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American Hero, 2015, starring Stephen Dorff. Another odd, low budget, indie superhero movie. Dorff plays Melvin, a 30-ish, pathetic loser who hangs out with his other unemployed friends in a poor section of New Orleans, getting high and drunk all the time, while also trying to be in his young son's life . He has few redeeming qualities, other than his love for his mother and friends,  classical music, and great literature. However, Melvin was born with the gift of telekinesis, which all his friends are aware of, but he never puts it to any practical use until one day when he sobers up and decides to clean the drug dealers out of the neighborhood. It's not for everyone, and there's no real cathartic ending, but I really liked it.

The Chase

A 1966 film with Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, Robert Redford and directed by Arthur Penn. Sounds like a safe bet, right? Nope. Other than Fonda being very hot there are no redeeming features of this flick. And how the hell did Brando ever con the world into believing he was a good actor?

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

Directed by Billy Wilder??? with no actors I recognized other than Chistopher Lee. Not bad though.

@steve8 posted:

The Chase

A 1966 film with Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, Robert Redford and directed by Arthur Penn. Sounds like a safe bet, right? Nope. Other than Fonda being very hot there are no redeeming features of this flick. And how the hell did Brando ever con the world into believing he was a good actor?

When I was in the video biz I used to call these movies, "How bad can they be movies."  "It's got so and so and it's directed by so and so, so how bad can it be?

FWIW, I disagree with your comment on Brando, he just wasn't in that many good movies. My favorite is often listed as his, and John Houston's worse, Reflections in a Golden Eye.

@steve8 posted:

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

Directed by Billy Wilder??? with no actors I recognized other than Chistopher Lee. Not bad though.

Certainly one of the worst of the great Billy Wilder's films. Especially bad because of the attempt to throw a question in there about the relationship between Holmes and Watson. There are a few other recognizable actors in the movie. Particularly notable is Clive Revill who played the guest murderer in the last Columbo episode from its original run.

As for old men and their pronouncements about art, mine is just taking Sturgeon's law one step more.

@The Old Man posted:

When I was in the video biz I used to call these movies, "How bad can they be movies."  "It's got so and so and it's directed by so and so, so how bad can it be?

I would nominate A Guide for the Married Man in that category. Starred Walter Matthau and Robert Morse, with cameos by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, Art Carney, Wally Cox, Jayne Mansfield, Terry-Thomas, and others. Directed by Gene Kelly. Should've been a slam dunk, but it is the biggest misfire I've ever seen.

@mneeley490 posted:

I would nominate A Guide for the Married Man in that category. Starred Walter Matthau and Robert Morse, with cameos by Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar, Art Carney, Wally Cox, Jayne Mansfield, Terry-Thomas, and others. Directed by Gene Kelly. Should've been a slam dunk, but it is the biggest misfire I've ever seen.

Great call. I saw this in downtown Chicago when it came out (my classmates hung out at Old Orchard Shopping Mall but I would head downtown to see first run movies.) I kind of enjoyed it, but then I was barely a teenager. I've never been able to watch more than five minutes of it since then. It is truly a horrible and offensive movie.

The Fortune Cookie

Wilder, Matthau and Lemmon in fine form.

Possessor

I didn't realize who directed this until the final credits rolled. Brandon Cronenberg. The apple did not fall far from the tree. In fact since his father's last several films have mellowed I'd say Jr. has picked up where dad left off about 15 years ago.

Thanks to TCM I finally got around to seeing all the films in Satyajit Ray's "Apu Trilogy"; I'd only seen the first one, the incredible, sensitive, inside view of India that startled "art house" film aficionados, 1955's, Pather Panchali. After seeing the second and third one, Aparajito and The World of Apu I will just say these films are at the top of any list of great movies.

Once upon a time there were "art houses" whose golden age, I think, were between the late 50s and the mid-80s. It was a magical place to go to the movies,  with adult fare, often set in foreign lands. Audiences at these theaters didn't usually talk and the cell phone hadn't been invented yet!

@Rothko posted:

The old movie, not the TV series, I assume?

TV series actually. I didn't pay attention its only about movies. But thanks for the idea, i didn't know there is a movie. Will definitely check it out. Very pity it is not on Netflix , but probably i will find it on some other web streaming sites. Hope the movie is at least 50% as good as the tv series. I think I cried every episode of season 4. The ending was so cruel and a bit sad... How can I wait another year for the next season???

Last edited by evatra
@Rothko posted:

Every few years I'll pop in the Extended Versions of the Lord of the Rings and watch them all.  They really are fantastic movies.  Definitely in my Top 100 (if not my Top 10).

So I have the original trilogy release that has both the theatrical and extended versions. It was before the Blu-ray was released about ten years later. The extended version on the Blu-ray, and now on the 4k edition, both have about 20 minutes more than the original 480p extended version.

Now certainly the original extended version was a tremendous treat and it also wrapped up the story of Saruman who in the theatrical version died off screen. "Remember that awful, nasty guy Saruman, well he's dead." However, the Blu-ray added another 20 minutes to each of the three films. I know that many people can't get enough of Middle Earth, but there is really some padding that could be eliminated. I would like to see the original extended version come out on Blu-ray and 4k, but I'm pretty sure it will never happen.

To give an example of how I watch movies, I'm really digging, this time around, the work of the camera operator and the focus pullers. One day someone should write a book, and criticism, of the work of the camera operator. There's a lot going on there.

Last edited by The Old Man
@Rothko posted:

Watched Rush again - the movie about the Formula One racers.  Not quite as good as I remembered, but still pretty good.

I would love to watch it. I was very lucky to meet sir Jackie Stewart in person and to have a decent conversation with him) And I was driving him in his car even))) Such a great experience. Do they mention his name in the movie?

@irwin posted:

Watched nomadland yesterday.  Winner of best picture, best actress, best director.
I found it intensely boring.  I don’t get it.

Intensely boring...isn't that an oxymoron? I haven't seen it yet but do want to.

Recently

The Swarm (1978)

I may have seen this when it was released and forgotten how bad it is. How did they get so many big names to participate in such a bad film?

Death of a Ladies' Man

Probably only for people who live in Montreal and like Leonard Cohen and even then...

Let Him Go

Diane Lane is still a really good looking woman.

Steve8, Nomadland has a stillness to it that you’ll either love or hate. I loved it.

No Sudden Move - 2nd rate Soderbergh. Way too convoluted. I think every single character double crossed someone else.

Isle of Dogs - love Wes Anderson so I’m not sure why it took so long to get around to watching this. Fascinating. Not sure I loved it, but I sure admired it.

The Duke - hard to miss with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren. Pretty simple (and true) heist fI’ll, and a well crafted piece of Brit entertainment.

The Courier - a B++ grade spy thriller, made all the better by Benedict Cumberbatch.

@steve8 posted:

Intensely boring...isn't that an oxymoron? I haven't seen it yet but do want to.

Recently

The Swarm (1978)

I may have seen this when it was released and forgotten how bad it is. How did they get so many big names to participate in such a bad film?

I read Michael Caine's autobiography, What's It All About? , an excellent read, btw. He explains that during that time period, he and his wife, Shakira, were building a house. Every time he thought they were about done, his wife wanted to add another room. So each time she did, he would take another part purely for the money. That explains films like The Swarm, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, The Island, etc.  She must have wanted a remodel when he did Jaws: The Revenge in 1987.

Last edited by mneeley490
@Rothko posted:

Every few years I'll pop in the Extended Versions of the Lord of the Rings and watch them all.  They really are fantastic movies.  Definitely in my Top 100 (if not my Top 10).

Absolutely adore them. I don’t like the color grading on the 4K extended editions, however. Particularly on Fellowship. The color is too de-saturated. I would also say, in general, the theatrical release of Fellowship I prefer to the extended. I much prefer the extended version of Two Towers, and I have a slight preference for the extended version of Return of the King.

Taken as a whole, easy top 15ish for me. Probably top 10. Individually, Fellowship and ROTK are both top 100 for me; the extended version of Two Towers might be as well.

@winetarelli posted:

Absolutely adore them. I don’t like the color grading on the 4K extended editions, however. Particularly on Fellowship. The color is too de-saturated. I would also say, in general, the theatrical release of Fellowship I prefer to the extended. I much prefer the extended version of Two Towers, and I have a slight preference for the extended version of Return of the King.

Taken as a whole, easy top 15ish for me. Probably top 10. Individually, Fellowship and ROTK are both top 100 for me; the extended version of Two Towers might be as well.

At this point, I can't remember the theatrical versions very well, since I haven't watched them in over a decade.  I know the beginning of Fellowship is very different; in the Extended version Bilbo narrates a history of the hobbits whereas in the theatrical version it just starts with Gandalf in the wagon meeting up with Frodo.  I like that the Extended version gives us more of Moria. 

They truly are remarkable films.  And they stand the test of time (so far).  The Balrog scene is amazing; the battles of Helms Deep and Pelennor Fields - the charge of the Rohirrim is so stirring!

You can quibble about some of the changes that Peter Jackson made to the story: the death of Saruman; the Army of the Dead at Minis Tirith; Gandalf and the Witch King's meeting; etc.  But overall these are minor.  Compare it to The Hobbit, which was a disaster of a trilogy, in my opinion.

@haggis posted:

"No Time To Die"  Ugh...  No one says it better, and hysterically so, than Anthony Lane (the best in the business) in his review in "The New Yorker".  Don't waste your money (although, the "senior" ticket price here was only $10).

We finally disagree about something!  I loved it!!  Though it would be hard for me to NOT love a Bond film. And that opening scene in the Italian village was breathtaking on many levels.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid  1973.  Had never seen it before, and now I know why. Not one of Peckinpah's best. Slow, pointless scenes, too much exposition, and once again taking extreme liberties with history. Also, Kris Kristopherson at 37 in no way looked like a 21 year-old Billy.  Plenty of toplessness though, which I guess was maybe the selling point in '73? Seemed just embarrassing in 2021.

Dune--89pts.

First I have to say that Villeneuve has done about the best you can with this unfilmable book. Much better than the other science fiction adaptation that is playing currently on Apple TV, Foundation. (A true mess and disappointment.)  I absolutely hated David Lynch's Dune. All I wanted to do was leave the theatre after the absurd long prologue and many times thereafter.

My thoughts: First, in the 1022nd century apparently neo-Brutalism has made a solid return in architecture.

The first half of the movie does not do a good job of showing the passage of time. The first three major events seem too compressed. It's almost like they happened the next day. This is especially true of the third event. (I do not want to give any spoilers.) Now of course there is a limit to how long you want scenes to run but there are transitional devices that can be used.

The last third really pulls the movie up and has a number of thrilling scenes and also some excellent personal character interactions. The scene in the tent is particularly good.

The music by the ubiquitous Hans Zimmer is evocative and excellent as is the sound design in general. In fact, the walk out credit music is stronger than the final image of the film that proceeds it.

I think all the acting is solid but I have to agree with Anthony Lane in The New Yorker about this one scene, "One of Paul’s initial duties is to undergo tuition in single combat, although, to be honest, he doesn’t need weapons training. He needs half a dozen lamb chops and a side of spinach."

The word, not unsurprisingly, "jihad" was not mentioned. Just "holy war." There is so much influence in the book, and movie, with Islamic ideas, and yet this major term from the book is dropped. After I noticed this I found this article from the yucky Aljazeera, In Dune, Paul Atreides led a jihad, not a crusade.

I look forward to the second film.

Last edited by The Old Man
@The Old Man posted:

Dune--89pts.

First I have to say that Villeneuve has done about the best you can with this unfilmable book. Much better than the other science fiction adaptation that is playing currently on Apple TV, Foundation. (A true mess and disappointment.)  I absolutely hated David Lynch's Dune. All I wanted to do was leave the theatre after the absurd long prologue and many times thereafter.

My thoughts: First, in the 1022nd century apparently neo-Brutalism has made a solid return in architecture.

The first half of the movie does not do a good job of showing the passage of time. The first three major events seem too compressed. It's almost like they happened the next day. This is especially true of the third event. (I do not want to give any spoilers.) Now of course there is a limit to how long you want scenes to run but there are transitional devices that can be used.

The last third really pulls the movie up and has a number of thrilling scenes and also some excellent personal character interactions. The scene in the tent is particularly good.

The music by the ubiquitous Hans Zimmer is evocative and excellent as is the sound design in general. In fact, the walk out credit music is stronger than the final image of the film that proceeds it.

I think all the acting is solid but I have to agree with Anthony Lane in The New Yorker about this one scene, "One of Paul’s initial duties is to undergo tuition in single combat, although, to be honest, he doesn’t need weapons training. He needs half a dozen lamb chops and a side of spinach."

The word, not unsurprisingly, "jihad" was not mentioned. Just "holy war." There is so much influence in the book, and movie, with Islamic ideas, and yet this major term from the book is dropped. After I noticed this I found this article from the yucky Aljazeera, In Dune, Paul Atreides led a jihad, not a crusade.

I look forward to the second film.

Pretty solid review from TOM.  I did not end up seeing it as friends backed out.  Will try again soon

I watched Dune on HBO Max and enjoyed it quite a lot.  I'm sure it's even more visually and audibly impressive on a big screen but watching at home allows for subtitles.  There is a LOT of sub-voiced thoughts and whispered asides which are important even though they are difficult to hear.

[Context for the above:  I'm 55 with good hearing and a good home theater system.  I did read the first book in the '80s and saw the Lynch movie in the theaters.]

I did HBO Max as well.  I'd like to see the new Bond as well but waiting until it comes to streaming.  Not going to a movie theater just yet.

Same. I’ll get Moderna boosted in the next couple of weeks and then play things by ear. My *guess* is that the combination of information coming out about people who have been boosted (perhaps especially who had Moderna originally) combined with my guess at total case numbers in my area will cause me to begin to take things easier come mid-late February. That’s my guess at the moment.

@neilk posted:

I watched Dune on HBO Max and enjoyed it quite a lot.  I'm sure it's even more visually and audibly impressive on a big screen but watching at home allows for subtitles.  There is a LOT of sub-voiced thoughts and whispered asides which are important even though they are difficult to hear.

[Context for the above:  I'm 55 with good hearing and a good home theater system.  I did read the first book in the '80s and saw the Lynch movie in the theaters.]

I saw the Lynch movie at 19 in a mob-owned Bronx apartment on a semi-inflated Aero-Bed while getting stoned with an openly gay minister (which was still rare in 1999) after a night of hard partying in Atlantic City where I got my picture taken with Paul Sorvino.

Last edited by winetarelli

Of course it's better to see Dune on a movie screen, but I'm not yet comfortable going to a theatre. Streaming it is fine if your television is set at the correct distance and height. Also you need to be able to darken the room enough so that it replicates a movie theater. When watching a "letter boxed" film the black bars should disappear and you should only see the rectangle of the actual picture.

So let's talk about how your TV should be placed. First if you put it above your fireplace, it's time for a change. You do not watch a movie with your head tilted up (unless you unfortunately got stuck in the first couple rows of a theater.) The height of the television should be with your eyeline being at least 10% to 20% above the bottom of the screen. Again think of where your eyeline is in a theatre where you sit 1/3 the distance back from the screen to back of the theatre. BTW did you know you should be sitting 1/3 back in a movie theatre?

Now what about the distance to the screen? The odds are you are sitting too far. There are two different organizations who recommend distance to screens, both for movie and home theatre. One is the older SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Theatre Engineers) standard. For them the ideal viewing angle to the screen is 30 degrees. This has since become the stand for home theatres. However, THX (Lucas's company) also has standards for their certification for movie screen. They recommended a slightly closer 36 degrees. I have a 75 inch and sit very close to the THX recommended 8.5 feet.

This is a calculator you can use. You only need to fill in questions 1 & 2. If you can't get close enough, or think the THX recommendation is too close, then at least try for the SMPTE distance.

Last edited by The Old Man
@The Old Man posted:

You may have artwork you've purchased. Many will consider carefully where you wanted to hang it including taking into account things like light and the height. Film is an art form too.. And TV is kind of getting there also.

I will not argue that movies (films) or even television are forms of art, as long as we can agree that they are consumed in different ways, by different people, and there is no absolute way in which a movie should be watched. 

Most of the time I am laying down when I watch our televisions, whether in the living room or bedroom.  Not sure where I would have to put my television to not be looking up at it. 

@patespo1 posted:

I will not argue that movies (films) or even television are forms of art, as long as we can agree that they are consumed in different ways, by different people, and there is no absolute way in which a movie should be watched.

Most of the time I am laying down when I watch our televisions, whether in the living room or bedroom.  Not sure where I would have to put my television to not be looking up at it.

Certainly there is no one right way. But there is a best way. And to truly appreciate the art it should be in viewed for best visual experience. Film is an art form that until relatively recently could only be viewed in a movie theater. A home theater set up is made to replicate that experience as best as possible in the home. There are guidelines for this. It is of course up to the user to decide if this is important to them.

@patespo1 posted:

I will not argue that movies (films) or even television are forms of art, as long as we can agree that they are consumed in different ways, by different people, and there is no absolute way in which a movie should be watched.

Most of the time I am laying down when I watch our televisions, whether in the living room or bedroom.  Not sure where I would have to put my television to not be looking up at it.

Take the mirror off your bedroom ceiling and put the TV there?

About 10 days ago we saw the new Bond film in a theater. It was on a Monday during the day and there were only 6 people in the theater. There were almost 30 minutes of previews and the film itself is 2 3/4 hours. The film fits into the other Daniel Craig vehicles and was enjoyable but also predictable.

Yesterday we went into SF to see the new Wes Anderson film, French Dispatch. Really enjoyable. I didn't care for his early films but since the Isle of Dogs and Budapest Hotel, I've become a fan. Only 4 people in the theater on a Thursday afternoon. Highly recommend if you like quirky, eccentric characters and plots with a touch of drama.

Also saw Dune on HBO. When it was done, I realized that it still needs 1-2  more sequels! Not sure I would have invested my time knowing that going in...but visually stunning. Loved the costume designs too. Had an sleek Armani look for both men and women.

Saw "The French Dispatch" yesterday.  Aside from some of the short scenes (more like paintings than film), shots of a cool village in France, and some performances, hated it.  No stories to speak of, at least none that we could follow, images flashing by before it was possible to get a good look at them, silly and pretentious in the extreme.  Animation at one point for no apparent reason.  Not sure what Wes Anderson was going for here but for us, he failed miserably.  Self-indulgent.  We loved Grand Budapest Hotel and Darjeeling Limited so we were quite disappointed by this one.

For those who want to check it out I strongly suggest watching it at home so that you can pause and drink in some of the scenes, which often included multiple characters and images for just a second or two before something else happened.

Last edited by bman

Just watched the 1963 version of Cleopatra which starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Rex Harrison among many other stars of the day.  As an epic, the costumes and staging are amazing but the movie lacks something along the way.  Afterward I learned the original idea was for there to be two separate three-hour films, one focusing on Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and the other dealing with Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  Worth watching in any event just to see all the actors who went on to become big stars.

Last edited by Dr. Lerxst
@bman posted:

I liked that one too. Why not enjoy them both?!

After having not enjoyed his first attempt at Agatha Christie I can't see giving him a second chance. Nothing I've heard or seen about this film makes it seem any better. A lot of unnecessary reworking of the book. If you don't want to stick to the original source then go make your own murder mystery like the not good "Knives Out." At least they tried.

Admittedly, surf movies are a plotless, incohesive affairs, little more than a video log produced by a sponsor to get some pub for there star.  This one, while I can't say if breaks that stereotype, has a bit a cleverness to it I've not often seen.   That and the bluff on a good day.  Equally impressive is how that hybrid twinnie can hold such a high line and not spin out.  The music is cool, too.

Alternative Universe

Death on the Nile

Looks spectacular. (And, of course, so does Gal…)  It definitely held my interest but I wouldn’t consider it a good movie, per se.

I re-watched CODA. It deserved to win the Oscar (in a sub-par year) and I highly recommend it. As I said, it is much less precious and much more light-hearted and funny than you might expect. And not at all preachy. Just smile-inducing.

Last edited by winetarelli
@winetarelli posted:

So, I finished The Batman…

Meh. Not as good as Burton’s nor Nolan’s. The cars and gadgets didn’t seem as cool and the whole thing seemed smaller. They were going for a retro realistic style that will work for some, but I didn’t find it “fun”. Still, it was well made. B-

My 14 year old son has finally discovered Nirvana, after hearing Something In the Way in the soundtrack.  So that's a positive.  I have yet to see the movie so no grade for me yet.

@brucehayes posted:

Taxi Driver.  Over the years, I have seen many scenes ("You talkin' to me?) but had never seen the entire movie.  To be honest, I found it rather boring.

I watched it as well and felt the same.  Maybe it was something that had to be consumed in the era it was made.