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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 12:43 pm:   

Thought I'd start early this year to see how 2011 evolves cinematically for me. Last year was very poor for horror imo but a great one for comedy, while Christopher Nolan's unique masterpiece 'Inception' easily took the honours in the end.

So far this year I've only seen two new films in the cinema, and would rank them thus:

1. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter [Horror]
2. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir [Wilderness Adventure]

'The Ward' was a thoroughly satisfying old-fashioned scareathon, that may not quite be vintage Carpenter but is certainly his best since 'In The Mouth Of Madness'. It follows the classic Carpenter template to a tee with the sort of slow build-up of tension and patient character development that marked out 'Assault On Precinct 13' or 'Halloween' as model thrillers. The gradual accumulation of unsettling details ratchets the suspense levels up so unobtrusively that the move into all-out scares and nervewracking chase sequences is hardly noticed. The reaction of the young people around me sounded sufficiently petrified in the later stages to show that these old tricks never grow tired. I even heard one youth claim to have shit himself on the way out - one hopes metaphorically! I enjoyed the film immensely but wouldn't hail it as one of his very best, but rather the old master in cruising mode. The big twist will be spotted a mile off by any hardened genre fan, and the asylum setting, with a protagonist we are never sure is mad or really under threat (ala 'Shutter Island'), is somewhat over familiar these days, but this is still a tight little horror package that does exactly what it says on the tin - provides plenty of memorable jump-out-of-your-skin moments and never outstays its welcome or slips into artsy pretension. If I had to slot it into his filmography I'd say it was about as effective as 'Cigarette Burns', somewhat behind 'In The Mouth Of Madness' but significantly better than 'Vampires' (which was really quite good). It's good to see the old man back and I hope this is only the beginning of a Polanski-like late period resurgence!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 01:02 pm:   

I saw Peter Weir's 'The Way Back' the other week and really enjoyed it at the time as an old-fashioned "survival in the wilderness" adventure yarn with committed performances and breathtaking location cinematography, extending from the snowy forests of Siberia across the bleak Mongolian Desert, over the Himalayan Mountains and into northern India. I found it predictable and emotionally manipulative as hell (eight set out but we know from the start only three will make it, but which three...) but still pretty impressive as a cinematic spectacle, while being in no way one of his best works.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 11:31 am:   

1. 'Neds' by Peter Mullan
2. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
3. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

'Neds' was an interesting one last night, and the most I have laughed in the cinema since 'Machete' (yes, laughed), but is also one of those brilliantly made and acted films that left me strangely uncertain, on coming out, as to whether I had liked it or been disappointed in it, or even properly understood it!

Certain scenes and performances are now hot-wired into my brain as amongst the most incendiary I have seen in recent years. I'm talking filmmaking of the authenticity and dramatic power of everything from 'Kes' to 'Taxi Driver' to 'Scum' to 'Gregory's Girl' to 'The Bad Lieutenant' to 'Trainspotting'. And therein lies the rub... passages of painfully recognisable, and often painfully hilarious, fly-on-the-wall gritty realism (and it doesn't get much more gritty than the working class Glasgow estates of the 1970s) vie with interludes of high, almost operatic, melodrama, of undeniable emotional power, and frankly baffling interludes of arch surrealism - just when you least expected it.

I think Peter Mullan was trying to invest your typical low key "slice of life" Loachian drama with something of the higher art of literary magic realism, and whether he completely succeeded I'm still undecided on. Several passages are either brilliant in their daring or completely misguided, as they clash so dramatically with the rest of the film. See it for yourself and make your own mind up. My initial reaction is to be generous and strive to understand what the director intended but the ending, in particular, is so bizarrely left field it had everyone in the cinema looking at each other with bemusement and scratching their heads on leaving.

However, this is still a magnificent work of cinema, with enough bravura sequences, of frequently shocking violence, and not a weak performance in the entire, mostly amateur cast (ala Loach) that I would beseech anyone who loves the artform to go see it. If you grew up and went to school in the 70s I guarantee you will spend most of the movie smiling and often laughing out loud at the rush of nostalgic incidents and real life humour while being stunned at the casual brutality and utterly compelling transformation of Connor McCarron, as John Magill (easily one of the great anti-heros in cinema), from nerdy swot, with his head forever stuck in a book, to glue-sniffing psychopath, boiling over with rage and resentment while convinced (in this case rightly) of his own superiority - Travis Bickle eat your heart out!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 11:52 am:   

Mullan is one of my personal favourites - both as an actor and a director. His directorial debut, "Orphans" blew me away. "The Magdelane Sisters" cemented the fact that he was a genuine taent behind the camera. I have high hopes for "Neds". I totally get what he's trying to do - infuse social realism with a kind of personal surrealism - and I like it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 12:01 pm:   

I'm sure you'll be impressed by the movie, Zed, and look forward to hearing what you think of the more puzzling elements.

I've seen all three and, so far, I'd rank it his second best after 'The Magdalene Sisters'... but it has the potential to be a real grower.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2011 - 04:15 pm:   

It's Clint Eastwood dabbling in the supernatural tonight, for the third time in his directorial career, with 'Hereafter'. Got mixed vibes about this one but you never known what to expect from Eastwood and his recent films have always been emotionally affecting, and frequently inspired. More anon...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2011 - 03:25 pm:   

1. 'Neds' by Peter Mullan
2. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
3. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
4. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

'Hereafter' is a well crafted and admirably restrained supernatural drama that treats the "big question" as an absorbing philosophical issue, rather than an excuse for cheap thrills, but that results in a rather earnest and plodding halfway house between spooky entertainment and new age wish-fulfillment fantasy. That's not to say the film isn't without moments of real emotional power (the opening sequence is a stunner) and the quiet intensity of the performances certainly can't be faulted (the first date scene between Matt Damon & Bryce Dallas Howard is an acting masterclass imo). But this is one movie for the already converted, who will come out purring with satisfaction, and that skeptics would be well advised to stay away from... unless they've brought a sick bag along. I enjoyed it, in a cosy wallow kind of way, but have come to expect much more incisive entertainment from this director. Btw I'm in the converted up to a point camp but have yet to see proof that "gifted" individuals, of the switch-on/switch-off variety, such as Matt Damon's character actually exist in the real world. As for the films other supernatural strands - the psychic bond between twins & the classic "After Death Experience" - I'm as sure they are real as I can be going by the overwhelming evidence available. So 2 out of 3 ain't bad, Clint...

Meanwhile, 'Neds' - or rather 'NEDS', as in "Non-Educated DelinquentS" - continues to grow in my estimation.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.197.81.130
Posted on Saturday, February 05, 2011 - 03:46 pm:   

1. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
2. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
3. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
4. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
5. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

For once believe the hype - 'The Fighter' is an absolute belter of a boxing movie that can take its place alongside the other greats of the genre - 'Million Dollar Baby', 'Raging Bull', 'Fat City', 'The Harder They Fall', 'The Set Up', 'Body And Soul' - and is paid a gross disservice by comparisons to the popcorn entertainment of 'Rocky'. Docudrama style attention to detail and an unglamorous, no-holds barred approach to the "white trash" lives presented, and miraculously brought to life by performances of a lifetime from Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams & Jack McGee, are the qualities that raise this otherwise predictable "underdog makes good" [true] story to the level of genuinely great cinema. Bale, in particular, has never been better and invests his crack addict former boxer (and local "almost legend") with equal shades of boyish charm, wild-eyed babbling idiocy, painful vulnerability and the monstrous selfishness of any addict. His character's life story of early promise frittered away through lack of discipline while threatening to drag his younger brother down the same path, through misguided loyalty, is a Shakespearean tragedy all of its own. Mark Wahlberg is all bottled up seething intensity, as he sees what his no-hoper leech of a brother, and dominating mother from hell (Melissa Leo in terrifying form), are doing to him but finding himself bound by blood to his own downfall, until... and therein lies the tale. I'm glad to say that (like 'NEDS') there is as much laugh-out-loud naturalistic humour as there is of the bleak and the inspirational to lighten the journey along the way. But any boxing picture must ultimately be ranked by its fight scenes and those here are as beautifully choreographed and punishing as anything you'll see in 'Raging Bull', while capturing the tawdry TV spectacle atmosphere - all false pomp, babes in bikinis and pounding musical introductions - of the modern carnival that this once proud sport has descended to. We're only into February and that's two masterpieces already of fly-on-the-wall low life drama to rank alongside the best achievements of Ken Loach, John Cassavetes or early Scorsese imo!

'NEDS' just shades it due to those very elements, I found so puzzling, that elevate the tragedy presented to the level of a personal artistic statement.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.144.35
Posted on Sunday, February 06, 2011 - 09:41 am:   

I saw a bit of one of the other of Bale's 'Skinny Trilogy' last night - The Machinist. It's very, very Hitchcockian, isn't it? Looked better than I expected.
I fancy that Clint film.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 92.41.186.85
Posted on Sunday, February 06, 2011 - 12:56 pm:   

I think you'd get a lot out of 'Hereafter', Tony. It's just about the only truly adult, unsensationalised exploration of the supernatural - as straight drama - I can remember seeing. I felt pulled two ways by the film - impressed by Eastwood's restrained treatment of the subject matter, and somewhat frustrated by the lack of tension this resulted in. Overall it's a fairly absorbing quality drama for those who can take its message.

Yeah, Bale is in full-on skinny fruitloop mode in 'The Fighter' but if he doesn't win the Best Actor Oscar for his performance I'll eat my hat! He was the best thing about 'The Machinist' imo. A film I was ultimately disappointed by, as a triumph of style over substance - his committment to the part deserved a better film imo, and he got it with 'The Fighter'.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 07, 2011 - 03:26 pm:   

I'm off to see 'The Big Sleep' (1946) on the big screen tonight!! Bogart, Bacall & Hawks in career best form. Nuff said...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 11:35 am:   

1. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
2. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
3. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
4. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
5. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

Turkey of the Year so far: 'Black Swan' by Darren Aronofsky

One of the most infuriatingly misjudged loads of pseudo-pretentious psycho-babble nonsense I have seen in years! A crassly obvious supernatural allegory of a fledgling ballerina's mental and physical struggle to become worthy of dancing the swan queen in 'Swan Lake'. Everything about the production is heavy-handed and trite while achieving heights of OTT melodramatic hubris that would be hilarious if they weren't so bloody straight-faced. The sheer arrogance of the film has to be experienced to be "appreciated". After watching this if I ever run into Darren Aronofsky I'm going to shove his head up his arse just to show him, for one moment, that it isn't pretty and it isn't clever, just damn uncomfortable to sit through!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.144.35
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 11:41 am:   

Hey! I can put The Big Sleep on my projector! Old black and white movies look GREAT on it. As good as cinema.

Black Swan bugged me, too. In 'lesser' hands it would have been a fun film, even a bit warmer perhaps. In the hands of someone more aware of how the genre works best it might have been more subtle and effective. As I said to you Stevie A Val Lewton would have worked wonders with it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 01:12 pm:   

That's the thing, Tony. The pseudo-allegorical supernatural elements were so "up front" and embarrassingly unsubtle (while thinking they were "oh so clever") that the film became intensely irritating for me, very quickly. Anyone who thinks this film deserves comparison to 'The Red Shoes' or 'Rosemary's Baby' (as I've heard supposedly rational film buffs declare!) needs their heads examined imo. It's all smoke and mirrors with no soul and nothing but incomprehensible pig-headed arrogance to proclaim for itself. A truly awful film imho!

Needless to say 'The Big Sleep' eclipses any of the new films mentioned on this thread so far... it was a wide-eyed, knee-hugging joy to experience on the big screen with an appreciative audience. Just wonderful cinema - glowing even!!
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.238.138
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 01:40 pm:   

I finally caught up with PI a couple of years ago and was astonished by how pretentious it was.

One clue that a film is bad is that people rave about it at the time, but it's soon forgotten about.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.144.35
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 01:45 pm:   

I do like The Fountain very much though, and I hope I'm not clouded by my views of Black Swan to let them harm my opinion of that one.
Hey Proto - long time!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:02 pm:   

I still know several people who rave about Pi, I've yet to watch it though. It's a definite on my got to buy list. In fact I might check out Amazon now
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:18 pm:   

Don't get me wrong... 'Requiem For A Dream' & 'The Wrestler' are two of my favourite movies of the modern era. It's just that Aronofsky gives a whole new meaning to the term "hit and miss". 'Pi' & 'The Fountain' were mind-numbingly boring exercises in mock mysticism, but the guy has reached all new heights of blinkered self-regard with 'Black Swan'. The film collapses under the sledgehammer weight of its own ridiculously simplistic premise imo.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:21 pm:   

Horses for courses again, isn't it? I loved both PI and THE FOUNTAIN.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:21 pm:   

I loved The Fountain...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:28 pm:   

Indeed, if we all agreed life would be as boring as an Aronofsky fantasy lol.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:32 pm:   

I didn't like Requiem for a Dream.
"Drugs are bad. Anything can be a drug."
Repeat for 102 minutes.

Sorry, Tony and Zed, The Fountain didn't do much for me; it just felt like one vast leaden symbol.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.144.35
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:35 pm:   

I just liked the atmosphere and the images. Storywise it was dull, but the rest was sort of lovely.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:47 pm:   

I don't mind that you didn't like it, Proto. I mean, I didn't direct it.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 02:56 pm:   

I've decided to go and see 'Never Let Me Go' tonight.

I know nothing about it other than its an intelligent adult sci-fi movie that's getting quietly strong reviews. Here's hoping...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 03:21 pm:   

Shit Zed, I thought you were aronofsky under an alias. Damnit! How could you lead us along like that? How long have you not been Aranofsky?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 04:22 pm:   

My Aronofsky tally so far is: Hated PI, loved REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, liked THE FOUNTAIN, and felt blandly if anything about THE WRESTLER.

Ah, yes, THE BIG SLEEP... it makes so much more, and less, sense since I finally got around to reading that novel....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 04:47 pm:   

I actually found myself following the plot quite comfortably while I was watching it. But when I tried to go over it afterward with my mate (it was his first time seeing it, the lucky sod!) I found myself getting tied up in knots lol. It's arguably the greatest film noir thriller ever made. Not a dull second or a single scene or shot or line or performance that isn't the very definition of perfection.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.52.226
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 05:14 pm:   

The Maltese Falcon is a bit dull, though, if we're being honest with ourselves? Good, we're agreed, as long as nobody types anything else.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.52.226
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 05:18 pm:   

God, don't I like anything?

SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC, which I just saw recently. Mostly for Jack Cardiff's photography and some of the quiet moments that would be cut out these days -- those who stayed behind watching Scott's team in silence as they walk away and dwindling to full stops, then disappearing.

What's funny is the re-writing of history of Scott as a hero rather than a bit of an idiot. That, and the arrogance of being part of an empire: on hearig that Amunsden has landed on the Antarctic continent they exclaim "He's got a bally cheek!")
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 05:58 pm:   

In fact I just ordered a twin pack of movies from Amazon - Pi and Requiem for a Dream - for 4.93 + £1.67 postage... (from the states!!!)

Excellent value!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 03:59 pm:   

Well I've seen my new Film of the Year so far:

1. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
2. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
3. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
4. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
5. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
6. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

Turkey of the Year: 'Black Swan' by Darren Aronofsky

I was aware of there being a thread about this film on here but haven't looked at it to avoid spoilers. I knew next to nothing about this film when scanning the listings for something to go and see yesterday, and almost passed the film over because of the nondescript title, but the lack of anything else worthwhile being on made me check a brief synopsis, and I was sufficiently intrigued to learn this was a serious adult sci-fi movie, by the director of 'One Hour Photo' (which I admired enough to take as recommendation of a distinctive talent at work), to risk checking the film out. Nothing could have prepared me for the sublime experience I had watching this absolutely gorgeous sci-fi allegory. The film channels the spirit of John Wyndham (especially ‘The Chrysalids’, ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ & ‘Chocky’) in a way I haven’t seen on film since the early 60s (‘Village Of The Damned’, ‘Children Of The Damned’ & Joseph Losey’s ‘The Damned’). The effect, given today’s over-reliance on special effects and full throttle action, is quite breathtaking and not a little miraculous imho. Beautifully crafted, finely nuanced and wondrously low-key this is one of those hypnotically gripping works of aching poignancy that washes over the viewer and draws one into the world and the lives presented as an enrapturing kind of dream on film. I hail this as another of those (all too rare) instant cult classics of unapologetically intelligent, slow moving, adult science fiction that easily holds its own against the likes of; ‘THX 1138’, ‘Silent Running’, ‘Gattaca’, ‘Cube’, ‘Last Night’, ‘Primer’, ‘Moon’, etc, and, in its own quiet way, is as impressive an achievement as; ‘Solaris’, ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘Inception’. The cast are uniformly excellent but Carey Mulligan & Andrew Garfield (as beguiling here as he was in ‘The Social Network’) give exceptional performances as the two lost souls at the centre of this nightmare vision of a soulless future. I’m going to say nothing more about the plot because the less you know the better when watching this magical piece of cinema. If you’re a fan of intelligent sci-fi at all DO NOT MISS IT!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 04:15 pm:   

Don't you just hate it when you can't tell if he liked it or not...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 04:19 pm:   

I loved it, absolutely mesmerising, and about as far removed from the ridiculous histrionics of 'Black Swan' as it is possible to imagine!
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 147.252.230.148
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 04:47 pm:   

David O Russell coaxing performances from his cast. It's a beautiful thing to see actor and director so sympathico that they almost become one person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4Qls1rAfYs
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 08:04 pm:   

The last time he acted like this, George Clooney decked him for 'mistreating' the crew.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 10:46 am:   

Well he got astonishing performances from the cast of 'The Fighter'.
It's my tip to sweep up the acting awards at the Oscars (that's if there's any justice).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 04:25 pm:   

Just to let everyone know I got my Phoenix Gas heating installed and switched on Tuesday night. Represents a phenomenal change in my living standards from that bloody useless Economy 7 (ha!) system!! Seeing those heaters getting ripped out was one of the most joyous sights I can recall.

Getting the flat recarpeted and repainted and new skirting boards put in at the weekend and then I can sort all my stuff back into proper order again. The last 6 weeks aftermath of the Christmas flooding disaster has been grim but worth it in the end. I would hesitate to describe it as a blessing in disguise though...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 12:18 am:   

This is a bit weird... I just watched, for the first time, the brilliant 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' episode "The Black Swan" from Season 7 - a hilarious spoof of Highsmithian murder and suspense about the inadvertent bludgeoning to death by golf club of a Japanese businessman's pet black swan, and subsequent guilt-ridden attempts to hide the crime.

I couldn't help wondering what the odds were of watching this 3 days after wanting to bludgeon another 'Black Swan' to death myself. That would be unlikely enough but as the episode builds to the priceless punchline "Why did I order turkey?" I think we're now in the realms of 'The Twilight Zone'. From the ridiculous to the sublime... Darren Aronofsky take note!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

Oh well, I'm going to see Black Swan tomorrow night. I'll let you know what I think. Might watch the Wrestler tonight as well. I'f I'm lucky and the gf is feeling better, I'll be going to see never let me go on Sunday as well.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 11:56 am:   

'The Wrestler' is brilliant!
'Black Swan' is infuriating!
'Never Let Me Go' is sublime!

All imho. I look forward to hearing what you think, Weber.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 12:04 pm:   

Just noticed that the QFT are putting on random screenings of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 'Cure' (1997) & Takashi Miike's 'The Bird People In China' (1998) next Mon & Tue. I haven't seen either before and the chance to watch the work of these two modern masters of Japanese extreme cinema on the big screen is not to be missed!

Anyone know these films?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 03:54 pm:   

CURE is brilliant.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 - 04:00 pm:   

If it's anything like as good as 'Pulse' I know I'm in for one hell of a treat!

'Bird People' sounds intriguing too. Like a cross between one of Miike's yakuza thrillers & a 'Lost World'/'She' type jungle exploration/adventure!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 03:28 pm:   

For me, Pulse is Kiyoshi Kurosawa's best film - indeed, it's one of the best horror films I've ever seen in my life. Cure is brilliant, though - and I use that word wisely. The man's films stay with me more than any other horror films I can think of: a certain mood, a tone. I find them genuinely terrifying. I have Seance on DVD, but I've ben saving it...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 03:29 pm:   

been
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 03:29 pm:   

Miike's hit and miss. I'm a long-time fan, but some of his stuff seems rushed and flat. When he's good, though he's amazing.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 03:37 pm:   

'Pulse' is the only Kiyoshi Kurosawa film I've seen but it blew me away, as I've went on about at length elsewhere on here. An insanely original mix of Asian ghost story and high concept apocalyptic sci-fi that - on paper - sounds like it shouldn't ever have worked but that he had the genius of vision to turn into one of the greatest genre movies of the new millennium so far. It's easily in my Top 10.

I'm very excited about seeing 'Cure' on the big screen now!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 04:13 pm:   

If you look back at some of the historical stuff on this forum, there's loads of stuff about these films...I remember Huw turning me onto the Asian scene years ago, and we dedicated thread upon thread talking about them.

Ah, those halycon days...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.23.87.170
Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 10:33 am:   

Alas, I watched Pulse (which Zed lent me) when I was stoned. I need to watch it again clearheaded. But I recall being frightened.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 12:10 pm:   

It was Film4 (back when it was a cutting edge channel you had to pay for) that turned me onto Asian horror cinema. The best ones I've seen would be; 'Pulse', 'Dark Water', 'Ringu' (and sequels), 'Ju-On : The Grudge' (and its sequel), 'Freezer', 'A Tale Of Two Sisters', 'Audition', 'The Host', 'Whispering Corridors', 'Ichi The Killer', 'The Eye' (and sequels) & 'Acacia' in roughly that order. No doubt there are other great ones I've forgotten or have yet to see. Asia is where horror cinema has been at over the last fifteen years or so - just as Italy reigned from the 60s-80s imo.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 12:43 pm:   

Actually, I'd argue that over the past 4 or 5 years Spain, and then France, have taken the mantle from Asia...but I agree with your general point.

Asian horror cinema has eaten itself; it's all the same iconography. Spain and France briefly nipped in to make their own mark, and now there's a bit of a void waiting to be filled, IMHO.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.17.254.215
Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 - 01:01 pm:   

Yeah, you're probably right. The Asian boom has sort of spent itself over the last few years. Let's say there was a golden decade from the late 90s - late 00s. French & Spanish horror cinema hasn't really got the same sense of cohesion or originality of vision for me (compared to Italian or Asian horror at their peak) but is more piecemeal, lit up by occasional masterworks.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 - 10:10 am:   

Well due to a faulty ticket machine I ended up with a pair of tickets for The Mechanic instead of Black Swan.

It's got Jason Statham in it. That's pretty much all you need to know. Lots of loud crashes, bangs, gunfights and explosions. Fun in it's own way I suppose but entirely predictable.

After that though I spotted that Black swan had a lte night showing and my mate agreed to go see it anyway.

I bloody loved it. Sumptious photography, a powerhouse performance from Natalie Portman and it made a jaded cynic like me see the power that can be inherent in good ballet.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 - 10:13 am:   

GF was ill on Sunday so I've not seen Never Let Me Go yet. I took advantage of the evening in to watch the Wrestler. It has to be said that the Wrestler and Black swan are definitely companion pieces, both exploring extremely similar themes.

Oh and aranofsky really likes following his actors down corridors with hand held cameras.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 - 12:08 pm:   

If you want to see the power of great ballet watch 'The Red Shoes', Weber!

I've been thinking about Aronofsky's variability (for me) as a director and reckon he does real life at its most extreme brilliantly ('Requiem For A Dream' & 'The Wrestler') but when he turns his hand to fantasy he loses the plot in insufferably pretentious pseudo-intellectual mysticism at its most asinine ('Pi', 'The Fountain' & 'Black Swan'). The man has bags of talent but no understanding of subtlety or "less is more". Glad you liked the film, Weber, and you're not alone (Mark Kermode even loved it!) but for me it was hysterical OTT nonsense!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 10:53 am:   

What do people think of Aranofsky directing the new Wolverine film - script by Frank Miller?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 11:17 am:   

Saw 'Cure' (1997) last night and was blown away again by Kiyoshi Kurosawa's mastery of vision and almost Kubrickesque compositional sense. A beautifully made, hypnotically slow moving, fearlessly intellectual and insidiously chilling serial killer horror with a difference - the killer doesn't actually commit the murders.

We're in the realm of Svengali & the Manson murders in this picture, with a charismatic outsider who is able to talk people into apparently motiveless killings, perhaps as some kind of warped psychological experiment or as part of an 'Aum Shinrikyo' type cult operating from the shadows. There are subtle hints of the supernatural as well (Darren Aronofsky could learn a lot from this film) that leave the tantalising possibility this enigmatic "madman" could be a vengeful spirit given corporeal form or an over-zealous student who left himself open to demonic possession (ala 'Legion'). So that's four readings off the top of my head and no easy answers - not bad!

The joy of this film is the completely enthralling nature of the mystery, and the investigating hard-nosed police detective's increasingly unhealthy obsession with the case (clearly inspired by 'Seven' (1995) but by no means slavishly aping it) while our fear for him and what he may discover, the deeper he gets, is what drives the perfectly paced slow-burning suspense (compare with 'Angel Heart' (1987)).

But what I really loved was how Kurosawa left the ambiguities hanging for us to try and unravel ourselves. The final scene is a masterclass in how to confound the expectations of an audience while opening up whole new vistas of possibility, before ruthlessly pulling the plug! 'Pulse' had all the same strengths but stretched over a far wider canvas. This guy is the business as far as intelligent and truly unsettling psychological horror goes. Wonderful, baffling and worthy of endless debate... this is a true modern masterpiece imo. Must get the DVD and anything else by this director - essential doesn't begin to describe it!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 12:39 pm:   

Told you.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 12:41 pm:   

Yes but how did you read the ending, Zed?!

I'm leaning toward a supernatural explanation the more I think about it...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 12:47 pm:   

I thought you were joking about Aronofsky doing Wolverine, Weber, but it's bloody true!!

I literally can't think of a more bizarre combination than DA directing a superhero franchise picture. He'll either fall flat on his face, disappointing all the fans with an artsy fartsy deconstruction of the genre, or this will be the film with which he reinvents himself i.e. sells out lol. Truly bewildering news imo.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 02:04 pm:   

According to IMDB after Wolverine he's doing Machine Man which sounds like an Iron Man type superhero...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 03:51 pm:   

Then again I suppose a guy who can comfortably portray 'Swan Lake' as about a woman who physically transforms into a swan would find a superhero movie more his level of artistic intent! Stick to real life, Darren, cos as a fantasist you're a dead loss imho.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 05:43 pm:   

Wasn't the physical transformation in the film just a symptom of her madness?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 05:53 pm:   

Swan Lake (Russian: Ëåáåäèíîå îçåðî, Lebedinoje ozero) is a ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales.[1] It tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger. The ballet received its premiere on February 20, 1877,[2][3] at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as The Lake of the Swans. Although it is presented in many different versions, most ballet companies base their stagings both choreographically and musically on the 1895 revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, first staged for the Imperial Ballet on January 15, 1895, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. For this revival, Tchaikovsky's score was revised[clarification needed] by the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatre's chief conductor and composer Riccardo Drigo.


It appears that the ballet Swan Lake IS about a woman who was physically turned into a swan... DA has merely taken that idea and run with it, incorporating it into the madness of the central character.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 10:27 am:   

I found the transformation scenes, even if only imagined, to be too literal and not a little ridiculous, while that ending!! Have you ever seen anything more arrogant on a cinema screen, I know I haven't. As I sat watching the big "climax" go more and more over-the-top, a terrible suspicion started to creep over me - "No, he couldn't, he isn't, tell me he isn't going to do it..." and boy did he!

I think Natalie Portman's hysterical performance has been over-praised and the ballet sequences were made to appear heavy-handed and clunking, rather than flowing or beautiful. This may have been intentional, to show the punishing nature of the acrobatics required, but alienated me still more from the action. I found it an ugly picture devoid of soul and filled with its own infuriating self-importance.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 10:36 am:   

I'm looking forward to it - I think John Probert called it the film Argento would make if he had a big budget and talent. Sounds worth a watch to me...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 11:24 am:   

Have you noticed, the more anyone says to praise Black Swan, the more effusive Stevie becomes in his stated hatred of it...

Black swan is without doubt my film of the year. It is fantastic, beautiful to look at, thought provoking and brilliantly performed by all concerned...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 11:54 am:   

Stevie- I finally watched Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Seance" last night.

What a brilliant, overtly supernatural adaptation of "Seance on a Wet Afternoon". Sad, creepy, beautifully made and acted. Seek it out...
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Lincoln (Lincoln_brown)
Username: Lincoln_brown

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 124.181.161.205
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 11:57 am:   

I agree with Weber - great film. Zed, I think it will be right up your alley.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.167.89
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 12:24 pm:   

Glad you liked Seance, Zed. It has some really good moments... as you say: sad, creepy and beautifully made.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 01:04 pm:   

I think 'Black Swan' is one of those films that completely divides people. You either love it or hate it with no in-between. I overheard a respectable looking middle-aged couple quietly discussing it as I was leaving the cinema.

She: "That was just beautiful..." <sigh>

He: "Fuck, I need a pint after that - what a load of..." <inaudible>

I felt like joining him!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 04:39 pm:   

I adore the original version of 'Seance On A Wet Afternoon'. One of a trilogy of roles that made Richard Attenborough one of my favourite actors, and he is surpassed in it by Kim Stanley - an astonishing performance!

'Seance' will have to go some to even approach that quality but if anyone in the modern business could pull it off it's Kiyoshi Kurosawa.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 05:07 pm:   

Not a fan of either version of SEANCE, frankly, but was a gigantic fan of Kurosawa's CURE - one of the most unsettling horror movies of the last 25 years....
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 05:13 pm:   

Hey Stevie, now BLACK SWAN is contributing to people killing each other! http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2011/02/21/2011-02-21_moviegoer_killed_in_ screening_of_black_swan_over_popcorn_argument.html
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 05:57 pm:   

I love the way one of the comments tries to turn this into an attack on Obama's health care plans...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 10:25 am:   

Craig, I did say it was infuriating... but that's ridiculous!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 11:08 am:   

'Cure' is a brilliant movie and has haunted me all week. Still trying to fathom out the meaning of that ending. I'm going for the demonic possession theory for now... it could explain Mamiya's periods of confusion and memory loss (when the demon relaxes control) and his uncanny power over people and apparent mind-reading ability when in his lucid state (when the demon takes over). Then again the whole thing is open to a completely non-supernatural reading as well. It straddles the line between an outside force of satanic evil and a case of charismatic insanity (I'm reminded again of Nicholas Stavrogin) to ambiguous perfection. Yes, one of the great horror films of modern times!
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.33.242.34
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 12:51 pm:   

I'm looking forward to it - I think John Probert called it the film Argento would make if he had a big budget and talent. Sounds worth a watch to me...

Definitely. Black Swan also has touches of Cronenberg about it too. It's definitely worth watching and may well also be the best horror film that comes out this year - the more I think about it the more I love it, in all its mad, passionate, daft, hugely creative, intense art-house horror glory. There should be more modern movies like it
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 12:45 pm:   

Darren's off the hook...

My New Turkey of the Year: 'The Rite' by Mikael Håfström

I should have known better after seeing the trailer a while back but Sunday boredom, the wish to watch something not too challenging, memories of enjoying the director's '1408' and the presence of Anthony Hopkins & Rutger Hauer (yay!) swung me toward giving this obvious looking satanic crowd pleaser a chance. It's just dreadful... a Cert 15 Exorcist-lite po-faced religious tract with horror movie dressing but a marked lack of fire and brimstone in its belly. I'm convinced this cosy propaganda piece, in which nothing too nasty occurs & the power of the one true faith is never in doubt, must have been financed by the Catholic Church to try and woo the easily spooked back into their congregations. I could easily see this one boxed alongside 'The Passion Of The Christ' with the official Vatican seal of approval proudly displayed! The "inspirational" script is predictable to the point of insulting the intelligence, the acting ranges from the soul sappingly wooden (Colin O'Donoghue) to clearly taking the piss (Hopkins) and, most fatally, the big exorcism set pieces (i.e. the supposedly scary bits) are about as disturbing as watching paint dry. Everything about the film feels neutered and designed not to upset the audience too much which had me craving the splattery excess of even the most OTT 'Exorcist' cash-ins of the 70s like a promise of manna from heaven! A "horror movie" for non-horror fan religious believers only. For all here, if you value your soul - STAY WELL CLEAR!!!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 01:01 pm:   

Whereas True Grit is bloody excellent!!!

Finally a remake that matches and possibly surpasses an excellent original!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 01:06 pm:   

Finally getting to see it on Tuesday night, Weber!

Against my "pointless remake" instincts I'm getting very good vibes about it. The clips I've seen look great and I was never a big fan of the original. I've heard it wasn't a faithful adaptation of the classic novel, while this one apparently is... here's hoping.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 - 03:53 pm:   

As for tonight, I'm off to see 'Animal Kingdom'. A gritty and violent low-life gangster thriller from Australia starring Guy Pearce.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - 08:49 am:   

I liked the Coens' True Grit, but I think its individuality has been exaggerated. Several substantial dialogue scenes are virtually word for word the same as in the Hathaway version. The difference seems to be that in the Coen film the actors speak it in a way that underlines the idiosyncrasies, whereas in the first version they speak it more as the characters would - that's to say, as if it comes naturally to them. I'm also a little bemused by the references to The Night of the Hunter - does the film manage these and fidelity to the novel as well?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - 10:33 am:   

Looking forward to it tonight, Ramsey. The Hathaway version was never one of my favourite John Wayne vehicles (and I am a fan) as he was playing no more than a caricature of his perceived persona, while I found Kim Darby irritatingly stilted as the heroine & Glen Campbell just embarrassing. The villains were good value though... I'm hoping the acting is more rounded in this version, as it is a great story.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - 11:26 am:   

Two months in and this is how things stand:

1. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
2. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
3. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
4. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
5. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
6. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
7. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

Turkey of the Year: 'The Rite' by Mikael Håfström

Also ran: 'Black Swan' by Darren Aronofsky

'Animal Kingdom' is one of those down-and-dirty low-life crime thrillers, filled with ugly people doing terrible things to each other, that the Australian film industry does so well. The story is a stripped down retread of 'Goodfellas' for the Melbourne mafia and has the same bruising quality as 'Chopper', 'The Boys' or 'Romper Stomper' - if you enjoyed those films you'll get a lot out of this one. I enjoyed it and the film is pulsatingly well acted and very brutal but there is nothing new, or that we haven't seen done better before, in this sordid tale of a green-as-grass teenager's induction into his scumbag family's criminal "empire". This is a crime clan so passionate about blood loyalty that when one of their own is ruthlessly gunned down by the police they take it as a matter of honour that they have to set up and cold bloodedly murder two beat cops as payback, thus precipitating a final spiral of tit-for-tat violence and paranoia which drives the movie along. Guy Pearce is as good value as ever as a lone voice conscientious police detective determined to bring them down by the book and spotting his chance in the weak link of James Frecheville's convincingly clueless narrator hero. But the film belongs entirely to one towering performance of flesh crawling evil by Jacki Weaver as the psychotically protective matriarch of the family. Her cold lizard-like stare behind the fake chirpiness of her doting grandmother routine is spine shivering to behold. And her touchy feely kissing and hugging of "her boys" had me squirming with discomfort - a tour-de-force characterisation imo and the best reason for watching the film. In the end it's a very good crime thriller/family drama that falls just short of being great due to a certain over familiarity and roughness around the edges. Well worth looking out for though and a "must watch" for fans of grim and gritty Australian cinema at its most refreshingly bleak.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 01:00 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
6. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
7. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
8. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

They pulled it off!! The Coen's remake of 'True Grit' has to be one of the greatest, most gloriously entertaining old school westerns made in the last few decades (probably since ‘Unforgiven’) and is superior in every way to the original. The 1969 John Wayne "classic" was always an entertaining but heavily flawed star vehicle designed solely to win him an Oscar. I never particularly liked it, apart from a fine cast of villains and a few memorable set pieces. This version, however, is just about as perfect a western as you could hope for with everything about the production oozing pure class - from their trademark directorial flair to the gorgeous cinematography and stirringly retro music to the flawless period detail (I loved the way all the characters spoke with old fashioned clipped precision) and uniformly great performances, with even Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon & Josh Brolin never once reminding me of themselves - they became so immersed in the roles. The fact that young newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, as Mattie Ross, more than holds her own with them and brings us round to care about her character, in what is a pretty unsympathetic role, is testament to her natural acting ability (far superior to Kim Darby’s) and the casting nous of the filmmakers. Bridges makes Rooster Cogburn a believable old rogue, unsentimental, ruthless and unforgiving but a man of unbending honour and loyalty, Damon is brilliantly sympathetic and oddly touching as the naïve but upright Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf, and the villains (particularly Brolin & Barry Pepper) are as ugly a bunch of cutthroats as I’ve seen in any western but with a code of honour, and grudging respect for their dogged foes, that makes them convincingly human rather than the caricatured bad guys of old. Nothing about the dialogue, pacing, leisurely character development or action set pieces can be faulted and the ending has to be one of the most emotionally stirring in years. Yep, this is that rarest of all beasts, a genuinely brilliant remake that completely batters into submission the supposedly unassailable iconic original. In that respect it has to be seen as one of the Coen’s greatest achievements to date and is certainly one of their most thoroughly entertaining films! My new Film of the Year!!
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 03:26 pm:   

I wonder which caricatured bad guys of old you mean, Stevie? I don't recall many in Boetticher or Anthony Mann, say.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.134.154
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 03:32 pm:   

Stevie - if I remember right the original was loved but always considered imperfect, like many other loved works. The heart of it was unnassailable, I'd say, more than the structure or whatever.
I actually even thought the villains in the original were quite rounded! (I just saw it last year).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 05:01 pm:   

I just thought that, for the relatively short screen time they had, the villains were far more rounded and believable than the kind of bloodthirsty psychopathic killers and rapists we became used to in late 60s & 70s westerns - which this film had the look of, while having more the feel of an old school 50s western (if that makes sense?). They came across more as devil-may-care desperadoes, on the run and doing what they had to do to survive.

Say no more about Anthony Mann, Ramsey, the guy reinvented and revitalised the western in the 50s and is one of my all-time fav directors!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 05:41 pm:   

I did greatly enjoy it, Stevie, but I felt it somehow ultimately not quite totally satisfying. I'm not sure how to put my finger on it, but the ending felt anti-climactic, which seems to be a hallmark of the Coen movies of late. And as for "the last few decades," I'm not so sure - it's a bigger more ostentatious show, but I found the remake of 3:10 TO YUMA alone, a fine film all around (equally as fine in every way as this remake of TRUE GRIT).

Here's how I'd rate the last four Coen brothers films, in order of greatness: 1) BURN AFTER READING, 2) A SERIOUS MAN, 3) TRUE GRIT, 4) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.197.18.16
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 06:09 pm:   

'No Country For Old Men' is their masterpiece and my favourite movie of the last decade. 'True Grit' isn't far behind it but I didn't like 'Burn After Reading' at all - and wish they would stop making these half-assed silly comedies. I've yet to see 'A Serious Man' but hear great things about it.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 06:27 pm:   

"Barton Fink" is their best film for me. It's genius.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 06:39 pm:   

I guess there's just no accounting for taste, is there, Stevie?

I'd have said "your taste," but I didn't want to be rude.

I didn't really like BARTON FINK when I saw it, but I've not seen it since, and really should re-watch it. Re-watching MLLER'S CROSSING however diminished it, though THE BIG LEBOWSKI did get better on a second viewing. I really disliked THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE. No, I'd have to go with the general consensus on this one - FARGO remains their masterpiece.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 94.197.18.16
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 07:49 pm:   

Ramsey has got me thinking about western villains. The genre was founded on the old battle between good and evil - with the fine upstanding hero in white and the merciless villain in black. For me 'Shane' was the crowning achievement of this tradition in Hollywood while it was brought to levels of operatic splendour by Sergio Leone in the Dollars Trilogy and the greatest western ever made 'Once Upon A Time In The West'.

But running alongside that old-fashioned morality play was a richer vein of morally ambiguous western that was, for me, kick-started by Howard Hawks masterpiece 'Red River' and led to a 20 year golden era of thematically rich and psychologically complex western epics that elevated the genre to an artform almost literary in its scope.

Here are my Top 10 “good and evil” westerns:

1. ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ (1968) by Sergio Leone
2. ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ (1966) by Sergio Leone
3. ‘Shane’ (1953) by George Stevens
4. ‘My Darling Clementine’ (1946) by John Ford
5. ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960) by John Sturges
6. ‘For A Few Dollars More’ (1965) by Sergio Leone
7. ‘Dodge City’ (1939) by Michael Curtiz
8. ‘Stagecoach’ (1939) by John Ford
9. ‘Gunfight At The OK Corral’ (1957) by John Sturges
10. ‘A Fistful Of Dollars’ (1964) by Sergio Leone


And my Top 10 “morally ambiguous” westerns:

1. ‘The Wild Bunch’ (1969) by Sam Peckinpah
2. ‘Red River’ (1948) by Howard Hawks
3. ‘The Searchers’ (1956) by John Ford
4. ‘Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid’ (1973) by Sam Peckinpah
5. ‘The Man From Laramie’ (1955) by Anthony Mann
6. ‘The Gunfighter’ (1950) by Henry King
7. ‘The Naked Spur’ (1953) by Anthony Mann
8. ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (1962) by John Ford
9. ‘Ride The High Country’ (1962) by Sam Peckinpah
10. ‘Unforgiven’ (1992) by Clint Eastwood

For me the Coen's 'True Grit' just misses out on the second Top 10 list and is easily the finest western of the new millennium so far...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.134.154
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 07:53 pm:   

Do you like Rio Bravo, Stevie? My youngest sat glued to it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 07:53 pm:   

Great lists! I now can sift through the gigantic amounts of westerns to the best! Thanks for that, Stevie.

And I don't know where it would go, probably under a comedy one, but surely DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939) belongs somewhere up there....
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.252.101
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 08:14 pm:   

You're list-crazy, you are, Stevieboy.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 08:40 pm:   

Stevie Lister - is there no room on that second list for McCabe & Mrs. Miller?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 09:03 pm:   

You're damn right, Zed!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 10:17 pm:   

'tis a good un, is it not?

Surely the muddiest western of all time.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 10:27 pm:   

Heaven's Gate is pretty muddy too, it's all over the camera at some points in the film (:

I think if Heaven's Gate had been made today it might have fared much better. Then again, it did sink entire movie studio.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 92.41.11.95
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 11:25 pm:   

'Rio Bravo' is another one of the great "good and evil" westerns, Tony, but I actually prefer Hawks' own remake 'El Dorado'.

Can you believe I've never seen 'McCabe And Mrs Miller'(!!), while 'Heaven's Gate' is an undeniably impressive epic western but an often incomprehensible mess at the same time.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 - 11:44 pm:   

Stevie - you HAVE TO see McCABE AND MRS. MILLER! You simply HAVE TO!!!

(this is my day for exhortations)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 11:21 am:   

I haven't seen the remake of '3:10 To Yuma' either, Craig, although the 1957 original is one of the finest "morally ambiguous" westerns of its era imo. Did the remake keep that ambiguity?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

You know what... I think there may have been more genuinely GREAT works of cinema made in the western genre than any other. More than horror, more than sci-fi, more than fantasy, more than suspense, more than war, more even than gangster movies (probably second). Not bad for such a seemingly limited time and space. Perhaps it was the freshness of The West being the last genuinely new frontier to be conquered that made its story synonymous with the first century of cinema - the sense of exploration, taming the wilderness, the "do anything" struggle to survive, the long slog to impose law and order, and the rise of technology, big business and the inevitable corruption that followed. The genre has everything that reveals the human spirit at its most naked. Hooray for the Western!!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 03:38 pm:   

I really liked the remake of 3:10 TO YUMA, Stevie - it's got a "bigger" feel to it, so it doesn't feel quite so intimate or gritty as these others perhaps - but yes I'd say it's ambiguous, and extremely suspenseful throughout. Quite a good film!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.154.200
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 03:59 pm:   

The 3:10 TO YUMA remake is fine, although they did change the ending from the original. HEAVEN'S GATE was pretty good in its later, longer version, but not too good in its original edit.
Has anyone mentioned Anthony Mann's MAN OF THE WEST yet? That's a good'un.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.143.134.154
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 04:11 pm:   

I loved Heaven's Gate!
Stevie - as you know, we projected The Good, the Bad and the Ugly last night here at Lovell Hovels and it was fantastic! Young Tris is now a huge Clint worshipper, seemed to fall in love with him at first gunshot.
It's a fantastic film. Almost post-apocalyptic. Good and Ugly feel like they're floating above events in a way that makes the world feel transitory, history only relevant to those who have to take part in it. Amazing. I'm going to have to buy the other two Man with no names now.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011 - 04:27 pm:   

Here's a little-known western I've been long wanting to see, supposed to be pretty good - and staring the always amazing Sterling Hayden: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050547/
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2011 - 12:30 pm:   

I'm off to the cinema tonight and finding it difficult to choose.

Anyone seen or heard any reports on this new Philip K. Dick adaptation 'The Adjustment Bureau'? It's getting reasonably good reviews for a first time director (George Nolfi) and Matt Damon does have a knack for making wise film choices but I've had too many bad experiences with naff Dick adaptations down the years to be sure. The short story, 'Adjustment Team' (1954), is one of my favourites - ingenious premise.

The only other possibilities are 'Ironclad' or 'Unknown'.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 08, 2011 - 04:47 pm:   

Feck it... I like the sound of 'Ironclad' better and what a bloody cast!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 04:57 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
6. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
7. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
8. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
9. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

Ended up seeing nothing last week but caught the Farrelly Bros latest comedy at the weekend - and it's their funniest film in years. I've always been a big fan of their work and consider 'Kingpin' & 'Dumb And Dumber' two of the most hilarious comedies ever made. I would go so far as to say that their flair for broad visual and character based cinematic comedy, always laced with genuine emotion behind the crudities, is unrivalled in recent years and makes them the closest thing to a modern day Preston Sturges. 'Hall Pass' is an achingly hilarious and honest must watch for all male late 30/40 somethings who haven't realised the busty young babes they ogle and attempt to chat up now think of them as sad old men. Basically five dorks (Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Stephen Merchant, Larry Joe Campbell & J.B. Smoove [the marvellous Leon from 'Curb']) are allowed a week off marriage by their wives (which cuts both ways, though they're too dim to realise it) and embark on a painful voyage of discovery as they attempt to recapture their "rampant babe magnets" youth... I found it side-splitting and irresistibly poignant with several of the directors' trademark eye-popping set pieces of the "did I really just see what I thought I saw" variety! If you want a good laugh at yourself, guys, go see this movie.
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 217.39.88.52
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 08:25 pm:   

Heads up Stevie!!!!! Book your ticket now.

http://www.waterfront.co.uk/whatson/performancedetails.aspx?id=40893
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 217.39.88.52
Posted on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 08:29 pm:   

Belfast has bagged the European premiere of the HPLHS adaptation of 'The Whisperer in Darkness'. One of the creepiest Lovecraft tales imo.
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Giancarlo (Giancarlo)
Username: Giancarlo

Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 85.116.228.5
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 09:42 am:   

CENTURION from last year is coming out in Italy in DVD form. It had no theatrical performance, despite its being a cool one, according to general criticism. Now, in 2011, THE EAGLE, a new Roman legionnaires yarn, is out and mostly well accepted. As a semi-twin to CENTURION, I am sure it won't be regularly screened either. I suppose it's a matter of favouring US and Italian movies distribution. They are even adding one euro to movie tickets in order to help Italian movie industry. I resent this. Italian cinema is lost in soft comedic stories, downright boorish farce, twisted love tangles and the occasional political j'accuse and mafia tales. Where the Horror? Where the Thriller? Where the Noir? Where the Adventurous? Where the Sci-Fi? It's not even a matter of cost as proved by many low budget cult movies from all over the world. Italian producers are genre-phobic so the choice is flattened over the usual themes, albeit well acted and directed (but Italian movie directors are so monothematic!) And, last but not least, why is Asian cinematography practically banned?
I want Mario Bava back! I want Sergio Leone back!
I want all my extra euros back! Why should I help them prevent me from seeing what I really want to see?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 10:25 am:   

I so agree, Giancarlo! The death of genre cinema in Italy (the horrors, the spaghetti westerns, the poliziotteschi) since the glory days of the 60s-80s is one of the greatest sources of grief for me in the state of modern world cinema.

Hey, that's stunning news, Sean. I'm definitely up for that!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 11:18 am:   

2½ months in and the first Top 10 of 2011 is complete:

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
6. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
7. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
8. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
9. 'Brighton Rock' by Rowan Joffe
10. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir

Saw the new version of Graham Greene's 'Brighton Rock' last night and it's no more than a decent adaptation that pales beside the classic Boulting Bros version of 1947. There was some marvellous acting mixed with some bad miscasting and the tone was rather too ploddingly reverent of the source material which sapped much of the suspense from the story. So yet another one of those worthy but insipid British literary adaptations. But I did enjoy it as a solid reminder of how timelessly great the novel is, while comparing the casting with that of the original was great fun, so, on the whole, a good night out at the movies.

As I love the novel and all the characters like few other books here's a breakdown of how I thought the main cast did:

Sam Riley as Pinkie had all the doomed intensity of the character but lacked the menace that made Richard Attenborough's portrayal so unforgettable.

Andrea Riseborough was astonishingly good and utterly convincing as poor misguided lovestruck Rose - the picture is worth watching for her painful growth from girl to woman on its own.

Helen Mirren was good value, as ever, as Ida but rather too sophisticated and sexual for the role, which smacked of "hey this is Helen Mirren, so let's make Ida sexy" when what she was in the book was as common as fish 'n' chips - and all the more wonderful for it.

Nonso Anozie, despite all his best efforts, was badly miscast as Dallow and lacked the presence that William Hartnell brought to the part in the original.

Philip Davis was brilliant as Spicer and completely compelling in his shift from menacing wiseguy to terrified wretch.

John Hurt was given little to do and did it adequately as Phil Corkery, one of the most sympathetic characters in the book.

Andy Serkis was ridiculously camp and woefully miscast as Mr Colleoni, one couldn't imagine anyone following this idiot, let alone a cutthroat mob of gangsters.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 04:27 pm:   

What I'm trying to say, faithful readers, is forget about the movies and read the book first.

It is one of the great literary masterpieces of the 20th Century. End of blurb.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 - 12:48 pm:   

Going to see what sounds like a cracking psychological thriller from Japan tonight - 'Confessions' by Tetsuya Nakashima.

Anyone seen it?
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.200.89
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 - 04:27 pm:   

Yes - I thought it was very disappointing. Technically it's not bad at all, but otherwise I found it shallow, artificial and hysterical in places. I sensed that it was straining very hard to be cool and edgy in the vein of Battle Royale, but ultimately it was all a bit silly, like a mediocre comic-book adaptation. I think it's the most overrated film I've seen in quite some time. But then, I was expecting a film that took its subject matter more seriously.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 - 05:33 pm:   

I'll let you know what I think of it, Huw. The premise certainly sounds intriguing and you're the first person I've heard give it a bad review.

But I know well enough that Asian cinema doesn't always equal good cinema - despite what the hype would have us believe half the time.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.200.89
Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 - 06:39 pm:   

Everyone else seems to like it, Stevie, but I was really disappointed. I'd been expecting a (as you put it) 'cracking psychological thriller', so perhaps it was partly the style of the film that bothered me. It did seem to me to be very much a case of lots of style and very little substance. I've been a fan of Asian cinema for a long time (I've been doing my best to introduce as many people as I can to films like Kwaidan, Onibaba, Ugetsu and so on since long before 'J-Horror' became the in-thing in the late 1990s) but, ultimately, I like good cinema and dislike bad cinema, and this film did very little for me. Perhaps my own expectations are to blame - I was expecting something serious, dramatic, insightful, powerful... and I just didn't get that from Kokuhaku, personally. But then again, I was one of the few who saw nothing special in Suicide Circle several years ago. I do think a director with more talent for drama and character could have made a much better film from the source material.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 01:11 pm:   

My Top 10 list stays the same as Huw was dead right!

Trying to follow Tetsuya Nakashima's 'Confessions' was like being forced to sit through a 2 hour non-stop pop video of the most irritatingly bombastic kind. After ten minutes I wondered was the whole film going to be like this, half-way through I couldn't hold in an "Oh God..." moan of despair and by the three quarter mark a dull ache had set in at the back of my head. Nothing but flashy in-your-face OTT visuals, slowed down, speeded up, all over the shop, with certain "key" scenes repeated endlessly, and an overbearing pop soundtrack from first second to last, added to some of the most intensely annoying overacting I ever had to suffer through. By the end if one more person in the cast had screamed or wept or shouted at the top of their lungs I'd have joined in and been dragged from the place a babbling wretch. Never in the annals of moviegoing have I seen a more histrionic display - like the director had spiked all the actor's drinks with LSD ffs. What we have here is a (presumably) young, cocky ejit who thinks he can direct trying to remake 'Rashomon' in the manner of one of those elaborate revenge thrillers Asian cinema excels at (see Park Chan-wook's masterful 'Vengeance Trilogy'). There is a half decent story hidden in here somewhere but trying to follow it is liable to end in severe migraine. As maddening a load of overcooked balls as you are likely to see all year and my new prize Turkey - the first time an Asian movie has had the ingominy. For shame, sir, for shame...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 02:09 pm:   

You should do unimpressed more often, Stevie – you're good at it!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 02:33 pm:   

As maddening a load of overcooked balls as you are likely to see all year

That's a killer line, Steivie - I love it.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 03:41 pm:   

I've got Recycle to watch this weekend. I'm sure most people have seen it, but I was just wondering if it's rated.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 04:09 pm:   

Yes, I was so irate I couldn't even spell ignominy correctly!

It truly is an exceptionally bad movie.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 04:18 pm:   

you said that about Black Swan though and that's ace...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 04:25 pm:   

Weber, about the only thing 'Black Swan' has going for it is that compared to 'Confessions' it is a model of subtlety.

Yes, people, that bad...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.79.219
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:00 pm:   

I was going to see "Confessions" tomorrow in Brughes where it is part of the Cinema Novo festival - but can't get any tickets! Sold out, believe it or not. I'm going to see the Argentinian "El último verano de la boyita" instead. Not a horror film, but hey, I 'm broadminded.

I did see the very sketchy original "Ju-on 2" - I mean the television film - for the very first time and I must say it has its moments. I'm not easily startled anymore, but **SPOILER ahead** those twenty or so Kayakos swaying in the gloom of a raindrenched and otherwise deserted schoolyard, all of them emitting that death rattle, got to me.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 86.137.108.144
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:15 pm:   

Horses for courses, List-Man. Black Swan is my film of the year (so far).
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:17 pm:   

I've got Ju-On 2 but I don't remember that scene. There was one segment that really got me though, where we found out what was causing the knocking noise and knocking over the glasses... SPOILER... the girl hanged by Kayako's hair and the little boy swinging her like a plaything so she thumped against the wall.

Are there 2 different versions with different stories in?
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.79.219
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:18 pm:   

It's on my list. Not that keen on ballet, but very keen on la Portman.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.79.219
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:22 pm:   

That's the Japanese feature film you're referring to Weber. Before that there was the made-for-tv thing I've just seen and a couple years later the (quite dreadful) Hollywood remake.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.79.219
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 06:39 pm:   

@ Weber: http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/juon2tv.htm
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.161.150
Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 - 10:04 pm:   

Glad to see I'm not the only one with a functioning crap detector, Stevie. Confessions was shiny, cheap, shallow, soulless garbage. It fails on just about every level. The acting is totally unbelievable - it veers into hysteria early on and stays firmly planted there. It's not a fantasy, and yet there is absolutely nothing believable about the school system it attempts to portray. For me, there was not a single moment that felt genuine and not a single interaction between characters that contained a shred of emotional authenticity. The theme that it completely fails to comes to grips with (I'm not sure the director even bothered, to be honest) could have made for a powerful film in more skillful hands. It has no depth, no heart, nothing except flashy visuals (but even those I've seen done countless times before, and far more skillfully). It's definitely the most overrated film I've seen in a long time.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 10:16 am:   

Overrated is pretty much a meaningless word when it comes to criticism. All it tells us is that you accept your viewpoint is the minority view.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 01:19 pm:   

But criticism can only ever be from one's own viewpoint, Weber.

To call a work of art overrated, or underrated, is a valid statement of incomprehension at the majority's apparent lack of judgement.

I use it all the time to make just this point and I agree wholeheartedly with Huw that the public acclaim apparently being heaped on 'Confessions' is baffling to the point of dunderheadedness imho.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 02:50 pm:   

That's an overrated argument...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.110.133
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 03:57 pm:   

Maybe people should say 'to me overrated'?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 05:07 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
6. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
7. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
8. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
9. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
10. 'Brighton Rock' by Rowan Joffe

On JLP's recommendation I went to see 'The Adjustment Bureau' last night and can confirm it as one of the most thoroughly entertaining Philip K. Dick adaptations it has been my pleasure to watch. First time director & screenwriter, George Nolfi, deserves no end of praise for his accomplishments here. The timelessly brilliant short story 'Adjustment Team' (1954) would have made a cracking half hour episode of the original 'Twilight Zone' but any director would have struggled to pad it out to feature length. Nolfi's masterstroke here is in adding a whole new romantic drama storyline that runs parallel to the original one of pursuit, paranoia and one puny individual against the forces of Fate. [Did he just say "romantic drama"!? ] Yes, I know most genre fans will immediately be groaning and starting to switch off, but, hang on.. miraculously... it bloody well works!! Right from their first brilliantly acted scene together the on-screen chemistry between Matt Damon & Emily Blunt is electrifying, funny and genuinely charming. Almost at once we are made to care for these two people and wish them a happy future together - the quality of the acting is that naturalistic. Then something gets knocked out of whack in the "Chairman's" Grand Plan for humanity and the grim-faced "Men In Black" style operatives of the Adjustment Bureau are sent in to get things back on track - which means Matt & Emily never should have met and, for the sake of Fate itself, their romance must be crushed out of existence with maximum prejudice, by whatever means are necessary <gulp> - as if meeting the woman of your dreams wasn't hard enough! Next thing we know our hero, Matt Damon, in winning form, accidentally stumbles upon the grand scheme, gets a peak behind the curtain at the forces that control our lives, realises what is at stake, and has to grab his woman and run, run and run, against just about the most overwhelming odds it's possible to imagine - and all in the name of Love <sigh>. Sounds like tripe, like vomit inducing bilge, like something you'd rather have red hot pokers inserted in your eyeballs than have to watch - right? Wrong!! It's a brilliant piece of pure escapist fantasy that wins the audience over utterly and will have you on the edge of your seat right to the final scene - rooting for Matt & Emily as if your own fate depends on it! Hooray!! I bloody loved it. Mark my words this is destined to become one of those sleeper hit cult classics in the years to come. Wonderful cinema!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, March 28, 2011 - 04:04 pm:   

Off to see another old Bogart masterpiece on the big screen tonight, 'The African Queen'.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.77.32
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 12:00 am:   

There's this:
http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi1419615513/

There's also Aliens vs. Cowboys (starring Harrison Ford, for flip's sake - doesn't he have anything better to do?)

Let's fast forward to Aliens vs. Zombies and get it over with.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 12:56 pm:   

Watched 'The Lincoln Lawyer' last night and it was a fairly entertaining and engrossing legal thriller, competently put together and winningly acted but all too familiar these days and with nothing to say we haven't seen done better countless times. Not bad but not great and already I can feel it fading from my mind - so misses out on a Top 10 spot.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2011 - 08:21 pm:   

Gotta say, I'm with Stevie on his assessment of BLACK SWAN. I found it didn't know what it wanted to be - drama? psychological study? thriller? etc. - and needlessly ambiguous. Worst of all, elitist: there is nothing at all "everyman" in the trials of Natalie Portman - her afflictions are remote, her fantasies remote, everyone around her remote. If this were, again, a straight thriller/horror, a clearly-established genre piece - sure, fine, wonderful (partially). But it didn't know what it wanted to be, and so it ended up being... a whole lotta nothing. Only imho, of course.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Monday, April 04, 2011 - 04:45 pm:   

But Craig, we all know that you know shit all about films...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - 02:41 am:   

Shaddup, you. (Btw: I've been crazily distracted of late - I will try to get to your story tout suite - have you done any rewrites?).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - 11:34 am:   

Me too, Weber, lots going on in and out of work but I will get round to it.

'Black Swan' was a terrible cinema experience and a truly awful movie imho. Plot, acting, theme and those daft hallucination sequences, especially in the ridiculous finale, were just about the most vacuously overblown and irritating I have experienced from a supposedly "brilliant, deep and meaningful" big arthouse movie. I swear I wanted to throw something at the screen by the end and left the cinema in a state of teeth grinding annoyance. By the looks on their faces and overheard muttered comments at least half the audience agreed with me. It's just one of those films... good looking drivel.

'Confessions' is still my Turkey Of The Year though.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - 05:56 pm:   

Disturbing dream logic surrealism is the hardest thing to judge right in cinema imho.

Carl Theodor Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman, David Lynch & Jan Svankmajer make it look almost effortless but when you see an attempt to emulate them by someone whose undoubted technical talent is outweighed by their lack of judgement and sheer arrogance, as with Darren Aronofsky, then the results tend to end up nightmarish for all the wrong reasons!

Craig's template theory is applicable to rigid, unambitious genre works but does not cover adventurous works of cinema as Art. Aronofsky tried to make a serious artwork with 'Black Swan' - I'll give him that - but in so doing revealed how far short his talent lags behind the true masters of the form.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - 06:11 pm:   

I hate ballet. But even I loved Black Swan.I didn't find it pretentious or irritating at all. I think Aranofsky is well up there with the best - quite why he's doing a superhero franchise film next is perplexing to say the least.

Having said that, I'm probably the only person on this board who sees no redeeming features in Eraserhead...

The only Lynch film I've enjoyed was Blue Velvet.

The only way to sum up this particular argument is Horses for Courses. We all have different tastes.

Tonight I shall probably be watching Pi by DA. I shall report back.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - 06:15 pm:   

Zed - have you seen Black Swan yet?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 02:46 am:   

(Not to keep making things about templates, but let me just say: Stevie, my theory does [I'd argue] apply to "adventurous works of cinema as Art" too - because I argue that, too, is a genre. Lynch, the very brand, has become its own "genre," i.e. template, and so we expect something specific from a film with his name on it. If Lynch gave us a movie like, say, BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE, it would be perhaps funny and fine and whatever... but you couldn't call it a "Lynch film" like you call MULHOLLAND DRIVE and INLAND EMPIRE "Lynch films".)
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 02:50 am:   

Weber: I didn't like BLACK SWAN, but I absolutely loved REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, and liked very much THE FOUNTAIN - this isn't about Aronofsky at all.

And you have something there with "horses for courses," because actually I rather liked the final (and finally!) "Black Swan" dance in the film, I thought he pulled off its power, its specialness, its alien-ness, its inhumanness, well... unlike, it seems, Stevie thought... so go figger....
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:02 am:   

Zed - have you seen Black Swan yet?

Not yet, Weber. But the very fact that Craig hates it makes me want to see it even more -a it means I'll probably love it.

Btw, I'd love to see Lynch tackle Big Momma's House. My God, imagine how deliciously weird that would be...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:41 am:   

'Lynch, the very brand, has become its own "genre," i.e. template, and so we expect something specific from a film with his name on it.'

Nope.

Have you not seen Lynch's The Straight Story? Or Dune? Or The Elephant Man?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 11:20 am:   

Darren Aronofsky in a nutshell:

'Pi' (1998) - incomprehensible boring rubbish dressed up as something dense and meaningful. He was striving to do his own 'Eraserhead' and floundering wildly. [Lynch's astonishingly assured debut is an unequivocal masterpiece and one of the most truly frightening films I have seen, Weber!]

'Requiem For A Dream' (2000) - brilliant hallucinatory low-life drama and one of the best films about drug addiction I have seen. Ellen Burstyn completely steals the show.

'The Fountain' (2006) - incomprehensible boring rubbish with a big budget and its head rammed firmly up its own arse.

'The Wrestler' (2008) - brilliant homage to and reinvention of the classic "underdog makes good" sports drama with a career best performance by Mickey Rourke.

'Black Swan' (2010) - infuriatingly pompous, crass, overblown and breathtakingly arrogant spin on the "descent into madness" psychological horror picture that may not be boring but fails on every artistic level.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

I liked Pi, and loved The Foundation. So there.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

Erm, I meant The Fountain...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.35.248.5
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 02:17 pm:   

Poor Craig.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 05:58 pm:   

Zed, Zed, Zed.... Look, those examples don't apply. Read carefully what I wrote: Lynch, the very brand, has become its own "genre"... When THE ELEPHANT MAN was made, 1980, Lynch was not the brand he is now, and neither was he that brand in 1984 with DUNE.

As for THE STRAIGHT STORY: again, I've stated many times here on this board, that I (ironically for someone who's so miscast as genre-bound and unappreciative of form-breaking, quite radically!) have always maintained that materials encompassing the given work of art, like cover-paintings, posters, advertising campaigns, blurbs, etc., are fair game for judging that work of art - they become part of it. And, if you remember all the "buzz" circling THE STRAIGHT STORY, it was a radical departure from Lynch, directed from a script his girlfriend wrote (not Lynch), etc....

You can't depart from Lynch, the brand, if there is no Lynch, the brand. Lynch the genre. Lynch the NOW, that has its given set of expectations.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 06:13 pm:   

So what's yuor point? You've lost me.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 06:13 pm:   

ou
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 06:41 pm:   

What's my point?

Scroll up, read the post where you respond to me "Nope" - then read the line above it - now substitute "Nope" for "Yup," because the point has been and might I say quite well made....
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 09:04 pm:   

Not really. It seems to me that you're fudging this to fit your agenda - that films which don't fit the template are now okay if you deem them as having been made before the template for that filmmaker has been established.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 09:20 pm:   

AAAAUUUGGGHH!!!! You're driving me crazy, Zed!!!

It's about expectation, that's all I'm saying. Jesus, when you pop open a Lynch film now, do you expect DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? or JACKASS or TOMMY BOY? No. All I'm doing is labeling, analyzing, that sensation of expectation. What's so hard about that to understand?!?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.17.198
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 09:42 pm:   

Can't we talk about chavs? It's seems safer, somehow.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:01 pm:   

All I'm doing is labeling

Exactly - you have this relentless need to label everything, to stick it in a box. I don't buy into that. It;s easy to undertsnd, but difficult to empathise with. (I wish there was a "smiley" for baring one's arse).



We'll never see eye-to-eye on this, Craig.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.185.17.198
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:20 pm:   

Craig: http://bp1.blogger.com/_79IStfjq6f8/R42wzImi9iI/AAAAAAAAA4k/MQAVspLanGM/s1600-h/ ass+1.jpg
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:37 pm:   

Was that Weber in there?

Well you better get used to labels, Zed - they put them on your damn books, don't they?! Because if they're shelving them in romance, man, you got problems!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 10:56 pm:   

But, Craig - those labels mean nothing to me. That's the point. They clearly mean a lot to you, though.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.55
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 12:03 pm:   

" Worst of all, elitist: there is nothing at all "everyman" in the trials of Natalie Portman - her afflictions are remote, her fantasies remote, everyone around her remote."

So putting pressure on yourself at work to be the best you can be, and having more pressure applied by pushy parents isn't "everyman"? Just because it's a bout ballet doesn't mean those trhemes aren't more or less universal. The pushy parent applies everywhere from the father wanting his son to be the next David Beckham to the nightmarish spectacle of the children's beauty pageants and watching the mothers push their obscenely painted little girls on the stages to the failed ballerina mother in Black Swan... The end result may be an elitist art form in this case but the themes covered are well used in fiction and real life.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 03:47 pm:   

Absolutely, Marc. In fact, as soon as we left the film Jenny remarked on how true the relationship with the mother rang.

On labels - well, I'm a writer who says he writes horror, and I do - but this is partly because I think the horror label signifies such an extraordinarily wide definition (mine, anyway). I tried to make that clear by citing the likes of Bardin, Beckett, Arthur Morrison, Peter Ackroyd and Somoza in my Book of Lists piece.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.134.64
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 04:07 pm:   

I have horror writer on my site but I cross the usual genres.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.134.64
Posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011 - 05:44 pm:   

All crossing, within each other...horror is part of all, for me.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.73.120
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 12:24 am:   

I've long suspected that good and succesful 'horror' writers read widely outside the field.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 01:47 am:   

Perhaps this is a case of different focal points. I found it elitist, BLACK SWAN, because it was: one woman's quest for absolute perfection, with only her own chemically-off-balance mental state (i.e., none of the other ballerinas in the film had any mental problems, going through basically the same rigor) fumbling her; but presented not as (or not mostly as) a piece of genre-fiction, which I'm going to say is the realm of an "individual's story" (pulling this off the cuff, for lack of a better term) as opposed to the "everyman story."

This is getting very complicated but: Genre stories are primarily (A story) about plot, and secondarily (b story) about character, which encompasses everyman issues, etc. Dramas and comedies, the broadest of categories, are primarily (A story) about character, and secondarily (b story) about plot. They might be a hair off - but there's always a clear hierarchy.

Imho, BLACK SWAN presented itself, served itself on a platter as, a drama - but gave us plot-based issues (again, a particular character's neuroses and situations) edging out broad character issues (mother-daughter relationships, etc.).

Here's one thing right off the bat: Natalie Portman's character is engaged in no romantic/personal relationship, as we meet her and mostly as we continue (the lesbian thing later is a product of her derangement). Okay, you could say, maybe she's obsessed with perfection as a ballerina, maybe her mom's lording over her... but this is not universal, I'd argue: what's universal is, hell, let's face it: someone as attractive as Natalie Portman having boyfriend/s, fiance/s, girlfriend/s, something. She is presented as alone, isolated, this side of deranged: not normal. Not normal, is the realm of genre fiction, predominantly. But the film kept wanting to be a drama, it seemed to me, above and beyond all considerations (though not willing to give up the horror, genre elements that are out of place).

The result: CONFUSION. Viewer-tension, the bad kind. This is what Stevie experienced, this is what I experienced. I'm just analyzing why I felt that, and this is what I'm coming up with.

A film that did this kind of thing right? A BEAUTIFUL MIND, because the dramatic, edged out the "genre": the protag there was struggling with issues of living a normal, average life, with his own deranged mental state. He wasn't struggling to be the best ballerina there is on the one hand, sans all relate-able everyman issues (relationships, family, friends, etc.), and the depths of the singular dark black derangement on the other....
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 06:53 am:   

Craig- A Beautiful Mind? Bad film to make comparisons with? ABM took a serious condition and window dressed it; wildly diverging tangents of cognitive lateral thinking were diagrammed into the movie in flash episodes of varying types of effects to tell the audience that THIS is what genius is. Add to the fact the totally fictional hallucinatory encounters with the Ed Wood character. It's a movie choked with Hollywood sentiment, and therefore obscuring any real attempt at detailing 'the human struggle.'

I'm not saying BS is a better film, just not the two films to compare.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 07:36 am:   

You might be right about that Frank... it has been a while since I've seen ABM, and in my mind, they blur similar, but maybe I'm mis-remembering the film... though I did quite like it myself....
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 10:55 am:   

So you're saying that Black Swan is bad because it's got dramatic and genre elements to it and skews the two?

As I'm sure Zed will say, that makes it good - creating a tension in the viewer - surely that's a good thing when your making a film that easily fits in the broad field of horror cinema...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.73.64
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 10:59 am:   

what's universal is, hell, let's face it: someone as attractive as Natalie Portman having boyfriend/s, fiance/s, girlfriend/s, something.

Not necessarily. I've known at least one lady who was frightfully beautiful, but couldn't get anyone because, unbeknownst to herself, she behaved in a totally unapproachable manner. Paradoxically, she suffered just as much, if not more, than anyone who tried to erm bag her.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.223
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:17 am:   

I was thinking about Black Swan, how it might have been more tragic had the mom been more sympathetic, that failure is painful even when you have all the support in the world. If the mum and daughter really loved one another and were in the trap of that (which it can be) then I think it might have not only been more real it would have also made for a more convincing film (oh, that's the same thing...).
For me, if a story - in book or film - the minute it cracks outside of what it is doing i lose faith in it. I keep saying it, but a film or story casts a spell and if suddenly it tries to cast another my trance is broken. It's like a book suddenly having a different voice. We were saying how great Dracula is but I remember some of the voices in it holding me less than the others. I definitely missed Jonathan Harker, for instance.
I think this argumant really heightens a huge invisible brick wall between us where not only do people have differing opinions, but they seem glad to hold onto those opinions at any cost.
I agree with Hubert there, for instance, but still think Craig's other opinions are also true.
I know A Beautiful Mind was a bit wobbly with the truth but I still loved it even though it got slammed (I think it might have been for the reason alone that Ron Howard directed it). The Social Network did just the same and everybody loved that. It's odd; we accept the 'lies' of a film more if the technical skill involved is higher (or seems to be - everyone 'knows' Fincher is a 'cooler' director).
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:34 am:   

A Beautiful Mind was entertaining twaddle. Very shallow. A better, more insightful director than Howard would have made a much better film, IMHO.

not only do people have differing opinions, but they seem glad to hold onto those opinions at any cost.

Eh? People have different opinions. That's life. Personally, I enjoy debating with someone like Craig - it's good to have opposing opinions, and engage with someone intelligent enough to hold up their end of the debate.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:35 am:   

And it isn't a question of Fncher being a cooler director (we're not twelve) - it's a matter of him being a good director, certainly a better one than Ron Howard.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:35 am:   

I agree that Ron Howard is panned simply for being Ron Howard, and I think he's quite a decent film-maker, though there really is a bit of the Speilberg circ 1976 in him, as is his former alter-ego, Richie Cunningham, when it comes to the slant of his material and how he perceives it, which is why so many people are worried about him directing the series of The Dark Tower.

But I think it's unfair, Tony, to see him unfairly criticized alongside directors like Fincher, because the latter is perceived as cool. Yes, many a Fincher film poster hangs on the wall of students up and down the country, as did Scorcese posters years backs, not to mention Betty Blue and Clockwork Orange posters, but Fincher's skills lie not just in his technical brilliance, there's much more to the man than that. If anybody need labelling thus, try Ridely Scott...the man's being getting away with it for years.

Don't forget, Fincher's least respected film, Panic Room, is actually a masterclass in screenplay writing, acting, and tension. Yes, it has Hitchcock all over it, but better to be draped in the finery of a master, than prancing about in one's underwear. And that was his least 'showy' film.

And Zodiac, is for the me the greatest police procedural movie made, bar none. This film is not about dazzling techniques, it's about this glorious painstaking methodical love letter to intelligent film-making.

But again, horses for courses and all that.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:36 am:   

Crossed posts with Zed.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:37 am:   

Fincher's least respected film, Panic Room, is actually a masterclass in screenplay writing, acting, and tension.

Hear-hear, Frank. I agree with you about Zodiac, too.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:38 am:   

...but they seem glad to hold onto those opinions at any cost...

Well, as Tarantino once said, (paraphrasing): all that a film fan really has, truly, is not his films, posters or books, but his opinion.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.223
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:44 am:   

I loved social Network and Zodiac. What I mean is he has this 'cool' veneer that probably lets him get off light sometimes. I think after seeing Howard's 'Missing' film he'll be fine for Dark Tower. It was pretty scary I thought (as was Beautiful Mind).
Zed - debate is ok when there's signs of flexibilty and learning. Sometimes it's just like seeing a bee wallop it's head against a window, only enjoying it. :-(
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.223
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:47 am:   

Here - imagine this is the Dark Tower trailer -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjhRC1MarI4
I'd see it!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:49 am:   

Tony, people don't agree in the world. That's how it is. Especially over matters as personal and subjective as art.

I remember having to defend my own taste in bleak films against you and Proto - when you went and slagged me off on someone else's wall on Facebook (which I found rather odd). Didn't bother me, though; I don't need to defend my tastes to anyone, but I do enjoy discussing them with someone who has opposing tastes. Craig and I will never agree on this Template thing, but I respect his opinion.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.223
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:56 am:   

Oh, that was because I'd felt - at the time - that you hadn't been listening to me!
I'm still sorry about that btw, I was letting off steam and certainly didn't want others to see it...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:58 am:   

No matter - it didn't bother me at all. I just thought it was a very odd thing to do.

And I was listening to you - I just didn't agree. It's the same with Craig. I totally get his opinion, I just don't agree with it. That's life, and people, and differences.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 12:27 pm:   

Interesting side note on Fincher: A friend of mine, back in the late 80's, or perhaps the beginning of the 90's, was at a media presentation of music videos interpretation in London. The presenter, a renowned professor of cultural studies, but more specifically, a film historian to boot, was showing a series of music videos, after which he set about illustrating technique, subtext, surface text, thematic qualities, etc, etc, you get the picture, and when he came to Madonna's 'Vogue' video, he announced that the director of the film would one day, if he wasn't waylaid by death or injury, go on to become one of the most revered directors in film. And yes, that was Fincher, but what my friend said was intriguing, and my friend's one hell of smart bloke, he said it found extremely difficult to reconcile the reasoning behind the professor's claim to Fincher's future greatness based on that one video, the one with Madonna running round with traffic cone breasts.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 12:39 pm:   

That video's iconic, innit? Taste aside, it sank into the popular culture cosnsciousness...it still gets parodied today, all these years later.

I used to play football with a guy who had alapecia. He was in Alien 3 (his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor). I remember him saying that he felt sorry for Fincher; that he was clearly a serious and incredibly talented filmmaker, and the studio were killing him because they were resisting the kind of film he wanted to make. Apparently, each day on set he looked paler and iller than the day before.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 12:39 pm:   

The guy said at the time that Fincher's next film would be amazing. He could sense it from Fincher's talent.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 01:22 pm:   

Alien 3, yes, cut to ribbons, especially the Charles Dance scenes which 'they' believed would remove all empathy from his death, yet again another decision by some faceless executive to condescend to the audience. But you can see in this film, practically feel the potential of this fella. The opening credits were heartbreaking, poignant little flash visual vignettes, not to mention the fact they brilliantly eschewed the more typical straight forward devices of exposition narrative. I really admire the film, did at the time, without knowing who Fincher was then.

Zed - your mate was on the ball. I'd have loved to have been an extra just watching these genius types working. Then again, I'd simply enjoy spending the day watching any of them work, even if it were mind-numbingly boring for everybody else.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 217.20.16.180
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 01:38 pm:   

Off-topic, perhaps, but the re-assembled work-cut of Alien 3 currently available is a greatly superior version of the film. Still a missed opportunity, but closer perhaps to what Fincher intended.

That film's key mistake, in my opinion, was killing off Charles Dance halfway through. The finale would have had far more clout if he'd been the one helping Ripley do herself in.

As for Ron Howard - he's a solid, reliable, but entirely anonymous director; whereas Fincher's talent is stamped on every frame of his films. That's the key difference for me.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 01:38 pm:   

He was always on local telly, the guy I knew - decent footballer, too. Dunno what happened to him...

But, yes, he was really taken with Fincher. Said he was an artist. He was offered something like 200k by The Sun newspaper to spill the beans on what was happening on set, but turned it down flat out of loyalty to the director. And this guy was just an extra. Crazy.

I used to play football with Bharut Nahluri, too. he directed Downtime, was Paul Anderson's (Event Horizon) best mate, and went on to do Spooks. I tell you, northeast five-a-side leagues really are the place to meet these cinema types.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:02 pm:   

Event Horizon...while everything else he turns his hand to is stuff for teenage boys, Event Horizon, for all of its borrowed motifs, is genuinely a scary movie. Funny, it's as old fashioned as you can get in a futuristic setting. Love that film. That and Carpenter's In The Mouth of Madness are two of Sam Neil's best films to date. Biased horror fan as I am.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:03 pm:   

yep, i'd agree with that.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:15 pm:   

I see, Zed, you put up a link for Silent House. Sounds right up my street. I nicked and posted it to my profile.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.169
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:16 pm:   

This fits in the 'wouldn't want to box it in one genre' on the other thread, too. Anyone like the film, Event Horizon, with Sam Neil in?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:38 pm:   

Yes, Ally, I love the films.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 217.20.16.180
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 02:47 pm:   

I believe I saw The Silent House at last year's Frightfest (Uruguyan film all shot in one take, right?). Very atmospheric, and a few good scares. I have a few downers on it (unsurprisingly) but I'll keep them to myself for now, until everyone's seen it.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 03:00 pm:   

Good to hear, John.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 03:11 pm:   

Ally, look two or three posts up...
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.169
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 04:15 pm:   

Ah...had read the thread, saw football...skipped that, caught Sam Neil, and went with him.
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Allybird (Allybird)
Username: Allybird

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.104.140.169
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 04:18 pm:   

Sorry Frank, unusually for me...I missed your post!

Really busy today and a little stressed with organising the house move. Popping in now and then.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 04:19 pm:   

I'm the same, Ally, no worries. (:
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.137.108.144
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 06:47 pm:   

We've just been to see The Silent House & I thought it was pretty decent atmospheric haunted house picture, even if I'm not entirely sure of everything that happened! Still, great atmosphere and some splendid photography makes this the best shot in one take horror movie from Uruguay you'll see all year. Seriously though - I'd very much recommend it.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.162.28
Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 - 11:56 pm:   

I'm planning to see The Silent House this week - it's playing at a film museum near me as part of a fantastic film festival. I've already bought tickets for some of the films. There's a real mixture of styles, and of old and new. They're showing all of Raimi's Evil Dead films, and also things like Carrie, Cronos, A Nightmare on Elm Street (original), and others. Alongside these they are showing films I haven't seen, such as Kandisha (a Moroccan film which looks promising), The Wild Hunt, Shadow, Salvage, and an interesting looking Romanian film titled If the Seed Doesn't Die. Then there's The Wizard of Oz, Visconti's The Leopard, Amores Perros, and a bunch of bizarre Japanese films with titles like Gothic and Lolita Psycho. I'm never going to make it to all of them but I'm hoping to see at least a few of them, including the first two Evil Dead films which are on tomorrow. I'm always envious of all the fantastic film festivals you guys get to attend back in the UK and elsewhere, so this is my chance, finally...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 03:18 am:   

Thanks for watching my back, Tony. But seriously, I do respect Zed's, Gary's, Joel's, Weber's, everyone's opinion - I see their sides, I see where they're coming from, or I think I do. My own opinions are often deeply challenged by the response, and I have to really sit and think about what I think I believe. I believe too in spirited debate with intelligent others: if you can't be spirited about it, if you don't have passion, then why bother? Art should be something one IS passionate about, especially if one wants to produce it.

An interesting metaphor, and something that occurred to me the other day, is the very strangeness of simply watching TV. Do you ever stop and think about it? It's a box of light in your room - I don't care if you are Tony projecting them over a wall, it's still a window into something unreal. We well know it's unreal... but we somehow are of multiple minds: it's not real, but we're engaged; we might be excluded from the story (as I was in BLACK SWAN - hell, worse, TRON, though I was hypnotized by the sfx), but even the most totally arresting of stories doesn't change the fact I'm sitting there watching something I well know is not real; something that is itself, in its reality upon the screen, often a fantasy - levels of levels of unreality pasted upon unreality... and yet I can know and not know both states at once....

Something like that, is like our arguments. I know on the one hand that Zed, Gary, Weber, Joel, are all crazy loons, but somehow I'm able to let go and believe in what they say every now and then.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 10:04 am:   

"Zed - debate is ok when there's signs of flexibilty and learning."

I should say debate is fine whether or not there are such signs. Surely to require them is to imply that there's never a case where one side of the debate is wrong.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.137.108.144
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 11:01 am:   

BTW A Japanese picture called Confessions is on release here as well at one of the arts cinmemas and got a great review in our local magazine. But I seem to remember reading a few dissenting views on here?
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.68
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 12:19 pm:   

' "Zed - debate is ok when there's signs of flexibilty and learning."

I should say debate is fine whether or not there are such signs. Surely to require them is to imply that there's never a case where one side of the debate is wrong.'

Also, debate - certainly on a board like this - may be useful to the audience whether or not it is to the participants.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 02:32 pm:   

Boy did I miss an interesting debate on here lol.

I found 'Black Swan' an irredeemably ugly film, including the ballet sequences (an achievement in itself). The whole thing was brash, hysterical and overbearing with no one for the viewer to empathise with and the director showing a complete lack of self control. I couldn't help feeling that Aronofsky was showboating after the critical acclaim of 'The Wrestler' and his is a talent in serious need of reining in...

Anyone watching this film should compare it with Roman Polanski's 'Repulsion' to see just how crassly misjudged Portman's descent into madness is in terms of gripping cinematic drama. I couldn't give a fuck what happened to her and therein lies the rub.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 03:27 pm:   

Stevie - I'd have to say one of the greatest challenges for any director, author or playwright, is taking an unsympathetic character and keeping us involved whether we want to or not. But I think you're talking about her plight, her 'status' in life, not what I'm referring to?

Personally, I don't care about elitism or class in movies so long as I have both story and character delivered to me.

There are so many films that I might not relate to personally, but to which I nevertheless gravitate. Give me a great story, perhaps a sprinkling of innovation, perhaps not, but give me something that moves me, scares me, makes me scream with laughter, and class and status do not make jot of difference to me.

Then again, Altman's attempts to violently but subtly dissect upper-class mores by deliciously pulling apart Christie and others, is something I feel I couldn't fully appreciate if it weren't for my background.

Something of a contradiction. (:
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 04:09 pm:   

Frank, for me none of the characters in 'Black Swan' came across as "real people" or acted in any way that I would describe as "rationally". The story and characters never once engaged me or made me interested in what was happening and I found the whole experience ultimately exasperating. I had the same problems with that recent Japanese psycho thriller 'Confessions'... x10 !!

I watch a movie to be transported out of my body and into the world behind the screen. That requires a suspension of disbelief, made possible by the talent of the filmmakers. 'Black Swan' & 'Confessions' made me too aware I was watching a show-off at work in every single scene. For that reason both works fail on every level imho.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 - 04:09 pm:   

A character who is 'thoroughly unscrupulous' in every which way, without any saving grace, yet who I watch bug-eyed with fascination and enjoyment, is that of the central character in Polanski's 'The Ninth Gate.'
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 - 05:12 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
6. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
7. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
8. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
9. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
10. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood

Watched 'Source Code' at the weekend with some scepticism going in as it sounded too much like a generic cash-in on last year's 'Inception'. But it is my pleasure to report that the film is a more than worthy follow-up by Duncan Jones to his brilliant debut 'Moon' (2009). That's not to say it's as good but he still managed to produce another tight little intelligent sci-fi thriller with real heart and the spirit of Philip K. Dick evident in every ingenious plot convolution. Think a scaled down riff on 'Inception', with a specially picked "agent" sent into his own unconscious (kind of) to uncover vital intelligence, that cleverly throws in the main hook from 'Groundhog Day' - only reduced to 8 minutes instead of 24 hours - and you'll have some idea of the 'Twilight Zone' territory we're talking about. The premise is enthralling, the action riveting, the revelations perfectly paced and the characterisation a pitch perfect balance between grit, bewilderment, poignancy and charm. There is one flaw, however, that lessens the impact of Jones' vision and perhaps shows worrying evidence of encroaching big budget sell-out syndrome (something no one could accuse him of in 'Moon') and that is the fluffed ending. I can say no more to avoid spoilers but see what you think yourself after the final credits roll. I saw this with a woman and we spent a happy hour afterward discussing just why the pay-off was so dissatisfying, without ruining the entertainment factor of the film as a whole. We both agreed it was one of the best sci-fi movies of recent years, but... See it and judge for yourself. Whatever my reservations there is still enough filmmaking skill in evidence to prove Mr Jones was more than a one-hit wonder and has heralded himself as one to watch. Zowie done good!!

That's three outstanding sci-fi movies in my Top 10 already. Christopher Nolan may just have launched a new golden age with his masterpiece of last year. Here's hoping anyway...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.24.131
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 10:18 am:   

What's your top ten favourite lists, Stevie?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 04:43 pm:   

1. Women
2. Sexual Positions
3. Foods
4. Beers
5. People
6. Authors
7. Musical Artists
8. Film Directors
9. Books
10. Films

...since you asked.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 06:00 pm:   

Went to see the perfect date movie with a lady last night and its hands down the greatest cinema-going experience I've had so far this year!

To see John Ford's 'The Quiet Man' on the big screen with a vocally appreciative audience was a sheer joy. I hadn't seen it in over 20 years and haven't laughed as much at the screen since 'Machete' - though for many different reasons. Not only the definitive cinematic vision of Ireland but arguably the greatest romantic comedy/drama ever made. Irresistible fun that just about charmed the socks off everyone there!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 12:37 pm:   

At a loose end last night I ended up at the cinema again going to see what I thought looked the least-worst film on offer and it's gone straight into my Top 10:

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
6. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
7. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
8. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
9. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
10. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter

'Limitless', much to my surprise, turned out to be yet another enthralling modern sci-fi movie with an irresistible premise. Almost casually brilliant in its execution this high-octane and deliciously satirical thriller posits the "what if" scenario of an ordinary schmo just about getting by on the wrong side of New York City who stumbles upon an experimental new drug on the street called NZT that, for a limited period, allows full access to the untapped 100% potential of the human brain. The drug doesn't get you high or mellow you out or bring on hallucinations but opens up every synapse in the brain, making you feel "limitless", in complete control of every mental and physical faculty, and hats off to the director and most of all a perfectly cast Bradley Cooper for getting the thrill and seduction and ultimate addicting corruption of this across so convincingly. I'm not familiar with Cooper as an actor but he positively shines in this role and brings the film to life as a likeably bumbling everyman we can all identify with who is gradually transformed into a charming superman and beyond... But what happens when the supply of NZT runs out? The film needed someone of his pleasing anonymity and natural acting ability, rather than some big name star, to work - much as 'Moon' benefited from the casting of Sam Rockwell - and his performance is riveting (congrats, man). But this isn't just some worthy drug abuse allegory but a perfectly constructed thriller in its own right with our hero accidentally coming across a huge stash of the drug and using the powers it gives (taken one pill a day, at first...) to escape the shadowy forces who want it back, while effortlessly amassing wealth, power and influence in the process. But the bigger they get the harder they fall. Robert De Niro is effective as one of the villainous Mister Bigs and the whole film rattles along at a fine pace with never a dull second and has a pay-off that is as satisfying as it is disturbing. A genuinely brilliant piece of work and thoroughly entertaining! Pulp sci-fi thrills abound - yet again!!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.176.105.56
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 12:48 pm:   

Wasn't Cooper the lead in The Hangover and a couple of other big comedies in the last few years?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 12:49 pm:   

Just for the record there is hardly a hair's width in quality between the three sci-fi movies at 5, 6 & 7 in my Top 10 above.

What a year it's turning out to be!
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.166.215
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 01:53 pm:   

That's him, Weber. Before his big screen success he was a regular on J.J. Abrams' entertaining (but very silly) show Alias.
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.78.35.175
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 04:34 pm:   

Recently saw 2 new movies that will definitely make it in my top 10:

- 13 Assassins by Takashi Miike. Superb Samurai movie.
- Bullhead. An intense Belgian movie that on the surface seems to be a crime movie set in "meat hormone mafia" circles, but it's actually a very sad psychological tragedy. It's the kind of no-compromise drama that you'd expect to be made in South Korea.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.200.93
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 07:34 pm:   

Have you seen Kim Ji-Woon's latest film, I Saw the Devil, Tom? I watched the first half last night, and thought it was well made, well-acted, but excessively nasty and violent. Maybe I'm just getting old... I'll watch the rest tomorrow!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 12:49 pm:   

Off to see Ken Loach's new Iraq War set political thriller 'Route Irish' tonight.

I believe I'm right in saying this is his first thriller since 'Hidden Agenda' (1990) - for me the best film ever made about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The man is a personal hero of mine so I'm rather looking forward to this.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 12:51 pm:   

Steve - what did you think of Five Minutes of Heaven with Liam Neeson and James Nesbit?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 12:56 pm:   

Make that the modern Troubles as 'Odd Man Out' (1947) is just a bit better...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 12:58 pm:   

Haven't seen it, Frank. Any good?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 01:30 pm:   

Stevie - It's more like those play for today shows of the 70's and 80's. The acting is impeccable, and to see two actors of this level go head to head, is extremely gratifying. Great writing, tight direction, but I don't know, it seems a film comprised of two distinctly different sections. Still, great to see a non-stereotypical approach to the material.

It's not The Wind That Shakes The Barley, but it's a very good film.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 04:23 pm:   

'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' is arguably Loach's masterpiece but then I'm biased. Amazing that it took an Englishman to make the two greatest and most honest movies about the tragic "historical differences" between our country and his.

Even Neil Jordan's fine historical epic 'Michael Collins' pales beside Loach's achievement. TWTSTB is the greatest film about the Troubles in Ireland and 'Hidden Agenda' is the greatest about the specific circumstances that apply to the occupied six counties. All imho.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 05:39 pm:   

Stevie - as much as I admired Jordan's Micahel Collins, I think it suffered from the Hollywood treatment syndrome for simplyfying too much. Though admittedly, it's still rather complex for a film with such a large financial backing. Believe it or not, I haven't see Hidden Agenda ):
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 05:52 pm:   

Loach's genius was to make a paranoid political conspiracy thriller comparable to 'Defence Of The Realm', 'The Parallax View' or 'The Ghost' that managed to say more about the situation in Northern Ireland during the recent Troubles than any number of painfully worthy po-faced dramas could hope to.

It managed to be riveting entertainment and incisively educational for all those on the outside baffled by the sorry mess that developed in this poor wee part of Ireland. The cast includes; Frances McDormand, Brian Cox, Brad Dourif & the under-appreciated Maurice Roëves all acting at the very top of their game.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.116
Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 - 06:08 pm:   

We watched a nice little film by Shane Meadows last night, Somers Town. Was great seeing something quite naturalistic and rough round the edges, something that felt sort of realistic. And it's great seeing Johnny Vegas in his early years in a film - Tommy Turgoose. What a fab little actor that kid is.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 03:47 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
6. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
7. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
8. 'Route Irish' by Ken Loach
9. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
10. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly

Had a punishing time last night with Ken Loach's new thriller 'Route Irish'. Talk about intense! By coincidence, Tony, the film it most reminded me of was Shane Meadows' 'Dead Man's Shoes' (2004) with Mark Womack, in terrifying form, playing the Paddy Considine role of a deranged alcoholic former soldier and Iraq War veteran uncovering conspiracy and murder by the hired security forces he left the army for, and lost his best mate to, and taking it on himself to smite down the guilty with righteous vengeance using all his military training. What differentiates the story from other conspiracy or revenge thrillers is the fact that we're never quite sure how culpable Womack's own character is and how truly noble his intentions, or even whether the whole thing is a psychotic fantasy his own guilt-ridden mind has concocted out of circumstantial evidence. Whatever the truth, and the film remains nicely ambiguous throughout, someone is going to pay for the death of his pal. Using violent intimidation, torture skills honed on "ragheads" and eventual cold blooded murder this is a portrait of a man gone beyond redemption because of what he has seen and done and left clinging to a bogus loyalty to his possibly murdered mate as his only reason for going on. The film is far from comfortable viewing and is just about the most foul mouthed picture I ever sat through - there must be a "fuck" or a "cunt" every other second - while the scenes of torture and mutilation have an immediacy that is genuinely hard to take, even though most of the horror comes from the screaming intensity of Womack's blistering performance (his vocal chords must have been fucked after this role). Most of the action takes place back home in Liverpool with frequent frenzied flashbacks to the horror of Iraq interspersing our anti-hero's increasingly insane mission. The acting and deceptively low key direction is as powerfully naturalistic and convincing as in any of Loach's movies although the plot does veer into melodrama at times, making for a sometimes jarring experience. All in all if you want to get a glimpse into the murky world of the ex-military and police legal mercenaries who act above the law as "hired security" in trouble-spots like Iraq & Afghanistan, while enjoying a perfectly constructed and executed thriller at the same time, then this is the film for you. It may be a minor work in Loach's canon but he has rarely been this intense or disturbing. Well worth catching for those who can take it...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 04:26 pm:   

Holy God, I've just read that the waterboarding scene in 'Route Irish' was performed for real on actor Trevor Williams!!!!

No wonder I found it hard to sit through... the guy was actually being tortured for real. I've heard of method acting but that's ridiculous!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, April 30, 2011 - 02:06 pm:   

Went to see Kim Jee-Woon's 'I Saw The Devil' last night and was shocked at how excruciatingly bad it was. A wretched and brain numbingly overlong (at near 2½ hours) serial killer/revenge thriller that would have looked past its sell-by-date a decade ago. With nothing but cliched scenes of rape, torture and murder from beginning to end the film seems to have been green lighted on the slenderest of plot devices - let's have a cat-and-mouse showdown between the meanest, most fucked up serial killer we can devise (ho hum) and a vengeance seeking super-cool secret agent using all his training and expertise to track him down and make him pay for the murder of his wife (yawn). Kind of Hannibal Lecter vs James Bond lite, folks. With plot holes you could drive a bus through and character motivations that go beyond irrational (why the fuck does the hero keep letting the bad guy go ffs?!) this is one of those movies that plumbs depths of bad filmmaking and outrageous over-acting it is sometimes unintentionally hilarious but more often than not just tiresomely familiar and downright vile in its exploitational glee. This from the man who gave us the sublimely subtle and haunting 'A Tale Of Two Sisters' (2003)!

I am now more convinced than ever that Asian genre cinema has had its day and is rapidly descending into an OTT parody of itself. For a period of about 12 years spanning the new millennium Asian horror cinema was easily the best on the planet but now all signs of directorial skill, judgement and subtlety seem to have gone out the window in favour of lazy, lowest common denominator potboilers made purely for supposed "shock value". Unutterable crap!!

That's four genre stinkers I've seen already this year: 'Black Swan', 'The Rite', 'I Saw The Devil' and 'Confessions'. Very worrying...
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 61.216.204.156
Posted on Saturday, April 30, 2011 - 02:27 pm:   

Stevie, I watched I Saw the Devil recently, and I have to admit that I thought it was rather pointless, and the violence gratuitously over-the-top and nasty (but actually quite humourous in a very black way). I'm a fan of Kim Ji-woon, but if he keeps making films like this...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, April 30, 2011 - 03:10 pm:   

I watched it with two friends and we spent half the film trying to decide if it was a deliberate black comedy or just a really bad film. I was convinced there would be some great sucker punch twist that made sense of all the glaring plot holes and illogicalties in the action but, as you say, the ending was only startling in its pointlessness - particularly after slogging through 2½ hours of offensive nonsense to get there!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2011 - 02:33 pm:   

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Insidious' by James Wan
6. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
7. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
8. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
9. 'Route Irish' by Ken Loach
10. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd

At last! A decent horror movie!! Went to see 'Insidious' last night knowing little and expecting less and, glory be, had the socks entertained off me listening to all the tweenies in the audience scream themselves silly while I sat there revelling in the experience. This is one great big scary ghost train of a movie that unashamedly pushes all the obvious horror buttons but is done with such skill and enthusiasm it can't help but batter the viewer into admiring submission. I loved it!! An old fashioned "family movie into haunted house" yarn that goes for broke, referencing everything from 'Poltergeist' and 'The Exorcist' to 'The Amityville Horror' and 'The Entity' via 'The Shining' and 'Don't Look Now' (etc...) and miraculously manages to have its cake and eat it by delivering what is without doubt the most entertaining horror crowd pleaser I have seen in years. I would even say it is probably the best movie of its kind since 'Poltergeist' - the film it most resembles. But more than that the filmmakers were canny enough to play with many of the genres nagging questions, such as "why the hell don't they just leave the house?", so that the action avoids appearing too cliched, while the plot introduces some fairly original developments of its own that add a nicely weird extra dimension to the usual haunted house thrills. Where 'Poltergeist' only let us hear what was happening on the "other side" this film takes us right onto the astral plane and makes even those scenes work brilliantly by a "less is more" approach and clever use of production design (rather than CGI), familiar from the old 'Twilight Zone'/'Outer Limits' TV shows, to create a genuinely unsettling atmosphere the youngsters of today (raised on gore) clearly weren't familiar with, judging by their terrified reactions lol. It's not quite a masterpiece, being much too populist for that, but is the first true horror classic of the decade I have seen - genuinely scary, well acted (Barbara Hershey & Lin Shaye are clearly having a ball), laced with knowing humour and showing a respect for and love of the horror genre that I found utterly irresistible. Allusions to 'Saw' (half decent original followed by rubbish sequels) and 'Paranormal Activity' (bloody awful) on the poster almost put me off but, against all the odds, this is an absolute belter of a supernatural horror movie. Well done to all concerned! It was nice to be made to jump again in the cinema...
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Sunday, May 01, 2011 - 06:12 pm:   

Stevie - check out a much overlooked film by the great Rod Lurie, who's 'Nothing But The Truth' is a superior version of Fair Game, apparently. I watched two nights ago, and it was superb. Everybody acting their socks off, and a story that was intelligent (inspired by real life events, though only working from the Fair Game premise, which obviously was real life), solid, and a thankfully non-condescending as types of these films sometimes are.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - 05:38 pm:   

Saw two quality adult comedies the last couple of days, one of which makes it, the other just misses out:

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Insidious' by James Wan
6. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
7. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
8. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
9. 'Cedar Rapids' by Miguel Arteta
10. 'Route Irish' by Ken Loach

'Cedar Rapids' surprised me greatly by not being one of those crude (but funny) Will Ferrell-type comedies but instead something much subtler and richer. A beautifully played and scripted slow burning character comedy suffused with biting satirical wit and real heart. Think the likes of 'Little Miss Sunshine' or 'Sideways' and that's the company this little gem belongs in. Newcomer (to me), Ed Helms, plays the dorky but sweet smalltown insurance salesman, Tim Lippe (pronounced Lippy), who undergoes a rites of passage nightmare on his first trip into the outside world at an all expenses paid, weekend long, business conference in Cedar Rapids. Once there he falls in with the wrong crowd in the form of hard partying conference veterans; John C. Reilly, Isiah Whitlock & Anne Heche - their motto; "what happens in Cedar Rapids stays in Cedar Rapids". Guileless and trusting in the extreme Helms' innocent child-man ends up "educated in the ways of the world" but also teaches them something about loyalty, honesty and decency along the way - an old story but impeccably well done here without ever going for the obvious belly laugh when an inciteful comment about the human condition will do. A really excellent comedy/drama with a heart of gold and real pathos in the painful development of the central character - and his "new pals". If you don't come out with a warm glow afterward there must be something seriously wrong with you.

'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger' has Woody Allen in cruise control delivering another finely nuanced ensemble comedy of disintegrating relationships - this time triggered by an unfortunate visit to a fortune teller. The stellar cast of mostly British actors; Gemma Jones (who steals the picture), Anthony Hopkins (no ham this time), Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, Antonio Banderas, Lucy Punch, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Anna Friel, Celia Imrie, Pauline Collins, Philip Glenister, Ewen Bremner, Meera Syal, Lynda Baron, and countless other familiar faces, are a testament to Allen's considerable pulling power and all play it as naturalistically as would be expected. The man still doesn't know how to make a bad movie and this one provides plenty of laughs and food for thought but is so cosily familiar it can't help but be seen as a minor work - on a theme he has already nailed several times before - so I can't see it hanging around long in the memory. While it's on it's great and afterward you're left satisfied but knowing you'll be hungry again in a few hours. The one fresh theme that does give it some edge is Allen's surprisingly sympathetic treatment of belief in the supernatural, mainly through Gemma Jones' character and wonderful performance. This is a woman who falls so far under the spell of her whiskey swilling new age guru (Collins) that she radically changes every aspect of her life with seismic repercussions for all those around her - and thereby hangs the tale. If you're a die-hard Woody Allen fan (like myself) you won't be disappointed... but then you already knew that. I know I'd rather watch this than any number of Richard Curtis romcoms - yecch!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 - 05:50 pm:   

Will do, Frank, and thanks for the recommendation. I'm unfamiliar with Rod Lurie's work but sounds good.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, May 05, 2011 - 05:08 pm:   

Well I went to see 'Scream IV' the other night (under duress) and can report that it wasn't quite as awful as I'd expected - 2nd best in the series after the first two perfunctory sequels. What was most impressive was just how hot Neve Campbell & Courteney Cox were in it!! Neither actress did anything particular for me back in the 90s (way too skinny) but both have blossomed into fine looking older women and no mistake. Oh yeah, back to the film... it has its fair share of laughs and mindlessly enjoyable references to other horror movies but is still nothing more than another self reverential vehicle for Wes Craven to pat himself on the back and after the final credits rolled I was left feeling like I'd just stuffed myself on Big Mac's (shudder). It's not quite a turkey and passes the time adequately enough, being competently put together and winningly acted, but adds not one iota of worth to the genre.

Time for a recap of all the new cinema movies I've seen this year:

1. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
2. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
3. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
4. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
5. 'Insidious' by James Wan
6. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
7. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
8. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
9. 'Cedar Rapids' by Miguel Arteta
10. 'Route Irish' by Ken Loach
11. 'Animal Kingdom' by David Michôd
12. 'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger' by Woody Allen
13. 'Hall Pass' by Bobby & Peter Farrelly
14. 'The Ward' by John Carpenter
15. 'Hereafter' by Clint Eastwood
16. 'Brighton Rock' by Rowan Joffe
17. 'The Way Back' by Peter Weir
18. 'The Lincoln Lawyer' by Brad Furman
18. 'Scream IV' by Wes Craven
19. 'Black Swan' by Darren Aronofsky
20. 'I Saw The Devil' by Kim Jee-Woon
21. 'The Rite' by Mikael Håfström
22. 'Confessions' by Tetsuya Nakashima
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James Armstrong (James_armstrong)
Username: James_armstrong

Registered: 10-2010
Posted From: 86.162.163.230
Posted on Saturday, May 07, 2011 - 01:10 am:   

I also enjoyed Insidious Stevie. The audience I was forced to view it with was infuriating: giggling and mocking loudly as though everyone else shared their disdain. Personally I think they failed to realise the fun the makers were having with the genre and its fans. I particularly liked the old school aesthetics of the 'Demon' and his lair, extremely effective without the need for excessive CGI.
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James Armstrong (James_armstrong)
Username: James_armstrong

Registered: 10-2010
Posted From: 86.162.163.230
Posted on Saturday, May 07, 2011 - 01:18 am:   

Did any other viewers see the striking resemblances to Ramsey's stuff? Themes from The Influence came to mind for me.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Saturday, May 07, 2011 - 03:26 am:   

Yes, I see what you mean, James, the little boy lost in the world of the dead on the astral plane and invisible to his loved ones. Obviously Ramsey's horror material is a lot more serious and subtle than the "going for the jugular" frights of 'Insidious' but the filmmakers definitely know their horror onions and that was evident in every scene of the movie. I believe it will come to be seen as the 'Poltergeist' of its era and there can be no higher compliment for such an unashamedly populist horror movie. I loved every obvious second of it.
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.24.1.217
Posted on Sunday, May 08, 2011 - 09:15 pm:   

Off topic a tad, but I saw this fantastic short film at last year's FrightFest which has just popped up online in its entirety (all loaded up by the film-makers, so no copyright/piracy issues). It's called TO MY MOTHER AND FATHER and can be found here: http://vimeo.com/17761305
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, May 08, 2011 - 10:26 pm:   

Thanks for that, John - bloody hell, it's an impressive short.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.118.74.211
Posted on Sunday, May 08, 2011 - 10:36 pm:   

Finally got to see Black Swan and must say I loved it, although it adds nothing new to the Aronofsky canon. Hopefully he doesn't get stuck in a rut - if he isn't already. But I loved it, not least because I love Natalie Portman.
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Alexicon (Alexicon)
Username: Alexicon

Registered: 10-2009
Posted From: 88.111.23.138
Posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 - 03:02 pm:   

Much talk of True Grit here. But for True Grit(iness) check out Baltasar Kormakur's JAR CITY.
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned it. I saw this Icelandic film last year, but I've just noticed that it's available on BBC iPlayer (BBC4) RIGHT NOW.

No spoilers - I'll just say that it's a masterfully grim glimpse of Iceland's underbelly.
If they have a Tourist Board up there, the members might have shot themselves when they saw it.

This is, IMO, the way to make a film.


.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 - 05:51 pm:   

Just looked it up and sounds great, Alex. I see it was made back in 2007. I'm not familiar with Baltasar Kormákur's work but see he's directed six movies to date and been described as Iceland's greatest export since Björk (love her).

You might want to check these out:

101 Reykjavik (2000) - offbeat comedy
The Sea (2002) - ensemble family drama
A Little Trip To Heaven (2005) - multi-strand detective thriller
White Night Wedding (2008) - updated adaptation of the Chekhov play 'Ivanov'
Inhale (2010) - medical horror thriller on the theme of human organ harvesting and illegal transplants

I love discovering obscure auteurs like this guy, thanks.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.179.195.21
Posted on Monday, May 09, 2011 - 07:02 pm:   

JAR CITY was on tv last night so I recorded it - sounds intriguing.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 07:50 pm:   

Hey, Stevie, you seen SALT? I saw it last night, and for what it is, I thought it just a wild and enjoyable romp of a film. Absurd, yes, but then it's basically a Bond-world thriller, so you don't expect reality. It's got whiplash twists and turns; intelligent, constantly keeping the viewer on his or her toes and guessing, from beginning to end. Much much better than I expected! (From when I heard they replaced the lead from the great spec, a male [long supposed to be Tom Cruise], making it Angela Jolie instead.) Put it in your queue, if you've not already....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 07:56 pm:   

The sound of it didn't appeal, Craig, but your recommendation has me interested. The only film I've enjoyed Angelina Jolie in was Eastwood's 'Changeling'. Not an actress I usually warm to but she was good in it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 08:01 pm:   

Give it a chance, Stevie. I'll buy you any other movie you want off Amazon if you end up hating it....

I'm like you, she's not an actress I warm to either. But man, if there was ever a role made for one contemporary actress? It was SALT.

(One more thing: don't read up on it, go into it as absolutely blind as you can. Just fwiw.)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 08:22 pm:   

I watched JAR CITY the other day - it was excellent. Thanks for the recommendation, Alexicon.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.178.81.136
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 10:04 pm:   

Good, wasn't it, but as Alex says, it doesn't too much for prospect6ive tourism!
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.242.169
Posted on Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 11:05 pm:   

We saw ATTACK THE BLOCK today, which while it's been advertised as a comedy is more a fun SF action romp with chavs vs aliens in a tower block. It's from Nira Park et all who produced SPACED, SHAUN OF THE DEAD & others, and writer-director Joe Cornish (of Adam & Joe) packs it with literary SF references for those of us who get a kick out of that sort of thing (the boys all live in Wyndham Tower, which is on Ballard Street, Clarke Court is next door, etc) but these are all blink and you'll miss them moments that don't get in the way of what is on the whole a great Sunday afternoon time waster.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.158.60.210
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 - 12:17 am:   

@Craig - I'm pretty certain I read that the original lead for Salt was Matt damon rather than Tom Cruise
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 - 06:17 am:   

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117990392

And don't you EVER QUESTION ME AGAIN!!!!!!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 - 04:46 pm:   

Saw 'SALT' at the weekend, Craig, and I enjoyed it in a mindlessly entertaining kind of way. The action set pieces and punishment Jolie's body took made it feel more like a super-hero movie than any kind of serious spy thriller. I mean Evelyn Salt must have been made of rubber for her to be able to do all those things! It was fun but oddly forgettable with it, like a big dumb cartoon. I much prefer the grit of the Bourne movies. I suppose there are going to be a string of sequels to this as well?

I also saw 'The Hangover' and loved it. A brilliant dark comedy of accumulating disasters with a great cast of newcomers. Was good to see Bradley Cooper & Ed Helms in something else, and every bit as likeable as they were in 'Limitless' & 'Cedar Rapids'. As good as they were, though, Zack Galifianakis, as the bearded oddball, stole the picture imo.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 - 04:57 pm:   

Glad you liked it Stevie. Yeah, it's one big comic book, popcorn overload. I doubt there'll be more with Jolie in it, she doesn't seem like the type to stoop to sequels anymore.

I loved THE HANGOVER too! Such a giant hit here in the States. Everywhere I go I see the sequel's billboards, the bus-stop ads, etc. And I tell you something... if you didn't know it was a comedy, the way these ads are done, you'd swear it was some SAW-esque horror movie....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, May 23, 2011 - 07:57 pm:   

'The Hangover Part II' opens here this week, Craig, and I will be going to see it now. It's the same cast and this time Stu (Ed Helms) is the one tying the knot, in Bangkok. Should be a laugh and good to see Todd Phillips is the writer/director again.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Sunday, May 29, 2011 - 01:52 am:   

Well, I've just watched Black Swan and I thought it was fucking brilliant. There are few thing better in cinema than watching good actors act out of their skin - and this film demonstrated that. A really, really good film filed with cracking performances - particularly by Natalie Portman.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.58.66
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 12:50 pm:   

Glad you liked it, Zed. Portman is beauty incarnate. I cannot conceive of anyone not liking her. And what an actress!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 01:58 pm:   

Portman is beauty incarnate

I really can't argue with that, Hubert...she's stunning.

I liked this film for most of the reasons Stevie-boy hated it. It's like some mad old gaudy opera: utterly over the top and garish as hell. Total entertainment, for me.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 02:28 pm:   

Thought you'd probably like it, Zed.

I'm a little bit excited as I'm off to see 'Taxi Driver' on the big screen for the first time tonight. Haven't watched it in about 15 years... absolute fucking masterpiece!!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.58.66
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 02:58 pm:   

What a coincidence. Saw Taxi Driver only a couple of days ago, after a very long time. I'd totally forgotten that Jodie Foster's longhaired pimp is played by Harvey Keitel. The only part I don't like is the ending where De Niro is lauded for his actions etc. It seems tacked on, not part of the story. I look forward to seeing Mean Streets again as well.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 03:35 pm:   

Taxi Driver is the greatest film of all time, for me. Flawless. Actually, no it isn't: Scorsese actually scratched the negative, because he was terrified that he might have created something perfect and didn't want the responsibility of doing so. That's how obsessed he was.

Hubert - I don't think the ending feels tacked-on; it's an addendum, a final irony.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.139.112
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 03:41 pm:   

Argh, Zed sounds a bit like Stevie!

I cannot cope with such cognitive dissonance. Hand me a febrifuge.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 05:04 pm:   

My entire life is a state of cognitive dissonance, mate.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 05:40 pm:   

I am in complete agreement with Zed, re 'Taxi Driver'. It usually floats around 3rd to 5th place in my All Time Favourite Films list.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.139.112
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 05:46 pm:   

So it's the greatest film ever made and comes 3rd, 4th or 5th in your list? :-)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 05:57 pm:   

Pedants unite! 'Taxi Driver' has call to be recognised as arguably the greatest film ever made and, as such, I cannot disagree with Zed's singling it out as his choice for that accolade.

For me that honour belongs to 'Once Upon A Time In America' but there have been times when 'Taxi Driver' has even threatened it. After tonight it may well do so again...

Hubert, the ending is perfect imo. A thoroughly satisfying twist that says so much about the vagaries of public opinion. Travis Bickle is the greatest anti-hero in cinema, and De Niro's performance is the most complete possession of an actor by a character in motion picture history. Try and out-hyperbole me will ya, Zed!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.31.139.112
Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 - 06:21 pm:   

Right, let's settle this with a fight! :-)
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 02:23 am:   

Fuck me! That was awesome! I am high on cinema right now!

'Taxi Driver' embodies the coming together, at the most auspicious period of time, of the greatest creative team who ever set out to make a movie. It has everything. The film works as old fashioned noir (Jesus, that achingly beautiful jazz soundtrack and the concentration on character over incident) and as the ultimate stand alone movie of the greatest decade in cinema history and as a pointer to everything that was to come. It is profound, it is entertaining, it is unpredictable, it is very funny, it is depressing, it is uplifting, it is tragic, and it is as perfect a depiction of Hell on Earth and Ultimate Redemption as has ever been envisaged.

Martin, Bob, Paul, Bernard, everyone involved with this perfect work of art... I salute you.

Travis Bickle is the Godfather of geekdom. A fucking lunatic who went on to inspire everything from the punk movement, to Talking Heads, to nerds and psychopaths everywhere. John Hinckley & Peter Jackson take note - by the vagaries of fate one can either be branded a hero or a villain, a visionary or a madman.

Poetry in motion, literature as mise-en-scène, cinema as the artform Griffiths & Chaplin always insisted it was...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 06:30 am:   

Hey Stevie - I saw ANIMAL KINGDOM tonight - loved it! Your review was great, but you forgot to mention the guy who stole the movie for me, "Pope," played by Ben Mendelsohn. (SPOILERS) His arc compliments (movie) Craig's downward spiral: Pope enters screen sneaking in through the back, creeping around, nervous and tic-y, like a frightened cat... ends up being the cunning lion, the vicious leader of the pack... who's finally (after many head-fakes) outwitted.... Anyway, wonderful flick. I'm going to have to check out those other "down under" films you mention (I've seen and love ROMPER STOMPER, but not those other two).
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 01:13 pm:   

It was a great unpretentious lowlife crime thriller of the type I love. Glad you liked it too, Craig.

The film also contains one of the most disturbingly underplayed and vicious murder scenes I have ever seen... you know the one I mean, when Pope crosses the line into full blown psychopathic paranoia. It was a startling performance, whining one minute, snarling the next. I still think the mother was the real monster of the movie, though, the dark heart of the murderous clan.

Australian cinema does these kind of movies with a raw authenticity that would make a person afraid to visit the place, nevermind live there.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 07:35 am:   

Hey, Stevie. I mostly agree with your assessment of YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, which I just saw tonight—like you, I'm a die-hard Woody Allen fan, so it's hard to be objective. Unlike you (and I assume as it would be for a non-Brit like me?) I recognized almost no one, except of course the major international actors. I think he gave the supernatural a sympathetic belief in that he's sort of saying (but what is Woody ever really saying?) that it's as good as any other tonic for the mind, including the massive quantities of alcohol the characters in this film consume. A movie that this compliments in my mind, or one that came to mind, was the Coen brothers' recent A SERIOUS MAN; as in that flick, YWMATDS shows us characters in various degrees of self-inflicted woe, who here after about the halfway mark (there's a crashing break Woody intentionally inserts, news of the car accident), go so fast downhill, that all that came before, seems like nothing at all.... I thought Naomi Watts was, of all things, the weakest link in the chain of these fine actors—I never thought I'd say this, but she just wasn't up to par here. Indeed, it must be the familiar territory that does make it like you say, "knowing you'll be hungry again in a few hours"; curious why that is, why films like HUSBANDS AND WIVES and CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS stay with you, and only reward repeated re-viewings. But then again, I've only just seen this. And hell, I'm sure you'll agree—Woody Allen makes it seem so goddamned easy! A minor Woody film still blows away almost any film you put up against it—even ANIMAL KINGDOM (just the last one I saw I'm drawing forth), though a completely different film in every way, would be forced to bow down in respect....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 12:42 pm:   

Meant to say I finally got to see 'A Serious Man' a few months back and thought it was brilliant. Certainly one of the Coens' best films of the last 10 years - when they have been a bit patchy. It was great to see them make such a low-key labour of love film again without the grand histrionics or forced wackiness that often mars their comedies (imo). In fact I would say it is their most successful comedy/drama to date. A witty, profound and surprisingly personal rumination on the pitfalls and comforts of religious faith. Graham Greene would have loved this movie...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 12:59 pm:   

**** SPOILERS ****

Craig, I thought the best acted scene in YWMATDS was the climactic argument between Naomi Watts & Gemma Jones, when the daughter, clearly at the end of her tether, asks her mother for a loan to bail her out, and mother, with chilling finality, refuses because her fortune teller has advised her not to get involved with any new financial transactions. In many ways it was the key scene of the whole film - practical reality clashing against headstrong superstition.

The thing is, the previously downtrodden and neglected mother gained a new found strength of character from her patently ridiculous beliefs and, in the end, got all she wanted - a whole new life. Interesting to ponder how consciously complicit she was in her interpretations of the sage's predictions...
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 01:28 pm:   

Yes, Animal Kingdom is pretty good and the characters of Pope and the mother add real psychological bite – without those two it would be a rather routine film, but they define the house's atmosphere and dominate scenes they are not even in.

And yes, Australian cinema does rather give a different perspective from those interminable 'There's nothing like Australia' tourism ads in the cinema. They didn't show that with Animal Kingdom, I noticed.

Here's a disturbing piece of information from the British Medical Journal: the biggest single cause of death in young women (aged 18 to 40) in Australia is violence. That includes a high frequency of deaths from organ failure resulting from repeated beatings.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 02:59 pm:   

I visited Australia - Sydney & the Blue Mountains - about seven years ago and it's a fearsomely beautiful place, but I did find the people somewhat intimidating. There is a constant undercurrent of cocky "you talking to me" macho aggression evident in every sphere of life. Even the women have that quality about them.

They are terrible bad losers and would be very easy people to wind up, only I wouldn't advise it... Keep them sweet and they're the salt of the earth, the heart and soul of "park your arse down" hospitality, but get ready for a fight if you dare disagree with them.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 03:59 pm:   

(SPOILERS) That climactic scene indeed is a great one, Stevie: you see, or maybe realize is the better word, the tangle of emotions that Naomi Watts must be going through, because she's so indulged her mother's fantasies for so long up to that point... and now that indulgence is biting her in the ass. But I say "realize" because even here, Naomi Watts just doesn't seem to be up to what's necessary to carry this role into the stratosphere. I adore her, but she's just not, for me, capable of this kind of acting; there was something restrained (and I mean in a bad way) about her throughout.

But I didn't see it as "practical reality clashing against headstrong superstition," because Woody's usual high artistry casts the scene in total ambiguity: is it indeed as you paint it, or is Gemma Jones finally being revealed as a cunning manipulator of those around her? is she being manipulated by the medium to say this, or is this a glimpse into what might have pushed Anthony Hopkins away to begin with—her passive-aggressive tyrannical controlling of anyone who enters her atmosphere?

Her storyline is oddly parallel to Judy Davis' in HUSBANDS AND WIVES, with the occult bookseller standing in for Liam Neeson here: here too, as in that film, we have the burgeoning new love, and then the final blow-up between the two, followed by the occult bookseller's acquiescence to Gemma (again, ambiguity: did he really get a message from his dead wife? or is he just saying that, because love [need? guilt?] have pushed him over the edge?).

Woody is his usual uncertain self about things "supernatural" here, in his films at least (he's an avowed atheist): the knocking at the table during the seance, he casts that scene so mundanely, that we are totally uncertain whether it's a real "message" or again some kind of fakery. When we think the medium might be right, we get her messages about Naomi Watts not "ruling out" Antonio Banderas... but again, is that the medium, or is that Gemma Jones manipulating things again?...

Masterful film, and few films can sustain this kind of analysis—and there's so much more to touch upon (like the "tall dark stranger" actually being Death, as Josh Brolin intimates)—only Woody can make films like that, even when he seems not to be trying too hard....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 05:47 pm:   

That's what I meant when I wondered was she consciously choosing her own interpretation of what the fortune teller said in order to get her own way, to finally be able to stand up to and manipulate her family. She was so wide-eyed and innocent throughout the film, apart from that scene, when a new cold-eyed steeliness seemed to have possessed her.

I think she went to the fortune teller in a desperate and unhappy state, really wanting to believe, then, when she saw how her belief was being humoured by those around her, she realised she could use it as a means of getting her own way and out of an unhappy life. By the end of the film she was in complete control and the predictions had become merely her justification for hard-nosed decisions.

I loved what happened to Josh Brolin's character. What a prat lol!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 05:54 pm:   

Craig, is anyone who was brought up in the Jewish or Catholic or any other stridently traditional faith an avowed atheist? The Coens made this very point in 'A Serious Man' and Graham Greene struggled with it all his life. Once it's in you it's in you... and I don't mean the dogma, which I detest along with Woody, but the need to know, the thirst for spiritual truth.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 04:37 pm:   

I'm not sure Woody is "thirsting for spiritual truth," I personally don't get that from his films, Stevie. Maybe it's totally unconscious, but I don't see it in his movies. He uses the spiritual world as a story tool, and he's more concerned with the Shakespearean-sublime level handling of the concept of LOVE—not the "love" of rom-coms and serials and simple dramas, but again, the wholly higher and deeper analysis of interpersonal human relationships.

He doesn't flinch from things painful, either: YWMATDS skewers with hot pokers marriages, dating, husbands and wives, dreamers, artists, writers (youch, writers get stabbed here!), aging with dignity, age questing after youth, etc. And only Woody can create a movie that deals with writers and artists that yet isn't fucking pretentious angst-y garbage.

Interesting, Stevie: Nicole Kidman was slated to play Charmaine, but pulled out at the last minute. I can't imagine her in that role!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 05:01 pm:   

Woody handled the whole spiritual quest for truth theme most explicitly in 'Hannah And Her Sisters'. Only someone raised in a rigidly traditional faith could have done so with so much humour, understanding and back-handed affection. 'A Serious Man' was the Coen Brothers tackling their own problems with Judaism in a similar manner, and Larry David has made a career out of it lol.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 05:50 pm:   

Nicole Kidman as a brassy tart... nah.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, June 05, 2011 - 02:40 pm:   

Right, I'm off to see 'The Hangover Part II'. Here's hoping it's up to the first one...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:19 pm:   

I had high hopes of 'The Hangover Part II' but they were sadly unfounded. This movie has profit oriented artistic cop-out written all over it, following the intelligence of the original, and show the man responsible, Todd Phillips, up as a hack director who landed a one-off surprise hit he didn't have the talent or balls to follow up on. The cast are all as likeable as they were in Part I but their charisma is wasted on this virtual joke-by-joke retread, that merely switches the action from Las Vegas to Bangkok, with all the cheap ladyboy and ping-pong ball jokes that entails. It starts brilliantly, and all the funniest scenes are in the first 20 minutes, but once the exact same scenario develops as last time things get very tired very quickly. Not the worst comedy I've ever seen, but a real disappointment, given what it could have been.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:35 pm:   

Let's be honest, though - the original was merely a half-decent retread of Bachelor Party. I certainy enjoyed the film, but am amazed at the huge level of success it's enjoyed.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:36 pm:   

Actually, it was a retread of Bachelor Party mixed with Bad Things...both of which are superior films to The Hangover.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:38 pm:   

Very Bad Things, I meant...the Jon Favereau film, directed by Peter Berg. Good film, that.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:43 pm:   

I thought 'The Hangover' was one of the funniest dark comedies in years. It got the mixture of camaraderie and cynicism just right, imo, and the cast were superb. They're very good again, in this sequel, but can't save the lack of spine in the set-up. Everything that happened in Part I happens again with a few minor tweaks and a different setting... very poor cash-in material, I'm afraid.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:48 pm:   

Like I said, I did enjoy the film - but don't think it's anywhere near as good as other people seem to. The guy with the beard made the film - without him, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as good.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 12:51 pm:   

I enjoyed 'Very Bad Things' but thought it veered more into bad taste for the sake of it, at the expense of genuine humour. 'The Hangover' got the balance just right imo. Haven't seen 'Bachelor Party'.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 01:50 pm:   

I think Very Bad Things is an under-rated gem of a movie, Stevie.

Diaz and Slater, too mention just two of the actors, are hideously brilliant in all their nastiness in this film. The nastiness makes sense when you relate it to having this poor hooker/stripper getting killed for all these desperate, over-sexed men at the beginning.

I also thought The Hangover to be wildly over-rated, well, for a comedy. It works much better not viewed as a straight out comedy. But Hangover II, I think the trailer for once summed up what I felt about it.

If I had written the movie, I'd have had the genius of Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman on a stag night out to some backyard Balkan town (with chainsaws and ten minute monologue's and a dog called Boris).
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 02:08 pm:   

with chainsaws and ten minute monologue's and a dog called Boris

That sounds like my kind of movie...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 03:01 pm:   

Paul Giamatti was completely wasted in 'Hangover II', he may as well not have been in it. One of my favourite actors at the minute. 'American Splendor' & 'Sideways' are two of the finest comedy dramas of recent years and his two best films imo.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 03:26 pm:   

Stevie - Check out Cold Souls and Story Telling, Giamatti proving along with Philip Seymour Hoffman why they are the best actors in the world.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.169.240
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 03:28 pm:   

Very Bad Things - Zed, that sounds like one of your books!
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 04:56 pm:   

Oh that's right, Frank, Paul was in STORYTELLING! I gotta see that again. Todd Solodnz is one of the most (currently) underrated writer/directors. And I've not seen LIFE DURING WARTIME yet, gotta remember to go get that one....

Also, Frank, I hear Paul Giamatti's recent WIN WIN is another must-see film.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.169.240
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 05:05 pm:   

Anyone see Cold Souls?
I like Giamatti. A non-good-looking actor who seems liked by everyone.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 05:38 pm:   

Totally agree with you re Todd Solondz, Craig. A great writer/director and a Talking Heads fan to boot!

I was sorry I missed that recent mediaeval splatter movie 'Ironclad' with Giamatti in it. He's always brilliant but seems to be morphing into one of those criminally underused "character actors". Same thing seems to be happening with Philip Seymour Hoffman - another fantastic actor. It was 'Boogie Nights' & 'Happiness' first won me over to him.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 05:42 pm:   

Craig - anything Giamatti is in, is elvated by the fact he's in it. And I hate hearing him sometimes mentioned as a character actor. He's a God among actors. Watch him in Cold Souls, outstanding.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 05:49 pm:   

That's the way popular cinema operates, sadly, the really great actors and actresses, whose looks don't fit, tend to be relegated to "character roles" by the wankers in suits. To see them at their best one needs to watch independent cinema. I'd love to see both those actors work with someone like Woody Allen or Mike Leigh, or have either of them already?
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 10:00 pm:   

Hoffman and Giamatti are thankfully given lead roles nearly all the time now. But look what happened to William H Macy, relegated to the American version of Shameless.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, June 06, 2011 - 11:49 pm:   

'True Grit' has been kicked into touch... I have just seen my new Film of the Year and I very much doubt it will be beaten. Only one word can describe this instant masterpiece... or-fucking-gasmic!!

But to find out what it is you'll have to wait until the morning cos I'm knackered and off to bed now.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.181.83.109
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 12:35 am:   

Tease!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.144.33.42
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 01:31 am:   

I hate it when he beats around the bush and you don't know if he likes it or not
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Seanmcd (Seanmcd)
Username: Seanmcd

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 81.159.205.146
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 01:42 am:   

Kung Fu Panda 2.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.144.33.42
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 01:49 am:   

Good ? Bad? Indifferent?
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 71.228.39.43
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 03:00 am:   

I'm guessing Stevie's seen SUPER 8.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 08:26 am:   

No, I'll bet it was a special early screening of MOODY JUDY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 85.222.86.21
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 08:34 am:   

I've been saying Super 8 looked like this generation's version of CEOTTK. It looks wonderful.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.144.33.42
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 09:53 am:   

13 assasins
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.169.240
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:09 am:   

Craig - who's in that? Sounds great!
I saw a bit of this film Lady Vengeance the other night and it looked quite amazing. I went off Japanese cinema for a while as I found Crouching Tiger sort of dull, along with all the 'copies'.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:12 am:   

Tony - there's been loads written on this forum about Lady Vengeance. It's tremendous. And part of a trilogy - Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy being the other two (brilliant) films.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:14 am:   

And these films are South Korean, btw...oh, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is Chinese (Mandarin-language).
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:15 am:   

So it begs the question, why would a Chinese film put you off Japanese cinema?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.132.169.240
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:17 am:   

Oh, Zed - they all look the same to me!
;)
I do need to see more of them, I do admit, and make note of what I'm watching.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 11:28 am:   

(shakes head)...Tony, Tony, Tony...entire cultural heritages wiped out in a single statement. Shame on you.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 01:17 pm:   

I've never even heard of 'Super 8'! Must check it out...

Weber only knew what film it was because I texted him in the first rush of post-orgasmic ecstasy. I've calmed down a little bit now and can perhaps begin to put my thoughts into coherent sense. I have a new Top 10:

1. 'Thirteen Assassins' by Takashi Miike
2. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
3. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
4. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
5. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
6. 'Insidious' by James Wan
7. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
8. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
9. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger
10. 'Cedar Rapids' by Miguel Arteta

I’ve long been a fan of Takashi Miike’s brand of no-holds-barred genre cinema and consider him one of the most naturally talented auteur directors of the modern era, though not without reservations, as he could just as often be as self-indulgent as he could be inspired. I went to see his latest film, ‘Thirteen Assassins’, in my local arthouse expecting another entertainingly gore-soaked Miike extravaganza. His postmodern spin on the classic samurai movie of Akira Kurosawa, perhaps? I expected to be wowed but I did not expect this… Miike has, at a single bound, thrust himself into the upper echelon of cinema greats, and produced what is easily his masterpiece – reducing all his earlier films to warm-up projects – and has made the finest film of its kind to come out of Japan since ‘Ran’ (1985).

What is so astonishing about this instant masterpiece of world cinema, aside from the sheer mastery of directorial technique, is the restraint this former firebrand shows and the unequivocal respect he pays to the legacy of Japan’s greatest cinema and to the shogun warriors of history. There is no mickey-taking here, there is no nod-and-a-wink posing, this is Miike showing he can make a work of great cinema that can more than hold its own with any of the epics from yesteryear. When I call this glorious film the ‘Apocalypse Now’ of samurai movies it isn’t for bombastic effect, it is because that is precisely what it is. The majesty of the cinematography, the way it captures the sweeping beauty of every landscape and costume in immaculate detail, matches anything by Vittorio Storaro – bright and vivid is the splendour of nature, muted and overcast the grim glory of battle, shadowed and intense the palace corridors where internecine plotting takes place. To look at alone this is an awe-inspiring work of art. But don’t think you’re in for another one of those bloody awful ‘Leaping Tiger, Springing Rabbit’ type monstrosities – all show and no content, with fight scenes about as realistic as a Looney Tunes cartoon. Yes, there is no CGI bollocks (apart from one tiny scene I spotted) or flying through the air on invisible wires to land on an outstretched leaf crap in this film. It’s all as raw and visceral and old fashioned, in its every finely nuanced and staggeringly well staged detail, as anything by the great action directors – think Kurosawa in ‘The Seven Samurai’ or ‘Yojimbo’, think John Sturges in ‘The Magnificent Seven’ or ‘The Great Escape’, Kubrick in ‘Paths Of Glory’ or ‘Full Metal Jacket’, Leone in ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’ or ‘A Fistful Of Dynamite’, Peckinpah in ‘The Wild Bunch’ or ‘Cross Of Iron’, Coppola in that war movie, or any other of the great cinema spectacles you care to mention – this film, this masterwork, this glorious outpouring of genius, belongs in that company!!!!

But there’s more… what is spectacle without character and plot? You got it here in spades. The film begins with a scene that is almost unbearably painful to watch – a lone individual commits hara-kiri in front of the Imperial Palace, as a protest against the injustice of his Lord, and this provides the springboard for political turmoil and conspiracy in the corridors of power that has all the absorbing intensity of ‘I, Claudius’. At the heart of this strife, that threatens to tear apart the rigidly disciplined code of honour at the heart of the Japanese ruling class, in the mid-19th century (yes, we have guns and explosives as well as swords, folks!), is a performance of towering villainy, by Goro Inagaki as Lord Naritsugu, that I strongly suspect was inspired by John Hurt’s unforgettable turn as Caligula in that TV show. This is a weedy pale faced child-man of a psychopathic spoilt brat who was born into power and proceeded to live out his every twisted whim with impunity, and the Japanese code means not a living soul can touch him. You want Miike horror, you got it in the scenes in which he indulges his depravities – including the most horrific thing happening to a person you will ever see on film, he took it from a certain notorious Pan Horror story by one Alan Temperley (are you getting excited yet?). Finally, the powers that be come to a forced compromise, this insult to the honour of the Japanese people cannot be allowed to continue, and one man is tacitly chosen from the elite to hand-pick a team of samurai warriors to commit the unthinkable… assassination of a ruling Lord. This means dishonour and death for all of them, to be cast as eternal pariahs, but for a greater good. The sheer emotional depth Miike puts into these long slow scenes of agonised political wrangling behind closed doors is what lifts this movie up into the stratosphere. The honour based Japanese culture is brought to life in a way that shows all the doomed tragedy of the end of the great shogun era, and you know what, every detail of the story is honest to goodness historical fact!! So we have a spellbinding historical epic, based on one of the most notorious incidents in their history, we have horror, we have beauty, we have intrigue, we have fantastic acting, and I haven’t even got into the action scenes yet.

But first the picking of the team and introduction to each of the characters. These scenes are where I really started to feel the goosebumps rise, because they are every bit as restrained and character based as anything else in the movie. We meet twelve shogun warriors, each for whatever reason without a master and with nothing to lose, they are made a proposition that is shocking to them and each has to be won over to the cause. We have the speciality weapons so beloved of these type of movies but none of them are over-egged – which marks a quantum leap forward in Miike’s maturity as a filmmaker. We have the different personalities; the steely-eyed charismatic leader, his loyal second-in-command, the joker, the loner, the callow youth, the carouser, the brains, the brawn, etc, etc… and there are twelve of them! Once assembled they are cast adrift into the dense rainforest, men without a nation, men with but one goal, to lay down their lives in the taking of one… with an army of 170 armoured soldiers between them and him. I could feel my heart starting to slow bump by this stage. Then comes a long and beautifully played bonding sequence in which they must survive and find their way in the wilderness as they trek towards Naritsugu’s domain, and it is here they pick up the mysterious thirteenth assassin, and most ambiguous character in the film. Who is he, how does he win their trust and join their band, what becomes of him, and what are his real motives, you’ll have to watch the film to find out – and like everything else in this epic story, don’t expect the unexpected or vice versa.

Then, having reached the environs of their target, and I won’t say if they all make it, starts a game of chess. Naritsugu, like all great tyrants, has become as paranoid as he has convinced of his own immortality, and it is up to our band of doomed heroes to lure him and his inseparable army into the perfect trap. After some fascinating intrigues, and mouth-wateringly bloody minor skirmishes, in which allies are gained and friends lost, they finally lure the madman into a fatal error and have him where they want him. But I still haven’t mentioned the most magical and tragic element of the plot. Our stoic unflappable leader, a brilliant, powerfully charismatic performance by Koji Yakusho (as Shinzaemon) that is worthy of Toshiro Mifune, Yul Brynner or Clint Eastwood at their meanest, is faced with taking down his former classmate, colleague and lifelong friend, a man of unswerving honour and the man in charge of protecting Naritsugu’s life, at all costs – the equally brilliant and charismatic Masachika Ichimura (as Hanbei). As these two noble warriors face each other the mix of love and hatred, and palpable sense of betrayal, but who is betraying who, is positively Shakespearean in its profound emotional resonance. They are the last two of their breed and they understand this… one of them will die to protect a man he loathes with every sinew of his body, because that is the way of the samurai, the other, shockingly, has sworn to take the life of his Lord, as a samurai turned “cheap” assassin. We know neither of them can win and as we watch their mighty duel of wits and swordsmanship we know we are witnessing the death of a code, of a way of life, of honour itself… in these scenes the shivers were running through me and they weren’t all due to excitement.

Anyway they have Naritsugu, Hobei and an army of 170 men boxed in, held in an ingenious trap, and ranged against them are what remains of Shinzaemon’s commando force. The odds are insurmountable, every one of them is bound to die this day, but as long as Naritsugu, the white preening monster at the heart of the maelstrom, dies too then victory is their’s… a moment of silence falls as the reality of the situation sinks in. We were well over an hour and a half into the epic by this stage, my hearting was thudding in my chest, I could hear the blood rushing in my ears. I turned and looked at the row of people sat next to me, they were all, to a man, wide-eyed and gape-jawed in spellbound attention, there wasn’t a whisper in the whole auditorium. I gulped and looked back at the screen. A sword was raised, “Kill! Kill them all!!” cried the subtitle and, sweet jesus, I almost came in my pants!

For the next 45 MINUTES the most glorious battle scene I have ever witnessed exploded across the screen. You may be thinking, bollocks, how could thirteen (or any small group of men) take on and realistically defeat an army? Shades of the ridiculous spectacle of 'Kill Bill' may haunt your thoughts. They whittle the numbers down gradually by brilliantly choreographed and convincing sneak attacks and subterfuge, until the odds are roughly 10 to 1, then it's a matter of each samurai taking on ten soldiers in hand-to-hand combat while they work their way steadily inwards toward their loathsome goal. The camera swept over every detail, sometimes rising high for a panoramic view of the bloodshed, then swooping in for an intimate duel, and perhaps the glorious death or victory of an individual we have spent hours bonding with. The pace is relentless, the editing a faultless work of supreme genius, the gore plenty but pleasingly understated – no ridiculous arterial sprays hitting the heavens but the thunk and hack of real steel slicing through real flesh and bone. The blood, the mud, the filth is all incredibly authentic – remember, no CGI, no wirework, no supernatural powers – just men hacking each other to pieces in unpretentious spectacular detail. During this whole glorious sequence I think my heart stopped about five times and I may even have had a spontaneous emission or two. The final scene, the big showdown, caps it all off perfectly – and again it is as authentic as real history, so don’t expect any Hollywood clichés. Afterwards I was still sitting, gazing at a blank screen, mouth hanging open, eyes a-goggle, when the house lights went up and a staff member passed picking up discarded rubbish. I got up and left the cinema, walked home through the rain like a man in a daze, and I’m still reeling this morning. Quite simply Takashi Miike has made the greatest cinematic orgasm of all time in this stunning, absolutely stunning masterpiece!!!! Go see it on the big wide screen, people, do not miss it. To watch this through a letterbox on the telly is to miss one of the great joys of 2011 and of your cinemagoing life. There, I think I’ve just about calmed down now…
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.166.117.210
Posted on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 - 01:27 pm:   

See what I mean, Tony?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 03:46 am:   

Craig - who's in that? Sounds great!

Ha! Tony, I was only kidding. Yes, there is a film hitting theaters with that title, but it looks like a true horror film - intended for squirrely twelve year-old girls....

Stevie, I judged how much you liked 13 ASSASSINS by the sheer length of your post, which made me determined not read it - because you've convinced me to see it, and so I don't want to be now spoiled by too much knowing. Must have been quite a film.....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 11:52 am:   

I haven't been that energised by a big cinema epic in too many years, Craig.

It marks Miike's coming of age as a film director imho.
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 03:36 pm:   

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2008/oct/19/horror-film-frankenstein-halloween-hi tchcock
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 82.210.134.81
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 03:39 pm:   

http://horror.about.com/od/2011theatricalreviews/fr/Super-8-Movie-Review.htm
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 05:05 pm:   

I've been wracking my brains for ages trying to remember the name of that film, 'La Zona', Frank, so thanks for reminding me.

I read the Guardian review at the time and it had my mouth watering. Must check if it's available on DVD?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 05:08 pm:   

Hmmmm... 'Super 8' sounds a bit dodgy to my jaded sensibilities, with regard to Spielbergian excess, I fear.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 06:02 am:   

Having finished with FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and now having seen every Bond movie (out of order) yet again (and btw, maybe the greatest single series of connected films [i.e., through characters, etc.] ever made), I will now rank (Stevie's copyrighted the term "list") the top 10 greatest James Bond theme songs, according to me:

1) "Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me)" Carly Simon
2) "GoldenEye" Tina Turner (music by Bono/The Edge)
3) "Another Way to Die" Jack White/Alicia Keys
4) "Goldfinger" Shirley Bassey
5) "Die Another Day" Madonna
6) "All Time High" Rita Coolidge (OCTOPUSSY)
7) "Live and Let Die" Paul McCartney & Wings
8) "For Your Eyes Only" Sheena Easton
9) "Diamonds Are Forever" Shirley Bassey
10) "You Only Live Twice" Nancy Sinatra
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.31.19.28
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 08:56 am:   

You very sad man.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.147.142.168
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 09:13 am:   

You very sad man indeed. surely Louis Armstrong's We Have All the Time in the World beats that entire list into a top hat...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 12:54 pm:   

Nice list, Craig. I'm not a huge McCartney fan but his solo career certainly had its moments and 'Live And Let Die' tops that list, for me. I was also rather fond of Duran Duran's 'A View To A Kill' & 'The Living Daylights' by A-Ha. But don't get me started on Bond lists!!

Looking forward to tonight's film in the QFT. It's a new Spanish horror movie called 'Julia's Eyes', directed by Guillem Morales, another young protégé of Guillermo del Toro. Here's hoping...
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.122.109.63
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 01:54 pm:   

Weber - it wasn't a theme that one, it was just in one of the films.
I tried playing that on our piano yesterday, and You Only live Twice.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 02:48 pm:   

Yeah, Weber!

Those were fine, Stevie, but not up to the others. I now think the Daniel Craig retreads, btw, though superb, no question... that the high points of the series really were the Pierce Brosnan entries; which perfected the form, rather than broke the mold slightly like the Craig's did, to create something new-ish... still, looking forward to next year's new one!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.176
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 04:20 pm:   

I love the Bond movies, but have to say I found the Brosnan's sort of flat. But yes, Craig's films feel like 'efforts' to do something, not quite right in themselves. That said I think Casino Royale was one of the very best of the lot, and one of my greatest trips to the cinema ever.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 04:28 pm:   

So Brosnan filled your template did he Craig?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 04:42 pm:   

I agree, Tony - those two Craig Bonds (connected, actually: two parts of one whole) are phenomenal! But they are just askew (Weber) of the fine conventions and form that the Bond films established... films, I think, that are keepers of secret knowledge.....
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.176
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 05:40 pm:   

Craig - you should change your terms for describing film, from template to that thing they use to describe certain poetry - oh, like iambic pentameters or something.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 06:01 pm:   

The Bond films are fascinating constructs for the way they trace the history of popular culture and social values through five decades.

I loved 'Casino Royale' and thought 'Quantum Of Solace' was dreadful - a crushing disappointment and the weakest of the series to date imo. My favourite is a toss-up between 'You Only Live Twice' & 'Diamonds Are Forever' (the most violent of all the Bonds and the most under-appreciated imo).

Oh, feck it, here goes. Ranked by order of entertainment value, by which I mean the mixture of thrills, sex & humour that has always been the mark of a great Bond movie and that was at its peak in the gloriously hedonistic 1960s. And I've thrown in the two unofficial Bond movies just for fun. Connery is Bond, all other actors have merely been keeping the part warm for him...

1. 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) - Sean Connery, Bond's finest hour, and has the two best villains of the series in Donald Pleasence & Charles Gray.
2. 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971) - Sean Connery, and the only one of the series that captured the new grit and violence of the 1970s, and with Charles Gray again in his most menacing form.
3. 'Goldfinger' (1964) - Sean Connery, and the coolest car of the series and a cast of villains that is perfection itself, like the entire movie.
4. 'From Russia With Love' (1963) - Sean Connery, with the most believable villain, the magnificent Robert Shaw, and most beautiful Bond girl, Daniela Bianchi.
5. 'Dr No' (1962) - Sean Connery, still stands up as a stunning debut.
6. 'Thunderball' (1965) - Sean Connery, only "weak" by comparison to the other official Connery films, and knocks spots off the 1983 remake, with Connery actually getting to show his acting chops as Bond.
7. 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (1969) - George Lazenby, this movie is fantastic, and fantastically underrated, everything about it is spectacular and Lazenby was actually damn good in the part!!
8. 'Live And Let Die' (1973) - Roger Moore, his finest post-Saint hour and a far stronger debut than Brosnan's, which a lot of people forget, and it has the best chase sequence and theme song of the entire series imo.
9. 'Casino Royale' (2006) - Daniel Craig, a brilliant reinvention, that promised big things, and Bond hasn't been this tough since 'Diamonds Are Forever'.
10. 'Tomorrow Never Dies' (1997) - Pierce Brosnan, a super-slick and polished thriller that entertains in spades, and is Brosnan's finest hour, particularly the motor-bike chase.
11. 'Goldeneye' (1995) - Pierce Brosnan, a sterling debut that marked a new level of slickness and maturity for Bond, Brosnan finally got the part he was born to play.
12. 'The World Is Not Enough' (1999) - Pierce Brosnan, as above.
13. 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977) - Roger Moore, loveably OTT tongue-in-cheek mayhem with Moore at his most cheesily likeable.
14. 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981) - Roger Moore, as above.
15. 'Die Another Day' (2002) - Pierce Brosnan, great entertainment but the series was starting to get a bit tired and samey again, something fresh was called for...
16. 'Never Say Never Again' (1983) - Sean Connery, entertaining and tough but rather pointless remake of a brilliant original, still was nice to see him back.
17. 'Licence To Kill' (1989) - Timothy Dalton, solid entertainment rather than memorable, a holding action for the series.
18. 'The Living Daylights' (1987) - Timothy Dalton, as above.
19. 'Casino Royale' (1967) - David Niven, ramshackle mess of an all-star comedy that is fascinating for its sheer monstrous cackhandedness, so bad it's actually quite remarkable, and Woody Allen is the best thing in it!
20. 'The Man With The Golden Gun' (1974) - Roger Moore, the first misfiring Bond of the official series, after 12 years, is some going.
21. 'Moonraker' (1979) - Roger Moore, mindlessly entertaining Bond by numbers.
22. 'Octopussy' (1983) - Roger Moore, as above.
23. 'A View To A Kill' (1985) - Roger Moore, as above.
24. 'Quantum Of Solace' (2008) - Daniel Craig, a complete balls-up after his stunning debut and the worst directed and edited film in the entire series, headache inducing nonsense.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.156.233.176
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 06:51 pm:   

Hey - Quantum improves on repeated viewings.
Octopussy now is tons of fun. Licence to Kill is one I actually dislike quite strongly - it's just so unstructured and bland. I enjoyed it second time, but then third it was just bad again.
I have bad memories of the later Moores, though, as well as some of the early ones. For Your Eyes Only was about his best.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 - 10:13 pm:   

Just back from 'Julia's Eyes' and I really am torn about this one. It doesn't quite make my Top 10 of the year but, after initial reservations, I have to say it was an insanely entertaining slice of OTT Hitchcockian suspense-by-numbers melodramatic nonsense that only the Spanish could have got away with.

From first scene to last everything about this picture is outrageously bombastic - the acting, the music, the camera movement, the basic set-up and accompanying plot twists, absolutley everything, is so unfettered it becomes almost a spoof, but not quite. I spent about the first 20 minutes inwardly groaning at the young director's immature lack of restraint and ended up, once my brain had readjusted, rather warming to the sheer verve on display. If you want to see a film that revels in every cinematic cliché in the horror/thriller handbook, and does so with undeniable style, then this is the flick for you.

Plotwise this is a throwback to those old "is she insane or is someone really out to get her" tricksy plot-driven thrillers of the 60s, that Hammer were particularly fond of turning out, and employs the fail-safe device of having a blind heroine - tweaked cleverly by having her in the process of going blind, and ever more helpless as the action progresses. That sub-genre reached its peak, for me, with the sublime "blind woman in peril" horror/thriller 'See No Evil', that memorably paired Richard Fleischer with Brian Clemens. Guillem Morales has made a more than noteworthy addition with this piece of obvious but loveable fluff. And I doubt I will see a sexier lead performance this year than that of Belen Rueda's as the titular heroine. Bonkers but wonderful.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 02:23 am:   

Goodness, Stevie, I disagree with you on many Bond-ian points. I can't believe for one that you didn't like QUANTUM OF SOLACE—wtf?! I agree it alters the Bond "template," but it's a fine, fine film (and basically part 2 of CASINO ROYALE, it makes no sense except in that film's context). Anyway, I'm mystified at your intense dislike of it, but oh well, I guess that's that....

I could go on and on, but I feel guilty already hijacking this thread. Your list is insightful and thought-provoking, but I'll just add these points:

-- Charles Gray is not a villain in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, though yes, he is in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. (Best Charles Grey role ever: playing Pandarus in the BBC Shakespeare series, "Troilus & Cressida.")

-- ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE is like a grand disappointment. I mean, the sheer style and look and structure, are, wow—if the film had been better, this would have gone down as the greatest Bond film bar none. But the plot, when you really break it down, is not very well-wrought; and the bookends, though heart-wrenching, not satisfyingly connected. But to me, Savalas is the best Blofeld.

-- Never knew this, but they killed Blofeld off at the opening of FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (probably the second best Bond film) because the Broccoli's had lost a court case allowing them to use the character without compensation—so this was their middle-finger to the guy who won that case, saying they didn't need to pay him royalties. His name's not mentioned during the actual sequence, because of copyright; only after, disconnected, is his name brought up. Too bad, too bad....

-- The Dalton films both feel small; not bad, just small. My theory, is that they were placeholders until Brosnan could get old enough to carry the role with gravitas.

-- LIVE AND LET DIE is maybe the strangest Bond, the most surreal. But the best Bond was Moore, sorry, he so defined the character; and the best of his films was OCTOPUSSY—and you put it at #22?! And seriously—how could you not like THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN?! Christopher Lee in one of his most delicious roles! And then you put at the top of the Brosnan Bonds TOMORROW NEVER DIES, when it's clearly the weakest of those four (though still fine)?!? Wow, talk about seeing the same films differently!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 10:41 am:   

I could have sworn Charles Gray was Blofeld's henchman in YOLT! But then I haven't seen it in years and can't imagine him as anything but shuddersomely villainous. His most memorable role shouldn't even need mentioned on this thread... Mocata in 'The Devil Rides Out'.

How can you seriously think Roger Moore was a better Bond than Sean Connery!! I love his cheesy charm, and missed him dreadfully when he left 'The Saint' (his finest role), but he only made three great Bond movies, with the rest of them only surviving on his cheery charisma - which redeeming feature 'Quantum Of Solace' lacked.

The final evidence for how great the 60s Bonds were, including the marvellous OHMSS, is that they are the only films in the series I've been holding out for a big cinema rerelease. I'd be the first in the queue to see each one of them on the big screen, up to and including LALD, but nothing after that...

Feck it, man, this is too important, let's start a new thread.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 11:34 am:   

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE is the best Bond movie ever made.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 11:40 am:   

Not saying much, is it?
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Des (Des)
Username: Des

Registered: 09-2010
Posted From: 81.153.252.217
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:02 pm:   

Dr, No.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:07 pm:   

GF:

You're right, though; the Bond films are pretty crap. But they can be hugely entertaining crap.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:16 pm:   

That's all they were ever intended to be, stylishly entertaining nonsense. And they were never more stylish or entertaining than in the 1960s. That was Bond's time.

I really believe the franchise has never been in worse straits than just now. 'Casino Royale' worked brilliantly as a one-off reinvention of cinematic Bond as something close to what Ian Fleming intended. But, as the follow-up spectacularly failed to deliver (sorry, Craig), where the hell do they go from here? Persevere and hope to get the new meaner Bond back on track or go back to the old tried and trusted format, with lashings of tongue-in-cheek humour and sex galore...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:17 pm:   

Yeah, and the novels have been reprinted as Penguin Classics. WTF?
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:20 pm:   

I hear they're actually very good reads, Gary, and must say I have been tempted over the years. No smoke without fire, and all that...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:26 pm:   

Fleming also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and i remember really enjoying that... so the Bonds might be good books
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 12:56 pm:   

Stevie - Dr No is more of a proper thriller than a diverting nonsense. The second best Bond film ever made.

I read a few of the books when I was about thirteen or fourteen (when I adored Bond films) and thought theyw ere very good - haven't revisited them since, though...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 01:13 pm:   

Why don't you rank them for the craic, Zed. I don't know if it's just me but I knocked my list out in about twenty minutes and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Anyway, to get this thread back on track, 'Julia's Eyes' was great fun and a rather memorable debut for Guillem Morales. If he can rein in his directorial exuberance a tad he may even go on to be one to watch...
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 01:20 pm:   

Because I'm not that anal, mate...and have poor retention of detail.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 129.11.76.229
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 01:23 pm:   

>>>I hear they're actually very good reads, Gary, and must say I have been tempted over the years. No smoke without fire, and all that...

Yeah, but Penguin Classic? Alongside Greene, Amis, Sillitoe, et al?
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 02:42 pm:   

Snob.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 03:01 pm:   

Nothing wrong with anal mate lol. And I must admit I am a bit of a sponge when it comes to trivial details. But then it's the trivial details that add flavour to life. That and mixing highbrow with lowbrow in heady abandon.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 05:56 pm:   

Is it just me or is there absolutely fuck all worthwhile being released in mainstream cinemas at the minute?!

Normally I'd have gone tonight - as it's half price on Tuesdays - but get this for a list to choose from: 'Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2', 'Hanna', Honey 2', Kung Fu Panda 2', 'Pirates of the frigging Caribbean - On Stranger Tides', 'Rio', 'The Way' & bloody 'X-Men : First Class'.

What the hell is going on?!?!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.156.210.82
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 06:15 pm:   

No, you're right - Hollywood lost the plot years ago. I have no interest whatsover in seeing derivative shit like Super 8, another superhero film, or a bland, witless remake of a cheesy old exploitation film.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.153.11.198
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 06:38 pm:   

We went to see The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) on the big screen in Sunday as part of a Bernard Herrman season and afterwards we got to play a theremin!

There were a few nods among the more eccentric members of the audience as I waxed lyrical about 'John Otway played one of these on Top of the Pops!' as I waved my hands around and made weird noises.

But to get back to thread - we can't wait to see Darren Lynn Bousman's remake of Mother's Day as the reviews have all said it's gratuitous and excessive - hurrah!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.145.84.31
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 07:11 pm:   

Xmen is actually pretty good. And Hanna is apparently worth a watch as well.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.241.230
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 10:08 pm:   

Well Mother's Day was awful.

Just awful.

Imagine House at the Edge of the Park with all the fun bits taken out, all sense of eroticism erased and with actors with only a fraction of the talent and skills of David Hess and Giovanni Lombardo Radice. And in case anyone's wondering I didn't like House on the Edge of the Park that much. But I really hated this.

At a party for a bunch of 30-something dull Americans of Every Creed, Colour and Other Audience Demographic, including a guy with a hairpiece that gets deservedly torn off before the end of act one, three hoodlums suddenly gatecrash. One of them is dying from a gunshot wound from a robbery that went wrong and it turns out they used to live in the house but For Some Reason That Is Never Explained they lost contact with their Mother (Rebecca de Mornay) so that when she sold it they never found out. Mother's soon on the scene, however, mumbling about having to urgently get across the border. There's also a tornado brewing so the pressure's on. So quite why the next 100 minutes is spent torturing the dull Americans they've tied up with more clingfilm than you will ever see except in a Clingfilm Bondage Porn film is completely beyond me.

Trust me (and you know you can) this is one of those films that makes our genre look very bad indeed. Two hours of one-note torture, stupid behaviour, utterly dislikeable characters with that bland Hollywood sheen to them that means they're never more than one-dimensional pin-up wannabes anyway, and totally suspenseless suspense. We couldn't work out if the "threatening" dialogue was meant to be funny or scary and by that point we didn't care. Almost the worst film Lady P and I have seen together at the cinema. Torture porn horror at its absolute dullest. And I like torture porn so that's saying something.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 10:36 pm:   

Sounds dreadful, John. Thanks for the warning!

If you want to get that one out of your system I'd recommend 'Julia's Eyes' as a nice bit of old-fashioned horror/suspense nonsense. It's so stylishly OTT I couldn't help warming to it.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 10:39 pm:   

Wow - just the bare-bones sans editorial description of the plot, actually sounds like it might have been pretty good! I'd have definitely rented that one (not gone to see it, though). But I'm sure if you felt that way, John, and Kate did too, I would as well... sad, it sounds so promising....
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.241.230
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 10:39 pm:   

Yes indeed Stevie - that comes to Bristol next Friday and we've got it in the diary!

Best bit about tonight were the trailers for Final Destination 5 (oh we love 'em!) and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, which I understand we'll be seeing at FrightFest
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.148.242.91
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 11:21 pm:   

I really love your reviews John.laugh out loud funny nearly every time
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.142.241.230
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 11:24 pm:   

Hey - thanks very much Weber! If they've made one person smile they've done their job!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 12:40 pm:   

Still waiting for something decent to arrive in the cinema... and it's been weeks.

'Julia's Eyes' already seems like a dim and distant memory. I honestly can't recall such an extended dearth of intriguing new cinema before. What is going on?
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 2.24.39.94
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 01:13 pm:   

Quite by coincidence, I come to this thread the day after seeing (in the cinema) one of the best new films I've ever seen.

Incendies is a French-Canadian film about a brother and sister, aged about nineteen (they are twins), going to the Lebanon to trace their mother's past. When their mother died, aged sixty, she left them two sealed letters they were asked to deliver to their father and brother. They knew nothing about either. Their search for the two missing men takes them through the country's violent history and ends in a serious of disturbing revelations about their mother's experience.

The film combines documentary realism with epic human tragedy – beautifully made, understated and delicate, despite its grim content. Doomed to poor distribution in the UK due to lack of any obvious commercial hook, this brilliant and beautiful film – like Outside the Law and Hidden before it – shows international cinema playing a significant part in the growth of political awareness across the world.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.174.101
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 03:28 pm:   

I think the only film I went to see in the cinema this year so far was BRIDESMAIDS. I felt like this was made by an alien species. I could recognise the emotions they were trying to evoke in an abstract way, but it was all out of whack, As if aliens had made it. Very disturbing. Must be what low-level autism feels like.

(spoiler)

A fat woman shits in a sink.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 03:31 pm:   

Feck it! In desperation I'm off to see 'X-Men : First Class' this afternoon. The best of what looks a pretty unappetising lot...
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.174.101
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2011 - 03:35 pm:   

' "Zed - debate is ok when there's signs of flexibilty and learning."

I should say debate is fine whether or not there are such signs. Surely to require them is to imply that there's never a case where one side of the debate is wrong.'

The learning doesn't have to mean that either side changes position - it can be a clearer understanding of the other side's perspective.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 12:12 am:   

Watched 'X-Men : First Class' and it was a perfectly fine piece of myth-making superhero entertainment with fabulous production values and some strong performances - particularly from Kevin Bacon, as the arch-villain, and Michael Fassbender, as the young, vengeance seeking, Magneto. I thoroughly enjoyed it, in the mindlessly entertaining way I enjoy most of these big budget Marvel adaptations.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 05:01 pm:   

Joel, I liked the look of 'Incendies' but missed its limited run when it was out here a few weeks back. Sounds like I missed something special.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.71
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 05:16 pm:   

Stevie - I just wish the action had all taken place during Magneto's youth, or his search for the nazis. That for me was the most gripping part of the film, almost Tarantino-esque. But I loved his line about men who take orders.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 06:14 pm:   

The most effective sequence of the film, for me, was the attack on the fledgling X-Men's CIA hideout and what happened to poor Darwin.

Also liked the blink-it-and-miss cameo appearance by Wolverine!
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.71
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 07:14 pm:   

I liked the bits with Magneto in that little bar. And his mum and those guards. Up there with Carrie!
Yes, Wolverine was ace. Stole the film, though it made me feel a bit sad, too, the sense of change. I like the X Men films.
Oh, and James McAvoy was really good i thought. And did you think the whole think - for the first half- was like a superb Bond film? And do you think Magneto would make a great Bond?
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.131.109.71
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 07:15 pm:   

we watched Felicia's Journey last night. That Elaine Cassidy is just fantastic - but all she did after was bloody Harper's Island.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 82.4.19.77
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 07:45 pm:   

'Felicia's Journey' is one of the best serial killer movies ever made and the best adaptation of a Ramsey Campbell novel he never wrote that I have seen. Love that film for its beautiful understated horror and creepy sense of urban decay.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 - 09:15 pm:   

Felicia's Journey is superb - the scenes with the god-botherers is painfully funny.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 09:55 pm:   

I didn't want to start a whole thread on this silly question alone, but....

Can anyone remember that horror movie - not new, old I think - that I think begins or at least has a scene in it, where a father is going through the ritual of searching through a boy's bedroom - under the bed, in the closet, etc. - for imaginary monsters, that then end up leaping out of the closet or something and killing him?...

I know I saw this one, and am not just imagining I did...?...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.151.158.170
Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 10:22 pm:   

Gandhi.
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.7.104
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12:29 am:   

Oh, that rings a bell. It's not THE MONSTER SQUAD, is it?
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.79.7.104
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12:40 am:   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4VyvLF5a_Y
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.150.141.142
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12:47 am:   

Cameron's Closet - written by Gary Brandner - who also wrote the Howling?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.150.141.142
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12:54 am:   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN3b7MsaRNI

Really shitty quality but the father's death in the closet from Cameron's Closet
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.150.141.142
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 12:58 am:   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooNo-jzNK3I

Same shitty quality - step-dad's turn to cop it in the same film...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.150.141.142
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 01:13 am:   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_bn56PWSRM&feature=related

better quality about 3 minutes into this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76nBpHNjOU0&feature=channel_video_title

And 10 minutes into this
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 03:39 am:   

Ha! Those were great, Proto and Weber, thanks - actually those help me a lot, since I'm developing an idea with another writer, somewhat similar to what's going on in these....

But believe it or not... neither of these is the one I'm thinking of!

Because in Proto's, it's funny and the father leaves; in Weber's, the father gets blow out into the street. But the one that's stuck in my memory, the father actually gets sucked INTO the closet, pulled it or something by the monsters - it was very straightforward in this respect. I've got to keep thinking about what it could have been....
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 220.138.161.154
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 08:38 am:   

Was it Boogeyman?
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Joel (Joel)
Username: Joel

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.37.199.45
Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 01:09 pm:   

'Cameron's Closet - written by Gary Brandner'

That's the one with a thousand gays standing outside the locked door, going "Just stay where you are pal..."
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 04:07 pm:   

Speaking of scary monsters, look at the thing they went and made.....

http://www.deadline.com/2011/07/hot-trailer-the-thing/
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.206.172
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 07:30 pm:   

What about this?

The thing to remember here is that this is NOT: a) a parody or b) sexless pornography. It's a self-funded piece, freed from the shackles of studio interference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ4KzClb1C4
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.206.172
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 07:34 pm:   

The only problem with THE ROOM was that the bluescreen work was a little shaky. This chap could be the solution, though. My favourite: the velociraptor about 9 minutes in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpoRri7Oee0
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Protodroid (Protodroid)
Username: Protodroid

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.152.206.172
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2011 - 07:36 pm:   

"[THE ROOM's director, Johnny] Wiseau begins with a Q&A. Most movies do this AFTERWARD, so that people have a chance to see the thing before asking questions, but never mind — many of the audience are diehard regulars (I may join them).

I wasn’t taking notes at the time, but roughly paraphrasing, here are some of the questions and answers:

“Did Lisa ever get that twitching neck thing taken care of?”
“Ha, yes, well, maybe in the sequel we’ll do a move about it, did you say twitching or witching? Because it could be like witchy-witch, you know? Haha.”

“Did you realize Lisa was that fat when you hired her?”
“No, but you shouldn’t say fat because it’s not a good word.”
“Pleasantly plump?”
“No, that’s two words. You have to substitute one word with one word.”

“Were you influenced by the existential angst of Dostoevsky?” [the guy had to rephrase this question three times before Tommy got it]
“No, I have no influences. I influence myself.”

“What’s your favorite movie?
“I like Awesome Welles”

“Who’s Awesome Welles?”

Then, Tommy decided to show off his improvisation skills by asking the audience to pick a word, after which he would tell a story involving that word. The word was “push-ups.” And the story was something like: “Remember the part where I’m in the park running? I’m running and running, and then I got down to do push-ups, and this woman was running by and she went over me because I was down on the ground, and I looked up and I saw two apples.”

Unfortunately no recording was allowed, so that’s not word-for-word. But close."
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 - 05:00 pm:   

At last! At long bloody last! Something worthwhile on in the cinema again!!

Going to see Terrence Malick's 'The Tree Of Life' tonight. Thoughts to follow...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 04:39 pm:   

Finally getting a chance to marshall my thoughts on 'The Tree Of Life'...

1. 'Thirteen Assassins' by Takashi Miike
2. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
3. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
4. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
5. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
6. 'The Tree Of Life' by Terrence Malick
7. 'Insidious' by James Wan
8. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
9. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones
10. 'Limitless' by Neil Burger

It had to happen, and it took 38 years and 5 movies, but I have finally walked out of a Terrence Malick movie rather less than enthused. What we have here is a monstrous personal project that the creator was obviously too close to to retain any sense of perspective or sound judgement. But we're talking about a genuine visionary genius here. The result is a severely and fascinatingly flawed cinematic masterpiece that is also one of the most astonishingly beautiful motion pictures I ever clapped eyes on. Large swathes of the film are so awesomely well done it is like experiencing the Rapture and other parts are so dreadfully misjudged it verges on the crassly ridiculous. For all that what exists is a supremely moving and intimate (I'm assuming autobiographical?) rites of passage allegory in which the performances and cinematography and Kubrickesque directorial technique are so humblingly naturalistic this still has to be seen as one of the most important films of 2011. But, boy, those flaws... they prove that Malick has tipped over the brink from gloriously gifted auteur to artistic madman. The man has clearly reached a position in his career in which he dearly needs a good friend/editor to tell him what works and what doesn't (outside of his own brain). All the intimate "coming of age"/"family drama" elements (that thankfully take up the majority of the long running time) are flawless and spellbinding in their execution. Brad Pitt gives the performance of his career as the under-achieving "father from hell" who takes out his own frustrations on his three innocent boys, who grow increasingly shorn of their illusions and more rebellious as adolescence encroaches - particularly the eldest, played by Sean Penn in poignant adulthood, and mesmerisingly by young Hunter McCracken as a boy. All the familiar elements are present and correct; the realisation of mortality, the god-like parents knocked from their pedestals, the discovery of sex and "wrongness", the impulse to do wrong for the sake of it, the Oedipus complex, etc... and never before have I seen them done with such a fish-eye view of looking in from outside on what we have no right to be observing. But, and it is a huge BUT, the overall structure of the film and the frequent flights of unnecessary fantasy clash so disastrously with this painfully intimate portrait that they can't do anything other than cruelly unbalance the film. I contend that a genuinely powerful, indeed magisterial, cinematic masterpiece can still be rescued from what exists here but go see it yourself and decide if you think what I think... the history of the universe, the solar system and life on earth, as well as all those painfully earnest visions of Heaven, should have been left to the documentary makers and the pure fantasists. 'The Tree Of Life' has overtaken 'Eyes Wide Shut' as, quite possibly, the greatest curate's egg ever made. I rest my case.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 11:28 pm:   

Too bad, Stevie - I kinda sensed what you wrote from what I heard about it, and so was planning on avoiding it.

But check this out, should make you feel better - this tantalizing little short here, Del Toro's turning into a feature film - it's a mere fragment, but I love it!

http://twitchfilm.com/news/2011/07/breaking-jessica-chastain-is-andres-muschiett is-mama-in-del-toro-produced-feature.php
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 11:33 am:   

Sounds like a good one to go and see then...
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 01:05 pm:   

'The Tree Of Life' still demands to be seen, Craig. And note I had no qualms about putting it straight into the old Top 10, despite all its baffling flaws.

Been looking forward to Del Toro's next project for some time. I still say he's the greatest purely genre director of the last 20 years.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 04:30 pm:   

Pity 'Mama' is only another "mentor" role for Del Toro. We've been waiting 3 years now for his next directorial project and 5 years since his last serious work.

But good to see Jessica Chastain, who was so luminous as the "perfect mother" in 'The Tree Of Life', also in this.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.158.78.71
Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 09:20 pm:   

Hey Stevie - we went to see Tree of Life this afternoon, with a Q&A by the chap responsible for the 'Creation of the Universe' bit afterwards (it was all done by a film unit based here in Bristol). I have to say it was the epic stuff that worked best for me, and overall it reminded me of some of the 'pastoral' SF novels of Clifford D Simak, or Earth Abides by George Stewart, where simple everyday human existence is put into perspective on the much broader canvas of the majesty and impenetrability of the universe. I thought it was essentially an essay in optimism whereas Lady P thought it was more to due with the futility of human existence so it's probably very much whatever one makes of it.

That said most of the middle section was too much about not much at all to really engage me.

But hey - it was Douglas Trumball's first film in YEARS! And he was only attracted back because the SFX sequences were promised to be CGI-free!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 12:08 pm:   

The film has haunted my mind since seeing it, John, but I still think we could have done without the dinosaurs (surely CGI!) and rather long drawn out and overly earnest afterlife sequences. I did love the majestic outer space montages and thought they, by themselves, were enough to get across the apparent insignificance of human life and endeavour.

The line, near the beginning, that sums up the movie's message most succinctly was how everyone is faced with a choice between grace and nature. Whether to follow one's own nature in defiance of fate or whether to gracefully accept all that life might throw at one.

This chimes eerily with a quote I just read in Frank Herbert's 'The Jesus Incident' - "St Augustine asked the right question: "Does freedom come from chance or choice?" And you must remember that quantum mechanics guarantees chance."

My own take on all this is that we all exist forever in our own version of Pointland.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 05:13 pm:   

Went to see 'Horrible Bosses' last night and enjoyed it but not as much as I might have done had the script gone a bit more for the jugular. The theme of three homicidally pissed off office workers, each with their own boss from hell, agreeing to swap murders - 'Strangers On A Train' style - and solve all their workplace problems was a natural for me. I even brought a notebook and pen, hoping for some handy tips, but, funny as the ensuing unravelling of plans was, I left the cinema somewhat frustrated by a lack of bite in the satire and a tendency to cop out just when things were getting interesting. The main reasons for watching this are to see Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and an astonishingly hot (playing against type) Jennifer Aniston having a ball as the ridiculously scuzzball boss stereotypes; the sadistic micro-managing bastard, the immoral fuck-the-rest egotist & the man mad nymph on a sexual power trip (I'd have gladly gone along for the ride!) But, as black comedies go, this isn't as good as 'The Hangover' or 'Very Bad Things' because the comedy isn't quite funny enough and the blackness isn't quite dark enough. Worth seeing though.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.158.57.104
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 - 01:58 am:   

Just been to see Hobo With a Shotgun and I bloody loved it!!!

The nonsensical storyline, garish colour scheme, unconvincing emotional scenes and ridiculous villains all combine into a great huge fun pile of film. Everything about this film screams that it should be complete garbage, but... it isn't!

It's called Hobo with a Shotgun for god's sake, you know what you're expecting from that alone! And it delivers everything you expect in spades - No i tell a lie, actually spades are one of the few things that aren't used as murder weapons in this film... I'd mention my favourite weapon of the film but that would be a huge spoiler. It was certainly a new one on me... for anyone who's seen it, it was how the lead villain got his comeuppance...

No one is safe in this film, anyone, regardless of age colour or creed, is as likely to die a horrible death as anyone else. It's one of the most violent spectacles I've seen for a long time. And, as mentioned earlier, some truly inventive new ways of killing people on screen.

Rutger Hauer is back on his old form again in this one, his performance is as good as his turn as John Ryder in the Hitcher IMO.

If this is still on where you are, catch it!!!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 - 12:26 pm:   

I've been looking forward to this for a few weeks now, Weber, and your review makes it sound like this year's 'Machete'. If you haven't seen that OTT masterpiece yet, do yourself a favour!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 - 12:31 pm:   

Machete was pretty good, but I thought the joke wore a bit thin towards the end. I've heard good things about Hobo with a Shotgun, though.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011 - 05:53 pm:   

If life gives you razorblades... make a baseball bat covered in razorblades!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 12:40 pm:   

1. 'Thirteen Assassins' by Takashi Miike
2. 'True Grit' by Joel & Ethan Coen
3. 'Never Let Me Go' by Mark Romanek
4. 'NEDS' by Peter Mullan
5. 'The Fighter' by David O. Russell
6. 'The Tree Of Life' by Terrence Malick
7. 'Insidious' by James Wan
8. 'Captain America' by Joe Johnston
9. 'The Adjustment Bureau' by George Nolfi
10. 'Source Code' by Duncan Jones

Went to see 'Captain America' yesterday and it's bloody brilliant! A gloriously old-fashioned, nostalgic superhero adventure full of innocence and heart and rip-roaring adventure. I was reminded of the original 'Superman' movie with its joyous sense of fun mingled with real emotion. The best Marvel superhero flick since 'Spiderman II' and one to stand in stark contrast to the overly po-faced vision of Christopher Nolan's 'Batman' movies, imo. This is the way to breathe real life into a comicbook hero. And a big round of applause for Hugo Weaving who runs away with the whole movie as The Red Skull - the coolest and most menacing super-villain the screen has possibly ever seen. Marvellous stuff and the most purely enjoyable escapist fantasy of the year to date!!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 01:01 pm:   

Going to a rare screening of Charles Vidor's 'Gilda' (1946) tonight. One of the most psychologically fascinating film noirs of its era... with Rita Hayworth in her gloriously curvaceous prime!

And just heard that on 13th August I am about to fulfill a lifelong ambition... to see '2001 : A Space Odyssey' on the big screen at last! "Hello Dave" posters up all over Belfast for this event and I'm gonna be first in the queue.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 01:39 pm:   

2001 is IMO possibly the most boring film ever made. I've only once managed to getpast the bit with the monkeys before nodding off.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 03:00 pm:   

Weber, that is quite possibly the single most sacrilegious statement you have ever come out with.

So what did you make of 'The Tree Of Life'? IMO it was Malick's attempt to create his own '2001' type statement. I've found the film growing in my estimation with hindsight but still think it needs quite a bit of clear headed pruning to reveal the true work of art within.
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 03:19 pm:   

The title 'The Jesus Incident' refers to Ship's description of, and failure to grasp why, the single most pivotal moment in human history, all of which is stored in its vast memory banks, was the crucifixion of an innocuous heretic on Golgotha. The sentient starship that brought the colonists to Pandora deems itself their God and Saviour and demands WorShip of its subjects while the colonists find themselves split into those who believe in the divine omnipotence of Ship and those blasphemers who would call it merely the ship, a particularly clever machine created by Man, a heresy punishable by Death, and one that every one of the many, brilliantly realised, major characters must struggle with - while trying to survive the horrors all around them.

The profound cleverness and endless room for manoeuvre this science fiction allegory provides needs no elaboration from me...
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 92.8.23.227
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 04:44 pm:   

Why not try watching the section of 2001 you haven't watched, Marc?
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 04:57 pm:   

I've tried watching from after the monkeys but I get about 10 minutes before I go and make a coffee or do something else.

I have seen the Daisy Daisy scene when i switched on close to the end and i thought that was quite good, but after that it just seemed like random twaddle...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.56.66
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 05:03 pm:   

to see '2001 : A Space Odyssey' on the big screen at last

Now there's a film worth seeing in a real cinema. You're in for a treat, Stevie!
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.56.66
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 05:08 pm:   

Try Clarke's book, Weber. Kubrick's treatment is very elliptic in parts and the viewer misses out on all the explanation re the Stargate and so on. The only thing I miss in the film is the sense of loneliness experienced by David Bowman after Hal's 'lobotomy'.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 05:13 pm:   

Never read any long stuff by Clarke although the short stuff I've read is good. It would be a long way down my TBR pile if I was to consider it though...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 05:22 pm:   

I've never been a big fan of "Hard" science Fiction anyway. A rocket ship takes people to the stars. What they do there is the story - the intricate details of how every microcircuit in the engine works is of no interest whatsoever to me.

The engine is a plot device, there are writers out there who seem to think that it's the central core of the story, not just something fo facilitate the human stories.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 06:31 pm:   

2001 isn't hard SF, Weber - I'm not a fan of that particular genre, either, but absolutely love Kubrick's 2001.

I finally read the book a couple of years ago, and that's a masterpiece, too.

Horses for courses, but I honestly fail to see what anyone who enjoyes filmmaking as an art form would find boring about that film. It's majestic.
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Kate (Kathleen)
Username: Kathleen

Registered: 09-2009
Posted From: 81.158.78.71
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 06:38 pm:   

Hear hear, Zed! I never understood the third segment at all but it didn't stop me gazing at it in wide-eyed wonder and loving it in spite of (or possibly because of) its incomprehensibility.

I envy you, Stevie!
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.66.23.11
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 06:46 pm:   

I've tried to watch it several times but had to give up out of tedium or physically falling asleep before the monkeys are gone.

Like I said, I've seen the daisy daisy section and thought that was very good, but I can't get through the rest of it.

I'm beginning to think I just don't like Kubrick. With the 2 noble exceptions of The Shining (which IMO is a great film in itself but not a great film of the book if that makes sense) and Clockwork Orange, I've actively disliked the other Kubrick films I've tried to watch. I thought Dr strangelove was a jumbled mess that didn'tknow what it wanted to be, 2001 nuff said. I've not really bothered with the others out of a sense of apathy towards the director.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.25.15.51
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 07:52 pm:   

Dr Strangelove started out serious until Kubrick decided it couldn't do done that way and had to be a comedy.

2001 is majestic. Awe on screen.
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.145.130.220
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:05 pm:   

Anyhoo - Tree of Life - I saw this last night and it is certainly one of the most beautiful films to look at that I've seen for a long long time.

The relationship with the boys and the father was portrayed extremely well. Even Brad Pitt managed to stay sympathetic . A touch I particularly liked was when the toddlers eye view of the stairs we'd seen for the young boy was suddenly repeated for Brad's character as he started up the stairs to some big business meeting. The performances were all top notch. the visual effects were amazing if they weren't CGI. If they were CGI it would have been amongst the best use I've seen of the technique.

However I can't be sure if I actually enjoyed the film. Far too much inner monologuing og the characters, making huge grand sweeping statements in hushed tones. That always turns me off to a large extent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TioGP9mWahA&feature=player_embedded#at=13

Always springs to mind when I see that sort of thing in films.

Was I the only person who kept seeing yonic and phallic symbols in the birth of the universe sections? (Yonic is apparently the female version of phallic symbol - I'm trying to be more sophisticated than asking stright out if other people kept seeing things that looked like fannies)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.253.77
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 09:25 pm:   

Kubrick was brilliant for my money - a genuine cinematic genius. I love every film he ever made. Dr Strangelove is a perfect example of constantly shifting tone in a movie; some people (like me) love this, others just can't get on with it.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.56.66
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 10:01 pm:   

People may have been put off by Peter Sellers. I like him very much, but I know for a fact he's not everyone's cup of cocoa.

2001 got a lot of media attention when it first appeared. I recall seeing billboards with giant posters just about everywhere. In cigarette advertisements packets of Marlboro were shown flying through space like the monolith, etc. People generally thought they were going to see a movie depicting life in the year 2001 and that was that. Imagine their befuddlement when the Star Gate burst onto the screen. The final segment in the hotel room is even more bewildering.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 178.116.56.66
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 10:09 pm:   

. . . Star Gate sequence burst . . .

It's quite funny, really: here we are in the year 2011 and we're still debating the merits of 2001 . . .
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John Forth (John)
Username: John

Registered: 05-2008
Posted From: 82.24.1.217
Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 - 10:09 pm:   

I was obsessed with Kubrick's work when I was younger, and I still turn to his output on a regular basis. In fact, I sat and re-watched 2001: A Space Odyssey a couple of weeks back. Glorious! Even after what must be two dozen viewings or more I'm still seeing new aspects to it.

Gary F - I think one of the reasons Kubrick turned to farce for Doctor Strangelove was that there was a similar film, Fail Safe, in production at the same time which dealt with an almost identical storyline in a very serious and earnest way. If you haven't seen it, it's worth a watch. Very effective.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 99.126.164.88
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 03:16 am:   

Hey, just a film question: Has anyone heard of and/or seen a film called Revanche(2008)? Directed by one Götz Spielmann? I found the film for checkout at my local library, in an enticing Criterion edition - supposed to be a "gripping thriller." Worth watching, or just taking back?...
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Weber (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 109.158.60.212
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 03:57 am:   

u know what the best way to find out is?

Watch it.

From the library it's not cost you anything
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 166.216.226.44
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 04:02 am:   

I don't wanna!

Not unless someone recs it for me....
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 12:03 pm:   

Never heard of it, Craig.

This has to be the most uneventful summer for movies I can recall. It's been weeks since I've been tempted by anything that's showing. Might give 'Super 8' a try I'm that desperate to go and see something. Is it any good? I'm hearing tentatively favourable reports but the comparisons to Spielberg at his schmaltziest are rather putting me off.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.250.238
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 12:34 pm:   

First time I've read this thread in a while and so I've just caught up with the comments about Kubrick's absolutely wonderful 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Anyone on here not know what happens at the end? Must admit I had a helping hand working it out as I saw an interview with Clarke a year or so after the film came out where he explained a few bits!
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Stevie Walsh (Stephenw)
Username: Stephenw

Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 194.32.31.1
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 12:39 pm:   

I missed my chance to see it on the big screen recently due to unforeseen circumstances and was gutted. Doesn't he evolve into some sort of spiritual super-being?
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.176.250.238
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 01:36 pm:   

Basically, yes - the human race is being kick-started every so often to move to the next 'level'. The first monolith gives the apes the idea of using weapons; the one on the moon is like an alarm clock, alerting the aliens (or whatever they are) that man has reached the level of being able to travel the moon and detect the device buried there, and therefore is developed enough to move to the next stage.
As for the bit in the rooms at the end - I'm not sure if Bowman is really seeing and hearing himself or if it's simply a cinematic device to show the passaage of time. I feel it's the latter.
I seem to recall Clarke saying that the Discovery was going to Saturn originally, but Kubrik & Trumbull couldn't get the rings of Saturn to appear convincing enough so they went with Jupiter instead.