Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1585451 times)

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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16830 on: June 12, 2016, 06:35:14 PM »
Here's the thing about contemporary bad movies. They're as likely to look fantastic as good movies. Think about this for a second: when someone tells me that they like a movie because it has good special effects these days, I have to take that with a grain of salt, because almost all movies that make it to the multiplexes have good special effects. Ditto for production design and overall film craft. We are living in the golden age of film as a burnished ornament. We are living in the golden age of the polished turd.

I didn't really know what to expect of Season of the Witch (2011, directed by Dominic Sena). For the most part, it looked like a train wreck, an ill-advised medieval horror movie that was so bad that it had been more or less orphaned by its distributor. Director Dominic Sena was fired from the film after poor audience reactions and the film was "doctored" by studio hack Bret Ratner. Nicolas Cage, for his part, is taking anything that comes along to forestall the wolf at the door. His financial problems have been well documented in the press. This is another movie for which he is probably ill-suited. Lionsgate shelved the film in 2010, and it ended up being released by Relativity Media, the outfit that funded the film. This was their first dip into film distribution. Also, the reviews were pretty dismal. So, what did I expect? A polished turd, of course. But then someone in my social networks posted the following image of Christopher Lee, and I knew that I had to see it.



And, do you know what? It's not half bad for all that. Mind you, it's not good, but it's certainly a pleasure just to look at.

The story here follows Behman and Felson, two knights who have become disillusioned with the mission of the Crusades and head for home. This makes them deserters, but the road home has other problems. The plague has come to the land. The blame for the plague has been laid at the feet of The Black Witch, a girl who has been thrown into the dungeon and put to the question. She has confessed under torture. In spite of their best efforts, Behman and Felson are recognized, and as penance for their desertion, they are tasked with transporting the witch to a distant abbey where the monks hold a book containing the ritual for well and truly ridding the world of witches and demons. The girl, for her part, finds a sympathetic eye in Behman, who has seen too many women and children slaughtered. She also finds a sympathetic eye in Sir Eckhart, the townsman who accompanies them, and in Kay, a would be knight who joins their journey as a way of gaining a "sir" before his name. The girl attempts to pit these men against one another, and especially against Debelzaq, the priest who obtained her confession. In her efforts to do so, she rouses Behman's suspicions. Is she truly a witch? The answer lies at the end of their journey, and it's not what any of them expect...

When you get right down to it, this is a pretty stock sword and sorcery movie, and I couldn't help thinking that its almost the same movie as Solomon Kane. Structurally, the movie is a mess. There's a pre-credit prelude that tips the hands of the screenwriters and robs the movie of ambiguity and suspense. It's the Curse of the Demon mistake, in which the supernatural is shown to be real. You'd think that in an age when filmmakers are highly cinema-literate that no one would make that mistake anymore, but you would be wrong. That's studio tampering for you, I guess. I'm a bit uncomfortable with the way the film gives lip service to more enlightened attitudes toward the Church's treatment of "witches," only to show that the witches actually deserved everything they get. I'm equally uncomfortable with Behman's journey from violent fanaticism to reasoned compassion being completely invalidated by the end of the movie. He falls back into superstition. Admittedly, the universe presented by the film gives him ample reason for this. The underpinnings of this movie are fairly fundamentalist, which rubs me the wrong way. From a purely geographical/historical point of view, this is a movie that has no concept of distance and time. Behman and Felson are seemingly involved in every major battle of the Crusades, through which the movie breezes in a montage that supposedly spans a decade but which seems to take place in a nearly contemporaneous perpetual ahistorical moment. The movie requires its characters to be at specific places, so it puts them there regardless of the logistics required. This is a common failing (see, for instance, the ten-year seige of Troy condensed into what seems like a week in Troy). There's some epistemological hanky panky at the end of the movie, too, in which the plot pulls the rug out from under the viewer. It masquerades as a movie about witchcraft when, in fact, it's a different kind of horror movie entirely. It's not very elegant with it.

There's a certain amount of pleasure in watching Nick Cage and Ron Perlman play off one another as longtime comrades in arms, and in the early going of Season of the Witch, the two come off a little bit like a medieval Hope and Crosby, embarked on another "Road" picture. "The Road to Perdition" would be a good title for this, I guess, if it wasn't already taken. The comedic tone is at odds with the horrors the movie wants to show to the audience, and eventually, it fades away. If you squint, you can see the influence of Bergman on the film. This is a descendant of The Seventh Seal, but instead of Bergman's existential comedy, you have canned thrills. Visually, the movie seems drawn from Bosch. Did I mention how good this movie looks? Allow me to repeat: this is a gorgeous movie. This has production values to burn (literally at one point). Sena makes the most of his Eastern European locations (mainly Austria). It's a pleasure just to look at the scenery. Ditto the costumes, which are rich and imaginative. Whatever money they spent on this movie is up there on the screen.

So, all in all, this is a highly polished turd. I DO kind of like it, though, because I like dumb sword and sorcery movies and I like medieval Gothics, and this movie tickles both of those needs in me. And it gives me Ron Perlman and Christopher Lee fixes, which are not to be discounted. I was never bored while I was watching it. The formula here is to keep the eye drugged while the mind is disengaged. For me, it kind of worked. Your mileage, however, may vary.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16831 on: June 12, 2016, 07:31:57 PM »
Gods of Egypt - Really dumb, but occasionally fun if you can enjoy pretty visuals and CGI creatures. I do find it ironic that this movie got so much flack for casting white actors to play Egyptian gods, when that is the least of this movie's problems. Hell, I imagine any Egyptian or at least close heritage actor, if they really cared about Egyptian mythology, probably would have turned these roles down anyway.



Online stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16832 on: June 12, 2016, 11:50:48 PM »
The Last Dragon ( 1985 )
The Last Dragon is the rarest of films, a combonation of Blaxploitation and Bruceploitation. The only other would be The Death of Bruce Lee ( 1975 ) in which Ron Van Clief, a.k.a. The Black Dragon, investigates Bruce Lee's death. Ten years later Berry Gordy hired Ron to choreograph the fights for The Last Dragon. But by 1985 time both the Blaxploitation and Bruceploitation genres were all but dead. Blaxploitation ended due to pressure groups who protested against what they felt were bad African-American stereotypes. The last of the Blaxploitation films was Rudy Ray Moore's Disco Godfather in 1979. Bruceploitation ended with Tower of Death in 1981, a sequel to Game of Death ( 1978 ) that used the last of the unused Bruce Lee footage Golden Harvest Studios had in their vaults. Earlier that year the science fiction film The Clones of Bruce Lee had been released featuring among the cast Dragon Lee and Bruce Le, but by that time most of the Bruce Lee imitators had changed their stage names and begun starring in legitimate martial arts films. While Hong Kong was finished making Bruceploitation, the trend continued in America one more year with the comedy They Call Me Bruce? ( 1982 ), after which Bruceploitation ceased to exist. That was until Barry Gordy decided he wanted Motown to branch out into the film business, decided their first should be a musical martial arts movie, and decided to market it directly to African-Americans.

The end result is something that is not exactly Blaxploitation, and not exactly Bruceploitation. The story centers around a young African-American martial arts student called Bruce Leroy, who is on the verge of  rising to the ultimate level, called the Last Dragon, where he becomes a master capable of channeling mystical energy. Apparently the only other martial artist to achieve this level was Bruce Lee. Aside from that plot, the movie uses an awful lot of Bruce Lee footage. The theater all the ghetto kids go to still screens Enter the Dragon, and later Leroy is brought to a club where footage from other Bruce Lee movies are projected on a large screen. In fact, enough footage of Bruce Lee was used that Gordy could have gotten away with giving Bruce Lee screen credit. In the past some producers even dared to give Bruce Lee star billing on movies that only used stock footage of him. I'll give Barry Gordy credit for not listing Bruce Lee in the cast, but that is the only credit I can give him.

For The Last Dragon is 100 minutes of absolutely nothing. Leroy finds himself embroiled in sub plot B, where an evil white record producer wants to kidnap a host of a local dance show and force her to agree to play his girlfriend's music video on the show. Each time the thugs working for the producer kidnap her, Leroy just happens to be near and rescues her. Then there is sub-plot C, where a gang Leader who is also an evil martial art master going by the name Sho'Nuff, wants to fight Leroy so he can prove to everyone that he is the best fighter in New York City. But despite Leroy having no problem beating up the record producers thugs, he decides using his skills for fighting is wrong when it comes to Sho'Nuff. Even when the gang attacks his dojo, and vandalizes his parents pizza parlor, Leroy refuses to fight Sho'Nuff. Of course this eventually leads to sup-plots B and C merging when the record producer hires Sho'Nuff to take Leroy down. That all sounds like a lot, but like most American martial arts movies made in the 80s, there are very few fight scenes. And when the big climatic fight scene finally comes, it disintegrates into a cheap special effects show when Sho'Nuff suddenly achieves evil master status that causes his hands to glow red, and about the same time Leroy archives Last Dragon status causing his body to glow yellow, and his arms and legs to shoot off blue sparks every time he strives Sho'Nuff.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this movie was that it was directed by Michael Schultz, who during the 70s directed blaxploitation films so good that they are rarely considered blaxploitation. His credits included Cooley High ( 1975 ), Car Wash ( 1976 ) and Which Way is Up ( 1977 ). Then again, the one musical he previously directed was  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ( 1978 ), so that should have been a warning. Then again, just after directing The Last Dragon he directed the far superior Krush Groove ( 1985 ) which was another blaxploitation musical. ( or first Hip Hop movie, take your pick. )

that is not to say The Last Dragon does not have a few things going for it. It introduced the song Rhythm Of The Night by DeBarge to America, helping the group get their first top ten hit. It helped launch the careers of Chazz Palminteri, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ernie Reyes Jr. and William H Macy, all who had bit parts. It was the first and possibly only movie where the leading actor and actress both go by a single stage name. ( Taimak who played Leroy and Vanity who played the host of the dance show. ) And it did have the one scene that has since become one of the most iconic from 80s cinema. Julius Carrey as the gang leader Sho'Nuff, The Shogun of Harlem, barges into a movie theater and brags about how he is the greatest fighter around while his gang praises him. It is a memorable scene, but is the only memorable thing in this movie.


Darkman II: The Return of Durant ( 1995 )
This movie reminds me of laserdiscs. Because the first time I found out about it was in an advertisement in a laserdisc magazine, the same magazine that announced the release of The Lost Laurel & Hardy Movies on laserdisc. I went from being stoked that the L&H silent movies were finally being released on home video, to being confused as to how they could do a sequel to Darkman ( 1990 ) with a character that had been killed in the first movie. In that film, the crime boss Durant had been chasing after Darkman in a helicopter, shooting at him with a gun that fires bombs, when Darkman  was able to cause the helicopter to crash into the top of a tunnel, causing it to explode in a ball of flames. And yet in the sequel, Durant wakes up from a five year coma and is alive and well with no burns and only a limp and occasional headace. Perhaps the reason for Durant's miraculous and highly implausible return was due to Larry Drake being the only actor from the first movie willing to be in the sequel. None of the others were interested. That included Frances McDormand who turned down the chance to be in this low budget direct to video sequel because she wanted to do Fargo ( 1996 ).

So now twenty years after I first saw the advertisement for Darkman II on laserdisc, this was my first chance to see it. Was it worth the wait? Well, for one thing I was never waiting to see it. I had a feeling way back then that the movie was crap, and that opinion has never changed. But when I wanted to add Darkman to my collection of superhero films, my option was to buy a single movie copy that would have set me back about $50 because it was out of print,  or the currently still in print Darkman Trilogy set which would only cost me $4 new. And as long as I had the two direct to video sequels, I may as well watch them.

Darkman II is further proof that the series had no business being classified as superhero films. Darkman has the inability to save anyone. When a fellow scientist is being beaten and tortured by Durant, Darkman races across the city to save him, and arrives just after Durant has killed him and left the scene. He also fails to prevent an investigative reporter ( Kim Delaney, who had not yet joined the cast of NYPD Blue ) from being blown up in her car. Even when he tries to prevent the kidnapping of the scientist's sister, he fails miserably. For some reason, Darkman no longer has strength due to elevated adrenaline levels in his blood. Which leaves his one and only power, the ability to disguise himself with skin masks. And yet, the two times he tries this against Durant, they fail to fall for it.

Darkman II is 90 minutes of boredom. Like most low budget direct-to-video films, it is mostly padding. Action scenes are few and lethargic. The only ( slightly ) good action scene occurs in the beginning of the movie, where two rival drug gangs chase each other in cars, shooting machine guns at each other, and eventually having one car blown up with a grenade while the other hits a barrier and flips over. The two gangs have nothing to do with the rest of the movie, and it seems odd that the director would want to top load the best action scene at the beginning of the film. The rest of the movie will have you trying not to fall asleep.


You're Telling Me! ( 1934 )
Another funny W.C. Fields movie, which was also one of Buster Crabbe's first films. Fields was one of the few screen comedians of the early sound era who's verbal humor was actually funny. ( the other would be Grocho ). But in this movie he also proves he was capable of excellent visual comedy. The last 20 minutes is a single routine where he repeatedly attempts to tee off a ball.


Offline Charles Castle

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16833 on: June 14, 2016, 11:21:45 PM »
There's a moment in Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean) when a man yells across a river to a fatigued Lawrence, repeatedly exclaiming: "Who are you?!" It's a question that hovers over this entire epic, which is at once a big movie and a little one: a thoroughly psychological story set against a grand if desolate backdrop of warring factions and political machinations. Arabia, depicted as a barren, desert landscape, becomes an image of death and emptiness and freedom, where Lawrence, a British outsider craving an identity, soaks up the sun's existential rays, believing himself capable of anything, and unwittingly turns himself into a prophetic leader. He accomplishes the miraculous, exhibits mercy and wrath in equal measure, and dresses in a stunning, bold white, as if to amplify his Otherness. In a famous scene where Lawrence defies what is assumed to be a sure death by heroically going back for a fallen comrade, Lean utilizes the scope lens to its full potential, forcing us to stare into the horizon with repeated shots of the scorching sun accompanied by the clashing of cymbals, the hot rays smacking across our brows. And finally out of the distance a small dot emerges. Is it a mirage? As we strain our eyes, we gradually make out that Lawrence has accomplished the impossible. And so Lawrence becomes a god, not just in these peoples’ eyes, but in his own eyes, too, until he is brought crashing back down to reality when a lonely foreign general looks upon him with a lecherous eye that reminds him of his own repressed, carnal desires. From there his self-perception fluctuates between that of an immortal, nearly ethereal being, and a simple, ordinary man of flesh and blood. The dichotomy is too much for anyone, leading him into a downward spiral and the absurd, pointless death at the film’s opening. It's long and great, its greatness stemming from its length, as much as from its subject. The colors were truly stunning in 70mm, which I had the opportunity to view it in on this occasion.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16834 on: June 14, 2016, 11:36:53 PM »
Seeing that late last year has put me on a David Lean kick - he's my most watched director so far this year.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16835 on: June 15, 2016, 07:16:47 AM »
The Bad and the Beautiful

It was my first time watching this delightful cinematic soap opera and it was a delight.  I'm not sure if I'd call it campy (though I also wouldn't deny it if someone labelled it as such) but it is an incredibly silly satire and it knows it.  I guess I'd almost call it a comedy but there aren't a lot of conventional "jokes" (except the last scene, of course, which is a great punchline).  It's a movie I knew the title of but I just assumed it was some domestic or big city melodrama.  I think melodrama fits the bill but it's definitely not what I was expecting in the best way.

The premise is a successful Hollywood producer is trying to get some old partners together for his next film.  All partners are incredibly successful (perhaps even more than the producer now) and have all avoided him (except one who told him to drop dead).  Eventually, they are all convinced to meet at his office and each takes a turn discussing how they were both built up by the producer and later betrayed.  Kirk Douglas (who I must admit I haven't seen much of prior to this movie) is completely magnetic as an ambitious producer (a parody of many, though David O. Selsnick is thought to be the biggest inspiration for the more negative qualities) and he is someone you like despite of his awful actions.

 The tone is so pitch perfect and it although it is over the top (and probably a big influence on prime time soaps), it's hard not to feel for many of the characters.  I loved his movie and look forward to rewatching it.


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16836 on: June 16, 2016, 03:37:39 AM »
Incomprehensible? I didn't think it was too hard to understand. What couldn't you follow?

"That's clearly Chris Pratt but everyone calls him Peter Quill.  WHAT'S GOING ON?!?"

Wow.  Fuck you.  What was I supposed to do? Heap mindless praise the same way you mindless fucktards did?  ::)


Offline ScottotD

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16837 on: June 16, 2016, 06:53:40 AM »
Incomprehensible? I didn't think it was too hard to understand. What couldn't you follow?

"That's clearly Chris Pratt but everyone calls him Peter Quill.  WHAT'S GOING ON?!?"

Wow.  Fuck you.  What was I supposed to do? Heap mindless praise the same way you mindless fucktards did?  ::)

You seem fun, how's middle school?
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Offline Pak-Man

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16838 on: June 16, 2016, 07:44:48 AM »
Let's dial the hostility back a couple notches, everyone. Was just a movie. We can discuss it without name-calling.

I think what people are saying, with the usual sprinkling of Rifftrax-Forums-Brand Snark (TM), is that "incomprehensible" is an odd complaint. You're free to dislike a movie, of course. I don't think anyone's ever made a movie that doesn't have a dedicated group of detractors. This particular criticism warrants explanation, though.

It's probably one of the most straightforward plots of any Marvel movie. There's a thing. Bad guys want it. Good guy has it. Other good guys are drawn to the good guy for their own reasons. A rag-tag band of misfits is formed. They stop the bad guy.


Online stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16839 on: June 16, 2016, 05:08:51 PM »
To be fair, you do need a chart to keep track of what relationships each character has with the other characters. This one wants to kill that one because she is the adopted daughter of the bad guy. That one wants to collect the bounty on this one. This one is the blue adopted daughter who secretly hates the green adopted daughter, who in turn secretly hates the bad guys. Etc.

Of course, you may as well ignore it all, because for no reason the Guardians are suddenly the best of friends in the third act, and are all willing to die for each other. Even the Nova Corps are willing to trust them and take their side, ignoring that in the first act Nova Corps had deemed them all criminals and tossed them all in the universe's worst prison.


Offline The Lurker

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16840 on: June 16, 2016, 05:24:59 PM »
To be fair, you do need a chart to keep track of what relationships each character has with the other characters. This one wants to kill that one because she is the adopted daughter of the bad guy. That one wants to collect the bounty on this one. This one is the blue adopted daughter who secretly hates the green adopted daughter, who in turn secretly hates the bad guys. Etc.

Of course, you may as well ignore it all, because for no reason the Guardians are suddenly the best of friends in the third act, and are all willing to die for each other. Even the Nova Corps are willing to trust them and take their side, ignoring that in the first act Nova Corps had deemed them all criminals and tossed them all in the universe's worst prison.
With the Nova Corps, I think it was more the situation they were in.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16841 on: June 16, 2016, 05:55:56 PM »
The problem with the Nova Corps in GoG is that we never got an idea with how big they are. We just see them related to the main planet that is in danger at the end (and the planet Starlord is captured on at the beginning, but we have no idea how close or far they are). In the comics they are essentially the Green Lantern Corps without power rings. The overarching space police for the Marvel universe. But here they just seem to be this one planet's space defenses, so why would leaving the Infinity Gem in their hands be a good idea?



Offline Relaxing Dragon

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16842 on: June 17, 2016, 10:11:20 AM »
Here's the thing about contemporary bad movies. They're as likely to look fantastic as good movies. Think about this for a second: when someone tells me that they like a movie because it has good special effects these days, I have to take that with a grain of salt, because almost all movies that make it to the multiplexes have good special effects. Ditto for production design and overall film craft. We are living in the golden age of film as a burnished ornament. We are living in the golden age of the polished turd.

Though I disagree with your assessment on Prince of Darkness (one of my favorite Carpenter movies and a damn fine exercise in laying down some pure, thick atmosphere), this articulates something I've been trying to put into words for a while. Because it's totally true!


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16843 on: June 19, 2016, 01:42:52 PM »
Just watched Alien recently. You have seriously got to appreciate the level of craftsmanship that went into that movie. I love the models, the set designs. All of it was really amazing and easily of the same quality as the original Star Wars. It's all convincing and damn if it isn't just so immersive as an experience in sci-fi horror.


Offline CJones

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16844 on: June 19, 2016, 04:15:41 PM »
That isn't Rifftrax related? Deadpool. I'm not a fan of Ryan Reynolds at all, so I didn't see this in the theater. But when it came out on video, I tried it, and I have to admit, it was pretty good.