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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:51 am 
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Rambo II – This movie sits uneasily between the first and third Rambo films as the titular character is in transition from the multifaceted and sympathetic ‘Nam vet who wants respect for his war (Rambo I) and the one-dimensional badass motherfucker who makes blowing shit up an art form (Rambo III). What you get here is some of both – and while the action scenes are cranked up and generally improved over those in first film, the love story is silly and the conflict between Rambo and the base commander pales in comparison to the more palpable tension between Stallone and Dennehy in First Blood. That said, the film has its moments – like the helicopter scenes and the interrogation – which make it worth seeing if you’re in the mood for some mindless action.
Grade: 2/5

Rambo III - This is probably my favorite Rambo film, which might put me in the minority. Why? Because they dispensed with as much pretense/plot as they could in order to focus on the action – which is what this series has always done best. And while it is a little strange to watch this movie (set in Afghanistan) in 2009, it still delivers the goods in terms of explosives and carnage. In addition to the knife work, machine-gun toting, and bow shooting that carried the first two films, you have here a liberal use of tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles – all of which shoot missiles, fire bullets, blow up, etc. The scene where Rambo and Trautman take on 100+ the Russians alone is a classic example of the over-the-top feel these films provide – it captures, in a nutshell, what these films are all about: brainless fun with lots of blood and guts.
Grade: 3/5

Rambo (Rambo IV)
– This was, in my mind, a step backwards. This is probably the worst of the Rambo films if for no other reason than that Rambo has too little screen time where he is actually fighting. Instead, the film spends a lot of time focusing on the mercenaries who help him and the missionaries he is trying to protect. We get to see lots of Rambo driving a boat. There ARE some good action scenes – notably a bit with an unexploded bomb in the forest – but Stallone does show his age here as most of the action scenes involve him standing still (e.g. behind a gun) or running for short periods of time – he looks fatigued throughout, compared to the previous films. That said, it is impressive that he was able to pull any of this off after age 60, and I should probably cut him a break. But the movie is still poor.
Grade: 1.5/5

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
– 2007 will probably go down as a banner year for amazing Western style films that are nothing like traditional Westerns. Though most of the accolades went to the stellar No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, this film deserves equal attention and praise. This is a deliberately paced film that demands the viewer’s unwavering attention throughout in order to fully appreciate the tightly woven narrative. And though the title gives away the outcome of the film, the sense of doom created throughout - by the actors, by the artful shots of expansive landscapes, and by the haunting score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – is mesmerizing. Casey Affleck (who here ends any debate as to who the most gifted Affleck is) in the role of Robert Ford is the standout, though Brad Pitt puts in one of the finest performances of his career as the aging Jesse James. If you haven’t seen this yet, do yourself a favor and settle down for a few hours with one of the better films of the past decade.
Grade: 4.5/5

Bruno – What a disappointment. I got a chuckle from the Ali G film and thought that Borat was a sharp-witted satire with lots of laughs. Cohen’s sketches with all his characters are also usually comedy gold - so I don’t know how he could have gone so wrong with this film. Outside of two or three genuinely funny bits (e.g. the Ron Paul confusion or the Abdul scene), this film didn’t have the laughs. It’s “shock” moments rarely functioned as punchlines and often seemed to be thrown in for the sake of shock. Everything here came across as contrived and staged in a way that Borat didn’t (even if it was), and much of it was painful to watch.
Grade: 1/5

The Third Man – I owe Ack a note of thanks for his recent review of this film as it reminded me that it has been sitting on my TiVo waiting to watch for the past few months. And while I disagree that the film contains Welles’ best performance (that honor still goes to Citizen Kane), the film is cast perfectly and everyone here is in top form. And though the plot is intriguing, the highlight of the film is the cinematography - especially in the night scenes. The pursuit that makes up the last twenty minutes or so of the film could serve as a textbook for any director who is looking to create a compelling foot chase. A finer looking film from this classic period of film noir may be hard to come by.
Grade: 4/5

Next Up: more westerns (The Searchers, Pale Rider, etc.), Pineapple Express, and perhaps I'll start into the Dirty Harry box set. I also want to get back to viewing some of the classic Bond films...

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:55 am 
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dsheinem wrote:
The Third Man – I owe Ack a note of thanks for his recent review of this film as it reminded me that it has been sitting on my TiVo waiting to watch for the past few months. And while I disagree that the film contains Welles’ best performance (that honor still goes to Citizen Kane), the film is cast perfectly and everyone here is in top form. And though the plot is intriguing, the highlight of the film is the cinematography - especially in the night scenes. The pursuit that makes up the last twenty minutes or so of the film could serve as a textbook for any director who is looking to create a compelling foot chase. A finer looking film from this classic period of film noir may be hard to come by.
Grade: 4/5


I'm glad you liked it! I should take a moment and say that I didn't mean I felt Welles gave his greatest piece of work, I meant it as I got the most out of this. Citizen Kane is an amazing movie, but I also found it dull and I have no desire to ever watch it again. Something like The Third Man I would watch again in a heart beat. It compels me in a way that Citizen Kane simply couldn't. Absolutely amazing work, and that foot chase. Awesome.

Have fun with Dirty Harry, they start great and steadily decline from there, though there's some great work with shadows. I eagerly await to hear what you have to say about Pineapple Express, as I'd been wondering if that film is worth checking out.

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:06 am 
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Just saw half of Rock an Rolla with Gerard Butler... it tried to be Snatch and/or Layer Cake.

My roommate was watching and I asked him, "Is this more or less like Snatch?"
Him:"No, no, it's like that movie with Jason Statham and Brad Pitt is an Irish boxer..."
Me: "Dude, that is Snatch."
Him: "Oh? I thought Snatch was that one with Ewan McGregor and the dead baby..."


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:26 pm 
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vejita wrote:
Just saw half of Rock an Rolla with Gerard Butler... it tried to be Snatch and/or Layer Cake.

My roommate was watching and I asked him, "Is this more or less like Snatch?"
Him:"No, no, it's like that movie with Jason Statham and Brad Pitt is an Irish boxer..."
Me: "Dude, that is Snatch."
Him: "Oh? I thought Snatch was that one with Ewan McGregor and the dead baby..."


A) RockNRolla was kinda so-so IMO.

B) The movie "with Ewan McGregor and the dead baby" is Trainspotting, and it is BRILLIANT!

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Yeah, Trainspotting is a messed up movie. Entertaining and worth watching, but I get heroin flashbacks every time I see babies crawl across the ceiling.

So I just watched Kiss Me Deadly, which is somewhere between "hoaky 50s B-movie" and "the greatest noir ever." Seriously, I now know where films like Repo Man(not the guy above me's film, I mean the one starring Estevez) and Raiders of the Lost Ark get their material. The gist of it is that a P.I. with few morals picks up a hitchhiking woman who's wearing nothing but a trenchcoat on the side of the road. A few days later he wakes up in a hospital to learn the woman's dead and his car has been in a terrible accident. From there he goes on a quest to find out what happened and why. Nearly everybody in this movie is scum, people keep winding up dead, friends rapidly turn into enemies, and there's a maze of twists and turns in the story. Unfortunately the acting from some folks is poor, the dialogue pretty shoddy at points, and the ending is absolutely ridiculous. Still, it's a great look at Los Angeles in the transition period from WWII to the Cold War. There's a few plot holes I noticed too, some things unexplained, but an enjoyable noir film in my opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Good, but didn't live up to the massive hype I've been hearing. Seriously, it takes all the drama out of killing a main character if you just bring 'em back to life just in time to save the day. They did this TWICE during the movie. Another thing: If I pay to see a movie about giant killer robots, I want to see giant killer robots, not teenagers in love crying over each other, crying over busted robots, robots crying over other robots, robots crying over dead humans... It felt kind of lame.

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:05 pm 
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Watched Choke. I was waiting for a long while for the movie to come out and then it got a DVD release without me even being aware of it till I saw it in a redbox. Pretty good adaption.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:28 am 
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I Love You Beth Cooper: Utter crap as a movie. It was one of those movies that my friends and I saw to kill time. BUT BOY WAS IT FUN! :lol: The plot was just trying so hard, but was the easiest thing to joke about. By the end of the movie, my friends and I were in stitches. Then again, with my wacky band of friends, any movie is a riot. :D

Terminator: Amazing. One of Arnold's best, and a thriller all the way. Going to watch T2 soon.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:36 am 
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Gran Turino and Terminator Salvation. Loved the hell out of GT. One of Clint's best movies IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:35 pm 
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Ack wrote:
So I just watched Kiss Me Deadly, which is somewhere between "hoaky 50s B-movie" and "the greatest noir ever." Seriously, I now know where films like Repo Man(not the guy above me's film, I mean the one starring Estevez) and Raiders of the Lost Ark get their material. The gist of it is that a P.I. with few morals picks up a hitchhiking woman who's wearing nothing but a trenchcoat on the side of the road. A few days later he wakes up in a hospital to learn the woman's dead and his car has been in a terrible accident. From there he goes on a quest to find out what happened and why. Nearly everybody in this movie is scum, people keep winding up dead, friends rapidly turn into enemies, and there's a maze of twists and turns in the story. Unfortunately the acting from some folks is poor, the dialogue pretty shoddy at points, and the ending is absolutely ridiculous. Still, it's a great look at Los Angeles in the transition period from WWII to the Cold War. There's a few plot holes I noticed too, some things unexplained, but an enjoyable noir film in my opinion.


I personally love this film with the reverse credits in the beginning to the escape on the beach. The only gripe with it is that none of the females were attractive like in other noir genre films.

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