All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

..and why not?
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Carl's Son
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Carl's Son » 29 Jun 2008, 19:18

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Another very Amateur looking teen movie. Not very funny, fascinating in its medicrity.

I was very much looking forward to this:
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Only to realise I'd already seen it! Still good fun on a second viewing though.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Owen » 29 Jun 2008, 19:27

Carl's Son wrote:I was very much looking forward to this:
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Only to realise I'd already seen it! Still good fun on a second viewing though.


That's been on my dvd pile for a little while, wasn't sure whether to rewatch It Happened One Night first. Need to get round to it though

As for me today

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First time i'd seen it, very enjoyable, excellent cast and unlike so many recent all star ensembles they actually all have something to do and a plot to serve. Very very good

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Snarfyguy » 30 Jun 2008, 21:22

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The ending's a bit lame, but for the most part this is excellent.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby the masked man » 30 Jun 2008, 21:50

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JSA: Joint Security Area

Park Chan-Wook's 'Vengeance Trilogy' not only established his own name in Western cinematic circles, it also helped elevate the standing of Korean cinema to previously unheard levels. Therefore, it's interesting to see one of his earlier efforts, a film very much made with the domestic market in mind. If his later revenge thrillers take place against an unspoken political backdrop of a troubled country split between two inflexible ideologies, then this film tackles that division head on.

The film takes place at the border between the two halves of the country. A cross-border skirmish has left two North Korean border guards dead. In an attempt to prevent escalation into full conflict, both sides agree to let neutral military investigators (from Switzerland and Sweden) carry out an investigation to resolve the issue. The Swiss investigator, a young woman of Korean descent, immediately realises that the reports of the incident from both sides are self-serving packs of lies, and that her role is to supply a diplomatic sticking plaster for the benefit of both sides. Nonetheless, she needs to know what really happened...

The film is nowhere near assured as later films like Oldboy; Park shows talent as a director but little discipline. He fills the film with showy effects (odd angles, overstated visual rhymes) which only serve to distract from the storytelling. Whereas these touches suited the more baroque narratives of his later films, JSA is a more conventional picture that feels overdressed. Furthermore, Lee Yeong-Ae (as the Swiss detective) is a somewhat insipid lead; she is nothing like as imposing as she was in the later Lady Vengeance. It all feels a bit formulaic, like a Hollywood police procedural drama.

Nonetheless, the film improves in the middle sections (partly because Lee disappears altogether). These sections form an extended flashback, showing the surprising lead-up to the fatal incident. Although there are intriguing details throughout this section, it still feels a lot like a conventional buddy movie. However, it is well played (particularly by Song Kang-Ho, the distinctive thick-set actor from Memories of Murder and Sympathy For Mr Vengeance), and is emotionally satisfying. Unfortunately, once we return to the present for the denouement, the film unravels somewhat. The conclusion is messy and psychologically muddled.

Even so, this is worth watching, if only to fill in some of the background details for Park's later films. And it is certainly one from the heart - this interestingly implies that capitalist South Korea is as in thrall to deceptive ideologies as the communist North (which still follows the legacy of the notoriously barking Kim Il-Sung); it's just that the South is a little more subtle in its presentational skills. Finally, Park puts his directorial skills to good use - the final shot is fascinating.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby The Modernist » 01 Jul 2008, 09:09

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Finally got round to seeing this. I'd been putting off this a little. Part of the reason for this was my antipathy towards the biopic: they always seem to shoehorn a life into a series of noteworthy events and sadly this was no exception. This film felt like a checklist at times: meets Debbie -check, meets Hooky and Barney -check, swears at Tony Wilson -check.
The film's chief fault lay in its threadbare and uninvolving script which failed to develop or flesh out characters. So Debbie Curtis is seen as a bedraggled, slightly pathetic wife, permanently dressed in the same dowdy print dress, throughout the entire film. Aneek meanwhile is simply a rather mysterious groupie.
Curtis fares rather better thanks to a soulful performance from Sam Riley -looking eerily like a younger me which made it slightly disconcerting viewing. Yet even here his portrayal seems as frozen and one-dimensional as Corbijn's iconic photographs.
Context would have helped a lot here I think. I didn't get much sense of place -why wasn't the stark industrial landscape of Manchester used more often, or of time - the whole post-punk era is dealt with superficially with a few Cabaret Voltaire posters thrown into the mise-en-scene, but there is little sense why any of them made this extraordinary music. At one point Rob Gretton, the one character who gives the film welcome levity, says to Curtis "Cheer up -you could be lead singer of The Fall". It neeeded more little details like that to give it life.
The film has been rightly praised for is its painstaking recreation's of JD's performances and deservedly so. Yet as a director Corbijn seems too close to his material, much of the film seems like a recreation of his iconic photos of thirty years ago. He is far too fond of the carefully arranged still shot of Curtis staring moodily into some terrible future. These shots are used so often they seem to suck the life out of the film.
It was a brave film however, it didn't flinch from presenting the cruelty of the solipsistic Curtis and there was a sense that it was a genuine labour of love. Nevetheless apparently Hooky still has a large framed photo of Curtis over his writing desk. Would he have bothered with the bloke portrayed in this movie?
Last edited by The Modernist on 24 May 2010, 20:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Bungo the Mungo » 01 Jul 2008, 10:21

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Me and Tania were walking home last night and I suggested we have a look what was playing at a little arthouse place - The Third Man was about to start, so we ran in, got tickets, and sat down on these old wooden seats. Lucky, really - that sort of thing hardly ever happens.

I enjoyed it, despite being lost in the plot as usual. There are moments where the pace really slows, and some of the dialogue is corny and dated, but there are more than enough truly magical moments to make this a genuine classic. I'd forgotten how effectively the zither theme music is used, and noticed for the first time (this was my second viewing) how striking the photography is. Cotten and (especially) Welles are fantastic.

It's the sort of film I think you need to see a few times.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby The Modernist » 01 Jul 2008, 10:49

It's not flawless by any means, as you say the narrative sags in places. I think the first few times you are enthralled by its stand out scenes and wonderfully evocative photography. Repeated viewings do bring other pleasures though, not least Cotton's marvellously ambiguous portrayal of the difident Holly, has there ever been a less heroic "hero"?

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Snarfyguy » 01 Jul 2008, 18:26

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Well, they don't make 'em like this anymore.

The overheated melodrama, the leering innuendo, the bludgeoning symbolism - I can forgive all this because the acting, direction and script are so damn good.

One of Huston's best, surely, and it makes his subsequent return to Mexico in Under the Volcano look that much worse by comparison (and it's pretty bad even when you don't compare it to Night of the Iguana).

Some of the action sequences are weird looking on this DVD, as though they'd been sped up or something.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Owen » 01 Jul 2008, 21:00

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bit of a change of pace for me at the moment, i enjoyed it a lot, especially the waterloo section and the NY car chase. greengrass picks up on the surveillance stuff and makes it feel quite lefty in it's way despite the source material and it raising the bar as an action movie. I think I prefer the second one a little, maybe just because the kinetic style had more impact first time out but still very good.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby marios » 01 Jul 2008, 21:11

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Insouciant Western People » 01 Jul 2008, 22:24

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I hadn't seen this in years, so I dug it out the other night when I was at a loose end.

An interesting but flawed take on it I think. On the minus side Luhrmann's direction and speeded-up jump-cuts in the first half of the film really don't work, they're just annoying and silly. That sort of caper comes across as wilfully zany to a degree that would be embarassing in a bunch of 6th form film studies students, and that's never a good thing. And the actors playing the Capulet boys are pretty lame, they race through the dialogue in the first scene of the film completely missing all the nuances and feeling, and with Shakespeare that's unforgivable.

On the other hand, Harold Perrineau and John Leguiziamo as (respectively) Mercutio and Tybalt are excellent, especially the former. I've never seen Mercutio's death scene played better by anyone, including a couple of different RSC stage actors. And of course there's some great music in it, not least Radiohead's Talk Show Host.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby the masked man » 01 Jul 2008, 22:30

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Revenger's Tragedy

Alex Cox has had a curious career. After one bona fide cult hit with Repo Man, his wayward focus has been bewildering. Yet he has made the odd film that overcomes the budgetary restraints he is forced to work with, and he remains a sparky commentator on all matters cinematic. This 2002 film, an adaptation of Thomas Middleton's 17th century play is a real curate's egg.

Cox relocating the action to a vaguely futuristic, crumbling Liverpool cityscape. Christopher Eccleston plays Vindici, a bullet-headed, single-minded plotter, determined to revenge the death of his bride. Her killer was a malevolent duke, played in vampiric fashion by Derek Jacobi, and Vindici penetrates the regal court to carry out his fiendish plot.

In truth, its visuals, while ambitious, tend to let the whole exercise down. Shot cheaply on digital video, the film delivers too many post-apocalyptic cliches - it often recalls a budget version of Blade Runner with scouse accents. Nonetheless, the cast at least looks the part effectively - imagine bystanders in a Brueghel painting with multiple facial piercings. Where the film scores strongly is with the central casting. Eccleston is, as ever, an engaging lead, and Eddie Izzard steals the show as a typically louche, Machievellian presence. Not all the casting is as good - the appearance late on of Sinbad from Brookside in a kilt and unconvincing fake moustache had me wincing.

Ultimately, Middleton's delirious plotting ensures the film is fully watchable. The earthiness and rudeness of his writing is more easily transferable to modern settings than the average Shakespeare play. Cox and his scriptwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce largely retain the dialogue, though sometimes their embellishments overplay the hand in trying to make it all 'relevant' to a modern age. So we have clear references to the grief over Diana, and the conspiracy theories about JFK. This is a little clumsy. Still, it's never boring and ends with a (literal) bang.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Insouciant Western People » 01 Jul 2008, 22:33

the masked man wrote:Image


I keep meaning to get around to seeing that. I studied the Middleton, Webster and Tourneur at university, and Cox filming that intrigued me. I'll put it on my 'to get' list.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Penk! » 01 Jul 2008, 22:37

the masked man wrote:Image


Derek Jacobi's looking well.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Ranking Ted » 01 Jul 2008, 23:01

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Interesting take on the post-9/11 monster movie thing and a billion times better than Bore Witch.

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I saw this Altman black comedy / satire years ago and it holds up pretty well. If anything, you suspect the people involved in "the business" are even more venal and soulless now than portrayed here. The cameos are fun window dressing.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Jeemo » 01 Jul 2008, 23:31

Rank Bajin wrote:
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I saw this Altman black comedy / satire years ago and it holds up pretty well. If anything, you suspect the people involved in "the business" are even more venal and soulless now than portrayed here. The cameos are fun window dressing.


I hated The Player. It was just so pleased with how clever it thought it was. It really got on my nerves. Overated to the nth degree
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Ranking Ted » 01 Jul 2008, 23:33

Jeemo wrote:
Rank Bajin wrote:
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I saw this Altman black comedy / satire years ago and it holds up pretty well. If anything, you suspect the people involved in "the business" are even more venal and soulless now than portrayed here. The cameos are fun window dressing.


I hated The Player. It was just so pleased with how clever it thought it was. It really got on my nerves. Overated to the nth degree

Is that not part of the whole thing? The vacuousness of all the characters is a point in itself, I think. As a thriller it is fairly lame, though.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Carl's Son » 02 Jul 2008, 00:13

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A very entertaining film if you don't try to look to deeply at it. It seemed like it was quite an obvious allegory, warning against religious leaders who may twist things for their own ends which is fine but I was dubious about the implication that if you're working on information that is the real deal from God/a magic loom then yes, it's ok to kill in the name of fate/faith/belief.

Still, lots of cool gun fights and twisted metal!

Actually though, I'm getting a bit sick of slo-mo car chases and bullets with CGI trails behind them. It was novel when The Matrix did it but now I just wanna see some action that looks like it's happening in real time.

I'm more excited about Hellboy 2 having seen the trailer before Wanted. Looks Excellent.
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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby Alvin Row » 02 Jul 2008, 04:04

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One of the more disappointing films in recent memories.
I consider myself a pretty big Gondry supporter. I love his videos, I adored The Science of Sleep though I was slightly unimpressed with Eternal Sunshine. I can pretty much take of leave all the main actors (Glover, Mos Def and Jack Black).
I was hoping this would be as fun as The Science of Sleep or as interesting as Eternal Sunshine but found it to be hardly anything at all. Very boring script, trite ideas and lacking that certain charm. Jack Black and Mos Def ranged from unconvincing to dismal and Glover was even worse.
But most of all Gondry just didn't seem to have that 'something else' that usually ups his work from cutesy to visionary.

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Re: All-new RECENT VIEWING thread!

Postby James R » 02 Jul 2008, 14:16

the masked man wrote:Cox and his scriptwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce largely retain the dialogue, though sometimes their embellishments overplay the hand in trying to make it all 'relevant' to a modern age.


I'm fairly sure the original text does not include the line "thou hast fucked us royally, brother".

I'd been a long-time admirer of the play by the time I finally got to see the film. I wasn't disappointed by it.
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