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 Post subject: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:58 pm 
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This is just going to be a place to share whatever movies you've watched recently. Write brief reviews for them or don't, it's up to you however you decide to use this thread. Everybody's free to share their stuff here.


To start, reaching back to my first-time watches for the past week:


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The Lost Weekend (1945)
Classic film about a chronic alcoholic who goes on a four-day bender when left to his own devices over a holiday weekend.
There's a nice performance here from the star actor Ray Milland and, like most of director Billy Wilder's films, there are several brilliant and memorable scenes dotted throughout the film. Wilder makes great use of traditional film noir devices with shadowed photography, flashback sequences, and of course a dark and oppressive city pressing down on the brooding central character.
But unlike Wilder's other noir-styled social commentaries such as Sunset Boulevard and Ace in The Hole, I don't think The Lost Weekend has aged well over the past few decades. The trumpeting address towards the issue of alcoholism and addiction--while possibly unique at the time of the film's release--now seems formulaic and overly preachy, and after spending two hours watching a man's life break down and slowly circle the drain, the suddenly upbeat and miraculous final scene of the film feels artificial and left a bitter taste in my mouth after what had mostly been an enjoyable viewing experience.
Still, an interesting movie overall, and I did learn that in 1945 a person could get completely wasted for four days off of only ten dollars. My, how times have changed... (6/10)



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Blowup (1966)
Dark, Hitchcockian-styled film about a successful and disenchanted fashion photographer in swingin' 60's London who one day accidentally discovers that he may or may not have captured a murder in progress on film. Director Antonioni uses this setup to create a biting commentary about the subjectiveness of art and it's callous admirers, as photographer Thomas wends his way through a jaded landscape of sex, drugs and fashion to uncover the truth behind his photographs. One particularly memorable scene involves a Yardbirds performance at a club where the rock band plays their riffs to a sea of stoned zombies; the contrast between the up-tempo music and the comatose audience is a great, surreal moment of shocking honesty.
Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Birkin and Sarah Miles all accompany David Hemmings in various supporting roles (as well as John Castle in one of his first roles, a one-line performance as an eccentric painter), and the film itself is a gorgeous canvas of colors and stunning art direction, all wrapped up in a jazzy Herbie Hancock score.
Great movie, but one I'd only recommend to serious moviegoers as it moves along too slow and is far too introspective to make good popcorn cinema. (9/10)



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Elizabethtown (2005)
Tepid, sappy, self-indulgent crapfest about a stand-up cardboard dummy and a perky flight attendant who meet and fall in love over a series of quirky and music-flooded vignettes. Cameron Crowe is usually a stand-up director, but he deserves to be taken out back and pistol-whipped for this movie. What the hell did I just watch? (2/10)



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The Horse's Mouth (1958)
Deliciously clever, vicious and hilarious classic British comedy romp about a disgruntled, anarchic painter who will stop at nothing on his quest for the perfect canvas.
Alec Guiness takes the lion's share of the credit on this one, which was filmed from his Oscar-nominated screenplay and showcases yet another of his endless chameleon-like character roles. This time he adopts a gravely voice and tottering shuffle to play the aging painter Gulley Jimson, who unapologetically and freely steals, lies, and destroys pretty much anything set in his path while passionately following his artistic vision. Even his admirers are subject to this behavior, to the point that police intervention becomes a necessity. In this way, the misunderstood outsider wrestles with his limitations and criticisms while struggling to create beauty.
Kay Walsh and Dr. Pastorious--I mean, Ernest Thesiger--give hilarious supporting performances, and Michael Gough shows up briefly as an obnoxiously funny sculptor ("I'm telling you, too many feet!"). Ronald Neame directs with a humorously light sensitivity, allowing the movie it's dramatic weight but always leaving room to breathe. The entire film is soaked in a beautiful, sweeping and occasionally quirky score.
A very simple movie overall, but also a very intimate and revealing one about the internal workings of the artistic process. (8/10)



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The Great Escape (1963)
What hasn't been said about this movie a thousand times already? Great cast, great story, great movie. One of the finest POW movies ever made. The end. (9/10)



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School For Scoundrels or How to Win Without Actually Cheating! (1960)
Silly, satirical classic British Hamer comedy about downtrodden executive named Henry Palfrey who utilizes self-help to get revenge on various people who have wronged him. The comedy is somewhat uneven, swinging between charming fun and less pleasant over-the-top goofiness, but it's still a fun watch. Ian Carmichael does a decent enough job playing the lead, but Alastair Sim steals all of the brief scenes they share with a lot of bent humor from the sidelines as Palfrey's professor in Oneupmanship. Dennis Price also shows up in a brief but funny supporting role as a slick-talking car dealer. (6/10)



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Burn After Reading (2008)
A silly, dark-humored romp about morons acting like morons. The Coen Brothers' straight-faced direction and the dark scoring by Carter Burwell only serve to up the humor through the movie's contrived and absurd tangle of sex and espionage. The only thing is I wish there had been more Brad Pitt, who completely stole the show in his far too brief role as a one of the lead idiots, a male bimbo professional trainer. (8/10)



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The Defiant Ones (1958)
Classic jailbreak movie from the late, great Stanley Kramer about a pair of prisoners, one black and one white, chained together at the wrist who are on the run in the deep South after escaping from a prison car accident.
The story itself is formulaic enough. Undoubtedly you read the above description and immediately guessed what happens, but this is one of those films that proves to be more about the journey than the destination. The film, which precedes Kramers' more well-known classics Inherit the Wind and Judgment at Nuremberg by several years, is seamlessly directed and showcased in stunning, crisp black-and-white cinematography by the legendary Sam Leavitt. The dialogue and plot twists are sharp and soaked in tense atmospherics, and all of this surrounds the stunning dramatic work by core actors Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, who were both rightfully honored with Oscar nods for their hardened, cynical performances as the unlikely escape partners running for their lives.
Wonderful movie. Watch it. (8/10)

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"Just remember this: all agents defect and all resisters sell out. That's the sad truth, Bill... and a writer? A writer
lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is he files a report on it." ~Naked Lunch


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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:09 am 
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Cinema Paradiso (1988)
I first saw this a little over a month ago in a film class designed for the lower crumb of students at my school to take in place of senior English (which I am taking as well). The teacher knows less than I do about movies, a sad fate indeed, but more importantly, she has to spoon-feed us movies. We watched about twenty-five minutes of this movie a day in a 55-minute period, so you may be able to feel my frustration. What I saw was charming and pleasant, the kind of movie you watch when you're younger and that lingers with you as you go. It wasn't comparable to the director's other work marketed towards American audiences (The Legend of 1900 with Tim Roth, one of the best movies you'll ever see), but this parable is an epic in its own right.

But this time, I was completely attached to it. Completely engrossing and entertaining throughout, it's the story of a Sicilian boy that grows up alongside a projector and his relationship with the old, childless projectionist. Completely heartwarming and cliched, somehow, you never feel cheated or like you're watching melodrama, though some parts admittedly are. Because they tried to put so much in this movie it feels disjointed and inadequate; there is an extended version which I must see or I feel like I'll never fully appreciate this movie for what it is. This is the type of movie everyone likes to see, but is all the more significant for movie mongers. With enough substance to stay in the shadows of modern Hollywood, Cinema Paradiso is a rare Italian treat that deserves a try.
7/10

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Moon Over Parador (1988)
An eighties movie that is understandably a lot like every other generic eighties comedy (mildly funny but never outrageously so, a weak romance based on a "funny" guy and a large-breasted woman, and completely forgettable), Moon Over Parador is the story of an actor that pretends to be a Latin American dictator when the real one is killed by his #2. Unimpressive in almost every way, though it does have an occasional charm. Not worth bothering with. I wasn't insulted, at least.
4/10

Wow, haven't seen many movies lately.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 6:02 pm 
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I'm confused. Is this thread supposed to be for new movies we've seen or reruns or what? I know it probably doesn't really matter but I'd hate to look silly in such a fun thread.

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Midnight Meat Train (2008)

Really wanted to see this one in theaters but thanks to Lion's Gate butchering the release down to about 100 "dollar theaters" across the USA, it didn't end up playing anywhere near me. After months of waiting and digging around I finally found a working torrent for it and... wow. Based on one of Clive Barker's short stories from his Book of Blood series, the film revolves around a photographer studying the dark side of his city in an attempt to get his work recognized by a bigshot gallery owner. He decides to investigate when one of his late-night subjects goes missing, and begins to cross paths with the "Subway Butcher", a mysterious and at-times superhuman serial killer who preys on the nighttime riders. There's really no way to further explain just how great this without spoiling the plot so you might as well check it out yourself. You can definitely feel the Japanese touch on this one, from the slick, stylized gore to the masterful camera work -- all in all a very refreshing change from the usual mainstream horror crap. The film unfortunately suffers from some pretty bad CG work here and there, but the violence is so ridiculous and over-the-top that I'm willing to look past that in the interest of entertainment. In other words, don't hesitate if you should ever happen across a DVD of this. You won't regret it, I promise. 9/10

Oh right, and Vinnie Jones is my new hero. I'm totally willing to forgive what he did to Juggernaut after watching this.


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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Vinnie Jones should have been your hero because he's Bullet Tooth Tony and Big Chris.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:10 pm 
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Oh God Bullet Tooth Tony. <3

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:26 pm 
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ALRIGHT BRILLIANT MOVIES GALORE

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This was better than Reloaded and Revolutions, and it gave a better understanding of stuff that happened in Reloaded/Revolutions (If you saw them). If you didn't see those, it's a good general understanding of it all, and a overall beautiful movie with good stories.

World Record


I also saw:
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Some of Rain Man
Most of Spaceballs

Personal recommendation to watch right now? Leatherheads, it's brand new on DVD and it's an actually good sports movie that had me laughing like Burn After Reading did. Just less killing.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:15 pm 
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Oooh, how was Infinite Playlist? I wanna see it, but just for Kat Dennings.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:22 pm 
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Dude, iawtc. Kat Dennings is niiiice.

Michael Cera is awesome too.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:03 am 
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I don't like Michael Cera, and don't ask me why. Because I don't have a good reason, he's just that guy, you look at him, and he seems like a douche. And if you watch the Superbad extra, "Everyone hates Michael Cera, the unfortunate true story" it might make a little more sense.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:41 pm 
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Kate is awesome, love her extremely.

And Yes, Michael Cera is the most awkward teen there is. Not sure if I dislike him or like him.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:29 pm 
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I started out liking him, but for the love of God, somebody find him a new character to play.

Barlak wrote:
Because they tried to put so much in this movie it feels disjointed and inadequate; there is an extended version which I must see or I feel like I'll never fully appreciate this movie for what it is.

I actually preferred the original cut over the director's. The director's cut fills in more of Elena's backstory and adds closure to the romance, which is nice, but the movie definitely works better as a two hour cut, plus it blurs the focus of the movie quite a bit.

Still, if you liked the movie it's definitely worth seeking out, if only to satisfy curiosity.

Great movie though.


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Hang em' High (1968)
This revenge story, about a man on the hunt for his attempted killers after being strung up for another man's crimes, was Clint Eastwood's first starring western in the states. The studio was clearly attempting to cash in on the success of the Dollars trilogy here by placing it's star into another tough-as-nails role and stylizing the feature after the famous spaghetti films, but even with the pseudo-Morricone score and the hard grit storyline, it's still very much missing Leone's signature flair for the romantic. What you have instead is a weaker sibling: slow, plodding, somewhat interesting for it's few positive qualities but ultimately inconsequential once you realize somebody else can do it better.
It's pretty run-of-the-mill, but if you're a Clint Eastwood/western fan in need of a quick fix, you could do worse. (5/10)


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Murder On the Orient Express (1974)
Classic murder mystery centering around Hercule Poirot, one of the quintessential detectives of modern literature. While traveling as a passenger on the Orient Express in isolated country, Poirot's trip is delayed mid-journey when the train becomes trapped in a large snowdrift. Overnight one of the passengers is murdered, and the detective must now discover the killer amongst a gallery of colorful suspects.
This movie has one of those ensemble casts that film fans dream about and luckily they're all playing the game. Albert Finney stars as the sharp but eccentric Poirot, and makes a deliciously entertaining, theatrical performance of it. Martin Balsam plays Poirot's Watson, Signor Bianchi, Richard Widmark is the mysterious victim, and Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, Jacqueline Bisset, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir John Gielgud, Michael York, Wendy Hiller, Jean-Pierre Cassel, George Coulouris, and Rachel Roberts all are under suspicion. There's quite a bit of humor throughout the film and the ending is surprisingly satisfying. (8/10)


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Week End (1967)
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahaha
haha!

Yes. (10/10)

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"Just remember this: all agents defect and all resisters sell out. That's the sad truth, Bill... and a writer? A writer
lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is he files a report on it." ~Naked Lunch


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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:59 am 
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Loved the Orient Express and what's this? Another ten star movie of Jean-Luc Goddard's? I must see this.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:03 pm 
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Ajax wrote:
Oooh, how was Infinite Playlist? I wanna see it, but just for Kat Dennings.


Good. A lot of stuff happens though, which clutters and gets right in your face. Like, "what, this guy and her? Them? Where huh? Gay?" that kind of stuff. The music's pretty decent too.

I recommend renting it.

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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Nick and Norah seems just a bit too HURR DURR INDIE for me.


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 Post subject: Re: The DSP Movie Logs
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:44 pm 
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I just don't think I'm hipster enough for that movie.

Barlak wrote:
Loved the Orient Express and what's this? Another ten star movie of Jean-Luc Goddard's? I must see this.

I wish you the best of luck, sir. I guarantee one of two reactions to Week End: you'll either think it's the most brilliant movie ever, or you'll be tearing your hair out in frustration and demanding Godard's privates on a bed of lettuce. I did both. :mrgreen:



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Grace is Gone (2007)
Yes, okay, John Cusack is good here, but it's a pity he didn't have a better place to show off his talents; the film reaches for heartwarming and gets lukewarm, and it's emotionally forced and artificial. Also, the title is one of those cutesy puns with a double meaning, which never fails to rub me wrong.
The one really nice thing I'm going to say about Grace is Gone is that it does in fact capture the essence of domestic family life perfectly. It accomplishes this by being boring and completely unexceptional in every way while wandering around aimlessly for two hours... a feeling undeniably familiar to anybody who's spent any amount of time in a crowded Wal-Mart. I guess somebody should have told the director that he was supposed to be making a movie. A movie that people may end up trying to watch. (4/10)


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Ils (2006)
Genuinely creepy, tense little film that's part of the new wave of French horror now making it's way into the States. No outlandish special effects, monster suits or bloody limbs are to be found here; this is horror stripped down to it's simplest form. The story and situation the characters find themselves in will all feel a little familiar to any well-seasoned horror fan (and undoubtedly a few people are going to feel cheated at the ending), but it's beautifully presented with the tension effectively building itself to unbearable heights before the climax, and at a lean 74 minutes it makes a quick and easy watch. (7/10)

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"Just remember this: all agents defect and all resisters sell out. That's the sad truth, Bill... and a writer? A writer
lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is he files a report on it." ~Naked Lunch


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