go_leafs At the Movies (CLUE- p. 16)

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Jun 21, 2009 2:30 pm

I don't know if it's just me, but when someone in my age group is telling me about a movie, the one adjective that always sets off an alarm in my head is "sick". It usually means a lot of a) gore b) gratuituous sex c) explosions d) CGI-rendered monsters/ntaural disasters.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:24 pm

I had myself a little marathon today, and watched the entire trilogy back-to-back:
Image
Back to the Future (1985)
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Christopher Lloyd, our beloved Professor Plum in Clue, stars alongside Michael J. Fox in the fantastic Back to the Future. Essentially, the plot revolves around time travel— Marty McFly (Fox) goes back in time, messes around, and accidentally causes his mother to fall in love with him instead of his father. He has to fix his mistake or else he may be wiped out from existence.
Robert Zemeckis was the perfect man to direct this film. In it, I couldn’t help detecting some of the spirit of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (one of my favourite movies). This movie can be thrilling or exciting, but the key element throughout is fun. This is simply a fun film to watch. Cultures from the 80s and 50s clash, Marty discovers his prudish mother was once a teenager like him too, and in general, the film proves to be enjoyable.
The film’s music (a fantastic score composed by Alan Silvestri) really epitomizes the spirit of fun that permeates the film. Its triumphant tones at certain key moments are not obtrusive; instead of adding to the awareness that one is watching a movie, it seems to engross the viewer even more.
I will freely admit that the film’s outcome is evident from the very beginning. However, the road that takes the audience there is full of fun, unexpected twists and turns.
The Verdict: Plain, old-fashioned fun, and it can be the topic of discussion for hours (although I’ve avoided it here for spoiler purposes). A great movie.
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 » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:38 pm

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Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future Part II has a storyline that is almost more interesting than the original film’s. In it, the idea of alternate timelines is introduced. This is handled admirably: the situations that Marty and Doc get into are inventive, creative, original, daring, bold, exciting, and all the rest of it. But one serious, serious flaw permeates the entire film.
Here is the problem: the film is far too serious. It’s too dark, it’s too menacing, it’s too (dare I say it?) intimidating. The original Back to the Future was pure, unadulterated fun. Part II follows the trend of nearly every trilogy after the highly successful Star Wars series: the first film is fun, the second is extremely dark, the third will often return to the original’s spirit. This worked for Star Wars, but not Back to the Future. Had it been any other film, this would’ve ended up so much better— Back to the Future should be a lot of fun to watch. Part II was more thoughtful and contemplative, and although the film was strong, it did not feel like the same series or the same director.
The Verdict: A very strong, well-made, original, and well thought-out sequel, but without the spirit of fun that made the original such a blazing success. Two thumbs up.
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 » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:49 pm

One more thing about Part II: I really enjoyed the spoof of the (then) endless Jaws sequels in the future, with the fictional Jaws 19 (accompanied by Marty commenting that the shark "still looks fake").
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:06 pm

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Back to the Future Part III (1990)
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future was pure fun. Part II was extremely well-made but without the spirit of fun. Now, in Part III, the spirit of fun returns. Unfortunately, this film, despite being enjoyable, is the weakest instalment in the Back to the Future trilogy. It picks up where Part II left off, and is extremely enjoyable. Unfortunately, it would’ve been so much better had the recreation of the Wild West days been more meticulous. Instead, every cliché from a Clint Eastwood western is recycled in here (with Marty taking up Eastwood’s name, in homage). The result is a more fun film than Part II, but not nearly as strong.
In the original film, Marty travels back in time, helps his parents overcome personal problems and get together. Part II had the brilliant idea of giving Marty a problem he struggles with, which people from the places he visits try to help him with. This problem is him being unable to control himself when he is called a name. Part III carries on this subplot, along with a new romantic subplot, which are the film’s strongest bits and true joys.
The Verdict: Not as strong a sequel as Part II was, but the original’s spirit of fun returns in Part III. The result is the weakest instalment of the series, but a fun one to watch nonetheless. Two thumbs up.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
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Post by Jane Poirot » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:36 pm

I love the Back to the Future trilogy. True classics indeed. :D
However, now that we're nearing 2015, how many of the second film's predictions seem to be close to becoming reality? They stopped at Jaws 3, but more movies are being made in 3-D now.
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Post by Niteshade007 » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:48 pm

Yeah, but that 3D thing comes and goes. It was big in the 50s, big again in the 80s, and now it's back. It sucks and I wish it would just stay dead, but it won't be around for much longer. Just have to let it run its course again.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:51 pm

Yeah, let's hope. I can't stand 3D.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:00 pm

And, by the way, they stopped at Jaws 4.
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Post by Kristev » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:52 am

That's right, Jaws the revenge, aka Jaws 4. And I've been dying for a Jaws 5 since 1995. Boo hoo that there hasn't been one yet!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:05 am

Meh, I'm personally glad that tthere are no more sequels. Although Jaws 2 was somewhat decent (minus the score, which was brilliant), Jaws 3 and 4 are travesties.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:42 pm

I saw Airplane! today. What a hilarious film!
In addition, I unreasonably love the music in Jim Carrey's Liar Liar.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:05 am

Blockbuster is never going to have me there as a customer again. On Saturday, I purchased a copy of Liar Liar. However, the disc, I discovered, was defective; the entire middle segment of the film refused to play. When I attempted returning it to them and explaining it, they refused to take it back because I had opened it. Well, I wouldn't have discovered the defect had I kept it sealed, would I?
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:50 pm

Image
The Aviator (2004)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett
Directed by Martin Scorsese

After years of being confined to small-screen documentaries, the life of the infamous Howard Hughes explodes on screen in big style in Martin Scorsese’s fantastic film, The Aviator. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the leading role. There was a time after watching Romeo + Juliet when I thought that DiCaprio was an actor with just about no talent. This film, along with Catch Me If You Can, shattered my preconceptions about him. Here he can be suave and menacing, funny and obsessive-compulsive. He pulls off just the right balance when playing Hughes, becoming more than just a character, and more than just a recreation of a famous figure. He also avoids falling into the “playboy do-what-I-want-with-my-money millionaire� trap. He gives a perfectly balanced performance, and his performance carries this film.
Yet, as much as this film depends on DiCaprio, it is Martin Scorsese who really makes the film the success it is. In the film’s first scene, a young Howard’s mother is bathing him, and warns him about cholera, bacteria, and such, warning him he is never safe. I’m sure her intentions were admirable, but Howard grows up to be something of a germaphobe. Scorsese’s biggest dilemma in The Aviator is this: how can you make the audience get inside Hughes’ head, react the way he would to what we consider ordinary things? When Hughes gets a cut on his hand, it wouldn’t attract too much attention in reality— here, it is almost horrifying to see it. Hughes goes paranoid and insane when the FBI searches the building, cowering while speaking on the telephone. “They’re touching things,� he exclaims in horror. Here is another thing I liked about the direction: at one point, Hughes, in his paranoia, seals himself off in a room and lives there naked. Scorsese does not do what modern directors would (Zack Snyder comes to mind), and he does not emphasize the nudity for the teen girls to swoon over. He draws attention to the paranoia without highlighting this bit. And Scorsese is able to, through his use of extremely uncomfortable close-ups, throw the audience right in the midst of Hughes’ paranoia.
The Verdict: It might seem at first glance that a biopic is nothing too interesting; the person is known in history, so why bother? It’s a life story— no suspense, no action. Scorsese shatters any such notions and vividly brings to life the life of a man who changed aviation forever, Howard Hughes. This was my introduction to Scorsese’s fantastic world of film, and I admire it just as much as when I first saw it. It is one of the best-made films ever. This is really a great movie.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:28 am

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Goodfellas (1990)
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Directed by Martin Scorsese

To be frank, Goodfellas is probably the best crime movie ever made. It is more than just a movie; it tells a captivating tale; it is perfectly cast; Scorsese’s direction is at its utmost brilliance. In fact, I’d venture to say that Goodfellas far surpasses what Francis Ford Coppola’s much-loved The Godfather has to offer.
In the first place, the entire sympathy for the characters of The Godfather depended on portraying them more as a dysfunctional family. This is not what a crime film should be. A crime film should be about crime, not men in tight suits pledging loyalty to each other. The characters of Goodfellas are, above all, gangsters. As a matter of fact, one of the very first lines is “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster�. At the same time, however, Martin Scorsese does not glorify violence. He does not overemphasize blood spattering or disturbing death sequences. The violence here is realistic, precisely because it’s cold, cruel, and emotionless. As a result, this film is one of the more realistic, plausible, and believable crime films out there.
Another thing that is better about Goodfellas is its length, 146 minutes compared to The Godfather’s 175. That might not seem like much at first, but think about it. That’s just short of a half-hour. The Godfather, as is, could’ve easily been trimmed down by an hour. That can’t be said about Goodfellas. Things just happen in the film; it’s interesting all the way, even during its more contemplative parts. Additionally, the characters of Goodfellas are really compelling, but I will avoid going in-depth here.
Martin Scorsese is, as I’ve mentioned, at the top of his game when directing Goodfellas. One particular shot near the end stands out. Scorsese makes use of the (as I like to call it) “Vertigo effect� (ie zooming in while tracking backwards; the characters in the foreground remain approx. the same size while there is a significant shift in the background). This shot has been overused to the point of becoming cliché, yet it works effectively here. This is just one instance of Scorsese’s fantastic work on this film. He constantly keeps the audience engaged in the film and the characters. In the blink of an eye, a scene can shift from comedic to horrific. Yet such transitions never seem jarring or awkwardly paced.
One more thought about the film: the upbeat soundtrack that accompanies Goodfellas is actually really well pulled off. Whenever a song plays, it fits in perfectly with the action, both in melody and lyrics.
The Verdict: This is what a crime film should be all about: realistic, entertaining, gripping. Goodfellas is just about flawless. It is a great movie.
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 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:11 pm

I joined a movie discussion forum a while back, and I thought I might as well post an argument I just made against the Saw films here:
I am now going to state a further case against Saw. Sorry, ozirock, but I can't resist quoting your very words to kick this off:

"A real gore film to keep people coming back to be scared again."

I'm afraid that Saw just doesn't qualify as a film that scares. The perpetual sadistic killing, the gushing blood, etc. are there mainly for the gore. Gore is to horror movies what explosions are to action/thriller movies. I will now quote Alfred Hitchcock's "bomb theory" (which is, to be honest, correct, proven time and time again):

There is a distinct difference between "suspense" and "surprise," and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I'll explain what I mean.
We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let's suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, "Boom!" There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: "You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!"
In the first case we have given the public fifteen seconds of surprise at the moment of the explosion. In the second we have provided them with fifteen minutes of suspense. The conclusion is that whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.


Now, let's modify the Master's statement to apply to horror movies. Thrills are not delivered from the gruesome deaths (with which Saw is littered), but from anticipating the deaths. Saw has very limited anticipation, but unrestrained blood flow. That is why it fails as a horror movie. It's not scary or thrilling-- it's disgusting. It has a promising premise, but because it's targeted to gore-obsessed audiences, it focuses on the gore, not the thrills. By the end, the plot is not worth the gore-fest the movie puts us through.

For a true horror thriller, I highly recommend The Shining.


Your Honour, the prosecution rests its case.
The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
~Ellery Queen
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Post by Jane Poirot » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:33 pm

Out of curiousity, what were the replies to that argument?
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:37 pm

There have been none yet. I literally just posted it. But here is my "favourite" highlight to date:

To my argument:
I ... can't... stand... Saw. Despite an extremely promising, original plot, it doesn't deliver. It is a calculated blockbuster, with enough gore to keep a shallow teen audience happy (I am often ashamed that I am part of this age group), but without any cumulative impact or terror associated with it. Movies like these are obviously geared for profits first, quality filmmaking later.
For a real thriller, I recommend One Hour Photo, Munich, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Insomnia, Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese's remake; I have yet to see the original), Terminator 2 (rather graphic itself, but the catch being that the film's quality is the biggest concern), The Shining, and just about any Alfred Hitchcock film. Modern horror and thriller movies seem to rarely possess quality filmmaking; it's all about aiming for a target audience and getting the profits to roll in.
Rant over, safe to come out. ;)
The response was:
ozirock wrote:Ha well let's be fair, you have to give it to the guys who made it, there goal was to get people hooked and make money and they definitely done that A real gore film to keep people coming back to be scared again.
nissan wrote:Ozirock is right i agree with him.
To be frank, many movies are taken to get profits and make money through that.
Saw type of movies are rare, and will attract many people to such terrific one.
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Post by PeachFreak » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:59 pm

I hate Saw...I don't know why, I just do. And it's pretty tame for my standards.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:12 pm

At last, the long-awaited review of Clue has arrived!
Image
Clue (1985)
Starring: Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren
Directed by Jonathan Lynn

Following the footsteps of 1976’s Murder by Death, Clue is an uproarious parody of the entire mystery genre. (Coincidentally, Eileen Brennan starred in both.)
The film had four different endings to it (although only three were released for some reason; I’d have loved to see the fourth). Theatres would show ending A, B, or C. Like in the board game, it doesn’t matter who did it; you can just watch a different ending, just like you can sit down and play another round of the game. What I particularly appreciate, though, is how all three endings are now neatly tied together. The endings by themselves are fun; together, they are fun and memorable.
When it comes to direction, Jonathan Lynn was obviously an amateur. Some portions of the film here and there had really awkward camerawork that took away from its dramatic or comedic possibilities. This is most evident at the film’s beginning, in particular the first 10 or so minutes. To sum them up, they feel uncomfortable. You could argue that’s the entire point, but Clue is not brilliant due to its direction.
No, Clue is carried by the performances of the actors. The best, in my humble opinion, is Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock. She can be hilarious, irritating, or even the murderer! She can be completely versatile in the same role. She is just perfect. Close behind her are Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet (a fantastic performance— she really captured the spirit of Scarlet, I’d say— watch her “strategy� to get Plum to give her a lift near the beginning), Tim Curry as Wadsworth (a non-existent character in the board game, but a fantastic execution nonetheless), and Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum.
If there is any criticism where acting is concerned, I have to direct it at Lee Ving primarily. His Mr. Boddy fails to make me feel like the suspects are in any danger whatsoever. Are you really telling me that a guy who is terrified of his own dogs has the guts to blackmail these people? His Mr. Boddy comes across as ridiculous, not menacing. It’s a wonder he wasn’t murdered already.
One thing that I’ve always regretted about Clue is Mrs. White. I love her role as a maid. In her place, we have the rather bland Yvette (played by Colleen Camp, an over-the-top performance if there ever was one, but one that strangely works oftentimes), while Mrs. White plays the role of the “femme fatale�. It’s the one thing I wish the filmmakers hadn’t done. Oh, well. You can’t win them all.
Clue begins on a humorous note, and it succeeds and struggles at the same time. I’ve already mentioned that the first ten minutes feel a little uncomfortable, but at the same time, we have some rather funny bits. One choice scene involves Miss Scarlet getting Professor Plum to stop and give her a lift. The explanation for the “coloured� last names is also extremely clever and well-handled.
After an initially somewhat poor beginning, however, Clue quickly turns into the hilarious comedy I’m so fond of. What can I say? I just love its humour: from a chandelier falling and giving Colonel Mustard the scare of his life to a singing telegram girl getting shot as she begins her musical number. Clue pokes fun at the entire mystery genre: despite all the attempts the guests make, the killer keeps striking, and the bodies pile up. Eventually, the discovery of a new corpse is so dull, that the hysterical Mrs. Peacock looks bored. It works!
What is Clue’s strongest bit? I would argue that it is the zany, wacky ending, as Wadsworth runs around the entire mansion re-enacting the murders, and generally making a fool of himself. Note in particular the musical tune that accompanies this ending— the music in general is another of the film’s strong points.
The Verdict: Clue is carried by the performances of its actors, and while it is a fantastic movie, it is definitely not a perfect one. I still enjoy it, nonetheless, and give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up.
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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