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Everything posted by Russ

  1. Cool, Stef. Totally without knowing, I checked Howard's film out of the library the same day you posted the above. I was watching GRAVITY with my daughter Virginia, and she said, "Boy, that cured me of ever wanting to be an astronaut." I told her I had no idea she wanted to be an astronaut, and she told me every kid wants to be an astronaut. We talked a little about the space shuttle program's problems and the disasters, and I realized I don't know much at all about the space program to talk with her. Thought I'd revisit Howard's film myself, and with her this time for a look at a real near-miss. Looks like I'll check out that documentary you mentioned, too. Thanks for the recommendation.
  2. I'm in total agreement. I was imagining all of the sorts of imaginative things they could have done with a computer-consciousness army. Maybe some sort of Zola-Modok hybrid or something. But the screenwriters weren't interested in the film going that way. They just wanted to get back to the bulletfire. Incidentally, I wasn't going to reply to this topic further, but my wife wanted me to add more thoughts.
  3. Yeah, the tombstone reads "The path of the righteous man..." Steven, she's always been a fan of classical mythology, and we spent lots of time reading the D'Aulere (sp?) Greek and Norse books, so the Thor-world was tailor-made to her sweet spot, and she overlooks a lot of the clunkiness of those movies. She likes what Hiddleston does with Loki, and I'm with her. Plus, Eccleston's presence meant the film would be graded on the curve, much in the same way that I imagine Karen Gillan being in Guardians of the Galaxy means I'll be seeing that, too. It doesn't matter if they're unrecognizable, I think she assumed Fury was really dead, especially since you see him lying there without any vitals. Me, I was hoping.
  4. I also like how Evans plays the character--they get some nice usage out of the recurring gags of Rogers catching up with all that he's missed--but I didn't like the film much. I took my ten year-old, Virginia, who loves the Marvel movies pretty unreservedly, and she got pretty exasperated when it was revealed that the film coulda been subtitled NICK FURY'S NOT DEAD HE'S SURELY ALIVE. Unlike THOR: THE DARK WORLD, she didn't tell me in the lobby afterward that she wanted to get the DVD upon its release (thankfully, she backed off that one, too). The Fury tombstone in-gag was simultaneously cute and awful. I can't decide which.
  5. You've encouraged me to pull out my DVD copy and see if I react to it now the same way I did a couple of years ago. As to your analogy, are those the only two options? I know there are others. I've driven my car with smeared birdwaste on the windshield at eye-level, and quitting driving isn't an option. And I still mind it. I'm gonna keep driving, keep noticing it and keep hoping for cleansing. I don't think the film invites us to capitulate to the ugliness that we can push out and into our spouse and kids. That was part of the appeal, to be honest. Something about those Wes Anderson films-- the overmanicured mise-en-scene, the ironic dialogue, Jason Schwartzman-- makes the emotional beats of his films stand out a bit too much sometimes, like the way the suicide attempt in Tenenbaums seems so abruptly serious in a misplaced way that it has to be set to montage.
  6. No and no. We watch the show with our teen daughters, and we all agree that this season has been even more rudderless and frustrating than the previous seasons, which were not high points in television drama their own selves.
  7. Wait-- DEADWOOD? Terrible in that? JUSTIFIED is sort of a comfort show for me, I guess. I like the weird Dixie Mafia subculture the show created from Leonard's novels, and the show's writers and runner get Leonard's tone and black humor so thoroughly that it's entertaining solely as an exercise in adaptation, but the show's not really adding up to anything that transcends superior pulp.
  8. This is the Hollywood franchise that excites me most at present. Sure, so much of the basic plot points are simple dystopia beats that have been covered elsewhere lots of times, but Catniss's compulsion to act ethically in an unethical and stacked-deck wasteland makes for compelling viewing. The new movie is pretty great.
  9. Russ


    I am going to need a few days to get out from under a few things, but I will be back to add more to my tweet. And I do think the film comes down solidly on the side of Coogan/unbelief, and I am as sensitive and attentive as they come, if I do say so myself. "F$%@ sides, man. What we need is solidarity!"
  10. Ali and I are rewatching the UP films, this time with my oldest daughter Leah and her nine year-old sister, Virginia. We're halfway through 28, and will probably get through 35 and 42 this weekend. My favorite local arthouse theater is showing MARNIE Sunday night, so I'm hoping to talk Leah into seeing it with me.
  11. You wanna know how excited I am about this show? Excited enough that I'm setting aside a forty-two year-old bias against fantasy fiction and buying that mass-market paperback box set amazon is selling for less than $20.
  13. Russ

    Barbara (2012)

    Nick, I feel kinda bad mentioning that Barbara just returned to Pittsburgh last Friday for another one-week run. I saw it twice locally last November, when it ran the first time, and am seriously considering taking it in again tomorrow or Thursday. Don't suppose you have any frequent-flier miles? Anodos, jumping on Jeffrey's suggestion, you also might as well see her other film with Petzold, Jerichow. It's not the equal of Barbara or Yella, but a really good film in its own right. Also, Nina is Hossome. I attribute her hyponotoriety to the fact that she hasn't made arthouse films that have gotten wide attention apart from her Petzold films. I think she's done some Euro genre films, too; my library has a French film where she's part of a clique of vampires.
  14. How strict are those dudes in defining "industry professionals" and "writers?" I'm guessing a FestivalScope log-in isn't going to show up on bugmenot anytime soon.
  15. After some recent hate-watching (House of Cards, The Walking Dead), it's nice to be back in the company of a series where I'm really sad when the ending credits hit the screen. I devoured the first season in a four-day period bookended by a weekend-- the sort of binge made nearly-impossible by work/family circumstances-- and went out and bought the second season, which I'm four episodes through. Maybe the remaining six episodes depart from this model, but I really like the way in which the battle scenes have been elided thus far, whether that was an aesthetic or budgetary decision. We've got collective battle-ennui at this point, which is part of the reason watching THE HOBBIT is such a slog, and the thought of two more of those films is less-than-enthralling.
  16. Russ

    Dr. Who

    Before her mom and sisters prevailed on her to aspire to a more age-appropriate party, my nearly three-year-old daughter, Daisy, was saying that she wanted a birthday cake with a "Dalek made out of icing on top." In other Lucas Family Dr. Who Fandom news, my nine-year old thinks that David Tennant is the greatest actor the world has ever seen. She just watched the BBC version of Hamlet where he plays the young prince, and I heard her trying to talk him up to a friend she knew wasn't a Who fan by playing up how awesome he was in the role of Barty Crouch, Jr. Plus, she frowns every time Matt Smith's name comes up on the opening credits.
  17. I've edited accordingly. Nick, I went further than I should have. In my view, the meta-discussion about the discussion of the film is less interesting than discussion of the film.
  18. Nick, what in the world are you talking about? I've read your comments here and not engaged them, largely because others have done so ably and because you're just throwing stuff at the wall at this point. But these last statements are particularly ludicrous. First, the film was "greenlit" (to the extent that concept really applies here) because the writer-director won the freaking Palme d'Or last time out, and has on his resume a series of art films that win critical accolades and garner modest box office. Haneke could have ended his film with Georges and Anne playing Asteroids on an Atari 2600 with a banner hung above the telly that read, "Suck it, Culture of Death" and the film still would have been "greenlit" because it's Haneke. Second, apart from the impossibility of ever proving a non-statement like "subtlety does not sell international tickets," you seem to have disregarded Barb's first non-reason for dismissing the film's Oscar nomination-worthiness: it didn't make money, or at least didn't make money in the manner in which they measure money in Hollywood, that magical warzone. And, to Miguel, I did see your comments regarding the film and have been turning them around in my mind. They deserve engagement, and I intend to oblige.
  19. Full disclosure: there's no way I'm reading the whole preceding thread. Sorry. I've been the guy who was a minor annoyance the last few years with regard to comic book movies. Generally, I don't much like them, even though I've spent a lot of time reading superhero comics. I've been a bit of a jerk in expressing that view. In fairness, now, it's incumbent on me to admit how ridiculously entertaining this movie is. What's so great about Whedon's film, in my view, is that he recognizes the essence of what made the Lee-Kirby stable of characters and events so compelling to kids my age: (1) bombast, (2) humor and (3) an acknowledgment of superheroes as an essentially B-level/genre entertainment (not that there's anything wrong with that). This involves a funny juxtaposition: the fate of the earth is always in the balance, but there's always time for a quip. The stakes are serious, but the comics never take themselves too seriously. Christian Bale's hilariously bad Batman voice and somber musings would have been totes out of place in THE AVENGERS. (Now that I think about it, imagine the hilarious riffing that Stark could have laid on raspy Batman.) Plus, Whedon has a chance to reap the harvest of the preceding half-dozen Marvel movies used to introduce these characters. I've only seen a couple of them-- the two Hulks, Thor and Captain America-- and they're all minor pleasures. Some of them are more successful than others, but all significantly less accomplished than THE AVENGERS, which benefits so well from being able to play the characters off against each other within a superheroed world. I know Marvel/Disney see this as the big payoff from those films, but the characters they hadn't introduced previously-- Hawkeye and Black Widow-- come off pretty well, too. Part of what is so appealing about the way Whedon throws these characters together is that as a group, they each retain their individual characteristics, but the sheer multiplicity of heroes spares us from the now-ludicrous Sturm und Drang of the Superhero-as-Metaphor. Yes, yes, I get it. The X-Men are a stand-in for all persecuted minorities. Peter Parker is a pubescent boy. Batman is what makes everybody afraid. The less time and attention paid to these on-the-nose themes, the better, and THE AVENGERS is so stuffed with characters and events that it has no time for this overused angle. I'm also typically bored by action/fight sequences, but Whedon kept me interested the whole way through. His eschewing quick-cutting is a large part of it, but his frequent use of long and wide shots to spatially orient the viewer is a nice departure from the school of filmmaking that puts the viewer right in the middle of a disorientingly-shot fight. Also, this: the film gets even better on a second viewing. How many action movies actually appear more consistent, rather than less, when you take a second look? Also, this: my 9 y.o. and I may or may not have watched/rewound/rewatched the Loki-thrashed-like-a-rag doll scene five or six times.
  20. I'd rather have BABIES on the list than THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
  21. Only 2 1/2 episodes in, but I'm already jonesing for a Youtube supercut of all those scenes where Spacey and his wife have those stupid and bizarre mecha-Machiavelli exchanges.
  22. Yeah, what's our go-live date? I'm excited to see it all, as well.
  23. Side Effects, I hope. I've got loaners of Haneke's 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance and the first season of Game of Thrones, neither of which I've seen. My kids and I have just made it into the Eleventh Doctor's episodes, so I'm sure there will be some clamoring for Dalek action.
  24. I think Crosswalk needs to spread their Best of 2012 list out over more pages, because I only had to wear out one mouse click-button to read through it. Good choices, though. Like to see our man Christian going to bat for Team Ghibli.
  25. I haven't seen Grand Hotel, but when you mentioned the kind of film you were looking for, my first thought was Nashville, which Ken also mentioned. It's difficult to imagine that Grand Hotel's ending is darker than Nashville's.
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