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logger
Forbidden Kingdom

Whilst it was good to see Jet Li and Jackie Chan fight each other this wasn't for me. Alright as a kids' introduction to martial arts films I suppose.


The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Enjoyed it a lot more this time round, although my original criticisms still hold true there wasn't the sense of disappointment, and flawed though it may be it is a hauntingly beautiful film. I just wish we could have had the original cut with more Robert Ford and less Jesse James.


QUOTE (empathy-with-beast @ Dec 5 2009, 05:16 PM) *
Paranormal Activity

Suffers from having been hyped as the scariest movie of the decade.

Although it probably was the scariest film of the decade just because there weren't really any scary films in the last ten years. From a critical stand point the hype is probably the worst thing that happened to the film. I'm sure everyone involved is crying themselves to sleep on huge beds of money.

QUOTE (maian @ Dec 5 2009, 06:37 PM) *
it has stayed with me in a way that very few horror films do,

It was certainly the first thing I thought of when loud scraping noises started coming from above my bed not long after seeing it.
empathy-with-beast
I have been thinking about the final scenes a lot since I saw it. I think it was slightly undermined for me by how hot the lead actress looked in her nightwear.
logger
Funny because one of the things that made the whole thing so unbelievable for me was that I just didn't buy them as a couple. Whilst a heavier girl might indulge the male character's doucheyness I still think he would have gone for a hotter girl. I mean she was only a student too, so he must have paid for that nice house with all that great stuff in, he's going to go for a higher status lady.
maian
Beau Travail

There's an episode of The Sopranos in which Meadow and Carmela argue over the homosexual subtext of Herman Melville's Billy Budd, with Carmella arguing that it is just a book about a cruel sailor who picks on a young boy. If she ever saw Claire Denis' - admittedly loose - adaptation of Melville's story, I'm sure she'd find it harder to maintain that argument.

Transporting the tale from a ship in the 19th century to contemporary African and changing the characters to members of the French Foreign Legion, Denis uses music, dance and scenes of really arduous training to tell a story of men in a regimented world and the passion one has for another that manifests itself in a near-murderous hatred.

Frustratingly obtuse in its plotting and with no clear sense of progression, Beau Travail is really not for everyone. It's elliptic to a fault and never really engages with its characters, but it is also so beautifully shot and so confident in its mix of artforms that I couldn't help but admire it.
maian
QUOTE (empathy-with-beast @ Dec 5 2009, 10:51 PM) *
I have been thinking about the final scenes a lot since I saw it. I think it was slightly undermined for me by how hot the lead actress looked in her nightwear.


Did you see it at the cinema, or through other means? Because a lot of the torrents have a different, much bleaker ending to the theatrical one.
logger
The Sugarland Express

Can't believe I've never seen this before. This is the most impressed I've been by seeing a Spielberg film for the first time since Catch Me If You Can and is definitely one of his best films. It's a pity he's lost a lot of the naturalism that was so much part of his films in the seventies, with this coming across a bit like Terrence Malick doing Billy Wilder. Then again they don't really make films like this anymore, a heightened comedic approach balanced against a feeling that something very bad could happen at any time and that things probably aren't going to end well.

It looks great with lots of magic hour sunset skies, the cast are pretty perfect, especially Ben Johnson and Goldie Hawn (I couldn't imagine anybody else playing this part) and Spielberg keeps the energy at the right level almost throughout.

It also answered a question I'd often wondered about, just what had inspired the Coen Bros to write something as out of leftfield as Raising Arizona. Now I have no idea if it was this film but whilst cinematically quite different there are just too many similarities in the plot and the imagery for it to be coincidence.

Recommended.
empathy-with-beast
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 6 2009, 01:24 AM) *
Did you see it at the cinema, or through other means? Because a lot of the torrents have a different, much bleaker ending to the theatrical one.


It turns out she doesn't have quite as nice thighs as I thought?

I don't see how the ending could get much bleaker, spoiler me more.

Post Wikipedia edit: Oh yeah, that is a lot bleaker.
dandan
city of desire - don't look back...

sandra (sandra ng) returns to macau, after having been in canada for the last twenty years. her father has a degenerative illness and the family business is being passed on to her; she's a little taken aback to discover that the family business is, in essence, prostitution. after initially interviewing a few of the girls who claim that this job is heaven - mainly for the money that they can make - a chance meeting with a childhood friend who has not has a good a life, pepper (josie ho), sandra soon starts moving towards the conclusion that conscience won't allow her to make her living running a business which exploits women...

this is quite an ambitious film, which tries it's hardest, but, ultimately, fails. as well as sandra's tale, there's a sub-plot with blacky ko and alice chan, as a police detective and a deaf & dumb massage girl. ko's detective takes pity on chan and takes her to live with him; probably my favourite element of the film. more of anthony wong's pastor, who spends a little too much time within members of his flock, would've been good, but instead he just becomes a manifestation of sandra's conscience. more of the back story showing josie ho and yo yo (miu fei-lam) would've been good too.

oh, and the performances of all those mentioned are strong; and, it should go without saying that i always like sandra ng in a dramatic role. well, in any role really... still, despite marko mak's slick editing, the inclusion of lots of grainy, documentary-esque footage, a high technical standard to the production, the strong cast and the ambition, the film does, unfortunately, just turn out to be a little bit melodramatic and weak by the time it hits its conclusion.

still, a reasonably good watch, despite of this.
curtinparloe
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 6 2009, 01:24 AM) *
Did you see it at the cinema, or through other means? Because a lot of the torrents have a different, much bleaker ending to the theatrical one.

I saw it at the cinema - The girlfriend goes downstairs, screams, the boyfriend follows, there's the sound of a fight, then footsteps, then the boyfriend flies towards the camera, knocking it over. The girlfriend walks in all bloody and looks over his body, then comes at the camera. Finally there's a title card saying the boyfriend's body was found, the girlfriend is still missing.
maian
QUOTE (empathy-with-beast @ Dec 6 2009, 11:18 AM) *
It turns out she doesn't have quite as nice thighs as I thought?

I don't see how the ending could get much bleaker, spoiler me more.

Post Wikipedia edit: Oh yeah, that is a lot bleaker.


My sister showed me the alternate ending last time I visited her and I think I would have been much more impressed with the film as a whole if they had gone with that one. I do still rather like it, though.

Intimate Strangers (Confidences trop intimes)

Patrice Leconte melodrama in which a woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) with marital problems enters the office of a man she believes to be psychiatrist, but who is actually a tax lawyer (Fabrice Luchini). Initially too embarassed to tell her that she has come to the wrong place, the lawyer pretends to be a psychiatrist and listens as she unburdens herself of her tragic life and the sexual frustrations of her marriage.

What could have been a strained farce or a by-the-numbers erotic tale in the hands of a lesser director becomes a poignant and human tale of two people being brought together by a misunderstanding and managing to forge a friendship and help each other come to terms with their own problems.

Subtle and touching, I recommend it to any fans of Pedro Almodovar, whose latter works Leconte's films resemble quite strongly.

Hana-Bi

Really not sure what I was expecting from this, the first 'Beat' Takeshi film I've seen, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't expecting something as funny, violent or brutally sad as this story of a cop (Takeshi) who, wracked with guilt over the deaths of other cops and the paralyzing of his partner, seeks to make amends.

Really beautiful.
monkeyman
Most Beat Takeshi films are good to be honest.
dandan
they are... you should watch many more of them...
maian
I've got Kikujiro waiting at home, and Imight pick up Boiling Point when I next go to the library.
monkeyman
Both brilliant films. I'd recommend Violent Cop as well if you can get one with decent subtitles on it. Oh and Brother is good also.
Shack
Drag Me To Hell

Young lady irks old lady and has to fight curse in order to be not dragged to hell.

Fine jumps, plenty of tension and some lovely disgustingly funny bits as well. I liked it, but am still not a convert to horror-type films. Especially when watching alone.
maian
QUOTE (monkeyman @ Dec 6 2009, 08:19 PM) *
Both brilliant films. I'd recommend Violent Cop as well if you can get one with decent subtitles on it. Oh and Brother is good also.


How difficult is it to get hold of his films over here? I know there are a few that haven't received theatrical releases, so will I have to venture into torrentwood to find them?
logger
About 20 minutes of Happy-Go-Lucky. I have absolutely no interest in this kind of person. I also hate Pulp.

QUOTE (maian @ Dec 6 2009, 09:03 PM) *
How difficult is it to get hold of his films over here? I know there are a few that haven't received theatrical releases, so will I have to venture into torrentwood to find them?

I don't know about renting but they're pretty easy to buy, I have most of them. I'd also recommend Sonatine which is my personal favourite although Hana Bi might actually be the better film.
Atara
Chris has them all on DVD so you should be able to pick them up in HMV.
monkeyman
Sonatine is brilliant also, I'd lovable to do a Beat Takeshi marathon at some point actually. I got most of mine from HMV I believe,the bigger ones have pretty decent world cinema sections.
dandan
there's a box-set with 'violent cop', 'boiling point', 'sonatine', 'a scene at sea', 'kids return' and 'getting any' - from second sight - i got the promo; woo!!! and they're also available as individual releases. of those, i still haven't watched 'getting any...

you should start with 'violent cop', really...

which reminded me to post this...

my 'violent cop' review at filmsmash.com
monkeyman
I think I've asked you before but what were the subtitled like for Violent Cop in that set?I got a box-set with that,boiling point and Sonatine and the second two have good subs but tje ones for Violent Cop are atrocious...
maian
Cheers for the information, guys.

QUOTE (dandan @ Dec 7 2009, 07:42 AM) *
there's a box-set with 'violent cop', 'boiling point', 'sonatine', 'a scene at sea', 'kids return' and 'getting any' - from second sight - i got the promo; woo!!! and they're also available as individual releases. of those, i still haven't watched 'getting any...

I've just conducted a quick search and this seems to be going for a decent rate at a couple of online retailers. I think it'll be worth the investment, though I might wait until the end of the month, once I get paid and Christmas is out of the way.
Jimmay
Saw V Having not seen any of the other films apart from the first one this made absolutely no sense to me and I was only half watching it. I am concerned for whoever writes these films though as they are really rather twisted. Ultimately, very poo.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels I can't believe I've never seen this film before. It seems like one of those films which, had I seen it as a kid, would have become one of my favourites. Great fun.

Role Models Guy loses girl, guy gets put into an uncomfortable situation, guy realises he quite enjoys said situation, guy screws up situation, guy redeems himself, guy comes out of enitre situation with a much better view on things than he did at the start. When I described this film to Sarah afterwards (she really doesn't like them) I realised that this is exactly the same format as a LOT of films of late but I still really enjoy each and every one of them. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, I Love You Man and to a lesser extent Superbad all fit this format perfectly however the final scenes of this film still left me with a massive grin on my face. I really liked it.
mcraigclark
QUOTE (Shack @ Dec 6 2009, 03:46 PM) *
Drag Me To Hell

Young lady irks old lady and has to fight curse in order to be not dragged to hell.

Fine jumps, plenty of tension and some lovely disgustingly funny bits as well. I liked it, but am still not a convert to horror-type films. Especially when watching alone.


I'm genuinely surprised you saw this.
Sostie
QUOTE (monkeyman @ Dec 6 2009, 05:08 PM) *
Most Beat Takeshi films are good to be honest.


He was probably the most consistently excellent director of the 90's

2012
A big lump of expensive, stupid cheese, but it does have some spectacular scenes of destruction. And Oliver Platt!

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN
Gerard Butler witnesses his family get murdered, the killer makes a deal to avoid deathrow, Butler takes vengeance on his attorney, Jamie Foxx, and the ďsystemĒ. Iím sure Foxx was meant to be the good guy in this, or at least toward the end, but I hated his character throughout and was rooting for vigilante Butler. Itís OK, but fizzles out toward the end

THE BOX
Hmmm! Well, at times it did remind me a little of David Lynch and Hitchcock, though not quite reaching their level of weirdness, dread or suspense. The performances are all good. The film itself? Well it takes an excellent, simple, short story, and pads it out with bollocks. If I was unaware of the original story I may have been less disappointed. A well made film of a bastardised short story. Richard Kelly is already becoming very predictable.
dandan
QUOTE (monkeyman @ Dec 7 2009, 08:14 AM) *
I think I've asked you before but what were the subtitled like for Violent Cop in that set?I got a box-set with that,boiling point and Sonatine and the second two have good subs but tje ones for Violent Cop are atrocious...


you have and i answered...

QUOTE (dandan @ April 1 2009)
there's a new release, due out soon - the same company who released the 'kitano takeshi collection' box-set few months back. i reviewed it kfcc after i got a promo copy and the subs were pretty good, as far as i remember. you should probably check that out, as it has better image / audio than the old uk releases, as well...


the old box you'll have will be the 'tokyo bullet' or 'm.i.a.' - neither company were particularly notable for high quality releases. i'd say pick up the 'second sight' release, now that it's available as a single disc...
maian
QUOTE (dandan @ Dec 7 2009, 11:43 AM) *
the old box you'll have will be the 'tokyo bullet' or 'm.i.a.' - neither company were particularly notable for high quality releases. i'd say pick up the 'second sight' release, now that it's available as a single disc...


Since it's the same company, would the one in the boxset have the same good quality subtitles?
logger
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 7 2009, 10:56 AM) *
THE BOX
Well it takes an excellent, simple, short story, and pads it out with bollocks.

I did wonder how they would get a whole film out of what is basically a simple premise.
Crutch
Saw VI - For me the best part since the original. It's the first of the frnachise in a while that doesn't retell the old story all the time but feels like a fresh start. Great splatter and way better written than the previous parts. I really love it.

Waters of Mars - Really tense piece of television entertainment. It gave a really good apocalyptic feeling about the end of the era Tennant.

Slumdog Millionaire - Really great movie, but not as stunning as the first time I've seen it. But still full of movie magic.

Radioactive Dreams - World War III. Two blokes sit for 15 years in a nuclear-bunker and the only entertainment they have are hardboiled pulp-novels from the 1940s. When they come out they are dragged into a Mad Max-style world and a hunt for TWO KEYS which can be used to detonate the last remaining A-Bomb. It's a really funny low-budget post-nuclear buddy movie set in a new-clearwave 80s setting. One of the blokes is played by Micheal Dudikof, but there are no ninjas in this movie.
dandan
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 7 2009, 11:47 AM) *
Since it's the same company, would the one in the boxset have the same good quality subtitles?


i have the one in the box-set... the single disc will be the same...

oh - i'm referring to the 'second sight' releases here... they're the newer and recommended releases...
Serafina_Pekkala
From Beyond the Grave - by far the most accomplished and entertaining Amicus anthology film based upon the classic tales of R Chetwynd-Hayes.

Spooky junk shop owner Peter Cushing (complete with Northern accent) gets several patrons (some more dishonest than others) and thusly, each purchase comes with a hard lesson to learn. A great device linking very different stories together with ease. The Gatecrasher has David Warner at his most groovy-phwoarsome driven mad by demonic mirror. An Act of Kindness involves a canny twist and wonderful performances by Ian Bannen, Diana Dors and the terrifying father and daughter duo - Donald and Angela Pleasance. The Elemental is delighfully comic as Ian Carmichael suffers a demonic possession with only the marvellous batty Margaret Leighton to protect him from murdering his missus, Nyree Dawn Porter. Finally - the truly inventive The Door - in which, Ian Ogilivie and Lesley-Anne Down encounter a devilish Restoration sorcerer within his otherworldy 'Blue Room'.

Recommended for any fans of classic horror. It was a big influence on the League of Gentleman - they have nicked a lot from it including Tubb's opening line.
monkeyman
QUOTE (dandan @ Dec 7 2009, 11:43 AM) *
you have and i answered...



the old box you'll have will be the 'tokyo bullet' or 'm.i.a.' - neither company were particularly notable for high quality releases. i'd say pick up the 'second sight' release, now that it's available as a single disc...

Heh,cheers.
sweetbutinsane
In Bruges

Enjoyed it muchly. Just the right balance of funny and dark.
Shack
QUOTE (mcraigclark @ Dec 7 2009, 10:38 AM) *
I'm genuinely surprised you saw this.


I've decided to be less pigeon-holey.

It has made me want to leave the big light on more often.
maian
Kikujiro

Aww.
Jessopjessopjessop
QUOTE (dandan @ Dec 7 2009, 01:20 PM) *
i have the one in the box-set... the single disc will be the same...

oh - i'm referring to the 'second sight' releases here... they're the newer and recommended releases...

Master Dan, how do I get a subtitled copy of 'Overheard', the film from the people what did 'Infernal Affairs'? I watched 10 minutes on a plane and decided it was way too good to watch on a plane.
Outatime
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 8 2009, 09:49 AM) *
Kikujiro

Aww.


I love this film, must watch it again.
maian
QUOTE (Outatime @ Dec 8 2009, 10:25 PM) *
I love this film, must watch it again.


It's one of the loveliest films I've ever seen. It really made my day after a so-so day at work and a minor bout of cold and general ickiness.

The Fall

Woah. One of the single-most visually stunning films I have ever seen. It manages to balance its epic scope with an intensely intimate relationship without either ever overshadowing the other. A movie-stuntman (Lee Pace) becomes paralyzed after a stunt goes awry and winds up in the same hospital as Alexandria (Catinca Untaru), a young girl who he regales with stories of a group of bandits on a quest to defeat an evil governor. Tarsem's film is a visionary work of scale and weight that I found absolutely beguiling. It reminded me of many different films (most notably The Wizard of Oz, which it seems to be in the same vein of, A Little Princess and, somewhat oddly, The Princess Bride) yet feels wholly new. A genuine pleasure and one which I wish I had seen at the cinema when it was released.

The only complaint I would proffer is that Untaru's accent is occasionally too thick to be comprehensible, but that can't be helped and subtitles sort that out.
curtinparloe
Nativity!
Martin Freeman does his usual schtick with a fairly weak story. Fairly fluffy festive pap, but watchable. Better than Richard Curtis, that's for sure.
dandan
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 8 2009, 10:32 PM) *
The Fall


it is rather wonderful, isn't it... a reet lil gem...



QUOTE (Jessopjessopjessop @ Dec 8 2009, 09:43 PM) *
Master Dan, how do I get a subtitled copy of 'Overheard', the film from the people what did 'Infernal Affairs'? I watched 10 minutes on a plane and decided it was way too good to watch on a plane.


buyoyo.com are usual suppliers... i had a parcel from them yesterday, as it happens...
Serafina_Pekkala
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 8 2009, 10:32 PM) *
The Fall

Woah. One of the single-most visually stunning films I have ever seen.

The only complaint I would proffer is that Untaru's accent is occasionally too thick to be comprehensible, but that can't be helped and subtitles sort that out.


I never had a problem with her but I spend a lot of time around foreigners with funny accents so maybe I have practice.

It's one of my all time faves of all time. I saw it in the cinema - most impressive.
sweetbutinsane
The Land Before Time

Gosh, this takes me back. happy.gif
maian
Ideocracy

So, Office Space was on TV last night and whilst I was watching it and being reminded about just how bloody good it is, I realised that I'd never seen Mike Judge's ill-fated follow-up, Ideocracy (though that should probably read "even more ill-fated follow-up", since Judge never has the best of luck where feature films are involved). A satirical dystopian sci-fi film in which a man (Owen Wilson) is frozen and awakens 500 years in the future to discover that society has so completely degenerated that he is now the smartest man on Earth. With a concept so rife for satire and penned by one of the most consistently funny and observant writers in America today, how could it fail?

It could fail like this: there are two essential problems with the film.

1. It's not as biting as Office Space.
2. It doesn't really hold together as a science fiction film.

The latter is more of a pedantic point that bothers me, but the first is a critical blow to the film as a satire. What made Office Space so good was the way in which Judge was able to see the little pressure points of corporate life and hit them with crippling surgical precision. The film didn't need to be big and wacky because Judge was intelligent to know that getting the minutiae right would be much more effective in conveying his message about the banality of a cubicle-shaped existence.

Ideocracy, on the other hand, goes completely in the other direction; everything is huge, from the performances to the sets. Judge and his co-writer, Etan Cohen (who would later go on to co-write Tropic Thunder) try to tackle so many different targets at once that they fail to successfully skewer any of them. Whether it be the dumbing down movies (the main character, Joe (Luke Wilson), goes to the cinema to see the most popular movie in America; Ass, a film in which the camera just shows an arse for 90 minutes), the increased power of corporations (the final third of the film revolves around a corporation called Brawndo having bought out parts of the government to replace water with its product) or the growth of anti-intellectualism in America (despite being decidedly average, Joe is repeatedly mocked for his supposed pomposity and intellect), Judge and Cohen apply the same broad approach with middling results every time. Some of the jokes hit home but even when they do they don't have the same visceral comedy of recognition that Judge's best work has.

It's by no means a terrible film but I was quite disappointed. You might as well just watch Sleeper.
logger
I probably preferred it to Office Space, although I wasn't exactly blown away by either.
Sostie
Both films left me unimpressed.
maian
I love Office Space but it's a film that I had to watch a fair few times before I did. The first time around I liked it but didn't love it, now it's a film that I have no problem watching over and over.
Raven
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Not as bad as I remembered it from watching it in the cinema, but no where near classic Indy.

George, seriously, making them beings from another dimension is far to close to aliens, and Steven, why didn't you tell him he was splitting hairs?!

(Yeah, okay, I may have watched some of the extras as well . . .).
logger
The Great White Hype

Average comedy saved from being awful by a good cast and the odd good gag. Poorly edited and the script feels like it either needed a few more or a few less rewrites, but you can't help shake the feeling that somewhere along the line somebody bottled it.
maian
A Serious Man

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a maths professor with a family and a good job, sees his entire life fall to pieces around him as first his wife (Sari Lennick) seeks a divorce so that she can marry one of Larry's best friends (Fred Melamed), then he discovers that someone has been sending letters to his University to try to dissuade a review board from offering him tenure, and his brother (Richard Kind), who may very well be some sort of Maths genius, is, when he isn't sleeping on Larry's couch, constantly in his bathroom draining his sebaceous cyst. Amidst his trials, he seeks spiritual guidance from a number of Rabbis, each of which offers him some advice, but none of which seems particularly useful.

The Coen Brothers' latest has been compared to their earlier film, Barton Fink, and it's easy to see where the parallels can be drawn. Both have Jewish protagonists, both examine a particular time and subset (1930s Hollywood versus 1960s suburbia) and both focus on individuals whose existence slowly comes to represent their own personal hell (albeit in a far more literal sense in Barton Fink).

The main point of comparison between A Serious Man and Barton Fink, from my perspective, is that both are, to a degree, inscrutable, and this inscrutability is what makes them so fascinating. Throughout its running time, A Serious Man sets up a number of running themes and sub-plots, some of which are explored, and others which aren't. Which are and which aren't is not really important, yet it is absolutely vital. The film is about the malaise of Larry's life and the stasis that he has reached. His repeated refrain of "But I haven't done anything", is both a plea and an accusation. He may have not done anything to get himself into this situation, but neither is he prepared to do anything to get himself out of it. The sub-plots that the film establishes are vital in showing us how thoroughly inert Larry is and how his community, rather than supporting him, has incarcerated him.

I don't think I've got the full measure of the film on a single viewing, but I've not stopped thinking about it since I watched it, which is recommendation, of sorts.


Waking Life

Richard Linklater uses roto-scoping to explore themes of dreaming and life itself as a man (Wiley Wiggins) falls through a number of dream states, encountering people from many different lives who espouse their theories on lucid dreaming and the nature of existence.

Not so much a film as a talking point, Waking Life is unapologetically an attempt to get its audience to talk and discuss what makes us human. In that regards, it is very successful since I found myself discussing the issues raised by the film whilst watching it. As a piece of drama it is pretty ineffective, but that'd be like saying that a piece of bread isn't a very good doorstop. It isn't trying to be, and any attempt to critique it for it is ludicrous.
logger
Star Trek: First Contact

Quite fun considering it's a nerdtastic next gen film. Worth it just for Data's "ooooh" when the Borg Queen breathes on his newly acquired human skin.
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