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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 35, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 35, 2020

#1

Post by sol » August 30th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

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

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

This is what I saw:

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

Thunderstorm (1956). Rescued by from a shipwreck and brought to a small fishing village, a young woman with a mysterious past tries to recuperate in peace while the superstitious locals call her a "siren" as various men romance her in this early career John Guillermin film. The movie is rather slow to warm up and some of the siren mythology could have been expanded, but this is a film that works on multiple levels. On one hand, it is an account of a village torn apart by their superstitions, only ever victims due to their utter conviction that sirens are real. On another hand, maybe she actually is a siren, in which case all of her characterisation is really interesting she since she wants to break out of the cycle. The whole thing is quite philosophical also; "people don't live in the sea" ... "they only die in it". Lots of nice angular photography too. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Town on Trial (1957). Boosted by electrifying music and excellent point-of-view camerawork as a murderer recounts in voiceover how he committed his crime, this British mystery thriller gets off to a magnificent start. As we suddenly switch to a detective investigating the crime, things initially continue to be engaging with the likes of Charles Coburn as a potential suspect, and yet, the middle section of the film soon sags. There are so many red herrings in the mix that the eventual identity of the killer feels trivial, and while there is some further nifty point-of-view camerawork during a boat rowing scene and a second murder, things only really get stylish again towards the end. The final stretch of the movie is sensational though and just as artistic as first part, leading to this being a film that at least begins and ends well for whatever unevenness it has in between. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Mr. Horatio Knibbles (1971). Imagine Donnie Darko as a family comedy and that it is what this feels like; the plot involves a lonely young girl and a creepy-looking giant bunny rabbit that only she can see, but the premise is played for laughs in this case - and it is actually very funny. The effects on a budget are great with some hilarious bits as the rabbit gets up mischief due to the fact that nobody can see him; the filmmakers rightly linger on the baffled faces of everyone else since it is their stunned reactions (rather than the pranks) that is so funny. Lesley Roach is adorable as the young girl at the heart of the tale, even if her failure to realise that nobody will believe her about the rabbit does not ring true. This is may not be deep or meaningful stuff, but it is a nice tale of parents learning to listen to their daughter, albeit under unrealistic circumstances. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Legend of Paul & Paula (1973). Romance blossoms between an unhappily married bureaucrat and working single mother before tragedy threatens to tear them part in this unexpectedly offbeat movie from Communist East Germany. The film has some truly surreal moments, especially as the pair make love and seduce one another with live music bands appearing and disappearing in their bedroom, photographs morphing and nautical images seeping in at the height of their passions. The path that the film takes post-tragedy is a bit weird and uncomfortable to watch though. The final quarter in fact feels more like a tale of an obsessed and unrelenting stalker than a story of a lovesick man trying to win his love back. That said, this is also the stretch of the film that is the least meandering, and the bond he develops with her daughter feels very real and genuine. (first viewing, online) ★★

Jack the Ripper (1976). Jesús Franco's take on the iconic serial killer, his Jack the Ripper has little to do with the actual murders, but it is a fascinating if flawed watch. The whole thing is very lurid with a lot of graphic, sometimes sexualised violence, including a sliced-off breast long before The House That Jack Built and close-ups of severed body parts during a dismemberment. The film loses some oomph though by revealing the Ripper's identity early on. While a composite sketch scene is intriguing, the police being so far behind in identifying the killer is iffy too, and then attention very suddenly turns to a female amateur sleuth towards the end. Amidst all this, it is hard to find anyone to identify with. Franco certainly drums up quite a bit of atmosphere with lots of fog and low lighting, but for something so graphic, the film only occasionally resonates. (first viewing, online) ★★

Breaker! Breaker! (1977). Investigating what happened to his brother who never returned after his truck was diverted into a small town, a kickboxing trucker discovers a web of corruption in this Chuck Norris action movie. While the story has clearly been written around its elaborate fight scenes, the basic premise is very decent, revolving around a town set on accumulating wealth by imposing ridiculous fines on whoever passes through. The story plays out like a melodrama of the highest order though, with the brother jumping through a glass window at one point to avoid being charged with an unfair fine (!). An excess of slow motion towards the end also subtracts from the immediacy of the final fight scene. And yet, there is undeniably a fair bit of interest here, even beyond seeing a young Norris clean shaven. Don't expect much CB-radio chatter though. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Fitzcarraldo (1982). Obsessed with building an opera house in the middle of the jungle, an eccentric businessman devises a plan to exploit the area's natural resources while relying on the cooperation of the native people for manpower in this epic scale drama starring Klaus Kinski. While it is hard to feel for Kinski's wacky vision, there much to like in the absurdity of his massive ship sailing through the region blaring opera music from a gramophone. The locations are great too, though the film does not tap into an early warning the "the jungle plays tricks your senses". It is also never clear why the locals help out for free (do they just love Kinski's music or do they see him as a god?) but this is a reasonably interesting and unusual look at a people and their land being exploited by those who care more about personal visions than preservation of natural beauty. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Julie Darling (1983). Best entered into with limited expectations, the plot of this nifty thriller involves an unusual teenage girl with a pet snake, an obsession with guns and a crush on her father. To reveal more might spoil a fresh experience; suffice it to say, the film constantly leaves us on edge as to just how she is going to react in every scene. A rape that she witnesses is especially well edited with choice close-ups and cutaways really getting to the heart of her mixed emotions. The ending is pretty dynamite too. Certain sections move slower than others, but Isabelle Mejias is perfectly cast in the lead role, and whether it be playing hide and seek with her adoptive brother or bargaining with the rapist, the film is full of tension since it is never clear what Mejias will do and just how off-kilter she is. The scenes without her are a bit dull but fortunately they are few. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Rising High (2020). Cited by many as Germany's answer to The Wolf of Wall Street, this is certainly cut from the same cloth, focusing on two young men who manage to amass a large fortune, only to squander it, through deceiving others. The film lacks a protagonist as charismatic as Leonardo DiCaprio though. David Kross is fine in the lead role, but he never mixes charm and vileness all that well, often coming off as simply contemptible rather than a despicable individual like Leo's Wolf who is nevertheless hard not to like. The film does not integrate humour half as well either (forcing some employees to sing just feels weird). Comparisons aside though, Rising High is a decent watch. An estranged father/daughter angle is excellent, the performances are generally solid and the points the film makes about human greed and gullibility resonate. (first viewing, online) ★★

REVISIONS

Rapture (1965). John Guillermin's tale of a childlike teen girl who builds a scarecrow, and believes that it has come to life after she finds a fugitive dressed in the scarecrow's clothes, Rapture is often cited as Guillermin's best film. Patricia Gozzi is excellent throughout: vulnerable but determined and credible as a girl who wants a lover and yet still plays with dolls. Georges Delerue's atmospheric music score is divine and the film is creatively shot from varying angles with careful camera movements. The second half of the film (where it becomes more conventionally romantic) drags a bit upon revision though and definitely disappoints compared to the build-up. Still, the film concludes well with a poetic, resonating ending that lingers in the mind. If perhaps not as a classy as Death on the Nile, this remains a testament to Guillermin's directing skills. (second viewing, online) ★★★★

Skyjacked (1972). Coming in the wake of Airport and boasting a similar plot, this never amassed much of a reputation in its day, but it is a decent disaster flick that tries to do something different. While Airport revealed its bomber's identity early on, Skyjacked drums up much suspense from the mystery of just who its bomber is. It is fun to see the airline crew play detective while we watch the passengers converse and try to work out who it might be themselves. The tension is unwisely broken at a number of points as we are given flashbacks from the point of view of not only the hijacker - but a stewardess and pilot too for unknown reasons. These interruptions aside though, the film is a very intense ride, especially as the plane gradually comes closer to Alaska, and the final few scenes in a foreign country come with nail-biting tension. (second viewing, online) ★★★

Death on the Nile (1978). While wide-eyed I.S. Johar's comic relief gets more on the nerves upon revision, this stands up incredibly well to rewatch since everything hinges on character interactions and all concerned are in top form. There is a condescending Bette Davis whose nasty wit is only matched by her spiteful servant, played by Maggie Smith. There is also the always solid Jack Warden, here with a German accent, and the list goes on. The revelation scene is also handled well. The camera never sits still as Poirot converses with the killer, unsteadily walking around the room in close-up and medium close-up, providing an air of uncertainty that sends a chill down the spine. And for a film with such picturesque locales, Death on the Nile offers a delightfully spine-tingling tale, topped off with one of Nino Rota's most atmospheric music scores. (third viewing, DVD) ★★★★

OtherShow
The Crowded Day (1954). Also known as Shop Spoiled, this British drama follows several female department store workers as they battle work and relationship woes over a single busy day of pre-Christmas shopping. Directed by a young John Guillermin, the film looks sensational with lethargic dissolves, elongated tracking shots that go up and down the store levels and film noir style exterior shots at night. As a narrative, it is somewhat less successful. The bouncing back between various characters means that there never really is any one individual to grow attached to. A lack of comic relief (hiding under a bed aside) also feels like a misstep, though the best subplot - tracking down the father of an out-of-wedlock baby - benefits from the sobriety. The whole thing is decently acted and even a little risqué, but it leaves very little to resonate in the mind. (first viewing, online) ★★

Julia (1974). Staying with his father and his father's mistress over the summer, a college student has trouble repressing his sexual urges, especially as a female childhood friend starts coming onto him in this West German drama. The acting is pretty decent and there is some true zaniness in the mix (playing the piano outdoors in the nude and inside hands-free), however, the story feels insubstantial and drawn out even at less than ninety minutes. The protagonist's stance that he does not want to take his childhood friend's virginity, less he disappoint her and consequently make her frigid for life (!) never once rings true and feels like a lazy excuse her to have her constantly walk around topless in failed attempts to seduce him. Having his father's mistress try to teach him pointers leads to very awkward scenes too. The seaside locations here are great though. (first viewing, online) ★

Albino (1976). Sometimes known as Night of the Askari and Whispering Death, this is not the horror film one might expect from those titles and Christopher Lee's casting. The title character is a witch doctor, but the film focuses more on his revolutionary actions than any black magic, and even that stays the backdrop. His central misdeed is a rape and murder of a white woman, done supposedly to take a stance on German colonists (but this is unclear) with the vast majority of the film dedicated to the victim's boyfriend trying to track down the albino. Amidst all this, the movie tries to offer some commentary on colonialism, how they profess to be "here to preserve order in this country" and how he is nevertheless hell-bent on revenge. All of this comes across as didactic though, with the film actually working better in rape revenge exploitation mode. (first viewing, online) ★★

Jungle Child (2011). Her father intent on studying the language and customs of a Papua New Guinea tribe, the daughter of a linguist finds a new perspective on life when her family moves to the Oceanic nation in this drama filmed in the jungles of Malaysia. Led by a compelling Stella Kunkat (cast as the girl in question), this is very engaging at first with some great moments as Kunkat makes certain breakthroughs herself communicating with the jungle children, and there is lots to like in the very real bond she establishes with one boy. Clocking in at over two hours though, the whole things become a bit repetitive by the halfway mark and the initially enchanting aura of the jungle soon evaporates as the story turns rather melodramatic and sentimental. Kunkat is very radiant in the lead role though and constantly buoys up the fairly bloated picture she is in. (first viewing, online) ★★
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#2

Post by Onderhond » August 30th, 2020, 12:10 pm

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A lot of decent but mostly unremarkable films this week. That means not too many memorable film on top, but also few real stinkers.


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01. 4.0* - Guns Akimbo by Jason Lei Howden (2019)
Hilarious, zany and pleasantly over-the-top. Guns Akimbo isn't the most original of films and often wears its influences on its sleeves, but there aren't many action films like this, so it's really hard to fault the film for it when the execution is so precise and on point. Weaving and Radcliffe are awesome, the cinematography is insane and the pacing/runtime is perfect. A true adrenaline rush.

02. 3.5* - Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford (2016)
Fashion designer and film director are careers rarely combined, which is no doubt why Tom Ford's films have received a fair bit of attention. But there's a little more to it, as Ford isn't just some rich, untalented fashion mogul buying his way into Hollywood. Nocturnal Animals shows a confident writer/director who knows what he wants to bring to the table. It's no real surprise that a lot of attention went into the styling. From camera work to lightening and colors, to props, setting and costumes. Everything is very deliberate, very stylish. The only thing that could've used a little extra work was is soundtrack, which felt a bit underwhelming and underused. The story is interesting enough, though it lacks a little spice to turn this film into a real masterpiece. The underlying drama is a little on the nose and the thriller elements, while effective, feel a bit mellow. Maybe Ford can look into hiring a cowriter for his next film, the direction part he needs no help with.

03. 3.5* - Ana by Day [Ana de Día] by Andrea Jaurrieta (2018)
An intriguing little mystery that did an excellent job keeping me on my toes. It's one of those rare films that seems unbothered to play by its own rules, setting up a mystery only to abandon it for almost half a film, while still making sure the slightly uncanny and uncomfortable feeling lingers throughout. Ana is living a pretty safe and sheltered life, until one day a doppelgänger infiltrates her world and completely replaces her. Suddenly Ana's old world is no more, though she soon finds this newfound freedom has a liberating effect. She gets a new haircut, starts work as a burlesque dancer and begins a passionate affair with one of her fans. While Ingrid García Jonsson is a great lead, it's director Jaurrieta who deserves most of the credits. The cinematography is a bit uneven (some scenes look gorgeous, others are a little plain), but the soundtrack easily makes up for that, adding oodles of atmosphere and keeping things tense from start to finish. A very nice surprise and well worth seeking out.

04. 3.5* - Elite Squad [Tropa de Elite] by José Padilha (2007)
A film that is often mentioned in the same breath as City of God, and with good reason. While Elite Squad is far from a direct copy, the setting and stylized approach of both films would make for a solid double bill. I think I prefer City of God (though it's been a while), but that doesn't mean Elite Squad doesn't have its merit. Rather than follow the youngsters in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, this film focuses on Nascimento, the leader of an elite squad that fights both the drug gangs and the corrupt cops in an almost desperate attempt to upset the unhealthy balance of greed and corruption. As the film shows though, that's easier said than done. While sometimes labeled an action film, it's the crime elements that take center stage. There are some gun fights scattered throughout the film, but I'm pretty sure it won't be enough to please hardcore action fans. Instead, the main appeal comes from the energetic camera work that places the audience in the middle of a bustling and corrupt city, where everyone is stealing from someone else, making the despair and chaos tangible. Pretty good.

05. 3.0* - Dirty Pair: Project Eden [Dâti Pea Gekijô-ban] by Kôichi Mashimo (1987)
A wacky 80s sci-fi anime. I knew the Dirty Pair franchise by name, but never got around to seeing anything from it. I've always thought it was some kind of Noir-like cop show, so imagine my surprise when I ran into a pretty outrageous sci-fi flick. You won't hear me complain though, this was a lot better than I expected. I say sci-fi, but the film comes with a strong injection of action and comedy elements. That's nothing too out of the ordinary, neither is the extreme 80s cheesy that oozes from its every frame. It's an amusing mix that keeps things light, while also allowing for the needed creativity and weirdness. The animation is pretty decent, but it's the design that stand out the most. Some very neat monster concepts, cool sci-fi designs and a flashy art style make this film pretty appealing, even when the 80s look isn't entirely my thing. Sadly the soundtrack was a bit much, the attempts at US pop music were incredibly bland and unflattering. Apart from that, this was plenty fun.

06. 3.0* - The Hitman's Bodyguard by Patrick Hughes (2017)
A pretty big blockbuster flick I never noticed before, until it turned up on Prime earlier this week. It's a bit strange because I'm usually quite up to date on action/comedies, then again the setup is so generic that I might have confused it with another one and never bothered to check it out. Be warned: originality is not the point here. A bodyguard fallen from grace needs to team up with a hit man in order to help his girlfriend win a court case. They don't get along at first (or what did you expect), but the longer they act as a couple the better they work together. It's a simple twist on the old cop buddy concept that doesn't make that much of a difference in the end. The upside is that Reynolds and Jackson are a decent team, which makes for some funny banter. The action is also pretty dynamic and over-the-top, and abundantly present. The result is a simple, predictable but amusing blockbuster that deliver exactly what it promises. Nothing more, nothing less.

07. 3.0* - Lupin III: Farewell to Nostradamus [Rupan Sansei: Kutabare! Nastradamus] by Shun'ya Itô, Takeshi Shirato (1995)
As a longtime anime fan, a more serious exploration of the Lupin film catalog was long overdue. I'm not going to do it chronologically, so I ended up with Farewell to Nostradamus as my starting point (of this current push that is, I've already seen some of the more prominent Lupin films throughout the years). Farewell to Nostradamus is a bit crazier than the other entries I'd seen so far. It's incredibly action packed, with Lupin landing in all sorts of outlandish situations. Lupin isn't a stranger to a bit of weirdness, but the combination of sci-fi, mysticism and over-the-top action in a single film was new to me. The quality of the animation is decent, definitely not up to par with the best in the series though it gets a bit better near the end. All the craziness makes it feel a bit fragmented too, at the same time it ensures there isn't a dull moment to be found. Not the best Lupin film I've seen, but very amusing, light entertainment.

08. 3.0* - Nonfilm by Quentin Dupieux (2002)
A very early Quentin Dupieux (short) film. If you're a fan of the man's work it's definitely worth seeking out, as many of his signature elements are already present here. Still, it's all very rough and it's clear Dupieux was just testing the waters with this film, wondering whether this director business was something he'd like to pursue. Nonfilm follows a film crew on set. The title is pretty appropriate, because it doesn't take long before the director doesn't have enough people left to shoot an actual film. That doesn't stop him though, even when the camera and sound crew are gone he continues to "shoot" his film. Talk about dedication. Dupieux is known for his absurd comedies and Nonfilm neatly checks all the boxes. Sadly the camera work feels a bit cheap (documentary-style handycam work doesn't really fit here), the actors are rather poor and the material is too limited, even though Nonfilm only lasts 48 minutes. Still, I had a couple of good chuckles with this one.

09. 3.0* - Ares [Arès] by Jean-Patrick Benes (2016)
A simple but fun sci-fi flick that borrows quite heavily from Alita (and more classic sci-fi, like 1984), though with a seriously reduced scope in order to keep its budget in check. That means that the overt sci-fi elements are kept to a minimum (which is a minor disappointment), on the other hand the film looks more grounded than many of its peers (in the same budget category). We're looking at a future where corporations have pretty much taken over the world and people have been given more control over their own bodies. While that doesn't sound too bad, it basically means that many are selling their own flesh for human testing purposes. A beat down cage fighter suddenly finds himself in the middle of a fight between activists and the corporations and holds the key to start a revolution. The cinematography is nice, sadly Benes' vision of the future is a bit derivative. Performances are decent, the plot is entertaining enough and with only 80 minutes on the clock the runtime and pacing are perfect. It's not a very remarkable film, but sci-fi fans will find plenty here to enjoy here.

10. 3.0* - Lupin III: Dragon of Doom [Rupan Sansei: Moeyo Zantetsuken] by Masaharu Okuwaki (1994)
A pretty traditional Lupin adventure. A notorious villain is chasing a rare and powerful artifact, asks Lupin's help and the rest is history. While there's some variation in execution and genre balance, the crux of the Lupin films doesn't seem to change all that much. Lupin is a master thief and no matter how cunning his adversaries are, he's always better than them. The first half of the film is spent on retrieving the artifact (which is stored in the shipwreck of the Titanic), the second half is basically one big carousel of deceit, with Goemon playing a central part in the story. The plot itself isn't all that interesting really, the ending is also incredibly predictable, but as a hook it offers plenty of opportunities. The animation quality is rather mediocre, though it gets better whenever the action ramps up. The characters are a fun bunch, the sense of adventure is on point and the action scenes are pretty hilarious. These Lupin films aren't real stand-outs, but they sure are a lot of fun and because they're quite short, they're also easily digestible. I guess I'm a fan.

11. 3.0* - Endless Poetry [Poesía Sin Fin] by Alejandro Jodorowsky (2016)
This was only my second Jodorowsky, but I liked it way better than The Holy Mountain. Maybe not all that surprising, seeing it is one of Jodorowsky's more recent projects, even so it felt like a different type of film altogether. It was still completely bonkers, but sporting a lighter and happier atmosphere. No doubt Christopher Doyle's involvement helped a lot, though I don't think Jodorowsky made the best use of his talents. The film looks very colorful and has a handful of striking scenes, but the camera work and framing were a bit too static for my liking. Ultimately, it's a far cry from Doyle's best work. It's interesting to see Jodorowsky's son plays the lead (the film is semi-autobiographical), there's plenty of craziness and even though it's two hours long, there's never a dull moment, but I don't think Jodorowsky is really 100% my cup of tea. I guess it's a still a little too classical in its approach, that said this film was pretty enjoyable.

12. 3.0* - Ménilmontant by Dimitri Kirsanoff (1926)
A classic, French impressionist film that seems to be somewhat of a hidden treasure. Well regarded and famous among fans of classic cinema, it's not really a title that has traveled far beyond its own niche. That's a real shame I feel, as it's one of the better classics I've seen so far. I will say that the more contemporary score helped a lot. For a mood piece like this a soundtrack is extremely important and having very thick, demanding and atmospheric music supporting the visuals is a tremendous advantage. But the cinematography too deserves a mention, as the editing, the wild camera work and the framing are really quite spectacular, especially for a film this old. With no dialogue, no intertitles and a strong impressionistic approach, the story can be a little tough to follow, but the gist of it should be clear enough. Performances are impressive too and the runtime is perfect, so if you're a fan of (slightly) experimental cinema, it's well worth giving Ménilmontant a try.

13. 2.5* - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me by David Lynch (1992)
I went through 2 entire seasons of Twin Peaks just to watch this film. For years, it's been the only Lynch feature I hadn't seen, this Covid-dominated year was the perfect excuse to get that situation rectified. Was it worth it? Nah. But at least Fire Walk with Me wasn't at bad as the series. Don't watch it unless you've seen the series though. Lynch doesn't bother with introductions and if you don't know the characters, nor the plot of season 1 & 2 then the film isn't going to make any sense. It's pretty much a prequel that reveals the mystery on which the series is built (so big spoilers ahead), though not without introducing some mystery of its own. The start of the film is pretty poor and it takes a while before it gets up to steam. Lynch is still half-stuck in TV mode, making this one of his lesser looking films. Badalamenti too isn't delivering his best work. But the finale is pretty vintage Lynch and even though it can't quite save the rest of the film, it easily bests the endless seasons that came before.

14. 2.5* - The Old Guard by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2020)
The potential is there, but this film really (really) needed a better director. Companies like Netflix are constantly breaking down the barriers between TV and film, but when you have a flagship fantasy/action feature like The Old Guard that looks like a 2-hour TV episode, something is not right. The setup is interesting enough. A team of (virtually) immortal guns of hire carries out missions to better humankind. The lore isn't fully developed, no doubt that's intentional (it's clear they have a sequel in mind), but whatever information is given adds to the intrigue and there are some interesting details that set is apart from similar stories. The direction is dire though. The action scenes look dull, the camera work is extremely poor and the action choreography is rather boring. As a result, the film lacks flair and identity. Performances are at least decent and the pacing is solid too, so let's hope they find someone better to lead the sequel.

15. 2.5* - Twister by Jan de Bont (1996)
Twister was one of the films I really liked when I was younger. A film about a group of tornado chasers presented a real sense of danger and adventure and with some pretty decent special effects for that time, Twister had everything I needed from a good blockbuster disaster flick. Which, admittedly, wasn't all that much. Watching it back, it's hard not to notice all its faults, but underneath that cheese rests a film that still holds a bit of that oldskool sense of adventure. With our current technology, it's hard to imagine a bunch of scientists jumping in a truck to chase tornadoes and throw sensors at it, but as a premise it's pretty exciting. The performances are quite weak, the effects aren't as impressive anymore and two hours is a bit long, especially since it's all very repetitive, but the pacing is decent, the destruction is pretty impressive and the chase scenes are still plenty fun. Hasn't really survived that well, but it was still better than I'd expected it to be.

16. 2.5* - Before the Revolution [Prima della Rivoluzione] by Bernardo Bertolucci (1964)
One of Bertolucci's earliest films. I must say it's quite impressive to see a film like this made by someone who was only 22 at the time. Bertolucci leaves the Italian neorealism behind (a happy surprise), instead Before the Revolution seems to be taking notes from the French New Wave, a movement much closer to my liking. When I think classic Italian cinema, I think films that are quite loud, nervous and chaotic. There's almost none of that here. The cinematography is very stylish, the soundtrack is surprisingly beautiful and the performances are relatively subdued, what makes for a pleasant, moody atmosphere. I will say that the first half is noticeable better than the second one. It gets more overtly political near the end, which is where the film lost some of its appeal for me. By then I was already more than content to have seen a rather calm, breezy and stylish film with a handful of memorable moments. That's more than I expected going in.

17. 2.5* - Won't You Be My Neighbor? by Morgan Neville (2018)
A documentary primarily aimed at a US audience. If you're not familiar with Mr. Rogers and his TV show, this film is going to miss some of its impact. On the other hand, director Neville spends plenty of time detailing Fred Rogers' character, his ambitious and methodology, so it's not like it's impossible to follow. This is essentially a documentary about a very nice and warm soul, who went on television to educate and entertain kids. Traditional values like love, acceptance and kindness are front and center, but Rogers also talks about tougher subjects, like death, divorce and topical ones, like the Kennedy assassination. As for the takeaway though, I'm not entirely convinced Rogers' program really contributed much to society. It's easy and comforting to think a nice man can make a TV program that inspires the nation, but looking at the US today, I don't think his program got them very far. Sadly the documentary doesn't even come close to touching that subject.

18. 2.0* - The Sleepover by Trish Sie (2020)
A film aimed at parents with young(er) children. While not as excessively childish as Spy Kids, there's very little here for adults who aren't forced to watch films when there are young kinds abound. Within that segment The Sleepover isn't the worst I guess, though I don't think I'd have missed much by skipping this one altogether. Akerman and Marino are a rather dull parents with two kids and a dog. Turns out though that Akerman was living a much wilder life when she was younger, and the remnants of those crazy days are finally catching up with her. While she and her husband are kidnapped, her kids set out on a mission to save her. There are a handful of decent chuckles, but all the comedy is child-proof. The direction is pretty bland and lifeless, the characters are all simple stereotypes and the action scenes lack spirit. It's just all very middle-of-the-road, though at least it doesn't make you feel like you've just been lobotomized.

19. 2.0* - The Skin I Live In [a Piel Que Habito] by Pedro Almodóvar (2011)
Another middling Almodóvar. Not that The Skin I Live In sits within his normal range of films, it's a rather ambitious mix of thriller, mystery, drama and even minor horror elements, but in the end it's still Almodóvar directing, and his old-fashioned style doesn't do justice to the themes here. The first hour is a mess of different timelines, rest assured that the second hour clears up most of the confusion. The film revolves around a genius plastic surgeon responsible for an important scientific breakthrough. It's revealed early on that his ethics are pretty loose though, which isn't even taking into account the bigger reveal halfway through. The story is quite disturbing, but performances are poor (Banderas in particular), the cinematography is either too static or not refined enough and the soundtrack is tedious. There are traces of a fun and interesting film here, but they're squandered by a director who is a complete mismatch for the film he tried to make.

20. 2.0* - City Hunter: Secret Service by Kenji Kodama (1996)
A somewhat disappointing City Hunter entry. It's by and large a carbon copy of the other films, except that the action isn't as impressive or excessive. That's a problem, as that's the one thing that kept this franchise away from mediocrity. With more focus on plot and comedy, its shortcomings are that much harder to ignore. For one, the cheap animation isn't doing this film any favors. Not that the City Hunter series ever excelled in that department, but at least the over-the-top action scenes used to look cool. Without them, it's just very static and lacking in detail. The rather cheesy soundtrack is equally disappointing. The film itself presents another case for Ryo to handle, with a few predictable twists along the way. On the comedy side of things, Ryo is being his perverted self again (cue obligatory bathroom scene and plenty of bras and panties talk). It's all a bit underwhelming, especially considering the 90-minute runtime. One of the lesser City Hunter films I've seen so far.

21. 1.5* - Ford v Ferrari by James Mangold (2019)
For people hoping to see a film about the feud between Ford and Ferrari, know that Ford v Ferrari is 99% about Ford. In some countries it was rebranded as Le Mans '66, which is a much more appropriate title, though what you're really getting is simple, unfiltered and uncompromising USA propaganda. Ford v Ferrari is the poster child of Hollywood cheese. One-dimensional characters, the little guy fighting the big corporations and US technology beating out the rest of the world. There's pointless drama, some artificial tension here and there and a few races that need to cover the action portion of the film. Bale is the only one who tries to make something of his character, the rest of the cast is bland. So is the cinematography and the soundtrack, so unless you're a major race fan (or you really dig standard Hollywood drama), there's very little here. The film seems to be pretty popular though, so Mangold must be doing something right, only I couldn't find it at all.

22. 1.5* - Great Expectations by David Lean (1946)
David Lean certainly isn't the worst classic director I know, though his films are a bit too lofty and rigid to be truly to my liking. Great Expectations is no different. It is a fine companion piece to Lean's Brief Encounter, but ultimately I didn't really care for the characters, nor the story. The plot spans quite the timeline, starting with a young Pip aiding an escaped prisoner and helping out Miss Havisham, an old spinster. When Pip is older an unknown benefactor is providing for his livelihood, but not knowing where his money comes from seriously complicates Pip's life. From there on out the story becomes more complicated, but without characters to care for it doesn't really matter. At least the cinematography is nice, with very detailed sets that look their finest in black and white. Performances are too wooden though and the pacing is sluggish, especially for a film that kisses the two hour mark.

23. 0.5* - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by Marc Webb (2014)
While I've seen pretty much all the Marvel stuff there is to see, I simply don't care enough about the material to keep track of any coherence between the films. Amazing Spider-Man 2 was one of the few films I've missed and I'm guessing it's probably on some alternative timeline, but in the end that hardly mattered. From all the Marvel franchises, Spider-Man is probably my least favorite. After having seen this film, I remember why. The films are extremely pulpy, the melodrama is preposterous and the action is bland. Marc Webb is a horrible director who fails to bring any joy or spark into his films, which really shouldn't be that hard with the material at hand. Garfield is a terrible Spider-Man, Stone is a complete miscast and Foxx is one of the worst villains I've seen. The scenes that are supposed to be fun are drab, the scenes that are supposed to be serious are cheesy and the action scenes look like outdated video game CG (which they pretty much are). Let's hope that in 20 years time we can all have a good laugh at the popularity of these films.

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#3

Post by peeptoad » August 30th, 2020, 12:21 pm

Hi sol.
Rapture and Julie Darling are the only two of yours I've seen. The former 8/10, latter is ~6. I don't have much memory oft he details on that one. Not sure I'd add Jack the Ripper to my watch list or not based on your review. I'll probably watch all the Franco films sooner or later someday though.


Deváté srdce (1979) The Ninth Heart 7
Patrick (1978) 7
Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971) 6
Neun Leben hat die Katze (1968) The Cat Has Nine Lives 5
La nuit claire (1979) 7
The Great White Hope (1970) 7
The Return of Dracula (1958) 7
Gordos (2009) Fat People 7

I didn't really love anything, but it was a decent week, viewing-wise. The most unexpected was Gordos, which was a completely random watch. I like de la Torre and it was free on one of the streaming apps. It was a moderately decent drama, with comedic elements and not anywhere near what I normally watch, but not bad. Not sure I'd rec it to anyone, but it was better/different than expected. Aunt Martha is one I might rec to you sol. You mentioned the title in the challenge thread, but the lead actor (in drag for some of the film) was solid and it was pretty funny and sarcastic almost in spots. It's obviously cheaply made, but has some kind of energy and unique feel to it. I'd also rec Return of Dracula if you havent' seen it. I found it to be effective esp given the apparent budget.

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#4

Post by peeptoad » August 30th, 2020, 12:29 pm

@Onderhond-
7+/8 on Elite Squad for me, and I also liked City of God more...
Feel similarly about The Old Guard, which was a mild disappointment, but I liked The Skin I Live In more than you did. Not sure I'd ever rewatch it though. Not a fan of Twister, but I don't really like anything of de Bont's very much.
Still need to see Endless Poetry and I added Ménilmontant to the list... thanks for the heads up on that one.

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Perception de Ambiguity
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#5

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » August 30th, 2020, 1:03 pm

Image

Dream Journal 2016-2019 2019 jon rafman. (w/ Carmel) 7

日子 / Days / Rizi 2020 蔡明亮/Tsai Ming-liang. 6-

La fórmula secreta 1965 rubén gámez. 8-

Vincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh 1987 paul cox. 7
"One must have ambition in order to succeed;
and ambition seems to me absurd."

- Vincent van Gogh

Virtual Revolution / 2047: Virtual Revolution 2016 guy-roger duvert. 5+

Tenet 2020 christopher nolan. (theatrically, digital) 4+

Steven Wright: Wicker Chairs and Gravity 1990 walter c. miller & dean parisot. (2nd viewing)


shorts

The Astronomer’s Dream (director's cut) 2010 julie murray 7-

Escuchamos el canto de las sirenas 2000 bruno varela (mex). 5

With History in a Room Filled with People with Funny Names 4 2018 korakrit arunanondchai. 8+
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SpoilerShow
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Meltdown 1994 by nick land. 6

The Flow of Zen 1969 alan watts 8+
Zen Buddhism & psychedelia, we are reaching critical mass.

Life is NOT a journey: Alan Watts 2018 oliver marsden. 6-

The Psychology of Dream Analysis 2002 rian johnson. 4

Ashes of Doom 1970 grant munro & don arioli. 5+

(Op-Docs:) November 22, 1963 2013 errol morris. (rewatch?) 4

Das kleine Chaos 1966 rwf. (2nd viewing) 4+


series

Magical Egypt 2001 chance gardner & john anthony west. 8-
E7: Illumination 2001. 6
SpoilerShow
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E8: Cosmology 2001. 7
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SpoilerShow
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Discovering Buddhism - Module 1 - "Mind and its Potential" 2004 christina lundberg. 7
Discovering Buddhism - Module 2 - "How to Meditate" 2004 christina lundberg. 6+

South Park - S22E05 - "The Scoots" 2018 (rewatch)


music videos

Kontra K feat. AK Ausserkontrolle: Sirenen 2020

Queens Of The Stone Age: Go With The Flow 2009. (umpteenth viewing) 7


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1151 - Sean Carroll 2018. 7+

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1528 - Nikki Glaser 2020. 7

partly experienced Joe Rogans: #1383: Malcolm Gladwell; #1041: Dan Carlin; #1100: Liz Phair


didn't finish

Strange Attractor (Ken Adams, 2003) [17 min]


notable online media

top:
Joe Rogan And Nikki Glaser Make A Very Weird Couple
Joe Rogan Finds His True Love With Nikki Glaser
I Spent 7 Days Underwater
Guy annoys girlfriend with puns at Ikea
Joe Rogan Is The Ultimate Nice Guy
Joe Rogan Is The Ultimate Simp
David Blaine Magic Tricks on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Joe Rogan Falls In Love Again With Nikki Glaser
It felt good didn't it Ricky?
Joe Rogan Falls In Love With Ben Shapiro
Joe Rogan Simping On Hot Guest And Things Get Really Weird
Joe Rogan Gets Caught Stalking Hot Guest And Things Get Really Weird…
Joe Rogan Freaks Out Post Malone
Swimming with Sharks | David Blaine
High Stakes - The Insatiable Action of Vampire Hunter D
me on xanax
These Are a Few of My Favorite Card Tricks to Do...Obviously
Joey Diaz Can't Stand Joe Rogan Supercut Edition
Was Nolan uns sagen will: TENET – Kritik & Analyse
dolphin bonk
rest:
I failed my balloon test, but never gave up
WHAT IS DAVID WORKING ON TODAY? 8/23/20
Terence McKenna Culture is not your friend
[The Joe Rogan Experience clips ("Censored Nikki Glaser", "Millenial Pornhub Searches"
Rabbits, Psychopaths & Religion with Bill Burr & Russell Brand
TENET- Behind the Scenes Exclusive
Till The End Unofficial Trailer
Tibet's Secret Temple [by NOWNESS]
SUNRISE ( A TeleTubbies Cartoon)


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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on August 30th, 2020, 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.

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#6

Post by sol » August 30th, 2020, 2:01 pm

peeptoad wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 12:21 pm
Hi sol.
Rapture and Julie Darling are the only two of yours I've seen. The former 8/10, latter is ~6. I don't have much memory oft he details on that one. Not sure I'd add Jack the Ripper to my watch list or not based on your review. I'll probably watch all the Franco films sooner or later someday though.
What? :o All 200 of them? I kind of like Franco as a director. It is a bit hard to judge him because the quality of his work tends to vary a lot, but he is not afraid of using explicit imagery, and his handful of films that I have seen this year feature some of the very most memorable moments for me. And yeah, I don't know about the Jack the Ripper film. It is a mild recommendation; some very striking explicit imagery, but it is kinda of not fun knowing who the Ripper is and spending so long waiting for all the other characters to catch up. If I know the Ripper's identity, I would prefer to have some time travel in my movie also for good measure...

Julie Darling can easily be found online if you're looking to refresh your memory. ;) I liked it a lot, and a lot more than I was expecting to. It is sort of just the Electra Complex played out as a horror film, but it is also so much more because we are never quite sure the depths to which she is prepared to go, and some of her bargaining stuff places the film in strange and really effed up territory. Insane ending too.

peeptoad wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 12:21 pm
Patrick (1978) 7
Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971) 6
The Great White Hope (1970) 7
The Return of Dracula (1958) 7

I didn't really love anything, but it was a decent week, viewing-wise. The most unexpected was Gordos, which was a completely random watch. I like de la Torre and it was free on one of the streaming apps. It was a moderately decent drama, with comedic elements and not anywhere near what I normally watch, but not bad. Not sure I'd rec it to anyone, but it was better/different than expected. Aunt Martha is one I might rec to you sol. You mentioned the title in the challenge thread, but the lead actor (in drag for some of the film) was solid and it was pretty funny and sarcastic almost in spots. It's obviously cheaply made, but has some kind of energy and unique feel to it. I'd also rec Return of Dracula if you havent' seen it. I found it to be effective esp given the apparent budget.
Yours:

Gags from characters in drag is not really my thing, but yeah, the couple of posters that I looked up for Aunt Martha seemed as interesting as its title, so I would definitely consider giving it a go at some stage. I'm not big into Dracula films (the three that I saw this month were pretty unusual takes on the character) but have noted your recommendation for The Return of Dracula. Does not sound too promising off-hand, but the AKA title "The Fantastic Disappearing Man" certainly does.

I have seen Patrick from your viewings this week, which was very good. I loved the whole idea of being able to tap into a sixth sense by having all five other senses cut off for so long. Some pretty interesting Ouija style scenes too; is the typewriter him typing or the nurse typing what she wants to see?

I also saw The Great White Hope in February this year. I found the film to be very heavy on dialogue with more scenes of characters talking than actually interacting or even boxing. Really great James Earl Jones performance though.
Former IMDb message boards user // iCM | IMDb | Letterboxd | My top 750 films // Long live the new flesh!
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#7

Post by peeptoad » August 30th, 2020, 4:38 pm

sol wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 2:01 pm
peeptoad wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 12:21 pm
Hi sol.
Rapture and Julie Darling are the only two of yours I've seen. The former 8/10, latter is ~6. I don't have much memory oft he details on that one. Not sure I'd add Jack the Ripper to my watch list or not based on your review. I'll probably watch all the Franco films sooner or later someday though.
What? :o All 200 of them? I kind of like Franco as a director. It is a bit hard to judge him because the quality of his work tends to vary a lot, but he is not afraid of using explicit imagery, and his handful of films that I have seen this year feature some of the very most memorable moments for me. And yeah, I don't know about the Jack the Ripper film. It is a mild recommendation; some very striking explicit imagery, but it is kinda of not fun knowing who the Ripper is and spending so long waiting for all the other characters to catch up. If I know the Ripper's identity, I would prefer to have some time travel in my movie also for good measure...

Julie Darling can easily be found online if you're looking to refresh your memory. ;) I liked it a lot, and a lot more than I was expecting to. It is sort of just the Electra Complex played out as a horror film, but it is also so much more because we are never quite sure the depths to which she is prepared to go, and some of her bargaining stuff places the film in strange and really effed up territory. Insane ending too.

peeptoad wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 12:21 pm
Patrick (1978) 7
Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971) 6
The Great White Hope (1970) 7
The Return of Dracula (1958) 7

I didn't really love anything, but it was a decent week, viewing-wise. The most unexpected was Gordos, which was a completely random watch. I like de la Torre and it was free on one of the streaming apps. It was a moderately decent drama, with comedic elements and not anywhere near what I normally watch, but not bad. Not sure I'd rec it to anyone, but it was better/different than expected. Aunt Martha is one I might rec to you sol. You mentioned the title in the challenge thread, but the lead actor (in drag for some of the film) was solid and it was pretty funny and sarcastic almost in spots. It's obviously cheaply made, but has some kind of energy and unique feel to it. I'd also rec Return of Dracula if you havent' seen it. I found it to be effective esp given the apparent budget.
Yours:

Gags from characters in drag is not really my thing, but yeah, the couple of posters that I looked up for Aunt Martha seemed as interesting as its title, so I would definitely consider giving it a go at some stage. I'm not big into Dracula films (the three that I saw this month were pretty unusual takes on the character) but have noted your recommendation for The Return of Dracula. Does not sound too promising off-hand, but the AKA title "The Fantastic Disappearing Man" certainly does.

I have seen Patrick from your viewings this week, which was very good. I loved the whole idea of being able to tap into a sixth sense by having all five other senses cut off for so long. Some pretty interesting Ouija style scenes too; is the typewriter him typing or the nurse typing what she wants to see?

I also saw The Great White Hope in February this year. I found the film to be very heavy on dialogue with more scenes of characters talking than actually interacting or even boxing. Really great James Earl Jones performance though.
I keep forgetting that you don't like vampire movies. Ill quit recommending them, unless it helps you with TSZDT somehow. ;)
Great White Hope was pretty dialogue heavy and also frequently breaking out in song/music. I had no expectations going in, but prob would have preferred more boxing and less music in hindsight.

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#8

Post by Teproc » August 30th, 2020, 4:51 pm

Beyond the Lights (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2014)

Like Love & Basketball, I think there is a disconnect between Prince-Bythewood's naturalistic and quiet directing style and her melodramatic writing, which is often so blunt to the point of the secondary characters feeling like cardboard obstacles as opposed to the fleshed out protagonists. The way she depicts parents in particular seems to be incredibly one-note across these films, and neither Minnie Driver nor Danny Glover feel like anything more than ways for the script to inject drama into the story, which is a huge problem with Driver in particular as she is quite a big part of the story. All the confrontations between children and parents in these movies feel the same, and they all feel pretty first-drafty. Mbatha-Raw is good, but Nate Parker's character never quite coalesces into something coherent (the political stuff is another part that feels artifically added to have some thematic parallels, but never really fits the character) and the end result is pretty underwhelming.

35/100

Boys State
(Jesse Moss & Amanda McBaine, 2020)

An interesting exploration of a pretty fascinating phenomenon, though one that is also at times reaching for conclusions that the specificity of this event's setup prevents. Tribalism is bad and a bipartisan system leads to tribalism is probably an intended message here, but parties are not actually distributed randomly, and it's hard to say this really shows the gamification of politics when it's literally a game version of politics in the first place. Still, it finds interesting characters: some inspirational, some worrying but not fully villainous, some just fascinating like Robert MacDougall, and makes good use of the inherent drama in a campaign, even a faux-campaign.

Also, that band was pretty good, impressive in just a week.

65/100

Effacer l'historique / Delete History
(Gustave Kervern & Benoît Delépine, 2020)

I forgot that, before we have to deal with the onslaught of Covid-inspired movies, we'll have to endure the Gilets Jaunes ones here. Kervern & Delépine are theoretically the best filmmakers to tackle this, because this has always been their subject, really, and I think this is their best film in a while, but I just have trouble with their comedic energy. There's plenty of funny stuff here, but it feels somewhat disjointed and it can't seem to decide what it's about aside from a general frustration with the modern world... kind of like the Gilets Jaunes protests themselves I suppose, but that means it doesn't illuminate much about these issues, it just highlights them once again, in ways that are never exactly contemptuous of their characters, but still a bit too distanced to fully earn its attempts at inspirational humanism. A good cast headed by comedic It Girl Blanche Gardin, plus some fun cameos by some of my favorite French-speaking actors working right now (Poelvoorde and Lacoste) make it all mostly work.

52/100

Nichinichi kore kôjitsu / Every Day a Good Day
(Tatsushi Omori, 2018)

An incredibly delicate film exploring the life of a Japanese girl/woman in the 90s and 2000s through the prism of her learning the tea ceremony. The ceremony itself is a fascinating ritual that is both this tool of indoctrination for women, teaching them what their place in Japanese society is, something that we see play out in the various characters present here, but also a remarkable exercise in self-abandonment that... well that I kind of hate in principle, but I recognize the value it can have, and this film approaches the subject evenhandedly. As always, the more specific a work of art is, the more universal its reach can be, and this unassuming, quiet piece of filmmaking is a shining example of that.

72/100

La cité des enfants perdus / City of Lost Children
(Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro, 1995)

These Caro/Jeunet films are more about mood, style and characters that they are about plot, so this being much more convoluted does make it less effective for me than Delicatessen, but it's also even bolder visually with those fisheye lenses (I think) and the various techniques Jeunet uses when introducing the kidnappers. It feels like one of the many films The Matrix is indebted to, with reality constantly being undermined and the ways in which that is achieved visually. Always nice to see the Jeunet regulars, with Pinon having a lot of fun with his multiple roles, and Dreyfus getting to be somewhat of a good guy for once, but Perlman is the MVP here in the gentle giant role, along with Judith Vittet as a precocious child, the kind of role that so often gets annoying but she really works here, never feels like a precious or calibrated performance.

74/100

The Old Guard
(Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2020)

A massive disappointment, though one I could probably have seen coming. It is so difficult for superhero films that take themselves seriously to work for me: Logan, X2, the Joker-less Nolan Batmans... and Joker itself of course. This feigns interest in the weight of immortality, but it barely attempts to tackle that, with characters that never feel like they've lived through a century, let alone dozens of them. Charlize Theron is possibly the most charismatic actress working in Hollywood today, and she should be perfect for this role, but it's just a big nothing. Only KiKi Layne works here, because Prince-Bythewood is just not that interested in the supernatural aspect of this and one feels that she would much rather be doing something more grounded, but the result is a complete mess, with the ending particularly pissing me off as it suggests that these mercenaries who seem to do nothing else than get involved in massive conflicts are somehow saviors of humanity, basically a bellicist message, whether intended or not. Of course they should feel empty and drained, no amount of lives saved can make up for the lives lost, and the film's clumsy attempt at suggesting otherwise was the final nail in its coffin.

17/100

@sol

Fitzcarraldo is my favorite Herzog, agreed that the absurdity is definitely appealing. I think this works much better for me than Aguirre, which makes similar points really about individuals striving to achieve something, anything, to transcend their condition of mere mortals, in part because Kinski is at least somewhat sympathetic. I mean he even smiles at one point, which feels like an event in and of itself, and he's just always fascinating to watch.

@Onderhond

I quite liked Ford v Ferrari, don't see it as American propaganda at all, just pretty typical but very well-made Hollywood entertainment. The characters we're rooting for are American sure, but I don't think the film makes the mistake in portraying them as morally superior to their competitors: really the film isn't interested in the other drivers as much as it with the scrappy engineers against the big company, Ford doesn't end up looking that good really, and Enzo Ferrari seems much more dignified than villainous. It ends up being a bit soft on Ford Jr. himself, and generally the writing is not particularly inspired, but I really enjoyed the lead performances (and I'm usually not a Bale fan at all) and the racing scenes.

Prima della rivoluzione is indeed more New Wave than neorealism, and for the better I agree, at least in this case. I do remember it looking being it quite well-shot as well.

Tropa de Elite is where I'm going to have the stance you have on Ford v Ferrari, in that I find it to be pretty well-made and effective, but it's basically fascist agit prop to me, about how the only solution against corruption and poverty is violence and letting the military do whatever they want without those pesky, hypocritical, weed-smoking (gosh!) liberals. The whole film is about someone radicalizing themselves to the far right, and the film essentially celebrates that. The sequel is even worse in that respect, though it's just as slickly directed.

I liked the fictional story in Nocturnal Animals a lot more than the framing narrative, with Michael Shannon being captivating as usual.
Last edited by Teproc on August 31st, 2020, 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#9

Post by prodigalgodson » August 30th, 2020, 10:36 pm

The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) (rewatch) 7/10 - liked this to varying degrees over the years, but I think it has to be Welles' most overrated (sorry Ale); given how many hundreds of ornate ballroom scenes we've had in subsequent years, I don't know if it lost much by cutting out the dancing sequences (actually kind of an interesting effect), but the ending is at least as bad as its reputation

Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006) 7/10

Searches for lost love in wreckage of the Three Gorges flood zone. One of the more contemplative films I've seen from Jia -- on paper it sounds like a favorite, but I didn't find the character work as inspired as the sense of place and it didn't end up making a huge impression on me. Maybe I was spoiled by watching the high water mark (no pun intended) of the cinema of demolition, Costa's Fontainhas films, so recently. As with The World, love the more out-there touches, wouldn't have minded if it'd leaned into those more.

Lola (Jacques Demy, 1961) 7/10

A delightful film that exists in a world so innocent it's hard to even evaluate it from a modern cynical perspective. The flowing dollies and interconnected ubiquity of l'amour made me think of Ophuls throughout; made sense reading after that Demy was homaging him. Enjoyable and sophisticated as it is, I find it hard to value Demy's whimsy as much as his contemporaries' more rigorous adventures.

The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2015) (rewatch) 10/10 - took me three times to fully appreciate it (and feel like I could watch it 10 more), but what a fuckin masterpiece -- this film is the future

I feel like I rewatched something else too but I guess it didn't make that strong of an impression...

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#10

Post by Onderhond » August 31st, 2020, 9:03 am

@sol:
I've only seen Fitzcarraldo (2.0*), which I didn't think was all that impressive. Kinski is mostly a face, as an actor he's terrible, the rest of the cast wasn't any better. There are lots of juicy stories about the production of this film, which I guess is nice to read about, but they don't really make the film better. At least it was quite adventurous, Herzog fares well in jungle settings.

@peeptoad:
It's a strange world when people start using my lists for recommendations on classics (at least, in the usual sense, not the "if Onderhond rates it low it must be interesting" way) :D From yours I've seen nothing, though I did like the Patrick (2013) remake (3.5*), so that might be fun to seek out if you haven't already.

@Teproc:
From yours I watched Nichinichi kore kôjitsu (3.5*) not too long ago, pretty much agree with your review. I've also seen City of Lost Children (4.5*) which I liked quite a bit better. It's hard choosing between this and Delicatessen for me, they're usually very close together in my all-time favorites list. I guess Delicatessen is a bit smarter, but City of Lost Children has a more interesting setting. I just love's Caro's creativity though. As for the Old Guard, check what the director made before and it'll start to dawn why the film is such a fluke.
Teproc wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 4:51 pm
I quite liked Ford v Ferrari, don't see it as American propaganda at all, just pretty typical but very well-made Hollywood entertainment.
Like they said at the end, it's the only American car ever to win the Le Mans race, so the focus alone makes it very 'Murica! I guess the film is technically competent, but creatively it's really at the bottom of the Hollywood dumpster. Which is probably why the pro-American framing started to get on my nerves.
Teproc wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Tropa de Elite is where I'm going to have the stance you have on Ford v Ferrari, in that I find it to be pretty well-made and effective, but it's basically fascist agit prop to me, about how the only solution against corruption and poverty is violence and letting the military do whatever they want without those pesky, hypocritical, weed-smoking (gosh!) liberals. The whole film is about someone radicalizing themselves to the far right, and the film essentially celebrates that. The sequel is even worse in that respect, though it's just as slickly directed.
Still need to see the sequel, the big difference with Ford v Ferrari for me is that I can see Tropa de Elite as a simple action/thriller. Could be because I'm not well aware enough of the political situation over there, but I didn't see this as a film making any big statements.

@prodigalgodson:
Funny how The Assassin (2.5*) was such a disappointment for me as it harked back to oldskool Taiwanese cinema. I'd been looking forward to this film for years (Hou + Qi + martial arts), but it was weak in pretty much every area. The future of Taiwanese cinema start 5-10 years before The Assassin was released, but I don't think Hou was notified. It's a shame, because I really loved his late 90s/early 00s work. I didn't like The Magnificent Ambersons very much either, though the intro was pretty funny. A 40s film where they bitch about the future and feel nostalgic about the past. That's so current :D

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#11

Post by sol » August 31st, 2020, 10:24 am

Teproc wrote:
August 30th, 2020, 4:51 pm
@sol

Fitzcarraldo is my favorite Herzog, agreed that the absurdity is definitely appealing. I think this works much better for me than Aguirre, which makes similar points really about individuals striving to achieve something, anything, to transcend their condition of mere mortals, in part because Kinski is at least somewhat sympathetic. I mean he even smiles at one point, which feels like an event in and of itself, and he's just always fascinating to watch.
Aguirre isn't quite fresh enough in my mind to compare and contrast the two films, though I get why many would see Fitzcarraldo as similar. Personally speaking, I prefer Herzog's Nosferatu to both though while Where the Green Ants Dream is where it is at for Herzog's best in my books.

Absurdity: yes, that was definitely the most compelling aspect of Fitzcarraldo to me; Kinski madly blaring opera music into the winds of the jungle, like a missionary spreading the word of Christ, is a filmic image that I doubt I will ever forget.

Yours:

Only seen City of Lost Children and years ago at that. Off-hand, I'd rate it higher than Delicatessen: more magical, better acted (yes, Vittet is divine) but it's pretty hard to beat the out-there set design of Delicatessen.

Onderhond wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 9:03 am
@sol:
I've only seen Fitzcarraldo (2.0*), which I didn't think was all that impressive. Kinski is mostly a face, as an actor he's terrible, the rest of the cast wasn't any better. There are lots of juicy stories about the production of this film, which I guess is nice to read about, but they don't really make the film better. At least it was quite adventurous, Herzog fares well in jungle settings.
I actually would agree with you about the acting in the film, and yeah, I found Kinski's performance a bit disappointing too. I was expecting a gradual descent into madness type of performance, but it generally isn't (he's mostly just a little off-kilter throughout). I do generally like Kinski though. Try some of his comedies (Buddy Buddy) and westerns (The Great Silence) if you haven't already. I did think the film worked outside of Kinski's performances though. As you've acknowledged, the jungle settings, the sense of adventure etc works really well, and the whole bizarre contrast of untouched jungle scenery and a large boat cruising down the middle of a river.

Yours:

The Skin I Live In is easily my favourite of yours viewing this week. The "old-fashioned style" that you're referencing is Hitchcock and Almodovar's treatment only wows me the more each time I see. I really want to watch the film at some stage as a double feature with Vertigo since so many aspects are similar. Anyway, I love The Skin I Live In for its personal identity themes, horror-like music score and hard-hitting ending. What a way to conclude a film, with Almodovar cutting to black at the exact perfect point. One of the 100 best films that I have ever seen if you ask me (I know, you didn't).

I know you're not a big fan of American style acting, but that was the best part of Nocturnal Animals for me - especially Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon's performances. Fantastic film either way though, and my current #1 of 2016.

I've also seen Elite Squad from you, which didn't do very much for me, Ménilmontant, because it was Kael's favourite film, Great Expectations, which I liked a lot at the time, and Ford v Ferrari, which I liked more that I could have ever expected. Sorry to hear that you found Tracy Letts to be bland; he was easily the highlight of the cast for me.
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#12

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » August 31st, 2020, 8:02 pm

Le Horla (Jean-Daniel Pollet, 1966) - 8+

日子 / Rizi / Days (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2020) - 9

Variety (Bette Gordon, 1983) - 8
Like - eh - a feminist version of Taxi Driver?

Daïnah la métisse (Jean Grémillon, 1932) - 9

Трудно быть богом / Hard to Be a God (Aleksey German, 2013) - 9
Finally got around to this, one of the fastest and most fun 3 hour films I've seen in a long time. What an accomplishment, some of the most textured moving images since Sternberg.

The Hunger Games (Gary Ross, 2012) - 5-

মেঘে ঢাকা তারা / The Cloud-Capped Star (Ritwik Ghatak, 1960) - 8

Systemsprenger / System Crasher (Nora Fingscheidt, 2019) - 8+

Picture of Light (Peter Mettler, 1994) - 10

Shorts:

Zig Zag (Georges Schwizgebel, 1996)

+

The first 2 seasons of Top Boy and several episodes of The Office US.
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#13

Post by Onderhond » August 31st, 2020, 10:13 pm

sol wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 10:24 am
The Skin I Live In is easily my favourite of yours viewing this week. The "old-fashioned style" that you're referencing is Hitchcock and Almodovar's treatment only wows me the more each time I see. I really want to watch the film at some stage as a double feature with Vertigo since so many aspects are similar. Anyway, I love The Skin I Live In for its personal identity themes, horror-like music score and hard-hitting ending. What a way to conclude a film, with Almodovar cutting to black at the exact perfect point. One of the 100 best films that I have ever seen if you ask me (I know, you didn't).
The Hitchcock link is quite interesting, It nails exactly what bugged me about the film.
I guess all the drama makes more of an impact if you're actually invested in the characters and story.
sol wrote:
August 31st, 2020, 10:24 am
I know you're not a big fan of American style acting, but that was the best part of Nocturnal Animals for me - especially Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon's performances. Fantastic film either way though, and my current #1 of 2016.
I do appreciate Shannon, but directors have to know how to use him. I watched Frank & Lola yesterday, comes recommended if you haven't seen it yet. Shannon & Poots are a solid team.

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#14

Post by prodigalgodson » September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm

sol
Town on Trial - haven't watched much British noir, but I've been meaning to see more and this sounds up my alley
Fitzcarraldo 7 - not one of my favorite Herzogs, but has led to some of the best making-of stories ever (eg Burden of Dreams and the very underrated book Conquest of the Useless); good point about the unexplained motivation of the natives -- rewatching Aguirre recently it dawned on me that in-depth characterizations don't seem to interest Herzog at all (must be the opera influence)
Death on the Nile - thanks for the rec, I've never read any Christie or seen any adaptations, but maybe I should get around to them

hond
Nocturnal Animals 5 - Ford's obviously a legend as a designer and I'm a big fan from a fashion standpoint, but this felt like blandly competent fashion-ad cinema; I'd love to see him working in a more abstract mode
Menilmontant 8 - an early pleasant surprise from my first Kino avant garde set, though I'm not sure I would qualify it as experimental; agree it feels very ahead of its time
FWWM 8 - would like to see it again, as I know there's a vocal minority that consider it Lynch's best, but even one time around I found it spellbinding; are you gonna watch The Return?
Twister 5 - watchable as a kid but I don't remember much aside from the flying cow
Ford v Ferrari 7 - a pleasant surprise for me, about what I expected going in but in addition to Bale's charisma I found it aesthetically engaging, really took me back to a version of America I experienced the twilight of in my earliest years
Great Expectations - not interested in seeing this (certainly not before I read any Dickens), but I started watching Doctor Zhivago last night and "lofty and rigid" is a good description of Lean's style (perfectly suited to Lawrence of Arabia's lofty and rigid protagonist, but I'm not sure how much else)

Re: Hou, it's much to his credit that he can tick boxes for people looking to get as different things out of film as you and me, though it seems like I'm a somewhat bigger fan (in my top 5 directors as of last ranking). For me his peak years were 86-98; unsurprisingly, your two favorites are two of my least favorites from him (though I'd like to watch them both again), with Goodbye South Goodbye the only one we agree on being great. I'm not very experienced or interested in martial-arts film, but from a filmmaking perspective I find this one endlessly fascinating. I liked a shot I got recently in the desert where a wildfire had just torn through, with a zigzagging line through the frame where the lefthand side was all verdant desert flora and the righthand side all scorched black desolation. A couple days later I watched this, where Hou framed a shot similarly, through which Qi's character walked from the dead, burned-out side into and across the lush vitality
SpoilerShow
after abandoning her life as a political assassin for a more humble, natural existence
. It sounds corny obviated like that, but I was in awe, and that kind of casual resonance with which Hou fleshes out so many of his aesthetic and emotional landscapes takes a level of mastery that only comes with decades of experience. The subversion of generic elements and narrative flow without overexpositing or obfuscating meaning, the gliding frames bursting with color and energy without getting tacky and overcrowded (weren't we talking about Zhang recently...), the juxtaposition of narrative economy with a style so rich watching it feels like swimming in it, etc. -- for me this was the realization of a higher plane of filmmaking promised by the likes of Bresson and Tarkovsky.

A genuine question I hope doesn't come off as snide. You seem young for your age, not in terms of maturity, but in terms of your high valuation of the current and timely (maybe this goes hand-in-hand with a tech career; it often has in my experience in tech mecca SF especially). In, say, 30 years when you're approaching 70, with styles and aesthetic values shifting and evolving as they inevitably do, do you think your values will continue to evolve and reflect current standards of quality, rendering the stuff you love now outmoded and old hat, or do you think you'll continue to maintain your aesthetic values as they stand now, finding whatever future track evolves unpalatable and ultimately making you prey to your dreaded nostalgia? Or are those alternatives unrealistic outcomes for this scenario? It's a question that often comes to mind for me with people who particularly value modern film, most of whom I'd imagine will end up falling into the second category, but you seem more self-reflective than the bulk of that group.

toad
La nuit claire - would like to get around to this and more Hanoun at some point

pda
Vincent - great quote, I love Van Gogh's story and need to see more movies about him
Tenet - disappointing score, and you're generally a Nolan fan if I recall...
Das kleine Chaos - 4+ sounds about right, but still better than the other two shorts included on my Petra von Kant DVD from the library

proc
Every Day a Good Day - this one's gotten quite a bit of buzz around here lately

vv
La Horla - really want to see this now!
Hard to Be a God 7 - interesting comparison to Sternberg, also love how textured and lived-in it was, but I didn't find its non-aesthetic aspects as appealing
The Hunger Games 5 - I like the second one a lot actually, this was okay
The Cloud-Capped Star 7 - loved the ending
Picture of Light 10 - nice

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#15

Post by Onderhond » September 2nd, 2020, 8:37 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
Nocturnal Animals 5 - Ford's obviously a legend as a designer and I'm a big fan from a fashion standpoint, but this felt like blandly competent fashion-ad cinema; I'd love to see him working in a more abstract mode
I'm not very familiar with Ford's fashion. I do have his Oud Wood perfume though (a gift, didn't buy it myself, but smells high class alright)
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
FWWM 8 - would like to see it again, as I know there's a vocal minority that consider it Lynch's best, but even one time around I found it spellbinding; are you gonna watch The Return?
If I will, it won't be anytime soon. I really struggled through two seasons of Twin Peaks earlier this year just so I could watch this film. I'm not terribly impressed with any of it, too TV and waaaaaaay too long, so not looking forward to another season of that.
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
but I was in awe, and that kind of casual resonance with which Hou fleshes out so many of his aesthetic and emotional landscapes takes a level of mastery that only comes with decades of experience. The subversion of generic elements and narrative flow without overexpositing or obfuscating meaning, the gliding frames bursting with color and energy without getting tacky and overcrowded (weren't we talking about Zhang recently...), the juxtaposition of narrative economy with a style so rich watching it feels like swimming in it, etc. -- for me this was the realization of a higher plane of filmmaking promised by the likes of Bresson and Tarkovsky.
I do like Hou's minimalist aesthetic (but if I had to choose, I'd always pick maximalist cinema) and love the lingering takes and subtle gestures that harbor big emotions. I remember being incredibly disappointed by the aspect ratio shenanigans in The Assassin though (but I hate 4:3) and find these terribly distracting (they also never have the intended effect on me, cfr Mommy).
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
A genuine question I hope doesn't come off as snide. You seem young for your age, not in terms of maturity, but in terms of your high valuation of the current and timely (maybe this goes hand-in-hand with a tech career; it often has in my experience in tech mecca SF especially). In, say, 30 years when you're approaching 70, with styles and aesthetic values shifting and evolving as they inevitably do, do you think your values will continue to evolve and reflect current standards of quality, rendering the stuff you love now outmoded and old hat, or do you think you'll continue to maintain your aesthetic values as they stand now, finding whatever future track evolves unpalatable and ultimately making you prey to your dreaded nostalgia? Or are those alternatives unrealistic outcomes for this scenario? It's a question that often comes to mind for me with people who particularly value modern film, most of whom I'd imagine will end up falling into the second category, but you seem more self-reflective than the bulk of that group.
This was something that scared me a lot 10 years ago, back then I was still too close to my formative years and a lot of my peers were losing touch with what was current. Of course I can't look into the future, but I still seems pretty capable to follow trends and appreciate current innovations. That doesn't mean I necessarily think every evolution is great, most things go in waves though, so while some genres might subside and some themes may be hyped, there will come a countermovement that drags things closer to my personal preferences again. I've seen this in music several times already, with electronic music tilting towards minimalist, only to move to more harsher sounds several years later. And then back to more minimalist sounds and compositions.

Overall I stopped worrying that the world would leave me behind and I'd be stuck with just the past though. It would probably also mean the end of my film hobby, as there would be very little left to explore for me, but I don't think it'll get that far. I can still appreciate certain things from my past, but not without seeing its faults and not without wondering what younger people that me would get out of it. I've been rewatching many of my favorites the past 8 years and mostly the scores go down, so it will be unavoidable that some favorites I had in the past won't stand the test of time. I have no problem killing my darlings though, there's always plenty of news favorites taking their place.

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#16

Post by sol » September 2nd, 2020, 9:46 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
sol
Town on Trial - haven't watched much British noir, but I've been meaning to see more and this sounds up my alley
Fitzcarraldo 7 - not one of my favorite Herzogs, but has led to some of the best making-of stories ever (eg Burden of Dreams and the very underrated book Conquest of the Useless); good point about the unexplained motivation of the natives -- rewatching Aguirre recently it dawned on me that in-depth characterizations don't seem to interest Herzog at all (must be the opera influence)
Death on the Nile - thanks for the rec, I've never read any Christie or seen any adaptations, but maybe I should get around to them
British noir isn't any better (or worse) than American noir in general, though the US stuff it is better known and generally higher acclaimed because of it. I would actually suggest Operation Diplomat instead though if you want to see John Guillermin tackling a Brit noir. It's a far more solid and equally as artistic motion picture.

I obviously (?) haven't seen Burden of Dreams yet, but yeah, I have heard some of the stories of the making of Fitzcarraldo, most of which seem more mad than what is actually portrayed on screen. I don't know about Herzog and characterisations; maybe you're onto something (too many of his films are distanced memories for me). Certainly, it is the environment more so than the protagonist that Herzog is really keen on exploring in Fitzcarraldo; specifically the untapped natural environment altered by foreign influence.

If you love murder mysteries, Agatha Christie is the 101 course. Her Ten Little Indians is probably my favourite book of all time (though only the Russian screen version is any good) and most of the Christie adaptations in the 70s and 80s are worthwhile. The Mirror Crack'd is a lot of fun; Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express is pretty good if disappointing on revision. Same for Evil Under the Sun. I think I like Death on the Nile the most of the English-language Christie adaptations out there.

Yours:

I haven't seen it in yonks, but would pretty much agree with your assessment of The Magnificent Ambersons. I actually mostly just remember the long ballroom sequences myself, and yeah, I'm not a big fan of Chimes at Midnight either, but I suppose if I had to call one Welles film "overrated", it would be Ambersons. Does deserve a rewatch though.
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#17

Post by Onderhond » September 2nd, 2020, 9:43 pm

Onderhond wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 8:37 am
This was something that scared me a lot 10 years ago
This reminded me of some blog posts I wrote back then. The writing is a bit flaky, but you can taste the fear/frustration :D

https://onderhond.com/blog/turn-of-the-year (2009)
https://onderhond.com/blog/musical-time-machine (2007)

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#18

Post by Lonewolf2003 » September 3rd, 2020, 10:44 am

Last week wasn't a great week again for me both in quality and quantity, which explains partly why I'm so very late with this post.

The Towering Inferno (1974, John Guillermin & Irwin Allen): 4.0 - How can a movie about a fire in a skyscraper starring Paul Newman and Steve McQueen be so dull. Firstly because it’s extremely bloated with way too many characters in its very long running time. Secondly cause I didn’t care about the survival of (almost) any of the characters. Thirdly and most importantly, because the action scenes are surprisingly even more boring than the dramatic ones, cause in most of them the suspense isn’t set up well.

Fontane - Effi Briest (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder): 4.2 - Beautiful b/w cinematography. But RWF's intentions to detach the viewer to make them rationally instead of emotionally connect with the material, are pushed so far I couldn't engage in any way with it.

Faustrecht der Freiheit [Fox and His Friends] (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder): 6.8 - Decent movie, that's clearly very personal both cause of its homosexual protagonist as probably because of the feeling about being used and loved only by your surroundings cause of your money(/fame).

Friday Foster (1975, Arthur Marks): 7.0 - Entertaining, lighter blaxploitation starring Pam Grier and Yaphet Kotto. The whole cast is a big who is who of blaxploitation.

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#19

Post by prodigalgodson » September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 pm

Onderhond wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 8:37 am
I'm not very familiar with Ford's fashion. I do have his Oud Wood perfume though (a gift, didn't buy it myself, but smells high class alright)

If I will, it won't be anytime soon. I really struggled through two seasons of Twin Peaks earlier this year just so I could watch this film. I'm not terribly impressed with any of it, too TV and waaaaaaay too long, so not looking forward to another season of that.

This was something that scared me a lot 10 years ago, back then I was still too close to my formative years and a lot of my peers were losing touch with what was current. Of course I can't look into the future, but I still seems pretty capable to follow trends and appreciate current innovations. That doesn't mean I necessarily think every evolution is great, most things go in waves though, so while some genres might subside and some themes may be hyped, there will come a countermovement that drags things closer to my personal preferences again. I've seen this in music several times already, with electronic music tilting towards minimalist, only to move to more harsher sounds several years later. And then back to more minimalist sounds and compositions.

Overall I stopped worrying that the world would leave me behind and I'd be stuck with just the past though. It would probably also mean the end of my film hobby, as there would be very little left to explore for me, but I don't think it'll get that far. I can still appreciate certain things from my past, but not without seeing its faults and not without wondering what younger people that me would get out of it. I've been rewatching many of my favorites the past 8 years and mostly the scores go down, so it will be unavoidable that some favorites I had in the past won't stand the test of time. I have no problem killing my darlings though, there's always plenty of news favorites taking their place.
That perfume's a generous gift; when my gf worked at Nordstrom her scent was Ford's Coconutty, but only because she swiped the sample packet everyday haha.

The Return doesn't feel very TV to me, but it definitely feels loooong. I think you'd like it aesthetically more than the original, but the pacing might be a dealbreaker.

Thanks for your response, I admire your vigilance against hypocrisy. Funny that you were preoccupied with this question at about the same age I am now (enjoyed reading those archived articles too, haha). I sometimes have trouble knowing how to feel about favorites seen under different circumstances and different times, usually my feelings toward them end up being a conglomerate of sensory/emotional memories from whichever times I saw them. Some I saw in such perfect conditions at such an ideal time in my life I'm wary of rewatching and spoiling the experience. Seeing so many great films on film in a theater was so definitive of my young adulthood it's been tough to get over the switchover to digital and move away from the theatrical format.

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#20

Post by prodigalgodson » September 3rd, 2020, 9:05 pm

sol wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:46 am
British noir isn't any better (or worse) than American noir in general, though the US stuff it is better known and generally higher acclaimed because of it. I would actually suggest Operation Diplomat instead though if you want to see John Guillermin tackling a Brit noir. It's a far more solid and equally as artistic motion picture.

If you love murder mysteries, Agatha Christie is the 101 course. Her Ten Little Indians is probably my favourite book of all time (though only the Russian screen version is any good) and most of the Christie adaptations in the 70s and 80s are worthwhile. The Mirror Crack'd is a lot of fun; Sidney Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express is pretty good if disappointing on revision. Same for Evil Under the Sun. I think I like Death on the Nile the most of the English-language Christie adaptations out there.
Thanks for the rec on Operation Diplomat, hadn't heard of it!

Had no idea you were such a Christie fan, groovy. I remember she was the favorite writer of my man Bob from FG too. I hope I haven't seen too much influenced by her to spoil the originals.

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#21

Post by prodigalgodson » September 3rd, 2020, 9:06 pm

wolf
Effi Briest - can't really disagree, I fell asleep in the middle of this during a Fassbinder retrospective
Fox and His Friends 8 - speaking of nuanced characterization by German New Waves, this is one of my favorite early Fassbinders; love the flow and the world he creates

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#22

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » September 3rd, 2020, 9:56 pm

prodigalgodson wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 11:47 pm
pda
Vincent - great quote, I love Van Gogh's story and need to see more movies about him
Tenet - disappointing score, and you're generally a Nolan fan if I recall...
Das kleine Chaos - 4+ sounds about right, but still better than the other two shorts included on my Petra von Kant DVD from the library
Vincent - This film is all voice-over from van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. Visually it's essentially essay-style documentary footage of the locations, landscapes and of course his paintings. Seems to be about as close to an authentic van Gogh story that you can get, certainly as far as how he himself would have told it goes.

Tenet - Yeah, but 'Dunkirk' already was a hollow bore to me, and 'Tenet' seems to follow that trajectory of focus on story mechanics, which I wouldn't have expected from a Nolan sci-fi film which has at its core a concept that in principle is very nifty. I want my Nolan films to deal with three dozen themes at the same time, to make references to ideas from any book he has ever read. Throw all of that shit in. Build a world and bury me in exposition to explain it. Gimme! Of the few interesting ideas and questions I got out of it many were very much the same things that I talked to you about in regard to 'DEVs', not to spoil the film. Also aside from that, I found it predictable as fuck as a Nolan film. All the things it did offer and which were interesting once felt like repeats from his previous films, and I couldn't have been less excited by that. I'll say this, though, in its defense. I'm not exactly into espionage fiction, and Nolan was pretty committed in making an espionage film (a meta-espionage film, of course) and I wasn't in a great place when I watched it, it was a joyless day for me in general.

Yours:
Magnificent Ambersons - Sure, good stuff, a rewatch being long overdue.
Still Life - I'm cool enough with his films, but they don't tickle me. Hence I don't have much of a differentiated opinion on his individual films and this one like any other I can only go "Eh, yeah, OK".
The Assassin - I was into it, felt imbued with that Hagakure spirit.
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#23

Post by Onderhond » September 4th, 2020, 7:27 am

prodigalgodson wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 pm
That perfume's a generous gift; when my gf worked at Nordstrom her scent was Ford's Coconutty, but only because she swiped the sample packet everyday haha.
Talk about perks! I hardly dare to use mine, so I'm pretty sure it'll last me a lifetime :D
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 pm
The Return doesn't feel very TV to me, but it definitely feels loooong. I think you'd like it aesthetically more than the original, but the pacing might be a dealbreaker.
Yeah, I pretty much feel the same way, I'm just not good with series though. I've spent the last 2 months trying to finish a 10x20mins anime series.
The only thing that worries me about Lynch's aesthetics is his editing, which feels a bit crude compared to modern standards. It's something that's become very apparent when revisiting some of his films. I'll probably end up watching the 3rd seasons, but I don't think it will be anytime soon.
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 pm
Thanks for your response, I admire your vigilance against hypocrisy. Funny that you were preoccupied with this question at about the same age I am now (enjoyed reading those archived articles too, haha).
Not sure I'd go as far as to call it hypocrisy. As much as I'd hate to loose grip on contemporary culture/media myself, I do believe there's worth in the way these things usually pan out, with younger people rebelling against the old ways/taste of their parents (which is a superb source of creativity/innovation). I'd just be really happy if I could escape that articular faith myself :D
prodigalgodson wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 8:54 pm
I sometimes have trouble knowing how to feel about favorites seen under different circumstances and different times, usually my feelings toward them end up being a conglomerate of sensory/emotional memories from whichever times I saw them. Some I saw in such perfect conditions at such an ideal time in my life I'm wary of rewatching and spoiling the experience. Seeing so many great films on film in a theater was so definitive of my young adulthood it's been tough to get over the switchover to digital and move away from the theatrical format.
That's really interesting to read, since I don't really have that connection between moments in my life and films. It's not like scents, where one small whiff can suddenly transport me back in time. A film is a hermetic for me, an experience that doesn't really wash over into my life or is strongly influenced by my own mood (which, to be fair, tends to be quite stable).

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#24

Post by prodigalgodson » September 4th, 2020, 10:11 pm

Perception de Ambiguity wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 9:56 pm
Vincent - This film is all voice-over from van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. Visually it's essentially essay-style documentary footage of the locations, landscapes and of course his paintings. Seems to be about as close to an authentic van Gogh story that you can get, certainly as far as how he himself would have told it goes.

Tenet - Yeah, but 'Dunkirk' already was a hollow bore to me, and 'Tenet' seems to follow that trajectory of focus on story mechanics, which I wouldn't have expected from a Nolan sci-fi film which has at its core a concept that in principle is very nifty. I want my Nolan films to deal with three dozen themes at the same time, to make references to ideas from any book he has ever read. Throw all of that shit in. Build a world and bury me in exposition to explain it. Gimme! Of the few interesting ideas and questions I got out of it many were very much the same things that I talked to you about in regard to 'DEVs', not to spoil the film. Also aside from that, I found it predictable as fuck as a Nolan film. All the things it did offer and which were interesting once felt like repeats from his previous films, and I couldn't have been less excited by that. I'll say this, though, in its defense. I'm not exactly into espionage fiction, and Nolan was pretty committed in making an espionage film (a meta-espionage film, of course) and I wasn't in a great place when I watched it, it was a joyless day for me in general.

Still Life - I'm cool enough with his films, but they don't tickle me. Hence I don't have much of a differentiated opinion on his individual films and this one like any other I can only go "Eh, yeah, OK".
Vincent - nice, sounds precisely up my alley

Nolan - yeah he was a Bush-era maverick, but I feel like his time's already kind of passed; that amazing Dark Knight/Inception one-two punch had me as hyped as anyone, but the subsequent three films have all struck me as uninspired, like he ran through a limited bag of tricks too quickly; I was excited by the trailer, but I'm glad my expectations have been a bit tempered since

Jia - Platform and Ash Is Purest White definitely tickled me -- the latter especially, I love when artsy filmmakers tackle genre material, and this had all the best of Jia aesthetics and gangster flick moral/emotional resonance for me -- but I find his narratives generally distracting, and probably would've liked this and The World more as observational docs (thanks to sol for the new term); I realized after I didn't even follow what was going on for the second third of the film when it follows the female lead, I was just taken up with the imagery

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#25

Post by prodigalgodson » September 4th, 2020, 10:52 pm

Onderhond wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 7:27 am
The only thing that worries me about Lynch's aesthetics is his editing, which feels a bit crude compared to modern standards. It's something that's become very apparent when revisiting some of his films. I'll probably end up watching the 3rd seasons, but I don't think it will be anytime soon.

That's really interesting to read, since I don't really have that connection between moments in my life and films. It's not like scents, where one small whiff can suddenly transport me back in time. A film is a hermetic for me, an experience that doesn't really wash over into my life or is strongly influenced by my own mood (which, to be fair, tends to be quite stable).
Interesting about Lynch's editing, I'm not sure I've noticed particularly, but there is definitely something old-fashioned about his style, down to the stiff emoting of his actors. This works really well for me in Mulholland Dr., which is all about subverting the traditional Hollywood narrative and gets better every watch, but rewatching Blue Velvet recently I was struck by how dated it felt. The Return, especially in its more abstract moments, felt like some truly cutting-edge stuff, especially for TV, and is the closest I've gotten from a live-action show to the reeling sensation of scale of abstract apocalyptic horror from something like Evangelion.

Smells or music send me back in time more viscerally, especially if it's something I haven't smelled or listened to for a long time. But thinking of films, especially ones I've seen theatrically, definitely transports me also -- hanging out in silent awe with my friend during the intermission of Andrei Rublev, that feeling of explosive youthful energy I'd missed out on firsthand leaving The Warped Ones, walking in a daze back to my car after Tropical Malady as if under the brief influence of an intensely pleasant psychedelic, a mystically-tinged drive in the dark across an unfamiliar landscape back home from a screening of Long Day's Journey Into Night, etc. etc. Again, it sounds corny when I write it out, but I really treasure my memories of films as snapshots of my past inner life. Regarding films being hermetic, I don't associate external circumstances tangential to film experiences as closely to the films themselves, but I'm sure they're intrinsically connected in some way to my memory of the film-watching experience. Kicking it in a Q&A with Aoyama and the maybe 10 other people who showed up for a screening of Sad Vacation (Eureka was my favorite film at the time), Nicolas Refn dropping by in the middle of a Bronson/Valhalla Rising double feature because he (according to him) happened to be driving by the theater while he was shooting Drive and saw that his films were playing, meeting Hong Sangsoo (still my favorite working director) towards the end of the retrospective that introduced me to his work, Kidlat Tahimik interrupting his own screening with some kind of interpretive dance performance art, Phil Solomon's endlessly entertaining raconteurism between his shorts -- this kind of stuff doesn't consciously effect my opinions of the films themselves, and I've certainly disliked plenty of films where the director was present, but it all adds to the sense of adventure that's always drawn me to film in the first place. And I'm sure I've appreciated some films more because of the surrounding personal or objective context. Thinking about it, there's a pretty long list of films whose spells across time I'm reluctant to break with a rewatch. I'm obviously more susceptible to nostalgia than you though. :D

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