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December 18, 2014, 04:35:54 AM
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Author Topic: Recent theatrical viewings  (Read 75554 times)
Rev. Powell
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« Reply #525 on: December 11, 2013, 02:10:32 PM »

THE WIND RISES (2013): Between the wars, apolitical young Japanese engineer Jiro (literally) dreams of building magnificent aircraft; he ends up working for the navy as World War II approaches. Hayao Mizyaki's (likely) final film is a realistic (if sentimental) historical drama for adults; the story drags occasionally, but the artwork is as good as ever. 3.5/5.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #526 on: December 27, 2013, 05:24:33 PM »

The films from Walt Disney Studios just keep getting odder and odder, but you will have a better understanding of the film title, after you see the film.

"Saving Mr. Banks" w/ Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

A father who was an alcoholic, who did not understand how the world works, and suffering from "the white death."

A mother who was a candidate for suicide, who was 3rd in line for her husbands affection, and who was trapped in a problem she could not escape.

And between them, a little girl. No wonder she grew up to be a woman who makes you want to tear your hair out, but I had more sympathy for her after seeing the film that before seeing the film, which is probably the purpose of the film.

As for Emma Thompson . . .? There will be no justice if she is at least not nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. In the film, she is no longer Emma Thompson actress but P. L. Travers authoress.

But as hard as her job was, Hanks has the harder job of portraying Walt Disney, everyone thinks they know what Walt was like. He did a great job in a hard role, and I did get one insight into Walt. What a tough s.o.b. he was, as you realize he had to be a tough s.o.b. to survive and thrive in Hollywood.

The film also reminded me that "Mary Poppins" owed much of its success to the music by the Sherman Brothers, who are also portrayed in the film.

And a plug for the wildlife documentary for "Bears," which will be out on Earth Day in 2014. Except for one year, when Warner Brothers released a wildlife documentary on Earth Day. Walt Disney Studios is the last of the major studios to continue to do wildlife documentaries.
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fulci420
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« Reply #527 on: December 27, 2013, 10:13:03 PM »

It's a great time of the year for movies so I've been heading out to the theaters as much as I can. In the last few weeks I saw:

Nebraska-I've yet to see an Alexander Payne film that I didn't like and this one is no exception. In someways it's nothing new for Payne falling comfortably between About Schmidt and Sideways. When Bruce Dern gets a phony letter in the mail promising 1 million dollars he will stop at nothing to go get his prize despite the protests of his whole family. Seeing an opportunity to bond with his father Will Forte decides to drive him and it becomes an opportunity for the whole family to make a trip out to their old home town. This is a very small movie that manages to be both funny and dramatic at the same time. June Squibb is the comic highlight as Dern's wife who has no filter and just about everything she says is funny. My only complaint would be that the black and white looked pretty lousy especially compared to this years France Ha.

American Hustle-Silver Linings Playbook was among my favorite films of last year so I had high expectations going in for David O Russel's follow up. First the good, this movie is very funny for much of the time. Scenes between Louis Ck and Bradley Cooper are outright hilarious and some of the best of the year. Performances are generally strong with Bale adding a bunch of weight and a De Niro impression to his repertoire. Jennifer Lawrence gets a similarly high strung role as she did in SLP and brings the energy level up considerably anytime she is on the screen. Now for the bad which is that when this movie is not going for comedy it is pretty much a mess. Basically as a million other reviews have pointed out this is O Russel's attempt at a Martin Scorsese style crime saga and while he can do wonders with a fight movie (The Fighter), or a romantic comedy (SLP) he has no business attempting an epic and falls flat on his face. Frequently boring in between moments of inspired humor this is a badly paced and poorly written film. Critics giving this a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes is truly perplexing and shows that their bulls**t detector is in need of a serious tune up.

Wolf of Wall Street-Thought the trailers for this looked pretty bad and wasn't expecting too much of this one. Could not have been more wrong as this is IMO Scorcese's best film since Goodfella's and likely my favorite film of the year. Before this film I would say that no comedy should be over 2 hours, Scorsese gives us 3 and it's consistently hilarious and completely insane. DiCaprio gives the performance of his career, endless memorable scenes, and a director at the top of his game in his 80's. This is the reason I keep going to the theaters.
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Hammock Rider
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« Reply #528 on: December 29, 2013, 12:24:24 AM »

Well i spent my hard earned money on 47 Ronin. It's not the worst movie i've ever seen but it's not really good either. I knew there were going to be some major changes to the traditional story of the Ronin and that didn't bother me because I usually like to take a movie for what it is and accept it on its own terms. So this movie had action and looked good but it lacked heart and the sacrifice of the Ronin didn't have much emotional impact. You can probably wait until this one shows up on cable.

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Jumping Kings and Making Haste Ain't my Cup of Meat
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« Reply #529 on: January 15, 2014, 09:59:48 AM »

AMERICAN HUSTLE: A gung-ho FBI agent blackmails a small-time con artist and his mistress into helping him run a sting that starts small and keeps getting more and more elaborate as the targets become Congressmen and mafioso. Great characterizations by Christian Bale (channeling DeNiro) and Jennifer Lawrence in a comic relief role highlight this star-powered caper flick. 4.5/5.

I have to disagree with my friend Fulci420 above; I found this much better than the good but overrated and formulaic SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. This is ultimately very conventional filmmaking, too, but the caper film allows for a much broader set of choices and textures than the boy-meets-girl picture.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
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« Reply #530 on: January 29, 2014, 09:49:56 AM »

HER: In the near future, a recently divorced man falls in love with his artificially intelligent computer operating system. Melancholy meditation on the way technology simultaneously facilitates and thwarts our basic need for human connection, with alarming hints of where we might be heading. 4.5/5.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
Rev. Powell
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« Reply #531 on: February 05, 2014, 09:50:22 AM »

NEBRASKA: A stereo-equipment salesman accompanies his demented father on a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, to collect the million dollars he obstinately insists he's won in a sweepstakes. Effective, if a bit obvious, father-son piece, with the right amount of comedy and satire (courtesy of greedy relatives) to cut the melancholy. 4/5.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
Rev. Powell
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« Reply #532 on: February 14, 2014, 10:04:32 AM »

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS: Putting these shorts together on one program and releasing them to theaters is a brilliant idea; I look forward to these every year. This year's batch is a good mix of 2-D and 3-D animation, and comedy and artsy-ness. The "host segments" feature an ostrich and giraffe dishing gossip about cartoon characters and are quite amusing. 4/5 overall. A quick breakdown:

"Get a Horse!": The first new Mickey Mouse cartoon in forever. Lightweight but fun. 3.5/5
"Mr. Hublot": French animation set in a steampunk city. Nice looking but I didn't get involved with it. 3.5/5
"Feral": Shadowy story of a wolf child put into Victorian society. The artiest of the shorts. 3.5/5
"Possession": Strange Japanese folktale about items that come to life. This is almost a horror short and was my favorite, but it's too weird to win. 4.5/5.
"Room on the Broom": Children's storybook adaptation about a witch and her animal friends. I suspect this will win the category. 4/5.

Also showing but not in the competition:

"The Missing Scarf": Narrated by George Takei, this fake kid's story with a nihilistic moral is great, but the final joke was way too bleak for the Academy. 4.5/5.
"A la Francaise": French nobles depicted as chickens. Doesn't really go anywhere. 3/5.
"The Blue Umbrella": Sappy Pixar sketch about umbrellas in love. Pretty. 3/5.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
Trevor
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« Reply #533 on: February 14, 2014, 10:10:27 AM »

My
 colleagues are urging me to go see the film FAAN SE TREIN [FAAN'S
TRAIN] about a challenged man whose passion and outlet are the trains
which run near his home.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #534 on: February 23, 2014, 05:13:10 PM »

"Pompeii"

From where I sat, an interesting mixture of fact and fiction, believability and non-believability, strengths and weaknesses, and something personal.

Fictions
The spiked ball on the chain. It has a number of names, but I've always called it a morning-star, and it has always been one of my favorite weapons, because it looks so COOL! But I have recently read, that it never existed outside the imagination of some very imaginative writers.

Killing 4 men in less that 4 minutes. Probably not going to happen.

Horse breaking leg by stepping in a hole. Yes, happens too often, but that hole. It looks too large. When a horse steps in a hole and breaks a leg, the hole is normally the size of a gopher hole.

Driver not attending to horse. If he didn't think to do it, his mistress who is riding in the carriage he is driving, is probably going to tell him to do it, before she steps out of the carriage in front of all those men on the road.

The horse coming back to the stable. Even if it survived the volcanic tremors, it'd have gotten there before daylight, as it should not have been that far from the stable, or it'd have been found wandering the countryside later in the day.

A Senator with that much money to fund the entire re-building of Pompeii. Probably not. Of course, he could have been only interested in re-building the arena.

Destruction of Pompeii. Dramatic enough, but probably not as dramatic as in the film.

And yet . . .? And yet . . .The film had a number of facts in it.

Facts
Stepping stones across the street, so when the streets flooded, one didn't get one's feet wet. Fact.

No thumbs down for death in the arena. Again fact or mostly fact. That mistake is believed to have come about because of a painting from the 19th century called "The Dieing Gladiator" or something like that, when the verdict for death was depicted by the watchers of the combat giving a thumbs down sign.

Sails shading the arena seats. Again fact. Indeed, sailors were hired to raise and lower the sails that shaded the arena.

Believability and non-believability.
There has been not that much change in the past 2000 years, that mankind still relate to each other much the same way that they did yesterday as they do today.
So, when I see a film from the past, I like to see whether the characters relate to each other in a believable or non-believable manner. Here some of the relationships were believable and some of them were non-believable.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
The gladiator scenes. At least, I thought they were better than the ones in "Gladiator."

The SFX. I ought to go back and re-watch "The Last Days of Pompeii" and see how those SFX compared with the ones in the current film. It supposedly had some of the best SFX for a 1935 film.

Performances. If you look past the film stars to the supporting players. That's what drives me nuts about some reviews. They only look at the top of the cast list, instead of further down the cast list, when some of the best performers in a film occupy that position.

The ending. At least it took me by surprise.

Weaknesses
The gladiator scenes. Still not as good as those from C. B. DeMille's "The Sign of the Cross" from 1932. Now there was a showman who could stage a great scene of combat in the arena.

The writing. There were some real clunkers of dialogue.

And now for something more personal.
In 1935 one could use the destruction of Pompeii to do a film about the Christian religion. Now one uses the desctruction of Pompeii to do a film about romance.

I always check out a film to see how it impacts me emotionally. These one did to some extent. So . . .

I liked it.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #535 on: February 24, 2014, 08:47:54 PM »

A further thought on "Pompeii," which I saw recently.

Unlike "Frozen," which the more I think about it, the better it becomes. The more I think about "Pompeii," the worst it becomes. Yet, the moment the lights came back on at the end of the film, I felt I hadn"t wasted my money. And that is all I ask in a film.

Some more thoughts, which I'll put here, as I don't want to scatter them all across the board, and they do apply to films now showing or will be upcoming.

I wonder if Warner Bros. isn't making a mistake by doing another "Space Jam" film, when they should be doing another "Legos" movie, and actually they are, "The Lego Movie 2," which will be out in 2017.

"Family" vs. "non-Family" It looks like the Legos movie, which is somewhat of a family film, beat out Kevin Costner's new movie, which is not a family film. Which makes me wonder, with that and "Frozen" being such a success, we won't have a new slew of family films coming to the cinema.

But, what is Dreamworks doing? I just heard the radio ad for "Peabody and Sherman," and I can't imagine after that  anybody who remembers the original cartoon series on TV going to see the film. Or, maybe it is just the ad campaign that I hate.

Blue Swede has hit it big again now that their version of "Hooked on a Feeling" is included in both the film and trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy." I went back and listened to the song, and I had forgotten how much I liked it. Then we always say that the music of our generation is better than anyother generation.

And will the song play on RadioDisney, since both RadioDisney and Marvel are part of the Walt Disney Company.

Next film on my list to see is "Muppets 2."
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #536 on: February 28, 2014, 11:51:25 AM »

THE LEGO MOVIE (2014): In a world made of Legos, one incredibly average Lego-man is chosen by a prophecy to stop the evil President Business from freezing everything in Legoland in perfect order with a giant glue gun. Despite the generic, brand-forward title, this is an extremely clever and entertaining comic adventure, probably the greatest toy commercial ever animated. 4.5/5.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #537 on: March 11, 2014, 04:20:36 PM »

Not mine, but seemingly everone else's. The sequel to "300" took in $45.1 million at the box office making it the #1 film that weekend, and a couple of things worth noting.

I almost always laugh when people say they want to see more originality from Hollywood. It's films like this, sequels which do well at the box office--one of the reasons, there are others--as to why there is so little originality from Hollywood. It is only when sequels start to do poorly, will there be a chance for greater originality from Hollywood (IMHO.)

And once more we see a critical divide between audiences and critics. Here we see a film that did well with audiences at the box office, but poorly with critics, while "Peabody and Sherman" did better with critics, but less well with audiences.

And in the future, may we see at the box office . . .

They are old. They are tired. They are on the way out. Which is a bit harsh and not totally true, but my thoughts did come from an article I saw in "The New York Times Magazine" on how interchangable have become the actors who have played the Superheroes in the recent Superhero theatrical films.

And as the newest and brightest star in the Superhero firmament, the article said it was . . .

(1) An actor with a black belt in martial arts.
(2) An actor who has a starring role on "Kickin' It."
(3) An actor who has abs that just will not quit.
(4) An actor with a modicum of acting talent, as he is regarded as being the best thing in both the newest "Conan" and "G.I. Joe" films.
(5) An actor that is a babe magnet, as pre-teen girls, teenage girls, and even older women in their 20s, think he's hot.
(6) An actor named Leo Howard.
(7) And who is only 16 years old.

That last is what bothers me. Not that there have not been young performers before, as they date back to the times of William Jonson and Ben Shakespeare, if not before. It is just that performers seem to be getting younger and younger, or I am getting older and older, or both.

Still if Marvel Studios did it with "The Avengers," I can see them doing it with "The Young Avengers," with him and 11 or so more young performers, depending how many of The Young Avengers Marvel Studios want in the film.
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #538 on: March 11, 2014, 04:38:29 PM »


I almost always laugh when people say they want to see more originality from Hollywood. It's films like this, sequels which do well at the box office--one of the reasons, there are others--as to why there is so little originality from Hollywood. It is only when sequels start to do poorly, will there be a chance for greater originality from Hollywood (IMHO.)


Couldn't agree more. If people paid money to see original stuff, Hollywood would make it. Only a small minority of filmgoers value originality.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
Rev. Powell
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« Reply #539 on: March 12, 2014, 11:29:59 AM »

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON (2013): A Japanese couple discovers that the boy they have been raising as their son was actually switched at birth with a child from a poorer family. Well-made but fairly obvious familial drama.
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"The best parts are watching Sly go through the full range of emotions: deadpan, deadpan with raised eyebrow, deadpan with quivering lip. There's also a great sequence where Sly drives his VW Beetle down the interstate for about 20 minutes, staring dramatically through the windshield.."-Joe Bob on A MAN CALLED RAMBO
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