... what little bit of story there actually is.... it's pretty much nonexistent. by this point in the series, it's pretty clear they don't give a fuck about telling a cohesive or sensical story. it's all just about tension and scares. i guess that's ok for a horror film, but it would be nice if they actually tried to make stuff make a little more sense, give the films a little more depth. as it is it just comes off as lazy.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:15 pm



SAMSARA

I've been looking forward to this one for years and had mostly given up on it ever coming out when it finally was announced as completed. This is Ron Fricke's follow-up to his 1992 film, BARAKA, which is a film I saw during its intial theatrical release and have revisited at least once a year ever since.

For those of you who don't know what these movies are, they are something between a documentary and a music video. Fricke attempts to create a motion snapshot of life on this planet filming people, nature, and architectural structures around the world and then setting it to music. Unlike a traditional documentary, there is no narrator explaining what you are seeing and scenes transition from one to other frequently without a clear link.

I was mostly expecting an alternate version of BARAKA, and to a degree I got that. Fricke revisits certain subjects and settings. Some of the most obvious being returning to chicken/poultry processing facilities, garbage dumps, and the Tokyo metro. This time there is a lot less focus on religious customs.

I would say around the middle of SAMSARA is when it really sets itself apart from BARAKA. I found SAMSARA made me squirm a lot more than BARAKA. Fricke takes on what I found to be edgier material this time. There's a lot more in this film that I would describe as creepy such as a sex doll factory and a creepy performance art piece with a dude smothering himself in multiple layers of clay. Several scenes compete for the weirdest part of this film, such as seeing a bunch of convicts jazzercise in a chereographed routine and a man being burried in a coffin shaped like a shotgun.

So I really liked this film, it both gave me what I expected, but also surprised me and got a huge mix of reactions out of me. Good job Ron Fricke, see you again in 2032!
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby travis-dane on Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:16 am

So, I bit the bullet and watched ALEX CROSS.

I have never seen a Tyler Perry movie, I just know that he was in the last trek movie for thirty seconds.

I've seen the other two Cross movies with Morgan Freeman and they were okay, nothing special. If you compare those two movies to the new one, they turn out to be masterpieces.

This new Cross movie looks and feels like a TV Movie, the story is very predictable and cliche ridden.

So how did Tyler Perry do as Alex Cross. In a word: Funny. In the very opening scene, Perry chases a dude on foot. This was the first time I had to laugh and I laughed every time when Perry was on screen. I kidd you not, this movie and Perry's performance are a laugh riot, I cant remember the last time that a movie had me laughing out loud so often in a row. Perry is a big dude and he is tall too, but he is not in shape at all. In the opening footchase I had the constant feeling that he would die of a heart attack any second.
Then Perry tries to play a character who is a Doctor, a Professor, a Profiler, a Badass, a Family guy, a electronics and computer wizzard, a close combat specialist and a Detective who will soon be a FBI Profiler.
Jean Reno even calls him Detective Doctor Cross.
Perry took a big part of his performance out of the Steven Seagal school of acting, he copies the two Seagal expressions: normal bland face and angry face. I am glad to tell you that he captures those two expressions masterfully. The sad part is that he cant fight like Steven Seagal in his prime, Perry cant even fight like Seagal in his DTV days.

What about the rest of the cast? Ed Burns plays Perry's partner and he has nothing to do, but he would have been better playing Cross.
Rachel Nicols (green sexy girl in the last Trek movie) play another cop and she has even less to do and she gets killed offscreen).
John C. McGinley plays Crosses boss and he is wasted in the movie, I have no clue why he was cast and they did not gave him at least one big scene.
Jean Reno is in this too, but he has about five minutes of screen time, so another good actor wasted.

Now let me tell you about Matthew Fox. He owns this movie. For good. He is the only actor in the movie who gives a shit and I dont know why. I have the feeling that Fox was working with another script or a whole other movie. The man has about zero body f@t, he looks like Bruce Lee, he is so confident and cocky, it is a joy to watch him act.
I believed that he is a guy who loves to torture and kill people. Fox is fantastic in this. The dude he plays in this movie needs his own franchise.
Everytime he is on screen, the movie comes to life.

Then there is Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad). He is in one scene. In that scene, he plays a gangster and Perry wants him to give up a chemist(!).

Let me finish this on a side note about product placement. This movie is sponsored by Cadillac. Everybody drives a Cadillac. The Cadillac Logo is EVERYWHERE. Matthew Fox gets in his Cadillac and turns on the radio and there is a song palying about Cadillacs. The product placement is overwhelming, if you play a Cadillac themed drinking game, you will be dead 45 minutes in.

But all that aside, everybody should watch this movie, it is so funny to watch Tyler Perry be overwhelmed by the material, maybe you will never see another actor being so amazingly miscast in a movie.

And you need to experience Matthew Fox in this.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:42 am

Good review Travis. I will probably never watch this movie unless they are showing it on an airplane or something.

If Liam Neason won't come back for TAKEN 3, maybe they can just get Tyler Perry to take over the lead role.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby so sorry on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:24 am

I wonder who Tyler Perry had to blow to get this movie. What studio genius thought a cross-dressing comedianne would fit the role of Alex Cross, other than the fact that he's a black man?
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby TheBaxter on Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:23 am

travis-dane wrote:So how did Tyler Perry do as Alex Cross. In a word: Funny. In the very opening scene, Perry chases a dude on foot. This was the first time I had to laugh and I laughed every time when Perry was on screen. I kidd you not, this movie and Perry's performance are a laugh riot, I cant remember the last time that a movie had me laughing out loud so often in a row. Perry is a big dude and he is tall too, but he is not in shape at all. In the opening footchase I had the constant feeling that he would die of a heart attack any second.
Then Perry tries to play a character who is a Doctor, a Professor, a Profiler, a Badass, a Family guy, a electronics and computer wizzard, a close combat specialist and a Detective who will soon be a FBI Profiler.
Jean Reno even calls him Detective Doctor Cross.
Perry took a big part of his performance out of the Steven Seagal school of acting, he copies the two Seagal expressions: normal bland face and angry face. I am glad to tell you that he captures those two expressions masterfully. The sad part is that he cant fight like Steven Seagal in his prime, Perry cant even fight like Seagal in his DTV days.


please tell me there's a scene where he dresses up in disguise as a sassy old black grandma to catch the crook.
if not, then what a wasted opportunity.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby travis-dane on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:57 am

TheBaxter wrote:
travis-dane wrote:So how did Tyler Perry do as Alex Cross. In a word: Funny. In the very opening scene, Perry chases a dude on foot. This was the first time I had to laugh and I laughed every time when Perry was on screen. I kidd you not, this movie and Perry's performance are a laugh riot, I cant remember the last time that a movie had me laughing out loud so often in a row. Perry is a big dude and he is tall too, but he is not in shape at all. In the opening footchase I had the constant feeling that he would die of a heart attack any second.
Then Perry tries to play a character who is a Doctor, a Professor, a Profiler, a Badass, a Family guy, a electronics and computer wizzard, a close combat specialist and a Detective who will soon be a FBI Profiler.
Jean Reno even calls him Detective Doctor Cross.
Perry took a big part of his performance out of the Steven Seagal school of acting, he copies the two Seagal expressions: normal bland face and angry face. I am glad to tell you that he captures those two expressions masterfully. The sad part is that he cant fight like Steven Seagal in his prime, Perry cant even fight like Seagal in his DTV days.


please tell me there's a scene where he dresses up in disguise as a sassy old black grandma to catch the crook.
if not, then what a wasted opportunity.


Sadly there is not, it would have been the icing on the cake. BUT his mother in law is a nice old lady called "NANA MAMA".
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby caruso_stalker217 on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:11 pm

travis-dane wrote:This new Cross movie looks and feels like a TV Movie, the story is very predictable and cliche ridden.


So in other words, it's the most faithful adaptation of Patterson's work to date?
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby travis-dane on Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:41 pm

ARGO

Ben Afflecks third time directing, this time he goes way out of his comfort zone and leaves Boston and the gritty crime drama behind. He does this very succsesfull.

Argo is a real life story set during the Iran hostage crisis. Affleck plays a CIA operative who specialises in getting people out of hotzones.
Most of you will know what the movie is about, so I wont get to much into the story.

The filmatists crafted a strong story and the cast does a great job, among them John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

Affleck knows how to milk the tension and drama of the story and even if you know the outconme (which I did), there is allways tension and it has various scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat.

It is very interesting to see the inner workings behind such a complicated mission and Bryan Cranston does a good job selling the middle managment part of the CIA.

All the seventies details are great and everything looks right out of the time it is set in. Good job there.

See this movie, it's worth your money.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby caruso_stalker217 on Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:20 pm

travis-dane wrote:ARGO

Ben Afflecks third time directing, this time he goes way out of his comfort zone and leaves Boston and the gritty crime drama behind. He does this very succsesfull.

Argo is a real life story set during the Iran hostage crisis. Affleck plays a CIA operative who specialises in getting people out of hotzones.
Most of you will know what the movie is about, so I wont get to much into the story.

The filmatists crafted a strong story and the cast does a great job, among them John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

Affleck knows how to milk the tension and drama of the story and even if you know the outconme (which I did), there is allways tension and it has various scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat.

It is very interesting to see the inner workings behind such a complicated mission and Bryan Cranston does a good job selling the middle managment part of the CIA.

All the seventies details are great and everything looks right out of the time it is set in. Good job there.

See this movie, it's worth your money.


Argo fuck yaself!
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:12 pm

travis dane wrote:All the seventies details are great and everything looks right out of the time it is set in. Good job there.


It's only pure 70s if you get dudes who are in the advanced stages of balding but still grow their hair all shaggy. Lots of sparse stringy shit hanging all down their faces. You know what I'm talking about. All vintage David Carradine and Jack Nicholson looking. That's the fuckin' straight shit right there.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby travis-dane on Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:15 pm

Spandau Belly wrote:
travis dane wrote:All the seventies details are great and everything looks right out of the time it is set in. Good job there.


It's only pure 70s if you get dudes who are in the advanced stages of balding but still grow their hair all shaggy. Lots of sparse stringy shit hanging all down their faces. You know what I'm talking about. All vintage David Carradine and Jack Nicholson looking. That's the fuckin' straight shit right there.


Yeah, thats what they do in the movie. All the non CIA or Military guys have that longish hair and a beard or a 'stache. Affleck looks like a bum.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby caruso_stalker217 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:52 pm

Nothing beats the genuine grime of a '70s film though. You can almost smell the BO.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby bastard_robo on Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:47 pm

Watched THE BAY the other night.

Great found footage film, and probably the most out of character thing Barry Levinson has ever made. Told as straight story through about 10 different views, ti's a Crichton esq eco horror tale about mutated Isopods eating people form the inside out on one grey 4th of July.

While the story isn't new, and the film has it's issues with it's monster, it's still a damn effective, and fucking gory film. The "infection" of the isopods is graphic has hell and the body horror that this film conjured still bothers me almost a week later.


here's my problem with the film though:
Isopods are real things. A species is parasitic and dose eat away at fish's tongues and replaces themselves as the new tongue. In the film, the mutated variety spawn quickly and are highly carnivorous than scavengers. It's revealed that pollution in the bay of the film has caused the little bastards to mutate and grow quickly. Since the city created a desalinization plant, the water from the bay is used as the local drinking water. Since the larvae of the isopods are so small, anyone who ingests the water gets infected with the parasites. The infection starts as legions and the critters grow and pretty much eat their way out of people.

Once they're full grown (about the size of a Madagascar cockroach,) They still attack.. but it seems only in Water as shown in two different videos. Problem is that once two of the characters arrive after all the isopods kill about %90 of the town, they're nowhere to be seen. There are corpse laying about everywhere, nothing around them though. There's also a point in which a police officer is attacked by one off screen and some how becomes infected, and the doctor treating the infected also becomes infected himself. Problem is that it's established that the parasites are really only in the water and people only become infected by ingesting them. The grown isopods don't lay eggs Ala a facehugger or anything like that. Not only that, but there seems to have been a call that the isopods, once fully realized, where never fully dealt with as a major threat outside of the infection. They don't seem to swarm like they do in the water even though they can live on land for a while. Outside of that, the film ends very abruptly with a VO of what the government finally did to rid the bay of the critters.


Outside of those complaints, I still liked the film.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:12 pm

ANNA KARENINA (2012)

I generally like Joe Wright. I quite liked HANNA and think he should maybe focus his career on artsy action movies. I think I've even suggested his name out loud for a CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie a couple of times. He's got certain skills and areas of excellence. He's got a great way of shooting exterior shots that make nature look grand while never feeling stagey or losing its authenticity. When he shoots a cold snowy field, it's a nice well-framed shot, but it still looks cold and in the middle of nowhere. He's also really good at creating intimacy, especially with female actors. He can get these performances where you really feel like a fly on the wall watching something private. When he films Kiera Knightly alone in her room lying on her bed looking up at the ceiling, it really feels like you're watching somebody relaxed and alone even though she is an actress who is starring into a camera that is probably like one metre from her face.

ANNA KARENINA is another Oscarbait misfire from Wright. You can tell he felt the need to give this old classic some sort of modern spin, so he employs this styllistic device of having parts of the narrative occassionally staged like a stageplay. Like in CHICAGO or BRONSON. The difference being there's no real narrative or thematic purpose for it here. In CHICAGO, it made sense that the characters would perform certain parts on stage because the film's theme was perfomance and fame. In BRONSON, the styllistic device helped get you inside the head of a protagonist who is hard to understand and maybe see how he sees himself as a celebrity who uses violence and chaos as his artforms. In ANNA KARENINA, I just have no fucking clue. Maybe something about how in high society everybody's watching each other and appearances are everything? But he never really goes anywhere with that. Wright never reaches Baz Luhrmann levels of obnoxiousness, but this styllistic device is just really distracting. The good news is, he mostly only does it during the first quarter of the movie, then slows things down and films most of the rest of the movie straight up like how any Jane Austin movie would be shot.

The performances are all fine. Kiera Knightley plays Rachel Weisz playing Anna Karenina and does a good job. Knightley has actually been impressing me with her range lately, she's got more in her than I gave her credit for. Accepting Jude Law as Karenin was a bit tough, seeing as I think we all know that 15 years ago he would've been playing Vronsky, but his take on the role was good. The guy playing Vronsky was okay. This young lady Alicia Vikander, who plays 'Kitty', was really good at conveying a tricky character arc. She really projected a youthful naïveté at the beginning of the film and a hardened maturity at the end. I hope she has a good career ahead of her. Again, Wright seems to be better with female actors than male.

All and all, this is an okay movie, but that stageshow styllistic device really pulled me out of it. At the same time, I think the people who like all that stageplay stuff, will feel annoyed when it stops. So I don't think this movie will really work 100% for many people. Nice try though.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Wolfpack on Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:07 pm

By the end of Anna Karenina, our heroine was very well trained.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:03 am

:lol:

She didn't need no stinkin' montage.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:35 pm

SCARFACE (1932)

My local grindhouse celebrated its 80th anniversary by showing a 35mm print of a film they showed during their first year in business, the original 1932 Howard Hughes-produced and Howard Hawks-directed film SCARFACE. The 1983 DePalma-Stone remake is one my favourite movies, yet I've never bothered to check out the original. When this opportunity presented itself, I figured it was time.

Sure, there are obvious technical limitations of filmmaking in the 30s, but I have to say, this film holds up incredibly well. I was really surprised at just how close the remake followed the original in terms of plot points and depiction of the characters and their relationship. The remake is twice as long, so it has time to flesh out several plot points and relationships, but everything is basically the same.

The film scholar guy who introduced the film told us they had to tone down the incest subplot because of censorship at the time. I don't think it even came across as incestual, Scarface mostly just seemed like an overly protective Italian-American brother. The remake definately made it explicit that he wanted to fuck his sister. The main differences between the original and the remake, plot wise, are that in the remake Scarface starts getting hooked on his own product (cocaine), whereas in the original Scarface never becomes an alcoholic. Also, in the original it's the law who come after Scarface at the end, not a crime syndicate.

This is a solid movie. I think the remake is superior, but you can colour me impressed at how good the original was and how they got away with making such an exploitive movie back then.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby caruso_stalker217 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:40 pm

I have to watch the original SCARFACE again. I kept falling asleep that one time.

Not as bad a situation as when I watched the original GODZILLA, though. I kept falling asleep during the Godzilla parts and waking up during the boring scientist shit.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:40 pm

ANTIVIRAL

This is the debut film made by David Cronenberg's son, Brandon Cronenberg. As far as tone and subject matter go, Croney Jr follows fairly closely in his father's footsteps, which is good because I can continue to use the term 'Cronenbergian' without confusing people. This film's subject is celebrity obsession. The film asks the question: if you are willing to spend your money and free time to read Ashton Kutcher's twitterings, why not go all the way and literally experience his diarrhea along with him?

The film takes place in an alternate universe where technology allows regular people to bond with their favourite celebrities on a biological level, including eating steaks made out the cloned flesh of celebrities and paying to infect oneself with celebrities' diseases. The film opens with a young man going to a clinic and paying to be infected with the herpes from his favourite celebrity. The main character in this film is a creepy young salesman at such a clinic, who embezzles celebrity dieseases through his own bloodstream and sells them on the black market for extra cash. When the salesman guy discovers he has probably injected himself with something he shouldn't have, he finds himself a valuable asset and a threat to various conflicting factions.

As a satire, ANTIVIRAL is sharp, on point, explores its subject and takes it to its vulgar ridiculous conclusion. As a thriller, the film is less effective, frequently going flat in the final third and not always creating the tension it is trying to. If anything holds this film back, it's its low budget (3 million dollars) and the resulting low production value. This might be a dealbreaker for a lot of audiences who prefer more slick looking movies.

I think this is a well-written and interesting movie that sometimes goes a little flat because of the execution. I wouldn't watch it again, but I liked it, and I look forward to more from a world with two Cronenbergs.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:33 pm

THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS

I think if you gave me 15 million dollars and told me to go to the store and get milk, I would probably come back having made this movie and you'd be all like "Where's the milk?" and I'd be all like "Uhhhhh.."

That's not to say that I think this is a particularly great movie, it's just that it reads like they filmed a list of stuff I'd like to see in b-movies such as kung-fu, rap music, comic gore, warrior prostitutes, novelty weapons, drunk slumming a-list actors hamming it up, ornate sets with gag props, costumes inspired by 80s pop icons etc.

I think if the film is held back by anything, it might be this:

IMDB wrote:The first cut of the film was four hours long. RZA suggested splitting it into two films, but producer Eli Roth disagreed, and it was ultimately cut down to approximately 90 minutes.


I get the feeling this is supposed to be one of those meandering epics where you see the various characters in all these other plots and things eventually get widdled down to a smaller cast of heroes squaring off against a small group of villains. As presented, this film zooms along at break-neck speed, never catching its breath or really giving any more weight to one moment than another. It's just one crazy character with a new novelty weapon and a new silly costume showing up every minute to fight and destroy another gorgeous set while rap music plays.

The film is full of endless wacky characters, generally played by actors who seem to be having a really good time going way overthetop. I guessed from the trailer that Rusty Crowe would just have a cameo in this, but I was wrong, he's actually one of the main characters. He's become enormous. The dude is really fuckin' f@t these days, he's heading into John Candy turf, which kinda gets me hoping we'll get Crowe in the UNCLE BUCK remake. I think he achieved his character's drunkeness through method acting, but he seems to be having fun fingerbanging Chinese prostitutes on screen. Lucy Liu has made a career out of playing cartoons, and does so again here. She doesn't do her trademark thing where she screeches all bitchy though. There's a part where she's crushing Crowe's nuts and I wondered if it really was Liu's hand crushing Crowe's nuts or if they brought in a hand double and stunt crotch for that shot. Ricky Yune is another hero, and he is also pretty charismatic. I like that guy. He's like a fully Asian Dean Cain.

RZA, who co-wrote, directed, and scored this film, is the weakest actor in the cast. It becomes fairly funny how out of place he looks. He generally looks like this tired hobo and he's the only actor in this cast who underplays his role. The flashbacks to his days as a slave in America are particularly funny. But the part where he gets his hands cut off (later to be replaced by iron fists) is probably the funniest because he can't even convincingly scream in pain. He makes this sound like when the doctor tells you to say "Awwwww" and looks down your throat.

The villains are all solid. Byron Mann appears to really like that he's dressed up as Prince. Wrestlemania superstar Batista plays a villain whose flesh is literally made out of bronze. And I liked Daniel Wu as Poison Dagger with that funny Mysterio-style synthesized voice.

The fights are hit and miss. Corey Yuen is my favourite fight choreographer and he does what he can with a cast that is mostly not martial artists or not even in shape. Yuen makes good use of Batista's Wrestlemania fighting style. Chereographing a fight scene with f@tso Crowe must've been hard, they probably should've had him fight sumo style. My favourite fight was definately the Gemini Warriors with their interlocking swords that allow them to spin around into a human tornado.

I don't think this film would appeal to an audience outside of oldschool kung-fu die-hards. I had fun watching it, and if they put out a longer cut on DVD, then I will revisit it because I think it would play better if it were fleshed out a bit more. I think RZA is a decent writer and director, but a shitty actor. I think producer/co-writer Eli Roth probably should've kept this film more on course so that it was designed to be 90 minutes instead of a 4 hour movie that then had to be trimmed down.
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Re: What have you been watching? (Cinema)

Postby Spandau Belly on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:55 am

Christmas is the season for spending time with family, which means watching movies together that I would probably not have watched on my own. So I saw...

JACK REACHER

Tom Cruise stars the title character, a man named Jack Reacher. We are told 'Jack' is his given name, it's not short for anything, he's already short enough. Reacher is a retired army cop who spends his retirement refining a lifestyle that makes him impossible to find, even though nobody is looking for him, and when somebody does want to see him, he just shows up and saves them the effort of looking. I'm guessing that as a child, Jack Reacher probably really sucked at hide 'n go seek. He will not even own a car or multiple outfits or even carry a small bag of toiletries. He is always clean shaven, so it can be assumed that he has learned how to shave his face with his belt buckle.

The plot revolves around an ex-military sniper who is framed for one of these gun massacres that occur frequently in USA and he demands that Jack Reacher help his lawyer in clearing his name. The lawyer is played by Rosamund Pike (from that James Bond movie and some other shit). It is established that she is normally an expensive lawyer in a posh law firm and has taken this case against the will of her firm and will defend this man for free, although this never really matters to the plot. When she goes around and talks with the victims' families, she dresses fairly conservatively, but after that she busts out the cleavagey outfits. I think her breasts actually get more and more pushed up as her journey to damsel-in-distress plot device progresses. And speaking of which, this is 2012 already. I think having three damsels in distress over the course of one film is just sexist. They even have the double-standard bullshit mentality that dictates that male criminals choose their path, but female criminals are just innocent pawns of evil manipulative men. And to think, this is the filmmaker who punched Sarah Silverman in the first five minutes of his other movie.

This film is in the sub-genre of the ‘action procedural’, in that the detective work isn’t really the focus as much as the ass-kicking and tough guy moments. I think at about a quarter into the film we’re given everything we need to solve the crime and most of us figure that out instantly. So we watch Tom Cruise go around and spout funny tough guy lines and kick ass. He dresses like a lumberjack and gets into bar fights and so the film occasionally feels like a Canadian remake of ROAD HOUSE.

If this film succeeds, it is in the witty dialogue. All the tough guy talk is handled with good humour and Cruise’s performance balances perfectly on the edge of self-parody. The movie works best when it’s being funny. But that’s not all the time. I swear, this film frequently feels like two films with totally different tones edited together. Werner Herzog plays the main villain, and he seems to be in another movie that is both more ridiculous yet also taking itself more seriously. There’s also this cop guy who seems like he’s not only from another movie, but another era too. The cop guy is like some 1960s Yaphet Kotto performance transplanted into a modern movie.

The action is also surprisingly well-staged and well-edited. They manage to make it convincing that a 50 year old hobbit is beating up all these guys. The climactic fight involves Reacher going up against a guy who is a foot taller, half Reacher’s age, and has the same training as Reacher; and the fact that they make it somewhat believable that Reacher can take this guy is quite an achievement.

If the film has a weak point, it’s that it is fucking terrible. The film is about clearing this sniper guy’s name. However, this sniper guy makes such a good fall guy because he already had one incident in which he snapped and killed people for amusement. He got away with it because it happened during war time and the military wanted it swept under the rug. Also, he admits to fantasizing about killing innocent American people in a gun massacre and he has even been amassing weapons and planning it out. He’s not guilty of this particular massacre, but fuck, just wait a week.

The villain also doesn’t really make any sense. They’re this big evil SPECTRE organization that uses terrorism to obtain construction contracts. What, was bribing or blackmailing mayors not as cost effective? I like it when the large-breasted lawyer chick makes a scowling face and says ”They build bridges and roads that nobody needs!” They could’ve at least thrown in that the bridges collapse and people die or some shit. So the film is ultimately about letting a complete maniac walk free and preventing some unnecessary civil infrastructure work.

The film is full of ridiculous shit. A good part is when Reacher starts monologueing about freedom, and how all these losers who work for a living should quit and just get the government to send them a pension cheque every month so they can be truly free to live as stealth hobos like Jack Reacher does, all the while Rosmand Pike squeezes her boobs together and looks impressed by this speech.

There’s also a part where Reacher is framed for murder and being chased by the cops, and for no reason a bunch of people waiting at a bus stop all offer him their clothes to disguise him and stand around him to hide him from the cops.

But I think the film is at its absolute most ridiculous in its closing moments, during which the characters all stand around and recount The Glorious Legend of Jack Reacher and it practically turns into some Christopher Nolan shit. They all suddenly speak in that epic speech voice full of pauses about how "He is the man we cannot be and the man we cannot be without, he is more than a hero, he is our guardian, our savior, our silent watchman, ever vigilant yadda yadda yadda The film stopped on shot short of Tom Cruise posing on a rooftop with whatever the Jack Reacher version of the bat signal is projected on the sky behind him.

So this is a pretty bad movie, but I found it to be surprisingly entertaining. I think if I had to compare it to another movie, I’d probably go with Brian DePalma’s SNAKE EYES. Zany lead actor giving a performance that drifts in and out of self-parody, undercooked mystery plot, large-breasted damsel in distress, supporting cast who are taking the film too seriously, but plenty of well-staged well-shot sequences and funny dialogue and violence.
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