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 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Pedro Almodovar's "I'm So Excited"

When we put a movie on our Netflix queue, it doesn't always come when we are in the mood for it, and today I was in more of a serious "Schindler's List" mood than for comedy, so this HAD to be funny to capture me, and I thought it was hysterical! I kept laughing and laughing so loud that I was afraid that my neighbors would think I needed medical attention! I agree with the comparison I've seen to "Airplane!" -- it's that kind of movie, though far raunchier and with a ton of references to gays and heterosexual bondage. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much!!!

And to Michael24: I'm delighted you enjoyed "Oblivion"! I like it more each time I see it and am SO glad I bought it on Blu-ray! And, as I've written elsewhere, I can't seem to watch it without crying at the end and have said that it is sci-fi with a heart.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2014 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

And to Michael24: I'm delighted you enjoyed "Oblivion"! I like it more each time I see it and am SO glad I bought it on Blu-ray! And, as I've written elsewhere, I can't seem to watch it without crying at the end and have said that it is sci-fi with a heart.

I was actually replying to DeputyRiley's positive review, which was quoted in my post. I was far more neutral-to-negative on it. Like I said in my post, I enjoyed the first hour, but didn't find the second hour nearly as compelling, so ultimately found it a disappointing movie, outside of splendid effects, cinematography and production design.

 
 Posted:   Jan 9, 2014 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Michael24: I blame myself for not looking closer and distinguishing between what was in italics and NOT in italics. I see what YOU wrote: "Unfortunately, I didn't find the second half anywhere near as compelling as the first. The effects and cinematography were splendid, though." I prefer bold over italics, which stands out a little more clearly to some of us hopping madly from one discussion to another and wish that FSM had set it up to do the quoting in bold instead. I, of course, had no problem with the second half of "Oblivion." But thank you for clarifying that. And I AM heartened that Deputy Fred thought it was great. Here is what he wrote about "Oblivion": "Fantastic. A few cheesy lines and moments here and there, but what an accomplishment, I was riveted the entire time. Haven't had my imagination and sense of sight and sound that stirred up in quite some time." Maybe just a bit strong for me, but there's no mistake he liked it!

 
 Posted:   Jan 9, 2014 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Having watched big chunks recently of "Prometheus," today I decided to put on the Blu-ray of "Alien," which kinda follows it, and watched about 2/3rds before zipping through much of the final third (have seen it soooooooooooo many times in the past). Once again was startled by all the smoking in the film, not because of my being anti-smoking (although I AM anti-smoking) but because I've never thought that people working on a spaceship would tolerate their oxygen being compromised like that -- I honestly don't think that when we begin to travel to other planets that you'll see casual smoking as you do in "Alien." Perhaps in a small controlled space, but that's doubtful too. Anyway, as usual "Alien" looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.

 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2014 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

If you stopped Prometheus at the right spot you will have seen Fifield smoking tobacco inside his space helmet, and being mildly rebuked for it by the biologist. In Alien I remember Lambert having a 'last' smoke on the Nostromo bridge before debarking onto the surface for fun and games. The thing is, it wasn't the smoking wot got 'em.

Last film was The Gunfighter, with Gregory Peck. There never was a film in whose every shot and waking moment was of the greatest economy. There's always a bigger fish.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2014 - 3:36 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Killing Season (2013) -- 5/10

Kind of the very definition of average. Travolta and DeNiro were pretty good (okay, DeNiro was very good and Travolta subpar) and the rest of the movie was alternately commanding and poorly done. Some good ideas, some lackluster execution of said ideas. The whole routine of cat-catches-mouse, mouse-turns-tables-on-cat was so damn repetitive it became dull. Although, I do see the point. The repeated catch-and-release was necessary to drive the point of the film home. If whenever the cat caught the mouse, if he had just killed it instead of talking and talking (thus allowing the mouse to escape) then the message of the toll war takes on its participants wouldn't have been delivered, and it is a worthy message in this film. I like how the two hunters did not end up killing one another, but just sitting next to each other on a rock, reflecting on what war has driven them to. Didn't see that coming. I enjoyed very much the lengthy scene of Travolta and DeNiro bonding over Jagermeister in DeNiro's cabin. Some well-shot action scenes, particularly the flying arrows which I swear will have you ducking for cover in your La-Z-Boy. Great cinematography and a robust Christopher Young score.

Overall, a mediocre picture; glad I saw it -- but not that glad.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2014 - 5:22 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I think average describes Killing Season best and I was thinking about DeNiro with his current Stallone "Grudge Match" movie if he hasn't jumped the shark in recent years.

Dream House 2011 6/10

Still had this movie recorded on my digibox and decided to give it a go. It starts off ok but once the major plot twist arrives I was like "really?", then when it continued I "did you really just go there?!". The acting is ok and Watts, Weisz and Craig do their best but for me the movie fell apart in the second half and the ending is just too preposterous, as was the setup but the movie manipulates you enough to buy into it for a moment. The score by Debney is way too cliché but given the star power so is the movie itself; the movie to me felt like too polished a hollywood version of something like Cronenberg's Spider.

Lifeforce 1985 7/10

I became aware of this movie via a friend recommending the Mancini score, when I got hold of the movie I didn't know what to make of it as it was intriguing to watch yet all over the place. I also struggled to make it through the extended cut. Getting to experience it now on blu-ray only benefits the movie as it is well shot and makes some excellent use of practical effects; yet, the acting and writing is too serious (and too british) for what it tackles; In its running time it manages to deal with space exploration, vampires, naked models, demonic possession, transfer of 'life force', exploding corpses, zombie outbreak, london blowing up and gargoyles. All of it is extremely fascinating but thinking it over, there are too many characters, events and subplots and it is a hard movie to get into. Still, I like to revisit it from time to time, if only for the gorgeous look of ... the picture. wink

Margin Call 2011 9/10

Best post economic crisis movie I've seen so far, great performances and writing. Truly feels like you're behind the scenes. Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey are excellent in it.

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2014 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Yesterday I watched my new Blu-ray of "Prisoners" with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall and Terrence Howard, which, while an excellent thriller, is a good example of why one should try to see a movie before buying it on DVD or Blu-ray. Had I done so, I would have realized that while it's a very good and interesting murder mystery (on the lines of "Kill The Girls") and has some excellent acting, it's just not a movie I would care to see repeatedly. So I should have watched it on video and maybe later on cable, which would have been quite sufficient. It's a lesson I learned a long time ago, but this time let impulse trump good sense. So, yes, I have no one to blame but myself. But it was a very fast 2 1/2 hours!

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2014 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   Thomas   (Member)

You seem to be making a habit of that lately, Ronwink

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2014 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Killing Season (2013) -- 5/10

Kind of the very definition of average. Travolta and DeNiro were pretty good (okay, DeNiro was very good and Travolta subpar) and the rest of the movie was alternately commanding and poorly done. Some good ideas, some lackluster execution of said ideas. The whole routine of cat-catches-mouse, mouse-turns-tables-on-cat was so damn repetitive it became dull. Although, I do see the point. The repeated catch-and-release was necessary to drive the point of the film home. If whenever the cat caught the mouse, if he had just killed it instead of talking and talking (thus allowing the mouse to escape) then the message of the toll war takes on its participants wouldn't have been delivered, and it is a worthy message in this film. I like how the two hunters did not end up killing one another, but just sitting next to each other on a rock, reflecting on what war has driven them to. Didn't see that coming. I enjoyed very much the lengthy scene of Travolta and DeNiro bonding over Jagermeister in DeNiro's cabin. Some well-shot action scenes, particularly the flying arrows which I swear will have you ducking for cover in your La-Z-Boy. Great cinematography and a robust Christopher Young score.

Overall, a mediocre picture; glad I saw it -- but not that glad.



The standoff finish reminded me of a film I'd seen recently, but which left something of a "meh" taste in the mouth. So much so that all I remembered was Angelica Huston had a weird walk on part as a medicine toting woman towards the end. Then I googled that and came up with Seraphim Falls with Pierce Brosnan and Lian Neeson. Ok, the cobwebs started to clear a little at that point. The finale from both films seem to be a chip off the same old block.

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2014 - 10:52 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

You're right, Thomas! Both in movies AND soundtracks (my foolish fiasco buying "Sebastian"!!!). Thanks for noticing!!! I am NOT perfect!

 
 Posted:   Jan 13, 2014 - 4:48 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Officer Down

I have been a longtime fan of Stephen Dorff, going back to "Always Remember I Love You," which was made when he was about 16 and which always makes me cry at the end. He tends to choose very quirky films, such as "Entropy," SFW," "Deuces Wild," "I Shot Andy Warhol," "Cecil B. DeMented," "Cold Creek Manor," and the first "Blade," although we probably shouldn't forget the outrageously tongue-in-cheek "Space Truckers"! A lot of his films are hit-or-miss, but the misses are mainly because of poor or at least misguided scripts, and I have long wished he could find better ones, although I liked "City of Industry" and "Blood and Wine" and "Felon," and even the father/daughter drama "Somewhere" was probably one of his more accessible films. From 2013 we have "Officer Down," which I watched today, and I'm kind of glad I watched it knowing very little about it. Now 40, he has taken great care of himself and looks better than most actors in their 20s or 30s. Here he's a Connecticut police officer with a drinking problem who may have had a shady past, and much of the movie is told in sometimes jarring flashback. But it's one of the best movies I've seen in some time, and Dorff is more than just terrific in it -- and I haven't hesitated to condemn some of his films in the past! If you like crime drama with twists within twists, you'll probably like this, although you'll have to pay attention! Definitely one of the best movies this actor has made in at least half a dozen years, which I'm delighted to report. Incidentally, Dorff (son of composer Steve Dorff) is as adept at playing bad guys as he is with good guy roles, and in this film, he sometimes is on the fence.

 
 Posted:   Jan 16, 2014 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) -- 9/10

Excellent film. Think I like it better than the first but it's been awhile since I've seen it and I need to rewatch that one. J.J. Abrams continues to deliver and remains one of my favorite filmmakers, while Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof continue to wow and impress me, delivering another solid work. Enjoyed the Kirk/Spock relationship as depicted in this film and really thought the themes of revenge and human nature were well handled. Peter Weller was a lot of fun and Bruce Greenwood did his usual exemplary work. The supporting characters were well-integrated but the main weak spot in the cast (and the film itself) was Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. I found his villain to be way too mannered and over-expressive...there are other actors in this film guilty of such things but with Khan it grated on me quite a bit. He was an interesting character and mysteriously smoldering, but I just didn't care for Cumberbatch in this role and thought he was too cartoon-y. Of the two big bads from the Abrams Star Trek films, I definitely prefer Bana, who possessed an understated menace and malevolence that Cumberbatch can't seem to muster, despite the fact that he is indeed quite a different character. Otherwise this film was terrific and makes me even more excited to see Abrams' take on Star Wars.

 
 Posted:   Jan 17, 2014 - 9:10 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Deputy Riley:

You are the exception. Most here trashed the movie, and because of what I read, I didn't automatically buy it on Blu-ray before seeing it first, and because of that delay, I saved myself at least $20. When I wrote about it here, I think that I noted that the acting and directing were fine, although I didn't care for Cumberbatch at all, and felt it was a pretty lousy script in great need of re-writes. For your sake, I'm glad you liked it, but I do think that you're in the minority.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 2:23 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

On Friday I watched, courtesy of Netflix, "Violet & Daisy," and posted the following few lines about it:

What an odd little movie! I had put it in my queue because I had liked Saoirse Ronan in "Byzantium" and had forgotten that James Gandolfini was in it, which came as a bit of a shock -- but he was the central humanity in the movie, which was touching (my eyes even got a little moist). It's very quirky and unlike any movie I've ever seen before. But I can't believe that some NF customers didn't even give it a chance. Good acting, fine directing, and quite an interesting story. I'm glad I saw it, which I can't say about too many even bigger movies I've seen over the past year!

It's sort of like 2 "Valley Girls" becoming mob assassins, and they behave as if their lives are in no danger -- all they can think about is taking out the mark so they can buy that new dress they saw in the store window. Yes, quite an odd little movie!

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 6:10 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

When I wrote about it here, I think that I noted that the acting and directing were fine, although I didn't care for Cumberbatch at all, and felt it was a pretty lousy script in great need of re-writes. For your sake, I'm glad you liked it, but I do think that you're in the minority.

It wouldn't be the first time I'd be in the minority, when it comes to the films I enjoy! smile

I know I am in the minority for having a problem with Cumberbatch's performance; he's such a golden pop culture icon these days and rarely do you hear negative reactions to his work. Glad I'm not the only one around here who didn't enjoy his villain in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Also, most here trash not only Star Trek Into Darkness but J.J. Abrams as a general artist, but I've always loved his work going all the way back to the mid-90's. He is a genius, in my opinion, and you won't hear that much on this forum (if at all), if memory serves.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 6:11 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

When I wrote about it here, I think that I noted that the acting and directing were fine, although I didn't care for Cumberbatch at all, and felt it was a pretty lousy script in great need of re-writes. For your sake, I'm glad you liked it, but I do think that you're in the minority.

It wouldn't be the first time I'd be in the minority, when it comes to the films I enjoy! smile

I know I am in the minority for having a problem with Cumberbatch's performance; he's such a golden pop culture icon these days and rarely do you hear negative reactions to his work. Glad I'm not the only one around here who didn't enjoy his villain in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Also, most here trash not only Star Trek Into Darkness but J.J. Abrams as a general artist, but I've always loved his work going all the way back to the mid-90's. He is a genius, in my opinion, and you won't hear that much on this forum (if at all), if memory serves.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

When I wrote about it here, I think that I noted that the acting and directing were fine, although I didn't care for Cumberbatch at all, and felt it was a pretty lousy script in great need of re-writes. For your sake, I'm glad you liked it, but I do think that you're in the minority.

It wouldn't be the first time I'd be in the minority, when it comes to the films I enjoy! smile

I know I am in the minority for having a problem with Cumberbatch's performance; he's such a golden pop culture icon these days and rarely do you hear negative reactions to his work. Glad I'm not the only one around here who didn't enjoy his villain in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Also, most here trash not only Star Trek Into Darkness but J.J. Abrams as a general artist, but I've always loved his work going all the way back to the mid-90's. He is a genius, in my opinion, and you won't hear that much on this forum (if at all), if memory serves.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Savages. In no way life-changing but an entertaining way to pass two hours and a bit. 6.5/10.

 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2014 - 3:47 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

Life of Pi - Fascinating story, told in flashback, of a young man's ordeal after surviving a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean. An orangutan, hyena and tiger are his only company on a lifeboat. The orangutan and hyena soon perish, leaving only the hungry tiger. The tale leading up to the sinking detailing Pi's upbringing is also well handled and the film has a satisfying wrap-up. Mesmerizing main title music by Mychael Danna. 9/10

Total Recall - Not bad, if unneccesary, remake of the 1990 Verhoeven film. Quaid wakes up to a rain soaked city environment that (ahem) recalls a cross between Blade Runner and Se7en. He dreams of an adventure with hottie Jessica Beal and wakes up in bed with super-hottie Kate Beckinsale. Not a bad life! The film is watchable and obviously a lot of work went into it's making. If you're not familiar with the original film, then this film's ultimate story goal may be unclear. Still, it has a couple of interesting ideas within it. 7/10

Time After Time - I hadn't seen this in decades and WB is selling new DVDs dirt cheap with free shipping so I figured I'd pick it up. Delightful characterizations from the lead actors make this a pleasure to watch. Mary Steenburgen is adorable and quite understandably catches the eye (in real life as well) of Malcolm McDowell. Wonderful score by Miklos Rozsa. The DVD has a commentary track from McDowell and director Nicholas Meyer. 9/10

 
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