A noob's journey through cinema

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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 04, 2019 7:46 pm

Yeah, I feel like I haven't posted a lot to this forum in the past few months as well. College has limited the amount of free time I have by more than I expected. Even when I have free time, I often hang out with my friends. I hope to have more time this summer and in the future.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 04, 2019 8:29 pm

I did it, guys, I made a blog. Look!

It's not completely finished yet, and I'm gonna change some stuff about it tomorrow. but it's up.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon May 06, 2019 6:00 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:29 pm
I did it, guys, I made a blog. Look!

It's not completely finished yet, and I'm gonna change some stuff about it tomorrow. but it's up.
Congrats! I wish you luck with it. Hell, I already gave up my thread, may your blog go much better.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 06, 2019 7:04 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 6:00 pm
Congrats! I wish you luck with it. Hell, I already gave up my thread, may your blog go much better.
Thanks, man! I really hope this isn't yet another one of my projects I give up on after a few weeks. Guess it is my responsibility to not make that happen.
I have two pieces finished and ready to post, and two other ones I'm in the middle of writing.
I'd also like to eventually branch out a little and write about more stuff than just movies, like comics perhaps (my other passion).
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri May 10, 2019 6:08 pm

My second piece is up.
It is about Sweetie (1989), Jane Campion's fascinating if sometimes slightly uneven debut feature.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Fri May 10, 2019 9:55 pm

I'm sure you've heard the term "Lynchian" as a catch-all definition for anything weird. David Foster Wallace had a pretty decent take and should I ever watch Sweetie again, I'll try to keep that in mind. see if it earns its comparison.

I remember Sweetie knocking me out pretty good. sometimes I feel like I'm the Sweetie of my family (just in the way of being problematic) so it wasn't as if I was saddened by the end. unless you count "pity" as "sad". 'cause even when I'm Sweetie, I also feel like I'm the other family members as well, battling it out inside my head and hoping to wrest control away from all that emotion.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri May 10, 2019 10:47 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:55 pm
I'm sure you've heard the term "Lynchian" as a catch-all definition for anything weird. David Foster Wallace had a pretty decent take and should I ever watch Sweetie again, I'll try to keep that in mind. see if it earns its comparison.
Indeed. I feel almost bad using it when discussing any movie, but I couldn't escape the fact that Sweetie really reminded me of Blue Velvet-Wild at Heart era Lynch. I hope Campion mentioning him as an influence in several interviews is enough to back up that suspicion.
Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 9:55 pm
I remember Sweetie knocking me out pretty good. sometimes I feel like I'm the Sweetie of my family (just in the way of being problematic) so it wasn't as if I was saddened by the end. unless you count "pity" as "sad". 'cause even when I'm Sweetie, I also feel like I'm the other family members as well, battling it out inside my head and hoping to wrest control away from all that emotion.
Same. I have been wrestling with my autism for years now, dropping out of school despite having good grades, attending a special needs school for a while, to eventually switch over to homeschooling (which is what I am currently doing). So I can easily identify with being a 'Sweetie' of the family.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat May 11, 2019 11:38 am

in spite of all the diagnoses I have collected over the years, it is hard for me to let go of the thought that maybe there is nothing wrong with me other than being a lazy asshole. (speaking only for myself) it's not like I'm hamstrung by any sort of physical ailments.....
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 14, 2019 11:30 am

Image

I remember the first time I saw Blue Velvet, I was 14 years old and it was playing on television. My mom was sitting next to me on the couch, asleep, and I kept hoping she wouldn't wake up until the movie was over. It was almost like I was partaking in some illegal activity, and not wanting to be caught added another layer of tension to the entire thing.

I'm a little bit older now, and slightly more well versed in the darker corners of cinema history. But I went to see Blue Velvet on the big screen, and yet again I felt a bit embarrassed while watching. I was surrounded by so many people, and it felt like I was letting them all in on some dark, intimate secret of mine.

Watching Blue Velvet is like waking up from a horrible nightmare, only to realize you are living in an even bigger one. A filthy world filled with violence, sex and violent sex. A beautiful looking piece of fruit, that is slowly rotting on the inside.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed May 15, 2019 8:51 am

In the end, Interstellar is a nearly 3 hour movie about McConaughey not wanting to be a responsible father and eventually getting permission from his daughter to do whatever he pleases.

Like Tarkovsky filtered through a chess computer.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed May 15, 2019 4:02 pm

Yeah, I didn't care enough about the characters for the final act to have much of an impact on me. In addition, I also found it ridiculous how,
after finally returning back home, Cooper didn't even bother to ask about his son's fate.
This, in addition to the idiotic "love transcending dimensions" theme and other Nolan-isms like the constant exposition/hand-holding and the ridiculous final act twist made this a rather forgettable film in my opinion. I liked Dunkirk much more though.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Fri May 17, 2019 12:14 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 4:02 pm
Yeah, I didn't care enough about the characters for the final act to have much of an impact on me. In addition, I also found it ridiculous how,
after finally returning back home, Cooper didn't even bother to ask about his son's fate.
This, in addition to the idiotic "love transcending dimensions" theme and other Nolan-isms like the constant exposition/hand-holding and the ridiculous final act twist made this a rather forgettable film in my opinion. I liked Dunkirk much more though.
His exposition drives me nuts.
"What about escalation?"
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 20, 2019 8:30 pm

Sunset (2018)

Evocative, piercing and frustrating. László Nemes delivers a more than worthy follow-up to his Oscar winning Holocaust drama Son of Saul. He drops you into living-and-breathing history without any context, as a person would actually live it instead of when a person would read about it. Making history an experience and not just a dead object one can safely study in a museum.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Tue May 21, 2019 4:20 am

I'm a big fan of Son of Saul so I really want to watch that one, but I missed it at TIFF and when it played in theatres here. I'll get to it once it hits Netflix/Blu-ray but I thought Son of Saul benefited from being seen on the big screen so I'm a little peeved I didn't get to see this one in theatres as well.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Thu May 23, 2019 9:08 am

My third post is a review of The Beach Bum. Harmony Korine's latest is deeply hilarious and also seemingly goes nowhere in between.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Quite-Gone Genie » Fri May 24, 2019 11:24 pm

Stu wrote:
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:
You really should see it; it's fantastic.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Sat May 25, 2019 5:13 am

A wild GENIE appeared!

Try not to be such a stranger to this place from now on, eh man?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 28, 2019 9:29 am

La La Land (2016)

For the past two-and-a-half years, I was afraid to rewatch La La Land, thinking it wouldn't hold up.

I was right.

The movie's biggest problem is its portrayal of the central romance, everything about it feels so blasé. While Gosling and Stone definitely have some chemistry together on screen, not surprising considering they have been playing lovers in several movies now, there doesn't seem to be the right energy that is required for the greater impact the movie is searching for. Chazelle seems to care more about highlighting the fairy tale world of Los Angeles, a place where dreams come true (but only if you try hard enough, a theme running through Chazelle's filmography) instead of actually fleshing out the relationship. We get dozens of shots of Stone and Gosling walking through a beautifully photographed LA, looking at each other with that smitten look in their eyes, instead of them actually talking and you know, getting to know each other besides just the basic proclamations of their big dreams.

If La La Land wasn't a musical, and just a romantic comedy (which it already is for 85% of the time) I don't think it would've ever made the kind of impact it did back in 2016, and definitely wouldn't have received all this awards attention. But La La Land is a musical, the only problem is it is not a very good one. And this is coming from someone who has listened to the soundtrack of this movie more times than he'd ever care to admit. In context, those musical sequences often fall flat, not in the least because of the performances on display.

With the resurgence of Hollywood musicals in the past few years, it is starting to get noticeable how we're lacking any real stars than can act, sing, and most importantly, dance. Modern day musicals rather hide away from the dancing part, always cutting away from it, never showing us the body in full motion, because when they do, it becomes clear how they can not actually pull it of (as becomes painfully clear in the "A Lovely Night" scene). Current day dancing sequences are as bad as current day action sequences, if not more.

That opening traffic jam number is a good example of this, where you get the sense that most of the dancing is happening somewhere behind the camera instead of in front. The filmmaker seems more focused on getting it all in one shot instead of prominently showcasing the choreography.

When this movie first came out, a friend of mine called it "style over substance", now I'm starting to think it doesn't have enough of either.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue May 28, 2019 11:54 am

I want a 10-year moratorium on "love letters to LA"-type movies. maybe even LA movies entirely.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 28, 2019 11:57 am

Watched the entire Mad Max franchise, after only having seen Fury Road before. Some quick thoughts:

Mad Max (1979)

It's funny how this is the original movie in the franchise, because it feels more like a prequel one would make after already having made the other three. "How did Max actually become mad? Watch this and you'll find out!" Almost like if Solo: A Star Wars Story was the first ever to be released in the saga, and then they decided to make the other ones.

The movie itself is fine but I like the franchise more once it becomes crazier and more 'punk'.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

The one where the series starts to take form. Sets the tone for what will follow. George Miller, finally granted something that resembles a budget, goes buckwild with the chase scenes, doing stunts that SAG probably wouldn't allow nowadays (then again, Fury Road still exists, so what do I know).



Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

For a while I was convinced this was going to be my favorite of the entire franchise. Those first 40 minutes in Bartertown are just outstanding, but once those Peter Pan-esque children show up, the movie slows down big time, a problem you get when you attempt to turn a R-rated franchise into something that is marketable to kids.


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The first time I watched this movie, I was kind of disappointed by it. I liked it, but it didn’t live up to its reputation of the greatest action movie of all time (than again, which movie could?). But now, having the context of the other movies in the franchise, I realized I was dead wrong. Switching from Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy was a bit jarring at first, but Hardy giving a far better performance than anything Gibson did made the transition a bit smoother.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 28, 2019 11:59 am

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 11:54 am
I want a 10-year moratorium on "love letters to LA"-type movies. maybe even LA movies entirely.
I'd make an exception for movies like Tangerine that showcase a completely different side from LA and don't focus on pretty white people.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue May 28, 2019 12:52 pm

ok, that's fair.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue May 28, 2019 1:51 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 11:57 am
Watched the entire Mad Max franchise, after only having seen Fury Road before. Some quick thoughts:

Mad Max (1979)

It's funny how this is the original movie in the franchise, because it feels more like a prequel one would make after already having made the other three. "How did Max actually become mad? Watch this and you'll find out!" Almost like if Solo: A Star Wars Story was the first ever to be released in the saga, and then they decided to make the other ones.

The movie itself is fine but I like the franchise more once it becomes crazier and more 'punk'.


Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)

The one where the series starts to take form. Sets the tone for what will follow. George Miller, finally granted something that resembles a budget, goes buckwild with the chase scenes, doing stunts that SAG probably wouldn't allow nowadays (then again, Fury Road still exists, so what do I know).



Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

For a while I was convinced this was going to be my favorite of the entire franchise. Those first 40 minutes in Bartertown are just outstanding, but once those Peter Pan-esque children show up, the movie slows down big time, a problem you get when you attempt to turn a R-rated franchise into something that is marketable to kids.


Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The first time I watched this movie, I was kind of disappointed by it. I liked it, but it didn’t live up to its reputation of the greatest action movie of all time (than again, which movie could?). But now, having the context of the other movies in the franchise, I realized I was dead wrong. Switching from Mel Gibson to Tom Hardy was a bit jarring at first, but Hardy giving a far better performance than anything Gibson did made the transition a bit smoother.
Dude, what a coincidence, I was supposed to host a Mad Max Marathon at my house last weekend but then a friend was in need and I had to cancel to take care of him, so then I rescheduled it for this weekend just-passed but I was on call, so I rescheduled it for THIS weekend.
And here you are having just done it.

On the original Mad Max, I can understand how you would feel that way if you had seen something like Fury Road first, but I saw MM first and it will always, for me, be THE film in the series and the whole series plays very linearly from that point for me, with the other films all being just sequels to the original awesomeness. While I love The Road Warrior and actually really like Thunderdome too, there's something about the first one that feels so real and almost like that version of society was, possibly, really only a few years away. Toecutter remains my favorite villain of the entire series, going away, no competition at all (not even FROM HIMSELF as Immortan Joe in Fury Road), and I can tell you when Max threw Billy The Boy that saw and
told him he couldn't cut through the handcuffs before the car exploded but he could cut through his leg
, man back in the early 80s when I was like 10 or 11 years old, that was the coolest shit ever and is still pretty close to the best moment in the whole franchise. And there's nothing like the Interceptors from the first movie, man those are the best.
Still, I can't wait to revisit the whole franchise in the next couple of weeks, really looking forward to it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Tue May 28, 2019 2:13 pm

I'm one of the few that hadn't seen any of the Mad Max films. A couple of years ago, I saw the first one and I liked it well enough. However, I still felt it kinda dragged a bit through its first hour, only to rush things in the last act. I haven't gotten around to the others yet.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue May 28, 2019 3:20 pm

Much like Thief, I didn't care much for the pacing in the original Mad Max. A better balance would've greatly helped the film. I liked Mad Max 2 a great deal more though and I was blown away by Fury Road.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Wed May 29, 2019 11:09 am

It is funny, I wonder if I would feel differently about the Mad Max films if I hadn't seen each in its own time.
Mad Max was a shocking, almost taboo film here in America when I was young. When we saw it, we were unconcerned about its pacing we just ate up everything else it did so uniquely, like nothing we'd seen before and a million things we'd have to see after. It changed the aesthetic of not only its genre, but many, many action and sci-fi films.
The Road Warrior was a new kind of awesome nobody had seen anything quite like and I must have watched it 20 times.
Thunderdome was actually a big disappointment to a lot of fans of the character (me and my peeps, especially) when it came out as the bigger budget and PG-13 rating seemed to have taken some of the edge off and the edge was why we loved the films. In retrospect, I quite like it, but it is a different direction.
Fury Road, for me, I was just hoping they didn't fuck up the franchise's legacy and obviously they did not, but there is certainly a bit of the feeling that they were really just updating The Road Warrior for new audiences. I don't know that I am a Gibson fan, per se, but he definitely had more magnetism than Hardy does. Theron easily steals the film from him and, honestly, I would rather watch a Furiosa film than a Max one now.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:35 am

Point Blank (1967)

“You're a pathetic sight, Walker, from where I'm standing. Chasing shadows. You're played out. It's over. You're finished. What would you do with the money if you got it? It wasn't yours in the first place. Why don't you just lie down and die?”


I love the way this movie portrays the criminal ‘underworld’. Here there are no shady deals being made in dark back alleys by even more fishy figures on rainy nights. No, in this, criminals are white-collar, middle aged white men, giving orders behind their fancy desk in their glass offices, complete transparency, no attempt to hide themselves, no reason to either. And then there is Walker, an old-fashioned blue-collar guy, the last standing individual against the faceless corporate chain of command. He is at odds with this stark, modern world and that world doesn’t understand him in return. He is a relic of perished days, an outmoded brute who just wants his money back, and will do everything to get it. But it doesn't matter how high he moves up the ladder, because the building that ladder leans again maintains to be as steady, cold and anonymous as ever.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:01 pm

another great entry into the "Movies About America by Non-American Directors" canon

plus the rare movie that pulls off being gratuitously artsy and gratuitously ugly at once. in short, America is a land of contrasts.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:32 pm

That's one I've had on my list for a while. Should probably get to it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:47 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:35 am
Point Blank (1967)

“You're a pathetic sight, Walker, from where I'm standing. Chasing shadows. You're played out. It's over. You're finished. What would you do with the money if you got it? It wasn't yours in the first place. Why don't you just lie down and die?”


I love the way this movie portrays the criminal ‘underworld’. Here there are no shady deals being made in dark back alleys by even more fishy figures on rainy nights. No, in this, criminals are white-collar, middle aged white men, giving orders behind their fancy desk in their glass offices, complete transparency, no attempt to hide themselves, no reason to either. And then there is Walker, an old-fashioned blue-collar guy, the last standing individual against the faceless corporate chain of command. He is at odds with this stark, modern world and that world doesn’t understand him in return. He is a relic of perished days, an outmoded brute who just wants his money back, and will do everything to get it. But it doesn't matter how high he moves up the ladder, because the building that ladder leans again maintains to be as steady, cold and anonymous as ever.
added to queue
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:28 pm

I'm just gonna rattle of some stuff I recently saw.

The Last Boy Scout (1991) This is probably my favorite Shane Black-written movie, though, considering how the production of this film went, he himself wouldn't like to hear that.

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) Just like Personal Shopper, I find this movie to be profound, containing several great scenes, extremely well-acted, but also not 100% successful in what it is trying to achieve. Still highly recommended, a fascinating look at celebrity, quite possibly also autobiographical for Juliette Binoche.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Rewatch on 35mm. Just a perfect movie. Plays incredibly well with an audience. Timeless in a way, but could only be made in the seventies.

The Shop Around The Corner (1940) Lubitsch is great. I should watch more Lubitsch.

The Black Book/Reign of Terror (1949)
An underseen historical noir by Anthony Mann, made a few years before he started his legendary collaboration with James Stewart. Murder, political intrige and backstabbing, set during the French revolution. Though the movie was clearly filmed on a studio backlot with a low budget, it features some enervating action sequences and has some beautiful black-and-white photography. And incredibly well made b-picture (in the classical sense of the word).

The Set-Up (1949) I never knew violence in a 1940s movie could be this brutal.

Giants and Toys (1958) I didn't love this movie as much as some other people, but it is still a very entertaining and surprisingly cynical Japanese satire. The story is all over the place, though, making it hard to give a brief synopsis.

My Man Godfrey (1936) I'm just in love with this movie. Watched it last night and I'm still giggling whenever a line pops back into my mind. ""All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people."

I'll stop here.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:01 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:28 pm
The Shop Around The Corner (1940) Lubitsch is great. I should watch more Lubitsch.
Have you seen To Be or Not to Be? I highly recommend it if you haven't already done so. It's one of my favorites.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:55 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Have you seen To Be or Not to Be? I highly recommend it if you haven't already done so. It's one of my favorites.
I have and it is one of my favorites too. I love how it is so light and fluffy without ever failing to acknowledge to horribleness of the real-life situation. It is making fun of nazis without sugarcoating them. It's satire at its finest.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:28 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:28 pm
I'm just gonna rattle of some stuff I recently saw.

The Last Boy Scout (1991) This is probably my favorite Shane Black-written movie, though, considering how the production of this film went, he himself wouldn't like to hear that.

I really did like The Last Boy Scout a lot but I think I like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a little more.

The Shop Around The Corner (1940) Lubitsch is great. I should watch more Lubitsch.

Really enjoy this movie and now I watch it every December and recommend it to anyone who will listen.

My Man Godfrey (1936) I'm just in love with this movie. Watched it last night and I'm still giggling whenever a line pops back into my mind. ""All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people."

Really enjoyable movie and I really just can't get enough of William Powell.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:35 am

Carole Lombard gives an excellent performance as well. I rewatched the movie last night after only having watched it the day before and it is an instant favorite.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:00 pm

Day of the Outlaw (1959, André De Toth)

Image
"Watch what happens to the women… watch the west explode!"
Man, the western-in-a-snow-landscape genre always has a bleak streak to it, it seems.

This kind of undersnowed western (pun intended) stars Robert Ryan (known for the Western Grand Cru: The Wild Bunch) as Blaise Starett, a coarse cattleman who operates in a small, remote town somewhere in Wyoming. He has a partner named Dan (Nehemiah Persoff) who is getting jaded with Starett's rough ways, but stays with him because they've been through a lot together, or so is hinted at in the opening. Starett has developed a feud with local farmer Hal Crane (Alan Marshall) over some barbed wire and is prepared to kill him for this rather insignificant quarrel. It quickly becomes clear this is not the actual reason he wants Crane out of the way, he has entertained an affair with Crane's wife Helen (Tina Louise) over the past few months and she isn't ready to leave her husband for him.

Just when things are about to come to a boil, a brand-new bombshell in the form of Jack Bruhn (Burl Ives) and his men enter the picture. They are thieves, on the run of the cavalerie after robbing a bank. Bruhn is wounded and he and his band of thugs are looking for a hideout so he can recover and then leave through the mountains again. To do so they keep the entire town hostage. Bruhn's posse is eager to go on a bender and have its way with the town's women, but their leader won't let them. He is a former cavalry officer, has some sense of honour left, and he has given the town his word they won't harass the inhabitants, and he needs his men sober in case of emergancy. His entourage reluctantly agrees, because they fear their leader. Ives, channeling a bit of an eighties' Jack Nicholson vibe here, has indeed quite a powerful presence, with his eyes always spurred wide open, never blinking, giving the impression that he is aware of every move that is made in this town.

But just when the town members are starting to feel safe, the doctor tells them Bruhn's gun wound is fatal, he probably won't survive the next day. It is certain that, once their captain is out of the way, nothing will stop this men from burying this town. Their intentions are undeniable, they look at the local women like a dog looks at food waiting on the kitchen counter, ready to get himself a piece of it. Which shows you immediately the movie's biggest problem: the way it portrays the women as mere possible victims that are only there to higher the stakes and to give the men something to fight for. It's even in the fucking tagline.

The movie has a brutal, nasty feeling to it, without ever really showing us anything. The promise of violence is more than enough to keep the tension up. Every move the lead characters make could have the same impact as lighting a match next to a gas pump. Not even the children are safe. Gene (David Nelson) the youngest member of the posse, seems to be the only one with some morals left, but even he isn't able to keep the men under control.

A fist fight halfway through the movie (the only real piece of action you're going to get out of this movie) between Starett and some the thugs reminded me of another Robert Ryan movie, The Set-Up, and while the action here isn't nearly as riveting as in Robert Wise famous b-picture, Ryan is about a decade older in this, and every punch seems to carry even more weight than the last one. He has this tired, worn-out look of someone who carries the weight of the entire world on his back, or at least thinks he does. When he falls down you're not entirely sure he is going to stand up again, not something you would easily worry about with your regular western protagonist. After the fight, beaten and broken down, he looks in the mirror and decides he doesn't like what he sees, realizing this is his last chance to do something right for a change. A moment that could easily be considered corny, but Ryan can convey self-loathing like no other actor from the Classical Hollywood era.

Director De Toth and screenwriter Lee Wells eventually opt for a more existential approach to the ending (the snow is there for a reason, guys), offering our "hero" a chance to redeem himself, a way to distinct himself from these brutes. He isn't a good man, there is only bad and worse in this world. But perhaps he can find a way to look in the mirror again without wanting to smash it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:04 am

Went to a screening of Laurel and Hardy's Babes in Toyland (1934) yesterday and I couldn't understand why it was playing in the smallest room (only 28 seats) of the theater. "I mean, surely that one will lure in quite the crowd!" I thought.

Only about 10 people showed up.

Which is sad, because I also saw stuff by Chaplin, Keaton and the Marx brothers there and the audience was always a delight, making the experience even more enjoyable by loud laughter and just general enthusiasm.
The movie itself, my first introduction to Laurel and Hardy's work, besides several short films my father showed me when I was a li'l kid, was quite enjoyable, the duo's comedy routine was really funny and made me laugh out loud several times, but those moment were thinly layered*, only taking up about half of a 70 minute movie, if even. It was almost like Laurel and Hard were shoehorned into some kinda lame Wizard of Oz rip-off (before you talk to me about that movie only coming out about 5 years later, of course the original books were already massively popular and there is at least one silent version I know of prior). The other half of the story was a partly cute fairy-tale romp, containing several rather restrained musical sequences like early talkies often had that I mostly can't stand, but at least there were also some anthropomorphic characters, played by actors in big suits, who, while meant as 'adorable', would scare the shit out of any 5 year old. There were also some Morlock-esque creatures at the end of the movie that were delightfully disturbing. And the main villain has some meme-worthy potential.

In the end, I thought the movie itself was mostly okay (3 or 3,5/5) but I'm really excited now to watch some more Laurel and Hardy movies where they're more prominently featured, now knowing that they're particular brand of comedy works for me. Still hoped I'd liked this one a little bit more than I eventually did.

*Recently I was also rather similarly surprised by how little of Nick & Norah you actually get in the first Thin Man. Like the studio didn't really understand that they had gold in their hands with those two, giving way too much screen time too far less interesting characters and storylines.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:49 am

wasn't there a scene in The Thin Man where some guy points a gun at William Powell and he's like, "what's on your mind?" I wonder what would happen if I tried that line in real life.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:40 am

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:49 am
wasn't there a scene in The Thin Man where some guy points a gun at William Powell and he's like, "what's on your mind?" I wonder what would happen if I tried that line in real life.
Why don't you try it? ;)
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:48 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:04 am
Went to a screening of Laurel and Hardy's Babes in Toyland (1934) yesterday and I couldn't understand why it was playing in the smallest room (only 28 seats) of the theater. "I mean, surely that one will lure in quite the crowd!" I thought.

Only about 10 people showed up.

Which is sad, because I also saw stuff by Chaplin, Keaton and the Marx brothers there and the audience was always a delight, making the experience even more enjoyable by loud laughter and just general enthusiasm.
The movie itself, my first introduction to Laurel and Hardy's work, besides several short films my father showed me when I was a li'l kid, was quite enjoyable, the duo's comedy routine was really funny and made me laugh out loud several times, but those moment were thinly layered*, only taking up about half of a 70 minute movie, if even. It was almost like Laurel and Hard were shoehorned into some kinda lame Wizard of Oz rip-off (before you talk to me about that movie only coming out about 5 years later, of course the original books were already massively popular and there is at least one silent version I know of prior). The other half of the story was a partly cute fairy-tale romp, containing several rather restrained musical sequences like early talkies often had that I mostly can't stand, but at least there were also some anthropomorphic characters, played by actors in big suits, who, while meant as 'adorable', would scare the shit out of any 5 year old. There were also some Morlock-esque creatures at the end of the movie that were delightfully disturbing. And the main villain has some meme-worthy potential.

In the end, I thought the movie itself was mostly okay (3 or 3,5/5) but I'm really excited now to watch some more Laurel and Hardy movies where they're more prominently featured, now knowing that they're particular brand of comedy works for me. Still hoped I'd liked this one a little bit more than I eventually did.

*Recently I was also rather similarly surprised by how little of Nick & Norah you actually get in the first Thin Man. Like the studio didn't really understand that they had gold in their hands with those two, giving way too much screen time too far less interesting characters and storylines.
As a lifelong L&H fan I only got around to seeing this last year, so you're correct that this isn't exactly a "Laurel & Hardy" film. My review was pretty much the same as yours. A mostly-charming lower-budget Oz film featuring a nightmare-inducing Cat-person. :)

Always makes me happy to see a new L&H fan so I hope you decide to check out some more stuff. County Hospital, Our Wife, and Them Thar Hills are three favorites of mine, but there's plenty more out there.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:54 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:40 am
Why don't you try it? ;)
because I fear for my life
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:36 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:54 pm
because I fear for my life
Well, that's as good a reason as any.
Also, I hope you realize I was just joking and not wishing actual harm upon you. We don't know each other in person but I quite like you, and appreciate that you're always trying to make this forum a pleasant environment for everyone.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:37 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:48 pm
As a lifelong L&H fan I only got around to seeing this last year, so you're correct that this isn't exactly a "Laurel & Hardy" film. My review was pretty much the same as yours. A mostly-charming lower-budget Oz film featuring a nightmare-inducing Cat-person. :)

Always makes me happy to see a new L&H fan so I hope you decide to check out some more stuff. County Hospital, Our Wife, and Them Thar Hills are three favorites of mine, but there's plenty more out there.
Oh, I definitely will. Their movies seem like a lot of fun.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:32 pm

Remember when I talked a while ago about going to a festival? Well, I'm currently a few days into said festival, and even though I'm running a bit behind, I'd like to share some quick write-ups of what I saw there.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:35 pm

First movie was a good one.

So Long, My Son tells the story of several people who experience long-lasting damage because of China’s decade-long one-child-policy, but mostly focuses on the couple Yaojun Liu (Jingchun Wang) and Liyun Wang (Mei Yong), who lost their only son in a drowning accident. It shatters their life, and every personal relationship they have. Director Xiaoshuai Wang tells this story in a non-linear structure, throwing us from one emotional state into another, spread over several decades. Yet he doesn’t rely too much on big, Oscar-stealing emotional outburst, it’s what is left unspoken that lingers on, like all of this is too painful to dwell over. Especially Jingchun Wang conveys this notion of repressed sorrow perfectly, in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite performances of the year. But everyone in this gives a very natural and empathy-generating performance, selling the somewhat contrived plot development that occasionally occur. That the story is presented in such a restrained, neutral style, makes it able to hold back some of its more blatantly melodramatic tendencies.

Sadly enough the movie suffers from the Return of the King-syndrome: it just keeps on ending. It tries too hard to wrap everything up rather neatly, it kind of lessens the powerful impact of everything that came before. Its nearly desperate attempt to add some closure for these characters almost rings false.

Still, a great start of the festival.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:33 am

Second movie of the festival

Yves (2019

Or Male Fantasy – The Movie

Ok, that is a very redundant way of expressing myself, and a certain approach I often find annoying when other writers do it, but it is undeniable that this movie is exactly that, or at least for 85% of its runtime. We follow Jerem, a slacker in the truest sense of the word, only interested in sex, food, sleeping, rapping and masturbating. There is even an entire rap song in the opening that says so (I do appreciate this slight comeback of a theme song in comedies, I consider it to be a nice eccentricity in movies like this) Jerem lives at his dead grandmother’s place until he finishes his new album, and signs up to test out a new refrigerator called Yves by the company Digital Cool (they’re like the Google of household appliances), just so he gets free groceries. Yves is not just a regular fridge, he talks and he plans Jerem’s entire day out, guiding him through everything. Like a personal secretary with an electricity cable. The process is closely followed by project manager So, a mysterious but ultimately shallow woman called So (whose shallowness oddly makes her even more mysterious once the movie’s progresses). Jerem quickly develops a crush on her, and with the help of Yves, he gets both her and the rap career he always wanted. It also makes him an even bigger prick than he already was.

My experience of watching this was kind of an uncertain one, I never honestly enjoyed myself (a crime when you’re watching a comedy) but at the same time I never found it to be dull, I was even captivated by it. It’s quite the curiosity. I always have a minimum amount of respect for any movie that dares to go there, if you know what I mean, and I got to hand it to director Benoit Forgeard, this movie definitely does. But for all the interesting ideas this movie has, there is also a handful of bad, one-note jokes to go with it. It is almost like a version of Black Mirror that doesn’t take itself seriously, which is actually a nice change of pace of what that show regularly does. It is just not nearly as good as a movie with such a bizarre climax should be (which I’m of course not going to spoil, it is the primary reason to see the film). But I’m definitely not disappointed to have spent two hours of my life on this, I consider this one of the most beneficial aspects of going the festival. Taking a chance on movies you usually wouldn’t go out and see on your own, and you may not always enjoy those, but at least you gave it a fair shot.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:34 pm

What/where is the festival?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:00 pm

It's the Brussels International Film Festival. Sounds very prestige, but it really isn't. I don't think any screening I attended had a full house. I hope they'll keep doing this though. Brussels is only 20 minutes away from me, so very convenient.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:00 pm

I did see Abel Ferrara though.
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