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What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in Time

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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 10th, 2019, 11:20 pm

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Perhaps the most imitated war film ever (and one that might have started the myth that World War II ended with D-Day), it feels like more focus is given by viewers on the violent depiction of the D-Day battle and not the much strong story of a group of soldiers having to rescue an MIA to deliver the news of his brothers' fate. Spielberg does not glorify the violence, in fact showing how the need to kill is not one of want but to survive. I think a lot of the imitators miss this, as they stylize the violence to the point where it's shown as exciting (and this is how we end up seeing people like Chris Kyle worshiped as heroes). Without the main story being Tom Hanks and his army searching for Matt Damon (whom I didn't realize had such low billing as he isn't in the first two-thirds), the film would just be another war film. But it's really a film about ordinary guys committing a selfless act only to becoming part of an even bigger act. And how they are more than stereotypes is something today's military films could learn from. Sure, you have the archetypes but they are fleshed out. That doesn't happen often.

Also, this is a good movie to find actors before they became known. There's Vin Diesel, Paul Giamatti, Barry Pepper, Bryan Cranston, and Giovanni Ribisi among the cast. And this was during the time when they tried to make Edward Burns something. Such a bland actor.

Up next: Stop Making Sense.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 13th, 2019, 12:10 am

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A fast-paced, high energy documentary that makes you feel like you are in the crowd at the Pantages Theatres, watching David Byrne flail like a madman and the band sweat up a storm. While many documentaries disrupt the flow with interviews or banter to the crowd, this film is all about the music. One unique thing about this film is how the members of Talking Heads are introduced. Rather than have them all appear at once, they appear one by one until all four members are together during the fourth song. This shows you how Stop Making Sense is unlike most concert films. And of course, Jonathan Demme directed this documentary. I have a feeling that without this one, we wouldn't have Something Wild or Married to the Mob, two films just as offbeat.

Up next: The Godfather Part II.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 14th, 2019, 1:33 am

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The perfect movie.

Up next: Apollo 13.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 14th, 2019, 11:54 pm

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A toss-up between this and The Right Stuff for the best astronaut movie not named 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ron Howard gets a lot of criticism as a filmmaker but this might be the best film he's ever done (Howard himself has even stated it). The film is near non-stop intensity and you stay engaged because you want these characters to succeed in surviving. A lot of today's adventure films cannot hold a candle (I'm looking at you, Gravity). A lot of the special effects still hold up today and the sound mix can still kick it 24 years later. By the end, you get teary-eyed not just because the mission was the beginning of the end for the Apollo program but because these heroic men fought against all odds to return home and succeeded. Failure is not an option.

Up next: A Face in the Crowd.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 17th, 2019, 11:27 pm

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Perhaps one of the strangest and wildest films ever made by a major studio. Martin Scorsese takes us through one man's night of Hell in Manhattan as he meets a series of characters that set up into wackier and crazier diversions, all in a quest to get back home after a bad date. Scorsese, not usual a comedic director, is easily up to the task as he and screenwriter Joseph Minion (who later wrote Vampire's Kiss, the Nicolas Cage movie where he's convinced he's a bloodsucker) find outside the box ways to mine humor. It's not the typical 80's comedy, as rather than using slapstick or giant set pieces to make us laugh, the humor comes from situations, the variety of figures involved, and how everyone involved raises the stakes. We laugh at the protagonist's miseries but we also want him to get out of it unscathed.

If I were to go into a time machine and visit the 80's, I'm sure it would be more like this film than anything John Hughes ever did.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby JohnErle » November 18th, 2019, 4:17 pm

The suburbs were exactly like a John Hughes movie. New York after dark was probably more like After Hours.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 19th, 2019, 12:01 am

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Before he was Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith was a Southern-fried Charles Foster Kane in a film that seems to have heavily influenced Network, if not many other things afterwards. Griffith shows multiple sides in this performance, going from a easy-going good ol' boy (think Stanley Spadowski from UHF but more restrained) to an angry monster drunk with power as the story charts his rise and fall in the entertainment world. Much has been made of Andy Griffith not being the folksy fatherly figure from television here but I also feel Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau are really good as Lonesome Rhodes' producer and head writer, respectively. Their subplots add to the story and serve as somewhat of a breather from the madness that is Lonesome Rhodes. Throughout the film, you're thinking, "Who is going to stop this guy?" Unlike in a reality where there are too many followers and few suitable leaders, we have some figures here that can do that.

The film serves as a reminder of when the media actually did hold themselves accountable for their actions. Now, it's just "if it bleeds, it leads" and the neverending quest for ratings.

Up next: A League of Their Own.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 21st, 2019, 12:06 am

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The most financially successful baseball movie ever is not your typical sports story. Rather than being about some hotshot rookie who can't control his emotions or a washed-up star wanting one last chance, it's a film about opportunity and fulfilling dreams in a time when morale across North America needed to be boosted. So, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was born. With a few artistic liberties, this is more or less how most people know about that story. Though Tom Hanks is top-billed as the drunkard manager (and gets some of the best lines), it's really Geena Davis's movie. Playing the strong-willed leader of the team, Davis takes charge and carries the film with her talents and determination. And even though she's often criticized for her acting ability, Madonna's actually not bad (in fact, I think her dark brunette phase was when she was her most beautiful). And Lori Petty probably gave her best performance here. In fact, most of the cast is quite impressive, along with Penny Marshall's eye for scale in depicting 1940's middle America. It's quite amazing that this film still resonates with audiences today while other historical films of the era don't. I think it has to do with the positive messages and unpretentious nature. And you will get emotional by the end, even if you're a man in his late 20's with a large beard.

Lastly, remember what Jimmy Dugan says, anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Up next: The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Screen203 » November 23rd, 2019, 10:54 pm

I attempted to see Frozen 2 today - worst experience at the theater in a long time (not because of the movie, which was relatively thin - I'm not a fan of animated movies, but I try to see every wide-release musical that comes out, and the music is outstanding - as usual for Disney - but the story is pretty generic kids fare)...

First they played the wrong movie (Maleficent, which did not go over well with all the kids waiting to see Elsa). Then the movie cut to Evan Rachel Wood singing young Elsa and Anna "All Is Found". Then complete darkness for 20 minutes or so. After that, they ran even more previews (even though there were already some played, and one of them played twice)... then the movie went dark and the lights went up. After about 10 more minutes of waiting, the movie came back on... but to the Evan Rachel Wood lullaby scene again. The rest of the movie (somehow) went smoothly after that, probably because the mob of parents pissed off was going to be too large. Everyone got refunds (meaning a free movie) and I ended up getting free tickets.

Still, the debacle was a sign of the continued decline of this theater - which used to be the best in my area.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 24th, 2019, 9:32 pm

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The bar where all political thrillers should perhaps be measured. Kind of like a black-and-white version of films such as Vertigo, John Frankenheimer was probably at his peak during a career that was often hit or miss (another filmmaker like this is Brian De Palma, who can hit the target as often as he does whiff completely). Though Frank Sinatra is the lead (and gave one of his better performances), the real strengths lay in the story and antagonism between Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury's characters. Using the Red Scare as the basis of the plot, Harvey makes for an interesting pawn while Lansbury (who should have won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year) oozes pure evil. And the brainwashing element adds a certain eerieness to the film, handling conspiracy far better than newer films that just seem to draw from Alex Jones or the Ancient Aliens guy. This is also a film that gets better as it goes on, fully hooking you in as Sinatra gets deeper into the madness that's set to form.

Annoyingly, I was in an audience where half the back row was convinced they were watching a comedy. But I guess when one of the most talked about movies right now is a comedy about Nazism and one where Hitler is being depicted in a sympathetic light, anything is fair game.

Up next: The 'burbs.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Screen203 » November 24th, 2019, 11:22 pm

Need more time to think on Beautiful Day, but I think it may be in the running for most overrated film of the year so far...
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » November 25th, 2019, 11:44 pm

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One of the hammiest films ever made. Tom Hanks is a suburbanite taking time off from work when he becomes part of a plot to uncover whether or not the new neighbors are killers. What might seem like the darkest PG-rated comedy of the 80's gets considerably lightened up with its bizarre set of characters and wild humor. For me, the film works because Tom Hanks is the straight man (while Carrie Fisher, playing his wife, gets to be the most sane character) surrounded by these strange characters that he's forced to tolerate as they get to the bottom of the case. And as good as Hanks is, it's Bruce Dern's performance that sells the film for me. He does crazy really well while also managing to be a likeable character.

You don't see this kind of dark comedy anymore, with a decent-sized budget and for a wide audience. But that was kind of Joe Dante's forte for a number of years. He could make you laugh while also challenging what was acceptable in a movie where younger audiences would be watching. Not many filmmakers do that now.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » December 1st, 2019, 9:03 pm

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A classic romance where they do end up together! It's quite impressive that there was once a time where you could make an intelligent and funny adult romantic comedy where much of the dialogue was about sex and attraction but it not feel like pandering. These characters are not cliches, they are very real people dealing with real situations. Also, there is a lot of brevity in the story. Though set over an eleven year time frame, Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner only choose to focus on the important details. At 95 minutes, it is a tightly-paced film with a sole major focus. Nowadays, a studio would insist on a two hour run time with various pointless subplots. Sure, Jess and Marie are good sidekicks but they serve their purpose in the story. We don't need an unnecessary subplot on their married life. This is Harry and Sally's story.

While watching this, I have to wonder what killed the romantic comedy exactly. It could be said that the films got too formulaic. It could be also said that they all copied this film. Personally, I think the films got too dumb and infantile and that's why they are now all on Netflix, aimed at twelve year-old girls and starring the charismaless Noah Centineo. They stopped making them smart and for literate adults and gradually became harlequin novels on screen with the occasionally tired joke. Hollywood turned it into a idiot genre.

Up next: Trading Places.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » December 4th, 2019, 11:59 pm

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Eddie Murphy's second film (entering production only five days after his first film opened and released exactly six months after 48 Hrs.) is the classic rich man, poor man tale given a sinister but funny twist as a commodites broker and a con artist are forced to switch places as part of a bet and in addition to learning how the other half lives, decide to team and get revenge on the people using them as an experiment. Nowadays, this subject would be played as a dark thriller but as a wide-appealed comedy, it succeeds thanks to Murphy and Dan Aykroyd playing sympathetic characters and John Landis's direction allowing the audience to have fun with the themes. This isn't awards-driven material (though the score was nominated for an Oscar) but I feel that's why it works. We have characters to root for, we get a message, and it's very funny. It even inspired an SEC rule named after Murphy.

In the end, it's a nice Christmas breather from the constant barrage of Elf and Christmas Vacation.

Up next: The Family Man.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Chienfantome » December 5th, 2019, 5:09 am

Funnily, I have watch Trading places a few months ago and realized I had never seen it.
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