Movie opinions thread (what have you seen, what did you think?)

100proof

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If it's any consolation, I largely agree with the rest of your rankings. I'd put Starman over the two late-era failures (Vampires/Escape from LA) and I'd probably switch They Live and Prince of Darkness but all of this stuff is subjective. Except Ghosts of Mars. ;)
 

GutsDozer

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I watched uncut gems finally. It was really good but I don't know how I feel about the ending.
 

Taiso

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I had to look up The Cell 2 because I wasn't sure it existed.
 

prof

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In the stories around Ghosts of Mars, Carpenter spent an inordinate amount of time fighting with studio execs during the production. And everything was put on hold in the middle of the shoot for a few weeks when Natasha Henstridge was hospitalized for exhaustion. It was just a tough movie all around, and I think that shows up on the screen.

I will say that I thought Carpenter's miniatures looked realistic and cool. And if I recall, he said he was embarrassed by them in the commentary. "They look like shit. I needed more time." Hahaha
 

SouthtownKid

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I had to look up The Cell 2 because I wasn't sure it existed.
Oh no, I meant that this would be The Cell 2. Which was so awful I have not watched a J-Lo movie since. I had no idea there was an actual Cell 2 already. 断る。
 

terry.330

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The Blood Spattered Bride- Based very loosely on "Carmella" this is supposedly one of Tarantino's favorite movies and a big inspiration for Kill Bill. Though I don't see much direct connection aside from some minor imagery and the title. This is a Spanish lesbian vampire horror movie from 1972 with heavy psycho-sexual themes. And man the Spanish can give the Italians a run for their money when it comes to weird nonsense.

A newly married (and very young) blonde virgin moves with her new (and considerably older) husband to his family's country estate where he immediately sexually assaults her and soon she becomes possessed by the spirit of his ancestor Carmella through a creepy painting. She begins having horrific but sexy dreams about Carmella. The husband assumes it must be her hysterical female brain playing tricks on her. Then one day when he's walking on the beach he finds a naked woman buried in the sand and takes her home, turns out she is Carmella and surprise surprise she is a vampire.

She seduces the young wife and the pair start sneaking off to have unholy debauched lesbian sex and do other sexy vampire things. The husband finally starts to believe that Carmella is real and has actually turned his wife into a vampire. Obviously there's a bit more to it than that but it's kind hard to explain because most of the movie doesn't make any sense in the first place and I don't want to spoil the ending.

It's not a terrible movie but it's also not some lost classic. There are some great locations, the ladies are hot, get naked a lot and there are some genuinely surreal and interesting scenes. It's a cut above the typical sleazy euro horror of the era.
 

Taiso

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I saw The Bikeriders this morning and thought it was the best film I've seen all year. I will probably write a better review later but for now, I'll just say that I thought it was amazing.

It's NOT a riff or an attempt to duplicate Sons of Anarchy, first and foremost. It's kind of the opposite of that, in fact.

Jodie Comer and Tom Hardy are both incredible in this film. Austin Butler is channeling the spirit of James Dean here and holds his own quite well against these two acting heavyweights.

The film is....I'll give a better account later. At its heart, it's a movie about managing expectations and understanding that the loyalty you put into something or someone is not beholden to you because of it. It owes you nothing. I feel like the marketing promoted this film as one of those 'biker brotherhood' films but it really isn't. It's more about how romanticizing such things can often have unintended consequences and can inspire others in all the wrong ways.

5 out of 5. A must watch.
 
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terry.330

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American Splendor- While I can't put this on the same level as say Ed Wood or even Basquiat it's still an exceptional movie in it's own right. But then again the movie isn't trying to be anything else aside from what it is. I think this is one of Paul Giamatti's best roles and the supporting cast is excellent as well. The movie captures the mundane profundity of everyday life in a way that perfectly suits the characters and by extension the real people behind them. It's smart, insightful, heartfelt and relatable in a way very few things are. The way it mixes the real people with the movie is incredibly well done and never feels like a gimmick.

I'm only somewhat familiar with the comics but I don't think you could really ask for a better adaptation for the type of material it is. The movie just feels right.
 

Taiso

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The Bikeriders

(1 of 2)

The marketing for this film is extremely misleading. It is touted as a story of violent outlaw biker culture and the fight for one person's soul (Benny) between the club's president (Johnny) and Benny's love interest (Kathy). While this is a very small element of the film, it is hardly central to the plot. It is fair to say that Benny is a free spirit that only feels life's thrills when he's on his motorcycle. He's invincible when he's on the bike and very vulnerable when he's not.

The movie is about the formation of a midwestern MC (motorcycle club) when Johnny (Tom Hardy) watches a televised showing of The Wild Ones starring Marlon Brando. He is a middle class laborer driving trucks, has two children and a wife and it's clear that he is still living vicariously through the romanticized portrayal of rebellion Hollywood has so effortlessly commodified to desperate people seeking release. The scene in particular that grabs Johnny's attention is when someone asks Brando's character 'What are ya rebellin' against?' and Brando responds cooly, detached, 'What have ya got?' That line strikes Johnny as relevant because it is; he still wants to feel free.

The film never really explains where Benny (Austin Butler) is from but if Johnny wants to be Brando, Benny all but is. Likewise, the film never really goes into detail why Benny is like this but presents him as is, the ideal that Johnny wishes all of the guys in the club could be: fearless, detached, in a perpetual state of rebellion. I know there are some that will say Butler isn't really giving us much to work with here, but that is entirely the point of the character. He is the epitome of rebelling against everything. Living in the moment, for the moment and of the moment regardless of what might happen in the next ten seconds. As long as he in a state of defiance against any that would limit his choices, he is content.

Kathy (Jodie Comer) is the portal character for the film, a midwesterner that knows a lot about nothing but is capable of learning. She's far from a babe in the woods, living in Chicago in the 60s, holding down a job and suffering through a frustrating relationship with a boyfriend that ditches her after Benny spends the entire night and the following work day on the street outside their house just smoking cigarettes and brooding in the direction of the front door. Angry that Kathy didn't force him to leave while he was at work-Kathy was invited by her girlfriend to hang out and party with the club the previous night, met Benny and he offered her a ride home but only after they spent the entire night on the road and didn't get back until 4 AM-he packs up his meager belongings and drives off in a rage. Kathy wants to reprimand Benny for causing this to happen but she can't contain a wry grin as she is instantly attracted to his sigma sinewave. She doesn't understand Benny or his mysterious mode but she finds it attractive (as most girls probably would) and she's flattered that he sat out there all night and all day waiting for her to come talk to him (as most girls probably would be).

The film is presented in a hybrid of documentary and dramatic narrative, and it is based off of a photojournalist's account of these events as portrayed in a book called, of course, The Bikeriders. So this film is based on true events and I'm compelled to go and look for it as the end credits roll with actual pictures that were taken and published in it. The journalist, 'Fast' Danny Lyon (the name of the actual photojournalist with a nickname surely given to him by the guys in the Vandals), visits Kathy every few years to catch up with her, take photos, record statements and interviews and get a general barometer of 'how things are' at that time as well as to see how living within the purview of a MC has affected her life. The book's materials were compiled over the course of eight years ('65 to '73) so there is a good period of time to evaluate the effects the lifestyle had on her.

Fast Danny is known by the club and they invite him to their gatherings and parties. He interviews them, takes photos, drinks with them and documents their lives, loves and pastimes as well. He isn't doing expose journalism but is interested in the emergence of this uniquely American subculture and thinks that people would be interested in learning more about it. Some of his best interview segments are with Cockroach (Emory Cohen), a loveable goof that enjoys 'being dirty' (dirt and grime on him) and eating bugs because it seems like a disgusting thing to do (but he also likes eating bugs.) At one point, he actually explains that people are only repulsed by eating bugs because of their own inhibitions, and he considers the act no different from eating steak: it's all in your mind.

Likewise, his interviews with Zipco (Michael Shannon) are some of the most compelling scenes in the film: when Zipco explains that his brother didn't want to join the army to go fight in Vietnam but was drafted, Zipco made every effort to get in voluntarily, passed all of the tests and showed all of the aptitude for being a qualified soldier but he was rejected because the recruiter told him 'he wasn't a valid candidate'. In other words, they didn't like the cut of his jib and rejected him because he looked like a thug. This embittered him to where he now hates anything that has to do with 'the establishment', including college and the way it funnels the undeserving into positions they may not want but that they end up taking. Zipco states that 'anybody that can't work with their hands ain't worth a damn'. This is an incredibly sympathetic role for Shannon to take, considering how often he plays wholly unlikeable characters in films and I want to see more of it. He is an actor that looks like he is hiding deep pain within his soul and if that is the case, he makes good use of it here.

Interviews with the other members of the club are equally compelling and this group of cast offs, misfits and undesirables bring just the right charm to what could have been a very unengaging and uninteresting flick. The relationship between Benny, Johnny and Kathy is at the heart of this film but all of these people need each other in order to have a reason. And this is interesting because none of them are bad people at all. They're hobbyists that have been left behind by the progress of American culture and they have nowhere else to go (think of how we see bikers today to understand how we have been socially engineered by the state and media to mistrust them). Even if they have families, jobs or other lives, they are all stray dogs with unique quirks and characteristics that give them cause to respect each other. These guys aren't criminals, and for most of the film they don't engage in criminal activity. They just ride, drink, get in fights with each other and then drink again to put it behind them.

As I said before, the film falsely promotes a narrative that Kathy and Johnny are battling over Benny's soul but we know from the start that neither of them can ever stake a claim to it. The film has a lot to say about managing expectations and that there are no guarantees the thing you love you will you back. Johnny, rightly, tells Kathy "Benny's gonna do what Benny's gonna do.' He never becomes overly emotional or loses his cool but this is not to say that he doesn't feel anything at all. He has great passion for the club but he knows he will never be the kind of man he wants to be. Benny is the kind of man Johnny wants to be and he sees him as the ultimate evolution of what the Vandals should turn into: free spirits without a care in the world. So in a sense, Benny is both the son AND the father he never had, a guy he wants to hand everything down to while at the same time admiring his almost elemental sense of independence from....everything. He never sees Kathy as a threat. Johnny's fear, rightly founded, is that eventually his own MC will not love him back as time passes.

Kathy, on the other hand, believes that Benny will continue to pursue his inclinations to what she feels will be his own self destruction, so she fears that to continue living in this fashion is akin to suicide. After Benny has a terrible run in with a couple of locals in a bar for not taking off his colors, he is hospitalized and, as Kathy describes it, there is a fear that his leg may get amputated. She tells Fast Danny she has never seen Benny cry before, and she believes that men shouldn't cry when they get beat up or lose a fight. She says that when men cry, it's over something deeper that affects them more profoundly (she dismisses men that cry over pain as 'not real men'). When Benny fears he may not ride again over potentially losing a foot, she tells Danny 'that's the closest I've ever seen to him crying.' And it's because to deny Benny the ability to ride is to deny him the opportunity to be free and to live in defiance of the established order. He has an almost childlike reaction to running out of gas while running from the cops, which seems to bother him more than being caught: he was enjoying the chase. Later on, the movie suggests that it may not specifically be riding that gives him that freedom but the idea of that freedom, embodied at that point in his life by motorcycles, is what makes his motor run. All of the guys in the Vandals, in fact, are attracted more to the stigma that comes with riding a bike in the 60s than the actual bikes themselves. One of the characters describes it as feeling 'unsavory'.

(continued)
 
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Taiso

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The Bikeriders

(2 of 2)

There are obviously dark turns that occur when the club starts to expand and add chapters in other areas and states, something Johnny is not too keen on but at the end of the day, he's not really interested in making enemies as he sees all riders as kindred spirits to some degree. But he can't stop the tide and as he gives in and allows other chapters of the Vandals to start up and he goes through the process of acceptance and rejection of these different applicants, the law of unintended consequences comes into play. Many of these new guys are in love with the violence of outlaw biker culture and not the thrill of freedom. They equate violence with independence because they see assaulting authority as a metaphor for freedom by way of doing what you want and taking what you want. Always the curse of youth; to want something without taking the time to think about how to get it. They see biker culture as a political statement, not as a transcendent activity. Johnny wanted it to be the way it was in the movies, the artifice of resistance. Biker spirit as a hobby one can engage with and then disengage with when they're ready to go back to real life, no different from hunting or fishing; the feeling of rebellion without the risk.

After Benny's run in at the bar that almost leaves him crippled, however, Johnny takes matters into his own hands and this results in an incident that surely sends both a shockwave and message throughout the community. Perhaps he's tired of being disrespected. Perhaps the club was never supposed to be treated like a bunch of outlaws and it was, until that point, just a fun thing to do for them. Johnny takes the assault on Benny personally. Watching the fire burn the bar to the ground, even the fireman and police are too afraid to move in and do anything to the Vandals. The irony is that this is the only time the Vandals ever did anything like this in the film to this point: the marketing has failed it yet again. The bad boy reputation of bikers and their culture has made the Vandals more fearsome than they really are. It is a harbinger of what is to come as it regards this, again, uniquely American subculture.

I cannot say enough good things about this film. It is understated in its presentation and very subtle in its dramatic shifts and tones. This is NOT Sons of Anarchy. And I'm glad for that. For its acting, its cinematography, its sound design, its soundtrack and its intentions, I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It may bore some of you but if you are looking for just great cinema, give it a try.

5 out of 5 It's a masterpiece in my opinion.
 
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terry.330

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Johnny Mnemonic- Whoo boy. Everything is bad, everything. I can see what they thought they were making but man did they fail in every way possible. Honestly this is the kind of thing that would have been perfectly suited to an anime or comic. Instead it's a laughable live action mess lead by Keanu giving possibly the worst performance of his career with a supporting cast that's somehow even worse. Don't even get me started on the dialogue.

While there's some production value it's all completely wasted with terribly awkward and flat cinematography and bad editing. The costumes and props are hilariously bad as well. Again all of this could have been pulled of in animation but everything just ends up bad on a level that keeps it from being neither legitimately entertaining or so bad it's good, though it is close to that. Instead it's stuck in some sort of embarrassing limbo.

I watched a couple minutes of the black and white version just for comparison and while that does tone down the goofy visuals that's about it. If anything the B&W gives the movie a slightly more serious feel which just makes everything come off even worse.

Just watch Strange Days and Hackers instead.
 
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dspoonrt

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Johnny Mnemonic is still more fun than Virtuosity, but I'd rank it behind Tank Girl and The Net in terms of goofy, low-budget movies from 1995 that deal with tech. It can't begin to contend with Hackers or Strange Days, like you said. I have a soft spot for these movies -- pretty much anything of that ilk from Tron and WarGames up to Swordfish and Antitrust. JM is a great pinball game, though.
 

Hot Chocolate

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Inside Out 2
-I stand by my stance that Joy is the villain of these movies. I am joking because she isn't in this one.......kinda but I like this one more than the first as it built on everything from the first.
 

terry.330

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The Addams Family- I was pleasantly surprised at how well this has held up. Great cast and performances all around, fantastic sets, a really nice score and the effects still look damn good for the most part. It's also surprising that they marketed a pretty hard PG-13 movie to kids and families. I really can't see this getting made today with same level of dark humor. The school play scene in particular would not fly today. My only real gripes with the movie are that it's a little too zany at times and the goddamn MC Hammer music.
 

Tarma

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Stone Cold - Outrageously preposterous action film starring Brian Bosworth, with a scenery chewing Lance Henrikson, and over the top William Forsythe.
Great soundtrack, great action, and some very interesting dialogue. They don't make them like this anymore, and probably never will.
 

terry.330

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Stone Cold - Outrageously preposterous action film starring Brian Bosworth, with a scenery chewing Lance Henrikson, and over the top William Forsythe.
Great soundtrack, great action, and some very interesting dialogue. They don't make them like this anymore, and probably never will.
I still can't believe they used to show this on TV all the time in the 90's here. It's so nasty, mean and violent it's fucking wild.
 

HornheaDD

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Johnny Mnemonic-

Just watch Strange Days and Hackers instead.

Um, good sir, that movie has both my Golden God Dolph Lundgren, as well as Takeshi god damned Kitano in it. Yes its terrible, (I WANT ROOM SERVICE!!!!) but come on, Dolph and Beat in the same flick? Thats 10 points to Gryffindor right there.

Agree with Strange Days, but Hackers - while better than JM by a mile - is still pretty laughably bad.

"The Plague" hitting "keys" on his "console" when making his last stand: Take THIS AcidBurn! *BWONK BWONK BWONK*
I know it was the (early?) 90s when this came out, but seriously what computer anywhere makes a bwonk bwonk bwonk sound :kernow:

In summary - Sneakers > Hackers
 

fake

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I can't believe STK put Dark Star at the bottom of the Carpenter list. Sad!

One Hour Photo
I really just wanted to see the Evangelion stuff in context, but the movie is pretty OK, possibly because it's only 90 minutes, like movies should be. An awkward photo developer at a big box store knows all about his customers' lives because he sees all of their important moments. He fantasizes about being part of one particular family and starts crossing the line. Robin Williams playing against type is interesting. You feel bad for the main character even though he's a creep.
 

Tarma

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It's so nasty, mean and violent it's fucking wild.
It makes a lot of Michael Bay's stuff seem tame in comparison. William Forsythe's character's death is hilarious as it is violent. It's like someone said to director Craig R. Baxley - "I bet no one will ever be able to do another film as violently over-the-top as Robocop."
His reply - "Hold my beer."
 

terry.330

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I really just wanted to see the Evangelion stuff in context,
I think it's in World's Greatest Dad where there's some early Tyler Stout posters from Mondo hanging in the background. I definitely remember seeing his poster for The Thing in there somewhere. I read that William's brought those in from home as well.
 

100proof

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Suitable Flesh - Originally written to be the last of the Stuart Gordon Lovecraft movies by the gentleman who wrote all of the 80s/90s Gordon movies, it was shopped around after his death, made on the cheap and released this year. Based on the short story "The Thing at the Doorstep", it's a body swapping movie starring Heather Graham as a psychiatrist who gets tangled up in the troubled life of a college student at Miskatonic University whose father is more than he seems to be. There's some nice subtle and not so subtle nods to the old Gordon movies (the setting, Barbara Crampton playing a psychiatrist, a couple of borrowed lines and the appearance of a couple of Gordon regulars) and it has its moments but it's pretty cheap looking, the acting is super uneven and I couldn't help but think how much better it would've been had Gordon actually gotten a chance to make it.

It's supposed to be sexy and transgressive like the other Stuart Gordon Lovecraft movies (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, Dagon) but it's kind of bland and sterile for the most part. There's more or less no nudity (save for a quick glimpse at Roller Girl's nipple that we've seen 100 times before) and while there's a couple of good gore shots spread throughout (including a great sequence of a body getting mangled by a car through the perspective of the backup camera), it's not even in the same ballpark of creativity of those old movies.

I appreciate that Barbara Crampton (her production company got it across the finish line) got this thing done for her old friend but, for me, it's a day late and a dollar short.
 

neo_mao

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FATE - I got invited to an early screening of this film. I'm not allowed to say too much about it, but I enjoyed it alot. Some big names were involved, but the absolute highlight for me was an amazing performance by the actor who played the young version of Harvey Keitel. What a performance! My understanding is that he is new to the movie industry....but this young actor is going to be a star, I just know it!
 

terry.330

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Raise The Titanic- This is based on one of Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt novels and was made before they even knew where exactly the Titanic was let alone what kind of shape it was in. It was also made at the tail end of the disaster movie craze that was going on in the 70's. It's super dated to say the least.

Essentially the US needs a super rare mineral that we stole from Russia in 1912 to power a proposed laser grid anti missile shield and it ended up on the Titanic. So now we're in a race with Russia to find it. Of course the only man that can get the job done is Dirk Pitt. They essentially float the Titanic up and within minutes are landing helicopters on it and walking everywhere. It's all pretty ridiculous.

I've not read any of the books but Dirk Pitt seems like kind of a shitty character. He's basically every macho stereotype rolled into one just with a nautical theme. Except he doesn't really do all that much in the movie except act like a smug prick, yet everyone is constantly talking about how amazing he is. Doesn't help that Richard Jordan plays him with as much charisma as a sandwich and looks like Simon Pegg.

The movie isn't embarrassingly bad but it's definitely trying to be too many things. Dirk Pitt can't be James Bond, Jaques Cousteau, Indiana Jones, Sir Francis Drake all at once.
 
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