Recently Seen

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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:04 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:59 am
There’s a general trend SK cinema to use their analogs to NK as ultimately interchangeable with Southerners. Ultimately a “we’re all one people” idea. Both parties are facing oppressors that exploit them and they’re ultimately in the same place, even if one can catch a glimpse of freedom.
Okay, fair enough. I wasn't aware of that beforehand.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:12 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:04 am
Okay, fair enough. I wasn't aware of that beforehand.
For the most overt version of it, check out Joint Security Area by Park Chan-wook. It’s not even subtext in that one. Just text.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:42 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:12 am
For the most overt version of it, check out Joint Security Area by Park Chan-wook. It’s not even subtext in that one. Just text.
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:17 am

Re: Parasite social commentary...

Do the rich prey off the poor?

What would constitute the rich not preying off of the poor? A livable wage? More than that? How much are they paying them? What else should they offer? Presumably healthcare is covered by the government since this is not America. Pension, likewise. There are certainly ways in which the rich can be parasites on the poor. It’s not merely by default, though. I didn’t see anything in the film to point to that.

...but what about the smell? Yes, the rich father was an entitled asshole. Is that social commentary?

The rich family did fire their employees, though! But only under duress due to being conned. I’m not sure those extenuating circumstances give their actions any larger social commentary.

The guy in the basement was hiding from debt collectors, likely black market ones given the physical abuse they handed down to his wife. Is that social commentary? Sure! One scene, unrelated to the main film.

The main family is poor, though! Social commentary? Sure! Is this concept developed much? Not really, they all become con men and women and thus their financial struggles are pretty irrelevant, other than the fact that they never move to a better house? Why don’t they? I couldn’t figure that out.

Oh, and who else exploits the main poor family? A local small family owned business in the film’s opening scenes! Social commentary! But - not against the rich people...

I think the film comments thusly: there is a lot of income inequality in Korea, and this causes people to cheat and to make poor decisions in that rich people don’t have to face - mixed with some interspersed jokes about worshipping the rich.

That’s all I really got. The rest of it was an entertaining thriller about people conning a rich family, with some other twists that don’t really have a lot to say about society.

The basement guy worshipping the Park family could be an allusion either to N Korea, in which case it is pretty poorly done because the Parks don’t seem to actively push propaganda about themselves, or about the poor worshipping the rich, which seems more accurate. Not suuuper deeply developed in either case, so I wouldn’t really give it much thought.

It seems strange that people are praising this as some sort of insightful film, though, when it’s almost entirely devoted to personal ego battles and high stakes criminal behavior. Why can’t it be what it is, and not try to make it into something it’s not much of?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:17 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:42 am
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for it.
It’s apparently free on Tubi. It’s also got Song Kang Ho from Parasite (and most other great SK films it seems) and is a Rashomon styled story about what occurred when North and South Korean soldiers met in the demilitarized zone. It’s dang good.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:36 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:17 am
It’s apparently free on Tubi. It’s also got Song Kang Ho from Parasite (and most other great SK films it seems) and is a Rashomon styled story about what occurred when North and South Korean soldiers met in the demilitarized zone. It’s dang good.
Okay, thanks once again. I might check it out next weekend.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:22 am

Welp, Calle Mayor is just about as sad as a film can be.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:26 am
Reflections on To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, a film I haven't seen since my 12th birthday.

1) Oh, thank god, some of it is still pretty funny. Snipes deadpanning "Little latin boy in drag, why are you crying?", RuPaul in a confederate flag dress as a queen called Rachel Tension, Chris Penn's homophobic sheriff loudly musing about what it must be like for two men to make love ("Stubbly chins . . . rubbing together").

2) The drag is surprisingly decent. The choice to not ever show the characters as men is interesting.

3) It's a little painful as an adult to watch the broad strokes of the "problem solving." A woman being horribly physically and emotionally abused by her husband is saved by him being punched a few times and he just decides to go away. A group of young men who were ready to gang rape a young woman are turned into polite gentlemen by one firm talking-to. A police officer who declares he's going to bring back the drag queens "as corpses" decides not to pursue them anymore because he is teased by some townsfolk. I know it's the superficial nature of this kind of comedy, but still.

4) It's so strange to think that both Chris Penn and Patrick Swayze are no longer alive. And that both were outlived by Alice Drummond who plays the very old lady in town.

5) I can't quite explain my emotions when seeing such 90s humor. Like the weird two minutes where the queens are magical while they decorate their hotel room?

Anyway, I tend to be pretty hard on myself about the stuff I liked when I was younger, but I see why this one so appealed to me.
I remember walking blind into that film with my two best friends back in 1995, and not really knowing what to think. Not sure how it would fare now.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by djerdap » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:13 pm

Parasite was classic Bong. Interesting perspectives here on the film, to which I'd add a couple of thoughts...
The sudden and effective tonal shifts, the suspenseful setpieces which impeccably combine the absurd with the dangerous, and the silly humour (in a good way) which finally gives way to a sombre sense of atmosphere, culminating in a moving but ominous ending... This was all one could expect from a director with at least one masterpiece up his sleeve (Memories of Murder).

As to the meaning of the title, I guess the obvious answer would be that wealth itself is the parasite, but I would also emphasise that the parallels with North Korea can also manifest in the narcisstically shallow, religious love of materialism (their Great Leader) all characters seem to share (I don't think it's an accident - even though it's a common surname in Korea - that the family is called Kim), and of the willful ignorance of not just the class disparities, but the socio-political crisis which is acknowledged conventiently and symbolically through a mock nuclear bunker below the flashy and garish top floor. How does one deal with a threat like a nuclear war, and with the willful blindness to economic and social inequality (could there be scenarios like these in abundance if there ever is a unification of the peninsula)? Consume, cheat, lie, worship... Rinse and repeat. And as the final scene depicts, the son literally gets a brain surgery... and doesn't seem to learn anything. The circle goes on - that house is still the goal. To "fit in" at an over-the-top birthday ceremony is the objective. In the North, to fit in means to be endlessly subservient to the State. For a willfully ignorant family from the South, it means to be (or to aspire to be) as shallow and putrid of a consumer as one can get.

I think I should rewatch this before giving it a final verdict (there are some plot and character decisions I found hard to swallow - like the decision to let the former housekeeper in the house still makes little sense to me, or I wonder... shouldn't there be some kind of paperwork behind employing a family... and therefore finding out it actually is a family? Or was the whole thing forged by the daughter?), but it definitely stuck with me afterwards. That's always a good sign.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:24 pm

djerdap wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:13 pm
As to the meaning of the title, I guess the obvious answer would be that wealth itself is the parasite
Not sure that makes any sense. This sounds like rich people propaganda: "Our wealth is evil! You don't want it! You should thank us for holding onto it for you!"

The rich peoples' lives are clearly easier than the poor people's lives. Poverty does not look like a friendly bedfellow. Poverty as a parasite, sucking all of your choices away, forcing you to choose between your livelihood and your dignity - that makes A LOT more sense. And perhaps the least necessary artistic statement of all time.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by djerdap » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:29 pm

LEAVES wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:24 pm
Not sure that makes any sense. This sounds like rich people propaganda: "Our wealth is evil! You don't want it! You should thank us for holding onto it for you!"

The rich peoples' lives are clearly easier than the poor people's lives. Poverty does not look like a friendly bedfellow. Poverty as a parasite, sucking all of your choices away, forcing you to choose between your livelihood and your dignity - that makes A LOT more sense. And perhaps the least necessary artistic statement of all time.
Actually, to rephrase, of which I write further above - the desire for wealth - and the ignorance and the unscrupulousness that comes with it - is the parasite. The Kim family are not just poor and desperate (making them more unique and complex in their portrayal than many other movies where poor people do desperate things), they wallow in their temporary victories in an almost sadistic manner. To use a line from the movie - they "cross the line" many times, making their choices much less understandable (and at the same time, more compelling).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:49 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:19 pm
I remember walking blind into that film with my two best friends back in 1995, and not really knowing what to think. Not sure how it would fare now.
Better than I expected.

I'm also rewatching The Matrix for the first time in like 20 years, and apparently I'd forgotten a lot of stuff that happened in that film!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:47 am

djerdap wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:29 pm
Actually, to rephrase, of which I write further above - the desire for wealth - and the ignorance and the unscrupulousness that comes with it - is the parasite. The Kim family are not just poor and desperate (making them more unique and complex in their portrayal than many other movies where poor people do desperate things), they wallow in their temporary victories in an almost sadistic manner. To use a line from the movie - they "cross the line" many times, making their choices much less understandable (and at the same time, more compelling).
...but why does unscrupulousness come with it? We see another family trying to gain wealth starting a business - and that family rightfully deducts pay from the Kim family because the Kim family doesn't do what they had promised to do. The Kim family are unscrupulous in ways that other families attempting to acquire wealth are not. You could say that the film goes out of its way to demonstrate that the Kims are not a universal example, just a family that makes a choice to be unscrupulous.

I have more wealth than some of my friends due to working at a well paying job. Does that make me unscrupulous? It seems like an awfully empty idea, and if that IS the idea at the heart of the film... that's a pretty awful film.

I also see them as very, very simple and not complex at all. I'm not sure where you see complexity?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by djerdap » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:26 am

LEAVES wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:47 am
...but why does unscrupulousness come with it? We see another family trying to gain wealth starting a business - and that family rightfully deducts pay from the Kim family because the Kim family doesn't do what they had promised to do. The Kim family are unscrupulous in ways that other families attempting to acquire wealth are not. You could say that the film goes out of its way to demonstrate that the Kims are not a universal example, just a family that makes a choice to be unscrupulous.

I have more wealth than some of my friends due to working at a well paying job. Does that make me unscrupulous? It seems like an awfully empty idea, and if that IS the idea at the heart of the film... that's a pretty awful film.

I also see them as very, very simple and not complex at all. I'm not sure where you see complexity?
Maybe the point of our disagreement is that I don't think the movie is trying to convey an universal truth that achieving wealth is bad (and I certainly don't think that). I think it tells a specific story on two very different families - and how their greed and envy on one side (the Kim family is not just trying to get themselves out of poverty - that's the key thing to consider; their appetites are much bigger), and an annoying sense of entitlement and ignorance on the other side, can lead to extremely destructive and ultimately pointless conflicts. It's the way the Kim family desires and tries to achieve wealth, materialised through its unhealthy fixation on materialism, what makes the film compelling and slightly different than some of the other class conflict narratives.

I see the Kim family as complex through many character features - the self-loathing and a sense of worthlessness for the father (manifested in the smell, but note he is the one who is thinking about what happened to the previous driver after his sacking, making the father aware of the consequences they exude on others), making him prone to misdirected violence; the machievalliean protectiveness of the mother, the squandered potential of the daughter and the dreamy, misguided ignorance of the son. The more I think about the characters, the more I get from their insecurities and contradictions. There are similarities to the characters in Memories of Murder and their self-destructive hunt for vindication and fulfillment. To conclude, I think Bong's work is far more layered than what its genre-based and twist-focused narrative might offer on the surface. But naturally, we can agree to disagree. ;)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by LEAVES » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:15 pm

djerdap wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:26 am
Maybe the point of our disagreement is that I don't think the movie is trying to convey an universal truth that achieving wealth is bad (and I certainly don't think that). I think it tells a specific story on two very different families - and how their greed and envy on one side (the Kim family is not just trying to get themselves out of poverty - that's the key thing to consider; their appetites are much bigger), and an annoying sense of entitlement and ignorance on the other side, can lead to extremely destructive and ultimately pointless conflicts. It's the way the Kim family desires and tries to achieve wealth, materialised through its unhealthy fixation on materialism, what makes the film compelling and slightly different than some of the other class conflict narratives.

I see the Kim family as complex through many character features - the self-loathing and a sense of worthlessness for the father (manifested in the smell, but note he is the one who is thinking about what happened to the previous driver after his sacking, making the father aware of the consequences they exude on others), making him prone to misdirected violence; the machievalliean protectiveness of the mother, the squandered potential of the daughter and the dreamy, misguided ignorance of the son. The more I think about the characters, the more I get from their insecurities and contradictions. There are similarities to the characters in Memories of Murder and their self-destructive hunt for vindication and fulfillment. To conclude, I think Bong's work is far more layered than what its genre-based and twist-focused narrative might offer on the surface. But naturally, we can agree to disagree. ;)
I agree that the film is slightly different than some of the other class conflict narratives. I also agree that it tells a very specific story. I just don't agree with the waves of people calling this an incisive social commentary that is some unique masterpiece. He's clearly a talented genre-based twist-focused filmmaker... but that's not what is being said about the film. It's so weird. I personally don't find the characters compelling at all (people comparing this film to Shoplifters is hilarious), but I don't know that there has ever been a genre filmmaker that has achieved compelling characters. It's just not in the genre formula.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:05 pm

The Most Dangerous Game - 8/10 - When this 1932 thriller was first released it made quite a stir with it's innovative plot and disturbing subject matter. Nowadays it might seem a bit dated and inoffensive but this is only because all the subsequent remakes, (not to mention by-products) have obscured it's original impact. Shipwreck survivor and big game hunter Bob (Joel McCrea) washes up on the shores of the reclusive millionaire Count Zaroff's private island. The Count is welcoming at first and introduces Bob to a brother and sister (Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong) who have also been shipwrecked (Wray and Armstrong filmed this during the day and then went to work shooting King Kong at night on the same set). After some requisite setup Zaroff reveals his true motivations. He hunts humans on his private island. If they can survive from midnight to sunrise they earn their freedom. Again. this sounds all too familiar but at the time it was the first of it's kind. This has a run time of 63 minutes but it also manages to tell a compelling story to great effect. Due to the failure of the original copyright holder to renew there are a lot of bootlegs of this so I suppose look for the Criterion version?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:07 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:05 pm
The Most Dangerous Game - 8/10 - When this 1932 thriller was first released it made quite a stir with it's innovative plot and disturbing subject matter. Nowadays it might seem a bit dated and inoffensive but this is only because all the subsequent remakes, (not to mention by-products) have obscured it's original impact. Shipwreck survivor and big game hunter Bob (Joel McCrea) washes up on the shores of the reclusive millionaire Count Zaroff's private island. The Count is welcoming at first and introduces Bob to a brother and sister (Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong) who have also been shipwrecked (Wray and Armstrong filmed this during the day and then went to work shooting King Kong at night on the same set). After some requisite setup Zaroff reveals his true motivations. He hunts humans on his private island. If they can survive from midnight to sunrise they earn their freedom. Again. this sounds all too familiar but at the time it was the first of it's kind. This has a run time of 63 minutes but it also manages to tell a compelling story to great effect. Due to the failure of the original copyright holder to renew there are a lot of bootlegs of this so I suppose look for the Criterion version?
I'm a huge fan of the short story, which I've read multiple times, but I was really disappointed by this. Didn't like most of the performances, the plot feels rushed... but the set decoration and overall production design was pretty good.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:41 am

Motherless Brooklyn - 7.5/10

They say it's a compliment when a film makes you want to read the book, but I think (ala Vanities) it should be more of a warning. Not that there's anything wrong with the film on that level, but the noir-ish morass of intrigue of scum-sucking NYC realpolitik (being based on real life figure Robert Moses) is so encompassing as to demand fleshing out in detail in the way that only a really good book can deliver.

The problem is that Edward Norton's film serves like a vanity piece rather than a gritty trudge through (proverbial) Chinatown. The film apes less from the hard-heeled 70s urban crime films and looks more like the ersatz 90s period pieces that followed, with the romance of nostalgia magically keeping every surface as grime-free as possible. Norton's Lionel reveals his heart of gold almost instantly, so we sidestep any need for character development. His social skills, restricted by his complex of neuroses, seem to come and go as the plot needs them, and his Tourette's tick is similarly convenient, and ultimately, unwisely, reduced to a recurring gag. How much of this characterization is from the character that Letham wrote, I'm not sure, but it veers perilously close to stunt acting.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:28 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:41 am
Motherless Brooklyn - 7.5/10

His social skills, restricted by his complex of neuroses, seem to come and go as the plot needs them, and his Tourette's tick is similarly convenient, and ultimately, unwisely, reduced to a recurring gag. How much of this characterization is from the character that Letham wrote, I'm not sure, but it veers perilously close to stunt acting.
I read the book, coincidentally while completing a degree in special education, and while I enjoyed the book I did take some issue with the portrayal of disability. The details of his sexual relationship with the woman he was sleeping with (it's been like 10 years and the details have escaped me) also didn't feel quite right. There was almost a "Ha! What if a disabled person had a girlfriend!" element to it that I didn't care for. (Though from one article I just read it sounds like they took her character out altogether).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:36 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:28 am
I read the book, coincidentally while completing a degree in special education, and while I enjoyed the book I did take some issue with the portrayal of disability. The details of his sexual relationship with the woman he was sleeping with (it's been like 10 years and the details have escaped me) also didn't feel quite right. There was almost a "Ha! What if a disabled person had a girlfriend!" element to it that I didn't care for. (Though from one article I just read it sounds like they took her character out altogether).
Avoiding spoilers, but Lionel does have a romance with a crucial character in the film. If anything, him having a prior relationship would have made this seem more plausible, as he's presented as rather virginal and a complete mess with women due to his disability. So when the romance begins, Lionel shows some smooth skills that look suspiciously more like Edward Norton moves. This abrupt transition from weirdo loser to leading man is part of what I found unconvincing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:44 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:36 am
Avoiding spoilers, but Lionel does have a romance with a crucial character in the film. If anything, him having a prior relationship would have made this seem more plausible, as he's presented as rather virginal and a complete mess with women due to his disability. So when the romance begins, Lionel shows some smooth skills that look suspiciously more like Edward Norton moves. This abrupt transition from weirdo loser to leading man is part of what I found unconvincing.
Part of the energy of the novel is the gap between the noir/detective pop culture referenced by the characters themselves and the reality of what actually happens around them. The novel is set in the present day, while I'm just now realizing that the film has taken the setting and changed it to the 50s? It seems like that removes a critical layer.

But then again, maybe it's not an issue if you haven't read the source novel and don't realize the differences in the story.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:44 pm

The Walking Dead - 7/10 - Boris Karloff plays John Ellman, an ex-convict and talented pianist who's framed for the murder of the judge who originally sentenced him to prison. He's executed in the electric chair and is brought back to life by Dr. Evan Beaumont (well known character actor Edmund Gwenn). In one of those prerequisite and convenient coincidences that were the staple of the era the young couple who witnessed the gang hiding the judge's body in Ellman's car work for Dr. Beaumont. Karloff's character comes back from death with an otherworldly sixth sense that allows him to pinpoint the five men who were directly responsible for his being framed.
He tracks them down and confronts them one by one, with the help of the District Attorney who prosecuted him. Ellman doesn't so much bring them down as provide the impetus for them to bring about their own downfall. Karloff is quite good as the tragic and aggrieved Ellman. His steady decline from a lingering blood clot in his brain tells the viewer that it won't end well for the character.
This film combined the gangster genre with not so much a horror angle as a supernatural one. It's 65 minutes long so you're in and out in no time at all.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:20 pm

The Mother and the Whore (1973) - 8/10

Overall, it's a fine film. While most people will shy away from it due to its extended length and talk-heavy dialogue, other viewers more accustomed to slow pacing may get a lot out of it. It concerns a couple in the midst of the sexual revolution of France who love each other, but have a warily open relationship in that they sleep with other men and women. Although the two occasionally get in quarrels over it, they always seem to forgive each other. At one point, Marie tells Alexandre "You asshole, you know I love you." This about summarizes the ups and downs of their relationship. After a fairly clever introduction which tricks you into thinking that one character will be central to the film, Alexandre begins going out with Veronika, another woman he happens to see. Although his wife and the woman begin to accept each other and become friends as the film goes on, one watches it thinking it's going to build to a sudden jolt of some kind. This gives the film a consistent slow-burning feel. It wouldn't hurt the film if Alexandre's infrequent conversations with a few of his other friends were removed from the film as those scenes felt a bit sloppy concerning how long those characters left the film for. For the vast majority of the film though, I was on board with it. Veronika's famous monologue at the end can be viewed as an attack on not only the sexual revolution of the time, but also on the people who participated in it, while the extended sequence of Marie listening to the Piaf song can be read as a reflection of her current mental state, which we see was heavily influenced by the ménage à trois between the three leads. For the majority of the film, I thought it was pretty enjoyable and that some of the climatic scenes were great. Concerning how long it takes to get to those great moments though (most of them occur at the end), a lot of it depends on how well you can handle superfluity. I could handle it pretty well without growing bored, and, as I said, the culminations of the whole affair are great, but I'm not sure if they're great enough to make it worth sitting through the prior film to get to them.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:05 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:44 am
The novel is set in the present day, while I'm just now realizing that the film has taken the setting and changed it to the 50s? It seems like that removes a critical layer.
This is exceptionally strange. It looks like Norton added the Moses Randolph (ie, Robert Moses) character to the book, which is odd because he's only the central antagonist of the film! Obviously, the book must have a dramatically different plot.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:21 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:05 pm
This is exceptionally strange. It looks like Norton added the Moses Randolph (ie, Robert Moses) character to the book, which is odd because he's only the central antagonist of the film! Obviously, the book must have a dramatically different plot.
Yeah, the more I read about the film so that I could reply to you, the more I was like "Wait . . . what?". I mean, it's been many years since I read the novel, but it sounds like a lot of fundamentals were changed.

On one hand, maybe that will almost make it easier for me to separate the two in my head when I see it?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Ergill » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:30 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:21 pm
Yeah, the more I read about the film so that I could reply to you, the more I was like "Wait . . . what?". I mean, it's been many years since I read the novel, but it sounds like a lot of fundamentals were changed.

On one hand, maybe that will almost make it easier for me to separate the two in my head when I see it?
Haven't read the book, but Norton had a pretty good conversation with Ezra Klein on the movie. Worth a listen, even if I'm still just mildly interested in the adaptation.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:46 am

I Walked With A Zombie - 8.5/10 - This is a horror/thriller done right. This 1943 Val Lewton production involves a young Canadian nurse traveling to an unspecified Caribbean island to care for the ailing wife of a sugar plantation owner. It's yet another short film so when she falls in love with the lord and master of the estate there's not enough backstory or setup so it's not entirely convincing. But that's a minor plot point I suppose. The true strength of this is in it's atmospheric cinematography and lighting. Director Jacques Tourneur (he's also responsible for Curse of the Demon, another superior thriller) doesn't exaggerate or sensationalize the voodoo aspects of this. The ceremonies don't come off like some white bread, Busby Berkely dance extravaganza. All in all it's easy to see why some consider this a classic. It's just as enthralling as Cat People and in some ways surpasses it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:59 am

I've said this before but I Walked With a Zombie is one of my all time favorite movies, not just horror movies, but favorite movies in general, it would make my top 10 of the 1940s.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:36 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:59 am
I've said this before but I Walked With a Zombie is one of my all time favorite movies, not just horror movies, but favorite movies in general, it would make my top 10 of the 1940s.
It turned out to be a really solid movie. If people can look work their way past the melodramatic title they'll find a sincere effort made at authenticity without the usual tendency towards black and white depictions of good and bad guys. What also struck me was the portrayal of the island natives. They weren't the usual shameful caricatures. Good movie all around.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:52 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:46 am
I Walked With A Zombie - 8.5/10 - This is a horror/thriller done right. This 1943 Val Lewton production involves a young Canadian nurse traveling to an unspecified Caribbean island to care for the ailing wife of a sugar plantation owner. It's yet another short film so when she falls in love with the lord and master of the estate there's not enough backstory or setup so it's not entirely convincing. But that's a minor plot point I suppose. The true strength of this is in it's atmospheric cinematography and lighting. Director Jacques Tourneur (he's also responsible for Curse of the Demon, another superior thriller) doesn't exaggerate or sensationalize the voodoo aspects of this. The ceremonies don't come off like some white bread, Busby Berkely dance extravaganza. All in all it's easy to see why some consider this a classic. It's just as enthralling as Cat People and in some ways surpasses it.
I probably need to rewatch I Walked with a Zombie. I watched it right after watching a truly great horror (maybe Cat People?) and it didn't quite hit those same high notes for me.

But so many people seem to think so highly of it, I think I need to give it another shot.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:56 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:36 pm
It turned out to be a really solid movie. If people can look work their way past the melodramatic title they'll find a sincere effort made at authenticity without the usual tendency towards black and white depictions of good and bad guys. What also struck me was the portrayal of the island natives. They weren't the usual shameful caricatures. Good movie all around.
While the portrayal of the island natives isn't exactly perfect, I agree it's a large improvement on what you usually got in movies from that era. I believe director Jacques Tourneur even got blacklisted for a while because certain studio heads deemed some of his movies as "too black-friendly".
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:04 pm

I'm with Slentert. I Walked with a Zombie is my favorite of the RKO Lewton run, and that's some stiff competition. A truly bizarre and beautiful film. One of a kind.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:24 pm

About a third of the way through Frownland and, like, I'm not mad that I'm watching it, but it is challenging to me as a viewer. I read an article about it and the director said, "he wanted to make a film with “no narrative center”". As a highly-narrative thinker, this is a bit challenging for me.

The director says it's "a crummy window into a world where not just its creators but everyone feels rootless and displaced." And that is completely accurate. However, he also says, "Its inelegance is its spirit," and I feel like the film DOES really have a spirit and there is a special something about it that prevents it from being just another "edgy" slog of misery.

Which is all to say I'm pretty sure that several people in here would (and maybe already have?) appreciate this one.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:38 pm

Frownland is a continually frustrating film, but its frustrations are inherent to what it's trying to accomplish - a bit like the interminable religious section of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, where the experience of reading it reflects the tedium of living through it. You'll never want to rewatch it, but it's a film with real conviction and by the end it really takes you somewhere few films do.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:55 pm

Macrology wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:38 pm
Frownland is a continually frustrating film, but its frustrations are inherent to what it's trying to accomplish
And usually I am not into films that are intentionally frustrating (or unintentionally frustrating!). I often tend to tune-out or feel disconnected from what is happening.

But there's something about it--maybe a kind of honesty to its approach--that is keeping me engaged. (I'm not watching it right now--I took a break to do some work on the computer).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:16 am

Yeah, really liked Parasite. Funny, unbearably tense at key moments. Visual storytelling is off the charts, from the symbolic (the family literally living between two levels) to the technique (the careful deployment of slow-motion, how the camera movement presents the space of the house). Fantastic ending, growing on me as I think about it. One of the more interesting elements is how the rich family is rarely explicitly treated as "villainous." Their crimes fall within the range of passive disregard, conspicuous consumption (their needlessly enormous house), inflated self-worth (a boy's drawings clearly must be the work of a genius), a soft bigotry for the poor that's most offensive for how much it's assumed and understood, how self-evident these opinions all are. Comments abut "crossing the line" and a late-breaking garden party depict those problems with sharper relief. Otherwise, what makes them awful is tucked into the margins, or presented holistically.

Of course (and I've thought about this a lot over the past decade), a lot of wealthy people probably have to psychologically adapt by becoming casually cruel and hiding behind a shield of "Of course, I earned this", because the alternative is to recognize both the rottenness of the system and the fortune involved with succeeding as much as they have. (After all, rota fortunae can roll on you just as easily as it can roll for you-- but if you earned your millions, a-hah, now your life stands on sturdier ground. There's an order to things. Solid staircases to climb.)

re: the title, I don't know that it's really reducible to one "solution," although certainly Bong Joon-Ho has a jaundiced eye toward capitalism in general (a theme he's been unpacking for years, sometimes in the background, sometimes taking center stage as a magical future-train).
Anyway, part that hit me the hardest was when a rainstorm that proved annoying for the rich family (it ruined our camping trip!) proved utterly devastating to the Kim family's neighborhood. Watching everybody struggling through half-drenched streets, crammed into an oversized building, it was incredibly hard to not think of climate-change-adjacent natural disasters and the utter absence of the wealthy philanthropic in those situations. A situation that will only get worse as the years go by, while the rich continue with dinner parties, pouty nodding, and the occasional tossing of a comparative pittance to a specific charity that doesn't threaten the system that allowed them their wealth. To put things into perspective, Bill and Melinda Gates donated $4.6 billion to their own foundation in 2017, which is cool, but it's also 5% of their total wealth. I hope they can make ends meet with that remaining $80 billion. Oh wait. He's worth $108 billion now. Also cool.
Sorry, that kind of turned into a thing. The point is, it's a good movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:13 am

Macrology wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:38 pm
You'll never want to rewatch it, but it's a film with real conviction and by the end it really takes you somewhere few films do.
Very accurate!

I'm really glad I checked it out. Usually films with "cringe" elements are really hard for me to watch, so I'm glad I stuck it out.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:26 am

DaMU, we're in solid agreement on Parasite's greatness. We hit on some same points of interest in our write ups. I hope you give mine a gander back a couple of pages.

A few watches:

JoJo Rabbit- Its great (especially the last act) but has some tone issues, especially in regards to imaginary Hitler, that keep it from being AS great as some of Waititi's previous works. I came out feeling a tad disappointed but it's grown up me while thinking and discussing it.

His Girl Friday- Brilliant, influential and very fun. Musings on gender roles that have aged better than the vast majority of it's contemporaries. I'll gladly watch any Howard Hawkes and Cary Grant collaboration. May pick up Only Angels Have Wings during the Criterion sale now.

The Art of Self-defense- What if Fight Club and Foot Fist Way had a kid and that kid was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos? You'd have this film. I quite liked it.

Stuber- Expected to hate it. I didn't. It was like an 80's/90's buddy action comedy that puts proper emphasis on the action as well as the comedy. It's also quite R rated so the action has appropriate weight and explicitness that juxtaposes the comedy in way I don't feel I've seen in a while. Iko Uwais is also the villain and has a swell brawl with Batista right out the gate. It was fun!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:02 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:26 am
DaMU, we're in solid agreement on Parasite's greatness. We hit on some same points of interest in our write ups. I hope you give mine a gander back a couple of pages.
Yeah, read the whole exchange earlier with you, Popcorn, and others. Happy to see that most of us enjoyed it (and had a similar reaction)! I talked about the rain scene, but the other thing I'm thinking about a lot is how goddamn sad the final segment is. At first I was like, "Oh, Lord, a soft and poetic denoument after all of that outrageous farce and tragedy? I dunno." But it's like the final scene of Mother (or any given Coen ending), where I scratched my head immediately after it was over, but... nope, it's absolutely right, perfect, arguably the only real ending the story could have. Jesus.
It reminds me of the term "capitalist realism," which posits that so many people over the globe are committed to the idea of capitalism that it's become collectively challenging and maybe even impossible for populations to even consider alternatives.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:47 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:02 am
Yeah, read the whole exchange earlier with you, Popcorn, and others. Happy to see that most of us enjoyed it (and had a similar reaction)! I talked about the rain scene, but the other thing I'm thinking about a lot is how goddamn sad the final segment is. At first I was like, "Oh, Lord, a soft and poetic denoument after all of that outrageous farce and tragedy? I dunno." But it's like the final scene of Mother (or any given Coen ending), where I scratched my head immediately after it was over, but... nope, it's absolutely right, perfect, arguably the only real ending the story could have. Jesus.
It reminds me of the term "capitalist realism," which posits that so many people over the globe are committed to the idea of capitalism that it's become collectively challenging and maybe even impossible for populations to even consider alternatives.
I also enjoyed reading Brian Eggert's take on the ending (skip to the penultimate paragraph). I think he does a good job at capturing why the ending works as well as it does in addition to the moods the film leaves you with after it ends.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:48 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:36 pm
It turned out to be a really solid movie. If people can look work their way past the melodramatic title they'll find a sincere effort made at authenticity without the usual tendency towards black and white depictions of good and bad guys. What also struck me was the portrayal of the island natives. They weren't the usual shameful caricatures. Good movie all around.
Oh, me, I love the title too. I think it's a great offset from the atmospheric dream that is the movie.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:49 am

Slentert wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:56 pm
While the portrayal of the island natives isn't exactly perfect, I agree it's a large improvement on what you usually got in movies from that era. I believe director Jacques Tourneur even got blacklisted for a while because certain studio heads deemed some of his movies as "too black-friendly".
As I said in my write-up of it in my Horrorthon, being from the Voodoo capital of America, I thought the voodoo stuff was pretty spot-on, as did my friends I watched it with.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:51 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:26 am

His Girl Friday- Brilliant, influential and very fun. Musings on gender roles that have aged better than the vast majority of it's contemporaries. I'll gladly watch any Howard Hawkes and Cary Grant collaboration. May pick up Only Angels Have Wings during the Criterion sale now.
Yeah, I saw this again recently and had a really positive reaction to it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:59 am

Let the Corpses Tan is mostly the right kind of weird fun for a cold November night. My only complaint is that the subtitles in the version I'm watching are white and I keep losing sentences here and there to light colored backgrounds.

Maybe it's just because I watched it semi-recently, but in some general structural ways it reminds me a bit of Free Fire.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:14 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:59 am
Let the Corpses Tan is mostly the right kind of weird fun for a cold November night. My only complaint is that the subtitles in the version I'm watching are white and I keep losing sentences here and there to light colored backgrounds.

Maybe it's just because I watched it semi-recently, but in some general structural ways it reminds me a bit of Free Fire.
I didn't realize LtCT was in a foreign language. For some reason I thought it was Australian. Which kinda is a foreign language I guess.
You liked Free Fire, right?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:56 am

Overlord - 8/10 - This is no documentary. If inaccuracies bother you to the point that they take you out of the moment then maybe you should skip this. But if a WWII/horror hybrid with a healthy dose of gore thrown in sounds like fun then by all means check this out. And it is fun. On D-day a squad of paratroopers are dropped into France to blow up a strategic German radio tower. It's an integrated unit (complete with a black noncom) which were nonexistent back then but again, a suspension of disbelief should be first and foremost. It does a good job of slowly letting the dread mount for the weirdness that's surely coming and once the third act starts it doesn't let you down. Suffice it to say that it involves
an underground Nazi laboratory conducting gruesome experiments on the living and the dead in the hopes of creating an invincible soldier.
I finally finished it after starting it weeks ago. It's on Amazon Prime video and it's pretty damn good for what it is. Good cast and plot and great effects.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:33 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:59 am
Let the Corpses Tan is mostly the right kind of weird fun for a cold November night. My only complaint is that the subtitles in the version I'm watching are white and I keep losing sentences here and there to light colored backgrounds.

Maybe it's just because I watched it semi-recently, but in some general structural ways it reminds me a bit of Free Fire.
I took my parents and a family friend to see this movie on my 17th birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed it but my company certainly didn't.
I'l glad I saw it in a theater but every time I think of that movie I think about how I should've taken them to The Florida Project instead.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:35 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:59 am
Let the Corpses Tan is mostly the right kind of weird fun for a cold November night. My only complaint is that the subtitles in the version I'm watching are white and I keep losing sentences here and there to light colored backgrounds.

Maybe it's just because I watched it semi-recently, but in some general structural ways it reminds me a bit of Free Fire.
They don't say much. It's mostly the sound of those accents that's nice to listen to, at least when you speak French.

I'm a fan of the movie meself. It's like enjoyable Quentin Tarantino. Though I prefer their other two movies.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:17 pm

Wooley wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:14 am
I didn't realize LtCT was in a foreign language. For some reason I thought it was Australian. Which kinda is a foreign language I guess.
You liked Free Fire, right?
It's French.

Yeah, I did like Free Fire.

I have about 25 minutes left in Let the Corpses Tan and I do think it's losing its momentum a little bit. I'm hoping for an interesting final act.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:54 pm

I haven't seen Let the Corpses Tan yet, but I know Cattet and Forzani are Belgian. Although the film itself could very well be a co-production.

In other news, I might try to watch Shoah over the course of the next two nights. I've had a copy for a while now and it's been waiting for the right time. Since I don't have any obligations these nights, I may finally try to knock it out.
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