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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:31 pm 
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Ok, so I watched two movies today.

Last Man Standing is a Bruce Willis gangster film from 1996 or so, set in the 20s in Texas, where the Irish and Italian mob are fighting for control of a small town called Jericho. And...it's a remake of Yojimbo. It has its moments, but the actors chew the scenery like there's no tomorrow. Oh well, entertaining film, with Christopher Walken as a bad guy.

And then there's the other movie I watched. Downfall, a film about the final days of World War II and just how crazy and paranoid Hitler became in his final days. It's also a glimpse at the fall of a nation and an idea. It is...difficult to watch a film like this, because after a while, you realize on some level you feel sympathetic to the characters as you watch their world crumble around them while they struggle with their futures, their loyalty to a madman, and their desires to keep fighting for their ideas, and on the other hand you know that many of them are mass murderers, ruthless and efficient conductors of genocide, or just flat out bastards.

Consider Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda under Hitler and Chancellor of Germany for two days after Hitler's death. He is cruel, devious, and murderously loyal. Yet you actually find yourself feeling sorry for him in certain scenes, at least partly due to the strength of the actor playing him, Ulrich Matthes.

The film isn't entirely accurate, and does take some liberties(for instance, it's debated how Hitler's final meeting with Albert Speer actually went, and there are some minor differences in the way Joseph Goebbels' children were killed), but there's more than enough in the film to make one realize that everyone, even the Nazis, are human beings. Of course, that can be taken two ways: 1) the Nazis are people too, and 2) people are every bit as capable as the Nazis were of committing atrocity, and also every bit as capable of blinding themselves to the negative aspects of an idea. Take that as you will, but if you're a fan of war movies, dramas, or history, and you don't mind subtitles, this is definitely a movie you should see.

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:56 pm 
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Monsters Inc.

This is by far my favorite Pixar movie.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:59 am 
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I've been reading this thread a lot but never joined in. I will start by listing some of my favorites..since it is never really a long time since I've seen them.

In no particular order:

Dead Man's Shoes
The Devil's Backbone
Pan's Labyrinth
How to Get Ahead In Advertising
Let the Right One In
American Psycho

Some recent watches that I enjoyed:

Gigantic - Makes no sense but I still liked it.
The Killing Room - I thought I would hate this one, but it was worth the watch.

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:23 am 
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Ack wrote:
Ok, so I watched two movies today.

Last Man Standing is a Bruce Willis gangster film from 1996 or so, set in the 20s in Texas, where the Irish and Italian mob are fighting for control of a small town called Jericho. And...it's a remake of Yojimbo. It has its moments, but the actors chew the scenery like there's no tomorrow. Oh well, entertaining film, with Christopher Walken as a bad guy.

And then there's the other movie I watched. Downfall, a film about the final days of World War II and just how crazy and paranoid Hitler became in his final days. It's also a glimpse at the fall of a nation and an idea. It is...difficult to watch a film like this, because after a while, you realize on some level you feel sympathetic to the characters as you watch their world crumble around them while they struggle with their futures, their loyalty to a madman, and their desires to keep fighting for their ideas, and on the other hand you know that many of them are mass murderers, ruthless and efficient conductors of genocide, or just flat out bastards.

Consider Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda under Hitler and Chancellor of Germany for two days after Hitler's death. He is cruel, devious, and murderously loyal. Yet you actually find yourself feeling sorry for him in certain scenes, at least partly due to the strength of the actor playing him, Ulrich Matthes.

The film isn't entirely accurate, and does take some liberties(for instance, it's debated how Hitler's final meeting with Albert Speer actually went, and there are some minor differences in the way Joseph Goebbels' children were killed), but there's more than enough in the film to make one realize that everyone, even the Nazis, are human beings. Of course, that can be taken two ways: 1) the Nazis are people too, and 2) people are every bit as capable as the Nazis were of committing atrocity, and also every bit as capable of blinding themselves to the negative aspects of an idea. Take that as you will, but if you're a fan of war movies, dramas, or history, and you don't mind subtitles, this is definitely a movie you should see.



Emma Goldman wrote about the power of the drama to bend peoples perceptions. I notice this when I watch serious war films. Under normal circumstances I dont give a shit what happens to people who decide to take a job that involves murdering people but I find myself caring for characters in films.
As for the Nazis, most of them were just soldiers same as any other and peolpe can easily be riled into supporting any crazy cause. Look how easily people were duped into believing Iraq had anything at all to do with 9/11. Germans seriously believed that German jews betrayed them to foriegn powers and that led to them not only loosing WW1 but the treaty of versailles which was completely intolerable to Germans and directly led to the rise in power of the Nazi party. Im obviously not a nazi or even a facist, I am extremely left wing, so dont get me confused. I'm just sayin'. lol People will fall for anything.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:19 pm 
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So I thought I’d be watching some more Westerns for this round of reviews but I realized shortly after posting last time that I’ve hit my limit with the genre for a while. That said, I have a bunch of good ones lined up on the DVR for future viewing. Instead, I watched:

Revolutionary Road (2008)– A very sad meditation on the trappings of suburbia – and I loved it. And while Doubt was my pick for the overall best acting in a film last year (and, arguably, it was the best film of the year as well), this film would give that picture a good run for its money. The film is a masterpiece of morbidity and depression, and Mendes’ work here is arguably as good as it was in American Beauty (though he’s been on a very solid streak for the past decade). Winslet outshines DiCaprio, but both of them best their other infamous joint endeavor. Michael Shannon steals every scene he is in as well. And though I’ve never read the novel, it comes across as a great adaptation of brilliant writing.
Grade: 4.5/5

Death Race (2008) – Another great adaptation of brilliant writing…ha! No – this was just pure ridiculousness through and through, but I enjoyed the spectacle of it nonetheless. This is, of course, a remake of Corman’s cult classic Death Race 2000 (1975) – now with "better" effects, a more typecast cast, and a more focused attention on carnage. I think because I enjoy video games so much, I have developed a soft spot for Paul W.S. Anderson’s films – and this one (for better or worse) fits his M.O. Mindless and fun, but check your critical sensibilities at the door.
Grade: 2.5/5

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) – Though I love all things Star Wars, I had avoided seeing this for some time as the concept of it had offended me for two reasons: 1) I really liked the 2003 animated series by Genndy Tartakovsky (of Samurai Jack fame) and was sad to see it discontinued in favor of this 2) This was touted explicitly as a kids movie which highlighted the parts of other Star Wars films that I’ve always found most exasperating (stupid droid comic relief, a focus on novelty characters, etc.). However, in following ComicCon news, I heard good things about the CN show that is now entering its second season and figured I’d give this “pilot” a shot. When I finally got around to watching it this week, I fell asleep no less than three times while trying to watch it. What good can I say about it? The CGI is top-notch, a few of the light saber fights were well choreographed, and it features bits of the classic score. Otherwise, my initial misgivings were confirmed. I am a SW fan though, so I’ll still check out the new cartoon series – I only hope it gets better than this tripe.
Grade: 1.5/5

Bullitt (1968) – This film kept me guessing, which is a good thing – but the pacing made me care less about what was going to happen by the time the film got to its third act. McQueen is really the only notable standout, and without him this would be a very by-the-numbers “bad cop” kind of film. The real standout star? The city of San Francisco. It is shot beautifully and more than anything else – including the now iconic car chase – makes this movie worth recommending. In fact, I found the car chase to be overhyped. For better chases from the late 60s-70s, see The French Connection, Gone in 60 Seconds, or even the original Italian Job. This one may have been influential and first, but it is hard for me to consider it one of the best.
Grade: 3/5

Dirty Harry (1971) – It is clear that this film owes a debt to Bullitt as here you have a rough-around-the-edges but just and honest homicide cop in San Francisco chasing bad guys and fighting the system. That said, what I found lacking in Bullitt was present here. This film’s pacing is dead on, and the last act actually caught me by surprise and made the film much better than it seemed it would be (I figured that the film was basically over once the major arrest was made about 3/4 of the way through). And while Eastwood does what he does best here, I actually found Andrew Robinson’s portrayal of the killer to be the most gripping – think the killer from Silence of the Lambs minus the creepy sex drive but with the charisma of some of Jack Nicholson’s iconic villains. Ok, the performance isn’t really that good, but it makes him seem like a formidable foe for a character like Harry who himself seems a little unstable. San Fran is more of a backdrop than the star here and the directing is merely competent - but the film succeeds on strong blend of action/acting/plot.
Grade: 4/5

Magnum Force
(1973) – The second Dirty Harry film suffers from some of the typical drawbacks of most sequels. The first film is built, in part, around the mystery of the title character. Here we know who he is and understand his motives, can predict his actions, etc. So, this film focuses more on action to keep the audience interested. It features an excellent car/bike chase (which could probably be grouped in with some of those above), some grisly murder scenes, and some nice gunplay throughout. The plot was more predictable, Eastwood less charismatic, and the supporting cast largely forgettable. That said, I felt that the directing was better – San Fran stands out more, the action scenes are better choreographed and shot, and there are several instances of scenes that are marked by excellent lighting. Not as good as the first, but a solid cop movie in its own right. That said, I hope they don’t go very far downhill from here…
Grade: 3/5

Next Up: Probably some more Dirty Harry and/or Eastwood films, The Wrestler, and maybe some of last year’s action films that I skipped when they were in the theaters but have recently hit cable (Mummy 3, Wanted, etc.)

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:25 pm 
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The first Clone Wars series is the best, no question, but this modern one is ok. There are a couple episodes of the first season that feel like the original series.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:04 pm 
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fast wrote:
The first Clone Wars series is the best, no question, but this modern one is ok. There are a couple episodes of the first season that feel like the original series.


Genndy Tartakovsky always makes great things. I just rewatched Samurai Jack, and can't help but be amazed. The rumors about a Samurai Jack movie in development better be true. The only problem is that Mako is no longer with us to be aku :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Ack wrote:
Ok, so I watched two movies today.

Last Man Standing is a Bruce Willis gangster film from 1996 or so, set in the 20s in Texas, where the Irish and Italian mob are fighting for control of a small town called Jericho. And...it's a remake of Yojimbo. It has its moments, but the actors chew the scenery like there's no tomorrow. Oh well, entertaining film, with Christopher Walken as a bad guy.

LAST MAN STANDING is also a remake of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, which is a remake of YOJIMBO. I'm biased because I live the man with no name series, but I find A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS by far a superior film.

Watched FUNNY PEOPLE this Tuesday. Better than THE HANGOVER, but a little long. Felt like two movies in one, it's obvious Apatow had some writing issues.


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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Haven't seen them yet, but...

From NetFlix:

* Coffy (saw it before)
* The Blob ('58) (haven't seen it beginning to end yet)
* Brazil (saw it before)
* Ibid (haven't got it yet)

I also went to The Hotline and picked up...

Five VHS tapes ($2 each):

* Copycat
* Toolbox Murders (original)
* Blair Witch Project
* Wall Street
* Armageddon

Four of those budget-priced DVD sets ($2 apiece, with a total of FORTY films), which include:

* Metropolis (Fritz Lang classic)
* The Day Time Ended
* Slipstream
* Unknown World (appears on two of them)
* Gammera the Invincible
* Attack of the Monsters (another Gamera film)
* The Killer Shrews
* The Wasp Woman (another Corman "classic")
* Beast of Yucca Flats
* Crash of the Moons (culled from the old Rocky Jones: Space Rangers series)
* War of the Robots

So... $19.20 for 45 movies = less than 50 CENTS EACH!

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 Post subject: Re: What was the last movie you've seen?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:30 pm 
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13 Days.

Great movie, full 2 and a half hours of political drama. For those of you who don't know, 13 Days is a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and how continuous fighting between the President and his advisors brought the world closer to destruction then you would ever believe. My favorite part of the whole movie was "What if they made the same mistake I just made?"

I'm into this whole historical/political drama thing. The last three I've seen were flat out excellent, 13 Days, Valkrie, and Frost/Nixon. Highly recommended.

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