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  1.    #81  
    Munich --

    was the film I've spent the last 2 1/2+ hours watching, shivering alone in my cave. I'd bought the bootleg DVD months ago in the Lahore market -- and I've just gotten around tonight to finally watch it.

    Spielberg's film about the aftermath of the Munich Olympic massacre is a good, not great film -- a story of despair, grievance, and guilt.

    Made in 2005, its a far more nuanced and ambiguous story than I anticipated -- though less empathetic of both sides than I would have liked.

    Everyone, even the villains, are presented somewhat humanely -- and Spielberg as often presents the Israelis in an unflattering light.

    But I often wondered while watching it about how close he adhered to the actual events and story -- (and I must withhold a final opinion about the film until I know more about that history.)

    In any case its a film worthy of being seen, especially in the context of the events right now transpiring in Gaza -- events that like Munich and every other act of violence, resonates and has echoes with consequences, far into the future ...

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/20/2010 at 08:06 PM.
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  2. #82  
    Munich was good, although I don't remember it well since I saw it when it was first released.

    Milk I viewed last night at a 22:25 showing. It didn't move me as much as I anticipated, but it was a strong film. Penn was incredible of course.
  3.    #83  
    Quote Originally Posted by pdxtreo View Post
    Munich was good, although I don't remember it well since I saw it when it was first released.

    Milk I viewed last night at a 22:25 showing. It didn't move me as much as I anticipated, but it was a strong film. Penn was incredible of course.
    Like you I was unmoved by Milk -- I saw it weeks ago, and it mostly left me cold -- though I too thought Penn was awesome.
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  4.    #84  
    The Oscars are tomorrow -- an event that I almost never pay attention to.

    As though the opinions of Hollywooders as what was last year's best movie, had any value.

    As if.

    Seldom do the films I cared most for, get nominated -- and even more rarely do they win.

    Choices are normally more guided by popularity, fashion, friendship, and commercial/financial considerations -- than artistic ones.

    This year's nominations are for me an exception. I've seen and mostly liked them all. Though some more than others.

    Frost/Nixon; Milk -- they’re decent films, but they mostly left me cold. I felt as if I had learned little I hadn’t already known or cared to know about the characters of those films after leaving the theatre.

    I liked “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” -- it played with ideas that always finds resonance with BARYE -- romance, true love, memory, devotion.

    At the film’s core is the love between Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett -- one that overcomes age, time, and lost memories. The setting up for that story regrettably, seems to occupy too much of the film for me -- and I got uncomfortably antsy in the film’s early scenes.


    The Reader

    I almost never see or read film reviews -- especially before seeing a film.

    For some reason though my eye caught sight of a scathing NYTimes article about “The Reader” a week or so before I got invited to a screening of it. Despite myself I read the piece -- and let myself luxuriate in the Schadenfreude of seeing the pompous idiots who would make a sexually provocative film involving the holocaust, be pilloried.

    The film begins in 1995 with a middle aged German lawyer, finishing a hookup with a pretty young woman.

    Quickly the film begins to recollect the story that will dominate the movie and that now middle aged lawyer -- a story that plays out when he was a young teen in post war Germany. He becomes involved with an illiterate attractive 30ish woman, a woman who seduces him. All she asks in exchange for their encounters is that he read to her.

    The film’s sexuality is sensual and surprisingly open for a major film with major actors. Their relationship is physical but also much more -- a connection and a bond forms between them that is never really expressed, and which is never consciously confronted by either of them.

    Eventually she is put on trial for her role (with several others) in the killing of Jews who she (and they) were guarding. Humiliated at her inability to read, and semi-conscious of her own guilt, she allows herself in her ignorance to be the scapegoat for something that she had no control over.

    The young boy, now a lawyer -- watches her trial knowing her secret, but does not intervene.

    He does not visit her in prison, but instead sends her lengthy audio book cassettes on which he laboriously reads for her.

    After she had quietly served her twenty year sentence, the warden wants to contact anyone she knows in preparation for her release. Naturally the warden contacts the friend who has been sending these tapes to her for 20 years.

    Well before what transpires in the film I was wailing openly -- tears pouring uncontrollably down my face. I knew what would happen and why, what lay behind her sacrifice -- and that knowledge devastated me.

    I was exceedingly grateful that the film went on for about another ten minutes, so that I was able to pull myself together without appearing to be any more nuts than usual.

    A good film, one worth seeing -- but I doubt it would have quite the effect on others that it had on me.

    “Slumdog Millionaire” is a film I really really liked.

    From its opening seconds to its incredible joyous Bollywood dance closing, I loved this film.

    I was very fortunate to see it about a month before it opened with the director Danny Boyle, whom I got to meet and talk to at some length after the screening

    I was already an admirer of his earlier work, especially the maddeningly great “Trainspotting”.

    At its core is another extraordinary love story -- of two hearts destined to be one -- a destiny that not even fate, calamity, or betrayal could defeat.

    The film chronicles the primary character’s relentless pursuit to recover and reunite with his true love -- a love which is endlessly requited by her.

    The mechanism by which the tale is told -- flashbacks motivated by an interrogation as a result of his success on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” -- initially made it hard before the film opened, to describe the plot to friends, to motivate them to go see it.

    The film works on so many levels -- as a journey, a love story, of triumphing over evil because of a pure heart, of the betrayal by an older brother being overcome by their lasting fealty... Slumdog Millionaire is a movie that inexorably reveals itself in a pulsating rush to whatever will be its inevitable climax.

    It should definitely be seen.

    (FWIW, I talked with Boyle mainly about the mechanics of making the film in the Mumbai slums, about casting the child actors, about working with and in spite of, the Mumbai gangsters. An incredibly decent, accessible, and modest guy. (very unlike BARYE).

    (also -- I saw all these films long ago -- sometimes weeks before they opened -- and so I’m writing all this with a bit of a glazed memory ...)

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/20/2010 at 07:55 PM.
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  5.    #85  
    ...there's one other film nominated for an Oscar -- "Man On A Wire" (up for best documentary) -- which deserves to be discussed and praised.

    It tells the amazing tale of how a young French tightrope walker had the dream to walk on a tightrope between NY's twin towers.

    On the surface it seems a simple telling of an extraordinary event -- how a dreamer methodically set out to do something unthinkable -- with the help of his friends and his lover.

    Alone this event, this dream, would surely justify a documentary or a movie being made about it. That this dream is literally tied to the memory of the befallen World Trade Center (whose ultimate fate hangs like an apparition over the entire film) adds even more to the story's resonance and piquancy.

    What befalls his relationship with his lover following this feat is also perhaps inevitable -- yet it adds another layer that is bittersweet, sad, and yet understandable.

    A very good film -- not just a good documentary.

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/18/2010 at 05:59 AM.
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  6. Rabil's Avatar
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    Last weekend i saw "Dawn of the Dead", it so so scary and the movie opens with the unimaginable happening. Hordes of zombies have overtaken Milwaukee and numerous survivors are both fighting off the monsters and trying to escape the city.
  7.    #87  
    is a very good movie -- but one that does not quite deliver on its initial promise.

    A well written and fairly taut Washington suspense drama involving corrupt politics, the mercenary outfit formerly known as Blackwater, and the journalists who investigate and write the stories that uncover the truth, while being themselves too close to some of the principle characters.

    Russel Crowe is terrific as is most of the stellar cast.

    The major exception unfortunately is Ben Affleck -- someone who has a relatively modest role, and whose screen time is fairly limited.

    It is no doubt a very challenging role -- one that few actors could carry off. He is required to play both a hero and a villain, to be both brilliant, idealistic, and utterly stupid. He is the fulcrum upon which the movie rotates -- and around which everyone in the film derives their motivations.

    Its sad because he is sometimes a decent performer. Not here though. The role requires someone with more depth, someone who has with them more history, more thought before they speak, more pain before they smile. A Russel Crowe or a Daniel Day Lewis, perhaps.

    BTW, one of the movie's subplots involves the too terribly true story of how newspapers are everywhere in decline, and how terrified they are of losing money and readers.

    A film worth seeing.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it an: 81

    On a side note, STATE OF PLAY is the most "local" film I've ever seen. It is very much an organic part of DC -- almost every scene takes place in environments and locales that I know very very well.

    A murder in the opening scene for example, takes place a couple of steps from where I Kayak on weekends, Russel Crowe lives in an apartment near where I live (and where I had a chance to talk to the crew shooting the film.)

    Usually films located here shoot a few exteriors and then finish the shooting somewhere else. Not this film, from what I could tell.

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/18/2010 at 05:57 AM.
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  8.    #88 a wonderfully told and involving documentary that tells the story behind one of the most momentous events in modern american history: Daniel Ellsberg's courageous revealing of the secret history of how america came to be at war in Vietnam -- The Pentagon Papers.

    Its a story we hear from nearly all the key protagonists and participants -- most of whom are still alive.

    Though I've met Mr. Ellsberg more than once and I thought I already knew much of what happened and why, this film opened my eyes to a much deeper appreciation of how these events transpired -- and of Ellsberg's personal motivation and heroism.

    How he evolved from a committed Vietnam war advocate who as a civilian hawk, literally lead armed patrols in Vietnam so as to better learn the facts on the ground -- to a passionate war opponent who believed that if the country better understood the fiction that underlaid that war, that the nation would insist on withdrawing from it.

    One of the most insightful things that I heard from Ellsberg was what he told Henry Kissinger, as Kissinger was taking office with Nixon:

    (paraphrased badly) "Henry -- you're about to join a rarefied fraternity of secrets -- your first reaction will be amazement at all you never knew or imagined -- you will though, soon find that the secrets you know will begin to alienate you from all those you cannot discuss or share this secret knowledge with; inexorably that "special" knowledge will cause you to denigrate the opinion of anyone who does not have access to the secrets that you have -- beware of the isolation and arrogance that living within that bubble of secrets inevitably breeds..."

    The Most Dangerous Man in America has been nominated for an Oscar (best documentary) -- and its playing in theaters in certain cities now

    Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine officer -- went on army patrols in Vietnam as a civilian

    Last edited by BARYE; 02/16/2010 at 07:48 PM.
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  9. #89  

    HOLY CRAP! (no pun intended)

    One of the worse movies I have ever seen! What I was expecting was a popcorn Christian based apocalypse hour and a half distraction. What followed was a piece of crap that included every amateur zombie/suspense film/post apocalypse movie stereotype known to film.

    We seriously had to stop ourselves from laughing out loud even though there were only 6 other people in the theater.

    Rent it (gawd! don't see it in the theater!) if you want to see what truly bad film making is and watch out for that oh so heavy anti-abortion message which thinks it's being subtle (and the pro "militia" message).

  10.    #90 not very funny, entertaining, or thought provoking -- qualities that Kevin Smith's movies have sometimes had.

    Its a dull hackneyed retread of a "funny" police buddy movie -- semi-inspired by maybe "48 hours" and/or the "Lethal Weapon" franchise.

    Strangely, one of the few elements that works for me is Bruce Willis -- whose deadpan consciously unemotive performance actually is believable and somewhat affecting.

    In contrast, Smith has Tracey Morgan over playing a caricature of worst of himself from 30 Rock and SNL. Its a performance that Morgan will likely regret if he ever watches himself.

    (for what its worth, I thought "Dogma" and "Chasing Amy" were decent and under appreciated)

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 67
    Last edited by BARYE; 02/24/2010 at 11:55 AM.
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  11.    #91  
    ...was thoroughly engrossing and for me a very moving tale of two wounded souls who find love, comfort, and empathy with one another.

    Though I embarrassingly cried repeatedly, its a film that is never really sad or obviously manipulative in getting cheap sympathy for its characters. I genuinely cared about these people as the story moved from a painful disturbing opening to its painful disturbing end.

    I've not seen his earlier "Twilight" movies, but from his work here, Robert Pattinson is a truly talented and sensitive actor.

    His costar -- Emilie de Ravin who I've often (but not always) liked from "Lost", is a beautiful, wounded young woman, fortunate to find love and empathy from a like feeling Robert Pattinson.

    Its a sweetly made, unpretentious film, well written and directed -- and well acted with the awful exception of Pierce Bronsnan -- a pathetic hollow suit of a performer, no matter how expensive or tailored his suits...

    A film worth seeing (especially as a date movie).

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it an: 88

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/18/2010 at 05:55 AM.
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  12. #92  
    Haven't checked out the movies you've watched, but this past weekend I finally saw "Taken".....kick movie. Not always very believable, but it is a movie. I do love a movie where the good guy kicks
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  13. #93  
    Quote Originally Posted by clemgrad85 View Post
    Haven't checked out the movies you've watched, but this past weekend I finally saw "Taken".....kick movie. Not always very believable, but it is a movie. I do love a movie where the good guy kicks
    Another movie in which I had to stifle laughing out loud at in the theater.
  14.    #94  
    Dakota Fanning is hot.

    Let me say that again: Dakota Fanning is HOT !!

    (BARYE is paraphrasing one of the more memorable lines in the greatest american movie of all time: Martin Scorcese's MEAN STREETS.)

    And talented. Michele Pheifer talented.

    She had always been a wonderful, surprisingly touching nuanced actress, even as a child -- but she seems that rare performer able to gracefully transition from cute kid to teenaged sex kitten without losing all credibility and becoming a joke.

    Chronicling the triumphal rise and seemingly predestined dissolution of The Runaways -- rock music's first and arguably greatest female bands, the movie follows the ambitious, angst inspired birth of these beautiful pubescent young performers who not so much invent a genre, as reimagine it.

    Their story is not really one of female liberation, as it was about female libido, female rebellion, and the hedonistic indulgence that was and still is, being rock and roll Gods. As randy as any over sexed boy band, it is too limiting to describe them as bi-sexual.

    The film less follows Joan Jett -- the band's heart and creator, than Cherrie Curie, The Runaways’ lead singer, front person, and covergirl sex kitten.

    Based on her own book, the fiilm perhaps symbolically begins with her first menstrual splatters on the sidewalk -- and follows her from nobody to raging success, and finally to an ultimate life apart from the band -- apart from the sisters who were her real family.

    Not a great film, but one worth spending a night with.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it an: 80

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/18/2010 at 06:15 AM.
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  15. #95  
    I watched again Hulk, but I could not finish til the end
    I changed it to Memento
  16.    #96  
    Quote Originally Posted by onedrunkduck View Post
    I changed it to Memento
    Memento -- Memento... I think I saw it ...

    (Great film !!!)
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  17. #97  
    We Live In Public

    Well done documentary that tells the tale of Josh Harris, who was well ahead of the internet Social Media curve in the 90's. If you have Netflix it's stream-able.

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    I watched Dororo last night. Great manga fare. It sucked me right in.... loved it, even the corny fights with actors dressed up in rubber monster suits..... reminded me of the classic Godzilla series and genre of movies.

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  19.    #99  
    is a dreadful film.

    Maudlin, emotionally false, badly written, badly directed.

    It might never see wide release.

    The linchpin of its story is the son/brother who dies within the first 5 minutes of the movie.

    The painfully told story then catalogues the various travails of grief and confusion that his family and lover then undergo.

    One of the opening moments of the film is devoted -- and I mean DEVOTED -- to a lovingly long long static shot of Pierce Brosnan returning from his son's burial in the back of a funeral limousine. He is supposed to be in shock with grief.

    After about the 1000th minute I thought: this is rather daring -- and unprecedented in a Hollywood film. What executive producer lets a director do this I wondered ???

    Some actors as they age accumulate a history of experience on their wounded weathered faces -- we project upon them their scarred souls, battered hearts, and painful lives.

    They emote without acting.

    Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall, for example.

    My respect and appreciation for trees prevents me from describing Pierce Brosman as wooden. He is awful as an actor -- a hollow Macy’s window manikin wearing an expensive tailored suit. Watching his pretty face is like winking at that manikin and hoping it’ll smile back eventually.

    I wanted to understand who would have had the courage to have that manikin hold that seemingly indefinite static shot-- so I stayed behind a bit and waited for the credits -- and there it was, my answer:

    Executive Producer: Pierce Brosnan

    FWIW, stories about grief need to have their audience invested in the object of that grief. If an audience primarily only learns about that person from others, then that character is usually too abstract for us to care about.

    “The Greatest" gives only superficial glimpses of its “central” character. Mostly we’re told he was a wonderful guy, but we never really experience it ourselves.

    Carey Mulligan, BTW, is stunning as an actress. She plays the son’s lover. This is the second time I’ve seen her on screen, and she is brilliant.

    Fragile and damaged in a unforced organic way, she communicates a very real picture of someone who is confused and mournful, but also determined to move forward while confronting her own and everyone’s, sorrow.

    I’ve not yet seen “An Education”, but from what I’ve heard, she’s at least as good in that.

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it a: 60

    Last edited by BARYE; 06/23/2010 at 06:43 AM.
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  20.    #100 an entertaining, well crafted film.

    It’s a film that takes a slightly sardonic oblique look at commercialism and the phony product placement affinity group marketing that has infiltrated our lives during the last decade.

    Demi Moore and David Duchovny are faux parents of a hyper stylish upper middle class brand promoting "family" -- unrelated professionals who are paid to feature and promote products in part through having others envy and emulate their style.

    Its soft sell through peer "friendship".

    And Demi Moore and Duchovny are persuasively aspirational -- pretty, clever, fashionable, confident -- its understandable why others want to be like them, to have and use what they use and have.

    "The Joneses" is the first movie directed and written by Derrick Borte. Following the screening, I had the good fortune to meet and talk with him.

    Shot in only 31 days (with a week of preparatory rehearsal), the film amusingly and believably brings you into its fake, but not unrealistic, world.

    Small low budget independent films obviously require financing to be produced. That financing is largely dependent on a film's viability in foreign markets. Though Duchovny is a fairly well known and popular actor in america, he's mostly an unknown commodity abroad.

    It was only with the addition of Demi Moore to the cast (consenting to act in the film for little more than scale, in addition to profit participation points) that the film was able to be financed.

    She’s an ageless freak of nature -- her skin, physique, and face must be immersed in resin amber whenever she's not before a camera. I have to suppose that she works out like a demon, daily.

    Sexy, charming, and driven -- we accept her character, and its hidden vulnerability.

    Ultimately "The Joneses" is a modern fable of romantic alienation, thematically very much like "Up In The Air" (a comparison of mine the director was flattered by). But unlike "Up In The Air", "The Joneses" chooses a slightly more uplifting audience centric ending -- one I understood, though I would have preferred another.

    Given the lack of a George Clooney type of lead, most people are going to want at least a semi-upbeat, mildly hopeful resolution. We discussed the various possible endings, (he shot 5) and their ramifications.

    Despite mild reservations, I very much liked the film, and recommend it highly

    On a 0-100 scale, I'd give it an: 80

    Last edited by BARYE; 04/18/2010 at 06:23 AM.
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