LawrenceA

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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    Recently Watched SF & Fantasy

    The Mysterious Island (1929) - I really enjoyed this mess of a movie from MGM, based on Jules Verne's book. Lionel Barrymore stars as Count Dakkar (Captain Nemo in the book), a brilliant scientist and inventor with a volcanic island laboratory. The island is part of a larger kingdom known as Hetvia, and Dakkar's research efforts are put on hold when his former friend Falon (Montagu Love) decides to stage a coup. He tortures Dakkar in order to obtain his many scientific secrets, but Dakkar escapes and joins a group of opposing forces in an effort to stop Falon. Also featuring Jacqueline Gadsdon (as Jane Daly), Lloyd Hughes, Harry Gribbon, Gibson Gowland, Dolores Brinkman, and Snitz Edwards. This was a troubled production, taking years to complete. It started out as a silent, but as sound came into vogue, they reshot only parts with full sound, while leaving the majority of the film silent, using title cards, and also adding sound effects and a score. Lucien Hubbard wrote the script and got final screen credit for direction, too, although footage had been shot as far back as 1926 by directors Maurice Tourneur and Benjamin Christensen. The movie is an exciting adventure for the first 2/3 or so, but when the action goes undersea, we head into fun & bizarre territory, with a race of duck-faced dwarven undersea people, a giant octopus, and an alligator with a horn glued on his snout. Being Pre-Code, this has some surprising moments of violence. The disparate pieces of this don't go together smoothly, and the ending seems kind of rushed, but I liked this oddity a lot. Recommended. 8/10 Source: TCM by way of YouTube.
  2. I think you "stan" Lucille Ball. Just a little bit.
  3. Yes, it is Mads Mikkelsen. I was switching the avatars around to feature my favorite foreign-film actors of the decade, while I was watching films from said decade. So, 90's = Takeshi Kitano, 00's = Choi Min-sik, and 10's = Mads Mikkelsen. I finished up all of my discs Monday, though, so I should change it again, although I plan on watching several more from 2017-2019 via streaming in the next week. I haven't decided where to go next with the avatar. Maybe my favorite key grips from the classic film era. Or maybe Best Boys through the ages. Or maybe multiple Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominees who never won.
  4. As of a week ago, it has been a decade since I've read a work of fiction. I remember the date due to other life events that coincided with the last novel I read. It's been nothing but non-fiction since then. I feel like I should be sadder about that than I am.
  5. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    I think my problems with the film came from heightened expectations. The film (and book's) chief point was the ease at which a Hitler-type could come to power in the current German political climate, with heightened nationalism and the immigration crises. In that respect, one couldn't be more on-the-nose than to depict such a leader as literally Hitler himself. The funny thing is, like in many satires of this sort, there is a portion of the audience who actually agrees with Hitler, and for whom the point is lost, twisted or ignored. It's gutsy that the movie was even made. I wonder how big a release it was in Germany?
  6. Your OP was only part of what Speedy was responding to (the Scorsese bit). She was also responding to the Bill Maher comments, which were brought up again, as well as someone's comments about how people dress/groom themselves.
  7. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    Look Who's Back, David Wnendt, Germany (2015) - 6/10 Muddled, obvious satire based on a best-selling novel, with Adolf Hitler (Oliver Masucci) miraculously transported through time from 1945 Germany to 2014 Germany. He quickly acclimates to the massive changes that have taken place in the world, and soon finds himself a major TV celebrity, playing on anti-immigrant sentiments among the populace. The film starts out as a clumsy Borat-style goof, with Masucci in his Hitler guise interacting with real Germans who provide many cringe-worthy comments. However, the obvious editing used, and Masucci's apparent lack of improv skills, undercut much of this. It also switches over to scripted bits with obvious professionals playing "real people" quite frequently, casting even the genuine guerrilla-style interviews in a dubious light. The second half is a slog, with Hitler becoming an unlikely TV star (shades of Howard Beale in Network), and tedious scenes of the various network staff and their uninspired romances and machinations. The satire here is stale, as well (calling out ubiquitous reality TV programming as vacuous garbage isn't exactly daring commentary). The film also relies on a lot of German cultural in-jokes, with real TV celebs playing themselves having awkward interactions with Hitler, much of which falls flat for anyone unaware of who these people are. There's also a lot of then-current political skewering, but beyond Angela Merkel, I was unaware of who these people were, so for me it didn't work. And of course I wasn't crazy about the scene where Hitler kicks and then shoots a small dog. However, that bit was mitigated by it being poorly-done CGI. The filmmaking itself isn't interesting, with flat, digital-video cinematography which often (purposely?) looks amateurish. The score is mainly sourced classical snippets, with some oddities thrown in ("The Gonk", most famously used in the mall in the original Dawn of the Dead, is heard at one point"). All that being said, I still laughed a little at some bits.
  8. Scorsese didn't, but some posters said as much. Speedy was responding to them, as well as the OP, or at least that's how I took it.
  9. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    No, you're absolutely right. Waxwork is pretty dumb if you try to break it down and really examine it. I learned to just enjoy the bits I like and try to ignore the rest. And it's not like I, or anyone else that I'm aware of, think it's one of the best movies of its type, even as far as cheap 80's horror goes.
  10. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    I have that on disc with the sequel. I was thinking about watching part 2 again soon, as I don't recall much from it, other than take-offs on The Haunting and Night of the Living Dead.
  11. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films Up to 2015

    The New Land, Jan Troell, Sweden (1972) - 7/10 I think everyone else said that they've already seen this, but I finally caught up to this follow-up to The Emigrants, with Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann as Swedish settlers in Minnesota circa the mid-19th century. It was good, but very long (203 minutes, although for some reason IMDb lists it with a 102 minute runtime). Ullman, Von Sydow, and Troell regular Eddie Axberg are all very good. Some of the cinematic techniques haven't aged well, and the massacre scene is fairly over-the-top, but I enjoyed the film overall.
  12. I never had the regional Southern accent that's so thick around these parts, either. I suppose since my parents were not from around here, I tried to sound more like them than my peers, despite being raised and schooled here. A school friend of mine met my paternal grandfather, who was born and raised in upstate New York, but who moved down here after retirement to be close to his son (my father) and us grandkids. Anyway, my friend, who is several generations a southerner, asked after meeting my grandfather, "Is he Jewish?" because he had a NY accent. When I said no, he asked "Then he's Italian?"
  13. It also depends on the person's appearance. My nieces and nephew who are mixed race (half-black, half-white) don't have the option as identifying as white, as they "look black" more than they "look white", as in, if a stranger saw them for the first time, they would identify them as black, and never as white. They have cafe au lait skin color, and black, kinky hair. But people make all sorts of silly snap judgments based on appearance. I'm of western European ancestry, mainly Irish, English and French, yet I was asked on several occasions if I were Hispanic, since I had dark brown/black hair, dark brown eyes that often look black, and I get a dark tan when I'm in the sun, and never sunburn. I was also once asked if I was Jewish, and when I asked the person why they thought so, they said it was because I "seemed smart and wore glasses!"
  14. The Criterion site is working now. I ended up ordering 4:
  15. The site still appears to be down. That's 90 minutes of the sale gone! I also still have a $10 digital giftcard from Criterion for being a charter member of the Criterion Channel. I've been saving it to use with the next flash sale. I have 3 or 4 I'm interested in.
  16. I've noticed the "stan" term being bandied about more frequently, too. I think it comes from the Eminem song "Stan" about an obsessed, fan/stalker. People use it to mean "super-fan", and it can be derogatory or not, depending on the usage. It's like "fanboy/fangirl" with less nerd/geek overtones. And i'm completely with you on the notion that "maturity" should be based on managing the essentials in one's life rather than the entertainment they enjoy. I live in a house that I own outright, on land that I own, and drive a 2017 vehicle that's paid for. My bills are never in arrears, and maintain my property's appearance, as well as personal grooming habits. Now if I choose to wear clothes that are comfortable for me, in styles that I like, and with hair styled in the fashion I prefer, I don't give a **** what someone else thinks about my appearance. I don't have any of the fashion peccadilloes mentioned in posts above, but I do have facial hair, which many frown upon. And who is the arbiter of what's acceptable to wear? Why aren't we sticking to the old "rules" where women always wore dresses, and lacy gloves, and wore silly hats, and men always wore a suit with a necktie, even to go to the grocery store?
  17. I got up at 6:30 for elementary and middle school/junior high years, but when I turned 16, I bought a used car and didn't get up until 7:15 or so, as I only lived about 8 minutes away from my high school. I had to be there by 8, so I had enough time for a shower and the occasional breakfast.
  18. Did you mean "funeral"? If so, my condolences on your loss.
  19. Thank you. You've stated my position on this quite well. I think Maher and others who agree with his sentiment come across as out of touch and foolish in the same way that their predecessors did when they complained about the useless long-hairs and hippies listening to "noise music" and watching film and TV that they regarded as vulgar and infantile. All Maher and his ilk are doing is showing themselves as the same kind of shallow, judgmental fogies that he claims to rebel against. I've posted many times about how I dislike this trend for some people to judge other people as inferior based on the films/TV/music/books that they enjoy. It's not enough to say that they don't share the same tastes, or that something just isn't for them, but they have to declare that anyone who would dare to like something they don't must be lacking in mental capacity, maturity, or proper artistic merit. It's a particularly loathsome habit of some people. As for Scorsese, since he is my favorite living filmmaker, I do feel I have to defend him a little by pointing out that he's made 25 features, and only 6 were crime dramas, although Raging Bull is mob-adjacent.
  20. And their site is down...
  21. LawrenceA

    Misleading Titles

    It took you nearly two weeks to come up with that witty retort.
  22. I didn't like NIN too much for a long time, but a friend toured with them, and he got me more into them. I haven't heard the last few albums, though. NIN and Soundgarden are the only nominees this year that I saw live. I too find the Doobie Brothers very dull. Kraftwerk were German electronica pioneers. MC5 were a big live act going back to the 60's, with no major hit singles. Rufus has at least one song that you've likely heard in many TV shows, movies and commercials. And Chaka Khan had several big hits as a solo artist.
  23. LawrenceA

    Comcast moving TCM to Sports/Entertainment Package

    Not to mention that it's been demonstrated month after month, using actual statistics, that TCM continues to show a majority of films from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Here's October's decade count:
  24. If they stick to 5 eventual inductees, my choices would be: Pat Benatar Nine Inch Nails Kraftwerk Depeche Mode Soundgarden Followed by T. Rex, Motorhead and Judas Priest. I don't really care about any of the others. However, I know my choices have very little chance at becoming reality. They seem to have fallen into a pattern of diversity of genre for the last several years, as well as gender and racial representation. So either Whitney Houston or Biggie is a shoo-in, if not both. There's also the hard rock/heavy metal slot every year, so Motorhead or Judas Priest are very likely (I would bet on Judas Priest, as they're more widely known, and lead singer Rob Halford's inclusion would be seen as a positive for the LGBT crowd). I would also not be surprised by MC5's induction, as they're a perennial nominee (but then so is Rufus w/Chaka Khan).

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