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Which films Did You See Last Week? 07/07/19 - 13/07/19

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sol
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Which films Did You See Last Week? 07/07/19 - 13/07/19

#1

Post by sol » July 14th, 2019, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings (if you're like me, "real life" sometimes gets in the way, so no need to feel obliged).

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

Fanfare (1958). Divided in opinion, the local brass band of a small village splits into two, causing a rift as to who has the right to use the instruments and where in this comedy from the Netherlands. Directed by Bert Haanstra, the filmmaker behind the most sumptuously photographed short of all time (Mirror of Holland), this feature length effort looks exquisite, with lots of gliding shots not only alongside the canals but also indoors. There is a fun visual gag early on too in which a cow initially seems to be moving backwards on its own, and animals are in fact used very well throughout - especially some cutaways to a goat chewing in the music climax. For all this pizzazz, Fanfare is only funny on occasion. There is lots of bicker and squabbling, but the two factions trying to manipulate and sabotage one another's efforts sadly only occurs on occasion. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Human Dutch (1964). Also known as Alleman, this documentary from Bert Haanstra was shot entirely via hidden cameras with the participants unaware that they were being filmed. The result is an unfocused and sprawling but yet fascinating look at average Dutch citizens going about their business, slanted towards relaxation and recreation activities. Some intriguing ethical questions arise, particularly as Haanstra indulges in various citizens dressing and undressing behind towels at the beach - and then some children get dressed in full public view. Suffice it to say, a film like this could not be made today, but that is a part of its time capsule appeal. There is some well timed humour too (dog grooming cut against young ladies in a beauty contest) and the whole thing is thoughtful edited too, with dead bodies spliced amongst shots of graveyards etc. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Driller Killer (1979). He drills, he kills - so what? For all the notoriety it has achieved on the years, the film that announced Abel Ferrara to the world seems like a pretty tame affair some forty years on. It is over 30 minutes in before we see any murderous drill action, and while some of the more drawn out slayings (a drunk trying to spark a conversation with him on the street) carry some morbid black humour, most of the kills are a little too brief to leave much impact, graphic as they tend to be. The film almost works as a character study though and were it a better acted affair, this would be its key strength as the protagonist is a relatable everyman inundated with so much pressure and high expectations from everyone that he just has to take it out somehow. Joe Delia's disquieting music is at least great throughout and the ambiguous ending is cool. (first viewing, DVD) ★

De Illusionist (1983). Haunted by memories of his brother on the evening of a big show, a stage magician recalls how his brother was committed to an insane asylum and his futile attempts to visit him in this dialogue-free Dutch comedy. Nutting out the finer plot details is a challenge here sans dialogue, and the stylistic choice sometimes feels like a mere gimmick, but there is a lot to like in the dreamlike, surreal nature that the film has a result. As he tracked by an absurdly large rat when he goes to the mental health clinic and as he finds doctors operating with no clothes on, the film is obviously not meant to be taken as straightforward memories but perhaps recollections tainted by fears and anxiety. Whatever the case, this is a one-of-a-kind sort of film, and the asylum - with its Toute la mémoire du monde-ish library - makes for a deliciously dreamy set. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Howard the Duck (1986). Accidentally brought to Earth from a parallel universe in which sentient creatures evolved from ducks, a grumpy drake finds himself in a struggle against intergalactic evil in this big budget Marvel adaptation. The film has gained a negative reputation over time, but it is actually quite fun if one gets over the lifeless duck/human romance awkwardly inserted in and unconvincing special effects. Many of the dialogue exchanges are witty (especially between Howard and Tim Robbins) and Jeffrey Jones has a delightful turn as he becomes possessed with some hilarious exchanges at a diner. The biggest issue is that the film feels too PG-13; it is at its most daring with the more adult jokes and the film arguably should have gone the whole X-rated Fritz the Cat route... though getting funding for such a film might have been a challenge. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

Redneck Zombies (1989). Exactly what you would expect with a title like that, this Troma movie depicts the chaos that ensues when some hillbillies mistake a barrel of nuclear waste for moonshine. Shot on video, the film often looks ugly with too many camcorder special effects. The POV shots as victims are attacked are pretty neat though, and with seemingly all of the mere $10,000 budget spent on gore effects, the zombie attacks actually look decent. Especially effective is a man is ripped in two at the stomach, predating Braindead. Some of the dark humour works too (a gleefully performed zombie autopsy) and the banjo song soundtrack is great. The vast majority of gags do not work though with silly queer and stupid hick stereotypes all round, and it is easy to see why the film has drawn so much scorn and hatred, yet it is not entirely worthless. (first viewing, online) ★

The Northerners (1992). Isolated from society, the unfulfilled residents of an unfinished housing estate grapple with lust and desire in this decidedly offbeat comedy. Initially frustrating, the film does not really have a central character and its subplot jumping is hard to cotton onto at first. Once all the subplots are established though, the film becomes an increasingly intriguing affair with a young lad reminiscent of Bergman's Alexander becoming the closest to a protagonist here. Everywhere he looks, he sees lust, sin and temptation... or does he? The film ends a little abruptly without quite resolving this, but there is still plenty of interest going on - in particular, a pair of visiting missionaries who have hired an African man to play a savage in their travelling show - but of course he is more civilised than all the sexually frustrated adults in this fascinating satire. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Sleepwalkers (1992). Adopting human form as they move between towns, two supernatural beings feed on the young and innocent and can only be stopped by cats in this Stephen King scripted horror film that is as ridiculous as it sounds. The mythology is somewhat more complex, but it is hard to care with poor acting and poorly developed characters all round. There is something of interest in the incestuous relationship that two beings seem to have (she claims to be his mother but constantly French kisses him) but this is never explained and Brian Krause lacks charm and charisma as the son. Mädchen Amick is even worse though as the 'love interest' without a single credible emotion. Some of the novelty deaths are creative (corn cob!) and the genuine WTF moment or two (a hand bitten off) redeem the film slightly, but this is well below par for Stephen King. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Bordello of Blood (1996). Spun off from the 'Tales from the Crypt' show, this horror feature revolves around a private investigator who discovers a secret brothel run by vampires under a funeral parlor. It is a nifty idea and while the film is slow to warm up, the bordello scenes are terrific with imaginative costumes, creative sets and lots of gory practical effects. The special effects are actually awesome throughout (especially a sunlight burning) and while relatively little screen time is sadly dedicated to debauchery in the bordello, the film is at least frequently funny. There are some great lines throughout - "I feel like I'm in a bad Tales from the Crypt episode" comments our hero at one point. Some aspects of the plot are overly fuzzy here (the role of the televangelist?) but this is entertaining overall with a balanced blend of comedy and horror. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Darkness Falls (2003). Set in a universe in which the tooth fairy is an evil spirit, Darkness Falls comes with an intrigue premise. The overly complex mythology leaves open several unanswered questions though, most notably why she needs to kill anyone who sees her face and whether she enjoys it or would prefer to peacefully collect her teeth. There is also a lot of promise in the notion that she can only operate in the dark, and thus the characters are only safe when in the light, but all this ultimately amounts to is a whole lot of frantic, poorly shot and rapidly edited scare sequences in which it is hard to make out what is happening. Add in a whole lot of false boo-moments with over-the-top music cues and this is a real mess. The tooth fairy does look ghoulish though in the precious few moments in which the filmmakers allow the camera to focus on her. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Black Christmas (2006). Less a remake than a complete reimagining of Bob Clark's original Canadian thriller, this version directed by Glen Morgan and produced by James Wong (both X Files alumni) is all the better for it. The 2006 film lacks the wicked twist of the original and too much time is spent developing the disturbed killer's childhood neglect back-story, but almost everything here works. The dialogue is highly sarcastic and witty, with one character even pointing out how Christmas traditions come more from pagan than Christian origins and labeling Santa as a "fat voyeur". A deliciously dark comic vibe is present throughout the film too with lots of morbid humour in the novelty deaths. The film additionally looks great with extreme high and low camera angles used well throughout, and the Sugar Plum Fairy Dance ending is pitch perfect. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Murder Party (2007). Before making his mark with Blue Ruin and Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier directed this horror comedy about a lonely man who decides to attend a "murder party" on Halloween when a discarded invitation blows his way. Unbeknownst to him, it really is a murder party hosted by a group of art students who wish to creatively kill a person in the name of art with arguments arising as they cannot agree how to do it. The middle section of the film is pretty weak with limited tension and urgency as the art students take a break to get high on truth serum, but everything eventually amounts to an energetic final stretch in which the protagonist has to run through pretentious art exhibits and signs that say "Art?" in a nice bit of audience-winking as Saulnier invites us to question whether his very film is art or something else entirely. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Shotgun Stories (2007). Oddly titled, this directional debut from Jeff Nichols tells only one story and with few guns as the film looks at animosity that reaches boiling point between two trios of brothers. All six have the same father, but the first three are from his former marriage before becoming a born again Christian (and starting a new family) with tension erupting during the father's funeral. There is quite a lot to the film thematically and Michael Shannon is solid as the indignant oldest brother from the first family. The rest of the siblings on both sides are interchangeable though and we never get deep enough under their skin to feel the hostility on both sides of the equation. The film has its strong moments for sure, but topped off with an inconclusive low key ending, the project does not really indicate the filmmaking force that Nichols would soon become. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Ex Drummer (2007). Looking for story inspiration, an acclaimed writer joins a band of self-described handicapped men despite the fact that he cannot play the drums that he has been assigned to play in this black comedy from Belgium. With reversed footage and the opening credits on signs, the film gets off to a promising start. There is also a welcome absurdism to reasons why the band members consider themselves handicapped and there is some delicious bizarreness in how the singer walks and sleeps upside down on his roof, which everyone treats as normal. The overall film though does not tap a lot into such weirdness though, give or take a walk-in vagina, and everything feels increasingly random as it progresses. For a comedy, it is pretty unfunny too, with lame gags at the expense of such traits as baldness, pungent body parts and characters being gay. (first viewing, online) ★★

22nd of May (2010). Feeling guilty about fleeing the scene after a bomb explodes at work, a security guard has mystical visions of the victims in this unusual thriller. The film gets off to a terrific start with only four words uttered during the first eight minutes as we see him nonchalantly prepare for work with intimate handheld camerawork following him around. The middle section sags as the victims ostensibly converse with him at random while describing their own experiences that seem to have no bearing on the incident. As the film wears on though, these initially incongruent puzzle pieces fall into place very well and when the full extent of the bomber's motives are revealed, the film packs a real emotional wallop. Add in some terrific inserts and cutaways (most notably, a fake owl's eyes) and the film is moody and visually arresting enough to work overall. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Les Géants (2011). Abandoned by their mother at their deceased grandfather's country home over the summer break, two teenagers form a gang with another teen, but their fun soon turns to desperation as money runs low in this coming-of-age drama from Belgium. The key strength of the film is the very genuine friendship and camaraderie between the teenagers with Zacharie Chasseriaud especially good in the more solemn bits as the youngest in the gang. As a narrative though, the film is rather dramatically inert, filmed in an episodic manner and beset by too many important details being shied over (why exactly their mother is held up; where the third teen came from). There are certainly some very intense moments as they turn to the local druglords in desperation, and the final long shot works very well, but the overall film is somewhat less immersive. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Would You Rather (2012). Eight individuals in financial strife compete for a grant by playing a game that turns out to be more dangerous than they ever imagined in this taut thriller. The film has been compared to the Saw franchise as the competitors have to select between equally undesirable choices, but this is less sadistic. The emphasis is always on the psychology of the characters (not violence or gore) with some curious developments as they go from trying to help each other to realising that the only way to survive is to eliminate each other. There is also a fun bit in which the characters go Deer Hunter as one would expect (they are armed with weapons to play). The film unfortunately makes it a little obvious who will win from early on and bits and pieces are predictable, but the film's look at individuals under pressure is always encapsulating. (first viewing, online) ★★★

White House Down (2013). On a tour of the White House with a resentful daughter when the building is attacked, a cop finds the opportunity to save the President and win back the heart of his little girl in this big budget action extravaganza. One could easily poke holes in the film's credibility or blast it for being so over-the-top, but referencing his own Independence Day at a couple of points, Roland Emmerich makes this a delightfully tongue-in-cheek affair while also providing a touching strained father/daughter relationship tale. In fact, all of the events could be considered as metaphorical for the extremes to which the cop is prepared to go to mend things with his daughter. As the girl in question, Joey King has moxie too and is not just some helpless plot device; same goes for all the characters actually, with the tour guide even getting in on the action. (first viewing, online) ★★★

After Earth (2013). Crash landing on Earth centuries after human beings fled, the son of a commander goes a dangerous journey to rescue and activate an emergency beacon in this action thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. As per Shyamalan norm, the film features some very good ideas, most notably the notion that "everything has evolved to kill humans" on Earth as a reaction to our neglect and pollution. There is also the nifty idea that "fear is a choice" and can be controlled with enough training. Will Smith has some touching scenes too as he is plagued by memories of a deceased daughter. Alas, the focus here is a strained father-son relationship between Smith and son Jaden, who has the acting talent of a wooden block. The story only hits the most clichéd of notes as a 'son proving his worth to his dad tale', and it is a shame everything else is pushed into the background. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Thoroughbreds (2017). Two teenage social misfits discuss murdering the richer one's stepfather in this very low key thriller. Such a genre label might even be a misnomer since this is a slowly paced affair with the halfway point elapsing before they to go ahead with the murder plan that they have been debating for days. It is also a bit hard to root for them since the stepfather is shown as a bit cold and distanced, but he is certainly not cruel or unbearable. As a result, this is an emotionally distanced affair, if an exceptionally well acted one. Olivia Cooke (the Dying Girl from Me and Earl) and the mesmerising Anya Taylor-Joy are both superb and have very interesting characters with their discussions of socially acceptable behaviour and purpose in life, and it is a shame that these two individuals are stuck in a film that is not half as dynamic as they are. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019). Luridly but irrelevantly titled, the plot here revolves around a collection of stolen paintings which may be cursed. Even at the end, it is unclear what exactly the deal is, but the premise leads to a number of nifty deaths at the hands of paintings that move and sculptures that malfunction. That said, the film's strongest aspect is its satire of the high class art world and art critique - something that only occasionally surfaces amidst the horror, but when it does, it rocks. One death being mistaken for an outlandish art exhibit with children jumping in what they assume is fake blood has an especially darkly comic vibe. Add in an intriguing spherical exhibit that offers individualised experiences and there is enough here worth a look - but the film does not have half the impact of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Dan Gilroy's earlier collaboration. (first viewing, online) ★★

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De Zwarte Tulp (1921). Or The Black Tulip as it is known in English, this Dutch silent film follows an aspirant botanist who conspires to have his neighbour imprisoned in order to obtain his rare black tulip bulbs - or something like that. The film is based on a lesser known novel from Alexandre Dumas and probably made more sense in book form. That said, the movie is not short on exposition. In fact, there is too much with cumbersome narration title cards and lengthy dialogue exchanges throughout. The connection between the politics at hand and the tulip growing is also extremely vague and it is only so interesting to watch a film in which so much needs to be read (including multiple handwritten letters). The tulips do look lovely and lead actress is pretty good, but this is a very primitive silent movie with far more emphasis on the story than visual flair. (first viewing, online) ★

Man of Violence (1971). Sometimes known as Moon after the protagonist's nickname, this overly convoluted crime thriller involves a crook approached by two different factions to smuggle gold. Who exactly Moon is meant to be is left vague throughout. Is he a former cop or assassin? And why does everyone want his services? It does not help that Michael Latimer is pretty bland as the character too. Also, for someone described as a "man of violence", we see relatively little of this. Over three quarters of the film simply consists of characters standing around and talking. The scattered action scenes are memorable though - most notably, a grisly bit in which a man is crushed by mechanical equipment. The bleak ending and final showdown are pretty decent too. The overall film, however, reeks of a failed Yojimbo + Get Carter hybrid. (first viewing, online) ★

Gulliver's Travels (1977). Jonathan Swift's classic tale is portrayed through a mix of live action footage and animation in this Belgian-UK co-production. The animation for the little people of Lilliput is flat and simplistic and the moustache-twirling villains are one dimensional. The scenes that combine animation and live action are superbly crafted though, with it really appearing like Gulliver is part of the animated world as he is fed with giant contraptions and converses with local politicians. There are also, some nice subtle touches, such a brief shot of Gulliver using a single hand to play skipping rope with a girl. The film has some decent storm effects on a budget too, and while the songs vary in effectiveness, they are generally pleasant to listen to. The film does inevitably feel quite condensed, especially with its cliffhanger ending, but this is decent while it lasts. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Dentist (1996). Distraught that his wife might be cheating on him, a Californian dentist begins to maim, molest and murder his patients in this Brian Yuzna horror film. The movie looks great, from a hallway vertigo shot to a bird's eye shot that spirals slowly down. Yuzna also gets up close with the mouth work as healthy teeth are chipped away and it is amusing how he begins to see literal rot everywhere. His motivations are poorly developed though. It is unclear if his wife was really unfaithful with fantasy sequences in the mix. Taking out his anger on his innocent patients never quite stacks up either. There are some credibility issues too with the number of patients he hurts before anyone catches on - though this highlights how dangerous a dentist's surgery is since it is the one place where nobody is likely to raise an eyebrow if they hear someone scream. (first viewing, DVD) ★

Return to Paradise (1998). Paradise here refers (ironically) to Malaysia as the plot circles around two men who have to contend with returning there to save a mutual friend from the death penalty for drugs. Catch is that they have to serve three years jail time themselves in a complex plea bargain - something that turns the entire first hour into a morality play tale. The dilemma itself is not uninteresting, but over an hour of the characters debating what to do before returning is a bit much. The final stretch though is no more palatable with the film becoming incredibly disrespectful towards Malaysian laws and society; the country is demonised as evil by the end of the movie, which makes this uncomfortable to view. The performances are certainly decent, but the overall film does not click, especially not as the tale of taking responsibility that it ostensibly tries to be. (first viewing, DVD) ★

The Genius Club (2006). Seven Americans with high IQs are held hostage by a terrorist who threatens to detonate a bomb if they do not solve enough of his riddles in this indie thriller which is sadly a lot less interesting than it sounds. The riddles are pretty fun (even if some are easy to crack) and there is also some fun to be had in the terrorist asking the group why there is no cure for cancer, no electric cars and so on, tapping into wild conspiracy theories about government control and the need for evil corporations to profit. Alas, as the film plods along, it becomes more and more concerned with less interesting questions about faith with an eventual heavy-handed pro-Christian slant. Add in second rate performances all round and some silly extreme close-ups of the terrorist's lips and this is hardly a great film despite the cool conspiracy theorising and riddles. (first viewing, online) ★

Slaughter Night (2006). Convinced to take a tour of abandoned mine, a group of teenagers are tormented by the vengeful spirit of a killer who died there in this Dutch horror film. The story has a bit more meat than that with some longwinded exposition, plus the protagonist's father has a history with the mine site, but it is in straightforward horror mode that the movie works best. The location is appropriately spooky and the possession scenes are creepy, or at least when the camera stops shaking about (the action scenes are filmed with some of the most irksome jerky camerawork imaginable). The flashbacks of the spirit's life are well handled too with ominous drawings in lieu of standard footage and there is some decent severed head gore. The story is not exactly original with some particular lame Ouija board clichés, but the film certainly works here and there. (first viewing, online) ★

13 Cameras (2015). Originally titled Slumlord, this indie thriller concerns a middle aged landlord who is just as creepy and devious as he looks. Under considerable makeup and unbecoming outfits, Neville Archambault is well cast as the landlord who often seems spaced out, yet the film never focuses on him. Copious time is instead dedicated to a young couple renting a house from him, unaware that it is rigged with hidden security cameras that Archambault watches from home for unknown reasons. And that is with an emphasis on 'unknown' as it is over halfway in before anything grisly or traditionally horror-like occurs. Even then, it is hard to say what Archambault's motives are and whether he wants to help or hurt his occupants, and the film ends with more questions than answers. Archambault keeps it all watchable though even as it turns messy. (first viewing, online) ★

14 Cameras (2018). Following on from 13 Cameras, this sequel delves further into the depravity of the slumlord, once again played with relish by Neville Archambault. While the ratings for the sequel on IMDb and Letterboxd are lower, this is a surprisingly superior effort. The film is more focused as the horror begins earlier on, Archambault gets more screen time, and best of all, we get some background on him, his motives and what he does with all of his footage. The dark web and live streaming angle is particularly nifty with Archambault actually getting a chance to show some humanity as he encounters anonymous minds more depraved than he is. The conclusion is once again a little unsatisfying and none of the other characters are nearly as engaging as the slumlord, but this is a pretty interesting look at dangerous minds at work behind keyboards. (first viewing, online) ★★

Laundry Man (2016). Loosely based on the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer, this Belgian horror film involves a serial killer who takes pride in describing his murders to the police after being caught. It is a decent enough premise and there are some great moments in which the murderer plays mindgames with the cops, but this is a very amateurish production overall and looks like it has been filmed on a budget of less than $1000. The editing is often mismatched, the performances (other than Gunther Vanhuysse as the killer) are overly theatrical and the music is ridiculously over-the-top, often drowning out the dialogue. There are some dark comic elements that work well here, such as Vanhuysse scolding his first victim for messing up his bathroom with her blood, and the gore/splatter effects are pretty decent, but the overall film feels as cheap as its thrifty protagonist. (first viewing, online) ★
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#2

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » July 14th, 2019, 12:01 pm

The Dead Don't Die (Jim Jarmusch, 2019) (theatrically) 6+/10

Mallory (Helena Trestíková, 2015) 6/10
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Beyond the Mind's Eye (Michael Boydstun, 1992) 7/10

The Gambler (Karel Reisz, 1974) 6/10

愛の亡霊 / Empire of Passion (大島渚/Nagisa Ôshima, 1978) 6/10
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愛のコリーダ / In the Realm of the Senses (大島渚/Nagisa Ôshima, 1976) (2nd+ viewing) 6+/10 (from 5)
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Gattaca (Andrew Niccol, 1997) (2nd+ viewing) 7/10 (from 8)


shorts

Yours (Jeffrey Noyes Scher, 1998) (2 viewings) 6+/10

Bilby (Pierre Perifel & JP Sans & Liron Topaz, 2018) 6+/10

Primitive Technology: Crossdraft kiln (2019) 7/10


music videos

Gesaffelstein & Pharrell Williams: Blast Off (2019) (3rd viewing) 7/10


series

Il était une fois... la vie / Es war einmal das Leben: "La digestion" / "Die Verdauung" (1987) (german) (umpteenth viewing) 7/10


other

In the Realm of the Senses - audio commentary by Tony Rayns (2009) [partly]


notable online media

top:
National Dog Show 2018: Best in Show (Full Judging) | NBC Sports
Arnold Schwarzenegger 2019 - The speech that broke the internet - Motivational & Inspiring
Life Beyond The Senses. Is There Meaning Beyond Measurement? | Russell Brand
George Carlin on the Tonight Show [by Richard Binckley]
Quit Your Day Job and Live Out Your Dreams by Dr. Ken Atchity
George Carlin Christopher Columbus "Santa Maria" comedy bit '67 [by spookylorre]
Dualism VS Monism EXPLAINED! | Russell Brand
There Is Always a Plan B
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD - Cast Q&A [by Sony Pictures Entertainment]
How To Handle Small Talk As An Introvert
rest:
Robert Fulton Airphibian story
One Man Caravan . Robert Edison Fulton, Jr.
Ted Bundy Interview (1977) (Rare footage) (Recopilation)
Porcupine Eats Fruit
How Quentin Tarantino Wrote Inglourious Basterds
Weekend Update: Bill Murray's 1981 Oscar Predictions - SNL
The Shining starring Jim Carrey : Episode 1 - Concentration [DeepFake]
Make It With Keanu Reeves
[Carmel's Rammstein concert clips]





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Onderhond
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#3

Post by Onderhond » July 14th, 2019, 12:12 pm

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First official check on position 9, 5 out of 6 lowest-rated films are official checks. ICM should do better.
Had a pretty solid week apart from that. Bumped into the sequel of The Woman (completely out of the blue), discovered a new Lupin by Koike and Wen Jiang is back on track.


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01. 4.0* - Hidden Man [Xie Bu Ya Zheng] (2018)
Good to see Wen Jiang still has it. For the larger part Hidden Man is on par with Let the Bullets Fly, featuring that same, smirky light-heartedness that makes Jiang's post-2000 work such a delight. Superb cinematography, actors who are in on the joke and an amusing plot make this a fun watch, though not as exuberant as Let the Bullets Fly.

02. 3.5* - The Garden of Sinners - Epilogue [Gekijô Ban Kara no Kyôkai: Shûshô] (2011)
The most anime of them all. A 30-minute conversation about the true nature of Shiki, set against a snowy backdrop. There is no action, no plot, no progression, just some philosophical meanderings while the directors does his very best to keep things interesting. And guess what, it was actually the best episode in the entire series.

03. 3.5* - Lupin the Third: The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa [Lupin the IIIrd: Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon] (2017)
I'm not the biggest Lupin fan around, but when Koike is involved I'm game. This film is a bit more serious and focused on action. It gets pretty gruesome and dark at some points, so people hoping to see the jolly Lupin stuff should probably think twice before seeing this one. Neatly animated, nicely paced and with a touch of Koike magic. Not bad at all.

04. 3.5* - Waiting Alone [Du Zi Deng Dai] (2004)
One of those early 00s films that did its part in modernizing Chinese cinema. Gone are the days of rural woes and poverty-stricken families, instead we get urban youngster hanging out, going to clubs and looking for romance. Well acted, light in tone and sporting Orbital's Halcyon. Not a masterpiece, but definitely worth watching.

05. 3.0* - Darlin' (2019)
A direct sequel to McKee's The Woman, directed by Pollyanna McIntosh herself. Sadly it's not quite up there with McKee's work, the focus on the plot is a little too overbearing and some twists come off being rather silly. Overall though it's a pretty decent follow-up that shows that sequels don't always have to be more of the same.

06. 3.0* - Nanayomachi (2008)
A typical early Kawase that leans a little too much on its somewhat simplistic clash of cultures. Japan meets Thailand with some added French bits, it's not quite enough to keep things interesting, even though the running time is economic. Kawase's more doc-like style is a fine match, but it's all just a little too flimsy to make a real impact.

07. 3.0* - Swordsman and Enchantress [Xiao Shi Yi Lang] (1978)
Shaw Bros, Yuen Chor style. That means classic martial arts action, but with pointed fantasy touches. Chor is definitely one of the better SB directors, not in the least because he also pays attention to more than just the action. His films look better than the average SB film, without taking anything away from the fighting. Good stuff.

08. 3.0* - Allez, Eddy! (2012)
A simple but amusing drama with small echoes of Jeunet. The world in which these characters live in is just a little surreal, a little too polished and melancholic. It's what makes the drama bearable and gives the film its charm. It's not a hidden gem or big cinematic accomplishment, but it is a very sweet and easily digestible film and leaves you satisfied, even though the ending is completely by the book.

09. 3.0* - The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
A rather lively film, especially considering the amount of scenes in court. Thanks to Harrelson's spirited performance and Forman's fast-paced direction its two hour running time isn't even an issue. The real Larry Flynt was of course an ideal subject for a biopic, even so Forman more than does justice to this peculiar man.

10. 3.0* - I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)
Surprisingly fun and apt comedy that smartly parodizes Beatles-mania, without being too snarky. The performances are great, there are some solid gags and the pacing never slows down. It's not a masterpiece, far from it, but it's definitely one of Zemeckis' better films and a remarkably upbeat 70s flick. Good fun, even if you don't particularly like the Beatles.

11. 3.0* - Playing Hard (2018)
Interesting doc on the creation and critical failure of triple A game For Honor. It's a stand-off between creative pariah Vandenberghe and corporate douche Cardin, perfectly illustrating how the mix of creativity and corporate interests can lead to toxic results. The doc diverges too much into personal affairs, but overall presents a telling story that transcends the gaming industry.

12. 2.5* - Devil's Vindate (2019)
A very mediocre production that has styling and tone down, but fails to bring some decent action to the screen. The camera work and editing are way below par, which really hurts a film like this. On top of that, the subpar CG doesn't help the fantastical elements. It's an amusing diversion, but this could and should've been a lot better, even for a TV production.

13. 2.0* - The Golem (2018)
Small horror film built around the golem, a well-known but not so much popular horror creature. While this is a decently made film with enough intruiging elements, the horror itself is rather sparse and the drama in between is slow and ineffective. This film should've had a bit more bite, should've been a bit darker, but alas.

14. 2.0* - God of Killers [Woo Yuet Dik Goo Si] (1981)
Starts off as a social drama, turns into a crime flick during the second half. The problem is that the actors have no dramatic impact and that Hui is not much of a crime director. Both genres do little to strengthen each other, though the crime elements do improve the pacing of the film. It's not terrible, but unless you're a Hui or Fat fan it's a hard recommend.

15. 1.5* - The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
While I appreciate what Roeg tried to do here, I hated everything about the execution. This is a film that prefers atmosphere to plot, but the 70s cheese levels are so high that I just couldn't enjoy it. While it kept me engaged enough to wonder what was coming next, that always turned out to be a disappointment.

16. 1.5* - The Post (2017)
A rushed cry for freedom of press, as a reaction to the behaviour of president Trump. The film lacks relevance though and the execution is so dusty and uninspired that you have to wonder who Spielberg thought was his target audience. There's some core quality here, but both as a film as well as a political statement, this was a complete failure.

17. 1.5* - Memory Games (2018)
Another doc that lacks focus. It's about our brain, memory and how it affects and influences our lives, but in the end it becomes about the interviewees, their stories and some stupid world championship in memory games. It's really mundane and not all that interesting, but this isn't the first doc to go down that path. Disappointing.

18. 1.5* - The Cameraman (1928)
A Keaton film that focuses on comedy and romance. Without Keaton's stunts I'm not that interested in his films, short as they may be, though I have to admit that there are some rather cool shots spread throughout. Sadly these moments are quite rare and the comedy is pretty poor and extremely predictable. Definitely not his best work.

19. 1.5* - Nashville (1975)
Altman doing ensemble drama. Some affinity with the time period and music scene are definitely a plus, because this is about as American as it gets. I didn't really appeal to me, but at least there's a wide range of characters so it never got too boring or predictable. But 160 minutes is long when you hate the music and can't find anything interesting to latch on to.

20. 1.0* - Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
A very poor sequel to one of Disney's better film projects. Too many forced life lessons, not enough game-related material, poor jokes, annoying characters, too long, a boring art style and way too many free advertisement, not in the least for Disney itself. This is just corporate nonsense, you can hardly call it a film any more.


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And a little bonus, got to chat with Bill Watterson from Dave Made a Maze. Great chap, made a great first feature, definitely underwatched and undervalued.

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#4

Post by sol » July 14th, 2019, 12:48 pm

PdA:

Tsk, tsk. The Gambler and Empire of Passion are both excellent films, you harsh marker. ;) James Caan did most of his best work in the 1970s, and I would consider his performance in the former to be a career highlight; the latter impressed me more than In the Realm of the Spirits; a highly atmospheric film with a great Tôru Takemitsu score. Gattaca is pretty cool too of course, and what an amazing Michael Nyman score the film has.

Onderhond:

Well, there's something that we agree on: iCM has some pretty massive gaps when it comes to films from the current decade. A lot of those 1000-title lists feature many films from the 70s, 80s and 90s, but for anything much recent to get representation these days it needs to either crack the Box Office list, be widely acclaimed enough to make the TSP 21st Century list or win a major award. This gives us a very narrow selection of films from the past 15 years that have Official Status, and it's something that I would love to see addressed... though I know that the iCM crew have bigger fish to fry.

Yours:

I'm with you all the way on Larry Flynt; the DVD extras are also interesting since there was an anti marketing campaign that stopped it doing as well as it should have during award season in its day. Total agreement on I Wanna Hold Your Hand too, which might even be my favourite Zemeckis film.

I didn't dislike The Man Who Fell to Earth as much as you, but it was a definite disappointment as one of the last films from Roeg's oeuvre that I saw. Similar feelings on The Post, which couldn't make up its mind as to whether it wanted to be about press freedom, women in the workplace or the politics investigated. Such a mediocre movie that it took away the renewed faith in Spielberg that I had after the surprisingly solid Bridge of Spies.

Funnily enough, I actually do think that The Cameraman is Buster Keaton's best work - or at least his most solid full length feature. As I have said before, Keaton's best shorts were much better than his features - One Week in particular.

I loved Nashville both times that I saw it. I did, however, like the music and found most of the characters fairly interesting - in particular, Lily Tomlin.
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#5

Post by morrison-dylan-fan » July 14th, 2019, 1:16 pm

Hi all,I hope everyone is having a good weekend,@Sol,have you seen the making of for Black Christmas? It's surprisingly very open over the tug of war Morgan/Wong had in getting their version on screen,with Harvey Weinstein constantly pushing his demands on the flick. After their TV work,it is a shame that Morgan/Wong have not had chance to make a real impact in Horror or Sci-Fi cinema. For the first time in over a decade,I went to the cinema twice in the same week. On Saturday,I got a"Gin Jarmusch" cocktail & went to a Q&A in Birmingham for a British Horror Comedy (sadly,only about 10 people attended) that I recommend catching if it plays at any festivals:

Cinema duo:

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Trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6gohPlYyPc

South African Spook Hunter (2018) 8

Inspired to make the film after chatting on the way home about how disappointing they had found Conjuring 2 to be, co-writers/co-directors Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray & Daniel Rands make a impressive feature debut, featuring sly visual gags on jump scares and the Found Footage genre. Made on a low budget and in a fake documentary format,the directors do very well at not breaking the rules (such as not placing it at angles where it would be impossible to hold) that many fake doc/Found Footage flicks break,thanks to the documentary crew following Matty squeezing into each room to capture him "curing" the Damon-Murray family.

Visiting the Damon-Murray haunted house, the screenplay by Gray & Rands lays out a scattering of Horror moments leading to a spooky twists that allows for a jolly spoofing of ghost hunting shows. Doing spook hunting as a part time job, the writers give the dialogue a fake documentary "in the moment" feel, as Matty hilariously stumbles awkwardly into letting out too much info, such as that this part-time ghost hunting is used for him to pick up women, and cringe-inducting comments on Africa and Jason Bourne. Appearing in every scene, Matt van Niftrik gives a excellent deadpan, completely lacking in self-awareness as Matty, who unintentionally becomes a real spook hunter.


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Luc Besson's Anna (2019) 7

Targeting Euro Spy thrills,writer/directing auteur Luc Besson & regular cinematographer Thierry Arbogast take the icy cool colours of Nikita, and burn them into washed whites and bleeding reds, reflecting the drained state of the Soviet Union's final days. Whilst flawed in the technology used for the late 80's/1990 (from Wi-Fi and Memory Sticks to high-speed internet!) Besson overcomes these bumps, in continuing a long time collaboration editor with Julien Rey, Besson loads up the stylisation of Cinéma du look in gripping Action set-pieces, struck by the blunt force gun shots and hand combat being met with slick edits, closing in for bruising close-ups of Anna's battle warrior face.

Spying from the late 80's-1990,the screenplay by Besson needlessly complicates things with large jumps back and forth in time, which gets in the way of the nifty twist and turns from playing out Anna's major assassination missions from different perspectives. Loading up right back from Nikita, Besson vividly brings out the themes that run across his credits in the characterization of the disenfranchised, battered and bruised loner Anna, who Besson has intensely entrap all,as Anna finds her inner strength in the spying game. Sent out by Helen Mirren's dead-pan wit KGB head Olga, sexy Sasha Luss peels into the anguish of the spy, which Luss twists into deadly sass as Anna.

Other flicks:

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Undying Monster (1942) 8

Crawling into Fox studio's shot at joining Universal and RKO in entering the Horror genre, director John Brahm & cinematographer Lucien Ballard bring Brahm's German Expressionism into the Victorian Old Dark House Gothic tale,with elegant tracking shots slithering down the spider-web cover corridors of the Hammond's. Brewing the Gothic Horror chills against the ragged rocks that keep the mansion isolated, Brahm howls in the direction of Film Noir that he would follow in his limited film credits,via the wisely limited appearance of the monster casting a chilling shadow of mistrust in the family,where the shadows are lit by the flickering of fire that keep family secrets buried.

Unmasking the secrets of the Hammond's with an adaptation of Jessie Douglas Kerruish's novel, the screenplay by Lillie Hayward and Lillie Hayward superbly capture the Victorian atmosphere by weighing the Hammond's with personal horrors that are every match for the monster shocks. Whilst the neat & tidy ending has the whiff of the Hays Code,the writers make up for it by having the mystery being driven by Robert Curtis (played by a wonderfully quick-witted Robert Curtis )dissection of any slip of the tongue from the Hammond's on the undying monster howls.

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Woman of the Lake (1966) 9

Backed by an ominous wood instruments score by Sei Ikeno, co-writer/ (with Toshiro Ishido and Yasuko Ono) directing auteur Yoshishige Yoshida & cinematographer Tatsuo Suzuki play a impeccable, eerie Japanese New Wave (JNW) atmosphere over ultra-stylised silhouettes of Mizuki and Kitano keeping their affair in the shadows. Snapping their liaisons, Yoshida brings it into contact with daylight in a deeply sensual mood, shining from graceful overhead tracking shots giving a birds eye view of Momoi getting close to the woman in the photos, against the laid bare JNW streets masked in shadows,to the mesmerising surreal activity on the beach and the deep focus, delicately framed final train ride Mizuki and Momoi take.

Photographed from Yasunari Kawabata's novel, the adaptation continues Yoshida's theme of going against the grain in a run of Anti-Melodramas, where instead of being at the peak of passion,the affair between Mizuki and Kitano is in it's dying embers when Kitano takes naked pics of Mizuki, and Mizuki's emotions being withdrawn,rather than overcome,when Momoi reveals he took the photos after secretly watching the affair for months. Encountering Mizuki on a beach where a film production is taking place, the writers brilliantly frame the Anti-Melodrama with Yoshida's other major theme of the alteration in photos/film from reality, via Momoi's obsession over Mizuki being exactly like her photos,over riding desire for money,coming into sharp focus when confronted by the staging of proactive scenes taking place in the film production.

Continuing her collaboration with Yoshida after they got married in 1964, Mariko Okada gives an incredibly expressive, subtle performance as Mizuki,thanks to Okada giving a thoughtful restrained gaze to Mizuki, which brings out a poetic quality to the end of the affair for the lady of the lake.

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#6

Post by Onderhond » July 14th, 2019, 5:19 pm

sol wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 12:48 pm
Well, there's something that we agree on: iCM has some pretty massive gaps when it comes to films from the current decade. A lot of those 1000-title lists feature many films from the 70s, 80s and 90s, but for anything much recent to get representation these days it needs to either crack the Box Office list, be widely acclaimed enough to make the TSP 21st Century list or win a major award. This gives us a very narrow selection of films from the past 15 years that have Official Status, and it's something that I would love to see addressed... though I know that the iCM crew have bigger fish to fry.
In defense of ICM, finding good lists that cover the past 15-20 years or so is incredibly hard. There's that 21st Century list, but even though it's a 1000 films long it's pretty damn depressing to sift through.

It's been discussed here a couple of times before and it's not that easy to pin-point where exactly it's going wrong, but I wouldn't mind more initiatives like the 366 Certified Weird list, but maybe with a stronger focus on modern cinema. Even though critics have lost a lot of their relevance in getting people to the theaters, they still very much dictate what the arthouse scene looks like and many film fans still are very keen to stick with their recommendations. And it's a bit frustration to have to wait 30 years before genre films are finally recognized by a larger crowd (just ask the 80s).
sol wrote:
July 14th, 2019, 12:48 pm
Total agreement on I Wanna Hold Your Hand too, which might even be my favourite Zemeckis film.
Not quite my favorite but definitely up there with the best. Came as a total surprise for me, not liking the Beatles, not liking Zemeckis and not liking 70s cinema!

From your list the Belgian films are clearly my favorites (both top 100 material), but it seems you've seen some nice horror stuff too this month. I liked Darkness Falls more than you did (2.5*), Black Christmas (2.5*) and Murder Party (3.0*) slightly less. That last one could've been a lot better with the cheap shots at the art world. While it isn't exactly my scene either, it felt too easy.

Oh, and hated Howard the Duck. Terrible :D

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#7

Post by joachimt » July 14th, 2019, 7:28 pm

Auf der anderen Seite AKA The Edge of Heaven (2007, 2 official lists, 1810 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Cinemember.
Good stuff. Interesting characters.
Durak AKA The Fool (2014, 2 official lists, 237 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Cinemember.
Harsh look into Russian corruption.
Fehér isten AKA White God (2014, 0 official lists, 741 checks) 8/10
Watched because it's on iCM Forum's Favourite Central European Films and available on Cinemember.
This is more than just a story about a runaway dog, but I guess that was obvious. I loved it.
Lore (2012, 0 official lists, 824 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's on iCM Forum's Favorite Movies from Oceania and iCM Forum's Favourite German Films and available on Cinemember.
Decent drama about some kids that were abandoned by their parents after the end of WW2. Not much going on except their journey to reach their grandmother and the hardships they have to overcome. Kid-acting was pretty good.
The Duke of Burgundy (2014, 2 official lists, 1133 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Cinemember.
Great role by Knudsen.
The Visitor (2007, 0 official lists, 4089 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's on iCM Forum's Favourite Unofficial Checks and available on Cinemember.
Nice little drama. Nothing wrong with it, nothing mindblowing either.
Tsigoineruwaizen AKA Zigeunerweisen (1980, 4 official lists, 195 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's on 500<400.
Great compositions and colors. A shame the story was a bit hard to follow.
Dark Shadows (2012, 1 official list, 14962 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Netflix.
Looks nice, like most other Burtons, but it's a meh story.
Shan he gu ren AKA Mountains May Depart (2015, 0 official lists, 358 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's on iCM Forum's favorite Chinese movies, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Macao and available on Cinemember.
Alright, but forgettable.
Vision fantastique (1957, 1 official list, 8 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's an official check shorter than 70 min.
Some nice shots, but felt rather random to me. Didn't get why some shots were negatives.
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#8

Post by Coryn » July 14th, 2019, 7:55 pm

I hope you don't mind but since I was in Vietnam for 3 weeks I had no time to write anything more than 10 words without freaking out about the ineffectiveness of an ipad keyboard.
That's why I am going to list the movies I saw in Vietnam during those 3 weeks.

1. 01/07 The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012) ***
Touching story and good music. Toss between 3 and 4 stars. Veerle Baetens is an awesome Belgian actress as well.

2. 02/07 The Lobster (2015) ***
What an absurd film. Liked it more than dogtooth but maybe a little too absurd for me.

3. 03/07 Free Solo (2018) ****
Documentary on Alex Honnold who tries to climb El Capitan ... without any ropes. It's even more absurd than The Lobster. I already knew of his name and what he does, my prejudices on him were completely right, he's completely nuts.

4. 04/07 Le Tout Nouveau Testament (2015) ***
Another absurd experience but was a good watch. The idea was there but the execution of the story could've been better.

5. 04/07 Rosetta (1999) ****
I will be going on a Dardenne brothers spree in the coming days. Amazing how they can captivate the viewers with such low budget and almost no action or even drastic stuff happening. Can't wait.

6. 05/07 The Seventh Seal (1957) **
Bergman is such a hit and miss for me. This was a miss for now but a rewatch which will probably happen in not more than 2 years could definitely change my view.

7. 06/07 Battle Royale (2000) **
The original Hunger Games. Kudos for the idea but the acting got really annoying after some time.

8. 07/07 Before Sunrise (1995) ****
Compelling from start to finish. Linklater made something different here than other romantic movies and it totally worked. Top comment on ICM is right though, shame they never went to watch the play.

9. 08/07 Eyes Wide Shut (1999) ****
Kubrick does it again and what a way to end it was. Top 100 material for sure in my ranks. The only regret I have is that the film was only 150 minutes long, I would have loved a follow up on what the fuck is happening in that cult.

10. 08/07 Lolita (1962) ***
Probably his worst but still a good movie. Didn't really feel like Kubrick.

11. 09/07 Mr. Nobody (2009) *****
What a movie ! The cinematography was amazing and the story was perfect as well. Even if you feel the story is pretentious and overdone, the camera work is so good. Straight into my favorites as I can see myself rewatching this movie about 5 times in my lifetime. Hope it will air in my neighbourhood sometime so I can watch it on the big screen.

12. 10/07 Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) ***
Watched this in a cinema in Vietnam. I think I missed some stuff because of not watching the other Marvel movies but could pick it up along the way. Fun, but forgettable.

13. 10/07 The Return (2003) ***
Great acting by the youngest guy. My expectations for this one were extremely high though and while the cinematography and the general feeling throughout the film were both great, the story left me a bit unsatisfied. Close to 4 stars but will give it 3 for now.

14. 12/07 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) ***
Same as above, great expectations but not all were filled in. I liked the original comic style of the animations but the story felt a bit flat to me. The humor was spot on mostly though.

15. 12/07 Bullshead (2011) ****
Loved it. Kept me on the edge of my seat for over 2 hours. Matthias Schoenaerts was amazing in this one.

16. 12/07 Halloween (1978) ***
3 stars because of the impact this movie had on the genre it created.
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#9

Post by sol » July 15th, 2019, 3:43 am

m-d-f:

Haven't seen any but that poster for South African Spook Hunter looks amazing (even if I would rather you resize large images for ease of reading here).

Onderhond:

Yep, 366 Weird was an amazing initiative. And yeah, critics might be the way to go. One of the lists that was put up for vote for Officialdom last time was John Waters' Yearly Top 10. I'm not saying that Waters is the greatest critic out there or anything, but something like that - ten films added each year that don't have to be critical darlings, box office hits or award winners - could really be interesting.

Ew, Darkness Falls. :yucky: I wasn't totally won over by the concept of an evil tooth fairy in the first place, but then for the film to seldom properly show her through jerky camera movements and ultra low lighting was disappointing. Not my sort of film at all.

I don't know if you have seen the 1974 original Black Christmas, but it is hardly an amazing film despite all the credit it tends to take for starting the slasher cycle. My reaction to the remake was therefore probably boosted by seeing just how interesting the material could be in more skilled hands. Not that I dislike Bob Clark as much as most, but he was always a rather uneven director in my books. Something else not mentioned in my review: I absolutely loved the characters illuminated by (mostly) red and green Xmas lights in the remake. Very cool touch.

Interesting take on Murder Party. Yeah, it is quite easy to satirise the art world and mock was is considered to be art by some (that's also an angle that Velvet Buzzsaw takes too, also reviewed this week). The idea of artists so desperate for fame/grant money that they will kill an innocent person in the name of art really struck a chord with me though - especially given the twists and turns that we find out regarding the man with the grant money.

Howard the Duck is definitely a film that has a lot of hatred thrown in its way. Watching the film though, I frankly had trouble seeing why. I thought it was a lot of fun between 80s staple eccentric Jeffrey Jones going bananas and the duck quipping with Tim Robbins and constantly belittling him.

Onderhond:

Agreed on Durak. Liked The Duke of Burgundy a little less than you and liked The Visitor a lot more. Richard Jenkins is an amazing, often unsung actor and I don't think he has ever had a more solid role. Agreed on Dark Shadows; Burton's peak days are far behind him.

Coryn:

Seen 12 out of 16 of yours, so I'm not going to comment on them all. :folded:

I liked The Seventh Seal more than you, but would agree about it not being a top tier Bergman film. Probably deserves a rewatch from me, but I can think of at least 10 other films from the Swedish master that I would preference above it.

Yay. Eyes Wide Shut is an amazing film, so always glad to find another fan. I agree that the film could have been longer if anything, though you will find some out who swear black and blue that it should have (and would have) been trimmed down if Kubrick lived to see the final edit.

Gee, you're the only person I know who would rank Lolita below Killer's Kiss and Fear and Desire. As for Kubrick's least typical film, I would think that Spartacus would be Exhibit 1 there. Anyway, I would recommend the Adrian Lyne version of Lolita if you didn't like what Kubrick did. Oh, I am a big fan of both versions, but Lyne does some different things and Jeremy Irons is phenomenal in it.

Speaking of decent remakes, I would also preference Rob Zombie's Halloween above the John Carpenter version. Nothing beats Carpenter's classic music score, but the 2007 film digs a lot more into Michael's background to present an overall more impacting experience.

Of what I haven't seen from you, Mr. Nobody interests me the most, but it has oddly never been released in Australia.
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Post by Coryn » July 15th, 2019, 5:04 am

Fear and desire, killers kiss, the killing and Spartacus are the only Kubrick films I haven't seen yet. So that explains your Lolita comment.
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#11

Post by sol » July 15th, 2019, 5:55 am

Coryn wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 5:04 am
Fear and desire, killers kiss, the killing and Spartacus are the only Kubrick films I haven't seen yet. So that explains your Lolita comment.
Huh, you made it sound like you had seen everything by Kubrick from your comment above. :think: I had kind of expected though that Fear and Desire would be in your blind. Killer's Kiss and Spartacus make sense as Kubrick films to prioritise towards the end too, but The Killing is a masterpiece. :)
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#12

Post by Coryn » July 15th, 2019, 6:08 am

sol wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 5:55 am
Coryn wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 5:04 am
Fear and desire, killers kiss, the killing and Spartacus are the only Kubrick films I haven't seen yet. So that explains your Lolita comment.
Huh, you made it sound like you had seen everything by Kubrick from your comment above. :think: I had kind of expected though that Fear and Desire would be in your blind. Killer's Kiss and Spartacus make sense as Kubrick films to prioritise towards the end too, but The Killing is a masterpiece. :)
I see now indeed I should've worded it differently. Good to have an unseen Kubrick masterpiece then :)
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Post by peeptoad » July 15th, 2019, 1:00 pm

Hi sol and everyone...
sol, I was on vacation for most of last week and only watched 3 films, so I'll post those next week, but I wanted to comment on some of yours this week-

The Driller Killer (1979) 7+ I like this one way more than most... love the music jam scene, for example, which many seem to hate since it's meandering and drawn out. Love the whole entire late 70s NYC vibe, which I felt was genuinely represented... and the painting. Love that painting. Wish I had one hanging in my loft.
Darkness Falls (2003) 3 I recall little except when, where and who I saw it with (and the fact that I didn't like it very much at all)
Black Christmas (2006) 2 putrid as far I'm concerned, though I love the original so much I kind of loathed this on principle
Shotgun Stories (2007) 7 liked this one well enough, though not as much as Mud (and more than Midnight Special). From recall it was well acted and an honest representation of some of that area of the US.
I saw Howard the Duck during the summer between middle school and high school , but I recall nothing. Seems like I prob wouldn't like it if I rewatched it. I think I remember the duck looking kind of lame. Velvet Buzzsaw is on my watch list on Netflix... should get to that sometime sooner hopefully.

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#14

Post by sol » July 15th, 2019, 2:03 pm

peeptoad wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 1:00 pm
Hi sol and everyone...
sol, I was on vacation for most of last week and only watched 3 films, so I'll post those next week, but I wanted to comment on some of yours this week-
Hiya peeps; thanks as always for chiming in. Hope you had a relaxing vacation. I'm on 'holidays' myself at the moment but have decided not to travel, hence the upped ante in the number of films I am squeezing in while time is on my side.

The interesting thing about The Driller Killer is that the R4/Australian DVD has a five-minute introduction at the start of the movie, which I decided to fastforward through since I usually prefer entering movies as 'blank' as possible. Anyway, afterwards I went back and watched the introduction in full, which actually filled in a lot of gaps that I was unclear about during the movie - most notably, the opening scene where he visits a man in church (apparently it is meant to be his estranged father). I don't know if I would have liked the film more with such details cleared up beforehand, but I might have. Oh, and I understand what you're getting at in terms of vibe. The film reminded of Taxi Driver at times, except that Abel Ferrara (despite having the perfect look for the character) is no Robert De Niro.

Re: Black Christmas - yeah, that's the hard thing about watching remakes of films that you love; it is almost impossible to objectively assess them. I should be stuck in the same dilemma as you tomorrow (in my viewing stays on schedule) with the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street coming up in my watching queue. The original was one of the key films that got me into horror so I don't know how I can properly assess it, but I'll try. I mean, some horror remakes are surprisingly good and actually manage to outclass the original (The Amityville Horror; Cronenberg's The Fly -- though in both cases I wasn't a massive fan of the original).

Michael Shannon was great as always in Shotgun Stories (I wasn't prepared for that emotive funeral scene!) but all of the other performances have already evaporated from my memory. I thought was an okay film, but it would be neck-in-neck with Loving for the weakest Jeff Nichols film in my books. Massively preferred Take Shelter, Mud and Midnight Special to this one.

At least we agree on Darkness Falls, which joins the likes of Night of the Lepus and Blood Freak as a shameful inclusion in a 1000-film horror canon that omits the likes of Satan's Little Helper and Scream 4.

Oh, and as for Howard the Duck, the duck certainly just looks like a little person in a duck suit. A bit lame perhaps, but there are some funny gags that reference its appearance, what with unsuspecting folk thinking that he is a kid dressed for Halloween and all. I don't know. I liked the film with reservations.

And you might like Velvet Buzzsaw if you appreciated The Driller Killer's art scene, though the supernatural aspect receives far more focus than that. It is an okay film, but a far cry from the heights that its director and stars achieved with Nightcrawler.
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#15

Post by GruesomeTwosome » July 15th, 2019, 4:43 pm

Hi sol. Yours:

Redneck Zombies - saw it way back in high school in the early 2000s, back when video rental stores were still a thing, and my older brother and I would sometimes rent schlock like this if the VHS box caught our eye. Yeah, I hated this too, didn't find it funny/so bad it's good or anything.
Bordello of Blood - I've never actually watched this in full, but I have distinct memories of catching bits and pieces of it while watching Comedy Central as a kid in the late '90s/early 2000s, as there was a stretch when they curiously aired this, of all movies, ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I remember keeping tuned in for a bit because of all the T&A (hey, I was like 12 to 14 during these times), though any nudity would have been censored since this was basic cable.
White House Down - saw it, probably forgot it within a week.
Thoroughbreds - this was a disappointment for me. There's such a thing as TOO cold and detached, too mannered. The two young women leads are solid with what they're given, but the writing is sorely lacking.
Velvet Buzzsaw - your thoughts on this basically echo mine. The satirical depiction of the world of high art is rather easy and we've seen this before, so the creative kills became the main draw for me. Just OK, overall, and yeah, a pretty big letdown after Nightcrawler, the prior Gilroy/Gyllenhaal team-up.


My viewings last week:

O.J.: Made in America (2016 documentary, Ezra Edelman) - 9/10 [2nd viewing]

Senna (2010 documentary, Asif Kapadia) - 8/10

Blade (1998, Stephen Norrington) - 7/10. Until now, I had actually never seen this one in full, despite having already seen Blade II when it came out (and really enjoyed that one, and want to re-watch it now). It starts off with a bang, a great scene at an underground vampire nightclub with blood instead of water spraying down from the sprinklers on the ceiling. Most of the way, this is a fun action flick that is knowingly cheesy (the sometimes terrible late '90s CGI effects help this along), and the underrated Stephen Dorff is very good, if a bit underused, as the villainous Deacon Frost. The second half isn't as strong as the first, but I enjoyed how nasty/gory it gets, pretty cool for a Marvel film.


TV stuff:

I finished the new season of Stranger Things. Excellent finale, and on the whole I think season 3 was an improvement on the second season. I'm curious to see how
SpoilerShow
Hopper's fate (apparently not dead, as assumed?) will be handled in season 4.
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#16

Post by sol » July 16th, 2019, 3:52 am

GruesomeTwosome wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 4:43 pm
Hi sol.
Hey Grue.

I suppose if it wasn't for the splatter effects, I would have absolutely hated Redneck Zombies too, but the gore was pretty first class for an otherwise Z-grade production.

There actually isn't that much outright nudity in Bordello of Blood. There are some outfits that reveal a little more cleavage than usual and there are some very brief shots (maybe 3 seconds a piece) of two nude dancers from behind in the second half, but that is about it. I suppose as a 12-year-old that might have been enough to get my attention too, but given all the stuff I have seen over the years, it is all pretty tame in Bordello of Blood - so I wouldn't recommend rewatching it for that reason. ;) Luckily, it is a fairly funny film that works quite aside from the minimal T&A element.

I suppose White House Down benefited from the fact that I had seen (and disliked) Olympus Has Fallen a couple of years ago, since White House Down is clearly the vastly superior of the two similarly themed productions. Suffice it to say, my expectations were blown away. Then again, I am a sucker for father/daughter relationship movies and Jamie Foxx as the President of the USA holding a rocket launcher out of a car window is some sort of crazy crap that I don't think I will ever forget. But it has been less than a week so we'll see.

I don't know if Carmel still reads these threads, but I recall him selling Thoroughbreds along the lines of 3 Women as a tale of two teenagers who essentially switch personalities by the end of the movie. Though I don't think that is the case and maybe I'm confusing what he said. In any case, yeah - it's too cold and detached and too little happens. To think that it has been marketed as a cross between American Psycho and Heathers!

Velvet Buzzsaw does indeed mostly just survive on its creative kills. I just wish I understood more of what was going on, like...
SpoilerShow
...do the painting produce hallucinations in its victims' minds, or did that brick wall really open up behind her and become a real graffiti exhibit gallery?

Yours:

I recall Blade having some good ideas; a Near Dark style view of vampirism as a disease or defect that can be cured. Nice disintegration special effects too, though I don't recall much else off-hand. I have also seen the first sequel but nothing else in the franchise.

I bought O.J.: Made in America on the cheap a few months ago and I'm planning to watch it for either the 21st Century or Documentary Challenge later this year. The case isn't something that I am greatly interested in or anything, but I am curious about all the attention and rave reviews that the doco has received. Have not seen Senna either and have far less interest in that since I have no interest in Formula One or car racing in general, unless the doco is about much more than just that.
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#17

Post by maxwelldeux » July 16th, 2019, 6:18 am

sol wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 3:52 am
[I bought O.J.: Made in America on the cheap a few months ago and I'm planning to watch it for either the 21st Century or Documentary Challenge later this year. The case isn't something that I am greatly interested in or anything, but I am curious about all the attention and rave reviews that the doco has received. Have not seen Senna either and have far less interest in that since I have no interest in Formula One or car racing in general, unless the doco is about much more than just that.
I'm out of the loop on this week's thread, but I honestly don't think you'll get as much out of OJ: Made in America, simply because you weren't there. It's still a great docu-series, but a significant portion of my love for it comes from my memory of the events themselves. My 8th grade class just stopped the day the verdict was read - my teacher stopped class and turned on the radio so we all could listen. I remember watching the chase of the White Bronco on TV. It was on nearly every news broadcast for 2 years. I lived the case, so it has that personal connection for me.

But more than that, it deconstructed and reconstructed a hero. He was wholesome - he was hilarious in the Naked Gun series. He was in Roots. He was funny in commercials. He was one of the few wholesome White-accessible Black men on screen. And lest we forget, he was also an American Football hero, and easily in the conversation of best running backs of all time. And the docuseries takes you through that and why he was so important and why it was such a huge downfall. I was too young to appreciate all the racial and social justice implications surrounding the case, but the docuseries did a great job at explicating all that.

All that said, much of it is a "you had to be there" film. I still think it's fantastic and worth a watch, but I'd advise you to temper your expectations a bit. You're an outsider looking in, and I'd love to hear your perspective on it when you get there. If you haven't seen it already, LA 92 might be a good prequel to watching OJ, as it will provide some context.

@Gruesome: I'm with you on OJ - I also have it rated a 9/10. Amazing series and one I'd be very happy to rewatch.

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#18

Post by sol » July 16th, 2019, 6:41 am

maxwelldeux wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 6:18 am
If you haven't seen it already, LA 92 might be a good prequel to watching OJ, as it will provide some context.
Thanks for the tip. I actually had that one lined up to watch for the DTC Challenge but of course I didn't make it up to 92 films for that challenge. :facepalm:

But yeah, I appreciate the caution. The mammoth length is a little off-putting too. I actually was going to watch the film for the Academy Awards Challenge in February for 5 points (given it was released as five episodes too) but all miniseries were ruled as 1 point in that challenge, so that was a no-go. I'll ask the hosts of 21st Century, TSP 21st Century and Documentary this year about its eligibility, and whoever is the first host to say that I can include it for 5 points, I probably will jump on the opportunity.
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#19

Post by maxwelldeux » July 16th, 2019, 7:58 am

sol wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 6:41 am
maxwelldeux wrote:
July 16th, 2019, 6:18 am
If you haven't seen it already, LA 92 might be a good prequel to watching OJ, as it will provide some context.
Thanks for the tip. I actually had that one lined up to watch for the DTC Challenge but of course I didn't make it up to 92 films for that challenge. :facepalm:

But yeah, I appreciate the caution. The mammoth length is a little off-putting too. I actually was going to watch the film for the Academy Awards Challenge in February for 5 points (given it was released as five episodes too) but all miniseries were ruled as 1 point in that challenge, so that was a no-go. I'll ask the hosts of 21st Century, TSP 21st Century and Documentary this year about its eligibility, and whoever is the first host to say that I can include it for 5 points, I probably will jump on the opportunity.
I hear you about the length - it's certainly not a "light" film to watch. But for me (and this probably won't surprise you given my taste for social commentary films), if it counted for a challenge, I'd rewatch it on a whim just to talk about it in-depth; I enjoyed it that much.

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#20

Post by GruesomeTwosome » July 16th, 2019, 12:27 pm

@ sol and @maxwelldeux:

Agree with maxwell, very well stated! I'm younger than max, I was only 7 to 9 years old from the '94 Bronco chase through the end of OJ's trial, so my understanding of all of this at the time was pretty minimal but I do remember the HUGE-ness, if you will, of this case, as far as it's daily omnipresence on TV here in the US for, as max said, about 2 years. And over the years as I got more interested in the case, and not really just the particulars of the murder case itself, but more how this shined a light on our (Americans') morbid fascination with the lurid side of celebrity, how this re-shaped news media (seemingly "legit" news outlets that had always been seen as standard-bearers in journalism had lowered themselves to the seedy, tabloid-y aspects of this case as they realized "THIS IS WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT"), and of course the racial divide that this case highlighted, in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and the LA riots that resulted, a couple years before the OJ incident. The way this doc portrays all of this, is just really fuckin' compelling and the kind of thing I could have easily watched for another 7-plus hours.
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#21

Post by sol » July 16th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Very interesting info, guys. I'm about the same age as Grue and I heard nothing about the OJ scandal while growing up, not that I actively followed the news when I was in primary school. I mostly know about it second-hand through pop culture references (Family Guy has done at least a couple of good parodies) and I didn't see the Naked Gun films until long after the scandal hit. I'm intrigued by my own reaction now, though 7 hours is daunting, unless it's worth 5 points or unless you put it in as a bonus challenge, max - not that I have sought to rewatch Clue yet and I actually enjoyed that quite a bit at the time...
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