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Thread: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

  1. #101
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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Great Job! Going to watch it.

  2. #102
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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Which movie?

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  3. #103
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    X-Men: First Class (2011)


    In general, I'm tired of comic book movies. The studios are popping them out like the world will end in 2012. One movie about one superhero is not enough. Three Spiderman movies? That's not good enough. It needs to be rebooted! The Hulk and its take on the big green man's struggle with the beast inside of him not successful enough? Make another one that's garbage. Oh, the first Ghost Rider movie was really, really, really crappy (not because of Cage)? Better make another one immediately before you lose the rights! You made a widely-hated movie about Green Lantern? Oops, I guess there's nothing better to do than to make another one. Then throw in the mix other comic book movies that everyone wants to forget like Catwoman, Daredevil, Elektra, and both of the Fantastic Four movies. Despite most of the movies coming out being below average, most of them make a good amount of money. That's mostly because the movies have relatively high production values. That means a lot of special effects...and that means people will go and see it (plus there are awesome superheroes in the movies!).

    Now, not all of the comic book movies made have been bad. The two Iron Man movies were pretty decent, mostly because of Robert Downey Jr's acting. I didn't much care for Batman Begins much but it's pretty good and The Dark Knight set a new standard for comic book movie excellence (although I thought it was overrated. It's just that people aren't used to a comic book movie that's actually good). The first time I saw Watchmen, I didn't like it very much but after seeing it a second time, I thought it was better (despite some obvious flaws). That reminds me that I should review it again. Probably my favorite comic book movie is Kick-Ass. I need to review that too.

    Overall, when I first saw the trailers for X-Men: First Class, I was very interested. We already had three X-Men movies, and while the first and especially the second one were good, the third, directed by Brett Ratner, was pretty much deemed by all to be a violation of the Geneva Convention. Even with the talents of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and Famke Janssen, they can only carry a movie so much. So, First Class has an all new cast, headed by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. I haven't seen McAvoy in anything but after seeing Fassbender's performance Inglourious Basterds, I was more than ready to see what he could do with Magneto. Another aspect of the movie that made me want to see it was the fact it is set during a specific time period, the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since I'm a history nut, seeing that the movie would have a historical setting gave it more credibility to me. But why did I, and everyone else (hopefully), ultimately want to see the movie?


    Because of this!

    We all wanted to see why Magneto became who he is. Look how he tries to hold back his anger!

    The beginning of the movie that introduces Magneto was done well, the very start almost exactly like X2's. I appreciated that because the opening scene(s) set a tone that I liked. It was darker, more emotional, and didn't feel much like a comic book movie. An audience that sees Holocaust imagery will feel an added weight to the story, and in my opinion that's a good thing. Often I can't get invested in a superhero or supervillain in a movie simply because it's a comic book movie. Some sort of reality needs to be added so that I can accept it more as reality. Erik Lensherr/Magneto being taken from his parents in a Nazi concentration camp was a great way to start. It told me that the movie would be about human struggle, not just some good guy vs bad guy comic book story. I was pretty confused about the first meeting between Erik and Sebastian Shaw, though I thought the set up was an interesting idea. Shaw wants to find other mutants because he thinks their superiority, regarding them as a new species, means a new world where mutants will rule. He's a Nazi scientist who has his own sick cause. Shaw wants Erik to move a coin with his powers but the boy (at this point Magneto is a kid) can't do it. Shaw tries to figure out what makes the boy use his powers so he brings in Erik's mother and tells him that if he can't move the coin by the count of three - or should I say, "drei"? - he will shoot his mother. Erik can't move the coin, he is scared, so Shaw shoots the mom. That brings out rage in Erik, who then proceeds to scream and use his power to crush two Nazi guards' helmets and generally messes up anything metal in the room. My question is, why didn't Erik try to kill Sebastian Shaw? Shaw was being an to the kid the whole time, shoots his mother, and...Erik doesn't seem to direct any of his rage at Shaw at all. I didn't much care for Xavier's and Mystique's introduction.


    Having unconvincing child actors rarely works, even if they're cute.

    It didn't take me long to figure out what would be the best aspect of the movie. I said before that I think most people want to see X-Men: First Class because they want to see the story of Magneto. Well, Michael Fassbender's performance as the troubled Erik Lensherr is terrific. His performance is equaled by James McAvoy's as Charles Xavier. Their story and their developing relationship throughout the movie is the most interesting, most convincing, and makes much else seem a bit out of place. There is the more "visible" conflict in the movie between Charles' (with Erik) mutants and Sebastian Shaw's mutants, but the emotional and psychological conflict, the subtext, is that of Erik struggling with his past, a past that gives him rage, and a rage that brings out his incredible power. After we see Magneto's origin, we're shown his obsession with killing those involved in the concentration camp where his family was taken from him. If anything, it's another chance for the audience to see Fassbender speak more foreign languages. While Erik and Charles are indeed friends, they are at odds in mind and manner. Where Erik is aggressive and prone to letting his emotions get the best of him, Charles is patient and cerebral (shocking, right?) about his decisions. Sebastian Shaw showed Erik that he could use his power of magnetism with great effect through channeling his rage. In a sense, his rage becomes his power. Charles tries to teach Erik that he can control his emotions as well as his power. With more control comes more power. Another point of contention between them is Charles' belief that humans and mutants can co-exist. Erik, because of his past as a Jew in Nazi Germany as well as being a mutant, believes mutants must band together and protect themselves. I really liked this constant struggle between Charles and Erik. Only in the end did they come to a disagreement too significant to mend.


    Fortunately, Erik had no problem ordering drinks.

    Where Erik and Charles were by far the best thing in the movie, the rest of the movie was either just acceptable or not too good. Raven/Mystique, played by a lovely Jennifer Lawrence, does a satisfactory job in her role but there were a few scenes that I thought the delivery was pretty bad. Banshee and Havoc were acceptable inclusions into the CIA-sponsored mutant team, but they didn't add much of anything to the story. They were just there. Beast was alright too and I guess his relationship with Mystique didn't bother me, however, I kept wondering why he, as some genius, could make Cerebro, design the team's (SR-71) airplane, create a injection to change mutations, and made the team's entire set of uniforms, couldn't make for himself some shoes that fit his mutated feet. I never bought into him going to the lengths to try and reverse his mutation. Speaking of him supposedly designing the plane, how exactly does him designing it mean he can fly it? Whatever. The other mutants in the CIA team were really unnecessary. There is that Darwin guy who can...evolve. What exactly did he add to the story? Nothing. He would have been pretty much useless in the final battle so you know why he was killed off earlier. But nothing compares to the stupidity of Angel...the chick with dragonfly wings...and can...spit acid(?). Really? What the hell did she add to the story? I'm pretty sure they only had her in the movie so she could chase after Banshee in the final battle. With the plethora of cool mutants out there, you'd think they could come up with something better than a dragonfly chick who can spit acid. When watching the movie, I was getting excited to see Erik and Charles go out and recruit mutants. When Angels' scene came up I literally facepalmed.


    It was so bad that Patrick Stewart facepalmed in multiple universes.

    Sebastian Shaw, played by Kevin Bacon, was a believable enough villain. I did like his relationship to Erik, even though I already expressed how the origin of their relationship didn't make much sense to me, in that Shaw believes mutants should rule the world. Perhaps early on Erik did not believe this but his distrust of regular humans and authority eventually led him to have a similar belief. Shaw's right hand woman is Emma Frost, played by the always attractive January Jones (and how that isn't a porn star name is beyond me). From reading Wikipedia, she said the role was, "[S]o, so far from Betty and from Mad Men, and it takes place in that time but it doesn’t feel like a period movie." She says that but she acts too much like Betty from Mad Men, you know, always with the same face and kind of y, for me to really believe her. I would have liked to know how she came to follow Shaw's cause of mutant dominance. What are her motivations? Does she just want to be Shaw's girl once they take over the world? I disliked the rest of Shaw's mutant followers. There was an evil red-skinned Communist version of Nightcrawler and then this dude with long hair who dressed in really expensive suits and made tornadoes or something like that. He was like a suckier male version of Storm. They were more mutants that added nothing to the story. I think I know why Angel joined Shaw's group. She saw them and thought, "Oh, this is where the other crappy mutants are. I belong with them!" One question I have is how Shaw came to possess a luxuriously furbished nuclear submarine (and a yacht that could hold it in its hull)? I was fine with the yacht. He seemed to be a sort of playboy-ish type of dude and I'm sure there can be explanations of how he got rich, but a nuclear submarine? It's obvious that Shaw has some power over men high up in the US and Soviet Union, but it seems he gets that power only through intimidation. Is this how it went?

    Shaw: I want a nuclear submarine.
    Soviet Admiral: Nyet!
    *Has Emma Frost turn herself into diamond form*
    What is this?
    *Has Riptide hurt the admiral with a mini-tornado*
    Ok! I will give you a nuclear wessel!

    Later on...

    By the way, I want the inside of the submarine to be like a yacht.
    I'm an admiral, not a interior designer!
    *Has Emma Frost turn herself into diamond form*
    Not this again.
    *Has Riptide hurt the admiral with a mini-tornado*
    Ok! I will do it!


    I'm an ex-Nazi scientist who is a super mutant with ambitions to rule the world and have a luxurious nuclear submarine. I am the .000000001%.

    As far as the overall plot, regarding Shaw's plan, I didn't find it awful. I kept waiting for him to make some terrible speech by Shaw to either Erik or Charles about what he was going to do, but it never came, thankfully. Shaw's big evil plan wasn't the true point of the film and that was a plus. The graphics were pretty good although there were certain scenes where I thought it was a little too much, especially at the end where the final battle, with the big fleets and all of the mutants using their powers, where a lot of CGI needed to be used. I'd say there is a bit of a problem with pacing in the movie. It's not boring or too rushed. Instead, I'd say the problem is that it has the same pace throughout most of the movie. The script, though better than average in my opinion, lacked a personality to me. There were some jokes but they were mostly not that funny. They weren't bad jokes, they simply weren't inherently very comedic.

    I'd say X-Men: First Class is one of the better comic book movies. There are so many that lack any sort of humanity, whose scripts and characters are either so flat or so comical (in a bad way), and that are pretty much CGI fests, but First Class fails to be dragged down by many of the problems that plague the rest. Fassbender and McAvoy are the highlights and essentially rescue the movie from most of its faults. As far as continuity goes, it's a more than adequate introduction to the X-Men franchise. More than anything, it gave us what we all wanted, an interesting and convincing origin of Professor X and Magneto. I only wish that more comic book movies would be under the helm of the director, Matthew Vaughn.

    3.5/5
    Last edited by Lord Rahl; March 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM.

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  4. #104
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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    i pretty much follow u on all of this. the relationship between fassbinder and mcavoy's characters carried this movie. for me its also hard to see Kevin Bacon as a bad guy . but i suppose there was nothing wrong with his performance. im kinda with u on comic book movies in general. when other kids were reading comics or watching the cartoons with these characters, my dad showed me action movies from the 80s usually featuring arnold schwarzenegger or sci fi. so i almost have no knowledge of the background to these movies going in to see them. personally i thought watchmen was piss poor. the only thing refreshing about it was the bad ending. maybe i need to watch it again like u did rahl

  5. #105
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    An Interesting and well written review!

    I somewhat disagree about most of the background mutants being unnecessary, as they served as problems for the main actors to play with, the movie would feel much more hollow without them in my opinion. The evil butterfly stripper girl they could have done without though.

    Also I'm surprised you did not mention Hugh Jackmans 2 second cameo, I thought it was a nice touch to the continuity in the series.

    However you have a great writing style, and I do enjoy reading your reviews, so keep it up .

  6. #106
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    Bacon didn't really convince me of his role too much either but I think he did an adequate job. Perhaps one reason why he wasn't so convincing is that he talked about taking over the world, an action that would leave many millions dead, but at the same time he was so casual about it. It wasn't even a kind of cold-hearted and uncaring casualness either (e.g. Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men. Not that I wanted him to be some over-the-top screaming bad guy.

    As a kid, I read some comic books but I mostly watched the TV shows and played with the action figures. I also played a lot outside so reading comics wasn't something I'd really do. But to me, a good comic book movie doesn't need a lot of explanations of its characters or story. If they have to do that then that means they didn't spend enough time figuring out both of those before filming.

    I think the first time I saw Watchmen I really didn't like it too much because I had just read the comic and so the changes and Zach Snyder's peculiar direction really annoyed me. The second time I saw it I watched it in a more objective point of view. Basically the Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan parts make the movie, and Night Owl is pretty good too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Påsan View Post
    An Interesting and well written review!

    Danke.

    I somewhat disagree about most of the background mutants being unnecessary, as they served as problems for the main actors to play with, the movie would feel much more hollow without them in my opinion. The evil butterfly stripper girl they could have done without though.

    They might have been problems for the main characters, but for the most part they did not add to the story.

    Also I'm surprised you did not mention Hugh Jackmans 2 second cameo, I thought it was a nice touch to the continuity in the series.

    Actually, I meant to add that in there but I forgot. It was a really good cameo.

    However you have a great writing style, and I do enjoy reading your reviews, so keep it up .

    Thanks. I think this was actually more of a real review rather than a rant...which a lot of mine turn out to be.
    Last edited by Lord Rahl; March 09, 2012 at 12:45 AM.

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    action figures brings back memories, mine were star trek haha

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    I never had any sort of Star Trek action figures or toys of any kind (from the franchise) as a kid, though supposedly my first ever Duplo creation was of the USS Enterprise. I still know how I made it. I may review Kick-Ass next. I have it on Blu-ray and oh...does it look sexy.

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    nice! yea my legos were usually some space action theme. mostly generic tho. it was before the days when star wars and stuff actually put their label on lego sets.

    im lookin forward to that kick ass review. i havnt even heard of it, and u say its good. sharing an opinion on comic book movies in general, uv made me curious about this one.

  10. #110

    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Good review. Tbh I think they gave up on the beginning of the movie, because like you said, why didn't Erik just kill Shaw, like he did the Nazi soldiers? Makes no sense. On a side note, the OST was fantastic, I though.
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    Thanks.

    I found the soundtrack to be adequate. It didn't impress me too much but the X-Men and Magneto themes were good enough. A serviceable soundtrack.

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    102 Minutes That Changed America (2008)


    There are events that will change our lives forever. For my parent's generation, they always say they know exactly where they were when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon or Kennedy was shot. For those around my age, almost 26, I think there is no doubt the defining event was the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I remember that I was getting ready to walk to school (and it should be known that I actually did have to go uphill both ways and in the snow), at this time I lived in Canada, and my aunt called my mom, telling her to turn on the news. I was 15 at the time and I don't think I could properly understand what I was seeing, though there's no doubt I wasn't the only one. After trying to eat breakfast and watch at the same time, my mom eventually told me I should go ahead and go to school. I'm sure my school day was like many others' that day. It was obvious that no one would be able to concentrate on schoolwork and it was obviously such a terrible and life-changing event that none of the teachers had us do any work. A couple of my classes had a TV brought in, and I'm sure there was a short supply for the demand that day, and we all watched it. Me being one of the few Americans in my school, everyone asked me questions about what was happening. I guess they thought that I could understand it better, being an American, but I was as clueless as everyone else. A husband of one of my mom's best friends worked at the Pentagon that morning and from what I heard he escaped death because he went to the bathroom. On 9/11/01 and sometime after, it was the only time I ever had any support or sympathy from my Canadian friends for being American.


    The documentary is broken up into several segments about 30 minutes each.
    These scenes showing the running clock are usually accompanied by police or firefighter radio chatter.

    While visiting some family in East Texas, the tenth anniversary of 9/11 came and I got in bed watching shows about that terrible day. One of those shows was a documentary called 102 Minutes That Changed America. Immediately I couldn't stop watching. This documentary has no narration, no expert insight, no detailed explanations of what happened, and doesn't show us the some of the more popular images we know from that day. But in this case none of that matters. 102 Minutes That Changed America (I'll call it 102 Minutes from now on) uses a mix of rarely seen amateur and professional film that the US government was in possession of but later released to History (then known as The History Channel). All of this footage is well-edited and so that the entire 102 minutes of the documentary shows the 9/11 attacks as a sort of real-time representation of what happened.


    One point-of-view comes from Times Square where people are going about their lives
    and then stop to see the horrible events play out on the news.

    Because 102 Minutes uses many different sources of footage, the viewer is presented with a wide variety of points-of-view, from one cameraman only a block or two from the Twin Towers to bewildered New Yorkers watching the buildings burn on the news from Times Square to people watching all the way from the New Jersey shore (And no, there's no way in hell I'm capitalizing the "s" there). There are several POVs in the movie, each with their own unique perspective. Some behind the lens are professionals in the press that happened to be near the area while others are people like you and me who just picked up there camera from where they were, some no doubt going to work, and others still at their homes. I haven't seen any other documentary that presents one event quite like 102 Minutes does. The changes in POV aren't distracting at all once you've seen all of them because when certain things happen, like when Two World Trade Center collapses, you want to know how the other people saw it. You'd think that watching footage of people in Times Square wouldn't be too interesting because they're not close (relatively) to the Twin Towers and are just watching the news, but that's not the case at all. You see the looks of shock, of horror, and of confusion. You hear their candid commentary about what they're seeing. It's all interesting because we were all like them at one point. We saw the news and could only guess at the entirety of what we saw.


    Hearing the screams of those who film makes it feel real again.

    I'm not ashamed to say that watching 102 Minutes actually affected me. Even when I saw it ten years after 9/11, I still reacted emotionally. In my opinion it made the 9/11 terrorist attacks truly shocking again. It's easy to watch most programs about 9/11 because they're full of so much analysis and present it in a standard, recognizable form. The same cannot be said of 102 Minutes. There's no newscaster doing their best to explain what is happening and in a way being comforting in reporting the reality. In the documentary you see and hear it raw as those who were there saw it. They don't know what's going on and you can tell. Throughout the 102 minutes you can hear many of the bystanders talk about what they heard on the radio, the TV, or from others about what happened and much of it is outright false. It made me remember what it was like that morning and not knowing what was happening. Reports of bombs, not knowing who did it, etc. Questions. Why would anyone do this? How are the people above the fires in the Twin Towers going to get down? Will more planes hit? This is 102 Minutes' greatest achievement. It takes the viewer right back to that day when there were more questions than answers, when you were uncertain of the world you lived in. It's like reliving that day again. I caught myself many times with my mouth open and body frozen from seeing the horror.


    The bravest. No doubt.

    102 Minutes also made me care for the people much more than watching a regular TV program. You see the New Yorkers as people just like yourself. There are women who pass out from shock even though they're blocks and blocks away. There is one priest who is stopped on his way to see the injured and dying by a news crew and when they ask him for comforting words he can't give any. There are the police who are trying to move thousands upon thousands of people out of downtown and to (relative) safety. Those who I felt for the most were the firefighters. They're shown numerous times throughout the documentary and there's no doubt why. With most people going away from downtown, the firefighters were going to it. Radio chatter from firefighters is commonly played over parts of 102 Minutes that shows the firefighters and you can hear them give reports on of where they are in the towers. Overall they're calm and professional, but you can also hear uncertainty in their voices, especially once Two World Trade Center collapses. Once the towers fall, you remember all of the firefighters you saw going toward ground zero and wonder how many survived. I don't recall seeing many firefighters in the movie once both buildings had collapsed. I began to wonder, Did they know they weren't going to make it? That made me realize that I still had questions. Now and again 911 operator calls with those trapped in the Twin Towers are played over shots showing the burning buildings. Those trapped sound like they are either oblivious to their predicament and probable fate or are in a panic. Meanwhile the operators try to keep them calm and tell them that the firemen are coming. In one instance an operator even hangs up on a caller. It's this raw, emotion-filled humanity that keeps its grip on the viewer.


    One of the scariest images from that day. A jumper.

    One of the most interesting POVs comes from that of Evan Fairbanks whose footage is much closer to ground zero than the rest. While basically all of the others who filmed were following orders and making their way away from ground zero, Fairbanks followed firemen and police toward it. Paper falls all around him from the Twin Towers. When second plane hits Two World Trade Center, he has to take cover because of falling debris. He actually captured one of the more memorable shots of that happening. It's not shown during the main part of 102 Minutes but after that ends there is about an 18 minute interview segment with all of those whose footage was used and their personal comments. The shot can be seen there. Fairbanks' footage, more than all the others', shows the terrible destruction of ground zero. It's apocalyptic, almost otherworldly. It's a close up look of an area few have seen.


    Another memorable image from Fairbanks. We all remember the people covered in the ashes
    and pulverized concrete dust that covered the ground zero area.

    There are plenty of memorable documentaries out there, and no doubt many of them focusing on 9/11, but I have yet to watch one that conveys the sheer confusion and horror of what happened on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. 102 Minutes reminds us that it wasn't just an important historical event. It was a deeply personal experience as well. One that we won't forget.

    If you're interested, here is a link to the entire documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSlDchQqXS4*

    *Actually, the video has been taken down.

    5/5
    Last edited by Lord Rahl; July 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM.

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  13. #113
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    interesting, ill have to check it out. i certainly agree with u. this is a moment where i will always remember where i was too. 8th grade and class had just started. then they made the announcement and turned on the news on the classroom tv.

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    Oh Common 9/11 .So over hyped .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Mind View Post
    Oh Common 9/11 .So over hyped .
    It was the defining moment of the previous decade and continues to influence world politics in this decade so I'd hardly call it overhyped

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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Mind View Post
    Oh Common 9/11 .So over hyped .

    You can say that, but unless you make a good argument for it I'll dismiss such as mere foolishness. I'd agree that 9/11 is used by politicians and the like towards not so legitimate and appropriate ends, but I'm not talking about that at all. In 102 Minutes, there's no politics whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Rahl View Post
    You can say that, but unless you make a good argument for it I'll dismiss such as mere foolishness. I'd agree that 9/11 is used by politicians and the like towards not so legitimate and appropriate ends, but I'm not talking about that at all. In 102 Minutes, there's no politics whatsoever.
    I mean the media in general and people "who care " about those poor victims . ( while in the meantime a lot more people dies in not so famous countries )
    Last edited by The Despondent Mind; March 21, 2012 at 05:14 PM.

  18. #118
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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    I understand that as well, but it doesn't go against my point that 9/11 was a defining moment in my life and in the lives of many others. While tragedies in other countries might be just as much or more tragic for others, they did not affect me like 9/11 did.

    Are your comments about the movie or my interpretation of the movie? I'm trying to understand why you've made your comments other than just to express your personal opinion on 9/11.
    Last edited by Lord Rahl; March 21, 2012 at 06:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Rahl View Post
    I understand that as well, but it doesn't go against my point that 9/11 was a defining moment in my life and in the lives of many others. While tragedies in other countries might be just as much or more tragic for others, they did not affect me like 9/11 did.

    Are your comments about the movie or my interpretation of the movie? I'm trying to understand why you've made your comments other than just to express your personal opinion on 9/11.
    Well My main frustration is that i came here to read another review of a movie and then i saw 9/11 and got pissed
    Won't harras this thread because of this anymore but i have to leave this :
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  20. #120
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    Default Re: Lord Rahl's Cinematic Review Repository

    Quote Originally Posted by Master_Mind View Post
    Well My main frustration is that i came here to read another review of a movie and then i saw 9/11 and got pissed

    Umm...ok. How about reading the review and/or watching the documentary and then making a comment instead of just commenting on personal opinions about 9/11 without regarding...everything else?

    Won't harras this thread because of this anymore but i have to leave this :
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    That's interesting because I've been involved in many more discussions about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki than 9/11, at least within the last...several years.

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