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#597984 - 05/25/12 03:52 AM Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases)
Stephen Parkes Offline
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Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 390
Loc: The Bristol, Cuba St
Some films I've seen in the last little while, thanks to the local Film Society.

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#601914 - 02/16/13 12:22 AM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: Stephen Parkes]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
SKYFALL

Visually pretty (if a bit tiresomely, self-consciously so) but otherwise an incredibly dumb movie, which is nothing new for this tiresome fanboy franchise. Aggressively cliche, and the epitome of Hollywood's bizarre obsession with meaningless nostalgic retread. What makes it particularly irritating to me here is how wildly applauded it has been; this film, according to the aggregate feedback at Rotten Tomatoes, is the one that finally gets it right, that manages to deliver *just* the right brand of stupid, masturbatory homage-to-self its moronic audience has apparently been waiting for, with *just* the right dash of pre-packaged "modernity" to keep it unnaturally fresh past its expiration date. Q is back as a snooty hipster, Bond's occasional sex-toy secretary is black now, and hey, James might -- *might* -- have even tasted the Gay, long ago. Nods to the early days of the franchise, meant to be comforting, battle with "mommy issues" for screen time. What the fuck is up with that anyway? Is this kind of half-assed pop-Freudian bullshit just the go-to substitute for "depth"/"characterization" in all mainstream movies, now? They are woven through the narrative (if we can call it that) here as if out of some kind of weird pop-culture obligation. It borders on the parodic, but it's not intended to be; any self-awareness is mirror-deep only.

The plot barely makes a lick of sense, but boils down to this: Bad Son tries to hurt Mommy because Mommy was kind of a bitch to him, and Good Son saves her by stabbing his brother in the back. And stuff crashes and lots of innocent people die in service to slick-looking action stunts. Women who aren't Mommy are there to be fucked or murdered; the pretense of even bothering to save them from anything is kind of thrown to the wind at this stage, because hey, that would just be insulting.

Nothing in this Bond universe means or signifies much of anything, and nobody inhabiting it is remotely likable. And thanks to Skyfall's insistence on highlighting the dark infantilism of its own content, the entire experience felt to me like watching an annoying, overprivileged child tantrum for two and half hours. If this is the quintessential action movie of the next generation, the future is a shiny bag of amniotic fluid, waiting for a zombie horde of brain-dead thumb-sucking fanboys to slither in and go to sleep.

Pass.

HIGH/LOW

On the other end of the spectrum, this brilliant kidnapping thriller from Akira Kurosawa is not to be missed. Simultaneously accessible and unconventional, it is a technical marvel constructed around a fascinatingly original narrative, full of the strange little flourishes that only an artist in complete command of his medium can deliver. Compelling, entertaining, visually acute, pleasantly surprising in structure, and morally haunting, it's a great, thoughtful piece of film, one of my favorite Kurosawas I've seen to date.

K

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#601915 - 02/17/13 05:21 PM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: Stephen Parkes]
MBunge Offline
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Registered: 07/19/01
Posts: 3386
Loc: Waterloo, Iowa, United States
You know, I'm thinking that madget may have some issues with the whole Bond franchise that somewhat color her evaluation of it as cinema.

Mike

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#601916 - 02/17/13 05:44 PM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: MBunge]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
I was never able to make it through an entire Bond movie until last year when I finally forced myself to watch Goldfinger, the one most people say is the best of the bunch. I was unimpressed. There were episodes of Hogan's Heroes that were more thrilling.
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"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
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#601917 - 02/17/13 07:02 PM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: MBunge]
madget Offline
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Registered: 05/11/01
Posts: 4870
Originally Posted By: MBunge
You know, I'm thinking that madget may have some issues with the whole Bond franchise that somewhat color her evaluation of it as cinema.


It's true, though they didn't hit me full force until I watched Skyfall. It helped bring my dislike of the franchise into focus.

I had the same experience with Goldfinger that Allen did. Goldfinger didn't fully bring into focus my dislike of the James Bond franchise, but it did bring into focus my dislike of Sean Connery. He really is a poor man's Cary Grant.

For the record I did enjoy The Living Daylights and Casino Royale (though I'd hardly call either one a particularly great movie).

I just watched PONTYPOOL, which was an interesting and engaging spin on the zombie flick. I'm still a bit puzzled in regards to the logistics of the infection, and while the subtext seems obvious it's all a little fuzzy in my head yet. There's too much exposition and at the same time, not enough -- what exposition there is, seems to confuse as much or more than it clears up -- but it's situationally interesting, anyway. It's all a bit amateur-ish in execution and there are numerous patently ridiculous-feeling moments and exchanges of dialogue, and on top of that you can't help but feel they could of done a lot more with the core idea -- but, I'd recommend it anyway. It's not entirely successful, but it's different and unique and held my attention.

K

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#601918 - 02/17/13 07:31 PM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: madget]
Allen Montgomery Offline
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Registered: 05/08/00
Posts: 7086
Pontypool was great. In an ocean of zombie movies, it takes a lot to make something that even mildly stands out. Coming into the viewing experience with a severe distaste for talk radio probably makes it more pleasing, though.

Another recent horror film with great atmosphere was AM1200. It's a simple Lovecraftian monster story, but the mood and direction is pretty neat.

I re-watched Martyrs recently and found it much better the second time. The first time through I was hung up on trying to figure out what the hell this was all about, and then mildly peeved when they finally decided to spill the beans only in the last five minutes. Knowing the ending, it's easier to appreciate the structure of the narrative and how it shifts from one horror/sci-fi subgenre to the next.

I finally saw Beasts of the Southern Wild a week or so back. It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, and the main thing holding it down turned out to be the utterly pointless titular Beasts. They were just a figment of the little girl's imagination anyway, so it really wasn't necessary to show them.

The most enjoyable film I've seen in the last couple of months was a cheapie Italian take on the Fist of the North Star splatter animé, called Adam Chaplin. There hasn't been a movie so audacious and outrageous since Evil Dead II.

Next up on my viewing schedule is the North Korean take on the rubber suit monster genre, Pulgasari. It got a mention on Jon Stewart's program last week, and it actually looks pretty interesting.
_________________________
"The trouble with being a ghost writer or artist is that you must remain anonymous without credit.
If one wants the credit, one has to cease being a ghost and become a leader or innovator."
— Bob Kane

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#601920 - 02/18/13 11:17 PM Re: Recent movies I've seen (not recent releases) [Re: Allen Montgomery]
Jimbo Offline
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Registered: 07/13/01
Posts: 2751
Loc: New Zealand/Canada
I liked Skyfall.
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