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Topic: What disc did you have in last (and what did you think)? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 5:18pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

MOONRAKER (1979)

I do like this film.

Despite its outlandish nature, it is somehow grounded. Maybe it's Michael Lonsdale's performance, maybe it's the script, but despite the outlandish nature (and the science errors, e.g. noise in space), it feels real. It's that verisimilitude word that I learnt as a kid. Something feels very credible about this.

Perhaps it's all the elements coming together. The actors all appear to take it seriously (for the most part). It comes across that way. And if they took the outlandish premise seriously, then I guess I did, too.

It's a lot of fun from beginning to end, despite the flaws. I'd take outlandish-but-credible, escapist fun like this over the Bourne-like reality of the Daniel Craig era any day of the week!
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 6:52pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Suicide Squad. 

wow that was disturbing. Poor Harley Quinn, such a bad Joker. Will Smith wasn't as terrible as everyone said. 


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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 19 September 2017 at 3:13pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN (1969)

Live action sci-fi from Gerry Anderson and Co. A favorite of my late teens, so I picked up a cheap Blu. A mirror image Earth is detected -- well, you know where! Astronauts are sent to investigate. A six week round trip!

It's pure Supermarionation, with the special effects never close to convincing. Why, I wonder, did Anderson not pick up on the Japanese trick of actually filming the models under a real sky?

Takes a looooooooooooooong time to commence the title voyage.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 6:05am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

WONDER WOMAN showed up on pay-per-view last night, and for a moment my finger hovered over the SELECT button. Perhaps a second viewing would take the bad taste out of my mouth?

But I decided against it. The movie was such a colossal disappointment to me that I saw no reason to reopen old wounds.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 7:47am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The Birds (1963). Sort of memorable and disappointing at the same time. Tippi Hedren was certainly beautiful but isn't as compelling as, say, Grace Kelly might have been and the chemistry isn't really there between her and Rod Taylor. The build-up is perhaps a little too slow and a little contrived and the climax a little bit underwhelming but there are still some excellent parts. The middle section of the film is perhaps the strongest with the discussion in the cafe and the interaction of all the small-town characters. The birds between attacks give the most effective creeps -- the simple scene where Tippi Hedren sits smoking a cigarette in a playground and the film cuts to the increasing number of birds silently perched behind her is brilliant.

Also, randomly, love the convertible DB2 that she drives in this movie!
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James Best
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

THE FOUNDER (2016) via Netflix

Starring Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carrol Lynch, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, and Patrick Wilson.

A biographical drama about Ray Kroc, the "founder" of the McDonalds franchise, that begins in 1954 when he is a traveling salesman for restaurant equipment and continues through his discovery of the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California and the rise of his fast food empire up to the early 1970's.

The movie itself didn’t do much at the box office when it was released but it is very well produced and provides some terrific cinematography that gives you a strong feeling of being in the 1950s. It is also chock-full of solid performances by its cast (especially Keaton and Offerman) and certainly deserved more accolades than it received.

Part of the problem was likely due to its original release date being pushed back to early December 2016 so that it might qualify for Oscar consideration. But in the process, it got lost among the other box office heavyweights that were released that same month (Rogue One, La La Land, Hidden Figures, Passengers, etc.). 

Worth a look if you can spare a couple hours and a bag of popcorn.


Edited by James Best on 21 September 2017 at 8:25am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 2:34pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

A couple of observations, given I've been watching BOND films recently.

For a secret agent, everyone seems to know who he is. In some of the Connery films, and quite a few of the Roger Moore films, people talk about him like he's the police chief or a politician. 

For a secret agent, he's failing. Badly. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 9:58pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Regarding Bond,i caught a bit of Never Say Never Again
on Sunday,the awful 80`s sax soundtrack dates it
badly.It also ocurred to me that i am the age Connery
was when he appeared in this...too old!
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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 21 September 2017 at 7:25am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

…chalk full…

••

Chock-full.

There, now the cosmic balance has been restored.

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James Best
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Posted: 21 September 2017 at 8:27am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Corrections completed, sir.  The balanced cosmos is maintained. :-) 
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James Best
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Posted: 22 September 2017 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

ZODIAC (2007) via Netflix

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Dermot Mulroney, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, and Chloe Sevigny. Directed by David Fincher whose credits include the films Seven, Fight Club, Panic Room, The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl

The movie is adapted from the 1986 true crime book written by Robert Graysmith, who worked as a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle during the period when the movie takes place. The film is a mystery-thriller that tells the story of the state-wide manhunt for the serial killer who called himself the “Zodiac” and killed at least seven people in and around the Bay Area during the late 60s and early 70s while taunting the police with letters and ciphers that were mailed to the newspapers. Although several prime suspects were identified over the years, the Zodiac murders were never solved and the killer was never caught. 

The movie runs almost two and a half hours in order to show the key events in the serial killer’s crime spree, the resulting manhunt, and the various criminal investigations that took place between 1969 and 1991. Although I didn’t get any chills while watching it, the movie certainly kept my attention as the pieces of the puzzle of the Zodiac’s identity slowly came together. 

Worth a look if you can stream it or find a cheap DVD rental.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 September 2017 at 2:38pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983)

I preferred it to THUNDERBALL (which I found tedious, especially the underwater stuff).

Bernie Casey, who recently passed away, was a good Felix Leiter.

The villains were all solid.

I certainly prefer it to the official Bond movie released that year, OCTOPUSSY.

It's pretty good, I guess.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 September 2017 at 4:13pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

THE HINDENBERG (1975)

George C. Scott is always watchable, but this combination of a SHIP OF FOOLS pastiche and a disaster movie has not aged well. When I saw it first in my mid twenties I was pulled along by the the superb production design and Albert Whitlock's special effects, but even then there was a kind of TORA! TORA! TORA! effect as the filmmakers strove to build suspense over something we already know is going to happen.

So much more has been learned in recent years about how the Hindenberg came to its fiery end that the sabotage storyline creaks more than the ship's superstructure.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 September 2017 at 1:08am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

BLADE RUNNER (1982).


So, with the sequel set to come out in a few weeks, I figured I'd dive into my 2007 BR Blu-Ray boxset and rewatch everything. I'm also reading the newly-released third edition of Paul M. Sammon's fantastic FUTURE NOIR: THE MAKING OF BLADE RUNNER, which is one of the greatest "making-of" books ever written.

I've begun with the original theatrical cut of the film, of course (and then I went and watched the extra bits-–about 15 seconds' worth of extra violence--from the International Cut, which will save me another viewing of what is 99% the same film as the theatrical cut). 

It's said in the Blu-Ray special features that "there are no casual fans of BLADE RUNNER", and I tend to agree. It's a film which has captivated me since I first saw it, back in high school. It's like no other film ever made, and there will never be another like it. Its troubled production is the stuff of legend, as is its initial failure and subsequent rebirth as a modern cult-classic. It's unquestionably one of the best art-designed and best-shot films of all time, and has proven to be ridiculously influential in terms of its visuals. It's the sort of film you can get totally lost in, due to its incredibly meticulous detailing. A masterpiece of world-building.

Upon reflection, it's not hard to see why the film failed, back in '82. It was marketed as (and expected to be) a sci-fi action film starring Harrison Ford (who gives a wonderfully subtle and nuanced performance). Instead, audiences were presented with a glacially-paced, intellectually challenging neo-noir, in which there's very little action. The "action" pretty much boils to down our "hero" gunning down two women, and one of them in the back, no less. This is a gritty neo-noir story about a man regaining his humanity (and certainly not a sci-fi version of Indiana Jones)...or is it?

The film is endlessly fascinating, both in its content, and the stories behind its creation. Yet, the story and characters are rather bare-bones...or are they? The film is equal parts hypnotic, confounding, stimulating, and challenging, and it defies easy analysis. Some of the elements it has been most criticized for could also be seen as strengths. It all comes down to one's point of view. And, of course, one needs to be in a certain mental and emotional place to watch the film.

BLADE RUNNER also swims in both moral ambiguity and plot ambiguity. It's packed with details which require multiple viewings to pick up. It's really no wonder that the infamous narration was added in after a disasterous test screening to try and make plot points clearer for audiences. This is a film which breathes. It takes its time, and doesn't spoon-feed, narration aside. The story is told more through mood and atmosphere than a bunch of heavy exposition.

As for this particular version of the film, well, the narration sorta-kinda works in spots, but mostly doesn't. And the tacked-on happy ending (complete with outtake mountain footage from THE SHINING)...feels like a tacked-on happy ending. The landscape is also totally incongruous with the grimy, rainy, dystopian Los Angeles we've been watching for the last two hours. The film has also proven to be disturbingly prescient in many ways, with its predictions of urban decay and corporations running the world.

It's been a good number of years since I sat down and watched any version of the film from start to finish. Looking forward to getting deeply into the whole thing, all over again. Next up, the 1992 Director's Cut. My first experience with the film was via the International Cut (on VHS), followed by the Director's Cut, literally the very next day.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 September 2017 at 10:08am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

By now, I think, we've been shown that the magic of Ridley Scott is largely accidental. ALIEN is a horror (not sci-fi) masterpiece, which he pissed all over when allowed to return to the francise. BLADE RUNNER is a pseudo-noire detective story that has moral ambiguities if we want them, but mostly tells a straightforward story.

Was it the story Scott set out to tell? Apparently not, but it is, imho opinion, superior to the muddled and pretentious mess he turned it into. (Fans natter away about whether Deckard is himself a replicant -- which was Scott's intent -- rather missing the point that that bit of information destroys his character arc.)

I'll take the original theatrical release, and do my best to ignore all that came after.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 September 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

When it comes right down to it, Scott is a brilliant visualist, but actual storytelling and directing of actors have never really been his strong suit. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 September 2017 at 2:49pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD (2005)

The original series was mildly entertaining in its time.

This film is just a name recognition cash-in. Nothing compelling or remotely entertaining. It will not leave a lasting impression on me. 
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