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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 7, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 7, 2020

#1

Post by sol » February 16th, 2020, 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. Unfortunately, it has reached the point where it is no longer viable for me as host to comment on everyone else's viewings every week (especially since some people like to use the weekly thread to log their viewings and nothing else). I am always keen to promote movie discussion though, so if you comment on my own viewings, I will comment on yours at my earliest convenience.

Please also note that this is intended as a movie discussion thread, not a large image posting thread. Having too many large images makes this thread difficult to navigate through. If you wish to include more than five images in a reply, please use spoiler tags - [spoiler][/spoiler] - to hide extra images.

This is what I saw:

★★★★ = loved it /// ★★★ = liked it a lot; ~7/10 /// ★★ = has interesting elements; ~6/10 /// ★ = did very little for me; ~5/10 and lower

Suzaki Paradise: Red Light (1956). Broke and desperate, a young couple return to the red light district where the woman once worked, hoping to find legitimate work waiting tables, only for longing and jealousy to get the better of them in this Japanese drama. Even at only around 80 minutes, the film feels long and drawn out with a fair bit of melodrama, yet it is also sumptuously filmed and gorgeous to look at. Much of the movies takes place at dusk or night, and from glowing street lamps to light from river reflections, the characters are exquisitely lit in an appropriately dreamlike manner. There is also a lot to like in the man being so torn between letting his woman earn a wage and have her work in such seedy fringes, and the dilemma she faces upon serving a gentleman who might actually be able to give her the better life she so eagerly dreams of. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Coffy (1973). Her young sister hospitalised from a bad batch of drugs, a nurse seduces and murders those responsible for the local drug supply this gritty vigilante revenge movie. While nothing subsequent ever matches the power of her first kill in which we graphically see the victim's head explode when shot, there are some terrific moments in the high octane final ten minutes and the film seldom bores even with several lulls between the action. Pam Grier is engaging to watch throughout as she tricks and manipulates others in her vengeance quest. A cast-against-type Allan Arbus is also excellent as the drug kingpin. The film's emotional potency is stifled a bit since we never see her sister's downfall, bedridden from the moment we meet her, but it is easy to sympathise with Grier's anger at the corrupt system that has allowed drug dealers to flourish. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Wend Kuuni (1982). Discovered alone and collapsed out of exhaustion in the bush, a mute boy with amnesia is adopted by a kindly farming family in this Burkinabè drama. The film benefits from an intriguing premise and the first few scenes are superb as he bonds with the family. The final few scenes are potent too as he learns to process the trauma after remembering why he was alone in the bush. The middle stretch of the film is, however, a lot less interesting, mostly spent on him performing menial farming duties as he grows accustomed to his new life. In between farming, he has some great scenes though with his new (adoptive) younger sister. The young actress who plays the girl is simply adorable. She does very well interacting with him despite his inability to talk, and more focus on her -- rather than letting goats in and out -- would have been nice. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Buud Yam (1997). Blamed by superstitious villagers for his adoptive sister's mysterious illness, the grown-up protagonist of Wend Kuuni journeys across Africa to find a cure in this sequel to the Burkinabè classic. Tackling a larger canvas (more locations, more characters), this is a curious follow-up effort. The protagonist is unfortunately far less interesting though as a mature adult rather than as a mysterious child and the sister barely has anything to do here, bedridden from very early on. The film also throws some incredulous coincidences into the mix, with the protagonist not only collapsing while alone in the desert again, but also found by relatives of the man who rescued him in the original and the man instantly recognises him after 14 years (!). This passes the time quite adequately, but it also stands very much in the shadow of its predecessor. (first viewing, online) ★★

Under Siege (1992). Often cited as Die Hard on a battleship, there is indeed very little to Under Siege. The Oscar nominated sound effects are decent, Tommy Lee Jones makes a great villain with an axe to grind and there some memorable henchmen confrontations (kitchen knife thrown directly into a jugular). Steven Seagal really lacks charisma though, there is a poorly developed romance with the sole female character - who is awkwardly placed in the narrative - and most of the action comes as over-the-top explosions rather than intense close combat. The authorities are also clued in from very early in, compared to Bruce Willis struggling to convince the cops in Die Hard. Comparisons and contrasts aside, this is acceptable popcorn fare, but there is something amiss when the chief villain is so much more interesting than our hero, as he is here. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Cliffhanger (1993). Right from the opening scene that has an inexperienced mountain climber hanging midair while Sylvester Stallone tries in vain to rescue her, this is a highly encapsulating experience. All of the mountain action scenes are remarkably intense with ample cutaways to long distance to accentuate how dangerous the locations are. The film additionally works as a potent look at madness and greed as Stallone soon finds himself up against hijackers posing as hikers after a plane crash -- plus it is also a tale of Stallone mending a friendship fractured after the opening scene incident. Amidst all this, we get some rather cartoon-like villains who make silly decisions, and it is hard to argue with John Lithgow's Razzie nomination as the chief villain. There is, however, lots to like about the film's portrait of desperate individuals in dangerous terrain. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Marvin's Room (1996). Estranged sisters reunite when one is diagnosed with leukemia and in need of a bone marrow donor in this oddly titled film. Marvin is the name of the sister's bedridden father, but the film is less about his room and more about the two siblings learning to reconnect while gradually revealing the hostilities that drove them apart. It is all a bit melodramatic, and Rachel Portman's cloying music score does not help, tending to spell out all of the emotional crescendos. The film is incredibly well acted though with Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep making for convincing sisters and Streep coming off especially well as she deals with both Keaton and a moody son played as superbly as one would expect by a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo's cynicism regarding Keaton's motivations for reconnecting with her estranged relatives really resonates too. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Classified X (1998). Hosted by Melvin Van Peebles, this fascinating documentary looks at negative portrayals of African Americans on screen throughout the twentieth century. While the racist elements of some the pre-World War II films is obvious, Van Peebles does well explaining his gripes with the more 'progressive' films since. Appearing and not just narrating, Van Peebles adds some stinging sarcasm too through looks and stares, especially in regards to the idea of the central couple of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner being equals when Poitier's character is actually a much higher achiever than his girlfriend. The project feels a bit brief given the broad topic and labeling the clips would have been nice, but this is highly encapsulating with Van Peebles offering heartfelt memories, including the point when he realised that movies mess with the mind. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Hollow Man (2000). James Whale's The Invisible Man gets an update in this similar tale of a man losing his mind upon become invisible. It is a premise with potential, though the film falters by making Kevin Bacon's protagonist arrogant and unlikeable for the get-go, thus allowing him little room for character progression as invisibility toys with his common sense. The entire second half of the movie also feels like a routine slasher outside of the whole invisibility thing. The film is nevertheless constantly propped up by its superb special effects - especially the transformations with bones and innards appearing/vanishing before the skin. Paul Verhoeven also does not shy away from showing the perverted extremes to which a man with such power might go and his trademark dark humour can be found, including as Bacon scares a couple of kids. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

Days of Glory (2006). Enlisting in the French army to help liberate France from Nazis, four Islamic soldiers from North Africa face discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of both their comrades and superiors in this Algerian-Moroccan co-production. The film does well giving voice to these minority soldiers who made a significant difference to the war effort and there are several potent scenes as they smash tomatoes in disgust at being given different food and as they seriously contemplate the promises of propaganda flyers that state that Germany would welcome them should they decide to defect. The characters are never too interesting though outside of the racial challenges that they face, the story is a bit choppy and episodic, and all of the combat scenes are pretty by-the-books as far as war movies go. Excellent melancholic score though. (first viewing, online) ★★

Undefeated (2011). Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Undefeated depicts the determination of the Caucasian coach of an African American high school football team to see his players succeed both on and off the field. The film is inspirational and heartwarming at its best, but mostly hits the expected notes for an underdog sports story. There is also a lot more focus on the coach than his players, when the kids with their very varied disadvantaged backgrounds are the more intriguing individuals. The film additionally relies too heavily on maudlin music, especially during a scene in which one teenager is told that he cannot play for weeks due to injury. Shot entirely on handheld cameras and with some interesting teens, the film has a nice air of authenticity, though it ultimately does little to distinguish itself from other underdog tales. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

The Equalizer (2014). An obsessive compulsive hardware store employee opens a can of worms when he avenges a teen call girl's brutal bashing in this vigilante thriller. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that he has had some sort of top secret training, and the film is at its most interesting when depicting him meticulously planning and weighing up the odds in certain situations (though the eyeball close-ups are overdone). The fight/kill scenes are less engaging with the protagonist always seeming invincible and never in any real danger. Some of the attacks are inventive with unconventional dispatch methods, though MacGyver the film is not. Denzel Washington is fine in the lead role whatever the case, managing to remain insanely calm in the most heightened situations. Chloë Grace Moretz is even better, but has limited screen time despite third billing. (first viewing, online) ★★

The CEO (2016). Invited to a team-building retreat at an isolated resort, candidates for a prestigious CEO position begin to suspect that there is something sinister afoot in this Nigerian thriller. It is an intriguing premise and while it takes a while for the characters to become concerned, the activities that they are made to participate in are fascinatingly weird - most notably multiple games of musical chairs. The film never quite builds up an overwhelming sense of paranoia with limited music and mostly conventional camerawork. Angélique Kidjo is pretty interesting though as the intimidating employee running the retreat and her ethical dilemma questions are often thought-provoking. Whether all the twists and turns towards the end add much is debatable, but it is an engaging look at the mental strain of applying for new positions taken to extreme. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Molly's Game (2017). Based on a true story, this film depicts the rise and fall of a woman who successfully ran high stakes poker games that may have been illegal. Aaron Sorkin's fast-paced, witty dialogue is initially hard to grasp onto here, especially with much voiceover narration early on, but as the pace slows down and Jessica Chastain gets a chance to breathe, the whole thing becomes quite immersive. Chastain benefits from an intriguing character, ruthless and yet also genuinely concerned about her players who are in too deep, and there are some very well edited sequences as players are introduced and as Sorkin jumps a little with the chronology. The film loses its way near the end with a clunky park bench scene that unduly simplifies its protagonist, but this is generally compelling stuff once one acclimatises to the Sorkin rapid fire talk. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Little (2019). Turned back into her socially awkward thirteen-year-old self, a mean-spirited boss is forced to reevaluate her cynicism in this comedy that has rather accurately been described as a reverse Big. While all of the character growth and lessons to be learned are spelled out from very early on, the film is nevertheless consistently entertaining thanks to Marsai Martin's spot-on performance of an adult in a teenager's body, besting even the likes of Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday with every vocal mannerism and facial expression capturing someone older than she looks. Bits and pieces are pretty lame along the way (a restaurant sing-off in particular) but the film milks Martin hitting on her teachers and confusing her valet chauffeur and others for all that it is worth, while giving her a wardrobe just as stunning as that of her adult character. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Lighthouse (2019). Two lighthouse keepers slowly lose their minds (or do they?) amidst storm conditions in this horror film from Robert Eggers. This is one of those movies that attempts to be a living, breathing nightmare and for the most part it succeeds; the black and white photography is divine with the shadows often engulfing the men and the sound design is equally arresting. We are also treated to a lot of out-there imagery including visions (or memories?) of mermaids, dead bodies and fey sea creatures. Appealing as the inseparable mix of dreams, nightmares, fantasies and memories is, things soon turn repetitive with the men's interactions bottling down to fights followed by drinking sessions, without the film ever diving into just what happened in the younger's one past. Still, this is a very appealing concoction with top notch acting throughout. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★

OtherShow
Yellow Card (2000). In the midst of trying to convince a fellow student to go all the way with him, a teenage soccer champion receives some unexpected news about his ex-girlfriend in this high school drama from Zimbabwe. The film is blessed by earnest performances all round from its amateur cast; as a narrative though, it takes an incredibly long time to develop with too much time spent on his courtship and school lectures on unprotected sex before the revelation with his former girlfriend. Even then, it is only in the final twenty minutes that the film really takes off as he receives a surprise package. Had he received the package earlier on, this could have been quite a nifty film about taking responsibility and finding one's way towards adulthood. As it is, this feels more like a didactic message movie with a blatant purpose to deter teenagers from copulating. (first viewing, online) ★

The Brothers (2001). Four lifelong friends debate women and relationships while their wives and girlfriends grapple with their own gripes in this pleasant blend of comedy and drama. Talk-heavy and very reliant on dialogue, this is not an easy film to get into at first, especially as the characters insist on defining themselves by their love lives and little else. The chemistry between the characters, especially the central four friends, always feels very real though - and there is a lot to like in how they tease and goad each other but are still always heavily invested in each other's best interests. The movie also features one of the most memorable shooting scenes ever put to film. With fairly predictable character growth, the film does not exactly explore any new or uncharted territory here in between the moaning and groaning, but it is highly watchable all the same. (first viewing, online) ★★

Spud 2 (2013). Attending his second year in boarding school, the title character from Spud gets up to more mischief while still trying to be accepted in this decent sequel. The content is not quite as fresh this time round and there is no touching subplot with a closeted albino student, however, this is nicely less focused on girls inexplicably throwing themselves on the protagonist and the comedic shenanigans are arguably more memorable. John Cleese also returns and is solid as ever, if less funny and a more explicit mentor than in the original. The title character's parents come off as even more kooky this time too, though all the background stuff with Mandela and apartheid laws still feels weirdly neglected other than it shaping his parents' thinking in the scattered scenes set at his home. Everything weighed up, this is about on par with the first film. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Spud 3 (2014). Third in a franchise that never exactly begged for one let alone two sequels in the first place, this boarding school comedy struggles to add anything new to the proceedings. The protagonist once again does something to fall out of favour with his peers, once again has to win back their support, once again asks John Cleese's Guv for advice/support and once again has trouble fending off overly flirtatious girls. This entry also reduces the Guv to a caricature though with a silly subplot in which he pines for a new librarian and needs to protagonist help him woo her. The protagonist's kooky parents do at least get a little more attention than in the previous entries, and the whole denouement is admittedly a tad heartwarming, but with less comedic shenanigans than either of the two prior entries, the whole thing feels kind of pointless and redundant. (first viewing, online) ★
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#2

Post by mightysparks » February 16th, 2020, 12:13 pm

Pretty bland set of lists at the top of my 'upcoming awards' recently :( . I have a week until I start uni and am going to try and catch up so I'm back at an average of 1 film a day, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep that up once I start studying again.

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) 5/10 IMDb 1930s, Platinum 2/3
Extremely outdated and stiff, which is a shame because the general concept is ok. The main character is a boring old-fashioned fuddy-duddy and it's kind of interesting seeing such an uninteresting person as a lead character. His life is completely uneventful and pointless and it's difficult to really give a crap about him. His wife is just as dull and the two are horrible. His love of teaching is never convincing, and jesus are all the students completely awful. It also made no sense why everyone was so in love with this guy, I mean sure he was wholesome (if not a little sexist), but people are laughing at his jokes and getting angry that they want him to retire and somehow generations of families remember him when he's the most forgettable bore they could meet. The last shot was also incredibly terrible and made me groan.

Dark Floors (2008) 4/10 Personal Finnish project, 2/17
I was pretty excited about this when I first heard about it ~10 years ago, until I skipped through the file and saw some of the terrible effects and thus it has taken me this long to get around to it. The concept is really cool and there's a few promising details here and there but this is a really bad film. The script and dialogue are terrible. The acting is atrocious. All the characters are stupid and unlikable. The effects are actually not that bad compared to everything else, and most of the time everything's so dark you can't see anything anyway. There's no atmosphere or mood, it's never creepy or tense. The ending was pretty bad too.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015) 5/10
I quite liked the first two Mission Impossible films, but none of the sequels have interested me much and this one isn't very different. At first glance I thought Tom Cruise was way too old to be doing these films but once he starts doing all his stunts - which he did for real - that quickly goes away. But, Ethan Hunt is just incredibly boring and has no personality. Pegg is a lot more likable but his character is still pretty empty. The random comedic relief moments were annoying and not funny (also, Rhames and Renner were totally unnecessary and basically were only comedic relief). 'The woman', as she is referred to by every character, is not too bad but still pretty dull. I think it's really awesome that Cruise did most of his own stunts and stuff but almost all of them are just.. not entertaining. A couple of set pieces and scenes were kind of ok, but nothing that really got my juices flowing.

Paddington (2014) 5/10
The first half hour is pretty unbearable (pun not intended), just overly nicey-nicey, annoying and stupid. It gets a little snappier after that and is watchable at best but is pretty lame. It's not cute or charming, it's false and empty. The characters are shallow and unlikable, particularly the children. Paddington is not cute, but creepy and the voice was weirdly old (though Colin Firth was the original choice which would've been even worse). The humour is completely stupid, all the idiotic crap like the flood and fire were just eyerollingly painful. The only thing that made me crack a smile was when Paddington tells the guy his name, then they milked the hell out of the joke throughout the film and it was never funny again. Visually it was quite beautiful, it was always interesting to look at and the editing kept it well paced. But I'm honestly surprised anyone over the age of 3 finds this film enjoyable or funny. It was exceptionally stupid, childish and pointless.

My boyfriend joined me for the last hour of the film and though he begrudgingly agreed with me that it looked good, he hated the editing and everything else and said he would rate it about a 3/10.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) 6/10 Best of Rotten Tomatoes, gold 1/3, Reddit Top 250, platinum 1/4
This is a lot better than Rogue Nation, and is a pretty entertaining action film. As mentioned last time, I'm still pretty impressed at Cruise doing all his own stunts and there are some pretty huge ones in this film and they're more entertaining and impressive this time around. His character also has more life and personality, and all the minor characters have more interesting things to do. Biggest complaint is the supposed romance between him and Ilsa (the speech by Rhames was just like wtf, I didn't know he was supposed to care about her at all and I had no idea there was supposed to be anything romantic between the two. They have ZERO chemistry), and bringing back his wife. The comedic relief parts also worked better. Not an amazing film by any means, but decent fun aside from some minor quibbles.

Paddington 2 (2017) 5/10 Best of Rotten Tomatoes, gold 2/3, Reddit Top 250, platinum 2/4
One thing that I forgot to mention with the first film, but also appears in this film; when the characters become parents, they lose their souls, personalities and lives and the film seems to be super ok with this. You'd think it was an anti-natalist message, but it instead seems totally positive about this and it's a fecking awful message. Also with Aunt Lucy, when her man dies she just goes and retires because she apparently has no personality or life outside of being in a relationship. Yeah, ok it's 2017 why is this film living in the 1800s? Anyway, this film is a lot weaker than the first one. Hugh Grant's villain is a pretty fun character and completely wasted and under-used. Gleeson is also alright, and the highlight of the film was Richard Ayoade's 10 second appearance. Stylistically it's much the same, but not quite as visually 'warm', the humour is just as stupid and Paddington is the most boring creature alive. The 'story' is not as personal as Paddington's quest in the first film as well as lacking room for character growth. Really don't understand where the praise for these films comes from but I guess a lot of people have Paddington nostalgia or something. I'd seen the bear before but have never had anything to do with it.

Zatôichi (2003) 6/10 Best of Rotten Tomatoes, gold 2/3, Reddit Top 250, platinum 2/4
The story and main character are a little 'tired', but the film is still entertaining enough. It felt like it could've been more stylized and gory as it was a little visually flat; and the effects were pretty bad and kind of silly (apparently this was on purpose but it just looked cheap). All the actors were solid and the characters were pretty fun. The geishas were the most interesting of the lot and I kind of wanted more focus on them. I felt that the 'bodyguard' character could've had a bit more development. The fight scenes are ok, the slow-motion was annoying and as mentioned, more impressive visuals could've elevated these a bit more. The final 10-15 minutes also didn't really seem necessary, and the dance scene was just strange.

La casa muda (2010) 6/10 Conquer the World: Uruguay
Very similar to the remake, though I had forgotten much of the specifics until they happened. Also, like the remake, the film is much stronger as a straightforward intruder film and the supernatural elements and the 'twist' are weak. It is a good concept, and the use of one take
SpoilerShow
as an unreliable narrator is interesting
but the filmmaking is just not strong enough to pull it off. It lacks the tension needed as well, though the remake does that much better. The ending is also too vague and there's no real development earlier on for it make much sense. Not a bad film, just not enough to elevate it above 'good'.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » February 16th, 2020, 12:14 pm

愛と希望の街 / A Street of Love and Hope / A Town of Love and Hope (大島渚/Nagisa Oshima, 1959) 2+/10

The President (محسن مخملباف/Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 2014) 8+/10

Snapshot / One More Minute (Simon Wincer, 1979) 3/10

Vrindavana (Ernesto Baca, 2010) 7+/10
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shorts

The Dream of Void (short version of "The God Particle") (Logo, 2010) 7/10

Fedia. Trys minutės po didžiojo sprogimo / Fedia. Three Minutes After the Big Bang (Audrius Stonys, 1999) 3/10

Dornröschen (Ferdinand Diehl, 1943) 5/10

Fainting Spells (Sky Hopinka, 2018) 5/10

Kompozim / Composition (Stefan Taçi, 1992) 6/10


RiffTrax & MST3k

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (J.A. Bayona, 2018) 2/10


series

Curb Your Enthusiasm - S10E03 - "Artificial Fruit" (2020) 7/10

Curb Your Enthusiasm - S10E04 - "You're Not Going to Get Me to Say Anything Bad About Mickey" (2020) 7/10


didn't finish

Unity (Shaun Monson, 2015) [40 min]
La madriguera / Honeycomb (Carlos Saura, 1969) [20 min]
L'enfant secret (Philippe Garrel, 1979) [18 min]
Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, 2019) [7 min]


notable online media

top:
[new Jim Carry stuff]
rest:
Know Your Enemy - Rage Against The Machine / Cover by Yoyoka, 10 year old
Aubrey Plaza's Opening Monologue at the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards
Meet the 2020 DGA Nominees for Theatrical Feature Film [partly]
The Future of Mastering: Loudness in the Age of Music Streaming
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on February 16th, 2020, 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#4

Post by mightysparks » February 16th, 2020, 12:18 pm

@sol:

Suzaki Paradaisu: Akashingô (1956) 5/10 - do not remember this at all
Coffy (1973) 8/10 - really needs a rewatch, but yea Grier is cool and it's pretty fun
Cliffhanger (1993) 6/10 - found it kinda silly but has some fun action scenes
Hollow Man (2000) 8/10 - I've always loved this film (saw it around the time it came out), but I rewatched it a few 8 (!!) years ago and it was a lot cheesier than I remembered. Still a lot of good fun and the effects are awesome. I also liked that Bacon was a douchebag. Think I have to go rewatch this now..
The Lighthouse (2019) 6/10 - Agree with your comments although it didn't work as strongly for me as I'd hoped. I couldn't even say what it was missing, just.. something. I loved the interactions between Defoe and Pattinson, some great dialogue stuff there.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#5

Post by Onderhond » February 16th, 2020, 1:16 pm

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Any week with two new favorites is great, but it's been made better by a rather small amount of disappointments at the bottom. Mostly some old HK stuff by directors I follow more closely. So many Asian things to watch these days that I hardly have time to seek out "official checks".


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01. 4.0* - Gretel & Hansel by Oz Perkins (2020)
Stark and atmospheric reinterpretation of several Grimm fairytales. Oz Perkins' style is quite minimal, but very precise and effective. Beautiful cinematography and a killer soundtrack make this a very dark and moody film, which nails the balance between its fantasy and horror elements. A very nice surprise indeed.


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02. 4.0* - Lost in Love [Ru Ying Sui Xin] by Jianqi Huo (2019)
Very stylish and heartfelt romantic drama about the precarious balance between passion and trust. Though Huo is known to be a very skilled romance director, this film felt closer to Yibai Zhang's early work, sporting a more contemporary, urban vibe. Great cinematography and superb central performances make this a worthy entry in Huo's oeuvre.

03. 3.5* - Peacock King [Hung Cheuk Wong Ji] by Ngai Choi Lam, Biao Yuen (1988)
A crazy mix of martial arts, fantasy and horror. Peacock King is all over the place and not everything goes well together, but there is plenty of fun to be had here and there are some truly memorable moments. Yuen and Liu are solid, the effects are cheesy but charming and the pacing is perfect. This film was a pretty interesting find.

04. 3.5* - Come to Daddy by Ant Timpson (2019)
Daft and quirky, but this film also delivers as a horror flick. It's not the most typical horror/comedy out there, but the dry, dark comedy is hard to miss. Good performances, great direction and a couple of neat twists keep this film interesting. If Timpson dials it up just a little more for his next film, he's ready for a masterpiece.

05. 3.5* - The Mystical Treasure by Zhang Zhu Lin (2018)
Short and to the point blend of martial arts and fantasy. There's a bunch of these film being produced in China nowadays, but this one stands out because of the strong cinematography and some above par fight sequences. It's a little too flimsy to make a considerable impact, but it's a lot of fun while it lasts.

06. 3.5* - Sand Clock [Sunadokei] by Shinsuke Sato (2008)
A fine romantic drama. The first half is really sweet and endearing, only to turn more dark and brooding during the second part. Rural Japan is the perfect setting for this story, the actors do a decent job and Sato's direction is on point. Not quite subtle enough to be a real masterpiece, but pleasant and solid filler nonetheless.

07. 3.0* - Fist of Fury 1991 II [Man Hua Wei Long] by Rico Chu, Corey Yuen (1992)
A simply but amusing sequel that sees Stephen Chow taking another jab at the famous Bruce Lee classic. If you like Chow's trademark comedy, there's plenty to enjoy here. Some crazy fight scenes, some utterly daft but hilarious jokes and solid pacing. It's not the greatest film ever, but it's damn good filler.

08. 3.0* - Crying Freeman: Dragon from Russia [Hong Chang Fei Long] by Clarence Yiu-leung Fok (1990)
Core entertainment. A Hong Kong live action version that ties into the Crying Freeman franchise. Expect some over the top action scenes, a dash of comedy and some romantic filler. It's a vintage Hong Kong combination that is known to work and doesn't disappoint. Definitely not the most remarkable film, but very solid filler.

09. 3.0* - Blood Fest by Owen Egerton (2018)
A very self-aware horror comedy. Not all that original, there's a lot of talk about horror tropes and genre rules whilst the main cast is getting attacked by different kinds of horror spawn. The gore is decent though and there are some rather amusing moments, but overall it's a little too easy and on the nose. Solid horror filler, but nothing more.

10. 3.0* - A Story of Yonosuke [Yokomichi Yonosuke] by Shûichi Okita (2013)
A sweet but simple romantic drama. The Yonosuke character isn't quite as endearing as Okita hoped he'd be, the drama is a little too predictable and the direction is decent but somewhat inconspicuous. It's not a bad film, but it can't warrant its excessive running time as it is simply not memorable enough.

11. 3.0* - Vengeance! [Bao Chou] by Cheh Chang (1970)
A pretty kick-ass revenge flick. Chang's more contemporary films are usually among his weaker ones, but this one is clearly an exception to the rule. Just a smidgen too slow in places, but the action more than makes up for it. Some very lengthy and solid action scenes show why Chang became one of the Shaw Bros' leading men. Good fun.

12. 2.5* - The Lair of the White Worm by Ken Russell (1988)
Ken Russell being his quirky self. When the film tries to further the plot it's a little dull and lifeless, but when it simply has fun with some strange local folklore it becomes a pretty amusing romp. It's a little cheesy and definitely on the lighter side of horror cinema, but there are some memorable scenes you won't find anywhere else. Decent filler.

13. 2.0* - Postcard [Ichimai no Hagaki] by Kaneto Shindô (2010)
Stage-like drama that didn't really do it for me. The drama felt overdone, the acting is well over the top and the film feels sluggish. The story about a war widow who is reunited with the best pal of her dead husband holds more than enough potential, but Shindô fails to turn into a compelling film. Quite disappointing.

14. 2.0* - Love to Kill [Yeuk Ji Luen] by Siu-Hung Chung, Kirk Wong (1993)
Not a great film. It feels rushed and more than a little cheap, luckily uber sleazeball Anthony Wong is there to make things a bit more bearable. His presence makes all the difference here. It's still not a great film, but at least Wong's performance brings the necessary grit, the only thing that kept me engaged until the end.

15. 2.0* - License to Wed by Ken Kwapis (2007)
A very basic and pedestrian comedy about getting married. There are a handful of decent jokes, but they are spread pretty thin and the rest of the film is just very predictable and cheesy. Krasinski is decent and Williams fits the part, Moore is pretty bad though and The Office cast is incredibly underused. Very mediocre filler.

16. 1.5* - Valentine's Day by Garry Marshall (2010)
Another holiday-themed ensemble film. Some rather poor casting choices, an overload of barely intersecting stories (that all follow more or less the same emotional journey) and tepid direction make this a less than stellar romcom. There are way better films to watch around this time of year, but if you're really starved for choice I guess it's somewhat passable.

17. 1.5* - Rave Fever [Zhou Mo Kuang Re] by Alan Mak (1999)
Alan Mak dives into the rave scene to make a little mystery/thriller, but it's way too obvious that he has no feeling with the scene at all. The parties look ridiculous, the music is an insult. The plot itself isn't all that great either, with some predictable twists and the same scenes retold from different perspectives. Not his best film.

18. 1.5* - The Romance of the Vampires [Xi Wo Yi Ge Wen] by Ricky Lau (1994)
Ricky Lau likes to stick with his vampire theme, but when drops the martial arts and comedy elements and substitutes them with some sleazy romance it only highlights his limitations as a director. The perks of genre cinema keep it from becoming a total disaster, but unless you're a tremendous Lau film there's not much here.

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#6

Post by sol » February 16th, 2020, 1:35 pm

mighty:

Yeah, the special effects in Hollow Man are amazing; even twenty years, the inside-out human and ape sequences are dazzling. I was so impressed with the special effects that I checked to see which film won the Oscar instead of Hollow Man that year. It's Gladiator, which I haven't seen, but the effects would have to pretty amazing there to convince me that Hollow Man shouldn't have won. That said, the movie was a mild disappointment as Paul Verhoeven film. Some dark humour and satire in the mix, but not as much as I am used to from the Dutch master. As for Kevin Bacon, yeah, it was fun having him play a douchebag. But he's an arrogant jerk through and through, so it's a zero character progression film, as opposed to Claude Rains gradually losing his mind in the 1933 Invisible Man.

I actually also wanted to like The Lighthouse more. I'm very much into the living-breathing-nightmare subgenre of films. The more I think about, the more I think the whole randomness of it all is what knocked it down a notch for me. Pattinson's visions and dreams often feel like random scary images plucked out of a hat, rather than anything driven by anything else in the film, which is probably also what led to the film feeling slightly on the repetitive side for me. The whole thing is like argue, drink, hallucinate, repeat - which is pretty interesting in itself but I guess a little more slight than I would have hoped for in a film that runs nearly two hours. I did like the film quite a lot though, even if I didn't quite get the apparent humour. The audience that I watched it with at Luna last night were constantly smirking and giggling at the most random of things, I don't know, I read somewhere that Eggers wanted the film to be a comedy so maybe I just missed it?

Yours:

Goodbye, Mr. Chips is an old favourite from back in the day. It was one of my favourite classic era films when I was in high school. Saw it a couple of times as a television broadcast and always loved it due primarily to Robert Donat's performance and his (to me) credible progression/growth over the years from young to old. It would be interesting to rewatch at some point now that I am actually a teacher myself. I would probably take a different look at things and these days I tend to dislike inspirational teacher films. Bigger Than Life is more my sort of teacher film, crazy as that might sound.

Both Paddington movies were also on about the same level for me when I watched them a couple of years ago in my initial check-whoring iCM days. I actually liked them a fair bit, but I'm a sucker for a good Hugh Grant performance and the pre-Shape of Water flooded bathroom was pretty interesting to see in an earlier Sally Hawkins film.

Also seen Zatôichi from you, which I liked enough at the time, though evidently not enough to seek out the original films, which I still haven't seen.
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#7

Post by mightysparks » February 16th, 2020, 3:30 pm

Couldn’t help myself and just finished rewatching Hollow Man; definitely weaker than I remember but still fun. I forgot how much I hated all the other characters in the film. And the dialogue is so painfully cheesy. I think the reason I like Bacon as a pervy arrogant douche is that we’re not seeing a regular person losing himself to the serum, but seeing someone who thinks he’s God get to play God. When he ‘can’t see himself in the mirror anymore’ he can finally be his true self. Also,
SpoilerShow
that rape scene was never in the film before. It always ended at her screaming and it was ambiguous to whether he did anything. I was pretty surprised. I googled it and all I got was people saying how hot that scene was, how they wanted to masturbate to it and how they would definitely do that if they were invisible — and everyone agreeing with them. Disgusting.

Interesting to have it in the film though, and the bit when he kills the dog is pretty effective too.
Despite how awful the character is, he’s the only one with any complexity so you just kind of want everyone else to die. I really wish we could’ve seen more of his mental state. And yea, I agree it’s not a very Verhoeven-y film.

Also still think the effects are awesome, though a bit outdated here and there. My boyfriend wasn’t so impressed. I said they were better than most stuff I see these days - citing Avengers as an example - but he said the most recent thing he could think of was The Mandalorian, and that the effects weren’t nearly as good. They’re not sleek, sure, but still cool.
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#8

Post by sol » February 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm

mightysparks wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 3:30 pm
I think the reason I like Bacon as a pervy arrogant douche is that we’re not seeing a regular person losing himself to the serum, but seeing someone who thinks he’s God get to play God. When he ‘can’t see himself in the mirror anymore’ he can finally be his true self.
Oooh, nicely put. I like that analogy.
mightysparks wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 3:30 pm
Also,
SpoilerShow
that rape scene was never in the film before. It always ended at her screaming and it was ambiguous to whether he did anything. I was pretty surprised. I googled it and all I got was people saying how hot that scene was, how they wanted to masturbate to it and how they would definitely do that if they were invisible — and everyone agreeing with them. Disgusting.

Interesting to have it in the film though, and the bit when he kills the dog is pretty effective too.
I wondered about those two scenes myself. My Region B Blu-ray is apparently the director's cut and runs nearly two hours (longer than the IMDb runtime) but I couldn't find any information about what was cut out or left in under Alternative Versions on IMDb.

And yes - I was surprised by just how graphic the first thing that you mentioned was. I think it's good that it is so explicit since it really highlights just how power-crazy and demented Bacon gets, but er, a bit icky that it's generating that sort of reaction online. It's quite a bold scene, I think, and certainly the part of the film that really felt Verhoeven to me, which kind of made me wonder if other stuff got cut out.
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#9

Post by mightysparks » February 16th, 2020, 4:19 pm

I think my version was the same, but it must be newish since I’d never seen that scene before. The dog scene was always in it, always liked that part just for being so nasty. Everything else seemed the same to me, but I’m not sure if there were any little extra bits that I just didn’t remember.
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#10

Post by joachimt » February 16th, 2020, 8:15 pm

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007, 1 official list, 6715 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Well structured rather fun story with some strong characters well portrayed.
Birth (2004, 2 official lists, 2231 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
If I watched this earlier, I would have voted for this in the underrated-poll. Only 6.1?!
Capturing the Friedmans (2003, 6 official lists, 4389 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
After a while I really didn't know anymore who to believe, but that's the point. This is not about learning the truth about the story, but about how the family deals with the situation, how justice works, how media play their role, etc…...
Luna Papa AKA Moon Father (1999, 1 official list, 171 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's in WC 1D.
I liked this because of the joyful playfulness. It has a lot of charm, especially because of the natural acting of the leading actress. I also liked the messy things happening on screen with quite some speed and lots of things happening in the background and around the main people, a bit like a Kusturica-movie.
Egy erkölcsös éjszaka AKA A Very Moral Night (1977, 0 official lists, 29 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's in WC 1D.
Quite a few fun scenes, but not enough story to stick into my memory.
Être et avoir AKA To Be and to Have (2002, 7 official lists, 1758 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
I don't understand why this is such a masterpiece. If you put a camera in my classroom for a year and edit the good stuff, you'd get some interesting classroom scenes as well.
Imitation of Life (1934, 3 official lists, 825 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
I felt like all the drama in this movie were just subplots. Rest was all going too well.
Kanashimi no Beradonna AKA Belladonna of Sadness (1973, 2 official lists, 559 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
You can't deny this is imaginitive and creative. I just didn't know what to do with it.
The Client (1994, 1 official list, 2505 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Amazon Prime.
Oh wait, it's official now, but I watched it when it wasn't yet. It's on iCM Forum's Favorite Unofficial Movies. It's a typical 90's-product. My main problem with it was the stupidity of the police and FBI how they treated the boy at first. If you want him to start talking, don't pressure him. Doesn't anybody understand kids? First, they need to feel safe. The police and FBI did nothing to establish that.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019, 1 official list, 1620 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Amazon Prime.
Don't expect too much and it's enjoyable. It has a lot of survival/apocalypse/monster-clichés. And of course the story is rather ridiculous. They tried to make a monster-movie meaningful by throwing in a very blant message about the state of the world. :facepalm:
Hayat var AKA My Only Sunshine (2008, 1 official list, 317 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Too slow.
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#11

Post by peeptoad » February 16th, 2020, 11:00 pm

Hi sol, hope you had a good week. It's a long weekend here. :thumbsup:
Sounds like you liked The Lighthouse a bit more than me, but I agree with most of what you said. Of the rest of yours I've seen Hollow Man is prob the most memorable, rated that a 6 or so. I recall not liking Under Siege as well... not sure I've seen Cliffhanger.

mine-
*rewatch
RIP: A Remix manifesto (2008) 6
Bacheha-Ye aseman(1997) Children of Heaven 8
Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives 5
Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (2011) Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 9
Captain Kronos vampire Hunter (1974) 8*
La noire de... (1966) Black Girl 7
Yeelen (1987) Brightness 4**
Beoning (2018) Burning 6
Ford v Ferrari (2019) 4

Standouts of the week are Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Children of Heaven. 'Anatolia may be second only to Ruiz's 'City of Pirates' so far this year...


**
peeptoad wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 3:32 pm
sol wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 3:24 pm
peeptoad wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 2:30 pm
Good to hear the visuals are decent here... this one is on my (unfortunately exceedingly short) list for this month. :thumbsup:
Sure... but the visuals are all that the film really has going for it, and the intense purple scenes (as in my screenshot) are few and far between.
...then I'll be sure to inhale deeply beforehand. B)
didn't work.
Last edited by peeptoad on February 16th, 2020, 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#12

Post by peeptoad » February 16th, 2020, 11:00 pm

Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 12:14 pm
didn't finish
...
Ford v Ferrari (James Mangold, 2019) [7 min]
can't blame you

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#13

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » February 17th, 2020, 11:03 am

A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016) - 7

L'appolonide: Souvenirs de la Maison Close / House of Tolerance (Bertrand Bonello, 2011) - 8+

Macao (Josef von Sternberg, 1952) - 8

گبه / Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996) - 9
Color!

Magnificent Obsession (Douglas Sirk, 1954) - 9
Finally watched this, Sirk's most unbelievably constructed story line ever. That operation scene at the end is insane. Wow!

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019) - 6

Un Divan à New York / A Couch In New York (Chantal Akerman, 1996) - 5-
Is this a Nora Ephron spoof? Did Akerman intentionally make a mediocre film? The joke's on us, I guess...
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#14

Post by Onderhond » February 17th, 2020, 11:17 am

@sol:
I've seen Hollow Man, but really can't remember much of it. I reread an old review and clearly didn't like anything much about it, including the CG, acting and camerawork. Liked The Equalizer (3*) a little better than you did, but not really a film I care enough about to defend it. And I've watched Under Siege, but not "recently" (ie in the past 20 years), so I have no registered vote for it. Hated it back then though, so I doubt if I like it any better nowadays :)

Quite curious about The Lighthouse, though I could end up hating it if it goes too traditional arthouse. Also have Cliffhanger lined up. Never watched that one before, even though it's somewhat of a B-classic.

@mightysparks:
Watched The Paddingtons, which I liked slightly better than you. Also watched Rogue Nation, which I rated the same. Haven't gotten around to Fallout yet, simply because the series is getting pretty stale imo. Also watched La Casa Muda, which I liked, though not quite as much as the remake. Probably because they are so similar and because I watched the remake first though. And I've watched Zatoichi, which I liked a lot better, which is usually the case when someone describes something as "just strange" :lol: .

I also watched Hello Ladies! If I remember correctly you're a big Merchant fan, liked it a lot. The film was a slight disappointment (still fun though), but the series had some lovely awkward comedy and Merchant is hilarious.

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#15

Post by sol » February 17th, 2020, 11:44 am

peeps:

Kind of funny how both you and mighty have acknowledged that I liked The Lighthouse more, and yet I certainly liked it a lot less than the general consensus; the film has very high ratings on IMDb and Letterboxd. What I can definitely say though is that I preferred The Lighthouse to The VVitch. The earlier Eggers movie was an interesting attempt to do something different (film a horror movie entirely in Old English) but Anya Taylor-Joy's phenomenal performance is the only thing that really impressed me about that film, whereas The Lighthouse has such great audiovisual stuff going on too. But I probably need to rewatch The VVitch to properly make up my mind.

Under Siege was tolerable. Tommy Lee Jones did pretty well, but the whole thing was way too heavily focused explosive action for my taste (I prefer close combat action films) and Steven Seagal was blander than I thought possible.

Yours:

Gah; I told you that Yeelen wasn't a very good film. Okay; I promise next time not post pretty pictures from mediocre films lest they inadvertently entice you into seeking them out. :shrug:

I didn't think too much of Uncle Boonmee either. I remember trying to describe the film to my mother some time afterwards and I could not help but burst out laughing while trying to explain the plot alongside the fact that it is one of ten most acclaimed films of the decade. I still want to see Tropical Malady though since shape-shifting intrigues me, er.

Never been too big on vampire films, but I quite liked Kronos at the time.

The only other film that I have seen from you this week is Ford v Ferrari, which I actually liked a lot. Maybe it helps to watch it theatrically, but I found all of the car racing and training scenes incredibly immersive and loved Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II.

Onderhond:

I have no idea what "traditional arthouse" means, but The Lighthouse does seem like your kind of film. Very strong audio and visual elements and a bit of a nutso story with lots of odds and ends and which may or may not make sense by the end depending on your interpretation.

Yeah, we'll never agree on special effects, so no surprise that those in Hollow Man didn't register for you. Not sure if you really did like The Equalizer better than me since two stars is a 6/10 in my books, but I guess it depends on which of us is the harsher marker. Probably you.

Yours:

Only seen Lair of the White Worm, which is pretty batsh*t crazy, even by Ken Russell's standards. I'm surprised you didn't diss the special effects since I found them decidedly average, but lots of cool images involving the serpent woman sans effects.
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#16

Post by Onderhond » February 17th, 2020, 12:19 pm

@sol:
I heard some stories about The Lighthouse going for a more classic look (something about film stock?), and as you know, I really don't like (the look/sound of) classic cinema. I can handle black and white fine, but I prefer gritty/high-contrast visuals, so far I haven't seen that from The Lighthouse yet. Mind you, I haven't seen any trailers or anything, just some shots left and right. But the way you describe it, it does sound interesting. We'll have to see if it reaches our theaters though.

As for Lair of the White Worm, of course on a technical level the special effects are terrible, but at least they were used in a rather artistic way. I'm a lot more forgiving then. With Hollow Man it was mostly functional effects, and they didn't come across anymore imo. Didn't think White Worm was all that crazy, but surely amusing enough.

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#17

Post by peeptoad » February 17th, 2020, 1:03 pm

sol wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 11:44 am
peeps:

Kind of funny how both you and mighty have acknowledged that I liked The Lighthouse more, and yet I certainly liked it a lot less than the general consensus; the film has very high ratings on IMDb and Letterboxd. What I can definitely say though is that I preferred The Lighthouse to The VVitch. The earlier Eggers movie was an interesting attempt to do something different (film a horror movie entirely in Old English) but Anya Taylor-Joy's phenomenal performance is the only thing that really impressed me about that film, whereas The Lighthouse has such great audiovisual stuff going on too. But I probably need to rewatch The VVitch to properly make up my mind.

Under Siege was tolerable. Tommy Lee Jones did pretty well, but the whole thing was way too heavily focused explosive action for my taste (I prefer close combat action films) and Steven Seagal was blander than I thought possible.

Yours:

Gah; I told you that Yeelen wasn't a very good film. Okay; I promise next time not post pretty pictures from mediocre films lest they inadvertently entice you into seeking them out. :shrug:

I didn't think too much of Uncle Boonmee either. I remember trying to describe the film to my mother some time afterwards and I could not help but burst out laughing while trying to explain the plot alongside the fact that it is one of ten most acclaimed films of the decade. I still want to see Tropical Malady though since shape-shifting intrigues me, er.

Never been too big on vampire films, but I quite liked Kronos at the time.

The only other film that I have seen from you this week is Ford v Ferrari, which I actually liked a lot. Maybe it helps to watch it theatrically, but I found all of the car racing and training scenes incredibly immersive and loved Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II.
re: Lighthouse- the reverse is true for me with regards to The VVitch. I liked the latter better, but not by a whole lot. Both films tantalized me, in a manner of speaking, without really driving it all the way home, but there were aspects that worked for me. In The VVitch I the general setting, timeframe, photography, and subject matter, as well as the performance of Taylor-Joy were all interesting to me. The photography was solid, and there were some cool shots of the goat (which I read was hellish, misbehaved and held up production at some inopportune moments during filming) . I liked the setting in The Lighthouse, and the two leads (Pattinson I have been most impressed with, post-Twilight, in the 2 films I've seen him in... he seems to be going in a promising direction), plus again solid photography, but something intangible was missing. It was missing in VVitch as well, but not to the same extent. They are close in comparison for me though. I also had to put the subs on in both; couldn't understand a damn thing.

re: Yeelen- yeah, I should have listened to you. That one was actually already on my watch list, for some reason, but your pic and blurb made me want to see it more (and, yes, I know you wrote that essentially nothing happens, but those films can work very well for me, esp. when surreal. This time no bueno).

Re: Boonmee- very weird film. And slow. And somewhat boring (though not like my next comment). The (mostly) lack of soundtrack combined with soft nature noises in the background added a strange element. It made this a combination of more surreal and also part home video/amateur nature doc. I probably missed the point.

Re: F v F- Maybe the cinema would have helped, slightly. I felt completely un-immersed in the driving and racing scenes. Was this supposed to be about racing? ( I ask truthfully). It was beyond boring in my estimation and Bale and Damon brought nothing new to the table for me in terms of their performances. Mostly what my eye kept seeing was lame action sequences and uninteresting camera angles (per some of the stuff they could have done) interspliced with stodgy, stolid, old white men pomping their way through some male-clout- machismo-thing I could care less about. Sorry, I'll stop being negative. Maybe I was in a mood the other night… at least I saw it for free.

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#18

Post by mightysparks » February 17th, 2020, 1:47 pm

Onderhond wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 11:17 am
@mightysparks:
Watched The Paddingtons, which I liked slightly better than you. Also watched Rogue Nation, which I rated the same. Haven't gotten around to Fallout yet, simply because the series is getting pretty stale imo. Also watched La Casa Muda, which I liked, though not quite as much as the remake. Probably because they are so similar and because I watched the remake first though. And I've watched Zatoichi, which I liked a lot better, which is usually the case when someone describes something as "just strange" :lol: .

I also watched Hello Ladies! If I remember correctly you're a big Merchant fan, liked it a lot. The film was a slight disappointment (still fun though), but the series had some lovely awkward comedy and Merchant is hilarious.
Yeah, I've seen Hello Ladies, it was ok and agreed that the film was disappointing. Gervais and Merchant are not very good solo :( I liked Silent House slightly more than La Casa Muda (which I also saw first). Zatoichi wasn't very strange, just the random dance scene :P The scene wasn't bad, it was just pointless.

From yours:
Come to Daddy 5/10 - saw this at the horror festival a few months ago. Found it really bland and not very quirky/funny at all. It wasn't bad, just nothing really happened. Went and found my review (realised it was a little spoilery):
SpoilerShow
It hooks you in at first, McHattie and Wood both play off each other well and you can feel there's something bubbling under the surface. However, it seemed like it was going to be more about family but instead these guys come to kill the father and Wood ends up having to kill them all. Nothing gets resolved and ultimately, nothing really even seems to happen.
The Lair of the White Worm 6/10 - don't really remember this, but I remember it being ok in parts and dull in others so I expect I felt similarly.

Blood Fest sounds interesting, added to watchlist. Apparently I already had Peacock King on my watchlist, but don't remember why lol.
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#19

Post by Onderhond » February 17th, 2020, 1:59 pm

mightysparks wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 1:47 pm
Zatoichi wasn't very strange, just the random dance scene :P The scene wasn't bad, it was just pointless.
Well, it wasn't necessary for the plot or anything, then again I rarely care much for the plot anyway. I think it definitely made sense within the styling of the film, because there were multiple scenes before that where Kitano played around with the music and editing to create some kind of explicit audiovisual rhythm. If you add that Kitano is a big Astaire fan and the fact that many Japanese films were adding "random" dance scenes in their films, it really wasn't all that surprising.
mightysparks wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 1:47 pm
Apparently I already had Peacock King on my watchlist, but don't remember why lol.
Might have been on the TSZDT list before? The current version really lacks a bunch of HK horror stuff, then again it's very hard to find anything about it, let alone some knowledgeable lists, so no surprises there. I just randomly stumbled upon this film, liked a couple of screens and decided to go for it. Also one of the directors did Story of Ricky, which is a bit more popular in the cult/horror circuit.

And I actually quite liked Merchant by himself, at least enough to seek out some stuff I haven't seen yet. With eyes like that, the comedy just follows naturally :D

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#20

Post by sol » February 17th, 2020, 2:20 pm

Onderhond:

This was the screenshot that I posted in the Academy Awards Challenge thread for The Lighthouse:

Image

I think that shot sums up well what the film looks like most of the time. In terms of the "more classic look", the 4:3 aspect ratio annoyed me at first, especially watched on a hugely wide cinema screen in a not-too-dark theatre. For the darker shots though, it was actually sort of effective; my mind tended to fill in the blanks on either side of the frame and in shots like that above, I began to just think that endless darkness existed to the left and right, especially with all the purely candlelit shots and all.

peeps:

I would have loved to have watched The Lighthouse with subs but it wasn't an option. And it was a less of a problem for me than with The VVitch, which, yes, is equally as hard to understand. I got the gist of Pattinson and Dafoe's interactions quite well even while missing occasional bouts of dialogue, whereas in The VVitch, I found it an annoyance and summised that Eggers only filmed it all in Old English as a gimmick to make it seem more otherworldly and unsettling. Which could be true, I don't know, one day I *will* rewatch it, for Anya if nothing else.

Just went back and I looked at my Ford v Ferrari review and most of it is praise for Letts and how he mixes vulnerability (scared of his company's future) with outwards intimidation so well. I'm not usually big on machismo movies either, but I liked both the leads and found the whole thing very kinetic and very much alive. :shrug: Must have been in the right mood, I don't know, it's not my usual sort of film.
Former IMDb message boards user // iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | My top 600 films // Long live the new flesh!
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#21

Post by Lonewolf2003 » February 17th, 2020, 5:03 pm

What I watched last week, with some reviews. There is an accidental trend of men being asses to women this week in a lot of movies I saw.

Speedy (1928, Ted Wilde): 8.0
Runaway Train (1985, Andrey Konchalovskiy): 6.2 - How both Roberts and Voight got nominated for an Oscar for their acting in this is a mystery . Must have been an extremly weak year.
La religieuse [The Nun] (1966, Jacques Rivette): 7.5
Matrimonio all'italiana [Marriage Italian-Style] (1964, Vittorio De Sica): 6.8 - The second half with Loren plotting to ensure the safety of her future trough marriage with Mastroianni is better than the first about their first meeting and history till then. Loren and Mastroianni both are great. It always surprises me how easily Loren can switch convincingly between different female charactertypes. Mastroianni is very convincing as sleazy masochist Italian male.
The Spoilers (1942, Ray Enright) : 6.5 - A Western starring John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich and Randolph Scott! Unforntunate the movie doesn't live up to its stellar cast, decent plot and great sets, because it plays what could be an intriguing story too much for comedy and romance. Highlight is a very long fistfight between Wayne and Scott.
The China Syndrome (1979, James Bridges): 8.2 - Very good 70s thriller about the power of capitalism in both the energy as the tv-news sector. While having also a subtheme about working as a (beautiful) woman in a male dominated business. Lemmon is great as always.
Pillow Talk (1959, Michael Gordon): 7.5 - Dated in some aspects, but nevertheless still enjoyable.
Carnal Knowledge (1971, Mike Nichols): 7.2 - Nicholson is fabulous as a misogynistic ass. With his action being "explained" in the first part with him and a surprisingly solid Art Garfunkel as college-friends dating the same woman, which was the best part of the movie imho.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988, Francis Ford Coppola): 7.0
The Collector (1965, William Wyler): 7.5 - Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar are very strong in what's a two character piece about a guy kidnapping a girl to make her fall in love with her.
Agantuk [The Stranger] (1991, Satyajit Ray): 8.0 - Ray's last movie is humanist reflection on what "identity" and "civilization" is, but a bit too talkative to be up there with his best.

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#22

Post by OldAle1 » February 17th, 2020, 6:46 pm

This film ROCKED
This film SUCKED

They Made Me a Killer (William C. Thomas, 1946)

The YT copy I watched of this very short (64 m) and very cheap noir was quite poor, but even adjusting for that this is not a particularly good specimen of the style. It's a fairly standard story of a guy who's in the wrong place at the wrong time - he gives a ride to a woman when he's new in the area, and she ends up being part of a gang that's holding up a bank, and he is then implicated. Escaping police custody he teams up with a good girl and the two of them through some pretty serious and unbelievable ingenuity manage to track down where the gang might be holed up. It doesn't wear out it's welcome but there's nothing here that's particularly interesting and the cast apart from lead Robert Lowery (who went on to play Batman in the 1949 Batman and Robin serial) isn't that interesting or notable.

Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019) (re-watch, cinema)

3rd viewing. I already wrote about this elsewhere and don't feel like copying my review here; I will just note that this is I think only the 4th film I've seen at least three times in the cinema this century (Yi yi, No Country for Old Men, La La Land are the others for those who care and only the latter got seen more than three times). The vagaries of distribution are certainly a big reason for how and why I see films and how many times I see them, but it's also certainly due to the effect a film has, and hitting me at the right point in life. What I paid more attention to this time was the music - certainly one of my favorite scores of the year and used quite precisely; in fact everything in the film feels precision-placed, which I suppose some might see as a flaw and could be one in certain kinds of films; there isn't the "looseness" that we see in Lady Bird. But to me it works and it's fairly remarkable that given Gerwig's early roles in films and the kinds of things she started out being known for that she's come to this point at a still (hopefully) early stage in her career. I'm also more impressed by Eliza Scanlen and Emma Watson with every viewing, though they are certainly hampered by their characters and while Gerwig does make all of the girls more interesting than in previous versions, there's only so much she can do without distorting the book all out of shape and/or making a 3-hour film.

Netemo sametemo / Asako I & II (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2018)

Both the English title and the listed informal translation of the Japanese title, "Sleeping or Waking" give significant clues to what's going on here. Even though we actually only have one character named Asako (newcomer Erika Karata in a subdued, quite excellent performance) who ends up falling in love with two men that look identical, Baku and Ryôhei (both played by Masahrio Higashide), it's her character arc, her changes from the younger, more romantic, less realistic Asako into the older and more mature Asako that is the centerpiece of the film. I think it's actually a rather brilliant stroke of genius to have the dual characters used in this way - I mean, it may have been done before somewhere but I can't think of anything quite like this - not in a Jekyll/Hyde obvious contrast but rather as just representing fairly normal personality differences. It's a lovely film, with the outdoor sequences especially nicely shot, and there's a lot of subtle commentary on why and how we choose the people we choose that I think I'll get more out of on a second try. I have Hamaguchi's mammoth 5-hour Happî awâ on the mammoth to-watch pile but I'm glad I watched this one first, gives me more impetus to set aside the time for the other.

Huan tu / A Land Imagined (Siew Hua Yeo, 2018)

Another film exploring dualities of a sort, this Singaporean "mystery" explores all kinds of issues around immigration and discrimination based on ethnic origin in the construction sites and all-night video/internet arcade of the city-state. A worker (Xiaoyi Liu) goes missing and a detective (Peter Yu) tries to find out what's going on, but identities collide as both are sleepless, both spend nights in the arcade, both develop relationships of sorts with Mindy (Yue Guo) the owner or manager of the place. So much of this is a mood piece, and the minimal plot is quite elliptical, so it's hard to describe or say more. I quite liked it but I also feel like I'm missing a lot. David Bordwell has a little article on his site, I should probably read that again. And think some more. A film to contemplate for sure.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (Terry Gilliam, 2018)

Finally got around to this, Gilliam's decades-in-the-making project, and while it didn't blow me away on one viewing (his films often don't), if it's his last film, as it certainly could be given his age and how difficult it is for him to get films made, it's a fitting one. Adam Driver is the rather douchey director making a commercial in Spain who recalls his first low-budget film made as a student there a decade earlier, and the shoemaker (Jonathan Pryce) he found to play Don Quixote; when he goes looking for the village where he made the film and encounters the even more aged Quixote, the film - expectedly, if you know Gilliam - veers into a blur of fantasy and reality, and the shoemaker finally seems to become Quixote for real, as time seems to fluctuate between now and the 16th century. This feels often like a Gilliam's Greatest Hits production, with most of the overt references and narrative strategies in the film coming straight out of Brazil and. especially, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Not that that's a bad thing for me as those are my two favorite films from the director and he has explored this theme of man escaping into dream, or dream overtaking man, or the modern world's refusal to believe any more in dreams and fantasies, as well or better than any other filmmaker. And Quixote is obviously ideal for this theme and the film is never less than entertaining and does contain some bits of the old Gilliam magic, but it also does seem a bit tired and stale at moments, and though I think Driver is supposed to be irritating at first he was a bit too much for me. Pryce though is a joy in what might be my favorite performance by him, a fitting capstone to his four-film collaboration with the director. This is the first Gilliam film in 2.35 since Fear and Loathing also, and while it might seem to favor the wide landscapes, it doesn't work so well with his usual wide-angle lenses (not used as much here) so visually it's rather different from much of his work, though still pleasing and often over-stuffed as usual.

The Black Gestapo (Lee Frost, 1975)

While the imagery

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and the title, and a little bit of documentary footage of Hitler at the beginning would seem to be driving home a message and a theme, there isn't really much here to compare to the Nazis, apart from a very vague sense that the "good" black radicals, exemplified by Rod Perry's General Ahmed, are to be seen as more like the "good" or "ordinary" Germans, or members of the traditional, non-political armed forces, while the "bad" black radicals, lead by Charles Robinson's Colonel Kojah, would be the true Nazis, the Gestapo and SS. So you could read it like that, but really the story is just that of a bunch of black paramilitaries getting fed up with the white gangsters that run the town (L.A. obviously but I don't remember if it's ever stated as such), then suffering a schism when Kojah's group wants to essentially just replace whitey as the dope dealers and pimps, while Ahmed offers a somewhat better world view. Not a bad concept but the narrative is a mess - seems like there might be scenes missing or not shot - and the characters thus sometimes hard to get a handle on, and very cheaply done and rather ineptly directed and edited. I did like how Ahmed - who shows himself to be fairly incompetent and weak at several points early in the film - becomes practically a superhero in the climax of the film in his attempt to single-handedly take out Kojah's group. If he was so good, why didn't he show it earlier? Anyway there's some amusement to be had here but this is pretty weak overall.

Darktown Strutters (William Witney, 1975)

Now THIS is really something else. First of all though the name probably isn't familiar to most, I knew William Witney right away - one of the major names behind the camera on classic American serials of the 30s and 40s. I wondered if it was the same guy - he was pretty old by the time this was made, and it's certainly not like any of his previous work that I know; and IMDb credits have been known to be wrong, and this is fairly obscure - could be the son of the original WW I suppose. Then again -- the craziness of this film and the way it veers from crime to biker flick to comedy to musical is something right out of the old serials, so anything's possible. I remember somebody on IMDb years ago going on about how this film was offensive and really problematic in it's racial attitudes but I didn't get that, at least not for the most part - and even if the black characters are stereotyped, most of the white characters here are moron-grade Keystone Kops (they actually drive a police car with a cartoonishly oversized siren on top), except for a Colonel Sanders rip-off, so I think it's safe to say that the whole film operates mostly in the realm of sheer farce. To describe the plot is rather futile, but the basics are that Syreena (Trina Parks)

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here explaining herself to some of the idiot cops, is the leader of a biker gang that consists of four very tall, thin and beautiful black women who wear similar yellow, orange, white and pink jumpsuits; they mess around with the cops, fend off various creeps, and Syreena tries to find her mother who has apparently been kidnapped by the Col. Sanders guy who wants to create a race of clones and get rid of women, or black people, or both (I wasn't clear on this and I was tired). Dick Miller plays one of the incompetent cops and Roger Mosely plays "Mellow" but otherwise the cast was unfamiliar and this again an obvious low-budget affair, but it makes the most use of it's limitations by being absolutely CRAZY and just going off every which way, and having awesome costumes and music throughout. Oh, and it's also one of the very few blaxploitation films that is actually family-friendly - PG rated with no nudity, explicit violence or language. Which somehow makes it all the more entertaining and weird. I can't call it a great film because it's just too scattershot and there are definitely some dull moments (most of the Col Sanders stuff for instance) but it's not like anything else. Tempted to put it on my 500<400 list, certainly something more people interested in the outré should check out.

The Farewell (Lulu Wang, 2019)

I skipped this film in the cinema, I suppose in part the death-of-grandma theme seemed something I didn't really want to touch (and this came out before my mom died); also it only played for a couple of weeks near me I think - and I wasn't seeing much in August or September anyway. Well I'm glad I saw it now, though I don't really get the hype for it either. It's a nice little family story for sure, about Billi, a Chinese-American young woman (Awkwafina in a deservedly praised performance), kind of a slacker, who feels the need to go home to China to see her grandmother when she finds the old lady has lung cancer, and it's also about how the family lies to the grandmother about her condition - something that is the norm in China but which the fully Americanized Billi can't understand or accept at first. This is really nicely done - well acted and shot and everything - and I liked it, but it just didn't add up to anything special for me and I feel like I'm missing something cultural or emotional here. Or, y'know, it's just not that great.

Bacurau (Jualiano Dornelles/Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2019)

Going to spoiler most of this - I didn't know where this film was going and that was part of the pleasure.

A thirty-ish young woman (Bárbara Colen) comes back from the big city to the small backwards village she came from for her grandmother's funeral, only to find out that her small town of Bacurau is experiencing mysterious deaths followed by power outages followed by a plot direction shift
SpoilerShow
to something like The Most Dangerous Game, only overtly politicized. This takes place in the "near future" which I suppose is why it has a science fiction label on IMDb, but it really has precious little in the way of SF trappings unless dystopian authoritarian political systems destroying small communities of color is somehow still considered fantastic. And that's essentially where the plot goes as we find out that a group of Europeans and (mostly) Americans are there for a big hunt, and the village is the target. This was exciting and suspenseful and it turns out the way I hope most viewers would want it to, but I guess I expected something a little less obvious, both in the politics and the way the narrative concludes. Still good but a little too blunt.
She's All That (Robert Iscove, 1999)

I'm not entirely sure why this has been on my rom-com to-see list for years (I'm not entirely sure why I have such a list but that's another story). The director was a non-name; I haven't seen anything else with female star Rachael Leigh Cook and only one film with co-star Freddie Prinze Jr, I Know What You Did Last Summer which is awfully mediocre. That's where he met his wife-to-be, Buffy the Vampire Slayer lead Sarah Michelle Gellar, so perhaps there was something unconscious in the mix here, as it turns out that this film was shot partly at the same high school that was used for Buffy - the courtyard and front of the building in particular will be obvious to fans of the show, and Gellar makes a very brief appearance sitting in the lunch room, and Carlos Jacott, the main bad guy in the season 2 opener Anne appears in a bit as an exasperated photographer. This digression brought to you because for me it's only as a hard-core Buffy fan that I found any enjoyment at all in this atrocious adaptation #345974 of "Pygmalion", with Prinze as hot jock AND scholar (ok there's a *tiny* bit of originality) who bets his douchier friend that he can take nerdy art girl Cook and turn her into a prom queen princess. Uggh. Nothing good here at all though I'd tend to blame the screenplay for most of if - there are some decent-to-excellent actors here like Kevin Pollak and Anna Paquin (who looks a lot like Cook actually but does't play her sister) but the dialogue mostly feels forced and the scenes play out the same way they would in your head, only less interestingly. Below average even in the world of the American rom-com over the past 30+ years.


When Harry Met Sally... (Rob Reiner, 1989) (re-watch)

I saw this when it originally came out, and not since then. It's one of those films where I can't remember if I saw it in the cinema or on video but I do remember that I saw it with my first girlfriend who was much less conventionally romantic than I was, and pretty staunchly feminist in a way that really didn't respond to Nora Ephron's screenplay in particular - and neither did I. Ephron's assertions that men and women can never be friends and are really, totally, fundamentally different animals - which is belied at the end of this to be fair but which recurs in the other films she wrote and/or directed - still bugs the shit out of me and I still find myself hating that element of the film. In 1989 that was enough for me to hate the whole film though and it didn't help that I didn't much like Billy Crystal; pretty sure the only thing with Meg Ryan I had seen was D.O.A but I wasn't keeping track of actors at the time in any way, and her subsequent roles didn't help my opinion of her and in memory the film has languished as an offensive screenplay acted out by a guy I've grudgingly come to tolerate, and my least-favorite actress ever. So I guess it was time for a re-visit, eh?

Well color me surprised and surprisingly pleased. As I said, I still don't much like Ephron's writing - don't find a lot of Crystal's jokes that funny, don't like her view of men in general (and more importantly don't find it all that accurate) - but everything else improved dramatically, in particular Meg Ryan who while at times irritating (deliberately so - as a self-portrait of the writer it's clear that Ephron for all her faults could be as hard on women, and herself, as on men) is also just a joy to watch here, vivacious and self-assured and neurotic in almost equal measures. The fact that I hadn't really known anybody like her - and that I was soon to enter into a relationship with someone much more like her than my then-girlfriend, and have since met a much wider variety of women, probably helps in my changed feelings here. Reiner shoots New York in a loving manner and it works as a fantasy-view of the big city when two people are in love, certainly very much influenced by Woody Allen and in a long line that goes back to the musicals of the 50s. Crystal bugs me a little less - though again, he doesn't seem that real to me, and certainly Ephron's notion that all men love sports and don't cry in movies is utterly false as far as I'm concerned - and the supporting duo of Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby help immeasurably - if I'd remembered that they were in this I probably would have gone back to it sooner.

In short, dramatically improved - though still flawed enough that it's not really close to a "favorite"; and I still blame this film, and Ephron's simple-minded attitudes about the roles of men and women in particular for the wretched state the genre has been mired in for 30 years - though now it's clear that this film isn't quite as generically derivative or generally stupid as many of it's progeny. Makes me look forward more to a re-visit of Joe Versus the Volcano though, and now I think I have to replace Ms. Ryan for the title of all-time least-favorite actress.

As far as Oscars go - as you can see from my review I definitely don't think the film deserved it's nomination in the Screenplay category, though the winner, Tom Schulman for Dead Poets Society, is maybe even more atrocious and certainly more clichéd; all three of the other films nominated had good-to-great writing and would have been more deserving winners. Where WHMS may have actually deserved a nom is in Best Actress, though I've only seen the winner and one other nominee - 30+ years ago - so can't say for sure.

A Bread Factory (Parts One & Two) (Patrick Wang, 2018)

Became aware of this through Jonathan Rosenbaum's effusive praise; now I wish I had been keeping up with his site better, and with what's going on in Chicago, movie-wise - I might have made the trip to see this last spring, and it certainly would have been worth it to see it with an audience. I can't quite say I'm as knocked out by it as he seems to have been, not after one viewing, but even more so than with some of the other films I saw this past week, this is a film that needs the enrichment of more time, thought, and viewings.

While it's in two parts, and each part has it's own credits - and there are major differences between the parts in several areas - it's clearly one work, and watching only one part just wouldn't make any sense; I think every time it has shown it has been both parts with just a short intermission and that's definitely what I would recommend. Part one introduces us to a number of residents of the fictional town of Checkford, NY (really Hudson, NY, pop 6713), in particular the elderly couple (Tyne Daly and Elisabeth Henry) who run the eponymous institution, a small theater which puts on plays, opera, films, etc, and which is under threat from a large new performing arts complex that's being built to showcase the avant-garde performers May Ray, a young male-female Chinese duo. Because this film is highly political issues of gender, sexuality and ethnicity are always present, but the most interesting element perhaps is the underlying notions of what art's place in a community should be - and how influenced by money, capitalism, and "popularity". Over the course of the four hours we meet all kinds of people in the town, most involved in some way with the arts or with a local diner, or students - middle- and high-school aged who get increasingly involved in both the fight for the Bread Factory and eventually in running the town's hanging-by-a-thread newspaper.

There are also interspersed several pieces of theatrical performance, most of them from Euripedes' Hecuba, and operatic soprano Marina Arroyo appears in a small but signicant role as a woman who sits through every performance and rehearsal at the theater, occasionally bursting into song; in the second half of the film, song and dance become more prominent and it would be fair to call part 2 a "musical" of a sort. I think perhaps the increased emphasis on showing performance in the second half has something to do with a feeling that talking - discussion - argument that is so prominent in the first half is breaking down, isn't working anymore in this America - that we have to express ourselves in other ways. I think this overall emphasis on performance is a big part of why Rosenbaum makes reference to Jacques Rivette (particularly L'amour fou and Out 1 - I would also add La bande des quatre but a good half of Rivette's films are explicitly concerned with theater and acting), but the areas that they don't have in common are just as important. This is a much "lighter" more overtly comedic work - despite an underlying tone of seriousness and sometimes even despair throughout - than anything of Rivette's; in fact I often though of Christopher Guest's stuff myself, the sort of satire on small community theater in Guffman. And the way in which so much of the town seems to care so much about the arts and the future of these two very different pairs of impressarios reminded me a bit of the poetry-obsessed Paterson; but these are just snippets, the film is certainly not a pastiche or a copy of anything else, and in fact there is very little that I've seen that is much like it at all.

There is much more that I haven't gotten to and don't have the ability to after just one viewing; the acting - most professional, some amateur - is generally terrific and there's a wide mix of acting styles and actor types here; the music, both vocal and instrumental is fascinating and varied; and the various cinematic tricks and effects, like the high-speed mimed scenes-from-part-one that opens part two, are inventive and wonderful. This is low-budget filmmaking at it's very best and most creative. I don't know that I would recommend it to most people here (or anybody I know in real life) but if this or Rosenbaum's various remarks on his site appeal at all, invest the four hours in it, please.

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#23

Post by OldAle1 » February 17th, 2020, 7:18 pm

The films of others...

sol-

Love Coffy, almost watched it again last night, may yet do so this month. Probably liked the two Kaboré films about the same, about as much as you liked the first one, but it's been a long time since I've seen Wend Kuuni. I kind of love Under Siege, I mean yeah Seagal is awful, only equaled in his lack of charisma by Chuck Norris, but I dunno, it's just pretty well put together - Andrew Davis is a terrific action director and it hits it's marks pretty well. Cliffhanger I don't really remember at all, been meaning to check it out again and go through a few Stallones that I haven't seen. Think I saw Hollow Man but it's not registering much, so it must have been very average; pretty much with you on The Lighthouse, perhaps I liked it a little more but it is a bit long and repetitive.

mighty

Saw Mr. Chips a long time ago, no memory of it really; mixed on Fallout, pretty much agree with you there. Plan to watch the entire Zatôichi series one of these days/weeks/months.

PdA ---

Ondherond

Lair of the White Worm is the only one I've seen and while I remember it being kind of "cool" like many of his films, that's about it. Saw it when new-ish, probably on VHS.

joachim

Just Before the Devil... which I didn't like as much as most people, and Imitation of Life which IIRC isn't nearly as good as the Sirk remake. The Client is one of those I never can remember, whole bunch of Grisham adaptations that I may or may not have seen; when I worked at the video store in the 90s people were always asking "any new Grishams?" and he's kind of embedded in my brain more than he should be.

peep

Have seen everything except the first film on your list actually and (no surprise really) like just about all of them more than you did, especially Yeelen which I think is one of the greatest films ever made, probably top 10 of the 80s. Also really, really love La noire de... and Beoning. Guess I'm closest to your negativity on Ford v Ferrari but I'd still rate it higher, it's an "ok" in my book (which is a 5-6). Notice sol didn't like Yeelen either. Plebs!

viktor

A Quiet Passion is one of my favorite films of the last decade; memories of Macao and Gabbeh are dim but positive; Sirk is a God

Lonewolf

Have seen all but the last three of yours though I really don't remember The China Syndrome or Runaway Train - the latter in particular has been high on my re-watch list for a while. The standout for me is the Rivette which I saw for about the 4th time last spring in the lovely new 4K restoration. Probably in the top half of Rivette's filmography which is about as high as my praise can be. I liked the DeSica a fair bit, he's a director who has really grown on me the last few years, and I guess I'm in the minority in preferring his less sentimental/serious work (apart from Ladre di biciclette which deserves it's rep). Agree on The Spoilers - it's hard to imagine a better love triangle cast in a western from that period, but it just doesn't quite gel.

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#24

Post by Onderhond » February 17th, 2020, 7:24 pm

OldAle1: Glad to see you liked Asako I & II. A rather peculiar but very cool film. Liked it better than Happy Hour, then again I'm not a big fan of very long films. Still worth a look though!

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#25

Post by OldAle1 » February 17th, 2020, 7:30 pm

Onderhond wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 7:24 pm
OldAle1: Glad to see you liked Asako I & II. A rather peculiar but very cool film. Liked it better than Happy Hour, then again I'm not a big fan of very long films. Still worth a look though!
Yeah it was really nice - might have been a comment by you that steered me towards it actually. I kind of wish I'd switched the viewing order of that and A Land Imagined - watched them the same night and Asako was certainly the easier viewing. Both were great though and I'm glad that I've managed to continue to find a few really good new East Asian films in time to watch for the year-end polls. I guess if I did torrents I'd be able to see more yet but I can't keep up as it is and I want to watch stuff from all over. Maybe a goal for this year is to watch 2020-dated films from as many countries as possible? Hmm. I'm at one so far...

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#26

Post by mightysparks » February 18th, 2020, 12:10 am

@OldAle1

Haven't seen any of the other Zatoichi films but not really my kind of thing and after seeing this one, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't like them much.

Haven't seen many of yours:
Little Women 5/10 - said enough about this one lol
She's All That 5/10 - I haven't seen this since I was about 9, and I actually quite enjoyed it despite it's problematic concept (and that Rachael Leigh Cook is not at all unattractive 'before' and was way more attractive than Prinze Jr, plus I always hated that guy, and the whole thing is just stupid), but I definitely don't think I'd like it much these days.
When Harry Met Sally... 8/10 - Haven't seen this in a long time either, and again, liked it despite not liking its simplistic views on men and women. It's funny because at the time I thought the 'men and women can't just be friends' thing was total crap, but almost every male friend I've had in the last 5 years was interested in me at some point, and almost all of the friendships ended because of it, and now I find the film a little creepy. But maybe it would still be funny and likable enough that it wouldn't be.
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#27

Post by OldAle1 » February 18th, 2020, 12:18 am

mightysparks wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 12:10 am
@OldAle1


She's All That 5/10 - I haven't seen this since I was about 9, and I actually quite enjoyed it despite it's problematic concept (and that Rachael Leigh Cook is not at all unattractive 'before' and was way more attractive than Prinze Jr, plus I always hated that guy, and the whole thing is just stupid), but I definitely don't think I'd like it much these days.
When Harry Met Sally... 8/10 - Haven't seen this in a long time either, and again, liked it despite not liking its simplistic views on men and women. It's funny because at the time I thought the 'men and women can't just be friends' thing was total crap, but almost every male friend I've had in the last 5 years was interested in me at some point, and almost all of the friendships ended because of it, and now I find the film a little creepy. But maybe it would still be funny and likable enough that it wouldn't be.
Yeah the ugly duckling thing is almost always done poorly in romcoms - the idea here is, put glasses on her and make her wear overalls and fall down a couple of times and she's a "geek" and thus unattractive. Come on. As to Prinze, he doesn't impress me either way - just blandness that I'll soon forget; heck I forgot that I'd seen him in another movie, and not all that long before.

I do think the idea that friendships are *difficult* between (straight) men and women has some merit, at least in western society - could be different in other parts of the world I suppose - but Ephron isn't interested in subtlety and is playing it just for crude laughs. And I think she really believed it herself because of her own experiences. Me, no... I've definitely had a couple of fairly long-term female friendships where neither one of us had any interest in each other. But I'll grant that it's probably uncommon for a large part of the population, due mostly to the way we have constructed society and not - as Ephron sometimes seems to believe - because of innate biological imperatives.

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#28

Post by sol » February 18th, 2020, 10:55 am

OldAle:

Most folks out there seem to have similar ratings for both Wend Kuuni and Buud Yam. I am guessing that a lot of that is due to filmgoers watching the two movies at a distance to one another, and of course FESCAPO voters may have well not seen Wend Kuuni for 15 years before sit down to watch Buud Yam. The reason why I suspect this is because the sequel is packed to the brim with nostalgia for the first entry, from the ridiculous coincidence with being collapsed/found again to several (maybe up to 10?) instances in which footage from Wend Kuuni is edited in as flashbacks. This approach would certainly be fine for anyone watching the films with even a few months in between. Watched back-to-back as I did with the two movies, all the reminders of Wend Kuuni were way too much for me.

Yours:

Ugh. Little Women. *shudders* Perhaps I would have warmed towards it had I read the novel beforehand and/or seen one (or two) of the other film adaptations, but Gerwig's Christopher Nolan approach to the material was the worst possible introduction for me, played out like Memento with all the flashing backwards and with a novel-in-a-novel structure a la Inception's dream-in-a-dream. I suppose I wouldn't rule out rewatching the film though if ever I get around to reading the novel... or if I mini-marathon the movies, maybe for next year's Academy Awards Challenge.

That said, I'm with you all the way on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and possibly even liked it more than you. In full agreement about Pryce being a joy to watch and an arguable career best turn. I'm very big on Gilliam and this didn't disappoint, all the more so because I went into it with zero idea of all the modern day stuff, having read up little before it. It was wonderful to see everything so spontaneously pan out.

Agreed on The Farewell not being particularly great, certainly not compared to its acclaim. And it's been too long since I have seen Harry Met Sally.
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#29

Post by peeptoad » February 18th, 2020, 1:10 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 7:18 pm
Plebs!
:P

...and I haven't seen any of yours except for your When Harry Met Sally rewatch... I have no idea what I'd rate that if I rewatched after all these years. My guess is between a 6 and 8 somewhere. :shrug:

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#30

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » February 18th, 2020, 2:24 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 7:18 pm

viktor

A Quiet Passion is one of my favorite films of the last decade; memories of Macao and Gabbeh are dim but positive; Sirk is a God
I surely understand your love for A Quiet Passion.
Both Macao and Gabbeh are worth revisiting. Gabbeh took me storm, not very “Iranian", what that even means (at least it's very different from all other Iranian films I've seen, except Makhmalbaf's own The Silence). Makhmalbaf is turning out to become one of my favorites.
Sirk sure is a God (l)

yours:

Asako I & II - didn't care much for this. A rather vague film in my opinion.
Agree on The Farewell.
When Harry Met Sally - cute
Really looking forward to A Land Imagined, Bacurau and A Bread Factory my self! Thank you for the write-up on Bread Factory, I've also only read Rosenbaum on it.
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#31

Post by OldAle1 » February 18th, 2020, 5:39 pm

sol wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 10:55 am


Ugh. Little Women. *shudders* Perhaps I would have warmed towards it had I read the novel beforehand and/or seen one (or two) of the other film adaptations, but Gerwig's Christopher Nolan approach to the material was the worst possible introduction for me, played out like Memento with all the flashing backwards and with a novel-in-a-novel structure a la Inception's dream-in-a-dream. I suppose I wouldn't rule out rewatching the film though if ever I get around to reading the novel... or if I mini-marathon the movies, maybe for next year's Academy Awards Challenge.
Would have never thought of Nolan as a reference/analog; apart from the very different kinds of films he makes, I don't think his use of non-linear or reverse-time (one could also mention Following in this context) is particularly elegant or subtle - or does much for his films other than call attention to them. I think Gerwig has very real and substantive reasons for her strategy though, and while I don't know her models or influences in this regard if any I know she's a big fan of French New Wave stuff and obviously Resnais employed similar strategies in many of his films. But just going on my own feelings I'd have to say the filmmaker who she seems most attuned to here in her narrative type is Terence Davies; I'd also suggest that Leone's Once Upon a Time in America may have an influence in terms of the emotional weight that the complex time structure is meant to give the characters and their lives. But I really have no idea, and obviously since I love the film I'm likely to see influences from other filmmakers I love, and not from a crap artist like the Nole :lol:
That said, I'm with you all the way on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and possibly even liked it more than you. In full agreement about Pryce being a joy to watch and an arguable career best turn. I'm very big on Gilliam and this didn't disappoint, all the more so because I went into it with zero idea of all the modern day stuff, having read up little before it. It was wonderful to see everything so spontaneously pan out.
Glad to hear that; seems to me the film fell off the radar pretty quickly given the drama in it's making and releasing over all these years. I have the feeling I will like it more a second time - both Munchausen and 12 Monkeys rather underwhelmed me on first viewing but have become solid favorites; his films always take a bit of time to digest and think about (well, maybe not Brothers Grimm).

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#32

Post by OldAle1 » February 18th, 2020, 5:43 pm

viktor-vaudevillain wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 2:24 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 7:18 pm

viktor

A Quiet Passion is one of my favorite films of the last decade; memories of Macao and Gabbeh are dim but positive; Sirk is a God
I surely understand your love for A Quiet Passion.
Both Macao and Gabbeh are worth revisiting. Gabbeh took me storm, not very “Iranian", what that even means (at least it's very different from all other Iranian films I've seen, except Makhmalbaf's own The Silence). Makhmalbaf is turning out to become one of my favorites.
Sirk sure is a God (l)

yours:

Asako I & II - didn't care much for this. A rather vague film in my opinion.
Agree on The Farewell.
When Harry Met Sally - cute
Really looking forward to A Land Imagined, Bacurau and A Bread Factory my self! Thank you for the write-up on Bread Factory, I've also only read Rosenbaum on it.
I really hope more people get to A Bread Factory - it's got less than 30 checks (per part) on icm so far. I know it can be found online; I trusted JR enough in this case to just buy the Blu-Ray which also contains an hour-long interview that he does with Patrick Wang and a couple of other extras. But none of Wang's films are official checks and none of them have had real commercial releases anywhere (he self-distributes I think) so I can't imagine many people will be looking for them regardless of what JR (who I don't think is that popular a critic around here actually) or I say. Maybe this one has a small shot at hitting the TSP 21st Century list - the few critics who have seen it all seem to like it; but I doubt it.

Well, most of us have enormous lists of things to see so I sure can't blame anybody. It really is something very different though and that's probably the best praise I can give to all the jaded folks around here. :)

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#33

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » February 19th, 2020, 5:17 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 5:43 pm
viktor-vaudevillain wrote:
February 18th, 2020, 2:24 pm
OldAle1 wrote:
February 17th, 2020, 7:18 pm

viktor

A Quiet Passion is one of my favorite films of the last decade; memories of Macao and Gabbeh are dim but positive; Sirk is a God
I surely understand your love for A Quiet Passion.
Both Macao and Gabbeh are worth revisiting. Gabbeh took me storm, not very “Iranian", what that even means (at least it's very different from all other Iranian films I've seen, except Makhmalbaf's own The Silence). Makhmalbaf is turning out to become one of my favorites.
Sirk sure is a God (l)

yours:

Asako I & II - didn't care much for this. A rather vague film in my opinion.
Agree on The Farewell.
When Harry Met Sally - cute
Really looking forward to A Land Imagined, Bacurau and A Bread Factory my self! Thank you for the write-up on Bread Factory, I've also only read Rosenbaum on it.
I really hope more people get to A Bread Factory - it's got less than 30 checks (per part) on icm so far. I know it can be found online; I trusted JR enough in this case to just buy the Blu-Ray which also contains an hour-long interview that he does with Patrick Wang and a couple of other extras. But none of Wang's films are official checks and none of them have had real commercial releases anywhere (he self-distributes I think) so I can't imagine many people will be looking for them regardless of what JR (who I don't think is that popular a critic around here actually) or I say. Maybe this one has a small shot at hitting the TSP 21st Century list - the few critics who have seen it all seem to like it; but I doubt it.

Well, most of us have enormous lists of things to see so I sure can't blame anybody. It really is something very different though and that's probably the best praise I can give to all the jaded folks around here. :)
On Letterboxd - which is the film site I use most time on - it has collected some heat from notable contributors there. Also, 800 'watched' on part one.
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#34

Post by OldAle1 » February 19th, 2020, 5:23 pm

viktor-vaudevillain wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 5:17 pm


On Letterboxd - which is the film site I use most time on - it has collected some heat from notable contributors there. Also, 800 'watched' on part one.
I see one review right away from somebody who is also a regular here - not somebody I have all that much in common with, taste-wise, and also somebody who - like nearly everybody - is vastly more critical/negative than I am. I like the review from "criterions" though who also gets the Christopher Guest feeling from it. Eh, what can I say. At any rate give it's length and relative obscurity I really doubt very many people here will bother with it unless it manages to gain official status, which I would guess is an extremely remote possibility in the near term.

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#35

Post by medium cool » February 27th, 2020, 11:49 pm

sol wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 12:00 pm
there is something amiss when the chief villain is so much more interesting than our hero
The hero is Steven Seagal, a one man #metoo campaign. Weekend With Bernie-Bernie would steal the show from that vain pile of ego. That is counter to my argument that Under Siege is as decent, if not more so, than Cliffhanger. Both are guilty enough to barely qualify as pleasures. Difference is that Cliffhanger did its job in 1993, where it should forever remain a footnote (try rewatching it and I promise your attention will reach outer space before the TV turn to automatic standby). Under Siege is worth revisiting every now and then, entirely due to the team assembled to provide Seagal with piles of unrighteous credibility. They went on to The Fugitive. He went on to stroke his ego into premature oblivion (I know he's not dead, but tell that to his screen presense*). The build-up/setting thing is entirely, umm, subjective (that's the word we agreed on for comparisons like this, right?), and I consider Under Siege by far superior on those terms. Fine, Cliffhanger did the stunt work right. Let's call it even. "Even" meaning you're wrong and I'm right. Deal? :shifty:
PS: Under Siege is the first film rated 15** I snuck into at the cinema*** and Cliffhanger was the second. Not sure how you managed to pull that piece of trivia into one week of viewing.

As for Coffy, whomever saw Carter's (of Get Carter) brother? If anybody perform vile acts on a close relative, the film should present proof to counter the obvious response, or you accept the protagonist behaving in standard movie-responsive manners. Yeah, you kind of said that. I can't speak to the rest of your comments.

Marvin's Room: fell asleep twice trying to watch this. Next time I'll try in the morning.

Hollow Man: Agreed. I'll throw half a star on that score. This could be discussed further if we could freeze time.

The Equalizer: Fuck you. If Under Siege is one and this is two, you have a fetish for formality. Sorry. I've seen both of these films (have I? they are so interchangeable, I can't tell), and still can't remember any one detail better that the curly moustache of a burly henchman. That is not a mark of quality. I can still remember the intonation when Tommy Lee Jones yells "Porky Pig. The little red fucker with a moustache.". That is the definition of quality. If not art, close enough to be nowhere close (my sweet spot).


Ok, I've got one. What's your favourite Die Hard rip-off? Off the top of my head; Speed is fine. The Samwise vs. Bruce Campbell one sucked. The college-Samwise vs Andrew Divoff one is close, nostalgically (Toy Soldiers!). No Contest. Well, no contest (compound). The brother-of-Michael Wincott one is out. The White House ones only deserve mention with profound lack of respect. Etc. You go!****



* Don't mind his lack of talent. Combining it with pure-bred rapist chauvinist tendencies kind of got me on his wrong side. Even if he slaps well, in one single film (Out for Justice). What I'm saying is; I will not aid to preserve his art.
** ?>11>15>18. That's how it works here. Rating-wise and age-wise.
*** Under Siege 2 was my first rated 18 film. Not on purpose.
**** And don't say Hard Boiled!

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#36

Post by sol » February 28th, 2020, 1:50 pm

medium cool wrote:
February 27th, 2020, 11:49 pm
Ok, I've got one. What's your favourite Die Hard rip-off?
Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Oh yes. Don't shoot the messenger; according to this peer reviewed journal entry, the Gremlins sequel qualifies.

I don't know how much I believe in the idea of direct Die Hard rip-offs though; there is a lot more to Speed than Die Hard on a bus; same goes Die Hard in a Phone Booth - yes, that film is on the list too. I mean, it is an interesting trivia point if this was indeed the way that those films were pitched, but if we go with the most famous pitch of all time, "Jaws in Space", I actually prefer the Ridley Scott film in that case. An actual Jaws in Space might have been pretty cool though (a la the Leprechaun 4 nonsense) and certainly a lot more interesting than the actual fourth entry - which is mostly notable as the film that Michael Caine declined accepting an Oscar in person for since he was so dedicated to the vision of it.

And The Equalizer at least had a little bit of Denzel using his wits and mathematical calculations to outdo the baddies. Under Siege was just Seagal falling out of ceiling shafts. Maybe. My memories of the Seagal film are thankfully already fading. No doubt the film had some added value for you though if you felt as scared of being caught as a sneak-in as you were scared of Tommy Lee Jones actually getting his way.
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#37

Post by medium cool » February 28th, 2020, 2:14 pm

sol wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 1:50 pm
Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Oh yes. Don't shoot the messenger; according to this peer reviewed journal entry, the Gremlins sequel qualifies.

I don't know how much I believe in the idea of direct Die Hard rip-offs though; there is a lot more to Speed than Die Hard on a bus; same goes Die Hard in a Phone Booth

Hah. If the messenger doesn't want to get shot he should read the letters before delivering them. Okay, it's a fancy building. It's under siege. The main baddie has an accent. If we're swinging that far, I guess we have no choice but to plead no contest on Gremlins 2. Phone Booth is an inspired choice. Guess that makes Die Hard one of the best Dog Day Afternoon rip-offs out there.
I think the morale of any Seagal film is that he doesn't have to make an effort to be superior. It's the Chuck Norris joke principle. The main concern is usually keeping frowny ponytail man away from the villains long enough for the film to finish. The Equalizer had the great misfortune of being a mediocre genre film in the age of game-changing. The action pales in comparison to all those B-films starring Scott Adkins or Van Damme or... Keanu ( :blink: ), and his scheming follow a very annoying strawman recipe (see: Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes). It's harmless journeyman fare, for sure. Just not edgy enough to work as mindless entertainment. That said, I'm not a big fan of Fuqua whatever he tries to do (Training Day and The Replacement Killers aside).

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#38

Post by sol » February 28th, 2020, 3:37 pm

medium cool wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 2:14 pm
The Equalizer had the great misfortune of being a mediocre genre film in the age of game-changing. The action pales in comparison to all those B-films starring Scott Adkins or Van Damme or... Keanu
You know, I thought of the John Wick films quite a bit too while watching The Equalizer. Obviously, the Denzel film lacks of the wonderful neon-induced visuals of the Wick universe, but eh, when it is Denzel versus Seagal, I know where I stand. :folded: Actually, I'd like to watch Denzel verse Seagal. :)

Oh, by the way, I have worked out why Under Siege feels like such a distant memory; you aren't on the latest weekly thread - that can be found here - you necromancy spammer, you (hey, your term, not mine, stop trying to shoot me this week). :P
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#39

Post by medium cool » February 29th, 2020, 12:39 am

sol wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 3:37 pm
you aren't on the latest weekly thread... you necromancy spammer
Goddammit, we just covered this! You're the one who provided the link here. This is a trap. You've foiled me for the last time, downunder. Where are you trying to send me with this new link? 1955?

As for the Seagal<>Denzel conundrum, it's more a question of the films surrounding them. I propose that Under Siege is the better film with the worse actor, and The Equalizer is a poor film with a mismatched better actor. Also, nostalgia. Also, Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones vs... who is on bad guy duty in The Equalizer again?
I did notice that you recently watched Roman Lawyerman, Esq :letbxd: Based on that, I will allow your momentary star-struck...edness. Denzel is so good there that it could easily tint crappier films in heavenly light. Yes, that's meant to put words in your mouth. I'm currently in that position, you see. I revisited Glory, and all of a sudden took a liking to The Bone Collector for no reason whatsoever. Fickle thing this subjectivity we keep blaming. No, you're entirely entitled to unapologetic adoration of the piece of shit The Equalizer :shifty:

Hey, isn't it fun discussing films with me again? It's like there's a middle ground somewhere, and I can't help plowing it up while salting the earth.
Okay, there are technical positives about The Equalizer. It's just that it didn't make it watchable to me. Too dumb for noir, too dour for action. Under Siege is dumb enough for action, and joyful enough to appreciate its tongue-in-cheek build-up over Seagal's lazy slap-jitsu scenes. Okay, I know this thread of reasoning makes me sound like an arrogant prick*. I'll work to better myself and be more constructive in my criticism, but for now: The Equalizer can Ar-go fuck itself** :hmph:
I'd like to watch Denzel verse Seagal.
#metoo. Shortest conversation ever.


* you're still talking to me after all these years, so apparently you get my feeble attempts at harmless insults. If you ever take them as actual rudeness, make it know so I can tell you to go Ar-go... chill. remember, it's only a movie. only a movie. only a very mediocre movie :whistling:
** taking no pleasure in the act!

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