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go_leafs_nation
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:31 pm

Yup. Two movies I've hoped wouldn't happen.
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Post by Adam106 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:33 pm

It's just so freakin' random! Some hot-shot writer must've suddenly come up with the idea "Ooh, I know! Let's remake Romeo and Juliet - but with gnomes instead!" :roll: I bet they don't die in the end, either. And the animated bust of Shakespeare just rubs salt into the wound. Ah well, Romeo and Juliet's always a been a very preconceived story to start with (e.g. the DiCaprio version).

I'm all for different interpretations (I love the David Tennant version of Hamlet) but this just seems to take the cake.
Last edited by Adam106 on Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by cacums » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:42 pm

Oh dear god!

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:04 pm

I'm sad to report that the new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express was highly disappointing. Here is my full review (beware of spoilers):

Murder on the Orient Express has been an episode looked forward to by Poirot fans for a very long time. About the first 18 minutes are as close as you can get to a total mess. The movie begins with an uninspired and boring case to account for Poirot’s presence in Istanbul, which is extremely repetitive in insisting the perpetrator lied (how mean). All Poirot does is shout. It gets very boring, followed by the man’s suicide, which finally gets Poirot to shut up and look shocked for a few seconds.

What annoys me is that Poirot did a complete about-face in character with no warning. This is not the same man who showed great compassion to one of the suspects in The Hollow. This is not the same man who shared a touching scene with a woman whose dreams had been shattered in After the Funeral. He has suddenly turned into a religious fanatic—I mean, for crying out loud, how many references were there to his being a Catholic before this episode? Now, he does nothing but shout or deliver lengthy speeches on God’s justice, and though I’m Catholic, it annoyed me. And this character of his is very inconsistent—he showed absolutely no human emotions after witnessing a stoning on the streets—although he says later that he was upset by it, he chuckles while saying this. (One other thing— if Poirot’s religion is so important to him, why in heaven’s name does he smoke while praying the Rosary?)

But to get back to the disaster the film’s opening was. I mentioned I hated the credits. If you watch them, you’ll see that the film cannot decide which direction to take the music in. It starts with a solo vocalist singing random, mindless sounds, before fading out in favour of the music. None of this feels like it belong together. It’s simply awful, and the music that plays is loud, mechanical, and heavy-handed. It’s a very ugly way to open the movie, and the general atmosphere of ugliness continues for a good 18 minutes.

The first bit of praise I have is with acting, and I give Toby Jones full marks here. He is perfectly convincing as the Mafioso who commits a heinous crime, and now that his life is in danger, he suddenly begins to believe in God (which he thinks of as extra protection). The man is a full-out hypocrite—you can believe it when Masterman says he was no gentleman but a sewer rat with plenty of money. He’s intensely dislikeable, and this is very good when the nature of his (truly appalling) crime is revealed.

Generally speaking, the acting is good, except for two people whose acting was poor or very mediocre. These are Samuel West (Dr. Constantine) and Denis Menochet (Pierre Michel). Constantine, although being Greek, has no accent, which I discovered to my surprise when watching the same segment for the second time. For some reason I thought he had a bad one. But no, I was very much mistaken. His acting is just bad overall. This adaptation of MOTOE changes several things, among them deleting the ‘private eye’ Hardman, and replacing his role with Constantine’s. Unfortunately, this was very poorly done. Was it the script or just West’s acting? I’m not sure. Anyways, Dr. Constantine gives the entire game away. He’s a dreadful doctor who can’t even count the number of stab wounds correctly, resulting in Poirot’s giving him a lecture on what the corpse really reveals (which actually isn’t too bad of a scene). He’s basically the Hastings of the adaptation, only more idiotic, and whose act of innocence wouldn’t have deceived a six year old. His guilt is obvious from the start, as he keeps trying to throw Poirot off track and making it apparent to anyone. His performance is the worst of the entire episode. Menochet, on the other hand, is very mediocre as Pierre Michel. It’s the accent, basically. It’s obviously fake, and he keeps slipping away from it. [EDIT: Turns out I'm wrong- Menochet IS French. But he's still awful with the accent in any case.] Also, despite his clumsy use of English, he uses a lot of American slang in his dialogue, which may have been intended as a clue (though I doubt it), but it just ends up sounding silly.

To get back to the film, things pick up as soon as Samuel Ratchett approaches Poirot and hires him for a job, automatically assuming Poirot will do it. Their confrontation is excellent and sets the tone for his murder wonderfully. Well, we go through the night of the murder, and the corpse is discovered. Poirot gives the idiot doctor a lesson in basic medical knowledge (and I still refuse to believe that he couldn’t count to 12 stab wounds), and he goes through a surprisingly good scene where he re-enacts the murder.

We blaze through the interviews and Poirot reveals the solution for a half hour.

OK, this was the adaptation’s worst problem. I thought the Albert Finney film drew things out too much, trying to give all its stars equal amounts of screen time. Here, Poirot barely even interviews the suspects. It’s entertaining viewing, but highly, highly rushed, so we can get to the half-hour drama where Poirot (who suddenly believes the law is flawless in all aspects) must decide whether or not to give away the killers. Here is what an interview of his might sound like:

Poirot: “Where, if you please, were you at the time of the murder?�
Dr. Sigmund von Hornswiggle: “I was admiring the landscape from the window in Mr. Ratchett’s compartment. It was the best compartment for doing so.�
P: “Ah, but did you not run into the murderer?�
S: “I’m afraid not.�
P: “Well, I apologise for bothering you, monsieur. Do you believe in God?�

Poirot rushes through the interviews so he can get to the final half hour of drama, and the mystery suffers highly from it. But even worse is what happens during the final scene. All Poirot does is yell at how evil the culprits have been and how God should have been allowed to administer justice and bla bla bla bla bla. It’s very routine, boring stuff, and despite all of Poirot’s yelling, is relatively lifeless. The screenwriter, Stewart Harcourt, showed much more imagination in his script for “The Clocks�.

The final half hour gets very tedious. It’s basically (a) Poirot shouting (b) Poirot praying or (c) Poirot contemplating. It’s far too long, and it may have been better to simply chop ten minutes of that out and use those minutes to question the suspects more thoroughly.

Greta Ohlsson, one of the suspects, declares to Poirot that “Jesus said ‘Let those without sin cast the first stone’... Well I was without sin!!!� Now that is just horrendous dialogue, only serving to hit you over the head with the God element again. Other bad dialogue appears as well, such as when Mrs. Hubbard declares she wants to “kick someone up the ass� because the passengers are stranded on the train.

Now, I’m going to question the wisdom of the adaptation on a point. It emphasizes the whole theme of injustice of the original novel. Unfortunately, I think the novel had a better way of approaching injustice, as Samuel Ratchett is let off on a technicality. Perhaps the DA’s search warrant hurt his feelings. This seemed to be a clear comment from AC that “the law is an ass�. How could the law allow some really monstrous people to go free because of a minor detail that may not have been carried out to the letter? Well, the adaptation goes another way—Ratchett gets off because the DA is corrupt. I personally think AC’s way of commenting on the flaws of a justice system is far more effective.

There is a very effective final scene in the snow, in which the music finally redeems itself for its atrocious start, with some very nice notes to emphasize the situation. It’s also a good way to end it all.

My overall verdict: Murder on the Orient Express proved to be quite disappointing. Its start is atrocious, its characterization of Poirot is inconsistent at best, and the screenwriter shows a distinct lack of inspiration. The whole thing plows through the suspect interviews at record speed so it can get to rather tedious and far-too-drawn-out drama. In addition, Poirot does practically nothing but yell when he confronts the culprits. Toby Jones is excellent as Samuel Ratchett, and is easily the brightest spot of the film. It’s entertaining enough for a viewing, but fails to deliver what I’d hoped. In a series of excellent adaptation, MOTOE is easily the worst.

Overall Rating: **/4
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
At the Scene of the Crime

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:55 pm

I'm gonna watch my first horror movie in a considerably long time: Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. The first twelve minutes are excellent, suitably dark and grotesque (the colour seems almost drained!), and although the beginning was gory, this was not gratuitous and it was highly effective. I think I'll enjoy this film, if the opening 12 minutes are anything like the rest.
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~Ellery Queen
At the Scene of the Crime

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:24 pm

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of my favourite books in the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. I don't like what I've seen so far, with the trailers and so on.

For one thing, having the White Witch keep coming back from the dead is getting insanely old, but that's going to happen, seeing as she's on the cast list. Probably on the island where dreams come true, if they bothered keeping that in. I think I caught a glimpse of her in the trailer. *sighs*

And what's this about saving Narnia? The entire thing was just an adventure, a quest to see if some missing people could be found. Basically, it looks like a bunch of kids taking a vacation in a magical world and spending their time there killing people.

I'll probably still see it, and hopefully my pessimism is unfounded. (The advantage of being a pessimist instead of an optimist is that you only get pleasant surprises.) But at the same time, I don't expect much.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
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Post by cacums » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:18 pm

Doesn't the white witch come back in The Silver Chair too?

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:46 pm

That's a new witch, the Green Witch.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
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At the Scene of the Crime

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:10 am

On the bright side, amongst uninspired sequels, adaptations, knock-offs, and so on, it looks like Disney might have a genuine movie in the works for this summer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2Wtpphk ... r_embedded
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Post by Jane Poirot » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:24 pm

I'm going to see the new Harry Potter movie with my mom on Friday. She's a MAJOR HP fan, and when I told her it would be coming out this Friday, I barely had the invitation out of my mouth when she begged me to take her. Afterwards, I think I'll finally get around to re-reading the entire series, and then re-watching, and then re-playing, in that order. I always say I'm going to do it and then I never do.
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Post by Michael » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:41 pm

Only one more day until Potter comes out! Who's seeing it this weekend? I'm not sure if I will - I'm sure the theaters will all be a madhouse. But maybe I'll go next weekend over the long Thanksgiving break.
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Post by Jane Poirot » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:44 pm

Like I said, I'm seeing it, though I've had a bit of an exhausting week. My mom and I agreed to go for an evening show (we'll take dad during the holidays). Apparently, it is the most faithful to the book of all the movies based on other books in the series. Which is good, because while you COULD take out some stuff in the other movies, you absolutely CAN NOT take out ANYTHING for the seventh movie.
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Post by Jane Poirot » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:05 am

Got back from Harry Potter. Loved it! :D
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:58 am

I managed to put this post in the wrong topic, so I just moved it here.

This looks like it might be a fun movie. I sure like the traier (and I love Rob Reiner):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDlXdujRSD8

It aparently came out on DVD just now. I think I'll watch it.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
At the Scene of the Crime

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:19 pm

Heh, I was right! Flipped was an excellent movie. It's truly touching and has some fine, promising young actors. It's infused with a sense of nostalgia, which is really well pulled off, and is all told through the eyes of its two main characters, Bryce and Juli. It's often quite amusing to see the same scene played out through different eyes, and although the events, dialogue, etc. are exactly the same, it's a totally different scene.

The opening is particularly brilliant. There, a young Bryce meets Juli for the first time, when both are seven, and tries running away from her. He accidentally ends up holding her hand, and is horrified, running behind his mother's back to escape. After that, Juli begins to "torment" him, constantly chasing after him, basically. Juli, on the other hand, has a totally different perspective: Bryce, she decides, obviously has feelings for her, but is too shy to show them. So she decides to give him as many opportunities as possible to get over his shyness. :lol:

I dunno, but I just loved this movie. The characters are fun, the situations memorable, and it really isn't totally predictable. It feels inspired, and Rob Reiner seems to have plenty of fun making this movie. All in all, one of the best, most touching, and (at times) funniest movies I've seen all year long.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
At the Scene of the Crime

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:45 am

Whoah. The remake of The Karate Kid was astonishingly good.
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Post by CluedoKid » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:06 am

go_leafs_nation wrote:Whoah. The remake of The Karate Kid was astonishingly good.
I thought it was good, but definitely not astonishing.
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Post by Black » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:15 am

CluedoKid wrote:
go_leafs_nation wrote:Whoah. The remake of The Karate Kid was astonishingly good.
I thought it was good, but definitely not astonishing.
I disagree, The originals are the best. The new film wasn't in the same class as the others.

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Post by CluedoKid » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:46 am

I haven't seen the original, but it has Ralph Macchio in it so I suspect it can't be bad.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:55 am

I thought Jackie Chan gave his best performance in a while, and Jaden Smith shows some real promise. It's got an interesting spin on the original, which is a fun movie, but the story is extremely archetypal by now. Still, its productions values are excellent, the fight scenes are pretty good, and I was generally pretty surprised by the quality. I was expecting maybe something half-decent, but this was pretty d*mn good.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
At the Scene of the Crime

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