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More Netflix randomness:


Hammer - The true story of Matt Hamill, first deaf NCAA wrestling champion and UFC fighter.  I don't know Matt's story at all so no clue how accurate this is.  It's a pretty sanitized version of ANYBODY'S life though.  Production quality is on the low end for a Lifetime movie.  Not bad or anything, it's well-done, just obviously not a high-budget production.  The actors all do a good enough job though the lead actor is definitely too old to be playing Hamill.  Anyway, this is a feel-good, "You can do anything!" movie and it succeeds in that goal.  The only real negative is that you can't just have this on in the background which was my intention when picking the movie.  A good 75% of the dialogue is sign language with captions so you have to actually watch and not just listen.  That seems obvious when you think about it, which I didn't before picking the movie :)  To call that a negative is misleading - it's more of a "Tabe was a dumbass for picking this movie at that particular time".  Anyway, entertaining enough - 6/10.

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Hey, here's a list of all 151 documentaries that are eligible for the Best Documentary Oscar next year!  It's the most ever!




The Act of KillingAfter TillerAKA Doc PomusAmerican Made MovieAmerican PromiseApproved for AdoptionThe Armstrong LieAt Berkeley

Becoming TraviataBest Kept SecretBettie Page Reveals AllBidder 70Big MenThese Birds WalkBlackfishBlood BrotherBrave Miss WorldBridegroomBridging the Gap

Call Me KuchuCasting ByCinemAbilityThe Cinema: A Brief History of World CinemaCooper and Hemingway: The True GenThe Crash ReelCutie and the Boxer

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky JayDirty WarsDon’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s JourneyDownloaded

Enzo Avitabile Music LifeEvocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer StoryFire In The BloodFirst Comes LoveFirst Cousin Once RemovedFor No Good ReasonFree Angela Davis and All Political PrisonersFree China: The Courage to BelieveFree The Mind

The GardenerGahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still WeirdGasland IIGeneration IronThe Ghosts In Our MachineGideon’s ArmyGirl RisingThe Girls in The BandGlickmanGMO OMGGo GrandridersGod Loves UgandaGood Ol’ FredaGreedy Lying BastardsGrowing Up Refugee

Hava Nagila: The MovieHawkingHerblock: The Black & The White

I Am BreathingInequality For AllInformantIs The Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation With Noam ChomskyIt’s Better To Jump

Jodorwsky’s Dune


The Last of The UnjustLet The Fire BurnLetters to JackieLeviathanLife According To SamLinsanityLion ArkLiv and IngmarLong Shot: The Kevin Laue Story

Married and CountingMedoraMisLead: America’s Secret EpidemicThe Missing PictureMondays With WilliamMoney for Nothing: Inside the Federal ReserveMore Than HoneyMumia: Long Distance RevolutionaryMurph: The ProtectorMuscle ShoalsThe Muslims Are Coming!My Father and the Man in Black

Narco CulturaThe NetworkThe New Black99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative FilmNo Place on EarthNot Yet Begun to Fight

One Direction: This is UsOne PM Central Standard TimeOur Nixon

Pad Yatra: A Green OdysseyPandora’s PromiseThe Paw ProjectA Place At The TablePlimpton! Starring George Plimpton as HimselfThe Prime Ministers: The PioneersPussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

Re-emerging: The Jews of NigeriaRescue in the Philippines:  Refuge from the HolocaustRevolutionThe Revolutionary OptimistsRising from AshesA River Changes CourseRunning From Crazy

SalingerThe Second MeetingSeduced and AbandonedShepard & DarkThe Short GameSix By SondheimSound CitySpark: A Burning Man StorySpinning PlatesThe SquareState 194Stolen SeasStories We TellStorm Surfers in 3DStuckThe SummitSweet DreamsSymphony of the Soil

Terms and Conditions May ApplyTim’s VermeerThe Trials of Muhammad Ali12 12 1220 Feet From StardomTwo: The Story of Roman and Nyro

The UnbelieversThe United States of AutismThe United States of FootballThe Unknown Known

Valentine RoadValentino’s Ghost

Walter: Lessons From The World’s Oldest PeopleWampler’s AscentWar on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security StateWe Came HomeWe Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaksWe The ParentsWe Will See TomorrowWhen I WalkWhich Way Is the Front Line From Her? The Life and Time of Tim HetheringtonWhy We RideWinter Nomads

Zipper: Coney Island’s Last Wild Ride


They're going to whittle that down to a 15-movie short list in December.  I've actually seen seven of these.  The Act of Killing and The Crash Reel are both very worthy of awards.


Edit: The other ones I've seen, for posterity, are The Armstrong Lie, Downloaded, Stories We Tell, Storm Surfers 3D, and Terms And Conditions May Apply.  Didn't think any of those were worth much.


I've heard good things about Leviathan, Muscle Shoals and Call Me Kuchu.

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Had a good weekend of getting sorta caught up on 2013 viewing, my viewings, from best to least best.


Mud: Just staggeringly great.  Like, where would they turn up a kid like the one who played Neckbone?!  It was his first movie and he was so great.  If you haven't seen it, it's about two boys who find a homeless guy living on a small island in Arkansas, befriend him, and decide to help him get away with his true love.  The scenery is fantastic, the cinematography is magnificent, the acting is superb (It's amazing how quickly Matthew McConaughey has gone from "Ugh, the worst..." to must-see) and the sudden burst of violence comes out of nowhere but is so perfect.  If 2013 yields a better film than this, than it will be quite a year indeed.


The Sapphires: In which Chris O'Dowd plays a guy who takes a girl group of Australian aboriginals to Vietnam to entertain the troops.  The music is great (all good soul music), the performances are fun, and every single thing out of O'Dowd's mouth is funny.


The Heat: I had no interest in this from the previews but my sister kept insisting and it was honestly not bad.  Pretty funny, a great Dan Bakkedahl performance (I love that guy, now that i can put a name to him), a little too long, but totally worth a watch.

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Has anyone ever seen CIRCLE OF IRON with David Carridine?


When you first start watching it, it looks like its going to be the worst shoddy early-80s fantasy trash.  But...it grows on you.


The story was apparently first conceived of by Bruce Lee as a kind of intro. to Zen philosophy for Americans...but when he died it was developed by his students James Coburn (yes, that one) and Stirling Siliphant who wrote VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and later, more hilariously OVER THE TOP (the Stallone arm-wrestling epic).


The actions scenes are terrible in that D-loincloth-movie way and the lead character is the kind of absurdly hunky goof that makes these movies impossible to take seriously.  But Carradine just swallows the screen and director Richard Moore keeps the camera moving and the edits flowing in a way that rises it above the level of, like a Golan-Globus sword-and-underwear junker, although the story is similarly pointless and the world created is that same vague shoddy not-earth-but-kind-of-like-Ancient-Rome world that is in alll these movies.


And Roddy McDowell, Christopher Lee, and Eli Wallach all show up as well.  They are all of that same type as Carradine, even in junk, they are so effortlessly into it and never look bored or embarassed.


Add some better fight scenes, a less Sam-Jones-as-Flash-Gordon goof as the lead, and a less uncompromising, "Hey, it's still 1979 so you get no ending" ending (yes, Bruce, we get it...there is no answer...but it's still a movie, could we at least have him fight a dragon at the end or something...or have Christopher Lee shoot fireballs at him? anything???)...and it wouldn't be half bad.

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Watched Olympus Has Fallen tonight which is a pretty watchable little US vs. terrorists flick.  Gerard Butler is king-sized as a disgraced secret service who comes back to save the White House from a full frontal Korean attack.  Huge body count in this one.  Also, I'm pretty sure Butler busted out a flying headscissors and a cross armbreaker here.

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Silverlinings Playbook is pretty good until the last act in which you have a ton of cliches. Competition to save the ski resort er car wash er restaraunt! A misunderstanding that requires the guy to chase after the girl to confess his love! 360 rotating kiss cam! And it was going so well. The acting is pretty solid, with DeNiro going alllllllll in. There was a moment where I saw him so alive I could see that young dude who was playing Travis Bickle all those years ago peek out. And his big line where he tells the guy to go get the girl was so well delivered it popped me in the nose. Despite my complaints it's a pretty darn good movie with some really funny supporting characters, and some great lines. Bradley Cooper's reaction to finishing A Farewell to Arms is worth the price of admission.


Nashville is fucking classic. Robert Altman takes all these characters, and creates this essay on American culture, celebrity, politics, industry, music, ambition race - so much shit man. It's view point is informative but never feels didactic. Some tremendous shots, like the woman singing at a race track on a stage that says Nashville in massive red letters to people who can't hear her. It feels like some Godard tactics but he never really overindulges the way Godard sometimes. Once you get it, Altman moves on to the next, great idea. So check that out if you get a chance.


Sherlock Jr. - Holy crap Buster Keaton kills this so hard. His manipulation of the audience's perspective by utilizing the camera's depth perception is so genius. So many bits that you can't really focus on any one. It's only 45 minutes AND it's on Netflix Instant, so take a break from your Breaking Bad marathon'ing and watch this. And if you're like, "Hmm this guys is pretty awesome, I want MOAR." Then watch The General next and watch him do insane shit on a train.

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I have not watched Circle of Iron enough for it to grow on me, but I do enjoy the Neverwhere feel of the movie.  I am not fond of it, but it isn't the worst martial arts movie ever made.

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Captain America is still my favorite of the recent Avengers-based flicks.  Yes, above Iron Man and Avengers both.  It's got the best supporting cast (when's the last time you saw Tommy Lee Jones having this much fun?), the most badass villain, the most astonishing special effects, the best-staged action scenes, the most climactic-feeling final battle, the best score (random new Stephen Sondheim song!), the best blending of Golden, Silver, modern 616, and Ultimate storylines into one seamless package; and it kinda feels like it's trying to Say Something about the world more than the other flicks have tried to.  Plus it's a nice feather in the cap of director Joe Johnston, who has spent much of his career cranking out mediocre thrillers which showed promise but ultimately fell flat; not this time.  
I've become increasingly fond of Django Unchained upon repeat viewings.  When I first saw it in the theater I liked it, but thought it felt awfully derivative of Tarantino's other work after the turn of the century.  Now, I'm starting to really appreciate the different levels of acting, Tarantino's rather incredibly clever ability to slyly foreshadow a ton of things in rather subtle and sneaky manners, and the great choreography of the action scenes.  



I've actually been to that place with the stage that lowers out of the ceiling, where the woman is forced to perform that scornful striptease.  It's been a dinner theater for the past few decades, Chaffin's Dinner Barn, it's a nice joint.  

Sherlock Jr. - Holy crap Buster Keaton kills this so hard. His manipulation of the audience's perspective by utilizing the camera's depth perception is so genius. So many bits that you can't really focus on any one. It's only 45 minutes AND it's on Netflix Instant, so take a break from your Breaking Bad marathon'ing and watch this. And if you're like, "Hmm this guys is pretty awesome, I want MOAR." Then watch The General next and watch him do insane shit on a train.

I strongly co-sign all of this.


I think for modern musicals, my favorites are Les Miz and The Wiz.

Les Miz for me too; although I'm quite partial to Sweeney Todd, that one doesn't feel quiiiite perfect.  Although if we can count West Side Story as "modern", that one might count too.  Plus, never forget that all the best animated Disney movies tend to be musicals...


Same here. It's either Rocky Horror or nothing.

I like Rocky Horror, but that one's all about the live experience at the midnight shows.  Watching that movie alone by yourself can quickly get pretty tedious.  The cheap, slapdash nature of the production starts showing through, with countless little visible mistakes.  And if you step back and consider the whole picture, the plot really is a huge bummer with everyone having their lives at least halfway ruined and getting a neutral-at-best ending.  


Also, I go to school in the town where this and Shock Treatment are both set, Denton TX, which is kinda weird.  It's a standard mid-sized college town, you have to drive out a bit to find the kind of bumfuck-east farmland that the movie shows.  No castles, either.  

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Also, I go to school in the town where this and Shock Treatment are both set, Denton TX, which is kinda weird.  It's a standard mid-sized college town, you have to drive out a bit to find the kind of bumfuck-east farmland that the movie shows.  No castles, either.  


In the interest of nitpickery, they're set in Denton, OH. Janet's newspaper is the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.


and the phone-less castle was a rocketship from 1969. Of course it isn't still there. =D

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I do not like musicals. I do not like showtunes. I do not like Broadway. But I LOVE Rocky Horror. 


Ever watched Phantom of the Paradise?  I haven't seen it in years, but it's a lot of fun and sort of like Rocky Horror.



Fun fact, but Phantom of the Paradise bombed everywhere in the world except Winnipeg, where it was a monster hit and played in theatres for over a year. The album was certified Gold in Canada strictly because it sold 20 000 copies in Winnipeg alone. There have been two Phantompalooza fan conventions here in the last few years that have reunited the cast, the second of which had a Paul Williams concert. Theatres still show it here periodically.

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Singin' in the Rain is one of the greatest movies ever made.


I'm also that guy that genuinely loved Chicago, though it's not like I'd put these two films side by side or something.

Okay, so Rocky Horror and Singin' in the Rain. Though, for me I don't remember much of the music outside of the title song, it's more about the ridiculous dancing that really needs to be seen by everyone. Don't bother with The Artist, watch Singin' instead and you get kind of the same story but with better everything and so much more.

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If Team America and Cannibal: The Musical count, I vote for them as well.


And for another Busby Berkeley pick, Gold Diggers of 1935, one of the more subversively enjoyable films of the Hays Code years. The whole thing is clearly about kids trying to sneak away to fuck. It is filled with suggestive imagery and fantastic snappy double entendres.


Haven't watched either in years, but GD of 1933 and Dames are probably similar (I think Dames was the one with Powell and Keeler trying to outwit a decency group).

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