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Added by Xanadon't on 2 Apr 2013 06:37
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April 2013 Movie Journal - Xanadon't

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At the Movies

Caught 'em on the big screen!
People who added this item 790 Average listal rating (499 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.8
Stoker (2013)

Chan-Wook Park's U.S. debut is the most stylish thing to hit screens all year and oh baby, is it devilishly good. It's all but guaranteed to land a top 5 spot in my year end "Best of" list.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.7
Admission (2013)

Not funny and dramatically limp. This movie aspires to be more than just another Rom-Com-Dramedy, but there just isn't much here to bring it to life. Not offensively bad, but highly unmemorable.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 771 Average listal rating (535 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.5
Evil Dead (2013)

It's an over-the-top bloody gore-fest that does more right than wrong. And it's not a deranged sadist capture/torture flick. Rare you get both these days, especially with English-language releases.

It's a worthy enough re-imagining of the 1981 cult-classic that stays mostly within the same spirit of the original and strays enough to feel fresh, if not wholly successful and inspired. Most horror fans should be pleased and I had a fun time with it.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 821 Average listal rating (515 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.3

Ambitious, a tad unwieldy, and possibly problematic in structure for some viewers. But it is a bold and powerful film without straining too hard to be so. There's a quality to it that is haunting and demanded thoughtful consideration and discussion after my girlfriend and I watched it.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 520 Average listal rating (351 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.9
Trance (2013)

Danny Boyle is back in peak form and seems to be having a blast. Trance is energetic, enigmatic, and electric filmmaking that washed over me in blissful and tantalizing ways.

Boyle's ability to merge stylish genre constructs within the film's playful and intelligent framework seems to unfold effortlessly. Top-notch performances flesh out the viewing experience and while Trance still may not qualify as truly great, it's damn, damn good.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 6365 Average listal rating (4407 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
The Shining (1980)

In anticipation of the upcoming local release of the highly celebrated documentary Room 237, one of our local independents ran a big-screen showing of The Shining, brand spakin' new digital print and all.

I actually took the night off from work, expressly to catch this movie on the big-screen. I love and admire The Shining that much. So yes, this is what I would call the "movie event" of the year so far. And it certainly didn't disappoint.

There's an added chill to the proceedings that comes with seeing Kubrick's mighty horror show in its proper theatrical form. And anyone who's seen The Shining and was even half paying attention can attest to just how magnificent the musical scoring is with this film. Well... the score is even more incredible in the theater. Fucking amazing, is what it was.

Observing Carl Yastrzemski's reproduction signature on Wendy's flailing Louisville Slugger was a neat perk to the big-screen experience. As was reading the various dry-good labels when Jack gets put on "time out" in the Overlook's dry-storage closet.

On the whole, I didn't really sit down to the film as a critic, and certainly wasn't looking to form any conspiracy theory fueled "readings" of the film, as documented in Room 237. More simply, I just sat as a fan of the film and let the experience wash over me like a sea of blood spilling from a hotel lobby elevator.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 617 Average listal rating (402 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.4
Mud (2013)

Great American Story-telling set in the modern-day South that comes to life in a what is one of the altogether best films of the year.

McConaughey had an incredible 2012 that went a long way in divorcing him from the image of dumb and bland Rom-Coms and now in 2013 he's turns in yet another exceptional performance. Even more remarkable are performances given by the two adolescent boys, to whom the movie truly belongs.

There's a constant threat of danger and sense of dread that seeps through much of the film, and this combines with a spirit of plain old goodness that lies in the soul of the film. The dynamic between these sensations is electric and makes for a fully compelling and wholly satisfying movie-watching experience. In Mud great writing, great vision, and great cinema all come together and what results shouldn't be missed.

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Retro Watches

Catching up with a few I missed.

While it's among Woody Allen's lesser pictures, I really don't think it's as bad as many people make it out to be. I was perfectly content watching it-- even if only because I wasn't in the mood to be significantly moved or challenged by a movie.

So blame my lowered expectations or blame Naomi Watts, but I liked it just fine.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 1453 Average listal rating (823 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1

It took me three tries to get through this movie.

It's not that I hated it. I just didn't like it all that much. And this despite thinking highly of the cast.

I didn't find it as depressing as a lot of people seemed to, but then again I didn't find it as moving or as meaningful in other ways either.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 819 Average listal rating (476 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.1

This movie was unexpectedly thrust upon me by a coworker, and the idea of watching it wasn't a very welcome one on my part. I expected to hate this movie. And for the first half of the film, that's more or less how I felt. All the way until I feel asleep.

But I'm nothing if not diligent.

Wait. Actually I'm more lots of things than I am diligent.


Anyways, for whatever reason, the next night I picked back up where I left off. And this time, something changed for the better. I'm not sure if the film crept up on me a bit, or I simply had a bit more to drink that second night. But for whatever reason, I found myself a bit more engaged. I didn't fall in love with it or anything, but I became less resentful of my time with it until eventually I felt decently engaged.

And now I can give it back and never watch it again.
Xanadon't's rating:
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World Cinema

People who added this item 153 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 5.8
Pola X (1999)

French director Leos Carax went a long way in making an international name for himself last year with the enigmatic and thrilling, ambitious and daring, somber and joyous Holy Motors. On the strength of that film, I've now gone back and looked at two of his previous works- first The Lovers on the Bridge, and now Pola X. Neither film is as brilliant as his most recent, but both deliver certain flashes of what grabbed my fascination so tightly last year.

Pola X is a moody film. It's angsty and passionate and provocative and often strange. It features non-simulated sex, a weird euro-art-industrial rock band, and the whole thing is an adaptation of a lesser known Herman Melville work. It's odd.
Xanadon't's rating:
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Classics Corner

Where I see what all the fuss is about.
People who added this item 871 Average listal rating (544 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1

Absolutely delightful. My girlfriend and I are really annoyed that we wound up watching this movie at separate times from one another within the same two days. We fully intend to watch it again, together next time.

Maybe then it will get a 10 from me.
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5 x 5 Film Project 2013

A cool movie group/project thing formed with members here on listal, as described here: www.listal.com/list/five-by-five
Mathematically speaking, I should have 2 or 3 of these films represented every month for the rest of the year- otherwise I'm neglecting my duties!
People who added this item 1450 Average listal rating (996 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.5

Really a fine a comedy and special film-- almost impossibly so, the more I think about it.

We've seen the basic set-up/premise/character dynamics in dozens of variations, but it's been a long time since I've seen it done this consistently well.

I really enjoyed spending time with the two central characters and liked them so well that I was almost annoyed when the movie ended and it was time to say good bye.
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2013 Personal Viewing Project #2

Studio Ghibli Presents: The Great Collection

So a while back I scored this 18-film collector set off ebay for an insanely low price. I'm finally putting those well-spent dollars to use. I'll be watching the movies in chronological order. Not sure how long this will take me, but it has to be done before the end of the year because it just so happens that Ponyo is last up, and I'm obligated to watch that film as part of the 5x5 project. Oh happy coincidence!
People who added this item 2742 Average listal rating (1724 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2

So far this is my pure favorite of all the Studio Ghibli films I've watched over the last few months. And it is damn high on the list of my favorite childrens' movie of all time.

This movie is absolutely adorable. I wouldn't change a thing.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 1797 Average listal rating (1093 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8

At times this feels like a slighter Hiyazaki effort. But just then something neat, unexpected, and "bigger" comes along to lend the film more flavor and a firmer substance. So... basically it's really good, just like everything else the man makes.
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2013 Personal Viewing Project #3

My very local video store

I currently have upwards of 40 movies sitting in my collection that I still haven't gotten around to watching. As part of an effort to get them off the shelf and into my DVD player, I created this list. Please feel free to chime in if you haven't already. I'll be trying to watch the top two vote getters each month.
People who added this item 882 Average listal rating (529 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8
The Killing (1956)

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that will argue that The Killing is a Great Film. Personally, it never quite got there for me. It's a solid movie though, with memorable characters, and a story that kept me involved. I really enjoyed the movie, but I do think that there are examples of both Kubrick films and Film Noir titles out there that are every bit as good or better.

Oh, and cool beans: this also happened to be a 5x5 recommendation (as described a couple sections above) from the giraffe so, neat that I was able to kill two birds with one stone, sorta speak.
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Watched Again

People who added this item 1000 Average listal rating (612 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2
The Master (2012)

Upon second viewing, I think I decided that I'll never consider The Master a masterpiece, but I'll probably always like it better than most other people. I was worried that Joaquin Phoenix's performance would start to chafe this time, but happily it didn't. Instead I found even more to admire in Hoffman's work.

I have an odd fascination with this movie and I'm sure I'll be watching it a third time.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 2048 Average listal rating (1379 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5

Naturally I wanted to revisit The Evil Dead before watching its recent re-tinkering in theaters. Especially since it's been at least a dozen years since I've seen it start to finish.

I was surprised that this first one more or less plays as straight horror, with only very occasional and often incidental humor. Certainly the sequels left the impression that there were more overt laughs to be had here, but really not so much the case.

Anyway, it's still an admirable effort and nifty horror creation on a tiny budget. There's definitely some nice touches in camera work, prop manipulation, and the like. Even so, I guess I just don't think I'll need to watch it again in the next 20 or so years.

But then again, I probably wouldn't mind, either.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 2058 Average listal rating (1284 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.5
Hugo (2011)

First movie watched on my brand new television! Seen it four times start to finish now. Still love it.
Xanadon't's rating:
People who added this item 204 Average listal rating (118 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.7

One of my personal favorite movies of last year, and a rewatch may have even bumped my fondness of it up further. Nice movie to sit and get quietly and peacefully and sentimentally drunk on bourbon to.
Xanadon't's rating:

Well-- I said I'd be taking the month of April off of listal. And I did, more or less. I'd probably have to use both hands to count how many times I logged in to the site, but in truth I was decidedly absent for the month and what precious little time I did spend here was mostly just a minimal effort to keep track of what I saw this month so that I could turn in this tardy April Movie Journal. You know... for prosperity.

Not a lot of movie watching in April, a month that I focused mainly on pursuing (and mostly achieving) some personal goals/projects that needed attending to. But here it is-- a sufficiently late and rather sparse April entry.

Hope everyone had fun and conducted themselves in a respectable manner while I was away ;)

Cheers ya all.

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