Finally Watching [Action Movies]

Humans in space suits make monkeys nervous

Postby Merciel » Sun Jul 25, 2021 12:40 am

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

How did this movie get nominated for -- and win! -- so many Best Stunt awards? You can't see any damn thing that's happening!

Clearly there are some skilled and hardworking people designing and executing these stunts, which makes it even more frustrating that they're all chopped to shit in editing and very seldom do you even get a few seconds of clean sequencing that shows you where everybody and everything is in space. Like the car chase where Jason Bourne survives getting T-boned fifteen times and then opts not to shoot Skurge is clearly a really solid stunt sequence, but all that effort gets totally fucked up by garbage editing.

It is a travesty.

Apart from that this is fine I guess. The plot is not actually that convoluted, but it seems that way because of all the PTSD sequences and cryptic mumbled dialogue. The movie also makes the somewhat unusual-by-Action-Movie!-standards decision to never actually tell you who the guy is that's ordering Skurge around, and then (as far as I could tell) lets him escape with the $23 million of stolen CIA money. All the unexplained bits and unresolved loose ends also make things seem more complicated than they are. It's an interesting choice. I can't decide whether I think it's refreshing that the movie breaks from convention, or lazy that they just went with not explaining things vs. building any kind of real mystery.

Probably it's a little of both.

Anyway I'm still not that into the Bourne series after seeing this second installment. Again, it's basically fine, but having an amnesiac assassin as your main character is taking the cipher action hero a little too far for my taste, and fridging the love interest pretty much right off the bat is also not my favorite. (One of these days I'd like to see the love interest go down in act 2, instead of either right at the beginning to Provide Motivation or near the end as a Wrenching Tragedy. What if we just kill off the love interest about halfway through the movie. Find a reason to put that beat there, maybe then I'll feel something other than annoyance at the transparent laziness of that entire device.)

SVC somehow recognized the junior CIA dude who gets shanked by Logan Roy as Arthur Case, Betty's brief infatuation at the horse riding stable, who features in a grand total of four episodes of Mad Men (a show we haven't watched in, I dunno, five years maybe?).

How he can place actors that accurately, yet cannot remember the parents of other students at Kermit's school, is a total mystery to me.

7.5/10
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Postby palmer eldritch » Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:31 am

Merciel wrote:Tango & Cash (1989)

It's pretty funny that Jeffrey Boam made them take his name off this movie because he didn't want to be associated with it, but was fine taking primary credit for Lethal Weapon 3. Both films were apparently complete trainwrecks to make, but one of them is still pretty fun to watch and that one is not LW3.

As far as I can tell, Tango & Cash works solely because Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, working together, generate a magnetic forcefield of charisma sufficient to pull together all the choppy hacked-up nonsensical parts of this film (those are the only parts of this film, it doesn't have any other kind) and keep them whirling together in a mesmerizing pattern of something that almost passes muster as an only-slightly-less-coherent-than-average action movie, at least as long as their anti-gravity combined charisma tractor beam is holding it up. That's really the only thing that works here, but it works powerfully enough to hold the rest aloft.

This is pretty impressive considering that literally nothing else in the movie makes any goddamn sense at all. The frame setup makes no sense. The plea offer makes no sense (18 months minimum security and voluntary manslaughter in an FBI witness murder case where you have the entire thing on tape? lololololoooolll). The prison transfer makes no sense (like, I'm pretty sure you can't just disappear high-profile prisoners in LA, especially if you're kidnapping them immediately en route instead of letting them sit in the correct facility for a week; aren't there reporter vans following these guys constantly? just wait until the damn news story is over!). Nothing that happens in the prison makes any sense, although in this case I will be forgiving because the nonsense includes a really long scene of Stallone and Russell in the shower, and that's the kind of nonsense I can get behind.

All that stuff is bush league compared to the wackiness that ensues once our guys get out, though. It's not just the actual wackiness, although there is a lot of that (Kurt Russell in drag! Teri Hatcher doing a non-stripping stripper routine in front of a giant fan! A completely insane Q-from-James-Bond knockoff wearing a giant magnifying glass as a monocle! The exploding stuffed dog that said Q knockoff accidentally fires at Kurt Russell! Recycled grenade-in-pants jokes! Music cues straight out of Deadly Premonition!).

It's also that the movie just completely stops giving a shit about making sense even at the low level of buddy-cop action comedies. Shit just explodes for no reason because hey, the monster trucks are fighting, we need giant fireballs behind them. The 50- and 60-something head honchos pick up machine guns to defend their lair with zero flunkies to help them because, I dunno, there wasn't any villain budget left for them to add a couple of henchmen actually inside the lair?

But there apparently was enough villain budget to add a completely new, unexplained martial arts secondary boss for Sylvester Stallone to fight, because I guess it would have been too much trouble to choreograph him fighting the original martial arts secondary boss guy in tandem with Kurt Russell. If giving each of Our Heroes their own action solo means teleporting in an extra bad guy for Stallone to fight, then fuck it, fire up the transporter and beam him up, Scotty.

It's that kind of movie: the kind where reshoots mean that in the last 10 minutes there's just this random extra bad guy who now gets an extended fight sequence.

Also it means that Jack Palance gets some of the choppiest, most cut-up villainous laughter I have ever seen in the finale. I actually had to go look it up to make sure he didn't just die during the reshoots to explain why they did it this way, because it definitely looks like he died and they just had to splice in whatever they had.

Also it means you never find out what happened to Jack Palance's rats. I mean, I assume they died in the giant lair-destroying explosion at the end there, but you never actually find out. Jack Palance's rats are some real unfired Chekhov's Gun shit in this movie. They get this big dramatic intro and then... I dunno, either Jack Palance is extremely bad at visual metaphors and that was the entire point there, or whatever was supposed to happen with the rats got eaten during the frantic edits and reshoots.

I choose to believe the latter.

Why is the ultimate crime lord of Southern California some dude with a French name but a totally American accent and also a totally American multi-screen Villain TV setup? Also has there ever been one of those multi-screen Jeopardy box TV setups that didn't belong to a villain? They're like Persian cats and monocles, if you see one in an action movie you just automatically know it belongs to the bad guy.

Anyway this movie is some weird hacked-up edit salad, especially towards the end (in the beginning it's mostly normal, or normal-ish, just... extremely Action Movie Logic on all plot points and character beats), but like I said, Stallone and Russell exert enough superpower charisma that mostly you don't notice and definitely you don't mind.

I love that Stallone made himself the buttoned-up intellectual of the duo. You can tell he's the buttoned-up intellectual because he wears glasses and gray Armani. Then again, when he's playing opposite Kurt Russell, what else could he do? Obviously you can't make Kurt Russell that guy.

So it's Sylvester Stallone in glasses as the smart cop, and I guess that pretty much says all you need to know about Tango & Cash.

7/10


I watched Tango & Cash and I saw SVC rated it on letterboxd so I went to see if it was reviewed here and this is absolutely perfect and accurate
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Postby palmer eldritch » Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:34 am

laughing so hard right now thinking about Jack Palance's mirror room. why
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Postby Merciel » Wed Aug 18, 2021 11:27 pm

Collateral (2004)

The coyotes on the highway still hold up. The Audioslave music cues still... well, they still make about as much sense as they did in 2004, I'll say that much.

SVC and I watched this in the theater back when it came out (at least I think we did, it's been long enough that I don't actually remember) but neither of us had seen it since then. I remembered most of the big action beats but I forgot all the awesome hilarious grace-note stuff, like Jamie Foxx being momentarily baffled by his stolen police gun having the safety on, or Tom Cruise pratfalling on an overturned office chair just as he's gearing up to do his big Terminator run through Jada Pinkett Smith's office at the end there.

It never made any sense to me that Jada Pinkett Smith was Cruise's last target, btw. It makes sense to hire a hitman to bump off the witnesses against you*, which is why that's such a common Action Movie! plot device, but it really doesn't make any sense to whack a prosecutor in America. Somebody else is just going to pick up the dead AUSA's case file and the wheels of justice will grind right on without a hiccup.

This ain't Sicily. The best you're going to achieve with a prosecutor assassination is that now somebody else has to write a new opening statement.

(* -- on that note, it is kind of endearing how all these vicious crime lords and murderous underworld masterminds assume that if they can't get hauled into court to face criminal charges, everything will forevermore be totally fine on the evilicious crime and corruption front. These people just never have any fear that they'll be the target of an extrajudicial drone strike or corporate hit squad or anything else. It never occurs to them that the police might just fabricate some new evidence to replace the real witnesses that they lost. Nope, it's honestly earned jail time or nothing in their world.

Their faith in the sanctity of their constitutional rights is touching, truly.)

Anyway it's a pretty good movie. I can't tell whether it's actually all digital-grainy or that was just the pirated version that we watched, but in any case I liked the effect. Michael Mann's obsessive nerd tendencies are in full flower in the initial repartee between Foxx and Smith, where they're arguing about different road combinations and traffic flow predictions, and this is the hottest flirtation known to humanity.

I remember a lot of critics complained that the last third of the movie goes full Action Movie!, which it does, but nobody would complain about this if it weren't a Michael Mann movie where the characters spent so much time wrangling about routes and pretending they could calculate their arrival times down to the minute (Google Maps can't even do this today, with continuous minute-by-minute traffic inputs!), and that didn't create a completely unreasonable illusion of precision and realism.

What the critics should have been watching was Tom Cruise putting his Action Guy running skills to the test. No movie with that many scenes of Tom Cruise running really fast in dramatic fashion was ever going to end any other way.

I did not spot Mark Ruffalo in this movie. I could tell the detective was somebody familiar, but it was just bugging the hell out of me that I couldn't place him. When SVC got all smug that he'd clocked the detective, I was seriously expecting him to tell me that it was fucking Bill Paxton somehow.

It was not. It's Mark Ruffalo.

8/10
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Postby Merciel » Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:35 pm

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

In which the CIA can simultaneously track every phone conversation anywhere on Earth in order to filter for the word "Blackbriar," and somehow they can also zero in on the one pertinent conversation instead of just getting a bunch of nerds hashing out their Redwall fanfic plot points together, but also they can't find Jason Bourne even though apparently everyone who's been working there more than five years knows what he looks like, his picture gets printed on the front page of The Guardian, and dude never covers his face or makes any effort whatsoever to disguise himself while roaming around crowded public places all across the globe.

Also somehow this super-secret spy agency has an entire fleet of spy cars that are all the exact same make and model and color, and pretty much collectively scream HERE IS A FLEET OF SPY CARS every time they get deployed.

Also, and this is probably the biggest lol conceit of the series, the whole central gimmick here is that you have to psychologically destroy and waterboard and repeatedly brainwash dudes in order to create soulless killers for America, as opposed to... just handing a gun to your average 19-year-old male.

I mean, okay, probably it takes a couple of years to train them in all the unarmed combat and security camera evasion tricks, but it's not like it's particularly hard to find 22-year-olds willing to shoot random people for no damn reason either. Actually if that were the case we'd probably be a lot safer, as a nation.

There are a lot of dopey things in The Bourne Ultimatum, starting with the title (what ultimatum? what is the ultimatum? what does this have to do with anything?!), continuing through to this CIA regional chief who I guess doesn't have a single fake passport for some reason even though, I dunno, maybe if you're spilling major secrets to the press and are also THE CIA REGIONAL CHIEF IN THIS FICTIONAL SUPERSPY UNIVERSE, you would have taken a minute to come up with some kind of escape plan here, ending with a cover of a Moby song instead of the original song for no particular reason.

This stuff wouldn't bother me if the movie didn't want you to take it Very Seriously, but the Bourne franchise clearly wants you to take it Very Seriously and, like, no. Plus the action scenes are so hacked up in this one that two of them actually gave me motion sickness: the Bourne/Desh fight and the Bourne/Paz car chase. Nothing I love better than an action scene I can't watch without wanting to puke from shakycam bullshit.

6/10
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Postby No Good Advice » Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:14 am

That may all be true, and the specifics of the operation barely registers, but I like the shaky cam and Bourne running around. It's the ultimate running away franchise, and that sub-genre is the best catnip.

But yeah there's room for improvement with regards to the competence of the villains, which is why we should reboot the Bourneverse. I guess they did that with that show I've never watche.d
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Postby aububs » Thu Aug 26, 2021 12:03 pm

Merciel wrote:How he can place actors that accurately, yet cannot remember the parents of other students at Kermit's school, is a total mystery to me.

it me
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Postby Merciel » Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:08 pm

The Insider (1999)

Not an action movie, but I didn't know that going in (and the opening could totally fool you! the opening with the Hezbollah guys is absolutely an action movie opening!), so I'll put it here, especially since this is gonna be a short review.

I kept forgetting this was a Michael Mann movie, and then somebody would drive around in a car at night and I'd be like, oh yeah.

It's not really very suspenseful though. Michael Clayton, this definitely is not.

Partly the problem is that the movie doesn't do a great job of foregrounding the stakes. The big explosive secret is supposed to be that... what, cigarette companies jacked up the nicotine delivery by spiking their cigarettes with ammonia? That the CEOs knew cigarettes were bad for you and lied about it? oooOOOOoooOOOO so suspenseful oh wait no

The real story here is that Wigand was in a position to blow up the cigarette companies' go-to defense and thereby cost them HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in THE BIGGEST TORT LAWSUIT EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and also destroy several think tanks that had been whitewashing their misdeeds, and also get some money for various strapped state agencies and litigants who, you know, got very sick and died horribly as a result of tobacco company lies.

Those are the actual stakes of the movie. But this is not what the movie wants you to pay attention to. The tobacco litigation is treated as a minor subplot, just a way to pry open the confidentiality agreement so Wigand's 60 Minutes interview can air. It's not entirely clear why his wife leaves him, but this is treated as a Very Big Deal (although it... doesn't really seem to have had that much to do with 60 Minutes? like it definitely seems like she leaves him because he got fired and started drinking too much).

So yeah ultimately I think the problem is either Mann is focused on telling the wrong story, or he's not willing to fictionalize the story he does want to tell enough to make it all that interesting. This probably is about how that all went down, but that doesn't make it super interesting, it just makes it a muddle of various people doing various things for reasons that are probably not altogether clear even to themselves, and then I guess history happens somewhere off to the side, mostly offstage, featuring players we mostly don't see.

The movie does have a lot of good performances though. Christopher Plummer does a solid Mike Wallace. Al Pacino is always just Al Pacino, but it does seem like he's at least trying to do something else here.

6.5/10
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Postby Merciel » Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:20 pm

The Suicide Squad (2021)

James Gunn, you beautiful dementoid.

It's strangely beautiful to watch Harley Quinn, suspended in an improv diving pool made of space monster eyeball ichor, stare wide-eyed at a swarm of swimming rats gnawing through the capillaries of a ginormous psychic brain-eating starfish kaiju. It's serene. It's peaceful. It's completely insane. I enjoyed it a lot.

I also really enjoyed how Gunn brought back a bunch of characters from the previous Suicide Squad movie just so he could kill them, or at least have somebody whack them real hard upside the head with a golf club. I have to imagine that's something you don't get to do very often, as a director taking over a franchise from a less gifted predecessor, and it's really fucking satisfying when you do get to do it.

On balance I enjoyed this movie more than I expected to, and found it funnier than I thought I would, although there were a couple of times when I felt kind of bad about laughing at whatever horrible thing I was laughing at, and frequently I was uncomfortably aware of this sour note running through the whole endeavor.

I think if we'd watched the whole movie in a single sitting instead of breaking it up over three nights, that would have poisoned it for me. I'm fine with hyperviolence played for lols, but I can't deal with sustained nastiness, and The Suicide Squad came right up to that line for me. Didn't quite cross it though, which is probably why Gunn stuck in all those interludes between Bloodsport and Ratcatcher 2: so the dorks in the audience like me would get a breather from the relentless disposability and (justified!) cynicism of everyone else in this universe.

Anyway, in the end, I had fun. I think I'm good with doing about one of these every two or three years though.

7.5/10
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Postby Merciel » Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:22 pm

I do really like Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, btw. Normally that character annoys the shit out of me, but Robbie does her perfectly.

I would happily watch a James Gunn/Margot Robbie Harley Quinn movie. Under absolutely no other circumstances would I say that. But with those two, yeah, I'd watch it.
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Postby Merciel » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:37 pm

The Long Goodbye (1973)

Raymond Chandler fans are definitely not the target audience here.

The Long Goodbye (book) is Chandler's longest and most digressive novel, with quite a lot of ruminations on the frustrations of the artist who writes pulpy stuff that he half-regards as trash but also takes a certain pride in. The plot is twisty and tangled and farfetched and revolves (as many of his stories do) around an improbably insane, astonishingly beautiful woman. It is an extremely '40s book, even moreso than Farewell, My Lovely, which is the one with a bunch of casual racism in it (to his credit, I guess, Chandler seems to have been pretty embarrassed about that stuff, realized his error long before it would have occurred to any white contemporary that it was problematic, and never did it again).

The movie is... not any of that. The movie changes the plot substantially, simplifies everything dramatically, and ultimately doesn't make a lot of sense. The book also doesn't make a lot of sense, hinging as it does on this one woman's implausibly wackadoodle behavior, but if you accept that this character could ever possibly exist then yeah sure fine, the rest of it falls into place pretty neatly.

You cannot say this about the movie.

What's good about the film version is that Elliott Gould is a joy to watch, and his shaggy detective is a creative take on Marlowe that somehow plays true to the spirit of the character while changing everything else about him. The movie lives or dies by his performance, and he's good enough to carry it.

Nothing else really worked for me here, and I was actively annoyed every time the topless hippie sorority came onscreen because that was just gratuitous and stupid as hell, but I did like Gould. For his sake alone, I'll go

7/10
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Postby palmer eldritch » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:45 pm

very much agree with that. except the parts about the book, I've never read one
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Postby palmer eldritch » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:45 pm

and the house by the ocean or whatever is really nice
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Postby jalapeño ranch » Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:50 pm

Kind of sad about that rating. One of my favorite movies.

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Postby traced out » Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:42 am

i liked the part with the cat

from what i've seen of altman his movies are character-centric actor driven and have a cool then-contemporary now-retro aesthetic. the stories are ancillary, which is fine, but the long goodbye is obviously a classic noir story-centralized film, and the story is kinda whack. very good otherwise, but the combo makes it very strange viewing.
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:34 am

TRON (1982)

Going in, the two things I knew about TRON were (1) it was one of the first heavy CGI movies ever made; and (2) it involved a dude getting sucked into a video game, which I assumed meant he got turned into the actual protagonist and had to survive by jumping and dodging his way through some kind of arcade side-scroller for most of the movie, but it turns out that is not, in fact, what happens in TRON.

What happens in TRON is much weirder. I'm not even going to attempt a plot recap, but... it's weird. All these programs are completely anthropomorphized into the likenesses and personalities of their creators, they exist in this whole alternate universe of weirdness, they have gladiatorial video game battles to the death (for no apparent reason -- like, who's watching this and being amused by it? Is the conceit here that these characters die when they're forced into playing actual games against human users? Are you inflicting untold terror and suffering on kidnapped accounting programs when you drop a quarter into Mortal Kombat? WHO KNOWS), and also Jon Irenicus shows up as the main adversary, which is delightful.

I almost didn't recognize Jeff Bridges, which SVC seemed to think was impossible, but come on! he looks totally different when he's young! And I never watched The Last Picture Show and SVC did, so that's cheating!

Anyway this movie was not at all what I imagined and it never did make a lot of sense, although I guess in 1982 people probably weren't all "wiat waht?" at the idea that this was, in fact, more or less how hacking worked. Also office jobs. Also video game parlors, and AI in the early '80s. Sure, why not.

7.5/10
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:35 am

I do really like how all evil AIs seem to have sprung from chess programs.

People just did not trust those chess programs. THEY'RE TOO SMART!!
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:02 am

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

I can find nothing bad to say about this movie. It's beautiful. It's funny and sad and somehow both remarkably restrained and vivid in its evocation of a Western frontier town, which it sketches with a great deal of humanity but very little false sentiment.

Every "real" Western that came after this one owes a great deal to it. Deadwood, especially, borrows a tremendous amount from McCabe & Mrs. Miller; there are so many clear throughlines connecting the two that you might consider one a direct descendant of the other. The half-coerced, half-refuge nature of brothels, the unglamorous reasons behind gunfights (and the way that they're all basically executed [hur hur] from ambush, either literally or figuratively), the hard-knuckled robbery that passes for legitimate business, the stupidity that men's egos pull them into, and the helplessness that Mrs. Miller repeatedly feels when she's right about everything but, being a woman in this world, doesn't have the power that she needs to make the right moves (or stop anyone else from making the wrong ones). It's all there. It's all great.

I've developed a mild dislike for Warren Beatty after seeing him in howevermany movies we've seen him in, but I enjoyed him here for mostly the same reasons I enjoy Steven Seagal in Executive Decision. He's perfect as the guy who does dumb things and then gets to eat the logical consequences of having done dumb things. That's always satisfying.

I also really enjoyed the Leonard Cohen songs in this movie. Without those songs the movie would not have worked nearly as well. With them, it's perfect both as a certain kind of Western (namely, the good kind) and as an artifact of the early '70s.

10/10
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Postby DasLofGang » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:06 am

it's far from perfect obviously but given its time, it seems almost mind-blowingly nowhere-near-as-lame as one might expect from a similar premise at any time since or even this very day

edit: re: tron
it's the suspense that gets me wrote:wandering around the house grunting "UUHHHHHH PUT IT ON MEEEEEHHHH"
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Postby DasLofGang » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:07 am

the 90s alone feels like it has at least a half dozen ersatz trons in it that wouldn't hold up as not-terribly as tron does
it's the suspense that gets me wrote:wandering around the house grunting "UUHHHHHH PUT IT ON MEEEEEHHHH"
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:18 am

Public Enemies (2009)

In which Michael Mann tries to recapture the magic of Heat in a period piece and... it sucks.

I'm not exactly sure why it sucks. I've given this a decent amount of thought and I can point to a few things -- Johnny Depp's lifeless performance (I think he's going for "restrained" but he is not a guy who can really do "restrained" so it just comes off as "inert"), the complete lack of personality or character or charisma in any of the protagonists (for the G-men this is doubtlessly intentional, and Christian Bale's Melvin Purvis is at least trying to do a thing, but the gangsters are universally underdeveloped, completely interchangeable, and boring as shit), the lack of chemistry between Depp and Cotillard -- but also it just sucks for the ineffable and impossible-to-pin-down reason that it sucks.

It really just feels like Michael Mann is doing a pastiche of himself here, what with the 1930s ripoff of his own movie and the music cues recycled from Last of the Mohicans and the inscrutable cipher main characters who are supposed to be really good at stuff but are not actually really good at anything interesting or unexpected, just the usual action movie cliches that we've all seen so many times that it is neither interesting nor remarkable when an FBI agent turns out to be an impossibly good shot. Aren't they all, in the movies? Aren't all gangsters as bloodthirsty and hair-trigger as Stephen Graham? What's new and unique about these guys.

Not a lot, it turns out.

Also I really dislike Johnny Depp and I doubly dislike him when his method of hitting on women involves just overtly cornering and pressuring them in a public setting, and repeatedly refusing to take "no" for an answer, and this is somehow supposed to be indicative of the character's charm instead of just making him look like a borderline abusive jerkwad. THERE ARE SO MANY RED FLAGS HERE.

After that, this dude really could not get shot fast enough to suit me. Maybe I was supposed to feel bad about their doomed romance or whatever, but in my view that shitshow was doomed from inception, and Cotillard's loyalty to her gangster boyfriend was just some sad traumatized lifelong-abuse shit playing out uncomfortably onscreen. That poor girl never got anything but the back of men's hands in her entire life, and her loyalty to the one guy who at least gave her a (cheap) fur coat to go with it is grotesque, not touching.

5.5/10
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:24 am

Yeah I do think the weirdness of TRON does a lot to help keep it from feeling dated.

If it had actually been accurate as to the mechanics of... anything... it would have been both (probably) really boring and quickly out of date as anything but a historical artifact.

Instead it's just super weird wonderland nonsense, and that always holds up better over time.
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:25 am

At the end of Public Enemies when they're watching Manhattan Melodrama and it keeps cutting to Johnny Depp in the audience marveling at this actually good movie that he clearly identifies with and wishes he was in, I just kept thinking: this scene, it is not saying what you think it's saying.
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Postby DasLofGang » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:32 am

Merciel wrote:Yeah I do think the weirdness of TRON does a lot to help keep it from feeling dated.

If it had actually been accurate as to the mechanics of... anything... it would have been both (probably) really boring and quickly out of date as anything but a historical artifact.

Instead it's just super weird wonderland nonsense, and that always holds up better over time.

exactly. it's like the more the general public became not just acquainted but comfortably familiar with Technology, and the tech for making a movie about people literally getting up inside it objectively improved by light years, the only one that i can think of that's not some level of a joke is the o.g. matrix
it's the suspense that gets me wrote:wandering around the house grunting "UUHHHHHH PUT IT ON MEEEEEHHHH"
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:45 am

The Keep (1983)

I somehow really enjoyed this absolute disaster of a vampires vs. Nazis movie.

It's a total mess. It's not exactly fair to say "nothing in it makes sense," because most of what happens actually does get explained reasonably well (although always gracelessly, via bald exposition and the shuffling-around of various cardboard-flat stick figures posing as characters). It is true that you never find out what the fuck is up with Scott Glenn's character or why he's suddenly banging the Jewish professor's daughter or how he suddenly has this giant glowstick death laser at the end, but it's also true that by then you don't really care because you're deep into the shitshow and sure, what the hell, why shouldn't it end in a giant white light vacuum explosion.

I could not tell this was a Michael Mann movie at all except for the slow-mo stylized sex scene, which was 100% Michael Mann through and through. It is hilarious to me that that's the one unmistakable trademark that he kept constant throughout his career: the slow-mo lotus position sex scene.

Well, I guess everybody's got to have their gimmick.

Anyway yeah The Keep fully deserves its reputation as a ludicrous shitshow of a horror movie where the special effects guy just up and died halfway through doing his job (and apparently left no notes behind to tell anyone else how to finish his work, or what anything was even supposed to look like), but it's still pretty fun despite that.

6.5/10
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Postby Jefferson Zeppelin » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:31 am

uh throwback I guess but I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night and can confirm 10/10 it rules.

my wife had never seen it!!!
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Postby Viz » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:52 am

It's weird to think that at the time, Disney was releasing movies like Tron and Black Hole, that were aimed at children (video games! frisbees! robots!) but were just too convoluted (or dark) for kids to actually enjoy.

I enjoyed how they just took computer terms and just attached them willy-nilly to everything.
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Postby DasLofGang » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:53 am

the black hole is messed up, man
it's the suspense that gets me wrote:wandering around the house grunting "UUHHHHHH PUT IT ON MEEEEEHHHH"
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Postby Viz » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:50 am

DasLofGang wrote:the black hole is messed up, man


Oh yeah. Totally blocked out the fact that the Hell scene is way longer than I remembered or that Reinhardt gets trapped inside Max.
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Postby blurst of times » Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:51 pm

just realized i've somehow never posted itt. i always enjoy reading your reviews, merciel, even if i don't always agree with them. (the long goodbye is/was one of my favorite movies too. oh well.)

dunno if you take recommendations/requests, but a couple action-adjacent movies that i'd be interested to hear your takes on are deep cover (1992) and save the green planet! (2003)
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