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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 10, 2021

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 10, 2021

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Post by sol »

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings. Unfortunately, it has reached the point where it is no longer viable for me as host to comment on everyone else's viewings every week (especially since some people like to use the weekly thread to log their viewings and nothing else). I am always keen to promote movie discussion though, so if you comment on my own viewings, I will comment on yours at my earliest convenience.

Please also note that this is intended as a movie discussion thread, not a large image posting thread. Having too many large images makes this thread difficult to navigate through. If you wish to include more than five images in a reply, please use spoiler tags - [spoiler][/spoiler] - to hide extra images.

This is what I saw:

★★★★ = loved it /// ★★★ = liked it a lot; ~7/10 /// ★★ = has interesting elements; ~6/10 /// ★ = did very little for me; ~5/10 and lower

Shoot the Piano Player (1960). Playing the piano in a seedy bar under an assumed name, a former concert pianist is discovered by his brother who embroils him in criminal activities in this noir tribute from François Truffaut. While it is tempting to say that the title is the best aspect of the film, the final twenty or so minutes are superb, especially a lengthy stare final shot. The first hour though is not very easy to get through. There is some innovative editing -- most notably, a series of dreamy dissolves and jump cuts as he lies in bed with his philosophising girlfriend -- but the first hour feels too focused on romances and past relationships with things only really warming up when the crime angle ramps up. Charles Aznavour is certainly a refreshingly different (mild and milquetoast) male lead, but he has been more effective elsewhere, e.g. Head Against the Wall. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969). Part documentary, part fragmented narrative, this Japanese New Wave film is appropriately nonconforming in approach as it focuses on Tokyo drag queens who cope with love and heartbreak while navigating a world where they do not conform. At its most experimental, we are treated to sequences with animated speech bubbles, interviews with cast members, inserts of random rear nudity, speedy zooms-in to gallery paintings and sped-up footage set to upbeat music. On an audiovisual level, there is so much going on that the film seldom ever bores. The whole thing sometimes feels random and disjointed though, which makes it a bit hard to emotionally invest in the two main drag queen characters and their struggle to gain the same man's attentions. The ending is absolutely haunting, however, and the film ends on a high note. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Shura (1971). Swindled by the woman he thought he loved, a samurai plans a vicious revenge in this downbeat drama from Japan. The film gets off to an excellent start with an eerie nightmare in pure blackness at night. The bulk of the first hour though is dialogue-heavy melodrama with little in the way of mood or atmosphere. Things do pick up after the one-hour mark with some grisly violence and replayed scenes as the protagonist imagines reactions to poisoned sake being drunk and so on before it actually happens. The movie is still very conversation-based though with only the final 25 minutes really recapturing the nightmarish quality of the project's initial stretch. The film certainly concludes well with many memorable moments towards the end, but needlessly stretched out to nearly two and a half hours, this is a bit of a slog in between the strong bookends. (first viewing, online) ★★

Eden Lake (2008). Choosing to deliberately provoke and antagonise a group of unruly teenagers, a vacating couple are absolutely stunned when teens react by violently intimidating them in this horror thriller that asks "just how stupid can you be?" in big letters. To be fair, there are some effective terror moments as the female protagonist frequently shelters from the group in the ickiest of hideouts. It is, however, impossible to sympathise with her or her boyfriend's plight since they bring their misery entirely upon themselves by provoking the teenagers in the first place. Perhaps worst of all, the filmmakers appear deluded enough to believe that they are delivering some very important message about unruly youths and how behaviour and attitudes are passed down from one's parents. Some of the acting is decent enough, but this is very poor in execution. (first viewing, online) ★

Belle (2013). Daughter of a nobleman but illegitimate and of mixed race, a young woman tries to find true love while coaxing the men in power to right a wrong regarding slavery in this costume drama set in eighteenth century England. The performances are solid, especially from Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the lead role - though she is outshone by the very natural Lauren Julien-Box who plays her as a child in far too few scenes. Acting aside though, there is not much to write home about here. Yes, being black and illegitimate was not easy in the 1700s - but most viewers probably already knew that. The film's attempts to be both a romantic melodrama and a politically slanted movie about the slave trade also result in the film feeling weird and imbalanced as the content constantly pivots back and forth between subplots. The costumes are nice though at least. (first viewing, online) ★

I Am I (2013). Focusing on a woman who pretends to be her mother in order to get to know her estranged mentally ill father, this is less sordid that it sounds - and the better for it. Casting herself in the lead role, director Jocelyn Towne is just okay; Kevin Tighe shines as her father though, deluded into believing that he is still a young man and that it is still 1979. From his forced laughs whenever confused to his stares whenever anyone tries to convince him of the truth, Tighe does a great job playing a mixed-up person who always senses that something is just not quite right. The side characters are pretty undernourished here, especially the protagonist's adoptive father and husband; the film also struggles to end on a potent note. For the most part though, this is a thoroughly engaging look at personal identity and emotional connections that are hard to make. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Canal (2014). Shocked when his wife's dead body surfaces in a nearby canal, a film archivist begins to wonder whether his wife's extramarital lover or something more supernatural is responsible for her death in this Irish horror film. Rupert Evans is excellent as the grief-stricken protagonist who becomes increasingly unhinged and overwhelmed with paranoia. The film looks and sounds divine too with a taunting music score, moody lighting and deliberately garish colours during the nightmare scenes. The movie falls a bit short though by very heavily foreshadowing a big twist/revelation. The clues dropped are in fact so obvious that it is almost surprising that the film does not go a different way. The twisty final scene also backfires. Still, this is a pretty great ride even if it starts stronger than it ends. There is lots of creepy hand-crank shot footage too. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Hallow (2015). Surveying a secluded forest for future land development, a scientist discovers a parasitic fungus, but that is not all that secretly resides there in this Irish horror film. With the mysteriousness surrounding the fungus and various locals telling the surveyor and his wife that they should not disturb the forest, this initially comes with an intriguing Long Weekend/The Ruins vibe. Alas, the film soon winds up as a generic creature feature as the couple discover conventional horror critters in the forest. There are some effective scares, most notably when a critter fingernail threatens to poke out the wife's eye, and as the couple become divided over whether or not their baby is really still their baby. The film is never quite as intriguing as it initially promises to be though, and the characters are too breezily developed to really feel for their plight. (first viewing, online) ★★

Clemency (2019). Amid growing speculation over a convicted copkiller's supposed innocence, a death row warden in charge of executions begins to question her occupation in this indie drama that won the top prize at Sundance. With dauntingly long shots of dimly lit corridors, brooding music and a sombre colour scheme, the film captures well how suffocating the work environment is for her and Alfre Woodard absolutely shines in the lead role, conveying volumes by simply staring and saying nothing at all, and remaining cool, detached and professional on the surface even when doubts are eating away at her inside. The film does not, however, solely focus on her, and the stretches dedicated to the possibly innocent inmate talking to his lawyer and others are far less effective. Whenever the film focuses on the Woodard though, it rarely hits a false note. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Get Duked! (2019). Released in some places as Boyz in the Wood, this Scottish horror comedy follows four teenagers on a wilderness trek who discover that they are being hunted for sport. While on obvious Most Dangerous Game variant, the film tries to spice things up a bit by introducing class warfare elements with the hunters being posh noblemen intent on ridding the "vermin" that they perceive the uncouth teens to be. Any social commentary gets a bit lost though in the onslaught of humour with bits and pieces (eating rabbit droppings; vomiting blood) coming off as more gross-out than satiric. Still, this is a frequently funny affair with great chemistry between the teenagers, neat effects whenever the foursome get stoned, and an amusing subplot involving a bored police department a little too eager to crack a real case in the Highlands. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Rocks (2019). Abandoned by their mother and too proud to ask for help, an exuberant teenager tries to take care of her younger brother in this grim British drama. Part of a multicultural group of friends, the film captures some divine dynamics between the teens with all of their interactions feeling very genuine and real - a lame food fight aside. BAFTA nominated Bukky Bakray is pretty great in the lead role too, especially as she tries to coax her brother into going along with her and as she lies to him about their mother. Bakray's struggles come with a limited sense of time though; the whole things feels like it occurs over a couple of days, yet some of the developments (social workers called in) make the film feel like it is meant to have occurred over many weeks. The film ends without any real sense of resolution either. Still, this is fairly gripping while it lasts. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Sea Fever (2019). Surprised to discover that a marine parasite has attached itself to their fishing vessel, panic soon hits the crewmembers as they discover that the parasite can infect human beings in this underwater horror movie. While the film has attracted comparisons to the likes of Alien and Deep Rising, this is not a conventional monster movie since we barely see the creature at all. The focus is rather on how the crew cope (or fail to cope) with the situation, disputing and debating quarantine advice in a way that makes the film eerily relevant in the Covid-19 era. There is, however, still some decent gore - most notably involving an infected man's eyes exploding - but it is sporadic. Add in the fact that it takes around 40 minutes for the horror to warm up and this is a pretty uneven watch, but mostly definitely an attempt to do something different. (first viewing, online) ★★

Birds (Or How to Be One) (2020). Various persons who wish they were birds are interviewed in this Greek documentary. The film is divided into chapters for steps needed to become a bird, which include learning to squawk and "dealing with gravity". While it is disappointing that the film never really explores the psychology behind those wanting to become birds, there is something refreshing in how the director does not dissect his subjects and rather just lets them speak their minds in a nonjudgmental fashion. The film also brings both Brewster McCloud and Peter Greenaway's The Falls to mind, though this is less cohesive and a little all-over-the-place (play rehearsals and political speeches are also thrown into the mix). Still, this is pretty fun as a documentary that really makes you question how much is real and how much is deadpan acted. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Emma. (2020). Jane Austen's classic tale of a young woman who loves playing matchmaker is once again brought to the screen in this debut feature from music video director Autumn de Wilde. The film has some dazzling costumes but does not do a lot to distinguish itself from the 1990s version with Gwyneth Paltrow; it is certainly not as creative a take as something such as Clueless. The whole thing is fairly pleasant and inoffensive, but Anya Taylor-Joy's performance is the only outstanding element beyond the costumes and hairstyling. Taylor-Joy is particularly effective towards the end of the film as her emotions finally get the better of her after being so bright and chirpy for so long. There is much to be said for her character's brighter side too as she manages to make herself seem so caring for someone so keen on manipulating the love lives of others. (first viewing, online) ★★

His House (2020). Grieving the death of a daughter lost at sea when their asylum seeker boat capsized, a South Sudanese couple see ghostly apparitions in their government housing home in this British horror film. Full of jump scares, footprints appearing out of nowhere and loud music cues, the film initially feels like a run-of-the-mill supernatural horror movie. As the film progresses though and the couple's traumatic pasts surfaces, this gradually becomes less a horror film and more of a drama of two individuals consumed by guilt and regret that may or may not be manifesting itself in reality. The film still delivers a formulaic monster near the end, but it generally rises above such tropes and clichés. Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku are both excellent in the lead roles too, vexed not only by the apparent evil spirits but the whole difficulty of adjusting to life in the UK. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Lucky (2020). Calmly told by her husband that the stranger breaking into their house does so every night, this thriller gets off to an intriguing start. Things only get stranger as she then continues to fend off the reappearing attacker, only for him to vanish whenever she looks away. Is she stuck in a time loop or is something slightly more supernatural going on? While everything is not clear until the end -- and even then there are unanswered questions -- the whole thing works without necessarily understanding it all. Her terror at night and her anger at everyone (including her husband) who doubt her story and regard her as hysterical really resonates with the project working well as a look at marginalised and subjugated women. Add in an awesome neon-lit parking garage scene and this is an easy film to recommend for those who enjoy something different. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Moxie (2021). Inspired to start an anonymous magazine that calls out toxic masculinity and sexism at her school, an introverted high school student inadvertently starts a feminist movement in this ambitious if not entirely successful film. At its best, the film highlights systemic discriminatory practices at the school, such as different dress codes for boys and girls, and most of the pro-feminist stuff works. The film additionally tries to be a sweet romance though, and charming as Nico Hiraga is, and quirky as their funeral parlour date may be, the film feels incredibly unfocused as it jumps between activism and romanticism. And if that was not enough, the movie also tries to be strained mother/daughter tale. It is just too much; trying to protest in the social media age is pretty juicy stuff, but everything is stifled by the romance and parenting angles shoehorned in. (first viewing, online) ★★

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021). This intense drama recounts the experiences of a car thief blackmailed into infiltrating the Black Panthers to get close to Fred Hampton. Lakeith Stanfield is excellent in the lead role, ridden with paranoia as he becomes an increasing prominent member. Daniel Kaluuya is also solid as Hampton, but his best moments are his silent ones and the film breaks tension whenever it focuses on him without Stanfield around. Since we get so little insight into Hampton as a character, it feels like this may have been stronger if entirely told from Stanfield's perspective, rather than cutting back and forth. Whatever the case, the film is certainly well acted and lusciously shot with mobile camerawork. Also, what sticks out is that despite the FBI comparing the Panthers to the KKK, they actually come off worst and most merciless of all. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★
Other
The Head Hunter (1982). Romance blossoms between a contract killer and an ambitious reporter in this Hong Kong crime drama that is less interesting than it sounds. Little emphasis is placed on the chemistry and tension between the romantic leads, with the film madly hopping back and forth between two separate subplots involving each of them. On one hand, there is the killer trying to avoid attempts on his life by a soldier; on the other hand, the reporter is investigating a poison gas incident that the government may be covering up. Either subplot could be okay on its own, but with so much crammed in, this feels overstuffed. There is a pretty rad death scene in which a victim coughs up blood and collapses against a glass wall, plus a chilling part where a child discovers a dead body on the rock by a beach. The highlights though are very few and far between. (first viewing, online) ★

The Paper Will Be Blue (2006). Set during the 1989 Romanian Revolution, this downbeat drama follows a group of soldiers trying to track down a member of their platoon who deserted them during a night of rioting and violent protests in the streets. While the film paints a vivid picture of just how dangerous the night in question was for those who experienced it, this is a film probably better appreciated by those more familiar with the events and time period depicted. The film provides no context and mostly just assumes audience familiarity. The whole thing is still fairly engaging though even when the content gets a bit confusing with some intense moments as the deserting soldier has to prove himself to the revolutionaries and as his platoon risk their lives to track him down. The ending is pretty potent too with a lingering déjà vu sense of dread. (first viewing, online) ★★

Fractional (2011). Waking up in an abandoned warehouse and tied to a chair, a psychiatrist finds himself contending with a vengeful former patient in this Irish horror movie. The film begins well with much uncertainty and ambiguity. There is an array of knives and syringes ominously laid out nearby while the eerily calm and collected patient promises to coax hidden secrets out of his former doctor. As it turns out, the set-up is pretty much the best thing here. Both lead actors, especially Peter O'Toole (not, not that Peter O'Toole) are fine, but the film gets less interesting as it sinks into tension-breaking memories and flashbacks, while the final reveal is not as mind-blowing as it is made out to be. The knives and syringes also end up being little more than an audience tease, though it is kind of refreshing how this avoids becoming just another torture porn movie. (first viewing, online) ★★

Gozo (2016). Living on the picturesque Maltese island of Gozo proves less than idyllic for a recently married couple in this odd British movie. The film at first is told mostly from the wife's perspective with some heartfelt frustration at the lack of running water in their house and how little her husband seems to care since he is so fixated with work. This inevitably leads to a friendship with a male neighbour who lets her shower at his place... but this is far from the love triangle thriller that such a plot deflection initially seems to promise. The second half of the film is actually most told from the husband's perspective with his suspicion of his wife's infidelity and his fascination with a missing woman. How all of this relates to some buried secrets between the pair is never really clear and the change of perspectives is jarring, but this is at least a fairly different film. (first viewing, online) ★
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

«Nothing interesting begins with knowing, it begins with not knowing.»
- Beau Lotto ("The Reality of Reality: A Tale of Five Senses")

«Life is just a kind of chemistry of sufficient complexity to permit reproduction and evolution.»
- Carl Sagan (Cosmos, "Blues for a Red Planet")

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絵を描く子どもたち / Children Who Draw / E o kaku kodomotachi: jidôga o rikai suru tame ni (1956, 羽仁進/Susumu Hani) 7-

New Year, Old Roads (2021, Justin Kelly)
-Part 1: The Golden Years
-Part 2: Paradise Moose
-Part 3: The Road Less Traveled

Watch and weep: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5366

Lathe of Heaven (2002, Philip Haas) 7-

Abwärts (1984, Carl Schenkel) 4+

At the Horizon (2017, Takashi Makino & Manuel Knapp) 8-

転々 / Adrift in Tokyo / Tenten (2007, 三木聡/Satoshi Miki) 6

Nuevo orden / New Order (2020, Michel Franco) 4+

Come True (2020, Anthony Scott Burns) 4+

First Man (2018, Damien Chazelle) 8-

Abel (l) Asia (1998, Asia Argento) 3

New Rose Hotel (1998, Abel Ferrara) (2nd viewing) /

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Au pan coupé / Wall Engravings (1968, Guy Gilles) (2nd viewing) 9 (from 8)
decisions
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shorts

directed by Murat Sayginer:
The Flying Fish (2019) 8
Credit Card (2019) to-the-point
The Court of Conscience (2020) 6
Boomerang (2020) 6

Lifelines (1960, Ed Emshwiller) 6+

Vertigo A.I. (2020, Chris Peters) 4

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Jeanetta Cochrane (1967, Peter Whitehead) 6+


series

Cosmos - Ep05 - "Blues for a Red Planet" (1980) 7-
Cosmos - Ep06 - "Travellers' Tales" (1980) 6
Cosmos - Ep07 - "The Backbone of Night" (1980) 7
Cosmos - Ep08 - "Journeys in Space and Time" (1980) 7-
Cosmos - Ep09 - "The Lives of the Stars" (1980) 7


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #377 - Duncan Trussel (2013) 6

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1328 - Whitney Cummings (2019) 6


no, I said I enjoy a good yarn, not a good yawn

A Bruta Flor do Querer (2013, Dida Andrade & Andradina Azevedo) [10 min]
Al tropico del cancro / Tropic of Cancer (1972, Giampaolo Lomi & Edoardo Mulargia) [4 min]


notable online media

top:
Quantum Biology: The Hidden Nature of Nature
The Reality of Reality: A Tale of Five Senses
A Thin Sheet of Reality: The Universe as a Hologram
Rethinking Thinking: How Intelligent Are Other Animals?
The Illusion of Certainty: Risk, Probability, and Chance [partly]
Pachelbel Rant
Live Caravela Portuguesa on the beach
How To Increase Your Cognitive Ability By Reading A Fucking Book For Once
How Quantum Biology Might Explain Life’s Biggest Questions | Jim Al-Khalili | TED Talks
The hidden history found in your teeth | Carolyn Freiwald
Is Stress Real, Or Are You Crazy And It's All In Your Head?
Alex Jones Becomes A Serial Killing Cannibal
New Fad Diet Requires You To Stop Eating For A Full 5 Minutes Per Day
Imogen Heap's Mi.Mu gloves will "change the way we make music"
Joe Rogan Hits On Mike Tyson With Nikki Glaser
Study: Average Person Becomes Unhinged Psychotic When Alone In Own House
rest:
I let algorithms randomize my life for two years | Max Hawkins
Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong | Julia Galef
Tim Dillon the Destroyer with Whitney and Lex
blargh
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"When a dense, compact galaxy runs into a larger one face-on it can produce one of the loveliest of the rare irregulars, a ring galaxy. Thousands of light years across a ring galaxy is set against the velvet of intergalactic space. It's a temporary configuration of disrupted stars, a splash in the cosmic pond."

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«The essence of life is not so much the atoms and small molecules that go into us, as the way, the ordering, the way those molecules are put together." [...] "...information, distilled over four billion years of biological evolution.»
- Carl Sagan (Cosmos, "Blues for a Red Planet")

«...even blind people get jet-lagged.»
- from "Quantum Biology: The Hidden Nature of Nature"
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on March 14th, 2021, 12:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
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peeptoad
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#3

Post by peeptoad »

Hi sol, I've seen these of your views this week-

Eden Lake didn't dislike it as much as you did (I saw your write-up in the challenge thread), but it's far from a favorite. I'd have to rewatch, which I'm not inclined to do, to say anything more about it, except that I recall being depressed afterwards. I actually do not have as strong a memory of the protagonists tormenting the local kids; I assume you are referring to the scene at the actual lake early on? The fact that I remember that scene, but don't remember taking that rather strong vibe away from it makes me want to rewatch it. Maybe just that one scene though... don't have it in me to ever sit through this one again.

The Canal I recall liking some qualities of, but I saw it awhile ago and that it didn't stick with me for any length of time. I think this film was previously in the Film General film festival, before it got moved to this board. I remember seeing and discussing it briefly with outdoorcats.
Apparently I did not like The Hallow at all since I have it rated a 3, but for what reasons precisely... :shrug:

Rocks and His House I liked a lot... I'm looking forward to whatever follow up effort Remi Weekes comes up with and we touched on this one in the challenge thread.
Rocks impressed me because I thought it seemed very genuine, and I liked some of the editing and filming style (e.g."seeing" through the cell phone, which is exactly what many kids that age do nowadays). I also thought the kids in the leads did a fantastic job at making things seem real... it had a very "real time" sort of feel to it, and then when I read afterwards that they used non-actors (I could have guessed that), but without any sort of dialogue script I was even more impressed. All of the dialogue was ad-libbed... even that of the 7 year old boy (the kid who played Emmanual). I felt he nearly stole the entire show (along with Kosar Ali, who I think was nominated for some award here). Unlike what you mentioned I did find some sort of worthy and moving resolution at the end...
Spoiler
the scene when Rocks quietly comes to terms with the fact that her brother is better off, maybe not without her, but physically removed and in the foster care
, however I have early/young childhood experiences that are similar to this territory, so it stirred some difficult and rather entrenched feelings in me.

Rocks actually was my best view of the last week. Saw a bunch of others, including Citadel, which I'm glad you and Onderhond pressed me to see because I agree with much of what you said; it's definitely a sight better than the IMDB average.
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#4

Post by sol »

peeptoad wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:32 pm Rocks actually was my best view of the last week. Saw a bunch of others, including Citadel, which I'm glad you and Onderhond pressed me to see because I agree with much of what you said; it's definitely a sight better than the IMDB average.
I like the way you described the ending of Rocks, and that's a great final takeaway. I suppose I was personally looking for more resolution to her own situation (as opposed to her brother's). Do we find out what is going on with her mother? How does she continue to cope? It just felt to me like the film ended a bit soon, I don't know. I didn't think that the filmmaking style of Rocks was especially innovative either. I have seen tons of other films with cell phone-shot footage, and I don't really like it unless the movie in question is doing an Open Windows or Unfriended type thing by having everything filtered through screens. Just cutting here and there to a screen is kind of annoying for me, unless done for specific dramatic/tension purposes, e.g. Shook, which I reviewed last week. That said, I generally liked Rocks a lot. Certainly not as much as you, but yeah those ad-libbed kid interactions were great.

Regarding Eden Lake - yes, I am referring to the scene at the actual lake. Fassbender and his girlfriend could have so easily just moved further up the beach, and it's what any sensible person would do, but instead he decides to be a Grandpa and go over and tell the kids off for playing their music too loud. Not only that, he has the gall to switch off their radio when the kids refuse to do so. Fassbender's stupidity doesn't end there though; he further breaks into their house and decides to confront them at every point - armed with a switchblade knife - rather than simply back away. It's insanely erratic behaviour - the sort of behaviour that only exists in movies in order to drive the plot. Nothing at all occurs in the film as a result of the main characters acting like normal human beings. It was incredibly annoying to watch. And regarding being depressed afterwards, the film ends on a downer, but a confusing one that tries drill a MESSAGE home, but absolutely fails to do so since everything starts in the first place from Fassbinder being a brainless tool. I guess as an educator I also find it uncomfortable how the film presents the kids as evil when they are only reacting as one might expect to peer pressure and coercion that result from an irresponsible adult egging them on in the first place.

Yours:

Nice to see more Citadel love. Kind of surprised that you liked Rocks more than Séance on a Wet Afternoon, but I guess as you say, if Rocks provided something in it for you to relate to, that makes sense. I especially love the manipulated sound design as the kidnapped girl is being driven away in Séance; the film also of course features Richard Attenborough and Kim Stanley's career-best turns, plus so many amazing shots as per Forbes norm:

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#5

Post by peeptoad »

**possible spoilers for Rocks below since I don't feel like using the spoiler tag**

sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 2:06 pm I suppose I was personally looking for more resolution to her own situation (as opposed to her brother's).
I think we do get (or at least I did, personally) a resolution to Rock's own situation as her situation is closely aligned with that of her brother's, in terms of shared experience/trauma. the entire film was basically seen and felt through the eyes of Rocks, her brother and her cohort/peers. Ironically, since the crux of the film hinges on her mother's absence I don't think the mother as a character matters all that much. What matters is that she's absent from her children's life and all the other adult characters in the film that I can recall aren't the focus and, from the perspective of the kids, either don't matter or don't really have a say in what transpires. The kids are the stronger ones (at least in their perception), the adults are peripheral to their world and, in this sense, maybe weakened in the eyes of the kids. I think this is evidenced in some of the school scenes where the kids act out in various ways and the response of the adults seem almost muted or feeble by comparison. The psychological resolution that Rocks experiences at the end may lead her to some indirect conclusion that the adults do have a say in the world, because her view has been expanded by what she experienced both via her brother's fate and the fact that she had the falling out with her best friend that was resolved. It gives her a bigger picture and a vision for her future that she didn't have prior to her mother leaving (i.e. her coming of age).
Just my interpretation and I prob could have worded it better, but I'm averaging about 5 hrs sleep/night these day.

Also, Seance on a Wet Afternoon was quite good and, like I said, I aim to revisit it at some point. Attenborough was excellent, I agree. I honestly thought I had posted about it last week, which is why I didn't mention it here but ... sleep/lacking.
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#6

Post by peeptoad »

sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 2:06 pm
Regarding Eden Lake - yes, I am referring to the scene at the actual lake. Fassbender and his girlfriend could have so easily just moved further up the beach, and it's what any sensible person would do, but instead he decides to be a Grandpa and go over and tell the kids off for playing their music too loud. Not only that, he has the gall to switch off their radio when the kids refuse to do so....
OK, I recall this now that you mention the detail and I wholeheartedly agree. I do have a vague recollection of (probably saying out loud as I watched) "why did you turn their radio off,dumb-ass?!" during that scene. Yeah, kind of makes it hard to identify with the characters that we are supposed to, which makes the rest of the film kind of irrelevant I suppose.
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#7

Post by Bing147 »

So I was somehow, inexplicably, able to top even last week’s great week of 27 movies by watching 28 this week. One short again, just like last week. Its too many for me to write up each week, last week it took me like 2.5 hours, lol. If I slow down again I may return to a write up for each film. As is, I’ll include a grade and thoughts on those where I really have something to say about them. If anyone is curious about my specific thoughts on the others, feel free to ask and I’ll try to provide them though it may take a day or two.

Pieces of a Woman (2020): B-
Yes, God, Yes (2019): B

The White Tiger (2021): Wanted to like this more than I did. There are some nice pieces but the characters really never fully grabbed me. A lot of similarities to Parasite but there the characters pulled you in more and the narrative twist really added something. Its still interesting, but probably my least favorite Bahrani film. Which of course is why its the most successful, lol. (also has a bit to do with the whole Netflix distribution thing) C+

I Care a Lot (2020): I was all in on this one for awhile. Even like, 15 minutes before the end I thought it was terrific. The ending really hurt it for me. It just doesn’t feel earned and seems to contradict so much of what the film says and does before it. Its a shame because the acting is very good, there are some absolutely dynamite scenes, and a lot of things come together. Its just one of those endings though that kind of ruins it. Not entirely, but it brought it down at least a whole grade for me. C+

Never Gonna Snow Again (2020): Really pretty fascinating film but another that starts out a lot stronger than it ends. Here the ending doesn’t ruin anything, but the film starts off with such confidence, with an opening that is just perfect, and in the early going it lays a lot of interesting groundwork, but not as much comes of that groundwork as I would have liked. Far from nothing mind you, it all ties together in a perfectly fine way, just not as strongly as I would have liked. Still really enjoyed this one though. B

The United States vs Billie Holiday (2021): What a mess. I love the music of Billie Holiday and she’s certainly worthy of the biopic treatment, but this is just a mess. From awful editing, to poor acting (Andra Day is fine, considering the material… but most of the rest are just awful), to a script which treats everything on such a surface level. Its terribly paced, doesn’t do enough to highlight the actual music, the script is a mess. I’ve yet to truly like a Lee Daniels film, at this point I suspect I may not, but this is by far his worst that I’ve seen. D-

All In: The Fight for Democracy (2020): B
News of the World (2020): B+
The Mauritanian (2021): B
Knock Down the House (2019): B
The Mole Agent (2020): C-

A Secret Love (2020): When this works, its really pretty great. The two women who are the subject are fascinating and the details of their lives and of Terry Donahue’s baseball career are highly involving. It was a mistake to have this made by a close family member though. You can feel their bias running through the entire film, from how Terry’s wife is treated, to spending a significantly more time dealing with the impact on the family than is really needed. What’s more, it ignores an entire side of their life and their relationship, largely because I doubt this family was even capable of imagining it. These women were in the closet… to them. The movie focuses on how they spent all these years living a lie, yet then briefly touches on their long time friends, and the gay community they were a part of for many years. They weren’t in hiding from them. They lived far away from their family. There was a large part of their life where they were very much out, where they could be themselves. Yet the movie brushes right past this, never even seeming to see the contradiction. Largely I think its because their family are unable to view these women other than through their own lens, they aren’t even curious to imagine anything that didn’t directly impact them. Still an interesting story with some terrific moments, but a much better film could have been made about these women. C-

Miss Juneteenth (2020): B
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020): B+

The Half of It (2020): Really lovely teen/coming of age film. Might be the best like it I’ve seen since the Edge of Seventeen. Its an interesting twist on things and the young actors really sell it. Almost put this off, I’m glad I didn’t. B

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020): Didn’t really know what to expect walking into this one. I’ve never been a fan of Byrne or the Talking Heads (nor have I disliked them, always thought they were fine with a few catchy songs, just never made much of an impact on me) and I still haven’t gotten around to Stop Making Sense (its on my watch list). Yet I found this incredibly exciting. Between the music, the presentation, the ways its all tied together, I can tell this must have been a really good show. Yet it would have been easy for it to feel like just that, a fine filming of a really good show, much like Hamilton. Spike Lee’s direction makes it significantly more. Between the editing, how he chose to shoot and present different sequences, the actual film making here brings this to life and takes it to an entirely different level, making it something else, something cinematic and wonderful. I loved this. A

The Assistant (2019): B
Black Bear (2020): B-

A New Leaf (1971): Stunningly hilarious, I’m not sure I’ve seen Matthau better. He has fantastic chemistry with May and while its a pretty dark comedy, it had me laughing consistently. Brilliant script. A-

Beau Travail (1999): Denis is a director I’ve long needed to explore further, having only seen two films of hers, one of which I loved and the other which I liked. I don’t enjoy this one quite as much as I do White Material, but its definitely a fantastic film. Stunningly beautiful, its a quiet film which lets the camera tell us everything we need to about these characters. This is incredibly confident filmmaking. A-

Duck Amuck (1953): B+
Peeping Tom (1960): B+

3-Iron (2004): I found this one pretty stunning. Another that just has such confident filmmaking, trusting its characters deeply even in the near total absence of dialog for long stretches. The cast are terrific, all wearing everything you need from them on their faces. A wide range of emotions and a few moments were truly shocking but in the sort of way where they really shouldn’t have been, where when you look at what has come before they make total sense which I love. Great stuff. A

Performance (1970): D
Made in USA (1966): B
Madchen in Uniform (1931): B
Our Friend (2019): B
You Were Never Really Here (2017): A-
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#8

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01. 4.0* - Shiver [Senritsu Seshimeyo] by Toshiaki Toyoda (2021)
Toyoda gets a little weird. He strips virtually all narrative elements and delivers a visual album/album film based on the unique collaboration between Koshiro Hino and the Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble. Hauntingly rhythmic music combined with fitting visuals make for a riveting experience, but this isn't going to be for everyone.

02. 3.5* - Monster Hunter by Paul W.S. Anderson (2020)
The latest Anderson/Jovovich collaboration. After successfully translating the Resident Evil franchise to the big screen, they're now trying to do the same with the Monster Hunter series. Not sure if it's going to be quite as popular since the lore of this one is noticeably weaker (disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the games), but at least they've managed to make a pretty decent action spectacle out of it. A bunch of army folk end up in an alternate reality after a sandstorm hits them dead on. They soon find themselves outclassed by the monsters living there, but with the help from a couple of locals they manage to survive. Getting back to their own reality will prove a bit more difficult though. While I wasn't a big fan of the monster designs, it was nice to see some puny humans battling giant creatures again. The action looks slick, the CG is solid and the pacing is perfect. After a short introduction, the film delivers non-stop action, which I exactly what I want from a film like this. It's not what you'd call masterpiece material, but it's a damn entertaining blockbuster.

03. 3.5* - Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez (2007)
A slightly disappointing rewatch. I wasn't a very big grindhouse revival fan to begin with, but Planet Terror stood out because it was still batshit crazy even without all the grindhouse nods. That was back in 2007 though, before we got to the big 80s revival and before Japan unleashed its Sushi Typhoon madness onto the world. By that measure, Planet Terror just isn't zany enough anymore. That isn't to say it's not a fun film. Rodriguez delivers more than just an ode to the grindhouse scene and combines crazy violence with over-the-top horror, keeping it light at all times and topping it off with some lovely randomness. Seeing McGowan with her machine gun leg is still good fun, just not as mind-blowing as it was the first time around. The performances are fun, the nods to the grindhouse scene are pleasant (though the grain/dirt filter gets a little old after a while) and the pacing is perfect. Planet Terror is solid entertainment, but it aged a bit faster than I'd hoped. No doubt hardcore grindhouse fans will still eat it up, for me, it lacked that little extra.

04. 3.5* - The Dead Ones by Jeremy Kasten (2019)
Crazy film. The Dead Ones takes a flying start and hardly ever slows down. It's a 70-minute-long finale that comes off more than a little confusing, but does offer some answers in the second half. This one is all about style and vigor though, a film that cares more about offering a bewildering experience that serving a clean-cut story. A couple of kids are forced to clean up the local school. It looks as if the building was hit by a tornado from the inside, but no explanation is given as to what exactly happened to the place. Masked men are sealing off the building and the kids start having hallucinations. It's a big old mystery and answers are scarce. The editing is frantic, the cinematography erratic. Together with the soundtrack it makes for a pretty bad-ass presentation. The special effects look pretty cool too, the only problem is that the performances are really below the norm (even for a B-horror). Still, if you're looking for a nifty, gritty horror flick there's plenty to like here.

05. 3.5* - Love in Blood [Di Wang Ye Zhi Xiu Luo Xin Niang] by Li Chengkun (2020)
Pretty cool. Love in Blood offers a neat mix of fantasy and romance elements. It's certainly not the most original of films, clearly part of that big boom of Chinese genre films that's flooding the market right now, but Li Chengkun uses his limited means to great effect and delivers a slick little genre film. The setup is pretty basic, with a love triangle between a prince, a general and a demure bride. To spice things up, a magical flower is thrown into the mix, turning the bride into a blood-sucking demon. The perfect excuse for some additional martial arts and horror elements to help create that typical Chinese fantasy vibe. Performances are decent and the pacing is solid. It's obvious that the budget was quite limited, as the film sometimes reverts to "tell don't show", but the lush settings and lavish costumes, the fine use of color and lighting and decent CG make this film well worth the trouble. Sampling these films is really starting to pay off.

06. 3.5* - The Kid Detective by Evan Morgan (2020)
A dry, quirky and fun mystery. The Kid Detective is a film that may look a bit inconspicuous at first and might be glossed over rather quickly, but if you pay closer attention it's a pretty original film that finds the perfect balance between comedy and mystery and lives on an island of its own. The premise is pretty silly, about a child prodigy detective whose life takes a turn for the worse when he can't solve the mystery of the kidnapping of his 14-year-old friend. Years later he finally gets a break, when a local girl hires him to investigate the gruesome murder on her boyfriend. Brody and Nélisse are both terrific, the comedy is understated but funny, there are some fun little twists and the mystery elements are actually pleasant. The cinematography and soundtrack are just a little too plain to make this a real masterpiece, but it's prime filler that offers plenty of entertainment.

07. 3.5* - The Block Island Sound by Kevin McManus, Matthew McManus (2020)
Effective horror/mystery flick. Not one with broad appeal I'm afraid, since the film isn't too keen on explaining things. The audience is given some hints and shown some mysterious moments, but you'll have to connect the dots yourself and even then it's mostly left to your own imagination to come up with an explanation. Fish are washing up on the shore, birds are falling from the sky and Harry's dad is suffering from full black-outs. Strange things are happening on Block Island, so much that the local conspiracy theorist is having the time of his life. Fact is that people are starting to go crazy and the source seems to be coming from the water. The pacing is deliberately slow, performances are more than adequate and the soundtrack is quite atmospheric. The McManus brothers do a terrific job building up the mood and manage to keep the mystery alive, stretching it even beyond the final scene. A fun and entertaining genre flick, great filler.

08. 3.0* - Dean by Demetri Martin (2016)
Demetri Martin made a film and it turned out to be exactly the way I imagined a Demetri Martin film would turn out. A hipster dramady with minor romance elements, an indie/singer-songwriter soundtrack, some tragic comedy and light drama and an array of quirky side characters. Check them checkboxes. Dean is a film about dealing with loss. Dean's mom died a year ago, but he and his father are still finding ways to cope with this new reality. To avoid selling his parents' house, a deal his father is trying to push through, Dean takes a little trip to LA where he meets the fun and joyous Nicky. It's all very predictable and it felt like I'd seen this film many times before, but all things said and done Martin did a pretty solid job acting, writing and directing his first feature film. It's not going to blow away anyone but the biggest indie/dramady fans, but it's solid and pleasant filler, which definitely counts for something. Decent fun.

09. 3.0* - 24 Hours to Live by Brian Smrz (2017)
Basic but decent action flick. It copies the premise of Crank, but lacks the balls to the wall direction of Neveldine and Taylor to turn it into a masterpiece. That doesn't mean it's a bad film though, just that it's safer and more predictable genre fare. Good filler for those who are craving a little onscreen action. Hawke plays a killer for hire who gets liquidated, but is given another 24 hours to live. More than enough time to get back at the people who put him in this dire situation and help a few others to atone for his past sins. There's also a bit of fringe drama, but that's just boring filler in between all the explosive bits. The direction is pretty solid, the pacing is fine and the performances are on point. Nothing really sticks out as exceptional, but there are no obvious weak points either, unless you dislike action films with a minor sci-fi touch. 24 Hours to Live delivered exactly what I expected from it, and sometimes that's enough.

10. 2.5* - She Dies Tomorrow by Amy Seimetz (2020)
A somewhat questionable mystery. There are traces of other genres too, though it's hard to say how intentional they even are. You could discover bits of drama, horror references, some people even see comedy elements in it, but it could just as well be Seimetz's failed attempts to create an uncomfortable atmosphere. I do appreciate Seimetz dedication to creating something atmospheric and unique. The premise (about a fear of dying that appears to be contagious) is interesting enough and the meandering narrative isn't off-putting, but when it comes to creating atmosphere Seimetz simply plays it too safe. The characters are flat and performances are mediocre at best, visually there are some interesting moments but they are few and far between. The soundtrack is too easy and not well integrated and the finale is a complete snooze. A cameo by Adam Wingard suggests that Seimetz is part of their clique, but She Dies Tomorrow is a far stretch from the films that put Wingard on the map. The potential is there, the result is disappointing.

11. 2.5* - Cocktail by Roger Donaldson (1988)
Simple 80s romance. I once saw it a long, long time ago, well before I started keeping track of films. All I remembered was Cruise throwing bottles in the air and The Beach Boys' Kokomo. That wasn't by accident it seems, as these are by far the most remarkable things this film has to offer. Cruise wants to make it big after coming back from the army, but his part-time job as a bartender quickly takes over his life. He's quite a talent and before he knows it bartending becomes his ultimate dream, introducing him to his best friend to be, his wife to be and ultimately a happier life. Cruise is the main attraction and he does his thing quite well here. The plot is middling, Elisabeth Shue fails to sparkle, the drama is predictable and the soundtrack is pretty bland too. But there's an upbeat atmosphere that makes this a pretty each watch. Just simple fun, don't expect too much and it ends up pretty decent filler.

12. 2.0* - No Worries on the Recruit Front [Shushoku Sensen Ijonashi] by Shûsuke Kaneko (1991)
One of Shûsuke Kaneko's earlier films, where he started to move away from his pinku origins. Kaneko has had quite a varied career that spans several peculiar niches, No Worries on the Recruit Front is a more basic mix of drama and comedy that seems to target more commercially-minded audiences. The premise feels a bit otherworldly by modern standards. The idea that college graduates need to fight off prospecting companies may be typical for the Japanese bubble era, but rings a bit hollow now, especially with Kaneko's slightly exaggerated approach. No doubt this had a bigger impact upon its original release. Performances are decent but nothing special, Kaneko's direction feels a bit uninspired and the drama is too by the numbers. Some office troubles, romantic woes and the unavoidable baseball at night scene, there all in here, but they never manage to leave a solid or coherent impression. Not terrible, but also not a very remarkable film.

13. 2.0* - Titan A.E. by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman (2000)
US sci-fi animation. While hardly a film for adults, it's remarkable to see a US (mainstream) animation that doesn't feel the need to service every age group. So much in fact that I tried to come up with another example from the past two or three decades and felt stumped when nothing came to mind. That doesn't mean Titan A.E. is a great film, but it's at least remarkable. Back in the day it was also notable for combining oldskool 2D animation with CG backgrounds and characters, 20 years later it looks more than a bit dated, but not as much as some purer CG animations of that time. The story is very basic, the characters and sci-fi designs are rather flat and the voice acting feels uninspired, but it's nice to see some action-driven sci-fi animation for a change and some of the more adventurous sections of the film were pretty decent. Not a film I'd actively recommend, but it is a good reminder of how shallow and targeted the US mainstream animation scene really is.

14. 1.5* - A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness [Hishu Monogatari] by Seijun Suzuki (1977)
Seijun Suzuki's comeback film. After 10 years of silence, Suzuki returned to the world of cinema, though somewhat haphazardly. A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness contains vague traces of Suzuki's trademark style, but it's no doubt one of the oddest entries in his oeuvre (mostly because it isn't very odd at all). The plot revolves around Reiko, who stands on the verge of becoming a great golf player. The agency that represents her has different plans for Reiko though, and tries to sell her off as a model. Reiko decides to play along, but soon finds herself losing her own sense of identity as her agency keeps pushing her to become something she is not. Performances are quite mediocre and the film exudes a 70s vibe (not really a positive in my book). Apart from some interestingly edited scenes and a quirky soundtrack, Suzuki's signature is mostly absent and the film is actually pretty straightforward. The story isn't really that interesting though, making this a somewhat lackluster film in Suzuki's oeuvre. For completists only.

15. 1.5* - Dragonball Evolution by James Wong (2009)
Dragonball as seen through the Hollywood lens. I'm pretty glad that I have very little affinity with the franchise. I've seen a handful of the anime films, but never found it interesting enough to even consider going through the series. Still, I can imagine that fans (or just people more familiar with the Dragonball canon) got quite upset watching this film. The cast is a series of miscasts, I really felt sorry for someone like Chow Yun-Fat here. The performances of Chatwin and Rossum are way worse though, it's hard to say what they were going for, but it's painful to watch. Though to be fair, the rest of the film isn't doing them any favors. The CG is ugly, especially considering the budget. The plot is bland, the fights are boring and instead of going for fun and cheese, the film tries to be serious and kid-friendly at the same time. The cliffhanger finale no doubt signaled more films to come, but this one was such a flop that luckily they never materialized.

16. 1.5* - Big Trouble by Barry Sonnenfeld (2002)
Disappointing crime/comedy. Maybe not too surprising considering it's a Tim Allen-led film, not quite the actor I'd trust to do a fun crime flick. I generally trust Barry Sonnenfeld to turn out something amusing though, even if it doesn't look too appealing on paper. Not this time, Big Trouble was the dud I feared it would be. A little briefcase is causing a bunch of trouble for the people who get into contact with it. Most of them are unrelated bystanders who only got involved because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but isn't that always the case with crime comedies? At least the one with a somewhat darker streak. Performances are somewhat unfitting, Sonnenfeld's direction is a bit too chirpy and the comedy simply isn't funny enough. There is definitely potential here, in fact it's one of the easiest genres of film to pull off I think, but even then Big Trouble feels way too safe and predictable to be truly entertaining.

17. 1.0* - Moxie by Amy Poehler (2021)
A Hollywood rebellion flick. Poehler plays a mom who used to be a spirited activist and rebel, but who ended up like any other boring (single) mom taking care of her kid. Moxie feels like a film directed by that very character. It feels safe, uninspired and deflated, everything this film shouldn't have been. I'm going to guess Poehler/her writers aren't very in touch with the kids of today. That's probably why her character's daughter reaches back to her rebellious past and we end up with some sanitized punk kid who inspires a club of feminists, who sound a collection of average Twitter woke whines. The direction feels flat, the performances are cringeworthy and the social critique is so on the nose that it's start to grate, especially since this film runs almost 2 hours long. It's a film that tries to be rock 'n roll, seemingly unaware that being rock 'n roll has been out of vogue for at least two or three decades. This was just painful to watch.

18. 1.0* - The Sheik by George Melford (1921)
Romance in the desert. The Sheik was a blast from the past. Not because I'd watched the film before, but because it's been some time since I last saw this kind of desert harem romance pop up. It feels as if this type of premise was a lot more prevalent back in the days, I guess it's not that hard to see why it didn't really stand the test of time. A girl is rescued from the desert, after that which she is kept, handed over and kidnapped by men. Men she sees as possible suitors. With a story like that, you're not going to please too many modern viewers. Add to that the fact that this is silent, i.e. a film stringed together from crude drama, and you have a relic that is doomed to fade from memory. Performances are overstated, the camerawork is very static and the plot isn't much to look at. The music wasn't great either, but I'm sure people who really dig this type of film could come up with an alternative score that at least works in favor of the film. Not really enjoyable though, I'm starting to understand why comedy and horror silents are the most resilient films from that era.

19. 0.5* - Mesa of Lost Women by Ron Ormond, Herbert Tevos (1953)
Pulpy horror from the 50s. The film tries to sell you Tarantula women, but in reality you're watching a horrible cast going through lines and lines of cheap dialogue, just to keep the special effects to a minimum. It's an effective cost-saving mechanism, but it doesn't make for good cinema. You better like flamenco music, as it's loud and ever-present. It doesn't really gel with the atmosphere, but that doesn't seem to bother Ormond and Tevos. The performances are flat, the effects are laughable and there's disappointingly little in the way of horror and/or sci-fi. That's not really uncommon for old horror flicks, but even by that measure Mesa of the Lost Women underperforms. The film is short, but because there's so much talking it still feels quite long. Don't hope for a sprawling finale either, there clearly wasn't enough budget (or talent) to come up with anything decent. If you really love classic cult/pulp then there might be something here, otherwise I suggest you think twice before watching this one.
Last edited by Onderhond on March 15th, 2021, 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#9

Post by kongs_speech »

28 features, 29 if you count watching Hedwig for the second time this month. Only one short this week.

FEATURES

The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020, Kaouther Ben Hania) - 3/5
The Pink Cloud (2021, Iuli Gerbase) - 4/5
She Dies Tomorrow (2020, Amy Seimetz) - 2/5
The Assistant (2019, Kitty Green) - 4/5
The Mole Agent (2020, Maite Alberdi) - 3.5/5

Bacurau (2019, Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles) - 4.5/5
Dick Johnson is Dead (2020, Kirsten Johnson) - 5/5
Palm Springs (2020, Max Barbakow) - 4/5
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet (2021, Ana Katz) - 2.5/5
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020, George C. Wolfe) - 2.5/5

Bad Education (2019, Cory Finley) - 4/5
Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954, Don Siegel) - 3.5/5
First Cow (2019, Kelly Reichardt) - 4/5
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020, Nicole Newnham & James Lebrecht) - 3.5/5
Bull (2019, Annie Silverstein) - 2/5

Lapsis (2020, Noah Hutton) - 3/5
Nine Days (2020, Edson Oda) - 3.5/5
The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020, Radha Blank) - 4.5/5
The Half of It (2020, Alice Wu) - 1/5
Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020, Jasmila Žbanić) - 4/5

The Disciple (2020, Chaitanya Tamhane) - 3/5
The White Tiger (2021, Ramin Bahrani) - 3.5/5
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021, Shaka King) - 4/5
La Leyenda Negra (2020, Patricia Vidal Delgado) - 4/5
Mangrove (2020, Steve McQueen) - 4/5

An American Pickle (2020, Brandan Trost) - 4/5
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001, John Cameron Mitchell) - 5/5 (rewatch)
Saint Frances (2019, Alex Thompson) - 5/5
Residue (2020, Merawi Gerima) - 3.5/5

SHORTS

Introspection (1947, Sara Kathryn Arledge) - 3/5
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#10

Post by Lakigigar »

Not seen that much this week unfortunately, but i'll include more this time

Movies:
Teströl és Lélekröl (2017): 10/10
Sorry We Missed You (2019): 9/10
Promising Young Woman (2020): 8/10
Tomboy (2011): 8/10
Bande de filles (2014): 7/10
The Bad Batch (2016): 7/10

All great movies. The last two have some flaws, especially the latter part for both, but i've seen 4 very good movies, and one new all-time favourite (certainly top 10 all time-favourites, possibly my new all-time favourite movie, but i need to think further about it to confirm it.). Right now, it's currently 4th in my toplist, only being topped by Kreuzweg, The Neon Demon and Suspiria. It's certainly a top 10 all-time movie for me.

I'm probably not going to focus on the challenges anymore, because i'm quite bored with them, and I just want to watch what I want to watch. I think next week i'll focus on Nicolas Winding Refn yet, and I also want to see Roman Polanski's essentials (Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and Le locataire, and i already saw The Pianist last year (or two years ago)). If there's more time i'll watch more movies. But we will see. If i watched all Refn movies and Polanski's essentials, i will be more than happy with my next week. The week after that i'll focus on Greater China with mostly watching all Kar wai Wong's.

And for the last three days of march, i'm planning to watch The Godfather trilogy which I never managed to finish before (as well as perhaps Lanthimos two most recent well-acclaimed movies).

TV-series:
Vikings season 1 episode 2 - 9: 9/10 Just finished this season. I think from all the tv-series i've watched so far, this is the third best season i've seen so far (but i've not seen a lot, more like 100 seasons, and a lot is Belgian or animation). Only Prison Break season 1 and The end of the f**cking world season 1 (yet to watch season 2) are seasons i put over this one.

In terms of tv-series, i think i'll try to force myself to only watch 1 major tv-series (Vikings now occupies this slot, GoT and Breaking Bad will follow if i finished Vikings for sure), an occassional smaller tv-series (currently unoccupied The End of The F**cking World, What We Do In The Shadows, Too Old To Die Young and Euphoria), 1 animation series (currently occupied by Avatar: The Last Airbender, but haven't watched anything this week), and 1 sitcom (currently unoccupied, but this will be Two and a Half Men). But not more, because otherwise i might not finish them. (Also there is also a class: docu-series, but i only will start that class, when i've finished more tv-series, and it's possible i might merge them with class 1 or 2.

Currently focusing on Vikings and Avatar: The Last Airbender

Games:
None. But i'll soon play Assassin's Creed Origins, Odyssey, Valhalla and Syndicate i believe.

YouTube videos:
None

Music:
just a lot of what I already knew, I think just like the entire month, mostly FKA Twigs on repeat lol.
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kongs_speech
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#11

Post by kongs_speech »

sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Eden Lake (2008)

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021).
Wow, we're at odds this week. :lol: I actually love Eden Lake. I think Kelly Reilly is Oscar-worthy in that. I did sympathize with the victims (I hate annoying teens) and I do think the message is important. 4/5

I also disagree on Kaluuya. I think he's the second best performance of this awards cycle after Mulligan and I'm strongly rooting for him to get the Oscar, even though he belongs in the lead category. I found Hampton far more interesting than Stanfield's character, enough that I kinda wish it was an epic Malcolm X style biopic of his life. 4/5 for Judas.
Perception de Ambiguity wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm New Year, Old Roads (2021, Justin Kelly)
-Part 1: The Golden Years
-Part 2: Paradise Moose
-Part 3: The Road Less Traveled

Watch and weep: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5366

Nuevo orden / New Order (2020, Michel Franco) 4+
I hope to watch Justin's film soon, maybe in a month or two once I've finished my 2020 backlog. I'm sure it's lovely.

I dug New Order for its nihilistic worldview and stunning cinematography. Pretty fucked up stuff. 4/5.
Bing147 wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm Yes, God, Yes (2019): B

The White Tiger (2021): C+

News of the World (2020): B+
The Mauritanian (2021): B
The Mole Agent (2020): C-

Miss Juneteenth (2020): B

The Half of It (2020): B

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020): A

The Assistant (2019): B
Black Bear (2020): B-

Duck Amuck (1953): B+

Performance (1970): D
Made in USA (1966): B
You Were Never Really Here (2017): A-
Some of our scores here are rather different.

Yes, God, Yes - 3.5/5
The White Tiger - 3.5/5
News of the World - 4.5/5
The Mauritanian - 4/5
The Mole Agent - 3.5/5
Miss Juneteenth - 3.5/5
The Half of It - 1/5
David Byrne's American Utopia - 4.5/5
The Assistant - 4/5
Black Bear - 2/5
Duck Amuck - 5/5
Performance - 4/5
Made in USA - 4/5
You Were Never Really Here - 4.5/5
Onderhond wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm
10. 2.5* - She Dies Tomorrow by Amy Seimetz (2020)

13. 2.0* - Titan A.E. by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman (2000)

16. 1.5* - Big Trouble by Barry Sonnenfeld (2002)

17. 1.0* - Moxie by Amy Poehler (2021)
I more or less agree with those thoughts on She Dies Tomorrow, except that I liked it even less. The dialogue annoyed me, especially how everyone kept saying they're going to die tomorrow. Like, shut up and do it already. 2/5

Titan A.E. was a huge childhood favorite for me that really captured my imagination when I was 7. I revisited it two years ago and found that it holds up beautifully. 4/5

Big Trouble has long since been one of my go-to stupid, laugh-out-loud comedies. I completely understand being put off by it, but I think it's a real hoot. 3.5/5

That score for Moxie sounds about right. I'm trying to watch every major release this year, but I'm not looking forward to that one at all. I'm very fatigued on Poehler (and Fey), especially after the atrocious Golden Globes.
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Bing147
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#12

Post by Bing147 »

kongs_speech wrote: March 14th, 2021, 6:58 pm
Bing147 wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm Yes, God, Yes (2019): B

The White Tiger (2021): C+

News of the World (2020): B+
The Mauritanian (2021): B
The Mole Agent (2020): C-

Miss Juneteenth (2020): B

The Half of It (2020): B

David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020): A

The Assistant (2019): B
Black Bear (2020): B-

Duck Amuck (1953): B+

Performance (1970): D
Made in USA (1966): B
You Were Never Really Here (2017): A-
Some of our scores here are rather different.

Yes, God, Yes - 3.5/5
The White Tiger - 3.5/5
News of the World - 4.5/5
The Mauritanian - 4/5
The Mole Agent - 3.5/5
Miss Juneteenth - 3.5/5
The Half of It - 1/5
David Byrne's American Utopia - 4.5/5
The Assistant - 4/5
Black Bear - 2/5
Duck Amuck - 5/5
Performance - 4/5
Made in USA - 4/5
You Were Never Really Here - 4.5/5
Eh, we're pretty close on most of them, probably within a half grade to maybe a grade. I think the only ones we're particularly far off on are The Half of It, Black Bear, and Performance.

I would be curious to know your thoughts on The Half of It, because that's a really low score and I found that one pretty surprising. I can totally see Performance and Black Bear being divisive but that seems like a pretty solid crowd pleaser.

I will admit that I'm a bit surprised to see you rate American Utopia so high when I saw you post some pretty strong thoughts against Hamilton, or at least its status as a film. For me, American Utopia is a far more skillful translation of the material, but they're fundamentally pretty much the same thing.
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#13

Post by outdoorcats »

I shouldn't reply to this thread, because I didn't watch any movies this past week - nada, zilch.

I spent all my free time playing games - specifically, The Last of Us, Part II, which IMO handily joins its predecessor as one of the greatest video games of all time. The Last of Us titles are the best of the branch of "movie-like" video games, in which the creators have a specific, linear story they want to tell and you just move through it. I think this is justified due to the fact that the writing, story, music (by Gustavo Santaolalla, no less) acting, visuals/animation and world building match just about any equivalent post-apocalyptic film or series I can think of (a good reference point for quality would be something like Children of Men). The interactive quality only helps make the story more immersive. The first encounter with the Scars, for example, was a genuinely terrifying experience for me, and I'm not sure how scary it could have been if I wasn't pushing a stick to move the protagonist forward myself while dreading every step I had to take.



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But I replied anyway because I've seen an unusual number of your titles, so I thought I'd comment on them:

Shoot the Piano Player - Even if this may not reach the all-time classic status of The 400 Blows or Jules and Jim, I still really loved this for the cinematic aspect. It's been a really long time and I can't remember the story at all, but I remember loving the free-form, improvisatory-feeling B&W cinematography and the film just being very fast-paced and entertaining.

I see you're on a bit of an Irish horror kick; they certainly know how to make some creepy ones. Case in point:

The Canal - admittedly I can't remember much about this, but I have it as 7/10 on IMDb. IIRC this was part of my "Genuinely Scary Films" quest back in the day, where I tried to find films that actually scared me, and this one must have succeeded in creeping me out. The hand-crank effect comment you wrote rings a bell; I think there were some really nice, arty, atmospheric touches to this one. I sort of get it mixed up in my head with The Pact, because that was a similar arty independent horror I watched around the same time.
and The Hallow - This goes on my genuinely scary list. I got to see it in theaters so that helped, but the combination of eerie sound design, remote location, lush but eerie visuals and decently compelling story made for a very good horror film IMO.

If you're looking for another Irish horror that I can wholeheartedly recommend, it would be Isolation (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0446719/reference), a creature feature a remote farm that does a lot with a small budget with atmosphere and suspense to spare. Absolutely stacked cast too - John Lynch, Essie Davis, Sean Harris, and Ruth Negga are all in it.

Get Duked! (Boyz in the Wood) - Glad you enjoyed it, I definitely laughed far more than I thought I would have and think it definitely belongs in the stoner comedy canon.


@PdA

New Order - I'll take the (+) and work with it. It's certainly a polarizing film, and Franco hurt the film's reputation and message with his weird comments to the media. As brutal and horrific as I found it, I thought there was an important message as to what a double edged sword fascism is, that can turn just as quickly on those who wish to wield it as a weapon to enrich themselves and cement their power.

@Bing

Beau travail is one of my favorite films, glad to see you loved it. :cheers: The whole thing is just hypnotically beautiful, a film you can't tear your eyes from. Chocolat is another great Denis.
3-Iron I really liked back in 2005 when I was a teenager. I don't remember much now? Peeping Tom is another film I remember liking, but not loving, from the same time.
Performance is a film I love, but it's a wild theme park ride. At a certain point it becomes less of a narrative film and more of an experimental visual exploration of a theme. I'm sure everyone was high while making it, but Roeg is such a natural director that it also makes me feel like I'm high while I'm watching it (sober), and that's a good thing IMO.

@Onderhond - None this time

@kongs_speech - Bacurau is fucking awesome, just an embarrassment of genre riches, and Mangrove was beautifully and austerely directed as always, but a bit generic once it comes to the trial portion.

@Laki - On Body and Soul is also a favorite of mine, glad you loved it! An absolutely gorgeous, sensitive, deeply romantic film for adults. Sorry We Missed You is another excellent, powerful, realistically observed parable of being ground under the uncaring boot of capitalism from Loach. Girlhood is another one of my favorite films, a near-perfect synthesis of images, soundtrack and emotion. The film just radiates love for its protagonist without a shred of judgement. I wish everyone saw teens and understood them the way Sciamma does.
And I love FKA twigs.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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Torgo
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#14

Post by Torgo »

sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Birds (Or How to Be One) (2020). Various persons who wish they were birds are interviewed in this Greek documentary. The film is divided into chapters for steps needed to become a bird, which include learning to squawk and "dealing with gravity". While it is disappointing that the film never really explores the psychology behind those wanting to become birds, there is something refreshing in how the director does not dissect his subjects and rather just lets them speak their minds in a nonjudgmental fashion. The film also brings both Brewster McCloud and Peter Greenaway's The Falls to mind, though this is less cohesive and a little all-over-the-place (play rehearsals and political speeches are also thrown into the mix). Still, this is pretty fun as a documentary that really makes you question how much is real and how much is deadpan acted. (first viewing, online) ★★★
This gets me very interested, thanks for the hint :thumbsup:

Perception de Ambiguity wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm
Spoiler
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I've not seen a more fascinating image this week, thank you. :satstunned:
Bing147 wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm 3-Iron (2004): I found this one pretty stunning. Another that just has such confident filmmaking, trusting its characters deeply even in the near total absence of dialog for long stretches. The cast are terrific, all wearing everything you need from them on their faces. A wide range of emotions and a few moments were truly shocking but in the sort of way where they really shouldn’t have been, where when you look at what has come before they make total sense which I love. Great stuff. A
:thumbsup:
I will take you at your word and request more insight on: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020): B+ - I found all the talking in the car to be lengthy. It's a shame, thoughtfully constructed film otherwise, but sometimes a pain to watch :/

Onderhond wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm 03. 3.5* - Planet Terror by Robert Rodriguez (2007)
A slightly disappointing rewatch. I wasn't a very big grindhouse revival fan to begin with, but Planet Terror stood out because it was still batshit crazy even without all the grindhouse nods. That was back in 2007 though, before we got to the big 80s revival and before Japan unleashed its Sushi Typhoon madness onto the world. By that measure, Planet Terror just isn't zany enough anymore. That isn't to say it's not a fun film. Rodriguez delivers more than just an ode to the grindhouse scene and combines crazy violence with over-the-top horror, keeping it light at all times and topping it off with some lovely randomness. Seeing McGowan with her machine gun leg is still good fun, just not as mind-blowing as it was the first time around. The performances are fun, the nods to the grindhouse scene are pleasant (though the grain/dirt filter gets a little old after a while) and the pacing is perfect. Planet Terror is solid entertainment, but it aged a bit faster than I'd hoped. No doubt hardcore grindhouse fans will still eat it up, for me, it lacked that little extra.
Recently had to think about this one. Without rewatching it, I have the same thoughts like you; not only did the Japanese probably out-Terror the rest of the Planet; also the grindhouse revival (see: Hobo with a Shotgun) and over-the-top well-made trash films have blown up in the years after. Must have lost some of its novelty status. But DAMN was it fun back then in cinema!

Now I'm getting interested in The Half of It and She Dies Tomorrow :think:
btw, I liked Eden Lake back then, nice realistic terror scenario. Seems to be a bit divisive.
Lakigigar wrote: March 14th, 2021, 6:32 pm Teströl és Lélekröl (2017): 10/10
Sorry We Missed You (2019): 9/10
:thumbsup: Two of the best films in the respective years for me.
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#15

Post by Torgo »

Good news: I had to take a break with the mainstream crap - just couldn't bear it anymore. :lol: The second part of my watches took place only on Friday & Saturday - I like the brevity of this genre type of films. Some of you will want to hang me for the closeness of ratings. :whistling:


Darkest Hour (7/10)
The Judge (6,5/10)
Escape Plan (6/10)
2 Guns (6/10)
Rocky Balboa (6/10)
----
The Big Clock (8/10)
Where The Sidewalk Ends (8/10)
D.O.A. [1949] (7/10)
Force of Evil (7/10)
The Wrong Man (6,5/10)
They Live By Night (6,5/10)
The Big Combo (7,5/10)
This Gun For Hire (7,5/10)
Last edited by Torgo on March 15th, 2021, 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#16

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Shoot the Piano Player (1960). Playing the piano in a seedy bar under an assumed name, a former concert pianist is discovered by his brother who embroils him in criminal activities in this noir tribute from François Truffaut. While it is tempting to say that the title is the best aspect of the film, the final twenty or so minutes are superb, especially a lengthy stare final shot. The first hour though is not very easy to get through. There is some innovative editing -- most notably, a series of dreamy dissolves and jump cuts as he lies in bed with his philosophising girlfriend -- but the first hour feels too focused on romances and past relationships with things only really warming up when the crime angle ramps up. Charles Aznavour is certainly a refreshingly different (mild and milquetoast) male lead, but he has been more effective elsewhere, e.g. Head Against the Wall. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969). Part documentary, part fragmented narrative, this Japanese New Wave film is appropriately nonconforming in approach as it focuses on Tokyo drag queens who cope with love and heartbreak while navigating a world where they do not conform. At its most experimental, we are treated to sequences with animated speech bubbles, interviews with cast members, inserts of random rear nudity, speedy zooms-in to gallery paintings and sped-up footage set to upbeat music. On an audiovisual level, there is so much going on that the film seldom ever bores. The whole thing sometimes feels random and disjointed though, which makes it a bit hard to emotionally invest in the two main drag queen characters and their struggle to gain the same man's attentions. The ending is absolutely haunting, however, and the film ends on a high note. (first viewing, online) ★★★
I liked "Shoot the Piano Player" when I saw it a long time ago, not sure how I'd feel about it now. "Funeral Parade of Roses" was just too distorted to enjoy, great looking film.

Bing147 wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:41 pm Beau Travail (1999): Denis is a director I’ve long needed to explore further, having only seen two films of hers, one of which I loved and the other which I liked. I don’t enjoy this one quite as much as I do White Material, but its definitely a fantastic film. Stunningly beautiful, its a quiet film which lets the camera tell us everything we need to about these characters. This is incredibly confident filmmaking. A-

Peeping Tom (1960): B+

3-Iron (2004): I found this one pretty stunning. Another that just has such confident filmmaking, trusting its characters deeply even in the near total absence of dialog for long stretches. The cast are terrific, all wearing everything you need from them on their faces. A wide range of emotions and a few moments were truly shocking but in the sort of way where they really shouldn’t have been, where when you look at what has come before they make total sense which I love. Great stuff. A

Performance (1970): D
Beau Travail is excellent, I'd recommend "35 Shots of Rum" from her too. Peeping Tom is terrific, ahead of its time. I liked 3-Iron too, sad to hear about Kim's passing earlier this year. I also didn't like Performance, I'm not a fan of Mick Jagger or Nicolas Roeg so no surprises really.



Much slower week for me movie-wise, quite busy with other projects at the moment but should hopefully pick up next week.

Being Two Isn't Easy (1962): A story told through the eyes of a child, has mild echoes of "Le Petit Prince" by Saint-Expury, also shows the nerve-shredding fear of first-time parents adequately. Quite enjoyable if gimmicky film from Kon Ichikawa.

Kiru (1962): Clipped storytelling from Kenji Misumi, feels like a bunch of scenes from a novel with little character development to keep you hooked. Too short to make much of an emotional impact.

Blues Brothers (1980): Aside from a couple good musical numbers this is just an unfunny SNL skit padded out to 2.5 hours.

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933): Lurid 2-tone Technicolors undone by sloppy editing.

Los Jueves, Milagro (1957): Quite good Berlanga film, first half is stronger than the second half.

Satan's Brew (1976): Riotous Fassbinder comedy, pretty vile and disgusting at times but runs out of steam near the end. Thought it was OK overall.

Smiling Lieutenant (1931): Having seen Miriam Hopkins in "Design for Living" and "Trouble in Paradise", I had a difficult time accepting her as a sheltered, cossetted Princess. Some great Lubitsch touches here and there even if a couple songs could've been clipped.

La Grande Guerra (1959):The loosely-connected vignettes and the large numbers of supporting characters makes it hard to build an emotional connection to them, screenplay feels too scattershot. Wasn't enjoying it until the last 20 minutes. Don't think it's amazing, Mario Monicelli, Vittorio Gassman and Alberto Sordi have all done better work elsewhere.

Outskirts (1933): OK early Soviet talkie.

Le Grand Jeu (1934): Really liked Crainquebille, loved Carnival in Flanders, this one from Jacques Feyder didn't work for me. Has some interesting ideas but the lead is too dull and too many contrivances spoil the film, it doesn't coalesce into the great film it could've been.

Secret Agent (1936): John Gielgud is pretty wooden in the lead role, Peter Lorre is OK and Hitchcock shows some nice flourishes here and there, the abrupt ending doesn't help.

Night Train (1959): Thinly plotted train-bound movie with great photography and good acting.
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#17

Post by Lakigigar »

Torgo wrote: March 15th, 2021, 1:02 am
Lakigigar wrote: March 14th, 2021, 6:32 pm Teströl és Lélekröl (2017): 10/10
Sorry We Missed You (2019): 9/10
:thumbsup: Two of the best films in the respective years for me.
Thank you, yes, certainly great movies and for me among the best in the respective years as well for me.

All titles above 9/10

2010 Black Swan (47 titles)
2011 Drive / Jodaeiye Nader az Simin(48 titles)
2012 Spring Breakers / Despuès de Lucia / Herutâ sukerutâ / Jagten (44 titles)
2013 Kaguyahime no monogatari / Nebraska / The Wolf of Wall Street (51 titles)
2014 Kreuzweg / Respire / Nightcrawler / What We Do In The Shadows / The Guest / Whiplash / Song of the Sea (66 titles)
2015 Victoria / Mustang / The Revenant (74 titles)
2016 Home / The Neon Demon / Grave / Hjartasteinn / American Honey / Manchester by the Sea (51 titles)
2017 Teströl és lélekröl / Good Time / Thelma (29 titles)
2018 Climax / Assassination Nation / Utoya 22. juli / Hereditary / Mandy (20 titles)
2019 Midsommar / Gisaengchung / Sorry We Missed You / Joker (13 titles)

In the earlier years i have however much more movies with 8/10 but it seems despite having watched way less from the latest 3 years, they actually do pretty well here. The latest two years have very few eight's, but it seems like i give the movies I liked a higher rating.

But yes, i have to see a bit more from 2017, 2018 and 2019 which will happen inevitably.
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#18

Post by sol »

peeptoad wrote: March 14th, 2021, 3:32 pm
sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 2:06 pm
Regarding Eden Lake - yes, I am referring to the scene at the actual lake. Fassbender and his girlfriend could have so easily just moved further up the beach, and it's what any sensible person would do, but instead he decides to be a Grandpa and go over and tell the kids off for playing their music too loud. Not only that, he has the gall to switch off their radio when the kids refuse to do so....
OK, I recall this now that you mention the detail and I wholeheartedly agree. I do have a vague recollection of (probably saying out loud as I watched) "why did you turn their radio off,dumb-ass?!" during that scene. Yeah, kind of makes it hard to identify with the characters that we are supposed to, which makes the rest of the film kind of irrelevant I suppose.
I don't know about irrelevant, but it does totally negate the point the film is trying to make with its downer ending -- and the laughably blatant radio broadcast as they are driving along that talks about unruly kids uncontrolled by their parents.

Really cool/interesting that you got so much out of Rocks. To me, it was just a good-not-great working class drama. Not quite as impactful to me as the films of Ken Loach or Capernaum for a similar set-up, but of course I've been through none of that crap myself, so if you relate to it, yeah, totally get it.
kongs_speech wrote: March 14th, 2021, 6:58 pm
sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Eden Lake (2008)

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021).
Wow, we're at odds this week. :lol: I actually love Eden Lake. I think Kelly Reilly is Oscar-worthy in that. I did sympathize with the victims (I hate annoying teens) and I do think the message is important. 4/5

I also disagree on Kaluuya. I think he's the second best performance of this awards cycle after Mulligan and I'm strongly rooting for him to get the Oscar, even though he belongs in the lead category. I found Hampton far more interesting than Stanfield's character, enough that I kinda wish it was an epic Malcolm X style biopic of his life. 4/5 for Judas.
Eh? I think we actually agree Kaluuya (I also hope he wins the Oscar). I just thought that Stanfield was better and had a more dynamic character to work with. And yeah, I likewise agree that the film would have been better to focus on just one of the two; the only difference between us is that I'd prefer a Stanfield-focused movie since there is so much to explore when it comes to characters rattled with guilt, torn between loyalties and worried about being "found out". I definitely liked the film a lot, but it's one of those movies where I couldn't help noticing the potential for more while watching it.

Eden Lake though - we are definitely at odds there. I didn't mind Kelly Reilly's performance (her character is far more down-to-earth than her boyfriend) but mm, I think her performance is limited by the way the film is scripted. Sure, her transformation for happy-go-lucky schoolteacher to survivalist is stark, but I didn't feel like I ever got to know her enough as a milder/more timid character before she turned all rambo. Not really Oscar-worthy to me, but to each their own. She certainly does give it her most, I'd agree to that.

The message of Eden Lake might be important, but it's not exactly new or original (the saying that the apple does not fall far from the tree dates back to 1839) and as mentioned to peeps a couple of paragraphs above, the filmmakers manage to render their message null and void. If the filmmakers wanted to make a move about teenagers acting all cruel and sadistic amid peer pressure, they should have made it about that - rather than filter everything through the eyes of a arrogant vacationing couple who do pretty much everything that they can to intimidate and provoke them. Fassbender might as well have just punched the kids in the face. They would react the same way, and at least then Fassbender would have some dimension as an irrational hothead. As it is, he's just brainless.

Yours:

Seen six of viewings this week, of which Palm Springs would probably be my favourite. I love time loop films and this one added in a comedy element so well while managing to be its own thing; having TWO characters stuck in a time loop has rarely been done. Repeaters is another example though if the concept intrigues you. My least favourite of your viewings was probably She Dies Tomorrow. Great idea (contagious sense of doom) but terrible execution.
outdoorcats wrote: March 14th, 2021, 10:07 pm I replied anyway because I've seen an unusual number of your titles, so I thought I'd comment on them:

Shoot the Piano Player - Even if this may not reach the all-time classic status of The 400 Blows or Jules and Jim, I still really loved this for the cinematic aspect. It's been a really long time and I can't remember the story at all, but I remember loving the free-form, improvisatory-feeling B&W cinematography and the film just being very fast-paced and entertaining.

I see you're on a bit of an Irish horror kick; they certainly know how to make some creepy ones. Case in point:

The Canal - admittedly I can't remember much about this, but I have it as 7/10 on IMDb. IIRC this was part of my "Genuinely Scary Films" quest back in the day, where I tried to find films that actually scared me, and this one must have succeeded in creeping me out. The hand-crank effect comment you wrote rings a bell; I think there were some really nice, arty, atmospheric touches to this one. I sort of get it mixed up in my head with The Pact, because that was a similar arty independent horror I watched around the same time.
and The Hallow - This goes on my genuinely scary list. I got to see it in theaters so that helped, but the combination of eerie sound design, remote location, lush but eerie visuals and decently compelling story made for a very good horror film IMO.

If you're looking for another Irish horror that I can wholeheartedly recommend, it would be Isolation (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0446719/reference), a creature feature a remote farm that does a lot with a small budget with atmosphere and suspense to spare. Absolutely stacked cast too - John Lynch, Essie Davis, Sean Harris, and Ruth Negga are all in it.

Get Duked! (Boyz in the Wood) - Glad you enjoyed it, I definitely laughed far more than I thought I would have and think it definitely belongs in the stoner comedy canon.
Thanks for chiming in, outdoorcats. Had never heard of that game before; the Children of Men comparisons deters me, but I have noted your interest.

Yes, Shoot the Piano Player is very free-form, especially in terms of editing. As a narrative though, it is not terribly satisfying. I didn't love Jules et Jim either and all of my favourite Truffaut films are actually from his late 1960s period - Fahrenheit, Bride Wore Black, Mermaid -- I love love love those movies. Confidentially Yours is pretty cool too.

Thanks for Isolation recommendation. It's available to me, so I'll aim to get to it soon. And yes, Official Irish Challenge and St. Patrick's Day coming up... what better way to celebrate the country than with a good horror film?

Stoner Comedy Canon sounds like a great idea for an Official List. :lol: Those sorts of films are usually hit or miss for me, but Get Duked! was a hit.
Torgo wrote: March 15th, 2021, 1:02 am
sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Birds (Or How to Be One) (2020). Various persons who wish they were birds are interviewed in this Greek documentary. The film is divided into chapters for steps needed to become a bird, which include learning to squawk and "dealing with gravity". While it is disappointing that the film never really explores the psychology behind those wanting to become birds, there is something refreshing in how the director does not dissect his subjects and rather just lets them speak their minds in a nonjudgmental fashion. The film also brings both Brewster McCloud and Peter Greenaway's The Falls to mind, though this is less cohesive and a little all-over-the-place (play rehearsals and political speeches are also thrown into the mix). Still, this is pretty fun as a documentary that really makes you question how much is real and how much is deadpan acted. (first viewing, online) ★★★
This gets me very interested, thanks for the hint :thumbsup:

...

Now I'm getting interested in The Half of It and She Dies Tomorrow :think:
btw, I liked Eden Lake back then, nice realistic terror scenario. Seems to be a bit divisive.
The Birds doco is currently streaming on MUBI and is available to rent (cheaply) through Vimeo. Would definitely recommend it if you like The Falls, Brewster McCloud and other films about humans wishing they were birds.

She Dies Tomorrow kinda sucks. Good idea though. And I'm not sure why you'd describe Eden Lake as having a "realistic terror scenario". The whole thing pivots around the main characters acting like complete morons. The premise is equivalent to Fassbender kicking a growling dog and then being mauled to death by it. Is there some terror to that idea? Sure. Is it realistic? Well, only if your protagonist has a very low IQ.

Yours:

Seen five or six of yours of which I probably liked The Wrong Man the most, but it has been ages. No obvious least favourites in that bunch, though all those noir tend to blur together months and years after watching them. I recall really liking Lily James in Darkest Hour beyond the obvious award-garnering performances.
RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: March 15th, 2021, 1:28 am
sol wrote: March 14th, 2021, 12:00 pm Shoot the Piano Player (1960). Playing the piano in a seedy bar under an assumed name, a former concert pianist is discovered by his brother who embroils him in criminal activities in this noir tribute from François Truffaut. While it is tempting to say that the title is the best aspect of the film, the final twenty or so minutes are superb, especially a lengthy stare final shot. The first hour though is not very easy to get through. There is some innovative editing -- most notably, a series of dreamy dissolves and jump cuts as he lies in bed with his philosophising girlfriend -- but the first hour feels too focused on romances and past relationships with things only really warming up when the crime angle ramps up. Charles Aznavour is certainly a refreshingly different (mild and milquetoast) male lead, but he has been more effective elsewhere, e.g. Head Against the Wall. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969). Part documentary, part fragmented narrative, this Japanese New Wave film is appropriately nonconforming in approach as it focuses on Tokyo drag queens who cope with love and heartbreak while navigating a world where they do not conform. At its most experimental, we are treated to sequences with animated speech bubbles, interviews with cast members, inserts of random rear nudity, speedy zooms-in to gallery paintings and sped-up footage set to upbeat music. On an audiovisual level, there is so much going on that the film seldom ever bores. The whole thing sometimes feels random and disjointed though, which makes it a bit hard to emotionally invest in the two main drag queen characters and their struggle to gain the same man's attentions. The ending is absolutely haunting, however, and the film ends on a high note. (first viewing, online) ★★★
I liked "Shoot the Piano Player" when I saw it a long time ago, not sure how I'd feel about it now. "Funeral Parade of Roses" was just too distorted to enjoy, great looking film.
Yeah, Shoot the Piano Player was pretty likeable with the great ending and all of the editing innovations, but a weak Truffaut film for me given what he would soon go on to.

I don't know if enjoyed Funeral Parade either per se. As mentioned, I had trouble investing in the characters. I did love the presentation of the film though with so much experimentation and such an awesomely freeform approach that absolutely perfectly complements the nonconforming characters. I think the whole free-form thing did a lot more for Funeral Parade than Piano Player, which may have worked better played straight.

Yours:

Seen four of which The Smiling Lieutenant is easily my least favourite. Yuck. Maybe also my single least favourite Lubitsch film; I usually really dig his stuff. And yep, Trouble in Paradise is tops. I didn't think a lot of the Wax Museum film either though, which automatically makes either Satan's Brew or The Blues Brothers the favourite of my viewings this week, though both of them are movies that I wouldn't consider anywhere near their directors' best.
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#19

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I'm surprised at your reaction to Eden Lake sol (also surprised you hadn't seen it yet, it was quite big back in the days). It's been too long to remember any specifics, but the retaliation of the kids was hardly proportional to whatever provocations came from the couple. I have to say I didn't really care either way, in horror cinema I don't need much investment in characters, I just liked how tense it was.

Then again, I seemed to have a similar reaction to Moxie's ultra-sanitized, parroting wokeness, so to each his own.

@kongs_speech
Yeah, She Dies Tomorrow tried a bit too hard to look artsy & ethereal, while not really nailing the atmosphere. As for Titan A.E., I could definitely see how I'd loved this way more as a kid. And Big Trouble is one of those films I could've enjoyed a lot if I'd liked the cast better. I usually don't mind Levinson's work, I just got too annoyed by Tim Allen to enjoy the rest I guess.

@Torgo
Yeah, Planet Terror was still fun, but sticking a machine gun to a leg simply isn't as weird or insane anymore as it was then. Just one year later we got this:
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#20

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Onderhond wrote: March 15th, 2021, 10:03 am I'm surprised at your reaction to Eden Lake sol (also surprised you hadn't seen it yet, it was quite big back in the days). It's been too long to remember any specifics, but the retaliation of the kids was hardly proportional to whatever provocations came from the couple. I have to say I didn't really care either way, in horror cinema I don't need much investment in characters, I just liked how tense it was.

Then again, I seemed to have a similar reaction to Moxie's ultra-sanitized, parroting wokeness, so to each his own.
Eden Lake is one of those random popular horror movies that just never seemed to get a DVD release over here. :shrug:

Yes - the retaliation of the kids is hardly proportional at first, but then Fassbender's interventions become so more over-the-top. Here's the breakdown:

1. Fassbender yells at the kids and forcibly turns their radio off
2. The teenagers slash his tires
3. Fassbender breaks into their house
4. The kids steal his glasses, phone and keys
5. Fassbender stabs their dog (not intentionally, true, but he intended to stab the kids!)
6. The kids tie him up and start threatening him with their own knives
(won't get into any more for fear of spoilers)

Perhaps it's just the teacher in me coming out (though I work with kids much younger those in the film) but with any physical altercation, there is always a cause and that needs to be investigated too. Yes, some kids will lash out and hit others, but it is rarely ever unprovoked, and it seems weird to totally demonise those lashing out without also looking at what caused them to lash out. I don't condone the kids slashing his tires, and yes, it is an overreaction, but Fassbender was the one who started it and the film does not really seem to recognise his character's guilt in the conflict at all.

Yours:

Yeah, sorry, I got more of Moxie than Eden Lake, but agreed that the film felt a little sanitised. It's certainly not as sharp as something like Assassination Nation, though in that case I would probably argue that the film was a little bit too sharp. I didn't like She Dies Tomorrow and I loved Big Trouble at the time, though I don't recall too much off-hand other than finding it very, very funny (and I know that we don't see eye-to-eye on comedy).

As for Cocktail, I would agree that it's not as bad as its Razzie Award winning reputation would have it, however, this is what instantly sprung to mind when I saw your positive review of Cocktail in my Letterboxd stream. :D

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#21

Post by Onderhond »

sol wrote: March 15th, 2021, 11:42 am As for Cocktail, I would agree that it's not as bad as its Razzie Award winning reputation would have it, however, this is what instantly sprung to mind when I saw your positive review of Cocktail in my Letterboxd stream. :D
Hah! I think "positive" is quite a stretch, but I kinda liked its overall positive vibes. Didn't realize it won a Razzie, then again that's one of the dumbest awards out there. Which is quite a high bar. Also, I did like Slumdog Millionaire, so that makes me a contrarian contrarian tehe

Oh, and re: Eden Lake, I'm afraid I really don't remember the details enough to comment on those particulars. All I remember is that the kids looked like troublemakers from the start, which probably put Fassbender's character on edge, but I really have to watch the film again to refresh my memory. That won't be any time soon I'm afraid. Surprised the film never made it there btw, the reception of Eden Lake has been pretty positive (with surprisingly high ratings for a horror film). Film distribution is such a bitch.
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#22

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Torgo wrote: March 15th, 2021, 1:02 am
:thumbsup:
I will take you at your word and request more insight on: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020): B+ - I found all the talking in the car to be lengthy. It's a shame, thoughtfully constructed film otherwise, but sometimes a pain to watch :/
Sure, though that one is a bit tough as its probably the one I didn't comment on which I have the most to say about but also the one where my thoughts are still the most in flux. Its a terribly interesting film and I appreciate any film that makes me think that much. Excellent performances across the board and fascinating filmmaking. I actually really enjoyed the car ride up there but the one after leaving the house did go on too long for my liking, my least favorite stretch of the film. The dinner however is one of the most tense scenes of last year for me and the hallway dance scene is something special. Its one I want to rewatch, which I rarely do, but I could see that grade rising or falling.
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End of Summer (Johann Johannsson, 2014)

Always love me some Antarctic footage. Tempted to read an allegory for global warming (or, like, cocaine...RIP), but I think Johannsson was just there at the time enjoying filming penguins. Best at its most otherworldly, unsurprisingly.

The Vigil (Keith Thomas, 2019)

So well-made it's a shame it's another recycling center for lame tropes. If all the talent and effort that went into making this and similar flicks were redirected toward more thoughtful, resonant, less cookie-cutter ends, what a rich film scene we'd have. Even confining ourselves to the generic, there's a good horror movie in here about the longevity of trauma that a better screenwriter could've unearthed. Anyhow, refreshing that this was shot almost entirely on a tripod (even during those suuuper tense scenes that I guess usually scream for hangover handheld), and the camerawork and compositions throughout are excellent. Someone loves their wide lens, lol.
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#24

Post by prodigalgodson »

Hey guys, sorry I haven't been as active lately, I'll try to rectify that.

sol
Shoot the Piano Player 9 - speaking of the title, I've always been curious why it's unflaggingly translated as "piano player" instead of "pianist"; anyhow I loved this movie, my favorite Truffaut, but it's been a long time and I remember the energy more than the specifics
Funeral Parade of Roses 7 - very imaginative filmmaking, but yeah all things considered I didn't think it was too much to write home about
Shura 9 - aww man, I think you're the first person I've known who's seen this and hasn't loved it; essentially big screen watching imo
Emma. - saw this but it didn't even register enough of an experience to merit a rating
Lucky - thanks for the rec, sounds like a good one to watch with the gf!

pda
Children Who Draw - lol, I think it's fair to say I never grasped the spirit of a classroom
New Year, Old Roads - thank you for that candlestick association sequence
New Rose Hotel - / sounds about right, what a nutty movie
Wall Engravings - great screenshots

bing
I Care a Lot 5 - I didn't think it was anything special even before the ending, but that certainly didn't help and just stretched plausibility past the breaking point
Beau travail 9 - yeah, one of the greats; thanks for the White Material rec, still haven't seen much from Denis
Duck Amuck 5 - never been too impressed with this despite its reputation
Peeping Tom 3 - really couldn't get into this back in the day, but probably worth revisiting
3-Iron 8 - haven't seen it since high school, but I recall this being very well done
Performance 7 - pretty funky stuff, definitely enjoyed it but don't remember too much
Made in USA 3 - that rating seems harsh in retrospect, but I was not impressed, especially considering the Godard's general level of work at this point
You Were Never Really Here 10 - one of the best flicks of recent years imo

hond
nary a one, sad to say

ks
wow, seen none of your either, but looking forward to First Cow

laki
Promising Young Woman 9 - easily my favorite of last year so far
The Last Airbender - pretty fun stuff, but yeah, wish I'd seen it when I was a kid

odc
Shoot the Piano Player - nice encapsulation of exactly what also appealed to me

torgo
The Big Clock 8 - love the movie, but the book's one of my all-time favorites
Where the Sidewalk Ends 4 - usually love this director/cast combo, but this one fell flat for me
DOA 7 - nutty stuff, mostly thinking of that slide whistle
Force of Evil 7 - felt kind of like a great while I was watching it, but faded from memory pretty quickly
The Wrong Man 6 - solid but also kind of forgettable
They Live by Night 6 - shows so much Ray potential but didn't strike me as fantastic in and of itself
The Big Combo 7 - great photography and some pleasant quirkiness as I recall
This Gun for Hire 5 - far prefer The Glass Key for Ladd/Lake collabs

rks
Satan's Brew 9 - one of my favorites from Fassbinder
Night Train 5 - agree about the photography, but what a missed opportunity overall
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prodigalgodson wrote: March 18th, 2021, 9:57 pm Hey guys, sorry I haven't been as active lately, I'll try to rectify that.

sol
Shoot the Piano Player 9 - speaking of the title, I've always been curious why it's unflaggingly translated as "piano player" instead of "pianist"; anyhow I loved this movie, my favorite Truffaut, but it's been a long time and I remember the energy more than the specifics
Funeral Parade of Roses 7 - very imaginative filmmaking, but yeah all things considered I didn't think it was too much to write home about
Shura 9 - aww man, I think you're the first person I've known who's seen this and hasn't loved it; essentially big screen watching imo
Emma. - saw this but it didn't even register enough of an experience to merit a rating
Lucky - thanks for the rec, sounds like a good one to watch with the gf!
You probably already know this, but you've got nothing to apologise for. You're one of very few users who actually try to spark a conversation with everyone on this thread. :thumbsup:

Piano Player - yeah, I don't know, re: the title. I've heard it called both before, but my DVD says "Piano Player" so I went with that. In any case, as mentioned above, I much prefer Truffaut in Hitchcock homage mode. I might even dare to day that Truffaut's Hitch homages are superior to most of Hitch's actual films.

Shura - definitely very surprised by all of the love for this one. It's #3 on our 500<400 list. (D:) I'd like to believe that its support has something to do with its fans remembering how cool the beginning and ending is, and forgetting how boring it is in between, but yeah, watching this on the big screen will pretty much never be an option for me. Who knows? Maybe the dialogue-heavy middle section works better on a large screen. Was definitely very disappointed by this one, and Funeral Parade of Roses is a superior Toshio Matsumoto film to my mind. Not perfect, but plenty of experimental fun.

Emma. was fine, but nothing too special outside of Anya's performance. I haven't seen the Gwyneth Paltrow version in a while, but the new version struck me as a very similar to the point where I wasn't entirely sure why the new version was made. It doesn't really bring much new to the table.

Lucky is streaming on Shudder. Easily in my top 10 films from 2020.

Yours:

I've heard some good things about End of Summer but I don't know how many music composers have successfully taken the leap from composing to directing (there's John Carpenter, I guess). Anyway, sort of intrigued by the film as a swansong but it doesn't look like the type of thing that I would get a lot out of.

Never heard of The Vigil but you have (unintentionally) piqued my interest. The little that I have researched about it online makes it sound interesting, and a modern horror film where the camera never moves or shakes about? That's almost intriguing enough on its own to count as a recommendation. :D
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#26

Post by prodigalgodson »

sol wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:51 am You probably already know this, but you've got nothing to apologise for. You're one of very few users who actually try to spark a conversation with everyone on this thread. :thumbsup:

Piano Player - yeah, I don't know, re: the title. I've heard it called both before, but my DVD says "Piano Player" so I went with that. In any case, as mentioned above, I much prefer Truffaut in Hitchcock homage mode. I might even dare to day that Truffaut's Hitch homages are superior to most of Hitch's actual films.

Shura - definitely very surprised by all of the love for this one. It's #3 on our 500<400 list. (D:) I'd like to believe that its support has something to do with its fans remembering how cool the beginning and ending is, and forgetting how boring it is in between, but yeah, watching this on the big screen will pretty much never be an option for me. Who knows? Maybe the dialogue-heavy middle section works better on a large screen. Was definitely very disappointed by this one, and Funeral Parade of Roses is a superior Toshio Matsumoto film to my mind. Not perfect, but plenty of experimental fun.

Lucky is streaming on Shudder. Easily in my top 10 films from 2020.

Never heard of The Vigil but you have (unintentionally) piqued my interest. The little that I have researched about it online makes it sound interesting, and a modern horror film where the camera never moves or shakes about? That's almost intriguing enough on its own to count as a recommendation. :D
Thanks sol!

That is a pretty bold claim about Truffaut and Hitchcock. I'll have to watch more of his homages, though on the basis of Mississippi Mermaid alone I'd be inclined to disagree. I'm most interested in his Cornell Woolrich adaptation, The Bride Wore Black (I've read the next book in Woolrich's "Black cycle," The Black Curtain, and that was, whew, nutty).

I remember Shura's explosive ending, but I also do remember it being very dialogue-heavy. I just found the dialogue sequences tense and gripping throughout, especially suspended in these decontextualized ethereal spaces (film flicker really brings this kind of ghostly high-contrast aesthetic to life, hence the big screen preference).

Nice, thanks for the tip on where to watch Lucky!

I think you might well enjoy The Vigil. It's definitely well-done -- except for how they handled the evil spirit stuff, and especially the resolution. And yeah, big up to whoever's idea it was to refuse leaning into the new, profoundly lazy, dubiously successful universal standard for making shots iiinnnttteeennnssssseee, the shakeycam (hardly endemic to horror now either, though stuff like Blair Witch may've pioneered it). The camera still moves, but fluidly, courtesy of some quite impressive dolly work.
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#27

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prodigalgodson wrote: March 23rd, 2021, 9:06 am That is a pretty bold claim about Truffaut and Hitchcock. I'll have to watch more of his homages, though on the basis of Mississippi Mermaid alone I'd be inclined to disagree. I'm most interested in his Cornell Woolrich adaptation, The Bride Wore Black (I've read the next book in Woolrich's "Black cycle," The Black Curtain, and that was, whew, nutty).
The Bride Wore Black is my second favourite Truffaut after Confidentially Yours, so I'd definitely recommend it. Mississippi Mermaid seemed pretty great to me at the time, but it's probably only my third or fourth favourite Truffaut. I am very partial to his excellent adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 too. It seems very weird for me that Truffaut is so well remembered on account of just his first three films when he had so many amazing (and arguably superior) movies in his lifetime. I wonder how many other directors with a catalogue as extensive as his are only really remembered for their first three films...

Oh, and just to clarify, I'm not suggesting that any of Truffaut's Hitchcockian thrillers are superior to Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho or Strangers on a Train. The rest of Hitchcock's filmography though? Yeah, I think Truffaut's homages give Hitch a run for his money. :unsure:
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