Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 04, 2019 3:09 am

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Not entirely sure how I feel about how this concludes itself. If it works. If it doesn't. If it's nonsense. But this is probably irrelevant to the fact that I think I completely love this movie.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Sat May 04, 2019 3:17 am

Almost as good as Mandy.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 04, 2019 3:22 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:17 am
Almost as good as Mandy.
I could see people being underwhelmed by this as much as I was by Mandy. It would be understandable. There are hypothetically similar criticisms. But it would also be a terribly wrong way to think about this.

Whatever its (possibly) abundant flaws, this is one of the better horror films of the last couple of years. It got under my skin. It confounded me in all of the good ways. Its sometimes stupidity was inspired.

Loved it.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 04, 2019 3:49 am

Rewatching Sleepaway Camp for the millionth time, and this movie is always way better than I remember. And I always remember it as being amazing.

Even better than the remake of Sleepaway Camp.

Mandy is still in last.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Sat May 04, 2019 4:01 am

I actually haven't seen it yet.

Mandy may have broken my television.

What have I seen lately? Not much to write about:

That's the Way of the World - not great, but Keitel plays a record executive trying to give Earth Wind & Fire a shot, but being pushed towards some kind of Peter Paul & Partridge pop group instead. The ending was fantastic.

Black Lizard - wuxia that's not bad but not as entertaining as Human Lanterns or Blind Woman's Curse (also recent watches).

The Shape of Things to Come - Cheapy sci-fi (shot in Canada!) with Jack Palance. I saw this at a drive-in as a baby, but could only remember Jack's vacuum-like death helmet. Not good, and not as funny as Starcrash.

Puberty Blues - unfortunately titled coming of age drama about a couple of girls among Aussie surfers. Also from Beresford, it's not quite on the level of Breaking Away.

Cracking Up - hideous sketch comedy film, worse even than Groove Tube. The guy who created Police Academy was one of the writers. Still has small moments with spots from Fred Willard and the Credibility Gap (Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, David Lander).

I've seen it several times but I rewatched The Shout with a friend. You've seen that one, right? That there's a monster motion picture.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 04, 2019 4:08 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:01 am


I've seen it several times but I rewatched The Shout with a friend. You've seen that one, right?
Yessssss.

Gooooood.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Sat May 04, 2019 4:13 am

Oh, I also finally watched Long Weekend last week, the Aussie thriller. I was confusing it with a film called Death Weekend for some reason (which itself seems to actually be called House By the Lake).

Also watched The Apple. It was no Mandy.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Sat May 04, 2019 7:19 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:22 am

Whatever its (possibly) abundant flaws, this is one of the better horror films of the last couple of years. It got under my skin. It confounded me in all of the good ways. Its sometimes stupidity was inspired.

Loved it.
I think I mostly agree with you.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat May 11, 2019 12:12 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:01 am
I actually haven't seen it yet.

Mandy may have broken my television.

What have I seen lately? Not much to write about:

That's the Way of the World - not great, but Keitel plays a record executive trying to give Earth Wind & Fire a shot, but being pushed towards some kind of Peter Paul & Partridge pop group instead. The ending was fantastic.

Black Lizard - wuxia that's not bad but not as entertaining as Human Lanterns or Blind Woman's Curse (also recent watches).

The Shape of Things to Come - Cheapy sci-fi (shot in Canada!) with Jack Palance. I saw this at a drive-in as a baby, but could only remember Jack's vacuum-like death helmet. Not good, and not as funny as Starcrash.

Puberty Blues - unfortunately titled coming of age drama about a couple of girls among Aussie surfers. Also from Beresford, it's not quite on the level of Breaking Away.

Cracking Up - hideous sketch comedy film, worse even than Groove Tube. The guy who created Police Academy was one of the writers. Still has small moments with spots from Fred Willard and the Credibility Gap (Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, David Lander).

I've seen it several times but I rewatched The Shout with a friend. You've seen that one, right? That there's a monster motion picture.
Worth watching for the dopey warp drive scene. Been meaning to edit that to dubstep.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat May 11, 2019 8:44 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 4:13 am
Oh, I also finally watched Long Weekend last week, the Aussie thriller. I was confusing it with a film called Death Weekend for some reason (which itself seems to actually be called House By the Lake).
Did you like?
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Sun May 12, 2019 4:05 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 12:12 am
Worth watching for the dopey warp drive scene. Been meaning to edit that to dubstep.
Oh, from Shape? Yeah, it's unfortunate to have been released in the same year as the significantly more impressive wormhole sequence from the first Star Trek film. Had Shape been issued in, oh say, 1963 or so, maybe the FX would have been more appreciable. (And that's '1963' in the alternate timeline from Things To Come, the grossly superior 1936 film from the same H.G. Wells source and which actually resembles said source.)

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 8:44 pm
Did you like?
Yes, maybe not quite as much as Wake in Fright. I separated these more "elemental" Aussie films from stuff like Last Wave and Walkabout because of the absence of a supernatural or mystical element. In that sense, even though it takes place in southern England, I would place The Shout among the latter, in that it is embedded with Aboriginal mysticism, and reflects that honky fascination with strange native negros. (I think Rock had an issue with Walkabout over this type of fetishism.)
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Rock » Sun May 12, 2019 11:53 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 4:05 am
Oh, from Shape? Yeah, it's unfortunate to have been released in the same year as the significantly more impressive wormhole sequence from the first Star Trek film. Had Shape been issued in, oh say, 1963 or so, maybe the FX would have been more appreciable. (And that's '1963' in the alternate timeline from Things To Come, the grossly superior 1936 film from the same H.G. Wells source and which actually resembles said source.)




Yes, maybe not quite as much as Wake in Fright. I separated these more "elemental" Aussie films from stuff like Last Wave and Walkabout because of the absence of a supernatural or mystical element. In that sense, even though it takes place in southern England, I would place The Shout among the latter, in that it is embedded with Aboriginal mysticism, and reflects that honky fascination with strange native negros. (I think Rock had an issue with Walkabout over this type of fetishism.)
I'd need to watch it again to elaborate on my opinion (or to see if I even still feel that way), but I remember my issues being less with any fetishistic attitude taken by the movie as a whole and more with the nostalgia-tinged ending, which seemed at odds with what came before it.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 13, 2019 1:06 am

Rock wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 11:53 pm
I'd need to watch it again to elaborate on my opinion (or to see if I even still feel that way), but I remember my issues being less with any fetishistic attitude taken by the movie as a whole and more with the nostalgia-tinged ending, which seemed at odds with what came before it.
The "nostalgia" being for the perceived authenticity and purity of native outback life as contrasted by modern urban life, if I remember correctly.

Which I may not, as, due to the malicious prejudices of shillsuckers, we cannot revisit the RT-GD posts for context, I can't say for sure the exact language, but I'm pretty sure "fetish", is some form of verb conjugation, was used in your response (shortly before something or other about "colonialist skullfucker" and "capitalist pig apologist").
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 13, 2019 3:03 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:09 am
Image

Not entirely sure how I feel about how this concludes itself. If it works. If it doesn't. If it's nonsense. But this is probably irrelevant to the fact that I think I completely love this movie.
I did not like.

Not for lack of trying, in fact I did admire the film for most of its runtime. I was grateful that Guadgnino avoided homage and winky fan service by establishing his own distinct sensual template and narrative structure, forcing the viewer to immediately accept this film on terms very different from Argento. I was greatly relieved to see that Guadgnino has a very capable hand with horror and suspense atmospherics, skills that he had not revealed in his prior films. I also generally appreciated some of the more muted (comparatively) but surreal visuals, most strikingly in the, um, "contortion scene" and a very subtley effective nightmare sequence. Throughout these two-thirds of the film, I was impressed at Guadgnino's resistance to resorting to more cliched habits - jump scares and strobe editing - which directors with little horror experience tend to overrely on. And I was absolutely smitten with the inspired choice to cast the skeletal Polish beauty Malgosia Bela. Really, the only asterisk through much of the film was that I was never quite convinced in the strength of Dakota Johnson as an actress.

I suspect you know where I'm going with this....
The ending is a chicken coup fire on a shittrain caboose. After two hours of sustained restraint, we finally get drenched in exactly the kind of pissy CGI and cheap strobe filters that turn it into cliche overkill. Worse than that, it seems more humorous than horrific, less like a subversion of the original than a mockery. Guadagnino (or his scriptwriter, whoever) decides to turn the Three Mothers mythology on its head, transforming Mater Suspiriorium into an angel of mercy. I can see why Argento himself trashed the film, "it betrayed the spirit of the original film", with the "spirit", I believe, not being the aesthetics and rhythms of the original, but the more profound changes to the nature of the Three Mothers as elementally evil. And why? To shoehorn a broad (sorry) feminist allusion? Is it not sufficient to celebrate the feminine strength of Harper's Susie Bannion who required no supernatural intervention to bring down the coven? Very similar to The Witch, the attempt to apply a political reading becomes convoluted in practice, except that the politics in Suspiria are harder to ignore. The more elemental allusion, the dark side of motherhood (tears, sighs and darkness) remains fertile symbolical ground without requiring delusions of redemption (ie, Eyes of My Mother).

This confusion of political aspiration sours everything about the ending for me, and not just because it runs so counter to "the spirit" of the original. The longest of the film's seemingly endless stream of epilogues, the bedside scene with Dr. Josef, is so eye-rollingly superfluous. I was hopeful, through most of the film, that the various German-relevant political events that we hear on the radio would be left at being that, window-dressing of dread. Josef, wholly invented for this film, seems like a perverse vessel for collective German Holocaust guilt, seeing as he doesn't appear to be personally guilty of anything more than suffering. Or why it's necessary to heal his guilt if he's going to lose any memory of the healing. This is just so stupid and hollow and forced, and frankly wastes an otherwise impressively invisible turn by Tilda Swinton.
Mandy is better for a very simple reason: it never claims to be a remake of Mad Max, and never tries to justify the changes in that particular arc on moral grounds. It simply is what it is. Suspiria is ultimately not what Suspiria should be.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Mon May 13, 2019 3:41 am

Dakota Johnson is really terrible. I'm still not sure how much I didn't like the ending, but there was a gonzo element to it that I couldn't totally say fuck you too. It's a film filled with flaws, and being that I was also completely uninterested in any of its conflicting underlying politics, I can still loooooooove it.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 13, 2019 4:39 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 3:41 am
Dakota Johnson is really terrible. I'm still not sure how much I didn't like the ending, but there was a gonzo element to it that I couldn't totally say fuck you too. It's a film filled with flaws, and being that I was also completely uninterested in any of its conflicting underlying politics, I can still loooooooove it.
I think that gonzo element works a lot better in Mandy though, probably because it isn't tethered to any pretense of being taken seriously. That last quarter hour of Suspiria just so insists! on itself. Argento's Suspira is one of the few films that knew exactly when to end.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Ergill » Mon May 13, 2019 4:49 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:39 am
I think that gonzo element works a lot better in Mandy though, probably because it isn't tethered to any pretense of being taken seriously. That last quarter hour of Suspiria just so insists! on itself. Argento's Suspira is one of the few films that knew exactly when to end.
I felt pretty similar about new Suspiria. On board for most of it, but the end was was just horribly phoned in.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 13, 2019 5:50 am

Ergill wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 4:49 am
I felt pretty similar about new Suspiria. On board for most of it, but the end was was just horribly phoned in.
Going out on a limb a little....
I think part of the problem is inherent in trying to politicize witches and witchcraft as a form of female liberation, and I pointed a lot of this problem out in The Witch. There's no doubt that the persecution of witches historically represented the subjugation of female power, but in the historical cases, of course, the witchcraft was an inflated, hysterical fear from the minds of ignorant clergymen. The problem with The Witch, and possibly the new Suspiria, is that in the reality as presented to us, witches are not only real (and not merely projected patriarchal fears), but rather sinister as well (like murdering babies and masturbating with their flesh-paste). Once the political allusion is established that witches = female liberation, then the film is trapped into the inescapable suggestion that liberation itself requires indulging in sinister behavior. I'm not sure if that's what's intended in Suspiria, but the corrupt dance school remains open, meet the new boss, and apparently she won't be so full of torment as the old boss. This deviates not only from Argento's reality, but that of De Quincey's description of the Three Mothers, where their torment is pronounced to be inevitable and never-ending.

Another problem with post-#metoo retrofitting is that such generalized feminine archetypes become fraught with essentializing. Witches become automatically avatars of female power, and female power is worth championing. The Three Mothers represent a specific aspect, and not a very positive one, of feminine dread. So there's a risk by pointing out that the Three Mothers being essentially and inevitably evil (their sole purpose is human torment), that this will invariably be seen as an essential judgment on feminine power generally, no less a condemnation than from Cotton Mather himself.

De Quincey shows that there is quite a bit to explore in the more esoteric symbolism of the more dreadful apprehensions of motherhood. The overt politics seem like a weak choice to exploit instead. (I have to assume that the Holocaust guilt is essentially partiarchal?) The symbolism suggested by De Quincey is so rich in being primal, more personal, as intimate as the unspoken (amniotic) fears intuited between mother and child. The film seemed to be making headway in this more personal, subconcious direction, but then....Nazi Ex Machina. Also, for that last epilogue with Josef, it's interesting to look at De Quincey's "Memorial Suspiria", where the "writer of breathings" points out that premonition of future sorrows is more unbearable than the sighs of the past. Mother Suspiriorum is not a comforter, and neither should amnesia be.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Mon May 13, 2019 10:47 am

Hm. The end didn't bother me like it did you guys. It looked like it needed a better budget, but that is what it is.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Rock » Mon May 13, 2019 11:05 am

I think the Holocaust stuff was what finally turned me off from the movie, but I don't think any of there political or gender stuff was working. There's good stuff in the movie though (Swinton, Goth, the dance sequences).
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Ergill » Mon May 13, 2019 9:57 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:50 am
Going out on a limb a little....
I think part of the problem is inherent in trying to politicize witches and witchcraft as a form of female liberation, and I pointed a lot of this problem out in The Witch. There's no doubt that the persecution of witches historically represented the subjugation of female power, but in the historical cases, of course, the witchcraft was an inflated, hysterical fear from the minds of ignorant clergymen. The problem with The Witch, and possibly the new Suspiria, is that in the reality as presented to us, witches are not only real (and not merely projected patriarchal fears), but rather sinister as well (like murdering babies and masturbating with their flesh-paste). Once the political allusion is established that witches = female liberation, then the film is trapped into the inescapable suggestion that liberation itself requires indulging in sinister behavior. I'm not sure if that's what's intended in Suspiria, but the corrupt dance school remains open, meet the new boss, and apparently she won't be so full of torment as the old boss. This deviates not only from Argento's reality, but that of De Quincey's description of the Three Mothers, where their torment is pronounced to be inevitable and never-ending.

Another problem with post-#metoo retrofitting is that such generalized feminine archetypes become fraught with essentializing. Witches become automatically avatars of female power, and female power is worth championing. The Three Mothers represent a specific aspect, and not a very positive one, of feminine dread. So there's a risk by pointing out that the Three Mothers being essentially and inevitably evil (their sole purpose is human torment), that this will invariably be seen as an essential judgment on feminine power generally, no less a condemnation than from Cotton Mather himself.

De Quincey shows that there is quite a bit to explore in the more esoteric symbolism of the more dreadful apprehensions of motherhood. The overt politics seem like a weak choice to exploit instead. (I have to assume that the Holocaust guilt is essentially partiarchal?) The symbolism suggested by De Quincey is so rich in being primal, more personal, as intimate as the unspoken (amniotic) fears intuited between mother and child. The film seemed to be making headway in this more personal, subconcious direction, but then....Nazi Ex Machina. Also, for that last epilogue with Josef, it's interesting to look at De Quincey's "Memorial Suspiria", where the "writer of breathings" points out that premonition of future sorrows is more unbearable than the sighs of the past. Mother Suspiriorum is not a comforter, and neither should amnesia be.
Joining you on that limb...
I think there's some justification in that criticism, although I'm not sure I'd say it was so inherent as to be inevitable. There's another out for them in a "if you treat me like a monster, I'll become a monster" narrative. In The Witch, the family's scapegoating of the daughter is central to their self-destruction and obviously pushes her into witchery by the end, something there's no indication she would've ever done on her own. I wasn't sure if Suspiria was going in a similar direction with all the side stuff on the Meinhof gang, symptom of an unhealthy reaction to the unhealthy complacency of their Nazi-era parents. I didn't feel the urge to dig into the esoteric symbolism of the mothers, especially after that shrug of an ending. Does either totally work on this level? Probably not. But the potential is there.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Mon May 13, 2019 10:55 pm

Ergill wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 9:57 pm
I didn't feel the urge to dig into the esoteric symbolism of the mothers, especially after that shrug of an ending. Does either totally work on this level? Probably not. But the potential is there.
The potential alone is what makes the esoteric symbolism so intriguing, compared to the more mundane political symbolism. That you don't feel interested to follow up the former shows a failure of the film to take advantage of that potential.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Ergill » Mon May 13, 2019 11:31 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 10:55 pm
The potential alone is what makes the esoteric symbolism so intriguing, compared to the more mundane political symbolism. That you don't feel interested to follow up the former shows a failure of the film to take advantage of that potential.
Yeah! It's the film's fault! Sure as hell not mine.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Tue May 14, 2019 3:15 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:09 am
Image

Not entirely sure how I feel about how this concludes itself. If it works. If it doesn't. If it's nonsense. But this is probably irrelevant to the fact that I think I completely love this movie.
Yeah, it was weird, I thought it was kind of a mess and yet I still kinda loved it. Strange.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 20, 2019 4:16 pm

Here's a few films I've seen recently.

The Ascent (1977) - 9/10 This film does away with hefty doses of action in favor of multiple character moments. And holy hell are the characters fascinating. Sotnikov and Rybak make for such a diverse pair who are well developed through a variety of effective moments which provide insight to their characterizations, all leading up to a truly devastating final act. Also, the religious symbolism feels neither on-the-nose nor didactic as it's cleverly woven into the film.

Random Harvest (1942) - 6/10 The more I think about this, the less likely I think I am to revisit it, but it still has its strengths. Greer Garson and Ronald Colman are strong and charming together and the general outline of the plot is fine. It's just that the film could've benefited by fleshing out the characters, specifically near the opening and the final act as major plot advancements left me unmoved and rather disappointed. A bit dated, but still good.

Paranoid Park (2007) - 5/10 Well acted and exceptionally well shot with a dreamlike quality which is hard to come by nowadays, but the movie left me feeling cold. For instance, the non-linear chronology of the plot made for a decent "slowly unfolding puzzle" effect which comes with this structure, but since it didn't have much of an effect beyond this, I feel like I would've just preferred a linear structure. In addition, some of the supporting characters could've used a lot more meat. Forgettable, but watchable.

Sult (1966) - 8/10 A clever character portrait of a starving and overly proud writer who talks down to various people he encounters and refuses to accept any money as he thinks other people need it more than him. In reality though, he sinks further and further down into the depths as one of his writings after another get rejected and he often faces threats of being evicted from his residences. I'm still mulling over a particular sub-plot in the film which struck me as on-the-nose, but I still highly recommend this one.
Watch it for free on youtube.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Tue May 21, 2019 5:30 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 4:16 pm
Sult (1966) - 8/10 A clever character portrait of a starving and overly proud writer who talks down to various people he encounters and refuses to accept any money as he thinks other people need it more than him. In reality though, he sinks further and further down into the depths as one of his writings after another get rejected and he often faces threats of being evicted from his residences. I'm still mulling over a particular sub-plot in the film which struck me as on-the-nose, but I still highly recommend this one.
Watch it for free on youtube.
Hm. Hmm.

*slips under jacket*
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue May 21, 2019 5:50 am

I'd encourage anyone here to watch this film. It's really well-done. I'm kind of tempted to watch it again.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Tue May 21, 2019 2:37 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 5:50 am
I'd encourage anyone here to watch this film. It's really well-done. I'm kind of tempted to watch it again.
Um... which film?
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue May 21, 2019 3:29 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 2:37 pm
Um... which film?
Oh, I was referring to Sult, because Jinnistan commented on it. Sorry for the confusion.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Tue May 21, 2019 7:06 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:29 pm
Oh, I was referring to Sult, because Jinnistan commented on it. Sorry for the confusion.
No problem. I thought you were teasing a movie you had maybe just finished and then forgot to actually present it.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:51 am

I imagine you're familiar with Eddie Romero, father of Filipino schlock.

I'd only seen Beast of the Yellow Night and maybe one of his Pam Grier deals, so I settled in for Beyond Atlantis, with a game Sid Haig and Romero's previously unrevealed talent for shooting underwater thighs. My favorite part of the film is probably John Ashley, that same douche-sausage from Yellow Night, and apparently most of Romero's films, and although I was looking forward to seeing him ham-swagger though another inept beer-bellied bitchslap, I was even more delighted to find him sidelined pretty early and portrayed as exactly the frustrated muskrat we, his not entirely consensual audience, have always seen him as. It gave me a glimmer of hope that perhaps Eddie Romero not only has a sense of humor after all but that he also really can't stand John Ashley and forced him, through some kind of cracker slavery cult, to abide his every torment. I think it may even warrant a radical rewatch of that Yellow Night pissfest. Maybe.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:40 am

SInce I've finally gotten acquainted with The Swimmer, I wanted to get a better estimate of the career of Frank Perry. Among his filmography, there are a number of films that I've seen that need revisiting - for example I haven't seen his Mommie Dearest, Monsignor, Compromising Positions or Hello Again literally since the 80s. Dearest, as many know, is the infamous "wire hanger" version of the Joan Crawford biography. Monsignor was the kind of Christopher Reeve film I choose to sit through thinking he may start flying or something (also in this category, Somewhere in Time, The Aviator, etc.), Compromising Positions I remember being a surprisingly funny "mature" comedy that was superior to some of the decade's other sex comedies (See also Young Doctors in Love, Ruthless People, etc), and Hello Again, I just hated, another one of the then popular resurrection comedies (Kiss Me Goodbye, Heaven Can Wait, etc) except with Shelley Long, so, urgh.

Since I was a child, legally at least, when I saw these films, it's difficult to get a good read on the man who directed them. Of the others, there are some that I know I've seen but have only a vague sense - like Doc and Diary of a Mad Housewife, the latter being almost completely eclipsed by Woman Under the Influence. Last Summer I caught several years back, and wasn't greatly impressed at its somewhat typical blooming boomer cliches of teens experimenting tentatively with sex and pot.

That pretty much leaves me with Play It As It Lays and Rancho Deluxe, two great films of the era that I hadn't previously realized were made by the same director. Deluxe is a bit of a 70s classic in some circles (those of us who value strong character acting), and Lays is a film that has been rediscovered and become a bit of a cult item after its TCM premiere about a decade ago.


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Starting at the beginning, this was Perry's debut film, one that takes a bit to warm to. In the American 60s, the subject matter of mental illness was becoming much more explicitly addressed, sometimes exploitatively (Psycho, Baby Jane) and other times in more sexually probative ways (Marnie, Lilith), and, like The Swimmer, in ways that examine the impact of trauma, but it was all trying to catch up to the then more psychologically progressive work which had been done on the post-war stage through Tennessee Willaims and others. This is a film which sets us right into the mental ward, and presents a very sympathetic case of the emotional complications of such "lost souls".

Keir Dullea takes the most warming to. His acting style seems stiff at first, he always seems to come across as an uptight twat with infantile issues (he seems to get the most scorn for a similar vibe in Bunny Lake is Missing), but eventually we start to accept that this is, in fact, the character, one which he just may have been born to play, being not only an uptight twat with juvenile issues but also a bit aspy on top. Janet Margolin, playing a multiple personality schizophrenic, is astonishing in the role, a bit of a revelation for an actress who unfortunately appears to have slipped into obscurity afterward, showing up in a couple of Woody Allen films and a lot of TV work.

The film's resolution is iffy, a bit pat and hopeful as was warranted by the day's expectations. What we can discern from Perry is a very sympathetic eye for human emotion and frailty, and this would be a primary rail through his later films, like Swimmer and Play It As It Lays.



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Rancho Deluxe is a film I've seen several times, but it's also a film that if it were well known enough to get played on cable TV would be the kind of film that people would claim they would always have to stop flipping watch it through. So when I recently saw it listed on Prime, that's pretty much exactly what I did too. The script by Thomas McGuane (The Missouri Breaks, 92 in the Shade) has that quality of being naturally sharp without being self-consciously clever. The acting is strong all down the line. It's always remarkable to consider just what a force of nature the young Jeff Bridges was, and there are many examples of this - Last Picture Show, Bad Company, Fat City, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Last American Hero, Hearts of the West all make up a stunning body of work over just a few years time, and Rancho deserves its spot right among them. The character work is aces, from the likes of Harry Dean Stanton (the only actor to appear in all of McGuane's 70s films), Slim Pickens, Clifton James, Elizabeth Ashley, Bert Conway and, of course, the lady Patti D'Arbanville (whose explosive orgasm here surpasses her explosive orgasm from Modern Problems) and Charlene Dallas, a stealthy talent who appears to have fallen off the face of the planet afterwards. (McGuane had a great taste for actresses, having an affair with Ashley while filming as he was married to Margot Kidder during 92.) Last but not least, Joe Spinell as an old Injun, who's so good that I had not previously recognized him.

I don't have much to add except this film needs to be seen multiple times by everyone.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:48 am

Shit, that's a lot of movies I haven't seen (ie. all of them). And, no, I don't know Eddie Romero.

Investigation imminent.

I haven't really been watching new movies the last few months, except sporadically. I just lost the taste for awhile and, when I watched anything, it was movies I was already familiar with like comfort food. Probably going to start digging in again fairly soon though. I feel like I'm ready for inspiration again.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:15 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:48 am
I haven't really been watching new movies the last few months, except sporadically. I just lost the taste for awhile and, when I watched anything, it was movies I was already familiar with like comfort food. Probably going to start digging in again fairly soon though. I feel like I'm ready for inspiration again.
I've been watching a lot of shit myself, total junk food cinema. For example, over the weekend I watched the Jess Franco "Red Lips" films, campy thrillers with athletic beauties who can't act. I don't know why. I've always hated Franco.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Rock » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:22 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:15 am
I've been watching a lot of shit myself, total junk food cinema. For example, over the weekend I watched the Jess Franco "Red Lips" films, campy thrillers with athletic beauties who can't act. I don't know why. I've always hated Franco.
I've found his Soledad Miranda movies hold together better than the rest, but you might have seen those already.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:33 am

Rock wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:22 am
I've found his Soledad Miranda movies hold together better than the rest, but you might have seen those already.
Oh, yeah. His Count Dracula is pretty good, and I tend to prefer it over the contemporary Hammer Dracula films of the time, and She Killed in Ecstasy is nice. But aside from scattered things like Dr. Z, Venus in Furs or Justine, there's not a lot to recommend. I am fond of some the 99 Women and de Sade stuff, but I'm not about to call those "good" movies. Let's face it, without Kinski or Lom to balance out the sexual debauchery, it's not quite as much fun, and it appears he just went all kinds of downhill after that.

His films can be so careless and cynical, maybe a symptom of his prolificacy (profligacy?), and I'm sure I've seen more than I'm aware considering how many films he made under so many different titles.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:37 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:40 am
this film needs to be seen multiple times by everyone*.
I've been careless about this before, so let me amend: Warning for Takoma and others sensitive to animal issues. The film is about cattle rustlers, and while I cannot determine whether any of the animals were injured during production, there are a couple of scenes of animal corpses at least. Just to let that be known.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:54 pm

Finally got around to watching Other Side of the Wind when I suddenly realized a friend left their Netflix account password open on my computer the last time they were here months ago. About time you did something useful, friends!

Since I'm too tired to think about movies anymore, what do people have to say about this one. Write something long and meaningful. I'm personally unsure how I feel and need all the help I can get. In short, I found it fascinating but also for long stretches alien and distant. Muddled, but mostly in a good way. Somewhat emotionally impenetrable, at least until the last stretch. But overall, not sure how I'd even rank it.

If I didn't know beforehand though, with the exception of some of the abrupt editing which he seems to have carried over from F is for Fake, there is no way I would have guessed this was a Welles film. It actually doesn't feel like a film I've seen made by anyone before.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:24 pm

My take from last year:

The Other Side of the Wind - 9.5/10

The good news is that it seems pretty clear that this film succeeds as the final masterpiece of Welles' career. The asterisk over its prolonged journey to completion is more elaborate but hardly less qualifying than the other sad examples of compromised Welles projects (Ambersons, Arkadin, Touch of Evil) where we can recognize their significance without the benefit of seeing what Welles had actually intended us to see.

The film, in concept, lends itself a number of rationales to excuse its rougher edges, being about at least one unfinished film within another. This allows for a more haphazard, semi-documentary approach which forgives much of the more slapdash editing of shots which barely match from those shot years apart. The film's theme is essentially about an unfinished film, reflected as an unfinished life, which also lends weight to its more manic montage associations and the heavy meta-mythologizing of the artistic process. F For Fake, which was shot in the cracks of Wind's early recess, is obviously not like any other Welles film in style and form, and Wind will satisfy those most who have been fascinated by whether F was a fluke, a toss-off experiment, or a new-found narrative aesthetic that Orson unfortunately did not have the resources to explore. Wind answers in the latter, sharing the comic rhythms and associative editing of Fake (Welles proves to be a master of reaction shots) while expanding on its subprofundities of perception in wise and wistful ways.

The crudeness of the film takes some getting used to. The film uses multiple stock (20 years before Oliver Stone was vogue), and much of the film is split between some really cruddy 16 millimeter film that don't look like it's aged very well (which covers most of the "documentary" element) and some gorgeously evocative B&W, which seems to have been reserved for some of the more intimate scenes and moments (especially those involving Lilli Palmer as a veteren screen femme). The blurring of all of these distinctions is much of the point, and one of the film's better jokes is in how it places the cameras of auteurs and the cameras of tabloids on an equal footing. The film is filled with inside jokes. John Huston plays a Welles-esque director, although I suspect there's quite a few jabs at Howard Hawks, and even Huston himself, thrown in there. Giving him a compliant teenage assistent is only mildly amusing, but having her resemble Cybill Shepard is a scream, and wearing an Archie Bunker T-shirt to boot? Priceless.

The best looking footage is the luscious 35 millmeter shots from the unfinished film within a film which is intended as a Zabriskie Point parody. Welles shares Antonioni's infatuation with hippie culture and the sexual revolution, and makes ample use of his lovely muse Oja Kodar (seemingly a mix of Edwige Fenech, Meg Tilly and a jaguar). Welles has said that this was supposd to be the kind of "art film" that he was incapable of doing, but I believe that the film's final shot is one that would likely be among Antonioni's most famous had he thought of it.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:27 pm

Macrology also had thoughts here.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:33 pm

Much thanks. Both those put things in perspective. I'm glad I was on the right track with my feelings that he was poking a little fun at Zabriskie type pretensions with his film within a film, because considering how artfully and faithfully he manages to do it, I floated between being sure and unsure of this.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Rock » Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:40 am

If you haven't already watched it (and haven't logged out of your friend's Netflix account yet), the companion doc They'll Love Me When I'm Dead is well worth your time as well.

I'm trying (halfassedly) to seek out 3 A.M., the porno he edited a scene for, but it doesn't seem easy to get ahold of (legally at least).
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Rock » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:50 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:33 am
Oh, yeah. His Count Dracula is pretty good, and I tend to prefer it over the contemporary Hammer Dracula films of the time, and She Killed in Ecstasy is nice. But aside from scattered things like Dr. Z, Venus in Furs or Justine, there's not a lot to recommend. I am fond of some the 99 Women and de Sade stuff, but I'm not about to call those "good" movies. Let's face it, without Kinski or Lom to balance out the sexual debauchery, it's not quite as much fun, and it appears he just went all kinds of downhill after that.

His films can be so careless and cynical, maybe a symptom of his prolificacy (profligacy?), and I'm sure I've seen more than I'm aware considering how many films he made under so many different titles.
I watched an interview with one of his regular collaborators who said he would frequently lose interest in the middle of a production and want to move onto the next, and it really shows.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:19 pm

Rock wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 1:40 am
If you haven't already watched it (and haven't logged out of your friend's Netflix account yet), the companion doc They'll Love Me When I'm Dead is well worth your time as well.

I'm trying (halfassedly) to seek out 3 A.M., the porno he edited a scene for, but it doesn't seem easy to get ahold of (legally at least).
Logged out of my friends account lol.

Watched the doc. It's great.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:38 am

I should probably start watching movies again.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:14 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:38 am
I should probably start watching movies again.
Yeah, man, we need threads around here.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:09 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:14 pm
Yeah, man, we need threads around here.
Just got to get back into the swing of things. Used to be able to down a couple a night but I lost the fire for awhile. Doubly so for writing about what I watch, but we'll see.

Lethargy is just so much easier. But so much more boring.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:19 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:38 am
I should probably start watching movies again.
Here's one to suit the thread.

Image


Sure, the film comes from the exploitative biker cash-in genre that AIP was cranking out like draft beer at a bowling alley, but don't be entirely fooled by the poster. The film is also an exploitative cash-in on Easy Rider and Billy Jack, which has some advantages. Unlike something like Wild Angels, this one does possess a sincere motive to deal with the melancholy and cultural frustrations of the Vietnam veteran. And although the film has the obligatory pot and free love scenes, it definitely falls on the more conservative side of the divide. The bikers here are the "black hats" of the identically plotted Western that it could easily have been.

A returning vet has the duty, and emotional obligation, to escort the coffin of his fallen partner to his resting place, with the added caveat that he get in touch with the Native American leader (unceremoniously named Big Red) of his partner's old biking gang with the added bonus of doing so inheriting his partner's prized chopper. Turns out, everyone wants that chopper, and the double-crossing begins. This pseudo-Western conceit is also aided by the lead actor, Robert Fuller, who falls very much into the Rick Dalton style of ubiquitous TV Western actor facing the career-demanding work in exploitation films (but not Aye-talian ones, at least). The film has the somewhat obligatory comments on race relations (his partner being black), but this is most provocative by how taken for granted it is. The film, thankfully, avoids shining a soapbox spotlight on the issue, instead accepting these relationships as completely natural in such a modern way that seems unique to how American films were dealing with it at the time.

More keeping with its time, and its immediate influences, the film is ultimately cynical, in spite of itself. Fuller's vet trys to engage in that conservative patriotism and soldier's code of honor that he sees completely eroded in the counter-culture, using that prized chopper (like Rider) as a defining symbol for the American potential that was being lost (ala "This used to be a hell of a good country", "We blew it", etc), adding the explicit overtures to the failures of Vietnam as a loss of national spirit and the value of the people that fought it.

Maybe the film isn't that good. It's alright. It's a lot better than AIP required it to be.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by crumbsroom » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:40 am

Rewatched Curtains

I am no longer hung up on the things I was hung up on the first time I watched it.

There's lots to talk about here. So much it makes me too tired to even try.

It should join the short list of greatest almost completely forgotten horror movies.
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Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom

Post by Wooley » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:58 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:40 am
Rewatched Curtains

I am no longer hung up on the things I was hung up on the first time I watched it.

There's lots to talk about here. So much it makes me too tired to even try.

It should join the short list of greatest almost completely forgotten horror movies.
Can't wait. It's on my extremely-short list for October.
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