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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 22, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 22, 2020

#1

Post by sol » May 31st, 2020, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings. Unfortunately, it has reached the point where it is no longer viable for me as host to comment on everyone else's viewings every week (especially since some people like to use the weekly thread to log their viewings and nothing else). I am always keen to promote movie discussion though, so if you comment on my own viewings, I will comment on yours at my earliest convenience.

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

This is what I saw:

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

My Little Chickadee (1940). Interested in his money but not his personality, an outspoken woman organises a sham wedding with a travelling salesman who believes that the ceremony is real with humorous results in this comedic western. The plot is a mess here, mostly consisting of loosely strung together comic episodes and none of the lead's alternate love interests make an impression. The film survives surprisingly well though simply on account of W.C. Fields and Mae West's lead turns. Their banter and chemistry together is great (a scene with a goat especially) but both also have fantastic moments apart - Fields disrupting a checkers game; West holding her own in court, shooting from a moving train, teaching a class and so on. In fact, electric as Fields is (his bathing habits are hilarious), it is really West with her soft yet sassy voice who steals the show. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Go West, Young Lady (1941). Nicknamed "Bill", the daughter of a famous lawman arrives in a crime-ridden town whose citizens were expecting a man in this western comedy starring Penny Singleton. While the film does not milk the comedic potential of the mix-up for all that it is worth, Singleton holds her own for the most part, even proving a good shot on a couple of occasions - and her pet dog rules. The film becomes less interesting as it progresses and co-lead Glenn Ford starts to take centre focus with too much romantic stuff between Singleton and himself. There are some great supporting turns here though, including from Ann Miller who has a breathtaking bar countertop song and dance routine, and with zany shenanigans like a deflating pie, there is always a fair bit to like here even as Singleton increasingly becomes second fiddle to Ford. (first viewing, online) ★★

Ghost Town Renegades (1947). Best known nowadays as the exorcist with a whip in The Dark Power, Lash La Rue was popular way back in the day for his bullwhip stunts in budget westerns like this. That said, this is not the best film to see his whip in action as it rarely comes out. What the film does really well though is crafty a juicy sidekick role for the always delightful Al St. John who gets head-butt baddies in between such fun bits like being scared of his own reflection and curious about a hat that seems to be moving on its own. The basic plot is not half-bad either with St. John and La Rue on the trail of a bad guy with somewhat megalomaniacal plans to murder all heirs and heiresses to land that he wishes to own. Jennifer Holt is okay the latest potential victim to-be with the film getting decent traction out of her uncertainty over just who to trust. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The King and Four Queens (1956). Hearing about a hidden loot, a grifter visits the mother of four outlaws (missing, presumed dead) who lives with her son's wives on an isolated ranch in this strange western starring Clark Gable. This initially feels a lot like The Beguiled with each of the wives attracted to and fascinated by Gable, the only man they have seen alive in months. There are some distinct mystery elements too (are the sons really dead and did Gable really know one of them?) though these take a back-seat to Gable's pursuit of the loot, happy to seduce any of the women as need has it in his hunt. It is a reasonably interesting set-up, though none of the characters outside of Gable are particularly well-drawn. Certainly, this pales quite a bit compared to the sexual tension and Misery aspects of The Beguiled, but it is engaging while it lasts. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Slowest Gun in the West (1960). A cowardly upstart rises to town sheriff because everybody is too scared to tarnish their reputation by gunning down a coward in this amusing western spoof starring Phil Silvers. The film gets off to a hilarious start with Silvers visibly unnerving his opponent by eating an egg and staggering about blind without his glasses on, and things only get funnier as he is made sheriff and takes absurd measures such as excluding gunslingers from glee clubs to avoid fights (!) and calling them "naughty, naughty, naughty", which just baffles everyone. Where the film really takes off though is with the introduction of Jack Benny as the second most cowardly gunslinger near the end. Not everything quite clicks here and the wraparound story in particular only feels worth it for a great final gag, but this is very well done for a telepic. (first viewing, online) ★★★

My Name is Nobody (1973). Looking to retire in peace and quiet, a legendary sheriff is pursued by an admirer adamant on seeing the great man end his career on a bang in this western comedy starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill. The film begins well with amazing attention to sound as every clock tick and scrape is accentuated during a shave that eventually turns into a standoff. The overall film is nowhere near as solemn and serious as its opening though; in fact, it is downright goofy at times with a zany house of mirrors, characters repeatedly punched by a mechanical device and lots of sped-up footage. This leads to an inconsistent tone with the movie pulling in two directions, yet it seems apt for a film about two characters pulling in opposite directions. The film also ends on a memorable note with a lot to say about fame and reputations that stick. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Here and Elsewhere (1976). Footage of Palestinian freedom fighters is contrasted against footage of a middle class French family watching television in this experimental documentary from Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville. The film takes a while to warm up and is tiresome in its plain propaganda opening. Around twenty minutes in though, Godard takes things in a different direction by waxing poetic about how film records images, how the turning of sound up or down can alter one's perspective on what is being seen, and most notably, the notion that "the whole world is too much for one image". The overall project is not as intriguing as all that and even at less than an hour in long, this is repetitive with Godard often literally repeating his ideas. Still, there is much to like in his transformation of heavy-handed propaganda stuff into something more. (first viewing, online) ★★

Nightmare City (1980). Apparently adversely affected by radiation, plane full of zombie-like humans disembarks and begins to infect an entire city in this Euro-horror flick from the director of Cannibal Ferox. While never as boundary-pushing as that, there are certainly some disturbing images as various women suffer varied body mutilations at the hands of the zombie-like creatures - with an emphasis on '-like'. The infected characters are in fact never referred to as zombies (but they are called vampires at one point!) and they move and operate with a degree of intelligence that really distinguishes the film from the average Romero pastiche. Still, it is the film's quieter moments that carry the most dread, like a lawnmower eerily turned on and moving by itself, and these are few and far between. The ending is also a little too jokey to really work. (first viewing, online) ★★

50 First Dates (2004). Falling in love with a young woman afflicted with short-term memory loss, a wildlife vet commits himself to get her to fall in love with him anew every day in this is surprisingly charming Adam Sandler vehicle. The plot sounds a little ridiculous and some the lowbrow humour (vomit gags; butt flexes; wet dreams) feels straight out of its star's bottom fodder comedies, but this is actually a very sweet movie overall, full of likeable characters and a very dynamic central romance. The film channels Groundhog Day at its best, with Sandler gradually learning how to create a perfect romantic day, though the film could also be thought of as Memento played as a romantic comedy, only without Drew Barrymore writing on herself. Add in some solid animal performances and this is an almost irresistible, if sometimes silly, concoction. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Tony Manero (2008). Titled after John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever, this unusual Chilean drama follows the experiences of a middle aged man who enters a Tony Manero lookalike contest. There are some sumptuous scenes of him sitting in his local theatre, watching reruns of the film with screen light illuminating his transfixed face - though the meat of the film is in how deep his obsession is, with drastic extremes. For anyone who dislikes Grease, there is a darkly humorous part as he reacts in turn when the theatre starts showing that instead. For the most part though, his actions are incomprehensible here, especially regarding an old lady. He is never really sympathetic either, nor is he given any back-story. This often feels like just a film about a random guy doing weird things for the sake of it, but the obsession stuff still works. (first viewing, online) ★★

No Man's Land (2012). Not to be confused with Danis Tanović's Oscar winning comedy of the same name, this Portuguese documentary focuses on an ageing mercenary (and part-time assassin) recollecting a career that he describes as just "another job" and the "same as going into the office". His detachment from all the lives that he has taken is quite interesting; same goes for the way he occasionally jokes about it, "I should have eliminated myself as I'm not good either". Alas, the minimalist presentation here makes the subject seem really cut and dry, mostly consisting of him talking to the camera in a single darkened room. Things get a little more intriguing towards the end as we get to see how he is living nowadays, but an over an hour of him rambling on before this is far too much with the repetitiveness detracting from how shocking his crimes are. (first viewing, online) ★

I'm So Excited! (2013). Convinced that their plane is going to fatally crash, a nervous flight crew drug their economy class passengers while they become drunk and engage in desperate acts with their business class passengers in this odd comedy from Pedro Almodóvar. The idea of flawed human beings acting irrationally under stress has potential, and some of the dark humour here works as the crew become absurdly more worried about their sexual orientation than anything else as they approach impending doom. The gags are generally of the hit-and-miss variety though with almost equally as many hits and misses. Some of the more sexually charged aspects here (including gender reversal rape) certainly make an impression, but this feels very slight and unfocused, never maintaining its claustrophobic tension by cutting back to Spain for a stint in the middle. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Mindscape (2013). Retitled Anna in some places for reasons unknown, this Spanish mystery movie is set somewhere in the near future where it has become possible to mentally project oneself into another person's memories in order to solve crimes and other mysteries. The pseudoscience behind this is fascinating, especially considering that most memories are generally blurs with only intermittent vivid parts, yet the film is more interested in providing a thriller story than delving deep into the premise. As a thriller, it is moderately effective with loads of uncertainty as to whether Taissa Farmiga is really as dangerous as everyone claims, plus much paranoia in the air and suggestions of child abuse. Alas, the film wraps up with a little too much unresolved and left hanging, and the choice to make the detective grief-stricken ultimately seems superfluous. (first viewing, online) ★★

Getaway Plan (2016). Also known as Escape Plan, this Spanish thriller focuses on some criminals with a daring plan to rob a bank using a blowtorch, the thief recruited to use the weapon and the police tracking their movements but unsure of what they have planned. It is a set-up with potential, yet one that does not really work. There is some great action towards the beginning as they practise their heist, but then the film slows down to a snail's pace, full of dull conversations built on lame metaphors ("sticks are sticks"). An unexpected bond between two characters adds a little to the proceedings, but is not really developed enough. The film picks up a bit towards the end, but by then it is too late to really care. Luis Tosar is as solid as ever, sporting grey hair and thick glasses this time, but beyond his never-ending versatility, there is little of note here. (first viewing, online) ★

The Next Skin (2016). Along similar lines to Bart Layton's The Imposter, or at least to begin with, this Spanish thriller circles around a teenager reunited with a family whose son went missing a decade earlier with uncertainty over whether he is really who he says he is. The first quarter-hour is intense with so much ambiguity and mysteriousness hanging in the air, however, whereas The Imposter was built on increasingly insane events and turns, this quickly descends into a rather humdrum look at a young man with amnesia trying to pick up where he left; there are only occasional outbursts by one single character who is unsure of the teenager's identity. The film does improve a little towards the end with some notions to ponder in terms of whether some things are best left forgotten, but getting there is not a terribly thrilling or suspenseful ride. (first viewing, online) ★★

Pain and Glory (2019). Plagued both by writer's block and physical ailments, a film director recalls his childhood and past loves while seeking inspiration in this melancholic Pedro Almodóvar movie with an autobiographical vibe. While the sets and costumes with supersaturated and vibrant colours are striking here, the film's best asset is the lead performance of Antonio Banderas who manages to project his character's every longing, fear and regret through looks and stares alone. Bandares is, however, absent from around a third of the film with lots of scenes from his childhood, which are generally less powerful. The flashbacks do curiously go a little full circle towards the end, yet it is still hard to wonder if this may have been more effective without ever cutting away from Bandares and the strife he feels coping with both internal and external pain. (first viewing, online) ★★★

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Wagon Wheels (1934). Travelling to Oregon by wagon, a group of settlers are beset by both Amerindian attacks and tensions among themselves in this creaky old western starring Randolph Scott in one of his first leading roles. While it is fun to see Scott so youthful, it is not a particularly meaty role and he is upstaged by a young Billy Lee in every scene that the boy is in, though Lee himself is an uneven addition. While sometimes charming (calling his mother aside to tell her a secret), the film too often plays up his cutesiness for laughs with the project often feeling more about him than the arduous trek. There are also A LOT of campfire songs in the mix. The tunes are fairly pleasant but they interfere with narrative tension. Much of the overall humour is hit-and-miss too, with some cannibalism gags regarding an expedition survivor falling particularly flat. (first viewing, online) ★

The Carson City Kid (1940). Looking to avenge his younger brother's murder, a cowboy ends up questioning his bloodthirstiness when he falls in love with a young woman and meets another man who reminds him of his brother in this Roy Rogers western. As per Jesse James at Bay, this is a film that gives Rogers a real chance to act with little in the way of music and song; the story though is nowhere near as dynamic as that revisionist tale. There is an intense crooked card game, but the romancing and surrogate brother angle slow down the proceedings; the comedy also feels very strange and inconsistent, delightful as Gabby Hayes is. As the antagonist of the tale, a shifty Bob Steele probably gives the film's best performance. Rogers doing something different is always interesting, but a moodier and more brooding lead may have done a better job. (first viewing, online) ★

Jesse James at Bay (1941). What if Jesse James had a lookalike and was not actually shot by The Coward Robert Ford? This B-western attempts to answer this question that few probably ever thought to ask, and it is reasonably engaging, rather cleverly chalking up Jesse's dual reputations (as an unscrupulous criminal and modern day Robin Hood) to the fact that it was always two different persons, with one set to slander the other's reputation. The film does not do a lot though beyond presenting the premise. There is quite a bit of comedy with two female reporters on Jesse's trail and Gabby Hayes as a sheriff, yet the film never plays the identity confusion stuff for laughs. The film at least holds back on the songs though, which is welcome and surprising given the casting of Roy Rogers in the lead. In fact, this is probably one of his classiest westerns overall. (first viewing, online) ★★

Western Mail (1942). Aptly titled, this brief western circles around a series of brazen mail robberies and a cowboy infiltrating the gang responsible. The basic plot is nothing to write home about and the film eventually descends into a formulaic series of shootouts. The comic relief is way above average though, with a particularly great almost completely silent sequence in which two men are lead into and locked in a barn; there is also a well-trained monkey who very humorously causes one antagonist to constantly believe that he is seeing things. In the lead role, Tom Keene is mostly just okay; Frank Yaconelli (as the man with the trained monkey) makes for a great sidekick though and there are some good action scenes towards the beginning. Everything just falls apart towards the end as the film's attempts to spin a dramatic narrative distract from the comedy. (first viewing, online) ★★

Fuzzy Settles Down (1944). One of the most entertaining comedic sidekicks from the B western world, it is nice to see Al St. John get pretty much his own film here, and he definitely has the most screen despite Buster Crabbe getting top billing as usual for their joint ventures. There are some solid scenes early on as St. John outwits outlaws and buys a newspaper business at auction with Crabbe there to prevent dishonest bidders. St. John is, however, a lot less funny than usual here, perhaps due to being written as a lead rather than comic relief. As the film progresses, it also begins to feel more like standard Buster Crabbe fare with Crabbe ending up as the one who intervenes and ultimately saves the day. With all this going against him, it is unfortunately easy to see why Al St. John never progressed from supporting to lead player despite the potential here. (first viewing, online) ★★

Both Barrels Blazing (1945). Infiltrating a gang that has been stealing railway gold proves a challenge for a Texas Ranger in this B western starring Charles Starrett. There is nothing particular remarkable about the plot or action, and as with a lot of these low budget westerns, it is the quality of the comic relief and songs that distinguish them. In this case, Dub Taylor is amusing in support, but does not exactly have a lot to do. The songs are pretty great though, especially a Cowboys and Indians ditty and the singing cowhands who perform the songs throughout are interesting fellows, with one even exclaiming that it is better not to be paid to sing, which earns him looks of derision from the others. It does not, however, say too much about the quality of the movie though that these supporting characters have more entertaining scenes than the lead actor has. (first viewing, online) ★

Trail of the Rustlers (1950). With exposition delivered through newspaper headlines cut together without a single line of dialogue for almost three minutes, this B-western gets off to a solid start. The editing is pretty nifty throughout too with some great dissolve-over montages. As a narrative though, there is not a lot to write home about. Some bad guys dress up and impersonate the protagonist here, committing various crimes in order to frame him, which gets on the nerves of a young boy who becomes confused about whether his hero is really a good guy or not. The child actor in the role is not especially good though with a gee-whiz attitude that makes him constantly seem more naïve than cute or adorable. Smiley Burnette has some bright moments as the protagonist's sidekick, but there is not a lot going on here beyond the impersonating idea. (first viewing, online) ★

The Twinkle in God's Eye (1955). Set on rebuilding his father's church that was burned down decades earlier, a young reverend returns to his father's hometown where he clashes with the heavy-drinking and gambling locals in this unusual entry in Mickey Rooney's filmography. Rooney gives it his all, never intimidated into rebuilding elsewhere and intent on winning a rodeo in order to obtain the funds necessary to buy building materials. The crux of the film is how the locals slowly warm towards him, with some even talked into attended services as they happen to walk by. Played as a comedy though, the movie never builds up much in the way of tension; the townsfolk seldom seem all that antagonistic, and the way they warm towards him feels a bit rushed. Still, it is always interesting to see Rooney trying something different; he produced the movie too. (first viewing, online) ★★
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peeptoad
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#2

Post by peeptoad » May 31st, 2020, 12:21 pm

Hi sol... I was lurking waiting for you to post this since I saw you post in the challenge thread. ;)

Nightmare City is the only film of yours I've seen and I have that down as a 5/10. City of the Living Dead from the same year is much better imho. Fulci > Lenzi, though Lenzi has better films than this one by a stretch.

mine from best to worst-
No Quarto da Vanda (2000) In Vanda's Room 9
Ossos (1997) 8
Mar adentro (2004) The Sea Inside 8
Tristana (1970) 8
Juventude em Marcha (2006) Colossal Youth 7
Nocturno 29 (1968) 7
Stonehearst Asylum (2014) 7
Acción mutante (1993) 7
El Bar (2017) 6+
La muerte llama a las 10 (1974) The Killer Wore Gloves 6

Pedro Costa was definitely the high point of last week for me. The Fontainhas trilogy was excellent, chronicling the life of the shantytown neighborhood through its protracted “de-construction” (both literally and figuratively). I found No Quarto da Vanda, as the centerpiece, particularly fascinating for its documentation of this neighborhood in Lisbon, which is really the film's (entire trilogy's) main character. This record of the environment and its slice of life almost grows organically as the film progresses and this is reflected, maybe inversely, in the gradual demolition of the environment itself. Conversely the human inhabitants, by comparison, are rather static. They evolve somewhat, but it's more as a result of the shantytown's own evolution, not that of its humans alone. one can see this in the final installment of the trilogy, Juventude em Marcha... no one is getting any younger, and no one is really going anywhere, despite the literal translation of the title, as the habitat they occupy continues on its own evolutionary path. Perhaps that's what the actual "march" of the title refers to...

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Onderhond
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#3

Post by Onderhond » May 31st, 2020, 12:21 pm

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Lots of good/fun films this, though few masterpieces. Though Amano's short deserves a small nod, that film contained moments of pure genius. The middle ground is a bit slim, which means there were quite some bad eggs to sit through. 15-19 is all ICM-driven drivel I never need to see again.


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01. 4.5* - Hakuchi: The Innocent by Macoto Tezuka (1999)
Spectacular mix of fantasy, drama and war. A unique blend of pop elements, poetic drama and urban fantasy that feels like a breath of fresh air. Asano and Hashimoto are spectacular, the drama is on point and stylistically this film is like no other. Liked it better the second time around, one of Japan's hidden gems.

02. 3.5* - Fantascope 'Tylostoma' by Yoshitaka Amano (2006)
An illustrated film written, painted and directed by Yoshitaka Amano. The art style is stunning, the otherworldly fantasy plot is captivating and the voice acting is on point. But the animation is a bit limited (even for this kind of film) and the soundtrack a bit too expected. A very cool short film though, well worth watching for fans of alternative anime.

03. 3.5* - Doghouse by Jake West (2009)
A fun horror/comedy that serves thick, British stereotypes, plenty of gore and some solid laughs. It's not really the most subtle of films, then again this is not the genre for subtlety. It's 90 minutes of loudmouth men battling it out with hungry zombirds, spilling plenty of blood, guts and limbs in the process. Nice.

04. 3.5* - The Ten by David Wain (2007)
Completely retarded, also very funny. I might have lost a few extra brain cells watching this, but at least I lost them while laughing. The comedy isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea, but I loved to commitment to some spectacularly silly and crazy ideas. It's short, totally mad and very refreshing between the gazillion dramedies that parade as comedies nowadays.

05. 3.5* - Kaleidoscope [Hyaku Iro Megane] by Shûichi Bamba (2003)
A strange little film that is both quirky and mysterious. Even though there's a pretty straight-forward plot, it's still quite difficult to figure out what exactly is going on. Then again, that's probably a good sign for a mystery. Noteworthy cinematography, solid performances and a weird soundtrack make this a fun diversion.

06. 3.5* - Chronicle of My Mother [Waga Haha no Ki] by Masato Harada (2011)
A very solid drama. The title is pretty self-explanatory, Harada aims for a film that falls somewhere in between the work of Yamada and Koreeda and succeeds rather well. A strong cast, pretty cinematography and nice, subdued drama turn this into a quality production. Nothing you haven't seen before, but prime filler.

07. 3.0* - Slaughterhouse Rulez by Crispian Mills (2018)
Fun horror/comedy that's a little light on both to be truly special, but does manage to be entertaining from beginning to end. It's all very British, which definitely helps the comedy, the horror could've done with some extra screen time. I'm not surprised this film didn't do very well, but it's not so bad that it deserves to be buried. Amusing.

08. 3.0* - Bride of Deimos [Deimosu no Hanayome] by Rintaro (1988)
Pretty cool and short horror film by Rintaro. The animation is a bit limited and a little more context about the characters and settings would've been appreciated, but the art style is nice, the horror elements are mysterious and the film oozes atmosphere. Well recommended if you're looking for a shorter anime.

09. 3.0* - The Big Sick by Michael Showalter (2017)
A solid romantic comedy with plenty of dramatic padding. The fact that it is based on Nanjiani's own life gives it a little extra, but it's not quite as sharp, romantic or relevant as I'd hoped. It's also a bit long and lacking real stand-out moments, but overall it's a pretty sweet and likeable film that feels genuine.

10. 3.0* - Little Cheung [Xilu Xiang] by Fruit Chan (1999)
A fine but somewhat inconspicuous drama. The kids are pretty adorable and the cinematography is well above average, even so the drama felt a little too expected. Little Cheung kept my attention and there are some moments where the quality spikes, but overall I wasn't too invested, which isn't ideal for this type of film.

11. 3.0* - Crying Freeman by Christophe Gans (1995)
A pretty decent adaptation from Gans. It's often reminiscent of Woo's heroic bloodshed films, with stylish gunfights, slick slo-mos and high body counts. It's a shame the acting is a bit shady and story is a little sluggish in places, because the cinematography is fine and the film has several memorable moments. Not bad.

12. 2.5* - Life in Overtime [Owatta Hito] by Hideo Nakata (2018)
Mediocre dramady about forced retirement and the difficulties some people have with the change of pace. Japanese work culture is a bit different from ours, but it shouldn't be too hard to follow. Sadly the performances aren't that great, the comedy is rather weak and Nakata isn't the best drama director. Not terrible, but very forgettable.

13. 2.0* - In a World... by Lake Bell (2013)
A rather lifeless comedy that fails to find its voice (bad pun). The romance doesn't really work, the comedy is never all that funny and for a film about voice acting, there's a surprising amount of mumbling going on. And the token digs at the movie business aren't all that great either. Not terrible, but very forgettable.

14. 1.5* - Tokyo X Erotica [Tôkyô X Erotika: Shibireru Kairaku] by Takahisa Zeze (2001)
There's a pretty interesting film hidden in between the pinku scenes, sadly they overshadow the entire production. Because of the format it's all very stop-and-go and the pinku scenes feel bland and lifeless. It's pretty difficult to keep yourself engaged when the film itself can't even manage that.

15. 1.5* - Long Live the Missus! [Tai Tai Wan Sui] by Hu Sang (1947)
A romance that is mostly dialogue-driven. Endless talking and bickering makes up most of the film. There's hardly a soundtrack to speak of (which is probably a good thing) and the characters are quite stereotypical. It's way too long for the material at hand, but at least it's a bit better than those early Chinese musicals.

16. 1.0* - Song at Midnight [Ye Ban Ge Sheng] by Weibang Ma-Xu (1937)
A Chinese adaptation of Phantom of the Opera. That may sound intriguing, but the film turned out to be a pretty big dud. Poor acting, an abundance of Chinese songs (still not a fan) and an excessive runtime made this film quite sluggish and tiring. It might've been quite the novelty back in the day, but I found it pretty hard to watch.

17. 0.5* - Out of Africa by Sydney Pollack (1985)
Expectations were pretty low going in, even then I came out incredibly disappointed. The performances are weak (Streep's accent is atrocious), the romance is wooden, the drama uneventful and the whole is just incredibly sappy. Sitting through nearly three hours of that, without any care for any of the characters, was hell.

18. 0.5* - Hapax Legomena I: Nostalgia by Hollis Frampton (1971)
Very conceptual and experimental, but a complete drag to watch. A man talks about photographs while they're burning up, but the narration and images never match up. I'm sure it's deeply moving and meaningful to some, to me it felt more like an art installation meant for a museum I'd rather never visit.

19. 0.5* - The Smurfs 2 by Raja Gosnell (2013)
I'm not a big fan of the original Smurfs cartoons, so there's no grudge there. Even then this is one of the dumbest, most annoying and most irritating films I've seen in a long time. The acting is atrocious, the modernized Smurfs are completely unlikable and the Paris setting makes no sense. A terrible, terrible film.
Last edited by Onderhond on May 31st, 2020, 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Perception de Ambiguity
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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » May 31st, 2020, 12:56 pm

牧野物語 養蚕編 映画のための映画 / Magino Story: Raising Silkworms (小川紳介/Shinsuke Ogawa, 1977) 8/10
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be like the larva, be the larvaShow
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River of Fundament (Matthew Barney, 2014) 8/10

Tabula Smaragdina (Jürgen Reble, 2010) 7/10

The Mindscape of Alan Moore (Dez Vylenz & Moritz Winkler, 2005) 7/10
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One Mind / One Mind: A Zen Pilgrimage (Edward A. Burger, 2019) 7/10
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not by the hair of my chinny chin chinShow
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Inside Alan Moore’s Head / Dans la tête d'Alan Moore / Alan Moore: Beim Barte des Propheten (producer Eric Karnbauer, 2017) 8/10

نون و گلدون / A Moment of Innocence (محسن مخملباف/Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996) 7/10
time to buy a watchShow
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Code 8 (Jeff Chan, 2019) 5+/10

The Witch Who Came from the Sea (Matt Cimber, 1976) 6+/10
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Immer nie am Meer (Antonin Svoboda, 2007) (3rd viewing) 8/10


shorts

Conforme par Johanna Vaude (Johanna Vaude, 2020) (2 viewings) 8/10

南方 / South / Nanfang (毕赣/Bi Gan, 2010) 7+/10

The Now (Coni Beeson, 1972) 7+/10

Freedom on the Inside (Coni Beeson, 1974) 7/10
"We all seek, but few find,
where is that tangible something,
why can't I touch what I seek?
Is it because once I find it I will lose what I sought?
I need, I want, I feel,
but all is lost, for I'm a soul who is,
I exist, but lack love."
- unnamed inmate

Women (Coni Beeson, 1974) 6/10

Le Défilé (Guy Gilles, 1977) 6/10

Place for Landing (Shambhavi Kaul, 2010) 6/10

Bird Karma (William Salazar, 2018) 6/10


music videos

Paradise Lost: Forever Failure (rewatch)
Paradise Lost: Embers Fire
Paradise Lost: Widow
Paradise Lost: As I Die


series

Rick and Morty - S04E09 - "Childrick of Mort" (2020) 8+/10


other

Joe Rogan Experience - #1350 - Nick Bostrom [partly]


didn't finish

J'accuse / An Officer and a Spy (Roman Polanski, 2019) [46 min]
Mizu no koe wo kiku / The Voice of Water (Masashi Yamamoto, 2014) [21 min]


notable online media

top:
Alan Moore - (Keynote) Trans- States conference 2016
Alan Moore talks to John Higgs about the 20th Century [possible rewatch]
Overcoming Nihilism with Rick and Morty
Pyramids of Giza Walking Tour (4K/60fps) [partly]
Austin Osman Spare: A collection of 77 works (HD)
Deep Vedic Philosophy with Genius David Lynch | Russell Brand [rewatch]
The Sphinx at 8am Walking Tour (4K/60fps)
Alan Moore [by Keith Rodway] [unfinished]
These Fast Food Places Are Going Way Too Fast Now
Duncan Trussell on His Friendship with Joe Rogan - KFC Radio
big plot holes in reality
rest:
This Is The House That Jack Built Nursery Rhyme | Nursery Rhyme With Lyrics | English Nursery Rhymes
[YT channel "DAVID LYNCH THEATER"]
[Joe Rogan Experience clips - Chuck Norris, Diet Coke, Daily Show, Best of the Week]
Austin Osman Spare in 3 Minutes
Man shares apartment with family of huge owls | Vroege Vogels
HOW PSYCHEDELICS REVEALS HOW LITTLE WE KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING - Jordan Peterson | London Real
What Did Ancient Egypt Look Like? (Cinematic Animation)
Smoking a cigarette with David Lynch


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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on May 31st, 2020, 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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sol
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#5

Post by sol » May 31st, 2020, 1:14 pm

peeptoad wrote:
May 31st, 2020, 12:21 pm
Hi sol... I was lurking waiting for you to post this since I saw you post in the challenge thread. ;)

Nightmare City is the only film of yours I've seen and I have that down as a 5/10. City of the Living Dead from the same year is much better imho. Fulci > Lenzi, though Lenzi has better films than this one by a stretch.
Er, lol, I post this thread at the exact same time every single week - except for last week, which ended up being an exception since I was worried about my laptop running out of charge. Love the idea of you lurking around in the shadows of the internet though; great set-up for a horror film. ;)

Speaking of horror films, I think I watched Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy films too close together because they have blurred a bit in my mind. From memory though, I don't recall City of the Living Dead tackling quite the same scope as Nightmare City, which is (as per the title) set across an entire city, with the zombie apocalypse spreading in a near Covid-19 way - especially in terms of the infected come out of a plane that should have actually been quarantined. I thought it was an interesting little effort, if noticeably flawed. I definitely liked how much it departed from Dawn of the Dead despite looking like a copycat to begin with, and was reading somewhere that Nightmare City is often considered to be the first of the zombie movies to feature faster and more intelligent zombified beings.

I am pretty sure that Cannibal Ferox is the only other Lenzi film that I have seen, but I am definitely interested in more. Fulci is a bit up and down in my books, but his horror films generally feature amazing imagery.

Yours:

Only seen two.

Your rating for El Bar seems pretty fair. I was loving the film to begin with as paranoia gets the better of them and there is a real sense of WTF in terms of what is happening regarding sniper fire outside. I thought the film lost its way a bit though when the characters got down to the basement. They all became fixated on one possible explanation, which was a lot less interesting to me. Great ending though - especially the contrast between what is going on above and below.

The other film that I have seen is Tristana, but not very recently. The bell/face image is indelibly imprinted on my mind, but like most other Buñuel films, it probably deserves another spin. Many of these movies were seminal to my maturing as a film buff and I have no idea whether my reactions over a decade on would be the same.
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#6

Post by peeptoad » May 31st, 2020, 2:10 pm

sol wrote:
May 31st, 2020, 1:14 pm
Er, lol, I post this thread at the exact same time every single week...
eh, I don't keep track of time, or time stamps, apparently.

Yeah, the COTLD probably had a different slant than Nightmare City. For some reason I get those two confused (something to do with the titles and the common year). Been years since I've seen either.
My ranking of the Lenzi I've seen. I still have a bunch of his gialli and thrillers to see (7 Bloodstained Orchids, etc.)
Most of these are in the 6-7 range-

Sacrifice!
Eaten Alive!
The Killer Must Kill Again
Cannibal Ferox
Spasmo
Paranoia
Knife of Ice
Eyeball
Nightmare City

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#7

Post by prodigalgodson » May 31st, 2020, 7:28 pm

Arabian Nights (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1974) 8/10

Maybe the only Pasolini I've seen that's involving and sexy in a modern way, alive and human where so much of his stuff feels like a grotesque parody of humanity. Its relative visual starkness is better suited to his approach than his previous two -- it's still sumptuous, but the restraint with regards to things like color and costume make them pop more when they are emphasized. It still suffers from inconsistent quality and incongruous styles, but the rendering of landscape and architecture, stories-within-stories, globetrotting concept, and genuine emotional appeal help offset these (and my fondness for desert aesthetics can't hurt). I enjoyed this more than I probably would have without The Decameron and The Canterbury tales preceding it, but it's a hell of a capper on the Trilogy of Life; the story of Aziz and Aziza, which forms the centerpiece, is a high water mark of Pasolini's career.

Taipei Story (Edward Yang, 1985) 8/10

The comparison to other art-house directors is inevitable -- Ozu's similarly-titled rumination on the effects of modernization on the family, Antonioni's modernist takes on urban alienation, Tarkovsky's editorial construction of elusive meaning -- but Yang has his own distinctive way of stitching a story together. His psychologically vivid but mysterious and elliptical rendering of contemporary Taipei even bordered on impenetrable for me, and much like The Terrorizers I'm looking forward to a deeper understanding on rewatch. Having spent my life between the LA and SF areas, the consequences of rapid unchecked development is a subject close to my heart; this is one of its best renderings in a modern setting. One scene alone includes a hilarious joke about the Chinese, Michael Jackson, and the pope, and Hou Hsiao-hsien getting into a bar fight.

The Juniper Tree (Nietzchka Keene, 1990) 3/10

An art flick with the superficial appeal of a fashion ad...there are undoubtedly some nice shots, but few feel genuinely inspired. All this marching actors through proto-screensaver backdrops prioritizes the aesthetic of individual shots at the expense of the cinematic whole; the resulting stiffness kept me at a distance for 80 very long minutes. Mood-wise there's a sustained languorous heaviness that portends greater profundity than the slim occurrences deliver. I have a soft spot for low-budget artsiness, but this was disappointing.

Blue Streak (Mark Rappaport, 1971) 6/10

Evocative structuralist take on sensuality, gender, and language; maybe a bit dated, but leaves me eager to see more from Rappaport.

Rock Hudson's Home Movies (Mark Rappaport, 1992) 10/10

“What does it look like? Let’s say it’s a fandango of furtive glances, or glances that are held too long, cryptic remarks, and innuendo-filled propositions. In the 50s and 60s no one was paying attention. But I was.”

Wow, brilliant found footage psychoanalysis of Hudson's sexuality in relation to his films, the studio system, and American society at large. Rappaport’s commentary demonstrates an iconoclastic, deeply perceptive voice decades ahead of its time. This kind of obsession with subtext and psychological minutiae hits so close to home for me, I feel incredibly grateful to see it portrayed cinematically. It's the first movie I can remember seeing that feels poststructuralist in the philosophical sense. It anticipates the quirks of vlog review culture, but I've never seen a YouTuber make anything this exhaustive, disciplined, or insightful, or with such an emotional final punch.

The Lovebirds (Michael Showalter, 2020) 5/10

I smoked some weed at like 1am last night and cycled through the starts of a few artsier movies before I landed on this because I was in the mood for brainless entertainment and remembered liking the trailer. It's definitely not in my wheelhouse, but no regrets. There're some very sharp moments poking through the tonally seesawing cornball pastiche. The best parts are Rae and Nanjiani's regular referential hot takes on whatever situation they find themselves in. One scene featuring a disappearing milkshake has some of the most conspicuously inept editorial continuity I’ve seen in a major film. And there's a post-ironic Katy Perry sing-along that, oh boy, was really not up my alley.

India: Matri Bhumi (Roberto Rossellini, 1959) 8/10

Ethnographic doc as only Rossellini could make it; that is, after introductory spiels, a quartet of neorealist tales of labor and love, gently conveying the human and environmental costs of modernization without romanticizing the rigors and limitations of tradition. I’ve used “weathered postcard” to describe a certain aesthetic a few times recently, and its definitely applicable to this faded but gorgeous print. The dreamlike dollying from boats and cars combined with the rapid flow of the editing have a trancelike effect; some of these shots number among the best I've seen, and everything involving water especially is amazing. I think the dam worker's story was my favorite, but the elephant lumber workers are a trip; there's something profound in how the elephants do all the literal heavy lifting but only work three hours a day, while the elephant "masters" work dawn to dusk taking care of them.

The Scent of Green Papaya (Tran Anh Hung, 1993) 5/10

The favorite film of one of my best friends, so a letdown. I thought the camerawork was great and I like the attempt to convey a poetic flow of memories. And while I love a good hermetic sense of place, I really dislike the Coscto-lit open-air soundstage setting, which renders imagery that might otherwise look striking or beautiful artificial and sterile. A plant swaying in the breeze outside a window becomes a plant hit with a fan out of sync with an overmixed wind effect on the soundtrack. I didn't have a sense of any of the characters except in the broadest strokes, conveyed with telegraphed emotions to match the overbearing lighting and soundscape. The absence of an antagonist, aside from a flatulent brat in the childhood scenes and a jealous girlfriend in the adult ones, is an approach I tend to really appreciate, but it necessitates a deep connection to the characters that just wasn't there for me. I do feel it finds its niche a bit about two-thirds through once it shifts to the adult protagonist, and even though many of the issues that plague the childhood section remain I was able to feel more involved with the goings-on. Overall, it was watchable and not an unpleasant experience, but not a very fulfilling one. Maybe I missed something or wasn't in the right mood. I do find Tran Anh Hung to be an interesting figure; I'd be interested to see his films that were actually shot in Vietnam.

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#8

Post by Lonewolf2003 » June 1st, 2020, 2:45 pm

My viewing last week, it's one of those week I don't have much to say about the films I watched.

The Cowboys (1972, Mark Rydell): 6.0 - This is very difficult to rate, because it's a very decent movie until the ending which revealed a highly questionable moral. For most of the running time this is a nice warm movie about an elderly John Wayne and an endearing Roscoe Lee Browne guiding some teenage boys trough some rites of passages, like the first time being drunk, during a cattle drive. Yes, this is one of those western in which cowboys actually drive cattle, plus the boys really are boys. But the last part unfortunately reveals that the lessons these boys apparently had to learn is that what makes a man a real man is being a coldblooded killer set out on revenge. Until that part I would rate it at a 7.5, but the ending flushed away all the sweetness and left a very sour aftertaste.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976, Clint Eastwood) rewatch: 6.5 > 7.8

Pale Rider (1985,Clint Eastwood): 7.8

Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood) rewatch: 8.0 > 8.0 - One of the many reasons why this is so good, is that is has one of the best antagonists ever. The kind who could easily become the protagonist of the movie with a switch of perspective. Another reason is its intelligent revising on (the heroism of) killing and the myth of the Western gunslinger.

The Last of the Mohicans (1992, Michael Mann): 6.2 - Like every Mann movie it does look good, plus the action is great. The plot unfortunately quickly turns into a boring romance. But what ruins the movie mostly is the pompous overly melodramatic score.

Dances with Wolves (1990, Kevin Costner): 7.5

The Far Country (1954, Anthony Mann): 8.0

Man of the West (1958, Anthony Mann) rewatch: 7.5 > 8.0

Antoine et Antoinette (1947, Jacques Becker): 7.2

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#9

Post by kongs_speech » June 1st, 2020, 11:45 pm

Permanent Midnight - 3.5/5

Ben Stiller is excellent in a decent film about heroin addiction. It's no Requiem for a Dream, but it's a true story.

Evolution - 3.5/5

A very silly, pleasant comedy that feels like Ghostbusters with aliens, which makes sense because it's an Ivan Reitman film.

Thor - 3.5/5

Finally crossed one of the MCU films I haven't seen off the list. I was surprised, as it ended up being one of the more enjoyable films in that franchise. Ragnarok is still better, though.

Un flic - 3.5/5

Melville's final film isn't one of his best, but it does have some great sequences. Alain Delon is always dependable.

Mauvais Sang - 4/5

My favorite actress, Juliette Binoche, really shines in this unusual film about an STD that spreads when people have sex without love. I feel like the film could have done more with that concept, but it's still fascinating from beginning to end. I only have two Carax films left to see -- Boy Meets Girl and Pola X.

Elles - 3.5/5

I don't understand why this has a terrible 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. Binoche is great as always, and although there isn't a ton of depth to it, it's an interesting look at the lives of sex workers.

Unfriended: Dark Web - 4.5/5

My biggest film surprise of 2020 so far is this incredibly scary and topical horror sequel. I never saw the first film, but I was blown away by Dark Web. Sure, there are technological inaccuracies, but I don't think you could make a more harrowing horror film about the dangers of the Internet. Also, it was my first HBO Max viewing.

Hellboy - 0.5/5

This is probably in the bottom 10 films I have ever seen. It's that fucking wretched. The plot is some incomprehensible King Arthur gibberish with constant flashbacks. It's filled with as much gore and swearing as they could possibly cram into it, to appease the stupid 12 year old boys who are the target audience. I like gore and profanity, but only when they're used well. Hellboy is just a constant parade of edgelord bullshit. I haven't seen Del Toro's Hellboy films, but they must be masterpieces compared to this.

The Lady from Shanghai - 5/5

Even in the heavily butchered studio version we're stuck with, Welles' noir classic is phenomenal. The performances are wonderful, the plot is filled with shocking twists, and that mirror sequence is a thing of beauty. Welles is definitely a director whose entire filmography I need to see.

Nobody - 5/5

I had never seen any of the late Eli Hayes' work, so I sought out this short, which is probably his most acclaimed and popular work. I didn't give it five stars because he passed away. I gave it five stars because it's an incredible, brutally honest portrayal of mental illness.

Cincinnati Storm - 3.5/5

One of my best friends, Douglas Reese, has made 20 no-budget feature films. This is one of the two that I had not previously seen. The majority of the film is extremely slow-motion, abstract footage of walls, streets, and whatever else. It's intentionally hard to watch, and I feel he was trolling a bit with the 151 minute length. As a provocative avant-garde work, it succeeds, but he has many better films. (Note: for some reason, this film is not on ICM, so I couldn't check it.)

Targets - 4/5

I love the way the two narratives come together during the startling climax of Peter Bogdanovich's film about a mass shooter, which is sadly much more relevant today than when he made it. Boris Karloff is terrific.

Metayouu - 4/5 (rewatch)

I've seen this one three times now. It's another Reese work, still experimental but far more accessible than Cincinnati Storm. It's sort of an unconventional take on the essay film genre, a spiritual successor to his earlier Black Rain, White Rain, but far more engaging than that early career effort. There's some wonderful improvised monologue work by an actress named Roo Kirker. (Also missing from ICM.)
Last edited by kongs_speech on June 3rd, 2020, 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#10

Post by peeptoad » June 2nd, 2020, 11:37 am

kongs_speech wrote:
June 1st, 2020, 11:45 pm
Targets - 4/5

I love the way the two narratives come together during the startling climax of Peter Bogdanovich's film about a mass shooter, which is sadly much more relevant today than when he made it. Boris Karloff is terrific.
I love this film. Tim O'Kelley was fantastic. The entire sequence when he prepares and then
SpoilerShow
climbs the tower and begins shooting
is almost flawlessly done imo. The ending also, as you said, including that final shot with the lone car was excellent.

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#11

Post by joachimt » June 3rd, 2020, 5:36 pm

Ankur AKA Ankur: The Seedling (1974, 3 official lists, 178 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Ema (2019, 1 official list, 221 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
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.
Fedora (1978, 1 official list, 399 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019, 2 official lists, 4583 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
El incendio AKA The Fire (2015, 1 official list, 40 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Han jia AKA Winter Vacation (2010, 1 official list, 76 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Bobby (1973, 1 official list, 369 checks) 4/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
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#12

Post by prodigalgodson » June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm

Everyone else's:

sol
50 First Dates - saw it in theaters when I was a kid, enjoyed it

toad
Tristana - liked it but don't remember it, not a favorite from Buñuel

hond
nostalgia - crowd favorite from Frampton, I like it a lot

pda
Childrick of Mort - love the Rick/Beth dynamic; also Rick's championing of drugs and video games

wolf
The Outlaw Josey Wales - 6.5 sounds about right, so maybe I'd like it more on a rewatch too
Pale Rider - wouldn't mind seeing this
Unforgiven - yeah, gotta love that ambiguity
The Last of the Mohicans - okay movie, yeah the score sucks
Dances with Wolves - liked it as a kid but haven't seen it since
The Far Country - one of my favorite Mann westerns, love that Alaskan setting
Man of the West - another of my favorite Mann's, prime example of his mastery

ks
Thor - it's fine, I agree Ragnarok's better (and my favorite from Marvel)
Un flic - agreed
Mauvais sang - would never have remembered that was the premise haha, but I enjoyed it; Boy Meets Girl is easily my favorite from Carax
The Lady from Shanghai - nice, was my favorite Welles and in my top 10 for years
-do you have links for any Hayes or Reese flicks?; not that I'm watching the 3 hour one lol

jt
The Rise of Skywalker - what a fucking travesty

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#13

Post by kongs_speech » June 3rd, 2020, 8:07 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
ks
Thor - it's fine, I agree Ragnarok's better (and my favorite from Marvel)
Un flic - agreed
Mauvais sang - would never have remembered that was the premise haha, but I enjoyed it; Boy Meets Girl is easily my favorite from Carax
The Lady from Shanghai - nice, was my favorite Welles and in my top 10 for years
-do you have links for any Hayes or Reese flicks?; not that I'm watching the 3 hour one lol
Here is Nobody, the Eli Hayes short I watched:

This is Douglas Reese's best film, Pacific Angels. I wouldn't recommend Metayouu as a starting point for his work. Angels is a very good narrative film, particularly ambitious considering it was done on no budget. It's a masterpiece in my opinion for what it is.

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#14

Post by Onderhond » June 4th, 2020, 8:07 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
nostalgia - crowd favorite from Frampton, I like it a lot
Yeah, it's the type of film that is going to end up being rather divisive. It's pretty one-note, so it all depends whether you like that particular note or not. I've seen quite some experimental shorts lately and while I don't mind them in principal, most of the official ones seem to be very conceptual. (technical) execution feels much like an afterthought. Not really my kind of thing.

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#15

Post by sol » June 4th, 2020, 9:35 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
sol
50 First Dates - saw it in theaters when I was a kid, enjoyed it
Wow, you must be a lot younger than me (checked, yep you are) to have seen 50 First Dates in cinemas as a kid. I was a teenager myself and even back then I knew how uneven Adam Sandler's comedies tended to be, so this is one that I chose to skip way back in '04. A decade a half later - it has acquired a reputation as one of Sandler's better films, and it very much is. Sandler's performance is more human than usual and the overall tale is sweet and romantic while seldom feeling sentimental. I was really moved by the end of the movie. It was really great getting a chance to talk up this film (and some of Sandler's other 'better' work) in our most recent forum podcast episode.

Yours:

I recall thinking that Ines Pellegrini was absolutely fantastic in Arabian Nights. Her performance aside, this one has blurred a bit with Decameron and Canterbury in my mind, but based on the vague memories that I have, I would support your claim that it is the best, or at least most enjoyable, of the three films.

I actually loved the look (and music) of The Juniper Tree a fair bit. I had some issues getting into the film at first, but overall I was relatively won over by what struck me as an intriguing tale of a young boy's refusal to accept that his new stepmother could be anything but a witch. Not a great film, but far better than a 3/10 at least for me.
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#16

Post by prodigalgodson » June 4th, 2020, 7:50 pm

kongs_speech wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 8:07 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
ks
Thor - it's fine, I agree Ragnarok's better (and my favorite from Marvel)
Un flic - agreed
Mauvais sang - would never have remembered that was the premise haha, but I enjoyed it; Boy Meets Girl is easily my favorite from Carax
The Lady from Shanghai - nice, was my favorite Welles and in my top 10 for years
-do you have links for any Hayes or Reese flicks?; not that I'm watching the 3 hour one lol
Here is Nobody, the Eli Hayes short I watched:

This is Douglas Reese's best film, Pacific Angels. I wouldn't recommend Metayouu as a starting point for his work. Angels is a very good narrative film, particularly ambitious considering it was done on no budget. It's a masterpiece in my opinion for what it is.

Thanks for the links! I've been working on some no-budget films myself lately, good to check out the competition :D

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#17

Post by prodigalgodson » June 4th, 2020, 7:52 pm

Onderhond wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 8:07 am
prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
nostalgia - crowd favorite from Frampton, I like it a lot
Yeah, it's the type of film that is going to end up being rather divisive. It's pretty one-note, so it all depends whether you like that particular note or not. I've seen quite some experimental shorts lately and while I don't mind them in principal, most of the official ones seem to be very conceptual. (technical) execution feels much like an afterthought. Not really my kind of thing.
Sounds fair, I think that's something you could say for especially a lot of the structuralist oriented experimental filmmakers. I actually don't like much I've seen from Frampton myself, but this and especially Gloria are exceptions. There are some really cool more sensory-oriented experimentalists, but that's still no guarantee they'd match with your sensibilities.

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#18

Post by kongs_speech » June 4th, 2020, 7:54 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:50 pm
Thanks for the links! I've been working on some no-budget films myself lately, good to check out the competition :D
Hope you enjoy! I'm trying to put together a short film project right now myself.
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#19

Post by prodigalgodson » June 4th, 2020, 8:05 pm

sol wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 9:35 am
prodigalgodson wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 6:18 pm
sol
50 First Dates - saw it in theaters when I was a kid, enjoyed it
Wow, you must be a lot younger than me (checked, yep you are) to have seen 50 First Dates in cinemas as a kid. I was a teenager myself and even back then I knew how uneven Adam Sandler's comedies tended to be, so this is one that I chose to skip way back in '04. A decade a half later - it has acquired a reputation as one of Sandler's better films, and it very much is. Sandler's performance is more human than usual and the overall tale is sweet and romantic while seldom feeling sentimental. I was really moved by the end of the movie. It was really great getting a chance to talk up this film (and some of Sandler's other 'better' work) in our most recent forum podcast episode.

Yours:

I recall thinking that Ines Pellegrini was absolutely fantastic in Arabian Nights. Her performance aside, this one has blurred a bit with Decameron and Canterbury in my mind, but based on the vague memories that I have, I would support your claim that it is the best, or at least most enjoyable, of the three films.

I actually loved the look (and music) of The Juniper Tree a fair bit. I had some issues getting into the film at first, but overall I was relatively won over by what struck me as an intriguing tale of a young boy's refusal to accept that his new stepmother could be anything but a witch. Not a great film, but far better than a 3/10 at least for me.
Yes I'm a baby by this forum's standards. :D That's the one where they decided on their tenth date that he can touch her boobs, because it's acceptable on the fifth date and it's always her first so it averages out, right? Speaking of being young, it probably says a lot about me that's the part that stuck with me for the last fifteen years, haha. I also vaguely remember a big Somoan guy playing ukulele and the video on the boat at the end. Anyhow I was pleasantly surprised as a kid.

I wouldn't have known the name, but looking her up yeah Pellegrini was great, and I also loved Ninetto Davoli, who I didn't in the previous two movies. Some of Pasolini's best performances actually to go with some of his best visuals.

I knew I'd be an outlier on The Juniper Tree, maybe I was being a bit reactionary since I liked Keene's shorts so much. I'm counting on not too many people having seen it to avoid getting chewed out lol.

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#20

Post by prodigalgodson » June 4th, 2020, 8:08 pm

kongs_speech wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:54 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:50 pm
Thanks for the links! I've been working on some no-budget films myself lately, good to check out the competition :D
Hope you enjoy! I'm trying to put together a short film project right now myself.
Nice, look forward to seeing it! I've been working on a couple structuralist experimental shorts lately to reoil the hinges, I'd love feedback (pardon the glitchiness especially on the second, I'm trying to figure out a better export solution for the next one):



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#21

Post by kongs_speech » June 4th, 2020, 8:19 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 8:08 pm
kongs_speech wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:54 pm
prodigalgodson wrote:
June 4th, 2020, 7:50 pm
Thanks for the links! I've been working on some no-budget films myself lately, good to check out the competition :D
Hope you enjoy! I'm trying to put together a short film project right now myself.
Nice, look forward to seeing it! I've been working on a couple structuralist experimental shorts lately to reoil the hinges, I'd love feedback (pardon the glitchiness especially on the second, I'm trying to figure out a better export solution for the next one):


Awesome! I will definitely take a look and let you know what I think. Also, hope you had a nice birthday. I sent you a PM then, but it never went through.
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#22

Post by prodigalgodson » June 4th, 2020, 8:23 pm

Aww, thanks for the bday message! Just saw it now :cheers:

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#23

Post by OldAle1 » June 22nd, 2020, 6:37 pm

Yes, yes, catch-up again. I dallied for the last few weeks mostly because this week in particular was so huge and I struggled getting all this stuff down. Plus other stuff unrelated to this forum. Anyway...

This Film ROCKED
This Film SUCKED

Tôkyô no yado / An Inn in Tokyo (Yasujirô Ozu, 1935)

Fairly typical late silent Ozu - similar in some respects to other films about fathers and sons from this period, in which a single father is struggling to take care of his two young sons, making their way to Tokyo from the country. While looking for a job, he meets a single mother with one daughter, and when the daughter gets sick he has to make some very difficult choices - made even more difficult as he's staying in an inn run by another woman who may want more than friendship from him. This is typically solid work but for whatever reason didn't quite hit me the way most Ozu films do; would not be at all surprised if I love it on a second go, someday; the director always seems to improve on re-watching.

Tange Sazen yowa: Hyakuman ryô no tsubo / Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (Sadao Yamanaka, 1935)

I saw Yamanaka's other two surviving films a few years ago, but for whatever reason didn't get around to this one at the time. While the other two films have comic elements but have more significant crime and dramatic elements, this would best be described as a comedy with a bit of melodrama and a somewhat pessimistic last act (though the comedy is still there). I really need to get better copies of these - get the MOC set or hope for a Criterion - and watch them all again; there is definitely something lost for me from a cultural aspect, but also I think Yamanaka's framing and his radical use of depth - a pretty extraordinary visual style for the era - needs more time on my part. All three films feel like great works that I'm just not...quite...getting, though I've liked them all, and this one probably the most. The story of a pot that has the map to a treasure worth a million ryo, and how it goes from person to person while both the original owner and his brother, neither of whom thought it worth anything, start searching for it, is amusing enough but eventually the focus on the tragicomic one-armed, one-eyed samurai Tanze Sazen brings this a depth and poignancy that is quite powerful in the end. I dunno, can't say more at the moment.

Operation Crossbow (Michael Anderson, 1965)

Really mediocre WWII spy story about Allied operatives - George Peppard in the lead here - trying to sabotage a German facility making V2 rockets. Sophia Loren gets the above-the-title placement for her 10 or 15 minute role; I guess Peppard, Trevor Howard and John Mills just weren't enough to guarantee the box office for what was a fairly expensive production made during one of the peak periods of Hollywood's and Britain's love of war films. I watched this because I was just in the mood for one of these things but frankly most mainstream war films of the 60s are lame, overlong, and bland in their utter lack of nuance and straightforward storytelling, and this is no exception. Loren is the best part but like I said, she's just there for a bit.

La kermesse héroïque / Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder, 1935)

A broad farce taking place in the early 17th century, as the inhabitants of a small Belgian town (Bruges in reality, though it's not called that here) prepare for the arrival of their Spanish overlords, worried about both their wealth and their lives. The burghers who run the town have a plan that mostly involves hiding and pretending that the mayor is dead; the mayor's wife (Françoise Rosay, tall, imposing, and majestic) has conceived of a different plan, to welcome the Spaniards with open arms and make them forget that they are conquerors. There's a lot of amusing satire at the expense of the church and the gentry here, but most of the jokes are at the expense of the puffed-up lords of the town, who are really just middle-class merchants (if that) whose wives really wear the pants. Beautifully shot by regular Feyder DP Harry Stradling, a future 14-time Oscar nominee (twice winner) who specialized in lavish period spectacles, with production design by Lazare Meerson. Just terrific fun; I've seen little from Feyder but I'm going to have to catch more.

Tôkyô no eiyû / A Hero of Tokyo (Hiroshi Shimizu, 1935)

A widower with one son remarries, to a woman with two children, but disappears and apparently dies soon afterwards, leaving his widow to find work however she may - and this being a story about people on the margins, and Japanese, you can probably guess what kind of work she is eventually forced to turn to. The three children grow up with varying issues towards their mother - and two of the three end up following unhappy paths as well - but it turns out there may be more to their missing father than they knew. This is a pretty dynamite little (65 minutes) melodrama with crime overtones. It might have been better had it been a little longer and fleshed out some of the characters just a bit more, but as it is it's fairly tight and powerful, so I dunno. Not one of the best Shimizu films I've seen so far but compelling overall, and a departure from the other films I've seen which have all been comedies or at least had significant comedic elements - this is pretty dark.

Gubinjinsô / Poppy (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1935)
Maria no Oyuki / Oyuki, the Virgin (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1935)

Two solid but unspectacular works that do show some hints of the great visual design sense that the master was to be known for.

Gubinjinsô is essentially a love-quadrangle, with a rich girl promised to a rich guy, but who falls in love with a poor guy who is pledged to a poor girl. Complications, obviously, ensue. This has some beautiful scenes, like the very last one involving a watch, the sea, and a couple no longer who they were at the beginning of the film, but it has some uneasy comedic elements and just doesn't gel as much as it might.

Maybe a little better is Maria no Oyuki, which feels closer to the great later Mizoguchi films about the suffering of women; in this film, a couple of prostitutes (Komako Hara as Okin, and the great Isuzu Yamada as Oyuki) flees in a stagecoach from a war-torn town, and get involved with the local government commander. The first third of so of the film feels a lot like Stagecoach, with various elements of society crammed into the little conveyance, and arguments about morality, politics, etc - and indeed it's based on the same source material. But it becomes something different in the end, a love triangle of sorts, and while I liked the whole thing overall I think the first, fairly exciting part was much more compelling.

Operation Felix (Martin Nuza, 2008)
Pretty ordinary documentary about the aborted German/Spanish operation to conquer the Rock and town of Gibraltar in the early days of WWII. I don't know how interesting one can make a film about an operation that never happened and was pulled essentially because the two dictators, Franco and Hitler, could never agree on certain elements, but I feel like it could be more interesting than this ends up being. More about the history of the Rock and the English rule of it, maybe? More about the geography? I dunno, it's only an hour, I guess they felt like they had to offer a little bit of that, a little bit of this, and as it is we get something fairly shallow and not all that informative, though to be fair I did learn a few things I didn't know. Meh.

Condenados a vivir / Cut-Throats Nine (Joaquin Luis Romero Marchant, 1972)
Very bloody - horror-film type bloody, really, and I've seen this film listed as "horror" at times - western about a group of convicts being led from one prison to another through mountain passes by a Sergeant and... his teen-aged or early-twenties beautiful daughter! There IS an explanation for why she's along at one point, but it's not convincing - seems mostly to have an excuse for a rape scene, frankly. And much of the rest of the plot is either silly (gold chains?) or muddled, but still there's a certain way in which the nihilism here works and the slow whittling down of the group is accomplished in some interesting ways. By spaghetti standards it ends up pretty average in quality I'd say, but it's certainly a bit different from your usual Euro-western of this time so props for that.

Grant (Malcolm Venville, 2020)

TV miniseries on the History Channel that aired in late May - ironically enough, just before the George Floyd murder, and the BLM protest movement that has dominated American news since. This was recommended to me somewhere else and while I'm glad I saw it I'm going to be more wary of TV or film recs from that source. While it works to some extent as a valuable corrective to the prevailing lionization of scumbag traitors like Robert E. Lee, I'm not sure that making a hagiography out of the undoubtedly deeply-flawed General who beat him, and later became President, is the best way to move us forward in our understanding of these traumatic and nation-changing events. This follows the typical pattern of a great many TV documentaries of the last couple of decades - lots of talking heads, most of them reasonably informative but only given maybe a minute at a time to make each point, followed by very cheap and ugly-looking re-enactments. Read a book, maybe the book this was based on, instead.

Fata/Morgana (Vicente Aranda, 1966)

Weird and hard to describe mix of paranoia and moody mystery involving primarily a young woman who is about to be killed, the man who knows she is about to be killed - because he studies other young women who are murdered and who are "destined" for murder - a young man who wants to warn her or stop it, and various other characters that... I'm going to fail here. I'm really not sure what I watched or what it all adds up to beyond various people acting weird in a strangely almost deserted city. Oh and there's a truck that goes around with somebody announcing on a PA system that everybody has to leave. And it's got a pop-jazz score that often seems at odds with the distressing or dangerous story we're watching. This belongs in some ways to the tradition of obscure European arthouse films exemplified by Antonioni most of all, and indeed I thought of the mysterious nature of Blowup - from the same year - many times, but it's so unfocused (or I wasn't focused enough when watching it) and slight that it doesn't add up to much more than an interesting oddity. I enjoyed the watch overall and the delicious bright colors, the way the city is shot, and the almost Bressonian minimal acting of lead Teresa Gimpera (named "Gim" in the film and playing a model, art meets life) make for an eyeful, but I doubt I'll remember anything at all about it in a week.

Tsuma yo bara no yô ni / Wife! Be Like a Rose! (Mikio Naruse, 1935)

A young woman has reached marriageable age and wants to go forward into matrimony, but she needs her father as a go-between with the groom's family - and her father had left her mother many years ago, the only contact being the money he sends regularly. She goes off to find him, and the woman he left her mother for, and finds a very different man than the one her poetess mother has described, and a situation far more complex than she imagined. This starts out fine but a little ordinary - maybe I've seen too many similar stories recently - but grows in power and emotional depth until it's revelatory conclusion, as we start to see all of the characters as very complex and flawed people who unfortunately cannot avoid doing hurt. The way in which the husband and wife's relationship in particular is developed seems pure genius, as my prejudice kept changing throughout the film. The best Naruse film from the 30s I've seen so far; he continues to rise in my estimation.

LAUREL & HARDY SHORTS

a) The Fixer-Uppers (Charley Rogers, 1935)
b) Thicker Than Water (James W. Horne, 1935)
c) Laughing Gravy (full 3-reel version) (James W. Horne, 1930)

The Fixer-Uppers deals with a woman convinced that her hubby doesn't love her anymore; good thing Laurel and Hardy are around to try to make him jealous - Stan says it worked for a lady he knew, but that lady didn't have dueling champion Charles Middleton for a husband. Middleton make this one, otherwise fairly average in the L&H filmography. Thicker Than Water is a domestic dispute story, fairly typical - Ollie's wife thinks he's a good-for-nothing and his buddy and their tenant Stan even worse, and they proceed to prove her right, first breaking all the dishes then making a shall we say very poor $300 investment. The ending's awesome though, as is the ending of Laughing Gravy which manages to maintain a pretty amazing frenzied pace for a half-hour, and also a strange mix of pathos and biting humor at the very end.

Bonnie Scotland (James W. Horne, 1935)

Apart from Sons of the Desert, I haven't really been bowled over by any of the L&H features I've seen, but I like them enough to keep watching them, I guess at about a 1-a-year pace. Here's my 2020 choice, 85 years young, and it's maybe a bit better than average, which makes it solid, very good but not "great' to my taste. The boys are in Scotland where Stan is to get a big inheritance - or so he thinks - and then they end up in the army, and are shipped off to India, where they have to help out Stan's distant cousin and her love affair with the poor-but-good guy, over her scheming would-be-sister-in-law. The segment where they have problems with their landord is quite similar to much of Laughing Gravy - and several other shorts - and the whole thing doesn't quite cohere, and it just sort of ... ends without resolution. But it's funny enough and that's really all that matters here.

Nick (Jose Pozo, 2016)

Godawful, completely amateurish production about a policewoman whose much younger half-brother comes to stay with her, their antagonistic relationship, and the murder by a "vampire" that he thinks he sees and photographs. blocho reviewed this upthread and I have to concur with a lot of what he says; first, why is this nearly all in English? According to Wiki Andorrans mostly speak Catalan and there doesn't seem to be a really large minority of Brits and Americans - nearly all of the cast here. So presumably there was some thought to this getting worldwide distribution by virtue of the language, but in the context of the film itself it really takes away from any sense of reality or real locations; might just as well be a town in the Western USA. Much of the dialogue and actions make little sense (one standout example - the kid, Nick, has a regular old 35mm camera - this is in 2016, how many kids would be using a 35mm and not digital? it's clearly solely there for plot purposes, so he has to develop the film, not because it actually makes sense), and this is certainly not helped by the APPALLINGLY bad acting on the part of nearly everyone. This really feels like an unfinished student project that somebody had the balls to put credits to and actually release. And it's quite cheap-looking with fairly low-grade digital photography - ugly and dull-looking throughout. AVOID!!!

Aniki Bóbó (Manoel de Oliveira, 1942)

Oliveira's first feature is a nice little neo-realist (before the term was being used, but very much going along with a lot of what De Sica et al would be doing a few years later in Italy) story of a bunch of kids, 9-11 I'd say, and their games, school-skipping, and a bit of jealousy over a girl that leads to the one real dramatic moment in the film - mostly it's a fairly plotless ramble, but a lovely one, through the old streets and on the bridges and rooftops of ancient Porto.

Laberinto de pasiones / Labyrinth of Passion (Pedro Almodóvar, 1982)

The director's second commercial feature feels like a bridge between the really scattershot and largely plotless Pepi, Luci, Bom and his later work - more plot, the beginnings of some of the melodramatic (especially medical) elements that would become strong tropes in his later work, a star role for Cecilia Roth and his first collaboration with Antonio Banderas, in a supporting role here. It's also got a bit more visual beauty than Pepi, though it's still quite low-budget and the director's trademark bold use of color is only intermittently on display here. The plot, such as it is, involves Riza, a gay Prince from a fictional Middle Eastern country who falls in love with Sexilia (Roth) a nympho pop star, and various attempts by multiple groups of people to find the incognito Riza to...kill him, kidnap him, take him back to safety, etc. And there are about two dozen other characters, and several little subplots that don't really go anywhere. Amusing enough but I prefer the more structured later Almodóvar for the most part.

and now for some more sex...

Putas Marcianas / Martian Whores (José João Silva, 2011)

I don't know where I got this; as to why, I suppose it looked hot & sexy or something, and it was short (just under 45 minutes), and something vaguely SF-fantasy-like. So why not? Well, maybe I'd better be a little more selective when this kind of stuff comes my way... like Nick, above, this feels like a totally amateur production, done on pretty low-grade digital equipment, ugly and cheap, much of it handheld but not for any artistic reason, just because the filmmakers couldn't afford proper equipment. Anyway this guy meets this girl on the beach and ends up going home with her, and she claims she's from some other planet, and then when something happens to her she tells him to go find her spacesuit. In between there's some not very exciting or competently shot softcore sex and boring conversation, and dinner at what I thought was supposed to be a restaurant, but it's just people sitting at a plastic table surrounded by cardboard boxes. This was so lazy, stupid and worthless it made me angry.

Habitación en Roma / Room in Rome (Julio Medem, 2010)

I had some worries that this would be just softcore lesbian erotica/exploitation, and following the last bit of dreck I was worried that I was going to have two disasters in a row, but thankfully I was largely mistaken, though it's hardly a great film. Once again a part of my desire to see this certainly was prurient, have to admit that, but I'd also seen one previous film from the director (Los amantes del círculo polar) which I like a lot, and it seems that most of his films are heavily sexual in nature. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that for my money features that focus predominantly or significantly on sex are rarely all that good, so if I'm honest as to why I'm watching them, it's not usually for great dialogue or really meaningful commentary on the state of the world. And this, well, I think I'd have to say that the main reason to see this is indeed to watch two really beautiful actresses, Elena Anaya and Natasha Yarovenko, frolic around naked for most of two hours. Beautifully shot, great color balance - very warm and earthy tones - in a lovely Roman hotel room (really a studio set I'm sure), so that might be enough for some. Thankfully it does have more to it, as the two characters - a Spanish engineer and a Russian actress, or is it tennis player, or art historian (the film is full of story-telling, and much of it is lies and exaggerations) get to know each other and try to make sense of this possibly quite foolish one-night stand (one of them is in a long-term relationship with a woman, the other is to be married to a man soon). So ultimately it's a film about people talking about why they're doing what they're doing, what brought them to this place, and it's fairly interesting at times for that. But I have to say there's no question in my mind that this wouldn't have gotten made or seen without all the nudity and (very soft-core) sex, and while that certainly doesn't take away from it, it gets a bit boring eventually; had this been 75-80 minutes it might have had more intensity and been something more special, as it is, I dunno, it's just too languorous and feels very slght.

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#24

Post by OldAle1 » June 22nd, 2020, 6:42 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
May 31st, 2020, 7:28 pm

The Juniper Tree (Nietzchka Keene, 1990) 3/10

An art flick with the superficial appeal of a fashion ad...there are undoubtedly some nice shots, but few feel genuinely inspired. All this marching actors through proto-screensaver backdrops prioritizes the aesthetic of individual shots at the expense of the cinematic whole; the resulting stiffness kept me at a distance for 80 very long minutes. Mood-wise there's a sustained languorous heaviness that portends greater profundity than the slim occurrences deliver. I have a soft spot for low-budget artsiness, but this was disappointing.
I saw this a year ago at the Wisconsin Film Fest - Keene was a professor at UVM and they hold her papers, as well as a pretty fresh-looking 35mm print of this film. I liked it much more than you did (though I don't know that I'd say I loved it or anything - I gave it an 8 and y'all know I'm generous):

35mm. The director was a member of the University of Wisconsin faculty, teaching filmmaking and editing, which probably explains in part why this film, an Icelandic production in English shot four years prior to it's release and starring then-21-year-old Björk in her first film role, got a showcase place at the festical in a lovely restored print. It's based on a Brothers Grimm tale, about a the new bride moving to a remote area on the coast with her sister (Björk) to live with a widowed farmer and his young son. Both women may or may not be witches - their mother seems to have been one - and there are conflicts present throughout between the new religion of Christianity and the old ways, as well as family conflicts when the son decides he hates his new stepmother, but bonds curiously with her sister. It's a beautifully shot (b/w, 1.85) film, but what's really remarkable is the soundtrack, it's the sounds of nature, of the cries of the wind and wolves and birds and the crashing of waves, that really brings one into this mythical lost world where magic could exist and one's dreams might be as real as the mountains and sky. I don't know that I picked up on all the allegory and meaning here - the Grimms are often a little challenging to me -- but it's a lovely audio-visual experience in any case.

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