Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
Polls: 2010s (Results), Animation (Jul 21st), 1974 awards (Jul 23rd), 1942 (Jul 27th)
Challenges: Low rating, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Benelux
Film of the Week: Spiegel van Holland, August nominations (Jul 26th)

Which films Did You See Last Week? 13/01/19 - 19/01/19

User avatar
sol
Donator
Posts: 5956
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

Which films Did You See Last Week? 13/01/19 - 19/01/19

#1

Post by sol » January 20th, 2019, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings (if you're like me, "real life" sometimes gets in the way, so no need to feel obliged).

This is what I saw:

★★★★ = loved it / ★★★ = liked it a lot / ★★ = has interesting elements / ★ = did very little for me

The Oyster Princess (1919). Mistaken for a prince, a royal adjunct does not protest when an heiress asks to marry him in this early career Ernst Lubitsch comedy. Released in the same year as Lubitsch's groundbreaking Die Puppe, this 'other' feature pales greatly in comparison. Lubitsch certainly tries a few interesting things including choreographing his servant actors to move in sync and splitting the screen into three frames at one point. The story though is simply no great shakes and Ossi Oswalda, who was so charming in Die Puppe, is borderline obnoxious as the childlike spoiled heiress here. The film is also simply not very funny, nor is it especially satirical. Things do wrap up rather nicely, a couple of convenient coincidences aside, and the whole film is rather fluffy and inoffensive, but Lubitsch helmed some much better pictures in his time. (first viewing, online) ★★

Bed and Sofa (1927). Allowing a childhood friend to stay in his tiny apartment and sleep on his sofa has unexpected consequences for a married man when he goes away on business and leaves his friend alone with his wife in this Soviet silent movie. While the film makes it a little too obvious that the wife and friend will have a fling, it subsequently heads into some unpredictable territory as the three of them make the best of the situation upon the husband's return. It is a real treat to come across a movie as early as this one that really challenges gender roles and stereotypes and marriage; it even includes a gay kiss. Add in some experimental split screen editing and a glorious sequence in which the husband's thoughts are dissolved over him as he lies down and reflects, and this comes out as a very nifty movie, topped off with a memorable ending. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Tsirk (1936). Persecuted in their home countries, an American acrobat and German stage manager join a Russian circus where they encounter love, jealousy and betrayal in this musical comedy from the USSR. The melodrama involving the main characters is dull and the jingoistic slant of the film occasionally overtakes the story with some literal flag-waving, but the film looks absolutely spectacular. The editing is top notch with many creative scene changes (one shot literally melts into the next) and lots of effective dissolves. The circus acts themselves are impressively choreographed and there is some amazing footage that gets up close with two lions who run over the camera! There are several memorable images too, such as wings 'lighting up' behind an actor. It is just a shame that the characters and story do match the energy and visual exuberance at hand. (first viewing, online) ★★

Volga - Volga (1938). Travelling by river to compete in a prestigious competition in Moscow, two ships of musicians try to sabotage each other's voyages in this Russian musical comedy. The premise gives way to scattered amusing routines as one musician falls through two wooden decks, while another wears a flower for a moustache and the list goes on. Amidst all this though, there are only the most irritating silly characters and the pacing of the project is noticeably off with nearly a third of the film elapsing before the musicians set sail. The songs are decent, but they are filmed without imagination. It is hard to believe that the director of the eye-popping Tsirk was also at the helm of this venture. Apparently this was Stalin's favourite film and one can only wonder whether the movie would have faded into obscurity without that factoid behind it. (first viewing, online) ★

Fate of a Man (1959). Sometimes known as Destiny of a Man, this Soviet drama focuses on a former prisoner-of-war who reflects on his life choices as he recounts how he survived World War II. His story is an incredible tale of perseverance and the impact of war on the individual; he is not some hopeful optimist who always thought that he would make it out, and part of what makes his experiences so enticing is the fact that he survived despite often thinking that all was lost. The most striking aspect of the film though is its visuals; from aerial shots, to shots that travel under legs and look up at the sky, and camerawork that stays in his face as he runs along, the film is magnificently photographed, providing an ironic beauty to the wartime brutality depicted. Director Sergey Bondarchuk also does well in the main role. An impressive directional debut. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

The Beginning (1970). Chosen to star in a film based about Joan of Arc, an introverted actress fights off fears about being typecast and lonely in this odd Russian comedy. It takes a while to nut out the story as we are shown events out of order with characters flung in our face with little introduction, but when the film settles down there are some curious moments as we are shown the inner working of her mind. Of particular note is a delusion she has constructed in which a neighbour is unhappily married and willing to run away with her and things invariably get awkward as she tries to seduce him. In fact, the film is much more about this than it ever is about her acting or how she feels playing the role, which in turn makes the film unfocused. Inna Churikova simply shines in the lead role though and remains empathetic even when her actions are borderline insane. (first viewing, online) ★★

Our Century (1983). Blue-tinted black and white archive footage is spliced together to depict humankind's fascination with flight, from early aircraft to rockets (and everything in between) in this experimental Soviet documentary. With (mostly) excellent music choices, atmospheric industrial noises and only the faintest audible dialogue, the film is a surprisingly rhythmic experience even when it darts back and forth in time and effectively blurs any sense of continuity. There are a couple of sequences set to bouncy music that destroy the mood of the film as humankind's failings with flight are shown. For the most part though, this is a delightfully meditative experience, with director Artavazd Peleshian not requiring words or dialogue in order to question why our species is so fascinated with conquering the skies and whether it is all worth it. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Repentance (1984). This Soviet comedy-drama gets off to a quirky and intriguing start as the corpse of a mayor keeps reappearing in his son's garden despite being repeatedly reburied. Is something supernatural afoot, or is somebody toying with the cadaver? Alas, it is soon revealed that the latter is what is going on, with the woman responsible put on trial where she spends one and an a half hours (!) recounting her family's experience with the dictatorial mayor. This is the film at its weakest. Things quickly turn repetitive as we are shown again and again for 90 minutes how cruel he was, and with a ridiculous Hitler moustache, the film is not at all subtle with its symbolism. Things pick up a bit in the last half-hour after she finishes testifying, but it is a little insulting that the filmmakers thought they needed 2.5 hours to convince us that dictators are bad. (first viewing, online) ★

Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (1984). Several high students and a few adults are baffled by strange occurrences that defy physics and time in this intriguing anime. The answer to the mystery is made obvious by the title, but the filmmakers take the concept in interesting directions, especially in the final third of the movie, which plays out a lot like a smarter version of Inception. There are some simply breathtaking images too, whether it be kids looking up out of windows and falling down, or the town viewed from space. The biggest drawback is the characters, most of whom are too hotheaded to like. The comedy does not work half the time either, with gaping mouth and people thrown about played for laughs. It is hard though not to love the direction the film goes in towards the end, philosophising about reality, fantasy and everything in between. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). Stopping the diabolical plans of an evil peacock with the voice of Gary Oldman proves challenging for the title character and his fellow kung fu masters in this very decent sequel. If anything, Kung Fu Panda 2 is better than the first film with less jokes at the expense of the panda's weight and eating habits, as well as poignant extra background detail which is animated in a lovely traditional style. The film boasts some very nice Zen messages once again too, with inner peace and being "who you choose to be" central ideas this time. Not all of the gags work, but the ones that do are hilarious - in particular, the team disguised as a dragon and looking as if they are gobbling up evil wolf guards. Oldman's vocal performance is superb too, though the set-up for a further sequel does cause the film to end on less of a high note. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016). China once again under threat by an evil mastermind, the title character has to choose between rediscovering his roots and stopping the villain in this second sequel to Kung Fu Panda. The film is as nicely animated as the previous entry with a great subversion of the Dreamworks logo and some eerie green henchmen, but this is nowhere near as funny or as well paced as the first two entries. Far too much time is spent on the panda reuniting with his father and village with silly comic shenanigans with the panda cubs there, while the well choreographed (and admittedly spectacular) action scenes mostly only pop up near the end. Try as he does, J.K. Simmons is also nowhere near as menacing as Gary Oldman in the second film, and the extra time allotted to the goofy goose father is certainly a step in the wrong direction. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

The Maze Runner (2014). Waking up with amnesia in a valley surrounded by a tall maze and populated by teenage boys, a young man looks for an escape despite warnings against in this action thriller. The film benefits from a genuine sense of mystery and wonderment regarding the maze that (Dark City style) shifts and changes during the night. Vincenzo Natali's Cube is the film to which The Maze Runner most resembles conceptually though, and the film is full of thrills and suspense when in this mode. Part of the film though is also Lord of the Flies and the social order stuff is bland. The film also concludes with far more questions than answers (e.g. why only boys?) and too much room for a sequel. The sets, sound design and visual effects are great though and the riveting nature of the mystery keeps things chugging along. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015). Taken to a gloomy research facility, the survivors of the first film flee, leading to an arduous trek across the desert in this sequel to the 2014 hit. The first 45 minutes are very decent with lots of mystery as to what the facility is about, plus an escape that is as elaborate as the final run in Part One. Unfortunately, once they leave the building, it quickly derails with the final 80 minutes tough to sit through as the film merely recycles post-apocalyptic clichés done to death since Mad Max 2. The infected zombie creatures also feel generic given the plethora of sci-fi thrillers like 28 Days Later... and I Am Legend. We do get some welcome extra background information though, with a lot more answers than Part One, but once again the filmmakers leave things hanging way too open for the next installment. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018). Rescuing a friend from the evil corporation proves dangerous for the remaining survivors in this concluding chapter in the Maze Runner trilogy. With the tiresome Mad Max 2 elements mostly ditched and several gleefully over-the-top, spectacular action scenes (buses and trains carried midair), this is a more enjoyable entry than the second film, if not a whole lot better overall. The character motivations are pretty much all over the place, the film features so many false endings to be the point of being anticlimactic, and the evil corporation and antagonists barely function as anything beyond the trappings for shoot-outs and explosions. The production design is at least certainly the most impressive since the first film, but this feels like quite a regression from the delightfully mysterious 2014 original. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016). Visiting the orphanage where his grandfather grew up, a socially outcast teen is surprised to find his grandfather's childhood friends alive and living in an infinite time loop in this fantasy adventure film. While the film sounds like a tired cross between Harry Potter and X-Men, the time loop provides a lot to ponder; is it worth reliving the same day and never getting older? The film also benefits from some excellent old school stop motion effects (a skeleton battle is a particular highlight), a wisecracking villain in an energetic Samuel L. Jackson, and some lovely turns by the younger members of the cast. The film might not have a lot new to say about being oneself or how unique we all are, but with Tim Burton at the helm, the film definitely pushes the horror to the max possible for a PG-13 flick. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Green Book (2018). Driving an African American concert pianist through the Deep South in the early 1960s, an Italian bouncer gains a life-changing understanding of racial prejudice in this comedy-drama starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. The film has little new to offer as the pair both teach each other a little bit about life, but the chemistry between them is undeniable and Mortensen in particular shines. It is an effortless, naturalistic performance with some very funny moments as he misinterprets what Ali has to say, at one point thanking him for saying that he has "very narrow" views! In fact, the film's Golden Globe win for Best Screenplay is quite understandable given how well the leads handle their dialogue. Of course, it is all down to pitch perfect acting, but ending on just the right note, this is a satisfying if not exactly enlightening road movie. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Set in a universe in which Peter Parker is already celebrated superhero, this unusual take on the Spider-Man story involves another teenager who is bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him similar superpowers that he has trouble harnessing. Such a plot summary only reveals part of the narrative, and this is one of those films best entered into with as little prior knowledge as possible as the story takes some unexpected science fiction themed turns. It is a very funny too at times. The sci-fi and comedy content ultimately takes a bit of an unfortunate backseat to the over-the-top action and the film does not quite maximise the potential of the comic style animation with words sporadically popping up on screen. The movie has some great messages though as well as some curious dabblings into personal identity territory. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
Image Image Image

User avatar
Onderhond
Posts: 2572
Joined: Dec 23, 2012
Contact:

#2

Post by Onderhond » January 20th, 2019, 12:14 pm

Image

01. 4.0* - Godzilla: The Planet Eater [Gojira: Hoshi Wo Kû Mono] (2018)
A worthy finale to the trilogy. Low on action, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to those who've seen the previous films (a must). Instead Planet Eater takes a more philosophical route, while still delivering some monumental visuals. It's a most welcome addition to the Gojira franchise, though true fans will beg to differ.

02. 3.5* - The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018)
A good companion piece for The Autopsy of Jane Doe. It's hardly original, but all the horror cues are meticulously and effectively executed. The setting is amazing, the acting is solid and Kirby Johnson resembles a female Javier Botet. After a mediocre start, the film works itself up towards a great finale.

03. 3.5* - Piercing (2018)
A strange, offbeat thriller based on Ryu Murakami's novel by the same name. I never read the source material, but it's obvious that director Pesce made the story his own. A stop-motion-like setting come to life, a couple of oddball characters and plenty of strange events make this into a unique but divisive film.

04. 3.5* - Cooties (2014)
Amusing and effective zombie parody. These type of films have been done to death of course, but containing the disease to children gives Cooties a nice little edge. A strong cast, some nifty ideas and a good sense of humor make this a very fun and entertaining film, though sadly it never achieves greatness.

05. 3.0* - Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
The novelty value of the Christmas zombie musical concept works for about half a film, after that it becomes clear that the horror just isn't juicy enough and that the songs are a bit too Glee-like. Could've used some extra spice, but it's a rather fun and joyous film regardless. Not bad, but should've been better.

06. 3.0* - Green Book (2018)
Nothing too out of the ordinary, but a well-made drama by Peter Farrelly (which in fact is quite special). Even though the subject is rather heavy the film itself is very light-hearted. Mortensen and Ali are both solid, the bond between the two is amusing (though a touch unbelievable). A fun diversion, though far from great.

07. 3.0* - The Master Strikes Back [Jiao Tou Fa Wei] (1985)
A decent Shaw Bros film. It stands out because the camera work, lighting and use of color are well above par, sadly the balance between story and martial arts is a little off. The promised revenge lasts only 10 to 15 minutes max, but even though there's an overall lack of action it never gets dull or boring. Nice filler.

08. 2.5* - The Swordsman in Double-Flag Town [Shuang-Qi-Zhen Daoke] (1991)
If you've seen other films by Ping He, you know that even though this is a martial arts film, it's not big on action. Instead He takes his time to introduce the characters. The setting and cinematography are fine, the drama and acting not so much. It's a bit of a tortured film, though there are some stand-out moments.

09. 2.0* - School on Fire [Hok Haau Fung Wan] (1988)
A very typical Lam film. Ten minutes of censored material, more gruesome than most of its Hong Kong counterparts and set up as a social commentary. But the direction is pretty poor and the film lacks true impact. Lam tried his whole career to balance drama and action but never really found a way to do it well.

10. 1.5* - The True Cost (2015)
Way too simple. Reiterates what most people already know, but with pictures. People in low-wage countries are being exploited, our consumer behavior is destructive and of course Monsanto gets its fair share. What this documentary fails to do though is connect everything in a meaningful, constructive way.

11. 1.0* - An American Tail (1986)
An American Tail fails because of the big mismatch between the cheery mice and the dark setting they inhabit. Bluth tries to deliver a darker tale, but gets stuck in childish nonsense and unsubtle musical bits. The patriotism here is absurd, the animation is overdone and the plot is boring and predictable. Blah.

12. 1.0* - Doom Room (2019)
Pretty terrible, but not for lack of good ideas. Lighting and set design were decent, but the acting, camera work, soundtrack and editing were all atrocious. It tries to be a moody mindfuck piece, but it ends up bland and boring. Keeyes simply isn't fit to write and direct, which is a shame because this could've been fun.

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#3

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 12:16 pm

sol wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 12:00 pm
The Maze Runner (2014). Waking up with amnesia in a valley surrounded by a tall maze and populated by teenage boys, a young man looks for an escape despite warnings against in this action thriller. The film benefits from a genuine sense of mystery and wonderment regarding the maze that (Dark City style) shifts and changes during the night. Vincenzo Natali's Cube is the film to which The Maze Runner most resembles conceptually though, and the film is full of thrills and suspense when in this mode. Part of the film though is also Lord of the Flies and the social order stuff is bland. The film also concludes with far more questions than answers (e.g. why only boys?) and too much room for a sequel. The sets, sound design and visual effects are great though and the riveting nature of the mystery keeps things chugging along. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015). Taken to a gloomy research facility, the survivors of the first film flee, leading to an arduous trek across the desert in this sequel to the 2014 hit. The first 45 minutes are very decent with lots of mystery as to what the facility is about, plus an escape that is as elaborate as the final run in Part One. Unfortunately, once they leave the building, it quickly derails with the final 80 minutes tough to sit through as the film merely recycles post-apocalyptic clichés done to death since Mad Max 2. The infected zombie creatures also feel generic given the plethora of sci-fi thrillers like 28 Days Later... and I Am Legend. We do get some welcome extra background information though, with a lot more answers than Part One, but once again the filmmakers leave things hanging way too open for the next installment. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018). Rescuing a friend from the evil corporation proves dangerous for the remaining survivors in this concluding chapter in the Maze Runner trilogy. With the tiresome Mad Max 2 elements mostly ditched and several gleefully over-the-top, spectacular action scenes (buses and trains carried midair), this is a more enjoyable entry than the second film, if not a whole lot better overall. The character motivations are pretty much all over the place, the film features so many false endings to be the point of being anticlimactic, and the evil corporation and antagonists barely function as anything beyond the trappings for shoot-outs and explosions. The production design is at least certainly the most impressive since the first film, but this feels like quite a regression from the delightfully mysterious 2014 original. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★
The third part of this popped up on a streaming service I have a subscription for, so I decided to watch it without watching parts 1 and 2. I didn't quite get what experiment in the maze they were talking about, but the rest wasn't that hard to follow. I didn't see a lot of originality unfortunately and a lot was pretty predictable, so I gave it a low rating as well.
If the first part pops up on Netflix or somewhere else, I'll watch it.
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#4

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 12:20 pm

sol wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 12:00 pm
Fate of a Man (1959). Sometimes known as Destiny of a Man, this Soviet drama focuses on a former prisoner-of-war who reflects on his life choices as he recounts how he survived World War II. His story is an incredible tale of perseverance and the impact of war on the individual; he is not some hopeful optimist who always thought that he would make it out, and part of what makes his experiences so enticing is the fact that he survived despite often thinking that all was lost. The most striking aspect of the film though is its visuals; from aerial shots, to shots that travel under legs and look up at the sky, and camerawork that stays in his face as he runs along, the film is magnificently photographed, providing an ironic beauty to the wartime brutality depicted. Director Sergey Bondarchuk also does well in the main role. An impressive directional debut. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
:wub:
I've got it at #116 in my all time favorites list.

Image
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#5

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 12:32 pm

I watched only three movies this week:

Pisma myortvogo cheloveka AKA Dead Man's Letters (7/10)
Good dark post-acopalyptic atmossphere, but I hoped for a bit more story.
Ani Ohev Otach Rosa AKA I Love You Rosa (7/10)
Sweet little drama about a young widow. Customs say she should marry the younger brother of her late husband, but the little brother is only 11 years old. She takes him in her house and takes care for him as he is her son, which leads to disgust of the whole village. The movie is a good stab at stupid customs in religious culture, but I don't like the fact that
SpoilerShow
she actually fell for him after several years. I don't know why she fell for him, because he was an annoying kid and later they didn't see him for many years. She wanted to be free to choose him and not be forced, but choosing him after all didn't make a lot of sense.
Jahrgang '45 AKA Born in '45 (6/10)
Rather forgettable. It's okay, but I didn't find anything memorable.

Why only three movies? Because I also watched the first 15 episodes of the last Twin Peaks season. Will post about it next week, probably.
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
viktor-vaudevillain
Posts: 380
Joined: Feb 04, 2017
Contact:

#6

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » January 20th, 2019, 12:34 pm

My week:

8 Mile (Curtis Hanson, 2002) - 6+ 3rd viewing

Gens du lac / People of the Lake (Jean-Marie Straub, 2018) - 7

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012) - 5

First Reformed (Paul Schrader, 2017) - 7+ theatrical
This was very good, though it stays too synthetic for my taste, Schrader sure is good at imitating great directors' aesthetics.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977) - 7-

ユメノ銀河 / Labyrinth of Dreams (Sogo Ishii, 1997) - 7

+ the 7 first episodes of the 1st season of Gilmore Girls

User avatar
viktor-vaudevillain
Posts: 380
Joined: Feb 04, 2017
Contact:

#7

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » January 20th, 2019, 12:38 pm

@Sol:
Our Century - 8+ make sure to watch Peleshian's other films as well. He's great, but this one may be his best.

@Joachimt:
Dead Man's Letters - 9

User avatar
peeptoad
Posts: 1030
Joined: Feb 04, 2017
Location: Boston
Contact:

#8

Post by peeptoad » January 20th, 2019, 12:52 pm

sol, I haven't seen any of yours except perhaps for the second Panda film, but I can't recall it clearly.

here's mine for the week-

Where Have All the People Gone? (1974) 5
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939) 7
Fei tou mo nu (1982) Witch with the Flying Head 6
Les filles de Malemort (1974) 6
Inseminoid (1981) 4
October Sky (1999) 7
The Mummy (1999) 7*
X The Unknown (1956) 7
Onderhond wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 12:14 pm
Image

01. 4.0* - Godzilla: The Planet Eater [Gojira: Hoshi Wo Kû Mono] (2018)
A worthy finale to the trilogy. Low on action, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to those who've seen the previous films (a must). Instead Planet Eater takes a more philosophical route, while still delivering some monumental visuals. It's a most welcome addition to the Gojira franchise, though true fans will beg to differ.
This sounds interesting... might try to check it out although I've got to see the second first. The first installment was middling for me though. And Piercing has been on my watch list ever since I heard about the film. The book was quite good.

User avatar
sol
Donator
Posts: 5956
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#9

Post by sol » January 20th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Onderhond:

Yeah, Cooties was pretty decent - and Elijah Wood has become quite a solid horror actor in his post-Hobbit years.

I laughed out loud at your comment about well-made Peter Farrelly movies. I am pretty much eye-to-eye with you on Green Book, which I reviewed up-thread. For all the flak it has been getting, I won't half-mind if this one ends up nabbing Best Picture at the Oscars. Harmless and enjoyable if unambitious.

joachimt:

I don't know if The Maze Runner will have such a strong impact on you since you will be going into it with a clear understanding of the world outside the maze, but it was a pretty nifty movie watched with little idea of what was to come (other than the protagonist surviving, given the sequels). The second film is worse than the third, so I'd skip it unless you are mega-into Mad Max 2 copycats. The first was a pretty cool concoction; Cube meets Lord of the Flies.

Heh; I likewise added Fate of a Man to my all-time top 500, albeit at a slightly lower position than you. It is easily my favourite first time viewing so far this year. I have always been very partial to war movies, and it is of course an amazing-look one too. The majestic nature of some of the shots reminded me of Orson Welles.

Yours:

Seen none. You make I Love You, Rosa sound very interesting. Need to keep that one in mind for the <400 Challenge.

viktor:

Oh yes - I felt that I watching a bit of a mini-masterpiece with Our Century. Definitely interested in checking out more of the director's stuff; I have Menq lined up to watch this month too. I absolutely loved the way Peleshian married sound and visuals together with Our Century and I would be keen to see more of that.

Yours:

Seen 8 Mile and Close Encounters, but both only once and not recently at that. Decent films for sure. Heard only the best things about First Reformed; I don't think it received a theatrical run here, but apparently it's out on DVD. Hawke is of course predicted to get the 5th Best Actor slot at the Oscars. Meant to be a career best performance, though the film is also reportedly an uncredited remake of Winter Light (??? - random things heard of the grapevine) so maybe I should be rewatching that one first.

peeps:

Only seen one of yours too - X the Unknown. Solid Hammer offering with a terrific music score. I must still have my VHS of it somewhere (never found a DVD upgrade).

Kung Fu Panda 2 was definitely funnier than the first for my money, but even less than a week later my memories of the three movies are beginning to blur, so not that distinctive. It does have Gary Oldman though. He's terrific.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
Image Image Image

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#10

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 1:10 pm

@sol: re: Maze Runner. By the time I watch the first part, I've probably forgotten a lot about the third part, so I can watch it as a standalone movie then. :D
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
Coryn
Posts: 243
Joined: Dec 05, 2018
Contact:

#11

Post by Coryn » January 20th, 2019, 1:31 pm

16. 13/01 Rashomon (1950) ***
I understand the importance of this film but I personally have a hard time loving Kurosawa like others do.

17. 14/01 The thin blue line (1988) ***

18. 14/01 Brokeback mountain (2005) ****
Absolutely surprised me. Very emotional film which is more than just a love story between 2 man.

19. 15/01 Beoning (2018) **
Kind of disappointed to be honest. You could see how it would end halfway through.

20. 16/01 The Sting (1973) ***

21. 16/01 Sherlock Jr. (1924) *****
Wow, instant favorite. Can't wait to see The general and I am actually considering buying the Buster Keaton box from Masters of Cinema

22. 17/01 Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000) *
Can anybody help me out here ? What was the purpose of this docu ?
If it was making people aware we shouldn't spoil so much food, then it really didn't work. This docu summarized was just Agnes Varda looking for the strangest person she could find, asking them why they are picking up food from the ground and then getting the same answer over and over again: "It's still good food".
Look at my old hand and 'oops' I forgot to turn off the camera really didn't help either.

23. 18/01 Stalker (1979) ****
Blind buy from Criterion. I had only seen Zerkalo till now from Tarkovsky which I found okay, some obvious beautiful shots were in that movie but I couldn't get a grasp on the story.
Stalker though, absolutely amazing. I feel like he thought weeks and weeks over every seconds of screentime in this movie. The plot, though difficult, kept me interested untill even after the movie was over. This is going to need a rewatch and will probably become a favourite soon.

24. 18/01 WALL-E (2008) ****
Second best animation from Dinsey/Pixar right behind Coco for me.

25. 19/01 Spring Breakers (2012) *
Read up on criticism before this movie how this is a movie for film buffs and not for teenagers. Still didn't like it though.
[*][*][*][*][*] Favorite
[*][*][*][*] Very good
[*][*][*] Good
[*][*] Okay
[*] Bad

User avatar
sol
Donator
Posts: 5956
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#12

Post by sol » January 20th, 2019, 1:57 pm

Coryn:

Lots of all-time favourites there. I take it that you're new to cinephilia.

The Thin Blue Line will probably end up topping my ballot for the current documentaries poll. From the meticulously filmed reconstruction scenes to the atmospheric music score, this was a real pioneer movie in its day even if the whole reconstruction thing is pretty old school now.

Don't get your hopes too high for The General. Keaton's shorts (and shorter features) are generally better than his traditional length features. The biggest issue for Keaton is stringing a plot together in between bravura short routines. I'm not a big fan of any of his features other than maybe The Cameraman, however, One Week is possibly the funniest thing that I have seen; I would also highly recommend The Playhouse, Convict 13 and The Haunted House out of his short film output. And if silent comedy is your thing, you simply have to see some Harold Lloyd.

Also seen and really liked Brokeback Mountain, The Sting with its awesome ragtime music, Stalker, WALL-E (though mostly just for the first half) and yes, Spring Breakers - which I found to be a great exercise in defying generic expectations. Not your typical college girls having fun on spring break movie and James Franco was amazing. Such charisma but also such depth (note how his exterior toughness breaks down when he has the gun pointed in his mouth).

Oh, and you do realise that you can include your viewing of Videodrome on this thread, right? It doesn't matter if you saw it on the 19th or the 20th. The dates in the OP are only there to prevent confusion between all the weekly threads. I, for one, always include stuff that I have seen on Sunday because my Sunday evening is when a lot of folks are just waking up. And yeah, I noticed your dismissive ** for Videodrome. I'll just say for now that I was a bit lukewarm on it too the first couple of times round, but after nine viewings, I think it's the best thing that I have ever seen. Give it another whirl when you are more in the mood.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
Image Image Image

User avatar
viktor-vaudevillain
Posts: 380
Joined: Feb 04, 2017
Contact:

#13

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » January 20th, 2019, 2:07 pm

@Sol:
"(...) though the film is also reportedly an uncredited remake of Winter Light (??? - random things heard of the grapevine) so maybe I should be rewatching that one first." - the two films has got a lot of similarities, but actually First Reformed is as much Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest; it's a mix of these two combined with the vigilantism of Travis Bickle, an ecological activism film of recent, Night Moves, also came to mind - but I suppose that's mostly due to the contemporary subject matter.

User avatar
Coryn
Posts: 243
Joined: Dec 05, 2018
Contact:

#14

Post by Coryn » January 20th, 2019, 2:24 pm

sol wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 1:57 pm
Coryn:

Lots of all-time favourites there. I take it that you're new to cinephilia.

The Thin Blue Line will probably end up topping my ballot for the current documentaries poll. From the meticulously filmed reconstruction scenes to the atmospheric music score, this was a real pioneer movie in its day even if the whole reconstruction thing is pretty old school now.

Don't get your hopes too high for The General. Keaton's shorts (and shorter features) are generally better than his traditional length features. The biggest issue for Keaton is stringing a plot together in between bravura short routines. I'm not a big fan of any of his features other than maybe The Cameraman, however, One Week is possibly the funniest thing that I have seen; I would also highly recommend The Playhouse, Convict 13 and The Haunted House out of his short film output. And if silent comedy is your thing, you simply have to see some Harold Lloyd.

Also seen and really liked Brokeback Mountain, The Sting with its awesome ragtime music, Stalker, WALL-E (though mostly just for the first half) and yes, Spring Breakers - which I found to be a great exercise in defying generic expectations. Not your typical college girls having fun on spring break movie and James Franco was amazing. Such charisma but also such depth (note how his exterior toughness breaks down when he has the gun pointed in his mouth).

Oh, and you do realise that you can include your viewing of Videodrome on this thread, right? It doesn't matter if you saw it on the 19th or the 20th. The dates in the OP are only there to prevent confusion between all the weekly threads. I, for one, always include stuff that I have seen on Sunday because my Sunday evening is when a lot of folks are just waking up. And yeah, I noticed your dismissive ** for Videodrome. I'll just say for now that I was a bit lukewarm on it too the first couple of times round, but after nine viewings, I think it's the best thing that I have ever seen. Give it another whirl when you are more in the mood.
Absolutely correct in saying I'm new to cinephilia. I only used to watch movies my dad bought and tv series until around 2 years ago.
In the last 2 years and certainly since I rediscovered ICM lately I've been watching great movies at a decent tempo (30-40/month) so I'll be catching up for the next years.

The thin blue line might have lost its magic on me as the reconstruction thing is so overused nowadays indeed. Still an unbelievable story.

I actually finished Videodrome last night at 1 AM 20/01/2019. I choose to only post movies I finished between the dates said in the title.
I would have posted Videodrome next week and I do agree with your comment. Please also note that 2 stars is in my book not a bad movie, it's not comparable to let's say a 2/5 or 4/10. It's definitely not the last time I watched it though but I am going to give Cronenbergs other works a try first (I didn't really like A history of violence either as much as I thought.)
[*][*][*][*][*] Favorite
[*][*][*][*] Very good
[*][*][*] Good
[*][*] Okay
[*] Bad

User avatar
Carmel1379
Donator
Posts: 4346
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Location: ∅ ⋁ ⋀ ∞ | myself am Hell
Contact:

#15

Post by Carmel1379 » January 20th, 2019, 2:36 pm

sol:

Destiny of a Man - Got it at a 6, but I can't really remember much.
Our Century - Your first Peleshian? I've seen them all now and you should be glad to know most are more or less similar (only his last two, 'Life' and 'End', are different in style, the latter is my favourite of his).
Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer - In my watchlist, of course.
Kung Fu Panda 2 - Yeah, decent sequel, on par with the first one. The added sentimentality (the backstory) could've been a failure, but somehow they managed to kindle and nourish it successfully.
Haven't seen the 3rd one. Any particular themes or parts of it you think would especially appeal to me?
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ha, I read that book when I was much younger, which I mostly remember for its vernacular photos. Could go for Burton's adaptation sometime; the IMDb screenshots are looking quite good.


Viktor:

Magic Mike - This is probably the oddest of movies I randomly saw on Polish TV with some family members. 6/10
First Reformed - 4/10
Close Encounters of the Third Kind - 7/10
Labyrinth of Dreams - Looking forward to it.


Coryn:

Most of these not seen in a while.

Rashomon - 8/10
The Thin Blue Line - 8/10
Burning - 8+/10
The Sting - 7/10
Sherlock Jr. - Ignore sol, 'The General' is GOAT. 9/10
Les glaneurs et la glaneuse - "purpose of this docu": Fun exploratory travelling, I reckon. 8/10
Stalker - 8+/10
WALL-E - 8/10
Spring Breakers - 10/10


Carmel:

naked (1993, Mike Leigh) (3rd viewing) 9+/10

Boudu sauvé des Eaux (1932, Jean Renoir) 5/10
It’s nice, but more than being a satire of the French bourgeoisie, it reinforces the cliché clochards are unmannered ingrate morons, as that’s the source of the film’s comedy in the foundational juxtaposition, rather than anything really coming from the bourgeoisie's part. Not that I have a problem with that or anything, just saying.

Suspiria (2018, Luca Guadagnino) 5/10
IMDb, letterboxd, tumblr
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

User avatar
sol
Donator
Posts: 5956
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#16

Post by sol » January 20th, 2019, 3:14 pm

viktor:

Oh, I liked Night Moves quite a bit. In fact, it's probably my favourite Reichardt so far (Certain Women is still in my blind), so any similarities are a definite plus. You have me intrigued with the Taxi Driver reference too. Need to wait for the DVD to come down in price.

Coryn:

Yeah, um, A History of Violence is my favourite English-language film of the previous decade, so we're not doing well here. Maybe save your further explorations of his work until you have a few more films under your belt? I just know that he was not exactly a favourite of mine when I first got into cinema, but almost all his films are growers (get better each time) and I would say that a lot of my appreciation for him comes from seeing how other directors handle horror compared to the slow, brooding, atmospheric way that Cronenberg tends to build tension.

Whatever the case, do not subject yourself to Fast Company, Cosmopolis or A Dangerous Method just yet (his three weakest films for my money, though the middle one has its defenders). Eastern Promises is similar (in ways) to A History of Violence, while pretty much all of his films from Spider backwards are moody 'body horror' movies. If you're not too into horror, The Fly is probably the closest that any of them come to a straightforward drama. I don't know; I can only speak for my own experience with Cronenberg.

And don't listen to Carmel re: The General. :folded: He has reminded me though: The Goat is another worthwhile Keaton short.

Carmel:

Dammit. I would love to hear more about Destiny of a Man only being a 6. It's a 9 for me, and as you know, I rarely hand those out to first-time viewings.

Thanks for the tip on Peleshian - a filmmaker that I was not even really aware of before the Russian Challenge began. I actually saw a lot of great Soviet stuff this week, so pretty neat that others out there have seen these films too (again, titles only barely on my radar pre-Challenge).

Yeah, Onderhond recommend Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer to me as a Groundhog Day precursor a couple of weeks ago - which it really isn't outside of one character saying that it feels like he is living the same day again and again. It's much more an Inception precursor. On the subject of time loops though, I thought these were really well done in the Peregrine film. The whole movie is quite enjoyable though (good mix of practical effects, time loop philosophy, some comedy) and certainly up to Burton par.

I too was surprised by how well the back-story was handled in Kung Fu Panda 2. I mean, it was always obvious from the first film that the goose wasn't his father, but damn, the way the film digs into it and ties it into Gary Oldman's brilliant antagonist; I could have never expected that I would like the film as much as I did.

Nah, Kung Fu Panda 3 is pretty dry thematically. Unless you're interested in films in which adoptive and birth fathers learn to bond, or films where characters visit their roots, there is not really a lot to it. Not that much action either. Mostly Poh learning to be a lazy panda. Need a fourth film where he turns into Sexual Harassment Panda. That I would watch.

Of yours, I have only seen Naked (rather recently if you recall), which surprised me as a rather dark Mike Leigh movie. Not his best for my money though. I was recently wowed by the less atmospheric but really well assembled High Hopes.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
Image Image Image

User avatar
Perception de Ambiguity
Posts: 3507
Joined: Jul 09, 2011
Contact:

#17

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » January 20th, 2019, 3:32 pm

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

幻土 / A Land Imagined (Yeo Siew Hua, 2018) 7/10

Possible Worlds (Robert Lepage, 2000) 9+/10

非常突然 / Expect the Unexpected (游達志/Patrick Yau Tat-Chi BUT allegedly mostly 杜琪峯/Johnny To, 1998) 6-/10

Youth (Paolo Sorrentino, 2015) 8/10

Le conseguenze dell'amore / The Consequences of Love (Paolo Sorrentino, 2004) 8/10

Drive (NicWinRef, 2011) (16th viewing) 9/10

菊次郎の夏 / Kikujiro (北野武/Takeshi Kitano, 1999) 7-/10

その男、凶暴につき / Violent Cop (北野武/Takeshi Kitano, 1989) (2nd viewing) 8+/10 (from 8)

Angels Over Broadway (Ben Hecht & co-director Lee Garmes, 1940) (2nd viewing) 9/10

This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984) 6/10 (from 7)

Il se peut que la beauté ait renforcé notre résolution - Masao Adachi / It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve: Masao Adachi (Philippe Grandrieux, 2011) (2nd viewing) 8/10 (from 7)
incomprehensible kappaShow
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993) (9th+ viewing) ☸ (from 10)

shorts

Asphalte de Johanna Vaude (Johanna Vaude, 2019) 8-/10

Stranger (Andre de Nervaux, 2018) 2/10

Memories Lost And Found 2 (Andre de Nervaux, 2017) 2/10

Primitive Technology: Stone Yam planters (2019) 7/10


music videos

The Pholosopher: AnCap Grind (2018) (4 viewings + more listens) 6+/10

Queen: Radio Ga Ga (year, director) (umpteenth viewing)

Static-X: Cannibal (c.2007) (1st+ viewing) 6/10

Static-X: Stingwray (2009) (1st+ viewing) 4+/10


other

Désiré (1937) - Bande-annonce +


didn't finish

Stavisky... (Alain Resnais, 1974) [19 min]
Red (Chris Gore, 1993) [8 min]
Die große Stille (Philip Gröning, 1995) [3 min]
Ranenyy angel / The Wounded Angel (Emir Baigazin, 2016) [2 min]
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996) [would-be rewatch] [32 min]


notable online media

top:
North Korean Labor Camps - VICE NEWS [Parts 1-7/7]
Tom Hardy LOVES Interviews
Jim Carrey on Ellen [Parts 1&2/2]
Jim Carrey Tonight Show 2007 [minus politician part]
rest:
Graveyard Song (ft. Jim Carrey) - SNL
Ethan Hawke: The Rolling Stone Interview
In conversation with... Mark Cousins on The Eyes of Orson Welles | BFI
How humans disrupted a cycle essential to all life

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
dream realityImage
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.

User avatar
Coryn
Posts: 243
Joined: Dec 05, 2018
Contact:

#18

Post by Coryn » January 20th, 2019, 4:48 pm

sol wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 3:14 pm


Coryn:

Yeah, um, A History of Violence is my favourite English-language film of the previous decade, so we're not doing well here. Maybe save your further explorations of his work until you have a few more films under your belt? I just know that he was not exactly a favourite of mine when I first got into cinema, but almost all his films are growers (get better each time) and I would say that a lot of my appreciation for him comes from seeing how other directors handle horror compared to the slow, brooding, atmospheric way that Cronenberg tends to build tension.

Whatever the case, do not subject yourself to Fast Company, Cosmopolis or A Dangerous Method just yet (his three weakest films for my money, though the middle one has its defenders). Eastern Promises is similar (in ways) to A History of Violence, while pretty much all of his films from Spider backwards are moody 'body horror' movies. If you're not too into horror, The Fly is probably the closest that any of them come to a straightforward drama. I don't know; I can only speak for my own experience with Cronenberg.

And don't listen to Carmel re: The General. :folded: He has reminded me though: The Goat is another worthwhile Keaton short.

Would be boring if everyone had the same taste. I've seen The Fly before and I can remember I found it entertaining but I didn't check on ICM as I have no clue anymore where and when I saw it. Could be I just saw a part of it.
[*][*][*][*][*] Favorite
[*][*][*][*] Very good
[*][*][*] Good
[*][*] Okay
[*] Bad

lynchs
Posts: 272
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Portugal
Contact:

#19

Post by lynchs » January 20th, 2019, 5:21 pm

.something like this.

downloaded
Four Shadows (1978) 8/10
The Sisters Brothers (2018) 8/10

Hitler, Stalin and I (2001 TV Movie) 7/10
Terras (2009) 7/10
Tiempo compartido (2018) 7/10

Dao khanong (2016) 6/10

The House That Jack Built (2018) 5/10

from TV
Bugsy (1991) 7/10

Arès (2016) 6/10
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 6/10
The Shape of Water (2017) 6/10

Action Point (2018) 5/10
Black Panther (2018) 5/10
Django (2017) 5/10

The Railway Man (2013) 4/10
La nostra vita (2010) 4/10

downloaded Shorts
Julien (1983) 8/10
Le récit de Rebecca (1964) 8/10
Rytsari podnebesya (1989) 8/10

lynchs
Posts: 272
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Portugal
Contact:

#20

Post by lynchs » January 20th, 2019, 6:09 pm

you you and you

sol,
Nachalo (1970) (l)
Sudba cheloveka (1959) 710 long ago
Mer dare (1983) (l)
The Maze Runner (2014) 610
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) 610
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) 410

Onderhond,
nada :woot:

joachimt, both long ago,
Pisma myortvogo cheloveka (1986) 710
Jahrgang '45 (1966) (l)

viktor-vaudevillain,
8 Mile (2002) 610 long ago
First Reformed (2017) 810 faith
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 710 long ago

peeptoad,
nada :woot:

Coryn, all long ago
Rashômon (1950) 610
Brokeback Mountain (2005) 510
The Sting (1973) 710
Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000) 610
Stalker (1979) (l)
Spring Breakers (2012) 510 colors and else?

Carmel1379,
Naked (1993) 510 philosophical-banalities

Perception de Ambiguity,
Youth (2015) 510 clichés
Le conseguenze dell'amore (2004) (l)
Drive (2011) 410 NO
Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (1989) 510 long ago
Groundhog Day (1993) 710 long ago

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#21

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 7:42 pm

@Coryn: You managed to watch two movies from my all time top 5 in the same week. :woot:
Talking about Rashomon and Stalker, btw.
About Keaton: Everything is a worthy watch. I love his shorts and One Week is indeed a good recommendation. I can't really help with other titles, because a lot of them are mixing up in my head. With Sherlock Jr. I was less interested in the first half when I rewatched it, but the chase scene is a classic masterpiece.
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
Carmel1379
Donator
Posts: 4346
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Location: ∅ ⋁ ⋀ ∞ | myself am Hell
Contact:

#22

Post by Carmel1379 » January 20th, 2019, 8:22 pm

sol wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 3:14 pm
Carmel: Dammit. ...

High Hopes.
Destiny of a Man - Honestly don't know, it probably struck me as a narratively-conventional well-made Soviet war drama which had simply little-to-no effect on me and thus found rather forgettable (the only scene I recall is the PoW protagonist drinking at the sketchy request of an SS officer), but not really bad in any particular way. :shrug:

I'm not sure if I've actually seen KFP2 in the original language, so I suspect I missed out on Gary Oldman's voice acting (which I know he's marvellous in) you seem to have been so taken by.

From the sound of it, KFP3 continues to milk the joke Po's father isn't a goose. No lessons about the self-realisation that comes with grappling & accepting a violent past then? Alright. Although the 'laziness' part you mention sounds tempting... OK, let me guess, is the set-up basically that Po reunites with his family who are all stereotypical pandas and want him within their tribe at all costs, and while he tries to get along with them, his obligations to Shifu and China in general as a Dragon Warrior, as well as his adoptive father's existence, mean he's unable to fully integrate and must, at the end of the day, seek a 'golden middle way' sort of solution?
Last edited by Carmel1379 on January 20th, 2019, 11:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
IMDb, letterboxd, tumblr
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

User avatar
Coryn
Posts: 243
Joined: Dec 05, 2018
Contact:

#23

Post by Coryn » January 20th, 2019, 8:35 pm

@joachimt

Stalker is in my top 50 for sure already and will only rise in time.
Rashomon I found to be less good than I expected. Beautiful film but couldn't keep me interested enough like e.g. Kobayashi can.
[*][*][*][*][*] Favorite
[*][*][*][*] Very good
[*][*][*] Good
[*][*] Okay
[*] Bad

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#24

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 8:45 pm

Coryn wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 8:35 pm
@joachimt

Stalker is in my top 50 for sure already and will only rise in time.
Rashomon I found to be less good than I expected. Beautiful film but couldn't keep me interested enough like e.g. Kobayashi can.
Ah, Kobayashi! :wub:
How many by him have you seen already? I've seen seven by him. I rated four of them 10/10 and three others 9/10. The Human Condition trilogy is at place #16, #62 and #2 in my all time fav-list and Harakiki at #7.
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
Coryn
Posts: 243
Joined: Dec 05, 2018
Contact:

#25

Post by Coryn » January 20th, 2019, 9:20 pm

Only seppuku and kaidan tbh which I both rated 9/10

Bought the human condition trilogy from Arrow last week.
Can't wait to see it but I'd like to take a relaxed weekend for it where I can't be distracted
[*][*][*][*][*] Favorite
[*][*][*][*] Very good
[*][*][*] Good
[*][*] Okay
[*] Bad

User avatar
joachimt
Donator
Posts: 28599
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

#26

Post by joachimt » January 20th, 2019, 9:25 pm

Coryn wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 9:20 pm
Only seppuku and kaidan tbh which I both rated 9/10

Bought the human condition trilogy from Arrow last week.
Can't wait to see it but I'd like to take a relaxed weekend for it where I can't be distracted
Good plan!
ICM-profile
Fergenaprido: "I find your OCD to be adorable, J"

User avatar
sol
Donator
Posts: 5956
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#27

Post by sol » January 21st, 2019, 11:58 am

PdA:

No.

lynchs:

Nachalo got on my nerves quite quickly with its non-chronological structure. I liked it a bit more once I understood what was going on, but I don't think I ever really likely the very obviously deluded protagonist, though the actress playing her did a fine job. I'm okay with all your other ratings, though giving the same rating to both The Maze Runner and the first sequel made me raise an eyebrow.

Only seen Bugsy and The Shape of Water from yours. Don't have vivid memories of the former, though it was interesting to see the beginnings of Las Vegas when it was all just a desert. The latter is a pretty cool homage to 50s B-movie sci-fi.

Carmel:

You're pretty much on the money with Kung Fu Panda 3, except that the goose father has the second most screen time after Poh as the film harps on about how disenfranchised he feels for Poh's biological father to suddenly show up. Also, there is Poh teaching his panda friends how to use their skills, such as hugging and rolling on their bellies, for kung fu purposes (oh yes). I do have to give the film some credit for not developing a potential love interest that crops up (though this might happen in the fourth movie). Eh. The original is a 6+ for me, the Oldman sequel a 7- and the third film is probably a 6-, with only just enough in it to rate above average overall. I wouldn't rush to seek it out.
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
Image Image Image

User avatar
Onderhond
Posts: 2572
Joined: Dec 23, 2012
Contact:

#28

Post by Onderhond » January 21st, 2019, 12:24 pm

sol:
The biggest drawback is the characters, most of whom are too hotheaded to like. The comedy does not work half the time either, with gaping mouth and people thrown about played for laughs.
It's been ages since I watched the film, this is something I worry about the most myself. Of course, the comedy is actually the baseline of the series, which Oshii's additions not being appreciated by the creator and audience of the original series. As the link to Inception, again it's been too long (and honestly, I can hardly remember anything about that film), but I do seem to be remembering repeating sequences ala Groundhog Day?
I'm surprised to see you liked Kung Fu Panda though … I can get people nothing liking the comedy in UY, but KFP is sooooooo much worse. Total cringe-fests if you ask me :D

As for Elijah Woods, I hate the guy. I think he's a horrible actor who really doesn't deserve to be on screen. That said, he has great taste in films because he's been producing some very original films these past few years. And to be clear about the Farrelly brothers, I do not really mind most of their films, the "well-made" was in relation to "drama" rather than "films" :) I'm not their biggest fan, but I appreciate their devotion to comedy.

peeptoad:
Part 2 & 3 are very much in line with the first film though. If you didn't like that one, I'm not sure you'll like the sequels. It's a pretty consistent series, quality-wise. The only remarkable thing is that the build-up doesn't really follow the classical pattern.

lynchs
Posts: 272
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Portugal
Contact:

#29

Post by lynchs » January 21st, 2019, 1:15 pm

sol wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 11:58 am

Nachalo "... non-chronological structure"
probably the reason I liked it, don't remember much :whistling:

Bugsy "... though it was interesting to see the beginnings of Las Vegas when it was all just a desert"
if the story is really true, pretty cool but also sad. besides, always liked Warren Beatty's acting, tons of charisma :thumbsup:

User avatar
Teproc
Posts: 173
Joined: Sep 23, 2015
Contact:

#30

Post by Teproc » January 21st, 2019, 2:36 pm

Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) - 6/10

Can't help but feel to me like second-rate Hitchcock, and a waste of Powell's talents on something that doesn't quite suit him. Still works fine overall, and hey Moira Searer is dancing that's nice, but all of the psychological babble feels like the end of Psycho without the actually great thriller to go with it.

Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001) - 7/10

Quite a fun cross between an Agatha Christie murder mystery and, well, Downton Abbey, which I guess has some murder mysteries of its own, but it never has the comedic tone this has - especially with Michael Gambon and Stephen Fry's performances, both excellent. It does derail a bit in the last 20 minutes when everything needs to be wrapped so neatly and the social commentary gets foregrounded too much despite being pretty basic. Altman makes a great use of the location, you really get a sense of how the whole environment exists outside the screen.

Netemo sametemo (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2018) - 7/10

More conventional than Happî awâ (both in content and runtime), and a lot more focused which I like, with the whole thing revolving around a single character this time around, but she was maybe too much of a mystery to me ? By the end it felt like she was doing things more because the plot required her to than anything else. Still, the central relationship is quite well done, the acting strong overall, and I like Hamaguchi's style so far, hoping he can do even better in the future.

Amanda (Mikhaël Hers, 2018) - 8/10

This runs pretty close to Hers's previous film, Ce sentiment de l'été, in ways I wasn't quite anticipating. Vincent Lacoste is great (his 2018 was really a "level-up" year for him, showed more range with this and Plaire, aimer et courir vite - incidentally the two best French films of 2018 for me), and Hers is excellent at capturing a certain hopeful mood mixed with heavy drama.

Roma (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018) - 7/10

In many ways an aesthetic exercise, and one with pretty troubling implications that I'm not sure Cuaron is entirely conscious of. Two standout scenes though (at the hospital and at the beach) save it from being pure "One Perfect Shot" fodder though.

En liberté (Pierre Salvadori, 2018) - 4/10

A very weird comedy starring Adèle Haenel and Pio Marmaï that never really found its tone for me. Some funny stuff, but it's hard to know how seriously to take the characters emotions (especially Haenel's) throughout, which proves to be a huge problem as Salvadori clearly wants you to be invested as well as amused.

Doubles vies (Olivier Assayas, 2018) - 7/10

This feels feels hilariously out of touch, coming out in the middle of the whole Gilets jaunes thing, because I'd be hard-pressed to think of a film as elite-Parisian-y (if that makes sense) as this. Having only seen Clouds of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper, I would have never guessed this was directed by Assayas had I gone in blind. It's barely cinema, purely conversations between characters... but they're all pretty interesting conversations, and some pretty great actors, so it worked for me. Canet and Hamzawi are particularly great, Binoche is Binoche, and Macaigne is playing the same role he always does, but hey, he's quite good at it.

Glass (M. Night Shyamalan, 2018) - 6/10

The biggest problem here is that The Beast is not a very good villain (since it's basically just McAvoy looking constipated), and the Horde (or Kevin, or whatever) is not a very good character. I do love this kind of performance from Samuel L. Jackson though, and I enjoyed the tension around his character early on, and the satisfaction of seeing him do his thing.

lynchs
Posts: 272
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Portugal
Contact:

#31

Post by lynchs » January 21st, 2019, 3:29 pm

Teproc, both long ago,

Peeping Tom (1960) 810
Gosford Park (2001) 810

McAvoy 1010

User avatar
Good_Will_Harding
Posts: 912
Joined: Feb 19, 2017
Contact:

#32

Post by Good_Will_Harding » January 21st, 2019, 7:07 pm

Slim week for me. Overtime at work and major snowstorms will do that, though:

Fiddler on the Roof (1971) - Somehow never saw this entire film from start to finish until now, despite being very familiar with certain segments and musical sequences. Outstanding from a production standpoint and the music is all nicely put together and the whole thing moves along really well, despite its three-plus hour runtime. Didn't exactly blow me away, but I'm glad I finally watched the entire film in full.

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018) - Netflix Original documentary which serves as a companion piece to the newly restored Orson Welles feature The Other Side of the Wind. Mostly engaging and interesting, but it doesn't contain a whole lot of brand new information or revelations that weren't already common knowledge or at least easy to figure out. Definitely still worth a look though.

Glass (2019) - An enjoyable, satisfying third installment in the Unbreakable, Split "trilogy", though instead of having its own singular tone, it sort of just alternates between the two previous ones, albeit fairly well. Not much especially new or unexpected to be found here (apart from how the entire thing wraps up, which will for sure alienate some regular audience members) but on the whole I still found it to be an intriguing and well done ride.

User avatar
Lonewolf2003
Donator
Posts: 7680
Joined: Dec 29, 2012
Contact:

#33

Post by Lonewolf2003 » January 22nd, 2019, 5:11 pm

My ftw's for this week.

Ai qing wan sui [Vive L'amour] (1994): 9.0 - Another beautiful movie by Ming-liang Tsai about lonely souls in a modern metropolis looking for some human connection. I was lucky to be able to see this in a cinema.
He liu [The River] (1997): 8.2 - Although Tsai's cinematic skills are still more than evident, this didn't touch me as much as his previous two movies. The plot gets more contrived. (I have seen some other later work also, but those didn't grab me as much either) Also in the cinema :)
Do widzenia, do jutra [Good Bye, See You Tomorrow] (1960): 7.2
I Origins (2014): 7.5 - Just like Mike Cahill former movie Another Earth it takes a sci-fi concept (this time the evolution of the eye and its link to reincarnation) as a gateway for a very decent character drama. I liked this one more because it's more humorous at times and the characters feel even more realistic and human (like the way the protagonist jokes around with his friend Steven Yeun).
Micmacs à tire-larigot (2009): 6.8 - Nice fun movie by Jeunet.
Night of the Comet (1984): 7.0 - A comet turns people is zombie-like sadistic savages in this enjoyable campy 80s cult movie. What set this apart that the two lead survivors are teenage sisters. Unfortunate the zombie action is very very limited, but still this is surprisingly entertaining.
Mia aioniotita kai mia mera [Eternity and a Day] (1998): 8.0 - Angelopoulos knows very well how to mix memories and reality. Some of the long takes, f.e. the marriage scene, are fantastic.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970): 6.8 - The second Planet of the Apes movies starts off as a very mediocre copy of the first, down to Charlton Heston look-a-like in the lead (Heston agreed only appear in the movie if he had a small cameo role). The movie does gets more interesting when Heston-copy discovers a lost human underground society that worships an atomic bomb. But it's the bleak and very surprising end that lifts the movie up most of all.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971): 7.0 - This changes the narrative from the previous movies by making two (okay actually three, but one is killed off quickly) beloved apes from the previous movies (Zira and Cornelious) travel to the current time. The first half of this is the most funny and lighthearted of the series. But things quickly turn bleaker when humans starts to hunt the talking apes and their unborn child. The ensuing escape from this hunt unfortunate isn't as suspenseful as it could have been.
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972): 7.0 - It's the 90s now, apes are used as slaves by humans and the survived son of Zira and Cornelious leads a revolt against them. I liked the whole concept of apes as slaves portrayed in the movie and Caesars revolt against it. Like the whole series its very bleak and pessimistic about human nature.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973): 7.0 - A few decades afters the previous movie human have destroyed most of the world in a nuclear war and Caesar lives and rules in a small society in which apes and humans live together (but not equally). The budget by now is very low and that starts to show in the lack of extras and production design. Still I liked how this society was depicted and it was pretty entertaining. (Overall I seem to like this franchise more than most people do)
The Time Machine (1960): 6.8
La chute de la maison Usher [The Fall of the House of Usher] (1928): 7.8 - great atmosphere.
The Crow (1994): 5.5 - This might been fresh and interesting when it first came out, but seeing it for the first time now it plays as an unintended parody of gritty dark superhero movies. The action is passable enough though to still enjoy this a bit.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): 7.5 - It is a very cliched rise to stardom story and like almost every biopic it does play with the truth a bit to make for a tighter compact story. But a movie that somehow can make me tear up because a band plays Radio Gaga in front of thousands of people does something correct in my book. Malek is impressive in channeling Freddy Mercury's charisma, especially onstage.
The Quiet Earth (1985): 7.5 - Creates a very convincing realistic deserted world without the post-apocalypse disaster cliché's. The first half with him just wandering around is therefor the most interesting and best part of the movie. In the second half the movie becomes more conventional plot driven, but also still above average. The movie tops it of with an superb ambiguous ending.
Caltiki - il mostro immortale [Caltiki, the Immortal Monster] (1959): 8.0 - In this early Italian sci-fi horror directed by Riccardo Freda and partly by Mario Bava (there's a debate whose movie this actually is) some archaeologists find a blob-like monster in a Mayan temple. After destroying it, they do take a little sample home for research. Which... surprise.... turns out not to have been a good idea. The sfx are dated; the monster is laughable (it looks like a bunch of wet rags), so is the obvious use of miniatures in some scenes. Still this was surprisingly good, thanks to the strong directing, the first-rate b/w cinematography and mostly the great pace of it all. This being a B-genre movie the characters are cardboard thin. Only the guy going insane after being infected is a compelling character, with that actor stealing the whole movie almost.
The Crazies (1973): 5.2 - The premise is interesting, the social commentary and themes are there, but unfortunate the movie itself is disappointingly boring. The acting is so bad, that with a lot of characters I couldn’t make out if they were crazy or not.

Rewatches:
The Butterfly Effect (2004) : 8.5 > 6.0 - My 23y old self was blown away by it and touched by it a lot, my 37y old self not so much. One's enjoyment of this movie might differ with how much one can suspend their disbelief that Kutcher can somehow just travel to his past. Though that wasn't the problem for me. It was that the movie just fell flat for me.
The Fall (2006): 10 > 10! - Come for the gorgeous fabulous visuals, stay for the heartbreaking story and heartwarming relationship. It also shows how we process our real experience through stories and vice-versa. And ends with a nice hommage to silent movie stunt(people).

No comments for now on other people's reviews, though I read most of them.

User avatar
GruesomeTwosome
Donator
Posts: 2526
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Industrial Wasteland, USA
Contact:

#34

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 22nd, 2019, 5:56 pm

Hi there, sol. Of yours, I've seen the first two Maze Runners, both when visiting my mom since for some reason she is drawn to this Young Adult sci-fi stuff, heh. First one was passable enough, really didn't like the second one and thankfully I have so far avoided the third film. As for Green Book, it was OK...incredibly straightforward and unchallenging, but the team of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali make this comedy-tinged road-movie drama very watchable, in a goes-down-easy crowd pleasing way. But aside from the actors, this thing shouldn't have major awards considerations.


My viewings last week:

Drive (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn) - 10/10 [re-watch, 6th(?) viewing]

Roma (2018, Alfonso Cuaron) - 8/10. Very good indeed, though I wasn't quite "wowed" by this, but it certainly is technically stunning and Yalitza Aparicio is quite the find as Cleo. With the Oscar nominations just announced, The Favourite would still be my Best Pic choice but I certainly wouldn't complain about Roma winning, which would help break ground for more future non-English language films actually getting recognized.

George Washington (2000, David Gordon Green) - 7/10. Even more Terrence Malick-y than I had expected, for better and for worse. Loved the imagery and several of the kid performances/voiceover narration. So weird how Green's career took a turn once he did The Pineapple Express.

Girl Walk: All Day (2011, Jacob Krupnick) - 9/10. Big goofy smile on my face for nearly the whole duration, pure joy. Especially during "the Girl's" (Anna Marsen's) segments.
I’m to remember every man I've seen fall into a plate of spaghetti???

My IMDB profile
ICM
Letterboxd

User avatar
peeptoad
Posts: 1030
Joined: Feb 04, 2017
Location: Boston
Contact:

#35

Post by peeptoad » January 22nd, 2019, 7:14 pm

Onderhond wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 12:24 pm

peeptoad:
Part 2 & 3 are very much in line with the first film though. If you didn't like that one, I'm not sure you'll like the sequels. It's a pretty consistent series, quality-wise. The only remarkable thing is that the build-up doesn't really follow the classical pattern.
Thanks... after reading a bit more closely about the films in this series I think I'll pass. I was reminded of what I didn't care for about the first one, and I think the other 2 are probably not for me (though I do love 'Zilla). My visual cortex got carried away by that screenshot you posted.

45MinuteZoom
Posts: 186
Joined: Sep 08, 2015
Location: DC
Contact:

#36

Post by 45MinuteZoom » January 22nd, 2019, 8:38 pm

On vacation in Amsterdam this week so I’m going to keep it short.

Caravaggio (Jarman, 1986) - This was very frustrating. Caravaggio had a super interesting life, and an interesting death, why would you choose to show none of it in a biopic? 2/10

Dogville (von Trier, 2003) -
SpoilerShow
Honestly it went too far with all of the rape. I get that a worse situation leads up to a more satisfying ending, but too far with that. It as a satisfying ending though.
8/10

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (Ramsey, Persichetti, Rothman, 2018) - So much fun, but also very touching. 8/10

User avatar
Carmel1379
Donator
Posts: 4346
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Location: ∅ ⋁ ⋀ ∞ | myself am Hell
Contact:

#37

Post by Carmel1379 » January 23rd, 2019, 4:06 am

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 5:56 pm
My viewings last week
'Dog Days' wasn't worth mentioning? :lol: or did you not see it last week? I guess Mike (Wheeler) didn't save that film from being utter shite?


(l) Drive* of course. Though even our combined count of rewatches doesn't come close to how many times PdA has seen it. tehe

*too bad one can't use prettier fonts :ermm:


♪♪ and from nature we should learn
that all can start again
as the stars must fade away
to give a bright new day ♪♪



Image
IMDb, letterboxd, tumblr
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

User avatar
GruesomeTwosome
Donator
Posts: 2526
Joined: Feb 03, 2017
Location: Industrial Wasteland, USA
Contact:

#38

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 23rd, 2019, 7:24 am

Carmel1379 wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 4:06 am
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 5:56 pm
My viewings last week
'Dog Days' wasn't worth mentioning? :lol: or did you not see it last week? I guess Mike (Wheeler) didn't save that film from being utter shite?


(l) Drive* of course. Though even our combined count of rewatches doesn't come close to how many times PdA has seen it. tehe

*too bad one can't use prettier fonts :ermm:
Dammit Carmel, can’t get anything past you! Yes I did see (the abominable) film Dog Days last week. :lol: I was visiting my mom over the weekend and she wanted to see a movie, she’s a huge dog lover and noticed a pug in this movie (she’s owned several of that breed over the years), so of course that movie had to be the choice. Just awful pablum...my mom better adjust her will and give me more than my brother, just for suffering through that tripe with her. :D And yes, at least Mike from Stranger Things was in it (season 3 on July 4! Didn’t know that the S3 release date had dropped until your post got me thinking about it).

Drive - yeah no kidding, I knew PdA was a fellow fan but he’s up to 16 viewings?!? He truly is a real hero, a real human being. Image
I’m to remember every man I've seen fall into a plate of spaghetti???

My IMDB profile
ICM
Letterboxd

User avatar
Carmel1379
Donator
Posts: 4346
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Location: ∅ ⋁ ⋀ ∞ | myself am Hell
Contact:

#39

Post by Carmel1379 » January 23rd, 2019, 1:18 pm

I thought something like that happened. :D Oh well, at least I reckon spending some time with you mum (who I assume liked the film a bunch?) is a silver lining.
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 7:24 am
she’s a huge dog lover
Has she seen 'Isle of Dogs' yet?

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 23rd, 2019, 7:24 am
And yes, at least Mike from Stranger Things was in it (season 3 on July 4!!! Didn’t know that the S3 release date had dropped until your post got me thinking about it).
Oh yeah. Have you seen the poster? It's pretty nice. I wonder if it foreshadows the characters' parts a little bit, like El & Will break the fourth wall (probably sensing those sprouting tentacle-y horrors...), Mike lovingly-protectively looks at & holds El, while Dustin, Lucas, and Max seem to be especially fond of the fireworks. 🎆 :wub: :party:
IMDb, letterboxd, tumblr
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

User avatar
OldAle1
Donator
Posts: 3501
Joined: Feb 09, 2017
Location: Dairyland, USA
Contact:

#40

Post by OldAle1 » January 23rd, 2019, 5:30 pm

This Film SUCKED
This Film ROCKED

Android (Aaron Lipstadt, 1983)

Klaus Kinski is the nominal star in this mad-scientist-creating-forbidden-androids tale, but don't be fooled, he's really second banana at best to the incredible Don Keith Opper - billed here as "Max 404" and playing an advanced android called, you guessed it, Max 404. Whether somebody in the production thought as highly of the performance as I did, or it was just a little joke, I can't say, but Opper is the reason to see this low-budget affair. He's the experiment and assistant to Kinski's Dr. Daniel, doing illegal experiments with robotic intelligence after there has been some kind of android revolt, and both of them are in danger when a spaceship carrying a trio of escaped convicts ends up at the remote space station they work at. Cheesy and quite low budget but a lot of fun and with some interesting little plot twists.

The Brother From Another Planet (John Sayles, 1984)

Another very low budget 80s SF film buoyed by a great lead performance, this one a story about an alien (Joe Morton) who just happens to look like a black man apart from his weird 3-toed feet who crash lands in the river in New York and finds himself in Harlem, trying to blend in with the locals despite his muteness and his strange powers (he seems to be able to fix almost anything - man or machine - with a wave of the hand) and on the run from "immigration officials" John Sayles and David Strathairn. Nicely shot on location by Ernest Dickerson, who had just shot Spike Lee's first student feature the previous year and went on to have a long association with that director before turning to directing himself. This doesn't quite have the panache of Lee's early work, and it's funnier and less overtly political in most respects than most of Sayles' other films, and more entertaining in some ways though it's also a bit patchy and seems to just sort of end because there was nowhere else to go with it. Still all things considered a lot of fun and at least a bit thought-provoking, and the bar scenes are pretty funny if you like dimestore philosophizing; I wonder if Jim Jarmusch was familiar with this film before he made Paterson which has some of the same groove in it's tavern sequences.

Aladdin and His Lamp (Lew Landers, 1952)

Very mediocre Arabian Nights drivel shot in ugly cinecolor, with Johnny Sands' titular character trying to win the lovely Patricia Medina (the princess), beat the evil Prince (John Dehner, one of my favorite character actors from this period, who seems totally bored here) and also keep out of the way of the evil magician who also wants to use the lamp's power. One novel element here is that every time you make a wish, the genie will try to kill you, and if he succeeds in killing the owner, he goes free and another genie takes his place. But that's not enough to make this of any interest to anybody but die-hard Arabian Nights completists like me.

Three New Films about Families

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2018)
Roma Alfonso Cuarón, 2018)
Manbiki kazoku / Shoplifters (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2018)


I saw all of these over a couple of days in the cinema - had to drive 150 km each way for the second and third of them - and while I had some vague idea of the stories they told beforehand, I was surprised at how much each one focused on a very similar issue - the nature of family, what makes a family, and whether blood relations count for more than love, compassion, and real understanding.

On a first viewing Beale Street doesn't impress me as much as Moonlight though - more than the other two films - it feels much like that previous film dense enough that another viewing might really satisfy and clarify some issues I had. It starts out with an absolutely beautiful long overhead shot of a young couple walking in a park, and the color and virtuoso photography remains a constant throughout. The story - of a pregnancy, a prison term, and the conflicts between different groups of marginalized peoples in New York in the 70s - is compelling certainly, and the acting is all very fine; I really think Kiki Layne as our protagonist Tish deserves a lot more credit than she's getting, it's a very different role than Regina King's as her mother but just as compelling in it's quietude and her somewhat distanced narration. I think some people are seeing this as amateurish or not terribly realistic but it worked for me, as did pretty much all of the film. I guess where it falls a little short is just in not reaching the emotional heights that the previous film did; compare the long scenes in each film between old friends seeing each other for the first time in years, there's the difference to me. And I'm not entirely sure that the big confrontation scene between families at the beginning works - because there's no follow-up. But I do want to see it again, and perhaps the small structural issues that I have will crumble on more reflection and viewings. In any case still one of the best films I've seen from this year.

I had very few problems with Roma which at this point is probably my favorite film of the year and likely my favorite from the director. This is certainly on the surface of a film of great audio-visual splendor - in fact the sound impressed me as much or more than the photography, and it well deserves it's Oscar nominations in those categories. The climactic sequence owes a lot of it's power to the thundering sounds of nature at it's most dangerous, and the layering of crowd noises, car and machinery sounds, and the quiet tones of protagonist Cleo make for an aural palette of complexity that we rarely get to experience. The sound alone was enough reason to experience this in the cinema.

I do think that one has to address the notion of a central protagonist who is a largely uncomplaining servant, and who is of a different ethnicity and speaks a different language than her employers - and the fact that the class/racial issues are kept in the background throughout is disquieting in a film made today. At the same time - this is the world that Cuarón and his family's servant Libo - who Cleo was based on - actually lived, and while it is possible that the generally good treatment she receives, and the feeling of "family" that she seems at times to be a part of could well be somewhat whitewashed or misrepresented, there isn't any particular reason to believe this is so, and the subtle undercurrents of division that we see expressed at several points, and nearly always when Cleo and her fellow servant Adela are alone speaking Mixtec, is palpable. It's a better life that they have, probably, than staying in their poor village - but they are not part of the mainstream Mexican society, and they know it even when the family may be pretending otherwise.

I can't fault the acting in this mostly non-professional cast, and I would say finally that if Yalitz Aparicio is "playing herself", what of Lady Gaga or a host of other winners and nominees for awards over the years who dug into who they are as people every bit as much or more than they dug into their experiences as actors?

Koreeda's Manbiki kazoku has on the surface quite a few similarities to his previous Dare mo shiranai , also about a down-and-out family in Tokyo making ends meet any way they can, but slowly and subtly we learn that this family of shoplifters, laborers, pensioners etc is not quite what it seems, and as a new member comes into the family unit unexpectedly, the who fabric of what this family is starts to unravel. I haven't seen all of the director's films but one difference that strikes me right away is in the color and filming style, which seems here to be going for a more documentary, slightly grungy feel - it has the look of a lot of early 70s film in it's slightly brown-tinged yet bright color palette for example. And I suppose in some way he is suggesting, early on, that these marginalized people can't' be, or shouldn't be, represented in the more "beautiful" or classic style of some of his previous films - not as many long shots or lingering moments reflecting on the landscape either. This troubled me in some ways but I think as the film marches towards a quite wonderful resolution I realized that - though an original screenplay - this is very much in the spirit of a lot of contemporary stories about such families leading criminal lives in desperation, and sometimes involved in incidents that get national attention. What Koreeda does here, and it's practically genius, is tell us this kind of story before it becomes the fodder for tabloids, and shows us how wrong out preconceptions can be about people that get involved in these kinds of situations.

The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)

George Segal is a brilliant computer scientists who has violent seizures during which he attacks and sometimes injures people - he agrees to undergo an experimental procedure which is to implant a tiny device in his brain that is supposed to stop the seizures and return him to normal. Guess how it turns out? Not well. A surprisingly dull thriller from the director of Get Carter which isn't helped by Segal being pretty unbelievable as a brilliant scientist, or the fairly dull set design and cinematography and too-long medical sequences. It's not all bad - the supporting cast including Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat and Jill Clayburgh is pretty good, and I sort of liked the ending reel or two, but overall a disappointment as for some reason I expected more.

Thousands Cheer (George Sidney, 1943)

Patriotic musical hogwash that somehow manages to be pretty entertaining, despite the lack of really memorable songs. As the presenter on TCM mentions, it falls neatly into two almost equal halves - the first a story about rule-breaking G.I. Gene Kelly falling in love with Colonel's daughter (and singer of course) Kathryn Grayson, and the second a musical show put on in the camp with Mickey Rooney as MC and a cast of MGM stars including Judy Garland, Red Skelton and Lena Horne perform. Kelly has a really great dance with a broom - apparently the first dance he got to choreograph himself for film, and Garland, Horne and Benny Carter and his band provide the musical highlights. This is probably not going to anybody who isn't a really serious American musical buff and not even to a lot of them and at 125 minutes it's a bit much for what it is, but I guess it hit my mood right at that moment.

Aerograd (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1935)

Pretty iffy as science fiction I suppose, though this does have it's roots I think in the near-future-war genre popularized in Europe in the late 19th century, when there were dozens if not hundreds of short stories and novels published about potential upcoming conflicts between various nations and groups of nations. Here we have an apparent conflict between the Japanese - represented by Samurai - and Russian forces over a planned Soviet airfield and city on the Pacific coast - but really that's all just subtext or background, we don't really see it, instead we have various little fights and chases involving communists vs locals - I think - and lots of patriotic and religious songs being sung. I didn't get a lot out of this beyond the director's usual excellent visuals and at this point it's probably my least-favorite - or least-understood at least - film from Dovzhenko, who has been one of my favorites for years. I suspect another viewing will make some of what's going on and what it might mean a little clearer though I wouldn't bet that I'll actually like it much more.

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes, 1964)

More proof as if it were needed for me at this point that Richard Attenborough should have stayed in front of the camera. Here he gives an absolutely brilliant performance that was unfortunately overshadowed by the more colorful role that Kim Stanley as his wife plays - she got an Oscar nomination out of it, Attenborough astonishingly enough never received any love from the Academy for his acting, though he did get a BAFTA here. He's the henpecked, quiet husband to the aggressive Stanley, a medium who hatches an incredible plan to increase her fame and improve her career - they'll kidnap the daughter of a local industrialist, and she'll show him where the girl is through her mystical powers. Guess what, things don't go as planned! I suppose I would have liked more of the mystical side to come through, though the prevailing thriller genre elements are all very well done, and the music by John Barry, early in his career, is disquieting and perfect. But this is a solid film all in all and I really have to just go through Attenborough's acting filmography one of these days.

Conan the Barbarian (Marcus Nispel, 2011)

Not quite as terrible as I expected it to be, this is not anything like a remake of the earlier film(s) with the governator, but a reboot that is supposedly (aren't they always?) closer to the source material by Robert E. Howard. It's been years since I read any Howard, but I doubt he had in mind anybody quite so charmless and lacking in charisma as Jason Momoa when he was working out his Cimmerian's career. Ron Perlman is kind of fun as the father but the rest of the cast does nothing for me here, and the story is as generic as can be. There are certainly some fun so-bad-it's-good moments, like the encounter with the noseless man and battlefield caesarean section, and some of the fights are OK, but overall this is forgettable enough that I'm having trouble with it after just a few days.

Post Reply