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Mike T
10-31-2010, 09:15 AM
I figured that, being that there's more than a few forum members who discuss (or attempt to discuss) "regular" movies (ie: mainstream and arthouse) on a frequent basis, it maybe isn't a bad idea to throw a thread out there to encourage a bit of conversation about films that aren't as easily pigeonholed under the genre-specific threads we have enmasse. Todd shared his passion for Love Actually* on the main review page, Marshall piped up with some Streisand-love, and others have chimed in with films that I wouldn't have expected to see discussed in cult movie central ocassionally.

And since I've been partaking a bit of a contemporary Brit-film love-in of late, I figured something like this might be a good way to find out about some newer movie from people who exhibit a common intellect and down-to-earthiness in their appraisals of cinema in general (it sure beats going to the IMDb and seeing that steadfast topic thread rear its head "Worse" (sic) "film I've ever seen" on near EVERY single entry in the database).

Thus, if no-one minds me asking, I'll kick the ball off with some recent UK releases that have piqued my interest through trailers and general 'net banter.

44 Inch Chest (2009) - the Brit gangster film teetered on being done to death there for a while, post-Guy Ritchie, but this really looked interesting from the trailers. Ray Winstone, of Sexy Beast, heads up a BIG cast including Ian McShane, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and Joanne Whalley (whose fine Profumo-drama Scandal finally saw special edition DVD release in the UK recently). Something tells me it'll be be talky, but...

Chloe (2009) - Atom Egoyan, and Julianne Moore, are always a bit hit and miss for me. But Liam Neeson doesn't usually lend himself to rubbish, and I've been relatively impressed with Amanda Seyfried (I remember thinking during Mamma Mia!, ABBA-chick flick that it is aside, that she held quite some screen presence and I wondered how she'd do in something more dramatic and a little meatier). Thoughts?

Defiance (2008) - Seeing "Mr. Bond" in trailers for an Edward Zwick-directed war-time drama intrigued me. Admittedly, trailers were all a bit sweeping, uplifting and (more than a little overwroughtly) bombastic; very much the whole "triumph of the human spirit" message came through from them all -- but I guess that's the whole point of the story? Anyway, war-time dramas, again are a little hit and miss for me, but something tells me that this one'd be more than woth my while (?).

The Edge of Love (2008) - It's based on a true story (the life of Dylan Thomas) and it features one of my favourite British actresses, Keira Knightley. The trailers made it look exquisite, in an arthouse manner; and John Maybury is a rather unique filmmaker (Love is the Devil was rather haunting, The Jacket was rather naff). I have a feeling that the presence of amazing Irishman Cillan Murphy may sway me on this one.

An Education (2009) - can't say I know a lot about this one, but Academy Award nominations, a BAFTA Best Film win and a whole host of critical acclaim, as well as the fact it's based on a novel by Nick Hornby, seem to indicate that this might be a particularly good film.

Glorious 39 (2009) - Another war-time drama, this time with a mystery/thriller spin, that I admit to knowing nothing about except that it stars Romola Garai (from I Capture the Castle) and has won mixed reviews.

Last Chance Harvey (2008) - Completely ignored this one until recently, as I had no idea that it was a British film. But Dustin Hoffman's always good value, and Emma Thompson moreso. It looks light, but light is good sometimes...

Milk (2008) - I keep humming and hahing about this one. Gus Van Sant, like Atom Egoyan, is hit and miss for me, but when he's on his game I really like his work. OTH, Sean Penn is a modern-day genius who's not afforded nearly as many accolades as he truly deserves -- I'd have to say that, IMHO, the guy is one of American cinema's latter-day masters. So, Harvey Milk, Van Sant and Penn - is it a win-win scenario?

Spread (2009) - Aston Kutcher and I have a funny relationship, in that I normally feel that his appearance in almost any feature is the automatic kiss of death for that film. I can't say I've seen a film with Ashton in it that I've ever enjoyed -- the boy's just like a black hole that sucks the life out everything around him. But then, I saw trailers for this and thought "What? Americans making mainstream films about sex again? Maybe I should see this afterall...", but should I?

The Wrestler (2008) - I loathe "professional" wrestling and pretty much everything it stands for. But that leaves me in a conundrum, as I like Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei. I trust this transcends the stupidity of the WWE-mindset as well as exposes the "sport" for the sham that it is? If so, then I assuredly have a winner on my hands.

Any and all feedback appreciated, as always. And any other films up for discussion, whether they be of similar edgy-mainstream bracket or wholly mainstream, will also be appreciated. I find it's always good to learn that little bit more about films you've heard of from a distance, never heard of or are yet to discover from people who have a respectable love of cinema. :)

* this reminds me, I must dig out my DVD and watch it

Eric B
10-31-2010, 05:04 PM
I love "regular" movies, though it seems I watch less of them than "weird" movies.

Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1546555/) is the most recent "normal" movie I watched. I've been watching Coach's Corner for a decade and knew next to nothing about the man. The CBC mini-series really humanizes its subject, though it does carry a whiff of hagiography.

Marshall Crist
10-31-2010, 05:18 PM
Is TOWELHEAD a regular movie? I found it quite engrossing.

Randy Thomas G
10-31-2010, 07:23 PM
MILK is a great film, I thought it was going to be just another bio-pic but Van Sant and all the actors bring a level of intensity and feeling to it that transcends the banality of that subgenre. I was afraid that this film was a return to more mainstream filmmaking after his hardcore art films ELEPHANT, et al but there's nothing compromised or half-hearted about this film. Van Sant shows up all those who would claim that he makes the kind of slow and experimental films of the last decade because he can't make 'normal' films.

BTW I don't think AN EDUCATION is based on a Hornby novel, he did the screenplay adaptation of a memoir by a woman writer I believe. Either way, I actually hate Hornby as a writer, but the film does look of interest even if the younger girl/older man theme is a little hackneyed.

One film that deals with that theme and a whole lot more in a fresh and powerful way is FISH TANK. Now that's a flick worth seeing.

CHLOE is a remake of a french film called NATHALIE, a little disappointing as the cast and trailer do look interesting. I will still check it out but it's sad to see that even arthouse dramas are falling victim to the remake craze.

Jonathan D. Cox
10-31-2010, 07:35 PM
Enjoyed CHLOE on blu. I like Amanda Seyfried from BIG LOVE and she does a couple of pleasing nude scenes as does Julianne Moore. Amanda delivers some of her "erotic" dialogue a little too flatly however.

Eric B
10-31-2010, 08:35 PM
oops...

Bill Sankey
11-03-2010, 09:59 AM
Mike, watch THE WRESTLER, it's great.

MILK is okay. I love Van Sant, but this one became a little dull and sentimental towards the second half. The first half of the movie, where we see the rise of gay lib, is very compelling. After Harvey gets to the top, for me, the film seemed to get bogged down in political bargaining and trade off - and wasn't as dramatically engaging. Penn is amazing. Great supporting cast also.

mark t
11-03-2010, 10:26 AM
The acting is what made MILK a great film for me. Man. Sean Penn and Josh Brolin are friggin' awesome.

Richard C
11-11-2010, 03:18 AM
Bit IMDb this I know but Thumbs up for THE WRESTLER :D Loved the film which surprised me as,like yourself, I'm not really a fan of wrestling but it basically plays second fiddle to the wonderful performances.

I also enjoyed AN EDUCATION - Didn't think it was quite the fantastic film that some critics made it out to be but again the performances are the main driving force.

Mike T
11-11-2010, 10:43 AM
Well, looks like Milk and The Wrestler are my next high priorities. I'll have to move The Losers back in the queue I think... ;)

Ian Jane
11-11-2010, 01:10 PM
Another vote for Milk. Penn is amazing in that film.

Horace Cordier
11-11-2010, 09:13 PM
Last Chance Harvey was surprisingly enjoyable. Its a romance about a couple of middle-aged borderline sad-sacks but I thought it WORKED. Well-written with a fairly subtle touch to the dialog.

This is a good one to watch with the wife Mike.

Mike T
11-12-2010, 01:55 AM
This is a good one to watch with the wife Mike.

To use that great Cyanide & Happiness quote: "You'd think that, but you'd be wrong" :D

But seriously, thanks for the feedback Horace -- I'll add this one in too, as it was more for me anyway. Believe it or not, the wifey prefers the horror movies (and the stronger ones at that). Funny how that worked... :p