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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 02, 2022]

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Onderhond
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 02, 2022]

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Post by Onderhond »

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First of all, a word from our sponsor:

"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. 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." - sol

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01. 4.0* - Happiness by Hiroyuki Tanaka (2016)
Don't be fooled by the title, this isn't one of Tanaka's lighter films. Though the premise sounds perfect for a fun genre flick and the first third of the film leaves you guessing, the middle part and the finale hit pretty hard. Nagase is outstanding, the cinematography is stylish, the soundtrack is exemplary, the drama is captivating. Tanaka proves time and time again he's one of the most gifted and unique contemporary Japanese directors, which makes his somewhat lackluster international status that more frustrating.

02. 3.5* - Marygoround [Maryjki] by Daria Woszek (2020)
A Polish film about menopause, it sounds like the ideal setup for a grim and sullen arthouse drama, but director Woszek goes for a more fun and joyous vibe. The impeccable and overt styling reminded me a little of Jeunet/Caro's early collaborations, though Woszek does keep a clearer balance between genre and arthouse aesthetics. Mary is a devout, lonely woman who just hit her menopause. She works in a little supermarket, where she observes life as it happens around her. The hormonal imbalances that come with the transition unlock new desires inside Mary, and with a little help from her niece, she seems ready to start a new chapter in her life. From the very first frame, we see accentuated colors and pristine sets, immediately signalling a less realistic approach to the drama. The performances are solid, cinematography and soundtrack work well together and though the theme is not something too close to my heart, the film does an excellent job conveying its message. Woszek does lose it a bit in the final third, other than that this was a pretty cool discovery.

03. 3.5* - The Fable [Za Faburu] by Kan Eguchi (2019)
Fun and easy to digest. The Fable offers a balanced mix of crime, action and comedy, honoring each genre in equal parts while making sure that entertainment value remains top priority at all times. It's not a future classic of Japanese cinema, but it's a hell of a good time and perfect filler for people craving a light but punchy film. The Fable is a legendary hitman who is forced to retire for an entire year. His new assignment is to blend in with the rest of the population, not killing a single person. That's easier said than done, as he ends up in the middle of a gang war where he has to protect his new girlfriend. The action is pretty slick, Okada is perfect in the lead and the comedy is delightfully silly. Mind you, the film can get pretty dark, with quite a few innocent people dying along the way, but that's just part of the fun. The best thing about The Fable though is that there's also a sequel, I'm already looking forward to that one.

04. 3.5* - Caught in Time [Chu Bao] by Ho-Leung Lau (2020)
A classic Hong Kong cops & robbers film. In tackles a notorious gang that was active in the early 90s, which gives the film a good excuse to revisit some of Hong Kong's glory years. Director Ho Leung Lau does a pretty good job recapturing the spirit of those days, but fails to add anything new to a niche that is already swamped. Eagle is a hardened criminal who leads a team of five. Together they are responsible for several brutal bank robberies. Detective Zhong leads the police team assigned to Eagle's case. With each new robbery, Zhong gets a little closer to catching Eagle and his gang, even though there's a serious toll to pay for both of them. The Chinese propaganda at the end is lame, but Lau gets around it pretty well by making Daniel Wu (who plays Eagle, the bad guy) the absolute star of the film. It's one of his finest performances yet and in the end I was rooting for him, not the police. The action scenes are pretty cool, the drama is solid and the procedural elements well executed. This is quality genre work from Hong Kong.

05. 3.5* - Alien by Ridley Scott (1979)
Alien used to be a top personal favorite of mine when I was younger, but with every consecutive viewing, the film has gotten worse. Not the Giger/industrial design part, that's still pretty great. Everything around it though is really starting to show its age, and it has come to a point where I just can't call it a personal favorite anymore. When the crew of a spaceship wakes up, it becomes clear that they haven't arrived at their destination just yet. The central computer woke them up after receiving a distress call and their contract forces them to inspect the situation. The call comes from an alien planet, so they have no choice but to go out and explore the source of the signal. The xenomorph is still one of my all-time favorite creatures, but Scott's film doesn't do Giger's designs justice. The performances and characters are rather tepid, the music is a little silly, the editing is rough, and the tech designs are often nonsensical. And then there's the ending, which is a total disgrace. There are still moments of genius, the lighting and interior design are pretty rad, but it's not enough anymore to ignore the film's faults.

06. 3.5* - Star Wars: Visions by Takanobu Mizuno, Taku Kimura, Hiroyuki Imaishi, Hitoshi Haga, Kenji Kamiyama, Abel Gongora, Masahiko Ôtsuka, Yuki Igarashi, Eunyoung Choi (2021)
I'm always in the mood for a good anthology, certainly when some of my favorite anime people are involved. Disney released this Star Wars-influenced project as a series, but with 9 shorts and total runtime of 150 minutes I don't see how this differs from any other anthologies that have been released, so I'm just treating it as a regular film. The idea is pretty cool, having 9 different anime directors reimagine the Star Wars world, sadly the result has a bit too many lightsaber fights in samurai settings. I'm not certain if Disney had a say in this, but the fun thing about anthologies is the variation they bring, and Visions doesn't quite deliver. The first film is by far the best, it's also the only one that doesn't look like a typical anime. Imaishi's entry is cool, but a bit tame compared to his normal work, the Tezuka-inspired film is cute, and the two final shorts do make a real attempt to offer something slightly different, but overall the quality level isn't up to par with something Studio 4 °C would release. They're also the studio that is oddly absent from the line-up. Visions is no doubt one of my favorite Star Wars things, but with the wealth and support of Disney, I expected something more eye-popping.

07. 3.5* - That Moment, My Heart Cried [Sono Shunkan, Boku wa Nakitaku Natta] by Hiroki Horanai, Hiroki Inoue, Daishi Matsunaga, Takashi Miike, Isao Yukisada (2019)
A pretty peculiar anthology. This was marketed as something a bit more experimental, heralding new forms of film making and all that. The result: five pretty basic Japanese drama shorts, some of them with a little fantastical twist, but none of them really doing anything special or out of the ordinary. There's no clear concept here, apart from the fact that the primary focus lies on drama. Takashi Miike and Isao Yukisada were brought in to spearhead this film, the other three directors are younger and still have everything to prove. Again, that's par for the course, as most Japanese anthologies are set up this way. Miike's short feels like a live action version of a Shinkai film, but the execution is a little flat, the 2nd and 3rd shorts aren't all that remarkable either. Horanai's film is the first to really show some promise, but it's Yukisada's 5th and final entry that finally delivers the goods. It's certainly not a bad collection of films, but I honestly expected more. There are no weak films, but no stand-outs either.

08. 3.5* - Face/Off by John Woo (1997)
An old favorite of mine. After rewatching Hard Boiled last year I had good hopes for Face/Off, but it seems John Woo's US work is a bit more prone to aging. It's not even the practical effects or the action scenes, but everything in between that pulls the rest of the film down. And since there's quite a bit of that in this 140-minute film, the overall appeal took a small hit. The concept is still simple but genius. The feud between a hardened criminal and a devoted cop gets a fun twist when they swap faces (and thus identities), without the people around them being aware of the switch. It's a little headfuck that turns a basic action flick into a something slightly nastier. While the premise is cool, it does mean that Cage is forced to play a softer character, whereas Travolta has to strain himself to play a badass criminal. The action scenes are still cool as ever and Cage really fits well into Woo's universe, the rest of the cast is noticeably weaker and fails to bring the cool. The drama in between is also pretty daft. If you'd trim the film down to 90 minutes it could still be a masterpiece, but at 140 minutes there are just too many weaker moments.

09. 3.5* - Midnight Swan by Eiji Uchida (2020)
Uchida's latest is a film about a trans woman, who takes care of her niece, a promising ballet dancer. I've been keeping track of Uchida for a while now, and he's a pretty interesting director, but it's probably no surprise that one of his more conventional films to date won him his first big prize. Ichika's mother isn't quite ready to take care of her daughter, so Nagisa steps in. Nagisa is transitioning to become a woman and is a bit conflicted about taking on extra responsibilities, but ultimately she wants to be there for Ichika. Taking care of a teen turns out to be quite a chore. Midnight Swan is a nice film, but apart from its lead character it isn't all that remarkable. The drama is a bit grittier compared to more commercial films, that's about it. Proper cinematography, solid performances and a decent score make for a pleasant film, though the final half hour did get a bit too sentimental and predictable for my taste. A good film, but not really worth the accolades.

10. 3.0* - Cash Truck by Guy Ritchie (2021)
When Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham get together to make an action film, there are inevitably going to be certain expectations. Cash Truck didn't come even close to meeting them, it turned out to be a very basic American action flick with some narrative jumps to make the plot a bit more interesting. H joins a security company as a cash truck driver. He doesn't really fit in with the rest of the guys, but after rescuing his colleagues from an ill-planned heist they do respect his skills. What they don't know is that H has ulterior motives for joining the company, related to a heist that happened 5 months earlier. Statham is his usual self, the rest of the cast is a bit of a letdown. The plot isn't anything special, and the comedy is mostly absent. What remains is a solid action flick with a grittier edge and a proper finale. It's certainly not a bad film and action fans will have quite a bit to look forward to, It's just not up there with Ritchie's better work.

11. 3.0* - New Interpretation Records of the Three Kingdoms by Yuichi Fukuda (2020)
Fukuda used to be somewhat of a renegade comedy director, nowadays, he's part of the commercial establishment. His budgets are clearly higher, and he has access to bigger and more famous actors, but his comedies have also lost an edge. The very edge that made his earlier work stand out. As the title already explains, the film is a fictional (and obviously comedic) retelling of the Three Kingdoms story. While I'm somewhat familiar with the story through various films and games, I never actually read the source material, and I'm sketchy on chronology and characters, which is somewhat of a disadvantage as I'm quite certain I didn't get all the references and jokes. The comedy is pretty typical for a Japanese film. Some hard to translate puns, lots of awkward pauses and odd reactions (the manzai roots are clearly there), funny reimaginings of established lore (like the Red Cliff battle) and some random weirdness (but not enough of the latter). It's a pretty amusing film, just a bit too long and not quite weird or edgy enough to be up there with the best.

12. 3.0* - Sanctorum by Joshua Gil (2019)
A peculiar drama, sprinkled with minor but pointed fantasy elements. The mix doesn't feel entirely natural, the abrupt switches between brooding, foreshadowing dread and slow-paced drama can be a bit jarring, but there are moments of true genius here, certainly enough to give this film a fair shot. The film is set in a small and remote mountain village. The lives of the people there are upheaved when the army starts to attack drug cartels in the surrounding mountains. The villagers are advised to move away, but they're willing to defend their land. Meanwhile, a young boy ventures out on his own to find his lost mother. I loved the more abstract moments, those that rely on eerie ambient/illbient soundscapes to create a dark and menacing atmosphere. The dramatic scenes sport less audiovisual polish, and the balance between the two didn't always feel right. The film does end strong, so I'm definitely willing to give Joshua Gil another shot with his next film.

13. 3.0* - Dead Girl Walking [Za Horâ Kaiki Gekijô: Kaiki! Shinin Shôjo] by Koji Shiraishi (2004)
Koji Shiraishi's entry in the Hideshi Hino horror anthology. Back when this was released, Shiraishi wasn't a "big" name yet. His status has changed quite a lot over the years, which makes it always a bit more interesting to watch these forgotten films. Dead Girl Walking certainly isn't the worst film in the anthology. On an ordinary day, the young Sayuri suddenly gets a heart attack. She is pronounced dead by the doctor, but Sayuri is conscious, and she can still walk around. She is left in the care of her family as her body slowly starts to deteriorate. When her presence becomes too hard to handle, they decide to kill Sayuri, but she manages to escape. As with most of these films, the premise sounds pretty basic, but things do get weird real fast. The grim black and white cinematography and some oddball events in the second half really upgrade this film from a simple horror film to something with a more pronounced and memorable signature. Short and sweet.

14. 3.0* - Return of the Sentimental Swordsman [Mo Jian Xia Qing] by Yuen Chor (1981)
Chor's Sentimental Swordsman series is pretty damn solid. I failed to watch them in order, but as with most Shaw Bros productions, it's not very difficult to keep track of the plot. And the parts you might end up missing are rarely crucial to appreciating the film. It certainly wasn't too hard to get back into this series. After wandering around for three years, Li Xunhuan returns to his home and plans on settling down. Of course, some villains won't let him. They'll need to defeat Xunhuan if they want to be ranked as top martial artists. Xunhuan seeks out A Fei, while he is confronted by yet another threat: the Money Clan. It's not the greatest action film produced by the Shaw Bros, but the decors and the soundtrack make this one of their more atmospheric films. I prefer the third entry in the series, but it is a small step up from the first Sentimental Swordsman and the trilogy is a pretty good start for people who haven't seen any of Chor's films yet, as they do a good job of highlighting his particular skills.

15. 2.5* - Great Happiness [Ji Le Dian] by Yi Ao Wang (2019)
A rather basic Chinese drama. For the past 20-25 years or so, a combination of generational differences and urban/rural friction has been the staple of the Chinese drama/arthouse scene. Great Happiness is another take on these themes, this time set in Xining, the capital of a province bordering on Tibet. We follow three youngsters from China's one-child era who are trying to make it as adults. Li is betting everything to make it big as a businessman, Sui wants to be an architect but dislikes China's megalomaniac construction projects and Wang is facing the pressure of his family to become a father. The cinematography is polished and makes great use of setting and lighting. The score on the other hand is lacking and the sometimes overbearingly vocal characters stand in the way of an atmospheric film. The themes are also predictable and rather stale, which makes the 150-minute runtime a bit of a challenge. There's potential here, but only if Wang can find a way to set himself apart from his peers.

16. 2.5* - Death Train [Kyoufu Ressha] by Kazuyuki Sakamoto (2004)
Back in the early 00s, Japanese horror cinema was thriving. So much in fact that it struggled to meet demand. One thankful source of horror stories were the horror mangas, it was no surprise at all to see several anthology projects spring up, honoring some of the more infamous writers. Death Train is part of the Hideshi Hino series, one of the obscure outings. Three girls are on their way to an amusement park. They board a train, even though none of the girls seem very excited to go. What was supposed to be a leisurely trip turns out to be a real disaster, as the train is involved in a big accident. Most people on the train end up dead, the girls seem to have come out unscathed. But once they try to resume their normal lives, it turns out something is off. Death Train is pretty much par for the course. It's short, cheaply made, and generally chews off more than it can handle. Then again, it is nice to see a director commit to some pretty outlandish concepts, even when he doesn't really have the budget to do so. A pretty amusing horror film for fans of the genre, if you can live with its shortcomings, that is.

17. 2.5* - Fly Me to Polaris [Xing Yuan] by Jingle Ma (1999)
Jingle Ma isn't the most subtle of directors, so when he's doing romance you pretty much know what you're getting yourself into. The fantasy elements are a welcome diversion and the soundtrack (though often overbearing) does add some extra flavor, but there's no escaping the cheesy in this one. Onion is killed in a traffic incident, but because he's the 60th billion deceased he gets a chance to decide his future. Either he goes to Polaris (the afterlife), or he returns to Earth and gets another 5 days to make it work with the girl he loves. The only problem is that she won't be recognizing him when he returns. Richie Jen is pretty horrible, Cecelia Cheung is passable, though not at a level where she can carry the film. The cinematography is rather bland, and the Ma doesn't fear sentiment, the score on the other hand does bring something to the table and the finale is pretty surprising. Not exactly great cinema, but I expected worse.

18. 2.5* - Dangerous Minds by John N. Smith (1995)
I remember renting this one from the video store, as there was quite a lot of buzz when it came out. And I also remember liking it, though thinking it wasn't all that special and somewhat undeserving of all the attention. I hadn't seen it since, so I figured it would be fun to revisit it. It still holds up, but I remain uncertain about why it got such glowing reviews back then. Pfeiffer does pretty well as a well-meaning teacher who is given a "special needs" class. Mostly colored kids from poor neighborhoods who don't care much about school. After a rocky start and a little perseverance, she starts to get through to them, but one (wo)man can't change the world. If you get triggered by white savior narratives or Hollywoodian simplifications then this isn't the film for you. But the kids act well, the drama is decent enough and the film isn't too drawn out, which is a blessing. Not a future classic, not even that remarkable a film, but it's not the worst drama either.

19. 2.0* - Blue Sky [Aozora] by Takahisa Zeze (1989)
If you like Japanese cinema, and you're somewhat of a completist, you'll eventually find yourself watching some cheaply produced pinku films simply because that's a pretty common career path for a Japanese director. Blue Sky isn't in any way representative of Zeze's further career, but it's also not the worst of its kind. The plot is pretty negligible, but what did you expect. A somewhat frumpy looking guy's big dream is buying a car to drive around the countryside, but he has financial trouble and the Yakuza wants their money back. When he meets a prostitute he decides it's time to chase his dream, and he takes her with him. The Yakuza aren't too far behind. Zeze is clearly more interested in the characters and in between the prescribed scenes he does manage to build some proper drama. The cinematography looks cheap, and the soundtrack is terrible, but the performances are surprisingly decent and the friendship between the three leads is nice enough. Not a great film, but focus on the drama, and you'll see shimmers of Zeze's talent.

20. 1.5* - No Time to Die by Cary Joji Fukunaga (2021)
The final Craig Bond. It's not that I don't like Craig, nor that I blame him for the depressing dip in quality this series suffered when he joined, but I'm really happy to see him go. It's no guarantee that Bond will bounce back, but at least the potential is there. Fingers crossed the next Bond cycle will be better. Despite all the effort and time they put into the plot, it's just really just Bond saving the world from a lethal threat, yet again. There are a few more twists and turns, an extra action scene here and there, but the 40 minutes extra don't add anything substantial to the age-old formula. On the contrary, they just slow things down needlessly. The "emotional" moments between Craig and Seydoux are pitiful, Malek is by far one of the dullest Bond villains, and it certainly doesn't help that the film is actively engaging in Twitter rhetoric. The action scenes are decent at least, though nothing too spectacular or remarkable. Good riddance and here's to a future with shorter and sillier Bond films.

21. 1.5* - A Fistful of Dynamite [Giù la Testa] by Sergio Leone (1971)
By far the best Leone film I've seen so far. Westerns aren't for me, Leone's film in particular have always rubbed me the wrong way. They are crazy long, slow and way too serious. A Fistful of Dynamite isn't a complete turnaround, but there's a much bigger focus on action and the mood is noticeably lighter. Juan is the leader of a criminal gang, their goal is to rob a big bank. They run into John, a bomb expert who is on the run from the Brits. Juan can convince John to join their band of criminals, but John is more interested in supporting the Mexican revolutionists, who could make excellent use of John's skills. The Morricone soundtrack is extremely cheesy, and the 150-minute runtime is a bit silly, but there are some large-scale action scenes that are quite fun. The characters don't take themselves too serious either (certainly not Juan), which makes it a lot easier to enjoy the boorish action scenes. If only there hadn't been so much horrible filler, this could've been something.

22. 1.5* - Mephisto by István Szabó (1981)
My first Szabo (outside an entry in the Ten Minutes Older anthology). I didn't really know what to expect, but based on the poster I had hoped for a slightly more expressive, unique film. Instead, Mephisto is a more traditional undertaking, one that submerges itself into the arts and theater world. The plot revolves around Hendrik, a rather pretentious and self-righteous actor who enjoys some sudden success when he takes on the role of Mephisto. As the Nazis are slowly taking over the country, Hendrik struggles to balance his newfound popularity with the changing political circumstances, renouncing the people around him in favor of success. It's a pretty familiar artist-gone-bad story, then again it is based on a literary classic, so that's not all too surprising. The direction is relatively vibrant, but only compared to similarly themed films. The setting is pretty poor (it never felt like pre-WWII Germany to me) and the acting was a bit overdone too. Not great.

23. 1.5* - Alison's Birthday by Ian Coughlan (1981)
A somewhat random Australian horror flick. There's nothing that really stands out here, which is why they probably just focused on making a slightly weirder poster design. Now, horror isn't really about originality to begin, but the execution is just as unremarkable, making this one pretty hard to recommend. Alison's 19th birthday is coming up, her family is planning a big party to celebrate the event. In the days leading up to the party Alison starts experiencing odd episodes and the closer she gets to her birthday, the worse she feels. Something is off, and her family seem to know more about it. The performances are dim, the cinematography and score are bland and the film doesn't make much of an effort to conceal its twists. It's a really lazy horror flick that leans on a handful of scenes that are slightly more atmospheric, but that's hardly enough to save this one from oblivion. Truly forgettable and unremarkable.

24. 1.5* - Destiny [Al-massir] by Youssef Chahine, Khairiya A-Mansour (1997)
A pretty formal film about a time in history (the Arab-ruled Andalusia in the 12th century) that doesn't get too much attention otherwise. It could've made a decent enough premise, but apart from the decent cinematography, the film loses itself in dry philosophy, rather dull characters and the odd musical intermezzo. The film follows Averroes, a respected philosopher who is appointed by the caliph to be the grand judge and lead the court. Averroes does so with reason and compassion, but not everyone likes his ideas. The rise of a fanatical Islam sect pushes the caliph to expel Averroes, leaving his students to keep his ideologies alive. The pacing is sluggish, my ears weren't quite ready for the songs and the performances are pretty middling. I also don't care too much for the religious and philosophical themes, but at least the film looked quite polished. It wasn't enough to warrant the 2+ hour runtime, but certainly not the worst Egyptian film I've seen.

25. 1.0* - Germany Year Zero [Germania Anno Zero] by Roberto Rossellini (1948)
This is Rossellini's third and final part in his war trilogy. The biggest difference with the previous two entries is that the film isn't set in Italy, instead, we move to Germany to explore the post-War situation. It's an interesting shift, at least on paper, I wish I could say the same about the actual film. We follow Edmund, a young boy who lives in a demolished country. His family has no money and no food, and the boys walks through the rubble of the city, hoping to find something to help his family. One day, he bumps into an old teacher, but this encounter will just make Edmund's life worse. Italian neorealism set in Germany, that's what you should expect. The performances are weak, and the drama is sentimental (made worse by an overbearing soundtrack). Visually not much is happening either, and the ending lacks impact. The result is a pretty tepid film, at least it was pretty short.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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噴出祈願 十五代の売春婦 / Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute (1971, 足立正生/Masao Adachi & 荒井晴彦/Haruhiko Arai) 8

Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute finds itself in a great lineage of teenage angst exploring films with a tendency for main characters that are flâneurs and politically radical to one degree or another. These films are full of teenage angst pondering on some of life's most existential questions, investigating of ones own hard to decipher feelings, more with raw zeal than with coherent logic. It's a lyrical investigation more than an analytical one. With dialogue (and often inner monologue) that is between inarticulate and poetic. And it's a pondering that is a communal act more than a solitary one. As one character even asks (in all earnestness) the protagonist at one point when she wants to be by herself away from her friends for a while: "Can you think all alone?

And a more specific type of teenage angst that is more unique to Gushing Prayer is brought forth by the protagonist's prospect of becoming a 15-year-old mother (and the question: to abort or not to abort) is repeatedly met with an unexplained lament or yearning for her own mother who is never seen, never talked about; did she abandon her child, is she alive, is she dead, the backstory is anyone's guess. All the girl does is cry out "Okāsan!" in these indecisive situations, or breathe onto the window of the reception desk in the seemingly abandoned abortion clinic to write "母" onto the fogged glass (母=Okāsan, meaning "mother"). Only four months pregnant she already refers to herself as a mother while contemplating abortion moments later. As vague as all this is in story-terms, it in no uncertain terms points to what Heidegger termed "Geworfenheit" which describes man's individual existences as being thrown into the world, a particularly prevalent sentiment among teenagers and one of the defining ones for what constitutes teenage angst.

Gushing Prayer is where the theme of teenage suicidal tendencies of When Twilight Draws Near meets Mandala's (both by Akio Jissôji) concept of turning sex into a transcendent tool or at least one of revolution (not so much of revolutionizing society than of oneself). But not to give the impression that the film is simply Jissôji-esque, it very much falls in line with the other things I have seen from Masao Adachi so far, not all of which I've liked, I might add. It also philosophically falls in line with Adachi from what I know about him first and foremost from the unorthodox documentary about him by Philippe Grandrieux, the brilliant It May Be That Beauty Has Strengthened Our Resolve - Masao Adachi.

Definitely Nagisa Ôshima's youth films need to be mentioned, like the film that I overall was most reminded of, which is only natural as it is one of my absolute favorites so it always comes back to that one, his The Man Who Left His Will on Film. Or take Diary of a Shinjuku Thief for which Adachi actually has a co-writing credit. Same as various Kôji Wakamatsu-directed films, obviously.

Whereas in those Japanese examples the exploration of those fears and desires of the soul most often takes place in social circles, like a group of friends or a gang who are all more or less on the same trip together, or at the very least a couple or maybe some youths with a lot of romantic liaisons in between them or more commonly just have a lot of sexual intercourse with each other, the French cinema pendant to it noticeably almost always concerns extreme loners, and yet in my mind those films investigate the same things, existential angst from the perspective of youngsters.

Films like Absences répétées and Un homme qui dort. Bresson added to it with Quatre nuits d'un rêveur and eventually put a nail in the coffin with Le diable probablement, which with the benefit of hindsight and a more mature filmmaker at the helm for me played like the more clear-headed summarization of those films when their time had been practically up by that point. The events of May 68 and the years that followed created a special climate and those films were closely tied to their era. Not only was it the shift of the political climate, they also died out along with the last breaths of the New Waves, as the waves gradually turned and moved to other waters.

Or in other words, Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute is one fine example of what is my favorite type of teen movie, bar none.

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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie 2: Electric Boogaloo in Singapore Saint Jack (1979, Peter Bogdanovich) 7

秋立ちぬ / The Approach of Autumn / Autumn Has Already Started / Aki tachinu (1960, 成瀬巳喜男/Mikio Naruse) 5-

禁じられたテクニック / Forbidden Techniques / Unersättliche Triebe / Fancy Footwork / Naomi / Kinjirareta tekunikku (german dub) (1966, 向井寛/Kan Mukai) 4

生贄夫人 / A Wife to Be Sacrificed (1974, 小沼勝/Masaru Konuma) 3

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Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975, Thom Andersen & Fay Andersen & Morgan Fisher) 7+
Inspired, like the choice of having it be narrated by HAL-9000 as he analyzes some 19th century human history.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (2005, Albert Brooks) 7

Wan / Rice Bowl / Bowl (1961, 足立正生/Masao Adachi) (1 1/2 viewings) 7-

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Suspect Zero (2004, E. Elias Merhige) 7

The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021, Joel Coen) 8


shorts

Scotch Hop (1953, Christopher Maclaine) 6+

Hunky and Spunky (1938, Dave Fleischer & Myron Waldman) 7


other

Rifftrax: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (2007) 7-
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991, Nicholas Meyer) (rewatch) (w/ RiffTrax) 3+

"Saint Jack": audio commentary with Peter Bogdanovich (partly)

"Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute" - BR extra: "Stéphane du Mesnildot pour Prière d’extase" (an "introduction" in French sans subs)

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1760 - Adam Curry (2021) 6


notable online media

top:
The Langolier [by "Andrey Milevskiy"]
William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy for Western Airlines 1985
The Future of Cosmology: A live conversation with Brian Greene and Saul Perlmutter [partly]
Matrix Resurrections Is Trolling Itself
The Langoliers Trailer (2022)
rest:
FULL Actors Roundtable: Andrew Garfield, Jonathan Majors, Nicolas Cage & More | THR Roundtables [partly]
Dolph Lundgren talks about his diet plan for workout
China’s got talent grand final- “新的种子” Eric Chien

The week in dirty talk and gushing prostitutes:Image
WARNING: Strong language and nudity.
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and let's run some Shakespeare lines to even things out a bit
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Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on January 31st, 2022, 6:41 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
LETTERBOXD | MUBI | IMDb | tumblr.
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Minkin
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#3

Post by Minkin »

Woah, Minkin's actually posting this on Sunday (technically, I'm still on Saturday according to my view of time - where the day only ends once I've gone to sleep, so it will be Saturday for another 3 more hours).

Joshua Tree (1993) - Inyo County - Rating: 5/10

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Dolph Lundgren is an escaped convict, looking to clear his name and get revenge against those who killed his pal and set him up. This is a film that leaves me with a lot of questions – ones that never get answered + I don’t think anyone thought them through too well. Like, for some reason they put Kristian Alfonso in a silly party outfit for like half the movie, with no explanation other than “she looks great in it”. She’s also a cop, but other than like 3 seconds of martial arts, it never seems to matter. I suppose it provides a “good cop” counter-narrative against the bastard cops in the film – but again, why even bother? Lundgren is of course portrayed as some sort of deity who can absorb bullets, limp or wince for 30 seconds, shoot another 30 goons, and then carry merrily on his way. The only somewhat realistic emotion he depicts the whole movie is a PTSD flashback to the opening shooting incident with losing his friend. The rest of the movie is just him seeming to know every right decision to make and have it perfectly work out for him. But this isn’t the sort of movie you’re supposed to examine in detail – what with weapons raining from the sky into Lundgren’s hands when he needs to reload (it almost feels like an 80s Turkish film at times). Lundgren’s strength here is supposed to be driving (which he does plenty of) + knowing the desert – where he can just turn onto a dusty road, escape from the law, and end up just about anywhere. Granted, at one point he’s taking a Ferrari on these roads… I’ve been on some of these desert “roads” – this is about the worst sort of car for the job he could pick. Anyway, for what is just another mindless action film, its at least entertaining + I appreciate the mild anti-cop sentiment. Its just kinda hilarious to me that this is played straight, and you’re not supposed to find anything comedic about this absurd action movie.
How Do You Know It's Love? (1950) - Illinois - Rating: 6/10

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A girl’s date asks her if she’s in love with him, and that gets her pondering about the entire question of love, which her mom sorta explains. It tries to say there’s differences between the love of friends, stuffed animals, or of parents – or even physical love and infatuations. It settles on “mature love” as the ideal for partners – where you have the same views on children or religion (now make sure you’re both Presbyterians), are comfortable in each other’s company and proud of each other. One annoyance is that they call the love of a child and their stuffed animal friend – “possessive love” – aka the love you have for your possessions. I have a love for my laptop or my favorite dress, and other important objects in my life – but the love of a stuffed animal (like my bison Winston), is more a companionship – where you take care of each other and come to rely on them. Perhaps comparing it to a pet would be more suitable (which isn’t mentioned in the short) – as pets have become a surrogate child for most young adults these days. Another issue is that mature love is supposed to be this zenith – but people evolve, and what was once infatuation turns into resentment and disgust, and then you find yourself loathing this person you fell in love with. People change constantly, and this film makes no mention of that – about how fickle love can be and how our priorities and ideals are always in flux. There’s also something to be said about the love shared with a caretaker – as you depend on a person for your very existence, you therefore share a special bond. But its one so rife with the potential for abuse and harboring feelings of contempt – as the caretaker loses patience with the role they fill and are unable to handle the pressure of life or death control of another. This says nothing about the complex mindfuck of the love felt by the receiver of said care, but I could wax quite awhile on that topic. So its an interesting short film that seems to be attempting to cool the heels of sexual wildcats and making sure relationships are built on non-controversial, bland, accepting love – that’s ever-permanent, apparently (good luck, teen).
The Wicker Man (2006) - Washington - Rating: 3/10

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Nicholas Cage is searching for a missing girl amongst a pagan beekeeper commune, and continuously loses his cool in this film remake. The 70s original is a masterpiece, but I’ve seen the infamous clips from this one (probably seen them since 2006) – so I knew what I was getting into. Unfortunately, for 90% of the film, its just Cage wandering around the island judging people, and getting the run-around, and then only sparingly losing his shit – which is of course always hilarious, but I’ve seen them already, plenty of times. I find it more comedic when the film tries to ape the original in really terrible ways – like the 70s film has a maypole dance and song alluding to sex, but here they just have the kids yell “phallic symbol”. There’s hardly any exploration of the pagan aspect to Summersisle – with Cage just making basic disparaging comments the whole time for no reason – “you’re weird!”. Cage just acts as the 2006 audience member / director, thinking these are just a bunch of wacko hippies with no real rules – its a very anti-Pagan experience. They also removed any of the Christian elements of the original, and instead make Cage into someone who’s into self-help tapes, which rather ruins the whole thing as well. Then they make the commune into a goddess-worshipping female dominated group, with emasculated men – which coming from this film just furthers the whole “these people are not normal” – which of course comes across as terribly misogynistic. I think the only actually interesting element here is that they make Cage into a PTSD survivor – trying to connect a grisly accident to Cage’s psyche. For Cage here does seem to hallucinate fairly often + he’s being led along on some quest to find someone who nobody will say exists – further underscoring Cage’s sanity. As Cage’s well-being is possibly questionable here – he goes off chasing the missing girl in the middle of the night, or sees her under the dock. Its of course a means to throw in more jump-scares, but it teamed with the PTSD aspect only seems to highlight that Cage isn’t well and projecting the past onto this situation. But of course the film handles this as poorly and uninterestingly as possible. So, its just an overall disaster – about as terrible a remake that could have possibly been made. I’d say just stick to the clips online instead of wasting your time with this one.
The Creation of the Humanoids (1962) - USA (apparently no one knows where this was filmed, I assume Los Angeles though) - Rating: 3/10

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Humans have become intertwined with robots – robots who are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, but they’re opposed by a vigilante militia group. Its of course a strong allusion to racial minorities and their struggle in society for basic rights and against oppression (an allusion aided by the militia’s civil war uniforms). The militia wants the “clickers” to be less advanced + humans to become less dependent on them -as though either of those goals would ever be feasible. One of the militia members is appalled to find his sister has developed a romantic relationship with their robot companion (an anti-miscegenation issue) – so the robots are an integral part of people’s lives. The film then turns into an ethical dilemma over the meeting point of artificial life and souls – as the robots become increasingly human in every regard. For this is largely a matter of philosophical debate – as to where life and death lies, and if conscious can be transferred to the mechanical. The film attempts to address this in a very rudimentary way, but still kinda shrugs its’ shoulders and calls it good. Naturally, these nearly-human robots play into the classic schizo delusion of people you know being replaced with exact robotic duplicates. And if you believe that you’ve been replaced with a robot replica, then it would be an issue of thinking that you’re living in a simulation – one controlled by unseen forces (I’ve experienced this one myself). Its essentially a way that unstable people interpret personal change and development in themself and others. Anyway, I gladly appreciate the depth of issues being addressed, its just too bad that this is a seriously dull film with non-stop talking over the course of its runtime. This would’ve been fine as a Star Trek episode (or better – a short story), but it really didn’t need to be dragged out to feature length.
Cinema Safari (Currently working on Inyo County, CA + Zimbabwe upgrade) Help recommend me movies to watch) Letterboxd
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Lakigigar
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#4

Post by Lakigigar »

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artwork

Not watched much because Stalker sort of drained me out, got a booster, and due to yesterday being busy with monitoring the volcano eruption out of interest.

FILMS:

Annihilation (2018): 10/10 dir. Alex Garland, UK/USA
This reminded me a bit of Colour out of Space vibe. I absolutely freaking loved it, even if the first 20 minutes were a bit hard to get into, but it is a great movie. In my opinion even better than Ex Machina, which I didn't expect, otherwise i would have seen it a long time ago. It got released in a period i didn't watch that much films either.

Stalker (1979): 6/10 dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR
I can appreciate this piece of art. The cinematography is fantastic. The score is actually a lot more modern than one would think due to syntheziers being used, and it adds to the eerie atmosphere. Throughout the movie, we see a lot of desolate and depressive landscapes and indoors. It really isn't a cheerful movie, but that was quite clear from the beginning, poster or the plot and the reputation of this film.

It isn't my thing entirely, as I expected it to be. These kind of films are not really what i'm drawn into, but i'm sure it is an otherworldy experience to watch this film to a lot of people. It is clear to see why it has the appeal to other people. For me personally i have a harder time with the very rich philosophical dialogues and unrafeling an underlying meaning of the film, as well as diverse perspectives on the themes the film handles, which are quite complex and too complex for me personally and the themes it handles do not really appeal to me. That's what I struggled most with.

-> I do like the background story of the movie and some aspects were great, but learning about how the film was made was interesting, and it made the film even tougher and darker than it already was. That made me appreciate the movie more, even if it wasn't for me. But maybe that a rewatch could do some wonders, who knows, maybe not, and that's ok. I will give Solyaris a shot too, if i like that one more i might return to Stalker at some point, but not anytime soon.

SERIES:

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The End of the F**cking World season 1 episode 1-8: 10/10 (*)
The End of the F**cking world season 2 episode 1-8: 9/10

The Big Bang Theory season 6 episodes 10-12, 14-18: 6/10 (*)
I skipped the bakersfield expedition, because i hate that episode and have seen it too much.

(*) rewatch

MUSIC VIDEOS:


Lucid Express - Wellwave (2021): 9/10 [HONG KONG]



yeule - Too Dead Inside (2022): 9/10 [SINGAPORE]

ALBUMS:
Lucid Express - Lucid Express (2021): 9/10 [HONG KONG] (*)
Sonic Youth - Confusion is Sex (1985): 8/10 [USA]
Pongo - UWA (2021): 7/10 [EP, ANGOLA]

(*) = relisten

MISCELLANEOUS:


if you watch, put your volume a bit down, because the sonic boom is really a boom, and loud.

Sonic boom from Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai Volcano
Hunga Tonga Volcano Eruption Update; Tsunami Occurs; New Explosive Eruption
Hunga Tonga Volcano Eruption Update; Large Tsunami Occurs; Powerful Explosive Eruption
Underwater volcano Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai in Tonga erupts again
Volcanic Eruption May Be Biggest Ever Seen From Space
Joe Ironside Upsets The Magpies | Newcastle United 0-1 Cambridge United | Emirates FA Cup 2021-22

Tons of video's on Twitter (see basically the geology thread in OT) where i posted them

ARTICLES (i do this one time, but these are three excellent articles that i read and want to share)
New Volcanic Island Unveils Explosive Past (this is from 2017)

https://eos.org/science-updates/new-vol ... osive-past

The Tonga eruption explained, from tsunami warnings to sonic booms

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/scie ... nd-tsunami

Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent, and what to expect next

https://theconversation.com/why-the-vol ... ext-175035
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viktor-vaudevillain
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#5

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

Utopia (Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1983) - 8

Farewell Amor (Ekwa Msangi, 2020) - 5-

당신얼굴 앞에서 / In Front of Your Face (Hong Sang-Soo, 2021) - 8+

박하사탕 / Peppermint Candy (Lee Chang-Dong, 1999) - 8+

The Tin Star (Anthony Mann, 1957) - 9

噴出祈願 十五代の売春婦 / Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute (Masao Adachi, 1971) - 8+

Habeas Corpus (Jorge Acha, 1986) - 8

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) - 9 rewatch

The Truffle Hunters (Michael Dweck & Gregory Kershaw, 2020) - 7 theatrical
Well, I'm always a sucker for animal GoPro. Last time I experienced an animal's perspective GoPro was in Peter Mettler's “Becoming Animal" from a bird's perspective though, here it's a dog. But given the title of Mettler's documentary it was expected. Here it comes as a huge surprise - and elevates this otherwise alright film for me.

+

shorts:

Wall (Takashi Ito, 1987) - hip/10

The Moon (Takashi Ito, 1994) - (l)

Billy (Zachary Epcar, 2019) - meh/10
- would love to see a full length Amazon home invasion film though.
not everything is fish, but fish are teeming everywhere
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Torgo
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#6

Post by Torgo »

I continued my "not bad for me" viewcount streak until I caught a nasty sickness and had to pause for several days. :( Maybe The Painted Bird was too much to take for me.

Summit of the Gods (2021) (6,5/10)
Hilda and the Mountain King (2021) (5/10)
The Hand of God (2021) (5,5/10)
Josee, Tiger and the Fish (2020) (7/10)
Cryptozoo (2021) (6,5/10)
Benedetta (2021) (6,5/10)
The Painted Bird (2019) (7,5/10)

Onderhond wrote: January 16th, 2022, 10:24 am 3.0* - Cash Truck by Guy Ritchie (2021)
Interesting: So it's not only Germany which had that aka title for Wrath of Man, but Austria and NL, and I assume the Dutcher parts of Belgium, too?
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Onderhond
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#7

Post by Onderhond »

Torgo wrote: January 16th, 2022, 10:35 pm Interesting: So it's not only Germany which had that aka title for Wrath of Man, but Austria and NL, and I assume the Dutcher parts of Belgium, too?
I've seen both to be honest. But maybe they hoped someone would make the link with the French original here?
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Torgo
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#8

Post by Torgo »

Ah, of course, I forgot about that. And of all countries, France gave it just another title. :wacko:
Am I mistaken that you usually prefer IMDb original / display titles? :)
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Onderhond
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#9

Post by Onderhond »

Torgo wrote: January 16th, 2022, 10:41 pm Am I mistaken that you usually prefer IMDb original / display titles? :)
I use the IMDb API to prefill some fields when adding a film to my site, but I don't actively investigate too much. Only when it's a title I've never seen used myself I'll change it to the one I'm familiar with.
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gunnar
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#10

Post by gunnar »

The Ninth Circle (1960) - 8/10 - A Croatian family arranges to save the 17 year old Jewish daughter of their friends from being rounded up during WWII by having her marry their 19 year old son. It goes well at

Journey of Hope (1990) - 8/10 - Haydar lives in a small village in Turkey and hears from his cousin how well Turks are doing who have emigrated to Switzerland. He sells most of his belongings and travels with his wife and one son on a journey to Switzerland in hoped of greater prosperity. His other six children are left in the care of relatives until he can hopefully send for them. The journey turns out to be more expensive and arduous than he expected. This is a good film about illegal immigration and how the expectations don't necessarily live up to reality.

Murder on a Sunday Morning (2001) - 8/10 - This documentary covers the trial of a 15 year old black boy who was coerced by police into confessing to the murder of a woman outside a Jacksonville motel early on a Sunday morning. The police did almost no investigating and just picked the boy off the street as he was walking to Blockbuster in hopes of getting a job there. It's a good documentary, but a sad situation and a very bad look for the Jacksonville police.

Muddy River (1981) - 8/10 - Nobuo is a third grader who lives with his family in their noodle shop by the river in postwar Osaka. He befriends a boy his age named Kiichi who lives in a houseboat with his sister and mother and just arrived in the area. This is a very nice film. It's kind of melancholy overall, but has good performances all around. I think being shot in black and white fits the movie well.

The Visit (1964) - 8/10 - Ingrid Bergman plays Karla, a self made millionaire who returns to the town that forced her out of town 20 years earlier as a pregnant 17 year old. They think that she is there to be generous to her old hometown, but she is intent on revenge against Serge (Anthony Quinn), the man who fathered her child and then denied it. Nice performances and one that maintains its momentum throughout.

Hereafter (2010) - 8/10 - Clint Eastwood directed this film about an American psychic who doesn't practice anymore, a French journalist who died and was resuscitated, and a boy from London who lost his brother. The three have their own individual experiences before their stories intertwine. I thought it was very well done and kept me interested throughout. The tsunami scene at the beginning was impressive.

The Captain from Kopenick (1956) - 7.5/10 - A man is released from prison after 15 years, but is unable to get work or get a passport and ends up back in prison. When he is released again 10 years later, he finds that his situation is not much improved. This was an enjoyable little film based on a true story.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) - 7.5/10 - An entertaining adaptation of the Jules Verne novel with James Mason, Pat Boone, and Arlene Dahl. A professor from Edinburgh leads an expedition into an Icelandic volcano and discovers all sorts of interesting things on the way to the center of the Earth.

The Promised Land (1975) - 7.5/10 - Three friends - a Pole, a German, and a Jew - decide to open up a textile factory in 1880s Lodz. The film shows the callous exploitation of labor by the few people with money who controlled businesses. It's a good film and is based on a novel from the late 1890s.

Scrooge (1970) - 7.5/10 - Albert Finney stars in this adaptation of the classic Dickens story. This one contains a number of musical numbers, of which "Thank You Very Much" and the reprise of "I Like Life" were my favorites.

Cabin in the Sky (1943) - 7/10 - Ethel Waters and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson star in this musical about a gambler who is shot and seems destined for hell, but is given six more months to change his ways in order to get into heaven. The cast does a pretty decent job and the songs are good as well.

The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) - 7/10 - A Cro-Magnon toddler is saved and adopted by a Neanderthal tribe and grows up to be Daryl Hannah. I thought this wasn't really as bad as I'd heard and I enjoyed the film. It isn't great cinema, but it was okay.

Finian's Rainbow (1968) - 7/10 - An Irish man and his daughter arrive in the United States early in the 20th Century with a crock of gold stolen from a leprechaun. They find a home in an integrated community that has a racist senator nearby. The movie is kind of absurd, but is still entertaining with good music. It's strange to think that Francis Ford Coppola went from directing this to directing The Godfather just two films later.

Wonder Man (1945) - 7/10 - Danny Kaye stars as nightclub entertainer Buzzy Bellew who is set to testify in a murder trial until he gets murdered himself. His ghost enlists the help of his identical twin brother to set things to rights. Lots of singing, dancing, and humor in this zany adventure. It was fun.

The Cell (2000) - 7/10 - Jennifer Lopez is a child psychologist who is part of a project where her mind is projected into the mind of a comatose child. She is brought in when a serial killer is apprehended, but he is in a coma and the FBI wants to locate his latest victim before it is too late. The film takes us into several dreamscapes. It was decent enough.

The Story of Three Loves (1953) - 7/10 - Three passengers on an ocean liner think back on former loves, even if the relationship was brief. It's a decent movie and the performances weren't bad, but it felt just a bit uninspired at times.

L'Invitation (1973) - 7/10 - Placet is a middle aged man who works in an office and lives with his elderly mother. When she dies, he inherits her cottage and land which is located in a big city. He sells the property and purchases a country estate and then invites his coworkers to a reception at his new home. Things go fairly well, though inhibitions start to loosen after a few drinks. There isn't much action, but the characters make it worthwhile.

None Shall Escape (1944) - 7/10 - The trial of a Nazi war criminal in Poland after the end of WWII is shown with flashbacks to his earlier life and crimes. It was no Judgment at Nuremberg, but it wasn't bad.

Phantom of the Paradise (1974) - 6.5/10 - A singer/songwriter has his music stolen by a devious music producer who later has him arrested and put in prison. After escaping, his face is disfigured and his voice is damaged as well. This is a rock opera mixture from several sources and while I thought the music was good, I wasn't quite as entranced by the rest of the story.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) - 6.5/10 - Robert De Niro stars as The Creature and Kenneth Branagh as Victor Frankenstein. It was actually better than I expected, though not great by any means.

Mama Turns 100 (1979) - 6/10 - Ana (Geraldine Chapman) returns to the home where she served as a nanny as the matriarch of the house is about to turn 100, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. This was okay, but I may have enjoyed it more if I'd seen the earlier Ana and the Wolves film. I didn't think the comedy was that amusing and the drama was only mildly interesting.

'38 - Vienna Before the Fall (1986) - 6/10 - A prominent actress and a Jewish journalist are in love and ignore warnings from friends about the threat of Germany annexing Austria in 1937/38. They seem fairly unconcerned about getting out of Austria while there is still time. It's a fairly dull movie, though the surrounding events seem realistic enough.

On the Beach (1959) - 6/10 - Life in the Northern Hemisphere is wiped out after a nuclear war. An American submarine found safe harbor in Australia, at least until the radiation cloud reaches there in six months. The film has a good cast with Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and others. They give decent performances, but the film as a whole is pretty slow and dull.

West of Zanzibar (1928) - 6/10 - A magician is left paralyzed after a fight with the man who is stealing the magician's wife. The magician travels to Africa, not fear from the other man's ivory business, and spends 19 years setting his revenge into motion.

The Wiz (1978) - 5/10 - There are things that I liked in the film, including some of the musical numbers, but Diana Ross didn't seem to fit and a lot of the designs were pretty ugly.

Shanks (1974) - 5/10 - A strange movie about a deaf mute who is skilled in puppetry, but has a miserable life thanks in part to his cruel sister and her husband. He gets a job with a scientist and learns how to reanimate dead bodies. He uses dead bodies to get even and to have some fun.

Just Imagine (1930) - 3/10 - Life is shown in the far future...1980 to be exact. People flying around New York in personal hover planes instead of using cars, pills instead of food, letters and numbers instead of names, and women seem to be property and forced to marry men who put in an application for them. The humor fell extremely flat, the acting was uninspired, and the musical numbers were so-so at best. Some of the set design for the 'future' was occasionally mildly interesting, but overall the film is pretty bad.

on the tv front:

Star Trek Discovery Season 3 (2020) - A few new faces and plenty of familiar faces here in the third season. While I don't think it reached the level of the second season, it was still very entertaining and I like the place where they ended up. I'll wait for the Blu-Ray for Season 4, but am looking forward to it.
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RolandKirkSunglasses
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#11

Post by RolandKirkSunglasses »

@Onderhond

"Face/Off" was one of my favourite films in my early teens, haven't watched it in almost 20 years and I doubt I'd feel the same way about it.
I usually like Rossellini's films, "Germany, Year Zero" wasn't very exciting and the ending felt forced too.

@Minkin

I liked the original "Wicker Man", I've only seen the infamous clips of the remake and think that's enough.

@Viktor

I didn't like "The Master" when I first saw it, didn't find the storyline engaging or interesting.

@Gunnar

I really liked "Muddy River", don't think I've seen any negative reviews of it on here.
I didn't like "The Wiz" at all, Diana Ross was completely wrong for the role and musicals aren't Sidney Lumet's forte.



I had a very average week, no massive standouts or disappointments:


The Most Wonderful Evening of My Life (1972):

Alberto Sordi makes a shady deal in Switzerland and follows a beautiful motorcyclist to a remote Swiss mansion. He meets several retired judges and agrees to take part in a fake murder trial that becomes all too real. A solid idea for a movie and good acting from Sordi and the old-timers like Michel Simon and Charles Vanel keeps it interesting, the only downsides are a dated soundtrack and some telegraphed twists

Boy's School (1938):

In a french boarding school three boys hold a secret meeting in the science room, dreaming of sailing to America. The youngest one Sorgue thinks he sees someone entering through a wall, the other boys think he's gone mad until Sorgue goes missing one day, the mystery deepens when a second boy disappears. Things aren't so rosy among the teachers either, one teacher thinks war is on the horizon, the alcoholic art teacher (Michel Simon) seems jittery and depressed while the English teacher (Eric von Stroheim) isn't popular and frightens some of the boys. Pretty decent film aided by good performances from Stroheim and the young boys too, the mystery element is slightly underwhelming.

Baby's Laxative (1931):

Jean Renoir's first sound film is based on a talky play and it shows. A man tries to secure a business deal but his wife complains about their young son not taking a laxative, being overly talky and restricted to a couple indoor sets reminds you of Sacha Guitry's weakest films without the wit of the latter. At least it's under an hour.

Gribiche (1926):

Jacques Feyder silent about a young boy struggling to adapt to the rigid routines and stuffy rules of his wealthy, adoptive mother (Francoise Rosay). Not quite as good as "Visages d'Enfants" made a year earlier, it does have good performances and a nice storyline that doesn't get too maudlin, but "Gribiche" could've been trimmed by 15 minutes I felt.

Remorques (1941):

Jean Gabin is a sea captain happily married for the past 10 years, his wife wants him to quit the sea so they can live happily. One night Gabin's ship saves a woman from a wrecked ship and they fall in love. The storyline takes a backseat to the mood of raging storms and life aboard a ship with mixed results, the main flaw of the film is Gabin ditching his wife far too easily to embark on an affair, the film has a strong ending but like the other Gremillion film I saw it's let down by characters making unconvincing decisions to advance the plot.

Devil & The 10 Commandments (1962):

A star-studded portmanteau film consisting of 7 vignettes connected to the 10 Commandments. Varying in length and quality, Michel Simon's blaspheming maintenance guy making all the nuns blush gets the film off to a good start, Fernandel's cameo as God also works but the vignettes aren't long enough to have enough substance. It could've been 10 vignettes for a round number or 4 or 5 stronger vignettes to work, it's stuck inbetween and still winds up a bloated 2 hours 20 minutes.

Our Little Sister (2015):

A lighter Hirokazu Koreeda movie, whether that's a good or bad thing I really don't know. Sachi, Yoshino and Chika live in their late grandma's old home in Kamakura, when their father dies up north they attend the funeral and invite teenage half-sister Suzu to live with them. Sachi works in a hospital and is the more responsible one of the three, Yoshino is a bit flighty and works in a bank, Chika... supports her sisters without really doing much in the movie, while Suzu is responsible and charming beyond her years. It may look like an Ozu homage but the movie resembles Naruse with its gentle tone and subtle character development with lots of repressed emotions and subtle character development. The lack of tension or drama seems odd when you consider the huge dramatic potential in the storyline, at just over 2 hours it can feel a bit slow at times but overall I found it a pleasant experience.

Sir Arne's Treasure (1919):

Swedish silent movie set during a harsh winter, three Scottish mercenaries are on the run looking to get home but the sea is frozen over and no ships can leave. Cold and starving, they rob and murder Sir Arne and his guests for his treasure. The lone survivor of the attack falls in love with one of the murderers, will she join him aboard a ship to Scotland once the ice melts? Or will she turn him in? Boasting decent performances, beautiful snow-capped landscapes and some nice costumes, it's OK although the restored version I watched on youtube didn't have a soundtrack.
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Onderhond
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#12

Post by Onderhond »

RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: January 17th, 2022, 12:59 am "Face/Off" was one of my favourite films in my early teens, haven't watched it in almost 20 years and I doubt I'd feel the same way about it.
Yeah, I was somewhat disappointed, after watching Hard Boiled back and still liking it a lot.
RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: January 17th, 2022, 12:59 am I usually like Rossellini's films, "Germany, Year Zero" wasn't very exciting and the ending felt forced too.
It didn't really help that I didn't care much for the rest of the film either, but the ending did indeed feel very "easy".

RolandKirkSunglasses wrote: January 17th, 2022, 12:59 am Our Little Sister (2015):

A lighter Hirokazu Koreeda movie, whether that's a good or bad thing I really don't know.
A good thing in my book. I prefer it when Koreeda keeps the drama to a minimum, it just goes better with his style of filming. I really liked Our Little Sister, even though nothing much happened and Koreeda avoided the big drama that was right there for the taking. Just a lovely and sweet slice-of-life with pleasant characters, in a sense it felt more realistic that way.
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#13

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

viktor-vaudevillain wrote: January 16th, 2022, 8:50 pm Utopia (Sohrab Shahid Saless, 1983) - 8

Farewell Amor (Ekwa Msangi, 2020) - 5-

당신얼굴 앞에서 / In Front of Your Face (Hong Sang-Soo, 2021) - 8+

박하사탕 / Peppermint Candy (Lee Chang-Dong, 1999) - 8+

The Tin Star (Anthony Mann, 1957) - 9

噴出祈願 十五代の売春婦 / Gushing Prayer: A 15-Year-Old Prostitute (Masao Adachi, 1971) - 8+

Habeas Corpus (Jorge Acha, 1986) - 8

The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012) - 9 rewatch

The Truffle Hunters (Michael Dweck & Gregory Kershaw, 2020) - 7 theatrical
Well, I'm always a sucker for animal GoPro. Last time I experienced an animal's perspective GoPro was in Peter Mettler's “Becoming Animal" from a bird's perspective though, here it's a dog. But given the title of Mettler's documentary it was expected. Here it comes as a huge surprise - and elevates this otherwise alright film for me.

+

shorts:

Wall (Takashi Ito, 1987) - hip/10

The Moon (Takashi Ito, 1994) - (l)

Billy (Zachary Epcar, 2019) - meh/10
- would love to see a full length Amazon home invasion film though.
Gushing Prayer - What a coincidence! :turned: I probably wouldn't have guessed that it was made for you. Have you seen any of the Japanese films that I mentioned in my write-up? And together with 'Utopia' it looks like you also had a more prostitute-heavy week than usual, at least as far as the movies go.
Habeas Corpus - I dl'd this from kg a few days ago, too. Looks interesting, but it will likely take me forever until I watch it.
"Well, I'm always a sucker for animal GoPro" - 2020's 'Curly’s Thanksgiving' by Bill Morrison's cat (a talented household). My review: The first film I have seen that was shot and directed by a cat (at least as far as I know). Gorier than 'Hardcore Henry', the cinematography is about on the same level. One more thing off the bucket list.
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#14

Post by viktor-vaudevillain »

@PdA

God damn... I had written a longer reply to you, but by strange ways I deleted everything........

A few of the points in my reply:

You and your review inspired me to watching Gushing Prayer. Thank you!
Adachi has been a constant source of admiration for me through his life story, poetics (the Fukeiron-theory) and inspiration for other directors, as I've been presented to him through films by Grandrieux and Eric Baudelaire and writings by Nicole Brenez and Yuriko Furahata. But Gushing Prayer was the first Adachi-directed film I've seen. And then I watched AKA Serial Killer today. And I think I'm gonna watch more of his oeuvre throughout the month.
I have seen Mandala and The Man Who Left His Will On Film - I really like both. But I'm not big on the pinku genre apart from these more artsy efforts. I've now bumped the other two up my watchlist.

Nice that you rewatched Zoopraxographer. Beautiful film. Love the dryness. Reminds me a bit of late Farocki. I'm a sucker for pre-cinema cinema history myself.

Thanks for reminding me of that Morrison short. Funny blurp!
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#15

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

viktor-vaudevillain wrote: January 17th, 2022, 5:48 pm @PdA

God damn... I had written a longer reply to you, but by strange ways I deleted everything........

A few of the points in my reply:

You and your review inspired me to watching Gushing Prayer. Thank you!
Adachi has been a constant source of admiration for me through his life story, poetics (the Fukeiron-theory) and inspiration for other directors, as I've been presented to him through films by Grandrieux and Eric Baudelaire and writings by Nicole Brenez and Yuriko Furahata. But Gushing Prayer was the first Adachi-directed film I've seen. And then I watched AKA Serial Killer today. And I think I'm gonna watch more of his oeuvre throughout the month.
I have seen Mandala and The Man Who Left His Will On Film - I really like both. But I'm not big on the pinku genre apart from these more artsy efforts. I've now bumped the other two up my watchlist.

Nice that you rewatched Zoopraxographer. Beautiful film. Love the dryness. Reminds me a bit of late Farocki. I'm a sucker for pre-cinema cinema history myself.

Thanks for reminding me of that Morrison short. Funny blurp!
It always sucks when that happens, I hope I didn't miss out on too much.

Thanks for the reminder on the Eric Baudelaire film. This would be a good time for me to see it. I do intend, in the wake of "Gushing Prayer", to do a deep dive on Adachi's films. Yeah, 'AKA Serial Killer' seems more your kind of jam. :) Like a James Benning film made before its time. The Fukeiron theory was a nice idea with potency, an interesting new angle from which to look at people's behavior, it had something of the French Situationists in it (like the concept of Psychogeography), but that film left me cold when I saw it a couple of years ago.

This was my first viewing of "Zoopraxographer". The dryness worked great here, also because on top of it it actually was very atmospheric, imbued with the kind of mysteriousness that found footage horror films like to evoke, showing something that is consciously past tense but in its vivid images has the appearance of present tense. And the images do indeed look incredibly vibrant. I liked how it approached the subject/man from all kind of different vantage point, feels more like a collection of essays from different people rather than one person's take on Muybridge's work. Also the way it presents his work is varied, exploring all the different ways in which it can be translated into cinema's 24 frames per second. Most other filmmakers/documentarians would have quite simply treated the photographs as if they were frames shot with a motion picture camera, perhaps slow down the speed of the images, but that's about it (i.e. Muybridge gif-ephied). And last but not least Muybridge's inventiveness struck me as insane, plus his workhorse-like (pun intended) dedication to the project. Like, the guy basically invented bullet time before cinema was even invented (when he placed his cameras in a circle around the subject, and in this way the photographs created an illusion of travelling through space as opposed to travelling through time). And yet all his work and inventions have pretty much all been rendered obsolete just a few years later by an invention that made creating motion pictures much easier and more practical, even if along with the total dominance of that new tool some things got lost as well. Which is a bigger story than just Muybridge's.
Is there even another film/documentary that could be said to be about "pre-cinema cinema history".
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on January 18th, 2022, 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Silga
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#16

Post by Silga »

Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021) 8/10
Holler (Nicole Riegel, 2020) 7/10
Don't Look Up (Adam McKay, 2021) 7/10
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) 6/10
Boss Level (Joe Carnahan, 2021) 5/10

Short:
Tarantella (Christopher Nolan, Roko Belic, 1989) 3/10
Doodlebug (Christopher Nolan, 1997) 6/10
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