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 Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2018 
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Gort wrote:
And we're still facing that cultural imbalance even today. You've written well about that on several occasions.

I wonder if we aren't supposed to react to the scene in the way you did. Could it have been that far ahead of its time, maybe calling out such unequal expectations? I have no idea. I suspect not. I suspect it merely mimicked the things that women and men were expected to do. But, you never know.


Well, the movie is very sensitive to sexism and also to the way that Marty is pressured to act a certain way (toward women and just in general) as a man.

Here's the way the scene plays out:


MARTY
You want me to take you home, I'll
take you home.

CLARA
Maybe that would be a good idea.

She stands. He stands. He's a little angry. He turns and
sullenly goes back to the living room for her coat.
Wordlessly, he begins to help her into the coat.

Standing behind her, he puts his hands on her shoulders,
then suddenly seizes her, and begins kissing her on the neck.
As Marty holds Clara, kissing the back of her neck, the
dialogue drops to quick, hushed whispers.

CLARA
No, Marty, please...

MARTY
I like you. I like you. I been telling
you all night, I like you...

CLARA
Marty...

MARTY
I just wanna kiss, that's all.

He attempts to turn her face toward him. She resists.

CLARA
No...

MARTY
Please...

CLARA
No...

MARTY
Please...

CLARA
Marty...

He releases her and turns away violently.

MARTY
All right! I'll take you home! All
right!

He marches a few paces away, deeply disturbed. He turns back
to her.

MARTY
All I wanted was a lousy kiss! What
do you think, I was gonna try
something serious with my mother
coming home any minute!? What am I,
a leper or something?!

He turns and goes into the living room to hide the flush of
hot tears threatening to fill his eyes. Clara is also on the
verge of tears.


Then she follows him into the living room, apologizes to him, tells him three times that she likes him. Then a few moments later (after yet another apology from Clara) he kisses her.

The movie seems to be playing this moment as miscommunication: Clara does like Marty, but she's just surprised by him kissing her. The problem is that Clara is VERY clear when she says "no" and pulls away, and it's gross to see Marty hold on to her (he is much bigger and stronger than she is) and try to force himself on her. It's also yucky that he tries to guilt trip her by saying "It's not like I wanted sex", as if that makes it okay.

I mean, the emotions and the way it plays out probably do mirror real life. It was just disappointing that he never apologizes to her or acknowledges that it was an inconsiderate (and that's putting it nicely) way to behave.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:44 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
A few years ago I made an attempt to catch up on the Golden Age Disney movies, and I was struck by how slight some of them seemed as an adult. Like Bambi's plot hardly even qualifies as a plot. And that's not a complaint; I find Hollywood's current tendency to overstuff everything with bombast to be really tedious. In the case of Bambi, pretty much one thing of consequence happens plot-wise, and yet every human who's ever seen it remembers what that thing is. It should serve as a reminder to us that sometimes "simple and charming" is enough, especially for children's entertainment.


I agree about the "tendency to overstuff everything". Overall, I think there should be a balance between "too simple" and "overstuffed" where both children and adults can be entertained by a film.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:30 pm
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Thief wrote:

I agree about the "tendency to overstuff everything". Overall, I think there should be a balance between "too simple" and "overstuffed" where both children and adults can be entertained by a film.


I know you haven't been the biggest Miyazaki fan, but the simpler plots of something like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service is a big part of their appeal and they certainly stand in contrast to the bloated, pop-referential animations coming out of big studios.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:34 pm
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Don't forget Pom Poko. Awesome.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:11 pm
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Thief wrote:

I agree about the "tendency to overstuff everything". Overall, I think there should be a balance between "too simple" and "overstuffed" where both children and adults can be entertained by a film.

I've subjected my friends and family to this speech often and my favorite example to use is the difference between the two Chocolate Factory films, specifically the musical numbers. Say the words "Oompa Loompa" and just about everyone in my generation is going to start singing the song from the '71 version. Even if we don't have the lyrics memorized, we all know the melody and we all got the message: Don't be a brat. It was extremely simple but it burrowed its way into everyone's brain.
The Burton/Elfman songs were giant productions in comparison but have turned out to be less memorable and I would argue that it's because they're giant productions. Thanks to a certain youngster in my life I've probably seen both versions an equal number of times and I can't recall a single occasion when we referenced one of the '05 songs, and I actually liked a couple of them. Couldn't begin to attempt to sing them, though. Obviously, there's more than one factor at work here but my point is that sometimes being really loud about everything is not the best way to get one's point across.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:28 pm
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I think that in recent memory, Moana has the most memorable songs of any animated/kids film of the last 10 years.

Just off the top of my head "How Far I'll Go," "Away Away", "Shiny", and "You're Welcome" are all really distinct, fun tunes. And, like you say, even if I can't remember all the words, I know the melodies and can easily picture them as performed in the film.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:53 pm
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Apex Predator wrote:

Wow, this got past the censors? I thought All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 was traumatizing.

Another reminder that the ratings system can be questionable: 9 to 5 is rated PG. So is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Yeah, but both of those movies were released before the PG-13 even existed; in fact, the questionable rating of Temple Of Doom was one of the reasons (along with Gremlins the same year) why that rating was created in the first place, so its surprisingly objectionable content really isn't that surprising. Back when most movies for adults had a hard-and-fast dilemma between either just being PG, or shooting all the way to hard R, the MPAA was a lot more lenient on the sort of content they allowed in the former (like the random topless shot in Airplane!). Pre-'84 PG was really its own thing, not really comparable to modern-day PG, or even just PG-13 at all, really.

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Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:20 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I think that in recent memory, Moana has the most memorable songs of any animated/kids film of the last 10 years.

Just off the top of my head "How Far I'll Go," "Away Away", "Shiny", and "You're Welcome" are all really distinct, fun tunes. And, like you say, even if I can't remember all the words, I know the melodies and can easily picture them as performed in the film.


I agree about the Moana songs, but I still think there have been quite a few memorable songs from animated films in the last few years. Frozen's "Let It Go" is an example, and maybe to a lesser extent, Trolls' "Can't Stop the Feeling".

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Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:25 am
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Thief wrote:

I agree about the Moana songs, but I still think there have been quite a few memorable songs from animated films in the last few years. Frozen's "Let It Go" is an example, and maybe to a lesser extent, Trolls' "Can't Stop the Feeling".


But as an entire body of songs, I think that Moana is superior (though I haven't seen Trolls)

The only other song I remember from Frozen is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", and all I remember of that one is the title line--no other lyrics or even its main melody spring to mind.


Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:31 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I think that in recent memory, Moana has the most memorable songs of any animated/kids film of the last 10 years.

Just off the top of my head "How Far I'll Go," "Away Away", "Shiny", and "You're Welcome" are all really distinct, fun tunes. And, like you say, even if I can't remember all the words, I know the melodies and can easily picture them as performed in the film.


I don't remember Away, Away. But yeah, will concur that Moana's tunes were catchy. So of course the Oscar went for a tune for La La Land.

Other than Let It Go, the only other tune from a recent kid's film that's stuck with me is Happy. And that's mainly because it became so popular.


Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:52 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
But as an entire body of songs, I think that Moana is superior (though I haven't seen Trolls)

The only other song I remember from Frozen is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", and all I remember of that one is the title line--no other lyrics or even its main melody spring to mind.


I agree. I remember some celebrity, don't remember who, commenting on Twitter that he rarely, if at all, bought movie soundtracks, but that he just couldn't stop singing the Moana songs after watching it and bought the soundtrack the next day. I had a thing for "Shiny" for a week or two after seeing the film :D

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:10 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

I don't remember Away, Away.


I guess it's actually called "We Know the Way": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubZrAmRxy_M

A film famous for its twist/ending: Pocket Listing

It was hard to find a good movie with a twist ending that I hadn't seen yet, so I used the keyword search on IMDb to find something with a "twist ending" that I'd not seen. I don't think that there are any famous twist ending movies that I haven't seen, so I just went with something whose most notable aspect is its ending.

Pocket Listing is a stylistic jumble, a movie that tries to be clever and effortless and winky in a way that doesn't quite work. The story centers on Jack Woodman, a high-flying real estate broker who tries to break out on his own and, as a result, is framed by co-worker. Jack loses everything and the only thing left to his name is a run-down apartment building he owns. Having hit rock bottom, Jack is approached by a couple (sexy wife, mobster husband) who wants him to sell their house on the down low.

This is one of those movies with a ton of characters who you can tell are just pawns being moved into place for the film's conclusion. They include: hispanic gangbangers living in the run down apartment building; a pair of ambiguously accented mobsters angry at the husband; the sexy wife; the co-worker who betrayed Jack; etc.

Did the movie have a surprise ending? Yes, I guess. It was one of those movies that sort of had three endings. One of them was super obvious. Then something else happened that seemed super improbable.

This movie scrapes the bottom of the "worth watching" mark. There was one character I liked (a young man who lives in the apartment building and whose function in the plot is solely to humanize the main character). Whoever did the sound effects for this movie needed to step away from the board: there is a "CHA-CHING" cash register sound cue that is used, no exaggeration, probably ten times in the movie. There's a lot of "cute" touches--like frequent instances of characters speaking directly to the audience, a whip-crack sound effect when a man slaps a woman on the butt, etc.

At the core, the problem with this film is that it wants us to empathize with a man who used to be able to hire women to walk around his parties topless and drive an amazing car, but now he can't do those things. Boo hoo. The movie tries to compensate by making everyone else around him worse (a murderous mobster, the wicked co-worked is a cocaine addict, etc), but I never felt anything for the main character. Also, every woman in the movie wants to have sex with him because of course they do. If the movie had had any guts, it would have stuck with its original ending.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:46 am
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A fantasy film: Zathura

This movie is one that I'd always heard of as "Jumanji in space" and . . . yup. Even down to the
former player still trapped in the game
element.

I liked this film overall, mostly because of Dax Shepard as the astronaut. It's a pretty classic story of siblings coming to appreciate one another. The effects are fun and big in the right way for this kind of fantasy adventure film. There are some funny lines (and line deliveries).

I'm not sure why it was necessary to have a subplot about the sister
wanting to have sex with her own brother
. Like . . . ha? The astronaut was already pretty charming and sexy-for-a-kids-movie, but having the sister character literally take one look at him and swoon felt off. Especially when she takes two action steps on her own (putting out a fire and trying to get the kids to hide from danger), the sudden smitten-kitten routine didn't play well for me. Especially when it's ultimately in the service of an
incest joke.


Oddly, this movie would also fit a "small cast" criteria, as there are literally only five characters in the whole movie.

I haven't taken much notice of Dax Shepard in anything (I enjoy his interviews on talk shows, but I just swung by his IMDb page and the only thing I've seen him in is The Veronica Mars Movie), as the movies he tends to be in do not appeal to me. But for all the goofiness he seems to exude in real life, he gives a much needed emotional depth to his scenes with the boys. The film toward the middle does start to turn a bit episodic, as the boys pull a card, craziness happens, rinse, repeat. Having Shepard around as a moral compass for the boys adds some weight to their decisions and gives them an opportunity to express the deeper emotions under their bickering.

I was expecting to enjoy this one a little more, given the positive things I've heard about it over the years. I was expecting a B+ and got more of a C+/B-.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:20 am
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A film you remember from your childhood: My Little Pony: The Movie

When I was growing up there was a video store where we used to rent all of our movies. They layout of the store was well-thought out, and there were three low shelves with all of the kids' movies. My siblings and I did something very typical of little kids: we rented the same movies over and over and over. Before my She-Ra-4-ever phase, there was a brief (but not brief enough) My Little Pony phase.

My Little Pony: The Movie is seared into my memory because of a week that I, my brother, and my sister all had chicken pox. My parents put us in their room and we were all in the bed together just cycling through the movies that we'd rented (each of us got to rent one video). Between my brother's video of He-Man episodes and my sister's rental of Winnie the Pooh, we all got to enjoy the frolicking adventures of magical ponies and evil purple ooze.

This movie is not good. It's not quite the delightful trainwreck I thought it might be. Instead it's middle of the road 80s animation, complete with middling songs, raspy voice acting, and a scene of a woman being spanked that I thought was weird when I was little and think is really weird as an adult.

I mean, there's not much to say about this one. I basically still knew it almost word for word. I think there's much better kids entertainment out there these days, and I don't think this one deserves to be remembered, except maybe for the surprisingly high-profile of some of the voice actors involved (like Tony Goldwyn and Madeline Khan).


Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:21 am
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A film with less than five major characters: Blind Revenge

This belongs to that special subgenre of "blind person being terrorized in his/her own home".

Paul is a writer/art critic. He's flown under the radar the last few years because he has been blinded in a car accident. But Paul decides that he wants to write a memoir and so he hires an assistant, Jane, to be his writer. Jane quickly begins to mess with Paul, everything from turning paintings in the house upside down to burning his books to moving items so that Paul begins to trip and stumble as he makes his way around the house.

Okay, here's the problem. The movie makes no effort to disguise the fact that Jane is intentionally messing with Paul. So for a fifty-five minute stretch you're left wondering (1) How far is she going to take this? and (2) Why is she doing this?

The movie decides to save the second question until the last ten or so minutes. But once you actually know the answer, it doesn't explain a lot of what came before. There are two sequences where Jane is nude or semi-nude in front of Paul. The score implies something menacing in this, but by the end of the movie it was like, why were those scenes in there? (I mean, I know why those scenes were in there).

The acting is fine. I didn't care for some of the camera work--there are several scenes with a sort of swirling overhead shot that were dizzying and almost unwatchable.

This was truly a small cast. It's just the two leads and two small supporting roles.

There is a major plot point around a
painter being a pedophile, and the whole movie there kept being these shots of paintings of little girls with their underwear showing and I was like "Why?". Obviously that comes out in the end, but it was weird to see these repeated shots of paintings that are not acknowledged or mentioned in the film until the very, very end.
.

Eh. My only real takeaway was that Daryl Hannah's body is still pretty amazing.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 am
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(Yeah, it's been a rainy, sit-on-the-couch-planning-lesson-watching-movies kind of a day).

A film about filmmaking: Best Worst Movie

Best Worst Movie is a documentary about the making of the film Troll 2. The movie itself is directed by the actor who played the little boy in the original film, and it mainly follows him and another actor from the film (George Hardy, who played the dad) as they begin to get into the world and reality of being the star of a cult classic.

The first half of the movie is pretty funny and breezy. The stars of the movie reminisce about how they got involved and what it was like to shoot. Some super fans talk about arranging viewing parties and why they love the film. As George and Michael get more enthusiastic about their odd celebrity, they get in touch with other actors from the film.

The second half of the movie takes a more uncomfortable turn. The original director of the film enters the scene and he does not think he made a bad movie, neither does he appreciate those who laugh at the parts that were not meant to be funny. His attitude morphs from disgruntled tolerance to outright hostility as he attends showing after showing of people wanting to laugh at his movie.

Another uncomfortable element occurs when Michael and George track down Margo, the woman who played the mother in the film. Margo is taking care of her elderly mother, who is disabled. Margo is clearly under a ton of stress, and she frequently says that "It's complicated" when asked about her life. At one point Michael and George ask Margo what she wants and she tells them that she wants to go away somewhere that no one can find her. The looks being exchanged between George and Michael as they realize Margo's underlying despair is incredibly uncomfortable.

The movie does a good job of portraying the very specific type of celebrity that comes with being a minor cult figure. It also does a good job of showing that anytime you assemble a group of people for a project, they will all be in different places in their lives and will also be heading for different destinies. Some people's lives have gotten better since the movie, some have gotten worse.

I think that if you've seen Troll 2 this is essential viewing.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:39 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

A film about filmmaking: Best Worst Movie
The second half of the movie takes a more uncomfortable turn.

Been a few years since I watched it but I remember the "dad"-now-dentist had some cringey moments, where outwardly he was like "yeah, I was in some movie once-no big deal", but you could tell that it was a big deal for him, and he's really enjoying the attention at the horror-cons and so forth. The cringey moments were when people were not as impressed as maybe he'd expected them to be.
But yeah, very interesting doc. I think the fans are worthy of investigation as well. The mentality of the superfan is something that I find fascinating. Like I've seen the movie and it was fun, but I don't feel the need to meet anyone involved and if I did I'd have nothing to say to them. That subculture has always intrigued me.

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:32 pm
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I too saw the Troll 2 documentary and thought it was just OK. That guy from the movie who did all the interviews was just grating. And the documentary wasn't what I like. I like more making of a movie and hearing the cast and crews talk about it. This was just some super fan boy stuff.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:00 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:
I think that if you've seen Troll 2 this is essential viewing.


The question is, is Troll 2 essential viewing? :D



(I haven't seen it, might have to wait for one of those "worst movie" categories on my current lineup)

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:17 am
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Thief wrote:
The question is, is Troll 2 essential viewing? :D

Heavens, yes! Troll 2 is unlike anything you've ever seen.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:24 am
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Thief wrote:

The question is, is Troll 2 essential viewing? :D



(I haven't seen it, might have to wait for one of those "worst movie" categories on my current lineup)


Put me down under no for this question.

There are films so bad they're good (see Miami Connection, The Room, most Arch Hall Jr. films) and then there are those that are so bad that they're bad (see, or don't see The Robot Monster and Troll 2).


Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:39 am
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A sequel
A film you remember from your childhood
A film under 90 minutes long
A film with a female protagonist



Friday the 13th, Part 2 (1981)

Quote:
"What if there is some kind of boy-beast running around Camp Crystal Lake? Let's try to think beyond the legend. Put it in real terms. I mean, what would he be like today? Some kind of out-of-control psychopath? A frightened retard? A child trapped in a man's body?... He'd be grown by now, right? And, you know, the only person that ever knew him was his mother. He never went to school, so he never had any friends. She was everything to him ... He must be out there right now, crying for her return, her resurrection."


Friday the 13th was released in 1980 to much critical disapproval, but box office success. The independent film had only one notable actress at the time in Betsy Palmer, who played Pamela Voorhees, the distraught mother looking for revenge for the death of her son, Jason. With Ms. Voorhees dead at the end of the original, the plans were to create an anthology series based on the Friday the 13th superstition, instead of following the Voorhees "family". However, the success of the original prompted Paramount to buy the rights and look for ways to extend that success. So they decided to create a direct sequel now featuring a grown Jason as the killer. How does that factor in with the general idea that Jason died as a boy, and his mother was actually avenging him? I don't know, and probably neither does Paramount, but that didn't stop them anyway.

Friday the 13th, Part 2 starts a few months after the original, with Jason seeking revenge against the sole survivor that killed his mother. After that, it fast-forwards 5 years as a group of teenagers are attending a counselor training camp, led by Paul (John Furey) and his girlfriend Ginny (Amy Steel), near Crystal Lake. Alas, little did they know that Jason is lurking the woods and starts killing them one by one. This is the first film in the series that features Jason as the killer, and for a first-time viewer already familiar with the character, it might be weird to see him with the plaid shirt, the overalls, and obviously the burlap sack in the head. It wouldn't be until the third film that Jason would acquire his iconic hockey mask.

Growing up in the 80's with an older brother obsessed with horror/slasher films, it was only a matter of time before I was exposed to this. I don't think it was the first one I saw (I'm pretty sure that one was Part VI), but it was one of the first. The image of the burlap-wearing Jason living in a run-down shack with the rotting head of his mother was etched inside my mind. I revisited it several times as I grew up, and always held it as my favorite, closely tied with Part VI. But after probably 15 or 20 years without seeing it, I was curious to see how it would hold, and this last Friday the 13th was the perfect time for a rewatch! I was surprised and pleased to see that it held out quite well (unlike the first one, which I revisited last year).

This sequel has a lot of improvements over the original. The pace is tighter and more assured than the first one, although the sudden disappearance/disregard of a couple of characters halfway through felt awkward. Also, there is not a single memorable performance, but I don't think any of the actors stuck out as bad. Unfortunately, there also isn't a single memorable character to root for. The kills aren't the most creative or gory, but there are a bit that are quite effective (i.e. the guy in the wheelchair). What I think makes the film is the presence of Jason, who ends up being creepy enough. It's also good to see a Jason that behaves with a bit more intelligence and cunning than what we're used to from him. The first time we fully see him is pretty memorable, and actually made me jump!

At this point, the filmmakers weren't really sure what to make of Jason, and after twelve films, I don't think they've ever known. I think the questions that lead character Ginny was asking in the above quote might extend to the filmmakers. Is Jason alive or is he dead? Is he a mentally ill killer or a pure psychopath? a zombie or a representation of evil? is he a mindless creature or does he have a spirit that can possess others? are the films pure horror, self-aware thrillers, or just comedy? The answers to all those questions might have shifted in the 30+ years since the first one was released, and perhaps so has my overall appreciation for the franchise. But the essence of Jason as an unstoppable murderer still manages to thrill me like it did 30 years ago.

Grade: B

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:40 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

But as an entire body of songs, I think that Moana is superior (though I haven't seen Trolls)

The only other song I remember from Frozen is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?", and all I remember of that one is the title line--no other lyrics or even its main melody spring to mind.


Eh, Trolls was decent.

But I preferred their take on Lionel Richie's Hello over the warmed over Can't stop the Feeling. Yes, most of their music was covers. Why do you ask? :)


Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:41 am
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Thief wrote:

The question is, is Troll 2 essential viewing? :D



(I haven't seen it, might have to wait for one of those "worst movie" categories on my current lineup)


As far as bad movies go, I quite "enjoyed" it. The kind of thing that's fun to watch with some friends and laugh at.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:08 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
and then there are those that are so bad that they're bad (see, or don't see The Robot Monster and Troll 2).

I love both of these movies. :x

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:31 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I love both of these movies. :x


Same here. Troll 2 is absolutely on the short list for greatest bad movie ever. There are good arguments to why it might even be the best.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:33 am
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crumbsroom wrote:

Same here. Troll 2 is absolutely on the short list for greatest bad movie ever. There are good arguments to why it might even be the best.
All it lacks is Neil Breen's perineum.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:35 am
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A film with no CGI or special effects: The Naked Kiss

Another dive into Samuel Fuller territory. (Also, hilariously, there's a scene where a character gets off of a bus and there's a theater with an advertisement for Shock Corridor, as it was the movie he made right before this one).

This movie was full of the kind of insanity and over-the-top elements that I'm coming to love about Fuller.

The plot follows a woman, Kelly, who is a prostitute. After a bonkers opening scene in which she memorably splits from her abusive pimp, Kelly arrives two years later in a small town. After a "date" with the local head of police, Kelly decides to reinvent herself, and she goes to work in a hospital for handicapped children. Her incredible work with the children brings her to the attention of a man named Grant, after whom the town and the hospital are named. Kelly and Grant fall in love, but there is much darkness and insanity ahead for Kelly.

Most of my favorite scenes are heavily spoilery, and I really think that this is such an entertaining film (and with a few plot turns that genuinely shocked me!), so I don't want to go into much detail.

The style is so intense (lots of close ups and the actors pushing just past what feels like the "right" level of emotion). The lighting is really stark and striking and dramatic. Constance Towers is amazing as a woman trying to pull herself up when the rest of the world wants to pull her down. When one of her co-workers is scouted by a local brothel (one that fronts as a candy shop), there is a scene where Kelly goes to warn off the brothel's madam and Towers is practically vibrating with anger.

The sense of Kelly trying to make a life for herself that has decided once a whore, always a whore, is driven home again and again, often with darkly comic effect. When the head of police is later trying to make a case against Kelly, he doesn't hesitate to call her former pimp as a witness against her. He himself never shows an ounce of shame at having hired a prostitute (or for the fact that he helps "curate" the women at the candy shop), yet at the same time refuses to concede that Kelly can be anything other than evil and scheming.

Kelly tells the children at the hospital that they can find real happiness if they "pretend hard enough", and the whole movie shows a woman trying to pretend her way into happiness. Ultimately, it's the world around Kelly that is rotten, and in trying to make herself "honorable", she loses her ability to detect those seemingly decent people in the community who are holding darkness inside of themselves.

I really, really recommend this one. If only because I'd love to chat about it with someone.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:02 am
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Honestly, I've been pretty aware of Troll 2 for well over a decade and I have absolutely zero motivation to ever see it.
Although I did see Troll (1986). Yes, I am aware that the two are not actually related.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:04 am
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Turns out Sunday was my return to seeing movies (which went against the original plan, but still).

Good Day for a Hanging

A film with under 5 main characters

Surprisingly decent B-Western pitting Fred MacMurray against Robert Vaughn, first in a bank robbery where the escape goes wrong, then in court. Some meaty issues such as how far would you go for justice and the dangers of relying on reputation are played with for two thirds of the film. It's fairly well acted as well.

But the film bails out in the third act. The ending feels a bit abrupt and the use of blood is poorly done.

It was a decent western. But with some work, it could have been good.

Pecking Order

A film in a location you've never been (New Zealand)

Dull, borderline dumb documentary plays for the first half almost as a poultry answer to Best in Show as chicken farmers from Christchurch, New Zealand with differing backgrounds try to groom and have their best chickens compete in the national championships. The second half is a mesh of that with a battle for the soul of the local poultry, bantam, and pigeon club as a schism develops between the old school president and some members who would like to see some fresh blood take charge.

By devoting time to both the competition and the machinations, it works as neither one. I almost fell asleep around 2 in the middle of this one so yeah, it suffered from Twilight syndrome as well.

Oh, and nobody is allowed to out-pun me. The cutesy interstitial puns are bad enough you want to smack the director.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

A film with the character's name in the title
A film that you remember of childhood


I was leaning towards either Highlander or Escape from New York. But since I was there, I decided to chance seeing Ferris once again (my last view didn't click with me for some reason).

For the most part, this is probably the best in the John Hughes filmography. It mixes comedy with drama to good effect and the characters click about as much as you remember. There's a feeling of anarchic craziness oozing throughout the whole thing and Chicago hasn't been used to this type of extent since The Blues Brothers. They might prefer this sunnier take on the city.

But I was never convinced of the parents' reaction toward Jeanie's behavior and a couple of scenes with Rooney seem pretty skeezy in retrospect.

But it's probably the best work he's done.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:57 am
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Apex Predator wrote:
Pecking Order

Dull, borderline dumb documentary plays for the first half almost as a poultry answer to Best in Show as chicken farmers from Christchurch, New Zealand with differing backgrounds try to groom and have their best chickens compete in the national championships.


I highly recommend the documentary Chicken People.

For the first time in my life, I had to construct a hobble for a chick (basically where you bind their legs together to correct an injury or malformed leg) and when I described it to a family member she said, "Oh, like that woman in the chicken movie!".


Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:22 am
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Takoma1 wrote:

I highly recommend the documentary Chicken People.

For the first time in my life, I had to construct a hobble for a chick (basically where you bind their legs together to correct an injury or malformed leg) and when I described it to a family member she said, "Oh, like that woman in the chicken movie!".


Might take me some time to warm my way back to a chicken film after Pecking Order. But thanks for the recommendation!


Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:52 am
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Apex Predator wrote:

Might take me some time to warm my way back to a chicken film after Pecking Order. But thanks for the recommendation!


Chickens are the best. I've got six baby peepers in my upstairs bedroom under a heat lamp right now. There's a part in Chicken People where a woman was giving a chicken a bath in her kitchen sink and I was like . . . yup. I feel like Chicken People did a good job of showing both the absurdity of the competitive side of chicken showing and the real human side of the type of people who get involved in that world. I really loved the story of the middle-aged woman--saying more about her would give away some really interesting and surprising insights into her life story.

A silent film: Girl Shy

Harold Lloyd is one of the silent film physical comedians I haven't seen much (or any?) of.

The basic plot of this silent is that a shy guy decides to write a book about women--he fills the book with imagined encounters and describes how he dominates the women in his fantasy. (Luckily the film goes so overboard with the fact that it's fantasy that it actually is funny . . . because there is one scene where to put a woman in her place he hits her and throws her across a room into a set of shelves which fall on her.) Then he meets, you know, an actual woman and becomes smitten. She's being pursued by a total cad. The main character can't work up the nerve to ask the love interest to marry him, so she accepts the cad's marriage proposal. Then the book becomes a success and the main character discovers that the cad is also a bigamist and must race to stop the wedding.

I enjoyed most of the comedy. It's all very much what you think of when you think of silent film physical comedy, ie a man gets in a car to drive away and has to leap out because SURPRISE! the car is being towed in the opposite direction.

I don't think that I could watch this one again, though, because there were several cruel, dangerous uses of animals (particularly horses) in stunts. I'm talking about staging action with animals that probably crippled or even killed some of them. At a certain point I just couldn't take it anymore. The real cruelty on screen totally killed the comedy for me, especially since the character on screen is clearly so indifferent to the suffering he's imposing on them.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:24 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Chickens are the best. I've got six baby peepers in my upstairs bedroom under a heat lamp right now.


I hope you plan to fry them. That sounds tasty right now.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:05 pm
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Takoma1 wrote:

Chickens are the best. I've got six baby peepers in my upstairs bedroom under a heat lamp right now. There's a part in Chicken People where a woman was giving a chicken a bath in her kitchen sink and I was like . . . yup. I feel like Chicken People did a good job of showing both the absurdity of the competitive side of chicken showing and the real human side of the type of people who get involved in that world. I really loved the story of the middle-aged woman--saying more about her would give away some really interesting and surprising insights into her life story.



My mom has a therapy chicken that she takes to schools and senior citizen facilities... it just died a couple of days ago. She's got another that she's going to start using for the same purpose, but she was pretty crushed.

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Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:59 pm
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ski petrol wrote:

I hope you plan to fry them. That sounds tasty right now.


One of the cute/funny moments from Pecking Order was when after the Nationals competition and before the results, one of the contestants decided to eat.

His choice? KFC.


Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:20 am
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A fantasy film
A film with a character's name as the title



Ink (2009)

Quote:
"They're all reactions! One thing begets the next. A man has a weakness, he's flawed. That flaw leads him to guilt. The guilt leads him to shame. The shame he compensates with pride and vanity. And when pride fails, despair takes over and they all lead to his destruction. It will become his fate... Something's gotta stop the flow."


Guilt is an incredibly powerful feeling. Its repercussions can range from remorse to shame and, like the above quote says, ultimately despair. Those that fall victims to it, might find themselves hopeless while looking for ways to either get rid of the feeling or redeem themselves. That is the general idea behind this independent fantasy film written, produced, and directed by Jamin Winans.

Ink follows John Sullivan (Chris Kelly) and her daughter Emma (Quinn Hunchan), as they travel back and forth between the realms of reality and dreams. In the process, they encounter various beings that manipulate the dreams of the living: those that bring good dreams (Storytellers), the ones that bring bad dreams (Incubi), and those that find themselves stuck in limbo (Drifters). When Emma's soul is taken hostage by a Drifter called Ink, a group of storytellers try to protect her. Meanwhile, John, who finds himself stuck in a different reality has to deal with past demons in order to reunite with Emma.

Ink was made with a budget of $250,000 by Jamin Winans (writer, co-producer, director, editor, composer) and his wife Kiowa (co-producer, art director). When the film was not picked up by any studio, the couple decided to market the film themselves, and eventually handled the DVD/Blu-Ray distribution on their own. Despite its limited budget, the film still features a lot of interesting visuals. There is still a kinda DIY, amateurish vibe to the whole thing, but then again, it IS an amateur film. Regardless, Winan's direction is competent, although his editing seems a bit frenzied. The performances are spotty, but Hunchan has a charming presence, and there is a certain earnestness to the Storytellers interactions.

In the end, Ink is still a flawed film with a bit of a jumbled narrative, and an amateurish execution. But the undeniable charm and heart of its makers certainly makes up for its flaws. I kinda liked it, and feel no guilt about it.

Grade: C+

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Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:32 am
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Death Proof wrote:


My mom has a therapy chicken that she takes to schools and senior citizen facilities... it just died a couple of days ago. She's got another that she's going to start using for the same purpose, but she was pretty crushed.


I had not realized how rewarding chickens would be as pets. Obviously there's the bonus that I get over a dozen eggs for free each week. But they are just incredibly entertaining creatures, doing their little dinosaur run and doing the chicken moonwalk to scrounge for food. They aren't the smartest creatures, but they can still have really fun personalities and I do find them to be really comforting.

Thief wrote:

Ink (2009)

In the end, Ink is still a flawed film with a bit of a jumbled narrative, and an amateurish execution. But the undeniable charm and heart of its makers certainly makes up for its flaws. I kinda liked it, and feel no guilt about it.

Grade: C+


I really liked Ink when I watched it years back. Like you say, it's a bit messy, but I thought it was very charming. It felt like a movie made by people who were really into what they were doing.


Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:17 am
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Chickens as pets. That's too crazy. I'd be tempted to eat it.


Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:07 am
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Thief wrote:

In the end, Ink is still a flawed film with a bit of a jumbled narrative, and an amateurish execution. But the undeniable charm and heart of its makers certainly makes up for its flaws. I kinda liked it, and feel no guilt about it.

Grade: C+

I felt the same about Ink, and recommend The Frame by the same director. It's got a similar vibe but I liked it more than Ink if I recall.

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Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:36 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I felt the same about Ink, and recommend The Frame by the same director. It's got a similar vibe but I liked it more than Ink if I recall.


I was reading about his other works and read about that one. Might check it out.

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Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:31 pm
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Thief wrote:

I was reading about his other works and read about that one. Might check it out.


Do you have power right now? I've been reading bleak things about power outages!


Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:40 am
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A film under 90 minutes long: The Terror

Even at a brisk 81 minutes, this one just didn't capture me.

The story follows Andre (baby Jack Nicholson), a French soldier (I mean, c'mon! At one point he bangs on a door and yells "Open up in the name of France!" and he sounds like a disgruntled New Jersey bounty hunter) who is saved on a beach by a beautiful woman, Helene (who is maybe also a bird . . . it's complicated!). After meeting some oddball locals, Andre learns that the woman is mixed up with a Baron living in a mansion on the hill. Andre goes up to the mansion where there is much snooping and odd encounters.

The movie did have a few really solid plot twists and turns, but it still felt somewhat stilted and flat to me. Maybe it was just the print I watched, but the film was muddy and the pace of certain scenes just lagged. In theory I should have liked this one a lot: interesting plot, some solid imagery, an awesome death-by-metal-gate. But I never felt particularly invested in the characters, or in the relationship between Andre and Helene. Her character is: pretty woman. There's no deeper element to their "love", and it wasn't enough to drive the action for me.


Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:03 am
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Wasn't overly captured with The Terror either, if I remember correctly.

Started work on my 5th film and made the sad realization that I have about 15 to go. It's like the moment the orphan girls in Annie finally realize where they are, but realize they got quite a-ways to go.


Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:45 am
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The best thing to come out of The Terror is Targets, since that movie was prompted entirely by Roger Corman allowing Peter Bagdonovich to structure a story around footage from The Terror. Targets is probably the only movie of any real value that engages with a real-life mass-shooting event.

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Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:52 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
A film under 90 minutes long: The Terror

Even at a brisk 81 minutes, this one just didn't capture me.

The story follows Andre (baby Jack Nicholson), a French soldier (I mean, c'mon! At one point he bangs on a door and yells "Open up in the name of France!" and he sounds like a disgruntled New Jersey bounty hunter) who is saved on a beach by a beautiful woman, Helene (who is maybe also a bird . . . it's complicated!). After meeting some oddball locals, Andre learns that the woman is mixed up with a Baron living in a mansion on the hill. Andre goes up to the mansion where there is much snooping and odd encounters.

The movie did have a few really solid plot twists and turns, but it still felt somewhat stilted and flat to me. Maybe it was just the print I watched, but the film was muddy and the pace of certain scenes just lagged. In theory I should have liked this one a lot: interesting plot, some solid imagery, an awesome death-by-metal-gate. But I never felt particularly invested in the characters, or in the relationship between Andre and Helene. Her character is: pretty woman. There's no deeper element to their "love", and it wasn't enough to drive the action for me.

Ha! That about sums it up. Were you aware of the back story? It's a miracle it's as coherent as it is. The short version is The Raven finished shooting 3 days ahead of schedule, so Corman convinced Karloff to hang around and shoot this one. (repeat: 3 days)


Long version:
Corman decided to make the movie to take advantage of sets left over from The Raven. He paid Leo Gordon $1,600 to write a script, and made a deal with Boris Karloff to be available for three days filming for a small amount of money plus a deferred payment of $15,000 that would be paid if the film earned more than $150,000.

Boris Karloff later recalled:

Corman had the sketchiest outline of a story. I read it and begged him not to do it. He said "That's alright Boris, I know what I'm going to do. I want you for two days on this." I was in every shot, of course. Sometimes I was just walking through and then I would change my jacket and walk back. He nearly killed me on the last day. He had me in a tank of cold water for about two hours. After he got me in the can he suspended operations and went off and directed two or three operations to get the money, I suppose... [The sets] were so magnificent... As they were being pulled down around our ears, Roger was dashing around with me and a camera, two steps ahead of the wreckers. It was very funny.

Corman says he had "a previous deal" with Nicholson, Miller and Knight to work two days on the film.

Karloff's scenes were shot in two days by Corman, who later said, "I didn't have the money to shoot the rest of the picture union, which meant I couldn't direct myself because I was personally signed with the unions. So I would say that at one time half the young filmmakers in Hollywood did pieces on The Terror."

Corman says when he cut together Karloff's footage he realised "it didn't make sense" so he filmed a scene between Dick Miller and Jack Nicholson (in close up because the sets had been taken down) and got them to explain the plot.

Corman sent Francis Ford Coppola to Big Sur for three days to shoot additional footage. He ended up staying eleven days. Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Dennis Jacob and Jack Nicholson also directed some scenes. Corman says, "Jack Nicholson finally directed himself when we ran out of directors; and I think a couple of other guys worked in there."

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Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:01 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
Ha! That about sums it up. Were you aware of the back story? It's a miracle it's as coherent as it is. The short version is The Raven finished shooting 3 days ahead of schedule, so Corman convinced Karloff to hang around and shoot this one. (repeat: 3 days)


Long version:
Corman decided to make the movie to take advantage of sets left over from The Raven. He paid Leo Gordon $1,600 to write a script, and made a deal with Boris Karloff to be available for three days filming for a small amount of money plus a deferred payment of $15,000 that would be paid if the film earned more than $150,000.

Boris Karloff later recalled:

Corman had the sketchiest outline of a story. I read it and begged him not to do it. He said "That's alright Boris, I know what I'm going to do. I want you for two days on this." I was in every shot, of course. Sometimes I was just walking through and then I would change my jacket and walk back. He nearly killed me on the last day. He had me in a tank of cold water for about two hours. After he got me in the can he suspended operations and went off and directed two or three operations to get the money, I suppose... [The sets] were so magnificent... As they were being pulled down around our ears, Roger was dashing around with me and a camera, two steps ahead of the wreckers. It was very funny.

Corman says he had "a previous deal" with Nicholson, Miller and Knight to work two days on the film.

Karloff's scenes were shot in two days by Corman, who later said, "I didn't have the money to shoot the rest of the picture union, which meant I couldn't direct myself because I was personally signed with the unions. So I would say that at one time half the young filmmakers in Hollywood did pieces on The Terror."

Corman says when he cut together Karloff's footage he realised "it didn't make sense" so he filmed a scene between Dick Miller and Jack Nicholson (in close up because the sets had been taken down) and got them to explain the plot.

Corman sent Francis Ford Coppola to Big Sur for three days to shoot additional footage. He ended up staying eleven days. Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Dennis Jacob and Jack Nicholson also directed some scenes. Corman says, "Jack Nicholson finally directed himself when we ran out of directors; and I think a couple of other guys worked in there."


This makes a LOT of sense. The movie feels cobbled together and disjoint, Karloff has a surprisingly ineffectual presence, and there are several scenes that are just exposition dumps. I don't know why when I saw this title I thought I'd heard some of you all praising it. It sounds like response to it is generally "meh".


Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:21 am
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They should have just called it The Terrible. God that movie was awful.


Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:28 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
I don't know why when I saw this title I thought I'd heard some of you all praising it. It sounds like response to it is generally "meh".

This is one I often turn to when I want to fall asleep. Does the trick every time.

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Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:55 am
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Takoma1 wrote:
Do you have power right now? I've been reading bleak things about power outages!


Yeah, thanks for asking! Media really blew the thing way out of proportion. I mean, sure, it was an island-wide blackout and it says a lot about the vulnerability of our grid. But 3-4 hours after, there were already huge portions of the capital and metropolitan area with power. I got power at around 5:30pm, and by this morning, they were already reporting that most of those affected by the blackout had power again.

Truth is that there are still a lot of issues that need to be resolved, plus there are still several remote areas without power since the Hurricane hit us last year. But yesterday was a breeze.

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