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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:07 pm 
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PeterPanfan wrote:
You definitely should check out Annie Hall and Manhattan next! They are two of his earlier best!


I've heard great things about Annie Hall, but I've never heard of Manhattan. If they're anything like Midnight in Paris, though, I'll definitely check them out :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:00 pm 
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TheSequelOfDisney wrote:
PeterPanfan wrote:
You definitely should check out Annie Hall and Manhattan next! They are two of his earlier best!


I've heard great things about Annie Hall, but I've never heard of Manhattan. If they're anything like Midnight in Paris, though, I'll definitely check them out :D

Manhattan is very different from Midnight in Paris, but it's a fantastic film in its own right. Another VERY good Woody Allen movie is Match Point.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:46 am 
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Manhattan is possibly Allen's best film and one of the greatest odes to a location in cinema. Other great Allen films are Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Manhattan Murder Mystery and, my personal favourite, Love and Death.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:21 am 
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I've been on the lookout for some native 3-D live action Blu-Ray titles to add to my collection (as it's primarily animation), and this one showed up on a few recommended lists. Opinions on the film itself varied a bit too wildly to be believed, but everyone seemed to agree the 3-D was technically well-done, so I kept it in the back of my mind as a possible buy if I happened to come across it in a store. That took a while (no idea why the 3-D edition is so uncommon around here, but it sure is), however sometimes hunting for something through brick & mortar ends up being very satisfying when you finally come across it, as I did one day in Future Shop a couple weeks ago. They must have restocked their 3-D inventory as part of a sale promotion or something, since a number of other titles were also restocked and several were on sale.

So yesterday evening I finally popped it in, and was really quite pleasantly surprised. I'm not a huge horror movie fan, but I have to say that this movie is a very fun watch; I haven't had that much fun watching a movie at home in a while. It's a solid, well-balanced blend of horror and comedy with a surprisingly good cast (Tennant is great, but he's not the only actor that does a good job) and characters that aren't all shallow, 2-D cut-outs (except for the 2-D cut-out, lol) that exist solely to be the next murder victim. It has a bit of a Disturbia vibe to it, especially towards the beginning, but without feeling like a rip-off. And where Disturbia felt entirely modern, this movie was very evocative (at least for me) of a prior decade's style of horror film; which is probably appropriate, given the fact it's a remake of the 1985 cult classic.

The fact it's a remake might not have helped it win any love among the many people who are devoted to the original film, and while the quantity of bad remakes coming out of Hollywood these days is pretty off-putting, this movie isn't one of them. This was actually most things that I think a remake should be, taking a good concept from the original and exploring it in a new way. If they'd just set out to make all the characters identical to their previous incarnations, and replicating the original scene-by-scene, what would've been the point? It's a shame that a lot of people probably let the fact it's a remake stop them from even giving this a chance.

But nobody else must have been going to see it in droves either, since it did so poorly at the box office, and I think that's a shame considering it's surely a heck of a lot better than many modern horror films. I watched it yesterday around dusk and had the house opened up rather than running the air conditioning, so a hot summer breeze was blowing through which actually enhanced the viewing experience, since it felt pretty similar to what I imagined the on-screen climate must have been throughout most of the film. That particular viewing environment also led me to believe that this film is one of very few made in recent years that would be a perfect drive-in theatre experience. Especially in 3-D if there are still any drive-ins in existence equipped with right projectors and silver screens necessary to reflect the polarized light. I'll have to give more thought to ambient conditions while watching certain films in the future, because for the right movie it can really tweak the experience.

The 3-D was also quite well-done, and while some people seemed to report a couple of the early darker scenes being problematic, I noticed no such issues and on properly-calibrated equipment even those dark moments should come through pretty clear. There's an impressive amount of depth, but also the "pop-out" moments that are expected and, for this genre and few others, even welcome. With most films these days focusing on positive rather than negative parallax (trying to get distance themselves from the idea of 3-D as a "pop-out" short-lived gimmick, I guess), it was actually nice to see some effective use of it. It was impressive even on a relatively small 47" 3DTV, so I can imagine it would've been very effective on the big-screen.

So yeah, I'd definitely recommend this one. A very fun summer flick, and if I owned a drive-in, I'd throw it up for a few nights each summer. There's still one drive-in around here, which unfortunately can't do 3-D, but I still wish I'd seen it there last year.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:15 am 
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Goliath wrote:
Manhattan is very different from Midnight in Paris, but it's a fantastic film in its own right. Another VERY good Woody Allen movie is Match Point.


yamiiguy wrote:
Manhattan is possibly Allen's best film and one of the greatest odes to a location in cinema. Other great Allen films are Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Manhattan Murder Mystery and, my personal favourite, Love and Death.


Wow, thanks for the info Goliath and yamiiquy. I'll definitely check to see if my library has any of these films the next time I go :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:59 pm 
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TM2-Megatron wrote:
I've been on the lookout for some native 3-D live action Blu-Ray titles to add to my collection (as it's primarily animation), and this one showed up on a few recommended lists. Opinions on the film itself varied a bit too wildly to be believed, but everyone seemed to agree the 3-D was technically well-done, so I kept it in the back of my mind as a possible buy if I happened to come across it in a store. That took a while (no idea why the 3-D edition is so uncommon around here, but it sure is), however sometimes hunting for something through brick & mortar ends up being very satisfying when you finally come across it, as I did one day in Future Shop a couple weeks ago. They must have restocked their 3-D inventory as part of a sale promotion or something, since a number of other titles were also restocked and several were on sale.

So yesterday evening I finally popped it in, and was really quite pleasantly surprised. I'm not a huge horror movie fan, but I have to say that this movie is a very fun watch; I haven't had that much fun watching a movie at home in a while. It's a solid, well-balanced blend of horror and comedy with a surprisingly good cast (Tennant is great, but he's not the only actor that does a good job) and characters that aren't all shallow, 2-D cut-outs (except for the 2-D cut-out, lol) that exist solely to be the next murder victim. It has a bit of a Disturbia vibe to it, especially towards the beginning, but without feeling like a rip-off. And where Disturbia felt entirely modern, this movie was very evocative (at least for me) of a prior decade's style of horror film; which is probably appropriate, given the fact it's a remake of the 1985 cult classic.

The fact it's a remake might not have helped it win any love among the many people who are devoted to the original film, and while the quantity of bad remakes coming out of Hollywood these days is pretty off-putting, this movie isn't one of them. This was actually most things that I think a remake should be, taking a good concept from the original and exploring it in a new way. If they'd just set out to make all the characters identical to their previous incarnations, and replicating the original scene-by-scene, what would've been the point? It's a shame that a lot of people probably let the fact it's a remake stop them from even giving this a chance.

But nobody else must have been going to see it in droves either, since it did so poorly at the box office, and I think that's a shame considering it's surely a heck of a lot better than many modern horror films. I watched it yesterday around dusk and had the house opened up rather than running the air conditioning, so a hot summer breeze was blowing through which actually enhanced the viewing experience, since it felt pretty similar to what I imagined the on-screen climate must have been throughout most of the film. That particular viewing environment also led me to believe that this film is one of very few made in recent years that would be a perfect drive-in theatre experience. Especially in 3-D if there are still any drive-ins in existence equipped with right projectors and silver screens necessary to reflect the polarized light. I'll have to give more thought to ambient conditions while watching certain films in the future, because for the right movie it can really tweak the experience.

The 3-D was also quite well-done, and while some people seemed to report a couple of the early darker scenes being problematic, I noticed no such issues and on properly-calibrated equipment even those dark moments should come through pretty clear. There's an impressive amount of depth, but also the "pop-out" moments that are expected and, for this genre and few others, even welcome. With most films these days focusing on positive rather than negative parallax (trying to get distance themselves from the idea of 3-D as a "pop-out" short-lived gimmick, I guess), it was actually nice to see some effective use of it. It was impressive even on a relatively small 47" 3DTV, so I can imagine it would've been very effective on the big-screen.

So yeah, I'd definitely recommend this one. A very fun summer flick, and if I owned a drive-in, I'd throw it up for a few nights each summer. There's still one drive-in around here, which unfortunately can't do 3-D, but I still wish I'd seen it there last year.


good. good. Just what is the title of the movie?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Oh, lol. I thought I'd mentioned it. Last year's Fright Night remake; it has Disney-like packaging, but I guess it's Touchstone rather than directly from Disney.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:35 pm 
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Saw Magic Mike on Friday and Ted today! Both were great fun :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:22 am 
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Yesterday I watched:

Batman Begins - What I regard as the definitive origin story of Batman, because it is the most deep and explains why exactly Bruce chooses to become a bat. The supporting performances are excellent: Michael Caine is amusing, likable and touching father figure; Morgan Freeman has great comedic timing and makes the little-known character of Lucius Fox interesting; Tom Wilkinson wholly emobides the common gangster and is effectively loathsome; Cillian Murphy is chilling because of his calm demeanour and soft voice, with his character's darker side only coming out in subtle moments; and Liam Neeson is brilliant, balancing the callous and creepy Ra's Al Ghul persona with the mysterious mentor persona of Henri Ducard, a man still stinging from the loss of his wife. Christian Bale is reasonable as Batman, although lacks chemistry with love interest Katie Holmes, a weak point in the story). Christopher Nolan's sometimes artsy camerawork (like the shot when Bruce falls into the Batcave) can't make this ultra-realistic portrayal of Gotham look as fascinating as the gothic fantasy Gotham of the Burton Batman films; however, Nolan's story is much structured than either Batman or Batman Returns and the lines much more amusing/powerful/memorable. Moreover, Nolan focuses much more on Batman than his villains, making him a three-dimensional character and give a damn about him even when he isn't in the suit. Ra's Al Ghul is adapted well, but Scarecrow (obviously chosen because of the theme of fear that runs through the film and helps inspire Bruce) is maybe a little disappointing in portrayal, considering all the weird things that could have been done with him. A dream sequence after Bruce collapses from breathing in fear gas and being set on fire by Scarecrow wouldn't have hurt. All in all, I still love this film despite some of the flaws.

A Grand Day Out/The Wrong Trousers - I love Wallace and Gromit. These two short stop-motion films are hilariously inventive in visual puns and plot, and the second has a cinematic quality because of the Hitchcock-esque atmosphere, lighting and more versatile shots. There are great suspenseful sequences in both, and although the character animation is a bit poor in A Grand Day Out, it's wonderful in The Wrong Trousers. The most enjoyable thing about these characters is that no matter what off-the-wall invention Wallace tries to build or whatever obsession he pursues, Gromit will always be loyal to him, even if he will be rolling his eyes half the time. Gromit is one of the best animated characters of all time, and says so much without ever speaking a word - as expressive as Buster Keaton, you can learn everything about Gromit just from his eyebrows.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:03 pm 
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TheSequelOfDisney wrote:
[Wow, thanks for the info Goliath and yamiiquy. I'll definitely check to see if my library has any of these films the next time I go :D

Match Point, a very recent movie, is very mainstream and easy to like. Manhattan is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie. It has to be your cup of tea. Either you're fascinated the first few minutes, or bored out of your mind. It all depends on your preferences, but I loved it. And, if you loved the intellectual references, jokes etc. in Midnight, you'll probably enjoy Manhattan as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Manhattan is worth watching for the cinematography alone. It's black and white, yes, but it's still visually striking and is possibly the most breathtaking take on the big apple I've seen on celluloid.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 pm 
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12 Angry Men - It has to be around the tenth viewing by now...what can I say that hasn't already been said? Filmmakers today could learn something from this masterpiece of direction, writing and acting: despite lacking in car chases, explosions and gore, this is one of the most suspenseful movies ever made. Every single actor puts their all in, and all the characters are defined by wonderful little traits: John Fielder's nervousness and description of everything as 'interesting', E.G. Marshall's stoic demeanour, Jack Warden's dumb-looking slack jaw and desperation to see the ball game and Henry Fonda's thoughtfulness - we first see him properly looking quietly out of the window, an introverted man whose courage in the face of ridicule and aloneness makes him one of cinema's finest heroes. One thing about this film that isn't said enough is how funny it is: the paper ball bouncing off Joseph Sweeney's head, Lee J Cobb's hilarious declaration that the old man probably had no idea what he was talking about, and E.G. Marshall's unequivocally badass reply to Ed Begley's insistence that somebody listen to him: "I have. Now sit down and don't open your mouth again."

Hugo - One of the few films that looks better in 3-D than in 2-D, this marvellous tribute to film is an enchanting experience. The colours, cinematography, intrinsically French train station and gorgeous set pieces like the dream sequence and complex automaton mean that it would be worth watching even with the sound off. The well-woven plot is an ingenious introduction to the classic silent films of George Melies, and even though Melies is the star of the show, Asa Butterfield steals it as the title character. Butterfield is the best child actor I've ever seen, and his interactions with the superb Ben Kingsley (whose character's inner pain slips through subtly in some wonderful moments) are sublime to watch. In short, this film proves Martin Scorsese's directorial versatility, and a beautiful blend of Dickensian mysteries, tales of redemption and nostalgia for old cinema.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:38 am 
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Over the past week or so I've watched:

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - This is the filmed version of the touring production back in the early 80s. Angela Lansbury was a hoot, and George Hearn was fantastic as Sweeney (I would've liked to have seen Len Cariou reprise his role, though). I've seen the "updated" version directed by Doyle and liked it, but it was nice to see no one playing their own instruments and having a much bigger cast.

Sunset Boulevard - I can't believe I've never seen this film before. It was glorious and yet super creepy at the same time; it felt very film noir-ish and everything worked pretty well. Gloria Swanson definitely made a come back and it would've been nice to see her win the Oscar (but I've never seen Born Yesterday and Judy Holliday's performance). I watched it twice, with the second time being with the commentary, and I'd like to watch it again sometime soon.

Hugo - I'm gonna go the complete opposite route of many people and say that I wasn't complete entranced by this film. Yes, it was good and I love all of the early film references, but I wasn't totally captivated. It was shot beautifully, though, and it's definitely a good kid's film. I don't know. Maybe I need to watch it again and see if I like it better than the first go around.

Moonrise Kingdom - I saw this on Tuesday and absolutely loved it. It's so off-the-wall crazy and spectacular and wonderful. Seriously, I loved it. All of the actors were great and I just fell in love with the story. Hopefully this'll get recognized at next year's Oscars.

All About Eve - This was pretty good, but I definitely like Sunset Boulevard better. Bette Davis was great, but I totally didn't buy how quickly Eve became such a heralded actress (I mean, a year seems way too quick). The actors were good, especially Bette Davis and the woman who played Karen. I might watch this one again, too, to see if I like it better.

Carnage - This was interesting. I was certainly interested when I heard of God of Carnage during the Tony's a few years back. I loved all four of the actors, and I thought they did splendidly with their roles, but I don't think this would be a film to watch over and over again. The black comedy was great, though, and I thought that was pretty good.

Home on the Range - This certainly isn't as bad as many people say it is. Is it forgettable? Yeah, it is, but that doesn't mean it's bad. I thought the voice actors did quite well, and many of the songs are catchy. I'm gonna watch it again with the commentary soon. This isn't bad at all, but it is kind of forgettable.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:54 pm 
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De Bende van Oss (2011)

Dutch drama about corruption, social unrest, violence and even murder in a closeted village in the south of The Netherlands in the 1930's. The people living there have lots of conflicts among themselves, but form a united front to the outside world whenever neccessary, especially when it comes to authority figures. I expected much more from this film. The sets, dressing, costumes etc. were all fabulous, but the story and characters fell short of making a lasting impression on me. 6.5/10

Doodslag (2012)

Another Dutch movie. This one has a very relevant theme. It's about the increased violence and aggressiveness people working on the ambulance get to deal with in The Netherlands. The film tackles both this theme, as well as the theme of media personalities getting invloved in these incidents with their own opinions to attract better ratings. This makes for an uneven balance. Luckily the acting is very good, especially lead actor Theo Maassen as the worker who one day can't take the intimidation anymore and goes too far in defending himself and his job. But the no. 1 reason I watched, was to see Maryam Hassouni again, a beautiful Dutch-Maroccan actress, who played her part well, as usual. 7/10

Black-Out (2012)

Holland goes Tarantino. This best describes this movie. It lends heavily from the aforementioned director and others, like Guy Ritchie, when it comes to style, structure, editing, pace and characters. Fortunately, it's not a copy entirely. The characters and situations are typically Dutch, but the humor and dialogues are far better than what we usually see in Dutch crime movies. It may not be too original, but it is very well done; it's hilarious at times; and the characters are unforgettable. Recommended. 7.5/10

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976-Evil 2 (1991 / directed by: Jim Wynorski)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK3g9TGaoco

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Wynorski's last stab at semi-substantial filmmaking and it's actually got some real weight to it. Though most of the performances come up either dry (Pat O'Bryan) or just bad (Debbie James as the lead heroine / "final girl"). It's frequently very funny, the ideas are both offbeat and occasionally pretty clever, René Assa (for the first hour at least, before he dissolves into Pinhead / Freddy Krueger one-liners and puns) is a shockingly scary aristocratic-mannered killer, and most of the death scenes are far above and beyond their call of duty. They practically transform into full set-pieces. I'm not sure how long Hollywood had been using that trick of sticking their Tom Hanks's next to various celebrities in old archival, television footage but this movie beats Forrest Gump by 3 years and looks pretty damn convincing, as they get the bright idea to zap a brunette college bimbo into It's a Wonderful Life and have it slowly become Night of the Living Dead, with the same Wonderful characters filling in for Romero's zombies. A better one - because it's so genuinely well-staged / shot, and as a result is surprisingly disturbing - is Monique Gabrielle's (a Wynorski regular) supernatural highway collision fatality (Nightmare on Elm Street 5 inspired?). Very few things literally make me sit up like a shot and open my eyes wider (whether I was previously enjoying myself or not). This sequence did. Eat your heart out, Christine. If you can believe it, Brigette Nielson (yes, Stallone's former wife) has a cameo as a vampy clerk in an occult book store. Eat your heart out, Seymour Cassel. It was fun, smarter than I was expecting, stronger than I expected, and very, very satisfying.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:24 am 
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Dr Frankenollie wrote:
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12 Angry Men - It has to be around the tenth viewing by now...what can I say that hasn't already been said? Filmmakers today could learn something from this masterpiece of direction, writing and acting: despite lacking in car chases, explosions and gore, this is one of the most suspenseful movies ever made. Every single actor puts their all in, and all the characters are defined by wonderful little traits: John Fielder's nervousness and description of everything as 'interesting', E.G. Marshall's stoic demeanour, Jack Warden's dumb-looking slack jaw and desperation to see the ball game and Henry Fonda's thoughtfulness - we first see him properly looking quietly out of the window, an introverted man whose courage in the face of ridicule and aloneness makes him one of cinema's finest heroes. One thing about this film that isn't said enough is how funny it is: the paper ball bouncing off Joseph Sweeney's head, Lee J Cobb's hilarious declaration that the old man probably had no idea what he was talking about, and E.G. Marshall's unequivocally badass reply to Ed Begley's insistence that somebody listen to him: "I have. Now sit down and don't open your mouth again."

Hugo - One of the few films that looks better in 3-D than in 2-D, this marvellous tribute to film is an enchanting experience. The colours, cinematography, intrinsically French train station and gorgeous set pieces like the dream sequence and complex automaton mean that it would be worth watching even with the sound off. The well-woven plot is an ingenious introduction to the classic silent films of George Melies, and even though Melies is the star of the show, Asa Butterfield steals it as the title character. Butterfield is the best child actor I've ever seen, and his interactions with the superb Ben Kingsley (whose character's inner pain slips through subtly in some wonderful moments) are sublime to watch. In short, this film proves Martin Scorsese's directorial versatility, and a beautiful blend of Dickensian mysteries, tales of redemption and nostalgia for old cinema.


Just so you know, I loved both of your reviews, and those two movies are in my Top 20 movies of all time. "12 Angry Men" is in my Top Five, while "Hugo" is in the bottom 5 of those twenty films. I really liked your reviews and find that there is hope for you yet in your like and dislike of movies.

Keep it up.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:29 pm 
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dvdjunkie wrote:
Just so you know, I loved both of your reviews, and those two movies are in my Top 20 movies of all time. "12 Angry Men" is in my Top Five, while "Hugo" is in the bottom 5 of those twenty films. I really liked your reviews and find that there is hope for you yet in your like and dislike of movies.

Keep it up.


Thank you...but less of the smug superiority would be nice.

Out of curiousity, what's your top twenty?

Here's my current list:

1. 12 Angry Men
2. Fargo
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
4. Chinatown
5. Psycho
6. Taxi Driver
7. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
8. Amadeus
9. Mary Poppins
10. North by Northwest

11. Dumbo
12. The Godfather
13. Dog Day Afternoon
14. Pinocchio
15. Brazil
16. Pulp Fiction
17. A Clockwork Orange
18. Sunset Boulevard
19. Barton Fink
20. Inglourious Basterds


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:04 pm 
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Dr Frankenollie:

I think your Top 20 is among some of the best that I have seen. My list varies from time to time. There are so many movies out there that belong on a Top 20 List it is hard to keep the same 20 all the time.

But here goes, at this particular date and time these are my Top 20 Movie favorites:


1. 12 Angry Men
2. Taxi Driver
3. It Happened One Night
4. The African Queen
5. Psycho
6. My Fair Lady
7. North by Northwest
8. Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs
9. Mary Poppins
10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

11. Old Yeller
12. The Godfather Saga (Parts One and Two chronologically - the only way I can watch these two films.)
13. Straw Dogs (the original)
14. American Graffiti
15. Wizards
16. Fargo
17. Hugo
18. Sunset Boulevard
19. Pinocchio
20. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Like I said, this list changes from time to time, but these are movies that I can watch regularly and never get tired of.

I would be interested in your thoughts and comparisons between your list and mine.

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Smooth Talk (1985 / directed by: Joyce Chopra)
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXvmkCVbrBk

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Still can't figure this movie out. That happens with me and lots of movies but I feel there's some urgency to know what's going on here since some people have rightly accused this movie of trying to punish girls exploring their sexuality and immediately brand all innocent flirting as an invitation for rape and violence. Still not sure that's what the movie is trying to do but it's really on the border. The only scrap of courtesy we're thrown is that we technically never see her and the stalker, Arnold Friend, have sex. After (whatever happens) is over, she doesn't act as though she's been forced into having sex (as far as I can tell), his intense demeanor has changed, and she very powerfully tells him to never come back again. He doesn't. Far as I can tell. I'm really on the fence about this movie because there's something very big working in its' favor with me but I'll get to that as I close. The movie is extremely nasty and portrays "laidback" summers with this family as domestic hell- short of significant physical abuse. There's a lot of emotional abuse. The mother feels run-down by her husband and neglected by Laura Dern's character and she takes it out on her in a way that makes every mother I've ever met look like June Cleaver. I've met mothers who were manipulative and mothers who could be mean but this woman - Mary Kay Place - is a terrorist. Whether she has a reason for it or not, it's really hard to watch her and Laura Dern try to bond. Put a foot wrong with the daughter and it's no problem, make one mistake with the mother and she goes Norma Bates on you. This girl may act like a brat but she pays for every tiny little thing she does over and over and over again like she's on trial for breathing. This is bothersome because she's not just a thoughtless, careless, selfish bitch or a giggly moron. She's portrayed as very smart by the movie even if she does play around with people a lot. She doesn't deserve this.

As a movie, apart from what it all means, it's not fun (for the most part, again I'll get to that in closing). But it's well-filmed, edited, acted, and again- the characters and their relationships are handled intelligently even during their bouts of nastiness. Though, another thing I didn't care for was the soundtrack. Almost all songs were by James Taylor. Yeah... One of the plot synopses of the movie includes this tantalizer: "It's summer, a time of shimmering hypnotizing heat. Romantic daydreams and distracting desires, fueled by the persistent beat of rock music lead Connie to an uncompromising reality..." Um, yeah, the beat of that hip-shaking, debauched rock 'n roll devil James Taylor would turn any normal girl into a leather-clad slut. Or whatever they were thinking. I was thinking at certain moments that the film was a little more fair than it sometimes gets credit for. Not all critics claimed it was a simple-minded thriller about demonizing flirting and non-void-filling intimacy. At one point, one of the guys she flirts with charmingly offers to punch her in the face. And I of course overreacted, immediately thinking this guy's a jerk. But when they get alone and they start getting into it, he's not only extremely gentle, he also doesn't get the slightest bit angry or dark when she starts objecting and jumps out of the car. The camera lingers on his face long enough to see he's only disappointed. I was happy with this. I was a little less happy about the idea that - whatever she did with the first boy she was alone with (William Ragsdale of Fright Night, the ultimate embodiment of most of my high school crushes) - another guy she sees dates her one night, they go off alone, and she never hears from him again. Though in another later scene, she gets very blushy about the idea of him trying to find out more about her when one of her friends said a guy asked her questions about Dern. Another good example of where the film could be mistaken for pushing an agenda.

Lastly... there's the second half of the movie. Which is basically one long scene of him arriving at her house while she's home alone and trying to coerce her into getting in his car and going for a ride with him. The more she resists or plays around or keeps him (and the guy he brought along, sitting in the passenger seat) waiting, the more intense things get. I still can't decide whether he was up to no good all along or if he wasn't that bad but just spoke dangerously. The evidence leans heavily to: this guy is a manipulative, sleazy psychopath and she doesn't have the means at her disposal to defend herself if he forced his way into her house. Which he does anyway when he reminds her that their time is running out, but if he had had any designs on forcing her to get in his car through hostility... The movie won't deem to cross the line. Anymore than it does when he suggests that he'd burn her house down to get her to come out or when his friend in the passenger seat offers to cut the telephone wire outside the house. And then there's the extra fun of him saying he's asked every single one of her friends for personal details about her... But somewhere in all of this, I remain quisitive and skeptical that it was all cut and dry-he was a psycho. It's a very surreal situation, when you add everything up. For example- he not only claims to have asked everyone she knows everything about her, he also claims to be able to see what's going on with her family miles away. As in: exactly what they're doing at any given moment. Which would make him some kind of psychic. And she believes enough of it as did I. Also, except for his one line about the telephone, the friend in the passenger seat remains completely still and silent for the 35-40 minutes spent on Arnold getting Dern to get in his car. With a radio up to his ear. He just sits there and doesn't move. We learn absolutely nothing about him. And when Dern goes for a ride with Arnold, he stays at the house and... listens to the radio. Says nothing, barely moves.

This scene, even with minor controversy and unpleasent connotations, is nothing short of mesmerizing. A large part of that being how seductive Treat Williams is (however, this is the only role I've seen him in where I might describe him as an adonis- though the only meat we see is in his arms, I thought he was perfect). He plays almost as much of the long stalker scene silently selling his more tender features (and I'll be damned if what he was wearing didn't make him look perfect from all angles- I continue to mention this because he had quite a spare tire on Tales from the Crypt). And this scene wasn't just fascinating to watch unfold, but I found it entertaining. Since before it, I didn't think the movie was nearly compelling enough. If you can put yourself, even for a second, in her position- it's hard for me not to find this a really interesting fantasy. I mean, just short of offering her any kind of power in their dynamic, he couldn't have been more attractive. To someone as twisted as me. And the movie almost invites this kind of reaction since he acts like he's not real. She even says "nobody talks that way." He's not just trying to dazzle her with poetry, he's talking as though existing was about expressing love through soft sex. And again, can't press upon this enough: the movie does not tell us what happened. So, if he was trying to add her to like a list of girls and was a pedophile... how would we know? She starts to tell her sister what happened and pulls back. Not out of shame, as far as I can tell. Though, also, not because it was her fantasy come true. And that's horrible- what happened? If we're all tasked to interpret it our own way, I'm going with: he was an angel, he would have done anything you asked him to do on command, and if you or Dern had asked him to come back- he would have. It's pretty easy to walk away from the movie with a perspective like that, the movie is that vague with details. And that incredibly surreal.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:31 pm 
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dvdjunkie wrote:
1. 12 Angry Men
2. Taxi Driver
3. It Happened One Night
4. The African Queen
5. Psycho
6. My Fair Lady
7. North by Northwest
8. Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs
9. Mary Poppins
10. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

11. Old Yeller
12. The Godfather Saga (Parts One and Two chronologically - the only way I can watch these two films.)
13. Straw Dogs (the original)
14. American Graffiti
15. Wizards
16. Fargo
17. Hugo
18. Sunset Boulevard
19. Pinocchio
20. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Like I said, this list changes from time to time, but these are movies that I can watch regularly and never get tired of.

I would be interested in your thoughts and comparisons between your list and mine.


Interesting to see the similarities between the two lists. I thought you would include rubbish like Avatar and Titanic, but you like a lot of the same films I like. I also see we share the same favourite Scorsese and Hitchcock. Out of your list, I have not seen 3, 4, 6, 11, 13, 14 and 15, and out of all of them I'm only really interested in "It Happened One Night." When it comes to "The Godfather", I adore the first movie, but I find "The Godfather Part II" rather boring. "The Godfather" has numerous great scenes and I thought every single moment was marvellous, whereas the only two scenes I love in its sequel are when young Vito watches Don Fanucci from the rooftops (eventually killing him) and when Fredo goes fishing at the end. The rest of it didn't keep me interested and entertained like the original did.


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