What I Watched, What You Watched #193

inside-llewyn-davisYou all know what I've been watching and I'm about to head out the door to go see Seduced and Abandoned and Blood Ties, but if you haven't had a chance to check out all the reviews yet, here's a recap of what I've seen here in Cannes so far:

  1. Heli (dir. Amat Escalante) [read the review]
  2. Jeune & Jolie (dir. François Ozon) [read the review]
  3. The Bling Ring (dir. Sofia Coppola) [read the review]
  4. Fruitvale Station (dir. Ryan Coogler) [read the review]
  5. The Congress (dir. Ari Folman) [read the review]
  6. The Past (dir. Asghar Farhadi) [read the review]
  7. Jimmy P. (dir. Arnaud Desplechin) [read the review]
  8. Inside Llewyn Davis (dirs. Joel & Ethan Coen) [read the review]

It's been a busy six days and it's not going to slow down, but considering I've seen three really good films so far I'd say it's worth it, especially with films such as Behind the Candelabra, Only God Forgives, Only Lovers Left Alive, All is Lost and Nebraska around the corner.

Now it's your turn, what did you watch this week?

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

    In Theaters:

    The Great Gatsby - Already wrote about this on the review article. To sum it all up, I enjoyed the movie and thought it was a solid adaptation. The entire cast is great. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton were the standouts for me. The visual effects are fantastic and the soundtrack fits the movie well. I did start to feel exhausted by the style after forty minutes, but once Gatsby meets Daisy, it picks up and gets good again.

    Star Trek Into Darkness - I get into some minor spoilers here so if you haven't seen it yet, read at your own risk. I can safely say that I really liked this movie and I had a great time. The acting from all is great and everyone seems to fit into their roles perfectly. I loved the interaction between the characters and everyone gets their chance to shine. Benedict Cumberbatch is also great as the villain. He was scary and threatening and even a little sympathetic. There's depth to him and it gets into some interesting themes and thats all handled very well by J.J. Abrams. Alice Eve is fine but she didn't really have much to do. Her name is a nice reference to Wrath of Khan, but she's more or less introduced so she can be a part of the sequels. But there is potential to her character so it's not a huge problem. The action scenes are great and intense which is another positive. It feels that there's real danger for the characters and that's what makes the action scenes so exciting. I also loved the score and it does a great job of enhancing the action. My one small problem is that the villain reveal isn't really surprising because its already been known since the casting was announced. That's more of a problem by the media than the film itself, but the reveal is meant to be shocking and I wasn't shocked. It also does something interesting in the last act which is doing the same thing that Wrath of Khan did, but switching the roles. It didn't bother me but I can certainly see it pissing off some hard-core Trekkies. For me, it works as an homage and I thought it was cool that Abrams found a way to tie in the reboot with the TV series and the movies. Overall, I thought it was a very good movie. It's not the best Star Trek movie, but I'd say it's on par with the reboot (which I'm a huge fan of).

    At Home:

    Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan - I originally planned to re-watch all of TOS Star Trek movies including the reboot, but time got away from me and I only re-watched two. No matter because both were fun to see again. There's not much to say about Wrath of Khan, but it is one of the best Star Trek movies and a great sci-fi movie in general.

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - Also a good movie, even though the villains are a little silly and the ending is a bit slow. It's still enjoyable and a worthy middle chapter between Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home.

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

    In theaters:

    The Way, Way Back- This is exactly the movie you expect it to be: a solid, if cliché, coming-of-age story. Rash and Faxon manage the writing and direction well: working in some absolutely great one-liners and a few raw moments of emotion. Liam James does a suitable job carrying the film, working off good performances by Sam Rockwell, Anna Sophia Robb, and Toni Collette. However the stand out here is Steve Carell who plays a character that is wholly unlikable but never over-the-top. In the end, I say see this film for the little moments. There are individual scenes in The Way, Way Back that transcend the cliché nature of the story, and, for me at least, made the experience worth it. 3/4

    The Great Gatsby- An ultimate letdown, which is a shame because it does a lot right. The party sequences are brilliant, and DiCaprio gives arguably the performance of his career, but the film around him just can’t compare. The strange decision to have Nick writing the book from a mental institution completely distracts from the movie. When it cuts away from the story to a writing Nick, it completely kills all momentum. Furthermore, too many lines of narration say exactly what is happening on screen. However I was able to comfort myself by saying as misguided as it all was, at least Luhrmann understood the book. But then Gatsby’s dad didn’t show up at the funeral and even that went into question. 2/4

    Star Trek Into Darkness- A sequel that completely rights the wrongs of its predecessor (read my thoughts on it below). Firstly, Benedict Cumberbatch is great as the villain. In fact, I was reminded of another Abrams villain: Owen Davian in MI3. Both characters are relatively cold and unemotional and both have the ability to voice a threat and leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are serious. This film brilliantly explores the bond between Kirk and Spock: no matter how different their personalities are, when it comes down to it they care about each other in exactly the same way. Now, I had some doubts about where the ending was going, but a wonderful cut to black with ten minutes left let me know that Abrams new exactly what he was doing. Other than some forced attempts at humor, this film is entertaining throughout, and what I hope for from every summer blockbuster. 3.5/4

    At home:

    Scream 4 (rewatch)- My second favorite film in a really fun franchise. The beginning(s) and ending are a blast, and come close to the greatness of the original. 3/4

    Star Trek (rewatch)- A fun, but very flawed film. The dynamic between the characters, in particular Kirk and Spock’s bickering, is relatively basic. The villain, Eric Bana as Nero, is terrible. Never once did I feel like he was all that intimidating, and he does absolutely nothing to separate himself from every other action villain. Finally, the climax of this film is boring. After a series of reliably good action sequences (the drill set piece is awesome), the final fight scene is uninspired to say the least. Moments of humor, cool action in the middle, and some fun time travel stuff save this from being a complete bust. 2.5/4

    Super 8 (rewatch)- A great little nostalgia trip. This proves Abrams does his best work when he’s passionate about the material. It gives me hope for Star Wars. 3.5/4

    J.J. Abrams’s Filmography ranked
    1) Super 8
    2) Star Trek Into Darkness
    3) Mission: Impossible III
    4) Star Trek

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

      Have you seen any of the older Star Trek movies, like Wrath of Khan? If not... you should change that.

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

        I've seen Wrath of Khan before and quite like it (actually have it on the TV right now). In fact it's the little role reversal at Into Darkness's ending that made it work so well for me. But other than that, I haven't seen any.

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

      How did you get to see The Way, Way Back?

      Nice reviews, BTW.

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

        I was wondering the same thing. The review got me excited for it, especially the Carell part. I'm wondering how you (Mikey) would compare it to Little Miss Sunshine.

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

          I'd say Little Miss Sunshine is a better film. It's more original and the ensemble really comes together there. LMS is also more fluid, where WWB has a few tonal problems. I would say Way, Way Back had bigger laughs though.

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

        I use gofobo.com to check for open screenings and then you just have to be lucky and hope they don't fill up before you get passes. I recently started looking at getscreening.com which shows you all the screenings in your area (mostly through gofobo, but a few others too).

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

    I'll be posting my watches a little later than usual today as in about half an hour I'll be heading out to see 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and will do my round up when I return.

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

    Recommend -
    Special When Lit - A Pinball Documentary
    Page One - Inside the New York Times
    If a Tree Falls - A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
    Side By Side
    La Jetée

    Decent -
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

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

    I'm heading out to see Star Trek Into Darkness a little later so I'm not going to write my reviews right now. I will after I get back though.

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

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

    Troll Hunter: With ocasional bursts of humor, this film seems to care about spending time in a car, looking at beautiful scenery, and walking in forests rather than actually develop any plot or give any explanation to anything at all. 2/5

    The Great Gatsby (2013): This movie I believe is getting an unfair bashing. I enjoyed it greatly, and it managed to live up to my lofty expectations. If there are some problems, it would be that it went on for much too long, and that some characters are reduced down to nothing (Here's looking at you, Myrtle). But it is a great film, the performances are fantastic, the visuals are very good and having read the book, I was able to have a deeper appreciation for the characters and what happened to them. I recommend this one greatly. High 4/5. And I can't wait to see more of Baz's work later on.

    Bio-Dome: Was this supposed to be funny? Was this supposed to make us laugh? It failed miserably. It went on... and on... and on. It wasn't believable, the characters were incredibly annoying, the environment subplot felt forced in, the changes in the characters were unrealistic and came out of nowhere, and worst of all, it had major plot inconsistencies. The whole movie could have been prevented if the scientists decided to reset the door, let Bud and Doyle out, and have the experiment continue without them. I thought the scientists were supposed to be geniuses. And these two go to college? They are idiots! No college would accept them. The only reason I'm giving it this grade is because I chuckled twice. And the moments that I laughed were non-intentional. 1/5 (Also, if it wasn't for you Laremy, I would've never heard of this one. Thanks.)

    Moonrise Kingdom: This film is still great. The performances were mature and developed, the plot is very intriguing and well laid out, and I love the throwbacks to the era of 60's movies it seems to have. I love Wes Anderson a lot, and I can't wait to see what he does with The Best Exotic Mari... whoops, The Grand Budapest Hotel. 5/5

    3:10 to Yuma (1957): It was fine, nothing too groundbreaking. It takes a while to get where it's going, but when it does, it's decent. The acting is fine to great, the plot is decent, but even though it's not amazing, the way that tension is handled in this movie is phenomenal. It does keep you on the edge of your seat, but what it really whittles down to is that it's decent to very good. High 3/5.


    Revolution: C
    Modern Family: B
    The Office: A+
    Merlin: B

    So that's it for me this week. As for the next week, I'm going to at least watch Star Trek (2009) I WAS going to watch Gummo for you, Criterion10, but the Youtube link got removed, so now my plans to watch that have been suspended indefinitely. Oh well. Thoughts?

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

      Ah, well it is the thought that counts, and I'm glad to hear that you were planning to watch it. Unfortunately, with the YouTube link taken down, it isn't too easy to find. The DVD is available on Amazon, but since its OOP, it is rather expensive. I would recommend checking a nearby library to see if they have any copies, or if you have Netflix, I'm sure it can be found on there (maybe not via streaming though). If someone uploads it to YouTube again, or if I find any other viewing methods, I'll be sure to let you know. One of these days, I hope to become more technologically-savy so that I can upload the film (along with many others) to my computer and spread it around to those who wish to see it and are having difficulty finding it.

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

        Yeah, the thing is, I can't check it out of my library a) because they probably don't have it, b) my library makes me pay to check out movies, and c) because I'm going away a couple of weeks after I'm done with school, which is on Friday, but during that time, I'm going to spend time with my family, so I can't return it in time. I also don't have a Netflix, so I can't view it like that. But thank you for the options!

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

      I haven't seen the 1957 3:10 to Yuma, but I really liked the Christian Bale/Russel Crowe version. What are your thoughts on that one? And also, how closely are they related?

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

        I can't answer that, because I actually haven't seen the 2007 version.

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

    A light week in terms of movie watching, not that I didn't have much time, but rather that I've actually been focusing a lot on my screenplay. It's slowly coming along, and if I keep up at this pace, I may have it done with in the next month.

    Before Sunset (Rewatch) -- I decided to rewatch this one before I saw Before Midnight. I found it to be just as good the second time around as the first. I'm still not sure whether or not I like this or Before Sunrise better, but regardless both are great films. A-

    Before Midnight -- 2013 just keeps getting better and better. It's not even June, and I can happily say that with Before Midnight, I have found a third film that has a reserved spot on my end of the year top ten list. I don't like to speak early, but I'll go so far as to say that Before Midnight is probably the best film of the trilogy. There is a certain maturity about the characters at this point that allows for the film to maintain its romantic roots, but also elevate itself beyond that and become a truly moving marital drama, as evidenced by one 30+ minute sequence that serves as the climax of the film. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are great as always, and I particularly liked the Greece setting of the film (maybe it's because I am Greek, but still). The characters Jesse and Celine interact and become friends with really adds another layer of depth to the film. I don't want to say much more, and as always, I recommend avoiding trailers and any other form of marketing for this film. But, this is certainly one of 2013's best. Can't wait to see it again. A

    Side Note: I already mentioned this in a previous article, but after the movie, director Richard Linklater appeared for a Q&A that was really great. He talked a lot about the film, working with Ethan and Julie, how collaborative the writing process was, etc. I stayed around for a few minutes after and even got his autograph. He is a really nice person, and I told him how Dazed and Confused is one of my all time favorites.

    Star Trek Into Darkness -- After reading Brad's review, I wasn't looking forward to this one, thus I was surprised to actually like it. It's not perfect, and the film's main problems are a very thin story and over the top action sequences, but I really enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. I think it's safe to say that he truly makes the film, and if his character and the story surrounding him was even more developed, the film would probably greatly benefit from him. Overall, not as good as the first, and in some instances I would say that it's just more of the same, but I still found myself entertained. B-

    Side Note: If I had a dollar for every lens flare that J.J. Abrams used in the new Star Trek, I would probably be a millionaire.

    I'm hoping to see The Great Gatsby today, but I'm not sure if I'll get around to it.

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

    In theaters:

    Mud - I loved this coming-of-age story about two friends who encounter a lovestruck fugitive from the law and decide to help him. Beautifully cast, shot, written, and directed, Mud is a reminder of the kind of movie that is too often missing these days - one with a good story and engaging characters. Definitely among the best of 2013 so far.

    At home:

    I mostly watched Hemlock Grove, but I'm still a couple of episodes shy of finishing it, so I will comment on it later.

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

    *Don’t have much to say about the films I saw this week, so I’ll do a little book review instead.

    At home (first viewing):

    The Gold Rush (1925) – It’s okay. I don’t think it’s among his best.

    3 / 5

    The Kid (1921) – Solid Chaplin film.

    3 / 5

    A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) – Terrible in every imaginable way. The filmmakers had to have been actively trying to make a bad film.
    2 / 5

    On TV:

    Game of Thrones (Season 3): Ep. 7

    Real Time with Bill Maher


    Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill – An expertly researched and investigated document on America’s ever growing war machine. Scahill details with great precision and focus how the Bush and Obama administrations established the entire earth “a battlefield.” From the battle grounds of Iraq and Afghanistan to tribal villages in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, Scahill charts the US Government’s increasing reliance on covert Special Forces teams – who are shrouded in total secrecy and shielded from any congressional oversight - to carry out their goals and objectives. In reporting on the many US-backed warlords throughout Somalia and Yemen and the ceaseless and often imprecise drone and cruise missile strikes deployed all over the Middle East, Scahill reveals the true human suffering behind the “War on Terror” and the real causes and motivations behind those who wish to bring violence to the US.

    One of the most moving and illuminating passages in the book is Scahill’s account of a US Tomahawk cruise missile strike launched against al Majalah – one of the poorest villages in Yemen. The strike (which supposedly targeted an alleged AQAP member) resulted in the deaths of over 40 innocent people including 14 women (5 of them pregnant) and 21 children. While bad enough on their own, the sheer numbers and statics alone cannot accurately capture the horror of the scene. Scahill talks to various tribal leaders who describe walking through the bombed out village and gathering together stray limbs and body parts (some of them caught in-between tree branches) and preparing them for burial. A Tomahawk cruise missile - for those who don’t know - has been described as “a flying land mine capable of shredding human bodies.” One of the surviving villagers (interviewed after the attack) offers a resonant sentiment which highlights the main theme of the book: “If they kill innocent children and call them al Qaeda, then we are all al Qaeda.” “If children are terrorists, then we are all terrorists.”

    Scahill, finally, summarizes the dangers of normalizing current US foreign policy and the limitless powers bestowed on the president:

    Using drones, cruise missiles and Special Ops raids, the United States had embarked on a mission to kill its way to victory. The war on terror, launched under a Republican administration, was ultimately legitimized and expanded by a popular Democratic president. Although Barrack Obama’s ascent to the most powerful office on earth was the result of myriad factors, it was largely due to the desire of millions of Americans to shift course from the excesses of the Bush era. Had John McCain won the election, it is difficult to imagine such widespread support, particularly among liberal Democrats, for some of the very counterterrorism policies that Obama implemented. As individuals, we must all ask whether we would support the same policies – the expansion of drone strikes, the empowerment of JSOC, the use of the State Secrets Privilege, the use of indefinite detention, the denial of habeas corpus rights, the targeting of US citizens without charge or trial – if the commander in chief was not our candidate of choice. But beyond the partisan lens, the policies implemented by the Obama administration will have far-reaching consequences. Future US presidents – Republican or Democrat – will inherit a streamlined process for assassinating enemies of America, perceived or real. They will inherit an executive branch with sweeping powers, rationalized under the banner of national security.

    Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield is an essential and sobering book; every bit as compelling as it is insightful. A must read.

    4.5 / 5

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

      There should be quotes around the last paragraph.

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

      Dirty Wars sounds quite interesting, so I’ll be sure to check it out.

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

        I can't recommend it highly enough.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      "Dirty Wars" sounds quite interesting... it reminds me of a book I had to read for a class I took last semester, though I can't remember its title. Anyway, thanks for the recommendation I'm definitely interested in checking it out.

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

      Wow, that book sounds interesting and quite disturbing. Being relatively new to the U.S and having grown up in Pakistan I have seen a fair share of furstration back there with the U.S. among the citizens due to the same sort of resons outlined in the book. The interesting bit is, eveyone there loves U.S pop-culture..books, movies, fashion, music...it is just the foreign policy that ticks people off big time.

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

        Yes, sadly American culture in now world culture. You an thank the multinational corporations for that.

        I hope you check out the book, it's really terrific. Also, there's a documentary coming out next month that serves as a companion piece to the book (also titled Dirty Wars). Here's a link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KpzBAKJmig

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

          *Edit: "You can thank..."

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

          Thanks AS; I'll be looking forward to that.

          "Why can't we all just get along!?" :)

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

    In Theaters:

    Star Trek Into Darkness

    I'd be lying if I said that J.J. Abram's Star Trek into Darkness isn't a bit of a misfire. Beleaguered with sky-high expectation, anything short of true greatness was destined to drag this sequel down and, sadly enough, Abram let this film flutter into darkness. Between the numerous character reveals, the big action set pieces, and the bounty of threats to the USS Enterprise, there's just too much going on. So much, in fact, that Abrams never lets it settle into one thread for long enough to really generate and grow our interest and our sympathy. Instead, it charges at light speed from plot point to plot point, forgetting to make the pit stops along the way that we would remember for years to come.

    Following the events of the first film, Star Trek into Darkness opens on a mission that is an obvious tip of the hat to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) are fleeing a white-plastered, spear-chucking horde of aborigines after stealing an artifact the aborigines were in the midst of worshiping. It quickly becomes clear that Kirk and Co's intent is to get these aborigines out of harm's way as Spock (Zachary Quinto) is pulling some dangerous maneuvers of his own trying to disarm a nearby massive volcano on the brink of eruption.

    After the cable securing Spock snaps and he plummets towards certain doom (only to land on a convenient patch of non-lava), Spock insists that the crew leave without him, effectively sacrificing himself for the sake of their mission. Ignoring Spock's request, Kirk risks the success of the assignment (in which they were explicitly told not to make their presence known) in order to save Spock's life.

    In the aftermath, Spock is not only ungrateful but goes on to report the incident and lose Kirk his captain's seat. This ongoing thread of logic pitted against gut feelings, that was already thoroughly explored in its predecessor, goes on to become a main foil for the film ignoring the fact that this was satisfyingly resolved in the first film.
    This copycatting of dramaturgical issues are early evidence that Abram has less in the gas tank than he did the first time around and has resorted to retreading relationship beats already proven to be juicy and effective. Yes, Kirk and Spock's relationship is the centerpiece of the series but it feels like a step backwards to deprive them of their hard-earned respect and understanding of one another established in the first film. Backpedaling like this strikes easy dings into the veracity and authenticity of the storytelling at play here.

    In the midst of the tepid (and quickly dismissed) political maneuvering that follow Kirk's insolence and stripping of rank, a new villain emerges in the form of John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch). As a fan of Cumberbatch's work on BBC's Sherlock, the bar was already set high for John Harrison. Unfortunately, his character is a bit of a mess and Cumberbatch comes across as a rather stilted and wooden character rather than one to be respected, feared or plain old liked.

    From our very first glimpse of Harrison standing across the street in a black trench coat and frowny-faced glare, he seems like kind of a joke. His whole getup screams fashionista rather than terrorista. While I don't have a problem with cheeky or even campy villains, it's hard to bat off the disappointment of a character is built up to be taken seriously that you can't help but chuckle at. Even as this antagonist progresses, his strength is all in what he does, often achieved through competent wire-work, and not in who he is or the complexity of his character. In order to talk more at length about my disappointment with his character, I'm going to switch on a rare...

    So Harrison turns out to be the iconic Star Trek villain Kahn. Yeah, you know, Khan. He's super bad and super mean.... right? Ok, so I didn't know him either except that he was the villain of what is often called the greatest film in the Star Trek canon, The Wrath of Kahn. My problem here is that this reveal is supposed to be some massive, jaw-dropping revelation whereas in reality, it actually played out as more of a "So what?"

    I have no inherent investment in the Star Trek series and was only won over by Abram's revisionary 2009 reboot. Without a standing history with the franchise, the resurrection of familiar characters has no weight. We weren't dying to see Khan. With Abram's gambling so much on the "John Harrison is actually Kahn?! Oh may gawd!!" revelation, the payoff is soured by it not really mattering. Calling him Kahn from the get-go would have changed nothing and relieved us of the ridiculous and embarrassing announcement from Cumberbatch: "My name is Kahn."


    Gutting of the film aside, it is a visually spectacular work with a more realized sense of the world at large than before. Lens flares are at an all time low (although not entirely in absentia) and the FX work is piping hot. And while most of the action sequences are only minorly upgrade on been-there-done-that wire-work, it's got steady-handed flair from Abrams, who is proving more and more to be an accomplished action director, and its fair share of excitement. A mid-space ship transfer in the third act is particularly cool and original but uniqueness is a rarity here rather than the standard. The race from set piece to set piece will give comfort to the casual movie-goer but will no doubt let down those with higher expectations.
    Also onboard the USS Enterprise is a whole slew of others. The original supporting crew is back but are pigeonholed into doing things just for the sake of their being there and getting in their requisite screen time. Whereas its predecessor gave each of these people a reason to be here and exist, here they stagnate. Except for Simon Pegg, he can make all the throwaway jokes he wants and I'll still be smiling. These pieces were just more interesting as the board was being set up and the game that followed just wasn't all that compelling.

    As a film that tries to climax too many times, the ultimate payoff ends up leaving us flat and asking, "That's it?" Sidestepping the address of blaring plot-holes staring the audience in the face is fine so long as it leads to something good. But to overlook these holes for no elevation of story is both lazy and stupid. The "epic" showdown is a prime example of an unforgivable plot-hole totally unexplained and conveniently truncation for no reason whatsoever. Instead, we're left with a wholly unsatisfying cursory summation of what went down.

    I wanted to like it. I wanted to love it. But I didn't love it and I only kind of liked it. It didn't boldly go anywhere, it just...went. On the heels of a massively successful franchise relaunch, Star Trek into Darkness lets itself down with too much of a familiar thing.


    Frances Ha

    Noah Baumbach is at his least caustic with Frances Ha, an idiosyncratic and delightful black-and-white mumblecore film about a New York City girl coming to terms with herself in the haze of her post-collegiate days. Newcomer Greta Gerwig offers up a performance in the vein of Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin from The Graduate as she mumbles and bumbles her way through the purgatory of her mid-twenties. To continue the comparison with The Graduate, Frances Ha is an equally quirky, if less lovable, film that thrives on silly banter and whimsy spirit.

    Frances and Sophie (Mickey Sumner) are best friends. They do everything together. They eat together, smoke together, they even sleep (platonically) together -- so long as Frances takes her socks off. But as Frances breaks off her relationship right when Sophie starts a new one, their lives head on different trajectories and their seemingly unbreakable friendship starts to show cracks.

    Without Sophie in her life, Frances focuses on her middling career as a dancer but ends up spiraling downward, a fact that is illustrated by her progressively less-impressive living situations as she moves from small apartment to smaller apartment to cramped dorm room. As she ostensibly devolves backwards, she reaches her own little whit's end and resorts to packing in tidbits of a life she feels she should have.

    As she begins to live out these snippets of a fantasy life, there is a nagging sense of Frances fighting to feel relevant and keep up the fantasy of herself that she has woven. She sees a rich life, full of fun and meaningful work in store but can't quite seem to hop off the lilly pad. This feeling is one that most of our generation can sympathize with. A feeling of obligation to accomplish X and Y and see A and B before you transform into the insignificant party guest without a story. A pre-30 quasi-bucket list that hangs above our heads.

    Luckily, the dour notes are kept to a minimum even when the film is exploring the more difficult sides in realizing, and overcoming, the random and trivial nature of self-progress. No matter how down on her luck, Frances refuses to abandon her goofy smile and veneer of perfect success and satisfaction and that happy-go-lucky attitude is what keeps the film so cheery. The sense of levity may come from Frances' dancing but it lingers on in her spirit.

    Even though Baumbach has clearly had a vast contribution to the film, Gewrig is sure to gain some praise for her double-headed role as star and writer as this is very clearly her show. Frances Ha appears to be more her vision than Baumbach's, who has a much more acrid and seasoned voice. The film clearly comes from the perspective of a young woman struggling to be someone in this stunted US economy.
    However much of a captain Gerwig may be, her and Baumbach seem like the perfect marriage of talent as Gerwig's cheery attitude keeps Baumbach's sour edge from spoiling the fun.

    Meanwhile Baumbach injects a mature and sensitive directorial hand that gives the film a learned crispness and tautness that an amateur like Gerwig would most likely not be able to achieve by herself. Neither get the better of each other and the combination allows Frances Ha to transcend a story about the 2010's, 2000's or the 1990's, as this is a film for all generations.

    The topic at hand seems to be a popular one of late: a recently graduated twentysomething chick, struggling to pay monthly rent and find her place in the world. Gerwig's Frances is a much more palatable presence than Lena Dunham's entitled persona on Girls. Her vision of modern-girl-lost tackles the zeitgeist of generation-unnamed without any of the preachy faux-wisdom that dominates that popular show. Even though I would hardly call this a film intended for girls, any twentysomething chick with a taste for Dunham's particular flavor will be sure to eat this one up.

    The comedy is easy and the drama meaningful in Baumbach and Gerwig's Frances Ha, making it a perfect storm of societal commentary that doesn't wield its satire like a knife's edge but rather picks and jabs in a playful manner. It's gleeful revelry in quirk and fancy-free nature make the film a delightful little retreat from the troubles which haunt and pester us in our own lives. Frances Ha is filled with a bubbly sense of life and an effervescent lead character that smooths out some of the more melancholic moments and makes the whole thing go down as easy as a Sunday mimosa.


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

      Shoot, as I was scrolling though the page I saw one of your spoilers for Star Trek. Oh well.

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

        I had the end of the film spoiled to me in a Youtube comment. Sigh.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/gman/


    Jaws 2 (1978) - DVD Netflix

    - SPOILERS -

    An unfortunately disappointing follow-up to the original that I was excited to see. Here are the main flaws:

    Non-Plot Related:

    - Acting for the most part was subpar, especially the one character who literally would not stop screaming and acting over-the-top. Scheider does pretty well still

    - Very little tension or suspense. The shark attacks seemed sudden and sporadic. In the original, the shark was one of the main characters. Here, it seemed more like a prop. Almost forgot this was a Jaws movie at certain parts.

    Plot Related (Spoilers):

    - Let me get this straight...your chief of police wins a man of the year award a few years earlier for saving your town from a killer shark. Then, he makes one mistake, thinking he saw a shark and firing his gun at a school of fish (no one gets injured) and he is suddenly relieved of duty? Sorry - not buying it.

    - Why were several of the teenagers sitting on sailboats that were half in the water when we know the shark can attack at that height, while others were sitting on boats fully floating? Wouldn't it have made sense to just move over to the floating boats? I think they could have handled another person or so each. Also, the little kid was sitting on a fully floating raft and they throw him a rope to come sit in a half sunken boat. Makes no sense.

    Unfortunately I cannot recommend this movie. 4.5 / 10

    Lionheart (1990) - Netflix Streaming - Pure man movie. Lots of ass kicking and some mindless fun...nuff said. 5.5 / 10

    Alice In Wonderland (1951) - Netflix Streaming - I love animated films as much as anyone (currently 3 of the 24 five star ratings I've given here are for animated features), but this one completely fell flat for me. I grew bored very easily and the plot continued to get less and less interesting. If I were a kid under the age of 7, I probably would have liked it a lot more. I argue though that movies should appeal to a broader audience. While I have found many other animated movies (new and old) entertaining, Alice in Wonderland's lack of an actual plot and reliance on just having a bunch of crazy characters didn't cut it for me. 4.0 / 10

    Before Sunrise (1995) - Amazon Prime Streaming - What a marvelous movie. The chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy is seamless from the get-go and I was drawn into their relationship immediately. As their relationship evolved, as did my interest - a testament to the strong acting and witty dialogue. Director and co-writer Richard Linklater (along with co-writer Kim Kriznan) devised intriguing anecdotes / world observations and created a path to discuss common relationship issues in a mannerism that didn't seem cheesy or forced. The music and city of Vienna play into the story very well - similar to Midnight in Paris, which I saw before this and also love. I really cannot wait to check out the sequel, Before Sunset, and the new Before Midnight. 8.5 / 10

    Random plot question (spoiler) - what happened to their bags all day/night between when they left the train station and when they returned?

    In The Line Of Fire (1993) - DVD Home - Solid action and suspense in this secret service thriller. Eastwood and Russo are good, and John Malkovich plays the movie's villain nicely (nominated for an Oscar). Worth checking out if you're into these types of movies. Can see myself re-watching in the future and rating higher. 7.0 / 10


    The Sandlot (1993) - DVD Home - Can't remember the last time I saw this the full way through (think I was under 10 years old), but man did it remind me of being a kid. I'm not a baseball fan, but still have fun watching this, since it's really not about baseball. Classic 90s kids movie. 7.5 / 10

    Armageddon (1998) - DVD Home - Exhilarating and action-packed with some nice humor sprinkled in. Armageddon keeps me on the edge of my seat for the two-and-a-half hour runtime, and evicts emotions that I wouldn't have expected from an end of the earth movie. Not only is this movie quality entertainment, but it makes you ask important questions and think about important things. Hadn't re-watched the whole way through since theatres, but really love this movie. 9.5 / 10

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

      In regards to the 'Before Sunrise' bag question, I believe there's a line of dialogue about storing them in lockers at the station. I may be mistaken, but that is a common feature at European train stations.

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

    Got a lot of homework to do, so I'll just post my ratings.

    - (★★★★) The Lives of Others
    - (★★★★) The Princess Bride
    - (★★★★★) 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
    - (★★★★★) The Silence of the Lambs
    - (★★★½) Star Trek

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

    Star Trek Into Darkness (in theaters, first watch)

    Being the big Star Trek fan that i am, there was really no way I could dislike Into Darkness. It's a fun, exciting sci-fi thrill ride that should please fans of the series, and fans of the science fiction genre.

    The movie begins with Kirk being the brash guy that he is, nabbing a scroll from an alien species that is less developed than their own. All while Spock is getting trapped trying to quell an erupting volcano. Kirk and his crew manage to save Spock, but they disobey the Prime Directive in the process: There is to be no interference with the internal development of alien civilizations. It causes Kirk to lose the Enterprise to Pike and Spock reassigned to a different ship. Yet, it seems the crew just can't get away from the Enterprise, as (through a series of spoiler-ish events) the whole crew goes off to the edge of neutral space searching fro a man that killed 42 people.

    This man is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and he is one intense fellow. Cumberbatch brings a great level of intensity to the character, and plays his pale intelligence similar to that of Spock, which makes for some interesting confrontations later in the film. Zachary Quinto plays Spock perfectly, and his chemistry with Chris Pine's Kirk is stellar. The rest of the cast does a solid job, but their roles are much smaller here than in the previous Abrams film.

    The plot itself is interesting, yet the weakest link in the film. It's nothing great, but it's decent and makes for a great introduction to Cumberbatch's villain. There is a point in the film where so many different plot points are thrown at the audience that I had trouble keeping track of it all. However, it does create some good tension and some sad moments, which should hit hard with fans.

    The action sequences are superb in this film. The tension brought on by the plot culminates into some very exciting set pieces that are a pleasure to watch. The film looks great; I didn't even notice the lens flares however excessive they were. The visual effects are excellent, as expected.

    Star Trek: Into Darkness is a great addition to the franchise, and very good film in general. Part of my praise is probably due to nostalgia and fandom, but I enjoyed the film through and through.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ (out of 5)

    It has its ups and downs, but Cosmopolis ultimately prevails due to excellent writing, acting, and symbolism. I probably need to rewatch it to appreciate all of its deep messages and themes, but it's a very interesting film
    ★ ★ ★ 1/2 (out of 5)

    The New World
    This film. much like To the Wonder is Terrence Malick on overdrive. Sure, the cinematography is gorgeous, but the characters are uninteresting, and the story isn't anything we haven't seen before.
    ★ ★ ★ (out of 5)

    I'm a sucker for big, epic movies and Cleopatra fits both of those descriptors. It was an enjoyable movie, but it obviously hasn't aged well. Much of the acting comes across and over the top, and the story isn't super interesting. However, the film makes up for those faults with great cinematography and excellent technical aspects. I expected something lesser due to the infamous troubled production, but it wasn't bad at all
    ★ ★ ★


    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    This is an excellent story of survival, fantastically written by Hillenbrand. Highly recommended.

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

    Hectic and busy week for me. These are my last two weeks of film watching.

    See my Letterboxd for Full Reviews- http://letterboxd.com/harryfuertes/

    The Place Beyond the Pines- This is what spectacular cinema is all about. Leaving something not only to think about but something to delve into emotionally until it affects you on a personal level. The Place Beyond the Pines is a perfect example of a film that offers more than a compelling story with A-list actors. It tells us an ambitious and flawed crime epic that transcends decades of generational ambiguity excellently in part to Derek Cianfrance's hypnotic direction and the performances by the stellar cast. There's also the realistically gritty cinematography and the amazing soundtrack to thank for the film's effect on me. However, with all this good stuff, there is one nearly fatal flaw and that is the film's length. The third act takes way too long to end and quickly causes fatigue to the viewer. There's nothing necessarily in this movie worth five stars but that overlong finale nearly made me go down to a four. The three acts are each crucial to the themes of Pines' whether most people agree or not and they each display great quality and memorable sequences unlike the recent Iron Man 3 which I forgot the day after I saw it pretty much. The Place Beyond the Pines is an overlong but fantastic and heart wrenching film that will stick with you long after that final shot lingers for those last few seconds. It is powerful and certainly one of the best films of 2013. 4.5/5

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1974)- Although those first thirty minutes don't work, the rest of Texas Chainsaw Massacre is masterful and influential cinema even if it does look cheesy and grainy. 4.5/5

    The Girl Next Door(2007)- Effective in its acting, direction, and execution but overall plays like a hard R Lifetime movie. It's an incredibly disturbing trip into the twisted suburban lives of America but has its flaws including cheesy dialogue, overacted sequences, and some major plot holes. A medium recommendation. 3.5/5

    Shakespeare in Love- A really nice romantic comedy with great performances by the ensemble cast, an original and fun script, and a wonderful cathartic finale. However, the film suffers from uneven pacing, an overly cliche structure, and a lack of any true dramatic tension. But it was good nonetheless and a fine way to spend two hours. If you're a fan of Shakespeare you will love this. 3.5/5

    Star Trek(2009)- Rewatch- An insanely fun, hilarious, and well-executed sci-fi blockbuster. Everything was great all around and I really don't have anything to complain about besides the lack of any lasting thought and some cliche moments. Even if this is a blockbuster, I would like to think about something after it's over. But overall it is still a fantastic way to spend two hours. Excited for the sequel and I hope it holds up to this great blockbuster. 4/5

    Selena- A fun, safe, and light-hearted biography with a rushed ending that derails the whole film. However, because I loved Jennifer Lopez as Selena and the music portrayed, I give this a pass. Good entertainment at best. 3.5/5

    Mama- Jessica Chastain, how could you!? 1.5/5

    The Cabin in the Woods(re-watch)- Act 1- 3/5- A little too slow for me but interesting development of the characters. Wonder where this will go next.
    Act 2- 4/5- Now this is what I'm talking about. Classic atmospheric intense horror at its best.
    Act 3- 4.5/5- $#!T this is amazing! Don't ever let this end. Look it's Sigourney Weaver!

    Overall, the best horror film of 2011. 4/5

    The House of the Devil- See this if you-

    - want to watch a college girl stroll while the awesome opening credits play for 5 minutes
    - want to watch a college girl walk around campus for 20 minutes
    - want to watch a college girl get introduced to a creepy house for 10 minutes
    - want to watch a college girl walk slowly around a creepy house for 45 minutes getting harassed by pizza men and old ladies
    - want to watch a college girl get used for a sacrificial ritual, trip on a blood pool, get attacked by a couple of old people, and get chased in a graveyard by an old person for 10 minutes


    - like watching slow burning 80s styled horror films. 3.5/5

    The Machinist- A good thriller but nothing mind-blowing besides the sinister atmosphere(direction/score/cinematography) and of course the insanely paranoid performance by Christian Bale. 3.5/5

    I also saw Girl, Interrupted and Another Earth which I really enjoyed. Both are great films but i can't think of what to say right now in terms of reviews. I'm seeing Irreversible(finally), Man Bites Dog, and Star Trek Into darkness tonight.

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

      How did you like Selena? Horrible acting, horrible writing, horrible direction, horrible editing, etc.

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

        Aww it wasn't that bad. But I have a thing for Selena Quintanilla so that was a biased review to say in the least.

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

          I saw it in my spanish class and someone said it was a good movie and I laughed for a few minutes. There's so many issues with the film like how where her brother and sister 100% fine with her getting 100% of the attention and the girl who played the young Selena was so terrible it made J-LO look good. I could continue on for days.

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

    At home

    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (first viewing): 5/10
    I had high expectations but incredibly disappointed. This movie had so much potential watching the trailer but it's a very forgettable movie.

    The Fast and The Furious (first viewing): 6.8/10

    Cloud Atlas (re-watch second viewing): 9/10
    "Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."

    My second time watching this movie and I absolutely loved it. When you re-watch it more things clearl up and you will see the multitude of connections between each story and character.

    In all honestly this movie has been overlooked by most people. With an amazing story line, professional acting, great cinematography, appealing visuals, and soothing music, Cloud Atlas is a one of a kind masterpiece. Whether you like the various concepts this story is telling or not, it's worth a watch at lease once.

    90% of the makeup is flawless and during the end credits you might be surprised as to which actor played what roles. Overall this movie did not bore me one bit and I will definitely revisit it in the future.

    2 Fast 2 Furious (re-watch): 6/10
    Nothing special about it. An ultra simple plot.

    Ip Man 2 (first viewing): 7/10
    Not quite as good as it's predecessor but nonetheless Ip Man 2 is still one of the better martial arts movies. The story is not as deep or moving as the first movie, but the martial arts moves during fights are still stunning.

    I still consider Ip Man (9/10) to be the best martial arts movie ever made portraying martial arts at it's finest.

    A Dark Truth (first viewing): 7/10
    Like Promised Land, this deals with corporation vs. ecosystem. This movie shows what length's a corporation can use its money to cover up any atrocity they commit for their own greed and selfish agenda.

    At theaters

    Star Trek Into Darkness (first viewing): 9/10

    With 2009's Star Trek J.J. Abrams had my curiosity. Now with 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness, he has my attention.

    With good humor and fast paced story telling, Star Trek Into Darkness glues you to the big screen and the 2 hours 12 minutes runtime passes by at warp speed.

    As a viewer who never watched any of the previous Star Trek movies or TV shows before 2009's Star Trek, I have to admit that with Into Darkness I have officially been dragged into Abrams' Star Trek universe. From start to finish, this movie is just non-stop action with great visual effects. At the end of the movie I left wanting more of this universe.

    I still do not seem to care much for the main characters of Captain Kirk and Spock although the dialogue exchanges between them is enjoyable. Simon Pegg is still great as Scotty and it would be good to see more of him in future Star Trek movies.

    What is the point of posting this without commenting on Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Commander John Harrison.... oh wait.... later revealed to be Khan. I was afraid it would be hard to view Cumberbatch as a villain as most people including myself are used to seeing him as Sherlock in the BBC series. But he is convincing enough and nails it with a great performance. I find myself wishing he was in more scenes and wishing he had a better masterplan than what he did in this movie. But with the revelation that he is now in a cryo chamber, I can hope for a more menacing Khan in the future.

    Significantly better than Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness is worth a watch even if you are not a Star Trek fan. J.J. Abrams achieved his goal in bringing in new audience to Star Trek with his movie in 2009 and keeping our interest enough to follow him into his second endeavor. I hope he returns for a third movie in this franchise.

    I am unable to comment on the 3D aspect of this movie as I viewed it in 2D. In my opinion 2D is perfectly satisfactory and it would be absolutely great in IMAX 2D.

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

    Star Trek Into Darkness - As someone who is not a 'Trekkie' at all and hasn't seen any of the other films besides the 2009 reboot, I went into this sequel pretty open minded. I like the 2009 version but hadn't seen it since its theatrical release, so I was glad to find myself enjoying this new one. There are some things that seem to be getting repetitive with Hollywood blockbusters these days (specifically using terrorism as the villain's main weapon, among some other things) but overall I had a good time and also really liked Benedict Cumberbatch's performance. As far as summer entertainment goes so far this year I'd say that this film was a big step up from Iron Man 3, which I thought was just a mess.. 4/5

    Bull Durham - I've seen this at the top of 'greatest sports movies' lists and while I don't think I would give it that same title, it is a pretty good movie. Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are all very good, and the film has some pretty hilarious lines. As far as Ron Shelton's sports comedies go I'd still have to say I like White Men Can't Jump more, but this one is well worth checking out. 3.5/5

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

    I'm a little behind. Allow me to catch up:

    The Great Gatsby: I did this write up for a couple of friends. It's a little rough, but it gets the job done:
    I was afraid this film was going to be a disaster. It was not. Leonardo DiCaprio was very good in it, but he could get irritating occasionally. Carey Mulligan was flawless as Daisy, and some of her small little actions just stressed the hidden vanity that lives in Daisy. Tobey Maguire was ok-he captured Nick's innocence and fall into cynicism pretty well, and had some really good moments, but in all honesty I've never liked Tobey. The secondary characters were all good at their roles-namely, Tom, Jordan, Myrtle and George Wilson. I found all of the women in the film to be spectacular. The film was surprisingly reined in considering this is the man who made Moulin Rouge, where no image could be on screen for more than 5 seconds (not that that movie wasn't awesome). However, when the movie got wild, Jesus did it get wild. The party scenes were crazy and the scenes of New York were crazy. In terms of cinematography and art direction, the film is gorgeous. The 3D looked amazing, but considering the movie is 2 1/2 hours, it will reach a point where your eyes hurt. The film actually followed the book extremely closely, but in some areas that hurt. They cut one thing I wish they'd left in, which is Jordan's part, and I agree with Vince Mancini that I was praying throughout "Oh god, please don't animate boats against the current," only to be let down. Also, the fact it is told in the asylum as Nick is cynical and bitter, it just made me think this was Moulin Rouge with men. Overall, I'd give it an 8.5/10

    Star Trek Into Darkness: SPOILERS. What a remake of Wrath of Khan, to be blunt. This is a weird film for me. There were really good aspects that make me give this a high grade. However, if you remove the key aspect from it, this is a failure of a movie. The first 30 minutes are absolutely pointless, there are so many plot holes it isn't even funny, some things are just complete rehashings of the first movie (which I really liked), and Alice Eve was the most useless character ever. The moment I thought she was going to be useful, they did a complete flip and said "Oops, never mind." However, this will still get a good grade because 1) Zachary Quinto is fantastic as Spock, and is the most impressive of the cast. 2) The effects work for the story, and the story, while there were problems, wasn't terrible. 3, and most importantly) Benedict Cumberbatch. I have a well-known man crush on the Sherlock star, and for good reason. He was fantastic as Khan. Every moment he had on screen he was captivating and interesting. However, the fact he is Khan is yet again an interesting point. This is a remake of Wrath of Khan, but with Kirk and Spock switching roles, with Kirk dying and Spock doing the stupid scream, but they removed the stakes. I will say the ending where they go on the main voyage was a nice nod. Overall, this is a 7.5/10, because of Benedict. Otherwise, this is a 4.5

    The Brady Bunch Movie: This is a little favorite of mine. I haven't watched it in its entirety for a while, but I did this week. It's a little cheesier than I remember-very 90s comedy. However, the satire and the spoofs are great, and it lovingly sends up one of the cheesiest, yet lovable, shows there was. I don't usually grade films like this. I'd probably go about 7/10 if I did.

    As everyone in my dorm was stressing over finals, I decided to lighten the load with some "so bad they're good" classics. I went with The Room and Troll 2. Bio-Dome was attempted, but too many tears were shed.

    Silver Linings Playbook: (rewatch) Just as good the second time. Not much more here to say. I think I was an 8 or 9 out of 10. I'll settle for 8.5.

    Liberal Arts: Josh Radnor made a film at one of the Ohio 6, schools that I personally think are gorgeous and have great programs. This film had some great moments, but overall, I was left thinking "Who cares?" It is a very throwaway, cutesy film. Radnor is passable, Elizabeth Olsen is great as usual, Allison Janney is the female John Goodman, in that she should be in everything, Zac Efron gives the best performance he ever has (I like Zefron, I should add, but he makes bad choices), and Elizabeth Reaser is hilarious because she was also in Twilight, which is bashed. Oh, I should mention, Radnor's writing has never been better than the scene where they hold a Twilight book club. Overall, 6/10.

    I have seen enough of Smashed to say Winstead is great, the movie is enjoyable, Nick Offerman is lovable, the film is very disposable, probably a 6.5/10

    I watched a bit of TV this week, and I will quickly note that How I Met Your Mother had one of their strongest episodes in a long time (the fact the mother is Cristin Miloti, who is the single actress who needs to be in more movies, and I am excited is in Wolf of Wall Street, is exciting) and The Office series finale was one of the better finales of all time, and completely redeems Seasons 7, 8 and the first half of 9. Also, if you have always wanted to know what my numbers mean, here is a basic idea (the 10 either means the film is perfect, or I loved it so much I am ignoring the flaws)

    1-A Murder of a Film, or Twilight

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

      I love your rating scale

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

      I have a similar rating scale where 10 is spectacular 9 is excellent 6 is it's ok and 5 is eh. Others are pretty much about the same. I do like your twilight comparison.

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

    Posting reviews had been tough this week. I watched Chungking Express, Dancer in the Dark, Reprise, and Monsoon Wedding. I'll save my full thoughts for next week, but I'll say that I LOVE one, like another, and the other two were pretty awful.

    Star Trek Into Darkness:
    As a fan of Abrams' Star Trek reboot from 2009, and having a bit of knowledge about the show and a few of the original films from my childhood, I was very excited to see Star Trek Into Darkness (a name that is annoying me right now because it has nothing to do with the actual film). Sadly, all Abrams seems to have come up with are some solid performances and some great action scenes, but the substance is recycled.

    Where the film really let me down is the script. There are pages and pages of material ripped right from other Star Trek movies in order to 'tribute' the original series, and to please fans, but it backfires, sending Star Trek Into Darkness down all too familiar territory.

    However, I will say this: as mediocre a writer as he is, the real problem with the last two Star Trek scripts are Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the guys who brought you the Oscar worthy dialogue and plotting of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Maybe without those two chumps a Star Wars sequel will succeed.

    Speaking of Star Wars, if fans thought the Trek reboot was similar to the other series, then I can't imagine how furious they'll be about this one. Abrams has stuffed Into Darkness to the brim with big action set pieces, with little care for character building or mind for a complex story. That's not to dismiss the fun I had with watching Star Trek Into Darkness, but 'fun' isn't all I expect from the creator of Lost.

    While only a few of the actors get real material to work with, all of them are at least solid, if unremarkable. Chris Pine isn't an actor that ever excites me, but his work as Kirk is always great for what the character calls for. Spock, is, quite shockingly, almost entirely unnecessary for the story to function. It feels as though he is only there so Kirk can make some quip about pointy ears. While this is the sad truth, Zachary Quinto is a perfect Spock, and his interactions with Chris Pine are pleasing. Simon Pegg brings his grade A comedic talent to the table yet again, though his role is pretty small. Zoe Saldana should either get a raise or quit and find a role worthy of her talent, because she is yet again wasted as Uhura. Karl Urban is a bright spot with boring material, he elevates the obnoxious one-liners his character is given to a slight chuckle rather than a groan. But the worst moment of the film comes from Alice Eve's character, in one of the most shamefully sexist shots in recent memory.

    The less known about Benedict Cumberbatch and his character John Harrison, the better, don't expect to be blown away by the character. While Cumberbatch plays it with fervent ferocity, Lindelof and the Stooges fail yet again to deliver any current or unused material.

    I hadn't ever really cared about lens flares, but J.J. went too far this time, at points it was painful to look right at the screen. No one else complained about it, so maybe it's just me.

    Star Trek Into Darkness is far from awful, and a great way to spend two hours of blockbuster entertainment, but it fails to improve or even match its predecessor in quality. Shame, but maybe next time Abrams will hire real scribes if he comes back for a third installment. {C+}

    The Seventh Seal

    It's not you, Mr. Bergman, it's me (maybe).

    While this certainly deserves to be watched again before I can grasp the full message Ingmar Bergman is trying to send, I can't say that I feel the same love most people do for The Seventh Seal. It's certainly not a bad film (far from it), but something is just not right. Almost all the puzzle pieces come together, but there seem to be a few missing.

    The themes are of interest to me (religion and spirituality always fascinate me, as long as the core message is not propaganda or hateful towards other religions), the direction is great, and there is plenty to be talked about, yet... I can't put my finger on why this let me down.

    In the meantime, I'll search for those puzzle pieces. Perhaps with another viewing, my feelings will be stronger, and I can put the rest of it together. {B-}


    Miserable. If I were to describe Harakiri in one word, it would be miserable. This is a movie filled with terrible people doing terrible things, using such morals as honor and humbleness to shroud the abusiveness and arrogance in their hearts. Stuffed with the kindhearted being subject to poverty as well as physical and emotional pain. There are few joyful moments, and those are usually followed by more misfortune.

    I can't properly summarize Harakiri in a short synopsis (besides, far too few people have seen it, and you should experience it without any spoilers). Nothing I say about the story- part samurai epic, part drama with a battle of wits at its core- can do Harakiri proper justice.

    The film takes its time getting to its point, but it delivers once it does. When the tension reaches its peak, we are treated to a flawlessly choreographed swordfight, with carnage shown on screen that is shocking for a film so old. There is one scene that is absolutely cringeworthy, disturbing, and in time, devastating.

    The Criterion restoration looks like a million bucks, even on DVD. Although it is in vintage B&W, I have a hard time believing that this was made over 50 years ago.

    Sure, at times there is slight overacting, but such moments are rare. All the performances are solid, and lead actor Tatsuya Nakada is especially great, commanding complete control of the film whenever he is on screen. All in all, Harakiri is engrossing yet unrelenting, showing a much different side to samurai than I had expected. {A}

    The Man with a Movie Camera

    There is something entirely enchanting about watching a film with no narrative, just a bunch of different shots edited together. There's no way to explain or review it, it's more of a journey or personal experience. I was never bored throughout, the length was perfect. Simply put, The Man with a Movie Camera is like nothing I've ever seen, and will likely never see again. {A-}

    Pan’s Labyrinth

    People seem to forget that fairy tales before Disney were all violent, often disturbing fables with the evil people, and sometimes the heroes, meeting grisly ends. So, while I hesitate to call this a normal fairy tale, it is more in the vein of the stories that our parents were afraid to tell us.

    Pan's Labyrinth is a fantasy set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. A young girl named Ofelia and her ill pregnant mother move out to the country with Ofelia's stepfather, Captain Vidal. Ofelia is convinced that she can see a fairy, just like in the books she reads. When the fairy leads her through a maze, she discovers a fawn named Pan, who tells Ofelia she is the long lost reincarnate Princess Moanna. Pan tel her to finish three tasks before the full moon, and if Ofelia succeeds, she will take her place as the rightful heir to the throne. As her mother gets worse, and Ofelia continues her tasks, she learn more about those around her, like her deranged stepfather, pron to fits of rage and violence, the housekeeper, who becomes a mother figure of sorts to Ofelia, as they share a dangerous secret that, if Vidal ever discovers, puts not only them but many lives in great peril.

    What is shown to us here is a fully realized world that Guillermo del Toro has crafted beautifully with painstaking detail into each frame. This is far from a perfect film, but it is perfectly gorgeous. On a visual level, this is a masterwork. The story is great, though the film runs into some problems in the final act, as storylines collide the film begins to feel bloated. It still entertains, though it doesn't demand your attention in quite the way the rest of the movie does.

    Sergi Lopez is delightfully despicable whenever he's on screen. As the evil Captain Vidal, he makes for a loathsome and frightening foe to Ofelia and Mercedes. Maribel Verdu is great as the housekeeper Mercedes, but for the sake of the story it's best not to tell much about her character. Young Ivana Baquero is front and center throughout, and manages to give both the innocence and daring the part calls for.

    Pan's Labyrinth is a great film from a true visionary, so much that even when the film let's you down, you can't help but to sit back and enjoy. {B}

    How about some questions?

    1. Seen any of the films I watched/reviewed? What did you think of them?
    2. What is your favorite Wong Kar-Wai film?
    3. What is your favorite film from the crime genre? Films like The Godfather, Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas qualify. I'd choose Pulp Fiction as mine, but Good fellas and Animal Kingdom are great, too.
    4. What is your favorite Coen brothers movie? I'll choose The Big Lebowski, with No Country for Old Men close behind. Are you looking forward to Inside Llewyn Davis?
    5. What director do you find most overrated? Who is most underrated?
    6. Did you have a problem with the ending of Star Trek Into Darkness? Any other problems with it?
    7. What did you think of The Seventh Seal? What Bergman film should I watch next?

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

      1. I liked Star Trek Into Darkness considerably more than you, but i can see how you had issues with it.
      2. I haven't seen any of his work
      3. Definitely The Godfather. It's a masterpiece
      4. True Grit, with No Country for Old Men in 2nd. I was wary of Inside Llewyn Davis, but after seeing so many positive things out of Cannes, my anticipation has shot through the roof.
      5. I find Wes Anderson overrated, but I haven't seen all of his films. I think that Ridley Scott is underrated
      6. Not really, I actually liked the parallel to Wrath of Khan at the end
      7. I haven't seen The Seventh Seal, but I've heard tons of good things about Wild Strawberries and Persona

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

        What Anderson films have you seen? I don't know that Ridley Scott is underrated, but the only film from him I've loved is Alien. Wasn't a huge fan of Gladiator, and still haven't seen Blade Runner.

        It's not that shot that really bothered me. It was the *MAJOR SPOILERS*

        'Oh, we killed our lead character BUT WAIT! We'll save him with superhuman blood that conveniently starts bringing stuff back from the dead right after he dies! Because everyone wants the heroes to always win and magically regenerate, and the studio is too afraid to take a risk.'

        I've had both of those recommended as my next choices for Bergman on Letterboxd, so I may watch them next.

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

          I've seen Moonrise Kingdom, Bottle Rocket, and The Royal Tenembaums. I thought they were enjoyable but nothing very special.

          As for (spoilers) saving Kirk with Khan's blood, that was one part of the ending that I did have some issues with, but if they left him dead many people would've been upset, or they would've had to make Star Trek: The Search for Kirk. I can see why they did what they did, but I honestly would've wanted him to stay dead; just to see where they would take the series after that.

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

          With the caveat that I could list many 'conveniences' within Trek generally and there's no escaping the convenience of it, the fact of the blood's genetic effect having certain properties is pretty well forshadowed from early on. If it had came from absolutely nowhere then I could imagine having a bigger problem with it.

          I didn't actually have a problem with the overall ending, although there's no denying where they're riffing from, but the interesting think I took from it was a sense of dramatic and thematic reversal from TWOK. In the earlier film the death and the words kind of serve as a coda to the friendship, a statement of meaning that is the closest thing to an emotional statement that Spock could make to his closest friend.

          In this film, that gets turned around and serves as the moment the two men actually realise the true measure of the friendship and relationship which had developed between them. The scene has it's moment if poignancy from that realisation between them. Which is why at the start of the film the two still had to be in conflict over their approach to the situation featured in the opening of the film.

          Could I be reading too much in there? Possibly. But that was my read on the scene on first viewing anyway.

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

      1) I seem to be in the minority on this site in really liking Star Trek Into Darkness considerably more than its predecessor. I haven't seen any of the other films you reviewed, but Pan's Labyrinth, Seventh Seal, and Man with a Movie Camera are all in my netflix queue.
      3) The Godfather: Part II is one of my all time favorites, with Goodfellas not far behind.
      4) I will agree with you one hundred percent in saying Lebowski and No Country for Old Men are their two best. And after Brad's A+ and all the buzz out of Cannes, I'm beginning to anticipate Llewyn Davis more and more.
      6) I loved the ending. The majority of the drama in the film comes from the question as to whether or not Spock can reciprocate the love and feelings his friends have for him. Kirk's death shows that Spock cares about his friend just as much as Kirk cares about him. Hell, he has the exact same reaction as Kirk does (yelling "Khan!" would have been cheesy if Quinto didn't send chills down my spine). I wasn't sure of what I thought about them brining Kirk back so quickly, but I decided it was for the best. They're going to make another film, and I really don't want Star Trek III: The Search for Kirk. And anyway Abrams gives us a wonderful moment where the screen goes to black after Spock punches Khan one too many times and we get to wonder if Spcok actually let emotions get the better of him and kill the one chance of saving his friend.

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

        I certainly didn't hate it, but my issues with the third act really brought the experience down for me. I like the first one better, but to each his own. My problem with the ending is in one of the comments above, but I don't want to post it again in case I spoil it for someone.

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

      In regards to Bergman, I think 'The Seventh Seal' is his masterpiece, of the films I've seen so far. For your next Bergman, I think 'Summer Interlude' and 'Summer with Monika' are both woefully underrated and are much more accessible than some of his later works. 'Cries and Whispers' is pretty much a perfect film, though it's one of the most depressing and difficult movie-watching experiences I've ever had (think 'Amour').

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

        Thanks for the suggestions, I'll try to find copies of some of those. Cries and Whispers sounds like it could be a very draining but rewarding experience. Still haven't seen Amour, but I plan on watching that one as well, since I'm trying to watch some Haneke.

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

          If you're looking for Haneke ideas, The Piano Teacher is brilliantly disturbing.

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

      1. and 2. I Haven't seen any.
      3. The Godfather
      4. True Grit
      5. Over: Ridley Scott. Under: Tony Scott
      6. and 7. Haven't seen it.

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

        I'll agree on Tony Scott (from the little I've seen). True Romance is a masterpiece. Have you seen that one yet?

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

          No, I haven't actually.

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

            You definitely should. The script was written by Tarantino, and, other than Pulp Fiction, it is his best screenwriting work. But it is Tony Scott's film, all the way.

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

              Ok, I'll check it out at some later point.

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

      1. None, actually.

      2. Another question I unfortunately can't respond to with a good answer.

      3. Zodiac would be my favorite, and I also really love L.A. Confidential and Seven.

      4. Fargo is the first Coen bros. film I saw and is my favorite still to this day, though I'd say O Brother, Where Art Thou and No Country for Old Men are close seconds.

      5. Everyone in the cinephile community adores his work, but I have yet to find anything from Terence Malick that I was just astounded by. I liked The Thin Red Line quite a bit, but I was thoroughly unimpressed by both Days of Heaven and The Tree of Life.

      6. Haven't yet seen it, so I can't comment.

      7. Again, haven't seen it, aside from a few clips here and there.

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

        I wasn't quite as taken with Zodiac as most, though I do like it. I'm also not entirely sure that qualifies, since it focuses more on the detective's side of the story, instead of the criminal. I'm pretty sure it's the same with those other two, but I may be wrong.

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

          Hm, I guess I don't really see how Zodiac, Seven, or L.A. Confidential wouldn't qualify as being in the crime genre.

          As for those three films themselves, each is an absolute standout in my opinion, but when I specifically think of David Fincher's body of work, I feel that Zodiac is vastly underrated. Even (and perhaps especially) at 160 minutes in length, it's so masterfully, refreshingly, and briskly told. It breezes by in comparison to any number of films that run two-thirds its length.

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

        I didn't love Fargo, either, but I still haven't seen O Brother Where Art Thou.

        Though I love TTOL, I see why others don't enjoy it. Glad you liked The Thin Red Line, though.

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

          For me, The Tree of Life just seemed to ramble on without much in the form of true substance, whereas The Thin Red Line manages to be beautifully shot and rendered while also being about something of real importance.

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

          As far as your first question goes though, I actually did catch Star Trek Into Darkness last night, but I'll wait until next Sunday to give my input.

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

      1. *I’m really glad you liked Harakiri. It’s one of those really underrated films that I try to get all my friends to see. I think your description of unrelenting is really accurate, as the movie doesn’t give you any sign of hope or justice.

      *I enjoyed The Seventh Seal, though I was expecting a bit more from it. I imagined the movie to be focused entirely on the chess match, but it turns out that was only a small portion of the movie. One thing I really liked was the banter between the Knight and the Squire, especially during the burning of the “witch”. It reminds me of the argument I have in my head when I think about these sorts of things.

      *-I share the same sentiment as you as far as Star Trek and Pan’s Labyrinth goes.

      2. I have only seen Chunking Express, which I loved and Fallen Angels. I saw Fallen Angels first, so I was kind of unprepared for Kar Wai’s style, so I may have to revisit that one. The ending to Fallen Angels is spectacular though.

      3. Goodfellas.

      4. Really hard to breakdown since I love the majority of their work. My top 3 would be The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men and Miller’s Crossing. Definitely excited for their new movie and I’m also glad Isaacs, who I think is a very underrated actor, is getting a leading role.

      5. I can’t think of an overrated one, but an underrated director would definitely be John Carpenter, whose made a number of great movies but is always absent when people talk about great directors. Of course, he has made a number of terrible movies as well, but I try to ignore those.

      6. *SPOILER* I didn’t care for it and the whole blood thing was so predictable, it took away any emotional weight from Kirk’s supposed death. All the parallels to Wrath of Khan seemed like rehashes of old material and I really wish they had gone in a different direction.

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

        Yes, thanks for the suggestion! It really should be seen by more people. Thanks again! I'd agree, it's a very cold, hopeless film.

        I also expected the chess match to get much more time on screen. I found it the most fascinating part of the film, and I'll admit to being upset when that part was over. It's interesting you say that, because I think each character represents a different type of faith (or lack of it).

        Fallen Angels is in my Netflix queue. I may have to watch that one next.

        I like every film of theirs I have seen. Still haven't watched Miller's Crossing, but it is also in my Netflix queue.

        I don't think I've seen any Carpenter films as of yet. Halloween, The Thing and They Live are all pretty high on my priorities list.

        Agreed completely. Glad to see someone else does.

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

          I would definitely recommend starting out with the The Thing, since that’s the one that has withstood the test of time the best in my opinion. The practical effects in that movie outdo the majority of modern movies. Another cool one is In the Mouth of Madness, which although flawed at times, has great atmosphere and a really cool lovecraftian vibe to it.

          It’s been a while since I’ve seen the Seventh Seal, but I remember reading how each character kind of represented a viewpoint of Bergman’s existential crisis, which is how on one hand, he wants to believe, hold faith and, find some meaning to his life amidst the chaos, similarly to the knight, but on the other hand, his logic and weariness of the world fill him with doubt to whether there is any true meaning to life, like the Squire.

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

            I'm a big fan of Carpenter's Escape from New York.

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

      1. Only Star Trek Into Darkness, which I liked a lot more than you did. I thought it was very good, but I can definitely see where you problems came from.

      2. Never seen any of his films. Are they any good

      3. I'd also probably pick The Godfather.

      4. I'd have to go back and re-watch all of them, but as of right now, it's a tie between No Country For Old Men and True Grit. I am very excited for Inside Llewyn Davis after reading Brad's A+ review. I just hope it's different than O' Brother Where Art Thou.

      5. Terrence Malick. I haven't seen Days of Heaven or The Thin Red Line yet, but his recent films have done nothing for me. Even Tree of Life was a little overpraised. Can't think of anyone who's underrated at the moment.

      6. No, but while watching it, I had a feeling that some people would. Personally, it works emotionally and it was a perfect set-up for Spock beating up the villain to avenge his friend. To be honest, I was moved by it. The one problem, and it's a minor one, that I did have was the reveal of the villain. Were you at all shocked by that?

      7. Haven't seen it or any of Bergman's films.

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

        Yes, I'd say definitely see Chungking Express. I could tell it's a major influence on my favorite movie, Lost in Translation. In the Mood for Love is a harder film to watch because the pacing is extremely slow, and doesn't have the great sense of humor that Chungking does, but it's ultimately a rewarding experience.

        I love The Tree of Life, but I still haven't seen The New World or To the Wonder, and I haven't heard good things about either one.

        As I've said, a lot of people still haven't seen it, but you can find my biggest issues in one of my replies and in my review. The reveal was very obvious, but I blame the Internet for that, since it wasn't really a lazy reveal in and of itself (whereas the twist in TDKR was spoiled on the Internet, but regardless, very sloppy and uninteresting).

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

          Thanks for the recommendations! I really like Lost in Translation too, so hopefully I'll like Chungking Express. I'm not a huge fan of slow pacing, but I'll try to find In the Mood for Love.

          I blame the internet as well. I bet if I didn't know anything about the villain, I would've been surprised. It's so impossible to do that nowadays with a movie like this.

    • SohoDriver

      1. Only Chungking Express, which I want to rewatch. I did like it, but my expectations were so unbelievably high I think anything would've disappointed me.

      2. Definitely In the Mood for Love. Tender exploration of the meaning of love, it's really, really beautiful. The 3 others of his I've seen are Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. The former is a few issues short of being a great film and the latter two are heavily experimental, with some sensational sequences, but I don't feel they come together completely. I prefer Express to Angels, but I'm not in love with it. Like I said though, I want to rewatch it and I have most of his films on DVD/Blu Ray so I'm looking forward to checking them out.

      3. Oh jeez, that's definitely a genre I love, and it's quite a general term too. In chronological order:
      Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, On the Waterfront, Le Samourai, The Godfather, Chinatown, Scarface, Goodfellas, Heat, City of God, The Departed, Animal Kingdom (viewed only recently but it absolutely blew me away, definitely right up there with the best).

      4. The Big Lebowski. Can't wait for ILD!

      5. Overrated? I'm not sure, really. I suppose James Cameron. As for underrated, I could pick a bunch, but I'll go with Sidney Lumet, who is acclaimed, but deserves a more prestigious reputation in my opinion. He made some absolute classics.

      6. Not seen it.

      7. Haven't seen The Seventh Seal yet, but I really want to. The only Bergman I've seen as of yet is Persona, which I thought was great, though it is very challenging and requires full concentration throughout.

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

      1. I've only seen Pan's Labyrinth but haven't seen it in a while, I remember liking it a lot. I'm going to check it out again, I feel revisiting that Guillermo del Toro's world again.
      3. Goodfellas, Casino, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Scarface, The Departed, Inception, The Town, Gone Baby Gone, Heat, Carlito's Way, The Usual Suspects, Seven Psychopaths, True Romance, Snatch & Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I would say Inception is my favorite of the bunch but it's not a fully "crime" movie, it's also more of a fantasy/sci-fi flick. So, i'll pick both Goodfellas & Pulp Fiction as my favorites.
      4. Fargo, Fargo, Fargo. I love that movie so much I can watch it all day if I wanted to. Yes, i'm looking forward to Inside Llewyn Davis.
      5. I hate the word overrated, I can't think of any director right now to be overrated. I do know who are underrated, guys like: Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Peter Weir, Edward Zwick, Paul Greengrass, Gore Verbinski, Guy Ritchie and dare I say it: Michael Bay. Yes, I think he's pretty underrated with movies like: The Rock, Bad Boys movies, Armageddon, The Island & Pain & Gain (which is very underrated movie IMO, I thought the movie was really good).

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

        Thank you for mentioning Peter Weir. He is a great director.

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

          Yes, really overlooked director. Nobody ever mentions him anymore.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      1. I have seen "Pans Labyrinth", which I loved, and "Star Trek Into Darkness", which I'll discuss below.
      2. Unfortunately, I have not.
      3. A very tough call... I'm going to go with "L.A. Confidential", but "Goodfellas" and "Pulp Fiction" are very close behind.
      4. I haven't seen some of their major films and, truthfully, I'm not much of a Coen fan, but if I had to pick a favorite it'd probably be "A Serious Man" or "Miller's Crossing." Both good films, but I wouldn't call them favorites.
      5. Most overrated would be Kevin Smith. I know the overall opinion of him on the Internet has (deservedly) gone down but I've never been a huge fan. I think "Chasing Amy" is excellent but the rest of his, even critically acclaimed ones like "Clerks.", to be incredibly overrated. Most underrated would probably go to the Wachowskis. I think they are both incredible, despite a few missteps, and deserve much more attention.
      6. Definitely. The film's script bounced all over the place once (spoilers) Khan was apprehended on Klingon and I found that it completely lacked focus. I found the film fun and entertaining, but the script definitely had many holes in it and I was highly disappointed considering how much I love the original.
      7. Bergman is a director I have yet to really dig into. I'll be starting his work over the summer. So, I can't really answer this unfortunately.

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

      1. I've seen Pan's Labyrinth. It's a favorite foreign film and a rare one in the fantasy genre.
      2. Haven't seen any
      3. The Godfather
      4. True Grit with Fargo close behind. I had been thinking that Inside Llewyn Davis would be lesser Coen Brothers, but its enthusiastic reception at Cannes has me really pumped for it now.
      5. Overrated: Sofia Coppola. I could list others and hated to pick a woman, but I've never been blown away by any of her films. Underrated: Brian De Palma. Watch Carlito's Way, Blow Out, Body Double, Dressed to Kill, or The Untouchables. Skip Mission to Mars.
      6. Haven't seen it yet.
      7. Still on my To-Be-Watched list. I've heard great things about Fanny and Alexander.

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

      1. Only one I've seen is Star Trek Into Darkness and I loved it.

      2. Haven't seen one.

      3. The Departed.

      4. I've only seen The Big Lebowski and I loved it.

      5. Overrated: hmmm...Cristopher Nolan I guess. Underrated: Micheal Bay.

      6. I thought the ending wasn't really on par with the rest of the movie but I still enjoyed it. My main problem with the film was that I found it was a little bit too long.

      7. I have not seen The Seventh Seal and I haven't seen any of Bergman's films so I can't really say.

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

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

    In Theaters:

    Iron Man 3 (2013) (1st viewing) - I was kind of lazy writing my thoughts on it but here it is: Shane Black and Robert Downey, Jr reunite in this new entry of Iron Man. Will only go to facts here. Downey, Jr delivers his best performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man here. Gwyneth Paltrow is much better here than in the 2nd one. Don Cheadle is slightly better as Rhodes than Terrence Howard was in the first. The talented & gorgeous Rebecca Hall is wasted here but this movie could get her back on track in getting bigger roles. The awesome Ben Kingsley is fantastic who commands every single scene he's in. Guy Pearce is so good playing crazy villians that he could play them in his sleep. Iron Man 3 isn't the best of the trilogy (yeah the 1st one still owns) but it's a fun, entertaining, action-packed, funny & visually very good movie to potentially end this entertaining franchise. 8/10.

    At Home:

    The Impossible (2012) (Netflix, 1st viewing) - Naomi Watts & Ewan McGregor give some of their best performances of their career as a real-life couple spending their Winter vacation in Thailand where sadly, bad turn of events as Tsunami takes in as both and their 3 kids survive all they can through it. Tom Holland who plays the older of the 3 kids is impressive, showed good acting range and emotion, hopefully we'll get to see more of him down the road, he seems like a good actor. This sad true story may not be as powerful as the script makes it out to be but it's a very good movie to look & follow these poor people suffering through everything they experienced. Great performances from Watts (definitely got a well-deserved Oscar nod), McGregor & Holland. 8/10.

    Lay the Favorite (2012) (Netflix Instant que, 1st viewing) - Waste of such good talent especially from Rebecca Hall who tried her best in this bad of a film. The story stinks, the script is awful & jokes just fall flat. Supporting cast are badly wasted from the likes of Vince Vaughn, Bruce Willis & Catherine Zeta-Jones. Just a waste of time with wasted roles from a good cast in a not-so-good movie. Only reason to see this is soley because of Rebecca Hall's decent lead performance and...showing off her great body in her panties, haha. This is isn't one of the worst movies i've seen but it's still a bad film. 3/10.

    Annie Hall (1977) (TV, rewatch 2nd viewing) - Diane Keaton & Woody Allen give their best performances of their career in simply, one of the greatest romantic comedies of all-time. Terrific humor, excellent writing & a really good story.Woody Allen's Annie Hall is a brilliant art of cinema. Enough said. 10/10.

    Star Trek (2009) (DVD, rewatch 2nd viewing) - Bought the DVD when it came out a long time ago and for some dumb reason, I haven't seen it on DVD. Last time I saw it, was on it's opening day back in 09' and I really liked the movie. I finally went to my DVD shelf and picked this and rewatched it, it still holds up pretty well the second time though not as exciting & fun as was the first time around but still a fun & very good movie. Will be seeing Into Darkness this coming week as it's one of my most anticipated movies of the year. 9/10.

    MLB Baseball

    Boxing - Mosley-Cano & Peterson-Matthysse

    A lot of my anticipated movies jammed in either same week from May 23 to at least June 21, 10 of those movies during that stretch. My goodness too many movies but i'll try my best to watch all of them. Will be seeing at least Star Trek 2 tomorrow & either The Hangover 3 or Fast & Furious 6 this coming Friday. Will see Epic some other time and also I will try and see The Great Gatsby soon. Speaking of my most anticipated movies of the summer, here they are with Iron Man 3 scratched out:

    The Great Gatsby
    Star Trek Into Darkness
    The Hangover Part III
    Fast & Furious 6
    After Earth
    Now You See Me
    The Internship
    Man of Steel
    This is The End
    Monsters University
    Despicable Me 2
    The Lone Ranger
    The Way, Way Back
    Grown Ups 2 (Sandler fan here)
    Pacific Rim
    Fruitvale Station
    The Conjuring
    Only God Forgives
    The To-Do List
    Kick-Ass 2
    Ain't Them Bodies Saints

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

      Oh and I also manage to watch bits and pieces of one of my favorite movies of last year on TV: Moonrise Kingdom. Just so quotable, well-written, nice cinematography, music, very funny, well-acted & so watchable. I freaking love the movie so much.

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

    I saw some movies this week, but I spent a lot more time on the small screen...

    Spider- Not a bad film by any means, but it just never really worked for me. Cronenberg's films are often genius, but almost always emotionally cold. This film is the coldest I have seen so far. It's sleek and well done, but beyond that it just isn't that my cup of tea. 6/10

    The Defiant Ones- Besides being dated and featuring a topic many loved to exploit in that era, this film is actually quite well done. It touches racism in a way that works well and features two great performances by Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis. 7/10.

    Five Came Back- This had an interesting concept, but the execution was lacking. It was interesting to see Lucille Ball in a role that wasn't comedic. 6/10

    Flight Of The Conchords: Season One- While I had heard some of their songs, which I thought were hilarious, I did not know how the show would handle it. Thankfully, the show itself had a perfect base against those awesome songs, and it even managed to get some great plots along. A.

    Flight Of The Conchords: Season Two- While season one felt like it was structured against the songs, season two used a lot of great plot developments against the songs themselves, and the show became a show this season, and I wish there could have been more. Ah well. A.

    Archer: Seasons 1-3- Forgive me, but I went on a major binge and saw three seasons over three days, so I am at a loss to remember each season individually. I will say this, as a whole, this is a really great show. It's hilarious, but there is actually some great stuff going on besides it. Archer is really a, ummm what's the word, idiot, but half the stuff he does is really awesome, only it is punctuated with annoying screams of 'yeah!". A

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

      Definitely an eclectic movie week for you. I haven't heard anyone mention Spider in years. You nailed my memory of it. I liked The Defiant Ones slightly better than you. Five Came Back? I'm impressed that anyone else has heard about it! Not a great film but worthwhile.

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

    Never posted in this bit before, but seeing as I spent so much time in the cinema this week, I thought I'd weigh in.

    I'm on Letterboxd, but will Precis here: http://letterboxd.com/rdean01be/

    In the Cinema:

    Star Trek Into Darkness - It did what I wanted it do, I got to spend more time with this incarnation of these characters and I was never bored.

    Mud - I loved this, it reminded me of "Whistle Down the Wind", "Stand by Me" and even a little of "River's Edge". I will re-visit this when It's on DVD

    Iron Man 3 - Was over-long, the bits which worked, worked well, the bits which didn't work made the whole thing feel leaden. If this is the last solo installment of this character, I'm OK with that.

    Fast & Furious 6 - Just a huge wrecking ball of fun. It's knowing and silly, but best of all, unlike the two sequels above, it doesn't decide to go "Dark and Gritty".

    At home:

    Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan - I went to the shops Monday evening and bought this. Not seen for over 25 years! It's an obvious influence on a lot of the blockbusters we see today. Except it only runs for 1hour and 50 minutes. It still zips along and tells a simple story simply. Well worth a re-watch

    Last Night (2010) - Tivo told me I was getting Last Night (1998), the Don McKellar end of the world film, I actually got this self-indulgent mess with Kiera Knightley and Sam Worthington considering infidelity. At least it was short.

    Cracked Actor - Great Documentary following David Bowie on tour in the USA after killing off Ziggy Stardust. Fascinating.

    Hard Ride to Hell - SyFy action horror film, very silly. Vampire/Zombie/Devil worshipper Bikers chase down some unsuspecting twenty-somethings, looking for a host for a re=born devil. Some laughs, some blood, general nonsense.

    Well there's Rusty's mixed bag for the week, will probably catch Gatsby tomorrow.

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

    Not much for me this week. I watched Shane Carruth's Upstream Color, caught some Kevin Hart comedy specials on Netflix, and watched some "Scrubs," but that was all for me in the past week.

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




    Upstream Color: I unfortunately, perhaps surprisingly, don't have much to say about Upstream Color. It's one heck of an ambitious art film, a commentary on society that, while certainly not a bad film, is so abstract in its construct that the film began to feel cold, despite the great love story at the film's center. For whatever reason, Upstream Color grew to be a chore for me to watch. I appreciate director Shane Carruth's ambition, but the film just didn't really stick with me. 3 / 5

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

    Le Havre- A very deadpan, yet charming movie that focuses on an elderly man trying to hide a young illegal immigrant from the police. Although it didn’t blow me away, the film had a lot of charm to it and was quite beautiful to look at. B

    *Might be a bit spoilerish
    Star Trek Into Darkness- My expectations were lowered after seeing Brads review, though I still went in looking to be surprised. Sadly, a lot of Brad’s criticisms seem to be true and the movie left me, although somewhat entertained, also very disappointed as a follow up to the solid 09 remake. For me, the movie broke down after a pretty solid first half when the “Big Reveal” is made, as if it’s supposed to wow the audience in name only. After that, the movie becomes redundant and predictable, going from one action scene to other without a semblance of a plot. Instead of visiting introducing new and memorable stories, the writers fall back on old ones, using them as a crutch. Not terrible by any means but I was hoping for a bit. C

    Happiness- A disturbing and comedic look at the daily lives of a number of screwed up individuals. The film is very explicit and equally disturbing throughout, though with the tone it carries, I ended up laughing at a lot of things I normally wouldn’t have. I think the most standout part is how the film portrays a despicable child molester in an objective way that makes you feel bad for him while resenting his actions. My main quibble, other than some undeveloped storylines, is how at times, the film seems to be shocking for the sake of shock without really adding to the story. B

    Vacation- Found this to be kind of an average, yet enjoyable comedy with some standout moments. C+

    Vampyr- It’s not really fair to judge this movie, especially since it was made almost 80 years ago and its contributions to cinema are noticeable through its creative camera work and use of editing, creating almost a dreamlike state. However, personally I got very little out of it and can’t see myself revisiting this one. C+

    Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels- I had been meaning to watch this for a while and it didn't disappoint. Highly entertaining throughout with a plot that comes together nicely at the end when all the various stories collide with one another. B+

  • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

    Not much this week. Please excuse any typos, I'm writing this on my iPhone and my autocorrect can be a little crazy.

    In theaters:

    Star Trek Into Darkness: entertaining but ultimately disappointing. The film had solid action scenes and the cast is about as charismatic as they were in the first film, but the plot was disappointing and the film just felt like a boring retread of the last movie. I loved 2009's Star Trek- I've returned to it at least 8 times since its release on DVD. I doubt ill ever see this film again, even if its not 'bad'. B-

    At Home:

    Crimes & Misdemeanors- I loved this film and it's probably my favorite Allen film that I've seen but with only one viewing I don't feel truly ready to discuss it- it was much deeper and thought provocking than I thought it'd be. I was gonna watch it this week but was just too busy. Ill definitely watch it again this week and give it a proper review next week. As of right now id probably give it an A or even an A+.


    New Girl (season 2): I wasn't a huge fan of the first season of New Girl but this season was a massive improvement. The show became less cute and quirky and more funny with a charming cast and strong writing. The way the will they/won't they relationship was developed was perfect- other shows should take note. I look forward to the next season. A-


    I started my summer reading with "NOS4A2" by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son), one of my favorite current authors. This isn't as strong as his last two novels (so far) but its still quite entertaining and tough to put down. I'm about 300 pages in and am hoping to be done by next week.

    Once I'm able to use my own computer (instead of my phone) ill answer all the questions and read through everyone's posts. Again, sorry for typos.

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

      Yes, Crimes and Misdemeanors is fantastic. It's probably my favorite Woody Allen film after Husbands and Wives. It's hilarious, but dramatic; comedic but serious. It's everything I love about Allen's work. The ending is deeply resonant.

      • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

        I haven't seen "Husbands and Wives" but it's certainly high on my list of films to see right now. What do you think of "Match Point"? A friend of mine who's a huge Allen fan said it would be a good film to follow up "Crimes and Misdemeanors" with.

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

          I've only seen Match Point once, years ago, but I remember really liking it. I think Husbands and Wives would be a good follow up to Crimes since it was made around the same time. But, Match Point and Crimes do deal with similar subject matter. You can't go wrong with either.

          • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

            Alright, cool. Thank you!

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

      I could make a great argument for Crimes and Misdemeanors being my favorite Allen film. Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, and Alan Alda are remarkable in it.

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

    This week I'll try and be brief.

    In Cinemas -

    Star Trek Into Darkness (2013): I saw this in regular 2D and I don't think I'll be bothering with the 3D as I didn't see too much to make me think it would quite be worth it. However, I did enjoy the film itself. I actually have been a fan of the franchise for over 25 years now since I was a kid and I was never one of those fans who baulked at what Abrams 'did' to Star Trek. In truth, it's never always been quite as smart and 'cerebral' (that often invoked fan word deployed whenever something doesn't work for them) as it like to portray itself as and if there were demerits for plot holes, illogical moments and unfulfilled scripts then all the Star Trek films would have them by the bucketload. The first hour or so of the film is just fine, as the storyline takes effect and comes into play, and while the second half of the film has some wholesale TWOK elements at play it fashions it's own meaning out of them whilst in the pursuit of 'homaging' earlier material. Fortunately the cast and the characters are fun and engaging and if only the film hadn't quite been so set in rushing at Warp Speed through it's plot it could have filled itself out a little better. But there's some stuff of interest within, especially in the first half to three quarters and I enjoyed it much more than 'Iron Man 3'. It's almost as if Abrams and Co have spent the last two films laying out 'their' take on Star Trek and while it doesn't work with all, I can make it work alongside all the other Star Trek material in existence. I can see how some people would have issued with it...................but I can't pretend I shared them. It's a broadly well executed Summer flick and at this point the only obvious one I can think of that might be 'better' could be 'Man of Steel'. I hope the film succeeds enough in the face of that mighty budget to see further films. I think there will be, just with slightly more modest costs involved.

    At Home -

    The Game (1997): Blu ray, rewatch - Not the Criterion Edition but the vanillas region 2 disc. This has always been middling David Fincher for me, but with it's vaguely 'A Christmas Carol' fused with a clear rebirth/renewal theme it's superior enterainment from a director who at that point in his career really enjoyed playing with his audience (peaking with 'Fight Club'). It's Fincher at his most Hitchcockian. Beautiful San Francisco filming as well, but the whole conceit of the film is generally hard to swallow based on the pre-predicted sequence of events the character has to decide to follow at times. But very high calibre thriller stuff.

    Something's Gotta Give (2003): TV airing, rewatch - Appealing performances from Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson keep this romance afloat, raising one or two valid points about later life romances and choices. If only Nancy Meyer wasn't so obsessed with having all her characters lead these fantastically upscale Martha Stewart lifestyles. It's all so glossy! It's a bit overlong as well but not unworthy of a watch now and again.

    Premium Rush (2012): Blu ray, first watch - OK, so I made it through about 45 minutes of this glorified Google Maps/Mobile Phone looking commercial and had had already had about all I could take. I pretty much fast forwarded through the rest and didn't feel I missed any important beats. David Koepp is fine enough when he writes other people's films but when he does his own (as in the terrible 'Secret Window') it just doesn't work all that well. Nothing could save this one for me.

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012): DVD, first watch - I seem to recall some snarking because it was a film about a bunch of old codgers..............but it's a damn sight better than something seemingly younger oriented than 'Premium Rush' that's for sure. It doesn't rewrite any dramatic rule books at all, but it does have a solid director who knows what to do, and a veteran cast that can shade their characters with enough warmth and range to sit back and enjoy the generally predictable journey a group of older people looking for various reasons for something new take when they go to India. I certainly wouldn't watch this week in week out, but it pleasantly killed an afternoon with some lovely photography of the locations it's set within.

    In TV Land this week my major project was to rewatch 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' season 1 (1987-1988) on remastered Blu Ray. I'm old enough to have seen this when it originally aired in the UK from 1988 onwards and had the set on DVD previously but I have to say that watching the show on Blu Ray here is like seeing it completely afresh. The remaster is terrific and in places looks like it was shot yesterday with HD cameras. A real classy job, even if the range of quality for the episodes themselves varies widely (and I DO mean widely!). But, for all the 80s cheesiness in places, this was a cast of characters I came to very much care about when I was a kid watching and I admit to watching it all with rose tinted glasses. Luckily those glasses are now shining HD!

    Apart from a couple more episodes of season 2 of 'Parks and Recreation' and a 'Nashville' that was about all this week.

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

      Good to hear you find The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel decent though I enjoyed it way more as it was one of my favorite films of last year.

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

    I watched a lot of films this week. I saw one movie in theatres. I saw my first Coen Bros. film, and my first Martin Scorsese film. I also watched one of my favourite movies of all time. I also purchased The Guilt Trip (which I am watching as I type this and will have a review for later) and Hit And Run (which I will also hopefully have a review for later as well). So now, it's time to review what I watched this week..

    In Theatres:

    Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) (first viewing) (theatres)- I understand that I'm in the minority on this but I enjoyed this a lot more than it's predecessor. It's an action packed, epic thrill ride. The action scenes are amazing. The performances are all good. I know that a lot of people are divided on Benedict Cumberbatch. I personally thought he did a great job although he didn't have much to work with. Now on to the negatives of the film. It's a little too long. The third act is not quite as interesting as the first two acts. Well at least up until the point where *spoilers* the Enterprise begins to crash land. I also really didn't like the reveal of Cumberbatch being Kahn. *spoilers end* I also saw the film in 3D and I thought the 3D was decent but it was a little bit blurry sometimes. But overall, this in my top 3 films of the year so far. In terms of summer movies so far, I didn't think it was as good as Iron Man 3 but I thought it was better than The Great Gatsby. So overall, this a great film that I highly recommend you go see. Grade: A

    At Home:

    The Big Lebowski (1998) (first viewing) (rental)- This was my first Coen Bros. movie and let me just say...this is now one of my favourite movies of all time. It's very weird but at the same time, it's absolutely hilarious. Jeff Bridges gives the best performance of his career. John Goodman is amazing in the film as well. Steve Buscemi is under utilized here but he is good for what he has. John Turturro's pretty hilarious as well although he's only in the movie for about 10 minutes. Everyone else is amazing as well. This is a great movie and it definitely made me want to see more of the Coen Bros. work. Grade: A+

    Silver Linings Playbook (2012) (first viewing) (rental)- This is a movie that I was really looking forward to seeing and now it's one of my favourite movies. It's my new favourite movie of 2012 as well. This is an amazing film and I absolutely loved it. It's sweet, heartfelt, and funny. The performances are all amazing. Jennifer Lawrence really deserved her Oscar. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro both deserved Oscars as well even though they didn't win in their respective categories. This film also deserved best picture at the Oscars (although I do love Argo as well). So overall, this is a film that you must see at least once. I guarantee you that you will love it. Grade: A+

    Fun Size (2012) (first viewing) (rental)- This is just a very average comedy. It does have a few truly hilarious moments but overall, it isn't all that funny. The first half hour of this movie is very boring. After that point we get those few hilarious moments that I mentioned above and it becomes slightly more interesting. But really, it's not all that great of a movie. It's just a fine way to kill 80 minutes. I think the reason that this movie doesn't work is that it doesn't know what it's audience is. It's too kiddie for adults and teenagers but it has too many innapropriate jokes for kids. Overall, this is just a silly comedy that can't decide whether it wants to be a movie for kids or for teenagers and adults. Grade: C+

    The Dictator (2012) (fourth viewing) (rental)- This is a very funny movie but overall, it really isn't that great. It really doesn't hold up on multiple viewings. This is not Sacha Baron Cohen's worst movie (that title goes to Borat) but it is far from his best (that title goes to Bruno). So overall, this is a funny movie. It's just not that great. Grade: B-

    Frankenweenie (2012) (first viewing) (rental)- This isn't a great movie but I liked it. The animation was very well done. The film takes a while to get going but once it does get going, I started to like it. So overall, Frankenweenie is a decent movie but it's not anything great. Grade: B-

    The Pirates: Band Of Misfits (2012) (first viewing) (rental)- This is the film that should have won the best animated feature Oscar. It's entertaining and has some great animation. It is an animated film that both adults and kids can enjoy. I highly recommend this movie. Grade: B+

    Ocean's Eleven (2001) (first viewing) (DVD)- Now I know that a lot of people love this movie but I didn't. I thought it was entertaining and good. It just wasn't as great as everyone says it is. The performances are all great. The film is just a fun heist movie and that's it. Grade: B-

    Ocean's Twelve (2004) (first viewing) (DVD)- I am one of the few people that actually enjoyed this more than it's predecessor. I thought it was funnier than the first one and was also more entertaining. Everyone turns in good performances. I thought it had some brilliant moments (the Julia Roberts playing Julia Roberts scene sticks out in my mind). I highly recommend that you check out this movie. Grade: B

    The Departed (2006) (first viewing) (rental)- This is a really, really great movie. The peformances are all amazing and the story is intriguing throughout. However the one thing I didn't understand was *spoilers* why did Mark Wahlberg kill Matt Damon at the end? *spoilers end* But overall, this is a movie I would highly, highly recommend. Grade: A

    Jack Reacher (2012) (first viewing) (rental)- This is actually a pretty good movie. Tom Cruise gives a really good performance and everyone else in the film is great as well. It's not great but it is an above average thriller that I can easily recommend. Grade: B

    Mama (2013) (first viewing) (rental)- I thought it was good. It wasn't really scary at all but it kept me interested throughout. Most of the performances aren't that great but that can be forgiven. This is a good horror movie that I have no problem recommending. Grade: B

    The Hangover (2009) (second viewing) (cable)- I first saw this movie when I was at a friends house about a year ago and back then I loved it. It automatically became my favourite movie. Now, a year later, it's not my favourite movie (it's still one of my favourites though) but it's still an A+ worthy comedy. This movie had me laughing thoughout. The Mike Tyson scene could very well be the funniest scene in movie history. The performances are all great. Everyone is hilarious, especially Zach Galifanakis. This is not only one of the best comedies of all time, it's one of the best movies of all time as well and I highly recommend it. Grade: A+

    The Guilt Trip (2012) (first viewing) (DVD)- So I just finished watching this about 20 minutes ago so I'm going to review it now rather than later. Honestly..I really liked it. I thought it was hilarious, heartfelt comedy. This movie shows that comedies can be funny without an R rating. Seth Rogen is great in the movie and Barbra Streisand is amazing as well. Overall, I would recommend you watch The Guilt Trip. I think most people would like it. Grade: B


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


    I finished reading This Dark Endeavour and I'd give it an A.

    I am now reading The Da Vinci Code. I'd give it a B+ so far.

    Well that's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back later with a review of Hit And Run and reviews of anything else that I watch tonight. But now it's time for my Q/A. My questions this week are..

    Which film do you prefer: Star Trek (2009) or Start Trek Into Darkness? Why?
    What is your favourite Coen Bros. movie?
    Which Coen Bros. movie would you recommend I watch next?
    What is your favourite stop motion animated movie?
    Which film do you prefer: Ocean's Eleven or Ocean's Twelve? Why?
    Would you recommend I watch Ocean's Thirteen?
    What is your favourite Steven Soderbergh film?
    What is your favourite Leonardo Dicaprio film?
    What is your favourite Martin Scorsese film?
    Which Martin Scorsese film would you recommend I watch next?
    What is your favourite Tom Cruise film?
    Which film do you prefer: The Hangover or The Hangover: Part 2? Why?
    What is your favourite Seth Rogen film? Which is your least favourite? Why?
    What is your favourite Barbra Streisand film? Which is your least favourite? Why?
    Which film do you prefer: The Proposal or The Guilt Trip? Why?
    What is your opinion on the films I reviewed?

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

      1. Star Trek. You can check out my review and some of my comments for fuller thoughts and let me know what you think.
      2. I asked the same question. The Big Lebowski, then No Country for Old Men, with True Grit at #3.
      3. Hmm, I'd say you should go for Raising Arizona or True Grit, though No Country for Old Men will show you the more serious side of the Coens, and is just as great a choice. In other words: you have many options. Hope you enjoy them.
      4. Fantastic Mr. Fox, with Coraline just behind.
      5. Haven't seen 12 yet.
      6. Can't really say.
      7. Haven't seen many of his films, but I guess Out of Sight would be my pick. I think you'd like that one quite a bit.
      8. I'm not sure. I'll come back and answer that one.
      9. Still trying to watch more of his films, but Goodfellas is my pick right now.
      10. I guess Goodfellas or Shutter Island.
      11. Magnolia, by far. Collateral is also excellent.
      12. Haven't seen either.
      13. I guess I'll say 50/50. Haven't seen many of his films.
      14. Don't know.
      15. I hate The Proposal, but haven't seen The Guilt Trip.
      16. Glad to see you loved both The Big Lebowski and Silver Linings Playbook. Both films are favorites of mine. I also agree about Ocean's Eleven, I enjoyed it but was left rather unimpressed. I'd give it the same grade. However, I didn't like Star Trek Into Darkness nearly as much as you, and I didn't like Pirates! Band of Misfits at all.

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

        I read your review for STID and I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you. I thought that there was actually really good character development among the big action set pieces. I also thought that Spock was pretty necessary to the story. I also didn't notice the lens flares (I didn't notice them in the first one either though so..).

        I'm hopefully going to watch Goodfellas sometime this week. Same with Shutter Island.

        I highly recommend the first Hangover film. Like I said in my review, it's a really great movie. I wouldn't really recommend the second one though. It's not bad, it's just very average.

        For me, 50/50 was great the first time I saw it, not so much the second time around though.

        Why do you hate The Proposal? I didn't think it was great but it was far from terrible.

        Why didn't you like The Pirates! Band Of Misfits?

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

      1. I really like both but I'd pick Star Trek Into Darkness. It has a much better villain and story than the first one.

      2. It's a tie between No Country For Old Men and True Grit.

      3. True Grit. I think you might really like that one. Jeff Bridges is in it and he also gives a great performance.

      4. I'm a huge fan of stop-motion animation. Really glad you liked Pirates!. I thought it deserved a much wider audience. I think my favorite is Wallace and Gromit, but the kid in me is saying Gumby: The Movie.

      5. It's been a long time since I've seen them, but I remember liking Ocean's Eleven more than Twelve.

      6. Sure. If you liked the first two, you'll probably like the third one.

      7. Traffic. It's a great movie, but it is quite long.

      8. Huge fan of DiCaprio. My favorite is probably Catch Me If You Can. It's a terrific performance and I can watch that movie over and over again.

      9. Goodfellas.

      10. You have a lot to choose from. Have you seen Hugo yet? If not, then I'd recommend you watch that next. It's a different Scorsese film, but a great one nevertheless.

      11. His best performance is Magnolia, but that's more of an ensemble piece. I'm going with Minority Report.

      12. Easily The Hangover because at least it was fresh at the time. I thought Part 2 was just lazy and it lessened the first one.

      13. I can't name a favorite, but my least favorite is Observe and Report.

      14. Can't answer that. Haven't seen enough of her films.

      15. I've seen parts of The Guilt Trip but not from start to finish. I have seen all of The Proposal which I thought was decent.

      16. Haven't seen The Guilt Trip, Mama and Fun Size. I like Star Trek Into Darkness, The Big Lebowski, Silver Linings Playbook, The Dictator, Frankenweenie, Pirates!, Ocean's 11 and 12, The Departed and The Hangover (not as much as I used to though). I though Jack Reacher was average at best.

      To answer your question on The Departed, he killed him because he found out that he was the rat.

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

        I agree with you on Star Trek Into Darkness.

        I might try to rent True Grit this week.

        What is Gumby: The Movie? I've never heard of it.

        I have seen about the first hour of Catch Me If You Can and I remember enjoying what I saw.

        I have seen some of Hugo and although I didn't really enjoy what I saw, I would be willing to give it another chance because a few people on ROS have told me that it's really good and I should try rewatching it.

        I agree with you on The Hangover Part 2. I didn't think it was a terrible movie, it was just a very average one.

        Never seen Observe And Report although I do want to, so I'm sad to hear that you didn't like it.

        What did you think of the parts of The Guilt Trip that you saw?

        Thank you for answering my question on The Departed. As I was writing my comment I thought that might have been the reason but I just wanted to be sure.

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

          Gumby is a movie about a green clay-mated creature with his red horse, Pokey. It's an adaptation of a TV series back in the 1950s. It's a kids movie and one that I watched a million times when I was a kid.

          If you liked the first hour of Catch Me If You Can, then you'll really like the rest of it. I think it's very underrated.

          Definitely give Hugo another chance. Even if you don't like it, you'll have another Scorsese film under your belt.

          The parts I saw were kinda fun, but I didn't really have an urge to see the whole thing.

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

            I'll have to rent Catch Me If You Can sometime.

            I will make sure to give Hugo another chance.

            You really should try to see the whole thing. It's actually a pretty good movie.

    • SohoDriver

      1. Haven't seen the sequel yet but I enjoyed the first.

      2. The Big Lebowski I'd say, glad to hear you loved it!

      3. Hmm, tricky question. Most of their stuff is great, I particularly liked Blood Simple, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading and True Grit though.

      4. Can't say I have one. Maybe Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox.

      5. Ocean's Eleven for sure, it's one of the most enjoyable features of all time for me, incredibly slick and smooth, whereas the sequel is disappointingly convoluted and tries to take on too much.

      6. Ocean's Thirteen is better than Twelve and certainly worth a watch, but again it pales in comparison to Eleven in my opinion.

      7. For pure thrills - Out of Sight. It's sleek, well executed and the lead chemistry between Clooney and Lopez is enticingly palpable. However, I think his most mature feature to date is Traffic. It's use of colour is both visually striking and also sets apart each section, it's a harrowing yet poignant depiction of drug trafficking and it's effects on different types of people.

      8. Probably The Departed. I love all of his collaborations with Scorsese. Cannot wait for The Wolf of Wall Street!

      9. Martin Scorsese is my utmost favourite director, and I love pretty much everything I've seen by him (still have a couple of features left to view and a whole host of documentaries). At a push, I'd say Goodfellas is his masterpiece. It's a brutal yet operatic gangster movie that genuinely challenges The Godfather for the title of best gangster film of all time. Raging Bull and Taxi Driver are both sublime movies too, though. And I have to give a special mention to Bringing Out the Dead, which I feel is Scorsese's most underrated movie. Both a brilliant companion piece to Taxi Driver, and a hauntingly beautiful film in it's own right featuring perhaps Nicolas Cage's best performance (though Leaving Las Vegas and Bad Lieutenant are pretty great too).

      10. Magnolia, which is a stunning ensemble piece all around. For a non ensemble feature, probably Collateral, where Cruise is cast completely against type but works wonders as the psychopathic hitman.

      11. Haven't seen the second Hangover and probably won't. Not much interest in made for money sequels.

      12. I love Seth Rogen! Probably Knocked Up is my favourite. As for least favourite, I wasn't big on Zack & Miri Make a Porno, though the issues with that were to do with Kevin Smith's lacklustre script rather than Rogen himself, who retained his likeability.

      13. I think I've only seen What's Up, Doc? and Meet the Fockers featuring her, and they're both only decent.

      14. Seen neither and have no plans to either.

      15. Well, The Big Lebowski is one of my all time favourite films and I really love The Departed too. The Hangover is overrated but it's pretty enjoyable for what it is. I really need to see Silver Linings Playbook, just haven't got around to it yet.

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

        If you enjoyed the first Star Trek, you will enjoy the sequel. I liked the first one but I wasn't as big of a fan of it as everyone else and yet I loved the sequel.

        I've never heard of Out Of Sight. I might try to check that out sometime.

        I haven't seen Knocked Up or Zack And Miri Make A Porno (mainly because I'm only 14).

        Never heard of What's Up, Doc? but I have seen Meet The Fockers and I personally loved it.

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

          I always recommend that people do a Get Shorty/Jackie Brown/Out of Sight marathon. They are all really good films based on Elmore Leonard novels.

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

            What is Out Of Sight about? I've never heard of it before.

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

              It's a good thriller-romance fugitive caper film. Jennifer Lopez has never been better. George Clooney co-stars.

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

                Sounds interesting.

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

      1. Star Trek (2009). Because I've seen it.
      2. True Grit.
      3. True Grit.
      4. Fantastic Mr. Fox
      5. Ocean's Eleven. Because It is a very fun piece of entertainment, ans when it was done, I wanted to watch it all over again.
      6. Yes, definitely.
      7. Ocean's Eleven.
      8. Inception.
      9. Hugo (because it's the only one I've seen).
      10. Can't answer that truthfully.
      11. Minority Report.
      12. Haven't seen either.
      13. Favorite: Kung Fu Panda. Least Favorite: The Green Hornet.
      14. Haven't seen any of her films, actually.
      15. Haven't seen either of them.
      16. I like Pirates! Band of Misfits, The Ocean's Movies, and Jack Reacher, but I thought Frankenweenie was overrated.

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

        I would highly recommend you check out The Hangover. It's a really great movie. Don't watch Hangover 2 unless you really want to though because it's just average.

        Why is The Green Hornet your least favourite?

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

          I hated that movie so much. It wasn't funny, it wen't on and on, the attempts at drama were spectacularly bad, and it probably didn't help that I saw it in 3D.

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

            I actually saw it in 3D as well and I did not like the 3D at all but I respectfully disagree on the quality of the movie. I thought it was a fun time at the movies.

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

              Alright, that's understandable. I respectfully disagree, but to each their own.

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

      1) I prefer Into Darkness. It has a more formidable villain and the Kirk/Spock dynamic is far more interesting.
      2) As I stated in another comment, The Big Lebowski is my favorite, but No Country for Old Men is a close second.
      3) Of the ones I've seen, and based on your tastes, I'd say True Grit is a pretty safe choice.
      4) Fantastic Mr. Fox
      5) Ocean's Eleven. It's a much cleaner film. Twelve can get pretty convoluted.
      6) I personally don't like it, but many have a lot of fun with it, so I say give it a shot.
      7) Probably Ocean's Eleven, if just for the sheer fun, rewatchability factor. sex, lies, and videotape is also great though.
      8) Inception
      9) Goodfellas
      10) If you liked The Departed, then Goodfellas is another great crime film.
      11) Collateral.
      12) The Hangover. The sequel is like the first one sans jokes.
      13) My favorite is The 40 Year Old Virgin. Just a solid comedy with endearing characters. My least favorite is The Green Hornet. Just a misguided comedy with boring action beats.
      16) The Big Lebowski, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Departed are all great. Star Trek Into Darkness and Ocean's Eleven are both very good. The Pirates: Band of Misfits, Jack Reacher, and The Hangover are all good. The Dictator is not good.

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

        I agree with you on The Hangover Part 2.

        Why didn't you like The Dictator?

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

          The Dictator was possibly the most wildly inconsistent comedy I have ever seen. Half the times the jokes were great; the rest of the time they fell completely flat. On top of that there was really no story and a fairly obvious message.

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

            I can agree with you on all of that. I still thought it was a pretty decent movie though. But to each his own.

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

      1. Haven't seen Into Darkness, so by default Star Trek. I didn't think it was that good, though, not keeping the same type of genre that the other Star Treks have... Wrath of Khan is my favorite in the series. A clichéd choice, but still my favorite.

      2. My favorite Coen Brothers is Barton Fink (I haven't seen that many of theirs, just five or six).

      3. You having liked The Big Lebowski, I'd probably recommend Burn After Reading or True Grit. Both are pretty likeable films. People call BAR some 'minor Coen,' but if you like that, you would probably like most, if not all, of their work. True Grit is a lot better, not their best by any means, but it's very, very good still. You'd probably like it.

      4. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is also my favorite animated film.

      5. Ocean's Eleven simply because I remember more of it. I love me some Soderbergh though, I enjoyed both. You're right when you say the "Julia playing Julia" scene was fantastic.

      6. Yep, I enjoyed that one quite a bit too.

      7. My favorite Soderbergh is either Bubble (VERY alienating, but I think it is his masterpiece) or Sex, Lies, and Videotape, which is as entertaining as it is good film-wise. I've loved everything he's done that I've seen, even his 'minor stuff.'

      8. Django Unchained probably, because I love it and haven't seen too much with him.

      9. I'm Scorsese deprived, not having seen much by him, having only seen Hugo. I really, really liked it, but I'm sure I'd like most of his other stuff more.

      10. Can't. People seem to really like Taxi Driver and Goodfellas, though.

      11. Wide Eyes Shut. Kubrick is my favorite director ever, and his last film resonated with me quite a bit, for some reason.

      12. Only saw The Hangover.

      13. 50/50 is my favorite. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and him made a great duo, with Levine's subtle direction. Kung Fu Panda I loathe, and he voice acted in it, so... that.

      14. The "Barbra Streisand" song music video. (I don't know her work very well.)

      15. The Proposal, because Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds had some good chemistry, me thought.

      16. Nice watching choices. Good job choosing films you're more interested in. You mentioned last week wanting to be a cinephile, and this is the way to do it. Keep watching stuff you will probably like, like stuff by the Coen Brothers, comedies, relative mainstream 'indie films,' and you'll soon find out what kinds of things you can like. Now and again, try something you don't know very well. Say, a western, or a very alienating movie by David Cronenberg, or a surrealist film by Lynch. Not too often, you don't want to overload yourself. Keep doing what you're doing!

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

        I will probably check out Burn After Reading next actually.

        I've never actually heard of Bubble. What's it about?

        Why do you loathe Kung Fu Panda? It's one of my favourite animated movies.

        I agree with you on The Proposal.

        I'm glad to see that someone thinks I'm doing a good job with trying to become a cinephile! Now I saw you mentioned I should try watching some Cronenberg films. Which films of his would you recommend? I was thinking about watching Cosmopolis sometime, I'm just curious to hear what you think I should start off with.

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

          I also think you do a good job at becoming a cinemaphile. I also like the way you stick up for the things you like.

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

            Thank you very much for the compliments! I am very glad that you think that!

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

      2. Already answer this one question from Jake17: Fargo.
      4. Not a fan but I do love Frankenweenie, I like both James and the Giant Peach & Fantastic Mr. Fox. Chicken Run is pretty good.
      5. I say Eleven for right since I don't remember much of Twelve
      6. Yes, I recommend it. If you liked the first two.
      7. Ahhh, he's one of my favorites and I love almost every single of his films though I haven't seen Side Effects yet. My favorite of his Magic Mike but his best is Traffic.
      8. Man, another tough one. I love DiCaprio. Favorite film: Inception. Favorite performance: tough, tough, tough, it's between Blood Diamond, The Aviator, The Departed & Revolutionary Road.
      9. His Best: Goodfellas. His most underrated: Casino. My favorite: The Departed.
      10. Start with Mean Streets, then Raging Bull and then Goodfellas, Casino & the rest of his films after that.
      11. Born on the Fourth of July, his most underrated performance/movie to date. He's just incredible in that. Magnolia a distant 2nd.
      12. The Hangover. It's funnier & more watchable. Part 2 is fine but it doesn't have that replay value as the first one has.
      13. Love Seth. Favorite: Observe & Report. Least Favorite: Paul, I just didn't laugh as much as I expected. I thought he, Pegg, Frost and the rest of the movie (excluding Wiig & Hader) was disappointing.
      14. Can't say, haven't seen that many of her films.
      16. Loved that you liked: The Big Lebowski, Silver Linings Playbook, The Departed & The Hangover. I liked Frankenweenie & Ocean's Eleven a little bit more than you. Again we talked about this haha, I definitely agree with you on The Dictator being a decent movie but definitely not being Cohen's best. I respectfully disagree with you on Borat being his worst, I laugh my butt off hard whenever I watch it. It's his best IMHO.

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

        I would watch Magic Mike but I'm only 14 so I don't know how appropriate it would be for me. Would you say it is appropriate for a 14 year old?

        I agree with you on The Hangover and The Hangover Part 2. I might actually give Hangover 2 a rewatch this week and see if I like it any more than I did the first time I saw it.

        I haven't seen Observe And Report but I liked Paul. I didn't think it was a great movie by any means but it was certainly enjoyable.

        I might have to return to Borat actually. The more I think about it the more I actually want to watch it again. Yet even though I enjoyed Bruno more, I can't say I want to watch it again anytime soon.

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

          On Magic Mike, well you've seen both Borat & Bruno which are far more inappropriate than this one. So yeah, since you can handle both (especially Bruno) then I guess yes, you can watch it. It does obviously have male strippers and stipping, dancing and all that kind of stuff in front a lot of females. There's lots of sex talk and also guys doing some cocaine. It's really up to your parents. It's definitely not appropriate for 12 & under obviously haha.

          I loved The Hangover and again, i'm one of the few that did somehow enjoy Part 2 even if it was basically the same movie.

          On Paul, actually I rewatched a couple times and enjoyed it more than the first time around. It's funny but still, it's not Rogen's best even of he has his moments.

          On Borat, fair enough. I always respect your opinion on it. Though I do hope you rewatch it and if you still feel the same, that's fine.

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

            Thanks for the help! I'll have to ask my parents about Magic Mike.

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

      1. Into Darkness I found it more enjoyable.
      2. True Grit I think it's a modern masterpiece
      3. Hmm, that's a tough one, but I would go with Chicken Run
      4. I've only seen Ocean's Eleven and I love it.
      5. I have not seen it, but I think you should see it just to round off the series
      6. I would say Ocean's Eleven, but I haven seen very many of his films
      7. The Departed
      8. Taxi Driver
      9. same as #8
      10. I would say Magnolia, but he is more of a supporting character there. Otherwise, I'd say The Last Samurai
      11. I have not seen the second
      12. I don't have one
      13. I don't have one
      14. I have not seen either
      15. I really liked The Departed. I also quite like Ocean's Eleven, The Hangover and Star Trek Into Darkness

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

        scratch that, my favorite Tom Cruise film is Collateral

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

          I agree with you on STID.

          If you enjoyed The Hangover, why didn't you see the sequel?

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

        And I skipped question 3, so the numbers are all off by one. Oh well. But i recommend you watch True Grit or No Country For Old Men

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

      1) "Star Trek" by a mile. It's one of my favorite action films from the past few years and I've found myself constantly revisiting it. "Into Darkness", while fun, had many story problems and just felt like more of the same.
      2) I've only seen a few Coen films, but I'd say "A Serious Man" or "Miller's Crossing." I've missed a few major films from their filmography, however, including "No Country For Old Men."
      3) I'd say "Raising Arizona", since it's quite similar to "The Big Lebowski", or "True Grit."
      4) Hm... not sure exactly. I suppose "Coraline", though I'm not a huge fan of that particular sub-genre.
      5) I've only seen "Ocean's 11" and thought it was fine. But I've never felt any need to see the sequels.
      6) I can't really say. I heard it's better than "Ocean's 12" but I haven't heard any raves for it.
      7) Soderbergh's films are excellent- "Out of Sight" is my favorite, but "Traffic" and "Magic Mike" are both great too.
      8) Hmm... a tough question, he's a terrific actor. I'd say "Inception" is my favorite though.
      9) "Goodfellas", it's a masterpiece in my opinion.
      10) "Goodfellas" or "Shutter Island" seem like your best bets.
      11) Cruise is, in my opinion, one of the best movie stars working today and I usually enjoy his action flicks. But for my favorite I'd have to say "Risky Business" or "Jerry Maguire"- though his best performance is "Magnolia", which is also wonderful but more an ensemble film than a Tom Cruise film.
      12) I hated "The Hangover." Just not my type of humor and I found the characters incredibly annoying. I have not seen the sequel.
      13) My favorite would be "Knocked Up", which was quite funny. My least favorite is "Pineapple Express." It's just such an annoying movie. I'm not a huge Rogen fan, but I think he has potential and can be quite funny.
      14) I haven't seen many of her films, so I'm not sure.
      15) I haven't seen "The Guilt Trip", but I thought "The Proposal" was mildly enjoyable. Nothing special, but fine for what it was.
      16) "Silver Linings Playbook" was my favorite film of 2012, I love it. "The Big Lebowski" was funny though it's been a while since I've seen it, "The Departed" is great, I wasn't a fan of "Mama" and as I mention above I really hate "The Hangover." As for "Star Trek Into Darkness", it was entertaining but felt like a less exciting retread of the first film. The others I haven't seen or really don't have much to say about it.

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

        I respectfully disagree. I liked Into Darkness a lot more than Star Trek. But to each his own.

        I saw that you mentioned Magic Mike and I was wondering, do you think it would be appropriate for a 14 year old? Many people have recommended it to me but I just don't know if I'm old enough to watch it.

        If you hated The Hangover, don't watch the sequel. I guarantee that you will hate it even more than the first.

        I haven't seen Knocked Up or Pineapple Express but I am interested in seeing both. Do you think they would be appropriate for a 14 year old?

        I agree on The Proposal and I would recommend The Guilt Trip. I think there is something for everyone in that movie.

        Silver Linings Playbook was my favourite film of 2012 as well.

        Why didn't you like Mama?

        • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt

          I found "Mama" to be quite boring and not scary. I also did not think the script was all that well written. Jessica Chastain was good in it though.

          As for the other questions, I really don't know if I'm qualified to say what's appropriate and inappropriate for people but I'll try my best...

          "Magic Mike" has quite a bit of nudity (obviously, given that the film is about strippers) and at least one sex scene (there may be more and I'm just forgetting them.) There is also some drug use. The film is definitely edgy. But I feel I had seen the same amount of nudity and drug use in other films when I was 14 so I guess it's ok? I'm not sure on that one.

          "Knocked Up" isn't fresh in my memory at all but I do remember two sex scenes that were fairly edgy and it definitely had raunchy dialogue. But I saw it at 15 and I'd say the 14-15 age range is fine for it.

          I actually saw "Pineapple Express" when I was 14 and thought it was fine (but not funny, haha). I don't remember it too well but I don't think there was anything all that edgy except for the excessive pot smoking. I'd definitely say that one is fine.

          Hope this helps!

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

            It does help very much! Thanks so much!

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

      I watched Hit And Run last night but instead of reviewing it now, I'm going to save my thoughts for next week.

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

      1. I have yet to see STID - Star Trek was solid but I have little interest in the franchise and will probably skip on STID.

      2. No Country for Old Men.

      3. Burn After Reading is an easy watch if you haven't seen it yet and it sounds like it would suit your taste. Raising Arizona would too.

      4. Fantastic Mr Fox by a long shot.

      5. Really not a fan of any of the Ocean's movies. Oceans Eleven is technically the best but it's a very average movie and Ocean's 12 is a nightmare.

      6. If you enjoyed Oceans Twelve then I don't see why you wouldn't watch Oceans 13. It's the same stuff over again.

      7. Bubble is the best Soderbergh by a long way.

      8. The best film he is in is probably Inception. His best performance for me is Basketball Diaries.

      9. Goodfellas and Casino.

      10. Due to your age it's not easy recommending quite alot of Scorcese but I'd recommend The King of Comedy and After Hours.

      11. Minority Report followed by Eyes Wide Shut.

      12. The Hangover is good the first time around - like most comedies it gets worse the more you watch it. The Hangover 2 is just a really bad movie.

      13. Superbad.

      14. The Way we Were is my favorite.

      15. Not seen the Guilt Trip.

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

        Believe me, you don't want to miss STID. If you liked the 2009 film, you will love this one.

        What is Bubble about? I have never heard of it.

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

      First, let me say, I'm really glad you enjoyed your first experience with the Coen brothers, and I'm also happy you have a newfound fondness for Silver Linings Playbook. Now, to dive into you laundry list of questions...

      1. I much prefer Star Trek to its sequel, Into Darkness. It seems that, as far as blockbusters are concerned, we keep moving further and further toward cinematic bloat. The basic premise of Into Darkness worked for me, and the action was well-done, but the movie just felt long. Benedict Cumberbatch is an acting force to be reckoned with, but [SPOILER ALERT] the villain reveal was a letdown for me. You could see that coming from a mile away, and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt very anticlimactic, particularly if you know anything about the Star Trek franchise as a whole. The 2009 film is just a much leaner summer action film with a great amount of drama.

      2. My favorite Coen brothers flick is Fargo. O Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men are close behind, and I love True Grit. I still have a few of their films to see. Personally -- and I haven't seen it in a while -- but I think Burn After Reading is quite underrated as well.

      3. Since you've just watched Big Lebowski, I'd recommend checking out Fargo to get a feel for their more dramatic side, although it's clearly a black comedy like their other work. You really can't go wrong, though, with the Coens, although I didn't much care for Raising Arizona.

      4. I've only seen a few stop-motion films, but I absolutely loved Fantastic Mr. Fox.

      5. Of the Ocean's films, I like Eleven the best -- it's one of my absolute favorite films. I always felt that Twelve, though still a joy of a ride, is just not as well pieced together, story wise, as Eleven. It takes a few more side streets than necessary, which always bugs me (see: my review for Lincoln). Thirteen is a fantastic film, bringing back the feel of the first of Soderbergh's trio of hangout flicks, but Eleven is my favorite.

      6. Yes, see above.

      7. Ocean's Eleven is definitely my favorite. Traffic is also fantastic, and Side Effects is my favorite of 2013, thus far. I still really would like to see Out of Sight and sex, lies, and videotape.

      8. I love Leo -- the guy is just a big ball of charisma. I thought he was great in Catch Me If You Can, and I love The Departed as well, but I guess I'd say Inception is my favorite film of his.

      9. Probably Taxi Driver, followed closely by Raging Bull and The Departed. As with many influential directors, though, I still have a lot of his films to see.

      10. Hm.. Taxi Driver, I suppose. I'm biased.

      11. I enjoy most all of Tom Cruise's work, but I think his best work as an actor is found in Collateral.

      12. I still haven't seen The Hangover: Part 2, and I'm not sure when or if I will. Loved The Hangover though -- saw it with my track and field coaches back in high school, which made the experience even better.

      13. He's not the star of the film by any stretch, but I love The 40-Year-Old Virgin; one of my favorites. I don't know that I have a least favorite film that he's in, though I didn't particularly care much for The Green Hornet.

      14. I've only seen maybe one or two films she's in (including The Guilt Trip), so I don't really have an answer to provide here.

      15. The Proposal. The Guilt Trip wasn't bad, but I just think the humor in The Proposal works better for me.

      16. Silver Linings Playbook is arguably my favorite film, both of the moment and of all-time. I love Ocean's Eleven, and enjoy Ocean's Twelve, though to a lesser extent than its predecessor and successor. The Big Lebowski is great, though I haven't seen it in some time. The Departed is fantastic as well, and The Hangover is one of the best comedies of recent years. Star Trek Into Darkness is decent, I thought Jack Reacher was okay, and The Guilt Trip was a decent film, aided by the fact I saw it with my mom over the holidays.

      Haven't seen Fun Size, The Dictator, Frankenweenie, The Pirates, or Mama.

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

        Only watch Hangover 2 if you really want to. As I've stated before, it's not a bad movie. It's just very average.

        Honestly, I think that Silver Linings Playbook may be my favourite film as well. I might buy it so I can watch it again and again. The Big Lebowski might be my second favourite film.

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

          I have watched Silver Linings Playbook enough times that I've stopped keeping track of it on my Letterboxd diary and on these weekly columns. I don't get sick of it even the slightest bit.

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

            That is very good to know. That just makes it even more likely that I will eventually purchase it.

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

      1. Haven't see STID yet, but I will.
      2. True Grit
      3. True Grit
      4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
      5. Oceans Eleven because of the plot
      6. Sure
      7. Traffic
      8. Titanic
      9. Gangs of New York
      10. Hugo
      11. Jerry Maguire
      12. The Hangover. better plotted.
      13. Not a Rogen fan. I guess The 40 Year Old Virgin is best. Of what I've seen, Knocked Up is worst - just not funny. Freaks & Geeks on TV is better than any of his films.
      14. Best: The Prince of Tides followed by Yentl. Worst: The Mirror Has Two Faces. I just couldn't relate.
      15. The Proposal, which I liked. Haven't seen The Guilt Trip.
      16. Loved hearing your enthusiasm for The Departed, Silver Linings
      Playbook, and The Big Lebowski

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/icerose/ cynthia dower

    I went to see the live broadcast of the National Theatre's This House which is basically a film of the play on the last night. A witty political satire of the behind the scenes look at parliament during the 70's hung parliament. Great stuff from a 26 yrs old writer James Graham.