A noob's journey through cinema

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Slentert
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:48 pm

The General (1926)

Saw this on 35mm at my local repertory theater. More than half of the audience existed out of little children. It was a great feeling to hear those kids laugh so hard with a movie that was made almost 100 years before they were born.

This might not be the funniest Buster Keaton movie I've seen, but it makes up for it with a bunch of remarkably engaging action sequences. To my own surprise, I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire running time.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:38 am

crumbsroom wrote:
A movie so empty, I almost can't believe you were able to retrieve it from your memory banks long enough to use as an example.
That's a perfect way to put it. I actually have seen it twice, which is probably why it has eluded the forgetfulness it deserves. Nothing more shall be said about it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:40 am

Slentert wrote:Mean Streets (1973)

The Rosetta Stone of what would come later in Scorsese's filmography.

The most exciting thing about this movie is seeing Scorsese coming into his own as a filmmaker, though he's not quite there yet. Mean Streets is a film that oozes potential, but it's too rough, too unpolished to be considered a masterpiece. But that specific rawness is what makes it so charming in the first place.
Heh, Scorsese's "Rosetta Stone"'; that's the perfect way to describe it. I really should've used that in my New Hollywood write-up about it... speaking of which, my post about it there didn't happen to inspire you to check it out, did it? :D
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:28 am

Stu wrote:Heh, Scorsese's "Rosetta Stone"'; that's the perfect way to describe it. I really should've used that in my New Hollywood write-up about it... speaking of which, my post about it there didn't happen to inspire you to check it out, did it? :D
This was actually my second time seeing this movie, and I didn't really like it the first time. But your write-up made me want to give it another chance, so thanks for that. :)
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:55 am

I can remember the first time seeing it not sure exactly what I was seeing but digging its energy. and plenty of moments stuck in my head thereafter so I decided I must have liked it. I can only imagine how fresh it must have felt to audiences in '73 though.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:57 am

Man of the Century (1999)

Briefly praised and then instantly forgotten. This indie comedy stars Gibson Frazier (who also co-wrote the movie) as Johnny Twennies, a newspaper reporter who lives his life like he is in a 1930s wisecracking movie, even though he does all of this against the background of the cynical world that is 1990s New York City. Yet the movie never portrays Johnny as some kind of madman, in fact, he is not even the only person in this film who talks like all of his lines were written by Ben Hecht.

Man of the Century is not merely a farce, it's written with real love and affinity for the art of screwball comedy. The typical rapid-fire dialogue don't feel like a whitewashed version of what you are used to hear in classic movies, they're really well-written and enormously entertaining. It also shows a wonderful sense of optimism that most movies these days are often lacking and God knows I could use some of that right now.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:10 pm

Slentert wrote: This was actually my second time seeing this movie, and I didn't really like it the first time. But your write-up made me want to give it another chance, so thanks for that. :)
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:48 pm

Sweetie (1989)

Very much a first time feature, the transitions between different sequences are a bit clumsy and something about this movie feels unfinished. But despite all of this, I couldn't stop myself from loving Jane Campion's Sweetie. I adore movies about dysfuntional families, and this is a very great example from that subgenre. We follow Kay, a young woman who is weirdly hang up on superstition, when she starts a relationship with her coworker's fiancee, Louis, who I can't describe in any other way than a wetbread. But after a year of being together, their relationship reaches an impasse. They're not able to have sex together anymore and Kay doesn't even want to sleep in the same bed. But one day, Sweetie, Kay's unstable sister, crashes into their house and starts wrecking the monotonous homelife they got accustomed to.

Sweetie is like a giant child, she often throws a tantrum and she experiences every emotion, the good and the bad ones, bigger than an adult should. She and Kay never got along since their father always placed Sweetie on a pedestal, which created a competitive relationship between the two, and it quickly becomes clear to the viewer and Louis that they bring out the worst in each other.

The way this movie presents Sweetie as a straight up bitch most of the times might be a quite problematic portrayal of a mentally ill person, but at least Campion also shows that her family members are all incapable of handling her and are just not fit to give her the proper support system she needs, which probably only worsened her condition. Her father never set any boundaries for her and always praised everything she did, which gave her unrealistic expectations of the actual world and even as an adult she keeps chasing the unreachable dreams her father implanted in her. This favoritism caused a jealousy between her and Kay, who is unable to actually talk to her sister, but rather fights her, both verbally and physically, like their both still 10 years old. And the mother just seems to not care, stopped giving a shit years ago and doesn't even ask Sweetie to come visit her. There is also a suggestion of an incestuous relationship between Sweetie and her father which would've certainly fucked her up in many ways.

This movie feels very much like a dream, or rather a distant memory of which you mostly remember certain images and emotions rather than the entire thing. The characters seem to inhabit a world that is vaguely familiar and quite surreal at the same time, like they're living in some kind of waking life. Campion lingers on certain prosaic details like a flowery carpet or small, broker statues of horses, in a manner that slowly creeps up on you like a dream. I know comparing a surreal movie to David Lynch is shortsighted and very much like beating a dead horse, but since Campion herself has referred several times to him as an inspiration of some kind, I don't think this is that far-fetched. Certain depictions of suburban lifestyle definitely brought Blue Velvet to mind, and even the way the actors deliver their lines (a beat or two slower than they should) is very Lynchian. There is scene in here involving dancing cowboys that wouldn't have been out of place in a movie like Wild at Heart. And just like Lynch his films, the tone of Sweetie walks the line between sadness, hilarity and plain awkwardness.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:25 pm

Slow West (2015)
John Maclean's debut feature has this certain quirkiness about him that often reminded me of an early Wes Anderson, before the latter one became a prisoner of his own style. Slow West is the assembly of two world views, the one of the cynic (Michael Fassbender's Silas) and that of the dreamer (Kodi Smit-McPhee's Jay Cavendish), and how both eventually grow towards each other and meet in the middle.
Slow West is a fairy tale Western, both silly and tragic. And whenever violence interferes with the story of our main protagonists, it does it so abruptly, and in such an absurd manner, you need to blink a few times before you realize that, why yes indeed, an arrow just went through that hand.
If I would ever make movies myself, I imagine they would look a lot like this film.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:55 pm

Slentert's Year in Review
The Top 10

1. Rabot (Christina Vandekerckhove)

The Rabot Towers in Ghent, which are currently being torn down, are the remnants of a narrow minded social experiment from the seventies. The idea was to put all the disadvantaged people in one neighborhood and then pretend the problem never existed in the first place. But, like one of the older residents says in the opening of the film, "If you put too many birds in one aviary, they peck each other to death".
Rabot, the debut film of Christina Vandekerckhove, is one of the most devastating documentaries I've ever seen. Filmed like a Roy Andersson picture, it brutally confronts you with the hopelessness and despair of the people inhabiting these buildings. I'm not gonna lie, I started crying at the climax when you see the camera sweeping across the empty and deserted building on the tunes of Madensuyu.
I know a Belgian documentary about poverty isn't really high priority for you all, but I sincerely recommend you checking it out if you have a chance. I did not expect this going in, but this is my favorite movie of the year.

2. Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)

One of those movies that got so hyped up months before it got released in Belgium, I was convinced I could only be disappointed. But, to my surprise, I got fucking floored by this movie. This might sound weird, but this was the most fun I had with a 2018 movie all year. You experience a perfect, idealized summer with your lead characters, you fall in love together with them, you laugh with them, you cry with them. Like you are all complicit in one beautiful secret. Call Me By Your Name is just warmth incarnate.

3. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-Eda)

A beautifully directed and acted drama that examines a very unusual family unit that lives in poverty by means that can be gleamed from the title. Yet Hirokazu Kore-eda never judges his characters nor does he make them seem better than they actually are. For the first ninety minutes it's a joy to be with these characters. There's such a genuine sense of love here despite the unorthodox way they came together, and it's a testament to the film's craft that this bond stays primarily in the foreground until the devastating last act.

4. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The most recent movie by modern master PTA, is a beautiful portrait of a dysfunctional couple that often reminds you of certain Hitchcock films like Rebecca (1940). At first sight this seems to be yet another movie about a women suffering because of the whims of an obsessive neurot until she finally leaves this toxic relationship. Been there, done that, don't like it. But somewhere in the first 40 minutes, something happens that makes you realize "shit, she's just as insane as him". After all, Anderson gives us not yet another dull, boring costume drama (as it was sadly sold by the marketing department), but a brilliant, darkly comical satire of marriage. Multiple times I laughed out loud in the theater with the war between these two lovebirds, which confused the many elderly women around me, who were disappointed in this not being another typical melodrama à la The Remains of the Day, the kind of movies we get too much of during Oscar Season.
If you decided to not see this movie because you were misled by the atrocious marketing campagne, please don't delay it any longer and get to it.

5. Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz)

It is always a good thing about a movie when you're left wanting more. Not that the ending of Foxtrot is bad or anything, it is actually kind of perfect, but you get so attached to the characters you want to spend more time with them. All these characters are so sympathetic, yet also selfish and misguided in their actions. Foxtrot is a beautiful examination of death, grief and guilt, thoughtfully presented against the backdrop of the absurd Israeli-Palestine conflict, without getting preachy about said topic. Probably the most sadly underseen movie of 2018.

6. The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)

Probably the funniest, darkest movie of the year. Written and directed by the mastermind behind hit series like The Thick of It and Veep, The Death of Stalin tells the story of, well, the death of Stalin, and the political swindle and verbal dueling that comes with it, when all accomplices of the famous dictator each try to claim their right to the throne.
Despite the movie taking place against the background of the former USSR, there is no trace of Russian to be found. Since truthfulness wasn't the biggest concern of Iannucci*, every actor just speaks with his own accent, instead of trying to put on a fake Russian one. So don't be surprised when Stalin's cabinet sounds remarkably British.
Simon Russell Beale shines here as the grossest piece of shit ever captured on film. For that performance alone, you should see this movie.
*Although certain historians argue that the film is a lot more realistic than you would initially think.

7. Mandy (Panos Cosmatos)

Like Cosmatos brought the heavy metal cover art of Richard Corben to life, mixed it with pure cocaïne, set it all on fire and out of those ashes rose the magnificent phoenix that is Mandy.
This is the first movie I've ever seen twice in a theater, which is quite an accomplishment considering it never got an official release in Belgium (despite being filmed here). Nicolas Cage gives his best performance from the last 5 years and late Johann Johannssen blessed us for the last time with the greatest score of 2018.

8. Brawl In Cell Block 99 (S. Craig Zahler)

An idiosyncratic piece of pulp melodrama as you're likely to find in the current movie climate. Does almost everything it shouldn't, up to and including drawing 40 minutes of plot into 130 and taking delight in empty, extremely brutal violence, but manages to make this all work and to engage his audience. Zahler often gets compared with Tarantino and that is not really fair. They are both inspired by the same exploitation films, but what they do with those influences couldn't be more different. Where Tarantino is flashy and loud, Zahler is restrained and quiet. His dialogues aren't cool, they're thoughtful and better written than this kind of story usually deserves. Zahler knows humans, Tarantino just knows movies.

9. The Night Comes For Us (Timo Tjahjanto)

This movie is filled with wall to wall jaw-dropping action that strips out all the boring stuff that used to make these kind of films chores and replaces it with more of what we really want to see. Mercilessly brutal like only Asian action movies can be these days. Bones break, teeth get pulled out, there is more than enough blood to paint the entire "Guernica" with. Sorry, but it's hard not to get lyrical about this film. It's just that good. And it is also on Netflix, so no excuses to avoid it.

10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman)

Comics were my first love, movies came much later. When I started, I mostly read European comic books, not superhero comics like many others, and when I was finally able to read the English stuff (around when I was 13) I went straight to stuff like Watchmen and Fables, completely skipping the Big Two. But somewhere in between all that, I read a few old Spider-Man comics I picked up somewhere. They were translated to Dutch and dated back from the 80s. I was kinda confused at first since Spider-Man wore his so-called "black suit" at the time, but when I started reading them I was completely transfixed.
Into the Spider-Verse was the first Spider-Man film that completely clicked with me. I like the first two Raimi films, but I don't love them like everyone else. And Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland gave great performances in kinda shitty movies. But this movie is as weird, mindblowingly inventive and wonderful as I always hoped a Spider-Man movie would be.
Many times, I've heard the phrase "a comic book come to life" being used while talking about superhero movies, but this might be the first time that is actually appropriate.


Honorable Mentions

Roma, The Florida Project, Lucky, Cold War, Shirkers, Under the Silver Lake, Hold the Dark, Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Super Dark Times, Burning, Let the Corpses Tan



Shout-outs

Movies that had great dancing and/or singing sequences even though they're not musicals
⦁ Burning
⦁ Climax
⦁ Suspiria
⦁ Good Manners

Movies that would've worked better as shorts
⦁ Climax
⦁ A Quiet Place

Movies that were big, self-indulgent messes that I absolutely loved.

⦁ Under The Silver Lake
⦁ Hold the Dark

Movies that were just good enough when you didn't have to pay for them yourself

⦁ Hell Fest
⦁ A Simple Favor
⦁ The Meg

Movies that you went to see and did pay for them yourself and you regret it wholeheartedly
⦁ Ready Player One
⦁ Solo: A Star Wars Story

Movies that made me not entirely loose my fate in blockbusters

⦁ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
⦁ Mission: Impossible - Fallout
⦁ Incredibles 2



And a little Award Show

The "La La Land" Award: A movie that was extremely overrated but still harmless and fun
⦁ The Shape of Water
The "Pacific Rim" Award: A movie you only watched because you love the director but otherwise in no way looked good (and you eventually hated it)
⦁ The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The "mother!" Award: A movie I should not have brought my parents to
⦁ Let the Corpses Tan
The "Eraserhead" Award: A movie that should be seen to be believed
⦁ The Wild Boys


Favorite acting performances from 2018:
⦁ Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin)
⦁ Nicolas Cage (Mandy)
⦁ Rachel McAdams (Game Night)
⦁ Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
⦁ Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread)
⦁ Sakura Andô (Shoplifters)
⦁ Harry Dean Stanton (Lucky)
⦁ Joanna Kulig (Cold War)
⦁ Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible - Fallout)
⦁ Joe Cole (A Prayer Before Dawn)
⦁ Zoe Kazan (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
⦁ Tom Waits (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
⦁ Toni Collette (Hereditary)
⦁ Elizabeth Debicki (Widows)


Statistics:

⦁ 2018 releases seen: 75
⦁ Movies I watched in a theater: 82
⦁ Total of all movies seen in 2018: 431
And now I wish you all a very happy new year.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:55 pm

Nice list, slentert. How do you determine release year? IMDb? year of wide release?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:50 pm

Thief wrote:Nice list, slentert. How do you determine release year? IMDb? year of wide release?
Oh yeah, I should've mentioned that, I follow Belgian release dates. That's why Call Me By Your Name is on this list and not movies like Paddington 2 or You Were Never Really Here (since both of those were on my 2017 list)
And thank you very much, Thief.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:32 am

Great, great best of 2018 list, Slent, and I find it interesting to note that...
Slentert wrote:
Favorite acting performances from 2018:
⦁ Toni Collette (Hereditary)
...you listed Collette's performance as one of your favorites of the year, even though Hereditary itself wasn't in your top 10 films, or even one of your honorable mentions, which is something that I can basically agree with... sort of. You see, while I've already been up-front with my disappointment with the movie, Collette's performance alone was quite praise-worthy, as she was absolutely convincing as a hysterical woman cracking under various stresses, demonic and otherwise, and she was undeniably effective in it... up to a point. You see, something like the scene at about the half-hour mark after you-know-what-happened, and she's on the floor absolutely screaming her heart out is not only completely believable on the part of her acting, but also utterly appropriate and effective at that point in the film, considering what had just happened; it really was one of the most heart-breaking things I've ever heard in any film, period.

But, in the second half of the film, as it increasingly devolved into a non-stop series of ridiculous, excessive Horror cliches (including not just one, but two gratuitous nightmare fake-outs in a row), her performance (along with Wolff's) similarly devolved into a lot of non-stop crying, screaming, and general hysterics, which made her portrayal of Annie lose a lot of its potency due to the nature of its sheer, repetitive over-the-top-ness. It's not an issue of her choosing to chew the scenery or anything, as it seemed to me like she was just matching her performance to the overall tone of the film at Ari Aster's behest, but the absurd tone of Hereditary itself was a problem for me, as it ended up rendering Collette much less effective than she should've been. I'd be okay with her getting an Oscar nom for it, but personally, I would not give her the actual award due to misuse of her talents by the director, and it's a shame a more disciplined filmmaker couldn't have put her considerable skill to better use (like, say, a Sixth Sense-circa M. Knight, even?), because, as her performance in the film stands now, at a certain point it mostly just becomes a tiresome series of Jim Carrey-level facial contortions that are barely less ridiculous in context than they are out of it:
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:31 am

Stu wrote:Great, great best of 2018 list, Slent, and I find it interesting to note that...
...you listed Collette's performance as one of your favorites of the year, even though Hereditary itself wasn't in your top 10 films, or even one of your honorable mentions, which is something that I can basically agree with... sort of. You see, while I've already been up-front with my disappointment with the movie, Collette's performance alone was quite praise-worthy, as she was absolutely convincing as a hysterical woman cracking under various stresses, demonic and otherwise, and she was undeniably effective in it... up to a point. You see, something like the scene at about the half-hour mark after you-know-what-happened, and she's on the floor absolutely screaming her heart out is not only completely believable on the part of her acting, but also utterly appropriate and effective at that point in the film, considering what had just happened; it really was one of the most heart-breaking things I've ever heard in any film, period.

But, in the second half of the film, as it increasingly devolved into a non-stop series of ridiculous, excessive Horror cliches (including not just one, but two gratuitous nightmare fake-outs in a row), her performance (along with Wolff's) similarly devolved into a lot of non-stop crying, screaming, and general hysterics, which made her portrayal of Annie lose a lot of its potency due to the nature of its sheer, repetitive over-the-top-ness. It's not an issue of her choosing to chew the scenery or anything, as it seemed to me like she was just matching her performance to the overall tone of the film at Ari Aster's behest, but the absurd tone of Hereditary itself was a problem for me, as it ended up rendering Collette much less effective than she should've been. I'd be okay with her getting an Oscar nom for it, but personally, I would not give her the actual award due to misuse of her talents by the director, and it's a shame a more disciplined filmmaker couldn't have put her considerable skill to better use (like, say, a Sixth Sense-circa M. Knight, even?), because, as her performance in the film stands now, at a certain point it mostly just becomes a tiresome series of Jim Carrey-level facial contortions that are barely less ridiculous in context than they are out of it:
Image

Image

Image
:D
I'm very firm of the belief that you can still praise an acting performance in a movie you dislike, and I most definitely disliked Hereditary. But I don't necessarily agree with your sentiments about the second half. Indeed, the movie goes off the rails (and not in a way I usually like) and she goes big like the movie asks her to, but I think she is still amazing and is able to sell something most other actors wouldn't be able to. But I agree that it's a shame a more disciplined director didn't put her skills to a better use.

And thanks, man!
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:48 pm

Slentert wrote:I'm very firm of the belief that you can still praise an acting performance in a movie you dislike, and I most definitely disliked Hereditary. But I don't necessarily agree with your sentiments about the second half. Indeed, the movie goes off the rails (and not in a way I usually like) and she goes big like the movie asks her to, but I think she is still amazing and is able to sell something most other actors wouldn't be able to. But I agree that it's a shame a more disciplined director didn't put her skills to a better use.

And thanks, man!
Welcome! And I wasn't trying to imply that Collette's performance in it wasn't amazing throughout, as I think I agree with you, in the sense that I was always utterly convinced that she had become Annie in the film, as much as any actor can become their characters. Like you said, my beef wasn't with her performance not being convincing at any one point, it's just the way Ari Aster used her in the film, especially as it frankly got pretty silly as it went, and the way she had to keep escalating her performance to match the film around her has her being just so constantly hysterical all the time (a rather cliched choice for a female character in a Horror film, I have to admit as well) that her portrayal loses effectiveness through sheer repetition, despite it always being a fundmentally convincing performance on a basic level. It's similar to how I can feel that Daniel Day-Lewis's Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood is an utterly hypnotic, commanding, Oscar-worthy performance for the most part, but also feel that he still started to chew the scenery a bit in the final 15 minutes of the film anyway.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:52 am

Destination Wedding (2018)
An anti-romantic comedy in the sense that both lead characters would hate it if they realized they were in one.

Keanu Reeves looks, talks and is dressed exactly like he is still in a John Wick movie. He and Winona Ryder have good chemistry (they are friends in real life after all) and that is good since the entire movie exist solely out of conversations between the two.

But while I'm a fairly cynical person myself, the over-the-top awfulness of these characters was incredibly off putting. The dialogue is often too clever for its own good, like you can hear the entire thought process of the screenwriter behind every word they say. It's so desperate in its misanthropy that after the zillionth sarcastic remark you just want to strangle these two characters with a pillow to help them out of their own misery. I really wanted to like this movie but I'm just not the right kind of audience for this celebration of Douglas Coupland-like bitterness that Generation X loves so much.


Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
Saw this on 35mm at the Cinematek in Brussels, and while the print wasn't in a very good condition, it was still an incredible experience. Johnny Got His Gun tells the story of Joe Bonham (played by a very young Timothy Bottoms) who lost his arms, legs, half of his face and who knows what else in WWI. The doctors in the army hospital claim he isn't able to feel, move or think and can't experience joy nor pain. So the doctors did what every caring human being would do, they kept him alive as an experiment. But what nobody realizes, is that Joe is still conscious, yet is not able to see, hear or communicate. He is imprisoned in his own body and mind. And we're stuck there with him.

The following two hours are painful. Joe doesn't know where he is or what has happened to him. Sometimes he screams out for his mother, but besides the audience, no one can hear him. Nurses coming into his room once in a while is the only suggestion of the real world he still experiences. Losing any sense of time and only left with his own memories, he slowly starts to hallucinate. We see him spending his last night home with his girlfriend, how he plays carts with Jesus, and saying the words to his father he regret never saying when the man was still alive. There is one a hauntingly beautiful image of his dead army pals laying on the bottom of the ocean, with their skeletons being all what is left of them, that really struck a chord with me.

It's a shame Donald Trumbo only got to direct one movie, but I'm so grateful he made this one masterpiece at least.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:57 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Like most Marvel movies, this one is chock-full of jokes of which only about 30% actually land. They're trying so hard to upstage the original they lose their freshness.
Also, I know the MCU isn't particularly known for their subtlety, but this really suffered from too much on-the-nose dialogue. Whereas the first one did a fairly good job of portraying a sense of family through the various dynamics between the Guardians, this sequel spends most of its running time with the characters just literally discussing said family dynamics. And even when they do that, they can't help themselves by undermining it with lame gags.
When Starlord yells out "You shouldn't have killed my mom!" we really don't need him to add "and squished my walkman" after that. Stop underestimating your audience and let a scene play out for once.
I actually still somewhat enjoyed this movie but there is so much that bugs me about this franchise, and for some reason I keep giving them another chance.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:31 pm

Slentert wrote:Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Like most Marvel movies, this one is chock-full of jokes of which only about 30% actually land. They're trying so hard to upstage the original they lose their freshness.
Also, I know the MCU isn't particularly known for their subtlety, but this really suffered from too much on-the-nose dialogue. Whereas the first one did a fairly good job of portraying a sense of family through the various dynamics between the Guardians, this sequel spends most of its running time with the characters just literally discussing said family dynamics. And even when they do that, they can't help themselves by undermining it with lame gags.
When Starlord yells out "You shouldn't have killed my mom!" we really don't need him to add "and squished my walkman" after that. Stop underestimating your audience and let a scene play out for once.
I actually still somewhat enjoyed this movie but there is so much that bugs me about this franchise, and for some reason I keep giving them another chance.
Hm, I actually liked the second one better than the first one.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:38 am

Slentert wrote:Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Like most Marvel movies, this one is chock-full of jokes of which only about 30% actually land. They're trying so hard to upstage the original they lose their freshness.
Also, I know the MCU isn't particularly known for their subtlety, but this really suffered from too much on-the-nose dialogue. Whereas the first one did a fairly good job of portraying a sense of family through the various dynamics between the Guardians, this sequel spends most of its running time with the characters just literally discussing said family dynamics. And even when they do that, they can't help themselves by undermining it with lame gags.
When Starlord yells out "You shouldn't have killed my mom!" we really don't need him to add "and squished my walkman" after that. Stop underestimating your audience and let a scene play out for once.
I actually still somewhat enjoyed this movie but there is so much that bugs me about this franchise, and for some reason I keep giving them another chance.
Aw, I enjoyed Guardians 2. Sure, the plotting feels a bit too busy and over-stuffed at times, and as a sequel, it naturally can't recapture the same freshness of experience that the original Guardians brought to the MCU, but a second movie was never going to feel as unique anyway, and there was still a lot to it to enjoy in this one, like the continued strong, well-developed character work for just about everyone (including an actual interesting villain this time around), some wonderfully colorful imagery as opposed to the relatively drab visual scheme of the original, and those effects! I mean, it does have its problems, but I still couldn't help but enjoy myself with it anyway.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:24 am

Also, I really liked Mantis (who I also really enjoyed in IW). I think she adds something to the proceedings.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:11 am

It must be said that I didn't really like the original Guardians when I watched that one the first time, so who knows how my opinion of Volume 2 might change when rewatching it.

Don't get me wrong, GotG Vol. 2 is an okay movie, I don't actively dislike it like I hate Spider-Man: Homecoming. This one has some nice visuals and has some cool designs the first one was fiercely lacking. Kurt Russell was indeed a good villain. But for once I wish these MCU movies would surpass being "okay" to me. I keep having the same problems with these films but I always return to them because film culture has decided they are somehow "important".

Also, I just hate Chris Pratt and wished he wasn't the lead while there are so many more interesting characters walking around in the background.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:41 pm

Slentert wrote:It must be said that I didn't really like the original Guardians when I watched that one the first time, so who knows how my opinion of Volume 2 might change when rewatching it.

Don't get me wrong, GotG Vol. 2 is an okay movie, I don't actively dislike it like I hate Spider-Man: Homecoming. This one has some nice visuals and has some cool designs the first one was fiercely lacking. Kurt Russell was indeed a good villain. But for once I wish these MCU movies would surpass being "okay" to me. I keep having the same problems with these films but I always return to them because film culture has decided they are somehow "important".

Also, I just hate Chris Pratt and wished he wasn't the lead while there are so many more interesting characters walking around in the background.
I've never been all that into GotG either honestly, I think it's why I liked the second one better, I think most of these characters (Gamora, Drax, Nebula) just fared better in their subsequent films. And Ronan should have been a good villain but ended up being possibly the most one-dimensional villain this side of Malekith (Thor: The Dark World) and the entire Nova Corps thing, honestly the whole plot was just muddled goop. I liked Pratt in the first two Guardians movies but now he's really wearin' on me. Does he have any other characterizations?
Surprised you (or anyone) hated Homecoming, it was a nice little movie.
I don't think anyone thinks any Marvel film other than Black Panther and we'll-see-on-Captain Marvel is "important". Like, at all. They are the epitome of Just-for-fun done well.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Count me as another who likes the second GotG a lot better. It delivers the colourful space opera the first one promised. My opinion may also be coloured by the fact I nearly got into a fight after the first one.

Pratt sucks ass in both, though. Can we just kill off Starlord?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:48 pm

Also, I didn't hate Homecoming but it struck me as an overblown afterschool special. A disappointment compared to the generally more ambitious Marvel movies of late.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:48 pm

Rock wrote: Pratt sucks ass in both, though. Can we just kill off Starlord?
They already did, it's only a matter of him staying that way.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:58 pm

Wooley wrote: I don't think anyone thinks any Marvel film other than Black Panther and we'll-see-on-Captain Marvel is "important". Like, at all. They are the epitome of Just-for-fun done well.
Important might be the wrong word for it, but there is no denying they are everywhere and dominate film discussion whenever a new one is released. And I'm fine with that and I don't want to take away anyone's enjoyment, but I personally am not really entertained by them yet feel constantly pressured to keep up with them (often by my own friends) You say they're just-for-fun but clearly they aren't for me.

God, I sound overly bitter today don't I?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:44 pm

Slentert wrote:
They already did, it's only a matter of him staying that way.
I know, but you know there's gonna be some time travel BS to bring him back.

He sucked in that movie too, for the record.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:28 pm

Slentert wrote: Important might be the wrong word for it, but there is no denying they are everywhere and dominate film discussion whenever a new one is released. And I'm fine with that and I don't want to take away anyone's enjoyment, but I personally am not really entertained by them yet feel constantly pressured to keep up with them (often by my own friends) You say they're just-for-fun but clearly they aren't for me.

God, I sound overly bitter today don't I?
A little. :D
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:29 pm

Rock wrote:Also, I didn't hate Homecoming but it struck me as an overblown afterschool special. A disappointment compared to the generally more ambitious Marvel movies of late.
That is actually exactly what I liked about it. They went small. And with a flagship character, maybe THE flagship character.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:31 pm

Rock wrote:
I know, but you know there's gonna be some time travel BS to bring him back.

He sucked in that movie too, for the record.
That was his worst. But I thought it was more the writing than him. He just makes that kind of writing worse.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:20 pm

To say something more positive about GotG 2, that one fight scene between Quill and Ego with The Chain by Fleetwood Mac playing on the background is some great, effective use of music.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:21 am

I remember having some issues with GotG2, but I also remember seeing it in not the best conditions (after Hurricane Maria, in a laptop, no power). I dozed off once or twice, probably because of those conditions, but I remember feeling it being kinda messy. I have plans of revisiting it soon, since I've been going through the MCU, but that's what kinda stuck in my mind.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:40 pm

Thief wrote:I remember having some issues with GotG2, but I also remember seeing it in not the best conditions (after Hurricane Maria, in a laptop, no power). I dozed off once or twice, probably because of those conditions, but I remember feeling it being kinda messy. I have plans of revisiting it soon, since I've been going through the MCU, but that's what kinda stuck in my mind.
I think it's plot is a lot cleaner than the first one. I'm still not sure what was going on in that one and most of what piecing together I've done has been because I'd already read so many comics.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:16 am

The Favourite (2018)

To celebrate my 18th birthday, I went to see the latest movie from someone who is quickly becoming my new favorite (no pun intended) currently working director. I took two close friends with me, one who is the perfect audience for these kind of movies, and another who would otherwise never go see this on his own. To my pleasant surprise, they both liked it, but were also appropriately alienated by it at certain points. Yorgos Lanthimos keeps challenging his inner Peter Greenaway and I couldn't be happier about it.

If you avoided this movie because you generally don't like period pieces, I would urge you to still give this a chance. It avoids the usual stuffy, puffed up melodrama that goes with the territory and makes place for something much more dangerous, eccentric and above all, modern. And even though he didn't write this one himself, it still feels very much like a Lanthimos film, with its characters talking and acting like they're aliens, imitating what they conceive as "human behavior".

Probably the funniest movie I've seen in a theater in a while.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:39 am

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

When I watched the trailer I thought this looked awful. When I eventually watched the movie itself, I noticed I had assumed correctly. This movie wants to be "crazy" so badly but still ends up holding back, like the director lacks the imagination to go truly insane. It's like someone tries to throw a wild party, but his parents are in the room next door, so it just ends up to be a boring, and disappointingly sober, slump of an evening.



Polar (2019)

So, an assassin with a pension plan, huh? And the company he works for decides to kill him off to keep the money, instead of doing what corporations have been doing for the last decade or so and just disbanding the pension? Alright.
Otherwise, this is a throwback to the same edgelord bullshit Mark Millar adaptations were known for in the late 2000s. I didn't like it then and I certainly don't enjoy it when it is done as poorly as it is here.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:26 pm

Slentert wrote:The Favourite (2018)

To celebrate my 18th birthday, I went to see the latest movie from someone who is quickly becoming my new favorite (no pun intended) currently working director. I took two close friends with me, one who is the perfect audience for these kind of movies, and another who would otherwise never go see this on his own. To my pleasant surprise, they both liked it, but were also appropriately alienated by it at certain points. Yorgos Lanthimos keeps challenging his inner Peter Greenaway and I couldn't be happier about it.

If you avoided this movie because you generally don't like period pieces, I would urge you to still give this a chance. It avoids the usual stuffy, puffed up melodrama that goes with the territory and makes place for something much more dangerous, eccentric and above all, modern. And even though he didn't write this one himself, it still feels very much like a Lanthimos film, with its characters talking and acting like they're aliens, imitating what they conceive as "human behavior".

Probably the funniest movie I've seen in a theater in a while.
For some reason, I still haven't delved into Lanthimos filmography. Do you think this should be a good entry point, or should I ease my way in with some of his earlier films?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:36 pm

Thief wrote: For some reason, I still haven't delved into Lanthimos filmography. Do you think this should be a good entry point, or should I ease my way in with some of his earlier films?
I would consider this his most "accessible" movie to date, so I think it would make a great entry point.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by LEAVES » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:56 am

Slentert wrote: I would consider this his most "accessible" movie to date, so I think it would make a great entry point.
On the other hand, it's the only film he didn't write, so in some ways it's not an entry point at all.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:20 am

Thief wrote:
For some reason, I still haven't delved into Lanthimos filmography. Do you think this should be a good entry point, or should I ease my way in with some of his earlier films?
Watch The Lobster
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:25 am

LEAVES wrote:On the other hand, it's the only film he didn't write, so in some ways it's not an entry point at all.
Good point.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:27 am

crumbsroom wrote:
Watch The Lobster
My favorite movie of his. Also just one of my favorite movies in general. It's like someone made a movie just for me and my own weird, very specific comic sensibilities.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:26 am

The Last Detail (1973)

There are some movies that I consider to have a high "rewatchability factor". These are not movies that have an intricate plot, nor do they rely on heavy action sequences. I'm talking about movies that have wonderful, remarkable characters that I love to spend time with, and that inhabit a world I'd love to walk through myself. Call them hangout movies if you like. Movies like The Big Lebowski, Casablanca, The Long Goodbye, Dazed and Confused etc... And I can feel already, that The Last Detail will be one of these movies for me.

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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:18 pm

Slen, you're going to have a fucking beer.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:46 am

Never Look Away is a very interesting movie about politics and art, but not like the currently very popular debate about the politics in the art itself, yet rather about creating art in a specific political environment (at first Nazi Germany, later the DDR). I didn't really know a lot about this one before entering the movie theater, and was expecting a more typical World War II drama, so I was pleasantly surprised by this angle of the movie. As someone who draws as well, I could very much relate to the struggle of trying to find your own style, battling with what people expect you to make, and the aggravating conclusion that what you appreciate in art isn't always the same as what you enjoy making.

This aspect of the movie, a process that isn't told too often, made me forgive some of its major flaws. The worst offender probably being our lead character, Kurt, a gaping hole where should be a compelling protagonist. Kurt is someone who doesn't talk too much and seemingly has no actual personality to speak of. He finds a girlfriend rather easily without us having any idea why she would fall in love with this empty vessel. We don't actually care about Kurt because of who he is, but rather because of what happens to him. We care about him because he suffers. And, worst of all, not only does he suffer, he suffers with grace.

Not once do we see him cry. He never complains, nor does he protest. He barely even grieves. The worst things happen to him and his loved ones, but not once does that make him angry. He just accepts it all. Because if Kurt would be angry, or depressed, or hurt, the movie might risk him being unsympathetic, and they can't allow that. Doesn't matter if that robs him from his humanity. No, the lead must suffer gracefully, with a certain kind of beauty, so that all that pain almost becomes admirable. And that is probably one of the more infuriating movie tropes currently out there.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:51 am

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
I think I'm more impressed by the fact that something like this was made in the first place than I am by the movie itself. I'm sorry, but this feels too much like a poor man's Terry Gilliam, lacking that man's comical timing and his ability to create chaos without losing his control as the director. But to be fair, certain of Gilliam's own movies could also be described as poor man's Gilliams. (Can you say The Man Who Killed Don Quixote...)

If this movie succeeds at one thing though it is that I'm truly starting to miss those times when Tom Hanks was allowed to be funny and goofy in movies. You know, before Zemeckis and Spielberg sucked him into their Oscar bait vortex.


The Jungle Book (1967)
It's a bizarre thing to rediscover these Disney Classics as I'm older. First of all, I used to watch these movies dubbed in Dutch. So this was my first time hearing the actual lyrics of "Bare Necessities" and also my first encounter with the original voice cast. I was pleasantly surprised when I recognized George Sanders' voice.
Also, it is astounding how hazily my recollection of them is. I watched this a thousand times when I was 5, but nowadays I mostly remember the colors and the feel of it rather than actual storylines. Not that this particular movie has many to speak of, thank god the animation is so fricking beautiful or there wouldn't be anything to hold my attention.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by LEAVES » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:25 am

Slentert wrote:The Jungle Book (1967)
It's a bizarre thing to rediscover these Disney Classics as I'm older. First of all, I used to watch these movies dubbed in Dutch. So this was my first time hearing the actual lyrics of "Bare Necessities" and also my first encounter with the original voice cast. I was pleasantly surprised when I recognized George Sanders' voice.
Also, it is astounding how hazily my recollection of them is. I watched this a thousand times when I was 5, but nowadays I mostly remember the colors and the feel of it rather than actual storylines. Not that this particular movie has many to speak of, thank god the animation is so fricking beautiful or there wouldn't be anything to hold my attention.
Disney messed with the colors for the Dutch dubbed version, like soda companies do different flavors in different countries. They didn't think Dutch people could handle the color "mauve". I think you understand.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:56 pm

Went to see Ash is Purest White (2018) yesterday. It's a Chinese drama about a young woman named Qiao, she's the girlfriend of mid-tier crime boss Bin. When Bin gets violently attacked by a bunch of street punks, Qiao saves his life by scaring them away with Bin's (illegal) gun. They both go to jail, Qiao gets imprisoned for 5 years, Bin merely for one. When Qiao finally gets released, she finds out Bin has moved on with his life without her. And so start a tumultuous relationship between the two, spanning over multiple decades, against the background of a rapidly evolving China.

In this aspect, the movie reminds me of another arthouse drama that premiered at the same Cannes edition, namely the Polish film Cold War. But in Pawlikowski's movie there was more life between the two lovers, more passion. In Ash, you mainly get the sense that Bin isn't worthy of Qiao's love and self-sacrifice. Luckily the latter one is such a compelling characters that keeps you engaged. There are definitely some hauntingly beautiful scenes hidden in this two and a half hour epic.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:47 pm

Yesterday I went to the Offscreen festival ( a Belgium filmfestival focused on genre and cult films) and was able to see the opener of their Death on Film-program, Peeping Tom (1960), which looks absolutely stunning on 35mm, btw.
This is what I wrote about it on letterboxd:

The slightly earlier born, British twin brother of Psycho.

Sleazy and repelling, but since it's a British movie from the early sixties, also very mannered and almost cute. In that way it reminds us of our protagonist Mark, who looks like a handsome dandy with the mad eyes of Klaus Kinski. Karlheinz Böhm is just magnetic in this role, making what could be a regular psychopath into something... human. Where in Psycho you only learn the truth about Norman Bates at the end of the movie, in this you get immediately confronted with the fact that our lead character is a serial killer, yet you can't stop yourself from caring about him and his doomed fate. From the very opening shot, director Michael Powell makes you complicit in these crimes and puts you in Mark's place (and in his disturbing mind).

Can join Charade and Witness for the Prosecution in the club of "Very much Hitchcock that you barely can believe it wasn't made by the man himself".
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:14 am

I've been meaning to see that one for a long time now, ever since I saw Genie wearing an avatar of a particularly striking dutch angle shot of Mark aiming with his camera, back when the RT forums still existed :oops:
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:39 am

Slentert wrote:The slightly earlier born, British twin brother of Psycho.
This has been an enduring debate. I still find Psycho to be the better horror film, because Hitch was much more skilled at suspense and there isn't a scene in Tom as viscerally electric as the shower montage, Arbogast's spill down the stairs, or, frankly, that had the benefit of Herrmann's score.

But Tom was more psychologically precise in the allure (and complicity) of the horror genre, and the profundity of its implications is still highly relevant to today's audiences even as its more formal quality has dated.
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