What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #235

Four movies and finished a book

While I'll be watching the "True Detective" season finale tonight, this week was relatively television free, though it made for time to watch a couple movies. First there was 300: Rise of an Empire (which I've already reviewed), then The Grand Budapest Hotel, for which I offered up some thoughts, but will have a full review this week. I will say this about Grand Budapest, I could watch it again right now.

At home I watched Criterion's new Blu-ray release of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, which I will have a review for this coming week and just last night I watched Zatoichi the Outlaw, the sixteenth Zatoichi film, as I continue to make my way through Criterion's wonderful presentation of the entire Zatoichi collection of films.

Finally, I finished reading "The Winter People", a ghost story by Jennifer Mcmahon that I really enjoyed. Weaving the narrative of a young woman in 1908 whose daughter is mysteriously killed into a present day story involving the disappearance of Alice, mother of two young daughters and keeper of an age-old secret. It's a quick read and more-or-less, airport fiction, but I quite enjoyed it.

I've now moved to reading "Galveston" from "True Detective" creator Nic Pizzolatto. It's his debut novel and it was only $2.99 on Kindle. For that price how can you not check it out?

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

    Haven't posted in a while due to lack of movies I saw and class work. Also got caught up in House of Cards which I thought was great and superior to the first season. Hoping to start True Detective next.

    At Home:

    Ted - Very funny comedy that holds up. While I really like Seth MacFarlane and am looking forward to A Million Ways to Die in the West, I can't say I'm looking forward to the sequel. Story-wise, I just don't see what else they can do.

    Frozen - When I first saw it, I liked it but didn't necessarily love it. But now I think it's starting to grow on me. It's certainly better than Wreck-it Ralph, but now I can't decide whether or not it's better than Tangled. It's a tough call. All three are worth watching though.

    The Amazing Spider-Man - Better than the first, but not as good as Spider-Man 2. I think the characters are more interesting here than in any of Rami's films. The romance is also better, as are the performances. Very interested in the sequel, although it could really go either way.

    • Xarnis

      I thought the second season of House of Cards was definitely inferior compared to the first season, while still good. It was less interesting; Frank's schemes were either less complex, or completely spelled out for the auidience in his fourth-wall breaks removing a lot of the ambiguity in the first season. The only surprising thing that happened all season was in the first episode and was handled extremely poorly. But still, all the acting was great, and it wasn't bad overall. I liked the season ending a lot.

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

        I thought the twist was rather smart. It proves that the show isn't afraid to take risks and now it raises the stakes of the story. I will agree that it spells out everything, maybe a bit more than it needed to, but the writing and execution of it all saves it. The one thing that really bothered me was the side-story with Claire and the military general and how quickly they moved past it. They set up something really interesting, but resolved it and got rid of him rather quickly.

      • adu

        I agree, the 2nd season felt quite clumsy...and some cheap attempts at making the show feel 'edgy' totally missed the mark for me. It was still entertaining ut I hope season 3 can try to do something different.

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

    Couple of cinema trips this week and a fairly good overall week of viewing.
    In Cinemas -
    The Book Thief (2013): Originally I had been going to go and see 'Her' but when I went that day I was delayed and missed the only convenient showing and opted for this as a fallback, since I was interested in it anyway. It's story of a young girl followed through the War from a German perspective (whilst having caught the apparent attention of the Angel of Death who in the one weird aspect of the film for me, sometimes pops up to narrate proceedings) is beautifully shot and looks great and the young actress playing Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) was luminous onscreen. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson played her adoptive parents well and while I guess at the end of the day it ultimately doesn't tread territory that would be regarded as 'new' it does it all in that fashion that makes you happy you spent the money to watch it, whilst figuring you may not need to watch it a hundred times over. That said, I could see myself maybe buying it on sale down the line as well. I enjoyed it for what it offered.
    The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): It's fair to say I don't really know how to judge a Wes Anderson film. For better or worse so far I've only seen 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' even though I've never specifically avoided his films for any reason. His aesthetic and style seem unique to him and I think if you are either unwilling or unable to become involved with that style it can inhibit your reaction. In fact, I suspect this was an issue with my audience, as I saw maybe all in about eight or nine people leave the cinema before the film ended. An unusually high number in my experience, even though the screening was full enough. I didn't dislike the film, and I didn't fall for it either. Overall, when I left it, it was one of those films that I would say I liked elements of, but not necessarily the whole piece. I though Ralph Fiennes was better than I've seen him in a long time and he was perfectly matched by Tony Revolori as the Lobby Boy Zero but as name filled as the rest of the film is, I didn't feel many others got a huge chance to make a mark (you could blink and miss the likes of Bill Murray and Bob Balaban) and in fact the visuals of the film were wonderful in their deliberate artificiality. It's a film whose candy coloured designs (and the set design was immensely good as well) seem to mask a melancholy undertone of sadness and loss. All this isn't to say I would not watch it again, I would. But I would be happy to wait until it hits rental and then watch it at home and see if I feel any differently about it. I know it's in line for a huge limited PTA opening this weekend but I struggle to see this expanding widely beyond the arthouse/limited release market and Anderson fans.
    At Home -
    Marnie (1964): Blu Ray, rewatch - I saw this on TV a couple months ago and it really interested me a lot, having never seen it before then. Hitchcock's tale of a serial thief (Tippi Hedren) driven by a dark secret that one man (Sean Connery) becomes determined to unravel after she attempts to steal from his company is very well done and quite darkly psychological for perhaps it's time. Technically it's also another example of Hitchcock working well and using every technique at his disposal to construct the mystery and then turn in the reveal. I really liked it even more second time around.
    Silent Running (1972): TV airing, rewatch - I'm slightly cheating as it hasn't quite finished airing yet but I've seen it a few times before anyway. Douglas Trumbull's ahead of itself ecologically sci-fi drama is a film I find quite easy to watch and enjoy. It themes are still of relevance and it's well acted in it's lead role by Bruce Dern, The only real downside is special effects which were superb for their time but which have admittedly dated.................and Joan Baez trilling away on the soundtrack.
    Places in the Heart (1984): DVD, first watch - I really only watched this out of mild curiosity because it was the film Sally Field won her second Best Actress Oscar for. It's a fairly standard feeling Depression era tale of a woman whose husband dies and leaves her with a house she can't pay for. Advised to sell all she has by the Bank, she decides instead to try her hand at business. Not strictly hard hitting most of the time although a couple of racial elements of the time surface it was OK, but curiosity satisfied.
    Paris, Texas (1984): Blu ray, first watch - I've always wanted to catch this and finally did. Sam Shephard's tale of a man (Harry Dean Stanton) lost for some time, found and then trying to reconnect with his son and ultimately his former wife (Nastassia Kinski) was elegiac, dreamlike in places and uniformly one of the most gorgeously shot films of the time that I've seen. It does meander, and it may be stronger when it focuses on Stanton connecting with his son, but by the time he tracks down his ex wife, and the manner in which he finds a way to contact her through the details of the script ends up leading to a scene of such confessional emotion that it transfixes you as he unburden's himself. The cinematography is pure art at times, using neon drenched motels, bright colours, streetlighting, big skies and the vast American landscape to tell the most intimate of stories. It felt like a visual representation of a thousand Americana and Alt-Country tracks I've heard and I lapped up all of it. I might even have loved it even more if I had stumbled across it at 1am and watched it in the complete dark.
    My Left Foot (1989): Blu ray, first watch - Again a slightly Oscar based choice as it occurred to me a while back I had never seen Daniel Day-Lewis's first Best Actor winning performance. He was superb in the tale of Christy Brown, the Irish poet and author born with cerebral palsy but I'm not sure I was overly taken with the film as a whole. I liked it, and it had some nice supporting work by Brenda Fricker and Fiona Shaw and the Blu Ray cleans up the film nicely even as it isn't a visual effects film. A good film, but not one I think I need to watch again anytime soon.
    So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993): Blu Ray, rewatch - For my money, I actually like this and find it more fun than Mike Myers' Austin Powers films (as funny as I admittedly find them as well) and it's one of my favourites. I watched this just for the sheer enjoyment of it and no other reason.
    The Fifth Element (1997): TV airing, rewatch - Having said 'rewatch' I don't actually know how many years it's actually been since I did. I had thought there was a little more to the story than there turned out to be, and in the hands of Luc Besson it feels more like a huge exercise in admitted visual style over substance. I'm not saying I need substance 100% of the time of course, and I don't, so it was a fun sci-fi thriller to revisit. Plenty of energy and good visual effects even if the story and it's themes don't perhaps need much analysis.
    The Proposal (2009): Blu ray, rewatch - It's pure formula and you know how it's going to end even before you start to watch it, but this rom-com features Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds with some actual honest chemistry (which so many rom-com partners seem to not have) between them and some nice lines means I actually quite like it once in a while. It won't change the world and will never be seen as a classic of the genre, but it offers enough when in the mood for an easy 107 minutes.
    Nothing really in TV Land this week although I am going to get going with season 4 of 'Fringe' this coming week, I'm pretty sure.
    That was all this week.

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

      I'm gonna check out the Book Thief soon and you should definitely see Her. It's a fantastic movie.

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

        It looks like I'll have to shift it to a rental, but 'Her' is one I want to watch certainly.

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

          Yep it's definitely a movie that you can also watch at home if you're willing to wait.

    • Art

      Billy Elliot is one I have been wanting watch for a while now, I see it picked up few Oscar nominations.

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

    Movies:

    Masterpiece Classic: Great Expectations Part 1: I decided to visit the book recently and I decided to watch this BBC mini-series after finding it on Netflix. I thought the Production Design was good but I really disliked how they skipped over some key plot points and a very major character in Part 1. I also thought the actress who played Miss Havisham was way too young for the part. Overall, a very average imagining of Great Expectations. I don't know if I will watch Part 2 and Part 3. Maybe if I'm bored one day.

    C-

    12 Years a Slave (2nd viewing): The first time I saw this film I was immensely moved and I thought it was fantastic. I ranked it at #5 on my Best Films of 2013 list. I am happy that it won Best Picture. Watching it a second time was relatively the same experience. I still found myself moved by Northup's courage and strength and I was again in disbelief over how sick and cruel some humans could have been back then to other members of the human race. The performances in this film are great, especially by Lupita N'yongo and Chiwetel Ejiofor. In terms of what the movie was dealing with, there was virtually nothing done wrong. The scene where Patsy is whipped will continue to stay with me as the best and most shocking scene of the film. The Best Picture award was well deserved. After seeing this film 2 times, I think that's enough. I will likely revisit it in a few years because I'm happy it's in my collection.
    A+

    300: Rise of an Empire: I went into this film expecting to have fun but I expected it to not be nearly as good as the first. I was completely surprised by this movie. I actually ended up liking it a lot better than the first movie. Everything about this movie was over the top and it was insane fun. This is my favorite movie of 2014 so far. The biggest compliment I can give this film is that it truly doesn't give a shit what people think about it. It goes all out in outrageously violent battles and even in outrageous sex scenes. This is how you do the sword and sandal epic. So many have tried and almost all have failed to create another 300. This one tries to create another and it does it even better. Eva Green is fantastic as Artemisia, a seductress who is just evil to the core. The most pleasant surprise of this movie was Sullivan Stapleton. I thought he was just as good as Gerard Butler and he was really someone I sympathized with. The ending battle was fantastic and I didn't have any issues with it. I didn't see it in 3D but I imagine it would be fun to watch in 3D because of all the blood. This is just a fantastic movie and a movie that is fun as hell that I think you can love if you don't take it seriously like me. I really hope they make a third one as I would gladly be seeing it on opening weekend.
    A-/A

    TV:

    The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 12: This was another lackluster effort from this show that I really want to love. I felt that the whole episode was unnecessary and I can't wait for the whole group to find each other again. This season has had too many unnecessary episodes like this one that could be put together in maybe 2 episodes instead of like 5. I really hope the episode tonight is good.
    C

    Bates Motel Season 2, Episode 1: This show continues to blow me away and raise my expectations. This season premiere was perfect, balancing a quiet episode while also introducing major story lines. This was probably my favorite episode of the show so far. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are again terrific. The ending of the episode was shocking and I can't want to see what happens tomorrow. My favorite show on TV right now.
    A

    Vikings Season 2, Episode 2: This show is such a pleasant surprise. It works so well as an alternative to Game of Thrones. This season has been very good and it has been even stronger than Season 1 for me. The only complaint I have with this episode, is that I felt that this should have been the season premiere while last week's episode should've been the finale for Season 1. Overall though, Episode 2 was great and I think that the show can and will improve even more.
    A-

    Questions:

    1. Thoughts on What I Watched?
    2. Which did you like better 300 or 300: Rise of an Empire?
    3. Has anyone seen Son of God? Thoughts?
    4. What are some movies you are planning to buy when they are out on Blu-Ray?
    5. Anyone watch either The Walking Dead, Bates Motel, or Vikings? Thoughts?
    6. What is your favorite film of 2014 so far?

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

      1. I've only seen '12 Years a Slave' and it is very good.
      2. I've only seen '300' so far. I'm not a massive fan of it, so the sequel I'll probably see on rental.
      3. No I haven't.
      4. Quite a lot really if the budget extends that far. That said, I've been buying older films more recently.
      5. I'm pretty curious about 'Bates Motel' but as of yet I haven't seen it. I'm too far behind on 'The Walking Dead' to worry about it now. When it's finished I might catch up on the boxset and I don't know a whole lot about 'Vikings' other than it's existence.
      6. Out of 2014 releases I've only seen 'The Railway Man' and 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and in all honesty right now would say I preferred the former by a little bit.
      7. No.
      8. It's not really on my radar, I'll see once it's out.

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

        You should definitely catch up to The Walking Dead once you can. If you're interested in Bates Motel you should absolutely watch it. Even though it's not the best show on TV, I think that I would say that it's the show I enjoy watching most.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1. 12 Years is fantastic.
      2. Haven't seen Rise of an Empire but loved 300.
      3. Haven't seen it.
      4. Inside Llewyn Davis, The Hunger Games : Catching Fire, American Hustle.
      5. Have seen the first and part of the second season of TWD and the pilot of Bates Motel.
      6. The Lego Movie
      8. Maybe.

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

        If you loved 300, you will love Rise of an Empire. Perhaps even more than 300. I'm also planning to buy American Hustle and I just bought Catching Fire on Friday. You should continue with both the Walking Dead and Bates Motel.

        • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

          Very excited to see Rise of an Empire hopefully this week. I am going to buy Catching Fire very soon. Going to definetley continue with Walking Dead and Motel when I can.

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

            I'm happy you will continue with the two shows and that you will see Rise of an Empire.

            • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

              I've seen Rise of an Empire.

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

                thoughts?

              • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

                You'll see on Sunday.

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

                haha ok.

  • Xarnis

    You can find me, and my reviews on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/xarnis/

    The Tree of Life (2011; rewatch) — This is a cathartic experience for me.

    The Tree of Life was aptly labeled by someone as "one of the most subjective films out there" - and I'd tend to agree. The film is largely impressionistic, existential, and incredibly ambitious. With every film like this, there's bound to be people who aren't as taken with the beauty depicted onscreen. Everyone finds beauty in different things, so it makes sense. For me, this is a piece of indescribable wonder and a noteworthy cinematic achievement that will be remembered for many years to come. Malick has created what one would probably call "a visual poem," or as close as one can come to it. And man, is it alluring.

    Having grown up in a fairly small community in Texas - and one could say I still am - I can automatically connect with the deceptively complex (while simultaneously being simple) coming-of-age story at the center of The Tree of Life. The story is also an existential one, spanning from the beginning of time to the adulthood of our protagonist. I can't aptly put into words how much there is to be found in this art piece. It's a simultaneous display and meditation on life, growth, death, wonder, the universe, love, nature, religion, and the essence of being. It's a monster of a film with so much tucked under its belt. Only Terrence Malick, the renowned philosopher/Director could pull off something like this. Someone could spend - literally - days studying this film. And there's no doubt I'll find something new to love every time I return to it.

    What makes film as an art form so great is that it combines the potentials of visual and audio forms of art to create the entire package. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography is incredible, as he knows when to keep the camera moving, and when to let it soak in all the prepossessing scenery. It's also remarkable what he does with depth and mise en scene; Jack's older experiences in the architectural business, and his father's workplaces are shown to be gray, hollow, large, and metallic - while the home is often bright and lovely. The depth of the camera in Jack's adult days seems to represent his mindset and experience coasting through life. And then there's the rest of the shots - every one of them gorgeous.

    It was also refreshing to watch a film that's so stubbornly optimistic - in a good way (especially after watching 7 episodes of True Detective over the past 2 days). This arguably the greatest testament to the true beauty of life that I've seen.

    Not only is The Tree of Life thematically rich, aesthetically wonderous, and philosophically transcendent, it's just a piece of superb moviemaking. This is definitely one of the best films of all time, and remains one of my favorites, as it forever will.

    5/5

    Forrest Gump (1994; rewatch) — Sure, it's politically shaky, and altogether pretty corny, but I'll be damned if it isn't entertaining as hell. It doesn't hurt that Tom Hanks is pretty darn good as the title character, either. It's not really deserving of Best Picture, but I'd give a major pause before calling it bad.

    3/5

    The Silence of the Lambs (1991; first watch) — It's unfortunate that we get so little time with the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, because he's easily the best thing about the film. Anthony Hopkins' performance is chilling, and oozes confidence. He creates a unique character in his psychopathy, giving way to numerous memorable lines and scenes. It's unsurprising that he won Best Actor for his performance back in 1991.

    The rest of the film, however, remains what is a mostly conventional "detective hunt for a serial killer" film. That isn't to say it's not good - it's likely better than most films of the genre - but it's still rather unsurprising in the long run.

    I'm finally glad to knock this one off my shame list. A police thriller that's well worth your time.

    3.5/5

    The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973; first watch) — A solid crime film with a very good performance from Robert Mitchum. Not much to say about this one.

    3/5

    questions:

    1. Favorite Terrence Malick film?
    2. What film (or actor/actress) were you most happy to see take home and Oscar last Sunday
    3. What was the most egregious Oscar snub last Sunday?
    4. What is your favorite Best Picture winner?

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

      1) I've only seen The Thin Red Line which I liked, but sometimes I felt Malick couldn't totally live up to his ambitions. I'm holding out on watching Tree of Life until after I've seen Badlands and Days of Heaven.

      2) The screenplay win for Her warmed my heart.

      3) I try not to get annoyed at Oscar snubs, but 20 Feet From Stardom over Act of Killing? Really Academy?

      4) The Godfather: Part II

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

      1. The Thin Red Line.
      2. The Great Beauty for best foreign language film.
      3. Meryl Street or Judi Dench for best actress. Also wanted Ordinary Love to win best song.
      4. The Godfather.

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

      1. I've only seen 'The Thin Red Line', 'Badlands' and 'To The Wonder'. I'd say 'Badlands' of those three as it was around 1999 I last saw 'The Thin Red Line' and do remember thinking it was very good, but yet I've forgotten much of what actually happened in it.
      2. I didn't have strong feelings either way.
      3. Same as above.
      4. 'The Apartment' (although that is actually a very difficult one as quite a few previous BP winners are among my own favourite films).

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

      1. The Thin Red Line
      2. I was happy to see 12 Years a Slave win its three awards, as well as the wins for Alfonso Cuaron and Emmanuel Lubezki.
      3. I would have rather seen someone like Will Forte nominated over Bradley Cooper in the supporting actor category, or Chiwetel Ejiofor win Best Actor (although I like McConaughey, despite his decidedly unendearing acceptance speeches).
      4. That's a tough one. I'd probably choose between The Godfather Part II, On the Waterfront, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Apartment.

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

      1. The New World, although I wouldn't say I'm a fan of him in general.

      2. I thought Lupita Nyong'o deserved her award. And although I didn't really care for Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey was terrific in it.

      3. I would've given Barkhad Abdi the win over Leto. In fact, I would've given the Oscar to any four of those nominees before Leto. A fine performance, no doubt, but massively overpraised. That, and I still don't understand why Tom Hanks wasn't nominated for Captain Phillips.

      4. Hmm, that's tough. I'll have to get back to you on that.

    • http://www.imdb.com/list/aqXTFXDPhQY/ Exxdee13

      1. Tried to watch Tree of Life, but became irritated after an hour and didn't finish it. I've heard great things about The Thin Red Line though.

      2. Really happy to see Lupita and especially Her for best original screenplay.

      3. Not too many, but would have liked to see Judi Dench win for Philomena or Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

      4. Her, for sure. 12 Years a Slave a close second, but still haven't seen The Wolf of Wall Street (and I like Scorsese films).

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

        He said best picture winner, not best picture nominee. What is your favorite film that has ever won best picture?

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

          Forrest Gump, The Godfather and No Country for Old Men all won Best Picture.

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

            He edited it. First he had two of this years nominees listed. I can understand how that can be confusing

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      1. Haven't seen any Malick.
      2. Her winning Best Original Screenplay.
      3. Her not winning anything else.
      4. I've only seen a select few but Forrest Gump is my favorite.

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

    Not too much for me this week, but I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things going forward. Any way...

    In Theaters:

    The Wind Rises- If this is Miyazaki's last film (though we all hope that it's not), it is a perfectly suitable final job. The animation is absolutely gorgeous, and though the lengthy story drags at a few points, the ending is satisfying. I was surprised how poignant the love story felt, and how magical the dream sequences seemed. A final note about those dream sequences though, was anyone else reminded of Ratatouille with the Italian plane designer replacing the role of Gusteau to inspire and encourage the passionate protagonist? Just a thought... 3/4

    At Home:

    Jackie Brown (rewatch)- Doesn't hold up quite as well on repeat viewings, as a good portion of the tension is gone. Still, this Tarantino gem doesn't get the recognition it deserves. It's the director's most restrained film by a long shot, Sam Jackson gives a career best performance, and the last hour is phenomenal. 3.5/4

    Princess Mononoke (rewatch)- Of the 5 Miyazaki films I've seen, this is my favorite. Also one of the most rewatchable fantasy films I've ever seen. 3.5/4

  • Falcon

    On a five star scale:

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold 1965 ★★★½

    Along with the Alec Guinness Smiley miniseries the best translation of John Le Carre to the screen. Pockmarked and evidently alcoholic was he already seems to have been at the time, Richard Burton may have been too attractive for the role, but he captures the weariness and spiritual emptiness of his character as completely as the sodden black and white captures the bleakness of the story and the world. The time when films dealt with the politics of the day with the honesty and seriousness of this one seems even more remote than the world they described.

    The Red Shoes 1948 ★★★★★

    Visually luscious, technically brilliant, and artistically gratifying. Though it shares the general outline of other "show business" pictures superficially, it is an singular film quite unlike anything I've ever seen. Powell and Pressberger walk the finest line between fable and reality and render the distinction irrelevant or at least uninteresting. Anton Walbrook is elegant, menacing and heartbreaking by turns. The extraordinary fifteen-minute ballet at the center of the film is subtly enhanced by Powell's magic and seems to go by in about five minutes. By itself it is one of the greatest things on film.

    Her 2013 ★★★½

    A surprisingly enjoyable dream, best not examined too closely in the cold light of logic or common sense. Phoenix has a very difficult job holding our visual interest as the aural romance develops and he pulls it off for the most part, though I found myself closing my eyes and just listening since the only thing to watch was him doing the same.

    American Hustle 2013 ★★★½

    Enjoyable film felt like it should be rollicking fun but never quite succeeds. Some of the problem lies in the Bradley Cooper character which is undefined and unbelievable and never gains our sympathy, and Cooper is not an actor to overcome that. There is also a calculation to the film that put me at arm's length and kept me from surrendering to it even though I wanted to. All the musical cues were a little too spot on. Too bad really. It was good to see that Robert De Niro can still be really scary though.

    Nebraska 2013 ★★★

    This somehow feels more like the debut of a promising new film maker than the product of a veteran with three or four more polished films to his credit. There are many lovely shots of the landscape and a nice sense of place with many small roles charmingly played by non-professionals, but the script is clumsy and none of the main performances are particularly strong or believable

    The premise is weak, but not fatally so, yet nothing is done to sell it on the most rudimentary level. The family reunion is never given even a gloss of probability and seems only engineered for one or two shots of the menfolk gathered in awkward silence in front of the TV. The character of the mother has no sense of reality and seems only engineered to provide the meager laughs to be had by hearing an old lady swear and pull up her dress. Will Forte's performance is stiff and amateurish. Bruce Dern's is fine as far as it goes, which is mainly from bewildered to confused only pausing at lucid once, and then too briefly to do anything but slightly temper the unflattering pity we feel for him with interest.

    If Payne had taken given the script the thorough rewrite it so desperately needed and taken a firmer hand guiding his performers he could have had something here, but as it stands it is a moderately enjoyable failure.

    Grand Illusion 1937 ★★★★★

    Quietly, staggeringly brilliant film. Like many great films you realize that it's good as you're watching it but it's not until afterward that the true impact seeps in and you understand just how great it is. There's a reason it was chosen as the first film in the Criterion Collection. Now I'm going to have to buy it.

    The Sundowners 1960 ★★★½

    Quietly involving story of itenerent sheep drovers in Australia is told with warmth, good humor and no false sentiment. Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr have good chemistry and are believable as a couple in middle age at odds as to how to face the future. Their Aussie accents are a bit jarring at first but neither tries too hard and like the somewhat bouncy, old-fashioned score they soon seem to receed and become less noticeable. One of the rare films with no "bad guys"; the dramatic tension comes from good people who just want different things. Like much of real life.

    Random Harvest 1942 ★★★★

    The sort of thing that gives melodrama a good name. Exquisite MGM weeper given first-class treatment with possibly the best-looking leading man and lady combination on film.

    Drinking Buddies 2013 ★★½

    Moderately interesting exercise in improvisation begins well but eventually just ends up demonstrating why films should have scripts.

    Any thoughts?

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

    Kill Your Darlings (John Krokidas, 2013) 4/10
    Le Week-End (Roger Mitchell, 2013) 7/10
    Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton, 2013) 9/10
    Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg, 2013) 8/10
    The Girl from the Wardrobe (Bodo Kox, 2013) 5/10
    Concussion (Stacie Passon, 2013) 6/10
    The Rendez-Vous of Déjà-Vu (Antonin Peretjatko, 2013) 7/10

    1. Any thoughts on the films I watched?

    • Art

      Haven't seen any, but Short Term 12 was one I have on my radar from 2013. Hope to catch it soon.

      • http://www.imdb.com/list/aqXTFXDPhQY/ Exxdee13

        I saw Short Term 12 too and it's fantastic. Definitely in my top 5, almost felt like a documentary and Brie Larson. Drinking Buddies is good especially the women, but that ending left me wanting more. Might check out Kill Your Darlings for the beat period content

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

      I've not actually seen any of them, but 'Kill Your Darlings' and 'Short Term 12' are ones I want to see. I'm not familiar with your other watches this week though.

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

      I've only seen Short Term 12. I loved it and I'd give it an A-. I thought Brie Larson and the kids in the movie were fantastic. I'd definitely watch it again and I wont hesitate to buy it if I find it at a good price. It was one of my favorite movies of 2013 but it didn't make my Top 10. I think it was somewhere from #13-#15.

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

      The only films I've seen are Short Term 12 and Drinking Buddies. But I loved them both. They both made my Top 10 for last year.

  • Art

    Rush

    A brilliant sport rivalry film. Oscar winner Ron Howard delivers a
    beautiful and intense film, telling the true story of two contrasting
    racers. Both characters are written very well in their own way. Golden
    Globe nominee Daniel Bruhl delivers a fantastic performance
    as the stern and passionate Niki Lauda.
    (8.7/10)

    Lee Daniel's the Butler

    A touching film set in an
    important time in African American history. The film follows two
    incredible stories of father and son during the difficult time portrayed
    greatly by Forest Whitaker and David Oyelow who both
    do a phenomenal job. There are many great performances by the Actor's
    Guild nominated cast. The film climaxes in a very touching manner.
    (8/10)

    All is Lost

    An survival film filled with
    plenty of beauty but also a bit boring. Technically the film was
    beautifully shot with great music led by the score from Golden Globe
    winner Alex Ebert. Oscar winner Robert Redford also
    does a god job in the titular role, a man against the obstacles at sea.
    The film delivers a good message but I wasn't blown away as most
    critics due it feeling boring at times.
    (6/10)

    American Horror Story: Coven

    Another scary installment of
    the horror hit, though a bit too silly. The writing is at times clever,
    touching on issues such as aging, jealousy, and race but at other times
    a bit over the top. Most of the performances
    are good, led by Oscar winner Jessica Lange. There are also some
    fitting appearances by Grammy winner Stevie Nicks.
    (6.5/10)

    Heavenly Creatures (Per Peter Jackson's PGA Vanguard award)

    The great Peter Jackson
    dlivers his visual style and darkness in Heavenly Creatures, but not his
    best work. Even though flawed Kate Winslet has a huge breakout
    performance, demonstrating her passionate skills that
    eventually leads to an Oscar. The script is very well done, but the true
    story subject is too disturbing.
    (6.5/10)

    1) Agree? Disagree?
    2) Favorite Cuba Gooding Jr. performance?
    Mine is Jerry Maguire
    3) Favorite Robert Redford performance?
    4) Favorite Stevie Nicks work?
    5) Favorite Ron Howard work?
    Mine is Rush
    6) Favorite Kate Winslet performance?

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

      1) Rush is pretty spot on, maybe a little higher. And I hated The Butler.
      2) Boyz in da Hood
      3) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
      5) Cinderella Man

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

        1) Yea, Rush was one of my favorite 2013 films

        2) Haven't seen it, but it seems like a film right up my alley
        3) Sounds like a heck of a film, I see Redford won a Bafta for that performance.

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

      1) Rush 8/10
      The Butler 7/10
      All Is Lost 9/10
      2) Men of Honor
      3) The Sting / Spy Game
      5) A Beautiful Mind
      6) Revolutionary Road

      • Art

        1) Really enjoyed Rush as well. I wasn't the biggest All is Lost fan, but I can see why you would enjoy it.
        5) Have heard great things. I saw he received two Oscars for it.

        6) Yea that was a good one.

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

    Evan Almighty- B-
    300- B
    The Dark Knight Rises- B+
    12 Years A Slave- A+
    A Good Day To Die Hard- D
    John Carter- B-
    Blades Of Glory- B
    Machete- B
    21 Jump Street- A+

    Thoughts on what I watched this week?

    Also, what did everyone think of the Oscars? Were you happy with the winners?

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

      Evan Almighty 3/10
      The Dark Knight Rises 10/10
      12 Years a Slave 10/10
      A Good Day to Die Hard 1/10
      Blades of Glory 6/10
      Machete 9/10
      21 Jump Street 7/10

      Oscars were fine. Very predictable this year (I've got 22 of 24 - missed on two short film categories). But I really liked Ellen and her approach to the show. Very happy for Paolo Sorentino for the success of The Great Beauty. A little sad that my favorite US film Nebraska didn't win anything, but that was expected. So I guess six nominations are still a good recognition.

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

      From what I've seen there I'd probably go C on '300' and 'The Dark Knight Rises', probably a 'D' on John Carter and I was going to say for what it was stay the same on 'Blades of Glory' but as I think about that, I'd probably go C as well.

      I thought the spread was pretty much as expected. I was fine with the results but didn't watch it itself.

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Would give Evan Almighty a B, 300 a B+, The Dark Knight Rises an A+, John Carter a B+, and 21 Jump Street an A-.

      I liked the Oscars. They were fun to watch and Ellen got better as the night progressed. I was happy with most of the winners and did very well with my picks.

    • m1

      I would go C on Evan Almighty, the same on The Dark Knight Rises, C- on John Carter and Blades of Glory, and B+ on 21 Jump Street.

      I can't comment too much on the winners but I am happy Frozen took home Best Animated and Cate Blanchett's Best Actress win was well-earned, to say the least.

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

      A B???? A B????? YOU MUST B WRONG!

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

      Evan Almighty: C
      300: B-
      The Dark Knight Rises: D+
      12 Years a Slave: Abstain
      A Good Day to Die Hard: D+
      John Carter: C-
      Blades of Glory: C+
      Machete: C
      21 Jump Street: A-
      I really didn't like how they were basically already set weeks in advanced. There were no surprises. Gravity winning 7 Oscars is a joke. And Ellen, while entertaining, was a major step down from Seth MacFarlane.

      • Hudsucker

        Well, even if you didn't like Gravity, you have to admit almost all of it's technical Oscars were well deserved.

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

          That's where I disagree. But then again I hate movies like Gravity.

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

      Evan Almighty-Saw this a long time ago and I don't remember it at all.
      300-B/B+
      The Dark Knight Rises-A+ (One of my favorite movies of all time)
      12 Years a Slave-A+
      A Good Day to Die Hard-Haven't seen it
      John Carter-B+ (Pleasant surprise)
      Blades of Glory- Haven't seen it.
      Machete- Haven't seen it.
      21 Jump Street- A-

      Oscars were very good. Ellen did a great job, a lot better than I expected. I wanted Her to win Best Picture but that would never happen so I was happy with 12 Years a Slave taking it as I would've been with Gravity, American Hustle, or The Wolf of Wall Street taking it.

    • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

      I'd give Evan Almighty a C- and 21 Jump Street an A-. I liked the Oscars, even though they were very safe and predictable. I'm happy with most of the wins, especially the wins for Spike Jonze, Alfonso Cuaron, and Emmanuel Lubezki.

  • andyluvsfilms

    Must See-

    Very Good-
    Nebraska
    Scenic Route
    Facing Ali (Muhammed Ali Doc)

    Good-
    The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Unhung Hero (Small Penis Doc!!)
    A Place At The Table (American Food Poverty Doc)

    Ok-
    Oldboy (2013)

    Avoid-

    Higher? Lower?

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

      Nebraska into "Disappointing/Avoid" for me. It felt very, very mean. Payne's worst.

      • andyluvsfilms

        It just sneaked into 'Very Good' to be honest, i'd agree it's probably Payne's weakest but Dern was magnificent and i really loved the ending.

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

      Oldboy to Very Good or Must See. I haven't seen the original, that might be why I liked it so much.

      • andyluvsfilms

        I preferred the original, the remake lacked intensity and the fight scenes were way over choreographed to the point of looking ridiculous.

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

          I definitely will watch the original when I can.

    • Hudsucker

      Scenic Route? Must be a Battleship Pretension listener. (Only like 5 people on this site will get that joke.)

      • andyluvsfilms

        Have you seen it? There's a lot more to it than you would think and it's bloody hilarious in places too.

        • Hudsucker

          I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I want to see it.

          • andyluvsfilms

            Tis on Netflix, old sport.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Everyone check out my reviews on YouTube -
    G-Man Movie Reviews

    Doing this from phone so will be brief.

    The Karate Kid (1984) - my favorite movie of all-time. Find more to enjoy about it with each viewing. 10 / 10

    The Mist (2007) - starts off decent but then really takes a nose dive. Didn't care for the ending and characters made dumb decisions. 4.5 / 10

    The Great Outdoors (1988) - in honor of 20 years since John Candy passed. Not particularly good, but enjoyed the setting and Aykroyd's performance. Hughes has written better. 5 / 10

    Can't Hardly Wait (1998) - fun high school movie with a lot of people famous in late 90s who I forgot about. Covered all the HS stereotypes well. 6 / 10

  • ashdurdin

    Dead Man (1995): One of the best films I've seen in a while. I loved the way the film unfolds and it looks great. I now want to check out more Jim Jarmusch films.

    The Doe Boy (2001): Okay Native American independent drama, but definitely has a direct-to-video feel.

    Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (rewatch): Not as suspenseful as I remember, but still good.

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013): Once the game starts, it gets good, which makes me worried about the next film which doesn't have one.

  • m1

    Nebraska (2013)-Yet another wonderful addition to Alexander Payne's filmography, though I do have a few minor issues with it. Although this contains many of the themes of Payne's earlier movies, the fact that this is not his script definitely shows. The pacing is much more languid and patient and not all of the comedy moments blend with the dramatic narrative of the story. However, it succeeds also thanks to some wonderful performances from Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and a riotous June Squibb. 9/10

    Rush (2013)-As a fan of Ron Howard's biopics I was eagerly anticipating this and was glad to see it live up to the hype. From a writing standpoint I think Peter Morgan has certainly done better, but Howard offers up some of his most out-of-left-field directorial efforts in years with the help of some vibrant production values and exhilarating race sequences. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl are amazing. It's a shame this couldn't earn any Oscar nominations because it certainly would have been worthy. 8.5/10

    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)-I actually did not mind the 2010 first installment but this sequel takes everything that was exciting and clever about the novels and blows it all away. The whole movie is smothered with limp one-liners, unconvincing performances, boring characters, and endless CGI sequences. Certain scenes that should be serious verge dangerously towards camp. This whole thing was just a bore and yet another underwhelming YA adaptation that does not do its source material justice at all. 3/10

    Turbo (2013)-Or as I like to call it, "Ratatouille with snails." Because that's what this movie is. Dreamworks has just become derivative at this point if this limply plotted, moderately funny, conflict-free movie is the best they can do. The days of top tier Dreamworks movies like Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, and the first two Shrek movies are long gone and it's a shame, really. 5/10

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

    The Lego Movie - Lots of energy and fun packed into a pretty well paced 100 minute movie. I am one of those people who had just about zero interest in this movie when I saw the trailer a few months back, but was pleasantly surprised. It's a little uneven at times and gets a little didactic in its already obvious message toward the end, but Morgan Freeman and, especially, Will Arnett are pretty hilarious. 3.5/5

    Re-watch:

    Schindler's List - I'd say this is probably my favorite of Spielberg's dramatic efforts. Not an uncommon opinion it seems, but it really is him working at the peak of his powers. Liam Neeson is great and Ralph Fiennes is thoroughly chilling as Amon Goeth, who is pretty much evil incarnate. Beautifully shot by Janusz Kaminski as well, especially the scene at night when the train arrives at Auschwitz and it's snowing. 5/5

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jinjuriki187/ jinjuriki187

    the artist (twice), true detective, justified, black sails, how i met your mother, naruto shippuden, the walking dead, south park, spring breakers and non stop.

  • Austin

    The Grey - B-
    Meet John Doe - B-
    Planes - D
    Intouchables - A
    Now You See Me - C+

  • http://jakesaysstuff.blogspot.com jake_w

    300: Rise of an Empire - Not as enjoyable as the first and nowhere near as quotable, but I still thought this was a bloody good time in IMAX 3D. Eva Green in particular was fun to watch as Artemisia.

    Lone Survivor - I really didn't like the first 20 or so minutes of this movie. It played off like a recruitment ad for the Navy SEALs and everything was just kinda flat. But once the story actually kicked in, and become more of a movie and less of a recruitment ad, I enjoyed it immensely and thought it was pretty suspenseful. Ben Foster in particular I thought delivered a great performance.

    Rented About Time and Cloud Atlas, but haven't gotten around to watching them yet. It'll be my 2nd attempt trying to watch Cloud Atlas.

  • yao21

    In Fear (2013): Very good horror movie, scary and claustrophobic. Grade: B+

  • Sam

    Movies:

    Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (Re-watch): Pure cinema. My dad is a filmmaker and I remember when I was 8, the Iranian TV showed this and my dad told me to watch it and it was one of the weirdest experiences that I had and I found it quite horrifying at some points (especially the episodes "The Weeping Demon" and "The Tunnel" ) now I'm 17 and I watched it again over the weekend and it was just amazing. Probably my favorite Kurosawa film.

    TV shows: True Detective, The Pacific and House of Cards.

    And I started reading "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman for the third time!

  • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

    This is my first time doing this so bear with me.

    The Pit And The Pedulum: A pretty good old horror film. The stuff that goes on around the end is monumentally better than the rest of the movie but I'd recommend it to any horror fan. 7/10.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Edgar Wright is one of my favorite comedy directors and I'm surprised I didn't see this sooner. This movie usually divides viewers and I probably would've been on the negative side if Edgar Wright didn't direct. The music is really good as well as the ensemble but it's pacing is shaky and is a bit too long. 6/10.

    Punch Drunk Love: I'm really glad I watched this. After not really connecting with the two previous PTA movies I watched (There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights) I finally am a big fan of one of his movies. It has great cinematography, the music from my favorite composer Jon Brion is great, and Adam Sandler delivered one hell of a performance I didn't see coming from him. 9/10.

    Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story: I just finished watching this and it's alright. It has some very funny moments but also some very not funny moments. John C Reilly is really good though. 6/10.

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

      Punch-Drunk Love sounds good. I'm not a Sandler fan, but it sounds like his best work.

      • http://letterboxd.com/mrthejarret/ Jarret

        It definitely is.

  • interiris

    Inside Llewyn Davis was much funnier than expected.Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan were both excellent especially Mulligan who really surprised me. The cat was hypnotic.

  • Havatar

    I haven't had much time to watch movies due to school work. However, it was precisely school that caused me to experience one of the best films I've seen in a while: Alex Cox's "Walker." I saw it for a history and film course, and it absolutely blew me away. The black comedy, Western style and Joe Strummer's catchy frenetic score, coupled with the surreal quality and intentional anachronisms had me glued to the screen the entire time. While I enjoy a good historical film or period piece, I absolutely loved how this film deconstructs the historical movie, and embraces the way all historical accounts are shaped and tinged by the present.

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

    L.A. Confidential (Rewatch): A fantastically made film from Curtis Hanson and based on the popular James Elroy novel. I enjoy it more and more every time I watch it. The ensemble cast headlined by Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, and Russell Crowe is top notch. Crowe is the standout here, I still can't understand how he wasn't nominated for the Oscar for this. Kim Basinger's Oscar winning turn is, in my opinion, the worst performance in the film, though she's still good. A+

    The Bourne Ultimatum (Rewatch): The best of the series. Excellent storytelling, superb direction from the great Paul Greengrass, and the cast headlined by Matt Damon is pitch perfect. One of the best action films of the past decade, it represents the end of a time when trilogies were made to complete the story and not to make big money. A+

    The Wrestler (First Watch): A powerful film with a heartbreaking performance by Mickey Rourke in the central role. Although it gets a little bogged down at times in it's own depression, the real reason to watch this is the performance by Rourke. It's a brilliant piece of acting from a man whose life reflects the life of the man he's portraying. How Sean Penn's performance in Milk won the Oscar over this on the grounds of performance alone is impossible. A-

    I also watched the first season of House of Cards. I haven't been able to finish season 2 yet, but I'm really enjoying it.

    1) Thoughts on what I watched?
    2) Who gives the best performance of the main cast in L.A. Confidential?
    3) What is your favorite Kevin Spacey performance?
    4) Rate the Bourne films.
    5) What are your top 5 performances of the most recent decade?

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

      1) I've been meaning to watch the Bourne trilogy,have great things about it.
      3) I like his work in se7en
      5) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Christophe Waltz (Inglorious Bastards), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)

    • m1

      1. I would say A+ on L.A. Confidential, A- on The Bourne Ultimatum, and A+ on The Wrestler.
      2. I think Kevin Spacey really does give the best performance.
      3. American Beauty
      4. Ultimatum is the best, Supremacy is the second best, then Identity and Legacy are pretty much a tie at third.
      5. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master).

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

      1) L.A. Confidential - 8/10
      The Bourne Ultimatum - 9/10
      The Wrestler - 9/10
      2) Kevin Spacey
      3) The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, The Negotiator
      4) Bourne films:
      1. Identity
      2. Ultimatum
      3. Supremacy
      All three - 9/10
      5) Michael Shannon - Take Shelter
      Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom
      Edgar Ramirez - Carlos
      Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
      Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone

  • robotsrule

    I watched the new 300. I liked the parts where Eva Green is not wearing so many clothes.

    Mostly been watching True Detective. Still Haven't seen House of Cards so maybe I'll get to that next.

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

    THE INVISIBLE MAN - (Whale, 1933) [First time watch]

    James Whales' THE INVISIBLE MAN is a punk rock song of a movie. It's short, knows what it wants and is to the point about it. It efficiently explores a couple themes and does so all the while keeping an entertaining pace. The glee of becoming invisible, the paranoia of never knowing if an imminent invisible threat is a foot away and the inevitable torture of the condition all are present in the film.

    The decision to not have an "origin story" was on the money. Instead, to start with Griffin already afflicted adds to the lack of connection to his character. We meet him and he's already another. That makes it all the more tragic when his humanity is revealed as the final shot of the film. The story does a great job in having you come around to the invisible man. The correct amount of character development through action and interaction is always impressive. And of course, Whales' use of dollies add suspense buttons to the end of eerie scenes.

    And of course, we have a radiant (yet she's given nothing to do) in Gloria Stuart, aka the old lady from TITANIC but the guy who always steals the show no matter what film he's in CLAUDE MOTHER EFFIN RAINS. Without him the movie would not be the same. He's as crucial as Whale and HG Wells to the film. Rains essentially turns in a voice-over performance but through his Rainsisms injects the character with the right amount of wit, charm and melancholy. One of the greats.

    I know I've seen a good movie when I wish it was a half hour longer.

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

    TD Finale:

    I think a lot of people are over-rating this episode. The show was phenomenal, and it had a couple of 10s before this one. But this episode was a flat 7 for me. We had all these clues and NONE of them were used to find the killer. It just ended up being like every other cop show. The cop makes a huge leap, finds the bad guy, puts a bullet in him, and doesn't ask any further questions. Marty just suddenly remembers the green house after looking at the green ears. It pays off, they catch him, and that's it. Nothing that we learned before really matters at all. In fact, the whole investigation aside from the house and the green ears were necessary. The Tuddles and Childress family research were completely inconsequential to the actual solving of the murder. Even if this same story will be followed up in the future, nothing changes the fact that the 12 years of clues research were completely unusable. Marty solved the case because of a hunch. I think it was a weak finale and didn't deserve to cap off the rest of the series.