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> Now Watching, Films/ movies discussion
Rachel the Breton
post Aug 31 2010, 03:09 PM
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I'm (re)watching the Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister series. It's a British show from the 80's...political satire. I'm pretty sure it would translate smoothly to most nations' politics, though. Sir Nigel Hawthorne is superb as the scheming Sir Humphrey, and easily steals the show; Paul Eddington, as the idealistic but utterly cowardly Jim Hacker, is fantastic, though, too. The show is beyond superb.
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Olen
post Aug 31 2010, 09:53 PM
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I'll second the above, Yes Minister is excellent. I most like the private secretary Bernard Wolly (I can't remember who played him). Some of his interactions with Sir Humphery are priceless. I'd certainly recommend it, though I didn't like Yes Prime Minister nearly so much.

As far as what I'm watching... not much really. The Edinburgh Festival is on so I've been to a couple of plays (I suppose they count as watching). One was a particularly good adaption of Sunset Song by a group from Aberdeenshire so they had the accents right which was nice to hear.

This post has been edited by Olen: Aug 31 2010, 09:55 PM


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Black Hand
post Sep 1 2010, 09:28 AM
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Just finished watching 'Flawless' on Netflix. Released in 2007, I had never actually heard of it.

It's a crime thriller starring Demi Moore and Micheal Caine set in 1960 at the London Diamond Corporation. In short Caine is this brilliant bloke who poses as a janitor at Lon Di, and enlists the help of the glass-ceiling victim Demi Moore to rob the vaults of the company. Making her think that he will only take a thermos full of uncut diamonds that would never be missed, the entire vault ends up missing two tons of diamonds.

The plot doesn't quite live up too the title, and theres a couple of quirks in the characters that I sort of snorted at that just weren't believable to me, but hey, I've done that in my own writings, so who am I too judge?

But there are twists and turns in the movie that were quite well thought out and displayed, and Caine steals the show with his superior acting as usual, Demi Moore came in at a great second, but this is hardly her Magnum Opus. Plus, who doesn't like seeing British stuffed shirts having the thumbscrews put to them for a change?

If your thinking the pairing and the setting reflects Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the awful movie 'Entrapment' (1997) you couldn't be further from the truth, there is little to no 'action' in this flick, relying on a perfect pace and overall well-written story and close-ups to convey plot points.

That was Black Hand's review and pick for movie of the week, I'll see you at the line outside the port-a-potty at the Nightwish concert featuring other Northern European metal bands.

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hazmick
post Sep 1 2010, 11:51 AM
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I think I've seen 'Flawless' before, I'm not sure...

anyway, I recently watched 'Dog Soldiers'-a british horror film about a group of soldiers who get lost in a forest full of werewolves. they find a small farmhouse and hold of the relentless werewolf assault and gradually and gruesomely get picked off. Eventually a collie dog and a single soldier are let in the now destroyed house.

It's a low budget film with an all British cast and filmed entirely in Scotland. The plot is enjoyable and (considering that there are no special effects) the werewolves are well-done. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good horror.


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Olen
post Sep 1 2010, 05:10 PM
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Oooh, I'll jump in again to give a vote for Dog Soldiers. That film is a guilty pleasure, it's so much more enjoyable than it has any right to be. It certainly follows the way a lot of British films go these days - no budget so they can't afford well known actors or cgi but they generally make up for it in good casting and plotting. Certainly it puts more pressure on the director to get it right if he can't hide things with fireworks *cough starwars cough*. I might be biased becuase it plays to the home audience but I rate it very highly, particularly for the interactions within the squad which are brilliantly done.



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SubRosa
post Oct 21 2010, 05:11 PM
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I just finished re-watching Letters from Iwo Jima for about the fifth time. My first time on blu-ray though. Once more, I was just left in awe by this movie.

The cast is superb. A real treat after the stiff acting one always sees by Japanese actors in the old 70's movies like Midway and Tora! Tora! Tora!. I think the movie being in Japanese really makes a huge difference, as the cast does have to struggle to deliver lines in a foreign language. Being subtitled, I know most Americans cannot even bear to watch it. After all, you have to read. Nothing more terrible than that, except perhaps having to think as well.

Funny thing was when I was watching the extras, Eastwood was talking about making the movie, and he commented that directing was a more difficult for him than usual, because he did not know what the actors were saying! He had a translator repeating everything he said on the set, and vice-versa. It never occurred to me until then just how difficult that must have been to do!

Ken Watanabe stars, and I swear that man is awesome. I think I saw him first in Memoirs of a Geisha, and he blew me away there as well. As Eastwood says in the extras, Watanabe has a terrific face and a great presence. Looking at pictures of the real General Kuribayashi, it is amazing how similar the two men are in appearance as well.

One thing that always strikes me about this movie is the contrast it makes to Flags of our Fathers, especially concerning the cast. I always get confused watching Flags because except for the native american, I cannot tell the characters apart. I really mean that. With the same clothes, same haircut, same young, clean-shaven faces, they all literally look the same to me. I know Eastwood went with unknown actors because he wanted people to see the characters, rather than the people playing them (which inevitably happens with well-known stars), but I think it back-fired. The only characters in Flags I could tell apart were the minor characters, who were played by seasoned actors that I knew.

But I do not have that problem with Letters at all, even though Ken Watanabe was the only actor I knew. Each Japanese character is unique in appearance. Partly it was the different uniforms between officers and enlisted men. I think the facial hair that many had helps too. For example Baron Nishi has a very distinctive thin goatee (haute would like the Baron, he was an Olympic gold medalist in horse-jumping before the war, and a well-known ladies man wink.gif ). Kashiwara has this really straggly look. Saigo really stands out as clean-shaven, baby-faced and looking every inch of the sloppy civilian he really is, while Shimizu is always all prim and proper, etc...

The other thing I liked about Letters over Flags was that where Flags bounced around constantly, Letters was pretty solidly done in chronological order. Letters does have flashbacks which reveal more about the characters, but the way those are done it is very clear that it is a flashback, what character it is about, it offers real character development, and finally, they are brief, keeping us in the moment.

What is astounding is that this movie was basically made on a whim. Eastwood was preparing to shoot Flags when he came across a book of Kuribayashi's letters. They so inspired him that he wanted to do a companion film told from the Japanese side. He ran it by Spielberg (who produced along with Eastwood), who said "Yeah, sounds great!" and so they did it at the same time as Flags. Just like that, a fantastic movie was made.

All in all it is one of the best war movies I have ever seen. It is all about sacrifice. The last stand where there is no chance of victory, let alone survival, but they keep on fighting anyway. Of the 22,000 Japanese on the island, only two dozen were taken alive during the battle. Another 1,800 surrendered months, and even years, later. Some hiding out until 1951. The other 20,000 men all died.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Oct 21 2010, 05:37 PM


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haute ecole rider
post Oct 21 2010, 06:40 PM
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I saw about two thirds of Letters (the latter part) and loved it. It was compelling, gritty, and very much my taste - asking questions about honor, loyalty and comradeship in the face of war (which tends to break down notions of civility).

I've not had a chance to locate it on DVD and watch the full movie. When I do, though, it probably will go next to The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape as one of my favorites.


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Olen
post Nov 1 2010, 10:19 PM
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I went and saw Burke and Hare last night. Generally I was impressed. There were some fairly glaring and odd issues with it, mainly historical inaccuricies which seemed completely unnessessary - ones which were required for the plot or humour I'm fine with but, without spoilers, there were some big ones which affected neither.

Still it was bizarrely funny in a dark sort of way and the casting was bang on, Simon Pegg does black comedy well and delivered some fantastic lines. Ronnie Corbit was in it too and it appears he's still quite able to act. I was also surprised how little accent butchering went on (there were mistakes but the writer did well to give the illusion of accent using occasional words while keeping it largely in English). They also caught some aspects of Edinburgh well in terms of the feel of bits of the city, and many scenes in places which were recognisable, even the occasional in joke.

The final scene... well it's true (and that's not all).

I'd recommend it.


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DarkZerker
post Nov 3 2010, 03:23 AM
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"First you shall pull the holy pin. Then you shall count to THREE. THREE is the number you shall be counting. Two is not allowed and neither is four after you had counted to THREE. Five is WAY OUT!"

"One, two, five!"

"Three sir!"

"Three!"

Can you guess what I saw?


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SubRosa
post Nov 7 2010, 03:16 AM
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I bought the Man With No Name trilogy on blu-ray last week and watched the three films over that weekend. I learned some interesting things in the extras. Fist Full of Dollars was the first movie where Sergio Leone began using his trademark extreme closeups. The reason was that it was shot in the what at that time was the brand new process of technoscope, which allowed for it. So basically Leone was making the most of a brand new technology.

I have always liked the way he used those closeups of character's faces. All other directors before and since only use the closeup to show a character's reaction to dialogue or events. Leone uses them to build tension to a nearly unbearable level before an explosion of action. At the same time he also humanizes all the characters, as we look deeply into their eyes, study every line and crease on their faces, every droplet of sweat beading their skin. They cease to be cardboard villains just waiting for the hero to gun them down. Instead they become people, and when they die, there is a sense of weight in the event that is lost in modern action films.

Some other interesting things I learned. The reason Eastwood did the three films was that he was doing Rawhide at the time, and his contract forbid him from filming movies in the U.S. during the hiatus' between seasons. But he was free to film overseas, which of course the Leone movies were. Still, he brought his guns from Rawhide, plus a few other props. He keeps the guns throughout all three films in fact.

Another neat thing I learned was why the films seem to dubbed, and not dubbed, at the same time. The cast was made up of actors from all over Europe. Each actor spoke their own language when filming. Then afterward the sound was dubbed over for each each country it was released in, except the parts that were originally spoken in that language. That is why Eastwood's lines are all his, in English, and the other actor's are all dubbed into English. In the Spanish version all his lines were dubbed over, and all the Spanish-speaking actors left as they were, etc...

Also interesting is that Eastwood's character was never meant to be the same person in all three films. In fact, in the second film he even has a name: Manco. By the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly they sort of gave up on that however, and Eastwood picks up the characteristic poncho from a dead soldier before the final climax.

Another neat thing when you watch them in a row is you see that many actors make recurring appearances. Besides Eastwood of course, the other obvious one is Lee Van Cleef being in For A Few Dollars More and
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. But there are a lot of others too. The guy who played Ramon in Fist Full also plays El Indio in For A Few Dollars More. He even uses the same rifle in a few scenes. There is a big Spanish guy with a beard who shows up in all three as a henchman. The undertaker in the first is also in the second, etc...

All in all a fun time watching. I love the soundtracks, especially in the first and third movies. GBU did drag on for too long at 3 hours though, my only real gripe about the films.

Currently, I just started going through the Lord of the Rings special editions again. I wish they would release them on blu ray. The end credits for Fellowship are playing as I type this. I picked up Band of Brothers on blu-ray tonight, so that will be next in the pipeline.

Has anyone seen The Pacific? It is out in stores now, but I do not want to put down $70 for it until I have a better idea how good it is. I have it in my Netflix queue, but they do not have it available until the end of the month.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Nov 7 2010, 04:45 PM


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mALX
post Nov 7 2010, 03:50 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Nov 6 2010, 10:16 PM) *


before the final climax.



Huh? It was multi Clint-gasmic?


JUST KIDDING! I love the history you gave on these films! This was my absolute first date, and first time at a drive-in theatre. Once a year they had 5 Clint Eastwood movies, one right after the other without even the Roadrunner in between. I was too young to stay out late enough to see all 5, but I got to see the first three (and still got grounded for two weeks for coming home late).

Great research you did on this !!


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treydog
post Nov 7 2010, 01:03 PM
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An interesting thing to do is track back through the "man in the middle" theme.

Although it may go even further back, Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest inspired Fist Full of Dollars. And then there is Kurosawa's Yojimbo. There's argument as to whether it was based on Red Harvest or The Glass Key, but the theme is the same in either case.

Some of my favorite moments- in Fist Full of Dollars, when "Joe" asks the outlaws to apologize to his mule.

In For a Few Dollars More, when the hunchback Wild (played by Klaus Kinski!) confronts Lee Van Cleef for the second time. Van Cleef notes, "It's a small world." To which Wild replies, "And very, very bad."

One other fun note- Lee Van Cleef lost that finger tip while working on his house, rather than as an accident while filming. (A number of Western stunt actors have lost fingers to blanks from the firearms.)


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bingobatrix
post Nov 7 2010, 10:10 PM
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I really like some of the things people here have said they were watching. I'm watching Le Samouraï from 1967 right now. Though there aren't any samurai in it. But it's great.
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Destri Melarg
post Nov 8 2010, 12:23 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Nov 6 2010, 07:16 PM) *

Currently, I just started going through the Lord of the Rings special editions again. I wish they would release them on blu ray. The end credits for Fellowship are playing as I type this. I picked up Band of Brothers on blu-ray tonight, so that will be next in the pipeline.

Has anyone seen The Pacific? It is out in stores now, but I do not want to put down $70 for it until I have a better idea how good it is. I have it in my Netflix queue, but they do not have it available until the end of the month.

Actually LOTR was released on blu ray during the summer. I bought my copy the day it was released and I have not been disappointed. The only problem I have is that they are not the extended versions of all three movies (I just love the added Gondor scenes in The Two Towers). But still, the Nas ghul are simply AWESOME on blu ray!

And I have seen The Pacific. While not quite as good as Band of Brothers, it remains well-worth the $70. James Badge Dale delivers a star-making performance as Leckie. My opinion of it might not match yours, however. If you only have to wait 'til the end of the month for it to be available on Netflix, then that's what you should do.


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SubRosa
post Nov 8 2010, 01:39 AM
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QUOTE(Destri Melarg @ Nov 7 2010, 06:23 PM) *

Actually LOTR was released on blu ray during the summer. I bought my copy the day it was released and I have not been disappointed. The only problem I have is that they are not the extended versions of all three movies (I just love the added Gondor scenes in The Two Towers). But still, the Nas ghul are simply AWESOME on blu ray!


Yes, I saw the theatrical version were out. But I do not want to waste money on them when the special editions will be out sometime (I am hoping they will release them for the Christmas rush). Besides, after seeing the special editions, I don't want to go back to the shorter versions where so much is left out.

QUOTE(Destri Melarg @ Nov 7 2010, 06:23 PM) *

And I have seen The Pacific. While not quite as good as Band of Brothers, it remains well-worth the $70. James Badge Dale delivers a star-making performance as Leckie. My opinion of it might not match yours, however. If you only have to wait 'til the end of the month for it to be available on Netflix, then that's what you should do.


That sounds good enough for me. I think once I am done watching BoB, I will go out and buy Pacific.


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Olen
post Nov 9 2010, 03:08 PM
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Well for a change I'll report on a rather poor film. I go to second hand shops and buy a fair few bad films, some good-bad (Big Trouble in Little China) some bad-bad (The Terror Within springs to mind as potentially the worst film ever made).

Anyway I saw Supernova last night and it wasn't so much bad as profoundly mediocre. It's not new but it had it's share of half decent sets and effects which were acceptable for 2004, but had I designed the sets I'd have been annoyed by how awful the script, directing and acting were. To call the character's cardboard would be an insult to boxes everywhere, they were dire. The plot was the rather derivative nonsense I'd expected (and wanted, to be honest mindless sci fi is fine by me on a Monday night) but the baddy (there is no other word) was just that. Bad, no redeeming features and obviously so from the start. Within ten minutes I knew exactly what was going to happen, and was right. There were no twists, and too much action killed any tension it might have developed.

Frankly one to avoid.

This post has been edited by Olen: Nov 9 2010, 03:08 PM


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treydog
post Nov 12 2010, 02:25 AM
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I was thinking some more about Sergio Leone last night, and realized that one of my favorites from him is
Once Upon a Time in the West. No Clint Eastwood, but quite a cast all the same- Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, and Henry Fonda in a remarkable role. Not to mention the incredible Claudia Cardinale.

Do try to see the full version, even though it does run long. The opening sequence alone- with Jack Elam, Woody Strode, and a third actor whose name escapes me- is worth the price of admission.


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SubRosa
post Nov 12 2010, 03:37 AM
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QUOTE(treydog @ Nov 11 2010, 08:25 PM) *

I was thinking some more about Sergio Leone last night, and realized that one of my favorites from him is
Once Upon a Time in the West. No Clint Eastwood, but quite a cast all the same- Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, and Henry Fonda in a remarkable role. Not to mention the incredible Claudia Cardinale.

Do try to see the full version, even though it does run long. The opening sequence alone- with Jack Elam, Woody Strode, and a third actor whose name escapes me- is worth the price of admission.


I saw that one last summer. Quite right, another excellent western. That first scene was at the train station as i recall. I loved the harmonica, and how you hear it before you see Bronson. Leone really used it well to build tension. The scene in the tavern near the beginning was excellent as well.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Nov 12 2010, 03:41 AM


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Destri Melarg
post Nov 12 2010, 10:33 AM
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QUOTE(treydog @ Nov 11 2010, 05:25 PM) *

Do try to see the full version, even though it does run long. The opening sequence alone- with Jack Elam, Woody Strode, and a third actor whose name escapes me- is worth the price of admission.

Ah, you guys have drifted into my wheelhouse here. I love Once Upon a Time in the West! Here is the opening scene for those who have not seen it. The third actor in the opening scene is named Al Mulock. He made a brief appearance in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly as the one-armed bounty hunter wounded by Eli Wallach in the early part of the film (when Wallach says the immortal line: “When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.”).

*In a macabre postscript, Mulock committed suicide during the making of Once Upon a Time by jumping from a hotel window while still in costume!*


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Kiln
post Nov 13 2010, 08:10 PM
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Cinderella Man:

1. Awesome movie during about a boxer during the American Great Depression.

2. Very emotional movie.

3. Has nothing to do with Cinderella...thankfully.

4. Russel Crowe and other actors are really good in this film.

Go watch it now.


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