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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 12, 2021

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 12, 2021

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Post by sol »

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.

NOTE: My apologies if I am upsetting anybody's OCD by starting this thread an hour earlier than usual, but I'm not going to be around at 12pm GMT today.

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

A Brutal Game (1983). In between unemotionally murdering unsuspecting kids, a serial killer organises private tuition for his sadistic disabled daughter this bizarre French film. The plot begins to make a lot more sense in the final twenty or so minutes with the father's motives finally revealed, and it is hard not to wish that he was a bigger part of the overall movie, but even as a mere backdrop figure, there is enough weirdness going on here that the film seldom bores. Emmanuelle Debever is also excellent as the daughter, with a pessimistic worldview that she gradually changes over the course of the movie. Still, some of her subplots (puppy love and jealousy) mostly feel like a distraction from what her father is getting up to. The film is pretty great though towards the end when her father comes into focus, and the pair's final scene together is divine. (first viewing, online) ★★★

An Enemy of the People (1989). Adapting Henrik Ibsen's play, Satyajit Ray alters the material ever so slightly here to create a fascinating look at science versus religion in a pious Hindu community. The plot likewise involves a doctor disbelieved after discovering that contaminated water is leading to a rampant disease. In this case though, the water is the Holy Water of a sacred temple, which many believe cannot possibly be impure. While not as effective as Steve McQueen in the 1978 film version, Soumitra Chatterjee is solid in the lead role, progressing from being humble about his findings, not wanting to be a hero, to absolutely desperate to be heard. The movie wraps up a bit quickly on a tonally inconsistent note, and it never quite escapes its play roots, but Ray uses a lot of interesting framing (actors in the foreground/background of shots) to open things up. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Rock-a-Doodle (1991). Turned into a kitten by an evil owl, a child teams up with various farm critters to convince a rooster to return and save the day in this Don Bluth production. The story is rather second-rate, and unlike the tagline suggests, it is not about "the world's first rockin' rooster" since the rooster is only ever a supporting character and his Elvis-like songs are never in focus. The film looks great though with Bluth providing several beautiful neon-infused shots of the Big City, a rad trailer home and some great shots that blend live action and animation together. The blending is a little clunky towards the end (the illusion is ruined whenever we see the kid in close-up) but the early animated evil owl / live action boy scene is a simple wonder to behold. The animated character designs are pretty nifty too with genuine creepy villains for a kids' film. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Arizona Dream (1993). Haunted by dreams of a serene life as an Inuit in the snow, a young man reluctantly takes a job at his uncle's car yard where he meets eccentric characters in this unusual take on the American Dream. The film benefits from philosophical voiceover narration about humans versus fish and other conundrums and there is lots to like about the protagonist's constant attempts to live his own life beyond what his uncle and others prescribe for him, engaging in an intimate relationship with a much older woman no less. Despite often being darkly funny though (a failed suicide attempt in particular), this mostly just feels like a lot of oddball moments strung together. Still, it is an easy film to embrace with such grand recreations of North by Northwest and so many subtle techniques, such a shot that gradually spins around an outdoor table. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Beautiful Creatures (2000). Both mistreated by their arrogant boyfriends, two women meet by chance and end up hatching a kidnapping scam after they accidentally kill one of their boyfriends in this Scottish thriller. The premise is solid and the way everything gradual spirals out of control is well handled, with the nastiness of every male character only further fueling the chain of events. That said, the film never quite feels angry enough about women being mistreated by men. The tone of the project is wildly inconsistent too with the whole thing playing out as more of a serious-minded drama despite several highly comedic moments. Whatever the case, this still has a lot of interest as a film about women standing up for themselves and getting the upper hand in a ruthless, male-dominated world, and a platinum blonde Rachel Weisz is absolutely electric. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

The Holiday (2006). Two women meet online and agree to swap houses for a cheap vacation in this romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers. The basic concept is not half-bad, but the way that the two protagonists are entirely defined by the men in their lives (and their need to find love again) makes them seem incredibly vapid, try as Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz definitely do in the lead roles. There is, however, enough quirkiness at hand here that the film seldom bores and is generally tolerable. Of particular note is Diaz constantly imagining her life as narrated movie trailers and "Mr. Napkinhead" (wait until you see it). The film also gives Eli Wallach one of his best late career screen roles, while the constant namedropping of classic films and music scores is fun. As a story though, this is never too remarkable and feels a little bloated at nearly 2.5 hours. (first viewing, online) ★★

Son of Rambow (2007). Raised in an ultraconservative family, an impressionable boy finally gets a chance to let his imagination run wild when he is duped into helping a peer complete a First Blood parody in this comedy set during the early 1980s. A pre-We're the Millers Will Poulter and Bill Milner are excellent in the lead roles and the gradual friendship between them feels real. Milner also has a great way of doing everything from shoplifting to simply saying hello in a socially awkward yet charming manner. The amateur filming scenes are pretty fun too, full of youthful enthusiasm. The film is less successful when it attempts to be serious and it does not do a lot with its suggestions that religion is suffocating Milner and an absent mother causing Poulter to rebel, but as a look at moviemaking, this is irresistible when their filming is at the forefront. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Black Butterflies (2011). Set during Apartheid, free-thinking South African poet Ingrid Jonker clashes with her father, the then-Minister for Censorship, in this biographical drama. There is slightly more to the plot than that with Jonker struggling in romance, clashing with other family members and prone to outbursts, but the crux of the film really rests with the father-daughter angle - something that could have done with more focus. Donning thick glasses and an even thicker moustache, Rutger Hauer is initially unrecognisable as her father - however, his transformation is more interesting than his performance. Likewise, Carice van Houten's unfaltering South African accent is more impressive than anything she does. Hindered by poor pacing, the film mostly just plods along, which is a shame given how important the messaging in Jonker's poetry was. (first viewing, online) ★

Good Vibrations (2012). Setting up a record store in Belfast and giving a voice to many up and coming bands during The Troubles, music lover Terri Hooley becomes an important part of Northern Ireland's punk scene in this biopic starring Richard Dormer. The music is undeniably great and Dormer certainly captures his character's passion well, but this is a pretty paint-by-numbers biographical drama, full of standard tropes such a neglected wife/baby and the protagonist's blindness when it comes to seeing how he is disenfranchising those closest to him. A few quirks crop up but never really jive (a big deal is made of his glass eye early on, only for it to never again resurface) and with Dormer staunchly declaring an apolitical approach to life, The Troubles always remain in the backdrop and barely seem related at all to the depicted music scene. (first viewing, online) ★

The Riot Club (2014). Encouraged to join an elite club at their university, two freshman students discover a world of debauchery beyond their wildest imaginations in this British drama. While the film sounds a bit like The Wolf of Wall Street with the club members all going by the belief that money can buy their way out of anything, this is nowhere near as fun or involving as that. The biggest issue is that all of the characters are arrogant jerks without an iota of Leo's charisma; they also tend to mumble their lines, leading to an almost intolerable first half. The second half of the film is a noticeable improvement as a dinner party at a family restaurant gets increasingly out of hand, which leads to the students finding their bribing approach to life tested. Even so though, it is hard to care for any of the characters - not even our ostensible protagonist. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Bad Day for the Cut (2017). An uneasy alliance forms between a farmer and a young assassin who failed to kill him as they team up to avenge a murdered mother and a kidnapped sister in this thriller from Northern Ireland. With many bouts of pure brutality, this is a pretty compelling ride, and after the crazy circumstances under which they meet, the two pair form a mentor/mentee relationship very well. Much of the film though is powered by the mystery over why the farmer's mother was murdered in the first place and the answers when revealed feel a little too mundane; more to do with family melodrama than any of the weird conspiracy stuff that other characters suggest along the way. The ending feels a tad rushed too. For the most though, this really works with several suspenseful scenes as the duo try to penetrate the illegal organisation behind it all. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Faces Places (2017). Agnès Varda and a locally famous muralist travel around France photographing everyday individuals, blowing up the photos and placing them on walls in this documentary. The process is quite interesting but the focus here is all over the place with a lot of time spent on goat milking and other activities along the way. There is also a distinct sense of artifice to the production; e.g. the cuts and camera angles make a fun Louvre run look constructed rather than spontaneous. The attempts to make the film about Varda and her soured friendship with Godard come off as a weird deflection too without Godard interviewed to defend himself. When the duo focus on the art that they are creating though, the film rarely missteps; there are some especially wonderful sped-up shots as shipping containers are turned into the film's most ambitious mural. (first viewing, online) ★★

Summer 1993 (2017). Sent to live with her aunt and uncle when her mother passes away, a young girl resists her new adoptive parents in this coming-of-age drama from Catalonia. Squaring off with her aunt in particular, Laia Artigas is excellent in the lead role; the piercing look she gives her aunt after convincing her grandfather to tie her shoelaces (after fighting with her aunt about doing them up) really lingers. Her complex relationship with her younger cousin is dynamic too, with Artigas torn between enjoying her younger cousin, feeling jealous of her and merely want her to shut up. The film feels a bit episodic and the story does not always flow; certain parts, like her cousin getting lost, end abruptly before cutting to the next scene. In general though, this really works as a tale of a young girl wrestling with confusing emotions in confusing times. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Extra Ordinary. (2019). Able to communicate with ghosts, the daughter of once-famous spiritualist tries to help a widower deal with poltergeists and possession in this horror-comedy from Ireland. The plot is actually more complicated than that (perhaps too coincidence-heavy and intricate in fact) but the film maintains a light and offbeat tone throughout with both Maeve Higgins and Barry Ward delivering well in the lead roles. Ward is especially great as he becomes possessed by various individuals, including his wife at several key points. Will Forte is over-the-top though as the antagonist of the tale and the other supporting characters all amount to little, give or take a magpie. Intercut with various instructional videos by the famous spiritualist though, the film comes with a nifty style and feels like equally a parody of such videos as it is a parody of Satanic pacts. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Gentlemen (2019). Populated by vulgar and uncouth characters, this is not the easiest film to get into and the framing device of Hugh Grant narrating what he knows as part of a blackmail scheme is initially irksome. As the film plods along though, various bits and pieces fall into place and the framing device gets very interesting in the final third of the movie with the way Grant pitches what he knows as a Hollywood movie script. Playing massively against type, Grant delivers very well too. Colin Farrell is also quite funny in support, though most of the gags are hit-and-miss with projectile vomiting and making fun of Asian names in the mix. When the film focuses though on its foot chases, and all the scheming and double-crossing, it generally works with a neat running theme of those trying to cheat their way to the top getting comeuppances in spades. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Souvenir (2019). Trying to secure funding for her latest project, a film student's financial woes increase as she helps her boyfriend maintain a crippling addiction in this downbeat British drama. The story has some potential but the execution is too lethargic for its own good; the romantic connection between the pair is never well established and her insistence on supporting (rather than leaving) her boyfriend never makes sense. There is also so much of interest going on with the filmmaking angle -- including characters dissecting Psycho and Hitchcock knowing when to break convention -- that it feels like a missed opportunity for the film to place so much focus on the troubled relationship angle instead. The acting is certainly very decent here, and some of the framing is downright classy, but the film often comes across as dull when it should be involving. (first viewing, online) ★

REVISIONS

The Death of Stalin (2017). "I've had nightmares that make more sense than this." Still as fresh and as funny as ever after three viewings, this comedy from In the Loop director Armando Iannucci gloriously depicts the madness that ensues when Stalin unexpectedly dies without a clear successor. While based on actual historical events, Iannucci takes a delightfully exaggerating view on things, emphasising the petty squabbling of Stalin's leadership team following his demise as they hilariously suck up to his daughter, argue about where to stand during a funeral and backstab one another. With a mix of accents and very 21st century dialogue, the project never really captures the flavour of 1950s Russia, but the film still works magnificently as a look at the instability of political power structures based on one single individual without a succession plan. (third viewing, DVD) ★★★★

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). Desperate for answers, the mother of a murdered teen rents three billboards to renew public interest - a semi-spontaneous decision that has lasting impacts on everyone around her in this deft blend of comedy and drama. Viewed for a second time, some of the mounting coincidences are a bit hard to swallow. Then again, this is a film about fate and chance, and with this agenda, a grand Carter Burwell score and a stellar Frances McDormand, this feels a lot like a Coen Brothers movie in the best possible way. Especially impressive is how we see the ramifications of her decision from multiple perspectives with all concerned coming off as a sympathetic and relatable by the end of the movie. The conclusion is a bit uncomfortable, but intentionally so with the uncertainty hanging in the air regarding whether or not the characters will remember that anger "just begets greater anger" and learn from their experiences, or whether their situation is doomed to just spiral further out of control. (second viewing, DVD) ★★★★
Other
From the Dark (2014). Lost in the countryside when their GPS glitches, a young couple seek help from a farmer who (unbeknownst to them) has transformed into a deadly creature in this Irish horror film. The title comes from the fact that the creature is allergic to light. It is a decent enough premise with the couple constantly scrambling to find various light sources to defend themselves. Things grow repetitive before the end though since there is no attempt to explain what the creature is or what drives it. The characters are not well developed either. Some early idle chitchat makes the movie initially appear like a metaphor for fear of commitment in relationships, but this does not really carry through. Niamh Algar is pretty fine either way in the lead role - though it is often hard to see what she is doing since, if true to the title, most of the film feels far too dark. (first viewing, online) ★★

A Doctor's Sword (2015). Always fascinated by a samurai sword that her father was given in gratitude during World War II, an Irish woman decides to investigate the sword's origins in this indie documentary. Travelling to Japan where she places an advertisement in a local newspaper, her search is pretty interesting. Alas, this is never really in focus. Over half of the film involves herself and others recounting her father's wartime experiences, full of reports of all the "death and carnage" that are hardly new or insightful. Certainly, everything her father survived, including the bombing of Nagaski, is remarkable - but is never quite as intriguing as the mysterious sword and its origins. The film also only ever briefly touches on what the sudden attention must be like for the descendants of the Japanese man who gifted the sword in the first place. (first viewing, online) ★★

Spooky Stakeout (2016). Imagine a live action Scooby-Doo with younger kids and no dog and that is pretty much what this Irish comedy feels like as the plot revolves around a group of amateur ghostbusters investigating hauntings at their school and in nearby hotels. As the kids keep trying to scare each other during their investigations and as they keep alternating between what they remember of their past adventures, this is relatively fun stuff. The young actors and actresses deliver well and interact like real kids. The movie is a lot less interesting though whenever it tries to explain what was really go on with each place that they investigate. The film ends abruptly too on a conclusion that far too blatantly begs for a sequel to be made. Still, this is pleasant while it lasts and actually spooky at its best too with blue filters and limited lighting used well. (first viewing, online) ★★

Quarantine Girl (2020). Living in self-isolation becomes even more challenging for a young woman when mysterious packages begin arriving at her door in this pandemic-themed thriller. With a title like that and the film's marketing as a horror-thriller, it is not surprising that this has accumulated many negative reviews, but it is not nearly as bad as all that. The film's biggest misstep is not giving more focus to the packages and how they add to her already heightened anxiety. Her descent into mental instability also feels a little sudden rather than gradual. The film does well though capturing all of her increased panic and paranoia with a definite progression between her dismissing the pandemic to being overwhelmed by it. The tonally inconsistent ending is a definite letdown though. Then again, the uncertainty that still lingers regarding the packages works. (first viewing, online) ★
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01. 4.0* - And Then There Was Light [Hikari] by Tatsushi Ohmori (2017)
A raw and relentless drama with deeply rooted thriller elements. It feels like a cross between Rage and The Light Shines Only There. If that's a bit hard to grasp, that's perfectly okay since Ohmori delivers a strange and uncomfortable film, with stellar performances and a completely bonkers soundtrack. A neat little masterpiece.

02. 3.5* - The Furies by Tony D'Aquino (2019)
A sweet reminder that brutality has been slowly seeping out of the horror genre over the past decade. For all the psychological, elevated horror we got in return we seem to have lost the films that reveled in guts and gore. It's nice to see some directors still have a sweet spot for the more straightforward approach. The premise is pretty basic. Two girls are kidnapped and are released in the woods. Deformed, maniacal killers are chasing them and try to slash'm down. There's a little twist (a very predictable one) that transpires after the halfway mark, but this isn't a film you'll be watching for its intriguing, well-developed plot. The start's a little slow, but once the first victim gets her faced scraped off with an axe it's clear that The Furies is going to be a lot of fun. D'Aquino isn't afraid to focus on the gory details of the kills, add to that some twisted characters and all the ingredients are there for some good old-fashioned slasher entertainment. A very pleasant surprise.

03. 3.5* - League of Gods: Alluring Woman by Tao Hai (2020)
More fox fantasies. This is not a sequel to the earlier League of Gods film, instead Alluring Woman is a smaller budget spin-off based on the same source material. I've been watching quite a few of these films lately, and they're pretty fun, though still one step away from masterful genre work. A nine-tailed fox spirit is rescued by the king, giving her a second chance to make the most of her life. She returns to his palace and sneaks in as an innocent girl. Once there she starts manipulating people in order to seize control over the palace. She's doing well until an old enemy shows up in the palace. The costumes and sets are extremely lush. Vibrant colors and rich details make this a visual treat. That is, if you don't count the poor CG. It's a hurdle that's keeping a lot of these Chinese films down. Performances are decent and the plot is fun enough, if only they'd put a little more effort into their computer foolery films like these would be at the top of their niche.

04. 3.5* - Shadow in the Cloud by Roseanne Liang (2020)
Unfiltered entertainment. The less you know about this film up front, the better. At least, if you're willing to let go of the notion that films have to be coherent and sensible. Shadow in the Cloud simply throws whatever it thinks is fun at you, regardless of genre, and it turns that's not such a bad concept after all. Though the plot hardly deserves a second look, the setup of the film is actually pretty neat, as it tails the lead character from start to finish. The result is that for the first half we're mostly just getting audio feedback of the action, but it creates a solid tension and mystery (and it's pretty cost-effective too) that eases you into the film. Shadow in the Cloud is not without faults. The CG is a little shoddy, the creature design is lame and Moretz is a poor fit for the girl power fantasy Liang chases, but all of that is easily forgiven when people start falling out of planes and are propelled right back in by the explosion of another plane underneath. It's that kinda film, and that deserves praise.

05. 3.5* - Absolutely Anything by Terry Jones (2015)
Terry Jones' final feature film is a fun and entertaining endeavor. Fronted by Simon Pegg and with a solid cast of supporting characters, it's one of those film that takes a familiar premise and gives it a rather original spin. I didn't expect too much up front, but was pleasantly surprised. To decide whether the Earth should be spared from total destruction, a counsel of aliens grants one chosen human god-like powers. A single wave with a hand grants every wish. The geeky but amiable Neil is the lucky one, but he quickly realizes that these powers come with great responsibilities. Pegg is perfect for his part, guys like Izzard, Bhaskar and Williams are on a roll and the Monty Python gang shines as the council of aliens. The comedy is quirky and goofy and though the romance is a little generic (Beckinsale is the only one underperforming) it never really bothered me. Good fun.

06. 3.0* - 47 Meters Down: Uncaged by Johannes Roberts (2019)
Solid shark fun. This is one of those films that demand you shut off your brain before you can properly enjoy the film. Start wondering about probability and you can tear the film to shreds faster than the sharks eat their prey. On the other hand, accept the nonsense and you'll find a pretty fun and tense film here. The setting's a little different, as we find ourselves in some underwater caves in Mexico. A couple of friends decide to go on a little adventure, what they don't know is that the caves are the inhabited by a family of blind sharks. With limited air, no sense of direction and big, man-eating sharks swimming around the caves it sure won't be easy to get out alive. The sharks and caves have somewhat variable dimensions, characters only die at the whim of the writers and there's a succession of perils that merely seem to exist to drag out the runtime. But the performances are decent, the cinematography is nice and there are some pretty good scares. If you're looking for pure entertainment, this film has you covered.

07. 3.0* - Look Out, Officer! by Sze Yu Lau (1990)
There aren't many Stephen Chow films left I haven't seen, but once in a while one of them pops up. Look Out, Officer isn't one of Hong Kong's absolute highlights, but if you're craving some Chow comedy it's a perfectly capable film that is sure to provide the entertainment you're looking for. The story is basic. A cop gets killed during a police investigation. It was made to look like he committed suicide, so before he can go to heaven he has to prove his innocence. He returns to haunt the living to find the one who can clear his name. And that's where Stephen Chow steps in. Chow's typical brand of comedy is fully present. With the help of Stanley Fung and Bill Tung he brings a lightness to the film that is unique to Chow. Sze Yu Lau's direction is a little inconspicuous, and it does feel like a cut-and-paste job from a bunch of other (more popular) films, but I've come to a point where I welcome even the more basic Chow comedies and Look Out, Officer didn't let me down in the slightest.

08. 3.0* - Yeah by Yohei Suzuki (2018)
A peculiar little drama. I wouldn't call it an experimental film, but it's definitely different from what you might be used to, especially when you're expecting a run-of-the-mill Japanese drama. Yohei Suzuki shows a lot of promise here, though the production is just a little too cheap-looking to leave a big impression. The film follows Ako, a young girl who spends her days walking around the city, holding a plant while talking to inanimate objects. She seems completely disconnected from our world, but with nobody to take care of her Ako just wanders around, drawing attention from others loitering outside. It's an intriguing setup and there are moments of true beauty here, but Suzuki fails to keep it interesting all the way through, which is a shame as the film isn't that long to begin with. The cinematography is a bit barren and the soundtrack could've been more distinctive, performances are solid though and Ako's character is a real treat. Suzuki shows promise, I'll keep an eye on him in the future.

09. 3.0* - Phobias by Camilla Belle, Maritte Lee Go, Joe Sill, Jess Varley, Chris von Hoffmann (2021)
Phobias is an ambitious horror project that tries to mix a traditional narrative with an anthology setup. It's an interesting idea, but I guess it turned out to be a little too ambitious as the result felt more than a little confused and unbalanced. And not in the way a good anthology accomplishes. Each short handles a different phobia (it would've been nice if explanations were listed with the titles, especially since these aren't the most common phobias), though few are actually relevant to the phobia they are dealing with. The wrap-around segment tries to tie everything together, but fails to make it cohesive. The problem with Phobias is that there isn't enough of a difference between the different shorts, which is one of the key reasons why I love anthologies. By themselves the shorts are pretty decent, but they're all a bit samey. At the same time the continuous interruptions make it more difficult to get into the main narrative. Would've worked better as either a stand-alone narrative or a more focused and detached anthology. But if you're looking for some solid horror film, Phobias is pretty solid.

10. 3.0* - Brooklyn by John Crowley (2015)
Decent drama. Brooklyn is typical Oscar material, with its glorification of the past, the US and romance. It's an easy film to love, but it's just as easy to dislike, depending on what you want from a film and how forgiving you're feeling towards its faults. Personally, I had a pleasant time with it, but I was hardly blown away. The story revolves around a young Irish girl who sets off to America to start a new life. She gets herself an education, finds a job and marries a bloke. Disaster strikes though and she has to return to Ireland to attend a funeral. Once there, she begins to forget the life she had built for herself in the US. The tone is light, the drama is decent and Ronan's performance is strong. Her character's somewhat shady and even a little unlikable though, strangely enough the film doesn't really acknowledge that and pretends this is just a sweet little romance. It didn't really bother me that much, but it is quite remarkable. As for the presentation, it's pretty polished and slick, but hardly attractive. All in all a sold film, though not enough that jumped out for me.

11. 3.0* - Dark Story of a Sex Crime: Phantom Killer [Gendai Sei Hanzai Ankokuhen: Aru Torima no Kokuhaku] by Koji Wakamatsu (1969)
Part of Wakamatsu's ongoing fascination with sexual predators. It's an incel film avant la lettre, executed in true Wakamatsu style. Certainly not his most prominent or polished work, though fans of Wakamatsu won't be disappointed. Others should probably seek out his more famed work first. The film follows a frustrated young man. He yearns to be in the company of a woman, but seems unable to make any kind of meaningful connection with them. When a friend of his offers to share his girlfriend, he accepts reluctantly, but his first sexual experience awakens dark feelings that will drive him to commit violent crimes. Wakamatsu offers another glimpse into the mind of a very troubled soul. It's certainly not a pleasant film, let alone a titillating one, so if that's what you're after you can better skip this one altogether. If on the other hand you like a stylized and frank descent into the rotten mind of a violent pervert, Wakamatsu has you covered.

12. 2.5* - Victor Frankenstein by Paul McGuigan (2015)
A rather basic retelling of the Frankenstein story, this time from the perspective of Igor, Frankenstein's hunchback assistant. A bit odd since the original story didn't even have the Igor character, then again who cares with all these modern reboots and reimaginings. The monster is there, that's all that counts. McGuigan's film focuses mostly on the creation and history of the monster. There's a little extra background to Igor's character, a hapless romance that amounts to nothing and a police investigation that fails to add extra tension, but most of the time is spent trying to bring Frankenstein's creature to life. It's a shame then that the film fails to capture the imagination. The setting is rich enough and McAvoy/Radcliffe do their best, but the film is just a little lifeless, much like its famous creature. I had hoped McGuigan would've taken this to the next level, sadly he delivers a rather generic blockbuster interpretation. It's certainly not terrible, just forgettable.

13. 2.5* - Zen of Sword [Xia Nu Chuan Qi] by Man-Sang Yu (1992)
Early 90s fantasy/martial arts flick. They were all the rage in Hong Kong back then, most crews could make a film like this with their eyes closed. You can see some of that baseline quality is present in Zen of Sword, but director Man-Sang Yu can't quite capitalize that potential. The story isn't too exciting. We follow a princess who flees from the Ha Hou rebels, who are determined to destroy her kingdom. The princess has two generals with her who'll protect her at all cost. Things get a bit more complicated when the princess meets an enemy prince and falls in love with the man. There are some solid action scenes at the start and end of the film, but the middle part is quite dull, with too much focus put on the plot. Michelle Reis is a decent lead, the rest of the cast is clearly less gifted. It's certainly not a terrible film and there are a few memorable fights, but it can't really compare to the better films of that era.

14. 2.5* - Infinitum: Subject Unknown by Matthew Butler-Hart (2021)
Time loops on the cheap. I guess this is the kind of film we'll see more often in the coming months, as this was shot during lockdown (which, if you pay attention, was pretty obvious from the way it was set up). A low-budget film with a limited cast and few character interactions. It's a brave attempt, but not a great film. I will admit that I'm a bit tired of the time loop premise, especially since the first halves of these films invariably hinge on repetition. The second part is usually where things get a bit more interesting and Infinitum is no exception, though by that time it gets there boredom might've already settled it. Performances aren't that strong, the cinematography looks a little cheap and the premise takes too long to get interesting. The second half is in fact a lot more fun, but the film never really rises above its limitations and with so many similar films out there, Infinitum fails to get itself noticed. Decent sci-fi filler though, if you're in the mood.

15. 2.5* - The Jewel of the Nile by Lewis Teague (1985)
Insane 80s cheese. A sequel to Romancing the Stone that understands the less serious it is, the better. The result is pretty baffling really, no doubt more than a little offensive to some, but at least there are a handful of memorable scenes that deserve a recommendation, a step above the original. There is a plot here, but trying to write it down just highlights how nonsensical it is. All you need to know is that Turner and Douglas are traveling through The Middle East and Northern Africa, trying to find and protect the "Jewel of the Nile", a holy man who can lead his people to peace and prosperity. At its best, you're getting Douglas driving a fighter jet through a mockery of an Eastern European city and shooting everything to bits. At its worst, it's a pretty dull Indiana Jones knock-off with Danny DeVito in one of his worst roles to date. It's a big mess really, but when it gets crazy, there's at least some fun to be had.

16. 2.0* - Defective by Reese Eveneshen (2017)
One of those sci-fi flicks that tries very hard, but fails to make a real impression. It's not because of lack of good will, it's just that the talent seems to be missing from this production. It's all just a little too DIY, making you feel like you're looking at a cardboard version of the future. The plot is pretty bland too. An overly invasive government that tries to control its citizens in the name of safety, secret medical experiments and out of control robots are hardly original. In fact, it's getting a little stale and the execution is way too heavy-handed for a simple genre flick like this one. The suits and gear look pretty flimsy, performances are rather weak and Eveneshen's direction feels too formulaic. There's some basic genre fun to be had here and the movie never really slows down enough to turn boring, but unless you're looking for some last resort sci-fi, it's not an easy recommend.

17. 2.0* - The Great Adventure [Det Stora Äventyret] by Arne Sucksdorff (1953)
Scripted film about a bunch of forest animals living together with a family on a farm. What looks like a documentary at first quickly turns into a small-scale narrative adventure that's ideal to watch with little kids. If they can stomach the somewhat arthouse-like cinematography and pacing that is. There's no real plot, instead the film focuses on several animals and how they interact/live together with a family in the woods. Foxes steal hens and are chased by the farmers, a lynx invades the forest and an otter is caught to serve as a pet for family's two boys. And yes, that are actual highlights. The black and white cinematography is pretty atmospheric and the animal stories are cute enough. The humans are less interesting though and 95 minutes is a bit long for a film where nothing substantially happens. I feel I might've enjoyed this better when I was still a kid, now there's just not enough here to keep me hooked.

18. 1.5* - The Blood of a Poet [Le Sang d'un Poète] by Jean Cocteau (1930)
Jean Cocteau didn't direct many films, but he made them count. The Blood of a Poet is his first (surviving) film and sees Cocteau playing around with the medium. It's a laudable project, but 90 years later many of the experiments don't translate that well anymore, which makes this a rather tough watch. It's not just the film's age though, as I've seen films from the '20s (and even older - thinking of various Méliès films) that managed to deliver more refined special effects. Cocteau has a lot of interesting ideas, but many of the tricks he uses are a little too obvious, which detracts from the surreal atmosphere he tries to create. Performances are somewhat mediocre too, the poetry doesn't really work and even though it's a pretty weird film, it never feels all that special or surprising. Still, at a time when many were pulling cinema into a more narrative direction, it's a welcome attempt to create something magical. It's just aged pretty badly.

19. 1.5* - Three Men and a Baby by Leonard Nimoy (1987)
A classic blockbuster comedy. It's been ages since I last watched this film. I didn't like it much when I was younger, didn't like much this time around either. Between the cliché characters, the predictable plot and the mushy intermittent drama there's simply very little of worth here. Three bachelors are living a good life, until someone drops a baby on their doorstep. They're not used to taking care of kids, let alone babies, but as much as they hate it at first, they start to grow attached to the little bugger. Add some nonsensical drug plot to fill the time and you should have a good idea of what to expect. The lead performances are pretty dim, the comedy is overly sanitized, the punchline is lame and even though the runtime isn't excessive, the film does start to drag after a while. It's one of those films that is so unoffensive that it effectively becomes offensive. Not what I call fun and relaxing entertainment.

20. 1.0* - Despicable Me 3 by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon (2017)
The third (and let's hope final) entry in the Despicable Me franchise. A perfectly predictable cash-in that adds nothing substantial to the previous films, but managed to draw in the crowd based on reputation alone. Can't say I enjoyed it much, even when my expectations were pretty low to begin with. As if there weren't enough irritating characters, this third entry introduces Gru's brother. A more fun and carefree version of Gru, because that's the kind of weak characterization films like these hope to get away with. Together they plan one final heist, one that won't go quite as planned. Like most of these films, my main issue lies with the comedy, which is bland and irritating. Annoying characters, horrible puns, predictable gags, everything feels just completely lazy. The animation is competent, but the art style is ugly and the soundtrack a disaster. At least the film is so unmemorable that I'll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow. Generic nonsense.
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Torgo
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#3

Post by Torgo »

Mh, not too many here. Some pretty mixed list stuff.

A Cure For Wellness (6,5/10)
The Long Good Friday (7/10)
The Jerk (7,5/10)
She Done Him Wrong (5/10)
Under Siege (6,5/10)
Out For Justice (5,5/10)
Fires We Started (6/10)
Hoosiers (7/10)
Field of Dreams (6,5/10)
Breaking Away (6/10)
No Retreat, No Surrender (4/10)
A Day At The Races (6/10)
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#4

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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A Wife Among Wives (1981, David & Judith MacDougall) 6

The Hunters (1957, John Marshall in collaboration with Robert Gardner) 6+

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Paris est à nous / Paris Is Us (2019, Elisabeth Vogler without Alma) 8
Brought on by guilt over living life with a sunny laissez-faire attitude amidst ambitious and socially-engaged people who tell her that she ought to care more and get out of her own head more, one of the beings on planet Malick in a dimension where God is dead and all but forgotten, tumbles into a world that is consistently on the verge of being sucked into a black hole of the bleakest of Bergmanian existentialist metaphysics which is not so much combatted than it is internalized and transcended with an ethereal sensation of us via the crowded noisiness of rave parties, public terror and communal gatherings. Nothing and noone will take her laissez-faire away, she'll keep on dancing, keep on dancing, keep on dancing…

Happy Here and Now (2002, Michael Almereyda) 5-
"All our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor to think well; this is the principle of morality."
(Blaise Pascal)

Matthias & Maxime (2019, Xavier Dolan) 6+

A Wedding (1978, Robert Altman) 6-

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Une femme mariée: Suite de fragments d'un film tourné en 1964 / A Married Woman (1964, JLG) 7

Interstellar (2014, Christopher Nolan) (5th viewing) 9


shorts

A Joking Relationship (1962, John Marshall) 6


series

Servant (2019)
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S01E01: Reborn (2019, M. Night Shyamalan) 7
S01E02: Wood (2019, some nobody) 4

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014)
Ep1: Standing Up in the Milky Way 5
Ep2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do 6


music video

Andra Day: Rise Up (Inspiration Version) (2016, M. Night Shyamalan) 4+


other

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1624 - Mark Sisson (2021) 6

partly experienced Rogans: #1622: Marcus Luttrell (2021), #1623: Doug Stanhope (2021)


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

3615 code Pere Noel / Deadly Games (1989, René Manzor) [17+ min]


notable online media

top:
Measure for Measure: Quantum Physics and Reality
The Elusive Neutrino and The Nature Of The Cosmos
Testing the Limits of Cosmology
Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale
It's Alive, But Is It Life: Synthetic Biology and the Future of Creation
Alex Jones goes HEAVY METAL [Justin Bieber]
Tim Dillon Uber Horror Story with Visuals
I Have A Family Audience So I Can't Say It
'Why are you closed' goes Metal!
The Turin Horse - short version
[various "The Onion" videos, faves being: "Immigrant Explains Difficulty Assimilating To Culture That Constantly Reboots Film Franchises", "Meet The Man Inside The Nicolas Cage Costume", "How Do Archers Resist Firing Arrows At Everyone In The Spectator Gallery?", "Memorial Honors Victims Of Imminent Dam Disaster"]
mads mikkelsen being chaotic for 3 minutes 49 seconds straight
Magpie Hangs Upside Down
Joe Rogan Completely Loses His Mind
KAREN METAL
JENKEM - Discussing Skateboarding with Filmmaker Werner Herzog
Mitch Hedberg Early T.V. (1995) stand-up [rewatch]
First BBQ Out Of Quarantine
The Night Journey Launch Trailer PS4
Lex plays The Stanley Parable [mostly]
rest:
Cosmology and the Accelerating Universe | A Conversation with Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt [partly]
A brief overview of the 2021 Abel Prize Laureates’ work
Vous avez vu Empire d’Andy Warhol ? - Blow Up - ARTE
Jonas Mekas: The Making of Andy Warhol’s ‘Empire’
What Went Wrong With Earth 2 (Forgotten Television)
7 Thesen zum Snyder-Cut von JUSTICE LEAGUE
Sam Neil as James Bond - Screentest (1986)
師匠のオーラ.


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A Wife Among Wives
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WARNING: Some viewers may find the following images disturbing. Includes graphic images of animal killing.
The Hunters
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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on April 4th, 2021, 12:05 pm, edited 2 times 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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viktor-vaudevillain
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#5

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

Howards End (James Ivory, 1992) - 7

Christmas In July (Preston Sturges, 1940) - 7+

Bouquets 1-10 (Rose Lowder, 1995) - 9
Bouquets 11-20 (Rose Lowder, 2009) - 9

সুবর্ণরেখা / Subarnarekha (Ritwik Ghatak, 1965) - 8+

Anatomie de l'enfer / Anatomy of Hell (Catherine Breillat, 2004) - 5-

Stendalì: Suonano ancora / Stendali (Still They Toll) (Cecilia Mangini, 1960) - 8+
La Canta delle Marane / The Marshes’ Chant (Cecilia Mangini, 1961) - 9

Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961) - 5

Goshogaoka (Sharon Lockhart, 1998) - 8+

Déjà Vu (Tony Scott, 2006) - 10
not everything is fish, but fish are teeming everywhere
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RolandKirkSunglasses
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#6

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

@sol

I adore Agnes Varda, near the end of her career she made quite a few films about her own career. "Beaches of Agnes" is an all-time fave but "Faces Places" is just OK, I blame it all on J.R.

@torgo

Ahh The Jerk, a good one from my childhood that can't be made today (or can it?) Day at the Races feels its length sometimes, I even enjoyed the musical number (even if it didn't serve much purpose), probably the last decent Marx Brothers movie (their next one "Room Service" is horrendously bad).


I had another quiet week, perhaps it's the new normal.

A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929): OK overall, some fascinating imagery and rapid cutting salvages the bland storyline.

You Only Live Once (1937): Henry Fonda fresh out of prison tries to go straight, he makes a lot of ridiculous decisions and the plot goes downhill. Some nice visual touches but too melodramatic for my tastes, Fritz Lang made better noirs in America than this.

J'Accuse (1919): Impressive early WW I silent from Abel Gance, some of the heavy-handed themes are understandable considering the time it was made.

Les Miserables (1934): Of all the classic novels I've read Les Mis is one of the worst: couldn't stand the melodrama or the 50 page diversions from the main plot. So what to make of a film considered the most faithful adaptation of the novel? Judging by the studio sets it didn't have the largest budget but the acting is pretty solid and the melodrama is toned down somewhat, it also trims a lot of excess which usually works out for the better. Considering the length I liked it.

Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939): Interesting to compare this with the earlier, smaller budget Hugo adaptation. Hunchback has nice costumes, some wonderful cinematography and sets and a good performance from Charlie Laughton, the tone and focus of the film shifts a fair bit, none of the secondary characters holds attention as much as the Hunchback; Gringoire is pretty annoying most of the time. OK.

Farewell to Arms (1932): Minor adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel, lots of subpar acting and little chemistry between the two leads.

Escape from Japan (1964): Quite a dull film about a jazz-obssessed lad wanting to move to America as the Olympics arrive in Tokyo. Some nice colour but pretty boring overall.

High and Low (1963): I used to think this was Kurosawa's best crime film, on a rewatch it's not as good as "Bad Sleep Well". The studio-bound first half of the film creates some impressively choreographed sequences, amplifying the moral dilemma of Kingo risking his business for his chauffeur's son. After the decision is made and an exciting sequence on a train, it becomes a highly detailed police procedural. You don't get much of a feel for Yokohama thanks to the first half of the film, the story could've easily been set in Tokyo without altering much from the story. Once the Police believe they've found the culprit they make a ridiculous decision to stretch out the running time for the sake of a little more excitement. The final meeting offers very little social commentary, Heaven and Hell are painted in such broad strokes you wonder why the film has to run almost 2 hours 20 minutes. Loses power on rewatch.

Red Beard (1965): First time I watched it I thought it was one of Kurosawa's best films, on a rewatch several years later I think it's one of his weakest films. The opening is quite interesting, an uppity novice doctor learns humility from working in a country hospital for the poor. Some good long-takes and striking photography aside, it focuses too much on secondary characters to the detriment of the central relationship. Some of the ropey dialogue is worsened by the schmaltziest of schmaltz soundtrack, to top it all off there's a completely pointless fight scene near the halfway point. Wants to be a humanistic view of the poor, comes across as naive soap opera.
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#7

Post by sol »

RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: March 29th, 2021, 3:25 pm @sol

I adore Agnes Varda, near the end of her career she made quite a few films about her own career. "Beaches of Agnes" is an all-time fave but "Faces Places" is just OK, I blame it all on J.R.
That's interesting to hear because yeah, after being really impressed by Lions Love the week before, Faces Places indeed struck me as decent but nothing special. Maybe it is indeed to with JR, I don't know, the film certainly makes a bigger deal out of his resemblance to Jean-Luc Godard than it should have done and many of his interactions with Varda were clearly staged. I did really like his artwork though. And your Beaches of Agnes recommendation noted.

Yours:

Haven't seen Hunchback in over fifteen years and all that I vividly recall is Charles Laughton's performance. Didn't find the film too remarkable at the time.

It has been twelve years on Red Beard but I do recall the focus on the secondary characters (I think I described the film as episodic at the time) though I actually recall finding the secondary characters interesting. I don't know. It's been a while. Not a top tier Kurosawa film for me, but I would it place it in the top ten of what I have seen from him. It probably deserves a revisit at some stage.
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#8

Post by prodigalgodson »

Duvidha (Mani Kaul, 1973) 9/10

Gritty minimalistic cinematic forklore. The roughshod framework, illuminated by flashes of stark poetry, evokes the sensation of grasping at memories of a fading dream as you wake. Mesmerizing throughout, but the portrayal of lost love as the story closes provided me an unexpectedly emotional jolt, with Kaul's focus on Raisa Padamsee's countenance lending the ostensibly upbeat ending a bitter irony.

One Day Before the Rainy Season (Mani Kaul, 1971) 10/10

The best single-location film of all time and an unequivocal masterpiece of humanist cinema. Kaul, playwright Mohan Rakesh, photographer K.K. Mahajan, and lead Rekha Sabnis have crafted something timeless and magical.

No No Sleep (Tsai Ming-liang, 2015) 8/10

Tsai following Lee Kang-sheng's snail-paced monk through the pulsating nighttime metropolis, followed by an elevated subway tour of Tokyo, is my idea of cinematic bliss. Enjoyed the subsequent spa/hotel section too, but it was a reminder of how obscure I continue to find Tsai's intentions as a filmmaker and storyteller.

Zack Snyder's Justice League (Zack Snyder, 2021) 4/10

Started this a few days ago, and was actually digging the operatic bombast of the opening, but I lost interest at a rate with slope around negative 1 as it went on and only finished it over the course of like 5 viewings. The state of auteurism in 2021: a "visionary" is given complete creative control over a project and apparently expends it on histrionic set-dressing of boring characters, lame dialogue, an absurdly underwhelming plot, and Cyborg's floating jack-in-the-box head.

Walker (Tsai Ming-liang, 2012) 8/10

The first in Tsai's series based on a performance art piece following Lee Kang-sheng's languid monk on a world tour, in this case featuring some stunning compositions of Hong Kong's dreamy cityscape.

Our Daily Bread (Mani Kaul, 1969) 8/10

Kaul's debut, rooted in social realism but with an indelible poetic touch. The acting style, aspects of the framing, and the relentless injustice call to mind Bresson, but the evocative flow of pseudo-abstract imagery of Punjabi village life is uniquely Kaulian. Some of the best black-and-white filmmaking of its era, even if the drama's laid on a bit thick compared to his subsequent work.
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#9

Post by prodigalgodson »

sol
Arizona Dream - been curious about this one for years, and your description makes me more eager to seek it out
The Gentlemen 7 - very crisp, I'm not the biggest Ritchie fan but I definitely enjoyed this
The Death of Stalin 8 - great stuff, that international cast is so surreal
Three Billboards 6 - enjoyed this fairly well, but didn't leave a big impression, especially compared to something like In Bruges

hond
Brooklyn 6 - "decent drama" sounds about right
Blood of a Poet 8 - I get what you mean about obvious tricks getting in the way of a surreal atmosphere, that happens more and more with me and old Hollywood films -- the artifice that used to feel like a window into this off-kilter parallel universe now just looks like matte paintings and backlots -- but this one worked quite well for me, I think in large part to seeing it with a live score from local electronic musicians

torg
The Jerk - found this pretty funny when I was younger, don't know what I'd think now

pda
Une femme mariee 6 - some great moments, but far from Godard's most striking work of the era
Interstellar 7 - surprised how much I liked this when I rewatched it recently
digging that African footage

vv
Anatomy of Hell 6 - thought it was pretty decent given its reputation
Blast of Silence 5 - yeah pretty mediocre late noir
Deja vu - wow, guess I should check this out

rks
You Only Live Once 6 - yeah, feels like Lang's still getting his sea legs in Hollywood; Baldwin had a great take on this in, I believe, The Devil Finds Work, though I forget the details
A Farewell to Arms 5 - yeah, I'd expected better from Borzage; should've read the book first but at least I've forgotten everything that happened
High and Low 8 - I'd also give The Bad Sleep Well the edge, and while I can still admire it's an excellently-crafted film, seeing it a second time, even on film, was a slight let-down after it'd blown me away the first time around
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#10

Post by Bing147 »

Down again slightly this week, only got to 19 films. Of course that's a pretty good week so I'm not mad about it, lol.

The Mouse That Roared (1959): Really funny movie. Peter Sellers is outstanding and it makes some excellent points about international relations that hold up more than 60 years later. B+

Victim (1961): Definitely far ahead of its time and for that its interesting, but the actual film itself is rather pedestrian. Its fine, but I didn't find anything about it particularly outstanding. Well acted, well made, but ultimately just fine. C+

Harlan County USA (1976): B
Blackmail (1929): C+

Baby Driver (2017): So much style, but the story behind it holds up as well. I love the use of music, the sound work and editing are outstanding, and its univerally well acted. Not traditionally a big fan of Ansel Elgort, but he's good here. An excellent action film. A-

Topsy-Turvy (1999): B
Ratcatcher (1999): B
Kes (1969): B+
Brighton Rock (1948): C+

Portrait of Jason (1967): Really hard to rate this one. On the one hand, its a fascinating look at a place and time and Jason is a wonderful character. The actual film making here is atrocious though. I'm not sure that it ever really matters that much however given the simple nature of the production. B-

The Knack... and How to Get It (1965): C
The Italian Job (1969): B
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014): B
Clueless (1995): B

Fox and His Friends (1975): I'm a fan of Fassbinder's work, but still haven't seen enough of it. This is my 7th film of his, but considering how prolific he was in such a short time, I still have a lot to see. This is among his best as far as I'm concerned. Wonderful critique of class and capitalism that balances really well with an actually interesting story and characters, something that can easily be forgotten in such a film. Fantastic ending. A

Fires Were Started (1943): B-
Career Girls (1997): C

Sabotage (1936): I've never been a massive fan of Hitchcock's early years. I like The Lady Vanishes a lot, but other than that I've not been terribly impressed with anything he did before Rebecca. This is my second favorite of the bunch. Still a bit of a mixed bag, the story and characters could be stronger, but there are some stupendous sequences and the sense of tension that he became such a master of building is definitely present. Didn't love it, but I liked it. B

The Death of Stalin (2017): Have to agree with Sol on this one, its a really terrific film. I actually wasn't a huge fan of In the Loop and the part of Veep I tried watching seemed fine but didn't really grab me so I've been putting this off. Too long it seems. Great cast, and it just consistently made me laugh. Makes great use of history while not being beholden to it. Does a great job of capturing the feel of that era. Well worth anyone's time. A-
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#11

Post by Lakigigar »

No movies, but i listened a lot of music

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I disliked Arcade Fire a bit... both their albums are among the weakest, if not the two weakest i've heard so far last week. On top of that, i think Everything Now is also the worst single that got released i've listened to last week, and even in a while.

Listened to a lot of digital cumbia and weird latin American music (that i like for some reason), after listening to Rosalia haha.
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#12

Post by Onderhond »

prodigalgodson wrote: March 29th, 2021, 7:57 pm Blood of a Poet 8 - I get what you mean about obvious tricks getting in the way of a surreal atmosphere, that happens more and more with me and old Hollywood films -- the artifice that used to feel like a window into this off-kilter parallel universe now just looks like matte paintings and backlots -- but this one worked quite well for me, I think in large part to seeing it with a live score from local electronic musicians
Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. I rarely have trouble rating films, but I still haven't found a comfortable way to rate old silent shorts with updated soundtracks. For me a soundtrack is an essential part of a film that cannot simply be swapped out at will. Many of these early shorts benefit from a more contemporary soundtrack in my opinion, but they're simply not the original work anymore.

Edit: haven't seen any from yours btw, but I think I did see the third in that Tsai installment (Journey to the West was it?). Not really my thing though, while I didn't mind the slowness, it wasn't really stylized enough to appeal to me, which made it a pretty dull watch.
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#13

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

Japanese silent films used to have a benshi (narrator) in the theatre describing the action, reading intertitles, performing dialogue for each character e.t.c. Almost every Japanese silent film available comes with a piano score and no benshi.

Only Japanese silent I've seen with a benshi is "Jirokichi the Rat", took a few minutes to get used to it but it still goes against the "show, don't tell" mantra.

https://vimeo.com/50588634

Still have no idea how someone narrated "A Page of Madness".
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