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Ike Savage 03-23-2014 11:38 PM

So how did you like that movie / TV show / book?
well, i'm trying to catch up on a few films, these days. i'd also be interested in hearing what you recently liked or didn't like. a sentence or two or a longer review, whatever. i'll do a full review for this first post:

the hobbit - unexpected journey [DVD version]

for me, this kind of worked better as a film than peter jackson's earlier efforts for the simple reason that it's much more of a straight-ahead story. also, i thought the material they worked in from the LOTR appendices worked perfectly, i.e. the backstory of azog and the dwarf - orc feud.

the inevitable rash of changes and manipulations to the story were expected and didn't bother me too much until the end, when jackson has bilbo single-handedly saving thorin from beheading. please... bad jackson, bad!

probably the biggest critique i have of the film is that it pretty much just followed the previous LOTR template of storytelling, cinematography and melodrama instead of going for more of the real spirit of the hobbit... which was a mostly a light-hearted and charming story. no, this thing is more about selling blockbuster tickets and drawing out the big film moments with the added speeches, surplus cameos and misty-eyed moments. still, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, so i will therefore STFU about it.

moving on, i thought the cast worked well... martin freeman in particular. he was pretty much doctor watson wearing a wig, but it worked just fine. whoever played the old orc lord had the scene-stealing role of the movie... and the humor was very much needed. (could we get more of that, please?) ian mckellan was of course a locked choice for gandalf, but his world-weariness and seriousness didn't fit this film as well as it did the other ones. i think someone in the style of john huston (who you can hear below) would have been somewhat better.

also, it's too bad they decided not to license some of the song gems from the 1977 hobbit film, which as a film was indeed pretty weak. still, the songs themselves were whimsical and excellent and fit the material really well instead of just sounding like encores from howard shore's LOTR score. examples--

misty mountains cold / gandalf's reflection. this is the song the dwarves sing the first night at bilbo's.

roads. this also got used in the beginning of LOTR as gandalf's walking song:

15 birds. this follows the true book version of what happened when the goblins and wargs cornered the group, high in the trees:

RATING: 3/4 stars. if you're a tolkien and/or film purist you're probably going to have even more quibbles than with jackson's LOTR movies. if you're more casual about all that, which most people will be... then this should be a perfectly good, long movie experience... just about the same quality and style as the others.

Shockman 03-24-2014 03:36 PM

Having covered the fact that a movie and a book is never going to tell the same story in the same way, on this one I would rate it about the same as you did for about the same reasons.

I was very young when I read the Hobbit, and haven't read it since. I did not remember the story much at all but I remember images developed by my imagination, and nothing can compete with that.

Ike Savage 03-24-2014 06:51 PM

oops! not a movie, but it's been taking up most of my viewing time these days. namely: M*A*S*H. i really can't think of a better series i've seen, although fawlty towers comes pretty close. anyway, what really needs to be said about M*A*S*H? i'm through the first two seasons, and here are my favorite eps from S01 and S02. they can be watched here--

tuttle: the story of the greatest officer in 4077th history... a man who never existed.

as you were: frank's hernia needs an immediate operation, and only two individuals can save him.

LeeVanCleef 03-24-2014 08:14 PM

I would give props to The Hobbit for the same reasons you did, mostly for the much more focused storytelling compared to the Attention Deficit Disorder Jackson took in the previous three movies. Martin Freeman, the "Jim" from the British "The Office", gives Bilbo a quietly-sardonic attitude that makes him the only Hobbit ever featured on film that I don't wanna punch. Mind you, I should include this caveat: I absolutely hated the books. I'll give Tolkein credit for his complex world-creating, but he was one of the shittiest writers to ever be so widely published. Too bad he wasn't taught the lesson that George Lucas so painfully showed to his audiences... have fun creating your world, but leave the writing to people who can do so without lapsing into cliche and overblown purple prose. Both Hobbits (especially with good ol' Benny Batch as the voice of Smaug in the latest one) 6 out of 10 tree-orcs... or whatever.

Let's get the possible negatives out of the way right now: "first-time director, writer and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt", "a film concerning porn addiction" and "co-starring Tony Danza." That is what gave me pause right there. Fortunately, I ignored the urge to pass this one by and enjoyed a movie equally funny and heartfelt, and some extremely-assured, stylish directing from first timer Gordon-Levitt. As a bonus, the film reminds us of a fact we may have forgotten over the years. ScarJo can be a very good actress... as well as incredibly hot! An overlooked gem. 8 out of 10 nuts busted!

LeeVanCleef 03-24-2014 08:59 PM

Fruitvale Station:
If you would allow me to take care of some preliminaries: Fuck you, Academy! It is absolutely no surprise that this group of nursing-home residents thought it best to nominate 12 Years a Slave in numerous categories and to completely ignore Fruitvale Station. The Academy is much more concerned with the plight of the Negro over a century ago than with that of African-Americans today (I’m assuming it’s because they lived through it). I really didn’t understand the purpose of 12 Years. Did I really need a film to tell me that slavery was a brutal and sadistic culture? Do the Hollywood elite really care so much about how the Supporting Actress Oscar winner played someone who was beaten and abused some 160 years ago, but little about how presenter (not even nominated) Michael B. Jordan portrayed an unarmed black man who was gunned down by a police officer 5 years ago? The films differ in aspects other than the chronological: Fruitvale Station is extremely subtle. I would ask what is more effective; a single savage slave-beating or the hundreds of smaller indignities suffered by African-American males in this day and age. Fruitvale is filmed in a style reminiscent of a documentary and, like the best documentaries, presents the subject with little overt preaching, giving much more credit to the intelligence of the audience than 12 Years does, allowing room for the audience to form their own opinions. The subtlety of the filmmaking is reflected in the performance given by Jordan, expertly building on the fine acting he did as a young ‘un in The Wire and Friday Night Lights. Anyway, fuck the Academy.
8 out of 10 I… am… Kunta Kinte!s

As an addendum: I challenge any of the 5 people who read this, if at all possible, to watch the two films in a row. Not back-to-back, mind you. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, and we all know Bob never reads the posts here anymore! But if you could make the two movies the only two films you view in-a-24-hour period or over-a-weekend, depending on your binge-viewing habits, I think you'll find that one of these films takes the Passion of the Christ path of literally beating empathy into the viewer. I don't approve of anyone beating the viewer over the head with a camera until they cry, whether it's Gibson or Spielberg.

LeeVanCleef 03-24-2014 10:30 PM

As an addendum: in certain... chemically-altered states... my icon of LRH demands that some facts be spoken. In the last year, endlessly-inventive actor Tom Cruise played Jack Reacher in Jack Reacher and Jack in Oblivion. Both films are some of the greatest celluloid stories ever told, and there's no reason not to spend your hard-earned money on them. While we're at it, if you're looking for the best books ever written, please follow this link. Hail, Xenu!

LOL! I gotta admit, I didn't really study that link very closely before I pasted it on here. Did you know that "your price" for Dianetics is only $20? Because you'll never find it at a used bookstore or a Goodwill for less than a dollar!

Ike Savage 03-25-2014 04:35 AM

JRR and LRH... i can't resist saying "elrond hubbard!" can't resist, william, can't resist...!!

faralos 03-25-2014 09:11 AM

Um Ike actually Mash was a movie starring Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland and the film was great too!

Shooby Doo 03-25-2014 10:54 AM

The Hobbit was good, but here's my 2 small issues:

1.) Should have came before Lord of the Rings. Hindsight, I know.

2.) It's not that epic. LOTR is a more epic series, and they are trying to make this as epic when it's not. I would rather it have been one 3-hour film, 2 films at the most.

But I should say that I've watched Unexpected Journey twice and like it and am looking forward to seeing the Desolation of Smaug. I'm not as excited as I was with LOTR though.


Don Jon:

I liked it and thought it was a nice little film. A bit cliche in parts and even cheesy, but the overall story was good and worth the watch. I like Joseph Gordon Levett and ScarJo ain't so bad on the eyes either.


I didn't like any of the oscar movies I saw except for The Wolf of Wall Street. It was a real Scorsese movie, whereas American Hustle was a wanna-be imitation Scorsese movie. Gravity looked really nice and it was a unique way of filming a movie, but man, was it stupid. A real stupid story about a stupid astronaut who failed her training but was put into space by NASA anyways. I didn't care if she lived or died.

I haven't seen Fruitvale Station, but am going to at some point. Michael Jordan is a pretty good actor.

I watched a movie last night called "Cheap Thrills" that I really liked. I thought it was going to be a comedy, but it wasn't funny at all. Very dark actually, but I thought it was pretty damn entertaining:

Ike Savage 03-25-2014 07:25 PM


Originally Posted by faralos (Post 100358)
Um Ike actually Mash was a movie starring Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland and the film was great too!

that's true. i didn't express myself as well as i could of, just there. "MASH" was also three books, from what i understand.

so... guess i better watch the movie and read those suckers if i keep on this current kick.

LeeVanCleef 03-25-2014 08:43 PM


Originally Posted by Ike Savage (Post 100361)
that's true. i didn't express myself as well as i could of, just there. "MASH" was also three books, from what i understand.

so... guess i better watch the movie and read those suckers if i keep on this current kick.

Yes, there are three books: MASH, MASH Goes to Maine and MASH-Mania. These are the only three books written by the original author. You might find others with MASH Goes to... I think one was New Orleans. These are all ghost-written by someone else. Yeah, so I know a little bit about MASH. I really lost it to both the show and the movie. I used to tape record episodes on my mom's reel-to-reel tape recorder and listen to them over and over. I even transferred the movie onto cassette and listened to it on my portable cassette player (alas, a Walkman was still a few years away at the time). Just watched the movie again a couple weeks ago and can still do almost all the dialogue! In fact, in the original book, the boys hook Henry up with an epileptic whore. Once he sleeps with her, all he can say is this following bit of doggeral:
My father was the keeper of the Eddystone Light
He slept with a mermaid one fine night.
Out of the union there came a three,
A porpoise, a porgy and the other was me.
Christ, I'm a dork! I guess MASH was my Monty Python!

@Shooby: I seem to spend a lot of time trying to defend American Hustle... I guess because a lot of people didn't like it! I actually found Russell's style to be more of an homage to Goodfellas, rather than a rip-off. And, after watching Winter's Bone so many years ago, I promised that I was gonna keep track of that Jennifer Lawrence girl, who does her typical wonderful job in Hustle. But, where the rubber meets the road, if I were to choose a Goodfellas homage by Russell or Goodfellas on Wall St by Scorsese, I'll pick Marty any day of the week. Unlike Goodfellas, I really started to feel the running time weighing on me during the last hour of Wolf, but a fine film all the same. I think Leo still carries around a Titanic stigma where he's looked on by some as a "move star" and not an actor. I challenge anyone who thinks this to watch his work in Wolf and Django Unchained and I think some minds will change.

sleepy 03-25-2014 09:57 PM

Oh yeah. Brother Al and me, we went to a screening of M*A*S*H* at CSUN in 1971. Tickets were $1.50. The film was screened in the student's room, on a bedsheet. The print was in Cinemascope, but the projection lens was standard format.

LeeVanCleef 03-26-2014 01:07 AM

HA! That sounds cool as hell! Don't think you could ask for a more private theater in the prehistoric days before VCRs! What, exactly, were the circumstances? How did this guy get his hands on a projector?

Ike Savage 03-26-2014 02:49 AM

so, i tried watching jet li's "once upon a time in china" (part I), but once you get spoiled on stuff like li's "hero," it's hard to watch the more average kungfu stuff. unless of course it's the unintentionally hilarious variety, which this one wasn't, either. oh well... maybe another time.


just finished M*A*S*H S03E06 "springtime" and who should make an extended appearance but mongo! i didn't know until just now that mongo used to be known as alex karras, star football player from the 60's and one of the leads from the show "webster." seems he passed away just two years ago at 77. he had come down with dementia (likely exacerbated by his football career) and some other stuff. RIP, mongo. :(

LeeVanCleef 03-26-2014 03:32 AM

Yeah, I remeber hearing that he died... don't know if I knew about the "dementia" thing... that means he reverted back into Mongo! Poor guy.
Hell, there's a whole list of dead people you'll be coming up on! The dude who did such a great job as psychiatrist Sidney Freeman just died last year at the ripe old age of 92 or so. Robert Alda has a guest shot with his son... dead. Leslie Nielsen... dead. Edward Winter as Colonel Flagg... dead. Crap, maybe it's some sort of MASH curse!

sleepy 03-26-2014 03:15 PM

Well, CSUN is short for California State University Northridge,
and the student hosted the screening as a fundraiser,
though the funds may have been used to finance Draft Counseling.
Does anybody here remember draft counseling?

And whatever happened to Spearchucker Jones? I think he vanished about the time of the short-lived CBS show about Black army surgeons,
the name of which Nobody on the Net seems to remember.
All I know is that one of the stars was attacked by The Skipper with a hatchet one night at his "Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel" restaurant.

Shooby Doo 03-26-2014 03:17 PM


Originally Posted by ruby651 (Post 100364)
I think Leo still carries around a Titanic stigma where he's looked on by some as a "move star" and not an actor. I challenge anyone who thinks this to watch his work in Wolf and Django Unchained and I think some minds will change.

Yes, yes, yes, I completely agree and was thinking the exact same thing. I was never really a fan of his, but after watching Wolf I had to re-watch Django just for his performance. Now I'm a fan and hope he gets good roles like these again.

But another performance that I thought was just as good if not better was Jonah Hill's. I've probably seen everything he's done, but this was the role that made me think "he's a really damn good actor!". I forgot I was watching Jonah Hill.

As far as American Hustle, I didn't think the performances were all that great, except for Lawrence and Bale. The story left more to be desired for, and I think Amy Adams is a pretty face but a bland & boring 1-tune actress. Now that I think about it, her role was one of the main things that killed it for me. She should stick to chick-flicks/rom-coms. I'm sure I'll watch it again and give it a second chance.

sleepy 03-26-2014 03:26 PM

Hmm...a lost spinoff pilot that I've never heard of.
Three lines down.
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LeeVanCleef 03-26-2014 06:20 PM

Oh... oh, my. I can't do more than two minutes. That horrible turd makes AfterMASH look like a classic. It's a shame Jackson never hired Gary Burghoff to play a hobbit. Then I'd have more than one reason to want to punch him in the face.

sleepy 03-26-2014 06:36 PM

Oh man. If you don't do more than two minutes,
you'll miss the pinball scenes.

Shockman 03-27-2014 08:46 PM

Walter was pretty bad, and nice try, but the old lady playing pinball was not enough to save it.

Ike Savage 03-27-2014 10:10 PM

you guys brought up some interesting names from M*A*S*H. from what i've read at WP and, they had some very interesting life stories. while waiting for my phone to charge, how 'bout the ike savage version of a factoid?
dr. sidney freeman, as portrayed by allan arbus

seems this guy was married to one of the greatest photographers in history, diane arbus. the same one most recently portrayed by nicole kidman in the movie "fur" (2006), in which she befriends robert downey, jr... a poor guy afflicted with terminal hirsuteness. odd movie, but not a bad one, IMO.

in any case, diane was married to allan for 28 years, had her brilliant career, then divorced him and commited suicide two years later during a bipolar episode in 1971 at age 48. right around the SAME TIME allan switched from photography to acting and instantly became a fairly high-profile character actor. i mean, wow.
edward winter as alias of choice... usually colonel sam flagg

poor dude died young at age 63 of parkinsons. thus, the guy who portrayed the character with the steadiest (and most brazen) nerves in 4077th history died of... uncontrollable shaking.
timmy brown as dr. spearchucker jones (zoiks, how society changes)

another star football player in the 60's, most notably for my old team, the philadelphia eagles. i guess he and mongo had some personal brushes, although playing very different positions, very little actual contact.

anyway, the weird story on spearchucker is that despite being a solid member of the swamp, they allegedly removed him during the latter half of season one due to the creators realising there weren't any actual african-americans surgeons who served in the korean war. or so the story goes. in any case, it was a factoid eventually refuted, apparently. but the writing was probably on the wall, in any case-- TV tends to boil things down to the clearest interactions, ala hawkeye and trapper vs. frank and hot lips. jones was pretty much a regular dude caught in the middle with (perhaps) little incentive for the writers to invest in him.

Shockman 03-28-2014 12:01 AM

One of the saddest episodes I remember on TV was a MASH episode. The one with the hidden broken down bus with the enemy outside and the old Korean lady inside with the chicken making noise.

LeeVanCleef 03-28-2014 01:06 AM

Interesting information, Nic! I would probably call bullshit on the creator's reason for dropping Spearchucker. I doubt Richard Hooker would have put the character in the book unless he could vouch for it personally (how close is fiction to real-life? Here's the author's Wikipedia entry that includes a shot of him outside the original Swamp ). I always felt that there just wasn't any room for him. Same reason Tom Skerrit's character from the movie bit the dust. I'm sure that CBS wanted to join the other, edgier networks by having a black character on the show, but they just couldn't find anything compelling for him.

sleepy 03-28-2014 12:57 PM

The idea that Spearchucker had "nowhere to go".
I would have used that as the device for keeping him on.
I remember a guy in high school, Larry. He was Black and became a space cowboy. Totally disconnected by the surrounding behaviors.
Because he had nowhere to go.

But I suppose that if anyone thought of portraying that social reality,
that they didn't want to have the viewers assume blame on the lead characters. And there was also the Black Army show which I still can't remember the name of. Maybe that was how CBS tried to save face?

sleepy 03-28-2014 01:23 PM

Would "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" make a good t.v. series?

Ike Savage 03-29-2014 12:39 AM


Originally Posted by sleepy (Post 100384)
Would "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" make a good t.v. series?

why not? my mom worked in a psyche ward most of her adult life as an art therapist, and the whole institution sounded pretty fascinating and edgy, if confusing and sorrowful at times.


lincoln (2012)

good movie, interesting movie, professional movie... no denying those things. everything about it was fully competent and well-crafted, pretty much as with all things spielberg. most people should like it.

what prevents me from hitting the same high notes the critics did is that the film simply did not move me in any particular area. neither the acting, production, historical insights, dramatic peaks, philosophical zingers, spontaneous adoration / loathing for any particular character... yea, just a long golf clap from me, sorry. also, this film was just a little too long and had too many cameos from characters who were virtually interchangeable. better photographic, directorial and mood framing might have helped make things more engrossing.

personally i would have enjoyed this better as a docu-drama. as in, cram more history in there and use the acted bits to portray key points, like a long history channel production without as much BS.

the plight of african-americans in history is certainly of interest to me, but in terms of that era, i'm more partial to a film like "glory." that one was certainly not as seminal a film, but was surging with emotional energy that really lit up the historical points being made.

still... quality is quality. 3.5 / 4 stars

Ike Savage 04-02-2014 01:26 AM

so i watched the first columbo episode last night, "murder by the book (1971)." these episodes originally aired across 90 minutes, so they are essentially TV movies... and good ones.

well, whadya know... good old steven spielberg was the director. jack cassidy was the main guest star, with martin milner and rosemary forsyth helping out. .

as the ex-hubby of shirley jones and the father of teen idol singer david cassidy, i decided to read up on this guy. well, oh my... seems this guy was bipolar (with borderline psychotic episodes), an alcoholic, and was increasingly unhinged in his 40's.

then, just five years after this movie aired, jack got drunk, fell asleep with a lit cigarette, and burned himself alive at age 49. seems they had to identify him by his dental records. ah, sorry about that. maybe it was the rubbernecker in me. but pretty shocking for me whenever i come across this kind of story... as in, fame, fortune and looks belying a person in their terminal downard spiral. yikes.

ANYWAY, the columbo formula holds up surprisingly well IMO. as a middle aged guy, it's especially fun to savor the high-profile guest shots, like patrick mcgoohan, william shatner, roddy mcdowall, leonard nimoy, and even...... johnny cash!

mrschultz 04-02-2014 11:02 AM

It really is amazing how well Columbo holds up, I've watched just about all of them on Netflix (they have them in HD streaming). And have the more recent ones on DVD. If it wasn't for the fashion and car designs changing you could watch any episode and not really tell witch of the 5 decades it was from. Can't think of any episode that was bad, also rare for any series.

sleepy 04-02-2014 04:03 PM

Yep *cough*. Steve. The first Columbo was a play created in 1960 which was shot as a one-off t.v. movie special in '68, " Prescription: Murder".
NBC then ordered a pilot, "Ransom for a Dead Man". Columbo was a part of the "NBC Mystery Movie" trilogy series. The original "Mystery Movie" series included "Name of the Game".

As for t.v. movies, I still like "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" and the Richard Chaberland / Alexander Dumas specials. And "Duel".

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