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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu May 26, 2011 3:06 pm

    Brian T wrote:...
    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974: Joseph Sargent) ***½/****:What an effective and fun thriller this movie is. I was not expecting that much though I knew it had a good reputation with a few critics (like New York Times who have had it twice in their top 1000 films).

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I have also not seen the remake, but after watching this I have some curiosity towards it. But I wonder how effective they could have made it especially compared to this well made movie.

    Late to comment on this, but I'll add two things. First, it's great that you saw this before the remake, as it blows the remake out of the water. The remake is not a bad film, per se, but it has almost none of the flavour of the original, and certain little touches they added to modernize it -- particularly the young guy communicating with his tease of a girlfriend via his laptop) were wholly unnecessary.

    And you should probably know it's considered a criminal offense to review the original TAKING OF PELHAM without paying due respect to David Shire's rousing score, one of the best of the decade. You may now make the requisite additions to your review. Laughing
    ...

    Great to hear from you again. I was wondering if you were still alive, so it is good to see a post from you. Though I wasn't expecting any response on Grand Slam Opera. However, all of you should see Buster Keaton Very Happy.

    That's why I wrote some comments on ...; this absolves me from all sins of missing important ideas in the following review. Actually when I put it in there I do it to remind myself and others that its just that comments Very Happy. So if I do a proper review of it in the next decade I will, of course, mention the score (I agree with you).

    I've been watching a lot of Fatty Arbuckle shorts lately. One of the more underrated comedians of all time. Of course partially has to do with his trial and blacklisting. Here is some random musings on this topic:

    The Keystone shorts are usually not as strong as later comedy (from many artists) and are certainly formulaic, but it is fascinating to see the early comedians at work. Arbuckle was unjustly forgotten because of his scandal which hurt his career, but before that he was one of the most popular comedians. Trying to figure out who was more popular than who is a bit difficult. The two most popular comedians of the 20s was Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin. I've often read that Lloyd sold more tickets but Chaplin sold more per movie. Figuring out the truth is hard to impossible. But I do know that Arbuckle, who is often stated getting the first million dollar contract, was probably as popular as Chaplin for several years. The problem with his scandal is that the newspapers and public turned against him resulting him in being blacklisted (pretty much for the rest of the 20s and up until he signed a new contract with Warner Bros which actually ended up being successful, but unfortunately he died of a heart attack before he was to do a new feature length film) and unfortunately this resulted in many negatives being burned, an attack on his character and also unfortunately his films.

    Lloyd hurt his popularity later on by keeping much of his films from being released for many years (with a few retrospectives exceptions).

    I'm a fan of all these guys though.

    The comedian from the silent era I have yet to see which I need to rectify soon is Harry Langdon (one of the reasons for picking up his late entry Hallelujah I'm a Bum with Al Jolson). When I get more of his releases I'll make note of them.

    But I wanted to also add Arbuckle is interesting for a couple of other reasons too. Though "breaking the fourth wall" was done since the beginning of cinema he seems to incorporate its use into many interesting gags as far back as the Keystone shorts. I was also surprised to see reverse footage used in a gag as well (I wonder when this was first used?). He seems amongst the Keystone shorts to be the most inventive when using the camera.

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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu May 26, 2011 3:32 pm

    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Great to hear from you again. I was wondering if you were still alive, so it is good to see a post from you.
    Laughing
    Still kicking. I do check in here, but as I don't write about most of the movies I've been watching lately, I figure it's better to let a list build up before posting. Besides, I've literally been on a "catch-up" movie bender these past few weeks/months (which subsided enough in the past few days that I'm thinking of checking out a few summer blockbusters on the big screen while I wait for the library to top me up again!). I suspect all this "studying" will pay off once I get back to properly reviewing Hong Kong pictures, but time will tell...


    Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:However, all of you should see Buster Keaton Very Happy.
    At the very least, if one purports to be even a casual fan of Jackie Chan, then one MUST watch Keaton. Plenty of reviewers (particularly online ones) make the connection, but I often wonder if it's because they've seen a significant portion of Keaton's work, or have simply read books or other writings that confirm the connection without requiring any serious effort. Actually, an appreciation of Chan should likewise also include watching a few Gene Kelly films for good measure. Wink
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu May 26, 2011 5:20 pm

    Brian T wrote: ...At the very least, if one purports to be even a casual fan of Jackie Chan, then one MUST watch Keaton. Plenty of reviewers (particularly online ones) make the connection, but I often wonder if it's because they've seen a significant portion of Keaton's work, or have simply read books or other writings that confirm the connection without requiring any serious effort. Actually, an appreciation of Chan should likewise also include watching a few Gene Kelly films for good measure. Wink

    I've been doing a lot of non-HK studying this month as well. I've got Steven Jay Schneider's "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die up to 60 percent, now I'm trying to get TSPDT up to 60 percent. Then I will concentrate more on Asian again Very Happy.

    Well the connection between Keaton and Chan are definitely there. I do agree about online reviwers parroting, but at least it is correct in theory. I really hate when they state fradulent information. Of course you have read me complain about this quite a bit and I even do more at my forum Very Happy.

    When I lent my Dad some of Keaton's work to go over even he stated that he was reminded of Jackie Chan (yes he saw Chan's work first Very Happy). Of course Jackie has many influences and not just Keaton for silent-era influences. You have to included both Chaplin and Harold Lloyd as well.

    I have seen all of Keaton's work (one short is not extant) with Roscoe Arbuckle, all of his starring silent shorts and feature films, all of his Columbia shorts and almost finished with his Educational shorts. Heck I've even seen him in Pajama Party (I hope I posted my small review on that at HKMDB Very Happy). I bought some more of his later works and hope to go over those this year.

    On a side note: I finished all of Charlie Chaplin's Keystone films. I only have four or five of his Essanay shorts to go and his last directed film with Marlon Brando. Unfortunately the first Essanay DVD is OOP and really expensive (I have the second and third from Image).

    I would love to interview some of these stars and ask them what silent film they saw in the past. I know I read the usual from interviews from them, but I would love more specifics.

    Sammo Hung is another one that is greatly influenced by both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. I'm not sure on Jackie about those two (I would not doubt it, but I do not recollect any interviews with him stating that at this time period, but I am tired so my brain might be off). With Sammo you definitely see it directly with The Owl and Dumbo (1984) as well as the Laurel and Hardy gag I mentioned in my review.

    But watching a few Gene Kelly films will do everyone some good.

    Glad to see HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 8/10, I ended up really enjoying the film.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu May 26, 2011 7:29 pm

    I agree that Chan channels a bit of Lloyd and Chaplin through his screen persona (across so many films), but his physicality, at least to me, is much more in league with Keaton than the other two. Granted, I haven't seen as many works of the three silent heavyweights as you have, but I've seen enough key works (particularly Keaton's now) to . While I can't say for sure, I would think that Chan had access to Keaton's features during his formative years, rather than the shorts, and it's the features where Keaton really brought it all home, One has to presume that Keaton's long-form stuff was reasonably available -- in some form or another -- in Hong Kong when Chan was both learning his craft and refining it years later. This is certainly no slight against the shorts, though. The ones I've seen so far have been fascinating.

    I swiped this quote from a Jackie Chan "quote site", but I do recall reading it or hearing it somewhere in the past, perhaps in a TV interview or in one of my books:
    Jackie Chan wrote:I just want people to remember me like I remember Buster Keaton. When they talk about Buster Keaton or Gene Kelly, people say, 'Ah yes, they good.' Maybe one day, they remember Jackie Chan that way.
    It's not really a direct admission of influence, I know, but clearly Kelly's name came to mind right after Keaton's. I think it you could distill the essences of what made both men great, add a couple of big splashes of Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, and shake them up in a cocktail mixer, you'd pour out Jackie Chan. Take a gander at this classic swordfight from THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1948) -- Kelly dominates the second half -- and it's tough to imagine Chan not being directly inspired by choreography (and effortless charm) like this:

    When I first saw this scene (and the film) late last year, the very first thought that popped into my head was "Jackie Chan must have seen this!" Laughing And just like in the U.S. in the decades before home video, movies like this had a habit of revisiting theatres many times in the years after their original runs, and it's more than likely this one played in Hong Kong at some point, based as it is on a story with fairly universal appeal.

    Speaking of Keaton -- and I probably mentioned this at the old forum -- but I was absolutely thrilled by OUR HOSPITALITY, which I borrowed from the library back in the winter. I'm really hoping Amazon has a sale on Kino titles at some point in the future as I'd snap the recent Blu-ray of it up in a heartbeat if the price was within my "buy zone". Smile Granted, there's LOTS of Keaton I'd buy if I could (I certainly envy your collection), but this one surely must represent the top tier of his work. The climactic river rescue is breathtaking nearly 80 years after the fact (even when you consider that much of it was undertaken on Keaton's massive backlot sets!)
    (this clip pretty much counts as a spoiler, for those who haven't seen the film)
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Fri May 27, 2011 9:59 am

    I probably didn't write enough last post Very Happy. Of course I agree the similarities between Keaton and Chan are the most between the big three silent stars I mentioned. Lloyd would be second and Chaplin would be third. All three and Chaplin would be heavily responsible for their material (while Lloyd didn't get director's credit he still was responsible and most likely did some direction now and then; like Chan in many films in the 90s where he didn't get director's credit but still had last word).

    However, Lloyd could be physical as well. It is most well known of the influence Lloyd had on the clock tower stunt in Project A (though Chan's version was much more dangerous than the one in SAFETY LAST; this isn't to say Lloyd didn't do dangerous stunts its just that particular one was done with a bit of camera trickery and really was an awesome combination of stunt and camera work; it also wasn't the first time he did that particular stunt either). Lloyd was known for these thrill spots. Filming back in the silent era was dangerous (like HK filming). Lloyd with a "gag bomb" blew off two of his fingers and blinded him for a short time in 1919. So all the later material you see him with a prosethetic (even when doing stunts).

    While Keaton is known for the stoneface (not always true; he earlier experimented with character and even cried, laughed, had many different faces with the Arbuckle shorts), both Lloyd and Keaton's personality seems to be more similar to Chan's than say Chaplin (though there is a certain impishness in the earlier Chaplin material, some of which did make it to Hong Kong like THE KID; but it is hard for me to see The Tramp in Chan).

    So in short I highly recommend Harold Lloyd (at least his post Lonesome Luke material). It is amazing how popular he was back then.

    Thanks for THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1948) mention. I added that to my shopping list (ultimately I think I'll get that for my Mom since I give her all Gene Kelly movies I get). I look forward to seeing that and thinking HK while at it.

    Good idea for the future: gather all influence quotes on silent comedians Very Happy (I have a tons of John Woo and Johnnie To quotes on their Jean-Pierre Melville influence).
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    Cash

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Cash on Sat May 28, 2011 10:41 am

    Recent signouts from the Toronto public library. I kinda liked Cash's inclusion of rankings, so I added my own to these, for whatever they're worth:

    I have a friend who will be attending law school in Toronto this coming fall and if I ever visit I'd be interested in checking out your library as my own has a fantastic selection of films for being located in a modest city with a population of 60,000.

    LOLITA 8/10

    A Stanley Kubrick blind spot for me a la "Barry Lyndon."

    STRAY DOG 9/10

    Screenwriter Au Kin-yee was obviously influenced by this moody classic when he co-wrote "PTU" and "Mad Detective."

    FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH 7/10

    Whatever its flaws may be (personally, I've always struggled with Cameron Crowe's representation of women, here) "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" decidedly rose above its equally lowbrow peers (in-part because it, unlike them, had a finger on the pulse and for a tawdry comedy is actually funny) surviving decades of imitators perhaps most notably "American Pie" that doesn't contain a single memorable line like "I mean I just send out this vibe and I have personally found that women do respond."; "Learn it. Know it. Live it."; "Hey, wait a minute, there's no birthday party for me here!"

    PINEAPPLE EXPRESS 6/10

    I couldn't help but feel that having seen this film in a theater sober was like watching a 3D movie without the benefit of the glasses. Then again, the almost exclusively teenage audience I sat with seemed bored, too. The Rotten Tomatoes census describes it as a scatter shot comedy -- which is to articulate the film's major malfunction for me -- it's only hitting its target about half of the time.

    KNOCKED UP 7/10
    40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN 7/10

    Judd Apatow as a director has yet to fail to entertain me (even the poorly edited "Funny People" starring a miscast Adam Sandler still made me laugh). While neither "The 40 Year Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up" is great they are two well made two hour comedies I can sit through over and over again.

    SCARFACE (32) 8/10
    SCARFACE (83) 6/10

    I love the original as a classic pre-Second World War gangster picture and I love the remake as a black comedy cult classic.

    CHICKEN RUN 7/10

    I love the film's aesthetic and even Mel Gibson's contributions, too, but I was always unnerved by the film's rather somber tone -- especially for a family film -- that I could never quite fully appreciate "Chicken Run."

    As for me:

    I Saw the Devil (2010) C+

    I continue to struggle with director Kim Jee-woon: I love the performances he exorcises out of his often talented ensembles and he so clearly understands mise-en-scene that his films are also a joy to look at but he loses me when it comes to narrative whether it's penned by himself or another. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Kim grew up on comic books though I have never heard nor read anything to that effect. Still, Choi Min-sik's portrayal of a homicidal sociopath is worth the price of theatrical admission alone. A fan of true crime with a healthy study of various psychopaths I can at least assure you that Choi leaves off the honey glaze that Anthony Hopkins increasingly basted himself with over the trajectory of the Hannibal Lector films.

    42nd Street Forever, Volume 1 (2005) B

    Two hours of various trailers for films that graced the marquees of the grindhouses and fleapits that once populated 42nd Street. Neophytes will likely love it and mount an expedition while exploitation vets might argue what is included and what has been left off this documentary are subject to serious debate. Perhaps less so for the latter as a number of subsequent volumes with specific genre classifications have since been released.

    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) B

    Coincidentally, while this film was all the rage around here I had just picked it up from the library having wanted to see it for years. I found it an enjoyable New York City caper that is fueled less by the narrative structure, strong performances, or even the roller coaster suspense on the subway but rather by David Shire's oft-referenced score that sets the film in motion and keeps the ball rolling all the way up until its tongue-in-cheek epilogue. Having only seen the promotional material for the remake I made a few presumptions but more than once I heard in terms of new millennium redoes it ain't half bad.

    Tsotsi (2005) A-

    That rare film that doesn't take the inside track nor does it take the easy way out.

    Salesman (1968) A-

    The Maysles Brothers and Charlotte Zwerrin capture all the belligerence, contradiction, frustration, and loneliness of four charmless nationwide door-to-door Bible salesman who clearly haven't read much -- if anything -- in the souped-up overly priced product they're shilling. Occasionally redundant and almost always troublesome "Salesman" is a beautiful critique of the lovechild religion & capitalism have given birth to.

    Stay tuned for:

    Fort Apache (1948)
    The Mack (1973)
    Cooley High (1975)
    Tron (1982)
    Born to Fight (2004)


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    Admin
    Admin

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Mon May 30, 2011 10:36 am

    I've been recovering old ground a lot lately, hence my patchy presence on here. For some reason, I've decided to have another look at the films of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, so recently my viewing has been:

    Beverley Hills Cop 1,2, and 3 in decending order of enjoyment
    Coming to America
    The Golden Child (an odd one this: I always expect to like it more than I do)
    Trading Places (one of my absolute faves)
    Stir Crazy
    See No Evil, Hear No Evil

    Still to come:

    48 Hours (honestly don't recall ever seeing this)
    Brewster's Millions (watched it as a youngster and enjoyed it - hoping to rekindle the flame)
    Norbit (came with a couple of Murphy's more bankable films as a bit of a filler - by all accounts it's a dud, so I may give it a miss)
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon May 30, 2011 4:47 pm

    Happy Birthday, by the way. At least, that's what Facebook told me . . . Wink
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    Teddy Wong

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Teddy Wong on Tue May 31, 2011 12:37 am

    Take a gander at this classic swordfight from THE THREE MUSKETEERS (1948) -- Kelly dominates the second half -- and it's tough to imagine Chan not being directly inspired by choreography (and effortless charm) like this:
    WOW!

    Speaking of Keaton -- and I probably mentioned this at the old forum -- but I was absolutely thrilled by OUR HOSPITALITY,
    WOW!²

    I have to watch these! Smile
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    Admin
    Admin

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Tue May 31, 2011 12:50 am

    Brian T wrote:Happy Birthday, by the way. At least, that's what Facebook told me . . . Wink

    Thanks Brian. Yes, Facebook was correct except about the age Wink .

    Happy (belated) Birthday to Shawn too!
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Tue May 31, 2011 8:36 am

    Admin wrote:Thanks Brian. Yes, Facebook was correct except about the age Wink .
    Ah, so it's your 29th again, is it?

    Admin wrote:Happy (belated) Birthday to Shawn too!
    Likewise! Smile
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Tue May 31, 2011 8:49 am

    Teddy Wong wrote:I have to watch these! Smile

    OUR HOSPITALITY is on YouTube in its entirety (illegally, I presume, and broken into the usual segments). As Shawn has said elsewhere, the influence of Keaton (and his contemporaries) is far-reaching, and watching his work (and theirs) tends to trigger memories of other things you've seen that were made years, sometimes decades, later. Personally, I love it when such "connections" crackle into existence for me without the aid of film books, historians, critics, etc., but rather by my own experiences suddenly coming together for one of those "a-HA!" moments. (of course, I still need the books and experts most of the time!)

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Admin on Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:26 pm

    I went to a traditional olde world multiplex yesterday and watched The Hangover Part 2. Like everyone says, it's a total rehash of the first one, but I went in knowing that and came away reasonably entertained.
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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:35 am

    Hallelujah I’m A Bum (1933: Lewis Milestone) ***½/****

    I had a few reasons for wanting to watch this. I wanted to see something of Harry Langdon’s post-silent career, I had never seen Al Jolson in a film (yes I should eventually see The Jazz Singer) and this is one of cinematic critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s favorite films.

    This film is somewhat a musical. It uses a rhythmic dialogue in its songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart that is preceded in their songs in Rouben Mamoulian’s Love Me Tonight (1932). This technique would later even be used in the first Three Stooges Columbian short “Woman Haters” (1934) -- a trend that did not take off. But for this film it works quite well especially since Jolson can do a variety of singing styles and non-singers like Langdon can work with this approach.

    Al Jolson plays Bumper a Mayer among tramps and hobos. He is followed around by his friend Acorn (played by vaudevillian Edgar Connor who would unfortunately die the next year after this film was released) almost everywhere. Acorn’s use in this movie is quite unique. He is a black character that is not a stereotypical performance (for the most part) though is adroitly used as a sociological statement when both of them get jobs (guess which one of the two gets the desk job and who gets the janitorial job). Harry Langdon plays Egghead a Marxist spouting trash collector who is despised by the other bums because he works but Bumper seems to get along with everyone. He is even friends with the real Mayor of New York City (Frank Morgan).

    All is well in Bumper’s life until he finds a 1000 dollar bill and, even worse, falls in love with an amnesiac woman who had just tried to commit suicide by jumping in a river (small mistake in filming, you can see in a distance the stuntman swimming to shore). Unbeknownst to him she was the love of the Mayor and they broke up after a misunderstanding involving that very same 1000 dollar bill. Bumper’s new found love makes him want to give up his ways as a bum and become a useful member of society by getting a job. How long will this last and will his new found love every regain her memory?

    This film was a troubled production from the start resulting in a few different directors but eventually Lewis Milestone (All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)) took over. His direction and Lucien N. Andriot’s cinematography help create a dynamic environment and quite a unique look to the film.

    This is quite a unique 1930s film that tackles several sociological issues of its time with The Great Depression in the forefront. I think this is a must see for fans of 1930s cinema.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:20 am

    Some more recent screenings, mostly odds 'n ends from the library. Still plugging the gaps, though the quality has certainly ranged:

    DARKNESS FALLS 3/10
    Knew this one's rep going in, but was compelled largely (well, entirely) because it took as its villain one of the few remaining mythological characters that hadn't been co-opted by the genre (at least to my knowledge). Decently made (especially the opening sequence), with some okay Boo! moments, but easily one of the dumbest scripts I've seen in a horror movie in a long while, just loaded with illogical moments and motivations.

    ECHELON CONSPIRACY 5/10
    The speed and general lack of promotion with which this silly fear-the-computers thriller blew threw theatres, on what almost seemed like a regional basis, made be wonder at the time if it was some kinda LEFT BEHIND-type thingy being borderline four-walled. Obviously, that wasn't the case, but I'm guessing its marketing people knew early on that it would probably be judged an also-ran in the techno-paranoia sweepstakes that already produced bigger-budgeted popcorn like EAGLE EYE and ENEMY OF THE STATE.

    TIMELINE 5/10
    This was the only Richard Donner movie I hadn't seen. So there's that. Not one of his best works, but he was pretty much winding things down at the time this was made, so . . .

    JESUS CAMP 8/10
    DELIVER US FROM EVIL 8/10
    Didn't plan on watching these two together; they just arrived at the library on the same day! JESUS CAMP is harrowing, yet balanced thanks to a lack of narration and smarmy editing tricks (or a host, a la Michael Moore) to tell the viewer what they're supposed to think of the people onscreen. Frankly, pointing a camera at evangelical Pentecostals is pretty much all you have to do. Quite a jaw-dropper in spots. A show like this always makes me wonder if non-North American viewers will come away with the impression that these kooks somehow represent all of American, which couldn't be farther from the truth. DELIVER US FROM EVIL, like JESUS CAMP, deals with the irreparable damage done to children in the name of religion -- or more specifically from behind the sanctimonious facade of Catholicism, and the systemic obfuscation that continues to exist within the church (even a good four years after the release of the film). I wanted to nuke the Vatican by the end of this.

    CROSSROADS 3/10
    Thanks to what I can only assume was a glitch in the library's online filing system (I swear!), my hoped-for copy of the well-regarded 1986 blues fantasy was replaced instead with the 2002 Britney Spears bubblegum road movie. I signed it out anyways. And I watched the whole thing. It's no SPICE WORLD, but . . . wait a minute, yes it is! Oh, the humanity1 It hurts so bad, this insidious breed of crossover zeitgeist capitalization. Britney dances around in her underwear for the first few minutes. That part was OK.

    RIDING GIANTS 8/10
    Easily one of the best surfing docs of all time (and I've seen a few), with candid interviews with veterans and contemporary hotshots alike, and a treasure trove of vintage footage.

    Also viewed (but too tired to add comments):

    SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (Criterion) 8/10
    20th CENTURY BOYS PART 3 (Japanese) 7/10
    MY DARLING IS A FOREIGNER 6/10
    BLUE VELVET 7/10


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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:56 am

    This weekend's library stack, time hopefully permittting

    THE HUSTLER (1961) 9/10
    DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962) 8/10
    ANNIE HALL (1977) 8/10
    BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961) 8/10 (tough not to dock points for Mickey Rooney's character alone)
    FIGHTING ELEGY (1966) 7/10


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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:01 pm

    Ranked the last batch. Here's the next couple of batches:

    BLUE CRUSH (2002) 7/10
    PICNIC (1955) 7/10
    BRING IT ON (2000) 6/10
    (only signed this out to find out how it could spawn four sequels, none of which I'll ever watch Laughing)
    SHOOT 'EM UP (2006) 6/10
    (shamefully derivative but so breathless it's tough to complain. It's precociousness, however, became a major turn-off the longer I watched)
    DAREDEVIL (2003) 6/10
    (theatrical cut; debating whether to bother signing out the longer version)
    JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK (2005)
    (easily my least favourite Kevin Smith film)

    Just finished . . .

    THREE COLOURS: BLUE (1993) 7/10

    About to start also just finished . . .

    THREE COLOURS: WHITE (1994) 8/10

    RED is in my queue and might be in before the weekend.


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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:43 pm

    Watched these over the past two nights . . .

    LORD OF WAR (2005) 8/10
    10,000 B.C. (2005) 5/10
    THE BIG ONE (1998) 7/10
    THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON (2006) 8/10


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    ewaffle

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  ewaffle on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:32 pm

    Incident at Loch Ness 2004 Very funny mock documentary. Werner Herzog and a small group--including an Oscar winning sound editor/mixer and an experienced and well known DP--set off in an underpowered boat to find the Lock Ness Monster. Others aboard are a crypto-zoologist, a scientist who studies undiscovered animals and a Playboy model as the sonar operator.

    American Bellydancer 2005 Documentary on the Belly Dance Superstars and Desert Roses, two groups that Miles Copeland created and put on a bus and truck tour throughout the hinterlands of the US. Could have been two very good movies--one about Copeland (manager for The Police, Stewart Copeland's brother) a terrific and indefatigable promoter who knows the music business as well as anyone and another film that looked at the tour completely from the point of view of the dancers. As it is American Bellydancer is an OK movie.

    Every Little Step 2008 Documents the recreation for a Broadway revival of iconic musical "A Chorus Line". Very well done look behind the scenes at musical theater, some really agonizing scenes with dancers who don't get cast. The compressed reality of a movie about a musical play in rehearsal leads to some uneven pacing and emphasis but well worth seeing if you like musical theater of movies about show biz.

    Wordplay 2006 Documentary on crossword puzzle fans, creators and geeks. Captivating even if you are not a crossword fan--which I am not.

    Behind the Burly Q 2010 Documentary on some of the big name strippers from the past. Dreadful. Written, directed and produced by Leslie Zemeckis, the spouse of Robert Zemeckis.

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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:51 pm

    ewaffle wrote:Behind the Burly Q 2010 Documentary on some of the big name strippers from the past. Dreadful. Written, directed and produced by Leslie Zemeckis, the spouse of Robert Zemeckis.

    I was hoping to see this one, actually, but now you've given me pause. I haven't read any reviews yet, so I'm curious where it misses the mark. The trailer made it look interesting, if not overly innovative in its approach, and I was amazed at how many still-living stars they managed to dig up for interviews. I've seen quite a few of them performing in old clips on various DVDs from Something Weird, but figured such tatty old footage was about as close as one could get to the Burlesque world, that it was an era and subject matter lost to the ages along with many of its performers. I was happy to be proven wrong when I watched the trailer and some so many of the old gals offering their thoughts, but I'm guessing this isn't the piece of work it could have been?


    Also recently viewed:

    RED (1994) 8/10
    Liked this trilogy, but don't fully understand the swooning some critics have done over it.
    UNKNOWN (2011) 8/10
    fun movie, but January Jones kinda grates
    X-MEN FIRST CLASS (2011) 8/10
    Jones wasn't much better in this, but her part was thankfully smaller
    DISTRICT 9 (2009) 9/10


    .
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    ewaffle

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  ewaffle on Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:19 pm

    Brian T wrote:
    but I'm guessing this isn't the piece of work it could have been?

    That is the problem-not with the movie but with my one word review. I was reacting to what the movie could have been given the access and resources that Leslie Zemeckis had, not the movie she actually put on the screen. As a look at burlesque in the US from the end of World War I until recently it isn't bad. It would have worked a lot better as a book, though and there are already a lot of books on the history of burlesque generally and strippers specifically available.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:53 pm

    ewaffle wrote:That is the problem-not with the movie but with my one word review. I was reacting to what the movie could have been given the access and resources that Leslie Zemeckis had, not the movie she actually put on the screen. As a look at burlesque in the US from the end of World War I until recently it isn't bad. It would have worked a lot better as a book, though and there are already a lot of books on the history of burlesque generally and strippers specifically available.

    Thanks for the clarification. I'll still seek that one out, I guess. Glad to know the era has been so well-chronicled in book form, too.


    Watched yesterday and today:

    THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE (2005) 8/10
    Speaking of Burlesque . . . Smile
    FROST/NIXON (2008) 9/10
    WATCHMEN (2009) 8/10
    About as good as one could expect of a movie adaption of the Watchmen comic book. This was the only Zack Snyder film I hadn't seen, and like his others, you can't help but suspect an overwhelming pop visualist like him might deliver a big bomb if he ventured away from material adapted from existing works. Ergo, SUCKER PUNCH.
    THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (1998) 5/10
    Not sure why I bothered with this; probably because I've grown sick of seeing it in every cheap bin and liquidation store I've seen over the past several years. Lavish but filmed with little verve, and with Leo DiCaprio irritatingly miscast as a very American-sounding Louis XIV, not to mention John Malkovich as a likewise American Athos. I'll never understand casting like that. It really kills the sense of time and place every time they open their mouths.


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    Cash

    Posts : 63
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    Location : Central Illinois

    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Cash on Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:25 pm

    What I've seen in the last month:

    Leaves of Grass (2009) C+

    Not dissimilar to other genre benders there's plenty to enjoy but it doesn't meld smoothly.

    The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009) C+

    As mediocre as it is I've seen worse -- MUCH WORSE -- remakes of notable films. Still, Travolta needs to finally give the over-the-top antagonist a rest.

    Taxi to the Dark Side (2008) A-

    I much prefer Alex Gibney to Michael Moore as a muckumentary filmmaker.

    The Naked Prey (1966) A-

    A classic tale of survival that presumably was a fairly unnerving piece of cinema for the 1960's. Obviously, director Mel Gibson was heavily influenced by this film when he made the equally disturbing "Apocalypto."

    Super 8 (2011) C+

    Nothing new here and it's really starting to grow tiresome.

    The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) A-

    I liked it just slightly less than the rest of the film-going public but it is a meaningful work of art.

    The Mack (1973) C+

    Most blaxploitation films are fairly slow but they often aren't without a good handful of moments, either; "The Mack," which garnished something of a cult following with white audiences, isn't much different.

    Waiting for Superman (2010) A-

    Granted, while it hits its marks with who and what is to blame for America's pathetic public school system it's answer may not be as sound as it believes it is. Still, a great expose.

    Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son from His Father (2008) A

    Perfect and yet so emotionally draining it's almost impossible to look at. I doubt I could ever sit through this devastating documentary again.

    The Tillman Story (2010) A-

    "Oh what webs we weave when at first we practice to deceive."

    The Black Gestapo (1975) C+

    I sort of liked it...in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way.
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    Brian T

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    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Brian T on Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:05 pm

    More recent signouts . . .

    THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) 9/10
    Should I bother with the remake? I just can't picture this being topped. The coded -- but entirely unexplained -- dialogue between Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh throughout the movie was brilliant!
    SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) 9/10
    SIDEWAYS (2004) 9/10
    THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) 8/10
    Big score, big characters, big movie!

    plus two more . . .

    FULL METAL JACKET (1987) 9/10
    EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) 8/10
    I've now seen all of Kubrick's films except THE KILLING, KILLER'S KISS (both of which Criterion's taking care of soon enough), FEAR AND DESIRE (which I've got bookmarked at YouTube) and THE SEAFARERS (which is on DVD, but a bit pricey for what you get). I'm hoping to get the recently released Kubrick Collection blu-ray set at some point, as all of his films within it are worthy of revisits at some point.


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    Masterofoneinchpunch

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    Location : Modesto, CA

    Re: Now watching...

    Post  Masterofoneinchpunch on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:37 am

    No do not bother with the remake of The Manchurian Candidate. Not wholly a bad film, but a completely unnecessary one in my opinion. Just doesn't have the feel of the first. The Killing is quite a good film noir from Kubrick.

    Something I recently wrote:

    On Secondary Characters:

    Normally the supporting roles do not make or break a film, but they can certainly can help a weak one or hurt a good one. I think most of us watch a variety of films from classics to b-films and can sit through most anything. When a film is floundering I do try to think positive and find good points where I can (and oppositely when I watch a classic I tend to be more critical; ultimately I follow a pragmatic critical approach which is why I tend to eschew "binary" criticism -- the type of criticism that either loves or hates everything with no inbetween; I'm always bewildered by the amount of 1s I see on IMDB). I do not want to completely waste my time so I take what I can get.

    This segues into:

    Drive Angry (2011: Patrick Lussier): If Nicholas Cage wasn't in it I doubt I would have seen this. He certainly is in his share of mediocre to bad films (most recently watched for me was Bangkok Dangerous). If I had looked at Patrick Lussier's oeuvre (and Best Buy didn't have the DVD for so cheap) I certainly wouldn't have watched this. Not much to say about this except that other than one character and a few other scenes I didn't like it. With a title of Drive Angry I was expecting more surly driving scenes. The best part of the film goes to William Fichtner's portrayal of The Accountant (I thought he was excellent in the TV series Prison Break). He was just so damn cool regardless of the inept direction. The 2-D doesn't view well with many scenes with the background looking flat and the colors looking bland. Without his performance this film would have gotten a even worse rating from me. He was over-the-top, but still had the panache to pull it off. This was in contrast to Cage's character who could have easily been better if Cage cared. I'm not even sure he flipped out in this film. I am certainly not recommending the film. Luckily it has a character that helps prevent you from taking the DVD and flinging it at noisy neighbors similar to a scene with the CD spitting demon in Hellraiser III.

    I will see you in three months.

    Despicable Me (2010: Pierre Coffin/Chris Renaud): Another good animation film from 2010 (I still need to see Tangled). However, my favorite characters were the supporting minions who resemble anthropomorphic yellow pills with one or two eyes. These characters are jocular, have their own unique language, are impish throughout, actually have individual names, and made me smile throughout the movie. I wonder if they originally had the idea for these creatures and thought let's build a film around them.

    This isn't the first time I liked supporting animated characters more than the main ones. I feel that the Madagascar penguins have become so much more interesting than the lead characters. The shorts from those (I have the DVDs, I have not seen them on their TV series) are so much funnier than the two films, more adult in humor and are much more in depth with their personas.

    The Princess and the Pirate (1944): I am a Bob Hope fan. No, he doesn't really vary his personality much. But his quips are usually quite good and he works well with dialog. But it really helps his movies when he has a strong supporting cast to play off of. This is considered one of his better films he was in because of that reason. When you have Walter Brennan as a slightly insane pirate and Victor McLaglen as a bloodthirsty leader of seafaring bastards then you know you are in good company (well the characters are not good, but they are portrayed well). It's so easy to see Victor McLaglen as a pirate and he plays it well.

    Hope's films from the 40s are generally his best.

    On a side note: is there any inside joke in cinema that is done more than the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby connections in either of their films. The more films you watch with them (by themselves) especially in the 1940s that amount of references between the two trading barbs is huge. Of course the film mentioned above has one (and one of the best that I have seen), but it is amusing whenever I see one and it becomes almost like spotting Hitchcock in one of his directed films.

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