What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #178

Four movies, one television show and a new computer

The Conversation posterI am now on the fourth season of "The West Wing" and I also watched Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation in preparation for Wednesday's (January 30) Movie Club discussion... or at least what I hope will be a minor discussion.

In the theater I caught screenings of Side Effects (review coming early next week), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (review here) and Stoker (review coming late February).

Outside of movies, this past week has been filled largely with busy work as I finally got my new iMac and have been moving everything from my old PC over to the new Mac and setting things up to improve my workflow. After owning a MacBook Pro for almost four years and the fact it has long outperformed my six-year-old PC, which I spent quite a bit of money on, I have finally gone over to Apple for both the desktop and the laptop. The expense is substantial, but from experience and testimonials from many people, it's worth it.

Here's a look at my new office set up with my PC on the left and my new Mac on the right (and a sneak peek at the February 2013 movie wallpaper). After saving up money for two years to buy it, in only a few days I am already working faster and more efficiently and hopefully it will make for an even better experience for you on the website.

office

One such improved experience will hopefully come tonight with our live blog of the 2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards as I have set up a new style of live blogging that won't require you to constantly refresh the page, but rather the comments will load at the bottom of the blog and continue to do so as Laremy and I comment on the night's awards.

I hope you'll join us tonight for the live blog, but for now let's hear about what you watched this week.

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DavidG/ David Gaillardetz

    Can't wait for the live blog. Forget George, y'all are great. Keep crushing it.

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

    Unfortunately, this is one of those sad weeks where I didn't watch anything.

    I'm going to have to make up for it, so of there are any movies on Netflix Instant Streaming, let me know.

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

      3 of the docs nominated this year are on there.

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

        Which ones?

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

          The Invisible War, 5 Broken Cameras, and How to Survive a Plague. You should also check out The Queen of Versailles as well. It wasn't nominated but it really should have been.

          • Jake17

            The Queen Of Versailles is my 3rd favorite movie of the year, so I definitely recommend that one as well.

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

    I saw quite a few movies this week.
    AT HOME:
    To Rome With Love- Despite the rather poor reviews, I really enjoyed this film. It seems the older Allen gets, the more relaxed his films become. 9/10

    Cache (Hidden)- I've been meaning to watch this for a long time, and I'm glad I finally did. Although it is very slow, it's pace allows you to get to know the characters. An excellent thriller. 8/10

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- While it is dated, March is very good in the lead role and the film has a murky impressionistic quality that I really enjoyed. 7.5/10

    Munich- Definitely not the kind of film I expected from Spielberg, and it is one of his best. Although I consider him overrated, this film was excellent and the Munich flashback scenes are some of the most effective Spielberg has ever done. 8.5/10

    The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean- A very odd western, but still quite enjoyable. Paul Newman is wonderful in the lead, and Huston's direction is good. 8.5/10

    Children of Men- An absolute masterpiece, this film is incredible. 10/10

    Nosferatu- You can tell that this film is incredibly influential, and it shows. However,I didn't find it to be the absolute masterpiece many consider it to be. 7/10

    Annie- A harmless musical, that can go over the top with cuteness. it isn't that bad, and it can be enjoyable, but I have definitely seen better. 6/10

    End of Watch- One of the best films of last year, and one of the best cop movies in a while. Gyllenhaal and Pena have amazing chemistry, and the film's interesting camerawork just makes it even more thrilling. 9/10

    That's all for this week.

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

    Not too much this week:

    First-watch:

    Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) - Netflix Blu-ray - Good but not great movie. I was most impressed by the performance of Dwight Henry, which I was shocked to find out this was his first movie. Really liked the setting and cinematography. 7.5 / 10 or "B"

    Rewatch:

    Midnight In Paris (2011) - Blu-ray Home - Watching this movie just immediately puts me in a good, magical type of mood. Feel like I just want to go for a walk outside after seeing it (despite the single-digit temperatures this week). Just an overall wonderful and enjoyable film. 8.5 / 10 or "A-"

    The Truman Show (1998) - Blu-ray Home - Hadn't seen this in quite some time and just got in the mood. My goal is to have watched 85% of my blu-ray/DVD collection by the end of the year, too. This is a timeless movie that I always have fun with and can endlessly re-watch. Ed Harris is brilliant as Christof. 9.0 / 10 or "A"

    Super 8 (2011) - Blu-ray Home - After the Star Wars news broke about J.J. Abrams, wanted to revisit this, which was actually just as much fun the second time around. Everyone complains about lens flares, but doesn't bother me a bit and I barely notice them. Nothing like a well-told story with good characters. 7.5 / 10 or "B"

    Also watched "Surviving The Cut" on Netflix Instant - an awesome documentary show from the Discovery Channel about some of the toughest military training programs. Really good if you're into that type of stuff like me.

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

    Check me out on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/as/

    *You can find my “Best of 2012” picks below.

    At home (first viewing):

    The House I Live In (2012) – An extremely important documentary about the revolving door of the criminal justice system in the United States and how the “war on drugs” is really just a war on the poor. While the documentary highlights how the system exists primarily to generate profit, the bigger picture is largely ignored. The concept of “America as a business” (and how the criminal justice system fits into this overarching theme) is never really touched upon. Jarecki also shy’s away from confronting the reality that Barrack Obama has only accelerated the war on drugs (Obama is featured only a few times in the documentary and primarily exists as a symbol of hope and change). Despite the damning revelations made in the documentary (David Simon puts it best when he describes the system as “a holocaust in slow-motion”) Jarecki feels the need to tack on the obligatory message of “hope” at the end (like most documentaries and books dealing with bleak subject matter). Despite its flaws, The House I Live In is one of the year’s most vital and relevant films. The fact that this was overlooked by the Academy is a joke.

    3.5 / 5

    Freaks (1932) – I had to watch this and Dracula in a horror film class I’m taking. Don’t have much to say about it. It’s not very good.

    2.5 / 5

    Dracula (1931) – Very campy. It’s so bad it’s laughable.

    2 / 5

    A Late Quartet (2012) – This film would be underrated if it had even been rated at all. I remember this premiering at a film festival a while ago and it seemed to have just come and go. I don’t understand why, as this film is miles ahead of other Oscar contenders. It’s an intelligent and layered film that also happens to be perfectly cast. I can’t believe Christopher Walken didn’t get an Oscar push for his performance in this film as a lifetime achievement award (he’s way better than Arkin). It’s a mature and very well made film and I’d certainly recommend it.

    3 / 5

    On TV:

    Shameless (Season 3): Ep. 2
    Californication (Season 6): Ep. 2
    Girls (Season 2): Ep. 2

    Every year I compile a list of the films, performances, screenplays and scores that I consider to be the best. In addition to this, I also throw in some extra categories for fun. Here is my list of the best cinema had to offer in 2012. For my thoughts on the individual films, as well as my feelings on 2012 as a whole, go here: http://letterboxd.com/as/list/top-5-films-of-2012/

    To provide some context, here are some of my previous Best Picture winners: 2011 (Drive), 2010 (Inception), 2009 (Public Enemies), 2008 (The Dark Knight), 2007 (There Will Be Blood), 2006 (The Departed).

    A * indicates a win.

    Best Picture:

    Django Unchained
    Killer Joe
    Killing Them Softly
    Magic Mike
    *Skyfall*

    Best Actor:

    Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
    Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables
    Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
    *Matthew McConaughey for Killer Joe*
    Christopher Walken for A Late Quartet

    Best Actress:

    Emily Blunt for Your Sister’s Sister
    Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook
    Meryl Streep for Hope Springs
    Naomi Watts for The Impossible
    *Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea*

    Best Supporting Actor:

    Javier Bardem for Skyfall
    Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained
    *Phillip Seymour Hoffman for The Master*
    Samuel L. Jackson for Django Unchained
    Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

    Best Supporting Actress:

    *Amy Adams for The Master*
    Marion Cotillard for Little White Lies
    Rosemary DeWitt for Your Sister’s Sister
    Gina Gershon for Killer Joe
    Maggie Smith for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    Best Ensemble:

    Cloud Atlas
    Django Unchained
    *Killer Joe*
    The Master
    Silver Linings Playbook

    Best Director:

    Andrew Dominik for Killing Them Softly
    William Friedkin for Killer Joe
    *Sam Mendes for Skyfall*
    Steven Soderbergh for Magic Mike
    Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

    Best Original Screenplay:

    Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master
    Guillaume Canet for Little White Lies
    Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & John Logan for Skyfall
    Lynn Shelton for Your Sister’s Sister
    *Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained*

    Best Adapted Screenplay:

    David Cronenberg for Cosmopolis
    Terence Davies for The Deep Blue Sea
    Andrew Dominik for Killing Them Softly
    *Tracy Letts for Killer Joe*
    David O’ Russell for Silver Linings Playbook

    Best Documentary:

    5 Broken Cameras
    The Ambassador
    *The House I Live In*
    NWR
    The Queen of Versailles

    Best Foreign Language Film:

    Farewell, My Queen
    Footnote
    The Intouchables
    *Little White Lies*
    Oslo, August 31st

    Best Original Score:

    Johnny Greenwood for The Master
    *Thomas Newman for Skyfall*
    Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek & Tom Tykwer for Cloud Atlas

    Best Soundtrack:

    *Django Unchained*
    Killing Them Softly
    Magic Mike
    Silver Linings Playbook

    Best Original Song:

    100 Black Coffins by Rick Ross (Django Unchained)
    Who Did that to You by John Legend (Django Unchained)
    *Skyfall by Adele (Skyfall)*
    Ladies of Tampa by Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)

    Best Use of a Song or Piece of Music in a Motion Picture:

    Django by Luis Bacalov & Rocky Roberts (Django Unchained)
    Shanghai Drive by Thomas Newman (Skyfall)
    Victim by Win Win featuring Blaqstarr (Magic Mike)
    Money (That's What I Want) by Barrett Strong (Killing Them Softly)
    *Strokin by Clarence Carter (Killer Joe)*

    Best Cinematography:

    Robert Richardson for Django Unchained
    Frank Griebe & John Toll for Cloud Atlas
    Danny Cohen for Les Misérables
    *Roger Deakins for Skyfall*
    Steven Soderbergh for Magic Mike

    Best Visual Effects:

    The Avengers
    Cloud Atlas
    *The Dark Knight Rises*
    Prometheus
    Skyfall

    Best Editing:

    *Cloud Atlas*
    Killing Them Softly
    Les Misérables
    Magic Mike
    Prometheus

    Best Sound Editing:

    Django Unchained
    Cloud Atlas
    Les Misérables
    Prometheus
    *Skyfall*

    Best Sound Mixing:

    Django Unchained
    Cloud Atlas
    Les Misérables
    Magic Mike
    *Skyfall*

    Best Production Design:

    Cloud Atlas
    Dark Shadows
    The Deep Blue Sea
    Les Misérables
    *Skyfall*

    Best Makeup:

    *Cloud Atlas*
    Dark Shadows
    The Impossible
    Killer Joe
    Les Misérables

    Best Costume Design:

    Cloud Atlas
    *Dark Shadows*
    Django Unchained
    Les Misérables
    Skyfall

    Most Underrated Film of the Year:

    Cloud Atlas
    The Deep Blue Sea
    *Killer Joe*
    Little White Lies
    Your Sister’s Sister

    Best Opening Scene or Sequence:

    Django Unchained
    Flight
    God Bless America
    *Killing Them Softly*
    Magic Mike

    Best Ending:

    *Killer Joe*
    Killing Them Softly
    Magic Mike
    Skyfall

    Best Television Series:

    Boardwalk Empire – Season 3
    Breaking Bad – Season 5 Part I
    Californication – Season 5
    *Game of Thrones – Season 2*
    Luck – Season 1

    • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

      I like your picks, but I'm intrigued that your Best Ensemble went to Killer Joe when you only nominated two of the actors (McConaughey and Gershin) while Django had three in your Supporting Actors. But with all your praise for Killer Joe, I'm checking it out right now.

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

        It was a tough call, but in Killer Joe, all the actors play wonderfully off each other.

  • Winchester

    Oooh, when you've spent that long saving up for something it's hugely satisfying to finally be able to go and buy it!

    Anyway on the movie front I scrapped trying to see 'Les Miserables' because by the time Saturday rolled around I was shot from work and decided to stay in. I do still aim to catch it though. This week however I had a plan for a mini project that I spent the bulk of the week on, which was Joss Whedon's complete 'Firefly' and 'Serenity' on Blu ray which I will cover below. I will also watch 'The Conversation' this week but I already have it on DVD so it will be easy to catch.

    At Home -

    Serenity (2005): Blu ray, rewatch - But first on blu ray and I also went through every single extra including two commentaries and featurettes. I had not actually watched the film for a few years and I had forgotten just how hugely enjoyable it was. It's crazy that it took Whedon another seven years to make another film but watching this served to remind me why he was probably such a great fit for the requirements of 'The Avengers'. Trying to make a two hour film with nine primary characters, following it on from a short-lived TV series and condensing plans for what was meant to be a multi-season run for said TV series while satisfying fans AND trying to make it accessible for someone who might not have seen anything at all takes more than a little deftness but Whedon makes it work through a skillfully choreographed opening sequence and then blasts us into a pacey adventure with great characters, wit, humour and action that manages to have something resembling thematic content as well. The cast is great, the visual effects vary a little but they had a comparatively tiny budget and overall look good and Blu Ray quality is nice. He manages to deal all these characters a sense of resolution and hope by the end as well for those that make it (for Whedon is rarely afraid to kill people off). A well done space adventure. The requirements of this film more than a little resemble The Avengers and you can see similarities in his approach in both. Listening to his commentary it's clear he widely acknowledges his influences, limitations and enjoyment of making his projects, which all the more annoys me the UK release of The Avengers had his commentary pulled.

    Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Blu Ray, rewatch - I have to admit to sorta liking the retro 40's WW2 adventure on offer. It's perfectly enjoyable like Thor etx and isn't quite as bad as all that. It has an older fashioned feel I think is due to the experienced hands of Joe Johnston.

    Lockout (2012): Blu Ray, First watch - 'The Horror.......The Horror'. I can't say a whole lot here since after about half an hour (and after a hilariously terrible CGI filled car chase) I gave up and started fast forwarding through it and it STILL looked utterly atrocious. It's obviously a riff on Escape From New York but nowhere near as well made as it. I wonder if the cast just took this for a holiday or something and Guy Pearce seemed to just be awful. It's possible I was in the wrong frame of mind to be able to just enjoy this as the junk it is, and if I could have approached it from that angle it would have been OK as a one shot. But I couldn't.

    In TV Land then as noted above I spent the week on 'Firefly' (2002) and also in addition to the 14 episodes went through the eight commentaries and all the bonus material as part of my project to go right through it. It's a very rough around the edges show because Whedon was blending so many influences and ideas and it never had the chance to get on it's feet but as so often he puts together a group of interesting characters, a tempting premise and setting and then just starts seeing what can maybe happen. He got a great cast together for all the key roles and while some episodes are better than others it would have been great to remain in the universe he creates for a bit longer.

    That was all this week.

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

    At Home:

    The Shape of Things (2002) (1st viewing, HBO) - Neil LaBute knows how to make sick & twisted movies about relationships and this is another one. Rachel Weisz is astounding here as Evelyn - perhaps, her best role. She just nailed playing this sick, odd & contreversial of a woman (I can't she didn't get nominated for this). Paul Rudd is terrific as Adam & Gretchen Mol is great as Jenny. Movie has a slow beginning & slow in some parts but finishes off strong with a very, very "controversial" twist & ending. I never heard of this movie but i'm glad I did thanks to HBO which is where I saw it. Very interesting movie, I wish LaBute could come back and more of these. He's such a talented writer & filmmaker. 7/10.

    Premium Rush (2012) (1st viewing, Netflix) - The movie is exactly just as the title says: it's fast-paced, high-octane & fun entertainment throughout. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is solid once again here, Dania Ramirez is good here but Michael Shannon steals the movie with his crazy & hilarious performance as the cop. Premium Rush is an exciting, very fun & great movie to movie to enjoy over and over again. I loved it. 8.5/10.

    I started using Letterboxd few days ago, here's my link if you want to follow: http://letterboxd.com/michael11391/ I still have long ways to go as far how many movies i've watched & reviewed. I'm at 539 on films i've seen on the website. I've seen 2,066 movies my whole life according to Flixster. Yeah, so follow but take it easy with me, i'm one of the very quiet types. I'm a shy guy.

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

    A picture of the computer but still no sign of the coffee maker. . .

    I have a couple things to say on Life of Pi (which I watched a little over a week ago) but I'm going to wait until I get to a proper computer to type it out (on my iPhone now).

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

      Was thinking the same thing about the coffee maker haha

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

      Ok, Life of Pi:

      I actually enjoyed it alot more than I thought I would. I don't think the criticism that "its all visual no substance" is a fair one. Also, many people claimed to start having problems with the movie after the boat crashes. The middle third, where he's on the lifeboat with Richard Parker is my favourite section of the movie. It was similar in theme and situation to Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, but I cannot express how much better Ang Lee was able to pull it off. Lee uses a combination of breathtaking visuals and raw emotion, whereas Boyle went with unfitting music and weird camera angles. Also, Lee's trust in Suraj Sharma is completely evident. He puts the film squarely on the shoulders of a young relatively unknown actor, and Sharma delivers what I think is the second best performance of the year.

      It definitely had problems though. All in all it dragged on for too long. And the position of that weird island scene, coming right after the emotional climax of the movie was a huge disappointment, and ultimately stopped the film from accomplishing what it wanted to.

      SPOILERS

      Now to the ending, which is what I really wanted to talk about. First of all, let me say that it caught me completely off guard. However, I'm still on the fence about whether it was a good finish. I love a good twist ending, but I found this one to be almost horrifically pessimistic and dark, especially after it was such a light, triumph-of-the-human-spirit type tale. In the span of about 5 minutes, I went from relaxed and satisfied to jaw-wide shock.
      Basically, what I got from this film is that humanity is inherently evil. The only things that are 'good' about us are based on our own lies to help us feel less guilty about how terrible we actually are. Now, I'm not saying I'm opposed to this view point, but after spending almost 2 hours thinking "Wow, what an uplifting story", to be dropped like that so suddenly cheapened the movie. Especially after when there was no mood change. They just carried on like nothing had happened.

      The God portion was interesting though. I never thought that he would make the author believe in God by simply showing that choosing to do so is easier. Kind of a boot to the face of religion, which I wasn't expecting because I thought the story was going to be a religious one.

  • Matt

    Only four movies for me, but it was still a really solid week in terms of quality:

    At Home:

    Short Cuts- A terrific film that shifts tones seamlessly and kept my interest for every minute of it's rather long runtime. I'll need to see the movie again before I can fully comment on it's many themes, as I spent this viewing trying to keep track of all the stories as opposed to analyzing them, but the film clearly had a lot to say. There wasn't a weak performance in the cast, and it's hard for me to really pick a favorite from the group, they were all so good. I guess I was perhaps most impressed with Madeline Stowe, mostly because I only know her from "Revenge" (a guilty pleasure of mine) and she's considerably better in "Short Cuts" then she is there. I really hope Criterion updates "Short Cuts" to Bluray soon, I'd love to add it to my collection. A

    The Seven Year Itch- Another great Billy Wilder film. The script was smart and well written, the film was surprisingly funny and didn't feel too dated, and I really loved Tom Ewell's performance. Not as strong as "The Apartment" but still a really great film. A-

    End of Watch- Even with all the critical praise I wasn't expecting much because I thought the trailers for the film were terrible. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a bit of an understatement. I was floored with how much I loved this film. The performances between Gylennhaal and Pena were believable and helped make their characters more likable, and I loved how authentic the film felt. While the "hand-held camera" aspect certainly felt forced at times, this was also the first time I saw a film of that subgenre and actually felt it made the movie more realistic. By the end of the film I was completely invested in it. One of the best of 2012, in my opinion. A

    Showgirls- I only watched "Showgirls" because I was with a group of friends and we wanted to watch a bad movie to mock it. This was my first time seeing the film and I have to say, it's definitely hilarious and has moments that are shockingly awful. I will say that I don't think it's as bad as some people make it out to be, but it's certainly a mess of a film. But, it's a lot of fun to watch with friends and is extremely enjoyable in a weird way. I really can't grade this film, but I will say that it was one of the best movie watching experiences I've had with friends in recent memory.

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

      I remember watching Showgirls in my early teens and being enamored with it for obvious reasons. As I got older though, I realized just how truly awful it is lol.

      • Matt

        Yeah, if I saw it as a teenager it'd probably be my favorite movie, haha. Especially since I was a huge "Saved By the Bell" fan and had a crush on all the girls in it. But, as a college student, it's so over the top and ridiculous that it's hard to really care about all the nudity.

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

    Kind of a random aside, but The Godfather trilogy on blu-ray is going for $20.99 on Amazon right now, which is pretty much a steal for those of you who don't have it already (was $17.99 yesterday I believe).

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

    With MLK day and having my teeth extracted, I've watched a lot of movies. Unfortunately, since I watched so many more fims than I'm used to in one week, I have to make these reviews shorter and less detailed than I prefer.

    Kung Fu Hustle: This is a film where I don't know where I stand on it. On one hand, when watching it, I didn't particularly like it, but when I tried to give it two stars, I felt very poorly about it. I think I'll have to watch this one again in the distant future, but for right now, I'll just give it a 2.5/5

    One Fine Day: Ah yes, it seems I have watched a romantic comedy that follows a very cliche story line. Michelle Pfeiffer gets offered a life changing experience, but the meeting conflicts with her (extremely annoying) son's soccer game? OOO, I wonder what she's going to choose? You guessed it: THE F@!%ING SOCCER GAME. We have two minutes to get to the all important game? We can play in this puddle for 30 seconds! George Clooney and his black (!) hair are also in this, and he is perfectly bland. 1.5/5

    Moonrise Kingdom: Finally, a good film. I named this my favorite film of last year, and while that may change soon (I don't know how much I'll either like The Impossible, Perks of being a Wallflower, or possibly Argo), as of right now, it has a firm grasp on that spot. The performances were great #OscarSnub, It looked amazing #OscarSnub, and the costumes were fantastic #OscarSnub. While I don't think it's Wes Anderson's best work, I loved this film. 5/5

    Wall-E: I haven't seen this movie since the podcast started, and when I first saw that B'n'L logo, it took me out of the film for a bit. But once I got back in to the film, I loved it every bit as much as the previous times. The one complaint I have is how abruptly it transitioned to a traditional good guy vs. bad guy plot. But other than that, I loved this film. 4.5/5

    The Lion King: Don't get me wrong, I like this film, but I don't know what other people really see in it. For me, it's just a standard Disney film. I didn't have a lot of emotion devoted to the characters. I still like this film, but it isn't deserving of all the major hoopla that it gets. 3.5/5

    Chronicle: I thought that this film was ok, but poorly written. To demonstrate my point, here are some of the lines that make up 35% of the film. "Andrew," "Andrew," "Andrew," "Andrew," "ANDREW!" "ANDREW!!" and who could forget the all time classic line, "ANDREW!!!!!!!!" 3/5

    I'm going to see a film later today, I dont know which one, but you can follow me on letterboxd at http://letterboxd.com/corbin_123/

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

      I just saw The Godfather, and I don't feel like writing a review, but I will say that it is one of my favorite films of all time.

  • Jaylav3205

    In Theaters:

    Django Unchained-Loved every single moment. This is the best film I have seen since Drive. I think this will go down as my favorite QT film but it will be close because I do love Reservoir Dogs. I would say that Waltz gave the best performance to me but I can see why some would like Jackson or DiCaprio Better. (10/10)

    Zero Dark Thirty-I loved the hurt locker and I enjoyed this but I wasn't blown away. I didn't mind the fact that the trailers portrayed it as a action film and it wasn't. I didn't listen to the conversations leading up to its release. So I wasn't swayed one way or the other. I thought Chastain was great. I just thought it was a little to choppy for my liking. Good film just not great for me. (7/10)

    Jack Reacher-Solid film. Nothing new or great about it. It was exactly what I thought it was going to be. I really liked the role for Cruise. Robert Duvall was funny in the last half of the movie. Could have been a bit more but as is is still pretty good. (7/10)

    Silver Linings Playbook-I thought this was an interesting movie. Good performances by everybody. I felt uneasy watching this film. My wife was so uncomfortable watching this that she walked out and waited in the car. This film is hard to watch for us. We have dealt with a lot of mental illness and the way the story is told brings a lot of things back that we would like to forget. I think this is a good movie. (8/10)

    At Home:

    End Of watch-Very solid film making here. Best cop movie since Training Day. My second favorite film of the year behind Django. (9.5/10)

    Alphas Season 2(TV show)-good show but a little corny sometimes but that is just because it is made by syfy. I am about half way through and it keeps getting better. (8/10)

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

    http://letterboxd.com/xarnis/

    Hit me up on Letterboxd, by the way.

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

    I tried to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild, but fell asleep after 30 minutes. I was pretty tired, but to be honest, I wasn't interested in what I saw. I'll try to finish it sometime before the Oscars, but I'm not in a rush to do so.

    In Theaters:

    Amour - A well-made film, but not one that I enjoyed or would want to watch again. Yes, the performances are great and Haneke handles the subject matter in a respectful way, but it's so long and moves so slowly. It was frustrating and made it hard for me to stay emotionally connected. I can see why others would love Amour and I do admire it, but I just got to the point where I had enough.

    Cloud Atlas - I'm a little late to the conversation, but I actually really liked Cloud Atlas. It's not perfect, but it's so big and ambitious that it's hard not to be impressed. The six stories are all compelling and each one has a satisfying payoff. I'm not sure it needed to be three hours, but I was never bored at any point in the film. I thought all of the stories were edited together perfectly and it was easy to stay involved throughout. The acting is all solid across the board. No one stands out, but there isn't a weak link. The effects are also great, but I'm split on the make-up. For some it worked well and was really effective. For others, like Tom Hanks, it was bad and distracting. However, during the end credits, it was fun to see all the actors in make-up and to see who I missed during the film. Overall, Cloud Atlas worked really well for me. It isn't perfect, but The Wachowskis really go for it and that's something to admire.

    At Home:

    Dredd 3D- A solid action flick with pretty cool special effects and a good performance from Karl Urban. I've never read the Dredd comics, but I still enjoyed it.

    Killer Joe - My reaction at the end was "WTF". This is one hell of a movie that left me speechless. Matthew McConaughey is great here and with this, Lincoln Lawyer and Magic Mike, he's made a strong come-back. I thought Killer Joe was dark, intense, disturbing and, at times, pretty funny. With that being said, I do have problems with the film. The characters are pretty stupid and that only annoyed me after I saw it. The ending is the big problem for me. I didn't understand it at all. If anyone out there can explain it to me, please do because I thought it didn't make any sense. Take away the ending and you still have a solid film that kept me glued to the screen throughout.

    Ted - My second viewing since I last saw it in theaters. I still found it to be very funny, but Ted feels much longer at home than it did at the theaters. I still liked it enough to buy it, but the length was a strange thing that I noticed.

    Singin' in the Rain - Definitely one of my favorite musicals and one that always puts a smile on face. This was much needed, especially after watching a film like Amour.

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

      Also, I just finished The Conversation so I'll be ready for the Movie Club on Wednesday. Can't wait to discuss it!

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

    In theaters:

    Django Unchained (Rewatch): Held up really well for a second viewing. I still think the ending drags a bit (the two scenes between the shootout and Django's return take forever), but all in all it's one of Tarantino's better films. One thing I will note is that I enjoyed DiCaprio's performance a lot more this time. I think my expectations were a bit too high the first time, and he really is a deplorable villain. 3.5/4

    At home:

    I watched a bit of Queen Bear with the family, but it really is bad. Easily my least favorite Pixar (I initially thought it might still be Bug's Life). So I won't review it as I only half-watched. I also caught the tail end of Looper, which is a film I really like, but since I didn't watch the whole thing, a review seems wrong. I will, however, review...

    Se7en (rewatch): I picked this one up on Blu-ray and I absolutely love it. Fincher is one of my favorite directors working today and this was a great non-Alien3-debut. The movie never lets up on its dark mysterious tone. That ending is fantastic. I'm currently listening to the commentary tracks, but haven't finished. But as with GWTDT, Social Network, and Fight Club, Fincher's commentaries are the best I've ever heard- the perfect mix of informative and entertaining. 3.5/4

  • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

    No Reviews only grades for these
    - The Passion of Joan of Arc: 4/5
    - End of Watch: 4/5
    - Amour: 3.5/5
    - Carnage: 3/5
    - Crazy, Stupid, Love: 4/5

    Reviews
    - Ripley's Game: Ripley's Game is a character study that partially succeeds in its goal of showing human reactions to killing, death, and greed, but leaves the audience wanting more; wanting some substance to the story, not just showing characters going through the motion of their dark objectives. Grade: 3/5
    Full review @ http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/film/ripleys-game/

    - 12 Monkeys: My review can be found @ http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/film/twelve-monkeys/. But it does have some spoilers. Grade: 4/5

    - Robot & Frank: Overall, a very heart warming freshman-film from Jake Schreier with a fine performance from Frank Langella with a nice melodramatic score that really adds to the film's tone. Grade: 3.5/5.
    Full review @ http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/film/robot-frank/

    - Get Low: (Full Review) Get Low is a good movie with a fine performances from Duvall and Murray (especially the former), fine editing that gets your interest going, but is quite monotonous for awhile. The whole idea of the film is good, and we're introduced to it soon on in the movie. Duvall's character has a unique idea to attend his funeral (a live-funeral party). We aren't quite sure of his intentions, but we can guess he just wants to get things straight with the townsfolk about the legends of him. For the next hour, the audience is still trying to figure it out, and is getting quite tiresome at that point. A few little bumps in the road come into play (ex. Spacek's and Cobbs' characters) but nothing really adds to the story. Luckily, this movie is saved by Duvall's heartfelt speech at the end to put all the pieces together. Grade: 3/5

    - Parker: Only went to go see it because my dad wanted to. It's not a terrible movie and is only saved by Statham's good performance. He's not a great actor, but everything I've seen him in, he's been the highlight. Grade: 1.5/5

  • m1

    A variety of movies this week!

    Tropic Thunder (2008)-Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. give pretty fantastic performances. In fact, the scenes with Cruise dancing were the best parts of the movie. The plot is basically an SNL skit that overstays its welcome, but the cast is game, and there are plenty of laughs to be had. 6/10

    Contagion (2011) (rewatch)-I needed to do some DVR cleaning so I decided to watch this again. A scary movie that is tightly edited, even though the script suffers from many horror movie cliches and at least two uninteresting subplots (Jude Law and Marion Cotillard). The first time I saw it I thought that Jennifer Ehle was the only cast member that stood out, but Damon's performance is solid too and it becomes obvious just how much steam the movie loses once Kate Winslet's character leaves the movie. A solid effort from Soderbergh, for me, on the same level as Magic Mike. 7/10

    Gone Baby Gone (2007)-Affleck's directorial debut is a knockout of a movie. Definitely there are some cliched moments/plot points here but each character is so fleshed out and even the detectives played by Michelle Monaghan and Casey Affleck aren't the usual "tough guy" stereotypes here. The best performance in the movie is clearly from Amy Ryan, who definitely deserved her Oscar nomination. 8/10

    Crash (2005)-This is probably one of the more bandied about movies on the internet. I'll begin by saying that I am not as big a fan of Brokeback Mountain as other people are, though I do think it is a great film and superior to this one. But...I don't think it deserves its "Worst Best Picture" title. Nor did it deserve the Oscar. To me, it's an interesting look at racism in Los Angeles. It definitely turns into "Racism 101" at times but overall this was a good, extremely well-acted movie that I don't regret watching. 7/10

    The Bourne Legacy (2012)-My problem with this movie is that it seems to spend most of its time setting up a sequel rather than telling a great story. I actually ended up enjoying the film more than Bourne Identity but they really need to bring back Matt Damon. Jeremy Renner, Matt Damon, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Joan Allen. Now that's a great cast. 6.5/10

    Almost Famous (2000)-Cameron Crowe just seems to be one of those directors whose movies I can ease into. This was a nostalgic, personal, entertaining movie about music. It's a shame Kate Hudson sold out after this movie because she was Oscar-worthy in this. 8/10

    Zero Dark Thirty (2012)-Incredible. Suspenseful. The best movie of the year. What more is there to say? 10/10

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

      Did you expect the twist in Gone Baby Gone?

      • m1

        I did not, but after the movie was over I realized it did make sense given what we knew about the characters beforehand. There's definitely a suspension of disbelief quality to it, but at the same time, I thought it added a lot to the movie.

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

          Yeah - same here. I've heard of people who were turned off by the twist and can't relate.

          • Winchester

            The main issue I had with Gone Baby Gone was more the overly contorted plot twists and turns. I liked the ending of the film and I remember having conversations about what 'you' would have done (because I agreed with the Michelle Monaghan character) with people who had seen it. But it twisted about a bit too much beforehand for it's own good I felt.

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

    This is what I watched this week:

    Bedtime Stories: A funny family film, but definitely not Sandler's best. Russell Brand was hilarious in the movie too. 3.5/5

    The Muppets (2011): A very enjoyable family film, but not quite as great as everyone says it is. 3.5/5

    Total Recall (2012): Notice: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS MOVIE AND YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS, DON'T READ THIS REVIEW. I'm sorry but I need to rant about this movie. I saw the trailers for this movie and I had very high expectations for it. I ended up missing it in theatres, but I rented it this past weekend and I must say, this really is not a good movie. This movie actually made me a little angry to be honest. For starters, this movie was just REALLY boring at times. There was only a little bit of story, it was pretty much just mindless action sequence after mindless action sequence. It was also really hard to understand. I mean, at the end of the film, I still didn't know whether or not the entire film was a fake memory or if it was all real. Also, what about that stuff about Kate Beckinsale and Colin Farrell being married for six weeks instead of seven years? It was all just confusing. Another problem I had was Kate Beckinsale's accent going from American to British. How did that happen? The only upsides to this movie were the performances from Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale (aside from the accent problem), Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston and the special effects were great too. I would also like to note that I haven't seen the original Total Recall and after seeing this movie, I have no desire to. Don't watch this movie, you'll be very disappointed by it. 2/5

    Grown ups: Funny but very predictable. I literally knew exactly what was going to happen the second the movie started. 3/5

    You Don't Mess With The Zohan (Unrated version): Much funnier than the theatrical version. 4/5

    Click: Hilarious, one of Sandler's best. 4/5

    Paul Blart: Mall Cop: Not great, but still funny. 3.5/5

    Napoleon Dynamite: A funny little cult classic. 3.5/5

    Old Dogs: I don't understand all the hate for this movie. It was actually pretty funny. 3.5/5

    Jack And Jill: I understand the hate for this movie even less than the hate for Old Dogs. This was a really hilarious movie up until the hour mark. After that, it just wasn't funny anymore. 3.5/5

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

      I might be watching more movies later though, so I'll post again if I do.

      • Winchester

        The accent is straightforward I thought.

        She was just using a fake American accent while acting as his wife and then when the gig was up dropped it. I suppose that strictly doesn't explain why her accent would have in the first place needed to be American................but it's just part of the act. Or the dream. Or the program.

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

          But was the entire movie a memory or was it all real? That's what confused me the most.

          • Winchester

            For me I tend to go with Wiseman's Total Recall being 'real'..............but I tend to go with Verhoeven's version being a 'dream'. But really it's one of those one's where you are meant to decide for yourself which you think it is. I'm not saying Wiseman's version is necessarily worth pondering that long..................but you kinda have to decide based on what he shows you. Although, I watched the extended Blu Ray cut. I don't know if you did. Wiseman certainly believes his version can swing both ways as did the Verhoeven one.

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

              Ok and I was just wondering, do you think the original Total Recall is better than the new one? Because like I said I didn't like the new one, but I haven't seen the original.

              • Winchester

                The first one is better, yeah. It's also much much more violent and bloody but they did a really good Blu Ray remaster and transfer on it. You'll realise there are several nods to it in the 2012 one if you ever do catch it.

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

        Ok so I ended up watching one more movie today...

        Rock Of Ages- A fun movie. It's a guilty pleasure for me. Tom Cruise gives what is possibly the best performance of his career and everyone else except for Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough are at the top of their game also. I loved this movie and it's one of the best films of last year.

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

        Ok so I ended up watching one more movie today...

        Rock Of Ages- A fun movie. It's a guilty pleasure for me. Tom Cruise gives what is possibly the best performance of his career and everyone else except for Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough are at the top of their game also. I loved this movie and it's one of the best films of last year. 4/5

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

      It's funny, as much as I don't think Grown Ups is a good movie, I still kind of enjoy watching it because it reminds me of summers growing up, camp, doing stupid things with friends, etc.

      Agreed on Click, a lot of critics hated that movie, but it's really good as far as I'm concerned. One of the few movies that made me tear up in the theatre. My only major gripe with it was I went in expecting a comedy, and turned out to be this emotional rollercoaster.

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

    I'll watch The Conversation just to keep the movie club going...

    I finished a book called Rebels on the Backlot about QT, Spike Jonze, and some other cool directors, I'd recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a filmmaker like me.

    Spanking the Monkey - 6/10
    I didn't really see the comedy in this, it was a really weird experience.

    If.... (rewatch) - 8/10
    Its a cool film, I read it was Tupac's favorite movie of all time. Malcolm Mcdowell's acting is great in it, though not better than in A Clockwork Orange. Its a very interesting film and having been in an all boy school until high school I can relate to how the protagonist is feeling but not to his actions.

    Fight Club (rewatch) - 10/10
    My favorite movie of all time tied with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It has references to a lot of films, which is something I love about it. I think its Brad Pitt's best performance and Edward Norton's second after his performance in American History X.

    Y Tu Mama Tambien (rewatch) - 10/10
    This has now become one of my top 5, its an amazing movie, it feels very natural almost like a real experience instead of just a movie. Its a real cool hangout film, I could watch it anytime.

    Breathless (rewatch) - 9/10
    I really enjoyed it this time, its a very cool film and Jean Paul Belmondo's character can be really funny at times. Its a fast movie and I liked it because of that. I love the scene where Patricia is interviewing this guy who keeps on saying wise stuff. The only thing for me that keeps it from being perfect is that I don't understand Patricia's motives at the end.

    Avatar (rewatch) - 9/10
    Its an entertaining film, and its visuals are perfect, I think they'll be able to stand the test of time just like Titanic has. I saw the extended cut this time and the alternate opening is okay but the movie doesn't really need it.

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (rewatch) - 6/10
    This has to be Fincher's worst behind Alien3, its premise had potential until they turned it into another Forrest Gump movie which has already been done before in movies like Zelig and Big Fish. It gets really boring and they could've cut out a whole hour of it. Some parts were really unnecessary.

  • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

    I revisited my all-time favorite and one of the greatest films made, Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind. there is something new to be found in every viewing and I am telling this after having watched the film dozen of times.

    1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 5/5
    Here is my ode to the film which I wrote this week. It throws light on deeper meanings of the film which you might have missed.
    http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/2013/01/nostalgia-eternal-sunshine-of-spotless.html

    Also, it was a week of documentaries for me. Now I have watched 4 out of the 5 Oscar nominated stuff. [only Gatekeepers remain]

    2. Searching For Sugar Man. 4/5.
    Enjoyable musical documentary with a sort-of overwhelming last 20 mins.

    3. 5 Broken Cameras. 4.5/5
    Raw and gripping in equal measures, this doc also raises several questions.

    4. How to Survive a Plague. 3/5
    Less entertaining but informative and thought provoking.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

    Interesting week of viewing.

    Mama (2013), Ultimately, a missed opportunity to tackle an interesting subtext they add with the opening prologue of the film, only to completely dismiss it and go with your standard ghost story we've seen plenty of times. Having said that, there were some interesting images on display through out the film and the ending is ballsy as hell. Still, a missed opportunity.

    The Sessions (2012), Just a wonderful, hilarious, and heartwarming film with two fantastic performances to anchor it. Could John Hawkes be Daniel Day Lewis 2.0? From film to film as of late, he's producing outstanding work. This one might be his greatest work, even if it does have shades of DDL "My Left Foot". It's wonderful to see Helen Hunt back on the big screen. Macy is great as always. Just a nice, heartwarming love story.

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), After a second viewing, it's even more soul crushing than the first. I absolutely adore this film. It'll be a film I want annual. There's just something so true about how it unfolds and the craftsmanship involved. I'm not saying it's perfect but it feels perfect. Everything about it just works. I ache with these characters in every frame. Emma Watson and Erza Miller just kill in this thing. I was debating about whether or not to get the Blu Ray, considering I could always rent it from the library but I have to have this one in my collection. This is going to make a fantastic double bill with Garden State. Where's my Garden State blu ray damn it?

    Trouble with the Curve (2012), Predicable as shit and absolutely nothing here but I love to watch Grumpy Clint. What can I say? Grumpy Clint speaks to me. This is one of those comfort films that I have no business liking but two things make me kind of love it. First is the acting from Amy Adams, Timberlake, and Eastwood. The chemistry between the three is fantastic from start to finish. Adams is fun here and her chemistry with Eastwood is what seals it. Second, this aspect of baseball (old school scouting) makes for an interesting watch...sort of a behind the scenes, grunt work in the farm leagues. Like Tin Cup, it's the kind of low level sports film that just appeals to me. Plus, this film feels like the unofficial third film in the "Grumpy Clint" trilogy (Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, and Trouble with the Curve). And I love trilogies.

    Gangster Squad (2013), You know, I understand dramatic license when it comes to a cinematic story that actually took place. Real life isn't as cinematic or dramatic as the movies. But, if you're going to change almost everything about the actual story, why not just do something original? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Gangster Squad. All this talent and it's completely wasted. Completely.

    Thor (2011), Of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film including Avengers, Thor is the one that I always come back to. Yes, it's the one film in the series so far that looks the cheapest. It feels like Marvel was just trying not to embarrass themselves or the character of Thor in order to get to the Avengers unscathed. It's the one film that needs probably another 10 minutes. But, with Branagh's steady hand, the story at hand, the mythology of the world and the characters and the dynamite chemistry between this cast on every level, this is easily my favorite MCU film and my favorite MCU franchise. If I had my way, dump the rest of the franchises and the new ones their about to introduce and I'd just ravage every corner of the Thor universe and make dozens of movies based on this character. That's how much I responded well to Thor.

    Dangerous Days: The Making of Blade Runner (2007), A wonderful making of documentary that I finally got a chance to actually watch about this infamous film. Very authentic and some interesting insights into the making of this film during that era and the vision of one director. It's become increasing clear for me that while I appreciate Blade Runner on a number of different levels, I don't particularly like the film. This documentary punctuates that point brilliantly.

  • Kyle

    Searching for Sugarman - 3.5/5. I don't get the hype.

    The Invisible War - 5/5. I get the hype. Go watch this now.

    Adventureland (rewatch) - Just a favorite of mine, that happens to be set in my lovely hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • http://www.criterion.com/my_criterion/27913-criterion10 Criterion10

    Another light week sadly...

    Django -- This isn't Tarantino's film, but rather the 1966 film by Sergio Corbucci. Overall, this is nothing more than a pretty typical Italian western from the 60s. It's bloody, violent, and over the top. There are some memorable sequences, but overall the story is forgettable and nothing too special. Still, it was worth a watch. B-

    The Pianist (Rewatch) -- I hadn't seen this one in years, but caught it on Showtime the other night, despite missing the first half hour or so. This is a great movie, easily one of the best films made about the Holocaust. Adrien Brody gives an incredible performance, and completely deserved the Oscar that year. Polanski's direction is top notch too. He still remains one of my favorite directors. A+

    I started Pasolini's Trilogy of Life today with The Decameron, but I'll save my thoughts on that till next Sunday. I've had The Conversation on Blu-Ray for quite some time now, and will hopefully get around to watching it in time for Wednesday.

  • Kenny

    Saw a couple of horror films on my Netflix instant queue as well as started a documentary film series.

    V/H/S - I really wanted to love this movie but I was left with just a few moments that didn't make up for the entire film. For example I loved the amateur night short and the lovers short was interesting but the woods and ghost/alien shorts at the end were just watchable. I also think the short that connected the others wasn't completely figured out. I wasn't really scared the entire time but I was never bored. That said I love the concept and I am really anticipating S-VHS this fall. 2.5/4

    Absentia - I started watching this one a couple weeks ago but fell asleep before the pace picked up. Even though you notice the cheap budget at some points and it used the common plot element of whether it was all real or within their heads the entire time, in the end I enjoyed it for what it was. Although the two cops annoyed me a little too much that I was hoping they wouldn't make it to the end. Plus you can google search the address of the tunnel used in the film (found the link on IMDB forum), which made it even creepier. 2.5/4

    The Story of Film: An Odyssey - I started watching this because I thought I could learn a little more about film history and so far I have enjoyed it. I do think that it explains a lot of basic film knowledge but it also showed new films I hadn't heard about. Right now I have seen the first 3 parts and I will continue watching. For new film buffs I would recommend this and for experienced people I would also say give it a watch. 3.5/4

    This past week my horror film class started screening The Exorcist. Yes I'm taking a film class solely focusing on the horror genre which is just awesome. I think this is my third time seeing Exorcist but this time I'm getting a real analysis (my professor likes to pause it every new frame).
    In my war film class we watched clips from Bataan and Dr. Strangelove and I liked what I saw. I'm not that knowledgeable in the war genre so I hope to learn a lot in this class.

    In the TV world I've been trying to keep up with my favorite shows while adding to them. I watched the pilot for The Following on Monday. I thought it was fine. It's nothing new to the genre but it moves with such a fast pace that you want to keep watching. It's from the creator of Scream and Vampire Diaries so I hope the shocks, twists and turns keep on coming. 2.5/4 (for just the pilot so far).

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

    I did some babysitting so I put on some Miyazaki...

    Spirited Away: Probably his most technically brilliant, Spirited Away is gorgeous. When I watch this movie I can just sit and marvel at the beauty. It is a bit abstract at points. Especially for children. Still very good. A-

    My Neighbor Totoro: One of my top 5 animated films and also just one of my favorites. This movie has such an elegant story. Very mature, while also being uber kid friendly. Love this film. Probably Miyazaki's second best behind Howl Moving Castle. A

    Bernie: Black's performance is definitely Oscar worthy so that's upsetting and the film is very funny at points. Completely watchable thanks to Linklater, who just doesn't know how to make movies unwatchable. It does overstay it's welcome a tiny bit. B-

    All That Jazz: Just completely awesome. Some of the best all around editing I've ever seen in a movie. Though the film is about the hardships in theater, I think it's universal among all the media arts. Whether it be film, theater, performance art, etc. This movie scares me to death. I can't wait to be the ones making the films like this along with the RoS readership who's trying to go into this proffesion. :) A-

    Side Effects: Soderbergh has basically gained my trust from here on out. The guy doesn't make bad movies. He even mixes art-house sensibilities with mainstream sensibilities. He's the total package. He just doesn't always hit it out of the park. He ranges from B- to A. Never above or below. I think thats an accomplishment. Side Effects is one of his better efforts. Not near the heights of Magic Mike but still in the same aura.

    Let me just say that the trailers ruined some of the surprise for me but the film still manages to be as engaging as ever. The script by Burns, is a traditional windy thriller with some prescription drug company subtext put in for good measure, but that never overshadows the film and it's core story and characters. Though if it was more of an indictment of that industry, it might have been something even more special.

    Jude Law is the best performance in the film by a longshot with everyone else right on his tail pretty much. I'd give Tatum the edge. The guy has become such a talent. Back to Law, just as in Contagion with the Burn/Soderbergh collaboration, he just gets the mixture and is natural in giving his lines throughout.

    Soderbergh knows what he's doing. The man doesn't make movies without thought or on a whim. Each film is labor. Side Effects might be his best "made" film in a while though and what's interesting is how simple he makes it all look. Cinematography still sepia toned but it works every time for some apparent reason. Him and Fincher I think are cut from the same cloth of filmmakers. Perfectionist. Soderbergh I feel is just more confident in his films while Fincher is just more competent. Then again, who has more films on their resume? Go see Side Effects. It's the first movie this year to light any sort of spark. I really hope this guy doesn't retire soon. We'll be losing a vital entertainer. B+

  • Chris138

    Ted - It seems that this is one of those 2012 movies which people either loved or hated, and I have to admit I fall more into the former camp. I don't know if "love" is the right word, but I definitely enjoyed it a lot. The story itself is pretty generic and has been done tons of times before, but considering I had very little (if any) expectations for this film I have to say that I found it pretty funny and consistently entertaining. Even though I don't watch Family Guy I could tell that Ted sounded exactly like Peter Griffin, but oh well. I laughed the hardest at Ted's first "job interview". 4/5

    Swept Away (1974) - This is a movie I am somewhat conflicted on. On the one hand it's incredibly well made and entertaining throughout, with good acting and beautiful cinematography. It starts out promising enough, but then toward the last third or so of the movie it begins to become stranger and stranger, with some critics even labeling it the "most misogynist film ever made by a woman". I have to admit that I thought the same while watching it. There are those who defend the film in this regard, but to me it came off in the latter half as an unsettling rape fantasy for the male lead. I'd say it is still worth seeing just for the quality of the film making, but it is one of the stranger movies I've come across recently. And I haven't seen the Guy Ritchie version, which I hear is terrible, so I can't compare the two. 3.5/5

    The White Sheik - This is possibly Fellini's most underrated and overlooked film. It is obviously one of his earlier works, since it is much more linear and straight forward then the stuff he is best known for. I loved it from beginning to end and would gladly revisit it in the future. I think it ranks among Fellini's best work. 4.5/5

    Serpico - I've noticed a pattern with Sidney Lumet and the subjects of his films, which deal with mostly corruption in the police department. This film is no different. As a movie in general it is decent, but what really carries the whole thing is Al Pacino's performance. I believe he got his second Oscar nomination for this and he is really the reason to watch it. As good as Treat Williams was in Prince of the City he almost pales in comparison to Pacino's work here. The scene where he goes nuts in the office before locking up a drug dealer and breaking chairs is worth the price of admission alone. 3.5/5

    The Mirror - I'd been meaning to watch this for quite some time now, and my interest only furthered when I saw it made the recent Sight and Sound poll as one of the 10 best movies ever made. I've only seen Ivan's Childhood (which I thought was alright) and Andrei Rublev (which I really liked) from Tarkovsky, as well as the first hour of Solaris before giving up, and I have to say that I really loved this film a lot. Just from the first viewing I have to admit that it didn't completely make sense, but I think further viewings will only enrich the experience of it all. It's the same way I felt with The Tree of Life, which has only gotten better and better every time I've watched it. I can also see the comparisons that people made with this film to Malick's, although there is more dialogue in this film than in The Tree of Life. 4.5/5

    Fellini Satyricon - I have to first confess that, as you would assume from my post above, I am a huge fan of Fellini's work. I've loved everything I've seen of his... until I saw this. I was aware that this was considered pretty strange, but I figured that since I really liked Fellini's Casanova that this wouldn't be too bad. How wrong I was. The film doesn't start off terribly promising and then only drags on from there for another two hours. I found the story incredibly uninvolving and I was just waiting for the whole thing to end. It astonishes me that, out of all the great movies Fellini made, the Academy actually nominated him for Best Director here, but not something like The White Sheik or La Strada. I suppose there are some people who champion this film, and Fellini is still one of my absolute favorite directors of all time, but this film was a huge misfire for me. 1.5/5

    End of Watch - A good movie that I feel has been a little overpraised after watching it. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena are both good in their roles and I thought they both worked well off each other when shooting dialogue back and forth. There's also a grittiness to the whole feel of the movie that helped to bring a sense of realism. Also, I understood that Gyllenhaal's character is supposed to be shooting this stuff for a film class he's taking, but I was a little confused why the rest of the film is shot the same way even when it's not from his point of view. Perhaps this bugged me because I can't stand the whole shaky camera style of film making that a number of directors seem to have embraced in recent years, but from a logical point of view that just didn't really click for me. The main villains in the film were also pretty funny caricatures that didn't really say anything besides "fuck" every time they spoke. Literally, there was not one sentence the one guy uttered that didn't have that word mentioned. I also don't think I've ever seen a movie where two characters say "bro" as much as they do here. Overall I think this movie stunned critics because they likely had such low expectations after the disastrous snooze otherwise known as Street Kings. But, despite the flaws I see in it and for what it is, it's decent entertainment that I'd say is worth a watch or two. 3.5/5

    Welcome to the Dollhouse - Not a lot to say about this movie, but I did like it quite a bit. It is surprisingly well acted by the entire cast and also has a pretty good script. There are some strange tones to the film, especially in the latter half when a certain character gets kidnapped and it's still in black comedy mode, but the film seems to do a good job presenting the horrors of middle school from the perspective of an outcast adolescent girl. That girl, by the way, was Anne Hathaway's best friend in The Princess Diaries. I knew she looked familiar while I was watching it, but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was that she was from. As I mentioned before, like the rest of the cast, she is quite good here. 4/5

    Gunga Din - A classic Hollywood adventure film that hasn't aged terribly well in all parts by today's standards. The performances are mostly fine, with Cary Grant being his usual charismatic self. From a political correct standpoint, the film is very problematic. As is the case with most old Hollywood films dealing with British imperialism, it tends to take the side of the Brits while demonizing the Indians. They are mostly represented by a group of Indians known as the Thuggee, who were an actual group of assassins back during this time of British colonial rule. Spielberg used this film as an obvious influence on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, although I think they look a lot more sinister in that film than they did here. It's also interesting to see that they use Rudyard Kipling, whose poem this film is based on, as an actual character which is similar to John Huston film adaptation of The Man Who Would Be King where Christopher Plummer plays Kipling. The same year this film came out there was another one dealing with imperialism, called The Four Feathers, that was also problematic from a moral standpoint but is, in my opinion, much better overall in terms of the quality of film making. Nonetheless, despite the obvious jingoism and cultural insensitivity on display, this is a solid entertainment that's worth a look. 3.5/5

    Re-watch:

    10 Things I Hate About You - I have to say that I love this movie. It's cheesy, sometimes melodramatic and dated in many aspects, but it's also charming as all hell and well acted with a lot of heart. It's obviously bittersweet to watch this movie now in retrospect and seeing Heath Ledger so young. I have to say that this is one of his most endearing performances and it only goes to show how far he went in his sadly brief career. These sentiments are shared by members of the cast and the writers in the 10th anniversary commentary for the Blu-ray. It's hard to believe 5 years have gone by already since his passing. On a lighter note, it is cool to see other people like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Julia Stiles back when they were much younger. David Krumholtz is still the funniest part of the movie, and Andrew Keegan is quite believable as the jock-asshole. Larry Miller is also good fun. I have to say this is one of the better teen comedies and modern-day Shakespeare movies to come out. It's just a good time from beginning to end. 4/5

  • Jake17

    Follow me at Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/jake17/
    Light week
    Oslo, August 31: A good movie with a fantastic lead performance, but I never fully connected with it, emotionally. 7.5/10

    Jeff, Who Lives At Home: Utterly abysmal. Jeff, Who Lives At Home is cliched, monotonous, unfunny and emotionally manipulative. Ed Helms' character is awful, the script is weak, and Susan Sarandon's subplot is awful. Just a terrible movie all around. The movie does have a pretty good opening scene, but that's no reason to give a movie a high score when the rest of the movie is awful. 2.5/10

    Lincoln: Lincoln is one of Spielberg's most understated movies. That's not saying much, and there are still parts that feel forced (every scene with Joseph Gordon Levitt is contrived and a little boring), but it's also a fascinating portrait of one of America's greatest presidents. The script is fantastic. Daniel Day-Lewis is simply stunning in the title role. He manages to show us so many sides of Lincoln, from struggling father and husband to a charming Commander In Chief. Tommy Lee Jones is great as Thaddeus Stevens, and he definitely deserves his Oscar nomination. However, James Spader is my favorite supporting performance, as W.N. Bilbo he is just awesome. My main problem with the film is Sally Field, she turns in disappointing work as Mary Todd Lincoln, and the film suffers because of it. The movie also suffers from a bad ending, and it would have been better had it ended two minutes earlier. Despite these problems, Lincoln is a very good movie and is easily one of the best films of 2012. 8/10

    Brick: This film is magical. It's certainly flawed, and there are some cliches, but Rian Johnson manages to make a movie mixing film noir (with appropriately rich and heavy dialogue) and high school dramas, and he makes it work. That alone would be worth celebrating, but Joseph Gordon Levitt's performance is fantastic, so there's even more reason to watch. There are some moments where I wish Johnson had reined in the stylistic action, but there's little action so that's a minor problem. Brick isn't great, but it's damn near close to greatness. 8/10

  • Dale

    Still nothing in theaters that interested me over the weekend, so I did some Blu-ray viewing and revisited a couple of my all-time favorites: "Anatomy of a Murder," possibly Otto Preminger's best movie and featuring one of James Stewart's best performances, and "An American in Paris," the 1951 Oscar winner starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron - the most dazzling color you're every likely to see onscreen. I also watched "Sleepwalk with Me," a wonderfully quirky little film that came out this past fall. It's a semi-autobiographical film about a stand-up comic, played by the very likable Mike Birbiglia. Very enjoyable.

  • The XWF Outlaw

    A lot this week so try to catch up...

    In Theaters:

    (Prologue) I have beet putting off Silver Linings Playbook ever since Thanksgiving, and I had an opprtunity to end this misery this last week but when the time came there was only 2 people in the theater. Call me crazy(YOU'RE CRAZY!!) but when i go see a comedy, i like to have a crowd to make the experiance better. So another week this film eludes me.
    Gangster Squad: I as so dissapointed in this film as Ruben Fleischer, director of my long favorite Zombieland, misses his mark by a long shot in this sophmore attempt. It had so mutch potential it wanted to be more of a nonsence-first actioneer, just set in the 40's. It was so hillarious how in one scene when Gosling is sitting down with Emma Stone's character and he turns around to see some goons coming down the stairs from BEHIND him. With nobody never giving any indication they were coming unless Gosling had eyes in the back of his head. No decent background on any of the supporting characters, not even Micky Cohen witch is sad cause he is the only subpar character in the entire movie. Not to mention the shoehorned scene of the Chinatown shootout witch was clearly the scene that was switched out with the movie theater scene they cut out after the Aroura incident.

    Slick pretty looking era mixed in with mindless action and fast foward pace. This is one of the defining looks of a January movie that you can get. 4/10

    Zero Dark Thirty: I got to tell ya, this is a pretty good movie but definitely not to the high praise that it's been getting. Now thats not to say that it is bad in a scense, but I watch a lot of political stuff much so that the holes were filled in very easly for me. The last 30-40 min were expectialy well crafted and Jessica Chastain is very good in here role. The only problem i could find is that it has no purpose for a high scale movie on the big screen. This could have been much more suited for an HBO mini-series than somthing of this magnitude.

    A quick 2hr 40min film that is definetly worth a look at. Kathryne Biggalo does a good job capturing 10 years of the hunt for bin Laden. Athough I will still say that The Hurt Locker was a much more better exicuted film than this. 7.5/10

    Mama: This was the movie I decided to watch in leue of Silver Linings from earlier and decided to make it a Jessica Chastain double dip. This is a better horror movie than the recent slosh that has come out in theaters but it is not one of the more notable del Toro productions either. Brad pretty mutch nailed it on the head that the CGI boggs down the movie & the jump scares were too repetitive. The ending didn't help either. Chastain's role is very night & day from the other movie by far, but she is not a factor as to why this movie underperfoms.

    The Orphanage still holds the title IMO as the best del Toro production to date. It was ok for what it was but could have been very good with more better execution. 6/10

    The Last Stand: This is the first review that completly contradicts Brad's review to an extent. I went into this one taking the movie at face value and got my (free) money's worth. Arnold's first full role on the big screen since being the Governator in California was a decent welcome as you can definitely see the rust in his acting, (for others if he even had it at all) the film is a definet throwback to his mindless action films of his past. Of course you can't have an Arnold movie without an new slew of one-liners as only he can deliver, and I for sure got some new memerable ones. The script is very half-baked, but dirctor Kim Jen-woon, director of my favorite foreign language film of 2011 The Good, The Bad, & The Weird, makes a script much more entertaining with his great camera shots with the baddies slick looking car as well as the action scenes in the middle and the climactic shootout at the end. Witch reminds me I need to see I Saw the Devil in my netflix sometime soon.

    A mindless good start for Arnold's return to acting, (looking foward to The Tomb & TEN), this is a passable attempt to form that surly does not need the bad press it's been getting after it's box office bomb if you are ready to suspend the belivable. 7/10

    No DVD/Blu-Rays this week.

    Netflix Nexus:

    Dead Snow: In prepperation for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters I finally got to sit down to watch director Tommy Wirkola's debut in this sleeper Norwegian horror flick. Defenitely gets alot of its insperation from Evil Dead & some other horror classics. It makes no attempt to hide its over the topness in its gory death sceans, its Nazi zombie story, and well as its randomness, but wasn't Evil Dead as well? The movie was pretty decent for a first watch but I'm not looking to rush to see it again for replay value. pretty ok. 6.5/10

    TV Land: House of Lies: (Season 2; Episodes 1& 2)

    An intesting take on the new season, but still crafty as ever. Will give you more as the season goes on.

    That's it for me for week 4. Tune in next week if I FINALLY!!!! get to seeing Silver Linings Playbook this week & look out for my reviews on Hansel & Gretel, Movie 43, & either Broken City or Parker.

    Plus, let's not forget the SUPER BOWL!!!!!! Not rooting for anyone in perticular, I'll be happy with whoever wins, but we can't forget the new crazy commercials as well as the first trailer for Fast 6. Till next week, signing off. ^-^

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

    A solid week of movie watching for me, very happy with each of the films I chose to see this past week. As always, follow me on Letterboxd to see more ratings and in-depth reviews, and if you want an invite to the site, I still have one invite left, so let me know! http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/

    IN THEATERS

    Silver Linings Playbook: This is now my third time seeing this film, each of those times in theaters, and I've decided all there is left for me to say about Silver Linings Playbook is, "I love this movie!" 5 / 5

    Zero Dark Thirty: Saw this for the second time in theaters, this time with my father, who is among the hardest of people to please when it comes to movies. To my relief, he liked it very much! Personally, my initial review still holds true for me: Zero Dark Thirty is an intense, gripping triumph, a procedural military drama that closes with one of the most suspenseful sequences in recent cinema history. And damn if that final scene, with Maya (Jessica Chastain) sitting alone in the military plane shedding tears of deep emotional conflict, doesn't make you contemplate the entire manhunt for Osama bin Laden. 5 / 5

    AT HOME

    Blue Valentine: It's been said that if you've seen one love story, you've seen them all. That's most certainly a false statement. Some love stories end happily, and some do not. Blue Valentine is among the latter group. It is a very good but stark anti-romantic drama, devoid of hope and real in ways that remind us that love, though splendid, doesn't always end with happily ever after. 4.5 / 5

    Manhattan: In the past couple weeks, I've watched revered films by four great writer-directors: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch-Drunk Love), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), and now Woody Allen (Manhattan). The charms of each of these men bleed through their scripts and onto the screen, and with results like these, it is hard to argue with those who say that writer-directors are the best filmmakers. Sad, comedic, and ultimately romantic, Manhattan is a film you simply must see, by a writer-director you simply must appreciate. 5 / 5

    Punch-Drunk Love: Movies have the awesome ability to bring people together, but more than that, they bring us to know ourselves. Great films, not according to mass reputation but as judged by one's own opinion, cut to our core and evoke a reaction; sometimes that is laughter, a smile, tears, heartache, anguish, hope. No matter, that reaction is very telling. And it is my belief in that idea that makes me feel like Punch-Drunk Love was made specifically for me, as it resonated with me in a way that not many films do. Yet another previously-unseen comedic drama that I am happy to have finally watched, Punch-Drunk Love truly is just that: love. Both story and character are handled with care by a man (Paul Thomas Anderson) whose work I am now seeking out. Though this is just the first film of his that I've seen, I find myself wondering if there is a deeper home run for Anderson to hit than the one he hits here. Well done, PTA, well done. 5 / 5

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

      Any chance you can hit me up with that letterboxd invite if still available? zevel6@hotmail.com thanks.

      • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

        In case Jordan didn't get to send you one, I sent out one for you.

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

          In fact, I just saw this, so I didn't send him one yet. Thanks for doing that!

    • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

      I'm jealous of you this week. All of the movies you watched are all really good, the highest grade I was able to give out this week was 4/5. I'm going to check out Blue Valentine Tonight.

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

        I've certainly had those weeks where I'm unable to give out anything more than a 3.5 or 4. However, lately I've been sifting through what I would call "unseen classics", movies that are revered by many that I just haven't yet been able to get around to watching. And this week happened to allow me to see three great films I hadn't yet seen before (Blue Valentine, Manhattan, Punch-Drunk Love).

        I actually just watched Boogie Nights late last night as well, but I will save my thoughts on that for next Sunday's article.

        • http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/ RagingTaxiDriver

          And based on your love for Punch-Drunk Love, I'm doubting you will find PTA's other works as refreshing, but I highly recommend There Will Be Blood. Though I'm sure you've already heard a lot of great stuff already about it.

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

            I'm not ready to close the books on my thoughts of Boogie Nights, but -- not a review -- I certainly enjoyed it. There Will Be Blood is on my watchlist, so it's just a matter of getting to it (and Magnolia as well).

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

    End of Watch: What a fantastic movie! Of course I am biased being a cop. This movie really captured the camaraderie between police officers. I know it sounds cliche but it's true. Cops are like that. Just a great movie, this will be a purchase.

    The Last Stand: I really enjoyed Arnold's return to headlining a movie. I never have high expectations when I see modern action movies so it's always nice when one is actually good. I was glad that Arnold wasn't playing an indestructible killing machine. He was playing an old cop.

    Firefly: I saw Serenity when it first came out on DVD but had not seen the series. After watching the show I can see why Joss Whedon doesn't want to work with Fox anymore. What a fantastic show! Watched all 14 episodes in 2 sessions.

    Serenity: Of course after watching all of the episodes of Firefly I had to re-watch Serenity. I think it is the best science fiction movie of 2005.

    Star Trek DS9: It's been awhile since I watched this show and I hadn't seen all the episodes when I did watch it. Since Netflix has every single episode of all Star Trek's I decided to revisit this one. I am currently on Season 3 episode 12. I think this is my favorite Star Trek series.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JoshB/ Josh B

    Watched a few movies the past couple weeks.

    Lars And The Real Girl: A friend suggested we watch this, and I can't say I was all that excited, but wow, this was a really good movie that completely surprised me. A very sweat and funny film with a great performance from Gosling and the entire cast. Really glad we watched it, and I would suggest anyone looking for a movie on Netflix to watch this one. A-

    Zero Dark Thirty (rewatch): Already wrote about this one but it held up well. Still drags on a little in certain parts but still a very good film.

    Silver Linings Playbook (rewatch): My favorite film of the year. David O'Russel has now done back to back movies that I have just loved, and watched multiple times in theaters, really looking forward to his next movie. Second viewing was just a good as the first one and the acting was top notch. Still love the ending even if it is cliche, because of how much I care about all the characters.

    The Watch: Horrible movie, with hardly and laughs. I know Brad gave it a decent review, but this just didn't work for me, and I'm a fan of all involved. Can't believe my friends and I grabbed this over End of Watch, which we had talked about watching all day. Even my friend who normally likes crappy movies didn't like this, it really is that bad. F

    I'm also looking forward the return of Community as it has been WAY too long, and I need my Greendale gang back on the tube.

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

    Drunken Master (B+) - Jackie Chan's break through performance making him a star, the new face of Hong Kong action film after Bruce Lee. It's a great blend of comedy and action. I'm a huge fan of his work as a actor and director, he should considering directing again even if he isn't going to star in it. I think he could bring alot to the table. Jackie Chan is a true pioneer of action film. It's great to revisit his earlier work.