What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #168

A busy week of seven flicks for me, how about you?

V/H/S posterIt was a busy week for movies for me and I didn't really realize how busy until I started writing up this edition of What I Watched. Theatrically I saw screenings of Red Dawn, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and Rise of the Guardians while at home I watched screeners of V/H/S, West of Memphis and This is 40. And finally, I watched David O. Russell's Flirting with Disaster in preparation for tomorrow's Movie Club discussion.

With Twilight you already know what I thought and between Red Dawn and Rise of the Guardians, one was pretty good while the other was awful, I will let you know which one is which in the coming days as both hit theaters on Wednesday.

On the screener side of things I'll keep my thoughts on This is 40 to myself for the moment, but I will say there are reviews out there that I disagree with entirely. West of Memphis is a great documentary and likely to be the front-runner for the Oscar Best Documentary (feature) category, particularly because it actually helped get one man off death row and two others out of jail for crimes they didn't commit.

And V/H/S I watched last night and if I can find the time in the next couple days I will write a little more on it, but I will say it is one hell of a horror film with one troubling flaw... It's two long. It's essentially a group of horror short films as a group of people enter a house to collect a videotape for which they will be paid upon retrieval only to find several tapes throughout the house. Each tape they watch contains a different, horrifying story.

Had each of these short films been edited down by five minutes, the collective of directors including Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg and Ti West could have delivered a film just over 90 minutes long and it could have become one of the best horror films I've ever seen. However, each segment is so long I couldn't help but becoming continually bored despite how great each of them is.

Your turn now, what did you watch?

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

    I had no idea there were even any reviews out yet for This is 40! Wondering what you thought, especially since you said you really had no desire to see it.

    • Chris

      Me too! Can't wait to see This is 40

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

    The assasination of Jesse James by the coward Rober Ford rewatch blu-ray: magnificant movie, really everything works for me 10/10

    Rust and Bone rewatch blu-ray: The acting is so good in this raw drama, Schoenaerts and Cotillard are great. just really love this movie, one of this year's best 9/10

    The amazing spider-man rewatch blu-ray: really like the way Peter Parker is put in this movie, how he became spider-man and the whole vibe of himself , but the villain and last 30 minutes are just not so great, still awarding this with some good grade because of the way they recreated the spider-man universe, put a good villain in there with a little bit more realisism you will have a really good superhero movie 6.5/10

    Memento rewatch blu-ray: Christopher Nolan's Memento is probably his best work to date. 9.5/10

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

    Also saw the Lincoln Lawyer again , realy like this movie. the movie works well for me. Mcconaughey is good and the movie as a whole does what is needs to do, and that is a rare thing these days with thrillers. 8/10

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Agree on Lincoln Lawyer. Underrated 2011 movie.

  • jamie

    LAWLESS - a much better film could have been made. it was much more violent than i was expecting. the character development left me wanting, although the performances from lebeouf and hardy were exceptional. hardy especially. it's almost impossible to look away from the screen when he's on. (man crush meter 8/10) film 6.5/10

    on another note...correct me if i'm wrong brad, but wasn't the memphis 3 released directly from the paradise lost doc's? i saw the 3rd when it came out, and i'm pretty sure that they dealt with that in the film itself. i think i read that there was some animosity from the HBO documentarians because of Jackson coming along and possibly receiving credit for the change that occurred, that was purely related to the original Paradise Lost Trilogy.

    • Torryz

      I totally agree. The first two Paradise Lost movies came out before Peter Jackson knew anything about the West Memphis Three. I like Jackson and appreciate that he helped their defense fund but he can't take too much of the credit in getting them freed.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

        The first two Paradise Lost films are addressed in this doc and mentioned as contributing factors. West of Memphis is a documentary, however, that has been in the making for some time and people involved with the investigative team behind the documentary were directly responsible for acquiring evidence that helped in getting the three freed.

        I say this not having seen any of the Paradise Lost films however, so please excuse my ignorance if I am missing something.

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

    IN THEATRES:
    The Sessions- I was originally going to see Lincoln, but I saw this instead. I was worried that it would be overtly cheesy and sentimental, and it was, but in a very good, very entertaining way. John Hawkes is the glue that holds together the film, and he makes it work. 9.5/10

    AT HOME:
    Advise and Consent- Despite the longish running time, this film is still remarkably entertaining. Charles Laughton is deviously entertaining in what would be his last film, and overall the film manages to be dramatic without going completely over the top. 9/10

    Run Silent, Run Deep- Average film, kind of boring. Nothing spectacular, save maybe for the special effects, which are good, but then again good special effects doesn't always equal good movie. 7/10

    Cat People- Over the top, slightly boring, uninteresting. Jacques Tourner has made better films. 6/10

    Primer- I thought I understood it, and then it completely lost me in the last 15 minutes. I like films that challenge me to think, but this one put my brain into overtime. In the end it was interesting, but too much for me. 7/10

    Flirting With Disaster- I'll save my thoughts for tomorrow. 6.5/10

    Belle de Jour- I've never been a big Bunuel fan, but I like this one for some reason. It's entertaining and Catherine Denevue gives a great performance. 9/10

    Doctor Zhivago- It has been labeled a "classic", mainly for the sheer epic scope of the film. That said the film does run on for too long, and the score is sometimes too sentimental, but it is still entertaining and worth the watch. 9/10

    Lacombe, Lucien- A very sad, poignant film. I love Malle, and while this may be the weakest I've seen so far, it still packs quite a punch. 9.5/10

    I hope to see silver linings and lincoln next week, but for now, that's it.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      Belle de Jour is probably my favorite Bunuel after The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

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

        Before Belle de Jour, I never saw a Bunuel I didn't openly despise, no offense to Bunuel fans, but for some reason I really liked this one.

  • Travis

    Really haven't watched a ton of movies recently, I've been busy. I'm supposed to watch A Wedding Banquet by Ang Lee for class, but haven't had time yet. I've rewatched Sherlock, which I give all of them 10/10, except for the 2nd of each season, which sit at about 8/10. This week will be busy-I have Twilight, Skyfall, and maybe a Lincoln screening scheduled, as well as a heckling of Brave.

  • Winchester

    I suppose my gut would tell me to imagine which is the 'awful' one and which isn't but a suppose a twist could be in store.........

    No cinema trips this week. So all home viewing.

    Laura (1944): DVD, rewatch - A fine noir of the era and even if the overall plot and twist is a bit straightforward by today's standards it's very well made and great to sink into in a pleasingly old fashioned way.

    Singin' in The Rain (1952): TV, first watch - I believe this must have been some kind of restored edition of the film that aired because picture quality and colours were very sharp and vibrant. But it's light-hearted take on the shift from Silent's to Talkie's was immensely entertaining. I kinda in part watched it because I had never really seen the famous rain sequence in full and in context. Now I have, I wouldn't necessarily rush to rewatch it but I did like it. And if even half the story is true then Hollywood is no different today than it was in the past!

    Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan (1984): TV airing, first watch - A clearly lavish for the time production based on the Edgar Burroughs book though I don't think it follows the book exactly. In honesty, it was a bit flat and a bit of a slog to get through. The story was fine, but Chistopher Lambert and Andie MacDowell (in her debut) were not that good performance wise. Visually it was pretty good though in the jungle sequences and in the jungle studio set design as well. Trivia test though - who knows which actress overdubbed MacDowell's entire dialogue in this film?

    Lost in Space (1998): TV airing, rewatch - It's very noisy and very messy and some of the dialogue and delivery are howlers............but I think that's why in rare instances I sorta like it. It has some immensely impressive production and set design going on although visual effects range severely from held up well, to aged terribly. Gary Oldman is cartoonily good as Dr Smith but the film does remain a mess really.

    You've Got Mail (1998): TV airing, rewatch - I prefer 'Seattle' really and I think this is a bit rambling and too long for what it is, but it's an above par rom-com with that Nora Ephron touch of class reeking from the dialogue and photography. A pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

    Valkyrie (2008): TV airing, rewatch - It doesn't purport to be completely factual about the events it's based on but I think broadly it does cover the internal assassination plot against Hitler that came closest to working. A good cast led by Tom Cruise and solid direction from Snyder make this an entertaining film but not one to watch over and over.

    Unstoppable (2010): Blu ray, rewatch - A slick and simple premise leads to decent thrill ride that is also Tony Scott's swansong. There's not a lot else to say. The cast do their thing, the director does his thing and the action and effects satisfy. I liked the visuals of the film, the way the smoky autumnal rustbelt industrial look of Pennsylvania and Ohio are captured as the environment for the action.

    War Horse (2011): Blu ray, rewatch - Picked the BR up and this was just to check the disc was OK after talking about it last week.

    John Carter (2012): Blu ray, rewatch - But first since cinemas. Em...........I didn't think think this was a very good film then and to be honest I could barely keep it playing through a rewatch. There is potential here but this is a film where it just does not work the way it's been done. There are too many mis-steps in the tone, direction, performances and scripts and even the visual effects aren't really anything particularly special for today. I realise this is a film one either seems to love or doesn't and I have to say I don't.

    In TV Land I finished season 1 of 'Cheers' on TV and moved onto Season 2. It's good. It's held up really well.

    That was all this week.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    I had intended to see "V/H/S" during October, but never got around to it. Glad you enjoyed it.

    First watches:

    Lincoln (2012) - Theatre - I'm not into history or politics, but I was compelled throughout the two-and-a-half hour story. Daniel Day-Lewis kills it as usual, as does Tommy Lee Jones. Just great, intriguing storytelling. 8.5 / 10

    Skyfall (2012) - Theatre - Had such a good time with this one. Cinematography was top notch and Javier Bardem blew me away. As many have discussed, I got a very "Dark Knight" type of feeling. 8.0 / 10

    The Big Lebowski (1998) - Streaming Netflix - A good comedy with some nice laughs from Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, but the story was lacking for me. 7.0 / 10

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) - Blu-ray Netflix - Very few laughs and the story was nowhere near compelling to me. Might have helped if there were 1-2 less ex's. Couldn't wait for it to end. Heard this was a "must-watch" from tons of people. Am I the only person who thought this sucked? 3.5 / 10

    The King of Comedy (1983) - DVD Netflix - Posted my expanded thoughts on last week's Movie Club, but I enjoyed this one, especially De Niro's performance. 7.0 / 10

    Re-watches:

    Inception (2010) - Blu-ray Home - How did I not love this one more the first-time around? This was my first time watching since theatres and was blown away. Immediately read Brad and others' interpretations afterwards. Never a dull moment and just fantastic all-around. 10 / 10

    Air Force One (1997) - Blu-ray Home - Ah, this was my first R-rated movie when it was out in theatres. Holds up well as a solid action flick, with a strong performance from Gary Oldman. 7.5 / 10

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      The first time I saw The Big Lebowski, I felt the same way about the story. But for some reason, the film has held up extremely well on repeat viewings and it's now one of my favorite films by the Coen Brothers.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

        I tried to keep my expectations in check after hearing so much. I still liked it - just didn't love it. Maybe I'll be the same way when I get around to re-watching it.

    • Jake17

      I actually found Inception had the reverse effect for me: I loved it the first time, but whenever I've watched it since I've found something else I don't like.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Andrew13/ Andrew13

    At Home:

    Wild at Heart (1st Viewing): The first of innumerable over the top Nicolas Cage performances, it actually works really well in this film. I enjoyed David Lynch's twisted take on the Wizard of Oz tale, though the references were sometimes a bit too on the nose. Great performances from the leads, especially Laura Dern, in a role like no other she's ever had. The thing I love about David Lynch films is that as twisted as they get, there's always a deep rooted sense of humanity about his pictures. Wild at Heart is a love story through and through, and if you can embrace the insanity, a highly enjoyable one. (B+)

    Twin Peaks - Fire Walk with Me (1st Viewing): I don't this film works as a stand alone picture, nor does it entirely work as part of the Twin Peaks universe. However, there are so many standout sequences throughout the film, especially the entire last half hour, to make it worth watching. I would love to see the lengthier cut rumored to exist, because Dale Cooper's role in this version of the film felt very out of place. (B)

    Twin Peaks Season Two: Criterion10, you were right. Windom Earle's appearance certainly gave the series a fresh breath, and I found the last six or seven episodes very compelling, though still falling short of the heights of Season One. I still feel Season Two was plagued with far too many subplots, we really didn't need anything more than Cooper and Truman's investigation, but the Series Finale was excellent, and I applaud David Lynch for his efforts. (B+)

    Flirting with Disaster (First Watch): Will save this for tomorrow's Movie Club, but I found it to be a very funny, subversive comedy. (B)

    Men in Black III (First Watch): While the Men in Black films always have to be taken with a grain of salt, I found this film to be entirely forgettable, with clunky one-liners abound and, for a film that cost $225 million, shockingly poor visual effects. That being said, Will Smith does the best he can with the material, and Josh Brolin does a impeccable Tommy Lee Jones impression, which alone almost saves the film. Certainly better than Men in Black II, but I found little in this film that would make me want to come back for a fourth helping. (C)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      Glad to see that Windom Earle did help save the season =). I have the exact same thoughts about Season 2: it starts off great, hits a low point after the reveal of Laura's killer, but then redeems itself once the Windom Earle story becomes appearant. Season 2 is by no means as bad as some make it out to be, but it definitely isn't as good as Season 1 (although I do really love that finale).

      I actually hate Wild at Heart. I find it to be Lynch's worst film after Inland Empire. It's just very slow and uninteresting to me. On the other hand, I actually love Fire Walk With Me and consider it to be one of Lynch's best films. It was a perfect goodbye from Lynch to the world of Twin Peaks.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Andrew13/ Andrew13

        The finale was just so unconventional, I loved that there was practically no dialogue for the last 20 minutes of it. It's actually amazing that Twin Peaks was ever a commercial successful, given how strange it was. And BOB is one of the most terrifying characters I've ever seen on television, or in film for that matter.

        There were certainly many parts of FWWM that I really enjoyed, and the film works very well as a character study of Laura Palmer, but I felt that the first 30 minutes in Deer Meadow didn't fit with the rest of the film's story. It provided interesting insight into Agent Cooper's character, but didn't add much to the film itself. I would probably have given it an "A" if it had solely focused on Laura Palmer's demise, which is a truly excellent and tragic tale.

        I'll be seeing Inland Empire for the first time sometime this week as I hopefully complete my David Lynch marathon, but that 3 hour running time is quite daunting. As much as I love David Lynch, I can only handle so much in one sitting.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

          Inland Empire is painful. I'm ashamed to admit that I actually shut the film off at the 2 hour mark and haven't attempted to finish it since. And Lynch is one of my all time favorite directors. The film is simply terrible, IMHO at least.

          • JJ

            I have to say that although it took me a while to get into it, I ended up really liking Inland Empire. However, if you asked me to tell you exactly what the movie was about in a straightforward way, that would be pretty difficult.
            The atmosphere/feeling of dread Lynch created is pretty much unmatched in my opinion. And even though horror movies NEVER scare me (and I watch many), the movie has 2 scenes that scared the shit out of me.
            I will never look at Laura Dern the same again.

      • tombeet

        I'm not a fan of Wild At Heart either, the tone is very inconsistent and the ending for me is just betraying anything come before it. I also find the violence in this film sometimes is unnecessary. The female characters also are treated quite badly. But the car crash scene with the girl who was confusing and slowly dying is actually one of my favorite David Lynch's moments.

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

    I saw The Master again, but in 35mm - Still an A+ film in my mind. Currently watching Mark Kermode's documentary on Blade Runner called "On the Edge of Blade Runner"

  • m1

    For the Red Dawn and Rise of the Guardians reviews, I'm just going to guess that Red Dawn is the awful one and ROTG is the good one. But who knows?

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

    If my inference is correct, we differ a little bit when it comes to Rise of the Guardians if that's the one you think was "pretty good."

    Rise of the Guardians: I will say one thing. This is some of the most beautiful animation I've ever seen. Even some of the better action choreography from this year. But it feels really thin in the character department with the exception of the lead. Jack Frost and his story is an emotional one and something I wish was even more of the focal point. I felt like the heart was missing from the remaining guardians. Santa especially, felt completely one dimensional. And even when they tried to add a layer to him, it fell flat for me. The only thing that kept me going was Jack Frost. His search is what gives the other characters meaning. Without the strength of his story, everybody else falls flat. Plus, the elves and yeti's really only felt like a retread of the minions from Despicable Me. I will say that Pitch, the villain, is pretty strong as well and has more of a beating, for the sake of this specific movie, center than the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and The Easter Bunny combined. Sandman's emotional center is heightened by Frost's caring for him. I will say, that it was funny in spots though. Something just felt missing. C

    Life of Pi: I think I've said things about this film all over the site so I'll try and keep this short. It's easily the best 3D I've ever seen. If I were to recommend someone to watch this, I can't say that they could see it in either format. The 3D is such a defining aspect of the film and I don't think it would be the same film without it. This film is flipping gorgeous. The most beautiful movie I've seen all year hands down and the reason why Roger Deakins is going to lose. I think that around the middle portion, there are stretches of long pauses where nothing is truly happening but it really makes you feel the desolation Pi is in at that time. Though it's religion based, and me being someone who dislikes the organization of religion completely, it's more steeped in the idea of faith. The idea that, you have to live your life believing in SOMETHING. Otherwise, what is there to believe in? A non-starting story that we could hear on the news in a 5 minute speech from someone laying in a hospital bed? It's a strong message but I don't think it's an overly manipulative or cloying one. That's why, this is one of the better films of this year and easily one I would say is in my top 5. Of course I went long on this. A

    The Sessions: John Hawkes. John Hawkes. John Hawkes. He owns this movie. It's sentimental, easy, and entertaining but that doesn't mean it doesn't pack an emotional wallop. I should also say that Helen Hunt gives an amazing performance that really should be leading and it's a shame she's being campaigned in supporting. Though she could probably win that category. The positivity I got from this movie is almost near the level I felt when I say Silver Linings. It's good to be able to watch movies this year and be left feeling good. Something that's been missing for quite a bit. I think right now, Hawkes is going to take the oscar. DDL is probably perfect in Lincoln but I really do think that the academy is going to take into account his double win and Lincoln only wins either Best Pic or Director. A-

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

    At the Theater (repeat viewing):

    Skyfall

    At Home (first viewing):

    Ted (2012) – This was awful. I smirked…. maybe twice throughout the nearly 2 hour running time. It’s as dumb, clichéd and predictable as your average comedy of the week. Oh, and it’s also extremely misogynistic (not that that should come as a surprise, though). Giovanni Ribisi will make my Worst Supporting Actor list for the second year in a row.

    2 / 5

    At Home (repeat viewing):

    Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – One of the great hangout movies, as I call them. It’s one of those movies that every time you watch it, it feels like you’re hanging out with old friends. The chemistry between Clooney and Pitt is terrific and there’s nothing funnier than listening to their witty banter. Soderbergh’s direction is top notch and the script is very clever.

    4 / 5

    Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – I think I had only watched this once before, and I decided to give it another go. I actually liked it a lot more than I remember. Sandler didn’t bother me as much as I thought he would. While it’s quite difficult to decipher what the meaning of this film is (if there actually is any), it’s still enjoyable to watch just for the cinematography and the bizarre score. Oh, and Phil Hoffman is priceless as Dean Trumbell “the Mattress Man.” You have to give P.T. Anderson credit for being one of the most versatile screenwriters out there.

    3.5 / 5

    The Game (1997) – I got the Criterion blu ray for my B-Day. While you can never really experience this film the same way twice, there is still much to appreciate on multiple viewings. As always with Fincher, the immaculate cinematography and the attention to detail within the mise–en–scène is breathtaking.

    4.5 / 5

    TV Shows:

    Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States (Part I) - The first part of this 10 part Showtime documentary series focuses on the beginning of WWII and debunks the myth that United States was the country that ended the war. Stone also highlights Henry Wallace and some of the great work he did that lead FDR to pick him as his running mate for his third term.

    4 / 5

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Happy belated birthday!

      While I disagree on Ted, how did you get a copy of it so early?

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

        My friend had a screener.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      Completely agree about Ted. I really don't know what all the fuss is about that one. Found the humor to be extremely childish and unfunny, bar a few exceptions.

      Punch-Drunk Love is also a film that I found better on a second viewing. That's not to say that I didn't like it the first time, just that I didn't think it was great. It's still lesser Anderson, although a very good movie and one that I would watch again.

      We'll have to agree to disagree about The Game as I still have significant problems with the film's ending. That being said, it is still a very well made and enjoyable film.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

      Actually Quentin Tarantino calls them that (hangout films)

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

        Yes, I've heard him use the term too. It's a pretty accurate description.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

          I love those types of movies, what are some of your favorites?
          Some of mine are The Breakfast Club, Office Space, and Pulp Fiction.
          Other than that Lost in Translation and La Haine are great too but I don't know if those would fit into that sub-genre, I didn't know Ocean's Eleven could fit in either since you have to pay attention to the details in the heist going on and there is no chilling out while watching that.

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

            Some my favorites include: Dinner, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Swingers, Lost in Translation.

            There's a LOT of chilling out in the Ocean's trilogy. It's basically about a bunch of friends goofing on each other and pulling off heists.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

              I'm also a fan of "hangout" films. I'm glad you liked both Snatch & Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I'm a huge fan of Guy Ritchie's. I also like Swingers & Lost in Translation. Good choices.

  • Chris138

    Cloud Atlas - Finally got around to watching this. I think I was one of about 5 or 6 people in the theater. It's a movie that is very admirable in its large ambitions, if not entirely successful all the way through. Some of the stories are more interesting than others, and the film does go on a tad too long. But, admittedly, I thought the film got better as it went along, especially in the last hour or so. Halle Berry gives what is probably her best performance in a long time, especially her story set in the 1970s as a journalist. I have to admit that I thought of D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance" while I was watching the movie, with the way that it juggles all these different stories in order to make a point about humanity and how we act to each other. I think the cross-cutting worked a little better in this film than it did in Griffith's, although both have the problem of being too long. Regardless of any reservations I may have about parts of the film I'd say it's worth seeing at least once. 3/5

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

    In Theaters:

    Skyfall: This was the first Craig Bond film that really felt like a classic Bond film. While Casino Royale worked because 007 was still becoming the James Bond we know and love, Quantum of Solace felt a little too messy and gritty while lacking any of the suaveness or sly humor that we usually see from Bond. I did think the beginning was only OK (one fight with cgi komodo dragons is one fight with cgi komodo dragons too many), but once Bardem shows up this movie really kicked it into high gear. I thought Silva was an amazing villain and character. His initial entrance is one of my favorite scenes from a movie this year. Also Roger Deakins continues to prove that he is indeed Roger Deakins. Some of those shots of Scotland were breathtaking. A-

    Lincoln: Individually great scenes seemingly placed together at random in a movie that was tonally uneven and never really added up to anything. DDL and TLJ both give great performances and Spielberg definitely lets the sentimentality play only a supporting role. However the house of representatives scenes, Lincoln's family issues, and Lincoln dealing with the civil war all felt like distinctly different movies and as such no one plot line kept the film going and the movie just sort of happened. I will say though that my audience for this was terrible with multiple phones going off and that might have hindered my enjoyment. C+

    At Home:

    Pulp Fiction (Rewatch): A little too long, but a great soundtrack and never less than entertaining. My third favorite Tarantino film (behind Kill Bill and Basterds). Really excited for Django. A-

    Hot Rod (Rewatch): I threw this movie on to watch with some friends and its the perfect movie to half pay attention to and then endlessly quote. I really hope Schaffer, Taccone, and Samberg can make some more fun movies. B

    Flirting with Disaster: Not quite sure what we're going to talk about, but I'm looking forward to what Brad comes up with. I'll save thoughts for tomorrow. B+

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      That's interesting to note about your audience during Lincoln. Guess I'll be stereotypical and say that I wouldn't normally expect the audience this type of movie usually attracts to misbehave.

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

        I was just as surprised as you are. 3 people had phones go off (ringtones not vibrate). One of them took the call and left the theater as she talked. And then at one point two people just started outright having a conversation about DDL's performance and comparing Lincoln to Andrew Jackson (I have no idea why).

        Since September I've just had terrible luck with audiences. At Skyfall: "Oh no they shot James the Bond!" At Looper: "I don't know sweetie. This Joseph Levitt just doesn't look like Bruce Willis's son"

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

          Same thing happened to me with Skyfall, I ended up pretty mad after watching it because of the audience.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

          It sucks man. I purposely try to go at times when I expect little to no audience, but it doesn't always work out that way.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

    George Washington -- This was a truly excellent movie. Great characters, great story, great cinematography, etc. I can't believe that David Gordon Green has gone from making an excellent, independent film to garbage like Your Highness and The Sitter. A

    Naked Lunch -- I thought this film started off better than it ended. Once Peter Weller's character got to the Interzone, the film kind of got too lost in its own world and never really recovered. In other words, I found the set up of the film to be better than the direction that it took. Still, it was rather enjoyable, incredibly well made, and a film that I am still interested in exploring the deeper themes of. B

    Lincoln -- I think that I just can seem to win with Spielberg. I was very happy to see that Spielberg stood back as a sentimentalist and instead decided to focus on telling a story. That being said, the story of Lincoln just wasn't all that interesting. This is a very long film, and you can feel that at times. It took a while to get moving (my dad actually fell asleep half way in), and even when it did I can't say that I was all that engaged in it. Still, there are some memorable scenes, and all of the performances were top-notch. Williams' score did also not bother me, even though it was fairly unremarkable. The cinematography was a little too dark for my tastes, even though there were many stunning shots. Overall, Lincoln, while by no means a bad film, just wasn't all too special. Still, I am glad that I saw it. B-

    Scanners -- I actually quite liked this film. It was pure great sci-fi/horror. The one thing I will say is that early Cronenberg is not nearly as polished as later Cronenberg. What I mean is that while Scanners is a very entertaining horror film, it isn't particularly well made. I found the same to be with The Brood (although I had other problems with The Brood that prevented me from enjoying it entirely). Still, the horror fan in me quite liked Scanners. B+

    Hoping to catch Flirting with Disaster today so I can join in on tomorrow's discussion...

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

    I haven't watched Flirting with Disaster yet, but I'll try to get to it tonight. I'm guessing that you didn't like Red Dawn and This is 40, but liked Rise of the Guardians.

    The Amazing Spider-Man - A rewatch since I last saw it in theaters. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. The villain is definitely the weak link and the ending is flawed, but I thought everything else was really good. The cast was great, the action scenes were very well done, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here. I'm a big Spider-Man fan and I'd say this is the second best movie. Spider-Man 2 is my favorite one, but I think the remake is better than the first.

    Pirates! Band of Misfits - A very good animated movie from Aardman. Not as good as Wallace and Gromit, but it's a lot of fun. Haven't seen Wreck-It Ralph yet, but this and Frankenweenie are my favorite animated movies so far. If Rise of the Guardians lives up to the hype, then it might also make my list.

    Dumb and Dumber - One of my favorite comedies. Still makes me laugh and holds up very well after many viewings.

    The War Zone - I saw this a month ago, but forgot to write about it so I rewatched it. This is a great movie, but it's very tough to watch. The subject matter is really intense. The performances are all great and it definitely leaves an impact on you. This would be a great pick for the movie club.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

    White Dog - 9/10 Great film, made me laugh a lot for no reason.

    Argo - 8/10 Its a good thriller and the acting was great, but there wasn't anything special.

    Pursuit of Happyness (rewatch) - 6/10 Good acting by Will Smith but apart from that I don't get why other people like it, money isn't happiness and the film gives you the message that it is.

    End of Watch - 9/10 I'm going to agree with William Friedkin, this is one of the best cop movies I've ever seen, of course The Departed, Die Hard, and Bad Lieutenant are better films, but this one is amazing.

    L'arnacoeur (rewatch) - 8/10 One of few rom-coms I like

    Marley - 8/10 I'm a fan of Bob Marley and I felt like there could've been so much more to a documentary about him.

    Apocalypse Now Redux - 9/10 I liked this version more than the original, it made me understand the characters more than the last one, everything was great except for that scene with the french people, they should've left that part out, it gets really confusing towards the end but I do understand now that the beginning of the movie is actually the end.

    Wall-e (rewatch) - 9/10 I like this one a lot, its maybe my favorite pixar film after Toy Story 3.

    Point Blank - 8/10 This film reminded me of Kill Bill a lot, I guess Tarantino took some ideas from it.

    Lawless - 7/10 I expected more from this one and it was just an average film.

    • Jake17

      I'm probably the only person who doesn't care much for Wall-E. I really love the first 45 minutes, but the rest is just frustrating to me. I haven't seen it in a while though, so maybe I should rematch it.

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

        I HATED Wall-E!

        • Jake17

          No kidding? I wouldn't say I hate it, but it's definitely highly overrated. Actually, I don't like either of Andrew Stanton's Pixar films, the other one being Finding Nemo.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

          haha why do you hate it? Whats so bad about it?

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

        Really? I think the whole future of mankind (technology dominating humans) is the most interesting thing about it. Its a relaxing film and it makes me feel good whenever I'm feeling lonely.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Glad to see someone else who loved End of Watch, as well.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

        It was great, I'd recommend it to almost anyone

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      WALL-E is actually my favorite of all-time, haha.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RandallPMcMurphy/ Randall P McMurphy

        Nice, I think its a film thats built up by other movies that came before it like 2001, Blade Runner, Idiocracy as opposed to an original film which for me would be anything written by Charlie Kaufman, but its still a fun and very uplifting movie.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

          Completely agree. It's such a a beautiful, adorable, well-made & freaking lovable movie. I love the opening so much, I love how Stanton puts on the Put on Your Sunday Clothes from Hello Dolly to make you think you'll get a somewhat happy opening but when it starts zooming in to earth and show all the garbage from different camera angles, it's deep and dark. Just visually stunning stuff and terrific camera work. It's one of the best openings to a movie i've seen.

          I just LOVE the first 30 minutes, it's brilliant stuff and the last 60 minutes were great on it's own, you know. I love Thomas Newman's score, I love the characters, I love the songs they put in, I love the visuals and I love the love story between WALL-E & EVE. This is one of the greatest movies I've seen, it's my favorite movie of all-time, i've seen it I don't know how many (I remember twice in theaters) and it's still Pixar's best movie of the lot. With all that, I feel like picking up my WALL-E DVD and watching it again right now haha.

  • Cory

    LA Confidential (iTunes rental), a sprawling classic noir, built on great structure and fantastic performances. 15 years later and it still holds up ridiculously well. Incredible. I might have to actually buy it on Blu-ray.

    The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray), seventh time watching it and it still owns my ass. Structurally a little loose in the second half but Nolan brings the stakes. Between the cinematography, sound design/mix, the pace, the tone, and Zimmer's score, it feels like the apocalypse in the climax. Nolan shakes the foundations of Gotham to finish off his thesis on Bruce Wayne and the theme of fear that has run through the entire trilogy.

    I don't understand the haters on this film. It isn't as great as the Dark Knight but it's pretty fucking close.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

      Agree 100% on TDKR. I saw it four times in theatres and will probably be going to Best Buy at midnight to pick this one up. Been really itching to re-watch it lately.

      • Cory

        Be warned, the DTS-HD MA soundtrack is AGGRESSIVE. Make sure the neighbors aren't home when you crank it up.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

          Haha. I may watch it late that night after picking it up. Will have to warn them I guess.

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

      Well, if you'd like to hear some criticisms of TDKR, check out the little review I did of it when it came out (scroll down): http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/podcast-reviewing-the-dark-knight-rises/

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Finally someone that loved TDKR as much as I did, I liked TDKR as much as TDK so I loved them both equally.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

        Thing is - I don't think it's a "perfect" film. It's more the perfect film for me and everything I hoped for in wrapping up the franchise. I read through AS's criticisms and am not going to try to dispute his opinion - he brings up some valid points. All I know is that I have one hell of a time with each viewing this movie and for me, it's all about the entertainment for me.

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

    Movie I watched at home:

    1. Prometheus - 7/10

    I was confused if I wanted to give it a 6 or 7. Ended up with 7 after I thought about the movie couple days later. I really like the cinematography. Really makes me wanna watch it again just for the awesome ship and the cinematography.

    2. Total Recall (2012) - 8/10

    Contrary to popular opinion, I actually really liked this movie. Definitely buying it on Blu-ray and this movie was a pleasant surprise. And do I have to even talk about the music in the movie? wow it was just awesome. Ended up downloading the soundtrack after watching this movie.

    The Amazing Spider-Man- 5/10

    This movie is eh. Definitely not more than a 6. Overall I feel like this movie sucked. It started off good but then just became worse and worse. Not watching it again.

    Black Hawk Down - 7/10

    It was a good movie. I expected it to be more along blood diamond and hotel rwanda with a really good story but it ended up being just battle on the ground. nonetheless it was still a good movie.

    Back to the future Part 1 - 8/10

    This was the first time I watched it and it was very good for a 1985 movie. I cannot judge this movie with today's standards. Just imagine if this movie was made today, it will probably not be a huge hit. So rating this based as a classic movie from the 80's its very good.

    The Game - 8.5/10

    This movie was the highlight of my week. Absolutely loved it. Psychological thrillers are always good and this is in my top 5 psychological thrillers movie. Can anyone give me other good psychological thrillers to watch like this one? Shutter Island, Sixth Sense etc.,

    Back to the future Part 2 - 6.5/10

    This was an ok movie. It didn't keep my attention as much as the first one did. But I am hoping the 3rd movie will be better than the 2nd one.

    Movies I watched at the theaters:

    Lincoln - 8/10

    Daniel Day-Lewis is en route to his 3rd best actor award at the academy awards next year. His acting is unbelievably good. Overall I really enjoyed this movie. But I have to say that it did not really feel like a Spielberg movie.

    Skyfall (2nd viewing) - 8/10

    I was confused last weekend if I wanted to give skyfall 8 to 9. I decided 8 now. There are some slow parts to the movie which I wish had more action but overall, very good. My #2 James Bond movie. #1 is of course.... Casino Royale.

  • Good Grief

    I'm really surprised that you enjoyed "V/H/S" Brad. I look forward t your article.

    No cinema trips for me this week so all these were at home watches...

    The Dark Knight Rises - This was my second time seeing this and, I must say, I enjoyed it way more this time than in theaters. This might have been due to the hype and expectations of seeing it for the first time.
    Bane is fantastic and while I have qualms with certain aspects of the film, overall it's a very fun watch that ends the trilogy quite nicely.

    Grade: B

    Reign Over Me - This was my first time watching this and I loved it. I couldn't help but feel as though Adam Sandler still had to inject some of his typical silliness into it but it's a powerful, superbly acted drama. I was genuinely surprised as I'd heard bad things about it.

    Grade: B+

    Martyrs - Second watch. I still think that this is a solid horror, despite leaning quite a bit on the "torture porn" schtick. The plot is just something I haven't seen before and it's incredibly well directed. Some of the long bouts of screaming may wear a little thin after a while but it's pretty good as a whole.

    Grade: B

    Clash - A Vietnamese made martial arts film. I enjoyed "The Rebel" a lot. It was classy, well acted and the fights were awesome. Seeing the actors and director team up again, I had high hopes for this. It's...well...OK. It's obviously low budget and the plot is nonexistent but the fights on display are absolutely superb.

    Grade: C

    • tombeet

      For me Martyrs is a really good film and hold up surprisingly well. Clash is terrible though (I'm not a fan of The Rebel either), the fights just going on forever...

      • Good Grief

        I found the hand-to-hand fights surprisingly short and sharp. It's the hour long gunfight BEFORE the fisticuffs that kind of dragged on a little for me.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

    At Home:

    Take This Waltz (Netflix, DVD, 1st viewing) - Michelle Williams is one of the most admirable actresses out there for me, she puts in a lot of hard work in her roles and reason why she's a 3-time Oscar nominee. Here as Margot, she IMO gives another Oscar-worthy performance but however since this is a very little-known indie flick, she might not even get attention. Luke Kirby is lovable and charming here, never heard or seen this actor but after this, I want to see more of him now. Both Sarah Silverman & Seth Rogen (who both i'm fan of as comedic stars) take their usual potty-mouth, cruel & crazy antics out of the window and actually show their surprisingly good range as dramatic actors. Good for them especially Silverman. The movie itself is charming, interesting and occasionally funny but it's all because it came from the actors in here. Rogen, Kirby & Silverman are terrific but again, Michelle Williams deserves Oscar attention, seriously. This is her best work so far in her excellent young career.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

      Oh, forgot. I give this movie a 7/10.

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

    Mandingo - first time watch - Wow, this is my first time watching this film and probably the last-- the subject matter is a very, very sensitive one-- It deals with slavery where slaves were treated as live stock and that is not even the half of it-- To say these things didn't happen will be lying and to say it did is a shameful reflection on us once upon a time-- I can't say I liked it and I don't think many will, but it is a film that wants a reaction whether it is good or bad. It's one of those films you have to at least watch once. I pick up this film because it is one of Quentin Tarantino's inspiration for his up coming film Django Unchained. And if Tarantino is going this route it's going to be interesting. I can see alot of his inspiration from this film, and maybe even his inspiration for his villain Calvin Candie, well at least in appearance and social class. This film is a sensitive one, it wants a reaction from you and it does just that...

  • Jake17

    First Watch:
    District 9: A very tightly woven sci-fi movie. I was extremely impressed with Sharlto Copley's performance. After this I can't wait for Elysium! 9.5/10
    Airplane!: A very funny, well written comedy. The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar cameo is pretty awesome too. 8.5/10
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 3: Hmm... I've got very conflicted thoughts about this season. I'll start with the good: pretty much every episode that focuses on humor scores laughs. The Zeppo and Band Candy really stand out as some of my favorite episodes of the show so far. The performances are still top notch, and the action scenes are great. The Mayor and Faith make great villians, too. My biggest problem is the Buffy/Angel storyline. It really drags on all season long. Also, the Willow/Xander romance in the early parts of the season are very frustrating. Also, none of the episodes come near the heights of Season 2 episodes Innocence, Passion, and Becoming Pts. 1 and 2. Overall very consistent and very good, but not great. 8.5/10
    Rewatch:
    The Dark Knight Rises: I really didn't like it as much this time around. My main problem is the twist at the end is so obvious within the first 20 minutes, it's pathetic. The movie completely wastes Marion Colltiard. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but the third act is extremely flawed.
    The Lion King: It had been so long since I'd seen this movie, I forgot how great it was. The themes are universal and relatable for anyone who's ever had to take responsibility for their mistakes. 9/10

    • Jake17

      Oops, TDKR is an 8.25/10.

  • JN Films

    TDKR is one of my favorites this year. Tom Hardy's performance as Bane is one of the best and most misunderstood this year. He deserves a nomination

  • tombeet

    In Cinema:
    Seven Psychopaths (2012) 3.5/5
    Not as good as In Bruges, and could've been a better film; but it's a fun ride nonetheless. The lack of strong women actually annoys me (even the film acknowledged it - Martin McDonagh aware of the issue but he still keeps all the female characters out of the game, it's the biggest fail of the film. The dialogues and other characters are great though.

    At Home:
    Le Tableau (2011) 4/5
    A very inventive and colorful little art film. This film is so good and rich that I honestly think it has a real shot for Best Animation nomination this year. The characters are flesh out and the style is strangely appropriate. All people who love animation or love art in general could easily enjoy it.

    ParaNorman (2012) 3.5/5
    Strong, technical-brilliance and a bit edgy, the film also has a surprsing depth. Laika made this film with full of confidence and the climax scene is just outstanding (both in technical and emotion)

    Flirting With Disaster (1996)

    Alps (2012) 4/5
    I found the whole movie quite compelling. Still thought-provoking like Dogtooth, this movie made little sense but it requires multiple viewing. Fan of Dogtooth won't be dissapointed.

    Kill List (2011) 4/5
    A shocking film of sort. It deserves to be seen and discussed by more people. I know many people hated the ending but it works very well for me and packs the whole film all together. It is actually quite a solid script and the filmmakers clearly know what they need to do. I still think about it since I finished it.

    The Maltese Falcon (1941) 5/5
    Still amazing and entertaining until this day. The film also hold up very well this time and all the performances are enjoyable.

    The Rabbi's Cat (2011) 3.5/5
    Also an enjoyable little French animation. It didn't win me over like Le Tableau did but it still a good watch for people who love animation.

    Will probably watch Salo this week, quite exciting to see how the experience gonna be... God bless!

  • http://www.seensome.com SeenSome

    I finally saw The Master in theatres which will be getting a full review on seensome.com very shortly but at home I watched two movies over the weekend: How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

    How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2012, 3/5) is actually a lot of fun. It's a sleazy, dirty thriller set inside a Mexican prison with a lot of ridiculous plot points (Mel Gibson impersonating Clint, a young boy kept alive for his liver) but it's just a fun, violent and silly film.

    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011, 1/5) is a nightmare. This thing is a manipulative, exploitative and cloying drama that tacks 9/11 on to a ridiculous story about an autistic kid who can't speak to people running around New York speaking to people. The final twists are laughably bad and the child character is filled with so many forced quirks that he's almost unbearable. The tamborine? The Japanese swear words? Ugh...surely this is the worst Best Picture nominee in at least 30 years?

  • MajorFilmFan

    Lincoln: This is a beautifully and artfully crafted piece of filmmaking on Spielberg's part, and features a multitude of absolutely brilliant performances, the most brilliant of which belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. And when I say 'Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln', I mean that Daniel Day-Lewis IS Lincoln. In the way he talks, in the way he acts, in the way he moves around the stage, he IS our 16th president, and to see him transform before your eyes is nothing short of REMARKABLE. Other phenomenal performances come from Tommy Lee Jones who bring somewhat of a cold, bitterness, yet somehow, extreme likability to Thaddeus Stevens, and Lee Pace who's portrayal of the lesser known Fernando Wood is equal parts passionate and flamboyant. Sally Field could not have been a better choice for Mary Todd Lincoln, because she's a strong actress and holds her own alongside Day-Lewis. Virtually EVERYONE in this movie, with the possible exception of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln, is exceptional. This is, without a doubt, Spielberg's best movie in YEARS, perhaps his best movie ever, and features the most remarkable performance I've ever seen in the form of Daniel Day Lewis. I truly felt like I had been transported back to the 1860s. This is the BEST film of 2012, and one of the best films I've ever seen. A+

    • MajorFilmFan

      I meant screen not stage. Sorry.