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What MOVIE(s) have you been....seeing? watching?

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30 May 2020 22:48 - 30 May 2020 22:48 #310817 by Shellhead
Just watched Count Dracula (1970). It's noteworthy for two reasons: it was a serious attempt to faithfully translate the novel Dracula into a movie, and Christopher Lee. For a movie filmed in 1970, Count Dracula is okay. The cinematography is decent, the sets and costumes all look good, and the story movies along at a good pace. But the movie is desperate to cram the whole book into 97 minutes, so too many scenes feel sketchy and underdeveloped. The movie also relies even more heavily than the book on vast coincidences, and Jonathan Harker's rapid transit from the Balkans to London might as well have been via teleportation. Several of the actors are quite attractive, but Christopher Lee dominates his every scene with his uncanny presence.
Last edit: 30 May 2020 22:48 by Shellhead.

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30 May 2020 23:55 #310818 by Michael Barnes
Oh yes, the Jess Franco film...it’s surprisingly good. Lee claimed it was the best Dracula he ever was, and it is a better performance than we see even in the best Hammer productions. And it’s the rare Dracula that pays attention to the fact that he is mustachioed one the book. It’s a very good one- and at the time it was the only Dracula film to try to be more faithful to the novel.

Other Jess Franco films are...well, watch Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein or The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein...he was just all over the place. Mostly Eurosleaze trash and soft core, but occasionally he’s do something interesting. There’s a bit I love in Dracula: Prisoner of Frankenstein where a vampire is identified by the silhouette of a bat in their pupil. And they get staked through the eye.
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01 Jun 2020 12:29 #310838 by jason10mm
Underwater a long shelved (since 2017 I think) aquatic horror movie with Kirsten Stewart that got a release last fall IIRC. This is a super tight 90 minute adventure, almost all non essential moments are cut so it pretty much starts at 60 mph and only accelerates to 120.

It is a love story to The Abyss, Leviathan, and Deep Star Six. Initially it is hard to say where it will even go. Psychological horror, pure disaster, monsters, mutants, or aliens? It does sorta make a choice but because it has been cut to the bone it leaves more questions than it answers.

Great production values, the characters spend most of their time in Gears of War style pressure suits that must have been a real pain to wear but look really good. The underwater shots are uniformly murky , dark, and monochromatic, which is great for atmosphere but really hard to see just what is going on. I'm not sure there were any actual human underwater scenes, might be all smoke and cgi drifting muck. If so, that tech has gotten really good.
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01 Jun 2020 12:40 - 01 Jun 2020 15:18 #310839 by Gary Sax
Related, I was listening to a podcast that talked about the mandalorian's making of docs. Apparently everything is green screened but instead of a blank green screen, unreal engine is used to construct all of the background assets. Those assets are then put on the screen behind the actors. Crucially, since it's a 3d engine those assets are not static and are tied into the camera position. So if the camera moves, the perspective in the background moves seamlessly to respond (3d models).

Sounds pretty interesting. An upshot is that actors are actually seeing the shit that they are acting in front of in real time, I imagine pure greenscreen is quite difficult to act with, given you're acting with some guy pretending to be a dragon in front of you or whatever.
Last edit: 01 Jun 2020 15:18 by Gary Sax.
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01 Jun 2020 13:17 #310841 by Gregarius
Yeah, the new technology for the Mandalorian is pretty fascinating. The set photos look amazing-- not for the location, but for how incredible the tech is. It allows them to get in-camera reflections and lighting effects. Pretty awesome.
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01 Jun 2020 13:34 #310842 by jeb
I would like to see someone on THE MANDALORIAN react to something with like, "HOLY SHIIIIT" and start running or screaming a little. Some 30' slime rhino crawls out of a cave and everyone is ho-hum I shoot the baddy.

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01 Jun 2020 16:16 #310854 by Gregarius
They kinda did that a little in the ep. with the AT-ST. They found the tracks in the forest and started packing up. "Nope."

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01 Jun 2020 16:24 - 01 Jun 2020 16:32 #310855 by Erik Twice
I saw The Shadow (1994). This is a film with a weird tone. It's not a comedy but it's funny and I laughed quite a lot. I liked how the movie was intentionally recorded in studio and overuses matté paintings, every car is a Studebaker and the plot is pure pulp nonsense. It's not a great film, but it's a fun one and I found quite a bit of stuff to like. Nice soundtrack too.

Interestingly enough, I tried to listen to the old radio serials but my English wasn't good enough back then to understand them.

EDIT: Two things I found interesting:

1) The Shadow is neither a hero nor an anti-hero. He's...overly direct in his methods and not nice. His laugh is clearly deranged and he takes a particular nasty pleasure in fightining and mocking his targets. But he's not evil or edgy. There's no ideology behind it, so as to speak.

2) I love how he is afraid on both a professional and a personal level of Margo. They have a nice chemistry and, again, it feels very different from the typical hero/anti-hero dichotomy.
Last edit: 01 Jun 2020 16:32 by Erik Twice.
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01 Jun 2020 17:09 #310856 by jason10mm

Gregarius wrote: Yeah, the new technology for the Mandalorian is pretty fascinating. The set photos look amazing-- not for the location, but for how incredible the tech is. It allows them to get in-camera reflections and lighting effects. Pretty awesome.


The tech is going to revolutionize filmmaking IMHO. But it will require meticulous pre-planning since you can't just shoot the actors and figure it out later. I've never really understood why 200+ million dollar films DON'T have an animatic done before to figure out what will and won't work story wise and action wise. When I hear things like writers are still hammering out exactly why Sarah Connor knows a guy who has a very specific device THE DAY OF FILMING it just makes me wonder just what Hollywood is doing. Big blockbusters that feel like 5 different scripts welded together in the editing room from principle filming and tons of reshoots just makes me sad.

So I can appreciate a film that feels like one persons vision from start to finish.
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01 Jun 2020 17:13 - 01 Jun 2020 17:14 #310857 by jason10mm
Annnnd to dovetail off of that is The Color out of Space, Nic Cage version. Now I loves me some Lovecraft, though I usally prefer it through Stuart Gordon's lens (RIP...:( ) This is a bold attempt and I really liked it, but WOW, what a script mess. Cage delivers an amazing performance, problem is that I'm not sure what movie he thought he was in. Then there is the daughter tossing around Alexandrian (? is that a thing?) witch magic. Just a bananas film that hits enough body horror, existential horror, and mundane family horror notes to work.
Last edit: 01 Jun 2020 17:14 by jason10mm.
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02 Jun 2020 10:57 #310875 by Gregarius
I saw The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime last night and enjoyed it quite a bit. It draws very heavily on The Twilight Zone and old radio dramas like Lights Out. It's a small budget sci-fi film set in the '50s, and the two leads are almost instantly annoying. If you can get past the rapid-fire and nigh-unintelligible dialog at the beginning (I recommend focusing on the numerous long takes), it's a pretty fun ride.
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09 Jun 2020 14:49 - 09 Jun 2020 14:59 #311017 by jason10mm
I also enjoyed Vast the night and followed it with The night eats the world on amazon. While Vast is 500 pages of dialogue, Night is almost all 1 character trapped in an apartment complex during the zombie apocalypse with almost no dialogue. It's pretty interesting because it is half survival drama and half "man goes crazy". I'm mostly over zombie films at this point but this one was fun.

Another double header was The Lovebirds on netflix and Hotel Artemis on Amazon. Both are minority led mid budget films (hey, mid budget films do exist!) that deal with police action, riots, and "why dont we go to the police?" from a different POV. Lovebirds is quite funny and would have done well had it made it to the big screen. Hotel Artemis has a great cast but is a definite John Wick universe imitation film and suffers for the comparison. Still, nice to see regular adult movies that don't have superheroes.

Amazon has some really weird shit in their catalogue. Dudes and Dragons is a very clever mocking but sorta serious fantasy film that has a real smart script (ok, ok, somewhat witty) and a wonky visual aesthetic that reminds me of how easily LOTR could have gone horribly wrong.
Last edit: 09 Jun 2020 14:59 by jason10mm.

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16 Jun 2020 10:23 #311156 by Shellhead
This is a little embarrassing, but I finally saw Jaws. My parents wouldn't take me to see it when I was a kid, so I read the book and never got around to seeing the movie until now. And... it was disappointing. The entire first half of the movie fails as a horror movie. Unless it's a zombie movie, crowd scenes aren't generally good for horror movies, because it's hard to evoke fear when you have a bunch of people all talking at once. First half of Jaws is lots of talking. Crowds yammering, people interrupting people, blah, blah, blah. It's a realistic approach to the material, because real people don't stand around taking turns talking unless it's some kind of highly structured environment like a courtroom or a legislature. Also, aside from a couple of stars, most of the cast in Jaws is overacting a bit.

The second half of the movie is better, introducing all the necessary elements of a horror movie: isolation, darkness, uncertainty, and a few characters that we care about. But the shark is fundamentally an awkward choice for a movie monster, demanding either difficult underwater filming, or some kind of crutch for viewers to perceive the presence of the shark without seeing it above the surface. It's the same kind of problem that a casual sports fan might encounter when watching hockey... where is the puck? Spielberg comes up with the idea of using the harpoon to attach yellow plastic barrels to the shark, which seems primarily a visual aid for the audience. The underwater sequence with the cage had great potential, but the action is pretty slow-paced so it falters. The classic line "You're going to need a bigger boat" landed well, but then Roy Scheider repeats variations of the line 2 or 3 times, diluting the impact. The ending was okay, though necessarily telegraphed mid-movie. I assume the sequels are all worse, so I'm done with the Jaws franchise. I would still like to play the boardgame published last year.

I also re-watched Dirty Harry for the first time in forever. I must have watched it on network tv the previous time, because I was surprised by the nudity. On a superficial level, the movie is still enjoyable, but I can now clearly see that it is also a conservative touchstone. Aside from the standard Hollywood cop tropes of trampling regulations and procedures to get the bad guy, there was also a definite contempt directed at reporters, which I had previously thought to be something that emerged post-Watergate. I can see the seductive appeal of the conservatism as expressed by Clint Eastwood. Judging everything, sneering with contempt, always having the right answer, and shooting bad guys with a really big gun. I can also see how movies like this have had a cumulative and corrosive influence on law enforcement in our country.
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16 Jun 2020 10:55 #311157 by hotseatgames
I don't see Jaws as a horror movie. I see it as a movie about 3 strangers coming together to overcome massive odds. Along the way, they learn a little something... about friendship.
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16 Jun 2020 11:27 #311163 by jeb
JAWS is a little dated now, but at the time it was so much better than almost all other American horror fare it gets a lifetime pass. The sequels are utter shit. A better JAWS movie by the same talent is DUEL. Try to track that down. Great movie, I think it was a Movie of the Week on ABC or something back in 1972 or whatever.

I have a big ass TV coming in, first TV upgrade in about 15 years. Going from 30-something inch 720p to 65" 4K. Debut on there will be BLACK PANTHER.
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