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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 2, 2020

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sol
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? Week 2, 2020

#1

Post by sol » January 12th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Which Films Did You See Last Week?

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

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

This is what I saw:

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

The Patsy (1928). Madly in love with her sister's oblivious boyfriend, a young woman takes his advice to "get a personality" with zany results in this silent comedy starring Marion Davis. The film is slow to warm up, but from the moment Davis becomes set on achieving a personality, it rarely lets up with a very funny middle section in which her family thinks that she has lost her mind; Marie Dressler (as her mother) has some especially funny facial reactions. The dénouement is a little weak as focus turns from romancing to her father standing up for both Davis and himself against the domineering Dressler, but the final few shots offer a charming final note. Director King Vidor visualises things very well too with some unexpected high camera angles in the mix, though of course the film is nothing compared to his masterful The Crowd of the same year. (first viewing, online) ★★★

O Drakos (1956). Near identical in appearance to a criminal mastermind, a milquetoast bank clerk finds his life shaken up when a local newspaper publishes a photograph of the crook in this highly acclaimed Greek drama. The film gets off to a very strong start with a music score that taunts the protagonist as he wanders between places, subject to looks and stares from both strangers and old acquaintances alike. Things also become quite intriguing as it he assumes the role when mistaken for the criminal in a nightclub/bar. The film ultimately spends far too long in the nightclub though, dragged down by an unlikely romance with a teenage dancer young enough to be his granddaughter. The ending is pretty haunting and the extreme close-ups towards the end are effective here, but as a personal identity study, the film grows less enticing as it progresses. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Face to Face (1966). Not to be confused with the Ingmar Bergman or Sergio Sollima films of the same name, this earlier Greek drama has been compared to Lolita as it focuses on a young tutor who begins to have sexual fantasies about a flirtatious new pupil. The Lolita parallels are curious but do not quite hold up since the girl is in her early twenties here; also the protagonist does not weasel his way into her life. In fact, compared to Lolita, the film is a little dramatically inert. Stylistically though, there is a lot of interest going on, from rapid-fire editing and intentional jump cuts, to extreme low camera angles, to fetishising close-ups as she eats, to a bit in which the camera follows a blueprint of the girl's house as the characters run between the various rooms. The final fifteen minutes are particularly great as dreams and delusions begin to blur. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Tomka and His Friends (1977). Distraught when their playing field is taken over by the Nazis during the German occupation, a group of boys join the local resistance in this curious Albanian drama. We see what the war means from a child's point-of-view; beyond politics and fighting, it is about freedom to them - and wartime conditions also lead to some dangerous games, like collecting unexploded shells. The young actors (and one young actress) are all well cast and natural, but it is the photography that is the real star here with several breathtaking bird's-eye and high camera angle shots amidst war-torn ruins and rubble. The film is let down by an unfitting sentimental song early in the piece, and true to the title, the characters beyond Tomka feel interchangeable, but this is a decent glimpse into a time of unrest/uncertainty with a stellar final shot. (first viewing, online) ★★★

The Barrier (1979). Told that his mysterious new female companion has supernatural powers by her psychiatrist, a skeptical composer comes to question whether this could be the case in this intriguing, borderline sci-fi film from Bulgaria. Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy, who was superb as the protagonist in Gamlet, does equally well with the lead role here, especially as he struggles between whether he sees the (much younger) woman as a surrogate daughter or potential lover, and co-lead Vania Tzvetkova is equally effective. The film is at its best though when at its most mysterious -- whether it be her reading thoughts, a possible folie a deux in which they both fly (or do they?) or her moments of paranoia -- and there is a lot of talk, flashbacks and scenes with the protagonist's ex-wife in between. Still, this is very worthwhile for the parts that work. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Eye of the Needle (1981). Circumstances lead to a ruthless Nazi spy staying incognito with an unhappily married woman and her crippled husband in this Hitchcockian thriller. It is a decent set-up with lots of uncertainty and tension as to when the couple will find out his true identity and whether he really loves the woman or is simply manipulating her. The film also comes with a rousing Miklós Rózsa score. Unfortunately though, it takes a long time for the film to really get going with two seemingly unrelated plot threads (the couple and the Nazi) not converging until 45 minutes in. Even then, the tension is sometimes broken by cutaways to Allied officers trying to track the Nazi down. The film works overall though and has some solid performances. Donald Sutherland is great in a Jackal-like role, while Kate Nelligan does well as the beguiled housewife. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Variola Vera (1982). Titled after the Latin name for smallpox and inspired by actual events, this Yugoslav movie follows an outbreak of the disease at a Belgrade hospital with panic ensuing. The film is cut from the same cloth as Contagion, and while never as engrossing as that with less enticing characters, the film has enough effective small touches that the overall movie works. A flute has particularly eerie significance in a couple of key scenes, while the initial stages of the disease feel like something out of a horror film like Rabid or Shivers with blood spewing everywhere and unexplained blisters. Speaking of which, the makeup is very effective here and all the actors, including children, play convincingly ill and afflicted. This may not be much of a thriller, but it suffices well as a look at stressed human beings coping with a difficult situation. (first viewing, online) ★★★

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990). Accidentally gifted the ability to transform into a samurai warrior with magical powers, a New York cop gradually learns to use his new identity to tackle crime in this amusing superhero spoof from the Troma team. While some of the gags feel racially insensitive, this is less bad-taste based than the average Troma project; there is also less explicit gore with all energy placed into the protagonist's zany ways of taking criminals down, including wrapping them into noodles and turning them into literal sushi. There is also a downright insane bit in which he inexplicably transforms into a clown rather than the kabuki hero. The plot is undeniably silly here (with some nonsense about monkeys riding jaguars thrown in) and the very obvious central romance lacks sparks, but this is a fairly entertaining film all things considered. (first viewing, online) ★★

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991). Zanier and more inventive than the original, this sequel to Excellent Adventure takes the duo on an entirely different journey as they travel through the afterlife. Along the way, they have to contend with repressed memories in sets that look like they have come straight out of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and in a nod to The Seventh Seal, they have to beat Death in all sorts of party games - including Twister at the film's wildest. There are also some fun possession and séance scenes in the mix, with Hal Landon Jr. doing a great job aping the mannerisms of the Keanu Reeves character. Bits and pieces of the film are certainly very silly and most of the supporting characters, especially the girlfriends, are never developed beyond plot function, but this is one surefire imaginative look at life after death. (first viewing, DVD) ★★★

Popcorn (1991). Film students are stalked by a serial killer at a horror movie marathon in this creative take on the slasher subgenre. In fact, it is as a slasher that the film is at its weakest, with the best moments coming the oblivion of the cinema patrons who believe that all the horror is fake a la Demons and the beginning of Scream 2 since the marathon is full of William Castle style gimmicks. The project also has some very nifty films-within with a mosquito horror flick in particular looking and sound exactly like a 50s B-movie. There is also a reel of a supposed cursed movie that delightfully spoofs the "Rosebud" moment from Citizen Kane. If decidedly average as a slasher with mostly generic characters, this is also a superb love letter to "older" horror movies and one that cleverly satirises the bloodthirsty nature of modern audiences in its climax. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Army of Darkness (1992). Third in the Evil Dead series if with a change of title, this sequel follows the further adventures of Ash, sent back to medieval times. Bruce Campbell is energetic as ever in the lead role and made on a bigger budget than the previous entries, the film boasts some excellent makeup and stop motion special effects. Where the movie really succeeds though is in its middle third in which Campbell stays overnight at a windmill near a graveyard; Sam Raimi really lets his imagination loose in this stretch as Campbell undergoes all sorts of tortures and horrors. The final third is weaker, mostly focused on battle fights, while the fish-out-water comedy of the first third gets a little grating. The middle chunk of Army of Darkness is superb though with Raimi milking the black comedy potential of the material for all it is worth. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★★

Tromeo & Juliet (1996). Shakespeare's most iconic play undergoes the Troma treatment in this zany bad-taste comedy. While there is a large focus on gooey special effects and body parts being ripped off, the film has some clever bits and pieces in which the Bard's original dialogue is rewritten. The sheer imagination on hand is spectacular too, with a couple of great nightmare sequences (teethed manhood; belly full of rats and popcorn) in the mix, not to mention a neat fantasy angle that includes a fun reference to The Crying Game. The acting is not the best here and there are certainly significant stretches in which the Troma team seems to be just pushing the envelope for the sake of it, but there is nary a boring moment. A 'shocking' plot revelation towards the end also makes this pretty good as true love film with more heart than usual for Troma. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★

The Brothers Grimm (2005). What if the Brothers Grimm were con-men who played on the superstitions of simple villagers to exorcise mythical fairytale-type villains? This film from the combined imaginations of Terry Gilliam and Ehren Kruger answers this question that nobody else probably ever thought to ask. That said, it is an intriguing premise, yet the film barely spends any time on how the Brothers trick and deceive others before launching into an actual supernatural tale. There is some cleverness to how various Grimm tales come into their adventures (gingerbread man blob; Red Riding Hood), but beyond this, their quest feels very humdrum in between the special effects set pieces. The film is also lacking in the crazy camera angles and wacky humour that characterise much of Gilliam's oeuvre; where is Roger Pratt when you need him? (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Night at the Museum (2006). Employed at the only modern museum without security cameras, a rookie nightwatchman has trouble convincing others when the exhibits inexplicably come to life after dark in this big budget comedy. The film has some amusing bits and pieces like cowboys and ancient Romans battling and a skeletal tyrannosaurus rex chasing its own bones like a puppy, but the film more often feels silly than clever. At its least appealing, Ben Stiller has a slapping contest with a monkey and talks in dumb-dumb lingo to an Easter Island statue. The real life characters are generally stock types (sad child of divorce; obvious love interest) though Dick Van Dyke is at least entertaining to watch as the kookiest non-wax person. The central idea is actually not half-bad, but the film feels more like a string of episodes than a cohesive narrative. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008). Along similar lines to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, every line of dialogue is sung here as this horror musical presents a world in which financed cosmetic surgery is the norm and repossession of body parts is legal if repayments are not met. It is a curious outlook on a potential future with Paris Hilton amusingly cast as a singer who has gone under the knife so many times that her face can no longer stay attached. For all the songs and CGI, there is little of interest going on the story department though; with all of the betrayals at hand, the whole thing feels like a melodrama of the highest order with characters who are too over-the-top to care about. The Cherbourg gimmick also tires before the film is over, which is a shame since there is much potential in the body parts swapping premise with a definite Cronenberg vibe. (first viewing, online) ★★

Mea Maxima Cupla (2012). Alex Gibney uses the case of a group of deaf men abused by a priest in their youth to look at the scale of the Catholic Church covering up such crimes in this intense documentary. While the subject has been covered in several other fiction and non-fiction movies, Gibney provides enough uncommonly known facts to keep things chugging along, including that the Church has had a multi-million dollar budget for years to deal with such issues and that a Caribbean island was almost purchased by the Church to place deviant priests. The shifting back and forth in focus at times seems off as the film is part micro (about the deaf boys) and part macro (about the Church as a whole) but it makes for very enticing viewing with haunting reenactments and chilling excerpts from an offending priest's justifications for his actions in therapy. (first viewing, online) ★★★★

Miss Violence (2013). "In this house we have nothing to hide", states the patriarch of a Greek household as he recklessly pulls a door off its hinges in this dysfunctional family drama. Those words feel increasingly ironic as the film progresses as it becomes clear that the family have got something to hide - related to a suicide. To reveal more might ruin a fresh experience, but suffice it to say that it becomes very dark and thought-provoking. It could have perhaps done with exploring the mentality of the characters a bit more and why they remain in such a household; it is also fairly easy to guess the general area the film is heading in even if the actual revelation might be less predictable. This is nevertheless a very intense motion picture, full of of shots that linger on characters barely moving to richly capture the tension in the air even without explicit violence. (first viewing, online) ★★★

1917 (2019). Tasked with crossing enemy territory to deliver a vital message, two young British soldiers face mounting obstacles with danger lurking everywhere in this terse war movie. The film is crafted to look like it was it was shot in one take, and it does genuinely look like it, save for three or four instances. Some of the camerawork is breathtaking it as it climbs in and out trenches with the actors and around crowds of soldiers, all without ever seeming intrusive. The sound effects style music from Thomas Newman is slightly less effective, sometimes telegraphing events long before they happen. The film is also based on a series of wartime recollections and it shows in the mounting adversities narrative. That said, this is a thoroughly encapsulating experience, very intense and even stressful as the film literally never cuts away from the central action. (first viewing, cinema) ★★★★

OtherShow
Tall in the Saddle (1944). New in town, a hardened ranch hand’s troubles only just begin when he calls out a young local for cheating at poker in this John Wayne western. The plot is arguably more complex than the average western of its era with murder and an inheritance tied in, though most of this feels at soap opera level with some over-the-top supporting performances. A tomboyish Ella Raines is nicely cast though as one of two (!) potential love interests for Wayne; their first scene together is remarkably intense. George 'Gabby' Hayes is also as fun as ever as a cantankerous drunkard companion for Wayne - plus Wayne is his usual solid self. A murder mystery variation on the classic western though, the film is sadly less interesting than it sounds. An initial angle of Wayne slowly learning to overcome his misogyny is also oddly soon swept to the side. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Pushover (1954). Starring Fred MacMurray as an investigator whose moral fibre is tested by a femme fatale, this little-seen noir has been understandably compared to Double Indemnity over time. Rear Window though is a better comparison piece with significant stretches of MacMurray in stakeout, watching two different women with binoculars from a nearby apartment. Alas, this is nowhere near as strong as either of those two iconic thrillers. There is a lot of focus on style, but little on character development and neither MacMurray nor an alluring Kim Novak (in her film debut) are all that likeable or interesting to follow around. Novak gets some great dialogue though ("money isn't dirty; just people") and MacMurray certainly gives it his all, but he comes off less moral ambiguous and more simply corrupt, or easily corruptible -- a pushover. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Last Wagon (1956). Inhumanely treated by a hard-nosed sheriff, a shackled murderer soon wins the hearts of a group of devout Christian settlers with his politeness, but his true loyalties might lie with the Comanches who he lived with for years in this Delmer Daves western. Along similar lines to 3:10 to Yuma, which Daves would deliver one year later, The Last Wagon explores some complex criminal/law enforcer dynamics, this time questioning just treatment and fairness. The film ultimately culminates on an uneasy moral stance on such issues with a weak and dialogue-heavy final ten minutes. There is also a lifeless romance in the mix. The beginning and the middle section of the film (which has attacked settlers relying on him) are great though, and Richard Widmark does well carrying a sense of ambiguity as to his own ethics and values. (first viewing, online) ★★

Mysterious Island (1961). Based on a novel by Jules Verne, this adventure film follows two shipwrecked women and the survivors of a hot air balloon crash on a seemingly deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. The film seems to be best remembered nowadays for Ray Harryhausen's stop motion special effects. They are nowhere to be seen for the first 28 minutes, but this absence in turn makes the sudden appearance of a giant crab one of the most WTF moments in any film of its era. We also get to see giant chickens, octopi and bees, and most impressively, the inside of a giant honeycomb. There is little holding the film together between the animal parts though. The echoic voiceover narration provides an oddly mournful tone and none of the characters are the least bit interesting as individuals. While well cast, Herbert Lom's diatribes about war feel weird too. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Antigone (1961). Adapted from a play about a tragedy involving the daughter of Oedipus, this is a refreshingly open (not stagebound) production with opulent sets, an eerie cave and some great exterior shots of dust blowing in the wind. Darkness and lightness are used to good effect too. The play roots of the material are, however, extremely evident in how dialogue-driven the film is without much in the way of mood or atmosphere. The performances are also generally melodramatic and theatrical, save for the reliable Irene Papas who is expectedly solid in the lead role. One's appreciation of the film may vary depending on knowledge of the source material and the whole extended Oedipal myth, but there is certainly a fair bit of interest going on here with a look at the detrimental effects of unforgiving punishments on more than just the perpetrator. (first viewing, online) ★★

A Girl's Tears (1980). Accompanied by a television crew, Romanian detectives investigate the suspicious death of a young woman in this plodding drama based on actual events. In an innovative move, half of what we see is filtered through the lens of the cameraman, with such shots marked with a cross in the middle of the screen, and there is initially something of interest in how some folks act differently depending on whether the camera is turned on or off. As the film progresses though, this technique soon starts to feel more like a gimmick and with the cameraman's perspective at times absent for minutes on end, much of the movie is indistinguishable from the average crime drama. The investigation certainly leads to some intriguing revelations with a possible conspiracy unfolding, but a more straightforward treatment may have done the material better. (first viewing, online) ★★

Like Father Like Son (1987). If nowhere near as funny, well-paced or well acted as Freaky Friday, this father/son take on the body switching idea is certainly very watchable. Neither Kirk Cameron nor Dudley Moore do a spot-on job of impersonating one another; Cameron's cluelessness to teen sensibilities always seems unrealistic while Moore acts more like a 12-year-old rather than a high school senior. Moore is still a lot of fun to watch though as he hyperactively scurries around the place, with a date that leads to a couch on fire being a particular highlight. His fumbling about at his father's work is pretty funny too. Cameron also gets some good scenes lecturing one of his teachers and scolding Moore for coming home drunk. The film gets a little too mawkish and sentimental for its own good towards the end, but it at least ends on a laugh. (first viewing, DVD) ★★

Love Potion No. 9 (1992). Two scientists experiment with a potion that makes them irresistible to members of the opposite sex in this fantasy comedy. If riddled with moral ambiguity (especially regarding consent), it is a reasonably zany premise and there are some great initial moments as Sandra Bullock finds out that she can make men do anything when her driving license is suspended, and as Tate Donovan gets his own back on a flirtatious woman who was rude to him at a bar. There are also some neat bits and pieces, like the lights turning on and off at a sorority house in sync with music. The film runs out of fun ways to take the premise pretty soon though and the second half of the motion picture (involving Donovan trying to get Bullock) is a lot less interesting. For a movie inspired by a hit song from the 1950s though, this is definitely quite creative. (first viewing, online) ★★

Weekend at Bernie's II (1993). Released four years after the original but set immediately afterwards, this is a far more worthwhile sequel than one might expect. The plot is admittedly a little silly and ridiculous as voodoo magic causes Bernie's corpse to come back to life and stagger about whenever he hears music, but the filmmakers successfully milk a number of jokes from this idea with Terry Kiser in equally as fine form, getting to do more than in the first film when dead due to his ability to stagger. Barry Bostwick also brings much vibrancy as an easily befuddled private investigator, and the screenwriters even acknowledge when the premise has exhausted itself in an awesome bit of audience-winking as Bernie literally jumps the shark near the end. The black comedy is not quite so strong here, but this is a more than acceptable, highly energetic comedy. (first viewing, online) ★★

The Snail's Senator (1995). Seeing himself as more a king than a servant of the people, an arrogant senator thinks nothing of demanding that the residents of a small town prepare an escargot dinner, but things go awry as the townsfolk are injured while gathering snails in this Romanian comedy. In the lead role, Dorel Visan really shines here, seeming increasingly delusional and megalomaniacal as the film wears on; particularly potent are the cutaways to him lazily playing chess in a lake while everyone else scavenges for his much-demanded meal. The satirical targets are pretty obvious though and the humour does not quite translate to someone not well-versed in Romanian politics. There is a lot of chaos and even some bizarre bits with a young boy who likes to mimic whatever the senator does, but this never feels as funny as it could have been. (first viewing, online) ★★

Six-String Samurai (1998). Set in an alternative post-apocalyptic twentieth century, this oddball comedy follows a master swordsman who runs into trouble after picking up a preteen travelling companion. Professional stuntman Jeffrey Falcon is decent as the bespectacled, laconic protagonist with some great acrobatics as he somersaults to avoid being shot by bows and arrows - plus of course much swordplay. Justin McGuire on the other hand is horrid as the kid who tends to only communicate through squawking and moaning - something that makes the pair's bonding hard to warm to. Aesthetically, the film does nothing too interesting either, looking like just about every Mad Max 2 clone of its era. There are at least some wacky supporting characters in the mix, but this never quite feels all that zany with all creative energy spent on the scattered fights. (first viewing, online) ★★

A Film for Friends (2011). Filmed in a single take, this Romanian feature involves a man talking to the camera as he videos a last will and testament in the build-up to a planned suicide. With half of his performance being a rambling yet cathartic monologue, the lead actor certainly does well here, but this is a very difficult film to watch. Things soon grow repetitive as he keeps complaining and moaning before the camera, and we have to listen him to go on about his life for 33 minutes. The film does not necessarily improve after this point though; if anything, it gets more grueling and difficult to view, relishing in pain, agony and sorrow. On one hand, it is hard not to admire the effort and restraint taken to create a one-shot devastating drama like this; on the other hand, this is agonising to watch and feels extremely drawn-out even at under one hour in length. (first viewing, online) ★

Domestic (2012). Tenants of an apartment complex have varying intimate encounters with various animals in this comedy from Romania. While the stories overlap and link together, this feels like an anthology movie, and per usual with anthologies, some of the tales are more interesting than others. The first is arguably the best, involving a young girl whose parents pay her to slaughter a hen for dinner; in fact, most of the other episodes drag. The choice to shoot the film primarily with long takes is a mixed blessing. The skill and coordination involved is notable, but it is absolutely painful to watch a young boy watch TV for minutes on end at a Christmas lunch, upset over a rabbit being killed for their meal. Evidently the filmmakers are trying to say something here about our relationship with animals, but if watching this does not test your patience, nothing will. (first viewing, online) ★

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015). Sending its characters into the near future rather than the past, this sequel to the John Cusack comedy lacks the nostalgic charm that made the original so surprisingly funny. It also lacks John Cusack. This is, however, surprisingly decent with just as many fun movie references as the original as the characters rationalise what is going on; Looper is especially well referenced. An uncredited Christian Slater also provides an energetic turn as the host of a futuristic game show. The film could have certainly done with dialing down its gross-out humour (breasts are vomited on; testicles leak, etc) but three other lead actors from the original and new addition Adam Scott play very well off one another and the ending is amusing, topped off with some fun end credits provided that one ignores the (many) gaps in the film's logic. (first viewing, Blu-ray Disc) ★★
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Onderhond
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#2

Post by Onderhond » January 12th, 2020, 12:32 pm

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Had a pretty solid week, with only 3 real flukes. Also a few futile franchise additions, but at least the films themselves weren't all that bad. Some very nice animation discoveries this week and a great Yamashita film, which is a first for me. And Dupieux is still as awesome as ever. So yeah, a good start of this new decade.


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01. 4.0* - Hard-Core [Hâdo Koa] by Nobuhiro Yamashita (2018)
I'm not a big Yamashita fan, but this mix of absurd comedy and social drama is quite something else. It kept me guessing from start to finish, it held quite a few positive surprises and the ending is simply perfect, even though it doesn't really resolve anything. Hard-Core is a very pleasant surprise, though I'm sure it's not for everyone.


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02. 4.0* - Deerskin [Le Daim] by Quentin Dupieux (2019)
Think Audition, because the first half is just a little underwhelming. There is some measure of absurdity present, but it feels a little tame and manageable. Then things spiral well out of control during the second half, which makes it all the more fun. Well acted and crazy, probably the most doofy serial killer flick ever.

03. 3.5* - Cencoroll Connect by Atsuya Uki (2019)
A bright and creative little fantasy film that's a little hard to grasp, but if you have experience with the weirder side of anime then this film shouldn't be too hard to follow. A cool premise, awesome character designs and a nifty art style elevate make this a real treat. It's just a little too baseless to make a truly big impact though.

04. 3.5* - Arcana [Arukana] by Yoshitaka Yamaguchi (2013)
Not your typical Japanese ghost story. There's a bit more lore to go through here, it's also much more direct in style and execution. Quite gory at times, with solid cinematography, edgy editing and some interesting fantasy elements thrown into the mix. This was quite a pleasant surprise to be honest. Not flawless but good fun nonetheless.

05. 3.5* - This Magnificent Cake! [Ce Magnifique Gâteau!] by Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels (2018)
Very charming and unique stop-motion animation that delves into Belgium's colonial paste and comes up with a couple of small-scale but pleasantly surreal stories. It's quite short, not very cohesive and clearly made on a shoestring budget, but the talent of the creators easily overcame all these hurdles. A fun discovery.

06. 3.5* - 3 from Hell by Rob Zombie (2019)
Rob Zombie's return to the depraved horror anarchy that brought him fame as a director. It's a tad strange to see a film like this being released in 2019, but at least that makes it stand out from the rest. The horror feels a little tame though and there are some pacing issues, but a sprawling finale more than makes up for that. Good stuff.

07. 3.5* - Harpoon by Rob Grant (2019)
Three terrible people get stuck on a boat. It doesn't take very long before their friendship completely deteriorates and each of them goes in full survival mode. A simple setup, but the mix of comedy and horror is effective. The ending is appropriately dark too, I really had a lot of fun with this one. Prime filler.

08. 3.5* - Bodies at Rest [Chen Mo De Zheng Ren] by Renny Harlin (2019)
A simple but capable thriller that plays a little like Die Hard in a Chinese hospital. It's nothing too original or out of the ordinary, but the execution is on point, the actors do a decent job and there are a few scenes that do manage to get the juices flowing. Not a very memorable film, but extremely solid filler nonetheless.

09. 3.0* - The Grudge by Nicolas Pesce (2020)
Pointless continuation of the franchise. Too similar to make a real impact, too different to feel like a true Ju-On film. Pesce's direction is solid but a little inconspicuous, the writing could've used some extra spice. By itself this isn't too bad of a film, but as the next episode in the Ju-On franchise it's a pretty big letdown.

10. 2.5* - Doctor Vampire [Jiang Shi Yi Sheng] by Jamie Luk (1990)
HK vampire comedy, the kind that was all the rage in the late 80s. It's all pretty cheap and fleeting, at the same time it's also pretty fun and entertaining. The poor acting and silly effects come with the territory, but the onslaught of cheesy and zany humor save this film from total obscurity. It's niche, but if you like this kind of thing, it's decent filler.

11. 2.5* - Sadako by Hideo Nakata (2019)
Another entry in the Ringu franchise, helmed by Nakata himself. It's more mystery/drama than horror though and the few scares that are there are greatly ineffective. It feels like a film from a bygone era, but judged on its own merits it's not a terrible film. Just don't expect too much from it and don't try to compare it to the other films in the franchise.

12. 2.5* - Realms by Daric Gates (2017)
There are traces, shimmers and echoes of a good horror flick here, but for some reason the films keeps shooting itself in the food. A muddled and derivative story, poor acting, uneven genre mix and some shoddy CG stand in the way of a more respectable rating. Not terrible, but not quite a success either.

13. 1.5* - The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires by Roy Ward Baker, Cheh Chang (1974)
Hammer meet Shaw Bros. Two legendary production companies working on a single films sounds appealing, but the result is lackluster and troubled. Mediocre martial arts scenes, terrible practical effects and a dull mix of Western and Eastern mythology make this is project a failure. I'm not surprised their cooperation was short-lived.

14. 1.5* - Jumanji by Joe Johnston (1995)
Somewhat long and stretched out family adventure that is held back by a combination of outdated effects and bad CG. Williams is rather annoying, the game itself isn't that much fun and the trials and tribulations of the cast feels flimsy and inconsequential. No doubt this works better for kids, but I clearly prefer the reboot over the original one.

15. 1.5* - Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach (2019)
A pretty tired divorce narrative that isn't helped by actor who are trying very hard to act and a director who supposedly fell asleep halfway through. The simplistic people vs the system finger waving didn't really help the film forward either. There are a few pleasant scenes, but hardly enough to support a 132-minute film.

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#3

Post by Onderhond » January 12th, 2020, 12:36 pm

@sol:

Watched The Brothers Grimm, Repo! The Genetic Opera and Night at the Museum from your list, pretty much agree with your rating. Repo! was somewhat interesting, just not very good.
Also watched Army of Darkness, but don't like Raimi's work. Didn't think it was funny, didn't think the crappy effects were charming.
Semi-interested in watching 1917. Probably not going to like it, but the one-shot approach could be nice, especially since it doesn't look to be "on rails", like some recent Chinese one-shots.

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#4

Post by sol » January 12th, 2020, 1:09 pm

Onderhond:

Yeah, Repo! had a lot of potential with its future of normalised plastic surgery, but I don't know if the rock musical approach was the best way of exploring the universe of the story.

The one-shot approach of 1917 is pretty interesting since the film is always trying to be hyper-realistic (whereas the technique added an aptly dreamlike quality to Birdman). I suppose it is a good sign that I kept 'forgetting' that the film was crafted to look like one long shot. Initially I was mentally going 'ooh' and 'ahh' every time the camera crept into a darkened area, but I ultimately became too absorbed into the story to try to work out all the edit points. Some of the camera movements are pretty amazing too, what the camera always walking around the characters, up and down unsteady landscapes and sometimes through fences.

Yours:

Loved Deerskin and how Dujardin gradually turns into a deer himself with his continuous acquisition of more and more deerskin products. Some really funny moments too, like his certainty that his actors are screwed since has them on film saying that they will never wear a jacket again.

Also seen The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires from you, which I was not an enormous fan of either. I have never been particular big on vampire movies, and in this one the vampires never seemed formidable - just masked kung fu fighters with a penchant for ripping blouses off young women.

Will probably see Marriage Story for next month's Academy Awards Challenge. Not a high priority but I do really like Alan Alda as an actor.
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#5

Post by Perception de Ambiguity » January 12th, 2020, 2:07 pm

The Platform Master (Director's Cut) (Jeffrey Eugene Hoch, 2019) 7/10

La Flor (Mariano Llinás, 2018) 4/10

Troilus & Cressida (Jonathan Miller, penned by the Bard; 1981)
he quoteth:Show
ACHILLES

What are you reading?

ULYSSES

A strange fellow here
Writes me: 'That man, how dearly ever parted,
How much in having, or without or in,
Cannot make boast to have that which he hath,
Nor feels not what he owes, but by reflection;
As when his virtues shining upon others
Heat them and they retort that heat again
To the first giver.'

ACHILLES

This is not strange, Ulysses.
The beauty that is borne here in the face
The bearer knows not, but commends itself
To others' eyes; nor doth the eye itself,
That most pure spirit of sense, behold itself,
Not going from itself; but eye to eye opposed
Salutes each other with each other's form;
For speculation turns not to itself,
Till it hath travell'd and is mirror'd there
Where it may see itself. This is not strange at all.

ULYSSES

I do not strain at the position,--
It is familiar,--but at the author's drift;
Who, in his circumstance, expressly proves
That no man is the lord of any thing,
Though in and of him there be much consisting,
Till he communicate his parts to others:
Nor doth he of himself know them for aught
Till he behold them form'd in the applause
Where they're extended; who, like an arch,
reverberates
The voice again, or, like a gate of steel
Fronting the sun, receives and renders back
His figure and his heat. I was much wrapt in this;
And apprehended here immediately
The unknown Ajax.
Heavens, what a man is there! a very horse,
That has he knows not what. Nature, what things there are
Most abject in regard and dear in use!
What things again most dear in the esteem
And poor in worth! Now shall we see to-morrow--
An act that very chance doth throw upon him--
Ajax renown'd. O heavens, what some men do,
While some men leave to do!
How some men creep in skittish fortune's hall,
Whiles others play the idiots in her eyes!
How one man eats into another's pride,
While pride is fasting in his wantonness!
To see these Grecian lords!--why, even already
They clap the lubber Ajax on the shoulder,
As if his foot were on brave Hector's breast
And great Troy shrieking.

ACHILLES

I do believe it; for they pass'd by me
As misers do by beggars, neither gave to me
Good word nor look: what, are my deeds forgot?

ULYSSES

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour'd
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done: perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter'd tide, they all rush by
And leave you hindmost;
Or like a gallant horse fall'n in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O'er-run and trampled on: then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o'ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,
And with his arms outstretch'd, as he would fly,
Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not
virtue seek
Remuneration for the thing it was;
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object.
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the Greeks begin to worship Ajax;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
Than what not stirs.

来る / It Comes / Kuru (中島哲也/Tetsuya Nakashima, 2018) 8-/10

달콤, 살벌한 연인 / My Scary Girl (손재곤/Son Jae-gon, 2006) 6/10

Boatman (Gianfranco Rosi, 1993) 8-/10

The History of White People in America
(Harry Shearer, 1985) 6/10

Twentynine Palms (Bruno Dumont, 2003) 7/10

Breathless (Jim McBride, 1983) (2nd viewing) 8/10 (from 7)
Image


shorts

Alone in the Woods: The Legend of Cambo (Harmony Korine, 2015) 6/10

Harmony Korine Raiders (at Gagosian Beverly Hills) (Harmony Korine, 2015)

Duck Duck (Harmony Korine, 2019) 6/10

去年火車經過的時候 / Last Year When the Train Passed By (Huang Pang-Chuan, 2018) 7/10

Atlanta (Mirandy July, 1996) 5/10

The Amateurist (Mirandy July, 1998) 6/10

Killing Time (Damian Harris, 1984) 2+/10

疱瘡譚 / A Tale of Smallpox (寺山修司/Shuji Terayama, 1975) 4/10

Wait (Ernie Gehr, 1968) 6-/10

The Snowman (Phil Solomon/Philip S. Solomon, 1995) 6/10

Bérénice (Éric Rohmer/Eric Rohmer, 1954) 8-/10

Relativity (Ed Emshwiller, 1966) 8/10


RiffTrax & MST3k

Ruby (Curtis Harrington, 1977) 2/10


music videos

Ken Ishii: Bells of New Life (Yuichi Kodama, 2019) +=

Lana Del Rey - Norman F***ing Rockwell (Directed by Chuck Grant edited by LDR, 2019)


series

Seven Worlds, One Planet (2019) 5/10
- North America (Chadden Hunter, 2019) 5/10
- Africa (Giles Badger, 2019) 5/10


didn't finish
Badou Boy (Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1970) [17 min]
Puzzle of a Downfall Child (Jerry Schatzberg, 1970) [13 min]
Ευδοκία / Evdokia (Alexis Damianos, 1971) [11 min]
La chambre ardente / The Burning Court (Julien Duvivier, 1962) [11 min]
Bez doteku / Touchless (Matej Chlupacek, 2013) [11 min]
El otro / The Other (Ariel Rotter, 2007) [10+ min]
In the Cold of the Night (Nico Mastorakis, 1990) [10 min]
Conquest of Space (Byron Haskin, 1955) [10 min]
Serpent's Lair (Jeffrey Reiner, 1995) [8 min]
Dracula: Ep 1 (2020) [ca. 4 min]


notable online media

top:
Billie Eilish - Bad Cat (Animal Cover) [Only_Animal_Sounds]
Rammstein - Ich Will (Animal Cover)
ancient forgotten animal vines to watch when you're depressed af
rest:
Joaquin Phoenix Mocks Reporters' Questions Backstage at the Golden Globes
KOTH Edit: Peggy's Song
[QT (and the "Once Upon..." cast") doing the rounds again, Q&A's, podcasts acceptance speeches for winnings awards and shit]


Screenshots of the Week:
viewtopic.php?p=619892#p619892
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#6

Post by peeptoad » January 12th, 2020, 2:34 pm

Hi sol... I hope all is well with you.
of yours this week I've seen-
Popcorn (1991) 5
Night at the Museum (2006) one of my former roommates worked on this one. Still, even with slant... meh.
Army of Darkness (1992) 6 I kind of agree with Onderhond, but there were parts that I did enjoy, I liked this more on initial view in the cinema than I did on rewatch.
haven't seen Weekend at Bernie's II (and probably won't), but the first I thought was quite funny back in high school. Might rewatch that one someday...
Six-String Samurai (1998) I've seen but not rated and I can't recall enough about it to give it a number... a 2 on your scale seems about right though.
Variola Vera is on my watch list.
...thought I had seen Eye of the Needle, but I think I was recalling all the tattered mass market paperbacks of my mothers' hanging around back during the summers of my youth. ;)
Okay, enough of that...

my views for the week-
*rewatch

The Enchanted (1984) 7+ this was an unassuming-looking, low-budget film that I found some deeper appeal in. There is nothing earth-shattering, but the atmosphere was really well done imo, the plot decent and different enough that I was engaged throughout. There's also this weird feeling that's created via a synth soundtrack that doesn't quite match the visuals onscreen that left me feeling a little off, in a good way.
Lumaban Ka, Satanas (1983) Killing of Satan 5
The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) 6 this one reminded me of some you've enjoyed in the past, sol. Maybe check it out if you haven't already...
Star Trek: Generations (1994) 6*
Suspiria (2018) 5 not nearly as good as the original and nothing left much of an impression on me
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) 6*
La ville des pirates (1983) City of Pirates 9 easily the best so far this month. I found this to be a masterpiece of the surreal and promptly added a bunch more of Ruiz's to my watch list. The only other film of this I've seen is The Territory, so I'll def be checking out more.
Cementerio del terror (1985) Cemetery of Terror 6 this almost was a 7, but it faltered slightly towards the finale. Better than average Mexican (filmed in Texas) piece about kids stealing a body and performing a ritual in jest, not realizing the body is that of a serial killer. The corpse is accidentally reanimated and you can go from there. Not original material, but I found it way better than a lot of higher-budget American films in this vein/style.
I also started High Life at about 1am last night, so I'll be finishing that shortly...

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#7

Post by sol » January 12th, 2020, 4:19 pm

peeps:

That's a shame about Popcorn, although I must admit that I have a real affinity for films about people watching horror movies, and I absolutely love myself a good B-horror movie parody/fake B-movie, so this was always bound to be a treat for me.

I have no idea how well Army of Darkness will stack up to rewatch, but it was pretty interesting to view at a distance (of a few months) to the other two movies. I am not big on medieval films, but damn, that stuff at the windmill and in the graveyard was rad.

Yeah, the first Weekend at Bernie's is much funnier than many tend to give it credit for; all the humour comes from how shallow Bernie's associates are to not notice that he has corked it. The sequel stretches the premise just a little, but Terry Kiser has more to do, which is a plus.

You could count Variola Vera for the Balkan Challenge if you watch it this month. Not as good as Contagion, but better than that Canadian horror film that I recommended to you a while back - Plague?

Yours:

Yeah, The Killing of Satan was okay with enough weirdness (tie a snake in a knot and throw it to kill it!) in order to balance out the bad special effects.

Agreed with you on the new Suspiria being a disappointment. That voodoo-ish sequence in which the other dancer's body twists and turns in that empty room as she dances was great. The rest of the film, less so.

Ruiz has made some great looking films (the amazing Sacha Vierny tends to lens them). I thought that I had seen Pirates, but I was thinking about Three Crowns of the Sailor from the same year or at least general time period.
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#8

Post by joachimt » January 12th, 2020, 5:37 pm

I'm such a boring rater sometimes. So many 6's. Feels like I hardly have a strong opinion about movies. Ah well, I did enjoy most of these to some extent though.

Davandeh AKA The Runner (1984, 3 official lists, 135 checks) 8/10
Watched because it was FotW.
Posted a little in the FotW thread.
La drôlesse AKA The Hussy (1979, 1 official list, 61 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Interesting development in de relationship between the two.
Till glädje AKA To Joy (1950, 1 official list, 405 checks) 7/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Lovely, but not among his most interesting work.
Dumbo (2019, 1 official list, 1169 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Dumbo was cute.
Efterskalv AKA The Here After (2015, 1 official list, 130 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Not sure what to think about this.
Miracle (2004, 1 official list, 4996 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Why do all these sport movies follow almost exactly the same plot? I fell for it again though.
Pollyanna (1920, 1 official list, 85 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's an official check shorter than 70 min.
Standard Pickford stuff with a predictable story.
Subway (1985, 2 official lists, 1124 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
The Paris subway is a very good place to shoot a movie with a lot of the 80's feel. A lot of shots look very iconic. A shame the story was very messy.
The Cotton Club (1984, 1 official list, 1062 checks) 6/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
Nice period piece, but too many songs and dances. I even watched the longer cut. Should have been shorter instead.
Village of the Damned (1960, 5 official lists, 3376 checks) 6/10
Watched because someone shared it and it's on a list I plan to watch in the future.
Some spooky scenes. A lot of plot choices and jumps didn't make a lot of sense.
4: Rise of the Silver Surfer AKA Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, 1 official list, 27788 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Next…
Bedtime Stories (2008, 1 official list, 14812 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on Disney+.
Sandler being annoying again. With someone else did could have been rather charming.
One from the Heart (1981, 1 official list, 569 checks) 5/10
Watched because it's a random official check available on MUBI.
There are some great looking scenes in this, even though they look very cheesy. Unfortunately the story is hardly interesting, the two lead characters not very interesting and the two actors nothing special.
Relativity (1966, 1 official list, 36 checks) 3/10
Watched because it's an official short.
Thank you, Ed, for the bouncing slow motion breasts and the erect penis close-up, which was filmed in the way it would look like while giving head. It's the first time I saw a penis from that angle, so at least this "movie" accomplished something.
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#9

Post by Cinepolis » January 12th, 2020, 5:54 pm

Onderhond wrote:
January 12th, 2020, 12:32 pm
06. 3.5* - 3 from Hell by Rob Zombie (2019)
Rob Zombie's return to the depraved horror anarchy that brought him fame as a director. It's a tad strange to see a film like this being released in 2019, but at least that makes it stand out from the rest. The horror feels a little tame though and there are some pacing issues, but a sprawling finale more than makes up for that. Good stuff.
Glad to see that I'm not the only one, who really enjoyed "Three From Hell". It gets more backlash than it deserves.
sol wrote:
January 12th, 2020, 12:00 pm
Mea Maxima Cupla (2012). Alex Gibney uses the case of a group of deaf men abused by a priest in their youth to look at the scale of the Catholic Church covering up such crimes in this intense documentary. While the subject has been covered in several other fiction and non-fiction movies, Gibney provides enough uncommonly known facts to keep things chugging along, including that the Church has had a multi-million dollar budget for years to deal with such issues and that a Caribbean island was almost purchased by the Church to place deviant priests. The shifting back and forth in focus at times seems off as the film is part micro (about the deaf boys) and part macro (about the Church as a whole) but it makes for very enticing viewing with haunting reenactments and chilling excerpts from an offending priest's justifications for his actions in therapy. (first viewing, online) ★★★★
It's one of my favorite documentaries. I nominated it for 500>400 and Documentaries poll too.

My week:

Made in Britain (1982, 7/10) - British TV movie about a young skinhead (Tim Roth) who has to spend some time in a youth rehabilitation center. Amazing acting on Roth's part.
Be My Cat: A Film For Anne (2015, 6/10) - Romanian found footage movie. Tofei's acting is great but everything else is mediocre.
Shirome (2010, 6/10) - More of a gag than a real movie but still engaging and even a bit creepy at parts. Plus, I kinda like the singing in this.
Germany Year Zero (1948, 5/10) - The interesting scenery of post-war Berlin is wasted on bad acting and tear-jerker dramaturgy.
Evidence (2011, 6/10) - While the characters are annoying, I appreciate the massive amount of work that was put into the project.
Fantômas: Juve Against Fantômas (1913, 6/10) - Historically significant, but neither entertaining nor really interesting for me.
21 Days (2014. 4/10) - All the tropes of found footage movies mashed together in one movie. It's okay enough for a one time watch though.

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#10

Post by 45MinuteZoom » January 12th, 2020, 9:36 pm

My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991)

My first impression is that the style of the movie feels very dated. I was wondering what was going on with the weird Shakespearean delivery until later reading it’s sort of based on Henry IV and V. The music is a lot of fun though, I like the America, the Beautiful popping up the few times it does. For all that flack though, the scene by the campfire was brilliant, it’s easy to empathize with both River and Keanu’s positions. 6/10


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010)

This movie did do a great job of setting a dreamy, almost meditative atmosphere. I really liked the costumes and design of the monkey people and the new take on a ghost story. Ultimately though, something just didn’t click, it doesn’t seem cohesive. There are plenty of movies I love where the story really doesn’t matter, you just need to be along for the ride, and I can’t figure out what’s stopping me from that here. 6/10


Downtown 81 (Edo Bertoglio, 2000)

This movie follows Jean-Michel Basquiat walking around 1980 New York City while he does some tagging and goes between different clubs. The story is really only an excuse to get from one club to another, and the movie really suffers for it. Basquiat was still homeless during the filming, Basquiat would make his breakthrough into the art word in the next year. Per his memoirs, the producers of the movie actually bought him his first canvases since they wanted the character to sell a painting. Two of the crew actually bought a painting from him for $200 each after the filming stopped. Due to issues with the producer, the movie was unreleased from the early 80s to 2000, and in that time the dialogue track was lost, so it’s not really Basquiat talking, it’s another actor who came in and dubbed for him. The audio of the bands playing did survive. Still, it’s interesting to see the Lower East Side in the 80s, and interesting to see the different no-wave bands play. 4/10


Sol: great review for 1917, makes me excited to see it

Onderhond: Dr Vampire sounds fun, were they the jumping vamps?

Perception: Did something drive you away from Dracula? I’m only casually interested since it’s the Sherlock people

Peeptoad: Completely agree with you about Suspiria. Thought I was going crazy since I’ve only seen good things about it recently.

Cineopolis: Completely agree with you about Germany Year Zero, a complete melodramatic letdown.

Sorry joachimt, I don’t have anything interesting to say about your watches.

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#11

Post by Lakigigar » January 13th, 2020, 2:51 am

5 films seen.

Paris, Texas: 8/10: Good movie, but was quite tired which ruined the ending a bit for me when there was a lot of talk. Good atmosphere, beautifully shot. I'm a fan.
Apocalypse Now: 8/10: I don't understand the movie itself very well, but it's one of the most beautifully shot movies i've ever seen. Great 8/10 Both will have to be rewatched someday
Forushande 7/10: Slow start, good ending but not as good as the other Farhadi movies.
The Tree of Life: 5/10 Pretentious slice of life film. Don't have much to say. It's not as bad as i thought i would be, but it's still not good.
Melancholia: 6/10 Good start, excellent even but towards the ending it gets worse. It's not great but certainly not bad either

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#12

Post by sol » January 13th, 2020, 4:12 am

Cinepolis:

Oh yes - I have already added Mea Maxima Cupla to my own 500<400 list. :thumbsup: As I said on the other thread, I prefer Deliver Us from Evil as a take on the topic since it gives even more focus to the warped thinking of offending priests, but both documentaries bring quite a bit of new stuff to the table regarding a now-familiar topic.

Seen none of yours this week. I know that Germany Year Zero is a classic and all, but I imagine that my take would not be dissimilar to yours. The premise of Be My Cat is certainly intriguing, but I note your caution, and I have plenty of other Romanian films to dig into this month.

45MinuteZoom:

New avatar again already? I would go with this myself if I was you. ;)

1917 is really interesting and pretty different from the other big war movies of the past 25 years. It is not epic scale like Ryan, Dunkirk or even Hacksaw Ridge; rather, it concentrates very much on the individual experience and the intensity of being in the face of unknown danger. There were at least a couple of points in the film that made me physically jerk in reaction.

The only film of yours that I have seen is Uncle Bonmee, which I also didn't really like. It is the only film that I have seen from Weerasethakul and it did not leaving wanting more, though the premise of Tropical Malady has always intrigued me.
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#13

Post by mightysparks » January 13th, 2020, 7:45 am

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) 7/10
After Ricky Baker is taken in by a new foster family, he and his foster father find themselves living in the New Zealand wilderness whilst a manhunt for them ensues. This film is not the kind of thing that is my usual cup of tea, being quite wholesome and cute, but it is so charming. Julian Dennison is likable and hilarious and has great chemistry with Sam Neill. Even the minor characters are memorable and funny, particularly the talkative girl that he runs into. I don't laugh out loud during many comedies, but this actually had me laughing a lot. Dennison's timing is great (and so is the editing) and nearly every line had me laughing. Some pretty stand-out moments and scenes for me were the 'Caucasian' thing, the entire 'pervert' scene had some great banter, and the kitchen scene with the talkative girl. It gets a little sentimental and silly towards the end, but overall it's still a really entertaining, funny and wholesome film.

Manbiki kazoku (2018) 7/10
A non-biological family of shoplifters take in a young girl whose parents neglect and abuse her. IMDb's plot summary did not interest me much and I was not expecting to like this film as much as I did. Everything about it feels genuine and natural. The family have a strange bond with each other but the actors have such great chemistry with each other and help create characters that feel real and complex that it feels like a fly on the wall documentary at times. The characters are all really likable and interesting, and even the kids pull some great performances; particularly by Miyu Sasaki as 'Yuri', whose performance the film relied upon to be effective and she pulls it off with ease. Thought it was quite a beautiful looking film too, the house is cramped and cluttered and my idea of hell, but the film manages to make it feel like such a cozy safe space.

Toy Story 4 (2019) 6/10
As Woody is being pushed aside in favour of the other toys, Bonnie's family and the toys go on a road trip with Bonnie's new favourite toy, a creation called 'Forky'. This was a pretty unnecessary sequel that didn't really add to the journey that we've been taken on with the previous films. Bonnie is completely unlikable and annoying and luckily isn't in it much after they leave for the road trip. The old toys aren't really given a lot to do and the focus becomes entirely on Woody and Forky and a bunch of new characters that aren't interesting. The 'on the road' setting is not utilised as much as it could've been and ends up being endless trips to the antique store for no good reason.

The Irishman (2019) 5/10
Delivery truck driver, Frank Sheeran, becomes a hitman for the mob and a friend and protector to Jimmy Hoffa. Pretty pointless film that feels like it's all been done before. The acting is pretty bad, thanks to a lack of characterization and poor dialogue, and most of all thanks to the creepy and distracting de-aging that makes them all look like emotionless robots. De Niro and Pacino just play themselves, Pesci is the only one that feels right on screen. It has no emotion whatsoever, and not in a 'cold mobster' kind of way, there's just nothing. There are a lot of characters that are difficult to keep track of because everyone is pretty much just playing the same, uninspired role. Knowing nothing about Jimmy Hoffa or any of the people or moments in history that the film focuses on leaves me relying entirely on the world and characters that the film gives me, which is not much. The narration is lazy storytelling, the 'bonds' between characters aren't developed enough to care about anything or anyone, and it is poorly paced. It's dull and overlong and feels like a dusty retread of films and ideas past.

Marriage Story (2019) 6/10
A separated couple struggle through a bitter divorce battle. I had pretty low expectations for this film based on a lot of reasons, and it started off poorly but it held my interest more and more as it went on. Whilst Scarlett Johansson has been gradually changing my mind on her over the last few years, she's not exactly a big pull to a film for me yet and Adam Driver has been awful in everything so far and creeps me out. Surprisingly, both are quite good, especially Driver, though they are hit and miss; some scenes feel like they're trying too hard to act and then others feel very natural. Driver's character is more complex and grows a lot over the course of the film, whereas Johansson's character is a pretty generic female character and some of her dialogue is just awful. They also had pretty good chemistry together. I also liked that neither were particularly likable and both were generally given equal treatment as to showing their flaws (as a character, and in the relationship). Dern was also quite enjoyable. The more comedic parts of the film didn't really work for me as it kept the film from having a really solid emotional base for a large part of the film and it also just wasn't very funny.

Jojo Rabbit (2019) 6/10
During World War II, a young Hitler fanatic discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. This was ok, but the tone of the film felt confused and a lot of the humour fell flat because of this. It's a great looking film; the cinematography, the sets, the fashion etc all on point. Roman Griffin Davis gives a pretty good performance and his transformation from childhood innocence and gullibility to a more mature outlook as the film goes on is convincing. The rest of the cast are ok, but are never quite as likable or consistent and I didn't really care about any of them. I got a bit of a kick out of seeing my first celebrity crush (Sam Rockwell) on-screen with my last celebrity crush (Stephen Merchant) though.

Wonder (2017) 5/10
A young boy born with a facial deformity enters fifth grade by attending a school for the first time. This film is exactly what you expect it is; a really shallow, predictable, overly sentimental and uninspiring story of a lame-ass kid who just happens to have Treacher Collins syndrome. 'He's just like every other kid', he and everyone else says, whilst simultaneously thinking he is the most amazing person they've ever met. Tremblay is ok, but the performance is nothing special and neither is the character. We also get to see the similarities and differences of school/friendships/bullying from the perspective of his sister and the other characters as well, which makes this a little more watchable but they aren't particularly interesting or enlightening in any way. Noah Jupe was pretty likable, and the sister's character had the most potential but it never even tried. The parents are horrible and none of the kids are believable as kids. The moral of the film is 'school is hard' and offers nothing new.


Also watched the mini-series Over the Garden Wall. Each episode is only 10 minutes long and it's a pretty fun world, with cute animation and some interesting stories. Didn't find it particularly funny, but its humour isn't as off-putting as it initally seems like it would be and it does grow on you. There's no real laugh out moments though, it's just casually amusing.
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#14

Post by mightysparks » January 13th, 2020, 7:56 am

Others:

@sol - Love Popcorn :wub: I also love film/cinema related horror films. I like Army of Darkness, but none of the Evil Dead sequels come close to the perfection and terror of the first one.

@Onderhond - Three From Hell was so lameee, man. Have had Harpoon on my watchlist for a while though I don't remember why, but your review makes me hopeful (not that we have particularly similar tastes but I'll take anything I can find lol). Love HK vampire comedies, so adding Doctor Vampire to my watchlist.

@peeptoad - Suspiria remake sucked giant balls ughhh. Generous 3/10 and I don't remember why I gave it such a high rating.. Easily in the bottom 10 of the last decade for me.

@Laki: Love Paris, Texas. It was one of those films that I enjoyed, but kept growing on me after I watched it. I have Tree of Life (2/10) and Melancholia (5/10) on my 'films I liked or hated that I wanna rewatch at some point' list. I feel like I could possibly appreciate both a lot more since experiencing depression, though I don't have high hopes for the former.. I actually hated the first half of Melancholia and really enjoyed the latter half tho...
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#15

Post by sol » January 13th, 2020, 9:09 am

mighty:

Yay at more love for Popcorn. I get that the serial killer character is not exactly amazing, but I am surprised that the film does not have a better reputation. I had not even heard of it until I saw it in the TSZDT list to be honest.

All three Evil Dead films are on around the same level for me. I would probably give a slight preference to the original because it is certainly the creepiest, with the black humour mainly coming out in the sequels. That said, Raimi's sheer imagination in the sequels totally floored me.

Yours:

Good to see some appreciation for Roman Griffin Davis in Jojo Rabbit. I thought that Sam Rockwell was just effective too, actually. That scene where he checks out the passport photo with everything left unsaid was awesome and I really liked how his character represents the adult side of disillusionment with Nazism in contrast to Jojo.

Shoplifters was pretty solid, though I would have loved to have seen more of their daring shoplifting methods. Also liked Hunt for the Wilderpeople a lot with one of Sam Neill's best performances in ages. And knowing little about Jimmy Hoffa makes me cautious for The Irishman too, but I will almost certainly watch it for next month's Academy Awards Challenge.
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#16

Post by Onderhond » January 13th, 2020, 10:49 am

45MinuteZoom wrote:
January 12th, 2020, 9:36 pm
Onderhond: Dr Vampire sounds fun, were they the jumping vamps?
Bit of mix of both worlds, but if you're in it for the jumping vampires there are better films to watch. This is really a comedy first, vampire flick second. Also contemporary setting, so it's not really Ricky Lau territory. Still, fun if you like this kind of thing.

@mightsparks: I get why people wouldn't like 3 from Hell, it is in its own way quite kitsch and cheesy, but I Iiked it regardless. Wasn't really aware that many didn't like the film, but I can't say I'm very surprised. As for Harpoon, I liked it but it's a tough film to recommend. It's very "genre", so many things could rub you the wrong way and details will probably determine whether it'll be a 3 or a 7. But it's short and definitely worth a try

Oh, and Ricky Lau has a new film out for the fans of HK vampire comedies. Sadly no subtitles yet and those HK director comebacks aren't always very successful, still I'm looking forward to it.

From yours I liked Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Shoplifters a lot (both 3.5*), hated Toy Story 4, The Irishman and Marriage Story (that one gets worse every time I think of it). Looking forward to Jojo Rabbit a lot, still hasn't appeared in theaters over here -_- Oh, and for someone with such a critical eye, I do find your scores to be very positive?

@sol: I don't think a rock opera is ever the right approach to explore a universe, but at least it's an original take :D And still not quite convinced about 1917, but I'll definitely catch it when I get the chance (might be this week even, I've got a free cinema slot to fill).
Last edited by Onderhond on January 13th, 2020, 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#17

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » January 13th, 2020, 10:52 am

Крылья / Wings (Larisa Shepitko, 1966) - 7+

Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018) - 4

Serious Games 1-4 (Harun Farocki, 2010) - 8+

Cavalo Dinheiro / Horse Money (Pedro Costa, 2014) - 9

Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999) - 10 theatrical 35mm / rewatch
Since watching this for the first time some 6 or 7 years ago, it has been one of the films that I have thought the most about, and images from it has made their appearance in my mind time and again, and also, it sparked my intimate relationship with Claire Denis' films, a director I know see as one of my top 5 favorites. SO a rewatch on glorious 35mm was overdue AND one of the greatest times I've had in a cinema.

Shorts:

Midvinterblot / Midwinter Solstice (Gösta Werner, 1946) - 5

Dyketactics (Barbara Hammer, 1974) - 7

La pieuvre / The Octopus (Jean Painlevé, 1928) - 8

+

Fleabag - Season 1 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, 2016) - 7
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#18

Post by mightysparks » January 13th, 2020, 11:03 am

@Onderhond, I’m more of a meh-er than a hater, 4-6/10 accounts for about 75% of my viewings. A film has to really suck or be really awesome to warrant a rating outside of that range. A film that bores me is at worst at 4, it has to cause me physical pain to get less than that. But I have had a better streak than usual lately.
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#19

Post by Onderhond » January 13th, 2020, 11:18 am

Oh, I'm much harsher on boredom I guess :)

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#20

Post by mightysparks » January 13th, 2020, 11:37 am

I probably should be since boring is the worst thing a film can be, but my ratings are so instinctive to me now that I just ‘know’ what each feeling should feel like and that’s just where the boredom level lies. The ones I really hate are usually too horrible to be ‘boring’, I guess.
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#21

Post by 45MinuteZoom » January 13th, 2020, 5:06 pm

sol wrote:
January 13th, 2020, 4:12 am

New avatar again already? I would go with this myself if I was you. ;)
Just trying to find the right picture, I’ll definitely keep that one in mind. :D

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Tropical Malady, I checked it out a few years back working on the BFI Flare list. It’s separated into two parts and I think I had a similar issue with cohesion. I liked it more than Boonmee though.

mightysparks: I loved Over the Garden Wall so much. The only thing was that I wish every episode had felt as dark and foreboding as the first two episodes.

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