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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 21, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 21, 2020

#1

Post by sol » May 24th, 2020, 11:30 am

DISCLAIMER
Unfortunately, I feel the need to post this thread earlier than usual this week, since we are in the middle of a power outage over here, and it's so severe and widespread that there is no estimation for a time in which they expect the power to be restored. My laptop still has some charge in it; same goes for my internet dongle. I don't know how long it will take for the batteries to flatten in both, so I am just taking the opportunity to post this thread while I still can. I might not be able to by the usual time of 12:00pm GMT. On a related note, it is possible that I might not get around to replying to anyone this week; I am always so exhausted after work on a Monday and if I log in here to find tons of people to respond to because I wasn't able to get to them on Sunday night - well, that might just be too much for me.

If you've contributed here regularly, you know how much I try to promote film discussion, but with power to half my city wiped out for who-knows-how-long a period of time, that might just not happen this week. :( Don't hold it against me...


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

Hang 'Em High (1968). Far from the brutal revenge film one might expect after a graphic and grueling pre-credits bit in which Clint Eastwood almost dies when wrongfully hung by a lynch mob, this is a curious film that often defies expectations. At first, it seems about revenge with Eastwood later fatally shooting a lyncher seconds after stating "I need you alive", but as he becomes distracted from his own troubles with two harshly sentenced teenage cattle rustlers and argues with the local judge, the film becomes about the letter of the law in the Old West more than any other film of its vintage. The film tries a little bit to have its cake and eat it too with some of the developments near the end; there is also a listless romance that comes out of nowhere. For the most part though, this is a refreshingly different western - and nicely unpredictable. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Lonesome Cowboys (1968). This indie western focuses on some cowboys who become intimate with prostitutes and each other while bored between jobs. If such a plot synopsis makes this sound aimless, that is because it is, and with poorly recorded/muffled sound, jump cuts and jarring scenes transitions, the project feels more of an attempt to subvert cowboy movies than make one. Alas, the poor filming soon becomes repetitive; only so much screeching is necessary to be subversive after all. The acting is pitiful too and the male characters feel interchangeable. The film almost reaches something interesting halfway in as they debate whether they gang raped a prostitute or not; there are philosophical discussions also on occasion about loneliness, but around half the dialogue is about trivialities such as dandruff, while the other half is impossible to make out. (first viewing, online) ★

Something Big (1971). Intent on doing "something big", an ageing bandit tries to obtain a Gatling gun in this western comedy starring Dean Martin. The film gets off to a quirky start with Martin carrying a small dog, riding a horse with gold false teeth and everybody constantly saying "something big". The dog and horse ultimately add little plot-wise though, and the repetition of the title soon tires. The plot is problematic too as Martin has to find a woman to trade for the gun. While there is some amusement in Martin stopping stagecoaches without robbing them as he searches for a woman (which baffles the authorities), the film's general treatment of women feels in very poor taste. The pacing is also a bit off for a comedy with the plot stretched thin at nearly two hours. Oddly enough, a character introducing himself as Emilio Estevez feels funniest here. (first viewing, online) ★

Tout Va Bien (1972). Opening with production cheques being signed and two voices arguing the basic elements needed for a film (girl, guy, setting...), this Jean-Luc Godard co-production is equally about its own inception as it is about its plot. The story has factory workers striking and locking their bosses inside their offices, yet with the insertion of a male and female protagonist who have little bearing on events, the film also questions the need for movies to follow such rules - including the hiring of big name actors. Amid all this, Tout Va Bien is incredibly playful too with borderline absurdist humour (boss forced to break open a window). The film loses its way a bit as the politics overtake the humour in the second half, but it ends well with divine Week End style elongated tracking shots, and the open dollhouse sets throughout are breathtaking. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Gumby 1 (1995). Spun off from the classic claymation television show, this feature film maintains the delightfully surreal vibe of the source material with its clay characters sliding in and out of books, colliding and merging with one another, and distorting themselves into odd shapes. The plot has some very outlandish elements too, including robot clones and an extended sequence where Gumby has to battle himself among sets that feel straight out of The Empire Strikes Back. There are some very funny bits too; most notably, a running gag involving a robot waiter with loose circuits. The film carries on a bit too long after its climax though and ultimately ends on an unwarranted sentimental note with some very obvious messages about sharing and charity. The vast majority of the movie though is a pleasant reminder of how wonderfully crazy the series was. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Almost Heroes (1998). Set on beating Lewis and Clark, two incompetent explorers set out on an ambitious cross-country expedition in this comedy starring Matthew Perry and Chris Farley. The film begins decently with a lot of humour coming from a straight-faced Perry unsure of how to react to the kookiness of Farley and others who they have brought along, with an amusingly unfunny sheep dung anecdote standing out in particular. The comedy soon becomes rather lame and repetitive though, a pewter polish exchange aside. Energetic as Farley is, his character is never particularly likeable and an ogling Perry barely registers as more sympathetic, while everyone else seems either unintelligent or pathetic. Lisa Barbuscia is probably the most interesting character as an Amerindian bride forced along on the journey, but the romance angle is similarly bland. (first viewing, online) ★

Rottweiler (2004). Fleeing prison, a young man is pursued by a killer cyborg dog in this future-set thriller from Spain. The film has acquired a negative reputation and the first third is certainly a mess, jumping between timelines with limited exposition. The middle third is very well crafted though as the protagonist takes shelter at an isolated farmhouse. There is lots of tension as the dog tracks him there and terrorises both a single mother and her superstitious daughter, played by a pre-Pan's Labyrinth Ivana Baquero, who of course shines in the role - and there are some solid surrogate father/daughter stuff before she is sadly left behind. The final third of the film is not as strong as the middle section and leaves a lot unresolved (his amnesia; why they were refugees; his crime) but there are great special effects sequences at least and moody final shots. (first viewing, online) ★★

Volver (2006). Hearing rumours that their mother's ghost has been seen, two sisters discover that there is unexpected truth to this claim in this genre-hopping venture from Pedro Almodóvar. The film gets off to a terrific start, playing out as a dark thriller with Penélope Cruz covering up an accident for her daughter's sake, and from a paper towel ever-so-slowly absorbing blood to dragging stuff at night, this initial stretch is excellent. As the film progresses though, the thriller elements go on the backburner with the fantasy themes emerging, all of which are played out with a weird mix of bubbly comedy and miserable melodrama. Certainly some of the things that we discover along the way resonate, but it is hard not to wonder what may have been had Almodóvar instead gone full comedy, full drama, full fantasy or returned to the movie's thriller roots. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Spy Time (2015). Described by some as Spain's answer to Kingsman, this spy spoof may lack the inventive gadgets of its British counterpart, but it is entertaining all the same with an estranged father/son angle in the mix. Our protagonist here is the son of a secret agent; growing up unaware of this and now in his thirties, he discovers that his father has secretly trained him his whole life to be an agile spy like him, and Quim Gutiérrez and Imanol Arias have great chemistry together. It is a very funny film too, with unexpectedly outlandish gags at times (Arias sticking his hand up a cow's rectum; Gutiérrez causing an assailant to choke on his girlfriend's vibrator) and great banter between the protagonist's girlfriend and her brother who really 'wants' her. The actual espionage story and antagonist are a little second rate, but as a comedy this really works. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Toc Toc (2017). Scheduled for conflicting appointments at the same time due to a booking error, six Spaniards with diverse obsessive compulsive disorders hold their own group therapy session while they wait for their running-late psychiatrist to arrive in this quirky comedy. Not all of humour works as it sometimes feels like the filmmakers are mocking their characters and cracking jokes at the expense of their conditions. All of the characters are extremely relatable and down-to-earth though and the growing camaraderie between them always feels very real with all concerned turning in fine performances. The film is based on a successful stage play and while the big screen treatment does little to disguise its roots, the filmmakers make great use of the limited environment, even successfully playing off the inherent claustrophobia of the setting at times. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Verónica (2017). Plagued by visions and nightmares after using an Ouija board during an eclipse, a teenager becomes increasingly unhinged and paranoid in this Spanish horror film. Sandra Escacena is effective in the lead role, the music is atmospheric and there are some nifty scenes that rely on flashes of neon and Nosferatu-like shadows. Based (apparently quite loosely) on an actual case of paranormal activity that was documented by the police, the film sadly loses some of its impact by constantly inserting day and time stamps. These provide a quasi-documentary feel for what otherwise could be read as a metaphorical tale about puberty and coping with the stress of looking after three younger siblings. There are several indelible images here, but the wildness of the tale also feels cut short by the filmmakers also trying their best to keep things 'real'. (first viewing, online) ★★

Errementari (2017). Discovering that the local blacksmith has caught a demon, a young girl hurt over her mother's suicide considers a pact with the demon to visit her mother's damned soul in this messy but intriguing mix of horror, fantasy and religion. Uma Bracaglia is excellent as the sullen girl in question and there is lots of interest in how she is pushed towards Satanism because of her strict religious upbringing, with all her teachers insisting that suicide is a mortal sin and that all who have gone this way will burn in hell. There are also some zany comedy moments as Bracaglia is shown all different ways of torturing the demon. Alas, the film is pretty dull whenever Bracaglia is off-screen; the blacksmith is never especially interesting and all of the early scenes dedicated to the townsfolk discussing him fall flat. The Bracaglia/demon discuss scenes rock though. (first viewing, online) ★★

Superlópez (2018). Spain's answer to Superman, this comic book adaptation similarly involves a humanoid alien with superpowers who holds a boring office job while trying to avoid others from catching onto his powers. The movie is a little slow to warm up with tons of exposition, but once the film settles into him speeding around his workplace, making ice cubes from tap water and so on, a nice comedy angle takes off. There are also lots of laughs later to come involving his boss battling a robot vacuum cleaner, a robot version of his girlfriend and a hilarious first sarcastic comment that his girlfriend makes upon seeing his suit. Not all of the comedy works, and there are arguably more misses than hits, but there is fair bit to like here and some very decent action scenes, most notably the protagonist inadvertently fighting off a circle of attackers. (first viewing, online) ★★

Mirage (2018). Miraculously communicating with a boy from the past via an old television set, a nurse saves the boy's life but alters her present day life in this intriguing if disappointing borderline sci-fi film. There are some interesting dynamics with the nurse set on 'fixing' the present so that her daughter can exist again, even if it means sacrificing the boy, though this moral dilemma gets lost amid a murder that she tries to solve using information from her alternate timeline. The film feels poorly paced too. It takes an incredibly long time for her to realise that she has changed the present, with much tiresome hysterics as she has trouble convincing everyone that she has really a daughter. It then takes even longer for her to convince others of the alternate reality once she finally catches onto things. Decent idea but this is at least an hour too long. (first viewing, online) ★

REVISIONS

Cría Cuervos (1976). Still upset over her mother's recent death, a young girl loses her grip on reality when her father also passes away in this Spanish drama that seamlessly blends dreams, nightmares and fantasies with reality. From imagining herself flying off buildings, to continual visions of her mother, the film becomes so thoroughly invested in the girl's point-of-view that it is delightfully impossible to take anything that we see on face value. Ana Torrent shines in the lead, and while the film is sometimes creepy (her mother defying physics by repeatedly walking from left to right past her bedroom door), this is not totally downbeat. In fact, while the ending stacks up less well upon revision as it all seems to fizzle out rather than conclude on a bang, this seems very appropriate for a film about a child learning how to deal with grief and not get overwhelmed. (second viewing, VHS) ★★★★

Talk to Her (2002). Viewed for the first time in 18 years, Talk to Her remains an incredibly interesting film and one that perhaps has more currency now than back then with some of its morally ambiguous ground. If not quite as effective and stylish as his latter The Skin I Live In, this earlier Pedro Almodóvar film makes for a good companion piece with the way it causes our sympathies to sway and feel something for someone who does something questionable. It is not a perfect film, and upon second glance, the first 35 minutes before the protagonists meet move slowly, but the unusual friendship that gradually develops between them after meeting is very dynamic. The film also benefits from a genuine-looking semi-surreal silent movie within that takes Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man in a very different direction. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★

OtherShow
Hittin' the Trail (1937). Agreeing to transport some horses for an acquaintance who turns out to be a notorious outlaw, a good-natured cowboy finds himself in trouble in this Tex Ritter western. Interspersed with songs throughout, the film never really works up much in the way of tension. There are a couple of cute scenes as Ritter humours a young lad who insists that he is the "the sheriff", though this charm dissipates once the boy gets a chance to sing. Jerry Bergh is quite acceptable as the boy's mother and romantic interest here, but it is a pretty one-note role, with the movie mostly existing to give Ritter a chance to sing and occasionally shoot it out. Ritter at least avoids having annoying sidekicks here unlike in the following year's Rollin' Plains, but the plot is pretty threadbare and has nothing as clever as that one's scaring of an antagonist into talking. (first viewing, online) ★

Ride 'em, Cowgirl (1939). Her father framed for stealing the prize money for the local rodeo, an ambitious cowgirl sets out to prove his innocence in this B-western. While she is not exactly bursting with charisma, Dorothy Page makes for a decent protagonist and it is refreshing to come across an American western from this era that circles around an assertive female protagonist who uses her wits to outsmart the bad guys. Many of the plot elements are nevertheless quite familiar, and gender reversal aside, the film plays to many of the clichés of the westerns of the time, including a couple of pleasant but hardly thematically relevant songs and villains with simple motivations. Still, this is an undeniable curio as one of only three westerns that Page ever starred in; oddly so considering that she is no more or less charismatic than other western stars of her period. (first viewing, online) ★★

Cattle Stampede (1943). Two cowboys try to stop an unscrupulous rustler who is causing herds to stampede in order to get more work for his business (rounding up lost cows) in this aptly titled western. Buster Crabbe is never too engaging in the lead role, but Al St. John has plenty of fun moments as his travelling companion, stealthily dodging and befuddling his opponents in fights - plus a pretty good shot too. Frances Gladwin also makes for a feistier than usual love interest for a film of this sort, highly suspicious of Crabbe's motives throughout and always prepared to speak her mind. The film does not quite give St. John and Gladwin as much screen time as they deserve, with a lot of chaotic Crabbe-only shoot-outs and brawls in the mix, but the stampede scenes are at least well filmed, and St. John and Gladwin are enjoyable whenever present. (first viewing, online) ★★

Harmony Trail (1944). Trailing where some stolen money is being spent, four marshals join a travelling show run by a quack selling magic elixir in this western comedy. The plot frequently comes to a standstill four the marshals to perform rope tricks, ventriloquism acts and occasionally sing, but it is all fairly entertaining, especially the lasso work, and Robert McKenzie is delightful as the eccentric salesman running the show, addicted to his own so-called medicine. The ventriloquist dummy has some snappy lines too. As for the whole stolen money angle, it leads to a couple of good shootout scenes towards the end, but it mostly feels tacked-on. In fact, had the film forgotten this and concentrated entirely on the "magic medicine show", this could have really been something. A pre-Strangers on a Train Ruth Roman is also fine as McKenzie's daughter. (first viewing, online) ★★

Prairie Rustlers (1945). Framed by a lookalike cousin who begrudges him time spent in jail, a cowboy teams up with owner of the local eatery, recently promoted to sheriff, to clear his name in this western starring Buster Crabbe in a dual role. The film mounts a decent fistfight scene in which Crabbe brawls with himself thanks to clever framing and choice reaction shots that hide the use of a stunt double. This angle is not quite played up for all that its worth though with very little comedy at the expense of confused identities, Al St. John first seeing Crabbe aside. The filmmakers smartly realise though that St. John is the most electric member of their cast and he is nicely given lots to do here, from bicycle stunts to pratfalls to even managing to trick Crabbe towards the end. The rest of the cast though are quite forgettable and the love interest is very so-so.(first viewing, online) ★★

The Gay Amigo (1949). Discovering that a group of American bandits have been dressing as Mexicans to trick the authorities, two Mexican cowboys set out to expose the imposters when suspicion falls on themselves in this amiable western. The basic story is no great shakes, and more than a little hard to buy with the authorities making snap judgments based on clothing and horses that they can only see from a distance. It is curious though to see a western from the 1940s that offers such a positive portrayal of Mexicans as brave and honorable and Americans as sneaky and deceptive. The chemistry between leads Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo feels very real too. Nobody else makes much an impression though; all of the antagonists lack charisma while a prostitute/romantic interest obsessed with getting golden sandals is more irksome than cute or quirky. (first viewing, online) ★★

Colorado Serenade (1946). Amid a series of brazen stagecoach robberies, a singing cowboy and his travelling companion try to restore law and order in a small town in this B-western. Eddie Dean has a pretty decent singing voice in the lead role and the stagecoach chases with pistols blaring are well filmed. What really distinguishes this from the average budget western of its era though is the fact that it is shot in colour. The filmmakers do not quite take advantage of this, frequently shooting indoors rather than taking the opportunity to bask in lush exterior landscapes. The nighttime scenes are also hard to make out due to a mix of dark colours and limited contrast. The plot is also decidedly average. There are a few twists and turns regarding who characters are, but all of the infiltrating gangs and stopping outlaws stuff has been done better elsewhere. (first viewing, online) ★

Colorado Sundown (1952). Above average as far as singing cowboy westerns go, this benefits from a more complex plot than usual involving multiple heirs to a vast estate, a plot to deceive the heirs into selling the land at less than what it is worth, and a plot to murder and impersonate a tree expert. Such an intricate story though makes the comedy and musical aspects of the movie feel a little off. A goofy Slim Pickens is a lot of fun though, talking to his watch/locket and with his head stuck in a door after being kicked by a goat. The tunes are also decent, but they do not really feel necessary in this crime and deception themed tale. Whatever the case, this is a refreshingly different sort of low budget western without rustlers or stolen money driving things but rather a plot to convince unsuspecting folks that their land has soil erosion issues and dying trees! (first viewing, online) ★★

Take Me to Town (1953). Disliking their father's current girlfriend, three young boys search for an alternative stepmother and are impressed by a showgirl who happens to be on the run from the law and in need of a place to hide in this Douglas Sirk comedy. Daringly escaping custody on a moving train in the opening scene, Ann Sheridan is perfectly feisty as the female protagonist and her bonding with the boys always feels real despite her ulterior motives. Alas, the film dials up its cutesiness way too high with far too many jokes at the expense of what the kids do. It actually reaches the point that Sterling Hayden feels completely wooden as their father by contrast, and thus the gradually developing romance between Hayden and Sheridan lacks sparks. Still, it is difficult to dismiss a movie that gives Ann Sheridan such great opportunity to strut her stuff. (first viewing, online) ★

Yucatán (2018). Rival con artists on a cruise ship try to swindle an ageing lottery winner out of his millions, but they might not be the only ones targeting him in this Spanish comedy. The film begins decently with a distinct Dirty Rotten Scoundrels vibe, but quickly loses its way as it goes on. The film crucially lacks the one-upmanship of something like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with the two rivals enacting their individual schemes while seldom interacting with one another. All of their plans take quite a bit of time to develop too, which limits the film's ability to be constantly zany and surprising. Things take a fairly interesting (if silly) detour in the final half-hour, but it is a very long time getting there, and no amount of good acting or madcap bus driving from Luis Tosar is able to prevent the film from feeling long and drawn out at over two hours in length. (first viewing, online) ★
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#2

Post by Onderhond » May 24th, 2020, 11:50 am

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Saw quite a few documentaries this week, though I have no idea how that came about. Human Nature was nice though, solid presentation, balanced message and informative. You don't see that very often. Apart from that, lots of mediocre stuff. Nothing too bad, nothing too great. Did catch a very fine contemporary thriller from Taiwan, that country needs to step up its game, because the potential for greatness is there.


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01. 4.0* - Nina Wu [Juo Ren Mi Mi] by Midi Z (2019)
A very stylish mystery/thriller, sporting some powerhouse performances, amazing cinematography and a neat little plot than kept me engaged from start to finish. Not the most original of films, but the execution was so terrific that it didn't bother me at all. Midi Z does Taiwanese cinema proud.

02. 3.5* - Tropic Thunder by Ben Stiller (2008)
So very crude and over-the-top that it's difficult not to laugh. A couple of stellar performances, catchy one-liners and insane jokes make this one of Stiller's best comedies. The film should probably come with a trigger warning, but at least Stiller sticks to his guns and keeps it funny from start to finish. Very rewatchable too.

03. 3.5* - Human Nature by Adam Bolt (2019)
A very solid documentary on the history, possibilities and pitfalls of the CRISPR technology. This film doesn't serve simplistic tech doom, but a more balanced vision on how this technology might shape our future. The balance isn't quite perfect, but still a breath of fresh air compared to so many other documentaries. Well recommended.

04. 3.0* - Nisekoi: False Love by Hayato Kawai (2018)
Fun and perky anime adaptation. Nisekoi doesn't pretend to be much more than that and the film seems primarily aimed at people who want to relive the animation in live action, but apart from some questionable performances and a mediocre soundtrack, there was enough light-hearted silliness to keep me engaged.

05. 3.0* - The Lovebirds by Michael Showalter (2020)
Fine comedy that has a pleasant, dark edge. There are some good jokes here and the chemistry between Nanjiani and Rae is perfect. Add some sly parodies and you have all the ingredients for 90 minutes of pure entertainment. Not the sharpest or most original film, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

06. 3.0* - Prey by Dick Maas (2016)
Cheesy and silly, but solid horror fun. Maas' films aren't to be taken too seriously, Prey is no exception. Larger than life characters, a big old CG lion and a few nifty kills. It's not really scary or tense, but there are a few good laughs and the film is over before you know it. One of the best films he's made so far.

07. 3.0* - Phantasm II by Don Coscarelli (1988)
Not as serious as the first part. More 80s kitsch, more graphic horror. It makes for a better film, because Coscarelli doesn't really have it in him to make a tense and/or frightening film. There are still some continuity errors and the actors are quite poor, but apart from that this sequel was a lot of fun.

08. 3.0* - The Trip by Michael Winterbottom (2010)
Pretty interesting comedy where Coogan and Brydon play themselves, going on a culinary trip through the north of England. The chemistry between the actors is nice, the imitations are pretty funny and the boundary between film and reality feels ever so thin, but it's a bit too long and the drama isn't that strong.

09. 3.0* - Suit Yourself or Shoot Yourself!: The Heist [Katte ni Shiyagare! Goudatsu-keikaku] by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (1995)
Fun and quirky little crime comedy. The Suit Yourself films may be developed for TV, but the acting talent is top-notch and Kurosawa's direction is on point. While essentially little more than simple genre exercises, the tone is just right and the mix of comedy and gangster business is pretty entertaining. Solid.

10. 3.0* - In a Valley of Violence by Ti West (2016)
Not a big Ti West fan, not a western fan at all, liked this film though. Not sure what exactly made the difference, but Hawke in the lead surely helped and the qualms between the two sides made for a simple but tense and entertaining battle. It's never going to be my favorite genre, but this was much better than I expected it to be.

11. 3.0* - Beginners by Mike Mills (2010)
Decent drama, sporting a nice mix of comedy and romance elements. The cast does a good job, the different genres don't erode each other and Mills direction is interesting. The film is a little one-note though and while it has very few lows, it doesn't have too many highs either. Solid filler, but it lacked a spark.

12. 3.0* - Circus of Books by Rachel Mason (2019)
The topic wasn't all that interesting, the Mason couple on the other hand steals the show. Inspiring people who aren't hardcore activists, just accepting and well-meaning people. The second half of the doc is a bit too much about the other members of the family, though the mom's struggle with her son's outing is nicely delivered.

13. 2.5* - Speed Angels [Ji Su Tian Shi] by Jingle Ma (2011)
Simple race flick that is more than happy to stick to the genre clichés. Ma brought together some Pan-Asian talent, but no real A-listers. The plot is very basic, the drama doesn't really work and the CG is a little distracting. The pacing is nice though and the film does have its moments, but in the end this is little more than random filler.

14. 2.5* - God of Gamblers by Gao Feng (2020)
A pretty bland reboot of the original series. The film lacks flair and attitude, not in the least because the actors don't feel at ease here. But the direction isn't all that either. There are some decent scenes though and because the film is very short it never gets dull, but it can't compare to it's Hong Kong ancestors.

15. 2.5* - The Sword Stained with Royal Blood [Bi Xie Jian] by Cheh Chang (1981)
Run-of-the-mill martial arts flick from Chang. The action is solid, but the film is at least 15 minutes too long, not in the least because it's mostly just added dialogue. The drama is very limited and breaks up the film once too often, apart from that it's a decent but ultimately forgettable Shaw Bros production.

16. 2.5* - The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley by Alex Gibney (2019)
The psychology behind Holmes' change in character is much more interesting than the lies and deceit, sadly the latter is what this doc seems to focus on. Too many overly dramatic and uninteresting people telling their story, but for those who have been following the Theranos story it's a pretty decent recap.

17. 2.0* - Booksmart by Olivia Wilde (2019)
A somewhat meager attempt to make a female-driven version of Superbad. The performances are mediocre, the film isn't all that funny and instead of serving more comedy, Wilde puts in more heart and drama. Ultimately, that just made things worse. There is some potential here, but this just wasn't very good.

18. 2.0* - Genpin by Naomi Kawase (2010)
Doc about some women who prefer to give "natural" births. Kawase focuses on the characters and some occasional drama, but with a topic like this it's a bit odd to ignore the science. That's probably the point of this documentary, but what is shown hardly convinced me this was an overall better way of bringing babies into this world.

19. 2.0* - Nights Of A Shemale: A Mad Man Trilogy 1/3 by Dennis Law (2020)
Dennis Law does Herman Yau, but even more openly. The crime elements are solid, sadly the drama doesn't really work. Rather poor performances and a lack of clear focus really drag the first half of the film down. Things get a little better during the second half, but not so much as to save the film.

20. 0.5* - San Pietro by John Huston (1945)
A slice of American propaganda that doesn't have much interesting to tell. It's a short but flaccid reconstruction of a military operation in Italy, with less than convincing footage of the battle (probably because it was re-enacted) and a point you could figure out for yourself, without wasting 30 minutes of your life.

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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 24th, 2020, 12:34 pm

The Abomination (Bret McCormick, 1986) 7-/10
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i must be dreaming #153

The Magick of Solomon: Lemegeton Secrets Revealed (Extended Second Edition) (Gregory D. Jednack, Church of Hermetic Sciences & Hooded Man Productions, 1996) 6/10

#37 (Joost Rekveld, 2009) 6/10

Sarraounia (Med Hondo, 1986) 7/10

Self and Others (佐藤真/Makoto Sato, 2001) 7/10

Drei Eier im Glas (Antonin Svoboda, 2015) 8/10

魔 / The Boxer's Omen (Gwai Chi-Hung/Kuei Chih-Hung, 1983) 7/10
duḥkha, pratītyasamutpāda, nirodha, maggaShow
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White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) 7/10

Allemagne 90 neuf zéro / Germany Year 90 Nine Zero (Jean-Luc Godard, 1991) 5+/10
re-histoire(s)Show
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Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) (2nd viewing) 9-/10 (from 7)

Pierrot le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) (2nd viewing) 8/10
SpoilerShow
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The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998) (5th+ viewing) 9/10


shorts

directed by Piotr Kamler:
L'araignéléphant / Spiderelephant (1967) 7/10

Le pas (1975) 5/10

Hiver / Winter (1964) (2 viewings) 8/10

Délicieuse catastrophe/ Delicious Catastrophe (1970) (2 viewings) 9-/10

La planète verte / The Green Planet (1966) 8/10

Une mission éphémère / One Ephemeral Mission (1993) 8-/10

Cœur de secours / The Heart (1973) (2nd viewing) 7/10

Le trou / The Hole (1969) (2nd viewing) 4+/10


🔥 (David Lynch, 2015/2020) 6+/10

Puccini conservato (Michael Snow, 2008) 3/10

Easter Morning (Bruce Conner, 2008) 6/10

Breathing (Robert Breer, 1963) 3/10

Einschlafgeschichten 3 / Einschlafgeschichten (Eisenbahn) / Bedtime Stories: Railways (Harun Farocki, 1977) 5+/10

Now I Want to Laugh (Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy) 6/10

Unfolding (Constance Beeson/Coni Beeson, 1970) 8+/10

Firefly (Coni Beeson, 1974) 4/10

Oblivion (Tom Chomont, 1969) 5/10

L'Arrivee d'un train aa La Ciotat (Svyaznoy, 2020) 5-/10

Альтернативная прогулка / Alternative Walk (Иван Максимов/Ivan Maximov/Ivan Maksimov, 2017) 6/10

The Flamboyant Arms (Connie Rasinski & Gene Deitch, 1959) 4+/10

Nyarlathotep (Christian Matzke, 2001) 5+/10

Ethereal Chrysalis (Syl Disjonk, 2011) 6-/10


music videos

Paradise Lost: Darker Thoughts (2020)


series

Rick and Morty - S04E07 - "Promortyus" (2020) (2 viewings) 7+/10

Rick and Morty - S04E08 - "The Vat of Acid Episode" (2020) 8-/10


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #961 - Graham Hancock, Randall Carlson & Michael Shermer (2017) 7/10

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1309 - Naval Ravikant (2019) 7/10

30 min documentary on Piotr Kamler; DVD extra on "Piotr Kamler, à la recherche du temps"

Alphaville - extras ("Alphaville, périphéries...", "Film Presentation by Colin MacCabe", "Trailer")

Drei Eier im Glas - behind the scenes snippets

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1124 - Robert Schoch [partly]
The Joe Rogan Experience - #1325 - Dr. Cornel West [partly]


didn't finish

The Painted Bird (Václav Marhoul, 2019) [22+ min]

Da xia mei hua lu / The Fantasy of Deer Warrior (Ying Chang, 1961) [4 min]


notable online media

top:
When your mom calls and you adjust the facts
What ancient civilizations teach us about reality | Greg Anderson | TEDxOhioStateUniversity
A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Monk - full of great self-isolation techniques
The Punch That Terrified Everyone!
WE RENTED AN ENTIRE ISLAND IN THE PHILIPPINES (hidden gem?)
rest:
[various Joe Rogan Experience clips - functional strength, brains receivers, born the Dalai Lama, New World Order]
[YT channel "Brian Jordan Alvarez"]
[YT channel "DAVID LYNCH THEATER"]
Rammstein - Making Of Album-Photosession (Official)
Why I'm Not a David Lynch or Twin Peaks Fan
Werner Herzog: As long as I breathe I will not let fascism happen again | SophieCo Visionaries [partly]

the endShow
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now the endShow
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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 31st, 2020, 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#4

Post by peeptoad » May 24th, 2020, 1:52 pm

Sol, I hope your power comes back soon... and that my reply doesn't cause you undue stress. :turned:

Hang 'Em High (1968) 7
Errementari (2017) 6
Cría Cuervos (1976) 9

Talk To Her, and most of Almodovoar's other films I haven't seen I plan on watching this month or in July for Run the Director...
Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 12:34 pm
The Abomination (Bret McCormick, 1986) 7-/10

added to watch list, thanks PdA! I like that dreaming list of yours too...




@Onderhond- seen nothing but Prooi is on my watch list.

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#5

Post by peeptoad » May 24th, 2020, 2:03 pm

mine from best to worst-

El extraño caso del doctor Fausto (1969) The Strange Case of Dr Fausto 8
Contratiempo (2016)The Invisible Guest 7
Recordações da Casa Amarela (1989) Recollections of the Yellow House 7
La encadenada (1975) A Diary of a Murderess 6
Bajo la piel de lobo (2017) The Skin of the Wolf 6
Una libélula para cada muerto (1975) A Dragonfly for Each Corpse 6
The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) 5
Insidious (2010) 5
Año Mariano(2000) The Year of Maria 4
Friday the 13th part V: A New Beginning (1985) 4


Moderate week again marked, mildly, by El extraño caso del doctor Fausto which was a rather unique take on the Faust story... pretty far out at times, but alas a weaker 8 or stronger 7 on my scale. Contratiempo was a decent enough outing from Paulo and definitely his most polished film, from a production standpoint. I liked it slightly more than El Cuerpo. Haven't seen Mirage yet.

That's all I got...

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#6

Post by sol » May 24th, 2020, 3:35 pm

peeptoad wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 1:52 pm
Sol, I hope your power comes back soon... and that my reply doesn't cause you undue stress. :turned:

Hang 'Em High (1968) 7
Errementari (2017) 6
Cría Cuervos (1976) 9

Talk To Her, and most of Almodovoar's other films I haven't seen I plan on watching this month or in July for Run the Director...
Power is back on now. :sweat: It's always a bit never-racking when they are unable to prove a time estimate, but I think we got back to power in 3 to 3.5 hours. That's not bad, I guess. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for power to be restored and I have kind of gotten used to short blips like that (happens at least once a month over here). Longers blips though are quite rare and the damaging storms were all over our news. Anyway...

Our ratings seem to match on the three that you have seen of mine this week, though I still have Cría down as a 10 despite it falling in my estimation this time round. That was bound to happen though. Almost no way of mirroring my initial experience with the film, renting it on an off-chance and putting it into watch late one night with no idea of what to expect. I did try to rewatch it in an equally sleep-deprived state, but no dice: I was too tired last night for that to happen.

Talk to Her is Almodóvar's next best film after The Skin I Live In for my money, so probably a good place to start. It was one of the first films that I saw from Almodóvar and almost worlds apart from the goofy 80s comedies that he began his career on.

Yours:

Yep, I really liked The Invisible Guest. I definitely did not see that ending coming (and I am suspicious of those who claim that they did). Best of all though was the way I felt that my sympathies kept swaying back and forth. Very dynamic film and loved all of those alternate version of events replayed flashbacks. I would not watch Mirage unless you're desperate and out of other options of films to see. One of those films where you are always too many steps ahead of the main character to feel for her struggles.

The fifth Friday the 13th is the only other film of yours that I have seen. I think I liked it the least of the nine main films when I rewatched them all a few years ago. What a random film to put in for a rewatch; I would definitely go for Part 6 were I to solo-rewatch any of them. That one rocked!
Former IMDb message boards user // iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | My top 750 films // Long live the new flesh!
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#7

Post by peeptoad » May 24th, 2020, 4:34 pm

sol wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 3:35 pm
Power is back on now. :sweat:
:thumbsup:
sol wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 3:35 pm
Yours:

Yep, I really liked The Invisible Guest. I definitely did not see that ending coming (and I am suspicious of those who claim that they did). Best of all though was the way I felt that my sympathies kept swaying back and forth. Very dynamic film and loved all of those alternate version of events replayed flashbacks. I would not watch Mirage unless you're desperate and out of other options of films to see. One of those films where you are always too many steps ahead of the main character to feel for her struggles.

The fifth Friday the 13th is the only other film of yours that I have seen. I think I liked it the least of the nine main films when I rewatched them all a few years ago. What a random film to put in for a rewatch; I would definitely go for Part 6 were I to solo-rewatch any of them. That one rocked!
Thanks for the tip on Mirage. I might wait on it (even though you just pulled ahead of me in the challenge, so I see what your motive is here). :P :D
The F13 film I saw wasn't a rewatch (for me, unless I misunderstood what you said). It was pretty bad. I still have the rest of the sequels after that one to see for TSZDT so I'll be seeing the but none are a priority. (Neither are the NOES sequels I haven't seen, for that matter) :yucky:

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#8

Post by prodigalgodson » May 24th, 2020, 8:15 pm

Another great week!

A Tale of Winter (Eric Rohmer, 1992) 8/10

Made me smile to be back in Rohmer's world; all those little ironies, nuances, mischaracterizations paint such a genuine, relatable, and across the course of his career, encompassing portrait of humanity. His exacting dialogue illuminates the inner essences of the characters and constructs consistent, philosophically sound exchanges, mostly focused on the complications of human passions, affording us a glance into a realm of effortless insight. Most of his films have such a warm palate its refreshing to see one cast shadowless by a wintry sky; the interiors maintain the vibe with gainy low lighting. It's also one of his tightest films, with a lovely musical editing rhythm; shit just flows. It ultimately hones in on a theme of faith, harking back to the Pascal preoccupation of the Moral Tales with the payoff of The Green Ray. I'm not crazy about the tidiness of the ending, but I'm not sure I'm supposed to be -- the lack of some final irony is certainly unexpected. There's also a dig at Godardian politics that made me laugh:

"I just know it's in America."
"North?"
*rolls eyes* "I assume."

Sorry that review's a little wordy haha, but maybe a propos.

Angels Over Broadway (Ben Hecht, 1940) 4/10

Odd yet somehow fitting solo directorial debut for an acclaimed studio screenwriter: facile talky student-film-parody Hollywood dialogue drowning the rare clever line, and a stiff, occasionally successful attempt to emulate the proto-noir poetic-expressionist aesthetic (despite the trappings, it's no more noir than It's a Wonderful Life). Despite all that I found myself rooting halfheartedly for these pretentious nincompoops by the end, and it became more fun when I started thinking of it as a sentimental, poorly-acted Seinfeld precursor. The fact that Ben Hecht wrote so many of Howard Hawks' best films of the 30s testifies to the genius of that most underrated Hollywood auteur.

Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sangsoo, 2015) 7/10

Another fascinating reflection on how we construct truth and reality, and the various possibilities arising from divergent behaviors, from the master. It uses Hong's signature doubled story to present different subjective perspectives of similar events, the second variation being more awkward (a recurring word in the dialogue), generally less flattering to Hong's philandering proxy, and, it's hinted in Kim Min-hee's dialogue, a more honest interpretation of events (her doubled performance particularly stands out). I love seeing the evolution of his protagonists as Hong's stature grows as a director, and especially appreciate his timely grappling with me-too-related themes given that he's largely built his career on a lecherous reputation (ironically, the filming of this led to an affair between Kim and Hong that formed the basis for one of his wisest and most fully realized meditations a couple years later, On the Beach at Night Alone). There are some classic Hong set pieces: the usual temple and sake bar scenes, a drunken shindig in a claustrophobic apartment walled in by bookshelves and plastered posters of the likes of Magritte and Carax, and a film festival Q&A with about five people in an otherwise empty auditorium. Overall it didn't blow me away, but it's a worthy piece of one of cinema's great tapestries, and damn it made me crave a cigarette.

Mackenna's Gold (J. Lee Thompson, 1969) 6/10

Doesn't live up to the promise of the opening, but despite a jerky rhythm, some technical shortcomings, and a briefly overstuffed cast it's a solid adventure. The landscape and sky direct themselves beautifully, perfect for this kind of larger-than-life pseudo-fantasy western. The theme song slaps too, Quincy Jones is that dude.

Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror, 1973) 9/10

A raw, elegant tale of oppression and resistance set in colonial Angola but shot in the Congo. It generally follows three parallel stories, with abundant ancillary details to flesh out the social portrait: the brutality endured by a laborer abducted by the Portuguese police, the quest of his wife (and newborn) to find out where he's being held, and the machinations of the underground anticolonial network he led, ultimately setting the stage for revolution and Angolan independence. Even in this low-res rip of a weathered, washed-out print, this is immersive and poetic political filmmaking of the highest order. I just found out the director Sarah Maldoror (whose husband was the founder of the Angolan communist party and liberation front) died earlier this week from COVID; rest in peace.

Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001) 6/10

"Where are we? This is such a weird neighborhood."
"This is a totally normal, average neighborhood."

One of the earliest portrayals of millennial malaise I remember seeing -- it even drops in some "you really wanna fuck up the system? Go to business school!" spiel that's so popular in some circles today -- that still has the nostalgia factor of an era that naively thought it was post-everything. Nicely distills the emotional fallout of the irony age, but it's not always fun spending the time with such an indiscriminately judgmental misanthrope to get there. Thora Birch's generationally archetypal teen lead follows in the tradition of Daria or Larry David without the wit and self-awareness; the fact that she would quickly be dismissed as an insecure hater today contributes to the time-capsule element. I kind of wavered between contempt for her and her cohort of eccentric snobs and sadness at how much they're gonna have to change for society. Ultimately I found it fairly enjoyable and moving, and I appreciate its genuine, unhypocritical take on the subject matter.

The Decameron (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971) 7/10

“But I wonder: why complete work when it’s so beautiful just to dream it.”

I was thinking something along the lines of this closing quotation a couple times while watching this...Pasolini's appeal somehow lies so much more in potential than execution. Accattone is by far my favorite, because I feel like his jagged earthy style suits that material best, but it's pretty well adapted to this nuttiness too (I haven't read the book, but I assume this takes major liberties with Boccaccio ). There are some beautiful moments to go with the falling into toilets and nun orgies, and despite its unevenness the anthology approach weaves together a lovely if soiled tapestry.

The Forest for the Trees (Maren Ade, 2003) 6/10

It's refreshing to see something with such a low-budget film festival vibe. It's also my first film from Maren Ade, and it's nice to see the roots of an acclaimed director who came up this century (an increasingly rare phenomenon). She seems to have a casually intuitive sense of good framing and rhythm, communicating her ideas with efficiency and wit. It's hilariously sad being alone in a new city and the brief collections of shots that constitute different scenes convey this exquisitely. It's hard not to think of Fassbinder with its tragically naive but seriously maladjusted protagonist, harsh depiction of German society, and creeping sense of unease, but its portrayal of social awkwardness and casual paranoia feel very modern. It ends up a little too ambiguous and slight for me, but a promising debut.

Landscape Suicide (James Benning, 1987) 10/10

Benning's true crime masterpiece, mystical and horrifying.

The Canterbury Tales (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1972) 5/10

An aesthetic step up from The Decameron and a step down into crassness. It tears through exquisitely dressed scenes in Pasolini's rough-hewn style at a disorienting gallop that gives its goofiness and grotesquerie a thankfully fly-by feel. The contradictions in his sensibilities are more striking than ever, and as usual it's hard to know what to take away.

River of Grass (Kelly Reichardt, 1994) 8/10

Pretty punk rock meditation on American decay centering around a deadpan "crime spree" whose targets include a laundromat dryer and a mother's record collection. Part of an indie Americana tradition with its roots in the late 60s/early 70s that saw a resurgence 20 years later with the popularity of Jarmusch and Korine. Reichardt didn't achieve their level of fame until more recently but this exhibits a more refined eye for composition and a more innate sense of casual poetry than almost any modern directorial debut I've seen. It's no less formally impressive but a little less interesting to me personally once it settles into a more traditional narrative, but its unspooling into sad absurdity ultimately pays off in spades.

Everyone Else (Maren Ade, 2009) 7/10

More assured than The Forest for the Trees, but tackles in a lower-key mode the same themes of isolation and communication barriers. It makes me think how few realistic portrayals of romantic relationships I've seen proportional to their significance to most peoples' lives, and it's cool to see a filmmaker tackle that. It doesn't make for the most dramatic material, but Ade makes it cinematic in an unimposing way, and it's a substantive if breezy watch.

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#9

Post by OldAle1 » May 24th, 2020, 8:35 pm

Hey I'm caught up! Funny about your power situation -- I was worried about mine all last night, we had severe weather going on for 3-4 hours including a tornado that apparently touched down no more than 2-3 km from where I"m typing this. All fine now though and it's sunny, calm, and the hottest day we've had this year so far by several degrees.

This Film ROCKED
This Film SUCKED

The Crimson Kimono (Sam Fuller, 1959) (re-watch)

TCM. Don't know how long since I first saw this - remembered very little of it though the awesome opening chase-murder sequence, shot without permit at night on the seedy streets of L.A., certainly had imprinted itself on my memory. As Eddie Muller points out, this is less "noir" or "cime" than it is melodrama about miscegenation - the common term at the time - specifically a love triangle involving Japanese cop James Shigeta, his white partner Glenn Corbett, and their mutual desire for Victoria Shaw, an artist involved slightly in a murder case. This is definitely notable for that element, a rarity in Hollywood films at the time, and the resolution of the drama in particular, and for it's excellent location work in mostly less desirable or ethnic enclave parts of the City of Angels, but for me the always-punchy and blunt dialogue that you expect from Fuller makes this a little bit laughable at times, and takes away from some of the realism of the romantic situations, and it doesn't do the actors many favors, especially Corbett. Still watchable and enjoyable with some good set-pieces, but a lesser Fuller IMO and one that doesn't hold up as well as it's memory.

Hot Shots! (Jim Abrahams, 1991)

Here Abrahams is divorced from creative partners the Zucker brothers, out on his own (with co-screenwriter Pat Proft sharing joke-making duties this time), but turning in something not all that different from their earlier hits. This is mostly a parody of Top Gun, but like the best of the ZAZ films, and unlike so many of the awful spoof movies of the last couple of decades, it is neither tied to slavishly satirizing one big hit, nor creating long streams of too-topical jokes that nobody will get a few years later. In fact overall it seems - dare I say it - a might restrained compared to so many bad comedies of later years, and maybe a little restrained compared to the earlier ZAZ films too, which works against it just a bit - maybe a little too much reliance on the story of hotshot pilot Charlie Sheen and his romance with Valeria Golino, maybe not quite enough jokes per minute. And Lloyd Bridges while pretty entertaining as the Admiral with an impossible level of senility as well as body parts replaced after service in every war from the last century, gets a little tiresome - it's basically a retread of his Airplane! work and that of other older stars in the earlier films like Nielsen and Graves. Still this is fairly amusing overall; I suppose I skipped it when new because it looked stupid, and I wasn't yet auteurist enough to appreciate Abrahams' work, nor all that interested in mainstream comedy.

True Lies (James Cameron, 1994) (re-watch)

3rd viewing probably. This one I did see new, and once later - I think maybe 12-15 years ago. And this one doesn't really hold up overall, though I still get enough out of it to give it the ol' thumbs-up. It's the bigger-is-better school of action-comedy, which careful readers of my ouevre on the subject will know really isn't my thing. But I like Arnold, I like Jamie Lee Curtis, and it's an amusing enough idea - the woman married to the spy who doesn't know he's a spy - and it's all put together reasonably well, The not so great aspects are the creepy suspicion that Arnold develops about his wife - never once acknowledging that she would have every right to be suspicious of his secret life - and the extent to which that motivates the whole plot. Kinda makes me queasy; then again having the irreplaceable Bill Paxton as the smooth operator type who's romancing Curtis was a brilliant piece of casting and every scene with him is gold. And the action is all very well done, though the last scene is just too fucking sill for me. Enjoyable still, but certainly a lesser film for both director and Austrian muscleman.

Grey Gardens (the Maysles/Ellen Hovde/Muffie Meyer, 1975)

TCM. I'm a little ambivalent about thinking of this as a "comedy" but then I tend to be ambivalent about most documentaries also having genre designations. It's not like there was necessarily any "design" for comedy here, though parts of it are funny. But most of this is rather sad, a story of missed opportunities and choices made for perhaps the wrong reasons, particularly on the part of "Little" Edie, the younger of the two same-named women ("Big" Edie is her mother) who inhabit a rambling and decaying old house in the Hamptons, who are close relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy but seem by the 1970s to inhabit a world of their own. One of the striking things about this to me - somebody who tends to be interested in architecture in films - is that we only see a couple of rooms in the many-roomed house; whether this is because the film crew was only allowed in a few spaces, or the rest of the house was in even worse repair, I don't know. It's a fascinating portrait of isolation and an unhealthy, needy relationship, and it makes me wonder what my life might have been like had I lived with my mother even longer than I did.

The Return of the Living Dead (Dan O'Bannon, 1985)

Watched this because RedLetterMedia - a big chunk of the 80s-90s genre movies I watch probably can have their viewing attributed to this channel, thanks guys! This was on a Re:View a while back and I had never watched the film, so I finally got around to it and watched the review afterwards. SPOILER ALERT no spoilers here but if you do watch RLM regularly, don't watch this episode until you watch the film, because this does have a rather surprising (and fun/depressing at the same time) ending. As the guys note, this is not really primarily a comedy, rather a horror film with a fair amount of humor, most of it in the behavior of the punkish dumb kids playing around in the cemetery - one of the girls (Linnea Quigley under a must-get-nude contractual obligation) dancing around totally naked because graveyards get her hot, and some of the early dialogue between medical supply warehouse employees Frank and Freddy (James Karen and Thom Matthews). But mostly this is a reasonably scary and gory zombie apocalypse film in which our bumbling medical-supply guys accidentally set off a chain reaction that results in the dead arising in a large graveyard in Louisville, KY, and ultimately a government response. It's a solid, fun film and if I liked zombie films more I'd probably love it, as it is...it's fine. BRAINS!!!

Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi / Winnetou and the Half-Breed (Harald Philippe, 1966)

The 9th Winnetou film and the 5th I've seen - apart from those numbered 1,2, and 3 (actually the 2nd, 4th and 7th films) there really isn't any meaningful continuity as near as I can tell, and in fact one of the main characters is killed in Winnetou - 3.Teil so it really doesn't matter what order one watches them in. Not that most people will anyway, as these German/Yugoslavian productions remain much less well-known than even some of the lesser Italian productions. It's a shame really because, as I believe I mentioned in a review during last year's challenge, they're pretty different from both the American films of the 50s and early 60s and the spaghetti cycle, and the gorgeous Yugoslavian scenery gives you something very different to look at than the typically dry and parched Spanish exteriors you find in most Euro-westerns from this period. In tone they're closer to Hollywood I guess, though the deep friendship between Winnetou and his Apaches, and Old Shatterhand (played respectively here as in most episodes by Pierre Brice and Lex Barker) seems out of place in the more racist American films that were the norm; even when a white man is friends with an Indian it's never on the brotherly level we see in these films.

Anyway after all that intro is out of the way... this is unfortunately the weakest of the Winnetous I've seen by far, with a simple plot (gold mine that is supposed to go to halfbreed girl who is friends with Winnetou gets found by greedy whites, they plan to take it) turning into a very tiresome all-out war between a gang of criminals and the people of a town in which the whole damn town pretty much gets wiped out and dozens die. For nothing, really. I know the point of the film is about how lust for gold turns (white) men's hearts rotten but it's just not well thought-out and the whole thing just seems to be an excuse for a really huge ending set-piece, which is just OK. The beginning segment with Winnetou saving a young boy from an attacking eagle, is pretty good, and the music and scenery terrific as always, but this is not one to push on people who haven't seen any in this series - it might well keep them from watching more.

Hot Shots! Part Deux (Jim Abrahams, 1993)

The ineveitable sequel, given that the first film was a huge hit, grossing 7x it's budget. This one is mostly a parody of Rambo but like the first film it doesn't adhere too closely to imitating that one film, and there are a great many other specific film references here, mostly done pretty well and none better than the perfect way they managed to bring in Martin Sheen (father of star Charlie) to reference both Apocalypse Now and Wall Street at the same time in the same shot. There's also a body count total that references Robocop and Total Recall and a sex scene that according to IMDb is a parody of one in No Way Out - but I think there are similar sequences in films like 9 1/2 Weeks; both this film and the previous one have moments where they go into the erotic-thriller joke mode. Pretty much on the level of the previous film. Now I need to go back and re-watch Police Squad and some of the earlier ZAZ stuff that I haven't seen in forever.

Lonesome Cowboys (Andy Warhol, 1968)

I'm just going to echo what was said by sol in his review - this is dull stuff, with sound so poor that very little can be understood in some scenes, not that the seemingly improvised nearly stream-of-consciousness dialogue is of much import. I guess it's a satire on the western on some level, OK, but it's mostly an excuse for lots of beefcake posing and almost a thumbing of the nose at any kind of conventional cinema. Which would be fine if it was cinematically interesting at all, and apart from a kind of neat use of jump cuts from time to time, it just isn't. Was Andy Warhol a "troll" as flavo suggests? I dunno. I've liked a couple of his shorts, found the two feature-length films I've seen (this and Vinyl) fairly unbearable and tedious. I'm all in favor of shattering norms and showing us other sides of the world, of cinema, and I don't even necessarily dislike amateurism, but Warhol's world is an incredibly shallow, no, surface-oriented one, all cute guys strutting and fretting in cowboy fashions, a tale told by a poser, signifying nothing.

Captain Caution (Richard Wallace, 1940)

I love pirate movies and all the various adventure-type films from classic Hollywood, but I'm afraid I've been hitting the law of diminishing returns lately. Admittedly this was one I'd never heard of and it doesn't carry a great rating or anything, but it happened to be on TV so what the hell? Victor Mature is in love with Captain's daughter Louise Platt, who swears vengeance against the British when her father is killed during an attack in the War of 1812 - which he ship's crew didn't know was going on yet. This is kind of a typical pirate film of the type where characters keep changing sides, getting captured, breaking out, pursuing each other, etc, and it's got OK action and production design for a modest b/w film of the era, and it's got Mature who I always like, and Bruce Cabot is really solid as his rival who you know from about the first 5 minutes will turn out to be a conniving scoundrel. But all in all it's kind of a snooze in the end.

Shalako (Edward Dmytryk, 1968)
Viva Maria! (Louis Malle, 1965)
Les pétroleuses / Frenchie King (Christian-Jacque, 1971)

Many people don't know this, but before Brigitte Bardot made headlines as an animal-rights activist and racist supporter of fascists and authoritarians, she was an actress, singer and sex symbol. True story! And she made three westerns and I just happened to watch them all in a row, an experience I don't really strongly recommend to anyone.

Shalako is far and away the best of them, a primarily British production shot on location in Spain, with an international cast headed by Sean Connery as your typical tracker/scout character who is a loner and much smarter than the stupid English hunters who go into an Indian reservation and arrogantly think they can fight off hordes of natives with their very small numbers (but superior fire-power). Connery of course argues that they'll all get killed, they don't listen, and he has to try to save them, helped by Bardot - one of the best shots in the bunch - but hindered at various times by her maybe-fiancee Peter van Eyck and other uppity Brits and cynical soldier types, including Stephen Boyd and Jack Hawkins. Woody Strode is also on hand as Chato, the most aggressive of the Apaches opposing them. Dunno why this has a low rating and never seems to get mentioned by anybody - it's nothing great, with a plot that's been done a million times, but it's well constructed and acted and reasonably exciting. Would be better if the zero hint of romance between Bardot and Connery that covers the first half of the film had been maintained - it's pretty silly seeing them make out when there are only a few of the group left and the Apaches could attack at any moment.

Viva Maria! was, along with the Warhol western above, one of the last two films on the BFI list for me to see...Platinum now, baby. And you know, when the last couple of films you see on a list suck, you wonder if it was worth it - but then you're glad it's all done at least. This story of a French actress (Jeanne Moreau) and a French-Irish terrorist (Bardot) joining together first to do a travelling cabaret act in central America in the early days of last century, then transforming into revolutionaries, feels like Pontecorvo's Queimada if it had been written and directed by the creative team behind Hogan's Heroes. It doesn't start out so bad but it's just such a fucking stupid failed farce at the end that I couldn't wait for it to end. I've generally liked Malle's films, and I'm sure he was trying to do something interesting and different here - and he does succeed sometimes with weird genre mash-ups like Black Moon a decade later - but for me at least this was just an unholy mess.

Les pétroleuses is a little better - but not much - probably because it's not trying so hard to do anything other than be a sexy, silly farce. Claudia Cardinale is the one sister and head of a family with four brothers who matches up against Brigitte Bardot and her four sisters (or are they just friends? wasn't clear, didn't care) for control of a property containing lots of oil. It takes place in a small town in Texas that was settled by the French, thus explaining why everybody (except Michael J. Pollard in an amusing turn as the sheriff) speaks French. Really just an excuse to see lots of hot European babes frolic around in their petticoats and dresses (hey, this is strictly PG territory except for one very brief shot) for an hour and a half, but that's enough to make it almost watchable.

TV & OTHER

Watched the RLM Re:View of Return of the Living Dead which had some pretty good insights into Dan O'Bannon, this film in particular, and the scream queens of the 80s; also the long-awaited Plinkett deconstruction of Star Trek: Picard which IMO is not Mike's finest hour, though it's miles better than Picard, but then again so is pretty much every TV show or movie ever. And after all the time I've spent watching and re-watching Frasier I decided to start going through Cheers which I'd seen several episodes of new but never really tried to go through systematically. Watched the first 5 episodes and...they're pretty good, but nothing exciting. Still have a little bit of the 70s sitcom vibe to me; I can't really explain it, don't really have the language for it, but that decade was overall pretty dumbed-down when it comes to American TV (and not just the comedies), and there is at least a little bit of an intelligence revival that begins in the 80s. Cheers was part of that I think but it's only intermittently evident in these early episodes which rely a little too much on insult humor and easy fish-out-of-water gags. Still, looking forward to continuing for a while.

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#10

Post by Chilton » May 25th, 2020, 8:01 am

Short and sweet, no new favourites this week, but plenty of other nice stuff.

On MUBI:
The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, 1971) ★★½
Stuffy British period dramas will never be my thing. This wasn't all that bad, some nice shots and Julie Christie is riveting as always, but ultimately it failed to engage me. My second Losey after The Servant, which I give the same rating, but liked slightly more.

赤線地帯 / Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956) ★★★★
:( :( Heartbreaking film with an absolutely devastating final shot to finish off a directorial career. My fourth Mizoguchi, he hasn't disappointed so far.

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946) ★★★
Enjoyable noir and Barbara Stanwyck is always worth three stars.


On Netflix:
Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013) ★★★½
My fourth film by Bong and this might be the worst one, but it's still a absurdly funny ride. It's English-language, but still the Koreans are carrying this film. Some strange plot developments but it all looks nice, so we're good.

新世紀エヴァンゲリオン / Neon Genesis Evangelion (final three episodes of the series) ★★★★
新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版 / Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki, 1997) ★★★★
:shrug: Yeah, I don't know whatever the hell that was, but I liked it. A mecha anime of biblical proportions with an existential crisis and also Freud? Somehow I feel I would've worshipped this, if I had watched it when I was 20, maybe I'm getting old. Netflix also has the Death (True)2 film, but that looks like it's safe to skip, as it's just a recap of the whole series and the first half of the movie? I also found out NF didn't want to buy the rights to 'Fly Me to the Moon', the closing credits song :down: Looking forward to watching the new trilogy somewhere some day.

Community (Rewatch of S3E03+04)
Also watched the first episode of Extras on the Beeb.

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#11

Post by sol » May 25th, 2020, 9:44 am

peeptoad wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 4:34 pm
The F13 film I saw wasn't a rewatch (for me, unless I misunderstood what you said). It was pretty bad. I still have the rest of the sequels after that one to see for TSZDT so I'll be seeing the but none are a priority. (Neither are the NOES sequels I haven't seen, for that matter) :yucky:
Huh, I guess I just assumed that as a massive horror buff you would have already seen all the Friday the 13th sequels by now. I have seen them all; the first eight sequels twice and the original multiple times. Lucky you; all the sequels get better after Part 5, the nadir of the series. Part 6 is the best with a comedy spin on things, but Part 7 is pretty interesting too by trying to make it more about a young girl than Jason, then Part 8 delightfully changes the setting. Part 9 tries to do something interesting with a supernatural element, but I am not a big fan of it. Part 10 is set in space and probably the weakest since Part 5, but Freddy vs. Jason is quite fun if you make it that far.

A Nightmare on Elm Street also has a pretty dire fifth part (same with Halloween too, come to think of it...), but most of the Nightmare sequels are actually very good. Part 2 not so much, but Parts 4 and 6 are pretty interesting, while Parts 3 and 7 are almost as good as the original. Really, of the three major horror franchises that were big during the 1980s, it is Halloween that has the most dud sequels despite the original being the most critically acclaimed.

OldAle1 wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:35 pm
Hey I'm caught up! Funny about your power situation -- I was worried about mine all last night, we had severe weather going on for 3-4 hours including a tornado that apparently touched down no more than 2-3 km from where I"m typing this. All fine now though and it's sunny, calm, and the hottest day we've had this year so far by several degrees.
Apparently, I was among the lucky ones. While some were more fortunate than me (no power loss at all), others apparently to wait over 12 hours for the power to be restored. It's a terribly antsy position to be in, especially when the weather is wet and wild outside since driving somewhere else for a few hours is not a safe option.

Thanks for reading my Lonesome Cowboys review. What a coincidence that we both saw it within 48 hours of each other, though I guess that's more down to gamification since the film is tagged as Comedy on IMDb. Speaking of which, I didn't find anything funny at the film at all, though as you've said, it is impossible to make out most of the dialogue, so who knows? Unlike flavo, I would like to believe that Warhol had something artistic and deliberately subversive in mind to say with the film (and, well, we do have gay cowboys who philosophise about loneliness and question their gang raping ways) but it all gets really buried underneath the repetitiveness of it. There is no way that the film needed to be 1 hour and 45 minutes long.

I'm too tired to comment on most of the rest of yours this week, but Viva Maria! deserves a mention as a film that I didn't get much out of the first time, but which I quite liked upon revision. Messy sure, but I liked the lead performances and the whole inadvertent invention of the striptease was pretty neat. I laughed more than I expected the second time, but I think all of Malle's work is best entered into with super-low expectations. I don't know if there is a more wildly uneven director out there, or at least not short of Robert Altman - whose varying film quality most came down to purposely tackling the hardest scripts to film.
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#12

Post by Onderhond » May 25th, 2020, 10:16 am

@sol:
Liked Véronica (3.5*) a bit more than you did, if you get the chance though gives this Véronica a try. It was on Netflix some time ago, a bit more author/arthouse but still very genre. Also really liked Errementari (3.5*), though a bit too comical/rubbery to be a real favorite. I like these creative dark fantasies though, you don't see too many of those around. I've also seen Talk to Her (3.0*), but really don't remember too much of that one. I'm not the biggest Almodóvar fan, though this was one of his better ones.

@peeptoad:
Not sure if you're familiar with Dick Maas, but don't expect anything too serious. There's a big CG lion and some larger than life characters, making it all very cheesy. I'm not surprised this film did well in China. From yours I watched Contratiempo (2.5*), which was a bit too twisty for my liking, The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2.0*) which I think is quite overrated, Friday the 13th V (1.5*) which I think is a pretty shit series as a whole and Insidious (4.0*), which I liked a lot at the time. It doesn't feel like a film that will survive a second viewing though.

@prodigalgodson:
Only saw Ghost World (4.0*) from yours, but that film is due a rewatch. Not quite sure it'll keep its rating. I think I've grown a bit more allergic to these kind of characters over time.

OldAle1:
I really liked the Hot Shots (3.0* - 2.5*) films when I was a kid. Still decent fun, but the comedy hasn't aged all that well. True Lies (2.0*) is a film I didn't really care for, then again it's Cameron so no surprises there. And The Return of the Living Dead (2.5*) is a pretty decent 80s horror comedy.

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#13

Post by peeptoad » May 25th, 2020, 11:33 am

sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 9:44 am
Huh, I guess I just assumed that as a massive horror buff you would have already seen all the Friday the 13th sequels by now. I have seen them all;
:party:
sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 9:44 am
...the first eight sequels twice and the original multiple times. Lucky you; all the sequels get better after Part 5, the nadir of the series. Part 6 is the best with a comedy spin on things, but Part 7 is pretty interesting too by trying to make it more about a young girl than Jason, then Part 8 delightfully changes the setting. Part 9 tries to do something interesting with a supernatural element, but I am not a big fan of it. Part 10 is set in space and probably the weakest since Part 5, but Freddy vs. Jason is quite fun if you make it that far.

A Nightmare on Elm Street also has a pretty dire fifth part (same with Halloween too, come to think of it...), but most of the Nightmare sequels are actually very good. Part 2 not so much, but Parts 4 and 6 are pretty interesting, while Parts 3 and 7 are almost as good as the original. Really, of the three major horror franchises that were big during the 1980s, it is Halloween that has the most dud sequels despite the original being the most critically acclaimed.
The first F13 is a very weak 6 for me. In fact the first time I rewatched it (after I began rating films about 15 years ago) I rated it a 5.5/10. That's the first one... the one that is supposed to be best. The original NOES I rate about the same. Though the surreal qualities bumped it up very slightly I loathe the comedic elements interwoven throughout, and these became more prominent with the sequels. I had a long history on the IMDB horror board of people trying to sell me on slashers since I never cared for them. It was only when I began seeking out the more obscure ones that I gave them some sort of credence, but they have never been my favorite as far as horror goes hence I have not wasted my time on many of the franchise sequels for NOES or F13.
Having free access during quarantine lockdown is likely my best bet for watching F13 and NOES sequels; maybe a terrible, prolonged blizzard accompanied by un-ending boredom would be the next best environment for seeing the rest of those someday...

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#14

Post by peeptoad » May 25th, 2020, 11:48 am

Onderhond wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 10:16 am
Friday the 13th V (1.5*) which I think is a pretty shit series as a whole and Insidious (4.0*), which I liked a lot at the time. It doesn't feel like a film that will survive a second viewing though.
Yep, on F13. Crap series, so far anyway.
Insidious was the epitome of derivation for me: nothing original, not entirely scary to begin with and the gross overuse of jump scares/startle effects didn't serve to help the issue any. It did have some vaguely interesting stylistic qualities and the ghostbusting comedic duo (those two guys) were mildly amusing; that's about the best praise I've got for it.

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#15

Post by joachimt » May 25th, 2020, 11:52 am

I watched a lot, but didn't like most of them.

El violín AKA The Violin (2005, 1 official list, 313 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's in WC 2A.
Best movie I watched this week, but still not enough to vote for it in the match.
Arizona Dream (1993, 1 official list, 2599 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Even though it's an American cast, set in America, it still has a Kusturica vibe I enjoyed.
Brouillard: Passage #14 (2014, 1 official list, 45 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Pretty.
Le père Noël est une ordure (1982, 1 official list, 871 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Quite enjoyable silly movie.
Mirch Masala AKA Spices (1987, 1 official list, 156 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Story was a bit thin, but the scenes at the spice factory were pretty good.
Flatlife (2004, 1 official list, 159 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Fun little short.
Hak se wui: Yi woo wai kwai AKA Election 2 (2006, 2 official lists, 461 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Standard gangster stuff. Nothing special.
Pinocchio (1911, 1 official list, 33 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official feature shorter than 70 minutes.
Fun early silent feature, just not very special.
Wild Flowers (2016, 1 official list, 13 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official feature shorter than 70 minutes.
The female character was interesting. I had a very hard time though to empathize with the male character. We hardly know anything about him. Why does he follow her?
Za sciana AKA Behind the Wall (1971, 1 official list, 13 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official feature shorter than 70 minutes.
Okay, but with the short runtime the characters weren't really worked out very well.
Aftermath (1994, 1 official list, 381 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Sick stuff.
Passing Through (1977, 1 official list, 18 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's on the Rosenbaum list.
The excitement when something rare pops up is often more fun than the movie itself.
Schramm AKA Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer (1993, 1 official list, 183 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's an official feature shorter than 70 minutes.
The things we watch for a check…... I looked away at the penis scene.
The Secret Garden (1988, 1 official list, 35 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's an official short.
I've already forgotten which one this was.
Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis (2009, 1 official list, 61 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Epileptic trees with annoying music.
Bobby (1973, 1 official list, 369 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Extremely cheesy and mediocre story. First it takes almost an hour to set up their love. Then we get the standard misunderstanding which makes her to go away and him chasing her. It is resolve pretty sudden actually compared to the long time it took to set up their love. And then we're only halfway the movie. Ah well, Bollywood, I should have known. Ugly camerawork as well. The girl did fine though. Surprised that actress was actually 16 years old, playing a 16 year old girl in the movie.
Coffy (1973, 2 official lists, 1593 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Plex.
I really don't understand all the decent ratings I'm seeing from my kumpels on Criticker (meaning you guys). The acting is horrible, the fighting scenes are ridiculous, the story hardly makes sense and the director is just thinking of pathetic ways to show boobies. On the other hand it's not in the so-bad-it's-good-league, so what are you guys seeing in this? Maybe if you like soul music? Or is it a lame attempt to make fun of this criminal part of society? If so, it falls flat.
The Brain That Wouldn't Die AKA The Head That Wouldn't Die (1962, 2 official lists, 791 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Plex.
Dull.
Tony Manero (2008, 2 official lists, 675 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
He's an asshole, but we have no idea why. He can grab any tit he likes and every woman lets him fuck her, but we have no idea why. He's obsessed with John Travolta, but he looks pathetic. He randomly kills people, but we have no idea why. Oh right, he's a psychopath. That was clear from the beginning. No change in character. End of movie.
Variations (1998, 1 official list, 42 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Complete random shots. Some shots were nice, most not.
La película infinita AKA The Endless Film (2018, 1 official list, 39 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's an official feature shorter than 70 minutes.
The background is a bit interesting, but you have to know what it's about before going into the movie. If you don't, like I did, it just looks like a mess of random scenes put together.
S:TREAM:S:S:ECTION:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED (1971, 1 official list, 26 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Sigh.
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#16

Post by Onderhond » May 25th, 2020, 11:55 am

peeptoad wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 11:48 am
Insidious was the epitome of derivation for me: nothing original, not entirely scary to begin with and the gross overuse of jump scares/startle effects didn't serve to help the issue any. It did have some vaguely interesting stylistic qualities and the ghostbusting comedic duo (those two guys) were mildly amusing; that's about the best praise I've got for it.
Lovely tune too, that's the thing that still sticks to my brain.

Personally I don't mind jump scares that much, they're like every other cinematic technique, where there's good and bad ways to do them. As for originality, it's probably easy to point to a range of older films that did similar things as Insidious, on the other hand Wan created an entire niche of likeminded films that dominated the horror box office for the past 10 years, so there was definitely something there that felt new and fresh. I'm temporarily done with the niche because of overexposure, but looking back at my score I do remember it being a film that was actually quite tense and scary, something horror films hadn't really been for me in the 15 years before that.

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#17

Post by sol » May 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Onderhond wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 10:16 am
@sol:
Liked Véronica (3.5*) a bit more than you did, if you get the chance though gives this Véronica a try. It was on Netflix some time ago, a bit more author/arthouse but still very genre. Also really liked Errementari (3.5*), though a bit too comical/rubbery to be a real favorite. I like these creative dark fantasies though, you don't see too many of those around. I've also seen Talk to Her (3.0*), but really don't remember too much of that one. I'm not the biggest Almodóvar fan, though this was one of his better ones.
Actually, I think the other Véronica is still on Netflix AU because I had trouble finding the right one to watch last week, both in Spanish too. :ermm: Must remember that for our next Mexican Challenge (later this year). Heh, I hate dark fantasy/religion films in general so the comedy (taunting the demon) was actually the highlight of Errementari for me. And yeah, Talk to Her is definitely one of Almodóvar's better films; second best for my money.

Yours:

Agreed about the rewatchability of Tropic Thunder. Can't remember why off-hand, but I preferred the original Phantasm, though neither one are John Dies at the End. Disliked Beginners outside of Christopher Plummer's performance. Recall it being really sentimental and trying too hard to be quirky? I don't know. It's been.... eight or nine years.

I am with you all the way on Booksmart though. "Wilde puts in more heart and drama. Ultimately, that just made things worse." - that sums it up well.

peeptoad wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 11:33 am
The first F13 is a very weak 6 for me. In fact the first time I rewatched it (after I began rating films about 15 years ago) I rated it a 5.5/10. That's the first one... the one that is supposed to be best. The original NOES I rate about the same. Though the surreal qualities bumped it up very slightly I loathe the comedic elements interwoven throughout, and these became more prominent with the sequels.
:( A Nightmare on Elm Street is an all-time top 100 for me and a big factor in my horror-loving growing up. Friday the 13th I like less, shoddy characters and all, but it in terms of mood and atmosphere (taking the Halloween POV shots to a whole new level; the taunting semi-vocal score), it gets top marks in my books.
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#18

Post by OldAle1 » May 25th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Fun little discussion about Jason & Freddy guys - not being nearly the horror fan that peeps, Ond or sol are, I can't quite get into the minutia, particularly wrt the Friday the 13th series which I think of as almost entirely worthless garbage, with only the first, fourth and sixth films hitting the "OK" level. A Nightmare on Elm Street for me was very, very consistent but that consistency is in the 6-7 range which for a high rater like me isn't saying much. Let's just say I did enjoy them enough that I might watch the series again someday, while I can't imagine what would possess me to watch any of the Jason films again, especially given just how many 80s-90s slasher films there are out there that I haven't seen (including the entire Halloween series apart from the first), which are probably on average no worse than the average Jason turd.

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#19

Post by Onderhond » May 25th, 2020, 12:55 pm

sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
Actually, I think the other Véronica is still on Netflix AU because I had trouble finding the right one to watch last week, both in Spanish too.
Good to see it's still on there. On the other hand, that's probably the reason why there's still no decent physical release for it. That's the one thing I really hate about Netflix: they hog films for digital-only.
sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
Heh, I hate dark fantasy/religion films in general so the comedy (taunting the demon) was actually the highlight of Errementari for me.
I have nothing against religion-themed films I think, though I'm not a big fan of religion. This film played more like a dark fairytale, which is something I'm quite partial to. It's one of those genres that costs a lot of money to do well and doesn't come with a big built-in audience, so in the end not many films are being made. Urban fantasy has a similar problem.

sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
Disliked Beginners outside of Christopher Plummer's performance. Recall it being really sentimental and trying too hard to be quirky? I don't know. It's been.... eight or nine years. I am with you all the way on Booksmart though. "Wilde puts in more heart and drama. Ultimately, that just made things worse." - that sums it up well.
It often feels impossible to find a decent, bare bones comedy to watch nowadays. Everything seems to be a dramedy, so I get your comments on Beginners. They're not wrong either, but in the end I felt the romance between Laurent and McGregor kinda worked. I do miss the films that simply try to serve 90 minutes of jokes and fun though. My girlfriend is currently rewatching some of her (slightly) older favorites and when seeing films like Tropic Thunder and Anchorman, there's a real void for talented comedians to fill. I tried to follow the comedy challenge this month, but couldn't find that many straight-up comedy recommends there either.

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#20

Post by peeptoad » May 25th, 2020, 1:30 pm

sol wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 12:23 pm
:( A Nightmare on Elm Street is an all-time top 100 for me and a big factor in my horror-loving growing up. Friday the 13th I like less, shoddy characters and all, but it in terms of mood and atmosphere (taking the Halloween POV shots to a whole new level; the taunting semi-vocal score), it gets top marks in my books.
Sorry, sol, I just don't share your opinion on these, but you are in good company.
I saw NOES way back in high school, and then one or two of the sequels in the cinema on release and I just really disliked all of them. I did find the original scary when I saw it at a younger age; rewatched about 20 years or so ago and then again more recently and had the same feeling both times: it felt cheap and decidedly unscary to me. I even struggled to find what I did think was scary to begin with, but I was like 14 at the time, so there you go. The sequels are even more ridiculous since they elevate the comedic parts, thereby reducing all else in terms of impact and atmosphere. There's a reason why I don't take part in the comedy challenge when it rolls around... In hindsight I don't like Wes Craven at all, with the exception of Serpent & a Rainbow... the film that is more or less an outlier on his filmography.

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#21

Post by peeptoad » May 25th, 2020, 1:42 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 12:50 pm
Fun little discussion about Jason & Freddy guys - not being nearly the horror fan that peeps, Ond or sol are, I can't quite get into the minutia, particularly wrt the Friday the 13th series which I think of as almost entirely worthless garbage, with only the first, fourth and sixth films hitting the "OK" level. A Nightmare on Elm Street for me was very, very consistent but that consistency is in the 6-7 range which for a high rater like me isn't saying much. Let's just say I did enjoy them enough that I might watch the series again someday, while I can't imagine what would possess me to watch any of the Jason films again, especially given just how many 80s-90s slasher films there are out there that I haven't seen (including the entire Halloween series apart from the first), which are probably on average no worse than the average Jason turd.
The formulaic, teenybopper-based slashers are what I tend to dislike (though there are good ones out there), esp those that turn into endless franchises.
Try out something like Just Before Dawn, Nightmare (1981, Scavolini), Humongous, or The Redeemer Son of Satan, if you haven't seen them...they're better examples imho.

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#22

Post by Lonewolf2003 » May 25th, 2020, 3:23 pm

My viewings last week, all westerns:
The Professionals (1966, Richard Brooks): 7.8 - An immensely enjoyable gritty action-heavy western with a stellar cast; Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Woody Strode, Jack Palance and the gorgeous Claudia Cardinale.

El Dorado (1967, Howard Hawks): 6.2 - A disappointment this, it's basically Hawks and Wayne trying but failing to rehash the magic of Rio Bravo. The banter just isn't as good. Although Caan and Mitchum do a nice job, the rapport in the gang isn't as great.

Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte [If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death] (1968, Gianfranco Parolini): 6.8 - The only thing higher in this than the amount of double crosses is the body count; i.e. a spaghetti Western with a nonsensical plot but an enjoyable amount of action.

Sono Sartana, il vostro becchino [ I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death] (1969, Giuliano Carnimeo): 6.5 - The second entry is again enjoyable, but the plot is even more overly complicated with way too many characters.

C'è Sartana... vendi la pistola e comprati la bara [ I Am Sartana, Trade Your Guns for a Coffin] (1970, Giuliano Carnimeo): 6.8 - George Hilton replaces Garko as Sartana in this entry in the franchise. While he doesn't live up to Garko, the plot is tighter and therefore better, the action better directed and the movie is more humorous.

Buon funerale, amigos!... paga Sartana [Have a Good Funeral, My Friend... Sartana Will Pay] (1970, Giuliano Carnimeo): 7.0 -Gianni Garko is back with a massive blonde mustache as the lead in the best entry of the series. Best cause it has the best writing, and Garko has perfected his role as Sartana by now and so did Giuliano Carnimeo with his directing of the series.

Una nuvola di polvere... un grido di morte... arriva Sartana [Light the Fuse... Sartana Is Coming] (1970, Giuliano Carnimeo): 6.8 - Another enjoyable entry of this series, tho a bit over the top gadget wise. A series of which the titles are more memorable than the movies themselves.

Gli specialisti [The Specialist] (1969, Sergio Corbucci): 7.0 - While mostly full of the usual tropes, this distinguishes itself by having a clear 60s political allegorical undercurrent that's both anti-capitalist as well as anti-counterculture in one of the most bizarre endings in a spaghetti Western. Other memorable moments are the outstanding opening shoot-out and a big bar brawl. Johnny Hallyday is very bland as the western hero. Luckily Gastone Moschin and Françoise Fabian as respectively the anti-violence sheriff and scheming banker do much better in the supporting cast.

Ulzana's Raid (1972, Robert Aldrich): 7.5 - A movie that clearly can be read as an allegory on the Vietnam War with a very interesting moral ambiguity. While the Apaches are the "villains" in the movies, the movies clearly tries to depict them as nuanced as possible by making them neither the simple brute primitives of classic Westerns nor the noble savages of liberal Westerns, but shows them commit horrible violent acts as well as being smart compassionate humans. Lancaster is in top form.

Giù la testa [A Fistful of Dynamite/Duck, You Sucker!] (1971, Sergio Leone) (rewatch): 8.5 > 8.2 - John Lennon famously said that life is what happens to you while having other plans, few movies embrace this concept as well as this movie about a Mexican bandit, who simply wants to rob banks with his new dynamite expert friend, getting caught up in the Mexican revolution. The whole plot feels like a detour before the real plot finally kicks off and than suddenly this not so short movies is already over. Which is also why this keeps so fresh when rewatching it. The movie does not completely succeed in making the shift from the more lighthearted fun first half to the heavier pessimistic cynical second half. Morricone's scores, which is catchy as always, also is tonally out of place at the more serious parts. At its core this is of course a pure bromance.

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#23

Post by OldAle1 » May 25th, 2020, 3:27 pm

I kinda wished I had gotten all the Sartana films and watched them all in a row like you did. Maybe next year, or maybe I'll go through the three I haven't seen yet this week. Need to see the Leone again, it's the only one of his films (apart from his early peplum) that I've seen just once and I really don't remember it. I liked El Dorado a bit more than you I think, the rest of yours about the same.

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#24

Post by Lonewolf2003 » May 25th, 2020, 3:43 pm

OldAle1 wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 3:27 pm
I kinda wished I had gotten all the Sartana films and watched them all in a row like you did. Maybe next year, or maybe I'll go through the three I haven't seen yet this week. Need to see the Leone again, it's the only one of his films (apart from his early peplum) that I've seen just once and I really don't remember it. I liked El Dorado a bit more than you I think, the rest of yours about the same.
There are pros and cons of watching a series like this in a row. Pro being you can better see the evolution of a series, influences of one entry on another, and remember stuff from previous entries if that's important to the series. Con is that they blend together much easier.

When you rewatch the Leone, the new Masters of Cinema blu-ray is highly recommended. Great remastering with both the Italian and English version and lots of extras.

Of yours I recently also saw Viva, Maria, which I disliked as much as you. I have fond memories of Hot Shots! Part Deux, cause my dad almost died of a heart attack laughing at that one when we saw at the cinema with the whole family when I was young. "Take the train to Hawaii" :lol: was a staple in our family for a long time.

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#25

Post by prodigalgodson » May 26th, 2020, 10:14 am

Everyone else's:

sol - glad to hear your power's back
Hang 'Em High - nice, sounds like my kind of western
Tout va bien - great review, I'll have to make this a priority
Volver 9 - my first Almodovar, I loved the amorphous genre aspect, which is rare for me, and the chill aura of mystery; wouldn't mind a rewatch
Cria cuervos 6 - didn't make a huge impression (other than Porque te vas), a rewatch couldn't hurt
Habla con ella 9 - just saw it recently, pretty brilliant stuff yeah

hond
Tropic Thunder 7 - pretty funny stuff
Booksmart 6 - above-average teen comedy

pda - hey I've seen some, yay
Alphaville 6 - wouldn't mind watching this again
Pierrot le fou 8 - my first Godard, wasn't digging it as much on recent rewatch though
The Truman Show 8 - early favorite for me
Rick and Morty - liked those both, especially the Vat of Acid

toad
oof, seen none

ale
Crimson Kimono 6 - a bit preachy but I enjoyed it
Grey Gardens - hated this years ago, but maybe worth another shot now

chil
Street of Shame - started this a couple times, want to finish it but not thrilled about the quality of the rip on the Criterion Channel
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers 8 - remember this being a blast
Snowpiercer 7 - I'd agree it's his worst feature, and also that it's pretty damn good
NGE/End of Evangelion 10 - probably the best thing to come out of TV yet (Twin Peaks: The Return gives it a run for its money)

jt
well I haven't seen any but that doesn't mean you can sigh at Sharits!

wolf
The Professionals 7 - remember enjoying it, but not much else stands out
El Dorado 6 - pretty much
Sartana - I think I have this box set somewhere, I'll give it a whirl sometime
Ulzana's Raid 8 - one of Aldrich's best movies
Duck, You Sucker 8 - nice review, this was right up my alley

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#26

Post by sol » May 26th, 2020, 12:19 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 26th, 2020, 10:14 am
Everyone else's:

sol - glad to hear your power's back
Hang 'Em High - nice, sounds like my kind of western
Tout va bien - great review, I'll have to make this a priority
Volver 9 - my first Almodovar, I loved the amorphous genre aspect, which is rare for me, and the chill aura of mystery; wouldn't mind a rewatch
Cria cuervos 6 - didn't make a huge impression (other than Porque te vas), a rewatch couldn't hurt
Habla con ella 9 - just saw it recently, pretty brilliant stuff yeah
Oh yeah - you don't realise how much modern life is dependent on electricity until you survive 3.5 hours without it. :ph43r:

Hang 'Em High is a really solid film. I suppose its mixed reputation is understandable given that it is not the bloodthirsty revenge film that it initially appears to be. A surprisingly great film from the usually mediocre Ted Post.

I think it was only a couple of weeks ago that I called Hail Mary my favourite post-1967 Godard and Tout va bien has so quickly stolen that title in my books. I love how playful Tout is in regards to film form and structure, whilst also containing a lot of anger at the system and the way workplaces run. The politics sometimes get a bit heavyhanded, but the balance between comedy and drama is generally right.

I get you on the genre blending of Volver, though I don't know if I would have thought to have called it a mystery film. It is certainly an interesting film, but based on Talk to Her and The Skin I Live In, I seem to like Almodóvar best in thriller mode.

Cría Cuervos is a very interesting film; very dense, with lots going on given that it plays out as a series of blurred memories, presented (as we soon find out) by an unreliable adult narrator who is unable to separate her fantasies from reality when recalling herself coping with grief. Interesting the way her mind simplifies thing too: perceives her old sister as very feminine, her younger sister as masculine and herself almost androgynous in between.

Yours:

Angels over Broadway did not do a lot for me either, though I liked it slightly more than you. Ghost World is pretty high in my top movies list; I have seen at least half a dozen times, but not recently. Quite an engaging look at miserable characters who bring their misery on themselves with a superb music score and one hell of downbeat bus ride near the end. The Decameron was okay for me; I think I liked The Canterbury Tales slightly more. River of Grass was also okayish for me; definitely liked it a lot less than Night Moves etc. And yeah, Landscape Suicide was pretty great; my favourite Benning film for sure.

As usual, vague comments (my memory sucks when I am tired) but you can always ping me for any past reviews that you would like me to dig up.
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#27

Post by Onderhond » May 26th, 2020, 12:25 pm

sol wrote:
May 26th, 2020, 12:19 pm
Oh yeah - you don't realise how much modern life is dependent on electricity until you survive 3.5 hours without it. :ph43r:
We spent 3 days in February this year without electricity, they cut us off after an administrative error. No lights, no heating, no computer, no charging phones ... luckily we could spend most of the evening at my parents, but that was pretty terrible. Not in the least because fixing things involved a lot of calling, reopening contracts and whatnot.

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#28

Post by Lonewolf2003 » May 26th, 2020, 1:06 pm

joachimt wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 11:52 am

Coffy (1973, 2 official lists, 1593 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Plex.
I really don't understand all the decent ratings I'm seeing from my kumpels on Criticker (meaning you guys). The acting is horrible, the fighting scenes are ridiculous, the story hardly makes sense and the director is just thinking of pathetic ways to show boobies. On the other hand it's not in the so-bad-it's-good-league, so what are you guys seeing in this? Maybe if you like soul music? Or is it a lame attempt to make fun of this criminal part of society? If so, it falls flat.
Well most of your criticism is valid, to me those are just silly quirks one can forgive for what's a very well directed and highly enjoyable movie, that first scene alone makes it worth a high rating, plus Pam Grier! And only people without soul don't like soul music. :P

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#29

Post by GruesomeTwosome » May 26th, 2020, 3:11 pm

Hi sol. Been a while since I've posted in the weekly thread; I'll try to show up more regularly like I used to.

My viewings last week:

Snowpiercer (2013, Bong Joon-ho) - 7/10 [re-watch]

From Beyond (1986, Stuart Gordon) - 6/10. It's no Re-Animator (which I watched for the first time about a month ago, and enjoyed greatly), but it has its inspired moments.

Dolls (1987, Stuart Gordon) - 5/10. Ehh, wasn't feeling this one really. Gordon seems to be at his best with Lovecraft stuff I guess.

Beasts of No Nation (2015, Cary Joji Fukunaga) - 5 or 6/10. A bit disappointed with this one, a story of how a boy becomes a child soldier in a civil war-torn, unnamed African country (though the characters speak in a Ghanaian dialect). Fukunaga is a talented director, but I think too often some of his stylistic flourishes were overdone for this kind of heavy material, and later in the film the focus shifts too much towards Idris Elba's commandant character, whereas I would have been more interested in knowing our main boy soldier, Agu, a bit more. And I dunno, something about Westerners making these films depicting the worst aspects of Africa is always a little icky to me. The opening shot and scene were the highlight.

E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà / The Beyond (1981, Lucio Fulci) - 6/10

Zombi 2 (1979, Lucio Fulci) - 7/10

The Element of Crime (1984, Lars Von Trier) - 8.5/10. Best viewing of the week...not much I can articulate other than WOW, am I in love with the look of this film. Beautiful...I was hypnotized.

Tranceformer - A Portrait of Lars von Trier (1997 documentary, Stig Bjorkman) - 6/10

Commando (1985, Mark L. Lester) - 6.5/10. This basically lived up to expectations, as a prototype of the "dumb, fun '80s action film." Arnie one-liners, some over-the-top violence, shit blowed up real good...yeah. A perfect entertainment for a late-night, beer-guzzling viewing.

Destry Rides Again (1939, George Marshall) - 8/10. I didn't really expect this to be my kind of thing, but this turned out to be a highly entertaining Western comedy. Balances the humor and the tropes of the genre well. Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich make for some great, charismatic chemistry.

Notes on an American Film Director at Work: Martin Scorsese (2008 documentary, Jonas Mekas) - 8/10. Mekas hanging around on the set of The Departed with pal Scorsese. Interesting fly-on-the-wall insight into major movie-making.

Band of Brothers (2001 mini-series) - 8/10. Not "best mini-series ever!" material like many seem to claim, but on the whole it's compelling stuff, certainly better than the previous Spielberg/Hanks WWII collaboration, Saving Private Ryan. I'd say I was actually more engaged by the first couple episodes when they're in training, more so than the actual war bits, as good as the battle scenes are done. But I wish they hadn't carried over that film's desaturated color look to this. Fun to spot the various "before they stars" actors that pop up throughout this series.

The Last Dance (2020 docuseries) - 8/10. That Michael Jordan is kind of a dickhole.

La femme-squelette (2009 short, Sarah Van Den Boom) - 7/10

Fire (Pozar) (2020 short, David Lynch) - 6/10

Lucifer Rising (1972 short, Kenneth Anger) - 6/10
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#30

Post by kongs_speech » May 28th, 2020, 2:09 am

I've had a slow last two weeks. Here's what I watched:

Secrets of the Heavenly Book - 1.5

The Big City [1963] - 4

Mi tio Jacinto - 4

Adam Resurrected - 1

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape - 4.5

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man - 4

Thelma & Louise - 4

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie - 5

Stuart Little - 4 (rewatch)

Stuart Little 2 - 3.5 (rewatch)
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#31

Post by kongs_speech » May 28th, 2020, 2:47 am

sol wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 11:30 am
Talk to Her (2002). Viewed for the first time in 18 years, Talk to Her remains an incredibly interesting film and one that perhaps has more currency now than back then with some of its morally ambiguous ground. If not quite as effective and stylish as his latter The Skin I Live In, this earlier Pedro Almodóvar film makes for a good companion piece with the way it causes our sympathies to sway and feel something for someone who does something questionable. It is not a perfect film, and upon second glance, the first 35 minutes before the protagonists meet move slowly, but the unusual friendship that gradually develops between them after meeting is very dynamic. The film also benefits from a genuine-looking semi-surreal silent movie within that takes Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man in a very different direction. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★
I agree, I loved Talk to Her, although my favorite Almodovar is All About My Mother. I need to see more of his work.
Onderhond wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 11:50 am
02. 3.5* - Tropic Thunder by Ben Stiller (2008)
So very crude and over-the-top that it's difficult not to laugh. A couple of stellar performances, catchy one-liners and insane jokes make this one of Stiller's best comedies. The film should probably come with a trigger warning, but at least Stiller sticks to his guns and keeps it funny from start to finish. Very rewatchable too.

10. 3.0* - In a Valley of Violence by Ti West (2016)
Not a big Ti West fan, not a western fan at all, liked this film though. Not sure what exactly made the difference, but Hawke in the lead surely helped and the qualms between the two sides made for a simple but tense and entertaining battle. It's never going to be my favorite genre, but this was much better than I expected it to be.

11. 3.0* - Beginners by Mike Mills (2010)
Decent drama, sporting a nice mix of comedy and romance elements. The cast does a good job, the different genres don't erode each other and Mills direction is interesting. The film is a little one-note though and while it has very few lows, it doesn't have too many highs either. Solid filler, but it lacked a spark.
I liked these three films. Beginners is one of my favorites of 2010. Beautiful, heartfelt film with a phenomenal performance from Plummer. Tropic Thunder is hilarious. I haven't seen that in quite some time, so I should revisit it. I'm growing to like westerns, and I really enjoyed In a Valley of Violence. John Travolta was the highlight for me. He's a remarkably inconsistent actor, but when he's good, he's great.
Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 12:34 pm

Pierrot le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965) (2nd viewing) 8/10
The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998) (5th+ viewing) 9/10
Pierrot is my favorite Godard. It needs a rewatch. I also really love The Truman Show. One of my friends lives where it was filmed. I've been there many times.
prodigalgodson wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:15 pm
Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001) 6/10

"Where are we? This is such a weird neighborhood."
"This is a totally normal, average neighborhood."

One of the earliest portrayals of millennial malaise I remember seeing -- it even drops in some "you really wanna fuck up the system? Go to business school!" spiel that's so popular in some circles today -- that still has the nostalgia factor of an era that naively thought it was post-everything. Nicely distills the emotional fallout of the irony age, but it's not always fun spending the time with such an indiscriminately judgmental misanthrope to get there. Thora Birch's generationally archetypal teen lead follows in the tradition of Daria or Larry David without the wit and self-awareness; the fact that she would quickly be dismissed as an insecure hater today contributes to the time-capsule element. I kind of wavered between contempt for her and her cohort of eccentric snobs and sadness at how much they're gonna have to change for society. Ultimately I found it fairly enjoyable and moving, and I appreciate its genuine, unhypocritical take on the subject matter.

River of Grass (Kelly Reichardt, 1994) 8/10

Pretty punk rock meditation on American decay centering around a deadpan "crime spree" whose targets include a laundromat dryer and a mother's record collection. Part of an indie Americana tradition with its roots in the late 60s/early 70s that saw a resurgence 20 years later with the popularity of Jarmusch and Korine. Reichardt didn't achieve their level of fame until more recently but this exhibits a more refined eye for composition and a more innate sense of casual poetry than almost any modern directorial debut I've seen. It's no less formally impressive but a little less interesting to me personally once it settles into a more traditional narrative, but its unspooling into sad absurdity ultimately pays off in spades.
Both of these films are in my top 200. Daria is my favorite TV series, so I guess I'm naturally drawn to that kind of protagonist. I actually haven't watched Ghost World since I got the Criterion, so it's overdue for a revisit, but I think it's a wonderful film. River of Grass is the best Reichardt film I've seen. It's a shame that it isn't better known.
OldAle1 wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 8:35 pm

The Return of the Living Dead (Dan O'Bannon, 1985)

Watched this because RedLetterMedia - a big chunk of the 80s-90s genre movies I watch probably can have their viewing attributed to this channel, thanks guys! This was on a Re:View a while back and I had never watched the film, so I finally got around to it and watched the review afterwards. SPOILER ALERT no spoilers here but if you do watch RLM regularly, don't watch this episode until you watch the film, because this does have a rather surprising (and fun/depressing at the same time) ending. As the guys note, this is not really primarily a comedy, rather a horror film with a fair amount of humor, most of it in the behavior of the punkish dumb kids playing around in the cemetery - one of the girls (Linnea Quigley under a must-get-nude contractual obligation) dancing around totally naked because graveyards get her hot, and some of the early dialogue between medical supply warehouse employees Frank and Freddy (James Karen and Thom Matthews). But mostly this is a reasonably scary and gory zombie apocalypse film in which our bumbling medical-supply guys accidentally set off a chain reaction that results in the dead arising in a large graveyard in Louisville, KY, and ultimately a government response. It's a solid, fun film and if I liked zombie films more I'd probably love it, as it is...it's fine. BRAINS!!!
I was surprised I didn't love this film, but I still found it to be a pretty good time. I've spent a lot of time around the subculture myself, and the "punk" characters ring completely false to me, so that held me back from loving it.
Chilton wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 8:01 am
On Netflix:
Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho, 2013) ★★★½
My fourth film by Bong and this might be the worst one, but it's still a absurdly funny ride. It's English-language, but still the Koreans are carrying this film. Some strange plot developments but it all looks nice, so we're good.

Community (Rewatch of S3E03+04)
Snowpiercer is excellent, in my opinion. I appreciate anything that's so wildly creative. It needs another viewing, as I haven't seen it since theaters.

For me, that's the point where Community fell off. Seasons 1 and 2 are brilliant, right up there with any comedic TV, but in the third season, it got meaner and disappeared too far up its own ass with the constant meta humor. Dan Harmon is so funny and talented, but I'm really glad he has Justin Roiland to balance him out on Rick and Morty.
joachimt wrote:
May 25th, 2020, 11:52 am
S:TREAM:S:S:ECTION:S:ECTION:S:S:ECTIONED (1971, 1 official list, 26 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Sigh.
A friend sent me this a while ago, but I haven't watched it yet. T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G by the same director is one of my favorite shorts, so I'm definitely up for some experimental weirdness.
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#32

Post by prodigalgodson » May 28th, 2020, 5:45 am

kongs_speech wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 2:47 am
Both of these films are in my top 200. Daria is my favorite TV series, so I guess I'm naturally drawn to that kind of protagonist. I actually haven't watched Ghost World since I got the Criterion, so it's overdue for a revisit, but I think it's a wonderful film. River of Grass is the best Reichardt film I've seen. It's a shame that it isn't better known.
Daria and Curb are two of my favorite series too, I definitely identify with jaded outcasts, but the Ghost World lead's you're-different-than-me-so-you-suck take on everything feels like a betrayal of outcastdom. There's definitely an awareness of that in the film though, and I think its main journey is her coming to terms with her empathy vacuum.

Only seen Gilbert Grape -- which I liked a lot more than I expected -- and Discreet Charm -- one of my first Buñuels and not quite a favorite, but worth revisiting -- from yours. I think I saw at least one Stewart Little when it came out, and definitely read the books, but don't remember much. I definitely want to see The Big City and more Ray in general.

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#33

Post by sol » May 28th, 2020, 10:00 am

kongs_speech wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 2:47 am
sol wrote:
May 24th, 2020, 11:30 am
Talk to Her (2002). Viewed for the first time in 18 years, Talk to Her remains an incredibly interesting film and one that perhaps has more currency now than back then with some of its morally ambiguous ground. If not quite as effective and stylish as his latter The Skin I Live In, this earlier Pedro Almodóvar film makes for a good companion piece with the way it causes our sympathies to sway and feel something for someone who does something questionable. It is not a perfect film, and upon second glance, the first 35 minutes before the protagonists meet move slowly, but the unusual friendship that gradually develops between them after meeting is very dynamic. The film also benefits from a genuine-looking semi-surreal silent movie within that takes Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man in a very different direction. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★
I agree, I loved Talk to Her, although my favorite Almodovar is All About My Mother. I need to see more of his work.
Talk to Her was my go-to #1 Pedro Almodóvar film for years until I saw down and rewatched The Skin I Live In on DVD. It's such a dynamic film with such a perfect resonating ending. I was wondering if my opinion would flip again after revisiting Talk to Her, but no dice. Skin is easily his best in my books. No idea if that's in your Almo blind or not. He's made a ton of films, but I have still have a few big ones on my to-see list, All About My Mother included.

Yours:

Yes, Thelma & Louise rocks. One of those great film that - like White Heat - actually benefits from knowing the iconic ending before sitting down to watch it. Discrete Charm is possibly my favourite Buñuel; it is certainly high up there. Don't think I have seen anything else from you...
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#34

Post by Onderhond » May 28th, 2020, 10:19 am

kongs_speech wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 2:47 am
I liked these three films. Beginners is one of my favorites of 2010. Beautiful, heartfelt film with a phenomenal performance from Plummer. Tropic Thunder is hilarious. I haven't seen that in quite some time, so I should revisit it. I'm growing to like westerns, and I really enjoyed In a Valley of Violence. John Travolta was the highlight for me. He's a remarkably inconsistent actor, but when he's good, he's great.
I liked the three main characters in Beginners pretty much the same. Good performances across the board.

As for Valley of Violence, agree that Travolta was one of the stand-outs there. I was really surprised to like the film, the only reason I watched it was because Ti West made it, usually I dislike westerns (a lot, and yes, also the Leones) and I still can't really figure out what made this one different from all the rest, because in the end it's a pretty basic western.

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