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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 9, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 9, 2020

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Post by sol » March 1st, 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

Hell and High Water (1954). Not to be confused with the similarly titled Jeff Bridges film, this Samuel Fuller thriller involves a naval officer and two scientists on a submarine mission to destroy a nuclear base. It is hard not to enter the film expecting something along the lines of Fuller's war movies (The Steel Helmet; Fixed Bayonets!), which were less about fighting and more about their characters postulating about life. Hell and High Water has none of this though with around half the dialogue spent on the officer tiresomely discussing how one scientist is a pretty woman who somehow got "mixed up science" as he puts it. She is stuck with some creepy romantic advances too. If flawed, the film certainly has a decent share suspenseful moments, with a particularly intense bit in which the crew are low on oxygen and at risk of being torpedoed. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

The Time Machine (1960). Convincing his friends that he has traveled into the future proves challenging for a Victorian Era inventor in this lavish adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells novel. The film benefits from some excellent time lapse special effects, the steampunk style time machine itself is pretty neat and there is a lot of fascinating discussion and debate about the fourth dimension and time travel theories. The protagonist's earlier time travels (in which he remains inside the machine) are, however, far more interesting than his later adventures as he leaves the machine and encounters an over-the-top 1950s paranoia-induced nuclear apocalypse, a flimsy romantic interest and oppressive monsters. The future of humanity presented is certainly intriguing though with some sharp satire in terms of where we could indeed head as a species in the future. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Lilies of the Field (1963). Travelling through the desert, a handyman encounters a group of nuns who convince him to build a chapel in this movie best known nowadays for Sidney Poitier's Academy Award winning performance. If hardly a career-best turn, Poitier is expectedly solid here, but there is little else worth writing home about. The plot is incredibly simple and the nuns come off as exploitative rather than virtuous with the way they keep inducing Poitier to stay on and work for them free of charge. The nuns are a very interchangeable bunch too outside of the stubborn Mother Superior who believes that Poitier should not be paid since he has been sent to them as a miracle (!). Poitier's interactions with the nuns are at least engaging, especially teaching them English, and Poitier balances well his pleasure from this and frustration at being exploited. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Viva la Muerte (1971). Or Long Live Death, this coming-of-age tale from Tunisia plays out as a blend of fantasy and reality as an adolescent boy tries to carry on a normal life after his father is arrested by the Fascists in charge of the country - and presumably executed. The film grows a little repetitive as it progresses and some of the violent imagery feels inserted for shock value as opposed to being germane to the tale. It is pretty easy though to appreciate the living, breathing nightmare effect that writer-director Fernando Arrabal was evidently going for, and the scattered intense blue, red, green, purple and orange filters on hand are very effective in making everything seem perfectly otherworldly for the youngster reassessing his place in the world with his father gone. The film is also intriguingly critical of the church and religion. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Cleopatra Jones (1973). It sounds a lot like Coffy as this fellow 1973 action film concerns an African American woman taking on local drug suppliers, but with the protagonist being a government agent here (not a vigilante), the dynamics are different. There is also more focus here on high octane action as opposed to grisly victim dispatches, with a five minute car chase through some inner city drains and a junkyard climax standing out in particular. While she brings a lot of spunk to the title role, Tamara Dobson nevertheless pales against Pam Grier since her character is so well-trained and indestructible that she never seems in real danger. It is also hard to know what to make of Shelley Winters as the chief villainess in what is either a deliberately over-the-top or simply an unrestrained performance, but this is fairly gripping while it lasts. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Ceddo (1977). Set in 17th century Senegal, this film tackles a fascinating subject as the story involves Christian and Islamic visitors to the region, with both factions trying to convert the locals, benignly at first, but eventually by force. The narrative is, however, less encapsulating than the topic with the entire first quarter of the movie spent on the factions yelling back and forth at each other in an outdoor public court. There are some neat bits and pieces once the film warms up (drumbeats over a communion service; gospel music over an arson incident) that highlight how strong the culture clash is, but the only character who the movie properly develops soon disappears and only reappears near the end; it is also a bit hard to become emotionally invested amidst all of the screaming and shouting. The tug-of-war between religions is certainly interesting though. (first viewing, online) ★★

Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Rivalry develops between a stuntman driving a decoy vehicle and an uptight sheriff pursuing him in this action comedy. Burt Reynolds is charming as the protagonist, Jackie Gleason is perfectly boisterous as the antagonist, and the film could have done with more of them egging each other on via CB radio. Sally Field also brings much spunk to what in many ways is a typical female love interest. Great as the chemistry is between the characters though, it is the stunts that really sell the film, and the frenetic pace that it gradually builds after a slow start. Not all of the comedy necessarily works (Mike Henry as a dimwitted son; Gleason's prejudices; Reynolds objectifying Field), but for the most part this is a highly entertaining look at a clash between one man who just loves being alive and another too arrogant to stop and enjoy life. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

The Last Dragon (1985). Obsessed with Bruce Lee, a kung fu fanatic takes inspiration from the action star while defending a singer from a music mogul who wants to kidnap her in this energetic comedy. The plot is even messier than that, with the mogul believing that kidnapping her would encourage her to promote his girlfriend's song, plus there is a local street-tough who insists on being called "Shogun" and hates the protagonist since all the kids believe that he is better at kung fu. The film soars above its narrative weaknesses though by being an affectionate tribute to the legacy and impact of Bruce Lee; at its best, a cinema screening of Enter the Dragon breaks out into a series of fights with all the action gloriously mirroring the fighting on screen. There is ample zaniness throughout too, from a piranha household pet to nifty "glow" special effects. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Boyz n the Hood (1991). Growing up in a neighbourhood riddled with crime and black-on-black violence, a group of teenagers try to make better lives for themselves in this emotionally charged drama from John Singleton. There are several memorable moments and the teens interact very authentically with one another, yet the first half-hour of the film that focuses on them as a primary school aged kids is preferable with some a neat subversion of Stand by Me and lots of interest in how the children react to the intimidating older kids around them. Whatever the case, Laurence Fishburne is excellent throughout as the protagonist's young father, dedicated to ensuring that his son does not make the same mistakes as him and angry about how the system is stacked against and ignores African Americans - which is arguably Singleton's key point here. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994). Searching for missing drug money, a private detective and his sassy female assistant get in over their heads in this action comedy written, directed by and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans. The film has some very decent action set pieces (particularly an indoor bungee jump) and the Shaft style theme song helps Wayans to create a bit of a blaxploitation vibe here. As a comedy though, the project leaves a lot to be desired. Jada Pinkett is more abrasive than she ever is funny as the sassy sidechick and there is a lot of anti-Mexican and homophobic humour in the mix, most of which is pretty unfunny. The film concludes on a fairly high note, but that is mostly on account of all the ins and outs of the plot finally starting to make sense, and some really cool (if over-the-top) stunts and explosions on display near the end. (first viewing, DVD) ★

The Cider House Rules (1999). Never adopted and having never left his orphanage, a teenager's plans to make it on his own as an apple picker for a cider company are complicated by the desires of the orphanage doctor who sees him as a surrogate son in this sentimental drama. The film addresses some moral quagmires with the physician set on forging documents to hire the teen as a doctor because he wants him to keep performing illegal abortions at the orphanage. Ethics and morality is rarely at the forefront though with the film instead indulging in flimsy romances, surrogate father/son melodrama and the teen exploring the world for the first time (without really exploring much at all). The film's blatant pro-abortion stance also feels uncomfortable for a film about kids who wouldn't be alive and able to enjoy the world had their parents aborted them. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Tsotsi (2005). Shocked to find a baby in the back of his stolen car, a ruthless young gangster instinctively takes the infant home, only to quickly realise that there is no way of returning it without turning himself in. Presley Chweneyagae is excellent as the conflicted thug in question who finds himself wanting to care for the child and give it a better upbringing than he had, and yet unable to do so without drawing attention to the fact that he has someone else's kid. Writer-director Gavin Hood gloriously succeeds in making his initially despicable and dislikeable protagonist into a sympathetic and three-dimensional human being by the end credits. Certain plot elements feel very convenient (the baby never crying when smuggled in public; the young mother so willing to help) and the film gets too sentimental towards the end, but it also packs a real punch. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★★

Marshall (2017). Prohibited from talking in court, a determined African American lawyer has to coach a milquetoast Caucasian associate in a case of the black chauffeur accused of rape in this courtroom drama. Chadwick Boseman has some decent moments as the title character with a lot of anger bubbling just beneath his polite exterior, yet the film is not so much about him, or his client, but rather Josh Gad as his associate who slowly learns to be a better lawyer over the course of the movie. Gad does admittedly have some interesting things to contend with as his reputation goes on the line with the case, and as he becomes shunned by his own community, but it is a weird focus for a film that is ostensibly about racial rights and combating bigotry. The film does get a bit better towards the end though as Gad becomes more competent and confident. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

See You Yesterday (2019). Two teenagers master time travel but have trouble controlling their urges to alter past events in this okay take on the topic. The film begins well with a fun Michael J. Fox cameo and some kooky garage spare parts style technology. Eden Duncan-Smith is quite abrasive though as the female time traveler who recklessly decides to change the past only minutes after discussing the importance of not doing that. Co-star Dante Crichlow fares a bit better but is a bit too meek and mild to make a mark. The film almost explores some intriguing territory as Duncan-Smith and Crichlow have to avoid running into their past selves, but this is not milked for all that it is worth as the movie soon veers down a Black Lives Matter path that distracts from the pseudoscience at hand. The film concludes abruptly too and feels rather unfinished. (first viewing, online) ★

Hustlers (2019). Four former strippers launch a hustling racket that soon spirals out of control in this crime drama inspired by actual events. The film initially comes with quite a bit of pizzazz as a female empowerment tale as the women decide to "start thinking like those Wall Street guys" with some clever fleecing and deception. The protagonists far too quickly cross the point though at which their crimes are more heinous than their clients', leading to none of them being particularly sympathetic. Structurally, the film seems to pull in two directions too, partially trying to be a Social Network style look at a great friendship eroded by a rocky business partnership, but also partially a Wolf of Wall Street style look at the dangers of greed and excess. The film is definitely well acted though and there is certainly nary a boring moment to be had. (first viewing, online) ★★

OtherShow
With These Hands (1950). Leaving work for the last time, a retiring garment factory employee looks down at his hands and recalls the pivotal role he had in establishing a union after a devastating fire in this docudrama produced by the union in question. Directed by the reliable Jack Arnold long before his rise to fame, the film has some great shots throughout, from a close-up of a fist punching a hand over a demands announcement, to a montage of worker faces over Communist flags. As a narrative though, the film is tepid at best with an irritating framing device. The whole thing is incredibly sentimental and the choice flashbacks as he remembers his union days feel odd, such a part where it suddenly cuts to him narrating "we won union recognition" without actually showing the struggle and achievement. The acting is downright melodramatic too. (first viewing, online) ★

The Boy Kumasenu (1952). Notable as Ghana's first feature film (from the period when it was still called Gold Coast), this tale about a teenager from a small village who travels to the city with big dreams is very well acted by its native cast. The story is pretty familiar, with the city not being all that he had hoped for and so on, but it is decently paced and seldom boring, clocking at a swift one hour in length. The project is almost completely sunk though by some terrible children's storybook style narration with the narrator overemphasising choice words and putting on character voices - all of which stops the native cast members from having a voice in their own story. This creates a distancing effect too as it becomes hard to digest the film from any other perspective other than of an outsider, but it is rather nice seeing all around the coastal African nation. (first viewing, online) ★

Till We Meet Again (1955). Romance blossoms between a sculpin researcher and a woman married to a mountaineer who loves climbing more than his wife in this Japanese melodrama. From the occasional overacting to the overly complex plot in which everybody seems to be having an affair with someone else, this feels like a soap opera episode more than anything else, and not a particularly compelling one. There is the occasional bit of suspense (has the mountaineer died during his latest climb?) but none of the characters have especially challenging decisions to make; it is always clear that the mountaineer would choose money over his wife, that the sculpin guy would not want to break up a marriage and so on. The film actually begins well with a noirish walk down a dark corridor and daunting high and low camera angle shots, but such artistry soon dries up. (first viewing, online) ★

Antarctic Crossing (1959). Nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in its day, this film captures an expedition across Antarctica in the late 1950s. The snowy exteriors of the polar region are arresting to look at and the film provides a brief history of previous expeditions and why they succeeded or failed, with archive footage from a 1911 expedition used well. While the project is quick to point out the irony of humankind having ventured into space while our own planet has uncharted areas, the film never quite elucidates the importance of the potentially deadly expedition beyond basic questions about what lies beneath the ice and what the weather there is like. We also seldom see the explorers in any depth and/or their enthusiasm for the mission. Still, this is a relatively interesting look at human perseverance in a region where "everything is against you". (first viewing, online) ★★

The Race for Space (1959). Opening with footage of the Sputnik launch, this brief documentary looks at America's place in the international space race. If clearly designed as a call to arms for aspiring scientists, the film has some curious bits as it looks at the achievements of Germany and the USSR - in particular, an outlandish (but possible) claim that sets from Fritz Lang's Frau im Mond inspired the design of German rockets during the early 1940s. In fact, the host of the documentary goes further to suggest that props and leftover sets from Lang film were used in actual rockets, before speculating towards the end that the low budget Soviet sci-fi films of the 1950s are what the US should be looking towards with rocket design (!). If questionable here and there, this is a pretty interesting ride - and the breadth of archive footage on hand is stunning. (first viewing, online) ★★

Duvidha (1973). Assuming the identity of a newlywed man who has traveled far for work, a lonely ghost visits the man's home and impersonates him in this intriguing though not entirely satisfying Indian drama. The film is very deliberately framed and shot, with characters often only seen on edges. There are also lots of elongated silences and even some freeze frames as the film attempts a meditative tone. The overly descriptive voice-over narration tends to destroy the mood though and with limited scenes dedicated to the ghost and wife interacting together, the emotions are pretty muted. The premise is certainly interesting, hearkening to the likes of Hollow Triumph and comparable to later films like Dave and perhaps even Despair, but what benefit the story has from the protagonist being a shape-shifting ghost rather than a lookalike is debatable. (first viewing, online) ★

The Killing Ground (1979). Contamination from chemical dumping is the subject of this Oscar nominated documentary that tours several US states, occasionally interviewing those affected. Most potent is an interview with the parents of a child whose birth defects have been attributed to the chemical contamination, but there is also a potent walk through several acres of land while its owner explains how he unsuccessfully took the chemical dumping companies to court. While the sometimes monotone voiceover that accompanies these vignettes does not always feel right, these tiny snapshots are where the strength of the project lies. Less interesting are the repetitive shots of angry citizens and concerned parents shouting during community meetings and information sessions, though these bits certainly highlight the anger of those affected and yet ignored. (first viewing, online) ★★

Legacy (2000). Her brother killed in his youth, an African American teenager narrates the difficulties that she, her single mother and grandmother experienced as they tried move on in this Oscar nominated documentary. If occasionally cloying, the movie has a nice Thomas Newman style music score and some of the intimate moments captured here hard to shake. The agenda of the project feels all over the place though as it randomly switches between the three women, while the teenager on/off narrates. The film is partially about the difficult they have supporting themselves when they expected the brother/son to be the breadwinner, but their plight is not always sympathetic (the mother is late and of course loses her job) and the film teeters between if it is about surviving grief or poverty. The film works okay most of the time, but comes off as unfocused. (first viewing, online) ★★

So Pretty (2019). Titled after a novel by German author Ronald M. Schernikau and inspired by it, this indie drama might make more sense if one has read the source material. The film has a bit of a meta vibe with the characters reading out apparent excerpts from the novel as narration while certain events unfold, but the actual plot is harder to sum up. It is basically a few days in the lives of a small group of LGBTIQ friends, some of whom might identify as trans, others of whom might simply identify as gay. The film does well capturing the warm and inviting home environment they have, which is well contrasted against the outside world where they occasionally venture to protest with signs. There are also some simply exquisite shots (purple sunsets; blue neon interiors) and lots of luscious slow pans, but working out what it all means is another question. (first viewing, online) ★
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » March 1st, 2020, 12:07 pm

Leslie Nielsen's Bad Golf Made Easier (Rick Friedberg, 1993) 7+/10

(Leslie Nielsen's) Bad Golf My Way (Rick Friedberg, 1994) 5-/10

Leslie Nielsen's Stupid Little Golf Video (Peter Hayman, 1997) 5/10

Rewind This! (Josh Johnson, 2013) 5+/10

海獣の子供/Children of the Sea (渡辺歩/Ayumu Watanabe, 2019) 9-/10
screeniesShow
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"The sea is divided into water masses."
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"By sliding on these masses, you can swim easily."
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Drift (Helena Wittmann, 2017) 6+/10

Loin du Vietnam / Far from Vietnam (Joris Ivens & William Klein & Claude Lelouch & Agnès Varda & Jean-Luc Godard & Chris Marker & Alain Resnais, 1967) 8/10

Orinoko, nuevo mundo / Orinoko, New World (Diego Rísquez, 1984) 6+/10

Nieuwe gronden / New Earth (Joris Ivens, 1933) 5/10

Insan / Human Being (Ibrahim Shaddad, 1994) 7/10

Oca / Dad (Vlado Skafar, 2010) 7/10

Few of Us (Šarūnas Bartas/Sharunas Bartas, 1996) 6/10
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L'ordre / Order (Malo Aguettant & Maurice Born & Jean-Daniel Pollet, 1973) 6/10

Science Crazed (Ron Switzer, 1991) 5/10

Ni juge, ni soumise / So Help Me God (Yves Hinant et Jean Libon, 2017) 6/10

Schaste moe / My Joy (Sergey Loznitsa, 2010) 6/10

The Silent Partner (Daryl Duke, 1978) 7-/10

Beduino (Júlio Bressane, 2016) 7/10
screeniesShow
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to be concludedShow
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shorts

Pelourinho: They Don't Really Care About Us (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 2019) 2/10

Bleu (Marc Hurtado, 1994) (roughly 3 viewings) 8/10

Obreras saliendo de la fábrica / Women Workers Leaving the Factory (José Luis Torres Leiva , 2005) 2/10

Sanctus (Barbara Hammer, 1990) 5/10
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Annabelle Serpentine Dance (William K.L. Dickson & William Heise, 1885) (3 viewings) 6/10

The Secret Garden (Phil Solomon/Philip S. Solomon, 1988) (2 viewings) 8-/10

The Dante Quartet (Stan Brakhage, 1987) (2nd viewing) 6/10


music videos

Lindemann: Till the End (Zoran Bihac, 2020) (2 viewings) 7/10

Michael Jackson: They Don't Care About Us (Spike Lee, 1996) (umpteenth viewing) 5+/10


series

Curb Your Enthusiasm - S10E06 - "The Surprise Party" (2020) 6/10


didn't finish

Zhit / To Live! (Yuriy Bykov, 2010) [20 min]
Karami-ai / The Inheritance (Masaki Kobayashi, 1962) [16 min]
Hamlet (Svend Gade, Heinz Schall, 1921) [12 min]


notable online media

top:
-
rest:
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine / Cover by Yoyoka, 10 year old
How Crash Bandicoot Hacked The Original Playstation | War Stories | Ars Technica
Off Camera Secrets | Crash Bandicoot - Boundary Break
How to Live in a More Lighthearted Way
THE MATERIALISTIC WORLD: An Ordinary Life Is No Longer Good Enough | Alain de Botton On London Real
The Smashing Pumpkins - Eye - 10/18/1997 - Shoreline Amphitheatre (Official)
The Smashing Pumpkins w Marilyn Manson- Ava Adore - London Koko 5th December 2014
Marilyn Manson In Marilyn Poppins
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LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.

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Coryn
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#3

Post by Coryn » March 1st, 2020, 12:31 pm

The Rider (2017) 6/10
Probably liked this movie less than most even though I often like slower movies with nothing much going on. This one really lost my attention halfway through and it never seemed to recover.

Leave No Trace (2018) 7/10
Interesting movie on nature but even more importantly on the relationship of a father and his daughter. They could've done more with the concept but overall a good movie.

Proof (1991) 6,5/10
Interesting story, good acting, nothing that will stay with me for long though.

Bitter Moon (1992) 7,5/10
This was a lot better than I expected. I had never even heard of this movie, the acting is amazing even though I'm usually not a sucker for Hugh Grant.

The Last Temptation of The Christ (1988)
I honestly can't put a number on it or even express what I think about this movie. I should rewatch it to understand it better but on the other hand I don't think I enjoyed it enough to warrant a rewatch.

Peppermint Candy (1999) 7/10
Great Korean drama, a movie a lot on here would like I think. A guy commits suicide and we see in flashbacks how he got to this point.
I saved Latin, what did you ever do ?

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Onderhond
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#4

Post by Onderhond » March 1st, 2020, 12:47 pm

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Had a pretty shitty week, three days without electricity seriously messed up my movie plans this week, though I still managed to sneak in some very good films. Also some big stinkers at the bottom though, with another disappointing Scorsese and one of the absolute worst films I've seen in a while (Field of Dreams). 9 official checks is mental.


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01. 4.5* - Chiwawa [Chiwawa-san] by Ken Ninomiya (2019)
Ken Ninomiya's second future is a blistering confirmation of the man's enormous talent. Vibrant, dynamic, colorful and in your face, but never without heart. Ninomiya's films are truly one of a kind. Clearly one of the rising talents of Japanese cinema and I'm glad that Chiwawa wasn't the disappointment if so easily could've been.


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02. 4.0* - Samaritan Girl [Samaria] by Kim Ki-duk (2004)
Vintage Ki-duk. That means a mature and warm drama with some raw and dark edges and a healthy dose of non-verbal communication. The acting is superb, the plot is intriguing and the soundtrack on point. Not Ki-duk's most visually impressive film, but apart from that an amazing film that is equal amounts of warm drama and punch in the gut.

03. 3.5* - The Net [Geumul] by Kim Ki-duk (2016)
Ki-duk takes on both Koreas. And of course he doesn't pull any punches, but that's par for the course. There's slightly less attention for the characters, instead Ki-duk has a point to drive home, which at times stands in the way of the drama. But he's a skilled director and there's plenty to like here, though it doesn't quite compare with his best work.

04. 3.5* - Hamon: Yakuza Boogie [Hamon: Futari no Yakubyô-gami] by Shôtarô Kobayashi (2017)
Amusing Yakuza romp. A couple of low-ranking gangsters get caught up in a major scam that runs all the way to the top of the family. The direction is solid, actors do a decent job and while not overtly funny, it's clear that the films shouldn't be taken too seriously. Nothing too unique or special, but it's more than adequate filler.

05. 3.5* - Queen of Spades: The Dark Rite [Pikovaya Dama. Chyornyy Obryad] by Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy (2015)
Solid horror flick, that isn't afraid to borrow from more famous franchises (Candyman in particular), but adds its own flavor to makes sure it isn't just a poor carbon copy. Solid atmosphere, decent actors and a few nice scares make this a nice addition to the Russian horror niche. Not the most original film, but good fun.

06. 3.0* - Jossy's [Joshîzu] by Yuichi Fukuda (2014)
Silly and simple parody. If you're familiar with the Power Rangers-like franchises, you'll have no trouble following the jokes and puns here. Not everything is funny, but there are definitely more hits than misses and Fukuda is a capable director, especially for this kind of comedy. Not a great film, but pretty fun filler nonetheless.

07. 3.0* - Higher Power by Matthew Charles Santoro
It's not that I mind that batshit crazy plot, on the contrary. But the serious, straight-faced approach really doesn't do the film any good. There's a lot to like here, some cool ideas you won't see anywhere else, it's just a shame that the film doesn't fully commit to them. One of the most interesting disasters I've ever witnessed.

08. 3.0* - Adventurous Treasure Island [Huang Jin Dao Li Xian Ji] by Sau Hin Ha, Herman Yau (1996)
Madcap Hong Kong comedy. It's hardly coherent and flashes by in record speed, but that's actually a selling point for this kind of film. The acting is pretty poor and the film feels rushed, but there's so much craziness here that it hardly matters. Recommended for seasoned HK comedy fans only, but a neat little discovery if you're part of that niche.

09. 2.5* - Something Borrowed by Luke Greenfield (2011)
Solid romcom that doesn't stray too far from the beaten path, but isn't exactly the worst in the genre either. The plot is predictable, the ending a dead giveaway and the mix of romance and drama is completely by the book, but solid casting choices and an overall chipper atmosphere make this a decent watch.

10. 2.5* - Tom, Dick and Hairy [Feng Chen San Xia] by Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Chi-Ngai Lee (1993)
Not quite as good as the cast & crew may suggest. With 2 Tony Leungs in front of the camera and Peter Chan helming the film, my expectations were just a little higher, but in the end this is a decent romantic comedy with some proper laughs and passable drama. It's clearly filler material, but it's really not that bad.

11. 2.0* - The Villains [Tu Fei] by Yuen Chor (1973)
Not one of Chor's better films. It's a pretty straightforward martial arts flick, with some romantic squabbles in between. The action feels a little muddled and the romance is overdone. Luckily it's a short film and the pacing makes sure it never lags. Not an entire waste of one's time, but hardly a priority for Shaw Bros fans.

12. 1.5* - American Pie 2 by J.B. Rogers (2001)
Very straightforward sequel to the first film. The same drab jokes, the same annoying characters and the same lazy direction. The fact that everybody is on summer vacation now makes no difference at all. It's an easy digestible comedy, so there's that, but even then the film is way too long. A lazy continuation of the series.

13. 1.5* - Fascinating Affairs [Hua Xin Hong Xing] by Alfred Cheung, Yuen Chor, Jing Wong (1985)
Regardless of all the big names involved, Fascinating Affairs is a pretty rushed and flat hotchpotch of genres that never really finds its footing. Loud, poorly acted, lazily directed and often aimless, it's a film that seemed confident that star power would be enough to attract people. Poor filler, only for true completists.

14. 1.5* - A Year of the Quiet Sun [Rok Spokojnego Slonca] by Krzysztof Zanussi (1984)
A rather stale and dry romantic drama that fails to conjure up the necessary emotion. The film feels a bit drab, performances are mediocre, the soundtrack has no impact and the drama is incredibly predictable. What remains is basic quality film making, that fails on every other level. A pretty disappointing film.

15. 1.0* - Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese (2019)
Scorsese's second Bob Dylan-based documentary. Only interesting for fans of Dylan and/or of bygone eras. Scorsese hardly cuts in the performances and the talking heads don't have much interesting to add. The fact that are some hidden faux documentary bits doesn't improve things at all. A terrible doc.

16. 1.0* - Field of Dreams by Phil Alden Robinson (1989)
Incredibly cheap and excruciatingly cheesy. While not an explicitly religious film, it does feel like one, with people looking for redemption and chasing their (literal) callings. The acting is poor, the story is sentimental and the whole baseball theme feels tacked on. A terribly sentimental piece of rubbish.

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#5

Post by joachimt » March 1st, 2020, 1:31 pm

Ayer Maravilla Fui AKA Yesterday Wonder I Was (2017, 0 official lists, 22 checks) 9/10
Watched because it's in WC 1E.
You could argue there's not enough depth in this. It seems to barely touch the emotional surface, but I was caught in the mood and pace of this. It all felt like some dream, in glorious B&W shots.
Vivement dimanche! AKA Confidentially Yours (1983, 1 official list, 548 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Well-structured crime-flick.
Cent mille dollars au soleil AKA Greed in the Sun (1964, 0 official lists, 121 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's in WC 1E.
At the start of the movie I thought I was going to love this. A potential favorite. A shame the tension never went up enough. The characters all felt a bit flat as well. So this could have been a lot better, still an enjoyable watch though.
Duvidha (1973, 2 official lists, 132 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Nice looking movie with hardly any story to get into.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018, 1 official list, 1498 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Amazon Prime.
Felt like it couldn't choose between a drama about racism and some dreamy romance.
Cool Runnings (1993, 1 official list, 10778 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Enjoyable.
Grzeli nateli dgeebi AKA In Bloom (2013, 0 official lists, 171 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's in WC 1E.
I liked the acting of the girls.
It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964, 1 official list, 192 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Okay, but forgettable.
S certy nejsou zerty AKA Give the Devil His Due (1985, 0 official lists, 60 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's in WC 1E.
Bit of silly fun, nothing more.
Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki AKA Violent Cop (1989, 3 official lists, 1053 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Some fun scenes, but the whole plot was too thin.
The Lion King (2019, 2 official lists, 2452 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Apart from the extremely realistic looking animation (my daughter's call it "the REAL lion king") it doesn't bring anything new.
Mala Noche AKA Bad Night (1986, 2 official lists, 726 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Dull.
Pillow Talk (1959, 6 official lists, 2551 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Dated and sexist. Annoying story with a lot of terrible themes about how men chase after women and what all women want in the end. So the ending was terrible. Luckily the whole movie had a fast pace and the actors delivered fine. It's not their fault the characters and the story were annoying.
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975, 1 official list, 479 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Dull kids movie.
Edward II (1991, 2 official lists, 297 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Booooring.
American Boy: A Profile of - Steven Prince (1978, 1 official list, 227 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's an official check shorter than 70 min.
Blablablablabla from an annoying uninteresting guy for almost an hour feels like a very long time.
Anger Management (2003, 2 official lists, 14966 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Amazon Prime.
Extremely annoying. Nicholson couldn't save the horrible plot.
Ride Along (2014, 1 official list, 1947 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Amazon Prime.
Aweful and pointless.
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#6

Post by peeptoad » March 1st, 2020, 4:38 pm

Hi sol...

Vive la muerte is one of my favorites and the best Arrabal I've seen so far. Easy 9 for me.
Boyz n the Hood is one that I previously recall liking a lot more than when I rewatched it not too long ago... think I dropped it to a 6+ or 7 off an 8.

my ftvs for the last 2 weeks-
My Friend Dahmer (2017) 6
The Secret Life: Jeffrey Dahmer (1993) 5
The Call of the Wild (2020) 6
The Final Cut (2004) 6
Concussion (2015) 6

and I rewatched-
Christiane F. (1981) 10*
House of the Devil (2009) 8*
Gargoyles (1972) 7*
Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986) 8*

...not much to say except that my rewatches were far better than the ftvs. My best ftv of the last 2 weeks actually was Umbrella Academy season 1.

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#7

Post by sol » March 2nd, 2020, 3:17 am

peeps:

Viva la muerte is actually the only Arrabal film that I have seen so far. Obviously, I am intrigued to see more now. The film that it reminded me the most of was Cria Cuervos, and I didn't it find it to be half as impactful as that, but an interesting trip for sure with all the intertwining and inseparable fantasy/dream/reality stuff going on.

Boyz n the Hood was a film that I had avoided for years; a combination of my dislike for misspelt titles and all the rumours about John Singleton's promotion for the film during awards season is probably to blame. I was therefore pleasantly surprised by how competent and involving the whole thing was. And I really liked Laurence Fishburne's turn.

Yours:

Only seen Concussion, which I agree is nothing worth writing home about. Nice small turn from David Morse, but very average performance from Will Smith in the lead role despite all the Oscar buzz at the time.
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#8

Post by Onderhond » March 2nd, 2020, 10:59 am

@sol:

Haven't seen too many of yours this week, but (maybe somewhat surprisingly) from the ones I've seen Smokey and the Bandit (3.0*) is the one I liked the most. I usually dislike 70s USA cinema, but this one was a lot of fun. I've also seen Boyz n the Hood (2.5*), which was passable but not all that interesting, but at least way better than See You Yesterday (1.0*), which was a total fluke.

Not too interested in most films you've seen, though Tsotsi might be nice. It's a film I've come close to watching several times already, but it never really made the cut.

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#9

Post by sol » March 2nd, 2020, 12:17 pm

Onderhond:

Yes, that is surprising, but Smokey and the Bandit was probably second favourite viewing of the week after Tsotsi, so I definitely get the appeal. I have always liked Burt Reynolds as an actor and while the film isn't quite as deliciously quirky as something like The End, it definitely gives him a chance to showcase the charisma that appeals so much to me.

While the narratives are pretty different, the aesthetics of Tsotsi reminded me a lot of Gavin Hood's latter Eye in the Sky, so you might want to use that as a gauge. I suppose the film is unlikely to appeal to you if you dislike sentimentality since there is quite a bit towards the end, but it is mostly an intense and riveting look into a young man trying to maintain a cool exterior while juggling up his fear of being caught and his desire to provide for his surrogate baby.

Yours:

Only seen American Pie 2, which I of course liked more than you as a fan of the original. The next entry, American Wedding is the funniest for my money, but I wouldn't exactly recommend exploring further given your distaste of the first two films.

And no idea how you can for three days without electricity, that's insane (have to ditch everything in the fridge and freezer?). Electricity is pretty flimsy down here; the power goes out at least once a month, if not more often, but it is usually restored in 2 to 6 hours whenever it occurs.
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#10

Post by Onderhond » March 2nd, 2020, 12:38 pm

The thing I liked about Smokey and the Bandit (version other 70s films) was the pacing and extreme focus on action. 70s USA films tend to be a bit slow and they tend to drift off into meaningless plot details, even when they're essentially horror, action or other genre films. There's none of that here. Just action.
sol wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 12:17 pm
While the narratives are pretty different, the aesthetics of Tsotsi reminded me a lot of Gavin Hood's latter Eye in the Sky, so you might want to use that as a gauge. I suppose the film is unlikely to appeal to you if you dislike sentimentality since there is quite a bit towards the end, but it is mostly an intense and riveting look into a young man trying to maintain a cool exterior while juggling up his fear of being caught and his desire to provide for his surrogate baby.
That doesn't sound too bad I guess. Sentimentally can definitely be a problem for me, but it doesn't have to be. Usually when a movie appeals to me stylistically, I find it a lot easier to stomach :)
sol wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 12:17 pm
And no idea how you can for three days without electricity, that's insane (have to ditch everything in the fridge and freezer?). Electricity is pretty flimsy down here; the power goes out at least once a month, if not more often, but it is usually restored in 2 to 6 hours whenever it occurs.
Well, it was cold outside, so we salvaged the yoghurt and cheese by putting it on the terrace. The stuff in the freezer (not that much) had to go though.
And it is pretty insane alright, everything you're used to is dependent on electricity these days. Couldn't even cook or make a cup of tea and waking up in the dark isn't much fun either. But yeah, it's not exactly lethal, so we managed.

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#11

Post by OldAle1 » March 2nd, 2020, 12:52 pm

Relatively thin week for me as my brother was visiting and we traveled a bit and mostly ate and drank too much - movie-watching suffered for sure.

This Film ROCKED
This Film SUCKED

Afrique, je te plumerai / Africa, I Will Fleece You (Jean-Marie Téno, 1992)

Pretty good documentary about the history of Cameroon from 1940s colonial days and WWII through the present, when the country is mired in the same problems that most African nations have had to face since independence - corruption in government, which maintains too-close ties to France, a public that wants to be educated and wants to get ahead but has few opportunities, shortages of basic necessities, etc. Some of this has a comedic, farcical tone and some scenes - like the interview with the publisher - strike me as likely staged re-enactments but they don't detract. This is one case though where the flitting from subject to subject - a long digression on libraries for example - gets in the way of understanding all the information, at least for me - but then this film was made for Cameroonians and people with more at stake in the subject I think.

Toula ou Le génie des eaux / Toula or the Water Spirit (Moustapha Alassane/Anna Soehring, 1974)

A fable about a village facing famine and drought in the early 20th century, turning to sacrifice and old mythologies about the water spirit (serpent) in the dried-up lake, and how to appease it. I like these sorts of folk-tale stories and this is very beautifully shot and nicely done all around apart from some of the quite amateur acting; it doesn't register as anything really special to me but it works as what it's intended to be, I'm guessing, and at about 75 minutes it doesn't overstay it's welcome given it's fairly simple and thin plot.

Mercenary Fighters (Riki Shelach Nissimoff, 1988)

Action from the 80s, right up my alley, and the first thing that pops onto the screen is

Image

so it's gotta be awesome!

Total asshole Peter Fonda recruits a group of mercs, including young, hunky blonde nice-guy Reb Brown and slightly older and smarter black chopper pilot Ron O'Neal (Superfly!) to help "anti-terrorist" Robert DoQui, the military leader of a fictional southern African country, as he tries to root out the anti-government forces in an area that's going to be flooded after a big dam project. If you can't see where this is going after, oh, 10 minutes, and see who the good guys and the bad guys will actually turn out to be, then dumb action movies are too smart for you, go back to your fucking Tarkovsky man. It's enjoyable schlock with a pretty heavy dose of gunfire-and-explosion type action and a few seriously laugh-out-loud moments like when
SpoilerShow
the rebel leader, in his deathbed, essentially makes Brown the new leader of the tribe because he apparently sees something in him, despite Brown showing the intelligence and leadership ability of a headless chicken up to this point, and also having just slaughtered dozens of his men
. Made during the apartheid years when a lot of less-scrupulous low-budget companies went to S. Africa to film when it was cheap, this has mostly Americans in it's cast though the rebel leader is Henry Cele, a South African who probably gives the best performance here. Fonda and O'Neal are good in other films but they're sleepwalking here, and Brown is simply abominable, the poor man's Sam Jones and you really can't get any worse than that. He made a couple of other films in South Africa or Zimbabwe at the same time - check out the same year's Space Mutiny if you want a really solid so-bad-it's-good piece of work. This probably isn't funny enough to be in that category and is just run-of-the-mill crap overall.

La ciocara / Two Women (Vittorio De Sica, 1960)

TCM. As the TCM host reminded us both before and after the film, Sophia Loren was the first winner of an acting award at the Oscars for a performance not in English. This strikes me from the vantage point I sit at 60 years later as very much a style-of-the-times award; not that she isn't good exactly, but this particular vision of the long-suffering yet always sensual and proud Italian woman is one that fit in with Hollywood's views at the time, and the performance - like all the performances in this film and some of De Sica's others - seems often over-the-top today, at least to me. It's a portrait of a woman who has made it good running a shop in Rome who has to flee with her 11-year-old daughter (Eleonora Brown) into the mountains during World War II, suffering privation and eventually much worse at the hands of... well that's spoiling it a bit. Loren was only 25 when this was filmed and Brown really was 11 but they both look a few years older - still the age difference is disconcertingly small. Jean-Paul Belmondo appears (dubbed by another actor) as a radical Christian anti-fascist. This was consistently worth watching but ultimately didn't add up to that much for me - I'm not as entranced by the neorealist movement as most, and I generally prefer De Sica (and Loren I guess) in a more comic mode, as in L'oro di Napoli.

Una giornata particulare / A Special Day (Ettore Scola, 1977)

TCM. Mastroianni got his second Oscar nom for this and his performance holds up well against the contenders, though I'd have probably given it to Richard Dreyfuss, the winner for The Goodbye Girl, myself. I've only seen one of the other Foreign Film noms, so can't say much there. This seems to be one of those films that has aged well for a lot of people, and while I liked it a lot myself I'm not necessarily sure I see what the fuss is about either. Mastroianni is a middle-aged gay anti-fascist writer and radio host who has been fired from his job and is about to be deported to imprisonment in Sardinia, while Sophia Loren is a naive, uneducated housewife who goes along with her fascist husband and children who have mostly likewise been drinking the kool-aid, though on some level even early in the film she resents it. They live in aparments across a courtyard, and on the day that Hitler comes to Italy for parades and mass rallies, both alone, they meet and have a potentially life-changing experience. It's all beautifully done and I for one think Loren's performance is the real standout here (though Mastroianni is certainly good); it's notable for the extremely color-drained, almost sepia photography which works better here than it does in many films, though I suspect I would only really love the look here if I got to see it in 35mm. Very moving but I guess it doesn't quite add up to brilliance for me; then again the last scene is really wonderfully done. I dunno, feels like something that may improve later...

AFRICAN SHORTS

a) L'ami y'a bon / The Colonial Friend (Rachid Bouchareb, 2004)
b) Bon voyage, Sim (Moustapha Alassane, 1966)
c) Samba le grand (Moustapha Alassane, 1977)
d) Kokoa (Moustapha Alassane, 1985*)
e) Le jeu / The Game (Abderrahmane Sissako, 1991)
f) Pumzi (Wanuria Kahiu, 2009)
g) Le damier / The Draughstmen Clash (Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, 1996)

*originally listed thus when I found it, now listed as 2019! The director has been dead for years and this won an award at a 2003 festival so hell if I know when it was really made and first released. WTF IMDb.

Bouchareb's short b/w animation is related to elements in some of his features - it involves the Thiaroye massacre, a seminal event in the history of the whole continent that appears in many films, most notably Sembene's Camp de Thiaroye. This is a powerful if brief history lesson told primitively but effectively. The three Alassane animations are respectively a VERY simple story about corruption on the part of a leader, a mythical quest narrative, and a boxing match between stop-motion animals - Samba le grand was probably my favorite but none were very good or very bad really. Le jeu contrasts kids playing with toy guns and men playing with real guns fairly effectively. Pumzi is a beautiful 'scope science fiction short about a woman in a far-future post-apocalyptic environment where everybody lives underground finding a viable seed in the outside, and trying - against orders - to take it out into the wastelands and let it sprout and flower. My favorite of this bunch easily, with quite high production values. Le damier is a mostly amusing piece about a President-for-Life who can't find anybody to play checkers (draughts) with and finally meets his match, with inevitable - less comic - results.

Losing Ground (Kathleen Collins, 1982)

Currently listed as the first (in an icm comment) or second (on IMDb) feature directed by a black woman; my guess is it's neither, but given how many obscure independent films - especially those directed by women or minorities - fall through the cracks, we can never be certain; I hope, and I think there is plenty of reason to have that hope, that there is a lot of other stuff out there waiting for rediscovery. This story of a professor of logic (Seret Scott) becoming somewhat unraveled in her precise, mannered way of thinking and acting when she starts to act in an amateur film production, in part to show something to her free spirit painter husband (Bill Gunn) isn't necessarily the most original, and the acting - particularly that of Scott - is problematic and amateurish at times, but it's very much a heartfelt piece where feminism and racial issues are rarely on the surface but always simmering. Duane Jones - known almost entirely for his lead role in Night of the Living Dead - plays the middle-aged washed-out actor who is ultimately a big part of why Scott joins the film production, and Bill Gunn, who directed Jones in Ganja & Hess, is the bohemian husband character. Really beautiful use of color as befitting a film partly about a painter; overall the amateurishness of Scott's acting and some other elements of the film production certainly hurt it and IMO keep it more on the level of "historically important" than anything else, but it was certainly watchable enough, not boring to me, and I think I'd appreciate any film that offers a logic professor as the main character. I suspect this was shot very quickly and with very little money, and had there been more of both it might have ended up being something really special. Even Scott who I haven't praised has one really good scene, with her mother, so I think more rehearsals and takes might well have smoothed out a lot of the rough patches.

Chameleon Street (Wendell B. Harris Jr., 1989)

I thought this would be an OK film - even a more fun film - to watch after a few beers, and too much food, while my bro and I were on a little trip, staying in a motel. And it was certainly easy to watch but I do feel I missed some of the nuances and deeper social commentary in this story of real-life con artist extraordinaire William Douglas Street, played by writer/director Harris who - what the fuck has happened to this guy? Based on this film he should have had a bigger career than he's had, even accounting for the fact that he's black and that the racism you see throughout this film has certainly continued to exist. Plenty of other black filmmakers got their starts in the 80s and some have thrived; not sure why Harris didn't. Anyway he's the perfect person to play Street, just oozing charisma and with the smoothest voice this side of Alan Rickman, and I for one would probably be willing to believe he was who he said he was - a doctor, lawyer, reporter for Time etc; and let's not forget the extremely facile intelligence and adeptness at learning new things - he actually teaches himself to perform surgery and in the film does a hysterectomy, successfully. There's a very subtle ironic tone throughout Harris' narration here too, a suggestion that Street gets away with these things in part because so many white folks are a) surprised to see a black man so competent and smart, and b) afraid to be seen as racist if they question him. Really a terrific film all in all and I'll try to watch it more attentively next time.

West Indies (Med Hondo, 1979, France)

I was knocked out by Hondo's first feature Soleil Ô when I saw it as part of this challenge last year, and liked his Sarrounia a lot as well, so this was something I was really looking forward to. The two other features - especially the first - have their difficulties for those not all that knowledgeable about colonial history or Mauritania, but this one is on another level and I really didn't know what I was watching much of the time. Thankfully the frame of the film outside the narrative - the staging, production and music specifically, as this is a theatrical musical of a sort, are all pretty interesting and make this fairly watchable, but I'm not really sure in the end what to think of it. It's a dialogue between the colonialists - both white and black, the slaves and later "free" inhabitants of Martinique (and I think some other colonies/countries), the military, and the French government, over the place of blacks in French and colonial/island/African society over 400 years, told often in music and rhyme, and seeming to flit between particularly historical moments in ways that often perplexed me. I'm not sure what to compare it to or how to go further in explaining or getting at it; in some respects I guess this feels a bit like Peter Watkins, particularly La commune but that's not really saying much. I also watched this too late after driving all day, so there's that, but I think even under the best of situations this would have been a challenge. In any case more proof that Hondo was one of the most original and complicated of African filmmakers, and I look forward to seeing more (when will that be possible?) and returning to this someday armed with more knowledge.

Devil's Express / Gang Wars (Barry Rosen, 1976)

This mishmash of blaxploiation-martial arts-police procedural-monster/serial killer film on the other hand I probably could have watched after a 40 or two of St. Ives and not missed much of importance. It's not quite terrible - there's enough goofy charm to the whole premise (dumb martial artist student Rodan takes mystical pendant that is keeping a terrible monster at bay while on trip to Hong Kong, brings it back to New York where the monster proceeds to start chewing up subway riders, until student's master Luke (the wonderfully named Warhawk Tanzania) is called on to stop it. The martial arts are fairly mediocre, the acting uniformly bad, the music a strange mix of funk and Muzak, and at just over 80 minutes it feels a little too long.

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#12

Post by Lonewolf2003 » March 2nd, 2020, 4:53 pm

Dirty Dancing (1987, Emile Ardolino): 6.5
La Gomera [The Whistlers] (2019, Corneliu Porumboiu): 7.2 - Decent crime movie, but it misses the deeper layers of Porumboiu previous movie Police, Adjective.
A Hidden Life (2019, Terrence Malick): 7.8 - Being heralded as the best Malick since Tree of Life I had high expectations and wanted to like this more, sure of course there is still enough to love, not least of all the always gorgeous cinematography. But the plot felt stalemate and repetitive; repeating the same doubts over and over again while the outcome seems clear to the lead (and viewer) from the start. Or maybe I just have to rewatch this when not sitting next to a couple of clearly bored out middle-aged housewives
Shampoo (1975, Hal Ashby): 7.5
Coming Home (1978, Hal Ashby): 7.2
Last Action Hero (1993, John McTiernan): 7.5 - Enjoyable and fun action movie that functions also as a fun parody on them.
Tre fratelli [Three Brothers] (1981, Francesco Rosi) : 7.0 - A movie of which the personal aspects of the story aged better than the then current Italian political allegories. Making the parts with the (grand)father, a touching Charles Vanel, better than those about the titular brothers.
La cage aux folles (1978, Édouard Molinaro): 6.2
The Pumpkin Eater (1964, Jack Clayton): 8.2 - While in style very different, this reminded me very much of Cassavetes movies; it has the same emotional honesty as his movies have. Bancroft is superb.
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959, Joseph L. Mankiewicz): 8.2 - As a filmed play this consist mainly of a few very long sequence of which the best are very long monologues, that stay captivating because of the splendid performances of Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor plus the grotesque direction of Mankiewicz, which heightens the Southern gothic aspects of the story.
Hævnen [In a Better World] (2010, Susanne Bier) (rewatch): 8.5 > 8.0
Duvidha (1973, Mani Kaul): 7.0 - This reminded me of Parajanov's movies in how it tells a folkore story with a very stylized mis-en-scene, resulting is some gorgeous shots, but making the plot emotionally distant.
Guilty Bystander (1950, Joseph Lerner): 6.8 -Clearly a lowbudget B-noir; the direction is journeyman-like, the plot is convoluted and the dialogues feel Chandler-wannabe, the acting, apart from a passable Zachary Scott in the lead, is mediocre. But it's enjoyable because it has that quintessential mood of a noir about an alcoholic ex-detective stumbling through New York City's sleazy underworld

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#13

Post by 45MinuteZoom » March 2nd, 2020, 5:05 pm

This was a really rough week

Serial Mom (John Waters, 1994) Watched at a local bar, Suns, programmed as a camp film for Gay Movie Mondays. Waters clearly loves slashers, and it is fun to see someone get killed with a leg of lamb, but it just doesn’t hit as hard as his early stuff. 5/10


The Fox and the Hound (Rich and Berman, 1981) Rewatched for the first time since childhood, check 80/100 on Top 100 Animated list. I was curious how this dealt with racism since the only thing I remembered about it was in the end the fox and the hound decided to be happy with their own kind. To its credit, it did show that these attitudes are learned, and they were being taught by the bad guy. But in the end, they do lose their friendship and decide to stay with their own kind. 5/10


The Thief of Bagdad (Berger and Powell, 1940) Watched for TSPDT progress, check 610/1001. The special effects are really cool to see. It was also fun seeing all of the little threads that would eventually become Aladdin. The story is all over the place though, and really brings the movie down. 5/10


Sorry to Bother You (Riley, 2018) Watched cause I had heard great things about it. Never really connected with the style of the movie and fell off after the reveal. 4/10


Cooley High (Schultz, 1975) Watched at a local bar, Suns, programmed for Black History Month. Really interesting as a sort of proto “hood film”. There are definitely bleak moments, but the film keeps up a pretty playful atmosphere throughout. 6/10


Diamonds are Forever (Hamilton, 1973) Watched for Bond progress. The theme song is the only good thing about this movie. Least sensical plot so far. 4/10


Live and Let Die (Hamilton, 1973) Watched for Bond progress. Really happy to be done with Connery as Bond, but this movie has some weird racial dynamics. And that “comedy” relief racist cop is one of the worst characters in a Bond movie. 5/10


Vampire’s Kiss (Bierman, 1988) Watched cause I wanted to see some vampire movies. I stumbled onto this not knowing anything about it. I admire Nicolas Cage, he really threw everything at this role. Unfortunately, his performance is the only slightly good thing about this movie. 1/10


The Addiction (Abel Ferrara, 1995) Watched cause I wanted to see some vampire movies. I really hate to use the word pretentious in any sort of criticism, but it perfectly applies here. What is this dialogue? At least the philosophical musing can be ignored, it’s really a bad look to set the idea of vampirism over all of these images of genocide. 1/10


If… (Anderson, 1968) Watched for TSPDT progress, check 611/1001. Finally something good! 7/10

Back in a bit with comments on others watches!

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