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Added by Xanadon't on 1 Mar 2011 11:16
2243 Views 16 Comments

Monthly Movie Journal: March 2011

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First Time Views

Watched for the first time and in its entirety.
People who added this item 1501 Average listal rating (944 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
Started the month off with a dud. By month's end I'm pretty sure I won't remember a scrap of dialogue or be able to fully describe a single sequence from this highly inconsequential buddy flick/road-comedy/snore-fest/instant 'bro' classic.

If you like to watch dogs masturbate, Downey Jr. act like a dick, and Zach Galifanakis lean on his tired, wobbly comic crutch, then this might be for you. If you like funny and inspired comedies with a coherent identity that works, then don't waste your time.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 873 Average listal rating (527 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.6
Great cast, solid cinematography, and some surprisingly dark material are all at play in this unsung horror/thriller. And yet, even with these ingredients, the film never quite makes good on its promise.

Worth a look for the avid horror fan, (Or Jennifer Connelly fan for that matter) but not something to go out of your way for otherwise.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1938 Average listal rating (1087 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Been meaning to watch this one for a very long time now. Happy I finally caught up with it. A fascinating and bold film to say the least. And probably one I'll revisit down the road.

If you don't like B&W films, close shots, spastic sound editing, interesting camera work, industrial-techno type music, or being asked to think by somewhat experimental films, then stay away.

But if all that sounds interesting to you, check it out. Here's a great review if you want to learn more:

Review by AgentLexi
Xanadon't's rating:
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"Worlds away from the bravura flash of other DeNiro-Scorsese collaborations, this underrated, claustrophobic, chilling satire is particularly prescient of today's celebrity-fixated society. A modern classic." --Film4

Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 639 Average listal rating (379 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.5
At once a visual feast and a compelling, engaging story that breathes new life to the clssic theme of good vs. evil. This movie oozes style and confidence and the story is as fascinating as it is entertaining.

It's far more than your average vampire film, as it calls to mind biblical allegory and world political tensions. The kind of movie that makes me grin with excitement, even as it stumbled a bit in its direction and pacing. This is what "cool" meets "remarkable" meets "vampires" looks like.

Can't wait to watch the sequel!

Currently streaming on NetFlix
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

Meh. Short of River Pheonix's performance there wasn't much here I truly enjoyed. Definately comes as a disappointment, especially considering how impressed and taken I was by Drugstore Cowboy.

And the Shakespeare stuff didn't work for me at all. Oh, and Keanu Reeves just can't act.
Xanadon't's rating:
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Mesmerizing indie-drama/western/character-study/American culture meditation of a film. This movie is very deliberately paced, but the story action and non-action are equally compelling, due to fine performances, fantastic cinematography, and a stand-out musical score. This is an exploration of loneliness and loss that works better as a fable than as a realistic unfolding of events.

Maybe worth noting, maybe not...

Paris, Texas (1983)
|All Critics|Top Critics100% Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 25 | Rotten:0

Xanadon't's rating:
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People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.3
"Blend equal parts Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith, add a soupçon of Jim Jarmusch and baste liberally with the Coen brothers, and you have DiCillo, albeit without quite the distinctive genius of any of the other five. Now, with his third and most ambitious film, a sweet, rambling road-to-nowhere opus called Box of Moonlight, DiCillo sheds the black leather jacket and reveals himself to be his own man -- and that man is Frank Capra. I don't mean to be snide: Like Capra, DiCillo is a skilled and honest craftsman, respectful of his materials and the audience, seeking to cloak his conventional moralizing in carefully constructed, non-assaultive entertainment. Faced with the collection of cynics, hacks and morons who make most movies, I'll take that any day and feel grateful."
-- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon (August 8, 1997)

"The convention of the charming eccentric who changes the life of a strait-laced protagonist has evolved into a movie formula that tends to err on the side of the ridiculously heartwarming. But Tom DiCillo's Box of Moonlight manages to be both sweet and bittersweet. It is a movie of deeply felt sentiments that never crosses over into sentimentality. Thanks to a touchingly open performance by John Turturro as Al Fountain, the film's hero, Box of Moonlight is at once low-key and quirky, a movie of found comedy and genuine emotion."
-- Marshall Fine, Gannett News Service/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (September 5, 1997)

Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1180 Average listal rating (676 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1

Never seen a Kar Wai Wong film before, so wasn't sure what to expect going into this one. Taken in its individual parts (performance, cinematography, music, etc.) I found a lot to enjoy and marvel at. Yet somehow, by the end I was left vaguely disappointed and without many intense feelings one way or the other. I blame the final 25 minutes or so of the film for much of that, which seemed to rub much of the shimmer from the brilliance I saw in the first half.

Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1587 Average listal rating (884 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6

Yep... this is definately a David Lynch film. And I don't think I've enjoyed one of his movies as much upon my FIRST viewing of it since Blue Velvet. Maybe I'm learning how to view his work with less frustration, or maybe I caught this one at just the right mood. Either way, I dug this film-- liked the look of it, liked the performances all the way through, liked the noir-ish mystique, like the sad, haunting, unsettling feeling underlying it all, and, even more, I like the manageability I found with this film, so far as attempting to interpret it and constructing some sense out of it all.

In fact, my biggest complaint deals with what I found to be the least Lynch-esque aspect of the film. That being the use of popular music (ESPECIALLY Rammstein and Marilyn Manson) in the film. To me it just felt silly and forced and disrupted both the mood of the movie and the otherwise fine musical score.
Xanadon't's rating:
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Classics Corner

Where I see what all the fuss is about.
People who added this item 382 Average listal rating (221 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.8
This is a strong contender for best 1960's film I've seen that nobody talks about. The plot asks us to suspend our disbelief here and there, but once I met the movie on its terms I was helpless against its greatness.

Glad I didn't wait until someone finally told me to see it. If you haven't watched it yet, get out of the dark!
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1062 Average listal rating (647 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.2
I've got nothing but mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, it's a visual marvel, especially for its time. On the other, well-- and please forgive me for saying so-- it's kind of a bore. The story starts fresh and captivating enough. For the first 25 or 30 minutes I was sure I would love it. But by the end I grew tired of countless narrative corners that I could pretty well see around. And I grew tired of waiting for Joseph Cotton to become a first-rate leading man. ((Psst! It never happens!)

One thing, however, I did feel without a doubt, is just how compelling an actor and screen-presence Orson Welles truly is. If you can watch this movie all the way through without the sense by the end that you're really just waiting for Orson Welles to show up on screen again then your either a far more patient and appreciative film-noir fan than I, or, more likely, a big fat liar.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1840 Average listal rating (1173 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
Xanadon't's rating:
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Foreign Language Find of the Month

In order to expand my horizons, satisfy my desire for discovery, and approach a film with zero to little expectation-- all at once!
Fantastic, playful, perceptive, and thoughtful are all words that come to mind. Droll humor pervades one life or death situation after another- whether it be attempted suicide or knife-throwing, circus act theatrics.

Shot in gorgeous black & white, punctuated by a splashy and engaging musical score, and emboldended by two fine performances from our central characters, this film begs to be watched. I was more than happy to comply.
Xanadon't's rating:
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At the Movies

Movies I shelled out $9.50 to watch on the big screen.
People who added this item 1213 Average listal rating (784 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1

While I'm a bit more sympathetic to the film than the review below would suggest, I can't help but agree with just about everything here:

Review by lotr23

But then again, quality theatrical releases in February/March are pretty tough to come by. So if you insist on heading out to the movies, you could easily do worse.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 198 Average listal rating (132 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.3
Cedar Rapids (2011)
Cedar Rapids has become something of an indie-comedy darling among many major critics. Most applaud the sweet-- if not entirely innocent-- core beneath the veneer of raunchy humor, explicit drug use, and often sophmoric comic hijinks.

Trailer for Cedar Rapids

I agree that the movie benefits from the sympathetic approach to its socially arrested characters. Ultimately we do feel that the movie LIKES these people, and they're not merely comic devices there to be laughed at with derision. Ed Helms does a fine job in a movie that depends largely on our response to his character.

But in many ways I think the movie suffers from an identity crisis. Its so called sweetness is a little hard to revel in when our lead has his lips around a crack pipe, for example. And the humor often depends on our appreciation for say, a shirtless and drunk John C. Reily, rather than smart and insightful writing. There are some funny moments here that had me laughing. But the movie miscues too often to get any kind of enthusiastic recommendation from me.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
Caught this tasty little number at my local Indie/Art movie theater. Purley enjoyable at gut-level. There are no real surprises here in a story that experienced movie goers will feel pretty familiar with, but it doesn't matter. It's a perfect blend of humor and heart and one of the strongest casted films I've seen in a long time. Every performance is strong, and even the most minor characters are a joy to watch.

While I didn't absolutely LOVE it, I feel it's one of the safest recommendations I've ever seen-- it's just that easy to like in a way that seems universally appealing. So whoever you are, if you happen upon this film, give it a try because it's worth a look. Trust me.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 17 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 7

Trailer for A Matter of Size

Pretty faithful trailer for a pretty fun and often touching movie. I saw this as part of the Jewish Film Festival currently happening around my town, knowing NOTHING about it going in, but was very pleased that I took a chance on it. I heard something about Israeli movie/sumo wrestling and just had to find out for myself.

Great performances everywhere, engaging characters, and a nice blend of comedy and substance. Give it a look if you get a chance!
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 357 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Second Viewing; special screening as part of a local Jewish Film Festival

An excellent look at Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems from a few different angles. James Franco is amazing as Ginsberg, and recitations of the main poem are set to some of the most beautiful and amazing animation I've ever seen. I really enjoyed it & plan on watching it again, though I couldn't help but feel that people with no appreciation of poetry probably wouldn't make it through the entire film (their loss).
-- the giraffe

I'll only add that this may be my favorite film of 2010. If you're interested you can see my original reaction here.
Xanadon't's rating:
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Usually old favorites, but sometimes an attempt to re-watch a film with a different mind-set or motive.
People who added this item 5896 Average listal rating (3884 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.8
Inception (2010)
I still love the ideas, love the visuals, and love Leo's performace. And I've now pretty well settled on my own interpretation of *what happens*. This movie deserves most of the hype it's received regarding it's ambition-- in both a visual and conceptual sense.

But I've gotta say Inception gets bogged down quite a bit by tiresome and all but intrusive action sequences and hand-to-hand/gun-to-gun fight scenes. Most particularly in the final act.

Also, a part of me still wished the film took a more aggressive line toward hard Sci-Fi. A deeper investigation/revelation of the technology at work would've been interesting. A more imaginative backdrop for the ideas and philosphies behind extraction/inception could've served the film better, I think.

Instead Nolan tries to court all audiences at once with a modern-day drama dressed up in sci-fi trimmings and action-blockbuster ribbons and bows. And I guess it worked pretty damn well for him in the end.

But I'm not ready to call it a masterpiece. The entire supporting cast reeks of standard-fare summer blockbuster and the film itself never quite achieves its own new and bold identity.

Finally, I dare you to watch this movie again and tell me that Joseph Gordon Levitt isn't Keanu Reeves through and through. And trust me... it wasn't a realization I relished. I hope we see a different side of him in the upcoming Batman movie.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 3064 Average listal rating (1949 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.4
What a stunning film and rewarding rewatch!

Review by PvtCaboose91
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1176 Average listal rating (761 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.3
Yep. Still think it's a shamelessly fun, silly, and joyful good time. Call it a guily pleasure, but I'm still not ready to apologize for liking this one.

Check out my original reaction if you like-- Though I'll admit the movie is not without its flaws, I still stand behind every word of it:

My Review
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 807 Average listal rating (561 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.5

Still sleezy, bloody fun but didn't hold up quite as well the second time around. Too often the obnoxious outweighs everything else.
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 1404 Average listal rating (767 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 8.4

Every bit the masterpiece its reputation suggests. And supremely watchable. If you have any interest at all in the evolution of film watch it!

Currently streaming on NetFlix
Xanadon't's rating:
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People who added this item 1398 Average listal rating (776 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4

Fantasic and fun little six minute short anmation piece from the delightfully gothic mind of Tim Burton. Vincent Price narrates the film. My girlfriend had never seen it, and it was nice to visit it again after many many years.

Give it a look- it's posted via youtube link straight from this site!
Xanadon't's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 574 Average listal rating (301 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
Frankenweenie (1984)

Again, my girlfriend hadn't seen this before, so we kept the early Burton train rolling. It's a charming 25 or so minute short film that's worth a look, especially if your a fan of Tim Burton. Shelly Duvall and Daniel Stern co-star, as well as that kid for The Neverending story.

It's definately cheese, but at 25 minutes, it's harmless cheese. Also availiable via youtube.
Xanadon't's rating:
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Back on the Shelf

Mission Aborted: Films I gave up on for one reason or another.
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Good Intentions

Films I hope to watch by month's end. Based largely on theatrical release dates, friend's recommendations, and personal sense of impulse and/or duty. The goal of course is to not let too many of these titles pile up from month to month!
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Month in Review

My Quick Pick Six:

Good: The Girl on the Bridge / Wait Until Dark

Bad: Due Date / Kabluey (couldn't even finish)

Wierd: Lost Highway / Pi

Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.3
Biggest pleasant surprise of the month has to be

Night Watch, though it's sequel contends for biggest disappointment in a long time.
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 6.2
Ohlédnutí (1969)
March was something of a cranky, impatient movie month for me evident by the number of movies I gave up on and the relatively few titles I watched for the first time. I found myself retreating back to movies I've already seen and enjoyed far more often than I'm prone to do.

Luckily much of the new-to-me stuff that I actually stuck with I really enjoyed. And the Jewish Film Festival at the end of the month was a big highlight that also helped me indulge my love for going to the movie theater.

While I didn't manage to work in any documentaries this month, I feel I partly compensated by catching up with a number of older titles that I've been meaning to see for a long time.

Breakdowns for Personal Reference:

Total films watched: 26

Watched for the first time: 18

Among 18 first watches:

1940's: 1
1950's: 1
1960's: 1
1980's: 2
1990's: 6
2000's: 4
2010/11: 3

Total foreign language films: 4

Total documentaries: 0

My Ratings:

1/10: 0
2/10: 0
3/10: 0
4/10: 1
5/10: 1
6/10: 2
7/10: 3
8/10: 4
9/10: 6
10/10: 1

*it would appear I'm becoming better at determining what movies I will like and what I will not. Also I'm becoming increasingly unafraid to simply turn off a movie I'm not enjoying, rather than suffer through it's entire run time. Hooray for skewed ratings!!

Watched Wanted Custom

Continuing my neurotic efforts to document my responses to the films I see, as well as perhaps lend shape, rhyme, reason to what I watch, why and how.

January and February have been fun so I hope to keep this up throughout the year.

*April's entry is well under way. See what I'm up to here!*

See Also: Previous Entries



As always feedback, suggestions, and polite criticism is welcome!

Added to

5 votes
Film Journal Archive, 2011 - Xanadon't (13 lists)
list by Xanadon't
Published 6 years, 1 month ago

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Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 8 15:50
Totally with you on Due Date, Inception & Oldboy. Now I'm even more excited about seeing Wait Until Dark!
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 8 16:17
Great comments !
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 8 17:21
I was really disappointed by Dark Water. Great actress, very good director, great visuals, so-so movie... That's what you usually get when Americans (no offense!) remake Japanese horror movies!

Interesting views on Inception, even if I don't share them. I loved it the 2nd time!
Edit: 7 years, 5 months ago
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 8 19:14
You definately have my vote for appreciating Oldboy! Great Movie.
I share your Opinion on Inception, a bit too mainstream for my taste but still good, maybe my expectations were to high.. whatever..

Knight and Day .. well tastes are diffrent, but it wasnt as bad as i expected.

I actually liked due date but i get your point
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 9 1:30
First of all, thanks so much for giving credit to my review of THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU. :) I did think the movie was fine for a March release, but man, the movie gets terribly ponderous at times.

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts (and star rating) on INCEPTION. The movie was on my year-end top 10 list (at #7) and I've no doubt it deserves to be there, but what sucks is that the movie COULD HAVE been as great as some people mistakenly think it is, if it weren't for the fact that Nolan can't help but ensure he caters to fanboys first and foremost. The movie could've easily lost 20 minutes of pointless shooting. Some people referred to INCEPTION as being Kubrickian, and my response to that is that, if Kubrick had made INCEPTION, Fischer's subconscious would NOT have been militarized, and the film would've instead focused on two things: 1) the mental manipulation to get Fischer to decide to break up his father's empire (something that I think is handled somewhat weakly in the actual movie), and 2) Cobb getting periodically taunted by Mal's projection (which I do think Nolan handles well). In short, I think Kubrick would've eschewed the unnecessary action sequences, but since Nolan has a core group to please, he couldn't do the same. When you think about it, the contrivance of Fischer's subconscious being militarized is just an excuse to be able to have action scenes in the movie. You could've NOT had that contrivance in the movie, and the film's excellent ideas and conceptual framework would've remained intact, and we may have gotten to explore it even more deeply.

I don't think the Academy will give him a directing nod until he does something more along the lines of MEMENTO - a movie that's aimed MORE at the deep thinker and LESS at the rabid fanboy. He wasn't nominated for MEMENTO because he was "too new" back then, but if he made a film like that TODAY, I'm sure they would finally relent and give him due recognition.
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 20 4:33
Watch M, continue ignoring Private Idaho. Got it.
Posted: 7 years, 5 months ago at Mar 21 12:17
I really have to see My Own Private Idaho again. It was a very long time ago and I barely remember it

But why on Earth did you re-watch Piranha 3D ?!? I mean, I will see it one day, out of sheer curiosity but twice?! I don't think so
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 23 20:37
I've only seen Piranha once. But it's definetly a movie with a high rewatch value, I imagine. Get some friends, grab a beer (or a Cola, in my case), etc.

A girlfriend who wants to watch the work of Tim Burton? You got a keeper there, Sir!
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 24 8:31
@the giraffe-- Yep and while Netflix is currently streaming M (the very well-restored Criterion Collection print) there's really no good reason not to check it out.

@johanlefourbe-- Yeah, I still feel like I watched a different movie than the one many people rave about. I thought the whole thing kinda felt like a jumbled mess and had trouble maintaining a coherent sense of energy or emotion from scene to scene. If you do re-watch it I'd be happy to hear what you think and what I might've missed.

Ha, and Bml93 makes a strong point about Piranha not being a bad option for a beer-fueled group movie get-together. But all the same, a THIRD watch anytime soon is highly unlikely.

@Bml93-- Ha! Thanks, and yes, I'd say you're right. Her good sense when it comes to film and her willingness to watch all kinds of different movie genres with me is among her many great qualities.
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 29 21:28
Lost Highway is certainly one of the more easily swallowed Lynch films from what I've seen. As for the use of popular music, I suppose you have Trent Reznor to blame since he produced the soundtrack. I never had a problem with it.
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 29 21:46
Further research indicates that Lynch & Reznor worked on the soundtrack together in New Orleans at Reznor's studio. According to wikipedia, David Lynch chose the Rammstein songs for the film.
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 31 10:00
I own the soundtrack and like (ie Manson, Bowie) or love (ie. Lou Reed, Reznor) most of the music on it. It's a generally great collection of music. My only complaint is a few instances of where and how the music is used in the film. Maybe it's just that it's too familiar to me, so it kinda breaks the spell. Hmmm. Anyway, thanks for keeping up with my list and continuing to comment. Always appreciated friend!
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Mar 31 23:55
I should hope you'd own the Lost Highway soundtrack...it's long been one of my personal favorites too. I could see how familiarity would break the spell. I think I've only seen it once since I first caught it in theatres, so that may be why it didn't bother me.

Glad to see you saw Howl again & thanks for including my thoughts on it! Curious now about A Matter of Size.
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Apr 1 7:51
Ha, yeh if the damn orginal Perfect Drug was included on halo eleven I'd probably still never have owned the soundtrack. Man was I pissed when I got home, put the disc in and found that out! Worked out for the best though, because when I went back to the record store with my tail between my legs and bought the Lost Highway sndtrk I discovered that yeah, there's some other pretty good stuff on it!

Anyway, yeah watching Howl in the theatre with an audience (nearly ALL considerably older than myself) was pretty neat. Fun Q&A/discussion session afterward too! And don't mention it... high time I return the favor. So thank you!
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Apr 3 1:07
Nice reflections. I still occasionally sit through something I'm not enjoying if others have highly recommended it, but most of the time if I don't like it I turn it off. Always a good thing to stop wasting your time once you KNOW that's what you're doing. ;)

Guess you need to watch TWO docs in April heh.

Too bad I can't vote for this list again!
Posted: 7 years, 4 months ago at Apr 9 22:23
I'm glad to see that you and the giraffe got around to watching "In the Mood for Love" but... both were left a bit disappointed. I think that was the general consensus about the film was that the story was left hanging. SO... a sequel was made "2046" (personally think it was some public pressure for a resolution to the 'romance).... Any ways I did try watching "2046" but made it about 15 min into the film before having a panic attack and turning it off... I had to leave the story unfinished in my mind. Standing as the perfect 'love without love' story. The devastation of an love affair has been done but in dark and seedy representations so... nice to see a poetic version.

Ah but yes... I too was less that overwhelmed by "Inception"... liked the film and the end... please... I found it to be cheeky and trite.

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