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Which films Did You See Last Week? 9/12/18 - 15/12/18

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sol
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Which films Did You See Last Week? 9/12/18 - 15/12/18

#1

Post by sol » December 16th, 2018, 12:00 pm

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 (if you're like me, "real life" sometimes gets in the way, so no need to feel obliged).

This is what I saw:

★★★★ = rates in the top 25% of films that I have seen so far this year
★★★ = rates in the top 50% of films that I have seen so far this year
★★ = rates in the bottom 50% of films that I have seen so far this year
★ = rates in the bottom 25% of films that I have seen so far this year

Damaged Lives (1933). Racked with guilt after being unfaithful, a well-to-do man promptly marries his longtime girlfriend and gets her pregnant, only to learn that he has contracted a venereal disease from the one night stand in this early career Edgar G. Ulmer melodrama. Funded and promoted as an educational movie, the film only has the most obvious messages about extramarital affairs and the importance of using protection, and Lyman Williams is never once convincing with his over-the-top shell-shocked reactions to the news. Diane Sinclair on the other hand is pretty terrific as his fragile yet understanding wife and Ulmer gives her many great quiet moments of walking around her apartment as she processes things. The dissolve edits as she exits a doctor's office capture her uncertainty well too and it is a shame that she is stuck in such an unsubtle film. (first viewing, online) ★

Sins of the Fathers (1948). Discovering an outbreak of syphilis among the teenagers in his community, a Canadian doctor rallies to have venereal disease education taught in schools in this blunt message movie. If unquestionably well-intentioned, this is an incompetently made mess. None of the performances or characters are believable in the least, especially not the one lad scared of sharing a ski cabin with his girlfriend while "unchaperoned". The music is overly melodramatic in the worst way too with loud crescendos for lines like "you've been infected for some time". Worst of all though is the Sex Ed documentary clumsily inserted into the narrative as the doctor insists that the parents of one teenager view it. As a mere documentary, this could have worked despite being alarmist; as a narrative wrapped around a documentary though, it just does not work. (first viewing, online) ★

The Quiet One (1948). As per the title, this documentary follows the quietest child from a school for emotionally disturbed kids, tracking his progress from introvert to confident individual. Gary Merrill's voice-over narration is full of tiresome truisms, such as that students need to like you (as a teacher) before they can learn, but the documentary has quite a bit of interest in the way it follows the boy outside of school hours. There are some long narration-free stretches of him just wandering the streets, plus the movie ventures inside his home where we see his neglect and self-harm (whipping himself). It is hard not to wonder how much was played up for the camera and what his parents thought of being portrayed so negatively, but the project does an okay job at convincing of a need for funding more student support programs, which would seem to be the intention here. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Bloody Brood (1959). Feeling a rush of adrenaline when an old man dies from a heart attack before his eyes, a charismatic beatnik convinces a blind follower to help him murder a random stranger for kicks in this Canadian B-feature likely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. Peter Falk is very well cast as the beatnik in question who confidently and uncaringly states that the police have "no clues, no motives and besides, who cares?" when his friend starts to worry. Unfortunately, Falk is soon relegated down to more of a supporting character as the older brother of the murder victim takes centre focus as he tries to solve the mystery. The performances aside from Falk also vary from uninteresting to worthless and the music often feels over-the-top. The central concept is great though and Falk carves a deliciously three dimensional sociopath villain here. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Portrait of Jason (1967). Contending with racism and prejudice on a daily basis, a gay African American man shares intimate stories from his life while becoming increasingly intoxicated in this intense documentary filmed mostly in closeup. An incredibly eloquent and charismatic individual, it is fascinating to listen to Jason ramble on about his experiences as a "house boy" as well as an aspiring performer. There is also much of interest in how the interview process here progresses; initially, he is elated and says that it is a "nice feeling" to have a film made about himself, but as the documentarians continue to grill him as he becomes less sober, it is hard not to wonder how he felt at the end. The documentarians could have perhaps handled their role better; their disembodied muffled voices make the whole project feel unpolished - but this also adds some apt grit. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Memorandum (1967). Titled after Hitler's 'final solution' memo, this Canadian documentary follows a Holocaust survivor as he travels back to Germany where a group of war criminals are standing trial. The project is narrated in an appropriately solemn yet expressive manner and the archive footage and photographs sourced for the film are harrowing - in particular, a series of photos of Mengele's "terminal experiments". The sombre sourced music is very fitting too, especially the tunes played as the former Nazis are walked in and out of court. The project is, however, highly unfocused, often going off on tangents, including questions of how the Holocaust could ever occurred in such an advanced nation, all of which distracts from the Holocaust survivor's personal pilgrimage. If a little disorganised, the content here is nevertheless fascinating and pretty potent. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Montreal Main (1974). Entranced by the very feminine looks of a preteen boy, a twentysomething photographer begins to question his sexuality as he becomes friends with the lad in this low budget Canadian drama. Director Frank Vitale's camera really fetishises the boy with quiet shots of his long hair blowing in the wind, and yet the film manages to avoid feeling exploitative through concentrating purely on his mixed emotions, as opposed to acting on his desires. That said, there is something very muted about the project since nothing comes of the pair's time together. The protagonist listens to a pre-Scanners Stephen Lack caution him about acting on his impulses and has a heartbreaking chat with the boy's disapproving father near the end, but most of the film is spent on the pair wandering about and occasionally conversing, which is as dull as it sounds. (first viewing, online) ★

The California Reich (1975). Nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in its day, this feature gets close and intimate with several California residents who proudly identify as neo-Nazis and want to be heard under the banner of free speech. Deliberately shot without any voiceover narration, the film takes an unexpectedly unbiased approach to the kooky individuals with it left up to us to draw our own conclusions with such shocking scenes as a couple encouraging their kindergarten-aged children to give the Nazi salute and talk in racist slurs. There is also a Christmas party where Santa dons the Nazi armband and a swastika liquorice cake. Clocking in at less than one hour long, the film never dives that deep into any of its interview subjects, most of whom we have to read about through didactic title cards, but this is an encapsulating if sometimes rambling affair. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Lies My Father Told Me (1975). Living in poverty in 1920s Montréal, a young lad learns that neither his father nor his grandfather can be fully trusted in this coming-of-age drama from Canada. The film begins well with the cold, desolate local streets emphasised as a melancholic theme song from Sol Kaplan adds much mood. The film to come has its share of strong moments; most notably, the boy eavesdropping on his parents from deep, dark shadows while a thunderstorm rages outside. His jealousy over his brother resonates well too. At nearing two hours, the film runs incredibly long though given the slim premise and tends to fall into repetition as opposed to fully developing characters such as his get-rich-quick scheme chasing father. Still, there is lots to like in the film's portrait of an impressionable boy coming to reevaluate the important adults in his life. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Not a Love Story (1981). Concerned that pornography degrades women and encourages violence against them, Canadian filmmaker Bonnie Sherr Klein interviews various strippers, adult film actors and feminist authors in this BAFTA nominated documentary. Her interview subjects occasionally offer thought-provoking ideas, such as one who muses that "everything is unreal" in life thanks to pornography playing with male expectations. For the most part though, the film does not mount a convincing case for the dangers of pornography with one stripper even expressing annoyance over how some people think "I'm stupid and I'm being used", believing that she is not a victim. The documentary does, however, offer a fascinating glimpse into the live peep show scene - something that would become obsolete less than half a decade later thanks to home video. (first viewing, online) ★★

Track Two (1982). The title of this documentary is police slang for a district in Toronto known for gay prostitutes and the film opens with a reenactment of a controversial police raid on the gay steam baths there. The remainder of the movie consists of interviews, news clippings and occasional archival footage as the documentarians highlight just how heavily targeted the gay community of Canada is. Interesting statements include one gay man's observation that "we can pass for straight", concluding that they naturally need more representation than racial minorities. Another talks about only gradually feeling like his local gay community is in fact a community, and Margaret Atwood condemns the "institutional contempt" of police. Yet engaging as some of this is, the project is pretty much a talking-heads style documentary that restates much more than it enlightens. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Peanut Butter Solution (1985). Desperate to re-grow his hair after it falls out when he lets the family cat sleep on his head (!), a young Québécois boy rubs peanut butter on his scalp, only for his hair to start growing at an exponential rate in this odd Canadian offering. There is a lot more to the plot than just that though and this has fittingly been called a non-sequitir movie as it unpredictably goes from one plot turn to the next. To sum it up, what initially seems like a haunted house movie ultimately ends up as an innocuous comedy about kidnapping a la Thoroughly Modern Millie. On one hand, it is difficult not to like how spontaneous the whole thing feels, and the theme songs by Céline Dion are divine. On the other hand, the movie makes less and less sense the more one pauses to consider it and the oft morose lead actor is more annoying than charming. (first viewing, online) ★★

Toward Intimacy (1992). Four women with different disabilities (physical; cerebral palsy; legal blindness; deafness) talk about how they have managed to maintain relatively normal sexual relationships in this Canadian documentary. As a topic rarely depicted on screen, the film is initially intriguing with a handful of carefully considered techniques - e.g. the camera only slowly revealing how abnormal one lady's body is. Things unfortunately soon become a repetitive with the subjects all talking about the same sorts of things with fighting misconceptions and so forth, and on a technical level this is pretty mundane stuff - mostly talking heads with the occasional cutaway or still photo insert. The legally blind woman's tale of dealing with kids who could see better than her is endlessly fascinating though, and the overall project certainly has its heart in the right place. (first viewing, online) ★★

Project Grizzly (1996). Obsessed with grizzly bears after a close encounter that he miraculously survived, an avid inventor tests out a self-made bear-proof suit in this Canadian documentary. The man in question, Troy Hurtubise, is an interesting fellow to listen to and the filmmakers wisely let him ramble on with it left up to us to judge whether his passion is admirable or misguided. There are also several great bits in which we see the 215cm tall titanium suit tested out through logs being thrown at it and so on. Unfortunately, this is all there is to the film. We never see any actual bear encounters; instead we get Troy waxing poetic about the virtues of knives over guns - not that we get to see any in action. The suit itself is pretty cool, especially with its impracticalities (he cannot put it on unassisted) but it would have been great to see more than just a whole lot of testing here. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

*Corpus Callosum (2002). Workers at a high-rise office building are subjected to humiliating experiments that defy physics and human perception in this curious experimental movie from Michael Snow. While the basic notions of a plot can be deciphered here, this is not a traditional narrative film, and with seemingly random cuts to a lounge room and a classroom, the film certainly does not progress like a typical story. This is, however, almost a strength of the project with elaborate touches such an unexpected electrocution, upside down shots, posters melting off walls and the list goes on as Snow encourages us to think twice about what we are seeing - and to a further degree, how elaborately constructed all movie scenes tend to be. Some of the animation and explosion effects look incredibly cheap, but the overall experience is hard to shake from the mind. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007). Oxymoronically titled for a reason, this documentary ventures inside an elementary school for students with behaviour and engagement issues, many of who quickly change from violent and aggressive to loving and affectionate (and vice versa) with little warning. Shot in vérité style, there are no interviews with the staff or students, nor any voiceover, as the film instead forces us to just observe the workings of the environment. The patience and professionalism of the staff (who are physically assaulted and spat on) during the course of the film is certainly admirable. And yet, it is the brief moments of conflict, such as two teachers arguing over to whether let a boy spit and "get it out of his system" that are the most compelling, and the documentary could have done with more such debate and discussion over staff approaches. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Monsieur Lazhar (2011). Taking over a primary school class whose previous teacher committed suicide, an Algerian man tries different ways to connect with his grief-stricken pupils in this drama from Québec. The film is blessed by some great child performances, including a pre-Book Thief Sophie Nélisse, even if many look too young for their roles. The parent-like affection that Lazhar develops for Nélisse is touching too. The film only really gets interesting though in the final half-hour after the reasons for the suicide are finally revealed ("today you work with kids like radioactive waste!") but even then, the messages that the film sends are decidedly mixed. Had this been revealed earlier on, the film may have had a chance to pack more of a punch, rather than spending tons of time on Lazhar's backstory. There are, however, certainly lots of interesting ideas here. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Programming the Nation? (2011). Subliminal messaging is placed under the microscope in this fascinating documentary that addresses everything from whether it works to the wild (and less) wild claims of its use over time. Tackling such a broad scope, the film is inevitably rambling and some thematic tangents - e.g. explicit product placement - may have been better explored on their own. For the most part though, this is an enticing watch with director Jeff Warwick not just conducting interviews but also doing experiments - most notably, playing music tracks backwards to see if those listening to them will automatically agree with whatever that he claims is there. There is also a fascinating section dedicated to split second edits (called subliminal here) in the films of Alfred Hitchcock, as well as audio clips in Walter Murch's sound design for Apocalypse Now. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Upside Down (2012). Set in a world in which two near-touching vertically aligned planets exist, a forbidden romance blossoms between citizens from opposite planets in this conceptually ambitious Canadian film. While some of the GCI looks fake, the film features many breathtaking images of the two worlds side by side. Most impressive of all are the interiors of the one building that connects the two worlds with everyone able to look up and see someone walking on their roof. The pseudoscience behind the two worlds is incredibly elaborate though, and even after 17 minutes of exposition, it does not really add up with too much time dedicated to the lifeless romance; "what if love was stronger than gravity" is an actual corny line. There is enough of interest visually here to keep things chugging along, but Disclosure's "Grab Her" clip is a preferable alternative. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

The Nightmare (2015). Seldom depicted on film, sleep paralysis is the subject of this fascinating documentary from Room 237 director Rodney Ascher. While there is a brief shot of a Wikipedia article, Ascher generally avoids defining what sleep paralysis is and its causes. There are no medical experts at all, with the film entirely spun from the recounts of those afflicted. Ascher furthermore reenacts their experiences in painstaking detail, including the shadowy images they imagine while unable to move (a common side effect). This turns the documentary in a truly unsettling experience with its vivid portrayal of human dread. The film sometimes feels repetitive as most of the interviewees share similar recollections of sleep paralysis, but this coincidence only makes the condition more intriguing. The parallels to UFO abduction claims are intriguing too. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018). Based on the true story of Lee Israel, a struggling writer who had a brief stint as a successful forger in the early 1990s, this is an intriguing biographical movie. Her forgeries all involved letters from writers such as Noël Coward and Dorothy Parker, with Lee displaying a remarkable gift for mimicking their style, forcing us to question if the true artist is the duplicator. The film also takes a swipe at the authenticity process and the market for collectables. Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant as her one confidant are excellent throughout here too. And yet, while Lee's loneliness and longing resonate, McCarthy is never quite able to make her a likeable individual or a tragic one who brings her own misery on herself. She does convince as a genius in her own right though, and the anecdotes in the end credits amusingly cement this. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 16th, 2018, 12:00 pm

La moindre des choses / Every Little Thing (Nicolas Philibert, 1997) 5/10

A Child Is Waiting (John Cassavetes, 1963) 5/10

Come on Children (Allan King, 1973) 6/10

Nana (Valérie Massadian, 2011) 6/10

Umbilical World (pieces of David Firth, 2018) 4+/10

Homemad(e) (Ruth Beckermann, 2001) 4+/10

The House That Lars von Trier Built (Jack's complete lack of surprise, 2018) 8-/10

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976 cut/original theatrical cut/134 min version) (John Cassavetes, 1976) (2nd viewing) 9/10 (from 6)

The Trouble with Harry (Hitch, 1955) (2nd viewing) 6+/10 (from 5)

The Sacred Art of Tibet (Larry Jordan, 1972) (2nd viewing) 7+/10


shorts

directed by Julie Murray:

I Began to Wish (2003) 7/10

elements (2008) 5/10

YSBRYD (spirit) (2008) 8-/10

Mass Migration sculpture (????) 6/10

Distance (2010) 8-/10

Frequency Objects (2013) 6/10

Our eyes are armed, but we are strangers to the stars, (2014) 7/10

End Reel (2014) 5/10


Горный орел / Mountain Vigil (Արտավազդ Փելեշյան / Artavazd Peleshian, 1964) 6/10

Standard Time (Michael Snow, 1967) 6/10

Kaiju Bunraku (Lucas Leyva & Jillian Mayer, 2017) 6/10

Closer (Scott Barley, 2016) 4/10

Forest Murmurs (Jonathan Hodgson, 2006) 6/10

Bao (Domee Shi, 2018) 6/10

Hymn to Merde (Leos Carax, 2009) 4/10

Immer zu (Janie Geiser, 1997) (2nd+ viewing) 6/10

The News Hasn't Happened Yet #3: UP (David Firth, 2018) (2nd viewing) 6+/10


RiffTrax & MST3k

RiffTrax Live: Sharknado 2 (2015) 6+/10 (1+/10 for the film)


music videos

Carla Bruni: Quelqu'un m'a dit (Leos Carax, 2002) 4/10

Carla Bruni: Tout le monde (Leos Carax, 2003) 3/10


series

South Park: "Bike Parade" (2018) 9-/10


notable online media

top:
Populist Revolution - Will It Go Left Or Right? - Candace Owens & Russell Brand
Primitive Technology: Pit and chimney furnace
Next Stop, Analysis: The Contradictory Trains of Cinema
rest:
Gegen die Moralisierung: THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT - Kritik & Analyse
käptn peng - urknall gebaren
Evil Dead: Loving the Unnatural
Why Shakira loves this African beat
We just had our first interstellar visitor...and it's weird. [mostly audio-only]
The Bloomer [by Shuzzo]
When you're overqualified for the job
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on December 16th, 2018, 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#3

Post by fori » December 16th, 2018, 12:04 pm

People write these ahead of time don’t they

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#4

Post by Onderhond » December 16th, 2018, 12:08 pm

Absolutely! Apologizing up front but have little time to comment on other people's list these coming weeks. Reading them though!

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01. 4.0* - Shadow [Ying] (2018)
A true master of color, Yimou Zhang surprises with this near black and white martial arts drama. It's amazing what he accomplishes with almost no colors to work with, Shadow is a true feast for the eyes. The story is amusing, the action spectacular, but this is above all a visual marvel like only Zhang can make them.

02. 3.5* - Inuyashiki (2018)
Sato worked himself up to become one of the better commercial directors of Japan. His films are rarely masterpiece material, but if you're looking for some fun, well-made blockbuster nonsense he's your man. Inuyashiki is pretty rad, entertaining and properly executed, everything a good blockbuster should be.

03. 3.5* - Europe Raider [Ou Zhou Gong Lue] (2018)
Jingle Ma slowed down considerably, but like most Hong Kong directors late comeback are par for the course. Europe Raiders is the third film in the franchise and those who have seen the previous films will know what to expect. Slick, silly and expensive entertainment that is a blast to watch, but has poor longevity.

04. 3.5* - Tumbbad (2018)
Interesting Indian horror. The music and lore make this into something special, but when it has to deliver as a horror film it comes up a little short. Too much CG and some questionable creature design stand in the way of a better film. Still worth your time though, just a shame it doesn't quite make it as a whole.

05. 3.5* - Returner [Ritana] (2002)
Slightly disappointing rewatch. I really liked this one the first time around, but it turns out the film hasn't aged all that well. The effects are pretty cheap and even though Yamazaki tries to be cool, he can't quite pull it off. There are some interesting bits (including a kick-ass villain), but the film lacks core quality.

06. 3.0* - Lost in Mobius
Like most time loop films, the first half hour is intriguing. After that it becomes too repetitive, much like the entire niche itself (if that isn't meta I don't know what is). It's not a bad film, there are some moody set pieces and decent performances and some scenes do hit the right not, but it just isn't enough to set itself apart.

07. 3.0* - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)
Lush and extravagant winter fairy tale. For some reason this Disney adaptation of the Nutcracker flunked, but it's one of the nicer things I've seen them do the past couple of years. Imaginative and beautifully realised fantasy elements make this one worth the gamble. Better than I expected.

08. 3.0* - Searching (2018)
What starts as an effective screen-centred mystery thriller becomes an overly convoluted mess. The first hour or so is solid though somewhat generic fun, what follows next after feels forced and unnecessary. It's not a terrible film and it does make a few astute observations, but it could've used a better ending.

09. 3.0* - Demolition (2015)
A pretty standard drama that is elevated by Gyllenhaal's performance. He brings his character to life in a very peculiar way, sadly the drama surrounding him isn't all that interesting and the film never really finds a way to do him justice. It's a decent watch and okay filler, but it had the potential to be more than that.

10. 2.5* - Halo: The Fall of Reach (2015)
Part of the popular Halo game franchise. Never played the games myself, but apart from missing some (no doubt) obvious references the story works well enough on its own. A bit too stereotypical though, with decent backgrounds yet shitty character models. Watch the anime anthology instead if you haven't yet.

11. 2.5* - The Women Who Kill Lions (2016)
When girl power clashes with internet activism. Sadly it doesn't have enough women (just two) and both fail to properly explain what draws them to the hunts. And even though Rawles touches upon the cheap and anonymous online harassment, he only goes skin deep. Interesting topic, but the doc doesn't do it justice.

12. 2.0* - Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
Somewhat tepid but decent British romance. Zellweger is fine, so are Grant and Firth but it's all just a little too posh and predictable. The film does try to be a bit edgier but that part never really works. It's not hard to see why this one made such a splash or course, it's just not really the kind of film I thoroughly enjoy.

13. 1.5* - Monsieur Hulot's Holiday [Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot] (1953)
Post-silent era slapstick. I don't think I'm going to become a big Tati fan really. The characters are slightly annoying, the comedy is stale and even though I can appreciate the way Tati plays with sound, the effect is pretty grating. It's not a very unpleasant film, but it's quite repetitive and it feels longer than it truly is.

14. 1.0* - Surviving Christmas (2004)
Poor Christmas vehicle. The idea is simple but decent enough, sadly the film is ruined by an atrocious performance of Ben Affleck and annoying situation comedy. Rather than pleasantly hectic and confusing the film is just irritating and obnoxious. Not really the embodiment of Christmas spirit this one.

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#5

Post by joachimt » December 16th, 2018, 12:26 pm

This felt like a really busy week. I had periods of almost 48 hours without logging into the forum. My watches proof how busy it was, because I've only seen 5 movies, while I normally watch 10-12 a week.

Chinesisches Roulette (7/10)
Every shot is very carefully planned and executed. This really emphasizes the interactions between the characters. Unfortunately, I didn't find the characters and the story all that interesting.
The Iron Giant (7/10)
More fun than I expected. Really liked the stab at human warfare and the cold war. "We could duck and cover." That made me laugh out loud.
Aanmodderfakker (6/10)
Typical Dutch drama. All decent, but nothing we haven't seen many times before. Also a relationship between an adult and a minor isn't very shocking anymore in Dutch cinema.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (6/10)
A lot of nice fantasy, but this really lacks a good story.
Btw, I've hardly seen any Harry Potter. I didn't even know until the end of the movie that this was related.
The Whole Truth (6/10)
Decent court-drama, but it lacks tension. The main reason to keep watching this is that you want to find out what really happened (not really a surprise though). In the end you keep feeling that the story didn't make a lot of sense.
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#6

Post by joachimt » December 16th, 2018, 12:32 pm

fori wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:04 pm
People write these ahead of time don’t they
I don't. Either Saturday evening or Sunday morning I export my checks and select the ones from last week, add my ratings and combine the info to a clickable link with the rating included. Then paste it into Word and write two lines about each movie. Maybe I would write more when I would do that right after the movie, but most of the time I'm not in the mood for that, so I'd rather do them all together at once.
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#7

Post by Carmel1379 » December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm

Hello everyone

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sol:

Will definitely watch 'The Nightmare'; I actually had a pretty sick nightmare last week (which even had an in-dream false awakening sleep paralysis), one of the best I've ever had.


PdA:

I did just now see a Julie Murray short film, are the ones you saw all in a similar vein/style/tone?

KIlling of a Chinese Bookie - Your first ° in many months?

The House That "Mr. Sophistication" Built - :ICM:. German dub present when?

Populist Revolution - Will It Go Left Or Right? - Candace Owens & Russell Brand - Quit after 8 seconds. :turned:


Carmel:

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Umbilical World (2018, David Firth) 7/10

Pola X (1999, Leos Carax) 6+/10
Classic narrative about a lycanthropic mumbling foreign-sounding other sister luring and causing the well-adjusted rich writer to transgress against his family and upcoming wedding. The unknown darkness of the X invading predictable-efifcient lightness, disarraying, hiding, dragging into the urban underground, paving the way to exciting creative destruction. Good stuff, with a decent set of fresh-feeling placements & plays of quivering objects in scenes, but the spark of fiery energy imbued in Carax’s previous two films isn’t as thriving here.

Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) 6+/10
I was really hooked in the first half, but as the cinematic medium effectuated shifting “appointments” become somewhat more prosaic I started losing interest and got less excitement out of it. It’s definitely nicely meta-fictional and much more than just a collection of absurdist vignettes, but in the end it didn’t really come together for me on an emotional level as I hoped it would.

Melancholia (2011, Lars von Trier) (3rd viewing) 9+/10

The House That Jack Built (2018, Lars von Trier) 6+/10
Overall a very humorous and correct movie; I’m glad “Mr. Sophistication” von Trier is bringing some positivity to his (artistic) life.


+

Umbilical World - audio commentary

South Park: Bike Parade (2018, Trey Parker) ++

If you stand with your back to the slowing of the speed of light in water (1997, Julie Murray) (short) 7/10


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whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
Close the world. ʇxǝu ǝɥʇ uǝdO.
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#8

Post by sol » December 16th, 2018, 1:07 pm

PdA:

Liked more than you:
- The Trouble with Harry - one of few Hitchcock films that has improved for me upon multiple viewings; great Bernard Herrmann score

Liked about the same:
- A Child is Waiting - though Judy Garland's non-glam performance is most of what I remember from the film

Liked less than you:
- Come on Children - a disappointing Allan King documentary after the riveting Warrendale
- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - cannot remember which cut I saw off-hand though

Would like to see:
- The House That Jack Built

Onderhond:

Liked more than you:
- Searching - John Cho was exceptionally good and I loved the Unfriended visual style
- Bridget Jones's Diary - less so upon rewatch, but features one of my favourite Renee Zellweger performances
- Mr. Hulot's Holiday - but even as a Tati fan, I acknowledge that this is not one of his best, though the sound effects are indeed great

Liked about the same:
- n/a

Liked less than you:
- n/a

Would like to see:
- Demolition - perhaps; Jake Gyllenhaal has done some amazing work of late

joachimt:

Liked more than you:
- Chinese Roulette - among my favourite Fassbinder films

Liked about the same:
- The Iron Giant - have always considered this to be great, though it has been a while

Liked less than you:
- n/a

Would like to see:
- n/a

Carmel:

Yep, The Nightmare is pretty awesome (a film that wasn't even on my radar until the recent ICMFF). I don't know how much artistic control Ascher gave to his subjects, but it is pretty cool to think that the film is based on clips in which various sleep paralysis suffers have audio-visually reconstructed their worst nightmares.

Would agree with your assessment of Holy Motors and in particular the unsatisfying ending. The whole thing was way too random and all-over-the-place for my taste. I remember someone on the IMDb message boards at the time waxing poetic about how the film is about all the roles that we play in life. I replied with a comment to the effect that I had never eaten and spat out flowers while walking through a graveyard. There is symbolism and then there is obtuseness for the sake of it.

Melancholia was pretty great - and a refreshing non-Dogme change of pace for Von Trier. Only seen it once though and it is not exactly vivid in my mind at the moment.
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#9

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 16th, 2018, 2:36 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm
I did just now see a Julie Murray short film, are the ones you saw all in a similar vein/style/tone?

KIlling of a Chinese Bookie - Your first ° in many months?

The House That "Mr. Sophistication" Built - :ICM:. German dub present when?
No, none of them were similar to 'If You Stand with Your Back to the Slowing of the Speed of Light in Water'. Most of them used footage she probably shot herself, for example. The films are overall quite varied. I haven't watched 'Deliquium' yet, but based on the excerpt that one seems to be in a similar vein.

Probably.

No idea.
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#10

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » December 16th, 2018, 2:38 pm

Nice week:

Incidence of Catastrophe (Gary Hill, 1988) - 5

La moindre des choses / Every Little Thing (Nicolas Philibert, 1997) - 8

Al primo soffio di vento / At the First Breath of the Wind (Franco Piavoli, 2002) - 9++
One of the best things I've seen all year. cinemá pur. So much feeling in these pictures.

La Captive / The Captive (Chantal Akerman, 2000) - 7+ theatrical
Got a Chabrol vibe from this. Lovely colors.

Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês / How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1971) - 7+
One of a kind in the way it handles the question of colonialism. Nobody's sacred in this - and that comes from a Brazilian director.

+ 4 episodes of Season 5 of The Wire.
Last edited by viktor-vaudevillain on December 17th, 2018, 4:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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#11

Post by lynchs » December 16th, 2018, 3:45 pm

sol wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:00 pm

*Corpus Callosum (2002) ★★★★
good, have you seen Snow's Presents (1981)? You'll probably be even more impressed :turned:

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#12

Post by lynchs » December 16th, 2018, 3:59 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm


Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) ...just a collection of absurdist vignettes...
now you nailed, nailed nailed HARD!

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#13

Post by peeptoad » December 16th, 2018, 4:47 pm

sol, the only one of yours I've seen is Upside Down, which I didn't care for...
@joachimt I love The Iron Giant. It was considered a failure but it's quality animation imho. I think it got mis-marketed (or had lack of marketing) on release, if memory serves.

mine this week-
Prom Night (1980) 5
The Dark (1993) 4
Exotica (1994) 8
Grave Encounters (2011) 3
Subconscious Cruelty (2000) 4
Brand Upon the Brain (2006) 7

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#14

Post by Carmel1379 » December 16th, 2018, 7:54 pm

lynchs wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 3:59 pm
Carmel1379 wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm


Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) ...just a collection of absurdist vignettes...
now you nailed, nailed nailed HARD!
Funny you should use that expression, crosses (and ((the idea of) self-)crucifixion) have recently become quite a resonant thing for me, which this week is reflected by the man in the pube garden and the many +s in my post.

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whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
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His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
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#15

Post by lynchs » December 16th, 2018, 8:18 pm

just a coincidence, but scary shit right there Carmel ahah

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#16

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » December 17th, 2018, 4:07 am

Hi all,I hope everyone had a good weekend,and I watched:

Auteurs of 2006 trio:

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Friedkin's Bug 10

“I am a super mother bug!”

Descending in a long opening crane shot down to Agnes White’s motel room in the first of his two collaborations with writer Tracy Letts, directing auteur William Friedkin & cinematographer Michael Grady limit gazes outdoors to a handful of crane shots over the motel, displaying the isolated wilderness the location is surrounded by. Dicing his recurring motifs of visceral Neo-Noir styling with the abrasiveness of Horror, Friedkin and Grady superbly spray a Horror Noir atmosphere, with Friedkin going for the Redneck vein in a documentary-style of sawn-off whip-pans and shaking fluid close-ups looking into the eyes of madness which bite at White and Evans increasingly paranoid loneliness.

Tugging at the wings of horror by painting Evans entrance to White’s room in grubby over saturated yellow,Friedkin fires up the screen with a gradual dip into a blue neon burn, which along with slicing open a claustrophobic mood, also plays as a canvas for Friedkin to bite into sharp shocks of blunt-force horrors. Working with Friedkin for the first time, writer Tracy Letts brilliant sets out the Redneck world that would be explored here and in Killer Joe, as deep-fried murky mysteries to their pasts crawl out of White and Evans skins.

Largely kept to just two people in a small room, (with the occasional unwanted guest to spice things up) Letts unveils his playwriting skills by keeping the dialogue fresh in a limited set-up, thanks to the dialogue tugging at the ambiguity of Evans (who like Killer Joe, is a complete loner) paranoia, and White becoming inflamed by the doubts from Evans nibbling at her own fragile state. Spending the whole film round each other, Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd give outstanding performances as Evans and White, thanks to Shannon having Evans roll in with Southern charm which gets cut up into cracking under fear pressure,whilst Judd grinds down on the shell around her, as White is unable to shake off the feeling of something bugging at her.

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Takashi Miike's Big Bang Love, Juvenile A 9

“From one light-year away you can see the earth one year ago.”

Snapping the film open with the Clap Board clapping and the lone on-screen actor appearing to be reading from the script, directing auteur Takashi Miike & debuting cinematographer Masato Kaneko (who also did Sun Scarred in the same year with Miike) tear the 4th wall down with a major subtle theme which covers Miike’s credits of there being no safety barrier between the viewer and the film. Painting the prison cells starkly with shadows for the bars and abrasive primary coloured blocks for the walls, Miike offers no easy answers to the audience on the murder, as prisoners speak directly to the viewer in first-person sequences, and the questions (silently asked) pop-up on screen.

Toning down his distinctive over the top gore motif,(but keeping sexual violence intact, here examined in a thoughtful, psychological manner) Miike and Kaneko explore the prison grounds with bubbling surrealist stylisation. Set in a near-future, Miike paints the sky with dazzling Sci-Fi colours, (with even a rocket launch being included) and fills the corners of the cells with fading ghosts and tribal tattoos of prisoners standing out against the coloured walls, which superbly creates a yin/yang atmosphere, via the religious meditation on the universe reflecting on the windows of the raw minimalism in the prison. Sparingly using Kôji Endô’s score, Miike displays a sharp ear for the use of silence, with the lone thump of fist punchings and ropes snapping on a silent backdrop tuning into an incredibly raw chill. Nodding to Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950) (despite knowing the outline,I’ve still not seen it!) in the adaptation of Ikki Kajiwara and Hisao Maki’s novel Shonen A ereji, Miike’s regular collaborator Masa Nakamura intelligently expresses the themes of the film in the stripped-down dialogue between the delicate, and yearning for love Ariyoshi, with the primal screams of pain from Kazuki. Criss-crossing the perspectives on the killing, Nakamura enticingly keeps the definitive version of events clouded in Juvenile A.

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Chabrol's Comedy of Power 6

“You know what the courts call her?: The Piranha.”

For the seventh and final time she worked with Claude Chabrol, Isabelle Huppert gives an excellent performance as Charmant-Killman. Determined to peel all layers of corruption away, Huppert avoids having Killman deliver justice in a melodramatic style, by instead scratching away with a refined, forensic manner, which captures the professional stride Killman holds herself to. Reuniting with Chabrol straight after this for The Girl Cut in Two (2007)François Berléand gives a very good turn as Humeau,with Huppert’s performance being complimented by Berléand’s attempt to escape Killman’s gaze with slippery underhanded skills.

Cheekily stating in the credits that the film is not based on the “ Affaire Elf” scandal, co-writer/(with Odile Barski) directing auteur Claude Chabrol and cinematographer Eduardo Serra unveil the corruption in stylish dissolves over Killman’s power-play marriage troubles being contrasted with the power she has in the investigation. A family affair with his sons Matthieu doing the score, and Thomas co-starring,along with wife Aurore being the script supervisor, the screenplay by Chabrol & Barski uses the "Elf affair" to continue Chabrol’s clinical dissection of the bourgeoisie with the businessmen and politicians having an um-settling calm and self-confidence that they can slip out of any attempt to bring them down. Going for more of a Drama rather than a Thriller, Chabrol gives Killman fight against the corporate system an oddly casual atmosphere, via little room being given to Killman’s net widening in taking on the comedy of power.

Other movies:

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Rote Sonne (1970) 7

Holding back from the free-wheeling shoot-outs which made the Italian Crime genre so lively, (with a clever use of muffled sound effects for newspaper being used as a silencer) director Rudolf Thome & cinematographer Bernd Fiedler take aim with a off-beat, casual hippie atmosphere, with the ladies sorting out the next supply not in a seedy den, but a "happening" house. Swinging very much to the sounds of the 60's,Thome keeps the flick refreshingly playful by breaking the Crime tunes with splashes of kitsch "free love" and from out of left-field brightly coloured partying. Keeping to the beat of Thome's style, the screenplay by Max Zihlmann wraps Thomas (played by a fittingly meek Marquard Bohm) and his relationships with the sexy women in a peculiar hazy mood, which subtly works as the women reveal to Thomas why they all stay somewhat disconnected in their romantic encounters, as they load up when the red sun sets.

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Ocean's 8 (2018) 6

Continuing a collaboration with Steven Soderbergh which started when Soderbergh produced his directing debut Pleasantville (1998), co-writer/(with Olivia Milch) director Gary Ross & cinematographer Eigil Bryld keep the flow of the 2001 Ocean's smoothly continuing with sleek panning shots along the floors following the long con, and Pop-Art editing shaking up a bubbly atmosphere. Laying out the cards in the first half, Ross takes some of the shine off the franchise with a surprisingly blatant amount of product placements,which hurts all the set-up in the due to scenes being left needlessly hanging by the focus being not put on the characters, but flogging products. Merrily going full circle with the opening, the screenplay by Ross and Olivia Milch attempts to introduce each gang member with a thumb sketch, but leaves them all smudged by not offering sequences where a spark develops between them all. Massively helped by the glamour from the cast, the film rolls some winning numbers in the extended robbery where the charisma and sign of friendship between each member of the group is at last allowed to sparkle as Debbie Ocean rolls a hard eight.

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#17

Post by sol » December 17th, 2018, 5:09 am

viktor:

Seen none (and actually only heard of one...).

lynchs:

No, I haven't seen Presents, but I am definitely interesting in seeing more from Michael Snow now. *Corpus Callosum was amazing. Wavelength and Back and Forth are both on my radar as readily available Snow films to check out later this month.

peeps:

Upside Down was a borderline 'dislike' film for me at first; I'm not a big fan of films that require lengthy narrated introductions just to establish the world that they exist in. And that line about love conquering gravity was so corny! I absolutely dug the production design of the film though and the idea of two worlds existing in which one's floor is the other's roof. Ideally, this angle would have been fleshed out more with less pseudoscientific babble about opposing gravitational fields and whatnot. But then again, I probably mostly watched the film for Jim Sturgess, whose performance in Heartless is one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid.

Nice to see the positive score for Exotica. I generally hate Maddin, so I have avoided Brand Upon the Brain despite the amazing title. The Dark and Grave Encounters are both among my potential Canadian films to see this month, but that list has grown and grown over the past few days, so it's unlikely I will get through everything, and maybe I'll low prioritise those two if they aren't much good.

m-d-f:

I'm a big fan of the original trilogy and liked Ocean's Eight quite a bit too. Yes, the chemistry/bonding is not quite the same and the film also recycles/heavily references a lot of the first film, but ah, it worked okay for me overall as a heist comedy in its own right. I can't wait for Ocean's Nine and the inevitable Ocean's Ten in which the two siblings reunite.

Bug was a movie that I wanted to like a lot more. Great performances, of course, but that X Files episode did it better.
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#18

Post by peeptoad » December 17th, 2018, 11:44 am

sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 5:09 am

peeps:

Upside Down was a borderline 'dislike' film for me at first; I'm not a big fan of films that require lengthy narrated introductions just to establish the world that they exist in. And that line about love conquering gravity was so corny! I absolutely dug the production design of the film though and the idea of two worlds existing in which one's floor is the other's roof. Ideally, this angle would have been fleshed out more with less pseudoscientific babble about opposing gravitational fields and whatnot. But then again, I probably mostly watched the film for Jim Sturgess, whose performance in Heartless is one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid.

Nice to see the positive score for Exotica. I generally hate Maddin, so I have avoided Brand Upon the Brain despite the amazing title. The Dark and Grave Encounters are both among my potential Canadian films to see this month, but that list has grown and grown over the past few days, so it's unlikely I will get through everything, and maybe I'll low prioritise those two if they aren't much good.
Upside Down was just too heavy on the romance piece of things for me. I agree that some of the design elements were interesting and cool, but I disliked the rest of the film. Overall I think I rated it 4-5 or weak-average since the visual aspect did add something for me.
Exotica I quite liked (my first from Egoyan) and I aim to watch Sweet Hereafter before the month is over.
The Dark was better than Grave Encounters imo, and there's probably a bigger gap between them than my ratings indicate. GE was one of the more contrived and unimaginative films I've seen in awhile. Nothing about it stood out to me. Had it been released in the mid-90s I might have thought it (barely) passable for its niche , but post-00s and it was a fail. I'm thinking of downgrading it actually. Oh, and it wasn't scary in the least. ;)
Not sure I'll get to more Maddin in the near future, though I liked Brand more than Gimli Hospital, just a bit. I had trouble engaging with both actually.

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#19

Post by sol » December 17th, 2018, 12:43 pm

peeptoad wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 11:44 am
sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 5:09 am

peeps:

Upside Down was a borderline 'dislike' film for me at first; I'm not a big fan of films that require lengthy narrated introductions just to establish the world that they exist in. And that line about love conquering gravity was so corny! I absolutely dug the production design of the film though and the idea of two worlds existing in which one's floor is the other's roof. Ideally, this angle would have been fleshed out more with less pseudoscientific babble about opposing gravitational fields and whatnot. But then again, I probably mostly watched the film for Jim Sturgess, whose performance in Heartless is one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid.

Nice to see the positive score for Exotica. I generally hate Maddin, so I have avoided Brand Upon the Brain despite the amazing title. The Dark and Grave Encounters are both among my potential Canadian films to see this month, but that list has grown and grown over the past few days, so it's unlikely I will get through everything, and maybe I'll low prioritise those two if they aren't much good.
Upside Down was just too heavy on the romance piece of things for me. I agree that some of the design elements were interesting and cool, but I disliked the rest of the film. Overall I think I rated it 4-5 or weak-average since the visual aspect did add something for me.
Exotica I quite liked (my first from Egoyan) and I aim to watch Sweet Hereafter before the month is over.
The Dark was better than Grave Encounters imo, and there's probably a bigger gap between them than my ratings indicate. GE was one of the more contrived and unimaginative films I've seen in awhile. Nothing about it stood out to me. Had it been released in the mid-90s I might have thought it (barely) passable for its niche , but post-00s and it was a fail. I'm thinking of downgrading it actually. Oh, and it wasn't scary in the least. ;)
Not sure I'll get to more Maddin in the near future, though I liked Brand more than Gimli Hospital, just a bit. I had trouble engaging with both actually.
The Sweet Hereafter is my least favourite Atom Egoyan film (so far; I plan to watch more this month) but Ian Holm and Sarah Polley are certainly good.

Thanks for the tip on the horror films. I'll keep The Dark on my list then but will remove Grave Encounters for now. I'm not a big fan of found footage films in the first place and I think this only made it onto my list by going through some Canadian horror list that I managed to find somewhere. I did finally see The Brain today though, and really dug as a Videodrome fan. The monster was a little silly but the "video hallucinations" were great!
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#20

Post by peeptoad » December 17th, 2018, 1:24 pm

sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 12:43 pm
I'm not a big fan of found footage films in the first place ...
Neither am I and I'm sure that clouded my judgement of the film, but it's probably my least fav (or nearly ) sub-genre of horror. Also, you and I do seem to have a slight difference in opinion on horrors (your take on The Brain, for example, which I found just okay, but not bad by any stretch), so don't take my opinion too seriously in that vein. I certainly wouldn't want to turn you off to a film that you might very well enjoy! :lol:

Can I ask why (if you can let slip without spoilers) Sweet Hereafter is your least fav Egoyan? It's free on streaming right now in the US, which is actually one of the reasons I picked it to watch (was also interested in Egoyan as a director obviously, but that particular film is convenient for me to watch right now).

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#21

Post by sol » December 17th, 2018, 1:44 pm

peeptoad wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 1:24 pm
sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 12:43 pm
I'm not a big fan of found footage films in the first place ...
Neither am I and I'm sure that clouded my judgement of the film, but it's probably my least fav (or nearly ) sub-genre of horror. Also, you and I do seem to have a slight difference in opinion on horrors (your take on The Brain, for example, which I found just okay, but not bad by any stretch), so don't take my opinion too seriously in that vein. I certainly wouldn't want to turn you off to a film that you might very well enjoy! :lol:

Can I ask why (if you can let slip without spoilers) Sweet Hereafter is your least fav Egoyan? It's free on streaming right now in the US, which is actually one of the reasons I picked it to watch (was also interested in Egoyan as a director obviously, but that particular film is convenient for me to watch right now).
Heh, I never take your opinions too seriously. ;) :P All kidding aside though, I actually think our tastes in horror are rather similar, or at least we tend to often watch the same sorts of things, so I'm always interested in what you have say. And disliking found footage is something else that we have in common as far as horror films go. Probably my least favourite subgenre too.

The things that rubbed me the wrong way about The Sweet Hereafter are actually among the strengths of Exotica - namely, the shifting back and forth in time and jumping between different characters. These characteristics just seemed far more random in Hereafter, plus the latter film has more characters to jump between, only one of which (Polley's) is anywhere near as interesting as Ian Holm's inner demons battling protagonist. It's not a bad film by any means, but it's nowhere near as intense and engaging as Exotica or some of the other Egoyans that I have seen (Where the Truth Lies; Felicia's Journey).
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#22

Post by peeptoad » December 17th, 2018, 2:59 pm

sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 1:44 pm
peeptoad wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 1:24 pm
sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 12:43 pm
I'm not a big fan of found footage films in the first place ...
Neither am I and I'm sure that clouded my judgement of the film, but it's probably my least fav (or nearly ) sub-genre of horror. Also, you and I do seem to have a slight difference in opinion on horrors (your take on The Brain, for example, which I found just okay, but not bad by any stretch), so don't take my opinion too seriously in that vein. I certainly wouldn't want to turn you off to a film that you might very well enjoy! :lol:

Can I ask why (if you can let slip without spoilers) Sweet Hereafter is your least fav Egoyan? It's free on streaming right now in the US, which is actually one of the reasons I picked it to watch (was also interested in Egoyan as a director obviously, but that particular film is convenient for me to watch right now).
Heh, I never take your opinions too seriously. ;) :P All kidding aside though, I actually think our tastes in horror are rather similar, or at least we tend to often watch the same sorts of things, so I'm always interested in what you have say. And disliking found footage is something else that we have in common as far as horror films go. Probably my least favourite subgenre too.

The things that rubbed me the wrong way about The Sweet Hereafter are actually among the strengths of Exotica - namely, the shifting back and forth in time and jumping between different characters. These characteristics just seemed far more random in Hereafter, plus the latter film has more characters to jump between, only one of which (Polley's) is anywhere near as interesting as Ian Holm's inner demons battling protagonist. It's not a bad film by any means, but it's nowhere near as intense and engaging as Exotica or some of the other Egoyans that I have seen (Where the Truth Lies; Felicia's Journey).
Yeah, you're likely correct about your -near-similar opinion on horrors: more there than first meets the eye. At least you watch and enjoy horror enough to comment on it. That's a victory in and of itself. :P :thumbsup:

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#23

Post by GruesomeTwosome » December 17th, 2018, 3:08 pm

Hi sol - not seen any of your viewings.

My viewings last week:

The Favourite (2018, Yorgos Lanthimos) theatrical - 8.5/10. Really dug this. Lanthimos makes an early 18th century English period piece/costume drama but outfits it with his trademark idiosyncratic worldview and dark, bawdy sense of humor. This is a contender for having the best final shot for a 2018 film (that I've seen so far, at least).

Fahrenheit 451 (1966, Francois Truffaut) - 6/10. Earlier this year, I watched HBO's Ramin Bahrani-directed adaptation of Bradbury's classic novel, starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, and the results were...horrible. Truffaut's take is certainly better, but still there is a lot lacking here and I just don't think Fahrenheit 451 was made for the screen; at least, nothing has yet done it justice. This dystopian future-world where books are banned is just not very well developed at all by Truffaut, making it more difficult to invest in the premise. Julie Christie is great in a dual role, while Oskar Werner's Montag isn't really compelling at all. Christie and some interesting directorial choices make it worthwhile but all in all, rather disappointing.

The Mule (2018, Clint Eastwood) theatrical - 5/10. Yikes, this was...not good. In what may turn out to very well be Eastwood's last acting role, he plays a 90-year-old Korean War vet who is persona non grata with his family and in dire financial straits, and turns to transporting drugs for a Mexican cartel in order to make money and in turn try to "make good" with his family and his community. Clint is mostly in his Gran Torino-mode here, if perhaps a bit softer at times and more "bumbling old man", but to no surprise he plays to his usual, limited strengths as an actor. But unfortunately, he's also directing a lame script and also not faring well at directing his co-stars here. This is not a thriller (as the film's trailer with ominous, pounding music might lead you to believe), but you would think that the multiple drug runs with increasing stakes - the cocaine loads are bigger/more valuable; his trips get more closely surveilled by cartel members; the DEA slowly begins to close in on him and those he is working for - would ratchet up some tension or raise the stakes to some degree, but this is never effectively conveyed or felt at all. All of the scenes shifting away from Eastwood and to the DEA office, where Bradley Cooper and his boss Laurence Fishburne plan their scheme to take down this operation, are so perfunctory and boringly matter-of-fact. Eastwood's famously workmanlike, quick pace of shooting his films meant that Cooper and Fishburne likely did all their work in a few short days, and it shows. And there's just some weird shit in here, like Eastwood's character being involved in not one, but TWO threesomes...whaaa? :lol: I guess this really must be Eastwood's last time on screen and he wanted to have a lot of fun with that aspect. And on a similar note, if we're to go by director Eastwood's roving camera, he likes big asses a lot. Anyways...it was nice to see Clint again in one of his now-rare screen appearances, but if this is his swan song as an actor, it's a pretty weak note to go out on. And I haven't seen all of his recent outings as a director, but from what I've seen this is his weakest since Invictus.


TV stuff:

South Park: S22E10 - "Bike Parade" (2018) - 7.5/10
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#24

Post by Good_Will_Harding » December 17th, 2018, 6:02 pm

Looks like it's time for me again to compound two weeks worth of viewings into one post. And to be honest, lately I've given up any hope of having the time or energy to anything apart from newer releases. I don't want to complain, since I like my job quite a bit, but have been pulling 50-60 hours a week for the last five or so weeks, which clearly makes time constraints a bit more of an issue.

Oldies!

Homicidal (1961) - Solid Hitchcock-lite classic era chiller; a bit exploitative at times, but a fun bit of genre cheese.

Scream of Fear / Taste of Fear (1961) - Decent attempt at a more classical psychological thriller, but the individual pieces of the puzzle make it pretty easy to see how everything will resolve itself, but the journey getting there is still mostly worthwhile.

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) - One of my Hammer blindspots getting filled out. Far from their best work, but I'd be lying if I said I got nothing out of this.

Basket Case (1982) - Ehh, sure. Despite the wacky premise and some enjoyably offbeat moments, I found this mostly underwhelming.

Julie & Julia (2009) - Cute and watchable, but incredibly generic and unspectacular on just about every front, apart from the performances by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams - but even those two have both been much better in plenty of other works.

New release roundup:

Creed 2 - Surprised I haven't seen more discussion or attention surrounding this one, considering I thought it was just as effective and moving as the previous one. I guess Rocky's return to the big screen isn't as big of a deal now, but I honestly found this sequel to a belated franchise reboot to be more earnest and memorable than a decent chunk of the more "prestige" awards fare that I've seen so far this Fall/Winter.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Some great performances and a generally well communicated tone of loneliness and melancholia help elevate this otherwise fairly predictable 'crime and punishment' morality tale. I'm glad Richard E Grant seems to be getting a fair amount of accolades, but I wish Melissa McCarthy was more of a serious threat for the leading actress category.

Suspiria - Well, there certainly is a lot of movie in this one movie. The best thing I can say about it is that it succeeds completely on its own merits without any association to the original, since the main storyline is more or less altered entirely apart from the central premise and setup. This isn't exactly something I'd tell non horror fans to rush out and see but as a big horror fan myself, I found lots to appreciate herein, and while it certainly goes on for too long, the individual pieces are intriguing enough on their own so I was never really bored at any point. I'd compare this to another big remake recently - Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong. Overstuffed and indulgent, but made with lots of care and respect for the original, and filled with enough brand new elements as to (barely) justify its having been made at all.

The Grinch - Got roped into seeing this with a bunch of coworkers and it was actually... tolerable, but that's as far as I'll go. The animation is polished and lively, but the whole tone and sense of humor feels extremely safe and watered down, especially when compared to the 2000 live action film - which I'm certainly no fan of. But while at least that film had a sort of mean-spirited edge to it, at least for something aimed at kids, this Grinch isn't menacing one bit and comes across as more of a conventionally anti-social jerk. And why even bother getting Benedict Cumberbatch to do the voice if you're going to make him sound like a character from The Big Bang Theory and less like one of the most memorable antagonists in literary history? Ehh, considering I went in expecting the absolute worst, I should be thankful that it managed to be watchable at all.

Everybody Knows - Another reliably effective and surprising thriller from the brilliant Asghar Farhadi. Sure, some of his tricks might be getting a bit old at this point, but the change in locales (the film takes place in the Spanish countryside rather than his native Iran) and two outstanding central performances by Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz help this one stand out from the pack, at least to a certain degree.

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#25

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » December 19th, 2018, 3:28 am

sol wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 5:09 am
viktor:

Seen none (and actually only heard of one...).

lynchs:

No, I haven't seen Presents, but I am definitely interesting in seeing more from Michael Snow now. *Corpus Callosum was amazing. Wavelength and Back and Forth are both on my radar as readily available Snow films to check out later this month.

peeps:

Upside Down was a borderline 'dislike' film for me at first; I'm not a big fan of films that require lengthy narrated introductions just to establish the world that they exist in. And that line about love conquering gravity was so corny! I absolutely dug the production design of the film though and the idea of two worlds existing in which one's floor is the other's roof. Ideally, this angle would have been fleshed out more with less pseudoscientific babble about opposing gravitational fields and whatnot. But then again, I probably mostly watched the film for Jim Sturgess, whose performance in Heartless is one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid.

Nice to see the positive score for Exotica. I generally hate Maddin, so I have avoided Brand Upon the Brain despite the amazing title. The Dark and Grave Encounters are both among my potential Canadian films to see this month, but that list has grown and grown over the past few days, so it's unlikely I will get through everything, and maybe I'll low prioritise those two if they aren't much good.

m-d-f:

I'm a big fan of the original trilogy and liked Ocean's Eight quite a bit too. Yes, the chemistry/bonding is not quite the same and the film also recycles/heavily references a lot of the first film, but ah, it worked okay for me overall as a heist comedy in its own right. I can't wait for Ocean's Nine and the inevitable Ocean's Ten in which the two siblings reunite.

Bug was a movie that I wanted to like a lot more. Great performances, of course, but that X Files episode did it better.
It is funny that you mention X-Files, Sol. Michael Shannon's character really reminded me of Duane Barry (season 2,ep 5) who believes that his teeth has tracking devices etc. With Ocean's 8,I found scenes (mostly in the first half) such as the gang chatting in Subway etc to be an in ya face product placement, which took some of the shine off that 11 had.

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#26

Post by GruesomeTwosome » December 19th, 2018, 7:35 pm

Have the pending holidays stalled participation a bit in the weekly thread, this time around?


The movie lives of others:

PdA:
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - 7/10


Onderhond:
Searching (2018) - 5/10. I saw this at the cinema in September, here's what I wrote about it then:

This film follows the Unfriended style of having every scene viewed through a screen of some kind (computer, smartphone, characters' video cameras, etc.), but applied to a missing-girl mystery thriller rather than a supernatural horror film. A widower played by John Cho (very good here, amidst much lesser acting elsewhere in the film) realizes he doesn't know his daughter nearly as well as he thinks, once she goes missing and he comes upon all of her social media accounts and online videos that paint a much different picture of the 16-year-old than the idealized, innocent image he had conjured for himself. At the end of the day, this was a pretty unremarkable, twist-filled whodunit, full of red herrings as you might expect, as Cho and a female detective try to find out what happened to the girl. I found some of the storytelling devices here to be on the manipulative and contrived side, and as mentioned, the acting outside of Cho left much to be desired. Only the computer/phone screen tech gimmick separates this from being much more than a Lifetime movie thriller. I do quite like that computer/phone screen perspective, but Unfriended (the first film, haven't seen the sequel) used the technique to much better effect.

Demolition (2015) - 5/10

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) - saw it ages ago, about zero memory of it, surely not my kinda thing.


joachimt:
The Iron Giant (1999) - 8/10


Carmel:
Melancholia (2011) - 8.5/10. Looking forward to House That LVT Built.


morrison-dylan-fan:
Bug (2006) - 7/10


Good_Will_Harding:
Suspiria (2018) - 6.5/10. Liked it well enough overall but probably not as much as you it seems. Preferred it slightly to Argento's film, though. This is what I wrote about Guadagnino's film last month:

Guadagnino's take on this story makes some notable changes and is a lot longer (mostly fine with me though maybe it could have been edited down a bit), and the color scheme is a lot more muted but I think this mostly works in its favor. I was much more creeped out by this one versus Argento's film, and there's some sweet body horror going on in this, and a rather bonkers finale, which I'm still making my mind up about, whether it worked or not. A little less time with the Klemperer character and more time at the dance academy would have been better I think.
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#27

Post by Onderhond » December 19th, 2018, 10:09 pm

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
December 19th, 2018, 7:35 pm
Onderhond:
Searching (2018) - 5/10. I saw this at the cinema in September, here's what I wrote about it then:
Yeah, saw A Simple Favor this week and it suffered from the same problems. If it's too obvious that twists are coming, I lose interest in the film pretty quickly. I don't find much fun in pre-guessing the ending, especially when I know I simply have to wait for another half hour to get the correct answer served on a platter.

As for the style in Searching, it felt a bit forced (things like Cho leaving the camera running after calls for no reason whatsoever - apart from getting him onscreen for the viewer of course). It was the same problem those found footage horrors faced, when you got the feeling that certain explanations or actions were added simply to get the correct footage to the audience, the spell was broken.


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#29

Post by Carmel1379 » December 24th, 2018, 12:05 am

Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 11:47 pm
Carmel1379 wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm
"Mr. Sophistication"
https://www.youtube.com/embed/akGvicP6j ... 8&end=5959
Image

Nice synchronicity. Might it be a direct reference (I have no knowledge of 'The Killing of a Chinese Bookie')?

I saw the name as simultaneously a sort-of jab at both fans and critics branding von Trier's work as "arthouse" or "pretentious" or whatever, and an ironic take on ones own artistic activity/impulses offering some pride. "'Mr. Sophistication' - Of course, your narcissism knows no bounds".
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whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
Close the world. ʇxǝu ǝɥʇ uǝdO.
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#30

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 28th, 2018, 4:40 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 12:05 am
Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 11:47 pm
Carmel1379 wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 12:37 pm
"Mr. Sophistication"
https://www.youtube.com/embed/akGvicP6j ... 8&end=5959
Image

Nice synchronicity. Might it be a direct reference (I have no knowledge of 'The Killing of a Chinese Bookie')?

I saw the name as simultaneously a sort-of jab at both fans and critics branding von Trier's work as "arthouse" or "pretentious" or whatever, and an ironic take on ones own artistic activity/impulses offering some pride. "'Mr. Sophistication' - Of course, your narcissism knows no bounds".
Maybe, maybe not. I haven't heard him say anything about Cassavetes before, but it wouldn't be far off to assume that von Trier has some appreciation for him (nor that this particular Cassavetes film might very well be his favorite), with filmmaking that on the surface often is rough, much of their films shot in close-ups on faces, and more concerned about capturing genuine-feeling emotions from the performers than about smooth transitions and pretty camerawork (only true for "Dogme 95"-and-onward von Trier, obviously). But "'Mr. Sophistication'" of course is generic enough of a name that it could originate from somewhere else or not refer to any other work at all. At any case, as you said it implies more things than a mere movie reference, it further strengthening the thematic connection between the artist and the murder.
"Chinese Bookie" obviously is also about a killer, albeit a much more involuntary one, hence why I paired those two films together, other than that there aren't too strong parallels between the two.

While we are on the subject of film connections, Onderhond's screenshot just struck me...
Image
A coffee table in the shape of a Yin Yang, how clever. Most importantly one crafted by the simple, honest, hard-working indigenous people of... wherever. I still need one of those, then I'm complete
.
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