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Today I saw The LEGO Batman Movie. I really should be talking about how it was a masterpiece of parody, how every frickin' frame had at least 3 in-jokes in it and some had dozens (Easter eggs? More like a damn chicken farm)...but right now the thing I wanna mention is the cute talking-animal commercial which preceded the movie advertising a product which you can put in your cat's litter box that will keep your dog from going into it to eat the cat poop. I did not know this was a thing and right now I am so glad I'm not a pet owner.
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Every time the Steve Jobs film trailer commercial loops by on my TV, I hear that Mac start-up chime and leap six feet outta my chair thinking my computer must have just done a random shut down-restart and HEART ATTACK DON'T DO THAT.
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I decided to watch a more-obscure Kurosawa flick that I got from Netflix, The Bad Sleep Well. Ten minutes into it I'm going, "Holy crap, that's Phil Moscowitz!" I had no idea the guy had an actual career!
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All right, who failed to tell me there was a fabulous Jeremy Renner reference in the first five minutes of Birdman? I'd have seen it long before this!

(The fact that it won a Best Picture Oscar which essentially means everyone thought it was a movie worth seeing--not an excuse. Get with it, people.)

(And yes, Birdman was terrific.)
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My take on Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

(Non-spoilery stuff above the cut)

Okay, I thought there was one special effect that wasn't very good and there were a couple of elements I thought were underused, but, other than that? Damn, this was a terrific flick. This is the Captain America movie I've been waiting for, the one that would let me feel Steve Rogers on a gut level. Thirty seconds in I was saying, "I already love this movie," and five minutes in I was saying, "I really already love this movie," because, yes, at last, Steve Rogers. Cap. YES. I feel it now. I get it. The man who smells like fresh applesauce and freedom; I salute it at last. This is the Captain America I thought I was signing on for and this movie has made me very happy.

No secret that Marvel Phase Two hasn't been a hit with me so far; I thought Iron Man 3 was irreverent and kinda annoying and lacking any sense of threat, while Thor 2 was mostly dull. I tried not to get my hopes up too high for this one as a result but it just kept looking so damn good in the previews, I couldn't help but pin some hopes on it. I'm so glad this one hit the mark for me.

Here begins the Spoilery Stuff... )
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When I'm in the mode of "what shall I watch while I do other things; how about we try to watch something we haven't instead of just rewatching something beloved yet again, could we try something at least a little new? But not something to which we have to pay too much attention?" The solution is to watch something I haven't but of which I know the plot. Which means I end up seeing a lot of Golden Films animated adaptations of everything Disney has already done. Sorta embarrassing to admit it.
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I saw Gravity today and unconditionally adored it. Spacetravel and disaster and physics and survival mathematics and human ingenuity and narrative, ungh...!

Hawking's Chair, but this film was aimed directly at me and my film needs. What a movie.
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Hey, how come Now You See Me got such mediocre reviews, and absolutely no buzz on my flist? I thought it was pretty awesome! It had me in the first 45 seconds, no lie. Magic and showmanship and fun plot twists and an ending that filled every narrative need...yeah, I really liked it, and I'd say that even if it didn't feature Mark Ruffalo and Mélanie Laurent, honest.

Well, there probably won't be any further buzz on it here, either--bet everyone's too geeked for Agents of SHIELD tonight!
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The Hobbit: Way, way, WAY too long. I was writhing. There's some genuinely charming stuff in there, but most scenes are five times as long as they should be, and every major scene is played out five times over. Pacing, Peter, PACING. The Hobbit is an entertaining, nicely-paced book. Why bog it down so badly with all that extra filler?

(Except The Riddle Game. The Riddle Game was fabulous. The movie should have been The Riddle Game plus one hour. And that's all it should have been.)

My suggestion: stay home, wait for someone to cobble together a heavily edited-down version. You won't, but if you did I think you'd be happier.

Peter, you've got a chance to correct this with the next two. Edit them down. Don't pull a Lucas on us.

(Nothing to do with the film content, but I absolutely hated the 48 fps release. It looked like videotape. Please do not let this be a trend that lasts, ugh.)
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Some The Dark Knight Rises reactions, all non-spoilery.

1. I went into that film mired in sulking surety that they could not make Anne Hathaway, my lithe angel whose beauty is so wholesome it could pasteurize milk, into an action criminal. I was effing blown away. Nolan, Hathaway, I salute you. I would have walked out of that film singing its praises even if that was all it had accomplished.

2. I have never seen a villain like Bane. He was not what I expected at all and he riveted me. I adored his script and am amazed that I could actually understand maybe 85-90% of his lines. Bring on the DVD so I can turn on the subtitles, man.

3. I like watching Christian Bale's mouth surrounded by that cowl. Nonetheless I especially like that Nolan recognizes that the most interesting part of the Batman is Bruce Wayne, and takes pains to show us that he knows.

4. Oh for eff's sake, could the Academy please just give Gary Oldman a freaking Oscar already? Before he gets decrepit and they're reduced to pandering at him with one of those Lifetime Acheivement Awards?

5. And while they're at it, MORE OSCARS FOR MICHAEL CAINE.

I did like it. Loved it, in fact. Anyone want to talk more about it, I suspect there will be spoilers in the comments.
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Saw Brave yesterday. A lovely film.
1) As if I needed more reasons to be in love with Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, and Billy Connelly. AS IF.
2) Gorgeous animation, just beautiful.
3) A Disney film with a heroine and a LIVING MOM, how about that, and the storyline is about their non-pathologic relationship, woo!
4) Felt a little bogged-down in the middle but picked right back up again well before the end.

Not my favorite of all the Pixar films, or even in the top five, but, hey, Pixar. Pretty much all the Pixar films are in my top 100 of all films ever.

(Haven't watched the season ender of Korra yet. On the schedule for tonight!)

For today's edition of JR:PLR, I give you 28 Weeks Later (sequel to 28 Days Later , both well-executed zombie contagion movies. Y'don't need to see the first to enjoy the second; they stand fine on their own). In this film you can see the dawning of casting directors saying, "Hey, let's keep putting that guy in military roles." Renner plays Sergeant Doyle, who really is kind of like earlier-in-his-military-career!Hawkeye; he's a soldier and sniper who disobeys his horrific orders and hits the ground to lead a group of uninfected humans out of Zombie Zone. (They let him have better hair than they did in The Hurt Locker, too; good thing Whedon let him return to that. Hair is a big factor in Renner's potential life-ruining superpowers.) Watching him in this and thinking about how many soldiers he's played in film made me think that twenty years ago, they'd have cast Michael Biehn to play Hawkeye, mightn't they have.



Here's a tribute fanvideo I found for Doyle on YouTube; of all those I saw I thought this one was the most aesthetically pleasing. WARNING for zombie blood 'n' gore, plus SPOILERS for pretty much everything in the film. Also SPOILERS all over the YouTube page itself, if you choose to go there.

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Saw Prometheus. Let's get the first issue over with: how is this NOT Tom Hardy?



For serious. But no, that's Logan Marshall-Green, one of the stars. (Hello, hottie.)

Summary: I liked it lots. From the opening visuals it's easily the most freakin' beautiful thing I've ever seen brought to film, especially IMAX 3D. (Spring for it. It's worth it.) I liked how it didn't try to give all the answers, how it was unashamed to be a "they're going to start stacking the bodies of these 'christ, I told you not to touch it, WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING IT' idiots like cordwood, aren't they" horror-adventure film, and how the body horror went right up to eleven without, in my opinion, getting ridiculous. In fact I've got my own Stan Lee No-Prize-ing for the film's most sensational scene.

cut for spoilers )

In summary, it was gorgeous, it fed my need to see Alien-related lore, I will probably make goofy text icons for this thing, I want blond Michael Fassbender to take me on a glass-topped table, and you should see it just so you can properly enjoy [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's Prometheus in 15 Minutes.
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Saw Snow White and the Huntsman yesterday. I wish it had been better. My disappointment had nothing to do with the performances; everyone's good! Everyone sustained their accents, and I thought Stewart and Hemsworth were particularly good as leads. (It's odd watching Hemsworth play a character who doesn't win every fistfight, isn't it.) The problem was the story (really was nothing we haven't seen before) and the tone, which couldn't decide when the camera framing needed to stay mythical and when to show views meant to frame a more colloquial moment. It was a jarring blend that at times worked against Charlize Theron in particular, and it...well, it was just boring. As in, "Are we staying for the rest of this?" I'll say that I'm glad I did; it did actually get better once the dwarves showed up (the effects for the dwarves were amazing; when I recognized half the actors playing the dwarves and realized they weren't dwarf actors, my jaw dropped) and the story had some nice elements from that point. I did like fairyland (it got the mythical thing right). By the end, though, I just wanted to pluck Stewart in her silver armor right out of that movie and stick her in a Joan of Arc biopic. I'd watch that.

The S.O. and I don't riff films in the theatre unless we have a completely empty theatre, but we have a rule that the previews are fair game and the occasional whispered riff is forgivable. Both of us Avengers-on-the-brain folk managed to make Arc Reactor jokes:

Duracell battery commercial just before the previews, recognizably voiced by Jeff Bridges: "...use the battery trusted by artists everywhere." Me: "And then say F**K BATTERIES and pluck your genius billionaire protégé's Arc Reactor out of his goddamn chest."

Kristen Stewart rides by in armor bearing standard. S.O.: "Put Tony Stark in that armor and he'll be Joan of Arc Reactor."

My favorite two minutes and thirty-nine seconds I saw on that screen yesterday came before the film started. Yeah, thass right, it's a lead-in to today's installment of Jeremy Ruiner Renner, Professional Life-Renner Ruiner:



Shoot, the day before my heart had been pounding just from reading the snippet in Esquire Magazine's Summer Preview for this film which read simply, "Completes Jeremy Renner's metamorphosis into an action star." Watching this I thought I was going to need freaking nitroglycerine pills. (S.O. just chuckled and patted me on the head.)
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You know how when you're in love with something, all songs are about your love? Yyyyyyyeah, so, I need vidding skills, and I need an Avengers DVD. ALL THE VIDS ARE IN MY HEAD. So all I can do is play the songs on repeat two dozen times and watch the vids in my head and THAT'S NOT ENOUGH DAMMIT.

This could be the film that makes me learn to vid at last. I thought about it when I fell into anime fandom, but the daunting thing about that is that all the anime series are, like, twenty hours long minimum, and who's got the time to pick the perfect clips from all that? But two-and-a-half hours of movie to choose from? You can work with that, the obsessed voice in my head keeps whispering. GIMME A FEW MINUTES TO BREATHE, VOICE.

Lacking the DVD in the first place (whenwhenwhengimmegimmegimmeNOW), I should settle for making myself some more icons, 'cos I know how to do that. Text icons. Funny text icons. The only kind worth having.

Meanwhile, this is my current favorite promo pic of my favorite boys:



You're welcome.
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Avengers, The Avengers, Avengers Assemble...whatever they called it in your damn country, it's my duty to tell you they titled it wrong. The actual title of this film is, Would You All Just F**k Already.

Oh my GOD. I have never seen such a wealth of eyesex in two-and-a-half hours.

I understand ever so well why [livejournal.com profile] eeyore9990 said she couldn't make a proper response post to this film because her reaction was pretty much just one long squee sound. This film...I want to do this film. I could throw one leg over that boxed reel of celluloid and make moaning noises. There is little point in me trying to do a moment-by-moment breakdown of what I loved and what worked because every shot and every line and every plotpoint and every characterization and every calculated "See what we did there?" was beautiful. Some near-and-dear stuff will get specified under the cut, but, oh my god. The film gave every major character their own spotlight in the dance and I love how it did that and I loved absolutely everybody.

Which means my true fandom contribution should be to LIST ALL THE MOMENTS WHERE THE CHARACTERS WERE HAVING BETWEEN-SCENE SEX. AND THEN WE WILL ALL WRITE THEM. AND I'LL WRITE THE ONES THAT GET NEGLECTED. C'mon, what else do you hang around my journal for, anyway?

SPOILERS, oh yes, behind here. More than just the eyesex discussion. But a whole lotta that anyway. )
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*folds self into semi-lotus position, mantras:*

I am a mature, RATIONAL human being who does NOT regret her acceptance to wait until Sunday to see The Avengers when my friends have a free schedule.

*grinds teeth*

*digs nails into palms*

...crud.

*goes to watch Hawkeye scene in Thor again, hyperventilating uselessly*
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Dreamt Sunday night that I had to give an impromptu stage performance of the mayor's wife in The Music Man and I did it channeling Sian Phillips as Livia in I, Claudius. Seemed to go over well.

I think I had ancient civilizations on my mind last night because I got my hands on a DVD of the animated Joseph, King of Dreams and watched it Sunday. This was the direct-to-DVD Dreamworks follow-up to the success of Prince of Egypt. Now, I never hear a single word about this film, and I have lots of animation fans in my net circles, so I figured it was a critical flop. But I found it cheap and was curious.

I went into it with low expectations. I was astounded at how delightful it was! If you can overlook the utter forgettability of the songs (I can), I can hardly think of a thing to criticize. I never realized how hard it must be to make everyone in that story sympathetic. Joseph could come off as arrogant, his brothers could come off as brutes, Potiphar could be a foolish cuckold. But everybody lived. Flaws and gifts, hopes and despairs, there were so many full-fledged characters in that thing. I was amazed. They kept it a children-friendly story yet no one was reduced to one-dimensional motives. Even tricky adult-issue elements chose to practice very nice subtlety, such as Potiphar's wife trying to seduce Joseph; there was all this careful unspoken communication that just poured out of that important scene: Joseph knowing he can't accuse his accuser right back because he knows it'll be an unforgivable offense, Potiphar understanding what's really going on and hating it, and Potiphar's wife showing an ounce of compassion even while she protects her own interests first.

There's so much of that. They were so very careful, trying not to give the viewer facepalm moments. Joseph doesn't simply blurt out his dreams about lording it over his brothers, for example; it's carefully set up and he's not so naive to miss that they won't like hearing that.

I really, really liked this film. I'm sorry it seems to have been so overlooked. (It's on Netflix streaming; check it out if you feel like it!)
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Caught up with a couple of takes-on-fairy-tales films this weekend, courtesy of DVD. Despite their not getting good reviews, I love fairy tale retellings and so wanted to give them a shot.

Red Riding Hood should have worked. The concept is clever; if I were to sit down and tell you the story as a narrative, you'd say, "That's killer. Why wasn't that a good film?" Pretty, plucky Amanda Seyfried to play the lead role, Gary Oldman as a posturing fire-and-brimstone werewolf hunter, why wouldn't that work? And yet I just couldn't shake the mood of how fake it all seemed. Something in the dialogue, something about the way the actors spoke and reacted and moved looked disconnected and the whole thing ended up feeling dull. I couldn't buy it. I liked the ending; I really liked the whole story of it. I'm sad it didn't work. I think it needed British accents or something.

Beastly wasn't bad, but one element messed with me: I never believed our hot beastly badboy really fell in love with his girl or really changed. Alex Pettyfer just played the rich fathead f*cktwat boy too well in the beginning of the film. Some things in the film did please me: I am pretty sick and tired of the romance trope where twenty minutes from the end of the film our protagonist reveals the false pretenses under which s/he started wooing his/her love interest, and love interest goes off hurt and we have seventeen minutes of downer movie before they're allowed to reconcile at the end. Beastly didn't have that, thanks so much. It also contains what may be Neil Patrick Harris's best role to date. Yes, I've seen Dr. Horrible. Still thought this was an even better performance. Also, eight words which I never believed I would say: I may be crushing on Mary-Kate Olsen right now.
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Short non-spoilery thoughts on Quantum of Solace:

No James Bond opening titles music has ever moved me so little (okay, maybe Gladys Knight's License to Kill ties it), but that's the beginning and end of my beefs. The film was wicked cool. The action sequences, in particular, were a heckuva editing choice, for which my personal jury was out for a bit, but I decided they really fit. Every chase scene, on foot or by motorbike or car or boat or plane (and, yes, of course you'll have every one of those and then some in a Bond film), essentially said, "Look, it doesn't matter if the viewer knows in every eighth-of-a-second cut who it was who got their windshield shot out or nearly missed that leap to the next roof or got his arm sliced with a sliver of glass--all you need to know is that every move of this is fast and violent and it HURTS LIKE HELL."

Daniel Craig ate up that screen--and so did Judi Dench. I also enjoyed the villain; I have a thing for weaselly weak-sternumed bad guys, ever since I realized I wanted to be Piter De Vries in the De Laurentis Dune, what can I say.
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Saw POTC2; well, there's something to be said for not getting one's hopes too high, because from all the so-so reviews, I was expecting disappointment. NOT disappointed. Am suprisingly delighted at how not-disappointing it was!

I was worried we'd lose the characters a la the Matrix sequels, which, as you'll recall, went for joyless personless action sequences and straight into dullsville for two movies. And though there were action sequences to beat the band in POTC2, each one maintained the characters and dialogue and humor throughout each; there's your difference. Sure, it was aiming for a bit of over-the-top; sure, the storylines got convoluted enough to be confusing. But I felt like this film simply ramped up from where it left off, knowing the viewers knew Sparrow and Will and Elizabeth already and didn't need to see them established all over again, just--here's what's key--as long as they kept the characters doin' the stuff that made us love 'em. Which they did. Sparrow flounced, Will hero'ed, Elizabeth refused to be a damsel-in-distress. And they all stayed cool. Fun stuff.

I know I was the only one in my theatre who said, "It's Paolo from AbFab!" but surely I wasn't the only on my flist?

(Everyone has my permission to get spoilery in the comments, so be advised.)

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