Recently Seen

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Charles
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Charles » Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:14 pm

I can't wait to see Cats. I live in a smaller Quebec town, so I thought I'd wait for dvd, but they're playing the original version with subtitles, so I'm there like, second day of January. I wanted to see it since the trailer dropped.

Scarface, 1932 (C+)

Fast pace in a way that's not very enthralling. Things move in quick succession, but there's no real thrill for me to feel. Maybe it's the lack of music or just the way the characters act, as if they're always above what's going on.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:25 pm

Charles wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 9:14 pm
Scarface, 1932 (C+)

Fast pace in a way that's not very enthralling. Things move in quick succession, but there's no real thrill for me to feel. Maybe it's the lack of music or just the way the characters act, as if they're always above what's going on.
If you mean the Paul Muni Scarface I plan on watching that in the near future when it runs on TCM. But I would think the problems you listed are part and parcel of 30's movies in general. They mostly come off as breezy and trifling and there's no sense of pace. Everything's shorthand. I did like Muni's I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang though and want to give Scarface a chance. If it's anything close to something like Little Caesar then I think it'll be worth watching.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:35 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:18 pm
I didn't know it was the same director until I was halfway through the film and the one character references his relative who remembers his past lives. I didn't realize it was a 2004 film, so I was like "Aw, is that a cute nod to Uncle Boonmee?", checked the IMDb and realized it was the same director and it came out before Uncle Boonmee. I'm pretty sure I watched it on Amazon Prime, though I just checked and it's not currently streaming there (or anywhere).
I looked for it on Netflix and Prime right after you told me about it. No dice. I did find it on youtube but unfortunately without subtitles.

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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:26 am

The Lighthouse - 9/10

Robert Eggers' follow-up to The Witch improves on his stylistic palette by fully embracing its more ambiguous, elemental and mythic aspects, veering directly into the Lynchian heart of darkness and insulating itself from any attempt at sociopolitical contrivance. Someone needs to confiscate all of those Shape of Water Oscars and give them directly to Willem DaFoe.


Hagazussa - 8.5/10

This German film also happens to be much better than The Witch, or otherwise its equal in sumptuous photography, pungent eeriness and unsettling beauty, and far surpassing The Witch in every other conceivable value.


The Whisperers - 7.5/10

A Bryan Forbes (Seance on a Wet Afternoon, The Wrong Box) film which is even less appropriately labled "horror" than those others, but a thoroughly Forbes film in depicting a particularly working class British sensibility that with its stark aesthetic and wry humor fits within the more mundane, unpretentious films of their New Wave ("kitchen sink realism", as it's sometimes called). Like Seance, this may more accurately be considered a crime drama than proper horror. The deceptively sinister pitch promises either a supernatural haunting or a psychological thriller (like a geriatric Repulsion), but instead the film is more of a poignant portrait of an Eleanor Rigby-esque older lonely woman and her neglect by family, neighbors and the government.


Green - 6/10

This is Sophia Takal's debut film, and, like her Always Shine, it shows some considerable technical skill and visual inventiveness. But also like Shine, it's very short, lean to the point of anemic, and seems like they had to abandon the weight of an act or two in order to secure the landing. Regardless, Green still winds up in the grass off the tarmac, a very slight exam of relationship jealousy that doesn't amount to much and is almost single-handedly of interest due to the expressive presence of Kate Lyn Sheil. I still have next to zero interest in Takal's Black Christmas, but surely Hollywood can find a better use of her lenscraft.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:59 am

The Witch is much better than Hagazussa. Both are quality but Hagazussa falls within the “woman losing her marbles” genre that have been playing out as variations of Repulsion along with The Eyes of My Mother and Blackcoats Daughter. I’m a fan but it doesn’t do anything of any remarkable variation to better itself and maintains the sin of the Witch (not knowing whether it’s a contemporary critique of a folktale or an adaptation of one) and cranks that up a notch.

The Lighthouse is better than both.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:38 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:59 am
The Witch is much better than Hagazussa. Both are quality but Hagazussa falls within the “woman losing her marbles” genre that have been playing out as variations of Repulsion along with The Eyes of My Mother and Blackcoats Daughter. I’m a fan but it doesn’t do anything of any remarkable variation to better itself and maintains the sin of the Witch (not knowing whether it’s a contemporary critique of a folktale or an adaptation of one) and cranks that up a notch.
I guess the first problem is that I had been assuming that Thomasin had definitely lost her marbles. That's really the only interpretation of The Witch that makes any sense, the ending being a delirious tragic elation. I don't otherwise find any "remarkable variation" in that film regarding the standard witchy mythos. So I'll accept that Hagazussa is more faithful to the aspects of the witch myth that tend to be uglier and less flattering to the patchouli poseurs who dream of some kind of liberation by accepting the grossest aspersions of their scared fathers. The problem with both a contemporary critique and an adaptation (how can one be one and not the other?) of the insane hysteria inspired by this myth is that it is ultimately ridiculous and putrid when taken at face value. The Witch's sin is not understanding this fundamental trap that its myth sets for itself. Hagazussa does understand this, and plays it out accordingly, and devastatingly.

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:59 am
The Lighthouse is better than both.
Well, duh. Hence my rating. It improves on The Witch by not letting its characters off the hook for their senseless allures.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:28 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:38 am
I guess the first problem is that I had been assuming that Thomasin had definitely lost her marbles. That's really the only interpretation of The Witch that makes any sense, the ending being a delirious tragic elation. I don't otherwise find any "remarkable variation" in that film regarding the standard witchy mythos. So I'll accept that Hagazussa is more faithful to the aspects of the witch myth that tend to be uglier and less flattering to the patchouli poseurs who dream of some kind of liberation by accepting the grossest aspersions of their scared fathers. The problem with both a contemporary critique and an adaptation (how can one be one and not the other?) of the insane hysteria inspired by this myth is that it is ultimately ridiculous and putrid when taken at face value. The Witch's sin is not understanding this fundamental trap that its myth sets for itself. Hagazussa does understand this, and plays it out accordingly, and devastatingly.



Well, duh. Hence my rating. It improves on The Witch by not letting its characters off the hook for their senseless allures.
While Eggers certainly leaves the film open for interpretation, I don’t think it leans heavily into the Thomasin has gone crazy territory. The more fruitful reading is that the Witch is literal and it becomes an examination of rigid belief systems and patriarchy becoming self defeating and allowing them to be supplanted.

I don’t see how Hagazussa reveals itself to be more aware of these pitfalls. It seems to denote the majority of its runtime into being a manifestation of mental illness based upon the paranoia and belief in witches until the climax, when it shifts to the literal. Even rejecting that turn as something that’s from her subjective perspective, it doesn’t comment about much beyond the self fulfilling prophecy of misogynist fantasy, something explored more effectively in Antichrist.

There’s an authenticity to the Witch due to the depth of research that Eggers brings that gives it a uniqueness in the face of other witch horror that Hagazussa lacks, as even the most generous of discussions always bring about comparisons to the Witch.

I feel bad crapping on it as I definitely liked the film, even a good deal. I’m just an ardent supporter of the Witch and after the Lighthouse, Eggers as well.

That statement was meant as a nod that while we disagree on Hagazussa being superior to the Witch, were in agreement on the Lighthouse rather than my inability to read numbers.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:01 pm

I definitely did not read "Thomasin is crazy" into The Witch. I read that there was a witch in it. Am I just an idiot?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:41 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:28 am
While Eggers certainly leaves the film open for interpretation, I don’t think it leans heavily into the Thomasin has gone crazy territory. The more fruitful reading is that the Witch is literal and it becomes an examination of rigid belief systems and patriarchy becoming self defeating and allowing them to be supplanted.
I'm not suggesting that Thomaine is crazy for imagining a witch, I'm saying that the very real and literal witch (as the film presents the bitch) caused Thomasine to suffer such a trauma, a coerced insanity, as to make her more pliable for recruiting. This reading of the ending makes a lot more sense to me than some nonsensical "liberation". And from what to what? One rigid belief system (which is irrelevant to the witch's existence, as the film presents it) for yet another patriarch, speaking smoother than Keitel in Taxi Driver, under his dark service in compliant obedience to kiss his ass come the Sabbath? In this (heh) light, Thomasine seems more like a shellshocked prisoner of war, being recruited by trauma, than a truly freed woman. Hagazussa (as well as Lighthouse for that matter*) does not stop at the relief of respite, but plays through the implications of the horror that a witch's life (as presented in the film) inevitably entails. A poor reading of The Witch would be that Thomasine's post-traumatic relief would be sustained as an euphoric life.
(* The ending of The Witch is as if The Lighthouse ended with Winslow's delirious laugh, and we never see the tumble from that height.)
The problem with these more sinsiter takes on the witch's myth is that they are, in fact, products of insanity. We're no longer talking about solitary women with a knack for pagan botany, but instead about the utterly demented fallacies with which they were so hysterically accused. Both The Witch and Hagazussa take the latter for granted, presenting the reality of witchcraft as something wickedly parasitic, preying especially on children (innocence). Once we accept this as the rules of reality in a particular film's universe, then questions about the patriarchal oppression that so erroneously, corruptly, conjured these phantoms into existence by force of torture become irrelevant. The audience accepts that these films have presented this corporeal insanity as fact, and no longer as the ravenous hallucinations of weak men. And once we accept this insanity as fact, then it follows that the film proceeds as insanely as that fact will allow. Hagazussa embraces the insanity of what is an uncontroversially insane scenario. For whatever disingenuous reason, some members of The Witch's audience have chosen to find lucidity there instead. Since I haven't yet seen Eggers confirm this intention, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't so foolish.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:58 pm

I agree that Eggers presents a pretty ambivalent view of the witch, and I think viewers who regard the ending in a purely positive light are way off the mark. That's partly what I found so compelling about the film: it presents witchly deviance as something desirable but deeply troublesome.

As for The Witch vs The Lighthouse, I thought the former was way more taut and controlled, but the latter was more daring. The Lighthouse goes off the rails sometimes -- I mean, the whole thing is off the rails, but one gets the sense that Eggers can't always hold onto something as slippery as he's made -- but its voice is a little more distinctive. But I love the overall tone and meticulous period details in both.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:15 pm

Janson, it seems like your entire critique of the Witch is related to audience reaction and interpretation rather than what’s on screen. A similar “positive reason” response happened to Midsommar and it seems more due to wanting a Twitter blurb than a meaningful interaction with the text. It’s the modern equivalent of reading Fight Club as being a positive representation of masculinity or Scarface as being a positive example of social mobility provided by the drug trade. These readings exist but seem to ignore prominent elements of the text.

Thomasin is “more” empowered within the Coven but she IS trading one patriarchy for another and it is for a Coven that will prey upon children, including babies which the film lays bare exactly what they do to them. It’s supposed to illicit a complex response rather than the superficial liberation. I think showing the “fall” would betray that element of complex tragedy while the “fall” is integral to the Lighthouse’s evocation of Greek myth.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:13 pm

Also, anyone else not care for the Souvenir? I liked the aesthetic of the piece but found the relationship it centered around to be shallow, unsurprising and uninteresting. Maybe it's because I've never dated an addict that I didn't really connect to it but I didn't find a single element of redeeming value or even seduction in the boyfriend character. Everything about him, from the physical to his pretense made the man a repellant presence long before his self destructive elements kicked in. Because of that, it just felt like a slog in order to come to an inevitable and obvious conclusion.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:52 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:13 pm
Also, anyone else not care for the Souvenir? I liked the aesthetic of the piece but found the relationship it centered around to be shallow, unsurprising and uninteresting. Maybe it's because I've never dated an addict that I didn't really connect to it but I didn't find a single element of redeeming value or even seduction in the boyfriend character. Everything about him, from the physical to his pretense made the man a repellant presence long before his self destructive elements kicked in. Because of that, it just felt like a slog in order to come to an inevitable and obvious conclusion.
I've been mulling over this one for some time as I'm not entirely sure what to think of it. I must admit that I did feel the runtime while watching it and the uninteresting romance between the two leads didn't help much in this regard. However, I did find a couple things interesting about the visuals of the film such as how the shooting style often changes throughout it. For instance, in the opening scenes, it's shot with a handheld camera and everything is grainy. Then, when she first meets Anthony, the shot is suddenly clear. I noticed this a few times while watching the film such as how a shot of Julie saying goodbye to Anthony in an elevator was grainy. I don't know if different cameras were used for the film, but it does appear to be making a point that Julie's life becomes dull or less interesting when Anthony isn't around her. In addition, I didn't notice this while watching the film, but from what I read, the views of the city seen outside of Julie's apartment are actually projections of photographs that Hogg took in her twenties. I think this approach is pretty interesting. If I rewatch the film, I'll be sure to pay attention to this. One critic compared this film to a scrapbook and I'd say that's a good analogy. Overall though, I don't know if the strengths of the aesthetics are strong enough to overcome the issues with the core relationship. If I see enough people here champion the film, I might give it another chance.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:05 pm

I was disappointed with Noelle. A combination of every Santa Claus movie you've ever seen and Enchanted, it stars Anna Kendrick in the titular role, a North Pole resident who is searching for her brother and Santa Claus heir apparent Nick (Bill Hader). During her search, she not only befriends a hapless single father not far removed from Patrick Dempsey's Enchanted character, but also proves she's much more qualified to man, err...woman Santa's sleigh. In addition to its hackneyed premise, equally hackneyed execution and shameless product placement - if you play a drinking game in which you take a shot when anyone says "iPad," you'll be on the floor in minutes - Kendrick really made this movie a chore to sit through. While Amy Adams' naivety is charming and funny in Enchanted, Kendrick's is just annoying, so much so that her setbacks filled me with more relief than sympathy, I'm ashamed to admit. As for Hader, his role fails to leverage his comedic and acting talents so much that anyone could have played it. If you have Disney+ and you're in the mood for a Christmas movie, watch a better movie it ripped off like Fred Claus, Arthur Christmas or The Santa Clause instead.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm

So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:35 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:15 pm
Janson, it seems like your entire critique of the Witch is related to audience reaction and interpretation rather than what’s on screen. A similar “positive reason” response happened to Midsommar and it seems more due to wanting a Twitter blurb than a meaningful interaction with the text.
That's weird. I didn't even realize that I was ever on Twitter.

Throughout the various discussions I've engaged in involving The Witch, I've always been consistently specific regarding what I see as a faulty interpretation, and this consistency is required due to the somewhat ubiquity of this faulty interpretation. I've said pretty much exactly as I have above, which is that the existence of the witch as a real creature of nature, as opposed to a creation of religious superstition, undermines whatever critique of the superstition because otherwise the superstition itself is a sufficient example of the corrupt institution that projected it in the first place, however if that superstition becomes no longer a superstition but an otherwise rational fear of a real threat, then the motives behind casting the superstition become moot. In a world with baby-mashing witches - presumably orchestrated by a principal force of evil - then the fear of this entity would be entirely rational and not, you know, whatever perverse social compulsion needing to be critiqued. It's almost as if it matters that these oppressive superstitions were never real in the first place.

In addition to being consistent in specifying the source of this poor interpretation, I've also been consistent by specifically exempting Eggers from this criticism, as I'm not convinced that this was his intention, and by praising the artistic merits of what is on the screen - like the original post which complimented the "sumptuous photography, pungent eeriness and unsettling beauty". I also complimented Eggers on The Lighthouse, not for any flaw of his own, but for making a film which is less susceptible to such a flawed interpretation. Your critique of my critique hasn't had much of a meaningful interaction with what I've actually written.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:45 am

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)
Some of these films are more interesting than entertaining, and some others are simply fun. In the former catagory, I'd put Terminal Man, Shivers and Demon Seed; in the latter Dark Star, Omega Man and Death Race. A Boy an His Dog and God Told Me To fall into both camps quite easily.

Westworld may be completely eclipsed by the recent reboot at this point. I haven't seen it in awhile, but the technology must seem awfully quaint.

I need to see No Blade of Grass, Z.P.G. and Ultimate Warrior (which I hope isn't about wrestling).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:06 am

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
From the ones I've seen, I'd make God Told Me To the priority. Don't think it's really sci-fi though, if that's your criteria.

Also, I will say that Death Race 2000 is a lot stronger than its schlocky reputation would suggest thanks to David Carradine's performance.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:38 am

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
I've seen the above.

God Told Me To is easily the one that I will most strongly recommend. It's so weird and unique. After I finished it, I was amazed at how many different elements of horror it had managed to mix together and how shocking it is that it works. The premise catches your attention from the get-go (a series of murders in which the killers all claim "God told me to"), but the plot goes to places that consistently shocked me. It had a lot more heart and emotional depth than I was expecting.

I haven't seen Westworld in years, but I remember really liking it.

I'm very mixed on Soylent Green (MKS loves it, though). It is a classic and it has one incredibly memorable sequence that makes the film well worth watching.

A Boy and His Dog is a very different, interesting, and deeply cynical film that's maybe also kind of sexist (or maybe it's just the result of a male protagonist in a deeply misanthropic world). The film's "hero" is a rapist, and the kind of anti-hero who you sort of root for because the other people around him are somehow even worse. The film sometimes walked a line for me between darkly funny and just mean-spirited.

We had a long conversation about Shivers in the horror thread a while back. I think that most horror fans regard it more highly than I do. Like many other films on this list, it has some memorable sequences that make it worth watching even if the whole package might not be the best. It's certainly horrifying and contains disgustingly enjoyable special effects.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Slentert » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:34 pm

My first movie of 2020 was a Disney one, but not in the usual sense.

THE SWEATBOX
is a 2002 documentary about the disastrous production of what eventually become New Emperor's Groove that the House of the Mouse doesn't want you to see. If you are an artist in any capacity (or just have to deal with bureaucratic nonsense at your job) you will find this documentary to be highly frustrating, enlightening and somewhat hilarious. You will cringe in sympathy for all the great animators involved with this production. It truly shows why Disney fizzled out creatively after their big boom with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and such.

Formally it doesn't differentiate itself too much from the usual behind-the-scenes-documentary but because Disney has officially band it everywhere, it does feel like you're gaining insights that otherwise would've never left the studio lot.

I watched a copy of it on youtube. Check it out before it gets deleted again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2CIuq5E1gM
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:11 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:35 am
That's weird. I didn't even realize that I was ever on Twitter.

Throughout the various discussions I've engaged in involving The Witch, I've always been consistently specific regarding what I see as a faulty interpretation, and this consistency is required due to the somewhat ubiquity of this faulty interpretation. I've said pretty much exactly as I have above, which is that the existence of the witch as a real creature of nature, as opposed to a creation of religious superstition, undermines whatever critique of the superstition because otherwise the superstition itself is a sufficient example of the corrupt institution that projected it in the first place, however if that superstition becomes no longer a superstition but an otherwise rational fear of a real threat, then the motives behind casting the superstition become moot. In a world with baby-mashing witches - presumably orchestrated by a principal force of evil - then the fear of this entity would be entirely rational and not, you know, whatever perverse social compulsion needing to be critiqued. It's almost as if it matters that these oppressive superstitions were never real in the first place.

In addition to being consistent in specifying the source of this poor interpretation, I've also been consistent by specifically exempting Eggers from this criticism, as I'm not convinced that this was his intention, and by praising the artistic merits of what is on the screen - like the original post which complimented the "sumptuous photography, pungent eeriness and unsettling beauty". I also complimented Eggers on The Lighthouse, not for any flaw of his own, but for making a film which is less susceptible to such a flawed interpretation. Your critique of my critique hasn't had much of a meaningful interaction with what I've actually written.
For ending with an accusation of not interacting with what I’ve written, you seem to have flagrantly missed the point of anything I’ve said and chosen to take the most defensive and dense stance possible.

I wasn’t saying you post on Twitter. I’m saying that the wealth of “The Witch actually has a happy ending” takes (along with Midsommar) are more endemic of the social media hot take landscape than attempt at generating meaningful analysis of the films themselves.

Given that your previous post and much of this one seems to be taking issue with this rather than the film itself, as you even state that you don’t hold this against Eggers himself, it seems a particularly fruitless thing to hold as a deciding factor to Hagazussa’s supposed superiority.

Especially as your critique here is doubly enforced in Hagazussa given that film’s ending. It’s just nowhere near as popular so it isn’t coming with the social media hype and hot take criticism that surrounded the Witch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:09 am

For New Year's Eve we watched the first John Wick and, man, did it call into stark relief what I didn't like about the third film: lack of emotional connections (aside from the Halle Berry sequence) and way over-mythologized.

I think that I prefer the world of the first film where it's about different factions and most of the people involved are basically freelancers. Despite the numerous action sequences and songs about the Boogeyman, the character feel much more like people.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:05 am

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
No Blade of Grass, Shivers and God Told Me To are the 3 that stand out most for me.

Dark Star works as a great artifact of a great director being clever with no money. I love it, but its charms are probably limited.

Demon Seed is better than it has any right to be. Death Race is good trash. Logan's Run is goofy shit that is maybe okay for a goofy shit kinda mood.

I don't like Westworld.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:31 am

Another vote for watching God Told Me To first.

Watch Logan's Run, Death Race 2000, Soylent Green and Westworld because you're supposed to. Omega Man for it's cheesiness. I agree that Dark Star doesn't have much to offer outside of being Carpenter's debut.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:48 am

Agatha and the Truth of Murder - 8/10 - This was a made for TV movie but it's on Netflix and although it wouldn't have been my first choice I was outvoted but ended up really enjoying it. It's based on an actual 1926 occurrence when author Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days, leading to all sorts of speculation and a UK wide manhunt (womanhunt?). The rest of it is fictionalized and posits that Christie attempted to help solve the real life murder of Florence Nightingale's niece, who was bludgeoned on a train and died four days later. She is compelled to help by the dead woman's longtime companion and after drawing up a list of the likeliest suspects arranges to have them assemble at a manor under the guise of determining who will inherit the dead woman's estate. The rest is a straight up but engaging and well done drawing room mystery.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:40 pm

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
The only one I've seen is Soylent Green, which is fun but not great, but still very much worth seeing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:47 pm

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
I've seen about 2/3 of those and would watch every one of them again. I'm not sure that's helpful, but...
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:52 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:45 am

Westworld may be completely eclipsed by the recent reboot at this point. I haven't seen it in awhile, but the technology must seem awfully quaint.
I've actually seen it twice lately, and I thought it totally held up. I still prefer it to the show. (Although everyone probably needs to know that it does not spend all its time pontificating the "what does it mean to be alive" business. It spends none. It is more about man's advanced technology gone wrong than a deep philosophical exploration of how that technology 'feels'.)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:37 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:11 pm
Given that your previous post and much of this one seems to be taking issue with this rather than the film itself, as you even state that you don’t hold this against Eggers himself, it seems a particularly fruitless thing to hold as a deciding factor to Hagazussa’s supposed superiority.

Especially as your critique here is doubly enforced in Hagazussa given that film’s ending.
Not sure which ending you're referring to, maybe we saw different cuts or something.

Hagazussa's superiority, in my view, stems from taking a more conceptually consistent look at what the life of a witch would be like compared to the more romanticized ending of The Witch. This contrast remains intriguing whether we interpret this latter romanticization as "supplanting patriarchy" or, as I see it, a seductive delusion. Hagazussa makes a couple of interesting modifications to this:
placing the POV with the witch, focusing on the morally corrosive aspects of her psyche, and refusing to certify whether or not "witches" actually have any supernatural power.
I tried to find an interview with writer/director Lukas Feigelfeld to confirm some of these impressions, and the best I could find was this, although it confirms more than I was expecting:
Lukas Feigelfeld wrote:Set in the 15th Century in the Austrian Alps, Hagazussa takes us back to a dark period when pagan beliefs of witches spread fear into the minds of the rural folk exploring the thin line between ancient beliefs, magic, and delusional psychosis....The aim of Hagazussa was to dissect the mind of the main character ‘Albrun’, a simple goatherd living in solitude and tormented by the local town folk. After researching about old pagan beliefs and folklore about witches, that were supposed to roam the mountain woods in those times, my interest was to develop a character that these folk tales would have branded as a witch, but to dig deeper into her psyche and see her as the traumatized, mistreated and finally delusional person that society constructed. As well as to understand what utterly evil things people were lead to do while suffering from psychosis in the middle ages and being surrounded by superstition and religious prosecution. The film tries to depict a very personal and empathetic mental image of a nightmarish and sick mind.
So, far beyond being a "woman losing her marbles" tale, it directly corresponds her mental illness as a symptom of this culture of "superstition and religious prosecution". It is both a sympathetic examination of an asocial loner (ie, exactly the kind of woman accused of witchcraft) and of the additional psychologically scarring effects of the viral concept of witches itself. In other words, a more effective indictment of the patriarchal culture that spawned that concept. As I've mentioned, "witches" are a product of insanity, and Hagazussa doesn't put velvet gloves on its claws.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:58 pm

Macrology wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:21 pm
So, from this list of the 70s sci-fi flicks Criterion Channel is presenting in January, which should I prioritize? I won't have time to check out all of them in one month, so I want to get some outside perspective, especially regarding the titles I'm not familiar with. (I'll definitely watch Dark Star and Shivers, and probably Death Race and Logan's Run, but I'm curious about some of the others.)

No Blade of Grass (Cornel Wilde, 1970)
The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
Z.P.G. (Michael Campus, 1972)
Westworld (Michael Crichton, 1973)
Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973)
Dark Star (John Carpenter, 1974)
The Terminal Man (Mike Hodges, 1974)
A Boy and His Dog (L. Q. Jones, 1975)
Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, 1975)
Shivers (David Cronenberg, 1975)
The Ultimate Warrior (Robert Clouse, 1975)
Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976)
Demon Seed (Donald Cammell, 1977)

(A Clockwork Orange, THX 1138, Rollerball, and Mad Max are also included in the line-up, but I've already seen them.)
I've seen Soylent Green which I don't remember too well, Logan's Run which starts out quite good, but declines in quality around the halfway point or so, and God Told Me To which is my favorite from that bunch. I'll watch a few more of those later this week.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:45 am

Prospero's Books is a rolling pageant of art-historical tableaux vivants, a multimedia palimpsest, an inventory of impossible books, and an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Aesthetically, it hearkens back to antiquity (abounding in allusions) and luxuriates in the 16th and 17th centuries (paying homage to Dutch and Flemish masters), but it's also an artifact of a very narrow window in the early 90s, caught in the cross-fade between analog and digital technology. Like most Greenaway, it juxtaposes high art ostentation and scatological bathos.

In short, it is a hybrid film, and it seems to me that this hybridity is the underlying purpose of the film. No single aspect of the film stands out as more significant than the rest; even the source material is just a framework with some convenient thematic resonance. This is Greenaway at his most recklessly polymathematical, and the resulting film is as multifarious as Ariel. It's a prolonged act of polyphonic imaginative discourse, and I'm not sure it has any raison d'être beyond its own free-flowing creative spectacle. It's a film that justifies its own artistic excess by ruminating on the subject of artistic excess.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:10 am

Jesus. Blue Jasmine was a fucking bummer.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:48 am

Umberto D - 8.5/10 - This is only the second Vittorio De Sica film I've seen (after Bicycle Thieves) but I've really enjoyed both. This one is about a pensioner struggling to make ends meet in post war Italy. His landlady has threatened to evict him from the ratty one room apartment he has lived in for three decades. His sole companion is a little dog named Flike that the old man is utterly devoted to. The only other person he has any sort of connection with is the landlady's young maid Maria. She reveals that she is pregnant by one of two soldiers and is terrified of being let go once her boss finds out. The old man's struggle to come up with his back rent is the basis of the movie while also touching on other issues. The two stars playing Umberto Domenico Ferrari and Maria the maid are non-professionals but they do a marvelous and naturalistic job of carrying the story. I'll be keeping an eye out for either Shoeshine, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis or The Boom. All three have stellar Tomatometers.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 pm

My first batch of 2020 watches:

Paris Belongs to Us- Slower and less garish than most of the French New Wave I'm consumed but it culminated in a swell climax of mystery and epistemological tomfoolery.

Pink Flamingos- Befitting it’s reputation. I hated it. I loved it.

Two-Lane Blacktop- A cynical response to the traditional road movie. Great stuff if not the most propulsive car movie.

Tammy and the T-Rex- the gore cut in 4k will remain one of the most sublime best of the worst movies I’ve witnessed for the rest of my life. Vinegar Syndrome is a blessing.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:30 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 pm


Pink Flamingos- Befitting it’s reputation. I hated it. I loved it.
Even for me, it's impossible to love unconditionally

Female Trouble or Multiple Maniacs are probably his two best to 'enjoy', but neither are nearly as jarring as the sheer unpleasant tone of Flamingos, which makes it the most "Watersian" of the bunch.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:54 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:30 pm
Even for me, it's impossible to love unconditionally

Female Trouble or Multiple Maniacs are probably his two best to 'enjoy', but neither are nearly as jarring as the sheer unpleasant tone of Flamingos, which makes it the most "Watersian" of the bunch.
I had tried to watch it years ago but tapped out with the chicken sex. Determined to finish, I forced my buddy who watched it last time to wade through the filth with me. We’ve watched tons of Miike joints together and any number of “extreme” movies throughout the years and I think this is the first to legitimately affect us. I think it has to do with perfect mixture of incompetent filmmaking, “freak show” personalities, actual grotesque actions and the incessant sense that Waters and company find it all hilarious.

I’ve only seen Cry Baby beyond this and very much enjoyed it. I plan to nab MM, FT and Polyester in the next few. Criterion sales. I can’t deny being drawn to the insanity of that Waters’ trash.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Macrology » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:02 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:09 pm
Paris is Burning- Slower and less garish than most of the French New Wave I'm consumed but it culminated in a swell climax of mystery and epistemological tomfoolery.
You mean Is Paris Burning? Because they are two very different films.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:08 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:54 pm
I had tried to watch it years ago but tapped out with the chicken sex. Determined to finish, I forced my buddy who watched it last time to wade through the filth with me.
I watched it with my father on Christmas

Desperate Living is kind of a forgotten one from his early period which is also a lot to digest at times, but is worth also checking out if the others placate in any way.

I don't much like his more competent movies. Crybaby is definitely one of the better ones, as far as I'm concerned. And Serial Mom. But most from Hairspray up just annoy and bore me in equal measure.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:09 pm

Macrology wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:02 pm
You mean Is Paris Burning? Because they are two very different films.
I was thinking the same thing.

Paris Is Burning is a great documentary, BTW
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:10 pm

I'm an idiot. Meant Paris Belongs to Us.

I've been on a doc kick and almost watched Paris Is Burning but my Criterion collecting keeps telling me to wait for the physical release.

The Paris and Criterion connection crossed my streams.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:15 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:08 pm
I watched it with my father on Christmas

Desperate Living is kind of a forgotten one from his early period which is also a lot to digest at times, but is worth also checking out if the others placate in any way.

I don't much like his more competent movies. Crybaby is definitely one of the better ones, as far as I'm concerned. And Serial Mom. But most from Hairspray up just annoy and bore me in equal measure.
What was the mood in the room when watching it with family?

DL is supposed to the be third leg of the "filth trilogy" right? It's on the docket but lower due to the desire for more Criterion expenses.

I want to see Serial Mom pretty badly and I think it recently got a Shout release so that may bump it up the list. I saw Hairspray when I was young on TV but I don't much remember it so I don't count it.

It's hilarious how likeable John Waters is and how he's virtually scandal free despite his creative output.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:42 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:15 pm
What was the mood in the room when watching it with family?

DL is supposed to the be third leg of the "filth trilogy" right? It's on the docket but lower due to the desire for more Criterion expenses.

I want to see Serial Mom pretty badly and I think it recently got a Shout release so that may bump it up the list. I saw Hairspray when I was young on TV but I don't much remember it so I don't count it.

It's hilarious how likeable John Waters is and how he's virtually scandal free despite his creative output.
Just me and father, and awkward. He particularly despised the dancing asshole scene. Who could blame him. But he bought the fucking thing for me, so that was his penance to deal with.

The secret key to John Waters success is his complete lack of cynicism. I think many people see him as a misanthrope (usually by those who don't actually watch his movies) but his movies are strangely full of love and compassion for the outsider. And as intolerable as some of the images he presents are, the outrage they create is really almost secondary. His passions simply are the ugly and the odd. It's not hard to imagine him as being one of the more legitimately friendly artists out there, regardless of the repuation his movies have created (well, not to chickens, which I still can't really contend with, but we'll put that aside for the time being)
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:17 am

Apparently there is something wrong with me.
I simply don't understand what was supposed to be so bad about Cats.
I should have known something was weird when everyone freaked out about the first trailer which I thought was totally fine and even looked like it might be worth seeing. But now that I've seen it, I simply do not understand. It's just not that bad. Not by a long-sight. I've seen a lot worse movies and I've actually seen multiple worse movies in the last month.
Including The Rise Of Skywalker.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:07 am

Out of the Past - 9/10 - Everything I've read says that this is one of the first film noirs. I might be wrong but since it's directed by Jacques Tourneur with cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca I'm more than willing to believe it. Robert Mitchum stars and his first moments kind of threw me since his character of Jeff Bailey seems like just another small town nice guy. But it's a red herring. He's living under an alias which is revealed after a figure from his past shows up looking for him. His actual name is Jeff Markham and, as he explains to his current girlfriend in an extended flashback, years before he worked as a private eye hired by a shady businessman named Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). He wanted Jeff to track down his ex-mistress who ran off after stealing 40,000 dollars. The rest goes according to noir archetypes when he finally meets femme fatale Katherine Moffat (Jane Greer). There are plenty of double crosses and hidden motives and loads of atmosphere. Present day Whit wants Jeff's help getting out of a tax jam and without giving too much away, there are grudges to be settled and reckonings to be paid. This is a must see if you like hard boiled characters and beautiful but venomous women double dealing each other.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:39 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:10 pm
I've been on a doc kick and almost watched Paris Is Burning but my Criterion collecting keeps telling me to wait for the physical release.
You've never seen Paris is Burning? Wow. I think it's essential viewing. You're in for a real treat. I would think that they could put together some killer extras.
ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:15 pm
I want to see Serial Mom pretty badly and I think it recently got a Shout release so that may bump it up the list.
I thought Serial Mom was pretty meh. I didn't think it did much with the whole "suburban mom is really kind of evil" trope.
Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:07 am
Out of the Past - 9/10 - Everything I've read says that this is one of the first film noirs.
While I had seen many film noirs in my youth, when I was a junior in high school I took an elective class that was all about film noir. (It was technically an English class where we would read noir novels and then compare them to their film adaptations). It was the first time I'd watched a film through the lens of analysis and I loved it. We had a great textbook that we used (I wish I could remember the title) that did such a beautiful job of explaining the angles and symbols (like the fishing net) in Out of the Past. It really does hit all the notes.

Night of the Hunter is probably my favorite Mitchum performance, but I do have a soft spot for this film.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:08 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:39 am
I thought Serial Mom was pretty meh. I didn't think it did much with the whole "suburban mom is really kind of evil" trope.
It doesn't do much with it. It plays out like you imagine it should. And Waters doesn't really have a particularly great command of any visual cinematic language, so it isn't even stylistically very interesting (at all). So it all really hinges on Turner's performance. Which for me is enough, because I think she plays the duality of the role pretty perfectly.

But not remotely essential.

But nothing Waters did post Polyester is (some would argue Hairspray, but not me)

Then again, some would argue that nothing he ever did is essential but........they're wrong
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:36 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:08 am
It doesn't do much with it. It plays out like you imagine it should. And Waters doesn't really have a particularly great command of any visual cinematic language, so it isn't even stylistically very interesting (at all). So it all really hinges on Turner's performance. Which for me is enough, because I think she plays the duality of the role pretty perfectly.
Turner was good, but the film around her is way too weak sauce. I caught it on TV when I was a teen and thought it was a made-for-TV mediocre comedy.

Anyway, I enjoy Waters as a person more than his films, though admittedly I've seen very little of his catalog.

But my favorite thing about Waters is maybe this quote: "We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them." Something I wish I could hang on the wall of my classroom but obviously cannot.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:14 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:10 pm
I'm an idiot. Meant Paris Belongs to Us.

I've been on a doc kick and almost watched Paris Is Burning but my Criterion collecting keeps telling me to wait for the physical release.

The Paris and Criterion connection crossed my streams.
You just have to wait until they release the trilogy box set:

1) Paris Belongs to Us
2) Is Paris Burning?
3) Paris is Burning

Together at last.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Rock » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:15 am

My only experience with Waters' work was the time I bailed on Desperate Living halfway through. I remember a lot of yelling and little else.

His Simpsons cameo is pretty sweet though. "Zzzzzzzap!"
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:45 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:07 am
Out of the Past - 9/10 - Everything I've read says that this is one of the first film noirs. I might be wrong but since it's directed by Jacques Tourneur with cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca I'm more than willing to believe it. Robert Mitchum stars and his first moments kind of threw me since his character of Jeff Bailey seems like just another small town nice guy. But it's a red herring. He's living under an alias which is revealed after a figure from his past shows up looking for him. His actual name is Jeff Markham and, as he explains to his current girlfriend in an extended flashback, years before he worked as a private eye hired by a shady businessman named Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas). He wanted Jeff to track down his ex-mistress who ran off after stealing 40,000 dollars. The rest goes according to noir archetypes when he finally meets femme fatale Katherine Moffat (Jane Greer). There are plenty of double crosses and hidden motives and loads of atmosphere. Present day Whit wants Jeff's help getting out of a tax jam and without giving too much away, there are grudges to be settled and reckonings to be paid. This is a must see if you like hard boiled characters and beautiful but venomous women double dealing each other.
Great movie.
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