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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 6:26pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

KUNG FU HUSTLE - hadn't seen this in a few years. I don't know why I waited so long between. Obvious influences combine brilliantly into something original and funny. Classic Kung Fu themes, some Looney Tunes nods, a SHINING reference, even a "great power, great responsibility" line. Like SHAUN OF THE DEAD is a zombie spoof that is actually a pretty good zombie movie, so HUSTLE is to Kung Fu.

ALIENS VS PREDATOR - Icing on the ALIEN/S cake. Probably the 4th or 5th viewing of this one. It hits the requisite notes. Sanaa Lathan is convincing as the reluctant, but ultimately bad-ass heroine. And not hard on the eyes, either.

FRAILTY (Netflix streaming) - I could have sworn I'd seen this. But I didn't remember hardly any of it...which is fortunate, as the film's surprises remained as such for me. Creepy, moody and enthralling. Some really solid work from Paxton and McConaughey.


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James Woodcock
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 12:02am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I really like AvP but every time I have to null by brain into going with the ending where they forget where they actually are.

Start - they really sell the cold and need for thermals
End - run around in a sweater and you'll be ok.


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Tim O'Neill
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 8:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply



Greg K, re: GHOSTBUSTERS 2016:  "Because all of the controversy, aside from bringing out a lot of nastiness, also prevented a lot of people from looking objectively at the film. It tended to be a lot of "they ruined my childhood"-type rantings, or "people who don't like the film are anti-Feminist" rantings. 

In the press, the whole thing became about Feminists versus fanboy man-children who grew up in the 80s, rather than a critical examination of the film's pros and cons as a film. The gender politics tended to overshadow everything else."

*****


I agree that the discussion did likely prevent some from an objective viewing, but I think it was a necessary and worthy discussion.  The hate leveled at the movie was unfair, and the attacks on Leslie Jones were completely horrible.  That kind of racism and sexism had to be called out.  Criticism started so early that the filmmakers were able to comment on it in the film, which probably stoked the fanboys even more.  I think the media typically panders to the fanboys, and this was a rare time that fanboys were called out on their bullshit.

I thought the movie was great in the theater - I saw it with a very recpetive audience, so that helped.  I just saw the extended version, and while I think they made the right cuts for theatrical release, it was fun to see some extra material.  I love the chemistry Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, and Paul Fieg really delivered on this one.



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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 9:18am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

When I first heard about the All-Gal GHOSTBUSTERS my reaction was to roll my eyes. Here we go again!

The only reason I watched it was that I had actually enjoyed the McCarthy/Feig combo in SPY (a suprise) and decided to give GHOSTBUSTERS a try on PayPerView. I was pleasantly surprised, tho the version I saw was the "extended" cut and it felt a little bloated.

Mostly, tho, the movie did not bend or break too many of my "Remake Rules." For one thing -- not a remake! Also, not a sequel. It's own separate entity, with nods to the originals coming in the form of actors (in different roles) not characters or specific references.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 9:31am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I agree that the discussion did likely prevent some from an objective viewing, but I think it was a necessary and worthy discussion.  The hate leveled at the movie was unfair, and the attacks on Leslie Jones were completely horrible.  That kind of racism and sexism had to be called out.  Criticism started so early that the filmmakers were able to comment on it in the film, which probably stoked the fanboys even more.  I think the media typically panders to the fanboys, and this was a rare time that fanboys were called out on their bullshit.
++++++++

Yeah, I agree that it was good that the discussion was brought out into the open, but, man, did it get unpleasant. It was really appalling, seeing the extreme reactions and behavior on both sides.

But, then, it seems like our society is becoming more and more about extremes, with the sane middleground slowly shrinking away.

My own personal objection to the film comes down to the simple notion of remaking GHOSTBUSTERS, instead of doing the reboot as an in-universe sequel, which would have been easy. There seems to have been no point in retelling the same going-into-business story all over agin, expect for the female empowerment angle. 

Plus, there's the fact that the film simply doesn't look appealing to me, and that it appears to go too far in the direction of "the women are awesome, whereas all the men in the movie are either buffoons or sexists". That seems like swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. Of course, I say this without having seen the film, but that's the impression I get. I'm not wasting time and energy ranting and raving on YouTube about it, y'know? 

For me, these things really shouldn't come down to gender politics, although I understand why they do, since we live in a very imperfect world. I'm all about story and characters, regardless of the genders of the characters. I really don't like it when agendas and egos get shoehorned into these things. GHOSTBUSTERS should be a fun romp for kids and adults alike, not a lightning rod for bitter arguments about sexism.

Perhaps they should have created a co-ed team of GHOSTBUSTERS, so that everyone would be have been happier? Would that be so bad?

I understand that women and minorities have always struggled for proper representation in film, but I worry about things going too far in the other direction, with films that militantly focus on women and minorities to the exclusion of everyone else. I think that balance and true diversity are the way to go, depending on the story being told, of course. 
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I understand that women and minorities have always struggled for
proper representation in film, but I worry about things going too far in
the other direction, with films that militantly focus on women and
minorities to the exclusion of everyone else. I think that balance and
true diversity are the way to go, depending on the story being told, of
course.

-------

I like Ruth Bader Ginsburg's comments about when she is asked when
will there be enough women in the Supreme Court. Her reply is nine,
and when people act shocked, her response is that when there were
nine men on the bench, people didn't raise an issue.

It would take decades of female-led movies before we'd have to worry
about film representation becoming too unbalanced. My concern would
be more that the diversity be natural. And I think GHOSTBUSTERS
meets that test. I don't find it forced that the four women came together
in the way they did.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Perhaps they should have created a co-ed team of GHOSTBUSTERS, so that everyone would be have been happier? Would that be so bad?

••

"Look! They don't think women can do this stuff without men to help them!"

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 11:27am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Yeah, it's kind of a lose-lose, either way. 

I personally have no problem with an all-female GHOSTBUSTERS, except in the context of a remake/reboot, instead of a legitimate sequel. That was just asking for trouble.

I also take issue with the filmmakers basically using the sexism angle as a shield to deflect legitimate criticism of the film.


All they really had to do was have an all-female franchise of the original business from the original continuity in a different city. No need for cameos, references, or an origin story. New characters, new setting, same business model. Except...Hollywood is obsessed with origin stories!

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Ronald Joseph
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

All they really had to do was have an all-female franchise of the original business from the original continuity in a different city.

Heck, I'd have gladly accepted the daughter of one of the original four to start up an all-female team. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 7:49pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply


The Eighth Wonder of the World:

The original KING KONG (1933)

Started showing it (finally!) to my 6-year old son tonight, before bedtime... there was hemming & hawing, there was whining about the black & white, there was impatience with the talking and set-up, and when Kong finally appeared, there was exclamations of, "It looks really fake!"

But as we stuck with it, and as I helped narrate what was going on (all without mocking the film, mind you), his interest kicked into high-gear as Kong started battling the dinosaurs and (it must be said) the crewmen started to get picked-off one by one.  Goshdurnit, the kid was having fun watching it!

Made me very happy & proud.




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Matt Reed
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Posted: 17 March 2017 at 9:49pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

With regard to the new GHOSTBUSTERS (2016), I thought it was better than I expected but not as great as I wanted it to be.  I, personally, don't judge it against the original but rather the pairing of Feig, McCarthy and Wiig.  That's what got me to ultimately buy it on sale via iTunes.  I loved their pairing on BRIDESMAIDS and have heard great things about the Feig/McCarthy SPY (own it, but have yet to watch it).  Although it had some fun moments (in particular some of the scenes that were cut from the theatrical version), it had none of the spontaneity of  their previous work.  Much of it felt forced from a franchise perspective.  I'll also add that I had no problem with the casting.  None.  Zip.  With that I was absolutely fine.  So it's an oddity rather than a go-to film, one I may watch again but only if I really feel the urge to dive back into what I thought was just a so-so experience.  
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 March 2017 at 5:39am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The hard part in all this -- and it's what I have to deal with in most superhero movies -- is that the bulk of the audience has no emotional connection to the characters and just wants to be entertained for a few hours.

So, those of you who rage against GHOSTBUSTERS (2016), remember this is how I feel about X-MEN and THE AVENGERS and most of the rest. Except my connection is even more direct.

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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 18 March 2017 at 8:37am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

KING KONG (1933) ...there was whining about the black & white...

Growing up today, I'd imagine black and white must be very strange.

I'll admit when I was younger, I'd tend to prefer shows and movies that were in color. And I'd grown up on a lot of black and white fare: KONG, The Three Stooges, the Little Rascals, I Love Lucy, etc. But I liked the color episodes, for example, of The Adventures of Superman over those that weren't.

I used to go to cons when I was 12, 13 years old and think original comic art was stupid. Who would pay many times the cost of a full-color book for just one black and white page of it??

As an adult, I've basically done a 180 with those attitudes.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 March 2017 at 9:36am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Alas, there are many who still think black and white original art is "unfinished". That's how several colorists made a few bucks, back in the day, PAINTING ON THE ORIGINAL ART. (Memories of people at cons proudly showing me the results of this desecration.)*

Now that art sells for prices commensurate with the actual value of the pieces (and sometimes more) I HOPE this practice has died out.

_________________

* Almost as bad, inkers who would "customize" pencil sketches to produce something other than what the penciler intended. Not a few of the "nudes" presented as my work originated in this fashion.

(Once, I was asked to do a drawing of Cyclops being disemboweled by Wolverine. I declined. The customer asked if I would do the drawing with one of the Hellfire club goons. I did. A few hours later he came back to show me he'd gotten an inker to turn the goon into Cyclops. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.)

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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 20 March 2017 at 8:07am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Philip José Farmer has a story "After King Kong Fell", about a grandfather showing the movie on TV to his granddaughter. I imagine black & white was less of an issue in 1973, (my family was changing from color to b&w TVs depending on which used one was cheapest when our old used one would fritz out,) but he does mention waiting until the Wanderer is nosing up to Skull Island before calling in the 6 1/2 year old.There is some hope. My four year old nephew brought his gamecube and favorite game, "Luigi's Ghost Mansion" over some years back, and I dug up an old CRT to plug it into. The color control knob was intermittent, but he liked it when I "made it gray," as he put it.

Edited by Jack Bohn on 20 March 2017 at 8:08am
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 20 March 2017 at 9:14am | IP Logged | 16 post reply


Considering that my son's only exposure to black & white may have been some old family photos, and/or one or two other monster movies (I believe he watched the old Universal DRACULA and THE WOLF MAN last Halloween), I can imagine most black & white films can still be somewhat of a shock, especially when he's so  used to the vivid, glorious colors of your average CGI-animated feature, or the typical video games he can play on a Kindle.

However, I like to think it was simply the sheer imaginative storytelling & fun of the original KING KONG that kept him hooked.  And much like one may have to get used to, say, the dancing in WEST SIDE STORY at first, before the music and drama take hold, it would seem he simply got used to the "old-time" special effects of the '33 KONG within the first 5 or 10 minutes after Kong makes his first appearance.

I'm just glad he enjoyed it!



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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 20 March 2017 at 11:07am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I don't think stop-motion animation would be quite as jarring to a young viewer as black and white would be.

After all, you still see it in movies and shows from the last 15-20 years: CHICKEN RUN, the Wallace and Grommit stuff, Tim Burton produced and/or directed projects like NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, CORPSE BRIDE, FRANKENWEENIE, etc.

Though most of these don't have live action characters interacting with stop-motion effects.

But even Rancor monsters, Scout Walkers, AT-AT'S, Taun Tauns and some Terminators were stop-motion...not as "modern", to be sure...


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James Woodcock
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Posted: 20 March 2017 at 4:34pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Rancor was a puppet, not stop motion
Scout walker was go motion where there are servos to move it as the frame is taken, adding motion blur.

Sorry for being pedantic
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 20 March 2017 at 5:44pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Not at all. The Rancor thing was me being a chowder head. It's clearly not stop-motion.

With the Scout Walkers, however...essentially seems like the same process there, perhaps with a new wrinkle.






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John Byrne
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Posted: 21 March 2017 at 4:28pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

SING (2016)

Fun.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 21 March 2017 at 7:09pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

As some may recall, I watched PLANET OF THE APES (1968) for the very first time, a year or three back. Well, I've had all five of the original films sitting on my DVR for quite some time, and I figured it was time to watch them all. So...

PLANET OF THE APES (1968).

Still a brilliant film, full of clever subtext which seems fresh and relevant, nearly 50 years later--Creationism vs. Evolution, treatment of animals, etc. This a perfect done-in-one film, with one of the most memorable and well-earned endings in movie history. It's like a feature-length TWILIGHT ZONE episode, which, given Rod Serling's involvement, makes perfect sense.


BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970).

Oh, boy. A great example of trying to turn a one-shot film into a franchise--or, given the ending, a duology. Continuity from the first film is willfully ignored or rewritten (Why was a rescue party sent after Taylor's ship? Where was Taylor hiding those dogtags during the first film? Weren't Zira and Cornelius set to be tried for heresy?) in order to continue the story.

For 2/3rds of the film, it was pretty much what I'd expected: Discount Charlton Heston comes along, and has various narrow escapes with Nova. Then, we get to...an underground society of telepathic humans who worship a doomsday bomb from the 20th century?!?!? Talk about a sharp left-turn which completely misses the point of the first film!

Anyway, not only are both Hestons killed onscreen, but everyone dies when the doomsday bomb is set off by Taylor.


...or do they? Three more films to go says "no". It's a surprisingly dark and abrupt ending, though. I'll give it points for that.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 21 March 2017 at 7:11pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 21 March 2017 at 8:07pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I saw BENEATH in the theater, first release, and after having seen the first film at least six times when it was first playing, I was disappointed to find myself with no pressing urge to see the second again. At least not soon.

Partly I think it was that "dark" ending that put me off. But also there were whispers of the continuity errors Greg mentioned. It having been several years since I'd seen PotA details had faded (even after six viewings), and I could not specify what was wrong, only that things WERE wrong!

A warning, Greg: ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES has its moments, and is worth your taking a look, but it is also the film that officially strips the series of any real connection to the first film. And the rest are best avoided entirely.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 21 March 2017 at 9:53pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971).

Some fun and interesting stuff, here, but it's also full of retcons and changed premises. So, Zira, Cornelius, and Dr. Milo just happened to salvage Taylor's ship--this action coming from apes who didn't even believe in Earthbound flight, much less space travel--and just happened to escape Earth as it was destroyed. Huh. 

Also, Cornelius quite clearly lays out a history which has apes evolving and throwing off the shackles of human slavery, which is completely NOT what the first film was about. The message of the original film is quite clear--after the atomic war, some humans eventually devolved into the forerunners of the relatively-advanced ape society, while others remained human, and ended up living in primitive tribes. The new APES films are also based on the idea of apes evolving and warring against man, yes? That really does miss the point and the genius of the backwards and fiendishly clever role-reversal/Creationism vs. Evolution situation presented in the first film, and turns it into more of a standard "mistreated minority rises up and fights back" plot.

Also, the whole time-travel angle that this movie hinges upon seems to stem from a fundamental misreading of the effect of the relativistic time dilation which Taylor's ship (and Brent's, apparently) went through in the first film.


That all aside, this one is pretty darn good, although it has another shockingly dark and abrupt ending (...but I saw the chimp-switcheroo coming). Nice to have Roddy McDowall back, though, but the fate of Cornelius and Zira is a major downer.

And, while I'd noticed several STAR TREK guest stars in BENEATH (James Gregory, Jeff Corey), ESCAPE has no less than William Windom and Ricardo Montalban! And Eric Braden--a.k.a. Victor Newman--, minus his iconic mustache!

Me being me, I'll still check out the last two films, but I do indeed have a feeling that it's only down from here.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 22 March 2017 at 12:35am
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Fabrice Renault
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 3:20am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

My main problem with "Beneath the planet of the apes" starts with the different arrival date. 3955 instead of 3978. Taylor shouldn't even be in that movie.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 22 March 2017 at 4:49am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

"ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971)."

...

Side note; the newsman doing the sit down interview was Bill Bonds, a famous anchor in these parts known for his inflammatory commentaries.
I thought he did a pretty good job .
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