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Movies You Watched Recently And Felt Strongly About

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Wanted

Put a hot chick with tattos, revenge, and lots of fascinating gunplay together, mix in a nerd who in the matter of days turns into an assasin and add sound effects. Mix with vigor and created a new movie.

One thing I remembered about this show was how it took the 'bullet time' concept and molded it into a higher level with reverse deconstruction (my own term).

The plot is simple and does not add too much to the action revenge genre but it work quite well. 3.5/5

Chick factor: A Jolie is still alright but she is showing a few lines here and there, Botox? 3/5

Action: lots of creative shooting and clever ways of picking people up in a TransAm Corvette... 3.5/6

Rent, buy or Forget it: worth a rent at least

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No Country for Old Men

Simple story with a couple of twists/turns, some great characters, well directed and filmed.

You Kill Me

Good for a laugh, the adaptable Ben Kingsley playing a drunk, Polish assassin, again, well directed and great characters.

Edited by aztec

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Stop Loss - 3.5 / 5

After volunteering after 9/11 and completing 5 years of tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, a marine retires on completion of his contract only to be "stop lossed" under a clause of his contract and ordered to return to Iraq. Taking umbrage with his orders, he goes AWOL.

Excellent premise, fine acting, and a haunting tale, this movie falls short of brilliance only due to some inconsistent pacing and editing which makes some scenes seem disjointed from the preceding scene, and a slightly uncertain second act. Well worth a rent, though.

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Umizaru

Get a plot like Top Gun, throw in half naked bodies, incredibly kawaii girls, and a Coast Guard storyline and the usual Japanese penchant for tragedies and disasters and you get this. There are 2 movies plus a series in between.

The DVDs from HKG offer DTS-ES and DD-EX and there is plenty of surround action and subwoofer workout. Good stuff.

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Umizaru

Get a plot like Top Gun, throw in half naked bodies, incredibly kawaii girls, and a Coast Guard storyline and the usual Japanese penchant for tragedies and disasters and you get this. There are 2 movies plus a series in between.

The DVDs from HKG offer DTS-ES and DD-EX and there is plenty of surround action and subwoofer workout. Good stuff.

I must have a copy NOW!!!

Cheers :blush:

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A Very Long Engagement - 4.5 / 5

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's follow-up to his successful "Amelie", this is by far the better film, showing the true tragedy of war on the front lines in the Great War not through its impact on the soldiers but through the impact on those left behind. Funny, quirky, sad, violent, heart-breaking, and beautifully shot, this is a masterpiece of film-making and about the only war film you'll get your wife/girlfriend to go see with you. The only caveat - it's in French, so those who do not like subtitles need not apply.

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The Punisher - Extended Edition 2.5/5

Tries to re-insert various deleted scenes and an alternate beginning to create a more morally ambiguous character. However, this "origin story" is still hamstrung by the general premise of recreating the Punisher into a character that has moral compunctions and is personable. Anybody who has ever read Garth Ennis's reimagining of the Punisher (which this movie was loosely based on) will know that the studio missed the mark in that regard. The Punisher is an unstoppable presence of death for all criminals, and this film just does not have the body count for that - he just leaves too damn many people alive and engages in killing scenes that are far too elaborate but lacking in brutality. Torture is turned into comedy, but not in the splatter-fest way. Plus, John Travolta really sucks in this movie. I mean really sucks. Nice try, but this movie needed a major octane injection and some bloodbath on the scale of Rambo IV to come close to being what the Punisher really is. Maybe Stallone could write a script and direct?

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Sympathy for Mr Vengeance 4/5

Before "Oldboy" made him an international sensation, Korean director Chan-Wook Park put together this twisted little slice of Korean life. Desperate for money to save his dying sister, a deaf and dumb worker sells his kidney to a group of illegal organ harvesters only to be ripped off. To get the money together to buy a kidney, he and his girlfriend devise a plan to kidnap the son of a rich businessman. Things go awry and both the boy and the sister die, and the cycle of vengeance begins...

While slow to start with, this is a solid if brutal film, with more than its fair share of darkly hilarious moments (in true Korean fashion). Whilst "Oldboy" is arguably the better film, this is highly recommended.

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I have just watched Indianna Jones and the crystal skulls.

I saw it at the movies and thought it was ok,so i gave it another go.

I think it's still just ok,but how good :D is the new THX promo.

I can't stop playing it,excellent bass and the wife wants to kill me <_< .

It's one for all you subwoofer freaks(spearmint)

Paul.

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Quantum of Solace

Conventional wisdom wants us to believe that sequels are inevitably poorer than the initial releases. What about a sequel which has more than 3 dozen predecessors? The Bond franchise is a unique series of mostly successful movies which offer a blend of action, beautiful locations and women in a blend which is difficult to alter without some die hards whining, yet to remain stagnant threatens to alienate new potential fans brought up on a diet of XXX, Jason Bourne and other spy thrillers. The team working for the James Bond franchise has their work cut out for them and do they come up with the good? In my humble opinion, it is a resounding YES!

For those not wanting to hear more about the actual plot, you may wish to stop here.

James Bond has always been more than just an action thriller. It is defined by a few staples like Saville Row suits, gadgets, exotic locations and beautiful women, mixed together with action and humor. But just re-hashing this into yet another Bond movie would not only be seen as stagnation, but regression and capitulation in the face of stiff competition from other franchises.

Re-booting the whole series seems like a tempting proposition, which has already been successfully done in Casino Royale, and this also follows other such re-boots, such as the Incredible Hulk. This Bond follows closely in time frame to the end of the first of the new episodes and picks up the pace from there.

I actually went ahead to see this with some trepidation, as there have been some mixed reviews on this iteration of the Bond franchise, but the movie had the right mix. Right from the familiar pre-theme song sequence, the movie launches itself into a wonderful ballet of action done at a breath taking pace, blended in with a clever plot which whilst not taxing Daniel Craig’s acting ability, still makes for a believable plot with a small environmental / political issue thrown in for good measure.

The premise is revenge, and the movie build on this but instead of being a one note symphony, Marc Foster, the director tasked with this instalment, cleverly adds twists and also makes good use of familiar characters introduces in the previous movie to good effect. Judi Dench’s M is wonderful done and she makes excellent use of her limited screen time to show off why she is such a great addition to this series and a big contrast to the old buffoon like M from the older movies.

Olga Kurylenko continues in the new genre of Bond girls who are not merely beautiful vases, first pioneered by Michelle Yeoh. She is beautiful, resourceful, seemingly fragile yet tough when required. But most of all she is a perfect counterfoil for a grittier Bond who is more workman than a pansy suit wearing Roger Moore. The new Bond is not quite a Neanderthal, but he is quite happy to slug it out, bleed and resort to physical violence to get the job done whilst not quite getting too far away from clever lines, and looking spiffy in a suit which is more often than not dusty, yet still a fine Saville row design.

I am grateful that the jerky camera shooting style used in Jason Bourne movies are omitted here, but there are plenty of close ups during the many fight sequences, and there is little reliance on gadgets and of course no Q yet. Even so you never get the impression Bond has regress to simply being a dumb jock and there is a hint of the McGuyver cleverness in the movie. I still hope they bring back Q in the next sequence.

Speaking of returns, some things are beginning to return to assuage older fans, and the introduction of the vodka martini, and the use of the Aston Martins is a welcome nod and wink tribute to fans of this instalment. The ridiculous names the babes (remember Pussy Galore for example?) have also made a return in the form of Strawberry Fields, the field (yes) agent sent to escort Bond in Bolivia. When she is covered in oil, that resembles scenes from Goldfinger and quick-eyed fans will spot more of such little homages. Filming in exotic locations is another feature which I enjoyed, and having visiting the little town of Siena 90 miles outside of Florence in the Tuscan south, I can attest to the beauty of the place and savagery of the horse race, which is indeed conduct in the town square. Of course I also remember contemplating whether to pay 1 Euro for the privilege of using the toilet or torturing my bladder too…

So is there no chink in the armour? There are weak bits, the most glaring is the villain who looks as diabolical as a kindergarten teacher…he seems capable only of swiping candy from old ladies and Mr White would have been a much better main villain. CIA is made to look like bumbling corrupt idiots and the Bolivian dictators are cardboard thin in their stereotyping. But I guess this is not an Oscar potential movie…

The other flaw perhaps was a sound mix which although not bad, sounded rather flat in comparison to recent efforts like Hellyboy II, Ironman, Transformers and other action movies, and even relative to Casino Royale, which boasted great picture and sound quality. Picture quality was great, but the soundstage was rather limited to the front and even though the volume in the cinema was turned up, there was some difficulty following dialogue in the louder parts. Plus the bass was rather modest for a modern movie and was certainly less impressive than other blockbusters.

The Alicia Keyes performed theme song was also rather poor and would not go down as one of the better Bond themes.

Nevertheless, the smooth stirred but not shaken blend of action with a good plot makes it a riveting move to watch. In fact, I reckon that it would have been just as satisfying to follow on a small screen at home, without the noise and distraction from obnoxious cinema goers. Look out for the theme song strategically placed at the end, which seems to signify that there is more good stuff to come.

Is this theme song the signal for better things yet? Well James Bond is now blond, he is bad, he is back and he is brilliant.

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Downfall 5/5

You would think that the last 10 days of Hitler would be an horrendous experience, but there is something so captivating about this film that despite the horror of what is seen, its trauma is far more personal. Told mostly through the eyes of one of Hitler's personal assistants, Trudl, and a 9 year old Hitler youth, the acting in this is so phenomenal you palpably feel as if you're trapped in Hitler's bunker or on the streets of a crumbling Berlin as the Red Army advances. A rare portrait of flawed and twisted humanity on the brink of destruction, this is highly recommended viewing.

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Downfall 5/5

You would think that the last 10 days of Hitler would be an horrendous experience, but there is something so captivating about this film that despite the horror of what is seen, its trauma is far more personal. Told mostly through the eyes of one of Hitler's personal assistants, Trudl, and a 9 year old Hitler youth, the acting in this is so phenomenal you palpably feel as if you're trapped in Hitler's bunker or on the streets of a crumbling Berlin as the Red Army advances. A rare portrait of flawed and twisted humanity on the brink of destruction, this is highly recommended viewing.

Absolutely bloody awesome movie.

Cheers, GTO.

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Absolutely bloody awesome movie.

Cheers, GTO.

I've watched it twice on DVD but will have to again soon.

I watched it first on downloaded divx with a strange Polish dub last year but was so impressed I had to get it on DVD.

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Shining

Ok, I guess I am late on the scene. Actually I have caught bits of this on various occasions but I have never sat down to enjoy this iconic movie by Stanley Kubrick.

The plot is pretty simple, but Kack Nich. and Shelly D. make a good team to make this work. I actually hated the sitzy screaming role Shelley played but kudos to her for re-doing the staircase scene 141 times! The cinematography of the mountain scenery was also excellant.

Plot: simple and effective with little of the slasher type shock tactics, but the music, the look in Jack's eyes all add to the tension. 4/5

Action: not much, but the axe swinging Jack is an iconic in itself. "Here's Johnny!" has become a classic (he improvised that and took it from Johhny Carson). The blood from the lift was also a pretty scary bit. 2/5

Chick Factor: awful... perhaps I might go mad if she was my wife too.... -10/5

Rent, buy or forget it: this should be a keeper

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Shining

Ok, I guess I am late on the scene. Actually I have caught bits of this on various occasions but I have never sat down to enjoy this iconic movie by Stanley Kubrick.

The plot is pretty simple, but Kack Nich. and Shelly D. make a good team to make this work. I actually hated the sitzy screaming role Shelley played but kudos to her for re-doing the staircase scene 141 times! The cinematography of the mountain scenery was also excellant.

Plot: simple and effective with little of the slasher type shock tactics, but the music, the look in Jack's eyes all add to the tension. 4/5

Action: not much, but the axe swinging Jack is an iconic in itself. "Here's Johnny!" has become a classic (he improvised that and took it from Johhny Carson). The blood from the lift was also a pretty scary bit. 2/5

Chick Factor: awful... perhaps I might go mad if she was my wife too.... -10/5

Rent, buy or forget it: this should be a keeper

I have this on HD DVD and in HD the drive in the mountians at the beginning is some beautiful cinematography that belies the chilling scenes to follow. It is almost like watching the scenery from watership down with the lovely bunnies then havinga 4WD come through with hunters on the back blasting the poor bunnies away. It really is damn effective :)

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Hardware - 3.5/5

As it's coming into Christmas season, I thought I would share a few of my favourite un-Christmas movies - that is, movies set at Christmas time, but that don't conform with the general sappy cheer of most Christmas movie fare. First off the rank is this little gem, "Hardware".

Not that he would admit it, but back before "The Practice", 90s TV fan-favourite Dylan McDermott starred in a relatively obscure low-budget science-fiction horror film written and directed by Richard Stanley. Now, Stanley is a bit of an odd character, as anyone who has seen this or his follow-up "Dust Devil" will know, but the guy definitely has vision and this is one of those films that you either really love or really hate. I first saw this film when they put the R-rated uncut version out on VHS back in about 1992, and I have since worn my VHS copy out. Despite numerous promises to put this film on DVD, 20th Century Fox, which holds the distribution rights, has consistently failed to do so. It was briefly released on DVD in Germany with only a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and it looks like a relatively clean VHS transfer and this is the version I have. To my knowledge it has not been released anywhere else in any better condition on DVD.

The story of "Hardware" is pretty simple - in a post-apocalyptic future, Mo (Dylan McDermott) is a scavanger who on Christmas Eve buys some scrap from another merchant to give to his girlfriend Jill who is a sculptress. Unbeknownst to Mo, the scrap is actually the remains of an experimental M.A.R.K. 13 killer droid and once in Jill's apartment it reactivates and, due to some damage it has suffered, develops a very twisted fixation on Jill. What ensues is a fairly brutal game of cat and mouse in a claustrophobic space that sees some very grisly death scenes of Jill's various neighbours and a fairly thorough indictment on humanity as a whole.

What stands "Hardware" apart from its trashy brethren filling the same space on the video shelf is the constant underlying jibes at humanity and the film's consequent nihilistic sense of humour. The premise of the film is that humanity will ultimately find a way to totally destroy itself, and the M.A.R.K. 13 is merely a manifestation of this. As Mo cheerfully spouts to his best friend as they wander through a wasteland full of junk, the sky burned red, discussing nuclear annihilitation, "You can't stop progress".

Don't get me wrong - "Hardware" has a lot of faults, primarily in terms of its restricted budget and less than stellar acting from some cast members, but the script is tight if extremely "art house" in a lot of places, and even on a limited budget Stanley did well to create a convincingly nihilistic and oppressive atmosphere. This film has a large cult following, and one day maybe 20th Century Fox will see fit to satisfy the fans. In the meantime, with even this Region 2 version now "out of print", I understand the whole film has been uploaded onto YouTube. Merry Christmas.

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