Lt. Dimitry Badinov

What non-trek movies have you watched lately?

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Ikitie (The Forever Road) (2017). Set in the 1930s, it's based on a true story about how more than 10,000 Americans (mainly Finnish-Americans) went to the Soviet Union during the Depression of the turn of the decade, to build a Socialist workers' paradise, and how thoroughly they were deceived. Most of the adults were executed in the late 1930s and their children taken from them and given to good Communist parents for adoption. It's a depressing story, but one worth telling. Did you know that they played baseball in Soviet Karelia in the 1930s? Most of the dialog is in Finnish, some in Russian and nearly half in English.

The movie was shot in eastern Estonia and many of the actors and extras were Estonians. Most of the male leads are Finnish actors virtually unknown elsewhere, but the main female lead is Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, best known internationally for her performance as Theresa Cullen on Westworld.

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Saw two movies yesterday; one good, and one great.

The good: “Gagarin: First In Space” (2013) via Netflix.   A solid 108 minute movie (incidentally, Gagarin’s total time in flight) that chronicles the actual historical flight of Yuri Gagarin, interspersed with his training and childhood in WW2 Russia.  Cast is solid, the characters are nicely drawn, and the FX are great (the spaceflight is particularly vivid).   My only nit?  No time is devoted to how his life changed post-flight.  Granted, Gagarin died only 7 or so years afterward, but how was his life with his family afterward?  What is it like being a ‘celebrity’ in Soviet Russia?   These were nagging questions of mine the (otherwise good) movie never answered.

The great: Guillermo del Toro’s new film, “The Shape of Water” (2017).  So good I had to blog about it right away.  WARNING!   SPOILERS...

https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2017/12/29/the-shape-of-water-just-your-typical-cold-war-era-girl-meets-amphibian-love-story/

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7 hours ago, maneth said:

Ikitie (The Forever Road) (2017). Set in the 1930s, it's based on a true story about how more than 10,000 Americans (mainly Finnish-Americans) went to the Soviet Union during the Depression of the turn of the decade, to build a Socialist workers' paradise, and how thoroughly they were deceived. Most of the adults were executed in the late 1930s and their children taken from them and given to good Communist parents for adoption. It's a depressing story, but one worth telling. Did you know that they played baseball in Soviet Karelia in the 1930s? Most of the dialog is in Finnish, some in Russian and nearly half in English.

The movie was shot in eastern Estonia and many of the actors and extras were Estonians. Most of the male leads are Finnish actors virtually unknown elsewhere, but the main female lead is Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, best known internationally for her performance as Theresa Cullen on Westworld.

This sounds fascinating.  I know there was an exodus of Americans who left to Soviet Russia at that time, but I’ve never seen their story chronicled in any great depth. 

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Wife and I had a movie night, watched the 2012 film "The Place Beyond the Pines" which is a a mostly great crime drama.  I think it is a pretty excellent but the final act is less interesting then the first two.  Very well made for the most part though. 

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9 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

This sounds fascinating.  I know there was an exodus of Americans who left to Soviet Russia at that time, but I’ve never seen their story chronicled in any great depth. 

If you get the chance, take a look.

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Finally saw “The Disaster Artist” (2017) this afternoon.  

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Lots of fun.   I enjoyed it, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say its an easily accessible comedy for anybody.  I saw it with a very lively audience of about 30 or so people who were obviously familiar with “The Room” (that helps... a lot).  But structurally and in tone, the movie reminds me of a mix between “Ed Wood” (1994) and “Man on the Moon” (1999).   James Franco’s pitch perfect comic performance as the real-life Tommy Wiseau is almost as brilliant as Jim Carrey’s Andy Kaufman, IMO.

 

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The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a new documentary produced by Menahem Golan and Yoran Globus on their low budget Empire know as Cannon Films, which produced low budget gems like SUPERMAN IV, STALLONE COBRA, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and the DEATH WISH series among low budget classics. Highly recommended and its available on Netflix and iTunes, so who cares ? Anyway the previous documentary ELECTRIC BUGALOO THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS was a better look at the rise and fall of Canon.

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Gus

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15 hours ago, GustavoLeao said:

The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films is a new documentary produced by Menahem Golan and Yoran Globus on their low budget Empire know as Cannon Films, which produced low budget gems like SUPERMAN IV, STALLONE COBRA, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and the DEATH WISH series among low budget classics. Highly recommended and its available on Netflix and iTunes, so who cares ? Anyway the previous documentary ELECTRIC BUGALOO THE WILD UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS was a better look at the rise and fall of Canon.

26165478_10215379552781228_3783114468942

Gus

I've not seen this version, but Electric Boogaloo is great!

I just watched Animator Don Hertzfeldt's latest short film, "World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts" and I highly recommend that.  It may be a short film, but it may have just shifted everything on my best of back a spot for 2017 movies!  If you've yet to see his first installment, it is still available on Netflix...and it is also tremendous. So in short, check out the first film on Netflix, then head over to Vimeo and spend $5 and 22 minutes of your time, and see this great little wondrous short.  The man is oozing creativity, with humor and strangeness and emotions to boot! It's like a lovely fresh of creative science fiction air in a sea of franchises that never die!

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In 1985, Cannon Films decided that to make movies based on comic books would be a good idea. They used every dime they had on purchasing the rights to Superman and Masters of the Universe, and made Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe, both box office disasters. They also planned to make a SPIDER-MAN movie starring stuntman/actor Scott Leva as Spider-Man, but after spending all their money on the other movies, they canceleld teh movie in 1990. The director was Tobe Hooper, then Joseph Zito and finally Albert Pyunn. After Cannon crashed and burned, Albert Pyunn would go on and direct a CAPTAIN AMERICA for Menahem Golan 21 Century Films in 1990.

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Nuff said, true believer !

Gus

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Cannon Films was known for a lot of bad cinematic trash. I remember seeing "Superman IV" back in 1987 and didn't understand why it sucked. When I saw it again in 2001 as part of that Superman DVD set I purchased, I found out why...

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6 hours ago, GustavoLeao said:

In 1985, Cannon Films decided that to make movies based on comic books would be a good idea. They used every dime they had on purchasing the rights to Superman and Masters of the Universe, and made Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe, both box office disasters. They also planned to make a SPIDER-MAN movie starring stuntman/actor Scott Leva as Spider-Man, but after spending all their money on the other movies, they canceleld teh movie in 1990. The director was Tobe Hooper, then Joseph Zito and finally Albert Pyunn. After Cannon crashed and burned, Albert Pyunn would go on and direct a CAPTAIN AMERICA for Menahem Golan 21 Century Films in 1990.

26169121_10215391882449462_5468192869763

26166495_10215391883409486_3894793573242

Nuff said, true believer !

Gus

It is most certainly enough said.  It's a good thing it never happened. Cannon might still be around if they stuck to their formula of just releasing cheap action fare. They set their eyes on too big of prizes, and made horrible movies. I mean look at Roger Corman, he is still producing b-movies and schlock in his early 90s, because he set a bar for how much he'd spend and what can sell, and he has made quite the living out of that.  Golan and Globus just got too big for their britches.

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1 hour ago, kenman said:

It is most certainly enough said.  It's a good thing it never happened. Cannon might still be around if they stuck to their formula of just releasing cheap action fare. They set their eyes on too big of prizes, and made horrible movies. I mean look at Roger Corman, he is still producing b-movies and schlock in his early 90s, because he set a bar for how much he'd spend and what can sell, and he has made quite the living out of that.  Golan and Globus just got too big for their britches.

"Superman IV" should never have been made. I can't blame the razzies for nominating that for worst special effects (good grief they're awful!), not to mention the scene where he lands on the moon you can see the strings attached to him (folks - they just didn't care!). They should have stopped after II (though I admit "Superman III" is a guilty pleasure).

I know "Mystery Science Theater 3000" didn't think highly of Golan-Globus (part of the Cannon Group) as Dr. Forrester said in "516: Alien From L.A" that Golan-Globus was a pain that he wanted to inflict on Mike Nelson for some time. While not Golan-Globus, they did do another Cannon outing: "Outlaw (Of Gor)."

Speaking of Corman, I wonder how his "Fantastic 4" drivel compares with the new reboot that came out a few years ago, which I hear is terrible?

 

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10 minutes ago, Rusty0918 said:

"Superman IV" should never have been made. I can't blame the razzies for nominating that for worst special effects (good grief they're awful!), not to mention the scene where he lands on the moon you can see the strings attached to him (folks - they just didn't care!). They should have stopped after II (though I admit "Superman III" is a guilty pleasure).

I know "Mystery Science Theater 3000" didn't think highly of Golan-Globus (part of the Cannon Group) as Dr. Forrester said in "516: Alien From L.A" that Golan-Globus was a pain that he wanted to inflict on Mike Nelson for some time. While not Golan-Globus, they did do another Cannon outing: "Outlaw (Of Gor)."

Speaking of Corman, I wonder how his "Fantastic 4" drivel compares with the new reboot that came out a few years ago, which I hear is terrible?

 

I recently saw the Fantastic 4 movie at a bad movie night with my former film school buddies.  It's a good watch wit ha group. Certainly cheap, with some lame special effects...but it actually isn't all bad.  It seems that very few involved in the production (up to Corman himself) were actually let on that the rights holders were only producing it to hold onto the rights for a bigger payday later, which they got when the Jessica Alba film came out.  So everyone is doing their best to make a decent superhero movie, even if their budget was never up to snuff.  It's kind of an oddity in that it looks like crap, the acting isn't that great...and yet, you can see a spark that if they had the right amount of money, it could've maybe worked.  I've not seen any other Fantastic Four movie to compare. 

As to Superman IV, there is a bit of not caring, but when you have a production team that is so poorly mismanaged, as Cannon was at the time, cut the special effects budget part way through filming...so there was little they could really do at that point.  It's not a well written movie at any rate, so very little could've been done to save it in my view.  (Gus will, no doubt, disagree). 

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9 hours ago, kenman said:

It is most certainly enough said.  It's a good thing it never happened. Cannon might still be around if they stuck to their formula of just releasing cheap action fare. They set their eyes on too big of prizes, and made horrible movies. I mean look at Roger Corman, he is still producing b-movies and schlock in his early 90s, because he set a bar for how much he'd spend and what can sell, and he has made quite the living out of that.  Golan and Globus just got too big for their britches.

Exactly this.

They were schlockmeisters trying to be James Cameron.  Didn't work out so well...

LNSTMIS:

While not technically a movie per se, tonight my wife and I are going to see Cirque du Soleil's "Love" show, with Beatles' music.   

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Well, while technically not a movie, last night we were in Las Vegas and saw Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles extravaganza, “Love.”  

c700x420.jpg

Wow!!  That was one hell of an amazing show.   
If I had any complaints, it’s that so much is happening all at once (the visuals, the gymnastics, the dancers, etc) that you simply can’t take it in all at once.  
I felt as if for everything I noticed, there were 100 that I missed!   

 

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2 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Well, while technically not a movie, last night we were in Las Vegas and saw Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles extravaganza, “Love.”  

c700x420.jpg

Wow!!  That was one hell of an amazing show.   
If I had any complaints, it’s that so much is happening all at once (the visuals, the gymnastics, the dancers, etc) that you simply can’t take it in all at once.  
I felt as if for everything I noticed, there were 100 that I missed!   

 

I saw a documentary that featured a good chunk of this show way back when I worked at a local PBS station. Seems like a really neat show.  A friend from college didn't work on this show, but across the street at their Elvis show (she worked on the lighting), and she said that even being  there every night she always had fun and found new stuff. And she wasn't much of an Elvis fan either. I don't have much cause to visit Vegas (kids, tight money and live far away, and I don't gamble), but I'd love to see Love in person, I am a huge Beatles fan...and I rather like a lot of their remixed soundtrack for the show.

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Yesterday, in theaters, I saw "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

It was a decent flick, not Oscar-worthy, but decent. I liked how it played on the video game ideals, which do make sense. There was one part though I wasn't too crazy about, and that is Bethany (a high-maintenance girl) whose avatar is a middle-aged "fat guy" having to learn how to take a piss the "guy way." Granted they didn't exactly show it but it should have been cut out. Who knows, we might end up seeing the actual scene in an unnecessary unrated (or R-rated) director's cut.

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On 1/6/2018 at 6:47 PM, kenman said:

I saw a documentary that featured a good chunk of this show way back when I worked at a local PBS station. Seems like a really neat show.  A friend from college didn't work on this show, but across the street at their Elvis show (she worked on the lighting), and she said that even being  there every night she always had fun and found new stuff. And she wasn't much of an Elvis fan either. I don't have much cause to visit Vegas (kids, tight money and live far away, and I don't gamble), but I'd love to see Love in person, I am a huge Beatles fan...and I rather like a lot of their remixed soundtrack for the show.

For Beatles’ fans, like you and I?  This show is a must.

If nothing else, I’d hope they release a home video version someday; as either a means for people who can’t see it live, or as a souvenir for people like me who want to relive it over and over again. 

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3 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

For Beatles’ fans, like you and I?  This show is a must.

If nothing else, I’d hope they release a home video version someday; as either a means for people who can’t see it live, or as a souvenir for people like me who want to relive it over and over again. 

Yea I'd probably be into a film version. I am a massive fan, have been since I was a kid, since 95 (I was about 7 or 8) when hte Beatles Antholgoy came out.  That documentary series just captured me, and I have never truly escaped their pull since. Just this Christmas I had another DVD upgraded to blu-ray, the (in my opinion) underrated "Help!" which I am pleased to have upgraded. I just need to upgrade Magical Mystery Tour and hope that someday there will be an official release copy of Let It Be to replace my bootleg and complete the filmography!  Last Christmas I also got the amazing blu-ray release of the Beatles 1 album, which includes the CD, but also two blu-rays, and features practically every music video (or as they were called then, promotional films) they produced.  The only one I know of that seemed to be missing was a music video they produced for the "Let It Be...Naked" release, of the song "Two of Us."  It was a rather neat video, so I think it is a shame it got excluded. Guess it will have to be a bonus feature on that film when it gets released! Though I suppose both Ringo and Paul will have had to left this mortal coil before that happens. Also the Ron Howard film really made me desperately want the Shea Stadium concert released on blu-ray in full...because that footage looked gorgeous!

Oh...I love love love that band. 

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48 minutes ago, kenman said:

Yea I'd probably be into a film version. I am a massive fan, have been since I was a kid, since 95 (I was about 7 or 8) when hte Beatles Antholgoy came out.  That documentary series just captured me, and I have never truly escaped their pull since. Just this Christmas I had another DVD upgraded to blu-ray, the (in my opinion) underrated "Help!" which I am pleased to have upgraded. I just need to upgrade Magical Mystery Tour and hope that someday there will be an official release copy of Let It Be to replace my bootleg and complete the filmography!  Last Christmas I also got the amazing blu-ray release of the Beatles 1 album, which includes the CD, but also two blu-rays, and features practically every music video (or as they were called then, promotional films) they produced.  The only one I know of that seemed to be missing was a music video they produced for the "Let It Be...Naked" release, of the song "Two of Us."  It was a rather neat video, so I think it is a shame it got excluded. Guess it will have to be a bonus feature on that film when it gets released! Though I suppose both Ringo and Paul will have had to left this mortal coil before that happens. Also the Ron Howard film really made me desperately want the Shea Stadium concert released on blu-ray in full...because that footage looked gorgeous!

Oh...I love love love that band. 

Don’t blame you.

Also liked their solo stuff; George Harrison, Paul McCartney & Wings and of course, John Lennon (“Imagine” is my single favorite song of all time; no kidding). 

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5 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Don’t blame you.

Also liked their solo stuff; George Harrison, Paul McCartney & Wings and of course, John Lennon (“Imagine” is my single favorite song of all time; no kidding). 

I like a lot of solo stuff too. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine are both terrific albums. I have slowly come to release that I might actually be more of a Paul guy, which wasn't the case when I was in high school. But I now realize that both within and without the Beatles, the amount of perfect songs that man has written in his lifetime is damn near impossible.  And Harrison's All Things Must Pass might actually be one of the strongest of any of their solo albums, and a definite indictment of how much John and Paul were holding him back.  The outpouring of terrific songs on that first solo album is something else.

Wait what thread am I in again? I rewatched Terry Gilliam's first non-Python film "Jabberwocky" because my library had the new Criterion blu-ray, and I thought why not give it another whirl with a new beautiful transfer.  While it looks great visually, this new rewach only confirmed that it is all in service of nothing.  When you look at the Python behind the scenes material on Holy Grail, and they talk a lot about how of the two Directing Terrys...Gilliam was interested in the visuals to a fault, often letting jokes take a backseat to smoke and atmosphere and settings...but Jones was interested in making sure the jokes came first, and that it was visually solid as icing.  "Jabberwocky" seems very much like what "Holy Grail" could've had become if Gilliam had more free reign, and wasn't being stifled in his direction by his other team members...and his results are so absolutely less than "Holy Grail".  That movie isn't terribly deep, but at least it looks good AND is funny as hell.  "Jabberwocky" plays like its supposed to be a medieval comedy, but it lacks jokes, has a completely unfocused story, and the general point seems to be "look at these visuals I am selling you!" I would say "Jabberwocky" has the better visuals, but "Holy Grail" is not only vastly more entertaining, but often holds its own visually as well.

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The Last Jedi. Good but not great. Certainly not a flawless movie, but I'm not panning it either. Entertaining for sure. That said, I enjoyed the standalone Rogue One more than I have enjoyed any SW movies since the original trilogy...

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Last night atched two very good (and very different) movies.  First up was "Dunkirk," which is a really solid war drama with tons of great performances, and really interesting editing.  Then I watched  "Logan Lucky" which is a heist comedy that also has a bunch of good performances. That one won't blow you away with originality, but it is funny for some light but smart entertainment.

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