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Peter Martin
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 6:57pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Watched a clutch of movies on a couple of flights over Christmas. First up was It (2017). Half a movie packaged as the whole thing, which is a bit of a swindle. I thought it was OK, but inferior to the 90s mini-series which kept the appealing back-and-forth structure of the novel.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 30 December 2017 at 9:04pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Stanley Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY (1957)

Although there is an almost total absence of any sort of French accents (in this France-set WWI film!), this is easily a Top 5 Kubrick favorite of mine... just a total gut-punch, and featuring, IMHO, Kirk Douglas' single greatest performance.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Couldn't agree more. It's actually my favorite Stanley Kubrick film, and easily Kirk Douglas' greatest performance. (Spartacus and Ace In The Hole are up there as far as my favorite movies of his go, though.)




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Doug Centers
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Posted: 31 December 2017 at 8:09am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"... IMHO, Kirk Douglas' single greatest performance."

...

"...
It's actually my favorite Stanley Kubrick film..."

...

Yes and Yes!
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 31 December 2017 at 7:14pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

La La Land (2016).

I love this film. The music is a joy, it looks magnificent, it's funny, the two leads carry me with them emotionally every time I watch it, the choreography is just right and I'm still a little stunned it didn't win best picture.

My favourite take-away from this viewing: Ryan Gosling's jazzy double-take when he encounters the Tesla coil at the Griffith Planetarium.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 31 December 2017 at 8:39pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply


Wasn't too impressed with LA LA LAND last winter ("This is what all the hype is about?" I recall thinking)... however, I must at least give props to its instrumental score by Justin Hurwitz--easily one of my favorite soundtracks of the last 20 years or so.

I might shrug at the film and most of its songs, but the score, it must be said, is exquisite.



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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 December 2017 at 11:56pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

A curious triple feature:

FULL METAL JACKET

LOGAN'S RUN

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

The last gets better every time I watch it.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 January 2018 at 1:09am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

FULL METAL JACKET is a film I appreciate more and more with each viewing. The general vibe from a lot of critics and viewers is that the first half is amazing, and then the rest is a bit of a disappointment, by comparison. I have to say, though, that I've come to better understand and like that second half upon multiple viewings, over the years. 

The first half is mesmerizing, but the second half carefully knocks down the dominoes that have been set up, in ways both subtle and not. The basic training stuff broadly and harshly establishes the themes, and then we see them explored in 'Nam. The insidious point of it all is how violence and sexuality are tied together as a form of brainwashing and dehumanization, to the point where the squad's execution of the teenaged sniper almost feels no different than their gangbang of the teenaged prostitute, earlier in the story. 

I was just thinking the other day about how APOCALYPSE NOW may generally considered the definitive Vietnam War film, but that FULL METAL JACKET appeals more to my particular sensibilities and dark sense of humor. Of the two, it's the one I find myself thinking of more often. 
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 01 January 2018 at 5:55am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It was a night with Nick and Nora, thanks to TCM;

THE THIN MAN

AFTER the THIN MAN

ANOTHER THIN MAN
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 01 January 2018 at 5:12pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

Wow. And I thought Raimi got so much wrong. 

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 02 January 2018 at 8:10am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I watched a movie edit of The Trip to Spain (2017), which had me chuckling.

Followed it up with Battle of the Sexes (2017). Bit of a disappointment. Emma Stone and Steve Carrell look the part, and the film does a decent job of showing how Billie Jean King's hand was forced into accepting the challenge after initially rejecting it as a fiasco, but there is little attempt to give any insight into Bobby Riggs and the recreation of the match is such that I think a documentary might have been a better choice than a dramatisation.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 January 2018 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

THE THING (1982)

First time I've seen this.

It's bleak, nihilistic and ends on am ambiguous note, but I really enjoyed it. It's definitely a throwback to a pre-CGI era where plot appeared to matter more than special effects. 

I found it more compelling as time passed. 

Is it the greatest film ever? Not sure I'd state that, but it's certainly a bloody good film. I hope the commentary (Carpenter and Russell) gives me some more insight.

Incidentally, the wrong DVD was inside. Case claimed to be the remastered version, but I didn't get that. Oh well, it was at least the right film! Imagine buying a DVD for THE THING and opening up the case to find something like SUPERMAN RETURNS.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 January 2018 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

WOULD YOU RATHER (2012)

Impressive for being shot essentially on a single set, but otherwise just another variant on Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS.* Jeffery Combs appears to be playing John Cleese.

--------------

* Hm. Christie's original title (look it up) was changed when times changed and it was deemed offensive. Is the alternate title offensive now?

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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 05 January 2018 at 9:29pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Yup. Christie's TEN LITTLE... is called AND THEN THERE WERE NONE now.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 January 2018 at 10:45pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I hope the commentary (Carpenter and Russell) gives me some more insight.
+++++++


Oh, it's a great commentary!
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99

Lean and mean. I'll never look at Vince Vaughn the same way again.

Don Johnson either.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 9:10am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

GODZILLA (2014)

How disappointing.

Godzilla rarely appeared in the film.

The "bad guy" monsters looked generic, like something from Peter Jackson's KING KONG or CLOVERFIELD.

A hell of a lot was filmed in the dark. I couldn't see what was going on. I even checked the brightness settings on my Blu-ray player.

Nothing was even remotely compelling.

I liked the scene where Godzilla was fired upon by cops/military at the Golden Gate Bridge; and the US Navy admiral was a thoughtful character, a world away from the usual gung-ho senior military officer that Hollywood gives us.

Really disappointing.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 06 January 2018 at 9:20am | IP Logged | 17 post reply


(Robbie & Greg, for THE THING, I only listened to the commentary track once, many years ago, but my main recollection is Kurt Russell howling with laughter about once every 90 seconds!)



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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 January 2018 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (2017)

Not the movie I was expecting. Based on subject, title, and one behind-the-scenes documentary, I was expecting a comedy. This was more of an anachronistic Feminist screed, well played to be sure, but trying to claim too many victories.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 3:15am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Additional note on BATTLE: in this time of race-swapping and some actors making careers out of playing people they don't look like, it's refreshing to see a film like this, where some effort was made to capture the real faces involved. Hollywood versions, to be sure, but still a lot closer than we've seen for a while.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 January 2018 at 3:58pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

TOY STORY (1995)

Been a long time, TOY STORY!

I think it holds up very well. The animation was cutting-edge at the time. I like the performances and I enjoy many moments in the film, such as Buzz attempting to fix his "spaceship" (the toy packaging) and being forced to have tea with the dolls owned by Sid's sister.

Still very charming. Might watch it again later this week with the audio commentary on.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:53am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

FIRST BLOOD (1982)

Never fails to tug at the heartstrings, seeing an emotionally wounded veteran picked on by a bullying sheriff's department. The ending is very poignant. Sad moments such as Rambo, over the radio, telling his former CO, "I just wanted something to eat..."

I don't think the sequels were necessary (much like ROBOCOP, PLANET OF THE APES, etc.). FIRST BLOOD was thoughtful and thought-provoking; the sequels, whilst entertaining in many ways, were just action movies among a "sea" of action movies.

As entertaining as the second and third movies were, they didn't need to be Rambo films. Any 80s action hero could have performed those missions, but FIRST BLOOD is uniquely Rambo.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I remember those films inspired a lot of idiots to
injure/maim wildlife with crossbows in the 80`s.First
Blood was ok,the sequels were awful.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 3:43pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Star Wars (1977) and Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Having seen these many,many times I won't discuss the films overall and just mention specific takeaways from this viewing.

Was struck in Star Wars at key stretches of the film having no music score -- which is kind of contrary to the impression my memory gives of the music being ominpresent. For example, the whole section with Luke practising with the remote and Ben feeling the destruction of Alderaan, and debating the Force with Han and encountering a TIE fighter, there is no music at all, just kind of ambient noises, until they spot the moon (all together now: that's no moon).

Love the full size Falcon in Empire Strikes Back. There's shots on Hoth early on in the film with Chewie atop the Falcon and it creates an incredible sense of verisimiltude (as opposed to a slightly unconvincing matte painting of the falcon used in the background in ROTJ, which I am currently watching. The matte paintings are generally excellent, but there is no doubt that the solid, real thing in ESB gives a far superior shot).

Also, the film rocks the orange and teal look before it became a cliché. Final takeaway, there is a shot of Yoda, as Luke takes off in his X-Wing from Degobah, where the lighting is simply awesome and saved them doing any FX work for the ship -- the lighting (and the sound design) conveys what's happening.




Edited by Peter Martin on 11 January 2018 at 3:45pm
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 7:25am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

EMPIRE--like WATCHMEN and PULP FICTION--is a film that is gorgeous to behold, but leaves me feeling empty.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 8:56pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

DAVE (1993)

sigh

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