Recently Seen

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Slentert
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:25 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:46 am
1) Hmm, I'm in the mood for some good sci-fi.

2) I've heard good thing about High Life

3) Oh, huh. Claire Denis. Better check out the Parent's Guide

4) :(

5) *Reads Wikipedia plot summary*

6) :( :( :(


It's a movie I want to watch at some point, but maybe not after Colossal.
It's my favorite movie of the year, but certain things are tough to sit through, I had several walkouts at my screening of it. So you probably made the right choice.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:07 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:35 am
Yes, that was the specific scene that made me post.
For me, despite growing up in the 70s and 80s, I managed to keep the spoiler of Soylent Green intact until I was in my mid-30s when I got hit outta nowhere with the reveal. Knowing that that would be much of the weight of the movie, I reset my sights much, much lower, to "is this a competent and worthwhile 70s sci-fi thriller?", to which the answer, ultimately is Yes+, because of the high notes it hits. The sexual politics (since that is something we do talk about a lot here) are particularly fascinating. Shirl, who has decided to trade in all of her agency for a life of safety and relative luxury must endure being called "a helluva piece of furniture" by the man she feels she's connected with and then is interviewed by the new "tenant" to make sure she's "fun" is just brutally (unintentionally) sinister and cutting. And the class politics are interesting even if they are handled deftly at some times and clumsily to amateurishly at others.
Overall, it's a film worth seeing even if we can never capitalize on what made it resound so much in its day.

To be honest, though, this is probably the best performance of Charlton Heston's dubious career. Touch Of Evil should have been Ricardo Montalban.
This is pretty much my take on it, from me coming to the spoiler in my 30s as well, to how I feel about the movie overall. We should hang out some day, Wooley.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Death Proof » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:33 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:43 pm
Colossal was kind of an intense watch.

I liked it. Hathaway gave a good performance but Jason Sudeikis was brilliant as the abusive boyfriend.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:33 pm

Death Proof wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:33 pm
I liked it. Hathaway gave a good performance but Jason Sudeikis was brilliant as the abusive boyfriend.
I almost wished that they'd let it be more
nuanced at the end. When she picks him up and he's begging her to let him go. By having him go so nakedly misogynistic I felt like it made her choice (and the audience's choice) too black and white. I mean, he was a murderer, so I would have probably been like "Do it! Do it!" anyway. But the scene where she tells him that she's realized that he hates himself was really powerful and I felt like they could have explored that angle a little more.

I do really like that if you look back to the first quarter of the film, you can see how hard he works to control her (her home, her job, etc) from the get-go.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:21 am

Thief wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:07 pm
This is pretty much my take on it, from me coming to the spoiler in my 30s as well, to how I feel about the movie overall. We should hang out some day, Wooley.
Word.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:34 pm

I really enjoyed Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. It's fulfilling on a thrilling hitman vs. the mob level, on a thematic level for how it portrays the fear and uncertainty associated with the arrival of a new century and on a film geek level for how satisfying it is to take in RZA's musical score, Muller's cinematography, Whitaker's performance, etc. I also liked the use of motifs, i.e. the bits of samurai wisdom, the cartoons, the songs Ghost Dog plays in his car, etc. I usually dislike clever touches like these in Jarmusch's movies, mostly because they tend to be obtuse and/or clever merely for clever's sake, but I appreciated them in this movie for how they expound the themes as well as provide hints of what will happen next. Overall, it stands out as a satisfyingly intricate puzzle box of a movie, a time capsule of how we thought this century would turn out and as a peak in Jarmusch's filmography.

It's too bad this movie isn't streaming anywhere. I was lucky enough to find a cheap used triple feature DVD on eBay that includes this movie, Belly and Paid in Full.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:39 pm

Torgo wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:34 pm
I really enjoyed Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. It's fulfilling on a thrilling hitman vs. the mob level, on a thematic level for how it portrays the fear and uncertainty associated with the arrival of a new century and on a film geek level for how satisfying it is to take in RZA's musical score, Muller's cinematography, Whitaker's performance, etc. I also liked the use of motifs, i.e. the bits of samurai wisdom, the cartoons, the songs Ghost Dog plays in his car, etc. I usually dislike clever touches like these in Jarmusch's movies, mostly because they tend to be obtuse and/or clever merely for clever's sake, but I appreciated them in this movie for how they expound the themes as well as provide hints of what will happen next. Overall, it stands out as a satisfyingly intricate puzzle box of a movie, a time capsule of how we thought this century would turn out and as a peak in Jarmusch's filmography.

It's too bad this movie isn't streaming anywhere. I was lucky enough to find a cheap used triple feature DVD on eBay that includes this movie, Belly and Paid in Full.
I've been reading good things about that film probably since forever, but for some reason I've never seen it. I should probably get around to it someday.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:24 pm

Ghost Dog is great. Be sure to watch Le Samourai and Branded to Kill, both of whom it homages and even directly lifts a key scene from BTK.

I researched both Bad Times at the El Royale and Thief. I loved both with Thief being one of my favorites in general. I think any problem Bad Times has is found in the 3rd act but the actual ending is strong enough that I forgive it. The craft on display is excellent with some of the best set design and uses of color I've seen lately. Also, excellent match cuts.

Thief on the other hand is pretty much perfect and the Criterion transfer is absolutely stunning. So many of their recent Blu Ray releases look better than most of my 4k UHD blurays.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:06 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:24 pm

Thief on the other hand is pretty much perfect
Image

Aww, you're pretty cool too :D :P
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:22 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:24 pm
Ghost Dog is great. Be sure to watch Le Samourai and Branded to Kill, both of whom it homages and even directly lifts a key scene from BTK.

I researched both Bad Times at the El Royale and Thief. I loved both with Thief being one of my favorites in general. I think any problem Bad Times has is found in the 3rd act but the actual ending is strong enough that I forgive it. The craft on display is excellent with some of the best set design and uses of color I've seen lately. Also, excellent match cuts.

Thief on the other hand is pretty much perfect and the Criterion transfer is absolutely stunning. So many of their recent Blu Ray releases look better than most of my 4k UHD blurays.
Le Samourai is one of my favorite movies and I didn't mention it in my review? Shameful.

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I will check out Branded to Kill.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:00 pm

I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas. I read a middling review of it when it first came out, and that plus the daunting (for me) 3 hour run time has kept it from being a film I prioritized or was inclined to put on some Friday night.

I have so many thoughts and feelings buzzing around that I don't think I could properly put most of them into any kind of coherent reflection. So painting with very broad strokes:

1) I read The Bone Clocks a few months ago and just loved it. I could both hear Mitchell's "voice" in this story and also see the way that he enjoys moving narratives in time and space, and creating themes and echos that reverberate and trickle down. I'm very drawn to his ideas about mutual affection, people lifting each other up, the necessity of being "seen", and the power of optimism and kindness.

2) I thought that the cast did a great job in their multiple roles. If you're not familiar with the movie, a core cast of actors (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Keith David, James D'Arcy, and others) all play up to 6 or 7 different roles in narratives that span from the 1500s to the far future. With any ensemble film, chemistry is key, and I thought that all of the actors had really good chemistry (Halle Berry and Tom Hanks win the prize for "Wow, they really vibe well together!!"). What's very fun is that you see the actors in multiple genders, ages, and races (more about that later), and so there's something really neat about the same actor taking on so many identities and yet, for me, the film managed to avoid feeling like it was showboating or like it was some bizarre audition tape for the actors involved.

3) I'll have to mull over a little more what I thought about the fact that the the white male characters seemed to dominate a lot of the action and make a lot of the critical decisions. This isn't to say that certain female characters didn't play a big part (Doona Bae's futuristic "fabricant" is in many ways the heart of the whole film and delivers its most powerful messages), but the men tend to do the saving and have or convey the biggest revelations. While some of that makes sense in some of the time periods, it was a little disheartening to see a film that clearly cared about a diverse range of characters putting a lot of the heroism into the usual place. For example, (trying to avoid spoilers) one narrative ends with a white male character giving a rousing speech . . . while the fate of his non-white companion is left unresolved and that same companion never gets a final "voice" in the film. In The Bone Clocks, the best sections centered on the internal life of a female character (Holly), and so while she didn't get to do as much "action," she still felt like a more critical part of the narrative. Maybe (by necessity) the loss of some of those internal monologues made it feel a bit lopsided.

4) I don't get to be an authority on when it is appropriate for white actors (in particular) to play non-white characters. I think that it doesn't feel as grievous here because it's something that is done by almost every main cast member (ie Doona Bae plays a white character, Halle Berry plays an Indian character, etc), and because prosthetics/make-up are used for every main character to also be gender-swapped at some point. I'd be open to thoughts about this from others who have seen the film.

5) At some point I'll go looking for a good writing piece about what each actor's characters tended to represent. Weaving's characters, for example, were all (or almost all?) characters who worked for cruel establishments in order to keep the current power structure in place. D'Arcy's characters seemed to always be entrusted with powerful truths. Berry's characters seemed often to be on a quest for truth. This thematic running thread for each actor is part of what kept it from feeling like an audition reel.

6) I don't have the best eye for directors' styles, so maybe others saw this more clearly, but I hadn't realized that certain sections were directed by the Wachowskis and that other sections were directed by Tom Tykwer. The film felt like a coherent whole to me, and so it was interesting to learn that two different sets of directors were responsible. Making this movie must have been a heck of a time for everyone involved.

Anyway, would love to hear some thoughts from others. Having liked both The Bone Clocks and this film, I'm curious to check out the novel.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:20 pm

Believe the hype about The Irishman. I won't say too much about it since it dropped on Netflix today, but I will say De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, who to be fair, hasn't acted in ages, haven't been this good in ages.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:20 pm

I saw the Irishman a few weeks ago in theaters and will be rewatching it within the week. I feel like that should approximate a great deal of praise alone given that it's 3 and a half hours long.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:29 pm

Sherlock Jr. - 8.5/10 - I'm ashamed to admit that I've never watched The General or Steamboat Bill Jr., the two other Buster Keaton films frequently cited as his best. It's something I intend to remedy soon. This might be a 45 minute film but it's filled to the brim with invention and charm. Keaton plays a movie theater projectionist who dreams of being a detective. His rival for a pretty girl's affections frames him for stealing her father's pocket watch and a good portion of the remaining run time is devoted to a dream where he becomes the world famous crime solver Sherlock Jr. Keaton makes the wall to wall inspired goofiness and eye popping stunts look seemingly effortless but I suppose that's what earned him the distinction of being a comedic genius. There are aspects at work here that have clearly influenced humor throughout the years. I should have watched The General when I had the chance.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:38 pm

If you're getting into Keaton, don't sleep on Seven Chances. I think it's his funniest and sweetest film. It, like some of his other works, has issues of black face so I get that giving pause for modern assessment but having seen all of Keaton’s silent work except the Cameraman, I think his usage of it is significantly less nefarious than many others (Birth of a Nation for instance) and unlike his other comedic contemporaries, he actually has black actors in his films and frequently portrays them in a positive and empathetic light.

My overall point is, Keaton’s films are at once an unfortunate product of their time but their value transcends that and he remains one of the most universally appealing and talented filmmakers around.

Three Ages is another one that deserves higher appraisal in my eyes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:12 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:38 pm
My overall point is, Keaton’s films are at once an unfortunate product of their time but their value transcends that and he remains one of the most universally appealing and talented filmmakers around.
Agreed. And something that sometimes pops up that I find annoying is when people want to compare him constantly to Chaplin. They are both brilliant in their own ways, and suggesting that you have to either like one or the other is kind of silly.

Keaton's family performed vaudeville shows, something he was a part of from a young age, and seeing the way that he melds that influence with the structure and capabilities of film is really neat.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:17 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:38 pm
don't sleep on Seven Chances
I haven't seen his movies in a few years but this one stuck with me more than the others.

Knives Out was as fun as I was hoping it would be, maybe not quite my favorite this year but, fun. Craig was great.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:16 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:12 am
Agreed. And something that sometimes pops up that I find annoying is when people want to compare him constantly to Chaplin. They are both brilliant in their own ways, and suggesting that you have to either like one or the other is kind of silly.

Keaton's family performed vaudeville shows, something he was a part of from a young age, and seeing the way that he melds that influence with the structure and capabilities of film is really neat.
The pathos of Keaton and Chaplin are very far apart as well, as Chaplin was heavily invested in social criticism and complex emotion while Keaton went for simpler stories with an emphasis on laughs and stunt work. They're both exceptional at accomplishing their goals.

Chaplin wins out for me with his features but I think Keaton may actually be stronger in shorts. Regardless, I LOVE both (toss Lloyd in the mix too, though he's lesser to me while still great) and think they're about as timeless as filmmakers can be.

Fans of both owe it to themselves to see Limelight, which is may features Chaplin's best performance overall and has a scene where both he and Keaton put on a stage show together. It's sublimely entertaining.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:17 am

topherH wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:17 am
Knives Out was as fun as I was hoping it would be, maybe not quite my favorite this year but, fun. Craig was great.
Agreed. It's hard to think of anything to dislike about it. It doesn't break any new ground but it so thoroughly accomplishes its goals that it's hard not to love it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by IPlayTheBlameGame » Thu Nov 28, 2019 3:26 am

The Irishman - 8

Solid Scorsese-doing-his-Scorsese-thing effort. Nothing too epic or groundbreaking, just reliably captivating work. It's basically the Bridge of Spies of Scorsese's oeuvre.

Parasite - 10

Well, this is it for me. The first legitimate cinematic masterpiece in a VERY long time. Not a chance that this will be topped in the remainder of the year. Go home, December.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:14 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:20 pm
I saw the Irishman a few weeks ago in theaters and will be rewatching it within the week. I feel like that should approximate a great deal of praise alone given that it's 3 and a half hours long.
Yeah, I watched it a few weeks ago in theatres as well and I'm tempted to give it another viewing soon (although probably not this weekend). That same weekend I also watched Duke Mitchell's Massacre Mafia Style and Gone with the Pope, and...they're all definitely mob movies.

As for The Irishman, I hammered out a few words on teh blog (and a few more words about the Mitchells), but it feels (not in a bad way) like Scorsese spelling out that crime doesn't pay for the dunderheads who completely missed the point of Goodfellas and Casino. I'm not sure I like it more than those movies (ok, maybe more than Casino, where I found the third act a little tiresome), but that level of reflection and the way Scorsese uses his collaborators De Niro and Pesci, make it feel more personal.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:48 am

Rock wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:14 am
Yeah, I watched it a few weeks ago in theatres as well and I'm tempted to give it another viewing soon (although probably not this weekend). That same weekend I also watched Duke Mitchell's Massacre Mafia Style and Gone with the Pope, and...they're all definitely mob movies.

As for The Irishman, I hammered out a few words on teh blog (and a few more words about the Mitchells), but it feels (not in a bad way) like Scorsese spelling out that crime doesn't pay for the dunderheads who completely missed the point of Goodfellas and Casino. I'm not sure I like it more than those movies (ok, maybe more than Casino, where I found the third act a little tiresome), but that level of reflection and the way Scorsese uses his collaborators De Niro and Pesci, make it feel more personal.
Also, this movie settles that long standing beef between Marty and the despicable MCU once and for all.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:47 am

A Simple Favor

This was one of those films where I thought I knew what it was about and then it was something very different, but I'm not complaining.

Stephanie is a type-A single mother (widowed) raising her son Miles. One day she meets rich, profane, and intense mother Emily. While Emily's life would seem to tick all the boxes (high-status job, sexy writer husband, huge house, vast wardrobe, etc), it's clear that Emily is high-strung and that things are not right in Emily's home. After some deeply personal conversations and a handful of highly charged interactions, Stephanie regards Emily as her best friend. One day, while Emily's husband is out of the country, Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son from school . . . and that's the last Stephanie hears of her. Stephanie takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of Emily's disappearance, learning (as seems obvious from the start) that things were not as they seemed.

Generally speaking this was a pretty fun crime/comedy/thriller. The performances from the two leads were good, and so was the secondary cast (including Andrew Rannells as the only male "class mom", Henry Golding as Emily's husband, Linda Cardellini in basically a cameo role as a woman from Emily's past, and Bashir Salahuddin as the detective assigned to the case). The plot took a couple of turns that I was not expecting, and the whole thing managed to end on a pretty satisfying note.

I guess my only "complaint" would be that there were a few times that the dark comedy was a little too dark for my taste. The film already puts itself in risky territory with a subplot about (mild/moderate spoilers)
Stephanie's past incestuous relationship with her half-brother
, but later reveals that (moderate spoilers)
her husband killed the half-brother in a murder-suicide because Miles might have been a product of the incest
was a bit much and it's sort of put out there as a quickie piece of information. That whole subplot feels like it was mainly included for the taboo nature of the subject matter, and I kept waiting for it to be relevant to the plot and it just wasn't.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:29 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:00 pm
I really enjoyed Cloud Atlas.
Hooray! I love the movie's earnest sentimentality and fast-moving cross-cutting genre-jumping gumbo.
2) I thought that the cast did a great job in their multiple roles. If you're not familiar with the movie, a core cast of actors (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Hugo Weaving, Doona Bae, Keith David, James D'Arcy, and others) all play up to 6 or 7 different roles in narratives that span from the 1500s to the far future. With any ensemble film, chemistry is key, and I thought that all of the actors had really good chemistry (Halle Berry and Tom Hanks win the prize for "Wow, they really vibe well together!!").
To me, that pairing was great, but I keep coming back to the Whishaw / D'Arcy romance. They spend such little time together on-screen, but their affection for each other feels palpable and genuine. (But yeah, in terms of acting against each other, Hanks / Berry is great. I also like how they're constantly helping each other. It's one of the more balanced of the segments).
3) I'll have to mull over a little more what I thought about the fact that the the white male characters seemed to dominate a lot of the action and make a lot of the critical decisions. This isn't to say that certain female characters didn't play a big part (Doona Bae's futuristic "fabricant" is in many ways the heart of the whole film and delivers its most powerful messages), but the men tend to do the saving and have or convey the biggest revelations. While some of that makes sense in some of the time periods, it was a little disheartening to see a film that clearly cared about a diverse range of characters putting a lot of the heroism into the usual place. For example, (trying to avoid spoilers) one narrative ends with a white male character giving a rousing speech . . . while the fate of his non-white companion is left unresolved and that same companion never gets a final "voice" in the film. In The Bone Clocks, the best sections centered on the internal life of a female character (Holly), and so while she didn't get to do as much "action," she still felt like a more critical part of the narrative. Maybe (by necessity) the loss of some of those internal monologues made it feel a bit lopsided.
This is a good point I hadn't thought of. The book (which I also love) focuses four of its six narratives on white men, all of them first-person, while the other two are split between first-person (Sonmi-451) and third-person (Luisa Rey, written as a mystery novel). So that's probably in part a carry-over from the books. The Wachowskis are a bit funky like that, too, since The Matrix and Sense8's central couplings are cishet white. Which isn't a slam, it's just a bit surprising that two transgender filmmakers trying their best to promote a wider view of humanity still anchor their stories that way.
4) I don't get to be an authority on when it is appropriate for white actors (in particular) to play non-white characters. I think that it doesn't feel as grievous here because it's something that is done by almost every main cast member (ie Doona Bae plays a white character, Halle Berry plays an Indian character, etc), and because prosthetics/make-up are used for every main character to also be gender-swapped at some point. I'd be open to thoughts about this from others who have seen the film.
I don't mind it, but also I'm a white male who's never experienced someone diminishing my race from a position of power (as has happened in the past with blackface and yellowface). I forgive it largely because I think the film and filmmakers are goddamn earnest with the thematic meaning of doing such a thing (and also because everybody's doing everything). But I'd also completely respect and listen to anyone who felt the Wachowskis crossed a line. (You suspect they know they're treading on thin ice, because black Jim Broadbent is on-screen for maybe two seconds total.)
5) At some point I'll go looking for a good writing piece about what each actor's characters tended to represent. Weaving's characters, for example, were all (or almost all?) characters who worked for cruel establishments in order to keep the current power structure in place. D'Arcy's characters seemed to always be entrusted with powerful truths. Berry's characters seemed often to be on a quest for truth. This thematic running thread for each actor is part of what kept it from feeling like an audition reel.
My favorite "arc" of the group is Hugh Grant as consumer of humans ("the weak are meat the strong do eat"). Slave-owner, murderous corporate head, etc. Lead Cannibal in the "last" segment is such a fantastically obvious endgame for his arc.
Anyway, would love to hear some thoughts from others. Having liked both The Bone Clocks and this film, I'm curious to check out the novel.
The novel is great, too. At times more subtle, sometimes more byzantine (Sonmi's arc is simplified for the film). What I love is that Mitchell had such a positive response to the film that he eventually contributed to Sense8 and is currently helping Lana Wachowski with The Matrix 4.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:54 am

topherH wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:17 am
I haven't seen his movies in a few years but this one stuck with me more than the others.

Knives Out was as fun as I was hoping it would be, maybe not quite my favorite this year but, fun. Craig was great.
Very relieved to hear this, I had hopes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:12 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:29 am
Hooray! I love the movie's earnest sentimentality and fast-moving cross-cutting genre-jumping gumbo.
Yes, I have a real soft-spot for films that are sincere but also hold onto optimism. The film hit all the right notes for me in terms of both style and substance.
To me, that pairing was great, but I keep coming back to the Whishaw / D'Arcy romance. They spend such little time together on-screen, but their affection for each other feels palpable and genuine. (But yeah, in terms of acting against each other, Hanks / Berry is great. I also like how they're constantly helping each other. It's one of the more balanced of the segments).
'

Oh, don't get me wrong, I thought that many of the pairings worked really well. And in terms of the Whishaw/D'arcy pairing, someone in the trivia section pointed out that they never actually really speak to each other in person during the film. I highlighted Berry/Hanks because their chemistry (across both the future narrative and their briefer encounter in the 70s narrative) was that one that surprised me the most.
This is a good point I hadn't thought of. The book (which I also love) focuses four of its six narratives on white men, all of them first-person, while the other two are split between first-person (Sonmi-451) and third-person (Luisa Rey, written as a mystery novel). So that's probably in part a carry-over from the books. The Wachowskis are a bit funky like that, too, since The Matrix and Sense8's central couplings are cishet white. Which isn't a slam, it's just a bit surprising that two transgender filmmakers trying their best to promote a wider view of humanity still anchor their stories that way.
I think that it partly comes down to how much visuals have an impact in film, where actions can seem more important than impact. So for example, Hae-Joon gets to do all of these amazing action sequences, flipping around and carrying someone across a bridge and blowing things up. When it comes to physically, visually defeating evil, it's about 90% the male characters. Sometimes it makes sense (because there simply are no women on the ship), but over the course of many, many stories itwas striking how often there was a female character in need of saving. There's also the repeated motif of characters (mild spoilers)
having slept with the wives of other characters (in the 2012 segment and the composer segment, and then those wives having zero impact or power in the story.
Now, in terms of characters evolving and going through internal/emotional change, I thought that the film led with Sonmi and the closely followed with Zachary. But even Sonmi's "evolution" is almost exclusively enabled by male characters (the Union, the interrogator, etc). I think that this was maybe intentional to highlight her vulnerability in this setting (nothing says "powerless" like a small woman being dragged away by four large, anonymous men). The role of the female characters (and also the one gay male character) seems to be to present the truth (journalist, Sonmi, future Berry, the music piece), a role that is more passive because they must all hope that their audience will receive their message. Which is maybe more important but not as satisfying/visceral as punching someone in the face.
My favorite "arc" of the group is Hugh Grant as consumer of humans ("the weak are meat the strong do eat"). Slave-owner, murderous corporate head, etc. Lead Cannibal in the "last" segment is such a fantastically obvious endgame for his arc.
The fact that the quote begins with Hanks but then comes back to haunt him later (though that chronology is reversed in the film) was one of my favorite "echoes".
The novel is great, too. At times more subtle, sometimes more byzantine (Sonmi's arc is simplified for the film). What I love is that Mitchell had such a positive response to the film that he eventually contributed to Sense8 and is currently helping Lana Wachowski with The Matrix 4.
While I'm sure it'll take me weeks to get through (my reading pace really slows down during the school year), it's probably one of the next thing I'll read. Have you read The Bone Clocks?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:17 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:12 pm
While I'm sure it'll take me weeks to get through (my reading pace really slows down during the school year), it's probably one of the next thing I'll read. Have you read The Bone Clocks?
No, Atlas is the only Mitchell I've read. Heard great things about Black Swan Green too.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:45 pm

Knives Out is a lot of fun, not quite as clever as it wants to be, with mostly top-notch acting from its participants (Jamie Lee deserving the prize overall).

I will step outside the consensus to say that I thought Daniel Craig was awful. His knock-off N'awlins drawl was thick and hammy enough to make Kevin Spacey puke an omelet. Completely unconvincing and a constant distraction.

The only other bother I had about the film is actually eventually explained logically by the film's end, but
there clearly was no way that Harlan Thromby had been given 100mg of morphine or that he himself could have possibly have thought he had been and still be lucid/conscious much less upright and walking around.
I'm glad that this was resolved but it was too baffling to take seriously in real time.

8/10
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:05 am

Curse of the Demon - 9/10 - This is one of four Jacques Tourneur films I've seen and three of them (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and this one) could be considered classics of the horror/thriller genre. This one involves a professor of psychology played by Dana Andrews who travels to England to investigate and debunk a cult led by Dr. Julian Karswell. Karswell has figured out a way to summon a demon to do his dirty work by using ancient runes. It's all super atmospheric with top notch acting all around. The script is compelling and efficient and accomplishes much in it's 80 or so minute runtime. Now I have to find and watch The Leopard Man.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:49 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:05 am
Curse of the Demon - 9/10 - This is one of four Jacques Tourneur films I've seen and three of them (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and this one) could be considered classics of the horror/thriller genre. This one involves a professor of psychology played by Dana Andrews who travels to England to investigate and debunk a cult led by Dr. Julian Karswell. Karswell has figured out a way to summon a demon to do his dirty work by using ancient runes. It's all super atmospheric with top notch acting all around. The script is compelling and efficient and accomplishes much in it's 80 or so minute runtime. Now I have to find and watch The Leopard Man.
Big Leopard Man fan here.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:59 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 7:17 pm
No, Atlas is the only Mitchell I've read. Heard great things about Black Swan Green too.
The Goodreads consensus puts Cloud Atlas just above The Bone Clocks, so I'm excited to check it out.
Patrick McGroin wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:05 am
Curse of the Demon - 9/10 - This is one of four Jacques Tourneur films I've seen and three of them (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie and this one) could be considered classics of the horror/thriller genre. This one involves a professor of psychology played by Dana Andrews who travels to England to investigate and debunk a cult led by Dr. Julian Karswell. Karswell has figured out a way to summon a demon to do his dirty work by using ancient runes. It's all super atmospheric with top notch acting all around. The script is compelling and efficient and accomplishes much in it's 80 or so minute runtime. Now I have to find and watch The Leopard Man.
A fantastic film. The degree to which it outright embraces the magic is tremendous fun.

And that final sequence with the train tracks is amazing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:27 am

In Your Eyes was written by Joss Whedon back in 1992, and boy does that make sense having watched the film. The premise is fun: Dylan and Rebecca, since they were children, have experienced strange sensations and even visual flashes. As adults, they one day are suddenly able to actually communicate, and come to realize that they have been seeing and experiencing each other's lives all these years. Dylan is an ex-convict and Rebecca has a history of mental health issues and is married to a controlling man, and as each begins to carry on long conversation with "invisible" friends, they both head toward trouble.

The premise is certainly the best part of the film, and there's definitely something appealing about the idea of finding out that the sudden, "irrational" emotions you've felt were actually caused by something. As the two begin to discuss their histories, Rebecca blurts out that she thought her mood swings were just PMS, and that her experiences of Dylan's time in jail were nightmares.

But once the film establishes a connection between the two, it gets a little lost. There's Dylan's subplot in which old childhood friends are pressuring him to do "one more job" and Dylan is afraid of going back to jail. There's Rebecca's subplot about her husband being angry that she keeps embarrassing him at high class functions. There are lots of ideas to explore when it comes to the unique intimacy of the two main characters, but the film goes in a very predictable direction. Dylan uses their connection to help Rebecca repair her car and saves her from a shady mechanic. Rebecca tells Dylan to compliment a girl's shoes to get a date and then teaches him how to cook a fancy meal.

The end of the movie tries to leave the two on a positive, slightly ambiguous note, but I was immediately like "But . . .?" because of what seems to be an improbable implication on the film's part. Generally speaking this was a sweet little fantasy/romance, but it largely feels like a good premise not developed into something solid. My favorite moment happened in the first 5 minutes, in which a young Rebecca lays down on a sled, fearful at the top of a hill, while across the country Dylan's hands subconsciously close around the edges of his desk in his classroom. Unfortunately, nothing else really touched this same emotional note for me.
Slentert wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:25 am
It's my favorite movie of the year, but certain things are tough to sit through, I had several walkouts at my screening of it. So you probably made the right choice.
Thought I'd replied to this, but clearly hadn't.

I've heard really good things about High Life, both in a handful of reviews I read (but mostly skimmed to avoid spoilers or knowing much about the plot in general) and from users here. Honestly, it sounds like exactly the kind of movie that I'll love. There's been some really, really great "cerebral"/existential sci-fi in the last 10 years or so, and I'm loving it. This is really high on my-to watch list. Like, it is literally at the top (and it's right next to another film that'll probably do a number on me, The Nightingale).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:29 pm

The Man Who Invented Christmas - 7.5/10 - This stars Dan Stevens in what is (I'm assuming) a largely fictitious accounting of Charles Dickens' creation of A Christmas Carol. The supporting cast is exemplary with Jonathan Pryce as Dickens' father and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. I don't know how much of this is historically accurate but there are touches of authenticity throughout. Worth a watch if you're a fan of Dickens or are looking for a different take on A Christmas Carol.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:44 pm

Just predictably aligning with the monolithic consensus that Knives Out is a lot of fun and should be seen by all of you people and a lot of other people.

Just... just a lot of damn fun. Funny and fast and reveals some unexpected layers as it goes. Like MKS says, it plays mostly within its conventions, but by the end you want a rapid-fire monologue that sums up everything, and you want those moments of tall melodramatic betrayals.

Also:

"I will not eat one iota of shit!"
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:51 am

A Separation (2011) - 8/10
I'm glad I went into this film without knowing much about the plot as, by the end, I was surprised at how so much more happened than what I thought would transpire from the film upon going into it. The basic outline involves a married couple, Nader and Simin, who wish to get a divorce as Simin wants to leave the country in hopes of finding a better life for their daughter while Nader prefers to stay and look after his father who has Alzheimer's disease. As I was watching it, I started to think that Nader's father would be better off in the hands of someone more qualified. But this was only the first quarter of the film. After this, the film got much darker once the crime angle took full effect. What I loved about it was that the conflict between the two families wasn't black-and-white. It was made clear that you weren't meant to completely agree with one side. Throughout the film, many of the main characters lied to the police and to each other, there were various characters who shifted from being likable to unlikable a handful of times, and there were also some choices made by characters which were inexcusable, regardless of what information was revealed at the end of the film. By the end, you're unsure over how you feel about the various characters, which is reflected well in the ambiguity of the final scene. Overall, I dug this film quite a lot, and I found it to be really effective from start to finish.
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Re: Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, '74)

Post by Torgo » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:49 pm

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
For those of you (like me) who can't find this movie anywhere, it will be airing on Turner Classic Movies this Friday at 2:00 AM EST.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:50 pm

Ford v Ferrari is a lot of fun. While it's a classic, meat-and-potatoes underdog story, its very high-quality look and feel - not to mention that it seems like movies geared (pardon the pun) towards adults like this one are a rarity these days - make it come across as quite new. While the story of Ford trying to beat Ferrari at their own game is compelling, the real underdog story here is the one between Carroll Shelby (Damon) and abrasive, maverick driver Ken Miles (Bale) versus the Ford company's stodgy, obstinate senior management, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts, who's in the Senator Lockhart mode that he does so well) and Josh Lucas's weaselly racing executive Leo Beebe in particular. Mangold once again proves he's an expert actor's director - I also particularly liked Ray McKinnon as world-weary engineer Peter Remington - and the very impressive editing and camerawork make the racing scenes incredibly exciting. If you're indifferent, uninterested or ignorant like I am to the world of car racing, I guarantee that you'll go down a Wikipedia wormhole into all their racing articles after the movie is over.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:22 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:38 pm
If you're getting into Keaton, don't sleep on Seven Chances. I think it's his funniest and sweetest film. It, like some of his other works, has issues of black face so I get that giving pause for modern assessment but having seen all of Keaton’s silent work except the Cameraman, I think his usage of it is significantly less nefarious than many others (Birth of a Nation for instance) and unlike his other comedic contemporaries, he actually has black actors in his films and frequently portrays them in a positive and empathetic light.

My overall point is, Keaton’s films are at once an unfortunate product of their time but their value transcends that and he remains one of the most universally appealing and talented filmmakers around.

Three Ages is another one that deserves higher appraisal in my eyes.
Just watched Seven Chances for the first time per this post, and yes, yes indeed, this was a sweetheart of a movie and very funny. The turtle on the tie!
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:26 am

The Irishman - 9/10

All this bellybitching about "another Scorsese gangster movie" has got me to thinking. I reckon that Scorsese has made about 4 gangster films prior to this in his 50 year career. (Raging Bull is not a gangster film, although it does have a splendid Frank Vincent beat down, and I only count Knocking as half of one because it really isn't very gangster at all despite being something of a prelude to Mean Streets, and Wolf, while clearly an analog to Goodfellas, doesn't really count either, although it might pass for a crooked cousin.) Out of these four gangster films, only two of them qualify as being two stylistic sides of the same coin: Goodfellas/Casino. That's one less film than Ocean's 11 and exactly nobody defines Soderbergh as a heist director. More to the point, it ignores how very different these gangster films are from each other if we look past the more superficial - stereotypical - aspects like, I dunno, funny accents or something.

Mean Streets is very much the film of a young, hungry man: restless energy from latent to explosive, sharp edges around the frame, potent fusion of compulsion and confusion. The twin peaks of Cafellas is the work of an assured artist, completely in the element, still lethal but more efficient. Departed, by contrast, is more ragged and frayed, paranoid to the breaking point of exhaustion, its ferality seems almost careless. And, by extention, The Irishman is a film of an old man, austere and sober, its nostalgia avoiding the glamour of Goosino in favor of a more deliberative, deceptively mundane manner. The inability of so many to distinguish the various aspects that make each of these films exceptional statements in their own right, as opposed to the more dismissively insensitive sweep of mafia cliches that Marty is accused of perpetuating, is only slightly less irritating than the utter indifference given to the decidedly un-mafioso and uncliched films (Age of Innocence, Kundun, Silence) that Scorsese has produced in about equal degree.

What I enjoyed most about this film is how saturated it is with themes of regret and fate without ever making them entirely explicit. I wonder if Scorsese may regret making a couple of perfect mobster films too perfectly in their evocation that he has longed to make a film so devoid of glamour, devoid of the (however intentionally facetious) rock star cliches that have attracted less discerning dollars from the likes of Belfort's rapt and eager suckers.



The Report - 8.5/10

Quality procedural that is, to the best of my current knowledge, extraordinarily accurate to historical fact (outside of a couple of character composites, an ethically loathsome but dramatically necessary practice). Perhaps unintentionally relevant in light of Trump's recent war criminal pardons (that final Washington quote must sting), the film is a bipartisan indictment of political cowardice and expediency. For some reason, the major theater chains wouldn't touch it. It stands as one of the most terrible of underreported scandals of the century. There's a fair share of dramatic indignation, understandably, but at least Adam Driver makes a better Jimmy Stewart than Mark Ruffalo, so whatever.



Parasite - 8.5/10

A lovely apocalypse from Bong Joon-ho, similar to Audition in its effortless shift from charming comedy to bug-fucking darkness. The mutual co-dependence of the classes (which only one seems aware of) isn't shown very subtley, but it is much more powerfully and brutally portrayed than the more allegorically linear Snowpiercer. I only wish I could find more symmetry with The Host because it seems like it should.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:55 am

One more person who liked Knives Out.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:23 pm

From Beyond the Grave - 6.5/10 - 1973 (or 74)) horror anthology from Amicus Studios who also produced four other anthologies including The House That Dripped Blood and Tales From the Crypt. This one stars Peter Cushing as the owner of a London antique shop. His merchandise ends up in the hands of people who have either stolen from or cheated him. The first stars David Warner, who deceives Cushing into selling him an antique mirror for a fraction of it's true worth. The second features two of my favorite British actors, Ian Bannen and Donald Pleasence and involves a stolen WWII medal. The third has to do with a silver snuff box and an elemental, an invisible creature that gloms onto the customer who cheats Cushing. Margaret Leighton turns in a great performance as Madame Orloff, a spiritualist for hire, who helps exorcise the little demon. The fourth is about a massive gilded door that turns out to be a portal to it's creator, an occultist named Sir Michael Sinclair.

They're all serviceable stories but I did like the second one, An Act of Kindness, the best. Ian Bannen was a gifted character actor who deserved more recognition and Donald Pleasence never quite got his due either.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:46 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:55 am
One more person who liked Knives Out.
Aww yeah.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:48 pm

I too like Knives Out. It's probably the first movie I've seen from 2019 I'd watch again in a heartbeat.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:02 pm

Knives Out was fun. Daniel Craig's accent was dumb, but appropriately dumb, since the whole movie is dumb, in a very roundabout, intelligent way.
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Re: Die Hard (McTiernan, '88)

Post by Stu » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:14 am

Reposting my old review of Die Hard here just because:

Image

Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker.
I've always felt that Die Hard is held back slightly by a couple of noteworthy flaws, but it's a testament to the skill of the people involved that it still manages to overcome its problems, and end up as a thrilling icon of modern Action movies in the end. To get my complaints out of the way first, one thing I've never liked about it is its sometimes broad writing, and often incredibly stock, generic characters; I could forgive the film for having one, maybe two of them, but when you've got the inexplicably stupid, stubborn chief of police we've seen in every cop movie since Dirty Harry, the muscling-in Feds who literally say "not anymore you're not [in charge]", the goofy black teenage sidekick who gets to help out with the big boy stuff at the very end, and many other examples all in the same film, it gets to be a bit much, don't you think? I also agree somewhat with Ebert when he complained about how the pacing here is sometimes interrupted by unnecessary tangents, the chief offender being Carl Winslow's "tragic" backstory about why he isn't a beat cop anymore, complete with obligatory sad acoustic guitar on the soundtrack, a moment that completely murders the pacing, and adds nothing to the story.

However, like I said earlier, it says a lot for Die Hard that it still managed to become such an influential action classic, despite these flaws. What it gets right is its overall sense of character and personality, as John McClane genuinely feels like a reluctant, wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time everyman, similar to how you'd imagine a real street cop would react in the same situation. And of course, he's matched by the late, great Alan Rickman in his first(!) and possibly best onscreen role, as the iconic Han Gruber, a sophisticated, urbane, and utterly ruthless German mercenary. The film wrings great mileage out of their dualing performances, Willis as the sclub-y, smartass New York cop trying to triumph over a well-armed piece of "Eurotrash", and Rickman as an educated elite struggling to wipe out a class-less American Neandrathal who's apparently convinced that he's Rambo.

Besides that strong central dynamic, Hard genuinely succeeds in being a thinking man's action movie, with its storytelling placing a greater emphasis on building tension and suspense than you'd normally expect from a movie of this genre; Nakatomi Plaza serves well as a claustrophobic, high-tech Alamo under siege, and at times, it feels less like an action movie, and more like a giant game of chess, with a motherfuckin' forty-floor skyscraper serving as the board. Pretty much every character here is constantly strategizing and maneuvering in order to achieve their individual goals, and McClane and Gruber themselves often duel over the radio with plenty of insults and straight-up psychological warfare, alongside the actual warfare that they're waging. And, speaking of the action, Die Hard has plenty of it; firefights, neck-snappings, destroying armored SWAT vehicles with rockets, bare-knuckled fistfights to the death, shooting through a window while hanging off a building while at the same time the roof blows up and a helicopter explodes and crashes hundreds of feet to the ground... it would seem ludicrous if it wasn't as well-made as it is. Flaws aside, Die Hard still more than provides the "forty stories of adventure" promised on its poster, and then some; yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers!
Final Score: 8.5
Joop
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Joop » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:27 pm

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:02 pm
Knives Out was fun. Daniel Craig's accent was dumb, but appropriately dumb, since the whole movie is dumb, in a very roundabout, intelligent way.
This is why the movie felt kinda weightless to me. What sort of meaning or pleasure is supposed to be derived from a movie that is intellectually dumb, especially if it's not particularly funny? Dumb for the sake of dumb lives and dies on its humor and a lot of its humor fell flat for me.
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DaMU
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:48 pm

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:02 pm
Knives Out was fun. Daniel Craig's accent was dumb, but appropriately dumb, since the whole movie is dumb, in a very roundabout, intelligent way.
It's such a fine line between stupid... and clever.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Slentert
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:22 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:48 pm
It's such a fine line between stupid... and clever.
So it's a Rian Johnson picture.
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topherH
Posts: 694
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:59 pm

T2: Judgment Day - Two thumbs up
State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
The Revenant |Inarritu, 2015| +
The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

+ Recommended
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Takoma1
Posts: 2871
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:55 pm

I am enjoying the Tiffany Haddish special. It's basically just hanging out with Tiffany Haddish and . . . that's just fine by me.
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