Recently Seen

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Thief
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:52 pm

Re: OUATIH, I saw it last week and, although I had a lot of fun watching it, I still found myself struggling with the scope and focus of it. However, the more I've thought about it and the more I see how the pieces fit together, the more I love it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:45 pm

Macrology wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:03 am
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is easily my favorite film of 2019, which is a hell of a feat, considering how much I enjoyed Parasite and The Irishman. It's masterfully crafted from top to bottom, it has just about the most rip-roaring climax I've ever seen in any film, and I didn't for a moment feel like it was too long. In fact, I'd say every minute of the film is not only earned but necessary.
I second this post. I've seen it 3 times and it's steadily crawled up my list of favorite Tarantino films and has reached the "I can't decide between PF, IB, JB or this" level.

I think it's the most Tarantino film he's ever made and could only be made by him at this stage in his career.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:33 pm

The Nameless One wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:16 pm
Here's DAMU arguing Hollywood's bloat and Irishman is his number 3, you people I swear to the gods
Always a pleasure, Nameless.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:36 pm

Priscilla Page has some really good thoughts on the flick, btw:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: The Final Rodeo
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:41 pm

Macrology wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:03 am
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is easily my favorite film of 2019, which is a hell of a feat, considering how much I enjoyed Parasite and The Irishman. It's masterfully crafted from top to bottom, it has just about the most rip-roaring climax I've ever seen in any film, and I didn't for a moment feel like it was too long. In fact, I'd say every minute of the film is not only earned but necessary.
I wouldn't exactly disagree with you, I don't think the film was overlong for the script, I just thought the script was meandering and boring so the movie ended up being more an exercise in technique on the part of the director, cinematographer, editor, and actors, all of which were great, and in patience for the viewer.
In the end, for me, there could be no climax that would have made the previous two hours and whatever worth it. I could watch it again in spurts, watching the parts that I enjoyed, but I don't think I would ever agree to sit through the whole film again.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:58 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:41 pm
I wouldn't exactly disagree with you, I don't think the film was overlong for the script, I just thought the script was meandering and boring so the movie ended up being more an exercise in technique on the part of the director, cinematographer, editor, and actors, all of which were great, and in patience for the viewer.
In the end, for me, there could be no climax that would have made the previous two hours and whatever worth it. I could watch it again in spurts, watching the parts that I enjoyed, but I don't think I would ever agree to sit through the whole film again.
I can't recommend watching it again enough. I felt a similar thing which you did in the theaters, but watching it again and being aware of how slow it would be really improved the film. As was mentioned upthread, its pacing works in the sense of hanging out with the three key characters. It takes some time getting use to this, but it's worth it in the end.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless One » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:06 pm

I just don't understand how Hollywood is "slow" or "overlong", I require some elaboration because here I am with concentration issues (a cinephile who can barely sit through a movie, rich) and I breezed through it twice. I'm the least patient person, I certainly do not have the patience for Irishman and I looove Scorsese. What's trying people here?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:14 pm

I mean, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not have a taut, streamlined narrative arc, but Tarantino's films never have. Pulp Fiction, as Crumb indicated, is a film comprised almost entirely of tangents and diversions and superfluous minutiae. Kill Bill is two films that run over four hours when it easily could have been one 90 minute film (a la Lady Snowblood, which has a near-identical plot). But you'd lose so many of its glorious excesses.

Most of Tarantino's films are about kicking back and letting the film happen in its own circuitous way, with its detours and unexpected set pieces. Like a lazy river with occasional rapids and waterfalls.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:09 pm

Macrology wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:14 pm
I mean, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not have a taut, streamlined narrative arc, but Tarantino's films never have. Pulp Fiction, as Crumb indicated, is a film comprised almost entirely of tangents and diversions and superfluous minutiae. Kill Bill is two films that run over four hours when it easily could have been one 90 minute film (a la Lady Snowblood, which has a near-identical plot). But you'd lose so many of its glorious excesses.

Most of Tarantino's films are about kicking back and letting the film happen in its own circuitous way, with its detours and unexpected set pieces. Like a lazy river with occasional rapids and waterfalls.
I'd definitely agree that Tarantino's films can take a long route to a short destination, but I think there's more to it than that.

One thing I'd say about the vignettes in Pulp Fiction is that there's almost always an imminent goal or threat and as a result there's almost always a dramatic tension. The initial Jules/Vincent sequence feels superfluous until you realize they're gearing up for a bounty killing, at which point it becomes much more tense, and then the tension builds. The Vincent/Mia sequence has digressive dialogue, but it orbits around the central concern of how close Jules will allow himself to get to Mia after learning about the mortal foot massage. Stu cites the vignette with the Wolf as superfluous, but I'd disagree. At the least, it once again carries an imminent tension (how will they get out of this mess?), but it also dramatizes the emerging wedge between the two characters, with Jules' professionalism and commitment set against Vincent's sloppiness and relative indifference. Basterds was similar. Waltz takes a long time around that initial conversation to eventually reach the point, but Tarantino's playing with dramatic irony: we know why the man is there, and he's so confident that we don't want that element to reveal itself. In these cases, almost always seems to be a dramatic through-line, even if it's just an undercurrent. Each "chapter" of the film is a dramatic crescendo.

Meanwhile, the vibe I got from an initial viewing of Once Upon (and again, the first thing I said was that a rewatch is in order) was that the vignettes sometimes lacked that. They had goals and motivations and meanings, for sure, and I appreciated those, and I feel like a B+ signifies that I liked the film quite a bit (it's probably my favorite of his since Basterds), but as many here have said, there's a hangout quality to the film. The question to me is how much you enjoy just hanging out with these characters. I think that it's fun most of the time, but there were times (especially in the early sequences involving DiCaprio's "washed up" status) where I felt like the point of his character's nature and anxiety was made and then made again without further development of that idea. I could obviously be wrong-- it usually takes a couple of viewings for me to sort out the scope of my reaction to a film, and that's why I said a rewatch was in order. But for what it's worth, I'm not in love with the Kill Bill films either. (I certainly don't hate them, though-- I think some people on this forum are a touch overeager to take these kinds of comments as a duel-provoking glove-slap.)

Overall, my thought is that a film can be composed of "digressive" tangents and still work well, as long as those tangents work well on their given terms. If I'm commenting that a film feels "too long," it's not that I think "cutting 20 minutes would make this inherently better." What it more likely means is that certain segments of the film failed to engage me, and then an unpacking is in order.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:26 pm

Ironically, the thing that has stuck most with me about Once Upon was how it managed to subvert the tropes of Tarantino films themselves. In its effort to create this "fairy-tale-esque" narrative, it manages to create an earnest and somewhat charming narrative that goes from the friendship between Rick and Cliff, to Sharon Tate's demeanor as she navigates this classic Hollywood. To tie it up with what DaMU mentioned above, where there is tension buildup and an inevitable burst of violence as a result, here the conflicts don't occur where you expect them to. Even though there is tension buildup (the Ranch scene being the most notable, IMO), Tarantino manages to pull the expected conflict from us. This also extends to how both Rick and Cliff carry themselves at their jobs and culminates in the climatic scene where, again, the conflict and the violence doesn't occur where we expect it. In that aspect, I felt it to be the anti-thesis of the violence that Tarantino has been notorious for. To me, this resulted in a very pleasant, and surprisingly easygoing experience. There is a bittersweet aspect to the end because, well, we know what really happened; but with this story, I felt Tarantino wanted to say that, in a way, things don't have to be *this* or *that* way, that there are ways to avoid violence and that there is ultimately good in people.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:20 pm

You might really like The Yakuza (1974) if it's your first Japanese gangster movie, but if you have seen at least one other one, you might feel like you've already seen it. Its familiarity is not due to its story, which isn't bad at all. It's because the movie not only instructs the audience about the importance of honor, duty and loyalty to Japanese culture - something that should be obvious to anyone who has seen any kind of Japanese genre movie before - but also repeatedly. Besides, most Yakuza movies - the best ones, anyway - make this importance clear by showing more than telling. This exposition heft combined with the seemingly few and short amount of scenes that draw people to flicks like this one result in a movie with too much cake and not enough frosting. It is as satisfying to watch Mitchum and the rest of the cast, which includes Richard Jordan as Harry's bodyguard and sword expert Ken Takakura as, well, Ken act the hell out of their roles as it is to bask in their screen presence. I also enjoyed what little action this movie does have and found its theme of America reckoning with WWII to be haunting and melancholy. All the same, after I finished watched it, I felt like I had taken a 101 course on a subject I majored in.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:39 am

I appreciated the way it sets you up to expect Mitchum to be front and centre and turns him into a supporting character (similar to what Sicario does to Emily Blunt, if not as extreme). Also, the (surprisingly bloody) action is pretty nice. I'm a big fan.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:06 am

Ford vs. Ferrari - B

I don't know if there's anyone as solidly reliable as Mangold in Hollywood. He gives you your money's worth. Exactly your money's worth. Not an iota more. But also not an iota less, which is better than many. The feeling of speed feels great. How low the camera goes, how satisfyingly the shifter THWACKS into the next gear. The memorable image of degrading brakes leading to fire-rimmed tires. The "action" stays visually and emotionally interesting, which means something when so many of these races are fast, closed loops. And Mangold, reteaming with Christian Bale, gets another good look at his Western interests (a lingering golden-hour shot of a familiar hat hits the nail on the head), which served them well on the similarly just-north-of-whelming 3:10 to Yuma. The familiar bio-pic structure, complete with the sneering company man (Josh Lucas) and ultimately genial owner (Tracy Letts) and, of course, The Wife (Caitriona Balfe), although she skips the token finger-wagging (sweet merciful Jesus). A little surprised that this got a BP nomination, but hard to blame the film itself for delivering what critics would call "the goods."

And with that, all caught up:

Parasite - A
1917 - A
The Irishman - A-
Marriage Story - A-
Little Women - B+
Jojo Rabbit - B+
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - B+
Ford vs. Ferrari - B
Joker - B-

In a year, I'm sure this will look pretty different.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:58 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:36 pm
If what we are primarily concerned with in Tarantino films is adhering to thematic unity, we hardly should need to know so much about Vincent Vegas dining habits while in Paris. One of the refreshing charms of Pulp Fiction was exploring the day long minutae in a life of crime. This requires diversions and demystifications. Having a reason to get Vince and Jules out of their mob suits into baggy shorts and t shirts. I don't even understand someone wanting a Tarantino who isn't indulgent. It's like wanting Spielberg to dump his honest embrace of childhood naivety.
But the "Royale with cheese" conversation still contributes sufficiently to the film, despite its fundamentally inessential nature, because it manages to both set tone and build character without interrupting any actual character arcs or thematic elements. That scene in particular is placed perfectly in Pulp, as, obviously, it happens very early in the film, and in our very first scene with Jules & Vincent, before we have any idea who they are, where they're headed, or what they're going to do, which makes it the perfect place to put such a random, slice-of-life catching-up, so it's not comparable to the problem of "The Bonnie Situation" at all. And, comparing the "Situation" to the way the other chapters are structured, they're both more effective on the whole, as both "Marsellus Wallace's Wife" & "The Gold Watch" had most of their more relaxed, mundane material up front, and then built up to and climaxed with an individual story of redemption...

...as opposed to "The Bonnie Situation", which began by completing half of Jules's redemption arc, then put that completely on hold for 15 minutes with a story tangent that contributed nothing to it, and then picked his arc back up like nothing ever happened; maybe if the sight of Marvin's exploded head had contributed something to further convince Jules of his need for a major life-change, that digression might've felt justified, but it didn't. If the other chapters were structured the same way, they would've had Vincent have to go off on another side-quest in the middle of him driving to resuscitate Mia, or have Butch get the motorcycle keys stolen by some punks on his way out of the S&M dungeon, have to spend 15 minutes of screentime just getting them back, and then have him go back to rescue Marcellus. I understand the point about the fundamentally subversive nature of Fiction, but it's all about maintaining a balancing act between swerving expectations while still being satisfying on a narrative level, which is why the film doesn't end at the actual "end" with Butch & Fabienne riding away, and, even with all the mixed-up chronology, Pulp still has its climatic moment coming towards the end of the film, for the exact same reason that at least 99% of movies do; it makes sense, and it just works. The placement of "The Bonnie Situation" in the film, on the other hand, just didn't, as far I'm concerned.
DaMU wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:09 pm
One thing I'd say about the vignettes in Pulp Fiction is that there's almost always an imminent goal or threat and as a result there's almost always a dramatic tension. The initial Jules/Vincent sequence feels superfluous until you realize they're gearing up for a bounty killing, at which point it becomes much more tense, and then the tension builds. The Vincent/Mia sequence has digressive dialogue, but it orbits around the central concern of how close Jules will allow himself to get to Mia after learning about the mortal foot massage. Stu cites the vignette with the Wolf as superfluous, but I'd disagree. At the least, it once again carries an imminent tension (how will they get out of this mess?), but it also dramatizes the emerging wedge between the two characters, with Jules' professionalism and commitment set against Vincent's sloppiness and relative indifference.
My problem with that portion of the film isn't because there's no relevant character dynamics being developed, because there are (like you said, the growing wedge between J&V); my problems with it are that it, coming at around the 2 hour mark with much more wrap-up to come, it just feels like overkill, and it places the most important bit of character development in the film, Jules's arc, completely on hold, to the overall detriment of the film, IMO.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:33 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:36 pm
Regarding Menkes, I don't think there is any question his movies moved better when she was cutting his films. She managed to weave the bloat seamlessly through the long runtimes. They no longer seem as seamless since she died. They all have moments which clunk, or seem to go on a beat too long. Or many beats too long. Unsurprisingly, this also has in some ways given a better window into QT the filmmaker though. The things that he obsesses over (mainly, um, his dialogue, which also doesn't seem as razor sharp since Menkes). But I don't see this as entirely a bad thing. In a lot of ways his movies now are more interesting, in spite of, and sometimes because of, their occasional frustrations. He makes movies that come in weird shapes that would not exist if someone a little more judicious was policing them
mmm, agreed on the "weird shapes" thing. though mostly in contrast to all the franchise stuff that's in the theaters.

still, whenever Menke comes up I'm always reminded of this bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjME1xJoVRo
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:18 pm

and there is a lot I like about OUaTiH but I think I need to take a year-long break from movies about the movie industry, love letter or not. I know it's the water that every filmmaker swims in but I've just seen so many!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:06 am

Prisoners (2013)

My first-watch gratification, at getting a legit mystery film in a good long while, now gives way to a recognition of this being written by the guy who also did Contraband and the Papillon remake. Grim drama of the first half and pulpy silliness of the second aren’t necessarily bad on their own, but mushed together they clang violently, leading to a very deflating plotting in the tail end.

Still, in term of Villeneuve’s directorial effort, this ranks just behind Sicario for me, and the two leads are very good (I know Jackman is divisive, but between this and his Wolverine, I find he taps into uncontrollable id rage so well). Also, I will probably always have some fondness for this, because it’s the first time that I became aware of, and was interested in, a cinematographer behind a film, sparked by the scene of police approaching Dano’s van in the rain, and clinched by that climatic rush to the hospital. I may have added one point in my rating from how Deakins makes it look so casually dazzling throughout alone. 7/10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:41 am

wichares wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:06 am
Prisoners (2013)

My first-watch gratification, at getting a legit mystery film in a good long while, now gives way to a recognition of this being written by the guy who also did Contraband and the Papillon remake. Grim drama of the first half and pulpy silliness of the second aren’t necessarily bad on their own, but mushed together they clang violently, leading to a very deflating plotting in the tail end.

Still, in term of Villeneuve’s directorial effort, this ranks just behind Sicario for me, and the two leads are very good (I know Jackman is divisive, but between this and his Wolverine, I find he taps into uncontrollable id rage so well). Also, I will probably always have some fondness for this, because it’s the first time that I became aware of, and was interested in, a cinematographer behind a film, sparked by the scene of police approaching Dano’s van in the rain, and clinched by that climatic rush to the hospital. I may have added one point in my rating from how Deakins makes it look so casually dazzling throughout alone. 7/10
I lost my viewing momentum so strongly in the last 30 minutes of Prisoners. I'm talking actively checking the Wikipedia summary to figure out how much plot was left in the film. I thought that there were just too many ideas, crammed into a "yeah, right" type mystery story.

I do agree that it looked great. But at a certain point it was a struggle to make myself listen to the things they were saying. My viewing became almost just an impression: Gyllenhaal's hagard sleep deprived face; screams; the musical cues telling me "they found something!".

Also, I felt as though
wrapping up the kidnapping plot at the end in such a dramatic fashion kind of took the focus off of the fact that one of the film's protagonists had been torturing someone with the help of others. That should have been the powerful heart of the film, but then it gets buried under the moment-to-moment suspense of whether they'll find the girls and whether they'll find him under the car.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:37 am

Birds of Prey is a stupid mess with bad editing and music, like Suicide Squad, but the cast is charismatic and amusing and the action is well done and appropriately violent for it's R rating. I didn't hate it like I did Suicide Squad and would hope that a sequel could pull together with a stronger script, group dynamic and fewer cringe moments and bafflingly sloppy plot points.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:51 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:37 am
Birds of Prey is a stupid mess with bad editing and music, like Suicide Squad, but the cast is charismatic and amusing and the action is well done and appropriately violent for it's R rating. I didn't hate it like I did Suicide Squad and would hope that a sequel could pull together with a stronger script, group dynamic and fewer cringe moments and bafflingly sloppy plot points.
I read a review today that actually made me want to see it. (And to be honest I kind of liked the trailer).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:00 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:51 am
I read a review today that actually made me want to see it. (And to be honest I kind of liked the trailer).
I don't want to discourage anyone from seeing it. I think Yan did a good job with a film that's still clearly struggling with its own identity and I think each of the Birds, while barely in it, are endearing enough to see again. Robbie of course is the main draw but she emulates Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool where she's both highly appealing and annoying.

It's just... It's the type of film where a biker gang will point blank open fire on a child with machine guns then exclaim "we need to keep the girl alive" without the faintest sense of self awareness.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by wichares » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:08 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:41 am
Also, I felt as though
wrapping up the kidnapping plot at the end in such a dramatic fashion kind of took the focus off of the fact that one of the film's protagonists had been torturing someone with the help of others. That should have been the powerful heart of the film, but then it gets buried under the moment-to-moment suspense of whether they'll find the girls and whether they'll find him under the car.
Same. That morality play the film introduces is far too grim to be shoved asides for airport thriller twists like this.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:49 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:37 am
Birds of Prey is a stupid mess with bad editing and music, like Suicide Squad, but the cast is charismatic and amusing and the action is well done and appropriately violent for it's R rating. I didn't hate it like I did Suicide Squad and would hope that a sequel could pull together with a stronger script, group dynamic and fewer cringe moments and bafflingly sloppy plot points.
This is about what I was expecting but I held outside hope. Guess that was a fool's errand.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:48 pm

Gretel & Hansel - 7.5/10

I believe that this being Oz Perkins' weakest film isn't unrelated to it also being the first film that he didn't write himself, because the screenplay is the most vapid component here. Luckily, it barely needs one, as Perkins still commands a mighty grasp as a visual storyteller, and the film is appropriately gorgeous and gruesome. A bit more reliance on jump scares than in his previous films, but only one (the mother with the axe) that's ludicrous enough to deserve spoiling. The film has plenty of dread, and some wonderfully evocative somnambulant imagery, but the film lacks the careful atmospheric crescendo of his prior efforts. Sophia Lillis, here with a striking resemblence to Claire Foy, plays Gretel with a compelling fatalism, and Alice Krige is, as always, delectably cringy. Storywise, there's just not a lot more to it than what you can already imagine, and the third act fizzles unremarkably, even the visual strengths faltering in routine climax. On the other hand, it may still be a better film about witches than a couple of others I can't think of at the moment.

(A quick word on mushrooms: there's a lot of confusion about different kinds of psychoactive fungii, and I've noticed that descriptions for both this film and Hagazussa refer to the use of psilocibin or psychedelic mushrooms. In both cases, this is incorrect, most obviously in G&H where we can clearly identify the sprouts as amanita muscaria, containing muscimol, a hypnotic substance which produces states closer to the deliriant/dissociative effects of such witch-related weeds as belladonna, mandrake and nightshade. Rather than the serotonergic bliss and cosmic insights of a psychedelic, like psilocibin, muscimol produces a not exactly pleasant stupor inhabited by dream-like delusions and intense confusion. The sequence from Hagazussa is a particularly accurate representation of these effects. I would recommend not eating the "santa" shrooms unless you know what you're getting into.)


Under The SIlver Lake - 6/10

It's films like this which may be why I'm inspired to look after the careless youth. A catcher in the rave, if you will, trying to weed out the phony cathinones and bathtub rolls from the poor fleekless sheep. Because if not, this. This is what happens. Now, I'm not without a certain degree of pharmacological affinity, but I've always believed that wearing it so stylistically on one's sleeve is ultimately a sign of creative insecurity. Compare Tribe with Cypress Hill: they both imbibe, but only one can't rap past the subject matter. Or if you absolutely must insist on making a dedicated drug film, it helps to be a lot more original than slapping together a few pages of Lot 49 with Inherent Vice with some dollar store Pizzolatto glue. If David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) truly wanted to squander his cult rep ala Richard Kelly's Southland Tales, then he missed the jump and just hit the shark full-on. Mitchell is certainly no Pynchon, nor is he much of a PT Anderson. This film is goofy and bizarre, admirable qualities imo, but without very much imagination or nerve either. It's not all too derivative to find bits to enjoy - Jimmi Simpson, Patrick Fischler, Jeremy Bobb and the beloved David Yow all have potentially masterful moments. It just doesn't add up to anything much. Like Southland, it can claim L.A. vapidity and indulgence as its point. Sure, take as much time as you need. C for effort.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:45 pm

Alita: Battle Angel - 6/10 - I never read the manga or watched the 1993 video but even so it felt like parts of the story were missing. The two stars, Christoph Waltz and Rosa Salazar, do a good job and make it worth watching. The father/surrogate daughter angle works even though it could have used more of that. But then they introduce characters with no preamble like Grewishka's Jack the Ripper story arc, while there wasn't sufficient backstory for others like Ido and Chiren. So Jennifer Connelly came off as largely wasted. And why bother hiring a singular talent like Mahershala Ali if he's little more than a background character? The other glaring problem was that all these shortcomings were in service to a bland sort of CW teen romance centerpiece. And again, having no prior knowledge of the source material I still felt it wasn't gritty enough. There was nothing to differentiate it from so many other SFX extravaganzas with weak storylines. But James Cameron being one of the screenwriters explains that. I think Robert Rodriguez cranked out a largely toothless adaptation.
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:21 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:45 pm
Alita: Battle Angel - 6/10 - The other glaring problem was that all these shortcomings were in service to a bland sort of CW teen romance centerpiece. There was nothing to differentiate it from so many other SFX extravaganzas with weak storylines. But James Cameron being one of the screenwriters explains that. I think Robert Rodriguez cranked out a largely toothless adaptation.
I wrote 3 times as much about this and I might give it half the score you did, but I could not have put it any better than you have here.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Hipster Thor » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:16 am

Doctor Sleep; Director's Cut 8/10

I really enjoyed this movie, maybe loved it. I like the use of the music and sound cues from the original film. I like the slow methodological pacing that makes the build up and arrival to the Overlook Hotel exciting and satisfying. There are problems though.

In a sequel to The Shining that tries to be a direct continuation of that film, your characters need to talk less. The viewer is given too much information ruining the mystery and the constant talking prevents the film from being dream like, such as the first film. The "rules" and what things are are laid out far too specifically.

Mike Flanagan isn't a good director when it comes to blocking. He crowds frames with his characters and cuts between tight shots which is more akin to something you would see in a television show than in a piece of cinema that tries to live up to the legacy of the Shining. Even some of the action bits are awkward when Flanagan squeezes all the Overlook ghosts into one staircase.

Not Jack Nicholson was distracting. Not even a good voice match. The way Jack is revealed to us its staged as a way to get a reaction from the audience. A big gasp. But it's so clearly not Jack Nicholson that it takes you out of the movie, and them trying so hard to make him look like Jack Nicholson made it embarrassing. The new Wendy and new Dick were not distracting at all because the performances were spot on. There surely was a better way to handle Jack Torrence than what they did.

And finally, DogBearMan does not appear at the end with the rest of the ghosts.
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:10 pm

The first volume of Alita is bomb. Read it if you get the chance. There's six in the original run. It's called Gunnm, I think, originally.

Reefer Madness, 1938 (A)

It's hard to evaluate this. It's a weird, surrealist, stream-of-consciousness movie, almost Lynchian film about a group of freakishly old teenagers partying at some middle-aged gangster's house. Who's an adult? Who's a kid? Who knows? It's the thirties. Anyone below the age of 45 is likely to be called kid. I thought one of the middle aged guys was an adult, but turns out he also gets called a kid. It's anyone's guess how old any of these women are. The ways kush makes people insane are as varied as they are perplexing. Driving fast, playing piano, murder, laugter, this movie has it all. I highly recommend. It's even in the public domain!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:25 pm

All of you metalheads - that means you, Stu - should see Heavy Trip. It's a Finnish comedy about an amateur heavy metal band that may or may not have a spot in a Norwegian festival. It rides a fine line of celebrating heavy metal and lampooning it, most notably when it makes fun of how convoluted its genres have become. What's more, there are scenes involving a wolverine and a bucket of reindeer blood.
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Road House (Herrington, 1989)
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:44 pm

Under The Silver Lake, 2018 (C)

Sort of a comedic spiritual successor to Mulholland Drive and Eyes Wide Shut for a good portion, unfortunately without any compelling reason to exist like those two. The unfortunate thing with thrillers on this level of ambition is that the reveal can never live up to the buildup. They work when the director can make you believe that there's something hidden beneath some non-ending, but not with a shitty punchline like this one. The whole movie ends up meaningless, relating to nothing and leaving no real impression. It's not much of a thriller either. There's no sense of tension or danger at any point. It's really about some guy stumbling upon a domino of clues and always getting out. It doesn't feel like it was made by the guy who made It Follows at all. It holds your attention for most of it, but that fucking ending, man. What a shame.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:17 am

Charles wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:44 pm
Sort of a comedic spiritual successor to Mulholland Drive and Eyes Wide Shut for a good portion, unfortunately without any compelling reason to exist like those two.
If you've read Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 or seen Inherent Vice, that's about 80% of the plot right there. Obscure semiotics, pop cultural hidden messages, missing rich guy, missing cute girl, undefined cabal. It's extremely derivative.
Charles wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:44 pm
There's no sense of tension or danger at any point.
Well, there is the
Owl woman
but the film abandons that about as quickly as its handful of other ideas.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:31 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:17 am
Well, there is the
Owl woman
but the film abandons that about as quickly as its handful of other ideas.
Yeah, what the fuck was up with that? It's like someone tore off parts of the script. It's like parts of an earlier draft they forgot to erase. Especially that one scene that just disappears.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:57 pm

Charles wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:31 am
Yeah, what the fuck was up with that? It's like someone tore off parts of the script. It's like parts of an earlier draft they forgot to erase. Especially that one scene that just disappears.
I think the Southland Tales comparison is apt (although Southland is in many ways way more audacious) in which the filmmaker follows up a success by thowing all of their ideas at the script and refusing to structure or prioritize what works and what doesn't. Someone didn't tear enough parts off the script. There's probably a pretty good film here if it could have been honed down and focused, developed its ideas rather than compounding them, and eliminating a lot of the excess. A lot of the humor, for example, simply doesn't work, and comes off like stoner inside jokes.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:19 am

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang - 9/10 - This is pretty good even by today's standards so it must have been truly groundbreaking back in 1932. And speaking of today's standards, Paul Muni's performance might not appear to be strong in subtlety and nuance but he certainly got the job done as James Allen. You couldn't describe his character as wrongly accused but the struggle and abuse he undergoes, his flight to freedom, his rebirth and his ultimate degeneration all come off not only convincing but compelling. Watch it if you get the chance.


Beyond the Time Barrier - 5/10 – I was in the mood for some cheesy 50’s sci-fi and kind of blind picked this. (Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime has quite a few of these. Just type in 50’s sci-fi in the search bar) A classic this is not but at the same time it didn’t disappoint. It’s a B&W low budgeter from 1960 about an Air Force test pilot, Maj. William Allison, who in a truly science fiction moment achieves a ridonkulous enough speed to travel through time. This involves, according to what was on the screen, his jet plane’s soul leaving its body. Once he lands he discovers his base abandoned and in ruins. He heads for an apparent matte painting, gets zapped by a paralyzing ray and awakens in a subterranean complex called The Citadel ruled over by a long haired old guy named “The Supreme”. And yes, it got me craving Taco Bell too. Anyway he meets The Supreme’s granddaughter Princess Trirene who, like everyone but TS and his Captain, is supposed to be a deaf mute but she can also read minds. It turns out they’re survivors of a “Radioactive Cosmic Plague” but also sterile. They want the Major to put a baby in the comely Trirene. There are loads of bald headed mutants locked away in cages and a trio of scientists is introduced who may or may not be working against the interests of the rest of the population. The movie doesn’t really go into great detail about them until the three explain how it is that Maj. Alison got there and how he can return to his own time. Then they break out the old chalkboard and take a respectable run at plausibility. They don’t get there of course but they make an effort. At any rate it wraps up with someone freeing the mutants and them overrunning the guards and someone getting shot and Major Allison returning to his own time in a very Twilight Zone-ish ending.


Hell Drivers - 7/10 – I started this with the intention of simply checking it out and had chosen it based mostly on the thumbnail of its poster. But also because it starred Stanley Baker, one of those underrated and largely overlooked British actors. I had seen him in only two previous films, Zulu and The Guns of Navarone but he had left a lasting impression. He plays ex-con Tom Yately, who gets a job transporting loads of gravel for a sketchy construction company. The firm’s drivers are not only encouraged but basically forced to operate their lumbering dump trucks at unsafe speeds due to their corrupt manager and foreman. Yately quickly makes friends with the company secretary and an Italian expatriate played by Herbert Lom. There are quite a few well known British stars making an appearance and starring in this including Patrick McGoohan, Sean Connery, David McCallum, William (Dr. Who) Hartnell and Jill Ireland. It is ultimately an involving story with lots of melodrama that, while largely predictable, draws you in until the satisfactory third act and its expected resolution.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:25 am

Parasite is my second Bong hit. Pretty good, feel pretty ripped.
State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
The Revenant |Inarritu, 2015| +
The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

+ Recommended
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:54 am

Rewatched 1917 and think it's still really rad, and I would've been perfectly happy if it'd won Best Picture (even though I think Parasite was the better film). It certainly wouldn't've been a Crash debacle. One thing I noticed on this go-round was how the opening and closing acts are deliberate mirrors.
The obvious detail most people recognize is that the hero's under a tree at the beginning and the end. But it goes beyond that. The film opens with the hero under a tree, then walks us through an encampment, then takes us down into a trench (full of tired soldiers) for a vital meeting, then takes us through and out of the trench into No Man's Land. The film climaxes with us walking across a field above the trench, then down and through a trench (full of terrified soldiers) for a vital meeting, then pulls us out of there and walks us through an encampment (this time where the wounded are being tended to), and finally to the tree.

I'm not saying structure makes a movie great or anything (obviously that's not the case), just that it's an interesting choice. There are other parallels too, like a sequence in a forest at the beginning mirrors a sequence in a forest at the end, and two scenes where dangerous waters come into play (a broken bridge and then raging currents). I'm not quite sure if the entire film has this quality (A, B, C, D... ...-D, -C, -B, -A), would have to check my notes.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:07 am

The Yakuza - 8/10 – All these years I thought I had already seen this. It’s right up my alley for starters. A martial arts (Kendo) related, 70’s era, Japanese gangster thriller starring Robert Mitchum? Of course I’d seen it. But having started it I quickly realized that it was brand new to me. I’m sorry I missed out all these years because it turned out to be a surprisingly sincere and deferential take on Japanese culture and its abiding ethos. Mitchum plays a WWII veteran, private eye and trouble shooter of sorts who is asked by lifelong friend George Tanner (Brian Keith) to intercede on his behalf in a dispute with Tono, a Japanese gangster. They’ve kidnapped Tanner’s daughter and are holding her as leverage in a purported extortion attempt. Mitchum’s Harry Kilmer is useful in that he has a connection with a member of the Yakuza. He is owed a blood debt by his former lover’s brother, Tanaka Ken (Ken Takakura). Ken locates Tono’s hideout and accompanies Kilmer and Dusty (Richard Jordan) one of Tanner’s associates, in their rescue of the girl. They are forced to kill several of Tono’s men and Ken, despite being retired from the criminal life, is targeted for vengeance by Tono. It’s a noirish sort of thriller so there are double crosses and secrets revealed including one involving Kilmer, Ken and his sister Eiko. I guessed it early on so it’s a pretty easy secret to figure out. Mitchum is his usual dependable self as the aged and rueful Kilmer and Takakura is great as the taciturn Ken. His gravitas is perfectly suited to play a man burdened by unspoken tragedy and self-condemnation. I really enjoyed this movie and its stoic narrative on honor and the many obligations that entails.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:22 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:21 pm
I wrote 3 times as much about this and I might give it half the score you did, but I could not have put it any better than you have here.
Thank you. I hadn't seen this till now.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:16 pm

A few I've seen lately:

Last Tango in Paris- haunting, off-putting and powerful. Among Brando's best. I need to see more Bertolucci.

A Dirty Carnival- A fitting watch post Oscars as it's a South Korean love letter to Scorsese. There's a mud pit fight that is the missing link between Gangs of New York and the Raid 2.

Samaritan Girl- I hope this gets a better transfer because it didn't do Kim's aesthetic justice. A meditative, dark and occasionally shocking slow burn.

La Chienne- Renoir's dark drama feels about 20 years ahead of it's time. Makes sense as Fritz Lang later remade it as a noir. A Renoir re-noir. (Yes, I'm going to use this joke any time I talk about either this or the Scarlet Street)

He Got Game- middle of the road Spike. Denzel kills.

The Piano- Excellent. Hope Criterion releases a Blu-ray.
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:23 pm

The Lighthouse, 2019 (C+)

...Okay...
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:58 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:16 pm


La Chienne- ...Fritz Lang later remade it as a noir. A Renoir re-noir. (Yes, I'm going to use this joke any time I talk about either this or the Scarlet Street)
No, that's a good joke, you should feel confident to use it whenever you want.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:27 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:58 pm
No, that's a good joke, you should feel confident to use it whenever you want.
Thanks, Wools. I've used it 3 times. No one has explicitly laughed it it's not for them. It's for me... Every time.

Charles, what does your ellipses addled okay mean about the Lighthouse?
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:16 am

I'm trying to figure out how I feel about Warrior.

I was certainly engaged by it, and yet despite its long runtime there were things that felt unresolved.
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crumbsroom
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:26 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:16 am
I'm trying to figure out how I feel about Warrior.

I was certainly engaged by it, and yet despite its long runtime there were things that felt unresolved.
Warrior is amazing, what is to resolve?

It is admittedly not a movie I put a lot of thought into, but was the rare film I was just pulled through by is narrative momentum. I loved those characters.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:58 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:26 am
Warrior is amazing, what is to resolve?

It is admittedly not a movie I put a lot of thought into, but was the rare film I was just pulled through by is narrative momentum. I loved those characters.
While I completely agree about the narrative momentum (it held my attention for the full 2 1/2 hours), I felt like there was some push-pull in the narrative in terms of being a "Hollywood" story/Cinderella tale and then some more down elements.

So overall,
a high school physics teacher trains in fighting for a short period of time and makes it into the biggest fighting event of the year. AT THE EXACT SAME TIME his estranged brother having pulled off a heroic feat while abandoning his military commission comes home and trains for the same fighting event.

And you know what? Sure. Why not?

But then you've got the whole element of Tommy who we learn is now going to be arrested by the military police. The money he was trying to get for his dead teammate's widow is now going to his brother. This whole plot piece feels tacked on, and it's the part that feels unresolved to me. The end of the film plays like a happy ending (with wife and father looking on with approval). And from an *emotional* standpoint I thought it did a great job. The reconciliations between Tommy and his father and between the two brothers is the real story of the film.

I appreciated that the "bad guys" in the film (the one-dimensional Russian fighting machine and the aggressive Mad Dog dude) were never built up or given time as anything other than obstacles for the brothers to overcome.

It really just is the Tommy military story line that bugs me a bit. A man survives (as the only survivor) a horrible friendly fire bombing. He abandons his post, only to come across a group of men in a tank who are about to drown and he rips the door off the tank to save the men and then disappears into the night. He stays in contact with his dead friend's widow. It feels like just too much to me. And it feels like unnecessary baggage for a character who already has plenty of it (alcoholic father, dead mother, estranged brother, deep sense of abandonment, etc).

I think that his storyline stands out to me because it stands in such stark contrast to his brother's storyline, which boils down to trouble paying his mortgage and a wife who is (rightfully) very afraid of her husband pursuing a fighting career. Interwoven in both stories is a man who is trying to do right after years and years of alcoholism and finding that neither of his sons needs or wants him in the role of a father.

Can I assume that Tommy's highly publicized circumstances mean that his punishment for going AWOL will be mitigated or that he will even simply be discharged? Yes. Can I assume that Brendan might use some of his share of the money to help the widow? Yeah, I guess.

Again, the problem for me is the contrast between the Hollywood neatness of Brendan's storyline (he saves the house! His students and boss cheer! His wife isn't worried about him dying! He can keep taking care of his sick daughter!) and the open-ended nature of Tommy's storyline. If this was an intentional contrast, I do not dig it.
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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:31 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:27 am
Charles, what does your ellipses addled okay mean about the Lighthouse?
Means I don't get it. I can see all the parts, but I don't know why they're together. It it supposed to be surnatural? Is it an ambitious movie about cabin fever? Why is it monochrome? I've no idea how to approach it. I don't have anything against it, but I didn't get anything out of it either.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:59 am

Charles wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:31 am
Means I don't get it. I can see all the parts, but I don't know why they're together. It it supposed to be surnatural? Is it an ambitious movie about cabin fever? Why is it monochrome? I've no idea how to approach it. I don't have anything against it, but I didn't get anything out of it either.
Well if it helps...
The film operates as an allegory and conflation of Greek mythology, especially Prometheus and Sisyphus. Familiarity with those helps explain a great deal of imagery and the underlying purgatorial concepts.

It also evokes Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and Bergman's bottle surrealist dramas, Persona and Hour of the Wolf.
The visual elements (aspect ratio, monochrome, filmstock, etc) were all done to evoke a bygone era. The set design and accents were also meticulously researched in order to authentically capture the time period.

In addition to that, the film is a performance showcase with both being allowed to go as crazy as possible and it's simultaneously harrowing and hilarious to watch.

Possibly my favorite of last year.
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Macrology
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:38 am

While I loved most of the trappings of The Lighthouse, I'm not sure it added up to much.

Not to say that it necessarily needs to. I found it plenty entertaining. One just kind of expects it to.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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The Nameless One
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless One » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:12 am

You people
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The Nameless One
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by The Nameless One » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:38 am

Macrology wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:38 am
While I loved most of the trappings of The Lighthouse, I'm not sure it added up to much.
What do you mean by this? I was going to make the Greek mythology post but MKS beat me to it, how in the gods' bloody red earth does The Lighthouse "not add up to much"? That's so intellectually void of a statement
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