rate the last movie you saw

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Monterey Jack
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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3031 Post by Monterey Jack » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:29 pm

-Baby Driver (2017): 10/10

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I don't think I have come out of a movie with such a giddy, sugar-high buzz since Mad Max: Fury Road. Writer/director Edgar Wright -- toning down the satiric rib-nudging of his Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World -- finally makes a thriller tenuously connected to the "real world" without sacrificing the brilliance of his kinetic editing style or quirky, offbeat sense of humor ("He puts the 'Asian' in 'Home Invasion'"). Ansel Elgort is terrific as the titular character, a getaway driver for hard-case criminals who uses an incessant flood of music on his collection of iPods to drown out the tinnitus stemming from a childhood accident, living in a consistent state of rhythmic ebb and flow. Like many a classic film noir antihero, he's naturally trapped into his current career choice by a debt to a powerful gangster (Kevin Spacey, at his snide, deadpan finest), but his growing relationship with a comely diner waitress (the achingly lovely Lily James) makes him want to break from his illegal chauffeur duties and pursue a normal life. Set to a brilliantly selected soundtrack, and meticulously shot and edited, Baby Driver is a soothing antidote to the overproduced, humorless rash of franchise nonsense that has been clogging multiplexes all summer long, and it will leave you with a grin on your face and your toe tapping to the gorgeously-choreographed vehicular mayhem. I'm sure, like Scott Pilgrim, it'll get lost at the box office due to the fact that it isn't a franchise picture front-loaded with "brand-name" recognition, but like his earlier film, Wright's latest is sure to find an appreciative audience in the years to follow at home. But that doesn't mean you should deny yourself the pleasures of seeing this one large and in-charge with the best theater projection and sound you can muster. Tremendous entertainment. :D
Last edited by Monterey Jack on Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3032 Post by AndyDursin » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:25 am

SPECIES
6/10

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Creature features weren’t as prevalent in the mid ‘90s as they are today. Back then, when a movie like SPECIES came around in the middle of summer, it was something of a novelty – a sexy sci-fi thriller that assembled an atypical A-list cast including Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker and future “CSI” star Marg Helgenberger. The movie was a sleeper hit, earned the venerated “Two Thumbs Up” from Siskel and Ebert and spawned a mini-franchise of its own, starting with an especially bad theatrical sequel in 1998.

For cash-strapped MGM, “Species” was one of its few bona-fide hits from that era, and its uncanny premise of a frequently naked blonde alien walking around Los Angeles trying to procreate found a willing audience. In fact, between Dennis Feldman’s fascinating premise – what if an alien signal sent from deep in space housed DNA instructions that scientists would use to breed an extraterrestrial being on Earth – and the creature designs of H.R. Giger, “Species” captivated adult viewers worn out on pedestrian summer-time fare like “Casper,” “Congo,” “First Knight” and “Batman Forever” (forget 2017 — 1995 was also a really bad summer at the movies!).

Kingsley plays the scientist who breeds “Sil” from that DNA strand – one that’s been injected with some human attributes, resulting first in a young Michelle Williams, who quickly mutates into the nubile Natasha Henstridge once Sil escapes from a lab. With Sil hoping to mate with anyone and everyone on the L.A. singles scene, Kingsley assembles a crack team including hitman Madsen, anthropologist Molina, empath Whitaker and scientist Helgenberger to find her before she threatens all of mankind – not just those she’s trying to sleep with.

I remember enjoying “Species” back at the time of its original release, but truth be told, the film has dated in a bad way, as have many films from that era. The overly serious script doesn’t produce much in the way of humor (even of the camp variety) even while adhering to a standard horror framework, just with a larger budget than is usually found with this kind of material. The primitive CGI, however, was never impressive, even by its era’s standards. That early digital work looks, unsurprisingly, even more inadequate today: Giger’s designs basically fused the female body with the title creature from “Alien,” yet there’s a glut of CGI, especially at the climax, that fails to do justice to his concept and is poorly executed, particularly considering the pedigree of effects artist Richard Edlund.

Christopher Young’s fine score gives “Species” a touch of class along with its central cast, but too much of this played like a leftover relic from a decade when the quality of summer blockbusters was already on a decline.

Shout Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray -- out July 11th -- offers a brand-new 4K scan of the movie’s Interpositive (2.35). Given that MGM’s US Blu-Ray was an early-format MPEG-2 transfer (it was released during that brief window when Sony was distributing MGM’s home video releases), this is an appreciable enhancement with excellent detail. The 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack does a solid job replicating the theatrical audio, and extras are highlighted by a brand new 36-minute documentary on the film. The featurette includes interviews with Roger Donaldson, cinematographer Andrzej Bartokiwak, Christopher Young and numerous special effects/make-up artists, with much of the (technical) talk comprised of how the FX were put together. All the other extras have been housed elsewhere on MGM’s “Species” DVDs (but were mostly left off the prior Blu-Ray), including an alternate ending, Making Of featurettes, two commentaries and trailers. Also ported over from the “Species II” Shout Factory Blu-Ray is a wide-ranging interview with Natasha Henstridge, recalling her work on both pictures.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3033 Post by AndyDursin » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:28 pm

DESPICABLE ME 3
7/10

Theo's first movie (in a theater) since last summer went great for him -- he seemed to enjoy this colorful sequel that Joanne and I both thought was merely "okay". Minion action was at a minimum but to be honest, the movie needed a little more of them, as the laughs were just kinda so-so for the most part. I nearly nodded off a couple of times. Open ending ready-made for another sequel which you know we will there for.

On the plus side -- it was better than ZOOTOPIA and THE SECRET LIVES OF PETS, my measuring stick for awful.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3034 Post by Eric Paddon » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:37 am

Two-Minute Warning (1976) 7 of 10

-Went through the Blu-Ray this evening. The last time I saw this I thought the film inferior compared to "Black Sunday" in terms of bringing the disaster genre to a Super Bowl setting (or in this case "Championship Bowl" as reflecting the lack of the NFL cooperation with this production). I still think "Black Sunday" is superior but my view of this film is much improved thanks to the great transfer and also thanks to my also subjecting myself after viewing it to the bonus of the TV cut. My goodness, what a hideous mess *that* was. I have long been familiar how a number of Universal films reshot and expanded for TV were actually improved in spots (especially "Airport '77" plus "Midway" gave us the added bonus of the Battle of Coral Sea) but the TV cut of "Two Minute Warning" is the most bizarre reimagining of a movie I have ever seen for TV. The absurdity of tying the sniper to a boring art heist plot was bad enough but what got me was how in order to placate network TV censors, they also re-edited things so that every time the sniper opens fire he keeps hitting light towers or empty seats! As a consequence the TV viewer never gets to see what happened to David Janssen and Jack Klugman while Walter Pidgeon, whose part was sparse to begin with is reduced to one earlier blink-and-you'll-miss-him moment long before the climax. The whole "art heist" plot is just absurd on its face since it insults people who aren't even LA residents to accept the fantasy premise there's a big art gallery just across the street from the Colosseum and that somehow a riot is going to provide cover for a heist. Charlton Heston I noticed, had to film two new short scenes and was the only member of the original cast doing anything new (much as he alone among the cast of "Midway" did the new scenes for that one). But at any rate, watching the TV cut served the valuable purpose of making me better appreciate the original cut.

-There really needs to be a comprehensive overview of this era of the late 70s of movies being re-edited and expanded for TV cuts and what the process was and the overall intentions because it's a neglected story on many levels and now that Universal likely lost *all* of their tape masters of these expanded TV cuts in the 2008 fire, only those who preserved them on earlier TV recordings (as the TV cut used for this release was) will be able to have them properly documented.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3035 Post by Paul MacLean » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:18 pm

The Madness of Max

Very good documentary on the making of the original Mad Max, loaded with extensive interviews with cast and crew. Director George Miller, Mel Gibson, Hugh Keyes-Byrne, Steve Bisley, JoAnne Samuel, cameraman David Eggby and many others who worked on the film offer-up a myriad of fascinating anecdotes and trivia regarding the production process.

The quality of this docuumentary is a bit rough around the edges, and it looks like it was shot and edited in interlaced standard definition video (!). It's clear this was a low-budget, essentially "fan-made" documentary. It also consists mostly of talking heads interviews, and at a running time of two and-a-half hours (one hour longer than Mad Max itself!) one starts to get a bit restless. But whatever its technical deficiencies, they are more than made up for by the obvious passion that filmmakers Gary McFeat and Tim Ridge bring to the project. A "must see" for fans of the film (and good viewing for anyone with no experience who wishes to make a low-budget feature).

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3036 Post by AndyDursin » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:31 am

The quality of that documentary is incredibly poor...it's in the Warner MAD MAX COLLECTION box-set (along with the new ROAD WARRIOR documentary, which is in HD) and it sounds like whatever video quality you saw it in, Paul, is the same on the DVD. Incredibly shoddy. However, the content is excellent if a bit bloated, and well worth seeing, I agree!

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3037 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:22 pm

-Jaws (1975): 11/10

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Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women. 8)

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3038 Post by Monterey Jack » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:21 am

-Jaws 2 (1978): 8/10

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3039 Post by Monterey Jack » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:53 pm

-Slither (2006): 8/10

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Hard to believe that Disney execs watched this movie, and allowed James Gunn free reign within the Marvel Universe for his Guardians Of The Galaxy movies. A gleeful, gross-out jamboree, Slither is one of the best horror/comedy hybrids in recent memory, and has held up superbly over the last decade. While it's not a movie you'd want to watch right before lunch, it's nevertheless great, disgusting fun, and the perfect choice for a double-feature with the awfully similar 80's favorite Night Of The Creeps (in fact, I'm slotting that in for my annual October horror marathon this year). The gooey F/X are top-notch, the cast is terrific (especially Michael Rooker and the gorgeous Elizabeth Banks), and the film rides that fine line between frights and chuckles with just the right tone.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3040 Post by Paul MacLean » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:43 am

Captain America: Civil War

Not without its charms, but a generally boring, overlong movie which feels like it was made from an unfinished script. Extended, talky sequences, where characters have "introspective", "meaningful" conversations (which are forced and stilted) are occasionally interrupted by overly frenetic action sequences. Depicting what should be traditional heroes as reckless vigilantes who fight among themselves is yet another attempt to be "edgy", and make pretentious statements about "moral relativism". There's a place for movies that explore moral relativism, but guys, this is Captain America. Most people over the age of 19 aren't interested in the "dark side" of what are supposed to be "the good guys". This "Watchmen"-like approach to traditional comic book heroes was never appealing or appropriate in the first place, but these days it's just formulaic and boring.

There's nothing visually original about the film either. The CGI effects are look like those of every other movie, and the massive, decaying "secret abandoned lab" where the climax takes place is something we've seen a million times before. Henry Jackman's score however is a refreshing change from the Remote Control approach.

The picture has its moments, like the very entertaining scene where Tony Stark visits Peter Parker. It was also kind of fun to see a fight scene which included Hawkeye, the Ant Man and the young, naive Spiderman. I'd say the film's greatest asset is its first-rate cast. Chris Evens is still terrific as "Cap", and the strongest character interactions are those between Evens and Sebastian Stan (who have genuine chemistry). I can't say enough good about Don Cheadle, Anthony MacKie and Chadwick Boseman. Scarlet Johansson is also outstanding, and even in her 50s, Marissa Tomei is still foxy. But the one who really steals the show is Robert Downey, jr.

Great as they are however, this cast can't salvage an otherwise perfunctory, formulaic production. The overlong running time further handicaps the movie, which would have run better at under two hours.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3041 Post by AndyDursin » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:24 am

My problem with that movie was that it leveraged too many elements and came off as a slick but transparent "product." It's half a Captain America movie, then a quarter "Avengers" sequel and a quarter advertisement for the next "Spider-Man" movie. Marvel is very shrewd when they do this -- IRON MAN 2 functioned much in the same way -- but cinematically, it prevents the film from having, a fully developed and realized story.

I'd have rather watched a "Captain America" sequel, but the movie only gives you half of that, and very obviously moves from one marketing goal to another, sometimes uneasily...I mean it's one thing to stop the movie dead to introduce the new Spider-Man reboot, but even if you're going to do that (it's almost like a backdoor pilot to a separate TV series lol), why is it Tony Stark who's running the show in those sequences...in Captain America's sequel? Steve Rogers is like a supporting player at times -- in his "own" film! :lol:

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3042 Post by Paul MacLean » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:45 am

AndyDursin wrote:Steve Rogers is like a supporting player at times -- in his "own" film! :lol:
Yeah -- it reminds me of when I was a little kid, and this episode of The Six Million Dollar Man ended on a cliffhanger, with a title card that read "To Be Continued -- on The Bionic Woman"!

I wanted to add that, as much as I thought Scarlet Johannsen did a terrific job, I found her character rather superfluous. The cameos by Hawkeye, Ant Man, etc. were fun, but I felt Johannsen, the other girl, and the "red guy" (I don't remember their names, sorry!) were totally unnecessary and bogged things down.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3043 Post by AndyDursin » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:22 pm

FATE OF THE FURIOUS
5/10

Me after 10 minutes of this mess...

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3044 Post by Eric Paddon » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:43 pm

Mary Poppins (1964) 6 of 10

-This is only the second time I've ever seen the film, and I have to admit I did not see it as a child so as a consequence I can't connect with this film the way others did. Looking at it, I have to say that were it not for some well-crafted blendings of live action and animation this film would only be a 5 because it's dragged down by a thin storyline and also too much behind the scenes stuff that doesn't stand the test of time, specifically Julie Andrews getting an Oscar solely because the Academy wanted to give Jack Warner a middle finger for the "My Fair Lady" snub. Andrews is fine in the part, but the problem is that she doesn't dominate the film the way you would have expected her to. Instead a LOT more is given over to Dick Van Dyke and you can even argue that his character has more sway over the children than she does (especially in light of the whole extended and expertly choreographed but ultimately plot-stagnating chimney sweep dance sequence and also because he's the one, not Mary who gives the hard talk to Mr. Banks). "Spoonful Of Sugar" sets up the character well but after that things come to a crashing halt as far as Mary goes in terms of her being wise and all-knowing because when you get down to it, the whole "Feed The Birds" bit caused nothing but trouble by making the son act like an irresponsible brat at the bank! Call me a cynic, but this was a case where it seemed to me as if Mr. Banks was trying to give some helpful wise advice and instead we saw all kinds of trouble erupt for what was really a weak reason story wise IMO. (And am I the only one who detects a whiff of hypocrisy in how the film centers on Mr. Banks's faults for not spending time with his children, but not a single judgmental word is uttered about Mrs. Banks caring more about going off to her suffragette marches?)

-As much as I am a fanatic about the history of Disney theme parks this has never carried over into a similar passion for Disney films with the exceptions being "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" and "Swiss Family Robinson" which not coincidentally have far more mature storytelling IMO. I can see the brilliance of Disney artistry in "Poppins" but its lacking in terms of a story overall for me, and after seeing the film with a more critical eye, I've come away more than ever thinking Audrey Hepburn was done an injustice by the Academy. Andrews performance in "Sound Of Music" is far more Oscar caliber IMO.

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Re: rate the last movie you saw

#3045 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:20 pm

-Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear (1988): 8.5/10

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The recent death of George A. Romero came as a shock, mainly because I had literally just watched Dawn Of The Dead again (introducing it to my nephew, who loved it) the night before I learned of the sad news. Inspired to watch another one of his films, I chose his underrated 1988 thriller about a cute l'il capuchin monkey named "Ella" (played remarkably by "Boo"...nowadays, it'd be a mocap turn by Andy Serkis) assigned to assist a despondent young man named Allan (Jason Beghe), left a quadriplegic after a recent accident. Ella enriches Allan's life with her housekeeping and small-task skills, as well as her affectionate presence. But Ella is also part of a genetic experiment being conducted by Allan's friend Geoffrey (John Pankow), wherein a series of human hormone injections has made her much, much smarter than the average monkey...and also fiercely jealous of her new human paramour, somehow tuning into Allan's frequent rages at his new living conditions and the friends and family members who he feels have "betrayed" or disappointed him. When they start turning up dead in a series of freak "accidents", Allan begins to suspect that, lying behind the face of his adorable new housemate is the soul of a killer, one sparked off by his own bad mojo. Eschewing the usual, stomach-churning gore that typified most of his filmography, Romero generates palpable, almost Hitchcockian suspense with his scenario of an ailing man rendered helpless and at the mercy of his would-be caretaker (it's like a simian Misery, in a way), and the film's fine cast works in tandem with David Shire's excellent score (a mix of jungle-beat percussion and warm, lilting melodies) to create one of the director's best non-Dead features. Like a lot of filmmakers who worked primarily in the horror genre, Romero's career was certainly spotty (although his weaker films never devolved to the truly dreadful levels of, say, Wes Craven, a "Master Of Horror" who too often coasted on his cred in-between sporadic bursts of inspiration), but when he was on-point, he was a thoughtful director who had a lot more going on underneath the surface scares that he was often given credit for. R.I.P., George...

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