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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 32, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 32, 2020

#1

Post by sol » August 9th, 2020, 12:01 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

Succubus (1968). Perhaps best thought of as Jesús Franco emulating Alain Resnais, the hardly straightforward plot here has something to do with a man and a woman (who may or may not have met before) and their philosophical conversations about life and cinema against 60s psychedelia. As one might expect from such a description, the film is at its best when in Last Year at Marienbad mode as the man tries to convince her that they met in Copenhagen, and in Hiroshima Mon Amour mode with musings such as "films are outmoded; they are shown three months after they are made" as the pair embrace. As for the rest of the film, it is wildly uneven, walking an odd line between being exploitation fare and something much more arty with lots of deliberately blurry and overexposed shots. And, with so much weirdness, this is at least seldom boring. (first viewing, online) ★★

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972). One of those films where the title is the best thing about it, this may have played out better had it actually been about children rather than immature theatre actors in their mid-twenties. As it is, there nary a likeable character to be found here (though Anya Ormby is almost sympathetic) as the actors decide to party in a graveyard and defile corpses for the sake of it. The first half of the film moves extremely slowly with a couple of pranks but nothing really horror-like in the mix, the digging up of graves aside. Things do massively improve halfway in with a lot of very dark humour as the actors take one of the corpses back to their cabin and use it as a mannequin/toy. This black comedy angle is soon cut short though and the final quarter of the film is nothing but familiar and formulaic zombie action. (first viewing, online) ★

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972). For a film with such a lurid, suggestive and mysterious title, this giallo entry actually seems very tame at first despite a plot that involves a series of unexplained murders. The pacing is simply too slow with little of note occurring in between the corpses surfacing - a memorable public humiliation or two aside. Where the film really picks up is in its final fifteen minutes. While a key plot development relies on the lame device of the guilty party narrating their thoughts aloud to explain everything, the film hits some truly grisly and out-there territory after this point. A motorcycle ride with rapid fire edits and a bleeding heart is especially effective, though the haunting final scene and final shot are what really seals the deal. And yet, while the film ends very strongly, it is an uneven ride getting there. (first viewing, online) ★★

Magdalena Possessed by the Devil (1974). Clearly made to cash in on the success of The Exorcist, this looks at a boarding school student whose demon possession is misdiagnosed by her teachers and doctors who just thinks that she needs more rest. While it seems odd to have an Exorcist homage in which exorcism barely factors in, the filmmakers drum up much comedy through her misdiagnosis and some of the crazy things she gets up to with the superhuman strength that she has when possessed. The film is a little dull in between her scattered acting out scenes with lifeless supporting characters. It is never quite made clear either how she came to be possessed. As others have pointed out though, it is hard not to like a film that contains such outrageousness as a teenager asking to have her Communion wafer somewhere other than her mouth. (first viewing, online) ★★

In Search of Dracula (1975). Introduced by Christopher Lee, this documentary looks at the origins of Bram Stoker's character, vampires in general and how these creatures of folklore have become so ubiquitous in horror cinema. It is a fascinating subject, and with everything from footage of an apparent vampire bat to reenactment footage featuring Lee, the film throws some startling images into the mix while also capturing the natural beauty of Transylvania removed from Stoker's vision. Clocking in at nearly 90 minutes, the project sometimes feels too long for its subject matter and a deflection towards Frankenstein towards the end feels like a distraction. The final stretch of the film also relies too heavily on non-narrated silent film clips. For the most part though, the archive footage suits the material well and Lee's presence certainly gives this class. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Women in Cellblock 9 (1978). Captured by a sadistic doctor and even more sadistic female warden who wishes to interrogate them, a group of young women are subjected to torture in this controversial Jesús Franco movie. While some of the torture scenes are grueling and there is some nudity, this is not especially sleazy or exploitative. Franco largely focuses on the facial expressions of his female leads with so many close-ups of their faces in torture that it is hard not to feel their pain. A bug-eyed John Vernon is also excellent as the kooky doctor, getting off on watching the warden abuse her power. The dialogue is on-the-nose with the women complaining about how humans can do such cruel things to one another, but topped off with a memorable ending that wisely leaves things up to our imagination, this is a lot classier than the average exploitation movie. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Dracula Blows His Cool (1979). Tired of feeding off stolen blood bank supplies, two vampires emerge from the basement of a castle that their descendants have turned into a discotheque, but feeding on humans is not as easy as it once was in this energetic horror spoof. Bits and pieces are downright silly, including some of the bumbling male supporting characters, but this is generally funny stuff. There is some hilarious nonsense involving a misplaced gigantic silver dildo that the town prude confiscates, and two women hiding in the same bed, but the vampire gags work best. The Jaws-like music is especially great as the male vampire tries to sneak up on a victim in the shower, only to wind up stuck in the bathroom. A confusion of identities does not always gel, but Gianni Garko is effective in a double role. The eerie castle location is also excellent. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Keep Your Right Up (1987). Often described as Godard's attempt at slapstick comedy, this gets to an excellent start with Godard providing a very physical performance as the "idiot" protagonist, sliding over tables and needing instructions just to get into a car! Alas, as the film progresses, Godard soon becomes a minor character in the overall tapestry with his subplot (about delivering a can of film) also relegated into the backdrop. In focus instead are various loosely connected vignettes. Some of these are very funny, such a female plane passenger asking for a larger slice of the pie. Some of the vignettes are memorably bizarre, such a golf game gone awry. The vast majority of the vignettes though are dull and repetitive with many scenes of music recording. The music is at least pleasant, but given how funny Godard as an actor is, the focus feels misplaced. (first viewing, online) ★★

The High Crusade (1994). Abducted by aliens, a group of bumbling medieval knights try to escape with no conception of how far away they are in this amiable comedy. The film begins well with lots of humour from the knights scoffing at the twentieth century science that the aliens know, such as Earth being round and revolving around the sun. The aliens laughing at the concept of the soul also offers a sharp poke at religion. Alas, the further the film progresses, the less satiric and sillier it becomes with alien finger sex, negotiating ransoms in ponies and so on in the mix. There is also a poorly developed cloning subplot. All involved are clearly having a good time though and look like they have been told to dial their acting up to 11. While this renders the film exhausting, the effort on a noticeable budget (limited sets and special effects) has its charms. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Wild Blue Yonder (2005). Presented as a documentary, this fiction film from Werner Herzog purports to be an interview with a humanoid alien explaining how his species came to Earth decades ago, only to unsuccessfully colonise the planet. It is an intriguing premise and Herzog manipulates archive footage very well to give the project authenticity. Brad Dourif is appropriately kooky in the lead role and the film is especially fascinating as he talks about his involvement with Roswell and government cover-ups. Alas, the majority of the film is absent of Dourif as we spend minutes on end aboard a space shuttle without the crew getting up to much, and as we are shown underwater footage that goes on for so long that its enchantment dries up. The film also ends up droning on a lot about how beautiful Earth is and how little humankind appreciates its beauty. (first viewing, online) ★

Don't Let Go (2019). Worried that he is losing his mind when his deceased niece starts phoning him in the days after her murder, a police detective soon realises that he is communicating with her in the past and sets out to prevent her murder from occurring in this sci-fi themed thriller. It is an intriguing concept, and yet one that the film does little with. The pseudoscience at hand is massively shied over with a myriad of unanswered questions regarding how past and future timelines are changed as a result of their actions. As a simple thriller though, the film works quite well with the premise leading to some interesting and unusual ways of solving the mystery. The film also benefits from a great music score that almost seems to taunt the characters at times with carnival-like melodies in the mix, but as a sci-fi outing, this is a hard film to take seriously. (first viewing, online) ★★

And one revision:

Never Let Go (1960). Unconvinced that the police will recover his stolen car, a desperate man takes matters into his own hands, which leads to the crime boss who has stolen the car becoming equally unhinged in this intense British crime drama. As the main characters, Richard Todd and Peter Sellers are both well cast. The film tends to gets a lot of attention for Sellers' callous cast-against-type turn, but Todd is equally as solid with every bit of desperation visible in his eye movements. Upon second viewing, Todd comes off as less sympathetic and rather irrational with his chasing down of Sellers, but the central situation remains dynamic due to how the situation gnaws away at not only but Todd but an increasingly frantic Sellers too. The film's best asset though is still John Barry's at times pounding, at times taunting music with occasional drumbeats. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★

OtherShow
The Forger of London (1961). Set in London but filmed entirely in Germany, this Edgar Wallace adaptation unfortunately feels more like a soap opera than a crime drama with its increasingly convoluted plot full of jolting twists and turns. Not only is our newlywed protagonist's husband suspected of forgery, he might be suffering from (or faking!) amnesia, so he might be responsible! And he might be a murderer! And he might have knowingly married her under a false name! And somebody else might want to romance her on the side! All those exclamation marks pretty much capture what the plot developments of the film feel like. To be fair, the film is certainly well shot with some great scenes in low lighting at night and a fantastic knife point-of-view bit. The project also benefits from a jazzy mood-setting score. The story leaves a lot to be desired though. (first viewing, online) ★

The Secret of the Red Orchid (1962). Detectives close in on a vicious blackmailer in this German crime drama. While the cast is headed by Christopher Lee, clearly brought in to give the project some class, the most interesting performance comes from a young Klaus Kinski as a cigarette salesman with a noisy parrot who may not be as innocent as he looks. Outside of Kinki though, this is a rather hit-and-miss affair with more misses than hits. The music choices often feel inappropriate and the movie never manages to establish much in the way of mood or atmosphere due to an overabundance of comic relief (a butler character feels like part of an entirely different movie altogether). The plot is never too riveting either; while blackmail is the ostensible central crime, all that it generally amounts to here is mounting murders from those who refuse to pay up. (first viewing, online) ★

The Secret of the Black Widow (1963). One of their team killed by a black widow bite, the survivors of a dangerous expedition are targeted by an assailant who shoots them with black widow darts in this German crime drama. With the unusual method of dispatch, this has a lot of interest from the get-go; an often inebriated investigative journalist also makes for a great protagonist with his propensity for exaggeration finally getting himself into trouble since the black widow murders do actually have a lot more going on with a mysterious Klaus Kinski and others telling him to leave matters alone. The whole runs a little long with a drawn out boat chase and a tad too much still going on once everything is finally revealed, but this is reasonably well paced and there are some simply amazing high camera angle and angular low shots on the reporter's houseboat. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle (1963). Detectives and reporters simultaneously investigate a series of strangulations at a centuries-old castle in this mystery thriller from Germany. The castle itself looks divine, there are some memorable kills in the mix and the film curiously breaks convention by having the unidentified killer talk to his first victim before killing him. The story itself though is never especially engaging. An excess of main characters is arguably to blame; as the film flips between detectives, reporters and even a young boy who lives near the manor, we are given little to chance to know or like the characters as they each approach the mystery from vastly different angles. An early revelation of some stolen diamonds also takes away all sense of mystery regarding the strangler's motives and what is driving him. Passable but a bit underwhelming. (first viewing, online) ★★

Castle of the Creeping Flesh (1968). Drunk and unable to find their way home, a group of friends stay the night at a castle owned by a mad scientist who soon becomes obsessed with how much one of them resembles his dead daughter in this German horror film. Shot at a real castle in Austria, the film benefits from spooky interiors and exteriors and Howard Vernon is solid as the mad scientist, constantly tinkering between sounding rational and absolutely insane. The film is very clumsily assembled though with the narrative abruptly interrupted at several points for random cutaways to open-heart surgery - footage of which seems present more for shock value than narrative drive. Much of the narrative does not stand up to close scrutiny either. The musical cues (especially when he notices the resemblance to his daughter) are also crazily over-the-top. (first viewing, online) ★

Mysteries of the Gods (1976). Harald Reinl's "other" documentary about "ancient astronauts", this is not quite as effective as Chariots of the gods? but it is interesting all the same. The music from Peter Thomas is less enchanting this time round, but an imported William Shatner makes for a fun addition as he interviews various 'experts' from a quasi-scientific standpoint. The interviewees vary, but Shatner's enthusiasm never diminishes and Reinl and his team assemble the footage well, juxtaposing ancient drawings and photographs to support their hypothesis. The dubious nature of certain claims aside, the film is mostly let down by how randomly it seems to jump from one topic to the next, from UFO sightings to the wiring of the human brain to ancient surgical techniques etc. The topics also vary in how intriguing they are, but this is fine while it lasts. (first viewing, online) ★★

Summer with the Ghosts (2003). Neglected by her workaholic filmmaker father, a young girl solves the mystery behind the strange sounds and occurrences on her father's film set in this little-seen movie from Austria. The title sort of gives away the solution and the ghosts are actually pretty friendly (and not very ghostlike) but the whole thing essentially works thanks to Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse's very natural lead performance. She is charming to watch as she pines for her father's attention, only to eventually discover how great a time she can have without him. There is also a kooky rooster, a well-trained dog who seems to understand English and an easily irate sound designer. The stakes of the film are extremely low (very little sense of urgency or danger) but this is a pleasant enough way to pass the time - and the Austrian countryside is just beautiful. (first viewing, online) ★★
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » August 9th, 2020, 12:01 pm

Chuva é Cantoria na Aldeia dos Mortos / The Dead and the Others 2018 joão salaviza & renée nader messora. 5+
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T H I R 1972 phill niblock. 3

Dance of the Wind / Wara Mendel 1998 rajan khosa. 5+

Valley of the Gods 2019 lech majewski. 9-

Dieu sait quoi / God Only Knows 1994 jean-daniel pollet. 8
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Zoo zéro 1979 alain fleischer. (2nd viewing) 8 (from 7)

JFK 1991 oliver stone. (3rd viewing)

Vampire Journals 1997 ted nicolaou. (4th viewing) 10

絞死刑 / Death by Hanging 1968 大島渚/nagisa oshima. (2nd viewing) 6+ (from 5)

The Dead Zone 1983 david cronenberg. (3rd viewing)

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion 2002 tom piozet. 8-
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shorts

Jupiter may be closer than you think 2016 dalibor barić. 7

Dream Age 1979 barbara hammer. 5+

more than everything (3D) 2018 rainer kohlberger. 7

Color Cry 1952 len lye. 5

Clay or the Origin of Species 1965 eli noyes. 4

Child of Rage / Child of Rage: A Story of Abuse 1990 gaby monet. 6-

Mystery of the Seeing Hand and Golden Sphere / Dream #7 2010 david lynch. (rewatch) 6

Eclipse 1984 antônio moreno. (2 viewings) 7-
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series

Dave - S01E02 - "Dave's First" 2020. 6+
Dave - S01E03 - "Hypospadias" 2020. 6+
Dave - S01E04 - "Somebody..." 2020. 4

South Park - S22E01 - "Dead Kids" 2018 (rewatch)
South Park - S22E02 - "A Boy and a Priest" 2018 (rewatch)


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1515 - David Choe 2018. 7

Chariots of the Gods 1970 harald reinl [Egypt section]


didn't finish

The Garden of Earthly Delights (Lech Majewski, 2004) [42 min]
Sol negro (Laura Huertas Millán, 2016) [9 min]
The Stunt Double (Academy Award® Winner Damien Chazelle, 2020) [2 min]
Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (Ted Nicolaou, 1998) [would-be rewatch] [ca. half-an-hour]
The Changeling (Peter Medak, 1980) [would-be rewatch] [ca. 19 min]


notable online media

top:
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David Lynch has a recurring dream...wait for it
[GTA V] Franklin saved by crazy cop
rest:
PUMA AYTΛΟ FILM. FREEDOM
AYTΛΟ x GREENPEACE
ΑΥΤΛΟ x THE VILLAGE
Outlaw Film I
The film by Outlaw Moscow inspired by TAG Heuer Connected Watch
Outlaw Moscow Man Collection
Rage Against The Machine - No Shelter (from The Battle Of Mexico City)
[GTA V] Police arrest me for saying hello [GTA 5 Police]
Hey Bobby, look look I'm American!
"Girl, you're thicker than a bowl of oatmeal."
I think I married a psychopath
Mannequin [by Sally Cruikshank] (rewatch)
Lindemann Flic Flac Freaks Trailer
PS5 Graphics Demo in Unreal Engine 5: What's NEW? [4K Video]
What Is David Working on Today? 8/3/20 - Balls
What Is David Working on Today? 8/8/20 - Thinking
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on August 9th, 2020, 2:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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#3

Post by mightysparks » August 9th, 2020, 12:05 pm

@sol I actually quite liked Children Play With Dead Things, I thought it had a good sense of humour/playfulness to it, but it was a bit amateurish and it did indeed get more dull as it went on.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

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#4

Post by Onderhond » August 9th, 2020, 12:30 pm

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Quite a few low ratings again last week, I hope to be done with my little TSPDT Top 100 project this week so I can shift my focus to more worthwhile things. On the upside, also qutie a few happy surprises this week, with two new favorites. That's been a while.


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01. 4.0* - Ninja Scroll [Jûbê Ninpûchô] by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (1993)
One of the early films that helped to give anime a bad name. Gruesome, crude and violent, with a bare-bones plot and a strong focus on style. It's vintage Kawajiri, with beefy character designs, crazy demon spawn and lots of torn limbs. It was an eyeopener back when I first watched it, nowadays it's still very entertaining. Delightfully violent.

02. 3.5* - Shape of Red by Yukiko Mishima (2020)
A fine romantic drama by Yukiko Mishima. Mishima is quickly becoming one of the more notable female directors in Japan, marrying interesting topics with a strong stylistic signature. Shape of Red fits the description, though I did have some problems with the premise of the film. Luckily the second half adds some necessary intrigue. Toko is a demure wife, stuck in a loveless marriage. She takes care of their daughter, assists her husband whenever needed and endures her mother-in-law. But her life changes when one day she bumps into Kurata, an old college boyfriend. He convinces her to take a job, which stirs up a long dormant emotional volcano within Toko. The "woman breaking free of her reigns" setup feels a little too simplistic, though the characters do get properly fleshed out later on. Visually there are some stunning scenes and the second half has some truly emotionally poignant scenes. There is more than enough greatness here, sadly it takes a little too long to reveal itself.

03. 3.5* - Coma [Koma] by Nikita Argunov
A sprawling Russian fantasy film. There's definitely a trend going on there, lately more and more big budget Russian genre films are finding their way to the West. It's a big move away from the downtrodden rural arthouse that we usually get to see, but it's a trend I'm gladly embracing. The plot of Coma isn't the most interesting, but it's a solid premise that allows the director to go crazy with the fantasy elements, which is the main focus of the film. An architect in a coma arrives in a strange, Escher-esque world where he finds other victims battling dark and evil creatures. He architects out to have special powers and is quickly recruited by a team of survivors. A lot of time and effort went into the design and execution of the fantasy world, which is a real blessing. Argunov takes his time to explore this world and keeps the plot to a minimum. No doubt a choice that is going to annoy some people, but personally this is how I prefer my fantasy. A pretty nifty discovery.

04. 3.5* - My Friend 'A' [Yûzai] by Takahisa Zeze (2018)
A bleak and dark drama that deals with childhood trauma. Zeze takes a less typical approach by zooming in on the perpetrators, kids who screwed up at a young age and are forced to live their lives knowing they've committed irreparable damage not only the victims, but also their own families and friends. Masuda is an aspiring journalist who isn't really cut out for the job. He goes to work in a small factory where he meets Suzuki, a silent and reclusive kid who shies away from his colleagues. Masuda and Suzuki grow close, but Masuda is a little too intrigued by Suzuki's past and starts digging for information, which puts a strain on their friendship. Performances are strong, the cinematography is fitting and the film has several gripping moments. It's just a little too safe. Zeze's films tend to miss that little extra polish, that tiny bit of personal signature that would elevate them to real masterpieces. Even so, well recommended for fan of grim Japanese dramas, but not quite best in class.

05. 3.5* - Parasyte: Part 1 [Kiseijuu] by Takashi Yamazaki (2014)
Takashi Yamazaki is one of a handful Japanese directors who can make a proper blockbuster. While his films fall short of being true masterpieces, they offer solid entertainment while staying clear from being too generic. Parasyte fits right in with the rest of his work, making it perfect filler. The film is clearly based on a manga/anime, though you don't need any prior knowledge to watch it. The setup is very simple, with a weird species of parasites on a mission to dominate mankind. One of the creatures fails to take over his host's brain and ends up as his right hand (literally). The two of them learn to live together and become the unlikely heroes of the story. The monster design is pretty outrageous, but hilarious. The film is also quite gruesome for a blockbuster, but nothing a regular horror fan can't handle. Performances are solid, with Shôta Sometani as the charismatic lead, the cinematography is slick and the visual effects on point. I really had a lot of fun with this one, it won't be long before I give part 2 a whirl.

06. 3.5* - Alexandra's Project by Rolf de Heer (2003)
This film is about Steve. Steve is about to have the worst birthday of his life. It's going to take a while before the full extent of Alexandra's secret project is revealed, as Rolf de Heer takes his time to set up Steve's birthday party, but from the very first scene it's obvious that something is well off. There is a constant struggle to keep things interesting, but in the end de Heer comes out the winner. I think a tighter runtime might've done the film some good. It would've given him a chance to eliminate some forced pauses that sometimes take the urgency out of the film, but overall there are a few interesting twists that ramp the intrigue while keeping you guessing about what is to follow. Performances are decent, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The cinematography is meticulous, but not quite attractive. Alexandra's Project could've used a little extra polish, but in the end the film is twisted and surprising enough to rise above that. A great build-up, some fun twists and turns and a few genuine what-the-fucks. Good fun.

07. 3.5* - Wild Target by Jonathan Lynn (2010)
A fun and quirky black comedy, about a contract killer who becomes enamoured with his target. It's not a very original premise and the film sticks pretty closely to what is know to work, but lively performances and a knack for dry and silly comedy make sure this film distinguishes itself from its peers. Bill Nighy is perfect as the posh, gentleman-like killer, while Blunt is surprisingly good as joyous swindler and romantic interest of Nighy. Grint acts as comic relief, but can't quite find the right vibe for his character. On the villainous side, Everett, Freeman and Bell were clearly having lots of fun as they all put in solid performances. The direction is light and sometimes a little too basic, but it adequately supports the dry comedy. The film is relatively short and doesn't drag things out endlessly, which is only for the best as the plot is quite rudimentary and predictable. Far from masterpiece material, but it's amusing filler that offers a slightly different take on a familiar genre.

08. 3.0* - Dragon Reloaded [Lung Gam Wai Yi Dzi Wang Mo Leung Leung] by Vincent Kok (2005)
This is one for the hardcore Hong Kong comedy fan only. Vincent Kok is well known for his over-the-top comedy antics, Dragon Reloaded seems to be taken the old formula to new extremes. I'm pretty used to Hong Kong comedy by now, but even I was gasping for air by the time the film had ended. I think Ronald Cheng shouted every single line he was given. The rest of the cast is equally loud and hyperactive. Calling it overacting is a gross understatement. On top of that, the film's pacing is excruciating. There's nothing that resembles a coherent plot, so Kok simply dashes from joke to joke at breakneck speed. And while some of it is probably offensive by modern standards, it's clear that it's just for laughs. Now that pure comedies are increasingly rare, there's definitely value in that. There are more misses than hits here, but because Kok moves so fast the good jokes tend to stick, while the bad ones are quickly forgotten. And because Kok goes at it like a loose canon, he's able to slip in a good few original jokes. Now, this won't be everyone's cup of tea and it sure is somewhat of a strain, but it's also extremely goofy and entertaining. Not a great film, but good fun.

09. 3.0* - Love Is Five, Seven, Five [Koi wa Go-shichi-go!] by Naoko Ogigami (2005)
I wouldn't be surprised if every traditional Japanese after school club got its own movie during the 00s. It became a pretty popular genre, driven by a rigid narrative structure that didn't seem to leave the directors much freedom to add something of their own. Ogigami struggles too, but overall she did a pretty solid job. The 5-7-5 refers to the haiku pattern, which is the main theme of the film. Some familiarity with the Japanese language and haiku dos and don'ts will definitely come in handy, no doubt some of the finer points went right by me, but by the end of the film I did begin to get a feel for the nuances and appeal. That's not to say I became the biggest haiku fan in the world, but at least I got a decent grasp of the directives. Ogigami's quirkiness is present, but not as much as in her better work. She's too restricted by the classic setup and the predictable direction of the story. The cinematography is decent and performances are nice, though nothing too exceptional. This is just a fun, breezy and pleasant little film, but a bit too by the numbers for my liking.

10. 3.0* - Cybernetics Guardian [Seijûki Cyguard] by Koichi Ohata (1989)
A short OAV from Kôichi Ôhata, the director behind Genocyber. If you're familiar with Japanese sci-fi/horror anime, then I'm sure the name Genocyber rings a bell. It's a somewhat mythical 90s anime that only cares about being as badass as possible. Cybernetics Guardian is quite similar, but more compact (and a little older). While nothing too original, the mishmash of influences does give this film its own, unique identity. The dystopian, futuristic setting, the mecha and pseudoscience mixed with a bit of demonology and the raw action are nothing new, but thrown together it makes for a pretty explosive combination. Because of the limited runtime Ôhata doesn't have much time to do proper world building, at the same time the no frills approach and extreme pacing add to the charm of this production. The animation is limited, but the designs are pretty cool and if you like excessive violence there's plenty of that here. Short and entertaining.

11. 3.0* - The 8-Year Engagement [8-Nengoshi no Hanayome] by Takahisa Zeze (2017)
Not what I expected from Zeze. The 8-Year Engagement is the kind of film that got very popular in the second half of the 00s. Suddenly every Japanese drama was about a romance tripped up by disease. While these films proved to be solid crowd pleasers, the cinematic quality of this niche was rather limited. Zeze does his best, but he too gets stuck in some of the genre's pitfalls. While performances are solid and the cinematography is decent, the film ends up being a bit too sappy and there's very little to balance out the sentimentality of the story. It's also quite long for a film that spoils its entire plot in the title. That's not to say it's a terrible film. Takeru Satoh has some nice scenes and the easy-going pace of the film allows for a few nice breathers in between. The story itself (based on a true story, with credit-pics to prove it) is sweet too, but I've seen too many of these films to be truly touched by them.

12. 2.5* - An American Pickle by Brandon Trost (2020)
A mediocre Rogen comedy. Most comedies go for a very simple, pedestrian setup and sneak in as many jokes as possible, An American Pickle guns for a more original and creative setup, but forgot to make it actually funny. It's a real bummer because the premise really did have a lot of potential. Polish immigrant Hershel gets trapped in a pickle barrel and remains locked in for 100 years. When they find him he is still alive, but the world has changed a lot and Hershel only has his great-grandson Ben to take care of him. The two don't really get along and soon they become each other's worst enemies. The loose narrative is actually quite fun and Rogen (who plays both Hershel and Ben) isn't bad either, but the jokes (and feeble social commentary) are pretty weak and the "time travel" bits are way too predictable. The direction too feels indifferent. The film just hobbles along without any real highlights, a missed opportunity.

13. 2.5* - Earthquake Bird by Wash Westmoreland (2019)
Earthquake Bird is an odd little thriller with pretty extreme shifts in quality. The premise of the film is terribly weak, as if you're watching a cheap, 90s B-thriller. The intrigue is completely missing and the twists and turns along the way reminded me more of disappointing video rentals than good cinema. Part of that is due to poor performances of the lead characters. It seems like Kobayashi was chosen only for his decent grasp of the English language (which I agree, is a bit of a problem for Japanese actors), Vikander is completely unconvincing as the mysterious and brooding Lucy. She's a pretty decent actress, but she simply couldn't pull off this role. It looks as if Westmoreland realized this at some point and inserted several scenes that ramp up the atmosphere. The quality of the cinematography and the soundtrack suddenly soar and these moments are pretty great, sadly there's nothing underneath them to keep the tension alive. Whenever these scenes are over, the film defaults back to its bland self and carries on until the next great scene. Not terrible, but very uneven.

14. 2.5* - Selfie from Hell by Erdal Ceylan (2018)
Horror and modern tech are a convenient combination. There's so much tech doom already, and so few people knowing the ins and outs of their devices that it's extremely easy to conjure up a little dread with tech going wrong. It's no surprise then that there's an entire niche of smartphone/streaming horror films. That said, the lore behind Selfie from Hell feels a little flaky. There's a bit of everything, with stalking ghosts, the dark web and asylum videos, but it never really comes together and some of it feels downright random. Maybe it's because the film is only 70s minutes long, then again this isn't the most serious of horror films, so it didn't really bother me. Luckily Ceylan does a pretty decent job at building up the atmosphere. The whole may not make too much sense, individual scenes are quite moody and effective. It's a shame the ending is a little too bold and stumbles had when the ghost makes its full appearance, but overall I had a decent amount of fun.

15. 2.0* - The Doll 2 by Rocky Soraya (2017)
Not quite as good as the first film. The Doll 2 is noticeable longer, which is rarely a good sign for a horror sequel. Director Soraya got a little overconfident and devoted more time to the actual story and drama, but that's not what made the first film such a charming little horror flick, on the contrary. There's nothing wrong with drama in horror films, it's basically a given in Asian horror, but if you want to put it front and center you need better actors and a director who can do proper drama. The Doll 2 has neither, which just makes it soapy. The setup is nice enough and the ending is pretty cool, but the middle part just drags and is hell to sit through. Performances are good enough for a horror flick, but not for a drama. The visual effects are overall solid, though there is some flaky CG here and there. As for the doll design, that could've used a little extra attention too (even though the credits showed there was an actual doll designer). Could've been another decent horror film, if only Soraya had cut 20 minutes from the middle.

16. 2.0* - Central Intelligence by Rawson Marshall Thurber (2016)
Kevin Hart teams up again for a crime comedy, this time with Dwayne Johnson. The result is a bit disappointing. Not that my expectations were all that high, but I'd hoped for something a bit more entertaining. The movie plays it safe though and director Thurber fails to put his stamp on the film. Hart is the high school prom king, whose live didn't really turn out the way he wanted it to be. Johnson was the high school clown, the kid everyone bullied. He grew up to be all muscles and a heart of gold, so when Hart meets up with him before a high school reunion, he can't believe his own eyes. What follows is a dumb story about a terrorist who stole launch codes, with Hart and Johnson teaming up to save the world from harm. The chemistry between both isn't fully there, the comedy is a little too simplistic and the action scenes are pretty basic too. It's not terrible as simple entertainment goes, but it's just not very memorable.

17. 2.0* - The Untold Story 2 [Yan Yuk Cha Siu Bau II: Tin Jue Dei Mit] by Yiu-Kuen Ng (1998)
The first and third film are pretty decent, no doubt because Herman Yau was involved as a director. This second part was directed by Yiu-Kuen Ng and takes a pretty serious nosedive. Though the setup of the film isn't that different from the others, the direction feels weak and the thriller/horror elements are pretty ineffective. A pretty demure and timid girl turns out to be a lot less restrained than initially apparent. When she sees her crush being mistreated by his girlfriend, she invades their lives and takes her place in the most horrific way possible. The highlight of this film are the gruesome killings, even though they are still quite tame compared to the first film. The drama and thriller elements simply don't work. Performances are weak (except Anthony Wong's, but he has a smaller part), the cinematography is basic and there's no real tension to speak of. The film feels flimsy and disjointed and apart from some individual moments, there nothing that hints at quality film making. Pretty disappointing.

18. 2.0* - They Shall Not Grow Old by Peter Jackson (2018)
In a rather interesting twist, Peter Jackson (the man best known for either his shlocky horror or huge blockbusters films) turned in a documentary focusing on World War I. There have been hundreds of those already and it's fair to wonder where the added value of this documentary lies, but it wouldn't be Jackson without a trick or two up his sleeve. The big sell here is the restored footage. We're so used to seeing crummy, sped up black and white footage of the past that it's almost a shock to see real, historical footage in full color and without all the jittery decay. It's a nice reminder that our history was actually in color instead of grainy black and white. While this restored footage is impressive, it's not there for the entire runtime and the rest of the documentary is made up of personal recollections on top of regular black and while historic recordings. While impressive in its own right, I've heard these stories so many times before that they do feel somewhat superfluous. This would've been better if it was half the length.

19. 1.5* - China White [Gwang Tin Lung Fu Wui] by Ronny Yu (1989)
Like many Hong Kong directors in the late 80s/early 90s, Ronny Yu traded in the Hong Kong backdrop for a European one. For China White, he landed on Amsterdam (also Paris and Rotterdam) to unfold his little crime/action epic. The result is pretty poor though, with only a few above average action scenes to save it from complete disaster. Expect a plethora of horrible accents, some misplaced drama and romance and a very generic plot that deals with several gangs wrapped up in a bloody turf wars. Yu brought in some famous actors (Andy Lau among others), but they only show up in smaller secondary parts, so their impact is limited. The rest of the cast is pretty terrible, including cult icon Billy Drago. I'm not quite sure what Yu was trying to do with this film, but his talents lie elsewhere (fantasy and horror are his thing) and this weak attempt to follow in the footsteps of John Woo and Ringo Lam feels like a big misstep.

20. 1.5* - Stuart Little by Rob Minkoff (1999)
Mediocre children's fodder with at least some charm present. Especially compared to more recent films, Stuart Little isn't all that bad, though I wouldn't really recommend it either. It's just that after a gazillion ADD US CG vehicles, I was happy to find a film that's at least a little easier on the ears and brain. Stuart's a little mouse who gets adopted into a human family. If that makes no sense, don't worry, it's not meant to. It's just a silly premise that launches a story about Stuart trying to adapt to his new family. A process that isn't helped by the fact that his new family have a cat roaming around the house. The story is rather bare bones, the comedy is questionable and performances are mediocre, but at least the film is colorful and short and the animation is pretty okay, especially for its age. A decent option if you have kids and you want to give them something light, though I'd dread having to see this film multiple times.

21. 1.0* - Statues also Die [Les Statues Meurent Aussi] by Ghislain Cloquet, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais (1953)
What starts as a short documentary on African art and culture becomes a call to do away with racism. It's a noble cause and it may have been a bit more mind-blowing back in the day, but a good 70 years later I think most of us will agree that a documentary like this didn't make the difference it hoped to make. The first part of the documentary is presented like a more old-fashioned take on African culture, throughout the documentary new insights are added to the point where the narrator finally comes to his conclusion: black and white aren't that different from each other, no matter what some people have been claiming. It could've been a smart setup to convince the naysayers, but the rambling and often cheesy narration, the godawful soundtrack and the short runtime don't really help to get the point across, and the road to this obvious conclusion feels too labored and random to make a big impression. At least the directors deserve credit for trying.

22. 1.0* - Journey to Italy [Viaggio in Italia] by Roberto Rossellini (1954)
It is said that Rossellini was only interested in making a film about the Napoli region, the drama between Bergman and Sanders was merely an excuse to do some sightseeing at the major hotspots. Now, I've been to Napoli and the region is indeed a sight to behold, sadly Rossellini fails to do it justice. A big part of that is the grim and bleak black and white cinematography. It takes out all the life out of the area, a truly baffling choice. The camera work and editing are pretty poor too and the 4:3 ratio feels suffocating, especially when capturing a region that has such beautiful vistas. Based on this film, Napoli would be the last place I'd want to visit. The drama is pretty dire too, with wooden performances, a lot of spiteful back-and-forths and a weird ending that feels incredibly forced and random. There's a lot of talk about history, death and memories, if that's your thing you might get something out of this, but that's just not my cup of tea. This was probably the worst vacation ad every shot.

23. 1.0* - Faces Places [Visages Villages] by JR, Agnès Varda (2017)
Once one of the prime front-runners of the Nouvelle Vague, Varda ended her career making documentaries. I haven't seen many of her films yet, but based on this one and Cleo from 5 to 7, I think I like her narrative films a lot better. I found this to be quite self-indulging, pretentious and dull. Varda teams up with JR, a younger artist who blows up photographs and plasters them against walls. The both of them travel through France in the hope that they can be inspired by random people they meet and to create art based on their stories. That's pretty much all there is to it. Too many moments seem (and no doubt are) scripted and inauthentic, the relationship between Varda and JR feels forced and the resulting art from their travels is bland. In the end I didn't care for these people, didn't care for the people they met and didn't care for their creative process nor output. But they sure seemed to love the camera.

24. 1.0* - Amarcord by Federico Fellini (1973)
This was vintage Fellini. I've seen quite a few of his films over the years and even though we haven't gotten along very well, I do have to compliment Fellini on crafting a very unique and recognizable style. Amarcord is everything I expected it to be, for better or for worse. In my case, that's very much for worse. On paper, I could've been a fan of his work. It's bustling, dynamic, lively and colorful. Fellini pays attention to the cinematography and cooks ups films that feel very deliberate, very cohesive (in tone at least) and complex. These are all things I appreciate, but the reality is that I find his films are extremely ugly and I simply cannot stand the characters. It's like joining a family gathering you didn't want to attend in the first place. People are exuberant, loud and jolly, everyone seems to be having a good time, but the more fun they're having, the more irritated you get. And that lasts for about 2 hours, which is at least shorter than most family gatherings I have to attend. Not my cup of tea.

25. 1.0* - La Morte Rouge by Víctor Erice (2006)
Victor Erice revisits the experience of his first ever film, a rather insignificant Sherlock Holmes feature (The Scarlet Claw) that nonetheless left a deep impression on him. With 32 minutes to fill though, Erice also elaborates on a couple of related topics, like the theater where he watched the film. Rather than watch Erice walk us through his recollections, he merely narrates La Morte Rouge and shows a series of (mostly) static, black and white images coupled to the music of Arvo Pärt, to create a more poetic impression. While this could've been interesting, it ends up making the film feel very distant and impersonal. Erice's narration is way too labored. When empty buildings become "refuges for the shadows", I quickly start to lose interest and 30 minutes of that starts to feel like 3 hours. I don't think the presentation fit the theme very well, an unless you're a big fan of more classical arts, then I don't think there's much here.

26. 0.5* - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by John Ford (1962)
A Ford western that tries to break out of its typical genre mold. Instead of focusing on tough guys, gun fights and robberies, Ford adds a more historical/political angle to the film. At least that's what he tries to do, because many of the typical western elements are still present, and they don't mix very well with the more serious subject. Everyone is a walking cliché, down to the most insignificant character. From the upright, studious and stiff James Stewart and boorish, macho John Wayne, to the villainous and crude Lee Marvin, none of them manage to bring any kind of humanity to their performance. The whole cast is just terrible across the board. The first hour it's almost like watching a farce, with simplistic comedy and crummy banter. The second hour tries to squeeze in the shift from the Wild West to a more democratic society, but everything is so unsubtle and on the nose that you have to wonder why Ford even bothered. Hopelessly outdated.

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#5

Post by peeptoad » August 9th, 2020, 12:53 pm

Seems I need to bump up Succubus on my watch list, based on your review, sol. I'll try to get to that one soon
I have an average rating for Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (~5/10) and I can't recall a thing about it. Probably just saw it too long ago...
Conversely, I love Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key . That one is on my favorites list, so ~8+ or so. Martino is one of my favorite giallo directors, so not surprising. This one, Torso and Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh are his best imo. Then maybe All the Colors of the Dark.
Haven't seen Magdalena, but maybe I'll check it one day. I'll probably watch all the exorcist rip offs/copycats at some point. Malabimba is also a good one and it's nearly as effective as the original in some spots.

Here's everything I've seen from Aug. 1 since I didn't post last week-

Die Zärtlichkeit der Wölfe (1973) Tenderness of the Wolves 7
Taking Off (1971) 7
Das Gold der Liebe (1983) The Gold of Love 8
Tomka dhe shokët e tij (1977) Tomka and His Friends 8
Sukkubus - den Teufel im Leib (1989) 7
Love Me Deadly (1972) 7
Panna a Netvor (1978) Beauty and the Beast 8
Chimères (2013) 4
Kicma (1975) Backbone 6
Futureworld (1976) 6+
Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977) 7
Kiez (1983) 5
Mirrors (1978) 5

Standouts for me were Das Gold der Liebe and Panna a Netvor. I've got a few more of Herz's to see and had Panna a Netvor available, so... I really liked this version of the tale. Visually is was excellent and I liked the darker tone and grimy realism in parts (the setting, for one)anda couple of tough scenes to watch, but overall excellent.
Das Gold der Liebe was not nearly as good as Der Fan, but it had some of the same stylistic qualities I liked about that one and the music again was fantastic. There is a scene in a club that is very cool, for example. As opposed to the minimalist qualities of Der Fan this had more going on (even indirectly) and more abstraction. It was like a weird, nightmarish heroin trip of some sort or another. It definitely had a more experimental feel than Schmidt's other two films I've seen (Der Fan and the Loft), but its still Schmidt. The general style and tone are there.

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sol
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#6

Post by sol » August 9th, 2020, 1:33 pm

mightysparks wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:05 pm
@sol I actually quite liked Children Play With Dead Things, I thought it had a good sense of humour/playfulness to it, but it was a bit amateurish and it did indeed get more dull as it went on.
I would agree about the sense of humour in the middle section (let's say third quarter) of the film. The part where they take the corpse back to their cabin and treat it like a mannequin/toy was ghoulishly comical in the best possible way - highlighting just how desensitized they are to death and human decency. Had the whole film been blessed with such a black comedy streak, I would have really, really liked it. Alas, the opening pranks were just silly and yeah, that final quarter was dull.
peeptoad wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:53 pm
Seems I need to bump up Succubus on my watch list, based on your review, sol. I'll try to get to that one soon
I have an average rating for Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (~5/10) and I can't recall a thing about it. Probably just saw it too long ago...
Conversely, I love Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key . That one is on my favorites list, so ~8+ or so. Martino is one of my favorite giallo directors, so not surprising. This one, Torso and Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh are his best imo. Then maybe All the Colors of the Dark.
Haven't seen Magdalena, but maybe I'll check it one day. I'll probably watch all the exorcist rip offs/copycats at some point. Malabimba is also a good one and it's nearly as effective as the original in some spots.
Succubus is interesting. Not a great film by any means but pretty curious as an attempt to fuse Resnais and exploitation together. I can't say that I really enjoyed it or was particularly enthralled by it, but it is definitely one of those films without a single dull moment.

I think Torso (which I preferred) is the only other Martino giallo that I have seen. Your Vice got really interesting to me towards the end with all the twists and turns and macabre moments. The pacing of the vast majority of the film though was a little to slow to hold my interest; I guess I just never felt for the impending danger as everything was so non-urgently paced.

Magdalena is pretty out-there. I don't think I mentioned it in my review, but there is a lot of nudity and a lot of sexually explicit material too. It's pretty batsh*t crazy if you are into that.

Yours:

I don't really remember much of Tenderness of the Wolves. I liked Taking Off a lot though and I am proud own of a genuine VHS release of the film, something quite rare since it went for decades with no home video release due to song copyright issues. Tomka and His Friends was one of my favourite discoveries of the Balkans Challenges at the beginning of the year; hope to see it on your next 500<400 list! Panna a Netvor is indeed great as all Juraj Herz films seem to be. Futureworld is an unsung favourite. Seen it a couple of times and I think it's a genuinely good film even though it tends to get a bad wrap from comparisons to Westworld. Gotta love this poster with the top tagline:

Image

Oh, and Looking for Mr. Goodbar is another film that I can't remember much from. I did think that its portrayal of a teacher's life was unrealistic. There's no way you could ever lead a double life as a teacher, it's way too demanding with meetings, marking and lesson preparation in addition to teaching time.
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#7

Post by mightysparks » August 9th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Onderhond wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 12:30 pm
24. 1.0* - Amarcord by Federico Fellini (1973)
This was vintage Fellini. I've seen quite a few of his films over the years and even though we haven't gotten along very well, I do have to compliment Fellini on crafting a very unique and recognizable style. Amarcord is everything I expected it to be, for better or for worse. In my case, that's very much for worse. On paper, I could've been a fan of his work. It's bustling, dynamic, lively and colorful. Fellini pays attention to the cinematography and cooks ups films that feel very deliberate, very cohesive (in tone at least) and complex. These are all things I appreciate, but the reality is that I find his films are extremely ugly and I simply cannot stand the characters. It's like joining a family gathering you didn't want to attend in the first place. People are exuberant, loud and jolly, everyone seems to be having a good time, but the more fun they're having, the more irritated you get. And that lasts for about 2 hours, which is at least shorter than most family gatherings I have to attend. Not my cup of tea.
This review sounds way too positive for that rating :D My review of the film: :yucky:
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#8

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » August 9th, 2020, 5:20 pm

Hi all, I hope everyone is having a good weekend, I watched a recent RedLetterMedia ep,and Jay mentioned about a new 90 Gremlins doc that was only streaming on indie cinema in Portland the Hollywood Theatre site.) I found it to be a very good doc, containing never before seen footage of the behind the scenes work that went into the special effects.

To stream the film for 2 days is $10,all proceeds go to the supporting the venue. The film is streaming until the 13th of Aug (for those not in the US,the site asks for a US phone number, just put 333 then make one up and it will be accepted.)

Letterboxd page for Gremlins: A Puppet Story 2020

https://letterboxd.com/film/gremlins-a-puppet-story/



Since I never got round to mentioning it here,in early March I actually went to the Manchester International Film Festival and saw the terrific indie Drama Lost Transmissions (2019), starring Simon Pegg, Juno Temple and Alexandra Daddario. Due to filming of Mission Impossible being stopped earlier that week, Simon Pegg joined writer/ director Katharine O'Brien for a very good 40 minute Q&A,which I've recently found a short clip of:



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#9

Post by Cinepolis » August 9th, 2020, 7:44 pm

@sol Seen none of yours, but "Your Vice..." has been on my watchlist since forever.

My watches:

The Music Box (🇺🇸|5️⃣|2018) - Run-of-the-mill ghost flick that manages to tick off all the cliches in the book and still be somewhat entertaining. The child actress is decent but none of the others seem up to the job. Definitely not a must-see, but if you're into supernatural movies with kids you may risk a watch.

Opera (🇮🇹|7️⃣|1987) - Argento knows how to symbiotically use lightning, color, and score to great effect, but none of this totally saves the weak script this time. Otherwise "Opera" too would have received a top score from me. Argento would make a similar movie in 1998 but I still have to check that one out.

No Country For Old Men (🇺🇸|7️⃣|2007) - My first Coen movie (I'm not a big comedy fan). The acting is strong in this one and I love the desert setting. The runtime is too long tho, my engagement decreased after roughly 1 1/2 hours. Sad, that Jones' character didn't really add to the plot. The ending was underwhelming. Next up I'm planning to watch "Blood Simple" by them. Sounds the most interesting.

Walkaway Joe (🇺🇸|6️⃣|2020) - Watched it for Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Decent coming-of-age drama about a young boy who leaves his suburban home in search of his billard-obsessed father. The script isn't terribly imaginative but Morgan gives his best. Strathairn too adds well to the cast and Julian Feder's acting capabilities are promising enough. Worth a watch.

The Babadook (🇦🇺|6️⃣|2014) - Decent metaphorical ghost thriller that lives off the outstanding lead performances by Davis and Wiseman. Other than that, the movie isn't too memorable. Too many cliches were mixed in and the child was hella annoying. The more surreal visuals, especially towards the end, had a nice touch. I occasionally see people criticize the ending, but I think it was fitting for the superior storyline about mental trauma Jennifer Kent was trying to convey. The problems seem to be over for now, but they never leave the subconscious, or in this case the cellar.

What We Do in the Shadows (🇳🇿|6️⃣|2014) - A pleasent take on the tired vampire genre. The humour was a bit hit-or-miss but I'm intrigued to seek out Waititi's other efforts now. I just found the ending to be a bit cheap, ending all the storylines just like that in the last minute. Still recommended, even though I'm a bit biased as a big mockumentary fanatic.

These Final Hours (🇦🇺|7️⃣|2013) - I love world ending movies that don't engage in sensationalistic action to the likes of Bay or Emmerich. The bond between the two leads has an emotional energy to it.

Train to Busan (🇰🇷|7️⃣|2016) - Engaging and entertaining zombie drama. If it wasn't for the stereotypes and forced plot devices, it would've been a new favorite of mine. But still one of the better modern zombie flicks.

The Return of Ringo (🇮🇹|6️⃣|1965) - Another gritty retelling of a Greek myth. Slower first half and action-packed second half. I don't necessarily need a strong ending to my spaghetti western, but the movie seemed strangely chopped off. Fernando Sancho's character never had a proper conclusion.

Heavenly Creatures (🇳🇿|7️⃣|1994) - It's fascinating, that Jackson tries to tell the happenings from the perpetrator's point of view without depicting them as soulless monsters. Lynskey and Winslet offer a brilliantly emotional job in portraying them. But I found the fantastic scenes to be rather distracting, especially since the CGI didn't age particularily well. I wish there was more focus on the real world problems that caused them flee into their own reality. I still recommend everyone to check this one out. Now I only need to seek out "They Shall Not Grow Old" and I watched all non-Hobbit feature films of Jackson.

Bob le Flambeur (🇫🇷|6️⃣|1956) - Well shot early effort of Melville and his first pure gangster noir. It pales in comparison to the other works of his I watched but still offers an amazing score (not the Jazz one) and an unconventionally ironic ending. All the positives are however shadowed by the rather dull characters and the unengaging narrative.

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#10

Post by prodigalgodson » August 10th, 2020, 6:42 am

Getting a little lazy on the reviewing lately...

Becoming Animal (Emma Davie and Peter Mettler, 2018) 8/10

"In engaging so many of our technologies, we are reflected back to ourselves. That is, the technologies intervene between our sensing bodies and the sensuous Earth, in such a way that we begin interacting with the technology, and forgetting that there is a wider, more than just human world. And yet the technologies originate as tools, helping us to make contact with, or engage that wider than human world."

Starts off with a moose in paradise, how am I not gonna love it? Kind of posits a neo-Spinozan worldview, where the universe is perceiving itself through us and everything else, which I appreciate given the popularity of a similar, exclusively human-centric formulation. There's some awesomely concise argumentation, deriving from philosophy of language, for animism, reinforced by such stunning imagery I had to snap out of my hypnosis and rewind a few times to catch the meaning beyond aesthetic enjoyment. It also posits language as the core phenomenon responsible for a great deal of human evolution and tendencies, many of which I’d imagine could be countered with some research, but even when narrator/subject David Abram toes the line of hippy-dippy, it’s never inelegant or insistent. Also, argh, Mettler stole my idea for filming the backup camera on my car. And the shot from the back of that hawk, holy shit.

Blood on the Moon (Robert Wise, 1948) 3/10

A too-good title for the most tepid take on the Harry Lime trope I've seen. This is Hollywood workmanship at its least soulful, like a limply written and acted radio show brought to cinematic life by Wise's perfunctory, uninspired Mankiewitzian direction. Terrible matte paintings, dull set design (a generic poster for "bourbon" at the bar emblematizes the laziness), some good shots that would've acquired a lyrical significance had they been stitched into better sequences with less overbearing assembly-line orchestration. I'm afraid my patience has really run out with the studio system.

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky (Michal Leszczylowski, 1988) 8/10

"He was the only Soviet director to do exactly as he wanted."
--Larisa Tarkovskaya

The most faithful to his spirit of the handful of Tarkovsky docs I've seen. Beautiful.

Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972) 6/10 - just sloppy for Tarkovsky (who the hell was the camera operator?); his first misstep but I think he learned from it cuz there was never another; redeemed by its emotional core

Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974) (rewatch) 10/10 - still the shit

Duelle (Jacques Rivette, 1976) 7/10

I'm gonna keep it a hundred, I was pretty high when I watched this, which normally wouldn't be worth mentioning (lord knows I was appropriately far gone for most of Out 1), but I had no idea what was going on plot-wise most of the time here. What an entrancing ride though! Looking forward to a rewatch so I can evaluate it more fairly than as just an enjoyable experience.

The Devil Probably (Robert Bresson, 1977) (rewatch) 8/10 - hard to believe I had this in my top 10 when I first saw it; it's about as good as it could be for a feature-length ode to Timothy Chalomet's character in Lady Bird; I love Bresson's groundward (devil-ward?) framing in his later films, I don't think you see the sky once except reflected in water or glass

Diamonds Are Forever (Guy Hamilton, 1971) (rewatch) 5/10 - less fun than I remembered

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#11

Post by Onderhond » August 10th, 2020, 7:58 am

@sol:
You made cherry picking very easy this week, since I've only seen one film of yours. The Wild Blue Yonder (2.5*) is one of Herzog's better films for me, though it helped that I had no clue what it was when I started watching. I found it pretty comical to see how the footage matched Dourif's silly story, while it was still very clear that the footage was taken from elsewhere. I do agree that the non-Dourif bits went on for far too long and that it could've been shorter, even so I still liked Herzog little experiment, the only thing I really hated was the music (although I have no clear recollection of it, I'm just going on my old review).

@mightysparks:
mightysparks wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 1:49 pm
This review sounds way too positive for that rating :D My review of the film: :yucky:
Well yes, that would be my short version too, but at least I can see the appeal in Fellini's work. He's no grey mouse (or is that a Dutch expression - someone who is dull, middle-of-the-road, inconspicuous), which is something I appreciate, even when I don't like a director's particular style. Totally different from someone like John Ford for example, I've seen 6 films of that man and probably wouldn't recognize the next film of him without a look at the credits. That's different for Fellini. That said, I know you don't really care about directors, so I guess that doesn't make a big difference for you :)

@cinepolis:
If you want to see more Waititi, it's probably best to start with Eagle vs Shark, still a personal favorite of mine. I did like What We Do in the Shadows (3.5*) a bit better than you did, though it might've helped that I was already familiar with Waititi's style and tone. It's true that the comedy was a little hit & miss, but my girlfriend and I regularly have a Petyr moment, which is always good for a couple of chuckles.

@prodigalgodson:
I remember Solaris (1.0*) to be a very big disappointment at the time, though that was long ago, in fact it must've been one of the first classic films I've seen. Even so, never did become a big Tarkovsky fan after that, apart from Stalker, which I really need to see again. I don't remember that much anymore from Solaris, apart from a car ride at the beginning, which I found a bit crummy. For more contemplative films I need a really strong audiovisual experience and most Tarkovsky films can't give me that. It's probably sacrilege, but I liked Soderbergh's version a lot better (though I also need to see that one again).

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#12

Post by sol » August 10th, 2020, 10:53 am

Cinepolis wrote:
August 9th, 2020, 7:44 pm
@sol Seen none of yours, but "Your Vice..." has been on my watchlist since forever.
Your Vice is Locked Room can be easily found online at the moment if you are still keen on it. ;) I would, however, only give it a cautious recommendation. Most of the film feels very mild compared to what others Italian directors were offering that decade with lengthy talky bouts in between the initial few murders. The film ends well though, and as someone pointed out on the iCM page for the film, it is very Edgar Allen Poe-like.

Yours:

Wow, hard to believe that you have never seen a Coen film. I have seen most of the films twice or more. Actually, Buster Scruggs might be their only film that I have just seen the one time. No Country is definitely a strong one, but I'd probably preference Inside Llewlyn Davis and The Man Who Wasn't There above it. Both are dark comedies at best, not comedy-comedy. For a wacky comedy though, it is hard to pass up on Raising Arizona.

I love Opera. Definitely a top 3 Argento film for me. I can't remember a lot about the story, but yes, the filmmaking techniques are magnificent. Yeah, The Babadook was interesting but did not really knock my socks off either. I liked What We Do in the Shadows enough at the time, though of course it does not hold a candle to Jojo Rabbit. I also thought Train to Busan was decent enough but has kind of blurred with other zombie films over time.

I think I have also seen all non-Hobbit films from Peter Jackson outside of that documentary, and yeah, Heavenly Creatures is probably his best. Forgotten Silver was pretty cool too though, and other than Bad Taste, I have liked all of his fantasy/horror work to varying degrees.

Onderhond wrote:
August 10th, 2020, 7:58 am
@sol:
You made cherry picking very easy this week, since I've only seen one film of yours. The Wild Blue Yonder (2.5*) is one of Herzog's better films for me, though it helped that I had no clue what it was when I started watching. I found it pretty comical to see how the footage matched Dourif's silly story, while it was still very clear that the footage was taken from elsewhere. I do agree that the non-Dourif bits went on for far too long and that it could've been shorter, even so I still liked Herzog little experiment, the only thing I really hated was the music (although I have no clear recollection of it, I'm just going on my old review).
Eh, to be clear, I didn't dislike The Wild Blue Yonder; it was just kind of 'eh' for me. I guess it conversely did not help that I read what the film was about and decided "ooh, that sounds interesting" before sitting down to watch it. I generally have a lot of respect from films that manipulate found/sourced footage well, but the whole thing dragged on and on and on. Give me Where the Green Ants Dream instead any day of the week.

Yours:

We already discussed Alexandra's Project on the other thread, but I am glad that you enjoyed Selfie from Hell. I agree about the ending and of course it is not a great, great film, but it is quite worthwhile and a lot more interesting than the insanely low 1.1 rating on Letterboxd would suggest.

Central Intelligence was okay for me at the time. I like Dwayne Johnson as a comedy actor, but this one was not all there. I do vividly recall the banana force multiplier though. And of course I liked The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance more than you, but it has never been quite the all-time classic for me that others have it pegged as.

Oh, and for the record, I think Soderbergh's Solaris is a very decent film and one that I have gained more respect for with each subsequent viewing, but it's hard to tell whether prodigal would like that more since he hasn't elaborated on what he found "sloppy" about my third favourite film of all time...
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#13

Post by Onderhond » August 10th, 2020, 11:31 am

sol wrote:
August 10th, 2020, 10:53 am
We already discussed Alexandra's Project on the other thread, but I am glad that you enjoyed Selfie from Hell. I agree about the ending and of course it is not a great, great film, but it is quite worthwhile and a lot more interesting than the insanely low 1.1 rating on Letterboxd would suggest.
I've honestly stopped looking at averages of horror films. Clearly is hasn't been a great decade for horror and many of the purer genre films have suffered the consequences. While indeed not great or special, films like this are entertaining enough and are fun filler when I'm in the mood for something lighter.

As for Solaris, it's been 15 years so I really need to watch it again. I've become a bit more critical of my 4* ratings since, so not sure if it'll survive a rewatch, but I rarely drop films with a full star, so I'm just going to trust my former self here. I also just realized it makes Clooney a pretty apt sci-fi actor in my book :D

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#14

Post by Cinepolis » August 10th, 2020, 12:41 pm

@Sol Luckily the Coen's filmography isn't too lenghty, so I could speed through it in like one or two years.
You didn't like "Bad Taste"? It's my favorite of his overall work. Highly rewatchable. "Braindead" is a bit too drawn out in the beginning for my liking and I enjoyed the humor in "Bad Taste" more.

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#15

Post by Onderhond » August 10th, 2020, 1:22 pm

Bad Taste has the best sheep explosion ever.

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#16

Post by sol » August 10th, 2020, 1:32 pm

Cinepolis wrote:
August 10th, 2020, 12:41 pm
You didn't like "Bad Taste"? It's my favorite of his overall work. Highly rewatchable. "Braindead" is a bit too drawn out in the beginning for my liking and I enjoyed the humor in "Bad Taste" more.
I've only seen it once, and over ten years ago that, but from memory I was disappointed at how little the film made of the 'aliens harvesting humans for fast food premise' to instead focus on gore and attack scenes. It probably deserves a rewatch at some point, but it was underwhelming at the time and I have it down as a 'dislike'.

Braindead is fun and interesting, but I actually prefer Meet the Feebles and The Frighteners of Jackson's work from his early period.
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#17

Post by prodigalgodson » August 16th, 2020, 12:32 am

Shit, I've been slacking.

sol
The Wild Blue Yonder 10 - ah bummer, one of my absolute favorites from Herzog, at least at the time I saw it; sounds like you liked the parts I liked, but I also liked the parts you didn't haha

pda
God Only Knows - I need to see more Pollet, this one looks right up my alley; damn that fool's still using footage from Mediterranee 30 years later?; that title reminds me, I said recently in my response to your viewings The Neon Demon was one of my favorites from Refn, I mean Only God Forgives -- I didn't care much for The Neon Demon
Vampire Journals - always intrigued by your 10s, maybe I'll rent this from Prime
Death by Hanging 10 - boooo; my introduction to Oshima and a whole world of cinematic possibilities, but I haven't seen it since I was 15
The Dead Zone 5 - this is the Christopher Walken one?; didn't make much of an impression
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion - that zoom on the camera through the temple is right out of the J Kelly playbook

onderhond
Stuart Little - haven't seen it since it came out, but "mediocre children's fodder" sounds about right
Statues Also Die 6 - thought this was good, especially the shot selection, but as much as I love Marker and Resnais it's far from their best even short documentary work
Voyage to Italy 8 - one of my favorite classic period Rossellini's, strongly disagree about the camerawork and photography, and I think the studio ratio is the best way to capture landscapes or anything else most of the time; I love talk about history, death, and memory but I guess Rossellini achieved his goal, I don't remember any of the conversation but I do remember the landscapes
Amarcord 5 - Fellini's hit and miss for me, but overall our sensibilities don't really jibe
The Man Who Shot LIberty Valance 6 - fine but overrated, I think the philosophical angle about the arbitrary nature of reputation and whatnot explains much of its popularity; yes, everyone is a walking cliche, a Ford hallmark

toad
none seen

pol
No Country 9 - fuckin gold
Bob le flambeur - Melville's best by a long way imo, I thought the characters and overall energy were great

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#18

Post by sol » August 16th, 2020, 2:22 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 12:32 am
sol
The Wild Blue Yonder 10 - ah bummer, one of my absolute favorites from Herzog, at least at the time I saw it; sounds like you liked the parts I liked, but I also liked the parts you didn't
I'm actually really big into found/manipulated footage movies (check out Tribulation 99 and Spectres of the Spectrum if you haven't already) but The Wild Blue Yonder just felt very drawn out to me. I think I would have preferred it as a 35 minute short. Great premise for sure.

Yours:

Solaris is an easy 10/10 for me; Tarkovsky's best film in my books. I can understand not warming to it on first viewing though. I was a bit on-the-fence the first couple of times, but it is a film that grown on me more and more with every viewing to the point where I now consider it to be my third favourite film of all-time. I don't really understand the "sloppy" criticism or complaints about the film's camerawork. Some of it is a little jerky when the "visitors" are only momentarily glanced in the corners of the screen, which I thought was entirely appropriate, reflecting just how on-edge the protagonist feels. Really beautiful film too - the minute of weightlessness, the very last shot/scene - what a haunting way to conclude a movie.

I do agree entirely with you on Diamonds are Forever though. Great henchmen characters but otherwise not an especially memorable entry in the franchise.
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#19

Post by prodigalgodson » August 16th, 2020, 8:22 pm

sol wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 2:22 am
prodigalgodson wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 12:32 am
sol
The Wild Blue Yonder 10 - ah bummer, one of my absolute favorites from Herzog, at least at the time I saw it; sounds like you liked the parts I liked, but I also liked the parts you didn't
I'm actually really big into found/manipulated footage movies (check out Tribulation 99 and Spectres of the Spectrum if you haven't already) but The Wild Blue Yonder just felt very drawn out to me. I think I would have preferred it as a 35 minute short. Great premise for sure.

Yours:

Solaris is an easy 10/10 for me; Tarkovsky's best film in my books. I can understand not warming to it on first viewing though. I was a bit on-the-fence the first couple of times, but it is a film that grown on me more and more with every viewing to the point where I now consider it to be my third favourite film of all-time. I don't really understand the "sloppy" criticism or complaints about the film's camerawork. Some of it is a little jerky when the "visitors" are only momentarily glanced in the corners of the screen, which I thought was entirely appropriate, reflecting just how on-edge the protagonist feels. Really beautiful film too - the minute of weightlessness, the very last shot/scene - what a haunting way to conclude a movie.
I've heard of Tribulation 99 but had forgotten about it, and never heard of Spectres of the Spectrum -- thanks for the rec! I love these kind of movies, Herzog's little "alien documentary" trilogy of this, Fata Morgana, and Lessons of Darkness is the highlight of his filmography for me.

Oops, forgot to put rewatch -- this is the fourth or fifth time I've seen Solaris, including once on film, and this is by far the lowest I've rated it, so maybe I just wasn't in a receptive mood. But I really feel that the technical elements fall short of Tarkovsky's vision, and I'm probably being extra hard on it because of the preternatural fluidity that's such a cornerstone of his style and which he usually nails (more-or-less) immaculately regardless of DP/camera operator. I think jerky is a good adjective for much of the camerawork, stuttering came to mind for me to describe the start-and-stop, irregularly-paced zooms, pans, and dollies. And other technical aspects fall short too -- the jump cut where the wife's doppelganger breaks through the metal door feels like it's from another movie, the set design feels uninspired, and the matte work with the Sea is awful. And I looove the idea of the ending, but its execution has always been a pet peeve of mine -- between that bluescreen Sea and whatever erratic rain machine they used, it's just not convincing. I'm not trying to be needlessly picky, and in another context this might've worked okay, but Tarkovsky's impeccable rendering is essential to his world-building, and all this stuff really breaks the spell for me. I do love the meditative melancholy of the very beginning, the zero-gravity scene, the Bruegel sequence (the driving sequence was my favorite part when I first saw it, less so now but I still tend to love these kinds of shots) -- this kind of evocative dreamweaving is what makes Tarkovsky my favorite filmmaker.

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#20

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » August 18th, 2020, 9:45 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
August 16th, 2020, 12:32 am

pda
God Only Knows - I need to see more Pollet, this one looks right up my alley; damn that fool's still using footage from Mediterranee 30 years later?; that title reminds me, I said recently in my response to your viewings The Neon Demon was one of my favorites from Refn, I mean Only God Forgives -- I didn't care much for The Neon Demon
Vampire Journals - always intrigued by your 10s, maybe I'll rent this from Prime
Death by Hanging 10 - boooo; my introduction to Oshima and a whole world of cinematic possibilities, but I haven't seen it since I was 15
The Dead Zone 5 - this is the Christopher Walken one?; didn't make much of an impression
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion - that zoom on the camera through the temple is right out of the J Kelly playbook
This was my second Pollet, and my first one didn't quite register, although did register a bit more retrospectively, so this rather felt like my first one, making this a weird place to start, as I realize now, having watched more of his films in the past days and seeing that it is more of a retrospective work and maybe something of a career summary. But it obviously worked for me, so it's all good, and I think it's already safe to say that he'll be among my greatest filmmaker discoveries of the year.

Only Neon Demons Forgive - Those are indeed tempting to conflate, and I feel the same way about them, 'The Neon Demon' just didn't click with me either. Watching 'Too Old to Die Young' there are so many echoes of 'The Neon Demon' that it makes it seem pretty dope in memory at least, if only it were to be watched with the right frame of mind.

Vampire Journals - It's like a paperback romance novel manifested as a film to me, not that I ever really read any, but it's how I imagine the experience of reading one and being fully enraptured in it to be like. Never with another film I've had that feeling to such a complete extent. It has a proper old-timey Gothic atmosphere to me that pervades throughout despite nominally playing in the present. And it's not even that focused on the romance, rather it's the motor that drives the story, informs the actions taken by the character. It's won't have the same or even particularly similar effect on most viewers, I'm sure there's some deep-seeded subconscious shit at play here for me, but I love it unabashedly. Some shit that makes me susceptible to certain Gothic fiction and tropes, a conflation of sex and death, a pessimistic disposition, a perpetual feeling of alienation, too emotionally numb to ever feel alive, and not numb enough to be dead, and so on. All this without ever really developing an affiliation with this subculture at large, just those isolated occurrences such as this film, and scatted Gothic elements that have a resonance for me in all kinds of works. We don't choose our favorites, they choose us.

Death by Hanging - I certainly appreciated it much more this time around. Something essential about it I can't seem to connect with, though, some level that doesn't register with me, causing a disconnect even as I recognize the film as rather masterful and the topic is absolutely intriguing and worthy of such examination. The comedy falls flat for me to such a degree I barely even remembered that it was a satire. The whole playacting setup is something. Unable to appreciate the nuances of the whole playacting scenario, doomed to understand it as a setup for a next step in the narrative, a step that it never taken.

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion - Here's the twist: In the film it's actually a zoom out, I reversed the order of the screenshots because I felt that for this post at least it worked better that way around.


On your viewings:

'Becoming Animal' - Its philosophy I think was strongly along my lines of thinking on the day of my watching it and already on the day before anyway, so it didn't feel as novel to me as it could have, I guess. But obviously I'm very much down with it and with Mettler in general, and the film got more compelling for me later on, after having established all the more basic stuff, which was where in its propositions it gradually went beyond recognizing the consciousness of only animals and then all organic life, to include everything. And then went into the nature of language and the creation of our reality by means of language.

I got interested in seeing the Andrei Tarkovsky doc now despite not being too fond of his cinema. I like a lot of the cinema he inspired and over the past years read a bunch of quotes and watched a bunch of clips of him talking (that may very well were taken from this very doc) that I usually found insightful and beautiful.
I had a somewhat similar experience with 'Solaris'. The first time I watched it was back when I was more literal-minded, let's say, and something of a sci-fi-head, the more hard science fiction and dry a film was the better. This obviously wasn't that, but I found it interesting just by virtue of my interest in its sci-fi elements, in spite of it being too arthouse-y and a lot of it flying over my head. The second time some years later I got to see it at the theater (with Natalya Bondarchuk in attendance), expecting to be able to appreciate it more now. Instead those three hours were an agony to me, and I was shocked by how "sloppy" it was, very uncharacteristic for the filmmaker Tarkovsky was in my memory (mostly thinking of 'Stalker' which I had seen in between the two viewings of 'Solaris') and his reputation.
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#21

Post by prodigalgodson » August 22nd, 2020, 10:22 am

Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 9:45 pm
This was my second Pollet, and my first one didn't quite register, although did register a bit more retrospectively, so this rather felt like my first one, making this a weird place to start, as I realize now, having watched more of his films in the past days and seeing that it is more of a retrospective work and maybe something of a career summary. But it obviously worked for me, so it's all good, and I think it's already safe to say that he'll be among my greatest filmmaker discoveries of the year.

Only Neon Demons Forgive - Those are indeed tempting to conflate, and I feel the same way about them, 'The Neon Demon' just didn't click with me either. Watching 'Too Old to Die Young' there are so many echoes of 'The Neon Demon' that it makes it seem pretty dope in memory at least, if only it were to be watched with the right frame of mind.

Vampire Journals - It's like a paperback romance novel manifested as a film to me, not that I ever really read any, but it's how I imagine the experience of reading one and being fully enraptured in it to be like. Never with another film I've had that feeling to such a complete extent. It has a proper old-timey Gothic atmosphere to me that pervades throughout despite nominally playing in the present. And it's not even that focused on the romance, rather it's the motor that drives the story, informs the actions taken by the character. It's won't have the same or even particularly similar effect on most viewers, I'm sure there's some deep-seeded subconscious shit at play here for me, but I love it unabashedly. Some shit that makes me susceptible to certain Gothic fiction and tropes, a conflation of sex and death, a pessimistic disposition, a perpetual feeling of alienation, too emotionally numb to ever feel alive, and not numb enough to be dead, and so on. All this without ever really developing an affiliation with this subculture at large, just those isolated occurrences such as this film, and scatted Gothic elements that have a resonance for me in all kinds of works. We don't choose our favorites, they choose us.

Death by Hanging - I certainly appreciated it much more this time around. Something essential about it I can't seem to connect with, though, some level that doesn't register with me, causing a disconnect even as I recognize the film as rather masterful and the topic is absolutely intriguing and worthy of such examination. The comedy falls flat for me to such a degree I barely even remembered that it was a satire. The whole playacting setup is something. Unable to appreciate the nuances of the whole playacting scenario, doomed to understand it as a setup for a next step in the narrative, a step that it never taken.

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion - Here's the twist: In the film it's actually a zoom out, I reversed the order of the screenshots because I felt that for this post at least it worked better that way around.


On your viewings:

'Becoming Animal' - Its philosophy I think was strongly along my lines of thinking on the day of my watching it and already on the day before anyway, so it didn't feel as novel to me as it could have, I guess. But obviously I'm very much down with it and with Mettler in general, and the film got more compelling for me later on, after having established all the more basic stuff, which was where in its propositions it gradually went beyond recognizing the consciousness of only animals and then all organic life, to include everything. And then went into the nature of language and the creation of our reality by means of language.

I got interested in seeing the Andrei Tarkovsky doc now despite not being too fond of his cinema. I like a lot of the cinema he inspired and over the past years read a bunch of quotes and watched a bunch of clips of him talking (that may very well were taken from this very doc) that I usually found insightful and beautiful.
I had a somewhat similar experience with 'Solaris'. The first time I watched it was back when I was more literal-minded, let's say, and something of a sci-fi-head, the more hard science fiction and dry a film was the better. This obviously wasn't that, but I found it interesting just by virtue of my interest in its sci-fi elements, in spite of it being too arthouse-y and a lot of it flying over my head. The second time some years later I got to see it at the theater (with Natalya Bondarchuk in attendance), expecting to be able to appreciate it more now. Instead those three hours were an agony to me, and I was shocked by how "sloppy" it was, very uncharacteristic for the filmmaker Tarkovsky was in my memory (mostly thinking of 'Stalker' which I had seen in between the two viewings of 'Solaris') and his reputation.
Mediterranee's my first and so far only Pollet, an instant favorite when I saw it earlier this year and a big catalyst for getting me back into adventuring in movies. Looking forward to seeing more too. Do they cumswap around here?

Thanks for your take on Vampire Journals. I tend to love pervasive dimestore-otherworldly atmospheres myself (not specifically gothic elements, though I can sympathize with some of the appeal), and I definitely dig good vampire kitsch (True Blood was a favorite).

Death by Hanging - interesting. I don't remember the reason for the playacting other than it existing in the world of absurd motivations that lead to the death penalty in the first place -- was it that if he committed the crime again he would definitely be guilty and killing him would work the second time? -- but I thought it resulted in some interesting ideas, meta and otherwise. Doesn't it somehow lead to Akiko Koyama entering the scene as a fellow Korean, and later to a drunken party where the government guys talked about how much they had raped and killed during the war, but none of it counted since it was the war? I remember other Oshima films (I've only seen/rewatched a few since that retrospective in high school some dozen years ago) being more funny, subtle, moving, etc., but this was definitely the most electrifying for me. It was so mind-blowingly fresh at the time -- I hadn't seen anything like it, and still haven't really.

I've soured a little on attributing as much to language as was hip in my poststructuralist college days, which is probably where my skepticism comes from with regards to Abram's philosophy -- interesting ideas, evidence would be helpful -- but there's a lot of really sharp stuff to complement the beautiful filmmaking.

Glad to hear I'm not alone in experiencing that with Solaris, strange I never hear it talked about. The camerawork in his whole oeuvre is obviously astoundingly choreographed, with I'd say The Sacrifice -- DP'd by Nykvist -- and Stalker being the most perfect. In the latter case I'd hypothesize that having to reshoot everything from scratch, frustrating as it must've been, contributed to the resultant mastery of form.

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Perception de Ambiguity
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#22

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » August 24th, 2020, 1:47 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
August 22nd, 2020, 10:22 am
Mediterranee's my first and so far only Pollet, an instant favorite when I saw it earlier this year and a big catalyst for getting me back into adventuring in movies. Looking forward to seeing more too. Do they cumswap around here?

Thanks for your take on Vampire Journals. I tend to love pervasive dimestore-otherworldly atmospheres myself (not specifically gothic elements, though I can sympathize with some of the appeal), and I definitely dig good vampire kitsch (True Blood was a favorite).

Death by Hanging - interesting. I don't remember the reason for the playacting other than it existing in the world of absurd motivations that lead to the death penalty in the first place -- was it that if he committed the crime again he would definitely be guilty and killing him would work the second time? -- but I thought it resulted in some interesting ideas, meta and otherwise. Doesn't it somehow lead to Akiko Koyama entering the scene as a fellow Korean, and later to a drunken party where the government guys talked about how much they had raped and killed during the war, but none of it counted since it was the war? I remember other Oshima films (I've only seen/rewatched a few since that retrospective in high school some dozen years ago) being more funny, subtle, moving, etc., but this was definitely the most electrifying for me. It was so mind-blowingly fresh at the time -- I hadn't seen anything like it, and still haven't really.

I've soured a little on attributing as much to language as was hip in my poststructuralist college days, which is probably where my skepticism comes from with regards to Abram's philosophy -- interesting ideas, evidence would be helpful -- but there's a lot of really sharp stuff to complement the beautiful filmmaking.

Glad to hear I'm not alone in experiencing that with Solaris, strange I never hear it talked about. The camerawork in his whole oeuvre is obviously astoundingly choreographed, with I'd say The Sacrifice -- DP'd by Nykvist -- and Stalker being the most perfect. In the latter case I'd hypothesize that having to reshoot everything from scratch, frustrating as it must've been, contributed to the resultant mastery of form.
Cum SWAPs happen, but things have gotten vanilla, it's just "SWAP" now. Mostly they were initiated by Carmel or myself, and Carmel hasn't been posting much here lately, so no SWAPs either. But the two of us have outsourced it and it has taken different forms now, doing it as a duo, which by and large is what it has been like here anyway. There are various ongoing projects here like the Film of the Week and the World Cup which are like a more institutionalized version of SWAPs (and we FGers thought we were crazy). But there speaks nothing against doing more SWAPs here if you want to.

Hanging - The basic setup is that by law a person needs to be conscious to be executed, and after he comes to his memory seems to be gone and he doesn't identify as the person who was accused of committing the crimes (or is he pretending?) and to them this doesn't qualify as conscious, not enough for them to execute him in good conscious. So they playact the crimes for him as written in reports and testimonies in order to bring back his memories of who he is and what he did. Further they get into arguments with each other, the main one probably being that he in fact was successfully executed and the soul has left the body. Whoever they would execute now maybe wouldn't be the right guy and they felt like they needed to make sure that it was him, lest they are committing murder.
>Doesn't it somehow lead to Akiko Koyama entering the scene as a fellow Korean, and later to a drunken party where the government guys talked about how much they had raped and killed during the war, but none of it counted since it was the war?<
I don't know. Maybe. lol
>It was so mind-blowingly fresh at the time -- I hadn't seen anything like it, and still haven't really.<
That'd be me with 'The Man Who Put His Will on Film'. It came really unexpected from Oshima for me, so raw and full of youthful energy (I would have bet it's a debut film) and yet so meticulous and thought through like a treatise.
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