Recently Seen

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Death Proof
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Death Proof » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:39 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:30 pm
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
C'mon man, Sicario was really fucking good, better than the story had any right to be.
And what was wrong with Wind River? That movie was really good too.
I liked Wind River. Depressing, but still good. Solid cast.

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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:08 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:51 am
Made me miss Yelchin all over again. Such a unique presence on screen that can seem timid without being pathetic. The closest I've seen to him is Michael J. Fox. Good company.
I know that it's a little silly to feel strong connections to people you only know on screen, but man do I get sad when I think about his death. Both the horrible circumstance of it and the lost potential of someone really talented. I was rewatching Odd Thomas a while back and there's a part where his character is talking about dying and it was unbearable--I had to fast forward.
Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:25 am
Yay, I'm glad. I had to be careful with my praise, as Letterboxd is full of 1-star reviews that are some variation of "OMG this girl is sooo stoopid!" Also I have to remind myself that not everyone shares my opinion that
every story is improved by adding a ghost.
So I thought that bit at the end might be a deal-breaker for some.
But yeah, I like a good lost in the woods movie, I thought the moments of tension were well-done (like when the friend doesn't recognize the selfie), and I was pulling for her to succeed.

There was a fun feature on the DVD regarding the bear. Apparently it was the most docile and lovable creature ever so they had to get creative with the editing, and digitally alter its facial expressions, in order to make it look at all menacing. It was simultaneously giant and terrifying but also adorable.
One reason I was okay with
the ghost is that the original introduction of "the guy in the woods" felt kind of like the film was going for a cheap "And maybe she'll get raped!" plot point, which I did not care for (like a knock-off version of that scene in Wild where that super creepy guy talked to her and she immediately is like "RUN!" and packs up camp).

The fact that what seemed like menace (the ominous warning about "predators" or him grabbing her leg as she climbs) turned out to be benevolent was kind of a neat twist.

I also liked that the zombie dream went on just long enough that I was starting to think, "Wait. *IS* this a dream?!".

Definitely a more subdued version of surviving in the woods thriller, but I liked it a lot just for that reason.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:10 pm

Three quick hitters:

Mademoiselle Paradis: There was a good film lurking in the surface of this...one that could have dealt with the blessing of talent as opposed to the curse of being blind or perhaps the fact that she started to gain her voice with Dr. Mesmer and her fellow patients as opposed to her controlling parents...but no, this focused on the most boring thread on how women in Mozart's time had so few options...sigh.

Snowpiercer: Bong Joon-Ho could use a good editor, but there's enough interesting ideas/moments/scenes/performances to climb aboard this train.

The Island Murder: Well before the Central Park Five, there was the Massie Five, five Hawaiians who might be guilty of slapping a woman drunkenly but more or less became scapegoats when a Navy sailor's wife accused them of sexual assault and attacking her. Throw in yellow dog journalism and Clarence Darrow and this makes for an interesting story...but one which could have used a bit more flair and flash in its telling.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:22 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:51 am
Researched Green Room. Fairly disappointed in the blu Ray transfer but man, that is one lean, mean piece of horror thriller that is so aligned with my tastes and interests, I feel like I could've made it.

Made me miss Yelchin all over again. Such a unique presence on screen that can seem timid without being pathetic. The closest I've seen to him is Michael J. Fox. Good company.
Seconded. I really, really enjoyed that one.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:14 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:35 am
I can't make it through more than a couple of minutes of any Breen youtube video. The guy is a delightful train wreck and all so maybe actually trying a movie would be different. But he comes off like one long extended SNL skit where the crux is readily apparent and there's not much left to be uncovered after the initial introduction.
It all depends on whether or not you have a taste for "so bad, it's good movies" like Tommy Wiseau's The Room. Double Down sort of plays out like something the love child of Tommy Wiseau and Tom Clancy would make. It's a Tommy Clanceau movie, if you will.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:22 am

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Sapphire - 7/10


Hate to say it, folks. I'm not too impressed with this one. At least two of the stars above are solely based on the strength of (some of) the concert performances and vintage cocaine vibes. I can watch Dylan really digging Patti Smith's baseball field crystal ball tales all day long. The problem is that someone (I hope not Marty) decided that it would be a good idea to muck up the myth with a lot of ill-advised bullshit (fictionalized people and accounts) when the story, as has been told in numerous books, is and should be fascinating enough without the contrived elaborations. Dylan talks about how masks facilitate truth. Maybe, but not here. In fact, laughing at all of the pitifully silly make-up and costumes that this fetishized Roma thought was seductive is half the fun of the film. Kinda like Renaldo & Clara, the original film document of the tour (from which much of the concert footage here is taken), and the foremost artifact of Dylan's deliberate opacity. That film was also silly in baffingly pretentious ways, and, combined with the scattered crap of Dylan's cinematic ambitions (Eat The Document, Masked and Anonymous), should prove adequete as evidence that this is a limitation to Dylan's talent of mythmaking that he was wise not to more often cross.

There are a couple of specific issues which are probably biases of an overly knowledgeable fan, but are still impossible to ignore. The biggest issue, by far, is the omission of "Clara", the sanctified muse of Dylan's original opus. This is Sara, of course, the sad eyed soon-to-be ex-wife who'd accompanied Dylan and the revue through the tour. Despite the fact that "Sara" was the climax of his new LP, Desire, and a staple of the show, this film omits not only any performances of this but virtually any sight of Sara herself - she isn't even mentioned once, except one stray implication. This dimension in Dylan's love life is obscured, and the film rather posits his affections between Joan Baez and violinist Scarlet Rivera, the latter being the woman whose affair with Dylan proved to be the final straw in his marriage. Sara's visual absence isn't entirely surprising, since Dylan was always super-protective of her and his private life, but to erase her so entirely from the story is regrettable.

The second issue is more obscure. This film doesn't spend much time on the Rolling Thunder's second leg, in the winter/spring of '76, and the new 14 disc box set of the tour only covers the first leg. I think the tale of the deterioration of the tour as it went on is a story in itself. This includes the fallout from both Baez and Sara, as his affair with Rivera became less and less discrete, as well as the tone (and quality) of the performances. One incident which proved to be devastating was the suicide of Phil Ochs, a folk singer from Dylan's Greenwich days who had appeared with the Revue when they played Gerdy's in NYC. By all accounts, Dylan took the news very badly and binged whiskey for the remainder of the tour. The strain of these events are pretty starkly revealed on Hard Rain, the original live LP from the period, recorded at the end of the tour, and sounding quite a bit worse for the wear. Reportedly, Sara had confronted Dylan before the show and told him she was leaving, for good this time. So Bob had to go out and belt "Idiot Wind" like he really was kissing goodbye the howling beast.

Sure, this film is a bulky 2 and a half hours (still slimmer than the four-hour Renaldo & Clara), but I fell this more complete version of events could be accomodated by, say, axing all of the pseudo-mockumentary bullshit. This cut, by Scorsese, seems bloated as it is, being far more indulgent and unfocused than his No Direction Home. I know that Dylan wants to play dress-up, cowboys and indians, wrap the whole shebang into an indecipherable shamanic shroud of touring. His equivalent of a baseball diamond crystal ball (with twitches). I guess Scorsese is game enough to play along.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:37 am

Torgo wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:14 pm
It all depends on whether or not you have a taste for "so bad, it's good movies" like Tommy Wiseau's The Room. Double Down sort of plays out like something the love child of Tommy Wiseau and Tom Clancy would make. It's a Tommy Clanceau movie, if you will.
Heh. The one movie that springs to mind that I liked is Kung Fury. But that doesn't really count since, unlike Breen's stuff, it was made to be bad. Breen's stuff is mostly cringe inducing. Hey, I used to be able to sit through the Faces of Death movies so I should just man up and watch a Breen. Maybe even James Nguyen's Birdemic.

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:03 am

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum - 8/10 - Almost too much action. I frankly don't see how they're going to top this for what will surely be Chapter 4. I thought Halle Berry was okay but the people I saw it with mostly disliked her character. I see it more as it could have been so much worse. You don't take away screen time from an appealing protagonist and not expect some sort of blowback. But it was handled as capably as it could be given that they had to somehow expand the narrative. Gotta hand it to them though. They keep finding new ways to punish the character. I don't know how long Keanu Reeves will be up to starring in a hardcore action series like this one but as long as he's game I'll keep watching.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by angine » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:30 pm

Dark Phoenix 7/10. Was not expecting to enjoy this as I find the Xmen movies average at best but as a turn your brain off visual and audio blast it ws enjoyable. I would sy it trumped Captain Marvel for me.
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crumbsroom
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:28 am

Spotlight

Whatever.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:44 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:28 am
Spotlight

Whatever.
Yup.

There was nothing horribly wrong with it, per se. But it added very little to what I already knew about the story, and certain sequences were clearly made up for the sake of storytelling, which just struck me the wrong way in a film about exposing lies.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:24 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:44 am
Yup.

There was nothing horribly wrong with it, per se. But it added very little to what I already knew about the story, and certain sequences were clearly made up for the sake of storytelling, which just struck me the wrong way in a film about exposing lies.
Yeah, that sums it up.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:46 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:24 am
Yeah, that sums it up.
At this point I find myself very rarely enjoying "based on a true story" films.

I would 99 times out of 100 watch a really well-done documentary. See the real people. Hear the real voices. Hear about events as they actually happened, not some version of them streamlined or sanitized to play better to an audience.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:56 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:46 am
At this point I find myself very rarely enjoying "based on a true story" films.

I would 99 times out of 100 watch a really well-done documentary. See the real people. Hear the real voices. Hear about events as they actually happened, not some version of them streamlined or sanitized to play better to an audience.
Well, especially in this case. It was an average way to spend two hours, but I'm not sure I got anything more from this than if I had just read the articles written by those who the movie was about. Nothing about this seemed tailored to the screen. Nothing I look for in movies was present here. The story was kind of telegraphed instead of portrayed cinematically. Their was no insight into these characters. The screenwriting seemed tepid. The dialogue meh. Even the narrative itself seemed to hit its mark and just continue to leisurely move forward towards where we already knew it was going. There really wasn't even a single scene that stood out. There were a couple of ripe ones though.

I don't get the appeal.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:43 am

Still haven't seen Spotlight. It's been recommended a couple times here in the past. I might check it out anyways.

As far as biopics in general go, I've expanded on my issues with them in the past, but it's how so many of them are just so uninteresting. Many of them have nothing on their minds other than to champion a person or a group of people. This barely scratches the surface of what movies can do. They may have a strong acting performance or two, but that's still not enough for them to be good films. I feel like the kinds of biopics which usually gel the best with me are ones which intentionally divert from the real world in service of providing an artistic point such as films like Hunger, Goodfellas, Amadeus, The Right Stuff, The Elephant Man, etc. It's just a shame that many films based on true stories tend to take the Oscar bait route.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:06 am

Here's a solid interview where David Simon explains what I liked about Spotlight better than I could have and taught me the word Quotidian in one fell swoop.

https://www.vulture.com/2015/11/david-s ... arthy.html
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Ergill
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:46 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:06 am
Here's a solid interview where David Simon explains what I liked about Spotlight better than I could have and taught me the word Quotidian in one fell swoop.

https://www.vulture.com/2015/11/david-s ... arthy.html
Didn't know it was that dude. Pretty cool.

I can't remember a lot about the film, but I remember enjoying it as a journalistic procedural. I think the idea of just reading the articles instead misses a lot of the point. It's as much about the process of writing the articles as it was about the content, and on that end, I trust it that Spotlight was spot on. Simon says. *dies of corniness*
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Stu » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:58 am

Wooley wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:30 pm
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
C'mon man, Sicario was really fucking good, better than the story had any right to be.
And what was wrong with Wind River? That movie was really good too.
I know a lot of people feel that way about Sicario, but that's why I can't agree with them, as, again, besides the one sequence I mentioned, I pretty much felt zero thrills while watching it, as it mostly felt like a fairly generic, detached cartel thriller (and that's without even comparing it to a certain other Josh Brolin movie involving cartels...), and, while it made something of an effort to acknowledge the tolls that the war on drugs, draconian immigration policies, and ends-justify-the-means black ops take on people on both sides of the border, in the end it felt like more of an excuse to indulge in an alpha male power fantasy for del Toro's character (something that the sequel apparently went all-in on to even lesser effect, which is why I didn't even bother with that one). As for Wind River, I did actually like it a lot on the whole, but it still had some problematic gender dynamics that's characterized some of Sheridan's screenplays to date, like two seperate scenes where
Olsen's FBI agent is caught off guard by assailants and nearly dies, while Renner immediately takes everyone he targets out in unstoppable badass fashion, then indulges in a bit of vigilante revenge justice before visiting Olsen in the hospital, where she starts crying as he stoically just watches.
I hate to complain so much like this about a movie I liked, but I can't deny that these aspects of its characterizations are just a bit cliched and played-out, and the movie would've been even better without them, as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:25 am

I thought Spotlight was low-key terrific apart from Ruffalo's breakdown, which spells things out a little too clearly. Felt like, "We need an Oscar clip, something." It reminded me a little of Schindler's breakdown. I get it, I respect it, the emotions aren't untrue. But I personally don't need it dramatized so fully.

But that's such a small thing in the scope of all the small choices and overall approach the film does right.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:04 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:28 am
Spotlight

Whatever.
Spotlight feels like a tv-movie compared to films like All The President's Men or The Insider. I watched the latter one this weekend and the entire time I was thinking "I can't believe this didn't won Best Picture and Spotlight did. And it had to lose from trash like American fuckin' Beauty".
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:30 pm

Spotlight is one I've been meaning to watch for a while now. Will probably tackle it during the next months.
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:37 pm

Stu wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:58 am
I know a lot of people feel that way about Sicario, but that's why I can't agree with them, as, again, besides the one sequence I mentioned, I pretty much felt zero thrills while watching it, as it mostly felt like a fairly generic, detached cartel thriller (and that's without even comparing it to a certain other Josh Brolin movie involving cartels...), and, while it made something of an effort to acknowledge the tolls that the war on drugs, draconian immigration policies, and ends-justify-the-means black ops take on people on both sides of the border, in the end it felt like more of an excuse to indulge in an alpha male power fantasy for del Toro's character (something that the sequel apparently went all-in on to even lesser effect, which is why I didn't even bother with that one). As for Wind River, I did actually like it a lot on the whole, but it still had some problematic gender dynamics that's characterized some of Sheridan's screenplays to date, like two seperate scenes where
Olsen's FBI agent is caught off guard by assailants and nearly dies, while Renner immediately takes everyone he targets out in unstoppable badass fashion, then indulges in a bit of vigilante revenge justice before visiting Olsen in the hospital, where she starts crying as he stoically just watches.
I hate to complain so much like this about a movie I liked, but I can't deny that these aspects of its characterizations are just a bit cliched and played-out, and the movie would've been even better without them, as far as I'm concerned.
Yeah, I just don't feel ya on this, I remember watching it and being like, "Holy shit, this movie is so much better than the plot suggests it should be. These characters are so much more complex and interesting than they strictly need to be to move the story and the film has more atmosphere and more care to it than this sort of film would usually warrant." I also thought very differently about Del Toro than you apparently did, not seeing him at all as an alpha male power fantasy but as a very complex and deep individual.

On the other film, I did not at all attribute a gender-dynamic problem to the difference between Olsen and Renner's characters, given that there is 10-15 years of difference in law-enforcement experience between them and it is very clear that she is very young for the job at hand. I actually read it the opposite way, that Olsen's character far exceeded what her degree of experience should dictate she would be able to do, which is partly why Renner seemed to have such genuine respect for her. I would almost have called it gender-affirming.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:45 pm

Ergill wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:46 am
It's as much about the process of writing the articles as it was about the content, and on that end, I trust it that Spotlight was spot on. Simon says. *dies of corniness*
I know what you mean about that procedural element, but maybe it was just because the events were so recent--I just didn't feel much of the suspense. I was almost *too* informed already, so there were very few surprises to be had. I was watching character be surprised (like finding the registry of priests or whatever) but I knew too much of the detail already to feel that surprise with them. I felt too much like I was just waiting for them to hit certain beats and I never really got swept away by it.

By contrast (and apologies if some find this comparison offensive), I was more taken by the fake journalistic procedure of American Vandal trying to figure out who drew the dicks.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:22 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:45 pm
I know what you mean about that procedural element, but maybe it was just because the events were so recent--I just didn't feel much of the suspense. I was almost *too* informed already, so there were very few surprises to be had. I was watching character be surprised (like finding the registry of priests or whatever) but I knew too much of the detail already to feel that surprise with them. I felt too much like I was just waiting for them to hit certain beats and I never really got swept away by it.

By contrast (and apologies if some find this comparison offensive), I was more taken by the fake journalistic procedure of American Vandal trying to figure out who drew the dicks.
I don't recall feeling much suspense either. I just like the process and negotiation aspects of it, I guess. It's been a minute, so details are fuzzy. Also, Batman.
Slentert wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:04 am
Spotlight feels like a tv-movie compared to films like All The President's Men or The Insider. I watched the latter one this weekend and the entire time I was thinking "I can't believe this didn't won Best Picture and Spotlight did. And it had to lose from trash like American fuckin' Beauty".
My sister was cast in The Insider, a couple dumb lines and everything, but her role was cut. She's tucked away in the background of a shot now. When she was walking onto the set, she passed by some pudgy old man smoking a cigarette and shot him a blow-offy "Hey" when he greeted her. Little while later, full-makeup Russell Crowe walks in and barks "You blew me off hahaha jk!" Real cut-up.

Her acting teacher (later mine) made the cut though. He's the process agent who serves Jeffrey at the airport before sassily waddling away. Pretty corny, and pretty sweet.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:37 pm

Regarding Spotlight, I think I would have been fine with the movie hunkering down into journalistic minutiae (even at the sake of conventional suspense, or fairly thin characterizations) but only if it had become even more meticulous about that element. If I felt more of the slog of this kind of leg work it may have made more of an impact with me. As it was, it seemed to pay some lip service to this, contrary to what many other splashier films of a similar nature might do, but it still didn't really push on it. Maybe those more familiar with these processes may have been engaged by recognizing oft overlooked parts of journalism, but it still felt like an awful lot of meh to me. In really every element.

Like a 6/10, I guess, if stupid numbers matter.

And, yes, I'm glad that dramatic moment with whatshisname didn't only seem out of place to me. The comparison with Schindlers List's ending was apt, except at least I felt Neeson's monologue was half decently written tacky shit, whereas Ruffulo' spiel was just pretty hack shit.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:23 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:37 pm
Regarding Spotlight, I think I would have been fine with the movie hunkering down into journalistic minutiae (even at the sake of conventional suspense, or fairly thin characterizations) but only if it had become even more meticulous about that element. If I felt more of the slog of this kind of leg work it may have made more of an impact with me.
Oh I get it. Like if Bela Tarr directed it and they made the spreadsheet out of potatoes and it took thirty minutes.
crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:37 pm
And, yes, I'm glad that dramatic moment with whatshisname didn't only seem out of place to me. The comparison with Schindlers List's ending was apt, except at least I felt Neeson's monologue was half decently written tacky shit, whereas Ruffulo' spiel was just pretty hack shit.
I personally thought it was a bold move to have Ruffalo break down crying and confess to his pedophilia before Keaton dropped him off a building.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:14 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:37 pm
Regarding Spotlight, I think I would have been fine with the movie hunkering down into journalistic minutiae (even at the sake of conventional suspense, or fairly thin characterizations) but only if it had become even more meticulous about that element. If I felt more of the slog of this kind of leg work it may have made more of an impact with me. As it was, it seemed to pay some lip service to this, contrary to what many other splashier films of a similar nature might do, but it still didn't really push on it. Maybe those more familiar with these processes may have been engaged by recognizing oft overlooked parts of journalism, but it still felt like an awful lot of meh to me. In really every element.

Like a 6/10, I guess, if stupid numbers matter.

And, yes, I'm glad that dramatic moment with whatshisname didn't only seem out of place to me. The comparison with Schindlers List's ending was apt, except at least I felt Neeson's monologue was half decently written tacky shit, whereas Ruffulo' spiel was just pretty hack shit.
Hey, his name is Marc Rufferlo, he played the Increbidle Holk.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:17 am

I watched ItCh:2

https://boxd.it/O0TRf
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:27 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:37 pm
whatshisname
As soon as I saw "whatever", I knew thy name was Mark Ruffalo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:37 pm

It Chapter 2: 7/10

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: 6/10

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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Stu
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Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, '74)

Post by Stu » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:29 am

Image

There ain't nothing sacred about a hole in the ground or the man that's in it.

A soft, soothing flamenco guitar begins to quietly play, setting the stage for an idyllic scene in the Mexican countryside, as a visibly pregnant young girl, clad in a virginal white dress, peacefully lounges by a goose-filled lake, lovingly rubbing her protruding stomach, just before being taken into a nearby church by several brusque thugs, where her father, a local crime lord, is holding court with the rest of his operatives. Upon her arrival, he asks "¿Quien es el padre?" ("Who is the father?"). The girl remains deathly silent, staring back at her father, determined to defy him. "¿Quien es el padre?", he asks again. Again, the girl refuses to answer. Running out of patience, the father motions for his men to humiliatingly disrobe her in front of the gathered crowd, and, when the girl yet again refuses to respond, he has her arm broken, the bone snapping with a gut-churning snap. The girl immediately confesses the identity of her child's father, and, as she's lead away in tears, the mafiosa barks "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!", a command that will lead to a trail of blood being spilled all across Mexico in Sam Peckinpah's incredibly dark, twisted work, a movie that, somehow, proves to be just as unique and transgressive as its iconically literal title.

Ironically, we never actually get to see Alfredo Garcia in person, but his specter looms large over the entire film, as it tells the story of Benny, a down-on-his-luck gringo who sees the quest for the titular head and the massive reward attached to it as the ticket to a better life for him and his girlfriend, a local singer named Elita, who had a personal relationship with Garcia that Benny seeks to take advantage of. However, despite this advantage, pretty much nothing goes right for Benny along the way, but, rather than draining the film's spirit, Alfredo Garcia's tragic fatalism instead gives it a dark, pulsating sort of life, as Benny's journey goes through a number of distinct sections, starting out with his relationship with Elita being compellingly developed through a number of surprisingly tender, intimate, and emotional moments they share together (including a surprise, long-awaited marriage proposal), which thoroughly establish Elita's independence and agency as a character apart from Benny (and somewhat belies Peckinpah's occasionally problematic treatment of his female characters), as Peckinpah wisely stops and takes the time for these moments in order to get us invested in their relationship before things start going south.

Really, during this part of the film, Alfredo Garcia honestly almost feels like a full-on romance at times... that is, until you remember that Benny's aiming to decapitate a man's head for money, a man who turns out to have already died in a drunk driving accident, a fact that renders the central journey fundamentally futile, and leaves the shadow of death looming heavily over their doomed relationship, as the grisly nature of the task horrifies Elita, and puts her love for Benny through an utterly painful stress, as she constantly begs him to turn back before it's too late, his constant rationalizations ringing increasingly hollow, before her violent, tragic (but inevitable) demise, a point where Benny's quest ceases to be about money at all, and instead becomes a way for him to get justice for Elita, vengeance for himself, and to make some sort of sense out of such a senseless quest, and all the lives it cost, due to the massive void left by the absence of the one love of his life

Of course, this insane journey into a south-of-the-border Hell would be impossible to care about without a strong central character driving it, but Alfredo Garcia has just such a protagonist with Benny, as the three-piece suit and cocky, outsized grin he puts on as he ekes out a living as a piano player in a dingy dive bar prove to be a bluff, a public mask covering up for the way that he feels like a complete "loser" on the inside, and the insecurity he feels in his relationship with Elita, which keeps him from fully committing to her. And, all of these character flaws eventually morph into an all-encompassing spiritual darkness after her death, with an increasingly demented Benny continuing his quest with nothing more than a severed head to talk to and keep him "company", as he constantly mourns the loss of Elita and the massive, unfillable void her absence has left within him, continues his romantic insecurity in a posthumous manner by revealing his jealousy at Alfredo's previous relationship with her (creating what is, without a doubt, one of the oddest "love triangles" in cinematic history), and expressing his intense self-loathing and regret at having ever taken up such a foolish bounty. The desperation positively reeks out of Warren Oates's body in every single frame of the film, with his absolutely commanding, magnetic lead performance reflecting the inner demons Peckinpah himself was exorcising with the film, right down to the ever-present "cool guy" sunglasses Oates personally borrowed from the iconic filmmaker, as the sickening, constantly increasing buzz of flies around the continually decomposing head mirrors the inner decay of Benny's very soul.

Finally, Garcia further distinguishes itself through Peckinpah's incredibly idiosyncratic overall approach to the film, with his emphasis on the coarse, run-down settings of its rural Mexican locales, which displays the country's relative poverty while still expressing a sincere affection for its rich culture, or through his sharp dialogue that's borderline philosophical in a sort of rough, salt-of-the-Earth manner, with in its musings on greed, the relativity of morality, and personal loss, as well as with the way that, while the film technically has plenty of shootouts, none of them are really "exciting" in the way that you've come to expect from a typical Action film, as they prove to be just as horrifying and distressing to witness on film as they would've been to experience for real, with the combination of the deafening gunfire on the soundtrack, the fractured, multi-layered editing, and Peckinpah's signature slow-motion bloodshed all dragging out the carnage in the most impactful of ways. In all of this and more, Bring Me The Head... proves to be the legendary director's masterpiece, and an utterly unique, one-of-a-kind film that's essentially impossible to put into any neat, tidy categories, but also equally impossible to look away from for a single second.

Favorite Moment:
Final Score: 9
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Wooley
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Re: Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, '74)

Post by Wooley » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:35 am

Stu wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:29 am
Image

There ain't nothing sacred about a hole in the ground or the man that's in it.

A soft, soothing flamenco guitar begins to quietly play, setting the stage for an idyllic scene in the Mexican countryside, as a visibly pregnant young girl, clad in a virginal white dress, peacefully lounges by a goose-filled lake, lovingly rubbing her protruding stomach, just before being taken into a nearby church by several brusque thugs, where her father, a local crime lord, is holding court with the rest of his operatives. Upon her arrival, he asks "¿Quien es el padre?" ("Who is the father?"). The girl remains deathly silent, staring back at her father, determined to defy him. "¿Quien es el padre?", he asks again. Again, the girl refuses to answer. Running out of patience, the father motions for his men to humiliatingly disrobe her in front of the gathered crowd, and, when the girl yet again refuses to respond, he has her arm broken, the bone snapping with a gut-churning snap. The girl immediately confesses the identity of her child's father, and, as she's lead away in tears, the mafiosa barks "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!", a command that will lead to a trail of blood being spilled all across Mexico in Sam Peckinpah's incredibly dark, twisted work, a movie that, somehow, proves to be just as unique and transgressive as its iconically literal title.

Ironically, we never actually get to see Alfredo Garcia in person, but his specter looms large over the entire film, as it tells the story of Benny, a down-on-his-luck gringo who sees the quest for the titular head and the massive reward attached to it as the ticket to a better life for him and his girlfriend, a local singer named Elita, who had a personal relationship with Garcia that Benny seeks to take advantage of. However, despite this advantage, pretty much nothing goes right for Benny along the way, but, rather than draining the film's spirit, Alfredo Garcia's tragic fatalism instead gives it a dark, pulsating sort of life, as Benny's journey goes through a number of distinct sections, starting out with his relationship with Elita being compellingly developed through a number of surprisingly tender, intimate, and emotional moments they share together (including a surprise, long-awaited marriage proposal), which thoroughly establish Elita's independence and agency as a character apart from Benny (and somewhat belies Peckinpah's occasionally problematic treatment of his female characters), as Peckinpah wisely stops and takes the time for these moments in order to get us invested in their relationship before things start going south.

Really, during this part of the film, Alfredo Garcia honestly almost feels like a full-on romance at times... that is, until you remember that Benny's aiming to decapitate a man's head for money, a man who turns out to have already died in a drunk driving accident, a fact that renders the central journey fundamentally futile, and leaves the shadow of death looming heavily over their doomed relationship, as the grisly nature of the task horrifies Elita, and puts her love for Benny through an utterly painful stress, as she constantly begs him to turn back before it's too late, his constant rationalizations ringing increasingly hollow, before her violent, tragic (but inevitable) demise, a point where Benny's quest ceases to be about money at all, and instead becomes a way for him to get justice for Elita, vengeance for himself, and to make some sort of sense out of such a senseless quest, and all the lives it cost, due to the massive void left by the absence of the one love of his life

Of course, this insane journey into a south-of-the-border Hell would be impossible to care about without a strong central character driving it, but Alfredo Garcia has just such a protagonist with Benny, as the three-piece suit and cocky, outsized grin he puts on as he ekes out a living as a piano player in a dingy dive bar prove to be a bluff, a public mask covering up for the way that he feels like a complete "loser" on the inside, and the insecurity he feels in his relationship with Elita, which keeps him from fully committing to her. And, all of these character flaws eventually morph into an all-encompassing spiritual darkness after her death, with an increasingly demented Benny continuing his quest with nothing more than a severed head to talk to and keep him "company", as he constantly mourns the loss of Elita and the massive, unfillable void her absence has left within him, continues his romantic insecurity in a posthumous manner by revealing his jealousy at Alfredo's previous relationship with her (creating what is, without a doubt, one of the oddest "love triangles" in cinematic history), and expressing his intense self-loathing and regret at having ever taken up such a foolish bounty. The desperation positively reeks out of Warren Oates's body in every single frame of the film, with his absolutely commanding, magnetic lead performance reflecting the inner demons Peckinpah himself was exorcising with the film, right down to the ever-present "cool guy" sunglasses Oates personally borrowed from the iconic filmmaker, as the sickening, constantly increasing buzz of flies around the continually decomposing head mirrors the inner decay of Benny's very soul.

Finally, Garcia further distinguishes itself through Peckinpah's incredibly idiosyncratic overall approach to the film, with his emphasis on the coarse, run-down settings of its rural Mexican locales, which displays the country's relative poverty while still expressing a sincere affection for its rich culture, or through his sharp dialogue that's borderline philosophical in a sort of rough, salt-of-the-Earth manner, with in its musings on greed, the relativity of morality, and personal loss, as well as with the way that, while the film technically has plenty of shootouts, none of them are really "exciting" in the way that you've come to expect from a typical Action film, as they prove to be just as horrifying and distressing to witness on film as they would've been to experience for real, with the combination of the deafening gunfire on the soundtrack, the fractured, multi-layered editing, and Peckinpah's signature slow-motion bloodshed all dragging out the carnage in the most impactful of ways. In all of this and more, Bring Me The Head... proves to be the legendary director's masterpiece, and an utterly unique, one-of-a-kind film that's essentially impossible to put into any neat, tidy categories, but also equally impossible to look away from for a single second.

Favorite Moment:
Final Score: 9
Well, you got my attention.
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Macrology
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:49 pm

Just dropping in from Slovakia to say that yes, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is excellent. How could it not be, with that title?
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:34 pm

The Dead Don't Die - 6/10 - I've seen a shitload of zombie movies and this ... is one of them. It's Jim Jarmusch so it shouldn't be considered a (complete) waste of time but I think it is one of his rare misfires. Watch it and appreciate the first rate cast he attracted, even though they're ultimately wasted. And try not to dwell on the haphazard script with it's fourth wall breaking and listless social commentary. It's his homage to George Romero (or maybe it's a sendup) and a specific subgenre of horror flicks and I think he's earned some leniency.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Death Proof
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:56 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:14 am
Hey, his name is Marc Rufferlo, he played the Increbidle Holk.
I thought he was Dave "The Mighty Bruce" Banner.

And it's spelled Maark Rufflelow.

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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crumbsroom
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:33 pm

Ergill wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:23 am
Oh I get it. Like if Bela Tarr directed it and they made the spreadsheet out of potatoes and it took thirty minutes
I'm an easy audience. All it takes is a couple of undercooked potatoes to shore up my critical appraisal.
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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:41 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:33 pm
I'm an easy audience. All it takes is a couple of undercooked potatoes to shore up my critical appraisal.
Image
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:12 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:34 pm
The Dead Don't Die - 6/10 - I've seen a shitload of zombie movies and this ... is one of them. It's Jim Jarmusch so it shouldn't be considered a (complete) waste of time but I think it is one of his rare misfires. Watch it and appreciate the first rate cast he attracted, even though they're ultimately wasted. And try not to dwell on the haphazard script with it's fourth wall breaking and listless social commentary. It's his homage to George Romero (or maybe it's a sendup) and a specific subgenre of horror flicks and I think he's earned some leniency.
Aw, I liked it. Though I seem to be the only one.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:58 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:12 am
Aw, I liked it. Though I seem to be the only one.
I didn't hate it. I liked it. Mostly because of the things I mentioned. The cast. The fact that it's Jarmusch. The specific genre. But I didn't like-like it either. I'd probably let it cop a feel. Over the sweater of course.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:12 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:12 am
Aw, I liked it. Though I seem to be the only one.
I'm a big fan. Consistent giggles.
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Wooley
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:49 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:12 pm
I'm a big fan. Consistent giggles.
:up:
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:34 am

Can You Ever Forgive Me? - 8/10 - Melissa McCarthy is great in this. I can see why she surprised so many people in a dramatic role and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Richard E. Grant is also great. But McCarthy's Lee Israel is such an unlikable character that it's hard to work up much sympathy or root for her. Her final statement before her sentencing goes a ways towards explaining her cantankerous attitude but it also comes off as too little too late. This shouldn't be considered a must see. But it is always good to see a normally comedic actor stretch their acting muscles. I hope McCarthy has as many opportunities as someone like Robin Williams did to show that side of themselves.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Beau » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:17 am

I loved Sicario, and agree with Wooley that Del Toro's character never came across as a power fantasy to me, mostly because there isn't much space in Villeneuve's brooding, oppressive atmospherics for anything so celebratory. (I think Arrival is as bright and sunshiny as the man gets.) Villeneuve can be a little overbearing at times. (Prisoners and Enemy, in particular.) But when he clicks (and Blade Runner and Sicario really click with me), he has a knack for giving every image a sort of dense, existential weight, like the fate of the world hangs on a shadow. Really looking forward to his Dune, and I think he's the right man for the job. Certainly more so than Lynch, who wasn't a good fit for the material at all. (And Jorodowsky's mad project may not have been any better, either. It would have barely even been Dune, in the end.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:32 am

Los Olvidados (1950) - 9/10

As a whole, the fact that this is still a really great film in spite of my somewhat tepid reaction to the relationship between Pedro and Jaibo is really something. For one, the film took great care in developing the children in the slums in ways which most other directors would've likely shied away from. In addition to the neglect Pedro faced by his mother, several other conversations with the slum kids showed how they also had rough lives with their parents as many of them were mistreated by them and ran away from home as a result. Due to this choice, Bunuel showed that the reason the slum kids occasionally robbed and beat people on the streets was largely due to the mistreatment and neglect they faced. There was also a subtle suggestion that there was a never ending cycle to this. As detestable as the actions of the slum kids were though, Bunuel showed great sympathy for them and, in turn, put you in their shoes and asked you to understand why they did what they did, while not necessarily asking for you to approve of it. I also loved the arcs of certain characters such as Pedro's mother and Don Carmelo due to the unexpected and memorable ways they evolved throughout the film. In addition to all of this, the occasional touches of surrealism and the overall bleak tone were also effective.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:41 am
Image
"They say he carved it from a bigger spoon."

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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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:47 am

The Invisible War (free on Prime)

I've avoided this documentary about sexual assault in the military for 7 years because I was nervous that it would be too upsetting. I figured I'd watch it in little chunks, but once I started watching I just couldn't stop.

The stories are, of course, harrowing and tremendously upsetting. The woman who is hit so hard that discs in her head/jaw fracture. A woman stationed at an isolated base in Alaska with only other men whose calls are monitored by a male operator on base and thus can't ever tell her father why she's calling and begging him to help her get out. A woman who was forced to walk the infamous "Gauntlet" at Tailhook. The woman who for weeks tried to get away from a commanding officer who would call her drunk at 3am, or whom she would come back to her room and find sleeping in her bed and was told "You can't get a transfer just because you don't like someone." On and on.

But the film isn't just set on documenting the horrors that these women experienced. It's sights are set much higher. It's real objective is to expose the horribly flawed system of "justice" that fails to support victims and allows almost all perpetrators to escape all but the most superficial punishments.

The film devotes some time to male survivors of military assault. As the film points out, men in the military are raped at a much lower rate than women (1% versus 20%), but because men outnumber women in the military by such large numbers, the actual number of male victims (~20,000) exceeds that of female victims. With male victims, however, reports are incredibly rare, and so the film turns mostly to female victims to document the various ways that the system victimizes them over and over when they do dare report.

Where to even begin. In many cases, women who were raped were charged with adultery because their rapists were married men. One woman who was assaulted (the one with the damaged jaw) is repeatedly denied benefits by the VA. Instead she's prescribed mountains of pills while what she needs is corrective surgery. As the film points out, even when a rapist is investigated, the commanding officer is the one who gets to decide whether or not charges are filed, not the investigators. Forced to follow the chain of command, many women do not report because their superior is close with their rapist or actually is their rapist. The military's attempts to reduce rape is a poster campaign and a series of cringe-worthy PSAs. The emphasis of many of the PSAs is on what they call "prevention", ie telling the women not to put themselves in that position. (We watch one PSA where a woman is attacked and then runs into the safety of two men who then ask her "Why aren't you walking with a buddy?!").

The film includes interviews with multiple stakeholders. Spouses and parents of victims (most of them veterans themselves). Former military investigators, psychiatrists, and commanders. Male veterans who are survivors. Current military representatives. The film makes sure to present up front that all of their statistics come from studies conducted by the military themselves or the government.

By the end of the film the message expands. This isn't just about the military, it isn't just about women. It's about recognizing how power is distributed/assigned in a system and how those power imbalances can lead to victimization. That people who get away with crimes (especially a crime like rape that tends to be repeated) become empowered and learn to master the system.

This isn't an easy film to watch (the section where multiple women recount their suicide attempts--and one husband talks about finding his wife in the act of attempting to kill herself--is brutal), but I think it's an important one.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:55 am

And by the by: recommendations for good action/thriller/horror on any of the major streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu)?

With the school year swinging into full gear I'm unabashedly looking for some good quality escapism.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:07 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:47 am
The Invisible War (free on Prime)
It's been a while since I watched this so I don't have anything specific to add, other than to second the recommendation. Prepare to be infuriated.

Have you seen The Hunting Ground, also by Kirby Dick? It's about sexual assault on college campuses and the stories are remarkably and annoyingly similar. Girls having to report their assaults through absurd chains of command, etc. Equally infuriating. The fact that Jameis Winston has an NFL career is one of the reasons I can't watch football anymore. I'd recommend that one also.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:20 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:07 am
It's been a while since I watched this so I don't have anything specific to add, other than to second the recommendation. Prepare to be infuriated.

Have you seen The Hunting Ground, also by Kirby Dick? It's about sexual assault on college campuses and the stories are remarkably and annoyingly similar. Girls having to report their assaults through absurd chains of command, etc. Equally infuriating. The fact that Jameis Winston has an NFL career is one of the reasons I can't watch football anymore. I'd recommend that one also.
No, it's another longstanding "to-see" film that I keep dancing around.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:39 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:55 am
And by the by: recommendations for good action/thriller/horror on any of the major streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu)?

With the school year swinging into full gear I'm unabashedly looking for some good quality escapism.
I don't know if you've seen The Night Comes For Us already or not, but that is one of the best action movies of the past few years. It's a Netflix original.
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