What I Watched

What I Watched, What You Watched #206

Share your weekly viewing

Zatoichi
Photo: Criterion

This week was a decent week of movie watching for me as I saw Lee Daniels' The Butler and Kick-Ass 2 in theaters and at home watched The Tale of Zatoichi and The Tale of Zatoichi Continues and will be finishing New Tale of Zatoichi and watching Short Term 12 later today. And, again, if you don't have a Hulu Plus account but are interested in checking it out, click here for a two week trial.

This coming week I'll be seeing The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Closed Circuit, but my hope is to also watch a lot more at home if time allows.

Finally, last week I know I said I hoped the Letterboxd partnership would be live by now, but it looks like it's going to be some time next week that it finally starts up so stay tuned... it's coming.

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

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  • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

    Not much to share this week, unfortunately. I was on vacation for most of the week so I didn’t get to watch too many movies, though I did catch three great ones over the past two days:

    In Theaters:

    Blue Jasmine: A good film with an incredible performance at its center. Cate Blanchett is brilliant in what is easily the best performance of the year so far, but the film itself is a bit meaningless. While it’s all very entertaining and the dialogue is great, I found the plot to be somewhat uninteresting at times (mainly when it didn’t involve Jasmine) and that the film really didn’t have anything to say in the end. But Blanchett’s performance is truly out of this world, and while the film certainly isn’t all that great, it’s still very good. B+

    At Home:

    Singin’ in the Rain: An incredibly enjoyable, completely entertaining movie. I’m not a huge fan of movie musicals but there is something endearing about this film that I couldn’t ignore. The choreography is excellent and I loved all the performances. The Broadway Melody sequence is a bit too long and the songs are all a bit random (probably because they were all written before a story was developed) but the film is so charming that it’s hard to mind. A-

    Mud: While I don’t love the film like so many others do, it’s hard to deny that “Mud” is original and well acted. Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan are both excellent and the rest of the supporting cast (namely Sarah Paulson, who’s brilliant in “American Horror Story”) are all pretty good. The cinematography is also beautiful. But much like “Take Shelter”, I really don’t find anything to love about the movie. A few scenes near the end (namely the snake pit scene) felt a little too cheesy for me, and I found the traditional coming of age tale considerably more interesting than anything involving Mud and his relationship with Reese Witherspoon’s character. There is a lot to admire in “Mud”, and I think Jeff Nichols will (eventually) create a film that I’ll love, but right now I can only really like them. B+

    TV:

    I won’t go into a full review until the end of the season, but I will say that I loved last week’s episode of “Breaking Bad.” The climatic sequence in the garage was excellent. Dean Norris (who I always found the weakest link of the main cast) deserves some serious awards recognition for this episode.

    That’s all for me this week. I really couldn’t think of any questions, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I watched this week.

    Have a good week! Can't wait to check out the Letterboxd feature!

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

      The first episode of Breaking Bad was very good. I've always thought Dean Norris was great as Hank, I feel like Betsy Brandt, who plays Marie, seems like the weakest link. But that's just me.

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

        I loved the premiere for Breaking Bad (9/10). Like you Taylor I have never been overly impressed with Norris but I was very impressed with his performance in this episode. I'm with Xarnis the weakest link is also imo Brandt.

      • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

        I feel that Norris and Brandt almost have to be the two weakest links of the cast as they have never been given dramatic material like Cranston, Gunn and Paul have. Norris and Brandt are both great in their own rights, however. I personally prefer Brandt a bit more than Norris. While Marie is a one note character, Brandt's hilarious in the part and nails her (rare) dramatic scene.

        The whole cast is astounding though. The second best ensemble on television IMO (after "Mad Men").

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

      I love, love, love Singin' in the Rain -- classic Hollywood cinema at its finest, with great acting and beautiful if not flawless singing and dancing. Whenever I crave a little old-timey Hollywood fun, this is one of the films I keep coming back to.

      I also really enjoyed Blue Jasmine (4 out of 5 or BB+ from me) and Mud (4 out of 5, B/B+), though I agree that the performances in each film -- Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, McConaughey and Sheridan especially in Mud -- are the true shining parts of each.

      In all, it appears you had a solid week of movie watching!

      • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

        It certainly was a slid week- I agree with everything you said about "Singin' in the Rain." The choreography is breathtaking- I've never seen anything quite like it before.

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

      I really liked Singin' in the Rain. It's just such a happy film.

      • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

        That's an excellent way to describe it- it's the definition of a feel good movie.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Doing this on phone so won't write much for now.

    Turbo - 6.0 / 10

    Elysium - 7.0 / 10

    Only God Forgives - 2.0 / 10. Least enjoyable (new or old) movie I have watched this year.

    The Butler - 8.5 / 10

    X2 - 7.0 / 10. Remembered it being better

    Safe Haven - Save my thoughts for the podcast

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andremarx/ André Marques

    The Hunt - 8.0 / 10

    Elysium - 6.0 / 10

    Also i'm gonna watch tonight 12 Angry Men and The Sea Inside

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

      Hope you enjoy 12 Angry Men, I watched it a few weeks ago and was riveted.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andremarx/ André Marques

        I've seen about 30 minutes of the film, but for some reason i can't remember, i didn't watch it till the end...but i was really into it :)

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

      Ah, 12 Angry Men is one of my all-time favorites. Report back when you've seen it, curious to hear your thoughts! Like Andy below, I too was riveted, especially on first viewing, but it holds up well through repeat viewings.

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

    Very Good -
    The Place Beyond The Pines
    Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters
    We Steal Secrets:The Story Of Wikileaks
    The Great Gatsby
    Adaption
    30 For 30:Muhammad And Larry
    Spellbound
    I Killed My Mother
    Bigger, Stronger, Faster

    Ok -
    The Gatekeepers
    The Conjuring
    The Hobbit(rewatch)
    Wreck-It Ralph
    Get Lamp

    Agree/Disagree?

    What is your favourite summer blockbuster of the year? For me its probably Iron Man 3, yes it's been that bad.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      My feelings for The Place Beyond the Pines are rather mixed - I'm not completely sold. I love The Hobbit, and like Wreck-It Ralph.

      Iron Man 3 for me as well, but I thoroughly enjoyed Iron Man 3, soo...

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      Like The Place Beyond the Pines, The Hobbit, and The Great Gatsby and dislike Wreck It Ralph. My favorite summer blockbuster is probably Star Trek Into Darkness.

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

      From what you've got I wouldn't agree on The Great Gatsby, would agree partially on The Place Beyond The Pines and Adaptation.

      Favourite summer film of the year was 'Star Trek Into Darkness' but I didn't dislike 'Iron Man 3' as much as it had too much in the way of Shane Black-isms.

      Not really seen many of the others.

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

      I agree on The Great Gatsby, Disagree on Wreck it Ralph (I thought that it was very good) and The Hobbit ( which I didn't really like that much)

      It would probably be World War Z, though I also really liked Fast and Furious 6 and Star Trek Into Darkness.

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

        I loved the 80's references and the meetings in Wreck-It Ralph but everything else was cute by numbers

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

      I like Gatsby, Place Beyond the Pines, The Conjuring, and Wreck-It Ralph. All four are very good movies.

      My favorite blockbuster of the year is Star Trek Into Darkness. Second place would go to Fast and Furious 6. Iron Man 3 is pretty good too.

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

      I saw your comment on Friday's column about Ecstasy of Order and checked it out this morning - I really enjoyed it (near as much as King of Kong). So thanks for the recommendation :)

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

        I love all these special interest docs, i really get into them. Other suggestions would be The Rock-afire Explosion, Indie Game-The Movie, Special When Lit and Chasing Ghost:Beyond The Arcade.

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

          Thanks for the other suggestions. I loved Indie Game-The Movie (one of my favorite movies of last year) and quite enjoyed Chasing Ghost. Will try to get a hold of Special When Lit next.

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

            Oh but please don't forget The Rock-afire Explosion, its obsession as its worst haha Another good one was The American Scream if you haven't already seen it and My Amityville Horror is darn interesting too. Have Fun.

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

      I'd move Wreck-It Ralph into "very good", The Great Gatsby (2013 film, I assume?) to a "good" category, and Adaptation into its own "excellent" category. Aside from that, I really haven't seen the others.

      However, given your watching of one of the "30 for 30" docs, there are a few I'd recommend if you haven't already seen them: June 17, 1994, The Best That Never Was, 9.79*, and Guru of Go.

      See also: Without Bias, Winning Time, Pony Excess, The Marinovich Project, Benji, Catching Hell, The Fab Five, and more. As you can see, I'm kind of a sports guy.

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

      Completely forgot, my favorite summer blockbuster: World War Z (4 out of 5), followed by Iron Man 3 (3.5 out of 5).

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      Agree with you on "The Great Gatsby." I'd move "The Conjuring" and "Wreck-It-Ralph" up to very good, however. I consider "Adaptaiton." a masterpiece so very good is a bit of an understatement to me, but I'm happy to see you liked it. And I hated "The Hobbit."

      As for my favorite blockbuster, I'd probably say "Man of Steel" though I haven't really been blown away by anything this summer.

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

      I agree with you on The Place Beyond the Pines . I'd move The Great Gatsby down to OK, Wreck-It Ralph up to good, and The Hobbit down to not good.

      My favorite summer blockbuster would be a toss up between Elysium and Star Trek Into Darkness. In my opinion both are solid sci-fi films, though for different reasons. I'll probably need to rewatch both before making a final call.

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

      I agree on The Place Beyond The Pines and The Great Gatsby. I disagree on The Conjuring and The Hobbit, I thought that both were very good. Wreck-It Ralph is just good. Haven't seen anything else.

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

      I agree with The Great Gatsby on Very Good. Disagree on Wreck-It Ralph & The Hobbit, I like them both of them a lot especially Wreck-It Ralph but understandable on your part for both of those ;)

      A tie between Man of Steel & Elysium, either of those of my favorite blockbuster of the year.

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

        Thank you everyone for all wonderful thoughts.

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

      Man of Steel

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/WhiskeynRecords/ Kyle Lucas

    Headhunters - 4.5/5

    The Royal Tenenbaums - 2.5/5 (Confirming that Wes Anderson just doesn't do it for me)

    Thor (rewatch)

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

      loved Headhunters too and the audience couldn't stop laughing when he's driving that digger with the dog on the front, i'm not sure it was supposed to be funny but oh boy it sure was.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

    A little slow for me this week, but here’s what I’ve got:

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – 5th+ viewing, blu-ray – So I rewatched all the Lord of the Rings movies, and for the first time ever after something like 30 viewings I found myself liking the first one the least. It seemed a bit too fairytale-y, the CGI seemed less perfect than in the others, and the editing feels a bit jumbled at times. It’s still a massive piece of entertainment, and it works brilliantly in almost every sense, so maybe I was just in a critical mood and will be back to loving every bit of it next time. 9/10

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – 5th+ viewing, blu-ray – In line with my thoughts on the first one, I usually used to feel more like The Two Towers was linking together the massive first and third movies. This time for some reason it felt more like Fellowship of the Ring was just the introduction to the real story of the second and third movies. Of all the Lord of the Rings movies this is the one that gives the book’s story most place to unfold; the editing and the script are impeccable, the CGI and scenery is gorgeous, the acting is fantastic, and it has some of the most memorable scenes in movie history – the scene where Gandalf and the Rohirrim comes to the rescue at Helm’s Deep is just gorgeous, and the same with the Ents vs Isengard. 10/10

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 5th+ viewing, blu-ray – Yup, this is still my favorite of the trilogy. I don’t really have anything new to say about it, so I’ll just rehash some of my old points: this was not an easy book to make into any kind of functioning movie, least of all a movie of this scope. But the way the storylines complement each other is perfect, and the story is really engaging. It has the most memorable scenes, both action and non-action, and “My friends – you bow to no one” is probably the best delivered line of any movie of the aughts. This is pure cinema magic. 10/10

    Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures – 1st viewing, blu-ray – I liked this documentary mainly because I love Stanley Kubrick and am very interested in his work. It was really nice to hear about some of his unfinished projects, see footage from some of his old short films, home movies, and early photographs. But it really didn’t do anything brilliant, documentary-wise. The Tom Cruise voiceover is not particularly engaging, and half the interviews are just Kubrick-celebratory in a not-so-interesting way. For this reason it also feels a bit too long. On a side note, the so-called “blu-ray” quality was horrible and left a lot to be desired. 6/10

    Battleship Potemkin – 1st viewing, blu-ray – Finally got around to watching this. This is probably the most effective propaganda I have ever laid eyes upon. It is without comparison the most engaging full length silent film I have seen. The cinematography is just fantastic, and most of the scenes are extremely memorable because of this. The Odessa stairs scene is surprisingly gory for its time, and is one of the most riveting cinematic sequences ever, disregarding age. Technically, you simply can’t criticize the film. But of course the storyline is greatly exaggerated and leaves a lot to be desired, and here it really shows its age. Still, I’d recommend it to anyone. And on a side-note, the blu-ray looks fantastic. 9/10

    Now, a couple of questions for you:
    1 – Agree/disagree with my thoughts?
    2 – How do you rank the Lord of the Rings movies?
    3 – What are your thoughts on The Hobbit compared to the Lord of the Rings movies?
    4 – How many silent films have you seen? Which are your favorites?

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

      Loved Potemkin, watched it last month.
      As for the Lord Of The Rings i'd rank the first a 10, the second a 7 and the last a 9.

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

      1. I agree with you.
      2. 1. Return of the King. 2. The Fellowship of the Ring. 3. The Two Towers.
      3. The Hobbit is pretty inferior to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
      4. I don't know how many I've seen, but I do know I like The Artist and the old Charlie Chaplin films.

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

      LOTR Rankings:

      1. The Two Towers (5 out of 5, A+)
      2. The Fellowship of the Ring (4.5 out of 5)
      3. The Return of the King (4.5 out of 5)

      Overall, one of the best trilogies to ever grace the screen, behind the Toy Story trilogy and Richard Linklater's Before... trilogy.

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

      Again, I keep posting without finishing up some of my responses. Forgive my forgetfulness today, please.

      On silent films: I have seen but only a few silent films, though the ones I have seen I have genuinely loved. My favorites include The Gold Rush (starring Charlie Chaplin, 1925), Modern Times (starring Charlie Chaplin, 1936), and Safety Last! (starring Harold Lloyd, 1923). I felt that 2011's The Artist recreated the feeling of these silents well, though it tends to lose its luster after one viewing, unlike the ones I mentioned above. Definitely need to see more silents though -- much of Keaton's body of work sits in my Netflix Instant queue.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

        Have you seen The General? Just saw it last month, and it's fantastic!

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. I'm not as enthusiastic about "The Lord of the Rings" as you are, but all three are pretty good.
      2. I've always preferred the second, followed by the first film and then ROTK.
      3. I really hated "The Hobbit"- it was long, boring and I felt that the passion found in the LOTR trilogy was missing entirely.
      4. The only silent film I've seen (not including "The Artist") is "The Gold Rush", which I enjoyed quite a bit. I'm looking forward to checking out more Chaplin films, mainly "City Lights."

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

      2) It's been ages since I've seen Return of the King so I'm afraid I can't really comment on that one. However between the first two, I'd say I prefer Fellowship.

      3) I think each of The Lord of the Rings are fully realized films. The first Hobbit felt incredibly disjointed to the point that it didn't really feel like a complete film. I'm holding out some faint measure of hope that the next two can improve.

      4) Not very many, something I hope to remedy. However right now, I'd say my favorite is The Gold Rush.

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

      My Lord of the Rings rankings
      1. Fellowship of the Ring
      2. The Return of the King
      3. The Two Towers
      But I love them all.

      2. I liked The Hobbit, but it's nowhere near as good as the original trilogy. It has many major flaws, so hopefully the sequels will improve.

      3. I haven't watched too many silent films, but I love Chaplin's The Great Dictator and Keaton's The General

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

      1. I think that The Lord Of The Rings films are all great. Haven't seen anything else.

      2. 1. The Return Of The King 2. The Fellowship Of The Ring 3. The Two Towers.

      3. I thought that The Hobbit was really good, but I think that Lord Of The Rings is better.

      4. I've only seen The Artist and I loved it.

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

      1. Agree with the Lord of the Rings movies.
      2. Two Towers, Return of the King & Fellowship of the Ring - in that order.
      3. I'm one of the very, very few that enjoyed The Hobbit. I was NEVER bored throughout, I can't believe that. Definitely not as good as The Lord of the Rings mvoies but it's off to a solid start IMO and hopefully, the next two will be better.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

        I really love The Hobbit as well, you're not alone! But agreed, not as good as LOTR

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

      1) It's hard for me to rank the LOTR films, I always saw them as one film...but if I had to choose it would be The Fellowship of the Ring, it seemed the most character-oriented and wonderfully set up Middle-Earth the epicness to follow.

      2) The Hobbit being compared to LOTR doesn't seem fair...the stakea are just not the same, it doesn't really impact Middle-Earth as a whole...it is more about Bilbo & the Dwarfs. Also, it is a lighter story though I am sure the sequels will get darker as they ought to...the book was abit too simplified (though I love it). I am glad Jackson expanded it and makes it feel more epic on the film...that is how I wanted to see it on the big screen. While I doubt the 3 Hobbit films will be as great as the LOTR trilogy, I am confident they will be very entertaining and make great companion pieces to the epic LOTR trilogy.

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

    In Theaters:

    Lee Daniels' The Butler- A fine film that stretches a bit long, but contains some of the most powerful scenes so far this year. I didn't feel Oprah added anything, and Rickman's Reagan seemed off to me, but for the most part this is a well-rounded ensemble cast. Forest Whitaker, especially, is great, and Gaines's relationship with his (fictional) son is the strongest portion of the film. This is more or less exactly the film I was expecting. A satisfying, if unspectacular, period drama. But with this film (and the trailers that played before it), I just want to note how excited I am that the summer movie season is winding down and it appears we're about to get into some really good stuff in these coming months. 3/4

    At Home:

    Stardust (rewatch)- An ambitious, if muddled, fairy tale. Robert De Niro is the highlight. 2.5/4

    High Fidelity (rewatch)- This movie rocks. John Cusack tears down the fourth wall and it brilliantly puts you in the mindset of an annoyed, recently-dumped, twenty-something trying to get his life together. Also the soundtrack is one of the best. 4/4

    Only God Forgives- A gorgeous film with some great aspects, but ultimately feels so disjointed that it almost falls apart completely. 2.5/4

    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut- I'm not even a huge fan of the show, but this had me laughing consistently. An enjoyably crude musical comedy with some biting satire thrown in for good measure. 3/4

    Big Fish- Burton really can be a talented director, and it's work like this that proves it. I was initially skeptical based on the sappy plot description, but one story at a time I was won over by the charming nature of the whole film. The final story actually carried some emotional weight. 3.5/4

    Trainspotting- A movie that is sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, and sometimes both. Danny Boyle brings his signature style and it is much appreciated. Also watching this the night after Big Fish, I was thoroughly impressed with Ewan McGregor.

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

      Oh and a 3.5/4 for Trainspotting.

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

        I watched Trainspotting this week as well and thought it was one of the best movies I've seen. 10/10 for me.

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

      I echo your feelings on South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut -- not a huge fan of the series, in that I have hardly seen it and don't make an effort to -- but the satirization of society and the message on censorship, combined with the crude, humorous musical comedy, had me in stitches, and still holds up today. First time I saw it was in sixth grade (almost 10 years ago).

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

      Haven't seen Big Fish in a while but I do remember enjoying it and definitely felt the emotional weight of the ending.

      Trainspotting sounds like a heck of a film.

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

    In Theaters:

    We're the Millers -A decent comedy with more than enough laughs to merit a matinee or, at the very least, a rental. It could've been much better considering the cast is so good and the story's actually decent, but I got the sense that it didn't want to be more darker or daring than it already was. And if you can accept that going in, then it'll be much more enjoyable. The cast is very funny and each have their own individual moments to shine. The movie doesn't really earn its sentimentality, but at least it's as painful or offensive as something like Identity Thief. It's not a great comedy, or even a memorable one, but it's good enough. I've seen much worse this year.

    Lee Daniels' The Butler -The Oscar season if off to a solid start with Lee Daniels' The Butler. A solid drama that is much, much better than I expected it to be. It does have problems, but it's still a film that's worth seeing and it does has great individual scenes.
    The best part of the movie is the father/son relationship between Cecil and Louis Gaines. Their family story is a powerful one and I have to admit that I was moved to tears by the end of it. I don't care if it's sentimental or manipulative or Oscar-bait. It works and it's easily the highlight of the film. The other great scene include the diner scene that's intermixed with the butlers preparing dinner. A great example of the old generation vs the new generation and their different interpretations.

    The two main cast members, Forest Whitaker and David Oyelowo, both give fine performances, with Oyelowo being the standout. I also enjoyed Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as the other butlers. Both could've benefitted from more screen time and a better closure to their characters. Oprah is good, but not award-worthy. Her character isn't as well-written as Whitaker's or Oyelowo's. Still, she's does a nice job and gives a moving performance.

    The White House scenes, however, are problematic. The stunt casting is the main reason because it takes away from the important moments. While watching, it's clear you're not watching the President, but celebrities impersonating him. For me, it only worked with Liev Schreiber as LBJ, and James Marsden as JFK. Robin Williams and Alan Rickman try their best, but they're only passable. The worst offender is John Cusack. It'd be a fine performance if he wasn't playing Richard Nixon. He looks nothing like him and doesn't sound like him either. I just don't know why you cast Cusack that's not in the context of a joke. Was Frank Langella not available?

    Its other problems are mainly due to its ambition. To the movie's credit and detriment, it tries to tackle many different subjects. There's simply too much material for its running time and may have been better had it been three hours instead of two.

    If you're one of those people who watched the trailer and thought it looked terrible, fear not! The Butler is a good movie that's worth seeing, mostly for the family drama that is emotionally effective. There are many problems, but overall, the good significantly outweighs the bad.

    At Home:

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -Not a whole lot to say, other then that it's a great ending to a terrific franchise. It all ends in the best way possible.

    Safe Haven - Still need to send in the voice review for the contest. All I can really say is that it's a Nicholas Sparks movie. It's not a good movie and I'm not going to defend it, but I can't muster up any dislike for it because it's not for me. The twist is crazy, but I already knew that going in, so it didn't bug me too much. The fundamental problem is that I'm not the movie's target audience and I just don't care. Yeah, it's cheesy and stupid, but what else can you expect from Nicholas Sparks? For its fan base, it's perfectly fine. For anyone else, it's a waste of time.

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

      I completely agree on Deathly Hallows Part 2.

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

        Yeah, it's one of the best in the series. Makes me want to do a marathon of all 8 movies.

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

    District 9</b<
    An intelligent and exciting sci-fi film. Maybe the last of its kind. District 9 has an intriguing and unique premise, likeable characters, and superb special effects; all working together to form a great piece of cinema. Sharlto Copely is great as the bumbling, likeable, determined Wikus van de Murwe, a man assigned to deliver eviction notices to the alien residents of District 9. While there, however, he's exposed to some sort of liquid, which starts to take its toll in strange ways... Wikus, and his Prawn co-star, Christopher are great characters, who are well developed, creating genuinely exciting action scenes, with high stakes and plenty of drama. Christopher, and the rest of the Prawns, are wonderfully rendered, with some truly extraordinary special effects. But, beneath the surface, lies the parallels to apartheid and racial acceptance. The film manages to find an excellent balance between intelligent subtext and entertaining action, mostly thanks to the great script. District 9 is an excellent action/sci-fi film, and one that deserves to be noticed.
    4/5

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    This film is a lot of things. It's an intelligent, unique western. It's a tragedy. It's a study of idolization and desire for fame. It's a tale of friendship and betrayal. It's a character study, between the two titular characters, brilliantly portrayed by Casey Affleck and Brad Pitt. It's a film with some of the best cinematography out to the screen. But, above all else, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is a masterpiece, and one of my favorite films.
    5/5

    Pain & Gain
    A surprisingly funny, and entertaining black comedy. The Rock and Mark Wahlberg are both quite good as bodybuilders who kidnap and extort a very wealthy man to acquire his monetary assets. This film is perfectly suited to Michael Bay's style. The machismo, the crazy story, and the funny (but sometimes bland) characters all mesh with Bay's aesthetic and colorful direction. It's also obvious that Bay has crafted his most mature film yet, creating a commentary on the bullshit that is the american dream and the ignorance of the american people. It manages to be something unique, but still embellishes the usual flairs of Michael Bay. While it is somewhat disturbing to think that Michael Bay is sensationalizing tragic, real -life events, it's plainly clear that it's all part of the subtext. Pain & Gain is Michael Bay's most unique, and fully-realized film yet. It's also a really fun time.
    3.5/5

    Bernie
    This was a strange little film. The plot is fairly weird, which makes for some interesting points, but it definitely loses its stride in places. Jack Black is very good in the titular role, offering up what is probably his finest performance. Matthew McCounaughey is good as well, and the rest of the cast does a fine job. As far as black comedies go, it's not all that funny, but more amusing. It's an entertaining little film, but it's nothing very special.
    3/5

    jOBS
    A film that attempts to portray Steve Jobs as a visionary hero in one scene, and in the next, knocks him down into a slave-driving asshole. It fails in most narrative aspects, creating one-dimmensional characters and unfavorable man portrayed as a hero. Most of the dialogue is weak, and uninspired, but it is the film's true downfall in the long run. The story is not handled well, and it's titular character is poor. The highest redeeming aspect of jOBS is the performance from Ashton Kutcher. He's a dead ringer of Steve Jobs, and despite the screenplay's shortcomings, manages to provide an excellent performance. jOBS is a poor film, brought up to a low level of acceptance by its lead performance. I don't think it's as terrible as some claim, but it's certainly not anything special.
    2.5/5

    Questions

    1. What's your favorite/least favorite Michael Bay film?
    2. Which version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo do you prefer? Niels Arden Oplev's or David Fincher's?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      1 - I truly dislike Michael Bay... that said, my favorite of his is Bad Boys or Transformers probably, and my least favorite... The Island? Bad Boys II? Transformers 3? Everything by default
      2 - I don't really enjoy Oplev's, but really liked Fincher's.

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

      1. Favorite: Transformers. Least favorite: Transformers 2.

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

      1. I have a two part answer. For sheer junk destruction I enjoy the Transformers series, I have no issues with admitting that, but I think on a finished level his best film is The island (2005), and 'The Rock' (1996) actually holds up very well for the actioner it is as well. I never liked the Bad Boys flicks though I appreciate little separates them from most of his other work.

      2. It's been said that Oplev's film was more interested in the mystery plot aspect and Fincher's version was more interested in the character of Lisbeth Salander. I think this is true (but only because the Swedish Trilogy was already a lock and Salander's character was covered across all three films and Fincher was working with one film and no guarantee of a follow up, making him have to look at her more closely than Oplev necessarily needed to). In the end, I've seen each version of the story twice to date. Both a good, neither are great. It would be a toin coss although I don't especially like the more convoluted ending Fincher put on his film to conclude the mystery element.

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

        What the hell is a 'toin coss'? That's a typo. One of my many. Let's try coin toss instead.

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

      1. Favorite is Armageddon. Least favorite is Pearl Harbor.

      2. Only seen Fincher's version, so I'll have to choose that.

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

        Exact same answer as Mr Kessler ;-)

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

      1. Favorite Michael Bay film is Transformers. The sequels were generally terrible, but I felt the first installment was good, and while it was certainly bloated, it was highly entertaining and remains a mindless action film that I will continue to watch into the future.

      2. Fincher, by far. And by "by far," I mean by at least a full star on my 5-star scale. Oplev's version is okay, but the storytelling grows shoddy once the midway point hits, and Noomi Rapace -- though highly praised for her performance -- feels too strong in the role of Lisbeth Salander. Fincher crafts a more eerie air in his film, a feeling that cuts straight to my bones and makes me genuinely thrilled throughout. Of course, lest we not forget Rooney Mara's fantastic Oscar-nominated performance -- vulnerable, nuanced, and altogether the best performance of that year. Should have won an Oscar, dang it!

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. My favorite is probably the original "Transformers." It's stupid and noisy but I think it's a lot of fun. I'd probably consider the second "Transformers" his worst, though outside of "Armageddon" I'm not a fan of anything else he's directed.
      2. I definitely prefer Fincher's version. Oplev's felt like a simple procedural with an interesting lead character, while Fincher really made the story his own while still remaining faithful to the book. That being said, I still consider it to be one of his lesser films (largely because of problems I had with the source material).

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

      1. Favourite: Transfomers: Dark Of The Moon. Least favourite: Transformers

      2. Haven't seen either.

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

      1. I'm a Michael Bay fan, I tend to like almost everything from him, he usually gives me something to enjoy a lot. My favorite is either The Island, Transformers: Dark of The Moon & Pain & Gain (can't really pick one). My Least favorite is Pearl Harbor.
      2. I like Fincher's version a bit more because I liked that it was darker and I liked Rooney Mara a lot as Lisabeth Salander, I thought she also deserved the Oscar more than Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady which wasn't even one of her best roles. I do enjoy Oplev's version and performances by Noomi Rapace & Michael Nyqvist but Fincher's was much better.

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

      I haven't seen Pain & Gain, but I want to after reading your review.

      My favorite Bay film is the criminally underrated movie The Island.

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

        Both of those are criminally underrated, a couple of Bay's best films.

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

    Once (2007)-This isn't a typical musical. It's not Chicago or Les Mis. It's much more low key, and it works beautifully for that reason. The songs strike a note with the emotions of its characters and are beautifully sung. The movie slowly lets us into the personal lives of these two people, then breaks our hearts when we realize they can't be together. This is a wonderful movie, and one I will have to add to my top ten of that year. 9/10

    Stand by Me (1986)-Even though I think The Princess Bride is a better Rob Reiner family movie I still enjoyed this quirky, nostalgic ode to childhood. I thought much of it was very funny but also a bit sad. The child actors were all very good with River Phoenix being the standout among them. A nice movie. 8/10

    Eastern Promises (2007)-This film actually serves as my introduction to David Cronenberg's work and it was a very pleasant one. The cinematography was absolutely beautiful and Viggo Mortensen gives a wonderfully sinister performance. Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Vincent Cassel were also noteworthy. My main problem with this movie was the length. The story contains many interesting characters and storylines but holds back too much so it can be less than 100 minutes. If Cronenberg does get a chance to make a sequel I hope he does. Overall, I really liked this movie and look forward to seeing more of Cronenberg's films, namely A History of Violence. 8/10

    Walk the Line (2005)-On paper, this should be a rote piece of storytelling. But thanks to its fascinating subject matter and vivacious performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, it emerges as a great biopic. I loved the music and costumes here. 2005 wasn't the best year for movies but this is certainly one of the gems from that year. 8/10

    Babel (2006)-I appreciated the ambition behind this film, but I found it too overwrought and plodding. This movie suffers from the same problems as the director's later film, Biutiful. It's beautifully shot and acted, but it's too long and it's sadness isn't built on anything meaningful enough. I think it's a decent movie but I would have nominated a few other movies over this one for the Oscar that year. 6/10

    Memento (2001)-The first thing I did after seeing this movie was go on IMDb to look at message boards. Which is something I do for most movies, but not with as much enthusiasm. This movie is so hard to critique because even though it is certainly one of Nolan's better movies, it does have some structural issues. Pierce, Moss, and Pantoliano are excellent. My chief problem is that we are supposed to be invested in characters who are later deemed to be either unreliable or untrustworthy. At that point it just became an example of a movie in which we are supposed to wait for things to "happen." The ending isn't all that explosive either as I had guessed it more than 30 minutes before it actually happened. What puts this above Inception are the themes of denial and love present here, which give the film a touch of humanity that I wasn't expecting. So, this is a great movie, but I'm not willing to overpraise it until I've seen it again. 8.5/10

    Side Effects (2013)-Despite some ludicrous plot developments, the film manages to contain no less than four solid performances from Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I also remember Ann Dowd from Compliance and enjoyed seeing her here as well. I think Behind the Candelabra is a better movie but this provides some genre thrills that I hadn't had since Star Trek into Darkness, so that's something. A good movie, but not a great one. 7.5/10

    This week's "One or the Other?" is Babel (2006; directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu) and Crash (2005; directed by Paul Haggis). I would pick Crash because it weaves in and out of its multiple storylines much more easily and is shorter and more focused.

    That's all for this week.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      I agree with you, but it's tough, since I really enjoyed both movies. Both are extremely unpleasant and brilliantly acted out. I think I prefer the writing of Babel, but Crash works better on a more direct emotional level.

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

      On your one or other - I would have to go with 'Crash' by default as I've never gotten around to 'Babel' yet. I think 'Crash' is OK, but I don't find myself wanting to watch it very often at all.

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

      Glad Brad has these posts, as Once sounds like something I could enjoy with my wife. She loves musicals.

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

      Crash by default because i have not seen Babel. But i give Crash an "A" and frankly i am the minority who seem to think Crash deserved the Best Picture, though not alot of people in letterboxd agree :P

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

        Definitely Crash, i've seen that film so many times, Babel is ok though.

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

      I totally agree with you about Babel. The ambition is commendable; the execution leaves a lot to be desired. And Rinko Kikuchi is my choice for the Most Undeserved Supporting Actress Oscar nominee EVER.

      I think Crash is the better film, though it is certainly not Best Picture worthy either. It always kept my interest though, and the characters captured my attention and were well-acted by the cast.

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

    When I totted it all up I watched more than I had thought this week but there were no theatre trips for me this week, all home viewing.

    At Home.

    The Third Man (1949): TV airing, rewatch - I've seen this before several times and spoken about it before so I won't go into detail, but suffice to say this is one I always enjoy catching which applied this week as much as any other.

    Red Desert (1964): Blu ray, rewatch - I first watched this a few months back (or maybe longer) but it had stayed in my mind and recently bought it cheap in a Blu ray sale. Michelangelo Antonioni's study of a woman undergoing extreme neuroses as a result of her inability to adapt to the changing world around her is led by actress Monica Vitti's performance but also some beautifully stark and industrial cinematography as well. It remains generally inconclusive at the end as to whether or not her character will work through her problems or not but I find it interesting.

    Rosemary's Baby (1968): DVD, first watch - I find it a little hard on this one and my theory is my reaction has to do with having taken so long to finally watch it. I wasn't purposely avoiding it, I just never had an overwhelming inclination to check it out mostly. OK, so it's very well regarded and viewed as a horror classic. But it's one of those instances where a film held in such regard really failed to do a heck of a lot for me outside of a highly watchable Ruth Gordon. The problem is I've seen so many derivations and retreads of story elements of Rosemary's Baby in later years all of it's beats and developments could be seen coming really. And demonic possession/Satanic children stories don't really 'scare' me (much like Zombies). Sure, this film was made before them, but I've seen it too late to have it affect me. I don't know....................this just really did absolutely nothing for me at all. But I've now checked it off the list and I may look at it again sometime in the future.

    Belly of An Architect (1987): Blu ray, rewatch - This is the only Peter Greenaway film I've ever seen (though I have a couple others on my Lovefilm rental list) but again after watching it for the second time after many years it stayed in my mind and I bought it cheap along with 'Red Desert' above. There are some, I think interesting themes around the idea of the artist perfectionist in the central character of Stourley Crackelite, an architect with many ambitions but few actual finished works who travels to Rome to work on an exhibition to real life architect Etienne-Louis Boullee (who also aimed big but had few works completed) and who begins to feel strange pains in his stomach overtaking his intentions, as his life seemingly starts to mirror Boullee's. Beautifully shot as well and with a music score I liked I do find this one is a film which likes to bubble around my head when I watch it.

    Pollock (2000): Streaming, first watch - Ed Harris's debut directorial covering Jackson Pollock and the period in his life from the early 1940s to his death and dealing mostly with his relationship with fellow artist Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden in the performance that won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar over that year's favourite Kate Hudson for 'Almost Famous') is a film I found well intentioned, very well acted (I can see why Harden snuck up and took it) and well shot with a good period feel for the New York of that time. However, I did feel the material wandered a little towards the end and also began to rush the timescale leading to a very abrupt ending with some title cards to finish off what happened to some of the characters. I did like the film, but I'm not sure it taught me a lot about Jackson Pollock I couldn't find elsewhere if I had wanted to look for it.

    Wonder Boys (2000): DVD, rewatch - Now, this is a film which is really a very personal favourite of mine. I know other people have watched it and went sort of 'huh?' over it, and I can completely get that. But for me, this is one of my favourite films in a way that I can't really explain in writing. I just watch it...............and I feel better and satisfied afterwards. I'm not going to question that, I'm just going to allow the film somehow has that effect on me.

    Milk (2008): DVD, rewatch - I hadn't watched this one for a while either and it was also great to be reminded of how good Gus Van Sant's bio of Harvey Milk was, led by Sean Penn in his Oscar winning role. Emotive without going too heavy handed it helps it covers a relatively short span in Milk's life (1970 - 1978) and his life and work in San Francisco alone. Again, the period feel is well realised (thanks also to Van Sant's effective deployment of archive reel footage mixed in with his own material) and the direction good. It was one of those instances where I asked myself how I hadn't watched it for so long as soon as I did.

    Easier with Practice (2009): DVD, rewatch - I imagine a little seen indie flick from a few years back that I stumbled across after being intrigued by the premise and bought cheap on DVD a year or so ago. Based on a magazine article and on a real life series of events it concerns a struggling writer (Brian Geraghty) travelling on a book tour with his brother. Late at night in a dive motel the phone rings and a woman is on the other end of the phone. They engage in phone sex and then afterwards begin a phone based relationship which starts out sexual and then becomes something else. Until finally............a meeting between the two is suggested. As a look at how the need for contact and intimacy can lead people down certain roads over others it's a small and modest film, but one which speaks to a certain level of disconnect that can happen to people who aren't necessarily as socially polished and able as others are. And the needs that manifest themselves regardless.

    The Sessions (2012): Blu ray, first watch - This is one that I wanted to like, but which in the end I just couldn't. Not as much as I wanted and hoped to. I like the premise and the true story aspect of it (38 year old man engages the services of a sex surrogate after being left disabled physically by Polio to lose his virginity) but the film itself was just so ultimately slight and seemed like a real oversimplification of the seeming challenges involved. In the course of the film, once the decision to engage the surrogates services was made, the rest appeared to happen relatively straightforwardly. I liked John Hawkes' performance and Helen Hunt physically went all out for the first time since I think 'The Waterdance' back in 1991 but for such a short film there were a couple of times it wandered (the apparent subplot looking at Hunt's husband's characters issues with her relationship with her client didn't amount to anything at all so why was it there?) as well. It's not at all a bad film, it's well acted and well intentioned....................it just didn't click into place properly for me and left me a little disappointed.

    In TV-Land I continued with and watched seasons 6 and 7 (1999-2001) of 'Friends' (which were mid run seasons, not the best material - it picked up again properly from season 8) and also continued with 'The Americans' and 'Cheers' on broadcast television.

    I also started reading a new book this week. Patti Smith's 2010 book 'Just Kids' a memoir mostly of her 1967-1974 relationship with New York photographer/artist Robert Mapplethorpe. I'm about 80 pages in only so far, but it's quite good. I borrowed it from a friend after going to see Smith herself playing a performance in Glasgow last week which was thoroughly worth attending. I'll hopefully finish that book off over the rest of the coming week.

    That was all for me.

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

      I am with you on Rosemary's Baby. Had same reaction when I watched it last year.

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

        Yeah, I mean usually even if I don't find I like a 'classic' film I can usually see elements of why they are regarded as well as they are, but with this one I'm not even sure I would have been impressed with it if I was alive in 1968 seeing it fresh.

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

      You saw a lot of worthwhile films. I really need to move Pollack up on my "To-Be-Watched" list.

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

    In Theaters:

    The Way, Way Back: This is a great film. It's a very consistently funny comedy, infused with never heavy-handed drama. All of the performances are fantastic, most noticeably Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell, who made me dislike him to the nth degree, which is incredibly hard to do. It had a tender love story as well, which didn't detract from the film at all. Just an all around fantastic film. 5/5

    At home:

    Back to the Future Part 3 (rewatch): In my opinion, the least of the Back to the Future films. It felt overly long and was bogged down by the Doc-Clara love story. I still like it, but it isn't quite as good as the other 2, in my opinion. 3/5

    Despicable Me (rewatch): This is a fun movie. Nothing deep or philosophical, but it provides a nice time watching a movie, with minions and clever jokes all around, with a nice message to walk away from for the smaller kids. But, there is a misstep, in which Jason Segel doesn't seem to be a good choice for Vector, who is the main villain against Gru, Steve Carrell's charachter. But, it's an enjoyable film. 3.5/5

    TV:
    Big Brother: C+
    Whodunnit: B+
    Hell's Kitchen: (Still binge-watching it with my brother, will have a review by next week.)
    Masterchef: B

    Ok, now I'm going to attempt some questions:
    1. Opinions on the movies that I watched this week?
    2. What is your favorite Back to the Future movie?
    3. What is your favorite coming-of-age film?
    4. What is your favorite Steve Carrell film? Least favorite?
    5. What is your favorite animated film of the 2010's so far? Why?

    So, that's it for me this week. Thoughts?

    • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

      1.I agree on The Way Way Back. It's one of my favorites of the year and Despciable Me is a fun animated movie that I prefer to the sequel.
      5. Toy Story 3

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

        Yeah, The Way Way Back is fantastic.

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

      Great to hear the good review on The Way, Way Back, haven't seen it but it just builds my excitement for it.

      My favorite Back to the Future is the first one as well, (9/10).

      My favorite Steve Carell performance is The Office though I have not seen that many episodes. The character's stupidity is very hilarious.

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

        The Office was mostly great, I was very sad when it came to a close.

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

          Have you watched the BBC version of The Office?

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

            About 2 years ago, I watched part of the first episode, but then I had to go do something, but I didn't finish it (unfortunately)

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

      1. I like Despicable Me and Back to the Future, although Part 3 isn't nearly as good as the others. Still need to see The Way, Way Back.

      2. The first.

      3. My favorites would include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stand By Me, American Graffiti, and Super 8.

      4. My favorite is probably The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Least favorite is The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

      5. Toy Story 3. I think the Toy Story trilogy is the one of the best. Each installment is just as good as the last, and the third really closes it on a hugely satisfying note. It's one of those movies where you can watch it over and over again.

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

        Yeah, I completely agree with you on Part 3.

        Both Perks and Super 8 are incredibly well done in my opinion.

        Toy Story 3 was very emotional, now let's hope they don't make a 4th one.

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

      I'll answer some of them but I can't answer all of them -

      1. I've only seen 'Back to The Future, Part III' which I actually like.

      2. Probably the first one, although as I said I don't dislike any of them particularly.

      3. I think this was asked last week. I may have mentioned an affinity for 'Perks of Being a Wallflower' out of recent years but it's not a type of film I often gravitate too. I may have mentioned 'Mud' to a degree as well. Some people viewed 'Super 8' as a coming-of-age film which I never quite thought it was...............but if it is being classed in that vein then I would vote for it as well. 'Stand by Me' is also pretty good on that front although I don't view it as quite the classic it seems to be.

      4. Not really a Carell fan if I'm honest.

      5. I'm very behind on animated films because I don't go to see them in theatres, but rent them instead. And usually live action takes precedence over animation at that point anyway.

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

        Well, I liked Part 3, just not as much as the other 2.

        I would accept Mud and Super 8, both of which I really, really enjoyed.

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

          Part 3 never seems to get much attention but I actually like the Doc/Clara story and the Western setting. It all looks great on Blu Ray.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. I loved "The Way, Way Back" and enjoyed "Despicable Me" quite a bit.
      2. The only one I really love is the original. I didn't enjoy the seocnd at all and barely remember the third.
      3. Hm... a tough one. Some of my favorites include "Almost Famous", "Stand By Me", "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The 400 Blows."
      4. Hmm... my favorite would probably be "Little Miss Sunshine" with my least favorite being "Evan Almighty."
      5. An easy answer: "Toy Story 3." Growing up with the first two films and having the third being released right before my senior year of high school, that was an incredibly emotional filmgoing experience. It's such a well made film- one of the best animated movies ever made, IMO.

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

        Hm. I had no idea that The 400 Blows was a coming of age film.

        I really enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine too.

        Toy Story 3 was great, it'll definitely be in contention for my top 10 of the decade when the time rolls around.

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

      1) Agree with you 100% on Back to the Future Part 3. I think I liked both The Way, Way Back and Despicable Me a little less than you did, though WWB is still a very good film and both are enjoyable. Also you're absolutely right about Rockwell and Carell in WWB, they're great.

      2) The first is still my favorite, with the two following each being a notch worse.

      3) I'd probably have to say Almost Famous.

      4) Favorite: Anchorman
      Least favorite: Evan Almighty

      5) Toy Story 3. Just one of the best emotional payoffs in the last few years.

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

        Yeah, that ending for Toy Story 3 was something else.

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

      1. I loved The Way Way Back, such a great surprise.
      2. It's been way too long since I've seen any of them.
      3. Almost Famous, Super 8, Mud
      4. Crazy Stupid Love and Dan In Real Life, probably. Liked Date Night as well. Don't really have a least favourite.
      5. Tangled or Toy Story 3, but nothing has really stood out for me so far.

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

        Oh, and Little Miss Sunshine!

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

          I really enjoyed both Little Miss Sunshine and Dan in Real Life when it comes to Carrell.

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

      1. Only seen Despicable Me and I enjoyed it.

      2. Haven't seen any of them.

      3. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

      4. Favourite: Anchorman. Least favourite: Evan Almighty (although I don't think it's a very bad movie).

      5. Toy Story 3 because I thought it was a very funny and heartwarming movie.

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

        Yeah, I've wanted to see Anchorman for a long, long time now.

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

          Anchorman is really hilarious and Steve Carell completely steals the show in the movie IMO. Definitely check it out as soon as you can.

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

            Yeah, I'll try.

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

      1. I've only seen Despicable Me and I truly love that movie. I still got to see the sequel and The Way, Way Back.
      2. I remember enjoying the first, I don't remember much of the sequels so by default the first one.
      3. Ugh man, this one's tough. I'm just going to throw out some of my favorites: Dazed & Confused, The Sandlot, Clueless, American Pie, Almost Famous, Mean Girls & Superbad.
      4. Probably, my favorite comedic actor out there. I love him in The Office, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Crazy, Stupid, Love & Little Miss Sunshine but my favorite of his is Dan in Real Life and least favorite is Sleepover.
      5. Rango

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

        Rango is so funny and a loving homage to westerns. I really enjoyed it when it came out.

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

          Yes indeed it is.

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

      Oh yeah, I also watched the first 5 episodes of Season 2 of The Newsroom, which I like a lot.

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

        I've liked Season 2 so far, my favorite episode so far of the season is "Unintended Consequences" (episode 4). I also liked episode 3 "Willie Pete" because it's by far the funniest episode of the Season so far.

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

          Yeah, that's my favorite episode too.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      1) Only seen Despicable Me, which I have kinda mixed feelings about
      2) Only seen the first one
      3) Stand by Me or The Perks of Being a Wallflower
      4) I haven't seen all that much of his work - my favorite would be Anchorman, my least favorite probably Hope Springs
      5) Toy Story 3 by far, though I'm hoping Ghibli will provide some real competition soon enough

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

      The Way, Way Back is a contender for my favorite film of the year so far. I've never been a fan of Sam Rockwell but thought he was great here. The whole story and characters just work really well.

      I like the Back to the Future series. The first is best, the second is the worst. It has a number of plot inconsistencies.

      Stand By Me is my favorite coming of age film. Breaking Away is another great one.

      Favorite Steve Carell film is The 40 Year-Old Virgin. I haven't seen many of his films, so the worst is Date Night by default -- though I found it tolerable. You would have to pay me to see Dinner for Schmucks or Horton Hears a Who though.

      Haven't seen that many animated films, but I love Toy Story 3.

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

    The Zatoichi series sounds interesting, hope you enjoy.

    Breaking Bad:
    The series finale premieres with a bang. The script is really well written and the amazing ensemble delivers it greatly. This season continues the story of methamphetamine chemist Walter White as he tries to put the methamphetamine business behind him only to realize that his detective brother in law is investigating his actions. The king is indeed back in Golden Globe nominee Bryan Cranston.

    Emmy winner Aaron Paul does a splendid job as usual with the character of Jesse Pinkman, as he struggles with a depression brought on by the past that haunts him.
    Spoiler Alert: Pinkman is being haunted more so by the assassination of a child in front of his eyes last season. In part many will argue that he should not have been around that crowd to begin with and that he is not that innocent considering the business he has been running with Walt for so long. Saul Goodman’s character played by Bob Odenkirk tells Pinkman “I’m sorry to say kid, but you are still going to be two miracles short of sainthood,” as Pinkman offers to donate his money. Dean Norris does a heck of a job throughout the episode portraying the struggles that his character detective Hank Schrader faces as he begins to discover that the brother-in-law he loves is the “Heisenberg” drug lord he has been searching for. The highly anticipated confrontation between Walt and Hank is phenomenal and sets up what should continue to be eight more hours of intense Drama.
    (9/10)

    Star Trek: Into Darkness:
    Into Darkness, sequel to Start trek (2009) is a really good action film. I disagree with Brad in that this was a mistake, but to each our own opinion. The film is not as innovative as its predecessor but it is visually stunning with good performances by a great ensemble. Critic consensus is at 87% (rottentomatoes). As many of you know I am a huge fan of Golden Globe nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), and in this film he delivers yet again as a bad ass villain. Critic’s Nominee Chris Pine is good once again in the too reckless role of Captain Kirk. Emmy nominee Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story) does a fantastic job as Spock. He serves perfectly to balance the dangerous approach of Captain Kirk. Quinto delivered some emotional scenes throughout the film that gave me chills as an action fan. Emmy winning Director J.J. Abrams (Lost) knows how to entertain an audience and does yet again with this action packed film. The writing was unsophisticated but the film is overall a good action film.
    (8/10)

    The Sapphires:
    Good Drama comedy, with good music and well written. Based on the true story of four young women who sing to US troops during the Vietnamese War, The Sapphires is a funny and an emotional film. Agree with Brad, BAFTA winner Chris O'Dowd (Festival) delivers a funny and intriguing performance. The film was a bit more for a female audience but I still enjoyed it. Writer's Guild winners Thompson and Briggs (son of the true life lead singer) deliver a heck of a script.
    (8/10)

    What Maisie Knew:
    This Drama had an impressive performance by the young Onata Aprile, but overall too boring for my taste. The story follows Maisie as she is in the middle of very conflicting parents and their new spouses. Aprile just seems so natural in every scene she is in. Aside from her there was only a few other noteworthy performances. Director Scott McGehee and David Siegel don’t do too much to really grasp the audience’s interest in my opinion. Or perhaps the dullness was due to the commitment to the original source.
    (6/10)

    What is your favorite Bryan Cranston Performance?
    Mine is Breaking Bad

    What is your favorite Benedict Cumberbatch performance?
    Mine is Sherlock

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

      Favorite Bryan Cranston: Argo.

      Favorite Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch prformance: Also Sherlock.

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

        Yea Cranston was brilliant in Argo as well.

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

      Cranston: Breaking Bad

      Cumberbatch: Star Trek Into Darkness as I've yet to watch Sherlock

      Also I agree with you on What Maisie Knew, just not a very compelling film.

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

        Highly recommend Sherlock (9/10), if you are into crime drama. Netflix has both seasons to watch instantly. Season 2 is even better than the first.

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

      Haven't watched enough Cranston to talk about that. Although I really like Breaking Bad.

      And for Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock for sure. GREAT show!

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

        Heck yea Nava, can't wait for season 3. Spoiler alert: Wonder how they will bring Sherlock back or explain his survival.

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

      1. Argo

      2. Star Trek Into Darkness

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      Cranston's best performance is easily "Breaking Bad." He's easily one of the best actors on television at the moment, and possibly of all time.

      As for Cumberbatch, I'm not all that familiar with his work. I believe the only film I've seen him in is "Star Trek Into Darkness."

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

        True on Cranston should pick up another EMMY next month. Hope that he gets his first Golden Globe as well as it's the only major award he has yet to receive for his performance as Walter White.

        For Cumberbatch as I was telling Mikey above I highly recommend Sherlock (9/10), if you are into crime drama. Netflix has both seasons to watch instantly. Season 2 is even better than the first. He is currently in EMMY contention for Parade's End, good period piece but can be a bit dull at times (7.5/10). He is also good in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy.

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

    I'm trying to catch up on 2013 films.

    Safe Haven: I think I’ll do a voicemail for this. Really, Brad and Laremy’s podcast review was far better than the film itself.

    Tyler Perry’s Temptation: There is a lot of unintentional comedy in this morality play turned film. However, there are little moments of possibly interesting film in this, maybe if Perry could get better material he could make better films.

    The Big Wedding: Eh, watching this at home it was okay. Had a few laughs and isn’t very long. Not good, but not unwatchable.

    Oblivion: This was okay too, but it felt like a bit of a mash up of different sci-fi movies, so not very original. I loved the score though.

    Mud: I’m not really a fan of films with kids as main characters, but this was good. The acting and main story are compelling, but several subplots make the film feel kind of overlong.

    So far the year has been pretty lackluster, but I am looking forward to several films, so hopefully things will get better.

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

    You can follow me on Letterboxd here: http://letterboxd.com/as/

    At the theater (first viewing):

    Blue Jasmine -

    It's been a while since Woody knocked it out of the park. As far as I'm concerned, his last great film was Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008. While Midnight in Paris was very good, it didn't quite reach the level of some of his better, more balanced films.

    Blue Jasmine is very much a mixed bag. A lot of what Allen is doing here really works, but so much of it feels redundant and uninspired.

    The best aspect of the film is easily Cate Blanchett's performance. It's absolutely brilliant and it is one of the best performances she's given in years. Jasmine is also one of the most interesting and true-to-life characters Allen has created in some time. It's difficult to imagine anyone capturing the empty, vapid and narcissistic essence of Jasmine quite as well as Blanchett does here. It'll certainly be difficult for any other actress to top what she's done this year. The other excellent performance in the film belongs to Alec Baldwin, who is simply pitch-perfect.

    Unfortunately, not all of the performances are as good. Allen's casting of Andrew Dice Clay is perplexing to say the least. I can't say that I'm terribly familiar with his body of work, but he's clearly a very limited actor, incapable of expressing complex emotions. Many of his line readings felt forced and awkward, but I think a significant portion of the blame for that goes to Allen's direction. His is not the only performance in the film that comes off stilted. At times, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale's performances both came off as unnatural.

    The redundancy I spoke of earlier is probably best evidenced in the Louis C.K. side-plot. It never really goes anywhere and it deals with the infidelity theme Allen has explored many times before, only with diminishing returns. Here, it doesn't serve much of any purpose beyond reaffirming the connection between Hawkins and Cannavale.

    The other thing that really stood out to me was the awkward, poorly-timed edits. Many of the cuts seemed abrupt, and if there had been some score to accompany them, they would have felt much less jarring.

    But when Blue Jasmine works, it is very funny and it does offer some timely commentary on a life based almost solely on an obsession with money and material possessions. If Allen had tightened it up a bit and re-cast some of the actors, he might have really had something.

    3 / 5

    At home (first viewing):

    Two Men in Manhattan (1959) - Terrible performances, terrible screenplay, ugly cinematography, piss-poor direction. Avoid it.

    2 / 5

    Pain & Gain (2013) - Racist, misogynistic, sexist, ageist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, materialistic, kleptomaniacal, authoritarian and nihilistic - Michael Bay's Pain & Gain is the most honest American film I've seen in a long time.

    3 / 5

    On TV:

    Breaking Bad (Season 5 Part II): Ep. 1 - Good, not great. Hopefully it'll pick up steam as it goes along.

    Low Winter Sun (Season 1): Ep. 1 - Very messy and cliched. Mark Strong, however, is good as always. I'll give it one more episode and then toss it.

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

      Just to inform you of Andrew Dice Clay, he is not really an actor. He had a bit part in Pretty in Pink, where he was enjoyable, but he is mostly known for his stand-up routine, which seems so far into male sexist machismo that it almost swings into a satirical realm. My friends and I enjoy him as a satirist, be it his intention or not. As for your reviews, they all seem good, I think I'll have to check out Blue Jasmine

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

        I have heard him on Howard Stern. By that's the extent of my exposure to him.

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

          *But

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

    And just like that, summer is almost over. My summer internship is done, school starts this week, and offseason training begins in early September, so this post may be my last "substantial" one for a while, depending on what I can find time for during the school year. As always, I've got some quick reviews below, and a few questions down at the bottom for you guys as well, so check them out!

    My Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/jmbenesh

    IN THEATERS

    In A World…: Though this is only Bell's first written and directed feature, In A World… feels like a veteran outing from a serious independent filmmaker. It contains large doses of humor and several dramatic cues that, fortunately, never feel like they move the train off the rails in any way. The film is well-balanced and extremely well-acted, a feat for any filmmaker but an especially great one given Bell's relative inexperience behind the camera. Given the praise floating around this film, it's clear that Lake Bell is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Like actor-turned-director Sarah Polley, Bell is both genuine and ruthless, two necessities when it comes to telling stories you wish to tell in Hollywood. 4 / 5

    AT HOME

    In Bruges: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Snatch. Two highly-touted British crime-comedies that absolutely pale in comparison to the brilliance of In Bruges. It's hilarious, dark, full of gangster-esque banter, and even contains a fair amount of emotion that doesn't feel out of place. My favorite line: "Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't." Magnificent. 4.5 / 5

    Intolerable Cruelty: Though lighter Coen fare akin to Burn After Reading -- with less screwball and violence, of course -- Intolerable Cruelty is a whole lot of fun and a fairly polished piece of filmmaking. Tight storytelling, whip-smart dialogue, and pitch-perfect, 1950s romance-style turns from leads Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney highlight the Coen brothers' take on the rom-com genre. It's not innovative or game-changing, but when it comes to the Coens' more frivolous comedies, this is perhaps the best. 4 / 5

    Silver Linings Playbook: You guys all know about my love of this one by now, but I'll just say this: everyone has their go-to movie, that it's-almost-bedtime-I'll-just-throw-in-a-movie-and-fall-asleep film, or that lazy-weekend-might-as-well-watch-something-good flick. When I crave familiarity, Silver Linings Playbook happens to be my go-to. 5 / 5

    QUESTIONS
    1. What are your thoughts on the films I watched during the last week?
    2. What is your favorite British crime-comedy?
    3. Of the Coen brothers' lesser-praised works -- i.e. The Hudsucker Proxy, Intolerable Cruelty, The Ladykillers, Burn After Reading -- which is your favorite?
    4. Of the Coen brothers' more highly-touted works -- i.e. No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona -- which is your least favorite?
    5. I have begun compiling a list of Letterboxd of users' "go-to" movies, as I described Silver Linings Playbook was mine above. These aren't necessarily one's favorite films (though they can be), but rather are the films that one throws on late at night, on a rainy day or lazy afternoon, or when in need of some background noise -- whenever you crave a little familiarity instead of stepping into the great cinematic unknown. So without further ado, what is your go-to movie?

    Oh, and if you're on Letterboxd, check out my newly created list of users go-to films, leave a comment, and I'll add your response to #5 there as well.

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

      1) I remember really liking In Bruges, though I don't remember much else. It's definitely time for a rewatch. I too love Silver Linings Playbook.

      2) Haha, that's an oddly specific genre. In Bruges would definitely be up there. I'm having trouble thinking of many more though... Hot Fuzz is a British comedy about people dealing with crime and I adore that movie.

      3) I haven't seen very many of their lesser-praised works, so I'll go with Burn After Reading by default.

      4) I'm much more well-versed here, and I'd have to say my favorite is The Big Lebowski with No Country for Old Men taking second place.

      5) This is a tough one. I definitely know what you're talking about, but right now I'm not so sure I have one. Films that used to be go-to's but for whatever reason i haven't watched in a while include Inception, Good Will Hunting, Ratatouille, Tombstone and both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

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

        1. I had seen In Bruges, or the first half of it, one other time, and remember not being overly impressed, but for one reason or another I really, really dug it.

        3. I actually think Burn After Reading, along with Intolerable Cruelty, is a film that doesn't really receive its fair share of praise. It's very, very screwball-y, but I find that it works very well. Brad Pitt is fantastic in it, too.

        5. I've definitely had phases when it comes to my go-to films. Dumb and Dumber, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Midnight in Paris, each of these was my go-to for some time, but they faded out as other films came into the mix. The Dark Knight was a go-to for a very long time after I first saw it as well.

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

      1. I loved both In Bruges and Silver Linings Playbook. I haven't seen anything else.

      2. Probably In Bruges.

      3. Haven't seen any of those.

      4. No Country For Old Men but I still loved it.

      5. Ted mainly becuase that movie just never gets old for me.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. The only film I've seen is "Silver Linings Playbook", which was my favorite film of last year.
      2. That's a very specific subgenre, lol. I really can't think of any off the top of my head.
      3. Hmm... not sure which category it would fall into, but I love "A Serious Man." Of the ones you mentioned, the only one I've seen is "Burn After Reading", which I thought was okay.
      4. I still have to see "No Country", but I think my favorite of theirs would be "Argo." Truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of the Coens- I like virtually everything I've seen from them, but don't love any of it.
      5. I'd go with "Almost Famous". That movie is like comfort food to me- I've seen it at least a dozen times and I never get tired of it. It's easily in my Top 10 of all time.

      • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

        Damnit, I misread question number four. My least favorite would be "Raising Arizona." It's probably my least favorite Coens movie.

        • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

          Jesus, I'm really off my A-game today. When I mentioned "Argo" in my original comment, I was referring to "Fargo." Hopefully that's the last of my mistakes today!

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

            I knew what you meant haha. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes Raising Arizona. Not sure your specific thoughts on it, but I felt it was just unbearable -- almost shut it off 2 or 3 times.

            • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

              Honestly, I just found "Raising Arizona" really annoying. I really couldn't tell what they were going for with it. I didn't hate it- Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter were both pretty good- but I definitely didn't like it. I'd probably give it a C or C-.

              And I'm happy you understood what I was talking about, haha.

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

                Yeah, Raising Arizona is probably in D+ territory for me -- I found it extremely annoying as well. What was presented as comedy seemed more or less like characters screaming in pain or anguish practically begging the audience for a laugh -- "Please, just a chuckle?" -- but there were almost no laughs to be had for me.

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

      1. Only seen Silver Linings Playbook, which is a really good movie.

      2. Hot Fuzz, but my exposure to that genre is very limited. Still, Hot Fuzz is a great comedy.

      3. I must admit, I haven't seen much of the Coen's lesser work. Once Inside Llewyn Davis rolls around, I'll be sure to catch up on them.

      4. Would O' Brother Where Art Thou count? I've seen it twice and never thought much of it. It's OK, but I never really understood the love for it.

      5. I did comment on your list and I think you added it, if I'm not mistaken. Mine is Toy Story and, coincidentally, I'm watching Toy Story 2 as I write this.

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

        O Brother would count, as it seems to be a film that many cinephiles perceive quite highly. I personally love it, but I know some friends who aren't all that fond of it. But it works for me.

        And I did add yours to the list. Great choice!

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

      1. Feel exactly the same on the last 3.
      2. I love a lot of Guy Ritchie's earlier flicks like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RockNRolla. I love me some In Bruges.
      3. The Ladykillers, it's very underrated. I like Burn After Reading but The Ladykillers, I love Tom Hanks in it, he's so hilarious with that laugh, it's one of his best roles IMO.
      4. The Big Lebowski, I don't know it's a fine movie but definitely not great as many make it out to be.
      5. Hmmm...my go-to movies are Superbad, The Exorcist (whenever I want to get scared), American Beauty, The Dark Knight Rises, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Inception, Kick-Ass, Sugar (baseball movie, I really recommend this one to everybody), Napoleon Dynamite, Casino & The Departed.

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

        2. I do enjoy Lock, Stock... and Snatch, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed In Bruges. I'd be interested to check out RockNRolla - always looked interesting but I just never got around to it.

        3. I've actually never seen Ladykillers, though I've been interested in doing so. It always actually looked pretty good.

        4. I've only seen Lebowski once, and I agree, I wasn't as taken with it as many others are. Good, definitely a memorable flick, but not as good as some of their other work.

        5. Superbad was one of mine a few years ago, I probably watched it a dozen times within a few weeks. Pixar movies are also really easy to just throw on -- they are great and often very deep, but they serve as pure entertainment too.

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

          2. All three awesome movies.
          3. It's very funny, again Tom Hanks is hysterical in it. I hope you check it out and hopefully, like it as much as I do.
          4. Yeah, it's a good movie and i tend to catch it on TV from time to time but there's something about it that I don't find GREAT as many did, I don't know. Maybe, it's not funny enough? I don't know, there's just something.
          5. Superbad it's my favorite comedy of all-time, i've seen it 18 times I think so haha enough said. I completely agree with you on most Pixar movies, they're so easy to watch, so loveable, rewatchable and some great messages too in some of those.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      1) I utterly love In Bruges, but I didn't like SIlver Linings Playbook that much. Fairly good movie, but nothing special for me
      2) Hot Fuzz!
      3) I think the only of the Coens' lesser-praised films I have seen is A Serious Man, which I enjoyed. Haven't seen any of the ones you mention
      4) True Grit is not as essential as the others, I think. A very good movie still.
      5) The Bourne trilogy always works for me; otherwise, A Goofy Movie, which is my go-to feel-good movie.

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

        While I think A Serious Man is better than the other films listed as "lesser-praised" Coen works, I have trouble placing it in the "lesser-praised" categories. After all, it is one of the Coens' 4 Best Picture nominees (the others being Fargo, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit).

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

      Fun questions.

      1. You liked Intolerable Cruelty a LOT more than I did.

      2. I'll go with In Bruges as I can't think of anything better.

      3. I'll select Burn After Reading as I haven't seen The Hudsucker Proxy. I really loathed The Ladykillers, which is a poor imitation of the great Alec Guinness original.

      4. At the risk of getting hate mail, it is The Big Lebowski. I will concede that I need to give it another try though.

      5. My go-to movie is Braveheart.

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

    Dark City (Alex Proyas, 1998) 4/10
    Despicable Me (Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud, 2010) 8/10
    The To Do List (Maggie Carey, 2013) 6/10
    Despicable Me 2 (Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud, 2013) 7/10
    Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry, 2013) 8/10
    Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013) 7/10
    Celebrity (Woody Allen, 1998) 6/10
    Croupier (Mike Hodges, 1998) 9/10
    Twilight (Robert Benton, 1998) 6/10
    Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, 2013) 9/10
    Violet & Daisy (Geoffrey Fletcher, 2011) 8/10
    Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Julio Medem, 1998) 9/10
    A Perfect Murder (Andrew Davis, 1998) 5/10
    Fletch (Michael Ritchie, 1985) 6/10

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Follow me on Letterboxd: http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/

    I was actually away this week, so I didn't get around to watching any movies. However, I think I can say I made up for it by visiting California for the first time. I went to many of the famous film attractions, found a few rare films and film books at local stores (i.e. Godard's King Lear and two books about Ken Russell), and even visited USC and UCLA. Overall, it was a great vacation.

    While away, I did manage to read the first 100 pages or so of a Stanley Kubrick biography by Vincent LoBrutto (in total, it's about 500 pages). So far, it's excellent, and I highly recommend any fan of the late and great director to check it out. I'll probably start reading the Ken Russell books after I finish it.

    And I should add that the BnL podcast was good to listen to while on a long plane ride.

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

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

    Despicable Me 2 (first viewing) - 6/10 - The first movie overall is better. Too many distractions in this movie with the love stuff. The Minions get a 10/10 for being hysterical. Can't wait for the Minions movie next year.

    Fast & Furious 6 (re-watch) - 8/10 - Pure mindless action fun at it's best. The second best of the franchise.

    The First Grader (first viewing) - 7/10 - It's a good watch. Here is a short conversation from the movie:

    "He is 84 years old and wants to go to school. 84! How old are you?"

    "55"

    "You are a toddler"

    What Maisie Knew (first viewing) - 8/10 - We have seen movies through the perspective of a couple when they go through a rough patch and a divorce. This movie is unique in the fact that it focuses on the child's perspective (Maisie) as she is stuck in the middle of relationship woes of her mom and dad. I witnessed two of the most unlikeable characters (played by Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan) in recent cinema. On the contrary, there are two very likable characters by the end of the movie (played by Joanna Vanderham and Alexander Skarsgård). The kid played by Onata Aprile gives the perfect characterization of an innocent little child stuck in this mess.

    Europa Report (first viewing) - 7/10 - I am a sucker for space related movies. Moon is one of the most underrated space movies. Sunshine was fun. This movie sets on a mission to one of Jupiter's moon called Europa trying to see if there is a life form under the ice. Going into unknown conditions like Europa in real life would probably not end so well, which is the case in this movie. Good acting and good suspense makes this movie interesting enough to sit through and watch.

    Chinese Zodiac aka CZ12 (first viewing) - 7/10 - A Jackie Chan movie, in Chinese/Madarin with a fun plot dealing with relics, antiques and treasure hunt. Feels like a Jackie Chan movie in his prime with comedic aspects and great action sequences performed by Chan. This is a fun popcorn flick.

    Started watching House for the first time. It's a good show.

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

      Have only seen a few episodes of House but have really enjoyed it as well.

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

    Elysium is almost as good as District 9 IMO, just saw it this weekend. 8.5/10

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

      Glad to see some Elysium love ;)

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

        Yay I'm not the only one :) I have a feeling that Elysium will be have a large cult following in the future

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

          Hopefully :)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheJackal/ The Jackal

    What a unique weekend. First, I rewatched Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (my wife had never seen it). Still a great film; however, I realized it wasn't the A+ film I remember. Quite the artistic achievement, in spite of the gore-overload, I give it a B+

    Caught three films in theaters this weekend:

    Kick-Ass 2 - I loved the original, unfortunately, the sequel (while still being quite an enjoyably loopy action/comedy/comic book film) never manages to recapture the spark of the original. C+

    The Big Wedding - Just awful. Robert DeNiro's character can sum up the movie for me in a line of dialogue from the film: "Bless me father for this is bullshit." D-

    To The Wonder - I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I've finally seen a Terrence Malick film that wasn't a masterwork of cinema. I loved the dreamlike quality of the proceedings, the waifish performance of Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem's priest who's lost his faith and the beautiful cinematography; however, overall, nothing was able to bring all of the parts into a cohesive whole. I left the film shifting between feelings of admiration and confusion. Still, I'm still pondering the film. B-

    Thems the facts

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/rti03/ Tiago Rti

    So this are the movies i saw in the last 8 days

    Monsieur Lazhar
    I remembered when this came out 2 years ago,and since then i have had interest in seeing Monsieur Lazhar,and i finally saw it.
    Monsieur Lazhar is directed by Philippe Falardeau and it stars Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron.
    Nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the 2012 Oscars, Monsieur Lazhar is an adaptation of Évelyne de la Chenelière's stage play, and is produced by Luc Déry and Kim McCraw, the same team that gave us the Oscar-nominated Incendies.
    Marked by outstanding performances by Fellag, Proulx, and especially the children who are natural and unaffected, the characters are allowed to explore their own feelings without contrivance or manipulation.
    When the emotional moments come, they are all the more powerful because they arise naturally and not out of pre-designed plot points designed to provoke tears. Though we might wish for an ending akin to Mr. Holland's Opus, the honesty of the film precludes it.
    While children's hurt in this kind of situation may never be completely forgotten, with compassion, they may be able to develop a new awareness of the preciousness of life and the beauty of giving and receiving love. Monsieur Lazhar has pointed the way.
    Rating:B+

    Only God Forgives
    So i saw the much controversial,and probably the most divisive movie to come out this year so far,and that movie is Only God Forgives,at beginning of the year this was one of my most expected movies to come out in the first half of the year.And i remembered when this got massive negative reviews at Cannes,and started to get afraid.
    Has it got release it continued controversial,some people say its crap other compare it to Kubrick and Kar Wai Wong.
    And unfortunately i am on the negative side,the only thing that this has,that is on the same level of Kubrick and Kar Wai Wong movies,is only the good imagery.
    Only God Forgives its an experimental movie,gone bad,asides from its great score and cinematography,this movie has little.
    There is no screenplay here,and that's one of the main problems,the plot is so superficial,and the same with the characters,i just didn't care for what was happening,this was not engaging this is a mess.
    The acting here,i wont say that is really bad,but its certainly not good,really over the top at,Ryan Gosling has like,one expression during the whole movie,i mean maybe it was supposed to be over the top but with what purpose.
    Only God Forgives is one of the biggest disappointments of the year,and lets just say this,i really liked Drive,one of the best movie of 2011,but this one doesn't come even close.
    Over the top acting,bland story and character,like i said this has little to had to the great cinematography and score,this ends up being just a mess.
    Rating:D+

    The Great Gatsby
    So only now i saw The Great Gatsby,at beginning of the year this one one of my most anticipated movies for the first half of the year,and i was a bit disappointed when it started to get bad reviews,and ended up not seeing The Great Gatsby.
    The Great Gatsby is directed by Baz Luhrmann and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.
    So i gave it a chance,and maybe because i had small expectations,i ended up liking this movie,not i surprised me not as bad as i thought it would be.
    And i am going to say it,that i have not read the book,or seen the previous adaptations.
    But i think we got to applaud,Baz Luhrmann ambition,in making this movie,but yes this movie has many problems.
    The CGI is one of my big problems,the CGI shows the great,the exuberance of Gatsby's life,and at times its quite beautiful,but most of the time the CGI just looks bad,really fake,because The Great Gatsby is 90% CGI.
    Now to the performances,Leonardo DiCaprio was not perfectly cast,but he still has the talent to pull it off,he steels all the scenes his in,probably going to be nominated fro a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy/Musical.
    The supporting cast is also here, Joel Edgerton was good,Tobey Maguire an actor that i don't really like,is fine and Carrey Mulligan is also alright.
    Not being has good has i innicially hoped it would be,The Great Gatsby was a surprise,not a bad,like i said i got o applaud the effort.
    Rating:B-

    Primer
    So i had a lot of things about this movie,mixed thoughts,some people said it was a great Sci-Fi others said it was too confusing.
    Upstream Color came out this year,and it had a lot of great reviews,and i wanted to see the first Shane Carruth movie before i see Upstream Color.
    Primer is directed by Shane Carruth and it stars Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden.
    And i got to say that Primer although having a lot of problems,is still really impressive.
    And what makes this movie good,is not the acting,it is the plot,this plot is kind of mind-blowing and confusing at the same time,and i think the fact that it is confusing actually helps the movie.
    But Primer is 95% imagination,this is more of an experience than a drama.The rest of the movie is quite Meh. The characters are kind of empty,and this movie has very little emotion,but it is already great what they did with this budget.
    But what might be the most impressive thing,is the fact that Primer has microscopical budget of 7000 dollars,How! This feels like a low budget movie,but not that low.
    This movie has a lot to thank to Shane Carruth,we can see that this is probably is dream work,because he is the Director,Producer,Writer,Actor,Editor,Composer,Production Designer and the Casting Director.
    Primer shows that you can make good movies,with low-budgets,shows that a good Sci-Fi doesn't need a 200 million dollar budget,this is a gem that should be a little more appreciated.
    Rating:B-

    Drugstore Cowboy
    So i heard really good things about this movie,i heard it was one of Gus Van Sant best works,and that made me curious,so i gave it a chance.
    Drugstore Cowboy is directed by Gus Van Sant and it stars Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros and Heather Graham.
    And i was just expecting this movie to be fine,but i actually a pretty good movie,it was better than i expected.
    This is even more impressive,if we think that this was only the second feature movie that Gus Van Sant did,he shows here maturity,and talent.
    But he isn't the only talent in this movie,the acting here is also great,Matt Dillon gives here one of the best performances of his career playing one of the best characters he ever played.
    The supporting cast is also good,Kelly Lynch giving the best performance in my opinion.
    But what makes this movie great,is the characters,we care for them,even if they are not good people we want them to succeed,i specially liked Matt Dillon,character,we like him but we shouldn't.
    I mean this Screenplay,should had got some Academy Awards love,it definitely deserved to be nominated at least for this category.
    Drugstore Cowboy was at the time,and it still is an unappreciated gem of independent film-making.
    Rating:B+

    Who is that lady?
    So Who Was That Lady was passing on TV,and i asked myself why not,see it,i mean what got my attention was the cast.
    Who Was That Lady? stars Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, Janet Leigh and its directed by George Sidney.
    And i got to say that i wasn't really expecting much,and that was what i got an alright 60´s comedy.
    I don't mean to say that i disliked the movie,i am just saying that it is not a remarkable one,like i said this is a silly comedy from the 60´s.
    So what sustains Who Was That Lady?,well i got to say that it is the actors,this is not a particularly funny movie,i had a few laughs,but if the 3 main actors were not in this movie i don't think i would have liked it has much.
    Tony Curtis and Dean Martin,are great,i specially like Tony Curtis character,but the star of this movie in a way,is Janet Leigh,she is charming has Tony Curtis wife,provides a few laughs,are the best thing in the movie.
    Who Was That Lady? is not a great movie,but its definitely an enjoyable one,it is fast paced,it has the laughs and the cast,i am surprised that almost nobody has seen this movie.
    Rating:C+

    Billy Elliot
    So i finally saw Billy Eliot,i read a lot of good things about this movie,it has been nominated for 3 Academy Awards in 2001,including Director,and that made has i hopes.
    Billy Elliot is directed by Stephen Daldry and it stars Jamie Bell, Jean Heywood, Jamie Draven and Julie Walters.
    And unfortunately this movie was a big disappointment.
    Billy Elliot tells a story that everybody has heard before:the kid wants to became something,but nobody believes in him and then it succeeds and that it.
    The other problem is that i didn't care for the characters or their problems,the characters are not particularly bad but they are not great either.
    The acting here is alright,nothing really award worthy,even though i got to say that the kid is impressive here.
    Maybe i my hopes were too big,but i just found Billy Elliot to be a standard movie,definitely overrated.
    I mean how did this get a best director nomination?
    Rating:C

    The Player
    So i was actually quite excited to see this movie,i had heard a lot of good things about it,and i liked Gosford Park and i wanted to see more Robert Altman movies.
    The Player is Directed by Robert Altman and it stars in the main roles Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward,Vincent D'Onofrio and Whoopi Goldberg.
    And i said main roles because there are so many great actors that appear in little roles,like Sydney Pollock,Dean Stockwell and others,what there is a lot here too,is cameos a lot of actors play them selves,and just appear for a second.
    But now lets talk about the movie it self,just star by saying that i really liked the player.
    The acting here is great,i am not a fan of Tim Robbins,and i got to say that he is great here,gives a great performance ,maybe an underrated one.
    The rest of the cast is equally good,from the other lead roles to the very quick roles,this shows again like in Gosford Park,that Robert Altman can manage a big cast.
    But what may be the best thing in the whole movie,is this movie´s screenplay,this is genius,its been quite a while since i was so engaged with a movie plot,the writing is full of inside jokes,i loved the humor i specially loved the characters.
    The Player was even better than my expectations,its a classic,that should had got a Best Picture nomination,and its Screenplay is Oscar worthy,already want to see it again,i want to see more from Robert Altman.
    Rating:A

    The Crying Games
    So i was excited to see The Crying Games,i had heard it was great,it had been nominated for 6 Academy Awards and it had won 1,so yes i had big expectations.
    The Crying Games stars Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Rea,Jim Broadbent and Jaye Davidson.
    And i got to say that i was disappointed with this movie.
    Lets say that this movie has one of the best and most surprising character twists i have seen.And i got to say when that twist came,i was shocked i didn't know what to think.
    And one the main reasons i don't really like this movie,is because of that,because Stephen Rea character,doesn't change he continues to go,and i don't think is motivation good enough.
    The fact is in was only interested in what was going on,for the first 30 to forty minutes,after that we spent time with a character that we don't really like,or does the decisions that we would have made.
    But The Crying Game has great acting from everybody,the acting nominations were deserved,but i don't think that this is worthy of a Best Picture nomination.Still i would say too give it a chance
    Rating:C

    Lawrence Anyways
    So what was my surprise when i see a movie that was released in the US a few weeks ago,premiering on TV.I just could not miss this,i was really excited,i heard this was great,but i didn't really have i hopes.
    Laurence Anyways is Directed by newcomer Xavier Dolan and it Stars Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye.
    I and i got to say that although this isn't an amazing movie,this is definitely an impressive work by Dolan.
    Its amazing to see how a 23 year old kid made this movie,Dolan is a one to watch in the future,here he shows great maturity and skill,not only in its Directing but also Writing.
    The acting here is top notch,both Melvil Poupaud and Suzanne Clément give great performances,i would even say that Suzanne Clément is the best thing in the movie,she gives a performance worthy of some recognition.
    Every time i was starting to get a little bored,an amazing powerful scene would appear,showing some amazing acting from both Suzanne Clément and Melvil Poupaud.
    We like this characters,we feel for them,and like the characters we feel confusing,without knowing what to do.
    With a great touching story,that would not be easy to put to screen,Dolan uses the 168 minutes perfectly,i was always engaged with the plot,and although this is a slow movie,i was never bored.
    Lawrence Anyways also has great use of music,and its cinematography is a great one.
    Overall this has amazing acting,beautiful visually,all round impressive,a most see gem.
    Rating:B

    Public Enemies
    So i went and take a look at Michael Mann´s Public Enemies,i heard mixed reviews but i took a chance.
    Public Enemies is directed by Michel Mann and it has this amazing cast: Johnny Depp,Jason Clarke,Stephen Dorff,Branka Katic,Marion Cotillard,Giovanni Ribisi,Stephen Graham and Christian Bale.
    And i got to say that although Public Enemies is not a great movie,it definitely has its qualities,its a pretty solid movie.
    The acting is good,Micheal Mann had the cast for it,nothing really award worthy but still alright.
    And i guess that's how i feel about the movie in general,its a alright movie,but nothing worthy of major recognition.
    Like in most Michael Mann´s movies,this movie is filmed perfectly,really good visually.
    Who was John Dillinger? We all know he was a flamboyant criminal who robbed banks, but who WAS he? The question of who Dillinger WAS is far more interesting than the question of what Dillinger DID, but this film, sadly, chose only to concentrate seriously on the latter and gave up almost immediately on the former.
    This film goes out of its way--with a poor grasp of history's time-line, by the way--to show us what Dillinger did and who he hung around with, but it does next to nothing to explore who Dillinger was as a person or even as a criminal. It hints that Dillinger might be a passionate lover and loyal friend, but shows us little evidence aside from a few thrown-together seduction scenes (which make his girlfriend/heroine look like a dim-witted pushover) and an awkward love scene.
    Entertaining,it has its problems but its still a worth watch movie.
    Rating:B-

    Funny Girl
    So i finally saw this movie,i wanted to see this for quite a while,and i got to say that i was hoping big things for it,it had been nominated at the time for 8 Academy Awards,and Barbara Streisand Won Best Actress in a Leading Role tied with Katharine Hepburn.
    Funny Girl is one of the last movies William Wyler Directed and it stars Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Kay Medford.
    And although its not as good has others William Wyler pictures or even as good as i hoped,i still had a good time watching Funny Girl.
    And what carried the movie for me was Barbara Streisand´s performance.
    She is great,the best thing in the whole movie no doubt,the rest of the cast is also alright,including Omar Sharif but nothing is really outstanding.
    The movie has its problems,one of them is the fact that it is away too long at least thirty minutes,totally unnecessary to have a two and half hour musical,although i would say that this is much more and much better than other musical from its time.
    Funny Girl is funny,it has one great lead character and performance,and it even runs away from the cliched happy ending that almost every musical or comedy had at the time.
    But unfortunately Funny Girl has little too had to the great lead character and performance and other technicalities,i am not saying that the movie doesn't have a heart,i am just saying that the fact that there is only one character that we care about,and the fact that the movie,is away too overlong by itself make this movie a little boring by the ending.
    Still overall is a movie that you should see,it has the performance and its a William Wyler movie.
    Rating:B

    Chocolat
    So i am not going to lie,i was not excited to see Chocolat,i heard mixed things about it,but it was one of the few movie that had been nominated for Best Picture in the last 30 years that i had not seen,so i gave it a chance.
    Chocolat is directed by Lasse Hallström,and it stars Alfred Molina, Carrie-Anne Moss, Juliette Binoche,Lena Olin,Peter Stormare,Leslie Caron,Judi Dench and Johnny Depp.And this cast was one of the things that made me have hope in this movie.
    But one of the the things that made me fear the quality of the movie,was the fact that it was directed by Lasse Hallström,a director that i particularly find very overrated.
    And i wont say that Chocolat is a bad movie,but its DEFINITELY no worthy of a Best Picture nomination.
    The right word to define this movie is alright,nothing is really impressive here,the best comes from Juliette Binoche,she gives a good performance.
    The supporting cast is also alright nothing really outstanding.
    The plot of the movie is very familiar,we have all heard this story,super predictable.A story of a women who comes to a town,at the beginning nobody likes her,but in the end she conquers everyone and they all live happy ever after.Not surprised,at all that happened Lasse Hallström movies are all like this predictable,and goes the easy way.
    I wouldn't say Chocolat was a disappointment,but its definitely not a great movie,entertaining,we like the characters,its just an OK movie.
    Rating:B-

    She's Gotta Have It
    So this was on TV and i asked myself why not,it is Spike Lee´s debut,i am not a fan,but i was curious,and i searched this movie,and most people liked it so i gave it a chance.
    She's Gotta Have It stars Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell and Spike Lee.Spike Lee´s father and sister also appear in this movie.
    And yeah,She's Gotta Have is not an amazing movie,but still pretty good for a debut.
    Its one of those easy movies too see,it doesn't take it self to serious,but its not stupid has many movies are,there is a great balance between the characters,the comedy the drama,everything is just in its place.
    The characters here are the best thing,we like every character,every character has its time to shine,my favorite character was actually Spike Lee´s.
    Its funny,its a quick 84 minutes,that i enjoyed,it has the characters to carry the movie,nothing remarkable has i said,but its still definitely deserves a watch.
    Rating:B-

    Broken Flowers
    So i had heard good things from this movie,i was definitely interested,it had Bill Murray,and it was directed by Jim Jarmusch a director that i wanted to see more from.
    Broken Flowers is directed by Jim Jarmusch and it has this great cast, Bill Murray, Julie Delpy, Sharon Stone,Jeffrey Wright,Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton.
    But unfortunately Broken Flowers was kind of a disappointment.
    I wont say that this is a bad movie because i don't think it is,but felt this could have been much more than it was.
    The star of the movie,and the reason why i like this movie is Bill Murray e is great.
    Just as comfortable doing dry comedy as he is acting in a mood piece; his whole melancholy being has become perfect for avant-garde comedy, and this meticulously-mounted and shaded 'dramedy' is a Bill Murray vehicle all the way.
    But the rest of the cast just doesn't have enough screen-time,great actors just go in and out,and never appear again.
    Broken Flowers is still entertaining,its funny,and has i said Bill Murray completely carries this movie,i would say that there is little more to had to this movie than Bill Murray´s performance.
    A good time,but Broken Flowers ultimately fell short.
    Rating:B-

    Chungking Express
    So i was really excited to finally see this movie,this was the forth movie i saw from this director,and i watched In Mood For Love recently and i liked it so i had big expectations.
    Chungking Express is directed by Kar Wai Wong and it stars Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Faye Wong .
    And unfortunately Chungking Express was quite a big disappointment.
    The first 1/3 of the movie did absolutely nothing for me. Nothing at all.I was starting to get bored.Another thing is that i felt the first part of the movie and the second part feel like to completely different movie,not even the same plot.
    I would like to first comment on the story-line, of which I think is the most important part of telling a story whether it be on film, book, music, etc. I thought it was poorly done and I had a hard time figuring out who the protagonist, main character, was therefore I had a hard time relating to that unknown person and didn't find myself getting pulled into the story.I know that Kar Wai Wong usually tells a story in an unusual away ,and that works In Mood For Love but it just doesn't work here.
    I just had a hard time watching this,big disappointment,i was quit bored and lost.
    Rating:C-

    Transamerica
    So i just watched Transamerica,i was interested in seeing this,i remember when this came out,but this was actually my first time seeing it.
    Transamerica is directed by Duncan Tucker and it stars Felicity Huffman,Kevin Zegers and Kevin Zegers.
    And this movie is totally owned by Felicity Huffman.
    The plot line is certainly the tried and true formula of the transformational road trip, yet the irony of Bree's concurrent sexual transformation freshens a story that could easily have been cliché. Kevin Zegers and the rest of the supporting cast are superb, but Huffman's characterization of Bree is Oscar caliber.
    See Transamerica! It's not tragic like "Boys Don't Cry". It's not about sexuality, fetish, or camp.
    It's a movie about otherness, transformation, family, and ultimately acceptance. Felicity Huffman's Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated performance is absolutely astounding.
    Her acting skill fills Bree with insecurity, pathos, warmth, humor, and growth which ultimately transforms the audience's involvement from freak show curiosity to empathy and identification.
    Rating:B

    And this are the movies i re-watched this week

    A Clockwork Orange
    So a re-watch,i was interested in seeing this again,i felt it was necessary,it had been a while since i first saw.I remember feeling mixed feelings the first time i saw,and this was a movie that had been growing inside me,but i guess all Stanley Kubrick movies do that.
    A Clockwork Orange is directed by Stanley Kubrick and it stars Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates.
    And i got to say i felt this was not has good has i remembered.
    And wow i didn't remember how much sex this movie had,this must had been quite revolutionary for the time.
    And that makes this movie hard to watch,because there is not one likable character in this movie,they are bad guys.
    To me what carries this movie,is its substance,this movies plot is very interesting and that is what makes us intrigued.
    Because i do thing this was a bit heavy handed,this is very extravagant,violent and at times this is very over the top,and that does not work.
    Malcolm McDowell is good,i would not say he is over the top,i mean i don't think anybody can see another actor doing this character,he makes this character iconic and that is a big compliment.
    To me this is definitely not Stanley Kubrick best.
    I think A Clockwork Orange has a very interesting mystery,and this is definitely thought provoking,but i think this mystery lacks the magic the mysteries that movies like 2001 a Space Odyssey,The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut have.
    Stanley Kubrick was a genius,not only behind the camera,and i think he made this exactly the he wanted,a movie that has a lot of hidden things.And that is i guess what i like the most in Kubrick movies,is the whole mystery,the conspiracy theory's all those things he putted there but we can´t see.
    But i guess at the same time that i can not forget how over the top and heavy handed this feels at times.
    Rating:B+

    Manhattan
    So i re-watched Manhattan,and i was really interested in re-watching this one.I remember the first time i saw it,i didn't really like this movie,i remember i watch this at 5 am,and i was exhausted,and that might have changed my view a lot.
    I was even more interested because,in the last few months i have became a Woody Allen fan.
    Manhattan is directed,written and stars Woody Allen,and here is the rest of the cast:Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy,Mariel Hemingway and Meryl Streep.
    And i got to say that my opinion completely changed,and that does not happen all the time.
    Manhattan is definitely one of Woody Allen´s best,this is just an amazing movie.
    Woody Allen is one of the biggest talents ever seen in movie history,not only does he direct well,and not only he is funny,he writes here the one of the best dialogue,and one of the best screenplays i will ever see.
    The acting here is also great,Woody Allen is always great,incredibly funny,he connects with every character,he has the best lines in the movie he is perfect.
    Dianne Keaton,is also great,not only does she give life to her character,she also has some pretty dramatic scenes here.And seeing her with Woody Allen on screen,is something special,they have a connection that you rarely see in film.I just wish they would do one more picture together.
    Mariel Hemingway playing the teen,like everything in this movie,great,we believe she is this insecure,teen,she truly captures the innocence,of a you girl.Its unfortunate to see,that she never did nothing after this movie,and after being nominated for an Academy Award.
    The first law of urban man is trying at all costs to avoid being alone in life.
    This pearl of a comedy is an exploration of the relationship between how people change as their interests are adjusted. But loneliness is always around the corner.
    Just the ironic smile Woody Allen has after the closing sentence ("Gotta have a little faith in people") is worth the ticket price.
    The dialogue is what makes the film extraordinary. To me, Manhattan is a literary work as much as a movie. And, to take full advantage, the film has to be seen several times.
    Most of all, Manhattan is a tribute to New York. The film can be seen just to enjoy the poetic vision that the director has of this city
    Manhattan has everything the acting,the characters,and the best dialogue you will ever hear,this is not only one of the best Woody Allen movies,or one of the movies of the 70´s,this is one of the best you will ever see.
    Rating:A+

    A Prophet
    So it had been a few days without re-watching any movies and what better way to start again than with A Prophet.
    A Prophet is directed by Jacques Audiard and it stars Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, and Adel Bencherif.
    And I got to say that there are not many movies like A Prophet, a great foreign movie that did not get the recognition it deserved.
    Everything here is top notch, starting by the acting Tahar Rahim gives a great performance in a dream role that has given him a good boost for his career.
    The rest of the cast is also great, especially Niels Arestrup he is with no doubt the star of the supporting cast.
    But most of the contribution comes from Jacques Audiard, he does here a masterful job not only Directing but also Writing this great screenplay.
    And one of the things that upset me the most is the fact that this movie has the quality and it deserves to get recognition but it isn’t just because it’s a foreign movie,I hate that kind of patriotic bull sh*t, that’s is not the only reason but it’s one of them. Pictures are not nominated for their quality and that is quite sad.
    I have very little doubt that, if A Prophet was an American movie, it would had been nominated for Best Picture,Director,Screenplay and maybe even Actor in a Leading and Supporting Role.
    A Prophet is a must see movie, one of the best of the end of the decade, a movie that people will appreciate more in the future.
    It has everything you hope for, the acting the directing, the screenplay, it has characters that we care about, it has the tension, the drama, the violence, the engaging story, this is an almost flawless movie.
    Rating:A

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

    In Theatres-

    The Smurfs 2- I'm going to start this off by saying that I thought the first Smurfs movie was decent. My thoughts on this one are that it's decent as well, but I do like the first one a tad more. My problems with the film are that a lot of the humor is really childish. But I went in expecting that. Also, the acting isn't very good. The only person who I would say actually gave a really good performance in the movie is Neil Patrick Harris. Now onto the good stuff. Despite the humor being childish, I did laugh a few times. I also liked the addition of The Naughties. Also, this movie is just kind of fun to watch for 2 hours. Just don't go in expecting anything groundbreaking. Grade: C+

    At Home-

    The Sitter [rewatch]- A funny movie that got unfairly hated on when it was released. Grade: B

    The Watch [rewatch]- A funny movie although it's definitely not great. Grade: B-

    The Avengers [rewatch]- This is just a really fun, entertaining movie that I love to watch every once in a while. Can't wait for Age Of Ultron. Grade: B+

    Inception [rewatch]- An absolutely fantastic and thought-provoking film. Cristopher Nolan's best film. Grade: A+

    Bruce Almighty [rewatch]- It starts out great, but it really starts to run into trouble when it tries to become sentimental. Grade: B-

    Bridesmaids [rewatch]- I don't know why, but I just don't find this movie very funny at all. It definitely has a few laughs [mostly thanks to Melissa McCarthy], but other than that, it's just a stupid movie IMO. Grade: D+

    The Host- My god..this just is not a very good movie. There are quite a few unintentionally funny moments. But at the same time, it has a few entertaining moments and some good performances from Saoirse Ronan and William Hurt, so I can't really tear it a new one. But like I said, it's still not a very good movie. Grade: D+

    The Dukes Of Hazzard [2005] [rewatch] This is just a fun movie with a few stupid moments and some truly awful performances. But I did laugh a few times and I had some fun with it. Grade: C+

    Mr. Woodcock- Yeah..this isn't a very good movie. It's not very funny and it's way too sappy and dramatic for a movie that's a "comedy". Grade: D

    TV-

    Family Guy- A-
    Robot Chicken- B
    Big Brother- B-
    Axe Cop- B+

    Well that's it for reviews this week. But now it's time for questions..

    1. What are your thoughts on the films I watched this week? Agree? Disagree?
    2. Is there a comedy that not a lot of people liked that you enjoyed? Is there a comedy that everyone seemed to like that you didn't enjoy?
    3. What would you prefer to watch: The Host or a marathon of the whole Twilight saga? Why?

    Until next week..

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

      1. I liked The Avengers.
      2. None come instantly to my head.
      3. The Host. Because it's shorter and doesn't take up as much time.

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

      1. Have not nor will I seen Smurfs 2. No interest in The Sitter or The Watch. Avengers was great the first time, but by the 3rd watch, it is simply good and I'm over it. Inception is brilliantly done. I am very much a fan. Bruce Almighty is mindless fun and is good for times where I have nothing to do. The last two look terrible so I have no interest. Bridesmaids, however, I disagree on. It was an honest take on women that drew humor from entirely plausible situations. McCarthy isn't even my favorite of the group, as honest and humorous and inspiring as she is. Kristen Wiig is the best in that film, and her relationship with Roae Byrne is so similar to the way I watch my female friends interact it is almost uncomfortably funny at times. This is a very good film, in my opinion.
      2. I love Just Friends, but other people don't seem to share that love. I'm not big on Apatow DIRECTED (produced is another story) films, but people seem to love them.
      3. Well, I've had a Twilight marathon, so I guess I'd choose The Host

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

      1. The Avengers is good fun, though no real game-changer (4 out of 5); Inception is fantastic and absorbing (5 out of 5); Bruce Almighty is pretty decent (3 out of 5); Bridesmaids is below average teetering on pretty bad, and my opinion of it shrinks each time I am reminded of it (2 out of 5).

      2. I'll list my answers below.

      Unpopular comedies that I enjoy: Just Friends, Prime (2005), Bruce Almighty, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

      Popular comedies that I dislike: Bridesmaids, Get Him to the Greek; I'm sure there are plenty more but I can't think of them right now.

      I suppose I'd also add that, while many think Knocked Up is Judd Apatow's best film (directed, produced, or otherwise), I don't even think it reaches the top 3 (40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). I also don't think Hot Fuzz, Snatch, or Lock, Stock... are as funny as they are cracked up to be. I'd also throw Pineapple Express into that group. These movies are all still good, but I just don't find them as humorous as many others do.

      On the flip side, I think Adventureland is generally under-praised, though it still was quite well received; same with Dodgeball. There are others, but it's tough to think of them all.

      3. The Host. Both are going to be bad experiences, so why not pick the one that results in the least amount of misery?

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

        For other popular comedies that I dislike, I would include Ted. I felt that movie was absolute trash.

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

        Walk Hard is unpopular? I've seen neither critic nor audience member who has felt that way. I'm surprised! (I too am a fan)

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

      1. Agree with you about Bridesmaids! Also, Inception is fantastic.
      2. I actually probably enjoyed Bachelorette more than Bridesmaids. I also like Be Kind Rewind, and I've never met anyone else who does.
      3. The Host. Get it over and done with.

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

        I am a fan of Be Kind Rewind, although it was more of a "one and done" sort of enjoyment

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

          Yeah, it's not the sort of film that invites compulsive rewatching but I find it pretty enjoyable.

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

      1. I saw Hazzard once years ago, I haven't seen Bruce Almighty for years and years, The Avengers is pure entertainment, Inception is glossy but ultimately just a lot of tricks with no characters I especially care about, and Bridesmaids is a film that left me loathing it utterly.

      2. Not sure on part 1 of your question but Bridesmaids would certainly qualify for the latter part. I don't know if more people like Due Date than I think but that was another one I had a loathing for by the time it was over.

      3. The Host - as previously noted..........get the pain over with ASAP when you can.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. I love "Inception" and "Bridesmaids." Both made my Top 10 lists in their respective years. I enjoy "Bruce Almighty" quite a bit, and "The Avengers" is really entertaining. I did not like "The Watch" at all, however.
      2. Two comedies that I enjoy quite a bit but gets a lot of hate are "White Chicks" and "Just Friends." I wouldn't necessarily call them "good movies", but I laugh a lot whenever I see them. As for comedies I hate that everyone enjoyed- "The Hangover."
      3. Well, I haven't seen "The Host" and I hate the "Twilight" films I've seen. I'd have to go with "The Host"- even if it's bad, it would still be better than sitting through all the Twilight films again.

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

      1. The Avengers is pretty great and so is Inception. I do enjoy Bruce Almighty from time to time, but you're right in that the sentimentality is annoying. I could've done without the crying. I don't like Bridesmaids that much either. I don't find Kristen Wiig to be very funny and she has an unlikable screen presence that I find irritating. Melissa McCarthy can be funny, but she's can also get kind of grating as well.

      2. I like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. It's sort of a guilty pleasure for me. I guess Hot Rod would be another one, but its reputation is far better than Chuck and Larry's. I would say Bridesmaids is overrated, but I can't think of anything else.

      3. The Host. For me, it's not a matter of quality, but more of a length issue. I'd rather watch one bad movie over four.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Rasmuspuggaard/ Rasmus Puggaard

      1) I'm not that big on The Avengers, though it's enjoyable. Just a little too out-of-this-world to me. I think Inception is flawed, but hugely entertaining. I flat-out hated almost everything about Bridesmaids, completely with you there.
      3) I think a Twilight marathon could make for a very massive drinking game, so I'm going with that

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

    I was on vacation, so not too many.

    The Fighter (rewatch): this was and still is my favorite film of 2010. The cast across the board is fantastic, the direction and editing finally proved themselves to be up to snuff on this viewing, and the script showed a few nuances this time that I'd missed before. A powerful film led by a never to be topped Bale, The Fighter is a 9.5/10

    American Beauty (rewatch): Another film I noticed the nuances of on this showing, the acting, direction, cinematography and screenplay are all at the peak of filmmaking. That the film had no major actors of its time (Spacey had only just broken out and was still proving himself) and the director and screenwriter were both first timers is truly astounding. This brilliant satire is a hard 9.5/10

    Oblivion: I was a little tired watching this film, but it was still fun, I enjoyed most of it, and if they had trimmed about 10 minutes they would have had a very good film on their hands. I'd call this beautifully shot film a 7.5/10

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

      Still need to see The Fighter, love that you enjoy American Beauty so much. Seriously, how good is Kevin Spacey?!

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

        I cannot answer that, as it is impossible to describe Spacey's acting using adjectives or numbers

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

      Yes! I LOVE The Fighter and American Beauty. Gotta love American Beauty though, you said it all: the acting, direction, cinematography, screenplay and Thomas Newman's score (you can't forget about that), everything about it's a masterpiece. Gotta love Kevin Spacey, such an awesome actor! ;)

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

        I can't believe I forgot Newman's score! The first time I saw it, I didn't think much, but this time around, Imreally had the chance to devour it in all it's glory. And Spacey has to be one of my favorites

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

          He's one of my top 3 composers of all-time, his music is downright gorgeous to hear. :)

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

    Mostly video games for me this week, but I did fit in a couple of movies.

    The Bling Ring - 2/5
    Upstream Color (third watch) - 5/5
    Elysium - 3/5

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

    I managed to fit in four trips to the cinema which I was quite happy about!
    As always, full reviews available on my Letterboxd - http://letterboxd.com/lonelytourist

    IN CINEMAS:
    Now You See Me (3.5/5)
    The Bling Ring (3/5)
    Pain & Gain (2/5)
    Frances Ha (5/5)

    AT HOME:
    Bill Cunningham New York (4.5/5)
    5 Broken Cameras (4/5)

    REWATCHES:
    The Simpsons Movie (3.5/5)
    Mrs. Doubtfire (3.5/5)
    My Big Fat Greek Wedding (3.5/5)
    Across the Universe (4/5)

    And some questions!

    1. Thoughts on what I watched this week?
    2. What upcoming cinema release are you most looking forward to? (Personally - Upstream Colour, What Maisie Knew and Stoker - finally!)
    3. What's your favourite documentary of the past few years?

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

      1. I love The Simpsons Movie and I really like Across The Universe.

      2. The Wolf Of Wall Street.

      3. I don't really watch documentaries.

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

        The Simpsons Movie was such a surprise at the time because it came around when the show wasn't very good at all, but it really holds up on rewatches now, it's great. Across the Universe is one of my favourite movies.

    • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

      1. I liked "The Bling Ring", "Across the Universe" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." "The Simpsons Movie" is okay, and I have a special place in my heart for "Mrs. Doubtfire"- it was one of my favorite movies growing up. I really want to see "Frances Ha."
      2. The next film coming out that I'm really excited to see is "Don Jon."
      3. "Dear Zachary" is excellent, and I also like "The King of Kong" quite a bit.

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

        I'm still not entirely sure what I thought of 'The Bling Ring', but parts of it were brilliant. As I said above, 'Across the Universe' is one of my favourite films and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' is one of my fondest memories of going to the movies.

        Frances Ha is outstanding! Definitely check it out if you get the chance. Super excited for Don Jon.

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

      1. Frances Ha is my favorite film of the year so far and one I'd include as an overall favorite, despite how recently it came out. The Simpsons movie is pretty good too.

      2. Ain't Them Bodies Saints is out near me next week, so I'm really looking forward to that.

      3. I'll list a few: Man on Wire (2008), Inside Job (2010), Undefeated (2011), The Imposter (2012), Stories We Tell (2013).

      There are still plenty I need to see, such as Senna, Marley, Pina, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Chasing Ice, among others.

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

        'Frances Ha' is incredible! It's in my top 3 for the year (with 'Spring Breakers' and 'Before Midnight'). I'm very excited for 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints', not sure if it has an Australian distributor yet. 'Stories We Tell' is out here at the end of next month, it's one of my most anticipated films for the year.

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

          I have a feeling you'll enjoy Stories We Tell, it's a great film about family and circumstance and examines how stories are passed around and altered or perceived differently depending on the point of view we each take. It's a very well-told tale, in all.

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

      1. I really liked The Simpsons Movie.
      2. Gravity.
      3. The Imposter (2012)

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

    http://letterboxd.com/michael11391/

    In Theaters:

    Kick-Ass 2 (2013) - Nowhere close as great as the original was but still a satisfying & fun sequel. Chloe Moretz turns in antoher strong performance as Hit Girl and is given the best lines and scenes once again. Aaron Johnson is still good as Kick-Ass. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is in his best role since Superbad as The Motherf***er formely known as Red Mist, he goes all out and obviously had a lot of fun with a bigger role, nearly steals the show. Nicolas Cage is gone, so the nearly unrecoginizable Jim Carrey replaces him as Colonel Stars and Stripes and while with limited screen time, he does what he can with the role. Donald Faision is an honorable mention as Dr. Gravity.

    Despite, not having the humor and that spark that the original had, Kick-Ass 2 is still violent, action-packed and fun. I would definitely be on board for a third movie if it happens though just recently look at the Box Office numbers for this, ugh it looks there won't be a 3rd :( 10/10.

    At Home:

    Anna Karenina (2012) (Netflix, 1st viewing) - An ok yet disappointing version of Anna Karenina with some decent performances from Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald and great costume design, art direction, solid score from Dario Marianelli that makes this watchable. This is most definitely Joe Wright's weakest film to date. 6/10.

    The Insider (1999) (TV, 1st viewing) - Great performances from Russell Crowe and Al Pacino in this solid Michael Mann film. 7.5/10.

    Jersey Girl (2004) (TV, 1st viewing) - Kevin Smith's most mature and polished film to date. Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler are terrific. Raquel Castro is such a cute girl. George Carlin has his share of great moments. Jersey Girl ranks among Smith's best films IMO. P.S I love Will Smith's cameo. 8/10.

    District 9 (2009) (DVD, rewatch, 4th viewing) - After watching Elysium last week on opening day, it made me want to go to my dvd shelf, pick this movie and re-visit one of my favorite films of 09' and of all-time, District 9. While I was one of the few that really left very satisfied after Elysium, it wasn't better than District 9. A couple things that Elysium that lacked was heart, well-developed and likeable characters and originality. That's what District 9 has. It packs an emotional heart, it's a very original piece and it has likeable characters in Wikus & Christopher Johnson. I've always been a fan of it's documentary-style in it's first 30 minutes and it's full-on badass action in the 2nd half of the movie.

    Sharlto Copley gives a very convincing scared as heck performance as Wikus. The visuals, makeup (which they also should of nominated for), Clinton Shorter's beautiful score and terrific direction from Neill Blomkamp. District 9 is one of the very few original sci-fi action flicks of it's time and one of the best. I've loved what Neil Blomkamp has given to me in both this and Elysium, I can't wait what he brings next. 10/10.

    Lovelace (2013) (DirecTV Cinema, rewatch 2nd viewing) - 7.5/10.

    Sleepers (1996) (TV, 1st viewing) - 8.5/10.

    Mallrats (1995) (TV, 1st viewing) - 4/10.

    MLB Baseball

    HBO Boxing

    Parks & Rec Season 2 - 9/10.

    Also, Brad when are you going to do that letterboxd thing you said you were going to do on here? ;)

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

      Oh and The Newsroom, Season 2 Episode 5 - Was a pretty slow episode, 6/10.

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

      Blomkamp has 'Chappie' coming out next year :)

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

        Yeah, I heard. It's supposed to be a sci-fi comedy and with Sharlto Copley starring in it.

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

    Sorry Brad, I'm kind of lazy today, anyways here's what I watched:

    http://letterboxd.com/randle_mcmurphy/films/reviews/by/added/

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

    You may read more of my reviews/follow me on: http://letterboxd.com/adu/

    The Reluctant Fundamentalist: 4.5/5

    The Reluctant Fundamentalist is as cleverly executed a story as the novel it is based on. It is a gripping tale and one I could personally relate to since it is based on a Pakistani character that is exposed to two vastly different worlds.

    I loved the film’s pacing and its expert editing, specifically with the songs & backstory flashbacks. The opening ‘Qawali’ was superbly edited as it plays during a kidnapping scene; that sequence had me in awe and immediately got me on board with the film. To Mira Nair’s credit, that grip was relentless throughout the film; kudos to the writers as well. The film clearly benefits from a good script & a solid multicultural ensemble.

    Riz Ahmed carried himself exceptionally as Changez, keeping his emotions in check and unraveling them with impressive timing. His backstory was easy to empathize with, and it didn’t beat the viewer over the head with what side is right or wrong. As someone from Pakistan, I would have loved to see more of it shot in Pakistan (I understand the reasons why it wasn’t) and the use of more Pakistani actors as a result. But that is a minor complaint considering how much I admire the film for presenting a sensitive subject & rather complex story so well.

    Overall, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an engaging watch with a solid story, music, and acting….one of the best films I have seen in 2013!

    Kick-Ass II: 3.5/5

    Kick Ass 2 naturally suffers from the lack of freshness its predecessor possessed. We know the characters and are ready for the brashness to follow; not quite as shocking now. That said you’d be hard-pressed not to find amusement in the sequel, particularly if you were a fan of the first one. The action is serviceable and bloody and you get plenty of good laughs from the interplay presented; can’t ask much more from the material.

    There are new characters and the story moves forward while keeping intact the elements that made the original memorable. Of the new additions, Jim Carey is obviously the biggest star and does well in a small & low-key performance. He has been an under-appreciated actor in terms of versatility & delivers the goods here. From the established characters, Hit Girl also loses some of that foul-mouth shock value, age will do that, but maintains an intrinsic sort of charm. The movie is more focused on her character this time around although with a predictable arch. She is the film’s best character along with the chief villain, The Motherfucker, played by the always likable Christopher Mintz-Plasse. His character is responsible for a couple of surprisingly dark but somewhat subtly delivered moments & may be the film’s most significant redeeming quality.

    Overall, Kick-Ass 2 delivers on an entertainment level and is a worthy follow-up to the original.

    Before Midnight: 3.5/5

    It is hard not to admire the ‘Before’ films for the raw/natural emotion they bring display; possibly the best relationship films we are ever likely to witness. Before Midnight continues the impressive narrative run with what for me is a strong addition to the ‘Before’ films.

    The setting this time around is Greece, but the chemistry between Jesse (Ethan Hawke) & Celine (Julie Delpy) remains flawless and their dialogue is both captivating and hard-hitting. There is so much to relate to and you can easily empathize with the characters as a result. These films are so brilliantly written, I am surprised there is not a larger following for them. Being able to pull off two people walking & talking for 3 movies deserves serious recognition!

    Overall, Before Midnight is a very good movie and the third film in one of the most criminally low-key franchises you will come across.

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

    The Hunger Games
    ( C+ )

    - Amour
    ( B+ )

    - Fargo
    ( B+ )

    - Kick Ass 2
    ( D )

    - The Butler
    ( B+ )

    - The Age of Innocence
    ( C+)

    - Olympus Has Fallen
    ( D )

    Thoughts????

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

      Without knowing your methodology on assigning a letter grade I think my gut would make me agree on 'Amour' and 'Fargo' but I quite like 'The Age of Innocence'. I don't know if being a fan of Edith Wharton's novel helps as it's fairly faithful to the source material and beautifully designed.

      I have not seen the rest.