Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekend Weigh-in: Open Thread

Go nuts, guys.

During Junesploitation, several of you remarked that you would love a place to talk about random stuff like what you've been watching lately. So while we're not ever going to have a traditional form on the site, we can try to do these open threads more often. HAPPY?? I am.

Have at it! This space is yours to talk about whatever you want. Hopefully it's still movie-related. Unless you have some recipes you're dying to share.

57 comments:

  1. I saw Under the Skin & was completely mesmerized by it. It’s so rare in this era for a movie to have an attention span (no rushed ADD editing) & have characters develop just by their actions. It avoided the “What the Hell?” or “Oh my God!” dialogue that is done to death in today’s movies. One of the creepiest soundtracks I’ve ever heard. Like The Raid 2, & Snowpiercer, another small budget genre movie that is superior to most of the big budget blockbusters. BTW, I had to rent this at the RedBox since none of the major big box stores would stock it. Yes, I know I can order it on many online sites, but it’s really frustrating that these same stores probably have a hundred copies of Transformers 3 lying around.

    The Lego Movie was freakin hilarious. There were many big laughs, I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Shaq probably had my favorite line, “Oh No! They were ready for that!”

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    1. Those are two of my favorite films this year, along with Boyhood, Edge of Tomorrow, and Snowpiercer. You might enjoy reading these interviews with the production team from Under the Skin.

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    2. "Yes, I know I can order it on many online sites, but it’s really frustrating that these same stores probably have a hundred copies of Transformers 3 lying around."

      Drives me crazy too! I really wanted to buy a copy of Action Jackson on Blu ray today, like freakin' immediately, and there is no chance I can go to any store and find that so I am left waiting 'till Monday from Amazon. I really miss impulse buying and being able to physically touch music and movies that I have never heard of, read the liner notes or the descriptions and have the ability to buy it on the spot. Browsing online is simply not the same.

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  2. Luc Besson needs someone who can edit and develop his ideas. Patrick commented in The Fifth Element podcast, "Is there an idea he didn't use?" That question could be asked of his latest effort, Lucy. Example: a character makes a statement about reproduction, and then the movie cuts to a series of 3-4 shots showing animals humping. How clever.

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    1. I saw Lucy today. That movie was...something. I didn't care for how trippy it got by the end. I liked badass ScarJo, though. She was great, and I hope she continues to do more sci-fi/action stuff, just with better material.

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    2. The cinematography/colorization produced vibrant images, and the lead performance engaged me for 20-30 minutes. The movie is more superhero fantasy than sci-fi. I don't want to dismiss the effort, but it feels like Besson dismisses his audience in service of anything that passes through his head.

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    3. I was more referring to Under The Skin in mentioning her efforts with sci-fi (sorry, I didn't clearly state that), which is also at least interesting. It's funny, because both movies have interesting premises on paper, and I think she's good in both, but I'm not a big fan of either of them beyond those levels.

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    4. And I would tend to agree on that last point you made.

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    5. Sorry, I didn't mean to reference or negate your comment. I'm just disappointed that Lucy went so far into the realm of fantasy. I like sci-fi movies where the audience is asked to suspend disbelief on certain things, but then focuses on how people react and interact through the story. In that respect, I preferred the movie about a blue alien in a body suit more than the movie about a reluctant drug mule who develops superpowers.

      I like Johansson; she's a good actor, relatable, but closer to the E-Quaid-Er for me. To be fair, I have only seen a few of her movies, though.

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    6. It's only this year that I've really given much thought to her as an actress, myself, but I feel like she COULD be experiencing a Matthew Mcconaughey-esque transition in that she's doing more interesting things. But then again, I could be completely wrong about that. We'll see. Or maybe she's been better than I thought all along and I've just never noticed it.

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    7. She was very good in Lost in Translation, and only a teen at the time. So, yes, let's hope she finds roles and scripts that leverage her capability. For all my issues with Lucy, I probably would have given it a pass if Besson hadn't dehumanized the character as the story progressed. Let the lead be engaging.

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  3. Free Space... COOL! I just finished the BF Slumber Party podcast and I thought it was great. I really do enjoy everyone from the F! crew especially JB. I always wish I had a teacher that knew so much about movies when I was growing up. When Patrick and JB are on together, it's a great combination of teacher and student... And their titles always change. I really enjoy the two, but there's something unique when Patrick and Doug get together. Maybe it's that the two (like me) aren't embarrassed to call another guy his best friend. It's awesome, I dig it, and I hope to get more sleepover podcasts in the future.

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  4. Yay, a one-week free-for-all. Patrick rulez! ;-)

    A local theater/preservation-of-prints archive in NY is simultaneously holding Elmer Leonard on Film and Richard Linklater retrospectives, and Thursday night I caught a 35mm screening of Linklater's only big-budget studio film to date, Fox's "The Newton Boys." Man, talk about a movie that on paper reads like the wrong type of film for Linklater to tackle (an early 20th century real-life chronicle of America's most successful bank robbing team) that, when you see it, it becomes obvious what attracted him to the project. As played by a rogue's gallery of then-young stars (Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke) and established supporting actors (Vincent D'Onofrio, Julianna Margulies, Bo Hopkins, David Jensen) with the odd casting of Dwight Yoakam because why the hell not, "The Newton Jones" is light as a feather and quirky when most movies period movies are either too dark ("Bonnie & Clyde," "The Wild Bunch") or boring (Sodenbergh's "King of The Hill," which I like). Linklater is clearly having a ball with all the studio money he's been given to burn and throw around (which he actually shows in the obligatory time-passage montage) to shoot a big Hollywood movie in his own hometown, and that feeling's contagious.

    Like "The Sting," "The Newton Boys" gets drunk on style, charm and star power at the expense of anything really exciting or unexpected happening (and from what I researched it sticks pretty close to the true events) but that's OK because we get to like the characters so much it feels like time spent well spent. I'm surprised Fox hasn't tried to cash-in on McConaughey's renewed star power by releasing "Newton Boys" on Blu-ray because he's working it big time here and it comes across. Ethan Hawke can do no wrong after "Boyhood," and his role here as a lovable goofball is a reminder why. Skeet Ulrich is the surprise here, giving a heartfelt and sincere attempt to both be honest but remain true to his brothers. Only D'Onofrio feels miscast as the fourth Newton brother because he totally doesn't feel/act like he'd be related to the other three, and Margulies can and should have been given more to do than standard distressed romantic interest.

    Overall a nice middle-of-the-road Linklater flick that I'm glad I saw in 35mm, the same way I'm watching Barry Sonnenfeld's "Get Shorty" this evening (same theater I saw "Newton Boys" at) and Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" at midnight in Brooklyn (both of which I haven't seen), to get me ready for Sunday's screening of "Last Lovers Left Alive" I've been postponing for way too long that I'll catch after I sneak in a matinee of "Lucy." Because, you know, that's how we cinephiles roll here in Gotham. :-P

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  5. Because prequels are always such an awesome idea, I thought I’d present some ideas for future projects:

    “Semi Hard: The Young John McClane Chronicles”

    “Preception: Dom’s Dream Begins”

    “Shireville – The Adventures of Baby Bilbo”

    “Han and Chewie: The Early Years” - Oh, they’re actually doing this one, aren’t they?

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    1. Skull Island: Before Kong

      oh wait, http://screencrush.com/comic-con-2014-skull-island-film/

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  6. Can I just say I found myself watching "Attack of the 50 ft Cheerleader" last night on Netflix and enjoyed it WAY more than I should have.

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  7. Im REALLY glad you guys brought up Under the Skin! I waited a year to see it, i was so excited, and it turned out to be a ferocious letdown of Kong proportions. Theres no story, no relationships between anyone, and generally no one gave any kind of performance. Its a DISASTER. They ruined a fascinating premise with a terrible portrayal.

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  8. I treated it like abstract art: absorbed it, took note of how it affected me, then interpreted those feelings. The movie is more of a delivery system, and therefore has a narrower appeal.

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  9. This was briefly touched on in the f-cast, I believe (I confess I didn't finish the last twenty minutes), but what was with the lack of female characters in Dawn otPotA? According to this Vulture article, director Reeves spent two years working on the movie, but seems to have never given much thought to why he was portraying (and employing) a huge gender gap for no reason at all. It's not as though this was a Master and Commander film, where female characters genuinely didn't belong. A genuinely disturbing anecdote in its implications for Hollywood's collective groupthink.

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    1. The only excuse I can think of is that it is taking the Colonialism parrallels that J. B mentioned further. By that I mean that this film seems to be criticising the wars that men have waged rather than just humanity. I think the film is smart enough to have that kind of idea going on. I agree though that the female characters are problematic and I hope that at least the ape females have a chance to further develop.

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  10. I already approached Bromley about this via email, but sure, I'll shout it here too. I am in love with Jean-Claude Van Damme!

    I'd never seen Bloodsport before and since Adam Riske's article a few weeks ago gave several good reasons to see it, I did. Since then I've mostly watched JCVD movies. I saw Timecop again after a long time, I watched Double Impact and Double Team back-to-back (and what a day that was!), I loaned Street Fighter and Universal Soldier from a friend and devoured those, and today I loaned Hard Target and Sudden Death from that same friend, but haven't had a chance to watch them yet.

    Not one minute of the time I've spent with JCVD have I been bored. The movies have constantly entertained me, sometimes with the action, sometimes (though not often) with the plot, and a lot of the time with how bad some of them are. I'm still baffled by Double Team, it's incredible that that movie ever got made. I think it's my number one "so bad it's good" movie.

    So my weekend plans are pretty much clear. Hard Target and Sudden Death, probably followed by a rewatch of Double Team. Wish me luck!

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    1. Good luck, soldier of cinematic fortune. You rock. ;-)

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    2. Keep your streak alive by skipping Death Warrant. So bad it's bad. Lionheart on the other hand...

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    3. Make sure you watch Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. Both are modern masterpieces of the action genre.

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    4. Couldn't agree more, Patrick

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    5. Enemies Closer is pretty good too. And Nowhere to Run. Enjoy your continued Van Damming.

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    6. Finally caught up with US:Day of Reckoning. WOW WOW WOW. I am stunned. As a lover of art movies and #HeavyAction this hit the sweet spot. What a movie. Thanks to F This Movie for continually recommending this or it would have completely gone under my radar.

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    7. Then when you've watched them all, watch JCVD - I think a lot of others on the site would agree it's pretty great!

      I'll have to rewatch the original US and then check out those sequels!

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  11. I watched Sabotage last night, and boy was it ever terrible. Fulls of plot holes, miserable acting, and awful people doing bad things. It takes a rel special kind of movie for me to hate Schwarzenegger, and aside from Batman and Robin this might be it for him. It's no wonder his career is failing when this was probably the biggest bomb of his career.

    Are we allowed to discuss Expendables 3 at all? I Haven't watched it yet, but I'll probably take a look before it hits theaters since I wasted money seeing the last two.

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    1. I also just caught up with Sabotage. Did you see the alternate ending(s)? Talk about bad, Hoo-boy, could have been a complete disaster! I didn't hate it as much as everone else though, maybe I am blinded by the Arnold-Factor. The Last Stand was legitimately awesome though. Also how can you say you wasted your money on Expendables 2. Did you miss the part where JCVD spin-kicked a knife into a guy's chest? Worth the price of admission on that alone.

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    2. I'm pretty thoroughly alone here, but I liked Sabotage. It struck me as a movie that had it come out in 1983 and started Charles Bronson we'd all be reveling in its ultra-macho silliness by now. Maybe it was just a case of the I Was In Just The Right Mood For Its but I guess I was in just the right mood for it.

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    3. Well I did like JCVD in The Expendables, but wished he would have killed Stallone in the end. Which is not a good sign for any movie, when you want the hero of the movie to be killed by the evil terrorist or whatever he was. The reverse applies to JCVD in Street Fighter, if Bison rightfully defeated Guile. This is the same problem I had with Sabotage, where I wanted everyone dead, had no one to get behind, and just ended up not caring after about 15 minutes. The brutal acting by everyone involved (Williams and Worthingston in particular) didn't help either.

      I agree that The Last Stand was good though, but in part because Arnold had Knoxville to play off of. Not a great movie by any means, but a lot better than recent movies in that genre (Bullet to the Head and Escape Plan for instance). I would still say most of Schwarzenegger's pre-Governator movies are better though (The 6th Day and Collateral Damage... maybe not End of Days).

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  12. During Junesploitation I mentioned a film titled "Final Cut: Ladies and Gentleman". I'm using this free space to reiterate again - SEE THIS FILM!!! It's an amazing feat and one of the greatest movies about movies ever made. After watching it immediately rocketed to my top 10 of all time. This film is made for people who love movies. It's free on YouTube and I doubt there will ever be a DVD/BluRay release due to rights issues. Here is the link

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  13. Hello all. I watched an interesting Canadian animated feature (the day before F This' Heavy Metal article came out. Synchronicity?!) titled "Rock And Rule". Pretty cool movie with songs by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Blondie, Cheap Trick, and Earth, Wind & Fire. I just wanted to hear the songs and check out the psychedelic visuals, but actually found the story pretty compelling with a couple of really good vocal performances, especially the villain: Mok Swagger. If you feel like Heavy Metal only has one or two memorable sequences, you might prefer this one as I did.

    Caught up to Dawn Of The Apes and despite enjoying its themes and most of the ape performances was really let down by the human casting, dialogue and performances. It's one of those times where I really feel like I saw a different movie than the one everyone is raving about.

    After learning that a friend had never seen it, watched Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for the first time in about eight years and guess what? It's still awesome. Even to someone without the benefit of nostalgia.

    Thanks for the podcast and the great articles guys!

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    1. Hi, Charles! Great to hear from you. I saw Rock and Rule a couple of times when I was really young and I've always carried around the song "My name is Mok, thanks a lot." I rewatched it a few months ago for the first time in more than 25 years. It's still really interesting. Glad you brought it up.

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  14. Somebody needs to make a movie about Margaret Mary Ray.

    Correction, somebody needs to give me millions of dollars to make a movie about Margaret Mary Ray.

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  15. Oh and since this is a freebie, I was wondering if there was going to be a "Best of the Last 25 years" podcast? I saw JB made a post of his favorite movies of the 90's and beyond a couple weeks back, and it got me thinking of what my favorite movies in that era would be, I think it would open things up for a very interesting discussion, especially since most of your top ten lists consist of pre-1990 movies.

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  16. Well with all the Comic Con goings on this week, I was curious if anyone was at all interested in the rumors of a "24" movie based on the show. While I had a fun time with the recent summer run of 24 Live Another Day I think trying to smush together the format of the show into a 2 hour movie wouldn't work that well, any thoughts F this movie gang?

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    1. I’m a big 24 fan who has seen almost all the episodes (except for Season 6 which was so bad I gave up halfway through the season); I would be against a movie. The main terrorist plot(s) of any 24 season requires so many parts & twists that a 2 or 2.5 hour movie wouldn’t be able to handle it. It would come off as rushed. The ticking clock works so well during the commercial breaks but would come off clunky in a movie. The same goes for the split screens. How would they be able to build a new character in a limited amount of time to deserve a silent clock? At this point, only Jack or Chloe’s death would deserve that treatment. I can’t see 24 working as a movie.

      I loved Live Another Day with the 12 episode format so I would be fine with another miniseries. I want Kate, Chloe, Belcheck, & whoever else isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty to rescue Jack from the Russians. They can spend half the season in Russia & then they can do the 12 hour time jump to have Jack save the world in the second half. The tagline would be “Today we save Jack Bauer from those evil communist bastards!”.

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  17. Just finished watching Cold in July tonight, wow what a great movie! Definitely helped me get over Sabotage in an instant. It would be near the top of my list of movies from this year. Just a great thriller, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. I see the director (Jim Mickle) did Stake Land as well, which was also enjoyable. So for anyone looking for a quick fix this weekend, definitely be on the lookout for Cold in July.

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    1. I really liked it too. If you haven't seen Mickle's remake of We Are What We Are, it's worth a look as well. It's streaming on Netflix right now I think.

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  18. It was a long week, so I actually completely crashed last night and today and burned through some movies in between errands.

    1. Stridulum (The Visitor), 1979. Jesus, what a weird movie. It's like they took every science fiction movie from 1967-1978, tossed them in a blender and tossed in some Satanism movie parts and called it a day. It's almost a fascinating mess, and full credit to Mel Ferrer for taking it as seriously as one could.

    2. Witness For The Prosecution, 1957. I now need to see every movie that Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester were in together; they're a hoot on screen, and a good comedic balance to Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich's drama. Top notch Billy Wilder directing and has a dramatic reveal that really needs to be experience blind.

    3. The Immigrant, 2014. Lordy, I wanted to like this more, but it's honestly a pretty standard "coming to America in 1890s" story. Great performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard though.

    4. (whew) The Hit, 1984. How the hell this Stephen Frears directing job, with Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth, wasn't a hit is beyond me. It deserves to be talked about with Long Good Friday, Get Carter and the other great British mob movies.

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    1. Yeah, totally agree with you on The Immigrant. It's like they hired the actors, dressed up the production and cameras and said "uh, be epic"

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    2. In my wildest, craziest dreams Patrick would slot "The Visitor" as either a commentary track movie or as part of a Twitter Film Fest simultaneous viewing. You thought people were going nuts when "Explorers" played earlier this year? Let's all sit together at the same time and watch "The Visitor," and hear the collective sound of dozens of heads simultaneously explode around the world, "Scanners" style.

      Loved "The Immigrant" though, it totally feels as if it's another movie being shot around the same time as "The Godfather Part II" on the same sets/locations except it's a more intimate, thoughtful epic. Cotillard and Jeremy Renner are terrific but my God, is Joaquin Phoenix on fire or what? That's the best acting I've ever seen the man do, and he and the director just nail the ending/final shot, some of the best use of invisible SFX to make something seem like it isn't a special effect. Strong contender for my Top 10 of 2014 so far.

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    3. I am looking forward to The Immigrant because I have been a fan of Marion's for quite a few years now. I went to see Nine with high hopes as that cast was promising. I was annoyed with the movie. But I think Marion was great in it. She deserved a better movie. Any movie based around Fellini really needs to step up its game! Sophia Loren was underused and I enjoyed Judi Dench as well as the 'Be Italian' number. Everything else was just not very good. Penelope Cruiz was doing something bizarre. I laughed every time she talked as she was trying to do an Italian accent but it sounded Maltese. She even used a kind of expression that Maltese people used. My thoughts are she went to Malta (famous people go to Malta quite often) and tried to copy them thinking nobody will notice as it is such a small country. I think some were aware it was a bad accent but not really sure why. So if you were in that camp, you now know!

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    4. Gabby, I'd still say see The Immigrant (it's on Netflix streaming already). It's good, just not as great as some people I know keep saying it is. (Sorry, J.M.)

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  19. I finally finished the Planet of the Apes franchise this weekend (hadn't seen any of the original sequels before) and they were a lot better than I was expecting! The sequels almost need to be judged on their own - the original is such a bona fide masterpiece that none of them really compare all that well to it. Beneath the Planet of the Apes seems a lot like a made-for-TV remake of the original/an episode of Twilight Zone (complete with voiceover narration at the end) but I found myself mostly engaged throughout. Escape from the Planet of the Apes descends a bit further into the Made-for-TV Zone and is probably the worst of the series but again, it held my attention and any movie with Ricardo Montalban gets a pass from me! Plus I'm a sucker for Terminator-style "things from the future going back in time and then being the cause of that future" time travel, so that earned some forgiveness. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is actually pretty damn great and my hands-down favourite of the sequels. I watched the uncut version and boy it gets pretty dark which, coming from the mostly failed attempts at comedy in the prior instalment, was actually a welcome change. It's a serious movie with a serious message and I thought it was really well done. Finally, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, though not as good as Conquest, competently wraps up the franchise and ends on a hopeful note...or does it?

    I was always a fan of the original (and Rise of the Planet of the Apes as well) but now I can say I'm a fan of the franchise as well - I'd recommend anyone who hasn't to check them out!

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    1. Glad you finished them all, Sol. Each one has its own pleasures, but I agree that the original film and Conquest are the best of the "bunch." See what I did there?

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    2. The more I think about Escape the more I love it. I think I am with Patrick on this one (thanks for giving us this free space!) In thinking that it becomes a powerful statement about equal rights and that has really stuck with me. I am very eager to carry on the series (I have only watched the first three as well as Rise & Dawn) as I have the box set, which includes a documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes!

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  20. Is the open space weekend weigh-in the blogging equivalent to The Purge?

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  21. Okay so I have to say I went to a Frozen sing a-long July 6th and it was pretty much the best thing ever. I love that movie so f'ing much. I have seen it about seven times now all cinema experiences. I just gah I will go marey Frozen now...

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    1. I also got a Cornetto trilogy poster out of it! It was the best day. We got paper crowns to wear and balloons which we carried on wearing when we walked into the National Portrait Gallery to see the Vivien Leigh exhibt who I've been a fan of for several years. It is funny the sing a long made me feel like I was 5 in the best way. Any Frozen/Cornetto/Vivien fans?

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    2. You want to know how big a fan of "Frozen" I am? I won't buy the American Blu-ray because it excludes the 3D version of the movie, which looks amazing. "Frozen" is available in 3D outside the US (and compatible with US Blu-ray players) but it costs a small fortune that I'm saving up so I can buy and watch "Frozen" the way it should be properly seen: in 3D. That's how big a "Frozen" (and 3D I guess) I am.

      I dig the Cornetto movies as well, but frankly nowhere near the fanaticism everyone else does. The one thing I'll say is that, after seeing it several times, "The World's End" is becoming my favorite of the three. Maybe because I'm older and can relate to those guys better, but the bittersweet pathos that movie works into its action and comedy bits (which benefit from Edgar and Wright practicing/perfecting them on "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz") really pays off in "The World's End." It just keeps getting better and better with each viewing.

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    3. I attended an advance screening of Let's Be Cops last week and was pleasantly surprised. Had low expectations going in, but it won me over.

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  22. Why is hard to believe that teens in slasher movies would know terms like "Cooking with gas" and about classic movie stars since every generation since the 60's were raised on Warner Brothers cartoons and Three Stooges shorts on TV?

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