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 Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0 
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Jinnistan wrote:
These noobs.


Anything to add?


Wed May 16, 2018 5:36 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Anything to add?

I hope you finally finished it.


Wed May 16, 2018 8:05 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I hope you finally finished it.


I have!

Metropolis (1927):

Science Fiction Film
Top 250 in IMDb
Over 95% in the Tomatometer


Film is both visually superb (I think I see both Dark City and Fifth Elements in some of the scenes) and dramatically potent.

Essentially, Freder who is the son of the town's master finds himself drawn to rebel leader Maria and in his quest to get to know her better, finds himself learning about the plight of the workers who live down below. When his father more or less dismisses him, he decides to work one of the machines and joins a meeting where Maria reveals the story of the Tower of Babel and tries to look for a mediator.

Meanwhile, town master Joh starts to converse with town inventor Rotwang about a new invention he has. But he doesn't know that Rotwang might have a secret agenda that could affect everyone involved.

This is probably the best silent film I've seen and deserves every bit of the hype. It's probably a lock for my top 25 films of all time.

Grade: A+


Wed May 16, 2018 10:08 am
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Metropolis is a great example of how interpretive a film's meaning is, as Lang intended it to be a harsh criticism of the rise of mob mentality that led to Nazism only to discover that Hitler and Goebbels loved it to the point that they offered to make him an honorary Aryan and head director of propaganda.


Wed May 16, 2018 10:16 am
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And Metropolis' writer, Lang's wife Thea Von Harbou, was later a legitimate Nazi.

I've never accused Nazis for having intellectual consistency.


Wed May 16, 2018 10:51 am
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Fun Fact: The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has, since 1997, been recommending important cultural works and documents for preservation under its Memory of the World project. Metropolis was accepted as the first film to qualify in 2001. Here's a list of a few things that were only accepted after Metropolis:

Nikola Tesla's archive
The collected works of Brahms
The Lumiere films
The Phoenician alphabet
Ingmar Bergman's archives
The Alfred Nobel Family archives
The Treaty of Tordesillas
Diaries of Anne Frank
The League of Nations archives
The Magna Carta
Song of the Nibelungs
Dutch West India Company archives
The Churchill Papers
Documents of the Nanjing Massacre
The papers of Sir Isaac Newton
Louis Pasteur's archive
Sir Edmund Hillary's archive
Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander

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Wed May 16, 2018 11:13 am
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Metropolis is a great example of how interpretive a film's meaning is, as Lang intended it to be a harsh criticism of the rise of mob mentality that led to Nazism only to discover that Hitler and Goebbels loved it to the point that they offered to make him an honorary Aryan and head director of propaganda.


Yeah, it was pretty scathing in its attacks on populism:

How the revolt led to flooding in the streets and nearly the loss of their own children. And how "Maria" nearly got burned alive by the angry mob.


Wed May 16, 2018 11:19 am
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BL wrote:
Fun Fact: The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has, since 1997, been recommending important cultural works and documents for preservation under its Memory of the World project. Metropolis was accepted as the first film to qualify in 2001. Here's a list of a few things that were only accepted after Metropolis:

Nikola Tesla's archive
The collected works of Brahms
The Lumiere films
The Phoenician alphabet
Ingmar Bergman's archives
The Alfred Nobel Family archives
The Treaty of Tordesillas
Diaries of Anne Frank
The League of Nations archives
The Magna Carta
Song of the Nibelungs
Dutch West India Company archives
The Churchill Papers
Documents of the Nanjing Massacre
The papers of Sir Isaac Newton
Louis Pasteur's archive
Sir Edmund Hillary's archive
Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander

Nice.
Good share.


Thu May 17, 2018 1:22 am
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BL wrote:
Fun Fact: The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has, since 1997, been recommending important cultural works and documents for preservation under its Memory of the World project. Metropolis was accepted as the first film to qualify in 2001. Here's a list of a few things that were only accepted after Metropolis:

Nikola Tesla's archive
The collected works of Brahms

The Lumiere films
The Phoenician alphabet
Ingmar Bergman's archives
The Alfred Nobel Family archives
The Treaty of Tordesillas
Diaries of Anne Frank
The League of Nations archives
The Magna Carta
Song of the Nibelungs
Dutch West India Company archives
The Churchill Papers
Documents of the Nanjing Massacre
The papers of Sir Isaac Newton

Louis Pasteur's archive
Sir Edmund Hillary's archive
Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander


:shock: :shock:


Fri May 18, 2018 5:18 am
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My plans for the rest of this week and weekend:

Finish The Sadist (1960s film)

Complete:
Moonlight (drama)
Bringing Up Baby (B&W film, Comedy made before 1970)
The Imitation Game (Period film, Based on Book, British film, Best Picture loser)
Ghostbusters (SNL actress)
Memories of Murder (NC-17, Korean)

Which should get me most of the way there for May.


Fri May 18, 2018 5:27 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Memories of Murder (NC-17, Korean).


Woo! Love this one.


Fri May 18, 2018 7:33 am
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Hurry up and finish Moonlight. It's just one of the best films in recent years.


Fri May 18, 2018 7:49 am
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ski petrol wrote:
Hurry up and finish Moonlight. It's just one of the best films in recent years.


It will probably be on Saturday. I'm looking at knocking out Sadist and possibly one more before Bringing Up Baby that night.

Got all day Saturday to knock out Moonlight and probably Ghostbusters.


Fri May 18, 2018 10:56 am
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Well, my attempts to take out Sadist failed. But you know what didn't fail?

Bringing Up Baby

A Black and White Film; A Comedy made before 1970

On the evening before he's to wed stuffed shirt Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker), fossil expert Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) finds himself in quite the pickle while trying to win the favor of a mysterious donor's lawyer (George Irving). Thanks to efforts by Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn), he not only fails to impress the lawyer but also finds himself in embarrassing situations that threaten his attempts to win a million dollar grant for his museum.

The next day, his efforts are further scalded by a leopard named Baby, a sudden trip to Connecticut, more embarrassing meetings with influential people, a pesky dog, and a stolen car. But something strange is starting to happen to her; will he feel the same way?

Some big belly laughs as a fast pace and good chemistry from Grant and Hepburn carry the day. It's notable that unlike It Happened One Night, Baby treats Susan as an equal and not a hero's glorified accessory.

One scene involving a frilly bathroom is a bit questionable and you don't understand why David is on the verge of marrying Alice.

But still, it's worth about 3.5 leopards out of 4.

NOTE: The dog George is actually played by Asta of both The Thin Man series and The Awful Truth.

Next: Working on finishing up an Arch Hall Jr. picture.


Sun May 20, 2018 5:26 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Well, my attempts to take out Sadist failed. But you know what didn't fail?

Bringing Up Baby

A Black and White Film; A Comedy made before 1970

On the evening before he's to wed stuffed shirt Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker), fossil expert Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant) finds himself in quite the pickle while trying to win the favor of a mysterious donor's lawyer (George Irving). Thanks to efforts by Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn), he not only fails to impress the lawyer but also finds himself in embarrassing situations that threaten his attempts to win a million dollar grant for his museum.

The next day, his efforts are further scalded by a leopard named Baby, a sudden trip to Connecticut, more embarrassing meetings with influential people, a pesky dog, and a stolen car. But something strange is starting to happen to her; will he feel the same way?

Some big belly laughs as a fast pace and good chemistry from Grant and Hepburn carry the day. It's notable that unlike It Happened One Night, Baby treats Susan as an equal and not a hero's glorified accessory.

One scene involving a frilly bathroom is a bit questionable and you don't understand why David is on the verge of marrying Alice.

But still, it's worth about 3.5 leopards out of 4.

NOTE: The dog George is actually played by Asta of both The Thin Man series and The Awful Truth.

Yeah, this is a favorite.


Sun May 20, 2018 12:44 pm
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Reviews to come:

Thief's collection:
The Sadist
Food on the Go
The Angry Birds Movie
The Imitation Game

Not in official competition:
Singing in the Rain

Will tackle these on Sunday.


Mon May 28, 2018 3:26 am
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List of upcoming attractions:

Jurassic World (Here early so that I can partake of that film tonight at home)
Moonlight (Yeah, that sounds like a bad joke at this point. But I will see it soon)
High Society (PBS is on a bit of a musical kick right now)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Apparently, a fav of Leonard Maltin)
Acorn and the Firestorm (Mainly so I can get a chance at a second film of 2018)
Lady Bird (First Best Picture nominee of 2017 that I'll see)

We'll see how bad Thief's list will change this, but I'm intent on seeing these unless I hear objections.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:05 am
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The Sadist

In sports, one of the common sayings that you'll hear a lot is that if this game was played on paper, then we're either a) looking at a close game where one team's talent will prevail or b) looking at a mismatch.

Well, on paper, this should have been a disaster. A B-thriller about a pair of thrill killers, one of whom is played by the infamous Arch Hall Jr., whose attempt to replicate Elvis on film has been nothing short of disastrous. The other is played by Marilyn Manning which was in the middle of a three film career (First one? Yep, Eegah, where she played Hall Jr.'s girlfriend and protagonist). The three teachers who set up the plot? Don Russell makes his debut, the first of two films he appeared in (The other? The Incredibly Strange Creatures). Helen Hovey made her first and only film with this (oh, and she's related to Arch Hall Jr.). Richard Alden was only on his fourth film with The Sadist, but at least he appears to have a career ahead of him. Director James Landis had directed two B or even C level pictures before this with no-name casts (and after this, would also be responsible for The Nasty Rabbit and Deadwood '76).

Yeah, but that's why you watch the movie, you say. And wouldn't you know it, The Sadist works!

A claustrophobic thriller that plays mostly smart, but mean and nasty as an independent film would, The Sadist showcases that Arch Hall Jr. was miscast mainly as a lead actor and his career might have gone a different direction. That walk and laugh are mostly effective and never really got on my nerves.

It's also aided by decisions made by both groups that make sense and a tight run time. Because it was an independent production, it doesn't flinch from the violence. The teachers remain likable which adds to the atmosphere as you're rooting for them to succeed and get back out alive.

Some of the writing is on the nose. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked Judy and Charlie if they had a heart/soul, I'd be able to splurge on the blu-ray. And the ending comes across as being a bit random.

But mostly well acted and shot, The Sadist wasn't half bad if you got an hour and a half to kill.

NEXT: Italian Food served adequately.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:27 am
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Food on the Go

Decent appetizer on Italian food and how it's spread over to New York City and Buenos Aires. Thoughts on Italian food have split into two camps: the fusionists who are more than OK with adapting the culture/food over to the new countries and the traditionalists who believe that food shouldn't change a bit from the old school recipes.

It also gets into cultural identity through food and even touches on how diet in the new places could be affecting the health of the immigrants. But its scant run time of just over an hour means that you don't get any of them touched in depth.

It was alright, but I'm not sure why this ended up in theaters and not say Food Network.

NEXT: Another game brought into movie theaters? Will this one work?


Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:31 am
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The Angry Birds Movie

Of all the animated films of 2017, this is one.

Red (Jason Sudekis) is sent to anger management after a job delivering cakes fails to work out. He slowly befriends Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride) while trying to avoid his thoughts/feelings to leader Matilda (Maya Rudolph) who has her own issues, apparently.

Into Bird Island comes a few humble pigs led by Leonard (Bill Hader) seeking friendship and offering technology. But is this legitimate or a smoke screen? Seeking assistance, Red and his two friends climb up to consult Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), a heroic bird who's enamored of his own press clippings and who has let himself go. But from the top, they learn the truth.

Pluses include colorful animation, energetic voice work and some decent replications of Looney Tunes as far as wit and physical humor goes. Minuses are a thin story and the appearance that this won't appeal to youngsters as much as older kids.

Overall, it's OK. No more, no less.

Next: One review I've been dreading to write.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:08 am
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Singing in the Rain

I always fear reviewing classic films. Not because it gives me an opportunity to see a good film for the first time, but the possibility exists that I didn't fall head over heels for it.

This is one of those times.

The story? Monumental Pictures is riding high in the 1920s off of its dynamite pairing of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). Although there's nothing going on between them in real life, they get sold as a couple for publicity. Don's friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) works as the musical accompanist for Don's films.

But things hit a hitch when The Jazz Singer becomes a sensation and sound is now in. Don is fine, but Lina appears to be one of those who will be left behind to become the next Norma Desmond.

Also creating a hitch is Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), an aspiring actress working as a chorus girl or at least she did until she accidentally threw a pie in Lina's face (she was aiming for Don). But it turns out Kathy might be able to save the latest film and studio when Don and Cosmo get an idea or two.

I appreciated the physicality of the performances. O'Connor's talent for pratfalls with Make 'em Laugh leads to thrills when he starts backflipping. Kelly is equally at home with the silly stuff of Fit as a Fiddle and the serious numbers of Broadway Melody and the title sequence. And Debbie Reynolds doesn't do too badly either with her highlight being Good Morning.

But the story doesn't quite hold up to the music and dancing. Lina makes for a weak villain (maybe because they keep downplaying her; maybe because it was a variation of Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday) and I was able to predict what was going to happen in the climax well before it did. The film at times struggled to go between parody and playing it straight which didn't help. And a couple of the songs are thin.

I liked the film. But I wish I liked it more than I did.

Next: Back to 2014 for an Oscar nominee for Best Picture


Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:21 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Singing in the Rain

I always fear reviewing classic films. Not because it gives me an opportunity to see a good film for the first time, but the possibility exists that I didn't fall head over heels for it.

This is one of those times.

The story? Monumental Pictures is riding high in the 1920s off of its dynamite pairing of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). Although there's nothing going on between them in real life, they get sold as a couple for publicity. Don's friend Cosmo (Donald O'Connor) works as the musical accompanist for Don's films.

But things hit a hitch when The Jazz Singer becomes a sensation and sound is now in. Don is fine, but Lina appears to be one of those who will be left behind to become the next Norma Desmond.

Also creating a hitch is Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), an aspiring actress working as a chorus girl or at least she did until she accidentally threw a pie in Lina's face (she was aiming for Don). But it turns out Kathy might be able to save the latest film and studio when Don and Cosmo get an idea or two.

I appreciated the physicality of the performances. O'Connor's talent for pratfalls with Make 'em Laugh leads to thrills when he starts backflipping. Kelly is equally at home with the silly stuff of Fit as a Fiddle and the serious numbers of Broadway Melody and the title sequence. And Debbie Reynolds doesn't do too badly either with her highlight being Good Morning.

But the story doesn't quite hold up to the music and dancing. Lina makes for a weak villain (maybe because they keep downplaying her; maybe because it was a variation of Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday) and I was able to predict what was going to happen in the climax well before it did. The film at times struggled to go between parody and playing it straight which didn't help. And a couple of the songs are thin.

I liked the film. But I wish I liked it more than I did.

Next: Back to 2014 for an Oscar nominee for Best Picture


Hmm. I didn't have any of the problems you had, particularly with the climax; wasn't bothered that a musical from 1952 had a predictable climax, especially as we've seen 66 years of movies to come after it. I've seen the film 5 or 6 times, 2 or 3 times in a theater, and I absolutely love it and think it's one of the best musicals ever made. I think the Broadway Melody sequence, on its own, makes this film high art. That's some of the best 5 minutes or so ever committed to film.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:48 pm
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Moonlight is crying.


Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:52 pm
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ski petrol wrote:
Moonlight is crying.


I know that I've been promising to see it for months. But two bits of good news here.

One: It fits a couple of categories in Thief's monthly challenge.

Two: I've decided to make priorities of seeing Best Picture winners Moonlight and Spotlight this month. You know, to start playing catch-up with the rest of the world.


Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:22 am
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Will review Imitation Game and Jurassic World tomorrow.

Anyway, since Thief has his June list of categories now, here's my list of films that I plan on tackling. It appears that I'm catching up with some films that I hadn't gotten to until now this month.

Film with a Child Protagonist: I'm down for some Coco (2017)
Film Noir: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1945)
Film in a Country You've Never Visited: Options, options. Maybe Embrace of the Serpent (2016) or Memories of Murder (2017)?
Film with no CGI or Special Effects: Moonlight (2016)
Film about Parenthood: Voice of My Father (2012) from Turkey
Film Written by Novelist or Playwright: Got a Sophie's Choice here: Marathon Man (1976) or Godfather 2 (1974)
Film Taking Place in Britain: Love Actually (2003), The Riot Club (2014), Royal Night Out (2015) or Us and Them (2018)
Bollywood Film: Same blog that raved about Om Shanti Om seems to favor Dedh Ishqiya (2014)
Swedish Film: We Will Part (2018)
Film written by African American: Moonlight (2016)
Palm D'Or winner: Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Film About a Musician: Coco (2017)
Film with Less Than Five Major Characters: Room (2015) seems to be the call here.
Dark/Black Comedy; The King of Comedy (1983)
Horror Film: The Boy (2016)
Film Everyone's Seen But You: Jurassic World (2015) would qualify.
Film from the 1920s: Battleship Potemkin (1925) would be useful.
Italian Language Film: Probably going with Mia Madre (2016) here.
Film based on Play: High Society (1956) could work.
Film made for under $5 million: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1986) {$4.7 million}
Film from Current Year: Us and Them or We Will Part (2018)
Film famous for its twist or ending: I've heard The Boy (2016) has one or possibly both.
Film with Tomatometer above 95 percent: Coco (2017) {97%}
Film starring SNL member past or present: Ghostbusters (2016; with Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones as well as multi-time guest Melissa McCarthy)

I'm open for suggestions, outside of Jurassic World (seen it already), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Dedh Ishqiya, which are locks at this point. Also, strongly leaning towards a Coco viewing. But otherwise, if you know better options on Prime/Netflix, let me know.


Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:04 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

As a big Musical fan, may I say that Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has some absolutely amazing scenes where the combination of choreography, dance, cinematography, and design approach as good as you'll ever see. Scorsese said as much in some documentary where he was squawking about the film but I've seen it a few times, it's true.

As for other suggestions, may I offer that A film... In A Country You Never Visited (Denmark, guessing), With No CGI/Special Effects, Written By A Novelist Or Playwright, With Less Than Five Major Characters, Dark/Black Comedy, Based On A Play, Made For Less Than $5M, could all be covered by one film: Rosencrantz And Gildenstern Are Dead.

(I will suggest this in Thief's thread also.)


Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:48 pm
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Apex Predator wrote:
Will review Imitation Game and Jurassic World tomorrow.

Anyway, since Thief has his June list of categories now, here's my list of films that I plan on tackling. It appears that I'm catching up with some films that I hadn't gotten to until now this month.

Film with a Child Protagonist: I'm down for some Coco (2017)
Film Noir: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1945)
Film in a Country You've Never Visited: Options, options. Maybe Embrace of the Serpent (2016) or Memories of Murder (2017)?
Film with no CGI or Special Effects: Moonlight (2016)
Film about Parenthood: Voice of My Father (2012) from Turkey
Film Written by Novelist or Playwright: Got a Sophie's Choice here: Marathon Man (1976) or Godfather 2 (1974)
Film Taking Place in Britain: Love Actually (2003), The Riot Club (2014), Royal Night Out (2015) or Us and Them (2018)
Bollywood Film: Same blog that raved about Om Shanti Om seems to favor Dedh Ishqiya (2014)
Swedish Film: We Will Part (2018)
Film written by African American: Moonlight (2016)
Palm D'Or winner: Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Musical: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Film About a Musician: Coco (2017)
Film with Less Than Five Major Characters: Room (2015) seems to be the call here.
Dark/Black Comedy; The King of Comedy (1983)
Horror Film: The Boy (2016)
Film Everyone's Seen But You: Jurassic World (2015) would qualify.
Film from the 1920s: Battleship Potemkin (1925) would be useful.
Italian Language Film: Probably going with Mia Madre (2016) here.
Film based on Play: High Society (1956) could work.
Film made for under $5 million: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1986) {$4.7 million}
Film from Current Year: Us and Them or We Will Part (2018)
Film famous for its twist or ending: I've heard The Boy (2016) has one or possibly both.
Film with Tomatometer above 95 percent: Coco (2017) {97%}
Film starring SNL member past or present: Ghostbusters (2016; with Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones as well as multi-time guest Melissa McCarthy)

I'm open for suggestions, outside of Jurassic World (seen it already), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Dedh Ishqiya, which are locks at this point. Also, strongly leaning towards a Coco viewing. But otherwise, if you know better options on Prime/Netflix, let me know.


Nice. I might borrow some of your picks.

I would strongly recommend you to finish Moonlight. It's a beautiful film. And do see Battleship Potemkin. Awesome film.

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Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:09 pm
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Wooley wrote:
As a big Musical fan, may I say that Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has some absolutely amazing scenes where the combination of choreography, dance, cinematography, and design approach as good as you'll ever see. Scorsese said as much in some documentary where he was squawking about the film but I've seen it a few times, it's true.

As for other suggestions, may I offer that A film... In A Country You Never Visited (Denmark, guessing), With No CGI/Special Effects, Written By A Novelist Or Playwright, With Less Than Five Major Characters, Dark/Black Comedy, Based On A Play, Made For Less Than $5M, could all be covered by one film: Rosencrantz And Gildenstern Are Dead.

(I will suggest this in Thief's thread also.)


You might have talked me into seeing Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, even though it's on TubiTV (think Crackle but with a larger selection).

As for Seven Brides, I think Leonard Maltin was huge on that one. I just hope that it lives up to my expectations.


Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

You might have talked me into seeing Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, even though it's on TubiTV (think Crackle but with a larger selection).

As for Seven Brides, I think Leonard Maltin was huge on that one. I just hope that it lives up to my expectations.


It is very old-fashioned, but if you take it as a musical, appreciate the great Howard Keel, and enjoy the dancing and how it's filmed, I think you'll dig it.


Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:11 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
As for Seven Brides, I think Leonard Maltin was huge on that one. I just hope that it lives up to my expectations.


A few years ago I taught a combined reading/social studies lesson about slavery in which we discussed both historical and contemporary slavery. As part of it we talked about body rights and basically that it's wrong to force people to do things against their will.

Then I get an e-mail that the high school is putting on a musical and can the director and a few of the actors come over and do a little sales pitch? Sure!

So they show up in my room and they are doing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In my head I was like "Oh,no." The high school students are like "It's this really funny play about these guys who don't have girlfriends. So they go into town and they kidnap a bunch of girls. Then they all get snowed in on a mountain and they start to fall in love!".

My students looked at me, then looked back at the high schoolers, then back at me. Then several hands went up. I was like "Well, thank you for coming!".

Then we had a conversation about how a lot of people used to (and still do) think it's fun or romantic to show people being kidnapped, and that it's an example of something that is one way in books or movies but very different in real life. The play/movie is super-sexist and rapey and gross. I just used this term in the Horrorcram thread, but it's another example of the "gentleman kidnapper" trope. It's also got great staging and gorgeous colors and super fun dancing. I can enjoy about the first 20 minutes of it, but after the barn-raising scene is done the celebration of Stockholm Syndrome makes it unwatchable for me. Wet blanket, womp womp.


Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:54 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

A few years ago I taught a combined reading/social studies lesson about slavery in which we discussed both historical and contemporary slavery. As part of it we talked about body rights and basically that it's wrong to force people to do things against their will.

Then I get an e-mail that the high school is putting on a musical and can the director and a few of the actors come over and do a little sales pitch? Sure!

So they show up in my room and they are doing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In my head I was like "Oh,no." The high school students are like "It's this really funny play about these guys who don't have girlfriends. So they go into town and they kidnap a bunch of girls. Then they all get snowed in on a mountain and they start to fall in love!".

My students looked at me, then looked back at the high schoolers, then back at me. Then several hands went up. I was like "Well, thank you for coming!".

Then we had a conversation about how a lot of people used to (and still do) think it's fun or romantic to show people being kidnapped, and that it's an example of something that is one way in books or movies but very different in real life. The play/movie is super-sexist and rapey and gross. I just used this term in the Horrorcram thread, but it's another example of the "gentleman kidnapper" trope. It's also got great staging and gorgeous colors and super fun dancing. I can enjoy about the first 20 minutes of it, but after the barn-raising scene is done the celebration of Stockholm Syndrome makes it unwatchable for me. Wet blanket, womp womp.


Oof. I'm gonna have to think about this now. Especially since it's based on the legend of Rome, Sabine and a party that led to war.

Double-checked on TitanTV and I got two chances to see this spaced apart by about a week.

If I decide no, then I guess Dedh Ishqiya will double for the musical? Went to the same blog that recommended Om Shanti Om (which was my third favorite of May) and Dedh Ishqiya also had a good rating.


Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:50 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Oof. I'm gonna have to think about this now. Especially since it's based on the legend of Rome, Sabine and a party that led to war.
Yeah, the Rape of the Sabine Women myth is actually recounted in one of the musical numbers, with such lighthearted lyrics as:

And the women was sobbin', sobbin', sobbin'
Fit to be tied.
Ev'ry muscle was throbbin', throbbin'
From that riotous ride.
Seems they cried and kissed and kissed and cried
All over that Roman countryside
So don't forget that when you're takin' a bride.
Sobbin' fit to be tied
From that riotous ride!
They never did return their plunder
The victor gets all the loot.
They carried them home, by thunder,
To rotundas small but cute.

I'd also suggest for rhyming's sake: Ah, rape. What a hoot!

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Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:17 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Oof. I'm gonna have to think about this now. Especially since it's based on the legend of Rome, Sabine and a party that led to war.


I also just watched Room, so my tolerance for "Whee! Kidnapping women so that they can become sexual partners slash mommy substitutes for a group of man-children!" is at kind of a low ebb right now.


Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:37 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I also just watched Room, so my tolerance for "Whee! Kidnapping women so that they can become sexual partners slash mommy substitutes for a group of man-children!" is at kind of a low ebb right now.

On the other hand, Buffalo 66 is still great.


Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:05 am
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The Imitation Game

A lot to pack in here.

On the plus side, this does bring to light the story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), a mathematician who gets brought into service for the British during World War 2 as part of a radio operation. But what we learn is that he's chosen (reluctantly as he's a bit standoffish) to help crack the Enigma code used by German soldiers on a daily basis before it loses its usefulness at midnight. Turing gets the bright idea to build a giant machine to solve the code quicker and help win the war against the Nazis. He gets some assistance from Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), a woman codebreaker who might be smarter than he is. Even though he's rubbed a few people high up the wrong way due to jumping the chain of command and general bluster, he is determined to succeed.

Cumberbatch and Knightley are both good here as is Mark Strong as a somewhat helpful superior and Matthew Goode as the group's first leader. Director Morton Tyldum does a fine job of making the intellectual battles as cinematic as possible and it works as an old fashioned thriller.

But it also sands away part of what makes his story complete. I get the whole stiff upper lip the Brits have and all, but couldn't they have been more direct about his homosexuality? I mean since The Imitation Game is about the rise and fall of Turing, I think you could be less oblique about the whole thing. Maybe they tried to obscure it to get a few extra Oscar voters, but when Brokeback Mountain was more obvious nearly a decade before, I really think there's no excuse here but fear.

Also, good lord at all the things this film got wrong. Tyldum deserves blame for this, big time. Not sure which oops was worse:

1. Not getting the relationship between young Alan and his friend right.
2. Not understanding how the titular test actually worked.
3. All of the American sayings instead of more appropriate British ones
4. The location of the German sub is actually in the middle of England

Also, major demerits for

bringing up the part where Turing is more or less compelled to be a spy, only to drop it after that one scene.


I think Turing's story is a fascinating one. But I do believe that the best version of it hasn't been told yet.


Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:10 am
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Jurassic World

I begin June's list with a film that made over $1.6 billion worldwide and is the fifth highest grossing film in North America.

But I hadn't seen it for 3 years until I had heard it was heading to TV that night. So I came home early and decided to sit through it.

It was mostly a pleasant watch. Of course it was sponsored/showing for the new Jurassic World so there was a trailer midway through and several Jurassic sponsored ads. The DQ dessert doesn't look half bad.

The film? It was fine. Unlike the completely unnecessary third film, it tries to bring relevance back to the franchise. And you know what? It does, to an extent. There were some fine visuals, the dinos looked fearsome especially in the second half, and there were no truly annoying characters.

The story was alright. Two kids (an older brother and younger brother) get sent to JW by their mother (Judy Greer) so they can spend some quality time with their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). But she's so obsessed with spreadsheets and money that she pawns them off on her British assistant. But to the surprise of no one (outside of the film), the super smart genetically modified new dino attraction escapes and starts to menace the park just as the two boys escape their "nanny" and go off on their own. Luckily, the new owner (Irrfan Khan) insisted on bringing Owen (Chris Pratt), the dino whisperer and his assistant (Omar Sy) to check on the new attraction. Unfortunately, there's also the head of the military branch of InGen (Vincent D'Onofrio) who sees the benefits of weaponized dinos and he's got an eye on some velociraptors that Owen's been training to test this theory out.

But there were some problems. I felt like the film was extra harsh to Claire who had to learn to put family and a whole bunch of kids ahead of furthering her career. It comes this close to a public scolding. Sy and Khan brought some vitality to the film, but neither had enough to do. And a military villain seems cliched at this point. Also, this film missed the interaction between Laura Dern and the founder's grandkids that gave Jurassic Park its humanity. And although multiple people noted that there shouldn't be messing with science and genetics, this film could have used either Jeff Goldblum or Sam Neill to bring that point home.

It works best as a shut your brain down and enjoy the ride sort of film. In the franchise, it's either slightly ahead of or tied with The Lost World for second place.

Next: Much ado with Russia and issues with food?


Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:04 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Jurassic World

But there were some problems. I felt like the film was extra harsh to Claire who had to learn to put family and a whole bunch of kids ahead of furthering her career. It comes this close to a public scolding. Sy and Khan brought some vitality to the film, but neither had enough to do.


I saw this one in the theater and was majorly disappointed. The gender politics are totally dumb (I wasn't the only one in the theater who sighed at the part where Claire is like "I don't want kids" and the mom is like "BUT YOU WILL!"--which if you are a woman is something people say with annoying frequency and it's incredibly insulting and the whole "She's the serious one and he's the cool fun one!" dynamic is so played out), but really the whole movie is kind of flat. The set-pieces all felt like set pieces. I can remember only one moment from it--which is a great non-verbal exchanging of glances between the raptors.

And I happen to love Khan, so while he was great, the movie didn't give him nearly enough to do. Overall it was just a blah experience. It was loud and had some nice visuals, but in the end it felt like a waste of time and money. No way I'll be seeing the sequel.


Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:22 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Jurassic World

It works best as a shut your brain down and enjoy the ride sort of film. In the franchise, it's either slightly ahead of or tied with The Lost World for second place.



I might agree with this. I thought the first half was pretty good, whereas the second half wasn't.

One of my main issues was also with the character of Claire. Mainly, I don't think the writers handled her shift from cold and distant workaholic to kick-ass, heroine/aunt in an organic or believable way. The relationship with Owen also felt forced.

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Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:41 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I saw this one in the theater and was majorly disappointed. The gender politics are totally dumb (I wasn't the only one in the theater who sighed at the part where Claire is like "I don't want kids" and the mom is like "BUT YOU WILL!"--which if you are a woman is something people say with annoying frequency and it's incredibly insulting and the whole "She's the serious one and he's the cool fun one!" dynamic is so played out)

If it makes you feel any better, everybody says this to men who say they don't wanna have kids, too. I have been listening to this condescending shit my whole life.


Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:48 pm
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Thief wrote:

One of my main issues was also with the character of Claire. Mainly, I don't think the writers handled her shift from cold and distant workaholic to kick-ass, heroine/aunt in an organic or believable way. The relationship with Owen also felt forced.

Agree completely. It just wasn't a good character.


Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:49 pm
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I may give more of a pass to Claire and Owen's relationship than some of you. It didn't really color my experiences with JW in either direction.

But the way they treated Claire: Career Woman? Ugh. Even though I might give a pass on the whole "Too busy for the kids angle", the way the film keeps scolding her well after the fact that we get it...WE GET IT, she should be more focused on a traditional family woman life of a man and kids left me cold.

I wouldn't mind it if Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom shows up on TV in 2021, but I don't see myself actively seeking it until it pops up on DVD or Redbox.

Reviews of a Classic Russian film and a more modern Swedish tale are next.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:10 am
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He died for some soup...note on a dead sailor in Odessa.

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Grumbling by some sailors in a Russian ship called the Potemkin over some meat infested with maggots gets ignored by their superior officers who insist that some brine will take care of it. Rebellion grows as a majority of sailors refuse to eat some borscht and culminates when the officers order a group of sailors to open fire to quell the pending revolt.

But the efforts of one sailor causes thoughts and words to turn into action and sheer numbers allows them to take control of the vessel. The sailors of the Potemkin places one of their fallen in an Odessa pier and the citizens gather around it and get an idea...but their leaders might have a way to deal with that.

It's rare to have a 90 year old film that's brimming with life and vitality. Although director Sergei Eisenstein threw in several new techniques (most notably, the use of montage), the film focuses on the power of words and deeds to overthrow the old school leaders.

And that sequence on the Odessa steps...that shot...WOW...just WOW!

I guess it matters less if it also serves as a great show of how propaganda can be used to manipulate thoughts and images. The more I'm reading of what truly happened, the more I'm convinced that he was a predecessor of Michael Moore. But I doubt Moore could have came up with something as good as the Odessa scene.

Regardless of politics or your beliefs on truth vs narrative, Battleship Potemkin needs to be seen at least once.

Next: A trifle from Sweden


Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:04 am
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I love Battleship Potemkin, but I'm not sure I'll ever like it more than an 8/10. I feel like the Odessa sequence is so brilliant, it makes a lot of the film pale in comparison to it. Every time I watch the film, I can't help but lose interest after that scene as I've seen the film multiple times, and I already know how it ends.
Since I know that the Tsarists don't fight the sailors on the Potemkin, it feels like a slow wait for the film to finish up.
It's still a really good film though, although I'm not as down on it as many people are.

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Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:35 am
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We Will Part (2016)

Not much can be found on this title in IMDb. I've actually had to join The Movie Database so I can submit this title so I can record it on Letterboxd.

Not sure if it was worth the effort.

Zoe (Siham Shurafa) has arrived at her father's cabin in rural Sweden to catch up on things. She spots younger, bald handyman Taylor (Kerim Troeller, 13 Hours) and they start to bond over lost loved ones and quirky senses of humor. But a secret that she is hiding and some communication issues due to a 10 year gap in age threatens to undo things.

At its best, We Will Part gives you an intimate look at a relationship from its beginning through various bumps and turns. You really feel like you're there for every conversation, every fight, every good moment.

It also means unfortunately as we have to watch Zoe verbally destroy Taylor at times using his most vulnerable moments against him, which leads to an uncomfortable watch at times.

This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that she might have the same terminal illness that killed her mother.


Also, I have to take points off for a rude joke about a lion and a hunter that crossed the line for me. Ugh, film. Even though she's the one to tell the joke. Ugh, film.

Oh, and also it appears that maybe 40 minutes vanished into thin air from when it got seen by film festival audiences in Madrid to when it showed up without warning on Prime. It didn't affect the understanding of the film any, but it feels rushed at times, particularly in the second half.

Overall, it was OK. Just OK. I can't recommend this one.

NEXT: A thief with a tough choice and a widow looking to marry again. To music.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:45 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
I may give more of a pass to Claire and Owen's relationship than some of you. It didn't really color my experiences with JW in either direction.

But the way they treated Claire: Career Woman? Ugh. Even though I might give a pass on the whole "Too busy for the kids angle", the way the film keeps scolding her well after the fact that we get it...WE GET IT, she should be more focused on a traditional family woman life of a man and kids left me cold.

I didn't read it quite that way, I read it more as an admonishment of people who put career above all else in their life. We've seen lots of that in movies. And I'm not sure it's wrong. Not sure the fact that it's a woman in this case changes the message without the audience having to bring that in from their own perspective.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:46 am
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Wooley wrote:
I didn't read it quite that way, I read it more as an admonishment of people who put career above all else in their life. We've seen lots of that in movies. And I'm not sure it's wrong. Not sure the fact that it's a woman in this case changes the message without the audience having to bring that in from their own perspective.


The difference I see is that when it's a man, he usually already has kids and is neglecting them. (This is sometimes also the case with female characters who are mothers).

But Claire doesn't even have children. By contrast, none of the male characters (most of whom seem to prioritize their work to different degrees) get the same message that they should be raising families instead. No one is calling Chris Pratt in the middle of raptor training to ask him when he's going to settle down and start making babies. And the one woman in the movie who IS planning to begin a life (the assistant who is getting married) is rewarded with an incredibly frightening and cruel death seemingly as retribution for being slightly neglectful of the children (who should be old enough to look after themselves)--or maybe she was being punished because one of the things we learn is that she won't "let" her fiance have a bachelor party. So what are you trying to say, movie?!

It doesn't help that the children who are supposed to be awakening her maternal instincts are incredibly obnoxious.

And something that is particular to women is that they have to constantly fight the stigma that they will run off and get pregnant. It can make it a lot harder to get promotions or be put into leadership positions. If you are going to have a family in the traditional sense of the wife bearing one or several children, then sometimes women DO have to make a choice between children and a career (or at least make that choice for the near future). I know a few women who have decided not to have children (my peer group is largely in their late 20s-mid-30s), and it's because they want to continue to push forward in their careers and cannot feasibly take the time to be pregnant/caring for a newborn. Seeing a movie chastise someone for making that choice is disheartening, especially since it isn't a choice that many women make lightly.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:22 am
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Woman has the mortal duty to bear the pains of childbirth, so sayeth The Lawd unto the deceitful Eve.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:22 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

The difference I see is that when it's a man, he usually already has kids and is neglecting them. (This is sometimes also the case with female characters who are mothers).

But Claire doesn't even have children. By contrast, none of the male characters (most of whom seem to prioritize their work to different degrees) get the same message that they should be raising families instead. No one is calling Chris Pratt in the middle of raptor training to ask him when he's going to settle down and start making babies. And the one woman in the movie who IS planning to begin a life (the assistant who is getting married) is rewarded with an incredibly frightening and cruel death seemingly as retribution for being slightly neglectful of the children (who should be old enough to look after themselves)--or maybe she was being punished because one of the things we learn is that she won't "let" her fiance have a bachelor party. So what are you trying to say, movie?!

It doesn't help that the children who are supposed to be awakening her maternal instincts are incredibly obnoxious.

And something that is particular to women is that they have to constantly fight the stigma that they will run off and get pregnant. It can make it a lot harder to get promotions or be put into leadership positions. If you are going to have a family in the traditional sense of the wife bearing one or several children, then sometimes women DO have to make a choice between children and a career (or at least make that choice for the near future). I know a few women who have decided not to have children (my peer group is largely in their late 20s-mid-30s), and it's because they want to continue to push forward in their careers and cannot feasibly take the time to be pregnant/caring for a newborn. Seeing a movie chastise someone for making that choice is disheartening, especially since it isn't a choice that many women make lightly.


Eh. On a scale of 1 to 10 in obnoxious kids with 1 being the kids from Despicable Me and 10 being the kids from the 2005 War of the Worlds, I'd give the kids in Jurassic World a 3. Even when the oldest kid was at his worst, it felt more like a thing an older brother would do to a younger one.

They're slightly less bad than the boy from The Babadook (who thankfully got less annoying when he started to focus on saving his mom than screaming).


Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:45 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I love Battleship Potemkin, but I'm not sure I'll ever like it more than an 8/10. I feel like the Odessa sequence is so brilliant, it makes a lot of the film pale in comparison to it. Every time I watch the film, I can't help but lose interest after that scene as I've seen the film multiple times, and I already know how it ends.
Since I know that the Tsarists don't fight the sailors on the Potemkin, it feels like a slow wait for the film to finish up.
It's still a really good film though, although I'm not as down on it as many people are.


I think the key here is that you loved it. It doesn't matter if you were going to give it a 7/10 or 10/10.


Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:46 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

I think the key here is that you loved it. It doesn't matter if you were going to give it a 7/10 or 10/10.

True. I do still love it. I'd be okay with revisiting it every now and then. I just wish the final act was a bit more interesting. If that were the case, I'd likely give it a 9 or a 10.

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Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:52 am
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