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Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1538426 times)

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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16740 on: April 10, 2016, 06:53:30 PM »
I have a few books that I've enjoyed that I never ended up finishing, so I get it.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16741 on: April 11, 2016, 01:12:32 AM »
The Defender ( 1994 )
Back in the 90s I bought a lot of laserdiscs. When stores began dropping the format for DVDs, they began to get rid of their stock. Laserdiscs of Hong Kong action films that usually cost 70$ and upwards due to being imports were suddenly being sold off for about $20, which is why I bought a lot of them. Some of them, like Iceman Cometh ( 1989 ) and Witch From Nepal ( 1986 ) are among my favorites, while other films I watched once and since then no longer remember the plot.  Recently I purchased a DVD set from Dragon Dynasty. Five Jet Li movies on three discs for $12. I knew I already had one of the movies on laserdisc, but did not think I had the rest. And besides, it was a bargain. It turned out I had three of the films in the collection on laserdisc. When I first purchased The Defender, it was under it's original title of The Bodyguard From Beijing. In 2000 the movie was renamed, given a new opening credit sequence, given new music and a new English dubbing, and had about two minutes edited out of it's running time. This was one of several Hong Kong movies that were scheduled for a U.S. theatrical release after the success of Rumble in the Bronx ( 1995 ). But like most of the Asian movies the Weinsteins got ahold of, it ended up shelved, or  released directly to home video.

The Defender is no doubt a rip off of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner's The Bodyguard ( 1992 ). This time around, Jet Li plays a strict government bodyguard from mainland China who is assigned to go to Hong Kong to protect the girlfriend ( Christy Chung ) of an influential  businessman. She had witnessed a crime boss murder another man, and after the only other two witnesses had been killed by hitmen, is in danger of being killed herself. Just like in the 1992 film, the girl Li is suppose to protect is spoiled  and resists being protected. And similar to the first film, she ends up falling in love with the bodyguard. Li's talents are wasted on gun play. It is only at the end of the movie where we get a decent fight between Li and a hitman. But for the majority of the film it is Li shooting thugs instead of using his fists. This is a weak, barely passable action movie. It is entertaining enough to watch without getting bored, but has nothing really memorable in it. No wonder it was one of the laserdiscs I watched back in the 90s but could not remember.


Guardians of the Galaxy ( 2014 )
Here's what makes no sense. Disney spent a fortune expanding their empire, which included engulfing both Marvel Studios and Lucas Films. With Marvel, Disney now had their successful MCU films which every few months released another film featuring Marvel superheroes. Marvel still has a huge backlog of superheroes that have yet to debut in the MCU. With Lucas Films Disney now had the dormant Star Wars franchise which they quickly announced not just new chapters every couple of years, but non-chapter films taking place in the Star Wars universe. So it was in everyone's best interest to leave the space operas for the Lucas Film division and the superhero films for the Marvel Studios division. Right?

So what exactly was Marvel Studios thinking when they decided that instead of introducing another superhero, continuing the Hulk franchise, or perhaps giving Black Widow her long overdue solo film, to chose to make a film based on Guardians of the Galaxy? Okay, some of you are probably saying that this was necessary to further a major story line which will conclude in the next Avengers films, but they could have done this with other Marvel heroes. While Guardians of the Galaxy was  a critically acclaimed book, it did not last that long, and is often confused with a similarly named team from the 1960s. Consider the number of popular Marvel superheroes that have not yet been depicted on screen, or how at the time Marvel was negotiating to get the rights back for many of their other heroes, such as Spider-man and Blade, to include in the MCU. With the limited number of MCU films being released per year, and so many characters yet to get to, why waste one of those movies on obscure Marvel characters?

This is not to say that Guardians of the Galaxy is not another great MCU film. Maybe not the greatest MCU film as one critic claims on the box the disc came in, but up there in the top 5. It serves as an origin film, explaining why these characters got together to form a team. In the comic book version, the team was deliberately put together. A group of characters from previous Marvel comic books are recruited as a sort of space version of the Avengers. But the MCU is anything but loyal to the comic book cannon. The characters in this version end up together for more complicated reasons. Character A wants the orb that Character B stole while Character C wants to take vengeance against Character B's stepdad and Characters D and E want to collect the bounty off of Character A....so basically everyone ends up together for their own separate agendas. It does not really make sense why they are suddenly friends by the end of the second act, or decide to be heroic by the third act. But one could say that about most movies, including the Star Wars movies. Much like Rocket Raccoon's plans, the plot in this movie is just dumb enough to work. Another difference from the book this is based on, is that it is missing a few key characters, including one major character who has yet to make his MCU debut, but will be needed in the next Avengers film. This is why it is a shame that there are still no plans for another Hulk solo film. An adaption of the Crisis on Counter Earth story line began in The Incredible Hulk issue #176 could have introduced this character, as well as introducing Counter Earth to the MCU. As of now, the character does not exist in the MCU, and was not around to be in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

One character that does show up, is a complete shock.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16742 on: April 11, 2016, 04:03:49 AM »
I remember being stunned by how funny it was

Yeah, Dead Man has some pretty funny stuff in it.  The first 15 minutes feel reminiscent of the silent era of film (except for all the talking).


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16743 on: April 12, 2016, 08:37:03 PM »
Django Unchained

Mixed review on this, pretty good most of the time, a bit too long, several of the music choices were jarring and take you out of the movie way more than the over the top action and violence.  It's almost a good homage to spaghetti westerns, but misses the mark in spots.  It's a good western in spots, and a good parody in spots, and a bad parody in spots, so yeah, mixed as hell...

Waltz deserved the best supporting actor awards, he does an amazing job.



Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16744 on: April 12, 2016, 09:01:10 PM »
I preferred The Hateful Eight, even though there were things I didn't like about it.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16745 on: April 13, 2016, 06:18:55 PM »
The Conformist

I liked this a LOT better than The Sheltering Sky, which I also watched recently.  Both are by Bernardo Bertilucci and they have similar themes (people enter worlds they think they can survive in and things turn out to be fair more than they anticipated), but the Sheltering Sky felt more like a bleaker Merchant Ivory film (and had some really weak moments.  The leads felt like the caricature of rich people from a 90's cartoon, like Algonquin Roundtable rejects) but this felt a lot more interesting to me.  Here, we have a story about a guy in facist Italy (before the war) who feels he is kind of fucked up and decides he really want to conform to the norm, including joining the secret police.  But his mission to find and assassinate an outspoken expatriate (who he was once a student of) turns bad when he falls in love with his wife.  I liked it quite a bit and despite the fact that the lead is a lot more reprehensible than the leads in the Sheltering Sky (who are kind of jerks in their own way), his journey is a lot more compelling.


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16746 on: April 17, 2016, 07:11:10 PM »
Nim's Island

Fun little movie I like to watch every few years, Jodie Foster is quite funny in it.  Terrible CG animal effects in spots, but pretty good practical effects.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16747 on: April 17, 2016, 07:36:40 PM »
The Godfather

It has been a while.  Still great.  I do love watching the characters planning and strategizing.  Still need to watch part 2.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16748 on: April 18, 2016, 12:31:46 AM »
Born To Defense ( 1986 )
Jet Li's third movie, and the only one he was ever allowed to direct. Li came from mainland China, and when this movie was made still identified with Red China and their politics. Perhaps that is why this movie is a rare anti-American martial arts film. Taking place in post WWII China, the film involves a town overrun by racist American servicemen from the Army and Navy, who have nothing better to do but treat the townspeople like crap and vandalize their property for fun. They also have nothing better to do but pick fights with Jet once they discover he is a martial arts expert. With weak fight choreography and a very formulatic story, it is no wonder that Jet was never given the opportunity to direct again. The final third of the movie does pick up. But mostly because it inexplicably becomes a revenge thriller, with Jet luring the group of servicemen who had been bothering him into a warehouse, then finding different ways to dispatch each of them.


Avengers: Age of Ultron ( 2015 )
So far the MCU has peaked with the first Avengers movie. While Age of Ultron is another very entertaining Marvel movie, it is simply not as enjoyable. But still well worth watching.


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16749 on: April 19, 2016, 12:47:20 AM »
The Jungle Book was delightful.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16750 on: April 19, 2016, 06:23:15 AM »
The Witch

I think I need time to sort out how I feel about this one.  It was a well made movie with some crazy tense scenes, but I'm still trying to sort my feelings about the ending and how I feel about the story as a whole.  I feel like it would invite comparisons to Werner Herzog, but in all honesty I've only seen one Herzog movie, so I don't know how fair that comparison would be.  Overall, I think even when I figure out what I really feel about it, I will likely be giving it big thumbs up.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16751 on: April 23, 2016, 12:55:17 PM »
The Hallow (2015) - This was quite good. About a man who moves into a house next to woods in Ireland that the locals beleive has mythical creatures called The Hallow. Well, it's unclear if that's the name of the woods, the creature type, or the black fungus stuff, but that's a minor gripe. The inclusion of the black fungus is an interesting unique bit. And most of the effects are very impressive practical effects. I will say I wish we got a little more variety of type of creatures. And the ending is rather extended, plus it's often unclear how much he is being controlled by the fungus during the final act.
The weapon he has at the end
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
is badass, and if he had used it more would have put it up there with chainsaw arm and lawnmower as awesome horror movie weapon.
Plus, the mid credits stinger
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16752 on: April 24, 2016, 02:51:18 PM »
Stitches (2012) - A dark horror comedy about a party clown that died and comes back to kill the kids that were mean to him. This was a lot of fun. I think it would have been improved if it had stayed when the kids were about 10 (when the original party happened that Stitches died at) instead of jumping ahead to when they were teenagers for no reason other than for the slasher fodder to be teenagers. But I will give the movie credit that they look and act more like teenagers than typical bad slashers, so they don't get overly annoying. But this movie is anchored by Ross Noble as Stitches who is great. Lots of over the top gross out mayhem (probably the standout is the cat).



Offline RoninFox

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16753 on: April 25, 2016, 05:50:07 AM »
Countdown:  A direct to video WWE film staring Dolph Ziggler as a cop with a dark past and a tendency to disregard the rules.

I had high hopes for goofy ridiculous fun, and was let down. The commercials hint at what would have been a much more fun B-Movie. Since they saved some money by filming at an actual WWE live event and most of the commercials revolve around that, I filled in the blanks in my mind and thought the movie was somehow about Dolph and Kane being cops who go undercover as wrestlers to solve a case. Instead the live event sequence happened early in the movie and was only used for a botched ransom money drop with a handful of wrestler cameos. After this it's basically a tiring exercise of Dolph driving from place to place, killing two dimensional evil Russians and looking at his watch because a bomb is going to explode soon, killing a kid.

I don't wear a watch, but I'd have been checking it a lot too.

Later that day I went to Alamo Drafthouse for a retro showing of They Live, reminding me that fun movies starring wresters are possible.
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16754 on: April 25, 2016, 07:13:15 AM »
Once Upon A Time in China and America ( 1997 )
The name Wong Fei-hung means nothing to us Americans. When we hear it mentioned in a Kung Fu film, we just ignore it along with all the other Chinese names we hear. But in China, Wong Fei-hung is a cultural hero ( Much like our Davy Crockett or Paul Revere is to us, or Robin Hood is to England ). The real Wong Fei-hung lived between 1874 and 1924 in Guandung Province, China, and there is no evidence he did anything other than run a martial arts school. His father was Wong Kei-ying, one of the Ten Tigers of Canton. The Ten Tigers were the closest thing the world ever came to a real life Avengers/Justice League. Ten of China's best martial arts masters who teamed up to uphold the law and go after criminal clans. While Fei-Hung was not a member of the Ten Tigers, after his death stories began circulating about him fighting crime in his home town. This lead to a series of popular pulp novels featuring him as the hero, which in turn lead to a film series that began in 1949 and continued through more than 70 films before the franchise ended in 1970. All the films starred the same actor, Kwan Tak-hing.

By the 70s, the virtuous Wong Fei-hung was thought of as too old fashioned for Chinese audiences who wanted the new, violent antiheroes. While this lead to the cancellation of the film series, it did not stop other studios from attempting to reinvent the character for a new age. Golden Harvest Studios hired Kwan Tak-hing to reprise his role as master Wong in a few films that focused on his less virtuous students. Director Lau Kar-leung of Shaw Brothers Studios had a different idea. Films featuring a younger Wong Fei-hung who was still a wild youth. He made two of these films starring his adopted brother Gordon Liu, Challenge of the Masters ( 1976 ) and The Martial Club ( 1981 ).

And here is where things start to get confusing, so please follow closely. Over at Lo Wei Studios actor Jackie Chan wanted to mix martial arts with comedy, but could not convince the studio heads to allow him to do so. In 1978 Lo Wei lent Chan to new studio Seasonal Films for a two picture deal where he convinced director Yuen Woo-ping to do a comedy. That film was Snake in the Eagles Shadow ( 1978 ) and featured Woo-ping's father, actor Simon Yuen as a cook at a martial arts school, who is secretly the master of snake style Kung Fu, hiding from the Eagle Claw clan that is determined to hunt down an kill every last practitioner of the snake style. Chan played a mischievous student at the school who discovers Simon, and in trade of not revealing his identity is taught the snake style. Woo-ping was so pleased with the film that he decided Chan's second film should be a sequel. While planning Snake in the Eagles Shadow II Chan and Woo-ping came up with the idea of the same story, only this time  the student being a young Wong Fei-hung, and the teacher being Sam Seed, a.k.a Beggar So. Sam Seed was one of the members of the Ten Tigers, and allegedly was a homeless wanderer and master of Drunken Boxing style. Some legends of Sam Seed claimed he was always drunk, which helped him fight better. Woo-ping and Chan thought the idea of Wong Fei-hung being taught Drunken Boxing was hilarious, so the sequel to Snake in the Eagles Shadow would be a sequel in form only, not a continuation of the story. Simon Yuen, who played Sam Seed, had already acted in several of the old Wong Fei-hung films as various characters, including the very first film in the series.

After the two picture deal, Chan returned to Lo Wei studios to complete his contract. Snake in the Eagles Shadow was released and became a box office hit. Lo Wei immediately began allowing Chan to make comedies. The second film was initially released as Eagle's Claw, Snake Fist, Cat's Paw, Part 2, but shortly after retitled Drunken Master so it could be a stand alone film instead of a sequel. Drunken Master became an even bigger hit. Both Jackie Chan and Simon Yuen were now China's biggest box office stars. While Chan was still contracted to Lo Wei, Simon Yuen was contracted to no studio. In a years time he accepted no less than 12 movie roles, almost half of them were meant as unofficial sequels to Drunken Master with Simon playing Sam Seed. ( the other half were mostly remakes of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow. ) These included Story of the Drunken Master ( 1979 ) World of the Drunken Master ( 1979 ) Drunken Arts & Crippled Fists ( 1979 )  and Dance of the Drunk Mantis ( 1979 ) which was the only one directed by his son Woo-ping, and the only one with the second title Drunken Master, Part 2. But no film could be called a sequel to Drunken Master without Jackie Chan. Simon Yuen refused to work for Lo Wei Studio, which by that time was reportedly owned by the Triad, and Lo Wei refused to lend Chan out again. The closet Simon came to ever working with Chan again was  Master with Cracked Fingers ( 1979 ), which was actually another film called Little Tiger from Kwang Tung ( 1971 ) which Chan made as a teenager. New footage featuring Simon Yuen and actor Dean Shek ( who also appeared in Drunken master ) was shot with a Jackie Chan stand in who either had his back to the camera, or wore a disguise, such as a blindfold. Both the old footage and new footage was combined for a new film.

Finally in 1979 Golden Harvest Studios came the closest to making an official sequel to Drunken Master. The studio signed both director Yuen Woo-ping and actor Simon Yuen, and had also signed Jackie Chan. But Lo Wei Studios claimed that Chan was still under their contract and refused to release him. It would be another year before the contract dispute was settled and Chan could begin making films for Golden Harvest. Woo-ping went ahead with the sequel anyway, retitling it Magnificent Butcher and recasting original Wong Fei-hung actor Kwan Tak-hing as Wong Fei-hung. This film would take place decades after the events in Drunken Master, and would have Sam Seed teaching Drunken Boxing to Fei-hung's student Butcher Wing. ( Lam Sai-wing a.k.a Butcher Wing was another real life person who would later become a folk hero in the Wong Fei-hung novels ). A few weeks into production Simon Yuen died of a heart attack. His role was recast and his footage never used. The Sam Seed character is never referred to as Sam Seed or Beggar So in the released film.

In 1994 Golden Harvest decided to produce a sequel to Drunken Master despite no longer being able to cast Simon Yuen, and Jackie Chan's advanced age. Drunken Master II ( 1994 ) was directed by director Lau Kar-leung, who had previously directed the Shaw Brothers Wong Fei-hung films that partially inspired Drunken Master. Yuen Woo-ping was unavailable to direct because he was in production on Iron Monkey ( 1993 ) which was a film featuring a young Wong Fei-hung, but was not meant as a sequel to Drunken Master. During the filming of Drunken Master II Jackie Chan and Lau Kar-leung kept arguing on the set over the direction of the action scenes, leading to Kar-Leung either quiting, or getting fired. Chan directed the remainder of the film, while Lau Kar-leung made his own Drunken Master II with Willi Chi as Wong Fei-hung and Gordon Liu ( who had played Wong Fei-hung in Kar-leung's Shaw Brothers films ) in a supporting role. Dimensional Films bought the North American release rights to Chan's Drunken Master II but shelved it for years. This allowed Lau Kar-leung's Drunken Master II to be released in North America first, and is why when Dimensional finally released the Chan version, they needed to retitled it The Legend of the Drunken Master. To make things more confusing, the video releases for Lau Kar-leung's Drunken Master II are titled Drunken Master III, despite it not being a sequel to the Chan film.

And here is how this all ties into the film I watched yesterday. Producer/director Tsui Hark wanted to revive the Wong Fei-hung franchise, but using the Shaw Brothers idea of depicting him when he was younger and less virtuous. Once Upon a Time in China ( 1991 ) starred Jet Li as Fei-hung, and broke box office records. It was soon followed by Once Upon a Time in China II ( 1992 ) and Once Upon a Time in China III. Jet Li left the series after the third installment to make Wong Fei-hung films for rival producer Wong Jing ( who years earlier had written the script for Magnificent Butcher ). The first and only film in the series was Last Hero in China ( 1993 ). Not wanting a competing studio to steal the Wong Fei-hung franchise, Tsui Hark rushed out Once Upon a Time in China IV with Vincent Zhao taking over the role of Fei-hung. Both part IV and Once Upon a Time in China V ( 1994 ) tanked at the box office, and the series was put on hiatus.

According to Jackie Chan, he came up with the idea of a movie where he wakes up in an Indian village in the old American west with amnesia, and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out who he is, and how he ended up in the west. Chan wanted childhood friend and frequent costar Sammo Hung to direct the movie, and explained the plot to him. What happened next is still a mystery, but Chan found out that Tsui Hark hired Sammo Hung to direct the final installment in the Once Upon a Time in China series, and that the new film would take place in the old American west, and that after an accident Fei-hung gets amnesia and ends up living in an Indian village. Chan wrote a letter to Hung, telling him how upset he was that his idea was stolen. Hung called Chan up and apologized, but had no explanation other than "It just happened". Chan then went ahead with his amnesia movie, called Who Am I? ( 1998), resetting it in moder times, and having his character wake up in an African village. Other ideas he had for a western were eventually used in Shanghai Noon ( 2000 ). He eventually made up with Sammo Hung, having him cast in the movie Around The World in 80 Days ( 2004 ) as, guess who, Wong Fei-hung.

But I digress. Well, I did a lot more than digress, I got a bit carried away with explaining the backstory to the Wong Fei-hung movies. the question is, how good was this movie? The first three films in the Once Upon a Time in China series were masterpieces with the best filmed martial arts fights up to that point. I did not see parts IV and V, because they were never released on video in the United States. Not legally anyway. Most reviews of those films are bad. Once Upon a Time in China and America is not a classic, and is nowhere as good as the first three films. It is still a good action movie though. It is basically two films. The first half has Wong Fei-hung traveling to the west to visit a friend. After banging his head on a rock after his coach is thrown into a river, he ends up in a Indian village with amnesia, staying there until he finally gets his memory back. The second half is a more traditional Fei-hung story. The corrupt town mayor stages a fake bank robbery to cover up his embezzling of money from the bank, then frames the Chinese immigrants for it. To prove their innocence, Fei-hung captures the bandits who really robbed the bank. The fights are good, but nowhere as inventive as the ones in the first three films. Perhaps the problem here is that by setting the movie in the American west, there are no martial artists around to challenge Fei-hung to a decent battle. Another problem is that this movie depicts a fully virtuous Fei-Hung. That was not the point of the series. I guess because Tsui Hark knew this would be the final movie, he decided to complete Fei-hung's origin. But having a yet disciplined Fei-hung was what made the earlier films fun. On the positive side, Jet Li agreed to return to the series for the final film.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 07:17:01 AM by stethacantus »