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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 11, 2021

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 11, 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

Lions Love (1969). Three theatre performers in a ménage à trois relationship navigate the political landscape of the 1960s while evaluating if they could ever be parents in this fragmented but intriguing American film from Agnès Varda. The project is a narrative/documentary hybrid for the most part with Varda interacting with her actors and actresses, including Portrait of Jason director Shirley Clarke who Varda casts as a stand-in for herself. We also see the producers discussing the movie being made; "which comes first - the movie or reality?" as one character states. What stands out the most though are the scenes of the trio trying but failing to be thoroughly engaged parents. If a little too random and unfocused to really hit home, there are ample memorable bits and pieces (a body parts grandfather clock in particular) to keep the film chugging along. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Butterfly Murders (1979). Investigating a series of deaths by butterfly swarms, a journalist is drawn to a spooky castle where a masked killer resides in this odd blend of horror, action and fantasy from Hong Kong. The killer butterfly premise is awesome and the attack scenes are eerily shot with the swarms appearing to consume their victims. That said, the butterfly attack scenes are few and far between with more time dedicated to the masked killer; dressed in black leather from head to toe, he is a bit unnerving and his kills (including death by vase) are kind of inventive, but it all feels so generic given how out-there the killer butterflies are. The plot also ultimately makes so little sense that a minutes-long verbal explanation is required towards the end (!). The kung fu finale is pretty decent though and the butterfly attacks are worth watching for alone. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Club (1981). Violently retaliating when a female employee at his nightclub is savagely beaten, a young man inadvertently starts a gang war full of bloodshed and revenge hits in this Hong Kong action movie. The first half-hour of the film is a little dull, largely focused on banter between the women who work at the club. Once the protagonist begins to retaliate though, the film never lets up, constantly upping the ante in terms of what is brought to each fight. Most memorable is one guy being chased by two pursuers armed with pickaxes, eventually descending into a battle with pedestal fans as weapons. Michael Chan is not exactly the most down-to-earth and relatable protagonist, but he certainly oozes charisma as he leaps and runs around, often getting the one-up on dozens of rival gang members. The film has some very neat lighting (c.f. his hotel room) too. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Imp (1981). Expecting his first child, a broke security guard takes an undesirable job at a possibly haunted shopping mall in this horror film from Hong Kong. While the film does not really connect the dots between his fatherhood fears and stresses at work, this is a curious look nonetheless at a young man unsure of whether or not he is losing his mind. The film is incredibly good-looking with lots of green and red neon, plenty of fog effects and creepy elevator shafts. The final freeze-frame is excellent too and pretty haunting given how deliberately ambiguous the film makes things regarding his sanity. Having everything set in a mall full of empty, unrented shops makes the experience all the more eerie too. Not all of the humour works, but this is encapsulating right from the jolt early on where the protagonist sees his predecessor wheeled out on a gurney. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Rawhead Rex (1986). Disturbed by unsuspecting villagers, an ancient monster resurfaces and wreaks havoc in this thriller from Ireland. This is slow to begin with but once the monster finally appears, the horror rarely lets up with some great moments as the child-eating creature laughs at crucifixes, snatches kids from cars and eyes a pregnant woman's stomach with glee. The creature unfortunately looks very rubbery and unrealistic whenever clearly seen; luckily, much of the film relies on him creeping around in shadows and obscured in monster point-of-view shots. The film leaves a bit to be desired in the character department with almost everyone feeling like expendable fodder. The one priest who believes in the monster is pretty interesting though even if the film never dives deep into whether the monster is actually an ancient deity or something else. (first viewing, online) ★★

Dream Demon (1988). Nervous about her upcoming nuptials, a London socialite is plagued nightmares that may be overlapping reality in this curious horror flick. Described by some as the UK's attempt at a Nightmare on Elm Street, the logic is murkier (not a plus) and the dividing line between dream and reality is blurrier (a big plus). Whatever the case, the film is packed full of memorable imagery; from a wedding nightmare in which she knocks her groom's head off, to a slimy-looking demon Timothy Spall, to the labyrinthine blue-lit interiors, this is a great film to look at. As to what exactly is going on, how two nosey reporters are involved and the connection to the protagonist's new best friend, nothing is clear, but the dream (lack of) logic seems on-point, even if the lack of attention ultimately given to her wedding anxieties feels like a missed opportunity. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Closet Land (1991). Abducted in the middle of the night, a children's books author is interrogated by an unorthodox policeman in this riveting single location thriller. The film is intriguing right from the pitch black first three and a half minutes in which we can only hear voices surrounding the blindfolded protagonist. As the film wears on, Kafka's Trial springs to mind as she is initially not told why she is being held before everything evolves into scrutiny over whether her books have politically subversive content. Certain angles feel undernourished (too much trust on her behalf; not leaving when she could) and the ending, complete with an Amnesty International message, does not quite work. For the most part though, this is gripping stuff, largely powered by a phenomenal turn by Alan Rickman who plays three characters at once when the writer is blindfolded. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Isolation (2005). Shocked when a cow on their farm gives birth to mutant offspring, the protagonists of this horror movie do not realise the half of it as they discover that the newborn is also pregnant with even more grossly mutated offspring in this Irish horror film. With such an outlandish premise -- not to mention how insane the exoskeleton-bearing mutant foetuses look -- this is a film that feels like it may have been better played as a comedy. As it is, it is hard not to want more answers as to what exactly is going on. The film also places a lot of focus on the characters arguing about what to do and killing each for quarantine reasons; the project only really realises its creature feature potential in its final stretch. That said, the creature special effects are certainly fantastic, the initial birthing bits are shown in graphic detail, and the fear of infection angle is handled well. (first viewing, online) ★★

Stop-Loss (2008). Returning from tours of duty in Iraq, various US soldiers have trouble adjusting to civilian life while one of them grapples with having his service unexpectedly extended in this war-themed drama. Titled after the legal clause that allows soldiers to have their service periods extended, Stop-Loss does not do an especially good job of explaining how the process works or why it even exists. The film does, however, mount a fairly convincing case against it as we see how all of the soldiers are affected by post-traumatic stress, whether it be through imagining drowning bodies in swimming pools or treating street punks like hostages. The film feels like it may have been better by concentrating on just one or two characters rather than a slew, but most of the more dramatic moments hit home regardless of how uneven the project is. (first viewing, online) ★★

Black Death (2010). Lead by a young monk who used to live there, soldiers travel to a village rumoured to be immune from the bubonic plague in this horror-themed drama from Triangle director Christopher Smith. Alas, this is nowhere near as innovative as that; this is very light on atmosphere for the most part with the entire first half of the film burdened by far too much dialogue and characters more talking about what to do than actually doing anything. The film improves nicely in the final 40 minutes though as they arrive at the village and the horror angle perks up. Even with a strong final stretch though, this is a difficult movie to fully embrace. Eddie Redmayne is never especially engaging as the ostensible protagonist. Sean Bean is solid throughout though, even if it is almost impossible to watch him without asking "For England James?" out loud. (first viewing, online) ★★

Crone Wood (2016). Camping in the woods turns out to be less fun than expected for a young couple in this Irish horror movie. Shot in found footage style, this is a difficult film to get emotionally invested in at first with too much shaky camerawork. A sudden plot deflection in the second half though takes things in an entirely new direction, and while still found footage styled for the most part, the story becomes unconventional and out-there in the best possible way. Notably, much of the terror in the second half occurs in broad daylight with the filmmakers establishing such a genuine sense of unease that shadows and darkness are not required for effect. The actual ending is a little more conventional in approach, but the lead-up to it is absolutely excellent, full of thought-provoking questions regarding what true happiness might actually mean in life. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Suntan (2016). Invited to hang out with a young nudist and her friends after treating a wound on her leg, the sole doctor of a holiday island gradually becomes obsessed with her in this drama from Greece. The first half of the film feels a tad roundabout, mostly consisting of nude bathing and drunk partying spliced together. Makis Papadimitriou is pretty great in the lead role though, especially as he gradually overcomes his body issues and discomfort about being nude himself. It is in the second half of the film that the story really gets going though, and while it seems like a weird and uncomfortable comparison to draw, Papadimitriou ends up intruding just as much on the young woman's privacy as she initially did with his privacy. That said, it is hard to ever really feel for Papadimitriou whose delusions about his importance in the her life seem downright childish. (first viewing, online) ★★

Without Name (2016). Hired to conduct a land survey in isolated woodlands, a middle aged man suspects that there is something supernatural afoot in this Irish horror movie. This was the debut feature of Vivarium director Lorcan Finnegan and the film looks and sounds equally as striking. Audio effects and original music are well combined while the woodlands look eerie throughout. As a narrative though, the film is less impressive. The pacing is too slow for the surveyor's intermittent fear and worry scenes to amount to anything. There are some nifty strobe lighting effects and shadowy figures in the distance, but again these are occasional. There is also insufficient character development for this to really work as the midlife crisis movie that it sort of tries to be. As a tale of someone driven mad by working in isolation though, it leaves an impression. (first viewing, online) ★★

Western (2017). Working on a dam in Bulgaria, German construction workers struggle to find productive ways to spend their spare time in this curiously titled film. While not a western in the traditional sense, the main character rides a horse who he deeply bonds with, spends his off time sitting on a porch smoking, intervenes to stop a woman being exploited and bonds with the locals who welcome him. Arguable parallels to traditional westerns aside though, there is not much of interest here. There is the often the sense of tension about to erupt, but nothing significant ever happens (the fate the horse aside) with the film reduced to having the characters braid each other's hair around a bonfire at its dullest. Meinhard Neumann carries a quiet intensity well in the lead role, but the film does not quite manage to make the characters' boredom here exciting. (first viewing, online) ★★

Private Life (2018). Unable to conceive, a middle age couple struggle with IVF treatments and failed attempts to adopt in this downbeat but gripping human drama. Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti both do well with their lead roles, especially as they struggle with the discomfort that comes from discussing the subject with their friends and family - and in particular, when it comes to broaching the topic with a niece who they want to help them conceive. The film does not, however, fully convey the toll that the struggle is having on their lives; while they talk about it affecting work, their marriage and so on, we hear this from them far more than we ever see it. Still, this is engaging while it lasts, tapping into lots of raw human emotion (Giamatti's breakdown in a doctor's office truly resonates) and the film ends on a pitch perfect uncomfortable but hopeful note. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Animals (2019). Party animals and lifelong mates, two young women have their close friendship tested when one of them gets engaged to a teetotaler in this comedy-drama blend that is never quite as funny or emotional affecting as it sounds. The pair's drunken shenanigans feature far too little here prior to the engagement with too much time dedicated to the impending marriage breaking up a friendship that was never well established to begin with. The themes and issues are not particularly new or exciting either; whether it be learning to grow up, a romantic interest placing a divide between two friends or trying to finish an unfinished novel - it is all stuff that has been done before. The lead actresses admittedly share good chemistry, but neither character is particularly likeable or fun to follow around - especially not when sober, which they mostly are. (first viewing, online) ★

Late Night (2019). At risk of losing her show due to declining ratings, a stuck-up talk show hostess decides to finally meet her writers face-to-face, including a feisty new employee, in this comedy starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson. The film comes with more brains and heart than one might expect. Thompson is outstanding, rolling out witty, razor sharp insults left, right and centre, yet with a beating human heart beneath her outward callousness. It is also easy to identify with her reluctance to cater to the lowest common denominator just for ratings. The film is a bit less successful as a movie about workplace bullying and discrimination; it never quite feels angry enough about such issues, and there are some very sentimental turns near the end. Still, this is a pretty great look at the difficulties of maintaining relevance in one's industry. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

Lost Girls (2020). Worried when her oldest daughter disappears, a single mother conducts her own investigation when the local police decline in this mystery thriller based on true events. As the film progresses, we discover the mother and daughter's relationship was quite strained with her keeping secret from her other daughter what her sister was up to. What really powers the film though is Amy Ryan's excellent performance. While she has several fiery outbursts, she is even better when keeping quiet, such as her silent stares in a support group for mothers whose girls are also lost. With the actual case unsolved, the film has trouble ending on a potent note and the sentimentality that the movie ultimately opts for feels wrong. In general though, this is an enticing look at shocking police disinterest in the disappearance of women from the lower margins of society. (first viewing, online) ★★★

French Exit (2020). Set on killing herself when her money runs out, a socialite liquidates her assets and moves with her adult son and cat to Paris in this quirky comedy that netted Michelle Pfeiffer a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination. There is actually a lot more to the story than a single sentence can sum up, and while some are keen to point out a zany subplot involving the cat, this actually only emerges in the second half. Either way, the film is delightfully unpredictable in the best possible way. Strange things occur without characters ever thinking twice, while the plot feels like it was written as the movie went along. Occasionally, such spontaneity is frustrating with certain subplots given a lot more focus than other angles (Pfeiffer also ends up far more intriguing than her son), but it is hard to resist the film's near whimsical approach to life, death and love. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★
Other
Irish Destiny (1926). Convinced to join the IRA (when it was a freedom-fighting rather than terror organisation), a young man contends with spies while his family and fiancée are misinformed that he died in this silent melodrama. The story feels half-baked with little emphasis placed on the thought-dead angle, limited suspense and a bit too much romance. The film is incredibly interesting though for its splicing in of archive footage of then-recent historical events, including buildings that were set on fire. The film has some remarkable Handschiegl fire effects too, which are combined very well with red tinting towards the end. There are also some innovative shots from moving vehicles on busy streets, but as a narrative and insight into the workings of the IRA, this does not quite click -- though it was quite clearly intended for IRA supporters at the time. (first viewing, online) ★★

Grand Slam (1978). Dedicated rugby fans travel to Paris to watch an important match in this Welsh comedy that is never quite as funny as it feels like it had the potential to be. The performances are generally spirited, with the always bug-eyed Hugh Griffiths coming off best; the humour though is hit-and-miss with arguably more misses than hits. Most of the jokes are too obvious to land (having trouble explaining a bidet, etc) and the script feels very unfocused, with the majority of the screen time spent on the friends wandering around Paris and getting drunk before actually attending the match. The drunken shenanigans are not particularly exciting or out-there either with the characters coming off as more oafish than fun-loving. Apparently, the film is a big hit in Wales and possibly the humour works better if you're Welsh, which is hard to judge as an outsider. (first viewing, online) ★

Cherry Tree (2015). Desperate to save her terminally ill father, a high school student agrees to have a baby for Satanic purposes, only to eventually experience a change-of-heart in this Irish horror movie. While the filmmakers try to link things to local folklore, this mostly comes off as a Rosemary's Baby variant with an obvious/dull message about the risks of making deals with the Devil. The film looks pretty great though with lots of weird imagery (web-covered beds; gooey transformation effects; tons of cherry juice) even if the centipedes are overdone. There is also a nasty if brief burned alive scene, while Naomi Battrick tries to add dimension to her character. The whole thing though ultimately comes off as a 'been there, done that' sort of movie that will probably only seem fresh to viewers who have never seen a pagan rituals horror movie before. (first viewing, online) ★★

To Dream (2016). This working class drama from Britain gets off to excellent start with an intense pre-credits scene in which two young kids brazenly shoplift using a fake seizure hustle; the rest of the film though is dedicated to their humdrum lives as lay-about teenagers, which soon becomes tiresome to watch. The protagonists definitely share decent chemistry and there are some neat shots with pronounced pink neon, but the bulk of the film focuses on their interactions with other characters. There is also a large stretch dedicated to just one of their fathers, and then the film wraps up on a bit of a "so what?" note. Some of the themes and issues are not half-bad, with the teens possessing wild dreams of moving to America and getting out their slum-like town, but the film never once recaptures the vibrancy of the first part focusing on the pair as kids. (first viewing, online) ★

Brackenmore (2017). Arriving on a small island to inspect an inherited property, a young woman becomes unsettled while childhood memories flood back in this Irish horror movie. While it is obvious from early on that something is not quite right on the island, the filmmakers build up a sense of dread and uncertainty well with the smallest touches (e.g. an uncommunicative mask-wearing child). The payoff though is unfortunately never quite as weird or out-there as one might expect, and while the blood-splatter imagery is great, the ending is strange to say the least. Sophie Hopkins is fine either way in the lead role, which is essential in a film like this that pretty much stays entirely in her perspective, except near the end. The film does feel like a paler version of certain better-known horror movies, but this is more tolerable that its low ratings might suggest. (first viewing, online) ★★
Former IMDb message boards user // iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | My top 750 films // Long live the new flesh!
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Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3851
Joined: July 9th, 2011, 6:00 am
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

«It is the birthright of every child to encounter the cosmos anew, in every culture and every age. When this happens to us we experience a deep sense of wonder. The most fortunate among us are guided by teachers who channel this exhilaration. We are born to delight in the world.»
- Carl Sagan (Cosmos, "Who Speaks for Earth?")

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Bakit Dilaw ang Gitna Ng Bahaghari? / Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow? (1994, Kidlat Tahimik) 7-

Pain Is... (1997, Stephen Dwoskin) 8

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Voyage au Congo / Voyage au Congo: Scènes de la vie indigène en Afrique Équatoriale / Travels in the Congo: Scenes of Native Life in Equatorial Africa (1927, Marc Allégret) 9

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Lorang's Way (1978, David & Judith MacDougall) 7

Dr. Jack (1922, Fred C. Newmeyer & Sam Taylor) 3


shorts

Kosmos : The Uncertainty (2018/2019, Narcisa Hirsch & Rubén Guzman & Robert Cahen) 6

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Nawi (1970, David & Judith MacDougall) 8

Cimetière dans la falaise / Cemeteries in the Cliff (1951, Jean Rouch) 4+

Be Honest (1923, Len Powers) 6-

My Future is Cinema's Future (2013, Sion Sono) 6

The Flying Fish (2019, Murat Sayginer) (2nd viewing) 8


series

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980, series director: Adrian Malone, co-writer: Carl Sagan) 7
Cosmos - Ep10 - "The Edge of Forever" (1980) 7
Cosmos - Ep11 - "The Persistence of Memory " (1980) 7
Cosmos - Ep12 - "Encyclopaedia Galactica" (1980) 7
Cosmos - Ep13 - "Who Speaks for Earth?" (1980) 6


music video

Rob Zombie: Crow Killer Blues (2021, prob. Rob Zombie) --


other

The Guy from Harlem (1977, Rene Martinez Jr.) (w/ RiffTrax) 1

Whitney Cummings: Money Shot (2010, John Fortenberry) 4+

partly experienced Rogans: #1621: Jim Breuer (2021)


I didn't ask for a cure for insomnia, thanks

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021, see title) [80 min + ending]
Ya - Gurdjiev. Ya ne umru / I am Gurdjieff. I will not die. (2007, Martiros Fanosyan) [12 min]
Sleep Has Her House (2017, Scott Barley) [9 min]


notable online media

top:
Status: How to Win by being a Pathetic Loser
Missing Teen's Friends Go On TV To Plead For Her Release, Gossip About Ugly Classmates
Why there's no such thing as objective reality | Greg Anderson
Autistic Reporter, Michael Falk, Enchanted By Prison's Rigid Routine
[clips of Michael Winslow performing Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix songs]
[clips of Alex Jones on "Flagrant 2 Clips"]
Hidden Dimensions: Exploring Hyperspace
The Believing Brain: Evolution, Neuroscience, and the Spiritual Instinct
Here's Why You're Wrong
Architects of the Mind: A Blueprint for the Human Brain
Search Crews Continue To Look For Obviously Dead Hikers
DIVIDE & RULE - The Plan of The 1% to Make You DISPOSABLE - Vandana Shiva
Facebook Employees Explain Struggling To Care About Company's Unethical Practices When Gig So Cushy
[various Tim Dillon compilations]
Carrier Pigeon {Memories Of Dying}
Town's Teen-Pregnancy Spike Due To One Impressive Youth
Funny Dog on meds after the vet
Intelligence Without Brains [partly]
Beyond Beauty: The Predictive Power of Symmetry [partly]
Shenmue 2: A completely normal conversation with a child
Medium Channels The Spirits Of Old Acquaintances For Awkward Small Talk
["Fish Girl" videos]
A two-year-old's solution to the trolley problem
rest:
Two-year-old sister's solution to the trolley problem
Anthony Hopkins - "This Is The Stupidest Show I've Ever Been On" - 2/2 Visits In Order [Texmagery]
Friends Don't Understand How Man Not Depressed
The Aesthetic of Anime [partly]
LINDEMANN - Allesfresser (Live in Moscow)
Karen Metal 2
Bill Burr at the Grammy Awards 2021
Driving through a rainbow 2012

Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow?
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Voyage au Congo
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Lorang's Way
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Nawi
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Cosmos: "The Edge of Forever"
3D map of the known universe (1 dot = 1 galaxy)...
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...here from the POV of Earth
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"These Chola bronzes cast in the 11th century include several different incarnations of the god Shiva [...] The most elegant and sublime of these bronzes is a representation of the creation of the universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle. A motif known as the cosmic dance of Shiva.
The god has four hands. In the upper right hand is a drum whose sound is the sound of creation. In the upper left hand is tongue of flame, a reminder that the universe, now newly created, will billions of years from now be utterly destroyed. Creation, destruction."
(Cosmos: "The Edge of Forever")
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«...these are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do given 15 billion years of cosmic evolution. It has the sound of epic myth, but it's simply a description of the cosmos as revealed by science in our time.»
- Carl Sagan (Cosmos, "Who Speaks for Earth?")
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on March 21st, 2021, 10:26 pm, edited 1 time 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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Onderhond
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#3

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01. 4.0* - Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi] by Hayao Miyazaki (2001)
Hayao Miyazaki's most popular film. Not my personal favorite, I still feel there are some pacing issues at the start, I also think Miyazaki fares better when he favors subtlety over grandeur, but there are definitely moments of genius here and by the end it does feel as if you just witnessed something epic. One for the ages.

02. 3.5* - Possum by Matthew Holness (2018)
Creepy and uncomfortable. Possum isn't the kind of horror film that is going to please gorehounds or scare hunters. It's a film that aims for atmosphere and dares to play all or nothing. And Holness nearly pulls off a masterpiece, but for a film like this everything has to be just right and that isn't the case here. The plot revolves around Philip, a troubled man who lugs around a bag with a puppet inside. That's about all the context you'll get and Holness isn't eager to reveal too much, but if you pay attention it won't be too hard to paste most things together. Even so, the film retains its mystery even after some of the more obtuse plot points are revealed. Sean Harris is the star of the film and delivers a standout performance. The puppet design is another highlight, so is the soundtrack. Sadly the cinematography is just a little too plain, which kept the film from truly crawling underneath my skin. But it's clear that Holness has talent. If you like your horror weird and eerie, make sure to give Possum a chance.

03. 3.5* - Fox in Fuso by Pan Ting (2020)
A fine mix of fantasy, folklore and romance. It's not an uncommon setup in Chinese/Hong Kong cinema, just think of Hark Tsui's Green Snake. Fox in Fuso is the contemporary Chinese take on the genre. A core genre flick that doesn't have too much budget to spare, but delivers on the rapidly booming experience of Chinese genre directors. No snakes this time around (though the film does reference them), but foxes. Another popular mythological creature in Chinese folklore. The plot revolves around three sisters (black, white and red fox) looking for the Golden Lotus in the human realm, after losing it while fighting over a man. Lush sets and costumes are the main appeal of Fox in Fuso. While the film focuses on fantasy and romance, there's also a little action and comedy to make it a more rounded film. Some mediocre CG and unstable performances keep it from being truly great, but these films are definitely started to come through as prime filler options.

04. 3.5* - The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese [Kyuso Wa Chizu No Yume Wo Miru] by Isao Yukisada (2020)
Yukisada being Yukisada. The biggest difference is that he plays around with LGBTQ elements, I don't think I've ever seen him do that before. Not that it changes a lot, it's still a very typical romantic drama with the usual woes and worries, but it's nice to see the Japanese mainstream is getting a bit more accepting of these topics. Kyoichi's life is about to get turned upside down when Wataru, a private detective, uncovers his infidelity. Wataru is an old classmate of Kyoichi, and has always had a thing for him. Rather than come clean to his spouse, Kyoichi promises to spend a night with Wataru, a night that will unleash a lot of conflicting feelings. It's nice to see something different from the usual coming out stories, sadly there's a bit too much back and forth between Kyoichi and various partners, which puts a little strain on the second half. The performances are decent but not exceptional, the cinematography and score are polished but expected. It's a very solid drama, but having seen so much of Yukisada already it's not a film that stands out from his other work.

05. 3.5* - The Infernal Walker [Mou Gaan Hang Ze] by Ka-Fai Wong (2020)
A modern take on Infernal Affairs. The film went through a couple of other titles first, but it's not difficult to see why they ended up settling for this one. With two moles on competing sides, a good old-fashioned police/Triad cat and mouse game and quite a few action scenes Andrew Lau's trilogy was the obvious inspiration for this one. It's been a bit too long since I watched the Infernal Affairs trilogy, but the premise felt almost like an exact copy. The only major difference (from what I could remember) is that we're dealing with two separate Triad factions here. Not that it matters much, if you've seen a couple of these Hong Kong crime flicks you should know what to expect. The camera work's a bit flashier, the cast is quite a bit younger and the soundtrack is a little thumpier. Just little things that give the film a more contemporary feel. It's clear that Hong Kong is struggling to find its groove though, The Infernal Walker is pretty entertaining, but it's hardly the future of Hong Kong cinema. For that it's too rooted in its own past.

06. 3.5* - I Am Not a Hero [Je Ne Suis Pas un Héros] by Pablo Diaz Crutzen, Stijn Deconinck, Robin Smit (2020)
Poignant doc. It's a little weird to look back at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown while we're still in the middle of the pandemic, even so it almost feels like a different era. We've come a long way in just a year's time, so this was an interesting flashback, a look back at what our world looked like just one year ago. The film follows around the nurses of the Erasmus hospital in Brussels as they try to deal with the situation. It's a very candid, sobering documentary where people talk freely about the way they cope. It's not half as fatalistic or depressing as I figured it would be, at the same time the film doesn't shy away from addressing some harsh truths. The scope is rather small, which it creates a certain intimacy that you don't often find in documentaries. It offers a very different angle than the one you'd get from following the more traditional media, reducing this pandemic to what it actually is for most people: an unpleasant reality they've learned to deal with. Recommended.

07. 3.0* - Amazing Nuts! by Yasuhiro Aoki, Yoshiharu Ashino, Takashi Yamashita, Daisuke Nakayama (2006)
Another typical Studio 4°C anthology. Though I have to say this feels a bit like a collection of B-sides. The first and third short are up to 4°C's standard (though still a fair ways from their top tier output), the second and fourth one feel a bit unfinished. It's clearly not one of their tent pole projects, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a go. Each of the shorts is heavily tied to its soundtrack. They aren't 100% music videos, but they come awfully close. That means the traditional narrative is often pushed backwards, but for experimental animation shorts like these that's not necessarily a bad thing. Just let yourself be swept away by their atmosphere. Cool art styles, slick editing and CG experimentation are the main ingredients here. The first short felt a bit like Dead Leaves light, the third one was definitely more inspired by Morimoto's work, while the fourth one stumbles in its attempts to go full CG. The tampered live action footage of the second film wasn't entirely successful either. Still, there are moments of genius here, just don't expect another Genius Party or Memories.

08. 3.0* - Horizon Line by Mikael Marcimain (2020)
A pretty entertaining thriller. One of those "people get stuck in a dire situation" flicks where the main characters spend most of the film trying to recover from their predicament. It's rarely masterpiece material, but more often than it makes for prime filler and Horizon Line isn't the exception to the rule. This time the characters find themselves stuck in the air in the middle of the ocean. The pilot of the plane just died and the two passengers have little experience flying these pesky things. A storm is closing in on them, fuel is leaking and the radio is broken. Still, they're not giving up and they'll do their best to reach land as quickly as possible. The intro is a bit too long, but once disaster hits the tension doesn't let off. Performances are variable (Williams is solid, Dreymon is questionable) and you'll need a fair bit of suspension of disbelief, but the pacing is slick, it never gets boring and there are some pretty exciting moments. Good fun.

09. 3.0* - The Fortune Code [Fu Gui Bing Tuan] by Kent Cheng (1990)
Kent Cheng channels Jing Wong. It's no surprise to see Wong receiving writing credits here, it's a film he could've directed himself. At least in spirit, as he had a hand in so many films back then that it would've been physically impossible to direct them all. But if you're craving some Jing Wong, this is a pretty safe bet. The Fortune Code offers prison camp folly. Think Stalag 17, only sprinkled with typical Hong Kong comedy (and Jing Wong hangups - yes there are gambling scenes). A legion of Chinese spies are trying to protect a code that gives access to a Swiss bank account, money intended for the Chinese resistance who are fighting against the Japanese invaders. The cast is pretty stellar (Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Sammo Hung, Eric Tsang are all present), the comedy is silly but amusing and the pacing is perfect. Add a few solid martial arts scenes and some lovely randomness (the play at the end is comedy gold) and you have a pretty likeable comedy. A nice little surprise.

10. 3.0* - Pathfinder by Marcus Nispel (2007)
Vikings vs Indians. This isn't what you call a historically correct film, instead Marcus Nispel created something more in line with 300. An action-filled adventure that's all about looking as bad-ass as possible. Approach it like that and Pathfinder isn't such a bad film, despite what you may read elsewhere. The plot is basic. A young Viking boy is adopted by an Indian tribe. 16 years later a new batch of Viking conquerors appear on their shores. The boy will have to prove his worth by fighting off the invaders, with a little help of his newfound family. And so the cat and mouse game starts. Nispel relies on mean-looking costumes and heavy post-production color grading to give the film some extra flair, and he's pretty successful at it too. The action relies a little too much on CG and the performances are mediocre, but the action scenes are cool and the pacing is perfect. Fun filler.

11. 3.0* - Cry [Sakebigoe] by Hirobumi Watanabe (2019)
Hirobumi Watanabe's latest film. Watanabe has been making a name for himself lately, though this is only the first film I've seen from him. His films aren't that easy to come by, not too surprising probably as this is hardcore film festival material. Casual film watchers be warned. Cry doesn't have much in the way of a narrative. It follows the daily routines of a guy who works in a pig pen, and that's all there is to it really. There's a purposefully grating soundtrack, no dialogue and no dramatic events. If that sounds dull, better stay away from this one as that's literally all you'll be getting. The stark black and white cinematography is a definite plus though and the soundtrack combined with the repetitiveness of the imagery does make for an interesting watch. It's a bit long for my taste, also a little too documentary-like, but if you love yourself some experimental/off-kilter cinema then it's definitely worth a shot.

12. 2.5* - My People, My Homeland [Wo He Wo De Jia Xiang] by Hao Ning, Sicheng Chen, Chao Deng, Da-Mo Peng, Ao Shen, Zheng Xu, Fei Yan, Baimei Yu (2020)
Chinese pep talk. I think this is the second Chinese blockbuster anthology made with a single goal in mind: make China look good on the silver screen. It's no surprise these film have started to pop up over there now that their local market is booming, they're simply copying Hollywood's playbook. It's a bit of a bummer though, as these project tend to usurp quality directors (like Hao Ning here), forcing them to put out subpar films. The five shorts on display here aren't terrible, but their intentions are a bit too obvious and the film is so polished that it gets a little nauseating after a while. China's most familiar actors (Bo Huang, You Ge, Baoqiang Wang, ...) are all present, the cinematography is nice and colorful and there are some quirky stories, but there's not enough variation, there's no grit and all the film offer the same self-boasting fuzzy feelgood nonsense. I hope this will be the end of it, but since these films are doing pretty well at the box office I doubt it very much.

13. 2.5* - The Heiress by Chris Bell (2021)
A run-of-the-mill horror flick. Chris Bell's first isn't all that special. Witchcraft, a curse passed down through various generations and hauntings combined with mental illness. You've seen it all before, if you like a bit of horror you can no doubt fill in the gaps yourself. But as filler goes, it isn't all bad. The plot revolves around Claire, a woman who is suffering from depression and starts seeing ghosts roaming around the house. You may think Bell would try to create a bit of ambiguity with that setup, but the film never really casts any doubt on what's real and what's not and just plays it straight. Performances aren't all that great, the plot is basic and the hauntings aren't that scary. But the soundtrack is pretty solid and once the film nears the finale it ramps up the pacing and it becomes a pretty decent horror flick, though probably not one you'll remember for long afterwards. Just solid, short filler.

14. 2.5* - Elling by Petter Næss (2001)
A pretty basic dramady. Back in the day Elling made quite an impact, though 20 years later it's hard to pinpoint why exactly that was. The film colors neatly inside the lines, serving two quirky characters who are let loose into the world and have to learn to live by themselves. Funny/dramatic situations ensue. Elling is a shut-in who spent most of his life living with his mom, Kjell Bjarne is a 40-year-old virgin. After a short stay in an institute the two are sent to Oslo where they'll be challenged to overcome their insecurities. It's a pretty simple setup where actors and director are supposed to shoulder the weight of the film. The performances are decent but nothing special. Both characters are a bit too dependent on their little quirks, which gets tired real quick. The direction is also pretty bland, with less-than-stellar cinematography and a mediocre soundtrack. It's not a bad film, there are some funny moments, but overall it's not enough to set itself apart from its peers.

15. 2.5* - Tadaima, Jacqueline by Akiko Ohku (2013)
Short drama that never really finds its footing. Tadaima Jacqueline certainly doesn't suffer from a case of too little, there's enough material here to fill at least two or three separate films, it's just that it never quite gels together. The result is a film that isn't unpleasant, just very uninvolved. Two young kids are orphaned by a bus accident. At the site of the accident they find a doll, which becomes their treasure. The film is told from the perspective of the doll, who constantly comments on people around her, even though nobody can hear her. There are also minor romance elements, but they're never truly explored. Performances are decent, except the dub of the doll, which is pretty awkward. The cinematography is rather plain though and while the film has quite an original premise, it never feels like you're watching something remarkable. It didn't bore me, nor was it badly made, just a bit too inconspicuous.

16. 2.0* - Army of Shadows [L'Armée des Ombres] by Jean-Pierre Melville (1969)
Melville's famed war drama. Though I've never actively liked one of Melville's films, I do respect his take on cinema. He clearly cares for atmosphere and even though the narrative always has a clear place in his films, it's never just about telling a story. I just wish I could appreciate his stylistic choices more. Army of Shadows is a film about the French resistance during WWII. Not a simple good guy vs bad guy adventure-type story, but a rather sullen take that documents the internal distrust and harsh realities of keeping the organization out of sight. Don't expect it to be very action-packed either, Melville keeps things subtle and small. The nicest scenes are when Melville takes a little break from the plot. Sights of a city, set to moody music, characters staring. It's not unlike some of my favorite Oshii moments. Didn't care much for the cinematography though, the soundtrack was a bit too classic the performances weren't great either and the runtime is problematic. Not a great film, but Melville does show moments of greatness.

17. 2.0* - The Back of Beyond by John Heyer (1954)
Documentary that sports some slight dramatizations along the way. The film follows the long trip of a postman (incidentally named Tom Kruse) in Australia as he travels the Birdsville Track. It's a bit like Jianqi Huo's Postman in the Mountains, only with more Outback and fewer mountains. While most of the film is pure documentary footage (at least, I assume it is), there are some local tales that get a little screen time too, which were reconstructed especially for this film. Not sure if they added a lot, on the other hand Heyer probably wanted to spruce up a trip that is otherwise quite low on tension. The challenges mister Kruse faces are quite interesting though and it's difficult to imagine a job like this still existing today. I assume traveling the Outback became quite a bit easier since this was filmed. The documentary is a tad long maybe, especially since most of the trip is rather uneventful, but it was an interesting enough watch.

18. 1.5* - Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue [Yi Zhi You Dao Hai Shui Bian Lan] by Zhangke Jia (2020)
Jia pumps out another documentary. He's quite skilled at it too, but Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue was a pretty big misfire for me. Unless you're really interested in the topic (a local literary festival in Shanxi) or you really (really) love to hear people talk, there's not that much here. Jia seeks out a varied roster of writers and interviews them about their life, though most of them end up talking about their younger years. These are rather lengthy interviews with a strong human interest character, not really the type of documentary I prefer. It's no surprise then that I felt the second hour really started to drag. The intermezzos of the city (Shanxi) are by far the most interesting. They show that Jia has a knack for documentaries, as long as he doesn't focus too much on people and their (benign) stories. But I'm sure there's an audience for this, so if you want to hear Chinese writers reminisce, this documentary should be well worth your time.

19. 1.5* - Yes Day by Miguel Arteta (2021)
A bland comedy. Not sure if it's just me getting older, but it's getting progressively harder for me to enjoy Hollywood's vision of the ideal kids, the ideal parents and their bullshit little hang-ups. It feels so overly sanitized that it sucks all the joy and fun out of these movies, which is problematic for a comedy. An adventurous couple turns into overprotective parents once their first kid arrives. So much in fact that their children are starting to disrespect them. To turn the tide, they decide to organize a yes-day. A single day when the kids are allowed to make all the decisions, while their parents are prohibited from saying no to their requests. It could've been a good premise for a little naughty chaos, but we're getting ice cream breakfasts, water balloon fights and one of the most dire-looking festivals ever instead. The kids are annoying, the comedy is lame and the finale is disappointing. This could and should've been so much better.

20. 1.5* - Rocky III by Sylvester Stallone (1982)
The third entry in Stallone's Rocky series. A pretty basic sports/boxing flick, brought down by Stallone's bland direction and ridiculous performance. He does a pretty decent job when he's in the ring, but whenever he has to deliver his dialogue it becomes a complete fluke. Even a parody wouldn't be this silly. The plot is as predictable as you'd expect it to be, but at least Stallone's adversaries are pretty fun this time around. Hulk Hogan is given a little screen time and is allowed to show some of his signature wrestling tricks, but it's Mr T. who gets to play the ultimate bad guy. A real nasty piece of work and a fine opponent for Stallone. The drama is painful to watch, the training sessions aren't much fun either (mostly because Stallone is pretty down) and the pacing is a little off. The boxing matches are pretty decent, but that's just two scenes really. All the rest is padding of questionable repute. It's really hard to see why this series ever became so popular.

21. 1.5* - Trouble in Paradise by Ernst Lubitsch (1932)
One of Lubitsch' early sound films and one of his most lauded classics. While slightly better than the average screwball comedy, this type of work really isn't doing it for me. I simply fail to see the edgy writing, the witty dialogues and roaring romances. Instead, I see a film that's quite safe and predictable. A couple of swindlers go after a wealthy widow, owner of a perfume empire. He becomes her secretary, while she becomes her maid. The plan is working, until he falls madly in love with their prey. The result is a lot of back and forth between characters who do their best to scam their opponents. Performances are decent and the tone is light, but the plot is pretty bland, the film is never really all that funny and even though it's quite short, Trouble in Paradise so predictable that the pacing still feels a little off. It's not a complete disaster, it's just not all the remarkable or even entertaining.

22. 1.5* - Ruthless People by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker (1986)
A rather unpleasant comedy. The script has clear potential though, but it's one of those films that's mostly carried by its cast and they aren't up to the task. There are quite a few moments where I got the feeling the film had finally found its footing, but every single time it stalled again, failing to cash in on its setups. The plot revolves around a man who is planning to kill his wife. When she gets kidnapped it looks like he's been given an easier way out, what he doesn't know is that his mistress is trying to set him up. Chaos ensues as everybody is trying to double-cross someone else, even though they're all equally incompetent. DeVito and Midler are letting this film down. Rather than being funny, they're just loud and obnoxious. The rest isn't all that much better, but at least they're not actively irritating. With a better cast I'm certain this could've been a fun film, now it's just a decently paced comedy with a solid premise, suffering from poor execution.
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Torgo
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#4

Post by Torgo »

A week where Onder hasn't rated anything below 1,5* is a pretty good week!

I only started participating in these threads to dump my mainstream trash ratings. Now it's completely a mixed bag and I don't have fixed reviews. Hm. Still gonna leave some for you:

Thieves' Highway (8/10)
The Letter (7/10)
Detective Story (7/10)
Caged (7,5/10)
Marty (6,5/10)
Nightmare Alley (7,5/10)
Batman & Robin (3,5/10)
Zack Snyder's Justice League (6/10) :ph43r:
The Littlest Rebel (4/10)
Cliffhanger (6,5/10)
All The King's Men [1949] (7/10)
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (7/10)
Kes (7,5/10)
Monkey Business (6/10)
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#5

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

Been off this thread for a couple of weeks, but now I'm back. Quite busy at the moment and reading more than watching, so didn't get to watch that much last week, and mostly shorter stuff.

World of Tomorrow Episode Two: The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts (Don Hertzfeldt, 2017) - 5

World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime (Don Hertzfeldt, 2020) - 6

À l’abordage! / All Hands On Deck (Guillaume Brac, 2020) - 8+

Месть / Revenge (Yermek Shinarbayev, 1989) - 9-

Хлебный день / Bread Day (Sergei Dvortsevoy, 1998) - 8+
Humans and animals coexisting in a village no longer populated. Everybody's probably dead by now. I wonder how the village looks today. A remnant from the Soviet past. A beautiful observational documentary.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Richard Linklater, 2019) - 6-
Got a classic Hollywood charm to its narrative. Would have been horrible in another director's hands (David O. Russell for instance).

Maria e i giorni / Maria’s Days (Cecilia Mangini, 1960) - 8

Maalinsangan ang Gabi (Cesar Hernando, 1992) - 4-

La guerre d'Algérie! (Jean-Marie Straub, 2014) - (l) 5th viewing
Last edited by viktor-vaudevillain on March 22nd, 2021, 8:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#6

Post by Onderhond »

Torgo wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:45 pm Batman & Robin (3,5/10)
Boeh! Best Batman flick of the bunch.
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#7

Post by Torgo »

Onderhond wrote: March 21st, 2021, 4:08 pm
Torgo wrote: March 21st, 2021, 3:45 pm Batman & Robin (3,5/10)
Boeh! Best Batman flick of the bunch.
It actually isn't much worse or different to Batman Forever, which wasn't (and isn't) nearly panned as hefty. It has some nightmarish 90s MTV comic trash appeal, but I just couldn't bother with it for more than the first 30 or 40 minutes and then it goes for another 1,5 hours, so .. :D
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#8

Post by Bing147 »

Not quite as many as the last two weeks, but still a week that would have seemed amazing even a month ago. I'll take it. Saw a lot of terrific stuff this week. Same as last week I'll be reviewing those I feel I have a lot to say about. Just ratings for the rest. If you're curious to hear more about the others, just ask.

Attack the Block (2011): A lot of fun actually. Terrific cast and it moves great. Well defined characters, interesting perspective, its nothing spectacular but definitely worth the watch. B

Leave No Trace (2018): B+
Locke (2013): B
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960): B+
But I'm a Cheerleader (1999): B
The Night Porter (1974): B-
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962): B+

The Ascent (1977): Stunning film about how people deal with war. There are a number of images here which are now seared into my memory. Visceral, I found myself on edge through pretty much the entire movie. A

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969): Hugely underrated Bond. I've heard mixed things over the years but I come down as this being one of Bond's very best. Lazenby isn't outstanding in the role, but he's fine and certainly preferable to either of the next two people to play the role. If Connery was only going to return for one more weak film, I wish they'd stuck with Lazenby frankly. The film around him is far better though. Fantastic action scenes, among the best of the era, mixed with juicy roles for most of the supporting casts and one of the best Bond girls ever. The film does wonders for Bond himself as well. How they went from this to the terrible Diamonds Are Forever in only two years I don't know. B+

The Driver (1978): B
Wuthering Heights (2011): C-
Take Care of My Cat (2001): B-

The Parallax View (1974): Tons of atmosphere, the whole picture pretty much drips with menace. Beatty is pretty terrific in it too. I'm not quite sure the plot actually holds together, but while watching it I'm also not sure how much it actually matters. B

Lady MacBeth (2016): Pretty stunning debut from Florence Pugh. Does a really nice job of exploring a woman's place in this time and what sort of life she could hope for, while showing one woman pushing back in whatever way she could. There are a few scenes which are highly disturbing but I quite enjoyed it. B
Vengeance is Mine (1979): A dark dive into the state of a murderer and the reasons why he kills after a lifetime of more petty crime. Ken Ogata finds the perfect notes for the main character, making him almost completely unknowable. He can be fun and engaging one moment and violent and terrifying the next, before snapping right back. The rare movie over two hours where I think every minute is earned, there's not a scene here I'd trim out. Also does a great job exploring the main character's background while casting doubt on what you can actually believe. I loved this. A

Despearately Seeking Susan (1985): C
Daughters of the Dust (1991): B-

The Servant (1963): Another pretty great one. Dirk Bogarde as the titular servant is fantastic, slowly creating a bond and taking over the household, manipulating his employer every step of the way. As the situation shifts, the film gets better and better and the final descent is a great sequence. A-

Night Moves (2013): C+
Bend it Like Beckham (2002): B

The Sword of Doom (1966): There are moments here that are among the best I've seen in the genre. Nakadai I'm not sure was ever better and that's saying something. The final sequence is unforgettable. Yet there are entire plot lines here which are completely abandoned with zero payoff. I have read that a sequel was planned, but even with a sequel this would seem odd, its a strange place to leave these stories even at the end of a "part 1" as there's no payoff, no climax, nothing. They seem like they're leading to something and then just... don't. A hard one to grade because I love so much of what's here, but it is brought down a bit by this. If you're going to spend so much time on these sections of the film, more can be expected. Still very good though. B+

Local Hero (1983): Just left me completely charmed. I didn't expect to like it quite this much. Creates a vision of a small village that quite frankly I would love to live in, despite being someone who generally prefers cities. Great score, great acting from all involved. Burt Lancaster completely steals every scene he's in. This is the sort of film I could watch 100 times, and I just might in the years to come. A

The Ballad of Narayama (1983): At first I wasn't sure about this one. The first half of the film is quite slow and while you could see where some things were going, it seemed a bit too slice of life for my liking. While it takes its time getting there, by the time the film starts really moving forward later on it all becomes earned. Really getting a feel for these characters becomes essential. There are still a few pieces that I feel just plain aren't earned. The film is going for darkness, delving the blackness of the soul, and itaccomplishes it mostly, but one sequence in particular I really wish had been removed. By the time it reaches the final sequence however the film reaches a sort of euphoria. A must watch. B+

The Terrorizers (1986): B+
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#9

Post by Torgo »

Bing147 wrote: March 21st, 2021, 4:19 pm The Ascent (1977): Stunning film about how people deal with war. There are a number of images here which are now seared into my memory. Visceral, I found myself on edge through pretty much the entire movie. A

The Sword of Doom (1966): There are moments here that are among the best I've seen in the genre. Nakadai I'm not sure was ever better and that's saying something. The final sequence is unforgettable. B+

Local Hero (1983): Just left me completely charmed. I didn't expect to like it quite this much. A
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#10

Post by Onderhond »

Torgo wrote: March 21st, 2021, 4:13 pm but I just couldn't bother with it for more than the first 30 or 40 minutes and then it goes for another 1,5 hours, so .. :D
That's pretty much my experience with most comic book films I've seen :D
I liked the silliness of Batman & Robin, Schumacher really leans into it. Much more than with Batman Forever imo.
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#11

Post by kongs_speech »

I worked pretty hard this week. 34 features, 77 shorts. Zack Snyder's Justice League lived up to my hype and then some.

FEATURES

Straight Up (2019, James Sweeney) - 1.5/5
Lingua Franca (2019, Isabel Sandoval) - 4/5
A Dim Valley (2020, Brandon Colvin) - 3.5/5
Lovers Rock (2020, Steve McQueen) - 4/5
Red, White and Blue (2020, Steve McQueen) - 4/5

Alex Wheatle (2020, Steve McQueen) - 4/5
Education (2020, Steve McQueen) - 4/5
Berlin Alexanderplatz (2020, Burhan Qurbani) - 5/5
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets (2020, Bill Ross IV & Turner Ross) - 4/5
Tom & Jerry (2021, Tim Story) - 1.5/5

8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997, Tom Schulman) - 2.5/5
Fatman (2020, Eshom Nelms & Ian Nelms) - 3/5
All the Right Moves (1983, Michael Chapman) - 1/5
American Dreamz (2005, Paul Weitz) - 0.5/5
American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas) - 5/5

Birthday Girl (2001, Jez Butterworth) - 3.5/5
Doc Hollywood (1991, Michael Caton Jones) - 3.5/5
Funny Farm (1988, George Roy Hill) - 3.5/5
Sexy Beast (2000, Jonathan Glazer) - 4.5/5
The Quiet Man (1952, John Ford) - 3.5/5

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021, Zack Snyder) - 5/5
A Brutal Game (1983, Jean-Claude Brisseau) - 3.5/5
Hell’s Heroes (1929, William Wyler) - 4/5
He Who Gets Slapped (1924, Victor Sjostrom) - 4.5/5
Swan Song (2021, Todd Stephens) - 3.5/5

Domino (2019, Brian De Palma) - 2.5/5
The Cameraman (1928, Edward Sedgwick) - 4.5/5
Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998, Michael Ocelot) - 4/5
The Way Back (2020, Gavin O'Connor) - 3/5
Humanoids from the Deep (1980, Jimmy T. Murakami & Barbara Peeters) - 3.5/5

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, Jack Arnold) - 4/5
Ministry of Fear (1944, Fritz Lang) - 4/5
Death Line (1972, Gary Sherman) - 3/5
Bluebeard (2009, Catherine Breillat) - 4/5 (rewatch)

SHORTS

La cascade de feu (1904, Georges Melies) - 3.5/5
La lanterne magique (1903, Georges Melies) - 3.5/5
La lune a un metre (1898, George Melies) - 3.5/5
Le melomane (1903, Georges Melies) - 3.5/5
Le manoire du diable (1896, Georges Melies) - 4/5

Return to Reason (1923, Man Ray) - 5/5 (rewatch)
Le revenant (1903, Georges Melies) - 3.5/5
Les cartes vivantes (1905, Georges Melies) - 3/5
L'homme à la tête en caoutchouc (1901, Georges Melies) - 4/5
Loops (1940, Norman McLaren) - 3.5/5

Peti (1965, Pavao Stalter & Zlatko Grgic) - 1.5/5
Rhythmus 21 (1923, Hans Richter) - 2.5/5
Scotch Tape (1963, Jack Smith) - 3/5
Eaten Horizons (1950, Jorgen Roos & Wilhelm Freddie) - 4/5
Stellar (1993, Stan Brakhage) - 3.5/5

Study in Color and Black and White (1993, Stan Brakhage) - 2/5
The ‘?’ Motorist (1906, Walter R. Booth) - 3/5
The Dark Tower (1999, Stan Brakhage) - 3.5/5
The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981, Stan Brakhage) - 4/5
The Midnight Party (1969, Joseph Cornell)

Children’s Party (1938, Joseph Cornell)
Cotillion (1938, Joseph Cornell)
The Wold Shadow (1972, Stan Brakhage) - 3/5
UFO’s (1972, Lillian Schwartz & Ken Knowlton) - 3/5
Yours (1998, Jeffrey Noyes Scher) - 4/5

15/67: TV (1967, Kurt Kren) - 2/5
6/64: Mama und Papa (1964, Kurt Kren) - 4/5
78 Tours (1985, Georges Schwizgebel) - 3/5
A Romance of the Rail (1903, Edwin S. Porter) - 2.5/5
A Study in Choreography for Camera (1946, Maya Deren) - 4/5

Aerial (1974, Margaret Tait) - 4/5
The Ceremony (1965, Borivoj Dovnikovic-Bordo) - 3/5
Contrathemis (1941, Dwinell Grant) - 3.5/5
Official Opening of McTaggart Esplanade (1927) - 2.5/5
Dyketactics (1974, Barbara Hammer) - 5/5

Komposition in Blau (1935, Oskar Fischinger) - 4.5/5
La parapluie fantastique (1903, Georges Melies) - 3/5
Le puits fantastique (1903, Georges Melies) - 3.5/5
Love (1964, Yoji Kuri) - 3.5/5
Magellan: At the Gates of Death, Part I: The Red Gate I, 0 (1976, Hollis Frampton) - 4/5

Maxwell’s Demon (1968, Hollis Frampton) - 3/5
Mothlight (1963, Stan Brakhage) - 4/5
Olympiad (1971, Lillian Schwartz) - 3.5/5
Process Red (1966, Hollis Frampton) - 3/5
Tarantella (1940, Mary Ellen Bute & Ted Nemeth) - 4/5

Experimental Treatment of a Hemorrhage in a Dog (1930, Jean Painleve) - 1.5/5
Zid (1966, Ante Zaninovic) - 3/5
69 (1968, Robert Breer) - 2.5/5
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger (1961, Marie Menken) - 3.5/5
Blinkity Blank (1955, Norman McLaren) - 4/5

Carrots & Peas (1969, Hollis Frampton) - 0.5/5
Cinq minutes de cinema pur (1926, Henri Chomette) - 3.5/5
Comingled Containers (1997, Stan Brakhage) - 4/5
Dnevnik Glumova (1923, Sergei Eisenstein) - 3.5/5
Dresden Dynamo (1971, Lis Rhodes) - 3.5/5

El heroe (1994, Carlos Carrera) - 4/5
Étude cinégraphique sur une arabesque (1929, Germaine Dulac) - 4/5
Film Exercise #1 (1943, John Whitney, Sr.) - 3.5/5
Fotel (1964, Daniel Szczechura) - 3.5/5
Glimpse of the Garden (1957, Marie Menken) - 2/5

Kodachrome Two-Color Test Shots No. III (1922) - 4.5/5
La course à l'abîme (1992, Georges Schwizgebel) - 4/5
Lemon (1969, Hollis Frampton) - 2/5
Moon Breath Beat (1980, Lisze Bechtold) - 4/5
Pasht (1965, Stan Brakhage) - 1.5/5

Princess Nicotine; or, the Smoke Fairy (1909, J. Stuart Blackton) - 3/5
Remedial Reading Comprehension (1970, Owen Land) - 4/5
Scratch and Crow (1995, Helen Hill) - 2/5
A Portrait of Ga (1952, Margaret Tait) - 4/5
London to Brighton in Four Minutes (1952) - 4/5

Cosmic Ray (1962, Bruce Conner) - 5/5
Case Study: LSD (1969) - 3/5
Devo: Mongoloid (1978, Bruce Conner) - 4/5
No. 11: Mirror Animations (1956, Harry Smith) - 4/5
Rainbow Dance (1936, Len Lye) - 3.5/5

The Buggles: Video Killed the Radio Star (1979, Russell Mulcahy) - 4/5
Dilemme au Féminin (1995, Zara Yacoub)
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#12

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

Onderhand:
It finally happened, I agreed with you on a movie: Rocky III. Pretty cheesy but Mr T makes a good villain.

Torgo:
I only watched Batman & Robin in separate sittings, couldn't tolerate the whole thing all in one go. Not as heinous as it's made out to be although my opinion may change if I ever rewatch it in one sitting.

Bing:
Have you seen the 1958 version of "Ballad of Narayama"? Done in a studio with lots of theatrical lighting and cinematic tricks, there's also less bestiality than the Imamura version too.

Kongs speech:
If you've ever got 15 hours to spare, Fassbinder's "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is worth checking out.


As for me, another quiet week on the film watching front, went through more Japanese films, some old horror and was inspired to delve back into silent cinema.


Priest of Darkness (1936): Checked off the third and last surviving Yamanaka. Similar in tone to "Million Ryo Pot" with an early role for Setsuko Hara. Quite good.

The Third Generation (1979): I doubt sales of Schopenhauer skyrocketed after this came out. Manages to show the empty idleness of terrorists all too well, drifts and drags too long for my liking.

The Mummy (1932): Wonderful photography by Carl Freund and a great intro for Karloff as the Mummy, underplayed for greater effect. After that the film jumps forward 10 years in the story and never really explains anything after that, exemplified by
Spoiler
a literal Deus Ex Machina ending.
OK, could've been a lot better.

Au Bonheur des Dames (1930): Very good Duvivier silent flick, a simple story with some wonderful photographic tricks.

The Cat and the Canary (1939): Ten people turn up in a rickety old house for a night of murder. The characters aren't fully fleshed out and the mystery isn't all it's cracked up to be either. Bit of a disappointment.

The Wolf Man (1941): Lon Chaney Jr. proves he can't match his illustrious father in the acting department. Claude Rains gives some good support in this lacklustre horror film that takes half the movie to set up the story and goes nowhere with it. Some nice atmosphere at times.

13 Assassins (1963):If "47 Ronin" has too many characters this one might work out better for you. Lack of character development puts it in a lower tier to other samurai flicks, even if the final battle scene lasting 30 minutes is quite good.

Bushido: Cruel Code of the Samurai (1963): Another criticism of the Samurai code, Kinnosuke Nakamura travels throughout Japanese history playing each of his ancestors having to sacrifice his own morals for the greater Samurai good. Interesting at times but once you've got the point it's hard to justify seeing the same story played out multiple times in different eras.

Hobbit (1985): The full title is far too long to write out. The Soviet TV movie adaptation of "The Hobbit" runs just over an hour, features Gandalf covered in sparkles, Gollum dressed up like a fish and Smaug as a puppet. Cheesy special effect, weird songs and some dance sequences too. Bad as it may be, liked it more than the first Hobbit movie (basically took all the things I dislike about the LOTR trilogy and amplified them to 11).

Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995): Very informative 6-part documentary series on the silent cinema in Europe. Part one gives a basic overview of the main countries leading up to WW I. Part two covers Sweden and Denmark, Part three covers Germany, Part 4 France, Part 5 rags on the British film industry and part 6 covers the advent of sound. Lots of interviews with people from that era (many interviews conducted in the 60s and 70s), it's also refreshing to hear an orchestral score for each silent clip instead of the ambient drone score you somtimes hear. The same filmmakers made a 13-part series on Hollywood I'll have to check out at some point.

She and He (1963): Middle-class housewife in a sterile apartment complex in Japan has too much time on her hands and feels sympathy for a junkpicker and his dog. OK, nothing special.

Youth of the Beast (1963): I don't like Seijun Suzuki, this film is no exception.

Legend of a Duel to the Death (1963): Heavy-handed story of a rural Japanese village taking their frustrations out on a family of relocated Tokyo folk in the dying days of the war. Oshima's "The Catch" covered this ground far better.

Terje Vigen (1917): Good early silent film from Victor Sjostrom also playing the lead role in this Henrik Ibsen adaptation.

Alone on the Pacific (1963): Yujiro Ishihara wants to break free from society and his parents (Kinuyo Tanaka and Masayuki Mori), he takes a yacht across the Pacific Ocean all the way to San Francisco. Played more as a comedy than an adventure, slight disappointment from Kon Ichikawa.

Faust (1926): First third of the film is some of Murnau's greatest work, multiple iconic scenes and camera tricks as Faust sells his soul to Mephistopheles. Dark Murnau is wonderful, it all starts to drag and gets uncomfortable when Faust falls for Gretchen, Mephisto chases after her aunt. The brilliance of the first third is wiped out by the overlong, overly-bright middle section. The finale is quite nice but by then the damage is done. Overall the story is too scattershot with too many frivolous scenes in the middle padding it out for the grand finale. Quite good, could've been amazing.
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#13

Post by Bing147 »

Roland, I haven't seen the 58 Narayama, though I think I would probably prefer a version with less bestiality..
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Onderhond
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#14

Post by Onderhond »

RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 12:32 am It finally happened, I agreed with you on a movie: Rocky III. Pretty cheesy but Mr T makes a good villain.
Yeah, it' doesn't seem like there's much overlap between the films we watch in the first place. And since I'm not a big fan of classic cinema, I guess 80s genre cheese is one of the few areas where we might agree :D
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#15

Post by Torgo »

Enough classic films on my short ratings list and Roland goes after Batman & Robin! :$ Seen a few of the silent classics from your list, but this one ..
RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: March 22nd, 2021, 12:32 am Hobbit (1985): The full title is far too long to write out. The Soviet TV movie adaptation of "The Hobbit" runs just over an hour, features Gandalf covered in sparkles, Gollum dressed up like a fish and Smaug as a puppet. Cheesy special effect, weird songs and some dance sequences too. Bad as it may be,
.. excites me the most. :lol: Having seen the overblown Hobbit blockbusters last month and the little innocent folky version from 1977 afterwards, this would make a nice complete billing.

Full title: Skazochnoe puteshestvie mistera Bilbo Begginsa, Khobbita
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#16

Post by DareDaniel »

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Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Best film since Twin Peaks: The Return.
This got into my Top 10 and kicked The Godfather II out of it. Well done Zack Snyder. :poshclap:
9/10
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#17

Post by Lakigigar »

Movies:

None, i needed a break

TV-series:
Vikings season 2 episode 1 - 10: 7/10
Vikings season 3 episode 1-3: 6/10

It's becoming weaker and weaker, and i've even considered abandoning the series at a whole... I don't know what it is. It starts so good, and it just becames weaker with every second it passes basically. Which is weird, since the second and third season are generally rated higher than the first.

Games:
Assassin's Creed Origins: played quite a bit. Started it again on my new laptop, so I basically was halfway through the first chapter in Siwa. And now i'm almost in Memphis, but I also do side-missions and that kind of stuff, so i played quite a bit.

YouTube videos:
None

Music:
Well euh Labyrinth Ear on repeat

With also a bit of yeule and a bit of FKA Twigs. Apparently i've listened a lot of Aseul / Yukari too. And a bit of Kelsey Lu too, which is a more acoustic FKA Twigs.

I'm on yeulecord too, and they have actually a pretty fun movie section... but pretty much Asian-oriented (esp. Shunji Iwai and Sion Sono have been named a lot there, they have a lot of fans on Yeulecord).

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What i've listened to this year so far. My queen Grimes only on 13th

Also Aseul / Yukari is the same artist who went through a name change. She's from South Korea lol, but it's not K-pop.

more like this

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/ep/aseul/slow-dance/

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/yukari/echo/

So kind of synthpop, art pop, ambient pop, dream pop, electropop and chillwave
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prodigalgodson
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#18

Post by prodigalgodson »

Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020) 4/10

So adamantly not an issue movie it ends up being a non-entity. A few days later and I barely remember anything that happened, except, shock of shocks, there's a big fire in a farmer movie. I did like the grandma.

Profound Desires of the Gods (Shohei Imamura, 1968) 5/10

Some potentially interesting ideas about what's lost (for better and worse) with modernization, industrialists warping and exploiting traditional beliefs, and so-on are buried under an onslaught of vapid provocation. So much potential wasted on such lascivious indulgence, it's just tacky. Like The Damned all over again, with even more incest.

Rendezvous in Paris (Eric Rohmer, 1995) 7/10

Not one of Rohmer's masterpieces, but indeed a fantastic showcase of the still-not-particularly-aesthetic city of Paris -- especially the second segment, staged entirely as walks through various parks around the city. I'm not the biggest fan of anthology films, but the quality here is uniformly high, even if the three parts don't inform or particularly complement one another. Rohmer's genius in crystallizing elusive insights regarding the complexities of interpersonal relations is always a joy to watch. I love that so far into his body of work, I still have no clue what note his stories are gonna end on.

Yourself and Yours (Hong Sangsoo, 2016) 6/10

Hong takes his doubling shenanigans a step further with a plot featuring an actual pair of doppelgangers (or twins, a possibility only one of them acknowledges). I'm usually not crazy about artists doing more literal takes on their more abstract regular themes, but HSS manages to preserve all his nuance, mystery, and bizarre humor. Enjoyed watching this, but was also kind of wiped out at the time and certainly didn't follow everything -- I owe it a rewatch.

Ludwig (Luchino Visconti, 1973) 9/10

From its reputation, I'd expected a drawn-out promenade of artsy camp histrionics, and instead got a lean, thoughtful, deeply empathetic tragedy of misplaced destiny. Berger's Ludwig is a sensitive soul with the quixotic dream of uplifting his nation by sharing the art that stirs such untold depth of feeling in his own heart, prioritizing Wagner productions and castle construction over actual ruling and royally pissing off everyone in his circle. There's such a disconnect between Ludwig's natural passions, artistic and sexual, and the role he's been born into, that he gradually escapes into his reveries and abandons the outside world altogether, losing first his mind and then the throne. The arc of Ludwig's descent from the height of imaginative decadence (that swan cave, holy shit) to being dethroned and shot dead in the mud is the only disappointment cinematically -- in a sense it can't help but be anticlimactic, but it feels a bit color-by-numbers compared to the off-kilter tapestry Visconti's been weaving up to this point. Still one of the great historical movies in my book -- exceptional formal mastery coupled with inspired whimsy and real poignancy -- and maybe the least indulgent film about indulgence I've seen. There's a monologue about a third of the way through concerning art being the domain of the privileged and the necessary burden of accepting one's lot in life (by Helmut Griem's lovable Count Durkheim, who gets all the best lines, really) that must've been written with a welding torch. Oh, and Wagner, whose score elevates the whole movie even as it paints the man himself as an opportunistic, entitled prick. Too much good stuff here to keep track of! I'll have to revisit at some point.

The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) (rewatch) 9/10

I know people are mad Scorsese won the Oscar for this, but it's legit one of his best-directed films imo. Crisp, fluid, utterly assured. Schoonmaker's editing is on another level here too. There's a shot following a car with a Nas song in the background that cuts after he says "started 87" to a bar interior where a sign on the wall behind a character declares the establishment to have been around "since 1987." Ridiculous unnecessary stuff. Good film revisit through fresh eyes these years later, extremely entertaining. The soundtrack is straight-up wack though.
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#19

Post by prodigalgodson »

sol
Lions Love - never heard of this one, but sounds up my alley, thanks
Black Death 7 - really enjoyed this at the time, but it might've been a right time/right place kinda thing, hadn't seen much like this when I watched it
Late Night 5 - some good lines, but generally found this to be a fairly color-by-numbers take on late-2010s workplace politics
French Exit - hadn't heard of this, but love the premise

pda
"We are born to delight in the world." -- oh is that why we're born? thanks for the tip, credible physical scientist
Why Is Yellow the Middle of the Rainbow 8 - that rating seems fair, and in other circumstances I might've liked it less, but it ended up leaving a big impression on me, even before I was into this kind of sprawling personal documentary; remember especially liking the Monument Valley stuff and the section about monsoons in the Philippines
Voyage au Congo - ooh nice, sounds up my alley

hond
Spirited Away 9 - yeah, a classic
Pathfinder - sounds fun, I remember wanting to see this when it came out
Army of Shadows 6 - I found it a bit overrated myself, though I did love the look of it; interesting comparison to Oshii, Melville does have some genius urban compositions
Trouble in Paradise 9 - my favorite Lubitsch (so far), love the look and feel

torgo
Thieves' Highway 9 - top 5 overrated noirs for sure
The Letter 6 - decent proto-noir, wish it did more with its setting
Detective Story 4 - about as inspired as the title would suggest
Caged 5 - this is the women's prison one? meh
Nightmare Alley 8 - pretty dark and dope for a more A-style noir
Zack Snyder's Justice League - I started it like a week ago and have continued it on maybe 4 occasions since, but still haven't been interested enough to finish it
Les demoiselles de Rochefort 6 - a bit stiff but fairly fun
Kes 6 - well-made, but I find this drab kind of social realism pretty dull

vv
Bread Day - dope, sounds right up my alley; I'll have to watch this before the 98 poll closes

bing
The Ascent 7 - didn't make a huge impression on me, maybe because it'd been so hyped up for so long
On Her Majesty's Secret Service 6 - one of the few Bonds I've only seen once all the way through, but I still enjoyed it
The Parallax View 6 - yeah, killer sense of atmosphere; found it riveting throughout but ultimately disappointed
Daughters of the Dust 6 - nothing to write home about
The Servant 8 - don't remember this too well, but greatly enjoyed it at the time; the favorite movie of my high school biology teacher
Bend It Like Beckham 6 - liked it as a kid, and I didn't usually like sports movies (still don't)
The Sword of Doom 6 - yeah pretty much
Ballad of Narayama 8 - yep, stellar filmmaking
The Terrorizers 9 - speaking of stellar...I really want to watch this one again soon

ks
American Graffiti 10 - not even usually my type of thing, but an absolute classic
The Quiet Man 8 - beautiful moments
The Cameraman 8 - yeah, one of Keaton's best
Ministry of Fear 9 - one of Lang's best and most dreamlike imo
Bluebeard 9 - my favorite from Breillat so far, spectacularly bizarre filmmaking
Le manoir du diable 7 - fun stuff
Return to Reason 7 - prefer some of his extended takes on the same themes, but still very groovy
Rhythmus 21 7 - classic experimentation
Stellar 8 - liked this a lot (as I generally do star-themed Brakhage, e.g. The Stars Are Beautiful, Star Garden), but wish I remembered it better; gotta rewatch some Brakhage soon
Study in Color and Black and White 8 - don't remember this too well either, but recall it being a highlight of his hand-painted films
The Dark Tower 8 - mesmerizing cinematic architecture
The Garden of Earthly Delights 9 - one of my first favorites from Brakhage
The Wold Shadow 9 - another early Brakhage favorite, those fades to black have really stuck with me
A Study in Choreography for the Camera 7 - very aesthetic, but also feels like a warm-up for At Land
Magellan...Red Gate 8 - I'm actually not a huge Frampton fan, but I really liked this one
Mothlight - illll concept
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger 3 - not to my aesthetic at all
Commingled Containers 8 - yet another early Brakhage favorite
Glumov's Diary 6 - hard to even evaluate as a film, it was supposed to be a novelty sequence in a stage play as I recall
Cosmic Ray 9 - genuine classic

rks
Faust 6 - agreed, could've been a great film but ends up a bit of a slog...
Last edited by prodigalgodson on March 24th, 2021, 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#20

Post by Torgo »

prodigalgodson wrote: March 24th, 2021, 1:46 am Thieves' Highway 9 - top 5 overrated noirs for sure
Somehow I'm afraid your rating and message don't align here :unsure:
We had some shared tendencies on our ratings last week, the one where I dropped even more noirs (it's possible my 7,5/10 is another's 9/10 and my 6,5/10 will be another's 6/10, I have veery middle-way ratings).
Let's see if the trend continues. B)
The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) (rewatch) 9/10

I know people are mad Scorsese won the Oscar for this,
The way I remember it that was a lot about "duh stupid Americans stealing foreign films!". How does the comparison to Infernal Affairs turn out for you?
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#21

Post by prodigalgodson »

Torgo wrote: March 24th, 2021, 2:16 am
prodigalgodson wrote: March 24th, 2021, 1:46 am Thieves' Highway 9 - top 5 overrated noirs for sure
Somehow I'm afraid your rating and message don't align here :unsure:
We had some shared tendencies on our ratings last week, the one where I dropped even more noirs (it's possible my 7,5/10 is another's 9/10 and my 6,5/10 will be another's 6/10, I have veery middle-way ratings).
Let's see if the trend continues. B)
The Departed (Martin Scorsese, 2006) (rewatch) 9/10

I know people are mad Scorsese won the Oscar for this,
The way I remember it that was a lot about "duh stupid Americans stealing foreign films!". How does the comparison to Infernal Affairs turn out for you?
Oops, haha, meant underrated. Was just coming here to edit "typhoon" to "monsoon" in my response to pda too. I didn't realize I was so free with those high ratings, but looking at this thread it sure seems like it. Look forward to seeing what you come across next.

I didn't see Infernal Affairs til years later, but I found it to be a forgettable, run-of-the-mill cop thriller without any of the flavor that makes Scorsese's flick pop.
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#22

Post by sol »

prodigalgodson wrote: March 24th, 2021, 1:46 am sol
Lions Love - never heard of this one, but sounds up my alley, thanks
Black Death 7 - really enjoyed this at the time, but it might've been a right time/right place kinda thing, hadn't seen much like this when I watched it
Late Night 5 - some good lines, but generally found this to be a fairly color-by-numbers take on late-2010s workplace politics
French Exit - hadn't heard of this, but love the premise
I thought that Lions Love was one of Varda's better-known films, but perhaps not. I agree that it sounds right up your alleyway, fun doc/fiction blur stuff.

I was ready to chalk Black Death up as a dislike, but that final section where they reach the village is really good. That said, I can only really recommend the film with reservations based on how so-so the first two thirds of the film is - dialogue-heavy, poorly acted and zero atmosphere. The final stretch is so great though that I can easily see why this one has attracted so many fans over the years. Kind of reminds me of our Shura discussion on the last thread, which will also be an upcoming podcast episode (not with me alas): whether a good ending can make or break a film.

Late Night - I was expecting just that but I thought that the film delivered much more. I really like Emma Thompson an actress (always have, always will) and she absolutely shines here, not only delivering her lines with razor-sharp with, but with a noticeable beating human heart beneath it all. I get that the film kind of fell by the waste-side in last year's Oscar season due to it not being too angry or hard-hitting, but I loved all the ideas the film raised and I thought it did a better job fleshing them out than I could have ever expected. This was probably my biggest positive surprise viewing last week.

Yeah, French Exit hasn't been very well promoted over here either despite the Golden Globe nom. It's kind of a hard film to sell (some have compared it to a Buñuel film, but it's more weird than surreal) and I can easily see why distributors have had a hard time promoting it. The phrase that the films is named after is a bit obscure too; "is it about France exiting the European Union" was what I was asked when I first mentioned the film.

Yours:

The Departed was a pretty good cinema viewing for me in late 2006 or early 2007. I haven't rewatched it since and I don't know if people are really mad that he won the Oscar for it. I mean, it's not his best film for sure, but it's a solid work, def better than stuff like The Queen that was also in contention that year. The biggest disappointment to me was how great Shutter Island, Hugo and The Wolf of Wall Street turned out to be. It would have been nice to have Scorsese win for one of those since I consider them to be among his five or six best films... however, The Departed is easily in the top half of Scorsese's output for me, which is saying a lot given how excellent most of his films are.

All of the buzz around Minari surprises me a bit too. I thought it was a good film for sure and well acted at the very least, but compared to some of the other films in contention for the Best Picture Oscar this year, it really doesn't compare for me. The grandmother and the young boy sure were funny though. I'm not going to resent her winning the Oscar.
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