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Which films Did You See Last Week? 16/12/18 - 22/12/18

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sol
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Which films Did You See Last Week? 16/12/18 - 22/12/18

#1

Post by sol » December 23rd, 2018, 12:01 pm

Advanced notice: I will probably not be around at 12pm GMT on Sunday next week (the time when I usually start the weekly thread). I will therefore either start the thread earlier or later (hard to say which at this stage). For a rough time frame, expect next week's thread to be posted any time between 4:00am GMT and 4:00pm GMT on Sunday December 30. I will return to posting the thread at the usual time in the new year.

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

Going Up:

35 Up (1991). Seven years after 28 Up, the participants are again interviewed in this follow-up entry that is unfortunately less dynamic than its predecessor. The men and women have changed less between ages 28 and 35 than between ages 21 and 28 and most of them seem relatively settled this time round, and certainly not as annoyed by the camera as they once were. As usual, the documentary's highlights come from when its subjects talk about being in the film series, with one wife even commenting that "the show makes you analyse things more". Michael Apted also wisely saves Neil -- the most interesting subject from the previous installment -- for last. As Neil talks about the difficulties of accepting reality and admits to the fact that he might well be going mad, the inclusion of footage of him from prior entries resonates more than ever. (first viewing, online) ★★★

42 Up (1998). Less engaging than the previous two installments, this sixth Up film runs longer than all previous entries while including less ruminations about the filmmaking process and the effect that being filmed has had on their lives. There is also much more focus on what the spouses of those involved have to say. Symon does draw an acute distinction between movies versus reality in terms of how his life has panned out, and Michael Apted nicely allows each participant to respond to what it is like being filmed in final six minutes - "we're linked and we can never let that go" - but it is never a consistent running theme as it is was in 28 Up. The participants are also even calmer and more content (generally speaking) than they were in the prior entry. On one hand, it is nice to see and know this; on the other hand, it leaves the film lacking in drama. (first viewing, online) ★★

49 Up (2005). More interesting than the previous entry, 49 Up sees some of its subjects reassessing life as they become grandparents. Several also become more frank and honest with Michael Apted and their feelings about the invasive filming process. One laughs but states quite seriously that "by the end of it, I usually hate you" after watching each finished film and another says that participating is "not an experience I have enjoyed in any way". Most memorable of all though is one lady who gets noticeably angry at Apted, proclaiming "you will edit this program as you see fit" and telling him that he should make his documentaries about "us, rather than your perception of us". Apted never quite dwells on this issue though, and as per 42 Up, this is incredibly long with spouse interviews bloating things up, but it is still a highly engaging experience. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

56 Up (2012). Now 56, the participants are interviewed again in this British documentary. Interesting bits and pieces include Peter confessing that he pulled out the series for several years because he could not take the media attention, the three girls joking about which one of them actually wanted to work at Woolworths and Neil stating that he wants to finally "set the record straight" in this entry. The film is unfortunately a bit of a mixed bag in between these highlights; most of the participants have barely changed since the previous entry and all the archive footage included leads to relatively limited new footage. Suzy's comment "I have a loyalty to [appearing in the series] even though I hate it" certainly resonates to a degree, especially as she compares the series to a bad book that she feels compelled to finish. Not uninteresting stuff, but not amazing either. (first viewing, online) ★★

Non-Up viewings:

<---> (1969). Sometimes known as Back and Forth, the camera in this experimental Michael Snow movie rocks to and fro in an empty classroom for 45+ minutes. Such a summary might make <---> sound repetitive, but it is really the opposite, or at least after the first eleven minutes. The false sense of security that Snow establishes by the exact same thing happening for 11 minutes with only whirring sounds makes the rest of the film full of surprises. People random start popping up as the camera sways, the speed and direction of the swaying changes and then we start to see things outside the windows (or do we?). While nowhere near as ambitious and innovative as Snow's latter *Corpus Callosum, this earlier effort is just as hypnotic in its own right, leaving plenty to ponder in terms of the relationship between cameras and their film environments. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Deranged (1974). Heavily influenced by Ed Gein's crimes, this fictional movie focuses on a lonely farmer who, traumatised by his mother's death, starts to rob graves and target women for their skin. Roberts Blossom is excellent as the deranged killer, eerily calm and quiet even when at his most maniacal, and there is a great shot that circles around a room before it is finally revealed that a voice that he is hearing is coming from his own mouth. This is one of those movies though where the set-up is much more interesting than the results. It is an incredibly slow-paced affair with several minutes lapsing in each case between him meeting and then offing his victims. The comic relief and Leslie Carlson's intrusive news reporter narrator do not help matters either. This is only really worth a look if Roberts Blossom acting eccentric for over 80 minutes sound appealing. (first viewing, online) ★

Death Weekend (1976). Thugs terrorise a man and a woman who ran them off the road this Canadian horror film with more to it than meets the eye. Chuck Shamata's male victim is actually a sleazy and shady character in his own right, having lured the young woman to his isolated country manor under false pretences, and the thugs metaphorically make him pay for both his deception and decadent, affluent lifestyle. As they break objects and smash his furniture, they are quick to mock the fact that he values these things more than his lady companion. All that said and done, the film's final third is the least effective as the thugs go wild and the woman is forced to defend herself; these sequences are far less scary than the mind games and implied threats from the gang. Brenda Vaccaro is very effective throughout though as the increasingly vexed female lead. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Plague (1979). Scientists try to find an antidote to a deadly bacteria they created while a woman who escaped quarantine spreads the infection in this Canadian thriller that sits halfway between The Andromeda Strain and Contagion. It is a dark and brutal movie that does not shy away from showing kids dying from the infection and there are some gut-wrenching scenes of panicked citizens gunned down as they attempt to flee quarantine. The film also sits halfway between conspiracy (the scientists trying to cover things up) and alarmism though and never quite seems sure what it is about. A disclaimer at the beginning even announces that scientific research is important, so this is hardly a cautionary tale. Whatever the case, this is engaging while it lasts with an atmospheric music score and Kate Reid delivering well as the calmest and most rational scientist. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Trapped (1982). Camping in the American South where they witness a murder, four Canadian philosophy students are tormented by the hillbillies responsible for the crime in this unpleasant but compelling thriller. Of particular interest are the rules and ethics by which the hillbilly community abides, seeing themselves as separate from the law of the land with a god-given right to exercise their own justice (their victim was an adulterer). This is thoughtfully contrasted against the youthful whims of the college students who get a real education in the way the world works outside of the classroom. The film drives this contrast home a little hard near the end and none of the students are well developed, leaving the hillbillies as the most fascinating characters here. Whatever the case, Henry Silva gets a memorable sendoff and the on-location photography is great. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Brain (1988). Afflicted by violent video hallucinations after exposure to a damaging television signal, a teenager has trouble convincing others that he is sane while trying to stop those behind his brain damage in this nifty Canadian horror flick, very obviously modeled on Videodrome. The film also features a brain monster and a mad scientist who may be an alien, and these elements are so grossly under-developed that the film's mixed reputation as something frivolous and silly is understandable. The whole hallucination angle is terrific though, as well as the notion of brainwashing via television, and all of the hallucination scenes are superbly crafted, with a bleeding eyes teddy bear sequence a particular highlight. There is also a very cool Scanners style evil institute with fluorescent lights on the ground... and way too much sodium in its basement. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Paris Is Burning (1990). Facing all sorts of prejudices on a daily basis, Hispanic and African American drag queens are interviewed in this candid documentary. Thematically, the film lacks focus as it jumps between issues as broad as racism, sex change operations, drag queen fashion, materialism and "voguing" dance routines, but everyone interviewed is quite interesting, especially as their opinions diverge on topics such changing gender and buying versus making outfits. The one constant is the big dreams and aspirations that all concerned have, and in a way the film celebrates human spirit triumphing even when not accepted by society. If there is one significant detractor here - aside from the lack of focus - it is the flippant way a revelation towards the end is handled, though that possibly says more about the world the drag queens live in than anything else. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Adoration (2008). An orphaned high school student causes controversy by confessing that his father was a terrorist who almost blew up an Israeli plane, but then questions arise as to the truth of his tale in this intriguing movie from Atom Egoyan. As per norm, Egoyan tells his tale out of chronological order. This sometimes results in the film being confusing, but structure mostly enhances the film's memories and subjective reality themes. As another character states, "as soon as we imagine it, it becomes something we have to deal with" and Arsinée Khanjian is excellent as the boy's teacher who does not realise the consequences of letting him tell the story in class. Not all of the twists and turns with her character really add to the plot and the whole project feels bloated as it dips into melodrama towards the end, but this is generally though-provoking stuff. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Chloe (2009). Hiring a high class escort to seduce her husband and test his fidelity has unforeseen consequences for a jealous gynecologist in this searing drama starring Julianne Moore. Directed by Atom Egoyan, this is one of his few films to play out entirely in chronological order with Egoyan successfully drumming up the tension as the hooker's recollections become more detailed and descriptive over time. This is one of those films without any likeable characters though, and as such, the project only really takes off when it enters thriller mode in the final half-hour. Even so, the conclusion is not exactly satisfying, though some of the character revelations in this final stretch of the film certainly resonate, and (as per the promotional tagline) Egoyan manages to spin a reasonably compelling tale of the dangers of playing around with human desire. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

Weekend (2011). Not Jean-Luc Godard's comedy of the same name, this independent British drama focuses on two gay men whose one night stand turns into something more. Part of what makes the characters so interesting is that the pair are at different stages of coming out; one is totally out of the closet, while the other has only told a few close friends and relatives. As the pair converse, they discuss issues such as having to conform (tone down their sexuality) when with straight friends, and yet their most interesting discussions transcend sexuality, such one of them who fears being cemented into what his friends expect of him. And yet, while nicely photographed with choice out-of-focus foregrounds and so on, this is certainly a film with more talk than action or character growth/change. It is a film that you need to be in the right mood to experience. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

War Witch (2012). Pregnant at 14, an African girl tells her unborn baby her experiences as a recruited child soldier in this Canadian-funded production. The film deals with a relatively interesting subject, but also leaves quite a bit to be desired. There is never any real sense of her being in danger or peril throughout since we know that she has survived to retrospectively narrate the events. The film also covers a lot of human indecency in war (violence, rape, pillage) without ever really showing much in the way of bloodshed or human suffering -- as if the filmmakers were aiming for a PG-13 rating. Then there is the fact that around a third of the film is dedicated to a weirdly comical search for a white rooster. Rachel Mwanza is at least excellent in the lead role, playing a character who very much changes, and the ghosts are a nice (if too fleeting) touch. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Turbo Kid (2015). Discovering an ancient turbocharged weapon, an orphaned teenager dresses like a superhero and sets out to stop the tyrant who has been oppressing his village in this energetic throwback to the post-apocalyptic movies of the 1980s. As per the directing team's latter Summer of 84, one of the film's best assets is its channeling of a 1980s vibe, from VHS cassettes used as wood fire, to a superb synth score to Mad Max style sets and costumes. Based on a 7-minute short film though, the material feels stretched thin at full feature length. There is lots of gore and violence with some very dark comical moments involving limbs sawn off, guts literally spilled and a bystander continuing to urinate after collapsing from fatal injuries. There is not much to carry the film in between the gags and guts though, so one's mileage may vary. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Being Canadian (2015). Frustrated by all the prejudice and stereotyping that he endured as a Canadian working in America, TV producer Rob Cohen goes on a trip across his home country to investigate Canuck identity in this humorous documentary. His voiceover narration is entertaining and the film gets off to a funny start, focusing on misconceptions about Canada in terms of its size, climate and population. Cohen's road trip itself though is uneven. Some events feel truncated, such as his visiting his school, and the conclusion that Cohen reaches at the end is hardly amazing. The film ends well though with zany alternative national anthems, and there is a great bit near the end where he visits a psychotherapist representing Canada as a whole, tying into the film's most intriguing issue - whether Canada does have an identity beyond comparisons to the United States. (first viewing, online) ★★★

13th (2016). Titled after the thirteenth amendment to the US Constitution, this documentary looks at a loophole in the amendment that removes human liberties if one has been convicted of a crime. The main focus here is the corporatisation of the US prison system with economic models that require a quota of prisoners, and their power to influence politicians to bring in harsher penalties for minor crimes to meet this demand. A side focus of the documentary is the way that African Americans have been stigmatised as potential criminals throughout the twentieth century to make it easier to lock them away, and the film does not always balance these two focuses well. If not a comprehensive movie about racism, this is nevertheless a thoroughly compelling look at the evolution of the US justice system that questions whether the USA is really "the land of the free". (first viewing, online) ★★★★

The Old Man & The Gun (2008). Inspired by the true story of an elderly bank robber whose success came from his non-aggressive and gentleman-like approach, this is a pleasant comedy about a criminal of a different kind. Not driven by desperation or greed but rather the "life is for living" motto, Robert Redford is thoroughly charming in the title role and Danny Glover and Tom Waits do well as his companions. The film is, however, equally about Casey Affleck, cast as the detective tracking Redford down, as it is about Redford, and as such the film never quite becomes the gripping study that it could have been with Redford totally in focus. There are enough nicely done parts though for the film to still click overall though. A high camera angle, long-distance silent segment as Sissy Spacek rejects Redford's shoplifting attempt is especially memorable. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★

REVISIONS

Rabid (1977). Although the plot does not quite add up (experimental skin graft results in an extra orifice on a separate part of the body, which soon becomes infectious), this early Cronenberg offering stands up well to repeat viewings. The carrier of the disease is highly human and empathetic here with her heartfelt claims that "it's not my fault", the sourced music is great and there is plenty of awesome grotesque imagery. The film also takes a swipe at human intimacy with the infection spread through hugging. (third viewing, DVD) ★★★

Scanners (1981). While the exploding heads, popping vein effects and brooding Howard Shore score are always what Scanners is destined to be remembered for, repeat viewings reveal increasing layers about humanity and what it is means to be human here. The art therapy subplot is great too (perhaps Cronenberg hinting about his own need to make films) and most surprising of all is how darkly comic the whole thing is; the "see, I told you - no fireworks" scene still cracks me up every time. (sixth viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

OthersShow
The Mask (1961). Not to be confused with Jim Carrey comedy, this black and white Canadian horror flick also involves an ancient mask that has extraordinary effects on whoever wears is - though in this case wearing the mask is the equivalent of having an LSD trip with bizarre imagery to match. The film was made for the 3D market and as such almost all energy here is expended on the trippy sequences, which are admittedly creative and unsettling with eyes popping out of skulls, flaming arms and so forth. In fact, these special effects laden sequences are superb. The rest of the film though is sadly little to write home about. The acting varies from adequate to poor while the overarching story is barely more than a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde variant, though a slightly less interesting one since we never see the lead actor transform or attempt to play two roles. (first viewing, online) ★

Phobia (1980). Using experimental techniques to treat debilitating phobias, a psychiatrist finds his funding cut as his patients start to turning up murdered in accordance with their fears in this Canadian horror film. Directed by the great John Huston, the film has gained some notoriety as the apparent nadir of his career, but it is not as bad as all that. The doctor's treatment process is actually pretty fascinating as he subjects his patients to wall-to-wall screens with video projections of their phobia. There is also an incredibly well done sequence in which an agoraphobic woman has a panic attack aboard a train. Unfortunately, the film is less interested in fleshing out his therapy processes or what it is like to live with a phobia, and far more interested in spinning a slow and formulaic whodunit (with a grossly unsatisfying solution to the mystery) and thus ends on a low note. (first viewing, online) ★

The Kiss (1988). Traumatised by her mother's death, a teenager is unable to convince anyone that there is something sinister about her long-lost aunt who mysteriously surfaced after the funeral in this Canadian horror film. An incredibly fake puppet tomcat aside, the film boasts some terrific special effects and an escalator death scene is downright grisly. The project is also very well shot with lots of voyeuristic swoops, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. There is never any ambiguity if the aunt is up to no good; in fact, the opening scene blatantly spells out her plans, leaving limited mystery. The ins and outs of the voodoo involved are also poorly fleshed out and the film ends with a poolside climax so over-the-top and ridiculous that it is never actually scary. As mentioned, this is an incredibly classy production though and the novelty deaths are imaginative. (first viewing, online) ★★

Grass (1999). Narrated by Woody Harrelson, this documentary meticulously assembles archive footage from across the twentieth century to depict the USA's changing attitude towards marijuana ever since it was first suggested that the drug should be outlawed. It is an interesting subject and some of the propaganda/scare clips from the 1920s and 1930s are hilarious, with claims that it will make you go insane and turn you into a murderer! A couple of animated sequences aside, the film is entirely archive footage though, which does not quite sit right. Without interviews or expert commentary or opinion, it eventually grows tiresome to listen to Harrelson tells us his beliefs on marijuana again and again. The opening and closing sequences here are great, and the war on drugs conspiracy angle is good, but this is far from the most convincing argument for legalising pot. (first viewing, online) ★★

Stupidity (2003). What is stupidity? This Canadian documentary attempts to answer this question and examine why stupidity seems more prevalent than ever in the globally connected 21st century. The film gets off to a solid start, examining the origins of the terms "idiot", "imbecile" and "moron" and the history of the IQ test, but subsequent to this, the project goes off on tangents, some of which are less interesting than others. In short, this is a rather slapdash and all over the place affair. At its weakest, the film tries to make the case for George W. Bush not only being stupid, but also someone elected specifically because the masses wanted someone stupid in charge. At its most intriguing, the 'Jackass' phenomenon comes under the hammer and the film points out the dangers of becoming passive consumers by "vegging out" in front of a television set. (first viewing, online) ★★

Earthlings (2005). Animal suffering is the subject of this documentary that takes a scathing look at how animals are abused by humans for food, clothing, sport and medical research. The title comes from the idea that humans and animals are equal with the same rights and needs. How much one agrees with this sentiment will likely shape one's reaction to the film, which explicitly parallels Nazi concentration camps to the way animals are treated, telling off humans for their "speciesism" (prejudice against other species). And "telling off" is accurate since the film is more angry than it ever is persuasive, with a lack of any solutions making it hard to accept the case against medical research etc. Joaquin Phoenix's voiceover narration is nicely poetic, but the film only builds a case for more heavily regulating certain areas, not stopping human use of animals altogether. (first viewing, online) ★★

2:22 (2008). Planning to rob the security deposit boxes at a fancy hotel by tying up and gagging the nightshift staff and wearing their uniforms, four criminals find themselves unprepared for the absurd demands of the night owl paying guests in this Canadian thriller. The film is very slow to warm up with over half an hour elapsing before they begin to impersonate the night staff, but the middle section of the project is pretty strong with lots of dark humour as their drilling of the safety deposit boxes is constantly put on hold to make BLT sandwiches, bring champagne bottles to guests, tend to noise complaints, deal with a suicidal guest and so forth. The final stretch of the film is, however, as weak as the first third and the film ends on an unspectacular note. The middle section is great though and it is a shame that the filmmakers did make more of it. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Altitude (2010). Five teenagers gradually question if something supernatural is behind their private plane's midair malfunctions in this Canadian mystery thriller. The film features some very obnoxious characters and not even the two protagonists are particularly likeable, but the filmmakers capture the tension and mounting paranoia from the teens during their flight excellently with some particularly intense moments as they open the hatch doors of the craft to fix the malfunction. The weather conditions are very well portrayed too and there are lots of mobile shots for something filmed in such a small space. The movie falls apart towards the end though with a twist that leaves more questions than answers, plus a baffling final fifteen minutes that wraps up things too neatly for comfort. For the most part though, this is engaging stuff if you can get past the odious characters. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

88 (2015). Katherine Isabelle plays an amnesic woman who slowly has to piece her past back together after her finding herself lost with a gun in her handbag in this Canadian thriller that been described as a "female version of Memento". That comparison certainly oversells the film a little bit; the plot here is needlessly convoluted with lots of snippets of flashes both back and forward, plus all the timeline manipulation subtracts from the suspense, as opposed to adding to it in the Nolan movie. This is, however, reasonably well done for what it is. Isabelle (best known for American Mary) convincingly plays two sides to her character well, Christopher Lloyd excels in a badass gangster role and there is much tension even in quieter scenes such as her early waltz through a convenience store. The conclusion works well too, though it is a messy ride getting there. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

88:88 (2015). Life is hard for a group of young pseudo-intellectuals with money problems in this experimental anti-narrative movie from Canada. There are some very striking images (in particular, a sequence shot through red filters) but the highs are few and far between here with a fragmented editing style rendering the project very hard to sit through. Not only is the film full of split second edits, there are lapses in which the audio deliberately cuts out. This happens in particular during the lengthy monologues, which makes it hard to follow what the characters are saying, and to a further degree, it makes director Isiah Medina's agenda with the film entirely elusive. All the 8s that seem to appear in the final few minutes is a pretty nifty touch, but this generally a dull and dreary affair that has the distinct feeling of being randomly thrown together at the last minute. (first viewing, online) ★
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 23rd, 2018, 12:01 pm

Steven Wright: Wicker Chairs and Gravity (Walter C. Miller & Dean Parisot, 1990) 8/10

Rage (Guy-Marc Hinant & Dominique Lohlé, 2017) 7-/10

My Buddha Is Punk (Andreas Hartmann, 2015) 6/10

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (John Hough, 1974) 5+/10

Too Late Blues (John Cassavetes, 1961) 5+/10

Елена / Elena (Андрей Звягинцев/Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011) 7+/10

Нелюбовь / Loveless (Андрей Звягинцев/Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017) 8/10

Soak the Rich (Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur, 1936) (2nd viewing) 8/10

Forbrydelsens element / The Element of Crime (Lars von Trier, 1984) (2nd viewing) 8/10 (from 7)
i must be dreaming #124


shorts

The End (Christopher Maclaine, 1953) 6/10

Eyewash (Robert Breer, 1959) 6+/10

Eyewash (alternate version) (Robert Breer, 1959) 6+/10

Odds & Ends (Jane Conger Belson Shimané, 1959) 3/10

Go! Go! Go! (Marie Menken, 1964) 2/10

Peyote Queen (Storm De Hirsch, 1965) 2/10

Note to Pati (Saul Levine, 1969) 4/10

The Riddle of Lumen (Stan Brakhage, 1972) 6/10

7362 (Pat O'Neill, 1967) 8-/10

Conscious (Julie Murray, 1993) 7/10

Deux fois le tour du monde / Twice Around the World (Jean-Claude Rousseau, 2006) 7-/10

That Which is About Us (Alexander Dupuis, 2014) 6/10

ZIB 2 (Johann Lurf, 2010) +++++++++++++++++/10

Aleph (with new John Zorn score) (Wallace Berman, 1966) (2nd viewing) 6+/10 (from 5)

Murphy's Irish Stout: Last Orders (Hiroyuki Kitakubo, 1997) (2nd+ viewing) 6+/10

Pulch: The Good Times (David Firth, 2006) (2nd viewing) 6+/10

Symphony in Slang (Tex Avery, 1951) (3rd+ viewing) 8/10

The Counterfeit Cat (Tex Avery, 1949) (2nd viewing) 7/10

Wags to Riches (Tex Avery, 1949) (2nd viewing) 5/10

The House of Tomorrow (Tex Avery, 1949) (2nd+ viewing) 7/10


RiffTrax & MST3k

Santa's Summer House (David DeCoteau, 2012) 1/10

The Little Unicorn (Paul Matthews, 2002) 1/10

Dinosaurs: The Age of the Terrible Lizard (Encyclopædia Britannica Films, 1970) 1/10

Nutrition: The All-American Meal (produced by Barr Films, 1976) 1/10

The Toymaker (produced by Film Dimensions Inc., 1952) 6/10


music videos

Lindemann ft. Haftbefehl: Mathematik (Zoran Bihac, 2018) (2 viewings) 7/10

Paul McCartney: Who Cares (Brantley Gutierrez & Ryan Heffington, 2018) ==


didn't finish

Roma (Alfonso Cuarón, 2018) [17 min]
Long Day's Journey Into Night (Sidney Lumet, 1962) [7 min]
Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (David Mamet, 1996) [6 min]
The Eye of Istanbul (2015) [3 min]
इदिओत (भाग 3) / (The) Idiot (Part 3) (मणि कौल / Mani Kaul, 1991) [30 min]


notable online media

top:
[http://redlipstickresurrected.tumblr.co ... ast-cronch]
Conan - Steven Wright [by Jefferson Powerr] [rewatch?]
Conan O'Brien 'Steven Wright 5/26/99 [rewatch?]
Slavoj Žižek & Philippe Petit - Act of Courage (Dec. 2018).
rest:
Matt Dillon on Lars von Trier and The House That Jack Built
Interview mit NS-Verbrecher: "Ich bereue nichts!" | Panorama | NDR
Swamp Van Puppy Chaos | Breadcast Highlights
Toronto Homeless Woman Trying to Kick Her Heroin Addiction
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on December 23rd, 2018, 12:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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mightysparks
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#3

Post by mightysparks » December 23rd, 2018, 12:08 pm

I was hoping to get back into challenges this month, but got bored of documentaries quickly and then got obsessed with Tropico 4. Then I started getting excited about rankings and awards again, so I am partly working on getting into the top 500/1000 of every list, as well as using the iCM enhanced 'upcoming awards' to complete stuff. I told myself I wasn't going to work on the IMDb lists ever again a few years ago... but now I am. But I'm only getting through a few more before calling it quits and moving onto other lists because they're pretty bad.

Kamera o tomeru na! (2017) 7/10

Ivan recommended this in the Last Movie Seen thread and it immediately got my interest. Though it changes gears, it is a really fun film that works well as a horror and a comedy.

Lilo & Stitch (2002) 7/10

I remember when this came out and I just dismissed as another stupid kid's movie and had zero interest in ever watching it. But it was surprisingly good. Pretty decent story and animation, and though the characters are annoying it's also part of their growth/journey within the film so it ultimately works. Also liked the use of atypical female bodies (strong, instead of waif).

Deddo ribusu (2004) 5/10

This was pretty hyper and had some nice energy but was pretty dull and annoying. Just not into this type of film

Moonlight (2016) 5/10

No wonder this won best pic since it was so mediocre. Typical Osbar-bait/Hollywood acting and just felt so desperate I couldn't get into it.

The Aviator (2004) 6/10

This was kind of similar but a little more entertaining and I liked the use of filters/colours/whatever fitting the eras. Was kind of overlong and unneccessary tho.

Song of the Sea (2014) 5/10

I liked the animation and the characters, but found the story and 'point' to be a little muddled and uninteresting.

Forty Guns (1957) 5/10

Just seemed like every other dull western tbh.

Tôkyô goddofâzâzu (2003) 5/10

I liked the way the subplots and backstories of the characters were weaved together, but I found it kind of irritating and didn't really care about anything that was happening.

The Guns of Navarone (1961) 5/10

Slightly better than I was expecting, but just another dull war pic.

The Mortal Storm (1940) 6/10

Man, this had some really good elements if only it had been a German film. It was just way too American to take seriously.

Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki (2012) 5/10

I didn't realise I had an English dub but couldn't be bothered finding another copy. But geez the dialogue and voice acting was trash. The dialogue actually hurt me. I was trying to imagine what it might've been like in Japanese but I can't imagine it being much better tbh. The story was ok, but the characters all pissed me off and the cringey dialogue had me eye rolling the whole film.
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#4

Post by sol » December 23rd, 2018, 1:29 pm

PdA:

Liked more than you:
- Long Day's Journey into Night - a bit of a slow burn, but eventually quite intense

Liked about the same:
- n/a

Liked less than you:
- The Element of Crime - did like the visual look of the film though

Would like to see:
- Too Late Blues - will see for the Rosenbaum Challenge next month

mighty:

Liked more than you:
- Dead Leaves - my sort of insane, wacky comedy (and at least it's not too long)
- Moonlight - absolutely loved the style/mood of the film, it really worked for me
- The Guns of Navarone - seen this a few times; the director's commentary is really fascinating at least
- Wolf Children - aww, I thought it was adorable how she'd transform so suddenly; I liked the life choices angle too; can't remember off-hand if I saw it dubbed or not

Liked about the same:
- The Aviator - probably liked this slightly more than you, but I was underwhelmed when I sort it theatrically (Alan Alda was really fun though)
- Song of the Sea - didn't quite work for me either, though I likewise probably liked it more than you
- Forty Guns - not nearly Fuller's best, though very well shot (I'd recommend I Shot Jesse James instead)

Liked less than you:
- n/a

Would like to see:
- Tokyo Godfathers - not that I'm big into anime or anything
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#5

Post by peeptoad » December 23rd, 2018, 3:03 pm

Haven't seen any of the Up films, but have seen these of yours, sol-

Deranged (1974) 7
Death Weekend (1976) 7 we already discussed in the challenge thread
Plague (1979) 6 (see below)
Trapped (1982) 7
The Brain (1988) 5
Turbo Kid (2015) 5 it was just average overall imo, but some of the visuals and music were cool as I recall
Rabid (1977) 7 prefer Shivers of Cronenberg's earlier horrors
Scanners (1981) 8


mine-
Atanarjuat (2001) 8 my top Canadian FTV so far, slightly over Exotica
Iguana (1988) 6 eh, it was decent... trying to eventually finish Hellman's filmography
Black Christmas (1974) 9*
36.15 code Père Noël (1989) Dial Code Santa Claus 8 this one was great and probably my top view this month unless something usurps it later in the week, and I watched it with no subtitles. Can't wait to see a subbed version because I'll like it even more
Plague (1979) 6
you were right, I liked this slightly more than The Brain... I was amused by the lack of consistency regarding realism here: the film seemed to have a decent enough realistic/grim tone, but the actions of the characters don't strengthen this at all. e.g.-
SpoilerShow
the woman towards the beginning is working with the bacterium (which they know at that point is dangerous) with no gloves, mask, eye protection or biosecurity precautions of any kind. The woman's body (surprise! she died as a result of exposure!) was transported out of the facility by guys clad in Tyvek, goggles, etc. setting a pretty stark and realistic tone, but then later on people are working in the lab, again with no protective equipment)

*rewatch

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#6

Post by joachimt » December 23rd, 2018, 8:32 pm

Got the feeling that I'm going to hurt some people with my ratings. I watched some movies from the forum's favorites list that really bored me. Not all luckily.
Europa AKA Zentropa (8/10)
Gorgeously looking with great atmosphere. Really enjoyed this although I'm sure the story won't stick with me.
Lady Bird (8/10)
I liked how the lead character developed without overdoing it. Actress did really well.
Cloaca (7/10)
Il pianeta azzurro (7/10)
Lebenszeichen AKA Signs of Life (6/10)
The Nile Hilton Incident (6/10)
Aruitemo aruitemo AKA Still Walking (5/10)
Boring.
Conte d'été AKA A Summer's Tale (5/10)
Boring as well. What do you guys see in this? It's a love story between one guy and three girls during summer and none of the characters is interesting.
Finding Dory (5/10)
Fun for kids. My daughter said I should watch it.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (5/10)
You have to searched really hard to find originality in here. Still fun though, although I might have better watched parts 1 and 2 first.
Pacific Rim: Uprising (4/10)
So much nonsense! First part was fun, but this was too ridiculous. I tried really hard to turn off my brain, but it's just impossible to ignore the stupidity.

And some shorts:
J'attendrai le suivant... AKA I'll Wait for the Next One... (6/10)
Doesn't feel like a short movie, but it feels more like a sketch from a tv-show full of sketches and this is one of them. It's effective considering the runtime, but it's not very special.
The Exquisite Corpus (6/10)
A lot of intense images. Don't know what the point is and it could have done without the graphic sex.
Hair Piece: A Film for Nappyheaded People (5/10)
Some childish animation at the beginning. Rest is not very interesting as well.
Something Good - Negro Kiss (5/10)
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#7

Post by joachimt » December 23rd, 2018, 8:40 pm

@sol:
Of yours I've only seen <---> and Scanners.
I admire that you are able to write several lines about a movie that is a cameramovement back and forth for 45 minutes. :lol: Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed it and rated it 7/10. I'm not really into experimental stuff, but Michael Snow is a bit of an exception. I think he made some very interesting stuff.
I didn't enjoy Scanners. 5/10
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#8

Post by joachimt » December 23rd, 2018, 8:42 pm

Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 12:01 pm
Нелюбовь / Loveless (Андрей Звягинцев/Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2017) 8/10
I wrote something about this a few weeks back. My main problem with it is that it had too much unnecessary stuff about the two individual parents' lives that really didn't add enough to the story.
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#9

Post by Carmel1379 » December 23rd, 2018, 10:20 pm

sol:

<---> is awesome. Liked 88:88 alright as well., Little memory of the two Cronenberg movies.


PdA:

I might squeeze 'Rage' into the rest of my this year's viewings. I did even listen to a lot of (acid) techno last week. As well as drum & bass. You didn't fancy the music video for that one track?


mightysparks:

One Cut of the Dead - Sometime.
Dead Leaves - 7++/10
Moonlight - 5/10
The Aviator - 6 or 7/10
Song of the Sea - 5/10
Tokyo Godfathers - 5/10


Carmel:

Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 (2017, Justin MacGregor) 4/10

Passion (1990, Jürgen Reble) 8/10

Somniloquies (2017, Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel) 6/10
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Cría cuervos (1976, Carlos Saura) 7/10
It’s almost odd and refreshing to see children that aren’t glued to phones, tablets, or portable vg consoles. The occasional commentary by the older adult (perhaps even placed solely to give more screentime/importance to the Chaplin daughter) I found rather misplaced, while a few other parts barely did anything for me, but otherwise this is quite the Spanish ‘Fanny and Alexander’. Also, I’d take a bullet for little badass Ana Torrent. <3

tokyo.sora / tokyo.skies (2002, Hiroshi Ishikawa) 3/10
Indulgent aphasic alienation-fest with under-saturated anemic colours, puny humans trapped in languishing paltry subjectivities, brief shots of the eponymous skies, and occasionally overplayed woefully mawkish music.

Lindemann - Mathematik ft. Haftbefehl (2018, Zoran Bihac) (music video)

Current Value - That Smile (2018, Dan Frantz & Andy Koeger) (music video) ++



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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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#10

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » December 24th, 2018, 2:01 am

Hi all,I hope everyone has a merry Christmas, and this week I've done notes on:

TV X-Mas trio:

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Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) 10

Made as they were starting to plan the 4th (and final) series, the script by Ben Elton & Richard Curtis shows the duo working like a well-oiled machine,from the opening send- up of the tradition Dickensian Christmas setting, to the hilarious episodic ghostly visions of X-Mas from the past and the future. Merrily skipping over the wholesomeness which clogs up a number of Christmas specials, the writers cleverly give a moral sting in their loose take on A Christmas Carol, as Blackadder decides to no longer be a pushover, only to discover that he has slammed the door on the chance for some Christmas cheer. Reunited with outstanding regular co-stars Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, a proto-Hagrid Robbie Coltrane, future Oscar winner Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie doing his future "House" US accent, Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson give fantastic performances, with Robinson hitting Baldricks mix of dim and disappointment over the lack of any Christmas presents, and Rowan Atkinson joyfully tearing up his initial morals, in Blackadder's reading of A Christmas Carol.

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MWC: It's a Bundyful Life Part 1/ 2 (1989) 9/10

Going against the sickly sweet (false) moral high ground that The Cosby Show had taken, the script by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt unwraps a hilarious trailer-trash, Redneck X-Mas of the Bundy family being utterly crass in to the point dialogue, over the only meaning they have of Christmas is shaking presents out of Al. Wisely avoiding avert moralising, the writers do very well at finding spaces for Al to display (some) level of awareness over how his family are solely focused on consuming presents. Backed by the unique studio audience, director Gerry Cohen stages lively background gags such as Al getting into a fight with Santa's. Getting into the groove of the series, the ensemble cast give very funny performances, with Ed O'Neill having Al Bundy find out that the holiday season is not a Bundyful life.

Originally chosen by the creators to be Al,Sam Kinison gives a tantalising "what if" performance as Al's angel, with Kinison brashly telling Al how much of a dump his life has been, and smoothly hitting the sarcastic exchanges with Ed O'Neill. Continuing to mock the traditional feel-good TV X-Mas special, the script by Michael G. Moye and Ron Leavitt hilariously turns the It's a Wonderful Life outline inside out, with the only "lesson" offered being Al wanting to live in order to make everyone else's lives miserable. Going into a Bizarro World of the family without Al, director Gerry Cohen gives the rest of the family a very funny prim and proper appearance, as they all discover that it's a Bundyful life.

Family movie duo:

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Goosebumps 2 (2018) 7

Whilst ending with a delightful 30 minute mad-dash "greatest hits" final similar to the first film, the screenplay by the returning Rob Lieber and Darren Lemke displays a more focused approach here,with the choice to have the film be largely based around one monster (Slappy) allowing for the friendship between Sarah, Sonny and Sam to be given space. Taking over from Lieber directing the first movie, director Ari Sandel & cinematographer Barry Peterson do really well at giving this family-friendly Horror a creepy atmosphere, thanks to the stop-start puppet motions of Slappy. Bringing R. L. Stine's most famous monsters for the final, Sandel gives them a brightly animated look, which gives all the the creatures a lively vibe as they haunt the town. Facing off against Mick Wingert giving a wonderfully sinister voice to Slappy, Jeremy Ray Taylor,Madison Iseman and Caleel Harris each give very good turns as Sarah, Sonny and Sam, due them balancing the friendships between the frightful and the brave,as they fight to shake off the goosebumps.

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Igor (2008) 8

Displaying a confidence in his writing debut (with additional material from John Hoffman/Dimitri Toscas and director Tony Leondis) of playing around with genre staples which would work wonders with Jumanji 2 and in the MCU, the screenplay by Chris McKenna moves pass the big-name monsters in order to follow the daily grind of the lab assistants and evil henchmen such as Igor, who have dreams of becoming mad scientists themselves, but always get stuck following the demands of their masters. Dipping into off-beat Horror Comedy with a talking brain and a suicidal immortal rabbit, McKenna gives the movie dollops of heart via Igor's Frankenstin's Monster-style creation Eva learning that she does not have to sit in the pigeon-hole others attempt to place Eva in.

Brimming with enthusiasm in the detailed audio commentary with McKenna and producer Max Howard, Director Tony Leondis shows a real promise here, which has sadly not continued (his next project was 2017's The Emoji Movie.) Looking back to the Gothic Horror films of the 1930's, Leondis gives his monsters an excellent grotesque appearance, with the smoothly-handled CGI animation not taking the rough edges off the put together with odds and ends, fading into a metallic grey, character designs. Joined by a dead-pan Steve Buscemi as Scamper and an adorable Molly Shannon as Eva, John Cusack gives a great worn-down turn, as loyal henchman Igor.

Others:

Note:some of the psychos/baddies in the film are KKK and White Nationalists, IMDb would not post my notes, until I removed mention of KKK and WN.

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First Purge (2018) 5


Stepping away from directing but continuing to script the franchise, the screenplay by James DeMonaco trims a majority of the thinly-veiled allegories of the first 3,to make this the most politically open of the series, via the Purgers being Neo-Nazis and the people trying to survive the night being Latino and African-Americans from the poverty-ridden "Hood." Aiming to make a statement on the state of the nation, the need to link it to the series makes the Horror elements stick out of place to the unfolding drama. Going for a scatter-shot of the first Purge night, the flick loses the "survive the night" group dynamic which holds the 2nd and 3rd film together, and instead goes for plodding 90's Gangsta Rap stereotypes, (without even a G-Funk score) and muddled nods to the Crips and the Bloods, which leaves the characters looking flat. Staging the first Purge, director Gerard McMurray & cinematographer Anastas N. Michos oddly have the machinery be more advanced than shown in the later films, (and an unexplained gap in no social media) which gives the action some crunch, but due to the toning down of horror elements, leads to little in a threatening mood being created, as the first purge is unleashed.

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#11

Post by sol » December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am

peeps:

Yeah, the storyline of Turbo Kid is pretty average but I absolutely love movies that channel the 1980s and this one did it incredibly well. I'm not really a big fan of Mad Max 2 or the derivative copycat post-apocalyptic films that followed, but Turbo Kid was a more tongue-in-cheek approach. And yeah, the visuals and music were awesome, though on the same account, I think I slightly preferred Summer of 84 from the directing collective.

Deranged is a film that I wanted to like more. Roberts Blossoms is amazing it. I think my expectations were tainted by all the DVD covers and promotional posters that I had seen over the years. The woman hung up like a piece of meat only occurs in the final stretch of the film.

I'm with you on preferring Shivers to Rabid. The former has a more pronounced morbid sense of humour and the high rise apartment complex is such a great setting. Rabid is, however, a film that I have come to like more with repeat viewings (the first time I saw it, it was a 'dislike').

Dial Code Santa Claus looks like my type of Yuletide film. :D Does the boy believe that the intruder is actually Santa? Just wondering because the whole thing sounds pretty close to Jeff Liebman's masterful Satan's Little Helper.

Yeah, one of the reviews of Plague that I came across afterwards (on Letterboxd, or maybe it was Richard Scheib), mentioned the realism things that bugged you. Personally speaking, I did not even think about it at the time, but yeah, on rewatch those things might indeed play on my mind with Plague, which otherwise struck me as a very nifty Contagion before Contagion.

joachimt:

Experimental cinema is usually not my cup of tea either, but yeah, Back and Forth was a film that was easy for me to write several lines about, and I could write several more if I wanted to. There is remarkable tension from the fact that everything is rocking camera movement that takes us to two entirely different sections of the room. Things appear without any guarantee that they will still be there when the camera turns, and gee, that shot of the policeman staring in the window really left me wondering how long he was going to stand there, just what he was going to do and so on. Really cool stuff.

Oh, and for what it's worth, Scanners was only a 6/10 for me the first time that I saw it. It has grown on me a lot with repeat viewings, though I would probably only recommend revisiting it if you find yourself falling in love with Cronenberg's body horror oeuvre.

Totally agree on the visuals in Zentropa. Trier is capable of some really amazing imagery when he is not doing the whole Dogme thing. Lady Bird was pretty decent and Laurie Metcalf was great, but I remember feeling afterwards that The Edge of Seventeen had done the whole teen angst/uncertainty thing better one year earlier. Seen nothing else of yours.

Carmel:

Yay, more love for Back and Forth. I can't wait to see Wavelength later this week. I can't remember off-hand if you said you had seen *Corpus Callosum or not, but it's like Back and Forth, only ten times as complex and challenging.

Okay, I totally get that a 7 is a high score for you, but ouch. Cria. That film. It is one of only two films in my all-time top 50 that I have only ever seen the one time because I have been worried/scared to revisit, totally unsure of how it would stack up to repeat viewing, especially if watched in a different state. What I can say is that viewed in the wee hours of the morning in a sleep-deprived state when I couldn't get to sleep, it was the most amazing thing ever. Trying to remember back (we're probably talking 12 years here), I really liked the Geraldine Chaplin vignettes as they solidified the idea that the film was a series of memories, stream of consciousness-style in which her dreams and fantasies as a child have managed to blur in with her recollections of what actually occurred. That point-of-view flying shot was amazing. And I recall some surprising subtle nuances; she remembers her older (?) sister as incredibly girlish, her younger sister as incredibly boyish and herself as incredibly androgynous as some sort of commentary on how she viewed gender growing up. Or something. I really ought to rewatch it. But I'm scared of it not being the masterpiece that I thought it was the first time round when I saw it on the verge of drifting of to sleep.

m-d-f:

The 'Christmas Carol' was okay, but 'Blackadder Back and Forth' would easily get my preference as a stand-alone special.

Thanks for the caution, but I will probably still see The First Purge (along with The Purge: Election Year) for the science fiction Challenge next month. I liked the first two films almost equally and I am curious to see in what other directions the filmmakers can possibly take the material.
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#12

Post by joachimt » December 24th, 2018, 7:30 am

sol wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am
m-d-f:

The 'Christmas Carol' was okay, but 'Blackadder Back and Forth' would easily get my preference as a stand-alone special.
I never get enough of any of those, but Back and Forth is indeed a nudge better.
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#13

Post by Onderhond » December 24th, 2018, 9:53 am

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01. 4.5* - Mandy (2018)
Completely bonkers. Cosmatos picks up where he left off with his previous film, but dials up the horror a notch or two. The result is an absolutely mad, although slightly uneven trip into the world of the occult. A few too many nods to the 80s, but apart from that it's a riveting and totally unique experience. Great stuff.

02. 3.5* - One Cut of the Dead [Kamera o Tomeru Na!] (2017)
The first 30 minutes are a little challenging and little more than cheap genre fare, the following hour is considerably more fun. Still a bit overhyped, the concept is smart, the execution is fine but overall it's still a little plain and it's budgetary limitations are clear at all times. A fun watch, but no masterpiece.

03. 3.5* - Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Oz' remake of the 60s film and Broadway musical. It's a cheeky and juicy effort, the kind of thing you'd expect from Oz. The primary reason why this film still works is the fact that the cheese is baked into the concept, everybody clearly had a lot of fun making this and as an audience it's very easy to go along with.

04. 3.0* - The Trough [Di Ya Cao] (2018)
Decent but somewhat overwrought Hong Kong thriller. Nick Cheung is an okay director, he just lacks what makes other directors great. The film takes itself a little too serious, luckily it looks pretty good and there are some fine action sequences to take your mind off things. Decent filler, but it's a shame it tried to be more.

05. 2.5* - Teefa in Trouble (2018)
My first film from Pakistan, although I have to say that it did feel a lot like Bollywood cinema, offering a blend of different genres coupled with some musical interludes. It's decent and entertaining enough, but the lack of focus is somewhat annoying and the fact that half the film is set in Poland is just plain weird.

06. 2.0* - A Simple Favor (2018)
A Simple Favor wants to be smart, tries to be smart but is so eager to please that it just falls flat. To make a film like this work the story needs to be more natural and the cues and clues can't be so on the nose. The actors do a decent job, but the rest is just plain mediocre and fails to entertain for the entire running time.

07. 2.0* - Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Pretty much a copy of the first film, but with more extravagant events and locations. That doesn't change a whole lot though, the dynamic is still exactly the same as in the first film. There are a couple of genuine laughs and the main actors are well cast, but overall it's a bit too simple and a little too predictable.

08. 2.0* - Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
The third instalment is just as pointless as the first two films, but if you need some comedy filler this can probably pass as a decent option. Not enough jokes that work all that well and Atkinson simply repeats his old tricks, but there are a few laughs and giggles along the way, though hardly anything memorable.

09. 1.5* - That Sugar Film (2014)
Another health doc, this time about sugar. Like most health docs, the presenter thinks too highly of himself and the doom message is a little hard to swallow. I'm sure there are some stone cold facts hidden away in here, it's just too much trouble fishing them out of the pile of rubbish that surrounds them.

10. 1.5* - Roma (2018)
Hyped up drama that feels way too much like a run of the mill arthouse film. The camerawork is lazy, the black & white photography not distinct enough and the drama too on the nose. There's been a lot of noise about this film appearing on Netflix so fast, well I'm glad I didn't spend a dime watching this in a theatre.

11. 1.5* - They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018)
Doc on the making of Orson Welles' The Other Side of the Wind. It paints Welles as a complacent director and brings together a bunch of survivors that are more keen to appear on camera rather than tell their story. Even so, behind all the smoke and bullshit there are some (though few) interesting things to be seen.

12. 1.0* - Mowgli (2018)
Serkis' version may not having singing bears, but it does feature talking animals. A damn shame for a film that tries to deliver a somewhat darker and more mature version of Jungle Book. The fact that the animation is rather poor and that the character designs are completely off doesn't help either. Pretty bad.

13. 1.0* - Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
A worthy successor to the first film, but I didn't like that one much either. Bombastic music, lengthy musical numbers and that core Disney feeling. If you liked the first one, I'm sure this one will be a pleasant surprise, for me though it's just too sugary and way too focused on the musical elements.

14. 1.0* - New Year's Eve (2011)
Cheesy and cheap. A whole bunch of B-grade actors are thrown into a sappy story that tries to celebrate the "wonder" of New Year's Eve. The comedy is horrendous, the drama terrible and none of the (many) stories has anything interesting to say. At least corporate sponsors had a ball with this one (hello Nivea).

15. 1.0* - The Other Side of the Wind (2018)
Welles' final film, finally completed. I'm not a big Orson Welles fan, this pompous, self-important film about film didn't do much to change my mind about him. The editing is poor, the dialogue is grating and the running time is impossible to defend. He should've taken it to the grave with him.

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#14

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » December 24th, 2018, 12:43 pm

Choses secrétes / Secret Things (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2002) - 7
Complete with a guy who's like the incarnation of evil and a stroll through an orgy-cellar and gothic symbolism this is walking a fine line between horrible and excellent.

O Último Mergulho / The Last Dive (João César Monteiro, 1992) - 9
Narrative puncture.

Tillsammans (Lukas Moodysson, 2000) - 5

Jeannette, l'enfance de Jeanne d'Arc (Bruno Dumont, 2017) - 7++

Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1956) - 7+
Did someone say Fargo?

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#15

Post by peeptoad » December 24th, 2018, 12:49 pm

sol wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am
peeps:

Dial Code Santa Claus looks like my type of Yuletide film. :D Does the boy believe that the intruder is actually Santa? Just wondering because the whole thing sounds pretty close to Jeff Liebman's masterful Satan's Little Helper.
I had not even thought of Satan's Little Helper actually, but yes, the boy does believe the intruder is Santa Claus. Actually what I had thought of was Home Alone (a film that apparently borrowed so much from Dial Code SC that Rene Manzor tried to sue its creators. He may have failed; I can't find much info on this). That Lieberman film needs a rewatch; maybe next October. ;)
sol wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am
Yeah, one of the reviews of Plague that I came across afterwards (on Letterboxd, or maybe it was Richard Scheib), mentioned the realism things that bugged you. Personally speaking, I did not even think about it at the time, but yeah, on rewatch those things might indeed play on my mind with Plague, which otherwise struck me as a very nifty Contagion before Contagion.
Truthfully, I might have overlooked thos details myself except that I work in biomedical research... so all the biosafety practices are sort of burned into my brain for all eternity.

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#16

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » December 24th, 2018, 1:05 pm

@Sol:
Seen none. Have the Up films, <--->, Weekend and the two Cronenberg's in my watchlist though.

@PdA:
Rage (Guy-Marc Hinant & Dominique Lohlé, 2017) 7-/10 - interested. Some of my friends went to see it when it had a couple screenings in Copenhagen last year - and they said it was pretty good.
Елена / Elena - 7 as well
Нелюбовь / Loveless - 8 - sure thing. Svyagintsev is aight. My favorite parts of the film are the ones with the search team. It felt a bit Once Upon a Time in Anatolia-ish for me (just in a Russian setting), but all in all a great "missing person"-film.
Soak the Rich - interested
Forbrydelsens element / The Element of Crime - 9
Eyewash - seen it

@Carmel:
Cria Cuervos - (l)

@mightysparks:
Moonlight - 8. I actually fell for this. I doubt I'd like it as much if I watched it again.
The Aviator - 7 - been almost a decade since I saw it last.
The Guns of Navarone - seen it as a little kid with my grandmother. Don't remember much...

Peeptoad:
N/S, interested in Atanarjuat

@joachimt:
Europa - 9 (l) love this. Very formative for me, and probably subconsciously grounded my later love for Sternberg.
Conte d'été AKA A Summer's Tale - 8 - Rohmer's probably not your thing. You didn't even feel the summerwarmth?
The Exquisite Corpus - 8

@Mdf, Onderhond:
N/S

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#17

Post by Carmel1379 » December 25th, 2018, 2:46 am

sol wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am
Carmel:

Yay, more love for Back and Forth. I can't wait to see Wavelength later this week. I can't remember off-hand if you said you had seen *Corpus Callosum or not, but it's like Back and Forth, only ten times as complex and challenging.

Okay, I totally get that a 7 is a high score for you, but ouch. Cria. That film. It is one of only two films in my all-time top 50 that I have only ever seen the one time because I have been worried/scared to revisit, totally unsure of how it would stack up to repeat viewing, especially if watched in a different state. What I can say is that viewed in the wee hours of the morning in a sleep-deprived state when I couldn't get to sleep, it was the most amazing thing ever. Trying to remember back (we're probably talking 12 years here), I really liked the Geraldine Chaplin vignettes as they solidified the idea that the film was a series of memories, stream of consciousness-style in which her dreams and fantasies as a child have managed to blur in with her recollections of what actually occurred. That point-of-view flying shot was amazing. And I recall some surprising subtle nuances; she remembers her older (?) sister as incredibly girlish, her younger sister as incredibly boyish and herself as incredibly androgynous as some sort of commentary on how she viewed gender growing up. Or something. I really ought to rewatch it. But I'm scared of it not being the masterpiece that I thought it was the first time round when I saw it on the verge of drifting of to sleep.
*Corpus Callosum - Not seen it yet, no, but I definitely will. 'Wavelength' is great (Sshtoorty, 'So Is This', and 'La Région centrale' which I've also seen from Snow are too), so enjoy.

Cria - Yeah, I get you. I can perfectly imagine and commend you for swooning for/with the film in those sleep-deprived states; with the right configuration of chemicals, sensations, thoughts, & moods I too could likely feel it much more (and same with 'Fanny and Alexander', another one of your all-time big favourites, which I thought about often during my viewing). And I do think one has to be in the right mood for it, it's not that easy of a film to get into, but once its challenging nature turns into delight, the fruits are numerous and luscious. Let's say I was half-way there. I mean, I did say I'd potentially sacrifice my life for the 1976-version of Ana Torrent (also see screenshots), so I guess there might be some (l) in my squalid self. But yeah, no 10/10.

I sympathise with the rewatch dilemma; it's a conflict one could interminably mull over. Not sure how you could shed your "is it still a masterpiece" fear. Turn on, tune in, drop out, or something?

What's the other film you're reluctant to rewatch?
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whom shall we find
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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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#18

Post by mightysparks » December 25th, 2018, 3:44 am

sol wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 3:21 am
Okay, I totally get that a 7 is a high score for you, but ouch. Cria. That film.
You don’t wanna see my rating then :whistling:
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#19

Post by sol » December 25th, 2018, 5:23 am

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 25th, 2018, 2:46 am
*Corpus Callosum - Not seen it yet, no, but I definitely will. 'Wavelength' is great (Sshtoorty, 'So Is This', and 'La Région centrale' which I've also seen from Snow are too), so enjoy.

Cria - Yeah, I get you. I can perfectly imagine and commend you for swooning for/with the film in those sleep-deprived states; with the right configuration of chemicals, sensations, thoughts, & moods I too could likely feel it much more (and same with 'Fanny and Alexander', another one of your all-time big favourites, which I thought about often during my viewing). And I do think one has to be in the right mood for it, it's not that easy of a film to get into, but once its challenging nature turns into delight, the fruits are numerous and luscious. Let's say I was half-way there. I mean, I did say I'd potentially sacrifice my life for the 1976-version of Ana Torrent (also see screenshots), so I guess there might be some (l) in my squalid self. But yeah, no 10/10.

I sympathise with the rewatch dilemma; it's a conflict one could interminably mull over. Not sure how you could shed your "is it still a masterpiece" fear. Turn on, tune in, drop out, or something?

What's the other film you're reluctant to rewatch?
Oh the other film is The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover - but that one has more to do with the fact that I saw it 'relatively' recently (six years ago) so I haven't quite felt compelled yet to rewatch it to see if it stacks up. I just took a look-through, and save for the Scream sequels, all of the other films in my top 50 are movies that I watched during my formative years as a budding filmgoer (pre-2011) and which have either stood up equally well to revision or which have improved immensely with each repeat viewing.

Yes, I'm planning to watch La Région centrale before the end of the month. Love the premise of the movie, though I do have some doubts due to the extreme length of the project. That said, I could have easily watched another 2 hours of Back and Forth without getting bored.

And you're right about Fanny and Alexander being a good film to watch when tired. All of the fantasy elements work much better that way (you lose touch with whether it's happening in the film or you're imagining it) and the whole identity dilemma stuff with the strange brother at the end is ten times as potent when watched tired/sleep-deprived. Another great film to watch when tired is Tarkovsky's Solaris, which I might do this New Year's Eve; see how long I can stay awake after midnight watching the film. There's the same sort of idea going on there: lots of things where the characters aren't sure if it is or is not real, which is perfect to watch when you're so tired that your mind starts playing tricks on you. Honestly, I think there's more to be said for the power of watching film when tired than when stoned/drunk... it adds a whole new immersive layer that is hard to surpass.
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#20

Post by Carmel1379 » December 25th, 2018, 4:11 pm

sol wrote:
December 25th, 2018, 5:23 am
Oh the other film is The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover - but that one has more to do with the fact that I saw it 'relatively' recently (six years ago) so I haven't quite felt compelled yet to rewatch it to see if it stacks up. I just took a look-through, and save for the Scream sequels, all of the other films in my top 50 are movies that I watched during my formative years as a budding filmgoer (pre-2011) and which have either stood up equally well to revision or which have improved immensely with each repeat viewing.

Yes, I'm planning to watch La Région centrale before the end of the month. Love the premise of the movie, though I do have some doubts due to the extreme length of the project. That said, I could have easily watched another 2 hours of Back and Forth without getting bored.

And you're right about Fanny and Alexander being a good film to watch when tired. All of the fantasy elements work much better that way (you lose touch with whether it's happening in the film or you're imagining it) and the whole identity dilemma stuff with the strange brother at the end is ten times as potent when watched tired/sleep-deprived. Another great film to watch when tired is Tarkovsky's Solaris, which I might do this New Year's Eve; see how long I can stay awake after midnight watching the film. There's the same sort of idea going on there: lots of things where the characters aren't sure if it is or is not real, which is perfect to watch when you're so tired that your mind starts playing tricks on you. Honestly, I think there's more to be said for the power of watching film when tired than when stoned/drunk... it adds a whole new immersive layer that is hard to surpass.
Calling 6 years "relatively recently", heh, my entire cinephilic existence is less than that. :sweat: So you don't rewatch your favourites *too often* then, expect for a select few like the "Scream" series I guess.

La Région centrale is pretty magical with -- again -- the right mindset, one whose appetite can be sufficiently satisfied by simply pure movement, pure change. I'd love to see Michael Snow movies in the cinema. After seeing it two years ago I remember trying to describe it to my flatmates at the time, they all thought I was crazy for watching something like that.

Funny you should mention Solaris, my second viewing was in the theatre after having just seen In the Mouth of Madness at the same venue and a long school day, so I was almost falling asleep and yet very immersed in the film.

Mind and cinema collapsing together into a dreamlike stream of consciousness is always nice, I'm sure one could name dozens more masterpieces where tiredness* helped one value and enjoy a film more. "We create and perceive our world simultaneously and our mind does it so well we don’t even know what’s happening." Sometimes a film aims to purposefully induce a trance of course. Well, the interweaving and parallels between cinema & dreaming are countless anyway.

*trance-like, drowsy, or hypnagogic states maybe are better terms to use than tired, I think.
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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.
t o B e c o n t i n u e d

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#21

Post by GruesomeTwosome » December 26th, 2018, 1:39 am

Hey sol. Not seen any of yours.

This past week was spent largely with family for Christmas, meaning some holiday-themed film viewings but also unfortunately meaning watching some crappy movies that I never would have chosen to see myself. Including going to the theater to see Robert Zemeckis' new movie (I normally like his work), but ooooh boy his new film is a piece of shit.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947, George Seaton) - 7/10

The Shop Around the Corner (1940, Ernst Lubitsch) - 8/10

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 short, Chuck Jones & Ben Washam) - 8/10 [re-watch]

Support the Girls (2018, Andrew Bujalski) - 7/10

Alpha (2018, Albert Hughes) - 5/10

The Equalizer 2 (2018, Antoine Fuqua) - 4/10

Welcome to Marwen (2018, Robert Zemeckis) theatrical - 3/10. Looks like Bob Zemeckis is winding back the clock to the 2000s and is falling in love with motion-capture animation once again...ugh. Well, those effects look better 10+ years later, but he has no idea how to effectively employ them to tell this story. Just a huge cringe-worthy mess, likely the worst 2018 film I've seen to this point.


TV stuff:

BoJack Horseman - "Sabrina's Christmas Wish" - 8/10

...and re-watches of several South Park Christmas episodes.
Last edited by GruesomeTwosome on December 26th, 2018, 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#22

Post by sol » December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 25th, 2018, 4:11 pm
Calling 6 years "relatively recently", heh, my entire cinephilic existence is less than that. :sweat: So you don't rewatch your favourites *too often* then, expect for a select few like the "Scream" series I guess.
There you go, Carmel - making me feel ancient once again. :/ I have mentioned it before (perhaps not to you but somewhere) that iCM has massively changed my viewing habits. Or the combination of iCM and the iCM Forum. Everything these days is about watching more and more films, partially completing more and more lists, watching specific films for specific challenges etc., all of which makes it hard to juggle going back and revisiting some of the major films that have shaped me as a cinephile over the years. The stats say a lot:

Number of rewatches in 2018: 53
Number of rewatches in 2017: 85
Number of rewatches in 2016: 211
Number of rewatches in 2015: 234
Number of rewatches in 2014: 191

But yes, there are certainly some "core" films that I feel compelled to rewatch every year: the Scream series and Videodrome during October, the Ocean's trilogy at some point, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or at least on a biannual basis: Scanners, Ruthless People, A Fish Called Wanda, The Big Lebowski.

Very few of those are towards the top of what I consider to be the most amazing cinematic experiences of all time, but I guess that's something in itself. Rewatching something too often takes away the charm and mystery. Forgetting is one of the best aspects when it comes to revisitng a longtime favourite. Being able to put the film in and notice things that you didn't see before (or forgot that they were coming) because it has been so long. It's the closest one can really get to watching a film again for the first time. So with some of those all-time greats in my list, yeah, I would be reluctant to watch them more than once every two years anyway.

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 1:39 am
This past week was spent largely with family for Christmas, meaning some holiday-themed film viewings but also unfortunately meaning watching some crappy movies that I never would have chosen to see myself. Including going to the theater to see Robert Zemeckis' new movie (I normally like his work), but ooooh boy his new film is a piece of shit.
Heh, I saw the trailer for Welcome to Marwen when I went to see The Old Man & The Gun on Saturday and my first thought was "surely this cannot be as bad as it looks with Zemeckis behind it". What a shame.
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#23

Post by GruesomeTwosome » December 26th, 2018, 2:06 pm

sol wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 1:39 am
This past week was spent largely with family for Christmas, meaning some holiday-themed film viewings but also unfortunately meaning watching some crappy movies that I never would have chosen to see myself. Including going to the theater to see Robert Zemeckis' new movie (I normally like his work), but ooooh boy his new film is a piece of shit.
Heh, I saw the trailer for Welcome to Marwen when I went to see The Old Man & The Gun on Saturday and my first thought was "surely this cannot be as bad as it looks with Zemeckis behind it". What a shame.
Oh yes, yes it surely can be that bad - believe it! tehe A shame, as I had quite enjoyed Zemeckis last few films (Flight, The Walk, Allied), after that misbegotten mo-cap era of Polar Express/Beowulf/Christmas Carol.
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#24

Post by OldAle1 » December 26th, 2018, 5:14 pm

2 weeks worth again, posted late, because procrastination is my middle name and I still await the Beast in the Jungle.

This Film ROCKED
This Film SUCKED

Ulisse (Mario Camerini, 1954)

Watched in honor of Kirk Douglas' 102nd birthday. A well-above-average peplum adapted (very loosely of course) from Homer's epic, with our titular hero (Douglas) leaving Troy after his victory, and in a decade at sea heading home to Greece facing such perils as Circe, the sorceress/seductress who transforms his men into swine, and Polyphemus the Cyclops (in a segment directed by the film's DP, Mario Bava). Silvana Mangano plays both Circe and Ulisse's wife Penelope, and Anthony Quinn is also on hand as Antinous, one of Penelope's suitors over the long period in which her husband is presumed dead. Quinn and Douglas both dub themselves thankfully and the rest of the dubbing, and the production in general are fairly high quality, though I'm glad neither of the two non-Italian stars chose to stay in Italy and just make pepla over the rest of the decade; of course few other examples of the genre had the kind of prestige this film had.

Toki o kakeru shôjo / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Mamoru Hosoda, 2006)

My first Hosoda film; for some reason I thought I had seen others - a couple of them were discussed a bit on IMDb years ago and they've been in my consciousness in any case. This was wonderful - it reminded me both of Ghibli films at times, and of Makoto Shinkai - anime experts I'm sure will draw greater distinctions, but those were much on my mind. Of course the time travel element is reminiscent particularly of Shinkai's recent Kimi no na wa as are the emotional connections that develops slowly through the film, though interestingly enough this ends up being a weird sort of love triangle. The animation is nice - not for me on the level of the best, but nice - and the development of main character Makoto as a somewhat spoiled and definitely self-centered girl who learns just a bit about life through her extraordinary time "leaping" ability and her numerous attempts to change little mistakes she's made, is extremely well done. I like the fact that she gets an idea of these life lessons, but we're unsure at the end just how well they've stuck. And I also loved that the film develops more complexity in it's continuity as it goes along, to the point where I wasn't quite sure what was happening - or what had happened - in the last few minutes; just as time travel should be. Now I need to see the 1983 live-action film.

Images of the Mind: Cinematic Visions by Raymond Durgnat (Jarma Valkola, 1992)

I learned about this from Jonathan Rosenbaum's website and while I can't give it quite the effusive praise that he does, perhaps that's because I didn't know Durgnat and wasn't that familiar with his work - though I do have a book or two of his which of course I haven't read yet. It's a short (45 minutes) Finnish production that is essentially a long interview with Durgnat, an English film critic of Swiss parentage, about his philosophy of film and what makes the medium special and different from other forms of artistic expression, and in particular about Michael Powell and his work, with clips from The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffman, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and others. Durgnat is an eloquent and persuasive defender of Powell and a powerful advocate for film as an art form that deserves respect on the level of any other, and the only real issue I have with this is that I wish it were longer.

Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018)

EXACTLY what I expected it to be - a film with two great actors working at or near peak, and absolutely nothing else to recommend it. I guess I enjoyed it enough for that, and I can totally see why they're both getting all the awards nominations, but any other notices for anything for this piece of triteness just show the typical lack of imagination and need to pick a "nice", unthreatening film dealing with racism that still permeates most of the big American awards. Jeez, Driving Miss Daisy was 30 years ago, can't we stop with these kinds of films now?

Pyaasa / Thirst (Guru Dutt, 1957)

I saw Dutt's last film Kaagaz Ke Phool a couple of years ago and it nearly knocked me over - probably would have if it had been a better copy and I'd been better able to appreciate the visuals. Thankfully this film which preceded the other by two years and is his best-known work is available at the moment in a pretty good transfer on Amazon Prime (though it's a bit cloudy in some of the darker scenes), importantly with all the songs subbed. As Dutt played a filmmaker in his last film, he also plays an artist, Vijay, in this one, a poet/songwriter in this case, whose tragic flaw is that he cannot compromise with the world which only wants love songs and simple messages. Finding no success with his poetry, seeing his former love married to the rich man who refuses to help him, he contemplates suicide but in an wonderfully ironic second act
SpoilerShow
becomes a martyr and a poet laureate after his apparent death, only to return and shun those who find quality in his work only after death. In a certain sense he also becomes something like a Christ figure though I have no idea whether that was intended.
I can't say I love all the comic moments, most involving the hairdresser/masseuse who works in a big park, but otherwise this was absolutely wonderful, with a great and committed performance by the director and generally fine acting and songs all around, with the final number really summing up the film, and I suspect Dutt's overall mordant view of art and the world.


BUNCH O' SHORTS

Treevenge (Jason Eisener, 2008) - fun Canadian film about Christmas trees taking revenge on the horrible humans (all of them quite exaggeratedly monstrous) who cut them down every years. Very bloody and silly - you don't see a baby getting it's head mashed by an anamorphic tree every day.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Bill Melendez, 1965) (re-watch) - at least the 20th viewing of this chestnut. While the animation is primitive, as it is in all the original Peanuts shorts, it doesn't much matter - the message is fine and Vince Guaraldi's music never gets old.
The Snowman (Dianne Jackson, 1982) (re-watch) - probably about the 10th viewing; this was the original release version with author Raymond Briggs doing the opening narration. Next to Chuck Jones' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! only among my favorite Christmas shorts, though I hadn't seen it in a few years for whatever reason. Like the preceding film, this has great music (Howard Blake) but unlike ACBC it also has wonderful animation and in particular a wonderful depth to the flying sequences. I wonder if Briggs got the idea for the original book (1978) after watching Frosty the Snowman and thinking "fuck this mushy American hogwash"?
A to Z (Michael Snow, 1956) - Snow's first short is a cute, inventive little animated fantasy with a couple of chairs and bowls and plates whirling around - not remotely like any of his subsequent work, though there are moments of playfulness in a few of his longer features I suppose, like *Corpus Callosum.
Dripping Water (Michael Snow/Joyce Wieland, 1968) Dripping Water is just that, 12 minutes of water dripping into a bowl. Exciting! This is minimalism/structuralism at it's least-entrancing, though in this case as in many, a nice 35mm print might at least make the visuals a bit interesting.
The Dead Father (Guy Maddin, 1985) (re-watch) I first saw The Dead Father in cinema when the director was in Chicago to present it and... I think Archangel, in the mid-90s, and I didn't remember it too well. It's pretty striking though rather fragmented as narrative, with many of Maddin's regular themes in nascent form, like his obsessive focus on death and on rather bizarre intergenerational family relationships. I really should give it another watch before commenting more, perhaps I'll go through Maddin's work again this coming year HAH.

The Holly and the Ivy (George More O'Ferrall, 1952)

This is listed in a new book by some TCM guy and he was plugging it so I had to look it up and check it out (though I didn't watch it on TCM). Hmm, guess I'm not going to put too much trust in this guy, for while this low-key British Christmas-set family drama isn't terrible or anything, it isn't particularly entrancing either. It's essentially about a widowed pastor (Ralph Richardson) in a small country town whose family comes to visit over the holidays and who war with each other over family memories and whose responsibility it is to help out aging dad. Celia Johnson, only really known to me and I suspect most Americans for Brief Encounter plays the older sister who has stayed at home but wants to get married; Denholm Elliott is the drunken soldier brother, and Margaret Leighton the younger sister trying to make it in the fashion biz in London. Good cast, but I found it all pretty tiresome and predictable, and the fact that the grown-up kids treat their father as if he was some moralistic tyrant when we see not the slightest evidence of such character is quite strange. Richardson, quite possibly my favorite British actor of his generation, is excellent as usual as the eccentric vicar, but even he can't keep this much above mediocrity.

Saving Christmas (Darren Doane, 2014)

This was #1 on the IMDb Bottom 100 for quite a while (it's now #9) so I had high expectations for something special. Sadly, it's merely incredibly incompetent, often quite dull, and laughable. I expected more because it''s fundamentalist Christian propaganda from the mind or at least the name-brad of Kirk Cameron, childstar-turned-evangelist, and I was envisioning something on the level of God's Not Dead. Well, turns out Cameron (who looks very, very much like my cousin who is also a fundamentalist) isn't up to the sort of nastiness or bigotry you find in the worst of these films, which makes this a lot easier to sit through but also less distinctive and mean - I wanted a lump of coal, all I got was this dull cracked glass. It's basically Cameron as a fictionalized version of himself lecturing his brother-in-law (played by the director) on how all the commercial, modern aspects of Christmas can be reconciled with True Christianity. Spending lots of money on gifts - Santa - Christmas Trees - yep, all Biblical according to Father Kurt. The reasoning is extremely poor (and that's being kind), the acting is atrocious, the filmmaking on the edge of competency for a school play, and there's a hilariously bad rap version of "Angels We Have Heard on High" that must be seen to be believed. Ultimately rather than being offensive like I expected, this turned out to be in the so-bad-it's-good camp; unremittingly awful if judged as a "film"" or conventional entertainment but hilarious if you're in the right mindset.

Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972) (re-watch)

I have a very distinct memory of the first, and until last night only, time I watched this - it was in April or May of 1986, on a tiny little TV, in the dorm room of my first girlfriend, right at the beginning of our relationship. She'd seen it before I think, and we watched it drinking St. Pauli Girl or DAB, and I remember even then liking it but also thinking, what's the big deal? Well, I still kind of feel that way. Oh, it looks good, Liza's great, the rest of the cast is solid, but though I think I get what the juxtaposition of the shallow. solipsistic cafe life and drinking with the real world of the impending Nazi threat is supposed to signify, it doesn't quite gel for me, I think in part because the two parts of the film are so removed from each other. Sure Liza's Sally Bowles sings and dances in Joel Grey's cabaret, but there's no real interaction between Bowle's and Grey's impressario character, nor any between any other cabaret performers and those in the "real world" outside of the smoky lounge. Perhaps that is also part of the point, but for me it kills some of the emotional power that the film might have otherwise had. I do really love the "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" number, which reminded me of the use of the Marseillaise in Casablanca - it's like an inversion of the way in which that song celebrates liberty and freedom from tyranny. Anyway, I do like the film overall despite my significant complaints, but it's not something I can get behind as being a great musical or film.

Shipmates Forever (Frank Borzage, 1935)
Flirtation Walk (Frank Borzage, 1934)

For whatever reason, TCM showed these two Borzage musicals with Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler in reverse order - not that it really matters, but Shipmates Forever is kind of an unofficial sequel, the first film having been a hit (and an Oscar nominee for Best Picture) - and is thematically similar, narratively similar, and not only has the same two leads but several other cast members from the first, playing for the most part similar roles. FW is basically an army musical with Powell as an ordinary enlisted man stationed in Hawaii who falls in love with Keeler, a general's daughter, but isn't good enough for her and so gets into West Point to become an officer; SF repeats the plot only this time Powell's crooner character is trying to impress his old man, a Navy Admiral, by going to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. These are both pretty silly rah-rah patriotic musicals that seem a little out-of-place in the Depression years and there's little to recommend either IMO - two of Borzage's weakest and dullest films, though Powell is watchable enough, some of the songs are OK, and there are some good supporting bits, especially from Ross Alexander, a great comic talent with a tragically short life and career.

Ging chaat goo si III: Chiu kup ging chaat / Police Story 3 - Supercop (Stanley Tong, 1992)

It's been at least a decade since I've seen the first two entries in the series but I don't have too much doubt that this is the weakest in the series, with a fairly uninteresting plot (Jackie teams up with a mainland cop (Michelle Yeoh) to stop a big drug operation) and not enough Maggie Cheung (though to be fair, she's in it quite a bit; there just can't ever bee enough Maggie Cheung). Major plus is Yeoh, a better actor than Chan and nearly as impressive in her stuntwork; major minus is a lot of the comedy, particularly the whole issue with May (Cheung) jealous of Jackie - wouldn't you think by this time she would have some understanding of the kind of undercover work he does? Still the action sequences are very impressive and I certainly wasn't ever bored.

Blokada (Sergey Loznitsa, 2006)

Excellent wordless document of the siege of Leningrad, a year of privation and horror cataloged in less than an hour, with modern sound effects added in that at times struck me as a little obtrusive but overall worked. It's all in the editing in a work like this and it's quite brilliantly done, communicating as much of the feel of life under siege as anything I've seen in twice the duration.

Trail of Robin Hood (William Witney, 1950)

I've seen several Gene Autry filmx and a few other scattered singing cowboy flicks, but I think this was my first Roy Rogers, one of his last as it turned out, and one of the few in color though it's in the second-rate TruColor process which is all orange and blue and rather ugly. Still it was a good print on TCM, and it's kind of an amusing tale of Rogers (without Dale Evans this time) calling on the help of a bunch of other b-western stars to get a bunch of Christmas trees to market when a rival outfit tries to stop them through violence. Yep, Christmas Tree wars on the range! I don't really know my b-western stars that well, particularly those whose careers were mostly pre-war, but I at least knew the names of the likes of Crash Corrigan, Jack Holt, Tom Tyler, etc. Fun little flick that I'll probably never watch again unless it's n TCM again sometime.

3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948) (re-watch)

I saw this probably a dozen years ago, remembered just vaguely the saving-the-baby plot and the parallels with Jesus; didn't remember that it was in color surprisingly, the usual rich sort of color you find in a Ford film of this vintage. It's a very good film overall, with John Wayne, Pedro Armendáriz and Harry Carey Jr. as three bandits escaping across the desert from a posse led by Ward Bond after robbing a bank, and coming across a dying pregnant woman who they help to give birth to a son, and who extracts a promise to look out for him. You can maybe guess how things go from there. It's all superbly put together, with one of Wayne's better performances and a meatier role for Bond than usual, though the always wonderful Armendáriz leaves the biggest impression; but I have to say I found the typical Fordian humor a little tiring this time around and the ending's sentimentality is just on the verge of palatable for me.

Fido (Andrew Currie, 2006)

A pretty wonderful suburban 50s satire in the form of a zombie comedy, with a little newsreel exposition at the beginning explaining how the zombie outbreak changed the world and almost destroyed it, until we learned that a shot through the head would kill them - and we could tame them with control collars. Years later, everyone in the middle-class (verging on upper) suburb we're watching has at least one zombie servant and rules about death and burial and all kinds of other social customs are significantly changed, and our perfect family, Bill and Helen Robinson (Dylan Baker and Carrie-Ann Moss) have their first zombie (gotta keep up with the Joneses, or in this case the Bottoms family led by patriarch Henry Czerny, a hero in the zombie wars and the head of security of Zomcon, a corporation that more or less runs everything), the title character (Billy Connolly) and everything seems to be wonderful, but the relationships between Fido and their young son Timmy (K'sun Ray), Fido and Helen, and other zombie-human situations point to some dark problems at the heart of this strange utopia. Fido's biggest problem is that it's got too much on it's plate, trying to do political/historical satire, horror-comedy, a bit of 50s science fiction and lots of other things in a standard hour-and-a-half, and it doesn't quite gel into a cohesive, satisfying whole though it's always entertaining and inventive, and Moss and Czerny in particular are just great, as is the colorful pastel-oriented photography and production design. This is right up my alley so while I wish it went a little deeper in it's exploration of the suburban psyche, and in the obvious allusions in the human-zombie relationships to pets, slavery, and various other unequal societal arrangements in history, it offers plenty of food for thought and entertainment as is.

The Mule (Clint Eastwood, 2018)

While I would have a hard time really defending this, Eastwood's supposed last acting performance, or recommending it to people who are not big fans, I certainly do think serious Eastwood fans should go, regardless of the relatively negative reviews. I've seen all of the man's films new in the cinema since Unforgiven so I suppose I'm probably as hard-core a fan as there is on this forum, but I'm certainly not an uncritical one. I was with him very strongly through the 90s, the 00s and even into this decade - I liked Hereafter and especially J. Edgar much more than most folks; but his last several films have all been pretty mixed bags to me, all of them worth seeing on some level for Eastwood's command of fluid narrative and his handling of duration - I am essentially never, ever bored during any of his films - but all also problematic in lots of ways. The mythologizing heroism of Sully and American Sniper stands in stark contrast to the more evenhanded depiction of violence and human foibles in earlier films, and his consistent reliance on the currently fashionable color-drained type of cinematography that goes back to Letters from Iwo Jima also usually hasn't worked for me. And sometimes his plots are just too damned streamlined, and the nuances in character and theme that might have resulted in something more than simple entertainments just haven't been there.

I'm pleased that the new film at least looks better than many of his recent pictures - it's got some color - and of course it offers something "new" that they don't, namely the master himself in the lead role once again. And overall I like his performance, and while I do think the bits of casual racism and sexism he spews out may say more about Clint than about Earl Stone the nonagenarian horticulturalist/drug mule he plays, I'm not entirely unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt either; I actually think on some level he is trying to offer some self-criticism, and trying to get us the audience to look at this old, dying dinosaur breed with some measure of compassion while also recognizing his inadequacies and failures. But it doesn't really work all in all because he doesn't just ask for absolution, he offers it to himself, and I don't think it's an artist's business, at least not within a work of art, to both beg for and give himself this kind of moral grace. This is a rather complex idea though and I'm not too sure of it myself, of how it works or doesn't here, I'm just reasonably sure that it's there and conscious in the mind of the filmmaker. It would help if the family scenes registered as strongly as the scenes of Earl on the road and dealing with his drug-lord bosses, though the weakest part of the film by far is the DEA investigation subplot, with fine actors like Bradley Cooper and Laurence Fishburne barely registering at all.

All in all an interesting coda to Clint's career as an actor, and if it's the last film he directs as well, I guess it's not a terrible send-off either, though I definitely hope he's still got something better to give us.

They Made Me a Fugitive (Albert Cavalcanti, 1947)

Trevor Howard stars in what appears at first a fairly conventional revenge noir, as a former serviceman who gets hooked up with some black marketeers and then framed for murdering a cop. Escaping prison, he is determined to clear his name and deal with Narcy (Griffith Jones, a name I didn't know, quite impressive), his ex-girlfriend who betrayed him, etc. What makes this pretty involving is Cavalcanti's expert direction and some neat side alleys in the plot, like a second murder getting pinned on Howard in a completely different fashion. And while it's pretty much a studio-shot production it has a good feel for the postwar griminess, rationing and despair.

Lady on a Train (Charles David, 1945)

Deanna Durbin's second and last foray into the world of noir, made a year after the masterpiece Christmas Holiday with Gene Kelly. That film had pretty minimal holiday content and was a very serious, dark and malevolent film, a nice turn for both Kelly and Durbin; this is in most respects a lighter, funnier film, closer to Durbin's musicals (she sings "Silent Night" beautifully, "Give Me a Little Kiss" well enough, but she's all wrong for "Night and Day")...and yet in the end, it really is inhabiting the world of noir, and gets more serious as it goes along. Certainly doesn't seem like it's going to go in that direction at first, with Durbin as a Nancy Drew-like young debutante type spending the holiday in New York under the care of her father's employee Edward Everett Horton (an even more unlikely figure for noir than Durbin) and believing that she saw a murder from her train. When she can't convince the cops of anything, she decides to investigate herself, and immediately gets mixed up with a mystery writer, a ritzy club with a seedy underbelly, and a disfunctional family that may contain the secret of the murder - if it's not in her imagination. This ends up a wonderful combination of comedy, thriller, musical all told at a madcap pace such that I didn't much care about all the plot holes and inconsistencies. And it's got a wonderful secondary cast including Ralph Bellamy (also not a name one associates much with noir), Samuel S. Hinds, William Frawley, Jacqueline deWit, and as if to say yes, this really does have it's noir credentials, Dan Duryea. Given the Nancy Drew-like opening as I mentioned above, it almost feels like the beginning of a series; too bad it wasn't, and too bad Durbin's career didn't continue much beyond this point.

Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery, 1946) (re-watch)

A second holiday-themed noir in a row, though it's pretty minimal in this case, and nobody's going to remember the Christmas element first; what they'll take note of I'd imagine, as I did on both viewings (first was about 10-11 years ago) is the much-discussed point-of-view camerawork - this is supposedly the first narrative feature shot entirely with subjective camera - and Audrey Totter's awesome femme fatale character, in my opinion her best work and one of the best female leads in noir. As to the story, it's fairly typical Raymond Chandler/Philip Marlowe stuff, with Marlowe down on his luck and getting involved with an untrustworthy dame, and murders to follow. The limitations of 1940s technology and budgets make this less impressive in it's technique and novelty than you might hope for, particularly if weaned on first-person shooters and later variations on the style; lots of static or slow-moving shots, very little action, most of the film confined to fairly simple sets - but Chandler's misanthropic worldview and Totter's performance are enough to put it, if not in the first rank of noir then at least near the top of the second rank.

Radiant City (Jim Brown/Gary Burns, 2006)

Interesting mixture of documentary and staged footage about suburban life near a large, unnamed North American city - according to IMDb, Edmonton, Alberta. Lots of fairly well-known (if you know anything about New Urbanism or such things) talking heads like James Howard Kunstler mostly bemoan the loss of all the good things about urban life and knock all of the negative impact of suburban sprawl as well as the ways in which it changes us as communities and societies, interspersed with a look at the lives of several suburban individuals and families. Some folks in the reviews have knocked the "reveal" near the end of the film about how it was made but this didn't much bother me and while I didn't find a lot that was new here I think it's presented in a fairly entertaining and informative way, and might be a good first look for some folks into the suburban problem.

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (Sam Brown/Scott McFadyen, 2010)

I don't think this needs much explanation - basically a straightforward, year-by-year and album-by-album look at the Canadian power trio, which I found out just after watching this, to my surprise, disbanded earlier this year. Shows how serious a fan I was! This is actually ideal for someone like me who has a modest interest in the band but really doesn't know them that well, and I have to say that as a vehicle to increase interest and maybe get me to listen to more, it totally worked, and it does a reasonable job of explaining how this band lasted so long and took so long to really hit the big time - though it's still fair to call them a "cult" band rather than one of general popularity. Where it falls short I think is in putting them in the context of the Canadian or prog/hard rock music scenes in general - we get a lot of adoring bits of interviews from many famous fans who grew up on them, i,e. Jack Black, Trent Reznor, but we don't get enough sense IMO of their competition and how the Toronto music scene evolved - significant since they've stayed in their home city for the most part. And I'd have liked a little bit more about Peart's lyrics and their conception of narrative in music in general; but this is nearly two hours and there isn't really any waste, how much can you say in that time about a band with a 40+ year history? It's really about as good an introduction as you could make I think with all these caveats, though I wonder how useful it would be to those who are already really hardcore fans.

Anna and the Apocalypse (John McPhail, 2017)

Cinema. Not much to say about this zombie-comedy-Christmas-musical; I have to agree with most of the reviews I've skimmed overall - the first half is much better than the second, as it's unclear at first where it's going, and the early songs are better, and the inside-the-school setting initially helps to camouflage the cheapness of the project. Ella Hunt has some real star power and certainly seems poised for the big time, and anytime she's singing it's pretty easy to fall under her spell, and the rest of the cast is perfectly fine, but once the zombie apocalypse plot kicks into full gear it becomes very predictable and very much like 3457834756 other zombie films and tv shows from the last few decades.

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2018)

I had fairly high expectations going into this, and while I don't know that they were exceeded they were probably met, and while it's not my favorite film of the year at this point, it might be the funniest new comedy I've seen, and is certainly one of the more intriguing period pieces in a long time - do we need Masterpiece Theater type stuff anymore when we can have this? I guess we do - can't imagine my mom enjoying this. I looked up the history a bit afterwards and was surprised that this is actually not so far from reality, though the language is probably not all that accurate, the dancing certainly isn't :lol: :lol: , and I really have no idea about the lesbianism. In any case, Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as Lady Sarah Marlborough and Abigail Hill respectively really are all excellent and it's an amusingly vicious portrait of vanity and power and scheming throughout that I'm sure has quite deliberate relevance with respect to certain vain, insecure, and emotionally feeble rulers in certain world powers in 2018. I also loved the look of the film - not always that keen on fisheye lenses and wide-angle shots unless Terry Gilliam is involved, but Lanthimos uses these visuals to great effect, and the natural lighting is also quite brilliantly handled, this is certainly one of the best-looking films of the year.

Plague (Ed Hunt, 1979)

I have a terrible affection for a lot of the cheaper, crappier sci-fi of the 70s, which for whatever reason does not seem to be as prone to rehabilitation yet as much of the, shall we say, less-intellectual and/or less-well-made product of the previous couple of decades; it's hard to find a cheap 50s SF film, an English-language one anyway, that doesn't have it's fans or defenders for example, but there's plenty of stuff from the decade between 2001 and Ronald Ray-Gun that remains completely forgotten. Some of it of course deserves the grave of forgetfulness and this is a prime example. Basically a lab experiment goes wrong, the scientist involved dies from this mutant bacteria, and it gets out of the lab and infects and kills a bunch of people while other scientists work feverishly to stop the potential world-wide catastrophe. This has never been my favorite kind of SF (or, in recent years, horror) theme but there are good examples, and alas this is not one of them. The most interesting bit is that we are introduced to a carrier (Céline Lomez, the lone Québécois member of the principal cast) who doesn't get sick herself and who escapes quarantine, thus increasing the danger - but the way in which this subplot is handled and resolved is utterly ludicrous, while the main plot is merely by-the-numbers dull. Utter waste of time.

Nothing (Vincenzo Natali, 2003)

Two best friends - Andrew, a totally paranoid and extreme neurotic who can't leave the house, and Dave, a cocksure jerk who is just now finding out what an incompetent loser he is, both have terrible days - ridiculously terrible as the world seems quite literally to be conspiring against them, and have a sort of simultaneous breakdown after which they find out that the world outside of the house is gone and replaced by a pure white Nothing. Rather than acting the way we might expect people in most movies to act - either becoming complete psychotics and retreating into themselves, or calmly and rationally working towards figuring a way out of their situation, they actually act the way we might expect given what we've seen of them up to this point - like adolescent idiots who show us almost at every moment why they were outsiders/losers in society to begin with. This is the most refreshing element of Nothing - that these characters are consistent throughout, and once you figure that out, the conclusion seems foreordained (though still fun). I didn't love it as much as I hoped given the originality of the conceit, because hanging out with Andrew and Dave for an hour and a half got irritating and tiresome at times, but it was definitely worth a look.

Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)

This has probably been on my mental must-see list longer than any other film; I remember learning about it when it first played in the Chicago area, at the Skokie Theater in Skokie - a suburb that was at that time almost 50% Jewish, with many survivors, and which had come to national attention a few years later when neo-Nazis tried to march there. Not sure when it first played - maybe 1986 or 1987? In any case I was in college, didn't have a car, money was tight and of course this played over several nights, I don't think it played all at once, so it was pretty much impossible. It probably played a couple more times while I lived in Chicago but I don't recall, and I've never been as big a documentary person as many here. I do have another personal memory, which is that while working at a video store in the late 80s I once put together a display for Hannukah and Jewish history and got complemented by a guy who asked if I was Jewish, because I seemed to know more about the subject than most people - he said this sort of disparagingly, he was Jewish himself, not old enough to remember the war, but he felt surrounded by people who had become ignorant of the past of their people. And of course memory is the central subject here - it is in fact an epic dialectic between the memory of the lands and places - which one has to imagine in the mind's eye as places of horror, because they bear no living trace of it anymore of course - and the memory of the survivors, the witnesses, the perpetrators, and the historians and academics. Of course the memory of the victims is, like the memories of stones and grass and trees, inaccessible.

It's hard to put it all together ultimately; this film I think should not be thought of "merely" as a Holocaust documentary, or a documentary about a part of the experience of one specific group of humanity - while it's focus is absolute and narrow, it's images are only those of the death camps (as opposed to the concentration camps, an important distinction), and only on those who were involved in the horrors in some way between 1941-45, and only on the actual details of what happened - as opposed to why, which does figure slightly, especially when several Polish non-Jewish townspeople are interviewed at length - but isn't really Lanzmann's story. I think in the accumulation of details, and in the story that we do hear, one of a gradual and systematic yet not necessarily always sophisticated or coherent plan of extermination, we can see other stories, other peoples, other eras, while at the same time understanding always that what the Nazis did was more purposeful and extreme in intent and in results than any other such annihilation. It is not thus unprecedented as an idea - because hatred and the will to destroy have been with us since the beginning - but very much so in it's scale, concentration, focus. And that is what he begs us to remember, and when at the very end of the film one of the survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto describes running through tunnels and doors in the ghetto, and not seeing anyone, and believing at that point that he might be the last Jew on earth, that the Germans have destroyed them all, we can actually believe it, and that is the true horror.

Certainly one of the greatest films ever made and despite it's stillness, as it accumulates dozens of long shots of now-pastoral landscapes, and slowly rolling railway cars, and length, one of the most visceral and difficult experiences to watch. Anybody who can watch the testimony of Abraham Bomba, performing his job as a barber in Jerusalem while describing the job he performed as a barber in Treblinka without getting upset is... I don't want to say. I don't know what to say. That's all.

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#25

Post by OldAle1 » December 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm

And your viewings...

*sol - I've seen a couple of the Up films, but not since the 90s, so at this point can't really comment - I do remember liking them though and have thought about going through the cycle, just not gotten to it. I also watched Plague this week, see my much less enthusiastic comments; saw Trapped and Adoration several years ago, liked both overall, and probably liked Chloe more than you. Not sure Turbo Kid worked for me - it seemed more an homage to films like Cherry 2000 and, yeah, the Mad Max films, but then had gore well beyond what you'd find in anything but a horror film, which really didn't work for me - I guess it took me out of the nostalgia mode, which is what I wanted. Laurence Leboeuf was great though. Haven't seen either Cronenberg in a long time, loved Scanners in any case. Oh and Snow's <---> is pretty great though I like several of his films more. I definitely feel more in synch with him than with most experimental filmmakers, maybe more than any other living.

*PdA - Cassavetes, LVT, yeah, rock. The End rocks even harder as do all those Tex cartoons.

*Mighty - Deddo ribosu I'm with you on, and The Aviator I might've liked even less. Moonlight, Forty Guns, The Guns of Navarone and The Mortal Storm on the other hand are all between excellent and masterful to me. I don't think I've ever had a week with the amount of mediocrity you describe. Must suck.

*peep - surprised how much I loved Atanarjuat, for whatever reason I didn't expect to. Remember liking Black Christmas overall; already mentioned The Plague above.

*joachim - no real memory of Europa, saw it when new, would like to revisit; loved Ladybird, remember quite liking the Herzog though that's been a while; the Rohmer runs together with the rest in that cycle at this point though I probably liked it more than you, I like just about every Rohmer quite a lot

*Carmel - Cria cuervos is really good though I felt like I was missing something when I saw it, a year ago or so

*mdf - saw the Blackadder Xmas some time in the 90s, only have dim recollections of that series which I liked but not as much as most of my friends I guess

*Onderhond - saw Little Shop when new and liked it, must be one of the first musicals I ever saw in the cinema, wouldn't mind revisiting now that I've seen Corman's original, and now that horror-musicals have become more common. The Other Side of the Wind is probably my 7th or 8th favorite OW film and quite easily the best of this year so far. But I sure wouldn't have expected you to like it so no surprise.

*viktor - Nightfall I saw in the cinema around 1996, dim memory, have grown to love Tourneur so it should be priority re-watch.

*Grue - have seen the first three of those each many times, all great, with the Grinch up to at least 40-50 viewings now. I'm kind of interested in the Zemeckis actually but it's obviously not going to be around long and I won't see it in the cinema, which means I'll forget about it for a long time.

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#26

Post by OldAle1 » December 26th, 2018, 5:47 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 25th, 2018, 4:11 pm


La Région centrale is pretty magical with -- again -- the right mindset, one whose appetite can be sufficiently satisfied by simply pure movement, pure change. I'd love to see Michael Snow movies in the cinema. After seeing it two years ago I remember trying to describe it to my flatmates at the time, they all thought I was crazy for watching something like that.

Funny you should mention Solaris, my second viewing was in the theatre after having just seen In the Mouth of Madness at the same venue and a long school day, so I was almost falling asleep and yet very immersed in the film.

Mind and cinema collapsing together into a dreamlike stream of consciousness is always nice, I'm sure one could name dozens more masterpieces where tiredness* helped one value and enjoy a film more. "We create and perceive our world simultaneously and our mind does it so well we don’t even know what’s happening." Sometimes a film aims to purposefully induce a trance of course. Well, the interweaving and parallels between cinema & dreaming are countless anyway.

*trance-like, drowsy, or hypnagogic states maybe are better terms to use than tired, I think.
La Région centrale is one of two Snow films I've seen in the cinema - the other was Wavelength - and it was certainly a memorable experience. Saw it at the University of Chicago''s film society ("DOC Films") one of the best venues in the city, where they could show *anything* at any time and get at least 20 people in the audience. Went with my brother who was in town for a visit and my two best cine-friends at the time, and yes there were 20 people, maybe more like 30. By the end it was just my 2 friends and I - one of them hated it, the other liked it a lot ("relaxing"), I was somewhere in the middle. My brother went to a bar after the first 20 minutes or so. One of the three films I've seen with the most walkouts, the others being Jeanne Dielman (also at DOC) and a screening of Greenaway's The Falls in a poorly ventilated space in the middle of summer when the interior temp was over 100 degrees F.

Totally agree on the tiredness comment - the most memorable viewing I had of Dead Man, the 9th and final time I saw it first run, probably qualifies. Midnight, in a barely-heated theater in February, with plenty of alcohol in me, hypnotic and disconcerting.

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#27

Post by Onderhond » December 26th, 2018, 6:07 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm
The Other Side of the Wind is probably my 7th or 8th favorite OW film and quite easily the best of this year so far.
Let's just agree that it is the best OW film of this year ;)

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#28

Post by OldAle1 » December 26th, 2018, 7:38 pm

sol wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am
There you go, Carmel - making me feel ancient once again. :/ I have mentioned it before (perhaps not to you but somewhere) that iCM has massively changed my viewing habits. Or the combination of iCM and the iCM Forum. Everything these days is about watching more and more films, partially completing more and more lists, watching specific films for specific challenges etc., all of which makes it hard to juggle going back and revisiting some of the major films that have shaped me as a cinephile over the years. The stats say a lot:

Number of rewatches in 2018: 53
Number of rewatches in 2017: 85
Number of rewatches in 2016: 211
Number of rewatches in 2015: 234
Number of rewatches in 2014: 191

But yes, there are certainly some "core" films that I feel compelled to rewatch every year: the Scream series and Videodrome during October, the Ocean's trilogy at some point, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or at least on a biannual basis: Scanners, Ruthless People, A Fish Called Wanda, The Big Lebowski.

Very few of those are towards the top of what I consider to be the most amazing cinematic experiences of all time, but I guess that's something in itself. Rewatching something too often takes away the charm and mystery. Forgetting is one of the best aspects when it comes to revisitng a longtime favourite. Being able to put the film in and notice things that you didn't see before (or forgot that they were coming) because it has been so long. It's the closest one can really get to watching a film again for the first time. So with some of those all-time greats in my list, yeah, I would be reluctant to watch them more than once every two years anyway.
If YOU feel ancient... :lol:

Love seeing your stats - I don't keep track like that, kind of wish I did. Well, I did the last couple of years but offline and that computer died, sigh. But I'm not sure I've ever even had 53 re-watches - if one doesn't count shorts anyway - in a year, let alone 200+. But I like the comment especially about them not being "the most amazing cinematic experiences" which jibes with my own re-watching to a certain extent, at least at home. In the cinema it's a different story as a great chunk of my re-watching on the big screen has been first-run/new stuff that I just couldn't let go of (notably La La Land, Dead Man, Unforgiven, The Bridges of Madison County, Defending Your Life and A Brighter Summer Day) or all-time favorites that just happened to show up frequently in Chicago (all of Tarkovsky's films, It's a Wonderful Life, Vertigo, 2001, Holy Grail and a few others). I'd say a pretty large portion of the films I've re-watched in the cinema are 10s and in my top 100 or at least top 800+, whereas a lot of the films I re-watch at home are not necessarily on that level, or films that have only gotten to that level through lots of re-watching, like the Back to the Future series and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Every two years seems about right for me at this point for most favorites, and I usually rotate my Christmas favorites on a 2-3 year schedule apart from some of the shorts that I watch every year and sometimes twice in a season.

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#29

Post by OldAle1 » December 26th, 2018, 7:40 pm

Onderhond wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 6:07 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm
The Other Side of the Wind is probably my 7th or 8th favorite OW film and quite easily the best of this year so far.
Let's just agree that it is the best OW film of this year ;)
In the absence of a new edition of Don Quixote, sure.

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#30

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 27th, 2018, 1:37 am

Carmel wrote:>You didn't fancy the music video for that one track?<
I just hadn't watched it yet. Have now but didn't groove out on it too much, this is more your type of thing currently. Pretty chill use of "shaky cam", though, (the "kissing by the sunset" representation was my fave) and I wouldn't have minded if 'Mandy' had been more like this, e.g. more energetic.
viktor-vaudevillain wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 12:43 pm
Rage (Guy-Marc Hinant & Dominique Lohlé, 2017) 7-/10 - interested. Some of my friends went to see it when it had a couple screenings in Copenhagen last year - and they said it was pretty good.
Елена / Elena - 7 as well
Нелюбовь / Loveless - 8 - sure thing. Svyagintsev is aight. My favorite parts of the film are the ones with the search team. It felt a bit Once Upon a Time in Anatolia-ish for me (just in a Russian setting), but all in all a great "missing person"-film.
Soak the Rich - interested
Forbrydelsens element / The Element of Crime - 9
Eyewash - seen it
Rage - A pretty simple but experimental-type doc, very much organized into big thematic blocks, and big chunks of it are little more than listening to the Acid house music, but it worked for me, the individual segments worked off of each either quite nicely. I thought it made a good and intriguing case for the connection between anarchism and Acid house/rave culture, almost purely just by how the film is structured. Political conviction becomes music taste, thought becomes rhythms and patterns, apparent chaos finds natural order, etc. As I saw it the people of this underground culture could be the seed for a possible revolution, but even if doesn't come to that - which is secondary - they regularly get a genuine experience of an anarchic society through the music and rave parties. The people in it are mostly shown in pretty dark and/or enclosed rooms, which adds to the underground feel of it. The KG rip is a featured T, btw.

Loveless - I guess it's Ceylan-esqe in some ways. Personally I thought more of Haneke, among others, and not only because a child is the catalyst of the story. Ruben Östlund also came to mind, though it's slightly less funny. It's an observant depiction of our age in many of its facets - the alienation and disconnect between people with the reasons for it being hinted at - I can't say I'm even thinking of it as a missing persons film much. But something I found poignant in this regard is that the people who help the parents are dedicated volunteers instead of any law enforcement people or government officials. I often found it to be on the verge of feeling too contrived (or obvious) compared to great films of a similar ilk, but it always stayed enough in balance for me. 'Elena' focused more on class differences but I looked at that film in quite a similar way overall. Eventually they are for me even more a portrayal of "global society" at large (the Russian society depicted in them essentially is culturally interchangeable with any other in the Western world) than of any seemingly unique individuals or about the human condition.
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#31

Post by mightysparks » December 27th, 2018, 3:23 am

OldAle1 wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm
*Mighty - Deddo ribosu I'm with you on, and The Aviator I might've liked even less. Moonlight, Forty Guns, The Guns of Navarone and The Mortal Storm on the other hand are all between excellent and masterful to me. I don't think I've ever had a week with the amount of mediocrity you describe. Must suck.
That's a normal week for me, aside from having a massive two films that I liked :P I've had a worse one so far this week. It's frustrating, I don't know why I'm so hard to please.
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#32

Post by mightysparks » December 27th, 2018, 3:30 am

sol wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am
I have mentioned it before (perhaps not to you but somewhere) that iCM has massively changed my viewing habits. Or the combination of iCM and the iCM Forum. Everything these days is about watching more and more films, partially completing more and more lists, watching specific films for specific challenges etc., all of which makes it hard to juggle going back and revisiting some of the major films that have shaped me as a cinephile over the years. The stats say a lot:

Number of rewatches in 2018: 53
Number of rewatches in 2017: 85
Number of rewatches in 2016: 211
Number of rewatches in 2015: 234
Number of rewatches in 2014: 191
Yea, I used to rewatch a lot more when I was younger until I found iCM in late 2009, but it had definitely eased up by the time I started recording every watch but as you can see my first time viewings rose significantly. I started focusing on rewatches in 2014-2016 but then I got depression and completely changed so I probably need to rewatch everything again anyway:

Rewatch (total viewings)
2006: 55 (291)
2007: 78 (144)
2008: 25 (131)
2009: 16 (178)
2010: 11 (346)
2011: 62 (941)
2012: 25 (1140)
2013: 21 (582)
2014: 73 (574)
2015: 77 (328)
2016: 62 (216)
2017: 9 (126)
2018: 10 (151)
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#33

Post by sol » December 27th, 2018, 5:52 am

mightysparks wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 3:30 am
sol wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am
I have mentioned it before (perhaps not to you but somewhere) that iCM has massively changed my viewing habits. Or the combination of iCM and the iCM Forum. Everything these days is about watching more and more films, partially completing more and more lists, watching specific films for specific challenges etc., all of which makes it hard to juggle going back and revisiting some of the major films that have shaped me as a cinephile over the years. The stats say a lot:

Number of rewatches in 2018: 53
Number of rewatches in 2017: 85
Number of rewatches in 2016: 211
Number of rewatches in 2015: 234
Number of rewatches in 2014: 191
Yea, I used to rewatch a lot more when I was younger until I found iCM in late 2009, but it had definitely eased up by the time I started recording every watch but as you can see my first time viewings rose significantly. I started focusing on rewatches in 2014-2016 but then I got depression and completely changed so I probably need to rewatch everything again anyway:

Rewatch (total viewings)
2006: 55 (291)
2007: 78 (144)
2008: 25 (131)
2009: 16 (178)
2010: 11 (346)
2011: 62 (941)
2012: 25 (1140)
2013: 21 (582)
2014: 73 (574)
2015: 77 (328)
2016: 62 (216)
2017: 9 (126)
2018: 10 (151)
Oh, cool - so I'm not the only person who madly keeps track of such stats. :sweat: I didn't specifically mention it, but the total number of films that I have watched has also increased since joining iCM and the forum. I was averaging between 350 and 550 total films a year from 2010 to 2016 (don't have any stats for before then). Last year, that number reached over 650, and this year it's even higher. As in insanely higher. Well, maybe not quite as insane as your 2011 and 2012 was, but I have seen a mind-blowing number of movies considering that I have been doing this while working full-time. I suppose it's going to have to slow down and even out at some point, but max's Challenge Olympics are so addictive, and when push comes to shove, I would definitely prefer more years like this year and 2017 in which I have too much stuff lined up to watch, as opposed to years of struggling to work out what to watch. And I've had years like that. 2015 and 2016 were particularly stressful years for me at work, which I why I rewatched so much stuff those years as opposed to seeking out new stuff.
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#34

Post by mightysparks » December 27th, 2018, 6:07 am

sol wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 5:52 am
mightysparks wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 3:30 am
sol wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 3:49 am
I have mentioned it before (perhaps not to you but somewhere) that iCM has massively changed my viewing habits. Or the combination of iCM and the iCM Forum. Everything these days is about watching more and more films, partially completing more and more lists, watching specific films for specific challenges etc., all of which makes it hard to juggle going back and revisiting some of the major films that have shaped me as a cinephile over the years. The stats say a lot:

Number of rewatches in 2018: 53
Number of rewatches in 2017: 85
Number of rewatches in 2016: 211
Number of rewatches in 2015: 234
Number of rewatches in 2014: 191
Yea, I used to rewatch a lot more when I was younger until I found iCM in late 2009, but it had definitely eased up by the time I started recording every watch but as you can see my first time viewings rose significantly. I started focusing on rewatches in 2014-2016 but then I got depression and completely changed so I probably need to rewatch everything again anyway:

Rewatch (total viewings)
2006: 55 (291)
2007: 78 (144)
2008: 25 (131)
2009: 16 (178)
2010: 11 (346)
2011: 62 (941)
2012: 25 (1140)
2013: 21 (582)
2014: 73 (574)
2015: 77 (328)
2016: 62 (216)
2017: 9 (126)
2018: 10 (151)
Oh, cool - so I'm not the only person who madly keeps track of such stats. :sweat: I didn't specifically mention it, but the total number of films that I have watched has also increased since joining iCM and the forum. I was averaging between 350 and 550 total films a year from 2010 to 2016 (don't have any stats for before then). Last year, that number reached over 650, and this year it's even higher. As in insanely higher. Well, maybe not quite as insane as your 2011 and 2012 was, but I have seen a mind-blowing number of movies considering that I have been doing this while working full-time. I suppose it's going to have to slow down and even out at some point, but max's Challenge Olympics are so addictive, and when push comes to shove, I would definitely prefer more years like this year and 2017 in which I have too much stuff lined up to watch, as opposed to years of struggling to work out what to watch. And I've had years like that. 2015 and 2016 were particularly stressful years for me at work, which I why I rewatched so much stuff those years as opposed to seeking out new stuff.
If Max's challenge thing had been around in the early days of this forum I probably would've had much higher numbers.. I used to be list and challenge obsessed but I don't have the same enthusiasm for it these days. I would like to get back to the days of watching 500+ a year, but it's really tough with so much other stuff going on and I'm not even that busy. Now that I'm sobered up and less depressed I'm way more in the mood for film and have been gobbling it up this week but I can imagine once uni starts again my viewings will drop.

And I do indeed love obsessively tracking stats. I used to track rewatches per month but I reduced it to yearly so I could make my spreadsheet a little more aesthetically pleasing and tidy:
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#35

Post by Onderhond » December 27th, 2018, 6:19 am

mightysparks wrote:
December 23rd, 2018, 12:08 pm
Deddo ribusu (2004) 5/10
This was pretty hyper and had some nice energy but was pretty dull and annoying. Just not into this type of film
Hah, Dead Leaves has been in my top 10 since forever :D . For me this is the right kind of hyper, the film just goes all in, doesn't overstay its welcome and is just one, big 60 minute smile.

Oh, and don't watch EN-subbed anime :ph43r:

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#36

Post by sol » December 27th, 2018, 6:25 am

OldAle1 wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 7:38 pm
Love seeing your stats - I don't keep track like that, kind of wish I did. Well, I did the last couple of years but offline and that computer died, sigh. But I'm not sure I've ever even had 53 re-watches - if one doesn't count shorts anyway - in a year, let alone 200+. But I like the comment especially about them not being "the most amazing cinematic experiences" which jibes with my own re-watching to a certain extent, at least at home.
As mentioned to mighty above, those years in which I had over 200 rewatches were years in which I had relatively few first-time viewings. In fact, 2015 almost saw parity between first time viewings and revisions.

It's an interesting issue - should a film be judged on its rewatchability or its ability to completely floor you on a single viewing. I mean, there are definitely things that annoy me about the Ocean's sequels and I don't know if I would call any of the films a flat-out masterpiece. Warts and all though, I keep coming back to them again and again (it's all to do with timing and character chemistry) so maybe I should be rating/ranking them higher than I do. Argh.
OldAle1 wrote:
December 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm
*sol - I've seen a couple of the Up films, but not since the 90s, so at this point can't really comment - I do remember liking them though and have thought about going through the cycle, just not gotten to it. I also watched Plague this week, see my much less enthusiastic comments; saw Trapped and Adoration several years ago, liked both overall, and probably liked Chloe more than you. Not sure Turbo Kid worked for me - it seemed more an homage to films like Cherry 2000 and, yeah, the Mad Max films, but then had gore well beyond what you'd find in anything but a horror film, which really didn't work for me - I guess it took me out of the nostalgia mode, which is what I wanted. Laurence Leboeuf was great though. Haven't seen either Cronenberg in a long time, loved Scanners in any case. Oh and Snow's <---> is pretty great though I like several of his films more. I definitely feel more in synch with him than with most experimental filmmakers, maybe more than any other living.
If you do ever rewatch the Up cycle, I would recommend watching them with breaks in between (like a couple of weeks, or at least a few days). They aren't designed to be marathon-watched and I can't objectively work out if 28 Up is my favourite because I watched it at such a distance to the rest or whether it is really by far and away the best entry.

I apologise if peeptoad and myself convinced you to watch Plague due to our positive remarks on the Canadian Challenge thread. It's certainly a bit of a cheap film (noticeably done on a budget) but yep, the fact that carrier herself does not get sick is indeed part of what fascinated me about the movie and reminded me of Rabid, which has the same sort of idea. The film's director, Ed Hunt, seems to have made a career for himself by copying creating homages to Cronenberg. His brain - er, The Brain - is likewise heavily modeled on Videodrome, and as a diehard Cronenberg fanboy, I guess maybe I just like these copycat features more than most.

I enjoyed the thriller turn that Chloe took towards the end. But it was indeed just towards the end. Adoration, which I watched directly afterwards, was much more my cup of Atom Egoyan tea.

I haven't seen Cherry 2000, but the excessive blood and gore that rubbed you the wrong way in Turbo Kid was probably my favourite aspect of it. I'm not a big fan of post-apocalyptic movies and Mad Max 2 is actually my least favourite film in the quadrilogy (!), so I was cautious about watching Turbo Kid and really appreciated the fact that it was more horror than post-apoc-minded (to coin a term). Yes, Leboeuf was great. Not likely to forget that performance for a while.

I share your sentiments on Michael Snow. I hate Stan Brakhage and while James Benning's films are interesting, none of them really blow me away. Michael Snow though - his films are absolutely entrancing.

Yours:

I liked Pyaasa at the time, but haven't seen it in over a decade. Never seen Kaagaz Ke Phool. I'm not exactly a big fan of Indian cinema in general. Don't remember much of The Holly and the Ivy other than being bowled over by how young Denholm Elliott was (I didn't recognise him at first).

I've never seen the greatness in Joel Grey's performance in Cabaret. It's all show and no depth; we never see his character beyond the makeup. I did like Liza Minnelli in the film both times that I saw it. Same goes for Michael York. It's been a while, but I think the editing is probably what sold me most on the film upon rewatch. All of the snippets of what is happening outside the cabaret cut into the cabaret acts. A really interesting portrait of a world changing outside and those oblivious (or uncaring) inside.

Fido was, yeah, a pretty cool 50s satire. Exhausted itself a bit by the end, but gee, Billy Connolly - didn't recognise him at all. Don't remember much of Lady on a Train, probably been over a decade for that one. Absolutely loved Nothing. The pair probably irritated me a bit too by the end, but yeah, excellent idea - imaginatively executed as always by Vincenzo Natali.
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#37

Post by sol » December 27th, 2018, 6:34 am

mightysparks wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:07 am
If Max's challenge thing had been around in the early days of this forum I probably would've had much higher numbers.. I used to be list and challenge obsessed but I don't have the same enthusiasm for it these days. I would like to get back to the days of watching 500+ a year, but it's really tough with so much other stuff going on and I'm not even that busy. Now that I'm sobered up and less depressed I'm way more in the mood for film and have been gobbling it up this week but I can imagine once uni starts again my viewings will drop.

And I do indeed love obsessively tracking stats. I used to track rewatches per month but I reduced it to yearly so I could make my spreadsheet a little more aesthetically pleasing and tidy:
SpoilerShow
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Okay, you win - you're more stats obsessed than I am. tehe I merely keep track of the titles that I watch each year in a word document. I do list them in rough order of preference though, which is a really cool since I can just grab my top or bottom 20, 50, 100 etc films at a moment's notice. And, to also compete with your obsessions, I have word document lists of my "awards" for every year - sort of my alternative Oscars. This was something I started way back in the IMDb days and kind of only has relevance to brokenface's awards game now, but I still keep the documents up to date so I can provide acting lineups or my favourite editing, special effects etc for every year from 1931 to 2017 if it ever comes up in conversation. :blink:
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#38

Post by maxwelldeux » December 27th, 2018, 6:54 am

sol wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:34 am
mightysparks wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:07 am
If Max's challenge thing had been around in the early days of this forum I probably would've had much higher numbers.. I used to be list and challenge obsessed but I don't have the same enthusiasm for it these days. I would like to get back to the days of watching 500+ a year, but it's really tough with so much other stuff going on and I'm not even that busy. Now that I'm sobered up and less depressed I'm way more in the mood for film and have been gobbling it up this week but I can imagine once uni starts again my viewings will drop.

And I do indeed love obsessively tracking stats. I used to track rewatches per month but I reduced it to yearly so I could make my spreadsheet a little more aesthetically pleasing and tidy:
SpoilerShow
Image
Okay, you win - you're more stats obsessed than I am. tehe I merely keep track of the titles that I watch each year in a word document. I do list them in rough order of preference though, which is a really cool since I can just grab my top or bottom 20, 50, 100 etc films at a moment's notice. And, to also compete with your obsessions, I have word document lists of my "awards" for every year - sort of my alternative Oscars. This was something I started way back in the IMDb days and kind of only has relevance to brokenface's awards game now, but I still keep the documents up to date so I can provide acting lineups or my favourite editing, special effects etc for every year from 1931 to 2017 if it ever comes up in conversation. :blink:
Fuck that Max guy with his stupid stats bullshit. :circle:

Yeah - since joining ICM, I started tracking some stats there (e.g., ranks on various lists). But since joining the forum here, I've started tracking so much more (e.g., directors, years, countries). Between trakt.tv (best analogy is "Letterboxd but with TV also") and my spreadsheets I've built up for stuff around the forum here, I can do quite a bit of stats damage. I'm pretty happy.

I'm new to cinephilia so I don't have far back stats, but I'm up about 25% in film watches this year, though I haven't looked at how many of those are rewatches yet.

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#39

Post by mightysparks » December 27th, 2018, 7:12 am

sol wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:34 am
mightysparks wrote:
December 27th, 2018, 6:07 am
If Max's challenge thing had been around in the early days of this forum I probably would've had much higher numbers.. I used to be list and challenge obsessed but I don't have the same enthusiasm for it these days. I would like to get back to the days of watching 500+ a year, but it's really tough with so much other stuff going on and I'm not even that busy. Now that I'm sobered up and less depressed I'm way more in the mood for film and have been gobbling it up this week but I can imagine once uni starts again my viewings will drop.

And I do indeed love obsessively tracking stats. I used to track rewatches per month but I reduced it to yearly so I could make my spreadsheet a little more aesthetically pleasing and tidy:
SpoilerShow
Image
Okay, you win - you're more stats obsessed than I am. tehe I merely keep track of the titles that I watch each year in a word document. I do list them in rough order of preference though, which is a really cool since I can just grab my top or bottom 20, 50, 100 etc films at a moment's notice. And, to also compete with your obsessions, I have word document lists of my "awards" for every year - sort of my alternative Oscars. This was something I started way back in the IMDb days and kind of only has relevance to brokenface's awards game now, but I still keep the documents up to date so I can provide acting lineups or my favourite editing, special effects etc for every year from 1931 to 2017 if it ever comes up in conversation. :blink:
I used to keep an awards document but I never finished it and havent updated it in a few years. I also found it difficult to remember particular things I liked, and stuff like editing or music very rarely sticks out to me so it was pretty much just best film and actors. I also have a word doc with films from each year ranked, but I don’t update that very often either. And I had one with ranked films of each director that I’d seen more than 5 films from but I also fell behind with updating that.
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#40

Post by GruesomeTwosome » December 27th, 2018, 3:00 pm

Da moviez you all done seen:

mightysparks:
I liked Moonlight and The Aviator a lot more than you, apparently.


peeptoad:
Saw Black Christmas ages ago, I recall thinking it was OK but didn't do much for me I guess.


joachimt:
Lady Bird was one of my favorites from 2017. (l) Saoirse Ronan.
The Exquisite Corpus is super lovely, as is the norm for Tscherkassky. Maybe not as effective as something like Outer Space, but I love the imagery and editing in this one too.


Carmel:
Seen none. :(


Onderhond:
We had a brief exchange about A Simple Favor earlier this week I think; my rating for it and overall impression of the film seem to be a bit higher than yours (I rated it a 6/10), but I agree to a certain extent with your criticisms. Maybe a bit too twist-y for its own good.


OldAle1:
Green Book - yeah, pretty much nailed it. This is incredibly straightforward and unchallenging stuff; certainly don't look to this movie for any kind of nuanced commentary on black/white relations in the US. But the team of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali do enough to make this comedy-tinged road-movie drama very watchable, in a goes-down-easy crowd pleasing way. But yeah, nothing special at all.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - seen this and several of the other holiday Charlie Brown specials, but this Peanuts stuff was never really my thing.

The Snowman - now here's a Christmastime short that I can get behind. I didn't watch it this year, but I did re-watch it the prior Christmas for the first time in ages, and it held up wonderfully.

The Mule - I was harder on this one than you it seems, but I know you're more of an Eastwood fan than I am. Here's what I wrote a couple weeks back:

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.

The Favourite - probably in my 2018 top three for the time being. 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. All three female leads were great though Emma Stone (your girl, OldAle :D ) stood out for me. Also, this is a contender for having the best final shot for a 2018 film (that I've seen so far, at least).

Nothing - I loved the conceit and found this very funny for the most part, and really enjoyed the two lead actors and how they played off each other (particularly David Hewlett, who I always like when he pops up).
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