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 Posted:   Feb 9, 2011 - 7:13 PM   
 By:   Robert0320   (Member)

The Manitou (1978) 2 out of 10 Lalo Schifrin composed a good score.

 
 Posted:   Feb 9, 2011 - 7:18 PM   
 By:   LoriMagno   (Member)

Clue (1985) -4 Tremendous cast. Proof that the score as a standalone item can be vastly superior to the movie it is meant to support.

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2011 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Machete (2010) dir. by Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis -- Garbage. Also probably the best action movie of the year. What Grindhouse should have been. Would make a great double feature with Black Dynamite: a brilliant Blaxploitation/Mexploitation throwback double feature. Garbage, but so completely, joyfully, unashamedly over-the-top in its ridiculousness that it wins me over. "We didn't cross the border! The border crossed us!" Much more enjoyable than the likes of Predators, Salt, The A-Team and so forth. Danny Trejo is pure awesome. Michelle Rodriguez is as good as she's ever been, but Jessica Alba still lacks any presence. It's nice to see Lindsay Lohan working instead of being crapped on in the news. "And Introducing Don Johnson" [face_laugh]

Dogooth (Kynodontas) (2009) dir. by Giorgos Lanthimos -- The most creative movie about child abuse you're ever likely to see. I don't really know what to say about it. It's flabbergasting and bizarre. While this may be beside the point, considering that the children are, in a clever twist, both the victims and the audience surrogates, I really wished I could have had some insight into what the parents were hoping to accomplish here, and how they thought it might end. . .

Alatriste (2006) dir. by Agustín Díaz Yanes -- Based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte's Capitán Alatriste novels, starring Viggo Mortensen as 17th century Spanish mercenary/soldier Alatriste, this movie should have been great. It often looks great. It's boring as hell. It runs about 2.5 hours, but it covers the events of 4 or 6 novels, about 20 years' worth of material, so it bounces from encounter to setpiece but rarely has time to breathe, and never feels like there's a coherent narrative arc. It's just a series of semi-connected vignettes with too many characters who look too similar and are often not even named. Also, the director has some trouble staging battles in a useful way. This is, perhaps, a movie to see after you've read the novels, but I can't recommend it unless you already have a good idea what's going on and why it's relevant.

Skin (2008) dir. by Anthony Fabian -- True story of a black girl born to two white parents in apartheid South Africa. She's reclassified white to black to white as legal standards such things change from appearance to descent, and ends up having a child who shares her skin color but is legally a different color. The movie wisely focuses on the character rather than the message, although the message comes across loud and clear. A fine and occasionally painful drama. Sophie Okonedo, Sam Neill and Alice Krige are good as Sandra and her parents, but most impressive is Ella Ramangwane as young Sandra.

Eastern Promises (2007) dir. by David Cronenberg -- An above average crime thriller. Viggo Mortensen plays against type (or at least against post-LOTR type) in an excellent performance; Vincent Cassel does loathsome as well as anyone in the business. Ultimately crime is not my favorite genre so I didn't love this movie, but it was excellently made and, as usual, aside from the surprisingly soft ending, Cronenberg pulled no punches -- the knife fight in the sauna is brutal and puts some of the lauded Bourne fights to shame.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010) dir. by Zack Snyder -- It's sure a good thing they changed the original unwieldy title The Guardians of Ga'Hoole to Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, which rolls right off the tongue. That aside, this is Snyder's best movie, and certainly deserves more acclaim than it got. It's pretty earnest and straightforward, it stumbles occasionally, but it looks beautiful, and is better than the mediocre HTTYD (which soared almost exclusively on Powell's score) or Despicable Me (the appeal of which I simply don't understand). Hirschfelder's score is heroic and adventurous (except for the new agey crapola when Soren enters a flow state, and when it's interrupted by an annoying pop song in the middle of the movie), the action is surprisingly violent for a kids' movie, but not glorified, the visuals are tremendous, and, well, it's an enjoyable adventure. Snyder's best movie. Recommended, surprisingly.

Community, Season One (2009-2010) created by Dan Harmon -- I seem to lack the sitcom-enjoying gene. Usually when people recommend these things, from classics like Friends and Seinfeld and The Simpsons to more contemporary stuff like HIMYM or Modern Family, I enjoy them in small doses and then get bored; I much prefer serial entertainments that reward binge-watching. Community I could binge-watch. I have never seen so a half-hour program so consistently, intelligently funny (note: I have not yet seen Arrested Development). The characters are well-drawn, the situations actually funny, and the pop-culture references off the charts. Laughs per minute are as high as in any show I've ever seen. Highly recommended.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010) dir. by Steven R. Monroe -- Remake of "classic" 70s sexploitation film in which a woman survives a brutal gang rape and hunts down everyone involved. Sarah Butler plays a young novelist who rents a cabin in the middle of nowhere for some solitude while she works on her next book. She's the kind of novelist who writes on her laptop while sunbathing in a bikini and sipping from a glass of wine, the type of novelist who despite having an occupation involving sitting all day drinking has a supertight gym bod. She's also pretty smart: when she gets lost in town on her way to the cabin, she lets the troupe of nasty grease monkeys openly leering at her know not only that she's a young woman alone in an area she doesn't know, but also exactly where she's staying. Where it deviates from the original (which I haven't seen in years and am in no rush to revisit, so forgive me if I misremember), it's not for the better. In the original, the rape takes up something like half the movie's runtime. It's literally painful and exhausting. Here it's tightened up a whole lot; Butler sells it, but it doesn't have the same effect on the viewer. After the rape, the original spends time with the character as we see how she recovers; in this remake, she disappears from the film for a half-hour or so and we follow instead all of the rapists, who really have nothing interesting to say or do. And the moments of revenge involve inappropriate sarcasm (unless it's a commentary on how young peoples' ideas of how violence is administered have been shaped by thirty years of bad movies with one-liners, but I don't give the filmmakers that much credit) and humor. Overall, this is a remake of a movie that didn't need to be remade, with nothing new to bring to the table.

Middle Men (2009) dir. by George Gallo -- An internet crime drama, sort of The Social Network meets GoodFellas with a dash of The People vs. Larry Flynt, although not as good as any of those movies, largely because Luke Wilson is too disarming to be particularly effective. This is the story of how an internet innovation became a huge business: in this case, not social networking but the ability to take credit card payments online -- an innovation started in partnership, whoops, with the Russian mafia. For the most part, the script is pretty good, with lots of funny observations. I wish that the market power of porn was more widely acknowledged. And Wilson is surrounded by interesting characters, from Giovanni Ribisi to James Caan to Terry Crews to Kelsey Grammer to a surprisingly good Laura Ramsey. Unfortunately, everything comes together much too easily, much too pat at the end, with a little too much moralizing about family. This is a middling movie, enjoyable enough, but by no means great, and certainly not in the league of the movies it's most like.

'Tamara Drewe' (2010) dir. by Stephen Frears -- Occasionally warm and fun, occasionally tedious comic riff on Far from the Madding Crowd. A lightweight comedy that seems, occasionally, unfortunately, to aspire to something more. Really there's not much to be said. It's an amusing but not particularly satisfying pastoral comedy.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2011 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   VietnamVet   (Member)

STONE (2010) 5/10* This one isn't really bad, just b o r i n g...... Wonderful stuff from the principals for fledgeling actors to study in class...... The story, (what there is of it) surrounds the last weeks before retirement for a Parole Officer who succumbs to a Con's con to be released from prison. Once again, interesting story, just B O R I N G. I suppose this was suppose to be film noir or something like it. The story really can't make up it's mind whether it is a thriller, drama, or daytime soap. Lots and lots of closeups.....perfect for video Perhaps the only redeeming virtue of the film is that it is living proof that caucasions look like hell trying to wear a "Corn-Row.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Tangled. The horse is the best of many, many good reasons to see this film. 8/10 (it would have been a 9, but after Flynn sliced off most of Rapunzel's hair in the climax and turned her tresses from long, magical blonde to short, non-magical brunette... well, not since Keri Russell on Felicity has a haircut so downgraded a heroine and dampened my mood a bit, though at least here the snipping was essential to the plot).

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

Yikes...a dreadful crop...

Predators -- 3/10
Date Night -- 2/10
Knight and Day -- 3/10

They were so bad, I'd rather not go into why I disliked them and just move on with my life.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 10:16 AM   
 By:   quiller007   (Member)

JENNIFER'S BODY (2009) 3 / 10
Ugh. This highly overrated (by some) "horror" film exemplifies exactly
what's wrong with the horror genre nowadays. A "comedy-horror"
flick that is neither funny nor scary, just cringefully embarrasing.
An interesting premise torpedoed by extremely stupid, so-called
"hip" teen slang dialogue, and a mocking attitude toward the
teen-horror genre. Sexy Megan Fox is actually quite good in the
title role. The noisy music score (if you can call it that) is completely
inappropriate and awful, as are the horrible rock songs.
The girl/girl makeout scene (short as it is) is unnecessary, and was
thrown into the film just "for the guys". For Megan Fox fans only.

If this same story had been filmed with the same two leads,
better male leads, with traditional normal dialogue, a score
by Pino Donaggio, and a serious approach it probably would
have scored close to a bullseye.

Den

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 12:16 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Hombre - 10/10

All the board talk of late forced me to dust off the DvD and take a peek. The main titles are haunting, monochromatic stills of indians being . . . native indians, I guess. The score is by David Rose.

The story very quickly introduces the characters and their immediate predicaments. They all end up on a stage that has been financed at short notice at a station that has been made redundant due to the railroad. The financier is played by Fredric March, whose character is appropriately called Favor. It turns out that as a trusted government appointed official at the forefront of handling funds directed to the upkeep of reservation indians, he is guilty of embezzlement of said funds, and appears to be hastily departing for the horizon with the money and his prim and proper wife, played by Barbara Rush. Only problem is some nasty types are aware of the scent of the money through the local sheriff (Cameron Mitchell), who has given up on being a hard working honest man and thrown in his lot with the also approriately named Grimes (Richard Boone), leading the ever so nasty bandits. Paul Newman plays the down to earth half-breed John Russell, who foils the attempted robbery of the reservation money and must get it back to the reservation indians, to whom it belongs. This is his mission, during the course of which he must keep his fellow stage passengers on the straight and narrow if they are to survive the pursuing bandits.

The story is infused with multiple layers including lots of different themes into which is embedded the deeper meaning of the story. Divided loyalty, justice and civility, altruism and personal responsibility are all on show in the film. And, it is these notions that are on trial throughout. The classic denouement provides some form of resolution.

The print of the film appears to be a restoration. It is pristine and clear and a joy to watch. A theatrical trailer that is part of the bonus features is thoroughly duped in comparison with the main feature. Paul Newman quotes lots of one line answers that bury the competition in their own nonsensical questioning. That's one clever injun who knows the true score.

The end title imagery, again of native indians, leaves the viewer wondering at the level of debt owed to a people made dispossessed at the hands of the white man.

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 12:21 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Yikes...a dreadful crop...

Predators -- 3/10
Date Night -- 2/10
Knight and Day -- 3/10

They were so bad, I'd rather not go into why I disliked them and just move on with my life.


I'll take your word that date night sucks. But its good to see you posting again!

The Spy who Came in From the Cold - 3/10
What the hell is this movie? I have no idea what it is about despite reading a synopsis on the netflix envelope and on wikipedia. I gave up at the half way mark because I felt my time would be better spent sitting around the house doing nothing or any number of things besides finishing the failure of a movie. Apparently its some classic - probably only to people who find The American to be masterful cinema - but I don't get it at all!

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 2:02 PM   
 By:   mrscott   (Member)

Yikes...a dreadful crop...

Predators -- 3/10
Date Night -- 2/10
Knight and Day -- 3/10

They were so bad, I'd rather not go into why I disliked them and just move on with my life.


I'll take your word that date night sucks. But its good to see you posting again!

The Spy who Came in From the Cold - 3/10
What the hell is this movie? I have no idea what it is about despite reading a synopsis on the netflix envelope and on wikipedia. I gave up at the half way mark because I felt my time would be better spent sitting around the house doing nothing or any number of things besides finishing the failure of a movie. Apparently its some classic - probably only to people who find The American to be masterful cinema - but I don't get it at all!


For the younger folks the John LeCarre films were supposed to be the antithesis of the James Bond films of the 60's and 70's. They were supposed to reflect real life and suspensful as well as provide nail biter style thrillers. I never understood them either. Mostly they just bored the poop out of me. Not literally of course.

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 2:10 PM   
 By:   PhiladelphiaSon   (Member)

Watched the Blu Ray of John Carpenter's BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, today. The film remains a favorite, and the Blu Ray renders a superb video and audio experience. It has never looked better.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 3:15 PM   
 By:   VietnamVet   (Member)

LET ME IN (2010) 9/10* I almost didn't watch this due to the overwhelming abundance of "vampire" themed movies. Yet I am glad I did. I understand it is a re-make. I think I will look up the original to see just how much this edition may have improved.....I honestly can't imagine the original being better. First off, it is more of a love story (read Romeo and Juliet) than Vampire story. That being said, this vampire, a 12 year girl, really exploits just how horrendous these creatures can be. Don't think a quaint 12 year girl can turn into a blood-thirsty nightmare? You might be surprised! Good film. Highly recommended.

LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009) 8/10* Another remake, though I liked this one more than the original. VERY graphic mutilation/violence. Not for the squeamish. The story basically follows the original. Family finds themselves face to face with hideous criminals in a vacation home far in the wilderness. Acting, photography, and direction much improved over the first one!! Perhaps the only negative I could find in the film was the rather "over-the-top" last scene. Seemed almost like too much gratutious gore. Other than that, a fun slasher!!! Recommended.

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 4:55 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

Dish Network is giving subscribers a free year of STARZ programming starting this month, so now I can catch up on flicks from this past decade.

Tuck Everlasting - Pretty Alexis Bledel stars as Winnie, a young girl who rejects her mother's wish that she attend a school 500 miles away from her home. She runs away to the nearby forest and discovers a family living in a cabin. She comes to learn that this family has become immortal by drinking water from a magical spring. A trio of Oscar winners, William Hurt, Sissy Spacek and Ben Kingsley round out the cast. William Ross composed the score. A pleasant enough way to spend an evening. 7/10

Up - Colorful but melancholy animated film about a widowed man's efforts to live without his beloved wife. Rather than die in an old folk's home, he attaches thousands of helium balloons to his creaky house and takes to the skies not knowing that a neighborhood kid is in tow. Ed Asner lends his voice as the old man. Michael Giacchino won his Oscar for this film. Some clever scenes. One in particular, a spoof of the old Dogs Playing Poker painting, made me laugh out loud. Good fun. 8.5/10

Moon - A base station is created to mine the natural resources of the moon to supply Earth with much needed energy. Sam Rockwell stars as the sole worker on this station who misses his wife and young daughter. In his down time, he watches episodic television, exercises and has conversations with the resident android voiced by Kevin Spacey. An interesting premise, but the filmmakers run out of ideas quickly. I also think it's a mistake to use well known celebrities like Spacey to do the voice-overs for animated characters or robots. It ruins the illusion for me because you picture that actor in your head when the character speaks with that familiar voice. 6/10

Night Gallery Pilot Episode (1969) - I just received this DVD of the first season of Rod Serling's TV series Night Gallery. The first story in the pilot episode is called The Cemetery. This scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a kid. It's basically a two man show, with Roddy McDowall playing an ungrateful heir to a rich uncle's fortune. Ossie Davis portrays the loyal butler to the sickly old man. After Roddy hastens the old man's death, he sees a painting begin to take some disturbing changes. This story packs more scares in it's 33 minute run time than any ten of today's so-called horror films, and this was made for TV! It is well written and wonderfully performed by the two actors. Even Serling's expositional dialogue is fun to hear. William (Billy) Goldenberg composed the creepy score. How I wish that current filmmakers could create frightening movies today without gore and bad language. This story ranks up there with early 1970's TV horror films Gargoyles, Trilogy of Terror and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Great nostalgic fun viewing. 10/10

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 5:44 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

LET ME IN (2010) I understand it is a re-make. I think I will look up the original to see just how much this edition may have improved.....I honestly can't imagine the original being better.

Just my two cents, but I think the original is much better. The remake is bloodier and a little dumber and a little less understated, but while I enjoyed it quite a bit, the original to me is nearly perfect. It's one of literally just a handful of movies that I want to watch again as soon as I finish.

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 8:43 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

Niagra (1953) - 8/10
Interesting film noir that was driven by Marilyn Monroe's performance. It was made a lot more exciting by the wonderful soundtrack

River of No Return (1954) - 8/10
Another fantastic Marilyn Monroe performance, this time in a western. Movie was good and the young boy actor did a great job. Rather than focusing on the waterfall like Niagra this one focused on the fast-moving river.

Both were on netflix streaming and worth watching for those who bought the soundtrack set of both recently.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2011 - 2:01 AM   
 By:   Storyteller   (Member)

The Thin Man-10/10

The Asphalt Jungle-10/10

Their called classics for a reason.

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2011 - 5:31 AM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

LET ME IN (2010) I understand it is a re-make. I think I will look up the original to see just how much this edition may have improved.....I honestly can't imagine the original being better.

Just my two cents, but I think the original is much better. The remake is bloodier and a little dumber and a little less understated, but while I enjoyed it quite a bit, the original to me is nearly perfect. It's one of literally just a handful of movies that I want to watch again as soon as I finish.


Hey guys!

My two cents: I really disliked the original, Let the Right One In (except for the delicate and exquisite Johan Soderqvist score). I've been meaning to catch the remake Let Me In for quite some time...after this little discourse I have decided I am going to go to Blockbuster this afternoon and rent it. I've been very excited about it...I love the filmmaker's (Matt Reeves) work, Cloverfield and especially Felicity. To me, he has amply demonstrated his flair for sensitive human emotion as well as realistic horror, so I have a very good feeling about Let Me In...will post my thoughts later today after I see it...

 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2011 - 8:40 AM   
 By:   Mr. Jack   (Member)

The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005): 9.5/10

At least someone got laid today. frown

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2011 - 10:09 AM   
 By:   quiller007   (Member)



PAPER MOON (1973) 10/10
My opinion of this masterpiece has not changed one bit
since I saw it upon the original theatrical release back in 1973.
Absolutely beautiful and wonderful slice of Depression-era Americana.
Fun, funny, touching, and uplifting gem from Peter Bogdanovich.
Without doubt, Ryan O'Neal's best starring role (although I do have a soft
spot for THE THIEF WHO CAME TO DINNER and THE DRIVER).
The entire cast is excellent, with a well-deserved Oscar nod to
little Tatum O'Neal. Wonderful use of songs from the era.

Den

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 14, 2011 - 7:51 PM   
 By:   VietnamVet   (Member)

KARATE KID (2010) 8/10* I was prepared to totally hate this film. Remaking a movie seems so lame. I honestly enjoyed the original. How could they possibly improve it? And in many respects, in my opinion, they didn't. The story is basically the same. Simply exchange races, caucasion vs. asian in the original......afro-american vs. asian in the remake. Add a little terrible acting by one of the leads, Jaden Smith, shake well with a travelogue sense of direction and screenwriting (the first 2/3 of the movie is one big "travel-brochure" lauding the beauty of China), and don't forget just a "tad" of cross-culturism Romeo and Juliet. Pop all of this into the Hollywood Micro Wave for about 100 minutes and you are sure to have some return on your money.......and by golly, it works. The last 1/3 of the film is excellent. Should the film have been remade? Yes. Though I still have some reservations about tampering with a classic. A whole new generation will get the chance to witness this heart-warming story. Now, if I can just "man-up" enough to try "TRUE GRIT"

 
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