Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekend Open Thread

The year is off to some start, huh?

35 comments:

  1. So my first movie of the year goes to The Commuter. A predictable fun film that I'll have forgotten by next week. Went into it blind, the only thing I knew was that it was a Liam Neeson action film. Fun, even exciting. Thrills but no tension. Even having not seen the trailer I could predictable most if the beats from a mile away.

    Should have seen 3 Billboards, but went with the wife's choice...

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    1. Also saw this. Had fun, you right about thrills but no tension...on a train movie. Dude does ok at the Hitchcock premise but then it's like plot strands going every which way.

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    2. Also watched "The Commuter" over the weekend. Considering I take that same train route whenever I visit my relatives in Upstate NY, which made the liberties with the locations (including subway stops among Metro North's commuter train stops... hell, no! :-P) all the more jarring, I got what I wanted from this disposable January flick: a fun ride (get it? :'( ). "Commuter" has the worst train CG fight/action sequences since "xXx: State of the Union" (ouch) and Liam Neeson is beginning to look too old for this shit. But you know what? Neeson carries the movie by his sheer magnetism and makes you forgive the mediocre thriller machine (which doesn't earn it's lame attempt to ape Kubrick's 'I am Spartacus' moment) surrounding him. If it was anybody else beating the crap out of a bad guy with an electric guitar in an empty train compartment it'd be laughable, but Liam doing this ridiculous action hero stuff with a straight face (except for one lousy one-liner) sells it.

      Worth a matinee viewing or a rental on home video, me thinks.

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  2. i saw Darkest Hour. the movie itself is fine, but i want to talk about Gary Oldman performance.

    i didn't like it. i guess i'm the only one in the world, but i thought the fat suite was very distracting. and i didn't like the way he did it. of course, i don't know how the real Churchill was in real life. by comparison, i much preferred Brian Cox performance in the movie Churchill from earlier in 2017.

    Oldman is still a fantastic actor and i will watch everything he does

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    1. Yeah, it kind of felt like a good stage performance... like there was a craft there, but ultimately ill-suited to the surrounds. Which is weird in itself because Joe Wright has very theatrical sensibilities. I really loved the score. Dario Marianelli needs to get more Hollywood work.

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  3. all right, here's what i have planed for this saturday night

    Commando
    Running Man
    Predator
    Total Recall

    because why not? :)

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    1. That will be a fun night, Kunider. I grew up watching Schwarzenegger films. Do you have a favorite?

      He was perfect for THE TERMINATOR. I cannot envision another actor being better for the title character, definitely his best role. For nostalgia purposes, my favorite is PREDATOR. I loved it when I was 10 years old; a great concept for a story that was well executed.

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    2. Commando is my favorite. just the introduction with Shwarzy walking with a HUGE log on his shoulder makes the whole movie for me. and the one-liners are the best in this one.

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  4. Just organized a big stash of old VHS I inherited recently. All old horror. I grabbed a working VCR at a thrift store a couple days ago (that happened to have $100 stashed in it.) So now I'm chillin watching Dr. Jekyll's Dungeon Of Death (1979) which is definitely A MOVIE, but wow. Have a good weekend everybody.

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    1. Forget about the tapes and the VCR. Tell us where the $100 was stashed on the deck and what you plan to spend it on. Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

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    2. Ha! Right in the tape slot inside of a "Seasons Greetings" envelope. Spent it on a few new pairs of drum sticks and a bag of weed. The essentials!

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    3. Charles, you're in SLC, right? Was this at the DI?

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  5. The week was quiet on the movie front. Getting mentally ready for tax work and adjusting my routine for a little novelty were the focus. I only watched three films.

    MR. DYNAMITE: THE RISE OF JAMES BROWN (2014) – While some of the reviews I read on Netflix do not agree with me, I believe the film succeeds in straddling the line of praising James Brown and presenting his many faults. He was not an easy man to get to know nor did he treat people well, including his band. The aspect that I most appreciated was the interviews with former band members.

    NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE (1986) – The subject of one of my favorite Projection Booth episodes from last year. The experience of actually seeing the film was a mixed one. The film is unadulterated 1980s goofiness, which ended up being a little too much for me. Gene Simmons, on the other hand, gets the goofiness just right. He is terrific in the role of the hermaphrodite criminal Velvet Van Ragnar.

    CARNIVAL IN THE NIGHT (1982) – While not without redeeming scenes, this Japanese indie about the Tokyo punk scene of that era rambles along, jumping from one character to another, in way that took me out of the movie. With the exception of Gus Van Sant’s MALA NOCHE, this kind of low-budget character driven film has not held my interest the past few years.

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    1. i didn't know about the James Brown one. i'm interested

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  6. Proud Mary was a massive dissapointment. Very sad. It needs to be remade immediately.

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    1. What was the hype? Appart from Taraji P Henson, there’s nothing there. The trailer is super bad. It look like another Atomic Blonde, trying to replicate John Wick with a female character

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    2. I watched it this afternoon. Only, two other people in the theater. It was made by Screen Gems. So, I keep my expectations low but I was still disappointed. Overall, I thought it was meh basically the reaction I had to Atomic Blonde.

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    3. The hype for me was that I loved the trailer, and I thought it might be a new blaxploitation movie. Also, the opening credits are amazing so it was a huge bummer to see it all go down hill from there.

      I'm also a rare person that likes Atomic Blonde. Yes the script is messy, but the action is so incredible that I really enjoyed it.

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  7. I finally saw Call Me By Your Name and now no other movie exists.


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    1. I wouldn't go that far (it ranked #22 out of 94 2017 movies I watched), but happy that the seed that "Brokeback Mountain" planted in the mid-2000's has allowed both mediocre ("Beach Rats") and great romantic pictures involving men ("CMBYN") to thrive in the late 2010's. :-)

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  8. If anyone's interested, a new 37-minute documentary about Friday the 13th Part 3 was released a couple of hours ago on YouTube: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfWqbEOO8zI>Friday the 13th Part 3 - The Memoriam Documentary</a>

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  9. I'm continuing my going through all the Disney animated features and last night was Sleeping Beauty, which was a lot better than I remembered from seeing it in the theater around 1985. This thing is a masterpiece of wonderful medieval psalter-esque art and the story is pretty darn good as well!

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    1. For my money the fire-breathing dragon in "SB" has yet to be topped in animated movie form.

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    2. Watching the early Disney animated features (1930s-50s) will be a project in the future. I only saw a few of them when I was a child, and that was a long time ago. Animated films, in general, remain a blind spot in my cinema life.

      Maybe Disney will release Song of the South one day. My curiosity about that film is fostered more from its suppression than what the actual is. I doubt the film is any more racist than the other productions of the 1940s featuring African-American performers, yet those are available for anyone to see. It was all stereotypes at that time.

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    3. I'm going through in order to I've recently seen Song of the South and yeah, it's problematic as hell and could use a proper content warning as to the context (like Whoopie Goldberg did for the WB cartoons) but it's pretty in line with the time period. You can argue the crows in Dumbo or the "Indians" section in Peter Pan are just as bad, really.

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  10. My week in movies:

    The Shape of Water, dir. Guillermo Del Toro (2017)

    As a true lover of cinema I feel utterly blessed knowing there are artists and storytellers like Guillermo Del Toro working and being allowed to make the films they want to make in this day an age where every other film is a comic book movie or some such cash grab (I'm not immune to these movies, it's just that an amount of fatigue has certainly set in for me...) Embracing the "R" rating, this is part romance, part whimsical fairy tale and part violent cold war thriller and whilst on paper these elements seem at odds there are very few film makers who can juggle these tones and styles as well as Del Toro... For me this feels his most complete movie and it is made by someone who truly loves the art form, a love of musicals especially, whilst some will I feel reject its central love story I found it heart warming and told with both the wide eyed innocence of someone who loves creature features and a maturity of someone who had clearly loved! Granted I need to watch it again, Del Toro's film often don't gel with me 100% on the first watch BUT I will gladly return to this world, this cast and this whimsy...

    Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, dir. Martin McDonagh (2017)

    Now you'd think from the way the trailers play out that this is just a profane black comedy... BUT... This is one pretty fucking heart-wrenching movie! Writer/director Martin McDonagh goes for the hat trick with this and makes arguably his best and most complex film, having read a few "think" pieces on the film and its divisive nature, especially regarding Sam Rockwell's character and all I can say is that it is so fucking refreshing to have a film that gives us fully rounded characters and character arc's that feel real... A film very much about redemption, forgiveness and anger and its effects! Not a single bad performance, subtle yet intelligent direction and a film that leaves you thinking (again, a rare thing these days)... Highly recommend!

    ps. I will also say that this film, The Babysitter (an entertaining soufflé of a movie) and Mayhem (one of the most fun times i had watching of last year) proves that more films need Samara Weaving in them.

    Alien Nation, dir. Graham Baker (1988)

    With the Netflix movie "Bright" doing pretty darn good, more on that soon! I couldn't help but think from the trailers that it reminded me of this from 1988, so thought I'd give it a re-watch as I've not seen "Alien Nation" in a fair number of years... Have to say that whilst it is not a perfect film it is one that I think is a lot of fun and falls into the underrated category, mixing the buddy cop sub-genre with sci-fi and having a good dynamic between it's two leads with James Caan as the bigoted but ultimately decent cop and his new alien partner played by Mandy Patinkin... The biggest flaw is Graham Baker's at times very workmanlike direction BUT there is enough humour, intelligence and action to keep it's 90 minute running time chugging along nicely.

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  11. Loving Brawl in Cell Block 99 right now, awesome fight scene...and it looks like Don Johnson just came on screen...

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    1. Wow, throw that one on the Top 10 of 2017 for sure. Some of the most realistic, violent stuff I've seen in a while. Not sure I've ever enjoyed Vince Vaughn more than this one. That ending is insane!

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    2. Those poor mannequin heads got really abused! :-P Glad to see Jennifer Carpenter getting some good work after the TV version of "Limitless" got cancelled.

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  12. My weekend has been productive. I saw Call me by your Name, which I really liked, Shape of Water, which I loved, and The Post, which if it wasn't for some of the dialogue and closing shot might have loved. It was pretty much the Michael Stuhlbarg trilogy.

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  13. I've been going through the straight-to-video Prophecy sequels for no other reason than having picked up a collection of them cheap a little while back. Not really much to say about them since their biggest sin is just being boring, especially once Walken is done with the series. The screenplay for the original was written by the same guy who wrote Highlander so I guess people just like milking his stuff with bad sequels. I've taken to mentally lumping in both those franchises in with the The Crow as a shared cinematic universe of Immortals with One Weakness that never should have gone beyond their first movies in their respective series.

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    1. I really dig the first two Prophecy movies but once Walken became a good guy in part. 3 I tuned out... But those first two, underrated still I feel!

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