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Thread: 28 Film Discussion Threads Later

  1. #67101
    walks with the dead. Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    How to Train Your Dragon 2 - Didn't hate it, but didn't respond to it nearly as well as the first one. It felt busier, louder, with less a sense of what it was trying to say. Something weird about the only non-white being the only irredeemable villain. It captures the surface pleasures of the first film but less of its empathetic spirit.

    Beasts of the Southern Wild - Made it about 20 minutes into this. I was getting awfully distracted by the handheld camerawork and framing (in general, I don't think handheld adds any meaningful verite "whoa this is real" element). Maybe I wasn't in the right mindset. Good acting by the girl.

  2. #67102
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    It isn't a good movie by any stretch, but I enjoyed "Soldier" (1998). The whole thing is very much goofy 90s sci-fi, but Kurt Russell's performance made it a pleasant surprise and somewhat memorable.
    Agreed.

  3. #67103
    Screenwriter Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Watched a few later Hitchcock's. Family Plot is fine, nothing like his classic films but I was never bored. I liked both Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris even though some of the comedy hasn't aged well (but that's pretty typical for that period). I think De Palma would have been influenced by this one particularly. I rewatched Frenzy which is a near great film. It's too bad he didn't make more films like this in his later career. Topaz is awful awful awful stuff.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
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  4. #67104
    walks with the dead. Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    The Neverending Story - B-

    I watched this movie as a child but remember almost nothing, but real talk, this is maybe the trickiest fantasy flick I've watched yet this year, largely due to the element of reader impacting story (aka metafiction), which... later.

    First off, the production design. Gorgeous, unconventional, an effective squashing together of fairy tale and high fantasy. The designs of the creatures carry feel earthy and tactile. A leering snail looks slimy. The rock monster moves with weight. My favorite creature, Morla the Turtle, looks worn down, mud-stained, dusty. There's a weird element to all of their mouth movements - the puppeted characters never look like they're speaking in sync. Their jaws just sorta slide around. I wonder if that's because the film was made on strength of its appeal to non-American markets, so non-synced mouths allow for easier dubbing into other languages. The result, though, is a weird fusion of beautifully designed characters that emote at times about as convincingly as Chuck E. Cheese robots.

    Second off, the willingness to cut deep. The film wants to play with real stakes. Artax dying in the Swamps of Sadness is a famous example, but that moment didn't actually work for me. We only get one scene of Atreyu the hero and Artax the horse interacting before that sequence, and we're learning about the risks on-site, as Artax is succumbing to the effects. But killing a horse is still a big deal in a kids' movie. The Nothing is a creepy apocalyptic threat (mostly; again, we'll talk later). Honestly, the most emotional moment in the film, by far, is late on when the Rock Biter sits, weary, aware of the Nothing on the way, and he comments that his hands "look like strong hands," and he cries. It's a huge moment because it's understated - because the Rock Biter isn't actually talking about the fact that he's terrified of his impending death. Instead, it's this sideways lament that respects our intelligence.

    Third off, understatement in general is something the film could use more than it does. By the end of the film, characters are essentially lecturing children in the audience as to what the film is about. But ignoring that, nearly every character in this film has one of two personalities: passionate expository or slow expository. Former examples: the elfin folk in the opening, the observatory couple, the Empress. Latter examples: the Rock Biter, the Turtle, Falcor, the Sphinxes, the old wizard guy. But there's little sense of personality except in how characters deliver the information. Again, I think this is why the Rock Biter scene at the end really struck a nerve with me. It's a moment wholly devoted to character, and one where the character isn't saying exactly what needs said to push the story the next few feet. He's not a plot cog.

    [Sidebar: It's shocking that the film doesn't have someone explain that the Auryn ouroboros medallion symbolizes the interaction between reader and story, each feeding off the other.]

    Understatement would also be useful with the actor playing Bastian, who defaults to loud, wide-eyed questions in the back half of the story.

    Now, as to the whole metafictional angle... sigh. The film seems to want to make the link between Bastian and the story about (1) him coming to terms with his mother's death and moving beyond his grief. And so the dying Empress symbolizes his mother, the Nothing symbolizes his grief, he's very clearly Atreyu (or Atreyu is an idealized version of Bastian, all pluck and verve and not an iota of real fear (I mean, he gets sad and fearful when appropriate, sure, but there's no Character Flaw to overcome)). When the film operates on this more personal level, it becomes much more interesting and even revelatory at times, as you realize Bastian's voracious reading is likely a coping mechanism.

    But the film also seems to want to make a larger point (2) about society, about how the Nothing actually symbolizes mankind's generalized loss of dreaming, imagination, hope, etc. This means the Nothing actually symbolizes cynicism and despair (sort of a macro version (and evolution) of Bastian's grief). This is all told to us in painful detail by the Gmork (sic), and it complicates the relative grace of the central, more personalized metaphor, where Bastian recognizes that his being hard-headed is actually more evasive to his emotions than "retreating" to books.

    [Sidebar 2: I wish I could remember the quote, but Jim Emerson used to have a line on his masthead that said, "I don't think we go to movies to escape, I think we go to movies to return." The implication is that "real life" has a way of dampening our souls by smoothing over and suppressing strong emotion and intellectual curiosity in favor of monotony, familiarity, and mechanical living. The best stories, if anything, are nourishing and essential and live in us as correlatives to our own personal/emotional identities. People don't love Shawshank because it's escapist. They love it because the film speaks to a core desire for freedom and joy and brotherhood.]

    [Sidebar to Sidebar: This has gotta be why Shawshank is so high on IMDB. IMDB voters are most likely young, male, and white, and American society encourages the suppression of true brotherhood (gay!) and genuine emotion (feminine! pussy!) among men. It's like Field of Dreams. For two hours, a film allows repressed men to access emotions they withhold, again, in the name of "reality."]

    Okay, sorry, back to this movie. By the end, the film is trying to function on two thematic levels: the Nothing as Bastian's grief, and the Nothing as social cynicism and loss of imagination. But then the film does another zigzag by explaining that Bastian's reality is also fictional, and that at this point (paraphrase), "People are reading about him right now." Which I think hurts the point of the film, because instead of the core idea of an interacting story and reader (represented by Atreyu and Bastian), the film now suggests that Bastian's reality is equally fictional to Atreyu's, because we're watching. It's maybe unavoidable as a development once you've opened the Pandora's Box of metafiction (just ask Stephen King and his Dark Tower series), but it adds one layer too many to an already thematically-overstuffed movie. I think this development could've been excised entirely without the film losing anything (and we could take Falcor's appearance in Earth on a dream/figurative level).

    TL;DR - Gorgeous design, bland characters, alternately intriguing / frustrating metafictional elements.

  5. #67105
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Telluride Report to come tomorrow.

    LATEST SEEN
    mother! - ***
    It - **
    Battle of the Sexes - ***


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  6. #67106
    Editor Lazlo's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Telluride Report to come tomorrow.
    Awesome. I'm really hoping to go next year. Seems like an amazing festival.
    last four:
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    terminator 2: judgment day - 10
    logan lucky - 6
    good time - 9

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  7. #67107
    White Tiger Field Stay Puft's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Telluride Report to come tomorrow.
    Making yet another effort again in 2017.

    Samui Song (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) ***
    Kings (Deniz Gamze Ergüven) *½
    Dark River (Clio Barnard) **½
    Thelma (Joachim Trier) ***
    Zama (Lucrecia Martel) **½

  8. #67108
    I'm in this fantasy movie league thing where you pick movies and actors that score points based on awards nominations/wins, and to a lesser degree metacritic ratings and box office results.

    I had 6th pick and Gary Oldman, Dunkirk, Carey Mulligan, Sally Hawkins, and The Post were off the board. It was last pick so I had two in a row and doubled up on the PTA film (Phantom Thread?) and Daniel Day-Lewis.

    It felt bold... without an official title I'm scared it could even come out next year.

  9. #67109
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    When I first saw The Neverending Story as a young boy, I totally identified with Sebastian. I was Sebastian. I used to find places to sneak away to at school in order to read fantasy novels - all the way through high school. Some of my most cherished memories are of reading certain fantasy novels in certain places. One place in particular was in between the bed and the far wall in the guest bedroom at my grandma's house. It was a dark room; it always felt like dusk or dawn in that room. I wanted nothing more than to fall into a fantasy world, which is why I gravitated so strongly towards pen and paper roleplaying games.

    To this day, the music, especially the theme song and the leitmotif used throughout, instantly teleports me back to that frame of mind. It's impossible for me to view the film with any kind of objectivity. More so than any other film, The Neverending Story floods my soul with an overabundance of wonderful nostalgia.

  10. #67110
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    I'm in this fantasy movie league thing where you pick movies and actors that score points based on awards nominations/wins, and to a lesser degree metacritic ratings and box office results.

    I had 6th pick and Gary Oldman, Dunkirk, Carey Mulligan, Sally Hawkins, and The Post were off the board. It was last pick so I had two in a row and doubled up on the PTA film (Phantom Thread?) and Daniel Day-Lewis.

    It felt bold... without an official title I'm scared it could even come out next year.
    That sounds awesome!

  11. #67111
    I am not your foot. Spinal's Avatar
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    We are approaching the beginning of a new season of the Fantasy Movie League that is played in the Off-Topic Forum. We currently have space for new players if anyone would like to jump in. I can accommodate at least 2 new players.

    There is a long list of rules located in the first post of the Fantasy Movie League thread. But basically, your sole action would be to draft 9 films that will be released during the months of October-March that you think will make the most money at the box office (domestically).

    If you'd like to play, visit the Fantasy Movie League thread by September 12th (5:00 PST) and post something along the lines of "I'm in."
    Wind River (Sheridan, 2017) ****
    The Little Hours (Baena, 2017) **1/2
    Good Time (Safdie/Safdie, 2017) **
    Atomic Blonde (Leitch, 2017) ***
    Detroit (Bigelow, 2017) ****
    Dunkirk (Nolan, 2017) **1/2
    It Comes at Night (Shults, 2017) **
    Rough Night (Aniello, 2017) ***
    The Big Sick (Showalter, 2017) ****
    Baby Driver (Wright, 2017) ***

  12. #67112
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Telluride.

    This may be the first year in which I wasn't enthralled by a movie that played. It was also the first year where the weather was seemingly perfect through it all, minus maybe one hour of rain to even it out. The spirit of the people, the city, and the team I manage along with will always keep me coming back, no matter the case. If there's a better film festival out there, I couldn't imagine it. This year, Christian Bale and Angelina Jolie attested to it.

    The movies I saw:

    First They Killed My Father (Angelina Jolie)- Jolie loves to torture her protagonists it seems. It's no different for the young girl that fights her way through survival in the Cambodian genocide. Props to Jolie for directing on foreign land, in a different language, and never holding back, even if it was a bit repetitive after a while, and a little long for its own good. The descent into hell for the primary family is tough to watch, and made me want to read more about this piece of history. As the kids join the military, learn to set trip wire, land mines (and eventually have to cross that territory) is scary. I applaud Jolie here, and find it weird that the Telluride crowd initially laughed at the idea of her filming this movie, a crowd that demands woman in film/diversity in film, but when it's Jolie directing a Cambodian movie, it's met differently. Something for another time I guess.

    With that, Jolie is LOVED by kids. I didn't expect that. I never saw Maleficient, but kids would run through streets to get close to her. Even better, she seemed to prefer seeing the kids. She no showed to a party and basically all late night events. She was also part of the largest attended panel that the festival may have ever had, consisting of "wonder women" that included Natalie Portman, Billie Jean King, and Alice Waters. I was working during that panel

    Downsizing (Alexander Payne) - Here's something pretty disappointing. I created my Gold Derby and had this as one of the big contenders for Oscar season. After this, I'd be surprised if it gets nominated for anything. Starts off promising with a sci-fi/satire/comedic approach, but never really stays too inventive after that. Nor funny. Nor anything truly satirical. Christoph Waltz gets to play a partying European which is pretty funny to watch as he pairs along with Udo Kier, but after that the jokes are pretty obvious, and Damon is kind of dull. What a waste of Kirsten Wiig.

    Shape of Water (Guillermo Del Toro) - Del Toro was very well liked in Telluride. Especially after he held his own impromptu Q&A on a Sunday morning for anyone that happened to be walking Colorado Blvd... Keep in mind, this is basically the main street that everyone walks on, so pretty cool thing to just walk into.

    With that, adult fairy tales with 50's storytelling. Take that for how you want to. It's definitely interesting to watch, but never hits the perfect chord that seems to be right around the corner. The cast is fun and great, especially Michael Shannon in a very obvious antagonistic role. Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins are very funny. Hawkins is very effective as the mute hero. But something just never makes it great in my mind. Is it the "monster" that's never truly beautiful and remarkable as the cast makes it out to be? Maybe so.

    First Reformed (Paul Schraeder) - Possibly the love or hate movie of the festival. Schraeder goes back to his uncomfortable protagonists with Ethan Hawke as the lead Reverend, and Amanda Seyfried as a confused wife. Expect the normal Schreader-isms on a pretty low budget. Always engaging, even if it's a little tiresome here and there. This created a lot of workouts, but I was curious the whole way through, and it's sitting pretty well with me. Expect interesting discussion for those who sit with it all, but it's not going to light up the awards circuit.

    Darkest Hour (Joe Wright) - There always seems to be one British Government Biopic a year, and Joe Wright takes the helm on it this year with Gary Oldman in a standout performance. Joe Wright makes it stylistically interesting to watch for what is otherwise an atypical story that you can predict every beat to. It's a nice little prelude to Dunkirk, and if you love those British Biopics, then you'll like this one too.

    One Week (Buster Keaton) - I always make a visit to the Sheridan Opera House. A small 200-seat theater, originally an opera house, so it has uncomfortable seats, seating on balconies, and the sides, overlooking a large stage. Typically with art house films, silent films with music, or tributes... It's always fun to come here. In this case, it was for two silent films, I'd only have time for the Keaton. A piano played alongside a Keaton movie I had yet to see. Keaton, on full display as always with inventive use of a "portable house building kit" that had as many laughs as you'd see in a Looney Tunes cartoon, except in live action. Very impressive.

    Hostiles (Scott Cooper) - Cooper's been on the verge of a masterful movie, but can never land it. Out of the Furnace was one of my favorites when it came out years ago, but suffers from a pretty weak ending. Nothing changes here, but Cooper experiments with the west, and his violence and good focus on scenery and the violence of men make it a good watch throughout. Rosemund Pike is the most interesting here, and an actress that seems to be great in anything she does, but never really recognized. Bale keeps the dialog minimal, and effective. Brutal opening scene and a good, if not, atypical shootout near the end. Awesome final shot of the movie, but Cooper still hasn't made his masterpiece.

    Battle of the Sexes (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) - Dayton and Faris create an interesting world here that feels completely 70's throughout it all. Emma Stone is especially good as Billie Jean King, but outside of this, and a theme that's very relevant with today, it seems just kind of obvious in the end. Steve Carrell is never charismatic enough or douchey enough to make the main conflict interesting. The tennis match at the end is never really thrilling like it should be, so the payoff is kinda meh.


    Overall:
    First They Killed My Father - ***
    Downsizing - **
    Shape of Water - ***
    First Reformed - ***
    Darkest Hout - ***
    One Week - ****
    Hostiles - ***
    Battle of the Sexes - ***

    LATEST SEEN
    mother! - ***
    It - **
    Battle of the Sexes - ***


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  13. #67113
    Screenwriter Yxklyx's Avatar
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    After just having re-watched Polanski's Macbeth I have to ask when is he coming out with Macbeth 2?
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller)
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  14. #67114
    Last night I had a very elaborate dream about Christopher Nolan. In real life, I generally like his movies but consider his reputation to be severely overstated. In my dream, however, he was a renegade artist using his accrued popular capital to sneak giant leaps for the medium into wide release, a la 2001: ASO and The Tree of Life.

    First I went to the theater to watch Spiderman: Homecoming, on which he was an unusually active producer. I don't remember many details from the movie itself, but suffice to say it was not the same Spiderman: Homecoming from real life. It was technically groundbreaking in how it blurred the lines between cinema and theater by using some futuristic 3D technology: at one point I remember the crowd jumping out of the way in terror as an actual car was dragged by webs toward the screen (Nolan, who was in attendance, looked on with a smug satisfaction). At another point holographic nude women sang and gave lap dances to rapturous praise. But most titillating to me were the many cryptic hints toward Nolan's secret future project, which I already felt would be a monolithic artistic achievement.

    That movie would become Dunkirk--again, not at all the Dunkirk from real life. In fact, the pre-release marketing for the film (which was the same as in real life) was a total red herring, but succeeded in luring droves of people to the theater and even strengthened the film's meta-narrative. (Looking at the marketing after having seen the movie revealed there were indications everywhere as to what the film was actually about.) Dunkirk played in megaplexes all over the country, but--due to Nolan's integral role not only in the making of the film but also in its "performance"--it could only be played at one theater at a time. The film literally could not be shown unless Christopher Nolan was personally there.

    Before the lights went down, Nolan told me I was sitting in his seat. I politely moved, and this was the only direct interaction I had with him in my dream. Then he grabbed a microphone and the film began. Nolan recited an original poem as the words stylishly but tastefully flashed across the screen. The opening shot was a beautiful, dense jungle landscape. It looked like earth from the times of dinosaurs by way of a Dr. Seuss obsessed with realism. It seemed like something out of a sci-fi film, but somehow I was 100% certain it was a real place. It was impossible, but it was also real. Nolan had unveiled an actual place heretofore unknowable to humans. He was an inter-dimensional truther.

    I immediately knew that Dunkirk was a sublime masterpiece, but even in my dream the audience wasn't thrilled by its slow pace. Disgruntled patrons began to leave, and before long only a small crowd remained, all of us completely in awe. Like Spiderman: Homecoming, Dunkirk blurred the line between cinema and theater, and likewise the narrative blurred the line between fiction and documentary. On the surface, the story seemed like sci-fi: a character (played by many different actors) hooked him/herself up to machines and could go anywhere/anytime or be anyone they wanted. But it wasn't sci-fi. Nolan was offering profound truths about identity in the multi-verse that I knew would eventually be a tangible reality to people everywhere.

    Then I woke up and immediately wrote this.

  15. #67115
    Who should my last actress pick be in my fantasy movie awards thing? Lots of points for Oscars, medium points for Globes, some points for critics and guild awards. (Points for nominations as well.)

    Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen)
    Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (Ritesh Bedra)
    Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (Sebastian Lelio)
    Isabelle Hupert, Happy End (Michael Haneke)

    Gold Derby, the award predictor website, has them ranked in that order. I don't feel great about any of them, but already have Frances McDormand and Diane Kruger.

  16. #67116
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Knowing none of the films, I'd take Winslet in the Allen film.

  17. #67117
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    Knowing none of the films, I'd take Winslet in the Allen film.
    I'd almost dismiss it out of hand if not for Blue Jasmine, but if there is any weight to this Wonder Wheel movie then she becomes intriguing. Unfortunately, there's no trailer.

  18. #67118
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Liam Neeson done making action movies is the worst news I've heard today. But I laughed out loud at my desk when I read the synopsis of Hard Powder

    "he's already shot: "Hard Powder," in which he plays a snowplow driver who faces off with drug dealers"

    Let's see... what other blue color career can we make Liam play and then have him kick everyone's ass later in the movie.

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment...nt-him-to.html


    "The thrillers, that was all a pure accident," said Neeson. "They're still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I'm like, 'Guy's I'm sixty-f--king-five.' Audiences are eventually going to go, 'Come on.'"

    Just Watched
    Payback (1999) ★★★★
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  19. #67119
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    That's a remake of In Order of Disappearance, and its actually a good flick.

  20. #67120
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Who should my last actress pick be in my fantasy movie awards thing? Lots of points for Oscars, medium points for Globes, some points for critics and guild awards. (Points for nominations as well.)

    Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen)
    Jane Fonda, Our Souls at Night (Ritesh Bedra)
    Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (Sebastian Lelio)
    Isabelle Hupert, Happy End (Michael Haneke)

    Gold Derby, the award predictor website, has them ranked in that order. I don't feel great about any of them, but already have Frances McDormand and Diane Kruger.
    Winslet, absolutely.

    LATEST SEEN
    mother! - ***
    It - **
    Battle of the Sexes - ***


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  21. #67121
    I am not your foot. Spinal's Avatar
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    I'd go with Fonda.
    Wind River (Sheridan, 2017) ****
    The Little Hours (Baena, 2017) **1/2
    Good Time (Safdie/Safdie, 2017) **
    Atomic Blonde (Leitch, 2017) ***
    Detroit (Bigelow, 2017) ****
    Dunkirk (Nolan, 2017) **1/2
    It Comes at Night (Shults, 2017) **
    Rough Night (Aniello, 2017) ***
    The Big Sick (Showalter, 2017) ****
    Baby Driver (Wright, 2017) ***

  22. #67122
    Winslet was taken right before my pick, so I freaked out and went with Daniela Vega. Fonda is probably a better choice, but against my better judgment I picked the role that seemed more interesting to me personally. Very bad strategy to have two actresses in non-English movies (Vega and Kruger).

  23. #67123
    walks with the dead. Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    Anyone given The Beastmaster a shot recently? It was a cable standard when I was a kid, but I could remember barely any of it, and mother of God, what a fun dumb time. I can't imagine the dumb is an accident, given that Don Coscarelli made the clever and surrealist Phantasm; instead, it has to be a strategic full-embrace of sub-Robert-E-Howard sword and sorcery pulp fiction.

    Describing this movie feels like a Stefon skit from SNL. This movie has everything. Bat-monster-men. Adorable ferrets. MacBeth witches. Rip Torn in a skirt. Excessive boobs. That last bit could maybe be offensive if there was any sense at all that beastmaster Dar knows what sex is beyond something that ends quickly with a fade-out (or, in the comic days, a page-turn to the next morning). The movie looks cheap often, the actors rarely convince (John Amos and Rip Torn give it their all), but the momentum's so headlong (excepting the protracted double-climax) and Coscarelli's imagination keeps tentpoling potential dips. Hell, the film's still introducing ideas in the back half, like gimp-masked soldiers (possessed by glow-stick colored slugs) that change into idiot monster soldiers that windmill their spiked arms through tunnels before finally attacking red-robed monks that're supposed to be on their side! And there's a bit where the Beastmaster and red-headed sorceress Kiri leap off a tower wall with no hope of survival, but then, through the power of editing, they land softly in a close up of a passing straw-packed cart. Whew!

    The only real problem with the film is that the Beastmaster doesn't take control of the villain's horse at the end and get it to knock him off and then walk right up to Dar and stand beside him as his newest ally. And then maybe it could nod significantly at the black tiger and neigh triumphantly.

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