go_leafs At the Movies (CLUE- p. 16)

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Post by Black » Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:33 pm

Have you tried it on the Wii?

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:21 pm

AUGH!

I saw World's Greatest Dad and wrote a huge review of it. As soon as I press submit, my browser shuts down on me!

:evil:
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Post by Jane Poirot » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:31 pm

I can relate to the basic context, that's for sure. :evil:
Anyone who thinks Canadians are meek and mild-mannered has obviously never seen us during Question Period!

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:08 pm

To mark Rememberance Day, I tried to review Saving Private Ryan. But this is a movie that I admire too much; no matter what I wrote, words of mine seemed to do the movie no justice at all. I gave up, in the end. But I'd like to mention that this really is a great movie, and one worth seeing. This is my favourite war movie ever.

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Post by CluedoKid » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:57 pm

go_leafs, I'd like to ask if you have seen Thin Red Line by any chance? There are two versions and I've seen both, but I only saw the original when I was 7, thus the meaning would have flew over my head. I'm refering to the remake by Terrence Malick.

If you haven't, please do. It's a war movie, but also educational in it's philosophy that beautifully argues that good and evil come from the same face. It's underlying reminder is that war is never justified. No matter how hard we look for heroes; they won't be found. The length is well worth the sit, for the acting, cinematography, music and above all, it's message.

It's impact was felt so strong, I feel it's truly deserving to be up there in my pick of favourite movies.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:08 pm

I've seen it, and I loved it. It falls just short of my favourite war movie, though, which goes to Saving Private Ryan, because of its dedication to realism, and the preservation of all those lives lost in the war. John Williams' Hymn to the Fallen succeeds always to bring tears to my eyes.

1998 was a great year for movies, but the Academy must've been drunk. With such masterpieces as Life is Beautiful, The Thin Red Line, and Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love prevailed. It's way worse than The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction losing out to Forrest Gump (because in this case, FG was actually a good movie to start with).

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Post by CluedoKid » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:18 pm

Often, the Academy picks the film that appeals to a broader audience. I know a lot of people didn't *get* Thin Red Line, and when a message isn't understood, then it's hard to appreciate the film.

I've seen Saving Private Ryan and loved it too. It's battle scenes were depicted with grit and if I recall (it's been a little while since I've seen it), it holds a feel of stoicism that, as you said, preserves the memory of war's victims.

I'm just wondering if you felt TRL fell short in your eyes in terms of realism or preservation? I admit, I did have my caveats, mainly the needless flash backs involving the wife whom we care little about. Despite the films ability to show the characters without excess one-sidedness, she felt like the main villain of the piece without much depth into her story.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:43 pm

I can't really pinpoint what appealed to me more about Ryan. I can just say that I generally liked it more than The Thin Red Line. TRL had its flaws, but it still did a good job to remember the fallen.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:39 pm

go_leafs_nation wrote:Well, all my previous words on Sherlock Holmes must now be solemnly eaten and washed down with a cup of tea. I got back from it, and am still in shock, I guess... More on this soon...
When I was ranting and raving about how terrible Sherlock Holmes would turn out, I said that I was holding Guy Ritchie entirely responsible for the fiasco. Now that I’ve seen the film, I must give credit to Ritchie above all for making the film. Instead of making an action rampage as the trailer suggests (to lure in the Illiterati, I suppose), this is a very clever detective film.

You must realize that Holmes was something a superhero for London when stories about him were first published. Instead of fighting crime with web-slinging or high-tech gadgetry, his weapon was his mind, ie his keen deductive prowess. This film injects something of a modern-day superhero into him. But contrary to my initial reaction, Holmes is not killed in this movie. He survives the treatment, and emerges gloriously to solve the heinous crime he’s faced with. This Holmes is not precisely the Holmes I imagine, but he’s still Holmes, and Robert Downey Jr. is glorious when he plays him.

My problem lies with Dr. Watson, who becomes a compulsive gambler to suit this film. Another error the filmmakers made was with Watson’s fiancée, Mary Morstan, who supposedly never met Holmes before, forgetting one of the four Holmes novels, The Sign of Four, where she comes to Holmes for help, thus meeting and eventually marrying Watson. However, as I’m not a fanatic Baker Street Irregular, I let this pass without attaching much thought to it. Jude Law plays the Watson he’s required to play to perfection—again, not exactly the Watson I have in mind, but one that works for this film and is played perfectly to suit this purpose.

Rachel McAdams fans may also rest in peace—she is an ideal Irene Adler. The flirting and making out wouldn’t have happened in Doyle’s stories, but it’s irresistible for any director to throw in, and doesn’t stick out. It works with everything else, and to be honest, it’s enjoyable.

So yes, the characters emerge slightly different from the ones you read about in the book, but honestly, I didn’t care. This is a very dark treatment of the Holmes material, in the style of The Dark Knight or Batman Begins. I didn’t hear anyone call foul over those films, so Sherlock Holmes shouldn’t be an exception. The increasing panic and chaos that spreads through London is reminiscent of the slowly growing chaos that becomes more and more bone-chilling in The Dark Knight.

Whoever wrote the screenplay gets top marks from me. They caught me on one of my very favourite elements in a mystery: the rational explanation of seemingly supernatural events. Holmes was rarely faced with such puzzles in the Doyle canon (the best example maybe being The Sussex Vampire), and I often wished he’d had other puzzles like it. This film granted my wish, and I sat there spellbound, thoroughly entertained and enjoying myself.

My one complaint is the vagueness of the hints: obvious symptoms of [x] that aren’t actually shown until you get to the flashback, gestures of Holmes that go without any explanation until they’re brought up in the solution (easily taken for eccentricities). But let’s pass that aside—the hints are given to the viewer, but are not lingered upon. A few things could’ve been better clued (although one crime was ingeniously and subtly clued), but overall, I’m not complaining.

The acting was strong, and I was particularly impressed by the choice for Professor Moriarty, Holmes’ archnemesis (of Reichenbach Falls fame). This perfectly sets up sequels, and apparently, one is already in the works. All I can say is “hoorah�!

I’ve been a huge supporter of Hans Zimmer ever since hearing his beautiful score accompanying Gladiator. Sherlock Holmes proves my case that Zimmer is one of Hollywood’s current musical geniuses. This score is fantastic, simply put. The final scenes in particular are excellently scored, as Holmes explains everything and a climatic scene ensues.

As for Ritchie’s direction, I’m heavily impressed. He doesn’t make the mistake directors make nowadays in action scenes, by jump cutting and criss-crossing so much that you have no idea what’s going on and where everyone is in relation to each other and the setting (like the dogfight in Quantum of Solace). It’s easily followed, and produces a few memorable shots and action sequences.

There’s a lot in Sherlock Holmes to warrant further viewings, and I simply loved the film. It’s flown to the top of my favourite movies list. I’ll certainly be waiting for the DVD when it comes out! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this film. Holmes is still Holmes, living in his messy Baker Street quarters with Watson (who is still Watson). Actually, this film does a grand job capturing Holmes’ foul mood in one scene when he isn’t faced with more cases for a while. To sum up: this is a grand film, a pleasant surprise. Just don’t expect the Baker Street Irregulars to come flocking to see it.

Afterthought: The only worry I have is that people will now love Holmes for all the wrong reasons. Oh well. You can't win them all.

Note to those who saw the movie (major spoilers!): Was anyone else worried when Lestrade was revealed to be a corrupt detective and villain? Looking back, I might have felt like screaming “What have they done?!?� But Lestrade (who is perfect!) is then cleared, and life went on. Great move, I found!
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:14 am

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0184791/

O is a 2001 movie based on Shakespeare's Othello, where the setting is updated to a modern-day high school. It uses modern language, but apart from that and time/place-related changes, the story is completely intact. None of the passion of the original play is lost. Odin James's (Mekhi Phifer) final words to his classmates before committing suicide carry all the power, grief, and wrath that Othello's final monologue does.

"Honest Iago" is now Hugo (Josh Hartnett), the son of the coach of the basketball team, Duke (Martin Sheen). (Clever references to the original text like that are present throughout.) He becomes convinced that Duke prefers Odin (known as "O" to his classmates), and taken with many things together, he becomes insanely jealous of O, and plots to ruin his happiness. To do this, he employs the unwitting help of Roger Rodriguez (Elden Henson), a loser no one likes much, but who is desperate to impress the beautiful Desi (Julia Stiles), with whom he is in love. First they target Michael Cassio (Andrew Keegan), O's best friend, to convince O that Cass and Desi are cheating on him. They slowly build up O's rage and jealousy, and he goes from a gentle, loving soul to a bad@ss who slam dunks a ball during a game so hard that he shatters the glass. Hugo then convinces O he is his one true friend, and together they hatch a plan to kill both. It goes horribly wrong, costs some their lives...
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:37 pm

I've been watching Casino, and Joe Pesci really is the ULTIMATE tough guy. He's so convincing it makes me wonder whether he's a bit pscyho himself. The way his characters just lash out into violence is really disturbing and terrifying.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon May 17, 2010 8:33 pm

Every time I see Schindler's List, I am more and more amazed by it. It isn't a surrypy-sweet sentimental tale of how wonderful one guy was and how bad everyone else was, but a very down-to-earth, heart-wrenching tale about one man's incredible courage in the face of danger. Then, at the end of the whole thing, Schindler breaks down, crying over how he could've done more- he realizes that his actions were almost insignificant among all the life lost, and his sorrow is incredibly portrayed by Liam Neeson.

Ralph Fiennes is downright scary as the main antagonist. Watch how he teases the viewer into thinking that Among Geothe maybe isn't such a bad guy, as he seems to develop interest in a young Jewish woman. Then he suddenly shifts gears and goes right back to being the cruel monster (and enjoying it).

John Williams' score is simple yet evocative. His theme for Schindler's List is a melancholy opus that perfectly captures everything that the movie is about.

Then, there's that wonderful scene with the girl in the red coat... Oh, I could go on and on about how incredible of an achievement this film is.
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Post by Black » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:39 am

Death at a funeral is a most-see. As funny as the Hangover.

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:53 am

We started watching Creation, a movie more or less inspired by Darwin's work, in my bio class Friday. What a dull movie! Although the performance of Paul Bettany as Darwin is exceptional (and the direction is surprisingly strong), the writing is pretty dreadful, and brings the whole production down with it. It's overly sentimental, and I've seen a big, hugely predictable 'plot twist' coming since the movie's very start, involving a certain character not actually being real. It takes an interesting concept and makes it boring. The first half does, at any rate.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Well, I finished watching Sleepy Hollow. Although I'm not a particularly huge horror fan, Sleepy Hollow was gripping, pulling off its elements of horror triumphantly.

The film proves that, at the top of his game, Tim Burton is an inventive, imaginative, and talented visual artist. The film is extremely gory and gruesome, but none of this (save, arguably, that last bit when the Horseman rides away) is gratuitous brutality. It all flows naturally from the action, and creates out of the Headless Horseman a myth that is truly terrifying.

The movie's story has about as much similarity to Washington Irving's tale (which, I think, tells the tale of a perfect murder) as Peter Ustinov has a physical resemblance to Gollum- maybe even less than that. The only influences it carries through from the original tale are the names of some characters and the terrifying figure of the horseman himself. This is excellently pulled off. Under Burton's skilled direction, everything comes together nicely, and the story shows originality, creativity and inspiration.

It has a mystery aspect behind it all, but in the film's fantasy world, the supernatural goes. This is far from a cop-out (as it could've been)- the explanation behind it all is simple and brilliant, and there is no cheating involved. The story is complex, entertaining to see unfold, and it has plenty of great ideas.

The elements of horror are pulled of very well and stylishly, such as with the elegant shot where the mist extinguishes the torches (that's gotta be one of my favourites!). The effects are simply stunning, such as an excellently-choreographed fight sequence in which Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane unite forces against the supernatural. The film also manages to squeeze in a reference to what may have actually happened in Irving's tale, as Brom Bones pulls an elaborate prank on Ichabod Crane.

Elements of comedy are pulled off excellently. Also, the romantic subplot that develops is nothing particularly new, yet it feels far from cliche. Christina Ricci is charming and highly likable, and her interactions with Depp show plenty of chemistry.

I have only two quibbles with the film, and they are relatively minor:
(Spoiler)
1. In one of the opening scenes, Depp mistakenly refers to the upcoming century (the 1800s) as a new millenium. Silly little error.
2. The horseman biting the villain before dragging same to *beep*? Now that was just plain weird.

One last thing I have to put in spoilers: when the horseman kills the midwife and her family, which is a disturbing and terrifying sequence, I found it a highly effective move to leave the murder of the child off screen. It could've gone out of its way to show the gory details, but instead leaves it to the imagination, which is far more effective than all the blood and guts that the camera could've shown. It's a good example of what I mean by the gore not being gratuitous.


All in all, this may very well be the best horror movie I've seen in ages (although my experience with horrors is limited). It's got plenty of gusto, and really succeeds in terrifying with its incarnation of the Headless Horseman. There are plenty of shots in the movie where the Horseman has his horse stand on two legs (that's the best I can describe it)- those moments perfectly capture the menace and the dark fascination the character of Washington Irving's tale holds.

Highly enjoyable and extremely recommended. It's far better than the trailer suggested. Tim Burton is at his finest, before his weird obsessions began to influence his work too much.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:07 pm

Hidden among the cheesy Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of the 1980s is a truly inspired movie called The Running Man. It's based on a story by Stephen King, one I haven't read, and is set in a futuristic world where a violent game show called The Running Man is the most successful in history. The show involves "runners" running away from "stalkers", professional assassins employing bizarre methods to kill their victims.

Arnold stars as Ben Richards, an innocent man accused of a horrific crime. In this dystopian future, the media and the government are basically in cahoots. The idea is to keep people in front of the TV instead of in picket lines, and the bloodsport that has been invented is reminiscent of gladiator games. Richards must participate in the show to attempt to earn his freedom back.

Of course, Arnold's cheesy one-liners are here, but he actually gives a pretty good performance. The direction is nice, and the dystopian setting is done exceptionally well, as you see that footage has been reassembled before being aired on TV to convince audiences that Richards is a heartless maniac.

Fifteen years ago, I suppose nobody would've thought this kind of story possible. But nowadays, this movie is surprisingly relevant. It's a fun ride, with some pretty good fight scenes and some disturbing elements. It reminds me a bit of Total Recall. It isn't particularly graphic. The methods of death may be cringe-worthy, but the movie doesn't linger on gore. It doesn't have to.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an evening of entertainment. It's a fun movie, but it also raises some questions that I feel are very relevant to society today.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:12 pm

Funny People was a pretty good movie. Adam Sandler gave one of his very best performances as (what else?) a successful comedian. Told that he hasn't long to live, he begins to re-evaluate his life. Sandler gives a very delicate performance here and is also hilarious. It's a great performance.

I found the movie interesting for its insight into the world of stand-up comedy. These comedians can be at times obnoxious. Why? Because they feel compelled to make people laugh.

I have only one complaint here about this movie: it is unbelievably sexual. Practically every routine the comedians do has got to be sexual. Now, sexual jokes can be funny (and Sandler has got one of the best routines around this at a MySpace gathering), but when being constantly pummelled with nothing but d*ck jokes, I started getting really annoyed. Comedians can do routines about other things- politics, families, food, waiting in line at the grocery store...

It's that one flaw that brings down this movie from "excellent" to "pretty good". It's worth checking out.
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:49 pm

When Roman Polanski was arrested a while back (a move I'm heavily critical about), he was going to accept an award and premiere this movie. It looks fantastic. I bought the DVD and look forward to seeing it, possibly tonight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_AerBW0EcI
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:19 am

The Ghost Writer is an excellent film. It's a semi-mystery of sorts, which makes it all the more interesting for me as a mystery addict. But that's not the only thing of interest here. The entire film is a wonderful experience.

Polanski was in top form, with some really brilliant moments of tension and suspense. I also really liked the final shot of the film, which artistically speaking is extremely beautiful. I won't say what it is, because that really would be awful.

Does the movie hold up as a mystery? Well, yes and no. The solution hinges on an ancient device that really isn't all that fair unless you've got an incredible memory, but in retrospect, little hints are given throughout the film that make the ending reasonable. Don't expect a strictly fair-play mystery, but you can expect a good ride nonetheless. And you WILL find clues here and there that make sense when you rethink them.

The acting is excellent. Ewan McGregor serves as the story's moral compass, so to speak. He provides a central figure with whom the audience can identify, and his determination to get to the truth drives the plot of the film forward. (Interestingly, the character is never named, and you're told that he has no family, etc. You basically know nothing else about him. So why is it possible to identify with him? Food for thought.) Pierce Brosnan is wonderful as the ex-politician, even if he's only in a handful of scenes. Those are strangely more than enough for Brosnan, who puts on all his charm and charisma and succeeds. Brosnan's character has too much of a past- McGregor's has almost none at all. There are very good supporting performances as well, from Olivia Williams (playing Lang's wife) and Kim Cattrall (playing the assistant).

The score is excellent. It is at times really beautiful, and at times frightening, and at times both. You really have to see the film to appreciate the score's importance- it is more than a mere backdrop. It is an active player in the proceedings. I particularly like the bit with the car chase, the ferry scene that follows, and the final scenes. Who is the composer? It's a man by the name of Alexandre Desplat, whose previous work includes Syriana, The Queen, The Golden Compass, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and (curiously enough) The Twilight Saga: New Moon (bleh!).

The influence of real-life events is quite clear here. Brosnan's character is an obvious echo of Tony Blair, and American politicians in this film look very much like their real-life counterparts.

So, overall, I highly recommend The Ghost Writer. It seems that in films, thrillers are the closest thing you'll get to a genuine mystery.

Afterthoughts: Since the Academy doubled the Best Picture category (a horrible move, in my opinion, as it convolutes the category and makes it far easier to be nominated), I will be genuinely shocked if this does not get nominated at the very least. It's really a wonderful film. (Also, last year's show bored me so much I turned it off when the proceedings barely got started. The dual host thing did NOT work with Steve Martin, himself an excellent host, and Alec Baldwin. I doubt it will work with James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Why not just bring back Billy Crystal? His monologues and Best Picture medleys are hilarious.)
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Post by go_leafs_nation » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:23 pm

All the way back near the beginning of this topic, during my harsh review of Mission: Impossible 2, I wrote the following about director John Woo.
go_leafs_nation wrote:John Woo’s direction? He focused mainly on the stunts, which I have to admit, were pretty good. But he’s no “acclaimed action director� like it says on the back of the DVD box. He’s a second unit who got lucky!
My choice of words there was not the wisest. Woo really has made excellent films in the past, but I was probably saying that because I was cheesed off about buying such a bad movie. (On the bright side, I sold it to a used video store and got credit to buy a far better movie- Scorsese's Gangs of New York. So some good came out of it after all.)

Recently, I watched John Woo's first Hollywood movie, Hard Target.
Image

As the poster reveals, the movie stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, one of my personal favourite wannabe-Schwarzenegger action stars from the 80s/90s. Van Damme's physique is extremely impressive, and the stunts he pulls off, be they signature splits, spin kicks, or fighting a snake, are really well-done.

This movie is made with tremendous style. The action is great, the set-pieces are visually appealing, and the direction is solid. Unlike M:i:2, Woo's trademarks (such as doves) do not feel stupidly forced in. The storyline is also much better, essentially an update of The Most Dangerous Game. (One scene in particular has a tragic note to it. A homeless man, forced to run for his life, begs people to help him, but nobody bothers to look twice at him, assuming he's drunk or asking for money. Nobody notices he's wounded or offers to help. It's an excellent scene.)

But when it comes to acting, I can't particularly recommend this movie. Nobody here turns in an Oscar-worthy performance. Van Damme is usually a rather bad actor (one I love anyways), but this movie is not one in which you can laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it (like in Bloodsport, in which even his menacing screams are hilarious). The movie insists on taking itself seriously. But it's hard to do so at times, such as when you meet a character whom you can instantly identify as "Oh, you're so dead!" The most notable appearance may be Arnold Vooslo's (Imhotep in The Mummy), who plays a sadistic sidekick and is genuinely creepy at times.

Another problem is that John Woo was forced to recut his movie in order to get an R rating, and there are times when it shows. I have seen far more brutal movies than this, though. There is gore here, but what is far more effective are the suggestive elements.

Is it a problematic movie? Yes-- but it's enjoyable. The direction is quite good, Van Damme's various fights and stunts are really impressive, and there are some moments where the movie does take a moment to wink at the audience and playfully mock itself. Overall, it's an enjoyable action movie which is made with great flair and style.

(To go off on a tangent here, Jean-Claude Van Damme does some genuine acting in JCVD, where he plays a fictionalised version of himself, as he walks into a bank in the middle of a robbery. The movie is excellent, and most of it is in French, and Van Damme even has a Hamlet moment near the middle of the film. As contradictory as it sounds, I think Van Damme's performance was Oscar-worthy in that film. It's a pity his competition included Heath Ledger as the Joker. The film was not nominated for any Oscar or any major award ceremony I can think of. It's a shame. It remains a buried masterpiece.)
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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