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What are you watching? 2018 edition


#1778

Watching Michael Mann’s HEAT. Some of you may have seen it.

It’s a film at the zenith of 90’s cinema. Everyone is at the very limit of their best performance before they start to drop off into cliche and impersonations of their performances in this film.

However, ever since I first saw it, I’ve always had one question…

What the hell did Val Kilmer do to his damn elbow?


#1779

I don’t know, Pacino was already starting to slide into parody of himself by the time he was in Heat. There a few scenes, primarily when he’s dealing with the his snitch, that are so over the top it becomes ridiculous.


#1780

It was the beginning of Al Pacino believing he’s a black man from Harlem in the 70’s.

Seriously, sometimes he sounds like he just stepped off the set of SUPERFLY.


#1781

Biggest possible recommendation, that.

Can’t wait to see this.


#1782

Two things:

There was a “Hanna as coke addict” subplot that was cut.

Hanna only gets OTT with criminal informants, snitches and to a lesser extent subordinate colleagues; Pacino describes it in a DVD extra as an intentional destabilising strategy of the character. He’s not like that with his wife, his stepdaughter, victims of crime, or even with De Niro’s McCauley.

The famous scene with Hank Azaria - “because she’s got a GREAT ASS!” was the last of almost a hundred takes (Mann the perfectionist), and completely different in tone to the previous 99 - Azaria’s startled “Jesus” was an ad lib; he was genuinely jolted there.


#1783

There was a lot more smoking than I remember.

But the kids weren’t fazed by it, and all the adult jokes and other allusions to stuff that is too ‘old’ for them just went over their heads - just as that kind of thing did for me as a child.

They’ve been singing the song all week.


#1784

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: The Dreamworks animation deal with Netflix hits another home run. While clearly trying to capitalize on some of the structure, format, and style of the movie - this series is much more tied to the books - basically using the events as they occurred in the first four as a jumping off point.

It feels very much like a satisfying saturday morning cartoon. Taking the general formula of the books and whipping up a fun, imaginative, 23-minute long truncated version. The voice acting is great, the humor is pretty well handled with jokes that work for the whole family, and it’s really just a lot of fun.


#1785

We watched the first episode this morning. It’s pleasingly true to the books and also works well as a movie tie-in.

It’s nice to see so much ported over directly from the books (in both the TV series and the movie) as it would have been easy to lose the spirit of the books in translation.


#1786

Yeah, there’s more reverence to what occurred in the books but the multi-media aspect of it was really one of the movie’s best qualities and they consistently find new ways of depicting it on the show.

The whole idea of sardonic chapter breaks, the anachronistic order of the narrative, and a whole lot of irreverent tangents were integral to the humor and they did a great job translating that to an actual show.


#1787

How It Ends: I thought this looked semi interesting from the trailer. Unfortunately it’s just another dull original movie from Netflix.

Theo James and Forest Whitaker are good as the bickering leads. But the story just drags. And rather ironically, the ending is terrible. Very unsatisfying.


#1788

Watched a few films lately:

Birdman

This really didn’t work for me. Consequently I felt it did little and didn’t go anywhere. Great performance from Keaton but couldn’t see what it was for.

The Death of Stalin

First, this is not a comedy - it’s something else and whatever that is, it’s much, much sharper. Second, it’s utterly brilliant in conjuring the mad, bad, utterly paranoid and psychopathic world Stalin created - which collapses after his death. It’s the little details - Khrushchev;s wife noting the evening, of which joke Stalin laughed at; how they get the conductor as there’s numerous arrests and casual executions going on; that Stalin wants a record of the concerto but they didn’t record it, so they play it again, with a drafted audience as they might all get killed if they don’t.

The cast is utterly superb, but Simon Russell Beale and Steve Buscemi stand out for me as Beria and Khrushchev. The latter was indeed perceived as a no threat, country bumpkin. Beria? Knew he was a psychopathic bastard but not how much. Seeing his plans fail and his power collapse was immensely satisfying, as was seeing the realisation finally hit Svtelana Stalin what her father’s death really meant for her. It’s not much of a surprise to find Stalin’s kids were a pain in the arse like their father.

This is a really smart film that doesn’t pull its punches on the nature of totalitarian dictatorships. In that respect, it’s a very needed film too. Utterly superb.

Gravity

Finally got around to seeing this and liked it a lot. At its core, it’s a disaster movie - everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. But it’s all in space and that’s where it’s biggest success lies. It succeeds utterly in conveying just what an alien environment it is - no gravity, no start or stop, no up or down, no consistent frame of reference - it shows better than any other story, including The Expanse series, how ill-suited we are for this environment.

It’s also a remarkably minimal film that focuses on just two characters, which is Bullock and Clooney - both of which work well with the material they get.

I can well see why it got the rewards it did and agree with that decision - even when you know a little of how the effects magic works, it still looks amazing, even on the small screen.


#1789

The Death Of Stalin graphic novel is well worth checking out if you enjoyed the film, Ben. I think you’d like it.


#1790

Probably - I’ve enjoyed Nury’s other work too.


#1791

I tried watching Who is America and ended up fast forwarding through 99% of it. I’ve never been a fan of these types of shows and Cohen’s characters didn’t grab me. I won’t bother watching this series.


#1792

Watched the Transformers episode of The Toys That Made Us on Netflix. A fun, breezy but if nostalgia - and I had no idea it was Denny O’Neil who came up with the name Optimus Prime!


#1793

I just finished watching season two of Westworld. I really liked it, and thought it was a great continuation of the story begun in the first season, which took things in unexpected directions but used these to really thoroughly explore the big ideas that are at the heart of the show.

Reading some of the online reactions to this year’s batch of episodes (and catching up with the MW thread) it’s interesting to see so much disappointment with the second season.

I wonder if part of the reason it worked well for me was that I watched all ten episodes in quick succession (within the space of around two weeks), so the mysteries and long-running plots weren’t as drawn-out as they would have been if I had watched it on a weekly basis. The show has a novelistic structure that I’m not sure is best served by an episodic, weekly format.

I also wonder whether there’s a hint of Star Wars syndrome here - a lot of the complaints people seem to have about season two seem to stem from disappointment that it didn’t provide what their preferred version of the show was, or that it didn’t end up where they thought it was heading based on earlier episodes.

Divorced from all the weekly speculation and discussion, I was happy to sit back and let the show tell me the story it wanted to tell, and I thought it worked very well on its own terms.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where season three goes now.


#1794

Nah, it’s just because it wasn’t very good. :stuck_out_tongue:


#1795

I expected that response to be honest, because I know from the dedicated thread that no-one here really liked it.

I just thought it was worth posting to mention that I did. :slight_smile:


#1796


#1797

I pitched in for the crowdfunding of ‘To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story’ and I got the download link today.

I’m glad to say it’s a good biographical documentary. There’s a lot on his real world life, particularly the terrible burns he suffered when he tried to demo a burn stunt as a young man and it went wrong.

But it’s made for horror fans so there’s plenty on his career, and lot of genre names are interviewed along the way. It was money well spent for me. :skull: