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Popcorn Reviews wrote:

There are 2 scenes.

The first scene happens when one of the characters gets beheaded. I didn't find the beheading to be a flaw. However, after his head is chopped off, the character continues to talk after he's beheaded. I found that scene to be over-the-top. Some people like over-the-top violence, but I find it to be distracting. The second scene is when one of the characters is hit by a long spear (I think it was the guy who played music throughout the film). Right before he dies, he calmly says "Long arrows are gaining fashion." If you're shot by an arrow, you're not going to calmly say something like that before you die. It seems a bit unrealistic.


However, these are very minor criticisms. It was still an amazing film.
Well,

that particular phenomena of severed heads still reacting to things has something of a precedent in real life, and anyway, I always found that to be one of the best moments in Aguirre, as it does so much to add to the generally surreal, crazed fever dream of a movie feel that it has in general. I agree about the guy's reaction to getting a spear, not because it happened at all, but because he responded too suddenly, making the moment feel a bit too silly, like something out of Monty Python :D His reaction should've been much slower, so it could still be darkly humorous with becoming silly. That being said, it's a very minor issue for me, and Aguirre is still one of my favorites.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:30 am
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Stu wrote:
Well,

that particular phenomena of severed heads still reacting to things has something of a precedent in real life, and anyway, I always found that to be one of the best moments in Aguirre, as it does so much to add to the generally surreal, crazed fever dream of a movie feel that it has in general. I agree about the guy's reaction to getting a spear, not because it happened at all, but because he responded too suddenly, making the moment feel a bit too silly, like something out of Monty Python :D His reaction should've been much slower, so it could still be darkly humorous with becoming silly. That being said, it's a very minor issue for me, and Aguirre is still one of my favorites.


I know that there is some realism to the head thing. However, even things that happen in real life can feel over-the-top. Without spoiling anything, a lot of the violence in Inglourious Basterds can happen in real life. However, I still found the violence in that movie to be over-the-top and distracting like I did with this movie. As for the man shot by the spear, the scene might have been a little less distracting if they waited a bit longer for him to say the line. However, it still would've felt unrealistic. I can't imagine a man who was just mortally wounded to say that so casually. It doesn't make sense to me. Also, one thing good about the movie was that most of the characters who died weren't seen suffering. The movie kills them off suddenly (making them seem vulnerable). I'd rather keep the man's death short and remove his line. That way, the movie would maintain this aspect. It's still a great movie though despite these minor issues.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:04 am
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Stu wrote:
Glad you liked it too, PL; as you already know, it's one of my favorites. Out of curiosity though, what was the single scene/line that bothered you?While I've only barely averaged more than one 2017 viewing a month this year, that's still a lot more than I watched last year (I'm living on my own for the first time in town this year, so going to the theater is a good time-killer), so here's my current list, along with links to the reviews I wrote about some of the entries: https://letterboxd.com/stusmallz/list/m ... ed/detail/ There's nothing there that wasn't a fairly mainstream, wide-release movie, but there ya go 8-)


Thanks. Looks like I'm not as far behind as I thought, which I guess was yours and Trip's point.

This is surprising. I haven't watched many movies in the past two years. So there just hasn't been any good movies? I mean I did have 2016 down as one of the worst years ever as far I could tell.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:04 am
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we agree on 2016...yikes

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:38 am
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It's no 2007.


Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:42 am
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did you see Don't Breathe, Izzy? not sure how you get along with thrillers but it's a beautifully directed gem.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:26 am
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Trip wrote:
did you see Don't Breathe, Izzy? not sure how you get along with thrillers but it's a beautifully directed gem.


No I haven't. It's not really my genre, but if it's well shot, I'll definitely check it out. The cinematography made a movie like The Conjuring watchable. Thanks.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:26 am
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Ace wrote:
It's no 2007.


2007 was a very strong year by my lights.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:26 am
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Did anyone see James Gray's new one? I haven't, but he's probably one of the only directors worth checking for that's remotely commercial these days.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:27 am
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I believe that Herzog didn't mean for Aguirre to be taken seriously. I've only seen it once, but I was convinced of that by halfway through.

Even Nosferatu has a high percentage of tongue-in-cheek-ness to it. And that's the Herzog film I've delved into most thoroughly.

I'll admit I could be wrong in my conclusion, but I've seen many of the man's movies and that's the impression I'm left with.

Stu's characterization of the film as a fever-dream is excellent.

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:30 am
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Gort wrote:
I believe that Herzog didn't mean for Aguirre to be taken seriously. I've only seen it once, but I was convinced of that by halfway through.


What do you mean by this? That the movie was flippant or just that the movie has a sense of humor? The latter is certainly true. That's Herzog's bread and butter: dark humor, absurdist, comic irony, etc

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:45 am
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Izzy Black wrote:

What do you mean by this? That the movie was flippant or just that the movie has a sense of humor? The latter is certainly true. That's Herzog's bread and butter: dark humor, absurdist, comic irony, etc

Isn't absurdism darkly flippant by its nature?

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:48 am
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Eh, I think of flippant as in camp, pastiche, or a kind of lack of self-seriousness where themes aren't intended to be heavy or weighty. I think Herzog is trading in pretty heavy high-minded stuff, but he's just doing it with a flare for the absurd. This puts him almost squarely in an existentialist kind of tradition, which I wouldn't describe as flippant.

But this is mostly a verbal point. I was just trying to get clear about what you had in mind, which seems to be roughly what I did (irony, absurdism, etc).

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:03 pm
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Izzy Black wrote:
Did anyone see James Gray's new one? I haven't, but he's probably one of the only directors worth checking for that's remotely commercial these days.

Yes, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Try and catch it on the big screen if you can :)


Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:00 pm
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Izzy Black wrote:

No I haven't. It's not really my genre, but if it's well shot, I'll definitely check it out. The cinematography made a movie like The Conjuring watchable. Thanks.

might improve your 2016. it's one of if not my fave of last year hah. how do you feel about Panic Room, which it is indebted to?

I wish I could see the new Gray!

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Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:51 pm
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oh Izzy, what about John Wick Chapter 2?

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Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:39 am
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Post Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller, '15)

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If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road.

Despite the inescapable, all-encompassing praise & hype for this movie that consumed every corner of the Internet back in 2015 (and still hasn't really died down yet, to be honest), I didn't see Mad Max: Fury Road when it was in theaters. I know, I know, an intensely epic, post-apocalyptic actioner such as this just seems to scream out to be "WITNESSED!!!1" on the big screen, but I had almost ceased going to the theater at that point, and like I said before, my sole personal experience with the franchise at the time was over a decade old, and more importantly, was a rather negative one, so I just never bothered heading to teh multiplex to check out Fury Road. However, when I did finally watch it last year, I found FR to be an pretty strong entry in the series, smaller-scale home experience be damned, and while I still feel it's a slightly more problematic film than most of its fans seem willing to admit, I'm still grateful that I saw it, and happy that George Miller was finally able to make it a reality, after wallowing for such a long time in the Hollywood wasteland of development hell.

To get my biggest criticism out of the way so I can get to the rest of my mostly positive thoughts, I feel that, antagonist-wise, Miller had Fury Road cut to the chase a bit soon so to speak, as glourious a chase it may be. Immortan Joe, memorably portrayed by Hugh Keays-Byrne (aka The Toecutter from the original Mad Max, 36 years(!) ago), is destined to be an all-time great cinema baddie, with his Darth Vader/Bane-style distorted voice, breathing apparatus, and the demented permagrin of his ridiculously hideous facemask, but if we're talking about him in regards to his dynamics with the traitorous Furiosa or his "beloved wives", there's a certain step missing from the characterization of their relationships, that is, the first step; we never get to see Joe directly interact with any of them at all before the central chase begins, something that would've given us some necessary, specific context to their conflict, and ground us much stronger in those particular character dynamics before the shit hits the fan. Don't get me wrong, as the way in which the character relationships develop during the actual chase is rather compelling and well-done, it's just kind of disappointing that Miller didn't apply the same sort of effort to the beginning of their arcs here.

That being said, while I could talk some more about minor nitpicks like the occasional phony-looking special effect, some clunky dialogue, or the annoying way that Max's traumatic flashbacks sometimes pointlessly interrupt the proceedings, I won't, as, like I said, I still feel this is a very good movie on the whole. No longer forced by budgetary restrictions to try to pass The Outback off as a worldwide post-apocalypse, George Miller uses the Namibian desert wonderfully here, with its incredibly bleak, thirsty terrain, and harsh yellow sands (captured vividly by John Seale's surprisingly beautiful cinematography) rendering it the ultimate version of "The Wasteland" we've seen in the world of Mad Max to date. As for Max himself, series newcomer Tom Hardy portrays what I now consider to be the definitive version of the character (sorry Mel!), with his frightened, grunting, rawly animalistic performance, as he seems like a man who truly is running from "the living and the dead", but who still manages to grow, and let his wounded sense of humanity shine through in the end. While his arc here is basically a repeat of what happened to him in The Road Warrior, and how he learned to make connections to other human beings again, I found Fury Road's take on it to be meatier and ultimately more engaging, and when he finally confesses to Furiosa as he saves her life that his name is "Max", I can't help but feel a bit of the feels every time.

Speaking of whom, I would be neglectful not to praise Charlize Theron's performance here, as a damaged, regretful woman warrior looking to earn herself a tiny sliver of redemption for the atrocities she's committed by leading some fellow, enslaved women to their salvation. As the dynamic between Furiosa and Max slowly but surely grows from being enemies, to allies of convenience, to finally, inseparable "brothers in arms", I completely believed that Theron's character would be Max's equal in this world (take that, red pillers!), and felt that Max finally having a true partner in all of the action only added to the film's overall strength, and not detracted. And all that isn't even talking about the strong characterizations of Joe's "wives", or Nicholas Holt's lost, rebellious warboy Nux, torn back and forth between his conflicting loyalties as the fury road wears on; like I said, once it gets going, this movie really does have some strong character work, without which, Fury Road would be so much less an experience in the end.

And of course, any review of Road would be severely lacking without praising all the excellent action going on in it, which is next to non-stop once it gets started. While there is some occasionally minor, unnecessary hyperactivity in style here (you don't have to try to "keep up" with the post-Michael Bay generation of action directors, George!), for the most part, Miller presents the intense stuntwork beautifully (and coherently) here, and gives us a pleasing amount of variety of it to boot as well. During the 2 hour runtime, we get to witness humongous, downright apocalyptic sandstorm tornadoes (you read that right), divebombing biker gangs, a car being ground up into nothing between two bigger vehicles as they're in motion, and besides the vehicular mayhem you can always count on from a Mad Max movie, we even get one of the more furious and impressive hand-to-hand fight scenes in recent cinematic memory, with a surprising, positively ingenious use of props to rival even Jackie Chan in his Hong Kong heyday. Minor quibbles aside, Mad Max: Fury Road is still a darn good movie, and if it ends up being the last we ever see of Mr. Rockatansky, it will have been a fitting end to the legendary icon of action cinema; witness!
Best moment: Witness...
Final Score: 8.5

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Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:45 pm
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Stu wrote:
Image

If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road.

Despite the inescapable, all-encompassing praise & hype for this movie that consumed every corner of the Internet back in 2015 (and still hasn't really died down yet, to be honest), I didn't see Mad Max: Fury Road when it was in theaters. I know, I know, an intensely epic, post-apocalyptic actioner such as this just seems to scream out to be "WITNESSED!!!1" on the big screen, but I had almost ceased going to the theater at that point, and like I said before, my sole personal experience with the franchise at the time was over a decade old, and more importantly, was a rather negative one, so I just never bothered heading to teh multiplex to check out Fury Road. However, when I did finally watch it last year, I found FR to be an pretty strong entry in the series, smaller-scale home experience be damned, and while I still feel it's a slightly more problematic film than most of its fans seem willing to admit, I'm still grateful that I saw it, and happy that George Miller was finally able to make it a reality, after wallowing for such a long time in the Hollywood wasteland of development hell.

To get my biggest criticism out of the way so I can get to the rest of my mostly positive thoughts, I feel that, antagonist-wise, Miller had Fury Road cut to the chase a bit soon so to speak, as glourious a chase it may be. Immortan Joe, memorably portrayed by Hugh Keays-Byrne (aka The Toecutter from the original Mad Max, 36 years(!) ago), is destined to be an all-time great cinema baddie, with his Darth Vader/Bane-style distorted voice, breathing apparatus, and the demented permagrin of his ridiculously hideous facemask, but if we're talking about him in regards to his dynamics with the traitorous Furiosa or his "beloved wives", there's a certain step missing from the characterization of their relationships, that is, the first step; we never get to see Joe directly interact with any of them at all before the central chase begins, something that would've given us some necessary, specific context to their conflict, and ground us much stronger in those particular character dynamics before the shit hits the fan. Don't get me wrong, as the way in which the character relationships develop during the actual chase is rather compelling and well-done, it's just kind of disappointing that Miller didn't apply the same sort of effort to the beginning of their arcs here.

That being said, while I could talk some more about minor nitpicks like the occasional phony-looking special effect, some clunky dialogue, or the annoying way that Max's traumatic flashbacks sometimes pointlessly interrupt the proceedings, I won't, as, like I said, I still feel this is a very good movie on the whole. No longer forced by budgetary restrictions to try to pass The Outback off as a worldwide post-apocalypse, George Miller uses the Namibian desert wonderfully here, with its incredibly bleak, thirsty terrain, and harsh yellow sands (captured vividly by John Seale's surprisingly beautiful cinematography) rendering it the ultimate version of "The Wasteland" we've seen in the world of Mad Max to date. As for Max himself, series newcomer Tom Hardy portrays what I now consider to be the definitive version of the character (sorry Mel!), with his frightened, grunting, rawly animalistic performance, as he seems like a man who truly is running from "the living and the dead", but who still manages to grow, and let his wounded sense of humanity shine through in the end. While his arc here is basically a repeat of what happened to him in The Road Warrior, and how he learned to make connections to other human beings again, I found Fury Road's take on it to be meatier and ultimately more engaging, and when he finally confesses to Furiosa as he saves her life that his name is "Max", I can't help but feel a bit of the feels every time.

Speaking of whom, I would be neglectful not to praise Charlize Theron's performance here, as a damaged, regretful woman warrior looking to earn herself a tiny sliver of redemption for the atrocities she's committed by leading some fellow, enslaved women to their salvation. As the dynamic between Furiosa and Max slowly but surely grows from being enemies, to allies of convenience, to finally, inseparable "brothers in arms", I completely believed that Theron's character would be Max's equal in this world (take that, red pillers!), and felt that Max finally having a true partner in all of the action only added to the film's overall strength, and not detracted. And all that isn't even talking about the strong characterizations of Joe's "wives", or Nicholas Holt's lost, rebellious warboy Nux, torn back and forth between his conflicting loyalties as the fury road wears on; like I said, once it gets going, this movie really does have some strong character work, without which, Fury Road would be so much less an experience in the end.

And of course, any review of Road would be severely lacking without praising all the excellent action going on in it, which is next to non-stop once it gets started. While there is some occasionally minor, unnecessary hyperactivity in style here (you don't have to try to "keep up" with the post-Michael Bay generation of action directors, George!), for the most part, Miller presents the intense stuntwork beautifully (and coherently) here, and gives us a pleasing amount of variety of it to boot as well. During the 2 hour runtime, we get to witness humongous, downright apocalyptic sandstorm tornadoes (you read that right), divebombing biker gangs, a car being ground up into nothing between two bigger vehicles as they're in motion, and besides the vehicular mayhem you can always count on from a Mad Max movie, we even get one of the more furious and impressive hand-to-hand fight scenes in recent cinematic memory, with a surprising, positively ingenious use of props to rival even Jackie Chan in his Hong Kong heyday. Minor quibbles aside, Mad Max: Fury Road is still a darn good movie, and if it ends up being the last we ever see of Mr. Rockatansky, it will have been a fitting end to the legendary icon of action cinema; witness!
Best moment: Witness...
Final Score: 8.5

Firstly, I just want to say that this was an excellent review. You're a great writer. Keep up the good work.

However, I kind of liked how the movie didn't show how Joe treated his wives. When I first saw them starting to betray Joe, I was asking questions on why they did that, and this tactic actually immersed me more since I wanted to find out answers to that question. I'd say that this part of the movie succeeded in the same way that the intro to Paris, Texas succeeded. Both films didn't initially explain the reason for their protagonists' motivations until later on.

Also, on a side note, I really like Nux's character arc. Specifically his death as it had some dichotomy to it. During the sandstorm, he attempted to sacrifice himself to kill Max. However, it was interesting how he eventually did sacrifice himself after all. The only difference being that it was done to save Max instead.

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Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:45 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Firstly, I just want to say that this was an excellent review. You're a great writer. Keep up the good work.

However, I kind of liked how the movie didn't show how Joe treated his wives. When I first saw them starting to betray Joe, I was asking questions on why they did that, and this tactic actually immersed me more since I wanted to find out answers to that question. I'd say that this part of the movie succeeded in the same way that the intro to Paris, Texas succeeded. Both films didn't initially explain the reason for their protagonists' motivations until later on.
Aw, thanks Popcorn :heart: As for the rest of your reply about my review...

...when it comes to Furiosa and Joe's "wives", we're given almost NO context for the dynamics between them and Joe before the chase begins, so their collective betrayal of him has little to distinguish itself from other examples in film history, rendering that aspect of FR disappointingly forgettable; if it's the event that kickstarts the entire film into motion, the director needs to put something in there to make me give a damn. It relies too much on general cultural perceptions of the importance of military-style loyalty and the horrors of sex slavery when it comes to Furiosa and the wives, respectively, without doing much of anything specific with its particular examples of those concepts, and that aspect of the plot ultimately ends up being insufficient because of that. It's all a balancing act; sometimes, a director makes things too explicit, sometimes he gets it just right, and sometimes, he doesn't do enough. This is one of those cases where didn't do enough.

But, like I said before, the development of the characterizations once the chase is officially on is generally strong and memorable, enough to still make FR a really good entry in the series in the end.

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Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:53 am
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Stu wrote:
Aw, thanks Popcorn :heart: As for the rest of your reply about my review...

...when it comes to Furiosa and Joe's "wives", we're given almost NO context for the dynamics between them and Joe before the chase begins, so their collective betrayal of him has little to distinguish itself from other examples in film history, rendering that aspect of FR disappointingly forgettable; if it's the event that kickstarts the entire film into motion, the director needs to put something in there to make me give a damn. It relies too much on general cultural perceptions of the importance of military-style loyalty and the horrors of sex slavery when it comes to Furiosa and the wives, respectively, without doing much of anything specific with its particular examples of those concepts, and that aspect of the plot ultimately ends up being insufficient because of that. It's all a balancing act; sometimes, a director makes things too explicit, sometimes he gets it just right, and sometimes, he doesn't do enough. This is one of those cases where didn't do enough.

But, like I said before, the development of the characterizations once the chase is officially on is generally strong and memorable, enough to still make FR a really good entry in the series in the end.

I suppose this debate is somewhat based on our tastes. You disliked how the movie didn't show how Joe treated his wives and I did. However, I still feel like the Paris, Texas example is a valid comparison. Like Fury Road, we weren't given any context behind Travis's motivations in that movie. I had a similar connection in both movies. Besides Snowpiercer, this is my favorite action film of the 2010's, and it's also my favorite entry in the Mad Max franchise (I haven't seen Thunderdome though).

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Day of Wrath (1943) - 4/10

I'm starting to get the impression that Dreyer's style doesn't do much for me. While he's a talented filmmaker, I feel like his movies often have pacing issues. While "Vampyr" may not have taken too much time to pick up, its pacing issues were noticeable for me since the film was only 73 minutes long (although, it's the least glaring Dreyer film I had pacing issues with). I also had similar issues with "Ordet" as its opening was slow. Pacing issues were present in this film as well. After the first 35 minutes (which were, admittedly, well-done), I felt like this film made so many mistakes in terms of handling buildup and pacing that I could simply not enjoy it.

In Denmark in the 17th century, a family is effected by a merciless witch hunt. After an elderly woman named Herlof Marte is accused of being a witch by a pastor named Absalon, his wife, Anne, falls in love with Martin, the pastor's son. However, this eventually brings about disastrous consequences.

My favorite part of the movie is the first third. I liked it for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has a great setup, great buildup, and a haunting conclusion to it which lingered with me long after viewing it. I also loved how it felt like a standalone short film. I like it when movies have particular scenes/portions which give me this feeling as they tend to stick out for me. I also liked how the first act established Absalon's character. I hated his character not just because he was involved in the trial of witches, but how he went about his trials. During the first act, we learned that Absalon spared Anne's mother after she was accused of witchcraft only because he wanted to marry Anne. It seemed unfair how Absalon was going to let Herlof Marte die.

However, that brings me to what I liked the most about the first third of the film. It didn't suffer from the same issue I have with other movies about the witch hunt. Most movies about the witch hunt use the fact that the characters are being tried for something they didn't do to get you attached to a character. While this is preferable to style over substance, it can get boring after you see it used a lot. This movie not only used that, but Absalon's sadism to get me attached to Herlof Marte. For that reason, I felt like her character development was handled well. The opening was also memorable. The film opens up with Herlof Marte in her house when she suddenly hears bells indicating that someone has just been accused of witchcraft. However, we soon see Herlof Marte grow increasingly panicked as she realizes that she's the one their hunting.

The first third of the film was excellent. Unfortunately, however, the rest of the film didn't interest me that much. Most of the film that followed the first third chronicled the relationship between Anne and Martin. The second act could've been great as well, but it wasn't handled that well. My issue with the second act was that it was overlong and slow. It just felt like buildup. If the film didn't dwell too long on that sub-plot, I likely wouldn't have an issue with it. However, it was stretched out for most of the film. Nothing happened in that portion of the film which interested me. This was a major letdown, because the film had a promising start. Eventually, however, one of the characters dies near the end, and the film does get interesting as it builds off from that. However, despite a haunting final scene that succeeded due to its ambiguity, the final act of the film wasn't handled that well. Since it happened so close to the end, the ending felt abrupt. The final act felt like it was over before it even started. The pacing should've been adjusted a lot. The second act should have been much shorter, and the final act should've been much longer. The film was unbalanced.

In conclusion, I didn't like this film. While its worth a watch for its first act, the rest of the film suffers from being unbalanced in terms of pacing and buildup. I've had issues with Dreyer's style in the past, but this is my least favorite film from him. This will probably be the last film I watch from him for a while (however, I'm still debating whether I should check out "The Passion of Joan of Arc").

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Eminence Grise wrote:
Yes, and it's absolutely gorgeous. Try and catch it on the big screen if you can :)

Don't think it's in theaters anymore :(

Gray's best in the biz tho, can't wait

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Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:08 pm
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Trip wrote:
might improve your 2016. it's one of if not my fave of last year hah. how do you feel about Panic Room, which it is indebted to?

I wish I could see the new Gray!


I appreciate Panic Room in terms of its place in the context of Fincher's career. I mean it's interesting, but that's about it for me.

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Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:09 pm
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Trip wrote:
oh Izzy, what about John Wick Chapter 2?

Never even saw the first one. I seem to recall you being a fan though.

I did just see Wonder Woman, however. I thought it was good.

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Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:10 pm
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It reminded me a lot of the first Captain America since almost followed the same structure. Although I think the film should have came out way before BvS since you knew the outcome of the ending already.


Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:14 am
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Saw it in 4K and it looked absolutely amazing. Colors popping off the screen, especially the backstory scenes on Themyscira, rich blues, reds, and greens. So much better than the dreary crappy DC movies so far. Def recommend seeing the hires 2D version if you can.

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Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:57 am
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Post Wonder Woman (Jenkins, '17)

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I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness within. I learned this the hard way, a long, long time ago.

There are things you can criticize about Wonder Woman; you could complain about its somewhat standard first act on the titular character's homeland of Themyscira, a vaguely "exotic" island of one-dimensional, Greek-ish women warriors who seem to do nothing but spar with each other all day, or tell prophetic, story-setting tales of a fabled Chosen One (though a certain "living storybook" sequence did impress me with its impressionistic visuals, to be fair). You could point out the sometimes uneasy contradiction of having intense, kickass superhero action set in the perpetually grey, muddy, grim no man's lands of World War I, or the rather simplistic, "good guys versus bad guys" mentality it applies to the participating​ armies of that war, which is especially ironic, considering the morally ambiguous, unheroic perception that particular conflict has had ever since its conclusion a century ago. And, you can gripe about the undeniably generic nature of its main villians, one of whom is basically just a red herring the film ludicrously tries to seem like a physical threat through a particularly ridiculous plot device, and the other one serving as a forgettable, completely unnecessary plot twist, as well as reaffirming a simplistic, old-school comic book morality of "defeat the big bad and the day is saved!", completely undermining the movie's previous attempt at dispelling such a mentality in a messier, morally grey real world, just so the movie can have yet another standard, overblown superhero movie climax.

All of these are valid critiques that I noticied as I watched Woman, and yet, I couldn't help keep myself from liking the film anyway, warts and all. Chief among the reasons why I enjoyed it despite of its flaws is Wonder Woman herself, aka "Diana Prince", portrayed by Israeli model-turned-actress Gal Gadot; while evidence of her previous profession does shine here through the occasional unconvincing line read, expression-wise, Gadot sells every single emotion beyond a shadow of a doubt, going from wide-eyed, genuine fish-out-water wonder at the various curiosities of the "real world", to steely determination and moral (and physical) opposition against the men who are currently ruining that world. Of course, Prince is written just as well she's performed here, with the kind of absolute agency of character and freedom of will we need to see more often from supposedly "independent" female characters in Hollywood, done in such a way that her gender, while still a factor at times, isn't her defining (or only) feature, as she isn't simply a token female character, but is a character who just so happens to be a woman as well... while also being an incredibly kickass superhero.

Part of how director Patty Jenkins achieves this three-dimensionality of character is by portraying Woman as refreshingly non-sexualized, never playing up the character's feminity unnecessarily or letting the camera leer at her too much (as hard as that is to avoid with the gorgeous Gadot wearing that iconic-but-revealing outfit), while also not overcompensating too far in the other direction by sterilizing the character either, through the budding, well-written romance she develops through Chris Pine's American spy Steve Trevor, with whom Gadot shares strong onscreen chemistry with. Despite her initial fascination and curiosity at meeting her first man from the outside world (or ever, actually), Diana doesn't have a whole lot of trust in Trevor's personal character, and absolutely no interest in him physically, at least that is, at first. However, when their first (and only) night of intimacy does finally take place, it proceeds refreshingly subtly and believable, despite one of the parties involved being a living Greek goddess, taking place the night after both of them have survived a literal trial by (gun)fire, and they realize that they share the same kind of kindred, heroic spirit that drove Diana to venture forth from Themyscira and into this dark new world in the first place.

It's the kind of rare, natural cinematic romance that never feels obligatory or forced, although the film also doesn't try too hard to focus the spotlight at Trevor, and focus on him as if we're supposed to find him as memorable as Diana is, but rather, sensibly treats him as the supporting character that he is, the kind of side love interest that would be played by yes, a woman, in a traditional, gender-reversed blockbuster. However, Trevor isn't sidelined here in some sort of obnoxious, "take that, manpig!" way, as the film simply remembers that the particular "hero" of the superhero film should usually be front-and-center, regardless of what their gender chromosomes may be. And boy oh boy, do we finally have a legitimate female hero here, more than capable of handling both herself, as well as handling her own franchise, at a time when pretty much all her male counterparts in the DC universe are currently floundering. While it's not quite as wonderful as it could've been, Wonder Woman is still a fine film overall, and a breath of fresh air in an industry that's still light on prominent superheroes of the XX chromosome persuasion; your move, Marvel.
Best Moment: Wonder Woman Taking Back No Man's Land
Final Score: 8

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Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:41 am
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Izzy Black wrote:
Saw it in 4K and it looked absolutely amazing. Colors popping off the screen, especially the backstory scenes on Themyscira, rich blues, reds, and greens. So much better than the dreary crappy DC movies so far. Def recommend seeing the hires 2D version if you can.

Saw it in IMAX 3D and it looked great. But what stood out was the sound. It was LOUD. But I attribute that to the fact they probably turned it up for the Dunkirk preview.


Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:45 am
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Post Re: Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller, '15)

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I suppose this debate is somewhat based on our tastes. You disliked how the movie didn't show how Joe treated his wives and I did. However, I still feel like the Paris, Texas example is a valid comparison. Like Fury Road, we weren't given any context behind Travis's motivations in that movie. I had a similar connection in both movies. Besides Snowpiercer, this is my favorite action film of the 2010's, and it's also my favorite entry in the Mad Max franchise (I haven't seen Thunderdome though).

I actually just watched Snowpiercer for the first time last week, and to be honest with you... I was kind of mixed on it. I'm baffled at how it got 95% of critics at The Other Place to give it a fresh review. It isn't bad or anything, and I don't regret having watched it for its sheer, constant batshit creativity, but its particular creativity just feels chaotic, like Bong just threw as many different random elements as quickly as he could into one movie, without thinking through how he was going to make it a coherent experience. Again, not bad, but I just dunno about it.

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Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:11 am
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Izzy, did you see Takal's Always Shine?

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Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:35 pm
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I, for one, don't care what Izzy has or hasn't seen.


Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:36 am
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Stu wrote:
I actually just watched Snowpiercer for the first time last week, and to be honest with you... I was kind of mixed on it. I'm baffled at how it got 95% of critics at The Other Place to give it a fresh review. It isn't bad or anything, and I don't regret having watched it for its sheer, constant batshit creativity, but its particular creativity just feels chaotic, like Bong just threw as many different random elements as quickly as he could into one movie, without thinking through how he was going to make it a coherent experience. Again, not bad, but I just dunno about it.

Could you expand on certain aspects you're referring to?

Also, in case you're interested, here's the review I wrote for it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/reviews-508

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Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:30 am
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Beau wrote:
I, for one, don't care what Izzy has or hasn't seen.

I, for one, care that you dont care that he cares about what Izzy has or hasn't seen. :P


Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:33 am
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Manchester By The Sea
My favorite film of the year till now. Maybe a bit too long, at a certain point I just wanted it to end, but that might just be because it's such a painful movie, filled with grief en misery. Yet again, in all that sadness, I found myself happy to be alive. Strange, I know, and I'm not very clear about it myself. Might come back at this.


Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:34 am
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Trip wrote:
Izzy, did you see Takal's Always Shine?


It's been on my queue for a while. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I'm hoping to knock out a bunch of stuff this summer, including your recs. Is it good? I'm pretty sure I know I will like it.

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Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:12 pm
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Beau wrote:
I, for one, don't care what Izzy has or hasn't seen.

yes you do. help me watch movies Beau

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Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:12 pm
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Ace wrote:
I, for one, care that you dont care that he cares about what Izzy has or hasn't seen. :P

:D

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Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:13 pm
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Izzy Black wrote:

It's been on my queue for a while. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I'm hoping to knock out a bunch of stuff this summer, including your recs. Is it good? I'm pretty sure I know I will like it.

You will, I'd guess a lot. It's great btw.

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Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:01 pm
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It Come At Night was not marketed properly at all. Its a creepy slow burn, intense when it needs to be, and features scares when necessary. I think I like so called arthouse horror more than most, although I did not care for The Witch.

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Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:00 am
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So, I saw It Comes at Night last night. It was a good little psychological thriller. One of the friends I saw it with hated it so much it put him in a bad mood.

Also, The Blackcoat's Daughter is one of the best horror films I've seen recently. I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it. It's a moody, stylish film that reminded me a little of so many odd horror films of the 70's.


Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:11 am
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MadMan wrote:
It Come At Night was not marketed properly at all. Its a creepy slow burn, intense when it needs to be, and features scares when necessary. I think I like so called arthouse horror more than most, although I did not care for The Witch.


That's the kind of stuff I like. Hitting the audience with scares all the time seems dull. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a terrific example of a director who knows how to build tension


Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:33 am
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speaking of Kurosawa and Izzy wanting recs: Creepy is great

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Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:03 am
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Joss Whedon wrote:

That's the kind of stuff I like. Hitting the audience with scares all the time seems dull. Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a terrific example of a director who knows how to build tension

I really like Pulse. I need to see more of his films.

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Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:42 pm
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Cure is brilliant and, for my money, worlds better than Pulse (which I liked!). Really needs to see Creepy.

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Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:06 am
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Yes I have heard good things about Cure.

I Accuse My Parents (1944) is what happens when you make a film noir drama without the film noir. Mediocre at best propaganda film that was good for MSTK laughs.

Morozko (Jack Frost in the US) from 1964 is really silly and yet despite being outlandish (mushroom guy FTW) I kind of liked it. The MSTK crew really went to town on this one-I guess sweet is not their thing.

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Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:38 am
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I hope charu is somewhere out there watching, because I finally watched my first Bollywood film! I'd always been hesitant to engage with this genre (stupid I know) because I had no idea what reference point I'd use to critique it. But - reductionist - while watching Awaara I realised it's like opera. Loved the film, and Raj Kapoor was a brilliant actor and entertainer (and clearly very influenced by Chaplin). Great movie. More Bollywood recs! (but maybe some shorter ones)

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Thu Jun 22, 2017 6:27 am
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Andrei Rublev (1966) - 9/10

Andrei Tarkovsky is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time. His films evoke mysterious feelings that I rarely find in other movies. Not only do his films have impressive cinematography, but they also come with grand stories despite how simple they seem at first. Since this film was over 3 hours, I was a little concerned that I'd have trouble getting into it. However, I found it to be a truly engaging experience.

A couple decades in the life of the famous medieval Russian painter Andrei Rublev is depicted in this epic. We see his interactions between other painters, buffoons, pagans, and Tatars. These experiences shape and influence his actions over the course of the film.

I first began to pick up on the movie's themes when I asked the question: What caused Andrei to refuse to paint the church walls in Chapter 5? When I re-watched the movie with this in mind, I began to see the movie as a representation of dehumanization. In several of the opening chapters, Andrei witnessed many people either get beaten or killed. He also witnessed several bizarre sites such as seeing a group of naked pagans running through the woods. These experiences effected him in many ways such as how he refused to decorate the walls of a church or how he murdered a Tatar to save someone during a raid. With this, Tarkovsky is saying that the brutality of the world caused Andrei to lose interest in painting.

I also liked the prologue and the final chapter of the film. At first glance, the prologue felt misplaced as the characters in the opening scene were never seen again. However, I think Tarkovsky did this on purpose as he was trying to let the audience know that this was one of the films' most vital scenes. I've seen a few theories on what purpose the opening serves. Some people said that it exists to introduce us to the brutality of the world. My interpretation, however, is that it and the final chapter serve as bookends to Andrei's journey. The opening scene depicts a man named Yefim escape an angry crowd in a hot air balloon only to crash and, presumably, die. The final chapter shows a boy named Boriska attempt to build a bell for the Grand Prince. The thing that Yefim, Andrei, and Boriska have in common is that they are all artists and visionaries in some way as they attempt to overcome odds to create something awe-inspiring. Both of these men bookend Andrei's journey. Yefim represents the death of an old artist while Boriska represents the birth of a new artist. Near the end of the film, Andrei comforts Boriska after he admits that his father never told him the secret to building bells. I interpreted this scene as Andrei trying to encourage the boy to remain interested in art, so he could eventually replace him.

Tarkovsky usually handles dialogue exceptionally. If I pay close attention to the dialogue in his films, I find a lot of it to be thought provoking and powerful. There were many great lines of dialogue in this film. The first great scene of dialogue is in Chapter 3. In it, Andrei has a conversation with Theophanes, another famous Russian painter. Their dialogue shows the main difference between them. During their conversation, Theophanes says "People will lump the blame for their sins on one another...will be justifying themselves before the almighty." Andrei replies to him with "I don't understand how you can paint, having thoughts like that." This scene shows the personality traits of both men. I explained earlier how this film is based heavily on dehumanization. Their conversation is a great representation of this. The reason Theophanes has these thoughts while Andrei doesn't is because Theophanes is much older than Andrei. He has seen more of the world's brutality. Andrei hasn't seen enough of it yet to relate to Theophanes' world views. Another great scene of dialogue happens in Chapter 6. After Andrei survives a raid, he encounters the ghost of Theophanes. Andrei tells Theophanes that he is disgusted by how he killed a Tatar during the raid. He mourns the loss of his work and the evil in the world he lives in. He may not have agreed with Theophanes in Chapter 3, but later on, he eventually concurs with him. The reason for this change is because the numerous instances of brutality Andrei encountered caused him to become dehumanized over time.

The cinematography was also haunting. A lot of classic movies which were praised for their haunting cinematography back in the day don't unsettle me that much. However, there were some legitimately unnerving moments in this movie which held up pretty well. Most of them were in Chapter 6. Some scenes which stood out from that sequence was how liquid metal was poured into someone's mouth, when a horse fell down a flight of stairs, when a cow was lit on fire, and, like I mentioned earlier, the conversation between Andrei and Theophanes. There's also numerous shots of horses which Tarkovsky said were a symbol of life, the most famous of which occurs at the final shot.

In my review of "Stalker", I compared Tarkovsky to Stanley Kubrick, my favorite filmmaker, by calling him the "Russian Kubrick". I feel like this is a valid comparison, because both filmmakers create movies with simple, yet grand stories. The more I watch Tarkovsky's films, the more this viewpoint gets enforced. "Andrei Rublev" sets itself apart from other movies based on true stories due to its thematic power on dehumanization, which is carried from the first half to the next.

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Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:13 am
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I'm ashamed to have avoided this for so long, but I watched a three hour Shia LaBeuof film. In order to understand Tarkovsky you probably have to be an art critic. I don't think its fair to call him the Russian Kubrick, because Tarkovsky films are bursting with humanity and life.


Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:58 pm
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Joss Whedon wrote:
a three hour Shia LaBeuof film

Transformers: Dark of the Moon?

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Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:38 pm
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Joss Whedon wrote:
I'm ashamed to have avoided this for so long, but I watched a three hour Shia LaBeuof film. In order to understand Tarkovsky you probably have to be an art critic. I don't think its fair to call him the Russian Kubrick, because Tarkovsky films are bursting with humanity and life.

I don't think you need to be an art critic to understand his films. You just need to think about the film for a bit to see if you can pick up on its themes. That's what I did with this film. If you don't now where to start, you can look up a couple analysis's online. Anyways, the reason I call him the Russian Kubrick is because their complicated films have some similarities. Like I brought up in my review, they may seem simple at first, but after you think about them, they start to seem grand. I don't think that Tarkovsky films are heavily based around humanity and life though (or at least, the films I've seen from him). This movie is heavily based on dehumanization. "Stalker" is heavily based on the consequences of desire. "The Mirror" is heavily based on the concept of death as we appear to see instances of a man's life while he's on his deathbed. "Solaris" is about the impact space exploration has on the human condition. If I watch some of his other movies, I might change my opinion. However, based on what I've seen from him so far, I wouldn't say that humanity and life are major themes of his movies.

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Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:43 pm
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