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post #121 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
Yes, I understand that the second half is a kind of parody of the main character’s dilemma - earlier he complains about the pressure to insert action, car chases, etc, into the scripts he writes, so it is meant to be ironic when the film he is both scripting and starring in dissolves into exactly those sorts of clichés. I get the joke, but to me it seems to be exactly that - a joke, and one that undermines everything that precedes it...It is funny, but it isn't worth the cost to the film overall.
The genius of the movie's ending is that, although it is clearly meant to be ironic, the film refuses to end with a punchline.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
There's no, "Ah ha, he was just imagining all that because he's really crazy! His brother never really existed!" revelation. The movie sets its ending up as a joke, and then pulls back and tells us that it was all real. His brother really did die. Charlie wasn't a crazy person. He's a sane person now left alone in the world.


It's poignant, really.

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post #122 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 02:33 PM
 
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I don't know if I would call what happens in the second half of Adaptation a joke. It struck me the same way Memento did in the "Aha" factor. I liked them both but thought Memento was more enjoyable. (for me)
I own them both.
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post #123 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 03:00 PM
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Good Carrey flicks include the Truman Show and Dumb & Dumber. The latter was the Carrey schtick pulled off very well. The former was just a good movie.
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post #124 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 03:33 PM
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"I don't know if I would call what happens in the second half of Adaptation a joke."

Just to show I wasn't the only one who disliked it and thought it was a joke, this is from David Denby's review, writing for the New Yorker:


"What then envelops Orlean and Laroche and Charlie (who writes himself into the story) is awful nonsense. Drugs, guns, car crashes, alligators—the movie becomes a complete shambles, and far more desperate than anything conventional filmmakers would fall into. It's hard to know how to read this mess of an ending. Is it a way of throwing in the towel after a long struggle and "adapting" to Hollywood? Or is it meant to be taken as a savage parody of selling out? The first possibility is sad, the second condescending to the audience."

Okay, so he calls it a "parody," but that's more or less a joke. I don't always agree with everything Denby writes but I thought he was dead on here. I cared about Charlie's charachter in Adaptation for most of the movie - it did a really good job of bringing him to life and offered a unique take on a screenwriter's experience in Hollywood - then when it turned into a cartoon, right about when the alligator got introduced, I pretty much stopped caring. Even if we're supposed to be touched by the death of a major charachter, by that point, I just didn't care anymore. It was like watching someone build an intricate sand castle, then smashing it just for the hell of it.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #125 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
"I don't know if I would call what happens in the second half of Adaptation a joke."

Just to show I wasn't the only one who disliked it and thought it was a joke, this is from David Denby's review, writing for the New Yorker:


"What then envelops Orlean and Laroche and Charlie (who writes himself into the story) is awful nonsense. Drugs, guns, car crashes, alligators—the movie becomes a complete shambles, and far more desperate than anything conventional filmmakers would fall into. It's hard to know how to read this mess of an ending. Is it a way of throwing in the towel after a long struggle and "adapting" to Hollywood? Or is it meant to be taken as a savage parody of selling out? The first possibility is sad, the second condescending to the audience."

Okay, so he calls it a "parody," but that's more or less a joke. I don't always agree with everything Denby writes but I thought he was dead on here. I cared about Charlie's charachter in Adaptation for most of the movie - it did a really good job of bringing him to life and offered a unique take on a screenwriter's experience in Hollywood - then when it turned into a cartoon, right about when the alligator got introduced, I pretty much stopped caring. Even if we're supposed to be touched by the death of a major charachter, by that point, I just didn't care anymore. It was like watching someone build an intricate sand castle, then smashing it just for the hell of it.
I found the more subtle irony of the film that in the end it really did solve Kaufman's dilemma-- I mean, he really did have to adapt an unfilmable book. So he found a way to put all that "horrendous crap" in the movie and get himself off the hook, while the whole time making it ironic and obvious that that is what he was doing. It's so weird and layered, and I thought it worked great.

For the record, I thought Being John Malchovich was actually over-hyped baloney. A few good chuckles but talk about useless unredeemed characters. Yecch.

Don't taze me, bro!!
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post #126 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 09:45 PM
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What can I say, Fred, I loved Being John Malchovich. It thought it established the same wonderfully bizarre/unique tone and kept it consistent all the way through (and thus, somehow, for me at least, believable, unlike Adaptation which switches alligators midstream, so-to-speak.) The experience of watching BJM is what has me looking forward to screening Eternal Sunshine...

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #127 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
What can I say, Fred, I loved Being John Malchovich. It thought it established the same wonderfully bizarre/unique tone and kept it consistent all the way through (and thus, somehow, for me at least, believable, unlike Adaptation which switches alligators midstream, so-to-speak.) The experience of watching BJM is what has me looking forward to screening Eternal Sunshine...
I figure Kaufman is even money so I'm still interested. And there were things to like about BJM, I probably sounded overly harsh in my post- it certainly was original. I'm interested in Sunshine largely for director Michele Gondry, who has almost managed to elevate music video to a true art. His videos for Bjork are just astonishing.

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post #128 of 144 Old 05-13-2004, 11:28 PM
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"His videos for Bjork are just astonishing."

Did he do that one where she starts dancing then floats up in the air? Kind of a throwback to old movie musicals? That was amazing...The one with the giant walking monster teddy bear was pretty cool too.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #129 of 144 Old 05-14-2004, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
"His videos for Bjork are just astonishing."

Did he do that one where she starts dancing then floats up in the air? Kind of a throwback to old movie musicals? That was amazing...The one with the giant walking monster teddy bear was pretty cool too.
He did the teddy bear one- that was his first for her, I think. The musical one you're thinking of was Spike Jonze- sometime director of Charlie Kaufman movies. Gondry did two in black and white for her, called Isobel and Bachlorette that are amazing. Apparently he pulls of most of his special effects low budget and largely in-camera. He invents new shooting techniques to pull his stuff off- quite a guy. Palm Pictures did a great DVD set on him and Spike:

Director's Series

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post #130 of 144 Old 05-14-2004, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by FredProgGH
I figure Kaufman is even money so I'm still interested. And there were things to like about BJM, I probably sounded overly harsh in my post- it certainly was original. I'm interested in Sunshine largely for director Michele Gondry, who has almost managed to elevate music video to a true art. His videos for Bjork are just astonishing.
Have you seen the Kaufman-scripted/Gondry-directed "Human Nature"? It's really bad. Astoundingly so, actually.

Nonetheless, Eternal Sunshine is a winner. From your comments, I think both you and Gray will like it.

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post #131 of 144 Old 05-14-2004, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Josh Z
Have you seen the Kaufman-scripted/Gondry-directed "Human Nature"? It's really bad. Astoundingly so, actually.

D'oh, really? I didn't know they had already collaborated on a project. So it sounds like the whole group is probably 50/50 for me (assuming I actually do like Spotless).

Considering the common thread I'm surprised Bjork hasn't turned up in any of these films yet.

Hey Josh, did you like BJM??

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post #132 of 144 Old 05-14-2004, 11:58 AM
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Fred, I just saw previews for the Palm Pictures DVDS - I just watched Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator - great documentary, by the way, and it had previews for all the DVDs you mentioned...

Sounds like Eternal Sunshine is a definite must see for me.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #133 of 144 Old 05-14-2004, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by FredProgGH
Hey Josh, did you like BJM??
To be honest, not especially. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but I kept feeling through the whole thing that Jonze was desperately aping Terry Gilliam, and not succeeding all that well. I liked Adaptation a lot better.

Eternal Sunshine combines the best aspects of each. Despite the obvious Phil K. Dick set-up for the plot, it's in my opinion Kaufman's strongest script.

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post #134 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 01:47 AM
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I was content to let this thread die a natural death, but tonight I watched one of the most laugh-out-loud ridiculous films I've seen in a long, long time: The Hunted. I'm interested in knife/stick fighting and martial arts like Kali and I'd read that some of the knife fighting scenes in The Hunted were pretty cool.
So I thought what the hell, I'll give it a shot...
Well, the knife fighting scenes were just plain silly. The two main characters are highly trained professional killers who stab AND slash each other MULTIPLE times without doing any actual critical damage (until, that is, the director decides its finally time for the movie to end). How is this even remotely possible? If they were supposed to be super-human androids, I missed the scene where this was explained. Instead I literally laughed out loud several times during what - I imagine - were meant to be highly suspenseful, life-and-death struggles.
Okay, so the fighting scenes were really stupid. Maybe the terrific plot and dialogue made up for this? Uh, no, actually, they don't: there wasn't much of a plot and what there was was either recycled from other movies or existed solely to set up yet another ridiculous battle between our two superhuman androids.
Tommy Lee Jones plays the "good" android and we know he's good because the first scene shows him freeing a wild wolf that has been caught in a snare. Now this is a WILD wolf, remember, and one that has been injured. Nothing more dangerous than a trapped or injured wild predator. So of course the wolf peacefully allows Jones to lift up its paw and unwrap the snare. I mean, it's not like an injured wild predator would try to BITE a strange human who approached it or anything...Did I mention that Jones was the "good" android? The one with the power to communicate telepathically with injured wolves so they know he means them no harm?
Anyway, this movie was very, VERY stupid, in pretty much every conceivable way. There's even a beautiful female super model FBI agent who frowns meaningfully at Jones every few minutes but adds absolutely nothing to the plot. (How come whenever I get arrested by the FBI it's never by one of the super model agents?)
Yes, I know that some of you will no doubt respond to my criticisms of this movie by saying how much you enjoyed The Hunted, how much fun you had watching it, etc, etc. But that's not the point. The POINT was that the movie was unbelievably stupid, and just for kicks I checked to see what Mr. Ebert thought of it. I mean, he watches a LOT of movies, surely he'd recognize a REALLY stupid one when he saw it - right?

No, actually, uh, he gave The Hunted a pretty positive review. And he thought the fight scenes were "reality-orientated."

From his review:

"Consider an early hand-to-hand combat between Bonham and Hallam. We've seen so many fancy high-tech computer-assisted fight scenes in recent movies that we assume the fighters can fly. They live in a world of gravity-free speed-up. Not so Friedkin's characters. Their fight is gravity-based. Their arms and legs are heavy. Their blows land solidly, with pain on both sides. They gasp and grunt with effort. They can be awkward and desperate. They both know the techniques of hand-to-hand combat, but in real life, it isn't scripted, and you know what? It isn't so easy. We are involved in the immediate, exhausting, draining physical work of fighting.

The chase sequences--through Oregon forests and city streets, on highways and bridges--are also reality-oriented. The cinematography, by the great Caleb Deschanel ("The Right Stuff") buries itself in the reality of the locations. The forests are wet and green, muddy and detailed. The leaves are not scenery but right in front of our faces, to be brushed aside. Running, hiding, stalking, the two men get dirty and tired and gasp for breath. We feel their physical effort; this isn't one of those movies where shirts are dry again in the next scene, and the hero has the breath for long speeches."


That's right. He thought the fight scenes were realistic because the fighters didn't "fly." They were "gravity-based." And I love those "wet and green" forests. Man, that's reality for you. I can't wait for Ebert to reveal in his next review how realistic an ocean-based scene is because the sea is "deep and blue."

Ebert may or may not be a hack. I guess it depends on how you define the word "hack." But watching The Hunted, and then reading his review for The Hunted, has convinced me of one thing: as a film reviewer - he's an idiot.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #135 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
I was content to let this thread die a natural death, but tonight I watched one of the most laugh-out-loud ridiculous films I've seen in a long, long time: The Hunted.
Whoa- for a minute I thought you were going to dis the Christopher Lambert movie!! (OK, that one's silly too, but it's a lot of fun. Tarzan vs. ninjas on the Bullet Train?? Sweet....)

:p

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post #136 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 02:26 AM
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Any movie with ninjas is automatically critic-proof, Fred. You just can't have enough ninjas. Plus if you insult a movie with ninjas in it, you risk invoking their wrath. And we all know how deadly ninjas can be.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #137 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 05:56 AM
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Have yall noticed how seriously some of these things are taking themselves? Movies and TV both. The monsters in Van Helsing, the monsters in The Sopranos, the Ninjas in Kill Bill, you name it.
Where the hell is National Lampoon when we need them?
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post #138 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis
Any movie with ninjas is automatically critic-proof, Fred. You just can't have enough ninjas. Plus if you insult a movie with ninjas in it, you risk invoking their wrath. And we all know how deadly ninjas can be.
Ninjas are sooooooooo sweet!

Gray, I gave up on William Friedkin a long time ago. He had a few good movies in him in the 70s and early 80s, but after To Live and Die in LA (pretty ridiculous itself but still enjoyable) almost without exception every movie he's made has been flat-out terrible.

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post #139 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 01:15 PM
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"Gray, I gave up on William Friedkin a long time ago. He had a few good movies in him in the 70s and early 80s, but after To Live and Die in LA (pretty ridiculous itself but still enjoyable) almost without exception every movie he's made has been flat-out terrible."

I think I still held some dim hope that Friedkin would somehow recapture his former glory, Josh, but I agree with your assessment completely (including your take on Live and Die - absurd but fun.)
It just seems inexplicable that the director of such classics like The Exorcist (still one of my top ten favorite horror films) and The French Connection would go so completely downhill, but the evidence at this point is pretty incontrovertible.

Which makes me curious: Why do certain directors sometimes drive off a cinematic cliff - never to recover? I guess the answer varies for each individual, but I wonder if there are some general reasons once talented filmmakers lose it so completely. I tried watching the making-of-The-Hunted mini-documentary out of curiosity (the same impulse, perhaps, that makes people slow down when they pass a particularly catastrophic car wreck) but it was too painful...Friedkin seems genuinely enthusiastic about the project and completely unaware of just how awful his film will turn out to be.

Since he obviously hadn't had a chance to watch the end result yet, seeing as how the movie was still in the process of being made, his enthusiasm for it is (somewhat) inexcusable...but Ebert has no such excuse.

Not only did he give the final movie a good review, he singled out its most fatal and obvious flaw - glaringly unrealistic fight scenes - for special praise, describing them in terms ("reality-orientated") that are the exact opposite of what’s actually shown on the screen…

I think it's possible some critics - like Ebert - simply burn out. They've reviewed so many movies, and in particular, so many bad movies, that they lose any sense of perspective, judging the movie they're currently reviewing based only on the last movie they reviewed (or the last ten movies they reviewed) instead of judging it based on some slightly more objective standards.

You can get a clear sense of this in Ebert's Hunted review. Because the combatants don't fly around in the air and manipulate gravity - like they did in The Matrix - he thinks they're “realistic.†And IF you put the two films side by side and ONLY judge them solely in relation to each other, well - yeah - the fight scenes in The Hunted do look more realistic than the fight scenes in The Matrix. But so what? Not only is this - in general - a nonsensical way to review movies, in this particular case it makes NO sense even if you DO think it's a good methodology for a film reviewer. The fight scenes in The Matrix were, of course, never supposed to look "realistic;" they're occurring, after all, in what is supposed to be an artificial version of reality. This is the exact opposite of the fighting in The Hunted, which goes to great lengths to suggest how authentic the combat is, depicting the character’s military training, knife fighting classes, etc. What we have are two entirely different approaches which you think a rational person would know are, by their nature, incomparable. The ONLY way you could claim that the fighting in The Hunted is realistic is by comparing it to a movie like The Matrix. Ebert might as well have reviewed The Hunted based on how realistic it is compared to Dawn of the Dead, or West Side Story, for that matter. ("Unlike in West Side Story, where the charachters frequently break into song and dance for no apparent reason, The Hunted offers a much more realistic approach to bla bla bla")

Not only are the two films different in what they set out to do, more importantly, they are vastly different in how they SUCCEED in doing it. One - The Matrix - succeeds brilliantly in what it is trying to do, while the other - The Hunted - fails miserably. That Ebert could get the two mixed up and review The Hunted the way he did seems almost as inexplicable to me as Friedkin's long descent into mediocrity.

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #140 of 144 Old 05-16-2004, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Josh Z
Ninjas are sooooooooo sweet!

Wow, I never knew a webpage could exist that so completely demonstrates how totally sweet ninjas are!!

As for Friedkin, yeah, he sure has had quite a losing streak though I thought Rules Of Engagement was actually pretty decent.

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post #141 of 144 Old 05-17-2004, 08:01 AM
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"Wow, I never knew a webpage could exist that so completely demonstrates how totally sweet ninjas are!!"

If you guys think that webpage is cool, you should check THIS guy out:

http://www.ashidakim.com/

Don't f_ck with him! He's a REAL ninja. Not only will he teach you his amazing ninja skills if you buy his books, I think he also offers classes on how to be a Jedi Knight...

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #142 of 144 Old 05-17-2004, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gray Davis

Don't f_ck with him! He's a REAL ninja. Not only will he teach you his amazing ninja skills if you buy his books, I think he also offers classes on how to be a Jedi Knight...
Who knew that James Brown was a ninja! That's cool.

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post #143 of 144 Old 05-17-2004, 08:40 AM
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Strange thing about "Ashida Kim" is that his followers really believe he is a ninja and pay good money to attend his training courses, buy his books, etc. (I wonder if Ebert would find his teachings "reality-based?")

People of California! The moment will soon be here when you will ALL be sorry for what you have done to me! Your time of reckoning is growing near. Your cities will lie in smoldering ruins, your women will be ravished. Your men will cry bitter tears. You will ALL feel my wrath.
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post #144 of 144 Old 05-17-2004, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by FredProgGH
As for Friedkin, yeah, he sure has had quite a losing streak though I thought Rules Of Engagement was actually pretty decent.
Speaking in terms of just the filmmaking/storytelling itself, it was less incompetant than most of his recent movies. But I find the politics of the story pretty deplorable.

Josh Z
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