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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 7, 2021

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 7, 2021

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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

British Sounds (1970). Footage of Britain in the late 1960s is spliced together with political discussions in this documentary from Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Henri Roger. Much of the film comes with historical events recounted by an adult and then repeated by a child who struggles so much to repeat everything that he does not seem to comprehend it - something that one might interpret as symbolic. For a politically charged film though, the project is actually more interesting when focused on the "struggle between images and sounds" with lots of wordplay as per Godard norm, including days of the week written with dollar signs and other title cards popping up with the voiceover sometimes contradicting them. The film certainly has a few potent things to say about class divides and subjugated women, but the sound/image angle somewhat muffles the politics. (first viewing, online) ★★

Film Portrait (1972). Jerome Hill uses footage and photographs from his childhood, as well as excerpts from his later films, to recount his life story in this autobiographical documentary with a difference. The difference is that Hill does not just present the footage; he also sometimes manipulates it in wild and unpredictable ways, from adding animation, to spinning photo cut-outs, to superimposing shots over each other and so on. The operative word though is "sometimes"; most of the footage and photographs are not manipulated at all and while Hill's introductory comments about separating the "me that was" from his present self are fascinating, his voice-over narration is actually a bit dull overall. Growing up at the same time that cinema was beginning to evolve (the silent to sound transition etc), Hill's life as a filmmaking is certainly quite interesting though. (first viewing, online) ★★

Trapped (1973). Locked in a department store overnight, a customer has to contend with vicious guard dogs in this improbable but effective thriller starring James Brolin. The set-up does not make much sense (Dobermans would surely make lots of mess; where is a good Chopping Mall robot when you need one?), however, all concerned take the premise, run with it and make it work. There is some remarkable tight camerawork as Brolin has to leap across furniture pieces and ledges to avoid the dogs, all of his canine encounters are intense and his blurred vision towards the end is frighteningly conveyed via distortion effects. The second half of the film is generally less effective though with lots of cutaways to other characters trying to find him, which break the tension. All of the characters are really good though and generally transcend stereotype. (first viewing, online) ★★★

11 x 14 (1977). One of James Benning's first two films, this is quite similar in approach and yet vastly different too. The technique is the same: lengthy shots edited together without any semblance of a narrative, but whereas his later films would focus on natural vistas and small roads bounded by nature, a large number of shots here feature people and several occur indoors. The result is less enchanting and comes minus the playfulness of One Way Boogie Woogie, his other film from 1977. Quite a few scenes are certainly memorable: a seemingly rundown small cinema; a shot that pans across several streets; a smoking billboard ad that really stands out against a lush green field. Several shots (a train ride?) just linger for minutes on end though and everything feels so random compared to Benning's subsequent films that focus on skies, lakes and so on. (first viewing, online) ★★

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981). Far from the killer scarecrow horror movie one might expect given the promotional artwork and title, this is more of a mystery thriller as four rednecks are tormented by someone unknown after they lynch a man hiding in scarecrow gear. There is a genuine eeriness to the men finding random scarecrows planted in their fields and while the methods of dispatch are predictable, the death scenes work because we do not see the scarecrow kill them. Some have chalked this up as a weakness, but the ambiguity of what is going on is the film's best asset and the ending is actually weak as it confirms a solution without bothering to try to explain it. Generally speaking, this rocks with Charles Durning in fine form, a great turn from young Tonya Crowe and some neat Potemkin lion reaction shots from garden gnomes. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Tetsuo (1989). Surviving an assault by a woman with pieces of metal protruding from her body, a businessman soon finds his own body turning into metal in this Japanese body horror movie. The film does not have much in the way of plot, mostly consisting of various transformations and penetrations, but the whole thing is immensely watchable due to how insane it all is, and employing everything from sped-up shots to rapid-fire edits to stop motion animation, this is an amazing assault on the senses. Much like the best films of David Cronenberg, the movie could also be read as a look at the relationship between human bodies and technology. Indeed, with all of the metal absorbed throughout, the film almost seems to question why we rely so heavily on metal - and at what point will our reliance on metal be so great that it does actually become a part of us. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Scissors (1991). Recovering from an attempted rape in which she fought off her attacker with a pair of scissors, a nervous young woman deals with past trauma as repressed memories are suddenly reawakened in this nifty thriller starring a young Sharon Stone. It is certainly curious seeing Stone play very mousy and reserved and there is some initial intrigue involving a wheelchair-bound neighbour and his brother who may or may not have ulterior motives. Where the film really comes alive though in its second half in which Stone finds herself trapped inside a soundproof high rise apartment with unbreakable windows and no door knobs to exit the apartment. The film ends very potently too with a telling final stare. That said, it never quite makes sense why the film focuses so much on one particular character who later turns out to be a red herring. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Johnsons (1992). Septuplet test tube babies (who have since grown into deranged men) stalk and harass their estranged sister in this Dutch horror film. With the sister and brothers sharing some sort of mental/telepathic connection - and the way the brothers all act in synchrony without talking - the movie brings Cronenberg's The Brood to mind, but this is a lot less atmospheric and less complex. The story is actually pretty odd and might have something to do with black magic and a plot to bring about the end of the world. Or not. What can be said for sure is that the characters spend far too much time talking and discussing what to do with the film only really coming alive in the final half-hour as focus switches the septuplets in action. There is a lot of vivid bloodletting in this stretch, but as a narrative the film remains head-scratching stuff overall. (first viewing, online) ★★

Rendez-Vous (2015). Billed as a thriller, this Dutch drama circles around a couple who move from Holland to France where they are manipulated by builders and handymen working on their place. It is an idea with potential, but the thriller elements never take off due to the filmmakers trying to make things saucy and steamy as the housewife is seduced by the youngest worker. The 'cunning' scheme always feels silly since it relies on the husband being such an absentminded workaholic and so inattentive to his wife's needs that she just has to seek affection elsewhere. Meanwhile, a more intriguing angle of one of the older workers getting too close to the children is left hanging. The early scenes certainly offer definite promise and the con scheme has some intriguing elements, but topped off with a nonsensical ending, this is a really difficult film not to dislike. (first viewing, online) ★

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015). Determined not to marry, a nineteenth century heiress manages to attract the attention of three very different suitors in this romantic melodrama starring Carey Mulligan. The film begins well with Mulligan bluntly stating "I have no need of a husband" and constantly rejecting the need to marry to be happy. As the film progresses though, she becomes less independently-minded and more and more keen on marriage. The reason for her gradual change of heart is never clear (wanting a family or loneliness?) and it is hard to watch such a forward-thinking lady choosing to conform to conventional notions regarding what it means to be content in life. The film certainly looks lovely with lots of moody skies and lush fields, and a down-to-earth Matthias Schoenaerts is excellent, but the trajectory of the film is, frankly, maddening. (first viewing, online) ★

The Green Fog (2017). Using clips from movies shot in San Francisco - and various fog effects - Guy Maddin and his Forbidden Room collaborators remake Hitchcock's Vertigo here. With a constant brooding music score and some excellent choice cuts, Maddin and his team successfully capture the atmosphere of the 1958 classic throughout even when the actors on screen change and the found footage jumps between colour and black and white. That said, the scenes that work best are the ones modeled around actual shots from Vertigo and these are in the minority; the film also sometimes feels repetitive despite the brief runtime, but this is a pretty encapsulating ride. The recreation of the bell tower ending is just magnificent, there is some nifty screens within screens stuff and the dialogue-free first fourteen minutes are amazingly compelling. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Happy as Lazzaro (2018). Constantly exploited but never wise to it, a young man's life takes some strange turns as he becomes complicit in a fake kidnapping in this offbeat drama from Italy. The film is not especially subtle about its thematic agenda as characters discuss how everybody exploits someone else, while Lazzaro seems to be the one exception and happier for it. Is ignorance really bliss? Certainly Lazzaro's journey is fascinating, especially after unexpected mid-point turn as he ends up venturing into a world he never knew, something that brings Being There to mind. Is Lazzaro a simpleton or someone who has trouble understanding the outside world, or is he just benevolent like nobody else out there? The film certainly has a lot of interest as a look at a kind man remaining content in an unkind world, but Lazzaro does quite often just seem naïve. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Mothers' Instinct (2018). Guilt-ridden after her neighbour's son falls to his death in her care, a young housewife begins to wonder if the boy's mother blames her and wants revenge in this psychological thriller from Belgium. The movie has been compared to the films of Hitchcock and the growing tension and distrust between the two women certainly comes across well. Veerle Baetens and Anne Coesens are both excellent in the lead roles and the first three quarters here are entirely fueled by all the uncertainty in the air; is Baeten simply paranoid or is Coesens actually trying to hurt her back? The final quarter of the film is less effective as it settles on one particular route. Character motivations become very inconsistence in this final stretch too. For the most part though, this is a riveting look at a friendship shattered by grief and mutual feelings of guilt. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Ruben Brandt, Collector (2018). Distracted by recurring nightmares in which figures from renowned paintings come alive and attack him, a therapist neglects his patients who turn to art theft in this unusual animated movie from Hungary. The animation style is quite unique, with all humans looking halfway between horses and Picasso paintings, and the nightmare sequences are amazing - in particular, one with a gag in which a nude woman's pussy attacks him. The non-nightmare parts are less engaging though. The interiors look great (e.g. an office with aquarium floors and walls), but the heist and detective investigation angles feel by-the-books; characterisation is also a pivotal part of the best heist movies and here we never really get to know anyone. The nightmares are divine though; it would have been awesome to have a whole film simply stuck in his head. (first viewing, online) ★★

Transit (2018). Set in an alternative reality in which the Nazis have invaded modern day France (minus certain technical developments), this German drama comes with a fascinating premise and the blurring of the 1940s and 2010s is certainly intriguing. What the film has to offer beyond a unique set-up though is debatable. It is sort of about one man's quest to flee Nazi-occupied France, but there is zero tension in the air as he gets distracted by playing surrogate father to a boy and lover to a refugee woman. There are some bouts where we see bureaucratic red tape madness but they are very occasional. There is also a lot of bland voiceover narration that spells out the obvious ("then he packed"; "he looked with weary eyes"). A blaring rendition of 'Road to Nowhere' by Talking Heads at the end feels wrong too - though the lyrics do sort of suit how the film feels. (first viewing, online) ★

Synchronic (2019). Two paramedics begin to wonder if the increasingly bizarre overdoses that they are seeing are connected to a new designer drug in this typically mind-bending ride from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. The film looks sensational as the directors toy with what is in and out of focus while also including grandiose camerawork, and coupled with all of the mystery regarding what exactly is going on, the first half of Synchronic is riveting. There are also thought-provoking postulations about time from a quantum physics perspective. As the film progresses though, the explanation comes closer to fantasy (or just magic) than science fiction; the plot also devolves into race-against-time thriller dynamics. Everything is so moody and atmospheric though and Anthony Mackie is so perfectly human and sympathetic that the film still works. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★
Other
De Boezemvriend (1982). Based on the same play that inspired Danny Kaye's The Inspector General, this Dutch comedy similarly focuses on a bumbling man mistaken by ineffective town officials for an important inspector. With rubbery facial expressions and oodles of energy, André van Duin is pretty fun to watch in the lead role, whether it be conning gullible folks with his supposed dental skills or tricking town officials into dipping their noses into soup. He also amusingly breaks the fourth wall early on, stating that he must be in an asylum when awoken to everyone calling him "Excellency". He offers a crazy song and dance routine too. Alas, as the film plods along, van Duin's antics soon get tiresome with only so much humour possible from him getting the townsfolk to do things based his supposed authority, but his energy levels never let up. (first viewing, online) ★★

RR (2007). James Benning assembles various shots of trains going past his camera in this film titled after the common abbreviation for 'railroad'. Shots vary in terms of camera angles and distances; sometimes the camera looks up, sometimes down and some shots are further away than other shots are. Otherwise, this is pretty standard James Benning film, give or take a handful of occasions in which indistinct radio broadcasts are heard (what relation these broadcasts have to the train footage is unclear). This is not an unpleasant way to pass the time, but there is none of the gradual changes that make something like Casting a Glance so alluring, nor is there is the playfulness of One Way Boogie Woogie. Viewers really into locomotives might get a lot more out of the film though and some of the scenery that the trains pass by is certainly nice. (first viewing, online) ★★

Ruhr (2009). As per the title, James Benning assembles six lengthy shots of life in the Ruhr district of Germany in this project. The film has a pretty great final shot, aptly selected for the poster, in which we see smoke billowing out of a building, beautifully illuminated against a moody sky. Benning adds much uncertainty and even tension to this shot as we occasionally hear sirens in the background (is the fire deliberately lit or under control?). The other five shots of the films are unfortunately less enchanting though and feel rather randomly chosen and spliced together. The forest canopy with occasional intruding plane noises is probably the next most effective shot, but watching a mural slowly spray painted or a prayer service from the back pews is only ever as interesting as it sounds - and the film feels like it would lose very little with a little shortening. (first viewing, online) ★

O'er the Land (2009). Opening with a quote from a World War II veteran dismissing heroism and hero worship before cutting to a Civil War reenactment and the spectators watching, this anti-narrative movie from Deborah Stratman gets off to a fascinating start. As Stratman cuts to a sports stadium with fans similarly watching in awe at their beloved players getting ready for a match, she draws a curious parallel between sport and war and how those involved similarly tend to attract admiration. After this point though, the film quickly becomes more random and less focused with cutaways to empty houses, fire engines getting ready, forests and so on without much sense of rhyme or rhythm to the way that everything is put together. A drawn-out wailing siren aside, the whole thing is fairly pleasant to listen to and watch, but it seldom seems to cut deep. (first viewing, online) ★★

Meat (2010). Workers in a busy butcher shop have trouble controlling their libidos, eventually resulting in a suspicious death that may or may not be murder in this experimental movie from the Netherlands. While the remnants of a narrative can be deduced, there is not much in the way of plot here and as the film progresses any sense of reality is blurred. Are the dead man and the police inspector dead ringers, doppelgangers or one and the same person? Does the butcher shop really house live animals that are allowed to roam free? Do customers really visit in the nude? While it is hard to work out what exactly the filmmakers were going for here, there is at least nary a boring moment to be had with so much weirdness going on. The film is very creatively shot too from a variety of camera angles, including a large number of bird's-eye shots. (first viewing, online) ★★
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01. 4.5* - Cocolors by Toshihisa Yokoshima (2017)
Lovingly crafted indie animation that references quite a few other films, but still manages to stand on its own two feet. An atmospheric cyber/steampunk aesthetic, a beautifully realized art style and impressive cel shading lift this film far above the competition and immediately put Yokoshima on the map as a talent to look out for in the future.

02. 3.5* - Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar by Josh Greenbaum (2021)
100% comedies are a rarity nowadays, so that was all the reason I needed to seek out this film, even though the promo material made it look a little dim and scruffy. No doubt a deliberate ploy by director Greenbaum, who manages to hide the true crazy of Barb and Star for another 20 minutes when the film starts, but then goes all out. The premise (two burnt out ladies whose lives have ground to a halt go on a trip to reignite their shimmer) sounds like a recipe for some solid but safe comedy, but underneath that cover hides a film that isn't afraid to surprise, take risks and go all in. There's a bit of a Lonely Island vibe here. Wiig and Mumolo's performances are perfect, the styling is hilarious, the musical bits supremely camp and the comedy is full of surprises. It's a shame the film's 15 minutes too long, Dornan also isn't as funny as he should've been, but other than that there's a lot to love here. Hopefully Greenbaum is allowed to go forward in this direction, because the world sure could use more films like this one.

03. 3.5* - DreadOut by Kimo Stamboel (2019)
Stamboel certainly didn't take the easy way out by combining horror and fantasy elements, but the risk paid off. DreadOut reminded me a little of The Pang's Re-Cycle, a film with a similar setup that also had a tougher time finding an appreciative audience. While Stamboel's film doesn't reach quite the same heights, fans of the more fantastical horror films should give this one a go. The start is pretty basic, with a bunch of kids coming together to livestream from a haunted house. A popular setup nowadays, that usually results in the same type of haunts and scares. But this particular building houses a portal to another dimension, where a vengeful spirit reigns supreme. There are some creepy designs, imaginative setups, interesting lore and some inspired horror moments. The cast can be a little iffy and the film's just a smidgen too long, but people looking for horror that doesn't necessarily serve familiar scares will find at least something with the potential to surprise. Another good effort by Stamboel.

04. 3.5* - Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera (2008)
Likeable Mexican sci-fi. Director Alex Rivera didn't have an excessive budget to splurge, so he applied it wisely to create a world that feels clearly futuristic, but is still grounded in our current reality. Sleep Dealer serves a logical evolution of the here and now, different enough to be visionary, yet lived in and lively enough to move beyond mere conceptual sci-fi. The film deals with topics like water deficits, virtual work forces, class inequality, memories as sellable goods, corporate greed etc. It's a solid mix of social issues and cultural innovations, which is something I tend to appreciate in sci-fi (in that sense it's not unlike Code 46). Because of that the film lacks a little focus, at the same time it helps to sculpt a more vibrant and inviting world to explore. The CG is a little basic, but the sci-fi designs are pretty cool. Rivera doesn't quite succeed in hiding his budgetary woes, but overall the film has a nice look and sound that scratched my sci-fi itch. The drama is also pretty successful, performances are solid and the ending is fitting. It lacks the conviction and boldness of a true masterpiece, but can't really fault the film beyond that. A pleasant discovery.

05. 3.5* - Wrong Turn by Mike P. Nelson (2021)
What's in a name? This film is supposed to be a Wrong Turn reboot, but I've seen countless films that were more closely related to the Wrong Turn franchise than this one, only released under a different title. It makes you wonder whether they folded this film into the franchise hoping to recoup some money, or whether director Nelson simply did his own thing regardless of people's expectations. This reboot is relatively low on gore and there are no mutated cannibals. Just a couple of lost teens in the woods that bump into a society of outcasts. Under any other name nobody would've even made the link with the Wrong Turn franchise, but that's where we are. Best prepare yourself before watching this film, especially if you can't make that switch halfway through. If you manage to put the whole branding issues aside, Nelson's film has a lot of merit. The Foundation is mysterious, the styling is on point, the film has some pretty crude kills and some proper twists, and the cinematography is well above par. It's a fine, moody and mysterious horror film, a bit long maybe, but more than satisfying. It's just no Wrong Turn. I personally didn't care, but you'd better be warned.

06. 3.5* - Next Door [Naboer] by Pål Sletaune, Tony Spataro (2005)
One of those films I've been meaning to watch ever since it was released, but somehow never got around to. Next Door spearheaded the Norwegian leg of the European horror wave, though it's more of a psychological thriller with strong mystery elements and a dark undertone, which made people lump it together with the more prominent horror films. There's a bit of Lynch in here, also a bit of Reconstruction and maybe even some Bound. Sletaune's film feels more than a little derivate, but that's probably because he fails to uphold the mystery for the entire length of the film. Halfway through the clues become a bit too obvious, which kills part of the atmopshere. The first half is cool though. Performances are strong and unsettling, the styling is on point and the mid-film climax is pretty tense. The length is also perfect, it's just a shame that the mindfuck never reaches its true potential and that the second half is a bit too quick to reveal the film's secrets. Still, worth a shot if you're looking for something disturbing and twisty.

07. 3.0* - Legend of Deification [Jiang Ziya] by Teng Cheng, Li Wei (2020)
It's a good thing I was somewhat prepared for what to expect. Legend of Deification is another Chinese attempt to cash in on the US CG animation style. And it does a pretty good job at that too, with some better than average designs and some intriguing lore that makes this film markedly better than the umpteenth animal comedy/adventure. The thing is that the introduction of this film is quite something else. It almost plays like a short within the film, setting the stage for the adventure that is about to unfold while sporting a staggeringly lush art style that dropped my mouth to the floor. It's just really tough to let go of that after just 10 minutes, falling back to something way more pedestrian. The sets are quite beautiful, the film benefits from a superb villain and the fantasy elements are very well realized, it's just that the art style is rather plain, which keeps the film from reaching its full potential. Certainly a lot better than many of its US peers, but please let them do a full-length feature in the style of the opening.

08. 3.0* - At First Light by Jason Stone (2018)
Sci-fi with a serious dash of teen romance/drama. It's a thing of the 10s to dilute (or strengthen, depending on your point of view) core genre films with dramatic elements to create a more complex mesh of genres. While in itself not a bad evolution, the results rarely align with the intentions of the filmmakers. At First Light is part social drama, part coming of age romance, part Close Encounters of the Third Kind. After a little party in the desert, some drugs and a late night swim in a pond nearby, Alex finds herself a new girl. Some strange lights came from the sky and gifted her special powers. I guess it's also a bit like Chronicle in that sense. The two leads deliver strong performances, the rest of the cast isn't quite up to par. The sci-fi elements are nicely realized, the drama is a bit basic but solid and there's enough intrigue to keep things interesting. But all of that mixed together makes for a somewhat uneven film. Despite its broad range of influences, At First Light never feels quite as fresh or differentiating as it attempts to be.

09. 3.0* - They Came to Rob Hong Kong [Ba Bao Qi Bing] by Clarence Yiu-leung Fok (1989)
I don't turn to Clarence Fok's to be blown away, but when looking for fun, under the radar filler his oeuvre does host some interesting films. I'd never heard of They Came to Rob Hong Kong before, but the cast looked promising enough and the economic runtime made it a perfect option for easy filler. This is one of those wacky genre blends that tries to cram everything into a single film, though underneath everything is played for laughs. There are strong action and crime elements present, but if you can't stand Hong Kong's peculiar sense of humor then you're not going to get very far with this film. With people like Eric Tsang, Sandra Kwan and Stanley Fung on board you should have a decent idea of what to expect. Fok's direction is rather basic, but there's enough silliness for a few giggles, the pacing is perfect and there are at least a handful of memorable moments. Surely not the cream of the crop, but solid entertainment nonetheless.

10. 3.0* - Red Dot by Alain Darborg (2021)
A decent Swedish thriller. While it's not a film that offers much in the way of originality (some feeble attempts are a bit too transparent), it's a pretty fair genre film that delivers the goods for those looking for a bit of solid, old-fashioned "people hunted down in the wilderness" fun. After some introductory relationship drama, our two protagonists leave on a trip to the mountains to mend their relationship woes. After a run-in with some local hillbillies they continue their journey, but their first night camping in the wilderness a red dot appears, holding them hostage and driving them further away from civilization. Performances are decent and once the survival part of the film starts it gets pretty entertaining, but some less than stellar twists and a somewhat sluggish finale hold the film back. The balance between drama and thriller elements feels just a little off, apart from that it's a short, sweet and well-paced filler thriller.

11. 2.5* - Last Ghost Standing [Gwai Ching Lei Tai Hei] by Siu-Hung Chung (1999)
Late 90s Hong Kong horror. Immensely popular at the time (at least, based on the number of films released back then), but not a genre that traveled well. People familiar with these films probably know why: when the whole world was feasting on the Japanese less is more scares, Hong Kong was happily putting out blends of comedy and horror overflowing with cheese. By most standards, Last Ghost Standing isn't a very good film. It plays like a series of horror vignettes centered around a movie theater, with several demonic creatures hassling the few guests visiting the theater. The only thing holding everything together is a minute romantic plot, not exactly the cornerstone of good horror cinema. The effects and monster designs are very cheap, but also somewhat amusing. The pacing is decent and the fact that it isn't a continuous story keeps things at least somewhat surprising. Performances are mediocre and the plot is nonsensical at best, though core horror fans will have little trouble looking past that. It's hard to recommend a film like this to people who aren't really familiar with the genre. It's certainly not Chung's finest hour, but if you're looking for some mushy horror filler, it's also not the worst choice.

12. 2.5* - The Rescue [Jin Ji Jiu Yuan] by Dante Lam (2020)
A mediocre disaster flick by Dante Lam. The kind that makes you question the quality of his older work. Is it that Lam is getting a bit too old to make dashing blockbusters? Or is it the move to China that's getting in his way? Or maybe it was never Lam in the first place, but the well-oiled machine that used to be Hong Kong cinema. I can't say for certain, but the fact is that Lam has made much better films than what he delivers here. The Rescue serves four major rescue operations, with a bunch of crappy melodrama in between. The operations are unrelated to each other, so there's really not much of a build-up, except that each one is more dangerous (and claims more victims) than the next. Still, it's almost like watching a 4-part mini-series with a bit of unnecessary drama to glue everything together. Eddie Peng is decent and Zhilei Xin is a good find, the rest of the cast is not up to par. The overreliance on CG is distracting, the quality of the visuals not what you'd expect from a major blockbuster, resulting in rescue operations that are so obviously green screen that they come off way less spectacular than they should've been. It's loud and flashy enough to be mildly entertaining, but that doesn't save it from being one of Lam's worst films to date.

13. 2.0* - The Front Runner by Jason Reitman (2018)
Disappointing political drama by Reitman. Unless you're interested in the history of US politics and its minor anecdotes, there just isn't a lot here. While the film appears to be framed around the mediatization of politics, Reitman prefers to stick to Hart's story, which pushes all the interesting bits to the background. Hart was well on his way to become the Democratic presidential candidate that would run against Bush, but his extramarital missteps would sink this opportunity once the press started reporting on it. Apparently this was somewhat of a turning point in American politics, before that time the press was known to grant politicians a bit more privacy. Reitman used to be quite sharp and witty, sadly The Front Runner is little more than a decent and safe political drama. Performances are decent and Reitman does a solid job recreating the 80s, but the plot is dull, the cinematography and score are uninspired and the themes are underdeveloped. Very forgettable.

14. 2.0* - Nanook of the North by Robert J. Flaherty (1922)
A landmark in the documentary genre. It's handy that the film comes with its own little Wikipedia page before the actual documentary footage starts, explaining the circumstances of how this film was made. With that Flaherty counters at least some of the critique about parts of Nanook being staged. Whether you'll fully trust his arguments is up to you of course. Nanook of the North follows the lives of a small community of Eskimos, with Nanook himself a symbol for his people. Flaherty is clearly more than fly on the wall here, but considering the footage he came back with that's rather easy to forgive. The hunts, the barren living conditions and the crafting of an igloo all feel like genuine moments. Though relatively short, the film does get a little repetitive after a while. And even though it's a well-made documentary, the technical limitations of that time stand in the way of truly capturing the spirit of the North. Still, for people like me who haven't seen too many films/documentaries about Eskimo tribes, there's definitely some worth here.

15. 1.5* - TMNT by Kevin Munroe (2007)
When I was younger, I used to be a pretty big fan of the Turtles cartoons, but I never found the attempts to bring the series to the big screen very successful. I didn't even know this feature-length CG animation existed until recently, so needless to say I didn't expect all that much going in. I'm not really sure how this ties in with the rest of the franchise, the timeline and the characters felt a bit off to me, but in the end that wasn't the film's biggest problem. The weak villains, crummy art style and lack of atmosphere are way more damning problems that made it exceedingly difficult to draw any enjoyment from the film. Shredder is dearly missed, the overly shiny, almost metallic-looking CG is a true eyesore and the soundtrack is just regrettable. At least the action scenes are somewhat fun and the film isn't too long, so it never really drags, but what could have been a fun update is just a dreary reminder that the best Turtles year are well behind us.

16. 1.5* - The Blue Angel [Der Blaue Engel] by Josef von Sternberg (1930)
One of Marlene Dietrich's most prestigious German films. I don't think I had seen a film with her before, can't say I'm terribly impressed with her performance here. She's certainly not the most alluring burlesque dancer ever caught on film, and that's about the entire point of her character. The central romance is pretty iffy. A poorly aged professor tries to keep his students away from the Blue Angel, a local burlesque bar. But when he ventures in himself, he falls in love with the top girl there, who inexplicably falls for him too. It's one of the worst couples in film history, but clearly that didn't bother von Sternberg. The musical acts aren't great and the drama/romance lacks subtlety, but the burlesque setting is rather fun and the mood is quite light, at least during the first hour or so. It doesn't redeem the film, but it makes it a bit easier to sit through. Far from great, but I don't think the film really aspired to be great either.

17. 1.5* - To the Backstreet: The Films Kenji Nakagami Left Out [Roji E: Nakagami Kenji no Nokoshita Firumu] by Shinji Aoyama (2001)
Director Shinji Aoyama isn't really known for making documentaries, To the Backstreet gives us a little insight as to why that may be. Though he tried his hand at a few around the turn of the century, he just as soon abandoned the format. My guess is that they were deemed a bit too hermetic to do its subjects justice, at least that's my take after watching this film. Not knowing anything about Kenji Nakagami (a famous writer) is a real hindrance, as Aoyama isn't interested in the least to give any kind of context. The film starts with a 10-minute car ride through a mountainous region in Japan, mostly spent in silence with the driver. It takes a while before you realize Aoyama is stitching together footage from Nakagami's personal archive with his own, discovering the region where he grew up. In between there are segments of Nakagami's literature being read aloud. And that's about it really. Fans of Nakagami may get something out of it, at the very least it's a decent look at the Japanese countryside, but I was glad this documentary was just 60 minutes long. Only for true Nakagami insiders, others may be better served reading the man's Wikipedia page.

18. 0.5* - Hell's Hinges by Charles Swickard, William S. Hart, Clifford Smith (1916)
It turns out silent westerns suffer from pretty much the same problems as silent dramas. Excessive overacting, intrusive intertitles and bland storylines make these films unnecessarily tough to get through. For a genre that isn't really high on my list of favorites to begin with, the limitations of classic cinema only seem to be making things worse. Hell's Hinges is only an hour long, but it easily feels like two. The film houses a basic plot about a gang of bandits who aren't too happy when a reverend visits their town. They hire a gunslinger to get rid of him, but he falls for the charms of the reverend's sister and turns on the gang that hired him. There's a lot of reading to be done, with lengthy intertitles that really slow things down. Performances are poor, the cinematography is bland and though the finale is quite action packed, it never gets very exciting. A pretty big waste of time and one of the worst westerns I've watched so far.
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Lakigigar
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#3

Post by Lakigigar »

The Tale of Princess Kaguya: 10/10
Climax: 9/10
Walkabout: 9/10
Videodrome: 9/10
La tortue rouge: 8/10
Perfect Blue: 8/10
Les garcons sauvages: 8/10
The Simpsons Movie: 7/10
Crawl: 7/10
Cashback: 6/10
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: 6/10 (*)
Martyrs: 4/10
Ah-ga-ssi [The Handmaiden]: 3/10

(*) = rewatch
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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ダメジン / Damejin / The Loafers (2006, 三木聡/Satoshi Miki) 7

The Night My Number Came Up (1955, Leslie Norman) 6

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Bliss (2021, Mike Cahill) 8-

Jour après jour / Day After Day (2006, un film de Jean-Daniel Pollet réalisé par Jean-Paul Fargier) 6

Eros and Wonder (2003, R. Bruce Elder) 6
In the dystopian future of yesteryear R. Bruce Elder's usual attacks on the senses with profound insights have (d)evolved into a jumble of distorted obscurantism, exhibiting a love and fascination for all things that at one point were alive and important to a now crumbled civilization. "Too much to take everything in at the same time" has turned into "too obfuscated and unreadable to take in anything coherent at any time".

At once a message put together by one of future's ambassadors living in our age, and a scrambled radio transmission from the future, received by people in their dreams and machine recorded, embellished with subconscious creations of the sleepers, tainted by their moods, turning the once austere presentation of an infomercial into a cacophony of music and color.

For this is the time after, when the present has become prehistoric, and who better to concoct a message for future beings than one of our time's prime philosophers, a light show of mumbo jumbo, neither analog nor digital, to be understood only by the post-human, for them to cherish it as their glorious past obscured by thick layers of everything that obscures, myths for a new age.

The "Antichrist Superstar" vibe is strong with this one, most of all in the synthesizer voices that are intelligible at some times more than they are at others, but also in its enigmatic noisy somethings of visuals that supposedly depict solid shapes, before they became relics, before they became fading memories, one day to be solid again, like a cycle in which the future appears to us as traces of decaying matter. Or maybe all these things are just properties of this rip that might have been a VHS recording, and at a proper screening the film would be perfectly decipherable and it wouldn't so much seem anymore like a prophecy that the Disintegrator spewed into this world.

"When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you."

Nietzsche Sils Maria Rochedo de Surlej (2019, Júlio Bressane & Rosa Dias & Rodrigo Lima) 6+
Let's take the scenic route, honey! Treading in the footsteps of "Zarathustra" along dope Swiss mountain paths. Tourist video of a Brazilian couple's pilgrimage (+friend) glorified to experimental film? Why, yes. And also a dance with the ghost of Nietzsche. Ein Film für alle und Keinen?

Info on Sils Maria: https://www.welt.de/reise/nah/article14 ... htung.html
„Ich habe wundervoll geschlafen“, rühmte sich der Holländer, „in Nietzsches Bett“. Und dann zeigte er seine über den ganzen Körper verteilten, eintätowierten Nietzsche-Zitate.

photographs
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Le clair de terre / Earth Light (1970, Guy Gilles) (2nd viewing) 10 (from 9)
Gilles' representational images in their endearment for the material world have a soulful presence shining as vibrant as life itself, but in their melancholic evocation revert to their representational state. Instead of being as vibrant as life itself, it's rather that what the images evoke is as vibrant as memory itself, now loaded with feelings who denied their access at the time. In the hands of the Guy who makes the hypothetical second-most poetic filmmaker look like a butcher in comparison formerly unacknowledged feelings now seem to find tender expression in memory. Moments of awareness, of being present, reemerge, woven into memory's narrative with impressionistic fervor. An ode or a lamentation of feeling via memory?

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shorts

In the mood for love par Johanna Vaude (2021, Johanna Vaude) 7

Nimic (2019, Yorgos Lanthimos) 6

The Magic Mummy (1933, John Foster & Vernon Stallings) 4+

とんぼ / Dragonfly (1988, Nobuhiro Aihara) (2 viewings) 7-
Mating dance of nature's elusive vulva.

Thunder Perfect Mind (2004, Micaela O'Herlihy) 8-
Unlike other mini-autobiographies of magician whores Micaela O'Herlihy creates, as the paranormal videographer that she is, a film with the ominous yet jovial aura of a black magic ceremony and all the authoritative flair of a 1970 experimental film, with (I think) a mix of 16mm and 8mm and all kinds of hypnotic effects. Wouldn't feel out of place in 'Natural Born Killers'.

«Overseas I learned how to kill somebody 167 different ways with my bare hands. I said that's cool, I only know one, but when I shoot you'll be dead.»

Frack (2015, Grayson Cooke) 6-
When rugged rock surfaces are stretched and made smooth like a sheet that dissolves in acid you are witnessing the alchemy of liquefying stone.

The Game of Shifting Mirrors (2020, Amit Dutta) 6-

Claxplosion (1968, Pramod Pati) 6

Explorer (1968, Pramod Pati) 9
It's exploring alright, exploring the shit out of everything. 1968, is there anything you can't do? (l)

Take Off (1972, Gunvor Nelson) 7+
Strip these with swing and bring the fun with a cosmic twist.
Strip these and these and these, until transcendence.

«Cut off your legs, for you are too slow
I cut off my hair, I won't need it where I'm gonna go
As the nine heads bleed, over all that is mine
Kiss the mouth of the scorpion baby
'cause Odin sayeth it's time»

...Absolyutno iz Nichego... / Absolutely from Nothing / Absolutely of Nothing (1997, Владимир Кобрин/Vladimir Kobrin) 6+

Karen O & Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross: Immigrant Song (2011, David Fincher) 6+
Open me up and turn my skin into pages of a book, let them tell my story.
Obfuscation. Sado-maso tech masterpiece & legendary opening title sequence cum promo teaser and experimental film, with rhythm retained and flows abstracted in the glimmering pixels of a TV screen. And thus the representational turns into a river.

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The Fresh Lobster (1928, Billy Bletcher) 8
i must be dreaming #148

Preserving Cultural Traditions in a Period of Instability (2004, Sebastian Brameshuber & Thomas Draschan) (2nd viewing) 5+ (from 4)
Technophobic Weltanschauung put to the test. It's arguable which side wins in this demonstration, and that's what makes it valuable.

Rodamorfosis (1984, Alain Mazars) 8-
Living is round.

Umbilical Cord to Heaven (2020, Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan) 5+

Video Game (2006, Vipin Vijay) 6-


series

Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960-69) - Ep3 - "Time" 7
Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960-69) - Ep4 - "The Void" 6+
Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960-69) - Ep5 - "The Silent Mind" 6
Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960-69) - Ep6 - "Death" 6
Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life (1960-69) - Ep7 - "Recollection" 6


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #55 - Duncan Trussell (2010) 6

The Joe Rogan Experience - #739 - Duncan Trussell & Christopher Ryan (2015) 6+

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Title Sequence (2011, David Fincher) (3 viewings, rewatches) 8

The Empire Film Podcast: A Celebration Of Cinema: Edgar Wright And Quentin Tarantino In Conversation (audio) (2021) 5

partly experienced Rogans: #746 TJ Kirk; #696 Lewis from Unboxing Therapy, #1610 Snowpocalypse with Tim Dillon


music video

Gojira: Born For One Thing (2021)


no, I said I enjoy a good yarn, not a good yawn

The Last of Sheila (1973, Herbert Ross) [31 min]
Nihon bôkô ankokushi: Onjû / The Hateful Beast (1970, Kôji Wakamatsu) [28 min]
The Asphyx (1972, Peter Newbrook) [28 min]
Waiting...(2005, Rob McKittrick) [22 min]


notable online media

top:
Stoner Sloth Compilation
息ピッタリ!息子と猫さん [rewatch]
How gay guys actually experience lesbians
The Secret (and Not So Secret) Conservatism of Adam Curtis
rest:
Adam Curtis interviewed by Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode
Micaela O'Herlihy [by williadrew]
Slavoj Žižek in BLISS - Kritik & Analyse


miscellaneous
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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on February 22nd, 2021, 10:51 am, 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
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prodigalgodson
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#5

Post by prodigalgodson »

I've been rushing to finish New Year, Old Roads, and haven't set aside enough time for film-watching. Still got a few good ones in.

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968) (rewatch) 9/10

Watched this with my folks after going through the Man with No Name movies over the last few months. They both enjoyed it, though "baroque" and "indulgent" were thrown around when it was over. Can't say I disagree, and some things that seemed cool in high school do seem like eye-rollers now, but it's still a magnificent, larger-than-life experience. Leone had an incredible command of rhythm by this point, especially considering he was working with a multilingual cast and crew.

Old and New (Sergei Eisenstein, 1929) 7/10

Much more engrossing than a utopian portrait has any right to be, though the mixture of industrial and agrarian imagery -- featuring some of Eisenstein's best compositions -- might be especially appealing to yours truly. The "dream sequence" and subsequent reveal is among the high points of Soviet silent cinema. It's also excessive, bombastic, and indulgent, really hammering -- or sawing, as the case may be -- all of its points in, and any time human drama takes precedence to societal and geographical transformation it starts dragging. But setting aside the dull propagandistic tendencies, an aesthetic triumph.

Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014) 7/10

My gf wanted to watch this, very pleasant Saturday night viewing. Seeing this in theaters was my first big Nolan disappointment, but with my expectations tempered (especially in regards to scope -- this is no epic, they go to like three very limited locations in the whole movie), I was able to appreciate it a bit more. It is a highly entertaining, well-considered and emotionally-satisfying film, even if my god it really does jump the shark right over the sea of credulity by the end.
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Torgo
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#6

Post by Torgo »

sol wrote: February 21st, 2021, 12:00 pm Tetsuo (1989). Surviving an assault by a woman with pieces of metal protruding from her body, a businessman soon finds his own body turning into metal in this Japanese body horror movie. The film does not have much in the way of plot, mostly consisting of various transformations and penetrations, but the whole thing is immensely watchable due to how insane it all is, and employing everything from sped-up shots to rapid-fire edits to stop motion animation, this is an amazing assault on the senses. Much like the best films of David Cronenberg, the movie could also be read as a look at the relationship between human bodies and technology. Indeed, with all of the metal absorbed throughout, the film almost seems to question why we rely so heavily on metal - and at what point will our reliance on metal be so great that it does actually become a part of us. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
Hell yeah! :thumbsup:

I never participate in these threads, wouldn't even know where to begin and where to end. But currently, I'm sitting through a shitton of mainstream movies - like, really mainstream, those with the most votes on IMDb - and might just share my humble ratings. Mind you: without the Covid lockdown, I hopefully would have better things to do. But now, I don't. :lol:

The Tourist (5,5/10)
X-Men: Apocalypse (6,5/10)
Life (7,5/10)
The Grey (6,5/10)
Promising Young Woman (6,5/10)
The Accountant (6,5/10)
I Am Number Four (5,5/10)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (6/10)
Game Night (7/10)
The Holiday (6,5/10)
Justice League (5/10)
Venom (7/10)
Beauty And The Beast [2017] (6,5/10)
The Purge (4,5/10)
First Man (7/10)
Cinderella [2015] (7/10)
Taken 2 (5,5/10)
Resident Evil (6,5/10)
Maleficent (6/10)
The Proposal (5,5/10)
Kong: Skull Island (7,5/10)


(I like 0,5 ratings to distinguish my loads of 6ish votes since I somehow enjoy everything (except The Purge).)
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sol
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#7

Post by sol »

Torgo wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:57 am
sol wrote: February 21st, 2021, 12:00 pm Tetsuo (1989). Surviving an assault by a woman with pieces of metal protruding from her body, a businessman soon finds his own body turning into metal in this Japanese body horror movie. The film does not have much in the way of plot, mostly consisting of various transformations and penetrations, but the whole thing is immensely watchable due to how insane it all is, and employing everything from sped-up shots to rapid-fire edits to stop motion animation, this is an amazing assault on the senses. Much like the best films of David Cronenberg, the movie could also be read as a look at the relationship between human bodies and technology. Indeed, with all of the metal absorbed throughout, the film almost seems to question why we rely so heavily on metal - and at what point will our reliance on metal be so great that it does actually become a part of us. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
Hell yeah! :thumbsup:

I never participate in these threads, wouldn't even know where to begin and where to end.
If you do decide to participate next week, all you need to do is log whatever you see from now until the next thread is posted. And then anything you see between the next thread and the thread-after can be included in the thread-after. The threads are posted at the same time each week - 12pm GMT.

Anyway, glad to know another fan of Tetsuo. Of nearly 200 films, it is easily my best first time viewing this year. I have the first sequel on tap too so I'll try to get around to it during the Japanese Challenge later this year.

I've seen nine of your own viewings this week, of which Promising Young Woman or The Purge was probably my favourite (sorry!) and X-Men: Apocalypse would be my least favourite. I doubt you'd be keen on exploring the franchise further, but the first two Purge sequels are very worthwhile too - taking the premise in entirely different directions and showing different parts of the purge process.

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#8

Post by Onderhond »

sol wrote: February 21st, 2021, 12:00 pm Tetsuo (1989). Surviving an assault by a woman with pieces of metal protruding from her body, a businessman soon finds his own body turning into metal in this Japanese body horror movie. The film does not have much in the way of plot, mostly consisting of various transformations and penetrations, but the whole thing is immensely watchable due to how insane it all is, and employing everything from sped-up shots to rapid-fire edits to stop motion animation, this is an amazing assault on the senses. Much like the best films of David Cronenberg, the movie could also be read as a look at the relationship between human bodies and technology. Indeed, with all of the metal absorbed throughout, the film almost seems to question why we rely so heavily on metal - and at what point will our reliance on metal be so great that it does actually become a part of us. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
Woohoo, another fan :cheers:

One of the two films that turned me into the film fan I am today (take that as you will) and the one that stood the test of time best (the other one is Eraserhead).
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#9

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

Another busy week of Japanese films with a bit of Karel Zeman thrown in.

Human Vapor (1960): A surprisingly enjoyable B-movie sci-fi, well-paced and decent acting too.

Cruel Story of Youth (1960): A pretty nihilistic look at teenage lovers in Tokyo, not the bleakest film made by Oshima that year. Plot elements could've been handled better.

River Fuefuki (1960): Tracking 5 generations of a family in 2 hours makes it hard to develop the characters, might've worked better as a mini-series, some of the colour effects were distracting too. I enjoyed it but could've been better.

Daughters, Wives and a Mother (1960): Amazing cast lined up by Mikio Naruse for an extended family drama which can't quite live up to lofty expectations. Good but the non-ending put a damper on things.

Hero of the Red Light District (1960): I need to see more from Tomu Uchida, terrific colour film with a great ending too.

Jigoku (1960): Lousy acting, silly plot with unintentionally hilarious deaths, the entire "hell" sequence is a mixed bag too. Last film made by Shintoho before it filed for bankruptcy.

Afraid to Die (1960): Yukio Mishima isn't a great actor in this average yakuza flick, I can't think of a movie title that's the complete opposite of its lead actor.

Good-For-Nothing (1960): Solid Sun-Tribe story about aimless youth that looks at the Japanese economy through 3 different characters and the woman connected to each.

Brother (1960): An OK film with a unique visual look that lacks an engaging storyline or character development.

Sun's Burial (1960): Nihilistic and bleak, a tough watch.

Blood Is Dry (1960): Another good satire about superficial celeb culture and cynical corporatism, better than "Giants and Toys".

Warped Ones (1960): Exciting filmmaking with an utter bastard as a lead character, brisk and fun.

Intimidation (1960): Decent crime caper clocks in at just over an hour.

Night & Fog in Japan (1960): The stylistic choices get tiring after a while but it's a good look at the interdynamics of political movements.

Jester's Tale (1964): Fun 17th century style from Karel Zeman, storyline doesn't feel as expansive as "Baron Prasil" and the creativity is a little down from "Invention for Destruction".

Stolen Airship (1967): This feels like a subpar rehash of "Invention for Destruction" with a bit of "Journey to the Beginning of Time" thrown in, average.

On The Comet (1970): More absurdist and unfunny than creative and charming, too thinly plotted and not very engaging.

Successive Slidings of Pleasure (1974): Alain Robbe-Grillet is a very weird bloke, some dodgy acting and lots of weird nudity.

Mothra (1961): I was expecting lots of wanton destruction, instead I got a very slow film very light in touch and a catchy song too. Did not like.

The Baker's Wife (1938): Pretty good rustic tale if slightly overlong.

Bolwieser (1977): Didn't like the acting and it dragged quite hard, only saw the 110 minute version too. Fassbinder can be hit and miss, this one is a miss.

Dust in the Wind (1986): Has some nice visuals but I couldn't get engaged with the story at all.

Glorious Technicolor 1998): Decent documentary on the story of Technicolor but the clips used were a little faded.

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960): Very good Naruse film with characters shaped more by circumstance.

Night of the Hunter (1955): I tried to like this but it's too inconsistent in tone with too many goofy moments to take seriously.
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#10

Post by sol »

Onderhond wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 9:23 am
sol wrote: February 21st, 2021, 12:00 pm Tetsuo (1989). Surviving an assault by a woman with pieces of metal protruding from her body, a businessman soon finds his own body turning into metal in this Japanese body horror movie. The film does not have much in the way of plot, mostly consisting of various transformations and penetrations, but the whole thing is immensely watchable due to how insane it all is, and employing everything from sped-up shots to rapid-fire edits to stop motion animation, this is an amazing assault on the senses. Much like the best films of David Cronenberg, the movie could also be read as a look at the relationship between human bodies and technology. Indeed, with all of the metal absorbed throughout, the film almost seems to question why we rely so heavily on metal - and at what point will our reliance on metal be so great that it does actually become a part of us. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
Woohoo, another fan :cheers:
Oh yes - my most impressive first time viewing since January last year. Will definitely check out the sequel soon down the track.

Of yours (briefly):

Only seen three (less than usual this week, but then you watched less than usual too). I can barely remember The Blue Angel from over 15 years ago, and don't really feel like revisiting it any time soon, so I guess Naboer is my favourite viewing of yours this week. I really didn't get much out of Sleep Dealer but can see why it's your sorta film.
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#11

Post by Onderhond »

sol wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 1:58 pm Oh yes - my most impressive first time viewing since January last year. Will definitely check out the sequel soon down the track.
The second one isn't half as intense. I liked the third one better, but it seems the digital look turned many people off. Second one has an expanded narrative and was shot in color, which didn't feel like smart choices at the time. It's still a pretty crazy film of course. And hopefully the start of more Tsukamoto exploration (something like Tokyo Fist might appeal to you too).

And yeah, home situation has changed a little, so not watching as many films now. Which, honestly, might be for the best too :D
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#12

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

The Reckless Moment (Max Ophüls, 1949) - 8
80 minutes of pulsating smoke from Joan Bennett's cigarette against lush grey tones would have been enough for me.

Jour après jour (Jean-Paul Fargier & Jean-Daniel Pollet, 2006) - 9++

Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966) - 10 rewatch

Rêver sous le capitalisme / Dreaming Under Capitalism (Sophie Bruneau, 2018) - 6+

The Ides of March (George Clooney, 2011) - 5-

കാഞ്ചനസീത / Kanchana Sita (Govindan Aravindan, 1977) - 7
Wind in the trees and a beautiful white horse. I could have done without the antropomorphosiced Gods, but that was most of the film.

Asphalt (Joe May, 1929) - 7+

Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019) - 7+
Pleasantly surprised. Just a lovely picture.

The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland, 2014) - 6-


shorts:

La séquence des barres parallèles / The Sequence of Parallel Bars (Aryan Kaganof, 1992) - 5

Tomonari Nishikawa short films:
Shibuya – Tokyo (2010)
Market Street (2005)
Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars (2015)
not everything is fish, but fish are teeming everywhere
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#13

Post by prodigalgodson »

sol
11x14 8 - this is actually often regarded as one of his "narrative" films, which is an extreme stretch to me to, though there are some recurring characters; less refined, for better or for worse, than his later work, definitely feels more random wrt shot choice, as well as a number of overexposed visuals; still really enjoyed it, with the Bob Dylan smokestack being a particular highlight for me, of both the film and Benning's work in general; I think it was a good decision to eliminate "characters" in his later work, whose presence often clashes with the contemplative nature of the imagery around them
Tetsuo 7 - kind of blew my mind when I first watched it in high school, but the second time around a few weeks later I was like, "meh"...so split the difference?
The Green Fog - thanks for putting me on to this, sounds very much up my alley!
Transit 8 - haha, I really enjoyed this but it was an odd one for sure

hond
Nanook of the North 6 - surprised you liked this as much as you did; too much ethnography at the expense of aesthetics for me, but I'm still a sucker for anything set in the arctic regions
The Blue Angel 8 - Sternberg and Dietrich definitely made better work subsequently, but pretty nutty stuff, and a good introduction to Sternberg's sound world (who seems like someone you'd be really into if you were born about a century earlier
To the Backstreet - thanks for the recommendation, you had me at "10-minute car ride through a mountainous region in Japan" :D; really though, this kind of "portrait in absentia," to borrow the phrase from another film I saw this week, is exactly what I'm trying to do from an autobiographical standpoint with my New Year, Old Roads project, so I have mixed feelings learning about the prior existence of conceptually similar films, but I'm also very eager to see them

laki
Climax 6 - despite a very impressive aesthetic, Noe's obsession with a goofy degree of seediness grates on me
Videodrome 9 - super dope
The Simpsons Movie 6 - better than the show was at that point, woulda been awesome to have something like this from the 90s
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - saw this lots of times as a kid, didn't like it then
The Handmaiden 7 - surprised to see such a low rating for this, I thought it was a very fun, solid thriller

pda - sounds like a fun week; still eager to see Earth Light

torgo - only seen a few of yours, thankfully, and none I'd rate as highly as you

rks
Sun's Burial 8 - one of the first Oshimas I saw, and some of the images are still burned into my mind
The Warped Ones 9 - rarely have I left a theater so exhilirated
Night and Fog in Japan 8 - another one of my first Oshimas (maybe even in a double feature with above), really dug it but at 15 I'm sure I didn't understand everything and would love to rewatch
The Baker's Wife 5 - love Raimu, but found this pretty underwhelming, especially compared to, say, The Well-Digger's Daughter
Dust in the Wind 9 - surprising, I feel like this is one of Hou's most plot-forward films; also among my favorites, and one of the few coming-of-age movies I really enjoy
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs 7 - my first Naruse, that despite its solidity didn't strike me as anything to write home about, even on revision once he'd become one of my very favorite filmmakers
Night of the Hunter 7 - fascinating stuff, but doesn't quiiite work for me either; maybe if it was a bit longer, with more sweep, I'd be as much of a fan as most

vv
The Reckless Moment 7 - ow this one a rewatch, didn't blow me away at the time but has kind of stuck in mind like a dream (typical Ophuls)
Balthazar 10 - yup; every time I hear a donkey bray (in other films, I'm a city-dweller) it gives me flashbacks
Little Women 7 - it is lovely, and I loved the ending, but it is surprisingly mediocre from a visual standpoint
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#14

Post by Onderhond »

prodigalgodson wrote: February 24th, 2021, 7:26 pm but I'm still a sucker for anything set in the arctic regions
Have you seen Antarctica: A Year on Ice? Best doc I've ever seen (though not sure how much that means to you of course :) )

From yours I've seen Once Upon a Time in the West and Interstellar, but I'll follow my mom's advise (silence is golden).
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#15

Post by Torgo »

prodigalgodson wrote: February 24th, 2021, 7:26 pm torgo - only seen a few of yours, thankfully, and none I'd rate as highly as you
Yeah, it's a huge pile of mainstream trash. There was a time when I thought to be done forever with stuff like that, but then my OCD told me to catch up. I don't even know what happens when I watch a Rosenbaum film in between.
If you detested everything as much as you say, may I dearly recommend The Purge to you?.
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#16

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prodigalgodson wrote: February 24th, 2021, 7:26 pm sol
11x14 8 - this is actually often regarded as one of his "narrative" films, which is an extreme stretch to me to, though there are some recurring characters; less refined, for better or for worse, than his later work, definitely feels more random wrt shot choice, as well as a number of overexposed visuals; still really enjoyed it, with the Bob Dylan smokestack being a particular highlight for me, of both the film and Benning's work in general; I think it was a good decision to eliminate "characters" in his later work, whose presence often clashes with the contemplative nature of the imagery around them
Tetsuo 7 - kind of blew my mind when I first watched it in high school, but the second time around a few weeks later I was like, "meh"...so split the difference?
The Green Fog - thanks for putting me on to this, sounds very much up my alley!
Transit 8 - haha, I really enjoyed this but it was an odd one for sure
Yeah, I came across a couple of reviews that talked about 11 x 14 being a narrative movie, which yep, I agree is pushing it. The recurring characters is an interesting point, but they are pretty much treated like scenery - much the same way Benning might film a moving a train or a car on a small road in some of his later films. That said, the reason why I consider stuff like *Corpus Callosum and Wavelength to be borderline narrative is actually due to recurring environment/location rather than recurring characters. But I digress. Agreed that Benning's choice to later eliminate such "characters" served him well.

I think Tetsuo pretty much blew my mind. I have the feeling that it would have gone over my head in my high school days, but who knows? It was interesting finally watching it after hearing so much about it over the years.

The Green Fog is amazing. Might work better with Vertigo fresher in my mind, but I have seen the Hitchcock film seven or eight times over the years, so I knew full well most of the scenes and moments that Maddin and his team were trying to mimic through found footage. Really cool film the more and more I think about it.

Eh, I actually liked the "oddness" of Transit ("let's blend the 40s and 2010s together"; that was cool). I didn't like the pointless voiceover though that just described what we could see, nor the formulaic surrogate father/son stuff, and that song at the end makes me want to Google for the Simpsons scene where Comic Book Guy types "Worst. Ending. Ever". First film that I have seen from Christian Petzold; I sadly have no interest now in seeing any more....

Yours:

I loved Once Upon a Time in the West when I finally caught up with it a few years ago. Great rhythm indeed and really haunting tale; like Tetsuo, this was a revelation watched rather late into my filmgoing journey. Not my favourite Leone, my favourite of his westerns.

Only seen Interstellar the one time in cinemas. Fits in with the "blew my mind" category re: Tetsuo above - though purely in terms of that planet consisting entirely of ocean - something that I had never seen or imagined before. I don't know how the film would stack up to revision, especially yeah given some of that ending stuff, but this is probably my favourite Nolan after Memento. Some really great small performances/characters too - thinking in particular of Matt Damon all alone and driven to, well, etc.
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#17

Post by Torgo »

sol wrote: February 25th, 2021, 9:02 am Eh, I actually liked the "oddness" of Transit ("let's blend the 40s and 2010s together"; that was cool). I didn't like the pointless voiceover though that just described what we could see, nor the formulaic surrogate father/son stuff, and that song at the end makes me want to Google for the Simpsons scene where Comic Book Guy types "Worst. Ending. Ever". First film that I have seen from Christian Petzold; I sadly have no interest now in seeing any more....
May I state that of the 6 or 7 films by Petzold I've seen, I liked Transit the least (for some of the reasons written above). Maybe still don't write him off - Barbara and Phoenix or one of his mid-00s films could change your mind :)
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#18

Post by prodigalgodson »

Onderhond wrote: February 24th, 2021, 9:12 pm Have you seen Antarctica: A Year on Ice? Best doc I've ever seen (though not sure how much that means to you of course :) )

From yours I've seen Once Upon a Time in the West and Interstellar, but I'll follow my mom's advise (silence is golden).
No, never heard of it, but thanks for the rec. When I was younger I had an abstract idea to live in Antarctica for a while (in fact I named an album I made in college "Antarctica Is a Desert Too").

Haha, my mom used to say "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all." I've followed her advice inconsistently at best...
Torgo wrote: February 24th, 2021, 9:42 pm Yeah, it's a huge pile of mainstream trash. There was a time when I thought to be done forever with stuff like that, but then my OCD told me to catch up. I don't even know what happens when I watch a Rosenbaum film in between.
If you detested everything as much as you say, may I dearly recommend The Purge to you?.
:whistling:
Ah, somehow missed Promising Young Woman at first glance, I thought that was actually one of the better American films of recent years.

Love me some good mainstream stuff, good being the operative word though. So I'll respectfully decline your offer on The Purge lol.
sol wrote: February 25th, 2021, 9:02 am Yeah, I came across a couple of reviews that talked about 11 x 14 being a narrative movie, which yep, I agree is pushing it. The recurring characters is an interesting point, but they are pretty much treated like scenery - much the same way Benning might film a moving a train or a car on a small road in some of his later films. That said, the reason why I consider stuff like *Corpus Callosum and Wavelength to be borderline narrative is actually due to recurring environment/location rather than recurring characters. But I digress. Agreed that Benning's choice to later eliminate such "characters" served him well.

I think Tetsuo pretty much blew my mind. I have the feeling that it would have gone over my head in my high school days, but who knows? It was interesting finally watching it after hearing so much about it over the years.

The Green Fog is amazing. Might work better with Vertigo fresher in my mind, but I have seen the Hitchcock film seven or eight times over the years, so I knew full well most of the scenes and moments that Maddin and his team were trying to mimic through found footage. Really cool film the more and more I think about it.

Eh, I actually liked the "oddness" of Transit ("let's blend the 40s and 2010s together"; that was cool). I didn't like the pointless voiceover though that just described what we could see, nor the formulaic surrogate father/son stuff, and that song at the end makes me want to Google for the Simpsons scene where Comic Book Guy types "Worst. Ending. Ever". First film that I have seen from Christian Petzold; I sadly have no interest now in seeing any more....

Only seen Interstellar the one time in cinemas. Fits in with the "blew my mind" category re: Tetsuo above - though purely in terms of that planet consisting entirely of ocean - something that I had never seen or imagined before. I don't know how the film would stack up to revision, especially yeah given some of that ending stuff, but this is probably my favourite Nolan after Memento. Some really great small performances/characters too - thinking in particular of Matt Damon all alone and driven to, well, etc.
Haven't seen CC, but I'd consider Wavelength borderline narrative too, and you're right that the single setting does give it a certain requisite continuity in that regard.

Maybe something went over my head, but I didn't get the sense when I watched it that there was anything to really "miss" about Testuo. I did show it to a couple friends at the time and they loved it too, maybe even more than I initially did. I'm surprised you hadn't seen it sooner given your fondness for Cronenberg, totally makes sense it'd be so up your alley.

I've seen Vertigo about eight times myself, and it's pretty much always fresh in my mind lol (my favorite film if you recall). You've got me very stoked for this!

Don't remember much of the details of Transit, but I'll take your word on that closing song haha. Mostly remember it vividly feeling like a dream I had years ago...

Re: ocean planets, what about Kamino?! Not a Star Wars geek? It is a cool effect though, especially how shallow the water in between waves is and the time differential. I had totally forgotten Damon was in it and was as surprised the second time as the first. Great surprise appearance, and then great subversion of his casting type.
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#19

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ocean planets are probably much more common in the universe than continental planets. They don't even all have to be H20 though most will be H20, but there are sureably going to places with alcohol oceans lol. (they're going to be toxic for us tho)

Like we already found a planet which is going to be full of diamond, and it's only 37 lightyears away, which suggests they might not even be rare. From the outside, it'll be like a superMercury, the inside will be full of diamond (almost consists of 99% carbon, high heat, high pressure, twice the size of our planet, but 8 times more gravity because of the denseness).

If life is uncommon or non-existent (which I don't believe), things requiring biochemical processes will get rare. Fossil fuels will probably become the new diamond in that case, while if we mine diamonds, it might be worth as much as regular stone in the future.
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#20

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prodigalgodson wrote: February 26th, 2021, 7:29 am No, never heard of it, but thanks for the rec. When I was younger I had an abstract idea to live in Antarctica for a while (in fact I named an album I made in college "Antarctica Is a Desert Too").
Well, the doc is about spending a year there in one of the research facilities. But there's also time for the abstract beauty of the place.
prodigalgodson wrote: February 26th, 2021, 7:29 am Haha, my mom used to say "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all." I've followed her advice inconsistently at best...
Yeah, that's the one I was going for, but my brain tripped I think.
The funny thing is that we have a local saying (zwijgen is zilver, spreken is goud - staying quiet is silver, speaking is gold) that somewhat contradicts that nugget of parental wisdom. :D
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#21

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Torgo wrote: February 25th, 2021, 4:50 pm May I state that of the 6 or 7 films by Petzold I've seen, I liked Transit the least (for some of the reasons written above). Maybe still don't write him off - Barbara and Phoenix or one of his mid-00s films could change your mind :)
That's interesting to hear because I have Barbara and Phoenix unwatched on DVD and had initially planned to do Petzold for the Run the Director Challenge until Transit turned me off. Phoenix does admittedly sound intriguing.
prodigalgodson wrote: February 26th, 2021, 7:29 am Haven't seen CC, but I'd consider Wavelength borderline narrative too, and you're right that the single setting does give it a certain requisite continuity in that regard.

Maybe something went over my head, but I didn't get the sense when I watched it that there was anything to really "miss" about Testuo. I did show it to a couple friends at the time and they loved it too, maybe even more than I initially did. I'm surprised you hadn't seen it sooner given your fondness for Cronenberg, totally makes sense it'd be so up your alley.

I've seen Vertigo about eight times myself, and it's pretty much always fresh in my mind lol (my favorite film if you recall). You've got me very stoked for this!

Don't remember much of the details of Transit, but I'll take your word on that closing song haha. Mostly remember it vividly feeling like a dream I had years ago...

Re: ocean planets, what about Kamino?! Not a Star Wars geek? It is a cool effect though, especially how shallow the water in between waves is and the time differential. I had totally forgotten Damon was in it and was as surprised the second time as the first. Great surprise appearance, and then great subversion of his casting type.
I've called *Corpus Callosum the best film of the 21st century before, which might be an overstatement but I would highly recommend it especially if you're into Michael Snow's stuff.

Re: Tetsuo, I didn't mean to imply that it went over your head - rather that I believe that the 17-year-old version of myself would have complained about the limited character development and bare bones story, which to the 34-year-old me would be missing the point since the film is more mood-based, trying to say something more about our relationship to/reliance on metal, rather than trying to tell a story per se. And yeah, I'm surprised myself that it hadn't popped up on my radar as a Cronenbergish recommendation until now. I knew full well of its reputation as very out-there and had it unwatched on VHS even (before finding it on DVD a few years ago), but with many thanks to the Experimental Challenge, the film is now my #1 first-time viewing this year.

I don't want to get up your hopes too high for The Green Fog. If it makes a difference, the film really took me by surprise because I hated The Forbidden Room and dislike Maddin in general. Maybe it was more surprisingly great than absolutely superb. The film is available to watch on Vimeo if you're searching - uploaded by the filmmakers themselves.

And no, I'm not a Star Wars geek by any means. I've seen Eps 1-6 all twice over the years (but not recently), however Episode VII was such a disappointment that Episodes VIII and IX are still in my blind. And yeah, I love seeing Damon in roles like Interstellar that really give him something different to do. He's an excellent actor given the the right chance and opportunity.
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