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Ugggh. The prequels had as much originality as a stick.

PS - They were kiddie movies.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:01 pm
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So are The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi

I still think the best Star Wars story told in visual media is Knights of the Old Republic. And Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic do a pretty good job expanding upon that story.

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:12 pm
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They're all kiddie movies. It's knights and wizards fighting each other in space. That's the appeal of Star Wars.

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:14 pm
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I wish they would have gone a bit more gritty in Rogue One. It was still a war movie but man those early trailers made it a bit more gritty than it actually ended up being.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:17 pm
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The original three Star Wars are NOT kiddie movies. They are for young adults. Not kiddies. Kiddies wear diapers and eat mush.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:33 pm
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I think they needed to just rub the film projector with industrial grit. That would've given it the grit it needed to really function for me as a grit factory.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:40 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:

Continuing my Spielberg project:

Minority Report: I like the premise of the story, and am intrigued by the dilemma it presents (can we charge people for crimes they haven't yet committed?) I think it's got some relevance in our current society, as it called to mind certain "thought crimes" like the Cannibal Cop incident, or if someone Googles "pipe bomb" does that mean they're going to build one, etc. I was less interested in the action element than Spielberg evidently was. I would've preferred more discussion of the premise as opposed to watching Cruise chase his eyeballs as they rolled through the corridor. Also, Steve and Janusz did that washed-out color thing which kind of makes sense this time, I guess, since it's the future (?) but I'm not really a fan of it. The film makes me want to read the PK Dick story, but I don't see myself revisiting the movie.

The Terminal: Oh boy. I'd rank this one second to Always on my "Here's why Spielberg bugs me" list.


Agree completely on MR. Your last comment makes me feel like I need to sit through The Terminal.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:17 pm
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FWIW, the Philip K Dick story is pretty short and has little in common with the film. If you don't mind spoilers,

my memory is that it's a quick little riff, where two precogs agree but for different reasons. One precog sees Anderton commit a murder. The other sees Anderton learning about the precogs predicting the murder, and then he doesn't commit the murder. The third is similarly staggered, predicting a future where Anderton doesn't commit the murder and realizes he has to kill because of the fallout if he doesn't. The middle precog's prevision is filed as a minority report.


Spielberg told Scott Frank to not worry about the short story too much and then just write a good mystery.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:16 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I'm not going to defend the bad parts of that trilogy but I kinda sorta somewhat maybe agree. unless there's a speck of nostalgia in there muddling my thoughts. or at least I can appreciate the new ideas that Lucas was working with even if the shit execution never did them justice.

also (and I probably said this before) there were a lot more interesting designs in those movies i.e. the planets, spaceships, costumes, aliens, etc. even if they were under-served by sterile CGI and cluttered mise en scene. at the very least those movies had cooler looking toys if that makes sense (and if that matters at all). maybe that's something I miss about these new movies (and maybe one of the big things about Star Wars that appealed to me), the novelty of heading into new, bizarre, fully-realized worlds with a glaze of pop-culture pastiche so that it still feels familiar. the mythology gives it a weight but maybe that's secondary?

but whatev, as long as the kids like 'em.


It's Lucas' touch. I know they are all probably terrible in many ways but he still manages to have Duel of the Fates in there. Nothing in the new ones comes close.


Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:18 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
Continuing my Spielberg project:

Minority Report: I like the premise of the story, and am intrigued by the dilemma it presents (can we charge people for crimes they haven't yet committed?) I think it's got some relevance in our current society, as it called to mind certain "thought crimes" like the Cannibal Cop incident, or if someone Googles "pipe bomb" does that mean they're going to build one, etc. I was less interested in the action element than Spielberg evidently was. I would've preferred more discussion of the premise as opposed to watching Cruise chase his eyeballs as they rolled through the corridor. Also, Steve and Janusz did that washed-out color thing which kind of makes sense this time, I guess, since it's the future (?) but I'm not really a fan of it. The film makes me want to read the PK Dick story, but I don't see myself revisiting the movie.

The Terminal: Oh boy. I'd rank this one second to Always on my "Here's why Spielberg bugs me" list.


Minority Report is probably on, or near, my Spielberg bottom tier. There are enjoyable moments, but the plot is too problematic.

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Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:29 pm
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Wooley wrote:

Agree completely on MR. Your last comment makes me feel like I need to sit through The Terminal.


The message I got from the film is "Even a middle-aged homeless foreigner that speaks no English can bag Catherine Zeta-Jones if he's a swell guy."

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:22 am
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Re-watched War of the Worlds last night. The first hour is excellent, some of my favorite Spielberg. And the effects hold up really well for a 13-year-old movie. I'm less interested in the Cruise vs Robbins segment, and always hated the reveal
that the son survived the gargantuan explosion we just watched him walk into.
Carried a grudge against the movie over the years for that last half , but I'm adding half a star to my rating. The good outweighed the bad.

PS-I also wasn't crazy about the "They were underground for centuries" angle, but it's an alien invasion movie so I can let it slide.

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:29 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Re-watched War of the Worlds last night. The first hour is excellent, some of my favorite Spielberg. And the effects hold up really well for a 13-year-old movie. I'm less interested in the Cruise vs Robbins segment, and always hated the reveal
that the son survived the gargantuan explosion we just watched him walk into.
Carried a grudge against the movie over the years for that last half , but I'm adding half a star to my rating. The good outweighed the bad.

PS-I also wasn't crazy about the "They were underground for centuries" angle, but it's an alien invasion movie so I can let it slide.


To me, the whole first two acts are top-notch. The build-up is assured, the tension is well drawn, and the payoff with the whole attack is perfect; probably one of the most intense action scenes I've lived in a theater. I also like Cruise a lot here and I think he does a nice job of portraying the desperation mixed with frustration. The scene where he breaks down on the diner is great.

But I agree about the ending. Once Robbins appears, the film loses a lot of steam, and the final reveals doesn't work that well. Other than the one you mentioned, the way the aliens succumb feels somewhat abrupt and rushed. To be honest, it is the kind of film that if it's on cable, I'll probably see it through, up to that last act.

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:51 am
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Ran reminded me why I liked Kurosawa.

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:50 am
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Ace Attorney - 8/10. Super Mario Bros. and the Castlevania miniseries aren't the only good video game adaptations: there's also this one. Directed by Takashi Miike, it features Phoenix, Miles and the rest of the gang as they take a case that has ties to their childhoods (made evident with flashbacks where the children hilariously have the same hairstyles as their adult counterparts). Unlike the majority of bad video game adaptations, it manages to have a compelling story and fleshed-out characters while staying true to its source material. Also, as it is with the best Miike movies, it transitions between over-the-top hilarity and deathly seriousness in a blink of an eye. Oh, and yes, there is plenty of pointing and shouting of "objection!"

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:33 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Minority Report: I like the premise of the story, and am intrigued by the dilemma it presents (can we charge people for crimes they haven't yet committed?) I think it's got some relevance in our current society, as it called to mind certain "thought crimes" like the Cannibal Cop incident, or if someone Googles "pipe bomb" does that mean they're going to build one, etc. I was less interested in the action element than Spielberg evidently was. I would've preferred more discussion of the premise as opposed to watching Cruise chase his eyeballs as they rolled through the corridor. Also, Steve and Janusz did that washed-out color thing which kind of makes sense this time, I guess, since it's the future (?) but I'm not really a fan of it. The film makes me want to read the PK Dick story, but I don't see myself revisiting the movie.
While I feel that The Berg hurt Minority Report a bit by trying to fight against his innate sentimentality by forcing it be more cold, bizarre, and off-putting than it needed to be, I still think it's a rather good, stylish piece of sci-fi, and does a good job of balancing its blockbuster thrills with a forward-thinking look at the future, and an engaging overall discussion of its various themes of fate. It's held up well on rewatch for me, so maybe think about revisiting it sometime.

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Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:03 am
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Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Fun and delightfully gory. But also too long and quite repetitive. I can't make any comparison with the original manga series since I have not read it yet.


Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:14 am
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topherH wrote:
Ran reminded me why I liked Kurosawa.

Seven Samurai is a tremendous film. That score alone is a masterpiece. You can even hear how it influenced John Williams imperial march from Star Wars


Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am
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Joss Whedon wrote:
Seven Samurai is a tremendous film. That score alone is a masterpiece. You can even hear how it influenced John Williams imperial march from Star Wars


I kind of have a hankering for Kagemusha and Red Beard also for more epicness.

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Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:11 pm
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Super Dark Times (2017)
This is what that new It movie should've been like.


Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:22 am
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Phantom Thread - 9/10

I should say upfront that I was never entirely persuaded by the previous collaboration between Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, having found There Will Be Blood full of interesting ideas and compelling artistic decisions that somehow always seemed to get in the way of each other, with Day-Lewis steamrolling everyone else on screen and Jonny Greenwood's score often serving as a dissonant distraction rather than enhancing the on-screen happenings.

Thankfully, I can say I have no such issue with Phantom Thread. Every aspect of the movie works in harmony. The interplay among the central trio of Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville is always fascinating and well-matched (it helps that Day-Lewis is working in the quiet and subtle mode that I prefer to his more blustering and shouty roles), the near-constant score and the camerawork work together to create a sustained balletic effect, and the production design is entirely convincing in its period detail.

What I wasn't expecting was that the movie would serve as a sustained Hitchcock riff. It's not so much that Anderson replicates Hitchcock's visual style (though he tips his hand with one explicit recreation of the eye-illuminated-by-peephole shot from Psycho) as he's playing in the same sandbox of psychodrama and suspense that Hitchcock made his forte, and the movie eventually settles into a sort of gender-swapped variation on Suspicion in its depiction of spousal poisoning, though it arrives at a much more psychologically intriguing study of codependency.

See this in 70mm if you have the opportunity, though maybe avoid the matinee crowd that I had to tolerate. I could have done without the one little old lady's commentary on whether she would or would not like to wear the dresses on display.

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Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:40 am
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topherH wrote:
Ran reminded me why I liked Kurosawa.

I should rewatch this. It's such a rich film artistically but it's also a film you have to plan your day around due to how overwhelming it can be.


Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:34 pm
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I recently watched Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time and
I didn't hate it.
Am I a monster?

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:51 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I recently watched Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time and
I didn't hate it.
Am I a monster?


Nope.

I don't hate it either. I wouldn't recommend it to people, but there were some genuine pleasures for me in there.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:16 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I recently watched Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time and
I didn't hate it.
Am I a monster?


I like it more than Temple of Doom.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:24 am
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Thief wrote:

I like it more than Temple of Doom.

Ah, now we've found the real monster.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:27 am
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IT (2017) - 6/10

Twas alright, but extremely disappointing. I absolutely HATE Skarsgard as Pennywise, he made me long for Tim Curry whenever he was on-screen. I also didn't like the portrayal of Ben Hanscom. At least the one from the mini-series looked sturdy and respectable enough for you to believe that he could beat the snot out of you, if he were to put his mind to it. But this new dude just seemed morbidly millennial-tastic with his petite and helpless appearance. The other characters (except Bev) were considerably less likeable than Ben, but seemingly more faithful to the book, which was a curious trade off. A more serious issue with the film is the rather scattershot nature of the story and the subsequent lack of real tension throughout. Did anyone feel anything during the personalized Pennywise appearances? Meh.

On the plus side, despite the the fact that they took a few too many pages from the modern horror school of modern horror, I did love the sound design and the art direction in the film. I wouldn't exactly say Derry is brought to glorious life - like it was in the book - but it was nonetheless all very nicely done, for the most part. Hopefully, the second film does the adult portion of the story justice.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:27 am
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Thief wrote:

I like it more than Temple of Doom.


OK, that's takin' it a bit far, fella! But I'm glad to know I'm not alone at least. In the 10 years (!) since its release I'd been led to expect an affront to cinema, my childhood, mankind in general, etc. and it definitely wasn't that. I'll add more later when I'm not at work.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:31 am
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Anyone who wasn't teary-eyed at the
"None of them were you, honey"
line is the real monster as far as I'm concerned.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:37 am
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BL wrote:
Ah, now we've found the real monster.


Image

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:30 am
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Thoughts on Crystal Skull: (Spoilers included)

Everyone I know hates the film, so I'd been led to expect all manner of atrocities based on their comments over the years, so I'll address some of those here.

One complaint I'd always heard is that Aliens don't belong in Indy movies, but I disagree, because all of the Nazca Lines/Crystal Skull/Roswell stuff fits perfectly with the archaeology element of the character and is in line with the previous films. There's been a supernatural element to the series from the beginning--
Image
--so I don't get this complaint. Indy in Space would bug me, this didn't.

Yes, a fridge is probably not adequate protection from a nuclear blast but I don't come to Indy movies looking for plausibility.

Shia Labeouf is not as obnoxious as I'd been led to believe.

Pros
-It felt like Ford was much more interested in this than he was in TFA. A bonus interview on the disc confirms that it was Ford who got the ball rolling on getting it made.
-The stuff with Marion made me feel fuzzy inside. Not just because nostalgia, but because it felt earned.

Cons
-My main beef would be that the 2008 sfx are a bit of a sore thumb in the series. I don't mind the alien aspect of the story, but I wasn't crazy about the alien itself when it appeared. A more low-tech approach might've been a better idea.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:42 am
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Slentert wrote:
Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Fun and delightfully gory. But also too long and quite repetitive. I can't make any comparison with the original manga series since I have not read it yet.


I watched this one recently and quite enjoyed it. I didn't find it to be overly long or repetitive, but I did wish that it had done more with its exploration of vengeance and point of view. I loved the part where the one guy talks about his life story and the main character tells him something like "Sorry, but you aren't the only hero of a tragic story."

What I really could have done without was all of the sexualized imagery around the young girl. I mean, come on.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:18 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
Thoughts on Crystal Skull: (Spoilers included)

Everyone I know hates the film, so I'd been led to expect all manner of atrocities based on their comments over the years, so I'll address some of those here.

One complaint I'd always heard is that Aliens don't belong in Indy movies, but I disagree, because all of the Nazca Lines/Crystal Skull/Roswell stuff fits perfectly with the archaeology element of the character and is in line with the previous films. There's been a supernatural element to the series from the beginning--
Image
--so I don't get this complaint. Indy in Space would bug me, this didn't.

Yes, a fridge is probably not adequate protection from a nuclear blast but I don't come to Indy movies looking for plausibility.

Shia Labeouf is not as obnoxious as I'd been led to believe.

Pros
-It felt like Ford was much more interested in this than he was in TFA. A bonus interview on the disc confirms that it was Ford who got the ball rolling on getting it made.
-The stuff with Marion made me feel fuzzy inside. Not just because nostalgia, but because it felt earned.

Cons
-My main beef would be that the 2008 sfx are a bit of a sore thumb in the series. I don't mind the alien aspect of the story, but I wasn't crazy about the alien itself when it appeared. A more low-tech approach might've been a better idea.


I mostly agree with your pros and cons. I remember someone on RT once posted a "dissertation" on some of the film's issues and he/she made some good/great points on the mistakes on execution, direction, editing, etc. Wish I could've saved that post. But even though it has a lot of flaws, I think people are way too harsh on it, probably just because it's Indiana Jones.

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Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:56 pm
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I wish Marion didn't appear to be on so many sedatives. Not the Marion that I'm fond of.


Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:22 pm
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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (2016) Ron Howard takes a look at the Beatles rise to fame, international stardom, and the overall mass hysteria surrounding their touring years. It surely was a fun and interesting watch, particularly for someone who loves the Beatles but isn't as immersed into them as much as I wish, or as some hardcore fans might be.

The documentary manages to capture how the essence of their live shows and music changes from just pure fun and energy in the early years to a desire and need to experiment and go beyond. This I've said before and I still stand by it; there isn't a single musician/band that exemplifies what is musical evolution and growth paired with success as The Beatles, and that you can witness here.

If anything, one is left wanting to see more of them, but since Howard decided to focus on that rough period of 1962 to 1966, what could be considered their most experimental and maybe conflicting period is left out. It kinda feels abrupt the way the documentary ends. But anyway, a very fun and insightful documentary. Grade: A-

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Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:34 am
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Ingrid Goes West - 8/10. This was a pleasant surprise. Aubrey Plaza is amazing, as always, in the titular role as an insane obsessive who takes her Instagram fixation on a photographer (Elizabeth Olson) way too far. It's essentially a One Hour Photo for this decade.

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Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:34 pm
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War Horse

My fault. I knew what I was in for but watched it anyway. Oof.

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Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:08 am
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Wind River - pretty damn good


Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:16 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:
War Horse

My fault. I knew what I was in for but watched it anyway. Oof.

Ha!


Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:17 pm
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I remember the close-up shot of Tom Hiddleston's eyes followed by a cut to the horse (now Hiddleston-less) running away as being particularly breathtaking. so I'll give it that.


Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:14 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
I remember the close-up shot of Tom Hiddleston's eyes followed by a cut to the horse (now Hiddleston-less) running away as being particularly breathtaking. so I'll give it that.


It's well-made of course, I'm just being grumpy. From the beginning, when every move the horse made was accompanied by a John Williams fanfare for strings, I knew this wasn't the movie for me, like every moment was meant to be a tearjerker. (A baby horse! He took an apple from the guy! Now he's doing some more stuff!) If it was meant for kids I'd give it a pass, but it's too long for youngsters and the war scenes were a bit rough, so I'm left to assume that Spielberg intended this for adults. Which is fine, I'm just a grumpy SOB.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:28 pm
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Conan O'Brien provided the best thing from War Horse (an oldie, but a goodie)

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:28 pm
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I'm not the least bit interested in War Horse, probably for the same reasons you weren't in the first place. Sounds like a TV-watch for me, if it ever gets to that.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:29 pm
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Torgo wrote:
Conan O'Brien provided the best thing from War Horse (an oldie, but a goodie)




I kept thinking of the Bamford bit during the movie.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:38 pm
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Captain Terror wrote:



I kept thinking of the Bamford bit during the movie.

"14-hour real-time documentary about a gentle horse struggling in vain to escape from barbed wire"
Ha, that about sums it up.

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Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:49 pm
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Molly's Game - 6/10. This is based on the book by the same name - which is about the rise and fall of Molly Bloom (Chastain), an ex-Olympian who ran exclusive poker games in L.A. and New York - and after watching the movie, you'll feel like you have read it. As you would expect from Sorkin, the exposition, dialogue and narration are all so heavy that it makes Inception seem like Koyaanisqatsi. While it has worthwhile food for thought about what happens when a woman tries to stake a claim in a boy's club, how being a high achiever doesn't mean you'll coast through life, etc., when it was over, I felt like the kid from The Far Side comic who asked to be excused because his brain was full.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:10 am
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Captain Terror wrote:

It's well-made of course, I'm just being grumpy. From the beginning, when every move the horse made was accompanied by a John Williams fanfare for strings, I knew this wasn't the movie for me, like every moment was meant to be a tearjerker. (A baby horse! He took an apple from the guy! Now he's doing some more stuff!) If it was meant for kids I'd give it a pass, but it's too long for youngsters and the war scenes were a bit rough, so I'm left to assume that Spielberg intended this for adults. Which is fine, I'm just a grumpy SOB.

You're not, I can't stand that shit, either. I saw the trailers and was like, "Seriously, are there still people that wanna see Spielberg make this crap?"


Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:38 am
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Wooley wrote:
You're not, I can't stand that shit, either. I saw the trailers and was like, "Seriously, are there still people that wanna see Spielberg make this crap?"

The disc I rented included a roundtable discussion with Spielberg and the cast. It was painful watching Hiddleston say things with a straight face like "I think Joey <the horse> represents pure love", then they cut to Toby Kebbell somberly nodding in agreement. It's like "seriously, dude?"

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:20 am
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War Horse would be 100% more watchable if someone just digitally replaced the horse with a giant angora rabbit and gave the audience no explanation for the change.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:53 am
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Torgo wrote:
Conan O'Brien provided the best thing from War Horse (an oldie, but a goodie)
Heh, that reminds me of this classic bit from K&P:


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