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  #1151  
Old 09-05-2019, 09:49 PM
Morgyn is offline
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This past weekend I watch Captains Courageous, which I'd never seen before. I really enjoyed it, but I was left wondering how the crew felt about a captain who'd gotten one of their shipmates killed because he couldn't bear to lose a race. Or why the land-based authorities apparently had nothing to say about it, either.

That was a nit pick, though. Overall, I loved the relationship between Manual and Harvey, especially Harvey finally learning that when you win something by cheating, it was not worth winning. I enjoyed how, when left without recourse, Harvey actually grew and learned. Tough love can be very effective sometimes. And I had a bit of hope, at the last scene, that Harvey had learned how to relate to his father without lying, and his father had learned how to be a real father who listened and did things with his son, rather than just tossing money and toys at him and thinking that was enough.
  #1152  
Old 09-08-2019, 03:22 PM
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MotW: Blinded by the Light.

I know what you're thinking. It's one of those movies where they take a classic song, slap it on as a title and if you're lucky play a few bars during the closing credits. And the song has no connection to the movie at all.*

Nope. A kid from a Pakistani family in Luton**, UK discovers Bruce Springsteen in 1987 (!) and life changing events and movie ensue. So a lot of Springsteen music and lyrics are used. Contrasted with the actual contemporary music of the era: Wham!, The Bangles, Debbie Gibson and of course a mention of Tiffany.

I enjoyed the experience of watching it. But the question is: was I enjoying it because of the music or the movie itself? I guess the plot, etc. was okay. Several people in it were really good actors. In particular Aaron Phagura as the friends Roops and Hayley Atwell as the standard inspirational teacher. (And doing an amazing job channeling Kate Mara with a British accent.)

So I'd say fairly okay movie kicked up a level by the music.

Give it 4 cassettes.

* E.g., the movie Moonlight Mile was going to be named after a Beatles tune, but it was going to cost too much so they went with a Rolling Stones tune. The only other change was to edit in the song the couple dance to in one scene after filming. The song doesn't really mean anything in terms of the film. But it's still a good movie.

** Which I know mainly from several Monty Python sketches as a generic, drab, boring, British city. In this movie it's plagued by layoffs, racism, and Margaret Thatcher.
  #1153  
Old 09-09-2019, 06:49 AM
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I watched the original Pet Sematary this weekend. It's been near thirty years since I saw it last.

I was surprised at how well it's held up. It was tightly scripted; there was nothing in there that wasn't important to the story. They mention this guy's a doctor, well, I hope you were paying attention because next thing you know he's trying to save the life of a nice young man who's been hit by a car.

I was also impressed by the talent of the child actors, Gage especially. During some of the scenes, he looked like a baby trying to make the mad face without laughing, but I think it still worked.
Of course, Fred Gwynne stole the show. I haven't seen the remake, but I just don't know how there could ever be another Jud Crandall.

Five dead cats (or however we're rating these things).
  #1154  
Old 09-09-2019, 07:57 AM
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I finally saw The Favourite. The costumes were great but why in heaven's name they put modern music in here and there is beyond me. It takes you completely out of the mood of the picture. Beyond that, I found it to be boring and the bits they showed in trailers were about the only entertaining parts.
  #1155  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:32 PM
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Just watched "The Mule", after telling myself I'd never watch another movie by this racist asshole. Should have listened to myself, as it was basically just another two hours of him couching his racism under a thin veil of civility. Not as bad as Gran Torino, but still crap.
  #1156  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
I finally saw The Favourite. The costumes were great but why in heaven's name they put modern music in here and there is beyond me. It takes you completely out of the mood of the picture. Beyond that, I found it to be boring and the bits they showed in trailers were about the only entertaining parts.
The problem was the trailers tried to pitch it as slapstick comedy, when it wasnít. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but only saw it after learning that it was not, in fact, a slapstick comedy, but more of a period drama.

I donít recall the music, so I guess I didnít find it too distracting.
  #1157  
Old 09-10-2019, 05:32 PM
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Finally watched United 93. Very difficult to watch, even after 18 years have passed, and very well done.

Then watched the silliness that is Aquaman, but it was okay.
  #1158  
Old 09-15-2019, 12:40 PM
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MotW: American Woman. (Note: there's a lot of stuff out there with the same title. A lot.)

Sienna Miller stars as a woman who undergoes a major tragedy and then it's affects over the years. Directed by Jake Scott (son of Ridley). Scott has mostly done music videos, e.g., Everybody Hurts.

Very hard to watch at times, esp. in the beginning. Miller's character is incredibly unsympathetic at first. But then time happens.

Really great cast. Christina Hendricks as her sister. (The usual understated great job.) Will Sasso as the brother-in-law. (If you only know him from stuff like the 3 Stooges movie or that Shatner sitcom, you've missed some good stuff. He is a subtle genius in Drop Dead Gorgeous.) Aaron Paul drops in as one of the men in her life. (So a Mad Men/Breaking Bad conjunction.) Amy Madigan as the mom. Pat Healy as the living embodiment of evil. (Well, I exaggerate, a little.) And so on down the cast list.

Like I said. Hard to watch for quite a bit of it. But still uplifting in its way.

Note: No attempt to play off the Guess Who song is intended.

Give it 4 frying pans.
  #1159  
Old 09-15-2019, 02:21 PM
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"I Origins" (2014)
I have seen this movie for a few times already and I love to rewatch it with friends.
Some rating here https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2884206/
It combines scientific and spiritual aspects. Give it a try. I do enjoy this one immensely.
  #1160  
Old 09-15-2019, 09:36 PM
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Just the noteworthy ones over the past couple of weeks:

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
What can you say about one of the great pop voices of the twentieth century? This documentary isn't exactly a warts and all portrayal, but Linda Ronstadt didn't fall (very far) into the traps that provide juicy details for those Oscar bait biopics. If you love her music, it does cover most of her career (leaving out the Cajun phase late in her career and the bluegrass one early on). It does highlight how important her Mexican heritage really was to her, how sharp and insightful her takes on the music business were (especially given the giggly on-stage persona she had between songs), how genuinely generous she was to her fellow musicians, and how much control she was able to take over her career in an era when the record companies molded, pruned, and exploited artists to a great extent. In the end, the saddest thing was that she is ultimately a singer who was not focused on fame, making a lot of money, or creating "art". Her entire focus was to be able to sing songs she enjoyed with family, friends, and musicians she admired, and that has been take away from her.

If you're a fan, the film will reward you with some insights and facts you probably don't know and if you aren't a fan, maybe it will show you why we fans raise her up above other pop/rock voices of the 70's.

Hustlers
Apparently loosely based on actual events, this is a largely by the books slice of life portrayal of the women of the strip clubs, their trials and tribulations, and how they get their payoff. Jennifer Lopez shows what a compelling performance she can give when provided the right character. Constance Wu is ostensibly the star of the picture, but she has a harder time with a character that goes through massive changes from the beginning to the end of the story. Critics have talked about the view of the a strip club through the "female gaze" and this is a strength of the film. For example, the scenes in the Champagne Room don't arouse so much as they repel and make one uneasy. The movie does suffer from the standard weakness of this type of "Hollywood" portrayal, in that despite the strip club setting, nudity is sparse, and none of the top billed characters ever strip down past bra and panties, yet command thousands of dollars from their clients.

Worth seeing for the performances and the slight twist of view from the performers standpoint. Look for buzz about Lopez come Oscar time, but don't be surprised if there are no nominations for this film.

Freaks
This year, along with Fast Color, this is an example of what can be done with "small" superhero stories (no spandex, no humongous CGI budgets, no shoehorning of "canon" to appease the fanbase). I enjoyed the orchestration of tension and reveals in a sparse story that still manages some significant worldbuilding. The performance of the child actress that is the center of the story is particularly noteworthy.

Recommended. If you like Logan and especially if you like Fast Color, I'd recommend seeking this one out.

Monos
I'm still absorbing this one. Absolutely recommended. End-to-end tension that just keeps on going. You know where this is going (Lord of the Flies territory) but can't look away. The cast is uniformly excellent and there are no "background" characters in this ragtag group of rebels(?). I'm not sure there is any overarching lesson to be learned here, and it certainly doesn't give a damn about where anyone fits on the social justice scale. It is just a superlative story of people whose fate is inherent in their character and how that fate plays out under stress and fear.

Very much recommended if you don't mind subtitles and don't need stories without loose ends.
  #1161  
Old 09-16-2019, 05:10 PM
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Dipping into the documentary pool: Jakob Dylan's Echo in the Canyon. The musical life north of Hollywood in the 60s.

Some really great old clips. Some "modern" people doing homages to the old tunes. Interviews. Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas, Lou Adler, etc. And a Ringo.

I am amazed by the singing capabilties of some of these people. Just knock your socks off.

Dylan ("You have to be more specific.") has a real focus on two things here:

1. The movie Model Shop. Made in the late 60s in LA. It's the official style guide if you want to do a Mad Men detailed movie set then. Dylan even drives around in the same car that the guy in the movie did. In the same places. That's ... obsession. Not sure why so much is devoted to it here given the lack of musical connections.

2. Neil Young. He interviews Crosby, Stills and Nash. Shows old clips, etc. But apparently couldn't convince old Neil to show up. Typical. The closing credits show Neil thrashing on the guitar in a studio. Young is the ghost in this little play.

Well, not counting Tom Petty. Wow. That's something to watch now.

Very nice. Good subject. Etc.

Give it 4.5 12 string Rickenbackers.

Now dying to see the Ronstadt movie.
  #1162  
Old 09-16-2019, 07:07 PM
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Watched The Lincoln Lawyer over the weekend.

Really good movie. Wow, what a cast. Matthew McConaughey, William H Macy, Bryan Cranston, Bob Gunton, Marisa Tomei. Story is not that original, but it was well acted and well paced.
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  #1163  
Old 09-16-2019, 08:10 PM
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Watched The Lincoln Lawyer over the weekend.

Really good movie...
That's so good to hear, I'll give it a try. Sometimes I'm hesitant to see a movie if I loved the book... actually, now a series of books. Which get increasingly meta, as Mickey Haller is recognized as "Ain't you that Lincoln Lawyer they did the movie about? Gotta say, you don't look anything like Matthew McConaughey."

Huh, and today I learned it's based on a real guy!
"The basic premise ...is that a busy criminal defense attorney works out of his car – a Lincoln Town Car – instead of an office; he is incessantly on the phone, as he is chauffeured between court appearances by a former client working off a legal-fee debt... the character is based on a real person: David Ogden, a Los Angeles attorney".

20 Questions for The Real Lincoln Lawyer

Last edited by digs; 09-16-2019 at 08:11 PM.
  #1164  
Old 09-16-2019, 08:22 PM
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I've seen a few lately ranging from unremarkable, to friggin' weird.

Avengers: End Game - I rewatched it last night. It was fun again.

King of New York - on the recommendation of a friend. He loved it. I thought it was shit. Christopher Walken is a drug lord who just got of prison. Then he kills people for ninety minutes and dies in a car.

The Slammin' Salmon - a Broken Lizard joint. I loved Beerfest. I thought Super Troopers was ok. Super Troopers 2 was stupid. The only other Broken Lizard movie I've seen is Club Dread which I thought was god-awful. So I'm not sure why I call myself a Broken Lizard fan. That said, this one was pretty good. Much funnier that Super Troopers. Yes, it's kind of Waiting in just a more upscale restaurant but I liked it. The late Michael Clark Duncan is hilarious as The Champ

And then there's Bone Tomahawk - holy shit, this one isn't for the faint of heart, or stomach. A western, starring Kurt Russell who goes after literal troglodytes - here a cannibal tribe of cave dwellers - who have kidnapped a young lady. Very gritty and disgusting ... I won't even go into details. I actually thought it was pretty good, but damn, don't be eating anything greasy while you watch it.
  #1165  
Old 09-17-2019, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Dipping into the documentary pool: Jakob Dylan's Echo in the Canyon. The musical life north of Hollywood in the 60s.

Some really great old clips. Some "modern" people doing homages to the old tunes. Interviews. Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas, Lou Adler, etc. And a Ringo.

I am amazed by the singing capabilties of some of these people. Just knock your socks off.

Dylan ("You have to be more specific.") has a real focus on two things here:

1. The movie Model Shop. Made in the late 60s in LA. It's the official style guide if you want to do a Mad Men detailed movie set then. Dylan even drives around in the same car that the guy in the movie did. In the same places. That's ... obsession. Not sure why so much is devoted to it here given the lack of musical connections.

2. Neil Young. He interviews Crosby, Stills and Nash. Shows old clips, etc. But apparently couldn't convince old Neil to show up. Typical. The closing credits show Neil thrashing on the guitar in a studio. Young is the ghost in this little play.

Well, not counting Tom Petty. Wow. That's something to watch now.

Very nice. Good subject. Etc.

Give it 4.5 12 string Rickenbackers.

Now dying to see the Ronstadt movie.
Just for the record, I always pronounced it bAHker.
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  #1166  
Old Today, 07:40 AM
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Once every few months we watch a movie that's really nice but for some reason is going to basically disappear without a trace, to be barely seen by anyone.

Auggie is one of these films.

"Auggie" is short of Augmented Reality. Richard Kind (a great schlub going back to Mad About You and Scrubs appearances) is given augmented reality glasses at his retirement party. The glasses provide a "companion" to talk to, called Auggie (cf. Siri, Alexa but with video).

Kind gets into a really close relationship with Auggie which causes problems, of course.

The tech is more than a little magical. E.g., Auggie automatically knows what Kind is thinking due to sensors in the frame by the ears. But you can roll with that.

What I found best about the movie (besides Kind's perfect fit in the role) is that the story kept going along with nice little bits that I didn't see coming. (All too often I know the exact way the 3rd act is going to go based on the first half of the 1st act.) Over and over I was pleasantly surprised by interesting things happening. There's a richness to the plot without any real filler.

A pretty good movie that few will ever see. Shame.

Give it 4 lifeguard chairs.
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