Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1178338 times)

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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17160 on: February 17, 2017, 10:28:59 AM »
Saw Key Largo for the first time.  It has some weak points (a bit too talky for it's own good at times, particularly in that a lot of themes and ideas are stated too bluntly), but the actors are mostly all good.  Lauren Bacall trying to give exposition and being pleasant about the Seminole tribes feels weirdly stiff.  Still, overall it's a good time and it is fun to see where the climax to Mitchell came from.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17161 on: February 19, 2017, 10:23:44 AM »
The Great Wall - This was a lot of fun. I'm a sucker for monster movies, and the monster action in this was pretty good. You never forgot that the monsters were CGI, but they didn't look bad. Mostly, this movie just looked GORGEOUS! It really was epic in scale. And whatever (surely extensive) greenscreen expansion they did wasn't noticeable. It is also really colorful, which it didn't have to be. Not just the different divisions in the army, but the palace sets, everything.

As for the whole "whitewashing" controversy...that's just stupid. Whitewashing is when a white actor is cast instead of a person of the more appropriate race. That doesn't apply here because this isn't an established character (like if this was an adaptation of something else). And the primary reason they have this character in the movie at all is because he's from somewhere else so the movie can have someone to explain things to for the benefit of the audience. And while Matt Damon's character was the least interesting in the movie, this kind of "audience surrogate" is so often completely bland and poorly cast that the fact that it was Matt Damon and that he had useful skills was a breath of fresh air. There's no "Joseph Campbell hero's journey" or lazy "prophesy" cliche bullshit as to why he's so important. In fact, most of the movie he's not really that important.

One thing I did hate was the "we fight for trust" message that they kept trying to hammer through. Bullshit! Trust may help the army fight better as a single unit, but that isn't why they are fighting. They are fighting for survival!

The ending
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
part seemed rather lazy. Yeah, it's been done in a lot of movies. But that was largely because of budget and creativity limitations, which this film clearly didn't have. Also,
Spoiler (click to show/hide)



Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17162 on: February 19, 2017, 05:50:51 PM »
Duel ( 1971 )
A while back I decided to expand my video library to include all the Steven Spielberg movies, both the ones he directed and produced.  Even before I began my Spielberg collection, I already owned almost a third of his films. I never really had time to watch them until this week. Every Saturday morning I watch either a rifftrax DVD or the latest volume of MST3K. For a while there due to the financial crisis and the need to buy food and pay bills over buying DVDs,  I was way behind on all the Rifftrax and MST3K releases. As of last Saturday I finished watching the latest volume of MST3K, which frees Saturday morning up. So while I will still be buying any new MST3K or Rifftrax DVDs as they are released ( or any Cinematic Titanic DVDs I missed if they ever get re-released ), I will for the next ten or so months be taking a break on watching them, and instead watching Spielberg movies in chronological order until I get up to BFG.

Spielberg's first professional film was the independently produced short Amblin' ( 1968 ) which caught the attention of Universal executive Sid Sheinberg who immediately signed him to a 7 year deal with Universal's television division. At the time the 21 year old Spielberg was the youngest director ever signed by a major Hollywood studio. And Sheinberg took flack for the deal, as his peers called the deal of signing such a young and inexperienced kid his folly. Producers did not want to work with Spielberg, and in turn Spielberg had no interest in directing television shows and instead spent most of his first years under contract writing scripts that he hoped he could direct as feature films. He eventually did come around to discover that directing television episodes was fun, and could have continued working for Universal Television directing television series when he was offered the opportunity to direct the television movie Duel. It's success lead to Spielberg being offered two more television films, one being Something Evil ( 1972 ). This set the groundwork for Universal thinking of Spielberg as an experienced horror director, and why they eventually offered him Jaws.

BTW, while his first feature film Sugarland Express ( 1974 ) and everything after are available, Duel is the only one of Spielberg's early films I found available on home video. This is mostly due to Universal's decision to give it a theatrical release in the United States in 1983 to capitalize on his fame. Most television movies aired once and disappeared. A few ended up being tossed into television distribution packages along with a few feature films. But basically, Dual was forgotten by everyone but Spielberg until 1983 when Universal dug it up again. Here is a dirty secret about television movies. If you look at the ones made in the 70s you notice how they rely on cheap budgets and actors already working for the network on other shows. By no means do they reach the level of theatrical films. However, these movies were released as theatrical films outside of the United States. The scam was that ABC, CBS or NBC would agree to pay for the production of the film ( hence the low budget ). At the time all three major networks had two or three nights where they aired movies, and could only afford so many from the major studios. The rest of the season was filled out with television movies, only a handful of which are memorable. Once a network commissioned a studio to produce a television film, two versions were produced on the network's dime. One edited just long enough to fit into the networks time slot with commercials, and another edited longer to be shown in theaters overseas. So basically the studios broke even domestically on these films, and made their profit on the foreign market. The slightly longer version of Duel with a few extra scenes and some cursing thrown in was what everyone outside of the United States saw, and what eventually was released to theaters and later on home video in 1983. The theatrical version is also missing those commercial break edits, where you get outtro music as the scene fades to black, and after the commercial break intro music as the scene fades in. The fades and music are gone on the theatrical print. It is still in 1:33:1 which I guess left foreign distributors the option of cropping the movie for wide screen.

You would not expect there to be much of Spielberg in anything shot for television. Directors were basically handed a script they had to stick with, and were given a very limited schedule to shoot with. I have seen some of the television shows that Spielberg shot, including the Colombo episode that got a network rebroadcast on CBS during the 80s just because Spielberg directed it. It looked no different than any other Colombo episode. The same with his other early television work. The directors job was just to say "action" and yell "cut" and not much more. As expected, there is very little of Spielberg in Duel, with exception to a scene where you accidentally see him and the camera crew in a reflection on a phone booth. But he did make a few major contributions to the film. One was the insistence of casting Dennis Weaver as the lead. The other was talking Universal into allowing him to shoot the scenes as exteriors on a highway instead as processed shots in a studio. Not believing the action scenes could be shot in so tight a time frame of ten days, he was given an ultimatum that if he fell behind in production that he would return to the studio soundstage to shoot the rest of the movie. In the end production ran two days over schedule, which Universal was not happy with, but at the same time were very impressed with the footage they got. Spielberg himself has said he has no idea how he was able to shoot Duel in such a small time frame, that he was foolish enough at the time to take such a risk, and could never be able to do that again.

Most of Duel belongs to it's screen writer, author Richard Matheson of  I Am Legend fame. He branched out into screen writing in the 50s, mostly adapting his books into screenplays, such as the script for Incredible Shrinking Man ( 1957 ). But also did a lot of original work, including the Star Trek episode The enemy Within and several Twilight Zone episodes which included Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Among the television movies he wrote were Trilogy of Terror ( 1975 ) and The Night Stalker ( 1972 ). Duel had been based on a short story he wrote for Playboy Magazine, based on an actual incident that happened to him an a friend a few years earlier when a truck ran them off the road. In both the short story and the telefilm, a man driving on a long stretch of isolated highway that cuts through a desert area of California is first harassed then stalked by an unknown person driving an oil rig who repeatedly attempts to kill him.

The short story in Playboy ended predictably with the truck plummeting off the side of the cliff and exploding. But the budget in the telemovie could only afford to have the truck go off the cliff without exploding. Otherwise it was the same story. Although filled with opportunity for action sequences similar to those in the Road Warrior films, once again budget and shooting schedule stood in the way of anything elaborate. Instead both Matheson and Spielberg went for suspense. And that suspense is often effective. The film feels more like something Hitchcock would have directed than something Spielberg directed. Duel is an entertaining, above average television movie that comes nowhere close to the action movies Spielberg would later direct and produce. But it is still something worth watching, and something Spielberg had the right to feel proud of. ( In fact, he was so proud of this film that references to it appear in his later films. The sound of the truck going over the side of the cliff is heard when the shark is killed in Jaws. Actors from Duel appear in Close Encounters of the Third Kind playing basically the same characters. And most notably the same actress and same gas station from Duel latter appear in 1941. In Duel the truck destroys most of the station, and in 1941 John Belushi inadvertently blows it up. )

Rush Hour 3 ( 2007)
I still believe that director Brett Ratner's greatest achievement in showbusiness was his dating and brief engagement to actress Rebbecca Gayheart. And I am including the third X-Man movie in that evaluation. After starting out so promising with the music video for Run-D.M.C.s Christmas in Hollis, he would go on to directing predictable formula films. When Jackie Chan just started breaking into the American box office with Rumble in the Bronx ( 1995 ), Ratner convinced him he needed to do a formula cop buddy film for his first studio film. That movie was Rush Hour ( 1998 ) which was so much of a suprise success that over at CBS they decided to retool Martial Law, a new television series starring Asian action star Sammo Hung as a Hong Kong police detective reassigned to Los Angeles. Even though the series was a hi at the time and had been on the air for a few weeks, actress Tammy Lauren was fired and replaced with comedian Arsenio Hall to be Sammo's partner. Aside from some stuntwork with Jackie Chan, there was nothing special about Rush Hour. It was basically the same buddy cop film you saw a million times before with all the generic characters. But since it was a success, Chan and Chris Tucker agreed to come back for the sequels.

Rush Hour 3 continues the tradition of predictability. For example, the moment one character appears on screen, you can tell that he is going to be the movie's villain in what is suppose to be a surprising third act plot twist. I mean the exact second the character appears on screen before we even know what the plot is. But the whole set up of the ambassador Chan is protecting making a speech at an international crime conference, about to reveal the name of the head of the Triad, is so derivative of hundreds of other films that you know he is going to be shot by a sniper the second before he mentions the name of the Triad boss, and that the character that introduced him was in fact that Triad boss despite being a non Asian and a later scene where an attempt on his life only happens to throw the detectives off. I don't even need to bother to hide these words as spoiler because it is just so damn obvious. The film does have one twist you did not see coming, but it is not much. Basically, Chan and Tucker go to Paris to find the person who ordered the hit on the ambassador, and the rest you can guess. There are some impressive action scenes, but none of the so called humor is funny ( including an exchange between Tucker and characters named Yu and Mi that is a direct rip off of Who's On First routine  ) and you can guess the entire film and what every character will eventually do well before the first act has finished. It is just passably entertaining thanks to the action, but otherwise a waste of time.

Dredd ( 2012 )
In 1995 the English sci-fi comic book Judge Dredd came to the big screen with the movie  Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone as the title character, a law enforcement officer in the future who is given the right to be judge, jury and executioner of any criminal he comes across on the street. Rob Schneider played the comedy relief Dredd was forced to drag around with him. Despite all the bad reviews, I found the first Judge Dredd movie marginally entertaining, although I imagine an affront to the source material. the second movie, simply called Dredd, is suppose to be a reboot. However, actor Karl Urban has a very similar face ( what we can see of it ) to Stallone, and acts, walks and talks just as Stallone had in the first movie. So basically, this is a sequel that the producers will not admit to. In this movie Judge Dredd is asked to take a rookie on a mission to evaluate her. She had previously failed the aptitude test for Judges, but the higher ups want her as a law enforcer because she has mutant abilities that lets her not only read minds, but enter the mind of others and make them see things that are not happening. ( Although, somehow this second ability does not exist in the second half of the movie when she could actually use it. )

Dredd and the rookie head to a massive 200 story apartment building to investigate murders, and there discover that the building is run by a drug gang headed by an ex-hooker named Ma-Ma. Having just arrested one of her lieutenants for the murder and about to bring him back for interrogation, Ma-Ma has the building locked down with blast doors, and over the loudspeaker orders all the gang members that live there to hunt the two Judges down. Also, any residents who try to help the Judges out will be killed along with their families. If this seems all too familiar to you, then you are right. It is almost the same plot as the Indonesian action film The Raid ( 2011 ) released a year earlier. And while Dredd is nowhere near as good as The Raid was, it is still a solid sci-fi action film with a lot of violence.


The Food of the Gods ( 1976 )
Director Bert I Gordon continued his run of giant animal movies with bad special effects with this 1976 entry, starring cult actor Marjoe Gortner and featuring Hollywood legend Ida Lupino in a role she probably wished everyone would forget. The giant wasps unintentionally look like ghosts, and the giant rats are obviously puppets when up close. The story: Football player Gortner takes a vacation with his teammates on an island. One of them is attacked and killed by a giant wasp. Trying to find a phone to report the death, Gortner comes upon a farm with giant chickens. The couple living there discovered some ooze coming up from the ground, and that if they mixed it with chicken feed ( and God knows why they would even think of doing that ) it would make their Chickens into giants. Unfortunately other animals have been getting into the feed. For no apparent reason, Gortner feels the need to return to the island and do something, dragging his friend along with him. Soon he and everyone else still alive on the island find themselves trapped in a farm house fighting off the giant rats that kill eat those foolish enough to step outside one at a time. With a lot of dumb lines and an even dumber plot, this is one movie that somehow escaped being riffed, despite being Bert I Gordon's dumbest. Also, a lot of rats seemed to have been legitimately hurt in the production of this movie.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 05:54:34 PM by stethacantus »


Offline Kete

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17163 on: February 25, 2017, 10:30:20 PM »
I just finished the Doug Loves Movies Oscar Challenge. I watched everything that was nominated for an Oscar. That's 62 films. 15 are shorts, but one was the 8 hour OJ doc.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17164 on: February 26, 2017, 07:45:11 AM »
22 Jump Street

I didn't like this quite as much as I liked the first, but overall it was pretty good.  The end credits are a delight and Hill and Tatum make for a great comedy team.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17165 on: February 26, 2017, 03:19:14 PM »
The Sugarland Express ( 1974 )
When his contract was up with Universal Television Spielberg was eager to move into feature films, and Universal was eager to keep their wunderkind director at their studio. So basically Spielberg could pitch almost any film he wanted and Universal would green light it. So what film did Spielberg want to make? Something with aliens? Something with a globe trotting adventurer searching for treasure? Maybe a hartwarming fantasy with ghosts? Well, none of the above. Spielberg's dream project was a crime drama featuring Goldie Hawn.

I am sure Spielberg proposed other films to Universal and had them shot down. What made Sugarland Express a desirable project was that it was based on a news event that briefly captivated the nation. On May 2, 1969, a young couple in Texas kidnapped a state trooper and took him on a long slow speed car chase, followed by at least 100 law enforcement vehicles. The incident quickly made the news, and by the end of the day the slow speed chase was being broadcast live on television. Bobby Dent had just been released from prison for vandalizing a vending machine, and while driving on a highway with his new wife Ila Fae, was signaled by a patrol car to pull over. The officer wanted to pull the Dent's over for a headlight violation, but Bobby assumed that he had done something that would violate his patrol and send him back to prison. So instead of pulling over, he sped off with the patrol car following in persuit. Soon after their car broke down, and Bobby and Ila Fae took off into a wooded area at the side of the road. Convinced they were now wanted fugitives, the Dent's came up with a plan to slip past any police dragnet. They went to a nearby farmhouse and claimed they had been beaten and robbed by hitchhikers who stole their vehicle, and asked the homeowner to call the police. When state trooper J Kenneth Crone showed up at the farmhouse, Bobby and Ila Fae got the drop on him, handcuffed him, and at gunpoint forced him to drive them away in his own patroll car. Their plan failed when the couple pointing guns at the trooper were immediately spotted by another patroll car, and soon the couple were being followed by other patroll cars. Warning the other cars to stay back or they would shoot their hostage, they drove around Texas for the rest of the day, even stopping for gas and food while the caravan of cop cars stayed back. Finally Bobby demanded that they be allowed to visit Ila Fae's children from a previous marriage who were then living at their grandparents home in Wheelock Texas. Not realizing that the police set up an ambush at the house, they arrived at the home to find the lights turned out. Crone dropped to the floor while officers hiding behind the furnature fired upon Bobby, killing him instantly. Ila Fae was arrested, but only ended up serving 5 months of a 5 year sentence.

Spielberg saved a bundle for Universal by changing the names of the characters and their destination to Sugarland, no longer needing the studio to pay anyone royalties for their life stories. In his movie Lou Jean Poplin ( Goldie Hawn ) breaks her husband Clovis ( William Atherton ) out of a minimum security prison so they can retrieve their infant son who was taken away from Lou Jean for being an unfit mother. Their son had been awarded to the foster parents who had been taking care of him while Lou Jean was serving her own prison sentence for shoplifting. Having successfully walked out of the prison without the guards noticing, they get a lift by on one of the other inmate's parents. But when the car is pulled over for a minor traffic violation, Clovis assumes the police are after him, and after the old couple get out of the car to talk to the officer, he gets behind the wheel and drives off. After a brief chase, they end up wrecking the car. Pretending to be injured, they are able to get the drop on the patrol man who had been chasing him, and after kidnapping him, force him to drive them to Sugarland where their son is now living. About the only thing the film keeps from the real incident is the eventual slow speed chase by hundreds of police cars. Unlike the real event, the kidnapped patrolman ( Michael Sacks ) eventually becomes their friend during the chase. While the real life chase was uneventful, Spielberg spiced things up by having the occasional rouge officer break ranks and attempt to chase and capture the couple, and one scene where a group of armed vigilantes fire upon them. Even the final fate of the couple was changed.

During the slow speed chase, Lou Jean and Clovis' story of how they are trying to retrieve their son makes the news, and soon they are being cheered on by crowds standing on the side of the road, even holding hastily written signs encouraging the young couple. The whole thing becomes reminiscent of the O.J. slow speed chase, unintentional as that event happened nearly three decades later. Perhaps also unintentional was how the Clovis' and their hostage become instant celebrites, something that would not become an issue until the 90s with the rise of the Hilton sisters and the beginning of the modern Internet. This all makes Sugarland Express seem more relevant today than it had been back in 1974. By that year the story of the chase was already forgotten, as evident by Spielberg's film doing poorly at the boxoffice. In fact, it was nearly a career ending film for Spielberg, proving those who thought he was no wunderkind right, and sending him back to a career of directing television shows. But as a stroke of luck, the movie's producers Richard D Zanuck and David Brown had become the producers of the film adaption of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel Jaws. Liking how Spielberg was directing Sugarland Express  they decided to hire him as the director of Jaws. By the time Sugarland Express was bombing in theaters Spielberg was already directing his next film, and his next film would be the one that built his career.

Unlike Duel and his past television movies, Sugarland Express was the first movie to allow Spielberg to be Spielberg, even if it was Spielberg without fantasy. Everything else from the tone of the movie to the composition of the shots is unmistakeably early Spielberg. With exception to the low speed chase, there was nothing unique about Sugarland Express. The 70s was full of movies where police officers in the south and/or mid west persue outlaw heroes. The trend was even popular enough to be included in one of the James Bond movies, and eventually resulted in such television series as B.J. and the Bear and The Dukes of Hazzard. In fact the low speed chase angle gave Spielberg very little opportunity for any high speed chases, which is probably why it did so poorly. It is not a great Spielberg film, but it is warm and entertaining and sometimes funny and does not deserve it's reputation as the forgotten Spielberg film. ( If not for the success of his other films, Sugarland Express probably would have never made it to home video. But just barely. It is the only Spielberg movie on DVD/Blu-ray that comes without any extras other than the trailer. )

Flash Point ( 2007 )
This was originally intended to be a prequel to Kill Zone: SPL ( 2005 ) but ended up being developed as an original movie. Which makes little sense as Donnie Yen plays a similar character who is also a police detective. Hong Kong studios prefer releasing sequels so much that they have even labled unrelated films as sequels. Just the change of Donnie's characters name could have made this a prequel without needing to change anything else. Perhaps they decided Flash Point was not going to live up to the standard of SPL. And it doesn't, but does come close. Once again a story of undercover cops trying to bring down a crime gang, and eventually taking the law into their own hands against the gang, it should have been a prequel. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this movie was that Donnie Yen decide to use only MMA moves instead of regular martial arts to make the fight scenes more realistic. So fights have a lot of choke holds and other familiar MMA moves. It still works, but the most memorable moves are not MMA, as when Yen does a flying sidekick that shatters through an upturned table one of the bad guys is sheltering behind.


Ant Man ( 2015 )
Not so much the origin of Ant-Man, as we never see the origin of Ant-Man, but an explanation as to why original Ant-Man Hank Pym gave the Ant-Man costume to Scott Lang, and as to why Ant Man was not in the first two Avengers films. In comic book lore, Pym was the scientist who invented a serum that caused him to shrink to the size of an ant, and another that allowed him to return to normal size. Also gaining the power to controll ants, he soon became a superhero named Ant-Man. Marvel began publishing superhero comic books in response to the success of D.C.'s Justice League America, but with no line of superheroes of their own, Lee co-created an instant superhero team called The Fantastic Four who all got their abilities at the same time. Marvel gradually introduced new superheroes with a goal of eventually having them all in a version of the JLA, which eventually was The Avengers. However, by 1963 Lee had created superheroes that were not appropriate for a JLA style team. For example, their most popular superhero, Spider-man was too immature, and by the second issue had become an outlaw wanted by the police. What they did have was Thor, Iron-Man and The Hulk who joined by Ant-Man and his sidekick Wasp became the first Avengers lineup. The Incredible Hulk comic book had already been cancelled, a victim of Lee finding it impossible to balance writing the original Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde concept with The Hulk acting as a superhero while also keeping the book within the Comic Code Authority guidelines. Lee immediately realized that The Hulk was inappropriate for The Avengers, and immediately had him leave at the end of issue #2 while Ant Man used his serum to become Giant Man instead. Then realizing that they still had a roster of superheroes from the 1940s that Marvel had abandoned in the 50s, Lee decided to bring back Captain America ( who had spent the past two decades frozen alive in a block of ice ) and make him the fourth member and eventual leader of The Avengers. Pym continued as a team member, usually as a giant superhero rather than an ant sized superhero. Scott Lang was introduced in 1979 to become the new Ant-Man.

Ant Man should have been a member in the first Avengers film, but Marvel Studios did not have the confidence of having an ant sized superhero in their MCU yet. Eventually ( most likely due to complaints by Marvel purists ) Marvel Studios began developing an Ant Man movie, but was not made until after the second Avengers movie was released. Founding Avengers member Ant Man would not make his MCU debut as an Avenger ( as second Ant-Man Scott Lang ) until the third Captain America movie.

I think of Ant Man and The Incredible Hulk as the two MCU movies Marvel Studios did not really want to make, but had little choice since they needed both characters introduced rather than just showing up. ( although they did get away with that later with Spider-Man ).  Thankfully there so far is no such thing as a bad MCU movie, and despite Ant-Man being a concept that never really took off in the original Marvel Comic Universe, is a solid well defined superhero in the Cinematic Universe. It is one of the better MCU films that spends most of the running time with an origin story, and entertaining from start to finish.


Frogs ( 1972 )
In the 70s Hollywood was sending a mixed message when it came to nature. On the one hand there were those happy G rated films like The Adventures of the Wilderness family ( 1975 ) and Challenge to Be Free ( 1975 ) where people decided to give up civilization and live in the woods with nature. And on the other hand were films like Day of the Animals ( 1977 ) where nature gets fed up with mankind and every animal on the planet decides to team up and wipe the human race out.  Meanwhile sci-fi movies like Silent Running ( 1972 ) and Soylent Green warned of a near future where mankind has all but wiped nature out with pollution. And finally there was Jaws ( 1975 ) and all the ripoff films that followed where a single animal ( usually aquatic ) looked at humans as merely a snack. In an environmentally conscious America, Hollywood could not make up it's  mind if humans were the enemy of nature, or nature the enemy of humans. And since violence sold more theater tickets, the majority of the films fell into the later. I suppose one can say that the nature turns on man films of the 70s owed a debt to Hitchcock's The Birds ( 1963 ) which set the formula in stone for the films that followed. So basically, Night of the Lepus ( 1972 ) was The Birds with rabbits, and Bug ( 1975 ) was The Birds with mutant exploding cockroaches. And by that logic, Frogs  should be The Birds with frogs, right? Only one problem. Them frogs never get around to killing anyone.

The plot here is basically nature turning on man because of pollution, and has all sort of swamp critters killing off humans. And in this case, the closest thing you can get to humans in this movie is an ugly rich family gathered at the swamp island home of their patriarch ( Ray Milland ) to celebrate his July 4th birthday. ( a subtile anti-American mesage there? ). Joining them is Sam Elliot as a photographer for an environmental magazine who is photographing the pollution in the swamp, but ends up on the island after one of the ugly rich kids in a power boat swamps his canoe. Invited as a guest to the festivities as an apology, he ends up deducing ( with very little evidence ) that the animals are not only going to war against the inhabitants of the island, but most likely are doing the same across the planet ( even though the phone lines are not working and no one has any idea what is going on outside of the island. ) His deduction turns out to be true as one character after another is killed off, although in many cases their deaths are almost entirely self inflicted, and in other cases it is because they absentmindedly walked right into the danger. But no matter the danger, Milland stubbornly refuses to leave the island, and threatens to disinherit anyone who refuses to stay for his party ( which seems to consist of nothing more than sitting around listening to the same annoying record on an old 1920's phonograph machine ). Eventually Elliot and the last couple of surviving people ( Joan Van Ark and two newly orphaned children ) decide to get the hell off the island, leaving Milland behind.

But the movie here is called The Frogs and has a movie poster featuring what must be a giant frog with a human hand in it's mouth. API was going for something more down to Earth with thousands of normal sized frogs ( well, mostly toads ) attacking the humans. And I am guessing that at some point when they were already committed to the film, someone finally realized that frogs are incapable of killing anything larger than themselves, even if they were to attack en mass. They have no teeth, no claws, no horns or anything else that could harm any other animal. The best they could do is swallow something that is slightly smaller than they are, provided that something does not sting, chew or have any other natural defense. Even the poisonous frogs from South America are only a danger if their poison is ingested. So instead of having the frogs kill anyone, everything else does. The characters in this film are killed by snakes, alligators, lizards, spiders, birds, snapping turtles, perhaps crabs and leeches, and perhaps even the plants themselves ( as in one scene it is unclear if a victim is being attacked by vines or that the vines are suppose to be part of a spider web. ) But the frogs do no more than keep people awake at night. They do sort of attack the house, but do no more damage than jump on the food and the phonograph machine.

The film is unforgivably lethargic for the first half with characters you either don't care about or can't wait to see killed. Most of the deaths appear to be unavoidable. Such as one character seeing a cloud of poisonous gas and inexplicably walks towards it, crouches down to examine the broken poison bottle, and then chokes to death. Or in another case, a character avoiding a rattlesnake, but in a panic ending up running around in a complete circle, ending up back in the same exact spot as the rattlesnake and conveniently tripping and falling right next to it. The trailer for the film shows a completely different death for the same character, who ends up backing into quicksand and is sucked under. Why the director chose to shoot an entirely different death is anyones guess. But basically, almost all of the danger is unavoidable, and fatalities depend on the stupidity of the humans. So forget about this movie being anything close to scary. Aside from the dopiness of the plot and character motivations, there is nothing entertaining about this movie. Probably something worth riffing, but something undeserving of being a horror classic, or even a cult/horror classic.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2017, 03:21:48 PM by stethacantus »


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17166 on: February 26, 2017, 04:14:07 PM »
Frogs ( 1972 )
Aside from the dopiness of the plot and character motivations, there is nothing entertaining about this movie. Probably something worth riffing, but something undeserving of being a horror classic, or even a cult/horror classic.
Hor-Riff-ic Productions did a riff of this. It's very funny. It even made it to #19 on my Top 50 iRiffs list.
19   Hor-Riff-ic Productions - Frogs   -   BUY

http://www.rifftrax.com/iriff/hor-riff-ic-frogs

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Offline Kete

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17167 on: March 01, 2017, 12:51:23 PM »
Get Out
You should get out and see this movie right now.  I'm sorry.


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17168 on: March 01, 2017, 12:55:16 PM »
Got to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on a big screen for the first time last night. It adds nicely to the excitement and spectacle. Also I got to overhear a kid on the way out say, "Hey dad! Did you see that fly crawl into that guy's mouth!?"
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17169 on: March 01, 2017, 10:21:06 PM »
Got to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on a big screen for the first time last night. It adds nicely to the excitement and spectacle. Also I got to overhear a kid on the way out say, "Hey dad! Did you see that fly crawl into that guy's mouth!?"

It sort of ruins the tension when the fly goes into Belloq's mouth just as he is daring Indiana to blow up the Ark with the bazooka. The audience always went "Eeeew" when that happened. I have no idea why Spielberg kept that shot in the film. I guess some credit has to go to Paul Freeman for not breaking character when it happened and continuing with his lines.


I saw RotLA three times in the theaters back in the 80s. Once just to see the movie during it's first run. Then later my mother treated us to the movies as a Christmas gift and my sister wanted to see it. It was double billed with American Werewolf in London for it's second run, which I had also seen before. ( It always sucked when my parents treated us to the movies during the holiday season in the 80s because there was nothing but those boring Academy Award movies at the theaters and everything else was something we had just seen that summer. ) I saw RotLA a third time because it was double billed with Airplane and I had not seen that movie yet. By then the RotLA prints were well worn, full of scratch marks and dirt and a lot of splice jumps.




Offline MartyS (Gromit)

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17170 on: March 02, 2017, 06:52:54 PM »
Got to see Arrival on the big screen at work.

Trying to decide if it's something I'll watch enough times to warrant getting on Blu-Ray.  It's close, I do want to see it again, but probably could get by with a streaming version from Amazon or Vudu.


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17171 on: March 02, 2017, 09:51:20 PM »
We watched I'm No Angel (1933) at our movie club last night.

It's the best of the Mae West films we've seen, odd, and pretty consistently funny, though not really a strong movie.

The funny thing, though, is seeing Mae West in action. She's famous for being a sex symbol - yet to see her in this film... The people we were screening the movie for were trying to work out if it was meant to be a joke that everyone was going ga-ga over her at the beginning of the film. Nope, it's just taken as read.

She's not not stunning, she's not very graceful either - she bobs up and down constantly, and her 'sexy' walk is more confusing than arousing. She was already 40 years old when she did this film, and it was only her third.

None of this is to put her down - more power to her! She was very funny and clever and we all enjoyed the film very much.


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17172 on: March 04, 2017, 07:14:42 PM »
Logan is good. Takes a stab at adding some legitimate art cred to comic book movies, and succeeds. Patrick Stewart delivers a heartbreaking performance.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17173 on: March 05, 2017, 06:16:21 AM »
Get Out

Here's a horror movie that's deserving of all of the praise it gets.  A perfect mix of the social science fiction of the 70's and a slow burn thriller.  Also, very darkly funny moments and a very great, albeit small, performance by Stephen Root.  I also love that it is one of those horror movies that lets us re-contextualize everything that came before by the time we get to the end.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #17174 on: March 05, 2017, 02:09:53 PM »
Jaws ( 1975 )
Next up on my Spielberg marathon is #7 on my all time favorite movie list. I already owned the movie Jaws, but as a laserdisc box set. So as long as I was buying Spielberg movies, I thought it was about time to update this as well. My Jaws laserdisc set came in a box 13 inches by 13 inches and was an inch in a half thick due to Universal throwing in a copy of the Jaws novel ( in paperback, and not the original cover art ) and a CD of the original soundtrack. The movie came on three two sides discs, about a half hour each side, and a fourth disc with bonus features. To see the whole film you needed to either turn over or change a discevery 30 minutes. The discs were about the size of  a vinyl record and twice as heavy. The set cost me $150. The Blu-ray I recently bought, on sale for $12, same bonus features ( with an extra documentary on the restoration ), and everything on the same side of the same four inch disc. And the worst part, I only watched the laserdiscs once. So much for spending $150. But at least the set is suppose to be a collectors item worth about $50.

When Jaws came out in the theaters back in the summer of 1975, my parents decided that it was too scary for anyone in my family to see. The same thing with all my friends and their parents. The next fall the most popular kid in school was the one student who's parents allowed him to see Jaws during the summer. It turned out he lied, something we did not figure out until the Mad Magazine parody came out, and it was a completely different plot than what he described. None of us had ever seen an adult film. In the past we had asked to see Blazing Saddles, The Exorcist and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, but the closest we ever came to adult was Disney's G rated Escape to Witch Mountain. Then in 1976 my parents finally decided my brother was old enough to see a PG film, and even though I was a year and a half younger, that I was old enough too. Our first adult film was the double feature of Airport '75 and Earthquake. The next movie we got to see without an adult, which was fortunate because we would have been dragged out of the theater, was Logan's Run with Jenny Agutter naked in a lot of scenes. Not mentioning to my parents that PG films had nudity, I went with a friend  to see the remake of King Kong and Jessica Lange's tits. But I was still not allowed to see Jaws. I was allowed to see Jaws 2 ( 1978 ) when it came out in theaters, both because I was older and because the studio assured there would be less blood and gore this time around. I would not get to see Jaws until it aired on ABC in 1979. About five years late it arrived on home video, and it became one of the movies  my friends and I would rent a lot. I finally saw the letterboxed full screen print when I watched it on laserdisc.

There is a reason why Jaws entered my top ten. It was something much better than an average horror film, even when shown on television where most of the gore was edited out. Even watching it today, where compared to the gore of the Jason/Freddy Krueger films that followed is far more graphic, ( actually, the gore in Jaws was even much tamer than the gore in the grindhouse splatter films of the same era ), and where you already know the sudden scare moments, the movie is still entertaining. This is due it it being coupled with a great story and great characters. That is why those Jason movies are so disposable. The plot in those films is nothing more than a group of teenagers being killed off one by one. And they are such vapid one dimensional characters that you really don't care if they live or die. Spielberg takes the time to make even the disposable characters, who only show up to be eaten a minute later, someone you feel something for. The first half of the movie is your standard horror film where a monster shows up at a small town and begins killing people, and before the plot has a chance to become stale, the second half goes into adventure mode with the three main characters in a small fishing boat trying to capture the shark.

A lot of the credit to this film should go to producers Richard D Zanuck and David Brown, who made three monumental decisions during pre production. The first was buying the film rights to the book before it was even published. They had both been given advanced copies of the novel and thought it was the most exciting thing they had ever read. But both thought it was very unlikely any studio would ever greenlight a film about a shark. They took the risk anyway, and a few months later the novel Jaws became a best seller. Had they waited then they would have never obtain the rights, loosing to bids from 20th Century Fox or Paramount. The second decision was to strip the novel's plot down to it's basics, turning it into what they called an A to B plot. Gone in the final script were mentions of organized crime wanting the beaches to remain open, the entire character of investigative reporter Harry Meadows who tries to uncover the link between the mayor and the mob, and the affair between Matt Hooper and police chief Brody and his wife. Their third decision was to hire Steven Spielberg as director. Spielberg was still directing Sugarland Express which would ultimately do poorly at the box office by the time he was already directing Jaws. Had the producers waited Universal would have demanded another director. Spielberg knew how to make the script work, how to flesh out all the characters so you felt nervous for them every time any of them stepped into the water, and most important, what to to with Bruce, the mechanical shark Universal built for the movie that kept breaking down. Spielberg also knew enough to keep the audience from actually seeing the shark until midway through the second half of the film, when Brody realizes they are going to need a bigger boat. Although Spielberg had nothing to do with the script, he was able to make the film his own, which in turn made it the masterpiece it is today. With the novel being a best seller, there is no doubt any movie adaption of Jaws would have been a hit. But it is doubtful it would ever have been the record breaking blockbuster it was had Spielberg not directed it.

One of the problems with watching any movie on my top 10 list is that many of them I have not had the time to watch in over a decade. So when I do get around to watching them, there is always the risk that I will discover they are no longer as good as I remembered them. Something I take into consideration when judging a movie is the time check. That is the moment in any movie you watch at home when you check the chronometer to see how long you have been watching and how long the movie still has. Most films I watch I end up checking for time around the half hour mark. A bad movie would be less than 20 minutes. A good movie anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. And an outstanding to great movie I never once check the time. Having seen Jaws many times I probably didn't need to check the clock because I knew exactly what point in the movie I was. But I never once felt like time checking. Even though I have seen Jaws too many times for it to work as a thriller, it still works as a great drama, and is still worthy of my top 10.


Hard Target ( 1993 )
And just by coincident the movie in cue for my Saturday afternoon martial arts film was also an upgrade of a laserdisc. Hard Target only cost me $40 and was the one hour format so that the entire film was on  a single two sided disc. I probably would have never upgraded, if not for the fact that the movie I have on laserdisc is not the NC-17 cut. The original cut John Woo submitted to the MPAA came back with the adult rating for the violence. Universal wanted an R rating, so John Woo recut the film. But it came back with an NC-17 again. Woo ended up cutting and submitting the film 8 times with a total of three minutes being removed before the MPAA gave it an R. For the longest time Universal would only release the R version on home video in the United States, while the NC-17 edit was released in theaters and on home video outside of North America. This is the first time the ultra-violent version is getting a North American release.

Film director John Woo had an unbelievable run in Honk Kong, beginning with the ground breaking A Better Tomorrow in 1986, continuing with such classics as The Killer ( 1989 ) and A Bullet in the Head ( 1990 ), and ending with his opus Hard Boiled ( 1992 ), his take on the American buddy cop action movie. One can say that Hard Boiled was Woo's demo reel for Hollywood. Like most of the Hong Kong film industry, he intended to immigrate before 1997 when Hong Kong was transferred from British sovereignty back to China. Universal hired him immediately to direct the next Jean Claude Van Damme film. It is no coincident that Hard Target had a similar name to Hard Bioled. Universal knew how popular The Killer had been on home video, and all indications were that Hard Boiled would be just as popular. So basically, they wanted the first American John Woo film to capitalize on Hard Boiled's impending success. Universal even encouraged Woo to restage many of the action scenes from Hard Boiled.  About the only thing they did not want was for the script to be changed. Hard Target would still be a remake of The Most Dangerous Game. Woo was not at all happy with his first Hollywood experience. Aside from being forced to reedit his movie many times for the R rating, there was constant interference from studio executives. And at one point Jean Claude Van Damme hired his own editor and produced his own edit which removed many of the other characters in favor of longer scenes with his character. Van Damme insisted the studio release his edit instead of Woo's. When later asked about his edit, Van Damme replied defiantly "People pay their money to see me, not to see Lance Henriksen!". Fortunately Woo was able to talk Universal into rejecting Van Damme's edit.

Watching the NC-17 edit for the first time, I noticed no difference than the three minute shorter version I saw on laserdisc years earlier. It is said that Woo made over 20 cuts to his movie before the MPAA gave it an R, and all those cuts seem to have been something as simple as not lingering on a character being shot, so that instead of Van Damme shooting a villain in the chest 20 times before he drops, he only shoots him once or twice. There has been a 116 minute work print of the film working it's way through the internet, although it is not clear if anything from that version was something Woo would have kept in his final cut. It would have been nice of Universal to have included the rest of the 116 minutes as deleted scenes, but I guess they are either planning to screw us a few years down the road by releasing an ultimate edition we have to double dip for, or just want to give those pirating the movie an exclusive by allowing them to release a version with bonus features. Either way, Universal has no business complaining about pirated films when they pull crap like this off. Pirate Bay and other similar sites would not have been successful if we had no reason to seek those sites out.

Hard Target earns it's place among the films of Woo's heroic bloodshed period. Even more so that Broken Arrow ( 1996 ) or Face/Off ( 1997 ) which saw his use of gunplay diminished in his action movies. Anyone looking for the same thrill they got from The Killer and Hard Boiled will not be disappointed. And for anyone trying to introduce their friends to John Woo, this is the perfect doorway film. Maybe not among his best work, but so ever so close to it.


 
Captain America: Civil War ( 2016 )
At some point Marvel Studios is going to have to give up giving proper titles to their movies and simply numbering them. For example, this film should have been called MCU XIII. Or perhaps The Avengers III. Every movie in the MCU exists either to advance the Avengers story line, introduce a character for the next Avengers film, or set the groundwork for the upcoming Infinity War. Any characters that don't fit in either end up on television/Netflix, or go no further than a cameo. ( This is why it will probably be a cold day in hell before Marvel uses Howard the Duck again, other than the long shot that he joins as a member of The Guardians of the Galaxy. ) This was suppose to be Captain America's third solo movie. The second one was just barely a solo film and was more of a S.H.I.E.L.D.  movie than a Cap film. This one was basically an Avengers film. Like the rest of the films in the MCU, this was thoroughly entertaining, once again proving that if you want to make a good comic book movie then you need to have comic book people producing the film. But how long can the MCU keep recycling the same plot where the hero becomes an outlaw in the second act?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 04:57:33 PM by stethacantus »