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> Cinemexperience: part deux., Some more filums you saw.
Jon 79
post Nov 30 2010, 11:41 AM
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Machete
Wonderfully hilarious. Bring on the sequel.
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maian
post Nov 30 2010, 08:12 PM
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Miami Blues (1990)

Alec Baldwin plays an ex-con who, freshly released from prison, accidentally murders a Hare Krishna in the airport. He gets together with a naive prostitute played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, only to find that a grouchy cop (Fred Ward) is on his tail. Rather than wait around to get caught, he goes to the cop's house, beats the living shit out of him, then steals his gun and badge. Pretending to be a cop, he goes around solving crimes, but only in order to rob the criminals he is "arresting."

Directed by George Armitage, who would later go on to direct Grosse Point Blank, Miami Blues shares a similarly wry sense of humour but an altogether bleaker worldview. The film is surprisingly violent, with one particular moment of digit-dismemberment dragging an involuntary "oooooh" out of me, and has a malevolence to its depiction of Baldwin's character that keeps it tense despite the laughs. He's an irredeemible sociopath, and there is something genuinely exciting about seeing the ways in which he abuses his power and something quietly heartbreaking about the way that he strings Leigh's character along.

Funny, exciting and darkly clever.
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logger
post Dec 1 2010, 12:02 AM
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War and Peace

I had initially intended to watch this all in one go, this being the short, six hours and forty minute version, not the full eight hour version, but that didn't work out. Instead, I spent the day watching it divided up into its four separate parts. It is almost impossible to compare this to anything else. Made over seven years by Sergei Bondarchuk, with a budget of over $100,000,000 in the sixties, over $700,000,000 in today's money, and funded by the Soviet government, there is nothing else like it. Is it the absolute peak of film making? In my opinion, no, but it does come close.

I've never read the book but I'm guessing from this film that a significant part is the characters' thoughts as they progress through the story, as there are a large number of scenes were we hear inner monologues as people wonder empty rooms or the camera drifts through desolate woodland. This doesn't sit well in a cinematic format. There also seems to be a lack of a strong central story in cinematic terms. Where someone like David Lean could take the epic and boil it down to its simplest essence and bring out the personal, making it accessible to everyone, this seems a little cold and impersonal. Is this a problem with transferring what is successful in the book to the screen? Maybe. Does it hurt losing over an hour from the full version? Almost definitely. Could Lean have done better on this project? That's impossible to say, nobody else has ever had the Soviet Union give them a virtually unlimited budget to make a film. Who knows what pressures that would involve. That said, it wasn't as propaganda heavy as I expected it to be. There is the theme of "we're all strong Russian brothers who can endure anything and nothing can defeat us when we stand together" running throughout the film. There are also digs at the imperialist bourgeoisie who ruled the motherland at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but a hell of a lot of the film is about showing the proletariat a life of opulence that they will never be able to experience even though it looks like it would be nice.

It might have sounded like I was disappointed by this but that couldn't be farther from the truth. It's just easier to point out what I personally thought could have been better because there are only a few things. If I were to list the things that are right with this film it would take forever. There are things in this that defy belief. I'm not exaggerating when I say there must be a million, billion extras involved in some scenes, and they're just the ballroom scenes. There is a battle scene which is over forty five minutes long and is one of the most insane things I've ever seen. In another scene they set Moscow on fire. This film is incredible. It truly deserves to be amongst the all time epics, part of the lineage that Welles, Powell and Pressburger, Ford, Lean, Kubrick and Coppola have all contributed to and one of the greatest films ever made.
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Serafina_Pekkala
post Dec 1 2010, 12:12 PM
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QUOTE (maian @ Nov 30 2010, 08:12 PM) *
Miami Blues (1990)


I love this film. Very funny. And proves (along with SNL) that Baldwin was just as funny 15 years before 30Rock. His haiku whilst searching for the gun is priceless.
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maian
post Dec 1 2010, 12:28 PM
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Especially the way that he breaks down the syllables to make sure that they fit.

Break-ing, ent-er-ing
The dark and lonely places
Finding a big gun
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Sostie
post Dec 1 2010, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE (maian @ Nov 30 2010, 08:12 PM) *
Miami Blues (1990)


This is the point at which I fell in love with Jennifer Jason Leigh
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Serafina_Pekkala
post Dec 1 2010, 02:29 PM
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QUOTE (maian @ Dec 1 2010, 12:28 PM) *
Especially the way that he breaks down the syllables to make sure that they fit.

Break-ing, ent-er-ing
The dark and lonely places
Finding a big gun


more here
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maian
post Dec 1 2010, 02:37 PM
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QUOTE (Serafina_Pekkala @ Dec 1 2010, 02:29 PM) *


That was the article that made me want to check it out in the first place. Wheels within wheels.
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Serafina_Pekkala
post Dec 2 2010, 05:00 PM
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Shallow Grave

Danny Boyle's freshman film. The (apparently acclaimed) script seems very clunky at times - but this is less apparent after the murder, when the real tension and skill comes out. The beginning bullying scene is just unplausible and too stylistic though. I hate it. The second half of the film is superior because Christopher Eccleston is excellent (even though his accent sucks). Ken Stott as Inspector Rebus is awesome. But Ewan McGregor is the most obnoxious character ever on screen - smirking, pudgy-faced prick with stupid hair. Kerry Fox is a dowdy bitchface with bad hair. So their fate is well ... come-uppance. Ewan has also improved his technique over time because some of his earlier dialogue seemed like drama school audition pieces. Boyle's visual flair is apparent though but I haven't seen this film for such a long time so it was good to see it with fresh eyes. I don't think some of it has dated well at all - same with Juliet's mumsy hairstyle and collection of knitware.
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logger
post Dec 2 2010, 05:18 PM
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I remember everybody raved about it when it first came out but I was very underwhelmed. I don't think I've seen it since.
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Raven
post Dec 2 2010, 06:38 PM
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Was feeling cold last night, so I watched The Day the Earth Caught Fire to warm myself up.
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maian
post Dec 2 2010, 08:30 PM
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Great Expectations (1998)

Based on the fact that Alfonso Cuaron directed it, I had high hopes for this Dickens' adaptation and, in some ways, it lived up to them. As a fan of Cuaron's work, it was interesting seeing the early stirrings of a lot of the themes and imagery that he would more fully explore in his later films - the incredible sensuality he creates in the scenes between Finn (Ethan Hawke) and Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow) in particular, as well as the energetic yet poetic visual style, seem to foreshadow a lot of the stuff he would do in Y Tu Mama Tambien - whilst also seeing how far he was able to make a fairly standard Hollywood literary adaptation feel like one of his films.

In other ways, though, the film was a disappointment. Unlike other modern updates of classic works like, say, Clueless, O Brother Where Art Thou or 10 Things I Hate About You, it sticks too close to the source material for it to feel all that fresh, yet it is also just different enough that the little changes it makes feel distracting. It doesn't help that Ethan Hawke, whilst good, wasn't a strong enough actor at this point in his career to delineate between 'heightened' emotion and all-out melodrama, so some sequences in which he is meant to be anguished feel over-blown in a way that the rest of the film doesn't.

Elsewhere, though, you've got Anne Bancroft crazying it up as the Mrs. Haversham character, Robert De Niro striking a fine balance between terror, charm and pathos as the Magwitch analogue, and nice supporting turns from Chris Cooper, Hank Azaria and Kim Dickens.

Not an essential or definitive adaptation (that honour, as ever falls to the exquisite 1946 David Lean version or that South Park episode based on the exquisite 1946 David Lean version) but pretty good and absolutely worth checking out for an Cuaron fans.
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Jessopjessopjess...
post Dec 2 2010, 08:37 PM
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QUOTE (maian @ Nov 30 2010, 08:12 PM) *
Miami Blues (1990)
Funny, exciting and darkly clever.

Sounds good, I've always wanted to see more stuff by Armitage.
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maian
post Dec 3 2010, 02:07 PM
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Matchstick Men (2003)

Nicholas Cage plays a con man with OCD whose ordered life is disrupted by the sudden arrival of the daughter (Alison Lohman) he never knew he had. After initially lying to her and saying that he is "in antiques," he starts to teach her the tircks of the trade, eventually including her in a con that he and his partner (Sam Rockwell) are planning.

I really did not enjoy this film, despite really wanting to. I thought initially that this might be because I knew what the twist was in advance, but good movies should be able to survive that and still be enjoyable in their own right. (The prime example of this for me is The Third Man, which is just as much fun to watch whether or not you know what happens in it.) This one wasn't because the relationship between Cage and Lohman didn't feel real, even within the already silly premise of the film, and because Ridley Scott let Cage go nuts with the tics and affectations, making it hard to care about his character because he didn't seem like anyone who could ever exist ever.

On the plus side, Sam Rockwell was fun, if criminally underused, and the scenes between him and Cage were fluffy and snappy in a way that the rest of the film painfully wasn't. Otherwise, it's pretty bad.


Pierrepoint (2005)

The story of Albert Pierrepoint (Timothy Spall), arguably the most prolific hangman in British history (though contrary to popular belief, and the subtitle, "The Last Hangman,"added to the American release, he was not the last hangman to serve the British government) who hanged between 400 and 600 people over the course of a 20 year career, including many of the people convicted of war crimes at the Belsen Trial. (The film gives a total of 608 people at the end, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence anywhere to substantiate that claim.)

What I really admired about this film was that it didn't take a stance on the moral or legal arguments about capital punishment, although towards the end those arguments do form the backdrop of some of Pierrepoint's final years in the job, because it knows that anyone watching the film will probably have their own entrenched ideas and the film probably won't do anything to change that. Instead, it focuses on the personal effect of being, in essence, a legalised murderer and the ways in which Pierrepoint was able to live with his responsibilities. It also spends a great deal of time detailing the pride that Pierrepoint had in his job and the respectful way in which he went around it, all of which builds a complex and fascinating character without spelling everything out. Timothy Spall does a fantastic job of conveying Pierrepoint's sense of dedication and growing inner turmoil, and Juliet Stevenson and Eddie Marsan lend fine support as his wife and friend, respectively.

A really compelling film that offers a glimpse into a life and role that I knew little about.

This post has been edited by maian: Dec 3 2010, 02:10 PM
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widowspider
post Dec 3 2010, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE (maian @ Dec 3 2010, 02:07 PM) *
Pierrepoint (2005)

The story of Albert Pierrepoint (Timothy Spall), arguably the most prolific hangman in British history (though contrary to popular belief, and the subtitle, "The Last Hangman,"added to the American release, he was not the last hangman to serve the British government) who hanged between 400 and 600 people over the course of a 20 year career, including many of the people convicted of war crimes at the Belsen Trial. (The film gives a total of 608 people at the end, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence anywhere to substantiate that claim.)

What I really admired about this film was that it didn't take a stance on the moral or legal arguments about capital punishment, although towards the end those arguments do form the backdrop of some of Pierrepoint's final years in the job, because it knows that anyone watching the film will probably have their own entrenched ideas and the film probably won't do anything to change that. Instead, it focuses on the personal effect of being, in essence, a legalised murderer and the ways in which Pierrepoint was able to live with his responsibilities. It also spends a great deal of time detailing the pride that Pierrepoint had in his job and the respectful way in which he went around it, all of which builds a complex and fascinating character without spelling everything out. Timothy Spall does a fantastic job of conveying Pierrepoint's sense of dedication and growing inner turmoil, and Juliet Stevenson and Eddie Marsan lend fine support as his wife and friend, respectively.

A really compelling film that offers a glimpse into a life and role that I knew little about.

I loved that film too. Spall is masterful in it.

Rocky
Vince was horrified to learn that I had never seen it, so it went on the Blockbuster queue. Great film, great performance. Stallone is such an oddity because you can so easily write him off as a meathead, but he's clearly a talented writer when he wants to be.
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