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Lonewolf2003
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#2241

Post by Lonewolf2003 »

joachimt wrote: October 12th, 2020, 1:54 pm Secret Society of Second-Born Royals
Watched it last evening, because my kids picked a movie. It's like The Avengers, but extremely lame. Or Johnny English without any humor. It's clearly made for kids (6+ here). It's completely obvious whodunit very early in the movie. If you're an adult, avoid this!

On top of that, my youngest preferred to watch the Dutch dubbed version. I hate dubbed movies. It makes the acting worse, but even knowing that it was pretty obvious the acting was horrible to begin with. My acting was better, because I pretended to have a good time with my kids.
:lol:
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PeacefulAnarchy
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#2242

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

The new Borat film is something interesting. From what I remember of the first one it was mostly an extended prank show where we were in on the joke and we got glimpses of a variety of messed up people in the US. Even the most absurd situations felt organic enough that you could conceive of the people being largely unaware. In this case, though, there's a sense that everyone knows something weird is going on even before things go absurd, and they're going with it. There are genuine moments and reactions, but it made me wonder "what do these people know" a lot more than the first.

I think the best way to describe the difference is that the first film is a fake premise brought into and interacting with reality. This film is a work of fiction into which reality seeps in in various ways and to different extents throughout the movie. It doesn't change the comedy aspect, but there are a lot more layers of reality and unreality interweaved in there. I'm quite impressed that it works as well as it does. The Giuliani bit that's getting all the news is probably the least effective part of the film, a throwback to the first film that serves little purpose here.
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#2243

Post by Ebbywebby »

Amazingly, I think this Borat film has even more crass genital/anus jokes than the first one. BLEH. Still not impressed.
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#2244

Post by mightysparks »

I haven’t watched Borat in nearly 15 years but I remember being just meh about it the first time around because I thought it was entirely scripted. It was so much better knowing that it wasn’t. I’m about to start an essay on hoaxes like Borat so I may revisit it, but the sequel doesn’t interest me at all...
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#2245

Post by outdoorcats »

I like to think both Michael Haneke and Lars Von Trier both watched Michel Franco's New Order and were like, "Nah, this is too fucked up even for us."

I'm in the camp that thinks it's great, if incredibly brutal and nightmarish. It's the first time I've felt Franco turned his brand of "misery porn" and turned it into something that feels important. I will warn potential viewers that it contains sexual violence.

The film is getting tons of negative backlash based on its trailer and being accusing of classist, racist/colorist, right-wing and/or anti-poor. All I can say is that this is that is the direct opposite of the actual content and politics of the film. Bit of a marketing failure (and Franco hasn't helped with his remarkably stupid comments to the press).

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#2246

Post by St. Gloede »

Reposting this from my Afrique ... thread.

West Indies (1979, Med Hondo)

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A political stage theatre, musical, satire and history lesson all in one: Covering hundreds of years of colonialist, slavery, exploitation and disenfranchisement.

Now this is a Hondo closer to his roots in O Soleil, and what an incredible, mad and beautiful film!

To talk about West Indies, we need to talk about the minimalist setting, and extraordinary scope. Almost every scene is set, fittingly enough, one a stage made to look like a large ship - used both as the transportation of slaves - and as the actual unnamed island home of our study. The black people, with the exception of those set forth to lead them, are always in the bay - that is their home - above them, the higher deck, is the place of parties, elites and rigged elections - and one step higher - that of the 5 people truly ruling the island - in France's stead.

Above them: France's slogen: "Liberty. Equality. Fraternity" - and as we move through the ages, the slogan changes.

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We are also fitted to our secondary setting, which is also where our film opens with our 5 elites - the captain's lounge - a throne room with 5 chairs. Their faces remain the same, even as the trail through history - and see them put their "plan" into action.

Their plan: cheap labour - and, well, power. (Not to mention the complete displacement of the entire people).

Slavery, or low paid workers, it makes no difference - and as the film intercuts slave transportation with immigration - and the plot moves to have more and more French take over the island - it truly is a look at how history rhymes - not to mention the complacency and complicity for those allowed to join in the ride.

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But what sets West Indies further apart is their dance numbers, and songs - playing into the seduction of France and Paris - the submission and happiness of "assimilation" for those on top - and songs of struggle and freedom of the people.

It even manages to take snipes at petty white revolutionaries, either propagating xenophobia themselves or uttering empty phrases without care and insight.

And "pretty speeches", lies, deceit and complicity is a theme throughout; no one is really spared - though the film's message is clear: take power into your hands and free yourself.

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What is truly striking, beyond the scope and message - is how Hondo managed to craft it all, not just within the allegory of a slave ship, but within a literal ship - and the incredible way he plays with form and setting. Decades before Dogville, he allowed us to suspend our disbelief, and see and understand the boat to be any setting - and the choreography and songs simply feel at home in the visual and formatic landscape he created. The humour, the emotion and the al-together experience becomes something more than real life - and it is through this overt performance of history, that the nature of this reality - past and present - as Hondo sees it - can fully be expressed.

9/10.

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#2247

Post by outdoorcats »

OK, time for me to start breaking down some of the films I've been seeing at the Philadelpha (virtual) Film Festival this year.

I'm usually pretty good at picking out things I like, especially when costly tickets are involved, and what do you know? I haven't disliked a single film yet. As always with this festival I'm discovering new favorites that will populate my 2020 Top 10 (nothing better than Tragic Jungle so far though).

Été 85 / Summer of 85 (François Ozon - 2020) 8.5/10
country: France
IMDb synopsis: While boating, Alexis's boat capsizes and almost drowns before being rescued by David, who ultimately ends up as the friend of his dreams.

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A seductive, sumptuous gay teen romance with a noirish twist, this is Ozon at his best - no rug-pulling third-act twists, just chemistry, atmosphere and grainy 16mm aesthetic beauty.

Beginning with its protagonist in handcuffs over a mysterious crime and recounting the story through flashbacks, Summer of 85 charts the budding friendship between gawky and naive Alexis, and the confident and manipulative David. Without spoiling the trajectory of the story, it is full of tonal shifts leaving you wondering what genre of film you are watching at times, which I have a spoilery theory about:
Spoiler
that Ozon is playing with genre tropes to conjure up the mystery and danger of first love. Of course, ultimately, this turns out to simply be a sweepingly romantic and tragic look at said first love.
That lack of immediate coherent identity isn't for everyone; not knowing where a film is going is patience-trying for some. For me, on the other hand, it's a quality I love, the thrill of scene-to-scene surprise, forcing me to reserve judgement until the credits roll. So if I'm deliberately ambiguous in my review, what the film made me feel, etc., that's why.

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Even though it's based on a YA (!) book from 1982, Ozon hounds will notice many of his favorite motifs returning: gay teens who are budding writers, literature teachers who mentor them, playful cross-dressing, and themes of writing, subjectivity and authenticity. There are more I'm forgetting. If you're a fan of Ozon thus far you're not expecting him to reinvent the wheel at this point, yet Summer of 85 still feels fresh and vibrant. If you've never seen his films before, this wouldn't be a bad starting point. It definitely is one of his best films.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#2248

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MLK/FBI (Sam Pollard - 2020) 8.5/10
country: USA
IMDb synopsis: Based on newly declassified files, Sam Pollard's resonant film explores the US government's surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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MLK/FBI is an excellent, excellent documentary/film essay with high production values, but it's important to note off the bat that the intended audience are viewers who already have a basic knowledge of the major beats of the Civil Rights Movement in the US. This is a documentary very specifically about Martin Luther King's persecution by the FBI, not about the Movement in general, so foreign viewers (and sadly, some US ones) might want to glance over a couple Wikipedia articles before seeing the film.

Those who thought that Dr. King's only enemies were some hillbilly sheriffs in Alabama and Mississippi will be shocked to learn that declassified documents revealed that J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI thought of him as a dangerous menace and sent him letters threatening to reveal tapes of his marital infidelity if he didn't kill himself. And, depending on what else is revealed in 2027, that may be only the tip of the iceberg.

During the documentary, we hear the historians (and by proxy, the director himself) reckoning with the thorny ethical question that by discussing these issues, whether we are complicit in the FBI's unlawful and invasion of his privacy. Ultimately, the film seems to conclude that hopefully in 2020 we collectively have the maturity to understand that none of it takes away from what he achieved.

The film is more traditionally a documentary than I Am Not Your Negro, but shares some of Peck's stylistic touches. Pollard has various historians narrate the story without showing their faces, relying wholly on stock footage and photographs. This is generally what I prefer in historical documentaries, putting you wholly in a time and place and not cutting away to contemporary talking heads.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#2249

Post by Onderhond »

Watched The Shining again. Still a decent film with more than a few iconic scenes, but it's really starting to show some cracks.

The Tony voice is annoying, Duvall's character is paper thin and Duvall's performance is just terrible (and it's not just her wardrobe). Nicholson could've turned it down a notch too, he acts crazy even before he's supposed to. Most scenes feel dragged out (even the good ones, like the maze chase. The first couple of corners and turns are nice, but corner 500 felt a bit "been there, done that") and Kubrick relies too much on LOUD MUSIC to create atmosphere.

Also, for a film that is called The Shining, the shining has no logical place in the plot and could've just been left out. I can understand King being a little grumpy about that.
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#2250

Post by outdoorcats »

Nuevo orden / New Order (Michel Franco - 2020) 9/10
country: Mexico
IMDb synopsis: A high-society wedding is interrupted by the arrival of unwelcome guests.

Warning: This film contains scenes of sexual violence.

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Franco has made a career of "misery porn" and until now I didn't like it very much. After Lucia, for instance, was little more than a spin on the rape-revenge story with an emphasis in relentlessly shoving the viewer's face in misery and horrific cruelty in one scene after the next. Franco seems to share an emotional kinship with Von Trier, with a bleak and misanthropic look at the world and existence - but missing Von Trier's experimental visual flair that makes his films watchable for those of us who don't share that worldview. He even shares Von Trier's tendency to self-sabotage and make idiotic public statements; when a poorly-cut trailer of this film received backlash for giving off a (completely wrong) "helpless rich victims versus evil, dirty poor people" vibe, instead of clarifying the actual content of the film, Franco insisted he was a victim of "reverse racism" and being persecuted for being White.

What can I say? Some people are just far more articulate with their art than their words, and if anyone at this point bothers to go see it they'll discover a huge, devastating and powerful film about the nightmare of fascism. It couldn't be timelier. It is another relentlessly horrific and disturbing film by Franco, but for the first time, it feels like it has a purpose; a warning to the glittering 1% that if they don't change their ways, they too will eventually become the victims of their own tools of brutal oppression.

The film begins with a massacre of anti-government protestors and cuts to a rich wedding in a gated neighborhood, the type where the guests have armed security to make sure protestors don't throw paint on them. A longtime servant of the family's is at the gate, begging his former employers for money to pay for an operation that will save his wife's life. The mother and brother of the bride are disgusted and chase him off. So far we're in very Bunuel-esque territory, but a sudden turn in events takes the film in a very different direction.

The less I say the better, other than if you're looking for hope, you're in the wrong place.

A lie ain't a 'side of the story.' It's just a lie.
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#2251

Post by outdoorcats »

The Perfect Candidate (Haifaa Al-Mansour - 2019) 9.5/10
country: Saudi Arabia
IMDb synopsis: A determined young Saudi doctor's surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town's first female candidate.

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Perhaps my last review had you running in the other direction. Or perhaps you plan on watching it and need a palate-cleanser afterwards. A film that just radiates positive and idealistic energy, a story that doesn't need to result in literal triumph to feel positively triumphant.

This is Wadjda director Al-Mansour's return to Saudi Arabia after going abroad to make Mary Shelley and Nappily Ever After, and it is an absolute joy from start to finish. I am utterly in love with this film and the headstrong, defiant and no-nonsense spirit of its heroine. I laughed out loud several times at the surprising amount of comedy the film mines from patriarchy and sexism. I adored the film's myriad humanist touches and the intelligent characterization of all of its supporting characters. I didn't want this story to end, but I can hardly fault the incredibly emotional final scene and the actual chef's kiss of a final shot, one of the best parting shots of the decade.

Just see this damn movie!


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#2252

Post by outdoorcats »

Here you go, mighty! Look forward to you getting a chance to see it and hearing your thoughts.

Gunda (Viktor Kossakovsky - 2020) 9/10
country: Norway
IMDb synopsis: Documentary looks at the daily life of a pig and its farm animal companions: two cows and a one-legged chicken.

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I've been an apathetic vegetarian for years. What was once something very passionate for me as a kid, due to my love of animals, has faded into more of a habit I've been ready to discard. The older you get, the less magic there is in the world, the more desensitized you become to violence in general. How can you still have the energy to advocate for animals when human children such as Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Atianta Jefferson are boldly murdered with no repercussions? When I saw Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar speech I was more amused than anything.

Gunda, which Phoenix is an executive producer of, has a very simple concept - featuring no humans or spoken words, we watch and listen to a mother pig raising her piglets for 90 minutes. Basically, that's it.

Yet this simple concept becomes a very special film. For someone who hasn't spent time on farms, I found myself realizing I barely ever watch pigs or know what piglets do or what they look like, outside of cartoons and children's picture books. They look like puppies. They cuddle together for warmth, play, fight, and stick their heads out with frightened curiosity when they see rain for the first time. We see the mother pig kicking her feet in her sleep, dreaming.

Gunda may not be a film for children, but it is a film that may recapture for some adults the magic and discovery of childhood. And it reawakened a long-dormant conviction in me that life at this level is special, and there's increasingly few excuses in 2020 for those who can afford to live a vegetarian lifestyle to not do so. :shrug: I suspect that some people who watch this film will become converts.

Cinematically the film is stunning. The black and white cinematography throughout is incredible, almost always keeping to the eye level of whatever animal we're with and giving us a brand new look at the world. The sound design also plays a huge part, rich in beautiful texture and detail (the film has no music). There's also a slow motion shot of cows running which the more I looked at, the more impossible I realized it was. I'm very curious as to how they pulled it off.

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#2253

Post by outdoorcats »

Last one for now. Yes, this is an insane number of 9/10s.

Later on, I'll be watching Night of the Kings, There Is No Evil, Apples, and Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness.

City Hall (Frederick Wiseman - 2020)
country: USA
IMDb synopsis: A look at Boston's city government, covering racial justice, housing, climate action, and more.

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There's no need to convince Wiseman fans to watch this. All I'll say is that it is one of his best films that I have seen, and critics who have seen much more of his films agree.

There's no point trying to convince Wiseman haters to watch this. It's more than 4 and a half hours long, and it's about day-to-day city politics.

If you've never seen a Wiseman, or particularly a late-period Wiseman, a film this long is probably not a good place to start. But if you like being shoved into the deep end of the pool, know beforehand that Wiseman is a documentary filmmaker who does not directly interview subjects or insert any commentary. He points and he shoots as a fly on the wall, often looking behind the scenes at how major institutions function. There will be plenty of boardroom meetings. You will either find his films extremely boring or extremely fascinating. I come out of his films feeling smarter and more educated. They don't tell you what to think, but they provide knowledge about the world that often feels useful and applicable.

City Hall was filmed in late 2018 and early 2019. A lot of the film follows Boston mayor Martin "Mahty" Walsh. I tried to analyze throughout the film why I liked him so much. What I came up with was that he was a workaholic who genuinely loved his job as a mayor - not the power that comes with it, but the actual job. In contrast, I found myself thinking of a fictional mayor, Aiden Gillen's portrayal of Thomas Carcetti from The Wire, who writers and political consultants based on Martin O'Malley--a mayor who craved power and popularity, who wanted to do "good" but hated the grunt work.

The film also watches everyone from city hall telephone operators to road workers. We watch meetings where people discuss solutions for the opioid crisis, homeless services, and how to develop neighborhoods without displacing their original residents. One other big thing I noticed: no one debates whether these things are important or necessary, only the best strategy to solve them. Frank Capra wasn't this idealistic.

Which isn't to say the film is all rainbows and sunshine. We get a very long community meeting about the opening of a dispensary in a poor neighborhood where residents vent their concerns and the developers don't always have answers. Throughout the film, many point out Boston has a reputation as a racist city and it's racial and ethnic conflicts can't be solved overnight. Some meetings are about trying to contain the damage by Trump administration policies, such as changes to the Fair Housing Act of 1968's Desperate Impact Rule, or the emotional fallout of his Muslim bans on Boston's immigrant communities.

This year in particular, City Hall is surreally hopeful. But that is very welcome.


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I also briefly reviewed another film from the festival, Get the Hell Out, in the Horror Challenge thread. I gave it a 6.5-7/10. A zombie comedy stuffed with over-the-top action and martial arts set in Taiwan's parliament, it's too broad and silly to be political satire, but that doesn't stop it from being a very fun and entertaining film.

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#2254

Post by Ebbywebby »

I saw recent Criterion add and World CInema Project release "Dos Monjes" (1934) via TCM a couple of nights ago. Unexpectedly excellent. The fundamental plot (two men fighting over a woman) is no revelation, but it helps that both men have become *monks*! it's a sound film but feels more like a silent, and the sets and cinematography have a heavy, hallucinatory German-expressionist flavor. Also, the film has that always-interesting structure where you hear the story from one character's point of view, and then the same story from another character's contrasting point of view. I enjoyed this much more than expected. TCM probably has it on demand for now, and only 48 ICMers have checked it.

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#2255

Post by OldAle1 »

I saw Dos monjes a couple of years ago for the horror challenge and liked it quite a bit despite what was at that time only a really terrible print available. I know what you mean about it being closer to silent cinema; I would assume that Mexico, like most countries apart from the US, France, UK and Germany, maybe, transitioned a little later to sound and there probably wasn't the top-quality equipment, so a 1934 Mexican film might be more like a 1930-31 American film technologically. Personally I love the transitional era despite the often clunky acting and long stretches with no music that you find in so many of these films; the directors were just learning what they could do and that's often fascinating. Definitely something I'm looking forward to re-watching now that there's a good copy available.

outdoorcats' viewings all look pretty cool; if I can get myself into the notion of watching new movies at home exclusively, maybe I'll catch some of them sooner rather than later.
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#2256

Post by prodigalgodson »

outdoorcats wrote: November 1st, 2020, 8:30 pm Gunda (Viktor Kossakovsky - 2020) 9/10
country: Norway
IMDb synopsis: Documentary looks at the daily life of a pig and its farm animal companions: two cows and a one-legged chicken.

I've been an apathetic vegetarian for years. What was once something very passionate for me as a kid, due to my love of animals, has faded into more of a habit I've been ready to discard. The older you get, the less magic there is in the world, the more desensitized you become to violence in general. How can you still have the energy to advocate for animals when human children such as Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Atianta Jefferson are boldly murdered with no repercussions? When I saw Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar speech I was more amused than anything.

Gunda, which Phoenix is an executive producer of, has a very simple concept - featuring no humans or spoken words, we watch and listen to a mother pig raising her piglets for 90 minutes. Basically, that's it.

Yet this simple concept becomes a very special film. For someone who hasn't spent time on farms, I found myself realizing I barely ever watch pigs or know what piglets do or what they look like, outside of cartoons and children's picture books. They look like puppies. They cuddle together for warmth, play, fight, and stick their heads out with frightened curiosity when they see rain for the first time. We see the mother pig kicking her feet in her sleep, dreaming.

Gunda may not be a film for children, but it is a film that may recapture for some adults the magic and discovery of childhood. And it reawakened a long-dormant conviction in me that life at this level is special, and there's increasingly few excuses in 2020 for those who can afford to live a vegetarian lifestyle to not do so. :shrug: I suspect that some people who watch this film will become converts.

Cinematically the film is stunning. The black and white cinematography throughout is incredible, almost always keeping to the eye level of whatever animal we're with and giving us a brand new look at the world. The sound design also plays a huge part, rich in beautiful texture and detail (the film has no music). There's also a slow motion shot of cows running which the more I looked at, the more impossible I realized it was. I'm very curious as to how they pulled it off.
Thanks for sharing these odc -- this sounds delightful! As a big fan of James Ellroy's Underworld USA Trilogy, MLK/FBI seems intriguing too.
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#2257

Post by clemmetarey »

Echoing what prodigalgodson said, thanks for sharing Gunda. It sounds like a fun watch, and I'm not exactly a big documentary fan.
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#2258

Post by cinewest »

@outdoorcats,

Thanks for all the great writeups of the Philly festival. Between these and what one of my friends will tell me about the Denver Feat, I will have some vicarious film festival pleasure this Fall.
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#2259

Post by outdoorcats »

You're welcome to all.

@OldAle - if you're interested in catching one or two of the films through the festival (some, including The Perfect Candidate, are available nationwide virtually) it ends tomorrow night at Midnight.

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#2260

Post by pitchorneirda »

Anticipating the 1980 poll, I've stumbled upon the (East) German film "Die Verlobte" (The Fiancée).

It's an unbelievable overlook (4 checks only, including mine!) for this visually stunning and very moving prison/war/political drama. It was so close being a instant favourite of mine if it had focused a tiny bit more on the psychological complexity of the main characters and a little less on somewhat uninteresting interactions with the other inmates in this women's prison (felt a bit like an ancestor of Orange Is the New Black - I don't mean this in a derogatory way) but it definitely should be an integral part of German film history!
I count on this forum to make this movie live!

(7.5/10)

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#2261

Post by outdoorcats »

Watched Tenet. I think Christopher Nolan took complaints that he over-explained Inception with heavy exposition a little too personally. On a first viewing, this was a little less confusing than Primer. Doesn't help that, like others have said, the sound mix has an issue in that there's a lot of dialogue that is downright impossible to hear (particularly in the opening scene and the boat scene). Which is particularly weird given Nolan's obsession with the cinema-going experience. No one tested that out and warned him?*

It's still a super entertaining blockbuster to add to his resume of super entertaining blockbusters, and John David Washington proves he has legitimate star power, even if he doesn't have his dad's edge (which is fine). I look forward to seeing it again with subtitles.

*I watched the Dolby Digital version, if that means anything

Also for those who are interested I'll get around to writing a little on those last 4 films from the PFF. I've just been a little too distracted following election stuff.

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#2262

Post by kongs_speech »

Pietro Marcello's Martin Eden is not, to my understanding, a straightforward adaptation of the 1909 Jack London novel. Marcello changes the setting to Italy and stubbornly refuses to specify the time period in which it takes place, which leads to it feeling like it sort of exists outside of time. This technique is effective at keeping the viewer in the dark. The film has the vibe of a great Italian epic that would have come out probably in the '60s. The political themes are eternally relevant, the colors are vibrant, with perfect production design and costumes, and Luca Marinelli is sublime as the titular Eden. The 129 minutes fly by; if anything, the movie should have been longer to further develop the third act. Still, Martin Eden is a wildly ambitious gem that announces documentarian Marcello as a narrative force to be reckoned with going forward.

4/5
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#2263

Post by Onderhond »

Yankee Doodle Dandy. My new go-to movie when people complain about Bollywood/Turkish/whatever mafias invading top lists.
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#2264

Post by kongs_speech »

Nothing could have prepared me for Gold Diggers of 1933 being one of the best films I have ever seen. Even with the presence of my beloved Joan Blondell, I expected little more than a pleasant time-waster and came away flabbergasted. It might be the ultimate example of how to mix escapist entertainment with serious subject matter without sacrificing any of either.
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#2265

Post by maxwelldeux »

kongs_speech wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:29 pm Nothing could have prepared me for Gold Diggers of 1933 being one of the best films I have ever seen. Even with the presence of my beloved Joan Blondell, I expected little more than a pleasant time-waster and came away flabbergasted. It might be the ultimate example of how to mix escapist entertainment with serious subject matter without sacrificing any of either.
Yup. Blew me away too. Sits at #7 on my all-time favorites list.
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#2266

Post by kongs_speech »

maxwelldeux wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:52 pm
kongs_speech wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:29 pm Nothing could have prepared me for Gold Diggers of 1933 being one of the best films I have ever seen. Even with the presence of my beloved Joan Blondell, I expected little more than a pleasant time-waster and came away flabbergasted. It might be the ultimate example of how to mix escapist entertainment with serious subject matter without sacrificing any of either.
Yup. Blew me away too. Sits at #7 on my all-time favorites list.
I'm banning myself from making another list for a few years until I'm more of an expert, but right now, it would definitely reside somewhere in my top 20. It's my favorite Old Hollywood film.
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#2267

Post by maxwelldeux »

kongs_speech wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:55 pm
maxwelldeux wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:52 pm
kongs_speech wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:29 pm Nothing could have prepared me for Gold Diggers of 1933 being one of the best films I have ever seen. Even with the presence of my beloved Joan Blondell, I expected little more than a pleasant time-waster and came away flabbergasted. It might be the ultimate example of how to mix escapist entertainment with serious subject matter without sacrificing any of either.
Yup. Blew me away too. Sits at #7 on my all-time favorites list.
I'm banning myself from making another list for a few years until I'm more of an expert, but right now, it would definitely reside somewhere in my top 20. It's my favorite Old Hollywood film.
If you loved the dance sequence at the end, as much as I did, check out more of Busby Berkeley. I've seen 42nd Street and Footlight Parade - both had musical dance sequences that were as good as 1933, though the overall films weren't anywhere as good.
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#2268

Post by kongs_speech »

maxwelldeux wrote: November 14th, 2020, 11:02 pm
kongs_speech wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:55 pm
maxwelldeux wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:52 pm
Yup. Blew me away too. Sits at #7 on my all-time favorites list.
I'm banning myself from making another list for a few years until I'm more of an expert, but right now, it would definitely reside somewhere in my top 20. It's my favorite Old Hollywood film.
If you loved the dance sequence at the end, as much as I did, check out more of Busby Berkeley. I've seen 42nd Street and Footlight Parade - both had musical dance sequences that were as good as 1933, though the overall films weren't anywhere as good.
Wow, I thought I had seen a decent amount. Turns out I have 54 left. :lol:
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#2269

Post by PeacefulAnarchy »

Onderhond wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:26 pm Yankee Doodle Dandy. My new go-to movie when people complain about Bollywood/Turkish/whatever mafias invading top lists.
Yes, it's a bad movie.
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#2270

Post by weirdboy »

PeacefulAnarchy wrote: November 16th, 2020, 5:58 am
Onderhond wrote: November 14th, 2020, 10:26 pm Yankee Doodle Dandy. My new go-to movie when people complain about Bollywood/Turkish/whatever mafias invading top lists.
Yes, it's a bad movie.
The part near the end where he is celebrated for his 90th birthday with his wife and his two sons is really touching, though.
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#2271

Post by Hunziker »

Just finished watching The Two Popes. Two hours went by in a flash, I was very pleasently surprised. The performances really carry the film, you forget they're not the real deal. 7.5/10
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#2272

Post by Coryn »

I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

This was such a surprise.
I didn't read up on the movie beforehand so went in with low expectations as it seemed to be a quirky Netflix comedy. Things got interesting really quickly. Not going to lie though, I've been searching for explanations of the movie on youtube for an hour or so to fit some pieces together.
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#2273

Post by St. Gloede »

You missed that it was the new Charlie Kaufman film? :satstunned:

Somehow not gotten around to it yet, but high on my watchlist.
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#2274

Post by Onderhond »

It's a pretty great horror film (according to ICM) :P
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#2275

Post by Coryn »

St. Gloede wrote: November 16th, 2020, 9:31 am You missed that it was the new Charlie Kaufman film? :satstunned:

Somehow not gotten around to it yet, but high on my watchlist.
I've been missing in action since covid happened but slowly getting back to it. I hadn't noticed it was a Kaufman until 5 minutes into the movie where I knew I was in for something good. To be fair, there is a lot of negativity around the movie as well, it's shown as a top pick on Netflix while it's not catered for the Netflix audience at all.
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#2276

Post by kongs_speech »

Luminous Motion (1998, Bette Gordon)

Much of experimental filmmaker Bette Gordon's work is expiring from Criterion Channel at the end of this month. Variety is legitimately a great film. Her shorts are interesting. But Jesus Christ almighty, Luminous Motion absolutely has to be the worst thing to ever stream on the Channel. I'm not entirely convinced that it isn't the worst movie ever made, period. It wants so desperately to be David Lynch, yet even the least competent student director could come closer to reaching that goal.

Each and every fragment of Luminous Motion is hideously insufferable. The protagonist and narrator is a precocious, sociopathic prepubescent who is in love with his alcoholic fuck-up of a mother. He frequently hallucinates his father, and later, a different dude. At one point, in one of the film's most self-conscious attempts at provocation, he remarks on his fondness for his mom's breasts. Did I mention that he's Erik Lloyd, the kid from The Santa Clause movies? It's the most irritating child performance I have ever seen, but to be fair, even Al Pacino couldn't nail a line as nauseatingly pretentious as "this is like one of nature's life cycles. We're just doing our part in the chain."

Even veteran actress Deborah Kara Unger, playing the mother, is simply terrible. Unger is perhaps best known for her role in David Cronenberg's erotic car accident drama Crash, which is somehow fitting, because Luminous Motion is a fucking train wreck. The script and direction are inept enough to render the RiffTrax crew speechless. It would an unmitigated disaster under any circumstances, but the film has the dubious distinction of having been released the same year as Happiness, one of the most brilliantly blistering takedowns of white America. The attempts at social commentary in Gordon's film are utterly hollow and juvenile. It isn't smart enough to qualify as Oedipal. If I saw it before Variety, I wouldn't believe that film was any good. If it was the first movie I ever saw, I wouldn't believe any film was good.
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#2277

Post by prodigalgodson »

Haha harsh take, I love it
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#2278

Post by St. Gloede »

So, I saw this today:

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*Khabarda / Out of the Way! (1931, Mikheil Chiaureli)

So, let me just start by saying that this is, unfortunately, by no means a great film.

It is pompous, ridiculous and silly in a way that you really feel how it tries to push its point. The weak end of propaganda, where it is really felt and understood to be just that.

The plot: Destroy history. Or rather, tear down monuments, including a church - as they are dangerous/decreasing the quality of life and let's build something new.

It is interesting in that it pits the religious against those eager to move to modernity - all played for laughs - as are the discussions and the bizarre infighting in the committee - including the phrase "Punch him, he's a formalist".

Now, this is actually a comedy - and a lot of this is intentional - but the hapless, old fashioned pro-history characters - that are presented as the leads of sort - just come off as too silly - and of course, the message is clear: Go away!

Still, the visuals here are frequently breathtaking, including some fun effects - and the quality of the print is great. If you enjoy Soviet silents - it is definitely one to add to the extended watchlist.

*I am also really proud that my first thought was: "This reminds me of Saba (1929)" - a more serious but still overwrought look at alcoholism - which looks great but is still really damn silly. It is indeed by the same director.
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#2279

Post by Onderhond »

Finally caught up with Tenet. While it has the usual Nolan pitfalls (boring action scenes, mediocre cinematography, poor soundtrack, convoluted storytelling), it's still one of his better attempts. Something about the pacing and the somewhat lighter tone that made it more entertaining than many of his other films.

Still wish he'd ditch the blockbuster films and get back to making smaller films though.
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#2280

Post by Arigatō-san »

Nobuko Rides on a Cloud (Fumindo Kurata, 1955)

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Started my Late Ozu and Late Setsuko Hara run with this 1955 Japanese children's film starring Haruko Wanibuchi in the lead role. Nobuko Rides on a Cloud marked Hara's comeback after nearly 2 years away recovering her health after Tokyo Story, and was also the first time she played a mother in a movie.

This film started out terrible, but turned into a huge surprise. Nobuko (or Non-chan as she's called), played by Haruko Wanibuchi, wanders alone down a country path, balling her eyes out with the most ridiculous and awful sounding fake cry I've ever heard. She climbs a tree and pretends to fly like a bird, until the branch snaps, causing her to fall into a lake where she apparently drowns. Well, whatever happened, she wakes up in heaven. There's this creepy old man with a rake giving off major David Lo Pan vibes, a really chubby kid from her class, and atrociously cheap looking special effects.

Seriously, I thought this was going to be a major bomb ... but boy, was I wrong.

Plot:
Non-chan describes her life to the old man, and eventually he has to decide if she can go back to her family or if she has to stay in Heaven. Sometimes the camera films them talking up in the clouds, and sometimes the camera follows the narrative of her daily life at school or with her family. Overall the story is nothing special, just a children's film. but Haruko Wanibuchi is so incredibly charming and delightful to watch, she actually gives one of the greatest child acting performances of all-time. She has such a smart and clever countenance and displays tremendous range without ever being cheesy. You can't watch this movie and not think she's the cutest 10 year old girl you've ever seen.

Grand Finale:
So as this movie works its way towards the final act, Setsuko Hara really doesn't do much, she's just kind of in cameo mom mode here, but it's all about Haruko Wanibuchi. She's crying because she might have to stay in Heaven. She wants to go back home. Suddenly a huge, elaborate song-and-dance number breaks out with dozens of adult ballerinas and little ballerina girls, and I've watched enough 1950s Japanese cinema to know that these weird musical scenes sometimes randomly show up near the end of movies that are otherwise not known to be musicals.

But wow @ this one.

Suddenly a violin and bow appear in Non-chan's hands, something she always wanted, and she's no longer crying, but she has the biggest smile on her face. Then she runs over into the middle of the little girl ballerinas and she starts playing the violin. I was already so impressed with her up until this point in the film, but then as I'm watching closely, it looks like she's really playing the music, not just pretending. Turns out I was right! She was a child prodigy violin player too, there are photos of her on the internet, and her playing at the climax of this film was just beautiful.

After that the ballerinas all start dancing, and then Non-chan reappears in her own ballerina outfit, and she starts dancing solo in the middle of the other girls. The first shots are all cut off at her waist, so I'm thinking to myself, finally this kid can't do something. She's just pantomiming to the music. But no! A few seconds later the camera cuts back and you can see her pirouetting around on the tips of her toes like she's freaking Anna Pavlova or somebody. Just incredible. Amazing really.

Well, after that it's time for creepy David Lo Pan to take little Miss Wanibuchi back to Earth on a magic cloud ride. But first there's a chorus of sayonaras and another fun kids song to close this one out.

Really couldn't believe how good this movie turned out. Very glad I watched it.

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I had to look up Wanibuchi after this because I've never heard of her, she was so tremendous, and this was basically her first movie. I expected her to have a huge career, but doesn't look like she did very much in movies, then went into the music industry. But I did find some cool photos, including one with Kyoko Kagawa and Alain Delon, very cute!

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