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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 37, 2022]

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Onderhond
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Which Films Did You See Last Week? [Week 37, 2022]

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Post by Onderhond »

First of all, a word from our founder:

"Please share with us which films you saw last week. It would be great if you could include some comments on each film. It would be awesome if you could also take some time to comment on everyone else's viewings. Please also note that this is intended as a movie discussion thread, not a large image posting thread. Having too many large images makes this thread difficult to navigate through. If you wish to include more than five images in a reply, please use spoiler tags - [ spoiler ][/ spoiler ] - to hide extra images." - sol

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01. 4.0* - Inexorable by Fabrice Du Welz (2021)
The latest thriller from Fabrice du Welz exudes confidence. Inexorable is a pretty simple film that in no way tries to reinvent the genre. Instead, du Welz delivers a core genre film that relies purely on execution to make an impact. And he pulls it off. It would've been easy to add a little extra mystery to the story, but what we get is an excellent cast, a thrilling soundtrack, and polished cinematography. That's all you need to put people on the edge of their seats, and that's exactly what Inexorable accomplishes.

02. 3.5* - Ocean Waves [Umi ga Kikoeru] by Tomomi Mochizuki (1993)
One of the more inconspicuous Ghibli films. Its reputation is no big surprise, it lacks the magic of Takahata and Miyazaki's work, but there's a certain level of maturity here that is rarely seen in animation. I will say that the film didn't quite hold up on rewatch, but it's still a very worthy entry in the Ghibli catalogue. The film homes in on Taku's first love. Rikako, a transfer student, comes to Taku's school and turns his world upside down. He is immediately smitten by the girl, but she takes advantage of Taku's feelings. Rikako is a tough cookie and makes enemies wherever she goes. Still, Taku can't help but care for her. It's funny to see a central character that is unsympathetic by design, while not being a total caricature. The relationship between the two (three in fact, since Taku's best friend also has feelings for the girl) is interesting and not too obvious, the animation is decent (but not Ghibli's best) and the score is fine. There's just something missing, in the end, I felt too much of an onlooker.

03. 3.5* - Dinner in America by Adam Rehmeier (2020)
A quirky little comedy. The setup, with two unlikely people coming together and forming a close bond, isn't all that original, but the particulars make it less obvious than it sounds. There's a little drama and romance in the background, but the dry comedy takes center stage and defines the tone of the film. Simon is a young delinquent on the run from the cops, and Patty is a young woman unable to fit in with society. The two run into each other in a back alley, and Patty takes Simon home, offering him a place to stay while he hides from the police. As they spend more time together, a friendship starts to blossom. The performances are on point, the comedy is a little crude but funny. It takes a few stabs at American stereotypes, without being too stereotypical, which is a nice surprise. The soundtrack is pretty interesting and the pacing is solid, though the film could've been a tad shorter overall. Good stuff.

04. 3.0* - House of Darkness by Neil LaBute (2022)
Justin Long loves to talk. House of Darkness may be a horror film, but it's a very slow and talkative one. Don't expect too much excitement, LaBute relies on mystery and tension to create a creepy atmosphere, but only gets there occasionally. The premise was better than the execution. Hap meets an alluring woman in a bar and offers to bring her home. She invites him in and things are looking up for Hap. He's confident he can stay the night, but then strange things start to happen. The woman acts a little weird, faint noises can be heard inside the house and out of the blue, the woman's sister turns up. It's fairly obvious where this film is going from the get-go, even so, Long's character remains clueless until the very end. LaBute tries to extract tension from this, but it's all a little too basic and predictable. The performances aren't quite strong enough either, and the characters are a little too flimsy. There's still some fun to be had though, the premise is a fun one, I just wish the execution could've been tighter.

05. 3.0* - The Party by Sally Potter (2017)
Another party gone wrong. This is certainly not the first film where a bunch of so-called friends (but very different personalities) get together, only for some secrets to be revealed, blowing up the informal gathering. The Party is a slightly more upscale version, but in the end, that doesn't really make for a better film. Just a more proper one. Janet has been trying to make inroads into national politics for ages. When she finally succeeds, so invites her friends for a little party. But people are eager to steal her thunder. A bomb is dropped when her husband tells everyone he is terminally ill, but that's just the beginning of a night full of revelations. The cast is more than solid and there are some nice little twists. Nothing too unexpected or revealing though. The characters are also a bit one-dimensional and the dialogue can get a bit too haughty. The Party is a film that has its moments but isn't quite as memorable as it would like to be.

06. 3.0* - April Fish [Shigatsu no Sakana] by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (1986)
A very quirky and outspoken comedy. It might help to read up a bit more about this film, as I never really got a handle on the vibe Obayashi was going for. There are so many French references that this might be a proper ode, but it could just as well be a parody of the arty-farty. A Japanese director with a passion for France cuisine learns that a respected chef is coming to visit him. His wife is out for the moment, and so he hires an actress to play his wife and impress the chef. He even decides to prepare dinner, but there are too many moving parts to his plan and he gets in way over his head. The film offers a somewhat weird mix of situational comedy and slapstick, sprinkled with a few typical Obayashi details. It's a bit messy and definitely chaotic, but I also appreciated the madness and the uniqueness of April Fish. Not his best film, but fans of the director are sure to have a good time.

07. 3.0* - All about Love [Tsoi Suet Yuk Chi Ngo Oi Nei] by Daniel Yu, Kung-Lok Lee (2005)
A decent mix of romance and drama, with a bit too much plot mixed in to make a strong impact. All about Love relies quite heavily on plot twists and coincidences, so much in fact that the drama tends to suffer. If the story hasn't been so far-fetched, it might have made a bigger impact, though the direction probably wasn't subtle enough for that to work either. Ko and his wife are happily married, but then she dies and Ko is left by himself, feeling guilty he didn't spend more time with her. A few months later he runs into Sam, a teacher who got the heart of Ko's wife and was left by her boyfriend, who is the spitting image of Ko. He sees it as the ideal opportunity to redeem himself. You're getting twice the Andy Lau for the price of one, the scenes with Choi in particular are pretty solid. The plot's a bit ridiculous though and the directors are a little too prone to dig for sentimentality. But at least they kept things rather short and to the point. It's a pretty decent film, but I'm not surprised it's not as popular as its cast would suggest.

08. 2.5* - Cosmic Rescue: The Moonlight Generations by Shinsuke Sato (2003)
Early Sato. The ambition is clear, sadly the talent and budget weren't quite there yet. Not that Cosmic Rescue is a complete disaster, but this Cowboy Bebop-inspired tale struggles to bring its sci-fi setting to life. That's not an easy thing to do on a shoestring budget and many have failed before, even so, a slightly more serious approach would've worked better here. Cosmic Rescue is an organization that clears up space debris and goes on rescue missions when collisions are imminent. When a team receives a distress call they stand by to engage, but suddenly the ship disappears from their radar. When they arrive back at base, nobody is willing to listen to their story. The CG is very basic and the space physics aren't taken too seriously (and that's an understatement). The plot is also very predictable, but the pacing is solid and Sato already shows promise when it comes to delivering entertainment value. Based on this film, it's no surprise he would grow to become one of Japan's better blockbuster directors. Cosmic Rescue is a little rough around the edges, but still somewhat amusing.

09. 2.5* - The Florida Project by Sean Baker (2017)
Slightly better than Baker's previous film. The Florida Project is an interesting attempt to deliver a social drama within a candy-colored world, but the execution isn't polished enough to pull it off. The setting and characters may be pretty colorful, but there's a big disconnect with the overall cinematography. We follow Moonee, a young girl who lives with her mom in a rundown hotel, close to Disneyland. The place looks happy and cheerful on the outside, but the people living there are scraping to get by just the same. Moonee's mom struggles to pay the rent, while Moonee tries to have a good time with the kids in the neighborhood. The drama isn't too heavy, but there's also not happening too much in the first 90 minutes. That's not a big deal if you care for the characters, or if you think the contrast between the setting and the drama is big enough, but neither of that really worked for me. It's not a terrible film, just not a very successful one.

10. 2.5* - The Farewell by Lulu Wang (2019)
A more serious version of Crazy Rich Asians, but the core of the film isn't all that different. This is (another) Asian-American take on the difference between Eastern and Western cultures. Slightly more upscale than the infamous romcom that preceded it, but that doesn't mean you should expect a more subtle film. Billi was brought up in the US, but when she hears her grandma is terminally ill, she decides to visit her in Beijing. The family doesn't want to tell her she is dying though, so they come up with a little white lie for the family to spend their final days together. Billi finds it very difficult to keep this from her grandma. The performances are decent, Awkwafina in particular is a lot better than usual, but it's nothing too out of the ordinary. The comedy is bland, the drama passable but predictable, and the styling could've used some extra attention. It's not a terrible film, but there's not much here that makes it appealing either.

11. 2.5* - The Driver by Walter Hill (1978)
A film that was reportedly a big influence on Refn's Drive. I can't say I remember too many specifics from Refn's film, but this has a pretty similar setup and for a 70s flick, it hasn't aged as much compared to many of its contemporaries. It's a simple but nice action flick, nothing more though. An infamous getaway driver proves impossible for the police to catch. He's simply too good at what he does. After another successful heist, the cops decide to try something different. They approach the driver's team and promise reduced sentences for those who can help and apprehend the guy. The tone is quite dry, with a solemn character who keeps the dialogue to a minimum. The action scenes are pretty dynamic though, and the car chases are on point. There's not a whole lot there beyond the basic premise and some decent action scenes, but it's enough to make it an entertaining genre flick.

12. 2.0* - House of Wax by Jaume Collet-Serra (2005)
I'm not sure why I never watched this film before, but it's one of the bigger horror titles of the 00s that had managed to escape me. Until now that is. I went in with relatively low expectations, which turned out to be the right mindset. It's not the worst film, there are some interesting elements, but overall it's just not that great. A group of friends goes away for the weekend, hoping to catch the biggest football game of the year. They take a shortcut driving there, but end up in the middle of nowhere. A strange figure stalks their campsite at night and the next morning, one of their cars won't start. Slowly, their little trip takes a turn for the worse. The runtime is excessive for a simple horror flick, the characters are dim and the backstory of the villains is pretty lame. The wax house and statues on the other hand are pretty cool, and the finale is one to remember. It's not enough to save the entire film, but at least it wasn't a complete dud.

13. 2.0* - Machine by Justin Krook (2019)
A rather basic documentary on the advances and challenges of contemporary AI. Docs like this tend to age pretty quickly as progression in the field is rapid, but most of what is been talked about here is still relevant. My biggest issue was that the film didn't touch on anything too thought-provoking or original, so it mostly functioned as a recap. The doc is divided into several sections, including AI companionship (from chatbots to sexbots), autonomous warfare/vehicles, AI art, and journalism. The film sticks mostly to the opinions of the people interviewed, which aren't too nuanced and generally end up being either warnings about potential traps or ads for the potential of AI. The presentation is rather decent, but not very novel. The ideas put forward aren't too challenging and the time frame where this is going to be relevant is narrow, but as a refresher, it's certainly not the worst film. For people unaware of the advances in AI it might be a decent enough introduction, just be critical of any easy takeaways presented here.

14. 2.0* - Beast by Baltasar Kormákur (2022)
A somewhat disappointing animal thriller from Kormákur. I tend to like his films, so I was hopeful when I heard he was doing something with a fearsome lion stalking his human prey. Not quite sure what went wrong, but the result is pretty bland and lacks the tension needed for this type of film to flourish. A family is going to South Africa. Their trip is part vacation, part ode to their mother, who died of cancer. When they're taking a little safari, they come to a village that is completely ravaged by a wild beast. On their way back, a lion attacks their car and leaves them stranded on the side of the road. The setting is nice and the performances not too bad, it's just that the stand-off between lion and mankind often feels exaggerated and farfetched. The addition of poachers doesn't really add much either and the finale is pretty kitsch. Not Kormákur's best film, but if you're starved for animal thrillers, it's not the worst.

15. 2.0* - Homewrecker by Zach Gayne (2019)
This reminded me a little of 2LDK, only not half as competent. There are moments when the potential is obvious, and some shimmers of what this film could've been, but when push comes to shove, the quality simply isn't there. There's some fun to be had here, but you have to be pretty forgiving to get to it. Michelle is a young woman who is trying to start a family with her husband. She has a feeling he's slowly drifting away from her though. A suspicion that only grows stronger when she runs into Linda, an older woman who seems very eager to get close to Michelle. When she invites Michelle home, things are bound to spiral out of control. The performances are a little crude, the cinematography is poor and the soundtrack is laughable. The film also doesn't get quite as weird or insane as it should've, but at least it's amusing when things start going sideways. The potential was there to do better, but it's not all bad, just poorly executed.

16. 1.5* - Ura Horror [Ura Horâ] by Yôhei Fukuda, Koji Shiraishi (2008)
A bit too basic for my taste. Ura Horror felt as if Shiraishi had a brainstorm with some writers, then decided to make something with all the leftovers. The result is an anthology that is little more than crude ideas and basic premises, failing to be intriguing or scary. That's not really what you want from a horror film. The segments are pretty short and are presented as found footage, recovered from TV stations and private sellers. Each video shows a supernatural or gruesome event. Shiraishi remains truthful to the setup, but maybe a bit too much, as few of the shorts have an actual build-up, nor a fitting pay-off. It all felt a tad too cheap for my taste. I will say that there were some good ideas here for mid to feature-length projects, but as shorts that don't even cross the 5-minute mark, few, if any of the stories left a lasting impression. Shiraishi fans are sure to get something out of this one, for me it was one of his weaker efforts.

17. 1.5* - Naval Commandos [Hai Jun Tu Ji Dui] by Cheh Chang, Wei-Bin Liu, Hsueh-Li Pao (1977)
Not Cheh Chang's finest moment, but that was already obvious from the start of the film. When Chang strays from martial art cinema, it rarely goes well. To make things a little worse he entered a collaboration with two other Shaw Bros directors to direct a patriotic Chinese war flick, not unlike the ones we've been seeing these past couple of years. At the start of the Sino-Japanese war, a crew is sent out to stop a big Japanese warship from making inroads. Their mission is doomed to fail, but the crew is extremely determined to pull it off. Even when their ship is destroyed, they keep advancing by land, avoiding all enemy troops to get the job done. There are some familiar faces here, but when there are no fists flying, most of the famous Shaw Bros actors can't really deliver. There's way too much drama, the cinematography is basic and it takes too long for the action to kick off. It's something different from Chang, but that's about all it is.

18. 1.0* - Casque d'Or by Jacques Becker (1952)
While the film noir genre is mostly linked to US cinema, the French also had their fair share of representatives. Casque d'Or is considered a noir by many, and its plot certainly fits the description. Stylistically though, I felt this was quite a different beast, especially because of the rural setting. Marie is a famous prostitute in Paris. She is quite popular with the local criminals, but she wants a better life for herself. When she meets Manda, a young carpenter, she sees a way out. She hooks up with Manda and the two get along fine, but the other men won't be letting her go so easily. The film is quite light for a noir and the many rural settings don't really help with the tough exterior the genre is known for. The drama/romance elements don't really balance things out either. Simone Signoret is pretty decent, but the rest of the cast isn't on the same level. A pretty dull film.

19. 1.0* - Dodsworth by William Wyler (1936)
Classic romance is never all that romantic. People in these films tended to be rather practical, they had little trouble flirting and cheating, and they could change partners in a matter of seconds. I always find it hard to root for them, or really care who ends up with who at the end, which is kind of the point. When Sam Dodsworth finally retires from the automobile industry, he plans to go on a trip to Europe with his wife, and see something of the world. It doesn't take long for the two to figure out that they don't fit well together after all, and they start seeing other people during their vacation. The characters are rather annoying, there's tons of dialogue to wade through and the cinematography is mostly functional. We're not really seeing all that much of Europe either, so in the end, there wasn't much that appealed to me. I've said it before, but the transition from silent cinema to talkies was pretty damn rough, Dodsworth is just more proof of that.
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Torgo
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#2

Post by Torgo »

Another weird one :unsure:

Nope (2022) (6,5/10)
My Father and My Son (2005) (5,5/10)
The Harder They Fall (1956) (6,5/10)
The Hit (1984) (7,5/10)
Motherland Hotel (1987) (4-5/10)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) (6,5/10)
Murder by Contract (1958) (7,5/10)
The Grifters (1990) (6,5/10)
Sonbahar (Autumn) (2008) (6/10)
Ms .45 (1981) (6/10)
One False Move (1992) (6,5/10)
Splendor in the Grass (1961) (7/10)
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Perception de Ambiguity
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#3

Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

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Entretien entre Serge Daney et Jean-Luc Godard (1988, JLG) 8

The "Marlon Brando Goes to East Asia" Trilogy:
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The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956, Daniel Mann) 7-

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Sayonara (1957, Joshua Logan) 5

A Countess from Hong Kong (1967, Charles Chaplin) 5-


Three Thousand Years of Longing (2022, George Miller) 6-

Der Name der Rose / The Name of the Rose (1986, Jean-Jacques Annaud) (2nd viewing) 6-


series

Rick and Morty - S06E01 - Solaricks (2022) 7

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Rick and Morty - S06E02 - Rick: A Mort Well Lived (2022) 8


music videos (only the good ones and the ones not on IMDb)

Björk : Ovule (2022) 6+

Murray Head: One Night in Bangkok (1985, David G. Hillier) (possible rewatch) 7

Herbie Hancock: Rockit (1984, various) (probable rewatch) 7

Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone [interactive] (2013) (rewatch) 8

Britney Spears: Toxic (2004, Joseph Kahn) (umpteenth viewing) 7


other / podcasts

Sebastian: Stay Hungry (2019, Rik Reinholdtsen) 5+

Operation Teahouse ("The Teahouse of the August Moon" promo film) (1956, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) 6

KILL TONY #574 - JOE ROGAN + SHANE GILLIS + MARK NORMAND + ARI SHAFFIR

The Joe Rogan Experience - #1869 Dr. Gabor Maté (2022) 6-
The Joe Rogan Experience - #1871 Jon Peters (2022) 5
The Joe Rogan Experience - #1870 Max Lugavere (2022) 5-


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

Candy (1968, Christian Marquand) [first 36 min + Brando segment]


notable online media
top:
Every Pibby Glitch in Adult Swim’s 2022 April Fools
Internet Challenges Be Like
rest:
The Fabelmans Red Band trailer [by Damon Packard]
Kyle MacLachlan's Closet Picks!


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We do not have to understand new things, but by dint of patience, effort and method to come to understand with our whole self the truths which are evident.Image
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Minkin
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#4

Post by Minkin »

This wasn't so hot of a week for me (what else is new), but it was mostly colored by being depressed and not seeing much of my partner. Again, didn't watch very much, but I guess that's to be expected given the circumstances - which ended up worse than I expected.
Highlights of the Past Week in my meager existence
-Tactile hallucination: felt people grabbing at me through my bed covers (no it was not hypnagogic)
-Partner got stuck at work until 8PM doing some annoying project, so that threw off our plans
-Finally do an activity for Inyo County: a Paiute seed ceremony - used rosemary rather than amaranth, but it was fine
-Partner stacks 4 Taco Bell Mexican pizzas together + had birthday candle on top... problem was, the thing tasted like plastic.
-Partner went on a birthday trip to a cabin in the woods by herself
-Work on Inyo County some more - just a few more things left to do still
The Black Scorpion (1957) - Mexico - Rating: 6/10
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A volcano is roaring across rural Mexico, but it has also unleashed a plague of giant, drooling killer scorpions. I do appreciate that the scientists just detonate one of the entries to the scorpion cave and call it good and think their troubles are all over, not thinking that maybe, just maybe that their cave might have another exit to it. The highlight is of course the scorpions – and I must admit, every single time I see their goofy eyes and drooling mouth, I just find it immensely amusing – that the terror being struck in the hearts of many, that the face of death itself is so ridiculous. The film does hint on traditional beliefs – with some fleeting mentions of a demon bull, and using spiritual powers to fend it off, though that’s met with the resistance of someone saying, “lighting candles won’t protect you.” All of these mentions are dismissed as superstition of locals. This is reinforced by the role of the geologists who are portrayed as a symbol of progressive thinking and rationality – but what does one do when they face an unstoppable / unkillable plague of monsters – for they are up against the hell force of something so illogical and insurmountable. It just makes me wish that the film had dug deeper into those traditional beliefs – and done anything other than show them as “ignorant and cowardly” – like at least give us an interesting backstory that might explain what’s going on here. This is of course on par for its era, where films like this feel like propaganda for combating against “superstition” and all that is unscientific, for this is the supposed age of progress, where we’re meant to be beyond those notions. This is interesting to see documented in these films – as a signal that people “need to abandon” those beliefs. For they’re only portrayed as ignorant and inferior, which ultimately does a disservice to those people and makes the film less nuanced – for so much could’ve been done to steep these scorpions in some sort of mythos – and we get none of that. Anyway, despite those typical 50s sci-fi problems, this is still quite a bit of fun to watch – the stop motion is fine if you’re really into that, but I just enjoy the little odds and ends in the film – like when they just decide the problem’s solved and then go off to the clubs around town for dinner. The geology aspect isn’t flushed out at all, and leaves the volcanic connection at the beginning as tenuous at best. The real problem is that the film promises such a great slow build-up with the mysterious empty village, and even has a tough + independent female rancher, but then absolutely everything gets thrown out as the film devolves into a special effects showcase – which again, does nothing for me. It doesn’t tread any new ground, but damn it, do I ever find those scorpion faces funny.
Magic Lizard (1985) - Thailand - Rating: 6/10
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Aliens come to a Thai Buddhist temple (I believe Wat Arun) and steal a gemstone, which Magic Lizard (a guy in a frilled lizard costume) was supposed to be guarding, so Magic Lizard gets chased around a “best of Thailand tourist attractions” (such as the Bridge Over the River Kwai), for 100 mins whilst his temple demon friend goes rescuing the gem for him. There’s a lot left up to interpretation, because I could not find subtitles for this film, so it’s anyone’s guess as to why the film does things like suddenly taking a break to follow two new characters as they explore Magic Lizard’s (?) magic cave, or the whole third act with the predator uncle guy. The cave sequence actually reminds me quite a bit of psychosis – where everything around you is alive and has their own personality + everything is somehow terrifying, but in a way that I’m sure is amusing to outsiders. Everything in the cave is changing rules and doing something different, and in the middle of it are the two hapless explorers, just completely afraid of it all and unable to understand what’s happening around them as an assortment of creatures want to cause them harm. The film just sorta decides every few minutes that it needs to do something else for awhile, so why not throw in a new person who wants Magic Lizard dead, or decide to go bother some actual animals for a change of pace. My mom described this movie as the Thai 3 Stooges Meet Jar Jar Binks, and I think that’s how I’m forever going to see this movie. I find it amusing that this film was intended to be a promotion for tourism to Thailand – and to be fair, you do get to see a fair bit of the major sights (like Phae Mueang Phi – known for its distinctive rock formations) + we even get an intro song about Thailand too! It’s just that things like having 50 people get eaten by a giant crocodile doesn’t quite sell the merits of your country too well, although I do appreciate it as an original excessive body count scenario. Anyway, this is an absurd movie that’s ripe for rescue and rediscovery, though tempered somewhat by Magic Lizard’s constant annoying blathering. It’s honestly probably better without subtitles – as whatever story you can come up with in your non-sober state has to be better than whatever the script originally was.
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She has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.
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Silga
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#5

Post by Silga »

Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10 (rewatch) I wish I could gives this masterpiece a 100/10. Every scene is perfectly directed by Larrain. Kristen Stewart is breathtaking and absolutely unforgettable. The Great Beauty still remains my favorite film of the 21st Century, but Spencer is a close second now, after this rewatch.

The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960) 8/10
Comanche Station (Budd Boetticher, 1960) 7/10
Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts, 2021) 5/10
Eternals (Chloé Zhao, 2021) 4/10
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Torgo
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#6

Post by Torgo »

Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pm Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10 (rewatch) I wish I could gives this masterpiece a 100/10. Every scene is perfectly directed by Larrain.
Oh man, you really had me hyped up there ..
Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pmThe Great Beauty still remains my favorite film of the 21st Century, but Spencer is a close second now, after this rewatch.
.. but I'm afraid we belong to two different teams. :D


Yeah, what a year for Marvel, eh.
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Kublai Khan
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#7

Post by Kublai Khan »

Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson-2021) - I got that this was a vibe film, but I just wasn't that into the vibe. It's nostalgic for a time and place that I know little about and the emotional arcs of the characters didn't resonate with me either. Some scenes will stick with me, but that's about it.

The Waiting Room (Peter Nicks-2012) - An all-access documentation of 24 hours in an often at-capacity emergency waiting room in Oakland, California. I didn't learn anything new, but this doc wasn't really trying to educate me. It painted a picture of how depressing things were 10 years ago and it's only gotten worse.

Cat City {a.k.a. Macskafogó} (Béla Ternovszky-1986) - An animated Hungarian movie about a spy war between evil cats and noble mice. I enjoyed the musical numbers and the odd disjointedness of it not being a finely polished American or Japanese animated movie--though that may be due to political editing from what I understand. Also, it seemed vaguely familiar but I can't imagine how or when I could have watched it.

The Fall of Usher (Brian Cunningham-2021) - First to check on ICM. A pastiche of Edgar Allen Poe works. I knew this was low budget and was willing to excuse a lot, but this just isn't good and it's not bad in a way that's good either (with the exception of some pretty cringy dialogue).

That's it on movies from last week.
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Torgo
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#8

Post by Torgo »

Kublai Khan wrote: September 20th, 2022, 1:37 am That's it on movies from last week.
Thanks for your participation, it's fruitful for people who enjoy reading opinions on films - such as me.
:sweat:
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#9

Post by Minkin »

Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pm Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10 (rewatch) I wish I could gives this masterpiece a 100/10. Every scene is perfectly directed by Larrain. Kristen Stewart is breathtaking and absolutely unforgettable. The Great Beauty still remains my favorite film of the 21st Century, but Spencer is a close second now, after this rewatch.
I'm curious as to what captivated you with this film - and why you see it so special? (this isn't a dig, I'm always curious in people's strong reactions to films) As to me it felt a bit too Oscar-y in that "let's give her a best actress award" performance that the Academy can't get enough of. I think my biggest problem was that it tried to visualize her mental decline by making her hallucinate - as a cheap plot point just to connect her to Anne Boleyn (I couldn't find any evidence that she had ever hallucinated irl). As it seemed to say more that "ghosts are afoot" rather than "the princess is fucking experiencing psychosis" - and to me that's incredibly disappointing, to toy with a serious mental illness just to play a "maybe/maybe" game. So on reflection, I might think lower of this film now than my initial response in March, which I'll quote below:

Spencer (2021) - England / North Rhine-Westphalia - Rating: 5/10
Image

A glimpse at Princess Diana’s mental decline during scheduled events for a Christmas holiday. I’m someone who hates the royal family and can never understand why people are always so enchanted by them. I see that many think of them as gods on Earth – people who are without flaw, who display some rote ceremonious posture with the highest of elegance and grace. But you can only attend so many dinner functions before cracks appear and the niceties run thin, and you reveal a person who was bred and conditioned their whole life to perform on cue, according to tradition. Any deviation from that script becomes tabloid news to which there’s an insatiable audience pleading for any glimpse that these trained dogs might be human. Not all are up to this task and pressure – to be constantly under scruple and microscope, and it would seem to cause a great deal of paranoia – where there’s never any sort of trust of privacy. It is in then atmosphere that Spencer postulates a what if Diana had psychotic depression (at least during this time period)? She has audio and visual hallucinations on several occasions – which are presented and dismissed as a guardian spirit. It further highlights Diana’s mental decline, but it just seems to be another attempt to force this Anne Boleyn narrative on us, rather than even hinting that a royal might experience psychosis. As someone who is the black sheep of her family, I’d be someone who’d be dumped in a sanatorium and never mentioned to anyone again – so I did connect to Diana’s struggles – her desperation, loneliness, and depersonalization – as she matters almost nothing compared to the “sanctity” of the royal family. Perhaps the greatest rebellion is just to get fast food and try to live like a human again. I appreciate these attempts to show the royal family as mortals, it just chooses to be rather apparent about it.
But again, I'd like to hear yours and other's opinions on this film -as I'm genuinely curious about other people's thoughts on films (and no, I'm not here for an argument, it has to be a friendly chat, because as soon as it turns into an argument, I concede defeat and run away - as I'm no longer capable of handling arguments).
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#10

Post by Silga »

Minkin wrote: September 20th, 2022, 12:12 pm
Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pm Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10 (rewatch) I wish I could gives this masterpiece a 100/10. Every scene is perfectly directed by Larrain. Kristen Stewart is breathtaking and absolutely unforgettable. The Great Beauty still remains my favorite film of the 21st Century, but Spencer is a close second now, after this rewatch.
I'm curious as to what captivated you with this film - and why you see it so special?
First I should put a disclaimer that I have no affection or sympathy to the royals and I see it as a weird gimmick - a leftover from the medieval ages.

As for Spencer, it's the great sum of all the big and little details that make it such a unique film experience for me. From the first scene Larrain creates an underlying tension. The light frost outside perfectly resembles the cold atmosphere in the family. I found the obvious nods to The Shining done in a very tasteful way. Jonny Greenwood's music perfectly encapsulates the nervous and claustrophobic nature of Diana. It's a fine mixture of baroque and jazz sound.

While I have no good knowledge about mental health issues, I found the portrayal of Diana's mental state daring but still respectful. None of us or filmmakers know how it actually was or how she felt. I think the way Larrain navigated Diana's return to her old home and the montage-scene of her growing up was a beautiful touch and sort of a fable rather than an attempt to claim any knowledge of her real past.

I read and watched about Anne Boleyn not long before I saw Spencer for the first time. I find the parallels fitting and it serves the purpose not to demonize anyone in the family, but to show that as the times passed - the destinies and troubles of the royals remained mostly unchanged.

Then there are some key supporting performances, namely buy the great Timothy Spall who stands both as a guard of a family and as a grim reaper. Sean Harris and Sally Hawkins were great too. Hawkins, in particular, always manages to captivate me with her unique touch of humanity, so vividly emerging from her eyes. Very few actors have that.

The casting of young William and Harry were very on-point. I rarely enjoy young actors performances without any misgivings, but this time I can only praise their work.

And finally, the script itself. Steven Knight crafted a carefully nuanced story with well-placed timing of Christmas Holidays and Sandringham location. The dialogue about the past, present and the future being the highlight.

Oh, and the ending. As good as it gets. *All I Need Is a Miracle* playing as the mood finally changes amongst the three.
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#11

Post by Silga »

Torgo wrote: September 19th, 2022, 10:36 pm
Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pm Spencer (Pablo Larraín, 2021) 10/10 (rewatch) I wish I could gives this masterpiece a 100/10. Every scene is perfectly directed by Larrain.
Oh man, you really had me hyped up there ..
Silga wrote: September 19th, 2022, 3:12 pmThe Great Beauty still remains my favorite film of the 21st Century, but Spencer is a close second now, after this rewatch.
.. but I'm afraid we belong to two different teams. :D
I think any hype about Spencer could be measured on how much you've enjoyed Larrain's previous and tonally very similar bio-pic Jackie (2016) starring Natalie Portman. That is, of course, If you've seen it.

I loved Jackie too.
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#12

Post by Silga »

Torgo wrote: September 18th, 2022, 8:35 pm
The Harder They Fall (1956) (6,5/10)
One False Move (1992) (6,5/10)
The Harder They Fall is my favorite film about (or in this case - featuring) boxing. More than anything else, I see it as a somber drama about guilt.

I need to rewatch One False Move. But I remember liking the story co-written by Billy Bob Thornton.
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#13

Post by Onderhond »

My Spencer review (liked it quite a bit, considering I didn't care for the subject at all):

After the success of Jackie, it's no surprise Pablo Larraín would go on to tackle another strong female icon. He landed on Princess Diana and managed to cast Kristen Stewart for the role, next to a pretty impressive secondary cast. The result is intriguing, though a little aimless and somewhat untrustworthy (which is always tricky for a biography). Larraín keeps a tight focus and uses this particular event to showcase Diana's broader discontent with her life as a princess. A discomforting soundtrack and strong performance of Stewart add the necessary flair, but the film is rather one-note and the picture that is being painted of Diana does feel a little simplistic. At least it's a very cinematic picture, which is a nice change of pace for a biography.
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#14

Post by Minkin »

Thanks Silga for expounding on your commentary and explaining what drew you to the film (+also not picking a fight)!

I did like the score + thought it was shot well, but I'm not at all picky about either, unless they're obnoxious, so those elements are usually lost on me. It is a great anti-Royal film, and nice to expound upon this theme of mental breakdown / dalliance with depression, I just felt like the film made some cheap shots in this portrayal of mental illness and that kinda soured me on it. At the time I did my review in March, I went back and forth on whether the depiction of her here qualified for schizophrenia, but I ruled against since she she only had hallucinations and not any other symptoms, although it came close and I could be swayed still - although that would perhaps be a bold claim, especially if it just exists for symbolism.

I guess my fault with the film is very particular to just me, and I understand that's limiting, but I do wish it had handled all of this a bit better than just toying with an idea to make a rather straightforward comparison to Boleyn.
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#15

Post by Kublai Khan »

Torgo wrote: September 20th, 2022, 3:18 am
Kublai Khan wrote: September 20th, 2022, 1:37 am That's it on movies from last week.
Thanks for your participation, it's fruitful for people who enjoy reading opinions on films - such as me.
:sweat:
Thanks Torgo. You are always great at being encouraging. :cheers:
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