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Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1583646 times)

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Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18645 on: June 03, 2019, 12:33:22 AM »
The Water Margin ( 1972 )
In 1972 Shaw Brothers decided to tackle the classic novel The Water Margin, although just like how they tried to do Journey to the West a decade earlier, did the novel haphazardly by picking out random chapters instead of starting from the beginning and adapting the chapters in sequence. Imagine if HBO had adapted A Song of Fire and Ice into Game of Thrones by starting at the Red Wedding, then jumping to the Battle of Castle Black for the next episode, then jumping back to Tyrion's arrest ant trial at The Vale for the next episode, then giving up. Three adaptions of The Water Margin were made in '72. Last week I watched Delightful Forest which adapted some of the contents of chapters 28 through 32 telling why Wu Song joined the Liang Shan gang. Another Shaw film released that year, Pursuit, told the tale of another martial artist joining the outlaw gang. That one has not yet been released in North America. The biggest of the three films covers chapters 64 through 68, beginning with the ambush and death of the Liang Shan leader at the hands of General Shi Wengong, the gangs efforts to recruit Lu Junyi ( a.k.a The Jade Unicorn ) who is the only man who could beat Shi Wengong in a fight, Lu Junyi's arrest for treason after his wife and the servant she's having an affair with frame him, and the efforts of the Liang Shan gang to rescue Lu, which not only leads to him defeating Shi Wengong, but becoming the new leader of the Liang Shan Gang. Shaw Brothers chose to title this film The Water margin, even though it only at best covered 5% of the middle of the novel.

A few side notes here. Shaw Brothers didn't get back to adapting any more of The Water Margin until 1975 with a film that covered the end of the novel, then 7 years after that produced The Tiger Killer which showed more of the origin of Wu Song, specifically him killing a real tiger with his bare hands in a fight. In 1973 when Warner Bros. released a Shaw Brothers film called King Boxer under the title Five Fingers of Death, it became a surprise hit despite being dubbed and having no actors Americans knew of. Warner Bros. immediately went back to Shaw Brothers and asked for another film. Shaw Brothers was eager to showcase The Water Margin as it was their most spectacular production to date, and talked Warner Bros. into distributing it. However, Warner Bros. soon realized they had the mid part of an epic novel Americans were not familiar with. So they farmed the film off to New World Pictures. There Roger Corman had the film reedited, rescored and redubbed, releasing it as Seven Blows of the Dragon. Corman even managed to convince Shaw Brothers to shot a few new scenes. Seven Blows of the Dragon completely ignores the novel, simplifying the story to just the tale of a man who is framed by his cheating wife and a gang of bandits who rescue him. As much well deserved criticism by others and me towards Roger Corman for releasing garbage shot quickly and cheaply, his edit of The Water Margin proved that he was capable of being a decent filmmaker. I especially liked how the Corman edit rearranged scenes, so that he cut back and forth between Lu Junyi being punished in court by being caned and his wife and servant having sex in his bed. In the original version the sex scene happens much earlier in the film while Lu is out practicing his Kung Fu. The Corman edit suggests it was happening at the same time, cutting back and fourth between the moans of Lu being beaten and his wife moaning during sex.  There were a few other nice editing choices made by Corman. For over a decade Seven Blows of the Dragon was the only Shaw Brothers film still available on home video in North America. ( Not counting bootlegs. ) Corman ended up owning the copyrights to his edit, and Warner Bros. continued releasing it on video. Unfortunately Warner Bros. never bothered to release it on DVD, and the edit was never included as an extra on Image's release of The Water Margin.

It is an extremely satisfying film, despite having some of the worst fight choreography in an old school era Shaw Brothers film. It probably has the most characters ever in a Shaw Brothers film, each when appearing on screen for the first time is accompanied by a screen credit for the actor playing him or her. Every actor working for Shaw Brothers at the time was in this film, along with a lot of other actors not under contract for the studio. Of course, most of the characters have limited or walk on parts. Ti Lung's character Wu Song from the previous film is present, along with a couple of other characters introduced in Delightful Forest. But as far as I can tell, Wu Song doesn't really have any dialog, and is mostly there for the ending fight scene between the Liang Shan Gang and General Shi Wengong's forces. The only characters to have major parts are Lu Junyi and his protégé/adopted son Yan Quing ( David Chiang ). And why not? The film is suppose to be their story of how they were forced to join the bandit gang. Delightful Forest didn't include any members of the Liang Shan gang other than the characters who would later join the gang in the next film. Warner Bros. shouldn't have worried. Even if you never heard of the novel it came from, the plot here is easy to follow and the origin of any other characters are unnecessary.

The Shadow Returns ( 1946 )
After nearly a decade the character known as The Shadow returns to the silver screen. Although the title suggests a sequel, this was a reboot from another studio.  At least Monogram knew enough to include all the characters from the Shadow radio show. However, while The Shadow is once again a masked vigilante, Monogram still didn't include The Shadow's power to cloud men's minds. So just as in the first Shadow film, he hides behind doors or around corners so that all anyone sees of him is his shadow when he talks to them. Monogram filmed all three Shadow films at the same time, yet somehow recast Lamont Cranston's sidekick  Shrevvy between their first and second film. This movie has Lamont trying to solve a mystery where people appear to be committing suicide by jumping off of ledges. Of course it is murder, and there is a real dopey explanation as to why it appeared they all purposely climbed onto a ledge and jumped. Each one of them died because they knew a secret, which was the formula to a new miracle substance called plastic.

Behind The Mask ( 1946 )
This one had a much better plot. On the eve of Lamont's wedding to Margo Lane where he has agreed to settle down and give up his Shadow persona, he finds out The Shadow has just been framed for the murder of a newspaper reporter who was just about to publish an article outing The Shadow's secret identity. It turns out the reporter was crooked, and had been blackmailing various criminal organizations to pay him off for not outing their operations in the newspaper. But was he really about to publish the identity of The Shadow. And did Lamont actually kill him? Because he does disappear during his own engagement party exactly at the same time the reporter is murdered. So far the Monogram films appear to be very decent, but this one was way better than the first. Unfortunately it is marred by some bad comedy shtick throughout the film, usually coming from Margo who is constantly suspecting Lamont of cheating on her. It is a sexist film that begins with the reporter slapping a woman in the face for insulting him, and ends with Lamont spanking Margo while Shrevvy spanks his girlfriend at the same time, both as punishment for acting like dumb women throughout the film and constantly getting in the way of the investigation. A contemporary review by The New York Times even chastised the movie for its portrayal of Margo, who was a smart character in the radio version. If you can put up with the failed shtick and sexism, than this is the best of the black and white Shadow films so far.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2019, 12:36:04 AM by stethacantus »


Offline stansimpson

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18646 on: June 03, 2019, 07:07:02 AM »
Watched The Matrix trilogy over the weekend, because my wife had never seen the third one and wanted to watch from the beginning. I implored watching with RiffTrax, but I understand why she shot that down. I've tried watching movies with other people in the room and listening to RT on my ipod before and considered doing that here. My laughing and giggling is understandably too distracting. In any case...

The Matrix still holds up 20 years later. The special effects never overreach though it comes close to the line in a couple places. What else can I say that hasn't already been said before? Out of everything, I think what I'm most impressed by is the world-building. A+ for concept and execution. I would love to see 100 stories told in that universe... except I can think of 2 that don't really deliver on the promise.       
       
The Matrix: Reloaded has a lot going on, but doesn't feel like it amounts to much. The Agent Smith fight literally has no purpose other than Neo finding out that Smith is back. It doesn't carry the story forward. Same for the podracing scene highway chase. It just goes on way too long. The dance scene doesn't feel like it belongs, because we expect Super-Neo to be doing awesome things. We get a 2min moment near the beginning, but it's a long while until we get to some action. The dance-orgy part just feels so out of place by the time it happens. I think if you stripped the story down to its bare components, it'd be thought-provoking albeit uninteresting as a whole.

The Matrix: Revolutions is confusing. I kinda think I know what happens. But a lot of the whats, hows, and whys are convoluted, and, by the time it takes to get this far, I just don't care enough about what's happening.

Fun fact: Neo's first name is Thomas! It never comes up again after the first half hour of the first movie.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 06:45:04 AM by stansimpson »


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18647 on: June 04, 2019, 12:18:10 AM »
Creepshow 2 - If you've ever watched Tales from the crypt, then you have a fairly decent idea of where all the stories in this anthology of films is going. Surprisingly, while some anthology films(Like Twilight Zone: The movie) consist of four stories, this time we have three. The first stars George Kennedy as a poor old shop keeper who's running out of money and is urged by his wife to move away from the town which is rapidly descending into utter obscurity and even complete bankruptcy. He is then paid a surprise visit from a local native American man who gives him some very valuable family heirlooms to keep until he can pay off his debts. At first, the shopkeeper refuses but relents when the Native American man insists. All the while, there is a Native American Statue that you just know will have some dramatic purpose later on.

At that point, the shopkeeper and his wife go back in the store to be unfortunately confronted by three hoods, looking to rob the place. In the process, the Heirlooms are stolen by a punk with a shotgun, who kills the shopkeepers wife and the shopkeeper. The three hoods are then hunted down by the Native American Statue and killed. A satisfying ending for sure but.... horrifying? Forgive me if I don't cry my eyes out for the robbing, murdering hoods.

The second story kind of puzzles me. Two guys and two women head down to a lake in their yellow... corvette?(I'm not good with car models) Anyway they swim out to a big...raft on the smallish looking lake(raft is the best word I can think to describe it). After a while the four young adults notice something weird in the lake, some kind of black goo just under the surface of the water. One by one, the goo consumes them. The two survivors stay on the raft and don't try to bother to swim back to land for some reason. The last poor woman is grabbed by the black substance and pulled under. For all I know, this could be Armus from the Star Trek TNG episode "Skin of evil". Anyway near the end of the story we pull back and see a sign near the lake that says "No swimming". Yeah, maybe put it somewhere more visible next time? 

The final story has a very definitive lesson. A woman who's having an affair is driving home, only to be distracted and runs over a poor hitchhiker. As she continues to drive home she is haunted by the specter of the blood-splattered man, who keeps telling her "Thanks for the ride Lady!". Eventually she ends up home where the... "specter" kills her. So I guess there's two lessons here... don't fool around on your spouse, and secondly... don't do anything that could cause you to be distracted while driving.

I'm not a horror fan, but I'm guessing most horror fans won't enjoy this all that much. The movie isn't all that scary, there's not much gore, there's only a little T and A, so I guess the only conclusion that I can come to is that... it was okay.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18648 on: June 04, 2019, 06:00:29 AM »
I enjoy Creepshow 2, but it isn't nearly as good as Creepshow. Apparently the recent Creepshow 3 is supposed to be terrible.



Offline Kete

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18649 on: June 05, 2019, 01:04:05 PM »
Booksmart

It's great. There are so many teenage party movies of the past that are so problematic. Just try to watch something like American Pie today without feeling guilty that you used to think sexual predators were funny.  Well, there are new movies coming out that are funnier and with zero date rapes. Booksmart hits all the beats to make it a classic, is completely guilt free, and also manages to keep it all fresh.

When people complain that you can't make good jokes anymore because of PC culture, this kind of film proves them wrong.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 01:05:58 PM by Kete »


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18650 on: June 05, 2019, 03:31:33 PM »
On the other hand, I'll watch movies like Animal House all day long and feel zero guilt about it.


Offline stansimpson

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18651 on: June 05, 2019, 04:00:03 PM »
Can't Hardly Wait is one of my all-time favorites of the genre. Been a while since I've seen it, but I love its simplicity and I imagine its probably aged well enough for a late 90s movie.


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18652 on: June 07, 2019, 07:52:23 AM »
Wine Country

Hard to rate it because it wasn't what I was expecting.

I was expecting good comedy and mediocre drama, it's the opposite, well, it's an OK drama with mediocre comedy.

It is enjoyable and goes by fast, rare these days to have 100 minutes go by and have it seem like you just started watching.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18653 on: June 07, 2019, 06:21:14 PM »
Took the tyke to see Aladdin and did not hate it. It can't touch the original (The original being one of my top 5 Disney movies, so that was never going to happen), but it actually manages to match the spectacle of one of Disney's most animated animated movies. I figured they'd be downplaying Genie's magical powers but they have him zipping around and morphing just as frenetically as the original. Will Smith's charisma has to stand in for Robin William's comedic presence, and it works well enough. Most importantly, my son loved it and was able to sit still for almost 2 hours.


Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18654 on: June 07, 2019, 11:10:11 PM »
I Am Mother

Another Netflix movie.

Pretty good science fiction, and a pretty good mystery, you don't know who to believe until near the end.

In the end it turns out to be an old science fiction trope, I don't what to say what it is because it would be a major spoiler.


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18655 on: June 08, 2019, 04:12:40 AM »
Rifftrax: Radical Jack - This one is courtesy of the Amazon Prime streaming service. It is indeed very nice that they have so many Rifftrax movies available for streaming. It doesn't help this movie that I can't stand Billy Ray Cyrus. Anyway, I thought it was pretty bad, but then again, I thought Roadhouse was pretty bad too. Roadhouse's biggest saving grace is I like Patrick Swayze many miles more than BRC.

Radical Jack has one thing and one thing ONLY going for it... the women in it are a lot hotter than the ones in Roadhouse.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18656 on: June 08, 2019, 07:01:54 AM »
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) - This was amazing! Tons of great monster action, more than made up for the frustration of the 2014 movie. Yes the humans plot didn't make a whole lot of sense. But that is standard practice in Godzilla movies, and this is hardly the worst example of it. Hell, they even carried over the trope of the child being inexplicably given access to top secret military facilities. I didn't have difficulty figuring out what was going on it the monster battles, which was a common complaint. It is a long movie, and it feels long at times. It would have helped them to simplify it a little to hep the runtime.
They have two major events that end up as just minor subplots, somehow.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Both of them could be cut and not effect anything.



Offline stansimpson

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18657 on: June 08, 2019, 04:06:24 PM »
Just got back from X-Men: Dark Phoenix. I know critics aren't particularly thrilled, but I quite enjoyed it. That probably has a lot to do with how I've probably invested more into these characters than most movie fans which really ratchets up the tension when, say, two characters square off. In any case, I was surprised how it's a small psychological drama/thriller mixed with a big-budget action CGI spectacle. And I loved the score. 15mins in, I was hooked because it was powerful, strange, and yet still odd. Didn't realize it was Hans Zimmer! My biggest fear was the movie might fall flat from Sophie Turner being thrown into the lead, but it remains an ensemble adventure and the heavy lifting is done by everyone. In fact, this felt more like a "team movie" more than I anticipated and that, to me, has always been the strength of the films, the cartoons, and the comics.

Reading reviews, I think there's a lot of wrong expectations. It doesn't have much "joy" or "heart" because, well, that's not what psychological dramas are. It's called Dark Phoenix for a reason. I also think people are expecting Endgame levels of an X-Men swan song. Don't. I've been following this production long before the Marvel/Fox deal went through (it was announced 3 weeks before Apocalypse even came out). I agree that Logan is the appropriate finale to the series, but their hand was forced, and I think they did the best with what they were given. That Disney/Fox merger happened literally 3 months ago. Amazing they could do anything of a good-bye considering the circumstances.

Do I recommend it? For most people, I would say wait until RedBox (it's absolutely better than what RottenTomatoes is giving it which is currently lower than X-Men 3). For Fox X-Men fans like myself? It's a huge yes.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 05:53:00 PM by stansimpson »


Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18658 on: June 08, 2019, 07:05:25 PM »
Rifftrax: Birdemic - Even I find it hard to believe in the almost 10 years since its release I have never sat down and watched the whole of Birdemic. Again, got to watch this one through my Amazon Prime subscription. Anyway having just finished it this movie is even sillier than I could have imagined. It actually imo rivals Monty Python and the holy grail for the title of silliest movie ever. This is another one of those movies so ineptly made the movie practically riffs itself. I laughed so many times so hard I nearly lost all motor function. My gut was literally aching from laughing so goddamn hard.

There is a school of thought that bad movies are in reality really really great. There may be some truth to that but I also like to measure a movie's overall mileage by the intent of the filmmaker. In all honesty I don't know James Nguyen, like at all but I'm pretty sure he wasn't going for side-splitting comedy.


Offline wihogfan

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18659 on: June 08, 2019, 07:17:53 PM »
Can't Hardly Wait is one of my all-time favorites of the genre. Been a while since I've seen it, but I love its simplicity and I imagine its probably aged well enough for a late 90s movie.
Only saw it once, but I remember thinking Seth Green's character was an annoying sterotype that seemed aged even at the time it came out.