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RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 12/12/2013 1:36:03 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: CheshireMoon


quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

Stoker was brilliant

And Pacific Rim was sheeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttteeeeee!



Stoker is by far one of my favorite films at the moment! It is so weird and I really didn't know anything about it, it is not my type of film at all but I loved it!

Well you'll find plenty of this type of film on here, your very much welcome into the Darkside of film fandom.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to CheshireMoon)
Post #: 15301
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 12/12/2013 9:23:28 PM   
dannyfletch


Posts: 640
Joined: 25/5/2008
From: Bromley
Nice to read through lots of great reviews on here as I've been away for ages!
Well just a quick going over on what recent and decent movies I have seen lately.
Bought and watched Only God Forgives last week and must say it is the purchase I am most happy with so far! After finding out from many reviews that is split many down the middle in opinion I was all the more curious about Nicolas Winding Refn's latest and must say that after viewing it is possibly my favourite movie of his so far. Ryan Gosling puts in another moody, great performance that requires little dialogue and Kristin Scot Thomas is on fire as his bitch of a mum. A few disturbing little scenes here and there including and eye watering torture/slow death sequence involving skewers entering eyeballs and ears, plus great style and soundtrack.
I must add that it also reminded me of the great David Lynch in places.
You might call it a pretentious bore but I loved every minute! 10/10

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15302
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 16/12/2013 7:44:42 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: dannyfletch

Nice to read through lots of great reviews on here as I've been away for ages!
Well just a quick going over on what recent and decent movies I have seen lately.
Bought and watched Only God Forgives last week and must say it is the purchase I am most happy with so far! After finding out from many reviews that is split many down the middle in opinion I was all the more curious about Nicolas Winding Refn's latest and must say that after viewing it is possibly my favourite movie of his so far. Ryan Gosling puts in another moody, great performance that requires little dialogue and Kristin Scot Thomas is on fire as his bitch of a mum. A few disturbing little scenes here and there including and eye watering torture/slow death sequence involving skewers entering eyeballs and ears, plus great style and soundtrack.
I must add that it also reminded me of the great David Lynch in places.
You might call it a pretentious bore but I loved every minute! 10/10

Glad to have you back, and hopefully Only God Forgives will arrive this week from LoveFilm, I did watch finally on rental Blu-Ray
Spit On Your Grave 2 (2013)

Katie is trying to make it in the cutthroat world of modelling. When she innocently accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio, the experience quickly turns into an unthinkable nightmare of rape, torture, and kidnapping. When a twist of fate finally frees her from her captors - beaten, battered, bruised, and broken, she will have to tap into the darkest places of the human psyche to not only survive her ordeal, but to ultimately find the strength to exact her brutal revenge.

Steven R. Monroe did the remake in 2010 of I Spit On Your Grave, and though I still be believe the original is the best in both terms of horror, and how disturbing it was, I did like his take on this video nasty. So curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give this a go, as Monroe was in the directors chair once again, plus it's writers are Thomas Fenton (SAW IV) and Neil Elman, a producer with a few Sc/Fi channel scripts under his belt, and script wise it seemed a new re boot that could work. These changes are definitely noticeable as it serves up slightly less graphic rape scene and to some extent lacks the very sharp uncomfortable edge that both the remake and original films had. Now don't get me wrong it delivers the expected amount of graphic violence and uncomfortable scenes, but it failed to affect me like the other films did, just failed to deliver the killer kick, and when  the revenage scenes kick in, well you just don't care. There lot's of plot holes to many to mention and average acting that is ok for TV is just shit in a horror film of this kind, plus worse still poor directing, from a director that I thought had some talent, but he goe's all out for a Hostel rip off . Yet it makes that daft excuse of a film look good, and though it's been cut, so maybe there was more gore on show that might have made it more disturbing, it just feels totally pointless. Only good point was lead actress Jemma Dallender who really works hard with what is a poorly scripted role, yet delivers a very strong performance and without this, I would not even have bothered to write about this never mind score. It also has some great cinematography, making great use of the locations in Bulgaria, with good use of lighting and gore effects which stop me giving it zero so.4/10

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to dannyfletch)
Post #: 15303
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 16/12/2013 8:43:44 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway


quote:

ORIGINAL: Whistler


quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway

Saw two films in the past few days...

SAVING MR BANKS: A nice film that won't trouble your grandmother on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't my choice to watch but my mates. Not as terrible as I was expecting but certainly a good 20-25mins too long and definitely feels like the kind of film which will be nominated for many awards but probably win very few! Overall: 3/5



I really loved it. Sweet, charming and heart-warming. Why did you expect it to be terrible?


The trailer just looked so unbelievably twee (admittedly it is Disney) but it didn't grab me at all. I was expecting it to bore me rigid. It didn't do that but I can't say it amazed me either.


Never judge a film by it's trailer or hype for that mater.

Over the weekend I watched The Hobbit part2 in 3D, and liked it better than the first part, though still annoyed how it seems there is to much filler, that was not in the book, as I still believe two films from the book would have been more than enough. Anyway i'll get round to doing a write up shortly, as i'm not quite over the weekend hangover.

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to losthighway)
Post #: 15304
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 8:42:34 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Whistler

'KILL YOUR DARLINGS'

Director: John Krokidas
Writers: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Running time: 104 minutes
Certification: 15

A young Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) attends Columbia University in 1944 where he meets Lucien (DeHaan), an abstract-minded aspiring philosopher with worldly ideas on art and culture. What begins as a sophisticated, caring friendship soon turns sinister as a murder plot unravels.


Kill Your Darlings is a debut foray into feature filmmaking for John Krokidas, and it’s with this is mind that we become all the more impressed by it. Directed with supreme confidence and bravado from the opening movement til the last, despite the flaws that can be found within it, the film (based on true events) is always completely sure of itself and its surroundings. As we center on the young writers of the beat era, we open proceedings with a blustery vibe; swing tracks accompany us on journeys through New York’s lower east side as we visit raucous parties inhabited by young, fight-the-system philosophers who need to get sozzled before anything coherent comes out of their mouths, and jazz clubs packed with smoking sophisticates subtextually analyzing the world. We’re tricked into thinking we’re going to see a Social Network in the 40s, a film about writers writing and inspiration striking through deep-headed, worldly conversations fueled by Chianti.

But just as we’ve come to terms with that, the film takes a striking turn and becomes something far more telling of its title. As the relationship between Allen and Lucien begins to fracture, murder rears its ugly head and takes a hold of proceedings, bringing a real dark, somber air to the picture. In no small part due to being a well-handled shift in tone from Krokidas, who clearly has a knack for pacing and displays promising signs of wicked individual style, the script deserves equal plaudits for being so intelligent yet aggressive. Just as Ginsberg and co. are attempting to breaking the rules of rhyme and verse, Austin Bunn and Krokidas’ script breaks the mould by lathering the opening act with melodious dialogue before juxtaposing it with rambunctious set-pieces in an altogether different tale.

Yet oddly, when the drama does make this shift, everything becomes a little less interesting. Despite the enormity of the new subject matter, the murder plot proves to yield less compelling interactions between the characters – chiefly Allen and Lucien. Perhaps it’s to do with too many plot strands coming into the fray and getting lost within each other that we begin to lose grasp of a central narrative.

Daniel Radcliffe’s Potter days are fast diminishing behind him as he swiftly moves through the film world taking on interesting, tough roles. I’m a big fan of the guy; not only is he a brilliant actor but he’s really intelligent, articulate, and seems to be a genuinely nice guy who cares deeply about his craft. One of the most refreshing things about the way he’s bridged the gap between Harry Potter and his adult career is that he’s never tried too hard to claim controversial or “grown-up” roles for the sake of getting out of that typecast image. Often a young teen star will go out of their way to become the polar opposite of how their fame began (*cough* Miley Cyrus), but the roles Radcliffe has taken since his Potter days feel natural to him. Any that have been “grown-up” – his portrayal of Ginsberg here would certainly fall into that category – are incidental to him being perfect for the role. For that reason, I think he’s one of the best actors of his generation.

As Ginsberg, Radcliffe really commits himself. There’s no doubt that this is his best performance to date, but it’s a role that requires a certain amount of courage to get through some of the more headline-grabbing scenes. Listening to Radcliffe discuss the role, he clearly had no qualms about performing some of the actions required of him, and simply cared about making a great film, which I find admirable. While it’s undeniable that some of those said actions are a times a little uncomfortable to watch, you can’t help but be won over by his strength and maturity.

Dane DeHaan is equally as brilliant. He’s been rising to prominence over the last few years with excellent turns in the likes of Chronicle, Lawless and The Place Beyond The Pines, and his performance opposite Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings is once more simply effortless and searing. The balance he brings to Lucien is scary at times, drifting from confident, philosophical and blase to subdued, fractured and intimidated, and then back again, in the same scene. It would be nice to see the two of them begin to garner awards attention.

Forgetting, for a moment, the main names, Kill Your Darlings is shot absolutely beautifully by Reed Morano, who has clearly worked hard with her director to capture the essence of the 40s with deftly-lit sets and a muskiness that might be intentional or might just be the smoke billowing from the characters’ mouths. The more intimate sequences, like the late night Jazz clubs and seedy parties, are particularly impressive, and bring us into the scene with Allen and Lucien rather than just have us sit back and watch it.

While Kill Your Darlings isn’t always entirely satisfying dramatically, it’s an intelligent and subversive film that boasts some really, really impressive performances and exciting potential from a vibrant director.

4/5


Must say I never fancied this but going by your review I may give it a go, though unlike you I'm no fan of Radcliffe:I thought he badly let down Woman In Black for instance!

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Whistler)
Post #: 15305
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 8:45:00 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

quote:

ORIGINAL: Whistler

'KILL YOUR DARLINGS'

Director: John Krokidas
Writers: Austin Bunn, John Krokidas
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Running time: 104 minutes
Certification: 15
.


Daniel Radcliffe's Potter days are fast diminishing behind him as he swiftly moves through the film world taking on interesting, tough roles. I'm a big fan of the guy; not only is he a brilliant actor but he's really intelligent, articulate, and seems to be a genuinely nice guy who cares deeply about his craft. One of the most refreshing things about the way he's bridged the gap between Harry Potter and his adult career is that he's never tried too hard to claim controversial or "grown-up” roles for the sake of getting out of that typecast image. Often a young teen star will go out of their way to become the polar opposite of how their fame began (*cough* Miley Cyrus), but the roles Radcliffe has taken since his Potter days feel natural to him. Any that have been "grown-up” – his portrayal of Ginsberg here would certainly fall into that category – are incidental to him being perfect for the role. For that reason, I think he's one of the best actors of his generation.

As Ginsberg, Radcliffe really commits himself. There's no doubt that this is his best performance to date, but it's a role that requires a certain amount of courage to get through some of the more headline-grabbing scenes. Listening to Radcliffe discuss the role, he clearly had no qualms about performing some of the actions required of him, and simply cared about making a great film, which I find admirable. While it's undeniable that some of those said actions are a times a little uncomfortable to watch, you can't help but be won over by his strength and maturity.

.

While Kill Your Darlings isn't always entirely satisfying dramatically, it's an intelligent and subversive film that boasts some really, really impressive performances and exciting potential from a vibrant director.

4/5

Sounds like Daniel has come of age in this picture, more so than his role in MANIC, but then he did hold up well in it just not to my taste. But I will search this one out and give it ago, if it's on LoveFilm that is, as I can't see it turning up at a cinema near me.

Now here's a late look at a film I watched last week, IE Friday night, and it's a fun and nasty surprise in equal measure.
CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013)

Nica (Fiona Dourif) who has been wheelchair-bound since birth, and her mother Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle) who live in an isolated old house, receive a package containing a doll named Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif), they immediately think there is a mistake. Sarah throws it in the garbage, but during the night she is found dead and Chucky is sat on a chair in the living room, they all think it's  suicide, but Nica is not so sure. Sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti), Barb's husband Ian (Brennan Elliot), their daughter Alice (Summer H. Howell), and Alice's nanny Jill (Maitland McConnell) come to her aid and for the funeral. But during the night, there are more mysterious deaths and Nica discovers that the package was sent from the evidence depositary. She also researches on the Internet and suspects that Chucky might be behind the murders.

This may be a low-budget horror sequel, that went straight to video but by setting the film in a haunted house-style horror, it returns  Chucky to being a creepy doll again, while still maintaining the dark humour that the first two films had, and for me this is what I was hoping for.Child's Play franchise. Series creator Don Mancini returns to direct from his own script, which is surprisingly restrained in the first half, building suspense, fleshing out characters, even building a back story in flash back for those that may have forgotten where chucky came from. Then in the second half all hell breaks loose, as Chucky goes to work, in a stylishly twisted way that brings back memories of the first two Child Play films and Bride Of Chucky. Fiona Dourif as Nica is a great addition to the role of heroine in horror films, she plays it for all it's worth, and i'm sure dad was glad to see her join him in a film franchise he rules, as I could never ever see anyone else do Chucky like Brad Dourif. Here we have a film that feels so much like a old worn pair of jeans you just can't let go of, it's like having your own twisted family, except it's a great new addition to the Chucky franchise, and as a big fan I feel this is clearly going to re-ignite the franchise for years to come.

Now don't worry it looks new cleaner but meaner than ever, with lots of nice touches that bring the Chucky doll up to date with today's toys, making him all the more menacing when he comes to life, with Pupils dilating, or his eyes going bloodshot, this is one upset crazed doll, who we also see walking and running .Chucky is back with a bang, and I can forgive the last film Seed Of Chucky, which was more comedy than horror, for here he is  creepier and more evil than ever. The one liners are still here but more devilish and fewer in number, and the gore is back up there with Curse, and so are the effects, but it is far more closer in both style and plot to the first Childs play. For die hard fans Dourif appears briefly in his serial killer Charles Lee Ray guise, some old photos and newspaper clippings feature Andy and scene's link direct to the first outing, all a big bonus in my book. Jenifer Tilly makes a brief cameo too which adds to the fun, and don't switch off till the very last title at the end, as well i'll say no more, this is a true return to form, a superb sequel, and a highly entertaining stand alone horror film at the same time. 7/10


Yeah I finally saw this the other day, it atones for the mess that was Seed Of Chucky and brings the premise back to basics, and despite going straight to DVD here is getting a sequel!

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15306
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 8:46:32 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

quote:

ORIGINAL: dannyfletch

Nice to read through lots of great reviews on here as I've been away for ages!
Well just a quick going over on what recent and decent movies I have seen lately.
Bought and watched Only God Forgives last week and must say it is the purchase I am most happy with so far! After finding out from many reviews that is split many down the middle in opinion I was all the more curious about Nicolas Winding Refn's latest and must say that after viewing it is possibly my favourite movie of his so far. Ryan Gosling puts in another moody, great performance that requires little dialogue and Kristin Scot Thomas is on fire as his bitch of a mum. A few disturbing little scenes here and there including and eye watering torture/slow death sequence involving skewers entering eyeballs and ears, plus great style and soundtrack.
I must add that it also reminded me of the great David Lynch in places.
You might call it a pretentious bore but I loved every minute! 10/10

Glad to have you back, and hopefully Only God Forgives will arrive this week from LoveFilm, I did watch finally on rental Blu-Ray
Spit On Your Grave 2 (2013)

Katie is trying to make it in the cutthroat world of modelling. When she innocently accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio, the experience quickly turns into an unthinkable nightmare of rape, torture, and kidnapping. When a twist of fate finally frees her from her captors - beaten, battered, bruised, and broken, she will have to tap into the darkest places of the human psyche to not only survive her ordeal, but to ultimately find the strength to exact her brutal revenge.

Steven R. Monroe did the remake in 2010 of I Spit On Your Grave, and though I still be believe the original is the best in both terms of horror, and how disturbing it was, I did like his take on this video nasty. So curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give this a go, as Monroe was in the directors chair once again, plus it's writers are Thomas Fenton (SAW IV) and Neil Elman, a producer with a few Sc/Fi channel scripts under his belt, and script wise it seemed a new re boot that could work. These changes are definitely noticeable as it serves up slightly less graphic rape scene and to some extent lacks the very sharp uncomfortable edge that both the remake and original films had. Now don't get me wrong it delivers the expected amount of graphic violence and uncomfortable scenes, but it failed to affect me like the other films did, just failed to deliver the killer kick, and when  the revenage scenes kick in, well you just don't care. There lot's of plot holes to many to mention and average acting that is ok for TV is just shit in a horror film of this kind, plus worse still poor directing, from a director that I thought had some talent, but he goe's all out for a Hostel rip off . Yet it makes that daft excuse of a film look good, and though it's been cut, so maybe there was more gore on show that might have made it more disturbing, it just feels totally pointless. Only good point was lead actress Jemma Dallender who really works hard with what is a poorly scripted role, yet delivers a very strong performance and without this, I would not even have bothered to write about this never mind score. It also has some great cinematography, making great use of the locations in Bulgaria, with good use of lighting and gore effects which stop me giving it zero so.4/10


Now I love my rape/revenge flicks but every review I've read of this has been bad, yours is one of the better ones! I reckon I'll catch up with it in due course when the uncut R1 is nice and cheap.

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15307
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 8:54:18 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

After spending eight years in prison for rape, Max Cady is released. He promptly tracks down Sam Bowden, a Georgia lawyer whom he holds personally responsible for his conviction because Sam interrupted his attack and testified against him. Cady begins to stalk and subtly threaten Bowden’s family, and kills the Bowden family dog, though Sam cannot prove this. A friend of Bowden’s, police chief Mark Dutton, attempts to intervene on Bowden’s behalf, but cannot prove Cady guilty of any crime….

Cape Fear is an extremely tense and even rather scary suspense thriller that grabs you right from the beginning and only relaxes its grip around the middle for a short period, where perhaps a few minutes could have been cut, but then it may have been almost unbearable for it to keep up that sense of menace every moment. Pretty strong stuff for its time, it perhaps seems tame now, but its nasty element of sexual menace is still quite powerful. I’ve always loved stories where decent, law-abiding folk have to get down and dirty to deal with a menace, and this is one of the best because its hero seems about as law-abiding and upstanding as they come, an element strengthened by him being played by Gregory Peck in a part highly reminiscent of his Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. Is it a classic? I would certainly call it a minor one, and its reputation has improved greatly since its release. Perhaps someone like Alfred Hitchcock, who was a clear influence on this movie, may have done an even better job than J. Lee. Thompson [Tiger Bay, The Guns Of Navarone] managed to achieve, but the film still succeeds in what it sets out to do – keep you uneasy and on the edge of your seat – and not nearly enough pictures achieve even that.

This film was based on a novel entitled The Executioners by John D. MacDonald, and the MPAA demanded that James R. Webb’s initial screenplay be altered to remove some uses of the world ‘rape’ and change the nasty Max Cady from being an ex-soldier because it reflected adversely on U.S. military personnel. What strange times they were, but Cape Fear would probably not have even been able to be made ten years before, at least in a recognisable form. Rod Steiger wanted to play Max Cady, but he backed off when he heard Robert Mitchum was considering the role. Telly Savalas was screen-tested for the role, but later played private eye Charlie Sievers. Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Charlon Heston, Jack Palance and even John Wayne were in the running for Sam Bowden and Heston was cast, but unspecified commitments led to him being replaced by Gregory Peck, whose production company Melville Productions was producing the film. Mitchum didn’t want to film on location in Savannah, Georgia, because he’d been charged with vagrancy there as a teenager and been put into a chain gang. If you look closely you’ll notice that some of the interior scenes are shot in the Psycho house! In the UK Cape Fear required around six minutes of censor cuts to avoid getting an ‘X’ rating, the problem being the “continuous threat of sexual assault on a child”. Most of Mitchum’s most threatening moments were removed and even some of his dialogue cut. The film was not a commercial success, something which always surprises me, and ended Melville Productions.

Cape Fear gets straight into it with no messing about, even the opening titles show Max walking through the town, having ended his eight year jail term, and into where lawyer Sam as in court. Max proceeds to harass Sam, and then his family, but doesn’t actually do anything illegal except kill a dog, which can’t be proven. Most of the time he just shows up, be it at a bowling alley or by the harbour, and either looks at or makes lewd comments about Sam’s wife and daughter to Sam. Mitchum is, in a word, brilliant. He’s extremely intimidating yet never goes over the top, and the actor also exploits his sexuality – I’ve read in several places how some women find this bad boy rather exciting and even attractive – and this is even after he beats up a loose woman, who says how pleased she is to have hit “rock-bottom” with him and can’t sink any lower, whom he picks up. We don’t see much of the act, just Max slowly walking towards her in her hotel room, topless, the expression on his face very subtly turning to one of evil, the woman suddenly realising something very nasty’s going to happen, then the camera cutting to outside the doors through which we can just about make out him hitting her. Something about the sight of a man battering a woman makes me queasy, so the way this scene is handled is more than enough in my opinion, especially considering it’s in what is meant to be a pulp thriller, a piece of popular entertainment.

Even after this, when the stakes seem even higher because we have seen more clearly what Max can do, he still holds back in doing anything to Sam for which he can be convicted of. Even during a very tense sequence when Sam’s daughter Nancy flees from him through her school, he isn’t really doing anything wrong. He doesn’t touch her or even threaten her. Much of the fascination of the story comes from Sam being the one who in the eyes of the law does wrong, and not just because we seem to live in a country where criminals often seem to have more rights than their victims. Sam makes explicit threats to Max, strikes him in full view of lots of people, and even sends three heavies to beat him up, only for Max to overpower all three of them. After this, there’s nothing left for Sam but to plan to trap Max himself, but of course it’s harder than expected. The pace, which up to now has been headlong, stalls a bit for a while as it sets up the final sequence of events, but the climax has some hair-raising moments. Max, whose motives are never entirely clear [though he tells a horrible story about “occupying” his wife], rubs eggs on Sam’s wife Peggy in a strikingly perverse moment which was not actually scripted, then virtually uses her as a battering ram to force open some locked doors which were actually supposed to be open. And in the final showdown between Max and Sam, a showdown where the excitement really has been ramped up and which ends in a different manner from the norm in these types of stories, you can see Peck hit Mitchum for real.

Thompson sometimes seems to be mimicking Hitchcock with his use of close-ups and particular angles. The feel is enhanced by Hitchcock’s favourite editor George Tomasini doing the cutting and a truly menacing score by Bernard Herrmann, an unrelenting musical exercise in piling on pressure. Meanwhile Sam Leavitt’s crisp black and white photography is a showcase in how to make the most out of the format. The use of shadows is stunning, most notably during a scene where Peggy wakes up one night and, hearing noises, wakes downstairs, the bars of various things in the house from banister beams to window panes falling across her face. It’s sometimes almost as good as John F. Sietz’s amazing work on Double Indemnity. I really don’t think this film would have worked nearly as well in colour, and certain glaring flaws may then have been more obvious, like having a film set in the American South but having no local colour whatsoever and the cast, except for Mitchum, mostly sounding like New Yorkers half-heartedly trying to play Southerners [though isn’t it great to see Telly Savalas with hair?!]. There is also a section of the film that is a little confusing, between Sam planning to trap Max and Max finding Peggy. It’s not exactly clear who is going where and doing what.

Peck was often a somewhat stiff actor, one of those people that was a star first and a performer second, but he sometimes used that to his advantage. He certainly does that here, then peels away the cracks in his righteous character. By the final scene, he has matched Mitchum, and that’s no mean feat when Mitchum is at the top of his game too [though he had played a similar role in The Night Of The Hunter]. Cape Fear just misses being a great movie, but it’s certainly a strong one that should work up most viewers into a bit of a sweat, and it also really demonstrates how implication can often be better than telling and showing everything. It was remade by Martin Scorsese in 1991. If you want to know what I think of it, there will be a review of it up soon!

Rating: 8/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15308
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 9:02:19 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

After spending fourteen years in prison for rape, Max Cady is released. He promptly tracks down Sam Bowden, a Georgia lawyer who, fourteen years ago, buried a report about his victim being promiscuous which could have lightened Max’s sentence who, at the time, was illiterate. Cady begins to stalk and subtly threaten Bowden’s family, and kills the Bowden family dog, though Sam cannot prove this. Bowden asks the police to intervene, but they cannot prove Cady guilty of any crime….

It’s one of those debates that rages on: which version of Cape Fear is the best, ignoring the fact that far more people have probably seen Martin Scorsese’s remake than J.L. Thompson’s original? I guess more folk would claim the 1991 version to be the better picture, though a quick perusal of the IMDB indicates that there are still many who prefer the original. Myself…well, coming out of the cinema in 1991, I was convinced that Scorsese, who is after all [I think most people will agree] a far greater filmmaker than Thompson [though he struggles to approach the heights of his early masterpieces], had made the better film – that’s what seeing a film for the first time on the big screen as opposed to on TV does for you – but after a while I wasn’t sure. Perhaps I will have decided when I get to the end of this review. The thing is, there are some ways in which the original is better, and some ways in which the remake is better. For example, Scorsese’s film is around 20 minutes longer, allowing for more character development and complexity, but that also means that it loses much of that thriller pace which the 1962 film possessed in spades. Also, the remake is more shocking, the relaxation of censorship allowing for us to see more violence, but sometimes leaving it more to the imagination can be more effective. I suppose which version one prefers depends a lot on what you think is the best way to approach certain things.

Amazingly Steven Spielberg was going to direct this film, but got uncomfortable with the material so he offered it to Scorsese in return for Schindler’s List, which Scorsese was planning. Wesley Strick’s screenplay was based more on the original film than the novel, though it also seemed to add in elements of The Night Of The Hunter, where Robert Mitchum had also played a psychopath. Amazingly the script went through a total of 24 drafts as Scorsese wanted more and more moral complexity in his version, the Bowden family for instance no longer being whiter than white. Harrison Ford and Robert Redford [Spielberg had wanted Bill Murray!] were both offered the role of Sam Bowden while Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Jessica Parker and Alyssa Milano were in the running for Danielle, Sam’s daughter, before Nick Nolte and Juliette Lewis won the parts. Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum [who has a particularly memorable line when his character sees the heavily tattooed Max being strip searched: “I don't know whether to look at him or read him”] and Martin Balsam from the first film were given supporting roles in this one, and Elmer Bernstein adapted Bernard Herrmann’s score. It was Scorsese’s biggest hit, and De Niro and Lewis received Oscar nominations, though many snobby critics seemed to complain that Scorsese was lowering himself by doing this kind of film.

Now straight away, Scorsese’s film is much more visually stylish and more attractive to look at. Saul Bass’s titles give us swirling images of water over hard-to-make out shots from later in the film, and throughout the great cinematographer Freddie Francis does a really stunning job on the film. An especially brilliant example of this is when the inside of the Bowden house is lit up with the colours of fireworks at night-time and Sam’s wife Leigh looks outside to see Max, casually smoking a cigar whilst sitting on a wall surrounding the house as fireworks explode around him, though the monochrome, film noir type lighting of the original is still impressive. Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing prowess may very well be at its peak with this film, and Scorsese is clearly enjoying himself with such simple but effective devices like Max walking straight into the camera. However, Thompson’s more unobtrusive, if still strong, direction helps give that version more of a sense of believable realism. While his film follows the plot of the original quite closely, and actually improves on the odd element like removing all the confusing coming and going when Sam tries to trap Cady, it does get pretty unbelievable, but then Scorsese’s film is more of a dark fairy tale, from the opening and closing narration to the use of things like a teddy bear as instruments of menace.

The few major plot changes that the remake does do succeed in muddying the waters, like having Max’s rape victim be a woman Sam was having an affair with. Instead of Peck’s upstanding Atticus Finch-type lawyer and his sweet wife and daughter, we have a father who breaks the law to get a specific conviction and cheats on his wife, a wife who has been mentally ill and clearly is not very supportive, and a daughter who has been smoking dope at school and feels neglected by her parents who would rather argue than attempt to understand her. Max, daringly, becomes the representation of the unconscious wish-fulfilment of these three characters, though only Danielle seems to explicitly find Max attractive in an incredibly uncomfortable and astoundingly acted scene at Danielle’s school where Max poses as a drama teacher. Much of this lengthy sequence, which ends with Max putting his finger in Danielle’s mouth, her licking it and them kissing, was improvised. It actually replaced a chase scene which was to be more like a similar scene in the original. Of course in this version we get to see Max bite off a woman’s cheek and strangle a man with piano wire, but there’s a slight dichotomy between the film’s thriller and horror elements and its more complex aspects, with each aspect being held back by the other. It tries to be two things and doesn’t quite come off, while Scorsese shows his inexperience with action in the boat climax, which piles on the danger but fails to build to a higher level of excitement.

De Niro is very frightening in this film, his Deep South accent coming off as being really creepy and the actor clearly making the most of a role where he can go as over the top as he likes. But is he better than Mitchum, who is much more restrained? Both approaches are valid ones, but, with the benefit of age and having watched both films [usually very closely to each other] several times over the years, I’ve come to prefer Mitchum’s. He does more with less. He seems more normal, and to me that’s more scary than somebody who you know is evil as soon as you take one look at him. You could imagine Mitchum’s Max living next door to you and having some kind of a normal life while he secretly rapes and beats women, but De Niro’s Max would just be obvious immediately. There’s a scene in the original film where Mitchum’s Max describes how he “occupied her time” when talking about his ex-wife. Censorship didn’t allow for graphic descriptions, but the way Mitchum tells it is so brilliantly calm, deliberate and emotionless, it’s absolutely bloody terrifying, and the words don’t need to go into detail. De Niro is great fun to watch, and overall he’s a better actor than Mitchum who by his own admission basically “winged it” through much of his career, but he’s a pantomime baddie compared to Mitchum’s Max. De Niro looks like he’s acting. Mitchum doesn’t. By contrast, Jessica Lange makes Sam’s wife far more believable, though truth be told I don’t much like her, nor Sam for that matter, in the remake.

Bernstein used much of Herrmann’s original score in his adaptation, moving cues around and sadly not using some of the most exciting cues. He also used some music from Herrmann’s un-used score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, though this Cape Fear score is much more repetitive overall. Herrmann’s music is still vivid and vital. Well, I think I’ve nailed it. In weighing up all the pros and cons, The 1991 Cape Fear is the more interesting of the two films, and is also better made, but the 1962 one is the better film overall, and also achieves more by doing less. I guess that means that the original just has the edge, but it’s a close one, and they’re both good movies anyway.

Rating: 8/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15309
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 9:18:28 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005


“What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream”.


On St. Valentine’s Day, 1900, a group leaves Appleyard College, a girls’ private school near Victoria, Australia, for a picnic at a local volcanic rock formation called Hanging Rock. Firstly, the watches of two of the teachers stop, than four of the girls and a teacher decide to explore. As Miss McCraw stares up from the base of the Rock, Miranda, Marion, and Irma move, as if in a dream, into a recess in the rock face, while Edith screams and flees down the Rock….

When one thinks of the term ‘Director’s Cut’, one generally expects a film that will be longer than its theatrical version, hopefully full of great scenes that nasty studio executives forced the filmmaker to cut. However, occasionally a Director’s Cut can be shorter. To be honest, I didn’t know about the existence of a Director’s Cut of Peter Weir’s beautiful, enigmatic film until I bought a cheap R2 DVD of the film and realised to my horror that certain bits were missing from a film I loved! I initially thought that it was the DVD distributors that had decided to not let me see that touching romance-that-almost-was Michael and Irma, or Michael and Albert chatting in Michael’s loft with some booze, or that girl crying during the memorial service, but then on the back I read that it said ‘Director’s Cut’, so it was Weir’s decision. Of course a filmmaker has every right to go back and make adjustments to his work to improve it, and Weir actually wanted to cut these bits out, bits which grounded the film somewhat, back in 1975 to make it more enigmatic, but an unfortunate result of this is that the film’s original version has been supplanted by the Director’s Cut and is harder to obtain. Even the great R2 three-disc version only has the theatrical version in a decidedly inferior print to the Director’s Cut. I feel that this is an insult to people like myself who have grown up adoring this film and, interestingly, on the DVD documentary, some of the cast and crew are not too happy with the re-edit.

Picnic At Hanging Rock seems to be one of those films people love or hate, and, unlike say The Shawshank Redemption, where I can’t imagine how anyone can go so far as to actually hate the film, there is certainly a very good reason for this. Though it contains several obvious themes like sexual repression, coming of age and the incongruity and indeed arrogance of English settlers in Australia who make no attempt to adapt to this brave new world they’ve found themselves in, reduced to its most basic level Picnic At Hanging Rock is a supernaturally tinged mystery…that doesn’t give you a solution. I distinctly remember being fascinated by the story as a kid, even though the film was rather slow and ‘arty-farty’ for the tastes of a ten year old boy, but being incredibly frustrated by the ending, which not only failed to give me any answers but didn’t even contain much of a climax. Actually, to lovers of the film, and I later became one, the film is special precisely because of this. It does tease the careful viewer with certain hints and allusions, but refuses to settle on a single one. What is interesting is that Joan Lindsay’s novel originally contained a final chapter which explained it all, but her publisher persuaded her to leave it out. Chapter Eighteen was published posthumously in 1987 as The Secret of Hanging Rock.

Both the book and film give the impression that it’s all based on a true story, though Lindsay has always been vague about the matter. Searches for evidence have proved fruitless, but it has remained a source of great interest, especially in Australia, where in 1980 a book of hypothetical solutions by Yvonne Rousseau was published called The Murders at Hanging Rock. The film was Peter Weir’s [The Truman Show, The Mosquito Coast] second feature after The Cars That Ate Paris, and was made for a very low budget, something which the amazing cinematography goes some way to disguising. In casting the pupils of Appleyard College, ended up searching for unknown girls from outside the cities, looking for the right “innocent faces” to fit the film, but this meant that apart from Anne-Louise Lambert, none of the other girls had any acting experience, and their amateur performances meant Weir had to cut out much of their dialogue or have it re-dubbed by others. Rachel Roberts took over the role of Mrs. Appleyard when Vivien Merchant became ill, and her preference for acting to a piece of tape on the wall helped create a frosty atmosphere. Meanwhile several odd things occurred at Hanging Rock like a rainstorm causing it to pour everywhere around the location but leaving it totally untouched by water, and Lambert, playing Miranda, suddenly seeing Lindsay stumble towards her, hug her and call her Miranda. Executive producer Patricia Lovell was so scared by the place she didn’t return until ten years later and left immediately. The film was a sensation in Australia and really kick-started the country’s film industry, though it didn’t get an American release until Weir’s next film, The Last Wave [which is also a fascinating work, albeit far lesser known, and will get a review on this website in due time!] had come out.

The first forty minutes or so of Picnic At Hanging Rock is stunning cinema of the very best. That’s not to say that what follows isn’t good too, but the first third is especially strong. The film immediately establishes a dreamlike atmosphere with its Edgar Allan Poe quote, haunting pan-flute music and lingering images of white-clad girls in whispering voices delighting in Valentine’s cards. The school seems to be a place bursting with repressed and developing sexuality, much of it seemingly of a Sapphic kind, with most seeming to have a crush on the beautiful Miranda, who tells her friend Sara that she “won’t be here much longer”. Of course there’s an unbending figure of authority in the form of Mrs. Appleyard, who seems to be especially cruel to poor Sara, an orphan and a charity pupil who is not allowed to go on the picnic to Hanging Rock ostensibly because she hasn’t memorised a poem. Her staff include the remote mathematics mistress Miss Greta McCraw who is said to have a ‘masculine’ intellect [see, I’m not reading too much into this film!], the young and beautiful Mademoiselle de Portiers who teaches French and deportment, and the jittery Miss Lumley, who is desperate to please the formidable Mrs. Appleyard.

The girls ride to Hanging Rock, a 500-foot tall volcanic rock formation about eleven km northeast of the school. The picnic goes ahead, Russell Boyd ‘s photography being especially gorgeous here, but two watches stop [apparently Lindsay had some strange power that enabled her to stop people’s watches]. Some of the girls and a teacher set off to explore, unaware they are being watched by Michael, a well-off young Englishman who is out with his parents and who immediately falls in love with Miranda, and his Australian friend, the family’s valet Albert, who seems to be somewhat cruder in his comments about the girls than Michael. Then some of the group go for a climb, and composer Bruce Smeaton introduces a simply wonderful piece of music that seems to build and build in anxiety without ever reaching a proper climax. It looks like there are human faces in the rock formations and dark passages which all look very sexual. The seemingly bewitched girls do some kind of nature dance, fall onto the ground and then enter a crevice in a scene which is quite frightening even if we don’t see anything scary. The horrid sound effects and well chosen angles add greatly to the effect of the sequence, which always sticks in the memory. It ends when Edith runs screaming down the Rock.

The rest of the film details the aftermath, and it’s perhaps a flaw of the story that it has its most exciting scene a third of the way through. There are the expected questionings and searches, but in particular we follow Michael as the besotted lad eventually locates one of the girls atop Hanging Rock, though it’s not Miranda. Miranda’s spirit though does seem to possess a swan in some beautifully symbolic moments. Writer Cliff Green and Weir do seem to struggle to fill some of the later sections, such as a subplot involving long-lost siblings which isn’t resolved in a satisfactory manner, and I’m not sure that the removal of a final scene on Hanging Rock, just before a major character’s suicide, was a good idea. As it stands, the film just kind of stops. The Director’s Cut mostly removed footage from near the end of the film and both sped up the pace and enhanced the tragedy, but the removal of Michael’s supposed romancing of Irma softens and simplifies his character. A first-time viewer of Picnic At Hanging Rock wouldn’t notice the missing scenes though.

So what did happen at Hanging Rock? Enticing clues which point to the fantastic but which are not followed through range from Miss McCraw examining a book of Geometry, to a body appearing where it was earlier not present, to Mrs. Appleyard having strange Aboriginal relics in a draw. On a more realistic basis, enough holes exist to suggest that Michael and/or Albert may have been involved and may even have committed rape, or the girls ran away and there was a conspiracy of silence, or….well, it’s really up to the viewer, a viewer who has to make up his mind whether to take in oblique suggestions of things like the Aboriginal ‘Dreamtime’, a psychic state where you can travel to the distant past or the future, or make strong enough note of the huge amount of sexual elements and symbolism in a story which at times seems to be primarily a parable about adult sexuality destroying the innocence of childhood. I’ve given up trying to work it all out and just prefer to enjoy the film as a work or art. As a film, I do think it suffers from structural, pacing and conceptual issues, but as a work of art it’s so gorgeous and hypnotic that such flaws don’t really matter very much.

The main title organ and pan-pipe music, music which will never go away once you’ve seen the film, was actually derived from two traditional Romanian panpipe pieces. The combination of ethnic, classical [most notably Beethoven’s sublimely beautiful second movement from his Fifth Piano Concerto] and original music results in a superb soundtrack which, amazingly, has never had a commercial release despite the facts that it would both result in a great album and be a strong seller. Picnic At Hanging Rock is filled with mysteries, and every time I watch it I feel the tantalising sense of a deeper significance, but maybe, in the end, we’re just being played with, and perhaps there is no point. If you’ve never seen this film, I recommend you do, because even if it annoys the hell out of you, you’ll be thinking about it for days afterwards.

Rating: 8.5/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15310
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 6:58:56 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera



Peck was often a somewhat stiff actor, one of those people that was a star first and a performer second, but he sometimes used that to his advantage. He certainly does that here, then peels away the cracks in his righteous character. By the final scene, he has matched Mitchum, and that's no mean feat when Mitchum is at the top of his game too [though he had played a similar role in The Night Of The Hunter]. Cape Fear just misses being a great movie, but it's certainly a strong one that should work up most viewers into a bit of a sweat, and it also really demonstrates how implication can often be better than telling and showing everything. It was remade by Martin Scorsese in 1991. If you want to know what I think of it, there will be a review of it up soon!

Rating: 8/10

quote:


 

De Niro is very frightening in this film, his Deep South accent coming off as being really creepy and the actor clearly making the most of a role where he can go as over the top as he likes. But is he better than Mitchum, who is much more restrained? Both approaches are valid ones, but, with the benefit of age and having watched both films [usually very closely to each other] several times over the years, I’ve come to prefer Mitchum’s. He does more with less. He seems more normal, and to me that’s more scary than somebody who you know is evil as soon as you take one look at him. You could imagine Mitchum’s Max living next door to you and having some kind of a normal life while he secretly rapes and beats women, but De Niro’s Max would just be obvious immediately. There’s a scene in the original film where Mitchum’s Max describes how he “occupied her time” when talking about his ex-wife. Censorship didn’t allow for graphic descriptions, but the way Mitchum tells it is so brilliantly calm, deliberate and emotionless, it’s absolutely bloody terrifying, and the words don’t need to go into detail. De Niro is great fun to watch, and overall he’s a better actor than Mitchum who by his own admission basically “winged it” through much of his career, but he’s a pantomime baddie compared to Mitchum’s Max. De Niro looks like he’s acting. Mitchum doesn’t. By contrast, Jessica Lange makes Sam’s wife far more believable, though truth be told I don’t much like her, nor Sam for that matter, in the remake.

Bernstein used much of Herrmann’s original score in his adaptation, moving cues around and sadly not using some of the most exciting cues. He also used some music from Herrmann’s un-used score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, though this Cape Fear score is much more repetitive overall. Herrmann’s music is still vivid and vital. Well, I think I’ve nailed it. In weighing up all the pros and cons, The 1991 Cape Fear is the more interesting of the two films, and is also better made, but the 1962 one is the better film overall, and also achieves more by doing less. I guess that means that the original just has the edge, but it’s a close one, and they’re both good movies anyway.

Rating: 8/10

Two great reviews, and like you I feel split down the middle with both films being just shy of greatness, and as stylish and powerful the remake is, I still feel the original was some what better in the scripting. Mostly down to the fact they could not get away with what a 90's film could, and that's it's great straight, as it can shy away from extreme violence and swear words and build on story and atmosphere instead. I agree that Max done by De Niro seems more pantomime villain, but he's still the better actor and was more disturbing, though Mitchum I think wins on slow burning menace. I'd score both the same as yourself to be honest, I just can' put one above the other, as you said Marty is by far the better director, it was far more stylised and a great score, but the oldie had more soul. No just can't call it!!!

_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15311
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 7:09:13 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera



"What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream”.

.

The main title organ and pan-pipe music, music which will never go away once you've seen the film, was actually derived from two traditional Romanian panpipe pieces. The combination of ethnic, classical [most notably Beethoven's sublimely beautiful second movement from his Fifth Piano Concerto] and original music results in a superb soundtrack which, amazingly, has never had a commercial release despite the facts that it would both result in a great album and be a strong seller. Picnic At Hanging Rock is filled with mysteries, and every time I watch it I feel the tantalising sense of a deeper significance, but maybe, in the end, we're just being played with, and perhaps there is no point. If you've never seen this film, I recommend you do, because even if it annoys the hell out of you, you'll be thinking about it for days afterwards.

Rating: 8.5/10

Such an annoying film, yet when it's on the box I end up glued to it once again, and this is down to  Peter Weir’s direction, he is so talented but yet seems ignored by both the public and Hollywood's elite . Saying that he can be long winded in his story telling, and can handle action but never with any real vigour, but he has a style all of his own and makes mainly interesting if a little frustrating great films.


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15312
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 17/12/2013 8:40:26 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6707
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)


Part two of the epic Hobbit trilogy continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfil his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug.

My problem with this new trilogy is still the fact it is so much like LOTR with lots of walking montages and an identical central conflict, which is the corrupting temptation of the ring and it's a hobbit that has to save the day. It's also full of fillers to pad it out, which where near over kill in the first film, and to what will end up a 9 hour running time for the entire trilogy, in fact maybe even more as I see the first has a new extended version hitting the stores now. A two part film would have been better, and more than enough to cover, for what is a classic but smaller J.R.R. Tolkien book, that in my own mind dose not need padding out, for it is a great read and would have been the far better set of films with more action and less time wasting, which for some may be fine but not me. Also the films scores are the bloody same as LOTR, which isn't a big gripe of mine but still, I was hoping for a tighter more closer to the book film or films, but money talks lets be honest, and Jackson is good at creaming it, he knows how this set of story's, and can steal from the classic LOTR rings too and get away with it, but with added effects and 3D, or IMAX 3D if your lucky, this is all  to sell it to us fans of the first trilogy, to offer something new if you like yet still giving you what he believes you want. Well that's the main gripes over with, and as a fan i'm guilty of wanting more and this is what you get in the end, so on to the good news and why I still love this new trilogy.

With all the scene setting and introductions to new charterers out of the way, we get a faster paced film than its predecessor, last year's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which at times was unexpectedly boring and slow, even with great effects and 3D. This time the new movie jumps straight into the action and doesn't let up until the cliffhanger ending almost three hours later, which I could gripe about too, not that it was bad, it was awesome, but the screen went blank just as you where holding your breath, a true clifhanger or pain in the neck, well I was pissed off but high at the same time, enough said.Martin Freeman's acting is top notch once again, and now I feel he on screen too little, as it's lots of heads getting the chop, good old chase scene's and full on effects. Saying that Freeman's character growth, especially his struggle with the power of the ring and it's greed is welcome and works well, also his scene with Smaug the Dragon is great fun and tense. Now Smaug as a character is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, no complaints there, he may be the voice but he is perfect as this the most awesome evil dragon ever put on screen, with perfect CGI, and the flame effects licking at your lap with the 3D was just mind blowing. Yes indeed the 3D worked in all the right places, in fact I forgot I was watching 3D for a short time then boom, in your face again.

The dwarfs lose out to Elves during a lot of the action which was a bit naff, and the love interest added in also a bit naff but, Thorin and Balin, do take front and centre as the story goes up a gear and fill the screen when given the chance. Both very entertaining, but it is Thorin who steals the show from the rest of the dwarfs, a real standout role, as he goes through similar changes as Bilbo, which lends them an interesting comparison in their struggles to stay true to there good side yet evil knows there weakness. All the actors are of course all excellent once again in their respective roles, and new addition Evangeline Lily is also a pleasant surprise in a role as an elf created for the film, and I think it's a role that reminds me too muck of Liv Tylers role as the love interest. Saying that she looks great and adds a much feminine touch to an otherwise predominantly male cast, which is not a bad thing, just wasn't in the book. She proves herself to be a fine silver screen presence and hopefully this will lead her to some more demanding film roles in the future, for she carries off her role with real power and talent, so good on her. Once again it is a CGI creation that steals the film, for the meeting and battle with Smaug is quite possibly the best creation of any of the films, of the Hobbit or LOTR, for he is as awesome as you could expect, never looking cartoony, and this is down to the voice as much as the effects.Watching and listening to him face off against Bilbo is a treat, and that is before we get to any fire breathing, screaming, roaring and. What follows is a lengthy conclusion to the film that will excite and delight all. I have no qualms in saying that Smaug makes the entire film wort chasing through the underworld of the dwarf kingdom. This was worth  the admission of price alone, for Mr Jackson has done it again raised the bar in both effects and story, his direction is perfect as you'd expect, it goes without me saying, CGI, cinematography, Editing, and Sound will be in Oscar land real soon, and the ending has lft me begging for more now not next bloody year. This miles is ahead of part one, and the 3D works, so i'm guessing they will do a re master of LOTR in 3D to cash in on the unholy dark ring, One Ring To Rule Them All!!!one new unbeatable fantasy film of this new decade. There may be lots of great effects films coming soon, but this is one hard act to follow, and Jackson is king of middle earth, he has done it again delivered the goods big time, I feel I need a second visit, and still feel a little cheated so with them not keeping to the book. 8/10

.

< Message edited by evil bill -- 30/12/2013 1:22:21 PM >


_____________________________

"You listen to me now,i will find you and i will kill you!"

(in reply to dannyfletch)
Post #: 15313
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 11:46:09 AM   
Timon


Posts: 14587
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Bristol


_____________________________

"I put no stock in religion. By the word 'religion', I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called 'The Will of God'. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves."

Twitter: @timonsingh

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15314
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 9:01:53 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)


Part two of the epic Hobbit trilogy continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfil his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug.

My problem with this new trilogy is still the fact it is so much like LOTR with lots of walking montages and an identical central conflict, which is the corrupting temptation of the ring and it's a hobbit that has to save the day. It's also full of fillers to pad it out, which where near over kill in the first film, and to what will end up a 9 hour running time for the entire trilogy, in fact maybe even more as I see the first has a new extended version hitting the stores now. A two part film would have been better, and more than enough to cover, for what is a classic but smaller J.R.R. Tolkien book, that in my own mind dose not need padding out, for it is a great read and would have been the far better set of films with more action and less time wasting, which for some may be fine but not me. Also the films scores are the bloody same as LOTR, which isn't a big gripe of mine but still, I was hoping for a tighter more closer to the book film or films, but money talks lets be honest, and Jackson is good at creaming it, he knows how this set of story's, and can steal from the classic LOTR rings too and get away with it, but with added effects and 3D, or IMAX 3D if your lucky, this is all  to sell it to us fans of the first trilogy, to offer something new if you like yet still giving you what he believes you want. Well that's the main gripes over with, and as a fan i'm guilty of wanting more and this is what you get in the end, so on to the good news and why I still love this new trilogy.

With all the scene setting and introductions to new charterers out of the way, we get a faster paced film than its predecessor, last year's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which at times was unexpectedly boring and slow, even with great effects and 3D. This time the new movie jumps straight into the action and doesn't let up until the cliffhanger ending almost three hours later, which I could gripe about too, not that it was bad, it was awesome, but the screen went blank just as you where holding your breath, a true clifhanger or pain in the neck, well I was pissed off but high at the same time, enough said.Martin Freeman's acting is top notch once again, and now I feel he on screen too little, as it's lots of heads getting the chop, good old chase scene's and full on effects. Saying that Freeman's character growth, especially his struggle with the power of the ring and it's greed is welcome and works well, also his scene with Smaug the Dragon is great fun and tense. Now Smaug as a character is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, no complaints there, he may be the voice but he is perfect as this the most awesome evil dragon ever put on screen, with perfect CGI, and the flame effects licking at your lap with the 3D was just mind blowing. Yes indeed the 3D worked in all the right places, in fact I forgot I was watching 3D for a short time then boom, in your face again.

The dwarfs lose out to Elves during a lot of the action which was a bit naff, and the love interest added in also a bit naff but, Thorin and Balin, do take front and centre as the story goes up a gear and fill the screen when given the chance. Both very entertaining, but it is Thorin who steals the show from the rest of the dwarfs, a real standout role, as he goes through similar changes as Bilbo, which lends them an interesting comparison in their struggles to stay true to there good side yet evil knows there weakness. All the actors are of course all excellent once again in their respective roles, and new addition Evangeline Lily is also a pleasant surprise in a role as an elf created for the film, and I think it's a role that reminds me too muck of Liv Tylers role as the love interest. Saying that she looks great and adds a much feminine touch to an otherwise predominantly male cast, which is not a bad thing, just wasn't in the book. She proves herself to be a fine silver screen presence and hopefully this will lead her to some more demanding film roles in the future, for she carries off her role with real power and talent, so good on her. Once again it is a CGI creation that steals the film, for the meeting and battle with Smaug is quite possibly the best creation of any of the films, of the Hobbit or LOTR, for he is as awesome as you could expect, never looking cartoony, and this is down to the voice as much as the effects.Watching and listening to him face off against Bilbo is a treat, and that is before we get to any fire breathing, screaming, roaring and. What follows is a lengthy conclusion to the film that will excite and delight all. I have no qualms in saying that Smaug makes the entire film wort chasing through the underworld of the dwarf kingdom. This was worth  the admission of price alone, for Mr Jackson has done it again raised the bar in both effects and story, his direction is perfect as you'd expect, it goes without me saying, CGI, cinematography, Editing, and Sound will be in Oscar land real soon, and the ending has lft me begging for more now not next bloody year. This miles is ahead of part one, and the 3D works, so i'm guessing they will do a re master of LOTR in 3D to cash in on the unholy dark ring, One Ring To Rule Them All!!!one new unbeatable fantasy film of this new decade. There may be lots of great effects films coming soon, but this is one hard act to follow, and Jackson is king of middle earth, he has done it again delivered the goods big time, I feel a 10/10 but need a second visit, and still feel a little cheated so 9/10

.


O Bill, I so wished I agreed with you on this film!

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15315
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 9:05:24 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005

At the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree, Gandalf the Grey persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to unite the dwarves, and suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from the dragon, Smaug. One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party. After Bilbo informs the group that a bear is also tracking them, Gandalf ushers them along to the nearby home of Beorn, a skin-changer who has taken the form of the bear. The following day, the company reaches Mirkwood where Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin, and abruptly leaves without explanation. He cautions them to remain on the path and wait for him before entering the Lonely Mountain, but they lose their way and are caught by giant spiders…

How has it come to this? Just over a year ago, I was writing a stupidly lengthy article for this here website praising to the skies the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. Now, I sit here at this computer and feel thoroughly disheartened because I’m going to struggle to say much that is good about the second film in director Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy The Hobbit. Even before seeing An Unexpected Journey I was very unhappy at the decision to expand J.R.R. Tolkien’s book to three films. No matter how much you take and expand upon from the writer’s Appendices, which may fill gaps and connect his stories better but were mostly written after the fact, it didn’t seem that there was enough material to fill three films which, of course, knowing Jackson, were going to be over two and a half hours, and the whole concept smelt of being more of a commercial than an artistic endeavour. Coming out of An Unexpected Journey, it seemed that my suspicions were correct. The film was enjoyable, but it was all ridiculously bloated and Jackson seemed to be turning into George Lucas in more ways than one. This second movie has some very good moments, but there are times it’s far worse than the first one, and it saddens me to say that a director I’ve loved right from Bad Taste is turning into one I’m beginning to hate.

I guess how much you enjoy The Desolation Of Smaug in part depends on whether you’ve read or liked the book, though I think it’s a badly flawed film even if taken on its own. For me personally – well, I’m not going to go on about my childhood being violated- but I certainly felt similar such emotions watching this film. This film is NOT The Hobbit. Its elements from a few chapters of The Hobbit augmented by a load of other stuff, but worse than that, it prefers to skip portions of the book in favour of material that isn’t in Tolkien at all. It prefers to have a bloody love triangle, bloody Stephen Fry reprising his role from Blackadder, and bloody irrelevant action scenes that don’t actually have barely any bearing on the main plot. I would say at least a third of this film is totally invented. I certainly don’t believe that films should be totally accurate to their sources – it’s my belief that there are some ways in The Lord Of The Rings films where Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens improved on Tolkien – but The Desolation Of Smaug is just ridiculous in this respect. It’s a total travesty of an adaptation and shows, even more than An Unexpected Journey, that Jackson and co. stretching the book into three films is being done strictly because of greed.

Taken on its own, The Desolation Of Smaug is a reasonably entertaining fantasy adventure for much of the time and its first hour is actually rather good, but it still has problems and soon after that it goes downhill quite fast. An early sequence of Bilbo and company battling big spiders is nice and intense and will probably make anyone afraid of spiders feel very uneasy, but the next big action scene where the team are escaping the Elves in barrels on a river in the middle of a battle between Elves and Orcs shows only a flash of the technical and film-making skill that was constantly on offer in The Lord Of The Rings. It’s especially hampered by overly fast cutting, some really bad water shots which look like they were done on a normal video camera, and excessive use of CGI which is sometimes quite bad. In fact, there are shots in this film of Orcs on Wargs [wolf-like creatures] which are really embarrassing for a production with a budget like this, and why on earth did Jackson think that computer-generated Orcs look better than live-action ones? His love for what CGI can do has resulted in laziness and a sterile feel to some of the proceedings. One of the things that was so great technically about The Lord Of The Rings was its great and varied use of traditional techniques as well as CGI, but there’s far less evidence of that here. And anyway, is it me or is CGI in some respects getting worse?

The Desolation Of Smaug’s pacing is way off. Even if you haven’t read the book, it’s obvious that much of the first half is rushed and much of the second half dragged out. It takes forever for them to get inside that darn mountain and find Smaug, and, while the big climactic action scene is certainly exciting, it’s constantly ludicrous, with characters able to fall hundreds of feet and get up again and balance on a dragon’s head. I know The Lord Of The Rings films had a bit of this stuff, but it was only here and there and resulted in some great “Hell Yeah” moments, while much of the rest of it still felt somewhat grounded. Here, nothing seems to have any reality to it. Smaug the dragon moves quite convincingly but looks so much like a certain other film dragon that I kept expecting Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy to show up, and he’s a thorough idiotic dragon too, though at least he’s a good character. The result of constantly taking the attention away from Bilbo and the Dwarves – the folk we should care about most – means that the hobbit’s relationship with his co-adventurers is now barely a relationship at all, because the filmmakers would rather show us Super Legolas killing fifty orcs. And that love triangle, I mean for God’s sake. Maybe it was put in a sop to female viewers [as well as make up for Jackson not having achieved his wish of having Arwen kick arse at Helm’s Deep], and I will admit that Evangeline Lilly certainly looks good and provides some eye candy for the fellas, but actually it’s getting annoying that every female lead character in a film, however tough they may be, still seems to need a love interest.

The Desolation Of Smaug often looks great, with the varied landscapes of New Zealand again being put to great use, and some of the scenes involving Gandalf and a certain deadly peril bring in some welcome darkness, but this particular subplot, despite being in Tolkien’s Appendices, is given short shrift [the film would rather waste time on other stuff], its scenes coming across as an interruption when they shouldn’t be, and they can’t even seem to work out what the villain here looks like. Elsewhere a great deal just seems like rehashes of bits and pieces from The Lord Of The Rings [not the fault of the screenwriters in every case, I know], with even some ‘tempted by power’ stuff, but it mostly feels like a pale shadow of what we’ve seen before [even if it actually happened afterwards, if you know what I mean]. And then the thing just suddenly ends. The first movie and indeed the first two Lord Of The Rings films may have finished with the story obviously not over, but they still felt like completed films in their own right and had good final scenes. This one appears to just stop mid-scene.

The cast mostly play their parts well and Ian McKellen can still make the tackiest of dialogue sound like the best of Shakespeare but poor Martin Freeman just doesn’t get much of a chance to shine here. Howard Shore’s music provides reasonable dramatic backing but is thoroughly unmemorable and only really shines when bits of Lord Of The Rings themes are heard. I suppose they shot themselves in the foot by not filming The Hobbit first, which I still think they should have done, and as one film and without all the Appendices stuff. Then, the move on to the epic that is The Lord Of The Rings would have been thrilling. What we have instead is Jackson and co. trying to make The Hobbit like The Lord Of The Rings and struggling to recapture their past glories. The Desolation Of Smaug is not, overall, a terrible film, hence the not-too-bad rating for a film I’ve spent ages criticising, but it’s decidedly messy, only actually gets good in occasional fits and spurts, and remains an insult to its source material. What a shame it’s come to this.

Rating: 5/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 15316
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 9:43:28 PM   
dannyfletch


Posts: 640
Joined: 25/5/2008
From: Bromley
Great review there mate and I too loved this follow up to the also excellent unexpected journey! Definitely needs a second viewing as there is loads going on and the action is so thick and fast I did have trouble taking it all in at times. Following Lord of the Rings, Jackson was always going to have a bit of a task on his hands pleasing everyone and making it on an epic scale so it doesn't get overshadowed by LOTR. Some criticise the fact that he's drawn it out but I love what he's done and very much look forward to the third and final part. I agree and couldn't give it any less than 9/10

(in reply to Timon)
Post #: 15317
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 10:53:57 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 2959
Joined: 22/11/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: evil bill

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)


Part two of the epic Hobbit trilogy continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfil his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug.

My problem with this new trilogy is still the fact it is so much like LOTR with lots of walking montages and an identical central conflict, which is the corrupting temptation of the ring and it's a hobbit that has to save the day. It's also full of fillers to pad it out, which where near over kill in the first film, and to what will end up a 9 hour running time for the entire trilogy, in fact maybe even more as I see the first has a new extended version hitting the stores now. A two part film would have been better, and more than enough to cover, for what is a classic but smaller J.R.R. Tolkien book, that in my own mind dose not need padding out, for it is a great read and would have been the far better set of films with more action and less time wasting, which for some may be fine but not me. Also the films scores are the bloody same as LOTR, which isn't a big gripe of mine but still, I was hoping for a tighter more closer to the book film or films, but money talks lets be honest, and Jackson is good at creaming it, he knows how this set of story's, and can steal from the classic LOTR rings too and get away with it, but with added effects and 3D, or IMAX 3D if your lucky, this is all  to sell it to us fans of the first trilogy, to offer something new if you like yet still giving you what he believes you want. Well that's the main gripes over with, and as a fan i'm guilty of wanting more and this is what you get in the end, so on to the good news and why I still love this new trilogy.

With all the scene setting and introductions to new charterers out of the way, we get a faster paced film than its predecessor, last year's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which at times was unexpectedly boring and slow, even with great effects and 3D. This time the new movie jumps straight into the action and doesn't let up until the cliffhanger ending almost three hours later, which I could gripe about too, not that it was bad, it was awesome, but the screen went blank just as you where holding your breath, a true clifhanger or pain in the neck, well I was pissed off but high at the same time, enough said.Martin Freeman's acting is top notch once again, and now I feel he on screen too little, as it's lots of heads getting the chop, good old chase scene's and full on effects. Saying that Freeman's character growth, especially his struggle with the power of the ring and it's greed is welcome and works well, also his scene with Smaug the Dragon is great fun and tense. Now Smaug as a character is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, no complaints there, he may be the voice but he is perfect as this the most awesome evil dragon ever put on screen, with perfect CGI, and the flame effects licking at your lap with the 3D was just mind blowing. Yes indeed the 3D worked in all the right places, in fact I forgot I was watching 3D for a short time then boom, in your face again.

The dwarfs lose out to Elves during a lot of the action which was a bit naff, and the love interest added in also a bit naff but, Thorin and Balin, do take front and centre as the story goes up a gear and fill the screen when given the chance. Both very entertaining, but it is Thorin who steals the show from the rest of the dwarfs, a real standout role, as he goes through similar changes as Bilbo, which lends them an interesting comparison in their struggles to stay true to there good side yet evil knows there weakness. All the actors are of course all excellent once again in their respective roles, and new addition Evangeline Lily is also a pleasant surprise in a role as an elf created for the film, and I think it's a role that reminds me too muck of Liv Tylers role as the love interest. Saying that she looks great and adds a much feminine touch to an otherwise predominantly male cast, which is not a bad thing, just wasn't in the book. She proves herself to be a fine silver screen presence and hopefully this will lead her to some more demanding film roles in the future, for she carries off her role with real power and talent, so good on her. Once again it is a CGI creation that steals the film, for the meeting and battle with Smaug is quite possibly the best creation of any of the films, of the Hobbit or LOTR, for he is as awesome as you could expect, never looking cartoony, and this is down to the voice as much as the effects.Watching and listening to him face off against Bilbo is a treat, and that is before we get to any fire breathing, screaming, roaring and. What follows is a lengthy conclusion to the film that will excite and delight all. I have no qualms in saying that Smaug makes the entire film wort chasing through the underworld of the dwarf kingdom. This was worth  the admission of price alone, for Mr Jackson has done it again raised the bar in both effects and story, his direction is perfect as you'd expect, it goes without me saying, CGI, cinematography, Editing, and Sound will be in Oscar land real soon, and the ending has lft me begging for more now not next bloody year. This miles is ahead of part one, and the 3D works, so i'm guessing they will do a re master of LOTR in 3D to cash in on the unholy dark ring, One Ring To Rule Them All!!!one new unbeatable fantasy film of this new decade. There may be lots of great effects films coming soon, but this is one hard act to follow, and Jackson is king of middle earth, he has done it again delivered the goods big time, I feel a 10/10 but need a second visit, and still feel a little cheated so 9/10

.


quote:


At the Prancing Pony Inn in Bree, Gandalf the Grey persuades Thorin Oakenshield to obtain the Arkenstone to unite the dwarves, and suggests that a stealthy burglar may be needed to steal the jewel back from the dragon, Smaug. One year later, Thorin and his company are being pursued by Azog and his Orc party. After Bilbo informs the group that a bear is also tracking them, Gandalf ushers them along to the nearby home of Beorn, a skin-changer who has taken the form of the bear. The following day, the company reaches Mirkwood where Gandalf discovers Black Speech graffiti imprinted on an old ruin, and abruptly leaves without explanation. He cautions them to remain on the path and wait for him before entering the Lonely Mountain, but they lose their way and are caught by giant spiders…

How has it come to this? Just over a year ago, I was writing a stupidly lengthy article for this here website praising to the skies the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. Now, I sit here at this computer and feel thoroughly disheartened because I’m going to struggle to say much that is good about the second film in director Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy The Hobbit. Even before seeing An Unexpected Journey I was very unhappy at the decision to expand J.R.R. Tolkien’s book to three films. No matter how much you take and expand upon from the writer’s Appendices, which may fill gaps and connect his stories better but were mostly written after the fact, it didn’t seem that there was enough material to fill three films which, of course, knowing Jackson, were going to be over two and a half hours, and the whole concept smelt of being more of a commercial than an artistic endeavour. Coming out of An Unexpected Journey, it seemed that my suspicions were correct. The film was enjoyable, but it was all ridiculously bloated and Jackson seemed to be turning into George Lucas in more ways than one. This second movie has some very good moments, but there are times it’s far worse than the first one, and it saddens me to say that a director I’ve loved right from Bad Taste is turning into one I’m beginning to hate.

I guess how much you enjoy The Desolation Of Smaug in part depends on whether you’ve read or liked the book, though I think it’s a badly flawed film even if taken on its own. For me personally – well, I’m not going to go on about my childhood being violated- but I certainly felt similar such emotions watching this film. This film is NOT The Hobbit. Its elements from a few chapters of The Hobbit augmented by a load of other stuff, but worse than that, it prefers to skip portions of the book in favour of material that isn’t in Tolkien at all. It prefers to have a bloody love triangle, bloody Stephen Fry reprising his role from Blackadder, and bloody irrelevant action scenes that don’t actually have barely any bearing on the main plot. I would say at least a third of this film is totally invented. I certainly don’t believe that films should be totally accurate to their sources – it’s my belief that there are some ways in The Lord Of The Rings films where Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens improved on Tolkien – but The Desolation Of Smaug is just ridiculous in this respect. It’s a total travesty of an adaptation and shows, even more than An Unexpected Journey, that Jackson and co. stretching the book into three films is being done strictly because of greed.

Taken on its own, The Desolation Of Smaug is a reasonably entertaining fantasy adventure for much of the time and its first hour is actually rather good, but it still has problems and soon after that it goes downhill quite fast. An early sequence of Bilbo and company battling big spiders is nice and intense and will probably make anyone afraid of spiders feel very uneasy, but the next big action scene where the team are escaping the Elves in barrels on a river in the middle of a battle between Elves and Orcs shows only a flash of the technical and film-making skill that was constantly on offer in The Lord Of The Rings. It’s especially hampered by overly fast cutting, some really bad water shots which look like they were done on a normal video camera, and excessive use of CGI which is sometimes quite bad. In fact, there are shots in this film of Orcs on Wargs [wolf-like creatures] which are really embarrassing for a production with a budget like this, and why on earth did Jackson think that computer-generated Orcs look better than live-action ones? His love for what CGI can do has resulted in laziness and a sterile feel to some of the proceedings. One of the things that was so great technically about The Lord Of The Rings was its great and varied use of traditional techniques as well as CGI, but there’s far less evidence of that here. And anyway, is it me or is CGI in some respects getting worse?

The Desolation Of Smaug’s pacing is way off. Even if you haven’t read the book, it’s obvious that much of the first half is rushed and much of the second half dragged out. It takes forever for them to get inside that darn mountain and find Smaug, and, while the big climactic action scene is certainly exciting, it’s constantly ludicrous, with characters able to fall hundreds of feet and get up again and balance on a dragon’s head. I know The Lord Of The Rings films had a bit of this stuff, but it was only here and there and resulted in some great “Hell Yeah” moments, while much of the rest of it still felt somewhat grounded. Here, nothing seems to have any reality to it. Smaug the dragon moves quite convincingly but looks so much like a certain other film dragon that I kept expecting Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy to show up, and he’s a thorough idiotic dragon too, though at least he’s a good character. The result of constantly taking the attention away from Bilbo and the Dwarves – the folk we should care about most – means that the hobbit’s relationship with his co-adventurers is now barely a relationship at all, because the filmmakers would rather show us Super Legolas killing fifty orcs. And that love triangle, I mean for God’s sake. Maybe it was put in a sop to female viewers [as well as make up for Jackson not having achieved his wish of having Arwen kick arse at Helm’s Deep], and I will admit that Evangeline Lilly certainly looks good and provides some eye candy for the fellas, but actually it’s getting annoying that every female lead character in a film, however tough they may be, still seems to need a love interest.

The Desolation Of Smaug often looks great, with the varied landscapes of New Zealand again being put to great use, and some of the scenes involving Gandalf and a certain deadly peril bring in some welcome darkness, but this particular subplot, despite being in Tolkien’s Appendices, is given short shrift [the film would rather waste time on other stuff], its scenes coming across as an interruption when they shouldn’t be, and they can’t even seem to work out what the villain here looks like. Elsewhere a great deal just seems like rehashes of bits and pieces from The Lord Of The Rings [not the fault of the screenwriters in every case, I know], with even some ‘tempted by power’ stuff, but it mostly feels like a pale shadow of what we’ve seen before [even if it actually happened afterwards, if you know what I mean]. And then the thing just suddenly ends. The first movie and indeed the first two Lord Of The Rings films may have finished with the story obviously not over, but they still felt like completed films in their own right and had good final scenes. This one appears to just stop mid-scene.

The cast mostly play their parts well and Ian McKellen can still make the tackiest of dialogue sound like the best of Shakespeare but poor Martin Freeman just doesn’t get much of a chance to shine here. Howard Shore’s music provides reasonable dramatic backing but is thoroughly unmemorable and only really shines when bits of Lord Of The Rings themes are heard. I suppose they shot themselves in the foot by not filming The Hobbit first, which I still think they should have done, and as one film and without all the Appendices stuff. Then, the move on to the epic that is The Lord Of The Rings would have been thrilling. What we have instead is Jackson and co. trying to make The Hobbit like The Lord Of The Rings and struggling to recapture their past glories. The Desolation Of Smaug is not, overall, a terrible film, hence the not-too-bad rating for a film I’ve spent ages criticising, but it’s decidedly messy, only actually gets good in occasional fits and spurts, and remains an insult to its source material. What a shame it’s come to this.

Rating: 5/10


Two interesting opinions there. I've written a review but I'm waiting to publish it before I see the film again. It's torn me and I really need a second opinion. But I think I'm somewhere in between the two of you.

(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 15318
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 18/12/2013 11:07:59 PM   
Platter

 

Posts: 112
Joined: 14/8/2010
Sexy Beast (2000) 5 out of 10

The script is rather amateurish feeling. There are some good ideas but the banal parts dominate. Ben Kingsley's scenes have tension to them and they are quite funny in a few places. I laughed about three or four times, but it doesn't sustain the tension for any length of time. There are a few touches that add nothing, such as the giant hairy (rabbit?) monster. The surreal touches and the odd, deliberately under-explained scenes (the orgy flashback) don't sit right with the conventional enough type of story they are telling. The direction was rather bland, with the stylish bits looking a bit half-arsed and too reminiscent of TV advertising (a shot of flames in a grill looks like a shot from an ad; the slow motion shots of rabbits running look out of place in a narrative film). The heist at the end was very mundane and unimaginative. The whole ending with James Fox getting shot for no obvious reason, and McShane letting Winstone get away with murdering Kingsley due to his indifference was just pointless. A horrible ending that basically acts as a shrug of disinterest by the makers. The story doesn't add up to much and feels very undercooked and under conceived. It's a weak script saved by some interesting ideas and scenes, good (if very mannered) acting from Kingsley and some iconic poolside images. The film doesn't quite hold together and convince, but it was watchable and of some minor merit. It was average and thankfully short at only 84 minutes. The director's next movie Birth (2004) has a very strong Kubrick influence. I didn't pick up any such influence on this film.




The Entitled (2011) 5

Competent straight to rental thriller. That says it all. It has all the usual strengths (mildly interesting plot; a punchy pace and running time, and a lack of pretention) and weaknesses (weak script, variable acting and poorly realised action and thrills). The cinematography was quite glossy so it looks like a decent amount of money was spent on it. The acting was unconvincing from most of the teenage cast who sometimes react weirdly to events, although that's probably the fault of the writing. The script is silly with a lot of logic holes, especially the main character's plan. A lot of potential is squandered as the script plays out the most basic version of its story. The ending is silly (also a girl is beaten, but it's not at all obvious that she was beaten to death based on what little we see - badly directed sequence). They did almost nothing with the title concerning the have-nots turning on the haves. It was painless to watch this tepid little thriller with its small cast. It was worth renting once, but no more than that.




Charley Varrick (1973) 6

Don Siegel was a very nuts and bolts, no frills, get the job done director. That would be okay if there was some impressive technique, but he has no style or technical proficiency. He makes bland looking movies that plod competently from one scene to the next. The film was okay, if distinctly average. It doesn't spark into much life but it keeps going forward and the script has a few interesting moments in it. A decent nuts and bolts movie by a decent nuts and bolts director. It's hard to get excited about it.



Moonrise Kingdom (2012) 7

A typical Wes Anderson quirk fest. It's a bit stiff and overly mannered to begin with, but after about half an hour it either loosens up or just starts casting its spell. I think it's from the very funny, 'He does watercolours. Mostly landscapes. And some nudes', dialogue that it starts clicking into place. I liked it maybe a bit more than when I first saw it, but it hasn't grown substantially better. It's a so-so story of no particular interest with characters it's difficult to care much about. It's well made with great craftsmanship and attention to bizarre detail. Probably more than any of his previous movies - it's easier to admire than love. There's something a little sterile about this one. Even at his most stylised and visually formal the warmth underneath usual comes out on a second viewing. It's early days, but I'm not expecting this one to grow into a great movie with further repeat viewings. If you think of it as a straight-up kids movie then it works a bit better. I like it, and I think it's very interesting in a lot of different ways, but it's a minor Anderson film of small pleasures. There's a lot to like about it, but also a lot to be indifferent about. Probably his weakest script since Bottle Rocket.



The Last Days of Disco (1998) 7

Whit Stillman is a very distinctive writer-director based on this and Metropolitan. His very verbose, very written sounding dialogue and his way of having characters casually interact and having group dynamics constantly changing is specific to his style. I liked this film but I didn’t love it as much as expected. For as enjoyable as it was, there was something a little distant about it. I wouldn’t say it was cold or easier to admire, but there was something about it that kept me away from it. Perhaps it was the way the characters weren’t convincing as independent people free from the control of the writer. As a writer he is very evident at all moments while his direction is unobtrusive. It’s a film of endless talk which is filmed in a prosaic, basic way with not too much editing. I imagine the screenplay was almost pure dialogue with only a few stage directions. A proper plot eventually kicks in towards the end with a police investigation but it’s not very interesting or fully fleshed out. I don’t think he cared much about it anyway. It was all about their relationships with each other and what conversations they were having. It’s not a shapeless movie as I never found myself wondering what the point of it was. The lack of much of a plot was not a concern, and was obviously not relevant to what he was trying to do. In the last half hour the film starts to drag and the verbosity of it starts to seem excessive. It’s overlong and does wear you out slightly with so much talk. I liked the film a lot. I was totally convinced Kate Beckinsale was Neve Campbell – I was surprised she wasn’t in it when I later looked at the credits. I liked that some songs were repeated on the soundtrack as it suggested that the big hits were constantly being heard again and again.

FYI This is 'free' with a streaming package on LoveFilm.



In Bruges (2007) 9

Very funny black comedy with a good plot and setting. Some of the dialogue is very funny. A well put together little film. I really enjoyed it.



I've Loved You So Long (2008) 9

Very good dramatic film with an emotional punch to it. 10 out of 10 stuff until the climax. The ending was not botched, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. The confrontation happened off screen for no good reason and the ‘twist’ was very obvious from the start so it had no power to surprise or be a shocking revelation. Also it introduced two big logic questions.


MASSIVE SPOILERS: Firstly, how did no one else notice the child was very sick? Did the father somehow not notice his boy was in pain? If he did, then why didn’t he speak up for his wife at the trial? Secondly, why didn’t she tell people her motive? A few lines of masochistic dialogue explain her reasons for keeping quiet, but they don’t wash for me as to why she didn’t just tell people he was terminally ill. It wasn’t like it would have got her off the hook and everyone would simply forgive her. She would probably still go to prison and be ostracised. Logically the whole film is built on a shaky foundation that could have been made more solid with a bit of extra thought.




Drowning By Numbers (1988)

Not too painful and hard going, but not any fun either

A very odd film. What Greenaway was trying to achieve is hard to guess. It's not dramatic. It's not funny. It's not interesting or intriguing. The `story' is a very whimsical string of random scenes with a very sketchy narrative running through them (with really pointless subplots that add nothing such as the girl with the skipping rope and the boy circumcising himself). What there is of a story is very surreal and set in a world which we enter with its own rules and logic. It's not a fun world to be in. The problem with Greenaway is that he is a humourless high art guy into centuries old paintings, classical music and opera. Boring stuff. If his imagination was run through trashier influences and genre films then it might be a lot more entertaining. He's a boring guy with a boring imagination making nearly narrative free movies of the imagination. It's a poor combination. He's not trashy enough and he's not interested in entertaining an audience with basic things.

At least his pacing is okay. The film moves at a mid-paced plod that at least keeps things going so it doesn't bog down too much.

The acting is very stylised and the dialogue even worse.

Whole scenes seem pointless with the constant games coming across as just silly. They don't add anything worthwhile and feel like a tacked on element that doesn't grow organically out of the characters or the story that is being told.

Visually it looks okay. He tends to set up a long shot, pose his actors statically in it and then slowly move his camera into the scenes until it becomes a medium shot. There is minimal editing so the shots can last for minutes at a time. He does this time and again. The frames are crowded with details and are probably directly inspired by paintings - or even complete recreations for all I know. It means there's always something to look at it, but it's not exactly scintillating.

About an hour in I took a break. I came back to it puzzled as to what he was trying to achieve. What was the film for? What was it actually about (it's not about the plot)? What was the point? The next scene was the middle woman trying to seduce her overweight husband that ends with him drowning. The dialogue was very arch with a comic tone. Halfway through the scene I realised that Greenaway was trying to be funny. This was a big broad, near Carry On style, laugh out loud scene in his mind. He was trying to make a comedy! Not only was this scene supposed to be funny but I realised that most of the whole film was meant to be funny. It was more of a comedy than a drama. Boy did he miss the target and fail to make an audience laugh.

Nyman's score for this film is the blandest he did for Greenaway.

It was not too painful and hard going. Not that it was any fun either. It was boring and a little tedious. The film doesn't work. I just don't like his imagination. It's all about the world the writer-director has conjured for us, but Greenaway is not an interesting guy with fascinating preoccupations. I didn't hate the film and there are some mildly interesting bits here and there. It was okay for one viewing but I wouldn't be rushing to watch it again. Not a good movie.

The game of spotting the numbers 1 to 100 spread in sequence throughout the film is not as clever and as fun as it might sound.

4 out of 10





Only God Forgives (2013) 5

I was heavily tipped off as to what to expect by lots of negative reviews, and much more importantly, by recently watching Refn’s movie Valhalla Rising. I got what I expected – a slow, under-written, uneventful film full of squandered potential. Valhalla Rising showed him to be capable of making a movie were nothing at all happens - an Amazon reviewer said something like, ‘With Refn it’s often a case of less than meets the eye’. I think that nails him quite well as he’s the master of going to great lengths and effort to build up to something dramatic, and then to do nothing with it. Time and again he builds to a crescendo to only then let out all the air and have the characters just do nothing. He loves filming men statically looking into the distance while the soundtrack gets noisy. He seems to think this is content and substance. It’s not really. It means his films are a bit boring and uneventful. A heck of a lot more could have been done and said with this story set up, but he does very, very little with it. There are a few powerful scenes or moments (the prostitute meeting the mother, the restaurant hit on the cop) but overall it’s a case of very little stretched thin. It’s not weird or logically different enough to be directly comparable to Alejandro Jodorowsky – he is an obvious influence since he is name checked with a thank you style credit before even the director’s own name appears. David Lynch is more stylistically in synch with what Refn is doing here. People have been reading a lot into who the cop is (the Devil? God?) but I don’t see it. He’s just mythical figure of vengeance. I don’t think there’s anything more to him than that. Gosling wasn’t charismatic enough or visually full of character to be silent for so long and still be the centre of attention. Scott Thomas gets a few funny lines, but she isn’t given enough dialogue and screen time to make that much of an impact. Refn’s direction wasn’t particularly stylish so he failed to stamp his personality on it beyond bathing whole scenes in red light. I didn’t think the film was boring but the story was very slight and unsatisfying overall. To me it’s mostly a missed opportunity to do something really interesting and outrageous. Not bad, but not good either.

NOTE: A few days later and I feel a strong desire to watch it again. This is an unexpected feeling as I rarely watch movies twice in the one year. Already I feel its stature growing. Sadly I only rented it so it could be awhile before I see it again. I suspect I would up the rating to 7 or 8 out of 10 if I saw it again.




Trance (2013) 4

It starts as a good, effective and amusing mainstream heist movie. Then it goes a little unusual, but still mainstream, with the introduction of the hypnotist. All very good stuff. Then after Dawson becomes a member of the gang, at about the 25 minute point, it turns into a obtuse, deliberately confusing and tricky art movie. Sadly it's not a good art movie. Boyle is apparently a big Nicolas Roeg fan. He has attempted to make a Roeg movie with similar fractured editing and confusing story telling techniques. The results, not unsurprisingly considering Roeg isn't any good, is that the film is a confusing mess. To do singular oddball art movies the makers themselves have to be interesting people. Boyle and his writers are not authentic oddballs and so it all seems a bit contrived and boring. His attempts at being weird don't impress and the whole thing just becomes needlessly tricky with a story that doesn't seem worth telling. They should have kept with the opening mainstream style. Not a good film but watchable enough in that things are always happening. The end reveal is total nonsense and makes little sense with confused, silly character motivations. Dawson does two shots of full frontal nudity which seems excessive for such a so-so movie - I guess she thought it was arty and good enough to justify baring all.


< Message edited by Platter -- 18/12/2013 11:10:01 PM >


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Post #: 15319
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 19/12/2013 10:17:49 AM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
You're a hard person to please Platter

Have to say it's been a while since I saw either Charley Varrick or Sexy Beast but remember really enjoying both of them and would put them above 5 and 6 out of ten films just on acting performances alone.

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Post #: 15320
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 19/12/2013 2:37:24 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 2959
Joined: 22/11/2006

Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro (screenplay), J.R.R. Tolkein (novel)
Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, Aidan Turner, Benedict Cumberbatch
Running time: 161 minutes
Certification: 12A

Bilbo, Thorin and company continue on their quest to reclaim Erebor and the Arkenstone from a sleeping dragon named Smaug. Meanwhile, Gandalf foresees great evil lurking on the horizon…


There have been inklings leading up to the release of The Desolation Of Smaug that it got right what An Unexpected Journey got wrong. I, for one, don’t subscribe to the idea that the first Hobbit film isn’t as good as the first LOTR film, therefore it’s rubbish. Of course The Fellowship Of The Ring is the better film – it’s better than many – but that hardly means An Unexpected Journey doesn’t have its share of merits. Jackson judged the lighter, adventurous tone of the book perfectly, giving us more of a comedic ride than a dark trek, while all the while assuring us that it’s leading somewhere special. People seem to forget that The Hobbit was written by Tolkein as a children’s novel before he created The Lord Of The Rings, so I can’t understand why the film’s interpretation of that is something to be looked down on. Regardless, the question remains: is The Desolation Of Smaug really a much better film than An Unexpected Journey? In some ways, absolutely; in others, depressingly no.

This is really a film of two halves that radically differ in quality. We open shortly after where we left off in An Unexpected Journey (save for a small flashback sequence), with the Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves high-tailing it away from Azog and his orc minions on their way to the Lonely Mountain. Admittedly there’s a certain pace and energy in the opening minutes (and, indeed, the rest of the film) that really thrusts us aggressively back into the story, as if there had been no break, but that’s about as good as it gets for some time. During the first hour or so, where it’s pretty much non-stop action, I was getting really worried – primarily because everything is sloppy, far too rushed and just a bit all over the place. They’ve already split a relatively short book into three movies, nearly three hours a piece, yet Desolation absolutely rockets through the chapters as if it’s just bored and wants to get to Smaug.

Just forty minutes in we’ve covered so much ground (literally) that we’re left thinking, “Well what on Middle Earth are they going to do for the next two hours?”. The answer is, of course, cram it with lots of filler. Legolas and Tauriel coming into the fray takes up a hefty portion of the running time, and while it is fun to have Legolas back and Evangeline Lilly is just nice to look at, their relationship and motives, topped off with Tauriel’s irritating quasi-love subplot, doesn’t lead to much and is ultimately unnecessary. I would have much rather had more focus on important moments in the novel than a strip down with filler from the appendixes

Furthermore, and sadly, Beorn barely gets the time of day, with the company rushing in and out of his abode in a matter of minutes without a second glance, but even more problematically, the spiders of Mirkwood are a mere passing hitch on their journey. It doesn’t do nearly enough justice to what is such a fantastically perilous and immersive chapter in the book (not to mention my favourite). Chiefly it’s because there’s no sense of real struggle or danger, or the overwhelming darkness that burdens them so heavily. The whole section is completely rushed through, in a matter of minutes, so when Bilbo pops his head up above the trees – a moment so profound in the book – it doesn’t really mean much. Sure the wind and sun probably feels nice, but it’s not like he’s been trudging through complete darkness for days on end – at least that’s not what we’ve been told.

But here’s where it all changes, almost literally, in an instance. In one brilliant moment, just after the barrels drop, everything makes a U-turn of sorts and becomes…well, brilliant. There’s clearly more care and attention shown when proceedings get to Laketown and the Lonely Mountain, which leads me to the conclusion that perhaps it really is because Jackson was more interested in getting to Smaug (who is perfectly voiced by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch and looks amazing thanks to more incredible work from the Middle Earth gurus at Weta). He and Bilbo sharing dialogue, like riddles in the dark with Gollum, is searingly good and easily the standout scene of the film, but the whole third act in general is wonderfully handled. To be fair, that’s probably more important than my personal issues with the translation from page to screen of Mirkwood and Beorn’s house, as it’s more important to the overall story.

While I’ll always be intrigued by the ‘what could have been’ of Guillermo Del Toro directing The Hobbit (he remains a co-writer), Peter Jackson remains confident in the world he’s brought to life time and time again, filling almost every scene with a jump or tumble of some kind, and turning every shot into a fluid, wide, panoramic sweep. Despite any problems the film may have, he still shows real love and respect for Tolkein’s work, and there’s a sense that he really doesn’t care about the comparisons to The Lord Of The Rings. While he’s trying to make these films on the same scale, he’s not trying to make the same films, and there’s something respectable about that.

To say The Desolation Of Smaug isn’t a slight disappointment would be to tell a lie. Like its predecessor, it remains a bit too baggy and over-reliant on not always great CGI, and its failure to successfully dramatize some of the best moments from the novel leaves a distinctly dissatisfying hole, but where it fails in these areas, it makes up for in its breathtaking pace, some really exciting second and third act set-pieces, and a certain Sherlock duo – not to mention that exhilarating, cliffhanger ending that leaves us wanting more, even if we know the outcome. If nothing else, this reviewer could happily just sit and watch Middle Earth for hours on end.

3.5/5

(in reply to Discodez)
Post #: 15321
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/12/2013 11:34:29 AM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
Pieta

I reviewed this for my Mrs as she's on the amazon vine programme but didn't fancy watching it herself as she thought it might be a bit extreme for her tastes. However as the readers of this thread like something a bit different I thought I'd post my review here too, some may find it a little spoilerific, but as I regard the people who read this thread pretty cine-literate I doubt it gives anything away you won't work out after watching the first 30 seconds of the film anyway:



Pieta is the 18th film by Korean director Kim Ki-duk and tells the story of Kang Do, a savage debt collector for a racket that loans money to the struggling small businesses of the industrial wastelands of the Cheonggyecheon district of Seoul. This particular racket forces it's "clients" to sign accident insurance policies so when they can't meet the exorbitant repayments, Kang Do joylessly commits acts of violence (forcing people to injure themselves on lathes, throwing them off half built buildings) to maim or cripple the debtor and then collect the insurance pay out to clear the debt. On one fateful day, Kang Do is followed by a middle aged woman, Mi-Son who at first watches him from a distance but then later reveals herself to be the mother who abandoned him at birth and begs his forgiveness. Initially rejecting and subjecting her to a vile "sacrament" to prove her herself as his mother and to a horrible sexual assault asking her "I came out of here, can I go back in?" Mi-Son's forgiveness and perseverance however and the unconditional love she shows to the lonely Kang Do see him accept her and take her into his squalid life and home. According to Wikipedia "The Pietà is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ..." So armed with this knowledge watching Pieta with its opening scene of a wheel chair bound man hanging himself, most film buffs will quickly realise where we are heading and as the DVD cover informs us this is a tale of love, honour, violence, revenge and death.

Pieta is a bleak film, and as such a hammering metaphor on the state of modern capitalism, where the vulnerable (the old, the destitute and struggling) are left to the traverse the shark infested waters of societies underbelly. The relationship dynamics between Kang Do and Mi-Son could have been unbearable to watch and indeed some will find it so but Lee Jung-Jin as Kang Do brilliantly conveys the heartless blank eyed menace of the seemingly empty debt collector whose loneliness soon gives way to the fear that his new found Mum could be snatched away from him at any moment, as he has snatched away lives and lively-hoods before and the ethereally beautiful Jo Min-Su's awarding winning turn as Mi-Son is utterly compelling. Do we really believe her story and the sacrifices she makes to convince us and Kang Do that she really is his long lost Mum? And will Kang Do really be able to turn his back on his life of crime as easily as he would like?

Shot with little colour and swathed in shades of grey and rust save for the occasional smears or pools of blood Pieta isn't an easy watch, and there are no happy sunset Hollywood endings for any character here but if you like thought provoking and interesting movies or a are a fan of Asian cinema then I'd recommend it unless you're a horror fan looking for the visceral and gory thrills of films like Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" then probably best to save yourself a bit of disappointment.

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Post #: 15322
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/12/2013 11:53:54 AM   
UTB


Posts: 9771
Joined: 30/9/2005
Nice review Discodez

I used to "enjoy" Kim Ki-Duk's films but after "Breathe" and "Time" it kinda felt he's just beating the same drum all the time. Still, its been a while so I might check Pieta out. The Isle is due a blu-ray release in Korea too which I can't wait to see - the DVD transfer is shocking.

(in reply to Discodez)
Post #: 15323
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/12/2013 2:09:52 PM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
Thanks UTB, I have to admit that I tend to dip in and out of Asian cinema and ythis is the first film by Kim Ki-Duk I've seen so I will have to check out some of his other work

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Post #: 15324
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 20/12/2013 2:53:26 PM   
losthighway


Posts: 3248
Joined: 25/1/2006
From: Manchesterford
ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

I should state that I found the first film a very hit and miss affair and a recent re-viewing didn't change that opinion however the full trailer for this sequel has had me chuckling for the past few months so I thought I would give it a go. Sadly, the trailer is better than the film! A2 is (almost) an copy of the first film but bigger and with slight tweaks. The jokes are even more hit and miss than last time around and some, to be quite honest, are just downright surreal. Also, the film runs for a good 30 mins too long and it's poorly edited at times - it actually feels like a lot of (what would normally be) deleted scenes were left in. I can't say it was a terrible film but it's certainly not one I would re-watch. Overall: 2.5/5

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Post #: 15325
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 21/12/2013 1:34:40 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 2959
Joined: 22/11/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: losthighway

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

I should state that I found the first film a very hit and miss affair and a recent re-viewing didn't change that opinion however the full trailer for this sequel has had me chuckling for the past few months so I thought I would give it a go. Sadly, the trailer is better than the film! A2 is (almost) an copy of the first film but bigger and with slight tweaks. The jokes are even more hit and miss than last time around and some, to be quite honest, are just downright surreal. Also, the film runs for a good 30 mins too long and it's poorly edited at times - it actually feels like a lot of (what would normally be) deleted scenes were left in. I can't say it was a terrible film but it's certainly not one I would re-watch. Overall: 2.5/5


I have to say, I saw it last night and laughed the whole way through. It's probably a bit too long, but it's sillier, stupider, wilder and more outrageous than the first film, and I had a great time.

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Post #: 15326
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 21/12/2013 1:36:54 PM   
Whistler


Posts: 2959
Joined: 22/11/2006
A belated review here. Took me a few days to properly collate my thoughts on it.


Woody Grant (Dern) is trying to hike from Montana to Nebraska to collect the $1,000,000 he’s been awarded by a magazine subscription. Despite the best efforts of his sons David (Forte) and Ross (Odenkirk) to convince him it’s just a big scam, he continues to attempt his journey. Finally David gives in and gives his old man a lift across the country. Will they bond along the way or discover inner demons?

When asked why he made Nebraska in black and white, director Alexander Payne replied, “It left cinema only for commercial reasons – it never left fine-art photography. I can’t have a career as a film director and not make at least one black-and-white picture.” That, for me, is all the validation I need (if any). The question has and will continue to be asked by many; “Why is Nebraska in black and white? What’s the point?” The point is just that. It’s still a perfectly valid form of cinematography that, just like widescreen digital, yields its own unique beauty and style. Payne’s decision to shoot the film in black and white – or rather convert it in post-production – shouldn’t even come into question, but when it does, you have your answer. If that’s not enough, the film answers the questions for him.

From the first moment we’re struck by how beautiful a black and white image can be. It brings something subtly subduing and alluring to the fray, heightening the rustic, comforting effect of the gorgeous Nebraskan landscape. With so much of the film taking place on the road amongst the distant hills and vast plains, we’re treated to a collage of breathtaking images that may very well not have had the same impact in vibrant colour – or at least a very different one. After being so won over by the format, it’s hard to imagine Nebraska playing the same way in colour. It works the way it is. I mean, did we really need It’s A Wonderful Life in colour?

As is so often evident in Payne’s work, there’s a finely judged balance of dark, quirky wit trickling under the surface. What is essentially a character-driven road trip comedy, with the father and son setting off from Montana to Nebraska and bumping into old acquaintances along the way with often hilarious results, the tone is deceptively melancholic throughout. Just in the way The Descendants pulled us in all sorts of directions, making up laugh one minute and cry the next, Nebraska gives us that mandatory chuckle with an exchange between Woody and David before breaking down and looking deep and openly into relationships and past regressions. Such juxtaposing interplay is incredibly hard to pull off, so it’s to writer Bob Nelson’s credit that his first feature works so successfully.

In no small part that’s also down to Payne’s expertise behind camera and his ability to make the absolute best out of a good screenplay and great actors, but even more so it’s down to the magnificence of Bruce Dern. Dern has been fairly quiet on the big screen in recent years – a small cameo in Django Unchained is his most noticed role for some time – but Woody Grant is the role he was meant to play. In a quid pro quo of sorts, his return to glory is down to Nebraska, but Nebraska’s glories lie heavily on him. Every single movement and sound he makes is pitch perfect, like a slickly oiled cog in a functioning machine. Each line is delivered with such genius nonchalance, whether he’s defending his right to drink beer or trying to convince family and friends he’s really a millionaire. There’s no strain on his acting abilities or any particular effort to be impressive; it’s just a modest and completely understated performance that makes the film what it is. He’s deservedly receiving plaudits and wide tips for an Oscar nomination, and it would be an absolute travesty if he didn’t receive it.

Inevitably, the story becomes something more than simply a father and son trying to obtain a million dollars, and really both we and Woody know from the beginning. It’s all just a scam, he hasn’t really won the money – even if there’s a part of him (and us) that wants to believe it. His agenda is emotional; to connect with a family that has grown distant by exhuming his past, before leaving them behind with sodden memories of his alcoholism and apathy. The shift to this reveal is really sweetly done, as if we didn’t know it was coming, and somehow it doesn’t scream with saccharine sentiment to get the job done, which lesser films might. The final act of Woody and David shows the film’s true colours, with its ability to provide the most satisfying conclusion that doesn’t contradict everything that went before – much in the same way as The Way, Way Back did earlier this year.

Nebraska won’t be to everyone’s taste; for some the heavily character-driven structure won’t work dramatically; for others, it might just be the grainy black and white print that puts them off, but there’s so much depth and substance to be found within those grainy characters that I was won over. Great dialogue, characters and dynamics are hard to come by, and so compelling, that nothing else seems to matter.

4/5

< Message edited by Whistler -- 21/12/2013 1:38:33 PM >

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Post #: 15327
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 21/12/2013 11:18:05 PM   
Mister Coe

 

Posts: 1561
Joined: 20/10/2012
Just noticed that RARE EXPORTS is showing on Film4 on Christmas Eve... I'm sure it's been mentioned somewhere on the 511 previous pages of this thread...

Never got round to watching it, worth a punt?

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Post #: 15328
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/12/2013 10:52:19 AM   
Discodez

 

Posts: 798
Joined: 2/9/2010
I love Rare Exports - well worth watching

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Post #: 15329
RE: WEIRD/STRANGE favorite movies? - 23/12/2013 5:17:14 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5142
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Black Christmas is on the Horror Channel tomorrow night, and Christmas Evil is on the same channel on Christmas Day.

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