What was the last movie you saw?

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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:09 am

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is a nice, slightly whimsical indie romantic comedy. Nick (Michael Cera) is feeling depressed, having been dumped recently by Tris (Alexis Dziena). Norah (Kat Dennings), who goes to the same school as Tris, needs someone to be her "boyfriend for five minutes" at a club one night, and picks Nick out of the crowd. This chance meeting throws Nick and Norah together for a strange but wonderful evening where they 1) try to track down a concert being given by a famously reclusive band, while also 2) trying to figure out what has become of Norah's friend Caroline (Ari Graynor), who became seriously smashed and then vanished into the night; at the same time 3) Nick and Norah are learning how much they have in common. Director Peter Sollet, as in his earlier film Raising Victor Vargas, gives us a romance with intelligence and charm. Cera and Dennings are a likable and believable lead couple, while Graynor is a scene-stealer.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:54 am

Tonight I watched Super 8, J. J. Abrams' homage to/reconstruction of some of Steven Spielberg's sci-films from the late 70s and early 80s (Spielberg co-produced). IN 1979 in a small town in Ohio, a group of middle-schoolers are shooting an amateur film: aspiring director Charles (Riley Griffiths), somewhat dense leading man Martin (Gabriel Basso), aspiring pyromaniac and spfx man Cary (Ryan Lee), general handyman and extra Preston (Zach Mills), just-recruited leading lady Alice (Elle Fanning), and make-up artist Joe (Joel Courtney), our eventual hero. While shooting a night scene by a train station, they witness a spectacular train crash, and gradually they become aware of some very strange cargo the train was carrying--which may have to do with an alien from outer space. The script and story, written by Abrams, are nothing special--at times they are derivative and cliched. However, the sextet of young performers are quite good--the camaraderie that develops among them is believable and engaging. Keep an eye on them, especially Fanning, Courtney and Lee. Whether by design or accident, Abrams ended up with a group of no-names--mostly journeymen/women with lots of TV work--in the adult roles; this proves to be a positive as the focus remains on the young performers, where it should be.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:58 am

My movie tonight was Grosse Point Blank. Martin Blank (John Cusack) is reluctant to return to his hometown of Grosse Pointe, MI, for his 10th high school reunion, for a number of reasons. There's the fact that his job--being a hit man--seems to have sunk him into serious depression. His sessions with therapist Dr. Oatman (Alan Arkin) don't seem to be helping, and the only person he is able to relate to is his secretary Marcella (Joan Cusack). Grocer (Dan Aykroyd) keeps pressing him to join the new hit men's union which Grocer is determined to set up. A pair of NSA agents are dogging his steps everywhere. But when his next assignment proves to live in Grosse Pointe, Martin will have to hit that reunion after all, and face his biggest fear of all--a reunion with Debi Newberry (Minnie Driver), the girl he stood up on prom night 10 years before. As you can probably guess, this one is a black comedy, and it's a very good one. The script has plenty of bite, and the cast get the most out of it--both Cusacks are excellent, as are Driver and Aykroyd; Hank Azaria and K. Todd Freeman steal some scenes as the Feds.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:46 am

The Big Hit is a middling action comedy/romance with just enough redeeming elements to make it watchable. Mel (Mark Wahlberg) is a successful hit man who is trying to keep up two relationships--with Jewish fiancee Pam (Christina Applegate), who has invited her parents down for the weekend to meet him, and with demanding mistress Chantel (Lela Rochon)--and is constantly drained of money. As a result, he reluctantly joins the rest of his crew (Lou Diamond Phillips, Bokeem Woodbine, Antonio Sabato and Robin Dunne) in kidnapping Keiko (China Chow), the teenage daughter of a recording executive--but when Mel is put in charge of babysitting her, the two start to feel an attraction. Little do they know that their victim's godfather is their own boss, Paris (Avery Brooks). That's a pretty intricate mix of plot elements, which means that in under 90 minutes of actual running time, the story is seriously underdeveloped; meanwhile the action sequences follow several performers (especially Phillips) in going over the top. However, Wahlberg does a nice job as the lead man, while Chow is a likable presence who has good chemistry with him. This one would have been a lot better if some of the subplots had been ditched to focus on Mel and Keiko's relationship.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:23 pm

Somehow I got several movies in a row in my Netflix queue which involved hit-men of some sort. Tonight I watched an excellent one called simply The Hit. Ten years ago Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) snitched on the crew who were involved in several robberies with him. Now one of them is out of prison and has hired two pros, tough, ruthless veteran Braddock (John Hurt) and nervous, talkative first-timer Myron (Tim Roth in his first feature) to bring Willie from Spain to Paris for a reckoning. Circumstances force the two gunsels to also bring Maggie (Laura del Sol) along for the ride. This one is a character drama; director Stephen Frears focuses on the relationships among the four characters and the dynamics of the small group--much of the film takes place with the four of them in a car, traveling through rural Spain towards the French border. Frears has made several outstanding films over his career; this was the earliest of them.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:12 am

Zhong hua zhan shi/Magnificent Warriors is a lightweight but enjoyable film from early in Michelle Yeoh's career, back before she really became Michelle Yeoh (literally--she was billed as Michelle Khan in the subtitled credits). Fok Ming-Ming (Yeoh) is an adventurer of some sort in China in the 1930s, sometime after the Japanese invasion began. She is sent to a city in Inner Mongolia to try to free the ruler of the city before the Japanese discover he's been deceiving them--or something like that. The script for this one is about as rickety as an old movie serial, but it's fast-paced and there's plenty of implausible but entertaining action. Yeoh, only in her early 20s at the time this was filmed, gives a zesty, engaging performance, and as a special bonus there's a second Action Girl in the main band of heroines and heroes, played by Chindy Lau.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:43 am

La Femme infidele/The Unfaithful Wife is a subtle, character-driven thriller from the great Claude Chabrol, centered on one of the oldest of plots, the love triangle. In this case, the triangle consists of a French insurance executive (Michel Bouquet), his wife (Stephane Audran) and her lover (Maurice Ronet). The husband suspects the wife of an affair, gets confirmation from a private detective, and goes to pay a call on the lover--with fateful results. This was recently remade in Hollywood as Unfaithful, with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The Hollywood film is pretty good, but this one is better.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:48 am

As The Other Guys opens we see the ultimate pair of adrenaline-junkie cowboy cops, Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson), in a super-intense pursuit sequence that ends with a beyond-the-impossible shootout. The focus of the film, however, is on the "other guys," forensic accountant turned detective Allen (Will Ferrell) and easily-angered Terry (Mark Wahlberg), who have to step in when Highsmith and Danson make an unexpected but spectacular exit. This action comedy on steroids is an often-funny send-up of every buddy-cop movie cliche in the books. As such it's pretty good, although it probably would come off better if someone else--namely the folks who gave us Hot Fuzz--hadn't gotten to the idea first and executed it even more hilariously. Still worth a look, though.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:56 pm

My movie tonight was They Were Expendable. Often thought of today as a John Wayne film, its real star is Robert Montgomery. In the early days of World War 2 in the Pacific, Lt. Brickley (Montgomery) commands a squadron of PT Boats--small, fast wooden patrol boats--stationed in the Philippines; Lt. Ryan (Wayne) is his second in command. Their heroism, and that of their men, is of the doomed and desperate variety, as they try without success to hold off the Japanese conquest of the island nation. John Ford directed (with some help from Montgomery when he had health problems during the shoot), and the film displays many of the characteristic touches and themes that viewers of his Westerns know well. To my mind it's just a bit overrated, but it's one of the first really good World War II films, made in 1945 just as the war was ending. Montgomery is very good as the heroic and dutiful Brickley.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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Re: What was the last movie you saw?

Postby Jestak » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:05 am

Predators is a kinda-sorta follow-up to the 1987 film with Ah-nult. We open with mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody) in mid-air, parachuting to what proves to be a planet far from Earth. Soon after he lands, he finds himself in the company of several others--some from military backgrounds, some criminals--played by the likes of Danny Trejo, Topher Grace and Alice Braga, among others. Eventually they find they are on a planet that the "Predators" maintain as a game reserve--and they're the game which is being hunted. There's nothing distinctive about this one--it's a routine action film of the implausible sci-fi variety. It's nice to see Alice Braga given a significant role--she's a talented and beautiful actress who doesn't get as many good roles as she deserves.
"May the hinges of friendship never rust, nor the wings of love lose a feather"--Scottish blessing
Jestak
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