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MOVIE BUFFS

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Bugsy Malone & Mission To Lars [27 Sep 2016|01:35am]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

Two catch up reviews barely connected by 'Music' and 'random things in my life other than movies'.

BUGSY MALONE:
Over the Summer holidays I my two teenage goddaughters to see a production of 'Bugsy Malone' at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith. Its was a brilliant, lively production (better and funnier than I had imagined) and an important one in my life as it was the only theatrical production I had been involved with during my time at High School so I have a strong nostalgic connection to the story. What I didn't realise until later was just how long it had been since I saw the movie - probably since I was in High School, maybe even longer, so I picked up a cheap copy.
By and large the movie holds up pretty well. The concept is still a little bonkers (Children play out adult gangster roles - with added custard pies and its also a musical). The cast are mostly pretty talented and it still shines with originality - there still isn't anything else quite like it. The only place it fell down is in comparison to the live performances I have seen - both at school and recently at the theatre. The kids in the movie do not actually sing or play instruments. Even the kids who were potentially talented enough to sing or play mimed to a soundtrack pre-recorded by adult performers. It is understandable to see why the did this (a guarantee of quality control if nothing else) and it doesn't really spoil the film, but the live performances have been better for it. I suspect that if the casting was correct it might even have improved the film. It was still a fun watch though.


MISSION TO LARS:
A man with a profound learning disability (which like Autism causes profound social anxiety) has a lifelong wish/fixation on meeting Lars, the drummer from Metallica. His sister is a journalist and they set about documenting the journey they make to try to meet Lars. I really liked this film. The challenge is made somewhat easier because the sister in the movie is a journalist, this and the fact that they were making a funded documentary opens more doors (possibly) than would otherwise have been opened but the journey and the ambition behind it remain inspiring. I work with people with learning disablities and they frequently have ambitions which seem outlandish and impossible, so the fact that someone has said, OK - lets do it and then overcome the many obstacles to really trying is (to me) inspiring and touching beyond belief. I would like to show this film at work as a kind of training video for all staff to learn from. Dreams to have to be realistic to actually happen. That is the centra message of the film and it in no way skips over the many challenges that had to be faced. I liked this a lot.

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Review in the Corner Pocket [24 Sep 2016|11:24pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | thirsty ]

I've posted a review of The Hustler over at my journal.



Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/147228.html

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The Girl With All The Gifts [25 Sep 2016|01:05am]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

I took some of my service users today to see 'The Girl With All The Gifts' a movie they chose themselves without me leading them - though to be fair most of them wanted to see 'Deepwater Horizon but that doesn't come out until next week.
Their response was pretty positive, but my personal reaction was much more positive. Smart and original zombie movies are few and far between. This (based on I gather a very well received book which I have yet to read) takes a strong biological basis for the virus and adds some interesting characters. The premise is that the z-disease in this case is a kind of parasitic plant/fungus that affects the hosts behaviour to improve its own distribution but this is only the first stage of that organisms development - there is more to come! Throw into this mix some grumpy soldiers, a ruthless scientist intent on making a vaccine and some children that were born infected (their mum's were infected while pregnant) and have become a kind of mutant sub-species of zombie-human. There is a decent smattering of action and the tension is held well throughout. I think zombie films are generally brilliant fun but I recognise when a particularly good one comes along that transcends the genre and this film is one of those.
Two of my female colleagues also attended, were overwhelmed by the (fairly mild) Horror - they aren't used to it - and spent the rest of the day moaning that we should have gone to see the new Bridget Jones movie instead! This was an option my service users were offered but declined - I for one am glad that I was there to defind their wishes and their 'fragile minds'!

This week I have been mostly reading: Your Servants And Your People' by David Towsey. This also features zombies. Its part of a series of books aimed at 'Young Adult' readers faturing zombies and set in the American 'Wild West'. Also not bad.

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I'm Glad it Got Off the Ground [21 Sep 2016|07:05pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | okay ]

I've posted a review of The Right Stuff over at my journal.



Review here: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/147121.html

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Gunshots in C-Sharp [18 Sep 2016|05:54pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | tired ]

I've posted a review of C-Man over at my journal.



Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/146815.html

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Suicide Squad & Nick Fury Agent Of SHIELD. [18 Sep 2016|04:26pm]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

2 Comic Book Adaptations:

SUICIDE SQUAD:
This is a movie based on a great concept - a 'super hero' team made up entirely of baddies. Unfortunately it never quite fully delivers on this. It hits plenty of the right notes (Harley Quinn and The Joker are brilliant, there are some funny moments and some good action and it all looks brilliant). There are also a few notes that it doesn't hit. There are times when the set-up feels a little contrived and too many moments when the super-baddies don't feel particularly bad at all, which kind of defeats the point.
I really don't want to sell the movie short - I actually quite enjoyed it. There was even a moment where I was genuinely impressed by the storytelling - the super-team was assembled with a rapidity and economy that contrasted sharply with Marvels Avengers which luxuriated in multiple movies to reach the same point. Ultimately though Suicide Squad never paid off in the same way, not because of it's economy but because it mostly failed to live up to it's superb concept. Just before I saw the film I read a review/article that claimed that DC based movies have not only caught up with where Marvel movies are but have now outpaced them. That's a pretty big claim and one that I do not think stands up to even basic scrutiny. DC movies have made some giant strides this year but they still have a long way to go yet to catch their rivals.

NICK FURY - AGENT OF SHIELD:
Long before the recent boom in hero movies Marvel had a couple of half-arsed stabs at bringing their characters to the screen. Characters like 'The Punisher' were obvious candidates as while they are characters with as much depth as their super-powered colleagues there are no super-powers that require complex & expensive effects or huge leaps of belief for the non comic-reading audience. This might by why Nick Fury was also selected for a movie. There is some slightly high-tech weaponry/gadgets to liven things up but otherwise it is mostly standard spy/action movie stuff. Thats the theory.
Question: Before Samuel L Jackson donned the eye patch, who do you think Stan Lee described as "The ultimate Nick Fury"? Answer: David Hasselhoff! Admittedly, this was back when he was the square jawed hero of Night Rider/Baywatch rather than the bloated self parody of youtube/Dodgeball. The basic premise though seems to be that if you have an eye patch, a cigar and a bunch of stubble you have all the right stuff to play the grizzled hero. Suffice to say, this is not a great movie. It's pretty low rent from start to finish which wouldn't have done it any favours at the time but add to that how dated it has become and how poorly it compares with the more recent movies (or even 'Agents Of SHIELD' tv series). Apart from Hasselhoff fans and the extremely curious this is a movie best left in the bargain bin.

2 movie buffs| tear your ticket

Love, Lust, and Loss...Sounds About Right to Me [14 Sep 2016|11:37pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | worried ]

I've posted a review of the original Peyton Place over at my journal.



Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/146434.html

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The Left Hand Doesn't Know What the Right Hand is Doing...Or Does it? [11 Sep 2016|05:34pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | okay ]

I've posted a review of the movie Heist over at my journal.



Review here: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/146325.html

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[09 Sep 2016|04:07pm]

darkphoenixrisn
Tunnel (2016)

Top shelf South Korean survival film about a man (Jung-woo Ha) driving home from work through a long tunnel when the tunnel suddenly collapses. The film parallels his fight for survival with the determination of the chief of the rescue operation (Dal-su Oh) to save him no matter the cost. It's tightly written and directed by Seong-hun Kim ("A Hard Day"), with outstanding performances from Ha, Oh, and Doona Bae as the trapped man's wife. There's more than one genuinely terrifying sequence as the film keeps you on the edge of your seat for two hours, with some well-timed bits of comic relief to keep the audience from exploding in suspense. Highly recommended.
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"GHOSTBUSTERS" (2016) Review [08 Sep 2016|10:23am]

lmoore66



"GHOSTBUSTERS" (2016) Review

I wrote this REVIEW of "GHOSTBUSTERS", the 2016 reboot of the 1980s supernatural comedies. Directed by Paul Fieg, the movie stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.
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Insurance Salesmen; More Dramatic than Theater Producers, Apparently [07 Sep 2016|05:23pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | blah ]

I've posted a review of Gold Diggers of 1937 over at my journal.



Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/146127.html

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The Other Captain America Trilogy [07 Sep 2016|01:06am]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

In the build-up to the dvd release of Captain America: Civil War I allowed my enthusiasm to get the better of me and I picked up a cheap box set of the three original attempts to make a Captain America movie - from before Marvel properly learned how to make movies. The first two date from the late 1970's and the third from 1990. The first two films I caught on tv as a kid and they were my introduction to the character long before I ever picked up a comic book. Many kids will now have the same experience I guess - but with much better movies.
The first two films ('Sentinel Of Liberty' and 'Death Too Soon') both have a 'made for tv' vibe about them, with poor production values, ultra-low budgets and little known casts (apart from Christopher Lee in the sequel). I thought at first that the first film might have been made as a pilot for a tv show - but that doesn't explain why they would have made a second one. With budgets so low a tv distribution deal might have made the film a modest financial success.
The films probably would have worked better in a tv show type format. The Incredible Hulk did fairly well on tv around this time and a reduced run time would have made for some tighter story telling. Both films are about as densely plotted as an average episode of Scooby Doo and contain about as much character development. (Except Scooby Doo would hold the advantage of the unmasking 'twist' at the end).
The first two films were also victim of some questionable choices. The costume for instance is more 'Evel Knievel' than captain America and the sheild looks like (actually is) a cheap plastic frisbee. They also do away with Cap's wartime past and lost years in the ice. None of these would be enough by themselves to derail the films but production values were low all round and it really shows in everything.
The third film (now packaged as 'The Original Avenger' but I think that is a recent addition) came more than a decade later and seems to be ambitious enough to aim maybe for the straight to video morket rather than just tv. This film brings back the wartime origin, the 'proper' costume, a better sheild and the Red Skull as the classic villain. Clearly more effort has been made to base the film more closely on the comics and that yeilds some improvements but basically the production values are still close to zero and the script hardly sparkles.
Together the three films are a curiosity but watching them is slightly more of a chore than a pleasure. What I took from them though is how much better the newer Marvel films are. It isn't just the budgets and the modern effects, the casts, the scripts and the character realization are all so much better now than they were then, even with the studio's weakest modern efforts.

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Tree Of Life and Room [05 Sep 2016|02:28am]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

Two dis-similar films that touch on themes of family and coping but aren't entirely about either. (If that makes any sense!):

TREE OF LIFE:
I have had this dvd in my 'to watch' pile for a couple of years. During that time it never really made it to the top of the pile. I was never in the mood to watch it and I would always postpone watching it and shuffle it back down the pile in favour of just about anything else. Now that I have finally made myself watch it I am still not sure what I feel about it except that I do not really want to watch it again anytime soon.
First, the positives: Its beautifully shot, at times the cinematography is dazzling. The film also touches on some deep philosophical/spiritual issues and requires the viewer to use their brains while watching. The structure jumps about in time (at one point becomming a sequence in how the universe/world came to be and animals evolved). Whole sections have little or no dialogue etc.
Then the negatives: The film actually left me feeling pretty cold towards what I had seen. I had ound little sympathy for any of the main cast or anything that had happened to them by the end of the film. This is a little odd as there is plenty of deep running emotions in the film - so much so that it left me feeling a bit drained by the time I finished - but I still care very little for what I had seen.
On lots of technical and aesthetic levels the film sets incrdible standards and is widly admired by critics and I can see why - but I would struggle to go as far as saying that I enjoyed it.


ROOM
This is based on a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed and that usually makes watching an adaptation a little tricky but in this case the film makrs have done a great job. Room tells the story of a young woman who was kidnapped as a teenager and kept as a sexual prisoner in an adapted garden shed. While captive she falls pregnant to her kidnapper/rapist and raises her son in the one room shed creating there a whole world that contains no concept of 'outside'. On the boys 5th birthday the mother realises that she will need the boy's help if they are ever to escape and has to a) convince him that there is something outside (and that it is better) and b) that he will need to take a terrible risk if they are to escape. **SPOILERS*** The first part of the film takes place entirely in the shed. We get to see "the world" as the boy lives it. The second part of the film follows how they both adapt to the wider world once they break out. The woman has to adjust to everything she has lost/regained/found to be changed while the boy has to learn from scratch about a world he hadnt even dreamed existed until a few days before.
The great strength of the book is that it was told from the perspective of the boy. From his vocabulary and discriptions of his experiences we get a real feel for how his 'room/world' has shaped him. The book is also weighted much more heavily to the time the two spend in the room and their dangerous bid for freedom. The film differs in that the film balances perspectives of both the son and mother and also gived much more weight to the adjustment period once they are free. The depiction of life in the room is still brilliant and the escape plan is still nerve wracking but the added focus on the period of adjustment gived the film a different flavour but is every bit as interesting and enjoyable.
Few of my favourite books have been adapted to the screen this well with just the right balance between remaining faithful to the text while still added new elements. The superb central and supporting performances didn't hurt either.

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Reviewing Without a Safety Net [03 Sep 2016|02:19pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | okay ]

I've posted a review of The Stunt Man over at my journal.



Review here: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/145752.html

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"JASON BOURNE" (2016) Photo Gallery [31 Aug 2016|08:11pm]

lmoore66



"JASON BOURNE" (2016) Photo Gallery

Here is a GALLERY featuring images from "JASON BOURNE", the fifth entry in the BOURNE movie franchise. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the movie stars Matt Damon.
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Water and Desert; I seem to have accidentally watched polar opposites [31 Aug 2016|06:40pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | relieved ]

I've got two reviews today, though they aren't related. One is Splash, as part of the (possibly last) Hit Me With Your Best Shot Challenge. The other is my promised review of the latest incarnation of Ben-Hur. I think you can take a wild guess as to which one I liked better.



Splash review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/145083.html
Ben-Hur 2016 review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/145207.html

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I could have done without the title song, though. [28 Aug 2016|06:12pm]

allisontooey
[ mood | okay ]

I've posted a review of The Longest Day over at my journal.



Review: http://allisontooey.livejournal.com/144815.html

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[28 Aug 2016|04:16pm]

darkphoenixrisn
Venus in Fur (2013)

Director Roman Polanski's provocative, white-hot gem about dominance, submission, and power exchange concerns a French playwright/director auditioning an actress for an adaptation of Sacher-Masoch's famous novel. Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner plays the actress, while Mathieu Amalric is the playwright/director in a thinly veiled Polanski impersonation, and both are absolutely brilliant from beginning to end. Based on David Ives' play, with a screenplay by Ives and Polanski, it's such an emotionally charged production that I simply couldn't look away from the screen for even a second. Polanski and cinematographer Pawel Edelman perfectly visualize the material, mirroring what the characters are experiencing. Highly recommended.
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Holy Motors & Boy [26 Aug 2016|01:01am]

shaved_ape
[ mood | awake ]

Two from 'World Cinema':

HOLY MOTORS:
This is one of the weirdest films I have ever seen and I mean that as a total compliment. We see a man begin his day, step into a waiting stretch limo and from then until the end of the film the mystery of what exactly is going on deepens. The man dons a series of disguises, assumes radically different identities to complete cetain 'jobs' some of which blur the lines of reality. All the while we do not know who the employer is - in fact not much of anything is explained and each new piece if insight or information we gain leads to at least as many questions as answers. It is shot in Paris, brilliantly directed by Leos Carax and has some genuinely amazing from the performances (including an appearance by Kylie Minogue) but especially from lead actor Denis Lavant. The film provides a memorable story, yet entirely retains it's mystery. It's brilliant.

BOY:
Also brilliant but in a very different way is Boy, - written, directed and featuring Taika Waititi, the man largely resposible for the brilliant 'Eagle Vs Shark'. Set in 1980's New Zealand this is a coming of age story. The titular 'boy' is forced to confront his own ideas about life, himself and especially his father when his father returns home from prison and quickly fails to live up to expectations. There is a wealth of humour and charm in the script and the (mostly non-professional) cast are delightfully natural. I am not sure if I want to use the word 'whimsical' to describe this film, it might do it a dis-service but there is definitely a magical element and a has a wonderfully light touch. This is great.

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Favorite Movies of the 1960s [24 Aug 2016|10:15pm]

brtmh



FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE 1960s

Here is a LIST of my favorite movies released during the decade of the 1960s.
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