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I believe Arrow has released both of those, and I know they have a Prime channel, so that may be why.

Need to see some of his stuff.

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Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:08 pm
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Macrology wrote:
I believe Arrow has released both of those, and I know they have a Prime channel, so that may be why.

Need to see some of his stuff.


I wrote up a much longer review of Blind Woman's Curse over in Thief's thread. Basically it did different and interesting things with a pretty standard plot. It was weird for sure, but also really clear and coherent in its plot and characters. With the exception of some tiresome "comic relief" in the form of a smelly, ineffectual gang boss, I didn't have any criticisms of it.


Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:22 pm
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I almost bought Blind Woman’s Curse today from the Arrow sale but decided to shore up my giallo purchases instead, as I’ve already binged two Kaji franchises.

I also watched If Beale Street Could Talk. Jenkins is America’s Wong Kar Wai. It’s potent, heartfelt and artful filmmaking. The race for my favorite movie of the year keeps getting tighter and tighter.

https://letterboxd.com/tjjones/film/if-beale-street-could-talk/


Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:35 pm
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Charles wrote:
The Void, 2016 (A-)

A Lovecraftian movie very much in the John Carpenter vein. With confined spaces, a cult surrounding the protagonists and practical effects up the wazoo. The characters are the weakest point of the movie, feeling pretty stock, but this is thankfully not one of those shitty syfy movies where you get terrible character interactions with 1 full minute of monster. The mystery here is present and the movie gives you a lot of meat to chew on. Absolutely a movie that I would recommend.

Epilepsy warning.

Yeah, I also liked this.
Probably couldn't go as high as you did, but on a different scale, it gave me things that few movies do these days.


Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:34 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:

Even having the girls undress felt unnecessary to me. I don't like when films throw in a will-he-won't-he rape element, and especially when it's not actually the point of the story.

As for the
molestation subplot, I think that his intentions were good and it was delivately handled. But something about those scenes just felt off to me. Like, almost bordering on parody. I appreciated the restraint, but the flashback parts simply didn't work for me.




I understand the narrative importance of him
recognizing her as a kindred spirit, so to speak. And I completely agree that it makes sense that she cuts herself (or has a history of it). My point was more that there are a lot of people who suffer in ways that don't leave physical scars. And by having her survive while the other girls die (especially considering that those other girls were nice and also proactive) made it seem like somehow she was more deserving of survival--and that just irked me. Who is to say that neither of those other girls had a history of being abused? I think that the film--intentionally or not--sets up a contrast between Casey and the other girls in which she is lauded as the survivor. And I go back again to the fact that Casey's idea of "wait and watch" is so dumb. It might be a good tactic for someone in a domestic situation of abuse, but it just runs contrary to everything I've ever read or learned about defending yourself from a stranger, and especially a stranger who has taken you to a secondary location.

I thought,
will-he-won't-he was essential to the story for that character, and in the context of our times and the narratives we run into To have a man with 24 personalities who kidnaps young women and NONE of them have a sexual interest would be incredible in the literal sense.

On your latter point,
I didn't feel like the film made that judgement. The other two girls died because he got to them first, period. I was disappointed that they died, but I felt it was a narrative choice and it worked as we're not dealing with idealisms here, we're dealing with how this one personality views the world and how he needs to KNOW that you've suffered to spare you. I didn't see it, AT ALL, as a commentary on the other two young women, who I thought Shyamalan went out of his way to make real, strong people, but as a clear narrative choice considering The Beast is really just another personality in the man and he sees things in a very simple and black and white manner, which the movie makes clear.


Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:44 pm
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Yeah its a great idea to have a little film discussion in here.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:04 am
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Wooley wrote:
I thought,
will-he-won't-he was essential to the story for that character, and in the context of our times and the narratives we run into To have a man with 24 personalities who kidnaps young women and NONE of them have a sexual interest would be incredible in the literal sense.


But that threat is implied the moment a man kidnaps three teenage girls and takes them to an underground bunker. Having
them take their clothes off, having him grab one of them and drag her out of the room, having her come back crying
is not necessary. Why not have the
Patricia speech about him not hurting them earlier? The intentions that Dennis has towards the girls is obvious--we don't need to see them in their underwear or being further manhandled to get the point.


Quote:
On your latter point,
I didn't feel like the film made that judgement. The other two girls died because he got to them first, period. I was disappointed that they died, but I felt it was a narrative choice and it worked as we're not dealing with idealisms here, we're dealing with how this one personality views the world and how he needs to KNOW that you've suffered to spare you. I didn't see it, AT ALL, as a commentary on the other two young women, who I thought Shyamalan went out of his way to make real, strong people, but as a clear narrative choice considering The Beast is really just another personality in the man and he sees things in a very simple and black and white manner, which the movie makes clear.


This might be the case, except that the film has an entire scene where
the girls explicitly discuss two opposing strategies for survival: fight/flight or wait and watch. Casey sabotages their chance to fight by refusing to participate in attacking him. The girls choose their strategies and Casey is rewarded with survival while the other girls are killed off. To end the film with the other girls exposed in their underwear and violently killed felt disrespectful to their characters. I'm not sure how else to put it. It's like there's this weird push-pull between wanting to treat them like real, full-blooded characters, but then ultimately not being able to resist using them like jiggle-jiggle cannon fodder. And that's down to the film and how it was made, not the point of view of the Beast.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:08 am
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Deadpool 2 - 7/10 - I don't know what the exact "creative differences" were between Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller but I think replacing Miller with David Leitch and allowing Reynolds free rein with the writing ended up a detriment to this sequel. Like so many followups there was just too much stuff thrown at the screen. Too many players. Too many distracting side pieces. I know the first was an origin story and those are usually lean and pared down by design. But this was a difficult plot to settle into and follow. Anyway, I also thought there was a bit of schizo feel to DP's arc with too much attention devoted to his trying to be a "better" person. It wasn't as good as the first one but then I also thought that wasn't a true grand slam either. For what it is (MCU outlier) it still hits the right notes.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:37 am
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boojiboyhowdy wrote:
Deadpool 2 - 7/10 - I don't know what the exact "creative differences" were between Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller but I think replacing Miller with David Leitch and allowing Reynolds free rein with the writing ended up a detriment to this sequel. Like so many followups there was just too much stuff thrown at the screen. Too many players. Too many distracting side pieces. I know the first was an origin story and those are usually lean and pared down by design. But this was a difficult plot to settle into and follow. Anyway, I also thought there was a bit of schizo feel to DP's arc with too much attention devoted to his trying to be a "better" person. It wasn't as good as the first one but then I also thought that wasn't a true grand slam either. For what it is (MCU outlier) it still hits the right notes.

Interesting as I vastly preferred this to the first, largely because Leitch is twice the director Miller is.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:54 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

But that threat is implied the moment a man kidnaps three teenage girls and takes them to an underground bunker. Having
them take their clothes off, having him grab one of them and drag her out of the room, having her come back crying
is not necessary. Why not have the
Patricia speech about him not hurting them earlier? The intentions that Dennis has towards the girls is obvious--we don't need to see them in their underwear or being further manhandled to get the point.




This might be the case, except that the film has an entire scene where
the girls explicitly discuss two opposing strategies for survival: fight/flight or wait and watch. Casey sabotages their chance to fight by refusing to participate in attacking him. The girls choose their strategies and Casey is rewarded with survival while the other girls are killed off. To end the film with the other girls exposed in their underwear and violently killed felt disrespectful to their characters. I'm not sure how else to put it. It's like there's this weird push-pull between wanting to treat them like real, full-blooded characters, but then ultimately not being able to resist using them like jiggle-jiggle cannon fodder. And that's down to the film and how it was made, not the point of view of the Beast.

Like I say,
I think to make the threat visceral there had to be the clear threat and I thought he made it clear and even kinda horrifying without making it lewd or exploitative.
And I didn't get the feeling that she sabotaged their escape, she knew they had absolutely no chance and gives specific reasons, "I saw him pick you up and carry you like you were a feather" or whatever she says and "We already know there's another locked door behind that one." And at that point in the film neither the characters nor the audience know that a failed attempt to overtake him will not result in their immediate deaths. She knew they had to play the long game because of her history as a hunter and survivor. And if I'm wrong, I'm not sure that doesn't actually make the movie better. I wanted them and the doctor to live (even though I knew the moment we met the doctor she was, sadly, a dead-woman), but I feel like the narrative was rock-solid as it was. And I think their grisly deaths were probably necessary to fully set up and appreciate the horror of The Beast. I mean, I was wondering the whole movie if them being "sacred food" was metaphorical or if, holy shit, was one of the personalities an actual cannibal.
And I never felt there was a jiggle-jiggle moment in the film.
That's just my take.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:10 am
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Wooley wrote:
Like I say,
I think to make the threat visceral there had to be the clear threat and I thought he made it clear and even kinda horrifying without making it lewd or exploitative.
And I didn't get the feeling that she sabotaged their escape, she knew they had absolutely no chance and gives specific reasons, "I saw him pick you up and carry you like you were a feather" or whatever she says and "We already know there's another locked door behind that one." And at that point in the film neither the characters nor the audience know that a failed attempt to overtake him will not result in their immediate deaths. She knew they had to play the long game because of her history as a hunter and survivor. And if I'm wrong, I'm not sure that doesn't actually make the movie better. I wanted them and the doctor to live (even though I knew the moment we met the doctor she was, sadly, a dead-woman), but I feel like the narrative was rock-solid as it was. And I think their grisly deaths were probably necessary to fully set up and appreciate the horror of The Beast. I mean, I was wondering the whole movie if them being "sacred food" was metaphorical or if, holy shit, was one of the personalities an actual cannibal.
And I never felt there was a jiggle-jiggle moment in the film.
That's just my take.


If a man has kidnapped a teenage girl and taken her to another location, the threat of sexual assault is already real and visceral. Him leering at them was plenty.

I'm not saying that they
needed to live. I actually think that their deaths are necessary because they help to clarify the nature of the Beast. He's the kind of being that hurts innocents--I think that it helps to make it clear that he isn't some sort of hero avenging himself on abusers like his mother.

It's been almost a year since I've watched it, but I know that there was something really specific that was said at one point that made it really clear to me that playing the long game was a bad choice. Similarly, I'd need to see the film again to remember which shots I felt were unnecessary in terms of how the girls were filmed.

And, again, these were things that didn't really register on my first viewing, but popped out to me the second time.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:46 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

If a man has kidnapped a teenage girl and taken her to another location, the threat of sexual assault is already real and visceral. Him leering at them was plenty.

I'm not saying that they
needed to live. I actually think that their deaths are necessary because they help to clarify the nature of the Beast. He's the kind of being that hurts innocents--I think that it helps to make it clear that he isn't some sort of hero avenging himself on abusers like his mother.

It's been almost a year since I've watched it, but I know that there was something really specific that was said at one point that made it really clear to me that playing the long game was a bad choice. Similarly, I'd need to see the film again to remember which shots I felt were unnecessary in terms of how the girls were filmed.

And, again, these were things that didn't really register on my first viewing, but popped out to me the second time.

Maybe they will pop out to me on re-watch (after Glass).
I just remember thinking during the film, "Oh, he's not gonna make this weird, right, by having leering or exploitative moments with the girls? And then thinking, "No instead he made me feel really uncomfortable with the fact that they are exposed and feel their discomfort some, which is clearly his intent here, well done."
But I'm not saying that's the only way to read it, it's just the reaction it created at me. At no moment did I feel like, "Hey, M., thanks for showin' a little skin." It was kinda the opposite reaction and I thought that was a pretty neat move to pull.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:18 am
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Outlaw King has a messy script and uncanny editing (where almost every scene in the first thirty minutes feels like it ends before it should, aside from the showy single take opener), but it picks up later. The battle sequences and acting don’t compensate for everything but they certainly elevate it. Hopefully it’s just a minor blip in David McKenzie’s career.


Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:35 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Trevorrow has never and will never direct something as good as the Orphanage. He just doesn’t have the deft formal skills necessary. Bayona directed the hell out of a terrible script and I applaud him for the effort. It makes me defend his film more than the other Spielberg-less JP films.
DaMU wrote:
I honestly think Bayona directs JW:FK so well that he finds ways to play within the script and reconfigure some of its abject dopiness into endearing silliness (Pratt escaping the lava becomes a surprising exercise in physical comedy). And while the script's not classically "good," I like some of the ideas it's tackling, and think Bayona brings them out as honorably as possible (its Eve/Pandora angle and its back half deliberately going fairy tale).

Also, I am a total sucker for a dinosaur accidentally tail-whipping an elevator button and then eating a wide-eyed oligarch. That buys the movie so many goodwill points.

I went to see it twice in theaters, the second time just to watch the camera and how it found and built its images. It reminds me of Kael's comment about "good trash."
Well, I just now noticed that I never shared my write-up about Fallen Kingdom here, the one that I initially just posted on Letterboxd, so, for the sake of completionism, here it is:

While Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn't quite (in the immortal words of Ian Malcolm) "a big pile of shit", it isn't far off from that either, as it's defined more by its plethora of missed opportunities than what little it gets right, and it just ends up being a rather lazy, unnecessary bit of schlock in the end. When it's not desperately squeezing in references to and recycling elements from previous films, such as a first half that's basically just The Lost World if it had a volcano going off, another ridiculous raptor-Rex hybrid to further hammer home the tired, half-hearted point these films make about how man shouldn't be playing God and whatnot, or another old, dino-cloning man with a fossilized mosquito cane who's supposed to be John Hammond's old business partner (who just so happened to have never been mentioned before), what few new ideas Fallen Kingdom brings to the dino-table get very short shrift in favor of squeezing in more dull "RAWR DINOSAWR" attacks, particularly with a laughably small-scale finale that concludes with a final minute teasing an inevitable sequel that should've just served as the plot to this entry, so much spinning of the franchise wheels FK does.

And, while this does have the occasional memorable moment or image, such an impressive bit of cinematography that sees the camera invert itself to follow a dinosaur down the side of a mansion, the haunting silhouette of a Brontosaurus being enveloped in smoke, or a particularly impressive, minute-long single take that takes place entirely within a slowly sinking vehicle, there's apparently only so much terror/wonder you can squeeze out of the concept of existence of dinosaurs in the modern world for the fifth time running. A speech from a just-here-for-a-quick-paycheck Jeff Goldblum about humanity never seems to learn its lesson about recreating dinos feels like a meta-commentary about the tiredness of the overall franchise, and makes me thing that it's past time for this series to go extinct for a while, to be honest.
Anyway, as for MKS's point about Bayona's direction of the film, in retrosopect, I see that Fallen Kingdom had a few more notable moments than I initially remembered (and certainly more than the original World did), but I definitely can't agree that he directed the hell out of it on the whole; more like it had a few occasionally striking visuals, surrounded by a sea of mostly just-serviceable-at-best stylings (which includes most of the big escape-from-the-island sequence, which, besides the aforementioned single take, I derived almost zero tension or excitement from). Maybe it's just the fact that it was the fifth time we've seen humans running away from CGI dinos, the novelty's worn off, and there's only so many thrills you can get out of the basic premise, but I still can't help but feel with a more consistently impressive direction, Bayona could've squeezed a more engaging experience out of Kingdom. Anyway, as for DaMU's point about the film's few new concepts, I felt it also came up short in that department, like
the scene where the "paleoveterinarian" tells Dr. Wu that Blue's DNA has been contaminated as a result of the earlier blood transfusion from the T. Rex, and is now no longer fit to be cloned from. Now, I feel that that's a potentially interesting, promising new concept for the franchise, but the conversation is immediately cut short by Blue escaping right then and there, and his dirty DNA never ends up making any sort of difference in the story, so what was the point of bringing it up in the first place? Same thing goes for the film's resident Evil Capitalist and his pointless spout of exposition about Maisie being a clone (a conversation which is also immediately, pointlessly interrupted by another dino attack), another half-assed concept which is mostly just there to justify the girl stupidly releasing the monsters at the end "because they're like her", and the same thing goes for the idea of multiple dinos roaming around and running amok in the open world (which should've been the entire basis of this movie in the first place), which is just a minute-long teaser for another clockwork sequel we'll inevitably get in a couple of years, which will probably also, inexplicably be another huge grosser just because it's a Jurassic movie, so again, what was the point? At least the original Jurassic World got some world-building mileage out of exploring a fully-functioning park this time, and at least waited a while before the inevitable "DINOS RAWR" shenanigans cut loose.
And that's not even mentioning all the tired other elements of the film lazily rehashed from previous entries in the franchise, including the last one, because it's been such a long time since it came out, right? Look, I don't necessarily enjoy beating down a movie that's already recieved generally negative feedback from everyone else, but also I don't want to see Hollywood continue to waste money producing lazy blockbusters like this, and I feel I should demand more out of the industry; less Fallen Kingdoms and more Logans, pretty please!

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Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:10 pm
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people will still see the Jurassic movies because if you want high-quality dino action, there's only one trusted brand. the people deserve better dino movies!


Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:34 pm
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Super Troopers 2 - 7.5/10 - If you liked the first SP then you'll like this one. That's the most no-frills way of putting it. It has to do with the original Vermont State Troopers being called back into service by the governor (played again by the still outrageously hot Linda Carter). They're assigned to oversee the transfer of a Canadian town to American territory by virtue of a redrawn map. The whole Broken Lizard troupe is back along with Brian Cox. After finding out about how, 16 years after the original came out, they got the movie crowd funded through IndieGoGo you would expect a weak or a subpar effort but this is surprisingly funny and, in many respects, superior to the original. There's a surplus of Canada vs. the U.S. jokes (most of which work) and even a shot of Rob Lowe tugging on a guy's dangling penis. I was pleasantly surprised. By the movie, not the Rob-Lowe-tugs-on-a-guy's-dangling-weenus scene.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:56 am
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Finally saw Roma this weekend and, despite the hype, I was not disappointed. I lurk at another forum where there's almost nothing but backlash against its purported Oscar bait-iness, but I think that's crazy. This is a personal film, beautifully made. I felt like a visiting cousin the whole time! I don't have much more to say, but Macrology has a great write up a few pages back:

Macrology wrote:
Every facet of Mexican culture -- its films and television, its music and street culture, the sweep of its politics and its economic disparities -- falls seamlessly into Cuarón's assured mise-en-scène, which lavishes care on these period details without making them precious.
Yep!

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My only real qualm is that Cleo is a little too much the Neo-realist saint.
Considering her story is entwined with a child's memories, I think a little idolizing is allowed.

Quote:
His signature pans are in full force, but here they are more subtle and searching; one gets the sense of someone slowly turning their head, a gesture that's both casual and inquisitive.
Yes! So well put.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:48 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Finally saw Roma this weekend and, despite the hype, I was not disappointed. I lurk at another forum where there's almost nothing but backlash against its purported Oscar bait-iness, but I think that's crazy. This is a personal film, beautifully made. I felt like a visiting cousin the whole time! I don't have much more to say, but Macrology has a great write up a few pages back:

Yep!

A couple more points:
Considering her story is entwined with a child's memories, I think a little idolizing is allowed.

Yes! So well put.

Pretty much. If you grew up in Latino culture and know Spanish this movie speaks VOLUMES. There were just so many small little scenes that took me back to my childhood. I didn't spend much time in Mexico but man what I remember it just like what he captured. Also Cuaron's camera work was great. I thought he would have suffered not having Chivo to lense it but seems he learned a lot from him. Cuaron described it as a Ghost moving through the memories if I'm correct. That ending destroyed me. Well the lead up to the ending and the ending itself. :(


Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:52 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Finally saw Roma this weekend and, despite the hype, I was not disappointed. I lurk at another forum where there's almost nothing but backlash against its purported Oscar bait-iness, but I think that's crazy. This is a personal film, beautifully made. I felt like a visiting cousin the whole time! I don't have much more to say, but Macrology has a great write up a few pages back:

Yep!

A couple more points:
Considering her story is entwined with a child's memories, I think a little idolizing is allowed.

Yes! So well put.


Thanks! Glad you liked the post. (My qualm with the character of Cleo was a pretty minor one. More a quibble than a qualm, I suppose.)

Calling this Oscar-bait seems reactionary to me. It has some of the trappings -- after all, it's about travails of an ethnic minority who ultimately inspires a family -- but one of the things I admire about the film is how it so gracefully avoids all the usual pitfalls and cliches. The visual style and pace are radically different from standard Oscar-bait. It lavishes painstaking attention on the cultural milieu, on issues of class. Above all, it's a work of real earnestness, imbued with personal insight; I never felt like it was pandering.

That's really one of the admirable things about this, and I mentioned it in my initial post: this is the perfect foreign film exactly because it can reach a broad audience without sacrificing its artistic authority.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:02 am
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Ace wrote:
That ending destroyed me. Well the lead up to the ending and the ending itself. :(
Yeah, I found it powerful as well.

Macrology wrote:
Above all, it's a work of real earnestness, imbued with personal insight; I never felt like it was pandering.
Oh, definitely. The child's point of view balances the class perspective, and neither one gets cloying. I'd call it clever, but I think your word "earnestness" is the key.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:15 am
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Annihilation was good, but I wanted something more from it. It had some great moments and dynamics that I loved in films like The Thing and Predator. I had mixed feelings about the flashbacks and didn't feel like the depth they added was worth the screen time. I do applaud it for some memorable gore, creature design, and for maintaining certain haunting ambiguities.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:00 am
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Yeah, I did find the flashbacks a little shallow and at odds with the more oblique storytelling of the rest of the movie. It's still one of my favourites from last year, because the things it does well more than make up for its weaknesses for me.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:53 am
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Perfect Blue was rather great. Like an Argento/Lynch collaboration turned animation. It wasn't as similar to Black Swan as I'd feared and I'm still able to love both, though BS was clearly influenced by this film. Happy to finally see it.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:46 pm
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The flashbacks make it seem a bit confusing. Because were not trusting her character as a reliable narrator. So what can you trust? That's not to say I didn't like the whole movie as a whole. I loved it. I was just pondering that. But I believe Garland has more sense than that and the flashbacks are real and everything before entering the shimmer happened. Anything after can be disputed.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:57 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Perfect Blue was rather great. Like an Argento/Lynch collaboration turned animation. It wasn't as similar to Black Swan as I'd feared and I'm still able to love both, though BS was clearly influenced by this film. Happy to finally see it.

I been lookin' to watch that for a long time but have never found it streaming.


Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:42 pm
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Rock wrote:
Yeah, I did find the flashbacks a little shallow and at odds with the more oblique storytelling of the rest of the movie. It's still one of my favourites from last year, because the things it does well more than make up for its weaknesses for me.


I don't remember being that bothered by the flashbacks, but then again, I'm still puzzling over a lot of things in my mind. I've been meaning to rewatch it, trying to find a spot within my schedule.

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Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:46 pm
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Okay, after two trailers and a whatever-that-was-last-night Captain Marvel isn't looking any better.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:44 am
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Wooley wrote:
I been lookin' to watch that for a long time but have never found it streaming.

A region 1 release is slated on Blu-ray for later this year. I got the region 2 Blu for Christmas. Region free players are amazing.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:16 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
A region 1 release is slated on Blu-ray for later this year. I got the region 2 Blu for Christmas. Region free players are amazing.


Correction: essential.

Perfect Blue is great. Probably my favorite Kon.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:21 am
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Mary Queen of Scots is your average Oscar bait costume drama in execution, but it has its strengths (namely, Saoirse Ronan, the production values, and Max Richter’s score, which has some Philip Glass vibes at certain points).


Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:11 am
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Den of Thieves - 4.5/10 - This borrows so heavily from so many other heist and cops-worse-than-the-bad-guys films that you could pass the time trying to remember all the movies it's ripping off. First and foremost is Heat with stuff like Training Day, Street Kings, Sabotage and Triple 9 in the mix as well. Up until the last few minutes of the movie I was thinking, "Fuck everything about this flick." These movies all seem to have at least one thing in common. They all seem to write the females characters as either long suffering wives or bimbos. You know the cops are badasses because they sport neck tattoos, same as the crooks. And there were numerous plot holes you could drive an armored truck through. But then they also throw in a Usual Suspects ending that doesn't work any better than the rest of the movie. But at least it quelled the frustration I was feeling having the walking cliche and dumbass macho cop Gerard Butler played from winning it all. Maybe it does deserve a "fuck everything about this movie rating"


Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:51 am
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Charles Longboat Jr. wrote:
Mary Queen of Scots is your average Oscar bait costume drama in execution, but it has its strengths (namely, Saoirse Ronan, the production values, and Max Richter’s score, which has some Philip Glass vibes at certain points).
I was also fond of David Tennant's (bearded) speechifying. I guess John Knox was the Sean Hannity of his day.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:54 am
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Macrology wrote:

Correction: essential.

Perfect Blue is great. Probably my favorite Kon.

Region free players have caused my Arrow collection to explode. Especially when they hold those sales where I can get some for less than $10.

I've only seen PB and Tokyo Godfathers. That one was the right kind of sentimental and emotional so I find them very hard to compare. PB is more likely to get rewatched though, as I'm drawn to the surreal and thriller elements. I'll probably nab Paprika next.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:20 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Region free players have caused my Arrow collection to explode. Especially when they hold those sales where I can get some for less than $10.

I've only seen PB and Tokyo Godfathers. That one was the right kind of sentimental and emotional so I find them very hard to compare. PB is more likely to get rewatched though, as I'm drawn to the surreal and thriller elements. I'll probably nab Paprika next.


Thanks to you mentioning the Arrow sale I bought The Legend of the Holy Drinker and two Walerian Borowczyk discs (Blanche and his collected shorts/animations). Even though I still haven't watched the Mohsen Makhmalbaf trilogy, Female Prisoner Scorpion set, Yoshida collection, and Franju film I bought in November. Christ.

Paprika is good -- far more similar to Perfect Blue than Tokyo Godfathers. I watched a video essay about it a couple months ago that I liked (Every Frame a Painting also has a good one on it).

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:35 am
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Macrology wrote:

Thanks to you mentioning the Arrow sale I bought The Legend of the Holy Drinker and two Walerian Borowczyk discs (Blanche and his collected shorts/animations). Even though I still haven't watched the Mohsen Makhmalbaf trilogy, Female Prisoner Scorpion set, Yoshida collection, and Franju film I bought in November. Christ.

Paprika is good -- far more similar to Perfect Blue than Tokyo Godfathers. I watched a video essay about it a couple months ago that I liked (Every Frame a Painting also has a good one on it).


Excellent! Spread that Arrow love! It was going on for a bizarrely long time so I ordered a bunch, spread out over weaks:

Case of the Scorpion's Tail
Detective Bureau
Tomb of Ligeia
Bloodstained Butterfly

And some "Shameless" copies:

Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh
Cannibal Holocaust
Getting Any?

I recently binged the Female Prisoner set. I really dug the entire series a lot. It's certainly one of the most unique series I've ever seen. Is the Franju flick "Spotlight on a Murderer?" I got that one but haven't dove in yet.

I feel like I'm the only one that doesn't care for Every Frame. It was the Chan video that started my distaste as I felt like Zhou made a bunch of platitudes and his insight was mainly warmed over Bordwell without the level of knowledge or precision. His penchant for making superlatives that he would later contradict gave me an eye twitch. "David Fincher never uses shaky cam." One minute later "When Fincher uses shaky cam, like in the finale of Seven..."

Bah humbug! I'm probably just jealous.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:46 am
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I can get behind that criticism, although I'd say expecting Bordwell-level analysis from a video essay is a pretty high demand. He's not my favorite video essay maker, but he's one of the most accessible and his stuff (while he was making) was some of the best intro-level film insight out there. From what I recall, his Paprika piece is one of the better ones.

The other one I was thinking of is by Grace Lee of What's So Great About That? I believe Stu turned me onto her, through her Adventure Time piece. She's a far cry from Bordwell/Zhou, with a more academic stance, frequently quoting critics and people like Baudrillard (though she never gets bogged down in semantics or navel-gazing), and the breadth of subjects she touches on is refreshing.

Edit: And the Franju is Spotlight on a Murderer. I hear it's pretty minor, but I love everything he does, so I'm still stoked for a light romp in Franju territory.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:53 am
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Macrology wrote:
I can get behind that criticism, although I'd say expecting Bordwell-level analysis from a video essay is a pretty high demand. He's not my favorite video essay maker, but he's one of the most accessible and his stuff (while he was making) was some of the best intro-level film insight out there. From what I recall, his Paprika piece is one of the better ones.

The other one I was thinking of is by Grace Lee of What's So Great About That? I believe Stu turned me onto her, through her Adventure Time piece. She's a far cry from Bordwell/Zhou, with a more academic stance, frequently quoting critics and people like Baudrillard (though she never gets bogged down in semantics or navel-gazing), and the breadth of subjects she touches on is refreshing.

Edit: And the Franju is Spotlight on a Murderer. I hear it's pretty minor, but I love everything he does, so I'm still stoked for a light romp in Franju territory.

It's not so much that I was expecting Bordwell level but that he would paraphrase Bordwell, never cite the man, then would say one of his superlatives that is simply untrue. "Jackie Chan never moved his camera." I'll check his Paprika video when I finally get around to it.

I'm unfamiliar with Grace Lee but if she's quoting her concepts and sources rather than passing them off as seemingly original thought, I already like her more than Zhou.

I got it just on the name of Franju and that gorgeous cover art. The only Franju I've seen is Eyes Without A Face and I loved it (almost on par with the Billy Idol song). I need to check Judex out but haven't found a reasonably priced copy.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:00 am
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Ace wrote:
The flashbacks make it seem a bit confusing. Because were not trusting her character as a reliable narrator. So what can you trust? That's not to say I didn't like the whole movie as a whole. I loved it. I was just pondering that. But I believe Garland has more sense than that and the flashbacks are real and everything before entering the shimmer happened. Anything after can be disputed.


My issue with the flashbacks was simply that I didn't feel that they added much, and I felt like they sapped energy and tension away every time we cut from what was happening in the swamp.

For example, the fact that
she's having an affair, and maybe him knowing/sensing that is why he goes on the dangerous mission. That's relevant to the plot, but I felt like I didn't need the scene with her and the guy she was sleeping with. I actually preferred when it was more ambiguous with Jennifer Jason Lee's comment about how sometimes we self-destruct the happy marriage.


I mean, really it was that I got annoyed any time they cut away from the main action. I'm fine with horror/sci-fi building character background, but it was really striking to me how much more successful Arrival was at layering in those personal moments.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:38 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Annihilation was good, but I wanted something more from it. It had some great moments and dynamics that I loved in films like The Thing and Predator. I had mixed feelings about the flashbacks and didn't feel like the depth they added was worth the screen time. I do applaud it for some memorable gore, creature design, and for maintaining certain haunting ambiguities.


II came out initially feeling the way you do right now, re: the flashbacks, but the more it's settled in my mind, the more I like it. That's not to excuse certain weird bits of plot (I think MKS and I discussed some basic survival errors the women shouldn't've made) or other underwhelming elements (I'm still kinda stunned Portman said the line, "We're having an affair"), but what I like about it has grown in my mind. The production/art design, the soundtrack, the questions it's asking, how it's melding together its ideas of psychological and biological self-destruction / transformation. The notion of trauma as something that forces a "new person" to emerge. I'd really like to watch it again soon.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:13 am
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DaMU wrote:

II came out initially feeling the way you do right now, re: the flashbacks, but the more it's settled in my mind, the more I like it. That's not to excuse certain weird bits of plot (I think MKS and I discussed some basic survival errors the women shouldn't've made) or other underwhelming elements (I'm still kinda stunned Portman said the line, "We're having an affair"), but what I like about it has grown in my mind. The production/art design, the soundtrack, the questions it's asking, how it's melding together its ideas of psychological and biological self-destruction / transformation. The notion of trauma as something that forces a "new person" to emerge. I'd really like to watch it again soon.


The thing is, the film really grew on me starting after about the first third. And as I got more and more involved with what was happening in the "now," I got more and more annoyed every time it went to a flashback. Two of them went on way too long and were just too on the nose. I didn't mind the quick ones like the super-brief moment where they are both on the couch and he says, "Hey," and that's it.

I also really liked some of the questions it was asking about identity, self, and evolution/transformation. One of my favorite things was the recurring question of
"What does it want?" and Portman's eventual, exhausted answer of "I don't think it wanted anything."
.

I also appreciated the way that the film was able to weave ambiguity into its most horrific moments, like the question of
whether the "bear" was mimicking the dead woman, or if some part of her mind was actually now a part of the bear. Or the way that Josie says that she wants neither to face nor to fight whatever it was before simply disappearing. But those moments of nuance only set into relief the on-the-nose conversations of the flashbacks.


It's almost like the flashbacks were written by a different, worse writer. I mean, I actually cringed at "F*ck me!" "OKAY!".


Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:36 am
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DaMU wrote:

II came out initially feeling the way you do right now, re: the flashbacks, but the more it's settled in my mind, the more I like it. That's not to excuse certain weird bits of plot (I think MKS and I discussed some basic survival errors the women shouldn't've made) or other underwhelming elements (I'm still kinda stunned Portman said the line, "We're having an affair"), but what I like about it has grown in my mind. The production/art design, the soundtrack, the questions it's asking, how it's melding together its ideas of psychological and biological self-destruction / transformation. The notion of trauma as something that forces a "new person" to emerge. I'd really like to watch it again soon.

Twas I indeed (worst security post ever) but I too came to like it more on rewatches and the distaste for elements lifted.

However, Gina Rodriguez saying "Ive got hella footage" might be the worst line ever written.

I was convinced she must have meant some drone footage and was saying "heli-footage." I was willing to take a logic gap of her either having previously used a helicopter or drone to take footage or even worse, having used said drone in the shimmer over her having actually said "hella footage" like a soccer mom trying to seem hip.

But she did say hella footage. And I have to live with that. And be changed by it.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:40 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Twas I indeed (worst security post ever) but I too came to like it more on rewatches and the distaste for elements lifted.

However, Gina Rodriguez saying "Ive got hella footage" might be the worst line ever written.

I was convinced she must have meant some drone footage and was saying "heli-footage." I was willing to take a logic gap of her either having previously used a helicopter or drone to take footage or even worse, having used said drone in the shimmer over her having actually said "hella footage" like a soccer mom trying to seem hip.

But she did say hella footage. And I have to live with that. And be changed by it.


It's not just the radio waves.
Even our sense of how a human woman speaks is being refracted. It's inside us--it's inside our dialogue. You can face the fact that she said it, you can fight the fact that she said it. I think I don't want to do either of those things. (I've chosen to repress it!).


Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:48 am
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I saw this film early last year, probably January, and ever since, it has stayed in the back of my mind. That's usually a good sign. I feel like I need a rewatch to discuss it more deeply, but I agree with what DAMU said about how the film presents its themes of "psychological and biological self-destruction / transformation." Plus it was visually stunning.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:51 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

It's not just the radio waves.
Even our sense of how a human woman speaks is being refracted. It's inside us--it's inside our dialogue. You can face the fact that she said it, you can fight the fact that she said it. I think I don't want to do either of those things. (I've chosen to repress it!).


But what did her dialogue want?!?


Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:19 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:

But what did her dialogue want?!?


It was just
mirroring me. I am not a professional screenwriter, and so it presented itself as if not written by a professional screenwriter. I don't think that it wanted anything.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:27 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

It was just
mirroring me. I am not a professional screenwriter, and so it presented itself as if not written by a professional screenwriter. I don't think that it wanted anything.


The dialogue didn’t destroy anything.

It made something new.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:03 pm
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Judex is great, and Blood of the Beasts is one of my favorite shorts, if you haven't seen that (not for those with a weak stomach though). Nuits Rouges is also fun but nearly as good as Judex. The only other film I've seen is Head Against the Wall, which I can't remember all that well even though I own a copy. It's more of a straightforward drama than the other films I've seen.

Edit: I was going to recommend the Masters of Cinema Judex because it includes Nuits Rouges, but the Criterion version has two of his shorts, Hôtel des Invalides and Le grand Méliès. So I guess that's kind of a toss up. (Although Nuits Rouges is arguably a more suitable companion piece, since it's another Feuillade homage.)

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:47 pm
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Did anyone here watch Sweet Country? I don’t know if I’m crazy or if my tastes have regressed, but it might be the worst release of 2018 I’ve watched thus far. It’s an utter chore to watch, has no respect for its audience’s intelligence, and has insultingly one dimensional characters. The most I can say is that the Australian landscape looks nice and the lead actor, Hamilton Morris, is decent in his one big scene towards the end. This is the type of arthouse watch that the average person would deride as pretentious drivel for elitist prudes without having seen it, but this film deserves it in this case.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:09 pm
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The Swimmer -9/10

Thanks, Janson.

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Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:20 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
It's almost like the flashbacks were written by a different, worse writer. I mean, I actually cringed at "F*ck me!" "OKAY!".


I've noticed that writers who started out writing books write weird dialogue, just about everything that doesn't come out of an actors mouth is expertly written. Gillian Flynn also come to mind.


Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:43 pm
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