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The Master

Every film you've watched in 2016

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Groundhog Day: funnily enough, we watched this tonight too. So damn good. A true modern classic. Every bit of it a pleasure.

Blood of the Tribades: feature for the fest

They will all die in space: short for the fest

Features: 25

Shorts: 7

Documentaries: 2

 

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The Wind - silent film about a woman who moves from Virginia to a town out west, where the winds blow dust everywhere 24/7. It's a pretty linear story, but there's some striking filmmaking as it goes on. There's a tension building sequence where the film dissolves between two pairs of pacing feet, and a progression from a swinging lantern to a shifting house to show the woman losing her grip on reality. There's also an interesting aspect of it being on the cusp of talking pictures. After so many shots of the wind blowing, it hits you that there should be constant noise in the background, that they were in the position of having to communicate that idea visually. 

Straw Dogs - The ugliest movie that's meant to be ugly I've seen so far. It's so well-constructed, but it's also so horrific that I don't know how to feel about it.

Enter the Dragon - It's a James Bond movie with martial arts, but with a much quicker pace that works in its favor. That fights are all shot differently, which makes for much more interesting action sequences. The five minutes that's just Bruce Lee decimating guys is great, and the final battle with Han that homages The Lady From Shanghai really caps off the tension. My favorite Lee moment though might be his bored expression as he waits for some henchman to run out of a room he throws a cobra into.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind - It's over two hours long, but I was invested in it the entire time. The build-up to the aliens is so well done, the abduction scene is so frightening, the dinner table scene is so heart wrenching. The feeling that you're watching someone with mastery of their profession is with you throughout. I felt this when I rewatched A Christmas Story last December, but Melinda Dillon is such an underrated actress. Spielberg's said that he regrets the ending for Roy's character, and that's really the only strike against it I can think of.

Punisher: War Zone - One of the best superhero movies. Frank Castle doesn't talk for thirty minutes. Ray Stevenson gets emotion out of Frank trying to scrub dirt off his family's gravestone and commit assisted suicide. There hasn't been a Marvel movie villain since, outside of Loki, that's as memorable as Jigsaw. The makeup is fantastic, and Dominic West gives a controlled over the top performance that is thoroughly entertaining. The violence is just as memorable, from the chandelier scene and the head punch to the more satirical moments like the rocket and the grenade. On top of that, the movie ends by saying "you're better off believing in The Punisher than Jesus." Sure, it's tongue in cheek, but that is going for it. Also, there hasn't been a Marvel movie since that looks better; the Tony Scott inspired opening credits, the monochromatic filters and lights in certain scenes, the beauty of the church scene. This movie is alive in a way few superhero movies are.

Digging for Fire - A husband and wife are apart for a weekend, with both considering who they are and what they think of their marriage. The husband's is represented through digging after finding a rusty gun and a bone in a yard, to give it a bit of flavor. I didn't enjoy it as much as the other Joe Swanberg film I've seen, Drinking Buddies, but it's solid. 

Films: 34

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Enter the Dragon - It's a James Bond movie with martial arts, but with a much quicker pace that works in its favor. That fights are all shot differently, which makes for much more interesting action sequences. The five minutes that's just Bruce Lee decimating guys is great, and the final battle with Han that homages The Lady From Shanghai really caps off the tension. My favorite Lee moment though might be his bored expression as he waits for some henchman to run out of a room he throws a cobra into.

 

Punisher: War Zone - One of the best superhero movies. Frank Castle doesn't talk for thirty minutes. Ray Stevenson gets emotion out of Frank trying to scrub dirt off his family's gravestone and commit assisted suicide. There hasn't been a Marvel movie villain since, outside of Loki, that's as memorable as Jigsaw. The makeup is fantastic, and Dominic West gives a controlled over the top performance that is thoroughly entertaining. The violence is just as memorable, from the chandelier scene and the head punch to the more satirical moments like the rocket and the grenade. On top of that, the movie ends by saying "you're better off believing in The Punisher than Jesus." Sure, it's tongue in cheek, but that is going for it. Also, there hasn't been a Marvel movie since that looks better; the Tony Scott inspired opening credits, the monochromatic filters and lights in certain scenes, the beauty of the church scene. This movie is alive in a way few superhero movies are.

My favorite Lee bit from Enter the Dragon, apart from the killer neck-crunch orgasm of death, is when one guy asks why he isn't wearing a proper uniform, and Lee just stares at him with a look that says "Bitch get out my face". It's an awesome small moment.

If you're so inclined I gabbed about War Zone on The Battle Beyond Planet X a couple of months back. Initially I didn't really like that movie, and I still don't all that much now, but Harry made me realize its merits a bit better.

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I also love that when he's getting briefed on the mission, the first thing he says is "why can't we just shoot Han in the head?'

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Punisher: War Zone - One of the best superhero movies. Frank Castle doesn't talk for thirty minutes. Ray Stevenson gets emotion out of Frank trying to scrub dirt off his family's gravestone and commit assisted suicide. There hasn't been a Marvel movie villain since, outside of Loki, that's as memorable as Jigsaw. The makeup is fantastic, and Dominic West gives a controlled over the top performance that is thoroughly entertaining. The violence is just as memorable, from the chandelier scene and the head punch to the more satirical moments like the rocket and the grenade. On top of that, the movie ends by saying "you're better off believing in The Punisher than Jesus." Sure, it's tongue in cheek, but that is going for it. Also, there hasn't been a Marvel movie since that looks better; the Tony Scott inspired opening credits, the monochromatic filters and lights in certain scenes, the beauty of the church scene. This movie is alive in a way few superhero movies are.

 Boy, you're going to love my next instalment of Comic Reel-lief.....

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Mad Max: Fury Road

What a disappointment.  I'd heard nothing but good things about this movie, but it was a huge letdown.  I had no emotional investment in any of these characters because they just throw you headlong into this frenetic insanity with no introduction to any of them.  There's only so much "overly long car chase, break down, fix the rig, resume chase" and "okay, that person never should have survived that horrific crash" that I can take before I get really bored with the whole idea.  And how the fuck were these vehicles still driving through hundreds of miles of desert with no refueling???  Also, having every single one of Tom Hardy's lines dubbed in post-production was really off-putting. *1/2

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Wow. I mean, I don't think you need to come away believing it's the greatest movie of all time, but...wow. 

I was just bored senseless with it. It's two hours of car chases and horrible arbitrarily sped-up cinematography.

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I can understand that pretty easily. The more distance I have form the film, the more I think of how much of a waste of time it was.

Harvest Lake: on the other had...wow. Feature for the fest.

Features: 26

Shorts: 9

Documentaries: 2

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Edge of Tomorrow: It's probably my second favorite movie period. And I kinda needed to watch it, seeing as I've been having a rough couple of weeks. 

Films watched: 17

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Also, having every single one of Tom Hardy's lines dubbed in post-production was really off-putting.

In fairness, it isn't the first time that's happened....

NEwmKAfrZgmHAw_2_b.jpg

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Also, having every single one of Tom Hardy's lines dubbed in post-production was really off-putting.

In fairness, it isn't the first time that's happened....

NEwmKAfrZgmHAw_2_b.jpg

Yeah, and I made my feelings on that disappointment of a movie known, too.

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Chelsea Does Marriage: I'm counting this as a documentary because it's feature length. I'm not a big fan of Chelsea Handler's comedy. I enjoyed this though, as I really enjoy watching her try to deal with people. She really is an unrepentant bitch, and that's fantastic. 

Brewing/Ravenous/Shelf Elf: shorts for the fest

 

Features: 26

Shorts: 12

Documentaries: 3

 

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Mad Max: Fury Road

What a disappointment.  I'd heard nothing but good things about this movie, but it was a huge letdown.  I had no emotional investment in any of these characters because they just throw you headlong into this frenetic insanity with no introduction to any of them.  There's only so much "overly long car chase, break down, fix the rig, resume chase" and "okay, that person never should have survived that horrific crash" that I can take before I get really bored with the whole idea.  And how the fuck were these vehicles still driving through hundreds of miles of desert with no refueling???  Also, having every single one of Tom Hardy's lines dubbed in post-production was really off-putting. *1/2

James, I am right there with you.

My first outing was dreadful, due to the sound. The second time -- while I enjoyed the practical effects and stunts, and feel Charlize Theron threw herself in fully -- I walked away bored and, generally, not giving a shit about the world, characters, or the consequences of their actions.

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Flash Gordon (1980) directed by Mike Hodges

Awesome...

Have you seen (or rewatched recently) MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE? VERY similar vibe.

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Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

I really liked this.  Michael Keaton has this intrinsic, subtle charisma about him even when he's being awkward and unsure; let alone when he's being intense.  I honestly don't think I've ever seen a performance of his that I disliked.  The cinematography was terrific (which is to be expected since it won an Oscar for that.)  I am a big fan of extended one-shot sequences because I understand how difficult it is to film such scenes without a single screw-up.  

The way they tied the ending back to lines said very early on was cool, too.  Example: "He couldn't even shoot himself in the head properly!"

 

The only criticism I have is Ed Norton's character is just kind of forgotten about in the last twenty minutes when he was such a prominent part of the first hour and a half.  Still, I would readily watch this again.

***1/2

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