What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out of 5

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Markgway wrote:Blue Desert (1990-USA) **½
Decent B-movie thriller with Courtney Cox as a rape victim who moves out west for a quiet life only to be stalked by a killer rapist... but is it the ex-con with anger management issues or the likeable sheriff? And just why does Philip Baker Hall appear so shifty? Nothing special, but keeps the viewer guessing...
Not related to this movie, but the rape theme just reminded me that Japan has this unique genre called "rape comedies"... Whenever someone gets offended by American films like I Spit on Your Grave for supposedly not showing it in as negative light as they should (???) I really want to show them some Japanese films :lol:

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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HungFist wrote: Not related to this movie, but the rape theme just reminded me that Japan has this unique genre called "rape comedies"... Whenever someone gets offended by American films like I Spit on Your Grave for supposedly not showing it in as negative light as they should (???) I really want to show them some Japanese films :lol:
The Japanese are weird. We get it.

Children of the Night (1991-USA) **
Tongue-in-cheek horror in which a small town is overrun by vampires.
Passable.

Wedlock (1991-USA-UK) **
Prisoners Rutger Hauer (pretty terrible here with village idiot haircut) and Mimi Rogers (fairly good) are 'wedlocked' by exploding collars; the evil warden (is there any other kind?) wants $25m in stolen diamonds hidden before Hauer's incarceration.
Good premise, mediocre execution. Went direct to cable in the USA as Deadlock.

High Art (1991-Brazil-USA) **½
An American photographer in Rio is determined to avenge the murder of a prostitute friend.
Feature debut from Walter Salles is slow, pretentious, and convoluted, yet maintains an off-kilter interest just the same. Not for all tastes.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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“No man with a good car needs to be justified!” – Wise Blood

John Wick (2014: David Leitch, Chad Stahelski)

There seems to be Seijun Suzuki yakuza influences on this film (too bad there is no number one killer in this film) especially where it feels like the movie is really in its own hit-man hyper-reality. There is also a rather obvious Jean Pierre Melville reference with the Red Circle (English name for Le cercle rouge) club in the movie, but Melville’s languid and austere poetic temperament does not fit the hyper-stylized violence here though. In fact I found a few similarities between John Wick, here and the titular character Ghost Dog (played by Forest Whitaker) in the Jim Jarmusch film. They both live by a specific code, they are very efficient at what they do and it is easy to question their sanity.* Also Ghost Dog had several references to both Suzuki and Melville.

John Wick is a badass. He may be slightly rusty, but only slightly and soon he will shake that off and become that avenging angel of animal abuse. He has been out of the hit-man game for a while. Long enough to have a wife, lose the wife and receive a puppy from wife (via mail) after her funeral. He has a pretty awesome ride whom one day a son of a Russian mob boss (Michael Nyqvist) wants to have. He wants it so bad that he breaks into Wick’s house, beats on Wick kills his dog and steals his car. This means death to anyone who tries to stop him from getting even. The amount of retribution that will be unleashed is insane. But then this character is described as not the Boogeyman, but the man who hire to take out the Boogeyman. He is a deadly combination of Paul Kersey and Jef Costello.

The plotline is your standard revenge film with the impetus being the dog (and maybe a little of the car.) It takes place in New York, but a New York where there is a much bigger thriving business of paid assassins who seem to follow a code. Or at least they do at a particular hotel where you pay in gold coins and, for the most part, you are guaranteed safety and not inclined to discuss work. Since he is brought back to the game like Michael Corleone, he takes refuge there while simultaneously trying to find out the whereabouts of the kid who killed his dog.

I was impressed by the fight scenes. While this is not as good as any of the heyday of Hong Kong action films, it is certainly better than the ADHD inspired fight scenes of Paul Greengrass and his queasy-cam influenced ilk. The fight choreography is inspired by MMA with an inordinate amount of Judo throws and some locks (of course leading to breaks.) It really helps that the directors Chad Stahelski (choreographer on The Matrix and stunt double for Keanu Reeves) and David Leitch have a background in stunts and martial arts. The longer takes and less jerky motion really makes a difference in showing off the action scenes. This also really helps the gun battles as well. It is nice to see some battles with a single pistol with good form. This is a solid release from the first time directors.

I had a good time at the theater with this. I have actually liked that last three Keanu Reeves films with his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi and the vastly underrated and unfortunate flop 47 Ronin. While the storyline could be improved (you could probably have thought of a dozen ways that would have resulted in Wick’s death), some of the secondary characters could have been more elaborated on (especially William Dafoe though he was still cool), the ending was a bit too predicable, the action is some of the best I have seen in an American film in quite a while. I am looking forward to hopefully new work from the two directors.

There are no scenes after the credits.

* Roger Ebert’s review of Ghost Dog starts off with “It helps to understand that the hero of "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" is crazy.” which I tend to think of from time to time with off kilter protagonists.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

Post by Markgway »

Avenging the death of a beloved pet sounds perfectly reasonable to me...

Makes a nice change from mother/father/brother/sister/uncle/aunt/grandpa/grandma/wife/girlfriend/best friend/master... etc.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

Post by Masterofoneinchpunch »

Markgway wrote:Avenging the death of a beloved pet sounds perfectly reasonable to me...

Makes a nice change from mother/father/brother/sister/uncle/aunt/grandpa/grandma/wife/girlfriend/best friend/master... etc.
Agreed (as well as avenging your car.) I'm sure there are some animal revenge stories out there (other than animal getting revenge -- I had read one recently from Bram Stoker) and I had thought of a few scenarios in the past which would work (for short stories.)

I'm glad I went and saw it.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Need to see it when it opens here.

I missed the previous two Reeves films, although I intended to see them both.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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John Wick actually looks like a good movie :)

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Death Wish 4/5 classic 70's vigilante thriller still holds up well today.a lean 93 minutes and Bronson is superb in the role of Paul Kersey,a loving husband and father turned into emotionless killer by tragedy.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Das Leben der Anderen: 7/10

1984. East-Germany, still behind the Berlin Wall, and ruled by a socialist regime. Everyone has to conform to the ideals of the government, and those who don't... well... they can pretty much kiss their careers goodbye.

The story is about the stasi suspecting one of their loyal party-members from not being completely faithful to their ideasa and ideals, so they decide to spy on him in his own house. The suspect, a well-known and respected artist who writes for the theatre, goes about his daily life while in the same building agents are listening in on everything that's going on in his apartment, from conversations and sex with his girlfriends, to debates among friends. Slowly, the officer leading the investigations begins to connect with his target and an invisible bond between them starts to form, while unknown to the artist.

Of course, this movie was shown on TV here a few days ago because of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I had never watched it before, but it's reputation is well known. It's won numerous prices, and it's not hard to see why. A mature, serious and original movie in all aspects, and while there isn't any 'flash' in the locations, or any action set-pieces, it impresses on an authentic level. It paints a picture of the politics, the state of mind of those involved, none of whom can ever trust anyone really...

That said, it also never REALLY surprises, and while all actors involved do a good job, the only real standout is Ulrich Muhe as the lead investigator of the operation. He starts of like an emotionless loyal servant of the regime, but slowly and subtly some humanity from deep within is revealed.
Both the writer as well as his girlfriend are competent in their roles, but never REALLY impress, and seem like they would normally be more suited for TV-series, instead of being leading stars in a movie.

This is a slowburner, and although it was certainly a very good movie which has made a good impression on me, I'll rate it a 7 out of 10, because I felt 2 of the 3 leads were good but not outstanding, the cinematography was nothing special, and I felt the drama at the end was a bit too 'easy', although I did enjoy how it eventually played out after that.

Good mature movie, very serious, 7/10.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Westbound (1959: Budd Boetticher):

This was the last Budd Boetticher and Randolph Scott collaboration (often known as the Ranown cycle) that I had not seen. This was because it was only released on the Warner Archive MOD. While I would consider this a lesser of the Ranown films (possibly my least favorite of the seven, but several of those like Seven Men from Now are among my favorite films regardless of genre), it is still a good western. The plot is mediocre and definitely predictable, but the direction of Boetticher and the acting from Scott help make this a worthy watch (if you have already seen the rest of their films.) Scott plays Capt. John Hayes and he is assigned a dangerous duty of making sure the wagon gold supply route from California makes it safe to the North away from prying Southern hands. This is especially hazardous through a Southern sympathizing town in which Hayes has history there, including a past love affair. The story gets bogged down there unfortunately with understandable results. I was hoping more of a story about the whole route, but with the short running time I knew that was not going to happen.

Boetticher (like John Ford) is not afraid to kill off pretty much anyone except the lead character. If Boetticher was writing films outside of the Hays Code era I’m sure you would have seen the lead die now and then. You think a child character will be safe – nope.

You will see many similarities in the other Ranown films as well. The antagonist with human qualities. The “real” bad guy which will not be redeemed. A love interest for the Randolph Scott character with a woman who already has a relationship (I probably should make a chart of each film and what happens with the love interest.)

I am a Randolph Scott fan. He is a stoic actor, but there is nuance with his performances. It is interesting how in his career he purposefully stereotyped himself and just took on westerns after a certain point in his career. He also does not seem to age much over the years either. I have seen him in a few Shirley Temple films of the 1930s (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938: Allan Dwan), Susannah of the Mounties (1939: William A. Seiter)) and he does not look that much different decades later.

On a trivia note: fans of film nouveau have seen this played in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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The Human Shield (1991-USA) **
Michael Dudikoff sneaks into war-torn Iraq to rescue his brother from a vengeful general.
Serviceable, if pedestrian Cannon fodder.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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The Perfect Host (2010: Nick Tomnay): What a performance from David Hyde Pierce. Now only if the plot and direction were better. Here is a film that could have and should have ended earlier at several plot points. It tried to put a few too many twists in that I think overall hurt the pace and the film. But what a seriously cool acting job from Pierce. The trailer does give a bit too much away, but it is what got me interested in the film in the first place. The scenario is quite interesting. You have a house invasion that goes seriously wrong for the injured criminal John Taylor who invades. He happens upon a meek looking, but ultimately insane host Warwick who is expecting a dinner party soon. The uninvited guest is soon let in on the festivities and certainly not for his benefit. Plus he is annoying the host by getting blood on his carpet.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVqMrcakPg0

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Niles gets medieval? :D

Body Double (1984-USA) **½
Struggling actor finds his taste for voyeurism leads him to witness a murder and delve into the porn world. Not DePalma's best Hitchcock pastiche by a long shot, but it's still stylish, seedy fun. AU BD is a good alternative to the grossly overpriced Twilight Time edition.

Safe House (2012-USA-South Africa) ***
Novice CIA minder tracks down rogue CIA agent with twists and plenty action. Better than I expected somehow. What with this and now The Equalizer it seems that our Denzel has finally found his inner Liam Neeson. Now's the time for Ricochet to hit BD methinks.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Niles is insane.

A Countess From Hong Kong (1967: Charlie Chaplin)

This was the final existing film that I had not seen of Charlie Chaplin’s directorial oeuvre. This was also his last film after not having directed since A King in New York done a decade earlier. I have put it off for quite a while because of its reputation. It is not horrible, but it is not good either. Chaplin has so many so great films in his filmography from his Mutual shorts to what I would consider his last classic in Monsieur Verdoux that those new to Chaplin (or even those in the middle of his works) can put this off for a while (or ever.)

The movie has its moments of comedy that do work from a repeating buzzer gag, a small but very effective scene with Margaret Rutherford as mostly sickly lady who several think is someone else, to a delightful performance from Patrick Cargill (Hudson the manservant). But the plot with its insipid romance between the two (Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren) just does not work. Loren plays a Russian countess (technically her parents who left Russia because of the revolution), but because of circumstance was orphaned, found by a gangster, because a prostitute and at the start of the movie is slow dancing for money. She stowaway’s on a ship in Ogden Mears (Brando) closet so she can get to America (with no passport; in a weird way reminds me of when Chaplin himself could not get back into America.) There is some social commentary early on that also disappears as the film goes on. The movie is just too predictable, too languid, overly simple direction and too superficial. It is ironic that it feels overlong, but the original version has twelve more minutes (at 120 minutes.) It also is not as funny as one would expect either.

What seems weird (or just something Brando would do) is that his performance seems to be better or worse depending on the actor he is acting with. When he is with Sydney Chaplin (the son of Charlie who performs rather woodenly here) he seems to be coasting versus when he is with Cargill. Tippi Hedren as the icy wife of Brando’s character is perfectly cast though. But what I am still pondering is how effective Brando and Loren are together. I have read that they did not get along (not new with Loren, she did not get along with Heston in El Cid, though Heston has stated that he was at fault; Brando also had this reputation and also did not get along with Charlie Chaplin) and it really does seem to show.

New York Times Review: negative review on this film.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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The Expendables 3 (USA, 2014) [DCP] – 2.5/5
An improvement over Expendables 2, though still not a very satisfying film. Thankfully the terrible and over-explained jokes have been cut down, which makes the film less childish than Expendables 2, which was more obviously made for children. The film is quite entertaining in the beginning with some nice action and fun performances – Snipes and Gibson especially stand out! Unfortunately there’s also tons of terrible CGI. The big finale also lacks rhythm: it’s got too many characters fighting simultaneously with no indication of what anyone is trying to do (including the filmmakers).

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Battle Los Angeles (2011-USA) **½
A bunch of Marines battle hi-tech alien invaders destroying L.A.
Simple premise, lots of noise and hardware, but surprisingly watchable.
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The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) 2/5 What starts off as a somewhat offbeat and refreshingly different take on a well known 70's exploitation movie sadly loses it's way about half way through, runs out of ideas and ends up as a generic slasher complete with lame ass twist. Decent cast including the late Ed Lauter,Veronica Cartwright,Gary Cole and bizarrely Anthony Anderson!! as a detective on the case....an interesting failure.

The Babadook 2.5/5 This has been marketed in some areas as a super scary movie,it's not,it's a slow burn psychological horror about a widow and her disruptive 6 year old son who believes the title character to be real. Excellent performances from the two leads but it's not a film i'd find much rewatch value in.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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saltysam wrote:The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) 2/5
Remake of a 70s film.
Have you seen the original?
I haven't seen either myself.
The Babadook 2.5/5
My guess is that this flopped because of the silly title.
Sounds like a bad kids' movie.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Markgway wrote:
saltysam wrote:The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) 2/5
Remake of a 70s film.
Have you seen the original?
I haven't seen either myself.
yeah i've seen the original...it's not a remake actually,it's a continuation set in the present and nicks a bit from New Nightmare in places...it features scenes from the original and the movie actually starts with the original playing at a drive-in in Texarkana (which happens annually in real life) one of the characters in the movie is Charles B. Pierce jr :)
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Sounds a tad more ambitious than most remakes.

This is one case where one would be best to watch the original first to "get" the sequel (New Nightmare wouldn't make sense if you hadn't seen Elm. St).
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Blame it on the Bellboy (1991-UK-USA) *½
Weak farce of mistaken identity set in Venice.
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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I love the original Town That Dreaded Sundown, think it's been sadly overlooked as the years roll on by, but then I tend to love anything starring Ben Johnson tbh! Always felt this film was an influence on Zodiac if not Memories of Murder.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Sabotage (USA, 2014) [DCP] – 3.5/5
Flawed but intense mix of street realism and far-out who-did-it mystery; easily Schwarzenegger ’s best movie since the 1990s. Director David Ayer goes for a bit similar gritty style that he used in End of Watch, but without the crowd-pleasing “good buddies” aspect. Instead, every character here is an asshole. That probably cost him some of the audience. The action scenes are very solid, as is the cast. Where the film fails is the storytelling. Some of the plot turns make little sense – possibly because of the heavy re-edits and re-shoots imposed by the studio – though the film has also received unfair criticism from people who simply misunderstood seminal plot turns. *

* There’s an oddly common misunderstanding that the cartel had something to do with the kills, and knew about the missing money. They didn’t! As it was explained in the film, it was the drug addict woman and her boyfriend who were behind it. The dead cartel members at the forest house and at the bottom of the sea never killed anyone: as it as explained, they were dead before the incidents took place, meaning one body had been left at the crime scene as false evidence, and the others were dumped in the sea after their thumbs had been cut off to plant further fake evidence.

What’s confusing is who exactly killed the cartel members and most of Arnies team members. I’m lead to believe that it was done by contract killers hired by the woman (or hired by Arnie in the original version where he’s the villain). Most of the kills seem like they couldn’t have been done by one or two people alone. The forest house sequence, which seems like the characters’ fuzzy interpretation of what might have happened, suggests there were four men. They probably quit after one of them stepped in the booby trap and got hurt (but not dead, keep in mind the body found at the place was the already-dead cartel member).


In any case, the storyline is a mess, but the film is nevertheless entertaining nonsense.

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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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HungFist wrote:Sabotage (USA, 2014) [DCP] – 3.5/5
easily Schwarzenegger ’s best movie since the 1990s.
That's not saying much!! :lol:
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Re: What general film/series have you just seen.. marks out

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Markgway wrote:
HungFist wrote:Sabotage (USA, 2014) [DCP] – 3.5/5
easily Schwarzenegger ’s best movie since the 1990s.
That's not saying much!! :lol:
ok, I admit that much :lol:

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