What's on your Daily Viewing List?

Walter Kittel

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Continuing to binge Chicago P.D.. It is pretty standard network television; but I do enjoy the cast chemistry. For most network television the cast is probably the biggest factor in whether I will view a series with regularity or not. I haven't been watching a lot of procedurals of late (The Rookie being the one exception) so this is kind of filling that void.

Due to the number of episodes being broadcast each week, it is going to keep me pretty busy in terms of not filling up the DVR; or until I decide to move on to something else. (I know this series is streaming on IMDBtv, but I am guessing that it has forced commercials. Recording the programs on the DVR lets me skip them.)

- Walter.
 

Jake Lipson

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Tonight:


For no particular reason, I just felt like The Little Mermaid tonight, so pulled out my gorgeous steelbook with its artwork by Paige O'Hara. This is one of the most expensive Blu-ray purchases I've ever made, but I love the distinction it gives the film relative to the rest of my collection.

The movie, of course, is an all-time favorite of mine and holds up every time I watch it. It always amazes me how short the movie actually is because it doesn't feel like it should be. I don't mean that it needs to be longer because it doesn't, but it packs such a big journey for the characters into such a relatively brief amount of time without feeling at all overstuffed. Nothing in it is wasted and everything pushes the story and characters forward, from the opening shots of the fog all the way through the final kiss. The characters are so much fun to be around and the world they inhabit is so much fun to open time in because it is gorgeously visualized. And, of course, the songs. I mean, the songs. This is a perfectly structured Broadway musical comedy that happens to be a film.

While I love the work that Disney is doing these days in computer animation, there is a distinct expressiveness and flair to the hand-drawn style that is all its own, and The Little Mermaid is certainly one of the shining examples of that in cinema history. I do wish there was a way that hand-drawn films could make a comeback and coexist with the computer animation work that is being done now. The stylization here works to the film's benefit, providing such personality and beauty that just wouldn't be the same in CG. It is a shame that 2D is basically a lost art, at least in terms of American theatrical animation.

I look forward to continuing tomorrow with Beauty and the Beast.
 
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HawksFord

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Seven Days in May (1964) - I'd seen this political drama before, but my wife had not. We watched the Warner blu-ray. I really like this film for its terrific cast, well told story, and continuing relevance. My wife was a less enthusiastic; she wanted some stronger female characters and I can't say she's wrong there. The commentary track by director John Frankenheimer was very informative.
 
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BobO'Link

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I had a short movie day yesterday:
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Another early "superhero" movie that got a bad wrap. I really enjoy this one, even more so than Elektra, and it's held up well. Like with many other Marvel movies, I think that's because I've never read many Marvel titles (mostly the "Ultimate" line, plus some Thor, and some Spiderman) or know much, if anything, about their comic history/mythology/origin. I *do* (or rather did - culled all superhero titles ~5 years ago) read many of the DC comics and feel, for the most part, that the DC movies don't do the comics justice. Anyway... Dardevil gets a thumbs up from me.

And:
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I had to complete the "Nu Trek" trilogy. Of the three, this is my least favorite. It has some absolutely ludicrous scenes/sequences and is the lest "Trek" feeling movie of that entire trilogy. It's a huge action/adventure movie with Trek character names grafted on. What really irks me most with this trilogy is the actors in the main character roles are excellent and do superb jobs of making you believe they are younger versions of the "Classic" Trek characters. They are hampered by rather generic space opera action/adventure stories. Sure the visuals are spectacular and look excellent. The action sequences get your blood pumping. But the core of Trek is absolutely missing. The characters exist solely to move the plot from action sequence "A" to action sequence "B", etc., with this one, far more than the first two, epitomizing that feeling. This trilogy is the comic version of a "two page spread" where everyone's in a huge slug fest. It looks pretty but you get nothing from it other than an example of how well the artist(s) can create an action poster.

This is the third time I've seen this trilogy. I keep trying because I generally like Star Trek (I used to be able to say "all" Star Trek...) and *want* to like them but they keep coming back as hollow attempts to recharge the franchise.
 

Robin9

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Seven Days in May (1964) - I'd seen this political drama before, but my wife had not. We watched the Warner blu-ray. I really like this film for its terrific cast, well told story, and continuing relevance. My wife was a less enthusiastic; she wanted some stronger female characters and I can't say she's wrong there. The commentary track by director John Frankenheimer was very informative.
No-one did commentaries better than John Frankenheimer.
 

dana martin

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Playing catch up Friday Night's Feature Presentation
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between 100 plus heat index , yard work and a 1 1/2 lb of fresh off the boat steamed shrimp and beers, only watched the 4k restoration of Wylers (1944) doc Saturday night

Sunday Matinee
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entertaining film,the only thing that is a little distracting is the dubbing, face it Christopher Lee is very distinctive, and it's a little odd npt hearing that deep voice when he talks
 
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bujaki

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All films viewed on the Criterion Channel, all leaving at the end of the month:
Down in the Delta 1998. Directed by Maya Angelou. Spot-on performances by Alfre Woodard, Al Freeman, Jr., Esther Rolle, Loretta Devine, Wesley Snipes, Mary Alice and some gifted young actors. A story of Black life and a family struggling to keep together. A story of redemption. A story of love. A story of struggle that began with a sale of a father in front of his son and how that sale affected generations to come and held them together. Excellent film.
Things Behind the Sun 2001. A Showtime TV movie directed by Allison Anders. Strong stuff about a traumatized singer who was gang-raped as a young underage girl. A music magazine writer knows who the culprit was (were) and is sent to interview her. Shards of the truth begin to emerge. Hard truths about both of them emerge. A film about the horror of rape and the nightmare of living with the truth of the experience for both the victim and the accessory to the violence. It's also about the path towards exorcising the past and healing. Not for the faint of heart.
A Woman Is a Woman 1961. Godard at his most playful (?). Widescreen and color. Musical. What?? I remembered this film with guarded pleasure, knowing what had come later. It's still experimental but whimsical and much more accessible than later Godard. The actors are very charming and no one spouts Mao.
The Facts of Life 1960. Hope and Ball trying to...although married to other people. Amusing situation comedy riding on the two actors and a good script. The transfer is dull looking and this is a movie that was nominated for Charles Lang's cinematography.
 

Jake Lipson

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Today:

Beauty and the Beast.jpg


After The Little Mermaid last night, I decided to continue with Disney Howard Ashman/Alan Menken/ "trilogy" and that means Beauty and the Beast was up next. I have three different editions of this, the latest of which is the beautiful steelbook from Best Buy that came out this past March. I do like the simplicity of this cover artwork, although it is a bit strange that Disney didn't ask Paige O'Hara to do a painting for this one as was the case with The Little Mermaid. Since she is the voice of Belle, it would have made sense to ask her to design the artwork for the film she is actually in. Although the Diamond Edition has the same Blu-ray transfer, it also has this annoying feature where a pop-up feature appears during the credits to suggest going to a bonus feature. Because I like to watch the credits uninterrupted as part of the film, I now use the Signature Collection for watching the movie but retain the Diamond Blu-ray and Platinum DVD for their bonus features. There are some pretty good new features on the Signature Blu as well if you're a completist.

What really is left to say about the film that hasn't already been said before? Not only is it a sensational movie in its own right, but as discussed in the bonus features, it was also incredibly influential for the next generation of creative talent who came in more recently to give us scores for things like Frozen and Moana. It continues to work beautifully no matter how many times I watch it and was again a pleasure to watch.

The more recent live-action remake of this is one of the few that I actually like as a companion piece to this film, but there's still nothing like the original for the color, vibrancy and expressiveness in the animation and the economical storytelling. It isn't more than 90 minutes because it doesn't need to be more than 90 minutes. I do always watch the special edition because, besides being a terrific song, I think the Human Again number brings depth and emotion from the enchanted objects and is a value add over not having it. That being said, I think the same thing about the extended cut of Pocahontas with If I Never Knew You added in, and Disney stripped that from its Blu-ray. It's weird that every time they come out with Beauty and the Beast, the extended version is an option, but on Pocahontas it has been largely forgotten about since the DVD. I do wish Disney would remedy that, but they probably won't.
 
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Jake Lipson

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Tonight:

Aladdin.jpg


Because I watched The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast over the last couple of days, of course Aladdin was up next in order to complete the "trilogy" of Howard Ashman/Alan Menken Disney musicals. Those two are great, but they saved the best for last. This is my favorite movie of all time and I watch it frequently. I've even posted about it before in this thread earlier this summer. I have nothing really to add on the film itself because my admiration and affection for it is well-known to anyone who has been reading my posts for any significant length of time. Of course, it still works, and everything I said about it a couple months ago in my last post still applies. Watching it in combination with the other two films really puts into perspective how brilliant Howard Ashman was and how much of a loss it was when he passed away. I always knew this, but something about seeing the films in close proximity to each other draws extra attention to how specific his choices were across all three of them.

Fortunately, the additional songs that Tim Rice helped to complete after Ashman's death are equally terrific, and they really do feel seamless. I wouldn't change a thing about this film, and that includes the Rice songs, but it's also hard not to wonder what other great work Ashman would have given us if he hadn't passed away. There is a new documentary about him that is being released on Disney+ on August 7 covering his work on these films, and I am very much looking forward to watching that. A few of Ashman and Menken's trunk songs that were cut from the film were repurposed into the Broadway musical, and it's a delight to have them as part of the expanded storyline there.

The gorgeous steelbook from Best Buy is my sixth purchase of the film over the years, which I think is the most dips I've ever done for a single title. But Disney kept to give me reasons to want the film again. In this case, the "Aladdin On Aladdin" documentary with Scott Weinger is worth the price of admission by itself. This new Signature Collection re-release also includes the film in its 1.66:1 animation ratio, as opposed to the 1.85:1 exhibition ratio for theatrical release from the previous Diamond Edition. It is now the edition that I default to when I want to watch the film, although of course I have also retained the Platinum and Diamond Editions for their bonus features that haven't been carried over.
 
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BobO'Link

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Yesterday I was only planning to watch Matrix Reloaded and the third later this week but had forgotten it ends on an absolute cliff-hanger that *begs* you to start the next movie immediately - so I did. This is the set I have and I watched Matrix earlier last week.
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I've been holding Aquaman for the "right time" and yesterday was it:
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I may have had my expectations set a bit too high based on reviews and reception of this one. I mostly enjoyed it and it has some excellent visuals. It also runs at least a half hour too long and I feel it suffered a bit having 2 villains. Ocean Master would have been more than enough for this origin story and Black Manta could have been left for the 2nd film (which is seemingly going to have him as the primary villain based on a post credits scene). He was an unnecessary distraction in this one and much of the reason it ran too long. Black Manta's origin story has been reworked many times so what they did in this movie could have been saved or done differently later. In this film it partially* ties into his origin as (re)told in the "New 52" reboots/updates but just tangentially in that Aquaman accidentally killed his father (under different circumstances). I wish there was a "Director's Cut" that removed all those scenes with Black Manta and tightened up the rest a bit. It would be a better movie for it.

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OK... I knew going in this one was going to be somewhat of a train wreck. I really didn't care as I generally enjoy the films in Universal's attempts to create a "Dark Universe" even though I don't agree with them trying to create this artificially. So... it kind of works but mostly doesn't. In spite of that it's a fun ride as long as you turn off your brain. This one just has too many little incongruities to let it work like the film makers seem to think it should. And it has the nerve to set itself up for a sequel!

I finished the day's movies with:
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Good, cheesy, early 60s "B" movie goodness. I'm a sucker for these movies as they are mostly what I grew up watching on a local late night horror host program and some Saturday matinee TV shows. This one looks quite good on BR.
 

bujaki

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The Alienist: Angel of Darkness (TNT HD) Episodes 3-4. The search for the abductor and killer of babies (who is revealed at the end of Ep. 4) continues. Detective work, forensic work and hypnosis all merge to battle against Hearst's yellow press who's trying to pin the murders on anti-Spain hysteria.
L'important..c'est d'aimer aka The important thing is to love (Film Movement BD) Romy Schneider won the first ever Cesar for her performance in this film directed by Andrezj Zulawski. A triangle about a porn actress with higher aspirations, married to an ineffectual man who has lost the will to...and attracted to a photographer who is knee deep in an extortion ring. Everyone is ugly because man is ugly, perverted. What can save us? The movie ends as it began, with the words "I love you," words that she couldn't say then, but this time spoken tenderly and with feeling. And you believe her.
Thunder on the Hill (Kino BD) 1951. Directed by Sirk and shot by the great William Daniels, starring the beautiful nun Claudette Colbert Marple and convicted murderess Veda Pierce. Is Veda innocent in this version? Can Sister Marple save her from the gallows? The climax takes place in a bell tower where Sister Marple rings the bell as she struggles for her life. Oh, what the hell, it's an enjoyable melodrama with great character actresses as nuns.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Originally Released: 11/16/1977
Watched: 07/27/2020
4K UHD disc via Panasonic DP-UB820

043396496941.jpg


This is a movie I've caught bits and pieces of over the years, but never actually sat down and watched all the way through. I was really surprised at how well it held up to modern sensibilities. There's nothing in the script that really stands out as dated; only the clothes and the cars and the optical effects really point to when it was made. Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon are basically co-leads, and Jillian is allowed to be as fleshed out as Roy is.

Seeing François Truffaut pop up as the French expert on extraterrestrials was a pleasant surprise; I don't think I've ever seen him act in anything else that he didn't direct. Bob Balaban makes an impression as the team cartographer-turned-interpreter, a foreshadowing of the career full of interesting little character actor roles to come. Teri Garr does a good job in a thankless role as Roy's wife; everything that Ronnie does is perfectly reasonable given how unreasonable her husband is acting, but the audience can't help but resent her a little because she's an obstacle to Roy going on this extraordinary journey. And we can't be allowed to like her too much, or else we'd resent Roy too much for embracing the adventurous little boy inside himself and abandoning his family to blast off into outer space.

The visual effects also hold up really well; none of the usual compositing issues from the era are really present here. It helps that so much of the extraterrestrial presence is conveyed with lighting effects; Vilmos Zsigmond takes quite a bit of the load off the visual effects guys.

The last half hour of the movie is truly iconic, giving first contact with extraterrestrial life the weight and impact it deserves.

The 4K presentation of the theatrical cut is excellent. The transfer doesn't try to hide or massage away the limitations of the source material, particularly the grain which varies from shot to shot. The use of color really shines.
 
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dana martin

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I finished the day's movies with:
View attachment 76033
Good, cheesy, early 60s "B" movie goodness. I'm a sucker for these movies as they are mostly what I grew up watching on a local late night horror host program and some Saturday matinee TV shows. This one looks quite good on BR.

but you haven't seen the whole story, i wish VCI would have really put the bells and whistles on it, as good as their release is, you don't get the whole story.

so here you go

Waiting For Gorgo

honestly it's done by people who care enough about the original film to make it work.

Last Night's Triple Feature Presentation
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Bone Crunching good time
 
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BobO'Link

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Yesterday:

1595966062160.png

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this one. Parts are excellent and others not so much so. I like that it applies real science to many things. I dislike how it somewhat goes off the rails several times with events on other planets and especially with its "explanation" of how a black hole event horizon works. At least they took time dilation into account. There were several times when I checked how much time was left - that's usually an indication that a movie's too long (and this one's almost 3 hours). This, the Batman films, and Dunkirk have convinced me that I should likely avoid product from Christopher Nolan going forward. For me, he seems to miss far more often than he hits.

Then:
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Yeah... very good film. I've liked this one since I first saw it in the late 60s (when it was called Five Million Years to Earth for its US run) and because I saw it, but not the first 2, back then it's my favorite of the trilogy (and I *really* like the first 2). This BR looks excellent and makes up for me missing the Anchor Bay DVD release years ago.
 
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