Off-topic chat. Kick back and relax with a whiskey and a cigar as we chew the fat about anything and everything other than games.
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Alex Connolly

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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:50 am

Theodore Rex (1995)

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For some reason, executives greenlit a futuristic buddy comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg and a rubbery crime-fighting dinosaur.

I cannot do the film justice in mere written words, and thus, will leave IMDB's trivia collection to do the talking.

Whoopi Goldberg wanted to leave the film during the production.

Intended for theatrical release. The finished film was so bad that the studio decided to cut their losses and sent it straight to video, making it the most expensive straight-to-video film ever at the time of its release.

Crew members left constantly during production. Whoopi Goldberg once said that on her final day of shooting, 99% of the crew was different from the first day.

Whoopi Goldberg made a verbal agreement to star in the film in 1993. When she tried to back out, producer Richard Gilbert Abramson sued her for $20 million. The suit was settled very quickly, when Goldberg agreed to star for $7 million, $2 million more than the original agreement.

Most of the actors signed on thinking the dinosaur would be computer enhanced.

Jonathan R. Betuel retired from directing after this film. He felt the studio didn't market it correctly.

The first, and only (as of 2012), direct-to-video film to be nominated for a Razzie.


It is as terrible as it sounds, mark my words. And by terrible, I mean amazing.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:20 pm

The Signal (2014)

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Director William Eubank's science-fiction thriller follow-up to 2011's cult effort, Love, feels like a lesser blend of Blomkamp, but has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

Three MIT students are heading across continental United States when tracing a hacker in Nevada leads them off the beaten path and into the arms of a secretive government agency. From there, it's a question of reality, emotion and motivation, all of which aren't successfully investigated by the filmmaker or the screenplay, but somehow remains kinetic and intelligent throughout. The twists aren't as lathed as they should be, but the script itself is sharp and actors - casting that includes Laurence Fishburne - inhabit their characters with a level of pathos that keeps things accessible and buoyant.

Cinematography mixes up elements of Cinéma vérité and conventional filming, cribbing momentarily from the best handicam directors before returning to Eubank's brand of beautiful, uncomplicated shot composition and use of lighting. Soundtrack by Iranian -born, LA-based Nima Fakhrara adds a masterful aural sheen to the affair; as subtle as it is powerful.

Certainly not one of this year's best, but The Signal is an earnest film that plays with conspiracy elements, the human spirit and emotion within the vast flux of universal time. Intriguing stuff.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by A.I Impaired » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:34 pm

Props for Existenz. By the end of that movie I was completely unsure of what I had just experienced. Pure disbelief. I love it though. People who have not should definitely also check out one of Cronenburg's earlier film 'Videodrome'. The Canadian government helped fund both these movies apparently. Thank our taxpayers.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:46 pm

A.I Impaired wrote:Props for Existenz. By the end of that movie I was completely unsure of what I had just experienced. Pure disbelief. I love it though. People who have not should definitely also check out one of Cronenburg's earlier film 'Videodrome'. The Canadian government helped fund both these movies apparently. Thank our taxpayers.


Cronenberg is a real master. Even though he's made some clunkers - Crash and the utterly flat A Dangerous Method, to name a few - the man always keeps it fresh. If asked what my Top 5 would be, in classic Internet clickbaitery, I'd go with...

- eXistenZ
- Spider
- The Fly
- A History of Violence
- Dead Ringers

...in no particular order.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:17 pm

Filth (2013)

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The games are always bein' played.

There's just something delicious in the Scotch depravity of Irvine Welsh; a feisty decrepitude that never dwells on the simplicity of melancholia. Like a Nick Earls novel that never feels content to paint sharehouse living in a single slovenly light, there's a zest to the blackness in each of Welsh's book-to-film adaptations. As much as Trainspotting sported a bleak picture of 1980s heroin life, it was snappy and paradoxically rich. The Acid House, a similar energy coursing through the vignettes. Jon S. Baird's Filth, similarly so, and perhaps the best of the bunch.

James MacAvoy, in the performance of his career, plays scheming, drug-addled Bruce Robertson. Wanting desperately to achieve a promotion within his detective unit in the Edinburgh police, Robertson begins a dark and twisted game of subterfuge and manipulation against his fellow officers in an effort to get the job and get his wife back. As his deeds become more grotesque and the web of deceit more complex, Robertson's already unstable grip on reality begins to falter - with horrendous outcomes.

This is a smart and sophisticated film. As funny as it is depraved, as touching as it is offensive. MacAvoy plays the tragic Robertson with exuberant conviction and energy, mirroring a young Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Co-stars like Jamie Bell and Eddie Marsan do well to counter the rambunctious lead with purposeful awkwardness, equally amplifying the insanity and softening the perversion. Masterful cinematography by Matthew Jensen (Game of Thrones, True Blood) and backed by Clint Mansell's score - no stranger to the darker elements of film - Filth is a pitch-black comedy as much as it is vacuum-sealed torment. Furiously entertaining and more than a touch seamy.

The same rules apply.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:37 pm

Appleseed α (2014)

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I remember being blown away by the original Katayama Appleseed OVA (1988) because it was a ripping, lively and faithful adaptation from the manga series. Fast-forward to 2004, and I was similarly blown away by the CG Shinji Aramaki take on the IP, but for the life of me, cannot recall why. And here we are, skipping over 2007's Ex Machina, to find me realising that there is a time and place for this bouquet of firearms and robots, and that time and place was set squarely in my early teens.

You can never go back, but it's nice to be sentimental.

We join battlefield maiden/former ESWAT gun-lass Deunan Knute and her former/still-lover-gone-cyborg Briareos in a prequel tale, plying their combat trade in the shattered aftermath of a catastrophic world war. Allegories are as thin as the characterisation, with thankfully emaciated philosophising kept to a minimum. This is no Oshii bonfire of the metaphorical or metaphysical. This is magical toymaker Aramaki doing what he does best - action, machines and paper-thin personae.

Mechanical designs are why you come to this particular delivery. The production borders on near-photorealism in parts, with attention to capillary-bursting detail. Deunan, as well as two other characters, are the only actors to sport a human face - and the slightly stiff, strangely key-framed way she is animated sadly emphasise the strengths and weaknesses of the animation crew. Otherwise, the battle animation is superb and the machines tout a Kojima/MGS-esque level of appreciable grandiosity.

However, what once would have excited a young man only makes an older one take less note of robots and more of the tepid script. Voice acting is great, sound design is top-shelf and it is a visual tour de force. But the story outcrumbles a Lancashire Hard. It's a token veneer atop a heartless beast. Which is fine, for what it is. And what it is, is certainly not a 'good story'.

If you've ever wanted to see a videogame play itself, snag Appleseed α.
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asatiir

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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by asatiir » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:41 pm

Since I started using Plex, I began delving into weird and interesting movies for the past few weeks.

The Holy Mountain (1973):
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This hits pretty high in my list of "very weird" movies, by the time it was over I started the question the existence of humanity in general. Despite its dark and strange themes, it is one of the most colorful and illustrative movies I have seen a very long time. The Holy mountain is about a group of people put the greed and decadence their modern life behind them to achieve enlightenment and immortality by reaching the holy mountain through certain rites and rituals. A lot of occult themes that might be a little too overwhelming for those who might be a little sensitive to religious topics and such, but I'd say that it's strangely memorable.

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010):
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Beyond the Black Rainbow is a movie I'd definitely vouch as Squadron of Shame material, it's very dense in the subjects it talks about, and has certain, subtle points that stick out like a sore thumb after understanding what's going on. The score and the cinematography is to die for, I would have honestly thought it was a 70s/80s sci-fi if I wasn't told that it was made in 2010. The movie didn't get that much attention as it was straight to video when it was out and never hit the silver screen.

It's hard to explain what this movie is about since many parts of the movie small self contained stories that intertwine with each other, but it does involve more occultist themes (I watched on the same day as the Holy Mountain, sue me) MKUltra mind control, secret lab experiments and a few other things, highly recommended watch.
Bani Adam (2013):
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Bani Adam (literal translation: Son of Adam or Of Adam) is what a lot of people here consider to be the Emirates equivalent of Tommy Wiseau's The Room. It's campy, hammy, overacted, self centered mess of a drama that somehow got itself a cult following that fans of the movie bugged the director for a DVD release.

Story is about a rich, successful yet lonely man haunted by his past (the director, screen write and hero of this movie) that falls in love with a woman that his best friend had been smitten with. Love triangles, jealousy, classicism and even "facing one's demons" is what this movie all about, it is a fairly long movie with some of the most "so bad it's hilarious" writing ever. The movie is found with its subtitles and is not dubbed but it is worth experiencing once.

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Alex Connolly

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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:06 am

Asatiir, they sound fascinating! Added to the OP database!
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:13 am

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

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"I got that nasty stuff all over my mouth, man! That's not funny!"
- USAF TSgt. Elena Santos, 61 ABW (Michelle Rodriguez, typecast Latino military hard-woman)


Long, arduous, preachy, one of those strange post-War on Terror befuddlements that should have been cauterized at the pitch, rather than left to make its gangrenous way to the silver screen. The premise is sound, but undone by confused shaky-cam, indulgent run-time and lazy script.

Independence Day, this ain't.
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Re: Surruptitious Celluloid - Cinema of Shame

by Alex Connolly » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:43 pm

Predators (2010)

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Adrien Brody leading a band of hard-arses through the teeming jungles of a Predator game reserve world? Everything fits bar Brody at first glance. But as with many an unorthodox decision, there's method in the madness. This Robert Rodriguez-produced rollick of a film allows Brody to play a refreshingly lean action flick mercenary, and while he plays to the conventions of what we've come to expect from 80s era genre fare, the novelty doesn't wear off during the 107 minute runtime.

Pulp legend Danny Trejo appears then disappears, with equally scant screenplay moments for Laurence Fishburne, but the remaining cast are robust and enjoyable to view. Special mention goes to Walton Goggins, who plays Walton Goggins, and that's damn fine with me.

Special effects are as you'd expect, never going beyond what was established by John McTiernan so many years ago. It's violent, but never overtly so. Cinematography is slick and thankfully free of modern shaky silliness, even during moments of intense action. Predators is the epitome of a restrained, yet youthful iteration on an established franchise. Unlike the gouges taken by the misfiring AvP crossovers, Predators only adds to a formula that works.
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