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Old 10-08-2007, 12:31 AM   #931
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Originally posted by got_edge
lol, can you make George Sr. slap Matt in the face? DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!!
I was considering that when I saw how George Sr. gets all up Matt's grill when I made it. Who knows, who knows MAYBE I WILL.

PS Your icon needs some George Sr. action so we can be twinsies in some fashion again. I miss seeing myself give the thumbs up to ¡América y Cuba! every time you post
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Old 10-08-2007, 05:26 PM   #932
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Hmm. Wasn't someone supposed to give us a review of The Darjeeling Limited? And Lust, Caution? And Jesse James/Robert Ford?

Just wondering.
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Old 10-08-2007, 05:52 PM   #933
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As threatened / promised:

The Long Kiss Goodnight
A case of whambamthankyoumaam cinema from writer Shane Black. Believe it or not I hadn't seen it before but I loved every preposterous second. I was giggling along with the exchanges between Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson (especially when Brian Cox waded in as well) and it was interesting to spot the odd line and motif here and there that resurfaced in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This is what all so-call 'mindless entertainent' films should aspire to be.

Empire of the Sun
Another one where I'm late to the party, but again I was thoroughly impressed. God knows how many plaudits have been heaped upon Christian Bale's debut performnce so I'll limit myself to just 'wow'. Full of striking images, the overall film more than does his performance justice, with the kamikaze pilots sticking in my mind especially. Also, it's worth noting that while the ending is happy to an extent, it's hardly the cliched sugar coated ending Speilberg has used on more than one occasion.

London to Brighton
Grimy little Brit flick from a first time director and a cast of unknowns. Starting in the middle and slowly filling in the prior events as the story hurtles on, it's not for the squeamish. The cinematography is spot on, for some reason I always find it strange to see England portrayed so unflinchingly on the big screen, it's a far cry from the usual Notting Hill vibe that is more common these days. Anyway, this is a fine, taut little thriller that's well worth checking out for something outside the norm.

Goodfellas
Now I was going to be watching John Waters' Pecker instead, but I messed up the recording (stupid pre-watershed PIN codes). So I took the opportunity to revisit this modern classic. While it's often praised as one of Marty's masterpieces, there's also some criticism that this marks the point when he became emotionally detached from his films. It's a valid point, right from the opening titles that zip across the screen through to the awesome and dizzying camera introducing us the characters' world. While this is necessary to lull us into the glamour of the gangster life and then bring us crashing down to Earth by the end of the film, Scorcese never really gets under the skin of his characters like he did with his previous films. It's down to the actors to bring them (brilliantly) to life - it's all in the eyes baby. I'm not saying that Scorcese has been overpraised for his work here though, the early scenes feel like he's having the time of his life after the heavy Last Temptation of Christ and he's been sucked into this world even before we get a chance to. So overall a fantastic film that's endlessly rewatchable, quotable and just plain cool, but even though it's filled with inspired touches it never quite reaches the depths of some of his earlier classics.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:04 PM   #934
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Empire of the Sun
Another one where I'm late to the party, but again I was thoroughly impressed. God knows how many plaudits have been heaped upon Christian Bale's debut performnce so I'll limit myself to just 'wow'. Full of striking images, the overall film more than does his performance justice, with the kamikaze pilots sticking in my mind especially. Also, it's worth noting that while the ending is happy to an extent, it's hardly the cliched sugar coated ending Speilberg has used on more than one occasion.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:25 PM   #935
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Hmm. Wasn't someone supposed to give us a review of The Darjeeling Limited? And Lust, Caution? And Jesse James/Robert Ford?

Just wondering.
Hmm. I was wasn't I?

I was going to do full professional reviews for each one, but my cronic laziness got the best of me.

I'll do some brief Interference-style ones shortly though.
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:44 PM   #936
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The Darjeeling Limited - 8.5/10

The opening scene of the film follows a worn Anderson vet running his butt off to catch a train through India. As he reaches the platform and runs after the leaving locomotive, we see a new face pass his in the immediate background. Adrian Brody plays one of the 3 Whitman brothers in the film, and runs to catch the fleeing train, sparing a single sympathetic glance at the tired business man as he falls further behind. Brody makes the train and watches as the older man bends to his knees in exhaustion, having given up the chase.

This opening scene is both one of the most exciting and revealing scenes Anderson has filmed to date. Darjeeling is no doubt a new turn for Anderson, a more mature film, unlike anything he's done before. Adrian Brody is one of the newest cast into the Anderson ensemble, and I hope to see him return for future projects, as he provides easily the most satisfying performance in the film.

As we follow these brothers along their trip through India (a spiritual journey, claims Owen Wilson's Francis), we are treated to a family and set of relationships with more genuine emotional strength and sincerity than we've seen Anderson explore before. If just for that reason, Darjeeling is a landmark film for the young auteur.

Darjeeling maintains many of the trademark stylistic techniques from previous films, including expressive half-sets and slow-motion walking scenes set to stellar music (a trick that after 5 films somehow manages to never get tired). Speaking of the soundtrack, Darjeeling's is second only to Anderson's dysfunctional masterpiece, The Royal Tennenbaums.

Darjeeling is not a perfect film, however. The second half seems to meander a bit too far off track from time to time, and the conclusion could have been more satisfyingly drawn-out (As with much of the film, cut to a lean 91 minutes). At the same time, the script and filming conditions provide this one with a far greater feeling of improvisation and spontanaity than we've seen yet in a Wes Anderson feature.

Ultimately, when the credits roll you will be wishing there was so much more, which is both a blessing and a curse in this case. But you won't really notice, because you'll be too busy humming that Kinks tune when you leave.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:07 PM   #937
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Lust, Caution - 9/10

Ang Lee's latest is a deliberate, reserved, beautiful, haunting, and intermitently shocking work of cinema. It's perhaps one case where a half hour or so could have easily been trimmed from the film, but the strengths here are too strong to hold this against it.

The film follows a young drama student over the course of 4 years, growing from a shy young girl into a frightfully mature agent of the Chinese Resistance. Ang Lee searched through over 10,000 girls to find his leading lady, and the nearly year-long extensive private training his selection endured more than payed off on the screen. Newcomer Tang Wei appears in her debut feature in what is sincerely one of the most remarkable performances of the year.

She plays her role as a tenured master of the craft, and plays off of Asian super-star Tony Leung in what is no less than a fatal ballet of wits and passions. enough cannot be said about Leung's performance either. He's traditionally reserved in his performance, but manages to express oceans of subtle hints and slips into his character's conflicted soul.

Lust, Caution features several moments of the most brilliant filmmaking of the year, including a shocking and powerfully expressive scene of murder in the first hour of the film. Much has been said about the explicit sex scenes in the film, and damn if I'm not going to mention them too. It takes an artist of the highest calibur to execute what could have devolved into smut in a manner of the utmost taste and believability. It is through these serial sexual encounters that we observe with the greatest clarity the evolution of the relationship between our two leads. Each encounter progresses from more brutal and detached to more sensual and entwined, their limbs growing entangled and their bodies sharing the motions of their passion.

It's a dangerous game of cat and mouse these individuals believe to be playing with one another, and the tension continues to grow from the opening sequences right up until the very last scene in the film, building over the course of probably 2 hours. At one moment, Wei's character reports to her superior officer that as she lets him enslave her in his brutal lovemaking, cumming inside her, not satisfied until he makes her bleed and scream, she wishes the Resistance soliders would finally just bust open the door and shoot him in the back of the head, covering her in his brains and blood.

Throughout the film, we never know who is going to come out on top, and we even begin to hope no single party has to, but that's not the reality of the situation. It's a game of life and death, and one team is destined to lose. Discovering which is a horribly painful and sorrowful experience, and one that I can't recommend to everyone.

Form a technical stantpoint, this film is just as impressive, if not moreso than anything Lee has done to date, though the relentlessly deliberate pacing can wear the most dedicated of viewers. Lust, Caution is quite the investment, but with the proper mindset and cinematic perspectives, it can prove to be the most rewarding experience one can find at the theater this year.

There's a thin line between art and entertainment, and it's refreshing to see a director throw caution to the wind (lulz, I said caution) and create a stark expressive work like this one. It's not a film about love, like many of Lee's features. This one is more about the responsibilities one human being can commit to another, and about the nature of identity in a decietful if unavoidable situation.

In conclusion, Lust, Caution was possibly the most difficult film I've seen this year. It demands your acute attention, and is completely unforgiving of your patience or lack thereof. It's also far from the most entertaining film of the year, but it's possibly the accomplished, and definitely the most provocative. Remember I said this: The final two shots in this film are the most beautiful and poignant of anything I've seen in theaters in several years.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:24 PM   #938
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Thank you, sir. Nicely done.

It's going to be hard to top those final shots from Crouching Tiger, but I'll take your word for it.

And since you said James/Ford was your favorite of the 3 (hopefully it wasn't just because of Zooey's cameo), I can't wait to read your write-up on that one.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:27 PM   #939
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And since you said James/Ford was your favorite of the 3 (hopefully it wasn't just because of Zooey's cameo), I can't wait to read your write-up on that one.
I actually saw this one again for a second time last night, and it gave me a better grip on the whole thing. It's still an excellent film, but I think I'd rank it just slightly below Lust, Caution now.

My top three of the year now look like this:

1. Eastern Promises
2. Lust, Caution
3. ...Jesse James...
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:52 PM   #940
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Eastern Promises #1, huh?

I loved it but it didn't seem like a rewatcher compared to other Cronenberg; eXistenZ, for example. Have to check it out again.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:58 PM   #941
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To be honest, I'm not exactly a big Cronenberg fan. I've seen several of his older horror films, but the only more recent of his I've seen has been A History of Violence. I disliked that one at first, but it's grown on me quite a bit.

To use a reasonably inappropriate comparison, Eastern Promises felt like The Godfather plus a more brilliant use of violence minus a lot of needless exposition. A lot of the themes are rather different too though, which is why it isn't that great of a comparison. On the surface though, I think it fits.

I really want to see it again in theaters. I might go see it when I see Control or Michael Clayton or whatever this coming week.

I'd also love to see Lust, Caution again, although I'm not really sure I can endure that particular runtime again so soon.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:44 PM   #942
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I'm still waiting for Darjeeling to hit somewhere in Florida. From what you've said and other reviews, I'm very excited. A change in direction for Anderson is welcome for me, while not completely betraying his style.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:58 AM   #943
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Good write ups Lance. I'm very keen to see all three of those films when they arrive over here (although Lust, Caution won't be till January ) and any doubts I had on the two you reviewed have been banished now.
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:55 AM   #944
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Wolf Creek, a decent Australian film that has all the fun and games that I have come to expect in a horror/thriller, good to see a movie that takes sadistic violence as the lark it is, I was rooting for Mick the whole way through

Favourite Bit; Playing around severing spinal chords

Most annoying bit: Liz not smashing his brains to bits with the butt of the rifle when the chance was there, but then that would make it a short movie.

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Old 10-12-2007, 09:08 PM   #945
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Michael Clayton

7.5/10

I thought it was very good. I usually don't go for legal thrillers, but based on the strength of its reviews (and yes, I admit, The Clooney Factor), I went. I thought it was very, very good.
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