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October 20, 2014, 04:51:01 AM
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Author Topic: Recent theatrical viewings  (Read 72405 times)
Josso
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« Reply #555 on: May 21, 2014, 10:14:48 AM »

Monuments Men:

For what should have been an interesting story, I was kind of, well, bored.  Probably could have done more with the superb cast, in particular building up their relationships with each other but everything just felt really 'as it should' which means you just spend the whole movie waiting for them to get to the point.

I totally know what you mean I think maybe the pacing of the story telling was off or something, but the cast was fantastically chosen.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #556 on: May 27, 2014, 05:33:32 PM »

"Million Dollar Arm" with Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton, and Alan Arkin.

"Frustration"
If you want a film that defines the word frustation of the characters, then this is the film. The characters are constantly being frustrated to the end of the film, where everything works out for everyone.

"India"
A film shot overseas, here India, often gives me an insight into a land and people that I have not seen, especially, as again here, it covers something besides the tourist "hotspots."

"Reinforcement"
A film often, for good and ill, often reinforces what we think we know.

"Courage"
It takes courage to leave one's home and family and come to a strange land. Certainly, more courage than I have ever possessed.

"Wedge"
Outside the continent of Africa, India and China are the two biggest markets yet untapped--for the most part--by the American entertainment business. And as the theme parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai are the "wedge" for the Walt Disney Company to enter the Chinese entertainment market, this film is the "wedge" for the Company to enter the Indian entertainment market.

"Fixer"
Whether large or small an American company wanting to do business in a foreign land needs a "fixer" or someone who knows the ins and outs of a country, before they do business.

Of course, the same thing applies to a foreign company who wants to do business here in the U.S., as they need an American "fixer," before doing business here.

"Differences"
There are whole books written on the subject of how doing business here is different than doing business overseas.

And, of course, for a foreign company, the same thing applies. Doing business in their home country is different than doing business here in the U.S.

My only complaint about the film is that it seemed to be longer than it was in some parts. Still, it was a much better film than what I expected.

Next time: "Maleficent"
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dean
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« Reply #557 on: May 28, 2014, 04:19:38 AM »

The Babadook:

The Babadook (2013) Official Trailer


Low budget Australian horror, but saying that the film looks great and has a very decent build up.  Good performances and plays on my ultimate fear: annoying kids. [He's not the scary part, but by god I wanted to throttle him at the start, something about screaming kids]

This of course serves as a good build up for the film which centres on a single mother Amelia who is struggling to deal with her hyperactive and needy child who has been seeing something in the house, the boogeyman-like Babadook, which arrives in the form of a children's story book which has some pretty confronting imagery.  As Amelia starts to unravel from the lack of sleep, well, you can see where things go from here.

What the film lacks in big over the top scares, it makes for in great atmosphere, and as I mentioned the build up is terrific with her son's screaming really punctuating her tough situation [like any sleep-deprived parent] and Essie Davis does a fantastic job of portraying an unravelling mother [she does a great dead-tired stare].

Highly recommended if you get a chance to see it at some point.  It's in limited release here but has been getting a ton of buzz after Sundance so hopefully it'll make the jump to a wider release soon.

4/5
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #558 on: May 28, 2014, 09:44:39 AM »

GODZILLA: Slumbering monsters from the atomic age awaken and rampage across the western U.S. Sorry, but I like my Godzilla battling smog monsters or teaming up with flying robots named Jet Jaguar. This is just a fight scene with a movie built around it. 2.5/5.
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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 #559 on: June 08, 2014, 01:59:30 PM »

"Maleficent" w/ Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning.

Warning! There be spoilers ahead.

A beautiful looking film. Probably the best looking fairy tale film I have ever seen. But . . . ?! And it is a big but.

If you do see it, be aware that it is probably one of the strangest films you'll see this year. We'll get to the why later. I liked that it was not the same-o, same-o one normally sees, but you may not agree.

As to why it seems so strange. I think that has to do with the fact that it is a new take on an old fairy tale.

As for what is the new take . . . ?

Not always so, and maybe rightly or wrongly, but two females living in the forest without a male. There seems to be a definite lesbian vibe there. Though, there are two things that soften the vibe. (1) "The kiss of true love" is given on the forehead and not the lips and (2) the younger female does take up with the pransome hince.

And it is understandable why she would take up with him, besides the fact that he is only one of the two handsome men in the kingdom. We'll get to the other one later.
He is certainly, externally, someone most women would want to wake up next to in the morning. But more then that, I think, internally he is someone most women would want to wake up next to in the morning. He is not someone who would get drunk every night. He is not someone who would gamble away the kingdom. He is not someone who would abuse: emotionally, mentally, physically, his spouse. And he would try to be a good father to the heirs of the kingdom.

But, more then that, the film, while there have been several film versions of the story, probably the best known is the much under appreciated at the time, 1959 animated version of the story. So we'll compare that film to this one.

What I like about this one, at least, more than the 1959 version.

1. The characters
a. Maleficent. In the animated version, she is a great villain, but that is all she is. Here she is a more complex character, which I like, as it makes her a more interesting character (IMHO.)

b. Aurora. Much more active in deciding her fate, which again makes her a more interesting character than the animated version. And she looks closer to the 16 she is in the story than she does in the animated version.

c. The ravenwere. Or a raven that can change into a man, or a horse, or a dragon, or whatever. In the animated version, a raven is just a raven and not as interesting. And the only other handsome man in the kingdom. I actually had some idea he might be the one to come away with Aurora.

d. Stefan. No pretty boy here or man neither. I can't get over the fact how not handsome, even homely, he was as both boy and man. And which leads us to my next like.

2. The human face. This version put a more human face on the characters than the animated version did.

3. The film was a strong condemnation of ambition, greed, paranoia, revenge, and all the dark emotions. And I wonder how much that had to do with the writer, who is regarded as not only one of the best writers in Hollywood, but is one of the few female writers in Hollywood. And to top that, now days when it takes two or more writers to write a film screenplay, this was a solo effort.

What I neither liked nor disliked about the film, but was different.

4. It was Maleficent and not one of the other fairies who softened the curse at the christening.

5. Unlike the animated version, where the location of Aurora was unknown to her 16th birthday, here her location is known from the time she leaves the palace for the cottage in the wood.

What I disliked, or at least disliked more than the animated version.

6. The fairies' names. While again there were three fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather is much simpler to remember than whatever they were named in this film.

7. The music. As much as I enjoyed the orchestral music in this one, it just pales next to Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty," which was used in the animated film.

8, The ending. I liked the ending in the animated version more than the ending in this one.

Still, as much as I enjoyed the animated version, I think I enjoyed this one more for the reasons given.

And one final thought. We know how young are some of the princesses, here only 16, but let us also remember how young are some of their princes. Many of them are not out of their mid 20's, and some are not even out of their late teens, as here.

Next up: "Planes: Fire and Rescue" and a wonderful tribute to the men and women who are smokejumpers.
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Pilgermann
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« Reply #560 on: June 09, 2014, 12:05:51 AM »

Edge of Tomorrow - Didn't expect to care for this much but I was entertained quite a bit.  Tom Cruise plays our hero of course, being thrown into the frontline battle against alien invaders against his will and getting himself killed.  But in a Groundhog Day scenario he finds himself repeating the same fateful day over and over, learning a little more each time.  I don't want to spoil the plot even if it's sci-fi silliness.  I tend to get bored by endless displays of whizz-bang CGI in most modern movies but this one wasn't too overbearing, it's pretty engaging and handles its gimmick pretty well, plus Emily Blunt:



I'd watch it again but won't be sad if I never do.  A generous 7/10.
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BakuryuuTyranno
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« Reply #561 on: June 15, 2014, 03:46:48 PM »

Oculus

Another of those "good compared to other Hollywood horror, but not strictly speaking good" films.

The good:

Thankfully jump scares are minimal although it still opens with one of those quasi-action scenes almost every big-budget horror movie in recent years had.

Its quite character-driven too. There aren't any characters who only exist to die.

The possessed people still look normal, unlike what the trailer would first suggest. Even when someone eventually assumed a monsterous appearance, that was mostly when attacking children, so it kinda makes sense.

And finally there's no arbitrary love interest.

The bad:

Essentially, Oculus is far inferior to the director's earlier film Absentia.

Absentia had better atmosphere, better characters, better pacing, a better eldritch abomination type threat...

Remember how Absentia worked great by keeping its beyond-comphresion entity almost entirely offscreen?

Well... the mirror manifests apparitions that look like basically interchangeable with any ghost/demon/entity from most other big-budget horror. They're possibly the most unimaginative "cosmic horrors"  since The Slaughter presented a generic succubus-type creature as a female version of Cthulhu.

And if you're seeing someone who already died walking around, wouldn't them looking normal be generally freakier anyway.

Bottom line - only worth recommending if you don't already have Absentia on DVD
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #562 on: June 17, 2014, 08:52:42 AM »

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (2014): This sequel expands the world of the Viking dragon-riders of Berk, as an outsider seeks to raise a dragon army to destroy the peaceful settlement. Appealing sequel with soaring animation and a major plot surprise. Many seem to like this sequel better than the original (though I suspect they may have already forgotten how much they liked the original). 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
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« Reply #563 on: July 02, 2014, 08:59:19 AM »

IDA: In late 1950s Poland, an orphan is about to take orders to become a nun when she learns that she is actually a Jew; accompanied by her only surviving relative, she sets out to investigate the fate of her parents. Slow, somber and serious, this is a worthy addition to the Holocaust genre, showing the lingering effects of the atrocity decades later. 3.5/5.

RADIO FREE ABELMUTH: In an alternate-reality America, a music producer receives transmissions from a mysterious entity known as VALIS ("Vast Active Living Intelligence System") with advice for overthrowing the fascist President of the United States. This adaptation of Philip K. Dick's paranoid sci-fi novel, which sat on the shelf for four years, has TV miniseries-level production values, but the bizarre plot retains some interest. 2/5.
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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 #564 on: July 07, 2014, 07:03:34 PM »

An update on "Maleficent," and who is happy and unhappy. That is not to say that everyone mentioned is happy or unhappy, so maybe I should say who has reaon to be happy and unhappy.

$200 million domestic box office
$400 million international box office
$600 million total box office, so far.

Angelina Jolie
Whatever the critics may think, and we'll get to them later, it is probably her best acting performance in a decade, and there is already talk of, if not an Oscar nomination, then a Golden Globe nomination.

Audiences
This speaks, for some reason, to audiences better than the better reviewed "X-Men : Days of Future Past" and/or "How to Train Your Dragon 2," which was favorabley reviewed by 90% of the critics, yet are unlikely to earn as much at the box office, then "Maleficent," which got favorable reviews from only 50% of the critics.

The English
As much of the film was shot in England, and as there is a plausible chance there will be a sequel, it, too, is likely will be shot in England, which boosts the English film industry and the English economy.

Gays and Lesbians
I guess it all depends upon what you read into it, but some see a gay vibe in "X-Men : Days of Future Past," and there is supposedly a gay character in "How to Train Your Dragon 2." Not so much for what the character says, but what he leaves unsaid. And if that is true, then I give props to Dreamworks for inserting a gay character into one of their films, before Disney and/or Pixar, liberal or not, as they may be. As for "Maleficent," while some read a mother-daughter relationship into the relationship between the two female characters, I read an older more mature woman and an younger less mature relationship into the relationship. Indeed, I read the relationship as much like the one in "Blood of Dracula," though not as weird a relationship as that one.

Mexicans
There is a surprise in every prize. The surprise is how well "Maleficent" is doing in Mexico, where to date it has earned $43 million at the box office. That is a lot for an American film, especially one that has nothing to do with Mexico.

The Suits at Walt Disney
1. It has legs. A month after it first opened in theaters, it is still playing in some theaters, and is still doing respectable box office.
2. It--apparently--has made back what it cost to make, and that is not easy for a film that cost over $200 million, and it looks like it may even earn a profit, after all is said and done.
3. Sequel. I am thinking they are already thinking of doing a sequel, especially one that sets up so well a story for a sequel, as this one does.

As for myself . . .
My perpetual funk, where I am neither happy nor unhappy, but which does confirm what I have thought for some time.

1. International box office is growing more important for American films, which means the type of films made in America is likely to change to appeal more to international audiences.
2. Critics do not speak the same language as movie goers. I can remember a time in the past, when everyone liked the same films. Now, alot of the films favorablely reviewed by critics are not your top earners at the box office, and the top grossers at the box office, are not often favorablely received by the critics.
3. Critics, at least in this case, have little effect on what movie goers watch. Their unfavorable reviews cannot stop movie goers from seeing "Maleficent," nor can their favorable reviews make most movie goers see "X-Men : Days of Future Past" nor "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
4. Quantity of money is not the best way to judge the quality of a film. Unless critics want to contradict themselves and say "Maleficent," which is likely to earn more at the box office than "X-Men : Days of Future Past" and "How to Train Your Dragon" is a better film than those two.

As for the Unhappy . . .

Critics
For the reasons given above.

The Suits at Dreamworks
While "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is doing well, it is not doing as well as was expected. This is especially true for a film that was suppose to be a big hit for Dreamworks, especially as the company is under pressure to come up with the big hit, after several failures at the box office. Still, Dreamworks has a dozen animated films coming up, including "How to Train Your Dragon 3," within the next 4 years. So, we will see how they do.

Next time: Planes : Fire and Rescue.
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« Reply #565 on: July 08, 2014, 08:57:50 AM »

COHERENCE: Eight professionals gather for dinner on a night when a comet is passing by the earth; the lights go out, and a bizarre astronomical anomaly throws them into  whirlpool of paranoia. Like a good Twilight Zone episode, this low-budget, largely improvised indie gives you shivers by exploring far out ideas, without the need for special effects. Exciting filmmaking. 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
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #566 on: July 16, 2014, 04:57:32 PM »

And the updates  continue.

The box office gross, both domestically and internationally, for "Maleficent" is now well over $633,226,318.00 It has done exceptionally well in both Ireland and the U.K., which is no surprise, but it has also done exceptionally well in Asia, specially China, Japan, and the Philippines. The last one is the one that surprised me. Though, I am afraid that it says that western folklore can overshadow eastern folklore, even though all those countries have their own rich folklore tradition. Of course, some stories are universal. For example, folklorists who have studied the subject have found over 100 variations of the basic story of "Cinderella," which has been told and retold in cultures ranging from the ancient Egyptians to the South Sea Islanders and beyond.

What I like about "Maleficent" is that, for me, the more I think about it, the better it becomes. It also raises a number of questions, and those films I like as well. For example . . .

(1) Why did it speak to audiences, but not to the critics?

(2) Was it underestimated by the critics, or were they right, and it was overestimated by audiences?

(3) Can critics grasp anything that is more or less new? One of the knocks of the highly praised by the critics "X-men : Days of Future Past," a film which I must admit I have not seen, is that it is the same-o, same-o. While "Maleficent" is not entirely new, as it is a remake of an older film, is that it is something a little bit different.

Next time: "Planes : Fire and Rescue"
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« Reply #567 on: July 16, 2014, 10:56:21 PM »

Patty and I caught HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 at the theater yesterday afternoon.  A thoroughly enjoyable romp back to the Viking village of Berk, with more dragons and more drama than before, and a couple of truly original plot twists!

I really liked this one.
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« Reply #568 on: July 17, 2014, 06:00:04 AM »

(1) Why did it speak to audiences, but not to the critics?

I've always believed that the only people who count in a movie are those who made it and those who watch it. Critics are legless people who teach running.  Twirling
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #569 on: July 21, 2014, 07:48:00 PM »

"Planes : Fire and Rescue" with the voice talent of Ed Harris (his 1st animated film) Brent Musburger, and John Ratzenberger.

A nice salute to the men and women who risk their lives to fight fires.

I have been to Yellowstone a couple of times, so I recognized that in the background scenery, and while I have yet to make it to Yosemite, but I saw some of that in the background scenery as well.

Of course, it was fun to watch for the in-jokes in the film. The ones that I caught, and there are probably more, were "Howard the Duck," "CHIPS," and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

The film featured more fire SFX than seen in any other animated film to date.

Looking at the trailers before the film, I realized it is easy to make a children's film. What is hard is to make a children's film that is "good."

Besides Ratzenberger, Disney Animation has taken another leaf from Pixar. At the end of the credits they list the Production Babies, or those babies born to those people, during the production, who were working on the production.

If there is a downside, it is the unoriginal story, but that is made up somewhat by having all the characters portrayed by planes and other motor vehicles.

Next time: "Guardians of the Galaxy."
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