zustifer: (comics: achewood: what death looks like)
[personal profile] zustifer
The Secret of Kells (2009), Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey. Jan 19, 9pm. View count: One.
Conan the Barbarian (1982), John Milius. Jan 20, 9pm. View count: One and a half.
Thieves' Highway (1949), Jules Dassin. Jan 27, 7:30pm. View count: One.
The Breaking Point (1950), Michael Curtiz. Jan 27, 9:30pm. View count: One.

The Secret of Kells I quite enjoyed. It was very prettily done, and interestingly paced. It definitely rejected some of the Disney Movie Pattern that we've come to expect is necessary when it comes to kids' movies, which was welcome to me, at any rate. The characters were fun and not very cliched, and they avoided a lot of stereotypes. Recommended.

Conan on the other hand was not great. I don't think I'd seen it all the way through previously, but it was sort of hard to take most of it seriously. It didn't help that a guy was present at the viewing who kept trying to convince everyone of the movie's merits. This made me like it less in general. There were a few things I respect about it: the love interest looked like a regular person, as oppposed to a cartoon, and could fight; Max von Sydow; the camel punch was sort of funny; sorta liked all the goofy snakes. Maybe I should see this again sometime with less of a grudge against it.

Thieves' Highway (via Noir City) was a pretty good hard-luck noir with some real dark moments. The female lead was uniquely great, although I think they tried to (hilariously) pawn her off as 'french' for whatever reason. I'm definitely a sucker for a story about a guy trying to take care of his parents, or trying to correct an injustice done to them, and this film made me a sucker. It was pretty good.

The Breaking Point wasn't as deft or compassionate, really, but it was fine enough. The troublemaking lady of the picture was in The Day the Earth Stood Still (yay!) and The Fountainhead (boo), interestingly. The coolest moments in this one came from the various children in the story, who'd comment on the action in amusing and apt ways. And one of them was involved in a not-quite-underplayed moment at the end which came pretty close to choking me up at its emotional cruelty. The film had some good moments.

Date: 2012-01-28 06:47 pm (UTC)
jwgh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jwgh
One thing I remember enjoying about Conan was the way they worked around the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't really speak English very well -- lots of meaningful looks and sword-sharpening stood in for dialogue. I don't remember a whole lot else about the movie.

Date: 2012-01-28 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] urbeatle.livejournal.com
I like Conan the Barbarian a lot precisely because it is more serious than other barbarian fantasy movies (one of my fave genres.) When I saw it, I thought "thank you guys for not treating this like some kind of superhero cartoon!"

As you can probably guess, I also hate Conan the Destroyer.

Date: 2012-01-29 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sanspoof.livejournal.com
I suspect I just saw it in entirely the wrong environment. Nothing like someone trying desperately to convince me of something to make me stubbornly think the opposite. (Also, he kept saying "Your problem is that you didn't see this when you were a fourteen-year-old boy," which just angered me. If your movie is only for fourteen-year-old boys, then I should not watch it. If it has additional appeal, then maybe I should, but you will not convince me that it has by telling me the former.)
Edited Date: 2012-01-29 09:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-29 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] urbeatle.livejournal.com
Yeah, that guy probably would have annoyed me, too. I tend to hate arguments based on "if you don't like this, there must be some external reason, like maybe you're a bad person or something." The movie didn't even exist yet when I was 14, so I don't see why someone would need to be a 14-year-old boy to appreciate it. I kind of think 14-year-old boys wouldn't really "get" the movie and would just respond on a hero-worship level.

Feelings and expectations about the genre might matter more. If you like some swords & sorcery films but aren't specifically a fan of swords & sorcery, you might not ever like the film. Also, a lot of critics at the time expected the movie to have a fun comic book feel, which it definitely doesn't have, so they said the movie takes itself too seriously; people who were more into literary swords & sorcery liked the movie a lot more (except for Robert E. Howard purists, who didn't like the deviations from the literary Conan.)

Date: 2012-02-02 03:56 pm (UTC)
jwgh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jwgh
I watched it in college and enjoyed it well enough for what that's worth.

My earlier talk of working around Arnold's difficulty speaking English in Conan reminded me today of the end of True Lies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ydRwCf9Qyw

in which skillful use of moving cameras and Jamie Lee Curtis are used to make it appear that Arnold Schwarzenegger can actually dance! It is only on closer inspection that you realize that he barely budges throughout the whole thing, and that you never see his feet move. Movie magic!

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Karla Z

February 2012

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