Author Topic: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon  (Read 21136 times)

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2015, 03:13:19 PM »


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Year of Release: 2005
Directed By: Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen
Genre: Comedy, Suspense/Thriller, Crime

Overview:
They say love and money don't mix, but you can't blame Harry Lockhart for trying. He's been whisked from a life of petty crime to Hollywood, where he'll audition for the role of a movie detective and be tutored for the part by a private eye. Now all he has to do is convince the dream girl he meets that he's a real detective. And not stumble over the corpses as reel life abruptly gives way to the real.

Lights, camera, plenty of action! Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) provides the screenplay and makes his directing debut in a clever fusion of buddy movie and hardboiled noir produced by Joel Silver. Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan play the thrust-together trio – a naïve schemer, a tough-as-nails gay detective and a hopeful actress clinging to her dream. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Watch Watch.

My Thoughts:
This film was a lot of fun.  The performances are all great, the script is fast and witty, and the mystery does keep you guessing (especially in the beginning).  Yes, it's self-aware, breaks the 4th wall, and is almost deliberately hip.  But that also part of it's charm.  It's a film that never takes itself seriously, but invites the audience to laugh with it in its send-up up of noir cliche and Hollywood life.  I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed "Snatch," which is the only film I've seen that this reminds me of.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.75/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2015, 05:23:35 AM »


Salem's Lot
Year of Release: 2004
Directed By: Mikael Salomon
Starring: Rob Lowe, Andre Braugher, Donald Sutherland, Samantha Mathis, Robert Mammone
Genre: Horror, Drama

Overview:
Welcome to Jerusalem's Lot - Salem's Lot, as locals call it. Population: 1319. And growing eerier by the moment. Because an ominous outsider has moved into the sleepy New England town's foreboding Marsten House and brought with him an unspeakable horror.

This powerful new adaptation of Stephen King's terrifying bestseller stars Rob Lowe as a writer who returns to his hometown to confront his haunted past...and who soon leads the fight against a heart-stopping force of evil. Andre Braugher, Donald Sutherland, Samantha Mathis, Rutger Hauer and James Cromwell co-star, and help supply proof that when it comes to thrills, chills and unearthly dread you can't keep the undead down. Walk the streets of Salem's Lot...if you dare.

My Thoughts:
This is a horror film that isn't frightening.  It almost comes off as more of a dark drama.  The events are horrific, certainly, but it isn't a scary movie.  Surprising, because Salem's Lot was the first book I ever read that actually scared me.  Yet I found this film to be closer tonally to the original novel than the earlier film.  I really disliked the 79 adaptation of Salem's Lot because of the changes to the character of Barlow, which I felt changed the whole story.  This film hews closer to the character of Barlow from the novel, and while there are a lot of changes here too, the only one I find to be major is the fate of Father Callahan.

I really enjoyed Rutger Hauer's performance as Barlow, and I would have liked to have seen more of him.  Sutherland's Straker was also very good.  The rest of the cast isn't as memorable, but they all did a solid job.  I enjoyed the ensemble nature of the miniseries, and how the filmmakers really tried to include a little bit for multiple people in the town.

On the other hand a lot of things are brought up that don't add anything to the plot, and are never actually explained in any way  (basically anything involving The Marsten House).  The framing story is completely unnecessary, except to deal with Callahan.  The effects (especially in one scene) are kinda laughable and really show the low budget the filmmakers had to work with.  I almost think it would have been better if they'd left out some of the effects work, it was so bad. 

Still, I enjoyed it.  I'd recommend it with caution.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2015, 01:39:10 PM »


Avengers: Age of Ultron
Year of Release: 2015
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader
Genre: Action, Science-Fiction

Overview:
When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron, a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

My Thoughts:
Age of Ultron is very much a comic book superhero movie.  Yes, you say, that's what it's supposed to be.  Well, unfortunately, it's the filler issue, and for all James Spader's great performance, Ultron comes off more villain-of-the-week than world-changing threat.  That doesn't mean you don't enjoy the movie.  I did.  It's fun, filled with action and witty banter.  But like any filler comic, nothing of much consequence happens.  My main complaint is the same one I had for BOFA:  too much action, not enough character development.  Things that should get explained (what was Tony's plan for Ultron, anyway?), don't.  Most of the characters don't have a story arc, or if they do the film fails to follow through on it (Tony, again).  Some sequences look like they were included simply because the filmmakers thought it would be cool, so they designed the script around it (Iron Man vs. Hulk) rather than actually considering what the characters they set up would actually do (I really don't see Scarlet Witch siccing the Hulk on the populace of that city, given the background they give her in the film.  Just don't buy it.)

Now, did I have fun?  Did I enjoy the film?  Sure.  But it isn't as good as the first Avengers, and nowhere near as good as Winter Soldier (IMO, one of the best Marvel films).  Should you see it?  Yes - IF you've seen the other Marvel films and plan to keep watching them.  There's quite a bit of setup here for future films (and that's part of the problem, the film seems more concerned with setting up the future than owning the present).  But know what you're getting:  It's a popcorn movie, a summer blockbuster.  It's a light, fluffy little cupcake - delicious but unsatisfying.  It's got a lot of action, there's a lot going on up there on the screen, and the effects are very impressive, but there's no meat.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Achim

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2015, 07:01:22 AM »
(what was Tony's plan for Ultron, anyway?)
He envisioned Ultron to be the "police of tomorrow", intelligent, but not emotionally to anything or anybody. However, Ultron very quickly realized that all of humanity os rather disruptive to planet earth, so humanity would have to go...

Beyond that I took it as the "jurassic Park situation". The scientist Tony Stark was so excited about what he could do, he forgot to ask himself if he should do it.

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2015, 02:06:19 PM »
(what was Tony's plan for Ultron, anyway?)
He envisioned Ultron to be the "police of tomorrow", intelligent, but not emotionally to anything or anybody. However, Ultron very quickly realized that all of humanity os rather disruptive to planet earth, so humanity would have to go...

Beyond that I took it as the "jurassic Park situation". The scientist Tony Stark was so excited about what he could do, he forgot to ask himself if he should do it.
Absolutely.  But it would have been nice to hear at least a little about how he thought it would work.  But all of that happens in one scene, very, very quickly, and is just as quickly tossed aside for more fight.  Blink and you miss it.  That's the issue.

And I actually see Tony as thinking he should do it, but not thinking through all possible scenarios/consequences if he does.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline DSig

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2015, 02:05:43 AM »
I think I saw a different movie than you :).  I agree that it wasn't as good as the first but that is simply because of originality (secondary on always get a mark down on that).  But I thought the characters followed well, the dialog I liked most all (couple down beats) but over all it would rate as well as the first.  Liked the addition of the new character(s) and the overall feel of the thing.

I will def see this again in the theater before the disc comes out then lots of times the first week or so to find the nuances.
Well into my teens when The Avengers appeared .. i like what they have done with the franchise. 
Now the bad news .. It sounds like there will be crossover from Spiderman in various MU films next (though my guess is avengers is way off) AND Josh Weaton no longer is with Marvel.  MU loss and Josh's gain. I can't imagine any company in their right mind disagreeing with Josh on how it should be or cut or .. Anything. 
Thank you
David

Offline Achim

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2015, 06:33:31 AM »
I agree that a sequel like this always is a slight step down, as the novelty is gone and some repetition is bound to happen.

Also, The Avengers has loads of characters, so giving everybody sufficient time is really hard, which is why Ultron's "origin story" was cut way too short...

Now the bad news .. It sounds like there will be crossover from Spiderman in various MU films next (though my guess is avengers is way off) AND Josh Weaton no longer is with Marvel.  MU loss and Josh's gain. I can't imagine any company in their right mind disagreeing with Josh on how it should be or cut or .. Anything. 
I understood was/is leaving for personal reasons, rather than just creative differences, and he may still consult on the next Avengers film...?

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #37 on: May 30, 2015, 02:20:33 PM »

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
Year of Release: 2003
Directed By: Craig R. Baxley
Starring: Lisa Brenner, Steven Brand, Kate Burton, Tsidii Leloka
Genre: Horror

Overview:
A prequel to the hit Stephen King's Rose Red, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer unveils a story of the twisted marriage of a matriarch to a promiscuous early 20th-Century industrialist and the haunted beginnings of an enormous Seattle mansion that has come to life.

Passages of the diary track a series of deadly encounters surrounding the Rose Red estate that transform Ellen from the innocent and submissive wife into a woman possessed by the dark forces inhabiting her home.

My Thoughts:
For a prequel to a movie that doesn't answer many of the viewer's questions, this movie only leaves you with more.  Nothing is offered up about the nature of the house, it's mysterious disappearances and hauntings.  while that works in "Rose Red" it distinctly does not work for a prequel about the house and its ghosts.  Vague mentions are made of 'cursed ground' and we learn that the house was moved over from Europe, but that's it.  The film is quite handsome in it's sets and costumes, and has a nice atmosphere to it, but there's no suspense.  Instead it's really the story of a philanderer, his marriage, and the wife who must suffer him.  Ellen comes off much too innocent and victimized here - she needed much more depth, as did her friend Sukeena and their relationship.  About average for a film, recommended only if you really, really liked "Rose Red."

Bechdel Test: Pass, barely

Overall: 2.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2015, 06:06:56 AM »


Sunset Boulevard
Year of Release: 1950
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson
Genre: Drama, Film Noir

Overview:
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an aging silent film queen, and William Holden as the struggling writer who is held in thrall by her madness, created two of the screen's most memorable characters in Sunset Boulevard. Winner of three Academy Awards®, director Billy Wilder's orchestration of the bizarre tale is a true cinematic classic. From the unforgettable opening sequence through the inevitable unfolding of tragic destiny, the film is the definitive statement on the dark and desperate side of Hollywood. Erich von Stroheim as Desmond's discoverer, ex-husband and butler, and Nancy Olson as the bright spot in unrelenting ominousness, are equally celebrated for their masterful performances.

My Thoughts:
Much can be said about this film. It's an excellent character study in the effect of loneliness, alienation and the pervasive press of our worship of youth. It's a tragic film about a woman's descent into madness. It's a sad film about what drove her there, and what her mental illness drives her to do. It's a film about the death of dreams.

It has a witty script and gorgeous cinematography. Swanson is amazing and grabs you in every scene she's in. She really carries Norma Desmond as a STAR, even if that star is faded. Holden was a great actor. All of the supporting cast is fine (and some of the cameos are from greats in their own right). A true classic in every sense, and highly, highly recommended for all film lovers.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #39 on: May 31, 2015, 01:52:29 PM »


The Lady from Shanghai
Year of Release: 1947
Directed By: Orson Welles
Starring: Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders, Ted de Corsia
Genre: Suspense/Thriller, Film Noir

Overview:
Baffling murders, fascinating plot twists and remarkable camera work all contribute to this spellbinding, time-honored film noir written, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Hired to work on a yacht belonging to the disabled husband of femme fatale Rita Hayworth, Welles plays an innocent man drawn into a dangerous web of intrigue and murder.

The subject of great controversy and scandal upon its initial release, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI shocked 1948 audiences by presenting Hayworth with her flaming red hair cut short and dyed champagne blonde. Fifty years later, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI is considered vintage Welles, his famous hall of mirrors climax hailed as one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history.

My Thoughts:
We will never see this film as Welles intended it. Reportedly it was a lot longer originally, and a lot ended up on the cutting room floor via the studio bosses. Perhaps it would have been better. Perhaps it would have been worse, because what we have is pretty damn good. The characters are memorable, the plot is twisty, the cinematography is as beautiful and quirky as you'd expect from Welles. There's plenty of mystery too, as you're not certain who is setting up who here. All of the main players (Welles, Hayworth, Sloane, and Anders) give really, really great performances. Yes, the score is pretty trite, and Welles preferences were completely ignored there, but it seems a pretty minor flaw to me. Highly recommended.

Bechdel Test:  Fail

Overall: 4/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline DSig

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2015, 03:48:32 PM »
This is indeed one of Welles great films.  We wont see the like of him (quirks and all :) ) again.  But luckily there are some very good directors out there.

I do miss the noir feeling though.
Thank you
David

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2015, 02:54:24 PM »


Zazie dans le métro
Year of Release: 1960
Directed By: Louis Malle
Starring: Catherine Demongeot, Philippe Noiret, Hubert Deschamps, Carla Marlier, Annie Fratellini, Vittorio Caprioli
Genre: Comedy

Overview:
A brash and precocious ten-year-old (Catherine Demongeot) comes to Paris for a whirlwind weekend with her rakish uncle (Philippe Noiret); he and the viewer get more than they bargained for, however, in this anarchic comedy from Louis Malle, which rides roughshod over the City of Light. Based on a popular novel by Raymond Queneau that had been considered unadaptable, Malle's audacious hit Zazie dans le métro, made with flair on the cusp of the French New Wave, is a bit of stream-of-consciousness slapstick, wall-to-wall with visual gags, editing tricks, and effects.

My Thoughts:
This is a very funny, very French kind of film.  It's fun kind of anarchy - colorful, filled with slapstick, sight gags and camera tricks, like a live-action cartoon.  Catherine Demongeot, our 10-year-old lead, gives one of the most authentic child performances I've seen on screen.  At no point does she seem artificial.  The rest of the cast does a good job too, but her performance really anchors the film. 

Not for everyone - there's a lot of absurdity and whimsy to the film, imagination and magical realism rule the day, so if you can let yourself go and enjoy that, the film is a lot of fun.  If you expect pure reality, prepare to be disappointed.

Bechdel Test: Pass

Overall:  3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #42 on: June 12, 2015, 01:24:55 AM »


The Times of Harvey Milk
Year of Release: 1984
Directed By: Robert Epstein
Starring: Harvey Fierstein (narrator)
Genre: Documentary

Overview:
A true twentieth-century trailblazer, Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. The Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, directed by Robert Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen, was as groundbreaking as its subject. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it's a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk's message of hope and equality to a wider audience. This exhilarating trove of original documentary material and archival footage is as much a vivid portrait of a time and place (San Francisco's historic Castro District in the seventies) as a testament to the legacy of a political visionary.

My Thoughts:
This excellent documentary about a courageous pioneer in human rights ought to be required viewing. If for no other reason than people need to hear about real heroes, true heroes, people who stand for something, and admire people for their character and their actions, rather than admire their fame. Milk did what he believed was right, even in the face of knowing he would be hated, knowing he might be assassinated. He still stood for something greater.

It's also a very well-constructed documentary, very informative and enlightening. I'm knocking the 1/2 star off for getting one detail about Milk's assassination wrong, but other than that, stellar film and highly, highly recommended.

Bechdel Test: N/A

Overall: 4.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2015, 06:18:53 AM »


Hamlet
Year of Release: 1948
Directed By: Lawrence Olivier
Starring: Lawrence Olivier, Norman Wooland, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons
Genre: Drama

Overview:
Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier's Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare's beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired–both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself–as he breathes new life into the words of one of the world's greatest dramatists. Criterion is proud to present Hamlet in a luminous black-and-white digital transfer.

My Thoughts:
Probably the best film version of Hamlet you're going to see.  It's a very dark version of the story.  What humor there was in the play has been cut, leaving you with a bleak, somber tragedy.  Olivier is absolutely superb in the title role.  He really embodies Hamlet as I have always thought of him from reading the play.  Olivier also directs, and does a pretty fine job of that too.  His supporting cast are excellent too, especially Norman Wooland as Horatio and Jean Simmons as Ophelia.  The gorgeous cinematography, with its noir-influenced shadows and interesting use of camera angles, deserves high praise as well.  Between the cinematography and the score, it creates a moody atmosphere that serves the film well, especially in the scenes with the ghost. 

All in all, an outstanding film, a splendid rendition of Hamlet, and highly recommended for lovers of the Bard's work.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield

Offline Danae Cassandra

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Re: Within My (Mom's) Lifetime Marathon
« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2015, 03:48:42 PM »


...and God Created Woman (Et Dieu... créa la femme)
Year of Release: 1956
Directed By: Roger Vadim
Starring: Brigitte Bardot, Curd Jurgens, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Christian Marquand
Genre: Drama, Romance

Overview:
The astounding success of Roger Vadim's And God Created Woman revolutionized the foreign film market and turned Brigitte Bardot into an international star. Bardot stars as Juliett, an 18-year-old orphan whose unbridled appetite for pleasure shakes up all of St. Tropez: her sweet but naïve husband Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) endures beatings, insults, and mambo in his attempts to tame her wild ways. Criterion presents this milestone of cinematic naughtiness in a stunning new 16x9 Eastmancolor transfer, supervised by the late director.


My Thoughts:
This is the film that launched Bardot's career, the film that made her a sex symbol. She's gorgeous here, all lush yet innocent sexuality. She captivates on screen. She's also a pretty good actress - her Juliette comes off superficial and selfish, a pursuer of her own pleasures above everything, yet look deeper and you'll see it's her insecurity and search for happiness and love that make her this way. The supporting cast is equally pretty good, and St. Tropez is beautifully photographed. Tame by today's standards, this film caused quite the stir when it came out. It's still worth seeing today, even with the problematic, basically misogynistic, ending.

Bechdel Test: Fail

Overall: 3.5/5
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-- Thorin Oakenshield