What I Watched, What You Watched #219

wiw-1118This was a rather well-rounded week of movie watching for me as I covered several moments in cinema's history with four films. The first was this weekend's new release, The Best Man Holiday (read my review here), but then I jumped back in time with Kino's latest Blu-ray release of F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu on Blu-ray, which I will be posting a review for later this week.

Then, I switched over to TCM and watched John Sturgess' take on the Wyatt Earp story in 1957's Gunfight at the O.K. Corral starring Burt Lancaster as Earp and Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday. Having grown up first seeing this story told in 1993's Tombstone, I'm not sure any version of the story will ever appeal to me as much as that one does as I loved Val Kilmer's Holliday, but also love Kurt Russell as Earp and Powers Boothe as Curly Bill, just to name a few. The only performance in Tombstone I wasn't a fan of was Dana Delany as Josephine. I'm not sure if it was Delany's performance or the character, but I think if I had been Wyatt I would have tried a little harder to get Allie (Paula Malcomson) off opium. But that's just me.

As a side note, I didn't realize until just now that Malcomson plays Katniss' mother in The Hunger Games, which means I'll be seeing her again this Monday as I finally will see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Then I watched Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, which I will also be reviewing later this week.

So, with that you have a little bit of an idea what to look forward to this week and now I open the floor to you... what did you watch this week?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    Must See -
    Louder Than A Bomb (Poetry Slam Doc)

    Very Good -
    Computer Chess
    Sound City (Music Doc)
    Confessions Of A Superhero (Actor Doc)
    Cutie And The Boxer (Art Doc)

    Good -
    12th And Delaware (Abortion Doc)
    Blue Caprice

    Ok -
    Ping Pong (Elderly Ping Pong Doc!)

    Avoid -
    Thor 2

    Lower? Higher? And All That.

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      Thor 2: Thornier I didn't hate. It's cookie cutter like everything else Marvel has done, not as racist/sexist/(insert something)ist as Iron Man 3, so there's that.

      Leviathan looked interesting. I hadn't heard of Ping Pong but I want to see it now.

      I've heard good things about Cookie and Sound City, I'll check them out this week possibly.

      I saw Computer Chess this week and found it enjoyable. Interesting way to make a film. I thought it was a documentary for the first fifteen-twenty minutes, so I was fooled.

      You told me about Louder Than A Bomb a few days ago (yesterday?) and I'm planning to watch it tonight. Glad you liked it that much!

      In fact, thanks for being so up-to-knowledge on documentaries. You give me lots of material to start going through. I don't know them well, so your suggestions are a great starting point.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

        Louder Than A Bomb was very exciting but like most docs of this nature (Spellbound, Brooklyn Castle, Ecstasy of Order) it can be uncomfortable viewing due to the intense pressure these young folk are under.

        Ping Pong was a little dry, the best bit was in the trailer unfortunately and Leviathan is an acquired taste, i wanted to like it as is highly regarded but you cant win them all.

        Thor 2 was just a shower of shite.

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          It's about poetry slamming, right? I'd have experience in this field thing, hopefully will connect...

          I haven't watched the trailer, so I might be saved. Leviathan had a cool poster!

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

            It was an amazing poster, its a doc with practically no dialogue, the camera just follows or sometimes just sits in fixed position as things happen or doesnt happen. On another day i may have liked it but not on that day.

            Yes, its an annual slam, mainly focusing on two teams, its one of those docs you really get caught up in and you get very nervous for them out on stage.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/austinjoel/ austinjoel

    O' Brother Where art Thou - A-
    Frances Ha - C+
    Only God Forgives - C-
    World War Z - B-

  • ashdurdin

    Detour (1945): Rewatch. Low-budget noir that gets better the more you watch it.

    Thor: The Dark World (2013): This one really depressed me. I think what turns me off most with the Thor films is that Asgard seems like such a boring place.

    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971): Good, I think I need to think about it some more before I have a concrete opinion.

    The Company (2003): I loved this movie, probably the best Altman film I've seen so far.

    Frances Ha (2013): It almost becomes annoyingly quirky, but ultimately doesn't

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Laurence Anyways (2013) -- After making a splashing debut with I Killed My Mother, Xavier Dolan disappointed me with Heartbeats, a film which I felt had a unique style, though lacked any sense of emotion or meaningful characters. Laurence Anyways falls somewhere in between the two, its most noticeable fault being a shift in gears that occurs in the film's final act.

    The film starts off wonderfully, the perfect mix of Dolan's style and a meaningful story with rich characters. Laurence's struggle to become a transsexual, while maintaining his stature among society, is one that the audience is truly able to connect with. His fiance, Fred, is sticks with him along the way, although their relationship suffers greatly.

    Dolan's style is all over Laurence Anyways. The editing is flashy, the music ranges from modern pop tunes to classical tracks, and the cinematography is bright and lurid.

    Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are times when this style can interrupt the flow of the narrative, though for the most part, this isn't a major problem.

    Dolan really knows how to make a scene seem stylish and extravagant, and at times, it can be a pure cinematic orgasm to watch this occur. Shots are framed beautifully, and there are so many moments that I would love to go back to and just take in the beauty of.

    Furthermore, the leading performances from both Melvil Poupaud and Suzanna Clement are excellent, easily among the best that I have seen this year.

    The problem with Laurence Anyways is that as it approaches its final hour, Dolan seems to shift gears in the focus of the story, evidenced by a significant narrative turn, as well as the advancement of many years in the story. Laurence's struggle to his placement among society is no longer the focus, but rather Laurence's struggle to maintain his relationship with Fred.

    Not only did I feel this was not nearly as interesting as the film that Dolan initially starts off with, but I didn't feel that Dolan did an effective job of convincing me of the great love story that was supposed to be on display here. There are some touching moments here and there, but for the most part, the scenes felt empty, and I began to feel the film's length running time.

    Overall, Laurence Anyways is an ambitious effort, especially coming from a director who is only 23 years old. I hope that Dolan finds his way in his later films, balancing his style with more defined storytelling methods.


    Fahrenhype 9/11 (2004) -- I was hoping this film would serve as a fact check on Moore Fahrenheit 9/11, which I am unashamedly a fan of, despite some issues, though what this instead becomes is nothing more than a right-wing piece of propaganda designed to make America look like the greatest country in the world and basically serve as a paid advertisement for the Iraq War.

    The filmmakers and interviewees here note some interesting inaccuracies and misrepresentations in Moore's film, though these points, and the many more that they could have addressed, are eventually clouded by the ridiculous political views that are expressed here.

    Even if you think Moore's film is a load of crap, it's undeniably funny, well-made, and interesting to see how Moore constructs his argument. Fahrenhype 9/11 has none of these qualities.

    The film's final moments have all of the main speakers demonstrating why America is the greatest country in the world, how our freedoms separate us from everyone else, and a bunch of nonsense that is so ridiculously jingoistic that it literally made me cringe in my seat watching it. Any interesting point that the film had made prior to this finale was instantly shattered by this ridiculous ending.

    Your enjoyment of this film will basically depend upon whether or not you agree with its ideologies. As I have a quite different opinion of the Iraq War, Patriot Act, and America's response to 9/11 than the subjects being interviewed here, it's pretty easy to see why I despised this film.


    Man of Steel (2013) -- It's a shame that Man of Steel ends the way that it does, because it actually starts off quite decent. I mean, it never achieves greatness by any means. That's simply not going to happen with a superhero blockbuster, but the first 90 minutes are interesting enough, albeit still flawed, that I was actually entertained and felt that the story was solid enough for a fresh origin film.

    Sadly, Snyder chooses to end his film with a lengthy, climactic finale that is full of explosions and other nonsense that it reaches a point of absurdity. The interest that I had in the film soon dissipated. It's amazing how bored I can become by excessive, non-stop action.

    I was also rather disgusted at the amount of product placement featured in this film. For a moment, I thought I was watched a $200 million advertisement for Sears, IHOP, and Nikon.


    I started watching Only God Forgives again, but sadly fell asleep. Hopefully, I'll make some time to finish it today.

    I've also got a multitude of films in my DVR and Criterions that I have yet to watch. Le sigh.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

      "That's simply not going to happen with a superhero blockbuster"

      How come? I didn't care for Man of Steel that much either, but I don't think it's impossible for a movie of any genre to have the chance to be great if it's done well and has the right talent involved. I'd say The Dark Knight is the shining example of this. But I'm not trying to start an argument, just curious for your reasoning behind the statement.

      • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

        TDK is the exception in this case, because Nolan managed to make the film about more than just the superheroes, plus provide a level or realism to the film that made it so the audience was unable to determine where the film was going to go next.

        I was referring mainly to the Marvel films, and now Man of Steel can be added to this category. These films all follow the same structure, the same beats, and the same plot devices, and frankly, I'm done with them. As always though, I will give them a fair trial if I do watch them.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

          Fair enough.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    Light week for me.

    Frances Ha (rewatch) - I think this just bumped back up to be the prohibitive favorite for my #1 of the year. To my taste anyway, this is a perfect film. I could have no suggestions for improvement and it's truly delightful. One aspect I really enjoy is how it uses a lot of 5-second snippets rather than full scenes - I'm not well-versed on French New Wave, but I'm guessing this is what the term "jump cuts" refers to? This was also my first time watching a Criterion release, and I really enjoyed the exclusive interviews included on the disk.

    Brazil (first watch) - This movie is certainly strange but very well-realized. It shows a dystopian future brought about not by alien invasion, robots, plagues, or what-have-you, but simply by an overabundance of government bureaucracy. I'd compare the overall feel of the movie to 'Blade Runner,' and 'Brazil' probably wins the comparison besides the amazing scene with Rutger Hauer at the end of BR. I'm still not positive why the movie is called 'Brazil,' but perhaps it represents a dream of a better life that's no longer possible in this future.

    Sherlock (BBC) - I watched the first three episodes of this, and it's a great show. Thanks to Laremy for the recommend. It's mostly the witty writing that makes it so good, but a couple scenes in the third episode also astounded me with the atmosphere and camerawork. I'm really looking forward to the rest.

    • JAB

      "Brazil" is the song that runs throughout the movie as our protaganist dreams of a better world. In this wierdly wonderful & terrifying film the song is apropriate in a very Gilliam-esque way.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

        Thanks for confirming. It's a movie that's dark, scary, *and* funny, which is one of the best combos a movie can be.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    I watched quite a bit this week, so I'm only going to give my grades for the things I watched rather than write reviews everything.


    Red Riding Hood- D
    Kick-Ass- A+
    Fantastic Four- B-
    What's Your Number?- B
    Clue- B-
    Dude, Where's My Car?- B
    Dumb And Dumber- C+
    Ace Ventura: Pet Detective- A-
    Monty Python And The Holy Grail- B-
    Zookeeper- B
    The Rite- D+
    Columbiana- D


    The Walking Dead- A
    How I Met Your Mother B+
    Breaking Bad: Season 1- A-

    Now for some questions-

    1. What are your thoughts on the films I watched this week? Agree with my grades? Disagree?

    2. Which film do you prefer? Red Riding Hood or Twilight? Why?

    3. Which film do you prefer? Kick-Ass or Kick-Ass 2? Why?

    4. Which film do you prefer? Fantastic Four or Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer? Why?

    5. What's your favourite Anna Faris performance?

    6. What's your favourite Monty Python film? Why?

    7. What's your favourite Anthony Hopkins performance?

    8. What's your favourite Luc Besson film? Why?

    Until next week..

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      1. I dislike Dumb and Dumber, would give Dude, Where's My Car about the same grade, Kick-Ass somewhere between a C/B-.

      2. Twilight because I haven't seen the other.

      3. First one because it's more stylish.

      4. I couldn't care less.

      5. The House Bunny.

      6. Life of Brian because it's hilarious.

      7. Probably Silence of the Lambs, but he's pretty great in a lot of stuff.

      8. The Professional.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I'm not big on most of them.
      2. Red Riding Hood (it's absolutely not a great film but it's got great production design and cinematography in places). It's also much shorter to get through.
      3. Not seen the latter so the former by default - even though I don't think it's that great either.
      4. I think they were both around equal for me, but I've not seen them in a very long time fully.
      5. Um........I'm out on that one.
      6. Probably 'Life of Brian'..............wow, not seen that in so long.
      7. Stevens the Butler in 'The Remains of the Day'.
      8. Of the ones I've seen, probably 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec'.

    • Michael

      1. I've seen all but Clue: Red Riding Hood = C, Kick-Ass = same grade, Fantastic Four = C-, What's Your Number? = B-, Dude, Where's My Car = C+ Dumb and Dumber = A+, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective = same grade, Monty Python and The Holy Grail = B+, Zookeeper = same grade, The Rite = B & Columbiana = B-.
      2. Red Riding Hood because I hated the first Twilight so bad.
      3. Kick-Ass all the way and any day because it's one of my favorite films ever, it's a classic to me and it's MORE energetic. Kick-Ass 2 was a solid sequel though; just couldn't match the original.
      4. Rise of the Silver Surfer because i'm not a fan of the first, this one was at least mildly entertaining.
      5. Scary Movie or The House Bunny, it's tough. I like her a lot.
      7. Silence of the Lambs but I like him in a lot of other stuff, too.
      8. Leon: The Professional

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

      1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is my favorite comedy of all-time, and I quite like Dumb and Dumber as well. I despise Fantastic Four and Red Riding Hood. I didn't really like Kick-Ass either.

      2. Neither. I'd rather watch paint dry.

      3. Only seen the first, and I didn't like it.

      4. Neither. See my answer for #2

      5. Not sure. Haven't seen too many of her performances.

      6. The Holy Grail, but they're all hilarious.

      7. I haven't seen the movie in full, but I'd say The Silence of the Lambs


    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. I simply hate Dude, Where's My Car. I think it is among the 10 worst films I've ever seen.
      But I really like Colombiana. Zoe Saldana is amazing in her role and it is one of the best action films with female lead. Not as good as Salt, but close.
      And I'd say that Dumb and Dumber is much better than Ace Ventura.

      Agree with your rating for The Rite. Empty film, with no soul in it.

      7. One of my favorite actors. His best roles:

      The Silence of the Lambs
      Hearts in Atlantis

      8. Definitely, Leon. It is a perfect 10/10 film and it's been one of the first films that got me into liking and exploring films. A special film to me.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Agree on Kick-Ass and Fantatic Four and like Holy Grail and Hood lot more.
      2. Riding Hood. Haven't seen Twilight
      3. Kick-Ass. It's funnier, satircal elements are stronger, less uneven tone, and stronger direction. Still really enjoyed Kick Ass 2.
      4. Silver Surfer. It fixed the problems of the first one as far as I can remember. Haven't seen it recently.
      5. Scary Movie 3. It's the last of those that was actually funny.
      6. Holy Grail. It's hysterical and in my top 5 comedies.

    • m1

      1. Red Riding Hood is a really lame Twilight ripoff. The Rite is a completely uninteresting horror movie. I thought both of the Ace Ventura movies were awful.
      2. I prefer all of the Twilight movies. The idea of a vampire falling in love with a human is crazy enough to be interesting, and I thought the high school aspect of it was tackled in a way that resonated. Red Riding Hood is just dull and overdramatic.
      3. I haven't seen either.
      4. I haven't seen either.
      5. I haven't seen enough to choose.
      6. I haven't seen any (that I remember).
      7. The Silence of the Lambs is a landmark performance, and to see him go from that to The Remains of the Day is astonishing. Hopkins is one of the best actors of all time.
      8. I don't think I've seen many, though I think Taken is trash.

    • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

      Kick Ass is great but Kick Ass 2 was hugely disappointing. Sorely missed the fun that director Matthew Vaughn was able to bring to it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    This week was as much an 'almost' week than an actual one.

    I almost went to see 'The Counsellor' but there wasn't a screening that I could fit in and it doesn't look like I'll get another shot as it didn't have many showings despite opening only this weekend, so it'll need to be a rental later.

    I almost watched 'Stoker' but the rental disc was faulty and wouldn't play so will have to wait for that to be resent.

    And I almost watched 'Black Swan' and 'The Deep Blue Sea' on TV but remembered that I've become increasingly indifferent towards the former and only watched the latter a couple weeks ago and liked but didn't really love it.


    At Home -
    The Crucible (1996): TV airing, rewatch - Although it feels a little stagey at times (despite location work) I do enjoy Nicholas Hytner's take on the Arthur Miller play (here scripted by Miller also). It's themes and story are as timeless and relevant as ever and performances are very good across the board from Daniel Day Lewis and Joan Allen down. The only weak link probably being Winona Ryder. The ending still retains it's power and it was good to rewatch it.

    War Horse (2011): Blu ray, rewatch - I think I watched this because of Remembrance Day in the UK and it compelled me in some fashion to watch this again. I always like to use 'War Horse' as a reminder to myself that while I can find trailers and marketing off-putting............the actual film can still surprise you. And so it was with 'War Horse' when I actually watched it and I do like it. There's an unabashed sense of the old fashioned about it's style and direction and as someone increasingly preferential of the old fashioned I respond positively and not negatively to that. Spielberg creates some moments of true beauty (I still find the No Man's Land sequence near the end just hauntingly and starkly visualised) within the story. It's sentimental yes, quite openly so. But I really don't mind that about it.

    End of Watch (2012): Blu ray, first watch - While the plot's nuts and bolts are a bit humdrum for the genre and I wasn't left loving this film, I enjoyed the performances of Jake Gyllenhall and Micheal Pena and felt the relationship they built onscreen was very genuine feeling and well realised. I felt for them in places and while I don't live remotely near to the culture and environment depicted in the film it seemed that the world the film took place in seemed plausible enough. I liked Anna Kendrick as well even though she just had a small role, but a sense of the generic in the actual beats and turns of the plot reduced some of the impact for me.

    In TV Land -

    My main entertainment this week came from sitting down and watching the full first season 1 of 'Game of Thrones' (2011) which I blind bought on Blu Ray the other week. I also spent the week exploring the majority of the extras on the discs as well. I have not read any of Martin's books and at the moment I'll be honest and say I don't plan to either right now but I really enjoyed the season a lot. Absolutely fantastic production values, set design, visual effects and a very well cast set of interesting characters made for ten episodes of medieval fantasy drama that was easy to sit down and enjoy. I will say that because I've maybe a skoosh disproportionately familiar with genre story beats and turns (that's this week's phrase by the looks of it) not all the developments of the season were necessarily new to me or suprising just now. However, because the characters and the world created are so well done, the fact that a lot of the themes and story elements are relatively familiar isn't a problem. It may not all be groundbreaking, but it's done helluva well across all departments. I did find some of the bonus material beneficial in straightening out the extensive backstory that takes place prior to the first episode but I like that Martin seems to have thought about his world and thought out the back story so that there's a sense of internal consistency. His episode commentary was actually one of the better of the commentaries placed on the series as extras as he was quite relaxed about where the series creator's have deviated from his books and why and isn't too offended by the needs of the TV medium over the written one. I look forward to catching Season 2 as soon as possible given the various threads set up at the end of the season.

    That was all this week.

    • m1

      Surprisingly enough I've seen all of the movies you watched this week. The Crucible is a bit overdramatic but well made. War Horse is beautifully shot but a bit too old fashioned. End of Watch is predictable but still very entertaining. Overall all of them are pretty good.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Only two movies. Bad Grandpa which, while stupid, was hilarious. Some good laughs to be had.

    Also watched Lockout on Netflix Instant. Not that I was expecting much, but I was disappointed. With this type of movie I am hoping that the writers / director can come up with a clever way to tell the story (i.e. they are smarter than me). Unfortunately I didn't feel this way.

    Started A Clockwork Orange. 20 minutes in and feel like I am gonna struggle to finish.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      Finish that film!! its bloody amazing and Kubrick's best in my opinion.

      • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

        Haha I will. It's one or those I feel like I have to watch as a movie fan.

        Am shocked by the explicit content so far considering when it was released.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

          i watched it for the first time around five years ago and i was blown away by the language, the music and the performance of McDowell. Other performances stand out too, like Patrick Magee(husband of murdered wife) who's intense stare and twitchy face completely captivates me. Keep listening to that humble narrator my brother ;-)

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

            ps Did you spot Darth Vader/David Prowse in the film?

    • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

      Yeah the first 20 minutes has 2 brutal rapes. From there, the brutality diminishes and it becomes a simply stunning movie. Definitely worth finishing and re-watching over and over again.

    • yao21

      Yeah give a chance to Clockwork, sometimes it's hard to watch but it's a masterpiece!

  • Michael


    In Theaters:

    Prisoners (2013) (1st & 2nd viewing) -

    Wow, what a cast. What a story. What a film. With career-best performances from Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal and wonderful ones from Melissa Leo (who's a definite highlight of this film), Terrence Howard, Viola Davis and Paul Dano. Featuring a great, great score from Johann Johannsson and once again as always, top-notch and beautiful oscar-worthy cinematography from the great Roger Deakins.

    Prisoners is wonderfully, tightly wound thriller that winds up to be one of the very best 2013 has to offer. 9.5/10.

    The Butler (2013) (2nd viewing) - 7.5/10.

    At Home:

    Trance (2013) (Netflix, 1st viewing) -

    Trance is a classic Danny Boyle movie. It let's you stayed glued to all the craziness of the story, it picks every single bit of your brain. It's trippy, leaves your head spinning and that my friends, it's old school Danny Boyle. Don't get me wrong, I loved 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire but if you want to see Danny Boyle at his craziest & most imaginitve (think Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and even, The Beach), he's back at it with this one.

    The performances are great as in almost every Danny Boyle film. Here he casts 3 very underrated actors in James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel. While McAvoy and Cassel are great, it is Dawson who steals the show as the hypnotherapist Elizabeth in a Oscar-worthy performance. From the moment we first see her to the last, she engages and then attacks with regularity each scene. Rosario Dawson is one of my favorite underrated actors and here she reminds and proves herself once again, that whenever she gets a good script, she will give you something.

    It's a sham that this movie was overlooked completely and that it was released pretty early this year, had it not been for all of that and better results (great reactions) it could've gotten some attention at the Oscars especially Rosario Dawson but with all that not happening, it's one of the most overlooked movies of the year.

    P.S. I loved the fact that this had a little bit of Inception going on. That's a big plus. 9/10.

    The To Do List (2013) (DVD, 1st viewing) - Decent flick, nothing special. Some funny performances from Bill Hader and Rachel Bilson also features Aubrey Plaza's best and funniest film role to date. Love the the throwback 90's music in it. This could've been a much funnier movie than it was but thanks to Plaza & the cast, it's a decent 95-minute watch. 6.5/10.

    Syriana (2005) (TV, 1st viewing) - An exceptionally great film. That's what you'll get when you put in a terrific script and a great cast that includes: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Mark Strong, Amanda Peet, Christopher Plummer & Chris Cooper. Impressive direction from Stephen Gaghan and a fantastic score from Alexandre Desplat that's similar to Zero Dark Thirty of I should say Zero Dark Thirty similar to it. I love political thrillers and I'd watch this and ZD30 over Argo any day & I thought Argo was good though not great. 9/10.
    The Last Station (2009) (TV, 1st viewing) - 6/10.

    Man of Steel (2013) (Blu-Ray, 2nd, 3rd & 4th viewing) -

    2nd viewing: it still delivers on everything that I could've hoped for. Love this movie more than others. By the time I watch all the 13' movies I want to see, I can't see myself dropping out of my top 10 favorite movies of the year, it could still drop of out my top 5 (there still a lot of movies left to see) but not top 10.

    3rd viewing: Same story.

    4th viewing: Same story.


    Jarhead (2005) (TV, 4th & 5th viewing) - Really like this movie, i've seen 5 times and never grow tired of it. It's such a watchable flick. It may not be one of Sam Mendes' best and but it's a really good movie about Marines bored out of their minds in Iraq (Full Metal Jacket of course, the better movie). An all-around great cast featuring 4 exceptional yet underrated actors in Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard and Chris Cooper giving terrific performances and a hilarious one from Evan Jones. Underrated score from the always-brilliant Thomas Newman. Great cinematography by Roger Deakins. Underrated movie. 8/10.

    Homeland S3, Ep7 - 9.5/10.

    Parks & Rec S6, episodes 6 & 7 - 8/10 for both, glad to see the show back
    finally...for right now.

    Boardwalk Empire S4, episode 10 - 9/10.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

      I'll point you to The Fountain if you want the definitive Jackman performance, less rage, more passion.

      • Michael

        The only Aronofsky film I haven't seen and i've been wanting to see it badly. They're not showing it on TV & it's not on Netflix Instant. I guess I should just finally put it on que.

        • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

          It's got a LOT of issues but Jackman is good.

          • Michael

            I remember watching bits and pieces of it but don't remember any of the scenes at all. What did you think of Rachel Weisz in it? Did she do good? Bad? Forgettable? I like her work as an actor same with Jackman.

      • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

        I'd agree that's one of his best roles... but so is his in Prisoners.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

          I would argue that rage is much easier for an actor to do over subtlety therefore The Fountain wins ;-)

          • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

            Alright, I'll give you that.... to an extent. The Fountain was more subtle, but he was a ragin' in that as well.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

              What are you doing posting on everyone else's and not mine? i aint getting no love this week despite setting it all out nice and clear, geez! c'mon! tut!

              • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

                FINE YOU KNOW WHAT I WILL!

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms


              • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk


  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    All is Lost (2013; first watch) - All is Lost is a minimalist film if there ever was one. It features only one character, with only a few lines of dialogue – A single monologue at the beginning of the movie in voice-over, a swear word, and occasional yelling for help. The only thing that would have created a more minimalistic feeling is if the musical score was eliminated (which would be a poor choice). Despite its unconventional style, the film feels all too familiar in spots, but the narrative never drags, and the whole film is bolstered by a great and believable performance from Robert Redford.

    More thoughts HERE

    In Which We Serve (1942; first watch) - David Lean's fist feature, co-directed with the screenwriter Noel Coward. Part British WWII propaganda, and part earnest war tale, the film is especially notable for its technical prowess. Apparently Lean directed the action scenes in the ocean, and they're incredibly proficient for a film made in 1942. In these scenes, and throughout the whole movie as well, the cinematography is great. Coward's screenplay is very good, and his lead performance is solid, but the story itself isn't really engaging, and fairly dull for the most part. It's an interesting concept, and the flashbacks aren't constantly annoying, but they way the film is executed makes it feel drab. Overall, it's a solid film that drags a fair amount, but it certainly showed some of the skills of David Lean that would only grow in the years to come.

    Close-Up (1990; first watch) - This film is unlike anything I've seen before. An expertly crafted commentary on reality, identity, escapism, art, cinema, and the sheer notion of existence. Blurring facts and fiction, this film's non-linear narrative is mostly a courtroom genre, led by a powerful performance from Hossian Sabzien, acting as himself. I'm not even sure where his "acting" begins and ends, but he's excellent nonetheless. In addition, the story itself is captivating and strange, with the superb dialogue carrying every scene perfectly. The film's execution is incredibly unique, and a masterful directorial work from Abbas Kiarostami, resulting in a piece of art that is nothing less than a masterpiece.

    Frances Ha (2013; first watch) - A charming little film, that's a bit too aimless at times. Gerwig is great, as I expected, and the film's mood makes for a pleasent experience. It delves into "whiny" territory a bit too often, and it doesn't have a lot to say; but it's an enjoyable watch.

    I'd also assume someone's enjoyment of the film also stems from how much they relate to the main character. So, some of the vastly different opinions seem reasonable.

    The French Connection (1971; first watch) William Friedkin shows expertise in the area of hard-edged crime thrillers, in The French Connection; which may very well we his best film. Brilliant pacing, great acting, and superb direction and editing make for a marvelous ride.

    Gene Hackman is great as "Popeye" Doyle, the hard-edged, no-nonsense cop who's served as an archetype for other fictional blue bloods in the future. Roy Scheider is pretty good as well, in his supporting role as Doyle's partner, Russo. Alongside the leads, the cast is without a fault, with even the smallest of actors giving up solid performances.

    The go-to point that was always talked about upon mentioning this film was the famous car chase. After all the hype, it didn't disappoint, and showcased some of the best editing of the decade. That scene was really just a small sample of the brilliant direction that Friedkin takes with this film. It's gritty, and tough; but also very entertaining. A perfect mix.

    Despite my enjoyment of the film as a whole, a few sequences really stood out to me in terms of their excellence. One was the aforementioned car chase sequence. Another was a sequence towards the beginning of the film that involves Russo and Doyle chasing down a suspect, with Doyle dressed in a Santa suit. The juxtaposition of a violent chase and Santa Claus creates a stark feeling, that just added weight to the whole situation. It's a similar feeling to when one watches Tuco's torture scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - which is set to soothing music. The third was the ending sequence. Purely riveting stuff, and that ending is just incredible.

    Needless to say, The French Connection is a classic crime thriller that deserves it's praise. It features some of cinema's most iconic moments, as well as just some pure, thrilling action. I'm so glad I finally watched it.

    Pi (1998; first watch) - "When I was a a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So, once when I was six, I did."

    A psychological mind-bender that feels loosely related to the likes of Persona and Eraserhead. Black & white, psychologically disturbing, and utterly perplexing. Math is everywhere, but in Pi, it's literally EVERYWHERE. A dense meditation on mathematics and obsession, as well as patterns that may or may not populate our very being. Raises a lot of questions, and it leaves the viewer scratching their head (which isn't a bad thing). It will certainly take a few more viewings to grasp what the film was entirely attempting to say; but the disturbing content will keep me at bay for a little while. But, it does make me hope for an eventual Criterion release; assuming the licensing rights can be obtained.

    Aronofsky is a true auteur, and his debut may be his most unique. Dense, intense, and supremely intelligent; Pi is a film that isn't to be missed. Even if you don't know what the hell is going on.

    Brazil (1985; rewatch) - There are many reason why I love Terry Gilliam.

    Brazil is probably the most prominent of those reasons.

    This film carries all of Gilliam's trademarks, honed to perfection. The dark, Python-esque comedy; the elaborate visual style; the mix of light and dark tones are all synchronized into one incredible film. Not only is it though provoking and intelligent, but also incredibly entertaining; with its 142 minute run time just flying by.

    The production design and production scales are immaculate, and the world is perfectly realized in a sense that only Gilliam could create. Despite having influences from Kafka, Orwell, and the director's earlier days in the Monty Python troupe; Gilliam's world feels completely unique - and eerily prevalent to our time. Not only is it a black comedy, it's a cautionary tale.

    The story itself is aptly odd, given it's environment, allowing for plenty of twists, turns, and excitement. It has plenty of great dialogue, and very good performances from everyone involved. The cinematography is amazing as well, and the use of irregular proportions is particularily interesting.

    Undoubtedly Terry Gilliam's finest film, Brazil is an experience that is not to be missed by anyone.

    Here's some questions...

    1. Thoughts on what I watched this week?
    2. What's your favorite foreign-language film?
    3. What's the best "dystopian" film you've seen?
    4. What's the best movie you've seen for the first time this year, whether it was release in 2013 or otherwise?
    5. If you had a choice to watch a single upcoming 2013 film right now, but you could never watch any of the others, what film would you choose?

    • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

      Brazil is so great.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
      3. Brazil
      4. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999) Already watched it twice this year.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

      1. Haven't seen any.

      2. Haven't seen any.

      3. Off the top of my head, I'd say The Hunger Games.

      4. Drive

      5. The Wolf Of Wall Street

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

        Wow! You haven't seen any foreign language films? Of course, it's up to you, but you're missing a lot!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      1. 'All is Lost', 'Frances Ha', 'Brazil', and 'Pi' are all excellent. I haven't seen the others.
      2. I can't narrow it down to one at this point. 'A Separation,' 'Cache (Hidden),' 'City of God,' 'A Prophet,' and 'Kung Fu Hustle' are all contenders.

      3. I just watched 'Brazil' a couple days ago (as alluded to above), but I can't think of any better dystopian movies at the moment so I'll go with that.
      4. Best is hard to say if you mean a "striving to be objective" sense. I've seen so many good ones. If we're talking personal favorite, definitely 'Frances Ha.'

      5. Arrrgh that's tough. 'Inside Llewyn Davis' or 'The Past?' I think it's 'The Past' by a hair's breadth.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    Saw Prisoners this week and loved it. Great acting, fantastic direction, and a well thought-out story. Definitely one of my favorites of the year.

  • Andrew S.

    The East (2013) This one just didn't really do it for me. It started off well-enough but became predictable to a fault at the halfway mark. Still, for those of you who've seen it, the scene at the dinner table when all of the characters are strapped in straight-jackets was quite remarkable. Also of note, Brit Marling delivers a solid performance throughout. She's quickly becoming one of Hollywood's best young actresses in my opinion. B
    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) One of my favorite Tim Burton flicks (I'd rank Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood above) with strong performances and art/production design throughout. A
    Of Gods and Men (2010) Perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to watch this one, but I found it exasperatingly slow. The story sounded interesting enough and the performances were all fine, the pacing just got to me after about an hour. Again, it might've been just an off-day because I usually don't mind slower-paced films. C+

  • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

    At home -

    Killing Them Softly - One of the most underrated movies of 2012. It's a fantastic expertly acted and directed political drama with great dialouge. It is slow and a little heavy handed but the rest of the movie more than makes up for it.

    This Is The End (rewatch) - Still hilarious. The cast is great, the jokes hit and it's one of the funnies comedies of the year. Some of the best comedic moments of the year are in it.

    TV -
    Agents of Shield - This show keeps getting better and better.
    South Park -
    Funnybot - Did not watch the full episode but the part I did was hysterical.
    Black Friday - Hilarious episode about the console wars and Black Friday.

    Questions -
    1. Thoughts on what I watched this week ?
    2. What's your favorite mob movie ?
    3. What's your favorite underrated movie of 2012 ?
    4. What's your favorite comedy of 2013 ?
    5. What's your favorite South Park episode this season ?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

      1. Haven't seen Killing Them Softly. I love This Is The End.

      2. The Departed

      3. Carrie

      4. This Is The End

      5. Taming Strange

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. I would recomend Killing Them Softly.
        3. Haven't seen it. Might rent it.
        4. That's probably my second favorite.
        5. That's my favorite episode as well.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

          Yeah, I hope to see Killing Them Softly soon.

          Definitely rent it, it's a fantastic movie. My favourite movie of the year so far.

          What is your favourite comedy of the year?

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            The World's End. I may be a bit baised becaue Shaun of the dead and Hot Fuzz are two of my favorite comedies of all time. And Killing Them Softly is airing on Showtime.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

              I haven't seen The World's End yet but I'll probably rent it eventually. Unfortunately I don't get Showtime.

              • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

                The World's End is being released on DVD/Blu Ray this week. Too bad about Showtime. Not missing out on a ton of movies.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. Agree with you on Killing Them Softly. Great film. I'd even dear to say that it is a misunderstood masterpiece. The atmosphere it creates is so unique and chilling. Especially in the robbery scene.

      And I liked This Is The End quiet a lot. Well made with great dialogues.

      2. State of Grace and Goodfellas.
      3. Underrated movie of 2012: The Deep Blue Sea. I think both Rachel Weisz & Tom Hiddleston delivered the best performances of their careers.
      4. Gambit. Hilarious and with the great pay-off.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. I agree with being able to call it a misunderstood masterpiece. The trailers released prior showed a different movie which did not help. The atmosphere is definetley a strong part in the whole movie especially the robbery and hits.
        3. I am interested in it and might check it out.
        4. Might check it out as well.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. I've only seen 'Killing Them Softly' and while I liked the direction, cinematography and performances, etcI didn't find the political/social commentary aspects particularly insightful or interesting. I generally prefer Dominik's previous film.

      2. 'Casino' is the only one I've especially appreciated but I don't really go for Mob movies. They're seldom of much interest to me.

      3. I don't think offhand any of the 2012 films I liked were ones I think were underrated at the time.

      4. I haven't seen a single one of them this year I think.

      5. I haven't kept up with it for years. I used to like it.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        1. I see where you are coming from.
        4. I would recomend The World's End, This is the End and The Heat.
        5. It's still hilarious. I would recomend watching Taming Strange and Raising the Bar.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

          I'd like to catch World's End to finish off the Wright Trilogy and while I never fancied This Is The End based on trailers it seems a lot of folks here liked it so I'll give it a rental sometime.

          • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

            The World's End comes out on Tuesday on DVD/Blu Ray so I would recommend checking it out then. The trailers for This the End is very much the humor of the movie.

    • m1

      1. I thought Killing Them Softly was interesting but overindulgent. Like Winchester said, the social commentary in it isn't all that profound.
      2. L.A. Confidential is my favorite. I also love The Departed and Goodfellas.
      3. I thought Les Miserables was kind of underrated, as were Brave and Madagascar 3. Honestly I thought the critics were spot on with many of the movies I saw last year.

      4. I haven't seen very many.
      5. I don't watch South Park.

    • Falcon

      I just watched Killing Them Softly and found it a little showy and off putting. It is quite well made but the crime story is nothing special and the political stuff is a little much.

      Since The Godfather is really in a class by itself, I'd say Once Upon a Time in America my favorite Mob movie.

    • yao21

      1. I agree with you, Killing Them Softly it's really good..
      2. The Departed
      3. Killing Them Softly and Ruby Sparks
      4. The World's End, but not a good year for comedy
      5. Don't watch it

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/navaneethks/ navaneethks

    Inherit the Wind (1960) - 3/5 [C+]
    Frances Ha (2013 - 2.5/5 [C]
    A Fistful of Dollars (1964) - 3.5/5 [B-]
    Killing Them Softly (2013) - 3.5/5 [B-]
    Autumn Sonata (1978) - 3/5 [C+]
    Repulsion (1965) - 3/5 [C+]
    A Night to Remember (1958) - 3.5/5 [B]
    All Is Lost (2013) - 4/5 [A-]
    The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) - 3.5/5 [B]

    You can find my reviews here, http://letterboxd.com/navaneethks/

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

    White Sun of the Desert (Vladimir Motyl, 1970) 8/10
    The Pink Panther (Shawn Levy, 2006) 5/10
    The Pink Panther 2 (Harald Zwart, 2009) 4/10
    Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003) 6/10
    The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (Woody Allen, 2001) 8/10
    The Untouchables (Brian De Palma, 1987) 7/10
    This is 40 (Judd Apatow, 2012) 7/10
    Street Smart (Jerry Schatzberg, 1987) 7/10
    House of Games (David Mamet, 1987) 9/10
    The Whales of August (Lindsay Anderson, 1987) 9/10
    Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (Shawn Levy, 2009) 2/10
    Executive Suite (Robert Wise, 1954) 8/10
    The Dead (John Huston, 1987) 9/10
    Raising Arizona (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, 1987) 8/10
    Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987) 9/10
    Date Night (Shawn Levy, 2010) 4/10
    The Sheltering Sky (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1990) 7/10

    La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) 8/10

    Probably the best week this year. Not only that I've seen a lot, but most films were very good.

    Cinematography in The Sheltering Sky by the great Vittorio Storaro is breathtaking. It takes a true artist to create something miraculous like that. Only the film's script feels lost at times, but maybe it requires more insight and probably a repeated viewings would help me to appreciate it more.

    Morgan Freeman was deservingly nominated for the Oscar for his role in Street Smart. One of the most believable portrayals of street gangster/pimp. Simple yet effective.

    Also, expected a little bit more from The Untouchables. Considering the cast and director, it felt like a lopsided film at the end. And some scenes in the film were too quirky. But once again cinematography and set pieces in Brian De Palma's film are top quality.

    Some questions:

    1. Any thoughts on the films I watched?
    2. What is your favorite John Huston films?
    3. What are some of your favorite con movies?
    4. What is your favorite Morgan Freeman role?

    • Falcon

      I think Raising Arizona is one of the funniest things I have ever seen, up there with Dr. Strangelove and Life of Brian. I like the Untouchables quite a bit too, in what way did you find it lopsided? I just hated This Is 40 by the end. I think they should divorce. Full Metal Jacket is good, of course. Have not seen The Dead or The Sheltering Sky but would like to. What is Executive Suite? I don't think I have heard of it.

      Favorite John Houston is The Maltese Falcon, which you might guess is my favorite film period. I like most of his other Bogie films, especially African Queen and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The Man Who Would Be King is very good and Heaven Knows, Mr. Alison is an unknown gem. I think he may be the greatest literary adaptor in film. I can't think of anyone who has made more good movies from good books than Houston.

      Favorite Con movies is The Sting, by far. Newman and Redford at their peak, it's very funny and has a great ending.

      Favorite Morgan Freeman role is probably Unforgiven. Have not seen Street Smart but have heard he was great.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

        Executive Suite is about big furniture company and how events unravel after company's CEO drops dead before the executives meeting. It portrays intrigues and rivalries between the leadership of the company. IMHO, one of the best films about big business. And it also stars one of my favorite actors William Holden.

        • Falcon

          Sounds good, I will look for it. I like Holden quite a bit too. River Kwai and Sunset Blvd are particular favorites.

  • Falcon

    On a five star scale:

    Killing Them Softly 2012 ★★★

    Excessively stylish and heavy handed. I am not sure why it has gotten the praise it has from some. While it is quite well done there is nothing here we have not seen many times before and it's political message is condescending and less than subtle.

    Walkabout 1971 ★★★★

    Singular, unworldly tale whose arresting visuals and matter-of-fact telling underplay the horror of it's premise. Fantastic in every sense of the word.

    Out of Africa 1985 ★★★½

    Quite lovely, old fashioned romance. Tour-de-force performance by luminous Meryl Streep as an independent woman trying to find a place for herself in a world with little use for one. Maintains interest (for the most part) over lengthy running time.

    The Killers 1946 ★★★

    Fine but not particularly compelling. Nothing is wrong with anything in the film and much s good, but it never really takes off and it lacks the power of the best of it's genre.

    Crossfire 1947 ★★★

    Above average film noir with theme of anti-Semitism. Starts quite well but gets a bit didactic toward the end. It has a surprisingly grim view of the the country immediately after the war, showing anxiety and bigotry not often seen on Hollywood films of the time.

    Evil Under the Sun 1982 ★★★

    Thoroughly enjoyable trifle. Lovely locations and fine performances by veteran stars enjoying themselves.

    Any thoughts?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      The Killers (1946)

      I think this film has everything to be a perfect noir. Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner make a great pairing.

      • Falcon

        I agree it has all the ingredients, which is why I was disappointed. For me they did not sell his helplessness in the face of her charms or his resignation to the killers and I'm not sure why.

    • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

      I thoroughly enjoy Killing Them Softly. I don't find it condescending. While blunt, I feel that the presentation of its politics makes up for it.

      • Falcon

        I think it was Brad Pitt's speech at the end that got me. It felt as though the filmmaker did not trust us to get the point he had been driving home for the last hour and a half, and that what he was saying was so important he had to spell it out for us.

        • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

          But it was so well written!!! That last speech was easily my favorite part! I don't think Dominik didn't rust the audience so much as Coogan didn't trust Jenkins' character. It was so strong!!!!

          • Falcon

            Oh I agree, it is very well written and Pitt delivers it beautifully and if it had not been preceded but all of the other political stuff it could have been quite an effective close, but as is it was just too much.

            • http://www.twitter.com/GregDinskisk GregDinskisk

              Alright, fair enough, I guess. I have to disagree, but... I think both of us are too firm opposing in this particular instant!

              Cheers! :)

  • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

    Not much for me this week, as I found myself pretty busy with various things. Still, a few solid viewings nonetheless. As usual, there are a few questions down at the bottom, and you check me out on Letterboxd for more: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh.

    NOTE: Grades are out of five stars (★★★★★).


    Thor: The Dark World ★★★
    Thor is arguably the hardest of Marvel's current stock of superheroes to ground in reality, and fortunately, the filmmakers don't really try to do that; they seem to understand Thor's inherent silliness -- flying through various realms, wielding a magic hammer, the way he talks -- and more or less tend to roll with it. Like most of its predecessors, Thor: The Dark World is predictable but still serviceable. And frankly, I think that's all I can hope for with these Marvel movies anyways.


    Frances Ha ★★★★★
    In my initial review of Frances Ha, I called it "simple, understated elegance", "magnificently mumblecore", and ultimately a "fun, carefree cinematic respite." I hate to toot my own horn, but I feel I was right on the money with each of those descriptions. A love story to its very core -- not about the traditional romantic love we so often see on screen, but rather concerned with both love of self and love between friends -- Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha is most certainly one of the year's best films.

    His Girl Friday ★★★★
    Two words: Cary Grant. Two more: Rosalind Russell.

    1. What are your thoughts on the films I watched this week?
    2. What is your favorite installment in Marvel's cinematic universe? Least favorite?
    3. Who is your favorite superhero in Marvel's cinematic universe? Least favorite?
    4. What are your favorite comedies of 2013 thus far?
    5. Which movies are you most looking forward to over the last 6-7 weeks of the year? Why?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

      1. Haven't seen any.

      2. My favourite is Iron Man 3. My least favourite is The Incredible Hulk.

      3. My favourite is Iron Man. My least favourite is Black Widow.

      4. This Is The End, We're The Millers, The Hangover Part 3 and The Internship are the ones that are in my top 10 of the year.

      5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire because I loved the book and really liked the first movie. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug because I loved the first one. American Hustle because it looks fantastic. Anchorman: The Legend Continues because I love the first one. The Wolf Of Wall Street because it looks fantastic.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      2.Favorite: Iron Man 2. Probably the only Marvel film that does it right. I kind of liked The Avengers too, but it went downhill at the end.
      Least: X-Men: First Class. It's the only X-Men film I've seen, but it was so bad. Horrible acting, ridiculous script and overall just a very bad experience.
      4. Gambit, Populaire, We're the Millers
      5. Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, Out of the Furnace, Her.

    • m1

      1. Haven't seen any of the three.
      2. My favorite is The Avengers. Least favorite is Iron Man 2.
      3. My favorite superhero is Captain America.
      4. I haven't seen that many. Monster's University and Warm Bodies were good, and I plan to catch up with This Is the End, The Way Way Back, The World's End, and others sometime soon.
      5. I'm looking forward most to American Hustle, Hunger Games, Wolf of Wall Street, and Hobbit.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Really enjoyed Thor The Dark World when I saw it last week.
      2. Favorite is Avengers. Least is Iron Man 2
      4. The World's End, This is the End
      5. Out of the Furnace looks fantastic. So does Llewyn Davis. Anchorman 2 looks hilarious and I loved the first one. Wolf of Wall Street because loved the book. American Hustle and Walter Mitty as well.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      1. High five to another lover of 'Frances Ha', it's an emphatic five stars from me as well. I haven't seen the other two (well, I might've seen 'His Girl Friday' ten years ago or so, but I don't remember).
      2. Eh. 'The Avengers' because it was funny on the first watch, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.
      3. Favorite would be Hulk in 'The Avengers.' Least favorite would be Hawkeye because he means nothing to me and I know nothing about him.
      4. Is 'Frances Ha' a comedy? If so, obviously that, and also 'This is the End.'
      5. 'The Past' because of Asghar Farhadi, 'Inside Llewyn Davis' for obvious reasons, and 'American Hustle' foremost for Amy Adams. I'm really hoping she has a great role this time.

      • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

        1. Yeah, Frances Ha is just fantastic.
        4. I consider it one, it's my favorite thus far and likely will remain there. The Way Way Back is up there as well.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    Dancer in the Dark: Lars von Trier. Enough said. 5/10
    JFK: I went into this one with high expectations. I love political thrillers, it has an amazing cast, even including minor supporting characters, and Platoon was decent. The movie begins. A powerful montage narrated by Martin Sheen. So far so good. Then Kevin Costner starts "acting." And it is all downhill from there until the amazing courtroom scene, but one solid half hour out of 3 hours is not enough. Overall, this movie just is not good. 4/10

    The Seventh Seal: An interesting, thought-provoking, and well put together film. 8.5/10
    On a different note, I had to write an essay on heroism in film this week, and I wrote it on Mulan. Is that weird?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

      Also, Tombstone is my guilty pleasure

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/lonelytourist/ lonelytourist

    In my neck of the woods, it's currently the Brisbane International Film Festival - so I've had a pretty great week.

    Really behind on writing reviews, but here's my Letterboxd - http://letterboxd.com/lonelytourist/

    20 Feet from Stardom ★★★★½ [not part of the festival]

    Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's ★★★½

    The Missing Picture ★★★

    The Congress ★★★

    A Story of Children and Film ★★★★

    Short Term 12 ★★★★★

    Blue is the Warmest Colour ★★★★½

    OXV: The Manual ★★★★½

    Cutie and the Boxer ★★★★

    Labor Day ★★★

    • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

      Ah, Short Term 12.

  • http://everyjohnhustonmovie.blogspot.ca/ Timothy

    My Cousin Vinny- My Cousin Vinny is certainly an odd film to review. It’s a comedy,
    which may not exactly be the issue, but it certainly has less “themes” or “underlying
    ideas” than most films I critique. But however mainstream it is, My Cousin
    Vinny certainly has a lot in it to talk about. It is the story of two recent
    New York college grads taking a road trip to the American south, where they
    accidentally become prime suspects in the murder of a store clerk. They didn’t
    do it, obviously, but the funny does not arrive until their cousin Vinny, a
    first time Brooklyn lawyer, comes down to plead their case. Comedy ensues after
    his hip New York ways clash with the apparent “backwoods” of the American

    However, Vinny has one trick up his sleeve, he can argue for
    longer and better than anyone in the courtroom. Can he save his nephews from a
    murder charge, or will his inexperience prove to be his downfall? Obviously the
    film is less grandiose than what I just described, but the interesting plot is
    fleshed out by some great comedic performances by Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei,
    in addition to some truly momentous bouts of hilarity.

    For starters, Joe Pesci is fantastic as the eponymous
    “cousin Vinny”, bringing great comedic timing to a role unlike many I’ve seen
    him in. I usually associate Pesci with the short tempered Italian he played in
    two Scorsese masterpieces, Goodfellas and Raging Bull, so to see him doing
    comedy is a bit of a shock. However, my fears were unnecessary, as he is an
    excellent comedian. He channels his persona into the loveable, if impolite,
    Vinny. His unorthodox methods in the courtroom as well as some great moments
    with Tomei prove for some genuine comedy, and Pesci was uniquely suited for this

    However, the film has two great assets, and the other is
    Marisa Tomei. While Tomei may be pretty popular these days, in the early
    nineties she was an unknown. Indeed, her performance in this film won over many
    fans, including the Academy, who gifted her with an Oscar for this film. While
    she does give a sharp-witted, Brooklyn-accented, fiery comedic performance, she
    did beat out some other truly stellar roles in one of the most famous upset
    wins in history. However, looking at the confidence she exudes in this
    performance, especially her courtroom scene, it is not hard to see why she did

    While Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield and Fred Gwynne give
    excellent performances as well, they are rather outshined by the two leads.
    However, in order for the film to work, it needed a good script, which it has.
    While I imagine writing a comedy script is difficult, the film has a genuinely
    interesting plot, as well as some great gags. There is one scene in particular
    that could be described as “raucously funny”. Though I won’t get into
    specifics, I will say that in it, Joe Pesci is confused for a prison inmate,
    and hilarity ensues.

    The cinematography and score are thankless, but they needn’t
    have much spark. For a film of this genre, they are adequate enough. The
    direction of Jonathan Lynn is workmanlike. Many say comedy films don’t require
    a director’s imprint for the film to be a success, and given Lynn’s anonymous
    direction I’d say they would be correct. My Cousin Vinny is good for a laugh,
    but other than that it hold the ubiquitous designation of being simply average. 6/10

    Summer Interlude- While Ingmar Bergman may be my favourite filmmaker, he does have flaws. However, sometimes a moment in one of his films can be so transcendent and so mindblowing that it obliterates all of the criticisms I held prior. While some films have more of these moments than others, Summer Interlude has one such moment. It occurs around the halfway mark, when Maj-Britt Nilsson is walking through her summer retreat in fall. She enters an old cabin, where she once was in love.

    Sure it's trite and over sentimental, but there's a moment where she's in the cabin and she just looks at something, and you can hear the wind blow. And it's just perfect. It may have been early, but you could already tell that you were watching the work of an absolute master. 7/10

    Masculin Feminin- Godard is always a bit strange for me. Sometimes, his style with click and resonate with me (such as in Breathless and Vivre Sa Vie). Other times, it will tire me out and just make me feel bored (Band of Outsiders and Weekend). However, Masculin Feminin doesn't really fall in either of those categories.

    It's an okay film that kept me interested and not bored, but it also didn't really give me a certain feeling I've come to expect from a good Godard. It was nice to see Jean Pierre Leaud working with Godard, and easy to compare his role here to that of Antoine Doinel. However, his character is a bit annoying and kind of seems like a bit of a prick, opposed to in Stolen Kisses, when he felt really interesting.

    While Godard doesn't quite go overboard, at times he will shoot strange titles up on the screen (such as "This film could also be called the children of Marx and Coca Cola"). His portrait of aimless French youth may be a bit dated, but at times it is interesting. 6/10

    Spring Breakers- I have to say that I was planning on either hating or immensely disliking Spring Breakers. And I am somewhat surprised to say that I actually enjoyed it. Perhaps "enjoyed" may not be the best term. It's a bit of a black hole, sucking modern pop culture and ideas into a cocktail of meaninglessness and stupidity. Watching the "Spring Breakers" do their stuff (i.e. go crazy on a beach, suck beer out of a tube, do lines of cocaine, as well as crack, which they obviously borrowed from Rob Ford) kind of feels like watching a society slowly going insane.

    The sad reality is that this actually exists, and while maybe not all Spring Breakers hook up with James Franco and shoot up drug dealers, there is certainly an essence of acceptance which comes with the disbelief. There is a line when Franco is showing off all his money and things which two of the girls roll in it. There is something incredibly messed up about it all, but also a bit of light sneaks in. There are some stunning shots and beautiful images that starkly contrast the depravity throughout the rest of the film.

    As for the movie, it is certainly Harmony Korine's best (even though I've only other seen Gummo). James Franco also gives an incredibly awesome and strange performance that made it hard to watch and also hard to look away. The acting by the girls is actually pretty good as well, with Selena Gomez giving a good performance (I never thought I would say that) as the most "normal" of the girls. Rachel Korine also gives a fine performance, but the most messed up stuff is done by Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson, and I will say they are incredibly convincing when they do it.

    This is the kind of film that will be seen as prophetic in a few decades, but I suppose for now it's just a bit like stepping down the rabbit hole and coming out looking at the exact same world you were looking at when you entered. It's disconcerting to say the least. 6.5/10

    The Walking Dead: Season 3- I'm not ashamed to say that I skipped most of season two, because I just could take it any more. They wouldn't get off the farm! However, there is a similar situation with the prison in season 3, however at least Woodbury is a good distraction. And it was, for about 8 or 10 episodes. And then it just got kind of boring. Again. I think I'm done with this show. C-.

    Finally, I'm hoping to watch The Day of the Doctor next weekend. It looks great, but I just hope it doesn't turn into another Moffat-extravaganza. We'll see.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    Thor: The Dark World - Similar to the first film, I had low expectations going in and came out pleasantly surprised. It's not a great superhero movie, but considering how I find most Marvel movies to be rather dull and forgettable, I enjoyed myself. I've always found the Thor movies to have the best sense of humor, and this was the first time I have found Loki to be an interesting character. The only downside was the typical apocalyptic plot, as well as some bad CGI from time to time. But those are small complaints. So, overall, thumbs up for me. 3.5/5

    Rhapsody in August - A minor Kurosawa, but still a very interesting movie nonetheless. It very much feels like the work of a director in his old age, and I would have to say this is one of Kurosawa's weaker screenplays. It's very slow moving, but I wasn't bored at any point. I just wish the characters were a bit less one dimensional. Although it is interesting seeing Richard Gere speak (mostly) Japanese. 3/5

    World War Z - Another movie that's not bad, but not great either. It starts off pretty well and is rather exciting, but then loses steam as it continues on until the strangely small ending. I know the ending was reshot and there were all kinds of production problems, and I must say considering all of that it didn't turn out all that bad. It's certainly better than Quantum of Solace, but I do prefer Marc Forster's smaller dramas over his big action spectacles. 3/5

    The Raid: Redemption - One of the most ridiculously violent movies I've seen in quite some time. It moves at an incredible pace, and features some pretty jaw dropping stuff in terms of the choreography of the fight scenes. The story line is pretty weak, which is no surprise here, but the performances are solid enough and it delivers the goods if you're just in the mood for a mindless action flick. Considering the similarities between the plots of this film and Dredd, I'd say this one is superior. 3.5/5

    This is the most I've watched since the summer. School takes away all the fun. Aside from watching these movies I also went to Barnes and Noble last night and purchased City Lights on Blu-ray and The Bad Sleep Well.

  • http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3769949/ thatpj

    Saw Walter Mitty this week and really enjoyed it. I was mostly in shock at how it was getting ravaged on twitter by critics and it really isn't anything like that. I also saw Saving Mr Banks and Lone Survivor. I really enjoyed them both for totally different reasons.

  • yao21

    Machete Kills (2013): It's even more silly than the first one, entertaining in the first hour but the last 30 minutes are just awful.. Grade: C-

    Schindler's List (1993): First time i watch this Spielberg classic, it's a fantastic and powerful movie.. The black and white make it even more real and although it's about a sad and horrible story, the ending leave us a amazing feeling.. Great performance by Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley. The cinematography and score are also amazing. Grade: A


    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012): I was afraid that a 2nd viewing will give me a different opinion about it but no.. This is my favorite movie of 2012. The awesome soundtrack and the performances transmit a soul and a spirit to the movie that is just unique. Grade: A

    Some questions..

    1. What's your favorite Spielberg movie?
    2. What's your favorite movie of 2012?

    My answers:
    1. Catch Me If You Can
    2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • m1

      1. Schindler's List and Jaws (I can't decide which one)
      2. Zero Dark Thirty

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

      1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
      2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    • http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/ Jordan B.

      1. Jurassic Park.
      2. Silver Linings Playbook, followed by Silver Linings Playbook and Silver Linings Playbook.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

      1. Ok, I'm going to go with two answers because when you have a man who can make Jurassic Park and Schindler's List back to back I think you have to acknowledge that he has two modes - popcorn wonderment and seriousness.

      So for popcorn I would say 'Raiders of The Lost Ark'

      And for seriousness I would say 'Saving Private Ryan'

      2. Maybe just now Cloud Atlas.........it could change daily though as there were several films in that year I liked including Lincoln, Les MIserables, Rust and Bone, Your Sister's Sister and more.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Silga/ Silga

      1. Munich.
      2. Tie between Argo and Flight.

  • http://Moctavius.com Moctavius

    As part of my ongoing quest to watch the entire AFI Top 100, I watched 'High Noon' with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, maybe the most un-Western Western of all time.

  • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

    This week I saw The Book Thief which had a lot going for it but was ultimately let down by clumsy melodrama and published my full review for Blue is the Warmest Color (which you can access by clicking my name), which I had a lot of problems with. Tomorrow brings a screening of The Hunger Games though and I'm excited to see what it holds after its predominantly warm reception.

    At Home:


    The Imposter - A soaring documentary so insane that you couldn't have made up anything more wacky. Going into it blind is absolutely essential so learn as little as you can before watching. It's hard to imagine a more gripping, edge-of-your-seat documentary. (A+)

    Thelma and Louise - Finally got around to watching one of Ridley Scott's most loved films and it deserves the love it gets. It has a few issues in terms of character turns but seeing these women's decent into outlaws is well worth the less flattering parts. (B+)

    The Host (Korean) - A monster movie that isn't really a monster movie, The Host revels in its hazy political metaphors of totalitarian government. (B+)

    This Film is Not Yet Rated - This documentary has a fascinating topic but is dealt a losing hand when it lingers too long with the batty PI. (C)

    After Earth - Will Smith really loves the idea of exclusively starring in movies with his kid and it's finally gotten the better of him. Jayden's mildewed acting is as transparent as it is hollow. Someone must put M. Night out of his misery. (F)

    The Stuff - Horrid acting, terrible directing, and dimwitted metaphors that beat you over the head at every turn, there is nothing of substance in The Stuff. (F)

  • Joyce Tyler

    I watched a Swedish film--Lisa Langseth's "Till Det Som Ar Vackert." starring Alicia Vikander. Also a Spanish comedy--David Trueba's "Masterpiece" starring Ariadna Gil. And an Italian film--Michele Placido's "Ovunque sei" starring Stefano Accorsi and Barbora Bobulova. Enjoyed all three.

  • JAB

    After the stunning "Blackfish" I had to revisit "Grizzly Man". Werner Herzog's masterpiece still retains its power. I also recommend the utterly charming "Dear Mr. Watterson" especially if you are a fan of "Calvin & Hobbes".

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DiscoPaco/ Disco Paco

    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 11/17/13 First time watch
    4/5 stars

    "With Major Lawrence, mercy is a passion. With me, it is merely good manners. You may judge which motive is the more reliable."

    I've always heard that LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is one of those films that needs to be seen on the big screen. So up until today I had never seen it. I had held out to have my virgin viewing under the best possible circumstances. Well, those people were right. I can't imagine seeing this movie on TV or, gasp, a laptop. David Lean's eye for crucial compositions and deliciously busy mise en scene is the real star of the film no matter how hard the film tries to make it about the titular character. Seriously, I cannot begin to imagine how much preparation had to go in to film so many of these epic scenes full of hundreds of extras all moving about in a frenzy. For that alone the film is worth a watch.

    At over three and a half hours, LAWRENCE has a lot to say. It begins as a character piece about an Elon Musk type of dude whose only motivation in life is to accomplish that which others cannot or say is impossible. Obviously, you don't have to be a genius to know this is not the key to happiness. In a case of masterful screenwriting, the opening scene shows Lawrence's reckless death before it flashbacks. No matter how messianic his character comes to be throughout the film the memory of his trajectory is always in the forefront to keep him a flawed human in the audience's mind.

    The film chronicles Lawrence's rise and fall using the backdrop of the Arab theater during WWI. Political machinations are in place to ensure the Brits (those bumbling conniving devils) beat the Ottomans and gain control of Arabia. Lawrence is a dreamer and would love for the Arabs to be in control of their own destiny. SPOILERS for real life: didn't happen. In another case of a white dude needing to save brown people (and being waaaay better at doing this brown people have been doing their whole life) Lawrence leads Omar Sharif and other Arabs to battle (think Avatar).

    I applaud the film for its appetite. It serves us intriguing thoughts to chew on revolving around interventionist politics, cultural identity ("But your skin is so fair"), free will and destiny.

    THE LAST DETAIL 11/11/13 Rewatch

    3.5/5 stars

    "Well, it was real for me. That's what counts."

    My high rating of THE LAST DETAIL could not maintain itself after a second viewing. This time on the big screen at my local revival theater (such a cheeky choice for Veteran's Day). Good but not great. Interesting but not transcending. I have to rethink my boner for Hal Ashby.

    Let me explain myself. What brought my feelings toward the picture down? Well, for one the visual style was minimal which in an of itself is not a negative but with Ashby I was expecting some lovely touches (which there were but sporadically... more on this later).

    So when the visual presentation is minimal and does not call attention to itself then the success of the movie falls on the shoulders of the screenplay and performances (among a few other things but I think these two, at least in this film, were the heartbeat).

    The screenplay arc/outline/treatment or what have you is the best part. That's probably taken from the book it was adapted from though. Where the film starts and where it ends up is phenomenal. An honest portrayal of working stiffs caught under the soul-crushing weight of the system. That's always going to speak to the rebel/skeptic/crybaby in me. What rung false, however, was the dialogue and overall interactions between the main characters. I could tell I was listening to Robert Towne's idea of what blue collar folk sound like.

    Not to mention Jack Nicholson's scenery chewing performance cranked to 11. Geez, the guy could be so good but nobody could tell him no. Maybe his embellishments were working on set but unfortunately not in the finished product. At least many of them didn't land. I was expecting to hear many more laughs in the theater than I did. With all these elements (director, writer, star) it is very surprising to say that I found RANDY QUAID to be the best element of the film. That's a good thing too considering the audience's emotional participation relies on his character's ability to engage.

    Not all of Ashby's directorial efforts here are for naught. There were a few climactic scenes where his knack for editing (this time cross-dissolves) really elevated the humanism of these emotional scenes. Ultimately, the film is a good one if not great but of course I'm glad it exists. Its reach exceeded its grasp. THE LAST DETAIL was a great little reminder of the small character-based stories American filmmakers were telling in the early 1970's.

    Who is the Hal Ashby of today?

  • Guest

    "Into the Wild" - I'm glad I waited until now to see this as I don't think I would have appreciated when I was younger. I found it very moving and profound.

    "Safety Not Guaranteed" - I was expecting more of a sci-fi element to this one, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was a quirky romance.

    "The Hours" - I did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would. I usually love movies like this, but I guess I hyped it up so much in my head that it just fell short of expectations. Good, not great.

    "The Cider House Rules" - I've always enjoyed watching

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/codyryan/ Cody McEwen

    "Into the Wild" - I'm glad I waited until now to watch this, as I don't think I would have appreciated it as much when I was younger. I thought it was very profound and moving.

    "Safety Not Guaranteed" - I was expecting this to have more of a sci-fi/action element, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was a quirky romance.

    "The Hours" - I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as I thought I would. Movies like this are usually right up my alley, but I guess I over-hyped it. I found it be just okay.

    "The Cider House Rules" - I DID enjoy this one. I've always been a fan of Tobey Maguire, and his performance here reminded me of his turn in "Wonder Boys," which I love.

    "Robot and Frank" - This was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It's nothing special, but good fun.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/GWJohansson/ GWJohansson

    I recommend watching Hour of the Gun. It is another film about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday's famous partnership also directed by John Sturges a decade after he did Gunfight. I'm not saying it's superior to any of the other Earp movies, nor is it any more accurate, but the bleak and dismal atmosphere partnered with Earp and Holliday's shaky relationship (played by James Garner and Jason Robards respectively) makes for a unique retelling.

  • zisis giannouras

    What i watched this week :
    Despicable me 2 (8/10)
    Valkyrie (7/10)
    Knowing (6/10)
    One flew over the cuckoo's nest (9/10)

  • interiris

    The Kids Are Alright (interesting but not gripping)
    Richard 11 live broadcast from the Royal Shakespeare Co.
    (David Tennant who was excellent. A stronger Bolingbroke the production
    more balance as compared with the Hollow Crown version)
    Thor 2 without 3D (better second time around but the fast pacing meant that
    some moments were lost in the rush)