I'm pretty sure that is the director's cut/unedited running time, yeah.
I've been following this story of the West Memphis 3 since I saw the first Paradise Lost documentary way back in the 90's. I was one of the WM3's many supporters. I used to deposit money in their commissary accounts and send them books from their Amazon wishlists, so I was pretty excited to see this movie.
All in all, I thought it was a good high level account of what happened. I really liked that the movie spent a lot of time focusing on the families of the children that were murdered. A lot of that seemed lost in the shuffle while the WM3's supporters were fighting for their freedom.
A Norwegian thriller starring Jayme Lannister. Damn good, entertaining flick. Pretty gritty and bloody, has a bit of a Coen brothers vibe to it. On Netflix streaming.
Last edited by santiclaws; July 4th, 2014 at 10:57 AM.
OK, I guess I'm in a foreign thriller mood lately and Netflix has a ****load of 'em. I'd never heard of it but it was a Netflix "recommended" based on stuff I liked. It's a terrific one. A French crime thriller which opens with a pair of cops who relieve a couple of mules of 10 kilos of cocaine. Unfortunately, our protagonist is recognized and the owner of the cocaine takes the cop's son hostage to make sure he returns the dope. The cop agrees, except returning it turns out a hell of a lot more difficult than he would have ever imagined. Real tight script, lots of twists and turns and the tension gets ratcheted up minute by minute. Not a dull moment in this one. One of the best action thrillers I've seen in a loooong time.
Last edited by santiclaws; July 4th, 2014 at 11:13 PM.
Some short and sweet reviews:
It's all over the place... It's like they tried to shoehorn an epic tale into an action movie when they could have made it slow, awe-inspiring and beautiful which Darren Aronofsky backed by Clint Mansell's music is perfectly capable of doing. They just had to have their action beats I guess. Noah swinging a staff like he's frickin' Donatello... Absurd. It has some good moments though, so it's at least watchable.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
I'm not a Wes Anderson fanboy by any means, I find he sometimes is more style than substance but this had both. Delightful, funny, exciting... Ralph Fiennes steals every scene.
Did you like the classic Robocop? Take away the witty satire and the blood and voilŗ, there you have the new Robocop! Still decent even without those things, I guess that's a testament to how strong the original was.
Dallas Buyers Club
Solid drama, McConaughey is as good as we've come to expect lately. It didn't GRAB me like a truly great drama does but it's definitely worth your while.
A good, average comedy, a tier below the first. Loses steam in some parts. Good for a couple of laughs.
Interesting plot and looks great. I got a bit lost in the plot when I missed what they were saying in a couple of key scenes (bad hearing) but it's a very well made movie.
At 2 hours 20 minutes it's long, boring and uneventful. They could easily have cut like half an hour out of it and no one would have missed it.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Awesome display of complete debauchery and excess. It's 20 minutes longer than Public Enemies but unlike that movie Wolf just keeps ramping up and goes by incredibly fast for its length. Might be my favorite movie that I've watched so far this year.
12 Years a Slave
Brutal drama. One of those movies you watch and feel horrified and miserable about. But it's good, really good.
It is what it is, a solid superhero movie with not much depth but what it is is fun. Did you like Thor 1? Yes? Then you'll like Thor 2. It might even be slightly better.
Oldboy (American remake)
I don't think it deserves to be as hammered as it has been by some, I think it's pretty decent, but the original is so much better there's no competition.
I cleared some movies off the DVR this weekend.
42: Watchable, well-acted (outside of Harrison Ford's ridiculously distracting accent), but really lacking in intensity. Most of it was like an afterschool special, minus the scenes with Wash from Firefly and the ones with the Pittsburgh pitcher. Could have used more comedy, and I don't mean the part where the kid in the stands learns racism from his dad. Despite the nonstop soft lighting and triumphant music, the movie did succeed at finally getting me at the end when Robinson hits the home run to clinch the playoff spot. Bonus points for the use of Dr. Cox.
Oblivion: Really good (would have been even better without trailers spoiling one of the bigger twists), mostly made sense, exciting, mysterious, creative and mostly original, and solid acting. Extremely impressed by the design of all the futuristic buildings and vehicles - everything looked beautiful and like it could be real. Bonus points for the use of Jaime Lannister.
Bullet To The Head: Crappy, unoriginal, terribly written (containing some of the most ham-handed Basil Exposition moments I have ever seen), loaded with plot holes and featuring one of my least favorite ways to wrap a movie up quickly - one villain decides to kill all the others. I must have recorded it when I was recording every HBO Saturday night premiere. There is one great moment (two if you count Bobby Cobb playing an evil criminal who gets into a fight with Stallone), though - the axe fight at the end, which was almost worth sitting through the first 90 minutes. That fight was awesome, but I could have just watched it on YouTube I'm guessing. Bonus points for the uses of Mr. Eko and Khal Drogo. Triple bonus points for Bobby Cobb.
Been awhile so here goes....
Plus One (+1): Creative low budget teen comedy/suspense/horror with a nice twist that felt a bit underdeveloped. Grade: B-
Alien Abduction: Mediocre low budget alien abduction flick about events surrounding mysterious lights and disappearing people. I can only take horrific acting for so long. Grade: D
The Sacrament: Well done found footage Jamestown-esque thriller that doesn't really provide the scares but worth a viewing because of the standout performance from the leader of the cult "Father". Grade: B
Lego Movie: One of my favorite cartoons of the last few years. Grade: A
Carrie (2013): Admittedly I haven't seen the original but I knew the plot and this was fine for what it was but it all felt pretty unnecessary to me. Grade: C+
Pain and Gain: I like Mark Wahlberg and The Rock a ton but this didn't do it for me. Mean spirited even while attempting to be funny and just didn't do it for me. Grade: C
Godzilla (2014): Bleh,so much moaning by Bryan Cranston throughout the first half of the film and then a lot of disappointment. Felt like I was watching the "Pearl Harbor" of Godzilla movies. I was extremely annoyed by how often the movie cut away right when the monsters were about to fight on-screen and this happened repeatedly until the very end of the movie. That being said, it was still competently done but I MUCH preferred Pacific Rim. Grade: B-
Exorcism of Emily Rose: Interesting to watch a court film based around the possibility of a demon possession and the arguments presented. Surprisingly well acted and worth a view. Grade: B
Croods: Underwhelming cartoon, it was cute enough but I didn't find myself laughing or even smiling at much. Grade: C+
Oculus: I like this type of flashback horror quite a bit and thought this well really done. Grade: B+
The Watch: I laughed out loud a few times and as long as you can stand Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller(which some can't), this is a decent comedy. Grade B-
Frozen: Not seeing the mass acclaim this got. Pixar has a library of movies that blow this away. Grade: B-
I've been on a 80's and early 90's kick lately. I'm sure people have seen most of these so I'll skip the reviews.
Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Ghostbusters 1 and 2
Can't Buy Me Love
The Money Pit
The Dream Team
The Running Man
Indiana Jones 1-4
Karate Kid 1-3
I've seen it before and just finished watching it again. This is one of those movies that is meant for repeat viewings because it just gets better every time you see it. I didn't really get this movie the first time, but this was the third or fourth time I've seen it and this time I enjoyed it more than any other. If you haven't seen it before, or even if you haven't seen it recently, see it. A modern masterpiece that has a dedicated cult following but still does not get nearly the recognition it deserves. A black comedy would be the best tag, I guess, but it really defies description. The dialogue and characters are far more important than the story (two hitmen hiding out in Bruges, Belgium after a job goes south). A little like "The Big Lebowski" in that the story is secondary and the movie gets better with repeat viewings. Brilliant writing with terrific performances by Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleason. If you can handle laughs with a significant dose of bloodshed, see it.
Last edited by santiclaws; July 17th, 2014 at 08:44 AM.
I got dragged to see Lucy this weekend. My ticket was free, but I still want a refund, because that was one of the worst things I have seen in a long, long time. I think I have to go back to when I got dragged to the first Transformers (obviously I have not seen any of the others, or any Twilight movies) to find a worse movie. The only reason it is better than Transformers is that the first 20 minutes or so, before Scarlett gains her powers, is actually tense and well structured. Then Scarlett is able to do pretty much anything, so there is no dramatic tension whatsoever. There are a few cool moments, especially her shooting at a door and then opening it to find the bodies of the guards who were waiting for her (she knew where they were because of her advanced echo location skills or something), but later on she waves people aside and makes them float in the air, and this is before she starts sprouting black tentacles and eating computers with them. Meanwhile, we have random inserted clips of animals and Morgan Freeman giving a speech on the ridiculous theories of what man could do with full use of their brain, because Luc Besson is trying too hard to make a dumb movie smart, but only making it dumber. After I left, I thought maybe there could have been a good movie made where Scarlett's character gets a little brainpower boost and has some skills but is still very stoppable, instead of her travelling through time to hang out with people in really bad monkey and Neanderthal makeup, but then I remembered I saw that movie, and it starred Bradley Cooper and was called Limitless.
Speaking of movies that were astoundingly awful, I watched Man Of Steel off my DVR. I am no longer displeased that Affleck will be crapping on Batman, because it don't matter when the same brain trust behind Man Of Steel is 99% likely to assemble a giant pile of crap again, making Affleck's contribution just a few grains of sand in the desert. The desert of crap. So we waste about 30 minutes with some ludicrous, meaningless prologue of Russell Crowe on Krypton, where these advanced civilization aliens wear ridiculous armor and can't be bothered to move to another planet when theirs is falling apart. Oh, and they ride giant dragonflies. THEY RIDE GIANT DRAGONFLIES. Zod gets imprisoned and the Krypton society manages to save him and his buddies while they all die themselves. Good job. Then we go to grown up Superman and every so often flash back to his youth in a failed and transparent attempt to make this film deeper than it is, also there is the occasional arty pretty shot in slow-mo with dramatic music that is ultimately meaningless. Then, after burning 30 minutes on that nothing at the beginning, boom, Zod is in town and on everyone's television, only he has a terrible internet connection with his broadcast despite being an advanced alien, and he is immediately demanding Superman surrender and the government is immediately caving even though they have no idea who this guy is and Superman is immediately going to him even though he has no idea who this guy is. The worst part of the whole movie, though, is the action scenes. While most Fast And Furious action scenes are created by storyboarding the results of having 5th graders play with Hot Wheels, the Man Of Steel action scenes were storyboarded based on kindergarteners smashing action figures together and into things. Over and over and over one guy jumps into another guy and they crash through a building or a tanker truck or something and CGI destruction ensues and it is meaningless and pointless because the super aliens are only hurt as much as the script needs them to be. And they keep doing this even though all they have to do to kill each other is snap a neck or stab their opponent. Meanwhile Zod has some female henchman who barely is a character and there is some big guy who I think is supposed to be a character (I remember there being three villains in the old Superman 2) but he has less of a character than the Bane in the Val Kilmer (or was it George Clooney) Batman. Also, the computer ghost of Russell Crowe shows up now and then to help out Superman and Lois Lane. Speaking of Lois Lane, Amy Adams is far and away the best part of the movie. Pure spunkiness, and as believable as is possible in such a total mess.
CHRISTOPHER MELONI DOUBLE FEATURE!!!
I also watched Wet Hot American Summer, which I had heard about for a long time. Yes, lots of comic actors who became more famous (also, Bradley Cooper) are in it, but other than that, it did not live up to the hype. It is a parody of summer camp movies that plays like a mediocre summer camp movie, while indulging the cast a little too much (I am guessing there was a lot of ad-libbing). Also, wearing tacky 70's clothes is not automatically hilarious, except for Ken Marino with that hair in those jorts. There is one moment of true insane hilarity as some of the characters go to town and score some weed and things spiral out of control, but that's about it. There are funny moments, but then there is Janeane Garofalo and the guy from Brooklyn South (I spent half the movie trying to place him) throwing stuff around for 5 minutes to show how stressed out they are like day-job waiters in a bad improv performance. And then at the end of the movie, I'm told the counselors were supposed to be in their late teens, when all the actors are probably close to or in their 30s. Huh?
NO WAIT IT IS A KEN MARINO DOUBLE FEATURE!!!
Exceeding my expectations was We're The Millers. It might try too hard to be wrong at times, but it has some very funny and reasonably fresh jokes precisely because of that angle, along with good comedic performances and lots of Ron Swanson. The ads really undersold the movie by not pointing out just how much Ron Swanson was in it. Also, the deeply underappreciated Kathryn Hahn, who plays his wife. Every second they are on the screen is comedy gold. Also, credit the writers for not giving into the temptation to go with the dark, twisted ending, even if they forget that the one kid does have a family.
JENNIFER ANISTON WAS ON FRIENDS THE SAME NIGHT AS ER WITH GEORGE CLOONEY AND THAT'S THE BEST I CAN DO BECAUSE THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE IN THIS NEXT MOVIE!!!
I guess no one told the Oscar voters that Gravity is just a genre movie dressed up in artiness. And by artiness, I mean unbelievably beautiful shots from start to finish and powerhouse emotional acting by Sandra Bullock. The silence of space was never used to such an impressive effect, making every word stand out and causing the viewer to focus even more on the incredible scenery. Clooney is Clooney, but it works perfectly. Such a great premise, because really, where else are you more screwed getting stranded than in space? There is not a one in a billion chance of someone bumping into you to save you. I liked how efficient it was, clocking in at only 90 minutes, nothing thrown in to pad it out to two hours. How did Sandra Bullock not win Best Actress? Was it because her performance has absolutely no 'look at me' to it? Also, I loved that body with the hole through its face. Ouch.
LONG AGO SANDRA BULLOCK WAS IN MURDER BY NUMBERS WITH A YOUNG RYAN GOSLING AND I SAW IT BACK WHEN IT CAME OUT BUT DON'T REMEMBER ANY OF IT WHATSOEVER!!!!
Speaking of movies with Ryan Gosling that I will eventually not remember any of whatsoever, Gangster Squad was entertaining and watchable enough. I've seen noir LA a hundred times, and this is not getting anywhere close to the neighborhood (or city, or county, or state) of LA Confidential, but the bold, vivid colors mixed in here and there with the gray were a nice touch and amping up the action to modern standards without getting too ridiculous (emphasis on 'too')made it reasonably exciting. Sean Penn was great as the villain, making him scary in a realistic manner. Not realistic - the endless shootout at the end, especially the part where Sean Penn gets past the cops at the front. Not sure how Josh Brolin continues to be offered leads, although he was solid enough. Also, Emma Stone.
GIOVANNI RIBISI WAS IN THAT AND MANAGED TO NOT ANNOY THE CRAP OUT OF ME FOR ONCE AND HE WAS ALSO IN LOST IN TRANSLATION WITH SCARLETT WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO DOH!
...Unless you count the 15 minutes I watched of Getaway, because when I flipped past HBO there was a subtitle declaring that they were in Sofia, Bulgaria, which is a place I may be touring in the near future. That crapsterpiece might be worse than Lucy, because it was wall-to-wall random car chasing, which could be entertaining, but not here because it was all random close-ups stitched together with not a single long shot to create any remote sense of geography. Not one. Shot of feet on pedals, close shot of car bumping into police car, close shot of car rushing past stuff, repeat all that three times, shot of police car crashing, repeat from start ten times. Eventually I muted it and attended to other business, but every time I looked up, it was the same endless, badly filmed car chase. Eventually Selena Gomez showed up, and this movie was filmed back when she still looked like she was 12, and so her presence as what looked to be the computer genius was just laughable. Someone tell Richard Linklater to pay Ethan Hawke more so he doesn't have to go slumming quite like this. Nicolas Cage should be in this movie instead, except I swear he made the same movie a year earlier and I really wish I had seen 15 minutes of that one instead because Nicolas Cage makes everything better.
NOT THE BEES!!!!!!