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 Posted:   Apr 27, 2013 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

Eight Below is a great family film. Shame Mark Isham's terrific score never received a legit CD release.

 Posted:   Apr 27, 2013 - 1:15 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Dream Home (2010) dir. Ho-Cheung Pang

Dream House (2011) dir. Jim Sheridan

The Sweeney (2012) dir. Nick Love

The Guard (2011) dir. John Michael McDonagh

Wrong Turn (2003) dir. Rob Schmidt

Session 9 (2001) dir. Brad Anderson

Call the Midwife, Series 1 (2012) created by Heidi Thomas

The Impossible (2012) dir. Juan Antonio Bayona

 Posted:   Apr 27, 2013 - 7:57 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Wrong Turn (2003) dir. Rob Schmidt]

Loved Wrong Turn (original only please). A wonderful horror film. 9/10

 Posted:   Apr 27, 2013 - 7:59 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

The Impossible (2012) dir. Juan Antonio Bayona

Extremely curious about this film. Most likely will end up watching it. What did you think? Is it devastating, emotionally as well as natural-disasterly?

 Posted:   Apr 28, 2013 - 5:29 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

The Impossible (2012) dir. Juan Antonio Bayona

Extremely curious about this film. Most likely will end up watching it. What did you think? Is it devastating, emotionally as well as natural-disasterly?

I'm going to edit in brief reviews about, but to answer your question I have extremely mixed feelings about this film. Technically, it's extremely well-made. Bayona has chops, no doubt about that. The movie looks and sounds great and is, on the surface, extremely moving. I will admit I teared up at least once. Unfortunately, I also find it problematic for a number of reasons. It's tonally uneven, opening with what is practically a jump scare for no good reason, moving through some standard family drama, then some heavy-handed symbolism (Look how the lights drift away from each other!), with later a sequence that straddles the line between high drama and comedy sketch. I had trouble suspending disbelief during the tsunami sequence itself -- it looked great and made for compelling viewing, but I couldn't believe that characters were able to communicate to the extent that they did. And I found it problematic for another reason as well, for a couple reasons. One, I always struggle with films based on real tragedies that are too optimistic -- as with Holocaust films, it's a struggle to be entertained by a film while remembering that every happy ending represents a rare exception. I know no one wants to see a complete downer, but the result is that the pop culture image of a tragedy can end up so skewed by happy ending narratives that it's easy to forget the horrific magnitude of the event itself. Second, while tourists represented fewer than 5% of the casualties of the tsunami, just about every human tragedy and every happy ending we see in this film deals with white European tourists while we barely see any natives at all except as props. (And even among tourist representations: the family whose story this is based on were Spanish; the director and much of the crew were Spanish, and yet the characters were changed to paler Anglophones!) Again, I understand the desire to make films that your target audience will want to see, which means often featuring people who look and sound as much as possible like them, but we now have three movies dealing with this tragedy through the eyes of tourists and zero films seeing it through native eyes, and so it becomes easy to gloss over the loss of nearly a quarter of a million lives because we're so focused on the few thousand tourists who were affected. Anyway. Sorry to go on. Yes, as an entertainment it's a powerful and well-made piece with a few tonal missteps, but as a representation of a true story I find it quite a bit more problematic.

 Posted:   Apr 28, 2013 - 7:01 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Thank you mastadge for your in-depth thoughts, I appreciate reading them. Interestingly your ambivalence has made me even more curious about the film.

 Posted:   Apr 28, 2013 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I posted a review of The Impossible a while back. You can find it on my blog

Mastage I agree with you for the most part but I don't think anyone would go see the realistic film you describe.

 Posted:   Apr 28, 2013 - 8:19 PM   
 By:   BornOfAJackal   (Member)

Django Unchained: 8

Oblivion: 4

 Posted:   May 1, 2013 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Red Dawn (2012) -- 5/10

Pretty silly but entertaining. Not quite as bad as everyone makes it out to be, but not a whole lot better. Wish Jeffrey Dean Morgan was given a bit more to do...he was definitely the classiest thing about this film.

 Posted:   May 1, 2013 - 8:25 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

The Raid Redemption (2011) - 7/10
I don't know if I've mentioned it before but my dad tends to watch most of the things I get on Netflix. With this film I think his reactions sum up everything. Dad says: "This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. These guys can't possibly still be fighting after all the shit they've been through." After all, The Raid Redemption is as close to balls to the wall constant action as you'll get.

Still, the action is amazing and worth checking out. If you are tired of films with action you can't follow, this will be your breath of fresh air. Don't be surprised if I lower some films a few notches later this year because the action isn't as good as this. While there is some gore, it never becomes incredibly over the top.

Score wise, I was pretty disappointed. I would use this as the perfect example of a mediocre score I would hate to ever listen to outside the film but that works perfectly with it for the most part. The score is mostly pounding electronics and percussion (like Rock music not the ethnic style we see so often). It is really in your face and follows the action. Since there is action for most of the film, you are pounded with score for most of it. I couldn't help thinking at times it could have been better if the score was a bit more complex but I think the filmmakers wanted to keep it simple so people could focus on the action.

Overall, fun film but not worth all the hype.

 Posted:   May 2, 2013 - 12:49 AM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)


what a mess of film and while i loved the first film, i felt the second film was a bit lacking but still good and this time around we essentially have the same film again.

a small amount of iron man suit action, long period of no suit, and then the finale 30 minutes with the suit.

lets start with the good which is the cast, the effects, and the action. all are on top form.

i had alot of problems this time around though...

- why have that awful narration if the pay off [Tony being in therapy on the couch with Dr. Bruce Banner] isn't even delivered in the actual film [its a post credit scene]. it really didn't feel all in place with the actual film despite RDJ giving it as much humor and spin as possible.

- Tony has PTSD[???] from the event in the Avengers but it has NO PAY OFF; he can't sleep so he builds a lot of suits and the cause or root of it is never really explained...why is he scared, what is the internal fear, what are his demons, what causes his panic, his anxiety, etc? none of it is addressed and loads of things are just thrown out there and then when a cute kid [mini sidekick for the second act] tells him to BUILD since he is a mechanic...Tony suddenly feels better and THAT'S THE PAY OFF?! never mind that Tony has been building 40 something suits before all this in his mansion and...oh well never mind.

- The Mandarin ... this film SEEMED to be grounded in a very real and very scary terrorism element with this character and even him executing a man on live TV was rather disturbing. all these seemed to take the film into a very REAL territory only for it to be a goof and for the real villain to be Guy Pierce and Ben Kingsley is really a stage actor who is the make up threat that our war weapons baddie created to create supply and demand for weapons...WTF?!

this whole idea is CREATED and not an element of the comics so why not come up with something we didn't see in the recent BATMAN BEGINS / THE DARK KNIGHT RISES of one character being the puppet master and then the disappointing letdown of having the main villain being nothing more then a tool. i'd be shocked if anyone felt all this worked.

i couldn't even really enjoy the WONDERFUL and HILARIOUS take that Kingsley does and the fun he is really having with his Trevor character and its a damn shame because he really does give the film its BIGGEST laughs.

- The Extremis "virus" ... WTF? How does it work? You apparently rebuild limbs and heal but it seems you can die only when the plot calls for it since we see Tony kill one of the bad guys buy blasting through his heart on Air Force One but then we see our main bad guy get blown up...what THREE TIMES and that is how he is killed off? There is mention of getting TOO HOT and one blows but it never amounts to anything.

It was a shame this idea wasn't handled more grounded in a little bit of reality and instead everyone glows RED and hell...Guy Pearce breathing FIRE! i shit you not....he BREATHES FIRE!!!

it took the films into a G.I. JOE silly range and mind you, yes, THE AVENGERS had aliens but it looked cool and stylish and even a little adult instead of just balls out ridiculous. The best way I can put this is this film was everything I feared THOR was going to be...balls out silly.

It is still serviceable entertainment but I really wished the film wasn't as uneven with it hard edge violence and then cartoon villains.

I rank it along side GI.JOE 2 truth be told... solid action but nothing special. Shame. I had high hopes!

 Posted:   May 4, 2013 - 7:04 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Iron Chef III
I mean Iron Man 3
Loved it. Better than CNN.

Shane black will forever be the writer of lethal weapon 1, and it's good to see the psychology of gifted but screwy men fighting to prove themselves to themselves while splashed over the backdrop of national calamities, still makes for massively entertaining drama. The world is a big funhouse anyway and what matters is how you handle it, while being yourself.
8/10 ****

 Posted:   May 5, 2013 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

BJ, I agree with most of your criticism this time around. It certainly could have been better. My full review can be seen here:

 Posted:   May 6, 2013 - 8:55 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Version BluRay) 8-10

I read about the color shifting for the bluray release. Not terribly happy about that and it was a bit distracting. Though I did not compare it to the DVD release, it did appear to be presented as a two or three tone film.

This is a tale of two films. The first two thirds are intense, suspenseful and move at a brisk pace. The last third had scenes that just lingered on for far to long. The last third was also the introduction of the endless "weeping" scenes we would see in the rest of the trilogy. I'm all for emotionally resonate scenes but one was enough.

Generally I liked the extended scenes as I though they fleshed out personalities and motivations. While others were simply nice little touches such as the Mountain Troll scene. If only the last third was more tightly edited, this film would be a strong "10".

 Posted:   May 6, 2013 - 12:53 PM   
 By:   shureman   (Member)

God's Little Acre (7)

 Posted:   May 8, 2013 - 1:32 PM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

From Up on Poppy Hill
8/10 ***.5

Very fine movie from Ghibli. Cultural norms and ritual behavior- expectations of what normal life is supposed to be are often contradicted by who we really are. Sometimes upsets are just to make us think. And then no worries.

 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 8:51 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Skyfall (2012) -- 9/10

 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 9:37 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Jack Reacher (2012) - 2/5

I really wanted to like this. Cruise was good as usual, and I actually liked Rosamund Pike for a change. The story starts off interestingly enough, but then descends into cliche the more the characters dig into the situation at hand. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing; it just seems to never take off and really pull you in. I'm not entirely sure the story is even resolved by the end of the movie. I felt like I was left hanging. Plus, the twist in the case is ruined by the fact the movie gives it away to the viewer right at the beginning! Some annoying dialogue (which I guess passes for "witty" these days), and another twist left unexplained. Or at least, I didn't see the explanation if there was one.

 Posted:   May 9, 2013 - 5:54 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Smashed (2012) -- 9/10

Exceedingly moving and poignant. The film went by very quickly -- 81 min -- and pretty much my only complaint was that it felt rushed. It's very economical in its storytelling. All the marks and narrative points were hit, some were explored in more depth than others, but I just cared so much about the characters that I wanted to spend more time with them, learn more about their lives, get to know them and their part in this story. Not really a bad sign, when the only complaint you can find for a film was that it left you wanting more. For those that don't know, Smashed is essentially about two hardcore drinkers who are married and eventually things get really bad and only one of them tries to get sober. The film takes a look into this woman's path to sobriety as well as the repercussions her new path has on her existing marriage.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, until Smashed, was a passing crush of mine, a beautiful actress who played in a lot of films I really enjoy. I am exhilarated and pleased to now have seen a much deeper actress in Smashed and to have seen a film that explored her beauty on the inside, even when her character makes ugly choices. This movie provided a view into an actress so talented, so underrated, so full of potential -- the filmmakers' stroke of genius was casting her as lead here and giving the actress (and indeed her audiences and fans) a look into how wonderful she is at her art. She should have been nominated for best actress for this film, without one doubt, although she was nominated as best female lead Independent Spirit Award.

Never have seen Aaron Paul in anything before, and he was phenomenal as well.

 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 6:58 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) dir. Joe Lynch -- I guess marginally more watchable than the first one. To be fair, mutant hillbilly cannibals aren't really my thing at all; I mostly watched this one to hear McCreary's score, and mostly watched the first because I prefer not to watch a sequel without having seen the original. Anyway. The villains here are even less scary than they were in the first, but at least the victims have some personality this time, as ridiculous as they are. In the first our heroes were so unbelievably anticharismatic that I just didn't care what happened to them! Anyway. Not good at all, really. (2.5/10)

The Way of the Gun (2000) dir. Christopher McQuarrie -- A cute, overlong, hyperviolent Peckinpah-meets-Tarantino sort of thing. McQuarrie's a good director, I think, but still in search of just the right script to show off his talents. (6.5/10)

Iron Man 3 (2013) dir. Shane Black -- Possibly my least favorite Avengers movie to date. Watchable, sure, but entirely half-assed. The PTSD angle was nearly as underplayed as the Demon in a Bottle bit from IM2. The explanation behind the Extremis was laughable. Seriously, they couldn't have gotten rid of one of Downey's hair supervisors and spent a couple hundred bucks on some grad student consultants to make this stuff play at least halfway feasibly? Rebecca Hall's character is sufficiently underwritten that it's hard to care about her motivations or her fate. Then we have a big, busy climax that is less interesting than the drone battle from IM2, followed by a whole bunch of plot threads wrapped up in a whopping 30 seconds or so that will leave you scratching your head. If the only thing required for you to enjoy an IM movie is Tony's Snark, you'll probably enjoy this movie, but personally I found it even more problematic than the entertaining but structurally unsound Iron Man 2. (5.5/10)

Jack Reacher (2012) dir. Christopher McQuarrie -- Like Michael24, I really wanted to enjoy this. I was hoping that it was an underrated thriller that had failed to find an audience (like last year's Safe, for instance), but it turns out that despite McQuarrie's chops and Kraemer's fine score it just doesn't quite work. Most of the actors do fine, but don't seem quite right for this movie (and I don't even care about Cruise being too small for Reacher or any of that). I didn't hate it, but I did get to the end feeling pretty so-what about the whole thing. (6/10)

Labyrinth (2012) dir. Christopher Smith -- Based on Kate Mosse's novel, one of those post-Da Vinci Code heavily-publisher-promoted pseudo-religious-themed bestseller things. Takes place in Carcassonne both in the present day and in 1209, when the Crusaders came to wipe out the Cathars, and has something to do with a grail quest although that's never satisfactorily explained. I'm not really interested in this subject matter but I do like Christopher Smith so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, while there are some good scenes and setpieces, the script doesn't give anyone much to work with. The heroes are gormless, the villains are smarmy clich├ęs, the relationships are soap opera-esque, most of the actors aren't very good and those who are are mostly wasted. Trevor Jones' score is functional and pleasant. I'd give this one a pass. (3.5/10)

Maybe I'll find something that's better than pretty-good-at-best in the next handful of movies I see.

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