Return of the RECENT VIEWING

..and why not?
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Snarfyguy
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 13 Aug 2017, 04:53

Classic Rock Sneelock wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I've always enjoyed it, and though I think it misses the nuances (the political overtones, for one) of the book, I don't think we're going to ever get a better filmic adaptation of a Hunter Thompson novel. I met both Thompson and Depp when I went to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd in 1998 to get Thompson's signature on a book of his letters. Hunter was a giant, over six foot, while 'lil Johnny couldn't have been more than 5'6", maybe 130 lbs. Only in Hollywood would they think to get Johnny Depp to play Hunter Thompson... Alex Cox was originally going to do the picture so when Gilliam came onboard he was basically a director for hire.


I actively dislike the movie. I know it's much loved and I've tried making my peace with it but I think they missed by a mile. My problem is essentially one of tone. Things that strike me as hilarious in the book strike me as mean spirited in the movie. I like Gilliam's psychedelic touches visually but I think, overall that it's pretty much a travesty of one of my most beloved books.

I think it's too bad that Alex Cox & HST didn't hit it off. I think Cox's ideas about structuring the thing more straightforward and consolidating things would have made for a more engaging film. Still, you never know about tone. That's a genie in a bottle and hard to get on the page.

Cox has gone on record saying that he thinks he was only attached to the project in order to secure financing. He seems to think everybody was in it to score some big bucks. (Like with Barfly). He seems to feel that his "indie" approach was only really of value to the producers as a bargaining tool and that it wasn't really in anyone's interest to do something modestly budgeted.

Well, if you don't want a modest budget then Gilliam is your guy!

I know a lot of people thought Cox was being a primadonna. Maybe he was. I'm a Gilliam fan but I don't think he understood what was marvelous about the book. The draft of Cox's screenplay on his website makes me think that maybe Cox did. Gilliam said he thought Cox's script was shit and bragged that he banged his script out in 8 or 10 days. The writer's guild didn't agree and Gilliam Insisted the Cox script wasn't used at all. When the Cox script was given co-writing credits, Gilliam had a pissing match with the Writer's Guild so intense that he publicly resigned from the Guild..

The movie may have been a bomb but it's certainly well on the road to "cult classic" at this point.

I'd like to say some thing flattering about Gilliam's style. According to Cox - the mere mention of Ralph Steadman's name would throw HST into a rage. I thought Gilliam did a wonderful job of giving the movie a visual style anyway. Certainly it refers to Steadman's style but I guess they might have been trying not to over rely on it. This aspect of the film and Depp's performance ARE very accomplished. Even I can see that. I still spit on it. :x



I disliked it intensely on release, it being one of my favorite books, as just a sort of Dean-Martin-and-his-buddy-except-with-acid-instead-of-booze thing, leaving out the political angle and of course the wonderful writing. I've softened up on a (semi-)recent re-viewing, but it still rankles, only not as much.

There's deeper point to the book than drugged-out weirdos wreaking havoc and tweaking the nose of pomposity, but it seems to have been lost in the mix.

Meanwhile, I'm watching the Batman TV show with my six year-old, so I can't complain about anything. Shelly Winters is giving 'em hell as Ma Parker!

Clementine: Oh no, dad, I can't look!

Me: Don't worry, Clementine, they always get out of the trap they're in.

Clementine (sincerely): But dad, what if this time they don't?

:lol: (I laugh, but I'm actually crying for her all-too-soon-to-be-lost naivete.)

Wait, what was the question?
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Sneelock » 13 Aug 2017, 05:04

"What if they don't?" :lol:
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Darkness_Fish » 13 Aug 2017, 20:54

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Another low-budget horror flick. The soundtrack is the most interesting thing, featuring Myrkur, and somethings that sounded like Sunn 0))), but weren't. Didn't feature The Misfits' titular song at all, which seemed like a massive oversight. Actual film was ok, but by the numbers, and hampered by having a school-bullying storyline when everyone looked about 30, especially the useless Reznor-esque lead.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 14 Aug 2017, 03:36

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Traffic

Still one of Soderbergh's best pictures and probably Benicio Del Toro's finest performance overall. The points the film makes are accurate: that there's no way the war on drugs can be won because the cartels will put more money into their business than governments are willing to spend to combat it, that as long as the demand is there, the supply will always follow suit, and that the issue of drug addiction spans all walks of life - no swath of humanity is immune.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 15 Aug 2017, 11:16

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The Battle of Algiers

I was surprised by how modern this was and how contemporary it felt. Unlike a lot of war films the violence and its context is not overly dramatic or romanticised. Instead it’s shot with a documentary style realism and objectivity that shows the violence on both sides for what it is.

Great stuff
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Modernist » 17 Aug 2017, 04:04

Goat Boy wrote:Image

The Battle of Algiers

I was surprised by how modern this was and how contemporary it felt. Unlike a lot of war films the violence and its context is not overly dramatic or romanticised. Instead it’s shot with a documentary style realism and objectivity that shows the violence on both sides for what it is.

Great stuff


It really is. A seminal film.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby northernsky » 17 Aug 2017, 10:26

Matt Wilson wrote:Image
Death Wish 2

First of the Death Wish sequels and the only one with a Jimmy Page soundtrack. Dumber, sleazier, but almost as fun as the original. Bronson is too old for the role but it doesn't really seem to matter. By this point it's all just a right wing fantasy anyway. There's not one, but two rape scenes, the first of which goes on forever in the unrated version. A very grimy picture, indeed.


Bloody hell, that just seems like self-punishment.
Now, doesn't a Death Wish remake starring a similarly aged Bruce Willis, under the benign oversight of Eli Roth, sound like exactly what America needs right now?

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 17 Aug 2017, 14:18

Oh, the Death Wish films aren't for everyone, that's for sure. There were actually four of them. The new one is a remake, as you mentioned.

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Night Moves

Now here's a real good one. Gene Hackman as a detective in a great neo noir. James Woods and Melanie Griffith are along for the ride too. In a better world, this would be as well known as Chinatown. Take note, Davey, it's twice the film that Cutter's Way is.

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Freebie & The Bean
Probably the most un-P.C. '70s comedy I can think of. Racial slurs, homophobia, cops taking bribes, beating up people, and destroying public property are just a few of the 'funny' things going on here. Yet I'd be lying if I said some scenes weren't amusing, and Caan and Arkin do have chemistry. Both Jewish actors, though Arkin is playing a Mexican. Caan's character has a racial epithet for every scene in the film. I guess in the '70s you could get away with that. The makers of the Lethal Weapon series had to have had this picture in mind when writing the Riggs/Murtaugh relationship years later.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 19 Aug 2017, 04:04

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Che

Steven Soderbergh made this film in 2008, and it seems to have gutted him in terms of having faith in the reception of important films in the 21st Century. A good turn from Benicio del Toro didn't make an iota of difference as far as North American box office went, but it did well elsewhere. Of course, a two-part, four-and-a-half-hour picture about the life of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara was doomed to financial failure from the outset, so I don't know where his despondency comes from, and he has directed multiple movies since then - so there's that.

As far as the film itself goes, it's rather dull, actually, with no attempt to humanize the man. It gets the facts right, and it's certainly well acted and photographed, but Lawrence of Arabia, it's not. If you've got the stomach for this kind of thing, then it's worth it. As for me, it was a blind purchase, so I rather had to watch the whole thing.

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Time Bandits

Gilliam's first film of the '80s doesn't impress me as much as it once did. The special effects are dated and it's not as clever as the younger me thought over thirty years ago. I liked seeing Cleese and Connery, the George Harrison song at the end was interesting, the transfer is okay, I guess (they rave about it on bluray.com), but I have to admit I was a tad bored watching it last night. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 21 Aug 2017, 16:15

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Star Wars The Complete Saga

My youngest is totally into the Star Wars movies now so we've been going through this box set. Actually, episodes 1-3 aren't as bad as I remembered. The visuals are superior to those on 4-6, and episode 3 is really good. The whole transformation of Anakin into Vader was well done. 4-6 are the keepers, obviously, but I've seen them so many times that I'm a bit burned out. They all look great on blu.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This one got a lot of praise in 2015 because it gave the fans exactly what they asked for - and I can see why people like it. The thing is, there are too many plot elements from episodes 4 and 5. The feeling of deja vu never leaves me each time I see it. That's not to say I don't enjoy it though. Harrison Ford looks ancient, unfortunately.

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Suddenly, Last Summer

One of Tennessee Williams more successful film adaptations, though he said he had nothing to do with the movie. Liz Taylor and Kate Hepburn were nominated and it's one of Monty Clift's more subdued post-accident performances. Filmed in England, but supposed to be set in New Orleans. Usually, I find Williams to be too much sturm and drang, and this is no exception, really. But it's a handsome transfer, and I enjoyed it despite all the drama. They actually use the word "erotomania" in the screenplay.

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Brazil

If this isn't Gilliam's greatest achievement, I don't know what is. A combination of Orwell, 40s noir, and the director's furtive imagination, it's endlessly inventive. Criterion's average transfer doesn't dampen a great cinematic experience on blu. You get both the superior director's cut and the drastically shortened theatrical version - plus a ton of extras.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 24 Aug 2017, 09:47

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Sunrise: A Tale Of Two Humans

It’s a bit simple and melodramatic as you’d expect perhaps and it took me a little while to adjust to the general tone of the thing but it’s also incredibly sweet and touching too. The scenes in the church in particular when they reconcile really hit hard. It’s also rather beautiful and there are some great visual effects that really elevate it into something magical. Ok, the whole wicked woman casting her spell over the husband was a bit heavy handed but it’s that kind of movie.

Maybe I should watch more silent films



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Ghost In The Shell

I have seen the original manga but a long time ago so I can’t really remember much about it but this was very poor. Unsurprisingly given how old the original manga is the ideas and themes seem rather old hat these days which made the movie feel rather quaint despite the all the fancy special effects. The dialogue was awful, clunky and exposition heavy and full of tediously simplistic mock profound statements like: “a human is not defined by their memories, but by their actions”. It did look nice mind and I liked the design of the city but when Scarlett Johannsson in a body suit can’t even make a movie worth watching then you know the movie really does suck

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Free Fire

I was underwhelmed by High Rise but this was much better. It’s a simple set up but delivered with real style and humour. The violence in particular is unlike the kind of violence you normally see in other action films so when people get hit by a crow bar they react like you’d expect somebody who had just been hit with a crowbar would. Wheatley stretches the absurdity of the violence to breaking point to great effect and the performances are great too. Everybody has good moments, Sharlto Copley as South African Verne and Jack Reynor are Harry stand outs and the movie fizzes with a real energy.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby joklend » 24 Aug 2017, 17:34

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Much is (rightly) said of Peter Lorre's performance, but for me the stand out is the head of the underground 'Beggars' Union'. He needed a film of his own.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 24 Aug 2017, 18:08

Goat Boy wrote:Free Fire

I was underwhelmed by High Rise but this was much better. It’s a simple set up but delivered with real style and humour. The violence in particular is unlike the kind of violence you normally see in other action films so when people get hit by a crow bar they react like you’d expect somebody who had just been hit with a crowbar would. Wheatley stretches the absurdity of the violence to breaking point to great effect and the performances are great too. Everybody has good moments, Sharlto Copley as South African Verne and Jack Reynor are Harry stand outs and the movie fizzes with a real energy.

I enjoyed the set-up to this, but once it became apparent that the balance of it was going to be nothing but people shooting at one another for the next hour or so, in real time, I quickly lost interest. I'd forgotten that I'd rented it because it was directed by Wheatly, whose work I generally enjoy - and I think it was the case that there were no opening credits whatsoever. Perhaps I should have stuck with it.

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Soderbergh's out of retirement (again, I think) and his latest is a buoyant caper flick set amidst NASCAR culture of the U.S. South. The sheer preposterousness of it is half the fun; after all, the nature of the caper flick isn't to submit to logic, but rather to defy it while still engaging your interest.

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One for Matt: Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975). Alan Arkin, Sally Kellerman and Mackenzie Phillips star as down-and-out misfits in a bonding/road movie. Alex Rocco (Moe Green from The Godfather), Charles Martin Smith (the nebbishy guy from American Graffiti) and the great Harry Dean Stanton provide support. Writer John Kaye went on to script American Hot Wax and Where the Buffalo Roam. It ambles along amiably and it's very much of its time and place, which is a good thing.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Goat Boy » 24 Aug 2017, 20:24

Snarfyguy wrote:
Goat Boy wrote:Free Fire

I was underwhelmed by High Rise but this was much better. It’s a simple set up but delivered with real style and humour. The violence in particular is unlike the kind of violence you normally see in other action films so when people get hit by a crow bar they react like you’d expect somebody who had just been hit with a crowbar would. Wheatley stretches the absurdity of the violence to breaking point to great effect and the performances are great too. Everybody has good moments, Sharlto Copley as South African Verne and Jack Reynor are Harry stand outs and the movie fizzes with a real energy.

I enjoyed the set-up to this, but once it became apparent that the balance of it was going to be nothing but people shooting at one another for the next hour or so, in real time, I quickly lost interest. I'd forgotten that I'd rented it because it was directed by Wheatly, whose work I generally enjoy - and I think it was the case that there were no opening credits whatsoever. Perhaps I should have stuck with it.


Well that's all it is basically is but the pleasure is in the performances and the script. It's full of cracking wee moments and humour.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Aug 2017, 01:25

Snarfyguy wrote:
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One for Matt: Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975). Alan Arkin, Sally Kellerman and Mackenzie Phillips star as down-and-out misfits in a bonding/road movie. Alex Rocco (Moe Green from The Godfather), Charles Martin Smith (the nebbishy guy from American Graffiti) and the great Harry Dean Stanton provide support. Writer John Kaye went on to script American Hot Wax and Where the Buffalo Roam. It ambles along amiably and it's very much of its time and place, which is a good thing.


I've never seen that one. Arkin and Rocco were in Freebie and the Bean which I just reviewed as well.

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Out of Sight

I looooooooove this one. I hadn't seen it in maybe fifteen years. Remember when Elmore Leonard films were en vogue? In the second half of the '90s we got this, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown and I dug 'em all. Read all the books too and virtually every other novel he wrote. I even love the look of the picture. Soderbergh oversaturated the color and its beautiful. If I were a director this is exactly the kind of film I'd want to make. Probably wouldn't make a dime though as it's not a movie about superheroes. Hell, it wasn't even a hit in 1998. I'd forgotten that Albert Brooks was in it too.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Write Profile » 25 Aug 2017, 06:26

Matt Wilson wrote:
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Out of Sight

I looooooooove this one. I hadn't seen it in maybe fifteen years. Remember when Elmore Leonard films were en vogue? In the second half of the '90s we got this, Get Shorty and Jackie Brown and I dug 'em all. Read all the books too and virtually every other novel he wrote. I even love the look of the picture. Soderbergh oversaturated the color and its beautiful. If I were a director this is exactly the kind of film I'd want to make. Probably wouldn't make a dime though as it's not a movie about superheroes. Hell, it wasn't even a hit in 1998. I'd forgotten that Albert Brooks was in it too.


It's the film that set Clooney on the path to becoming a major movie star because, well, who wouldn't want to be George Clooney in Out of Sight? Handsome, suave, funny and totally at ease with himself, he pretty much sets everything up in the opening scene ("is this your first time being robbed?"), where he flirts and convinces the teller to hand over the money without breaking a sweat. He may have had more interesting roles subsequently, but this is the one that really fit him down to a tee. As an aside, how gorgeous was Jennifer Lopez in this? She was never better- or crucially, more adult- than she was in this film. I can't think of any others which knew how to use her quite like this film did. I like the fact that Out of Sight is a contest of equals.

And yeah, Elmore Leonard was the man. I'd also add the first season of Justified (based on an Elmore Leonard short story) to the films you mentioned.
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Great Defector » 25 Aug 2017, 13:31

The Dark Tower
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Run of the mill kinda show if I'm being honest. I have a feeling it skimmed over the book rather than make a proper effort. McConaughey seemed to be enjoying himself more than concentrating on his acting which made him more watchable. Elba was watchable as always. The end seemed rushed and didn't give a full importance to the protecting of the said dark tower.

Good to kill an hour and a half, but that's about it.

Discovering Katheryn Winnick was a nice surprise.

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Matt Wilson » 25 Aug 2017, 14:13

The Write Profile wrote:It's the film that set Clooney on the path to becoming a major movie star because, well, who wouldn't want to be George Clooney in Out of Sight? Handsome, suave, funny and totally at ease with himself, he pretty much sets everything up in the opening scene ("is this your first time being robbed?"), where he flirts and convinces the teller to hand over the money without breaking a sweat. He may have had more interesting roles subsequently, but this is the one that really fit him down to a tee. As an aside, how gorgeous was Jennifer Lopez in this? She was never better- or crucially, more adult- than she was in this film. I can't think of any others which knew how to use her quite like this film did. I like the fact that Out of Sight is a contest of equals.

And yeah, Elmore Leonard was the man. I'd also add the first season of Justified (based on an Elmore Leonard short story) to the films you mentioned.


I watched every episode of Justified. I agree with your assessments of Out of Sight. I'm trying to think if I've ever since Jennifer Lopez in anything else...

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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby The Great Defector » 25 Aug 2017, 14:32

Is Justified any good?
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Re: Return of the RECENT VIEWING

Postby Snarfyguy » 25 Aug 2017, 15:02

Matt Wilson wrote:I've never seen that one. Arkin and Rocco were in Freebie and the Bean which I just reviewed as well.

Yeah, I noticed that and it piqued my interest. I'll watch anything Alan Arkin's in (although it's hard to imagine him as Mexican - he's so NYC/Jewish).

Also

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A young Ray Winstone fronting a band made up of ex-Pistols and Clash members?

Diane Lane and Laura Dern in a Slits-type punk band?

I would have said you had to be pulling my leg, but here's Hollywood trying "punk" on for size in a legendarily "lost" film (someone got cold feet and pulled it from distribution - or something, you can look it up if you're interested). Neither as bad as it's supposed to be nor very much good, it's an amusing 90 minutes. Fee Waybill is great as a swell-headed fourth-tier rock star and Black Randy, of the Metro Squad, has a couple of funny cameos. Brent Spiner (later Data of Star Trek TNG) appears as well, and it's directed by legendary pop/rock producer Lou Adler no less.

Aficionados of rock movies will want to catch this, even though it basically kind of sucks.
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