What was the last film you saw and how would you rate it? Pt. 18

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Thought I'd post this here until I hear we're doing it somewhere else....

Post the name of the latest movie you've seen and your rating out of 10. 
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Sunshine Boys (t0073766) - 7/10 - loved Burns, hated Matthau.
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Posted 2 years ago

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Pencho15

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Turtle Beach (1992) - 4/10, well intended but it brings nothing
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ElMo

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Batman Begins, well it's either a 10 or a 9, but dammit, it's good. I can't  believe how good it is. I knew I was right to watch all the previous 'Batman' movies before Nolan's take on the "superhero" but there's no possible comparaison, at least as far as characterization goes. It's not just in the way Nolan takes us to the origins of Batman, Bruce Wayne's childhood, his fear of bats, the death of his parents, his initiation by the League of Shadows and his establishing moment when he refuses to join them by killing someone, it's all in the way it plays later in the first 'revealing' scene.

Take the first Batman, which is a good film actually, it starts with a bunch of criminals who're only baits for the heroic entrance, we don't really care for them. And then the hero pops up and says: "I'm Batman", this probably had some members of the audience clapping and cheering, maybe not because they expected it, but when you watch the film alone, you know it's just the kind of trailer-filler scenes with no other pretension than introducing the hero, but when you think about it, is that how you introduce a hero? In Tim Burton's movie, villains you don't care about are stopped by Batman who's badass enough to take care of himself, so we don't really sympathize with him.

But boy, when the "I'm Batman" scene happens halfway through that film, after all that journey where he kept looking for himself, asking whether he's seeking revenge or justice, after all the wandering and wondering, all the injuries and hits he had to take, all the attempts to create a new identity, when he finally comes up fully-dressed... but not with the fancy costumes of the previous film, but a sober black-clad uniform, I was cheering inside, I had that satisfaction Burton didn't provide. And not only we care for the hero at that point, but also for the villain. We saw Tom Wilkinson laying his cards in front of a mildly impressed Bruce Wayne, mocking his weakness, and now he's the weak one. This scene alone is the reason why Nolan was right to make Batman Begins.

When it started, I was like "what the hell...?" I kept waiting for the Batman tropes, Gotham City, the logo, the Batmobile, Alfred... but then I realized that Superman had started the same way and when we could finally see the nerdy Kent opening his shirt with the "S" logo, we were finally rewarded for our patience. Nolan trusts our patience and is generous enough to make a few allusions to the Batman we know, like with the parent's death scene, and even that scene is played at the right time, right after we had some glimpses on Bruce's relationship with his parents and his fear, and see how it all comes full circle with that defining murder. I think it just comes down to one thing: give everything a meaning.

Why Batman? Why the bats? Why a black uniform? Why never killing anyone? Everything has an answer. Everything has a meaning. An origin. Even the gadgets, the cars, the accessories are the result of a long training process and the help of an engineer played by Morgan Freeman. I love how Nolan tries to give some realism to Batman's origins, not to make the film realistic but plausible in the realm of superheroes movies... so real that Batman shouldn't even be considered a superhero.

This is not just a good film, but a good story. Good in the classical sense, the coming-of-age, the hero triumphing over his demons, then gaining enough strength to give a meaning to his personal triumph and there's the good in the writing department. Notice how the word 'vigilante' is mentioned twice, by Neeson's character and later by the commissioner, a vigilante seems to work to satisfy some individual impulses, exactly like Wayne when he wanted to kill his parent's murderer. But this is nothing compared to the way the word "fear" is repeated, serving the film's motto that we're all meant to fall, but it's all about picking ourselves up. From another director, it could sound corny but not with Nolan, and  certainly not with Michael Caine playing a great Alfred. And this comes from someone who likes the other Alfred, too.

Now, i'm looking forward to seeing the no-less iconic Part II, the one that dethroned my favorite film from IMDb Top 250... I've never been fan of DC or Marvel Comics, but I've always read the Disney Duck stories with Scrooge McDuck and Donald and the nephews... and what Nolan did reminded me of Keno Don Rosa's "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck", he took an iconic character and provided me an unprecedented level of depth  and a human dimension that went beyond the format of the comic-book canon. I guess if there ever was a "Batman" hall of fame, Nolan would be in the Top 5 not far from the creators or Adam West.
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Kyle Perez

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Great take ElM and oh man... just you wait until TDK. You've got another thing coming!
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ElMo

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I'm sure you're right, I liked the little cliffhanger at the end :)

By the way, the thing about the word 'vigilante' is that Nolan was aware about the kind of labels that go with a character like Batman, and he doesn't deny them as much as he gives them a new weight, it's like "Yes, but there's more to it...". A vigilante always has a style and an attitude that betrays an unconscious desire to 'show off' a little but in reality, Batman is perhaps the ultimate vigilante because he goes from a totally selfish desire to get his revenge to protecting a town that is corrupted to the core and all the style and the attitude are only meant to scare his opponents, to hide in the night, as a matter of fact, he's perhaps the most unselfish hero, not a superhero but a super hero ;)
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ElMo

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Well, well, well...

Where do we start? Well, the film is good to put it simply. It's not just a good sequel, it's so good it makes you totally forget about it being a sequel. It's a continuation in terms of the narrative but it accomplishes something that a few sequels actually do, not right after the first opus anyway: it deconstructs all the values Batman stands for and even questions his own heroism. If his heroic quest brings up the worst possible psychopathics, what good can he be?

The film destroys whatever the previous film built up in a sort of constructive chaos, just when you thought that it would 'consolidate' Batman's heroic status, it does the exact opposite? Why? Well, the film has saying about 'how things working according to a plan' can be as debatable and questionable than so-called chaotic situations, so our expectations are contradicted for their own good. And for our fun... if "fun" can be applied to the film. I think it can. But let's get back to the question of heroism.

The film dissects it as if it was some philosophical essay and the answers a re provided of course by the two most memorable characters: the Joker (naturally) and Harvey Dent. It's fascinating how Bruce Wayne aka Batman becomes almost a peripheral character but the deeper we get in these two alternative arcs, the more it complexifies the existence of the iconic vigilante in Gotham City, and the more it does so, the more it justifies its status as one of the most fascinating and iconic comic-book character. It's one hell of a virtuous circle that works thanks to a remarkably written script and a magnificently executed action-movie.

Speaking of the awards, contrarily to its predecessor, it garnered many Oscar nominations and won two, in fact, it grabbed every possible award for Best Supporting Actor... and they were deserved, but the film was criticized for missing the crucial Best Picture nomination. There's no doubt that today, the Best Picture nomination was a lock, but I think the Writing deserved a nod as well, and even Eckhart is unfairly underrated as "Two Face", perhaps not as flashy and creepy as the Joker, but as tormented and complex as Wayne. And I love how Nolan doesn't keep on zeroing on Batman, he handles the supporting cast as importantly as the hero, perhaps because the hero doesn't know much about himself either.

The film, along with "Spider-Man II" and "Iron Man" (in a lesser measure) were said to have revived the popularity of comic-book movies, but I don't know if they are as daring as "The Dark Knight" in their critical approach to the hero. It seems like today, whoever is in the poster must be admired, glorified, must stand for something immediately deemed as inspirational and empowering. "The Dark Knight" puts these so-called strength and power into an equation whose resolution is a triumph of intelligence-within-entertainment. Batman becomes a hero in the way he acknowledges that the general public isn't ready for his heroism and would benefit from a hero like Harvey Dent despite this latter having surrendered to the temptation of vileness.

But even this vileness isn't your typical "mua-haha" type of thing, although it features a lot of it. Like heroism, vileness relies on a state of a mind starting with feeling such as deceptions and resentments, we all have "scars" behind our smile so to speak. And the Joker isn't much a villain to be defined by what he does, unlike the 'hero', but evil by the way he enlightens us about the darkest abysses of our soul. See, some people can be funny by saying funny things or making point in a funny way. The Joker makes points in an evil way, and that's why he's so mesmerizing, and that's why Heath Ledger's performance is indeed one of a kind.

Many things can be said about Ledger but I loved that line from the New York Daily New by Joe Neumaier: “It says something about the curious nature of film, that someone can be so alive onscreen, when we’re all too aware that they’ve passed away, how we are mortal, and films are immortal.” I guess this is why this film is immortal and why Ledger had left this world with a performance that enriched our lives, featuring a villain who drives not only the action or the (anti)heroes' arcs but becomes a philosophical force whose appeal rises above the movie.

Now, I ended the my previous comment about "Batman Begins" with an unlikely connection with the adventures of Scrooge mcDuck, I'll say in the same fashion about "The Dark Knight" that it also reminded me of that episode of "The Simpsons", "Lisa the Iconoclast" when she refused to reveal the truth about Jebediah Springfield saying that the myth has brought up the good in everyone, and that's what Batman and Harvey Dent indirectly stated, and what the extraordinary "bomb" sequence has illustrated... that some lies can be more inspirational than overrated quest for truths.

it also reminded of that sacrifice of Rocky Sullivan who died "playing a coward" to discourage the titular "Angels With Dirty faces" from following his path, ruining your legacy is perhaps the greatest mark of heroism, because sometimes, the "needing" doesn't match the "deserving", sometimes there are so great causes that it's worth fighting them... and being fought. 

Indeed, Kyle, I had anything thing coming :)
(Edited)
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leavey-2

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Everest (2015) - 8/10 - mostly for the breathtaking scenery
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ElMo

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I said it before and I say it again, "female empowering" didn't wait for the "new generations" to grace the silver screen, not only it has existed before but it was done even better for a more powerful effect because it didn't need to have a woman carrying a weapon or imitating a guy to feel powerful. Seriously, you can take all the Lara Crofts, Kylo Rens or Wonder Women, for me, they won't be as bad-ass as Olivia De Havilland in the ending scene of "The Heiress". I rooted for her big time, I loved her and I loved the way she did what she did and... can't go further, I'll spoil it.

Another great William Wyler's movie with a strong female protagonist who once again doesn't need any weapon or fighting skills to make men totally powerless. And that's exactly what she does.

***** 10/10* ****** (and a deserved Oscar for Havilland)
(Edited)
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Pencho15

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Boulevard (2014) - Robin Williams last film, quite different from his usual comedy works, but a good work in a small drama. 7/10
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Stephen Atwood

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Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973), the most incomprehensible monster movie ever tackled by Rifftrax.
1/10 for the film.  10/10 for the commentary.
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Stephen Atwood

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Kyle Perez

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Tsar,

There's been a lot of buzz for Anderson's latest film. What was it that you loved so much?
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Stephen Atwood

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Short answer? Everything.
Slightly longer answer?  The visuals and character design is magnificent.  The dialogue is perfectly quirky yet the story is still dark and mature.  I wasn't expecting a black political satire from the film. 

Really adore the score and will likely get the mp3 album from Amazon (though I'll stream it too on spotify).

The actors?  Yeah. Admittedly, they're voicing themselves instead of creating new personalities and voices but it works brilliantly here.

Full disclosure?  I'm a Wes Anderson cult member ever since experiencing the first time I was exposed to his work which may have been Rushmore (rented from a video store way back when).

I have to rewatch Fantastic Mr. Fox but I'm glad there is a definite tonal and structural difference between the two animated films.

I will have to think deeply about where I rank this in the Anderson canon of films but it will be pretty high up there.

I highly suspect it will be in my top 3 favorite films of this year and I guarantee a Bluray purchase when possible.  Definite crime if ignored awards season (unless the remaining animated films are stellar as heck).

(Edited)
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Loveless (2017) - for now, 8/10. I just saw it last night, though, and usually I like to wait to rate films and this one, in particular, needs some time to sit with me, I think. The rating could go up or down but it was certainly powerful and I do recommend it.
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Stephen Atwood

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Girls Trip (2017), 7/10.  Very funny at moments.  Not exactly sure why there was so much clamoring for a Tiffany Haddish supporting actress Oscar nomination.
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Stephen Atwood

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Jen, Champion

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Peter, Champion

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The Post, 8/10
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Jen, Champion

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Stephen Atwood

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The Trip to Spain (2017), 8/10.  The weakest of the trilogy.  Weird cliffhanger on an ending.
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Inherit the Wind (1960): 10/10.

Incredible Stanley Kramer film that features fantastic performances and a story that will always remain important in history. The courtroom scenes were so entertaining with direction that set Kramer up for his follow up courtroom film a year later in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Masterpiece film right here.
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Jen, Champion

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I watched it recently. I felt like Fredric March (who I usually like) yelled all his lines...
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His character was interesting; He did seem a little extra at times but I believe March's intentions were for us to deeply understand Brady's troubled psyche... however over the top it may have been. His portrayal was solid in my opinion, if that's what he went for.

I also like how he portrayed a full-blown bible preacher for like 95% of the film and that final 5% of the runtime saw him devolve into a guy reminiscent of Gunnar Björnstrand's character in Nattvardsgästerna (1963); so unsure of his own faith that he becomes lost in, and struggles with, his own manic thoughts. 

What did you give the film out of 10, Jen?
(Edited)
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Jen, Champion

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7/10

I remember seeing a TV version with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott a lloooonngg time ago that moved me more than this version.
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Kyle Perez

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Oo I'd love to see the chemistry of those two, that'd be a great watch.
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leavey-2

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Denial (2016) - 7/10
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Mustang (2015): 8/10 

Girl Most Likely (2012): 4/10

After seeing 'Loveless,' which was magnificent, I needed 'Mustang.' I don't want to give anything away about either movie, so I'll just say if you're looking for a drama that deals responsibly with serious issues but mixes in the joy of innocence and is quite life affirming, 'Mustang' delivers. In those ways, it's a bit like 'The Florida Project,' (2017) the film I've been ridiculously gushing over for six months. 
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Stephen Atwood

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What's the connection between Loveless, a Russian film about a struggling couple in search for their missing son and a Turkish film about five orphan girls other then they were both nominated for a foreign language Oscar for their respective years?
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You might say they are both about some form of child neglect.
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Stephen Atwood

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It (2017), 6/10
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leavey-2

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Duck, You Sucker (1971) - One of Sergio Leone's lesser known films, in Europe, Canada and Australia only known under the title 'A Fistful of Dynamite', but it contains all the elements which made the spaghetti westerns so great (although this is, strictly speaking, not a western) - 9/10
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Jen, Champion

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Season 1 of Seven Seconds - 8/10
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Migjen Toska

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All About Eve (1950) 9/10
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Pencho15

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Fatal Attraction (1987) - 7/10. I find my birthyear one of the weakest in movie history. That's sad. This is supposed to be one of the top films of the year but it was simply ok for Me.
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Stephen Atwood

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Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (TV Series 2017– )  AKA Girls' Last Tour season 1: 10/10.