What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #192

This may be my busiest week in a long time

Inception / The Roaring TwentiesI was able to watch quite a bit this week, finally finishing the last of Pierre Etaix's films -- As Long as You've Got Your Health and Land of Milk and Honey -- on Criterion's recent Blu-ray release, though I must admit, Land of Milk and Honey did nothing for me and it was the only one of the five features on the release I didn't finish, while I did watch all three of the included shorts.

Also, the night after watching The Great Gatsby, I returned to the twenties with the 1939 James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart film The Roaring Twenties. While the title may suggest a shoot 'em up gangster flick, it does have those elements, but it was much slower than I expected, which isn't to say it was bad, simply it wasn't what I was necessarily craving at that moment. I'm sure I'll return to it, however, as the Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 1 was one of the best DVD purchases I've ever made.

The set includes The Public Enemy, White Heat, Angels with Dirty Faces, Little Caesar, The Petrified Forest and The Roaring Twenties and the only one I haven't yet watched is Petrified Forest, but the others, especially White Heat and Little Caesar are great. It's also worth noting, the set is coming to Blu-ray (sans The Roaring Twenties) on May 21, you can preorder it here.

I also popped in Inception for the first time in a year or so and, as I have the last six weeks, I watched the latest episode of "Hannibal", which was directed by James Foley ("House of Cards", Glengarry Glen Ross) and co-starred Gillian Anderson for a brief moment as Lecter's therapist.

Of course, I also watched a few games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and several of the NBA Playoff games as I won't be able to see any hockey or basketball for the next couple of weeks as I head out for Cannes on Monday morning.

With my week out of the way, it's now your turn. What did you watch this week?

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

    I might see Gatsby later today, but I'm not sure. Have fun in Cannes, Brad!

    In Theaters:

    42 - A solid biopic, but I can't call it great. There are some great scenes and the acting is also great. Chadwick Boseman is very good as Jackie Robinson along with his wife who share a nice chemistry together. Christopher Meloni is also good and I would've liked to have seen more of him. Alan Tudyk really surprised me by how nasty he was. I could never imagine him in that type of role. For me, the best part of the movie was Harrison Ford. He disappears into his role and gives the movie its heart and soul. They probably could've cut out the writer and it wouldn't have made a difference. He doesn't add much and the way he's introduced in the beginning implies that he does. By the second half of the movie, he's pushed into the background. I also never felt that I learned more about Jackie Robinson. I actually learned more about Branch Rickey if anything. Aside from all that, the production design is great and the score is effective as well.

    Iron Man 3 - I had a great time with this. There are some problems with the plot, mainly because of Guy Pearce, but I never noticed them while watching the movie. My problem with Guy Pearce isn't because of his performance. I just didn't fully understand his motivations and why he was doing what he did and the whole regeneration thing wasn't fully explained either. Pearce is very good though and so is the entire cast. All of the performances are top notch. I liked how they focused more on Tony Stark than Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr is still great to watch as Iron Man. Gwenyth Paltrow is also put to good use and does much more here than she did in the previous films. And if they ever go back and re-cut the first Iron Man with Don Cheadle. I will support that 100%. The kid is also a nice addition and I liked how he was treated like a normal person. The relationship between him and Downey was a nice touch. As for the villains, I already wrote about Guy Pearce, but I did like Ben Kingsley and I loved the twist. It was surprising and funny and I did not see it coming. Shane Black's direction is also solid and he even brought some of his own style to it. The opening voice-over straight out of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. So is the Christmas setting , but Black doesn't really use it as well here. Still, the action scenes are very good, with the finale being the standout. This definitely feels like a closing to the Iron Man series. If it is, then at least they go out on high note. The story problems become more apparent the more I think about them, but that's not a major problem. I would happily watch this again.

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

    At home (first viewing):

    Sightseers (2013) – It was mildly entertaining. I only think I chuckled once.

    3 / 5

    The Big Sleep (1946) – Now here’s a classic that actually deserves its reputation; although, shockingly, this wasn’t nominated for a single Academy Award – which provides further evidence of the Oscars irrelevance. Bogart and Bacall are both excellent and the screenplay – co-written by William Faulkner no less – is consistently witty, smart and complex. The only negative aspect of the film is its over-the-top score. If you’re trying to work your way through the classics, I suggest moving this one up to the top of your list.

    3.5 / 5

    At home (repeat viewing):

    Django Unchained (2012) – This is my third time seeing Django and while I think my initial criticisms still stand, I don’t feel as strongly about them as I did at the time. I’m now more comfortable excepting the film for what it is rather than what I wanted it to be. The first two times I watched it I stuck with a 3.5/5 rating but I think there’s enough of a great movie in there to justify a 4/5. Now, you could say I’m being easy on QT (and I am) but I do think that despite its flaws, it’s still better than most of the films that get released ever year. And, quite frankly, I’ve given lesser films a 4/5. In other words, it would be hard for me give Burn After Reading a 4/5 and give Django something less. It just doesn’t feel right.

    One aspect of the film I appreciated more this time is Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance. I initially thought Jackson and Waltz gave the better performances, but after watching it again, I picked up on a bunch of little nuances and I’m now convinced that DiCaprio’s performance is actually quite brilliant and the best in the film.

    Watching it on Blu Ray really brought out Robert Richardson’s gorgeous cinematography and the extremely impressive production design. I think that Django will be a film I’ll enjoy more and more as the years go on.
    There are a few interesting featurettes on the Blu Ray but it’s a shame Sony didn’t invest more time and money and produce a more in-depth documentary. And, as always, it’s disappointing not to see a commentary track from QT.

    Side Notes:

    *The soundtrack really is terrific.

    *I definitely enjoyed the big shootout more this time than I had during the first two viewings.

    *I really like how Tarantino cuts to flashbacks right in the middle of other scenes.

    4 / 5

    On TV:

    Game of Thrones (Season 3): Ep. 6 – I’ve just recently realized that I must have zoned out during that “big reveal” when Jamie Lannister is talking with Brienne in Ep. 5. What was the revelation about the whole “king slayer” thing?

    Books:

    Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill

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

      I actually watched Django again last night, and I had the exact opposite reaction, liking it even less than I did on first viewing. That final half hour is still downright terrible in my opinion, and while the first hour or so is a breeze by, I found the middle DiCaprio segment to be much less interesting than when I first saw it in theaters. I do agree though, that both the soundtrack and cinematography are terrific, and I too found myself liking DiCaprio's performance even more so this time around.

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

        Interesting. Do you think the last half hour is really "terrible"? It's certainly messy, but terrible seems a bit strong.

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

          I know it does sound extreme, but I really think it is a mess of an ending. It's overlong, violent without a purpose, and completely indulgent. When I saw it in theaters, I remember completely losing interest in the film once that ending came about, and I felt no different this time around.

          I think at the end of the day, Django is one of Tarantino's worst films. Now, that doesn't mean that it's terrible, because it isn't. But, it just feels very uneven and sloppy to me. It's a shame, because I think that somewhere in there is a really good film.

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

            Fair enough. It's undeniably messy, but I guess I just decided to be more forgiving. One of the things I still cannot get over is the Baghead scene. Silly is fine, but that sequence feels like something lifted from a Adam Sandler movie.

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

              Ah, see I disagree there. I love the Baghead scene! I still laugh every time I watch it. Sure, it's unbelievably ridiculous and overlong, but it is damn funny.

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

      Also: To the David Cronenberg fans out there, check out this really interesting 90 minute interview with him. It's well worth watching if you get a chance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0UZPGhZRA9U

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I was gonna ask somebody, and this is the perfect opportunity: what Cronenberg film should I watch first? I was going to rent Eastern Promises first, but I've heard that's his most 'normal' film so I wasn't sure if that was the place to begin.

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

          Depends if you're going for the 80's gooey Cronenberg or iconoclast drama Cronenberg. I would say do a double feature of 'The Fly' and 'A History of Violence' and you'll get a pretty good idea of Cronenberg's best work. Both those films are unbelievably good and really transcend their respective genres.

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

            I agree. Those two films will give you a good sense of his two different styles. Personally, I prefer Cronenberg's more recent films. I think A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method are all excellent.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

              Okay, thanks! I'll try and get both of those.

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

            I love both of those movies, but "The Dead Zone" is still my favorite film of his.

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

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/corbin_123/

    Unbreakable: M. Night Shymalangadingdong, come back to doing stuff like this. This and The Sixth Sense are great. The Last Airbender is not. The performances were great, and while the cinematography is not to my liking, this is a great "superhero" movie. My heart rate had increased dramatically by the end. It was great, and the best part is, it didn't drag. It didn't have an overt villain until the very end. It was just great. 4.5/5

    Iron Man 3: This film is a good piece of entertainment, but it lacks in logic, and completely negates Tony's love of alcohol and also doesn't put The Avengers in the movie, helping Tony defeat the main bad guy. Were they on a Christmas getaway? It just dismisses every Avenger that they adapted for no real reason. The only one with a legitimate reason for not being there is Thor. But while it didn't have much in the way of logic, it is a good work of popcorn fluff. It is very funny (the end credits scene in particular) and Ben Kingsley is great as The Mandarin. Overall, it's great when you turn your mind off, not so much when it's on. So with that in mind, I recommend it. 3/5

    TV:

    The Amazing Race: B-

    Revolution: B-

    Go On (R.I.P.) (pilot): A-

    Hell's Kitchen: B+

    Modern Family: B

    Community: B+

    The Office: A-

    Merlin: B

    Saturday Night Live: B

    I also watched the first episode of Hannibal, which I got free on iTunes a few weeks ago, and while I won't continue watching it because I already have too much on my plate in terms of TV, it was very visually interesting, and it was very good.

    So, that was it for me this week. I'm going to see The Great Gatsby this week, but I don't know about anything else. Thoughts?

    • Adam James

      I thought Iron Man 3 covered why the Avengers weren't involved pretty thoroughly, beyond the usual "They were busy with their own stuff and/or half a world away":

      --They're not a part of the U.S. armed forces, and so the U.S. government doesn't want to be seen to need them to combat something mundane like terrorism. The world itself was never at stake in this film, and in the end fight only two lives were on the line (admittedly one of them being the President, who gets rescued by Col. Rhodes of the U.S. military.)

      --Likewise, Iron Man picked the fight with the Mandarin personally (admittedly, after Happy was unintentionally injured in one of their plans). He's too egotistical and too much of a control freak to admit that he actually is outclassed and call in the authorities to deal with the bully he can't handle, which is reflected in...

      --Tony has constant severe anxiety melt-downs just thinking about the events in New York with the Avengers, presumably partly due to PTSD and partly due to being faced with so much crazy @#$ that there's no possible way to prepare countermeasures for it and maintain an illusion of control. The last thing he wants is to call them all back to save him and his girlfriend. I doubt he could handle even considering it.

      After he establishes some control over his life again (which is likely helped by seeing Pepper being all-but-indestructible herself,) he stops obsessing over things, lets go of his security-blanket armors and we get the after-credit scene.

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

    slow week this week

    Recommended - MIdnight's Children

    Ok - My Brother The Devil, Scanners(first viewing)

    Avoid - Snowtown, 2001 A Space Odyssey(first viewing)

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

      What didn't you like about 2001?

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

        the first hour was pretty awful, some of the acting was straight out of Dr Who ie not good. i did like the Hal dialogue when David was removing his memory banks and the last ten minutes was also pretty interesting. I know this must be a lot of peoples favourite film but it just wasnt my taste, sorry.
        ps i didnt think much of The Shining either!!! haha

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

          I didn't think much of The Shining either.

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

      "2001..."? Then stay the heck away from "Brazil", "Walkabout", "Koyaaniqatsi", "Bladerunner" & anything more intellectually stimulating than the Transformer movies.

      • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

        Easy, killer. Just because he didn't like a movie doesn't mean he's stupid.

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

        You know what Ducard? You should be ashamed of yourself for saying that!

  • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

    In Theaters:

    The Great Gatsby- It may not be faithful in tone to Fitzgerald’s novel, but this was one entertaining movie. Everything from the gorgeous sets/cinematography to the terrific soundtrack made the film compelling from start to finish. I was never bored watching this movie, even though it did drag for about fifteen minutes between the second and final third. The film felt more like a summer blockbuster than I thought it would- in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the most entertaining film I’ll see at the theater all summer. The cast is also terrific. DiCaprio did a great job, but for me it was Mulligan who stole the film. I was so against her being cast when I first heard the news, but she’s just about perfect in the part. I also liked Edgerton, Fischer, and Elizabeth Debicki was a lot of fun as Jordan. As I expected, the weak link was Maguire, who I felt was incredibly miscast. His narrations were awkward and lacked emotion. It also didn’t help that he had no chemistry with anyone in the cast. But, flaws and all, I enjoyed this film quite a bit and would recommend it without hesitation. I hope it’s remembered around Oscar season, both in the technical categories and for Best Original Song. B+

    At Home:

    Billy Elliot- I loved this movie. I didn’t expect to really care for it, but it quickly won me over with its surprisingly gritty style and compelling characters. I loved how the film was, essentially, a children’s story but it still manages to be edgy and deals with mature themes. I found the way the film dealt with Billy’s poor family, the death of his mother, and his friend’s sexual orientation to be a huge breath of fresh air- so few films, let alone those that involve children, would deal with content like that but this movie does with elegance and intelligence. The performances were also strong. Jamie Bell is fantastic, as is Julie Walters. And the soundtrack and dance scenes were entertaining. I have no complaints. A+

    Witness for the Prosecution- Another film I really enjoyed from Billy Wilder. Some of the humor came off as a bit dated, but the mystery at the center is still interesting and the ending and its many twists genuinely surprised me. A-

    Tiny Furniture- I loved the first season of “Girls” and thought I’d enjoy this. While I wouldn’t say I disliked the film, Dunham has certainly improved as a writer since “Tiny Furniture.” The film lacks focus and, despite being funny, fails to say anything all that interesting. The characters were all dull and lacked motivation for their actions. I was impressed with the fact that almost everyone in the film was an amateur actor, yet they still gave decent performances. And some of the dialogue was quite funny. But, for the most part, I felt the whole film felt sort of aimless. C+

    Broken City- Not a bad film, just a boring one. The film borrows far too much from other, better mystery films. Zeta-Jones and Crowe both do a good job with the lackluster script, and it’s roles like this that Mark Wahlberg was born to play. I also enjoyed Alona Tal, who played Wahlberg’s assistant. I just didn’t care about the film’s plot and was not invested in the story at all. The movie didn’t entertain me- it just made me want to watch a good mystery. C

    Moulin Rouge! (re-watch)- My second viewing of “Moulin Rouge!” was significantly better than the first. This is a terrific musical, with stunning songs and a dazzling visual style. Kidman is terrific and Broadbent is such fun to watch. I really liked the film when I first saw it. But, this time around, I loved it. A+

    Easy A (re-watch)- It was on FX yesterday and my family was watching it, so I decided to sit through it again. I’ve always really liked this movie, and love Emma Stone’s performance. The fake sex scene is one of the funniest moments I’ve seen in a while. A-

    I’ve only got three more days left of school left and then I’m finally on summer break, so I’ll be able to watch more movies and plan on starting “Parks & Recreation.” I also plan on seeing “Star Trek” this week. Anyway, have fun at Cannes, Brad! I can’t wait for your coverage.

  • http://cinemmaconfessions.com Gautam Anand

    Watched two of my most anticipated films of this year - Upstream Color [twice] and The Great Gatsby.

    Upstream Color: If ever the art of cinema required a reason or a proof to corroborate that its purpose of existence is much more than mere entertainment, then you should leave everything else and watch the compellingly enigmatic and mythical, Upstream Color. For anyone interested here's my full analysis cum review of the film ..

    http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/2013/05/movie-review-upstream-color.html

    I would have loved to discuss the film with others on RoS. Hopefully, Brad will initiate something in near future. [Though I am aware he has already presented his short [by his standards] analysis of the film.]

    The Great Gatsby: It's a great story told with a certain nouveau pedigree to bedazzling effect. You are going to be more charmed by the film than touched by it. Though if you can get over its thick layer of razzmatazz, as I did, chances are you will come out moved and stirred by its intricate yet intimate love story. Here's my full review of the film ..
    http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/2013/05/movie-review-great-gatsby.html

  • http://kaisaccofilm.tumblr.com/ Kai Sacco

    I gave Gatsby a second viewing on Friday night in an attempt to put a steady finger on my feelings toward it. In my review (http://kaisaccofilm.tumblr.com/post/50030014893) I gave it a more-positive-than-negative 2 1/2 stars, but upon watching it again and allowing it to sit for a couple of days, I may possibly have to reexamine my initial thoughts. For Mother's Day, I'll be taking my mom to see it, so hopefully this third and final viewing of it in theaters will cement my true feelings toward it.

    Unfortunately, I watched "The Darkest Hour", which had me wondering how the hell Emile Hirsch and Max Minghella ever signed on to make such crap.

    I also caught "To the Wonder" for the first time last night at the Miami Beach Cinematheque and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as "The Tree of Life", I found it to be Malick's most autobiographical film to date. It's a living, breathing ballet. I find it fascinating how Malick is able to construct these films that perfectly visualize how the human mind thinks; a collection of fleeting memories.

    • http://kaisaccofilm.tumblr.com/ Kai Sacco

      Almost forgot.

      I also rewatched "Closer" again; which I hadn't seen since it was in theaters in 2004. It's a film that I didn't really care for much at the time, but has now grown on me a lot. One of the aspects I found most intriguing was in the fact that it's such an erotic piece of cinema, largely about man and woman's insatiable desire for one another, and yet, there's not one scene of intercourse. It's more concerned with the discovery of passion rather than the depiction of it.

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

    Still haven't made it out to see Great Gatsby. Hoping to change that soon.

    Hairspray (1987) -- This is now the second John Waters film that I have seen, and while it is quite different from Pink Flamingos, it still is a lot of fun. The film itself is very campy, but certainly enjoyable and filled with great music from the 60s. B

    Basic Instinct -- This is a very entertaining thriller that reminded me very much of the great films of Hitchcock. It does get a little long at some parts, but an engaging story filled with great dialogue, characters, and an excellent score by Jerry Goldsmith managed to almost always keep me entertained. By the way, Sharon Stone is excellent in this. She truly deserved an Oscar nomination. B+

    Django Unchained (Rewatch) -- My thoughts on this one pretty much remain the same. Tarantino's flawed take on the western genre could have been great, but the main struggling point with the film is an overlong, unsatisfying final act that needed to have been revamped entirely. I still have some nitpicks with other parts of the film, but up until that point, it is a very good film, making this predicament rather frustrating.

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

      Also, forgot to mention that I watched 75% of the documentary Crumb, about the cartoon artist. I found it to be excellent, but sadly I fell asleep before it ended. Hoping to finish that one up today.

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

        really enjoyed this doc, i watched it last month, odd chap but obviously very talented

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

    No trips to the theater this week, though I might end up going to Gatsby tonight.

    At home:

    Primer- I had heard this film was a good sic-fi flick with some of the most logically consistent uses of time travel captured on film, but I wan't quite expecting how much I would like this. The first half of the film taps right into that buzz of creation, the labor of the scientific process, and the bewilderment of having discovered something new. The film really holds the audience's hand in explaining time travel. However as soon as we understand the basics, it takes off, jumping around different time lines. I think I have a pretty good grasp of how it all went down, but a repeat viewing will definitely be necessary. The characters are a tad bland, but that's no huge problem. It's amazing what Carruth did with such a tiny budget, and this made me far more excited for Upstream Color (more on that later). 3.5/4

    Mission: Impossible III (rewatch) - I decided I was going to try to go through all of Abrams's films in preparation for Into Darkness. In the end I think this is an above average action-thriller helped substantially by Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance. 3/4

    Lilo & Stitch (rewatch)- In terms of story, this is average Disney, but it does have some surprisingly solid jokes and a few moments of genuine emotion and family drama. 3/4

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington- This film starts out very typical Capra. A small-town man with some unusual quirks (he has pigeons! he goes camping!) is plucked from obscurity and must face the real world. And while the comparison to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is certainly valid, the one thing this movie has going for it to pull it above Deeds is a knockout performance by James Stewart. The words getting caught in his throat, the emotions swimming behind his eyes- time and time again, Stewart brings some much needed subtlety to Capra's work. And actually once the film gets going, Capra makes some genuinely interesting directorial choices. The conversation that follows Smith's hat was a specific standout. However my main problem with this film is the ending. Instead of the triumphant feeling of It's a Wonderful Life and You Can't Take It With You, Capra's signature happy ending feels a bit forced, probably because a great ending happened just a few minutes before. If the film had ended right after Smith gave his "lost cause" speech and then collapses, it would have been a far more tonally consistent ending. Maybe a bit too cynical for Capra, but it would have felt right: Good people haven't won yet, and they haven't won this round, but they're going to keep fighting. Anyway I feel like I'm being a bit harsh on a film I genuinely liked, but that's because I really am a Capra fan and while I liked this movie, I just didn't love it the way some do. Maybe if I had watched it before some of Capra's other films it would have been better. 3/4

    Upstream Color- The first great film of 2013 is here. Carruth builds on his success of creating multi-layered plots from Primer, but is able to add an extra layer of emotional depth and tonal perfection. I bought this film and Blu-Ray and it was a great choice. The cinematography and sound work are really great. It's a film I haven't fully digested yet, but I look forward to revisiting in the very near future. For the first time this year... 4/4

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

      Seymour Hoffman is so good as Owen Davian in MI3. A solid movie and my favorite of the series.

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

    Follow me on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/navaneethks/

    Upstream Color (first viewing): 3/10 - At first, very intriguing. As the movie goes along, I found myself waiting for it to end. This movie has the tone of Tree of Life which I really liked. But I just want not able to connect to this one. Not one bit.

    Kon-Tiki (first viewing): 8/10 - Life of Pi meets Cast Away. This movie was very enjoyable. Though it has it flaws, it does a good job of telling a simple story in an entertaining way.

    Chasing Ice (first viewing): 8/10 - Unparalleled visual evidence of climate change. There is 20 minutes in this documentary where they basically preach global warming. That would be the one thing I would change. I wanted more of the Ice recordings with stunning photos and videos.

    The Great Gatsby (first viewing): 8/10 -

    Old Sport!

    As a person who has never read the book and had absolutely no idea what the story was about other than what I had seen in the trailers, I thought the movie was well done and DiCaprio's performance is once again solid.

    The first half of the movie is fun and upbeat. It takes a while for DiCaprio to be introduced on screen but when he shows up you know what to expect. Towards the halfway point of the story it does slow down as Gatsby's and Daisy's relationship is explored more in detail.

    The rap music in the background during the party might at times feel asynchronous. Regardless I did enjoy some of the soundtrack especially the song "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey and "Into The Past" by Nero.

    And finally the only thing I think the director could have done a better job at is the development of Gatsby's character to connect more emotionally to the audience than it did. ** Spoiler alert** While I did feel sad when Gatsby gets shot in the end, I just did not feel a high emotional connection about his death like I wished I would. But maybe in the end that is the point of story...

    P.S. What is the code to make certain sentences bold font?

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

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS
        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

          Thank god I'm not the only person who absolutely hated Upstream Color. What a horrible, messy film.

          • http://cinemmaconfessions.com Gautam Anand

            Two of the commenters at my blog had the absolutely same reaction to the film. And my response to them was " Watch the film again but this time let go all the preconceived notion of how a film should be. Just soak in bit by bit instead of being in hurry to rush to conclusions. If you haven't understood the film and it's deep philosophical undertones, you also lose the right to comment whether the film is good or bad. You can just say I didn't get it."

            Though I am not sure what happened in your and Naveen's case. You understood the film and didn't like it or you didn't get the film in the first place. Going by both of your reaction it seems the latter.

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

    No cinema trips this week, personal events prevented me from getting out and seeing 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and what with 'The Great Gatsby' coming out this coming weekend I'm already starting to get a backlog of Summer releases!

    At Home -

    Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956): TV airing, first watch - Although it suffer from some melodramatic flourishes that slightly diminish it and turn it more into a mildly B Movie feeling thriller this was actually a great watch. Taking a fairly 1950's look at the Death Penalty and also by the end, making some surprisingly relevant even today points about the media, the film sees Dana Andrews ('Laura') and his newspaper editor friend who together have concerns over the appropriateness of the Death Penalty decide to attempt to see whether or not a completely innocent man can be arrested, tried and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. Finding a local girl's murder that is a suitable candidate they concoct their plan to have Andrews arrested, tried and sentenced. Of course, there's a very predictable twist halfway through that forces Andrews into a race against time...........................and then a final double twist that unfortunately tips just the wrong way away from being a great thriller drama to a slightly less impressive thriller. Nonetheless, I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it.

    Dances With Wolves (1990): Blu ray, first watch - Yes, while it may be 23 years old this was actually a film I had never seen in full, other then small snippets here and there over many TV broadcasts. In fairness here, the main appeal for me ended up being Dean Semler's stunning cinematography (a deserved Oscar winner that year) which came up an absolute stunning treat in Blu Ray. I watched the three hour cut although I believe a four hour one exists I can't imagine how that improves what is in fairness, a visually engaging film more than one where the story engages you. There's nothing vastly wrong with it but in it's quest to be 'epic' it ends up feeling as if they didn't quite need three hours to tell the fairly simple story narrative. An extra hour would surely just be padding although I wonder what glorious scenery might be glimpsed along the way. It's probably a one watch for me, apart from those beautiful landscapes.

    The Great Gatsby (2000): TV airing, first watch - This was a 2000 UK/US made for television adaption starring Mira Sorvino (as Daisy), Paul Rudd (as Nick) and Toby Stephens as Gatsby. In absolutely no way could it ever compete with Lurhman's upcoming megabudgeter and it doesn't. It's a straightforward, almost literally taken from the book adaption that looks pretty enough and gets the story across but without any special flair. It was made for TV and it shows. The performances were nothing to be too excited about apart from the fact I really don't like Stephens (you may recall him as the villain in 2002's 'Die Another Day') as an actor. Too much sneering in his face for my liking. Unfair to him since that's the only face he has................but I don't like him as an actor sadly.

    300 (2007): TV airing, rewatch - But the first since I saw it in theatres in 2007. Visually arresting and strong but any interesting themes at or near the start get bogged down in Snyder's slo-mo action sequences that seem to come in a never ending manner. The colour palette of the film is also fairly unappealing, even if in places sort of fits the story. It passed a couple of hours but I never was a great fan of this film anyway.

    Sound of my Voice (2011): Blu ray, first watch - This low budget film, however, I really did like thanks mostly to a great lead performance by the absolutely stunning and appropriately other wordly looking Brit Marling (while she seems one of the new wonders of indie cinema this is the first time I've seen her acting). As two wannabe journalists try for their own reasons to infiltrate a cult led by Maggie (Marling) they find both her claims about herself (that she is from the future sent back to help find people to take back to the future with her to help the future) and their reasons for their infiltration tested. The film isn't concerned with whether or not Maggie's claims about herself are true (it remains ambiguous on that front and could be argued either way) but it's real point is (like several other ambiguous films) to leave you questioning youself and what you believe of her. Why do people join 'cults', why do people go looking for any kind of collection of people like them to try to belong? What shapes us and what gaps do we believe these things will bring us? All these ideas and themes are at the heart of the film and Marling does a wonderful job as the magnetic yet unfathomable object of these people's devotion. A film I really enjoyed and would revisit.

    In TV Land all I did this week was complete season 3 of 'Arrested Development' (2005 - 2006) and I have to say I actually thought this season was the weakest of all three. While I had forgotten that Charlize Theron did a recurring arc this season, it tips too far over into completely wacky, almost nonsensical humour and jokes (especially around the little Britain thing and Bondian spoofing that goes on at the start of the season) along the way. It's just a case of the writers going too far out there I think, even with the normal humour type of the show. It was still funny in places, but also showing signs of running out of steam a little. Overall though it was great to revisit the show entirely.

    I've also been rereading 'The Great Gatsby' (1925) this week, but started it late in the week and have not yet finished it.

    That was all this week.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

      I'd say Season 3 of AD is the weakest, but I still really love it. It never fails to make me laugh.

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

        Absolutely, it still made me laugh as well, but the humour was definitely settling into it's pattern so the punchlines started to become more predictable and rote. But, that it was still funny is definitely true still thanks largely to the cast.

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      Interesting factoid: Toby Stephens is the son of the legendary Maggie Smith.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

    I watched The Secret in Their Eyes, Delicatessen, and Pan's Labyrinth, but don't have reviews up yet. Might return with one or two today.

    Waltz With Bashir:

    While I appreciate the craft and creativity that went into making this, I'm not convinced of its status as one of the great foreign films of the last few years.

    Ari Folman certainly knows how to make a meticulously hand-drawn animation film look gorgeous, and his direction is certainly awe-inspiring, but because of the mix of different timelines, interviews (which are just randomly introduced halfway through the film without any care for narrative coherence) and hyper reality, I just couldn't connect to the overall experience as much as some people. Certainly there are moments that elicited a reaction from me (the dying horses were jarring), but there are several creative ways that one could present this film that would be far more effective.

    The ending felt tacked on and used to get the maximum emotional effect, but if you wanted to use actual material from the events, then why wouldn't you just make a documentary about the events that transpired in Beirut? In fact, I'd love to see Folman tackle that since the material he dealt with obviously hits very close to home for him.

    Maybe if there wasn't so much hype beforehand I would have enjoyed it more, but sadly, that's the way it goes when you use the Internet. An ambitious mixed bag that is very much worth watching, but I can't see myself revisiting it. Still, Ari Folman is certainly a director to watch out for. {C+}

    Animal Kingdom:

    "It's a crazy fucking world."- Andrew 'Pope' Cody (Ben Mendelsohn)

    When teaching a how to class on how to make a slowly paced yet still appealing crime/thriller, or quite honestly, a slowly paced film of any kind, this is the only needed material.

    The best way to describe this is as a first-rate fusion of Goodfellas- both of them are crime films with heavy emphasis on 'family'- and both revolve around families of criminals that are falling out of power- and Drive- the two of them share a deliberate pacing which is occasionally turned upside down by sudden bursts of vicious violence. It doesn't quite reach the immeasurably high bar set by those two films, but it still leaves its own impression.

    When his mother overdoses on cocaine, J (James Frecheville) is forced to call upon the family of robbers that his mother so desperately tried to keep him away from. Taken under the wing of his doting grandmother Smurf (Jacki Weaver) and his thieving, coke dealing uncles, J quickly becomes an accomplice to each of them. But when the corrupted police force begins to exact their revenge, and a heated war ensues, J is forced to choose between his dangerous family and the possibly even more dangerous police force.

    David Michod makes this basic crime story an intricate exploration of a family divided and pitted against one another, and the lengths we go to to protect and avenge the ones we love. I won't go too much into the other implied themes, but it is a very thematically rich film, ripe with plenty of discussion material.

    Quite a few of the performances here are major breakouts for the cast. Jacki Weaver may not have deserved her most recent Oscar nomination, but she certainly earned her first one. She is at times just like my grandmother, but as the story goes on it becomes apparent just how wickedly fiendish her character is. She rules over her children with a devilish sweetness. Ben Mendelsohn plays one of the most loathsome evil uncles ever with a cold fury that is never campy or overacted but always frightening. James Frecheville is great as J, a quiet, almost brooding young man who has lost almost everything dear to him. His character is almost entirely detached from the people around him. When Frecheville is called upon to deliver his only scene with an emotional reaction, it is equal parts regret, despair, and childish fear, depicting the pain in the moment when he loses his only connection with the outside world.

    This underseen gem is not only one of the best depictions of crime and dysfunctional family, but also presents one of the most brutal and satisfying conclusions I've seen in a long time. {A}

    The Orphanage:

    Admittedly, I don't watch many scary movies. Lately, I've been watching them more often, and I've found I enjoy them more than I expected. I had heard many great things about Juan Antonio Bayona's debut film (as both writer and director), so needless to say my expectations were high going in. Thankfully, The Orphanage delivers a great horror experience and tops other films in its genre with strong performances and creativity.

    Although the story sounds (and is) fairly generic, the high levels of craft and character instilled into the direction and script give it a fresh and frightening feel. The stakes are high and we, for once, actually want the heroine to succeed.

    Speaking of our heroine, this is one of the few horror films I've seen that has a strong and complex female protagonist at the core of the story. Belen Rueda is more than up to the task as the clever and resourceful Laura, a desperate mother who longs to find her son. The supporting cast isn't given much to do, but the rest of the performances are all solid, and certainly serve a purpose.

    Unlike boring jump scare horror flicks such as Insidious, the tension is palpable and it doesn't rely on cheap thrills to gain your attention. Instead, Bayona and his team go for a slow burn keep you dreading what's coming next. While the score does go too with the screechy violins once or twice, it mostly serves as a fantastic companion to the film. But in the technical department, the camerawork is what really impresses. Oscar Faura blew me away with his captivating cinematograpy.

    All in all, a truly terrifying horror film that never lets you out of its iron grip. {B+}

    The Host (2006): I really don't have much to say about this. It's decent entertainment, but nothing more. {C}

    A Separation:
    Within the first five minutes- which set the story and tone perfectly- I knew I was in for a treat. Not only did it stay consistently compelling throughout, but I'm willing to call this the best film of the decade so far, by a long shot.

    As a story of people, their actions and the consequences of those actions, scathing survey of the Iranian government, and the dissolve of a family, A Separation fully succeeds in its rich and dramatic (but never melodramatic) themes and plot strands into a tale so revealing and truthful it hurts. The fact that Asghar Farhadi didn't win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar is a travesty and brings Hollywood's silly self obsession to a new low. (Not to mention the incredibly idiotic Best Foreign Language Film award, when there should be no need to separate them from the Best Picture candidates, but that's another story.)

    Farhadi is not only a articulate writer, but a fine filmmaker, too. The clever use of glass in the camerawork and the exceptional editing both impress. He's also clearly an actor's director, giving each of the three leads plenty of time in the spotlight, and mining plenty of exemplary emotional moments from all of the performances, big or small.

    Despite all that, the film is never showy or grand in spectacle, it is just a subtle powerful portrait of people, real people. That is a rare and special quality in any film. And A Separation is just that: a rare and special gem of a film. {A+}

    Iron Man 3:
    Something that was very apparent to me after watching this film only became more apparent last night as I watched A Separation (which I highly recommend you watch, it is certainly one of the best films of the decade so far, if not the best). The artistry, themes and technical creativity come together to make a film that pushes cinema forward as a form of art. There are also other films I have watched recently that, while not breaking any barriers, have certainly entertained me either through clever dialogue, fun action set pieces, or in some other way. (One of the first examples that comes to mind is another Shane Black film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.) This is my criteria for getting a rating of three stars or more: you have to do one of these two things to get even a mildly positive response from me. Entertain or make art. Sadly, Iron Man 3 fails to deliver on both accounts.

    That's not to say I thought this would be some masterpiece, it would be silly to expect such a thing. But I did expect it to be a fun diversion, akin to the original Iron Man and The Avengers, or any other witty, exciting summer blockbuster. Iron Man 3's biggest problem is that it wants to be that so desperately, it forgets the real reason that those movies entertained so much: watching the established main characters interact and share banter. But The Avengers are almost completely ignored, and both Pepper and Brody take a backseat to a ten year old snot nosed brat and the films' bland baddie.

    Speaking of wasted characters/talent, the film fails to introduce one compelling character, let alone utilize any of the ones already a part of the universe. RDJ has officially Johnny Depp-ed himself. It's a godd thing he seems as vored with the character as I was throughout, maybe after Avengers 2 he can start getting back to more serious fare. I already mentioned Paltrow and Cheadle's characters, and there's no need to repeat it. Ben Kingsley and Rebecca Hall are wasted. Guy Pearce gives what quite possibly his worst performance, akin to Peter Sarsgaard in Green Lantern. This is not all his fault, since the character is lazily brought to life in Black's script.

    There's yet another of the many problems: while Black's script is filled with enjoyable dialogue, the characters and situations come across as fake. Whole subplots go nowhere, and certain aspects are introduced about halfway through the film and left almost entirely unexplained. I can't really go into details without spoiling things, but some of the film's reveals left me shaking my head. Black also seems to try and go somewhere with some subtle political statements, but that ends up being drowned out by the continuous flow of one-liners and explosions. Disney clearly has no interest in a director's own vision if it interferes with them making more money, but if this is all I can expect from the innumerable sequels and possible franchises on their release slate, then you can count me out of the rest of Phase 2.

    Even as a slight diversion in a crowded summer, Iron Man 3 fails to meet my moderate expectations. {C-}

    Alright, question time:
    1. What did you think of the movies I watched this week? Including the ones I didn't review.
    2. How often do you buy Blu-Ray/DVDs? I usually rent films and only buy the ones I know I will re-watch. I find myself re-watching less and looking for classics I haven't seen and other films people recommend to me.
    3. What did you think of Iron Man 3? I'd love to talk with people that enjoyed the movie, since I wasn't a fan at all.
    4. What film(s) got you into watching cinema? As a kid, I loved Toy Story 2 and Star Wars, but I got serious about films after watching No Country for Old Men and Lost in Translation (my favorite film).
    5. What film do you consider the most 'overrated' (I hate that word, it's so subjective) you have ever seen?
    6. Your favorite film villain? I'm thinking of either Chigurh or Nurse Ratched as the best, with Hans Landa, The Joker and Jack Torrance not far behind.
    7. What is your biggest guilty pleasure? A film that you defend even though others hate it?
    8. What are your Top 5 most anticipated films for the rest of the year? Here are mine:
    1. Before Midnight
    2. Only God Forgives
    3. Gravity
    4. The Bling Ring
    5. The World's End
    HMs: American Hustle, The Past, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Rover, and I'm sure there are others I am missing right now.
    9. Do you have a film you hated/didn't love but have re-watched it and it has gradually become one of your favorites?
    10. What is your favorite film? Don't know that I've asked this before or not. Mine is, as I mentioned, Lost in Translation, but Magnolia just keeps coming back to me, so it could move to #1 soon.

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

      1. Out of those films, I've only seen Iron Man 3, and I thought it was ok.
      2. My parents by all the movies, but so far, I've only bought 2 (Top Gun and Birdemic: Shock and Terror), and they were both bought this year.
      3. See answer to question 1.
      4. My interest started with a review of a movie that I haven't actually seen: 300.
      5. I don't have one right now, but before I saw it for a second time, it was actually The Dark Knight.
      6. Ummm... Mr. Freeze. I kid, it's actually Dr. Evil.
      7. Probably Sucker Punch.
      8. (in order of release date) 1. Star Trek Into Darkness 2. Much Ado About Nothing 3. Blue Jasmine 4. Ender's Game 5. Monuments Men
      9. The Dark Knight
      10. Forrest Gump.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        You PAID for Birdemic? Oh dear....
        Whose review was it? I haven't seen 300, either, but I'd like to read it.
        Actually, I felt the same way watching TDK the first time. When I watched it again, it was like a completely different film.
        How could anyone pick Mr. Freeze over Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy?!?!
        Huh, I still haven't seen that. I hate films with lots of CGI, so I imagine I'd hate.
        I'm looking forward to all of those except Ender's Game, which I don't know enough about an the director doesn't inspire confidence.

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

          I did buy it on DVD, because it became clear that I was going to watch it at least 3 times this summer. And while I didn't like it the first time, the second time I warmed up to it considerably.

          It was just my local critic, John Beifuss. It was when I was 7, so I can't attest to its quality.

          Poison Ivy doesn't have any memorable lines in that movie that I can remember, while Freeze has "Ice to see you," and "What killed the Dinosaurs? The Ice Age!"

          And as for The Dark Knight, I think the first time I saw it I had inflated expectations, but the second time I had much lower expectations, and enjoyed it much more.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

            Ah, I see. It's on Netflix, though, so I still wouldn't pay for it.

            Ok, hahaha.

            True, true. That Ice Age one is the king of awful puns.

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

              I don't have Netflix (shock of all shocks).

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

                *Gasp* Do you live under a rock?!? Kidding, of course.

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

                Darn it, you found out where I live. Now I need to find a nice bush to live in.

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

      1. The only film you watched that I have also seen was Iron Man 3, and I thought is was a good piece of summer popcorn entertainment.
      2. I tend to buy films that I rate 4/5 or higher, but usually not right when they're released. I like collecting movies and so did my parents before me (which is where I got most of the films I own now). I try to buy Blu-Rays on Amazon because they're much cheaper there than in stores
      3. I quite liked it. As I said, I thought it was good popcorn flick with many flaws, but they're easy to overlook. I like it more than Iron Man 2, but I still think the first is the best of the trilogy.
      4. I remember watching Star Wars and Pixar films like Toy Story and A Bug's Life countless times when I was young. But I really began to be interested in films when I saw Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark at around the age of 10. Of course, I didn't have the best judgment in what I saw back then, but I've been watching movies ever since
      5. Gone With the Wind or Forrest Gump. They're decent, but I didn't like them as much as others
      6. Nurse Ratched. I hate her so much.
      7. I love watching the Transformers films. None of them are very good, but sometimes you just want to see giant metal robots fighting and blowing up.
      8. This is a bit tough...
      1. Only God Forgives
      2. The Counselor
      3. The Wolf of Wall Street
      4. Foxcatcher
      5. Man of Steel
      I'm also looking forward to The Bling Ring, Rush, American Hustle, Gravity, Captain Phillips, and Snowpiercer
      9. True Grit (2010). When I first watched it, I thought it was fantastic but as I rewatched it, I grew to love it. It's in my top 5 favorite movies of all time
      10. Just for kicks, here's my top 5
      1. Lawrence of Arabia
      2. The Godfather
      3. The Lord of the Rings
      4. True Grit
      5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
      Nest
      Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather are the films that are the closest to "perfect" that I have seen

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I'll probably start buying more Blu-rays when I get a Blu-ray player, but for now I usually rent movies.
        I seem to be in the minority that really didn't like it. I'm glad you and many others enjoy it, but I couldn't take guy Pearce seriously as the villain.
        I loved both Toy Story films, but 2 has a place in my heart because it was the first film I saw in a theater that I loved.
        Haven't seen either yet.
        Yes, she's so terrible. Especially in her last couple scenes with Brad Douriff. At that point I just wanted her to die.
        I kinda like the first Transformers, but the two sequels are two of the only three films I've ever turned off.
        Somehow I forgot Snowpiercer, The Counselor and Foxcatcher. I'm really looking forward to all three.
        True Grit is one of the ones I forgot to mention that made me more serious about cinema. Have you read the book? It's almost a carbon copy of the Coen's film, but narrated by Maddie the whole time. It's a great read.
        Haven't seen the top 2, but the the three others are all great films.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      1. I think "The Secret in Their Eyes" is incredible, and really liked "Pan's Labyrinth." "Iron Man 3" was fun. And I felt the same way as you when it comes to "The Host"- it was fine, but I was just sort of left saying "That's it?" I haven't seen the rest, unfortunately. "A Separation" has been on my Netflix queue for a while now.
      2. I like to own movies, as I'm the only member of my family who actually purchases movies. My friends and I also have frequent "movie night parties", especially over the summer, so I like to have a decent collection of films I think they would enjoy rather than gamble on something from Netflix or the local library. But obviously money is an issue. I'll usually buy a movie during the year if I really want to own it and know that it's not going to just sit on my shelf. Otherwise, I wait until my birthday or Christmas and ask my family to buy them for me, haha.
      3. I thought it was fun. I enjoyed the action scenes and Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. I doubt I'll ever re-watch it, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
      4. Definitely "Spider-Man." I was obsessed with the character and the comic as a kid, and I remember seeing the movie for the first time when I was 8 and just falling in love with it. After that, I would rent movies a lot from my local library. The first "serious" movie I remember loving was "Boogie Nights", which I saw when I was 14. That was when I really got into film and started taking it more seriously.
      5. I hate the word "overrated" too, but I suppose my answers would be "Forrest Gump" and "The Hangover." "Forrest Gump" is fine but I fail to see why everybody loves it so much. And I thought "The Hangover" was just terrible.
      6. Hm... I honestly can't think of one, haha. I'm sure I'm just blanking out and if I think of one I'll comment about it later.
      7. Well, I love slasher movies, but purely for the entertainment factor- most of them are by no means "good." But a guilty pleasure I defend is "Cruel Intentions." It's so cheesy and over the top but I felt that the actors and director knew that and had a lot of fun making it. I really enjoy it.
      8. Lots to be excited for this year, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few but:
      1) American Hustle
      2) The Bling Ring
      3) Elysium
      4) Only God Forgives
      5) The Conjuring (my expectations are probably too high, but whatever, haha)
      9. "Jackie Brown"- I saw it right after I saw "Inglourious Basterds" and "Kill Bill", and did not like it at all. I've since grown to love it and consider it one of QT's best.
      10. It definitely depends on my mood, but it's always either "Broadcast News", "American Beauty", "Being John Malkovich", "Rosemary's Baby" or "Almost Famous." I can't really pick one- I love them about the same, and for different reasons.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        The Host was yet another case of too much hype on the Internet. All it is is Jaws-lite. There was some clever stuff about the US taking over government affairs, but it felt underdeveloped.

        The problem I face is not owning a Blu-Ray player, and they're not very cheap as it is. I find it great to own the movies I'll watch again and again, but with Netflix, Amazon Instant and Redbox it becomes less necessary to buy new DVDs. I will definitely be trying to get a Blu-Ray player soon, though.

        I liked Spider-Man a lot back when it came out, but boy has it aged terribly. The second one is pretty good, and the third one makes for a great comedy of errors.

        Cruel Intentions is one I've heard a lot about, and keep meaning to check out. I'll follow SMG pretty much anywhere.

        All of those are films I really look forward to. I don't know why I want to see The Conjuring since I hated Insidious, but some thing about the story and Vera Farmiga in a horror film intrigues me.

        I love Jackie Brown, I think it's my 3rd favorite Tarantino.

        I've only seen one, Being John Malkovich, and I really did not like it, but I really want to see the others. I might watch Almost Famous and American Beauty this week if I have the time.

        • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

          Oh yes, I should have mentioned- "Spider-Man" has certainly aged horribly. But the eight year old inside me likes to remember it is as awesome. And, thankfully, the sequel is wonderful.

          Happy to see another SMG fan! I'm a huge Buffy nerd, and would love to see her return to more serious work. She's really talented.

          And if you do watch "Almost Famous" and "American Beauty" this week, you are in for one hell of a great week :D

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

            Yes, the sequel is a lot of fun.

            I'm on Season 4 of Buffy right now, absolutely loving it, and waiting to continue so I'll have the time to watch Angel alongside it. I should find some time this summer. Anyways, I love her performance, along with the rest of the great cast (especially Alyson Hannigan, who is so underutilized on How I Met Your Mother. Her comedic chops are great). Anyways, I'm interested what's your favorite episode? And what do you think of AtS?

            • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

              Ooh if you're only on Season 4, you're in for a real treat as you progress further into the series. Season 5 is incredible, and while they have a few problems Season 6 and 7 are terrific (much better than Season 4, IMO)

              As for favorite episodes, I do think the three most popular episodes of the series- "The Body", "Hush" and "Once More, With Feeling" are fantastic and live up to the hype. Otherwise, I love "Surprise" and "Innocence" from season 2 ("I'm 17, looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex." is my favorite line of the whole series), "Restless" from season 4, "The Gift" from Season 5 and "Tabula Rasa" from season 6. Clearly, I have trouble making decisions.

              Anyway, I'm completely stumped with trying to figure out what "AtS" stands for. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you mean "Angel", in which case I actually have not watched it yet. I got into "Buffy" during my last two years of high school and finished it right before I went off to college, and I promised my brother I'd wait until I come back to start it. But I'm almost done with school, so I should be returning to the wonderful Buffy/Angel universe in a week or two!

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

                Surprise, Innocence, Becoming Part 2 and The Zeppo are, as of now, my favorites.

                Yes, sorry. Angel the Series. I've been told to watch it alongside Buffy because there are several crossovers. I'll probably watch a movie tonight then get stared on it. I hope you and your brother enjoy it!

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

                Oh, and that line is great! Definitely one of the best.

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

      1) I absolutely love The Orphanage, and I'm glad to hear how much you liked it. It's the rare horror film that plays with your emotions beyond simply scaring, an engrossing experience. Secondly, while I enjoyed Iron Man 3 more than you, I understand all your critiques (I'd probably be in the B- range).
      2) I tend to buy the films I rate 4/4 as they are the ones I can wake up one day and have a hankering to watch. I also buy the films that are lesser known as they're fun to show to friends.
      3) I already touched on my thoughts in question 1, but let me elaborate why i enjoyed it. Firstly I feel this film was strongly helped by giving Tony some of his bite back. The appeal of the Tony Stark character, for me at least, is he's a narcissistic asshole that we still root for as a superhero. Lines like "dads leave, there's no reason to be a pussy about it" are what made me love the character in the original Iron Man. Furthermore, I've never been a big fan of either Rhodes or Pepper, so I was fine with them being minimized for the use of a kid (who RDJ had real chemistry with) and a really fun turn from Ben Kingsley. Add a couple great action scenes (the raid on Mandarin's headquarters and the plane sequence) and you have what I consider a perfectly entertaining piece of summer fluff.
      4) As a little kid, watching The Matrix really opened me to what movies could achieve in terms of immersing you in a world. Other films that helped me fall in love with cinema the way I am today are Good Will Hunting, The Dark Knight, Hot Fuzz, Psycho, and Goodfellas.
      5) I probably have to rewatch it, but I do not understand the love Citizen Kane receives, although I think its a good film. A film I hate that most people love is Wings of Desire.
      6) The Joker, Agent Smith, and Hannibal Lector are all greats.
      7) The Scream franchise
      8) 1. The World's End
      2. Before Midnight
      3. American Hustle
      4. The Wolf of Wall Street
      5. Only God Forgives
      9) I didn't understand the appeal of Fight Club until the third time I watched it, but something kept drawing me back. Then something clicked into place and its now a top ten of all time
      10) Good Will Hunting is the first film that I connected to on a legitimate emotional level and has been a film that has stuck with me as I grow older.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        Agreed. The ending didn't feel cheap or cliché, as most modern horror films do.

        Yeah, when I start buying more that's what I plan on doing.

        I don't think RDJ had any real chemistry with the kid, I felt that section was really forced. I don't love either character, but the chemistry between Paltrow an RDJ has always been great. I liked Terrence Howard better as Rhodes, but Cheadle had some great yet brief banter with RDJ and I wished they had spent more time with him. The raid on the headquarters was great, but the other action sequences felt fake and bloated. Kingsley himself was great, but I was left wishing he had played the villain rather than giving Pearce's boring scientist.

        Still gotta see The Matrix and Good Will Hunting. The others are some of my favorites.

        I recently saw Touch of Evil, another Welles film, and was not a big fan. I don't know if I'll like it or not. I thought a lot of people liked Wings of Desire?

        Like I said, haven't seen The Matrix and haven't seen The Silence of the Lambs, either. The Joker (both Nicholson but also and especially Heath Ledger) is great.

        I really loved Fight Club when I recently watched it, but I can see why you wouldn't like it at first.

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

      1. I've only seen 'Animal Kingdom' (I wasn't as taken with it but it was decent). 'The Orphanage' (excellent horror with an emotional payoff rather than silly 'twist') and 'Iron Man 3' (Generally I enjoyed it for what it mostly was), 'Pan's Labyrinth' is very good as well.

      2. Not nearly as much as I used to. But I haven't stopped. I had been spending some time upgrading some films from DVD to Blu Ray where remasters etc had been done but I still buy a couple a month.

      3. I don't want to reprint my whole review but I commented on it in Brad's thread for reviews on it if you wanna read that.

      4. Star Wars was the indelible one of my childhood, then Star Trek...........then expansion from there.

      5. Of the last few years? 'Drive'. In general, I don't quite think Nolan deserves 100% of the love he gets, but sometimes you have to accept you exist in the small minority on these things.

      6. I don't know............is Jack Torrance really a villain or is he a victim?

      7. I wouldn't at all defend them but I'll watch the Transformers flicks when I just want to watch large explosions. I don't really have too many films I would really be embarrassed to say I liked. There are a lot of naff ones I could list, true, but I would still say I liked them. Or would 'The Hunt For Red October' count?

      8. I can only think of 'Star Trek Into Darkness', 'Gravity' off the top of my head just now but more will exist.

      9. '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Blade Runner' come to mind. But I think when I first tried to watch them I was too young for them. When I came back older, although 'Blade Runner' took a few tries, I appreciated them much better.

      10. Oh, I really hate this question. I literally could not give you one. I have too many that would float about and cause chaos in my brain if I tried to single one out specifically. Sorry!

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I'll make sure to look at your review.

        Yes, Star Wars and Toy Story are mine. I watched a lot of Star Trek: TOS when I was little but haven't seen many of the films.

        Not necessarily from the last few years, but it doesn't matter. I love Drive, but I get why some aren't as taken with it. Nolan does get a little too much praise (especially for TDKR and Inception) but he's still a great filmmaker.

        Jack Torrance is only a victim in the sense that his past reincarnation's crimes and sins come back to haunt him. I think Jack was crazy the whole time (as indicated by his treatment of his wife throughout and the early scenes with his wife, Danny and the doctor) but it's an interesting question.

        Hunt For Red October seems well liked and respected, so I'm not sure I'd count that.

        Looking forward to both of those.

        If you have a few you'd like to share, please share them. Most people put their Top 5, so that would be great.

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

          A random and not complete selection would include - Rope, Vertigo, The Apartment, the original Star Wars Trilogy, Zodiac, Fight Club, Master and Commander, Airplane!, Indiana Jones, Back to The Future, The Birds, Lawrence of Arabia, The Assassination of Jesse James, Terminator 1 and 2, 2001, Blade Runner, Twelve Monkeys, Forbidden Planet, The Remains of The Day, Wonder Boys. There are many more though and still many films I've never seen. For me, movie watching isn't a race to get a tick list done. I just work my way around it as I go.

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

          I also managed to forget Rear Window, All That Heaven Allows and Once Upon a Time In America somehow. But this is what happens! I start to have a think and then it keeps rolling. I'll leave it at those just now.

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

            And I still forgot two genuine ones - Snow Falling on Cedars and The Innocents (if you liked The Orphanage this should be up your street as well if you've never seen it).

            Definitely done now!

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

      1. I've only seen Iron Man 3 and had the complete opposite reaction. But more on that below.

      2. I'm a little young and don't have enough money to buy Blu-Rays any time I want. I mostly get them when it's my birthday or Christmas. Like you, I only ask for the ones I know I'll watch again.

      3. I really enjoyed it and am surprised that you disliked so much. I already wrote about it above and we have opposite reactions. I will say that the Guy Pearce character was the source of my problems, but everything else was done so well that I didn't mind it. Was it the Mandarin twist that bothered you?

      4. Philadelphia was the first film that made me look at films differently. That, and reading lots of film criticism.

      5. The Graduate. Watched it in my Film as Literature class and didn't get any of the love for it.

      6. Tough to say. Lots of great one but I'll go with the Joker.

      7. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

      8. Mine is:
      1. Star Trek Into Darkness
      2. Monuments Men
      3. Wolf of Wall Street
      4. Man of Steel
      5. Before Midnight

      9. I wouldn't call it a favorite, but The Help is one that I've seen many times and enjoyed it more and more.

      10. I can't name one. Way too many movies that I love so it's hard to pick just one.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        At this point, I'm in much the same dilemma. Plus, like I've already said, no Blu-Ray player makes it less worthwhile.

        OK, spoilers for IM3.

        It wasn't so much the idea of the twist, it was the execution and, like you, Guy Pearce that kept me from enjoying that aspect. Other than that, I just felt it was very safe. Nothing interesting happened and Black didn't change or improve any of my past problems with the franchise.

        Still haven't seen that.

        Haven't seen The Graduate, either, though I'm hoping I like it more than you.

        Really? I can't stand Kevin James or Adam Sandler, so I expect I'd hate that.

        Looking forward to all of those, especially Before Midnight, Star Trek and The Wolf of Wall Street.

        That's a very good film, but I've seen it three times and likes it a little less with each viewing. Still, as fun comfort cinema it's great stuff.

        Leave your Top 5, then. Everyone else has done that.

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

          Yeah, Iron Man 3 is safe, I'll grant you that, but that doesn't really bother me because I still had a great time watching it. Maybe it's because all of the Marvel movies are "safe" and I've just accepted that and hope they execute the formula in the right way. As long as its good and entertaining, then I've got no problem with it being formulaic, although I will say Iron Man 3 feels a lot fresher than Iron Man 2, which pretty much copied the first one. At least Iron Man 3 did something different and interesting with the villains.

          I think you would hate Chuck and Larry too. I don't know anyone who likes it and I can't even defend it. But when it's on, I watch it.

          Take the list with a grain of salt because this could change at any moment.

          1. Philadelphia
          2. Magnolia
          3. Jaws
          4. Rear Window
          5. Toy Story

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

            That's really where we differ. I didn't have a great time watching it. I felt it was trying way too hard to be fun, and as a result, it felt lazy. I'll give you that it's better than Iron Man 3, but I didn't think there was anything fresh about it.

            I'll remember to avoid it then. :)

            Jaws and Toy Story are great. I'm so glad to see the love for Magnolia! Also my #2 at this point. I am also always changing my list. It really depends on the mood I'm in.

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

      1. I've only seen Iron Man 3 and I loved it. I gave it an A+.
      2. I buy them every couple of months or so.
      3. See question 1. If you would like to hear more on my opinion of it my review is somewhere in the comments on this article.
      4. Toy Story 2 was my favourite move as a kid (I hate it now though), so I'll have to say that.
      5. The Shining. My review is also somewhere in the comments on this article if you would like to read it.
      6. I know I'm going to get a lot of hate for this but I loved The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.
      7. That's My Boy, most people hate it but I find it hilarious even though I realize how stupid it is.
      8. 1. The Internship 2. The Heat 3. The Hangover Part 3 4. Star Trek Into Darkness 5. Anchorman: The Legend Continues.
      9. I didn't love The Avengers when I first saw it and although it's not one of my favourites, I like it a lot more now than I used to.
      10. Probably The Hangover to be honest. I just love that movie so much.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        Why do you hate Toy Story 2? I love that movie.

        I read it, and I disagree, but it is a film that I think will improve when you watch it again, maybe in a year or so.

        I wouldn't consider him a real villain, though. He's just an idiot, not anyone with real motives.

        Not really looking forward to those comedies at all (when I see Anchorman, I might anticipate the sequel more), but I'm excited to see Star Trek Into Darkness.

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

          I just find it really boring and uninteresting now. Of course, the last time I tried to watch it was about a year ago so my opinion might be different if I tried to watch it again.

          Maybe, we'll see.

          Good point but I just found him to be very entertaining.

          I guarantee you that once you see Anchorman you will be looking forward to the sequel. It is hilarious and it is one of the best comedies of all time.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/m1/ m1

      5. I can't really pick one film for this, but I'll say a few. I do not care for In Bruges at all; I found it little more than a European knock-off of Fargo with a bit of Tarantino thrown in. Inglourious Basterds is decent but all over the place. Batman Begins is too long. The Hangover isn't great, but I do find it funny and vastly superior to some of the nonsense (Ted, Horrible Bosses, Bad Teacher, Project X) that it has spawned, including its sequel. Burn After Reading is a forgettable entry in the Coens' resume outside of Brad Pitt's hilarious performance. The Adjustment Bureau is a plothole-filled mess. Outside of DiCaprio's tremendous performance (all the actors, really), I found Shutter Island practically unwatchable.

      6. Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men AND Skyfall, and Mo'Nique in Precious are some of the recent movie villains I loved.

      7. The Twilight movies. No, they're not great, but I find some of those movies enjoyable on a surface level. The high school awkwardness is captured perfectly in those movies, and I think Stewart and Pattinson have enough chemistry to make me cheer for them (even though I don't think much of their individual performances).

      9. There Will Be Blood and WALL-E are two perfect examples. I found TWBB to be bloated on a first viewing, but the beauty of it struck me on the second. WALL-E rubbed me the wrong way at first because it was so much bleaker and different from Pixar's other movies, but I now find it a brilliant piece of sci-fi whose themes are fully realized in its last act.

      10. Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby has always hit that spot for me. It's a sports movie whose story goes far above that. The performances and characters are so memorable. It's a serious, gritty movie with surprising amounts of heart. I love it.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I haven't seen The Hangover or Burn After Reading, but I really liked the others you listed (especially In Bruges and The Adjustment Bureau). However, I agree with you on Basterds, it's a lot of fun but that doesn't excuse it from being a huge mess. Also, yes, Batman Begins is far too long and has an mediocre final 30 minutes, and while I initially liked it, I found a lot of problems with Shutter Island in retrospect.

        Still have to see Precious. I should really rent that one soon. The other two are great choices.

        I haven't watched any of them, but I'll probably see them sometime this summer with some friends.

        I LOVE There Will Be Blood. I haven't watched Wall-E since I first saw it, but I didn't love it either. Perhaps I should revisit it.

        Oh, I watched some of it a while back and really liked what I saw, I keep meaning to pick it up and finish it.

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

      1. Iron Man 3 is the only movie I've watched from your list this week. It was good for what it is. Not a very memorable one.

      2. Couple times a year I go on a spending spree buying movies. But when I don't I usually get about 1 a month. It averages out to 1.5 a month. I buy only movies that I really like and know I want to have a copy for the future. My latest purchase was Titanic 4 Disc Combo this past week.

      3. Unimpressive end to a fairly entertaining popcorn movie franchise. Just another Marvel superhero movie with no special significance. I rated it a 7/10 and probably not going to watch it again.

      4. As a kid I remember I really loved Titanic, The Great Escape, Saving private Ryan, Die Hard etc., I watched only movies that my parents watched and allowed me to watch (I live in the US now but originally not from here). But once I was on my own I re-discovered my love for movies with The Dark Knight, LOTR, Blood Diamond, Inception etc.,

      5. I really think The Matrix is overrated.

      6. The Joker

      7. I can't think of one right now. Maybe Journey 2? It was actually very fun just for the heck of it.

      8. In no particular order, Wolf of Wall Street, Before Midnight, Fast and Furious 6, Ender's Game and Captain Phillips

      9. I don't think so. I have not re-watched the ones I've really hated and don't plan on doing so.

      10. Right now my Letterboxd favorite films are Inception, Django Unchained, The Way (directed by Emilio Estevez) and Schindler's List.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I guess I'm just a cynical arse, because everyone else enjoyed it. :P

        Oh, well I'm watching The Matrix soon, so I guess we'll see if I agree with you by next week.

        That would definitely count. I had heard nothing but bad things until you said you liked it.

        The two I've seen (Django and Inception) are good, but wouldn't be my personal choices. The Way is in my Netflix queue.

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

      1. I’ve only seen Pans labyrinth and A separation, though I really want to check out Animal Kingdom. I enjoyed both the ones I’ve seen, though I did not like A separation to the extent of many others.

      2. I only buy Blu-rays from time to time and I usually buy them whenever Criterion has a half off sale going on. I only buy the movies that I know I’ll rewatch often and usually, I get something new out of them each time. I also lend them to my friends often so they can see the movies I’m raving about.

      3. Haven’t seen it, though I was kind of off looking forward to it because I enjoy Shane Blacks style. I may check it out once it’s out on Bluray.

      4. The movie that really made me fall in love with cinema is definitely Goodfellas. Started watching it one late night without a clue on what it was and at this time, I barely spoke any English but I loved every second of it. I think what really got me into watching classic films would be watching 12 Angry Men in high school. I always disregarded older movies before this but that movie really changed my perspective.

      5. Well, the Dark Knight comes to mind I guess.

      6. I agree with you on Chigruh and the others as well. Chigruh is definitely one of my favorite characters ever.

      7. Adam Sandler comedies like the The Waterboy.

      8. Only God Forgives
      -Gravity
      -The Worlds End
      -The Counselor (love Cormac McCarthy)
      -Before Midnight

      9. Well, it’s not one of my favorites but one movie that comes to mind would be Easy Rider which I loathed when I first saw it but ended up appreciating it on 2nd viewing some years later.

      10. I don’t have one concrete favorite but a few movies that are always up there would be Chinatown, The Thing and Once Upon a Time in the West.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

        I think you'll like Animal Kingdom. Glad you enjoyed the other ones.

        I'll buying quite a few Criterion films this July when they're on sale.

        Both excellent films. 12 Angry Men was one that surprised me with how much I enjoyed it.

        I know a lot of people think it's overrated, but I really love it. It does have its problems, but I am always entertained and find it thought provoking.

        Yeah, Chigurh is terrifying. Certainly one of my favorite characters ever.

        I hate Adam Sandler, but I'll admit that as dumb as it is I always enjoy watching 50 First Dates. It's mostly for Drew Barrymore, though.

        I've yet to see those three. Looking forward to watching all three in the near future.

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

      1. Out of all those movies, i've only seen The Orphanage of the movies and saw bits and pieces of Animal Kingdom. Will see Iron Man 3 this coming Tuesday. I loved The Orphange, one of my favorite underrated scary flicks.
      2. I buy a lot of DVD's/Blu-Rays at least once a month. I usually buy movies i've liked and seen in theaters and also some movies i've been interested but never caught in theaters. I like to buy old movies, lots of favorites of mines.
      4. Titanic
      5. I freaking that word too, I would say recently The King's Speech easily. It's a good movie but not a Oscar-worthy picture. Only thing it deserved to get nods for was for the performances of Firth, Rush & Carter, that's it.
      6. The Joker, Bane, Dr. Evil, Jaws (it has to count), Hans Landa, the devil in The Exorcist & Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris in Training Day.
      7. Transformers movies, Every Michael Bay movie, Sucker Punch & Adam Sandler movies (except for Little Nicky & Eight Crazy Nights) since most people hate the guy but i've been a fan since I was little so yeah he makes laugh. He's a polarizing actor so yeah..
      8. 1. Kick-Ass 2 2. Man of Steel 3. Despicable Me 4. This is the End 5. Elysium
      9. I wouldn't call Hot Rod one of my favorites but I like it more than I did the first couple times which I started calling it "one of the most painfully unfunny flicks in years", I just didn't get the humor at all but right around the 3rd time, I started get it and now, I find it to be a pretty good randomly funny movie same though not in the same league with Napoleon Dynamite which is one my favorite randomly comedic flicks of all-time.
      10. WALL-E

    • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

      1. I've only seen Iron Man 3, and certainly enjoyed it but yearned for more. However, the more I think about it the more I like it. Also, I've been meaning to see A Separation for a while now, so hopefully I can catch it soon.

      2. I used to buy BD/DVDs all the time, but have learned to stave off those temptations lately unless I intend to rewatch the film a fair amount; and price plays a factor too. For instance, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty were no-brainer Day 1 buys for me. Argo was a wait-till-the-price-drops-a-bit situation. And though I really liked Life of Pi, I'm still waiting to buy it, but I'm not sure I ever will.

      3. I was a bit miffed while watching IM3. I enjoyed it, laughed quite a bit, and liked a lot of the content, but I wanted something more from the film. It just felt like it didn't quite come together as it should have. However, upon reflection, I've begun appreciating it more for changing up the game compared to the rest of Marvel's output, and I really like what Shane Black brought to the table here. I sort of wrote it off as "more of the same," upon first watch, but as I think about it, I recognize several things that set it apart from films like Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man 2.

      4. Jurassic Park is the first film I remember watching when I was a kid (thanks, brother and dad, for scaring the piss out of me at age 4). I can't say what movies really got me into film, but I've been making trips to the theater for as long as I can remember.

      5. I'm not afraid to say that I find Citizen Kane overrated. The material isn't all that interesting, and while the storytelling techniques and technical achievements were innovative at the time, they don't make the film truly stand out from other classics released at that time. I appreciate the film for what it is and what it did for the medium, but I just don't care for it all that much.

      6. Probably Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds) or Joker (The Dark Knight). I also really like Kevin Spacey's villainous work (The Usual Suspects, Seven) and, as an underdog, would like to throw in the Zodiac killer from David Fincher's Zodiac. He's not so much a villain as he is an impossible to find man who stalks eerily through the entire film, but I'll be darned if that film, and the case as a whole, doesn't scare me to bits every time I watch it.

      7. I love Transformers, the first Michael Bay film with Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox. I actually even enjoy the second and third films, to a lesser extent, but the first is actually one of my favorite action flicks.

      8. I'm most anticipating Before Midnight, followed by American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Gravity. Honorable mentions go out to Monuments Men, Man of Steel, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Bling Ring, and a gaggle of others.

      9. None come to mind quickly, but I will say that, while I did really like Before Sunrise when I first saw it, it felt a bit pretentious on first watch. That quickly wore off with my second watch, and that series of films has vaulted up my list of favorite films, especially Before Sunset.

      10. As it sits right now, my favorite would be Silver Linings Playbook. Yes, yes, it just recently came out, but given I've seen it 8 or 9 times and continue to want to watch it again and again, I think that's more than enough to call it my favorite.

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      1. I've only seen Pan's Labyrinth, which I love, and Iron Man 3' which I tolerated a little better than you. Your reviews of A Separation and Animal Kingdom make me want to see them sooner than later.

      2. I stopped buying them very often, unless I really loved the film or it is a bona fide classic. Netflix is feeding my movie appetite very well.

      3. Ehhh. I love RDJ in the role, but the movie was nothing special.

      4. Watching an old Don Knotts movie called The Reluctant Astronaut was when I realized I was a movie fan and I started keeping lists. American Graffiti was the first film that blew me away.

      5. Great questions! I'd go with 2001: A Space Odyssey here, with Easy Rider close behind.

      6. Gotta go with Hannibal Lecter, then Norman Bates. I like your choices of Nurse Ratched and The Joker too.

      7. The Postman. I also liked Heaven's Gate quite a bit, but that film is now being looked at more favorably.

      8. 1. The Wolf of Wall Street, 2. American Hustle, 3. Twelve Years a Slave. 4. Monuments Men. 5. The Butler. HMs: Elysium, Saving Mr. Banks, Captain Phillips, The Counselor

      9. I hated The Grapes of Wrath as a kid but now it is an all-time favorite. I was lukewarm on the theatrical release of Once Upon a Time in America, but the Director's cut of that film is in my all-time Top 25.

      10. Braveheart

      8.

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

    The Great Gatsby (in theater, first watch)
    I went into this film with significantly lowered expectations, based on critic reviews and early response and I must say: Gatsby surprised me. Luhrman’s previous films have been hit or miss with me - I liked Moulin Rouge and hated Romeo + Juliet – but this is certainly his best yet. Despite some flaws, I enjoyed my time watching The Great Gatsby. Its impressive, kinetic visuals; great acting; and excellent story manage to propel it past silly voiceover and some empty characters.

    Baz Luhrman’s style is truly unique, and I can say I’ve never seen a film that’s quite like The Great Gatsby. The lavish parties are incredibly energetic and fun to watch, despite some wonky editing. The sets and costumes are equally stylish and manage to add some personality to the classic tale from F. Scott Fitzgerald. Said story is excellent in this film translation and it’s quite faithful to the book. It is a story of hope, tragedy, emptiness, and decadence and these themes make the transfer to film well. Unfortunately, Luhrman uses voiceover from Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) to explain these themes instead of giving the viewer the pleasure of dissecting them.

    That being said, Maguire and the rest of the cast do very good in their roles. DiCaprio and Joel Edgerton are the standouts, with Elizabeth Debicki also delivering an impressive sophomore performance. Maguire is good, but he doesn’t add anything special to his character, and Carey Mulligan was the weakest of the cast. She has moments of greatness, but those moments are eclipsed by her spurts of subpar line delivery.

    I’m a lover of Fitzgerald’s book, and re-reading it this past week may have given me a bit of bias going into this film. Reading the book just before the film helped me feel connected to the characters. While there are obvious development issues, it was easy for me to overlook them, given the fact I had read the story of these characters only days earlier.
    I enjoyed watching The Great Gatsby, probably more than most people. Luhrman’s was a good choice to bring this ageless tale to the screen, and I’m sure if it was anyone else it would not have been as good. The acting, the style, and the story combine to form a very good film, which could have been better, if it was given a little more thought.
    4/5. Grade B

    Rear Window (at home, rewatch)
    Brilliant.
    This is a film that manages to be incredibly suspenseful without resorting to over-used conventional techniques. This is Hitchcock's best film and one of my all-time favorites.
    5/5. Grade A+

    The Wicker Man (at home, first watch)
    I laughed a lot...
    But I don't think this was supposed to be a comedy.
    NOT THE BEES!
    0.5/5. Grade F

    Dumb and Dumber (at home, rewatch)
    This is the king of dumb comedy.
    Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play off each other excellently. The jokes are so dumb that you have to laugh. The key to this film's success is its self-awareness. It knows its stupid, and that's what makes it so funny. It's hilarious and endlessly rewatchable.
    4/5. Grade B+

    The Place Beyond the Pines (in Theatres, first watch)
    An excellent film that begins to dwindle in the third act, while the first act is a near masterpiece. Ryan Gosling in terrific.
    4/5. Grade B+

    Ted (at home, first watch)
    This was not funny at all and was aggravated at how lazy it was. A very stupid movie
    2/5 Grade D+

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (at home, first watch)
    This film is too sad for its own good. There's no character for the audience to relate to (aside from, maybe, Vera Farmiga) and there's rarely a positive light to be seen. While I admire the filmmaking, and the solid performances this film wallows in sadness far too often

    Also, if they're all German, why do they have British accents?
    2.5/5. Grade C-

    Books

    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - A+

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

      I also read The Great Gatsby a couple of days before I saw the movie and I think it helped me feel more connected to the characters as well. I'd say that for the most part I agree with your review. I just liked it a little more than you though I think, I gave it an A-.

      Disagree with you on Ted. I thought it was hilarious and it was my third favourite movie of last year.

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

    In theaters:

    The Great Gatsby

    Cut through the glitzy spectacle of Baz Luhrmann's ambitious adaptation of The Great Gatsby and you'll find the same enthusiastic spirit that defined Fitzgerald's timeless opus about tragic love amidst the underbelly of American opulence. Rather than stripping the story down, Luhrmann indulges the more caricaturesque elements of Fitzersgerald's tale, painting an almost unimaginable sketch of wealth during the roaring '20s. But in trying to replicate the tone-poem of the prosaic novel, Luhrmann goes with some unfortunate filmmaking tactics, such as back-reaching recollection via plagiarized voice-overs, which rob the film of its full emotional and visceral impact. On a visual level, The Great Gatsby is beyond perfect but its lingering emotional stasis and hackneyed, choppy editing limit it from reaching the greatness it promises.

    Like the great novel, The Great Gatsby follows the perspective of Nick Carraway, an aspiring novelist who has abandoned his dream to chase illusions of riches in the bonds business. When Nick moves into a humble abode on West Egg, sandwiched between castles of old and new wealth, he discovers that his mysterious neighbor, Gatsby, is a man of many rumors. After being formally invited to one of Gatsby's famous parties, Nick strikes up a chance friendship with Gatsby as his true motivations come to light.
    Although Luhrmann's film sticks closely to the book, it breaks away in the opening moments as we meet soft-spoken protagonist Nick in the throes of an up-class psychiatry institute. Recalling the circumstances that led to his disillusionment with the city of New York and his history with his friend, the illusive Gatsby, Nick's story is seen as a therapy of sorts - an unloading of demons and a second-look at a time littered with boozing and schmoozing. As Nick writes, we fall into his tale of the magical and notorious Gatsby.

    Rather than axing the first person recollection of the novel, The Great Gatsby adopts it, at once revealing its soft belly and opening it up for easy criticism. As a golden rule, recollection is a storytelling crutch and even though Fitzergerald's novel used that method, film is held to a different standard. Unfortunately, Luhrmann carries the shoddy first act on the shoulders of voice-over and recollection and it's not until the 30-minute mark when we actually met Gatsby that the voice-over fades away and the disparate pacing changes to a more manageable and enjoyable cadence.

    Moving outside of his faltering editing tactics and onto the visual spectrum, Gatsby is a thing of awe. Luhrmann paints on thick coats of grandeur and offers up true aesthetic decadence, realizing the spectacular vision of Fitzgerald's novel with exemplary panache. Like a child playing with ants, Luhrmann peels back the castle-tops and mansion walls, exposing the hive of manufactured social circles pettily scurrying around. He has captured the dreamlike quality to Fitzergerald's work, particularly during the lavish party scenes. The music is lively and explosive and his choice to approach the soundtrack with a more modern flair works for the most part. These are the parties of our dreams and it's no wonder that they and Gatsby cast a spell on the whole of New York.
    But beneath all of the glamorous appearances, the caked-up faces, the flapper dresses and penguin tuxedos, Gatsby's guests are petty people glomming onto unattainable rumors and silly assumptions of their host. Amidst tales of espionage, murder and thievery, Gatsby has a mythology all of his own and this mystique only seems to ignite the townsfolk's attraction. Slashing through the cascades of sparkling streamers, beneath the fireworks and beyond the reach of the blaring jazz, we discover Gatsby is a quiet entertainer, carefully biding his time and allowing these many rumors to wash over him. The execution of Gatsby's big reveal, when he and Nick first meet, is a visceral gut-punch, exhibiting the fact that Luhrman can be a cunning and tasteful director when he puts his mind to it.

    For the most part though, the aesthetics take precendence over the story, which often feels piecemealed together. Events are pasted together, lacking the natural flow of time and circumstance that defines more fluid efforts. Time in the film jolts unmarked from one event to another without much explanation and this rocky sense of a time frame yanks us out of the moment, back into our theater chairs. Without an organic sense of inertia, the story feels inconsequential and loses any sense of realism that it fleetingly grasps.

    But behind the lavish set designs, shimmering costuming and Luhrmann's many crane-cam flourishes, the performers can be seen taking their roles seriously, digging into them as much as the material allows and each player acting out this ill-fated romance fits the bill of their respective, iconic roles perfectly.
    Gatsby is an iconoclast set on fulfilling the grandiose illusions he has dreamed for himself and Leonardo DiCaprio fills those heavy shoes with careful trepidation. This is a man submerged within himself, who rides the spectrum of emotion and only an actor with such broad range as DiCaprio could bear that hefty burden. The man behind the curtain of Gatsby is caught in the trappings of hubris, set with the false assumption that wealth can overcome all odds. In his belief, he is a man both empowered and terrified, bold yet bumbling. In his depiction of the great Gatsby, Leo lives up to his namesake and delivers another great performance.

    While Tobey MacGuire aptly takes the reins of the squeamish, easily agitated Nick Carraway (and his off-camera chemisty with DiCaprio works to their character's relationship on-camera), he is more of a supporting character even though he's our guide narrating us through the story. He's happy to be a bystander and play lapdog to the grandeur of Gatsby so he's somewhat easy to overlook in the long haul.
    At the center of the equation is Daisy who is an inherently difficult character to play, as she essentially is a smart, witty girl playing the role of the dullard. Some of the first words out of her mouth are --"the best thing a girl can be in this world is a beautiful little fool." From here, her character is born. Afraid of breaking out of the role that society has placed her in, Daisy refrains from exposing her true self and falls back on parroting the bold men she surrounds herself with. Carey Mulligan captures the hopeful emptiness of Daisy in her portrayal but in doing so it's hard to draw the line of disengagement considering that trait is built into the fundaments of her character. Where she's faking it or her character is at times unclear but in the time of false people and pseudo-love, isn't that the point?

    Rounding out the ménage-à-trois of doom is Tom Buchannan, the hard-handed ruffian raised on old money and whitewashed with Americano ornaments. Joel Edgerton's gruff face and wary eyes fit Buchanan like a tailored suit and he is able to be a truly detestable scourge without flying off the handle or leaping over-the-top. He's the odd man out in this love triangle and a sore loser at that but Edgerton manages cool restraint even when driven over the edge and this calculated performance adds life to an otherwise one-dimensional bully.
    As such a classic piece of work, audiences go into The Great Gatsby with a sense of ownership. Whether that will paint your existence one way or the other really depends on the level of flexibility you're willing to engage in with Luhrmann's work. While it closely encapsulates the inimitable essence of the loosely moralized jazz age, it does so in such a way that is sure to scrub your own imaginary palette clean for its duration.

    Whereas the novel was a piece of work worthy of being slowly digested, cherishing each beautifully piercing line of prose, this adaptation fails to cast the same enchanting spell. While it's a worthy adaptation of one of the greatest works of American literature, it feels, at times, flat and uninspired. A mere coughing up of something great; pre-digested, regurgitated and spray-painted with gold.

    Baz Luhrmann has an alleged fascination with tragic romance and The Great Gatsby is no exception. From a purely aesthetic point of view, his film is dazzling - capturing the spectacular life of something assumed unfilmable. The performers are all on pitch and manage to breathe life into these characters to help weave the caricature of a time on the brink of moral and financial collapse. Regrettably, the film overextends its boundaries, aided by poor adaptation prowess, and disappoints on its pledge of greatness. The true tragedy is that the film settles for being pretty good.

    C+

    At Home:

    Rust and Bone is a difficult film that's something of an emotional endurance test. While the themes and approach couldn't be more European, there's universality to the complexity of people on screen here and both Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts give stirring performances.

    Director Jacques Audiard deals exclusively in shades of grey and even when the audience is led to be down on someone, Audiard never abandons them to the wolves and pulls them by the bootstraps out of their own emotional mires. Without revealing any of the critical plot points, Rust and Bone deals not only with loss but with recovery proposing that maybe it's not the fall that matters but how we choose to pick ourselves up afterwards.

    Is it a spoiler if I tell you that John doesn't die at the end? He dies pretty early on...but not really because he comes back to life...or maybe he didn't die at all. It's all very confusing, as is the entirety of this mindfuck of a film. Between talking on bratwurst cellphone, fighting meat demons and a driving dog, John Dies at the End is all about independence from the norm and breaking out of traditional elements of narrative...and time...and space. The gooey puppet-driven effects are amiably reminiscent of 80's David Cronenberg and as a huge Cronenberg fan, you can definitely say it worked for me.

    As as absurdist low-budg genre-bender in spirit and execution, John Dies at the End is also crassly comic, endlessly strange and downright fun. Like when you try to make a milkshake and forget to put the lid on, stuff goes just about everywhere and results in one hell of a mess but, hey, it's still kinda tasty. This is the final product that is JDatE. In time, this daring original film could be something of an underground favorite as it has all the makings of a cult film but cult classic or not, it's still super weird.

    C

    In the process of discovering Sixto Rodriquez, who here is given the moniker of Sugarman, a fascinating tale of ill-conceived serendipity in the era of rock rebellion emerges. As an artist, Rodriguez is a mystery, never afforded any semblance of fandom or commercial popularity in the US even though his records were a surging anti-establishment force for the whole of South Africa. Somehow though, Rodriguez never heard tell of his international fame nor did he see one penny of the profit. Thus begins the story of a man who seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet.

    Filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul does an acceptable job of tracking the history of Rodriguez, both in historical terms and accompanying rumors, but when it comes to the hard-hitting questions, he's happy playing softball. He leaves the corporate corruption and music industry undercuts alone and instead focuses solely on this man of mystery. But when all is said and done, the film presents a fascinating man's mind-blowing experience of rock'n'roll over four decades and the true story is interesting enough to make the film more than worthwhile. What sticks with you most of all though is Rodriguez's fantastic songs off of his album 'Cold Fact' that are amiably peppered throughout.

    B+

    A-

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

      A- was for Rust and Bone, B+ for Sugarman

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

        i would definitely switch those scores, i lurved Sugarman and i thought Rust & Bone was half a good movie, the Cotillard half

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

          Cotillard is a fantastic actress and it's good to see her bury her teeth in something with more dramatic panache than the bigger blockbusters that she's been doing lately.

          But I think Matthias Schoenaerts is a hell of an up-and-comer. He played a similar role in Bullhead but I think that movie is even more powerful. If you haven't seen it be sure to give it a watch.

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

            tis released in the UK on the 20th and strangely enough its the next film to move from reserved to my actual LoveFilm queue

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

    Follow me at: http://letterboxd.com/michael11391/

    At Home:

    Silver Linings Playbook (2012) (2nd viewing, Netflix) - Saw it back-to-back days. Yeah, I love this movie. You want to be in a movie where you can act your butt off? David O. Russell is your guy. I mean this guy is not just terrific director (i've been a fan of his since Three Kings) but he knows how to put together an ensemble cast and let them all have their moments to shine. Jennifer Lawrence (as Tiffany) & Bradley Cooper (as Pat) both give the performances of their career to date as two problematic people who try to help each other problems. Robert De Niro gives his best performance in years as Pat's (Cooper) dad who also tries to help Pat with his problems and also wants him to share his obsession with his Philadelphia Eagles (football team). Jackie Weaver is good as the mother, John Ortiz is decent, Julia Stiles is good & Chris Tucker (great to see him back in movies) is great as Pat's friend.

    With brilliant writing, acting, directing & story, Silver Linings Playbook is Russell's best film to date and also one of my favorite movies of 12' & of all-time. I freaking loved this movie. Expect me to watch this movie over and over again. 10/10.

    The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) (1st viewing, TV) - Will just go to the facts. Billy Bob Thornton & Frances McDormand are terrific as always. Tony Shalhoub is great. Richard Jenkins & a very pretty 17-year old Scarlett Johansson were decent in their small roles. Excellent cinematography from the always-great Roger Deakins. This another great film from The Coen Bros. 8/10.

    The Basketball Diaries (1995) (1st viewing, TV) - 7/10.

    Annie Hall (1977) (1st viewing, TV) - 8/10.

    MLB Baseball

    Boxing - Mayweather-Guerrero

  • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

    Now that finals are officially over -- and with a 6 hour bus ride to and from our conference track meet this weekend -- I've got a bit more time to devote to my movie watching habits. I've rented Shane Carruth's Upstream Color from iTunes and plan to watch it on our trip home tonight, and I'd like to get out to the theater this week to catch The Great Gatsby.

    Aside from that, I've finished reading "Me and You and Memento and Fargo" to the extent I really can, given that each chapter is on a separate independent film, so I skipped those chapters on films I've not yet seen. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in independent cinema.

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

    IN THEATERS

    None.

    AT HOME

    Black Swan: One of the most well-crafted psychological thrillers in recent memory, Darren Aronofsky's stripped-down Black Swan is a movie that plays strongly as both drama and horror, largely due to Natalie Portman's fantastic portrayal of a ballet dancer gone crazy. I remain blown away by this movie for a great many reasons, not the least of which being the minimalistic cinematography, the grainy textures and washed out lighting that seep into each and every frame. And the camera movements during so many of those dance scenes? Dang. 4.5 / 5

    To Kill a Mockingbird: Until this most recent viewing, I don't think I'd seen To Kill a Mockingbird since my 9th-grade English class, and back then I wasn't all that interested in watching it, even though I enjoyed the book. But having revisited the film, I find that I am upset with my 15-year-old self -- I should have paid more attention to the film. The story of To Kill a Mockingbird is a bit dated but still resonates today. Gregory Peck and his young supporting actors are all on their game here. To Kill a Mockingbird remains a fantastic feature, a courtroom drama and classic adaptation that holds up extremely well, even in today's time. 5 / 5

    Broadway Danny Rose: To quote Danny Rose, "May I interject one statement at this juncture?" Comedic, tragic, and magnificently entertaining, Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose is a fine example of a writer and director at the top of his game, though I'm not sure the man has ever truly been off it. The flashback storytelling, done by a group of reminiscing comedians, serves as an excellent framing device for Allen's tale of fading stardom. The jokes, the setups, the quirks, the wits, they are all classic Woody Allen and they work to the utmost degree here. Broadway Danny Rose is simply fantastic. 4.5 / 5

    Primer: Minimalist, cerebral, intriguing -- those words more or less sum up Shane Carruth's ultra low-budget sci-fi flick Primer. But the one descriptor I return to most is "intriguing." The idea of time travel is a fascinating one, and the challenges and consequences derived from such activities make time travel an even more wondrous concept. Carruth tackles the idea here with multiple timelines, enough that it'd be difficult to fully understand this movie from one simple viewing. But, as far as this first watch goes, Carruth certainly has me intrigued, excited to watch the film again and get a better grasp on his thrilling indie-film depiction of time travel and its related paradoxes. 4 / 5

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

      I looked up that book you read, and it does seem very good. I actually read parts of the Gummo segment on Amazon, and found it to be very enlightening. Planning on reading the book in its entirety at some point.

      • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

        It is indeed an often enlightening read; I actually picked it up at a sale at my university's bookstore for $1.00. Unfortunately, of the films covered, I've only seen Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, and Memento, so I only was able to read a few select chapters of the book, as I wanted to avoid spoilers on the films I've yet to see.

        I plan to go back and read the chapters on Stranger than Paradise, Safe, Trust, Gas Food Lodging, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Elephant, Mulholland Dr., Gummo, and Slacker after I've seen each of those films.

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

    Here's my 'The Great Gatsby' review:

    I'm very impressed by what Bahz Luhrman has created here. He balances fun and seriousness perfectly and he tells the story with a passion. I think this is his best and most mature film to date. By the way I'm a huge fan of his previous works. The visuals are stunning and bring you into the world the Fitzgerald imagined. Now here's my thoughts on the cast:

    DiCaprio played Gatsby quite well. I love those comedic moment with him and Carraway/Maguire. And he, for me, was different from a lot of characters he's played with the various range of emotions from scene to scene.

    Maguire, I thought, was casted right. He did what he needed to do to fit Carraway, and his chemisty with DiCaprio was stellar, which was because of their off-screen relationship for the most part.

    Mulligan played Daisy well with showing various range in emotion without dialogue.

    For me, Edgerton was spectacular as Tom Buchanon, one of the best performances in the film along with DiCaprio. He showed brutality and moments of humanism.

    Fisher worked as Myrtle fairly well, Clarke was good as Mr. Wilson, and Debecki (every else feels the same) was quite good as Jordan Baker.

    The music to the film was done quite well, having a lot more of Craig Armstrong's score versus the new age music. It was balanced perfectly, not having too much or too little.

    So overall Gatsby is a fantastic masterpiece by Luhrman, his best and most mature film yet.

    Oscars I would consider it for: Best Picture, Best Director Luhrman, Best Actor DiCaprio, Supporting Actor Joel Edgerton, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Visual Effects, and Score

    Grade: (A-) (3.5/4) (8.5/10)

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    May go see Gatsby tonight.

    First watches:

    Commando (1985) - Netflix Streaming - Was in the mood to check out some badass action and boy did this deliver. Probably the manliest, most testosterone-filled movie I've seen since Road House - Commando was a lot of fun. Well-paced with some good action and a very solid score that I noticed several times throughout. Arnold is good as ever as an action hero. The movie uses some of its locations very well - most notably the surroundings during the end sequence (got a very Bad Boys II vibe from it). In terms of criticism, the film's villain was very weak, and I never felt much danger / on the edge of my seat. Overall, an enjoyable action movie that's worth checking out if you're in the mood for some mindless popcorn entertainment. 7.0 / 10

    Leaving Las Vegas (1995) - Blu-ray Netflix - While this movie has flashes of brilliance (Nicholas Cage's entire performance, certain scenes primarily in the third act), the story dragged on a bit for me in the middle. I found myself not caring much overall about the relationship of the main characters. Elizabeth Shue is also very solid. Also, while I understood the somber tone the score was trying to set, it just didn't really work for me - maybe I was just in the mood for a more uplifting movie. Unfortunately, don't see myself watching this one again in the future, but could be worth a watch for the performances alone. 6.0 / 10

    Rewatches:

    Iron Man 3 (2013) - Theatre - Still enjoyable the second time around. Not a great movie by any means, but very fun, solid entertainment that I'm looking for. The part of the story I love the most is the part that all the hardcore comic fans are getting pissed about. 8.0 / 10

    The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) - Blu-ray Home - Very underrated and under-appreciated. Not quite on the level of the original, but this is a seriously entertaining, well-made movie. Two of the action sequences are better than the sequences in the original, with Spielberg creating some truly suspenseful moments (awesome use of glass). The story and some scenes do get a little cheesy and over-the-top at times, especially at the end, but it didn't really detract from the overall movie much. Also, while I love John Williams main Jurassic Park theme, a few of the score selections weren't the best. Still though, this is a strong follow-up to the original and a must-watch if you're a fan of action movies. 8.0 / 10

    The Fugitive (1993) - DVD Home - There's a reason this was nominated seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Director Andrew Davis delivers a nonstop, suspenseful, action-packed adventure. The editing was nothing shy of fantastic - there honestly was not a dull moment in the just over two hour runtime. The score by James Newton Howard flows seamlessly during the action sequences, and cinematographer Michael Chapman provides some wonderful shots. Tommy Lee Jones gave such a great performance here that he won the Oscar and then went on to play a very similar role in two other 90s action movies (Double Jeopardy, U.S. Marshals). I remembered really liking this movie, but this re-watch upped it a notch for me. If you haven't checked this out, it's a must watch in my opinion, and if you have, I recommend giving it a re-watch. 9.0 / 10

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

      'The Fugitive' is classic way above par 1990's popcorn greatness! It still actually surprises me that it actually got as far as a Best Picture nomination that year but pleasantly so.

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

        After this watching, I have to put it in my top 5 action movies from the 90s.

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

        I actually remember you watching The Fugitive and posting about it on here a few months back - had me itching to re-watch it since then.

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

          I'll probably rewatch it again myself soon now!

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/m1/ m1

        I've heard a lot of good things about The Fugitive...guess I'll have to watch it soon.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Hopefully Brad doesn't mind this, but just trying to get a better sense of everyone who is posting week to week on here. What is everyone's age and sex? Also, favorite movie.

    For me, 26 years old, male, and the original 1984 The Karate Kid.

    • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

      21 years old, male. If I had to pick a favorite film right now, it'd probably be Silver Linings Playbook.

      Others include Zodiac, Midnight in Paris, The Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca, Before Sunset, Office Space, and Back to the Future.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      19 years old, male, and as I mentioned above my favorite films are: "Broadcast News", "American Beauty", "Rosemary's Baby", "Being John Malkovich" and "Almost Famous." My number one really depends on my mood.

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

      19 (almost 20) year old, male, in college. My favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia, with The Godfather in a close second.

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

      17 years old, male, and my favorite movies are A Clockwork Orange, The Devils, and Gummo. (I know I'm only supposed to pick one, but I love all of them so much that it's become really hard to narrow it down. Clockwork Orange is probably still my go-to favorite though.)

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

      16, male, The Social Network/Inception

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

      17. Male. My go to answer for favorite is Good Will Hunting. But other favorites include The Godfather: Part II, The Dark Knight, Saving Private Ryan, Kill Bill, Before Sunset, Hot Fuzz, 12 Angry Men, and Fight Club.

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

      13 years old, male, and Forrest Gump.

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

      20 year old, male, The Godfather.

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

      14, male, The Hangover

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

      I feel so old haha

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

        Haha, I just realized you actually are the oldest person that is commented on this subject so far. Maybe your the oldest person on the site. :p

        Another thing that I've observed from this is that the commenters on this site are mostly made up of males and very few females. I wonder why.

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

          Based on my town, it's probably because a lot of females aren't as into movies as a lot of males are.

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

            Ah, I see

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

            Yes, I observed this as well. If you go to pretty much any movie-related website, the vast majority of the comments are posted by men. I'm not sure why women aren't as interested in cinema as men. It's an interesting subject to explore. I suppose one way of looking at it is that 85% (if not more) of mainstream films are geared toward men. Sure, there's the "chick flick" genre, but those films primarily exist to reenforce a patriarchal worldview. Those films rarely have any artistic merit, and the one's that do generally have all male casts.

            So, most of the films women are exposed to don't really present positive or progressive female characters. I think if this changed, you'd see greater female involvement.

            • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

              A lot of women that I know would rather be more social in their free time than to devote it to silently watching a movie. I always thought watching a movie with someone is spending quality time with them, but a lot of my female friends disagree a d choose to watch fewer films.

          • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

            My closest female friend is actually really into film. More so than any of my male friends, and I'd say that a majority of my friends are film geeks.

            But I definitely agree that men seem to be more interested than women when it comes to movies, which is unfortunate. I agree with AS, I feel like most of the mainstream films these days are made and marketed for men, while women are really only left with "chick flicks." Not to mention that "chick flicks" have a negative stigma attached to it, even amongst women, and any film that isn't particularly "masculine" is given that label. For example, I've heard many people call "Silver Linings Playbook" a chick flick, which is ridiculous.

            Rant aside, it would certainly be cool to get more gender diversity on this site, and in the film community in general.

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

        14 year old male. I guess my favourite would be Days of Heaven. It's interesting to see how young most of the people on this site are though.

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

          I agree. It's nice to have some people on here that are my age like you and Corbin. Just curious, what is Days Of Heaven about? I don't believe I have ever heard of it.

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

            Ah but you are missing out. 1978 film directed by Terrence Malick. It's about a man (Richard Gere) who goes to work with his lover and sister on a wheat farm in Texas. Of course it's more complicated then that, but it has some of the most beautiful images I've ever seen (one of them is my profile pic).

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

              I will try to search that one out sometime!

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

      20 year old male. Some of my favorites would be Chinatown, The Thing, and Once Upon a Time in the West.

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

      Don't worry about feeling old, I got you all (to date) beat!

      35, male and I don't strictly have a singular pick but as I alluded elsewhere the most indlibly imprinted film from childhood on my memory is 'Star Wars' and the original trilogy, which isn't to say I think they are the best films ever made, however the impact and childhood love of them won't ever be diminished. Even by all that came after.

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

      Looking over this, I feel so young. But, I'll be 14 by September, so I'll be on par with you, RyGuy.

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

        I know right, I feel really young looking over this too.

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

      20, male. Hard to pick a favorite, but gun to my head it'd probably be Taxi Driver. Other favorites: Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Mulholland Dr., There Will Be Blood, Annie Hall, and you can't go wrong with Godfather I or II.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

      16 and male and my current favorite movies include Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, The Godfather, and Schindler's List.

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

      17 years old, male. I've got too many favorites but I might as well go with Philadelphia.

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

      19, male, can't answer that question. It changes on an hourly basis.

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

      I'm 17 years of age, of the male type, and I think Apocalypse Now is the best film ever made, but Kill Bill is my favorite.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

      You can probably guess my gender and age from name. My Top 5 favorites are Lost in Translation, Magnolia, Children of Men, Pulp Fiction and Before Sunset.But my go to favorite is probably Lost in Translation

    • http://www.cinemastrippeddown.blogspot.ca IngmarTheBergman

      13. Male. Once Upon A Time In America.

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

        It's nice to have another person my current age on the website right now, and in the same ballpark as both Timothy and RyGuy.

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

          I agree. It's very nice to have some other young teenagers to discuss movies with on the site.

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

            Yeah. Sure is a treat. And by the way, I think that you would enjoy Ocean's 11 a great deal. It's a great piece of entertainment.

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

              I've owned both Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve for a couple of years now, I've just never gotten around to watching them. I'm going to try to watch the both this week though.

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

      22 years old, male. I've posted this many times, my favorite movie is WALL-E. Other favorites include: American Beauty, The Exorcist, Forrest Gump, Gladiator (2000), Goodfellas, Inception, Magnolia, Ratatouille, Saving Private Ryan, Superbad, etc.

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

      22 years old, male, and my favorite movie is The Thin Red Line.

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

      Don't worry G-man..I'm older! 28 years old, male, Pulp Fiction

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

      32 yr old male
      LOTR trilogy

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

    I had a pretty good week for movie watching. I continued with my 2012 movie marathon which I hope to finish off next week as I only have 4 more films left to watch in it. I also did a marathon of the three films that Ruben Fleischer has directed. Other than that, I watched my first Baz Luhrmann film (I bet you can guess what that was), and I also watched my first Stanley Kubrick film. Unfortunately I didn't receive Silver Linings Playbook this week so I wasn't able to watch that but hopefully I will be receiving it next week. But now on to what I watched this week..

    In Theatres-

    Iron Man 3 (2013) (first viewing) (theatres)- NOTE: I am just going to retype the review I wrote for this last week since I don't think very many people saw my review because I was kind of late with it... This was my most anticipated movie of the year and boy, did it deliver BIG TIME. Was it great? Yes! Was it funny? It was hilarious! Was it epic? Yes! Was it better than The Avengers? You bet it was! Iron Man 3 is popcorn entertainment at it's best. Not only does it start the summer movie season off with a bang, it starts off Phase 2 of Marvel's Cinematic Universe with a bang as well. In fact, it is hands down the best MCU film so far. The performances are all pretty great.RDJ is the best part of the movie. Ben Kingsley is one of the best villains in recent memory. I actually liked him even more than Heath Ledger's Joker. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are both pretty good as well. The only person I didn't really like in the movie was Guy Pearce and I found the kid that Tony talks to kind of annoying. Also, the opening with the I'm Blue song playing over the logos almost had me laughing hysterically for some reason. I guess because I don't tend to think of superhero films when I hear that song. Speaking of laughing hysterically, this is definitely the funniest of the three Iron Man films. My entire theatre was laughing at least every five minutes. Also stay after the credits for a hilarious scene with a really good cameo. Also, the action scenes in the movie were the best part of the film. They are truly epic. I had a big giddy smile on my face during the final battle because it was so epic. I saw the movie in 2D because the two friends I went with wanted to see it in 2D but I think all of the action scenes would be really cool in 3D. Oh, and regarding the twist, I had it spoiled for me over on the IMDB boards, so I didn't find it all that surprising. But I didn't have a problem with it. So I would highly recommend you go see Iron Man 3. I don't doubt that it will end up being one of the best movies of the year. Grade: A+

    The Great Gatsby (2013) (first viewing) (theatres)- I'm just going to come out and say this..the critics are wrong about this movie. This is actually a really good movie and I really don't see why it's getting panned. Sure, the movie is very stylistic but at the same time I felt that there was still a story behind it. Well that ends my rant about the critics opinions, time for my own opinion. Like I said before this is a really good movie. The performances are all pretty fantastic with the exception of Isla Fisher as Myrtle. She is completley wasted here. She is barely even in the film (but that's understandable because she's barely in the book too) but even end she is, she's terrible. Speaking of the book, the movie stays extremely faithful to it with the exception of Nick narrating the story from a mental ward. I mean, I would say that probably about 50% of the dialogue in this movie is taken straight from the book. But no matter how faithful to the book it is, it's never quite as good as the book is. But on it's own, it is still a very good movie. Another thing I wanted to note was that I saw the movie in 3D because it was only showing in 3D at my local theatre and let me just say, this is a movie that you NEED to see in 3D. The 3D effects are spectacular and they really add depth to the film and they really immerse you in the world of Jay Gatsby. However I will say that the 3D is far more noticeable in the first half of the film than it is in the second half. It's still good in the second half, just not as noticeable. I also really enjoyed the music in the film and I thought that it fit perfectly with the movie. Now on to my problems with the film. The first 20-30 minutes are very slow and boring but after that, the movie really gets good. There are a few other slow parts after that but every movie has slow parts so that can be forgiven. Also the movie is way too long. Those are my only real problems though. So overall, The Great Gatsby is a really good movie that I highly recommend you go see. Grade: A-

    At Home-

    Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2012) (third viewing) (DVD)- I'm not going to lie..this is a terrible, terrible movie. But it's such a bad movie, that it falls into the so bad, it's good category. I actually found myself enjoying this film due to the fact that it was so stupid, I was laughing hysterically at it. I'm still going to tear it apart and give it a really crappy grade though. First off, let's get the positives out of the way because there's really only two good things about this movie. There is one scene where the ghost rider is setting a bunch of vehicles on fire and that scene is actually really cool. The second positive thing is that some of the intentional comedy is actually really funny. That's everything that is good about this movie. THAT IS IT. Now onto the negatives. This movie is just plain stupid. However some the stupidity made me laugh at the film, as I said above. The action scenes are all filmed terribly as well. Now the performances are all terrible except for one..Nicholas Cage. I would never call his performance good but it was so over the top and hilarious that I can't really call it bad either. It saddens me that this movie was so terrible because I actually liked the first Ghost Rider. But oh well, sometimes we get bad sequels to good movies (The Hangover Part 2, Taken 2, this, etc..). This is hands down one of the worst movies of last year and unless your looking for a good laugh, I wouldn't recommend that you ever watch it. Grade: D (quite frankly it deserves an F but it made me laugh so hard I couldn't put it down that low)

    Zombieland (2009) (I don't know how many time I've seen this movie) (DVD)- I started my Ruben Fleischer marathon with Zombieland, his directorial debut. You can certainly tell that this was his first film because although it is funny, out of the three films he's directed it is the weakest in my opinion. Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee is the bestart of the movie in my opinion. Jessie Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin are all pretty good as well. Overall, this is a good movie, just not a great one. Grade: B-

    30 Minutes Or Less (2011) (I don't know how many times I've see this movie) (DVD)- I know that most people won't agree with me on this but I thought that this was better than Zombieland. It may not have had the heart that Zombieland had but it had much funnier jokes. Jesse Eisenberg was pretty good in the movie. Aziz Ansari was hilarious in my opinion. Danny Mcbride and Nick Swardson both annoyed me though. So overall, this a pretty funny movie that I would recommend. Grade: B

    Gangster Squad (2013) (second viewing) (DVD)- This is Ruben Fleischer's best movie to date. It is just a really good movie. That's all I really have to say. Grade: B+

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) (second viewing) (DVD)- This is not a great movie but it's a fine way to kill 100 minutes. Grade: C+

    The Shining (1980) (first viewing) (rental)- This was my first Stanley Kubrick film and I must say..I'm only slightly impressed. This movie is good but it's not as great as everyone says it is. The thing that cranks this movie up from being decent to being good is Jack Nicholson. He is delightfully evil as Jack Torrence. He was so good in the role that I almost found myself rooting for him. My biggest problem with this movie was that it was too long and occasionally quite boring. But overall, it's a good movie. It just isn't anything special. Grade: C+/B- (I can't decide what grade to give it)

    TV

    Family Guy- B+
    How I Met Your Mother- A-
    The Big Bang Theory- A

    Trailers-

    Sorry to anyone that enjoyed my trailer reviews but I will no longer be doing them.

    Books-

    The Hobbit- B+
    The Great Gatsby- A

    I am currently reading This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel. It is really good so far.

    Well that's it for this week. Next week I will probably be seeing Star Trek Into Darkness and hopefully I will recieve Silver Linings Playbook. I also might rent Jack Reacher. I will also probably try to watch my first Coen Brothers film (it will probably be Burn After Reading). Now it's time for my Q/A...

    Have you seen the Ghost Rider films? What did you think of them?
    What is your favourite horror comedy?
    What did you think of The Great Gatsby (2013) if you have seen it?
    Which is better in your opinion: the 1974 Great Gatsby or the 2013 Great Gatsby?
    How do you think the book The Great Gatsby compared to the 2013 film? How did it compare to the 1974 film?
    What is your favourite Stanley Kubrick film?
    What is your favourite Jack Nicholson film?
    Which Stanley Kubrick film would you recommend I watch next?
    Which Coen Brothers film would you recommend I watch first?

    Until next week.. Or maybe I'll post again later if I watch anything else, we'll see..

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

      Because your questions are heavily The Great Gatsby related I'll have to skip them this week.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      1) I've only seen the first, and I barely remember it as I saw it in theaters and had not watched it since. I do not remember being all that impressed with it though.
      2) "Piranha 3D" is fantastic and my favorite movie to watch in big groups.
      3) I really enjoyed it. It's incredibly entertaining, the soundtrack is awesome, and the performances (with the exception of Tobey Maguire) are all good.
      4) I have not watched the 70s version of the film, so I can't compare.
      5) I love the book and the movie for different reasons. The book is calmer and quite beautiful. The movie is more entertaining and visually stunning, but a lot of the meaning behind the text is lost.
      6) I've only seen two Kubrick films, unfortunately- "The Shining" and "Full Metal Jacket." I was not crazy about "The Shining" either, so I'd have to go with "Full Metal Jacket."
      7) He's such a great actor, it's hard to pick just one. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is outstanding, and although it's cheesy and dated I really love "Terms of Endearment."
      8) I can't really say.
      9) I'm actually not a huge Coen brothers fan. They are talented, but I've yet to see a film of theirs that I love. I'd recommend you start with "True Grit" or "Fargo"- they are both good.

    • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

      1. Haven't seen either of the Ghost Rider films, and I don't care too. They just don't seem appealing to me.

      2. Probably Zombieland -- though that is more comedy with a horror concept -- or Cabin in the Woods. I've yet to watch Shaun of the Dead (it's sitting on my shelf at home) or any of the Evil Dead films.

      3. I will be seeing The Great Gatsby later this week, and can give my opinion on it next Sunday!

      4. I remember seeing the 1974 film in 10th grade English, but I don't really remember it much, unfortunately. Whether that says something about the movie or about my abilities to pay attention or stay awake during a film in class, I can't be sure.

      5. No comment on this question yet, and frankly I'd probably have to read the book again, which I would like to do soon. However, I've never been much for comparing books to films -- these two media of storytelling are just so different. That's not to say I don't do it, but I do my best to keep that fact in mind.

      6. I've only seen a few Kubrick films, but of his I've seen so far, The Killing is my favorite. Such a fantastic, pulpy, stripped-down noir film.

      7. Probably One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Jack is almost always great, but there's something about his performance in One Flew that just blows me away.

      8. If you like noir, watch The Killing. If it's sci-fi you fancy, go for 2001. Really, with most of Kubrick's works, you can't go wrong.

      9. Oh boy, that's a tough one. I think Fargo is probably the Coens' best film, and it really gives viewers a fantastic glimpse of who these guys are. I love so many of their films that it's hard to suggest just one, but my vote is Fargo.

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

      My favorite Kubrick is A Clockwork Orange (it's also my favorite film). But, with Kubrick, I'd actually recommend you watch his films in chronological order. For some reason, the evolution of his filmography really seems to work well in that manner.

      I read the novel of The Great Gatsby and have seen the original 1974 film, though not the new version yet. I thought that the book was great, but that it didn't translate well on the screen. Well, at least not in the Robert Redford version.

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

        i did read that Kubrick would only allow a dvd release of A Clockwork Orange after his death, im not too sure if this is true or not, either way its a magnificent film my brother ;-)

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

      1) I saw the first one and it was terrible. I did not see the second, but I'm sure it was terrible.
      2) Shaun of the Dead
      6) I've only seen three (2001, Clockwork, and Strangelove), and though I've loved them all, my favorite is 2001.
      7) The Departed
      8)The three I've seen are so different, it really depends on your personality. My first was Strangelove and it worked as a pretty good starting point.
      9) Even more so than Kubrick, the Coen brothers have really made a variety of different types of films. The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, and Fargo would all be fine places to start. No matter what though, don't give up because you didn't like one of their films. Others may surprise you.

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

      I can't answer any of the questions this week, unfortunately.

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

      If I were you, I'd stick to some of Kubrick's shorter films (cause if you thought The Shining was slow and boring, I'm sure you'd fall asleep during Barry Lyndon or 2001). From reading your weekly posts, I think I have a pretty good sense of the kinds of films you like and I don't think Kubrick's films would really appeal to you.

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

        I think the only reason I thought The Shining was slow and boring was because the movie didn't end until about 1 in the morning so I was very tired when I watched it. Maybe Ishould have pointed that out in my review.

        Just curious, not trying to be rude at all, what kind of films do you think I like?

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

          Going by your posts, you seem to mostly like current mainstream Hollywood films and broad comedies. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

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

            Your right, although sometimes I do enjoy indie films such as Moonrise Kingdom.

        • SohoDriver

          Well I'm not AS, but I take his point. You seem to have a very mainstream interest in films, and probably don't have the capacity to understand/fully appreciate more acclaimed films. It's probably just due to your age. I was about your age when I started properly getting into films, and discovered people like Scorsese, Coppola etc. but I was still very ignorant of cinema.

          I wouldn't leap head-first into trying out films that aren't going to appeal to you at this stage. It will only put you off them, and make the process of becoming a true cinephile (should you want to) longer.

          Start off with films that hold more mainstream appeal, yet are still regarded by critics as being of high quality. Most of Tarantino's films give instant satisfaction. I don't know if you'd appreciate Raging Bull yet, but Scorsese's more recent output would probably appeal to you. If you're looking for Kubrick, I'd say Full Metal Jacket is his most approachable film if you're not used to that kind of stuff. Feel free to ask for more recommendations.

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

            I do really want to becomes true cinephile and I'm going to try taking your advice.

            As for your recommendations, the only Tarantino film I've seen is Django and I loved it so I'm very interested in checking out some of his other work. When it comes to Scorsese, I think the only film of his that I tried watching was Hugo and I didn't even make it through the entire movie. I just found it really boring. What films of his would you recommend I watch?

            Are there any other films you can think of that you would recommend to me?

            • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

              Sorry to intrude on the conversation, but I figure I'd throw my two cents in:

              I was around 14-15 when I started really getting into film and I think that watching Tarantino's films is the best way to start. I'd watch Kill Bill first (if you can, watch both parts back to back- it's more rewarding that way), then Pulp Fiction and then Inglourious Basterds (in my opinion, it's his best). Jackie Brown is great also, but you'll enjoy it more once you get used to his style (IMO).

              I'd also recommend watching David Fincher's films. I think you'll really enjoy "Seven", "Fight Club" and "The Social Network" (if you haven't seen them yet). All of his films are good though.

              As for Scorsese, I'd say you should start with "Goodfellas." I usually think starting with a director's best film is a bad decision (what do you have to look forward to?) but Scorsese's films are so unique in style and tone that you'll take away something different with each movie. I'd also recommend watching "The Departed" and "Shutter Island" before getting into his "artsier" films. If you didn't like "Hugo", don't worry- it's nothing like the rest of his, and I didn't really care for it either.

              I'd also recommend watching Kevin Smith's early films. I'm not a huge fan of them, but I think you'd like "Clerks", "Mallrats" and "Chasing Amy" quite a bit. I loved them when I was first getting into movies. "Chasing Amy" is a masterpiece, I think, and while I'm not crazy about the other two I know many people are. Two other films I loved when I first got into movies were "Garden State" and "Almost Famous" so I'd recommend checking those out too.

              Hope all this helps! I definitely think film taste evolves as you watch more movies, and I know that I would have hated many of my favorite films today when I was younger. So I strongly encourage seeking out all the movies in my post, as well as those in AS and SohoDriver's posts. But if you don't like any of them, I wouldn't worry- in my opinion anybody can be a true cinephile as long as they have a passion for movies, regardless of what those movies are!

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

                I will definitely try renting both of the Kill Bill's from my local library as long as my parents will let me watch them. Same with Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds. I don't think they have Jackie Brown though so I don't know how I'm going to watch that.

                As for the Fincher films you mentioned, I've seen The Social Network (I loved it by the way) but not Seven or Fight Club. I will also check those out if my parents will let me.

                I've actually been thinking about checking out The Departed and Shutter Island and I'll definitely check out Goodfellas at some point as well.

                The only Kevin Smith movie I've seen is Cop Out (I thought it was decent) and I don't think my parents would let me watch Clerks. I might try and check out the others although depending on if I'm aloud or not. I've never heard of Mallrats though.

                Thank you so much for your recommendations! They are much appreciated and they have helped a lot!

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

                When I started to really get in to movies (around the age of 8 or 9) I began with gangster films. At that age (and I'm sure this is true for a lot of people) I was really attracted to movies with a lot of action (or violence, since I'm really talking about films like The Godfather, not Die Hard). Looking back now it's kinda funny, but I remember making my weekly trip to Blockbuster (in the good ol' days) and reading the MPAA rating on the back of movies and making my decision based off that. Basically, anything with "Strong Violence" or "Strong Brutal Violence" was a guaranteed rental (that is, if I could convince my mother to let me take them out).

                So in doing that, I was exposed to great films like The Godfather, Scarface and Pulp Fiction at an early age. Of course at the time I didn't know who Francis Ford Coppola or Brian De Palma was, but the point is that I discovered interesting and acclaimed work by famous auteurs that I would also enjoy. I didn't immediately jump right into 2001: A Space Odyssey. And even when I first saw 2001 (I think I was 11), I knew that what I had just witnessed was brilliant, but I didn't know why. It wasn't until I watched it again 3 years down the line that I began to understand why it was so profound. So since you're just beginning to embrace cinema and broaden your horizons, don't immediately go to Kubrick. Watch films that sound interesting to you first, and then explore other more acclaimed work. At this stage, you shouldn't be watching highly regarded films just so that you can say you saw them (that comes later). Just stick to the movies that sound interesting to you and take it from there.

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

                @AS: These highly acclaimed movie do sound interesting to me though. I didn't watch The Shining because it was highly acclaimed, I watched it because I was interested in seeing it.

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

                Understood, but surely not every acclaimed film will sound interesting. I'd just suggest focusing only on the movies that look the most interesting to you. If you're already doing that, than great.

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

                Very true AS and thank you very much for all your help! I look forward to discovering more great films thanks to the help of you, SohoDriver, Jake, and Matt!

            • SohoDriver

              Well, Django is one of his lesser films in my opinion (although I did still love it). Pulp Fiction is his best, and it's very accessible. Kill Bill 1+2 are also very accessible, as if Inglourious Basterds. Jackie Brown and Reservoir Dogs are probably slightly more stylistic and I'd say check them out after viewing the aforementioned movies. Haven't seen Deathproof yet but I hear it's his worst. Some people like it though.

              Hugo is absolutely nothing like most of Scorsese's output. It was a delve into the world of family films for him, his stuff is normally a lot more gratuitous, but one of it's main charms was it's many references to the history of cinema, and as a whole it was a representation of Scorsese's love of the medium. It was a charming fantasy adventure, but the main appeal (for me at least) was it's delightful references to the history of cinema.

              So that being said, if you didn't enjoy Hugo, I wouldn't let that put you off Scorsese's other works. For a start, I'd say The Departed is perhaps the most accessible, yet also a fantastic crime film, and superior to it's Hong Kong counterpart, Infernal Affairs, in my opinion.

              Goodfellas is my personal favourite of his, and I'd say you'd probably enjoy it, though it is rather long. It captivated me throughout, but I don't know if it would be too elegiac for your current tastes (same goes for The Godfather)? Highly recommended though. Shutter Island you'd probably like. Bringing Out the Dead is his most underrated film if you ask me, Nicolas Cage's performance in that is haunting and another example of why Cage needs to go back to doing quality films.

              Like Matt said, David Fincher is awesome. Se7en and Fight Club (especially the latter) are masterpieces, and I love The Social Network too. I personally was disappointed by Zodiac, but many people love it. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is great too.

              One of the best action directors is Michael Mann. His Heat contains possibly the best action scene of all time, and it's a profound crime epic with some expressive character development and strong emotional payoff.

              I could wax lyrical about many directors for ages. I'll try and keep it short and sweet by posting my favourite modern American directors and what I think are their most accessible films, but also films that are of high quality:

              Martin Scorsese: The Color of Money, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Departed, Shutter Island.

              David Fincher: Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network.

              Paul Thomas Anderson: Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love. (Magnolia is an absolutely astounding movie, but I dunno if you'd fully appreciate it right now. I can only second guess though, so give it a go if you're up for it! Wouldn't recommend it as your first PTA though.)

              Michael Mann: Heat, Collateral, Public Enemies.

              Coen Brothers: The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, True Grit. Intolerable Cruelty is light fun, too.

              Steven Soderbergh: Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven (the other two are lacklustre, but worth checking out I suppose)

              Woody Allen: Annie Hall, Radio Days, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Midnight in Paris.

              Gus Van Sant: Good Will Hunting, Finding Forrester, Milk.

              Ridley Scott: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven.

              Blockbuster directors like Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron et al. have some impressive films in their oeuvres too.

              But yeah, I wouldn't worry about not getting into more obscure/foreign/older films yet. At your age (and that was only 3 years ago, time does progress quickly) I would've been bored silly by some films that I absolutely adore now.

              Just do some good research and it should come easy. Hope this helps!

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

                This helped a lot, thank you so much for the recommendations I'll definitely check some of these out! Also, I saw you mentioned PTA and I was wondering, would you recommend that I try watching The Master?

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

                I'm late to the game but here is a list of acclaimed directors and one film I would recommend starting them with.

                Hayao Miyazaki- Spirited Away
                Alfred Hitchcock- North by Northwest
                Stanley Kubrick- A Clockwork Orange
                Martin Scorsese- Goodfellas
                Quentin Tarantino- Kill Bill Volume 1/2
                Francis Ford Coppola- Apocalypse Now
                David Lynch- Blue Velvet
                The Coen Brothers- No Country for Old Men
                Paul Thomas Anderson- Punch Drunk Love
                Woody Allen- Annie Hall
                Ridley Scott- Alien
                James Cameron- Aliens
                Mike Nichols- The Graduate
                Nicolas Roeg- The Witches
                Akira Kurosawa- The Hidden Fortress
                Alfonso Cuaron- Children of Men
                Sergio Leone- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

                And many more but that's a start. You've definitely got a bright beginning if you want to become a serious cine-phile. Revel in it.

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

                @Harry Fuertes: Thanks for the recommendations!

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

                I'm really late as well but I noticed someone brought up Children of Men and I really do think that that is the film that changed me. I was probably 14 years old and I remember going to the movies with my mom and nothing was really playing that COMPLETELY caught our eye. We ended up narrowing it down to Primeval, a giant crocodile movie set in Africa, or Children of Men which we had no idea anything about. I think I did eenie meenie miney moe and that was it. We were settled in for Children of Men.

                To say that it was the trigger would be an understatement. What I saw in that movie was so at ends with what I would normally see when I went to the movies. It opened me up to a whole new language in movies. Not only that, my Mom loved it as well which blew my mind cause she has the same taste in movies as you do probably. Broad multiplex fare.

                Then after that, I just went to the movies constantly. Seeing anything and everything I could. But since I was younger, I would only make it to my local theater which only played bigger movies. Even still, the movies I went to see were learning experiences. The distinction between bad and good is very general for a normal audience member. A+ or F. Maybe a C. But that started to become wider. You start to see the inbetween in movies when you see more and more.

                So yes, watch all the films we're recommending to you, but also seek out things you've never heard of. Take a stab in the dark on Netflix. Choose a director to go through. Genre, year. Whatever!

                The IMDB top 250 I think is really intriguing list to look at. In ways it's not that great a list but for someone who's just starting to get into the world of movies, it's perfect and it's how I started. Just, sitting on IMDB for hours looking at page to page to page. Looking at directors, actors, writers, reading the boards, spoiling myself. It's all part of the fun!

                Hope this helps and I hope I wasn't too preachy! Now go and watch Moulin Rouge! (My favorite movie of al time.)

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

                ALSO! If there is an arthouse theater near you, I'd recommend slowly seeping yourself in that world as well. The movies that are out now learned their tricks from something from the past that was just as great. The taste in your mouth afterwards might not sit well at first. Maybe just a little weird. Not necessarily bad though. Over time you'll acquire a taste for something indie then you'll revert and want something big and then it'll fluctuate and you'll want something with a mix of both dynamics. Then you might get bored of that and search for even more obscure titles. Just THROW YOURSELF DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!

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

                @Aleonardis: Unfortunatley, there isn't an Arthur's theatre near me. However I am trying to go to my local theatre more often.

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

                Arthouse*

            • SohoDriver

              No problem at all! As for The Master, I loved it. Would you love it? I have no idea. It's a challenging film, I don't know how interested you are in the themes it tackles. Like I said, I think Boogie Nights (my personal favourite) and Punch Drunk Love are better starters. Maybe you'll like The Master, or maybe you'll find it agonizingly tedious. Only one way to find out!

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

                What kind of themes does The Master tackle? This might help me decide about whether or no I'm interested in seeing it.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

              I'm gonna give my two cents and recommend some films.

              As many have already said, Tarantino and Fincher are the most accessible non-mainstream filmmakers. I'd also include the bit I've seen of Woody Allen, most of the Coen's stuff, Scorsese and almost all of Wes Anderson's films are accessible yet very dark for comedies.

              For Tarantino, I suggest you start with Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds. Kill Bill would also be a great place to start. Jackie Brown is slower but still fairly accessible. Reservoir Dogs is probably his least mainstream and it happens to be one of his lesser films.

              I haven't seen all of Fincher's films, but Fight Club is a great place to start. Zodiac is a really hard watch, so you should definitely wait to watch that one.

              For the Coen's, start with The Big Lebowski. It's wacko, but it's my favorite comedy and much more complicated than it seems at first glance. From there, check out True Grit, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men.

              Since you like Moonrise Kingdom so much, go with The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr. Fox for your next films. If you like those, watch the others you haven't seen: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

              Of the three Allen films I've seen, start with Annie Hall. Warning: his characters are in general annoying, but that's the point. If you like it, you're probably going to enjoy Manhattan and, to a lesser extent, Midnight in Paris, but all three are worth seeing. I haven't seen any other films of his, as of yet.

              I'm working my way through Scorsese's films, but go to Goodfellas first. Shutter Island is, in some ways, his most mainstream film but one of his most confusing (and not great, anyways). His films are all highly regarded, but take your time with them because they are all pretty heavy. Hugo got more interesting as it continued, but I'm in the minority of people who really like it.

              Nolan's second film, Memento, is his best and one of the most accessible indie films ever. Definitely rent that one. Clearly, though I still haven't seen it, The Godfather is not only highly regarded by cinephiles but also a mainstream audience, so definitely look to that one. You should also see Children of Men, it's not entirely accessible but it is thrilling, touching, and the action sequences are some of the best I've ever seen.

              If you find yourself more interesting in independent cinema, then you can start moving on to the harder people to watch: Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Sofia Coppola and many more names that is love to recommend when you get to that point.

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

                I've spoken my mind about Tarantino on this thread lots of times and I'm interested in seeing all of his films.

                Yeah, I'm definitley going to wait to watch Zodiac but I will check out Fight Club hopefully sometime soon.

                I actually might rent The Big Lebowski tomorrow night. I'll check out True Grit. I'm not sure if I'm ready for Fargo and No Country For Old Men yet though.

                When it comes to Wes Anderson, I've seen Fantastic Mr. Fox but none of the others you mentioned. I'll be sure to check them out sometime.

                When it comes to Woody Allen I've only seen Midnight In Paris and I didn't like it all that much but I'm willing to give the other films of his that you mentioned a chance.

                Like I said before, I'll give Goodfellas and Shutter Island a chance.

                I'll try to find Memento at my local library and I will definitely rent The Godfather. Would you recommend The Godfather 2 and 3?

                I will try to see Children Of Men as well.

                Thank you so much for the recommendations! They are all much appreciated!

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

                Ok, thanks again everyone for the recommendations. These are the films that I'm going to be able to rent from my library. I might not watch them all though.

                Kill Bill: Volumes 1/2
                Pulp Fiction
                Inglorious Basterds
                Goodfellas
                The Departed
                Shutter Island
                The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
                Casino
                Public Enemies
                The Big Lebowski
                True Grit
                Ocean's Eleven
                Annie Hall
                Good Will Hunting
                Milk
                Gladiator
                Kingdom Of Heaven
                Spirited Away
                Blue Velvet
                Alien
                Aliens
                The Witches
                The Master
                The Godfather

                I can't wait to experience all of these films!

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

                Fight Club is something I think you'll really enjoy.

                I meant to say: I haven't seen The Godfather yet. I'll be watching it at the end of the month as a special treat when I finish a challenge I'm doing. Based on most people's reactions, watch all of them, but don't expect much from The Godfather Pt. 3. It's become something of a punchline in the world of cinema, but it has its defenders.

                Try The Big Lebowski. It's my favorite comedy, but like I said, very bizarre. You probably should wait on Fargo, but my brother likes mostly mainstream films and considers No Country one of his favorites. It's not entirely accessible, but it's not as hard to watch as a few of the films you listed.

                Remember to pace yourself. As much as I love them, I certainly wouldn't be able to watch all these heavier films without other light and fun films in between.

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

                For those of you that recommended The Big Lebowski to me, you will be happy to know that I rented it and I am just about to put it into the DVD player.

            • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

              You are going to have to give Hugo another shot sometime. The direction is magnificent, and it really is an affectionate salute to the history of cinema. my favorite film of 2011.

              Keep watching movies that you think you'll like. You will find directors and actors and genres that you want to see. Also, all directors and performers make stuff sometimes that you won't like. Even Spielberg, my favorite director, made 1942. Always watch with an open mind.

              Sometimes I've watched movies that I haven't been in the mood to watch. That is deadly and feels like a chore. Watching movies should never become like school work.

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

      Regarding which Kubrick film to watch, I think Paths of Glory is one of his more accessible films, so that wouldn't be a bad place to start.

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

      Paths of Glory, The Killing, and Dr. Strangelove are probably Kubrick's three most accessible films. If you want a Spielbergian take on war, 'Paths of Glory' is a good bet. 'The Killing' is a film noir that was a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, a lesser Kubrick, but very straight forward. I personally think 'Dr. Strangelove' is possibly the funniest film ever made, but it's not a mainstream comedy by any stretch. All are about 90 minutes long, so they're quick watches.

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

        For the Coen Brothers, I would say either 'Fargo' or 'True Grit' is probably the best introduction to their style of filmmaking, though 'Big Lebowski' is far and away their funniest film.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

          For the Coens, a very easily accessible film of theirs is Raising Arizona, but True Grit isn't a bad choice either.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

            I forgot Raising Arizona. Also a good starting point.

            • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

              I know I'm probably in the minority here, but if Raising Arizona was the first Coen brothers' film I saw, I can't guarantee I'd have cared much to see their other work. It's accessible enough, but I just didn't think it was funny. Fortunately, though, I started with Fargo and developed an immediately love for the Coens.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Jake17/ Jake17

                I really liked it. It's hit and miss, but I found it mostly funny, light, and filled with strong performances. I'd say I liked it just as much as Fargo, but neither film is their strongest effort, IMO. I'd give that award to The Big Lebowski, followed closely by No Country For Old Men.

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

      1. I've seen both and I wish I hadn't. They're complete trash
      2. Shaun of the Dead
      3. I quite liked it and gave it a 4/5 (or B). You can read my review above.
      4. Haven't seen the 1974 version
      5. I found that the film was very accurate to the book, in terms of plot details at least
      6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
      7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
      8. Either The Killing or Dr. Strangelove
      9. True Grit. It's one of my all time favorites

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

      1. Never saw them.

      2. Shaun of the Dead.

      3. Just got back from the theater and thought it was very good. I'll write my full thoughts on it next week because I'm still trying to determine what I liked and disliked about it. Like you, I was also losing interest in the beginning, but once Gatsby met Daisy, it took off and started to get great. I can see why people would dislike it though.

      4. I've seen bits and pieces of the original, but never from start to finish. From what I've seen, I'd prefer the 2013 version.

      5. That's the part I'm still trying to wrap my head around. I really wish I'd re-read the book before I saw it, but didn't have the time. I need some time to think about that one.

      6. This is a little embarrassing, but I've only seen the first 30 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. So you're already ahead of me! Once I'm on summer vacation, I plan to watch all of Kubrick's films in chrinological order.

      7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. That's a great movie and possibly Nicholson's best performance.

      8. Can't help you there, pal.

      9. But I can help you here! My introduction to the Coen Bros. was True Grit. It's a great movie and one of my favorites from them. That'll definitely make you want to see their other films.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

      I will say that at this time a few years ago, I was going through the same thing that you were of exploring classic/art cinema

      Some of the films that I loved were:

      Casablanca
      2001: A Space Odyssey
      Singin in the Rain
      Goodfellas
      Scarface
      The Bridge on the River Kwai
      The Graduate
      The Social Network
      Alien
      ANYTHING by Hitchcock or Spielberg

      I'm still exploring a lot of films as well, and the more I see the more I know.

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

      1. Both are average but one-time watches for me.
      2. Either Drag Me To Hell, The Cabin in the Woods & Piranha 3D.
      3. Haven't seen it but will soon.
      6. Ugh tough one, i'd say Full Metal Jacket. It's so underrated.
      7. Another toughie and I don't i'll be able to answer this one, he's got too many. I'm sorry i just can't pick one.
      8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
      9. Fargo, their best film to date IMO.

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      1 haven't seen either and no plans to.
      2. Scream
      3. B
      4. Both have their pros and cons
      5. The book is a masterpiece. The movies aren't.
      6. Paths of Glory, followed by Full Metal Jacket and Lolita.
      7. Chinatown
      8. Spartacus
      9. Start with Blood Simple, the first one....then watch them in chronological order. Even the ones I don't like so well have unique moments.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/m1/ m1

    A light week for me as finals (and project due dates) draw closer.

    Insomnia (2002)-Yes! I loved this. It combines the best parts of Witness and Mystic River and turns them into something just as fantastic. Pacino and Williams are convincing in difficult roles and Swank gives a great supporting performance along with them. The script contains beautifully written dialogue and Nolan does a fantastic job at maintaining the creepy atmosphere of the movie. This is the first Christopher Nolan movie I've seen that I will happily give a perfect score. 10/10

    The Descendants (2011)(rewatch)-This was my favorite movie of 2011 and it still manages to hold up well after 3 viewings. Alexander Payne balances tragedy and dark humor effortlessly and beautifully here while Clooney gives possibly his best performance to date. Woodley is also wonderful as his daughter. A brilliant movie that is one of the best of this young decade so far. 10/10

    Iron Man 3 (2013)-I came here to be entertained, and entertained I was. Apart from The Avengers, this is probably the best cast of any of the Marvel movies to date. Downey Jr. is typically fantastic, as are Paltrow and Pearce. Hall (whom I had not seen in a movie in a while), Cheadle, and Kingsley make the most out of smaller roles. The story is a little wobbly, the 3D extraneous, and some of the wit overbearing, but I enjoyed this from start to finish. If there is a fourth film, I will happily see it. 7/10

    This week's edition of "One or the Other?" consists of two reasonably different sets of films. Which one do you pick, The Descendants (2011; directed by Alexander Payne) or 50/50 (2011; directed by Jonathan Levine)? My preference is The Descendants. I already wrote a review of it above, but the characters are much less contrived and the humor far funnier than the ones in 50/50. The Descendants veers into cliche far less often, and the story moves unpredictably without entering into manipulative melodrama.

    The second set is The King's Speech (2010; directed by Tom Hooper) and Lincoln (2012; directed by Steven Spielberg). Here I go with The King's Speech, although I think the disparity in quality here is far less than the one between The Descendants and 50/50. I just think that the content in that film is much more personal and resonates far more than that of Lincoln. Both Firth and Day-Lewis are incredible in their respective movies, but I think Hooper's style is much more evident than Spielberg's, and I didn't feel that Spielberg was at the top of his game here like he is in his other movies.

    • http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh/ Jordan B.

      Between 50/50 and The Descendants, I have to go with 50/50, hands down. Both are good, even great, but 50/50 is far more endearing to me, and though you say it's manipulative, I don't get that feeling at all when I watch it. I love the characters, the blend of drama and humor, and JGL's performance moves me almost to the point of tears, even after seeing it lord-knows-how-many times.

      As for The King's Speech vs. Lincoln, another easy choice: The King's Speech by a mile. Though I don't think it's quite as good as everyone else seems to, I find The King's Speech to be miles ahead of Lincoln in terms of storytelling and quality -- Lincoln drags, and drags, and then drags some more, taking numerous side streets with unnecessary characters and situations. Day-Lewis's performance is better than Firth's, but Day-Lewis himself can't overcome the dull monotony of the film.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      First pair: "The Descendants." It's a fantastic drama that felt so realistic and relatable. I love Shailene Woodley's performance- her scene in the pool leaves me devastated every time. It was my second favorite film of 2011. I do love "50/50" though, it was my sixth favorite of the year. It would have been much better if not for the inclusion of Bryce Dallas Howard's character, who feels tacked on and pointless. But the scene before his surgery is so powerful.

      Second pair: "Lincoln" by a mile. I think it's fascinating and so well acted. I haven't seen it since its release (I plan on buying it soon) but I really enjoyed it. I wasn't crazy about "The King's Speech". Firth is great, but I found it overly sentimental and somewhat boring. It's not a bad film by any means, but it isn't great (in my opinion, obviously).

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

      For the first set, I would probably pick 50/50. I found that while I loved both of them the first time I saw them, neither really held up on a second viewing. I couldn't even get finish The Descendants the second time. I could at least make it through 50/50 on the second viewing which is why it gets my vote,

      I haven't seen The King's Speech or Lincoln so I can't really say.

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

      Insomnia is quite underrated. That seems to be Nolan's least-liked movie, but I think it's pretty thrilling.

      I prefer 50/50. I liked The Descendants but never had much of a desire to watch it again. I like Sideways a lot more. I love 50/50, though, and was perhaps really impressed by it because I didn't have much expectations.

      And I have to choose Lincoln over The King's Speech. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are both great, but everything else about that film I always found rather average. I loved Lincoln, though, for the performances, writing, set and costume designs, and Spielberg's overall direction. It's imperfect (that ending still bugs me to no end) but I found it to be a transporting experience overall, and I can't say the same for Hooper's film.

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

      First pair: 50/50. Both good, emotionally-driven films, but The Descendants just lacks a certain comedic edge and the easily relatable characters of 50/50.

      Second pair: The King's Speech. For me neither are great films, but I get more enjoyment out of King's Speech as I find Lincoln to be quite boring at times.

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

      First set: Haven't seen either

      Second set: Lincoln, but I did quite like The King's Speech.

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

      I haven't seen the first pairing so can't comment.

      On the second, well being asked today I would say 'Lincoln'. For the reason that I've seen 'The King's Speech' a few times but 'Lincoln' just the once and would like to watch it again.

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

      50/50 and Lincoln

    • SohoDriver

      First set: Although I really enjoyed The Descendants, I think 50/50 is the superior film. It's a surprisingly moving tale anchored by a superb lead performance from JGL, as well as great support from Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick etc. I thought it was both very witty and endearing.

      Second set: Only seen The King's Speech, and I did like it.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

        The Descendants and The King's Speech. I haven't seen 50/50 though.

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      1 The Descendants was a lot more consistent throughout, though I thought Beau Bridges hammed it up too much. In 50/50' JGL was brilliant and Seth Rogen seemed like he was fom another movie entirely.

      2. Lincoln by a whisker. I have nothing bad to say about The Kings Peech, though.

  • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

    In Theater:

    The Great Gatsby - Opulent and frenetic; this a good adaptation of the Fitzgerald classic. What I liked: the casting, especially Tobey Maguire's performance, the costumes, the production design. What I didn't like: the anachronistic score, the jarring editing. Grade: B

    At Home (all first-time watches)

    From Russia With Love (1963) - Excellent sophomore effort in the James Bond series with a compelling script and great casting. Two set pieces stand out: a fight in Turkey at a gypsy camp, and a fight aboard the Orient Express. Q presents his first gadgets to 007 and this one contains the first theme song, though it is tacked on at the end. Loved the humor in the film. Several worthy Bond villains also appear. One of my favorite Bonds. Grade: A-

    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969) - Maggie Smith won her first Oscar for playing a free-spirited teacher in a conservative 1932 girls school in Edinburgh. She is a force of nature. The movie held my interest, though some of the girls appear too old for their roles. I also liked the performances of Celia Johnson as the headmistress and Gordon Jackson as the music teacher. The screenplay still has power despite being a little dated. Grade: B+.

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

    Iron Man 3 - A disappointing start to the summer movie season for me. I didn't really care for the second film but I love the first one, and I was hoping this would be a return to form of sorts for the series. Unfortunately that did not happen, in my opinion, as I found this film to be a real mess that completely lost me at a certain character's twist. I have never read an Iron Man comic book in my life so I can't comment on how 'authentic' the representations of characters are in these movies, but that twist just took me out of the movie after so much time building up this guy to be basically the Osama bin Laden of the Marvel universe. I agree with Manohla Dargis that it basically comes off as exploitative by this point. Other than that, the jokes mostly fell flat and the villains were dull. 2.5/5

    The Straight Story - I'm sure many eyebrows were raised when it was announced that David Lynch was going to be directing a G-rated Disney movie. It's hard to believe the same guy who made Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive also directed this, but he does a pretty solid job. The performances are quite good, especially Richard Farnsworth. Even though it's based on a true story I'm glad Lynch didn't put a tagline saying so in the beginning. I get tired of seeing movies which stamp that label on them in the beginning. The only downside to this film for me was that it moves at a glacial pace. It's almost two hours long and you feel every minute of it. 3/5

    Strictly Ballroom - Although I still have yet to see The Great Gatsby, this was the only Baz Luhrmann film that I had never seen until this weekend. It's his least extravagant and bombastic effort, which is obvious by its more limited budget, but a charming little movie nonetheless. Predictable, but good performances and some nice visuals, along with some interesting musical choices make this one worth recommending. 3.5/5

    Triumph of the Spirit - A better movie than people give it credit for, in my opinion. Not perfect by any means; there is some odd casting choices (i would have never thought to see Edward James Olmos in a Holocaust film) but the performances by Dafoe, the musical score (although a little overbearing at times) and some strong camerawork make it a worthwhile but grim experience. I believe this was also the first film shot on location at Auschwitz, which further gives the film an eerie vibe. 3.5/5

    • http://www.iamramiam.blogspot.com Movieram

      Roger Ebert was a big fan of Triumph of the Spirit. It's one of his great movies.

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

    Paths of Glory- This was one of the few remaining Kubrick films I hadn't seen yet and it definitely did not disappoint. Short and to the point, it explores a wide variety of themes in a relatively short time span, especially the disconnect between the men who give orders and those who follow them. It’s also hard to believe this movie was shot more than 50 years ago, having some of the most stunning showcases of war that I’ve ever seen. A lot of times, Kirk Douglass performances don’t really work for me, but he was outstanding in this. This has easily become one of my favorite war movies. 9/10

    Onibaba- Decent Japanese folklore with hints of horror mixed in. I was expecting more of a horror film judging from the description but it was mainly a drama piece following two peasants as they struggle to survive their war ravaged country. Technically, the movie is great, though the story did drag at times and I think it would have served better as a short film rather than a full length movie. 6/10
    Dog Day Afternoon- Good heist movie with a great performances from Al Pacino and John Cazale. 7/10

    Amadeus- Solid movie that was interesting throughout the whole 3 hour running time. I also thought Mozart’s music was used really well during the course of the movie and the scenes displaying his operas are wonderful. 8/10

    I was also watching The Sessions and halfway through, the disc became unreadable. Up to that point, I was enjoying the movie, especially the performances.

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

    As always check me out on Letterboxd

    - (★★★★) Cronos: Guillermo del Toro’s freshman film isn’t without its flaws, but it is an incredibly good film. del Toro explores the essence of humans and our drives to live. It’s technically a horror film, but it’s not horror in the sense one would think of horror today. The horror involved is not of gore (and when there is gore, it isn’t the focal point) or cheap scares, the horror comes from how terrible some people are. It's an eye opening, stunning portrayal of human drives with great acting, tech-work, and insights. I have only seen two del Toro works, and this one makes me more excited for Pacific Rim

    - (High ★★★½) The Great Gatsby: In parody of the trailer..."It was a film, 2013. The tempo of the film changes sharply, the actors stand taller, the visuals are bigger… the music was looser and the script was cheaper. The restlessness approached hysteria."

    - (★★★★) The Seventh Seal: Bergman’s The Seventh Seal brings some great things to the table, but sometimes the film feels too distant from its audience that it doesn’t always work, but when it works, it hits hard.

    - (Low ★★★½) Minority Report: Minority Report is an ambitious film that adds so much to the film that along with the characters taking over 2 hours to figure out the case, the audience gets lost. It’s a visionary piece that mayn’t be correct in terms of consistency of story, but will amaze audience in terms of aesthetics and will captivate it’s audience hours after viewing because of its complex nature.

    - (Low ★★★★½) Upstream Color: Like Nolan's Inception or Memento, Kubrick's 2001, and even Carruth's film Primer, Upstream Color is a unique film experience. And like Primer, Color is a very complex film, but in a different manner. Primer challenged its audience with the logicality of time travel while Color challenges the audience on emotional and psychological levels.

    - (High ★★★★) Iron Man 3: My second viewing of Shane Black's Marvel entry. A lot of people aren't taking this film as serious as they should because it's Marvel. It's not Nolan levels of greatness and depth, but Black brings great tone, commentary, and complexity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    - (★★★½) Star Trek: In preparation for it's sequel coming up this week, I finally got around to watching this 2009 blockbuster. I can't say it's amazing, but it is definitely a fun watch with great visuals and a good story to boot. ***SPOILER*** I was glad that they kept the time-travel element on the down low. Abrams didn't push the topic and made it work. I wasn't confused and I didn't feel and as Spock would say, "It was only logical".

    - (★★★★★) Silence of the Lambs: One of my friends hadn't seen it yet, and I thought I'd watch it with him. My third viewing didn't regress my love for it. Stunning performances and snappy dialogue drive this film into fame within the lexicon of classic movie thrillers. It's a gross and smart psycho-thriller that will never be forgotten.

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

    I rewatched Beasts of the Southern Wild this week, kind of by accident. I noticed it was playing on The Movie Network so I tuned in. I hadn't planned on watching it again; I wasn't all that crazy about it, but this time it really worked for me. I thought it was quite a powerful little film and its absolutely stuffed with different themes and ideas, maybe to a fault. I would encourage others to check it out again, even those who had a similar reaction to me after their first viewing.
    In a way it kind of reminded me of another film I saw this week, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The only difference being ELaIC was truly awful, and I had a hard time sitting through it.

    About a week and a half ago I saw We Need to Talk about Kevin. Although it was quite good, I couldn't help but be frustrated while watching it. It's so close to being something truly chilling and shocking, but curiously it seems to resort to some classic horror movie cliches about halfway through.
    I completely bought into the premise, and was ready to watch how this young boy turned into a psychopath. I was curious as to how Tilda Swinton's parenting style may have affected his growth. Instead the audience is shown that he was pretty much 'evil' from birth (a la Damian from The Omen), and there's basically nothing anyone could have done. How is that chilling? Wouldn't it have worked so much better if he wasn't portrayed as basically a 'demon baby'? The not speaking set it up perfectly, but when he started hating the mother for no real reason, it lost the 'chilling' effect.
    That being said, I thought it was very well done, and Swinton's performance was great. All of the scenes with her trying to come to terms with what happened were brilliant. Probably one of the best movies of a weak 2011 year.

    I'm planning on watching Magic Mike this week, which I've never seen before.

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

    Letterboxd

    The Place Beyond the Pines - 9/10

    The story is very compelling, its about being obsessed about the future and about being haunted by the past and also about going through wrong measures to do something good. There's only one little detail I didn't like, but didn't find as much of a problem because the song actually fit perfectly; its that they used the same ending credits song as the movie "Rust and Bone".

    Adaptation (rewatch) - 10/10

    Adaptation is a lesson on how to look on the bright side and appreciate what you have with the perfect combination of Charlie Kaufman as the writer and Spike Jonze as the director, by the way I hope to see them reunite someday.

    Upstream Color - 5/10

    My theory is that the movie is a metaphor about how hard it is to make a movie that isn't controlled by major film studios for one sole reason: to make money. The audience is the pig farmer, we enjoy watching people without them being able to see us. The major film studios are the mind controlling thief, tricking us into watching their films only to take our money. Kris is a metaphor for an independent film director who's trying to make something beautiful and memorable, but no matter how hard she tries she will always be controlled by something bigger than her.

    I didn't like the performances, I think Shane Carruth should've let someone else direct it, edit it, and act in it. The cinematography was pretty good and I guess every director has their ups and downs so I'll still be looking for more of his movies in the future.

    A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III - 2/10

    There seems to be a song in every single scene, what they don't know is that music adds to a character, but it doesn't create one. The movie would've been better off as a music video.

    Lost in America - 7/10

    Its features a funny performance by Albert Brooks as David having a midlife crisis, he makes him relatable even though he's greedy and tends to whine all the time. The script is entertaining, its full of fun surprises and silly narcissistic dialogue.

    Overall its a very fun movie, I'd recommend it to anyone who's either a fan of movies like "American Beauty" and "Fight Club" or to just looking to have a good time.

    Star Trek Into Darkness - 7/10

    The movie is about feelings of friendship and loyalty, action movie cliches are the down side of it. The other actors' performances look like they belong in a TV movie from the moment Benedict Cumberbatch appears.

    I walked into "Star Trek Into Darkness" asking myself one question: Is J.J. Abrams the right guy to direct Star Wars: Episode VII? After watching this I have high hopes for his take on Star Wars. Its the twists in the story I didn't like, without them it could've been much better.

    I got a question for people who've seen it: Why else was Alice Eve in the movie apart from the scene with her in her underwear?

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

    Got to see a lot of good films this week.
    AT HOME:
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang- Had an itch to watch this after I heard everyone talking bout how good it was when Iron Man 3 got released. It is quite good, the perfect blend of action and comedy, and Downey jr. is in top form. Definitely not a very deep film, but very entertaining none the less. 7.5/10

    The Bible: In The Beginning...-Oh my god. This movie is so boring. 4.5/10

    The Hit- A really great movie. It's very slow and it kind of creeps up on you, but after it does it's kind of hard to hake loose. John Hurt, Tim Roth and Terence Stamp are spectacular in the leads, and this is truly one of the best "road trip" movies I've ever seen. 8/10

    The Last Days of Disco- I loved Metropolitan, so I was really looking forwards to another Stillman. This film does not disappoint, and Stillman's trademark dialogue is at it's witty best. A great film. 8/10

    Cloud Atlas- Didn't see it in theatres, but made sure to catch it on DVD. I'm not sure what it is about this movie, but it feels just spectacular to watch. Something about it is just breathtaking. Yes, it's messy and at points it's stupid, but I just loved something about this film, even if I can't identify it. 8/10

    That's what I saw in movie's this week. On TV I've been watching some Flight Of The Conchords, a really funny show. I finished reading Slaughterhouse Five, which i am not quite such a fan of as some others. That's pretty much it, have fun in Cannes Brad!

  • http://www.digitalkebab.com Shaun Heenan

    Wow, popular article.

    Rich and Strange - Alfred Hitchcock - 3.5/5
    Secret Agent - Alfred Hitchcock - 3.5/5
    The Skin Game - Alfred Hitchcock - 3.5/5
    The 39 Steps - Alfred Hitchcock - 4/5
    Paradise: Love - Ulrich Seidl - 4/5
    In the Fog - Sergei Loznitsa - 2.5/5

    I'm most of the way through a 30s Hitchcock box set with just Murder and The Man Who Knew Too Much to go. Catching up on a few 2012 Cannes films before this year's festival, too.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheMovieGuru/ The Movie Guru

    I watched a few films this week, along with an old one and an episode of Bates Motel and some Big Big Theory

    Upstream Color- I'm in the minority here, I know. I like films that challenge the brain. And while I love a good action thriller and some Transformers (guilty pleasure), I like to think during a movie. Upstream Color is way out of the ball park of something that is even remotely entertaining or cohesive. It's completely ignorant in terms of its structure and the film has a barely there script. I don't know, I love 2001 and I thought Upstream might be like that, but it was not and I hated it. D

    The Great Gatsby- I had sky high hopes for this movie. And after a spectacular, glitzy first half hour, I was hopeful about the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, Baz Luhrmann has nothing to do to make the film interesting after that. It's boring, melodramatic and the style overwhelms everything else in the film. Some good performances but I was still supremely bored and disappointed by The Great Gatsby. C

    Fast Five- This is an entertaining film. The mid-section is kind of slow, but it's a fun, light popcorn movie with some great chases and hardcore action. The best part about this film besides the action is the family aspect and how believable it is between all these different characters. B

    I've also started watching Bates Motel, which is a fantastic thriller that is worth checking out.

    I write for themoviegurusblog.blogspot.com

  • http://www.cinemastrippeddown.blogspot.ca IngmarTheBergman

    The Music Lovers: Ken Russell's The Music Lovers plays out like an opera written by a genuinely brilliant composer. That composer is Ken Russell. I admire his camerawork and how it constantly matches the hostility of Tchaikovsky's mind. Although overdone at time, the acting in The Music Lovers is superb. There is little subtly, but Russell's overt imagery is so dazzling and dreamlike, you could care less about subtly. I admit there, are many an over-dramatic moment in The Music Lovers, and they certainly burden the film.

    I find the visual sense of Russell is what makes this film as great as it is. There is a flashback sequence filled with quick shots and haunting images as Tchaikovsky watches as he is pulled backwards from his mother. There are other moments that remind me of Bunuel's Belle de Joure, especially one where Tchaikovsky runs down a field while the important women in his life fire cannon at him (once again, no subtly). The end of the film, becomes complete surrealistic nonsense as Tchaikovsky loses whatever sanity he had to begin with. It was quite enjoyable to see Russell go full out.

    The Music Lovers is a little shy of being a masterpiece, but it certainly merits a title of superiority to Amadeus. It may not be on an equally large scale, but it certainly is a more innovative film, with better performances, better metaphorical concepts and a genius supply of surrealistic images. Easily the best Russell film I've ever seen.
    7/10 (B-)

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

    This HAS to be the most commented on WIW, WYW thread ever to date.

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

      Remember when Brad was gonna shut it down...

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

        No kidding, I am so glad I never dropped it. It's better than ever now and it really helps people get to know one another and improve the sense of community.

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

          True dat. It's easily my favorite aspect of ROS.

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

        Yep, I remember the week it only had something like three comments.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/movieman4445/ Austin Furley

    A very light week for me, had to work a lot and did not have time to watch many movies.
    Lets get on with the show!

    The Great Gatsby - A-; I went into this film, knowing i would enjoy. Not thinking I would absolutely LOVE it. Great performances all around and wonderful use of cinematography and music.

    Big Fish (rewatch) B+ not as much impact as the first viewing, but good nonetheless.

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

    testing if this works hopefully