Random Thread for October, 2013

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So I might actually cave in and buy a video game system. What do you guys recommend? PS3, XBox, what? I see that PS3 has several different GB sizes. I don’t have a big screen TV, so should I go for something midrange? Should I wait for PS4?

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

69 responses »

  1. At this point, I’d probably wait a few months and pick up one of the next gen systems (PS4 or XBox One). It’s not going to cost you significantly more and you’re be set for at least 7-8 years.

    In terms of which to go with: what are you buying the system for? A specific game or type of game? Do you need Blu Ray capabilities?

  2. Yeah, I’ll probably wait until after Christmas. I’m looking to play games like Assassin’s Creed or Grand Theft Auto and sports games (NHL and MLB). I don’t have a Blu-Ray player, so if I got one with such a thing, that would be a plus.

  3. Facial and voice recognition and the ability to know how many people are in the room and what you’re talking about with a camera and a system that is ‘always on’?
    Sure, why not? XBox.

  4. Given what you’re looking to do, I’d probably go with the Playstation. It has all the games you’re into plus Blu-Ray, Netflix, YouTube, VUDU and a robust online video/gaming store.

  5. Why not go previous-gen?
    You have a library of used, cheaper games to choose from, games with great graphics and amazing gameplay and blu-ray and all the plethora of media avenues, it’s cheaper, and also has all the online content.

  6. Absolutely. There will be overlap for about a year, but slowly the games become exclusive to the next gen systems.

    Given how close we are to the changeover, I really would just go for a PS4 or Xbox One, knowing that your investment is safe for the better part of a decade.

  7. They don’t stop selling the old games, but whatever. Good luck in your choice.

    Wait, there was a Godzilla trailer?!

  8. As an aside: Whatever problems Hitch may have, they’re completely ameliorated by the ‘dance sequence’.

  9. Here are the submissions for the Foreign Language Film Oscar:

    Afghanistan, “Wajma – An Afghan Love Story,” Barmak Akram, director;
    Albania, “Agon,” Robert Budina, director;
    Argentina, “The German Doctor,” Lucía Puenzo, director;
    Australia, “The Rocket,” Kim Mordaunt, director;
    Austria, “The Wall,” Julian Pölsler, director;
    Azerbaijan, “Steppe Man,” Shamil Aliyev, director;
    Bangladesh, “Television,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;
    Belgium, “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
    Bosnia and Herzegovina, “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” Danis Tanovic, director;
    Brazil, “Neighboring Sounds,” Kleber Mendonça Filho, director;
    Bulgaria, “The Color of the Chameleon,” Emil Hristov, director;
    Cambodia, “The Missing Picture,” Rithy Panh, director;
    Canada, “Gabrielle,” Louise Archambault, director;
    Chad, “GriGris,” Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director;
    Chile, “Gloria,” Sebastián Lelio, director;
    China, “Back to 1942,” Feng Xiaogang, director;
    Colombia, “La Playa DC,” Juan Andrés Arango, director;
    Croatia, “Halima’s Path,” Arsen Anton Ostojic, director;
    Czech Republic, “The Don Juans,” Jiri Menzel, director;
    Denmark, “The Hunt,” Thomas Vinterberg, director;
    Dominican Republic, “Quien Manda?” Ronni Castillo, director;
    Ecuador, “The Porcelain Horse,” Javier Andrade, director;
    Egypt, “Winter of Discontent,” Ibrahim El Batout, director;
    Estonia, “Free Range,” Veiko Ounpuu, director;
    Finland, “Disciple,” Ulrika Bengts, director;
    France, “Renoir,” Gilles Bourdos, director;
    Georgia, “In Bloom,” Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors;
    Germany, “Two Lives,” Georg Maas, director;
    Greece, “Boy Eating the Bird’s Food,” Ektoras Lygizos, director;
    Hong Kong, “The Grandmaster,” Wong Kar-wai, director;
    Hungary, “The Notebook,” Janos Szasz, director;
    Iceland, “Of Horses and Men,” Benedikt Erlingsson, director;
    India, “The Good Road,” Gyan Correa, director;
    Indonesia, “Sang Kiai,” Rako Prijanto, director;
    Iran, “The Past,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
    Israel, “Bethlehem,” Yuval Adler, director;
    Italy, “The Great Beauty,” Paolo Sorrentino, director;
    Japan, “The Great Passage,” Ishii Yuya, director;
    Kazakhstan, “Shal,” Yermek Tursunov, director;
    Latvia, “Mother, I Love You,” Janis Nords, director;
    Lebanon, “Blind Intersections,” Lara Saba, director;
    Lithuania, “Conversations on Serious Topics,” Giedre Beinoriute, director;
    Luxembourg, “Blind Spot,” Christophe Wagner, director;
    Mexico, “Heli,” Amat Escalante, director;
    Moldova, “All God’s Children,” Adrian Popovici, director;
    Montenegro, “Ace of Spades – Bad Destiny,” Drasko Djurovic, director;
    Morocco, “Horses of God,” Nabil Ayouch, director;
    Nepal, “Soongava: Dance of the Orchids,” Subarna Thapa, director;
    Netherlands, “Borgman,” Alex van Warmerdam, director;
    New Zealand, “White Lies,” Dana Rotberg, director;
    Norway, “I Am Yours,” Iram Haq, director;
    Pakistan, “Zinda Bhaag,” Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors;
    Palestine, “Omar,” Hany Abu-Assad, director;
    Peru, “The Cleaner,” Adrian Saba, director;
    Philippines, “Transit,” Hannah Espia, director;
    Poland, “Walesa. Man of Hope,” Andrzej Wajda, director;
    Portugal, “Lines of Wellington,” Valeria Sarmiento, director;
    Romania, “Child’s Pose,” Calin Peter Netzer, director;
    Russia, “Stalingrad,” Fedor Bondarchuk, director;
    Saudi Arabia, “Wadjda,” Haifaa Al Mansour, director;
    Serbia, “Circles,” Srdan Golubovic, director;
    Singapore, “Ilo Ilo,” Anthony Chen, director;
    Slovak Republic, “My Dog Killer,” Mira Fornay, director;
    Slovenia, “Class Enemy,” Rok Bicek, director;
    South Africa, “Four Corners,” Ian Gabriel, director;
    South Korea, “Juvenile Offender,” Kang Yi-kwan, director;
    Spain, “15 Years Plus a Day,” Gracia Querejeta, director;
    Sweden, “Eat Sleep Die,” Gabriela Pichler, director;
    Switzerland, “More than Honey,” Markus Imhoof, director;
    Taiwan, “Soul,” Chung Mong-Hong, director;
    Thailand, “Countdown,” Nattawut Poonpiriya, director;
    Turkey, “The Butterfly’s Dream,” Yilmaz Erdogan, director;
    Ukraine, “Paradjanov,” Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors;
    United Kingdom, “Metro Manila,” Sean Ellis, director;
    Uruguay, “Anina,” Alfredo Soderguit, director;
    Venezuela, “Breach in the Silence,” Luis Alejandro Rodríguez and Andrés Eduardo Rodríguez, directors.

    I have seen exactly none of these. I believe The Grandmaster and Wajdja are the only two to have a U.S. release so far. Anyone know anything about any of the others? Rob?

  10. The Hunt was released here. It stars Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher accused of some kind of indecency with a student. IIRC it got a lot of acclaim but it looked like the kind of overwrought social drama that I can hardly stand, so I skipped it.

    Renoir was released here to, about the father-son relationship between Pierre-Auguste and Jean Renoir. I skipped that one, too, but from what I read about it, it seemed like generic soft-focus Oscar bait.

  11. I’ve only seen or have thoughts on a handful of these.

    THE HUNT is actually the best of what I’ve seen. To Brian’s concern, it could easily have gone the melodramatic route, but it avoids that thanks to some smart writing, a powerful lead performance, and a stellar ending.

    THE PAST is from the director of the excellent A SEPARATION and ABOUT ELLY. I haven’t seen it yet, but his resume makes it a must watch for me.

    THE WALL is a gorgeous film with a hook similar to the one in UNDER THE DOME and THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, but it also happens to be more than a little boring. It uses narration as an expository tool, and it becomes annoying very quickly.

    NEIGHBORING SOUNDS is an engaging ensemble drama that starts slightly comical but slowly builds into something more ominous. Good stuff.

    BACK TO 1942 is from the director of the Chinese earthquake drama AFTERSHOCK, which I loved, but I’ve seen few of his other films.

    People love THE GRANDMASTER, but I found it too showy for my tastes. Also, I presume Hong Kong submitted their local cut of the film but US audiences have only had the option of seeing the Weinstein cut that by every account is far inferior.

    Haven’t seen BORGMAN yet, but I’ve heard incredibly mixed things on it, like love or hate only.

    METRO MANILA is from Sean Ellis who previously made the interesting CASHBACK and the Twilight Zone-like THE BROKEN. He has a good eye, but both of his two earlier features would have worked far better as a short film.

  12. It’s funny, I don’t remember having a huge problem with inaudible dialogue in any movies. The worst I remember is Megatron in the first Transformers movie. Overall, though, it hasn’t been an issue for me.

    Contrary to the article, I don’t know if editing is any worse on average than it used to be. Obviously the old movies we remember tend to be the really good ones, but watch some random movie from back in the day and odds are it’ll be indifferently if not downright poorly edited. Just today I watched Billy Wilder’s Irma la Douce, for example, and good lord was it an editing mess. Talk about having a lot of fat to trim.

    I don’t really get the complaints about megaplexes, either. Go to one of the older movie theaters that is still in use and odds are pretty good that it was completely charmless, ill-designed, and sterile. If you’re lucky enough to have a genuine old-fashioned movie palace nearby, that’s one thing, but multiplexes of today are generally way better than the theaters I grew up visiting. This to me is like complaining about the ‘sterility’ of all the new baseball parks – it’s one thing to compare them to Wrigley Field, but I wonder how many of the people that make those types of complaints ever actually went to places like Fulton County Stadium or the Astrodome or Shea Stadium? In so many cases, the new is so much more appealing than the old that it seems silly to complain.

    The point about trailers is well-taken, but it’s so easy to avoid trailer overload that to me it’s a non-issue. If people are tired of all the trailers, STOP WATCHING THEM ALL. Personally, I’ll make it a point to watch the first trailer that’s released for a movie I really want to see, and then that’s it. If I happen to see another in front of a movie I’m seeing, fine, but I won’t seek it out. To think that people actually watched 15 minutes of footage for The Dark Knight Rises before the movie itself was actually released … well, that’s madness, but I can damn well tell you that I didn’t see anything close to that. It’s a self-inflicted wound if it’s a problem for anyone, and I don’t want to hear anyone complaining about it unless they were strapped down Clockwork Orange style and forced to watch them.

    I think 3 and 7 are genuinely insightful, though.

  13. My problem with multiplexes is the point the author makes where they’ll show five of one movie while other movies aren’t shown at all, but of course this is like King Canute talking to the waves because it’s just business. It would be great if multiplexes showed films that are usually the province of art houses, but this is not really the multiplex’s problem, but the distributers’. I know AMC makes it a point, supposedly, of trying to show indie films, but that’s not where the money is.

  14. No. 3 I would agree with, although arguing it by using the example of another version of ‘Dredd’ less than two decades after the last one wasn’t seemed an odd choice.

    No. 8 about editing was probably the best argued one, as it does make a valid theory as to what has baffled me for years as to why the length of blockbuster films continues to expand.

    Most of these points have been issues for a few decades at least. I’ve often read criticisms of films of the 1970s having inaudible dialogue (probably to convey the more ‘realistic’ style of the era) and of course Altman made an artform out of it back then, but it wouldn’t have pleased everybody.

  15. The length of “This is 40”, which may not be action, but I think it is every bit a ‘blockbuster’ in nature, was painfully…and I mean painfully long. Remarkably and insanely long for the rambling nature of the film.

  16. Contrary to the article, I don’t know if editing is any worse on average than it used to be…….but watch some random movie from back in the day…

    In referring to the modern blockbuster in the title I think the author sufficiently narrows his focus from complaining about all movies to just the big ones. I would almost be willing to bet money that a good hour could be cut from the upcoming Hobbit film without sacrifice to story or character, and I don’t even know what the running time is supposed to be.

    If people are tired of all the trailers, STOP WATCHING THEM ALL.

    This is easy for someone who doesn’t go to the theater much (me) and only watches online, but if you’re in the darkened room you’re moderately captive

    and I don’t want to hear anyone complaining about it unless they were strapped down Clockwork Orange style and forced to watch them

    because you don’t know if it’s going to be 5 minutes or 15 minutes until your movie starts. But you are absolutely right in that it dovetails into #10 because the general moviegoing public eats that stuff up. The 5-second tease for the 30 second teaser for the 2 minute trailers #1, 2 & 3 then the 8-minute clip “leaked” online….it’s loco crazy.
    Around the turn of the century PIXAR created trailers that did not include any movie footage (I’m thinking of Monsters Inc & Finding Nemo) but just teased the concept. Maybe we should get back to that, because a Superbowl commercial teasing an extended look online only to pay off with Robert Downey Jr looking into the camera a long time (an extended look…get it?) is just a slap in the face….or so I heard. From a friend. Yeah, that’s the ticket

  17. This is easy for someone who doesn’t go to the theater much (me) and only watches online, but if you’re in the darkened room you’re moderately captive

    The thing is, though, is that a good deal of the online nonsense doesn’t actually make it to theaters. Theaters will get an early teaser, then maybe one or two versions of a full 2.5-minute trailer, and that’s usually it. In some cases there’ll be an “extended trailer” in front of prominent IMAX releases or somesuch, but that’s relatively rare.

    I agree that it’s difficult to avoid all trailers altogether. Even someone who goes to theaters a lot, though, can easily avoid the kind of trailer madness described in the article.

  18. Gene Siskel left the theater during previews–I guess he hung near the door to hear when the main film was starting. I avoid trailers except when I’m in a theater–but I don’t go to the lengths Siskel did.

    The New York Times Magazine has a feature where they answer “Who made that?” and last week it was about movie popcorn. In the ’20s, movie theaters were like theaters that showed plays–they didn’t sell food, and didn’t allow it inside. It wasn’t until the 30s that popcorn stands were allowed to be set in lobbies of theaters, and those were by independent operators. Interesting that the entire business model has turned on its head–I’m sure Brian can verify that multiplex theaters make 90 percent of their profits from concessions. They are really snack stands that happen to show movies, not the other way around.

    There is a theater in New York City called the Paris that didn’t sell food at all, the only one I know of. I think it still exists, but I don’t know if they changed their tune. Hard to believe they could stay in business without selling food.

  19. Paris stays in business because they’re in a city that can handle it and a niche that is under-served, at least in a city of NYC’s size. Like the Ziegfeld (that is perilously close to closing) or the old Sony Astor Theater in Times Square (the most awesome theater that existed in NYC IMHO, was 1500(!) seats, and saw Return of the King and Godfather there), the Paris is a single screen that caters to art house crowds.I saw Branagh’s Hamlet in 70 mm. there.
    It’s a lot like the Brattle in Cambridge (also always thisclose to closing down). It has an audience. But how much longer, who knows.
    In fact, awesome, here’s a video of the 70mm. projection of Hamlet at the Paris:

  20. On that note, Radio City Music Hall is, by accounts I’ve seen, the largest screen in NYC at 70 feet. I saw Jaws there, but the sound was atrocious. I mean really, really bad.
    …just reminiscing, I guess.

  21. The Paris used to show only French films, but haven’t restricted themselves to that for about thirty years or more. I didn’t see Hamlet there, but I did see Branagh’s Henry V there.

    I saw a lot of films at Astor Place, including a lot of Best Pictures: Silence of the Lambs, Ordinary People, and Platoon.

  22. That escalator down to the theater at the Astor…it wasn’t pretty, but to step into that what felt like a block-long auditorium after the escalator down was awesome.
    I read that Platoon was a special showing exclusive to the Astor for a period of time when it was first released.

  23. MOst of the reviews for Captain Phillips are overabundant praise, if anything, but all of them talk about the jittery, handheld camera, Edelstein laments ‘Even in the ride to the airport’. I gotta admit, the first time I saw the trailer, I thought ‘Oh, man, not THIS camera again’. What was so perfectly utilized in the second Bourne movie has now become overused and overdone. And it would affect my choice to see it in the theaters, if I was going to watch it in the theaters.

  24. Yeah, if Fiennes wasn’t listed on the poster, I would mention Goldblum first.
    I thought everyone agreed Goldblum is a national acting treasure…if only for his ‘Jurassic Park laughter’. No?

  25. Apparently, to cover on HSX, Escape Plan only needs to make 9 million for the weekend. Is Escape Plan really only expected to make 9 million? Am I showing my age by being surprised by that?

  26. If I understood his Facebook posts properly, it appears Marco is getting married this weekend.

    Congratulations, sir!

  27. Has anyone seen The Silence? Watched it last night on Netflix and think it might be the best 2013 release I’ve seen to date. There are a couple of minor issues (particularly the performance of one of the leads) but it’s well worth checking out.

    I’m pretty surprised I haven’t heard about a remake yet. Seems like it would be catnip to Hollywood.

  28. It looks like Music Box released it theatrically back in March, but it never made Openings (yours, mine or Brian’s) so I can only assume it was extremely limited rollout. I only know about it because it came up as a suggested title on Netflix.

    Really, other than the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I’m at a loss to think of a title Music Box has handled well.

    Anyway, it’s a German drama about the psychological effects of two child murders on the parents, cops and killers themselves. Very much in the vein of Zodiac or Memories of Murder.

  29. HAGEBOC – is November 8th (with Thor: The Dark World) too early for anyone? I feel like we should probably start it there, but I’m open to any and all suggestions.

    I miss the long range questions that Nick incorporated into the early years of AGEBOC (example: picking the biggest “sleeper” hit of the season, the biggest bomb, etc at the start of the contest) so those will probably be resurrected here.

    Not sure if they will be in addition to or in place of the standard Bonus questions. Thoughts?

  30. Also – since I’ll be doing HAGEBOC, would anyone be interested in doing openings for December? Slim has November. I’ll pick it back up in January.

  31. I’m fine with HAGEBOC starting whenever someone is willing to start it, especially considering it petered out last year. As for December openings, perhaps Brian could be persuaded to come out of retirement for a month.

  32. Another question: excluding Slim and Rob – I think all of us missed multiple weeks in both AGEBOC and HAGEBOC over the last year.

    Does anyone think it would make more sense (and keep us on track) to switch to putting in guesses via email or Facebook or something different? To keep things transparent: I would still put in my picks on the website in advance.

  33. I will put guesses in whatever format or formats are acceptable. I usually miss because I outsmart myself thinking I’ll come back online at the last minute only to completely forget about it until well after the deadline.

    We have certainly lost some steam in multiple aspects… I really appreciate the work James & Slim do to keep Openings and Reviews up and running.

    If things go well tonight I may have something unique to review tomorrow. http://realescapegame.com/rersf1/

  34. Cool. Joe, you’re the most technical of us here (I think?) – can you look at our dashboard and help figure out why our pageviews are so dismal of late? The most viewed posts are things from many years ago, which doesn’t make any sense to me.

  35. If I understood his Facebook posts properly, it appears Marco is getting married this weekend.

    Congratulations, sir!

    Thanks James and filmman! Am on honeymoon for next few weeks so won’t be posting here much, but hopefully will be back in full swing on GE contributing reviews and the like by mid-November.

  36. We’ve stayed within Australia but have gone to a resort in Port Douglas, which is at the northern tip of the Australian continent whereas Melbourne is at the southern tip of the continent (distance is roughly 3000 kms or 1865 miles).

  37. Is anyone reviewing The Past? I was going to write on Brief Film Reviews, but if someone is going to review it, I’ll comment there…

  38. The Silence’s Baran Bo Odar’s next feature, WhoAmI has wrapped. The clues on his website seem to point to a cyber thriller of some kind, hopefully we see it in the states this year.

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