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Old 12-30-2007, 07:15 AM   #681
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Even though it was ages ago, the last film I saw was the Golden Compass.
Being a huge fan of the book Northern lights, I must admit I hated the film before I'd even seen it due to the horrific name change. I tried to go in with an open mind and to my suprise I thought aspects of the film (Nicole Kidmans character, the opening scenes in Oxford, the daemons) were very true to the books and just how I had imagined them.
But about 3/4 of the way into the film everything was suddenly changed - the order of events, the events themselves. And a very important thing which took place in the book wasn't present in the film - I don't know if they are going to put it in the next film, but it was a huge disappointment.
And I don't think removing all the references to the church was a good idea, as it's made things very confusing for an audience and will make the third film make absolutely no sense now.
Although, I did love the Kate Bush song on the end credits Made my friend sit through all the credits to listen to it.
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:51 PM   #682
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The Pursuit Of Happyness

Liked it. Was waiting for his big break to finally come. What a struggle. Didn't get too much info at the end, just a couple of sentences onscreen. I did see the real Chris Gardner on Oprah way back when the movie first came out (along will Will Smith & his son). I don't think I could watch the movie twice though.

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Old 12-30-2007, 02:49 PM   #683
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Originally posted by Lancemc
Le Samourai - 10/10

I'm really picking 'em well lately. My first Melville, and I doubt I could have chosen a better introduction. This is really a landmark film of the french new wave, and pretty much sets the bar for much of the crime thriller genre of the last 40 years.

Alain Delon's commanding performance as Jef, a hired gunman with samurai-like deliberation and honor, is the driving force of this film along with Melville's pitch-perfect command over the film's complete direction. This is possibly as close to perfect as this type of story comes, and the Criterion Collection transfer I watched is absolutely stunning.
You little git, this appears to be unavailable on DVD in the UK and I've been growing ever keener to watch it for ages now. Good to see it'll probably be worth the wait though.

As the cinema has been crap lately all I've got is slightly older movies to report on:

Out of Sight
Hard to believe this is nearly ten years old now, but it is still one of the coolest films to have come out in a long time. Every viewing is a joy and demonstrates what Steven Soderbergh can achieve when he really tries to make films that are both commercial and artistic. George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez set the screen alight whether in the sticky heat of Florida or the freezing alleyways of Detroit and has a contender for one of the most erotic love scenes ever. Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle and Steve Zahn offer flawless support and the timeframe jumping / colour coordinating tricks used by Soderbergh are both stylish and subtle.

24 Hour Party People
Along with A Cock and Bull Story, this serves to show that Steve Coogan and Michael Winterbottom really should team up more. Like the aforementioned literary adaptation they attempted later on, this account of Tony Wilson and Factory Records during the rise and fall of the 'Madchester' scene repeatedly breaks the fourth wall and plays around with style and form constantly. Even the film stock changes depending on the tone of the scene. (Note to Emilio Estevez re: Bobby - this is how you insert stock footage into a reenactment scene.) Always fun and with a brilliant soundtrack (Joy Division and Happy Mondays lead the way), this captures the buzz and excitement of the time brilliantly. Wther it comes off as smug or exhilerating is down to the viewer, but is definitely one to check out regardless if you are a fan of the music. Top cast too.

Breaking the Waves
Having previously only seen Lars Von Triers' Dogville (outstanding) and Manderlay (time to shake things up before Washington) it was interesting to go back and see a similar style being developed in the first of another trilogy. Emily Watson delivers a braveau performence in her debut role that typically for Von Trier requires an enormous amount of dedication and commitment. This is true for the viewer as well, as this chaptered film is both lengthy and emotionally draining (think Requiem for a Dream if you haven't seen any of his other works). The camera work is very intimate and showcases some wonderful Scottish scenery. But this is Watson's film all the way and if you aren't feeling even a wee bit emotional come the final shot then you haven't a heart to break.

Howl's Moving Castle
When I first saw this at the cinema two years ago (I was the only person in there - all the kids on holiday were watching Nanny McPhee for some reason) I left feeling that Miyazaki allowed himself to gently meander through the first half before realising that he still had all this damn plot to cram in. Watching it again with a full knowledge of the plot meant I didn't get as lost as last time, but the pacing is still wildly uneven. I love the languid nature of the first half as Miyazaki takes us through another wonderful world he's created, but when the shit hits the fan it feels like being rudely pulled into a 400m sprint midway through a relaxing stroll in the park. Other than that it's still hard to fault overall, the main criticism being that it borrows a little too much from his previous Ghibli films whilst not quite hitting their peaks. One to watch.
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Old 12-30-2007, 02:57 PM   #684
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Sweeney Todd

Um. Hm. Well, that was grim. And gruesome. Not quite sure how much I liked it. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't love it like I was hoping.

I guess I like my musicals a little more cheery. Like the preview for Mamma Mia I saw. Now there's something that's likely to have a lot less blood. And peppier tunes.
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:08 PM   #685
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Out of Sight
Hard to believe this is nearly ten years old now, but it is still one of the coolest films to have come out in a long time. Every viewing is a joy and demonstrates what Steven Soderbergh can achieve when he really tries to make films that are both commercial and artistic. George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez set the screen alight whether in the sticky heat of Florida or the freezing alleyways of Detroit and has a contender for one of the most erotic love scenes ever. Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle and Steve Zahn offer flawless support and the timeframe jumping / colour coordinating tricks used by Soderbergh are both stylish and subtle.

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Old 12-30-2007, 03:25 PM   #686
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Out of Sight is a fantastic movie and as an added bonus, a nice reminder of a time when JLo didn't make me gag.
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:30 PM   #687
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And peppier tunes.
I loved the music of Sweeney Todd! I'm totally going to buy the soundtrack.
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:33 PM   #688
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Out of Sight is a fantastic movie and as an added bonus, a nice reminder of a time when JLo didn't make me gag.
Hard to believe that it's even her, you know? My oh my how things have changed.
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:35 PM   #689
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I've noticed a bit of a problem with the system of ratings I've been using this past year, so for the remainder of the year and especially for 2008 I'll be putting up this revised rating system to better gauge the quality of the films I see. I'll soon be revising all the scores for my 2007 films to match this slightly altered system here, and all scores from this point out will be based on this system. The idea is to provide a broader spectrum for the high end films. I currently have 3 films from the year with a score of 10/10, which simply doesn't speak of the subtle difference in quality among the absolute best film of the year. So here we go:

10 - Masterpiece : This is the type of film that surpasses all lower qualification. A true landmark of the art of cinema. A film that functions on its own set of rules and raises the bar for the medium.

9.0/9.5 - Exceptional : Films that exceed excellence. These are films that absolutely everyone should see, because they are truly noteworthy works of filmmaking that demonstrate exquisite levels of artistic accomplishment.

8.0/8.5 - Excellent : Works that showcase outstanding craft and artistry. These films set to achieve a high goal of art or entertainment and succeed in nearly all respects.

7.0/7.5 - Great : Works that showcase very good levels of craft and/or artistry. These films set to achieve a high goal of art or entertainment and succeed in many respects.

6.0/6.5 - Good : Films that demonstrate better than average achievements of art or entertainment. These films may set to achieve certain goals and fail, but contain more positive qualities than negative ones.

5.0/5.5 - Fair : Films that exhibit some kind of favorable quality, that may range from pure entertainment value or an ambitious artistic goal, but fail to succeed as a truly good film.

4.0/4.5 - Mediocre : Films that most audiences should generally avoid, these are bland unfit works that typically showcase neither notably positive nor exceedingly negative qualities.

3.0/3.5 - Poor : Films that fail in nearly all respects, and are wholly unworthy of recommendation.

2.0/2.5 - Awful : Films that achieve surprising levels of negative quality, they typically devoid of any artistic or entertainment value.

0.5/1.0/1.5 - Abysmal : a·bys·mal –adjective
2. extremely or hopelessly bad or severe: abysmal ignorance; abysmal poverty.

0.0 - Impossible : Practically no film could ever be this bad, because it would single-handedly make the medium of film itself despicable .
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:36 PM   #690
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I loved the music of Sweeney Todd! I'm totally going to buy the soundtrack.
I went in not knowing any of the songs other than "No One's Going to Harm You," or whatever it's called. While they suited the story very well, I guess I'm just not a big Sondheim fan.
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Old 12-30-2007, 03:46 PM   #691
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ok

so I can hit two films very soon

will I opt for

Orphans
and
Juno

or
Sweeney Todd
and
C Ws War?

art house
or
main stream?
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:31 PM   #692
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Originally posted by anitram
Out of Sight is a fantastic movie and as an added bonus, a nice reminder of a time when JLo didn't make me gag.
LOL!

I liked her dream sequence, you know, the one with the bathtub
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:34 PM   #693
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I liked Jennifer Lopez in Selena (which is one of those movies I have to stop and watch if I come across it on cable. ).
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:47 PM   #694
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My brother just gave me 2 DVDs which I will try to watch over the next couple of days.

An Unreasonable Man and Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Any recs/comments?
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:59 PM   #695
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Originally posted by monkeyskin

Howl's Moving Castle
When I first saw this at the cinema two years ago (I was the only person in there - all the kids on holiday were watching Nanny McPhee for some reason) I left feeling that Miyazaki allowed himself to gently meander through the first half before realising that he still had all this damn plot to cram in. Watching it again with a full knowledge of the plot meant I didn't get as lost as last time, but the pacing is still wildly uneven. I love the languid nature of the first half as Miyazaki takes us through another wonderful world he's created, but when the shit hits the fan it feels like being rudely pulled into a 400m sprint midway through a relaxing stroll in the park. Other than that it's still hard to fault overall, the main criticism being that it borrows a little too much from his previous Ghibli films whilst not quite hitting their peaks. One to watch.

MS, did you ever get the chance to see Tales From Earthsea from Miyazaki's son Goro? It's still not available in the U.S. but I know the U.K. has it. The problem is that the Sci-Fi channel did a live action adaptation of LeGuin's novel a couple years ago (atrocious, from what I've heard), and the network still has the rights until 2009 or something, which is preventing Disney from releasing this in the U.S.

I managed to download a poorly subtitled version, and while I wouldn't say it compares to Hayao's best works, I thought it received a lot of unfair criticism. Considering it was Goro's first film, I thought it was very well done and much darker than his father's normal material. It had a very epic, Lord of the Rings type quality, though it would have been nice to see the other books adapted as well to flesh out the whole mythology. Ultimately, it still felt worthy of the Ghibli name.

I just purchased a copy on eBay and am hoping to watch it again soon with the English language dub (Timothy Dalton and Cheech Marin are the only noteworthy names, unfortunately), as I had a bit of a hard time following the story the first time around with the bad dialogue translation. Hopefully I can present a more thorough critique then.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:01 PM   #696
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The Brothers Solomon.

Heh. I knew it would probably be pretty bad, but Will Arnett makes me laugh just by standing there looking into the camera, and I think Will Forte is pretty funny, too.

The first half hour was fairly amusing, and then I lost complete interest. The opening credits made me laugh the most, which is pretty sad, but I guess not too surprising.
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:26 AM   #697
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Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

Really great. A bit frustrating not to have all the interviewees identified, and the credits rolled by too fast to read them, but somehow I think Strummer would have appreciated the artistic choice. I liked that the focus of the film wasn't just his years with The Clash but the whole of his life. A really great character study of a complex and fascinating man with a big heart who left us way too young but at least he was happy in his final years.
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:59 AM   #698
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MS, did you ever get the chance to see Tales From Earthsea from Miyazaki's son Goro? It's still not available in the U.S. but I know the U.K. has it. The problem is that the Sci-Fi channel did a live action adaptation of LeGuin's novel a couple years ago (atrocious, from what I've heard), and the network still has the rights until 2009 or something, which is preventing Disney from releasing this in the U.S.

I managed to download a poorly subtitled version, and while I wouldn't say it compares to Hayao's best works, I thought it received a lot of unfair criticism. Considering it was Goro's first film, I thought it was very well done and much darker than his father's normal material. It had a very epic, Lord of the Rings type quality, though it would have been nice to see the other books adapted as well to flesh out the whole mythology. Ultimately, it still felt worthy of the Ghibli name.

I just purchased a copy on eBay and am hoping to watch it again soon with the English language dub (Timothy Dalton and Cheech Marin are the only noteworthy names, unfortunately), as I had a bit of a hard time following the story the first time around with the bad dialogue translation. Hopefully I can present a more thorough critique then.
The one week it was screening at a nearby cinema was during weekday afternoons so I wasn't able to. I did follow it though because it's Ghibli and saw that a lot of reviews here gave it 3/5 with the general criticism being that the story is too muddled for one not familiar with the source material. I'll give it a rent some time and see what I think. It's a shame that Goro has all of this pressure to live up to his Dad's reputation right off the bat, in fact it's downright unreasonable.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:32 AM   #699
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Well it's better than Castle of Cagliostro, that's for sure.

Of course, Hayao followed that up with Nausicaa, which I think is one of his 2 best films, so he was a quick learner.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:50 AM   #700
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I really like Castle of Cagliostro

Completely different to anything Miyazaki did with Ghibli but as an entertaining adventure movie I think it more than delivers.

Have you heard much about Ponyo on a Cliff? It's Miyazaki Senior's next film (even though he claims each one since Princess Mononoke will be his last) and it's due out in Japan in June.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponyo_on_a_Cliff
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