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Which films Did You See Last Week? 20/01/19 - 26/01/19

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sol
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Which films Did You See Last Week? 20/01/19 - 26/01/19

#1

Post by sol » January 27th, 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

Women of Ryazan (1927). Wanting a say in who they marry, the young women of a peasant village stir uproar in this silent Soviet melodrama. With its openly pro-feminist slant, the film has some historical value and it is technically adept with the camera rocking back and forth with the women, and excellent dissolve editing as one lady's face is pasted over the fields she is looking at. This is, however, little more than a bland soap opera at the end of the day, full of melodramatic love triangle and forbidden pregnancy clichés, and none of the characters or performances rise above ordinary. Most detrimental of all though is the film's heavy reliance on verbose title cards to carry forward the story. Considering that the USSR also gave us the spellbinding Bed and Sofa in the same year, this ultimately feels like a downright primitive look at relationship issues. (first viewing, online) ★

Jolly Fellows (1934). Also known as Moscow Laughs, this Soviet musical comedy focuses on the chaos that ensues when a lowly shepherd is mistaken for a concert musician. Highlights include a highbrow party that goes awry when he turns up with an ox tied to his arm and a rehearsal that breaks out into a fight in which music is unintentionally made by players being dragged along their own harps and so on. The film is visually inventive to boot too with a breathtaking tracking shot at a beach that glides along for minutes on end and a glorious gradual pullback final shot. Then there are birds that look like music bars and notes against power lines, and creative opening credits that introduce who will NOT be in the movie. If only the supporting characters were better developed and more likeable this would rival the great Hollywood musicals of the time. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

By the Bluest of Seas (1936). Shipwrecked on an isolated island, two sailors join the joyful local village but end up fighting for the attention of a young woman in this Soviet drama. The film is a true testament to the power of great location scouting with several picturesque shots of the Caspian Sea, including a great bit in which we only see silhouettes against the giant water body at dusk. Unfortunately, the story and characters are quite forgettable amidst all this. The love triangle and splintering of friendship is so formulaic that it has little zest and while Yelena Kuzmina has a great singing voice, she is far less alluring when not belting out songs. Clocking in at just over 60 minutes, the film does at least avoid overstaying its welcome, and all the crashing wave and seaside shots are exquisite if one is not too fussy about plot, characters and other narrative dynamics. (first viewing, online) ★

Too Much Johnson (1938). Never intended to be seen by itself on its own, this early Orson Welles project was created to accompany a stage play in a multimedia experiment. As such, the film is rather hard to rate separately. Shot as a silent comedy, there are plenty of comedic shenanigans; the best: a chase through stacked boxes, viewed from above. The plot makes little sense though without the stage play accompanying the action. The film also feels very unfinished and rough around the edges with reused takes and early scenes that are more heavily edited than later ones. What does come across quite well here though is the push Welles showed in Kane towards expanding beyond traditional cinema sets; there are several exterior locations with characters climbing along roofs at one point, plus there are shots that look up at the actors and so on. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

The Forty-First (1956). Romance blossoms between a cold-hearted female sniper and a captured enemy soldier in this Soviet war movie. Shot in colour and deliberate low lighting, the film is often stunning to look at with some great long distance shots of silhouetted figures and much eeriness to the sandy dunes they traverse. Lethargic dissolves are used well too and the shimmer of water is magically captured. As a narrative though, the film is lacking. The politics are tiresome as the two lovers are divided on their stance on the world, plus she is pro-war while he is against it. What really works against the film though is its proposal that strong-willed, independent women need men in their lives to be content in life; she even states "I am happy" at one point during their romance! The ending does add a further layer, but this is generally too simplistic to work. (first viewing, online) ★★

Winter Soldier (1972). Several former soldiers recount the atrocities committed by both themselves and others during the Vietnam War in this documentary. As they describe their training and conditioning to believe that "the enemy is no longer is a human being" and that "anything we did was okay" since it was apparently in their country's interest, the documentary paints a chilling portrait of how war can test one's moral fibre. We also hear how they were told to cut heads off (unless the press show up) and their accounts of rape and destruction. Listening to over 90 minutes of such testimony does, however, have a numbing effect and as their stories begin to blur, the film gets less powerful as it progresses. Still, it is one surefire curious account of not only what occurred, but the struggle of the soldiers to grapple with taking responsibility for what they did. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

The Night of the Hunted (1980). Not to be confused with The Night of the Hunter, this similarly titled film is more of a cross between Memento and Shivers with a woman with memory issues who escapes from a high-rise apartment block where others like her are being observed. Writer-director Jean Rollin milks his story for all of its mystery potential, dropping just enough hints to keep things chugging along she tries to rediscover why she was there and whether the doctors are actually interested in helping her. The eerie ultramodern sets and inner city locations are superb with a thematic appropriate sense of urban decay and individuals swallowed up by the towering manmade structures. All of the shootouts feel a little silly, the male lead is pretty bland and some of the nudity is gratuitous, but this is a remarkably class production overall. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Harry and the Hendersons (1987). Realising that their captured sasquatch is gentle and caring, a Seattle family try to protect the animal from being hunted and killed in this family comedy. Many of the gags are too predictable to really be funny and David Suchet is dreadful as cartoon-like poacher who brings to mind Johnny Depp's shtick in Tusk and Yoga Hosers, however, the film offers some very potent animal rights and vegan messages, as well some interesting themes regarding standing up to one's parents. The best aspect of the film though is Rick Baker's Academy Award winning makeup effects and Predator actor Kevin Peter Hall's performance as the title creature. With such expressive eyes and facial tics beyond the makeup layers, Harry is a very endearing character - just human enough while also looking credibly animalistic. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Heart of a Dog (1988). Transplanted with human internal organs, a stray dog gradually transforms into a human being in this Soviet telepic. The film benefits from an intriguing premise and presented in sepia style black and white with initial dog point-of-view shots, it looks great too. Clocking in at over two hours though, the project quickly becomes repetitive, not dwelling nearly enough on the halfway stages between being dog and human, and then subsequently showing the same stuff with his difficulties fitting into the human world. A running gag with his dislike of cats tires soon too. All of the personal identity ruminations though click, with Vladimir Tolokonnikov remarkably sympathetic as well as convincing a former dog. Some of the ethical issues at hand are fascinating as well, but the whole thing would have been tighter and more resonating at half the length. (first viewing, online) ★★

Days of Eclipse (1988). Staying focused on his writing proves challenging for a gay author during a record heatwave in this future-set Russian drama. To call the plot here roundabout would be an understatement; as his mother pays an unexpected visit, as he receives a package with a mutant creature in suspended animation and so on, the movie feels more like a collection of vignettes - or perhaps just distractions from his writing. The most interesting of these comes in the second half as he lustfully takes a preteen boy into his home, feeds him, shares a bed with him, and perhaps more. The boy disappears just about as soon as he enters though, and the rest of the film is simply melancholy. Add in perplexing visuals that randomly change between sepia and normal colours, and this is another ambitious miss from Russian Ark director Aleksandr Sokurov. (first viewing, online) ★

Whispering Pages (1994). Unsure of what to do after finding a person murdered on the streets, a young man takes to wandering about his gloomy city in this very loose adaptation of Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment'. The film boats some very interesting visuals with plenty of fog/smoke and majestic yet dilapidated sets that ring true to the film's 19th century setting. Then there is the intriguing colour scope as the film alternates between drained colour and black and white footage, albeit not in a meaningful way. The key issue with the film is that it feels twice as long as it needs to be, even with a runtime of under 75 minutes. Only so much of a story can be spun from the very limited premise, and the protagonist is a pretty dull character to follow around. In short, this is yet another ambitious miss from Russian Ark director Aleksandr Sokurov. (first viewing, online) ★

Mannequin: On the Move (1991). More a remake of the first Mannequin film than a direct sequel to it, this comedy once again stars Meshach Taylor as a flamboyant gay department store worker who is present as another colleague falls in love with another girl trapped in a plastic body. From its ridiculous premise to the excessive montages to the over-the-top climax to the silliness of some of the supporting characters, there is a lot that one could find fault with here. The whole project is done with a large dose of energy and creativity though, especially in the costume department (Taylor's scissor sunglasses rock) and the dialogue actually contains quite a bit of wit: "they were looking for a few good men, and so was I" as Taylor explains why he joined the marines; an apt comparison between Diet Coke and water. And nothing's gonna stop us now. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Fool (2014). Or Durak as it is known in its native country, this Russian drama circles around an engineering student who becomes convinced that a tenement building is going to imminently collapse. The film is a little slow to build up with the first third of the project coming across as a mere Chicken Little variant as he struggles to persuade those in charge to evacuate the building. Things become very interesting once he does finally convince them though with all the politicos and corrupt civil engineers worried about who will be blamed and whether evacuation is even practical - never mind the cost in human lives - and Natalya Surkova excels in these scenes. On one hand, the protagonist is a little too naïve and virtuous to warm too at times, but then that is part of why he is a fool - and the film certainly ends on a perfect cut to black. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them (2016). Part of the the Harry Potter universe but a very different story, this fantasy thriller focuses on a British wizard who comes to America to document its "fantastic beasts", only to find himself needing to recover the beasts when they escape. The film also has a not very successful subplot involving some orphans, a dark power and an evil Colin Farrell, but things move along quite well when focus is on Eddie Redmayne's attempts to recapture his magical creatures. The creatures themselves are wildly imaginative and the world inside his suitcase is breathtaking. Best of all though is the comic relief that Dan Fogler brings as a muggle who Redmayne ends up letting tag along for the ride. Add in some impressive period sets and costumes, and this is pretty entertaining film, if predictable as a narrative. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Ready Player One (2018). Set in a future in which almost everyone spends almost every waking hour inside a virtual reality game world, this thriller follows a teenager who attempts to unlock a secret code before the head of an evil corporation. The film boasts impressive effects in the virtual world and Mark Rylance is excellent as the autistic creator of the game. The rest of the cast though are acceptable at best, with Tye Sheridan very lacking in charisma as our hero. The film also spends too much time inside the virtual world while only spurting the most obvious of messages: beauty being skin deep; people should "spend more time in the real world". A meticulous reconstruction of of Kubrick's The Shining midway through is excellent though, and simply breathtaking to view, though on the same account, the homage makes one long to be rewatching that instead. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

To celebrate Australia Invasion Day:

Cargo (2018). Infected with a zombie virus, a father travels across the outback in search of someone to care for his infant daughter before he "turns" in this Australian take on the horror subgenre. While a horror film set in the Australian outback is a bit of a novelty with lots of picturesque locations, the plot adds nothing new to standard zombie mythology and with far more talk than action, it lacks urgency and desperation, other than occasional glances towards a stopwatch. The biggest issue though is that the daughter is too young to have any personality of her own (unlike Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds for instance) and therefore the whole film circles around the welfare of a character who we feel nothing for. Simone Landers is at least very fresh and down-to-earth as an Aboriginal girl who tags along, but she does not enter the piece until halfway in. (first viewing, online) ★

Glass (2019). The fates of the hero and villain from Unbreakable and the villain from Split intertwine as the trio are incarcerated in the same mental asylum in this highly effective M. Night Shyamalan thriller. It sort of only makes sense that Shyamalan would create his third best film by blending his best and second best film together, but his finesse is still remarkable as he merges the tone, characters and themes of two otherwise very different movies together. Shyamalan also has a career-best, hilarious cameo that connects his cameos in the previous two films. Most of all though, the film completes Casey's character arc, with Anya Taylor-Joy compelling as always as she goes a full 360 with Kevin. And on that subject, James McAvoy shines more here than in Split, permitted to embody more than twice as many personalities as before. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★★

REVISIONS

Desyat Negrityat (1987). Not only the most faithful adaptation of the greatest novel ever written, but an amazingly atmospheric experience, this film boasts eerie locations, lots of attention to audio, and some simply breathtaking shots, such as shadows passing windows to reveal those behind them. The film digs deeply into its characters too, particularly the female lead with ominous black and white flashbacks that she keeps having of the child who died while in her care. The ending is perhaps a bit over-literal, but by retaining much of Agatha Christie's original dialogue, director Stanislav Govorukhin gives full weight to themes of justice, fate and retribution in her novel. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★ #52 of all time

Metamorphosis (2002). Kafka's celebrated novel undergoes a terrific cinematic treatment in this Russian incarnation. Cast as the protagonist, Evgeniy Mironov provides the most physical performance of all time with his muscles, fingers and toes constantly flexing as he plays himself in vermin version. The film has a superb sound design too with the audio deliberately accentuated at times. The moody music is also pitch perfect, especially during the train nightmare. Best of all though is how the film deeply shows both sides of the tale; both the protagonist's view as well as the perspective of his family trying, but failing, to adapt to their son/brother's new identity. (third viewing, tv recording) ★★★★ #20 of all time

Unbreakable (2000). Knowing all the twists and turns to come, Unbreakable is a rare mystery thriller that only gets more dynamic with every viewing. While there is some comic book and supernatural stuff in the mix, it is always first and foremost a film about two different men searching for a reason to exist in this crazy modern world and finding answers in unlikely places. M. Night Shyamalan directs the material with surprising finesse too, allowing long periods of silence and non-dialogue stretches where James Newton Howard's atmospheric music conveys all, and some sublime moments, like Bruce Willis placing down a newspaper to reveal his obscured son hugging him. (third viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★★

Split (2016). Equally as moody and atmospheric as Unbreakable, this is very much M. Night Shyamalan's second best film after that. While it works well as a simple thriller, it is the film's supposition that "the broken are the more evolved" and the idea of "changing body chemistry with thoughts" that makes the film tick. Plus, of course, the weaving in of Anya Taylor-Joy's character, and her expressive wide-eye performance (one of the best this decade). Her flashbacks are melded into the narrative very effectively, and while the "23 distinct personalities" notion kind of a feel like a ruse since we only ever see eight of them in action, this is still an incredibly interesting film. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★
Former IMDb message boards user /// iCM | IMDb | My Top 500+ Favourite Films /// Long live the new flesh!
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Carmel1379
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#2

Post by Carmel1379 » January 27th, 2019, 12:00 pm

sol:

Winter Soldier - Not heard about it before; noted. I remember in 2016 a proper barely-known war film made your #1 and now last week the Soviet one you were fond of too - would you consider yourself a big fan of the genre?

Days of Eclipse - The heatwave indolence and sepia textures added an interesting lethargy to it which put me in a nice sleepy mood when I saw it late at night when I was rather young, so it is a bit memorable for me. 6/10

Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them - The beasts weren't all that fantastic. All subordinate & compartamentalised by humans in a neat box where the species all live almost completely harmoniously with each other, stifle to prevent escape? Anyway, 4/10. I'm a bit interested in seeing the sequel given Jude Law is Dumbledore and we get to see Grindelwald in action (I'm well-acquainted with the Potterverse...).

Ready Player One - 2/10

Glass - Will watch.
Unbreakable - Might rewatch. 7/10
Split - 7/10


Carmel:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018, Desiree Akhavan) 6/10
What sol said.

Nathan for You: Santa/Petting Zoo, Electronics Store, The Hero, Souvenir Shop; ELAIFF, Dating Service; Party Planner, Hotel/Travel Agent, Liquor Store; Exterminator; Car Wash, Finding Frances, Mechanic; Realtor (2013-17, Nathan Fielder & Michael Koman) [now at 14/32] 8/10

Mandy (2018, Panos Cosmatos) (3rd viewing) (theatrically) 9+/10

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition, The Gang Hits the Road, Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010, Panos Cosmatos) (2nd viewing) 6/10 (from 5)
It just combines too many of my fancies -- pale black-haired quiet gifted girl, grainy psychedelic textures, aural crepitations, will to exit, progressive electronic horror synth score -- to disregard, but the flimsy backbone and incredibly feigned delivery of the inconsequential dialogues prevent it from working well; the imagery comes across as vapid and arbitrary, with little undulating atmospherics or intensity. Fortunately Cosmatos’ ’Mandy’ is basically a perfect film, so in that respect, as a project preceding ‘Mandy’, ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ is an interesting viewing for me. Moreover it’s definitely a gateway-movie for a pursuit of references and further explorations beyond.

River’s Edge (1986, Tim Hunter) 5/10
Last edited by Carmel1379 on January 28th, 2019, 8:05 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand’ring feet
The dark unbottom’d infinite Abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight,
Upborn with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy Ile?

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » January 27th, 2019, 12:01 pm

Kinder des Kalifats / Of Fathers and Sons (Talal Derki, 2017) 7/10

赤軍-PLFP 世界戦争宣言 / Sekigun-P.F.L.P: Sekai sensô sengen / Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (足立正生 / Adachi Masao & 若松孝二 / Wakamatsu Kôji, 1971) 4/10

叛女・夢幻地獄 / Dreams and Phantasms Hell AKA A Woman in Revolt (足立正生 / Adachi Masao, 1970) 7/10

Дни будущих будд / Days of Future Buddhas / Dni budushih budd (Valeriy Solomin, 2016) 6/10

Examen d'état / National Diploma (Dieudo Hamadi & a little bit of Dieudo Hamadi, 2014) 6+/10

3-4x10月 / Boiling Point / 3-4 x jûgatsu (北野武 / Takeshi Kitano, 1990) 6/10

Cinéma, de notre temps: Takeshi Kitano, l'imprévisible (Jean-Pierre Limosin, 1999) 5/10

活着 / To Live (Zhang Yimou, 1994) 7/10

Training Day (Antoine Fuqua, 2001) (4th+ viewing) 9/10

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (Fritz Lang, 1931) (3rd viewing) 7/10


shorts

Nightfall (Tulapop Saenjaroen & Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2016) 3-/10

Spot the Microdot (Malcolm le Grice, 1969) 6+/10


RiffTrax & MST3k

Live and Learn (1951) (2nd viewing) 1-4/10

Le voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902) (3rd+ viewing) 5/10

Krasner, Norman: Beloved Husband of Irma (Shevard Goldstein, 1974) 2-/10


didn't finish

Widows (Steve McQueen, 2018) [54 min]
Opening Night (John Cassavetes, 1977) [would-be rewatch] [29 min]
Otona no miru ehon - Umarete wa mita keredo / I Was Born, But... (Yasujirô Ozu, 1931) [7 min]


notable online media

top:
Slavoj Zizek on #MeToo movement. How to Watch the News, episode 02
Tommy Chong & Joe Rogan: "The Government Violates Our Personal Freedom
Möbius Transformations Revealed [HD]
NBA Star Blake Griffin vs. Jeff Ross - Uncut - Roast Battle III
Earthquake News Report - SNL
How Ants Sniff Out Food | ScienceTake
rest:
boards of canada - roygbiv
Anemoia: Nostalgia For A Time You’ve Never Known
India Wants To Use Flesh Eating Turtles To Rid The Ganges Of Decomposing Bodies (HBO)
The Naked Roast Battle - Keith Carey vs. Connor McSpadden - Exclusive
Netflix's Black Mirror: Bandersnatch – Do You REALLY Have Choice?
Weekend Update: Pete Davidson & John Mulaney Review Clint Eastwood's The Mule - SNL
Astronaut Chris Hadfield Debunks Space Myths | WIRED
3 Brilliant Moments of Blocking (in Kurosawa's High and Low)
dream realityImage
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.

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#4

Post by Coryn » January 27th, 2019, 12:22 pm

26. 20/01 Videodrome (1983) **
This one is growing on me but it stays an 'okay' for me now. Will definitely rewatch it at some point.

27. 20/01 El Angel Exterminador (1962) ***
Like this style of Bunuel. It's absurd, funny and mysterious all in a good way.

28. 20/01 Holy Motors (2012) *
This was not for me, too weird.

29. 21/01 The day the earth stood still (1951) ***
Charming movie.

30. 21/01 Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972) ****
Loved it even more than El Angel Exterminador. Bunuel is quickly rising in my ranks and is definitely in my top 10.

31. 21/01 La Belle et la Bête (1946) ***
Classic, fun movie.

32. 22/01 Le Procès (1962) ****
Absolutely magnificent cinematography. Anthony Perkins is awesome in this one as well.

33. 22/01 A matter of life and death (1946) ****
I was surprised by this one. The end was cheesy as hell but overall a very good movie.

34. 23/01 Ordet (1955) ***
I usually love movies which almost solely rely on conversations and I love movies about religion as well so this had the perfect combination. I was not satisfied with the ending though and that is what kept this from 4 stars.

35. 24/01 Orphee (1950) ***
Rosenbaum really loves his dream sequences. Good movie which I will rewatch in the near distant future.

36. 24/01 Metropolis (1927) ***

37. 25/01 The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (1988) ***
Oh man, this started off so well. The first 30 minutes had me thinking I was going to add a new movie to my favourites, one I didn't expect.
Then the movie started to dropp off imo and after the moon sequence it even got a little bit messy. Still a good movie overall.

38. 26/01 Singin' in the Rain (1952) ***
Saw this together with my gf. Classic and fun but musicals are not my thing.
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#5

Post by Onderhond » January 27th, 2019, 12:33 pm

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01. 4.5* - Mind Game (2004)
Highly original and completely insane animation masterpiece. Mind Game was Yuasa's first film and foreshadowed his rising talent, though it took me a second viewing to fully appreciate this film. It's hard to describe just what exactly it is, but boring it is not. Not for everyone, but definitely worth finding out for yourself.

02. 3.5* - Liz and the Blue Bird [Rizu to Aoi Tori] (2018)
A very sweet and warmly executed drama, with some stunning animation and several stand-out scenes. It just was a little too soft-voiced and piano-drenched for my taste. Yamada has talent to spare though and even a smaller drama like this one has plenty of beauty in it. An easy recommend for animation fans.

03. 3.5* - IO (2019)
A small and subtle post-apocalyptic drama that may disappoint people looking for action, but it is well acted, intriguing and nicely presented. It's the kind of lo-fi sci-fi that isn't really aimed at pleasing a large audience, but if you like yourself a little sci-fi and can do without the action beats, this is a solid film.

04. 3.0* - Napping Princesss [Hirune-Hime: Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari] (2017)
A cute but relatively complex story about fantasy, dream and reality blending together. The film seems geared at younger viewers, but the narrative may be a bit too complex for them. It's a strange mix of oldskool and modern, cute and complex, resulting in a somewhat confusing but nonetheless agreeable experience.

05. 3.0* - Marmalade Boy (2018)
Not of one Hiroki's best. There are moments where his talent shines through, but the story is a bit too convoluted and the theme is handled in a way that seems to reference the manga a bit too literally. Overall it's not a bad film with a couple of worthwhile scenes, but Hiroki has shown he can do better.

06. 3.0* - Fyre (2019)
An amusing recount of all the things that went wrong leading up to the ill-fated festival. I remember the thing bombing big time, but never really knew the nitty gritty details. Smith's Fyre is a nice doc that digs a little deeper, though ultimately it lacks the voice of the man that was behind all the chaos. Not bad.

07. 2.5* - Going in Style (2017)
Going in Style is a decent, but rather tame and overly gentle comedy. There aren't too many actual laughs, but Freeman, Arkin and Caine put on a fine show. It's an amusing film without any obvious weak points or dull moments, it's a just a little too flat and predictable for me. Not bad, but very forgettable filler.

08. 2.0* - Diary of a Small Man [Siu Nam Yan Chow Gei] (1988)
One of Gordon Chan's earliest films. It's a pretty basic comedy, like so many in the Hong Kong film industry Chan learned the chops by producing generic genre films and mimicking others. The blend of drama and comedy doesn't work too well, but at least there are some moments that show potential. Fans only.

09. 1.5* - Diary of a Big Man [Daai Jeung Foo Yat Gei] (1988)
The idea of Yuen Chor and Chow Yun-Fat making a comedy may sound appealing, but the fact is that both just aren't made for the genre. It feels more like a cheap Jing Wong comedy, with some lame jokes, atrocious acting and a boring, repetitive plot. Best to just skip this one, unless you really like the people involved.

10. 1.0* - Life of the Party (2018)
There are a couple of odd moments that are genuinely funny, but they contrast heavily with the childish, sappy and forced writing that drives the rest of the film. A terrible script, lame jokes and so extremely moralizing that it might induce gag reflexes. And then there's Christina Aguilera. Not my idea of a good comedy.

11. 1.0* - The Boy Next Door (2015)
Very poor Cohen thriller. A tired story is reiterated for the umpteenth time, with little or no interesting bits added. The acting is mediocre, the direction is derivative and even though the film tries to be dark and tense, it just comes off as cheap and boring. It's better to avoid this one altogether, nothing lost skipping it.

12. 1.0* - Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
Silly and almost childish film that revisits the idea of book burning and adds some sci-fi elements to it. The acting is atrocious, the sci-fi elements are absolutely ridiculous and I never quite figured out how serious Truffaut was about the subject. Regardless his intentions, the result is terrible and utterly boring.

13. 1.0* - A Star Is Born (2018)
Sentimental, Oscar-pandering nonsense. The acting is incredibly over the top, the story is pathetic and predictable, the music is downright insufferable. Everything is geared to making you "feel", but in the end I felt nothing for the characters and was simply pleased this ordeal was finally over. What an awful film.

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#6

Post by sol » January 27th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Carmel:

Yes, I consider myself to be a fan of war movies in general (it's actually my second highest rated genre according to IMDb). I'm not big into battle scenes, but I like how identity, dynamics and character interactions shift and change during war. Closest I can find to movies in which characters transcend themselves. And the film that you're talking about, 84C MoPic plays with those elements very well.

I don't know. Maybe I should have seen Days of Eclipse when I was less wide-awake, but it's not a fantasy movie by any stretch, so I don't know if nearly falling asleep while watching it would benefit the film nearly as much as Solaris or Cría. To be honest, the only part of the film that perked me up is when I thought it was going to show him raping the young boy... though I guess anything that explicit would have probably been too much in Soviet Russia. Probably best to have everything play out ambiguously as it does.

Ha, I'm getting dragged along (against my will) to the sequel next week, hence why I thought I should catch the original Fantastic Beasts movie while I could count it for the current Fantasy Challenge. It is a good point that you raise -- just how does Newt get the beasts to leave harmoniously inside his suitcase -- but I think I was too distracted by how funny the film was (at its best) to really care. I suppose it also helps that I had ultra-low expectations. I don't think I ever made it past the 5th Harry Potter movie.

And yeah, Ready Player One wasn't very special. I can't say that I hated it (and how can you hate a film that plays such glorious tribute to Kubrick?) but I can't believe how bland the lead actors were. The CGI was so OTT that I couldn't wait for the film to become more live action, but then the live action characters were so much less interesting than their avatar counterparts.

I would definitely recommend rewatching Unbreakable as well as Split (although I think you only saw this a couple of months ago, so maybe not) before dipping into Glass. I was pretty emotionally shattered (pun intended) at the end of Glass after watching the three films nearly one after the other. Our lovely Anya does not have as much chance to flex her acting muscles in Glass, but she does well with what is really just a supporting part as the film furthers the, er, dynamics between her and Kevin. Trying to keep this super-ambiguous to avoid spoilers.

Yours:

Chloe was amazing in Miseducation. Glad you caught up with the film if for no other reason. Hopefully you've added her to your 2018 acting ballot.

Nice that you got to see Mandy theatrically. Did the walls of your cinema vibrate as well?

Don't remember much of Black Rainbow. Love River's Edge though - especially the music score (by a Wim Wenders regular if I recall correctly) and Dennis Hopper and Crispin Glover's performances.

PdA:

Seen To Live, M and Training Day. None recently, but I liked them all at the time.

Widows is perhaps not the easiest film to get through if seen at home (I assume?). Was pretty good for a theatrical viewing where I couldn't just get up and leave. Not exactly the most thrilling heist film ever made, but that's sort of on point. And you've just got to love Daniel Kaluuya playing badass.

Coryn:

Glad to hear that re: Videodrome. You also watched another film from my all-time top 20 - The Trial - which is probably the second best Kafka adaptation that I have seen. Totally right on the cinematography - and those sets! If you like Kafka on film, you've got to check out the Russian Metamorphosis and Haneke's The Castle.

Holy Motors was yeah, pretty silly. No arguments about your rating even if I would give it a slightly more positive score. Apparently the film is about all the different roles that we play in society. Yeah, right. None of us walk through graveyards eating and spitting out flowers. At least the ending was appropriately random like the rest of the film.

Rough order of preference of the others that I have seen from you (I can elaborate more if you wish)

1. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
2. Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972)
3. Metropolis
4. Ordet (1955)
5. La Belle et la Bête (1946)
6. The day the earth stood still (1951)
7. A matter of life and death (1946)
8. The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen (1988)
9. El Angel Exterminador (1962) – Carnage did it better

Onderhond:

Loved Fahrenheit 451 at the time. It's one of Truffaut's better films; perhaps my pick for his best after The Bride Wore Black and Confidentially Yours, so if you hated this one, it's probably best you avoid most of his other films.

I liked the songs in A Star is Born. I liked the acting too, though it was a shame that Sam Elliott did not feature more. He's quite a talented guy, not that you'd ever watch something like Lifeguard. I haven't seen the 50s version of the tale, but I (slightly) prefer the 2018 version to the 1976 one, though my favourite take on the story is the 1930s version. Don't read too much into that though. I know that you've never given more than 2.5 stars to anything made before 1980, so I certainly don't expect the '37 A Star is Born to be the exception, phenomenal though Fredric March is in it. Actually, maybe that's the one thing that I might prefer in the earliest version. I've seen Bradley Cooper do better, but March is really at his best in A Star is Born.
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#7

Post by peeptoad » January 27th, 2019, 1:43 pm

Hi sol... have seen Unbreakable (8/10), Ready Player One (6/10), Fantastic Beasts (6-7/10) of yours.

mine this week-
Galaxy of Terror (1981) 6
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 8*
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) 8*
The Devil Commands (1941) 6
Triangle (2009) 7
Arrebato (1979) Rapture 9 (prob my top view this month, but it's been a good month since I keep saying that.)
The Secret of NIMH (1982) 7*
There's Nothing Out There (1991) 5
*rewatch

Plus, the first third of No Blade of Grass last night. Hopefully finish that tonight or tomorrow.


Coryn wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 12:22 pm
26. 20/01 Videodrome (1983) **
This one is growing on me but it stays an 'okay' for me now. Will definitely rewatch it at some point.
Cronenberg's best imho. If you're inclined towards more and haven't seen Shivers check that one out sometime.

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#8

Post by Onderhond » January 27th, 2019, 1:48 pm

sol wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 1:18 pm
Loved Fahrenheit 451 at the time. It's one of Truffaut's better films; perhaps my pick for his best after The Bride Wore Black and Confidentially Yours, so if you hated this one, it's probably best you avoid most of his other films.

I liked the songs in A Star is Born. I liked the acting too, though it was a shame that Sam Elliott did not feature more. He's quite a talented guy, not that you'd ever watch something like Lifeguard. I haven't seen the 50s version of the tale, but I (slightly) prefer the 2018 version to the 1976 one, though my favourite take on the story is the 1930s version. Don't read too much into that though. I know that you've never given more than 2.5 stars to anything made before 1980, so I certainly don't expect the '37 A Star is Born to be the exception, phenomenal though Fredric March is in it. Actually, maybe that's the one thing that I might prefer in the earliest version. I've seen Bradley Cooper do better, but March is really at his best in A Star is Born.
I liked Truffaut's The 400 Blows (2/5) better, I was actually surprised to see him do a silly film like Fahrenheit 451. I guess I'll run into more of his films as I gradually catch up with the classics, but like most classic directors he's absolutely no priority for me.

I guess it's films like A Star is Born where we really differ. It is beyond me how a film like that can even be nominated for winning any prizes, but I guess there's an audience for films like this. Oh, and to set the record straight: 78 pre-1980, +2.5* films for me :D

From yours I've watched Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them and Ready Player One, both were not my cup of tea. Pretty much agree about Cargo (I think it's a 2017 film though?) and did like Split, though I'm not really looking forward to Glass. I get this is a more meta-like reveal for Shyamalan, but I'm so done with franchises that I wish he would've just axed the idea.

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#9

Post by sol » January 27th, 2019, 2:21 pm

peeps:

Our ratings match on what you've seen of mine. Unbreakable was an especially pleasant surprise upon rewatch (bumped up its rating). It really is Shyamalan's best film for my money, as well as one of only two of his twist-oriented films (The Visit is the other) that get better with each viewing knowing the twist to come. Ready Player One made me sad. Bridge of Spies looked to buck the trend, but most of that probably came down to the Coen script. I'm really starting to think that Spielberg is finally over-the-hill. Fantastic Beasts was pretty decent. Can't fault the Oscar winning costumes - and I remember how much of a surprise the win was at the time.

Yours:

I liked the twist (what was causing their deaths) in Galaxy but seem to recall feeling like it would have been scarier if revealed earlier on. I'm quite fuzzy on the film, but it had decent practical effects if I am remembering correctly too. Been too long since I have seen Close Encounters. I liked Triangle a lot, though I had some issues with it in terms of...
SpoilerShow
the extra matter generated with each loop, i.e. the mounting killed bodies of her best friend etc. Can infinite loops really result in extra matter and if so, would it reach the point where the ship overflows from those corpses, etc.?
Anyway, I can recommend some similar films, but not without being a bit spoilerish. Too bad that you didn't like There's Nothing Out There more. I absolutely loved it, though of course the Scream series would do the whole deal a lot better. Don't have particularly positive memories of No Blade of Grass. Mournful post-apocalyptic stuff. And Shivers is my second favourite Cronenberg body horror movie. What a great film.

Onderhond:

I was actually thinking of Jules et Jim in particular in terms of Truffaut films that did not really do much for me. No idea off-hand what attracted him in particular to Fahrenheit 451, but it was an acclaimed recent book at the time so I think it's good that they got a decent director to have a go at it. Obviously we have no overlap at all when it comes to film music, but I tend to think of Bernard Herrmann's composition for 451 as one of his very finest. He also did a great score for The Bride Wore Black and I often mentally lump the two films together, hence my caution for you.

Yeah, I'm by no means part of the "A Star is Born should win Best Picture" bandwagon, but yeah, I thought it was a pretty solid film. Kind of thought that it was overhyped a bit at the time, but now that it has fallen out of the IMDb Top 250 and Adam McKay is Oscar nominated for his lack of directing instead, I'm less inclined to see it as overhyped. It peaked too early in awards season.

Oh, cool - somebody else who shares my opinion of Cargo. :D The film is pretty highly respected over here; nominated for Best Picture and a bunch of other awards at our equivalent of the Oscars. For me though, I have seen way too many zombie movies and to come across something like this that brings nothing new to the table, eh. Outside of comedies (I quite like Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead etc), I could probably go for the rest of my life without ever seeing another zombie movie. Oh, and yeah - you're right about Cargo being tagged as 2017 on IMDb due it playing at one single festival that year. Didn't get a wide release over here until about a third of the way through 2018, so a bit confusing and all.

I was sceptical about Glass too but ended up loving it. I don't know. A lot probably depends on what it was that you liked about Split. The film sort of explores the idea of the 'broken' as more evolved in slightly more depth, but it is not as much a focal point in Glass since the film is more about how him and the Bruce Willis character are more similar than different. You also get less of Anya. But you do get more of McAvoy - and 20 of his personalities (rather than the 8 in Split). Not sure if the remaining four personalities were left on the cutting room floor or what.
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#10

Post by peeptoad » January 27th, 2019, 2:58 pm

sol wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 2:21 pm
peeps:

Our ratings match on what you've seen of mine. Unbreakable was an especially pleasant surprise upon rewatch (bumped up its rating). It really is Shyamalan's best film for my money, as well as one of only two of his twist-oriented films (The Visit is the other) that get better with each viewing knowing the twist to come. Ready Player One made me sad. Bridge of Spies looked to buck the trend, but most of that probably came down to the Coen script. I'm really starting to think that Spielberg is finally over-the-hill. Fantastic Beasts was pretty decent. Can't fault the Oscar winning costumes - and I remember how much of a surprise the win was at the time.

Yours:

I liked the twist (what was causing their deaths) in Galaxy but seem to recall feeling like it would have been scarier if revealed earlier on. I'm quite fuzzy on the film, but it had decent practical effects if I am remembering correctly too. Been too long since I have seen Close Encounters. I liked Triangle a lot, though I had some issues with it in terms of...
SpoilerShow
the extra matter generated with each loop, i.e. the mounting killed bodies of her best friend etc. Can infinite loops really result in extra matter and if so, would it reach the point where the ship overflows from those corpses, etc.?
Anyway, I can recommend some similar films, but not without being a bit spoilerish. Too bad that you didn't like There's Nothing Out There more. I absolutely loved it, though of course the Scream series would do the whole deal a lot better. Don't have particularly positive memories of No Blade of Grass. Mournful post-apocalyptic stuff. And Shivers is my second favourite Cronenberg body horror movie. What a great film.
I agree on Unbreakable being among Shyamalan's best; I'm a little on the fence about the sequel, but I'm seeing some positivity about it, so maybe. I haven't seen The Visit of his, or the last several films he's done tbh. Not since The Happening or thereabouts.
Ready Player One's rating declines every time I think about the film (which is not all that often). It's probably firmly rooted in the 5-6 range somewhere, but my initial viewing was made more enjoyable by the folks I saw the film with and their reaction to it. I also haven't read the book. Not sure if that makes a difference. Anyhow, middling for me. I haven't really enjoyed a Spielberg film since Jurassic Park I don't think.
Triangle was decent enough and kept me engaged, though I do agree a bit with what you said; I initially disliked the characters (and by film's end liked them only slightly more). As remedial as that is it was the main detractor for me.
As for There's Nothing Out There... I appreciate what the filmmaker did (maybe more so after reading subsequent to watching it), but it's just not my kind of film. And we discussed Scream previously and I expressed my mild disdain for that one, which might go back on my rewatch list. Having seen a couple of films recently that were Scream-style, but not as good I may need to review my scale for that one. I suspect anything higher than a 6 is out of the question though. :P ;)

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#11

Post by cinewest » January 27th, 2019, 3:31 pm

The week began for me with a return trip to China, during which time I saw two of the best movies I have seen in awhile, and then began a foray into Chinese cinema that I continued with for the rest of the week.

In Chronological order:

Foxtrot (Maoz, Israel, 2017)- Outstanding drama that reminded me some of Farhadi. Excellent script and performances. 9

Ray (Konchalovsky, 2016)- Almost as good as Foxtrot. Shot as a pseudo documentary (in B & W) investigation into the capture and incarceration of a Russian woman at one of Hitler's death camps during World War 2. 8.5

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)- An Asian Rom Com made in English from an international best selling novel by the same name. Decent fun, with a few insights into Chinese culture along the way. 6

Spring In A Small Town (Mu Fei, 1948, China)- The most famous mainland classic was a bit of a disappointment to me, mainly since it lacked the sophistication I was expecting. 6

Postmen in the Mountains (Jianqui Huo, 1999)- Further into rural China, this film captures the humanity, simplicity, harshness, and beauty of life in a previous time, even for China. 7

Dust In The Wind- Hsiao-Hsien, Hou, Taiwan, 1986)- A switch here to rural Taiwan, and coming of age in the 1970's. Early Hou, but already with a fairly refined style. 7+

11 Flowers (Xiaoshuai, Wang, China, 2011)- A true discovery. Set in the final days of the Cultural Revolution (also in rural, but factory China), this film captures an eventful year in the life of an 11 year old boy. An 8. Very worthwhile, and well done. Deserves far more than 48 watches, and its available on amazon prime.

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#12

Post by Teproc » January 27th, 2019, 4:11 pm

Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992) - 7/10

Weirder - and better - than the first one, largely thanks to Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, who really commit.

Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro / Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1979) - 7/10

A MIyazaki romp, with some of the wonder traded for broader humour. Shallower characters too, but the quality of animation is already there.

Aruitemo aruitemo / Still Walking (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008) - 8/10

Koreeda riffing on Tokyo Story, or at least that's what it feels like, and it's quite succesful, I think I like it even more than Ozu's film. Excellent performances all around, which Koreeda always seems to be able to get from his ensembles.

Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018) - 3/10

Didn't hate it while watching it, but my opinion of it keeps growing poorer everytime I think about it. I don't think it really is trying to "solve racism" as some have attacked it for, but it's just a big bowl of nothing. I'm especially disappointed in Ali, who I've liked in everything I've seen him in so far, but really doesn't bring his character to life here. Viggo fares better, but the writing is too dumb for his efforts to save the film.

The Mule (Clint Eastwood, 2018) - 2/10

I have no idea what people see in this particular brand of Eastwood (see also: Gran Torino). Even on a technical level, this feels like a complete failure to me, and Clint's attempts at showing his virility are particularly laughable. On a thematic level it also fails for me, as the film never engages with the larger consequences of its main character's actions (ie cartels are not bad just because they kill their own).

Creed II (Steven Caple Jr., 2018) - 4/10

A huge drop compared to the first film, but that's what losing your director will do I guess. This really doesn't succeed in engaging the inherent tension of making a Rocky movie with a rich overdog as your main character, which the first film handled quite well. The fights are also not as good, but it's not a terrible time overall.

Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014) - 8/10 (rewatch)

Not quite as enamored with this as I was before, as some of the late-in-the-game plot "twists" didn't play great this time around. Still, Garland creates tension wonderfully, and I love that I can't decide which of the three characters I'm most/least sympathetic towards. Still an excellent example of how sci-fi can be a place for both pulp and existential reflection.

Hauru no ugoku shiro / Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004) - 7/10 (rewatch)

This one is hampered quite a bit by the source material I think, which seems like pretty bland British fantasy. Miyazaki brings that world to life wonderfully, but the plot really lacks structure, which hurts the film quite a bit in the latter half. My least-favorite Miyazaki... though it still looks gorgeous and the way he handles the side characters is quite charming.

Spaceballs (Mel Brooks, 1987) - 5/10

A Star Wars parody... which other random bits thrown in. It's quite funny (well, it has its ups and downs, but it works more often than not), but it doesn't really work as parody because it never really seems quite sure what it's parodying - the Star Wars part of it are really surface-level. Great opening bit though.

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#13

Post by joachimt » January 27th, 2019, 6:13 pm

Twin Peaks (8/10)
Not the complete season, but I completed it this week by watching the last three episodes. Watched the first 15 last week.
Well, what to say about it...... I would be lying if I said I understood it all. It took me quite a lot of episodes to get into it. Episode 8 was some completely weird shit, but I loved it. After that there seemed to be coming some consistency in the story, but in a Lynchian way. Before that, so many scenes and characters seemed to have nothing to do with the rest at all, so I was often wondering if Lynch threw them in just to fuck us or if it would become clear later on. Well, I still don't know in lots of cases.
This is the kind of thing you should see multiple times to get more out of it, but it's a hard task to sit through 18 episodes again. And even that wouldn't be enough for me. I've seen the old seasons a long time ago. Maybe I should have rewatched all of that before I started this one, but that would have been an enormous watch of which I'm not entirely sure it would have helped me.
Maybe I'll watch all the seasons continuously one day.
Despite having a hard time grasping it all, I fully enjoyed all the mystery, the weirdness, the spooky stuff, the jokes, etc... It's quite unique.
Every Day (7/10)
So Max can watch Russian Ark with his wife, but this is the stuff I have to select to watch something together. :lol:
It's a totally ridiculous plot and because of the nature of the plot the performances were very different and not all very good, but somehow it worked and it was a very pleasant time with my wife. The movie was pretty cute actually. So my rating is mainly an overall enjoyment rating and says nothing about the cinematical qualities of the movie.

No comments on the rest. Got enough other stuff to do.
Le Fidèle AKA Racer and the Jailbird (7/10)
No Name on the Bullet (7/10)
Seven Days to Noon (7/10)
Sia, le rêve du python AKA Sia, the Dream of the Python (7/10)
Tillsammans AKA Together (7/10)
Historias mínimas AKA Intimate Stories (6/10)
Hitman (6/10)
Hors Satan AKA Outside Satan (6/10)
La vie rêvée des anges AKA The Dreamlife of Angels (6/10)
Police (6/10)
Carnival of Souls (5/10)
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#14

Post by Onderhond » January 27th, 2019, 6:54 pm

sol wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 2:21 pm
Oh, cool - somebody else who shares my opinion of Cargo. :D The film is pretty highly respected over here; nominated for Best Picture and a bunch of other awards at our equivalent of the Oscars. For me though, I have seen way too many zombie movies and to come across something like this that brings nothing new to the table, eh. Outside of comedies (I quite like Warm Bodies, Shaun of the Dead etc), I could probably go for the rest of my life without ever seeing another zombie movie. Oh, and yeah - you're right about Cargo being tagged as 2017 on IMDb due it playing at one single festival that year. Didn't get a wide release over here until about a third of the way through 2018, so a bit confusing and all.
Hear hear, all this zombie/survival stuff is so worn out ... it's hard to get excited about those films these days, unless they bring something really novel to the table. Which very few of them do (give One Cut of the Dead a chance maybe?).
sol wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 2:21 pm
I was sceptical about Glass too but ended up loving it. I don't know. A lot probably depends on what it was that you liked about Split.
I liked pretty much everything, it's the whole franchise things that bothers me. I dislike the fanboy pandering, the constant references so people can geek out ... I hate it in every Marvel film, I hate it when I read "cinematic universe" and I hated it when I noticed Split would be linked to Unbreakable. But we'll see, I'm giving Shyamalan a fair chance :)

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#15

Post by peeptoad » January 27th, 2019, 11:16 pm

cinewest wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 3:31 pm

11 Flowers (Xiaoshuai, Wang, China, 2011)- A true discovery. Set in the final days of the Cultural Revolution (also in rural, but factory China), this film captures an eventful year in the life of an 11 year old boy. An 8. Very worthwhile, and well done. Deserves far more than 48 watches, and its available on amazon prime.
Thanks for the heads up re: this one being on Prime. :thumbsup:

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#16

Post by Carmel1379 » January 27th, 2019, 11:38 pm

sol wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 1:18 pm
Carmel:

Yes, I consider myself to be a fan of war movies in general (it's actually my second highest rated genre according to IMDb). I'm not big into battle scenes, but I like how identity, dynamics and character interactions shift and change during war. Closest I can find to movies in which characters transcend themselves. And the film that you're talking about, 84C MoPic plays with those elements very well.

I don't know. Maybe I should have seen Days of Eclipse when I was less wide-awake, but it's not a fantasy movie by any stretch, so I don't know if nearly falling asleep while watching it would benefit the film nearly as much as Solaris or Cría. To be honest, the only part of the film that perked me up is when I thought it was going to show him raping the young boy... though I guess anything that explicit would have probably been too much in Soviet Russia. Probably best to have everything play out ambiguously as it does.

Ha, I'm getting dragged along (against my will) to the sequel next week, hence why I thought I should catch the original Fantastic Beasts movie while I could count it for the current Fantasy Challenge. It is a good point that you raise -- just how does Newt get the beasts to leave harmoniously inside his suitcase -- but I think I was too distracted by how funny the film was (at its best) to really care. I suppose it also helps that I had ultra-low expectations. I don't think I ever made it past the 5th Harry Potter movie.

And yeah, Ready Player One wasn't very special. I can't say that I hated it (and how can you hate a film that plays such glorious tribute to Kubrick?) but I can't believe how bland the lead actors were. The CGI was so OTT that I couldn't wait for the film to become more live action, but then the live action characters were so much less interesting than their avatar counterparts.

I would definitely recommend rewatching Unbreakable as well as Split (although I think you only saw this a couple of months ago, so maybe not) before dipping into Glass. I was pretty emotionally shattered (pun intended) at the end of Glass after watching the three films nearly one after the other. Our lovely Anya does not have as much chance to flex her acting muscles in Glass, but she does well with what is really just a supporting part as the film furthers the, er, dynamics between her and Kevin. Trying to keep this super-ambiguous to avoid spoilers.

Yours:

Chloe was amazing in Miseducation. Glad you caught up with the film if for no other reason. Hopefully you've added her to your 2018 acting ballot.

Nice that you got to see Mandy theatrically. Did the walls of your cinema vibrate as well?

Don't remember much of Black Rainbow. Love River's Edge though - especially the music score (by a Wim Wenders regular if I recall correctly) and Dennis Hopper and Crispin Glover's performances.
Have you seen Johnny Got His Gun? That's one of the better war movies barely featuring any battles - it's a series of retrospect reflections and fantasies of a man who ended up in... well, a state evoked by Metallica's song One, whose music video includes scenes from the film.

I've read and reread all the Harry Potter books plenty of times in my early teens (and even later, curiously, of all times, right before exams just because they're such an easy junk food reads). Among the films Alfonso Cuarón's (#3) is the decent one, but I know you're not even a fan of his work. The one great thing about the film series is the remarkable ensemble of high-profile British actors trying out a set of quirky roles, make-up & costumes. And now there's Jude Law & Johnny Depp (who isn't British, I know, but neither is Grindelwald) to add to that list.

"glorious" tribute? Ermm, no. :X :yucky: RP1 was the most unpleasant theatrical experience I've ever had, never contorted in my seat so much from cringe and disgust. There's some thread on here where I ranted (with OldAle who also hated it), I can look it up for you, but only if you want (don't know how much those thoughts are up-to-date, I shudder a bit to re-read them). But I do very much feel like RP1 is a worthy enemy for me, since I am a big science-fiction fan and all, so it's rather special how I've come to associate it with one of the worst things made. Like, for me it's isomorphic to 'The Emoji Movie'.

Yeah, I don't remember 'Unbreakable' too well, I'll go for it.

"Hopefully you've added her to your 2018 acting ballot." - Sure did. Chloë's 'Hugo' and 'Kick-Ass' (though supporting) performances are up there too, but "Miseducation" I agree is her career-best, and probably will remain so.

"Did the walls of your cinema vibrate as well?" - Sure did.

Yeah, in the composers' threads you mentioned the 'River's Edge' theme is one of your favourites. I like it too.
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#17

Post by RedHawk10 » January 27th, 2019, 11:49 pm

Caught up with a couple Best Picture nominees. I don’t know how many I’ll end up subjecting myself to but both of these were actually pleasant surprises. To varying degrees.

The Favourite – Given how indifferent I’ve been to Lanthimos so far, I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed this. It’s a well done blend of dressed-up, over the top antics and very human, very uncomfortable emotion. That last scene is…actually understated. It really impressed me. I’ll be shocked if anything else up for Best Picture lives up to this (maybe Roma?). I’d give it an 8/10.

Oh yeah, and Alwyn’s absurdly funny dance move (you know the one) was really something.

A Star is Born – One of those movies that bizarrely feels rushed and drawn out at the same time. Also somehow manages to exemplify going through the motions while simultaneously having a few genuinely moving moments (“It wasn’t Dad I idolized, it was you.”).

Elliot definitely stole the show. Great, great performance. Cooper and Gaga were alright, I guess. The bland writing of their characters didn’t do them any favors. A solid 6/10 I'd say, not bad at all but doesn't quite work for me when all's said and done.

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#18

Post by sol » January 28th, 2019, 2:15 am

cinewest:

Seen none. Definitely interested in Foxtrot. Less so Crazy Rich Asians, but I will probably get to it eventually.

Teproc:

Agreed on the weirdness factor making Batman Returns more interesting than the first film. I too liked Viggo more than Ali in Green Book. He does quite well to make such an ignorant character so likeable. His comic timing is perfect too, the way he takes "narrow view" etc as a compliment, and as I said myself after watching the film, I think the Golden Globe screenplay win was more driven by how well Ali and Viggo handle their dialogue and deliver their lines. Certainly the lines themselves are not that strong on their own. I have been on the fence about whether or not to watch The Mule, but if it's similar to Gran Torino, that's a definite plus in my books. I don't know if I have always like Clint Eastwood as an actor, but his latter stuff, say Unforgiven onwards, is generally terrific. Still only seen Ex Machina and Howl's Moving Castle once myself, but loved them. I liked Spaceballs more than you, but Mel Brooks has always been an uneven comedy director.

joachimt:

I actually thought that Every Day was quite decent too. Watched it for the LGBTIQ Challenge as a film about pansexuality - part of the spectrum rarely depicted on film.

No Name on the Bullet and Seven Days to Noon are both excellent films, but Carnival of Souls is certainly my favourite of your viewings this week. What a haunting film.

Onderhond:

OK, sounds like you won't like Glass then. The film very cleverly reuses footage from both the two other films, but particularly Unbreakable and then manipulates that footage to add extra details (trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers). Personally, I loved all this and M. Night tying his cameos from the other two films together, but if that's not your type of thing, I guess the film will probably grind you the wrong way.

Carmel:

Yes, I have seen Johnny Got Your Gun, which I certainly liked.

Oh, I agree about Cuaron's Harry Potter film being the best of the first five. In fact, it is his only film that has not ended up disappointing me. The fourth and fifth films seemed to just ape Cuaron's style though, and after that I gave up on the series. And gee, I remember when Johnny Depp's name among a film's cast used to be a good thing. That was a while back. These days he seems to just play generic eccentrics.

Way to take my comments on Ready Player One out of context. No, the overall film is certainly not a "glorious tribute" to the 1980s, but the way Spielberg and his team managed to recreate the sets of The Shining with nearly identical cast members was great.

Yep, I liked Chloe in Kick-Ass too. I thought she was less remarkable in Hugo, but that might have just been a case of Scorsese's visuals being more remarkable.

RedHawk:

Definitely liked The Favourite a lot. I also really enjoyed Sam Elliott's performance in A Star is Born, but I wish that he had more screen time. It's not nearly his most substantial role, but I'm happy that he is now an Oscar nominee and all.
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#19

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » January 28th, 2019, 2:40 am

Hi all,I hope everyone had a good week,@Sol, I completely agree with your comments on 10 Little Indians, with the Russian version even surpassing a very good stage version I saw a few years ago.I've also been meaning to ask what your take on The Favourite ending is? Along with Sci-Fi movies,I caught a flick I've been trying to track down for a few years:

Zhan shi yan dao/ Venus Tear Diamond (1971) 10

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Folding the Caper into the Musical with ease, writer/director Umetsugu Inoue continues to build on the motifs of Hong Kong Nocturne (1967) with ultra-stylised sparkling colours which cleverly give the Musical numbers a shine, and the Caper antics a bubbly atmosphere. For the swooning songs, Inoue strikes the numbers with a laid-back vibe, slinging from the camera panning round Chan changing from having an eye on the prize, to being loved up. Sliding along to every underhanded pass made at the diamond, Inoue rubs the heist set-pieces with an delirious slickness spun from Inoue holding the camera on the ledge with each thief gripping the corner of the screen to make their move.

Placing Lily Lam/ the Venus Tear Diamond at the centre that all revolves around, the screenplay by Inoue lights up a solid backdrop for all of the high antics to be threaded on. Crossing Irene Chan and rival Kenneth Cheung as being rival master thieves and puppy-dog lovers, Inoue captures the sweetness of the Musical genre in the romance between the duo having a comedic playfulness which also dances towards the Caper elements. Keeping the heist action frantic as fake identities, missed chances and sleight of hands dealing criss-crossing over each other, Inoue wonderfully holds them all together, thanks to the clarity of them all being aimed at Lily Lam. Reuniting with Inoue after Nocturne,Yun Ling gives a devanare twist as Cheung, who Cheung has oozing the charm of a gentlemen thief. Shining like a diamond her costumes,Lily Ho gives a outstanding turn as Irene Chan,whose breezy smile Chan has barely hiding her eagerness to go up to Lily Lam, and wipe away the Venus diamond tear.

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#20

Post by cinewest » January 28th, 2019, 6:50 am

@ Sol

Can tell we have completely different sensibilities when it comes to movies: Holy Motors happens to be one of my favorite films of the 2010's.

You are also probably one of the few who think Fahrenheit 451 and The Bride Wore Black are two of Truffaut's best, even when it comes to Truffaut, himself.

I do enjoy this thread, though, and am eager to discover where our tastes merge... probably with some classic American crime drama.
Last edited by cinewest on January 28th, 2019, 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#21

Post by joachimt » January 28th, 2019, 7:51 am

sol wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 2:15 am
Carnival of Souls is certainly my favourite of your viewings this week. What a haunting film.
Okay, I have to comment now.......
This was such a disappointment! The opening sequence was just plain laughable. They crossed the bridge at approximately 10 km/h. And yet they managed to get into a fatal accident?! The acting of most of the cast was mediocre at best, most even plain bad, like the vicar and the neighbor. The whole subplot of the neighbor was cringe-worthy anyway.
The whole idea of the movie was interesting, but it was dragged out too long. Maybe I would have enjoyed it as a 30 min short.
I still don't understand why she was drawn to the old amusement park at all? What was the point of that place?
There were some haunting moment in the middle, so that kept me from hitting the dislike button. But overall a very mediocre experience to me.

Btw, I should add, I bought it on DVD and after watching it I learned that the original was black and white. My DVD was the colored version. Maybe I would have liked it better in B&W, but I don't think it would have saved it for me.
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#22

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » January 28th, 2019, 9:05 am

Too Early/Too Late / Zu Früh/Zu Spät / Trop Tôt/Trop Tard (Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 1982) - 8+

BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018) - 7

Whispering Pages (Aleksandr Sokurov, 1994) - 6+ theatrical

Man of Marble (Andrzej Wajda, 1977) - 7+ theatrical 35mm

Belly (Hype Williams, 1998) - 6+

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#23

Post by sol » January 28th, 2019, 9:32 am

m-d-f:

Oh yay - somebody else who has actually seen the Russian version of Ten Little Indians. :D I helped to get the film in the Doubled Canon at one point, but it has since been voted out, for shame. Agatha Christie has never been done better.

I think the ending of The Favourite speaks to the shifting power relationship dynamics throughout the film, and...
SpoilerShow
...suggests that Anne was using the two women just as much as they were using her. Here, the power shifts; whereas Anne was always submissive to Sarah's dominance, Anne is now assuming dominance over Abigail, who she would rather see as submissive than have her squishing her rabbits, i.e. her substitute kids. This moment also signifies Anne's realisation that Abigail had just as much scorn for the rabbits as Sarah, and perhaps even more. Sarah just ignored them whereas Abigail pretended to like them. I think the shot also shows that love is now out of the window. She'll only ever be using Abigail from this point forward.

Haven't heard of your viewing this week -- only 7 votes on IMDb!? -- but I definitely need more recommendations for next month's 3 Chinas Challenge.

cinewest:

Heh, I have known for a while that you and I have almost polar opposite tastes in film. ;)

Thanks for your kind words about enjoying the thread. It's pretty difficult to maintain as host, trying to reply to everyone and so on when the thread is as busy as it has been this week, but a busy thread is better than an inactive one. Back at work next week though, so I might have to neglect hosting duties a bit as my workload settles in.

joachimt:

I loved the idea of Carnival of Souls too (what a haunting ending!) and the atmospheric black-and-white photography is what I recall most vividly, so huh, I can't imagine it being nearly as effective viewed in colour.

Unfortunately, it has been far too long for me to comment in depth or respond to your queries. What I do recall, however, is that it was my very favourite of all the Doubling the Canon candidates that I watched in February/March 2015. I still have my review of Carnival of Souls from four years ago if you are curious:

My review of 'Carnival of Souls'Show
Carnival of Souls (1962). Uninterested in reconnecting with her friends and family after surviving a horrific crash, a church organist accepts a job in another city where strange things begin to occur; could her imagination be going wild? To divulge much more might spoil a fresh experience of Carnival of Souls, but suffice it to say that the film becomes increasingly interesting as a pivotal twist grows gradually more obvious before it is eventually spelled out. While full of great psychological horror angles, the film is first and foremost a triumph of innovation on a limited budget. All of the special effects are very simple (such as lens distortions) but still come off as utterly creepy, and without special effects at all, the filmmakers create an absolutely spine-tingling scene as our protagonist suddenly becomes aware that nobody around her is able to hear or see anything that she does. The black and white photography, though probably selected for budgetary reasons, suits the film very well too with lots of dark shadows throughout and very minimal lighting for the scenes set at night. The film arguably outstays its welcome a little, and several viewers over the years have commented that the material may have been suited to a half-hour episode of 'The Twilight Zone'. Then again, it is questionable whether the film would have the same emotional power in shorter form. There is a sense of tragedy to how long it takes our poor heroine to work out what is going on, or perhaps to come to accept what she in her heart knew the whole way through. Fascinating stuff, however dissected.

viktor:

Love BlacKkKlansman. The end of the film had me in tears. It's such a shame that nobody is interested in mounting a campaign for Spike Lee to win the Best Director Oscar this year.

I admire your stamina for watching Whispering Pages theatrically without walking out. I guess it is only just over an hour long, but even with such a relatively brief runtime, it absolutely tested by patience. Between this, Days of Eclipse (also reviewed upthread) and Russian Ark, I think I am done with Aleksandr Sokurov.
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#24

Post by cinewest » January 28th, 2019, 10:03 am

@ Sol,

Alas, our differences of opinion extends to literature as well as movies, for I'm not sure how you arrived at the notion that Ten Little Indians, by Agatha Christie, has been the best novel ever written.

I can only guess that your opinion rests upon certain criteria that fulfill your idea of what a novel should aspire to and realize... but therein lies the rub.

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#25

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 28th, 2019, 3:28 pm

Hey sol. Of your viewings, I've seen Ready Player One and the Shymalan trilogy. Ready Player One wasn't total garbage for me like it was for Carmel (and OldAle too as Carmel mentions, I also remember his vitriol for it, hehe), but it was thoroughly average and largely forgettable shiny blockbuster fluff. I did like The Shining sequence, as shameless Kubrick-fan pandering as it may have been. But Tye Sheridan as whoever-the-fuck was bland as all hell for sure. Mildly entertaining theater viewing but I will surely have no need to ever see this disposable thing again. As for the Shyamalan trilogy, Unbreakable is easily the best yeah, with Split several rungs below for me but still a solid thriller, and just having seen Glass myself, I found it to be on a similar par as Split.


My viewings last week:


Coraline (2009, Henry Selick) - 7/10

Glass (2019, M. Night Shyamalan) theatrical - 7/10. The critical consensus for this one, at least here in the states, has trended towards mostly negative or mixed-at-best reviews, but I found this to be a surprisingly solid conclusion to Shyamalan's trilogy, if not as strong as either Unbreakable (easily the best of these, and possibly Shyamalan's finest film overall) and Split. Glass starts off great, and then falters at times during the lengthy middle section where the three "super" men are confined and analyzed in a psychiatric center where most of the film takes place, but the final act makes up for it. Oh, and yeah sol, another Anya Taylor-Joy fan here, glad to see her character get a decent continuation of her arc from Split. I like her as an actress and holy hell she's just otherworldly beautiful, in a singular way (partly due to those eyes, of course :wub: ).


TV stuff:

True Detective: S03E03 - "The Big Never" and S03E04 - "The Hour and the Day"
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#26

Post by sol » January 28th, 2019, 3:49 pm

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:28 pm
Hey sol. Of your viewings, I've seen Ready Player One and the Shymalan trilogy...
Oh, boy am I ever happy that I didn't see Ready Player One theatrically. I had to stop the disc at least a couple of times (probably more) just to help space it out and get through it. Glad you enjoyed the Shining homage; I was beginning to think that I was alone in appreciating that aspect of the film. Yeah, I didn't hate it either but "largely forgettable shiny blockbuster fluff" sums it up quite nicely.

Regarding Glass, I liked the film's more down-to-earth take on superheroes in an era where Marvel is so beloved by the masses that their films have started to becoming nominate for Best Picture Oscars. Of course, it all began with Unbreakable, but yeah, a solid conclusion for sure and I'm surprised about the negative/mixed comments. Last time I checked, the film had a pretty decent (>7.0) IMDb rating. Anyway, yeah, with Anya it is all about the eyes. I can't say that they have always helped her get the best roles out there. Did I discuss Morgan with you a few weeks ago, or was that someone else? I mean, it that film she's obviously cast because her eyes are so distinctive and different in an alien sort of way. But certainly in The VVitch and the two Shyamalan films, the directors know what to do with her endlessly expressive face due to those wide eyes. But I digress.

Getting back to the film, yep, what a great continuation of her character arc as...
SpoilerShow
...she comes to realise that fellow 'broken' person Kevin is the closest person that she has in life, having sent her uncle to jail and now living with a foster family. In certain moments of the film, I got the distinct sensation that Casey and Kevin could have been girlfriend and boyfriend even in a different life. A really sad, understated romance - but funny too: Hedwig's reaction, "eww, do you like Kevin?" or words to that effect.

I have seen Coraline too, by the way, but er, probably close to a decade ago. I recall liking the visuals and all but found it a little underwhelming as a Henry Selick film. Wouldn't place it in the same league as The Nightmare Before Christmas.
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#27

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 28th, 2019, 3:50 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 12:00 pm
Carmel:

Nathan for You: Santa/Petting Zoo, Electronics Store, The Hero, Souvenir Shop; ELAIFF, Dating Service; Party Planner, Hotel/Travel Agent, Liquor Store; Exterminator; Car Wash, Finding Frances, Mechanic; Realtor (2013-17, Nathan Fielder & Michael Koman) [now at 13/32] 8/10

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition, The Gang Hits the Road, Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010, Panos Cosmatos) (2nd viewing) 6/10 (from 5)
It just combines too many of my fancies -- pale black-haired quiet gifted girl, grainy psychedelic textures, aural crepitations, will to exit, progressive electronic horror synth score -- to disregard, but the flimsy backbone and incredibly feigned delivery of the inconsequential dialogues prevent it from working well; the imagery comes across as vapid and arbitrary, with little undulating atmospherics or intensity. Fortunately Cosmatos’ ’Mandy’ is basically a perfect film, so in that respect, as a project preceding ‘Mandy’, ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ is an interesting viewing for me. Moreover it’s definitely a gateway-movie for a pursuit of references and further explorations beyond.

River’s Edge (1986, Tim Hunter) 5/10
Did PdA get you into Nathan for You? Love that show, sad to hear that apparently it's done for good. Funniest thing on TV in recent years, and the episode that ended up being the series finale is really great ("Finding Frances").

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - :woot: :party: Did you just start watching this show, or have you been watching this for a good period of time already? My favorite active scripted comedy series. "The Gang Hits the Road" is a great one; those other two episodes I don't think feature this series at its strongest but are OK.

Beyond the Black Rainbow - mostly ditto, though perhaps I'm a little more forgiving of some of its superficialities. I have a copy of Mandy that I still haven't watched, I will correct that soon.

River's Edge - also was disappointed with this one. The music and Dennis Hopper's character make it somewhat worthwhile, but the "apathetic teens" thing has been done better.
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#28

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 28th, 2019, 5:11 pm

sol wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:49 pm
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:28 pm
Hey sol. Of your viewings, I've seen Ready Player One and the Shymalan trilogy...
Oh, boy am I ever happy that I didn't see Ready Player One theatrically. I had to stop the disc at least a couple of times (probably more) just to help space it out and get through it. Glad you enjoyed the Shining homage; I was beginning to think that I was alone in appreciating that aspect of the film. Yeah, I didn't hate it either but "largely forgettable shiny blockbuster fluff" sums it up quite nicely.

Regarding Glass, I liked the film's more down-to-earth take on superheroes in an era where Marvel is so beloved by the masses that their films have started to becoming nominate for Best Picture Oscars. Of course, it all began with Unbreakable, but yeah, a solid conclusion for sure and I'm surprised about the negative/mixed comments. Last time I checked, the film had a pretty decent (>7.0) IMDb rating. Anyway, yeah, with Anya it is all about the eyes. I can't say that they have always helped her get the best roles out there. Did I discuss Morgan with you a few weeks ago, or was that someone else? I mean, it that film she's obviously cast because her eyes are so distinctive and different in an alien sort of way. But certainly in The VVitch and the two Shyamalan films, the directors know what to do with her endlessly expressive face due to those wide eyes. But I digress.

Getting back to the film, yep, what a great continuation of her character arc as...
SpoilerShow
...she comes to realise that fellow 'broken' person Kevin is the closest person that she has in life, having sent her uncle to jail and now living with a foster family. In certain moments of the film, I got the distinct sensation that Casey and Kevin could have been girlfriend and boyfriend even in a different life. A really sad, understated romance - but funny too: Hedwig's reaction, "eww, do you like Kevin?" or words to that effect.

I have seen Coraline too, by the way, but er, probably close to a decade ago. I recall liking the visuals and all but found it a little underwhelming as a Henry Selick film. Wouldn't place it in the same league as The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Yep, I prefer Shyamalan's take on superheroes as well, it's a nice antidote to Marvel (and DC, for that matter) capeshit and he attempts to deconstruct the concept of the superhero in much more interesting ways than today's endless assembly line of comic book movies ever try to. As for Taylor-Joy, yeah, she seems to have done exclusively horror and thriller films so far in this still early stage of her career. She's obviously a great fit for this stuff and does very well at it, but I also look forward to hopefully seeing her cast in a more diverse array of films/genres.

Coraline was a nice little diversion but I also expected a little more, I wasn't too enamored with the story here, but as always with Selick, the animation and imagery is lovely.
The gauzy thoughts of the sturdy Scots
Wrestle with the elements
Up on the trail high
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#29

Post by 72allinncallme » January 28th, 2019, 5:39 pm

joachimt wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 6:13 pm
Historias mínimas AKA Intimate Stories (6/10)
I watched a Carlos Sorlin double the other day. I guess I felt the same way about Historias minimas as you did, but I really liked El Perro (2004). A minimalistic story told with perfection. And that score :wub:

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#30

Post by Carmel1379 » January 28th, 2019, 10:04 pm

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:50 pm
Did PdA get you into Nathan for You? Love that show, sad to hear that apparently it's done for good. Funniest thing on TV in recent years, and the episode that ended up being the series finale is really great ("Finding Frances").

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - :woot: :party: Did you just start watching this show, or have you been watching this for a good period of time already? My favorite active scripted comedy series. "The Gang Hits the Road" is a great one; those other two episodes I don't think feature this series at its strongest but are OK.

Beyond the Black Rainbow - mostly ditto, though perhaps I'm a little more forgiving of some of its superficialities. I have a copy of Mandy that I still haven't watched, I will correct that soon.

River's Edge - also was disappointed with this one. The music and Dennis Hopper's character make it somewhat worthwhile, but the "apathetic teens" thing has been done better.
Yeah, PdA talked to me about it last July, so I saw a few episodes around then, and last week just suddenly felt like watching some more. Great decision, was definitely laughing in stitches in places and became aware of the subtext of the show, how Nathan's persona is trying to earn meaningful connections with people, which "Finding Frances" is most overt about given how low-key it is. Sounds paradoxical, but I guess that only shows how Nathan's over-the-top projects for helping small businesses were masks or misconstrued ideas about how to approach / socialise with people. Obviously a lot of it is made for comedic exploratory purposes -- how far can you go, how will people react -- but there's this delicate layer of trying to overcome social anxiety, awkwardness, the difficulty of communication, and haemorrhoids. :$

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Saw it for the first time this week. :D After my 'Mandy' theatrical viewing I ended up getting invited to some people's flat and that series was one of the late-night stoned viewings. The third episode one we saw was chosen at random, but I think the first two were among the host's favourites. Really enjoyed them all. Are there any particular episodes you'd recommend to me to continue with?
Funnily enough the next morning I mentioned watching the series to someone who then told me he'd apparently recommended it to me before already, having compared it to 'South Park'. Guess it's no surprise you're a fan then, loving both. :P You're from Philadelphia though, right? So, say, is it always sunny around there? tehe


Enjoy 'Mandy'! :thumbsup: Curious how you'll find it.


From yours I've seen and loved Coraline about half a dozen times. :wub:

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

Nur dein Auge – ungeheuer / Blickt michs an, Unendlichkeit!
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#31

Post by mightysparks » January 29th, 2019, 1:25 am

Didn't get time for much last week and they both sucked.

Verónica (2017) 5/10
After playing with a Ouija board with some friends during an eclipse, a teenage girl finds herself experiencing strange supernatural phenomenon. This was making the rounds in horror lists over the last couple of years and it seemed promising until I discovered it was on Netflix and assumed it was some lame mediocre possession movie. But I decided to give it a go anyway, and yeah it was a lame mediocre possession movie. The films that take themselves too seriously with regards to Ouija or ghosts are usually really off-putting to me and this was no different. The acting wasn't great and the characters were extremely annoying. It wasn't scary or atmospheric and though it wasn't the worst film ever made, I was just waiting for it to end.

Black Panther (2018) 4/10
The heir to Wakanda returns to serve as king, but is challenged for his place on the throne from warring factions of his country. I think I may have to downgrade my rating for Infinity War because of this, because these two are on par for being two of the worst superhero movies I have ever seen. Like Infinity War, I had no idea who half of the characters were because they were basically all the same and like that Spider-Man movie, Black Panther is not given an origin story and is instead given 5 minutes in the third Captain America movie instead. These films are so disrespectful to their characters. I still have no idea who Black Panther is or why I should care about him. The action is boring and the film goes on way too long. The only interesting part of the story is the idea of posing as a third world country to hide your wealth/powers but instead it focuses on a bunch of boring crap.
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#32

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 29th, 2019, 3:13 am

Carmel1379 wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 10:04 pm
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:50 pm
Did PdA get you into Nathan for You? Love that show, sad to hear that apparently it's done for good. Funniest thing on TV in recent years, and the episode that ended up being the series finale is really great ("Finding Frances").

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - :woot: :party: Did you just start watching this show, or have you been watching this for a good period of time already? My favorite active scripted comedy series. "The Gang Hits the Road" is a great one; those other two episodes I don't think feature this series at its strongest but are OK.

Beyond the Black Rainbow - mostly ditto, though perhaps I'm a little more forgiving of some of its superficialities. I have a copy of Mandy that I still haven't watched, I will correct that soon.

River's Edge - also was disappointed with this one. The music and Dennis Hopper's character make it somewhat worthwhile, but the "apathetic teens" thing has been done better.
Yeah, PdA talked to me about it last July, so I saw a few episodes around then, and last week just suddenly felt like watching some more. Great decision, was definitely laughing in stitches in places and became aware of the subtext of the show, how Nathan's persona is trying to earn meaningful connections with people, which "Finding Frances" is most overt about given how low-key it is. Sounds paradoxical, but I guess that only shows how Nathan's over-the-top projects for helping small businesses were masks or misconstrued ideas about how to approach / socialise with people. Obviously a lot of it is made for comedic exploratory purposes -- how far can you go, how will people react -- but there's this delicate layer of trying to overcome social anxiety, awkwardness, the difficulty of communication, and haemorrhoids. :$

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Saw it for the first time this week. :D After my 'Mandy' theatrical viewing I ended up getting invited to some people's flat and that series was one of the late-night stoned viewings. The third episode one we saw was chosen at random, but I think the first two were among the host's favourites. Really enjoyed them all. Are there any particular episodes you'd recommend to me to continue with?
Funnily enough the next morning I mentioned watching the series to someone who then told me he'd apparently recommended it to me before already, having compared it to 'South Park'. Guess it's no surprise you're a fan then, loving both. :P You're from Philadelphia though, right? So, say, is it always sunny around there? tehe


Enjoy 'Mandy'! :thumbsup: Curious how you'll find it.


From yours I've seen and loved Coraline about half a dozen times. :wub:

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Regarding Always Sunny: not sure if you were particularly drawn to a specific main character in those 3 episodes you watched, but while I like the whole “gang”, the Dennis character has increasingly stood out to me as his idiosyncrasies and sociopathy come to the surface over time. “The D.E.N.N.I.S. System” is a must-watch Dennis-centric episode. Others where he shines include “The Gang Buys a Boat”, “Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs”, and the two-parter “The High School Reunion.” And some really funny ones in general that are among my favorites: “Mac is a Serial Killer”, “Mac and Dennis Break Up”, “The Storm of the Century”, “The Anti-Social Network”, and the Christmas special “A Very Sunny Christmas”. And so much more.

I’m from the Philadelphia area, yeah, but more like the suburbs outside the city, but I’ve spent a ton of time in Philly and the show often does a good job of capturing the grit of that city.

Yeah I’ll report to the weekly thread of course once I check out Mandy. Coraline happened to be on Netflix when I was trying to find something to watch there over the weekend; I recall you being a fan, and I enjoyed it though not to the extent of Nightmare Before Christmas.
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#33

Post by Carmel1379 » January 29th, 2019, 7:07 am

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 3:13 am
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Regarding Always Sunny: not sure if you were particularly drawn to a specific main character in those 3 episodes you watched, but while I like the whole “gang”, the Dennis character has increasingly stood out to me as his idiosyncrasies and sociopathy come to the surface over time. “The D.E.N.N.I.S. System” is a must-watch Dennis-centric episode. Others where he shines include “The Gang Buys a Boat”, “Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs”, and the two-parter “The High School Reunion.” And some really funny ones in general that are among my favorites: “Mac is a Serial Killer”, “Mac and Dennis Break Up”, “The Storm of the Century”, “The Anti-Social Network”, and the Christmas special “A Very Sunny Christmas”. And so much more.

I’m from the Philadelphia area, yeah, but more like the suburbs outside the city, but I’ve spent a ton of time in Philly and the show often does a good job of capturing the grit of that city.

Yeah I’ll report to the weekly thread of course once I check out Mandy. Coraline happened to be on Netflix when I was trying to find something to watch there over the weekend; I recall you being a fan, and I enjoyed it though not to the extent of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Can't say I really did, though Charlie seemed to have a rather unique dopey worldview I found enjoyable, but I'd have to watch more to verify. Or maybe I'm just mentioning him because I recognised the actor (besides Danny DeVito). Anyway, thanks for the recs, I'll keep those in mind, maybe even watch a few this week to unwind.

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#34

Post by mightysparks » January 29th, 2019, 8:11 am

I stopped watching It’s Always Sunny a few seasons ago, but Charlie was my favourite at first but he started to become too much of a caricature of himself and annoyed me and then I switched to Dennis. Dennis definitely got more interesting and was just more ‘quietly’ funny. Always hated Dee she is just not funny and doesn’t fit in at all with the rest who all have their moments.
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#35

Post by maxwelldeux » January 29th, 2019, 8:52 am

mightysparks wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 8:11 am
I stopped watching It’s Always Sunny a few seasons ago, but Charlie was my favourite at first but he started to become too much of a caricature of himself and annoyed me and then I switched to Dennis. Dennis definitely got more interesting and was just more ‘quietly’ funny. Always hated Dee she is just not funny and doesn’t fit in at all with the rest who all have their moments.
Um, I named my dog Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds. So with an attitude like that, I'm not sure I can let you in my house. :P

But totally with you on Charlie. IASIP is my "fall asleep" show, since I've seen it so many times. Coincidentally, I finished S12 two nights ago, so I looped back and started in with the pilot episode last night - it was a HUGE contrast to see Charlie, as an almost normal functional human being, juxtaposed with his character later in the series. :blink:

That said, I think i like Frank and Charlie the best. But it's a little scary, because i think the reason I like them is that I relate to them a lot - if I were single, I think my life my resemble theirs just a bit more than is healthy.

And my favorite episode is The Gang Broke Dee.

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#36

Post by mightysparks » January 29th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Your dog is cuter and better than her namesake tho :P

I think I stopped watching around season 7 because it was getting too silly, but my favourite episodes were the day man one (when they originally come up with the song not the performance one) and when the McPoyle’s take them hostage. That Margaret McPoyle lick and Dennis’ face is one of my favourite moments.

Not a big fan of Frank either, he always feels too forced. I had the hots for Charlie at the beginning but now I get annoyed at Charlie Day in everything because his whiny scream got on my nerves after a while. He was definitely more endearing earlier on in the show then it was just like ‘look how stupid Charlie is’. Mac is a bit dull but he’s ok. Dennis is the one I’d go back for tho even though he left or whatever. Oh and the Mad Max ep, his accent was the most convincing Aussie accent I’ve ever heard.
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#37

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 29th, 2019, 1:19 pm

Carmel1379 wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 7:07 am
GruesomeTwosome wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 3:13 am
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Regarding Always Sunny: not sure if you were particularly drawn to a specific main character in those 3 episodes you watched, but while I like the whole “gang”, the Dennis character has increasingly stood out to me as his idiosyncrasies and sociopathy come to the surface over time. “The D.E.N.N.I.S. System” is a must-watch Dennis-centric episode. Others where he shines include “The Gang Buys a Boat”, “Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs”, and the two-parter “The High School Reunion.” And some really funny ones in general that are among my favorites: “Mac is a Serial Killer”, “Mac and Dennis Break Up”, “The Storm of the Century”, “The Anti-Social Network”, and the Christmas special “A Very Sunny Christmas”. And so much more.

I’m from the Philadelphia area, yeah, but more like the suburbs outside the city, but I’ve spent a ton of time in Philly and the show often does a good job of capturing the grit of that city.

Yeah I’ll report to the weekly thread of course once I check out Mandy. Coraline happened to be on Netflix when I was trying to find something to watch there over the weekend; I recall you being a fan, and I enjoyed it though not to the extent of Nightmare Before Christmas.
Can't say I really did, though Charlie seemed to have a rather unique dopey worldview I found enjoyable, but I'd have to watch more to verify. Or maybe I'm just mentioning him because I recognised the actor (besides Danny DeVito). Anyway, thanks for the recs, I'll keep those in mind, maybe even watch a few this week to unwind.
Oh that's definitely accurate about Charlie. He's illiterate and often very stupid for sure, but "unique dopey worldview" is a good way of describing the character, as he is sometimes capable of insight that the others are not. Charlie is definitely a fan-favorite character for good reason; I'd say that he and Dennis are the most "popular" if you had to pick out individual characters from the gang. Danny DeVito as Frank has really grown on me over the years; he wasn't there for the first season, and for a while after he entered the scene in the second season, I thought he sometimes impeded the natural chemistry of Charlie/Dennis/Mac/Dee, but his Frank was gradually integrated into the group in a more seamless way. But yeah, check out some of those episodes whenever you don't have a good film lined up!
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#38

Post by GruesomeTwosome » January 29th, 2019, 1:30 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 8:52 am
mightysparks wrote:
January 29th, 2019, 8:11 am
I stopped watching It’s Always Sunny a few seasons ago, but Charlie was my favourite at first but he started to become too much of a caricature of himself and annoyed me and then I switched to Dennis. Dennis definitely got more interesting and was just more ‘quietly’ funny. Always hated Dee she is just not funny and doesn’t fit in at all with the rest who all have their moments.
Um, I named my dog Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds. So with an attitude like that, I'm not sure I can let you in my house. :P

But totally with you on Charlie. IASIP is my "fall asleep" show, since I've seen it so many times. Coincidentally, I finished S12 two nights ago, so I looped back and started in with the pilot episode last night - it was a HUGE contrast to see Charlie, as an almost normal functional human being, juxtaposed with his character later in the series. :blink:

That said, I think i like Frank and Charlie the best. But it's a little scary, because i think the reason I like them is that I relate to them a lot - if I were single, I think my life my resemble theirs just a bit more than is healthy.

And my favorite episode is The Gang Broke Dee.
Yeah, mightysparks hates or dislikes most things and people so those comments should be taken with many grains of salt, and Dee can be pretty awesome. I also happen to think Dee would make for a fine piece of high-end luggage.
Last edited by GruesomeTwosome on January 29th, 2019, 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#39

Post by mightysparks » January 29th, 2019, 2:23 pm

I meh most things, only hate a few :P and love less..
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#40

Post by OldAle1 » January 29th, 2019, 3:31 pm

This Film ROCKED
This Film SUCKED

Entuziazm (Simfoniya Donbassa) / Enthusiasm (Dziga Vertov, 1931)

I'm not sure I'm ready to join JR in calling this a "masterpiece" yet, but in it''s highly inventive use sound and Vertov's always-great editing techniques it's pretty close. As much as these Soviet films from this period are, generally rightfully, labeled "propaganda", there are usually indications in the best of them that this propaganda and pro-Soviet narrative isn't always perfect or coherent. Consider the early sequences of the churches being changed into political halls - we have women in the churches praying, juxtaposed with men outside drinking; perhaps it was clear to Vertov and his audiences that the manly men swilling vodka and then getting rid of religion were the heroes of the state, but it looks rather different now 90 years later. In any case a terrific audiovisual poem of a lost time, perhaps not on the level for me of Vertov's best but like everything I've seen from him memorable and demanding of more viewings.

Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993) (re-watch)

A perfect, perfect example of the value of going back to a film years later, when you have become a different person - or at least have new knowledge and experience to bring to the work. I'm sure when I saw this new in January or February of 1993 in the cinema I had no idea who William Castle was - I had seen very few monster movies from the late 50s or early 60s - and I certainly knew next-to-nothing about the culture generally, the cars and the TVs and the furniture and the clothes, of 1962. And while I knew a bit about the Cuban Missile Crisis and our relations with the Soviet Union in the period, I didn't have the context that I have now. This is, on re-watch, an absolutely brilliant recreation of this era, and the particular ways in which monster movies, adolescent sexual desires, fear of the Cold War both national and personal, are juxtaposed is pretty nearly flawless. DP John Hora does a darned good job of capturing the visual look of the era, as films were transitioning from the gaudier late Technicolor into a more pastel-shaded color scheme, Jerry Goldsmith provides a typically fine score, if one that is a little closer to what his peers were doing at the time, and the cast, the cast you just can't fault at all. Probably one of my three favorite John Goodman performances (Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski being the others), great small turns from John Sayles and Dick Miller, and a nice fed-up girlfriend/star turn from Cathy Moriarty. And don't forget Mant!

Just GREAT.

Earth vs the Spider (Bert I. Gordon, 1958)

More accurately "One Little Town That's Obviously a Cheap Studio Backlot vs the Spider". Usually you know you're in for a lesser film when you find out that it's a small-town 50s Sci-Fi - because it's probably going to be a lower-budget effort, and it's not going to involve the military or government or anything - less FX work, one backlot set or two to work on, few miniatures, etc. Forbidden Planet it ain't gonna be, and you'd be right if that's what you thought going into this. There's this giant spider in a cave, it kills a guy, people go after it, it comes out into the town, kills some people and knocks down some toy buildings, then they blows it up. Gordon was no Roger Corman but some of his films are halfway decent; this isn't one of them.

Space Master X-7 (Edward Bernds, 1958)

Another monster movie from the same year, this one is set largely in a big city (L.A.) though it's another low-budget affair so the prospect of seeing the blob-like alien fungus that's been brought back from space eating up the city streets is nil. Much of the interest here for me was in seeing one of those Men of a Thousand Voices, Paul Frees, in a rare onscreen performance, though he's only in it for the first 20 minutes maybe, as the scientist who figures out what this alien thing is and how it spreads. Of course it'd be easy to just burn it all up and quarantine everybody in contact with it, but of course there's a carrier and the last half of the film has a more noir-like feel as various scientists, cops and federal agents try to track down the young woman who is spreading DEATH! Nothing surprising, very cheap, but definitely better than the previous film.

The Tunnel (Maurice Elvey, 1935)

Big-budget 30s British film that feels more like wartime propaganda ("the English-speaking peoples uniting as a greater force for good for the whole world") than serious science fiction - curious given the year of it's production. At any rate as you might guess from the American title Transatlantic Tunnel this is about that potential Very Big Dig, with Richard Dix as the American engineer in charge of the project, willing to sacrifice his wife, his son, anything to the great endeavor. The plot is pretty melodramatic, but the production is really impressive for a 30s SF, maybe not rivalling Things to Come which came out a year later but certainly of a higher class than most, and it has overall a more "futuristic' feel than many early SF films - the clothes, the cars, the airplanes, TV, etc, all definitely thought-out more than you often find even in the more expensive productions all the way into the 1960s.

Vice (Adam McKay, 2018)

Seems like one of the stories of 2018 in cinema for this viewer is the fairly large number of films dominated by 1-3 really good performances, but with little else to offer, and this is another prime example. It might actually be illuminating to consider in more depth how such an easy target for satire (and criticism, which might be more to the point here) as Dick Cheney, and the whole GW Bush White House for that matter, could end up so neutered and essentially harmless - despite the few bits that show us the legacy of his policies (what policies?) today at the end of the film. How the apparent desire to craft a quotable and engaging and "fun" narrative really do get in the way of the larger social criticisms and political messaging - which are, after all, pretty central to this story. Maybe the last scene in the film with the folks arguing with each other during a viewing session is the best summary of the film's real aim, which seems to be frankly not much more than laughs. Christian Bale is indeed great as an impersonator, and maybe the performance is great too, but the Cheney we're presented as written is such an empty shell that it's hard to say. If he really was as naive and ignorant of policy as he's presented as being back in the 60s when he first went to Washington, isn't that ignorance worthy of a little more notice? Even if it's correct to assume that power and wealth were the only drivers of the man for his whole career, shouldn't that be raised as an issue, given that there certainly were politicians - in both parties - that cared about a little bit more than that? It just seems to me that with a context as pared-down and cartoonish as the main character, we learn nothing and are left with little but bitter, shallow laughs.

Ivan (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1932)

Dovzhenko's first sound film would make a great double feature with Entuziazm, as it reads much like a fictional - or at least part-fictional - telling of a similar story. I'm closer to agreeing with JR's review of this one, though again as with the Vertov I couldn't quite call it a masterpiece on one viewing. It helps that this was a very good copy, better than Aerograd, and that there's a lot of broad humor and that the character of Stepan Iosovich, the "shirker", is such a memorable one. And like Entuziazm and many of these films, it's fascinating that we have here a character who very much does NOT fit in with the socialist ideal - and yet he's treated as a lovable and in many ways positive figure, though again this could be my reading from a vantage many decades in the future. Lots of memorable images here, even more so than in the Vertov; I'm not sure that there are many films that make building and machinery look so beautiful.

Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg, 1931)
Thunderbolt (Josef von sternberg, 1929)

I'm pretty much on board with JR when it comes to seeing Dishonored as unfairly neglected - at least up until now, when we have the nice new Criterion box set with all of their American collaborations - though I wouldn't after one viewing pick it as the best, or even second best (those are probably The Devil is a Woman and The Scarlet Empress at the moment). In a recent update to his comments on it, in an article on great 30s movies he argues that it may be that it has the most to say about the real world, and that it's more morally serious than the others - less a baroque fantasy. Maybe - I'd suggest that it may be also a matter of it's relative lack of visual splendor compared to many of the others, though it's certainly beautiful enough if gauged against the work of lesser mortals than Sternberg. Also - no Dietrich singing, and I can't offhand think of another starring role that she had where she didn't sing at least one song, though she does play piano a few times (no idea if it's really her playing that we hear). It's a pretty standard story in some respects, a Mata Hari-like hooker who becomes a spy for her country and ultimately has to pay for it, and for love, and while I enjoyed it all the way through it really wasn't until quite near the end that everything clicked for me and the emotional power of the thing worked. Also notable for Victor McLaglen in a much more restrained role than usual as the Russian officer who is the catalyst for Marlene's ultimate decision.

What a difference a great cast can make, eh? While the earlier Thunderbolt has a lot of great qualities, including some of the usual visual tropes that we see in other films of the director, like his focus on animals - a dog here that attaches itself to the title character, even more a main character itself than Dietrich's cat is in Dishonored, it fails to hold up, at least for me, due in large part to the relatively dull and stagy acting of the principals, Fay Wray (the woman caught between virtuous and innocent Bob and perpetual felon Thunderbolt), Richard Arlen (Bob) and especially George Bancroft as Thunderbolt. Bancroft got an Oscar nom, so either the Academy was as out of it in those days as it is now, or I am, because this is as artificial a leading man performance as I've seen in a long time. The basic storyline of the bad guy getting the good guy framed, and both being sentenced to death, is a good one, and there are lots of good individual scenes including one which tracks the lovable mutt as it determinedly follows Thunderbolt, but it's really undermined by much of the acting, though the humorous Warden (Tully Marshall) enlivens things quite a bit. Still very much worth seeing IMO but not for me one of the director's best.

Velikiy uteshitel / The Great Consoler (Lev Kuleshov, 1933)

This wild story of O. Henry in jail, trying to help out a fellow inmate, then imagining that inmate going free and leading a totally different life, intertwined with another story about a reader of O. Henry and her relationship with the cop who is responsible for the inmate's travails, is one of the best early examples I've seen of a complex, interlocking narrative that combines "fantasy" and "reality" to the point where they are indivisible or at least equally unreal and unreliable. It's also very funny and very poignant, satirical and more seriously outraged at the horrors of capitalism in equal measures, and offers something of an early look at and critique of the American western. Absolutely brilliant and one of those films that seems almost sui generis, certainly I can't think of many films from the 30s that are so narratively inventive. My favorite film of the challenges this month so far, easily.

ROSENBAUM CHALLENGE SHORTS 36 + 10 + 15 = 61 minutes
a) The Metaphor (King Vidor, 1980) - an enjoyable examination of where art comes from, and the influences of the visual arts on film and vice versa, in the form of an extended conversation between Vidor and the painter Andrew Wyeth, who was hugely influenced by Vidor's 1925 The Big Parade
b) Lmno (Robert Breer, 1978) - I like the half dozen Breer films I've seen so far and this is certainly fits into the same patterns, with abstractions interacting with (primitive) figures in unusual ways; overall my favorite at the moment is probably Fuji but I really ought to sit down and watch a bunch at once sometime, and maybe I can come up with a more articulate way of dealing with them.
c) Essai d'ouverture (Luc Moullet, 1988) - the director, and occasionally other people, make many attempts to open bottles and cans of Coke, mostly 1-liter glass bottles with theoretically twist-off caps. Very funny and "minimalist" though I think there are larger implications about capitalism and consumer culture at work here also.

Vesyolye rebyata / Jolly Fellows / Moscow Laughs (Grigoriy Aleksandrov, 1934)

At the beginning of this first Soviet musical comedy we are treated to portraits of Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, and then told they're not going to be here - clearly a reference to both the popularity of American films at the time, and to the kind of slapstick we're going to be treated with - though to my mind the comedy, at least in the first half, owes more to Laurel and Hardy than to the pictured clowns. This is a hugely enjoyable and often over-the-top mix of broad humor and romantic musical longing, with a put-upon shepherd who wants to be a great musician being mistaken for one, falling for the rich girl, but in turn being loved by the poor girl that he initially ignores. You can guess how it will all turn out, and if there's a fault here it's probably that after having a very inventive opening - with a wonderful long tracking shot as the shepherd sings a song about smiling and being happy, and then a riotous party sequence involving lots of farm animals who just have to follow their master everywhere he goes - it's a bit more prosaic, even dare I saw it, too Hollywood in it's ending. But it's still pretty cool and another example of just how creative musicals could be in this decade, wherever they were from.

Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, 2008)

Interesting, intermittently successful and fairly entertaining/engaging story of a near-future Mexico where the USA implicitly or explicitly runs the show (everybody uses American money) and owns even the water. When a young man's father is killed for water smuggling, he goes to the large border city of Tijuana both to find answers and to make money for his struggling family, and get involved with the "nodes", body implants that allow a person to use a virtual reality system to make money in various ways - some of the obvious ones, we don't see, because this isn't a film about that kind of stuff, but our hero Memo goes to work for a "factory" that uses Mexican node-wearers to control robots in US work sites, and his new female acquaintance Luz "writes" by using her node-captured memories and selling them online. Lots of interesting concepts here, and very timely given the discussion about border walls and the exploitation of brown-skinned labor in the film, but it bites off a bit more than it can comfortably chew in 90 minutes, and there are times when the really low budget and cheap FX distract. Still worthwhile as a relatively thoughtful SF exploration of some elements in modern - and future - culture that we don't see too often in the genre.

Operation Mad Ball (Richard Quine, 1957)

Mild, innocuous and mostly dull army comedy with Pvt Jack Lemmon getting into all kinds of trouble with his CO Ernie Kovacs as he tries to stage a big party, the "mad ball" of the title, all while romancing nurse Kathryn Grant. TCM showed this as part of their night devoted to Kovacs, who would have turned 100, and he and Lemmon are somewhat amusing here, and Grant is not bad, and totally beautiful - shame her career ended when new hubby Big Crosby decided he wanted her to just be a little wifey and she went along with it.

Ercole sfida Sansone / Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (Pietro Francisci, 1963)
Goliath e la schiava ribelle / Goliath the Glorious Avenger / The Tyrant of Lydia Against the Son of Hercules (Mario Caiano, 1963)

It was Hercules night on TCM and so we were offered some pepla, the first two of which I watched. There isn't to be fair a whole lot of fantasy in these, beyond the feats of strength performed by musclemen Hercules and Samson in the first film, and Gordian AKA Goliath and Milan in the second. The first film has more of the over-the-top strongman stuff - Herc kills both a steer and a lion with his bare hands, Samson kills a dozen Philistines by throwing spears from a great distance before they can get to him; the two have a titanic battle in which they knock down most of an already-ruined city; and when eventually they're paired together as comrades they push over a whole temple onto their foes. Story-wise, not so much here but fun for the muscular heroics. The second film offers a bit more complexity in it's narrative, with a scheming king trying to maintain his power and his treasury by getting rid of his best general, marrying the general's would-be-wife, and playing off Alexander the Great and the Persians against each other so that his small kingdom of Lydia can survive. I think that's anyway, honestly I wasn't paying as much attention during this one, I think one peplum at a time might be best for me.

Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley, 2018)

Had a lot of hopes for this one after all the great reviews and comments I've read, and I definitely liked it quite a bit, but I have to say that in some ways it was a bit of a disappointment Oh, I really liked the beginning, and the acting and production design and music were all very solid, the concept of the "white voice" was handled well and it seemed to be going in some interesting directions, with our hero getting gradually more involved in what seems to be a big corporate conspiracy, even as his girlfriend and other friends are getting more radicalized and working towards forming unions and striking --- but at the end I realized this is basically a story I've seen before plenty of times, the story of the would-be-sellout finding his soul, and the last 1/3 of the film were utterly predictable. It's still very entertaining, and didn't really feel it's 110 minutes - but I kind of feel that 110 could have been used for a denser satire, an angrier polemic against capitalism and corporatism, or more just plain weirdness, and instead it just kind of fizzles in doing all of these things. So much potential!

TEEVEE

More re-watches of Frasier Season 1. I don't know how much the creators of the show had continuity, or character development in mind at this early stage, but on this roughly 4th viewing of most of these it really does seem like the show develops more organically than most. I like how often Eddie stares at Frasier or otherwise makes himself felt, but I think the producers wisely realized this gimmick couldn't go too far; at the same time, Frasier's love life and Niles' problems with Maris are fairly minimal parts of these early episodes, and Daphne and Ros aren't used nearly as well as they would be in later episodes, the former mostly used as a kook, the latter just for snide comments to Frasier.

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