Movies I Have Seen This Week

Reviews and comments about MOVIES, Series and Music.
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ralphrepo
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:45 am

Edited Thread Material 070703 Migrated From Old Site:

Pathfinder: The Legend Of The Ghost Warrior [2007] Score: 7.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0446013/

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Summary: Nominally a story about Viking marauders sacking native American Indian villages along the coast of the Atlantic northeast. On the slim historical archeologic truth of this, this fanciful fiction spins a tale of a young Viking boy, sole survivor of his clan's shipwreck, being marooned and raised by indians. Upon adulthood, the adopted norseman must confront his former people in defense of Indian villagers when new raiding parties come to slaughter and pillage. A good looking daughter of a local shaman, or pathfinder, adds a love interest. The whole time I was watching this I couldn't help but think that I was looking at something inspired by the art of Frank Frazetta. Lots of sinewy action with blood and guts. The bad guys were all rather non-descript armor clad figures in basic black, who groan and grunt along swinging large swords and axes. If someone would have told me they were Klingons I would have believed it; while visually stunning, they were absolutely two dimensional. Their leaders too, were cardboard cutouts of villianous caricatures well established in moviedom. Their dialogue is so limited I'm sure their script was only two pages long. In the end, even though their weapons and armor outclassed the locals, good old indian smarts and being in tune with the land outwits the dragon boat invaders. Overall? Thin story but great action if you like the medieval type slashfest. Audio is English and Norwegian

Werewolf Of London [1935] Score: 6.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027194/

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Summary: The first Hollywood Werewolf movie, with Henry Hull and Warner Oland, is not as famous as subsequent ones played by Lon Chaney. It was also derided as being a copycat of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1932], and ultimately it was a box office failure. However, in terms of movie art, it was considered ground breaking and imaginative. The story of an avid botonist that travels to Tibet to retrieve a unique flowering plant that blooms only in moonlight, where he is set upon and bitten by a werewolf, thus becoming a werewolf himself. Remarkably, the "Tibetan" villagers all seem to speak Cantonese Chinese, and a few Latin phrases by the star makes the movie seem worldly; well maybe back in 1935. In any case, it appears that the only thing able to stop a lycanthropic transformation is an extract from a bloomed Tibetan Mariphasa plant. Unbeknownst to the botonist, played by Henry Hull, who retrieves a plant and returns home to London, is that the werewolf who originally bit him, in human guise, follows him home with hopes of stealing the Mariphasa once it blooms. The part of the first Werewolf is played by Warner Oland, which vintage movie fans will immediately recognize as the star of all those old Charlie Chan movies. In the end, after his exotic plant is stolen and the botonist winds up killing several people, he confronts and kills the first werewolf. After trying to attack his own wife, the transformed botonist is in turn killed by an Inspector from Scotland Yard, who he thanks just before dying. Using time lapse photography, the transformation undoes itself. Not much in terms of today's CGI, but back then it must have looked fantastic to viewers. Audio is English, Cantonese Chinese masquerading as Tibetan, and a few Latin Phrases

功夫無敵 Kung Fu Fighter [2007] Score: 5.1
http://global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.as ... 004845730/

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Summary: When you take a pretty boy singer dancer and try to make a Kung Fu Fighter out of him, you're bound for a disappointment. Despite 吳建豪 Vanness Wu's success both in and out of popular Taiwanese boy singing group, F4, with television dramas and appearances in various music venues; one has to wonder why he would try to make a leap into the kung fu arena. While teen girls and young women may gush and squeal when they see him, he certainly isn't any notable in the martial arts media world. In fact, he's pretty much a nobody even with two other macho type movies under his belt (Dragon Squad [2005] & Star Runner [2003]). Also, the inclusion of some actors billed as former supporting cast members from Kung Fu Hustle [2004] did not lend success, but instead highlighted the glaring differences between that mega hit and this wannabe lightweight. Venerable fat guy sidekick 林子聰 Lam Chi Chung, is wasting his time in this and it shows. The inclusion of the nightclub singer potential romantic interest, played by HK Canto-pop singer 黃伊汶 Emme Wong Yee-Man, was nothing more than a blatant attempt at attractive name dropping. Her part does little in terms of story advancement. Fight scenes were standard kung fu movie fare, not overly impressive but acceptable, with a few superhuman feats that were a part of the story line. What I do give the producers props for is the props, sets and costumes. They were exceptionally convincing and evocative of China circa 1930's. Bottom line? I found myself waiting for 周星馳 Stephen Chow to finally appear and save the day. But of course, he's not in this one. Audio is Cantonese Chinese

Red Mercury [2005] Score: 7.3
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443619/

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Summary: Red Mercury was reportedly a scientific hoax first used by Russian secret police as bait for potential black market buyers of nuclear weapons material. Stories planted in tech journals described ways of using "red mercury" as a substitute to bypass the need for much harder to obtain fissionable material. In this movie, British military intelligence uses such a scam to entice terrorists. Three local disaffected would be Jihadis attempt to build a radioactive dirty bomb for their muslim brethren. As police close in, they dash into a London eatery and take hostages. Trapped, they attempt to complete the bomb while London police try to limit what they believe was a hostage crisis in this modern take on Dog Day Afternoon [1975]. Eventually the hostages and hostage takers find out that perceptions of one another are not what they first believed. As the hostages realize that the terror cell is planning to blow up a bomb, they start to take matters into their own hands. Not a bad story, but a bit drawn out. A total sidebar tale of a negotiator's troublesome daughter was a tiresome distraction that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Audio is English

Citizen X [1995] Score: 9.4
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112681/

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Summary: The made for television movie opens with a series of bodies delivered to a coroner; he catalogues the killer's preference at sexual mutilation and multiple stab wounds. Based on a truely chilling account of Russian serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo aka the Rostov Ripper as he was called in the press, who ultimately confessed to killing 56 women, girls and boys over a 12 year span. Sexually dysfunctional unless he was in a savage rage, he was actually questioned several times but because of police ineptitude, let go. A controversy to this day exists over a scientifically anomalous lab result (that originally freed the killer) that many suspect was really just a cover up for mistakes from slipshod crime lab management. Further complications existed at the time as it was then politically impossible in the USSR to tell the public that a serial killer was on the loose. Bureaucratic hurdles hamper police and afford the killer a free reign. Notably, it was the first use of a psychiatrist in Russian history to assist in solving the case. This movie's title, Citizen X, was actually the file name of the killer's psychological profile report. The first depiction of the killer going about his gruesome work is frightening indeed. A man convinces a young girl to take a walk into the woods with him, which ultimately ends with his plunging of a long blade repeatedly (15 times) into her. Though brief, the scene actually included visualization of a long knife clearly going into the tiny victim's chest; remarkable unto itself as this was shown on US television. As it progresses, you can't help but become angry at the Soviet system of foot dragging and it's selfserving bureaucracy; you feel tremendous sympathy and admiration for the doggedness and persistence of Viktor Burakov, the young coroner assigned to investigate the unsolved cases. After the social revelations of glasnost, needed men and material are further dedicated to solving this case. They finally and successfully set a trap for the killer. The movie ends with his execution by a pistol shot to the back of the head. I had to keep telling myself that this was a made for television movie; it was remarkable in it's telling with absolutely superb acting. Audio is English

渦巻 Uzumaki [2000] aka Vortex Score: 7.1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244870/

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[1] [2]
[1] Trailer in Japanese audio and English hard subs
[2] Fan created music video with scenes from the movie

Summary: Well known and imaginative Japanese manga series by 伊藤潤二 Junji Itō that was fleshed out into a wonderfully bizarre horror film, fairly faithful (except for the ending) with the only fault being that many interesting story parts were edited out in the final cut. The entire film is shot with a pale green filtration, mimicking the color cast of the manga magazine original plates. Kirie Goshima (played by Eriko Hatsune), is a high school girl from a small quiet town; so quiet that at times it resembles a ghost town. One day, things begin to change when the father of her boyfriend is noted to have developed an obsession with things that spiral. As the obessions deepens it ultimately results in his macabre demise (twisted into a spiral within a washing machine). Over time, increasing numbers become afflicted with this spiral disease, succumbing to grisly rotational examples of anatomically impossible contortions. In the finale, cornered by her boyfriend who had become literally a twisted evil fiend that insists she join the spiral too; the scene closes as he pounces on her. Audio is Japanese

血恋 Xue Lian [1995] aka Trilogy Of Lust Score: 5.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0121898/

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Summary: For those that don't know, the obscenity and morality laws in Hong Kong dictate and define the level of nudity that public movies can show, and then label them according to their category to let the public know what to expect. The mildest of these being category (or "Cat") one, similar to a General Audience (G) rating in the US, with the most daring being a Cat three, or the equivalent of a strong US Restricted (R) rating. At no time was pornography ever actually legal in Hong Kong; clear frontal shots of genitalia were also taboo even under British rule. Hence, HK directors of erotic films, aka "Cat 3" became extremely creative with action that simulated sex. In addition to the usual bump or grind of gyrating hips, they used rigid phallic shaped shadows, or block the viewer from seeing anything with flowerpots, furniture, or body parts, along with enough fake moans and groans that would do a hooker proud. Which is why Trilogy Of Lust is so amazing. The producers of this film apparently saw little need to hide any action as this is outright porn. Clear and graphic displays of erections, coitus, and fellatio are on screen and not just one of those cheap if you blink you'll miss it shots. Aside from the actual porn, the various actions of the, er... actresses, was fairly erotic in it's own right. In one scene, the main star thinks of sex and she begins to fondle an eel (lucky eel); in another, after watching you may never think of eggs in quite the same way again. I suspect that this movie was produced only for foreign market distribution as the copy that I saw was over-dubbed in German. Story of a lonely fish farmer who's mother takes pity on; she goes and buys him a woman from China. A bedroom novice, the woman doesn't really attract him as he's used to going with experienced pros. Over time, he attempts to teach her the finer points of human conjugation, even hiring a hooker to perform with him while she sat and took written notes. Once a prude, she discovers a young and handsome gardener who unlocks her passion and desires. Their adultery discovered by the fish monger and his mother, the young lovers kill them and go on the run. Knowing that they will be caught and put to death, they don traditional Chinese wedding clothes, have one more bout of wild sex before throwing themselves off a cliff and dying as man and wife. In terms of film making, the story is so-so; in terms of porn, the action is so-so; but in terms of being produced in HK as a Cat3 title, it's historic as well as illegal. Audio is German Note: If anyone finds a copy actually in Chinese audio, please let me know.

Day Of The Dead 2: Contagium [2005] Score: 1.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411269/

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Summary: Taurus Entertainment's cheap and sleazy low budget rip-off of George Romero. Zombie fans have waited two decades for a sequel to the original Day Of The Dead [1985]. Taurus had since acquired the rights to that original movie, including it's title. So when Romero finally released his latest movie and called it Land Of The Dead [2005], Taurus at the same time released Day Of The Dead 2: Contagium [2005], hoping to cash in on fan confusion. However, this one is clearly lackluster, without effort, and thankfully has absolutely no Romero involvment. The entire movie is far removed from what has come to be widely accepted as zombie lore. The zombification process here instead begins with the inadvertant release of an unknown government substance. Zombies in this one can either move quick or slow, and they remain cognitive, trading insults with one another. Moreover, they also seem to have developed a hive mind as they collectively hear and feel what other zombies do. Some copiously ooze black schmutz from their mouths while others slough off dead skin. If the violation of zombie lore wasn't bad enough, the performances by this ensemble resembles a class project for acting 101, ie. it's very, very bad. Put this turd back in the potty and close the lid. Audio is English

Glory [1989] Score: 8.7
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097441/

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[1] [2]
[1] Fan created trailer
[2] Fan created trailer with bits of history and scenes from the movie

Summary: US history that is little mentioned; several military units made exclusively from black freeman, freed slaves and runaway slaves were formed to fight for the Union side during the American Civil War. The first and the most famous of these was the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Though President Abraham Lincoln had announced the Emanicpation Proclamation, racism remained rampant and widespread, even in the north. Popular and conventional opinion of "colored" people (ie. as those of African descent were then known) was that they were inherently inferior and lacked ability for order and discipline that a military unit would require. A 26 year old abolitionist named Robert Gould Shaw, is assigned as the commander of this regiment, who goes about training them and ensuring that they get the supplies they need to fight. But despite their training, soldiers in these colored units were consigned only for use as manual laborers. After intense lobbying by Shaw the 54th finally gets their chance. They lead the historic assault on Fort Wagner (aka Battery Wagner), a stronghold guarding the approaches of Charleston, an important city for the Confederacy. Even though they sustained heavy losses and ultimately failed to win their objective, the regiment clearly performed with courage, honor, and distinction. This battle provided a huge political victory for the north as it demostrated to the entire nation that colored people were just as capable as whites. Afterwards, thousand of blacks from all walks joined the Union army, swelling the north's ranks. One historic action omitted by the film was the story of Sergeant William Carney, a colored soldier who's bravery during that battle won him the Congressional Medal Of Honor, being the first black soldier to do so. Denzel Washington is already well known as an exceptional actor, and he puts in one of his most memorable performances here. The corporal punishment scene is absolutely incredible; it was probably the finest piece of acting I've ever seen. Audio is English

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them; please add your comments. ;)
Last edited by ralphrepo on Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:02 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:51 am

Edited Thread Material 070718 Migrated From Old Site:

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

Amazon Women On The Moon [1987] Score: 7.7
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092546/

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[1] [2]
[1] Trailer
[2] Blacks Without Soul Segment

Summary: A wacky sequel to The Kentucky Fried Movie [1977], this Vaudevillian entry has held up suprisingly well these last twenty years. For the crowd that likes it's humor way off color with tongue firmly in cheek, this compares well to similar entries of the genre including anything by Mel Brooks or the Scary Movie [2000's] series. Totally zany and crudely irreverant, there's really no way to fully describe any of the loosely connected skits; you just have to see them to appreciate the humor. Good for rainy day or fair weather chuckles, the movie's title and one skit's theme pays homage to the 1950's type of science fiction films that found new life as late night television fare. Audio is English

Shock Waves [1977] Score: 7.4
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076704/

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[1] [2]
[1] Scene from movie
[2] Trailer in German audio only no subs

Summary: Pseudo zombie film that supposedly has garnered a cult following; I can see the attraction that a movie like this holds for fans of the re-animated, and though good in it's own right, I walked away with the sense that it would have been better with tighter acting and better effects. The setting certainly has that "trapped with no recourse" potential, but the producers just don't seem to know what to do with it. I look forward to a remake with better direction. Drawn from the castoff dredges of Germania, and through the wonders of their wicked science, super SS soldiers were created as the nazi ultimate weapon. Inhabiting a world somewhere between living and dead, but not quite either, these Über Schutzstaffel Soldaten did not require weapons as their silent barehanded thirst for killing was sufficient. With an insatiable hunger for violence and death they even attacked German troops with uncontrollable rage. Ultimately, the nazis discovered this ultimate weapon too unreliable and decided it best to be rid of them. Loaded onto a cargo ship and exiled near the end to the war, the ship wandered the seas until it found an uninhabited island. The nazi commander scuttled the ship, sunk his demonic troop to the depths, and had thus marooned himself on the island ever since. Motoring along one day is an ill fated rust bucket; both it and it's captain well past their last voyage, carrying a charter of sightseeing tourists so dumb they could likely do a reprise of Gilligan's Island [1964]. Roused by their presence, the scuttled nazi ship with it's hellish cargo rises to the surface and nearly runs them down. They too become marooned on the forgotten island. Warned to leave immediately by the former nazi officer (who had been dreading this day for nearly thirty years) they actually do try, but owing to their own monumental stupidity, they literally missed the boat. Despite having been unter wasser all these years, these undead soldiers have remained in excellent shape. Their uniforms still looked amazingly clean and pressed, showing no signs of rot that one would imagine being thirty years undersea would do. They eerily rise from the water and go back to doing that which they do best; ie kill people, as the unlucky islanders soon find out. Audio is English, with one or two German sentences

천년호 Cheonnyeon Ho [2003] aka The Legend of The Evil Lake Score: 8.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377633/

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[1] [2]
[1] Trailer in Korean audio only no subs
[2] Scene from movie in Korean audio only no subs

Summary: The murdered souls of a brutal massacre one thousand years ago seeks vengence through the body of a young girl. In a spectacular kung fu fantasy epic director 이광훈 Lee Kwang-hoon spins a wonderful and spellbinding tale. 정준호 Jeong Joon-ho and 김효진 Kim Hyo-jin play a pair of ill fated lovers against the spirits and the odds. Historical epics in Korean cinema have always been cursed at the box office. I personally don't know enough about early Korean history. Whether these portrayals of the Three Kingdoms period are accurate or historically acceptable or not is lost on me. Despite this, The Legend Of The Evil Lake seems to have done well for itself as a simple kung fu adventure story. Good wardrobe, props, CGI, wire work, and pretty decent acting, along with superb cinematography, made this a very enjoyable tale. A general in the army falls in love with a local peasant girl, but the queen wants the general for herself. She has the peasant girl murdered; her body falls into a lake where an entire tribal clan was murdered a millennium ago. Her body awakens the spirits of that clan, which then goes to visit vengence upon the royal house, as they're descendents of the murderers. Audio is Korean

Deep Blue Sea [1999] Score: 7.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149261/

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Summary: Experimental evidence from research using shark brains leads to nerve cell regeneration; the money behind the motive is hopeful that it would one day help cure Alzheimer's Disease and thus be worth a bundle. They lean on the program head to produce positive results more quickly. So when no one was looking the lead scientist, played by leggy Saffron Burrows, transplants live human brain tissue into the shark's thick as a brick cerebrum. You assume that most people would feel uneasy about providing a naturally dumb, but instinctive eating machine with the intellectual means to solving the Sunday crossword, amongst other things. And that's exactly what happens too (no, I don't mean the crossword); the sharks become as intelligent as humans and begin to hunt them. A group of people are trapped in an underwater complex as several large, smart, and carnivorous fish look forward to dinner invitations. The creative challenge faced here was how to make each dinner serving interesting and as spectacular as possible. The best one of all time was when Samuel L. Jackson, (who plays Russell Franklin, a project honcho), gives a pep talk to rally the others whilst they were frantic and arguing amongst themselves. The music takes on an inspirational tone, the camera slowly zoomed in on stern and determined Jackson, cutting briefly to each team member as they cease arguing; listen to him raptly, under the spell of his dynamic and commanding oration... Crunch!!!, ...a shark jumps out of the pool from behind and bites into him like your dog would do a strip of bacon; pulling him into the pool where he's torn apart, all in a matter of a few seconds. The others recoil in horror and go right back to arguing. It was probably the best monster gets man scene that I've seen in a long time. And that's it in a nutshell. Except for another part where we get to see a soaking Saffron Burrows strip down to her wet underwear, the movie chips away at the participants and slowly settles to the bottom. Not an Oscar contender, but nonetheless a pleasant time waster. Audio is English

The Mad [2007] Score: 8.1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848552/

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Summary: American made comic horror following along the path of Shaun Of The Dead [2004]. FDA disaster farm breaks quarantine, with cows juiced up on a powerful chemical soup; their meat more than just tenderized, it will now imbued those that eat it with special properties. That is, they will turn anyone who eats it into a salivating flesh eating zombie. Additionally, in a nod to the Blob [1958], and Alien [1979], these burgers will jump and do the face hug thing, or quietly crawl up your leg. Either way, once they make firm contact, that too will zombify you. By and large, the zombies in this effort seem to be of the slow moving variety. A single dad, played perfectly by a dead pan Billy Zane, with his teen daughter and their dates take to the back roads looking for rest and relaxation but encounters a town turned mad from a batch of botched burgers. Obvious puns about Mad Cow Disease, and moments of absurdity throughout makes this frightful vacation well worth the trip. The directors of this movie too, knows how to be slyly crude. In a very brief scene, the man suddenly looks down in surprised fear. Buried in a background of loud music, a zipper movement sound is heard. The man leans up against a wall and goes through various grimaces and screams as if he were being eaten alive, though we still can't see below his waist. The camera rapid sequences his changing facial expressions of contorted agony, until it finally ends with one of satisfied relief. From below him, his girlfriend suddenly stands up, wiping her mouth. Eaten alive, indeed. All of this took place in a matter of seconds. In a brief sight gag, another man is in a hotel room with an inflatable doll. A farmboy offers (with a straight face) a girl that he likes the gift of a "meat stick" tied with a ribbon. Sexual innuendo and puns abound. In an obvious dig at other movies that violate zombie canon, one scene has the ensemble openly discuss the various "laws" of zombism. Still another wacky scene had an intended victim fighting with a zombie turn the struggle into a tango, with music and a final dip. Hilarious. This movie is subtle where it needs to be and blunt as a two by four when it doesn't. One question I had though, was why do farmers from upstate New York speak with southern accents? Otherwise kudos for a wonderful black comedy. Audio is English

Creature From The Black Lagoon [1954] Score: 8.3
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046876/

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Summary: Classic monster movie from the 50's and originally released in 3D (theatre goers were issued paper glasses with tinted lenses that enabled the 3D view effect). Story of a puzzling fossilized webbed hand that initiates a scientific expedition into the jungle. Of course, once the exploration enters the Black Lagoon, a living specimen of the race with the webbed hand hunts the party, and in particular, the buxom brunette, played by Julie Adams. Hopelessly lured by lust, the creature keeps returning to capture the lucious human female, but in the end it is done in by it's animal desires. Campy by today's standards, the underwater filming and action was considered exceptional at the time. I remember watching this as a child and afterwards, being afraid to go into the water at the beach. Gosh, I was lame. Audio is English

Braddock: Missing In Action 3 [1988] Score: 6.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094792/

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Summary: Viet Nam was arguably the first war that was ever lost by the United States. Despite punditry calling it a no win situation and that leaving was the best of a host of bad choices, America never really quite got over it. A whole nation watched on national television as the last of the "White Christmas" evacuation helicopters took off from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon. In many ways a generation of us have felt deep guilt ever since. Revisionist movies like the Missing In Action and Rambo series addresses a lot of those guilt issues; unaccounted for prisoners of war or those still considered missing in action, and AmerAsian children (the product of unions between US soldiers and Viet women). It's no wonder that retro fantasy films like these have done extremely well, especially with Viet Nam draft aged men. Braddock; MIA3 is the last of the three MIA movies. Chuck Norris stars as former army Colonel Braddock, who discovers that his Viet wife, long thought dead, was actually still alive. She had borne him a son and the two have lived a squalid life under the repressive post war communist regime. He endeavors to rescue them no matter the costs. Calling in markers within the expat community in Thailand, he is able to get into Viet Nam, and is soon reunited with his wife and son. But as those evil commies will never allow an American style happy ending on their soil they interrupt the reunion and murder Mrs. Braddock (some people have complained about this on moral grounds, that the portrayal made it seem OK to kill off the wife and leave her behind as long as the American can save his son). Braddock and son are taken prisoner, and they're physically and psychologically tortured. Finally Braddock is able to engineer an escape, along the way picking up a whole orphanage of AmerAsian children. Totally improbable, but they first steal a truck to escape, and when that gets shot out from under them, he goes and steals them a plane. Crash landing near the border, they have to make it across a heavily guarded bridge into Thailand (which is not geographically accurate as they seemed to have forgotten about Laos and Cambodia). Needless to say, Braddock does the necessary job and saves the day, allowing the children to escape to freedom. Many, many, unbelievable and improbable events, but none that would spoil it for someone looking to offload a generation of national psychic pain. Audio Is English with some Viet phrases

28 Weeks Later Score: 7.6
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0463854/

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Summary: Improbable stretches to weave a tapestry for furthering the franchise. Sequel to the immensely popular 28 Days, supposedly an enclave in London is repopulated with ex-pat Britons at the direction of a US led NATO military. The movie never really goes into why they felt the need to do this. Confronted with a disease that can potentially wipe out mankind in a fortnight or so, you would suspect that the British Isles would have become strictly off limits for the next hundred years. Anyone traveling there would most certainly not be allowed out again. But, then there would be no sequel, right? Anyhow, it seems that some people can be bitten, get the Rage, becoming highly infectious but remain otherwise asymptomatic. These "carriers" can still spread the Rage with their saliva; either a bite or a kiss will do. One of these carriers is kissed by her husband (who didn't realize she was a carrier), who immediately infects himself. He kills her and then spreads the disease throughout the enclave. These newly inaugurated Rage Zombies run amok, killing and infecting everyone in sight. One soldier disobeys his Code Red orders to exterminate every living creature (which included the carrier's son, who has her genetic immune trait). The boy eventually becomes bitten and infected too, but doesn't show any signs of the Rage. He is then transported via helicopter cross channel where he presumably spreads the disease to Paris (er... the city, not Hilton, and no, she's not in this movie). I guess they needed such an ending to pave the way for another movie. In any case, the zombies here don't seem to follow their own Rage canon. In the beginning of the movie, they can crash through walls, but in another part they can't seem to break a car's windows. Further, the amount of security, or lack of, in this military operation is laughable. The idea that a potentially infected survivor would somehow be given key card access to the most critical areas of operation is ludicrous. People here seem to come and go from secure areas like they're walking into their own kitchens. Most unbelievable scene; Apache helicopter missing a station wagon? Please, the Apache doesn't even need to move; the gunner aims the 30MM chain gun via his HDU head tracking helmet. All he needs to do is look at the target and pull the trigger. Missing is impossible unless the gunner does it on purpose. Most awesome scene, the helicopter zombie lawnmower. You'll know it when you see it. Audio is English

Sahara [2005] Score: 7.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318649/

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Summary: Modern day wannabe along the Allan Quartermain or Indiana Jones character line. We're introduced to writer Clive E. Cussler's macho honcho Dirk Pitt; deep sea diver and former US Navy Seal. He's an all around extreme adventurer according to the numerous memorabilia seen within his quarters during the opening credits. Despite a hefty Hollywood budget, this film saw a miserable financial return that resulted in lawsuits and countersuits between the writer and producers. Using a real life historical ship as the basis of this Drama, a Conferate States Of America ironclad warship, the CSS Texas supposedly escapes across the Atlantic during the fall of Richmond in 1865 (the real ship was not yet complete and was captured in dry dock). In it's hold is a secret cache of "Confederate gold dollars" minted in 1865. This alludes to the unproven stories through the years of the legendary lost gold of the Confederacy. Finding a coin in Africa, Pitt is led to a war torn Mali, where he decides to help a beautiful doctor from the World Health Organization to uncover an illegal toxic waste dump. Along the way, he finds his lost CSA ship with treasure intact. All a little too pat, the action is good but not surprising. Dirk Pitt, at least as portrayed here, seems too much of a "me too" character that jumps up at the closing credits of an Indiana Jones movie; ie. by the time everyone is walking out of the theatre. Portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, who simply doesn't have the same stage presence as a Harrison Ford or Sean Connery, who further dilutes his on-scene moments with comedian sidekick Steven Zahn. Mannequin and love interest Doctor Eva Rojas (played by Penélope Cruz), adds a competent if lackluster performance as romantic foil and eye candy. Two dimensional bad guys with guns round out the script with several interesting bullet crazed things go boom moments. Enjoyable, but you know you're not going to the Oscars with this one. Audio is English

Black Moon [1975] Score: 8.6
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072709

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Summary: Every once in a while, a film comes along that is there not to tell you a story, but appears before you just to be admired. French Director Louis Malle's Black Moon is such a film. Alternatively panned or put onto a pedestal (depending on who you talk to), this film is weird with a capital W. But oh, how beautiful it is. It's been compared to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (published in 1865 under his more renown pen name of Lewis Carroll); in some respects this is an apt description. The casting of 16 year old nymphette Cathryn Harrison, granddaughter of Rex, in the lead role of Lily, would lend arguable support to this. And similar to the swirl of controversy surrounding Dodgson's motivations with little girls, Malle is certainly no stranger to having at least an artistic attraction for young girls (Pretty Baby [1978]). Perhaps, in some dark and bizarre manner Malle is paying homage clandestinely. Alternatively, some have labeled this as a conflict between men and women, owing to the movie's opening with the execution of female soldiers by their male counterparts. But then what about the talking Unicorn nee Shetland pony, the giant sized African Gambian Pouch Rat, the Twin Siblings who act more like lovers, the naked brood of kids with the large swine, and the old woman who likes cognac after her, ahem... milk? No. There's just too much going on in this film to watch it once and regurgitate a pat and tidy answer. I think that sometimes, there just isn't meant to be any. Watch it; you'll scratch your head, furrow your brow, laugh, wince, and grimace. When you walk away, you'll admit that it was certainly a strange movie; but somehow you'll feel better for having watched it. Audio is English, with a few sentences in French

Shadow Puppets [2007] Score: 5.1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491145/

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Summary: The best of this is the opening; From the darkness, Jolene Blalock (better known as Science Officer T'Pol, on the defunct television series, Star Trek: Enterprise [2001-2005]), awakens on a mattress in a padded room dressed in her skivies... OK, that's worth the price of admission. Afterwards, we slowly drift back into darkness, no pun intended. Along the way, director Michael Winnick demonstates that he had seen the Cube [1997] series, knows Freddy Kreuger intimately, and probably has his TV locked on the Sci-Fi Channel. The entire movie is comprised of many "been there, done that..." elements which are then lobbed at the viewer in a ho-hum fashion, making Shadow Puppets ideal for use as an insomniacs' cure. Taking a plot device right out of Unknown [2006], several people wake up in a lockdown but don't remember why. They're all skimpily dressed and we do know why; cheap cheese and beefcake eye candy to prop up an otherwise dismal story. The trapped clueless are then hunted by their own shadows. That's right, you read it right the first time; their own shadows start killing them. Sort of saves on murder weapon props I guess. The lab rats, er... I mean actors, run the usual gauntlet of not trusting each other, then pulling together in order to survive as their numbers are slowly whittled down by dark puffs of CGI. And the closing shot had a really unflattering shot of Jolene with panties wedgied so far up to where the sun don't shine... Well, maybe they did that to extend it into a series, ie. it won't be the first time a producer pulled a sequel out of someone's a.ss. Audio is English

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them; please add your comments. ;)
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:55 am

bestbuyer81 wrote:hi, ralph. u think u can upload any of these movies. thx

mi12iam wrote:Just wondering how you choose your weekly movies. Just a randomly or based on good reviews?


To answer the both of you; like I'd stated earlier on in the thread, all of these movies (every single one of them) I got from Usenet downloads. The thing about usenet, aka newsgroups (for those that don't know), is that it's the outgrowth from the old eBBS (electronic bulletin board service) that people used for posting message to each other. Much like these forums, each particular newsgroup on usenet focuses on particular subjects, some great, some not so great. And the service is usually part of the package when you sign up for internet service; ie your isp sells you three things when you sign with them - internet access, e-mail service, news service.

Notice the last one, "news service?" Most people don't even know that they bought that service as part of their deal with their isp. You need to sign into the news service server in order to get access to the postings there. Not every isp will host every group (there's about 100,000). Some isp servers are scanty, while some are great. But the groups you want are the ones that contains binaries (software, movies, music). These are the groups where people who want to share will upload stuff. But the best part is, you only download. You do NOT upload one single byte of data like you do with P2P programs (ie torrents). This is important because if the MPAA/RIAA was recording ip addresses via P2P you can get caught. With downloading from newsgroups, someone else took the risk and posted it. You just downloaded a copy of the file and the only people who know are your isp (who is hosting the file).

So while no, I can't upload any of these movies; I don't have to, someone else already did. As for how I come across them? I just troll the groups and see what's there. I usually see about 30 movies that I like and download. I watch about half but burn all of them to discs. In total, I download about 200 GBs a month; else why do I pay for cable internet? LOL... As for which movies I choose to talk about? I just pick the ones that stick out in my mind as particularly good, different, weird, powerful, or really stinky. So good luck and good hunting to you too.
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:03 pm

Edited Thread Material 070801 Migrated From Old Site:

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

Confessions Of An Opium Eater [1962] aka Souls For Sale Score: 8.8
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055864

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Summary: Hollywood sensationalism of salacious vices purportedly rampant in circa 1900's San Francisco's hidden Chinatown. Opium dens, human slavery, exotic women clandestinely auctioned into sexual servitude by Tongs; ancient and secretive Chinese societies that bartered human misery against a currency of opium by weight. Vincent Price (long time horror maestro of the silver screen), stars as roundeyed "fixer" Gil DeQuincey, in the employ of one such Tong sect. Arriving from Hong Kong to secure the release of Lotus (a woman nabbed and sold into slavery by a rival Tong); he soons stumbles through warrens of back rooms, hidden passages, and trap doors, discovering the "real" Chinatown that only exists as whispered rumors for "regular" Americans. He indulges in opium, and the audience is shown a hilariously deranged visual representation of what an opium dream is supposed to be. Shades of Reefer Madness [1936]; those that have seen Louis Gasnier's ridiculous attempt at social engineering, will instantly be reminded of it. An excellent scene after the bad "trip" is when DeQuincey wakes up under the effects of the opium and sees the world with a perceived time dilation effect. The next several minutes of a chase sequence is done in an interesting and actually quite creative slow motion. Remember that this was released in the early 1960's, still an era where most conservative straight laced people never got stoned. I'm sure this movie must have horrified and scared the p.iss out of them. At the end of his hashed up pipe dream, he's awoken with water in his face and we realize that the whole slo-mo chase scene was the dream. Again, for a 60's film, this was tres cool. Spectacularly funny scene during the sub-rosa sexy woman auction; woman number two's sudden Hula moves had me in rolling in stitches. Dwarf actress Yvonne Moray (all two foot six inches of her), is terrific as a rather curiously indifferent child that takes a fancy to DeQuincey, saving him with several timely rescues. Another notable bit player, 揚森 Victor Sen Yung, appears in this. Oldtimers will remember him as the Cartwright family's servant-cook, Hop Sing, on the long running US television series, Bonanza [1959-1973]. At the finale it's revealed that mysterious boss of the Ling Tang Tong, was non other than hottie Linda Ho, in the part of Ruby Low, Ling Tang's second in command. The real Ling Tang had actually died years before. Ruby Low secretly assumed his identity, giving commands to his organization as if they were from him. Since she was already his lieutenant, no one was the wiser. Her best scene was when she reveals that she too, has the hots for DeQuincey. She stares longingly into a motionless camera, slowly slithering ever closer, all the while professing her lust for him. If ever there was a money scene for those afflicted with Yellow Fever folks, this was it. Cheesy, yet disturbingly profound. Instant cult classic homage to author Thomas De Quincey; writer, essayist, and lifelong opium addict, who wrote Confessions Of An English Opium Eater [1821]. This movie is largely based on his work. Audio is English

:idea: In the Public Domain (ie. it's copyright has expired): The full text of Confessions Of An English Opium Eater [1821] by Thomas De Quincey is available here: http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/q/ ... /opium.zip


芬妮的微笑 Fen Ni De Wei Xiao [2002] aka On The Other Side Of The Bridge, Am Anderen Ende Der Brücke Score: 7.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0342040/

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Summary: Inspiring tale of love conquering a lifetime of adversity. The true story of Du ChengRong and Gertrude Wagner, a starcrossed couple whose cross cultural relationship survived despite extreme odds and harsh times. Ma Yunlong is a young Nationalist Chinese soldier sent to a police academy in Austria. During his time there he is smitten by an instructor's daughter, Fanny. Their relationship blossoms and they fall in love and, over her parent's heated objections, Fanny follows Ma back to China. The year is 1934. (NB: to the ones who slept through Chinese History 101: suffice to say that China is about to undergo some very "interesting times" as the saying goes. That is, there is internecine fighting between Chinese Communists and Nationalists; and Japan will formally invade in 1937. At the end of WW2, the Chinese Civil War resumes. After the war ends, any Nationalist soldiers that weren't executed outright were sent to "re-education" camps for years while their families lanquish and suffered in destitution). The movie looks at the couple's admirable endurance through some very harsh conditions; the initial reluctance of the Ma family at having a foreigner for a daughter in law; then the brutal hardships that China's historically warped politics visits upon them. With little else than their love of one another, their quiet dignity carry them forward. A heart warming film that transcends race or cultural boundaries. It genuinely touches that which makes us human beings. Best moment of the film; when the Pompous Red Guard bursts in on their quiet and meager Christmas dinner, you begin to get an appreciation of what the Cultural Revolution entailed. I was so mad my blood was boiling; damn those f.ucking commies. On a poignant note, the real couple passed away some years ago, Du in 1990, and Wagner in 2002, reportedly just two days shy of this movie's opening. Audio is Mandarin Chinese and English

L'Amant [1992] aka The Lover Score: 8.3
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101316/

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Summary: Another eyebrow raising entry about love and racial taboo is based on the autobiographical story of the early life of French writer and film director Marguerite Duras, first published in 1984. Telling the story of her past as the daughter of a down on their luck French expatriate family, struggling to survive in what was then French Indochina, she reveals how she prostituted herself at the age of fifteen to an older Chinese man in order to support her family. A young Duras is portrayed by then eighteen year old English actress Jane March with Hong Kong screen stud 梁家輝 Tony Leung Ka-Fai in the role of her older Chinese client. March ironically is already of mixed race (mother is Asian, father is European) though she appears caucasian. After a chance encounter with a scion from a Chinese family of means, she accepts his offer for clandestine compensated sexual liaisons. He sets her up in an apartment and she becomes a kept woman. Over time however, their sexual trysts become so hot and steamy, that the line between prostitute and client is easily blurred. It's obvious that he already loves her. She shields herself emotionally by thinking that she is only sleeping with him for his money. But in the scenes of her waiting patiently for his return she lovingly waters his bonsai plants; we see that it's already become much more. Brandishing the cultural no-no of cross pollenation like a hammer, Leung's character is eventually threatened to be cut off by his father, ultimately forcing an end to the relationship. Thus, she sails back to France with her family. On board the ship, recalling all that had transpired, she abruptly falls down and sobs inconsolably as she finally allows herself to admit that she had also loved him. The film was rumored to have included scenes of actual sex between March and Leung, which the studio initially refused to deny. It was later acknowledged that their silence was an effort at generating even better publicity, and that multiple body doubles were used by both stars. But the PG types be forewarned, the love scenes, though technically softcore, are still very graphic. Audio is English

Pride Of The Yankees [1942] Score: 9.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035211/

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Summary: Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig (1903-1941), is one of baseball's better known names and unfortunately, of medicine too. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a disease in which the nerves that signal our muscles begin to die out. Over time, this loss of nervous system commands to our muscles will cause those muscles to waste away (atrophy) too; and there is yet no known cure for this. Lou Gehrig was at the height of a stellar record setting career when he was struck down by this horrible disease. But rather than display anger at such monumental misfortune, he cited that he was already the "...luckiest man on the face of the earth..." having been able to even play professional baseball at all. His steadfast courage, genuine humility, and unpretentious grace in the face of this devastating and terminal (it killed him within two years) illness endeared him even more so with fans. The New York Yankees baseball team thereafter retired Gehrig's #4 uniform, meaning that no one could ever replace him; the first time in baseball history that anyone was afforded such an honor. Legendary Hollywood hunk, Gary Cooper is well cast in the leading role as a self effacing, polite to a fault, and lovably bumbling Gehrig. The gee-whiz look of awe on his face the first day he's in the New York clubhouse is not only priceless but is convincing, as probably only Cooper could pull off. You get a real sense that he's honored just to be there; to be in the same room as those great ball players. Teresa Wright too, puts in an exeptional performance as Eleanor Twitchell, who becomes his wife. As the film takes a grim turn and he's forced to retire from baseball in 1939, the movie makes clear that Gehrig himself decided to step aside for fear that he may become a hindrance to his team. Gehrig passed away in 1941, and this film was released in the following year. Remember that at the time this movie was made, the US was in the middle of World War 2. For any figure in such times to have captivated the public attention to such a degree affirms that he was really something very special indeed. This movie became an instant American film classic. Won an academy award for best editing, but was nominated for ten other categories, including best picture. In a nod to this fatal malady's most famous victim, the disease now bears his name, ie. ALS is otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease Audio is English

Battlespace [2006] Score: 7.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0937388/

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Summary: Australian straight to video scifi that gamely pulls ideas, elements, and plot devices from just about every successful outer space media franchise known to man. Star Wars, Star Gate SG1, Star Trek, Wing Commander, Battlestar Galactica, 2001 A Space Oddesey, et al, literally jump out at you in this very imaginative and entertaining effort. While the budget constrained special effects limp along without inertial dampers, the story itself remains engrossing, with an plot ending right out of a Star Trek - The Next Generation episode called The Inner Light. Instead of a mere civilization dying over a millenium ago, this posits the memories of an entire universe from a previous Big Crunch - Big Bang event, thus ascribing to the theory (since abandoned) of an Oscillatory universe (as proposed by noted cosmologist Richard Chace Tolman [1934]). The story starts as a recounting of the life of a dead mother by her daugher. The mother, Colonel Mara Shryyke, was a military officer that was killed while she attempted to protect her world from destruction. Her daughter, having found her memory engram capsule (ejected from the base of her skull upon her moment of death) have pored over the memory recordings and have relived her mother's memories; from "mind game" addiction (Trekkies will read this as Holodeck addiction), to her last battle on an derelict world (called Construct Three) used as a weapons launchpad for mankind's destruction. A race of human created (can everyone say Galactica?) enhanced super beings known as Homo Technus, are at war with man and seek to destroy any remnants of humanity as originally exists. Shryyke, played by Eve Connelly (who was also a co-producer), attempts to stop the launch of a aptly named WMD called a Planet Buster. Along the way we're treated to reprises of various scifi methodologies, ending with Shryyke's kamikaze event that kills her, but allows time for many of her brethren to escape the cataclysmic destruction. Her daughter (again played by Conelly), a time traveler, has become trapped in a time dilation anomaly. After the rest of the universe has come to another Crunch ready point, it cannot proceed without her it seems. To wait any longer would jeopardize the cosmic physics involved, throwing everything into permanent disarray, so she is offered the chance to rejoin the universe by beings known only as the "Watchers" (who have lost all corporeal form and exists as intelligent energy; can we say Ascended Ancients?). However, this rejoining has an obvious price, that is, the universe will collapse again, killing everything. She agrees to do so, but downloads all of her memories (including mom's, also a time traveler) into an "indestructible" memory engram capsule, which we see being hurled into space at the front wave of the next Big Bang event. Cheesy though servicable special effects; really awesome and thought provoking story, with enough technical holes that should be fan fodder for years. Audio is English

Kerd Ma Lui [2004] aka Born To Fight Score: 7.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0428725/

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Summary: Hair raising stunts from Thai master martial arts director Panna Rittikrai; who is himself an accomplished martial artist, choreographer, screenwriter and actor. Noted as being the choreographer of องค์บาก Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior [2003], he propelled Thai martial artist Tony Jaa to international stardom by eschewing wire worked CGI and focusing instead on raw physical talent. The name of this film is a bit odd as it's a reprise from a low budget B-Action film Rittikrai made more than 20 years ago. But other than bearing the same moniker, the stories are unrelated. With this one, minimal introductions offered before the mayhem hits. This is an action film and it makes no bones about it; though I wouldn't be surprised if it broke a few while doing it. The first several minutes already has actors fly off the roofs of speeding eighteen wheelers and land on the bare road with a thud. If that didn't impress you, they do it again, but barely bounce the actor off the roof of another passing vehicle. And if that didn't raise any eyebrows, the next actor flys off the roof of one truck, caroms off the wall of another speeding alongside, and landing on the road between the two speeding trucks with his head just barely missed being crushed by the back wheels of an eighteen wheeler as it thunders by. Like, OMG... My first guess would be that these guys don't have a union, with medical being a big part of production costs a close second. In an obvious nod to another legendary martial stunt ace, Jackie Chan, Rittikrai pays homage by rolling a truck downhill through a shantytown, duplicating a well known scene right out of 警察故事 Jǐngchá Gùshì [1985]. Thai 1996 Olympic gold medalist for boxing, Somluck Kamsing, also has a small flag waving role. At any rate, the storyline is mundanely pedestrian, perfect for the action genre as people who enjoy these things certainly aren't in search of catalyst for deep thought. Undercover cop assists quiet backwater village in expelling drug gang invasion is the gist of it. The gang has threatened to kill off everyone unless the government releases a recently captured drug kingpin. But while the Thai authorities are wringing their hands over that, the real mission of the bandits is to launch a nuclear missile at Bangkok. Right, you didn't misread that last part. Somehow they got their hands on a nuke and they're going to launch it to show Thailand and the world that "...no one can stand in their way." If you ask me, for whichever "way" these bad guys want to go, they picked Bangkok as their choice of a public notice target? Maybe it's just me, but you suspect that they might have selected a much more politically worthy destination for a nuke, ...like maybe Cleveland? Wait... what am I doing? Oh no... I spoiled it, I started thinking... No... Arghh... Audio is Thai

Metropolis [1927] Score: 9.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017136/

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[1] [2]
[1] Trailer
[2] Fan creative music video

Summary: Partially lost classic dystopian futuristic sci fi black and white silent masterpiece by Austrian-German director Fritz Lang. Released as a novel by his wife Thea von Harbou in 1926 and as a film the following year, it has been the basis of long running spirited debates about film making, society and history in general. Though denied by 手塚 治虫 Tezuka Osamu (the late, renowned Father of manga & anime), his manga series published in 1949 bore many striking similarities that some have suggested he may have inadvertantly "borrowed" many ideas after seeing the film but not remembering having done so. A subsequent anime メトロポリスMetoroporisu [2001] credited to him, makes significant alterations to his manga, and incorporates many more elements of the original Lang epic. Believed to be initially 153 minutes (~2.5 Hours) originally and shown at 16 frames per second (as was common with most silent film settings of 16 -20 FPS), this proved too long for most American theatre managers, who needed films in the audience tolerated range of about 90 minutes (~1.5 Hours). Thus, the film was re-written by US playwright Channing Pollock, and re-edited to fit those time constraints. Critics have stated that the film was nearly destroyed in the process, obscuring the plot and confusing the movie entirely. From it's architecture to it's themes, Lang's Metropolis was way before it's time, probing deeply into contorversial subjects that was at the center of the heated industrial capitalism versus communism debate in Europe at the time. A central figure, Maria played by Brigitte Helm (who actually had multiple roles in the movie, including Creative Man, Machine Man, Death, & Seven Deadly Sins) implores the suppressed worker society to await the coming of a mediator to help them claim the right to fruits of their labor. The head of the upper privileged society attempts to undo the worker's faith in Maria by substituting a robot in her place. He is successful but his robot causes the underclass to revolt instead, and disaster strikes. Suffice to say that while the theme may sound rather simplistic, that this single film probably has had more discussion academically than any other in the history of the media. The digitally restored version generally available is derived from the American shortened one by Pollock, with the original sections that were cut believed to be irrevocably lost. There is no spoken audio (like da-uh, it's a silent movie? LOL...) with intertitles

[100212:1416] ADDENDUM: In 2008, a nearly complete copy of this film was discovered in Argentina. It has since been restored and an exhibition of it has been ongoing in Berlin: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/ar ... onAP0p3Txw

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them; please add your comments. ;)
Last edited by ralphrepo on Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:18 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:10 pm

Edited Thread Material 070819 Migrated From Old Site:

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

UniversalSoldiers [2007] Score: 2.4
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1023347/

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Summary: Straight to video offering that should have been straight to the trashbin. Five films entitled Universal Soldier have hit the screen since 1971 (six if you include Soldier [1998]). This is the latest attempt at name association but it has nothing to do with any of the better previous efforts. Survivors of a US marine platoon breaks out from an underground facility as they're being mauled by experimental Borg-like creatures. Though there were some promising aspects to the story (secret super powered cyborgs that ran amok and killed their handlers), the film can't help but shoot itself in the foot with horrible acting, dimwitted dialogue, and a total departure from standard military protocol. Griff Furst, who wrote and directed this, obviously never spent a day in uniform, and he should hire consultants before attempting to use military settings or characters. Throwing uniforms onto actors doesn't make them believable. To start, USMC combat units don't allow women. Next, the interactions of personnel are so far removed from the code of conduct of real soldiers, that these actors might as well have shown up at a swim meet dressed in tuxedos. Inotherwords, they're very obviously out of place. Real jarheads definitely b.itch and moan; but they would never, ever, question a superior officer in the insubordinate manner that these actors do, especially on a battlefield, regardless of the situational stress. The constant bickering between officers and enlisted ranks portrayed here simply isn't possible. Next, the idea that US soldiers will euthanize severely wounded comrades like lame horses is an insult to their integrity. Even if forced by extreme tactical need to leave a wounded comrade behind, they would never kill him to put him out of his misery. In the movie's closing, the sloppy salute from the lone survivor had me rolling on the floor. It was a perfect example of someone never having worn a uniform trying to look the part. Military bearing aside, the film looked as if it was propped by Army-Navy surplus, brimming with leftovers from the last half century, and used liberally in the movie without rhyme or reason. One big goof was having ammunition bandoleers stuffed with empty brass casings; ie. worthless spent cartridges so what's the point in carrying them around? Many of the weapons used unfortunately belonged in foreign inventories (ie former Warsaw Pact). And the helmets found in one cache was from the WW2 era. Aside from the prop miscues, the acting all around was consistently bad, and interspersed with comically exaggerated "action" figure poses; one guy persistently had his M16 high up in the air as if he were wading through imaginary waist high water all the time. Maybe the director thought it cool; I found it rather ridiculous. The only admirable bright spot was the bad-a.ssed Terminator-esque CGI Bot that appeared briefly near the end. But overall nothing could save this from being a sad reflection on how shallow the film making industry has become. Audio is English

陰陽路 Yin Yang Lu [1997] aka Troublesome Night Score: 7.8
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286322/

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Summary: This was the very first entry for a popular Hong Kong series of nineteen mildly spooky movies spanning a six year period, similar to the Mr. Vampire genre of HK movies, or the US television's Tales Of The Crypt [1989]. It departs from the US styled series by using a persistent set of actors and having it's loosely related stories revolve around them. Subsequently the multiple short story format too was changed to a single movie length tale as the series matured. The various phonetic English titles that IMDB seems to have related to this, e.g. "Yam Yeung Lo, Yin Yang Lu, Aau Yeung Liu" et cetera, are all exactly the same thing in Chinese, 陰陽路; which translates as The Road Between The Living & The Dead. The different IMDB spellings probably resulted from various dialectic differences that were used to decipher pronunciations of each of the nineteen individual titles. The VCD and DVDs sold generally had dual Mandarin & Cantonese tracks, along with both Chinese (Traditional) and nearly-English subtitles (which can be a comedy class unto itself). The franchise's theme is woven together via a web of byzantine Chinese beliefs, suppositions about the supernatural, ancestral worship and the undead; along with the consequences of violating cardinal "rules" of the occult. This first installment consisted of four short vignettes. In the first, a bunch of teens in a graveyard play a late night game of chicken. Two buddies had hired some girls to try and scare their cocky friend to death. They get what they paid for. The second features a wife about to meet her husband for a wedding aniversary dinner. She doesn't yet know it, but his death had been foretold by a feng shui necromancer. He is soon visited by the ghost of the victim in the first short story. Not knowing that he had already passed into the afterlife, he talks to her by cell phone; though both are at the same place, they cannot see each other. She then finds his wrecked car and realizes that he's been dead all along. BTW, the WW2 German soldier's watch she bought as his gift was not authentic; it's face is imprinted with a delta-winged aircraft, not in use until a generation later. In the third short, friends of the first victim bring offerings to his grave. A girl inadvertantly sits down next to the grave marker of another young man (briefly seen as the jogging ghost in the first vignette). Because she had worn red, the spirit was attracted to her and follows her home. Soon, she falls under his spell and begins to have sexual relations with him. His spirit is eventually chased off my another necromancer. The final short features a Hong Kong movie star at a secret premiere of his latest film. His date is not happy with their seats, so they switch into a seemingly empty section. Unknown to them the theatre is haunted, and that particular row of seats is permanently reserved for the theatre's resident spirits. The manager attempts to remove them but they insist on taking those seats. As the show starts, the ghost of the victim from the first short is seen sitting next to them. Midway into the movie they go to the bathroom, and a series of strange events begin to happen. They try to leave but cannot find any way out, the best of which was the section of never ending theatre curtains. Several well known Hong Kong actors burnished their bonefides with this series. Louis Koo, being one (he plays the part of the first victim). Audio is Cantonese Chinese

飛俠小白龍 Fei Hap Siu Baak Lung [2004] aka White Dragon Score: 8.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0441263/

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Summary: 葉偉信 Wilson Yip's lighthearted dig on wuxia with Hong Kong notables 張栢芝 Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi and 吳鎮宇 Francis Ng Chun-Yu. Wuxia (武俠 Wǔxiá) can be best described as a Chinese styled chivalry similar to the Knights-errant of medieval Europe or the Samurai of Japan. Many of it's very popular tales take on heroic proportions, with feats of superhuman strength or martial ability and told as noble epics of moral righteousness triumphing over evil. It is within this setting that White Dragon takes place. However, in a comedic twist, Yip splices in impossible modern day references, sight gags, and double entendres to pull from under it, the pedastal that wuxia normally resides atop of, and onto it drapes a canvas of tongue in cheek humor while rendering a delightful love story. The title refers to a heroine in the film. When spoken in Cantonese Chinese, "White Dragon" sounds exactly like "white pus" and vice versa. Thus a passerby had remarked about a large pimple on the heroine's forehead oozing white pus. The heroine thought that she was being called "White Dragon" by her adoring public so she decided to keep the moniker. The story revolves around Black Phoenix (Cheung), a shallow and superficial girl from a family of means that means to marry the most eligible bachelor in the land (the second prince). This is her life's sole purpose and all her dealings revolve around that simple single goal. One night, a notorious villian, Chicken Feathers (Ng), kills the headmaster of her school (a lecherous old man who had been preying on his female students), and severely wounds the school's matron. As it turns out the matron was a wuxia heroine, who had been chasing Chicken Feathers for years and had tracked him to that area. After a battle of epic proportions (lots of wire work as these heroes can all defy Newtonian physics; ie gravity) the matron lies near death after having crashed from the ceiling into Black Phoenix's quarters. Fearing that she may die, she transfers (exactly like a file transfer in Microsoft Windows Explorer, with the attendant graphic of pages flying from one file folder to another) all of her wuxia powers to Black Phoenix, instantly transforming her from a nail biting princess wannabe into a kung fu powerhouse. Thus, using her newly acquired martial skills to do good deeds, Black Phoenix becomes White Dragon; a Robin Hood type of heroine who steals from the wealthy and gives to the poor. As she does good she is also able to clear up her acne. Eventually confronting Chicken Feathers, she breaks her leg and he takes her to his hide-out to heal her. During that time, she discovers that he really wasn't evil at all; in fact, he's really a blind swordsman, who takes on martial assignments to rid the world of it's evil; a wuxia version of the famous blind Samurai, Zatoichi if you will. White Dragon falls in love with him. I first saw this a few years ago when it was released and had enjoyed it thoroughly. Yesterday I saw this again, but this time, I watched the English dubbed version, which added a layer of comedy that wasn't there before. In this English version the female lead's voice was so Valley-girlish that everything she said suddenly became hilarious. It just cannot be described, you have to hear it to appreciate it's effect. Audio is Cantonese Chinese, or English depending on the version you get.

Supernova [2000] Score: 7.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0134983/

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Summary: A space-faring ambulance recieves a deep space distress call to provide rescue and medical assistance from an uncharted region into which a rogue body has drifted. The rogue, formerly a deorbited moon, was the site of a mining operation long since abandoned. The CGI and special effects were spectacular throughout the entire film, conveying a sense of tightly woven claustrophobic high tech that recalls the feeling one got from Alien [1979] and it's sequels. Upon arrival the medical ship docks with a transport carrying a strange young man. A search of his cargo hold reveals that he is carrying a device of alien construct, proving once and for all that there is extraterrestrial life. But the medics soon discover that the device is actually a bio-reclaimation bomb; that is, it's purpose was to destroy all life within a given system and reclaim raw materials to re-seed that system to support life again. The designers of this weapon presumes that this would destroy potential competition from any other civilization advanced enough for space travel, and subsequently rendering their systems ripe for colonization. An insidiously ingenious and aggressive strategy that one medic offered "...whoever they are, they're as smart as God and a lot less nice." Complicating this equation is the young man who was carrying this doomsday device seems to have become something extra-human. He takes control and starts to kill off the medical personnel. Despite being severely wounded, he is able to regenerate tissue and reattached severed body parts. Using deception, the ship's doctor and captain lead him into an isolated area of the ship, where they detonate a bomb, blowing him and the alien device into space. As the ambulance ship dimension jumps away, they find out that the initial calculations were wrong. The device will not only destroy a system, but rather cause a super nova that will reach the earth in fifty one years. It would then either destroy all life there or elevate humanity to a higher level. Good sci fi with many forgivable loopholes. Audio is English

Die Hard 4: Live Free Or Die Hard [2007] Score: 8.1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337978/

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Summary: It's been almost 20 years since the first Die Hard (1988). Several others have been made, the last twelve years ago; all fairly successful. This fourth installment keeps this winning franchise alive. Despite central star Bruce Willis moving into the age range of AARP (American Association Of Retired People) membership, he is still able to roll with the punches and even throw a few back. The Die Hard series has always been a physically invested performance. This is not a movie where actors sit and read parts out loud; they have to move. Considering that he's well into his 50's, Willis nonetheless puts in a suberb and convincing performance. Willis' entire career has been wholly underrated. Hollywood seems to have typecast action only parts to him; a huge disservice both to him as an individual and to us as movie viewers. It's a real shame because I personally think that he's a genuinely great actor. Nominally a movie of a computer security white hat who turns black; John McClane's (Willis' character) mission in this one is to prevent a "Fire Sale", that is, a computer orchestrated attack on the entire functional structure of the United States. From Wall street, to the power grid, traffic control to the military, the film makes clear that everything is touched by computers and that a coordinated attack on their controls would devastate this country. Without a doubt, the movie takes severe artistic license beyond what is practical or possible to invoke a sense of rapid paced calamity. Joining forces with a young hacker (Justin Long, the Apple Computer anti-M$ ad geek), that he had just saved from permanent deletion, McClane tracks after a maniacal former head of US government computer security, (Timothy Olyphant), who has taken his skills to the dark side. Lithe eurasian beauty Maggie Q plays his felonious squeeze, high kicking her way into our hearts. The whole effort is one gigantic chase scene until the big finale, where McClane proves once and for all that he is willing to go through anything to get at the bad guy. Leave the higher order neurons at home and just bring all the macho wannabe brain dead cells. Audio is English

盲井 MángJǐng aka Blind Shaft Score: 9.2
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0351299/

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Summary: A blistering indictment of the criminal harshness of the Chinese coal mining industry, this movie itself, from setting to plot vehicle, is based on real life events that have already been reported in China. About seven years ago, eleven members of a gang was sentenced to death for doing exactly what this movie portrays. First time director 李杨 Li Yang, has certainly made a meaningful film; garnering banishment by the PRC government with his debut about China's loss of humanity in it's blind rush down the road to economic success. Two murderous itinerant grifters, skim and survive off the systemic corruption that is rural China, until their next victim, whose plain innocence causes one to have a change of heart. Released in 2003, the movie reveals plainly that showcase cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, GuangZhou, et cetera; belie the truth behind real China. The bulk of the country is still filled with clod breaking uneducated masses so desperate for jobs that they literally risk their lives. Corruption is of such endemic proportions, it's regarded as an everyday fact of life and factored as a routine business expense. Money and capitalism are lauded in scathing new lyrics replacing those from old pro-socialism songs and sung by cynical prostitutes even in backwater towns. Simple plot of murdering co-workers, making it appear to be a work site accident, pretending to be the victim's relatives and demanding compensation from the bosses of the unregulated coal mine, is the thrust of this movie. The movie's plot method may seem implausible except that it's based on real life with only the names being different. Director Li and his crew actually filmed within dangerous unlicensed Chinese mines around the Hebei-Shaanxi area, used many locals as actors, and was threatened repeatedly by mine bosses and local officials during the filming. Audio is Chinese

BBC news story of the original crime that the movie portrays: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/797400.stm

La Cité Des Enfants Perdus [1995] aka The City Of Lost Children Score: 9.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112682/

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Summary: Dark yet utterly beautiful world from this awesome French fantasy about the magic in childrens' dreams. The unconventional directorial combination of Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet worked wonders, as it had previously for Delicatessen [1991] their squeaking bedspring black comedy about post apocalyptic food shortages. Jeunet went on to direct Amélie [2001], and Caro too, is expected to present Dante 01, a sci-fi thriller that is, in many ways, thematically similar to this movie. This movie proved so popular that it was even made into a computer game. A brilliant but totally deranged scientist who is unable to dream kidnaps children and attempts to extract their dreams. Except that once he gets a hold of the kids, they all experience worthless nightmares. Miette (Judith Vittet), a ten year old girl who needs to steal for her supper a la Dickens, falls under the umbrage of One (Ron Perlman), a carnival strongman with a strong sense of empathy. Thrown together through a cascade of unlikely occurences, they endeavor to undo the evil that has been done. A totally warped and claustrophobic post industrial warren of fantastic comic book backdrops that visually beckons in a way that very few movies can. This movie is simply stunning and a joy to watch. Audio is French

Them! [1954] Score: 8.3
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047573/

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Summary: "Look's like another 914..." Classic atomic age horror that gripped the movies of yesteryear. The unknown and incalculable effects that atomic radiation would have on the natural world has long been the basis of imaginative hysteria. Harmless creatures suddenly transformed into hideous unstoppable killers by residual radiation from atomic weapons tests have been a Hollywood staple for years. Them! happens to be the most famous of that lot, and was also one of tinseltown's first giant bugs film. In this case, irradiated picnic pests threaten to ruin more than just mankind's basket lunch. Interestingly, production started with the intention of making a 3D color film; but owing to equipment failure during filming, the idea was scrapped and the movie remained black and white. However, since the opening was already shot in color, Warner Brothers decided to keep the red lettering to improve the title's visual impact. It's the only moment of color in the entire film. A tale of the usual denizen of formicary, that is, the common ant. Found to have grown to twelve feet in length, and to have become carnivorous; bodies start to pile up as it's soon learned that those super sized creatures are primed to take over the world. A young and almost unrecognizable Leonard Nimoy, (Star Trek's unflappable Mr. Spock) handles an illogical telex message, while legendary thespian iron-man James Whitmore plays a New Mexico State cop. For those that don't know, he first debuted in the 1940's and at last count, is still going strong with an appearance in C.S.I. this year (S7E21). Hmm... must be something in that Miracle Grow stuff that he sells. Audio is English

Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade [1989] Score: 8.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097576/

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Summary: The Saturday Serial was the sole focus of many an imaginative young mind during the mid 1900's. With them, adolescent boys vicariously lived out their hero fantasies; traveling to far off exotic locales, rescuing damsels in distress, and along the way punching out a bad guy or two even. When the first of these Indiana Jones films, (Raiders Of The Lost Ark [1981]) hit the screen, it proved a wild success. This burnishing the creative team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who then promised Paramount Pictures a total of five films. Temple Of Doom [1984] and The Last Crusade [1989] quickly followed. But because of various reasons the final two remaining films have sadly lanquished nearly two decades (the fourth installment is reportedly scheduled for a 2008 release). Regardless, the trio thus far have always been crowd pleasers, even for those of us that have seen them multiple times. I can't recall ever turning off a television or changing the channel if one of these films happens to be playing, despite having seen them many times already. They're that good. Harrison Ford was the perfect choice for the role of Indiana Jones and in this episode, he's up against Nazis who are looking to steal the Holy Grail (for you non-christians, that's the cup that Jesus Christ drank from in the last supper) which will give the user eternal life. The stunts are great and believable. That is, they're good but not so fantastic as to destroy your suspension of disbelief. You watch and feel that you could have done exactly the same thing if that was you on the screen. This is the Saturday Serial formula and it still works. One scene location that I loved was inclusion of the Nabataean's Lost City of Stone in Petra, Jordan. I had been lucky enough (through the courtesy of Uncle Sam) to have actually traveled to Jordan and rode through that same narrow mountain pass on horseback. Watching the film I was instantly filled with the same sense of quiet awe and wonderment that I had felt then, as the ancient ruin of the Nabataean treasury, glimpsed beyond the high walls of the pass, slowly came into view. Audio is English

Black Sheep [2007] Score: 7.9
http://imdb.com/title/tt0779982/

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Summary: New Zealand has been making noticable inroads into the film industry, and Black Sheep is a clear example of why. Humorous, dark, and wholly entertaining in a way that is both fresh as well as familiar. Not to be mistaken for a 1996 movie of the same name, just imagine Shaun Of The Dead [2004], any werewolf movie, and 28 Days Later [2002], all rolled into one, and you'll have a sense of writer-director Jonathan King's Black Sheep. Though horror comedy is nothing new (eg. Abbott & Costello Meets Frankenstein [1948]), the genre seemed to be in decline for many years. Since Shaun Of The Dead however, I'm happy to say that these films have made a comeback and Black Sheep will certainly raise the bar. Story of advanced animal husbandry gone wrong, a scientist genetically manipulates sheep in order to transform New Zealand's well stocked ovine population into better lamb chops. The story is a well worn one of naturalist greenie extremists doing battle against monied corporate interests; their interference inadvertantly being the catalyst in a cascade of unplanned events that lead to death and mass destruction. While the visual and horror techniques are formulaic, King manages to pull them off nicely. I was laughing and jumping at all the right moments. Gore is not overly done and special effects competently stands within the superior arena. Black comedy along with sight gags irregularly thrown into the mix kept me off balance and never knowing what to expect. This was a good pop-corn waster. My advice is, do try to see this flick, but I would pass on the mountain oysters. Audio is English

Blanche-Neige La Suite [2007] aka Snow White The Sequel Score: 2.1
http://imdb.com/title/tt0922366/

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Summary: The word fiasco is from the French, meaning failure. In this case, Blanche-Neige La Suite certainly is French, as well as a fiasco. This was supposed to have been an erotic animation comedy that details the life of Snow White and the Prince as they lived "happily ever after..." However, there's little in terms of tittilation; it's comedy decidely unpolished and laughably off target with animations that were abjectly pedestrian. As Snow White settles into her innocent housewife lifestyle (along with the Seven Dwarves that unsuccessfully make their move on her), her Prince Charming winds up bedding Cinderella, the Fairy God-Mother, and almost Sleeping Beauty too. Despite the potential for sexual mayhem, there is surprisingly little in terms of eroticism here, ...and this was a French movie! While I didn't expect anything along the overt graphic sexual depictions like those of the Urotsukidōji series, this film didn't even come close to an R rating. If you're watching from the sex angle, forget it; there isn't even enough to excite a young adolescent male with raging hormones. If you're watching from the perspective of seeing a good funny cartoon, ditto... forget about it, the artwork and jokes are lame beyond belief. If you're watching from your couch, roll over and just forget about it. Audio is English

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them, please add your comments. ;)
Last edited by ralphrepo on Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:18 pm

Edited Thread Material 070928 Migrated From Old Site:

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

Blood Rayne [2005] Score: 5.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383222/

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Summary: Anemic but mildly entertaining vampires. German director Uwe Boll's story of a computer game (Blood Rayne; developer Terminal Velocity) character, Rayne. Played by a moderately hefty Kristanna Sommer Løken, she is supposedly a Dhampir; or product of a vampire-human unholy union (her mother was raped by a vampire). As a half breed vampire, she still needs blood but is rather casual about it. It doesn't need to be human, any blood will do (goat, rat, etc). She is also immune to many things that vampires won't tolerate (eg. crucifixes). And, she is also able to spot vampiric pretenders in human guise. Rayne is on a mission to avenge her mother's murder at the hands of her father, king of the vampires Kagan (Ben Kingsly, who surprisingly seemed to have slept through this movie). Kagan gets wind of her whereabouts and has sent agents to kidnap or kill her. Into the fray enters the Brimstone Society; an order of secret vampire killers that holds the thin line against the darkness. Members of Brimstone help Rayne to overcome her enemies, and ultimately, Kagan. Other than the names of characters, the movie takes severe license and isn't anything remotely like the game. To be fair, Løken does a decent job here. A former fashion model, she also claims a black belt in Israeli kung fu (Krav Maga), and is veteran of more fantasy game or comic book hero type movie roles than you can shake a stick at (Taja, Mortal Kombat Conquest [1998], T-X, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003], Brunhild, Ring of the Nibelungs [2004], Jane Painkiller Jane [2007], Elora, In the Name of the King [Planned for 2008]). So in essence, she certainly has the martial and theatrical pedigree for the role. However, after seeing a much slimmer, quicker, lithe and sexy vamp (Kate Beckinsale's Selene) in Underworld [2003], one has to wonder if Løken was "right" for the part. And throwing in a gratuitous sex (you get to see her saggy t.its) scene is usually director sign language for "help me..." Points off too, for cheesy special FX and gore which had "budget" in neon all over it. Uwe Boll raised eyebrows too as the movie's naked lady extras were reportedly cast from actual prostitutes and not real, hence more costly, actresses. Final analysis? The sequel was much better. Audio is English

Transformers [2007] Score: 7.8
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418279/

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Summary: In 1923, Two brothers, Henry and Helal Hassenfeld, founded a textile company. Over time, their company expanded horizons to encompass school supplies and toys, including the now famous Mr Potato Head, and the best selling board game of all time, Monopoly. Later, with the company name truncated to Hasbro, they produced a line of toys in 1984 called Transformers. The entry of this toy line continued to demonstrate why Hasbro remains one of the world's smartest toy companies. In the subsequent quarter century, Hasbro has parlayed their Transformer product line into several television shows, comic books, and now a major motion picture. For those that never played with such toys or don't know of their allure; these are simple cast iron model cars and trucks, like the ones that have sold for years in toy stores. But with the inclusion of a new novel feature; the toys have a secret system of internal interconnected levers, joints, and pivots, allowing each to be twisted and pulled into another form, in this case, a robotic looking entity. Hence, each model can transform into something else; ie a Transformer. Simplistically, it was a value as it was two toys in one. At another level, this was a remarkably perceptive step into the psyche of children who wanted to live heroic dreams, of being able to transform one's self into something else. It's no wonder that it has done so well. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Michael Bay, this film is a CGI tour de force, with enough special effects and pyrotechnics to keep the Dad who brings the kids from being bored. Heck, as a child "Dad" may have even played with those toys himself. As for the movie? Simple fantasy story of a teenage boy and his girl who gets caught up in a galactic good versus evil scenario where the fate of the entire world, improbable as it is, rests in his hands. Mathew Broderick saved the world in Wargames [1983], now it's Shia LaBeouf's turn. No need to understand nor bring a thinking cap; see it for the sheer fun of it. Audio is English

桃花泣血記 Tao Hua Qi Xue Ji [1931] aka Peach Blossom Weeps Tears Of Blood, or The Peach Blossom Girl Score: 9.8
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192665/

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Summary: China's greatest silent film actress, 阮玲玉 Ruǎn Língyù, often referred to as an "Asian Greta Garbo" appears in this rare black and white Chinese silent social commentary classic from then famous Lianhu Film Company of prewar Shanghai. Ruǎn Língyù played parts that mainly dealt with social upheavals and societal injustices, and became a resonant cultural icon with the sentiments of the average long suffering masses. Defined as a "leftist" leaning actress, Ruǎn Língyù sadly succumbed to suicide at the age of 25, with China suffering the loss of a true national treasure. A 1992 film starring 張曼玉 Maggie Cheung ManYuk, entitled Centre Stage, retells the story of her brief, but nonetheless intense life. The film follows a young and naive girl as she is led down a path of spiritual corruption and moral bankruptcy by a rich landowner's son; a not so subtle allegorical dig against the then ruling Koumingtang government in China and it's supporters. A newly planted peach tree becomes the metaphor indicator for our character, who loses her innocence and eventually her life. Remarkable in it's use of simple natural rural imagery which convey a powerful passion for the Chinese countryside that is rarely seen within early films. This film, which has been digitally restored, is usually shown with a modern music sound track. The dialogue is provided by the original Chinese intertitles.

Resident Evil 3 Extinction Score: 7.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432021/

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Summary: What can I say? The franchise lives on in this luke warm sequel to the viral bust out from Raccoon City. The world is decimated. Imagine 28 days, ...weeks, ...whatever; the earth is now a desert wasteland with zombies crawling all over the place while remnants of mankind scavenge for food and supplies (stop me if you've heard this story already). Our intrepid genetically engineered heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich), still has the moves even if the rest of the film is starting to look like a Night of the Living Dead convention in Vegas. Also new is that Alice has seemed to have gained psionic powers now, using them like shields a la Sue Storm of The Fantastic Four [2005]. But, needless to say, despite the world being at an end, corporate evil lives on. In secret bases around the world, the Umbrella Organization, who started this whole mess to being with, is still messing with the remainder of mankind, and in particular, Alice. Apparently, her pure genome is what they need to complete their research with the idea that it may help turn the viral zombies back to normal. At any rate, I had the satisfaction knowing that though they had destroyed the world, they destroyed all their customers too, so they're just as broke as everyone else. This sequel is supposedely the final installment of the series, however the movie leaves room for more story if someone decides to change their mind. Audio is English

BTW, it may be a sign of the times but three of the four films talked about here originated as toys or games. If you ask me civilization peaked and is now on the downslope.

Fahrenheit 451 [1966] Score: 10
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060390/

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Summary: The title of this movie is a techno tidbit from the movie, in which books are said to begin burning at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. Mid twentieth century classic "what if" about intellectualism, freedom, repression and social controls. Written by longtime sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury, the story details how a “fireman” (that is, a government book burner), discovers value in those very books he’s sent to destroy. Soon, he begins to secretly salvage them and read, exposing himself to the many different and “dangerous” ideas that his government has hidden from him. Found out, he becomes a fugitive. Audio is English

Ghosts Of Mars [2001] Score 8.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0228333/

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Summary: I've always love horror films and science fiction films. Take both, roll it together under the direction of legendary horror honcho John Carpenter and I know I’m in for a treat. This movie doesn’t disappoint. Lots of shrieks, things that go bump and things that go boom. Story of a future mining colony on Mars that inadvertently unleashes a buried evil which time had forgotten. Appearing in the form of a red mist that possesses some humans, it will render them murderously violent and insane. Those afflicted mutilate themselves and savage any others that were as yet unaffected by the mist. Victims are beheaded, dismembered, and just generally treated very badly. Stumbling into this madness is Police Lieutenant Melanie Ballard (played by leggy former fashion model Natasha Henstridge), who starts the movie on a simple prisoner transfer mission. She and her small unit walk into a Martian mining town that had been overrun by a possessed army and must now fight their way back out. Along the way, the prisoner she’s been detailed to escort back for trial, Desolation Williams (Ice Cube), joins forces to fight for the greater good and survival. Audio is English

The Motel [2005] Score 7.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436607/

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Summary: I actually saw this movie about two years ago and remembered being delighted by it. Trolling the newsgroups and seeing that it had been uploaded again, I downloaded and watched it once more; its still good. Heart warming story of a young Chinese boy coming of age somewhere in Podunk, U.S.A. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, “Podunk,” is described by Webster’s Dictionary as “a small, unimportant, and isolated town.” In short, a place where no one ever wants to go to; should one ever have the misfortune of finding oneself, to leave as soon as possible. In this dismal setting we find Ernest Chan, a thirteen year old boy discovering puberty. What I found interesting about this was that the character being Chinese had almost no bearing on the story. That is, the character could easily have been white, black, or latino, and from any culture. He just happened to be Chinese. To me personally, it’s a testament of mass media finally coming to a point of maturation in being able to recognize Asian actors, as actors, without the Asian or Chinese pretexts. Best line in the movie: “If it gets hard, then that means you love me…” Had me shaking my head and chuckling for hours. Audio is English and (rarely) Cantonese Chinese.

Wild Hogs [2007] Score: 7.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486946/

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Summary: Improbable and lighthearted comedy involving four middle aged men attempting to escape the mediocrity that had become their lives. Fed up with the blandness of their existence and eager to recapture the adventure and essence of their youth; they get on motorcycles and embark on a road trip to California. Veteran actors Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy are all old hands at their craft. It is quiet testament to their superior acting skills and professionalism that they work so well together in the unlikely ensemble of Wild Hogs. As the miles roll by, they eventually happen upon some "real" bikers who take a dim view of their venue's use as a carthartic for "Poser" mid life crises. After being cheated and robbed of one of their motorcycles and wanting to stand up for themselves, they accidentally go overboard and end up burning down the biker gang's hang out. Trapped in a small town that had befriended them, they stand their ground against the revenge seeking gang in order to protect the townsfolk. Despite the recipe for violent blood letting, the ending is more fluffy Disney gloss over than real gang banging. After the ending, the post production Extreme Makeover: Home Edition snippet is hilarious. Audio is English

Dragon Wars [2007] aka D-War Score: 5.0
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372873/

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Summary: Korean culture is absolutely wonderful; but that doesn't mean that Korean legends should freely apply to later generations of foreigners in foreign lands. It would be as ridiculous as taking ancient American Indian legends and insisting on their relevance to modern day Koreans in Korea. I suspect what the producers really wanted was to make a commercial Korean media venture also marketable in the US. Hence, they needed American actors and an American "angle" to the story. Sorry, but something was lost in the translation. Except for acting veteran Robert Forster (whose role was nothing more than a cameo), casting from a "B" list of unnotable nobodies doesn't help the effort either. Jason Behr, despite regular appearances on US television (Dawson's Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell) for more than a decade, has remained a relative unknown. He plays the lead as Ethan, an American reporter nee reincarnated Korean mystical bodyguard. In his previous incarnation half a millenium ago, he blew his mission by falling in love with his charge (that he was assigned to protect) instead of delivering her to some good snake god who needed her to ascend to dragonhood. The star crossed lovers leap to their deaths to avoid a bad snake god, who coincidentally, had wanted the girl too. Now fast forward 500 years from the yesteryear Land of Morning Calm to a modern land of nervous breakdowns. Amanda Brooks (another summa cum laude of unnoticed university) plays Sarah, Ethan's reincarnated lover, who doesn't yet know what happening but feels the need to stick Korean mystical talismans all over her room in order to ward off an impending sense of doom. It seems that hints of dragon awakenings have been reported and the FBI is sent to investigate. As a matter of fact, they even have a special unit devoted to the scheduled return of the dragons as had been foretold by the old Korean legend. I suppose these must be the fellas from the K-Files; sure wish they had Mulder and Scully instead. A blatant rip off from Attack of the Clones doesn't help; one scene's futuristic artillery barrage appears to have walked right off the set of Star Wars. Actor Director 심형래 Hyung-rae Shim (director of 1999 remake of Yonggary, itself a 1967 Korean rip-off of Godzilla) who wrote the original story D-War, had reportedly spent three years and over $30 million doing the CGI, which is admittedly fantastic. I gave it points simply because the CGI looked so good; without which, I probably would have rated this fiasco a 2 or 3 (or about the same as the lame television time filler programs usually found on the Sci-Fi Channel). It a real shame to see such superior special effects wasted on what is essentially a horrible story. Audio is English

Nanking [2007] Score: 9.5
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0893356/

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Summary: Documentary that is compassionate yet hard hitting in historical terms. The subject is the infamous and often disputed World War Two war crimes of the Imperial Japanese Army during their 1937 siege and subsequent occupation of Nanjing (then called Nanking), the former capital of the Republic of China. Using contemporary actors to portray long dead but neutral foreigners actually there at the event, and to read aloud from their long forgotten private correspondence and journal entries, this film offers a powerful rebuttal against post war denialists or revisionists (whose claims insist that reports of massacres in Nanking were exaggerated or even fabricated). In essence, the written documentation by those that were there, who witnessed and lived through the event; but who's own voices have long since been mute, are given life again; and with an urgency that cannot be fully appreciated by reading silently from a printed page. Those words, their sounds, their syllables; at once, becoming all the more resonant and resolute. Many people mistakenly believe that this movie is based on late author Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II [1997]. According to Ted Leonsis, the AOL chairman who personally started this project, he read her best selling work and was so moved by it that it prompted him to personally investigate the matter further. Upon confirming the salient points of the event, he then decided to make his own documentary about the massacre; the story of neutral westerners who heroically created a "safety zone" against the marauding IJA soldiers which effectively saved hundreds of thousand of lives. So while Chang's book may have planted the seed of an idea, this entire movie, save the subject matter, had nothing to do with her book. The only acknowledgment of Chang's work was a simple ending dedication to her memory, for bringing renewed attention to an event that is rapidly fading from public knowledge. And indeed she has; her name has become a lightening rod of controversy within Japanese nationalist circles, to a point where just the mention of it would simply end a conversation, or worse. Perhaps that is the best epithet for any author with a cause celebre, that is, to have such a profound effect on your naysayers. In an interesting bit of corroboration, and perhaps this film's most damning evidence value, were the post war filmed accounts of former IJA soldiers (now in their later years), who clearly recall their participation in those killings. It is hard to remain dispassionate as each openly and chillingly discusses the logistics of mass murder or rape. One has to ponder the motivation for these former IJA soldiers; that is, why do they feel compelled to speak out now? Perhaps as one nears the twilight of one's own existence, there's an urgency to lay personal demons to rest? Guilt, I suppose, can be a very poor companion in the afterlife. Also, from what I understand (via other previous press readings), IJA veterans revealing past misdeeds did so at huge personal cost; some have been personally threatened, while others have had family members estranged. Interspersed are also accounts from Chinese victims or their family members, who retell gripping personal trajedies that were simply horrific. The film makes ample use of archival footage, including some that had to be smuggled out of then Japanese occupied China. Gut wrenchingly graphic at times and admittedly very difficult to watch, it is nonetheless a film that I agree everyone should see. Audio is mostly English, with Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them; please add your comments. ;)
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:09 pm

Edited Thread Material 071206 Migrated From Old Site:

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

Shadow Company [2006] Score 8.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0762133/

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Summary: Illuminating documentary on the explosive expansion of the international mercenary industry, owing primarily to a continuing war in Iraq. What used to be considered a nasty sub rosa business that no western government wanted to be openly associated with, has now gain the veneer of corporate legitimacy. The film tracks the nascent and desperate beginnings of the modern soldier for hire from the single heyday company called Executive Solutions (which had various successes and misadventures on the African continent over the last few decades), to the over twenty thousand armed civilian contracters that work in Iraq and around the world today. Insightful, graphic (at times grotesquely so), and offering both supportive and contrarian arguments for this commercial martial phenomenon. Warning: contains actual footage of four American contracters that were ambushed, killed and who's bodies were then hung and burned from a bridge. This incident prompted the subsequent American attack on Fallujah, Iraq.

Bronenosets Potyomkin [1925] aka The Battleship Potemkin Score: 9.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015648/

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[Pt1] [Pt2]
Entire movie; poor visual quality but you get to watch the whole film right now

Summary: Mercurial Russian director Сергей Михайлович Эйзенштейн Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein's masterpiece that lives on in fame which its maker found so elusive. Acknowledged to be one of the most politically brilliant and influential films of the early 1900's, Battleship Potemkin was groundbreaking. The first film to use a camera in a bystander perspective (instead of filiming of events on stage), it is an overly dramatic retelling of a historic mutiny that had occured on board one of Tsar Nicholas' imperial navy ships; one facet in a series of crucial events in 1905 that signaled the beginning of the end of Romanov dynastic rule. The original mutiny perhaps provided the spark, while the retelling of it poured the oil. A society already breaking beneath the yoke of an oppressive, unresponsive and brutal tsarist government ensured an ample supply of dried tinder. Russia of the early 1900's was a nation on the verge of great and bloody change. Supposedly a true story of part of a ship's complement refusing to eat rotten meat, their ordered punishment (execution) so enraged the rest of the crew that it spontaneously provoked a mutiny. Historically however, a fleet wide mutiny was already planned by communist agitators serving within the Imperial Navy's Black Sea Fleet. This fleet wide mutiny, scheduled to occur at around the same time, leads many historians to suggest that the crew of the Potemkin, at sea on firing maneuvers (and out of radio range), may have actually mixed up their dates and thus prematurely jumped the gun ahead of fellow conspirators. The actual history and the subsequent movie's version became so intermixed that even historian's are hard pressed to arrive at what was the reality of the event. Eisenstein wanted to experiment with story telling through a series of montages, set and shown in such a way that it would sway an audience's emotions. Noted nazi opinion meister Joseph Goebbels alledgedly called Potemkin a film without equal, immediately recognizing its huge potential as a valuable propaganda weapon. In its most classic scene, when the peasants of Odessa come out to support the crew of the Potemkin, Tsarist troops opened fire and massacred hundreds of fleeing peasants on the Steps of Odessa. A peasant woman, shot and in her dying act, is seen losing her baby carriage down the steps into the crowd; audiences came away outraged at the Tsarist regime. As testament to the lasting power of propaganda, this "Massacre on the Odessa Steps" is remembered by average Russians today as justification for revolution against the Tsar, despite the fact that it was only a scene in this movie; it never happened. Silent film, the version I saw was remastered with English hard subbing for the original Russian intertitles.

Note, if anyone wants a free copy of this film (as it is public domain) it is available here: http://www.archive.org/details/BattleshipPotemkin

Manticore [2005] Score: 3.9
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417943/

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Summary: A manticore is a mythical chimera with origins from ancient Persia. Grotesquely human looking head with three rows of razor sharp teeth, it had a red body of a winged lion with a tail of either a dragon or scorpion (depending on the source material), and was so dangerous a carnivore that even knights in shining armor held the beast in very serious regard. Naturally, those of you well versed in mythology (or any of the various games that use Dungeon & Dragons references) were already privy to this. But what you didn't know was that a manticore has also become the latest adversary against US forces in Iraq; at least according to the premise of this SciFi Channel TV movie. Ever since Robert Beltran lost his best paying gig as the well tattooed Commander Chakotay (when TV series Star Trek Voyager end gamed), it seems he's back to doing schlocky Night Of The Comet [1984] type desperado fare, waiting for his next real acting job. Well, Manticore certainly isn't it. Also, though the US Army has been hurting for vehicles, and old Bulgarian BTR-60 armored personnel carriers may slightly resemble the new US Stryker IAV from a distance (say, at about 30 kilometers); I find the ersatz US hardware used here a bit of a stretch. Perhaps I spent too much in my youth studying warsaw pact armor vehicle flash cards back when that meant something. And sending out one lone APC into the boonies by itself? They would have been dead before traveling 500 meters outside their gate if they were really in Iraq. Even a brassy well built redhead reporter in a tightfitting low cut top (which wouldn't survive in Muslim Iraq either) can't save this "snafu" (er... that's military talk, meaning: Situation Normal, All F.ucked Up). From ridiculous plot to bad acting to budget quality CGI and props on the cheap, this venture needs to be tractor beamed back to the Delta Quadrant where it can be assimilated by the Borg (though it may well destroy the collective). And no, Jeri Ryan ain't in this one... insistence is futile... Audio is English

The Notorious Bettie Page [2005] Score: 7.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404802/

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Summary: Bettie Page is probably the world's first and best known bondage model. In a day when such ideas of physical restraint for sexual purposes was considered illegal (circa 1950's), her name became synonymous with the underground magazines and pictures of tying people up. Portrayed fairly convincingly by Gretchen Mol, the story follows from her humble backwoods Tennessee beginnings (barely hinting at the sexual abuse she had suffered as a child), her failed marriage, her attempts at acting, and ultimately her reborn Christian faith. Along the way, she fills her time with modeling jobs to make ends meet. It was this ad hoc modeling career that eventually rocketed her to fame and subsequent notoriety. The film is able to show us a Bettie that is as much a victim of the opportunists around her as she is of her own naivete; blithely going along with things that most people would be given pause to participate in. Mol plays Bettie with a natural innocence that is at once refreshingly charming but also distressingly worrisome. Perhaps that was part of the Bettie Page allure. Audio is English

F U C K [2005] Score: 9.1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486585/

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Summary: Enlightening documentary on the "F" word by director/producer Steve Anderson, regarding its origins and significance. Fun facts: that the word f.uck first appeared in print in the 1400's; that famous poets like Robert Burns have used it, and even notables like Vice President Cheney were rumored to have uttered it on occasion. Regardless of how you personally feel about the word and the proper (or improper) usage there of, the film will amply present both points of view. Using a wide variety of known people from all walks of life, they give their take on how they personally feel about the word, and what is at stake; the idea of full freedom of speech or does government have the right to abridge words that it considers illegal in order to protect the public at large. Lighthearted and comical at times, it is nonetheless a very serious and exhaustive debate of the "F" word and its impact on society in general. Audio is English

If anyone has seen these films too, or just want to talk about them, please add your comments. ;)
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week... (From Old Site)

Post by ralphrepo » Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:14 pm

singapore wrote:Looks like these movie are nice to watch.

fe-dif wrote:Have just seen The curse of golden flower recently and it was not what I expected. Well, nice and colourful pictures but expected more action scenes in it. As it was a Zhang Yimou movie I should have expected not more than that...

kenzzer62 wrote:damn most of these movies i havent seen yet. seems like itz a must see.

Maomao wrote:hope that are good film


;) As far as I'm concerned, a movie doesn't necessarily need to be "good" in order for it to be watchable. I rather see something simply interesting, or even "bad" if it does the job of starting an interesting conversation about movies, film making, acting, or direction; or perhaps some political or artistic motivation. The whole of the entertainment medium (for me at least) is based on that. Like someone once said, "it doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they're talking about you..." or something along those lines. That to me is a lot more meaningful than "wow, you have to see this great movie... it was awesome, et cetera ad infinitum et nauseam."
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week

Post by ralphrepo » Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:31 pm

:idea: Dear Participants, I took the liberty of transferring your comments into this original thread for better continuity of the subject matter. Please ignore the other duplicate thread and post all your future responses here instead. Thanks for your understanding.
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Re: Movies I Have Seen This Week

Post by ralphrepo » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:04 am

Here's a listing of some good and or bad stuff that I have personally seen this week (WARNING: MILD or COMPLETE SPOILERS)

明日への遺言 Ashita e no yuigon [2007] aka Best Wishes For Tomorrow Score: 2.2
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1052343/

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Trailer in Japanese audio only

Summary Having some, but not an extensive knowledge of the post WW2 Japan war crime trials, I had looked forward to learning more of the criminality of the Imperial Japanese Army during the war and thought this film would broaden that education. Boy, was I ever mistaken. As this film wound on, it became starkly clear that this was a rather obvious attempt towards exonerating the IJA, and hence Japan, of any war crime culpability. Directed by 小泉堯史 Koizumi Takashi (a well known Akira Kurosawa friend and understudy), the movie makes no bones about it. From the beginning it sets the stage in this framework with a narrative stating that "indiscriminate bombing of civilians is considered a war crime." That becomes the crucial platform upon which this entire propaganda piece rests. It then show historical film footage of fire bombing victims in all their nasty glory.

The premise of this particular case is that a Japanese general, Tasuku Okada, tremendously well played here by veteran 藤田まこと Fujita Makoto, stood accused of ordering the summary execution of thirty eight captured American airmen without following proper legal procedures. These standards were the Japanese wartime version of military justice, to ensure that an accused had some semblance of jurisprudence to oversee the fairness of how they were judged and the need (or not) for their punishment. By skirting these legal proceedings, Okada was accused of executing the captured Americans without due process as legally required by law. That sounds simple enough, like a straight forward law book case, right? Except that these captured American airmen should never have been on trial in the first place. So if they shouldn't have been on trial, how could they get the death penalty then? That in a nutshell, is the basis of this revisionist film; to turn the tables and make the Americans the "real" war criminals instead of the Imperial Japanese Army. The movie proffers that by fire bombing Japanese cities, the Americans airmen themselves were war criminals, and upon their capture, didn't become prisoners of war, but rather became war crime suspects instead. This sort of arbitrary reassignment of the status of captured soldiers was in direct violation of Geneva convention guidelines. The movie does rightfully raise some philosophical questions; whether the fire bombing and ultimately atomic bombings of Japan should be categorized as war crimes. But in attempting to use the Okada ordered executions as a springboard into this discussion, the movie does the issue a huge disservice. The indiscriminate fire bombings are a legitimate war crime issue on their own and can be critically considered without any attempts to exonerate Okada. By tying the two together, the movie actually lessens the importance of the bombing issue debate.

But that doesn't stop this movie. Proceding under the guise that the captured American airmen really could be rightfully subjected to criminal trial, Okada is thus accused of ordering their execution but without the benefit of such a trial. Okada, and a parade of witnesses, then come forth with a litany of unchallenged accusations that the Americans themselves, were the true war criminals. Using standard emotional tear jerker fare of orphanage and defenseless civilians being bombed and strafed, these witnesses lay bare the brutality of the American airmen. Even a captured radio operator was considered to have acted in concert and was deemed to be just as culpable as the rest. Suppose for a second that this was all OK and allowable under international law, Okada then orders the execution of these men without benefit of trial. His reasons? The trial needs were "too complicated and time consuming" and they didn't have time because they were being incessantly bombed by... you guessed it, those brutal war criminal Americans. The film never really goes into why the legal procedure was considered too complicated, it's just expected of the audience to accept this as immutable fact.

Thereafter, Okada's character motivation takes a turn from his own active legal defense to that of resigned death row inmate; his willingly accepted punishment for not following exact procedures in executing the American POWs. He alone accepted full responsibility for the executions, which at the time was uniquely rare for any Japanese officer to do. Okada, by doing so, became a hero as he successfully shielded his men from full punishment (despite the then prevailing opinion that "just following orders" was not considered a defense if you knew that such orders were illegal). During the end of the trial, when asked how could a lowly aircrew be expected to decide what to bomb, that they were in fact only acting on orders; who then should be ultimately held responsible for such a war crime, Okada looks at the portrait of US president Roosevelt hanging over the court. The opinion thus, is that the American government itself was the guilty party, but since they couldn't get at the US president, the captured aircrews would have to pay. Inotherwords, he is willing to execute the subordinates of his enemies while appealing for mercy of his own troops with equally bloody hands. And for that, he's thought of as a hero. Okada then becomes a prisoner teacher and jail house idol, imparting wisdom to other death row inmates before he walks his last mile into sainthood. What a crock.

Aside from the attempt to rewrite historical law, the movie unsubtly and repeatedly paints the Americans as being crudely insensitive and culturally uneducated. Okada is seen shiatsu massaging a fellow inmate when the uncouth American prison guards tell him "times up" and to stop. He indignantly tells the guards, "I need five more minutes" with the implied idea that they (the Americans) were too stupid to know any better. What next? Okada becomes prison warden? Who is running the show here? Well, according to this movie, Okada is. To most Americans beheading is considered a particularly horrific and especially gruesome way to die. The movie points out that to Japanese, this is considered an honorable way to die; inotherwords, "we're not mutilating you, we're honoring you." In another glaringly pro-Okada example, we're shown a cozy docket-side Okada family scene with smarmy music to boot, and just when you're getting drawn into it, is suddenly and jarringly interrupted by the American continuation of court proceedings; real subtle (I'm being sarcastic here). And the Okada family? If there was ever a picture perfect Japanese family, it would be them. Except that their patriarch is a mass murderer, and we should never forget that. Audio is Japanese & English

If anyone has seen these films too, or even if you didn't but want to talk about them, then please add your comments. ;)
Last edited by ralphrepo on Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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