Recently Seen

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Slentert
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:03 pm
This is built upon, in a very new way, in FFH.

But let's be honest. Every man who meets Marisa Tomei almost certainly wants her. It's not her fault or Marvel's. It's God's.
That's fair.
And that does make me excited to see Far From Home.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:28 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:01 pm
Get on that! I wanna gab about it and it seems no one else rushed out to see it.
I wanted to, but work. Tuesday will be a good day.

Also, I miss quote threads, DP.
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 Death Proof » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:46 am

topherH wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:28 pm
I wanted to, but work. Tuesday will be a good day.

Also, I miss quote threads, DP.

"For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. For me, it was Tuesday."

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:47 am

Bedazzled (1967) - 6/10

Bedazzled (2000) - 7/10

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:07 am

DaMU wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:26 pm
Can't speak to the MCU Spider-Man movies, but his tentacles are pretty much a representation of his greed, right? The way he mutters "The power of the sun in the palm of my hand" is the start of it all, and that's before the "inhibitor chip" (a very figurative name) breaks, and then it's off to the races with the tentacles mostly in the sidecar. (If I remember right, he doesn't interact with them much outside of that first conversation and the final one where he seethes, "Listen to me now".) He's more straight-up in his villainy through the middle of the film.

I'd agree that it's familiar territory in regard to the specific device of "talking to onesself" as a cheap way to cut to the chase dramatically (where am I mentally? what are my ambitions? what are the stakes? etc.). But one thing I think Molina has that makes it effective is a fantastic foothold in the first act of the film. He's warm, he's empathetic to Peter while also needling him ("He also tells me you're lazy"), his fondness for his wife feels easy and lived-in.* So when he does turn into Ock, there's a more tragic dimension to it, and that makes me happy when the film ends with him re-asserting the best part of himself. Him telling his tentacles to shut up and listen is just him telling his ambition to shut up and listen to his heart (which pointedly ties back into Parker's struggle to sacrifice his desires for the sake of moral responsibility).

*: It's those lived-in details that make Spider-Man 2 feel special to me. There's an effort to present the characters as human beings first and foremost. In details like Octavius giving Peter relationship advice while admitting he still doesn't get T.S. Eliot, or the realaxed walk after the play where Mary Jane snaps at Peter that "you have to get on before you can get off," or when Aunt May starts crying because she and Peter both know that she can't afford to give him $20 as a birthday gift (and later doing her yard sale). In those details, there's a recognition of lower-middle-class struggles that I rarely see in any movies, let alone superhero films, let alone articulated with such simplicity and directness. And all of these small moments give the story room-- I think with a lot of these kinds of films (big-budget Hollywood action-fantasies), it's very difficult to make the stories play as more than the sum of their beats.
I hear you, and I don't disagree (as I've said, I have great fondness for SM2 and Molina's Ock.
But I would say that one of the problems a lot of other super-hero movies run into, and here I can cite Batman ('89), Batman Returns, The Dark Knight, Age Of Ultron, Iron Man 2, obviously Spider-Man 3, we could go on and on, is focusing too much on the villain(s), or trying to pile too many of them in, thereby taking too much focus away from the hero(es), who the movie is about. I think they got a pretty good balance with Ock. But so many more have tried to give a full origin story to the villain(s) so that the title-character ends up almost being a character in their movie, spent too much time on the villain and their journey at the expense of the main character, or had too damn many villains.
I felt like Homecoming, among others, did a nice job of presenting a villain, presenting their actions AND motivations, without having to give them an entire arc in the movie, when it's NOT THEIR MOVIE.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:08 am

Death Proof wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:47 am
Bedazzled (1967) - 6/10

Bedazzled (2000) - 7/10
I enjoyed the '67 film when I was young. I haven't seen it since or seen the latter, but I expect that your score on the former is actually pretty accurate.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:40 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:02 pm
It sucks because it's an especially good number unlike the one in Holiday Inn...

But like Holiday Inn...

Really racist
It's also just strange because the number could have been exactly the same without the blackface.

And then there's a whole other scene afterwards with him still in the blackface and we're supposed to feel sorry for him. Sorry, guy who is cheating on his fiance and is dressed in racial caricature, you get exactly zero sympathy.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:14 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:08 am
I enjoyed the '67 film when I was young. I haven't seen it since or seen the latter, but I expect that your score on the former is actually pretty accurate.
It was a bit dry for my taste, plus it focuses too much on the Devil - especially at the end - instead of Stanley.

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:21 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:40 am
It's also just strange because the number could have been exactly the same without the blackface.

And then there's a whole other scene afterwards with him still in the blackface and we're supposed to feel sorry for him. Sorry, guy who is cheating on his fiance and is dressed in racial caricature, you get exactly zero sympathy.
The blackface number in Swing Time was specifically a tribute to Bill Robinson, a black dancer and vaudeville performer and a mentor of Astaire's. It's an odd number, because it doesn't feel to me like he's performing in blackface, but rather performing as someone performing in blackface. Rather than deliberate mockery, it's an act of homage.

That doesn't make it not racist - it's still thoroughly problematic. The mockery is there whether or not that's what he intended. But that number genuinely fascinates me because it's so earnest and affectionate but the blackface jars so harshly with a modern perspective.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:28 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:40 am
It's also just strange because the number could have been exactly the same without the blackface.

And then there's a whole other scene afterwards with him still in the blackface and we're supposed to feel sorry for him. Sorry, guy who is cheating on his fiance and is dressed in racial caricature, you get exactly zero sympathy.
The movie gave me a great deal to think about after I'd finished it. Both Astaire's kind of unlikeable character, his astonishing dancing in this film, and, maybe most of all, the blackface. It is because of this film and Holiday Inn that I ended up making something of a pet-project of reading and learning everything I have been able to find about the history of blackface and minstrelsy. But also because I have been in blackface myself, painted on me by a 16 year-old African-American girl at 4am, to participate in the traditionally all-black, all blackface Mardi Gras parade, Zulu. You cannot imagine what a surreal moment that was. There is a great deal to learn on the subject of the malicious caricature of black people in America, including fascinating things about watermelon (seriously), as one example, popular songs as another. It is a deep, deep subject, and I am not talking about the history of racism in America, I am talking only about, specifically, the stereotyping in the Jim Crow era (flowing over into the 20th Century) of black people.
I can't exactly say why, I just feel like it matters, for understanding the people around you and how they live and in understanding, doing better in your day to day life, to learn about things like the history of blackface, watermelon, minstrel shows, etc. Learn about code-switching (which we all do but not like minorities have to) and how much it is a part of black culture. Just learn more to try to understand other people.
Sorry, that went to a kind of personal, maybe a little strange, place, this just matters to me.

This is a pretty good article on some of this subject (there's a better one that I couldn't find quickly but I'll try to), but there's so much more to learn about Jim Crow stereotypes and how they continue to matter to this day.

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... pe/383529/
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:40 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:28 am
The movie gave me a great deal to think about after I'd finished it. Both Astaire's kind of unlikeable character, his astonishing dancing in this film, and, maybe most of all, the blackface. It is because of this film and Holiday Inn that I ended up making something of a pet-project of reading and learning everything I have been able to find about the history of blackface and minstrelsy. But also because I have been in blackface myself, painted on me by a 16 year-old African-American girl at 4am, to participate in the traditionally all-black, all blackface Mardi Gras parade, Zulu. You cannot imagine what a surreal moment that was. There is a great deal to learn on the subject of the malicious caricature of black people in America, including fascinating things about watermelon (seriously), as one example, popular songs as another. It is a deep, deep subject, and I am not talking about the history of racism in America, I am talking only about, specifically, the stereotyping in the Jim Crow era (flowing over into the 20th Century) of black people.
I can't exactly say why, I just feel like it matters, for understanding the people around you and how they live and in understanding, doing better in your day to day life, to learn about things like the history of blackface, watermelon, minstrel shows, etc. Learn about code-switching (which we all do but not like minorities have to) and how much it is a part of black culture. Just learn more to try to understand other people.
Sorry, that went to a kind of personal, maybe a little strange, place, this just matters to me.

This is a pretty good article on some of this subject (there's a better one that I couldn't find quickly but I'll try to), but there's so much more to learn about Jim Crow stereotypes and how they continue to matter to this day.

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/ar ... pe/383529/
The debates this year about the Zulu blackface also struck a chord with me. I'm really not down with the reductive morality of Take Em Down NOLA (the main group opposing the Zulu makeup), with their intention to simplify history into a clear-cut moral ultimatum, and I would argue that the Zulu makeup barely qualifies as traditional blackface (a reference image for those not familiar). One of the things I like most about the Mardi Gras parades is their inversion of social standards, and I feel like Zulu's appropriation of blackface fits right into that (I kind of wish Zulu was more transgressive; they've definitely got tamer compared to when they started out).

I think it's profoundly important to have an on-going conversation about how they wear it and why they wear it, but eradicating nuance from the equation isn't a solution. Did you know Zulu almost stopped parading in the late 60s/early 70s after pushback from certain Civil Rights activists? Think what we would have lost if they'd ultimately caved to that attitude.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:55 am

Zodiac (2007) - 8/10
At its heart, Zodiac isn't focused on the Zodiac killer. What it actually is is a suspenseful and thoroughly intriguing tale on obsession. Through a mixture of clues and details surfacing as more information is revealed, various suspects and leads resulting in nothing but dead ends, and some truly unnerving and rather disturbing encounters with the Zodiac killer, Fincher cleverly wraps you up into the film's conflict as you become just as determined to discover who the killer is as the main character Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco cartoonist whose determination takes up over a decade of his life and often leads to him putting himself in danger to accomplish his goal (conveyed most strongly by the famous basement scene). This characterization makes him act as our proxy who we eagerly follow throughout the film, hoping for him to satisfy the obsession which steadily builds up throughout the film's 2 1/2 hour run time. Those who feel unsatisfied by the ending's lack of closure are feeling the full extent of what Fincher intended as the feeling of unsatisfied obsession hits you quite immensely and lingers with you long afterwards. Overall, while this film certainly has the potential to be great, I'm still sort of hanging in the very good camp as, while I enjoyed the first half quite a bit and was by no means bored with it, it wasn't until the second half that I was truly invested into the film, in which the obsession angle went into full effect (although, I don't mean to imply that the film which came before it was unnecessary by any means). Regardless, the masterfully executed obsession angle and other charms such as some strong performances (Gyllenhaal, Downey, Ruffalo), some occasional bits of humor, and several well-executed sequences of violence makes this movie one of the most effective crime films of the 21st century.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:00 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:55 am
Zodiac (2007) - 8/10

The scene where Gyllenhall is in the guy's basement might be one of the most tense experiences in a movie that I've felt.

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:08 am

Death Proof wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:00 am
The scene where Gyllenhall is in the guy's basement might be one of the most tense experiences in a movie that I've felt.
Indeed. It's a truly masterful moment as it felt like anything could go wrong at any moment.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:25 am

Macrology wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:40 am
The debates this year about the Zulu blackface also struck a chord with me. I'm really not down with the reductive morality of Take Em Down NOLA (the main group opposing the Zulu makeup), with their intention to simplify history into a clear-cut moral ultimatum, and I would argue that the Zulu makeup barely qualifies as traditional blackface (a reference image for those not familiar). One of the things I like most about the Mardi Gras parades is their inversion of social standards, and I feel like Zulu's appropriation of blackface fits right into that (I kind of wish Zulu was more transgressive; they've definitely got tamer compared to when they started out).

I think it's profoundly important to have an on-going conversation about how they wear it and why they wear it, but eradicating nuance from the equation isn't a solution. Did you know Zulu almost stopped parading in the late 60s/early 70s after pushback from certain Civil Rights activists? Think what we would have lost if they'd ultimately caved to that attitude.
It is to the choir you preach. I can only say that once you've been a part of it, you understand it in a way that the misguided and ill-informed never will. It belongs to them and that belonging is one of the most powerful statements that can be made on the subject of race. "We control our narrative, not you" is bigger than the sensitivities of people who are not a part of it but still somehow think they know better.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:30 am

Macrology wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:21 am
The blackface number in Swing Time was specifically a tribute to Bill Robinson, a black dancer and vaudeville performer and a mentor of Astaire's. It's an odd number, because it doesn't feel to me like he's performing in blackface, but rather performing as someone performing in blackface. Rather than deliberate mockery, it's an act of homage.

That doesn't make it not racist - it's still thoroughly problematic. The mockery is there whether or not that's what he intended. But that number genuinely fascinates me because it's so earnest and affectionate but the blackface jars so harshly with a modern perspective.
I agree that the dancing itself doesn't feel like mockery (as the "black" character he dances with a whole chorus line of white women) in either story or performance. The blackface itself is very simple: no big lips or other caricature elements. But at the same time--why not just see an actual black dancer? Why not be content with simply an homage in clothing? And the face we see at the beginning of the dance (made from the shoe soles) IS more caricature looking.

And yet the seeming lack of ill will does very little to quash how uncomfortable it is. What pushes me further into disliking it is the way that an actual black character is written later in the film: just very stereotypical wide-eyed, simple-speaking, vaguely inept, etc.

I agree that it's more nuanced than other blackface numbers I've seen in older films. But by the same token, good intentions aren't enough to undo the damage of such a jarring moment.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:35 am

On a totally different topic, is there a more one-dimensional, one-note mega-star than Robert Downey, Jr.?
And I actually like the guy, and of course really enjoy him as Tony Stark, but damn, dude, do you have any range at all? Like even one degree from exactly what you always do, even in Zodiac, where you just played the unhappy Tony Stark instead of the glib Tony Stark?

(To be relevant to the thread topic, this is my reaction to trying to re-watch Sherlock Holmes (2009), which I think I enjoyed after just the one Iron-Man movie, and making it about 15 minutes before I just couldn't watch him act exactly like he always has going back to Tuff Turf and Weird Science for one more fucking second.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:47 am

Wooley wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:35 am
On a totally different topic, is there a more one-dimensional, one-note mega-star than Robert Downey, Jr.?
And I actually like the guy, and of course really enjoy him as Tony Stark, but damn, dude, do you have any range at all? Like even one degree from exactly what you always do, even in Zodiac, where you just played the unhappy Tony Stark instead of the glib Tony Stark?

(To be relevant to the thread topic, this is my reaction to trying to re-watch Sherlock Holmes (2009), which I think I enjoyed after just the one Iron-Man movie, and making it about 15 minutes before I just couldn't watch him act exactly like he always has going back to Tuff Turf and Weird Science for one more fucking second.)
As for Zodiac, I wouldn't say he was one-dimensional. In addition to what you described, I also felt like he displayed some wit and sarcasm in certain moments of the film such as the humorous "Does it ever bother you that people call you 'retard'?" scene.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:23 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:01 pm
Get on that! I wanna gab about it and it seems no one else rushed out to see it.
I'd consider it, but, as I'm sure no one here needs to be reminded, Aster's last effort was my biggest cinematic disappointment of 2018 relative to expectations, and this one is sitting at a fairly whopping 8 points lower in its average score on RT, so...

:shifty:
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:45 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:30 am
I agree that the dancing itself doesn't feel like mockery (as the "black" character he dances with a whole chorus line of white women) in either story or performance. The blackface itself is very simple: no big lips or other caricature elements. But at the same time--why not just see an actual black dancer? Why not be content with simply an homage in clothing? And the face we see at the beginning of the dance (made from the shoe soles) IS more caricature looking.

And yet the seeming lack of ill will does very little to quash how uncomfortable it is. What pushes me further into disliking it is the way that an actual black character is written later in the film: just very stereotypical wide-eyed, simple-speaking, vaguely inept, etc.

I agree that it's more nuanced than other blackface numbers I've seen in older films. But by the same token, good intentions aren't enough to undo the damage of such a jarring moment.
Absolutely. The only explanation for why is that there was very little discourse about the morality of blackface at the time, especially in an industry as conservative as Hollywood. Mind you that's not an excuse, just an answer to the "whys" you were asking. They probably didn't think twice about it.

Also, while I see clips from that number now and again, it's been many years since I've watched all of Swing Time, so a lot of the particulars escape me.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:28 pm

I'd say that Toy Story 4 justified its existence and then some.
I wasn't surprised by the ending since I figured that if they were going to revisit the story it would be to give Woody a drastically different ending. not that it wasn't good and well-earned. but I should stop trying to anticipate stuff in movies so that when it happens I can sit back all smug and say "yup, just like I said it would." 'cause these are some heavy movies.
I was however surprised by the amount of junk they put in Bo Peep's trunk. somehow I know this was John Lasseter's doing!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:11 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:28 pm
I'd say that Toy Story 4 justified its existence and then some.
I wasn't surprised by the ending since I figured that if they were going to revisit the story it would be to give Woody a drastically different ending. not that it wasn't good and well-earned. but I should stop trying to anticipate stuff in movies so that when it happens I can sit back all smug and say "yup, just like I said it would." 'cause these are some heavy movies.
I was however surprised by the amount of junk they put in Bo Peep's trunk. somehow I know this was John Lasseter's doing!
Not my favorite Toy Story film as the main conflict felt like it was resolved a bit too easily, but a more than satisfying payoff to (what I assume will be) the end of the franchise. Pixar is awesome.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:29 pm

wait, which conflict? not Woody's existential conflict, primary to all other conflicts
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:41 pm

Stu wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:23 am
I'd consider it, but, as I'm sure no one here needs to be reminded, Aster's last effort was my biggest cinematic disappointment of 2018 relative to expectations, and this one is sitting at a fairly whopping 8 points lower in its average score on RT, so...

:shifty:
But now you're going in with low expectations which has almost always led to a more positive appreciation than high expectations, in my experience.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:45 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:29 pm
wait, which conflict? not Woody's existential conflict, primary to all other conflicts
The Gabby Gabby conflict. I was a bit surprised that it was resolved as easily as it was. I'd also argue that it was a major part of the film as it let to a lot of hurdles the characters had to jump over throughout the film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:07 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:45 pm
The Gabby Gabby conflict. I was a bit surprised that it was resolved as easily as it was. I'd also argue that it was a major part of the film as it let to a lot of hurdles the characters had to jump over throughout the film.
I kinda saw Woody giving up his voicebox thing as a step towards realizing that he didn't need to be a child's toy (or a "complete toy", that he could exist without the function that made him a non-broken plaything) anymore. or at least once he made that trade, it would make it harder for him to return to Bonnie, or any kid for that matter. just as it would be harder for Bo Peep to go another home now that she was broken. yeah, Woody could have done it right away if he wanted to. but he didn't want to until he did.

imo it was all kinda secondary to Woody finding his purpose
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:15 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:07 pm
I kinda saw Woody giving up his voicebox thing as a step towards realizing that he didn't need to be a child's toy (or a "complete toy", that he could exist without the function that made him a non-broken plaything) anymore. or at least once he made that trade, it would make it harder for him to return to Bonnie, or any kid for that matter. just as it would be harder for Bo Peep to go another home now that she was broken. yeah, Woody could have done it right away if he wanted to. but he didn't want to until he did.

imo it was all kinda secondary to Woody finding his purpose
Okay, that's a fair assessment. For what it's worth, I still liked this film quite a bit.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:19 pm

I know a lot of critics said that Buzz had a bit of a superfluous role but
the "she'll be ok, Bonnie will be ok" line could only have been given to Buzz. and he needed to be involved throughout the story for that payoff.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:50 pm

Midsommar - 7.5/10

Ari Aster obviously has the atmospheric skills but I'm not sure where the point is supposed to be. His signature seems to be modes of family trauma, and that's right up front here, but the connection to pagan archetypeture here is a very pale shadow of Wicker Man.
We all wanted Christian (*cough*) to suffer, but this is a very roundabout way of doing him in.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:12 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:50 pm
Midsommar - 7.5/10

Ari Aster obviously has the atmospheric skills but I'm not sure where the point is supposed to be. His signature seems to be modes of family trauma, and that's right up front here, but the connection to pagan archetypeture here is a very pale shadow of Wicker Man.
We all wanted Christian (*cough*) to suffer, but this is a very roundabout way of doing him in.
Perhaps it's because it's the lens that has taken over the world, but I can't help but interpret a Trumpian reading of the film. Essentially...
I think it's about how neglect, both perceived and real, and unmet needs open people up to the manipulations and cult mindset. The movie sort of forces viewers to empathetically watch as Dani descents and embraces the cult and fully understand the choices she makes, even if on paper, they're clearly insane choices to make.

I viewed Christian operating much in the way much of the population takes behaviors and thoughts for granted, and that his duplicity and abuses, while minor in comparison to the cult, fed into the necessary gaps that left an opening for them to fester.

Plus, the film is fairly upfront about how "selective" the cult is about breeding and that they are literally interpreting the will of a mentally handicapped person and allowing that to dictate their lives.

All those things just felt so close to the psychology of our political landscape that maybe, even if it weren't intentional, it's still highly applicable.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:02 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:12 pm
Perhaps it's because it's the lens that has taken over the world, but I can't help but interpret a Trumpian reading of the film. Essentially...
I think it's about how neglect, both perceived and real, and unmet needs open people up to the manipulations and cult mindset. The movie sort of forces viewers to empathetically watch as Dani descents and embraces the cult and fully understand the choices she makes, even if on paper, they're clearly insane choices to make.

I viewed Christian operating much in the way much of the population takes behaviors and thoughts for granted, and that his duplicity and abuses, while minor in comparison to the cult, fed into the necessary gaps that left an opening for them to fester.

Plus, the film is fairly upfront about how "selective" the cult is about breeding and that they are literally interpreting the will of a mentally handicapped person and allowing that to dictate their lives.

All those things just felt so close to the psychology of our political landscape that maybe, even if it weren't intentional, it's still highly applicable.
Hmmm hadn't thought of it that way, but you make sense. As for me, I was picking up bits and pieces here and there
(Americans pissing on the ceremonial trees of other countries seemed symbolic for example) but like JJ I didn't come away with a clear idea of what the point was. Fortunately for me, the "point" is generally less interesting to me than images and, in the case of horror films, just the experience of watching it, and I was completely on board here. I was also a fan of Hereditary, but I felt like the humor here was a plus. Films like these can easily stray into unintentional humor when you're in the wrong mood or with the wrong crowd, so I think acknowledging that and giving an occasional wink helps to nip that in the bud. Hereditary came dangerously close to taking itself too seriously, imo. (If there was any humor in Hereditary I've since blocked all memory of it)
But yeah, I'm definitely recommending this one.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:44 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:02 pm
Hmmm hadn't thought of it that way, but you make sense. As for me, I was picking up bits and pieces here and there
(Americans pissing on the ceremonial trees of other countries seemed symbolic for example) but like JJ I didn't come away with a clear idea of what the point was. Fortunately for me, the "point" is generally less interesting to me than images and, in the case of horror films, just the experience of watching it, and I was completely on board here. I was also a fan of Hereditary, but I felt like the humor here was a plus. Films like these can easily stray into unintentional humor when you're in the wrong mood or with the wrong crowd, so I think acknowledging that and giving an occasional wink helps to nip that in the bud. Hereditary came dangerously close to taking itself too seriously, imo. (If there was any humor in Hereditary I've since blocked all memory of it)
But yeah, I'm definitely recommending this one.
Absolutely! There's tons of actions that the Americans do that revel in their apathy, rationalization, and ethnocentrism. One of the things in particular that I loved is that...
Pelle tells them everything that's going to happen to them. "Think of all the Swedish women you will impregnate!" "My parents died in a fire." "You will think it's theater." Slicing his throat with his finger when asked what happens to the elderly in their camp.

And again and again, they ignore the truth because it's told directly to them and is too absurd to be believed at face value. It has to be American sardonic sense of humor.

It's hard for people to accept honest horrors. To echo the Trumpian reading, I frequently hear or heard that he didn't literally mean the horrible things he just said. Until he does exactly what he said.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:52 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:12 pm
Perhaps it's because it's the lens that has taken over the world, but I can't help but interpret a Trumpian reading of the film. Essentially...
I think it's about how neglect, both perceived and real, and unmet needs open people up to the manipulations and cult mindset. The movie sort of forces viewers to empathetically watch as Dani descents and embraces the cult and fully understand the choices she makes, even if on paper, they're clearly insane choices to make.

I viewed Christian operating much in the way much of the population takes behaviors and thoughts for granted, and that his duplicity and abuses, while minor in comparison to the cult, fed into the necessary gaps that left an opening for them to fester.

Plus, the film is fairly upfront about how "selective" the cult is about breeding and that they are literally interpreting the will of a mentally handicapped person and allowing that to dictate their lives.

All those things just felt so close to the psychology of our political landscape that maybe, even if it weren't intentional, it's still highly applicable.
I was hoping for something deeper than a topical metaphor. The great potential in the occult is how it triggers more subconscious strata. Wicker Man is a fine example of this, in its Knight-King-Virgin-Fool formula that ties tarot archetypes to pagan sympathetic ritual. Midsommar flirted a lot with the arcane, and Aster is an accomplished visual artist, but the film is stingy on the esoteric substance. Which is only a problem because it's dressed up in elaborate esoterica.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:10 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:52 pm
I was hoping for something deeper than a topical metaphor. The great potential in the occult is how it triggers more subconscious strata. Wicker Man is a fine example of this, in its Knight-King-Virgin-Fool formula that ties tarot archetypes to pagan sympathetic ritual. Midsommar flirted a lot with the arcane, and Aster is an accomplished visual artist, but the film is stingy on the esoteric substance. Which is only a problem because it's dressed up in elaborate esoterica.
It need not solely be topical. The psychology isn't solely linked to Trumpism and has occurred as long as cults have existed. I think it's a fairly unique exploration of that angle to cults as well...
To be up front in that the cult is nonsense. Using the deformed, inbred, mentally handicapped person to scribble and be interpreted their evolving holy text is a degree of concrete rejection of a cult as bullshit and yet the arc is still about how a person is pulled into the transparent bullshit.

Other films usually have the cult demonstrate some kind of potency if they seduce the character (the Witch, Kill List, Hereditary) or the cult, if a crock, is entirely rejected by the ill-fated protagonists (the Wicker Man, The Sacrement).

The seduction of a lie is a pretty great theme to riff on in the genre, especially in today's political climate but not solely in today's climate.
I don't see the film needing to do anything esoteric or directly related to Swedish folk tale, though I'd be interested in connections as I'm no expert on the subject. I think the film homages Wicker Man enough without needing to play with the same themes.

Hell...
They both end with burning a "Christian."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:38 pm

Yeah, the main message, for lack of a better word, that I was taking from it is that
the cult made her feel "held" which is why she chose to burn Christian over the volunteer. In that way I thought it was similar to The Witch's Thomasin embracing life among the witches. The Ugly American stuff was in there, but I didn't see that as the main thrust. Also, two of the outsiders were English which kind of threw a wrench into that idea anyway.

And holy crap I completely missed all of Pelle's clues (burning parents, boning Swedes, etc). Nice.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:59 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:38 pm
Yeah, the main message, for lack of a better word, that I was taking from it is that
the cult made her feel "held" which is why she chose to burn Christian over the volunteer. In that way I thought it was similar to The Witch's Thomasin embracing life among the witches. The Ugly American stuff was in there, but I didn't see that as the main thrust. Also, two of the outsiders were English which kind of threw a wrench into that idea anyway.

And holy crap I completely missed all of Pelle's clues (burning parents, boning Swedes, etc). Nice.
Definitely.
As I said to JJ, I think all the overt stupidity of the cult is important in that element as it highlights the absurdity of joining.

Thomasin, however, was pretty damn justified in turning to that Coven. Her families belief systems had utterly destroyed their unity and caused them to mistreat and abuse her throughout. Also, the Witches and Black Philip show potency. Their beliefs work (if the third act isn't a dream, of which I'm highly suspicious).

They're similar but I think Dani joining THAT cult with it's CLEARLY crazy believes puts it in the realm of horror that is very real and prescient but fairly unique.

I prefer the Witch overall, but it's horror of the other, failure of beliefs and disintegration of a family are all fairly common. In fact, most of those are in Egger's most obvious influence, the Shining.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:34 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:10 pm
I think the film homages Wicker Man enough without needing to play with the same themes.
Obviously it would be unfair of me to blame the film for not being as great as Wicker Man because, even among films purporting to be occult, few films are as articulate regarding the subject matter. BUT, it becomes a bit more fair when this film begins trafficking in Wicker Man homages, or rather some very liberal allusions to that film. The comparison thus invited draws the contrast in how the protagonist of Sgt. Howie embodies those moral virtues represented by the occult symbolism. His character is inseparable from these archetypes. Dani's May Queen, by comparison, is hollow. But I agree that we shouldn't have to make this comparison, if only we weren't so often reminded of it.


ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:59 pm
Thomasin, however, was pretty damn justified in turning to that Coven.
Wait. Didn't that goddamn witch
make broom lube out of her baby brother?
And speaking of all of this Ugly American stuff, which part of their behavior was worse than
wearing other people's faces.
I'm just trying to figure out how we're picking sides here.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:39 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:34 am
Obviously it would be unfair of me to blame the film for not being as great as Wicker Man because, even among films purporting to be occult, few films are as articulate regarding the subject matter. BUT, it becomes a bit more fair when this film begins trafficking in Wicker Man homages, or rather some very liberal allusions to that film. The comparison thus invited draws the contrast in how the protagonist of Sgt. Howie embodies those moral virtues represented by the occult symbolism. His character is inseparable from these archetypes. Dani's May Queen, by comparison, is hollow. But I agree that we shouldn't have to make this comparison, if only we weren't so often reminded of it.





Wait. Didn't that goddamn witch
make broom lube out of her baby brother?
And speaking of all of this Ugly American stuff, which part of their behavior was worse than
wearing other people's faces.
I'm just trying to figure out how we're picking sides here.
I think it not being as good as Wicker Man is as much of a problem for Midsommar in that it was a problem that Hereditary wasn't as good as Rosemary's Baby. Aster's craft and ideosyncracies do enough to give them merit even when they're derivative.

The Witch did indeed to that.

And nothing the Americans did is that bad. That's my point. Just like nothing Dems have done is as bad as the Trump administration.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:50 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:39 am
I think it not being as good as Wicker Man is as much of a problem for Midsommar in that it was a problem that Hereditary wasn't as good as Rosemary's Baby. Aster's craft and ideosyncracies do enough to give them merit even when they're derivative.
That's funny, because I also thought that the Paimon stuff was underdeveloped as a character theme in Hereditary.

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:39 am
Just like nothing Dems have done is as bad as the Trump administration.
This sounds like something Christian would say.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:56 am

Forbidden Zone
I've tried to watch this several times because it seems like something I would have absolutely loved when I was a teenager but I was never able to make it more than 10-15 minutes.
So this time, since I've watched the first 10-15 minutes at least 3 times, I decided to sort of skip through it, opening some wine and doing some other things while just catching the gist and then sitting down to it seriously once Frenchy goes into The Forbidden Zone.
And, of course, I ended up really enjoying the thing. Just the kind of totally brain-in-a-blender, sleazy, yet weirdly, low-rent artistic kinda shit I used to love and I guess still have enough of a soft-spot for to end up enjoying this, really quite a bit.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:11 am

I'm still working through my thoughts on Midsommar, which left me a bit cold but for reasons I can't pinpoint, but thought I'd share this interview where Aster talks about his influence:

https://www.indiewire.com/gallery/ari-a ... midsommar/
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:55 am

Had a few friends over for A Matter of Life and Death, and it worked like a charm on them. Every now and then they were chuckling at the straight-facedness of the film, but mostly they were laughing at the still-effective laughs (there's a touch of screwball to the quickness/cleverness of the dialogue). I'd forgotten that the Frenchman breaks the fourth wall to comment on the beauty of Technicolor! But anyway, the flick is still just so much my kind of flick. The sincerity, for sure, like how people tend to take each other at face value and with an inherent kindness, and with the way the script assumes you're intelligent (or at least open enough to not be put off by some arcane historical references - it's literate, not pretentious).

The biggest "error," such as it is, is the assumption that we'll buy that David Niven is 27 years old in-film when he has the look of a professorial 40-year-old (funnily enough, he was 36 at the time, not too far away from 27, but it was clearly a rough 36 years).

But what kind of criticism is that? It's not even a nitpick. Why bother? Who cares, when a film has this much imagination and this much heart and this much casual mastery of filmmaking? I love how people entering "Heaven" have a casual pleasantness about them - Heaven is presented less as a source of bliss than a source of relief and relaxation after hard lives. I love how the film works in wides and medium-wides, and the camera never calls attention even as it might start with a close-up of a rose and end with a long walk down a hallway. Or when a conversation with a doctor that could've been set anywhere takes place in what looks like a sort of banquet hall, where actors prepare for a Shakespeare play in the far background, women pose for art in the middle background, and the leads sit at a table in the foreground.

Imagine trying to pitch that shot nowadays. Even if you shot with intent to use the master, the studio would (reasonably) insist you shoot much more coverage, and then the editors would be pressured to use that coverage due to the time and money spent on organizing the shot back during principal photography.

Anyway, we all laughed at this exchange during that scene:

"You misspelled 'Shakespeare.'"
"What're you, his agent?"
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:46 am

Stranger Things - Season 3: 7/10

Russian Terminator rules.

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Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:40 pm

Rock wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:11 am
I'm still working through my thoughts on Midsommar, which left me a bit cold but for reasons I can't pinpoint, but thought I'd share this interview where Aster talks about his influence:

https://www.indiewire.com/gallery/ari-a ... midsommar/
These are definitely insightful on his visual tip. The Albert Brooks is uhhh, um, I mean I get it, but it's just so tonally different.

The film definitely still has me thinking about it, but I wish it had been more mythic, something I think is essential to the folk-horror genre. I like the aesthetic appropriations that Aster takes - the attestupa sequence is probably the film's most mesmerizing. A lot of it feels gratuitous though.
What's with the Frankie Valli bullshit?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:56 pm

Hotel Artemis - 7/10 - Since this came out around the same time as Bad Times at the El Royale they feel somewhat interlinked. They're both films about shady hotels catering to sketchy characters and while neither of them are home runs I preferred HA's grim fun and near future setting to BTatER's retro look and noir aspirations. It's good to see Jodie Foster in anything. I'm also a Dave Bautista fan.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Stu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:37 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:41 pm
But now you're going in with low expectations which has almost always led to a more positive appreciation than high expectations, in my experience.
Sorry, Sexington...

Image
Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:50 am
That's funny, because I also thought that the Paimon stuff was underdeveloped as a character theme in Hereditary.
I'd certainly say so, along with it being part of the worst-kept secret cult in cinema history, whether it be their members
setting effigies on fire right outside of the house of the family they're targeting, invoking a demonic rite loudly enough so a child at a school can hear it from across a busy public street (but absolutely no one else happens to notice it, apparently), or letting their members take home pictures of their rituals so relatives can discover them at narratively convenient points, which all demonstrates the somewhat sloppy, slap-dash execution that Aster took with the film. And that's not even getting into other problematic moments, like when so many strangers showed up at the funeral that Annie actually commented on it, but then just never bothered asking any of them how they actually knew her mother, or the way both parents are shown to be hyper-aware of Charlie's nut allergy later that scene, but they still both forget to make sure she has her Epipen with her not just once, but twice (a fact that Peter should've easily used as emotional ammo against Annie in their argument, which would've naturally added to the raw drama in that scene, but it just didn't happen, so that was another missed opportunity), or the problem of Milly Shapiro, which, besides the fundamentally exploitative nature of casting a young girl with an actual, easily covered-up physical deformity as the standard creepy kid in your Horror movie (so let's hope like crazy that she's home-schooled, or else she's in for some serious Jake Lloyd-style bullying), there's also the very odd fact that no one at home, school, or anywhere else ever remarks on her incredibly obvious cleidocranial dysplasia, a hereditary condition, in a movie driven by the theme of inherited familial curses, one that is actually called "Hereditary"!!! Seriously, what kind of writing is that?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:53 am

Just shut your Plausible mouth and go see Midsommar. At least you can revel in your wrongness on that one too.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:29 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:37 am
I'd certainly say so, along with it being part of the worst-kept secret cult in cinema history, whether it be their members
setting effigies on fire right outside of the house of the family they're targeting, invoking a demonic rite loudly enough so a child at a school can hear it from across a busy public street (but absolutely no one else happens to notice it, apparently), or letting their members take home pictures of their rituals so relatives can discover them at narratively convenient points, which all demonstrates the somewhat sloppy, slap-dash execution that Aster took with the film. And that's not even getting into other problematic moments, like when so many strangers showed up at the funeral that Annie actually commented on it, but then just never bothered asking any of them how they actually knew her mother, or the way both parents are shown to be hyper-aware of Charlie's nut allergy later that scene, but they still both forget to make sure she has her Epipen with her not just once, but twice (a fact that Peter should've easily used as emotional ammo against Annie in their argument, which would've naturally added to the raw drama in that scene, but it just didn't happen, so that was another missed opportunity), or the problem of Milly Shapiro, which, besides the fundamentally exploitative nature of casting a young girl with an actual, easily covered-up physical deformity as the standard creepy kid in your Horror movie (so let's hope like crazy that she's home-schooled, or else she's in for some serious Jake Lloyd-style bullying), there's also the very odd fact that no one at home, school, or anywhere else ever remarks on her incredibly obvious cleidocranial dysplasia, a hereditary condition, in a movie driven by the theme of inherited familial curses, one that is actually called "Hereditary"!!! Seriously, what kind of writing is that?
If I could change anything about the film, I would have
eliminated the supernatural element completely, leaving the more hallucinatory stuff as plausibly psychological, and leaving the possible alternate impression that this cult had basically orchestrated the psychological torture of this boy in order to fulfill their prophecy. One could still interprete a supernatural basis for many of the odd occurances in the film, but the film wouldn't commit either way and let the audience figure it out.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:57 pm

Image

Here's the first thing you need to know about this: Jakob Dylan and some of his fellow '90s friends recorded an album of covers devoted to the Laurel Canyon scene of 1965-67, and subsequently performed the songs in a concert. I did not know this, so I expected this film to be more of a documentary about the scene as opposed to a companion to this album. So all of those names on the right of the poster- expect to see a lot of them. Expect to see vintage footage of the Byrds performing a song, while audio of Dylan Jr and Friends plays over it. Expect those same 90s folks to sit around a table full of LPs talking about how great the songs were (thanks, Beck). Expect footage of Jakob driving around the canyon in a convertible.

Now with your expectations adjusted accordingly, there's still some interesting stuff here thanks to interviews with the people that actually lived there. But in the end, it just seemed like a series of anecdotes as opposed to any sort of history. I don't feel like I learned much. The names Jim Morrison and Joni Mitchell are literally never mentioned, let alone "lesser" names like Arthur Lee or Lowell George. (The official excuse is that Joni's debut arrived at the end of the period being covered, which is technically true but I mean, come on.) Zappa appears in a 30-second story told by S. Stills and is never mentioned again, and so on.

If you're interested in the subject it's worth your time if you can stream it for free, but I consider it a lost opportunity.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:37 pm

I really enjoyed the '70s crime drama Straight Time. It follows Max (Dustin Hoffman) a career burglar who makes an effort to go straight after his latest prison stay ends, but he goes back to his old ways very quickly after his scumbag parole officer (M. Emmett Walsh) wrongfully cites him for a violation. He hooks up with former partners Willy (Gary Busey) and Jerry (Harry Dean Stanton), who are just as eager to substitute their straight lives for what they do best. While it's an excellent portrayal of how hard it is to adjust to life after a long prison stay, the story is told in an abstract enough way for it to apply to any situation about the desire to trade how one has to live with how one wants to live. Max reminded me of the protagonists of Falling Down, Fight Club, Office Space, etc. in that he not only follows through on this desire, but also endures the harsh consequences for doing so. Besides the very game cast - Theresa Russell is also along for the ride as Max's skeptical girlfriend, as is a young Kathy Bates as Willy's cautious wife - the grittiness of the late '70s L.A. locales and the heist scenes, which are wisely depicted not as exciting, but as the scary, disturbing and sad events that they truly are, make the movie all the more watchable. I'm not sure about the popularity of this movie, but if you think you've seen all of the classic gritty dramas from the '70s, see this one next.

Reading about this movie's trivia is almost as entertaining as watching it. Michael Mann, who wrote an unused draft of the script, applied Max's traits to Neil McCauley in Heat. This movie also inspired Reservoir Dogs, which features Edward Bunker (R.I.P) as Mr. Blue, who wrote the book on which Straight Time is based.
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