Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1585471 times)

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Online Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18510 on: March 09, 2019, 07:26:34 AM »
A rewatch of Once Upon a Time in the West. This time, I watched it and thought "Man, the way things happen so slowly and quietly and hypnotically remind me of Better Call Saul. And sure enough Vince Gilligan cites it as an inspiration for his show. Seriously, if you love the quiet methodical process scenes where Saul or Mike are silently carrying out plans, there are scenes in this you will go wild over. I mean, here, the scenes aren't plans, but they are perfectly realized scenes where things happen in a manner where you can't take your eyes off the screen.

I also completely forgot about Jason Robard's character this time out but watching it again, he's wonderful. His final scene in the film is funny and a bit moving and the perfect exit for a great character. I'm also not familiar with most of Henry Fonda's output but he kills it here as the villain. Future weirdo Charles Bronson also works really well, he's so friggin arch he mostly has to stand there and give a smug, knowing smile until his tragic backstory is finally revealed.

I'll also say that wikipedia mentioned it was a more "somber" film than his Man with No Name trilogy, but to me, that's sort of like saying Raising Arizona is more somber than Duck Soup. I mean, it's not wrong but while it isn't AS over the top, it's still often fun and very pulpy.

So basically, if you like movies but haven't seen this movie, see this movie. Same goes for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


Online MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18511 on: March 09, 2019, 07:44:57 AM »
I never really appreciated Once Upon a Time in the West until HD TVs were available, it doesn't do as well pan and scanned for 4:3 TVs, you really need to be pulled in visually for the "quiet" scenes to work their magic.

Good bad and ugly didn't have that problem, the quiet scenes are not drawn out as long and usually rely on closeups of the characters to draw you in.


Offline wihogfan

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18512 on: March 09, 2019, 07:45:21 AM »
Saga of the Plant of the Apes Part 1
Fan edit of all the original movies cut into one and interspersed with one another.
Part 1 focused mostly on the parallels between the original movie and Escape. I enjoyed it more than I excepted. I've seen the original too many times now for anything in it to come across as new, but it was a good way to watch Escape due to cutting out some of the more corny parts and emphasizing that as corny as some of the sequels were, they still were better than any of the remakes.


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18513 on: March 09, 2019, 04:13:04 PM »
Captain Marvel rocks! Brie Larson did a great job in the role. And there were some surprisingly powerful moments.


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Offline Russoguru

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18514 on: March 09, 2019, 06:02:29 PM »
I myself saw it again today. It was both tremendously fun and powerful. Can't wait for Endgame.  ;D


Online MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18515 on: March 10, 2019, 04:01:23 PM »
Took enough cold meds to make it through one movie on my new OLED TV that I haven't been able to fully enjoy the last 2 days.

Watched the extended cut of The Martian.  There are a few extra short scenes that add to how he was living on Mars, but most of the added material is stuff that only adds a few seconds, but those few seconds allow scenes to breath a bit more.  So if you like the movie you should really like the extended cut.

And in 4K HDR it looks really spectacular.


Online stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18516 on: March 11, 2019, 12:26:25 AM »
Shaolin Prince ( a.k.a. Iron Fingers of Death, a.k.a. Death Mask of the Ninja ) ( 1982 )
Back in the 90s, finding any Shaw Brothers film on home video was almost impossible. The few companies that did release the film's on VHS had become bankrupt years earlier. The only legitimate release of a Shaw Brothers film was Seven Blows of the Dragon, Roger Corman's re-edit of the epic The Water Margin which was available on Warner Home Video.  But then there was Death Mask of the Ninja.

Master Arts was a video lable that released Chinese martial arts films on VHS, mostly low budget independent productions with actors even the Chinese never heard of. Much like Saturn Video, Master Arts was a company true martial arts fans avoided because most of their films were crap. That is until someone found out they had been releasing a Shaw Brothers film for years. Unlike other video companies that got their films by buying the rights from the film distributors along with a film print to transfer to video, Master Arts looked for small video labels that had just gone bankrupt and bought their film library along with the video master for each film. Apparently one of the bankrupt companies Master Arts bought out had been bootlegging films by removing their opening credits and replacing them with different credits. The title Death Mask of the Ninja was slapped over the film Shaolin Prince along with a fictional cast that didn't appear in the movie. It Should be pointed out that this film has neither Ninjas nor any mask of any kind.

Shaolin Prince  was another one of Shaw Brother's attempts at Kung Fu comedy. The comedy doesn't really work, but the dramatic plot and fighting are among the best of the old school era. The film opens with an emperor' under siege in his palace by an usurper's army. The usurper is the 9th Lord, a nasty SOB who has a metal hand with two iron fingers he uses as weapons, mostly to grab and snap in half swords, but also to puncture holes in the heads of his victims.  Shortly before he is killed, the emperor orders his men to save his two sons, one the first born and air to the thrown, the other the second born. To do this a couple dozen soldiers flee the palace, each carrying a baby, the rest being decoys. The fleeing soldiers run into trouble when they confront the Fire and Water swordsmen, and the 9th Lord himself, all who kill as many soldiers and babies they can get their hands on. ( Yep, this is supposed to be a comedy. ) The only two soldiers who manage to escape happen to be holding both princes. One of them makes it to the prime minister's house with the second prince, and there the prime minister raises him as his son. The soldier holding the first prince is mortally wounded, and before he dies, manages to  make it to the Shaolin Temple, where he gives the infant to three goofy monks. They actually live in a secluded part of the temple where they have been sent as punishment for breaking rules. The soldier dies before he can tell them the baby is the first prince. So they decide to raise the baby themselves and teach it their unique brand of wacky Kung Fu.

Twenty years later, the 9th Lord is ruling the country, thanks to a puppet emperor he has stuck on the thrown. Both princes are now grown men. The second prince who is  living with the prime minister has trained all his life to  fight the 9th Lord to regain the thrown, believing the first prince had been killed with the rest of the decoys.  Meanwhile at Shaolin, the first prince has become a martial arts expert, but is still clueless of his birthright. When the prime minister decides to send the second prince to Shaolin to learn techniques that will allow him to defeat the 9th Lord, both brothers meet for the first time, and not realizing who each is, end up as friends. Eventually the truth for both comes out, and they end up in a showdown with the 9th Lord and his weaponized sedan chair.

Like I said, this is supposed to be a comedy. But it is limited two the three goofy monks who raise the first prince. The first prince does grow up to become a bit of a rascal, but his antics are mostly limited to training sessions with his three masters. The rest of the film is dramatic. The 9th Lord's sedan chair is among one of the most memorable martial arts weapons devised by Shaw Brothers and elevates this film to a near classic. It sort of inspires me to watch Ten Tigers of Kwantung next weekend, because that one has the stupidest weapon used in a martial arts film. Unfortunately I cant seem to locate my copy of the film at this time, so we shall see.

Supergirl ( 1984 )
One of the first things I bought as part of my superhero collection was Superman Anthology on Blu-ray. It was all four Christopher Reeve films and Superman Returns, plus the Donner cuts of the first two films, plus Superman and the Molemen, plus the Fleischer cartoon shorts. But for some reason it didn't include Supergirl, despite that movie being a sequel to the first three Reeve films. Oh sure, Superman wasn't in it other than on a poster. But the Anthology had the complete Superpup pilot, so it could have at least included Supergirl as a bonus.

I was going to buy the stand alone disc, but discovered it was bare bones. Anchor Bay, the DVD company that's notorious for limited printings, had previously released the movie on DVD with extras, and the longer European edit of the movie. Since buying the Anchor Bay release was impossible, ( $102 for a good as new copy on Amazon ), and I didn't want the bare bones release, so I decided to wait for a proper release. They had announced the CW was goin to have a Supergirl television series. I was sure that it would result in Warner Bros re-releasing the Supergirl movie in a two disc set with all the Anchor Bay extras. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Supergirl was on the CW for three seasons and still no announcement of a deluxe edition release. I guess enough people wrote in to WB to complain, because they finally released a deluxe edition Blu-ray a few months back on their Warner Archives label, with all the extras from the Anchor Bay release along with the European edit of the film instead of the abridged US version. . Predictably, the price of the Anchor Bay release plummeted to $18 new. And here is a bonus. The Warner disc has the previously unreleased "Director's Cut", which is basically an extra five minutes of random footage. And as that was the longest, I watched that one.

Supergirl has a reputation of being the worst of the Superman films. However, while nowhere as good as the first two films, it is way better than Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The only real problem this film has is that it is not very ambitious. Perhaps because the producers realized it wouldn't earn as much as a Superman film, so they wrote a script that would involve less effects and sets. We  only see a tiny fraction of Argo City , and The Phantom Zone is mostly a bluescreen whirlwind effect. The climatic battle where Supergirl fights a giant demon  uses very disappointing visual effects, and is very lackluster. And it appears as if the only song licensed for this film was Howard jones' New Song, because every time someone turns on the radio, puts a coin in a jukebox  or walks into a party, that is the song that is playing.  But other than that, it was a decent enough film. Or at least, it didn't have me wishing it was over already. at any point. By all right it should have been boring, but for some reason just wasn't. I was able to sit through the entire two hours and 25 minutes without getting restless. But at the same time, there was no exhilaration as you would feel with an MCU film, or even any of the DCEU films. It is just basically satisfactory, nothing more, nothing less.

The plot... Argo City has survived the destruction of Krypton, although I wish the film would explain why a little better. In the original comic books, Argo is a dome city which was somehow blown free of Krypton intact. Protected from outer space by the dome, the citizens thrived, including Kara, the niece of Superman who is born on Argo about a decade after Krypton's destruction. The ground below Argo slowly turns into Kryptonite, so Kara's parents put her in a rocket and send her to Earth to live with her cousin. This movie suggests Argo has somehow traveled into a different dimension. The only thing keeping everyone alive is a small globe called The Omegahedron. While playing with it, Kara accidentally sends it out of the dimension Argo is in and onto Earth. Since Argo will slowly die without it's Omegahedron, Kara goes after it in an interdimensional spacecraft, ending up on Earth and turning into Supergirl for some reason.  Unfortunately, the Omegahedron landed up in the hands of a witch named Selena who uses it to amplify her own powers.

Christopher Reeve was supposed to have made a cameo, but then decided he was done with playing the character. Superman's absence is explained when a radio report says he has left Earth on a peace keeping mission to a far away galaxy. The only actor from the previous films to return was Marc McClure, reprising his role of Jimmy Olsen, a character that basically has no business being in the film, and ads nothing to the plot. Unable to get Margo Kidder to reprise Lois Lane, her sister Lucy Lane is introduced instead. She is played by Maureen Teefy, who had previously played Doris in the movie Fame. Maureen was a delightful actress who should have been a bigger star.. But her follow ups to  Fame was this movie and Grease 2 which pretty much sank her career. Although the Lucy Lane character is underdeveloped in this film, Maureen brings such life to it that I am sort of disappointed they didn't bring her back for Superman IV. The movie also didn't do any favors for Helen Slater, who made her film debut as Supergirl. She was better remembered that decade for the cult film The Legend of Billie Jean, made a year later. More people ended up seeing that film than Supergirl, which had it's North American release delayed for over a year.  It was held back for so long that the home video release in Japan made it's way to video store shelves in the United States, allowing people to rent it before it was released in Theaters. So basically, most of the people who did see Supergirl in the 80s, saw it on VHS with Japanese subtitles.

Well, at least now my collection of Christopher Reeve era Superman films is complete.


Offline stansimpson

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18517 on: March 11, 2019, 07:28:37 AM »
Watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2 over the weekend. I've seen Vol. 1 a ton of times and Vol. 2 only once when it came out. Next to maybe Pulp Fiction, Vol. 1 has to be my favorite Tarantino movie. It's super fun. Super stylized. And it's just go go go. I was looking forward to making some popcorn but kept on hesitating because I was always like "But I love this next scene!" Got to right before the Crazy 88 showdown until I decided I might be out of time. Haha.     
       
Vol. 2 is... better than I remember. Which isn't saying much. It doesn't have the same kind of pizzazz that I look forward to in a Tarantino movie. I think most people prefer it over the first, but I'm more of a New Hope kinda guy than Empire Strikes Back. It has some solid moments, but there are moments in between that I get a little bored by.

Also, regarding Captain Marvel, Kevin Feige addressed Russoguru's question:
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Offline wihogfan

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18518 on: March 15, 2019, 07:35:07 PM »
I'm a big fan of Tarintino, but just hate both volumes of Kill Bill. Too predictable and nothing that wasn' done far better in other better movies.


Online Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18519 on: March 16, 2019, 05:08:39 AM »
Rewatched Duck Soup.  It's a movie that I feel like I like more and more each time I see it.  It clips along nicely and also is smart enough to barely include Zeppo.  And hilariously dark, with the implication that Groucho's petty squabble got a LOT of people killed.


Offline Kete

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18520 on: March 16, 2019, 06:31:22 AM »
Everyone needs to see Apollo 11. It's beautiful.


Online Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18521 on: March 17, 2019, 11:40:13 AM »
SPLIT (2016) - MacAvoy's performance was great, but the movie as a whole was still way too slow. And what little we got of The Beast was not nearly satisfying given all the buildup.



Online stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18522 on: March 17, 2019, 10:01:05 PM »
Ten Tigers of Kwangtung ( 1979 )
A century before there was The Avengers or a Justice League, there was The Ten Tigers of Canton. It was China's ten greatest heroes of the decade who banned together to form a society which used their martial arts abilities to upholding justice. But unlike the Marvel and D.C. superheroes, all Ten Tigers actually existed. Although the bit about them fighting crime and tyranny may have been embellished through folk legend, and the Tigers may have been no more than an exclusive club for the top martial arts masters. Some of the more prominent members were Wong Kei Ying, father of Wong Fei Hung, and Beggar So, a.k.a. The Drunken Master.

It wasn't until 1978 that any film featuring The Ten Tigers was made. Perhaps because producers lost interest when they realized any Ten Tiger story would take place before Wong Fei Hung was born.  In 78 Ten Tigers of Shaolin was released, followed a few months later with Jackie Chan's Drunken Master which establish that Wong Fei Hung's father was friends with Beggar So, sending the teenage Fei Hung to him to study Drunken Style Kung Fu. With renewed interest in the Ten Tigers, Chang Cheh  decided to make his own film, with an all star cast of Shaw Brothers actors.  This included  the Venom Mob, which made this one of the more prominent Shaw Brothers films. But is it a classic?

Well, no. Clocking in at only 30 minutes, it has the appearance of being an even shorter film padded out with a second plot that takes place years in the future. The film opens with two villains who are stalking and killing the children of the Ten Tigers of Kwangtung. ( And just so you don't get confused about the title, Canton was renamed Guangdong in the 20th Century, the alternative English spelling of is Kwangtung. )  Realizing they are being picked off by relatives of a villain that the Ten Tigers killed, the remaining offspring began talking to each other about how their fathers first met. This leads to flashbacks, which look a lot like an excuse to use footage from an earlier abandoned incomplete film.  The leader of a failed revolution against the Qing  Dynasty is on the run from a Qing general and his troops tasked with arresting him. He is rescued by a martial arts master and hidden in a secret room in the pawn shop he owns. The master decides to seek the aid of five other martial arts masters in the region who are also anti-Qing so they can help the rebel leader escape from Kwangtung. Meanwhile, the owner of a rival pawn shop has noticed the other masters showing up at odd times of the night. So he tells the Qing general that he suspects they may know where the fugitive is, and comes up with a plan to stop them. He finds four other martial arts masters who he tells he wants to finance a school run by them. He then manipulates them into attacking the other four masters, claiming they are helping a fugitive criminal who is guilty of burning down his house and murdering his wife. So the masters all end up fighting, but then after seeing the fugitive is actually the rebel leader, realize they have been duped. They all ban together as the Ten Tigers and vow to get the fugitive safely on a boat out of Kwangtung. However, the general is waiting at the docks for them with his men. There is a fight, and the general ends up dead. Moving back to twenty years in the future, the son and close friend of the General are now taking revenge by killing the children of the Ten Tigers. After a few more deaths, the remaining two offspring lure the villains into a trap and fight them both. The villains soon appear to have the upper hand when out of nowhere one of the Ten Tigers shows up and easily kills the villains.

I have to give the film credit. Despite a plot of the offspring of the Ten Tigers being stalked for revenge,  Chang Cheh resists having Wong Fei Hung as one of the children. This certainly would have robbed the spotlight from the Ten Tigers. But the film does appear to be an incomplete Ten Tigers film completed with the 20 years later revenge plot. The rival pawn broker tells the four masters he will finance their own school, but you never actually see that happen. Nor do you see any scene explaining how he is able to get two of the masters to attack his rival's pawn shop midway through the film. It appears as if key scenes that explain character motivation were never filmed. The scenes with the revenge plot feel like a different and cheaper film, even though they include some of the movie's best fight scenes. It is not a bad movie. It just doesn't live up to it's hype, and despite it's all star cast, comes off as a potboiler.

Which brings us to the reason I wanted to watch this movie this week, and ended up looking through every single box of DVDs I own to find it. ( I really should get those boxes organized. ) Last week I saw a Shaw Brothers film that turned a sedan chair into a weapon. The writers at Shaw Brothers have come up with dozens of ingenious martial arts weapons over the years. But not the one in this film. It happens during the fight between the Qing general and the leader of the Ten Tigers. The Qing general gestures to his man to bring over weapon, and....   Well, just see for yourself...

 

Not only is this statue ineffective as a weapon, but the Ten Tiger master easily turns it against the Qing general, using it to bash his skull in while he is still holding it. I have no idea what Chang Cheh was thinking when he came up with this as a weapon. Also, when I first bought this DVD, I was with a friend who insisted on watching the English dub. Every other time I had seen this film, it was the English dub version. This time around I decided to watch it in it's original language with the subtitles turned on. And I discovered this mistake made by Media Blasters when they created the subtitles. It should be a character accused of colluding with the Qings saying "What are you talking about?", but instead this happens...

 

I chose this film knowing I would have a good laugh with the statue fight. But this mistake in the subtitles was an unexpected bonus.


Black Scorpion ( 1995 )
As I grow closer to completing my superhero movie collection, I am now getting to the films I held off on buying for financial reasons. These were either out of print, released directly to members of a club, or released by a small independent video company which made them impossible to find. In other words, the ones that either had their price jacked up on Amazon, or cost a lot on eBay, and most likely I would need to settle for a used copy. I held back hoping they would get a rerelease or would be put out on a different lable. With the first two Black Scorpion films, I was hoping like some of the other Roger Corman 90s films that they would be released as a double feature. No such luck. The first film is still available for a reasonable price of $20, but the sequel cost me nearly $50. Did I say these are Roger Corman direct to video films?

Here is what I liked about Black Scorpion. The 60 second origin. Most superhero films spend a great deal of time between when the hero gets his powers until when he first puts on his costume. In this film, after nearly 30 minutes of being a normal police drama, suspended police detective Darcy Walker ( Joan Serverance ) out of nowhere decides to make a superhero costume an continue fighting crime as a vigilante. It only takes about a minute between when Darcy finds out a pimp has beaten a prostitute the police were suppose to be protecting, and when she is wearing the Black Scorpion costume. The 60 seconds being a montage showing her making the costume. She doesn't have any powers, although a little later in the film, after looking at a taser,  she does somehow invent a ring that shoots electricity and allow her to levitate. And a little later the owner of a chop shop who owes her a favor ( Garrett Morris ) builds her a Scorpion Mobile using technology found in a car someone stole from the Army. But the actual origin takes less than a minute. So while there is a half hour before the actual superhero film starts, we don't have to sit through the rest of the film waiting for the hero to finally put on a costume.

Another thing I liked, this film had a costumed villain who had a scheme to destroy the city. The trend in superhero films seems to be to do away with costumed villains, or even reinvent villains from the comic books to  be more realistic. The whole point of a comic book movie is it's source material. If I wanted normal then I would watch a regular crime drama.

Now, what I didn't like about the film. Roger Corman produced it. So basically it was made quickly and on the cheap. Like most Corman films, it is right there on the line between bad and good. They could have done a much better job on this film, but didn't.  You don't hate it or grow board watching it, but you also don't feel thrilled watching it. It simply exists just to exist. Just so Corman could sell Showtime a superhero film that legally qualified as a superhero film. On that front, Corman and his company New Concord produces much better films than their rival Asylum, and a faaaaaaaaaar better job than TomCat. It is as if Corman is willing to spend the money to produce a film that doesn't suck, but refuses to pay a penny more.



Tunnel ( 2002 )
Normally these off weeks for Saturday Night Live would be used to watch a WC Fields film. But with the extra $'s being spent on eBay to complete the superhero collection, it may be some time before I can buy what films are still left.  So this week I am getting around to watching something someone gave me for Christmas, presumably picked out of a bargain video bin on the checkout  line at Walmart. Tunnel is an action thriller set in a tunnel, starring Daniel Baldwin, who also directed the film. Rotten Tomatoes calls it a movie, and nothing else since no one seems to have reviewed it. It currently has a score of __. It is currently one of the few things you can't find on Wikipedia.

The film opens with an armored car robbery. Police detective Daniel Baldwin and his partner show up to foil the heist, during which his partner is shot dead. While this is never mentioned in the film, I am pretty sure the partner was only a day away from retirement. While a female robber gets away with the loot, the leader of the robber gang is subdued by Baldwin. They decide to transport the robber by train to a jail and Baldwin decides to tag along. Armed men working for the robber climb aboard the train and  hijack it,. Among them is the girl from the robbery, who turns out to be the girlfriend of the robber that got caught. And she has brought the stolen diamonds with her.  It is stopped in a tunnel after which both ends are blown up so there is no way in or out. Baldwin escapes from the train and goes into John McClane mode. He discovers there is a side tunnel that leads to an abandoned power station that the criminals are breaking into. They plan to escape via the power station, and on their way out, set off a bomb in the tunnel that will collapse the mountain above the train, permanently burying it. The scheme, that everyone will think the robber was killed with the rest of the train passengers in the collapse.  So basically Baldwin has to stop the armed criminals and retrieve the remote detonator from them before they can blow the mountain up.

Lets set aside that this is another Die Hard rip-off that is nothing but formula, or that they allowed Daniel Baldwin to direct, or that Baldwin's character is basically the poor man's Casey Ryback. ( That's the Steven Segal character from Under Siege. )  On top of that all the film suffers from a low budget. How did the mercenaries working for the robber get onto the roof of a moving train? Who knows, because apparently there was no budget to shoot it. You hear the sound of explosions instead of seeing the explosions that caused both ends of the tunnel to collapse. Nor do you actually see the debris that blocks both ends of the tunnel. Instead Baldwin's character somehow knows the explosions were the sound of both ends of the tunnel being blown up. He sends a female passenger to inspect the ends of the tunnel to confirm his theory. She walks away, then later comes back and says that both ends of the tunnel are indeed blocked. The producers couldn't even afford to build fake boulders to show the end of a tunnel blocked. Even the helicopter that is suppose to rendezvous with the robbers is only a sound effect. They didn't even have enough money to hire a helicopter to film hovering above the power station. Nor do we ever see the exterior of this power station. They also had little choice but to keep as few takes in the film as possible. There are a few scenes where the female lead almost breaks into laughter, and you can see her trying not to smile. In most films that take would have been rejected, and the scene reshot without the actress smiling. Especially in the ones where the criminals are trying to kill her, or Baldwin is disarming a bomb she is standing next to. It is an action film that is basically not thrilling. But to Baldwin's credit, it is not really a bad film other than being a pointless rip-off that can't even afford to be a rip-off.


Offline ScottotD

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18523 on: March 19, 2019, 10:18:15 PM »
SPLIT (2016) - MacAvoy's performance was great, but the movie as a whole was still way too slow. And what little we got of The Beast was not nearly satisfying given all the buildup.

It felt like the first episode of a cool TV series to me
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Online Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #18524 on: March 20, 2019, 08:15:49 AM »
SPLIT (2016) - MacAvoy's performance was great, but the movie as a whole was still way too slow. And what little we got of The Beast was not nearly satisfying given all the buildup.

It felt like the first episode of a cool TV series to me
If it had been that then it would have been only about 30 minutes or an hour, instead of two hours, it would have been much better.