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post #8071 of 8085 Old 03-11-2015, 01:48 PM
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Saw in the theater, picked up the Walmart version, it does have Atmos ... haven't gotten to yet.
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post #8072 of 8085 Old 03-11-2015, 02:00 PM
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Last night I rewatched Ben-Hur (1959; Netflix: Blu-ray & DVD; IMDB: title) 3.3 stars out of 5 (average of 628,973 Netflix viewers: 4.0 stars out of 5), first time I had seen it on a screen larger than 21-in SD; I watched the two Blu-ray discs on my 50-in HDTV. (Yes, at 212 minutes = 3.5+ hours, it consumed most of the evening.)



Netflix summary: Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race and earned 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler). Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.

I have been slowly going through some of the movies I really liked in the past but had most recently watched on a 21-in or smaller SD screen, and viewing them on a 50-in HDTV if Netflix has the disc, or at least on the 32-in HDTV if on a cable channel. My preference is actually Blu-ray on the 50-in HDTV, so this is the first time I saw Ben-Hur entirely in the 2.76:1 aspect ratio. (Past viewings were all pan-and-slash with transition to letterbox for the chariot race, and transition back to pan-and-slash after the race.) It really does make a difference in a lot of movies to view them in their original aspect ratios on a sufficiently large screen, and that's also true with this movie, as, for example, near the closing scene where in OAR one sees a crowd gathering to the hill to hear The Prophet, whereas in pan-and-slash one gets only a hit of people gathering on that hill.

Would you believe that in one home group I meet with someone mentioned that the only difference Blu-ray makes is that the colors are a bit different? I spoke up and mentioned the improved resolution, the improved detail one can see if the TV is large enough, but the TV that was in the house where we were meeting wouldn't be large enough to see the added detail.

If that comment is representative of the average person, no wonder why Blu-ray discs haven't overtaken DVDs in the retail outlets!

My very humble setup:
Man Cave:Vizio E500i-A1 "Smart TV" (50-in 1080p 120Hz LED/LCD, has Netflix app.), Sony BDP-S3100 Blu-ray player, Roku N1000 (original model), PC (Windows 7), Comcast Internet (120Mbps/12Mbps).
Bedroom:LG 32LV3400-UA TV (32-in 768p 60Hz LED/LCD), HD DVR (Motorola RNG200N), Xfinity Comcast cable (Digital Preferred Plus), DVD/VHS player.
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post #8073 of 8085 Old 03-12-2015, 07:01 PM
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Watched Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb (2014)
2.9/5 (amazon 4.3/5, imdb 6.3/10, rotten tomatoes 61%, AVS Ralph Potts: 3/5)
A fairly good revisiting.
An opportunity missed was bringing the British night guard in to panic as he had done in the first one.
Some have said it was just everyone fulfilling their contractual obligation to do a third film; it's better than that, but not much.
The Pompeii gag is better than the Pompeii movie we got earlier this year.
Basically it falls nicely into "Oh, its a sequel. What do you expect?"
I don't think one can say that Dick Van Dyke phoned it in -- he dances better than me.
I didn't get the feeling they were trying to educate anyone about history, or convince anyone to go to a museum.
They went out of their way plot wise to ensure this will be the last in the series, although there are minor rumors of a forth being considered.
Robin Williams seems too thin to be Roosevelt this time, and is quoting things that Roosevelt did not say.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8074 of 8085 Old 03-15-2015, 06:46 PM
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Watched Trancers 1 (1984), Trancers 2 (1991, Trancers 3 (1992), Trancers 4 (1994), Trancers 5 (1994)
2/5 (amazon 3.9/5, imdb 6.2/10, rotten tomatoes 51%)
Came in a 5 DVD pack called "Ultimate Deth Collection" (named after Jack Deth the primary character).


Trancers 1 wasn't that great, but it was nifty seeing Helen Hunt (Twister (1996), Mad About You (1992 etc)) so much younger and thinner.
Trancers 2 and 3 were more of the same. Although it had no production values, it was strangely more rewarding than some of the big budget films I've seen the past 12 months.
Trancers 4, although most people seem to hate, I thought was the best of the series and found myself enjoying it. The bad guys are extra terrestrial trancer vampires from an alternate dimension and time. Shot at the Gothic Corvin Castle in Romania, the scenery is good. In "the making of", actor Tim Thomerson mentions how he's here doing another one of these cheap movies, and Helen Hunt is off doing a series at a million dollars an hour.
The plot and characters/actors of Trancers 4 continues in Trancers 5.


Trancers 1:
Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is a trooper in Angel City, circa 2247, mopping up the last of the disciples of the Martin Whistler. Whistler 'trances' those with weak minds and force them to obey his every desire. Tranced people are incredibly strong and without conscience. Whistler had been thought to be dead by 'now' (2247), but he's alive and well, and in the year 1985. Whistler's plan - to hunt down the ancestors of the City Council. With the Council disbanded, nothing is to stop Whistler from controlling the city. That's where Jack Deth fits in. Jack is sent back in time by inhabiting the body of his ancestor. The only problem is that Whistler's ancestor is a police detective, and he's begun trancing people back in 1985. With the help of Leena (Helen Hunt), a strong-minded semi punk rock girl, he must find and protect Hap Ashby, a former baseball pitcher now living on Skid Row, and face Whistler in a final confrontation.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8075 of 8085 Old 03-20-2015, 08:55 PM
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Watched Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
3/5 (amazon 4.4/5, imdb 6.8/10, Decent Films: C-, rotten tomatoes 72%)
When I saw the preview with the spy penguins rolling over the black and white stripped floor using their natural black white camouflage, I knew I just had to see this film.
I had 'I wanna be entertained!' expectations, and I was.
When the sheep was kicked out, I laughed. I smiled frequently. I enjoyed it.
It sets a fast pace, and never lets up for a second. The rapid fire jokes have a few duds, but there's so many of them!
This movie just lets its freak flag fly and goes for broke.
It won't be a classic like Airplane!, but I had a good time, and I'm not embarrassed to say it.
Ok, maybe I'm a little embarrassed -- but not a lot embarrassed!
Ok, maybe a lot embarrassed -- but I still had a good time!


Best line of film: "Nicholas, cage them! Drew, Barry, More power!"
J_P_A likes this.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8076 of 8085 Old 03-20-2015, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BasementBob View Post
Watched Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
3/5 (amazon 4.4/5, imdb 6.8/10, Decent Films: C-, rotten tomatoes 72%)
When I saw the preview with the spy penguins rolling over the black and white stripped floor using their natural black white camouflage, I knew I just had to see this film.
I had 'I wanna be entertained!' expectations, and I was.
When the sheep was kicked out, I laughed. I smiled frequently. I enjoyed it.
It sets a fast pace, and never lets up for a second. The rapid fire jokes have a few duds, but there's so many of them!
This movie just lets its freak flag fly and goes for broke.
It won't be a classic like Airplane!, but I had a good time, and I'm not embarrassed to say it.
Ok, maybe I'm a little embarrassed -- but not a lot embarrassed!
Ok, maybe a lot embarrassed -- but I still had a good time!


Best line of film: "Nicholas, cage them! Drew, Barry, More power!"
The celebrity puns had us in stitches. My favorite was "Charlize! They're on the ray!" Having Werner Herzog voice the documentarian was genius.

Looky here!

Last edited by robnix; 03-20-2015 at 10:01 PM.
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post #8077 of 8085 Old 03-20-2015, 10:06 PM
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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Mastered in 4K)

It's ok.
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post #8078 of 8085 Old 03-21-2015, 06:14 AM
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Watched Predestination (2014)
3/5 (amazon 3.8/5, imdb 7.5/10, rotten tomatoes 76%, AVS Ralph Potts: 4/5)
I liked it more than Bob, I think. I like sci-fi to be about philosophical issues and not about technology. Sarah Snook, Australian actress you won't recognize, is quite good in this. Ethan Hawke delivers the quality performance you would expect from him (take that how you will - I'm not a big fan of Hawke, but there's nothing to complain about here). Being based on a short story, the screenplay declines to expound upon the implications of the denouement - wins points from me - but like Bob, I saw it coming about half-way through - doesn't lose points from me.

The direction is quite competent; overall production design very strong; costuming and makeup top notch, IMO. Ralph and Bob both mention problems with pacing, I didn't find them.

I give it a B+, which is a pretty strong endorsement for me.
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post #8079 of 8085 Old 03-21-2015, 07:25 AM
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Having Werner Herzog voice the documentarian was genius.
'Encounters at the End of the World (2007)', 'depressed penguin' documentarian Werner Herzog
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post #8080 of 8085 Old 03-22-2015, 10:10 PM
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Watched Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
2.3/5 (amazon 2.7/5, imdb 6.2/10, rotten tomatoes 28%, Decent Films: B-, AVS Ralph Potts: 2/5)
Hugely weaker than "The Ten Commandments (1956)"
Once again (Son Of God, Noah), there’s plenty of creative license compared to the Bible.
In Ridley Scott’s burning-bush sequence Christian Bale’s Moses sees and hears a young boy, not a beatific boy speaking in dulcet tones like a proper Christian angel, but a scowling boy with a curt manner and a temper. Fortunately, the boy is not God himself, but a heavenly messenger -- there is biblical warrant for the idea that Moses encountered a messenger (or angel) of the Lord (Hebrew malak YHWH) at the burning bush (see Exodus 3:2, Acts 7:30-38). Nonetheless I found it off putting. Not because he represented a vengeful and unforgiving God, which has some similarity to Old Testament, but simply because he just came off so petty.
The delusional 'oh you hit your head on a rock' sequence didn't help either.
Military General Moses spending time teaching the Israelites how to become a resistance army, didn't seem right either. They didn't have time to make bricks without straw, but they had time to make all these weapons and practice.
Moses confronts Rameses only twice, once with a sword to Rameses' throat. Say what? The Plagues of Egypt, became assault without context.
And the parting of the seas, well they didn't visibly part. And when they came back together, Moses was still way out in the water.
Once again, as seems the tradition of the past decade in film, the narration tears down the magnificence of the man Profit Moses, as well as God. Similar to what was done in the last Superman, with superman being thief and scared and doubting, none of which are elements of traditional superman and if any of them had been the comic book wouldn't have made it to the sixth edition.
I doubt I'll watch it again, but I will offer it as an option to visiting Bible-ing relatives.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8081 of 8085 Old 03-23-2015, 12:26 AM
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Watched Kill the Messenger (2015)
3.3/5 (amazon 4.2/5, imdb 7/10, rotten tomatoes 72%)
A reporter becomes the target of a huge smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.
The first half is his stumbling upon and then bringing the story out; and then true to the title certainly the government and somewhat the business rivals namely other larger newspapers, set out to destroy his credibility, his livelihood, and his life, when they can't themselves dig out any more information.
The film is interesting and involving, from the opening scene till the last. It's well paced and well directed. Jeremy Renner may not seem like much of an actor as archer Hawkeye in 'The Avengers (2012)' but in the right role he's fantastic; this is one of those roles, and he carries the film on his shoulders.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8082 of 8085 Old Yesterday, 10:39 PM
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Watched Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)
2.5/5 (amazon 3.9/5, imdb 6.3/10)
Brought to you by Full Moon (Puppet Master, Trancers, etc)
A demoness from Hell, Veronica Iscariot, uninterested in tormenting the souls of damned sinners, ascends to the world above and finds our world full of evil and corruption. Veronica decides her mission in life is to punish the wicked and evil and goes about this with a bloody vengeance. Along the way she meets and falls in love with a doctor, Max Harris, who tends her wounds after an accident.
Budget: $350,000
While certainly not more than a B- movie, due to some good acting and a lot of bad acting, it does have some things that are unique.
For starters the devil doesn't make an appearance in hell, instead the demons of hell inflicting their torments on the wicked are under the umbrella and watchful direction of heaven's angels.
Hell is well portrayed.
Actor Nicholas Worth, whom I remember most from Swamp Thing (1982) and Darkman (1990), makes an bit part appearance as her father.
She (Angela Featherstone as Veronica), a demoness complete with wings and little horns and claws and big feet, flees hell with her dog, somewhat because she disagrees with everyone.
Upon reaching the surface of the Earth, she discovers violent sinners, and as is her nature she is compelled to act against them, vigilante style -- much to the death of the wicked, and the visual and spiritual terror of the almost victims who escape unharmed due to her intervention.
She takes on evil at all levels without fear, from street thugs, to various positions of authority, including the mayor.
Although fearsome, when caught off guard she is mortal.
Some bits have inspired depth, mixed with plot bits that are thin as tissue paper.
Interesting film.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #8083 of 8085 Old Yesterday, 10:53 PM
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Watched Maleficent (2014)
3.5/5 (amazon 4.6/5, imdb 7.1/10, rotten tomatoes 71%, AVS Ralph Potts 3.5/5)
Based on the previews I thought I'd wait until it showed up for free to watch this, and even then I didn't have high expectations.
After seeing it, I ended up buying it.
Walt Disney. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal - an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king's successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom - and perhaps to Maleficent's true happiness as well.
A retelling of the sleeping beauty tale, with a few plot changes.
I really enjoyed the young Maleficent, the first 15 minutes of the film. The flying and landscape were pretty CGI.
Juno Temple as Thistletwit was amusing, set off with her two fairy sisters.
Overall, a more pleasant film than I was expecting.
Budget: $180 million
Worldwide Gross: $757 million
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post #8084 of 8085 Old Yesterday, 11:08 PM
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Watched The Imitation Game (2014)
3.9/5 (amazon 4.6/5, imdb 8.1/10, rotten tomatoes 93%)
Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
I was a little worried from the other movie previews on this disk -- as I don't think I'd like any of them, but the film itself was good.
Especially, of course, when the machine works for the first time -- nicely done with a bit of running around.
Good acting. Good sets. Good plot. Good lines.
The only thing that bothered me, moviewise, was the 1930 cars were clean -- they should have been dusty.
They take some liberties/simplification with the codebreaking.
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Budget: $14,000,000
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post #8085 of 8085 Unread Today, 07:01 AM
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♦ Mucho CGI in that sandal flick from the Kings of yesteryears. In 3D it reflects even more. ...And the soundtrack is grandiose as well, and the music.
- Overall (film + picture & sound quality): 3.5 (out of 5). ...Me (3D on Blu).

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♦ Reality check in the world we live in. ...Based on true story.
- Overall (film): 101% (a must see). ...On Blu too..

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♦ Disney & Angelina.
- Overall (F+P+S): 3.5 (3.25 for 3D version). ...Blu of course.

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♦ Reality check, from a true story perspective.
- Overall (everything): 101% (see it). ...I just did. ...On Blu-ray of course (2D).

__________

* I also watched (revisited) 'The Hurt Locker' the night before.



-> Replay value: 3.25 (out of 5, as it was roughly 24 hours ago, @ the time).
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