RA Movie Thread (Read 5470 times)

    stadjak—liked your reviews.  I’ll check out “Elite Squad”

     

    “The Maid,” a nuanced Spanish film, is one of those portraits of working class people that rarely, if ever, appear in U.S. films.  The movie shows the impact of long-term subservience on the psyche of a maid who works for a regular well-off family.  There are no idyllic workers versus bogeymen rich people here.  It’s all humanistic, with gut-wrenching portrayals of damaged people, dark humor, and a glimmer of hope (in the form of "jogging"!) at the end.  

      It won't be.

       

      You were right, Batman was not awesome.  So disappointed.  The beginning scene was amazing...I was on the edge of my seat...the rest suffered from very poor pacing, and, well, I'll just say a lot of other flaws to not give away any spoilers.  Mostly I just thought it was booooooooring.  And I am very good at suspending disbelief (obviously, since Scott Pilgrim is one of my favorite films) - but I found myself say "Oh, come on," an awful lot.

       

      I think I've only seen 4 movies in the theatre this year...and all but Avengers were terrible. 

       

      And I know a lot of people that LOVE the Superman teaser, but I was bored by that too!  I think people built that up too much though - I had super high expectations.


      Menace to Sobriety

         

          I think people built that up too much though - I had super high expectations.

          The movies I've enjoyed the most over the last few years are the ones I knew the least about going in.

        Janie, today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go f*** himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus.
        xor


          I didn't know superman was coming back again.  I might be the only person who actually liked the previous superman ok (and there's a good scott pilgrim connection).

           

            I didn't know superman was coming back again.  I might be the only person who actually liked the previous superman ok (and there's a good scott pilgrim connection).

             I liked the previous Superman just that...OK.  It had some good, it had a lot of bad...I had low expectations and they were met.  I have low expectations for the next one too...and I'm sure they will be met as well.  The next one is produced by C. Nolan but directed by Zack Snyder.  I'm not a huge Zack Snyder fan...but I guess he is good at what he does (I say I guess, because I've only seen Watchmen, never saw 300 but my understanding is it was well done) - so he might be the saving grace.

            xor


              I wanted to like Watchmen.

              I really tried to like Watchmen.

              I did not like Watchmen. 

               

              But it was good to see Jackie E. Haley ("hey! It's moocher and kelly leak!") get work.

               

              I saw 300 but I don't really remember much about it because it was tooooooo CGI.  I know that was the intention, but the only movie where the CGI detracted me more was (gulp) Avatar.

               

              Have I mentioned that I didn't think much of Avatar. 

               

              Ok.

               

              Edit: I am leaving my original wording as is.  No, I do not know what it means.  Avatar detracted me more!  HAHA

               

                I never saw Avatar.  It detracted me that much.

                 

                And I even read Watchmen and didn't follow the movie (I read it 20 years ago though...so, I forgot a lot of it).  I wanted to like it too.  But it was pretty to look at.


                The Crap Whisperer

                  I never saw Avatar.  

                  Me neither. Hi! Bye!

                  Being the best tiny spec that I can be!


                  Interval Junkie --Nobby

                    Avatar"would have been an order of magnitude more interesting by changing exactly one small detail: instead "unobtainium" being a mineral for profit, it should have been the key to saving the the people of Earth from some, possibly self-inflicted, genocide.

                     

                    Now for some reviews:

                     

                    Friends with Kids (2011) - An indie film that you can probably only see in your mid-30s to 40s and appreciate.  It's about two financially comfortable New Yorkers entering mid-life without finding 'the one' they'd like to settle down with.  They're both surrounded by friends who have paired up and started families.  At first the film seems to be on the tragectory of the two singles dealing with the eroding bonds of friendship as their college friends get sucked into the endless stress of diaper-land and they continue to hit the high-notes of culture untethered.  It's actually unfortunate the film didn't explore this life-choice unchampioned by Hollywood.  Instead, the two single, best friends, decide to have a baby together w/o the commitment of marriage -- each planning on dating others and sharing the baby-burdens.  In the end it's a commentary on friendship, and the marital stress fractures caused by children.  For those who watched the indie screenplays of the '90s, this is an heir to that era style and subject matter.  All it really missed was Ed Burns . . . and then Ed Burns showed up.  Well worth seeing.  Excellent dialog and well acted.  Unfortunately, predictable, however. (4/5)

                     

                    Carnage (2011) - Roman Polanski's attempt to re-invent the pressure-cooker of "12 Angry Men" in a moderate NYC apartment.  Two couples.  One upperclass, the other working-class but oddly comfortable in that filmed-in-NY-where-everyone-has-a-rent-controlled-apt sorta way.  Two couples trying their best to be civil and open-minded over their sons' playground spat.  One couple, trying to reach back with heavy-handed bleeding-heart liberalism into a closer-nit society where parents could speak frankly about scolding another's kid instead of conversation through litigation.  The other couple playing along, but clearly just trying to smooth things over . . . for a while.  The victim's mother can't help but sling passive-aggressive darts at the other two, which starts the pot boiling.  If you've been to a bad dinner party, where political perspectives are not aligned, and where a little drink encourages everyone to strut marital skeletons from their closets, then you've seen this movie.  The writing isn't particularly talented.  Christoph Waltz walks a nice line between cool un-involved hostage to this party and fencing counter-point to Jodie Foster's explosive moral indignation.  Other than that, this film was rather disagreeable to watch, unless bickering is your thing. (2/5).

                     

                    City Island (2009) - Who would have thought Andy Garcia could act?  Everyone in this working-class Bronx family has a secret they're keeping from the rest of the family.  The father, a prison guard, is taking acting classes under the guise of "Poker Night".  His daughter isn't away at college, but stripping a town over.  His jack-sprat son has a fat-girl fetish.  And the father decides to bring a prisoner home from work . . . who happens to be his son, though nobody but he knows that.  Okay, that's the set-up.  But the ride in this film is all driven by top-notch acting supported by visceral dialog.  It's family interactions that are on stage here.  Everyone talks by yelling.  And around the dinner table everyone takes jabs at everyone else, forming alliances and ganging up on each other only to be betrayed 5 seconds later; everyone latching on to each other's poor choices in expressing themselves.  It's a hilarious reflection of your childhood supper.  In the end, it takes a takes a turn toward Hamlet and everyone dies in the end; by which I mean all secrets are put out on the table.  (4/5) 

                    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                    Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon

                      "The Flying Scotsman" (2006) - Down on his luck, small-town cyclist works hard, battles his demons (and the system) and builds a bike to ace a few world records.  I pleasant film, though the story structure is a bit off.  For example, when he's trying for the records you really don't have a good grasp of what he's trying to do.  For example, you imagine he's trying to finish under a certain time for a set distance.  But this record is a matter of set time over variable distance.   So he's going around laps of a track trying to do more laps than anyone has done before -- or in this case more inches past the last lap.  But you only piece this together later if it's something that bothered you.  The opening scene sets up some good tension in what would otherwise be a plot constricted story (where you know the outcome because why else would this true story be made).  Another detail doesn't quite make sense in the film: his form disqualifies him from a meet, but when his manager suggests using tri-bars he dismisses it.  However, later he effectively adds tri-bars to his bike and it's seen a revolutionary.  I'd hope cyclists watching would know the difference, but it is a bit lost on the unwashed audience.  Still, good racing film (3/5).

                      Saw it this weekend as a result of this review..

                      Worth seeing.  It's a little better than your run-of-the-mill sports movie.

                       

                      I believe in the Superman position, arms are extended almost straight out, while with tri-bars your elbows are still bent.  But what do I know?

                       

                      BTW, according to Wikipedia he is currently planning to break the human-powered vehicle land speed record.

                       

                      ETA: I saw Carnage, unfortunately, before I read your review.


                      I'm back!

                        You were right, Batman was not awesome.  So disappointed.  ...

                         

                        I think I've only seen 4 movies in the theatre this year...and all but Avengers were terrible. 

                         

                        You liked Avengers, but not Batman... Oooookay.

                         

                        Avengers was ridiculously, absurdly, over the top, way past any degree to which it could be taken seriously. But with that (big) caveat, it was a lot of fun. The casting was incredible, and a lot of the writing was very good. Just way, way, way overboard on the action/combat/effects, with a very ordinary and predictable plot. And I say that having liked the Iron Man movies and Captain America quite a lot.

                         

                        I was very pleasantly surprised by Batman. The first two I thought were OK, not bad, I was not as gaga as the rest of the world at Heath Ledger's Joker. Maybe I'm just still annoyed that Nolan is now making action movies instead of incredibly wonderful, creative, thoughtful movies like Memento and Insomnia. (No, Inception doesn't count. I'm afraid he can't get away from the action genre now no matter how hard he tries.)

                         

                        So, I went into the latest Batman expecting something decent, but I liked it a lot more than I expected to. Still... I prefer the TIm Burton / Michael Keaton Batman. Jack Nicholson, now there was a Joker.

                         

                        The new Total Recall starts tonight at midnight. Based on the NY Times review, I may give this one a miss.

                         

                        ... “Total Recall” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has action violence, brief nudity and swearing, though more of that is likely to come from Philip K. Dick fans in the audience.

                          You liked Avengers, but not Batman... Oooookay.

                           

                          I think it's just like you said...at least with Joss Whedon you KNEW to expect far fetched big fun - I got exactly what I paid for (plus, it might be a little different if you are in L.O.V.E. with RD Jr. like I am)...with Nolan I expect more (and as far fetched as Avengers was, it was still more believable than DKR!).  And I wasn't a big fan of Insomnia...but Memento and Following...LOVE.  I wanted to marry Nolan after I saw Memento.

                           

                          I'm sure Dark Knight Rises is a better film than I give it credit for...I just expected more.  I wanted more.  I'll watch it again (probably 400 times again, because that is what I do) - but I don't think I'm going to love it anymore. 

                           

                          Definitely passing on Total Recall.  That looks terrible.

                          xor


                            >> And I wasn't a big fan of Insomnia

                             

                            Heh

                             


                            I'm back!

                              Definitely passing on Total Recall.  That looks terrible.

                               

                              Another nice review except:

                               

                              Life is not fair: Mr. Farrell is one of the hardest-working would-be movie stars in the game, whereas Mr. Schwarzenegger is among the laziest action heroes in history. But after more than 20 years I retain a vivid memory of Mr. Schwarzenegger saying, “Consider that a divorce,” after putting a bullet in Ms. Stone’s head. After less than 24 hours I can’t recall anything Mr. Farrell said or did, other than run from Ms. Beckinsale, sometimes in the company of Jessica Biel.


                              A Dance with Monkeys

                                I wanted to marry Nolan after I saw Memento.

                                 

                                Which brings us to Inception.

                                 

                                As I said back when, meh. But I was an outlier in that regard...

                                 

                                 

                                So I was less than blown away by inception.  True, the concept behind the story is compelling and has kept me thinking for days.  And true, the visuals are pretty cool.  But I saw several flaws in the movie that continue to trouble me.  Please note that my comments include SPOILERS so do not read on if you have yet to see this movie.

                                To repeat: INCEPTION SPOILERS FOLLOW

                                First off, I thought that generally speaking the acting captured from this fine team of actors did not come across as top notch.  For much of the movie, the lines felt like they were being read.  I think the best examples of this were the conversation at the Paris cafe and the ultimate conversation in Limbo between Cobb and Mal.  I felt no depth, no motivation, no emotion just a robotic spewing of words.

                                This movie was produced from a treatment Nolan himself wrote.  It is a 90 page or so book, I understand.  I learned this after watching the movie.  However, while watching the movie, I has the same sense that I had watching many other movies produced from beloved books.  The early Harry Potter movies come to mind.  The feeling is this: a lot of things that work in print, or are necessary in print, to tell a fulfilling story end up clouding a two hour movie. Nolan's reverence to the words and plot points in the book undermined how he presented the major concepts and plot arcs in the movie.  Following the book too closely out of some obsession to bring it as is to screen ends up leaving the movie watcher wondering if everything is necessary, and yet the fan boy watching the movie will never be satisfied that it is close enough to the book anyway.  The example that bothered me the most is that of creating such a complex team to attempt inception.  As a moviegoer, I would have been just as satisfied had the team been smaller, simpler.  There would have been less that needed to be explained to our architect (and therefore to us).  The father in law could have been left out as well.  And the chase in Mumbasa. So many of these extra pieces seemed to be reverent to some book I have not read, nor will, rather than necessary to spin a flick.

                                The viewer is supposed to leave the theater questioning whether everything seen on screen is itself a dream, which is why the top is left spinning at the end. Aside from the fact that a movie being a dream is just an easy out for a director and storyteller, in this case it is a neat concept that makes the moviegoer think.  However, several plot points to me seemed inconsistent when promoting this idea.  Here's the deal: if the whole thing is a dream (presumably Cobb's) then it is Mal who escaped to the real world when she jumped and it is Cobb who remains stuck asleep.  If that were the case, Mal's appearances would not be projections, but would be the real Mal invading Cobb's sleep to try and convince him to rouse (presuming she really does love him and want him back, as she states over and over).  If that were the case, she would be more successful killing him than spoiling everything he tries to do when she encounters him.  If he were to die, he would either revive or go to limbo.  Either of those would make it obvious to him that he was still asleep.  Presumably, Mal would know this and would have followed through immediately.

                                Is the bag guy (gal) really named Mal?  That's over the top.

                                The need for mazes still escapes me.

                                The love life depicted for 50 dream years in Limbo seems even beyond the image of True Love in Princess Bride.  It seems too fantastical to be believed.  That is, a movie like this requires tremendous suspension of disbelief, and mine was unstable for much of the movie, but came crashing down at that point.  I have some understanding of Love and the fantasy of Love, but that description was beyond the pale.  50 years in one place with one person?  I cannot imagine that any amour of love would make that sufferable.

                                Understand, I enjoyed the movie, and any movie that gets me thinking this much is a winner to an extent.  But these points to me undermined my impression of the movie's execution.  It was certainly a good movie for watching while sick in bed.