A noob's journey through cinema

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Oxnard Montalvo
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:39 pm

Slentert wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:36 pm
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.
:up: no prob

also I'm hoping Ferrara is still doing that movie with Nicolas Cage. Indiewire says the movie is in production but nothing about The Cage.
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Slentert
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:35 pm

Shooting the Mafia (2019)

An Irish documentary about veteran, Italian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, who began a lifelong battle against the mafia that poisoned and corrupted her home country, all illustrated by her own photographs and clips of old Italian movies. Or so it starts out, later it develops more into a depiction of the mafia warfare unfolding in front of her lens, and the nostalgia-inducing movie clips are replaced with more impersonal news reels.

Shooting the Mafia was interesting but also a bit slight. Maybe 90 minutes wasn’t enough for such a vast subject matter, spanning several decades. Letizia Battaglia is a fascinating woman, and seeing her photographs projected on a giant screen is the highlight of this documentary, but when we leave her story and her very personal account of the historical events, the entire thing gets too formal, only scratching the surface of what happened. Concentrates too much on the bigger picture, while Letizia's story felt so intimate, giving us a sense of what it was actually like living in that country at that exact moment. Therefore, the movie loses its entire sense of personality and becomes something that would play on Discovery Channel on two in the afternoon. We end up with more admiration for the interviewee rather than gaining actual insight.
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Slentert
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:54 pm

Sorry for not really keeping this thread updated. I have a hard time writing about several titles I saw at the festival since my feelings about most of them seem to be pretty neutral. Not bad, not good, just right in the middle. Therefore I shall not review every movie individually, as I originally planted, but I will instead highlight certain films that I do find the words for.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:46 pm

Zombi Child (2019)



Several critics compared Zombi Child to I Walked with a Zombie, a horror classic from 1943 produced by the legendary Val Lewton. That is one of my favorite movies of all time, so understandably, such a comparison got my hopes really high. But in reality, the only thing they have in common is that they’re both old-fashioned, pre-Romero zombie stories, rooted in race, voodoo and colonialism.

The movie opens in Haiti, 1962, where a man, considered dead at the time but we later learned he was still alive, is buried, but eventually brought back to the living world, only to work as a slave on the sugarcane fields. 55 years in later, a young woman from Haitian descent named Mélissa (Wislanda Louimat) joins the prestigious Légion d’Honneur boarding school in France. She quickly befriends a couple of young rich girls, who have their own literary sorority club, which is just an excuse to sneak out of their dorms and secretly drink liquor by candlelight. Her gateway into this clique is Fanny (Louis Labeque), who is completely transfixed by a brief romance she had last summer, like only a teenager with little experience in that department can. When Mélissa slowly starts opening up about her family’s history, Fanny’s dream world gets shattered and leaves her disillusioned, while the movie occasionally cuts back to enslaved ‘zombi’, whose fate is intertwined with that of our main protagonists, in a way that will come to no surprise of anyone who has seen more than 5 movies in their life.

The main attraction of this movie is that it’s the new offspring by notorious French director Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama, Saint Laurent), though I have not seen any of his prior work. He vaguely wrestles with concepts like class and race in this movie, in ways that feel almost uninspired, like in a rather flagrant moment for example, somewhere in the opening 20 minutes, where an unassuming teacher explains the entire theme of the movie during his lecture. The political implications here only seem to exist in the abstract. Sometimes the movie feels very much like a middle-aged man’s impersonation of what he thinks teenage girls nowadays are like (like one of them giving an entire presentation about Rihanna for their English class) but that is not to say those are completely unbelievable. Like whenever one of the teenagers is alone or has to wait for more than a second, they immediately pick up their phone, which I as a teenager myself can confirm is incredibly accurate. There is a restlessness with this current generation that is slowly taking over people in their thirties and forties as well, where everything has to go quicker, more efficient and as painless as possible. At one point, when talking about how zombies used to be far slower in movies, a character proclaims “Everything is faster nowadays, zombies too”.

But this casual attempt at humor, a brief glimpse of levity, gives the movie a sense of personality that it is often lacking. Zombi Child is a slow, very restrained film, which is mostly focused on character moments, while at the same time keeping the viewer at a distance. These last few years we’ve had several arthouse pictures, mostly coming out of the department of world cinema, that casually flirted with the horror genre (like Personal Shopper or Raw, both 2016 movies that I loved by the way) but never actually became one of them. Zombi Child seems to take the same route as those movies, safely dipping its toe into the water, until in the finale, it abruptly decides to properly dive in... and then just end all of a sudden, like there is a reel or two missing.
Bonello’s latest might not be a particularly great movies, nor one that should be allowed to be mentioned along a legit classic like I Walked With a Zombie, but it definitely left me thinking, and gave me material to write about.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:23 pm

I saw some groovy movies on the big screen the last few days. Some quick write-ups:

Footlight Parade (1933) Feels more like a screwball comedy rather than a musical for most of its running time, but than it goes all out in the finale. I've heard so many people talk about that swimming pool number before but nothing could prepare me for watching the actual thing. Has to be seen to be believed. It's almost a shame that you still have another musical sequence after that. I mean, don't get me wrong, it is great to see James Cagney take the stage, but it can't beat that master sequence that came prior. This was my first James Cagney movie and you totally understand why this man was such a huge star. Such a powerful presence, for such a rather short guy.
You know you've got a great musical if people are humming the songs when they leave the theater.

After Hours (1985) A rewatch, but the first time on the big screen. Such a sad, hilarious, electric rollercoaster of a movie. Starring Griffin Dunne as the Nice Guy™, who leaves his natural habit and tries to hook up with a girl in Soho, but once things become weirder and weirder, his good manners quickly go out of the window. One of the best "bad night" movies ever made.
You can clearly see how the entire cast and crew got so jacked up while filming it, the energy almost jumps out of the screen.

Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973) A fantastic symphony consisting out of great scenes, one after the other. At the start, you think this will be a movie about the sympathetic, free spirited Billy The Kid (Kris Kristofferson) getting unfairly murdered by the "sell-out", Pat Garrett (James Coburn), but it quickly becomes clear neither these guys are worthy of our sympathy. Where most westerns feature some kind of "code of honor", here people just get shot in the back like it is no big deal. Garrett and The Kid might not want to kill each other, but they sure don't have a problem with letting everyone around them die because of their stubbornness.

Prime Cut (1972) It has some good scenes, but it is also kind of a dissapointment, like a lot of it felt clunky and not really thought through. Which is sad, because I really was prepared to love this. Could make for an interesting remake, but than again, are there really any movie stars out there who could compete with Lee Marvin? Michael Shannon perhaps, but that's a big maybe.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:08 am

Slentert wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:23 pm


After Hours (1985) A rewatch, but the first time on the big screen. Such a sad, hilarious, electric rollercoaster of a movie. Starring Griffin Dunne as the Nice Guy™, who leaves his natural habit and tries to hook up with a girl in Soho, but once things become weirder and weirder, his good manners quickly go out of the window. One of the best "bad night" movies ever made.
You can clearly see how the entire cast and crew got so jacked up while filming it, the energy almost jumps out of the screen.
I love this movie, it is actually my favorite Scorsese, but also just one of my favorite movies.
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Slentert
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:39 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:08 am
I love this movie, it is actually my favorite Scorsese, but also just one of my favorite movies.
It is probably my second favorite Scorsese, after Taxi Driver. It is so fucking good.
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