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Added by jaytoast on 28 Jun 2012 04:59
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Dear Cinema Diary - Vol 3 E7 - July 2012

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Top Picks...

Yes, it is summer time and the nice weather has put a damper on any desires to watch films. Still, summer time in Oregon means plenty of cloudy and rainy days so I should still get a few films under my belt before the month is out.

People who added this item 1692 Average listal rating (1045 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3

External Review @
Roger Ebert

OK, so if you have seen "Hair" this film really doesn't hold anything new. So, while there are a number of aspects that are not particularly original, it still did a great job of telling a story.

I think this will continue to stand as one of my favorite musicals but I doubt I'll be running out to buy the soundtrack anytime soon.

Great acting, nice music, interesting use of surreal moments and nice use of Beatles songs. You could do a lot worse.

*Update* So. kid tested mother approved. We both really liked the film and thought that it managed to handle all the characters very respectfully. It was nice to get some feedback from someone who lived through the 60's.
jaytoast's rating:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. -- (C) Fox Searchlight

I was really surprised by this film and expecting another 'old people are cranky' meets 'other cultures are weird' film. This really manages to dig to another level. This isn't so much a comedy drama but a light drama.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 212 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7
Get Low (2010)

I really enjoyed all the actors in the film and thought the film was exceptionally well done. I wasn't too surprised by the 'secret' but yes... it still managed to be a bit of a tear-jerker moment for me.
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Foreign Language...

People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (103 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2

Well, that was depressing. A fact that you should be prepared for when watching a film about the effects on the various generations of a family regarding the bombing of Nagasaki. The emotional impact is something that slowly develops. There isn't a lot of moralizing and preaching in this film. Instead it feels more like a documentary about the dynamics of a family, remembering and wanting to forget.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 103 Average listal rating (66 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 6.1
Cargo (2010)

Most of the ideas in the film aren't very new and sure there aren't too many real surprises. Still, the film was well done and managed to capture a nice tension. If your sitting around waiting for "Prometheus" (2012) to come out on DVD then yes... your going to be extremely disappointed in the film. However, if the idea of re-watching "Sunshine" (2007) fills you with dread... the I would recommend giving this a chance.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 146 Average listal rating (84 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4

There are a number of historical and cultural reason to watch this film. Granted all those reasons were quickly lost on me.

I found this film to be "Beautiful and poetic... torture". Gah, submissive women and men mistreating them. I didn't set the dvd on fire before returning it (I really, really wanted to) but you can be sure I will never sit through this film again.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
My Joy (2010)

A Russian film that meanders around the country meeting various people and circumstances with Georgy, the truck driver sort of leading us through the film.

I actually never quite got bored with the film. The landscape and faces are interesting to watch. The story much as I was expecting... is extremely bleak. Yet, after "The Scent of Green Papaya" this film is sort of the polar opposite. Here is the 'dark side' to being passive, going with the flow and only doing what your told.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 91 Average listal rating (43 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.7
3 (2010)
Description Hanna and Simon, a couple in their early forties, live together in Berlin. With their 20th anniversary looming, they both become restless despite being truly and deeply in love. Unbeknownst to one another, they separately become acquainted with Adam, a younger man, and fall in love with him. Clearly not your typical 1930 s romp, this reinvention of those classic films with Tykwer s sleek direction is a playful update: an intellectual study of a modern couple looking for redefinition in a world of absolutes.

I really enjoyed the film especially how it deals with ideas of aging and sexuality. The difficulty with the film arises from the linguistic difficulties in trying to translate philosophical and biological ideas into another language. This is especially made worse where in several parts the the film split screens with several different dialogues happening in each frame. Sometimes each frame is also another time line. So... this can be a difficult film to track even if you were fluent in German.

How we age as philosophical, biological and sexual creatures is a story worth telling. This process is nether sexy or simple so don't expect a US remake any time soon.
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Classic Picks...

People who added this item 165 Average listal rating (101 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2

This was a good film and I always enjoy Michael Caine in any film even close to a spy thriller. However, for some reason I didn't find it very thrilling. Perhaps my attention was just lacking or I watched the film too late at night. I may re-watch the film in the future but for now... meh... not a bad film.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 338 Average listal rating (205 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.9
The Thin Man (1934)

Yay, this was a fun and totally entertaining film. There were a few aspects to the 'mystery' that weren't very mysterious still... Nick and Nora are a delight.
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.9
80-minute documentary, you can watch the whole film on YouTube.

The documentary is made by Jamie Johnson one of the heirs to the Johnson and Jonson fortune. It is interesting to see this world from and insiders perspective. What do the 1% of Americans think about the wealth they have accumulated. How is this growth and disparity justified. I do like how the austerity measures taken in the 1950's where talked about and how this was not a socialists shift in American politics. Just rather the simple common sense that a worker should not be paying 40% in taxes while a CEO should pay less then 15%... it is a serious gap in logic.

I think the most laughable segment was justifying wealth through the use of bible scriptures. Once again... obviously I read the wrong bible.

So, while the film doesn't really answer any questions or shed much light on economic problems. It is still worth watching.
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Movie Exchange Program

People who added this item 1323 Average listal rating (917 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7

I really enjoyed the film but think that I watched the Stephen Chow films too close together to fully enjoy this one. Still, I think this is the stronger film and glad that the romantic aspect didn't suck so much time away from the main story.

I'll most likely come back to this film again at the end of the month.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 816 Average listal rating (502 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9

First I have to say that I love Samuel L. Jackson and it is always a delight when he isn't in a film where he is screaming obscenities for 15min and playing a crazy man. It is just old at this point.

I really liked the film and the I think it managed to capture some really dark characters with a great deal of respect. The world isn't a pretty place. There are many people who have never known respect, dignity or hope. Still, for as dark as things get... there is still a shred of something human in us all.

I think the film managed to capture the pain of the soul and how that pain can bring us together. Even if our pain is rooted in different causes.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.9

A wonderful and sweet film about getting older and staying young in spirit.

I do sort of agree with what some others have said about the narration of the film. That sometimes it felt out of place with the story being told. Really the narration held no point in the film and should have been cut. The less involvement a director has in telling the story in a documentary the better... guess I'm just old school like that.

I would still highly recommend watching this film.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 218 Average listal rating (121 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.4
Versus (2002)

Now this film is a true cult classic. Ether you see something in it that you can enjoy or are just groaning your way through the film.

The films story line is rather bizarre and only servers as a thin veil to add whatever the director finds 'wild' or 'interesting'.

However, if your looking for a postmodern action gore film... I would still recommend something from the director Ngai Choi Lam. "Lao mao" (The Cat) (1992) or "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky" (1991) which are both horrible... horrible films... that make no sense in any way but still manage to be so bizarre that it is hard to tear your eyes away.

Since I had already seen those films and loved every second of them. It was hard not to find this film to be a watered down version of its predecessors. Sure it is campy, strange and gore filled... but there was just some over-the-top element that was missing for me.
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Horror Films...

People who added this item 504 Average listal rating (319 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.7
Fido (2007)

Yay, it is a fun zombie film! I know sort of confusing. I think the comedic elements work better having the film set in a 50's world after the 'zombie wars'.

This was an exceptionally well done film. Even if zombies aren't your thing, it is still a comedy worth checking out.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 177 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.4
Intruders (2011)

There are a few 'horror film' storylines or twists that will automatically score a zero for me. Generally because the ending pisses you off and you feel cheated that you have just spent several hours watching something that was *NOT* a horror film. This it generally made even worse buy using pseudo science or psychology to explain things. Making the tired, done a thousand times before, twist even more pathetic.
jaytoast's rating:

Hum, this is sort of a tough film to rate. This is fine horror film in general so I can see how others might have really enjoyed the film. However, I found many of the key points in the film to be rather typical of every other slasher film. So, quite often if found myself waiting for what I knew to happen... finally just happen. Ah, and even the ending was the typical sucky hint at a sequel.

I may change my feelings in the future but for now... I would only recommend if your dire need for a slasher film with mommy issues.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 115 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.8
Absentia (2013)

Pretty decent low budget horror film. I actually really liked the story idea and thought it did a very good job of turning a children's story into a horror film.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 439 Average listal rating (304 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Red State (2011)

OK, I figured I would at last give the film a second chance, with my full undivided attention.

While the film isn't as dreadful as I thought. It still isn't that great. There are several long conversations that happen at very odd places in the film. These little moral conversations need to happen but at the same time really mess up the timeline and building of any sort of tension.

So, the first time I watched the film I hated it... now I just have borderline hate. Way too long and preachy and feels like something that could have easily been a "SyFy Original".
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 5.6
The Road (2011)

Just when I was starting to think that it was actually impossible to make a decent horror film along comes this gem from the Philippines.

This is an interesting thriller that spans several years. The film is divided into three chapters each focuses on a different time frame but also drawn together by the current investigation. If your looking for a gore filled horror film... don't watch this film.

However, if your looking for something more then the typical superficial ghost story or slasher film then yes... this is worthy of your time.
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LGBT Theme...

People who added this item 286 Average listal rating (148 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Shelter (2009)

Ah, another coming of age, coming out film with a sporty element. Actually, I liked this far better then "Tan Lines" and while the 'coming of age' genre of films is becoming something of a personal bore... it is a film I would easily recommend.
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People who added this item 248 Average listal rating (93 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.1
L.I.E. (2002)

Gritty coming to age drama. It was a 'passable film' but nothing that truly sparked my interest or that I felt was noteworthy.
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People who added this item 122 Average listal rating (72 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
Ghost Story (1981)

OK, so some of the special effects are a little dated. I don't know I still enjoy this film after all these years... well by enjoy I mean it still creeps me out.
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Other Films...

People who added this item 436 Average listal rating (323 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 5.4

Ha, what a horrible fun film. Sure I think I would have enjoyed the film a little more if I invited a few friends over and opened a case of beer. Think "Killer Clowns From Outerspace" but with Dolph Lundgren in a cod piece and Courteney Cox in one of the most embarrassing rolls of her career.

Sometimes you really just need to reset your movie standards and watch something outrageous. This film did the trick for me.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 184 Average listal rating (123 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
The Hunter (2011)

OMFG! I sat through this? I was actually looking forward to this film? Wow... this wasn't just disappointing this was horrible. There is some pretty ugly subtext going on in this film and really I would have much rather have spent my time watching any of the "Anaconda" films.
jaytoast's rating:
People who added this item 880 Average listal rating (548 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 4.8
The Spirit (2008)

Considering the general ratings for the film you would have thought that they had re-released "Crow II" or "Son of the Mask" under a different title. Thankfully, that is not the case.

This isn't a horrible film nor is it a great film. There are a few moments that were just a bit too "Tom and Jerry" cartoon silly. The other problem is that for a film like this to work everyone needs to bring their A-Game to the film. That wasn't always the case. Also, Scarlett Johansson's jaded boredom plays off that she is actually bored of being a part of the film making some scenes feel very cardboard.

Still, I always had a personal fondness for "The Spirit" so this wasn't a total loss as a viewing experience. Also nice that the 'mock-noir' was dialed down... alas the mockery was traded for slap-stick.

So, a fun film. Not one I would recommend to everyone but it still might be something I watch again in the future.
jaytoast's rating:

Cinema Diary for 2012
The Year of The Dragon

This is a scrapbook of ideas, impressions and information about the movies I watch. It is basic, rough and raw in an effort to expand my personal viewing experiences. This is a creative exercise not a critical one. I hope you enjoy.

Other Diary Entries:
Dear Cinema Diary - June 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - May 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - April 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - March 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - February 2012
Dear Cinema Diary - Jan 2012

Diary Entries for 2011

October thru December | September | August | July | January

Diary Entries for 2010

December | November | October | September | August | July

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My Film Diary Index (28 lists)
list by jaytoast
Published 9 years, 5 months ago 3 comments

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