Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched (2013-2016)  (Read 961900 times)

mañana

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2250 on: July 01, 2014, 10:53:36 AM »
Yep, Big Night is really lovely.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2251 on: July 01, 2014, 11:26:11 AM »
I still need to see Big Night, I've heard nothing but good things.  Adding it to my watchlist.

oneaprilday

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2252 on: July 01, 2014, 12:20:29 PM »
Is this corn hand-shucked?
This is said every time corn on the cob is served at the family dinner table.
Same. :)

philip918

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2253 on: July 01, 2014, 01:40:17 PM »
The Dance of Reality

My first Jodoworsky actually, and now I'm really looking forward to going back through his filmography. Just an intense, lovely film that is strange and frightening and beautiful. His son plays the lead and is fantastic. Will probably go down as one of my favorite performances of the year.

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2254 on: July 01, 2014, 01:50:32 PM »

I spent a week deciding whether or not to watch Hell on Frisco Bay. This 1955 noir was filmed in Cinemascope, but has never been released to DVD. It only exists in an cropped, crummy-looking VHS. Not even Pan-and-Scan, so some shots are just a pair of arms talking to each other from the edges with empty space in between. My wife finally made the decision that this will probably never get a proper release in our lifetime, it's already in the house, and she wanted to see Edward G. Robinson take one more late-carrer whack at playing a gang boss.

The cast extends beyond Robnson. Alan Ladd, Joanne Dru, William Demarest, Fay Wray and Paul Stewart, who steals the film as Robinson's 2nd in command. Though the film is in color and widescreen, uses mostly outdoor locations and takes place mostly in the day, it evokes Noir better than some other films that follow the rules more rigidly. It's like a throwback, a last gasp reminder of the gritty fun of Noir. Though there's a lot of talk about getting older, the film never dips into being self-aware that it's an artifact. Most subtly and certainly by accident, the old pros run the Noir game like it's still 1950 while the new guys bring their fresh energy and come off like campy overactors. Noir requires a particular attitude, just like Mamet. I read some reviews that made fun of Ladd's flatness, but I thought he was being unflappably cool.

For all those reasons the film is interesting, but it's not good. Missed opportunities arrive at the rate of about twice a scene and much of the dialogue still needed a tweek to be truly memorable. It needed to either go full Noir or ditch that entirely for something more like Scorsese's Cape Fear. It's the kind of work that I'd love to get a remake crack at.

Junior

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2255 on: July 01, 2014, 08:53:00 PM »
"Well, uh, I'm looking for maybe a fiction book."
"You like fiction books?
"Just because I work for a big corporation doesn't mean I don't like fiction books. In fact, fiction books is one of my favorite kinds of books
"You have to be kidding me."
"Do you like fiction?"
"Like it? Try love it!"
"That's crazy!"
"I've never met anyone else who likes fiction! That is too funny!"
"That is literally too funny"
Both chuckle, fade in romantic music

The above demonstrates both the best and the worst of They Came Together, the newest film from David Wain starring basically every comedic actor you like. Roughly half the writing that is done about this movie focuses on Wain (and co-writer Michael Showalter)'s previous film, Wet Hot American Summer, and how They Came Together doesn't quite match up to that film's level of consistent hilarity. Well, I didn't like WHAS all that much when I watched it for the first time this year, so don't worry, this review will be about They Came Together alone for the remainder of our time together.

They Came Together is a satire of the romantic comedy genre. I have a bit of a rough time with satires, in general, because I think there is a very fine line to be walked between making a statement (even if that statement is as obvious as "Romcoms are built on silly ideas, dontchathink?") and being funny. Where They Came Together works is in the laugh department. I have a major soft spot for Amy Poehler, and I always like to see Paul Rudd in a movie, so I was pretty easy to go along for this ride. The supporting characters are a bit more hit and miss. I liked the four friends of Rudd's who each represent one aspect of his personality and from whom he must eventually pull aspects in order to make a more perfect version of himself, and Max Greenfield is spectacular as his younger, prospect-less brother (seriously, it's perfect casting), but his opposite, Teyonah Parris as Poehler's bestie, is basically a non-entity. I blame this mostly on the writing, which gives her next-to-nothing to do, and which doesn't even give much time to the people I called out as positives above.

The real issue, though, is that this is kind of well-trod territory, isn't it? Nothing here feels daring, or new, or original. We've known about these cliches and absurdities since basically the dawn of cinema, and They Came Together doesn't go quite far enough to distinguish itself from the pack. There's no elevator ride from The Cabin in the Woods, to put it another way. They Came Together is quite funny, and the idea of calling them "fiction books" is decidedly clever/dumb. I just wish there was more ingenuity (see the closing ten minutes, which go slightly further than I expected them to, and are very funny) or a harder edge to the semi-rote jokes here.

7/10.


Bad Words.

It would be a spoiler to tell you what this movie is really about. On the surface, it's about a petulant adult, a prodigy of some sort who uses his incredible spelling powers and a loophole in the rules to compete in a national spelling bee normally reserved for the middle-school crowd. So there's a mystery set up by the opening narration which prods us to ask why. Why is he doing this? What does he get out of it? And how far will he take it? The film, directed by its star (Jason Bateman), takes its time answering these questions. When it does answer them, the results are ever so slightly off. It's not that I don't believe the circumstances, nor that the character would behave how he does, it's more that it feels a little pat. A little too easy. Which is too bad, because the rest of the movie is really good. Bateman has an easy dickishness that plays wonderfully onscreen, and his supporting cast is remarkably capable (When is Kathryn Hahn gonna get her big break, and why isn't Allison Janney in everything?). The young Indian boy he befriends doesn't fall into the traps that often derail child performers, and any awkwardness is easily explained away as part of his spelling bee being. Bateman's direction is generally no great shakes, but he does use slo-mo quite nicely in a few spots. The climax is nice, too, I just wish it didn't feel so easy.

8/10.
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1SO

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2256 on: July 01, 2014, 11:24:52 PM »
In The Moonlighter, Fred MacMurray plays a cattle rustler named Wes Anderson. Is there another example of a film where the main character is given a name that became famous years later?

The Moonlighter
* *

Far too many mediocre westerns don't work on a central plot or theme. It's just a series of unrelated incidents followed by 'The End'. That's what happens here. Wes Anderson is about to get lynched, only the lynch mob grabs the wrong guy. Wes Anderson then sets about avenging. That's all fine. Even better would be if the lynched kid had a John Wayne type uncle who teamed up with Wes Anderson on the revenge mission but this film isn't so ambitious.

Wes Anderson goes back home to hide, and to look up his old girl (Barbara Stanwyck) who he hasn't seen in 5 years. Surprise, she only waited 4.9 years before agreeing to marry Wes' brother. If it wasn't for Ward Bond showing up halfway in with a robbery idea, this thing would never have made feature length, and at 77-minutes it's still mighty short though not swift.

Junior

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2257 on: July 01, 2014, 11:26:50 PM »
Sounds like a time traveler with a twee beef has some issues. Also, I'm pretty sure Ward Bond is in everything.
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tinyholidays

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2258 on: July 02, 2014, 10:42:28 AM »
My Neighbors the Yamadas - Takahata, 1999


There's no "my" in My Neighbors the Yamadas; there's just the Yamadas having variously-lengthed antics and moments over the course of one film. I loved the super cute cartooning, the pastel colors, and the use of the frame to highlight action, instead of drawing out the whole available width. It's just really lovely to look at, and I wouldn't expect any less from Takahata. The character designs are distinctly ugly-cute, and they have flaws. So many flaws. It's kind of a refreshing antidote to the Miyazaki side of Studio Ghibli, where everyone is precious and right and in line all of the time. (Not that I have a problem with Miyazaki. I don't think the observation that he's uptight qualifies as a breakthrough.)

I started to get nervous that Takahata wouldn't be able to keep the magic going for the entire film, and unfortunately I was right. The sameness of it starts to wear thin. While the jokes and character beats don't start repeating themselves, it's like Takahata put all the best bits in early, saving only the glorious ending ... for the finale.

The first half and last bit of My Neighbors the Yamadas work beautifully, but the directionlessness of the second half overwhelms the film. It becomes dull, even though fun things are still happening. The stakes are just so low, the premise so vague that there's no promise to watch toward. My husband fell asleep. The drop in momentum in the second half disappointed me as well, because, if it had managed to maintain the delight of its first half, the movie would have been a contender for my top 100.

Quote
It's hard to fathom that My Neighbors The Yamadas was directed by the same man behind Grave Of The Fireflies. Isao Takahata managed to devastate me with Grave, just rip my guts out and step all over them and depress the hell out of me. Yet with the Yamadas he has delivered such a joyous story full of laughter and sweet tender moments. It really boggles the mind, but it is the sign of a great director that he can helm two disparate yet brilliant films.

That was from a Far East Bracket verdict by Bill Thompson. I think there is a consistency with Takahata to gravitate toward an upheaval of style, messier subject matter, and a more direct confrontation with the audience. I wasn't surprised when I saw that he directed Grave of the Fireflies.

While there were a couple of segments that really worked and showed the strength of the family unit, on the whole I wasn’t too impressed.  There was a lot of negativity shown, and most of the Yamada family seems to be pretty despicable.  I can understand that the point of showing the bad traits of the family is to emphasize that they are average people, with normal problems. There were many segments that showed one member of the family doing something bad, or mean, and rather than wrap up the segment with a moral lesson, it just let it sit.  I got the distinct impression that the family almost begrudged one another, but felt stuck with each other anyhow.  This may have been played for comedy, but it paints a bleak portrait of family values.

The film is wrapped in a wedding speech frame, showing the Yamadas at the beginning receiving the advice to stick together through hard times, but even more importantly, to stick together through times when not a lot is happening, as that's when a family actually falls apart. There is the thesis statement for the film, and I think the whole picture points cohesively toward it. Whether it works to maintain the interest of the viewer is another matter. Would I go so far as to describe the Yamadas as despicable? I think you'd have to have a pretty harsh opinion of human flaws to do so. Every character gets the opportunity to be ridiculous and heroic. If you accept the idea that Mitch Hurwitz has been shopping around the podcast circuit, that "character is inconsistency," then these are great round characters. To me it seems completely realistic that family members stick together despite begrudging one another. That's certainly how I feel about my family. And I don't even begrudge them all that much. But I cannot fathom families who do not have little things that irk each other. Showing that on film gives families who have some quarrels encouragement to stay together and love one another. That's a more valuable family value than depicting perfect people who proceed robotically through their lives without strife.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Respond to the last movie you watched
« Reply #2259 on: July 02, 2014, 11:00:35 AM »
I thought of it more as simply a composite of family life, so I didn't mind the meandering structure. I found it consistently funny and was glad to see it. Glad you checked it out. I'd say it's probably the most criminally underseen of Ghibli's films.