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  1.  (10823.1)
    @ cj: you know, I love eXistenZ - I love that it came out in the same year as The Matrix, doing the same thing as The Matrix, but doing it so much more philosophically and more realistically [if you can call it that]. eXistenZ has a focus on phenomenology that I just love - all the touching and viscerality of it makes my inner theorist smile. What you've said about Strange Days is kinda what I felt watching the trailer but I guess we'll see...

    Tonight I watch Strange Days, wish me luck.
  2.  (10823.2)
    @Ben Gwalchmai - I loved eXistenZ too for a lot of the same reasons you listed.

    Saw "Cloud Atlas" yesterday. Ambitious and flawed. For me, it's really a mixed bag. There are some good moments in the film, but it has many heavy handed and pretentious moments too. Some of the makeup adds to the unintended silliness to the film as well. I didn't hate the film and even though it clocks in at almost 3 hours, I wasn't bored at any point. The film moves at a pretty fast pace. I guess I would catagorize "Cloud Atlas" as an interesting failure.
  3.  (10823.3)
    Just back from a preview screening of John Dies At The End at the Leeds International Film Festival. I'm an immense fan of the book, and the adaptation did not disappoint (despite cutting over half of the actual book... a necessity, as the damn thing is sprawling and complex). Coscarelli caught the balance of cosmic horror and dick-joke humour of the original nicely, and the cast were splendid.

    Oh - and all the guys doing Dark City, eXistenZ, Matrix et al... I've waffled on about The Year of Your Reality Isn't flicks at Weaponizer (Intro, Matrix, The Thirteenth Floor) and one day I swear I'll finish the series!
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012
    Watched Argo earlier today. Liked it a lot.

    I appreciated the historic montage up front which explains why the Iranians were so pissed off at the U.S.A.

    Bryan Cranston is one extraordinarily busy supporting actor.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012 edited
    Hrrnngghghhh . . . this is ODD.

    So, I grew up in the late 60s, early 70s. I watched lots and lots of science fiction B-movies on Saturday mornings. An encyclopedic knowledge? Perhaps not, but more Sci-Fi monster schlock than could possibly have been good for me.

    Following a tip from Adam "Apelad" Koford, I'm watching a 1954 movie I've never heard of called GOG:

    It is really, really strange encountering a movie so well produced -- great color, good sets, quite decent b-list actors -- that has totally fallen off the radar.

    It is set in a multi-level underground research center out in the desert. (Like The Andromeda Strain!) After an accident in a cryogenics lab results in two scientists getting hard-frozen and shattered (really, not shit!), a researcher from the OSI comes to investigate.

    There's all sorts of 1950s scientific hardware: computers, atomic piles, deadly solar rays, fairly decent non-humanoid robots.

    And people die right and left! Poisoned by radiation, spun to death by G-simulator centrifuges, zapped by solar concentrators . . . SHIT, the radar tech is getting deafened by an ultrasonic attack! AAAAHHH! Good bye, security chief, fried by concentrated sound!

    It turns out . . .
    . . . after the NOVAC, the electronic brain, is cleared of guilt, that the base's gear was hacked by commands from a high-altitude aircraft. Well, it actually looks like a 1950s rocket ship. I was hoping it would be meddling aliens, but it was just "Them," taking advantage of security flaws built into the networking gear by a European contractor.

    So, it's on Netflix Streaming.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2012
    @Cat Vincent - not sure if it's from the same year, but you could add Oshii's 'Avalon' to that list. Although try to get the European release rather than the US one, they added a Blade Runner style 'explanation' voice over to the US release that's utterly unneccessary.
  4.  (10823.7)
    I saw "Wreck It Ralph" today. I guess this year Pixar decided to make a Disney film with "Brave" and Disney decided to make a Dreamworks film with "Wreck It". I liked it fine, but the real reason to go see it is to see the black and white short "Paper Man" right before it.
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2012
    @Ben and @william Looks like maybe I'll have to give eXistenZ another shot now that it has been a few years, and maybe not at 3 in the morning this time.
    @Stefan Going to try and make time for GOG. Growing up some of my favorite things in the world were 70's Martial Arts flicks and 50's-60's B Horror and sci-fi. It eventually grew into long, horrible movie marathons with friends that led us to wonder, "WTF? These guys have a camera in our living room?" when MST3K came out.

    Newer stuff I am going to try and see: Looper, Dredd, Skyfall, Argo, Wreck it Ralph, Man with the Iron Fists.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2012

    Looper, Dredd, and Argo were all better than I expected.

    Dredd is already out of theaters, sadly. Not in any way cerebral, but well produced and for a shoot-em-up, quite smart.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2012
    Still sore that we don't get Wreck-It Ralph here in the UK till the February half term. It's perfect Christmas movie fodder, why hold it back so long outside the US? Fools.
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2012
    Weird. I watched it yesterday out here in the middle east! Release dates confuse me no end. I'm still waiting for Beasts of the Southern Wild to rear its head over here, even though it was on the plane on my last sojourn back to the motherland.
  5.  (10823.12)
    @William Joseph Dunn

    Paperman was too good off an appetizer. I could've stood up, left the theatre and been pleased entirely.

    That being said, I liked Wreck It Ralph quite a bit but I think there's a lot to be said about it: First of all, It's very derivative, but I think that term is generally associated with copy and pasting, and here I think it's more of a sense of using in a similar fashion.

    It's highly similar to Toy Story on the onset. What I like is how it diverges from Toy Story's formula while sticking to it as well: Where Buzz' identity issues are solved by realizing he is who he is, so are Ralph's as well as Venelope's. However, when Venelope gains the new title, she reinforces the fact that even though she is really someone of importance, that she was always what she wanted to be, that doesn't change who she is. Ralph is able to wreck something and by wrecking, fix something showing that he's more than just his title.

    The movie borrows a few powerful images from other children's animation: Ralph's plunge into Cola mountain was reminiscent of the Iron Giant, with the Giant flying into the missile for a much more poignant climax which simply wouldn't have worked in Ralph, as well as the Beast's transformation as well as the restoration of the Kingdom in Beauty and the Beast in Venelope's reveal.

    What I like about Wreck It Ralph more than perhaps Beauty and the Beast as well as Toy Story(Iron Giant remains my favourite children's movies): How it tells it's message to a modern audience of children in an age of multicultural, multi-religious, and multi-orientation. Venelope and Ralph find out they are great the way they are, but they are not one note, they are faceted and wonderful. The girl in the arcade herself breaks the trend of 'games are for boys' and the first game we see her playing is what's considered a 'boy's game'. Felix and Calhoun find love with one another, even though it looks awkward, it works for them.

    King Candy tries be something that he isn't and ultimately fails.

    I also enjoyed how both female characters won via their skills and ultimately didn't have to depend on men. Additionally, going back to the girl in the Arcade, she's sort of a herald, isn't she? Well rounded female characters who are self sufficient as well cooperative with men.

    At least I thought so.

    Too bad it didn't pass the Bechdel test, though.

    It's trite, sure. But goddamn if it doesn't put a smile on my face.

    Also, the first half of the music in that movie was pretty good. The last half was forgettable, I'm afraid.
  6.  (10823.13)
    I really liked Cloud Atlas.
  7.  (10823.14)
    Beasts of the Southern Wild is gold. It's seriously far and away my favourite new movie. I'm going to buy it on DVD and watch it over and over.
  8.  (10823.15)
    I saw "Skyfall" today. Much much better than "Quantum of Solice". Some nods to the old Bonds films in this one.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 9th 2012
    I'm planning on seeing Cloud Atlas tomorrow. Fallback if I am in a shit mood* and need to watch something happy: Wreck It Ralph.

    Lincoln isn't playing in Portland yet. (I have this fantasy about Lincoln (the movie) -- which is based on the book A Team of Rivals. -- in which after the end titles is a dramatization of Tolstoy's account of meeting with an isolated South Asian clan who not only have heard about Lincoln, but consider him a legendary hero. I doubt they'd include that bit from the book. But it would be glorious.)

    * My friend's kid has cancer. And not the good kind, so to speak.
  9.  (10823.17)
    @William Joseph Dunn: Some nods to the old Bond films? :)

    I'd missed that the US only just got the movie, having seen it a couple of weeks ago. Posted my thoughts on it earlier in the thread, and they haven't changed in retrospect. It's in my top three of favorite Bond flicks (the other two being Goldeneye and Casino Royale). Still undecided on where each of'em stand within that top three, exactly... They're different flavors of Bond.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2012
    Saw and really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. Not totally successful, but not a failure.

    The makeup thing mentioned uptopic . . . I didn't realize that essentially the whole cast appeared in each of the interleaved segments. I just thought that I was seeing some really unusual casting.
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2012 edited
    I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. Mind you, I had intentionally lowered my expectations because I figured there was no way the film could live up to what I was hoping for. I don't know if it would make any sort of Top-X list, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Part of that is because I enjoy actor-watching, and figuring out who was playing who in each scene was really fun.

    Going to see Skyfall tonight. Looking forward to it!
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeNov 10th 2012
    I admit being TOTALLY WITHOUT CLUE when it came to the degree with which the cast was re-used in Cloud Atlas' six segments.

    I mean, I spotted MOST of Tom Hank's characters, and a few of Weaving's, but for the most part, the cast credits at the end -- when they showed each actor's characters -- made me drop jaw.