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 Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0 
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I saw Diabolique fairly recently, but I thought it was really great. The reason this movie works so well is because it's slow and drawn out. It makes it feel like Christina is stuck in a never ending nightmare. I felt her distress throughout the picture, and this constant slow-burning tension is part of what makes the climax so terrifying. I initially wasn't sure what to make of the ending, because I thought the film went a bit overboard, but considering that the film feels like a never ending nightmare, I'll say that the ending is more than fitting as it seems like a microcosm of what made the film preceding it so great. As for the Vertigo connection, I think this film is different in the way that it used its pacing to create tension. Although, I consider both to be great films.

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Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:14 am
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One of the things I loved about Les Diaboliques is how it juxtaposed the two characters of Christina and Nicole...

Two women in love with the same man, the first one as a woman who thinks she's smarter than what she is and ends up getting way over her head, and the second one who pretends to be less than what she is and ends up getting the upper hand, at least for a while.

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Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:53 am
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Reviews of The Workshop, Derren Brown's Sacrifice, and Dark Money are forthcoming.

For November, I plan on tackling a few films starting with Oscar winner The Shape of Water. Also will take out stragglers Coraline and The Vault.

Thanks to Thief's November challenge, other titles will present itself.

Moonlight: Movie written by African American, No CGI/Special Effects
Chennai Express: Road Trip film, Bollywood film
Hector and the Search for Happiness: British film
I Love You (2016): Swedish film
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013): Palm D'or winner
Desierto (2015): Spanish Language Film
Ghostbusters (2016): Film with SNL alum, past or present
Monster Trucks (2016): Box office bomb
The Philadelphia Story (1940): Film that lost Best Picture in the 1940s
Barbecue (2017): Film about Food
Eight Men Out (1988): Period Drama
The Apology (2016): Film directed by woman
Black River (1957): Kobayashi Masaki film
An American in Paris (2018): Film based on play (it's based on the Broadway show)

No idea what I'll do for films/miniseries over 4 hours and/or 1950s Best Picture winner.

And also, if you have suggestions, feel free to chime in. Keep in mind that I have Netflix and Amazon Prime currently.


Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:35 am
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The Workshop (2018):

Basically it's about this guy named Antoine (Matthieu Lucci) who joins several other diverse youths in this writing workshop run by thriller author Olivia (Marina Fois) where they attempt to collaborate on a thriller novel that may well get published. He may also be influenced by his cousin who is part of a right wing movement. Antoine's behavior intrigues Olivia who realizes that maybe her writing for teens could use some color, some life. But at the same time, she's also disturbed by his words, his language.

I was wrongly sold on this as being a thriller, which outside of one sequence towards the end, it's not. It's more of a character study as Antoine isn't really so far different from typical teens (he takes chances, he worries about his body, he sometimes acts out to provocate). It helps that both Lucci and Fois are both magnetic personalities that draw you into the film. And director Laurent Canet doesn't shy away from the hurt caused by his words (often aimed at several Muslim characters), nor does his forget to give depth to the other characters of the workshop.

But if anything, I think there was a bit of hand waving going on with Antoine as well. He never seems to fully suffer the consequences of his actions, particularly in that one sequence towards the end. The finale doesn't quite seem earned.

On the plus side, I think my 2018 films have a new current leader. But will it last?

Spoiler alert: No, it doesn't.

NEXT: Oh, look. It's that psychological magician that talks too much again!


Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:25 am
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Derren Brown: Sacrifice

Basically, British illusionist/mentalist decides to create a hero out of Phil, a Florida construction worker who believes immigrants are creating problems for our country. In other words, he's practically a Trump voter in the flesh right down to the tattoos.

But by making this a TV show about a medical experiment for British TV, Brown convinces Phil to implant him with a chip in the back of his neck and gives him an app with a distinctive sound. After a while passes, he decides to test Phil on various things. Ultimately, this thing is about taking a bullet for a Mexican immigrant who is part of a giant version of Joe Schmoe with Phil in the lead role.

With some others, I do question some of the ethics of this psychological experiment. It's not so much a horrible thing to affect change, but some of the methods he uses are questionable such as the whole thing with the biker bar. It does feel like he's more interested in taking charge than in having Phil improve.

But unlike The Devil and Father Amorth: There's Fakery Afoot!, he takes pains to reveal that everything is happening as it happened. A powerful moment comes when he finds out what his DNA consists of. And it's followed by another one where he sits face to face with someone he's admitted having problems with. The feeling he has comes across as genuine.

But how can we become immersed in Brown's scenario when he feels like he has to explain everything to death? It's a bit less problematic than his previous special The Push which played more like The Game which kept getting interrupted every few minutes by Brown who feels like explaining something else. Oh, and the final points he makes feel like he's lecturing us. I don't think you've earned that right, considering you're playing around with psychology enough to make Dr. Zimbardo nervous.

Passable fare, but could have been more.

NEXT: The truth about politics and money, revealed. Or why I should wish to live in Montana instead of Kentucky?


Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:26 am
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Dark Money:

One hundred years after the rural state of Montana dealt with corruption in their state, the threat of dark money from outside interests threaten to do that again. Even though their toughest in the nation against campaign funding corruption was sank alongside Citizens United, the citizens in this state refuse to give up. A reporter named John Adams starts investigating one of these groups known as the American Tradition Partnership which ultimately leads to him catching a politician who is willing to do and say what these special interests will tell him what to do. Meanwhile the newly elected Montana Attorney General wants to come up with a new law with teeth to shine a light on who's behind the dark money.

Fascinating tale of how politics have been corrupted by corporations and what it might take in order to stop this from happening. This documentary argues that it's going to have to be states that step up; one allegation made is that Congressmen are already under their control. One frightening thing is the frustration felt by a member of the Federal Election Commission as she sees the three Republicans form a voting bloc which keeps it from doing anything.

It also works as a case study of how far a reporter will go to get to the truth, even as it costs him. One scene towards the end has him in tears as he thanks other reporters for being there during a trial.

It may have left PBS's website, but see this film please whether it's Kanopy or other sources. It's clear, pulls no punches, and manages to be somewhat uplifting and somewhat depressing at the same time.

NEXT: A 1951 movie musical becomes a 2010s Broadway musical.


Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:08 am
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Coming up this week are reviews of:

An American in Paris: The Musical (2018)
The Shape of Water (2017)
Coraline (2009)
The Vault (2017)
Take Me to the River (2016)
Wildland (2018)


Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:33 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Coming up this week are reviews of:

An American in Paris: The Musical (2018)
The Shape of Water (2017)
Coraline (2009)
The Vault (2017)
Take Me to the River (2016)
Wildland (2018)


Ooh, Coraline is a treat, not only visually, but story-wise.

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Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:57 am
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Thief wrote:

Ooh, Coraline is a treat, not only visually, but story-wise.


Coraline and The Vault are both leftovers from last month that I started in October and didn't get finished until November.

Really wanted to see Take Me to the River before it expired and it appears that won't be the only Netflix film seen this month for that reason (Girlhood).

I got two films battling for the best of November and one that easily has the worst sewn up (if I don't get to a certain film by the end of the month).


Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:53 am
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