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Which films Did You See Last Week? 23/12/18 - 29/12/18

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sol
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Which films Did You See Last Week? 23/12/18 - 29/12/18

#1

Post by sol » December 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm

So, after all that, I have managed to make it home to post the weekly thread at the usual time. :sweat: It's not enough time for me to write a review about this afternoon's viewing of The Favourite, but I should be able to knock one out a little later and then post it on this thread. What I will say is that it's easily my second favourite 2018 release so far. I just wish the ending resonated a bit more with me. After hearing GruesomeTwosome and OldAle discuss this "amazing final shot" (paraphrasing there), I was anticipating something more. The Favourite left me going a bit "huh" at the end; Blackkklansman left me devastated and in tears, which is probably the main reason why the Spike Lee film has my preference for the moment. Both are great works for sure though.

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

Wavelength (1967). Set inside a single apartment room, this unconventional thriller shows both days before and after a man is murdered there. Best thought of as an experimental movie rather than a narrative, the film is shot to look like one continuous slow zoom towards an object on the wall, and director Michael Snow employs an interesting bag of cinematic tricks to create the illusion as colours are inversed and shots are dissolved together to disguise the editing. The final shot, as it turns out, is a bit of a pun and frustratingly gives little context to the murder, but this manipulation of expectation is interesting in itself. It is quite a hypnotic experience too, with the pre-murder long distance shots especially enticing as attention is drawn to the windows where what is going on can barely be made out. The varying pitch sound scape is excellent too. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

La Région Centrale (1971). Devoid of human or animal movements, the mountain landscapes of Québec are captured for three hours in this experimental Michael Snow film. Using a camera especially built for the film, the shots are far from ordinary and deliberately disorientating to the point that one loses track of what is up and down. The camera itself spins around on both horizontal and vertical axes, with the very first 360 degree spinning shot especially memorable. Then there is the nighttime footage in which Snow intentionally blurs the line between sky and ground, plus there are subtle changes in speed. And yet, La Région Centrale lacks the playfulness that made <---> and Wavelength so great. It is actually often much closer to a James Benning film with Snow's experimentations few and far between. Great sound effects as ever though. (first viewing, online) ★★★

So Is This (1983). Flashing single words on screen at time, Michael Snow address such issues as the making of this movie, censorship and audience expectations in this fun experimental film. While the whole thing is white letters on black background and no sound, it is very noticeably a Snow project from the way he manipulates the speed between words and how long "length" and "pause" humorously linger on screen for. And humour is rife throughout So Is This; it is frequently laugh-out-loud funny as Snow lies about length of the film and asks if the prospect of something longer is "frightening", as he lingers on the heading "Warning:" for ages and he flashes swear words throughout a segment dedicated to the Ontario Censorship Board. Even at 48 minutes long, the film still outstays its welcome, but this is a definitive example of a 'blink and miss it' movie. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Hospital (1970). Frederick Wiseman takes his crew through a busy New York hospital in this observational documentary. Among other incidents, we see a psychiatrist plead over the phone with welfare agent to look after his patient, a nurse act empathetically towards a man who believes that he has testicular cancer and doctors who exercise extreme patience when confronted with a loud and vocal drug taker who believes that he is going to die. All of these vignettes paint the hospital staff as dedicated and caring individuals. On the same account, it leads to very little in the way of conflict. Wiseman also does not quite manage to build things up to a powerful conclusion as he is well known for doing. This is certainly a very competently made documentary, but viewed subsequent to Wiseman's better known movies, it seems like a quieter and less potent effort. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Primate (1974). Venturing inside laboratories and research facilities, this Frederick Wiseman documentary looks at scientific research involving primates. As per Wiseman norm, the film is shot in fly-on-the-wall style, but the mode seems less appropriate here than usual. Over half of the film just watches the scientists going about their business without explaining what they are doing, which heavily biases the film in favour of the primates who seem cruelly treated for no discernible reason. The parts where the scientists discuss what they are planning to do are, however, as interesting as in most Wiseman projects. We ultimately get a portrait of passionate individuals who are fascinated by these creatures but cannot help but force ejaculate them and so on. It is just a shame that the film is not more objective regarding what one scientist says about "all research is useful". (first viewing, online) ★★★

Welfare (1975). Shot inside a New York welfare agency, this observational documentary from Frederick Wiseman gets up close with both agency staff and those applying for welfare benefits. The ample runtime (near three hours) allows Wiseman to fully depict both sides of the coin. We see vignettes in which it looks like the applicants are being treated harshly and unfairly by the staff, as well as parts in which the staff are unfairly harassed. Wiseman ultimately paints a riveting portrait of a broken system in which both sides are frustrated by obstacles that are out of their control. Some the zooms in and out are a little distracting and occasionally Wiseman lingers on a segment for too long (c.f. the racist and the security guard) but he funnels everything towards a powerhouse conclusion as an irate university educated welfare applicant gets to speak his mind. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Funeral Home (1980). Or as it is more intriguingly sometimes known, Cries in the Night, this is sadly a pretty tepid film regardless of title. The premise has potential as a young woman grows concerned by the large number of visitors of her grandmother's bed-and-breakfast establishment who leave unannounced in the middle of the night - and the house itself (a former funeral home) is a reasonably spooky location with quite an ominous basement. The film is severely compromised by though by its deathly slow pacing with over eleven minutes elapsing before anything remotely scary occurs and over thirty minutes in before we actually see anyone get killed. The denouement, if technically well done, is additionally too derivative of Hitchcock to hold much power, and the identity of the killer is blatantly obvious from too early on. Good sound effects though. (first viewing, online) ★

Spellbound (2002). Not to be confused with the Alfred Hitchcock classic, this American documentary follows eight kids as they compete in a national spelling bee. Some of their training strategies are interesting as well as their fixation on winning, but the film rarely addresses the downside of their obsession. One parent laughs off the suggestion that the process is akin to "child abuse" and another parent briefly remarks on her daughter's lack of a social life, but these issues are never addressed again or properly developed. The documentary also does not tackle how spelling out loud is one of the least effective ways to learn words. The final five minutes do give some context to spelling bees and the stresses involved, but it comes a little late. The kids (other than the annoying one with the wide mouth and braces) are at least fairly interesting individuals. (first viewing, DVD) ★

End of the Line (2007). Released with an intentionally misleading poster, this is one of those films best entered into with as few expectations as possible. Suffice it to say, the plot has a group of subway train passengers fearing for their life when their vehicle breaks unexpectedly in a dark tunnel. It is an encapsulating experience from the get-go with one of the most unpredictable jump scares ever committed to film in the first five minutes, plus some really grisly imagery as the protagonist starts to hallucinate - or does she? The film arguably tackles a bit too much, with the ideas before and after the vehicle stops not quite adding together, but it is a surefire unsettling experience overall with an unnerving pregnant lady death scene sticking out in particular, plus the music score effectively varies from disquieting and atmosphere to downright chilling throughout. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

Heartbeats (2010). Best friends for ages, a gay man and a straight woman find their friendship tested as they compete for the affections of a recent acquaintance while unsure if he is gay or straight in this Xavier Dolan drama. It is hard to buy how oblivious the acquaintance remains throughout towards the fact that they are into him, but this is a thoroughly compelling look at human desire either way with all the usual awesome Dolan artistic flourishes. The slow motion shots set to melancholic music are simply sublime and there is a magnificent scene midway through in which they sit and watch the acquaintance dance amid strobe lighting at a party. There are some great small brief touches too, like the way he notices his leg next to his when he wakes up. The three main performers are also excellent throughout, though Dolan leaves the juiciest role for himself. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

Incendies (2010). At the request of their mother in her will, two siblings search for the father who they thought had died and a brother who they never knew existed in this acclaimed Canadian drama. The film benefits from some terrific performances - in particular Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin as the sister and Lubna Azabal as the mother in flashback, and the film balances the present and past story threads playing out against one another well. The film also has an intriguing jigsaw puzzle-like structure, though when push comes to shove, it does not quite make sense how cryptic and vague the information is that she provides for her children. The scarcity of information does lead to a pretty shocking twist in the final fifteen minutes, but then this shock value distracts from the film's otherwise potent look at war conflicts, the vulnerability of orphans and so on. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Father's Day (2011). Stopping the killing spree of a deranged man who performs felatio on his victims proves challenging for three Canadians whose fathers were killed by the maniac in this horror-comedy that is not for the faint-hearted. The film is from the minds of Astron-6, the team behind Manborg and The Editor, as to be expected from Astron-6, it is a pretty wild ride. There is some really morbid humour, several laugh-out-loud moments as a mixed metaphor is misunderstand and the special effects are spectacular for such a low budget affair with it genuinely looking like victims are having their manhood ripped off etc. The film also includes an awesome fake ad break. It does run incredibly long with the slim premise exhausted by the end, but the project concludes on a pitch perfect final note and the energy from all concerned is undeniable. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Grave Encounters (2011). Locked overnight in a defunct mental asylum, the cynical production crew of a ghost hunting program discovers that the location is actually haunted in this found footage horror film. It is not a very frightening movie with the jump scares and eerie moments (things moving unassisted) telegraphed far in advance. The screaming of the panicked crew quickly grows tiresome too. There is, however, lots to like in how insincere the crew is shown to be, asking interviewees to "make something up for the camera" and laughing at a fake psychic's performance, only to receive comeuppance in spades. The paradox that they find themselves in is endlessly fascinating too as they are trapped in a never-ending nighttime while the geography of the building keeps shifting on them. The film does not quite maximise this dynamic, but the creativity is at least there. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

The Imposter (2012). Strange but true, this British documentary examines the case of an adult French con artist who managed to convince a Texan family that he was their missing teenage son. The film consists of interviews with both the imposter and members of the family he fooled, all of which is spliced in with compelling cinematic reconstruction footage, with a particular focus on his point of view. And, as waxes poetic about being "reborn" and having "a second chance to succeed", it is easy to sympathise with his sentiments. The film is a little too focused on him though and how he felt compelled to impersonate out of desperation; as such, the family - and in particular their willing suspension of disbelief - sadly gets little focus. This is, nevertheless, riveting stuff from start to finish and like or despise the titular person, he is one surefire fascinating individual. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

Citizenfour (2014). Edward Snowden's controversial decision to leak classified information is depicted in vivid detail in this fascinating documentary. The director was invited to be with Snowden every step of the way to objectively record his actions - though objectivity goes out of the metaphorical window here. The documentary pretty much celebrates Snowden as a hero, which may rub one the wrong way. Such biases aside though, this is riveting look at a man doing something dangerous because he believes it is necessary and the film is unusually shot with many moments of Snowden just plodding around his hotel room that humanise him. A fire alarm scene is also really eerie. Quite aside from being about Snowden, the film also clarifies metadata and issues of privacy in the modern era, provoking reflection of how our governments really operate. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Remember (2015). Deeply confused and suffering from dementia, an elderly Holocaust survivor attempts to track down the former Nazi responsible for his family's slaughter in this unusual Atom Egoyan movie. As he keeps referring to handwritten notes and has trouble forming new memories, the film instantly brings to mind Memento, though it does not play into this dynamic often enough to really work as a thriller. It does, however, click for the most part as a haunting drama about the fragility of memory and the need to remember, and Christopher Plummer has never been better in the lead role with every eye twitch and facial tic conveying volumes. The twist near the end does exactly add up, but this a compelling journey in general with several intense moments as he comes close to neo-Nazis and men who may or may not be the man he is after. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

February (2015). Retitled The Blackcoat's Daughter for US release, neither title indicates what this Canadian horror film is really about, which plays to its advantage. Without revealing too much, the movie follows two separate story threads, both intriguing on their own. In one thread, two teenagers are forced to stay an extra night at their boarding school after their parents are late to pick them up; in the other thread, a lonely young woman is given a ride by two strangers with an initially unannounced hidden agenda. Director Oz Perkins does a great job drumming up tension and suspense in both plotlines. The deserted school is a particularly good setting and the slow creeping shots and sound effects style music add oodles of atmosphere. As a narrative, the film is arguably left too open to interpretation at the end, but it is one surefire eerie and thrilling ride. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

The Void (2016). Trapped inside a hospital running on skeletal staff, several small town citizens are perplexed by various odd goings-on in this Canadian horror film. The movie comes from the combined imaginations of Astron-6 alumni Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, however, this is not a parody project a la Father's Day or The Editor. The practical effects seem inspired by such 80s classics as The Thing, but this is a grim and serious-minded homage, albeit one that does not quite work. The set-up is excellent, full of mystery and atmosphere and ominous hooded figures, but the story becomes a drag once it reveals what is going on and the ostentatious special effects never really seem at one with the story - as if they were dreamt up with the movie written around them. Some of the ideas are certainly interesting here but the execution is messy. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Operation Avalanche (2016). Learning that NASA is far behind in their lunar space program, a documentary film crew convinces those in charge to let them fake the moon landing on soundstage in this intriguing thriller. While the notion that the moon landing was faked has become popular over time, the filmmakers give things a unique spin by filming their project in documentary fashion with shaky camerawork as they go about building lunar sets and evading pursuit by shady characters who are watching their every move. The tone is a little all-over-the-place; their fights on set, for instance, are very comical, but the overall topic is serious and sobering. Director Matt Johnson is also sometimes a little grating in the lead role and more could have definitely been made of their trip to the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but this is pretty cool for what it is. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

It's Only the End of the World (2016). Reuniting with a mother, brother and sister who he has not seen in twelve years proves challenging for a famous playwright in this intense drama from Xavier Dolan. He has returned to tell his family that he is dying, but when he gets there he finds a younger sister who is essentially a stranger, a less successful older brother who is bitter and resentful, and an unfamiliar woman (his brother's wife) struggling amid the tension. Some extreme close-ups (as they first converse in the hallway of their house) mirror the awkwardness felt between all, and as the protagonist finds it increasingly difficult to get in a word edgeways, we see him reflect on his choice to return home to break the news. With lots of screaming and shouting, the film is pretty exhausting and runs a tad long even at only 95 minutes, but the emotions cut deep. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Vice (2018). Following his acclaimed The Big Short, Adam McKay tackles the life story of former US vice president Dick Cheney here. It is equally as ostentatious and flashy as his earlier Oscar winning movie with sarcastic voice-over narration and inter-titles, direct Shakespearean dialogue, exaggerated sound effects and even a fake set of end credits halfway in. Amidst all the audiovisual pizzazz though, McKay struggles to tell a compelling tale as he keeps dodging back and forth between two polar extreme suggestions. One suggestion is that Cheney was an evil, evil man who only ever cared about power. The other is that he was a mere puppet for his Lady Macbeth of a wife who wanted to push her extreme views on the world. Whatever the case, McKay never lets under the skin of Cheney the man - though Christian Bale does look convincing. (first viewing, cinema) ★★

The Favourite (2018). Review pending. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★★

OthersShow
Paris 1900 (1947). Motion picture footage of Paris ranging from 1900 to 1914 is edited together to paint a portrait of a thriving city immediately before the outbreak of the First World War in this French documentary. Derived from newsreels, fiction silent movies and other sources, the footage itself is fairly interesting; the narration that accompanies the images less so. Some segments are in fact downright weird and outdated (even for the 1940s) with the narrator gasping at how "modesty is becoming a lost cause" with trends in women's clothing and women entering the workforce. The segments that do work are really good though; one man's failed attempt to fly from the Eiffel Tower is captured in grisly detail as he hits the bricks below. The overall experience though is too uneven to really recommend, but bits and pieces here are certainly of interest. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Christmas Martian (1971). Stuck in snowbound Canada when his spaceship malfunctions, an alien in a fishnet stocking mask bribes two children with candy to help him fix his flying saucer in this weird oddity. If not as creepy as it sounds, the film's noticeable low budget shines through with a paper-thin plot, leaden dialogue and a barely credible Martian outfit. The whole thing remains fairly watchable though with lots of innovation in the cheap special effects that allow the characters to fly. The kids themselves are rather adorable too and the film lets them dangerously ride ski mobiles and even climb on top of the flying saucer; they are far removed from the sheltered children of today. Alas, even at only an hour long, the film quickly outstays its welcome and descends into formulaic chase shenanigans. A double Santa bit near the end is amusing though. (first viewing, online) ★

Outrageous! (1977). Making a career as a paid performer proves challenging for a drag queen while his escaped mental patient roommate has problems of her own in this Canadian cult classic. Craig Russell and Hollis McLaren are both excellent as the two protagonists. Russell is both convincing as a female impersonator and professional singer and does some uncannily good impressions of Bette Davis, Judy Garland and others, while McLaren has some chilling moments as her schizophrenia surfaces. The film does not do a particularly good job though of balancing the two plot threads; the pair share great chemistry together, but their scenes apart tend to feel dragged out with none of the supporting cast ever showing as much talent as the film's stars. It is also hard not expect a film with such a title to push the envelope more; John Waters this is not. (first viewing, online) ★★

Hog Wild (1980). Kicked out of military school, a teenager returns to find his local high school terrorised by a motorcycle-riding gang in this Canadian comedy. While the viciousness of the gang is precursory to the likes of Class of 1984, the filmmakers play up their goofiness, with one gang member having a hook hand and their leader talking incoherently. As they ride their motorcycles into packed cinemas and bash their heads through cafeteria windows without repercussions, the film is too silly to ever take seriously as a character study with the protagonist proving to his gung-ho father that "you don't have to me a soldier to stick up for yourself". On the same account, the film's PG-13 level humour is too innocuous and good-natured not to like, there are some creative scene change edits, and a pre-Terminator Michael Beihn excels as our assertive hero. (first viewing, online) ★★

Rock & Rule (1983). To summon an evil being from another dimension, a faded rock star kidnaps a female singer whose voice he requires in this bizarre animated comedy from Canada. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future in which cats, rats and dogs have turned humanoid, and these trappings give way to some pretty trippy imagery with outlandish sets and zany creatures. The filmmakers do not, however, seem sure if they are spinning an adult or kid-oriented movie. The scantily-clad female characters and drug references give the film an X-rated Ralph Bakshi vibe, but the supporting characters are mostly bumbling buffoons - especially the villain's henchmen and the other band members - with many gags at the expense of how dimwitted they are. The film looks great and some of the songs are okay, but this is just incredibly awkward overall. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Canadian Conspiracy (1985). Could the success of so many Canadians in the American entertainment industry be part of a conspiracy? This mockumentary attempts to answer this through interviews with Eugene Levy, playing an accentuated version of himself as "the informant", as well as illustrious individuals ranging from John Candy to Margot Kidder to Leslie Nielsen. The film makes the most of coincidences such as Nielsen's brother being involved in politics and Mary Pickford seen getting close to Canada's then prime minister in archive footage. Some of the humour is just silly, such the US Green Card being named after Lorne Greene, though the deadpan scare campaign narration is great. The premise exhausts itself a bit and the film may have benefited from a shorter runtime a la the similarly satiric BabaKiueria, but it is novel stuff for sure. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Dark (1993). Concerned that their gravestones are sinking into the ground, two gravediggers discover "mutant gopher" with a bloodlust tunneling beneath their cemetery; meanwhile, a rogue scientist and his waitress girlfriend travel there to protect the endangered creature in this Canadian horror film. This is a bit of a hard film to get into at first as it takes a while for the two separate story threads to converge, but a good dose of humour keeps things afloat, as well as some fun similarities to The Terminator regarding the scientist and waitress, and things certainly get interesting once the monster starts attacking. More could have been made of its ability to pass on regenerative DNA to those it has bitten and the Muppet-looking creature is more terrifying when unseen, plus a hiding in a coffin plan is just silly, but this is relatively engaging for what it is. (first viewing, online) ★★

Forty Shades of Blue (2005). Not a Fifty Shades of Grey prequel, this independent drama rather focuses on a Russian immigrant and her uncertainty in life as the live-in girlfriend of a music mogul in a nonexclusive relationship. It a premise that comes with some potential and Rip Torn is excellent as the charismatic mogul in question, however, Dina Korzun is so subdued as the female protagonist, with such muted emotions, that it never quite works as a character study. The only more subdued character is Darren E. Burrows as Torn's son who briefly stays with the pair, and while something happens between Korzun and Burrows, it is hard to tell if they care (or if we care; there is limited controversy since the Torn and Korzun are not married). The film somehow won top honours at Sundance, though its competition was admittedly pretty weak that year. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Defendor (2009). Genuinely believing that he is a vigilante superhero a la Batman, a Canadian construction worker dresses in a costume to fight crime at night in this Woody Harrelson movie. The film gets off to a terrific start with some very funny moments as Harrelson uses containers of wasps and lime juice to tame the baddies, as well as MacGyver methods to break out of police custody. Things turn dramatic pretty quickly though and the whole final hour of the film is hard to sit through as it never feels comfortable to laugh at the character once we find out his history of mental illness and childhood trauma - not to mention the revelation that he has a low IQ. Harrelson certainly gives it his all and there are some amusing moments of him one-upping undesirables, but Kick-Ass one year later would do the whole deal far better with a more empathetic lead. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Repeaters (2010). Three rehab patients find themselves stuck in an infinite time loop with the same day endlessly repeated in this Canadian Groundhog Day variant. While there have been several variants, ranging from Source Code to Happy Death Day, this one comes with the novelty of multiple persons experiencing the paradox and the filmmakers spin a fascinating morality play movie by having their characters debate what to do. One of them views it as "a gift" and eventually resorts to murder and rape for kicks with no consequences while the others haplessly try to stop him. In this regard, the characters a little too black and white 'good' and 'bad' to ever really be interesting, and Amanda Crew is pretty lifeless as the female in the trio, but this is surprisingly intelligent stuff overall for something incorrectly marketed as an action thriller. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Surviving Progress (2011). Is there such a thing as "too much progress"? According to this documentary there is, as author Ronald Wright (whose writings inspired the movie) describes "progress traps" in which humanity is undone by taking too many leaps too quickly. It is an intriguing paradigm with an early example of mammoths gone extinct after men found ways of killing entire herds at a time, but the vast majority of the film lacks focus and mostly becomes an indictment of general human activity as issues as varied as economics, overpopulation, debt and deforestation come under the directors' critical hammer. Certain sequences certainly stick out (in particular the training of chimps versus human children) and several of the ideas here are thought-provoking, but the film provides far more questions than answers by tackling such an extensive canvas of ideas. (first viewing, online) ★★
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 30th, 2018, 12:01 pm

Watermarks: Three Letters from China (Luc Schaedler, 2013) 6/10

夜明け告げるルーのうた / Lu Over the Wall (湯浅政明 / Masaaki Yuasa, 2017) 6/10

kedi (Ceyda Torun, 2016) 7/10

忍ぶ川 / The Long Darkness / Shinobugawa (熊井啓 / Kei Kumai, 1972) 8+/10

Une histoire de vent (Joris Ivens & Marceline Loridan Ivens, 1988) 6/10

Mon oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971) 4+/10


shorts

That Which Pulls (Alexander Dupuis, 2013) 7/10

NIKE AIR 180 (David Cronenberg) ==


music videos

Current Value: That Smile (Dan Frantz & Andy Koeger, 2018) ==


series

Kidding: "Green Means Go" (Michel Gondry, 2018) 2/10


other

Watermarks: Three Letters from China - deleted scenes [mostly]
kedi - audio commentary with people [partly]; audio commentary with cats [very little]


didn't finish

The Road to Mandalay (Midi Z, 2016) [36 min + ending]
Golden Swallow / Jin yan zi (Cheh Chang, 1968) [26 min]
The Desert Archipelago / Mujin rettô (Katsu Kanai, 1969) [17 min]


notable online media

top:
Steven Wright - When Comedians Meet, Weird Comedians - 14/22 Visits In Chronological Order
[a lot of recent Bill Burr shit]
[more Steven Wright shit; Conan, SNL, Just for Laughs, Canada, whatever]
rest:
Tom Waits vs the World Of Advertising
FLOP 10 - Die schlechtesten Filme des Jahres 2018
Let Me Be Frank
dream realityImage
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.

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#3

Post by mightysparks » December 30th, 2018, 12:16 pm

sol wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm
The Void (2016). Trapped inside a hospital running on skeletal staff, several small town citizens are perplexed by various odd goings-on in this Canadian horror film. The movie comes from the combined imaginations of Astron-6 alumni Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, however, this is not a parody project a la Father's Day or The Editor. The practical effects seem inspired by such 80s classics as The Thing, but this is a grim and serious-minded homage, albeit one that does not quite work. The set-up is excellent, full of mystery and atmosphere and ominous hooded figures, but the story becomes a drag once it reveals what is going on and the ostentatious special effects never really seem at one with the story - as if they were dreamt up with the movie written around them. Some of the ideas are certainly interesting here but the execution is messy. (first viewing, DVD) ★★
I love Astron-6 and I liked The Void, but it reminded me too much of Baskin -- which I much preferred.

Also, re: The Favourite, am I to assume that it's not some lame historical drama biopic? That's what it looks like but with the director + all the comments I've seen about it I'm suspecting it isn't...
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#4

Post by sol » December 30th, 2018, 12:30 pm

mightysparks wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 12:16 pm
sol wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 12:00 pm
The Void (2016). Trapped inside a hospital running on skeletal staff, several small town citizens are perplexed by various odd goings-on in this Canadian horror film. The movie comes from the combined imaginations of Astron-6 alumni Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, however, this is not a parody project a la Father's Day or The Editor. The practical effects seem inspired by such 80s classics as The Thing, but this is a grim and serious-minded homage, albeit one that does not quite work. The set-up is excellent, full of mystery and atmosphere and ominous hooded figures, but the story becomes a drag once it reveals what is going on and the ostentatious special effects never really seem at one with the story - as if they were dreamt up with the movie written around them. Some of the ideas are certainly interesting here but the execution is messy. (first viewing, DVD) ★★
I love Astron-6 and I liked The Void, but it reminded me too much of Baskin -- which I much preferred.

Also, re: The Favourite, am I to assume that it's not some lame historical drama biopic? That's what it looks like but with the director + all the comments I've seen about it I'm suspecting it isn't...
Huh, never heard of Baskin before. Just looked it up - apparently it's a Turkish film and not the ice cream brand, which is what immediately came to mind.

I would say that I am an Astron-6 fan in general. Absolutely loved Manborg and Father's Day was pretty good. I was less sold on The Editor, but still appreciated what they were trying to do. The Void was a bit of a miss for me because I think the morbid humour is what I love most about the Astron-6 brand and The Void is fairly grim throughout.

Yeah, I had the same impression of The Favourite until I saw the trailer. It's a comedy first and foremost - and one about manipulative and scheming characters with shifting power relationships. It's not showing everywhere at the moment, but I'd recommend seeing it with an audience to laugh along with the funnier parts. Saw it in the large cinema at Windsor and it was pretty packed - unexpectedly so for an afternoon session. Almost had to line up outside to queue to get in!
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#5

Post by sol » December 30th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Belated review (though I mostly feeling like I am repeating everything that has been said already). Ah well.

The Favourite (2018). Eighteenth century England sets the scene for a fluid and changing power relationship between the Queen and the two women closest to her in this delightfully satiric comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos. Historical accuracy goes out the window with some of the dance moves, dialogue and so on, but the setting is incredibly interesting as the film examines three women who are opinionated and in positions of power despite being in a male dominated world. The best aspect of the film though is the shifting power dynamics between the trio with lots of ambiguity as to whether at least one of the other women actually likes the Queen or is merely interested in influencing and manipulating her. Rachel Weisz simply shines and comes off best as this lady, but both Olivia Colman and Emma Stone are very good too, and the constant fish eye lensing throughout provides the film with a very unique and appropriately voyeuristic feel as we see what may or may not have transpired at the time behind closed doors. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★★
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#6

Post by mightysparks » December 30th, 2018, 12:53 pm

Trying to take a leaf out of sol's book (and others) and make an effort to do some writing... It takes me like 30 minutes just to write these little paragraphs, that's how much I suck at this. Been focusing on awards and getting in the top 500 for all lists...

The Court Jester (1955) 5/10
After the throne of England is usurped by King Roderick, a group of rebels in the vein of Robin Hood send one of their men. Hubert Hawkins, to take the rightful heir - an infant with a purple pimpernel birthmark - to the castle where he belongs. A medieval musical comedy famous for its witty, tongue twisting dialogue, it is definitely lively and energetic with a cast that seem to be enjoying themselves, but the film doesn’t quite have the charm to pull it off. The musical numbers are weaved into the narrative, rather than being show-stoppers, and are not particularly memorable. It is filled with all the typical medieval clichés, including a duel between knights in the climax, and doesn't offer much in the way of originality. Though not particularly painful, the light-hearted and silly humour is also pretty lackluster.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) 5/10
Based on the true story of Desmond Doss, an army medic and devout Christian who refused to touch a gun during the war and became the first conscientious objector to be awarded a Medal of Honor. Corniness abounds in the first hour or so, with eye-rolling, cringeworthy dialogue and stereotypical characters that continue to bog down an otherwise amazing story of bravery. As they head into the relentless and bloody battlefield, Doss' determination and bravery begins to shine. The battle scenes are the most atmospheric and tense parts of the film, but ultimately it still plays much like any other action-war film and unfortunately also makes Doss out to be like a dumb, unlikable hick for most of it.

Die Brücke (1959) 5/10
A group of German teenage friends, excited to fight for their country, are drafted into World War 2 and are ordered to guard a bridge that is, unbeknownst to them, slated to be blown up. Before they receive this notice, they are painted as young and naive; we see them going to school, playing pranks, flirting with girls, arguing with their parents and expressing their idealistic love of the Nazi regime and desire to fight for their country. Based on true events, the story is tragic and the character development is a good attempt at making a well-rounded drama, but the acting is so ridiculously over-the-top it is difficult to take seriously. Many emotional scenes are eye-roll inducing (an apparently common reaction to war films) and the climax scene is rendered ineffective and laughable instead of harrowing and powerful.

Ernest et Célestine (2012) 6/10
In a world where mice live underground in fear of the bears living above ground, the young plucky mouse, Celestine, begins a friendship with the reclusive old grouch of a bear, Ernest. The hand-drawn watercolour animation is simple, but visually appealing, cute and full of warmth. Both Celestine and Ernest are likable, thanks to their voice actors who prevent either character from being irritating or overly cutesy. Their growing bond and friendship through their many adventures feels natural and genuine and, along with the contrasts and comparisons between the characters and their worlds, is quiet and restrained. Neither the film, or its characters have much depth and it is obviously a simplistic children's film, but it is an enjoyable watch and a nice film.

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947) 5/10
An escaped convict hides out in the home of his former lover who, though now married to another man, still harbours some feelings for him and agrees to help keep him hidden. With its 'kitchen sink' style acting and sets, combined with the film-noir aesthetic, the film captures the beauty of the banal and the everyday, with an interesting slew of characters and subplots. Whilst the acting is mostly decent, John McCallum's stagey performance of 'Tommy Swann' makes the character come across as pretty flat, though slimey. Despite his character being the catalyst and main focus of the film, he is its weakest aspect and the 'thrills' are not really all that thrilling, making it difficult to care about what it's all leading to.

On Golden Pond (1981) 5/10
An aging couple, Norman and Ethel, return to their lakeside cottage for Norman 80's birthday and are joined by their daughter who has never gotten the love she wanted from her father, and her fiance and his teenage son. Sickly sweet and overly sentimental, the film is dripping with hammy performances and dialogue that will rot your teeth. Hepburn and Fonda are somewhat likable and have their moments which make this film watchable, but none of the cast can escape the schmaltz. It is quite painfully obvious that it is based on a play and it does not seem the script has been adapted for the cinema and so the theatricality of it is distracting. Considering it's length, it also feels very rushed with its characters lacking any conviction in their beliefs whatsoever and changing with the blink of an eye and the stupidest 'climax' with Jane Fonda's character. Overall, a dumb and saccharine film saved by only a few moments between Hepburn and Fonda.

Serbuan maut 2: Berandal (2014) 5/10
Hours after the events of the first film, Rama is sent undercover to one of the biggest crime families in order to expose corrupt police officers within the criminal underworld. Though the first film is far from perfect, the use of one location created a sense of claustrophobia and tension that was aided with the relentless action and flowing choreography of its fights. The sequel, however, lacks all of these things and is instead a bunch of episodic brawls. The story is pretty generic and the characters are just stock mob guys; the lead has no personality or charisma and the villain is just silly. Every scene with dialogue just seemed to be plodding out the runtime in wait for the next fighting scene, but none of the action is exciting or enjoyable and ends up just feeling like a violent soap opera.

Qiu Ju da guan si (1992) 4/10
After the pregnant Qiu Ju's husband is beaten and kicked in the groin by their village chief, she seeks justice and an apology which he refuses to give and forces her to relentlessly search for help from those higher in the chain of command. At each step of her journey, Qiu Ju fails to find the justice she is so desperate for, turning the film into a repetitious chain of rejections. The story itself is bland, the characters not sympathetic or interesting, and the pacing is a drag. According to IMDb, this is also a comedy but the humour is pretty impossible to spot. Perhaps more knowledge or interest in Chinese culture is required to fully understand the point of the film, but as it stands there is little to connect with and it's very dull.

La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (1998) 3/10
Found as a baby on an ocean liner and named after the year of his birth, 1900 becomes an outstanding pianist and lives his entire life on the ship, never setting foot on land. The schmaltz overload is painful. From the first second, it is filled with cliches and sentimental nonsense and never lets up. Playing more like a fantasy than a realistic drama, not much of it makes sense and it feels extremely contrived. The story is told from the point of view of a trumpeter, Max, who befriends 1900 and for some reason is in tears every time he talks about him, though 1900 himself is one of the most forgettable and uninteresting people ever; so much so that he even admits that he's too scared to change or try anything new and is happy to just be nothing and for some reason we're supposed to feel sympathetic towards him. At one point he even sneaks into the sleeping quarters of a 14 year old looking girl to try and kiss her while she sleeps, so he's a rapey pedophile as well. Terrible story with terrible characters and a terrible 'point'.

Moonstruck (1987) 5/10
A widowed bookkeeper agrees to marry her boyfriend, despite the fact that she does not love him, but after he returns to Sicily to visit his dying mother she meets with his brother to invite him to the wedding and begins an affair. Cher is, surprisingly, the highlight of the film and at her least annoying (and she looks much better frumpy and gray than covered in makeup and crap). Cage feels out of place and doesn't quite have the right chemistry with Cher to make it work, but the rest of the cast works well. It feels a bit too much like a sitcom and is a bit too forgiving of fidelity to really be likable; when you don't want a happy ending for any of the characters in a romcom you know you're not going to have a great time. That said, it's not entirely terrible and has its moments but it never really all comes together.

Giù la testa (1971) 6/10
A mexican bandit teams up with an Irish revolutionary to blow up and rob a bank, but accidentally become heroes of the revolution. While somewhat enjoyable, it is overlong and a bit of a mess that feels like a whole bunch of random things all stuffed into one film. The accents are distracting, and Coburn's quiet Irishman is much more interesting than Steiger's over-the-top crazed bandit, but together they are an interesting team. The plot, though, twists and turns and doesn't seem to know whether it's a western, a war film, an action film, an historical drama, or a comedy, and never excels at any of them. It's too campy to be effective at anything more than a 'silly' spaghetti western, so the serious moments are really detracting. The soundtrack is really nice and adds a kind of lightness.

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) 5/10
A young man with an attitude problem begins his training to join the navy, making friends, conflicting with his sergeant and falling in love with one of the local girls. Gere's leading man is stiff as a doorknob, with no charisma or screen presence who is forgotten the second he is off-screen. The film, and the navy training, take place over 12 weeks in which we see very little character development as well as a fling turn into true love. Though Winger pulls off a better performance than the wooden Gere, her character is pretty pointless, and there is no real passion or chemistry between them. It follows the typical formula of a weepy chick flick, full of the usual cliches and melodramatic dialogue and emotional scenes. Watchable, but really dumb.

The Hours (2002) 6/10
A day in the life of three different women from three different time periods dealing with depression and suicide; Virginia Woolf struggles with mental illness as she writes her final novel, a pregnant 50s housewife is stuck in an unhappy marriage, and a woman trying to host a party for her poet friend dying of AIDS. The stories weave together nicely, the three leads all put in solid performances and the mood of quiet despair hangs in the air. It seems to glorify suicide though (arguably the characters rather than the film), as an escape from pain rather than a desperate act of mental illness which bothered me. It hit a little close to home as my boyfriend is currently having a depressive/suicidal episode and Woolf's husband's living in constant fear echoes my own. A decent watch, but overall nothing special.

Manchester by the Sea (2016) 7/10
After his older brother dies from a heart attack, the depressed Lee is named guardian to his teenage son, Patrick. Though the plot isn't that interesting on its own, the performances, the script and mood create a beautifully depressing and compelling film. Affleck gives probably his best performance here, with a restrained and repressed melancholy that feels completely genuine and when any emotion does seep through, you really feel him about to burst and I cried multiple times just from the anguish in his face. The character of Patrick felt less genuine in comparison, even though Hedges is ok, the 'comedic' teenage moments such as him trying to get with multiple girls and playing in a crappy band really fell flat. The film is at its best when focused on Lee, though more development of his 'grumpy loner' persona at the beginning may have built his character up a little more.
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#7

Post by Carmel1379 » December 30th, 2018, 1:27 pm

sol:

Let me take you down / 'Cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields / Nothing is real / And nothing to get hung about / Strawberry Fields forever...

Nice Snow trio right there. I prefer the other two as well, but 'La Région Centrale' just feels like we're seeing footage from the Mars Rover, or an alien arriving to Earth exploring geometric configurations, or a machine gone haywire, collecting data and shuffling through possible camera permutations at random just 'cuz.

Also seen 'February' which was really nice, 'The Void', which I didn't really care about despite its attempts at emulating Lovecraft in the end, 'Juste la fin du monde', which is currently my least favourite Dolan, I think. Looking forward to 'The Favourite' (not my favourite Dolan, that would be 'J'ai tué ma mère').


PdA:

Tell me about the cat/kedi/kitty movie!

Adding 'The Long Darkness' to my watchlist. ^_^


Carmel:

Bad Santa (Unrated Cut) (2003, Terry Zwigoff) 7/10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sp9lxuHOl4

Roma (2018, Alfonso Cuarón) 6/10

An Elephant Sitting Still (2018, Bo Hu) 4/10

Thoroughbreds (2017, Cory Finley) 5/10

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, David Slade) [not every possible permutation] 5/10
viewtopic.php?p=552617#p552617

River’s Edge (2018, Isao Yukisada) 6/10
It often strikes the right dark & wistful tones and stars the fantastic Fumi Nikaidō, but it lacks plot, evolution, unswerving tentacles dragging the viewer deeper into some tangible felt atmosphere, interpersonal complexity, or the character’s emotional states, anything substantial to grasp unto. At this stage it all just fumbles about without doing much, all the dialogue mostly feels flat. But I’ll check out more work by Yukisada for sure, and this is definitely recommended for the weebs in love with dark Japanese high-school dramas.

Skins (2007, created by Bryan Elsley & Jamie Brittain)
Not sure how much I watched before drifting into dreamland, like half of Series 1. Binging to be resumed pronto. 8/10 for what I've seen so far.
Last edited by Carmel1379 on December 30th, 2018, 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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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#8

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Rather poor week, watched mostly Christmas stuff and some older Hong Kong films (because freeleech!)

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01. 4.0* - Mr. Long [Ryu San] (2017)
Another quality Tanaka film. More in line with Bunny Drop, combining drama and comedy to great effect. Mr. Long also introduces some crime elements, though they are very limited. Well shot, perfectly acted, dramatically impeccable. It's not as unique as some of his other films, but well worth a watch.

02. 3.0* - Arhats in Fury [Ba Bai Luo Han] (1985)
A film that was clearly distancing itself from the Shaw Bros legacy. Arhats in Fury is a transition film, with still plenty of SB traces present, but also different enough to stand out. At times the production feels quick and dirty, but the martial arts scenes are top notch and in the end that's what a film like this is all about.

03. 2.5* - Scrooged (1988)
A film that somewhat works, despite Murray's presence. Murray's character requires him to be annoying, but he's just too loud and obnoxious. The stuff surrounding him is pretty goofy and funny, though time also chipped away at its edginess. There are some fun moments, but overall it's just not that great.

04. 2.0* - Nativity! (2009)
Cheaply produced Christmas film, which is oddly enough its saving grace. Not that it's a great film, but because it's rather crude and down to earth, the usual cheese isn't all that overpowering. The kids are genuinely amusing and Freeman is nice as grumpy teacher. Decent filler, but don't expect too much of it.

05. 2.0* - Sully (2016)
A rather plain and tepid drama about a plane crash. It features some interesting bits about the media portrayal of heroes, but apart from that it's mostly US patriotism and hero worshipping of the worst kind. Eastwood's direction is as flavorless as ever, so is Hanks' portrayal of Sully. Not terrible, but quite boring.

06. 2.0* - Follow the Fleet (1936)
Another one of Sandrich's famous Astaire & Rogers collaborations. It's a very typical musical, with a bunch familiar songs and a few token dance sequences. The plot is negligible and it probably should've been a little shorter, but if you're a fan of Astaire & Rogers you really can't go wrong with this one.

07. 2.0* - My American Grandson [Shanghai Jiaqi] (1991)
Somewhat tepid and simplistic drama by Ann Hui. The film looks nice for a 90s Hong Kong film, but the drama between a grandfather and his visiting grandson is hardly substantial. The acting is poor, the film is predictable and there's absolutely nothing that makes this one stand out. Not terrible, just forgettable.

08. 1.5* - The Bourne Legacy (2012)
A poor and derivative sequel/reboot to a series that wasn't all that interesting to begin with. Renner has trouble replacing Damon, Weisz is almost invisible and Norton isn't much of a bad guy. The first 90 minutes are dull beyond belief, but a well done action sequence at the end does make a small difference.

09. 1.5* - Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Quintessential Christmas classic. Edmund Gwenn is superb as Santa Claus, but that's about the only positive thing to be said about this one. It's all rather plain and functional with not much actual Christmas atmosphere to speak of. At least it's short and rather uplifting, but it's not a film I'd like to revisit.

10. 1.0* - The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Bog standard Christmas film with some annoying attempts to modernize things. Russell sucks as santa, the kids are intolerable and the story is rather longwinded. There's also some atrocious animation and a cheesy ending. I'm sure this was an honest attempt to make a modern Christmas classic, it just didn't work.

11. 1.0* - The Santa Clause (1994)
Cheap effects, a poor performance by Tim Allen, a horrible kid and a mediocre Christmas story. Even though the film tries to get the Christmas feeling across, it's just too flimsy and shoddy to have any kind of effect. It's a bit surprising Disney went this cheap, at least they put more effort into their kids films nowadays.

12. 1.0* - 27: Gone Too Soon (2018)
Doc on the "club of 27", 6 influential pop idols that died at the age of 27. They suffered in their younger years and were unable to cope with their success, that's about the only thing to come from this doc. The rest is just a quick rundown of the event that lead to their death. Pretty pointless and not very informative.

13. 1.0* - Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Grating. Grant is absolutely horrible and Hepburn's voice is completely unsuited for screwball comedies. The dialogue is fast and there's plenty of it, but almost none of it is funny. And so, safe a few inspired moments, the film simply goes on and on and on, growing increasingly more annoying with each passing minute.

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#9

Post by sol » December 30th, 2018, 2:55 pm

PdA:

Haha. No idea that Cronenberg directed a shoe commercial. Just watched it on YouTube; pretty cool stuff.

might:

Hey, 30 minutes per review is actually pretty good. While some of my reviews pretty much "write themselves" because I have had time to mull them over on the trip home from the cinema or whatever, I think the shortest it has ever taken me to pen a review is 6-7 minutes and most of my comments on average take around 15-20 minutes to write, plus a few more minutes to read over and check that everything makes sense, lol.

I only have vague memories of The Court Jester, but if it helps, I preferred The Inspector General upon rewatch out of Danny Kaye's musical comedy output. That one more dramatic film that he did (Me and the Colonel) is better than all of his musicals.

Had similar feelings to you regarding Hacksaw Ridge, and actually liked Hugo Weaving's character/performance more than Andrew Garfield. I did like the film slightly more than you, but then again I like war movies in general.

Yeah, Ernest and Celestine was pretty cool. The one thing I remember of On Golden Pond is how absolutely fantastic Henry Fonda was. I had always assumed that it was more of a honorary award a la Don Ameche in Cocoon, but nup, he impressed me a lot. Don't remember much of Qiu Ju other than that it was my least favourite Zhang Yimou film at the time.

Aw, I've always liked Moonstruck. Vincent Gardenia's pretty good in it too and it was first chance that I ever had to see John Mahoney (who I knew from 'Frasier') playing anything but a loveable character.

Sorry to hear about your boyfriend. I liked The Hours a lot at the time, but have not seen it since it came out in 2002.

Hedges has done some better things since Manchester. Casey Affleck has always been a solid actor in my books. It was nice to see him win the Oscar (especially when Denzel was the running favourite), but the overall film did little for me.

Carmel:

From what I have read, that is exactly what Michael Snow intended with La Région Centrale and I guess I can't argue with it. The length was probably a bit of an issue for me and it is the sort film that I would love to do a fan edit of. I'm not usually one to complain about films being too long (c.f. "too many notes" in Amadeus) but it felt to me that there was a limit that Snow was able to do with his set-up. His other films are so interesting because they have people come in and out of frame (well, not So Is This but still). As mentioned, I just didn't really see his playful streak in Centrale with manipulating what we can and cannot see by adding or subtracting things from the frame. If that makes any sense.

February really blew me away (made my top 100 viewings for the year). It was really interesting reading up interpretations of the ending. The one that I particularly like is the notion that:
SpoilerShow
Satan possessed her when she was at her loneliest before being exorcised, and by killing the parents she hopes to regain that bond with him, only to realise after the murders that she is still alone in the world).

I suppose It's Only the End of the World would be my least favourite Dolan too with less artistic touches than usual and lots of screaming and shouting, but it's still a 7 for me. Heartbeats is probably my favourite so far.

Yours:

Liked Bad Santa at the time (and Thornton's grouchy performance in particular). How was our lovely Anya in Thoroughbreds?

Onderhond:

I absolutely despised Scrooged the one time that I saw it. Sully was much weaker than Eastwood par. Hanks was okay but a far cry from the heights he reached with Captain Phillips a few years before. The Oscar nominated sound effects were very much the best part of the film. I liked Bringing Up Baby the couple of times that I saw it. I usually find Cary Grant bland when suave, so it was cool seeing him cast against-type. Kate Hepburn sometimes annoys me, but I liked her okay in Baby too.
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#10

Post by Carmel1379 » December 30th, 2018, 3:23 pm

sol wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 2:55 pm
Carmel:

From what I have read, that is exactly what Michael Snow intended with La Région Centrale and I guess I can't argue with it. The length was probably a bit of an issue for me and it is the sort film that I would love to do a fan edit of. I'm not usually one to complain about films being too long (c.f. "too many notes" in Amadeus) but it felt to me that there was a limit that Snow was able to do with his set-up. His other films are so interesting because they have people come in and out of frame (well, not So Is This but still). As mentioned, I just didn't really see his playful streak in Centrale with manipulating what we can and cannot see by adding or subtracting things from the frame. If that makes any sense.

February really blew me away (made my top 100 viewings for the year). It was really interesting reading up interpretations of the ending. The one that I particularly like is the notion that:
SpoilerShow
Satan possessed her when she was at her loneliest before being exorcised, and by killing the parents she hopes to regain that bond with him, only to realise after the murders that she is still alone in the world).

I suppose It's Only the End of the World would be my least favourite Dolan too with less artistic touches than usual and lots of screaming and shouting, but it's still a 7 for me. Heartbeats is probably my favourite so far.

Yours:

Liked Bad Santa at the time (and Thornton's grouchy performance in particular). How was our lovely Anya in Thoroughbreds?
La Région Centrale is anti-human cinema par excellence, so yeah naturally his more 'human-friendly/perceptible' cinema is more engrossing -- I agree. Well, 'Wavelength' I'd say is anti-human as well, given its blatant disregard about the characters & murder, purely focusing on the hypnotic zoom, but at least there are 'human events' happening on the sidelines, precisely to jab the viewer, subvert plot/narrative action, and so on.

("too many notes" in Amadeus) - The second time I hear a reference to this after my last Polish teacher used it in class once, which made me briefly wonder if all teachers have some secret pact about it.. :P

Unfortunately I have little memory of 'Febraury', I mostly recollect and appreciate it for its dark eerie atmospherics. PdA perhaps might be more keen in discussing particular interpretations, since I know he is/was a fan too.

Thoroughbreds - Anya didn't disappoint, both main performances are smashing and charismatic. The overall trajectory of the two in the film is complementary: Anya goes from innocent good-natured to evil incarnate (and the other one does the opposite (from emotionless to caring)), so that might be something for you to look forward to. Not sure if you'll dig the film overall more than me, but it's a possibility, I wouldn't rule it out for ya.
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Image
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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#11

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 4:02 pm

sol wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 2:55 pm
I absolutely despised Scrooged the one time that I saw it. Sully was much weaker than Eastwood par. Hanks was okay but a far cry from the heights he reached with Captain Phillips a few years before. The Oscar nominated sound effects were very much the best part of the film. I liked Bringing Up Baby the couple of times that I saw it. I usually find Cary Grant bland when suave, so it was cool seeing him cast against-type. Kate Hepburn sometimes annoys me, but I liked her okay in Baby too.
Haha, I can get why someone would hate Scrooged, don't like it enough to defend the film but it was a welcome distraction, especially the fantasy elements.
Not a big Eastwood fan myself, he scores 1.4/5.0 out of 15 films, so Sully is actually above par. To me he represents serious Hollywood, which is a big contradiction to begin with. As for Hanks, I generally dislike him, but I did think Captain Philips was even worse.
And I don't think I've seen much from Grant before, so maybe that's why his casting wasn't such a shock to me. At least it's good to know this isn't his usual shtick :D

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#12

Post by outdoorcats » December 30th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Hi sol, Happy New Year's to ya. :party: :cheers: I only saw two films last week, both theatrically:

The Favourite (2018) - 7
This is the third Yorgos Lanthimos film I've seen in a row (after The Lobster and Sacred Deer) which I deeply admired on all fronts, yet remain pretty emotionally unengaged by. Still, I could hardly be offended if it was showered with awards, acclaim, or even if Lanthimos was enshrined in the great directors canon; the film is a visual feast and every element--the staging, the music, the blocking and editing, the acting, the brilliant use of anachronisms--is exceptional. (I too wasn't bowled over by the end)

Roma (2018) - 9+
Destined to become a canonical classic, Cuaron's latest in a string of cinematic victories going back two decades conflates epic setpieces (sometimes with hundreds of extras) with a decidedly un-epic, episodic, intimate narrative. It's more slice-of-life than three-act-structured drama, yet the film does have two climaxes which caught me by emotional surprise in their gripping power, including one which makes the ocean as terrifying as Cuaron made space in Gravity. It wholly deserves to be compared favorably to the films of Tarkovsky and Fellini, who are both influences if not overbearingly so. Now I have four films which are essentially tied for best film of the year (this, Beale Street, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and An Elephant Sitting Still), which are each so perfect in their own different ways that I'm not really sure how I would rank them.


Yours:

Grave Encounters - I saw this back when it came out, and still remember it being an enjoyably scary and spooky found-footage horror. Nothing original or groundbreaking, but effectively scary from what I remember. (7/10)
The Imposter - Very well made doc about one of the weirdest (and most disturbing) cons ever pulled as far as I know. Did you find yourself wondering how you would react if you were part of that family and how much of his story you would buy? (7.5/10)
February / The Blackcoat's Daughter - I really did not get anything at all out of this one. The twist was obvious from the get-go, but since the entire film hinges on the surprise of that twist it just becomes a chore to sit through. (3.5/10)
It's Only the End of the World - I was floored by this Dolan film and how visually gorgeous and cinematic it managed to be despite being adapted from a stage play; that is to say, not only is it filmed beautifully, but the way it is filmed blends seamlessly with the film's drama as if it was meant to be a film all along.There is certainly a lot of yelling - it's still an acting showcase, but not exclusively so as even the most outsized performances (such as Vincent Cassel) find themselves working for Dolan's unique vision.

PdA: n/a

mighty:

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) - I definitely like war films more than you mighty ;) ...and this was a pretty good one. Generic, perhaps, but very well done. (7.5/10)
On Golden Pond (1981) - I've seen this and apparently I rated it a "7" on IMDb. I couldn't now tell you a single thing that happened in it, but I guess let's stick with 7 for now. (7/10...?)
Moonstruck (1987) - I've seen this and apparently I also rated it a "5" on IMDb. I remember that Nicholas Cage was funny doing his schtick in this and that's it. These are both movies I saw maybe 15 years ago when I wasn't that into movies, but they played a lot on TV back in the day. And on that note, one more:
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) - I apparently rated this a 6? I remember the song at the end like someone just played it to me, but what even happened in this movie? Help?
The Hours (2002) - Finally, one I remember. A flawed, but also very potent and sometimes on-the-nose portrait of crippling depression and what it's like to be in its radius. It hits pretty close home to me too. (8/10)
Manchester by the Sea (2016) - Another very effective portrait of grief and depression which is not an easy pill to swallow. Lonergan is excellent at making characters who feel like real people and that combined with some inspired music choices help push this over the edge to a really great film. (8/10)

Carmel - n/a except for Roma and An Elephant Sitting Still; I think you made a typo and hit 4 instead of 9...or 10, or something. :P

Onderhond - I'm sure I watched The Santa Clause as a kid on VHS. Otherwise the only other one I've seen is Bringing Up Baby, for which 1 star seems a pretty harsh rating for what I remember to be one of the more actually funny and fast-paced screwball comedies of the era.

[a LION eats GOD. Gunshots ring out. MATT turns around]
MATT: That's the guy I was telling you about.


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#14

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 8:25 pm

outdoorcats wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 6:38 pm
Otherwise the only other one I've seen is Bringing Up Baby, for which 1 star seems a pretty harsh rating for what I remember to be one of the more actually funny and fast-paced screwball comedies of the era.
Well, it is fast-paced, but in a quantity over quality kinda way. The dialogues are flat and simplistic, there is no appeal in there beyond the fastness of the delivery, and since the voice of at least one of the lead actors is a complete pain in the ... ear, it doesn't amount to much overall. I'm not a very big fan of screwball comedies I'm afraid, don't really see the humor in films like this one.

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#15

Post by outdoorcats » December 30th, 2018, 8:42 pm

I need to check my own comments b/c I shouldn't forget the appeal of comedy is even more subjective than the other genres, and it's all subjective. There was this IMDb user who wrote like a tenured college professor who always championed the types of broad, lowbrow Hollywood comedies that do well at the Razzies as his favorite films of the year, and I'm certain he wasn't trolling. Heck, I don't even remember enough about BuB to say what was so funny about it anyway except this scene where they're both trying to sing to bring the cub down from a tree which is permanently etched in my mind as a classic example of pure silliness.

@joachimt - Pale Flower is one of my favorite movies :cheers: any thoughts on it?
God's Own Country channels the windswept, moorish loneliness of what I imagined while reading Wuthering Heights into what turns out to be a pretty formulaic but still very well done adult romance. (7.5/10) The Forbidden Room is the only Maddin film I've truly fallen head-over-heels for, as Maddin's style turns out to be excellently suited for the Russian Dolls-style narrative of endless stories within stories within stories (in re The Saragossa Manuscript and Mysteries of Lisbon) to make something truly beautiful and transcendent. (8.5/10) An Optical Poem is one of my favorite early shorts along with any other film I've seen by Oskar Fischinger; something about his films just makes them rapturously beautiful for me.

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#16

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 8:51 pm

I actually liked the beginning of the film, with Hepburn getting in Grant's way all the time. Once it's clear this is deliberate rather than a trait of her character, the appeal quickly dwindled for me. For reference, I did like Monkey Business better.

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#17

Post by outdoorcats » December 30th, 2018, 8:54 pm

The Marx Brothers one or the '50s one with Cary Grant?

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#18

Post by Onderhond » December 30th, 2018, 8:59 pm

outdoorcats wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 8:54 pm
The Marx Brothers one or the '50s one with Cary Grant?
The 50s one with Grant (and also directed by Howard Hawks).

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#19

Post by sol » December 31st, 2018, 9:50 am

outdoorcats wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 6:38 pm
Hi sol, Happy New Year's to ya. :party: :cheers: I only saw two films last week, both theatrically:

The Favourite (2018) - 7
This is the third Yorgos Lanthimos film I've seen in a row (after The Lobster and Sacred Deer) which I deeply admired on all fronts, yet remain pretty emotionally unengaged by. Still, I could hardly be offended if it was showered with awards, acclaim, or even if Lanthimos was enshrined in the great directors canon; the film is a visual feast and every element--the staging, the music, the blocking and editing, the acting, the brilliant use of anachronisms--is exceptional. (I too wasn't bowled over by the end)

Roma (2018) - 9+
Destined to become a canonical classic, Cuaron's latest in a string of cinematic victories going back two decades conflates epic setpieces (sometimes with hundreds of extras) with a decidedly un-epic, episodic, intimate narrative. It's more slice-of-life than three-act-structured drama, yet the film does have two climaxes which caught me by emotional surprise in their gripping power, including one which makes the ocean as terrifying as Cuaron made space in Gravity. It wholly deserves to be compared favorably to the films of Tarkovsky and Fellini, who are both influences if not overbearingly so. Now I have four films which are essentially tied for best film of the year (this, Beale Street, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and An Elephant Sitting Still), which are each so perfect in their own different ways that I'm not really sure how I would rank them.


Yours:

Grave Encounters - I saw this back when it came out, and still remember it being an enjoyably scary and spooky found-footage horror. Nothing original or groundbreaking, but effectively scary from what I remember. (7/10)
The Imposter - Very well made doc about one of the weirdest (and most disturbing) cons ever pulled as far as I know. Did you find yourself wondering how you would react if you were part of that family and how much of his story you would buy? (7.5/10)
February / The Blackcoat's Daughter - I really did not get anything at all out of this one. The twist was obvious from the get-go, but since the entire film hinges on the surprise of that twist it just becomes a chore to sit through. (3.5/10)
It's Only the End of the World - I was floored by this Dolan film and how visually gorgeous and cinematic it managed to be despite being adapted from a stage play; that is to say, not only is it filmed beautifully, but the way it is filmed blends seamlessly with the film's drama as if it was meant to be a film all along.There is certainly a lot of yelling - it's still an acting showcase, but not exclusively so as even the most outsized performances (such as Vincent Cassel) find themselves working for Dolan's unique vision.
Happy New Year to you too 'cats; nice to see you still around the place.

I suppose Grave Encounters might have been scarier if I saw it theatrically; watched it on DVD though, it didn't really shock or surprise me, though I loved the idea of unscrupulous filmmakers being undone through their insolence (shades of Cannibal Holocaust thematically).

Actually, I felt like The Imposter put me more in his shoes, so I spent the whole film wondering if I could pass for a teenager myself were I to shave my facial hair. I really felt for his desperation too; sort of trapped after making up that lie about being the lost boy and feeling compelled to go along. I did think that the film was sort of lacking a psychological perspective in terms of the family members maybe purposely deluding themselves into believing that he was who he said he was, I don't know. It was a pretty compelling film whatever the case.

Interesting to hear your reaction to February. I think I had a hunch about the twist, even before it was made explicit. I mean, for the first few minutes of the film, I kept thinking...
SpoilerShow
...that it was weird to cast two actresses who looked so much alike, and even as a massive Emma Roberts fan, I found myself confused at one or two points as to was who. Then, I began to think that it would have to be a deliberate decision so...
...maybe it was more of a case that I foresaw a twist coming rather than the nature of the twist itself, but whatever, it in no way ruined the film for me. I kind of saw the overall project as more of a mood piece than a narrative with such wonderful visuals and sounds for a tale of a lonely teenage girl. And I found it to be a very effective look at loneliness overall. I don't know. This was definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2018 for me.

Oh yeah, It's the End of the World certainly struck a chord with me. I really loved the idea of him returning home to reveal a secret, but unable to find a right moment to do so. The visuals were indeed good, but less striking than in every other Dolan film that I have seen. Which is not to say that the film would have benefited from slow motion musical flourishes a la Laurence Anyways and Heartbeats, but I was disappointed not to have them all the same. I do agree though that the movie plays out very much like a film as opposed to a filmed stage play. One of the first thing that I did afterwards was check IMDb to see if it was indeed a play adaptation or something written directly for film.

Yours:

I thought the end of The Favourite was fine as something to cement in the fact that the whole movie is about shifting power relationships, but damn, the ending of The Lobster with the cut to black just before we find out whether or not he will do it (trying to be vague here) really knocked me back, so I was kind of expecting a hard punch like that. Lanthimos seems to jive with my sensibilities more than you; Sacred Deer was also one of my favourite first time viewings this year. I wasn't too excited about Dogtooth though. Am yet to see Alps, but only because it was never released in Australia. It sounds quite intriguing.

Getting back to The Favourite and the emotional distance issue, I think the tricky thing is finding someone to like among the three female protagonists, all of whom do some pretty nasty things. Olivia Colman is certainly the least scheming, but she is such a passive character compared to the other two that I never really felt that much for her. Rachel Weisz probably had the character who I felt most heavily invested in. Her true motives are always a little bit uncertain and unclear, whereas Emma Stone's character is painted as scheming and ruthless for the get-go. I suppose if you couldn't get under Weisz or Colman's skin, I can totally understand your emotional disengagement.

Not very interested in Roma. Cuáron has a long string of films whose acclaim massively exceeds my own opinion of them, so I frankly have little reason to believe that Roma will buck the trend. Also, La Dolce Vita is my least favourite of Fellini's more celebrated films, so the comparisons that I have heard made only deter me more.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
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#20

Post by peeptoad » December 31st, 2018, 2:12 pm

short and sweet this week, sol. :party: Happy New Year!

yours that I've seen-
Funeral Home (1980) 7
End of the Line (2007) 7
Grave Encounters (2011) 3
Citizenfour (2014) 7
February (2015) 7

mine-
Clash of the Titans (1981) 7*
Scenic Route (2013) 6 (maybe 5)
Wedding in White (1972) 8
Bedroom Eyes (1984) 4
Rituals (1977) 8*

*rewatch

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#21

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » December 31st, 2018, 5:23 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 1:27 pm
PdA:

Tell me about the cat/kedi/kitty movie!

Adding 'The Long Darkness' to my watchlist. ^_^
Kedi - It's about God (let's just call it Buddha, so you won't stop reading) in multiple creature form, who doesn't require approval from human beings, they can be good for getting easy food from, though, and the occasional petting from their hands is pretty "purrrrrrr" too. But for the most part the divine creatures are satisfied to go their own way, stealing, ignoring legal boundaries, looking into the souls of other creatures to judge their level of enlightenment and hence their usefulness to them, and being unworried about appearing arrogant to others...
It's an internet cat video (YouTube is an official distributor of the film) that isn't very lol.

The other 'Darkness" film - 黑暗之光 / Darkness and Light (Chang Tso-chi, 1999) - I reckon would be more your thing.
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#22

Post by Good_Will_Harding » January 1st, 2019, 4:54 pm

Combining two weeks for me again:

Oldies:

Warrendale (1967) - This seems an oddly popular watch around here lately, haha. I really liked it a lot myself.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) - Another Hammer blindspot. Well made, Lee has a terrific presence as usual, not one of their best, etc.

Night of the Comet (1986) - Overlooked cult sci-fi flick that a local theater owner I know is a huge fan of. Personally didn't love it, but I can see how it achieved its cult status.

New stuff:

The Mule - 7. Solid, but not terribly special or memorable Clint Eastwood vehicle.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - 8. Worth seeing for the very unique and creative visual stylization alone. Easily the best looking mainstream genre picture I've seen all year - reminded me a lot of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in terms of its tone and overall aesthetic.

The Favourite - 10. Lives up to the hype; the ensemble is pretty fantastic as well (the three leading ladies are all great but I also loved Nicholas Hoult in here as well).

Roma - 10. Saw on the big screen and beyond thankful for the opportunity.

Bumblebee - 6. Surprisingly decent - a masterpiece compared to the other Bayformers flicks, but on its own it's merely passable.
Last edited by Good_Will_Harding on January 1st, 2019, 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#23

Post by Ivan0716 » January 1st, 2019, 5:26 pm

The Favourite has everyone cuntstruck.

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