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 Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2018 
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I'm planning on posting my new list some time tonight or tomorrow. Also, still catching up with 3 or 4 reviews.

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Thu May 03, 2018 6:30 am
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Thief wrote:
I'm planning on posting my new list some time tonight or tomorrow.


It is already the second of the month! I am outraged!


Thu May 03, 2018 6:46 am
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Disappointed. Summer is where I crank out the movies.

Saw only 5 this month, although started like 3-4 more.


Thu May 03, 2018 9:48 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

It is already the second of the month! I am outraged!


That's my secret technique to keep you at bay.

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Thu May 03, 2018 10:39 am
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Thief wrote:

That's my secret technique to keep you at bay.


Boo! This game is rigged!

That's okay--I'm watching the NHL playoffs and quite enjoying that instead of TV or movies as my evening activity.

How's the move going?


Thu May 03, 2018 10:47 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

Boo! This game is rigged!

That's okay--I'm watching the NHL playoffs and quite enjoying that instead of TV or movies as my evening activity.

How's the move going?


One step at a time. I still have to spend most nights assembling new furniture or taking things out of boxes, arranging stuff and whatnot. But I'm trying to keep some of a pace. I'm sure May will be more prolific as far as movie watching.

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Thu May 03, 2018 11:22 am
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A Best Picture winner from before 1970


Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Quote:
"When you're troubled and hurt, you pour yourself into things that can't hurt back."


Approximately 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The Jewish extermination was based on the premise that Jews were either on a quest for world domination, responsible for German's decline post-World War I, or simply inferior. But antisemitism wasn't new or exclusive to Nazi Germany. There are traces of such beliefs dating as far back as 1096 (the First Crusade) or even earlier. Antisemitism was a strong and ardent belief long before Hitler came and unfortunately, it continued to be even after Nazi Germany fell. Because of that, Jews have had to deal with the discrimination, prejudice, and humiliation, which was often brushed under the carpet or hidden behind polite smiles.

Gentleman's Agreement tries to take a look under those carpets and smiles. The film follows aspiring journalist Philip Schuyler Green (Gregory Peck), who poses as a Jew to his co-workers and friends in order to write an article on antisemitism. As a result, Green experiences first-hand the bigotry, sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle, that real Jews suffer. Moreover, Green has to face it even from unlikely sources like his Jewish secretary and his new girlfriend Kathy (Dorothy McGuire), who claims to have liberal views but refuses to do anything about the issue. At one point, she mentions a "gentleman's agreement" in her neighborhood to prevent Jews from moving in.

One of the main points of the film is how deeply rooted racism and bigotry is, to the point that it comes even from those you least expect. Whether it's an unconscious comment at dinner, a "light" joke at work, or a distant attitude from people around you, those that carry it usually deny it or keep it under wraps to avoid being judged. On the other hand, the victims are usually forced to hide their identities by changing their names or hiding key factors to avoid being singled out. Usually, both parties stay silent about their attitudes, "pouring [themselves] into things that can't hurt back", which unfortunately perpetuates the behavior.

Like Takoma, this is a film I rarely see discussed or mentioned, which is weird considering its pedigree. Directed and co-written by Elia Kazan, starring a young Gregory Peck on the rise, received 8 Oscar nominations, earning three wins including Best Picture. If antisemitism was that rampant at that time, even in the States and so close to World War II, one has to wonder if putting the film aside is a way to not address the issue, just like the characters in the film do.

But anyway, the film is very well done, presenting the issue from a variety of perspectives and not afraid to pull the rug from under us a couple of times. At times the dialogue might feel a bit preachy and forced, but the delivery of the cast helps. Peck is pretty good in the lead role, but I was more surprised by McGuire who perfectly portrays the defeatist apathy of her character who refuses to fight back. I was also surprised by Celeste Holm who plays one of Green's co-workers offering a balance of common sense and transparency in contrast to Kathy's veiled prejudices. Kudos also to John Garfield, who portrays Green's childhood friend, who happens to be Jewish and probably has some of the best lines and moments on the film.

I do think that some things could've been changed in the last act. There is a particular zig-zag of events I wasn't happy about, which made it seem as if the writers weren't sure what to do with our characters in the end. Other than that, I can say I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Grade: A-

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Thu May 03, 2018 11:23 am
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Thief wrote:
A Best Picture winner from before 1970


Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

Peck is pretty good in the lead role, but I was more surprised by McGuire who perfectly portrays the defeatist apathy of her character who refuses to fight back. I was also surprised by Celeste Holm who plays one of Green's co-workers offering a balance of common sense and transparency in contrast to Kathy's veiled prejudices. Kudos also to John Garfield, who portrays Green's childhood friend, who happens to be Jewish and probably has some of the best lines and moments on the film.


Didn't you want
Philip to end up with awesome Anne instead of with stupid racist Kathy? I mean, I get that there's a whole theme of changing minds and hearts, but Anne was so cool! My sister and I watched this as teenagers and at the end she was like "Noooo! Kathy sucks!!!".


John Garfield was an actor I immediately looked up after his performance here, and was really saddened to learn that he had been part of the blacklist and had died super young (age 39), and that his wife said that it was the stress of the blacklist that caused his heart attack.

I think that this is a film that does a great job of showing the way that racism and bias can run the whole continuum from overt to subtle. I think it's almost too on-point.


Thu May 03, 2018 11:37 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Didn't you want
Philip to end up with awesome Anne instead of with stupid racist Kathy? I mean, I get that there's a whole theme of changing minds and hearts, but Anne was so cool! My sister and I watched this as teenagers and at the end she was like "Noooo! Kathy sucks!!!".



In theory, I agree. But what I would've liked was for the writers to make up their minds BEFORE shooting the film.

As it is, I couldn't see any clear hint that Anne was interested in Philip. She seemed like a really cool friend, which is rare to see in films today, let alone in the 40's. Because of that, her proposal in the last act felt a bit out of nowhere and sort as if the writers had thought, "you know, let's just throw this in", only to balk at the end having him return to Kathy.



Takoma1 wrote:
John Garfield was an actor I immediately looked up after his performance here, and was really saddened to learn that he had been part of the blacklist and had died super young (age 39), and that his wife said that it was the stress of the blacklist that caused his heart attack.

I think that this is a film that does a great job of showing the way that racism and bias can run the whole continuum from overt to subtle. I think it's almost too on-point.


It's a real shame about Garfield. He really seemed like an actor who knew his craft. How ironic that after this role, his career ended precisely because of senseless prejudices.

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Thu May 03, 2018 12:21 pm
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A film about homosexuality or alternate lifestyles
A film based on a play
A coming-of-age story



Moonlight (2016)

Quote:
"At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you're going to be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you."


"A film about homosexuality" or "a coming-of-age story". Both labels might be valid to define and describe what Barry Jenkins second film is. But it would be a disservice and a sacrifice of the richness of this film, because Moonlight is so much more. And that's precisely the idea that lies at the core of the film; like the film, the characters that live in it (and by default, we) are more than just labels. Our richness as human beings goes beyond the niches that society and circumstances might try to fit us in, and that's something that we have to figure out, sometimes painfully, as we grow up. Who am I? Who are we? "Who is you, man?"

Moonlight follows the live of Chiron, a poor, black kid growing up in Miami, through three different stages in his life: childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. As he grows up, bullied and rejected, he explores his identity, through his race, his sexuality, and his relationship with others, most notably his mother (Naomie Harris). Through all those stages, Chiron is assigned different labels and names, whether it's his given name, a nickname, or an insult. The names he goes by are an attempt by him or those around him to define who he is. The above quote comes from Juan (Mahershala Ali), a drug dealer who ends up becoming a father figure to Chiron, as he remembers how an old woman wanted to label him when he was a kid: "In moonlight, black boys look blue... you're blue". But he wasn't having any of that, and he tries to instill that same sense of independent thinking and self-discovery on Chiron.

Chiron is black, poor, and confused. He's angry, depressed, and scared. He was in jail, became a drug dealer. But to try to box his characters into any of those slots, means sacrificing what his character, and what we as humans, are and can bring to this world. Prejudices and discrimination allow us to dismiss others simply based on single traits, while closing the door on what those lives really are. Black, white, brown, straight, gay, rich, poor, tall, short, big, little. Moonlight shows us that we are more than just the color of our skin, a sexual orientation, or a particular social status.

In the same way, to try to box Moonlight into a particular slot is to neuter its potential and ambition. A film simple in its complexity, and complex in its simplicity; just like Chiron, or you or me. A.O. Scott described the film as "a poem written in light, music and vivid human faces". That's how beautiful it is, but it's up to you to see it and experience it. Can't let nobody make that decision for you.

Grade: A+

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Fri May 04, 2018 6:09 am
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Nice review. Glad you really liked it as well.

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Fri May 04, 2018 7:05 am
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Thief wrote:

In theory, I agree. But what I would've liked was for the writers to make up their minds BEFORE shooting the film.

As it is, I couldn't see any clear hint that Anne was interested in Philip. She seemed like a really cool friend, which is rare to see in films today, let alone in the 40's. Because of that, her proposal in the last act felt a bit out of nowhere and sort as if the writers had thought, "you know, let's just throw this in", only to balk at the end having him return to Kathy.
.


I actually think that this intentional because, wanting to genuinely deal with the question of prejudice, the film is trying to show
that reform and forgiveness are possible toward people like Kathy who are more "passive" than "active" in their racism. Anne is cool from the beginning, so her character doesn't really need to grow. But Kathy is put in a position where her biases are given a face, and she has to face her own prejudice.

I think that him choosing Kathy over the more obvious, "progressive" character of Anne is a way of the film reaching out to and humanizing people who are biased but have the potential to change.


Fri May 04, 2018 7:40 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I actually think that this intentional because, wanting to genuinely deal with the question of prejudice, the film is trying to show
that reform and forgiveness are possible toward people like Kathy who are more "passive" than "active" in their racism. Anne is cool from the beginning, so her character doesn't really need to grow. But Kathy is put in a position where her biases are given a face, and she has to face her own prejudice.

I think that him choosing Kathy over the more obvious, "progressive" character of Anne is a way of the film reaching out to and humanizing people who are biased but have the potential to change.


I think you're right. But if that was the intention,

then there was no need to have Anne propose to him in the last moment. They could've made their point about the possibility of forgiveness and change by just having Philip reunite with Kathy in the end. As it is, the juxtaposition of both women feels half-baked.

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Fri May 04, 2018 8:16 am
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Thief wrote:

I think you're right. But if that was the intention,

then there was no need to have Anne propose to him in the last moment. They could've made their point about the possibility of forgiveness and change by just having Philip reunite with Kathy in the end. As it is, the juxtaposition of both women feels half-baked.


I think that the proposal is meant to show that
"progressive" women might seem cooler, but that there can still be love and an allure for people who are problematic. I think that it's important to show the more liberal woman being rejected in favor of the woman who is working on her biases. It's part of the olive branch that the movie is extending to viewers like Kathy.

There's obviously a lot of problematic stuff there (like implying that a sexy racist woman is somehow better than an assertive non-racist woman), but I understand why the movie goes that direction.


Fri May 04, 2018 8:38 am
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A film starring someone you dislike (James Woods)
A coming-of-age story



Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Quote:
"You can always tell the winners at the starting gate. You can always tell the winners, and you can tell the losers."


The above quote comes from David "Noodles" Aaronson (Robert DeNiro) as he meets again with old friend "Fat Moe" after 30+ years of exile and hiding. Now old, tired, and full of regrets, Noodles assures his friend that you could always tell who would be a "winner" and who could be a "loser". But it's never that simple, neither for him nor for anybody else. The winners and the losers are never clear in Sergio Leone's epic gangster film, and just when you thought you've figured out who is who, something happens that shifts your perspective. After the above quote, Fat Moe tells Noodles he would've "put everything [he] ever had" on Noodles, to which he replies "Yeah, and you would've lost". Even Noodles acknowledges that he isn't in the winning team, and all that's left is for him to look back to the things he could've made different.

Once Upon a Time in America follows Noodles, a street kid in New York as he and his friends rise to prominence in the world of organized crime. Their rise starts after meeting a new kid, Max Bercovicz (played as an adult by James Woods), who starts a rivalry with Noodles at first, only to become best friends after. Soon after, the five friends begin stealing jobs from their former boss, which through the years leads them to power, money, death, prison, and ultimately regret. Time and fate have a way of changing the chess pieces, thus changing who "wins" and who "loses". Noodles goes from rising gangster to prison to local crime boss to exiled wannabe. Max' path is a bit different, but the essence is the same. In the end, they are not winners.

Having read/heard so many great things about this film, I was looking forward to it. After 15 minutes of a killer opening, I was ready to call this a "winner". But as it went on, it was never that clear. I'm not sure if it was the length, the cuts, or the fact that I dozed off a couple of times in the last act, but in the end, I'm still not sure what to make of it. Is it a "winner" or a "loser"? Even though it seemed like a winner at the "starting gate", it's never that simple. I really liked the first two acts, but I felt that the last act was a bit muddled. The character of Noodles is a bit problematic, and the fact that there is really no one to root for makes it a bit more tougher to connect with it. There is a particular scene between Noodles and his perennial love interest, Deborah, that ended up being one of the toughest and most heart-wrenching scenes I've had to endure in a film. And Deborah had it read from the beginning when she said about Noodles how "he'll always be a two-bit punk... so he'll never be my beloved."

I chose this film because I wanted to see a film with an actor I dislike. I've always been a fan of James Woods work, but in recent years, I've come to dislike him for his abrasive personality in interviews and social media. Not because I disagree with his views and his politics, but because the tone and attitude he has chosen to present them. Through the years, Woods has made a career of playing "dubious" or "weasely" characters, which I thought would be the case here. But as unhinged and prone to anger as Max is, I ended up hating Noodles more. Not necessarily for the faults he committed, but because I never really saw a genuine remorse from him, or in the way he was portrayed by the film. This aspect also made it more difficult to connect with the film's last act.

So in the end, I'm in the same place as Noodles... figuring out whether this is a winner or a loser, and the answer is the same I give to him: I'm not sure.

Grade: I'm willing to say a B+, more or less.

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Sat May 05, 2018 5:02 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I think that the proposal is meant to show that
"progressive" women might seem cooler, but that there can still be love and an allure for people who are problematic. I think that it's important to show the more liberal woman being rejected in favor of the woman who is working on her biases. It's part of the olive branch that the movie is extending to viewers like Kathy.

There's obviously a lot of problematic stuff there (like implying that a sexy racist woman is somehow better than an assertive non-racist woman), but I understand why the movie goes that direction.


I see your point. Maybe it's because I always have a thing against films with out-of-nowhere love declarations or unnecessary romantic relationships. This is particularly problematic with classic films which had a penchant of having unnecessary couples or making people "fall in love" after one meeting, and the sorts, but I understand your point.

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Sat May 05, 2018 5:04 am
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A sequel
A film you remember from your childhood



Jaws 3-D (1983)

Quote:
"It's something that happened when I was a kid."


Jaws 3-D was released in the summer of 1983. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time. During those years, my mom was going through a somewhat bitter divorce from my father after 20 years of marriage. So my mom, who was 42-43 at the time, a couple of years older than I am right now, decided to take me and my 3 older brothers to see this film. This is the first recollection I have of being at the movies and my unofficial entry into the world of cinema. My mom is not a cinephile, but she has always enjoyed films (she is a fan of Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson), so I'd like to think this was an opportunity for her to go out and have fun, even if it was with the company of four little gnomes.

Jaws 3-D follows Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid), the son of Chief Martin Brody, who now works as an underwater engineer or something at SeaWorld, along with her girlfriend Kay (Bess Armstrong), a marine biologist. When a giant white shark manages to get inside the park, Mike and Kay have to do what they can to prevent any tragedy. My feeble little mind couldn't really grasp or didn't really care about plot elements. All I knew was that there was a dangerous shark and people had to run for their lives. In addition, the film was released in 3-D, which was having a comeback at the time, so I guess we thought it was cool to wear the glasses and see things popping off the screen at the time.

Most of the details about the film had vanished from my mind, but after rewatching it, I can confirm it is mostly crap. Without even getting to the fact that the film disregards any factual science about shark behavior, the truth is that the plot is stupid, the acting is mediocre, and outside of the scope of 3-D, the special effects are downright awful. Rookie director Joe Alves tries to take advantage of the technology, but most of the uses of 3-D feel distracting, too gimmicky and in-your-face.

But I don't think that mattered to me back in 1983. All that mattered was that I was out with my mom and my brothers, having fun. I'm not sure what was the mindset of my mom at the time but, putting aside how appropriate or not the film was, I just can't imagine how tough it would be to be a relatively young woman in the middle of a divorce, trying to raise four sons alone, but this? this was a good day. For years, all I remembered about the film was just random shots, but the essence of being at the movies next to my mom, seeing her sneak candies in her purse and handing them out to us have always been etched in my mind. Sure, it's something that happened when I was a kid, but it's a moment that I'll always hold close to my heart.

Grade: C-

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Sat May 05, 2018 6:23 am
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Thief wrote:
A sequel
A film you remember from your childhood



Jaws 3-D (1983)



Grade: C-



I love that movie... I never even saw it in 3D. I had to see it on HBO afterwards.

Dennis Quaid has a lot to do with it. Always been a big fan of his, going back as far as Caveman and Dreamscape.

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Sat May 05, 2018 8:40 am
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Death Proof wrote:


I love that movie... I never even saw it in 3D. I had to see it on HBO afterwards.

Dennis Quaid has a lot to do with it. Always been a big fan of his, going back as far as Caveman and Dreamscape.


I like Dennis Quaid. He always brings a nice, cool presence to a film. But I don't think he's a superb actor. He is okay here, I guess, but not enough to save a worthless premise.

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Sat May 05, 2018 9:25 am
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April is gone and this is where I ended...

An Italian language film:
A Best Picture winner from before 1970: Gentleman's Agreement
A film about homosexuality or alternate lifestyles: Moonlight
A film starring someone you dislike: Once Upon a Time in America (James Woods)
A sequel: Friday the 13th, Part 2
A film about filmmaking: Shadow of the Vampire
A silent film: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
A film based on a play:
A film with no CGI or special effects:
A G-rated film: Dumbo
A film in a country you've never visited: Polytechnique (Canada)
A film featured in the Criterion Collection: Smiles of a Summer Night
An experimental film:
A docu-drama: Polytechnique
A fantasy film: Ink
A film with a character's name as the title: Lolita
An Iranian film:
A film you remember from your childhood: Jaws 3-D
A coming-of-age story: Boyhood
A film under 90 minutes long: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
A film by Ingmar Bergman: Smiles of a Summer Night
A film with a female protagonist: Friday the 13th, Part 2
A film famous for its twist/ending: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
A film with less than five major characters: Polytechnique
A Bollywood film:

Being in the middle of moving really took me out of pace, but I still managed to squeak by with 13 films seen.

My favorite by far was Moonlight, and my least favorite was Jaws 3-D.

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Sat May 05, 2018 9:36 am
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For those playing or interested, I just posted the new categories in the OP. As usual, recs are welcome!

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Sat May 05, 2018 10:05 am
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A thriller or suspenseful film: Touch of Evil
A film from the 1960s: The Naked Prey
A cult classic film: Seconds (1966)
A comedy made before 1970: Mary Poppins
A film you swore you'd never watch: Irreversible
A Korean language film: Tunnel (2016)
A film from the IMDb Top 250: Come and See
A science-fiction film: Robocop, Threads, Altered States, or The Time Machine
A Russian film: First, I'll suggest Stalker as it's my favorite film of all time. If you've already seen it though, watch Russian Ark.
A film set in a place you've been to: Kind Hearts and Coronets
A PG-rated film: The Right Stuff
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: Don't Look Now
A British film or British comedy: Four Weddings and a Funeral
A film based on a book: Soylent Green
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: Z
An NC-17-rated film: Happiness
A drama film: Clean, Shaven
A film featuring a non-human lead character: Au Hasard Balthazar
A film made for less than $5,000,000: The House is Black
A film that's in B&W: I'll just name a few films off of my favorite's list. If you've already seen them, great. If not, pick whichever one you want: Persona (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), and Eraserhead (1977).
A film with a number in its title: United 93
A period drama film: The New World

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Sat May 05, 2018 11:38 am
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Some Prime-friendly suggestions:

A Biblical film: Not really my jam--I'll probably watch the 2014 film Samson because it's short and it stars its own director, so it might be a lovely train-wreck.
A thriller or suspenseful film: The Handmaiden--thriller but also really funny and sexy. The Peacock
A film from the 1960s: The Firemen's Ball or Becket
A film starring an SNL regular (past or present): Year of the Dog
A cult classic film: Glen or Glenda
A comedy made before 1970: His Girl Friday or The Kid
A film you swore you'd never watch: Hmm. This is kind of like that "person you dislike" category. Most movies I don't want to watch are for ethical reasons like animal cruelty or because they were made by abusers. Ugh--I don't want to watch like a 50 Shades movie. I'll have to think on this one.
A Korean language film: Again, The Handmaiden. I LOVE Memories of Murder. You've seen The Man from Nowhere. I thought No Tears for the Dead was alright.
A film from the IMDb Top 250: There aren't many on Prime I haven't seen yet. I haven't worked up the courage to watch Room yet. I guess this is the time! (Note that The Handmaiden is on this list!)
A science-fiction film: I bet you've seen Push, but if not, I love it. I guess maybe I'll watch Gamer or Universal Soldier
A Russian film: I've been interested in How I Ended This Summer.
A film set in a place you've been to: I'm gonna watch Hooked Up (Barcelona)
A PG-rated film: Hugo or Dirty Rotten Scoundrals
A film about food: Chef or Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: The Big Sick, I Am Not Your Negro, The Interrupters
A British film or British comedy: Pride
A film based on a book: Hugo. Not Prime, but The Skin I Live In
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: Fences, Kiss of the Spider Woman ($2 rental)
An NC-17-rated film: Santa Sangre is soooooo good. Poison is a weird but interesting film. Was originally rated NC-17 but it was later downgraded to an R. I guess Le Grande Bouffe is my only option.
A drama film: The Florida Project[/b, [b]Young Adult
A film featuring a non-human lead character: The Last Unicorn, A Town Called Panic
A film made for less than $5,000,000: Cyborg, Bad Taste
A film that's in B&W: The Elephant Man, The Stranger, The 39 Steps (love this one!)
A film with a number in its title: Short Term 12 (I will keep recommending this one until everyone watches it! It's also low budget, a drama, and it's got an RT rating of 99%), Dementia 13, The 39 Steps
A period drama film: Love & Friendship


Sat May 05, 2018 12:11 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
I haven't worked up the courage to watch Room yet. I guess this is the time!

Yes it is. The film is emotionally heavy, but it won't ruin you. You'll be better off on the other end of it, I'm sure.

Takoma1 wrote:
Kiss of the Spider Woman ($2 rental)

So worth it. And it may still be on Prime, but for period-drama also check out Babenco's Ironweed.

Takoma1 wrote:
A film made for less than $5,000,000: Cyborg, Bad Taste

Also, Psychos in Love is a terrific low-budget horror-comedy. But definitely see Bad Taste.


Sat May 05, 2018 12:25 pm
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Room is boring. A waste of my time.


Sat May 05, 2018 12:38 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
A thriller or suspenseful film: Touch of Evil
A film from the 1960s: The Naked Prey
A cult classic film: Seconds (1966)
A comedy made before 1970: Mary Poppins
A film you swore you'd never watch: Irreversible
A Korean language film: Tunnel (2016)
A film from the IMDb Top 250: Come and See
A science-fiction film: Robocop, Threads, Altered States, or The Time Machine
A Russian film: First, I'll suggest Stalker as it's my favorite film of all time. If you've already seen it though, watch Russian Ark.
A film set in a place you've been to: Kind Hearts and Coronets
A PG-rated film: The Right Stuff
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: Don't Look Now
A British film or British comedy: Four Weddings and a Funeral
A film based on a book: Soylent Green
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: Z
An NC-17-rated film: Happiness
A drama film: Clean, Shaven
A film featuring a non-human lead character: Au Hasard Balthazar
A film made for less than $5,000,000: The House is Black
A film that's in B&W: I'll just name a few films off of my favorite's list. If you've already seen them, great. If not, pick whichever one you want: Persona (1966), The Battle of Algiers (1966), and Eraserhead (1977).
A film with a number in its title: United 93
A period drama film: The New World


Seen the ones in red.

The ones that I'm more intrigued of those are Touch of Evil, Stalker, Kind Heats and Coronets, The Right Stuff, Persona, and The Battle of Algiers. I'll see what I can find. Thanks!

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Sat May 05, 2018 12:44 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
Some Prime-friendly suggestions:

A Biblical film: Not really my jam--I'll probably watch the 2014 film Samson because it's short and it stars its own director, so it might be a lovely train-wreck.
A thriller or suspenseful film: The Handmaiden--thriller but also really funny and sexy. The Peacock
A film from the 1960s: The Firemen's Ball or Becket
A film starring an SNL regular (past or present): Year of the Dog
A cult classic film: Glen or Glenda
A comedy made before 1970: His Girl Friday or The Kid
A film you swore you'd never watch: Hmm. This is kind of like that "person you dislike" category. Most movies I don't want to watch are for ethical reasons like animal cruelty or because they were made by abusers. Ugh--I don't want to watch like a 50 Shades movie. I'll have to think on this one.
A Korean language film: Again, The Handmaiden. I LOVE Memories of Murder. You've seen The Man from Nowhere. I thought No Tears for the Dead was alright.
A film from the IMDb Top 250: There aren't many on Prime I haven't seen yet. I haven't worked up the courage to watch Room yet. I guess this is the time! (Note that The Handmaiden is on this list!)
A science-fiction film: I bet you've seen Push, but if not, I love it. I guess maybe I'll watch Gamer or Universal Soldier
A Russian film: I've been interested in How I Ended This Summer.
A film set in a place you've been to: I'm gonna watch Hooked Up (Barcelona)
A PG-rated film: Hugo or Dirty Rotten Scoundrals
A film about food: Chef or Fat Sick and Nearly Dead.
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: The Big Sick, I Am Not Your Negro, The Interrupters
A British film or British comedy: Pride
A film based on a book: Hugo. Not Prime, but The Skin I Live In
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: Fences, Kiss of the Spider Woman ($2 rental)
An NC-17-rated film: Santa Sangre is soooooo good. Poison is a weird but interesting film. Was originally rated NC-17 but it was later downgraded to an R. I guess Le Grande Bouffe is my only option.
A drama film: The Florida Project, Young Adult
A film featuring a non-human lead character: The Last Unicorn, A Town Called Panic
A film made for less than $5,000,000: Cyborg, Bad Taste
A film that's in B&W: The Elephant Man, The Stranger, The 39 Steps (love this one!)
A film with a number in its title: Short Term 12 (I will keep recommending this one until everyone watches it! It's also low budget, a drama, and it's got an RT rating of 99%), Dementia 13, The 39 Steps
A period drama film: Love & Friendship


Again, seen the ones in red. Guess I'll have to see The Handmaiden, right? :D I loved Oldboy, and Stoker surely left an impression, so I suppose I can give this one a shot.

And I hear you about the 50 Shades films, ugh... for that one, my mind immediately went to the Twilight films but I don't wanna see that one either. I'll have to think of that category.

Thanks!

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Sat May 05, 2018 12:55 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
Yes it is. The film is emotionally heavy, but it won't ruin you. You'll be better off on the other end of it, I'm sure.


I agree. I was dreading watching it, maybe for the same reasons Takoma is, but it was really worth checking out.

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Sat May 05, 2018 12:57 pm
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Thief wrote:
Without even getting to the fact that the film disregards any factual science about shark behavior
The original often did similarly, which just goes to show you how many problematic aspects people will disregard from a film with a superior overall execution.

;)

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Sat May 05, 2018 1:06 pm
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The Handmaiden is really good.


Sat May 05, 2018 1:09 pm
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Thief wrote:
A sequel
A film you remember from your childhood



Jaws 3-D (1983)



Jaws 3-D was released in the summer of 1983. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time. During those years, my mom was going through a somewhat bitter divorce from my father after 20 years of marriage. So my mom, who was 42-43 at the time, a couple of years older than I am right now, decided to take me and my 3 older brothers to see this film. This is the first recollection I have of being at the movies and my unofficial entry into the world of cinema. My mom is not a cinephile, but she has always enjoyed films (she is a fan of Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson), so I'd like to think this was an opportunity for her to go out and have fun, even if it was with the company of four little gnomes.

Jaws 3-D follows Mike Brody (Dennis Quaid), the son of Chief Martin Brody, who now works as an underwater engineer or something at SeaWorld, along with her girlfriend Kay (Bess Armstrong), a marine biologist. When a giant white shark manages to get inside the park, Mike and Kay have to do what they can to prevent any tragedy. My feeble little mind couldn't really grasp or didn't really care about plot elements. All I knew was that there was a dangerous shark and people had to run for their lives. In addition, the film was released in 3-D, which was having a comeback at the time, so I guess we thought it was cool to wear the glasses and see things popping off the screen at the time.

Most of the details about the film had vanished from my mind, but after rewatching it, I can confirm it is mostly crap. Without even getting to the fact that the film disregards any factual science about shark behavior, the truth is that the plot is stupid, the acting is mediocre, and outside of the scope of 3-D, the special effects are downright awful. Rookie director Joe Alves tries to take advantage of the technology, but most of the uses of 3-D feel distracting, too gimmicky and in-your-face.

But I don't think that mattered to me back in 1983. All that mattered was that I was out with my mom and my brothers, having fun. I'm not sure what was the mindset of my mom at the time but, putting aside how appropriate or not the film was, I just can't imagine how tough it would be to be a relatively young woman in the middle of a divorce, trying to raise four sons alone, but this? this was a good day. For years, all I remembered about the film was just random shots, but the essence of being at the movies next to my mom, seeing her sneak candies in her purse and handing them out to us have always been etched in my mind. Sure, it's something that happened when I was a kid, but it's a moment that I'll always hold close to my heart.

Grade: C-

I also love the movie. Will always watch it.


Sat May 05, 2018 2:06 pm
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Some suggestions from me (generally leaning towards Prime as well):
NOTE: These are not recommendations, but those I'd pick and vouch for are underlined

A Biblical film: Pontius Pilate (1962), David and Goliath (2015) (perhaps more is in FilmStruck?)
A thriller or suspenseful film: Carnival of Souls (1962), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Frailty (2002), Coherence (2014)
A film from the 1960s: Carnival of Souls (1962), Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Santa Claus Captures the Martians (1964), Poppies are Also Flowers (1962), Django (1966)
A film starring an SNL regular (past or present): Meatballs (Murray), Daddy's Home (Will Ferrell), Superstar (Molly Shannon), Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Tina Fey)
A cult classic film: Plan 9 from Outer Space, Glen or Glenda
A comedy made before 1970: Africa Screams (1949), Meet John Doe, Great Rupert (1950), The Inspector General (1949), My Man Godfrey (1936; also 100 percent RT), At War with the Army (1950)
A film you swore you'd never watch: Split Image (1982) (really I have no idea what would work for you)
A Korean language film: Peppermint Candy (2000), The Handmaiden (2016), Memories of Murder, Last Princess
A film from the IMDb Top 250: Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Paper Moon, Rocky, Memories of Murder, There Will Be Blood
A science-fiction film: Coherence, 1984, Into the Forest, Valerian, Equals
A Russian film: Aleksandr's Price (2013), 7 Days with a Russian Beauty (1996), Song from the Southern Seas
A film set in a place you've been to: Last Woman on Earth (1960), King of the Zombies, Riding 79 (2017)
A PG-rated film: Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Paper Moon (1973), The Elephant Man (1980), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Fame (2009)
A film about food: Chef (2014), Compulsion (2013), Just Eat It (2014), Bitter Feast (2010)
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: Creed, Aida's Secrets, Big Sick, Florida Project, I Am Not Your Negro, What We Do in the Shadows, Nightcrawler, From Russia with Love, Johnny Guitar, The Hurt Locker
A British film or British comedy: 1984, Kill Your Friends, Hunky Dory, Cleanskin
A film based on a book: Carrie, Room, Me Before You, Crooked House
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: Room (2015), Manchester by the Sea (2016), There Will Be Blood (2007)
An NC-17-rated film: Memories of Murder (2017; also fits the Korean film category), The Last Princess (2016; again doubles for Korean film)
A drama film: The Fits (2015),
A film featuring a non-human lead character: TMNT: Out of the Shadows, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Black Cat
A film made for less than $5,000,000: Mean Creek, Frozen (2010 thriller), Saints and Soldiers
A film that's in B&W: Two Women, College, Dementia 13
A film with a number in its title: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), 1984 (1984), 2 Days in Paris (2007), 21 Years: Richard Linklater (2014), 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
A period drama film: The Retrieval (2014), Allied, Paper Moon, The Year My Voice Broke, Summer Solstice


Sun May 06, 2018 3:48 am
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Wooley wrote:

I also love the movie. Will always watch it.



Image

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Sun May 06, 2018 4:06 am
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Thief wrote:

Once Upon a Time in America

There is a particular scene between Noodles and his perennial love interest, Deborah, that ended up being one of the toughest and most heart-wrenching scenes I've had to endure in a film.

But as unhinged and prone to anger as Max is, I ended up hating Noodles more. Not necessarily for the faults he committed, but because I never really saw a genuine remorse from him, or in the way he was portrayed by the film.


This was exactly my reaction. The scene you refer to really shook me, to the point that I mentally checked out for the remainder of the film. As far as I was concerned, the character was no longer anything but
a rapist, and I was no longer interested in any plot developments that did not involve him going to jail and/or having his ass handed to him. Instead, the film seems to treat it a bit too incidentally and it's sort of glossed over after it happens. I just had a hard time getting past that.
Now, one could argue that my intense reaction to the rape means that Leone did his job, because rape happens to be a horrific thing so a rape scene should therefore also be horrific. No argument there, it's just the way he's sort of let off the hook that bothers me. And I don't mean "let off the hook" as in the character isn't punished in the script. Bad guys sometimes win, I get it. I mean that the film and Leone could've won me over with a more "Isn't this guy just the worst?" approach to the character.


So glad to hear you say this stuff because I always felt like an outsider for not loving the film. I'm a fan of other Leone movies and I acknowledge that this isn't a bad film by any stretch, it's just one that I don't look forward to watching again.

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Sun May 06, 2018 4:27 am
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For those wondering/interested, here's what I'm looking at for May:

A Biblical film: David and Goliath (2015)
A thriller or suspenseful film: The Sadist (1963)
A film from the 1960s: The Sadist (1963)
A film starring an SNL regular (past or present): Angry Birds Movie (2016) (Hader, Sudekis, and Maya Rudolph)
A cult classic film:
A comedy made before 1970: Bringing Up Baby (1946)
A film you swore you'd never watch:
A Korean language film:
A film from the IMDb Top 250: Metropolis (1927)
A science-fiction film: Metropolis (1927)
A Russian film:
A film set in a place you've been to:
A PG-rated film: David and Goliath (2015)
A film about food: Food on the Go (2017)
A film with a Rotten Tomatoes score above 95%: Metropolis (1927)
A British film or British comedy: The Imitation Game (2014)
A film based on a book: The Imitation Game (2014)
A film nominated for Best Picture that didn't win: The Imitation Game (2014)
An NC-17-rated film:
A drama film:
A film featuring a non-human lead character: Born in China (2017)
A film made for less than $5,000,000: Food on the Go (2017)
A film that's in B&W: Bringing Up Baby (1946)
A film with a number in its title:
A period drama film: The Imitation Game


Sun May 06, 2018 5:18 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
A film from the 1960s: The Sadist (1963),


Nice


Sun May 06, 2018 6:22 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
A British film or British comedy: Young Victoria (2009), Imitation Game (2014), Nowhere Boy (I'm sure there's others I'm not thinking of)


I would keep thinking. For starters, Naked by Mike Leigh. Or anything by Mike Leigh, really.


Sun May 06, 2018 6:25 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

I would keep thinking. For starters, Naked by Mike Leigh. Or anything by Mike Leigh, really.


The first thing I checked was if Secrets & Lies was on Prime. I really like Naked--it's the only one of his that I own.


Sun May 06, 2018 8:39 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

The first thing I checked was if Secrets & Lies was on Prime. I really like Naked--it's the only one of his that I own.


Secrets and Lies is great, and the first I ever saw by him. You really can't lose with Leigh. I also try to rep his early tele-films hard because they aren't given much notice. Kiss of Death, Bleak Moments, Hard Labour and, especially, Abigail's Party. All more than worth the time to seek out..


Sun May 06, 2018 9:33 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Secrets and Lies is great, and the first I ever saw by him. You really can't lose with Leigh. I also try to rep his early tele-films hard because they aren't given much notice. Kiss of Death, Bleak Moments, Hard Labour and, especially, Abigail's Party. All more than worth the time to seek out..


I don't usually pay as much attention to TV movies, so these hadn't been on my radar--thanks!

There's an energy to Naked that I think is pretty different from the energy that I usually get off of his films. I remember my roommate walking in while I was watching it and just from the few minutes he saw (which admittedly were one of those really uncomfortable scenes with the guy who's a total sociopath) he was like "This is too much!". I'm also a big fan of David Thewlis, who I wish was given more starring roles.


Sun May 06, 2018 10:05 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

I would keep thinking. For starters, Naked by Mike Leigh. Or anything by Mike Leigh, really.


Don't believe any of them are available on Netflix or Prime. Will keep looking (overdue for Secrets and Lies).


Sun May 06, 2018 10:36 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Nice


Last time he did a list involving the 1960s, I caught Nasty Rabbit. Hardly a top tier spoof, but at least it felt like Arch and company were in on the joke which is an improvement on Eegah.

If I can handle Hall Jr. acting as a psycho, I think it might prove to be a pleasant surprise.


Sun May 06, 2018 10:39 am
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Meantime, folks. Meantime!


Sun May 06, 2018 12:33 pm
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Thief wrote:
The ones that I'm more intrigued of those are Touch of Evil, Stalker, Kind Heats and Coronets, The Right Stuff, Persona, and The Battle of Algiers.

That's a great line-up.

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Mon May 07, 2018 12:01 am
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A science-fiction film: Gamer

I remember this one getting trashed when it first came out. Then, a few years later, I remember seeing a few "Yeah, but . . ." things about it. Everyone talked about "the dance sequence".

Okay: the dance sequence is really interesting. And the movie is indeed 96% garbage.

The premise is thus: sometime in the near future a tech genius (Michael C Hall) has discovered a way to place self-replicating nano-cells into human brains, effectively enabling the control and surveillance of those people. A sim-like program called "Society" becomes popular, as people agree to be "actors" who are controlled by paying users. Soon after, a new program emerges, a real-life first person shooter in which death row prisoners are made into characters for users to play (and kill). If a prisoner can survive 30 missions in the game, he/she will be set free.

Gerard Butler plays a prisoner called Kable who is on the brink of surviving his 30 missions. A conspiracy emerges to kill Kable. Other key players are Angie (Kable's wife, forced to be an "actress" in Society), Gina (a reporter), Simon (the spoiled rich kid who controls Kable), Hackman (a violent murderer hired to take Kable out), and the Humanz (a resistance group fighting against the tech giant).

The most astonishing thing about this film is that it is chock full of awesome actors! Terry Crews (wasted as the violent Hackman)! Kieth David (wasted as a corrupt cop)! John Leguizamo (wasted as a fellow prisoner with about 8 lines of dialogue)!

Other actors in this film include: Kyra Sedgwick, Alison Lohman, John De Lancie, Milo Ventimiglia, and Zoe Bell.

I can see why this was so trashed. The whole movie plays like a lazy critique of internet culture interspersed with poorly-staged action sequences. The movie is both astonishingly uncreative and "edgy" in the worst possible way. One ongoing subplot is that Kable's wife is controlled in the game by an morbidly obese man who uses her as a walking sex toy, maneuvering her from one degrading sexual encounter to another. Milo Ventimiglia's character is an in-game "actor" called Rick Rape. There's a scene where Kable's wife is forced by the player to pick Rick Rape up in a bar and take him back to a hotel. From there Rick Rape starts to do, well, exactly what you'd think he would, only to be stopped in very violent fashion. The movie plays it like a "HELL YEAH!" moment . . . only . . . wait . . . isn't Rick also an actor? We've been told that all these people are actors being controlled by users. So the body being so violently killed is just an actor and the actual perpetrator of the rape is just safely behind a keyboard somewhere.

Every setpiece imagines the future as just a tepid form of straight white male porn. It's just scene after scene of random topless white women. This is a future without any kind of genuine queer presence (some lesbian makeouts are distinctly made for a male audience), racial representation, or visible kink culture (aside from one shot of some people suspended by hooks). The users behind the keyboards are all the stereotypical sweaty fat loser dudes, and the movie neatly sidesteps the idea that even normal people might indulge in vicarious sadism. The concept of people living vicariously through the bodies of others is an intriguing one, but it's given only the most trite exploration. And even the "critique" of internet culture rings incredibly hollow given how much the film enjoys ogling every female character it can and lingering repeatedly on the undressed women who literally are the set decoration for several sequences.

I have to wonder how the filming of this movie went down. John Leguizamo literally has one conversation with Kable and that's it! It has the feeling of a movie that was edited into oblivion. Maggie Lawson and James Roday (who play Jules and Shawn on the show Psych) have cameos(?) as new anchors, but, like, WHY?

This movie was short enough that I wasn't unhappy that I watched it. There are a lot of good actors in there, and they actually all do okay in their roles. The dance sequence is fun (but too short). It's somehow a watchable D+.


Mon May 07, 2018 8:28 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A science-fiction film: Gamer


You are braver than I am. One of my rules of cinema is that if Gerard Butler is in it, probably best to avoid it. And certainly don't invest money in it.
Funny thing is, I kinda like Gerard Butler. But man, is he the harbinger of a bad movie.


Mon May 07, 2018 10:11 am
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Wooley wrote:
You are braver than I am. One of my rules of cinema is that if Gerard Butler is in it, probably best to avoid it. And certainly don't invest money in it.
Funny thing is, I kinda like Gerard Butler. But man, is he the harbinger of a bad movie.


I haven't seen many of his movie. HOWEVER, I have a general benevolence toward Gerard Butler because when I was in college and feeling a lot of anxiety, I read an interview with Butler where he talked about anxiety he developed in his early 20s and he was literally describing what I was going through. So I have very positive feelings about him as a person, but I agree that his movies don't really call out to me. Skimming his IMDb page I've only seen Gamer, How to Train Your Dragon, and . . . . that's it.


Mon May 07, 2018 10:30 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I haven't seen many of his movie. HOWEVER, I have a general benevolence toward Gerard Butler because when I was in college and feeling a lot of anxiety, I read an interview with Butler where he talked about anxiety he developed in his early 20s and he was literally describing what I was going through. So I have very positive feelings about him as a person, but I agree that his movies don't really call out to me. Skimming his IMDb page I've only seen Gamer, How to Train Your Dragon, and . . . . that's it.

Yeah, like I said, I like the guy, I never really have any problems with HIM in his movies, he just seems to almost always get sucked into shitty movies.


Mon May 07, 2018 11:18 am
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Wooley wrote:
I also love the movie. Will always watch it.


It's inoffensive, sure, but it's so mediocrely made, script, performances, special effects.

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Mon May 07, 2018 11:21 am
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Thief wrote:

It's inoffensive, sure, but it's so mediocrely made, script, performances, special effects.


Jaws 3 is just so awful I can't imagine anyone choosing to rewatch it. It's so bad that watching Jaws IV would be considerably preferable, and I fucking hate that movie too.


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