What I Watched, What You Watched #181

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset posters by Sam SmythWell, for starters I watched Before Sunrise and have started Before Sunset for a feature I am working on and will publish closer to the May 24 release date of Before Midnight, but trust me, fans of those two films are going to like what I have in store.

I also watched Andre De Toth's Day of the Outlaw starring Burl Ives and Robert Ryan as I had read it was part of what inspired Sergio Corbucci's The Great Silence, which is the Movie Club selection for February 27. And speaking of which, I have decided what the next title in the Club will be, but I won't be revealing that until the 27th.

Other than that, I have started watching episodes of "Breaking Bad" on Netflix Instant and so far I'm five episodes into the first season. I know a lot of people like the show, but at the moment it feels like something I'm watching because I've been told I should, rather than something that has truly captured my attention. Now I'm sure those of you that love it will say, "It gets better, you have to keep watching," and I will. I'm just saying how it feels at the moment.

And finally, on Friday night the lady of the house wanted to watch Lawless so she ordered that up On Demand and I watched about half of it with her. Solid movie, but I'm not sure it's quite worth the B+ I gave it at the Cannes Film Festival last May.

Getting back to that Before franchise feature I'm working on, I'm also working on something special for the upcoming release of Fast & Furious 6 as well as an extra special something for the month of March, that will last for about three weeks and involve a whole lot of voting... It's gonna be fun.

Now it's your turn. What did you watch this past week?

SIDE NOTE: If you like the Before Sunrise and Before Sunset posters above, they were done by artist Sam Smyth and you can pick them up for yourself right here.

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

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/as/

    At home (first viewing):

    Promised Land (2012) – Talk about phoning it in… Matt Damon gives a good performance but this film is so light. It’s filled with contrived and absurd romances, nauseating sentimentality and just about every cliché in the book.

    3 / 5

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) – A victim of its era, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is too campy to be taken seriously; which is a shame, since the film deals with some interesting subtext about repressed sexuality.

    2 / 5

    How to Survive a Plague (2012) – Of the four Best Documentary nominees I’ve seen (still hoping I get my hands on a screener of The Gatekeepers before next Sunday) this is easily the weakest. It’s tries too hard to be emotionally manipulative, and fails as a result.

    3 / 5

    No (2013) – This was the last of the Foreign Language nominees that I hadn’t seen. It’s very well made. Don’t have much to say about it.

    3 / 5

    On TV:

    Californication (Season 6): Ep. 4

    Girls (Season 2): Ep. 5

    Hatfields & McCoys: Part I – I wasn’t really engaged in this miniseries so I bailed after the first part.

    Shameless (Season 3): Ep. 4

    The Walking Dead (Season 3): Ep. 9 – The first two seasons were very good but the whole thing has been played out by this point. It’s quickly devolving into a something that resembles a network show.


    Finally finished reading Cosmopolis. It’s intellectually stimulating and thought provoking (even if some of it was too esoteric and abstract to comprehend). I look forward to watching to the film again.

    • Danny

      I disagree with your stance on The Walking Dead... Though it has differed from the source comic quite a bit at times with added characters and situations being resolved slightly differently, it's following the beats of it just perfectly and actually in someways improving upon it... The comic is up to issue 105 and it's a monthly comic, so the show has a long way to go...And If this season ends (or next season for that matter, there is enough material set in the Prison and Woodbury storyline for it to be stretched out to the fourth season) event a fraction of the way it plays out in the comic, I have a feeling you will changing your tune...

      • Danny

        ...even a fraction...*

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

        I was reviewing the show, not the comic. I've never read the comic. If the show is closely following the comic, than maybe it's the comic that should bear the brunt of the criticism.

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

          It's the show. It's devolving from a character driven drama with a backdrop of the zombie apocalypse to a zombie apocalypse driven extravaganza with a subtle backdrop of character driven drama. Michonne is probably the most underdeveloped character on TV in a while.

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

            My thoughts exactly. Very well put.

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

      Mmmm as soon as I finished watching Cosmopolis a few months ago, I went out and bought the book... Even though it's short, it's such a long read... Really good, though. The film does better on a second viewing, so much in it! Easy to write an analysis of, which is what I'm doing right now, actually...

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

        The end bit is pretty dense. There's a lot to dissect there; if you have the time and the patience.

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

    Silver Linings Playbook: 10/10 even better 2nd time, Great Performances. really makes me feel like i know these people, just my favourite movie of 2012.

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

    Another light week for me. Perhaps it's the lack of good movies being released that just hasn't put me in the movie-watching mood lately. I skipped A Good Day To Die Hard after all the awful reviews:

    First watch:

    Side Effects (2013) - Theatre - Really enjoyed it. Mara and Law are fantastic in their roles and loved how the story unfolded with all the twists and turns. 8.0 / 10 or "B+"


    Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995) - DVD Home - Thought I would be seeing the 5th one, so decided to give this another go. Just as good as I remember and on par with the first one as far as I'm concerned. Living in NYC, it's pretty awesome how they really utilized the setting. Oh yeah, and Jeremy Irons is great as the villain,, Simon Gruber. 8.0 / 10 or "B+"

  • m1

    Frankenweenie (2012)-It's nice to see Burton back at the top of his game. This movie was clever, spooky, and entertaining. I'd love to see it win the Oscar for animated film. 8/10

    Jarhead (2005)-I was expecting something more interesting other than montages of soldiers behaving badly. Sure, Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard are great, and some scenes do resonate, but I didn't care for this movie that much. It's certainly NOT one of Mendes' best. 5/10

    Paranorman (2012)-This was basically on the level of Frankenweenie for me. In terms of story I think this is slightly better, but both deliver the scary and funny factor. Very enjoyable movie to watch with the family. 8/10

    Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)-I'm still deciding on this one, but I still don't think this was all that great. It just seemed like a bunch of silly dialogues intercut with scenes of gruesome violence. I watched some of Volume 2 last night and it appears to be a much better movie, but I'll have to finish it to make sure. 6 or 6.5/10

    Argo (2012)-I personally do think this is better than Lincoln, even if Lincoln has a better script. I don't know if I would have given Affleck the directing Oscar anyway but this was a great combination of historical thriller and Hollywood satire. Very beautifully put together and Arkin is easily the best of the cast. The airport sequence was fantastic. 9.5/10

    The Pirates: Band of Misfits! (2012)-After seeing this, I can honestly see it winning the animated film Oscar as well. There is plenty of enjoyable British humor in it (which is also probably the reason why it underperformed at the box office). The pacing wasn't the greatest but the story was fun and the characters were entertaining. 7.5/10

    And I personally can't wait to see that feature for Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

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

    To shorten the length of my comment, all of my reviews can be found at http://letterboxd.com/ragingtaxidrver/

    - The Shawshank Redemption: 2 years ago to this past Monday, I watched this film for the first time, introducing me to the world of great cinema. It just so happens, that in my Film and Lit class, we finished watching it this past Monday. I have seen it 8 times, and with each viewing, solidifies my love for this film. Overall Grade: 5/5, favorite film of all-time

    - Leon: The Professional: Leon: The Professional, is a good film, but nothing extraordinary to me. While it boasts strong performances from the leads and Oldman, I never really fell in love with any of the characters; which I feel is needed since the love between Leon and Mathilda is the main point of this film. It's not that I can't see that they have a complex and odd relationship, because it is there, but it never touches me as Besson tries to. Many claim this has some of the best character development, but I'm not sold on that idea. I think Besson just manipulates the screenplay to make you think there's a lot of change. Overall Grade: 4/5

    The Graduate: A fantastic film from Mike Nichols. I can't imagine what it was like to watch this when it first came out. This is pretty mellow by today's standards, but imagine what parents thought of it back then! Overall Grade: 5/5.

    First Watch:
    - Fanny & Alexander: I had some time on my hands this week, and spent 5 glorious hours watching Ingmar Bergman's swan song. It's a fantastic film about love, despair, hope, family, lies, and corruption. The story is great and has fantastic visuals to boot. Great film, Overall Grade: 5/5.

    - The Magnificent Ambersons: I can't say anything else that Brad didn't discuss on his article (http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/the-black-and-white-magnificence-of-the-ambersons/). It's a great film as it is, but I can't give it a full grade because it isn't a full film, and we can never see the true piece Welles intended us to see. Partial Grade: 4/5, but would have potential to be 5/5 had RKO not gotten in the way of Welles' work.

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

    Nothing much this week, as I ordered Skyfall and Argo (my number 4 and 3 of 2012, respectively) so I'll have those for next week

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/xarnis/

    Jack Reacher - Average. Some cool stunts, but the plot is thin and it suffers from a bit of multi-genre disorder.
    3/5 (or C+)

    At Home
    How to Survive Plague - My thoughts mirror AS'. I thought the film tried too hard to manipulate the emotions of the viewer.
    3/5 (or C)

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - My favorite film of all time. The performances are spectacular and the plot is simple yet incredibly engaging. Jack Nicholson creates a likeable character and it's a joy to see him onscreen. The underlying themes are fun to pick apart. The film is a great mix of dark comedy and serious drama. And what a powerful ending.
    5/5 (or A+)

    That's all this week. Like I said, I'l have Skyfall and Argo for next week.

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

      also plan to watch 'The Great Silence' this week.

  • Winchester

    A couple of Oscar Nominees this week and also some Spielberg (though kind of unintentionally I do have to say) made up a lot of my week which when I listed it made me realise I had watched more this week than I had initially thought.

    In Cinemas -

    Flight (2012): It is quite possible that some general consensus had impaired my own perception of this film before going in because aside from a solid enough opening half hour (up to and including the undeniably tense, frightening and well done plane crash sequence) and a final twenty minutes I really was terribly unmoved by a very very draggy feeling midsection of the film that really brought the entire film down overall. Although Denzel's performance anchors the film, he really isn't stretching himself all that far here I felt and although the Oscar nomination doesn't bother me I certainly wouldn't be putting him top of my list to win. I thought also that Kelly Reilly (besides being one of those very unbelievable looking 'on the slippery slope' characters) seemed almost like an afterthought. I dunno, I just felt there was enough potential here for a character study without her that she seemed kinda unrequired. The religious elements and faith motifs were extremely heavy handedly delivered to the point by the time we get to Brian Geraghty's scene with Washington I really wasn't sure if I was supposed to be suppressing chuckles or not. It was a distraction I have to say. However, I think if the film had focused a little more on the perhaps 'God Complex' of characters like Washington's and their actions therein it could have been a stronger study of alcoholism than it ended up. Overall, a disappointment.

    Les Miserables (2012): Finally I managed to get this in because I wanted to see it on a proper big screen. And I have to say, even if it has legitimate and notable imperfections if I wasn't eventually won over by this big and intentionally and overtly emotion engaging musical. I've never experienced the musical before at all and have never read the book (although I believe from a little digging afterwards that the core themes remain present) so I had no idea where and how the story worked. With the overarching theme of the search for redemption against the socio-political backdrop of period France (even though some of those backdrops could still relate to today) I would agree that everything in the film up to the 'I Dreamed a Dream' showpiece (yes, Hathaway WILL win the Oscar.......yes, she deserves it for that moment alone) is perhaps the most engaging portion of the film, but I remained involved after that emotional wallop as well. I agree that there is a slight need to believe in the immediacy of the love between Cosette and Marius (although in a film where so much is left to notions of chance and fate is it all that hard to ask of the audience? I think maybe not...........but others will disagree) but overall I can stay on board with it. It did feel a little slow in places around the June Rebellion scenes as the main characters danced around this event but again by the time the finale loomed and the struggle between Valjean and Javert came to it's end I was enjoying it. I enjoyed most of the performances (Hathaway may only have a small role but she takes that and makes it) and I felt Jackman was stronger than Crowe. Samantha Barks also impressed as Eponine but I was surprised by how little relative screentime Seyfried has as the older Cosette. Vocally, Crowe was definitely the weak link in terms of strength of voice but I liked Hooper's decision to use the method he did. You could have found singers with technical perfection but I don't think you always need that to 'get' the character. I definitely think songs wise 'I Dreamed a Dream' and Barks' 'On my Own' are the two strongest songs but I would want to watch this again because at times with overlapping singing some lyrics were missed and therefore probably some bits and pieces of character insights. I'm glad that it was unafraid to be overtly brash and emotional................that's always struck me as a hallmark of stage musicals. You are supposed to feel it if you can. And based on the applause (and tears I heard) by the end then Les Miserables succeeds more than it doesn't in it's intentions.

    At Home -

    Empire of The Sun (1987): Blu ray, first watch - Reportedly one of Spielberg's own personal favourites out of his films I had never seen this really in full. His story of childhood lost during WW2 in fairness entertained me but not in a way that would have me raving about it or looking to see it again quickly, despite some Spielbergian moments and good performances. I was also half interested in this to see Christian Bale's performance given his career development since. A good film, but not one I can get overly talky about.

    Saving Private Ryan (1998): Blu ray, rewatch - But first on Blu ray which I thought was a fairly good to very good transfer overall. I always have liked this film, on a technical level of direction and also as a WW2 story. From the pummeling opening 27 minutes to the slightly 'up the river' (but on land obviously) search for Private Ryan and then the finale this is a very good film. Filled with names and faces and led by the solid Tom Hanks it's not a film I watch all that often, but almost always enjoy when I do.

    Super 8 (2011): Blu-ray, rewatch - This was one of my favourite Blockbuster films of 2011 and still is thanks to an emphasis on the characters over the visual effects (which are still present in the gloriously OTT train crash) and a great group of kids at the centre. With still lovely work by them all, especially Joel Courteney and Elle Fanning it is quite consciously Spielbergian (given J.J Abrams I believe known predilection for him) all the way through but one thing I did agree with and one of the reasons I liked it so much was based around what (I think it was Ebert said) which was that Super 8 evoked a time in family oriented movie making where the visual effects were not all the endgame and time was spent on the characters IN the film as well. I still enjoyed it greatly.

    Snowtown (2011): Blu ray, rewatch - This Australian look at the real life murders led by John Bunting remains a chilling and bleak experience but one that thanks to a focus on the character (rather than the post-Murders legalistics and so forth) and one other of his group in particular makes it a work that is draining to watch. If this were fictionalised and presented as fiction it would be unbelievable (both in the extreme deprivation of the blighted suburb in which the film is set - there's the Australia you don't see in commercials and also in the events which happen) but you have to remember when watching it that these killings happened and happened for years before coming to light. I liked much of the direction because it often focused less on extended dialogue and mostly on interior acting as well. This is the second time I've watched it and the haunting final sequence as the last victim is taken to his death remains starkly beautiful and horrifying as well. I think, not an easy watch as such. But worth it when in the mood for a film like this.

    The Avengers (2012): Blu ray, rewatch - In fairness as much as I enjoyed 'Snowtown' above I also needed something utterly the opposite and The Avengers remains the most immensely entertaining romp of the last year or so. Yes, it has it's issues, and yes it takes a good 40 minutes to get up an running but overall this was a blast to sit through again.

    Red Lights (2012): Blu ray, first watch - I watched this and then I revisited Brad's review of it because I remembered that he was fond of the ending. I have to say I was less impressed because the entire preceding film is so generally poorly done that despite clearly aiming for something larger with the ending, it just doesn't get to the point where it can actually pull it off. Tonally, the performances (especially Cillian Murphy) just seemed as if they were in a different film at times and although I'm kind of interested in Elizabeth Olsen here she just has nothing to do at all. I felt that DeNiro was phoning this one in, but Sigourney Weaver was probably the best of the lot I felt.

    In TV Land this week my continuation of my program of rewatching as much 'Cheers' from the start as I can catch went on with the transition from Season 5 to Season 6 (1987-1988) and the departure of Shelley Long and the arrival of Kirstie Alley. It does seem to kind of mark a sort of mild reboot of the show because of the removal of that previously key Sam/Diane dynamic that fed the show for 5 seasons and in fact their final episode together was fairly flat compared to previous episodes that centred on developments in their relationship but the show itself is still pretty good.

    I'm continuing with season 1 of 'Nashville' just now as well but am only up on episode two so far. It seems like a very glossy high quality soap, but Connie Britton is great and it looks like it could be a guilty pleasure style watch.

    That was all this week.

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

      I've had Saving Private Ryan from Netflix for the past two weeks but just haven't been motivated to watch it. :(

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

      Saving Private Ryan is one of my favorite war movies. From the disturbing opening 27-minutes to a brilliant & very sad finale. It's Spielberg's top 3 best movies he's made of his career. Fantastic performance from Hanks and great roles from the well-known supporting players especially from Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Matt Damon, Jeremy Davies, Adam Goldberg & Giovanni Ribisi.

  • Ryan

    Brad, when I saw the show for the first time, I felt this way exactly. However, I wanted to end the first season so I could at least complete a season and if I didn't like it at the end I would be finished. The ending of season 1 was brilliant and then each season after that tops the one that came before. By the end of the third season, you will want to see the very next episode that second, no matter what you have going on.

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

    It seems like the universe is working against me as, yet again, I was unable to see "Side Effects" this weekend. But it was still a pretty good week for me.

    At Home:

    Midnight Cowboy- A terrific drama that doesn't seem outdated at all. The performances are wonderful, specifically from Dustin Hoffman, and I love the way the director develops his characters without resorting to simple description. The ending of the film really hit me hard. Great film overall. A

    The Grapes of Wrath- A film I appreciate but don't necessarily love. Some aspects were a bit dated and the movie felt too episodic at times for my taste but I was still impressed with the acting and some of the segments. I really liked the scene in the diner, for example, or the sequence in which the children beg Ma for food. Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell were great and the cinematography was wonderful, but the film dragged a little bit and didn't have a sturdy enough plot. B

    Rob Roy- I watched this for Jessica Lange and because my parents told me it was pretty good but I was very disappointed. Other than one or two great sword fights and a terrific performance from Tim Roth, I was bored by this cliche ridden film. This is, essentially, a dull revenge story stuffed with every historical epic cliche in the book. Very disappointing. C-

    Identity (re-watch)- I haven't seen this since I was in middle school, and was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. It's an effective psychological thriller with a couple of great twists and solid performances. I wish Amanda Peet made better film choices, as she's a terrific actress, in my opinion. A-

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (re-watch)- One of my favorites of 2012. It's such a warm and emotional film that's never manipulative and overdramatic. Great performances all around. I showed it to my family and was pleased to see how much they enjoyed it. A

    End of Watch (re-watch)- Another one of my favorites from the past year, and the biggest surprise. The trailers for this one looked terrible but it's extremely intense and well directed. A


    Breaking Bad (Season 5, Episodes 1-8)- Brad, I felt the same way as you do when I started "Breaking Bad." In my opinion, it doesn't really pick up until the middle of Season 2. But Season 5 is phenomenal. It, at it's best moments, feels truly cinematic. I really hope that Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn have great careers in film or even television after the series ends.

    House of Cards (Episodes 4-10)- While I don't think "House of Cards" is quite as good as some people make it out to be, it's still a very good drama with gorgeous cinematography and strong performances all around. While I think the show has a bit too much going on at times, the storyline is still interesting and exciting. Spacey, Stoll and Mara are great but, in my opinion, it's Robin Wright who's stealing the show. This is career best work for her.

    I also caught up on this season of "Cougar Town" and I wanted to know if anybody else was tuning in? I feel like this season is still funny but, now that it's on TBS and they can get away with (slightly) edgier material, the edgier humor feels more forced than it used to and as if it's their just for shock value, which is a bit upsetting.

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

    And by the way, I hope you end up liking Breaking Bad, Brad (nice alliteration, lol). I honestly think that Season 1 is the weakest of the seasons, but so do most people. I went in watching without much hype, so I hope people's praise won't lessen the experience for you.

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

      I haven't seen the show, but let's hope it doesn't rely too much on comedy. :)

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

    Tokyo Drifter(1966)- A really unique blend of surrealism and noir. This one definitely falls into the category of films that overcome their lack of substance through their imaginative use of style. Suzuki turns a run of the mill yakuza flick into something quite memorable through his innovative and one of a kind visuals. The narrative was somewhat confusing at times though, mainly due to the disorienting (although probably intentional) editing and the occasional use of jump cuts. However, it wasn't too distracting and is probably not as confusing on second viewing. I fell in love with the catchy theme song as well and enjoyed how it had a reoccurring presence throughout the film. I’m definitely hooked on seeing more of Suzuki’s work now and I’m probably going to check out Branded to Kill next. B

    Harakiri(1962)- I started watching this with little expectation and it completely blew me away. More of a court room drama than a traditional samurai flick (although it has some of the best action sequences I've ever seen personally), every single aspect had me completely mesmerized. Everything from the stunning imagery to the haunting music came together to explore the ideals of being a samurai and the hypocrisy that lies within such a code of honor. The narrative of the film was handled masterfully as well and made great use of its flashback narrative, really playing with my perception of the story. I was surprised to find out that Tatsuya Nakadai, the actor who played the main character in this was the antagonist from Yojimbo. He is practically unrecognizable playing the elder ronin. In addition to the gripping drama, there’s some spectacular choreography and the final duel is without a doubt one of the best duels ever. A+
    Samurai Rebellion(1967)- I decided to watch another Kobayashi film since I loved both Kwaidan and Harakiri. This one is very similar to Harakiri in its tone and theme, though watching this immediately after Harakiri revealed how much the two have in common. Although it’s a solid movie, it hits every note hit by Harakiri (The endings especially), and it’s unable to surpass Harakiri’s level of quality or even reach it. B-
    Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) - Another one of Peckinpah’s gritty classics. Warren Oates’s portrayal of Benny is one of the films highlights for me since it garnered my sympathy towards such a loathsome character. Its unflinching nature puts you right in the passenger seat in Benny’s self destructive journey. A-
    In the Loop (2009) - Decided to check this out based on Brad’s recommendation and it did not disappoint. I may have to rewatch it soon since I’m sure a few of the jokes went over my head. A-
    Headhunters (2011) - Pretty solid thriller with some over the top violence and dark comedy along with it. B-
    The Sword of Doom(1966)-Nadakai, like always, gives a great performance playing a sociopathic samurai descending deeper and deeper into madness. The plot is a bit too slow and uneven at times, with lots of unknown characters appearing and disappearing. There are some stunning scenes throughout though, the most notable being Toshiro Mifune in a short but memorable role, having a sword fight in a snowstorm. This was apparently the first of a trilogy that was never finished, so the ending is a bit abrupt, though it doesn't take away too much from the overall quality and its definitely worth checking out. B
    Haxan(1922)- Didn’t really know what to expect but it was surprisingly enjoyable. The aesthetics are top notch, although I found the music distracting. Can’t really grade this, but it’s worth a watch.
    Three Outlaw Samurai (1966) - Great first half but fell apart for me halfway through. Some nice actions scenes and the main characters are pretty interesting, though it has some notable continuity problems. My disappointment mainly comes from being so jazzed up by an excellent first half to only have an average second. Fun watch nonetheless. C+

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

    Bit of a slow week for me. Nothing in the theaters and I've come to accept the fact that I'll have to wait awhile to see Side Effects. At least until it's out on Blu-Ray.

    At Home:

    Hard Eight - Except for The Master, which I plan to watch before the Oscars, I've now seen all of PTA's movies. Hard Eight contains fine performances, notably Phillip Baker Hall and John C. Reily, and some well-written scenes. It also moves too slow at times and becomes pretty tedious. Actually, it felt like there was a lot missing from the story. It feels like there was a lot more to it than what I saw. That said, it is good but not great. The acting from all is solid and I was really intrigued by the relationship between Sydney and John.

    The Sessions - I don't really have a lot to say on this one. It's a good film, it has solid writing and the performances are very good as well. The two standouts for me were John Hawkes and William H. Macy. I didn't think much of Helen Hunt, although she was good in it. I am glad I saw it and would recommend it, but only as a one time viewing. It hasn't really stuck with me since I saw it.

    Exit Through the Gift Shop - A solid documentary about street art and the blind praise it sometimes receives. I'm not sure whether its real or not, but either way, it's pretty fascinating and kept my attention throughout.

    Side by Side - Another great documentary that I saw this week. I learned more about film and digital than I had before. I really enjoyed listening to various filmmakers give their opinions on the subject. I did notice that it leaned more toward digital than film, but it does a fine job of getting both opinions out there. However, I was a little disappointed by Christopher Nolan. To me, he came off as stubborn and close-minded. The way he responded to some questions, he seemed to miss the point about the benefits of digital. Personally, I appreciate both formats, but honestly, I can't really tell the difference while watching a movie. Even if I tried, I always forget about it and just focus on the movie.

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

    I saw a lot of movies this week.
    Side Effects- Mara and Law both turn in excellent performances. Soderbergh does a great job handling the twists, and the result is a thoroughly good thriller.

    AT HOME:
    Reflections in a Golden Eye- A very odd film. Despite the campy nature of the film, it is still very entertaining. 7.5/10

    Hunger- This is an expertly made film, that manages to draw you in while repelling you at the same time. McQueen's film showcases his immense talent, and I hope to see many more like this in the years to come. 10/10

    Portrait Of Jennie- While Cotten gives a great performance, the film is to silly to be taken seriously. 6/10

    True Romance- I enjoyed most of the supporting turns in this film, but I never liked the leads and I lost interest after the "eggplant" scene. 7/10

    The Night Of The Iguana- The best adaptation of a Williams play that I've seen. Very enjoyable, and the great cast gives great performances. 8/10

    Kill Bill: Vol. 1- I can't believe I waited this long to see this film. Amazingly entertaining on all counts. 10/10

    The Man With A Movie Camera- Still as fresh and exhilarating as it was in 1929, this is a great film. Though it may be plot less, it's experimental nature allows it to be more invigorating than most films released today. 9/10

    The Crowd- Soapier than a bubble bath, this bombastic Hollywood film is formulaic by the numbers, and even good performances can't save it from itself. 5/10

    Key Largo- Very good film, functioning as a thriller and a drama at the same time, and excelling in both areas, this is an immensely pleasing, taut thriller. 8.5/10

    That's all for movies, but in television I finished season 3 of Dexter, and although it was the worst season so far, the last few episodes offered up some decent thrills.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/MattV/ Matt V

    -In Theaters-

    Safe Haven: I have a soft spot for Nicholas Sparks adaptations but I don't know why. I enjoy almost all of them and this was no exception...A-

    A Good Day to Die Hard: I basically summed it up in my review: This film just isn't a terrible Die Hard movie, it's a terrible movie period...D+

    Beautiful Creatures: I was cast in the spell of this movie and thought it was executed quite well. The casting was just about spot on...B+

    -At Home-

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower: This was my third go around with this film and I love every minute of it. It is my favorite film of 2012...A+

  • dslacker

    Battleship Potemkin – watched on Netflix. 1925 film by Sergei Eisenstein. After having seen dozens of silent films, I finally caught up to this masterpiece. Eisenstein's cinematography is absolutely amazing – he does some things in this film that are still being done, but rarely improved upon, by today's film makers. An officer is thrown over the side of the ship. His fall is caught by two cameras and their footage is cut together in such a way as to give the viewer a real charge. The Steps of Odessa and the baby carriage on them are often mentioned – and it's easy to see why. Amazing footage. The film is just over an hour long, and unfortunately full of post-revolutionary Russian communist propaganda. But Eisenstein's remarkable skill shines through. I'd like to see it without the title cards – seems like as long as a viewer had some idea of the setting, the pictures alone tell the story.

    The Perks Of Being a Wallflower – second viewing. First time at premiere at Toronto Film Festival – this time on Blu-ray. The TIFF viewing was in a massive theatre with most of the cast attending and filled with fans of the book and Emma Watson. The reaction was enthusiastic to say the least. I thought it was very good, but maybe a bit too sentimental. I was expecting to be less thrilled seeing it at home, but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters go thru some tough times and happy times with many problems and swings of mood – but it never strays into sloppy sentimentality. Instead, it's funny, sincere, and smart. Great writing and acting throughout. As director/writer, Stephen Schbosky says in the commentary, in a dozen years we're going to look back at these accomplished actors and be somewhat amazed they all appeared together in one film early in their careers.

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

    In theaters:

    Side Effects: Literally just got back from this, so I'm still organizing my thoughts , but I know I really liked it. Very Hitchcockian with characters whose motivations are hard to pin down the whole way through. I loved the minimal use of music, and every single actor has a great performance. I can't remember the last time I liked Law this much. Also the camera work was great- some things being just out of focus or the darkness just at the edges of the screen all added to the atmosphere. My two minor complaints were that it was a bit slow to begin, and the whole thing feels a bit emotionally detached. Still a very fun and well made thriller, and this grade could go a half star higher, but for now I'll say 3/4.

    At home:

    Adventureland (rewatch): This is one of my favorite comedies of recent years and in my opinion is criminally underrated. Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, Ryan Reynolds, and Martin Starr all give career best performances, and Eisenberg is reliably good. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. Just recently Brad talked about R-rated comedies that focus on telling dirty jokes instead of actually having a story, and this is the perfect counter to that. Sure there are pot jokes, erection gags, and ball taps galore, but it plays well with the immaturity of some of these characters who I absolutely love spending time with. Some could argue that this movie is a little to nostalgic for its own good, but it always wins me over and reminiscing about "Do you remember that one summer when..." 4/4

    Being John Malkovich: Absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately the first half is a bit too quirky for me (especially with entirely unlikable characters) and its not until the film embraces its truly weird and dark side that it really starts to click. And the end actually raises some pretty interesting questions. However even when its not working, the movie is still consistently funny and watchable. 3/4

    Hellboy (rewatch): A run of the mill action film that loses steam throughout. The first scene is legitimately fun, but as the story progresses it just gets lazier and lazier. I actually prefer the second. Having said that, the cinematography is quite gorgeous at times, and I was impressed with the atmospheric lighting. 2/4

    House of Cards: One episode left! Thoughts on whole series next week. 3.5/4

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

      Also for Breaking Bad, I liked the first two seasons, but it was somewhere in the third season that my friends and I all got hooked and since then I can't get enough of it. I really hope it starts to work for you too.

    • Chris138

      Adventureland is very underrated. I love it as well.

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

    At Home:

    Hotel Transylvannia (2012) (1st viewing, Netflix) - One of the funniest movies i've seen in 12'. Adam Sandler gives an hilarious vocal performance as Dracula. Supporting (most of Sandler's crew): Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Jon Lovitz, Ceelo Green & David Spade all are great. Hilarious from beginning to end, I laughed a lot. 8.5/10.

    Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) (1st viewing, Netflix) - Yeah it's the worst-acted movie of the franchise but it's because of it's terrible script from Paul W.S. Anderson (who's always been a bad writer anyways). I cringed every single time Bingbing Li as Ada talked and not a good story. But these movies aren't known for that. It just relies on blood/guts, zombies, CGI action, zombies & other creatures. Quite frankly those are the main reasons I quite enjoy this franchise based on a video game series I was never quite a fan of to begin with and Milla Jovovich who's still a good action heroine.

    Same as the Underworld franchise which is better than this one, these movies a guilty pleasures for me. Just put in a hot & gorgeous woman (both Beckinsale & Jovovich) in leather that knows how to be badass, decent action & awesome creatures and i'm in. Bring on the 6th but please let it better than this one. 5.5/10.

    Flight (2012) (1st viewing, DVD) - Robert Zemeckis returns to live action and he comes out strong with a fantastic first half especially the plane crash which is one of the most intense & spectacular-filmed sequences of 12'. However, this is Denzel Washington's show from beginning to end. A well-deserved Oscar nomination, Denzel gives one of his most compelling & brave performances of his fantastic career playing an alcoholic airline pilot. Kelly Reilly (from both Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes flicks) is very underrated as Nicole playing also an alcoholic/heroin-addict woman who tries to look for a change in life. Really liked her in this, hugely underrated performance that I thought she should have gotten a Oscar nod. Don Cheadle, John Goodman Bruce Greenwood & Brian Geraghty are great in their respective roles.

    "Flight is indeed a character study movie and a pretty good one. Especially both on Washington & Reilly. Movie did dragged down a little bit on in the 2nd half but it was part of that, studying Washington's character whether you should like him or not. Flight is not Zemeckis' best film, it's nowhere close to the masterpiece of Forrest Gump (best movie of all-time IMO) nor not better than Cast Away which was a classic of a movie but thanks to Denzel's towering performance (same with the supporting cast especially Reilly & Cheadle), a brilliant crash sequence in the beginning and great use of music which Zemeckis always had good taste in, this one is good. 7.5/10.


    End of Watch (2012) (3rd viewing, Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack) - Seen it two more times this past week, I just love it. Gyllenhaal & Pena are just brilliant. Kendrick & Ferrera are good in their small role. Everything in this movie is brilliant. One of my top 10 films of last year. I will continue to watch this over and over because it's that good. 10/10.

    The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) (3rd viewing, Blu-Ray, DVD combo pack) - I'm the biggest of Spider-Man fans, he's my favorite Marvel comic book character along with Deadpool. I still don't think this is as good as Sam Raimi's trilogy which I prefer. Garfield & Stone are solid. Rhys Ifans is very good as Doctor Connors, pretty underrated performance. Yeah, this is an unneccessary reboot but it's a fresh start and potentially good franchise looking forward. 8/10.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/cradleman/ Jonathan

    Watched perks of being a wallflower, absolutely tremendous film filled with great performances. Will be purchasing it soon enough.

    also rewatched (500) Days of Summer. One of my favorites of all time. I'd been debating doing a movie review blog for awhile, and i chose (500) Days to kick it off. If you'd read it here and leave your thoughts that'd be much appreciated.


  • Chris138

    The Great Silence - A theater nearby was advertising a showing of this as an 'ultra rare 35mm print' so I was sold to go see it. Obviously I had never watched the film before and I thought it was pretty good. Considering that Jean-Louis Trintignant's character doesn't speak a word I thought he actually did some good work in here, while Klaus Kinski gives the kind of wild-eyed, crazy performance you would expect from him. I was kind of surprised by the bleak ending, as were many others in the audience, but in a way I think it was fitting considering the point Corbucci was trying to get across. 3.5/5

    Into the Wild - A very good movie that I was surprised to find myself enjoying as much as I did. I've never read the book or even knew much about the story itself, except for the basics, but I thought Sean Penn did a good job with the material. What the real character did was pretty stupid when you think about it, but at the same time you kind of empathize with him and the issues he had been facing for so many years. Emile Hirsch did a good job bringing that all to life, and contrary to what some other critics have said I don't believe the movie glorifies the main character, or at least not every decision he makes. I also thought Hal Holbrook was remarkable considering how short his time on screen was. 4.5/5

    Bringing Up Baby - Another movie that I was lucky enough to experience on a big screen this week. I had also never seen this movie before, but really enjoyed it. Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are both a lot of fun and it looks like the kind of movie where everyone involved was having a good time. Admittedly the gag starts to run out of a little steam toward the end, and it could have been 10-15 minutes shorter, but those are minor flaws in an overall excellent movie. 4.5/5


    The Perks of Being a Wallflower - My favorite movie from 2012. I couldn't wait to watch it again, and it still holds up for me just as much as I enjoyed it before. Yes, there are some cliches still in there, which I think won't ever really escape the coming of age genre. However, the overall result and the excellent performances from the three leads are really what help to elevate the entire thing for me. In fact I'd like to watch it again now as I am typing this. 5/5

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

      I love Into the Wild. If you found yourself connecting with the movie then I would definitely recommend checking out the book.

      • Chris138

        I'll be sure to check it out.

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

    A busy week of school and track, but I found time to watch a few movies and finish the first season of House of Cards.

    As always, check me out on Letterboxd for more: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh


    Side Effects: Rarely do films of this caliber find themselves releasing in February, but thank God Side Effects did. It's the perfect counter to the garbage action and horror films currently hitting theaters, a true psychological thriller and character study that will hold your attention and keep you intrigued to the bitter end, its subtle twists and disquieting turns serving as but a complement to the story Soderbergh tells. Side Effects is sprawling, twisting, thrilling, fantastic -- the first great 2013 film -- but will likely, sadly, be criminally underseen. 4.5/5
    Click to read my FULL REVIEW


    WALL-E: Considering its unconventional nature -- nary a word is spoken by one of the film's characters for the first 20-plus minutes, its first dialogue comprised solely of mechanical beeps and blips -- WALL-E almost shouldn't work as well as it does. But, after some thorough reflection in recent days, this just might be Pixar's crowning achievement, the cherry on top of the renowned animation studio's heaping mountain of delectable treats. Replete with lovable characters, stunning animation, and a sincere heart of gold, WALL-E is a beautifully told, magnificently rendered sci-fi romance for the ages. 5 / 5
    Click to read my CAPSULE REVIEW

    The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: Films are made or broken in the details, the fine threads of characters and actions and plots that weave together the canvas on which the story is ultimately painted. While The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is by no means a perfect film, and while some could very easily walk away from it wondering what exactly was achieved in the last two hours, the film is an interesting character study with an equally compelling central plot driver. Director John Cassavetes forces you to set aside any preconceived notions generated by his film's title; you must instead watch the film itself and determine whether you subscribe to sympathizing with Cosmo for what happens to him or chastising Cosmo for what he does. Ultimately, success, as we see, comes at a price. 3.5 / 5
    Click to read my FULL REVIEW


    House of Cards (Ep. 11-13): Finally, the last 3 episodes have been uncovered, the season 1 finale officially revealed to thine eyes. Some found it a bit of a letdown, but I don't fall in that boat. Come season's end, we've seen the downfall of Peter Russo -- complete via the dirtiest side method of the show's politics thus far -- and the always assumed rise of Frank Underwood -- maybe. Frank has loaded all his eggs into one ginormous, full basket, and there's no telling whether or not those eggs will remain there to hatch, or if they'll fall to the ground, cracking and splattering on the sidewalk.

  • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    On your reaction to Breaking Bad: I actually wouldn't say that you have to keep watching it if you didn't like it off the bat. While it does get better, as all shows inherently do just by investing you in their characters and situations, the show starts out really strong. In my opinion, it's a show that either gets you hooked immediately or you probably just won't ever care for it (gleamed from my friends and peers opinions). I myself am a huge fan of the series and was totally hooked by episode one.

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

    Wow... All i've watched is Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. (B+) I don't even have much to say about it. Though I did watch it on the day the Pope resigned so that was an interesting chain of events.

    The lastest Girls episode is THE best episode of the entire show. So completely real and eye opening and damning.

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

      Regarding Girls: Really? I thought it was a bit ridiculous.

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

        It's a whole season and 4 episodes of Hannah and all you need to know about her character ever. It's not particularly story based at all but it's about Hannah reflecting. The fact that she leaves an obviously better situation to go back to the shit never to return to something real is fantastic. Someone could watch just that episode and start watching the show from that point. Very reminiscent of the last 10 minutes or so of the season finale.

  • m1

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is very hyped on the internet, and especially on this website. I hope the glowing praise doesn't translate into disappointment for me when I actually watch the movie.

    • Chris138

      I hope you're not disappointed either! When I saw it opening weekend I only had read very positive reviews and luckily wasn't underwhelmed. Everyone has different reactions to these things but I'll be curious to hear your thoughts about it once you've seen it, whether good or bad.

  • The XWF Outlaw

    This is another busy week for me so let's do this.

    In Theaters:

    Movie 43:
    I gotta say as much as this comedy has been blasted hard by the critics, & that it has to have an audience with a specific taste, but i got to say that this was the kind of over-the -top offensive comedy i could see myself catching again on Netflix. Now granted it's not a great movie (and it's not trying to) but when the bits hit it hit me the right way. A topic of discussion would be very welcome for this but it is not as horrible as the reviews have made it out to be.(no, i am not a stoner) Although this could have been a Funny or Die Sketch as a movie & could just have been put on the internet. 6/10.


    As I prepared for the new installment of the Die Hard series I took the day off of work & I caught the entire series back to back. Mind you these reviews are excluding any inclusion of A Good Day to DIE HARD beforehand.

    DIE HARD: (1989)
    A fantastic action movie classic with unlimited replay value. Willis & Alan Rickman are at the top of there game. The best of the series. 9/10

    DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER: (1991)
    The sequel that played it safe & went by the book with corny sub-characters & out of place one-liners. The villains are definitely uncharacteristic & this entry is the worst of the series. 5/10

    DIE HARD With A Vengeance: (1996)
    One of the best New York set movies I have ever seen. Whenever I think of Jeromy Irons I think of Simon Gruber. Every single line that Samuel L. Jackson is in my opinion is instantly quotable. Also full of rewatch value. 8.5/10

    Live Free or DIE HARD: (2007)
    A lot of people I know have given this entry a lot of hate. Mainly about the toned-down, PG-13, no-foul-mouthed John McClaine. These fanboys need to shut up. This definitely the best written of the series in terms of the use of cyber-terrorism. Justin Long is not as annoying as many people say & Timothy Olyphant stands out as the best DIE HARD villain not named Gruber. The main problem I have is that the stripped-down dialog is so badly edited to match the screen that mach McClain & Farrell mouths that it looked like at times a dub-over foreign language movie. If you like I could make an argument that the R-rated "Live Free" could be better than "Vengeance", but this is not the version that played in the theaters. It's still an entertaining movie. 7.5/10

    ...And now the big one i was waiting for since 12:00 that day...

    A Good Day to DIE HARD:
    Holy SH*T what a lowdown disappointing misfire for the the franchise. You take John McClain & his signature catch-phrase out and you got just another run-of-the-mill actioneer that is more about old jokes, firing guns & blowing things up that it never takes the time to tell a story or even any backstory to any other characters. Not to mention the short runtime & the completely unbelievable final showdown in Chernobyl. The city won't be habitable for another 500 years & can only be in bio-suits for about 20-30min before it starts to eat away at the suits, so why are they walking around with NO suits at all. This aspect completely took me out of the rest of the movie. Jack McClain is more in the spotlight than his seemingly pedestrian John. Not even included is the classic score of the Die Hard series as well as the traditional final fade-out-to-credits scene of John walking away from the destruction that he has caused. This should be forgotten for all Die Hard fans as I pray that DIE HARD 6 is at least properly prepped & Director John Moore is thrown off the franchise. 4.5/10

    NetFlix Nexus:

    Goon: (2nd viewing)
    I watched this with my god-brother late one night cause he wanted to see a good comedy. Let's just say he was thrilled with it. Funny, clever, indie Canadian film. 7.5/10.

    House of Cards: (Episodes 1-8)
    Picked this series up after all the praise from this column. This is a fantastic series so far. Can't wait to finish this series. Burning through the rest of the season tonight. Holding my full review for next week.

    That's it for this week as next time I will be putting reviews for Side Effects, Identity Thief, & maybe also Quartet & Amour. 'Till next week. ^-^

  • Danny

    Brad, I can't wait to see Before Midnight and I can't wait to read what you have in store for us regarding Before Sunrise and Before Sunset... Two of my absolute favorite movies. And both those posters rock.

  • Marcell

    At home:

    1. We need to talk about Kevin - Still amazing. How did Swinton not get nominated for this performance? 4/5

    2. Fargo - Watched this for the 7th time with some friends who haven't seen it yet. Still a perfect movie.5/5

    3. Taking Shelter - Great performances all around 4/5

    4. On a movie related note - Saw Rodriguez live in Johannesburg saturday night. And it was awesooome!!

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

    I had reviews for everything but I unfortunately just lost them all so I'm just going to give their ratings today.

    50 First Dates- 3.5/5
    The Possesion- 4/5
    Paranormal Activity 4- 3.5/5
    Shaun Of The Dead- 4/5
    The Campaign- 4/5
    The Watch- 4/5
    Big Daddy- 3.5/5
    Here Comes The Boom- 4.5/5
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter- 4/5
    Prometheus- 2.5/5
    The Five Year Engagement- 2/5
    Hotel Transylvania- 4.5/5

    Next week hopefully I will have a review for A Good Day To Die Hard, but I'm not guaranteeing it and also maybe a review for Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World if any copies are available at my video store. The one review I can guarantee I will have is one for Moonrise Kingdom.

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

      If you would like a review for anything I watched this week just ask and I'll type one up.