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3 hours ago, zslane said:

You're still getting less of the original full frame 4:3 broadcast image though. Compositionally it won't suffer thanks to the way Kenneth Johnson shot it, but I'd rather see a full 4:3 image letterboxed on the sides.


It was originally shot using Panavision cameras, and the 4:3 was actually a crop, at least from what I can find online. My set of the original Battlestar Galactica on blu-ray included discs for both 4:3 and 16:9, so I would agree with you that it would be nice to have both.

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Carnival Row:  On Amazon Prime.  Best fantasy series I've seen since GoT came out 10 years ago or so...and I've watched quite a few, including The Witcher.  Faeries, Pucks, Centaurs and Kobolds living as minorities in a human-dominated society circa 1850 Victorian England with elements of Steampunk and Witchcraft.  Also heavy on the sex, nudity and gore.  Orlando Bloom stars.

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Gaslight: Classic suspense film starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotton (and a very young Angela Lansbury in her first screen role). The disc is a Warner Archive release, and the transfer is excellent. (Blu-ray)

 

 

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Onward:  Disney Pixar latest effort.  A take on fantasy races living in modern day having mostly forgotten their magical roots.  Didn't really interest me when it came out in theaters, but it was a fun tale abouy two elf brothers with A LOT of rpg and D&D references.  The big brother, voiced by Chris Pratt, being a massive gaming fanboy.  Solid B+.

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I found a Met production of John Adams' (no, not that John Adams) modern opera Nixon in China. It tells the story of Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to Beijing to meet with Communist leaders Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. He finds Mao to be of dubious sanity -- even more dubious than his own -- while Zhou is pleasant and intelligent but perhaps thinks a little too clearly. Nixon is accompanied by his emotionally fragile wife Pat and by Henry Kissinger, then his National Security Advisor.

 

The goal of the meeting was to resume relations of a sort with a country that had been completely disowned by most of the west since the 1949 revolution that placed Mao in power. At the time China was not even admitted to the United Nations and its permanent seat on the Security Council was instead held by the remnants of Chaing Kai-Shek's regime in Taiwan. The US had also fought a limited war against China in Korea in the early 1950's, and there were fears that the Chinese were going to sweep into Korea and/or Taiwan at any moment and with no provocation because Mao Zedong was evil incarnate. It is commonly said "Only Nixon could go to China" because Nixon's anti-Communist credentials were unquestionable.

 

Anyway, in the Opera Nixon lands in Beijing and is greeted by Zhou at the airport. He is taken into the city and sits down for a meeting with Mao, but while Nixon wants to discuss real-world problems like Taiwan and the Vietnam war Mao simply wants to talk philosophy and show why he distrusts the West. Pat, meanwhile, is taken on a whirlwind propaganda tour of Chinese factories, farms, and schools. Reunited in Beijing, they are taken to an opera written by Mao's wife Jiang Qing -- but the performance, in which Kissinger is portrayed as a monstrous capitalist figure and performers are lashed with real whips, quickly descends into a nightmare. The file I had ended with a sequence of the various leaders retiring for the night before Nixon is to leave, each dealing with the consequences of the previous nine days. There must have been another scene after the file cut off that I missed.

 

The music is not at all traditional opera music. Those familiar with the body of work of Bernard Herrmann will recognize a lot of its musical concepts. Musical themes are repeated constantly, but in their repetition gain increasing tension and anxiety. You hear arias that are not at all like traditional arias, like Nixon's "News" (which opens simply with the word "News" repeated five times -- lyrical repetition is also common). This gives a sense of tension and drama and works surprisingly well as theater. The singers are billiant in this production -- the singer who plays Nixon has been playing him off and on since the work's 1989 premiere. Nixon tries to find a common ground -- something he can latch onto that will make the Chinese see reason and start to work with the US -- and is increasingly frustrated with Mao's seeming senility and/or mental illness (which may or may not be a ruse). He is the audience's viewpoint character and his reactions to what he sees are likely to be reflected by the audience. At the same time, we see hints of the descent into paranoia that will ruin him just two years later. Pat's singer is just as good, as we can watch the tightrope she walks as wife of a world leader start to fray beneath her feet. The other outstanding performance is from the singer of Jiang Qing, a self-assured harpie who does everything in her power to humiliate and/or outrage the Nixons and keep China's position towards the rest of the world antagonistic.

 

If you can find it, it's worth looking into. It's challenging and the musical style takes getting used to, but it's very dramatic and tense. I am glad to have seen it. I want to see that last scene I was missing.

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I finally got around to watching Future Man.

A slacker beats a video game and gets recruited by time warriors to prevent a future apocalypse. Hilarity ensues.

 

I found it a mixed bag. 

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24 minutes ago, mattingly said:

I finally got around to watching Future Man.

A slacker beats a video game and gets recruited by time warriors to prevent a future apocalypse. Hilarity ensues.

 

I found it a mixed bag. 

 

Sounds like the plot from The Last Starfighter

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They lampshade that right away. 

But it turns out, it was all a terrible mistake. In their time, video game simulations train their finest warriors, so they thought he'd be some bad-ass killing machine instead of a schmuck janitor.

 

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On 4/2/2020 at 2:40 PM, Dr. MID-Nite said:

Two different versions of The Color Out of Space from 2010 and 2019. The 2010 version is more faithful, but the 2019 version does boast so pretty good practical effects.

 

Glad to see that Richard Stanley returned to directing.  You should watch "Lost Soul: Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau" which talks about the tragic end of his filmmaking career in the 1990s with the disastrous 1996 Hollywood movie.  The documentary is far better than the actual 1996 movie (which is a stunning misfire given the talent involved).

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2 hours ago, grandmastergm said:

Rapid Fire (1992)

 

The Crow

 

It's really a shame that Brandon Lee's career was cut tragically short.  It's also a shame how terrible the 3 sequels were to The Crow, unless any of you guys want to defend them.

 

Everyone knows the Crow movie, so I'll throw props to Rapid Fire, an excellent but relatively unknown martial arts action movie.  One great movie like the Crow can be an outlier for an actor's potential, but Rapid Fire sealed the deal for me that Brandon could've been a massive superstar.

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33 minutes ago, Starlord said:

 

Everyone knows the Crow movie, so I'll throw props to Rapid Fire, an excellent but relatively unknown martial arts action movie.  One great movie like the Crow can be an outlier for an actor's potential, but Rapid Fire sealed the deal for me that Brandon could've been a massive superstar.

 

I even like Showdown in Little Tokyo, which I watched last year.  It's a shame that 11 minutes were cut out of the movie, but I think it's a fun movie.   

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3 hours ago, Starlord said:

 

Everyone knows the Crow movie, so I'll throw props to Rapid Fire, an excellent but relatively unknown martial arts action movie.  One great movie like the Crow can be an outlier for an actor's potential, but Rapid Fire sealed the deal for me that Brandon could've been a massive superstar.

Will third Rapid Fire. I mean this as a compliment, but you can see that Brandon inherited his father's charisma and humor, and I think with more movies he would have stepped out of the ginormous shadow his father left. I would love to have seen him be able to do more. I think he could have carried a franchise and then watching him do stuff with Jackie or Jet Li later in life would have been fun.

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Minority Report: One of the better adaptations of a PKD work. There are a few anachronisms, though, including an assumption that shopping malls will be a thing again, and that people in 2054 will know what a Radio Shack was. (Netflix)

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PKD's works are maybe the only stories I have liked that I also liked most of the film adaptations, despite only resembling the original in ideas. Minority Report, We Can Remember it for you Wholesale (the original Total Recall, not a fan of the remake), Do Androids Dream (Blade Runner), Screamers, Paycheck, The Golden Man (movie Next), Adjustment Bureau. Not sure why they work, but to me they mostly do. Possibly because they are mostly short stories and not trying to bring an entire book to film.

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Next was a PKD story? I didn't know that. I admit half of the story being a dream was a twist I could have  done without, but I liked most of it, and how the future stunts were done

CES

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Coastal Command (1942)

This is a film looking at the work of Britain's Coastal Command which was the air force tasked with hunting down U-Boats and providing air cover to convoys. It had flying boats like the Short Sunderland and bombers like the Lockheed Hudson. It follows a crew flying out to a convoy and coming back under attack from German Ju88 planes which are driven off by Beaufighters.

 

The Narrowing Circle

A crime reporter is passed over for promotion to editor of a crime magazine which goes to a rival. He also loses his girlfriend to the same man. And has a violent altercation with him. He has a drunken bender and when he returns to his flat, he finds his rival there dead. Interesting whodunnit.

 

Who Killed the Cat ?

After the landlord of a house dies his wife discovers she has not got the bulk of his estate. His daughter will inherit most of it. So she puts up the rent for the three ladies who live there and tries to ruin her stepdaughter's life. A cat which belongs to one of the old ladies dies suddenly and the old ladies plan revenge on the new landlady who they believe killed the cat out of spite. But then fate takes a hand. Adapted from a play.

 

The Greed of William Hart

This film is based on the real life bodysnatchers Burke and Hare and how they operated in Edinburgh. The names were changed of the bodysnatchers and the doctor who bought corpses from them but not of the last three of their victims.

 

The Giant Claw

A giant radioactive bird begins attacking aircraft and killing anyone who parachutes out. The model of the bird is quite honestly one of the worst things ever committed to film. And that is even if you make allowances for this being a 1950s film.

 

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Six months after he is bathed in a strange cloud a man finds he is shrinking. Efforts to halt this fail and he is presumed eaten by the house cat. However he is still alive and has to battle a spider in the basement of his own home while unnoticed by his wife and brother. It is philisophical at times as the man comes to accept his fate. Finally saw this classic sci-fi picture from beginning to end.

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3 minutes ago, death tribble said:

The Incredible Shrinking Man

Six months after he is bathed in a strange cloud a man finds he is shrinking. Efforts to halt this fail and he is presumed eaten by the house cat. However he is still alive and has to battle a spider in the basement of his own home while unnoticed by his wife and brother. It is philisophical at times as the man comes to accept his fate. Finally saw this classic sci-fi picture from beginning to end.

This was the first movie to be awarded the Hugo, a sign that film was starting to be taken seriously as a medium for science fiction by those who wrote and followed science fiction. That the group that made the award got away so long with ignoring film is a sad thing. You will not find The Day the Earth Stood Still or The Thing From Another World on the rolls of Hugo winners.

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Seen it a while ago, but up now on Netflix is the comedy, The Death of Stalin it’s funny, but it’s also fairly accurate to the events surrounding the death of the Soviet dictator, and the scramble for succession. Starring a lot of comedic and and character actors. 

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