What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #231

A lot of movies and a little reading

under-correspondentThis week I caught three movies in theaters, two I've already reviewed -- The Lego Movie and The Monuments Men -- and the other is Winter's Tale, which I don't think I'm able to review just yet, but I will say I was expecting something terrible and that's not what I got... I'll say more next week when it hits theaters.

At home I watched Francois Truffaut's Jules and Jim on Criterion Blu-ray, which I reviewed and only two people, sadly commented... Hopefully more people come to the table with thoughts and opinions when I review Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent this coming week. I watched the new Criterion Blu-ray this week as well.

Also, I finally saw Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight, which played Sundance and Cannes in '96 before being released in the States in '97, the same year Anderson's Boogie Nights was released. In fact, with a year that also contained the likes of L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, The Game, Titanic, Jackie Brown and The Ice Storm, among others... it's conceivable a top ten list of films from '97 could include two Anderson features. I will say this, however, I'm pretty sure a top ten of mine from that year would have to include Face/Off and perhaps even Howard Stern's Private Parts. I mean, that's ten right there... not a bad list.

Finally, at least in terms of movies, I watched Len Wiseman's Underworld, a guilty pleasure of mine that I caught on Encore this week while flipping through the channels. I wasn't a huge fan when I first saw it, but it's continued to grow on me... I enjoy all the sequels as well... Well, not that one with Rhona Mitra, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, but the others are very entertaining.

I also wanted to mention I finished reading S.J. Watson's "Before I Go To Sleep", an adaptation of which is expected to hit theaters this year starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong and Anne-Marie Duff and I really enjoyed it. It's a Memento-esque story about a woman suffering from amnesia, waking up every day not knowing who she is and her journey to get answers. I don't want to say more as it has its twists and turns, and even if you see some of them coming the writing is compelling enough to make it a real page turner.

Up next for me is Mark Harris' "Five Came Back". I just received a review copy and for anyone that's been paying attention to my journey through books on film you'll remember me mentioning Harris' "Pictures at a Revolution" a lot lately and if "Five Came Back" is anywhere near as good as that one then I should have it finished sooner rather than later. It will hit store shelves on February 27.

Now it's your turn, what have you been watching (or reading) lately?

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

    Vernon, Florida (Errol Morris, 1981) 8/10
    Most Wanted (David Hogan, 1997) 4/10
    Stand Up Guys (Fisher Stevens, 2012) 7/10
    The Man (Les Mayfield, 2005) 2/10
    Butterfly on a Wheel (Mike Barker, 2007) 5/10
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir, 2003) 8/10
    The Count of Monte Cristo (Kevin Reynolds, 2002) 6/10
    Steel Magnolias (Herbert Ross, 1989) 9/10
    Behind Enemy Lines (John Moore, 2001) 3/10
    Lantana (Ray Lawrence, 2001) 9/10
    No One Lives (Ryûhei Kitamura, 2012) 2/10
    Chasing the Wind (Rune Denstad Langlo, 2013) 7/10
    The Look of Love (Michael Winterbottom, 2013) 8/10

    Re-watches:

    Police Academy (Hugh Wilson, 1984) 7/10
    Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (Jerry Paris, 1985) 5/10

    1. Any thoughts on the films I watched?
    2. What is your favorite Michael Winterbottom film?
    3. What are your favorite stage-to-film adaptations?
    4. What is your favorite Russell Crowe role?

    • ashdurdin

      1. Have only seen Stand Up Guys, I thought it was around a C rating.
      2. The Trip (though I've only seen that and Tristram Shandy)
      3. Arsenic and Old Lace, Hamlet (1996)
      4. L.A. Confidential

    • andyluvsfilms

      The Count Of Monte Christo is a modern classic, a 'Must See' for sure.

    • Art

      1. Hadn't heard of Lantana but it sounds like a good suspense film.
      3. Gladiator

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

      1. 'Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World' is one of may actual all time personal faves, I'd give it a 10/10 but I'm really biased towards it. 'Steel Magnolias' is actually good as well, I'd maybe go like an 8/10 though. I've not seen the early Police Academy films in years and years.
      2. I've not seen many of his films - 'The Claim', 'A Cock and Bull Story' which were fine, and 'The Killer Inside Me' which I actually thought was utterly terrible.
      3. Pass.......or (thinks for a second)..... 'Les Miserables' or 'Doubt'. Or maybe even 'Dangerous Liasons'.................I'm suddenly thinking there could be a fair few options on this front.
      4. Probably 'Gladiator' but also 'L.A Confidential' and 'Master and Commander'. For early work then 'Romper Stomper' and 'The Sum of Us' show widely different types of role for him.

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

        2. Interesting. From what I've seen of his work, The Killer Inside Me is probably my favorite. A great retro film noir style and central performances were very good.

        4. I don't like Gladiator at all, but Crowe was one of the few good aspects of that flawed film. My favorites are The Insider and A Beautiful Mind.

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

          I was all set to really like 'The Killer Inside Me' even though I have not read the book it's based on. And things like the 50's era setting were well recreated but while I appreciated that the violence shown in the film was disturbing from the point of view that that unexpected sudden and vicious nature of it is often how violence works (as in the first time he beats Jessica Alba and his murder of other characters as well) by the time the film reached it's finale...............I just thought that was so ridiculously OTT I admit to starting to laugh. And I know that's not the reaction I should have had. Like a lot of films I've seen and not responded too well at first (funnily enough like 'A Beautiful Mind' as well) I'd certainly rewatch it to see how it plays now a few years later. But man........that ending might just be unrecoverable for me!

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/PzyKo/ Max

      3, Glengarry Glen Ross and A Few Good Men
      4. James Braddock (Cinderella Man) and Bud White (L.A. Confidential)

    • m1

      1. Master and Commander I've always found slightly overrated and I would give it a 6/10.
      2. I think A Mighty Heart is the only one I've seen. I really liked it though, and it is Angelina Jolie's best performance.
      3. I don't have much here but the new Les Miserables was very good, I thought.
      4. A Beautiful Mind is his best performance, and he is also great in The Insider and Gladiator.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

    Salinger-B+
    The Cabin in the Woods-B+
    The House at the End of the Street-B
    Silent Hill: Revelation-F
    American Psycho-A-
    The Lego Movie-A

    Has anybody watched Bates Motel? It's on Netflix now and I really like it. Also, is there anyone else who thought The House at the End of the Street was decent, like me?

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

    Rush- A
    The Croods- C+
    Epic- C
    Ted (rewatch)- A+
    Ride Along- B
    The Simpsons Movie (rewatch)- B+
    Zoolander- B+

    Thoughts on what I watched this week?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Loved Rush and Ted is a lot of fun.

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

      Glad to see you enjoyed RUSH.

    • Art

      I'm hoping to catch Rush soon, have heard great stuff.

    • m1

      I agree on The Croods and Epic, and I would give Ted around the same grade you gave those. I agree on The Simpsons Movie.

  • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

    In Theaters -

    The LEGO Movie - Hilarious camoes and pop culture references, fantastic animation, a heartfelt and intelligent story combine in this great animated movie. My favorite movie of 2014 so far.

    On DVD -

    Rush - A fantastic well directed and well shot racing biopic. It also has a great score and 2 fantastic lead performances.

    All Hail The King (Marvel One Shot) - A great fun well acted short with an intriguing twist ending. Part of it does feel like it's pandering to the complainers of the IM3 twist.

    On TV -

    Sherlock -
    A Study in Pink - A fantastic pilot that has 2 leads with fantastic chemistry. It is also well directed and shot, well written and very fun.
    The Blind Banker - Not as good as the first one but still great.

    True Detective - The Locked Room - Another fantastic episode. Also wow at the ending.

    Questions -
    1. Thoughts on what I watched this week ?

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

      I've only seen 'Rush' which was great and season 1 of 'Sherlock' and yeah, 'The Blind Banker' is probably the show's weakest overall outing I think.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        I still need to watch the last episode of Sherlock Season 1 but agree out of the 2 I watched and Rush was very great.

    • Carlos.

      Just here to agree with you on that True Detective ending... I began watching that episode at the end of the afternoon, and by the end of it the night had come around and I had to turn all the lights on because of how legitimally scared I was.

      • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

        Luckily, I watched it early in the day and then watched LEGO so I didn't have to worry about that but watching it for the first time with McConaughey's monologue and the last shots with the music .. wow. Just confirmed my thoughts that TD is one of my favorite shows on TV right now. If I had watched it like you , I completley understand how you must have felt. Imagine watching that on Sunday night when it first premired.

  • http://filmemignon.blogspot.com/ Corbin

    Don't have a lot of time this week, so I'll just post the grades.

    Punch-Drunk Love: A
    Getaway: D
    Resident Evil: Afterlife: C+
    Sunrise: B
    Ocean's Thirteen: B

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

      How would you rank the Ocean's films?

      • http://filmemignon.blogspot.com/ Corbin

        Ocean's 11>Ocean's 13>Ocean's 12

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

          Nice. Same here.

  • andyluvsfilms

    Must See-

    Very Good-
    Fruitvale Station
    Big Sur
    Afternoon Delight
    Murph:The Protector (Tribute Doc)

    Good-
    Strongman (Doc)
    20 Feet From Stardom

    Ok-
    Kevin Hart:Let Me Explain

    Avoid-

    Higher? Lower? Etc

    • dslacker

      Haven't seen most of there - I would rate Fruitvale Station as a must see.

      • andyluvsfilms

        It was pretty heavy handed in places, the scene with the dog and helping that girl at the supermarket etc.

    • Tony L

      Care to comment on Afternoon Delight? I saw that it was new on On Demand...

      • andyluvsfilms

        I would definitely recommend it, there's real drama here and a proper sense of regret and rebuilding.

        • Tony L

          Thanks. How did you watch it? On demand/streaming?

          • andyluvsfilms

            Yes sir, it's a gift from the Gods.

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

      Big Sur is at Avoid. Come on, Andy, you're slackin'!!!!!

      • andyluvsfilms

        I remember you didn't like it but you probably only watched the first twenty minutes.

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

          Pleeease. It's pretty damn bad. I EVEN SAW THE WHOLE THING!!!!!!!!

          • andyluvsfilms

            I bet you were smacked up to the tits on drugs or whatever it is you young people do these days.

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

              Only the good ol' MILK PLUS!

              • andyluvsfilms

                oh you're real horrorshow, a proper droog.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/MovieFan/ Israel Valencia

    - That Awkward Moment
    ( D )
    Just a god awful film that many will assume it's a comedy when in fact it's pretty sexist in it message but hey you get to see Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller become douchebags
    - Labor Day
    ( D+ )
    Overly romanticized melodramatic film that reminded me more of a soap opera then an actual film as it spends much more time on a fake romance then actually the tragedy behind it.

    - Rush
    ( A )
    A film that defines sports as it is beautifully directed and shot but features two stellar performances especially from Daniel Bruhl. As we chronicle the rivalry of two competitors and the impact they had on each other life. For there is no true hero or villain but rather they each have the same fierce determination to win and for one dream to live another must die.

    - Silver Linings Playbook
    ( A- )

  • robotsrule

    Brad be looooving those Underworld movies.

  • ashdurdin

    The Lego Movie: Fun film, reminded me a lot of Wreck-It Ralph. The voice actors are really great across the board.

    In a World... : This was a fresh and fun film that kind of surprised me. The ending is a bit disappointing but overall I really liked it.

    Some Girl(s): Adaption of a play, has some interesting and uncomfortable scenes. I could see this appealing to some people, but it left me feeling down and not in a good way.

    Guns, Girls and Gambling: Decent twisty comedy, though more dumb than anything.

    The Wild Bunch(re-watch): Good western, though it is really long

    MASH (re-watch): I love Altman and though this isn't my favorite of his films I still have get something out of it every time I watch it.

    Rapture-paloosa: Okay end of the world comedy that is at its best when the actors seem to be improving. The concept of the apocalypse being treated in a smaller way is interesting, but the film drags even at under 90 minutes.

    • Art

      The Lego movie does sound like a good one to watch with the family, gotta check it out.

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

    The trailers for 'Winter's Tale' are really not sending what seems to me to be a clear picture of what's going on in it. I saw the trailer twice in theatres the last couple weeks and am trying to piece it together but I'm not sure it's working. Anyway, I watched quite a bit this week. More than intended and more that I realised when it came to totting it up and most of it was good stuff.
    In Cinemas -
    Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) - Which, I'm really sorry to say left me disappointed more than a little after the reviews and comments I had read previously. It has some enormous plusses, not limited to it's gorgeous cinematography, set design and most of it's performances and the music itself within the film but by the time I had spent the week with Llewyn Davis I really wasn't left with a film which I thought necessarily had as much to it as I maybe had expected. Davis isn't going to compromise on his art..................and that's going to make for a very difficult life for him the film indicates. Whether to maintain your principles or not is one of those crossroads probably all artists come to but I guess my main lingering thought was 'Wouldn't it be really lousy to be the last guy to exit the stage right before Dylan debuts?'. It doesn't help Davis isn't entirely sympathetic as a character through the film but that's not a problem either strictly. It's a film I so wanted to be a lot more enthusiastic about not only as somewhat of a fan of the kind of music and the period of the scene depicted in the film but because it's so utterly beautifully made (outwith a performance by Carey Mulligan I didn't like at all, but then her character was downright unlikeable from minute one anyway) and acted despite not really having much of an actual plot. I think I'll probably end up buying it at some point to soak up the cinematography now and again, but I can't say I loved it. And I really wanted to.
    At Home -
    Make Way For Tomorrow (1937): Blu Ray, first watch - I blind bought some Masters of Cinema Blu Ray's this week and some cheap DVD's and I was attracted to this weirdly by the cover art and synopsis on the back. Set in the period of US History between the creation and implementation of Social Security and in the lingering period not long after the Depression it centres on a couple in their 70s who have five children (one never seen way out in California). They announce to their children that as the father cannot work anymore and all their savings are gone that the bank is foreclosing on the house. None of the children can take (or in fact even want to take) both parents so they are separated from each other. As they become more of a perceived nuisance to their families and a clear burden the couple's future becomes less certain as an even greater separation engineered by their kids looms. Resolutely unsentimental right up to the end, allowing only for the notion that actually, everything will not be alright in the end the peformances and direction of the film are super. The final act of the film is an odd combination of uplifting and also utterly saddening as well leading to a bittersweet final scene. Considering it's age, it seems almost to be possessed of timeless themes and considerations and actually, as part of the notes in the extras, it's noted this film was an influence on 'Tokyo Story' (1953) which I think would be visibly clear to anyone who has seen both films. A really good blind buy.
    Gaslight (1940): Blu Ray, rewatch - I picked up this Victorian psychological thriller a couple months back and decided to rewatch it this week as I ended up in a slight black and white phase midweek. Remade by George Cukor in 1944 this original is a simpler version of the story of a woman driven to the brink of sanity by strange events but it's pretty good.
    The Lost Weekend (1945): Blu Ray, first watch - The other Masters of Cinema film I blind bought this week and another one which didn't disappoint either (even though I enjoyed 'Tomorrow' more if I'm honest). Billy Wilder's tale of a New York alchoholic on a four day session is still an effective consideration of addiction and the damage it causes not only on the person with the addiction but those around them as well. Especially as nowadays so many of the other characters in the film would be labelled enablers helping Ray Milland's character along the way to his possible destruction. I'll be revisiting it though but there was a lot to admire and yet again, as I slowly cover Billy Wilder's CV I have yet to find a bad film from him. The disc also comes with a three hour 1992 special of the UK Arts series 'Arena' with Wilder in discussion about his films but I'll need to come back and watch that separately.
    Marty (1955): DVD, first watch - I had been wanting to see this for ages and it ws dirt cheap on DVD when I saw it. Ernest Borgnine won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a 34 year old butcher living with his mother, all of his siblings have married and he's written himself off as a bachelor coz he 'ain't got' what folks are looking for in his mind. Until he meets a young woman and just maybe he can have a shot at some happiness. Universal human themes abound in this lovely film where you really end up rooting for Marty to overcome himself and take a chance. I don't know if this is still correct or not but I read also that this film and 'The Lost Weekend' above are still the only two films to win Best Picture at the Oscars and also at Cannes their respective years. Anyway, 'Marty' is a great little movie.
    Little Women (1994): TV airing, first watch - I've never read the novel but am aware of it's literary significance in American Literature so I can't compare the two but this 1994 film was certainly a pleasant and entertaining film that I completely enjoyed but probably don't need to watch again really.
    Event Horizon (1997): TV airing, rewatch - I'd not seen this one for years and while it's basically a demonically haunted house set in a spaceship instead years back this used to a freak the hell out of me even though I'm not all sure why. Echoes of 'Hellraiser' in the makeup and visual effects in places might be why except 'Hellraiser' never freaked me out itself. Maybe it's foreboding Latin phrases read out by people holding their eyeballs instead. Whatever, the production design on this is superb and lends the film most of it's atmosphere even as the plot is basically nothing new and the cast are mostly present just to be offed one by one. I enjoyed revisiting it though.
    Milk (2008): Blu Ray, rewatch - A perennial favourite and one of my top films from it's year it remains a terrific film to watch now and again.
    The Adjustment Bureau (2011): Blu Ray, rewatch - One of my favourite's from 2011 got a fresh spin this week and I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
    What Maisie Knew (2012): Blu Ray, first watch - I really liked this tale of divorce as seen through the eyes of a six year old girl caught in the battle between her mother and father (Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan) in an adaption of a novel from 1897 by Henry James updated to current New York. A great performance by Onata Aprile as Maisie anchors the film as does the work of Alexander Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham as the eventual step parents who end up caring more for the child than her, frankly, selfish and oblivious parents are. Coogan does a nice line in distant fatherhood and Moore has a great moment or two when she briefly realises the effects of her actions on her own flesh and blood. I hadn't expected much from this but I was surprised how compelling it became.
    Rush (2013): Blu Ray, rewatch - I wasn't going to buy this originally so early but then I remembered I had vouchers to use. One of my top films of 2013 remains so and I remain more convinced than ever that Daniel Bruhl should have made the Best Supporting Actor cut this year over others. But whatever, this is still a great film and the best thing Ron Howard has done for a while.
    The East (2013): Blu Ray, first watch - The concept and ideas of 'The East' are, I found, considerably greater than the film itself (and I enjoyed 'The Sound of Her Voice' from the same team last year actually) that starts off well enough but then falls into the usual conspiracy thriller dramatics by the end, but not quite convincingly. Performances seemed somehow off to me as well and I couldn't get a handle on why exactly. Anyway, some interesting elements but an unsatisfying final result.
    I had precisely nothing in TV Land this week as the above took up all my time so that's all from me this week.

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

      Some good watching, Winchester. I'm with you on being underwhelmed by Inside Llewyn Davis. Also agree on The East being better at first, but then losing momentum as it went on.

      Event Horizon has been on my watchlist for some time and hoping to catch The Adjustment Bureau at some point as well.

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

        I prefer 'The Adjustment Bureau' as a film between the two but both have their moments.

    • Art

      Hoping to watch Rush one of these days. Have heard great comments on Bruhl and the film overall.

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

        I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

    • Falcon

      I'm a little trepidatious about Llewyn Davis. I tend to love or really dislike their films (mostly love) and I'm never sure going in.

      I think I've heard of Make Way for Tomorrow, but have never seen it. I will look for it now.

      Have not seen Lost Weekend yet despite the fact that I love Billy Wilder and Ray Milland is a favorite too. Wilder does have some clunkers (avoid The Front Page for sure), but his batting average is pretty damn good. He's up there with Hitchcock and David Lean as a great prolific director who rarely stumbles.

      I really like Rush too. I also wish he'd been nominated. I think that's a movie I'll watch many times in the future, like Apollo 13.

      Have not seen Adjustment Bureau or Marty yet, but not for lack of interest.

      I liked Milk as well but I wouldn't consider it a particular favorite. What is it about it that appeals to you so strongly?

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

        When it comes to any film, such as Davis, I'd just say if it interests you give it a try and you may get more or less mileage out of it than I did. Having seen you comment on older films frequently I'd be curious as to your views on the films I watched this week that are of interest to you.

        I like 'Milk' for several reasons. First I didn't know a lot about the Milk story when I first saw it and so didn't really expect to end up being so moved by the end when I did see it. And it stuck there with me. But also the themes and the story of the film and the resonance of them I feel still applies over 30 years later for that particular aspect of the civil and human rights movement. Some battles are won then lost and re-fought but I think to see anyone just stand over the parapet sometimes and fight for something positive can be very engaging when some things are still viciously opposed. That isn't even a gay rights issue, you can pick your battles that are still ongoing from a range of them. And the actual construction of the film, limiting itself to just the 1970-78 period, the use of actual archival footage so smoothly integrated into the film, the fact it doesn't paint Dan White as an evil figure but a man just with his own point of view - it doesn't even paint Milk in a necessarily flattering light the whole time either. I just find it a well made film about something that still has ripples today. And the oddest one of all...............a small secret..........I have a thing for films set in San Francisco. It like automatically inclines me to like a film more if I see it as the backdrop.

        • Falcon

          Milk is a very well-made film, and I like the treatment of Harvey Milk and Dan One as well. I think the real life event was so shocking at the time that it kind of hung over the film for me, but it was interesting to see the rest of the story. Sometimes I think a film just clicks with you. That's good.

          Interesting what you say about San Francisco. It certainly is photogenic, and you've got some pretty good movies to choose from set there. And unlike often with New York or Seattle most of them seem to have actually been filmed there. What's your favorite?

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

            It's probably a split between 'Vertigo', 'Zodiac' and 'What's Up Doc?' but there's many many more.

    • m1

      I haven't yet seen Rush (though I really want to), but I am a little puzzled as to how "surprised" people seem to be about it. This is a movie from Ron Howard, who brought us well-made fact-based movies like Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon. Was there any doubt Rush was going to be good?

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

        There's a couple elements to that answer.

        First, Ron Howard has made some great films and some of them are favourites of mine and have been since they were first released (Backdraft, Apollo 13 especially) but in the last few years he also made 'The DaVinci Code' and 'Angels & Demons' and how someone usually as competent as Howard takes not one but two fast paced books (I mean, no Dan Brown book is anything more than airport pulp but despite all his books being basically the same plot mechanics they are extremely fast reads) and make such leaden and lifeless adaptations pretty much meant I felt his more recent work has been iffy.

        Second, I'm not really a follower of F1 (my father was, and when I was a kid I did watch it but as an adult I drifted off it) and so was unsure whether I would find the story interesting or not.

        • m1

          You have a point with the Dan Brown adaptations. Those books should have been very easy to put to the screen. I did not hate The Da Vinci Code but Angels and Demons was such a mess. Especially the last 30 minutes. Yuck.

  • m1

    I had a somewhat varied past couple of weeks.

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)-I was not a fan of Killing Them Softly, so I had lowered expectations while watching this. Thankfully, this BEAUTIFULLY shot Western has such a strong sense of time and place that it draws you into its story much like the way a Terrence Malick movie does. The overlength and slow pacing eventually prove too much for it, but thanks to its impressive direction and terrific performances from Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, it remains a fascinating movie. Andrew Dominik is certainly a director to watch. 7.5/10

    ParaNorman (2012) (rewatch)-As a sort of last-minute thing I decided to revisit this spooky-funny animated flick from the makers of Coraline. I was very happy to see it nominated last year at the Oscars as it is a fast-paced, hilarious, yet surprisingly emotional movie that will charm parents as well as their kids. It does get a bit heavyhanded with its anti-bullying/individuality message in places, but otherwise it works, and I look forward to seeing what Laika has up its sleeves next. 8/10

    The Wolverine (2013)-Oh, goodness. I really wanted to like this. I really did. But honestly I feel like I am being generous with it more than anything else. I feel like this franchise is only interesting when all of the X-Men characters are together in the same movie, and sitting through this underplotted, routine, forgettable action flick rather validates that. That final action sequence at the end is particularly weak. Hugh Jackman does his thing, but the rest of the movie is dull. I am very happy that Darren Aronofsky passed on this and I hope the next X-Men is up to the level of First Class, which I really enjoyed. 5/10

    The Messenger (2009)-This is a very different sort of war flick as it focuses more on the soldiers' loved ones at home and the emotional turmoil that ensues when they don't return. The lack of sentimentality in places causes the movie to feel slow and a bit dispassionate, but with some pretty devastating scenes and some pretty fantastic performances (especially from Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson), it grabs you emotionally. Worth seeing alongside movies like The Hurt Locker and Saving Private Ryan. 8/10

    Fast & Furious 6 (2013)-I only have a fleeting interest in this franchise, but if this and the fifth installment are any indication, I will certainly keep renting these movies for as long as the series continues. As a two-hour car commercial with non-stop action scenes, it buys enough into the craziness of its storyline and delivers some great action and funny one-liners. It's a decent rental, if nothing else. 6/10

    Elysium (2013)-I kind of feel as though Sony made a mistake giving Neill Blomkamp this much money after the refreshingly stripped down District 9 because even with gorgeous visuals and fascinating themes, the plot is thin and eventually becomes predictable. Matt Damon is fine, but the roles that Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley are given are total cartoon characters that seemed as though they belonged in another movie. The subplots were not interesting at all. The action sequences are thrilling enough to make the movie enjoyable, and that's the reason I ended up liking it by the end. 6/10

    We're the Millers (2013)-This was...shockingly not terrible. Not that it's anything great either as it wastes a fabulous concept on some bland characters and a really stupid storyline. There are enough laughs and appealing performances to make this slightly above average, but I think This Is the End and The Heat win out as far as raunchy R-rated comedies go. 5.5/10

    Stuck in Love (2013)-I decided to check this out as it is the directorial debut of the director of the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars, which I am interested in. I wouldn't completely write off TFIOS after seeing this, but it does make me more skeptical. Simply put, this is not a good movie at all and if not for the appealing performances from its cast (particularly from Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, and Lily Collins) it would barely have been watchable. I guess the movie wants to be a romantic drama about the generational differences of dating and marriage but it has none of the complexity required to pull it off. The number of contrived and implausible scenes in this is too many to count, and by the end of the movie some storylines and bits of characterization are rendered either irrelevant or take on a sort of seriousness not at all hinted by anything else that happens prior. The dialogue is overwritten and obvious as it practically tells the audience what the movie's themes are and how it wants to go on to convey those themes. Overall, this movie promises a lot more than it delivers and I hope TFIOS does not suffer as a result of the direction or anything else. 4.5/10

    Any thoughts?

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

      From what I've seen I'd go 10/10 on Jesse James, probably a 7 or 7.5 on 'The Wolverine', maybe a 2/10 on 'Fast and Furious 6' and the same on 'Elysium'.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Check out my new YouTube channel for a review of 21 Grams (2003) this week!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WPcC6x3hCE

    This week I'm hoping to check out Philomena, The Croods (so I can finalize my top ten of 2013) and The Lego Movie. Also have Saving Private Ryan and X-Men First Class (never seen either) from Netflix.

    First watch:

    The Act of Killing (2013)

    The Act of Killing gives the viewer a look into the minds and lives of a group of people immediately portrayed to be evil and sadistic. Evil and sadistic they are and the movie tells their story.

    The issue with this movie is that they've taken what should have been an extended Dateline segment and stretched it into a two hour film, which feels very drawn out and repetitive. I'm not saying the story the filmmakers presented is not important to know, but it seems like the same scene (meant to portray the same exact message) is played over and over and over again, especially during the first hour. Other than a couple of scenes during the last half-hour of the movie, I felt like each scene did very little to tell more of the story or reveal something different beyond what was presented at the outset of the film. What should have been captivating to me, drew feelings of boredom and saying to myself "Ok - I got it".

    Some better editing would have made this far more impressive and memorable.

    5.0 / 10

    21 Grams (2003)

    21 Grams is an entertaining and engaging tale of the lives of three individuals facing their own issues, and how each individual affects one another. The biggest strength of this film lies in the acting - Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts, and Sean Penn, the three leads, are all fantastic. After the movie, the first thing I thought to myself was - "wow - that movie had some great acting".

    I also liked how the story was told in a non-linear fashion, showing each of these characters at different points in their lives (i.e. third scene really takes place at end of the story). The movie requires a little extra thinking at first because of this, but ultimately works well and builds suspense. In terms of themes and social issues, from substance abuse, to relationships with a significant other, to death of someone close to you - 21 Gramstackles these all and it always seems authentic, largely due to the great acting.

    In terms of criticisms, I found the end to be a little bit of a letdown for how the story played out (probably because of how much the first half sucked me in). The ending wasn't bad by any means, just didn't blow my socks off.

    Ultimately, 21 Grams is a solid movie worth a watch, especially if you like Del Toro, Watts, or Penn and want to think a little bit.

    7.0 / 10

    Re-watch:

    Now You See Me (2013)

    Still an entertaining movie upon re-watch - full disclosure that I really like magic. Some of the tricks / reveals are cool and I think the cast works pretty well. The ending was still a letdown the second time around though.

    7.0 / 10

  • Falcon

    On a five-star scale:

    The Transporter 2002 ★★

    Stupid and dull.

    Wings of Desire 1987 ★★★½

    Beautiful, quiet film in which melancholy angels extol the pleasures of being human in the face of many of the most depressed people captured on film. Better than that sounds. Quite good in fact.

    The Lavender Hill Mob 1951 ★★★½

    Perhaps the most enjoyable and airiest of the Ealing comedies. Just delightful.

    Don’t Look Now 1973 ★★★★

    Take the creepiness of the creepiest film you've seen and the shock and terror from the most shocking and terrifying film you've seen and put them in one and you'll have some idea of Don't Look Now if you gradually pour on the creepiness and save the shock and terror for one amazing jolt at the end of the film. Donald Sutherland and the film's initial slow burn might be an obstacle but stick with it, it's well worth it. I literally got a frigid, electric shock at the base of my spine as if it had been touched by the cold finger of death.

    The Lady Eve 1941 ★★★★½

    Could be the greatest romantic comedy ever made. Absolutely brilliant for the first third then it settles down into being just very, very good. Barbara Standwick is a revelation, very sexy and very smart. Henry Fonda somehow makes you believe that though his character is a maroon he could still be the object of her affection.

    Inception 2010 ★★★★

    What is there to say? The ideal blockbuster, unique premise, intelligent enough for adults with many good action sequences none of which go on too long. Far from a perfect film but it's faults arise from trying to do too much and are easily forgiven in the face of the great entertainment it delivers. Really not a bad problem to have considering the alternative.

    Bronson 2008 ★★★

    An artful exercise in masochism. Tom Hardy makes the most of an actor's dream role, but the film ultimately feels pointless and perverse.

    A Face in the Crowd 1957 ★★★★½

    Brilliant takedown of television and populist demagoguery predated Network by generation and makes it's outlook seem rosy by comparison. Andy Griffith is completely convincing in a somewhat implausible role, simultaneously charming and repellent. It is one of the greatest performances of all time.

    Hondo 1953 ★★★½

    Well done, no-nonsense Western moves along briskly to beautifully staged climactic battle while not seeming hurried. Wayne is at his least mannered and most laconic. Geraldine Page is an unusually unglamorous heroine for the era. First rate.

    Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler 1922 ★★★★

    Fascinating look a decadent post-WWI Germany through interrelated vignettes. Impossible not to see as anticipating the rise of Facism and Mabuse as a proto-Hitler. Extreme length is a problem perhaps best dealt with by breaking up over more than one viewing, which is aided by episodic, two-part structure.

    Iron Sky 2012 ★★½

    Fun but not fantastic. The story is told by it's premise with no surprises, but moves briskly enough and is done with enough good humor to get by, elevated by nice use of music and likable performers. Interesting to see this sort of thing not waiving the American flag and reflecting how much of the world sees the U.S. Might appeal to those who liked Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Worth seeing if you are at all inclined, but no great loss if you are not.

    Any thoughts?

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

      I want to catch Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler because I bought The Testament of Dr Mabuse a while back before twigging it was a kind of sequel and I don't want to watch it until I watch the first film.

      And yeah, I get the Sky Captain thing with Iron Sky. I wasn't big on the Sky Captain itself entirely but I loved the retro-futuristic visual effects of that film and the design of everything.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Love Inception and am interested in Iron Sky and Bronson.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Brad, regarding your watching:

    - Glad to hear Winter's Tale isn't too bad. The GF expressed a desire to see it together.

    - Awesome to see the Face/Off would have been in your top ten. Definitely one of my favorites. Never saw Stern's Private Parts (wow that sounds bad).

  • Art

    The Lego movie sounds like a good one to watch with the family. Interesting comment on Winter's Tale, I'm not expecting much either. Here are my reviews this week.

    Fruitvale Station

    A well made realistic view into the day of a flawed African American male hoping for a better future. Director Ryan Coogler does a fine job of delivering an interesting realistic film, while analyizing many issues surrounding young men around poverty. Even though I appreciate the realism, I had a problem with too many flaws of the titular character Oscar Grant III. Even though flawed, Grant did face a very unfortunate injustice. The acting on the film is beautiful, demonstrating that Michael B. Jordan is a fantastic breakthrough artist. Even though short, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer does a good job as Grant’s mother.
    (7/10)

    Sherlock Season 3

    Bafta winners Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat deliver another brilliant season of the fun detective show. Season three delivers intelligent mystery finishing off strong with "His Last Vow." The season is filled with well written characters as usual, touching on issues as blackmail, revenge, an the influence that people close to you can have. The cast does a fantastic job with the acting led by Golden Globe nominee Benedict Cumberbatch. Supporting standouts are Lars
    Mikkelsen (The Killing) and Bafta winner Martin Freeman. Mikkelsen provides a new intriguing protagonist as Charles Magnussen.
    (8.5/10)

    1. Agree? Disagree?

    2. What is your favorite Forest Whitaker work?

    • dslacker

      Ever since Michael B. Jordan played Wallace in the first season of The Wire, he's been one to watch. One of the most memorable characters in a series full of memorable characters. He's only gotten better as he's gotten older.

      • Art

        I have heard of his work in the Wire, but have yet to watch it. Gotta check it out.

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

      1. I actually felt that season 3 of 'Sherlock' really ultimately suffered from the show's creators struggling to find ways to top both the second season overall and especially the season 2 finale, although the restaurant scene was a masterclass on how to go from broad comedy to singular emotion in 'The Empty Hearse'. It had moments of brilliance and also of extreme frustration sometimes as well. I particularly felt with 'His Last Vow' it just seemed to have too much jostling for time (although Martin Freeman was just so so good in his key scenes) and the final twist seemed like it was designed just as a 'well, how CAN we throw in a bigger twist than season 2' and I think how they resolve it will be really interesting.

      2. I'll pass on that one because although I like him fine enough I wouldn't say I'm that big a fan of him.

      • Art

        1. I also felt that season two was better, my favorite season thus far. Without giving much away I am also looking forward to season 4. Even though I love the show, would like for it to end soon because it will be difficult to come up with new intriguing ideas for the characters.

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

      2. The Last King of Scotland. A well deserved Oscar.

      • Art

        I've yet to watch that one, but have heard he is great.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Loved the first two episodes of Sherlock and hope to finish season 1 soon.

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

        Hope you keep enjoying it, its a great series. Season 2 is even better.

        • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

          Very excited to keep watching it.

  • Guthrie

    I only watched In the Bedroom this week and was really surprised.

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

    Not much for me this week, but it's been a while since I contributed here and I wanted to do so to get back on track, as I really do enjoy the WIWWYW column.

    You can check me out on Letterboxd for more: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/
    Or you can read all my reviews and other articles, including my 'Top Ten Films of 2013' and my '2013 Film Awards' at: http://imqwerty.wordpress.com/

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

    IN THEATERS

    The LEGO Movie ★★★★
    Still in the process of reviewing this one, but I really, really enjoyed it. It's very witty and humorous, but also contains some really great (animated) action elements and is just a really a fun flick from start to finish.

    AT HOME

    Rear Window ★★★★
    For how slowly the Master of Suspense plays his cards in all the scenes preceding his story's conclusion, the resolution itself and, thus, the film's ending come across as rushed. It's not enough to completely hinder the film, especially not considering how great the first 95-100 minutes are, but it did take quite a bit of the wind out of its billowing sails, at least for me. In all, however, Rear Window is still very, very good, and I can see why it is beloved by so many of Hitchcock's fans.
    READ FULL REVIEW at http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/film/rear-window/

    Life Itself
    Just as Ebert's writing always was, Life Itself is expressive, eloquent, and especially poignant. Steve James' documentary very much embodies the empathy generating machine that Ebert speaks of: it fills us in on Ebert's career and personal life, and acquaints us with the man behind those ubiquitous thumbs. The film is a portrait of the enduring icon's vulnerability, which James portrays with a tender sincerity. Life Itself reinforces the philosophy Ebert lived by, reminding us that our days on Earth are both precious and numbered, and that through something as diverse and widespread as the movies, we can better understand our journey, our humanity, and as the title implies, life itself.
    READ FULL REVIEW at http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/film/life-itself/

    QUESTIONS
    1. What are your thoughts on the films I watched this week?
    2. What is/are your favorite Hitchcock film(s)?

    • m1

      I really want to see The Lego Movie. The trailer always looked good, but now that I'm hearing so many good things about it, I really need to seek it out.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. Loved Lego Movie and want to see Rear Window.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JNFilms/ JN Films

    Brad if you are in need of a TV Show to watch, I would recommend HitRECord. It's Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new show when thousands of people collaborate on different shorts. It's probably the coolest show on television right now.

  • Carlos.

    Okay, so here's how my week went:

    ORPHAN BLACK:
    I watched the first season of ORPHAN BLACK, and thought it was an outstanding piece of sci-fi TV, while also having great drama and suspense to the story.
    Tatiana Maslany leaves you with your mouth hanging from begginning to end, playing SIX different characters (clones) and giving a personality, phisicality and emotional arc to each and every one of them. If your looking for a definition of snub, her performance for the Emmys is what I would give you.
    Highly recommend it to everyone. It's on Netflix. (A+)

    I also watched the two Best Picture nominees I had left to see.
    NEBRASKA: I thought the father-son relationship between Dern and Forte was very moving and real, but overall I was left feeling a little cold at the end and I would probably rank this and Captain Philips at the bottom of the Best Pic nominees. (B-)

    PHILOMENA: A heart-warming performance from Judi Dench made the deal for me. It accomplished its emotional goal and it definitely proved itself a story worth telling. (A-)

    I'm also going to move that S. J. Watson book to the top of my reading list. I just need to get this whole college thing out of the way first.

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

    Bad Grandpa- First viewing
    I picked this up from work to watch with my sister, but she had already seen it. I decided to give it a try the other night, and while this kind of movie is not really my thing, I did catch myself chuckling on occasion. Also, it's another Oscar nominee to check off the list.

    The Green Mile- First viewing
    I have always wanted to see The Green Mile, but for one reason or another never got around to it. The casting was just outstanding, with a few surprises like Sam Rockwell and will definitely be adding the novel to my "to be read" list.

    Labor Day- First viewing
    I will watch Kate Winslet in anything, which explains how I ended up seeing Labor Day this past week. While I didn't dislike the film, I still find myself wondering how Jason Reitman and Kate Winslet found themselves making this film.

    The Monuments Men- First viewing
    What was once one of my most anticipated movies of 2013 is now one of the most disappointing of 2014. Again, I didn't hate the movie, but with such an interesting subject and this caliber of cast, you expect something so much more. You never feel the urgency of their mission and are left meandering around with them.

    New Moon
    I felt like watching the Twilight series.

    Notting Hill
    For some reason, I kept thinking about this movie all week and was lucky enough to find a copy at the used book store. It's been a few years since the last time I watched it and I still find it enjoyable for the most part.

    Princess Ka'iulani- First viewing
    I love period dramas and this DVD kept catching my eye at work, so I finally decided to give it a go. The film is rather bland, as is Q'orianka Kilcher as the titular character. Unfortunately for a good portion of the movie, Princess Ka'iulani's story is reduced to an unbelievable placid romance.

    State of the Union- First viewing
    The cast is impressive, but I just did not find the story as compelling as some other Capra favorites. The highlight of the film was definitely Angela Lansbury. Though I've seen her in other earlier films, like The Manchurian Candidate, I readily associate her with Murder She Wrote and Beauty and the Beast, making roles like this entrancing for me as a fan.

    Twilight
    See above. Though I will say that Hardwicke's film is still the only one in the series I actually enjoy and can re-watch with any frequency.

    Vampire Academy- First viewing
    As a fan of Richelle Mead, I was anticipating Vampire Academy's release and honestly thought it had the potential to make its way successfully to the big screen. However, from the moment the first trailer debuted, those thoughts were dashed and I was unfortunately was left feeling less than enthused after seeing the final product on Friday. Sure, there were moments I liked and I didn't hate the film as a whole, but it also did nothing to deter the distain moviegoers have developed for Young Adult adaptations over the years.

  • Tony L

    I watched:

    The Bling Ring: Man, I could go on and on about what a missed opportunity this film was. Brad and Laramy were right about this one; it's so repetitive and there is zero character development. The film *should* have centered on Marc and how, as the new kid, he gets pulled in to the click of girls who are terribly vapid and empty and turn to breaking in to and stealing from famous people just to feel as though they are a part of that world. And Marc, as the new kid, gets sucked in to the world because he too wants to fit in with a group of friends, as we all do as teenagers. Included should have been Marc's family life and maybe backstory regarding what brought him to the new school/area. THAT could have been an interesting film. Instead, we got ~10 scenes, all the same, of the girls breaking in to the houses...beating us over the head with the fact that YES, these girls are vapid and empty and longing for all the wrong things. 90 MINUTES OF THAT.

    What a waste of what could have been an interesting film. At least the camera work was interesting.

    Stoker: Is was on HBOGO, so I figured what they heck. I have mixed feelings. The general mood of the film was interesting, although there were some scenes that were a little too on-the-nose. And it played a little too much like an asian horror flick set in America. What saved the film was the acting performances, especially Mia Wasikowska. Regarding the plot, I would have liked a little more clarity regarding what was going on. I get that they were vampires (or something similar), but it might have been nice to explore what that meant a little more. Mia Wasikowska's character just seemed to kind of be like "Ok, I'm a vampire-thing. That's cool." without anyone explaining anything to her, which I found odd.

    • m1

      I didn't hate The Bling Ring but your version would have worked better than the story that Sofia Coppola told.

  • Shaun Heenan

    Synecdoche, New York (rewatch) - 8/10
    Boogie Nights - 6/10
    The Crow - 5/10
    Redes - 6/10
    What Maisie Knew - 8/10
    Cutie and the Boxer - 7/10
    Dirty Wars - 4/10
    The Square - 8/10
    Robocop (2013) - 1/10
    Last Vegas - 4/10
    House at the End of the Street - 3/10
    Big Bad Wolves - 2/10
    Salinger - 6/10

    A lot of docs this week, including catching up with the oscar nominated ones I hadn't seen. I somehow found time in there to watch all of Parks and Recreation, too.

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

    Owning Mahowny - After hearing of Philip Seymour Hoffman's sad passing last week, I have been revisiting his filmography and even coming across some titles I hadn't seen before, including this one. I'd heard great things about his performance, and needless to say I was not disappointed. It's a very good film, but Hoffman is truly incredible. How he didn't get major recognition from his peers for this performance is beyond me, and I think it ranks among his very best. Most other actors would make this sort of character unlikable and frustrating, but Hoffman is somehow able to garner empathy and sadness. It's a little strange watching him portray an addict in light of recent events, but it's truly a remarkable piece of work and well worth seeing if you haven't already. 4/5

    Re-watches:

    Charlie Wilson's War - This has always been one of my favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman performances. The movie itself is tremendously entertaining, with solid performances all around and a witty script from Aaron Sorkin. Hoffman's work, however, truly shines in every scene he's in and gets some of the film's biggest laughs. Although by the end there is certainly nothing worth laughing about. As Leonard Maltin said in his review of this film: geopolitics has never been so entertaining. 4.5/5

    Magnolia - Hoffman has a small role in this one, but I've always found it to be a memorable one. As the compassionate and sensitive nurse, both Hoffman and John C. Reilly are the characters who have the most warmth to them and try to help all of the other characters dealing with their own psychological issues. They are also the two performances that have stood out to me each time I've watched this film, with Tom Cruise also doing some strong work. It's one of those rare films where the entire ensemble is bringing their A-game. Admittedly the film does start off a little maddeningly as it takes some time to find its footing, but once it does it becomes a truly engrossing experience for the remainder of its 188 running time. Also, I think Paul Thomas Anderson is the only director who could actually pull off having his cast sing an Aimee Mann song in the middle of his film and not make it seem cheesy. I don't know how he does it, honestly, but it's an oddly touching moment for a film that is probably Anderson's most heartfelt. As a big fan of Anderson's work, I think this and There Will Be Blood are his best to date. 4.5/5

    Also, I'm curious about Winter's Tale. I bought the book a little while ago and have been meaning to read it since I've heard nothing but great things about it. Hopefully the movie is actually worth seeing.

  • http://sweetspotcinema.libsyn.com Disco Paco

    I'm in the middle of grad school thesis work so my movie watching has been quite limited as of late (2 a week or so).

    Friday - 2/7
    THE JERK
    Letterboxd review:
    http://boxd.it/2y4fb

    Saturday - 2/8
    BLUE JASMINE
    Letterboxd review:
    http://boxd.it/2ynLZ

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

    I feel your pain, I'm in the midst of my final semester of undergraduate studies, my final season of track and field, and am also working on my honors thesis. The time I used to have to watch movies just isn't available right now, unfortunately.

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

      That's been me and video games for years now. So hard to find the time. At least with movies, I can watch them while I'm eating breakfast/dinner.

      Good luck with everything! I remember deciding not to finish my own honors' thesis, because it was getting to the point that being able to put "graduated from the honors college" on my resume wasn't worth the amount of work.

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

        Yeah I have actually pretty much given up on video games. I never was a huge gamer, but I used to enjoy a few rounds of FIFA/Madden/etc. with the guys until life just got too busy to find the time for it.

        And thanks! I actually have a sizable lot of friends who have opted out of their respective theses, and I even considered doing the same, but the fact that I paid for the honors education coupled with the knowledge that my thesis will actually leave behind an organization better than my friends and I found it gives me something to push through for.

  • Rohan Michael Morbey

    Last week was a Michael Mann season, with a few new releases in the UK thrown in. Overall a high scoring week as I revisited many films I consider to be perfect:

    Thief (9/10)
    The Keep (2/10)
    The Last of the Mohicans (8/10)
    Heat (10/10)
    RoboCop (2014) (5/10)
    RoboCop (1987) (9/10)
    Dallas Buyers Club (6/10)
    The Insider (10/10)
    The Sting (10/10)
    Miami Vice (8/10)

    What's you're thoughts on my week? Who likes Michael Mann as much as I do?

    Rohan

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

    I haven't had the chance to participate on these columns much recently, but wanted to mention I saw Laurence Anyways and The Great Beauty and loved both. I'll need to adjust my 2013 top ten again because they both deserve to be on it. I'll wait until after this coming weekend to adjust since I'm FINALLY going to see The Past.

  • Xarnis

    Haven't posed in a while, so here's a bunch of stuff I've watched lately:

    Lone Survivor (2013) - 2/5
    The LEGO Movie (2014) - 3.5/5
    Deliverance (1972) - 3/5
    Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (1987) - 3/5
    Dead Poets Society (1989) - 2/5
    The Master (2012) - 4/5
    Killer Joe (2012) - 4/5
    The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) - 3/5
    Taxi Driver (1976) - 5/5
    Dead Man (1995) - 3/5
    The Act of Killing (2013) - 4/5
    Drinking Buddies (2013) - 3/5
    Thief (1981) - 4/5
    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) - 4.5/5
    12 Years a Slave (2013) - 4/5
    Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) - 4/5
    The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - 4/5

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

    20 Feet From Stardom…..entertaining documentary that chronicles the plight of the backup singers through rock and roll’s history. Many of them performed behind the limelight of many legendary acts, and one was even inducted into the Hall of Fame. Great music. Often revealing….B

    The Act of Killing…..ugh, I did not like this account of the 60s Indonesian massacre of many of its people they labeled as inferior or communist. What is weird about the film is that the surviving killers re-enact their crimes on film, for the camera. All in all, it exploits this gruesome chapter in the country’s past while glorifying the killers and making a mockery of the victims. How did this get an Oscar nom?……D

    Live-Action Shorts…..2013’s crop is better than last year’s for sure, and not one of them comes from America this time around. I liked and admired Helium (Denmark), which plays first. It tells the sad story of a dying boy who befriends a mysterious janitor at the hospital. The story is filled with a magical realism and great special effects, with a haunting and very satisfying ending. I liked it best, and it’s the one that should win. 2nd place goes to France’s domestic drama Just Before Losing Eveything then the Spanish war short about child soldiers, That Wasn’t Me. I’m placing my bets on Helium.