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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:19 pm 
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PeterPanfan, if you're still interested in checking out Bergman's work, Hulu has the TV version of Fanny and Alexander up for free this week. If you have access to the site, it's usually only available for Hulu Plus, so I'd recommend taking this opportunity while you can.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Seen a lot recently... hopefully I remember everything:

Annie Hall - I loved it, though I hardly laughed out loud. Moreso than being "hilarious", it just felt very real, and I could relate with Alvy and Annie characters very easily.

Manhattan - A film that came after Annie Hall, but one that is almost equally as good. Meryl Streep looked gorgeous here! Diane and Woody were great again, though the girl that played Woody's younger love interest annoyed me for the most part...

A Dangerous Method - Mostly horrible. I honestly cannot tell if Keira Knightley was good or not... I'm leaning towards yes. Fassbender and Mortensen were great, but the storyline and overall feel of the film were extremely lacking.

American Reunion - I was not expecting this to be that good... but I loved it. I would rank it as second best after the first. Literally every aspect of the series was given some type of closure, and every character was brought back (still disappointed with Natasha Lyonne's mere cameo despite her star billing and face on the poster). Honestly, the only person that looks like they aged was Alyson Hannigan, but that's reasonable as she's the oldest of the cast. (She was fantastic, though. I'm glad she finally has another big screen film!) Tara Reid was surprisingly adequate and looked very attractive. Mena Suvari didn't have much to work with, but she was fine in what she did do, and all of the guys were great as well (though Sean William Scott seemed like he forgot how to act.) Overall a great end to a highly inappropriate, but still heartfelt and fantastic series.

The Reader - I loved this book when I read it four years ago, but I didn't find the film as great as others did. I also thought Kate Winslet did better in Revolutionary Road, so I don't know why all the critics named this her best performance of the year. (I'm probably in the minority here though.) The film was still good, just a low slower than I imagined.

Picnic at Hanging Rock - I liked this a lot! Very atmospheric and the cinematography was gorgeous. The acting was great... everything about this was top-notch and I want to watch it again soon!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:25 am 
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Decided to have a little Scream-era slasher triple feature last night, all first-time watches that appear to have been direct-to-video releases.

SPOILERS (And a new feature; Trailers)

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Cut (2000 / directed by: Kimble Rendall)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7rUpBUy7fk

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It's actually pretty damn rare to come across a horror film of this low value. I can name off what worked about it on one hand. They clearly had a little money because it looks expensive enough and it must have cost a penny or two to borrow Apollo 440's trendy 90's hit "Stop the Rock." Molly Ringwald (who should have learned her lesson with Office Killer, Citizen Kane compared to this) has a total of 2 clever one-liners. And there's one death scene that comes as a legitimate surprise considering the character being killed had the most emotional development of anyone. The rest of the film is pure shit. It's so poorly written and staged that you will have extreme difficulty remembering names or telling one "character" from another. 99% of the bodies that cross your screen are there to be kill fodder and the death scenes aren't interesting in the slightest. In a vain plot to keep you from falling asleep, they throw in some unconvincing "bitchy" dialogue, Mtv-wannabe reality show horny losers gossiping about who's sleeping with who, face-clawingly painful attempts at psycho drama, pokes at "Hollywood" actress fussiness, and... someone actually utters the line "it's not as if we're in Bride of Chucky Part 7." For that line alone, this is one of the worst horror movies I have ever seen. Oh, wait, I started to forget about the film's killer. As the rest of the movie wishes it were Scream, there's a mask-wearing dildo (who looks like a bald scarecrow in Michael Myers' hand-me-downs) and... when de-masked, the film stops dead in its tracks, rips off Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger and insists that the killer isn't a real person but an evil force created by bad filmmaking. That really says it all right there. Oh yeah, and Kylie Minogue has a cameo. Tragic.



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Do You Wanna Know a Secret? (2001 / directed by: Thomas Bradford)
Trailer 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzLxb9tWM1A
Trailer 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr-4ZyAZ2zg

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This is by far one of the oddest teen slasher films I have ever encountered. I've heard rumors of Cherry Falls but have never seen it. Still, I'm not convinced that that film is odder than this. And since I'm making myself a triple feature out of these movies, it's quite an act to follow Cut- a film where the killer turns out to not be one of the red herrings they set up, but the film itself. No, it's not that odd that the killer turns out to be one of the victims having faked his death. The odd part is trying to make sense out of the killer's explanation. Apparently, he was poor and killed most of the Mtv Beach House victims because they were rich and flaunted it in his face. It gets better: he's also a religious nutjob who kidnaps the girl he considers to be the worst example of using money to become popular and tries to get her to marry him in a makeshift church wedding ceremony where all the corpses of "their" friends are propped up in the first two pews and the only other surviving cast member is tied up and serving as his Best Man. All the while, I can't get my mind off the fact that Chad Allen is in this film to any capacity and there's only one moment of homoeroticism between the guys of the cast of typical Scream / I Know What You Did Last Summer teens and he's not in the equation.

I truly hate to say the movie is a confused mess because it had so much potential, actually. The opening is a real howler and there are literally suggestions that we're in for a great campy ride. The first victim is this beefy blond guy and as he's bursting out of his tight t-shirt and jeans, the camera in the hallway is prominently displaying this big "BOYS" banner that clearly has nothing to do with the frat graffiti all over the place. It was a rational conclusion to come to when the next scene has Joey Lawrence buff-to-perfection in similar tight clothes trying to steam up the screen and shortly after that, he tackles a hunky black guy on his car and makes him say uncle (which in their language is "you're the greatest kickboxer in [some Florida city/town, I forget which]"). The next scene sets up the theme of the main bulk of the movie which is said Mtv satirizing I mentioned above (they even reference The Real World by name and shoot hanging-out hand-cam footage), shot in a very old-fashioned kind of way with a very 90's soundtrack.

In short... what were they thinking? The movie is stuffed with subplots. The main Reese Witherspoon-looking heroine is fresh out of rehab for going bonkers (very The In-Crowd, as was their idea to have a rave scene) and all the victims are, at first, guys she may have dated. Then a creepy detective (played by Jeff Conaway, less said the better) enters the picture and gets this scene by himself where it looks like he's weeping over a loss he's suffered... but we never hear or see anything about that again. When the cops threaten the group of teens with "don't leave the crime scene," finally everyone is fair game to die. And when girls start turning up dead, the cops arrest the black guy for no reason, all the while everyone is calling them out for being racist. Then, out of nowhere, the killer is seen tormenting a preacher and, we assume, his wife as they spout prophetic biblical-type dialogue. And... Chad Allen's character is straight. Confused? I know I am. But after that ending, I'm surprised I'm not walking around wearing gloves on my feet and a pot on my head. And yet, I have to say the movie was very interesting for a long time and not nearly as bad as it could have been. It's merely bad because it makes no sense. It still features very natural acting by most of the cast and some pretty clever dialogue.



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Final Stab (2001 / directed by: David DeCoteau)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70kxjh8SvZc

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Another classic case of a bodycount slasher film with too many names and too much stupid dialogue, characters designed to be instantly forgotten. This one is soap opera meets April Fools Day with DeCoteau's trademark stable of beefy, gorgeous guys. Only, sadly, 2 of which take any of their clothes off (while all the women remain pretty fully clothed). Which means the entire point of the movie is null and void. Oh, there's another masked killer (terrible mask) and lots of blood (in this case: yawn) and bodies here and there. Yawn. The acting is pretty good. But who cares? There's no originality anywhere and the stereotypes are very poor. 1 "Nice Girl," 1 Slut, 1 (self-proclaimed) "Queen Bitch," and about a dozen jocks. And all we get to liven the mood is a short-lived moment where 2 of the guys start talking about having experimented - with each other - in college. No flashback? Darn. Of course, then we have a potentially homophobic implication during the twist reveal that the "puppet master" guy might have killed the other guy to keep him from telling anyone they had sex. Anyway, it's so bad that you're going to have to talk over the movie with your friends to have any fun with it. There's a lot to mock and joke about. If only DeCoteau were in on the joke, likely he thinks this is the best work he's ever done since technically (and I'm talking lighting, camerawork, acting- not creativity), it's a large step up from Voodoo Academy. But, at least that film delivered about an hour's worth of hunks in their underwear.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) 6.5 - I can’t remember - since it’s been awhile - but has Ethan Hunt always been this boring? When the action stops in a Die Hard movie, John McClane’s very presence entertains us but Ethan Hunt is just dull as dirt. For some reason I remember actual emotion coming from him in the third movie but it’s been years since I’ve seen it. Either way, it’s a mostly entertaining movie with some nice action sequences (my heart stopped when Ethan fell off the Dubai building) but the story and characters leave a lot to be desired (have I mentioned how much I hate it when exposition is used in place of character development?). Even with Brad Bird directing, I managed to keep expectations low, since I knew this was a throwaway project he took on to help acquire funding for his dream project (1906). If you’ve liked the previous installments, then you’ll probably like this, but if you didn’t, then don’t bother.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Another random pair

The Omen (1976)

I've been in the mood for some horror for a little, and since the film's classic score has been stuck in my head for the past day or so, I decided to rewatch it. Classic.

It All Came True

And I caught this one on TV due to boredom. It's funny to watch Bogie in his earlier roles, before he was a big name and was more of a character tough guy actor. He steals the show from Ann Sheridan though, who does have some good songs and a nice performance herself, and it's a fun Warner b-picture overall. I'm glad I stuck around for it.


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The Ugly (1997 / directed by: Scott Reynolds)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmD7r1RJJ88

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New Zealand's stab at The Silence of the Lambs mixed with murderous ghost imagery that is literally years ahead of Ringu and the Th13teen Ghosts remake. The end result is surprisingly bad given how good the acting is, how much compassion and sensitivity the movie gives the killer, and how stylish and colorful the film is. The faults of the film are few to count but impact upon every scene. There's no explanation given for why everyone in the film bleeds black (and no, I'm not talking dark red- I mean: black), the camera shakes constantly during every death and chase scene, the abundant (and - at times - almost heart-felt) drama the copious flashbacks stir up is completely pissed away by a truly terrible ending and by the fact that (again with no explanation given) the people who run the institution the killer is locked away in are insane themselves (and yes, I'm talking- lick the walls and hum to themselves while stroking a dead cat insane), all the characters are underwritten or left completely unexplored (the woman interviewing the killer especially), and a few scenes with the killer's insane mother border on laughable. Maybe not Olivia Hussey in Psycho IV laughable but (then again, that was a better film)... In the end, it is well-made as a wannabe-mindfuck but it wants to be taken seriously and for that, it's a complete waste of time. For better similar psychological or supernatural killer films, watch Nightscare (aka- Beyond Bedlam) or Psycho IV: The Beginning.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Carnage- A decent film, but nothing groundbreaking. Probably would enjoy a theatre performance more. Actors were superb, though.

The Iron Lady- Definitely, perhaps the most bizarre biopic I have ever seen. My thoughts are still divided on this one. But, Meryl Streep was great. She deserved that Oscar as much as any of the other nominees.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- Neither better nor worse than the Swedish version, although this one seemed more concerned with proclaiming its street cred. I look forward to the sequels.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:29 pm 
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Oh, I forgot to mention my favorite part of It All Came True, that Ann Sheridan's character name was Sarah Jane. Pretty cool for Doctor Who fans, haha.

Anyway, I got bored and decided to watch the recent adaptation of Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon. Bad decision, since it's boring. As. Fuck. I had to stop an hour in.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 8:56 pm 
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The Avengers in 3D.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting this movie to be the best superhero movie of this year, but I now I did. It was hands down awesome. And I also loved it how Loki got defeated by Thor. All in all, great times at the movies. However, you may ask, "Is it better than The Dark Knight?" Well, I can't go that far, but it is an awesome film!

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 6:40 pm 
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The Shining - Although it didn't terrify me, this horror still riveted and entertained me quite a bit. I like all the subtle, underlying meanings and symbolism Stanley Kubrick put in, like the fact that Jack Torrance only sees 'ghosts' when he's near a mirror or another reflective surface. This compelling fact seems to suggest that the Overlook Hotel wasn't evil, but Jack was, even more so due to the isolation he felt. The idea that a family member intends on harming you is inherently scarier than the supernatural, and Kubrick obviously realised this. Stylistically, the film is bliss. Smooth, steadicam tracking shots take us with a tricycle-riding Danny through the empty, stretching corridors and halls of the Overlook, the sets labyrinthine and immersive, and the music effectively creepy. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd are all quite terrific, but it's Kubrick that makes the film shine.

The Night of the Hunter - Robert Mitchum makes a great villain, playing the role of an unhinged and deluded reverend playing the role of a kindly, doting father figure. His character, Harry Powell, keeps the facade of being an amiable man up even when the child protagonists know he's up to no good, and this makes him much more threatening. There's speedy, almost jerkish editing at times, and the cinematography is gorgeous - especially when John and Pearl run along a riverbank. Powell is a fascinating character, but unfortunately in later scenes Mitchum acts in a goofy manner, spoiling the power of his character. Moreover, the resolution is abrupt and bewildering in direction. Despite these problems, the movie is still very enjoyable, with exquisite use of silhouettes and shadows, and the scene in which Powell sings a hymn with Rachel Cooper (Lillian Gish) while she is armed with a shotgun against him is oddly moving.


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:22 am 
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Recently I watched two 'classic' movies from the ninetynineties with my friend:

Notting Hill 1999
Maybe the third or fourth time I saw it, it is still fun. It is not often that you see a famous movie star (Julia Roberts) play a famous, yet fictitious, movie star, and it's the only romantic comedy I know that has a movie star fall in love with an ordinary citizen (Hugh Grant), in this case an owner of a modest travel-book shop in Notting Hill London that doesn't run very well. The story is very unbelievable but full of wit and funny characters with makes it a joy to watch.


Titanic 3d 1997

Many UD'ers love to hate this blockbuster by James Cameron, especially the unlikely romance between first class traveler Rose and third class traveler Jack (Am I right?). But the leads play with gusto and the movie still looks spectacular and makes the mortal fear and panic of the persons on board quite visible. Surprisingly, the 3D didn't add much to the visuals, I was expecting more from this. My main beef is with the over-the top villain Call, Rose's fiancee. That he should even bother to run after Rose and Jack with a gun in an attempt to kill them on a sinking ship is quite ridiculous. Even though I like Kate Winslet and Leonardo de Caprio, 'Titanic' would probably have been a better movie if it just stuck to history instead of hinging the movie on a fictitious love story.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Pleasantville - I used to love this, oddly, when I was a kid, so I decided to revisit it now. Obviously, it employs an entirely different meaning once someone grows up, and I like it even more now. The acting is great, but it's not really the acting that shines. It's the directing and the script. It's so fantastic and cliched yet original at the same time. A great late 90's movie that everyone should see.

Wonder Boys - I had wanted to see this for a while as it stars some actors I really like (Frances McDormand, Katie Holmes, RDJ, Michael Douglas). It was fantastic and is now one of my favorite films. The plot was so engaging and had just the right balance of emotion and comedy to make it superb.

Thor - Definitely my favorite out of the pre-Avengers superhero films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was light-hearted enough that it didn't seem intimidating, but the romantic aspect was pretty heavy so it balanced out.

The Avengers - I absolutely loved this (I saw it twice over the weekend) and recommend that everyone go see it. Several of my friends who don't usually like superhero movies loved it. Scarlett Johansson was a million times better here than she was in Iron Man 2. Frankly, I thought every actor did better here than they did in their own movie... Jeremy Renner and Johansson were my favorites, however. I'm excited that Joss Whedon is actually becoming marketable now, too!

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:21 am 
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BelleGirl wrote:


Titanic 3d 1997

Many UD'ers love to hate this blockbuster by James Cameron, especially the unlikely romance between first class traveler Rose and third class traveler Jack (Am I right?). But the leads play with gusto and the movie still looks spectacular and makes the mortal fear and panic of the persons on board quite visible. Surprisingly, the 3D didn't add much to the visuals, I was expecting more from this. My main beef is with the over-the top villain Call, Rose's fiancee. That he should even bother to run after Rose and Jack with a gun in an attempt to kill them on a sinking ship is quite ridiculous. Even though I like Kate Winslet and Leonardo de Caprio, 'Titanic' would probably have been a better movie if it just stuck to history instead of hinging the movie on a fictitious love story.


I actually think it's the special effects that turned a lot of people off-people who enjoyed the older Titanic films.

the irony here is that this spectacle-outside of the fictional characters and romance-is more historically accurate.

I agree about the 3D, though I think over-the-shoulder shots had too much in the foreground, the money shots were all in the trailer.

As for Cal, yeah, I think it was a little over-the-top, but that was the one night his in his life that everything was slipping out of his control and he just sort of slipped too. Either way, Billy Zane performed it fantastically.

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 11:16 am 
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ajmrowland wrote:
BelleGirl wrote:


Titanic 3d 1997

Many UD'ers love to hate this blockbuster by James Cameron, especially the unlikely romance between first class traveler Rose and third class traveler Jack (Am I right?). But the leads play with gusto and the movie still looks spectacular and makes the mortal fear and panic of the persons on board quite visible. Surprisingly, the 3D didn't add much to the visuals, I was expecting more from this. My main beef is with the over-the top villain Call, Rose's fiancee. That he should even bother to run after Rose and Jack with a gun in an attempt to kill them on a sinking ship is quite ridiculous. Even though I like Kate Winslet and Leonardo de Caprio, 'Titanic' would probably have been a better movie if it just stuck to history instead of hinging the movie on a fictitious love story.


I actually think it's the special effects that turned a lot of people off-people who enjoyed the older Titanic films.

the irony here is that this spectacle-outside of the fictional characters and romance-is more historically accurate.

I agree about the 3D, though I think over-the-shoulder shots had too much in the foreground, the money shots were all in the trailer.

As for Cal, yeah, I think it was a little over-the-top, but that was the one night his in his life that everything was slipping out of his control and he just sort of slipped too. Either way, Billy Zane performed it fantastically.


I actually never watched the older 'Titanic' films, though I've recently seen a new mini-series on the sinking of the Titanic.
This is, by the way, the second time I watched this movie on the big screen. The other time was in 1997, when the film was brand-new. Back then, the cinema was sold out, now there were just a handful of cinema-goers. Probably the rest was watching "The Hunger Games" :P

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Ratings based on a 5 star method.
[Blue = 1st time rating and/or viewing]

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D (2012)
[^ So far the worst movie of 2012 that I've seen.]
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) ✰✰✰✰
[^ I can see why it's memorable, (someone even shared a quote at a graduation ceremony we went to yesterday), but the movie didn't balance its themes well.]
Marvel's The Avengers 3D (2012) ✰✰✰✰
[^ Great fun. No big origin stories per say, just established characters playing off each other, resulting in a smashing superhero film.]

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Dr Frankenollie wrote:
The Night of the Hunter - [...] but unfortunately in later scenes Mitchum acts in a goofy manner, spoiling the power of his character. Moreover, the resolution is abrupt and bewildering in direction.

I totally agree with this. The earlier stuff was great, with the dead body in the water and the kids floating down stream being almost poetic. It could've been a masterpiece had the ending gone a different route.

The Avengers (2012) 7/10 - I’ve had low expectations all along for this movie, since Iron Man 2, Captain America and Thor were just alright for me. Then all my friends started hyping this up to be the greatest movie ever and raised my expectations. Suffice to say, my expectations weren’t met and they never should’ve been raised, then I wouldn’t be disappointed. That said, this is probably my fourth favorite live-action Marvel movie (right after X2, Spider-Man 2, and Iron Man). I thought the huge cast was excellently handled. Tony is still my favorite but I’m really excited that they finally did Hulk justice. I also really liked the humor in the movie. Unfortunately, while Loki is entertaining to watch, neither he nor the aliens come off as any kind of real threat to our heroes. Weak villains aside, my main beef is SHEILD. Honestly, everything with them was just boring and more time should’ve been given to The Avengers gang. Hawkeye is wasted and while the Black Widow is better written here then in Iron Man 2, she is entirely ruined by Scarlett Johansson. She should’ve been re-cast by someone of Whedon’s choice and maybe it would’ve been a success like the new Hulk. Still, this movie really drags in the middle with the whole Loki manipulation stuff. It really feels like more then an hour of the movie is spent on The Helicarrier with nothing really happening. I hope SHEILD’s role is reduced in the sequel (now that the group is together) and I also hope to see Ant-Man and The Wasp. As for the Thanos tease, not sure if I’m excited about more aliens. In the end, it was good, but not great.

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^I never expected it to be the greatest movie ever, but it was real fun to watch, and the high RT rating helped me decide.

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My family watched Galaxy Quest Friday night.

Also, I am looking forward to seeing The Avengers in theaters this Tuesday (I'm having an MRI done tomorrow, so that's out of the question).

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Ratings based on a 5 star method.
[Blue = 1st time rating and/or viewing]

The Maltese Falcon (1941) ✰✰✰
[^ Bored me. Couldn't follow or get involved with much of the story.]
The Lorax (2012) ✰✰✰
[^ Gave my first thoughts in The Lorax thread.]
A Raisin in the Sun (1961) ✰✰✰
[^ Good acting and emotion from the characters. I wanted to see them get to their new home.]
Rear Window (1954) ✰✰✰✰1/2
[^ Just watched this: fantastic. After the first ten minutes I was with the story the whole way. The use of dialog was great; there wasn't much and it thrived the suspense.]
Edit: Funny that I didn't notice PixarFan2006's avatar while typing this up. I would like to say it was subliminal advertising that lead me to watch, but really it was for an assignment my sister had to complete. 8)

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 9:33 am 
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The Bucket list
It cannot be all bad with two veteran actors like jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.Two totally different guys become friends when they share a hospital room, both fighting cancer. When they both get the message that they will probably not live much longer, they decide to fulfill their wishes from the 'Bucket List' together, one having the idea and the other the means: so they go skydiving, car-racing and travel around the world. But ultimately they find most satisfaction in being close to their loved ones. In the case of Nicholson, reconciling with his only daughter. and while one goes into remission (Nicholson , forgot the name of his character) the other dies after an operation. It's a bit sentimental, but in the good sense. It's the first movie with Jack Nicholson since "About Smith" in which I saw him cry. I shed a little tear as well.

Mystic River

Certainly a good movie, well acted by Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon among others. Still, I don't' think I will watch this a second time. it's a very grim story.

Disney's The Little mermaid

Must have been the umpteenth time I saw the movie (like most Disney Animation) but it never becomes boring. IMO this movie both has an excellent villain (with a great song) and one of the most amusing sidekicks (Sebastian the crab, of course). Yes, it diverts much from Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale (he may not have liked it) but I don't mind. It's so enjoyable.

_________________
Image

See my growing collection of Disney movie-banners at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/78256383@N ... 651337290/


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