badger: (badgerman)
Saw Django Unchained at Mission Valley yesterday afternoon. Much more like Inglourious Basterds crossed with The Man With the Iron Fists than like Sukiyaki Western Django. Long, brutal, excellent. Tarantino has described this movie as a Southern genre movie the way that Westerns are a recognized genre. Solid performances throughout. Nice cameo by Franco Nero who was Django in the 1966 film.

Three links, all and especially the last requiring a spoiler warning:
Daniel Kimmell's review:

SF writer Steven Barnes' post and thoughts

Tarantino responding to a review


* Oblivion - Tom Cruise, SF.

* Pacific Rim - Giant mecha fighting giant monsters. I'm there just for Idris Elba shouting "We are canceling the apocalypse!"

* Bullet To the Head - Sylvester Stallone starring what I choose to believe is a sideways sequel to his Get Carter remake, with a little bit of Cobra. Walter Hill directs.

* Star Trek: Into Darkness - Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain.
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Red Dawn (2012) is a pointless and bad remake. Thirty years from now no one will be watching the remake. If you have an urge to see this remake, may I suggest one of the three following actions:

* Don't.

* Watch the intelligent Australian version of Red Dawn called Tomorrow When the War Began. It's on Netflix instant streaming [1]. (I haven't read the Tomorrow series of books, can't speak to them.)

* Watch the original: I saw the original on the big screen a year or two ago and it had some elements that held up over the decades (Powers Boothe, for example. Harry Dean Stanton, for another). If you watch the Special Edition DVD you can have an onscreen Carnage Counter tallying violent actions, if that's what you really want:

Spoilers for the remake under the cut. Really, if you care about spoilers, don't read inside.

warning: spoilers inside the cut )


* Bullet to the Head - Stallone as a killer partners with a cop to hunt the axe-wielding mercenary killer who killed Stallone's partner. Think 48 Hours (especially since Bullet is also directed by walter Hill) crossed with Stallone's movie Cobra. Tagline: "Revenge Never Gets Old".

* Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow's film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. December.

* The Last Stand - Arnold S as a sheriff in a US/Mexican border town, major drug dealer coming through. The small-town sheriff must mount an effective blockade. January.

* A Good Day to Die Hard - Because what you need for Valentine's Day 2013 (seriously, that's the opening date) is Bruce Willis in Die Hard 5, bonding or not with his adult kids in Moscow among international plots and a hail of bullets.

[1] The film Tomorrow When the War Began is available on Netflix streaming in the US. It is said to not be available on Netflix in Canada.
badger: (badgerman)
It is a travesty of modern technology that the 1934 Count of Monte Cristo starring Robert Donat is not streamable on any source I can find. As the film V in V For Vendetta never tires of that actually exists in the real world (I can't see The Salt Flats without a fiction suit), I considered watching Donat's Count movie for Guy Fawkes Day instead of V For Vendetta itself. On the other hand VfV has some lovely elements in it, and careful viewing reveals new details each time. This go-round, the tactical consideration that Creedy and his team should have listened to Ayoob in one specific respect.

Stephen Rea's monologue about a moment in which he realizes a universal pattern feels to me as though the Wachowskis used it as the seed crystal they emphasized in their film adaptation of Cloud Atlas.

(Skip to 1:26 for the beginning of Rea's monologue if you like)
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[ profile] maegwynn and I saw Cloud Atlas on opening night. Six stories crosscut sometimes scene by scene and sometimes camera shot by camera shot, Cloud Atlas is a three-hour achievement of film that is gorgeous both visually and structurally: even if you choose to dismiss the film as a stunt or gimmick of interwoven narrative it's worth seeing the film only for how well they pull off the stunt. But you get six varied short stories of some great acting and stunning visuals. Strongly recommended, will see again.

(To the question "do you have to know the book to get the movie?" asked of adaptations, I read the book for the first time in the last month, [ profile] maegwynn has never read it. She loved the movie and thought the pacing was good, wasn't bored for the almost-three-hour run time.)

Stay for the second part of the closing credits, where they get to the dozen-ish main actors and a video montage of their many performances throughout the movie. If you can spot all of them during the movie and nothing in this montage surprises you, you're amazing. However, there are no final surprises after the end of the closing credits.

notes, some spoilery so read at risk, and trailers list and comments )
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[ profile] maegwynn and I saw The Perks of being a Wallflower at the Colony last night. We both enjoyed it.

I have almost every song on this movie's soundtrack. Morrissey, the Smiths, David Bowie, the Cure, the list goes on. (I had to check to confirm that I don't own any Air Supply.) Strongly recommended.
badger: (badgerman)
When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets. - the Hell's Angels

Mostly when we hear about the CIA it's because they made a mistake and made the papers in that order: espionage, like comedy, is hard. However, back in 1980 the CIA sneaked six Americans from the US Embassy in Tehran out of Iran by making up fake identities for the Americans as Canadians working on an imaginary movie production of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light with concept art by Jack Kirby. Argo is the fictionalized drama of that caper. Affleck is outstanding as a director, excellent as the lead role in the film. Everyone in this movie is great. Argo is one of the best movies I've seen this year. Strongly, strongly recommended.

Not a Fiasco RPG, but a perfect Leverage RPG scenario.



* Life of Pi - Thanksgiving.
* Cloud Atlas - Oct 26.
* Flight - Denzel Washington. Nov 2.
badger: (badgerman)
Went with friends to a local chain cineplex to see Seven Psychopaths. We all, all loved it as a consistently funny and inventive film. If you liked In Bruges, see this. If you like the trailer, I can say the trailer does _not_ contain the majority of the funny of the movie. It surprised us throughout. I'm pleased to report Tom Waits has more than a cameo as The Man With the Bunny. Walken is fantastic. Farrell, Rockwell, Harrelson, are all great. Again, a great Fiasco RPG.

Hard to discuss this film without spoilers so I'm stopping here. (Spoilers may be present in comments, though.) Strongly recommended.

Side observation: Music, especially the finale sequence, was very close to the main theme music of The Way of the Gun.


* Killing Them Softly - More lowlife criminal idiots, looks good for Fiasco RPG.
* Promised Land - Matt Damon as local rep of a tracking company sent to buy up land in a drying-up farming community.
* Alex Cross - Detective, serial killer, you know the rest.
* Hitchcock - Biopic. With Helen Mirren as Mrs. Hitchcock. Music in the trailer was Michael Nyman's "Requiem", better known as the main theme music for Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.
* Identity Thief - Nice normal guy has his identity stolen by low-class person in another state. He goes to confront her. Comedy. Looks painful.
* Cloud Atlas - We're already there.
* Parker - Jason Statham. 25 January.
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Last Friday [ profile] maegwynn and I met friends we haven't seen recently and went out to an awesome dinner, then to Mission Valley for opening night of the full-length version of Frankenweenie. We all loved it. I think the more you're familiar with 1930s-to-1950s Universal Studios horror movies, and if you enjoyed references in either The Goonies or The Monster Squad, you'll enjoy this movie. It was a lot of fun.


* Rise of the Guardians - Jack Frost, Santa (big and mean), Easter Bunny (sort of Iggy Pop-skinny and attitudinal, and with an Australian accent), and the Sandman (_not_ Gaimanesque, sort of small and sleepy and cutesy like a troll doll is intended to be) unite against a dark evil figure with the power of FEAR. Reminded me of Bill Willingham's Fables, but with scenes that looked taken directly from the recent Avengers film. Thanksgiving.

* Oz - March 2013.

* Wreck-It Ralph - Nov 2. There's an app for that. New longer trailer. Looks good.

* The Hobbit part 1 of 3.
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Went to the Rialto tonight for The Master. Great performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Great unreliable narrator. I liked the atonal score by Terry Greenwood and liked the film in general. [ profile] maegwynn disliked the movie, never getting into it but liking the performances. Hard to recommend.
badger: (badgerman)
Went to Carolina Theatre tonight to see Killer Joe, William Friedkin's film adaptation of a play. Described as a "southern Gothic dark comedy", Killer Joe is a thoroughly brutal Texas noir that I don't believe can be simply edited down from its NC-17 rating to an R without becoming nonsensical as there's too much narrative delivered in ways that would require reshooting.

Reminiscent of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple by way of American Psycho, Killer Joe is recommended if you enjoy films like Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, Jim Thompson's novels, or think Joe Lansdale's stories would be better if his characters were less likable people. Would make an outstanding Fiasco RPG scenario with almost no effort.

Ends Thursday, 9:20pm screenings only.


* On The Road - Kerouac.

* A Late Quartet - Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Christopher Walken are three fourths of a New York classical string quartet.
badger: (badgerman)
I am filled with self-loathing. And I am watching Hellraiser: Hellworld. But I repeat myself.
badger: (badgerman)
Did not see Dredd in 3D, saw it in completely satisfactory 2D at Mission Valley Cinemas. So, the basic structure of the film does remind me of The Raid: Redemption with a lot less martial arts and about ten thousand more bullets, but on the whole Dredd is a decent SF action adaptation of the graphic novel. Lots of drone usage at the beginning I don't remember from the comics, but I haven't kept up for years. Urban does fine as Dredd. Thirlby does well as Anderson. The Lawmaster bikes are different from the comics versions in that they're more like giant speedbikes but actually rideable. Lena Headley as the drug lord is feral. Good film score. I could see another of these if they make another.


* Sinister - Demon inhabiting pictures of itself terrifies family after dad find home movies in the attic of the demon's last victims.

* Jack Reacher - Film adaptation of one of the Jack Reacher thriller novels by Lee Child. Stars Tom Cruise. Wonder how they're working around the character being 6`5" and scarily big? Lots of upward-sloping camera angles?

* The Last Stand - Arnold Schwarzenegger as a rural SW US sheriff who has a cartel driving through. He objects. Looks at least half-played for laughs and 80s action film quips.
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Again, the oddness to me of this list is that I haven't seen more of these. list )
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[ profile] maegwynn and I saw this Friday night at Mission Valley. Decently-done evil spirit possession movie, better than expected. I'm going to save time and post a link to Daniel's review which I agree with.


* Seven Psychopaths - Black comedy about bad people probably at least mostly being bad to each other. By the director of In Bruges. Reservoir Dogs with a laugh track? One of the seven is Tom Waits, carrying a live bunny rabbit.

* Sinister - Evil spirit massacres families. Next victim finds a box of 8mm home movies of the families. Apparently never having seen the Hellraiser films, he opens the box. Hi there. #seesinister

* The House at the End of the Street - Jennifer Lawrence, horror. #hates

* Dredd 3D - Judge Dredd in The Raid: Redemption.
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[ profile] maegwynn and I saw Paranorman Friday at Six Forks Station Cinema. Norman is a young kid and misunderstood loner who is picked on and loves horror movies in a modern-day Salem filled with witch kitsch. He sees dead people and talks with them, unlike everyone else in town. A kid's movie, it's as straight forward as expected. On the other hand, there's references in the film to a huge number of classic horror and fantasy movies: I spotted scenes and shots alluding to Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Phantasm, Ghostbusters, and almost certainly more ([ profile] maegwynn mentioned Norman's resemblance to one of the leads on the current Ghost Hunters franchise of tv shows). Nice little enjoyable film.
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Saw The Expendables 2 with [ profile] maegwynn on Tuesday at Mission Valley.

A mashup of every 80s action film star and tagline and meta self-referential humor, I don't know how much fun someone who didn't see most of the 80s action films will have with this movie as the film is an agglomeration of punchlines. The movie is so meta that Chuck Norris tells a Chuck Norris joke. But if you saw the action movies this is drawn from, it's big dumb fun.

Schwarzenegger: (for about the fourth time in the film) "I'll be back."
Bruce Willis: "You've been back too many times. I'LL be back." *goes off into firefight*
Schwarzenegger: *glares at Willis' back* "Yippee-ki-yay."

My favorite bit was for the first half of the movie Dolph Lundgren keeps looming over people and "URRRRRRR"ing which reminded me of Lurch from The Addams Family. No, that's not my favorite bit: my actual favorite bit was when someone shouts at him and he replies "You rang?" indicating they meant to do that.


* The Man With the Iron Fists - I am so looking forward to this.

* Red Dawn - Filter's "Hey Man Nice Shot" in trailer soundtrack. Chris Hemsworth as Patrick Swayze, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Powers Boothe, and apparently North Korea as the Soviet Union. Thanksgiving release.

* Bullet to the Head - Walter Hill directing. Stallone lead. Winter release. Duel with axes reminds me of the Brotherhood of the Axe from Stallone's movie Cobra. Sort of looks like Get Carter II.

* Dredd - Still in 3D. Still really reminds us of The Raid: Redemption.
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Went to see Farewell, My Queen at the Colony last night.

Set at Versailles in 1789, a few days in the life of a young woman who is the reader for Queen Marie Antoinette. A small-scale film that focuses on the fictional Sidonie Laborde and her devotion to her job and her boss, the film feels intimate, desperate, and almost an anthropological study of a tribe in its last days instead of a big sweeping historical grandeur. Feels similar to Girl with a Pearl Earring. Quite good. Solid acting. Discordant jangly film score great for setting the mood of uncertainty.

Of course, dinner afterward at the nearby and excellent Coquette.


* The Queen of Versailles - Documentary about a billionaire hotel magnate and his wife, and how they cope with the downsizing of their lives after the stock market meltdown.

* Celeste and Jesse Forever - Married couple in the most amicable divorce ever, then drama.

* Robot & Frank - Frank Langella is a retiree whose adult kids get him an ASIMO-like robot as a companion.
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Saw the fourth in the franchise. Stretches science past current known limits about as much as it stretches the rest of reality, so yes, less realistic than the previous three. Good performance by Jeremy Renner, and Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton both do well. Nice parkour. Lots of sub-second flash cuts and shakicam in fight scenes so if that's not good for you, there's a lot of it here. Really didn't need the intrusive-feeling music outdo from the closing scene and over the closing credits, felt out of place.

Comparisons and references to other movies are spoilers, so they're inside the cut.

spoilers )


Dredd - Judge Dredd has to ascend the inside of a tower with bad guys and atrium-esque stairwells. Seriously, it's The Raid: Redemption with a big budget and SF trappings.

Oz the Great and Powerful - Sam Raimi's prequel to the Oz stories. March 2013.

Flight - Denzel Washington as an airline captain who manages to save most of a flight during a miraculous crash-landing. Then blamed for the crash. Looks like an onion peel "everything you know is wrong" multiple reveals. Nov 2.

Trouble with the Curve - Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball talent scout and his estranged daughter. September.

Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow's movie about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. I'm already there. December.

This Is 40 - Couple with kids have a midlife crisis at the same time.

Les Miserables - The movie of the musical. December.
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Went to the Rialto to see Safety Not Guaranteed, an indie film (director's previous film was Little Miss Sunshine) about a perpetually unhappy young woman interning at a magazine in Seattle who gets assigned to a story about a want ad looking for a partner for time travel. Is the person who placed the ad a dangerous crazy person, or simply a crazy person? [ profile] maegwynn said it reminded her of Scott Pilgrim (minus the superheroics) and Juno in overall tone. Fun little film. Strong story, well-acted.
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Went to Carmike 15, one of my least-favorite local theaters [1] to see Iron Sky, the "Finnish-German-Australian comic science fiction action film" about the Fourth Reich on the dark side of the moon returning to Earth in 2018 for the first time since 1945, facing a Sarah Palinesque US President and mining helium-3. It was nice they didn't manage to squeeze in a reference to zero-point energy anywhere.

While the film's idea of subtle nuance is naming the American male lead character Washington, Iron Sky is pure low-to-mid-budget tongue in cheek dieselpunk kitsch that reminded me of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, but with the caveat that Iron Sky was more fun because it doesn't pretend to take itself seriously for a moment. Nods to multiple SF films throughout, including Star Wars and Independence Day.

As an addendum I must mention a novel that is also funny AND also about Nazis returning to Earth after a long gap, although not from a lunar Elba: DK Moran's Terminal Freedom.

[1] I only go there if a film is running nowhere else. For note, I believe the last two times I was there were for Cronenberg's A History of Violence and the Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst.

December 2016

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