A noob's journey through cinema

Discuss anything you want.
Post Reply
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:55 pm

Inherent Vice (2014)

Everything about Inherent Vice indicates that it should be my favorite movie of all time. An L.A. stoner noir, in the great tradition of movies like The Long Goodbye and The Big Lebowski, helmed by one of my favorite directors, featuring multiple stellar performances, not only the regularly praised ones like Phoenix' and Brolin's, but I really dig what someone like Martin Short is doing here as well. It's a goofy, melancholic, slightly pretentious summer breeze of a movie with subtle spikes of paranoia shattered throughout. It's basically tailor made to appeal to all my personal interests, so why do I find the entire thing to be rather fatuous and bloated, even when there is so much to admire/like about it?

The feeling I'm left with once the credits start to roll is the same feeling you get after having overindulged in a heavy, overpacked all-you-can-eat-buffet. Sure, every individual dish might've tasted fine on its own, but if you're being honest with yourself, you already lost all your sense of flavor after you went for that second round of french fries. And now that the whole endeavor is over, all you want to do is take a long and healthy nap.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:28 pm

Monos (2019, Alejandro Landes)

I saw this movie last Thursday and, because of circumstances we're all familiar with, it will most likely be the last movie I'll see in a theater for the next month or so. I really liked it, but something irked me the wrong way about it, so it took me a while before I could write something down.

As a purely sensory experience, I think this movie is quite amazing, frankly. But, for a war movie, it's oddly depoliticized to the extent that it becomes almost fetishized. The filmmaker seems mostly interested in the decorative elements of war while forgetting the human aspects of it (unlike a quite similar movie like Beau Travail, which is always deeply rooted in the humanity of it all, no matter how expressive the filmmaking might be). There is nothing inherently wrong with preferring style above other things but it's a better fit when you're making something like let's say Drive instead of a movie about child soldiers. Again, I really liked it, but something about it feels off.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:22 am

The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)

Rewatch. One of the most striking things about this classical noir (one of my favorites) is it's narrative structure. Kubrick namely chose to depict the day of the heist by telling the stories of each of the gang members separately. Piece by piece, they're all indispensable cogs of one well functioning, yet fragile machine which could fall apart by even the smallest disturbance.

The heist itself maintains to be exciting, even after sixty years, and the dialogue is still as sharp as a razor. Some people might experience the ending to be a little bit disappointing (Kubrick had to take the Hayes Code into account) yet I like the idea of all these men getting so caught up in their hunger for money that everything just becomes meaningless in the end.
User avatar
BL Sometimes
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:32 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by BL Sometimes » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:41 am

Slentert wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:22 am
One of the most striking things about this classical noir (one of my favorites) is it's narrative structure. Kubrick namely chose to depict the day of the heist by telling the stories of each of the gang members separately. Piece by piece, they're all indispensable cogs of one well functioning, yet fragile machine which could fall apart by even the smallest disturbance.
Which makes this particularly rewarding as a rewatch alongside Jackie Brown.
User avatar
Evil
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:24 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Evil » Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:30 am

The voice over is pretty old time funny though, you have to admit.
User avatar
Thief
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:20 pm
Location: Puerto Rico
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:45 pm

I find the narration a bit awkward, but I still like the film a lot. My main gripe with the film is that Kubrick chooses a distant, plot-driven approach which doesn't allow for a lot of emotional connection with the characters which, in turn, leaves the ending feeling a bit cold. Still, I love how tight and slick everything else is.
--- UNDER CONSTRUCTION ---
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:20 pm

Evil wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 2:30 am
The voice over is pretty old time funny though, you have to admit.
While I enjoy a good voice-over more than most filmgoers, I have to admit the one in The Killing doesn't really work. It's too flat, It lacks any sense of flavor or personality, where, let's say, the one in Double Indemnity is oozing with those. But I love the movie so much, I'm willing to overlook it. If I think about it, most of my favorite movies have one or two flaws that, for me at least, get lost in the grand scheme of things.
User avatar
Popcorn Reviews
Posts: 2759
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:22 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:36 pm

Yeah, I also overlook the narration in that film. It's sometimes awful at times (At exactly 3:45 on that Saturday afternoon in the last week of September...), but since I love everything else, I'm okay with overlooking it.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:01 pm

I'm just gonna rattle off some titles.

Wuthering Heights (1939) Really captures how loving someone can sometimes be the most painful thing in the world.

The Gentlemen (2019) You can clearly see how everyone involved with this had so much, which almost makes up for the fact that it has a tendency to be quit lazy at times.

Little Women (2019) Rewatch. Perhaps not the best movie of the past year, but definitely the one that has brought me the most joy.

Dark Waters (2019) There is a certain rage bleeding through all of this that feels genuine and not performative like with most Oscar bait movies. Extremely well-made and acted, but just a tad too "standard" to really hit a home-run.

Branded To Kill (1967) Rewatch. I would be lying if I said I didn't find the experience a little bit disorienting, but it's also an immensely creative piece of work. You're constantly on the edge of your seat, not because it's so tense, but because it's so unpredictable.

Hot Fuzz (2007) Such a tightly written comedy. Every punchline simultaneously serves as a set-up for another joke. For that, it should be praised just as much as the screenplay of Back To The Future.

Miami Blues (1990) Really loved this one. Alec Baldwin is such a loose cannon in this that you can never be certain which direction he and the movie will take. There is a manic joy to be taken out of all this chaos, I was laughing throughout the entire thing, yet there is also a sadder undercurrent to this that grounds this movie frankly, even elevates it.

The Housemaid (1960) I was kinda into what this South-Korean stab at the film noir genre is doing, but damn, that ending really ruined the entire thing for me.

Game Night (2018) Rewatch. I'm happy everyone else in this cast is so inspired in this to make up for the fact that Jason Bateman is basically sleepwalking through most of it. Otherwise, I think this only becomes better upon a second viewing.

The Invisible Man (2020) With the current A24-ication of horror going on (which I'm not totally against) it's nice to see a critically lauded horror movie that is just a good, old-fashioned, effective thrill ride. I really admire Leigh Whannell's craftmanship in both this and Upgrade and the way he handles CGI in his films is just so smart. He isn't eager to impress his audience with what we can nowadays create with a computer (something the concept of an invisible man otherwise rather invites) but he uses it sparsely, never overdoes it, only relies on it when it matters. Again, really effective.

Swallow (2019) Saw this on the same day as The Invisible Man and the two of them make for a great double bill. Not that Swallow is nearly as suspenseful, you could barely even call it a horror movie (I wouldn't) But it makes up for it with real emotional resonance. I loved the ending.

Spenser Confidential (2020) Boring. They always try to turn Mark Whalberg into this loveable rogue who talks back and takes no shit, but every time he just ends up coming across like a total jerk.

Oldboy (2003) Rewatch. Its giddy pop nihilism always somewhat turns me off, but it's so stylish and gnarly I still end up having a good time.

Style Wars (1983) An amazing film and an equally important document of an era and a subculture. It's both awe-inspiring and unbelievably depressing, especially to see how severely the people in power go out of their way to squander every last bit of creativity and hope out of those youths.

Notorious (1946) There is so much to love about this movie. It works perfectly as an entertain piece of suspense thriller, but its exploration of the dark corners of romance and passion elevates it to all-time classic status.

Breathless (1960) Playful, amusing yet slightly annoying, I didn't love Godard's debut feature but I definitely admired and even appreciated what he was going for.

Pierrot Le Fou (1965) This is more my speed. Gorgeous, expressive and articulate, it's a movie with a lot on its mind that is also breathtaking.

Man Bites Dog (1992) Rewatch. The Office meets Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. One of those incredibly dark comedies that make you feel guilty for enjoying it so much.

Last Life in the Universe (2003) Both incredibly sad and quite delightful. A movie about depression that could function as a warm blanket. Very dreamlike, but not in the usual nightmare or fever sense.

Free Fire (2016) Rewatch. Basically, it's an action movie where the action is the worst part of it. But the cast seems to be having a blast, and the banter between them is quite amusing, you can't help but be entertained by it, to a certain extent at least.

Stagecoach (1939) Such a fun movie. I love how you basically have an entire class system into on carriage. Thomas Mitchell in this is one of the all-time great cinematic drunks.
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:54 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 1:01 pm

Miami Blues (1990) Really loved this one. Alec Baldwin is such a loose cannon in this that you can never be certain which direction he and the movie will take. There is a manic joy to be taken out of all this chaos, I was laughing throughout the entire thing, yet there is also a sadder undercurrent to this that grounds this movie frankly, even elevates it.
I have not seen this since its theatrical release but your description of it is exactly how I remember it.
User avatar
Thief
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:20 pm
Location: Puerto Rico
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:12 pm

I haven't seen most of those, but I agree with your takes on the few I have seen...

Notorious is slick and fun. It could probably sneak in my Hitchcock Top 5, depending on the day.

Hot Fuzz reminds me of The Big Lebowski in that I had fun with it, but didn't think much else of it beyond that, only to have it pop in my head often afterwards. I've seen it once or twice after the first time and I love it more.

Free Fire was indeed a mess, but a fun mess.

I've also seen Oldboy and Stagecoach.
--- UNDER CONSTRUCTION ---
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:44 pm

Martin (1977)

This is one of the movies George A. Romero (the A stands for Awesome) made in the 1970s in between his two most legendary zombie pictures (Night and Dawn of the Dead). It's an extremely low-budget affair, so it's rather rough around the edges, but simultaneously it's a thousand times bolder and more fascinating than most studio pictures will ever be.

The movie is a complete deconstruction of the vampire mythos, wherein a socially disturbed teenager named Martin (duh) is seen by his family members as Nosferatu himself. So now begs the question: is Martin truly a vampire, or merely an ordinary, pathetic serial killer (and a bad one at that)? You can look at it as the more fucked up, exploitation alternative to something like The Graduate, even though I personally think it shows more resemblance with Deep End, another 1970s cult film about a sexually frustrated young man who deals with his lusts in a way that is everything but healthy...
User avatar
Takoma1
Posts: 3876
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:51 pm

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:21 pm

Slentert wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:44 pm
Martin (1977)

This is one of the movies George A. Romero (the A stands for Awesome) made in the 1970s in between his two most legendary zombie pictures (Night and Dawn of the Dead). It's an extremely low-budget affair, so it's rather rough around the edges, but simultaneously it's a thousand times bolder and more fascinating than most studio pictures will ever be.

The movie is a complete deconstruction of the vampire mythos, wherein a socially disturbed teenager named Martin (duh) is seen by his family members as Nosferatu himself. So now begs the question: is Martin truly a vampire, or merely an ordinary, pathetic serial killer (and a bad one at that)? You can look at it as the more fucked up, exploitation alternative to something like The Graduate, even though I personally think it shows more resemblance with Deep End, another 1970s cult film about a sexually frustrated young man who deals with his lusts in a way that is everything but healthy...
It is my favorite movie. Not favorite horror movie, just favorite movie.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:23 pm

The Wind Rises (2013)

This truly is one of the best movies of the past decade. Miyazaki finds poetry in a genre where you would the least expect it: the biopic. Most of its greatest scenes have no relevance to the central "plot" really and my favorite sequence in the entire movie in fact (the paper plane one) holds no dramatic stakes at all.
It's easy to see what attracted Miyazaki to this material, as an artist himself he would obviously relate to this story of a dreamer who is inherently restricted by compromise to actually be able to get his dreams off the grounds. Those compromises can be for commercial reasons, or for practical ones (the technology to sustain what our lead character is already imagining is often not invented yet) but the most interesting one, which brings us to the most controversial aspect of the movie, is a moral compromise.

Jiro is such a fascinating, ambiguous protagonist because he has the ethics (and naivety) of a boy scout. He wants to do good, he sees suffering all around him and obviously understands it's tragic and even wants to help, but he is completely blind to the political structure behind that suffering and his own place in all of that. Which isn't the first time that kind of character is used in fiction, but what makes The Wind Rises stand out is how unapologetic it is about it. Jiro never experiences an epiphany of any kind during the movie that suddenly makes him take a stand or anything, his morals are a lot more muddier. He clearly disapproves of the war that is going on (and so does Miyazaki, see the constantly returning phrase "Japan will blow up") yet his dream is to make these beautiful airplanes which will undoubtedly be weaponized and used to further the destruction and suffering he obviously laments, and sadly the more successful he is at finalizing his passion project the more effective it will be as machines of war. And the way he deals with this moral dilemma is by simply ignoring it. Seemingly he believes that all the horror he indirectly helped to create was worth it for him to achieve his dreams, and Miyazaki seems to think so too, but it's hard to tell because Miyazaki's beliefs are never as black or white as would be convenient. In the final scene of the movie, where Jiro finally accomplishes what he always wanted, and his childhood hero/imaginary friend praises his creation, Jiro undercuts him with the sad yet detached line "Not a single plane returned".
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:47 am

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Features some excellent performances, but perhaps a bit too histrionic for my taste? I prefer the slightly subtler The Lost Weekend which came out 17 years prior. But then again, this has the more apropriately devastating ending.

Silverado (1985)
Has a bit too much plot to not feel overstuffed, but it's such a fun movie overall that it doesn't really matter. You have to admire Kasdan for attempting to cram every single western trope in existince into one movie. You can clearly imagine him thinking "The studios will probably only let me make this one western, so I'm gonna make the most western-like western ever made!".
That cast is awesome btw.

Rififi (1955)

I'm not sure if this is THE best heist movie all time, but I believe you could certainly make a case for it being the best heist IN a movie.

The Cook, the Thief His Wife and Her Lover (1989)
A reminder that I should watch more Greenaway films. Disturbing, hilarious, provocative, basically everything you want out of a movie that opens with a guy getting covered in shit. Helen Mirren and Alan Howard bring a sense of empathy to this movie that you wouldn't initially expect, while Michael Gambon steals the show with his admittedly one-note performance. But what a glorious note that is!

Straw Dogs (1971)
A movie about toxic masculinity and misogyny that is simultaneously toxic and misogynistic. And I say that with a sense of admiration. It contradicts itself so many times, it would be impossible to have just one clear read on it that would cover it all.

Le Samourai (1967)

This just oozes with cool. For a movie that is so well-known for its economical and precise visual storytelling, it must be said that even the very few dialogue it contains is pretty much perfect.

"Nothing to say?"
"Not with a gun on me."
"Is that a principle?"
"It's a habit."


Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Quite a lot of classic musicals are about a small town girl trying to make it in the big city. Meet Me In St. Louis on the other hand is about a small town girl who doesn't want to leave the small town by any means. Not to say that it's a subversive movie by any means, but it does contains some nice, little subversions along the way, with its musical numbers that are mostly staged indoors, and its abundance of sparky female characters while all the men in this are nothing more than well-meaning doofusses. Just an utter delight.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
This was my third time viewing. I never liked this movie to begin with , but seeing it now, after having read the book last year, I can honestly say it's just a bad movie altogether. It's a terrible adaptation, turning Capote's observational comedy into a half-cooked romance plot, but for a movie that pretends to be such a light-hearted romp, there is a lot of ugliness underneath it. It's just baffling how Mr. Yunioshi is barely even a character in the original novel, yet the movie manages to turn him into one of the most iconic examples of Hollywood's racism that ever existed. And there is a slightly toxic, possessive and condescending aspect to the romance as well, which again, was never in the fucking book to begin with and shows a clear lack of understanding of the original text.

Videodrome (1983)
I had already seen Videodrome one time prior, but this was basically like watching it for the first time again. For the most part, I only remembered a couple of specific images, but those images were engraved into my brain.

Very few movies have so many ideas as this one does. Wait, that's not entirely true, but let's just say very few movies are able to juggle this many ideas while still working so perfectly as a piece of pulp entertainment.

Gate of Flesh (1964)
Obviously, this is a movie that has a lot on its mind politically, but I was mostly viewing it through a lens of sexual repression. Back in 1964 this must've been quite salacious, but less so now if you just watched Videodrome the night before. It's only been growing in my mind ever since though.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

Just got myself the Arrow blu-ray box set containing almost all of the Price/Corman/Poe films and decided to watch them in chronological order, so naturally I started with this one. It's truly impressive how much atmosphere Corman was able to wring out of some cheap sets, a couple of cobwebs, a fog machine and of course a died blond Vincent Price. Price is excellent in this btw, bringing real pathos to this "villain" character of his. The last 20 minutes of this movie must've made a big impression on someone like Bava.

Duck Soup (1933)

This movie basically starts out as your regular political intrigue, until after a few minutes the Marx brothers march in and derail the entire thing. Throughout the film, the stock characters do their best to pick up the plot again, only to be completely thrown off again every time by everyone's favorite comedy group.

When people say that "old movies are slow" I recommend them to watch this movie. This is almost too fast-paced for me, it's impossible to keep up with all the jokes on display.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

A two and a half hour, black and white courtroom drama that mostly exists out of people talking, and it might just be one of the sharpest, most entertaining, riveting movies I've seen in quite a while. There is not a dull, lifeless or uncreative moment in it.
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm

Wow, you got some good ones there!

Cook/Thief/Wife/Lover is such a fucking good movie. So good.

I fucking love Silverado, so fun and yet not as silly as, say, Tombstone ends up being.

Meet Me In St. Louis, obviously, is a classic for a reason and you can really see how Garland was born to be a star.

Duck Soup is so good that I saw it in a theater at 17 years old and instantly fell in love with it, a 17 year-old in 1990 loving a weird old black and white movie.

Videodrome is simply one of my favorite movies Of All Time. I saw it way too young and it really shaped so much of my interest in film and keeping on the edge in the culture I consume.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:24 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
Wow, you got some good ones there!
Indeed! A lot of them were rewatches though. About half of them I figure.
Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
I fucking love Silverado, so fun and yet not as silly as, say, Tombstone ends up being.
That's a good point. It's a fun movie with a sense of humor but it never becomes silly. This is one of the rewatches and I'm sure I can wring a couple more viewings out of it without it becoming stale.
Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
Meet Me In St. Louis, obviously, is a classic for a reason and you can really see how Garland was born to be a star.
I've seen this movie like 3 times in the past year and a half or so and I love it more and more every time.
Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
Duck Soup is so good that I saw it in a theater at 17 years old and instantly fell in love with it, a 17 year-old in 1990 loving a weird old black and white movie.
I mean, when I saw it for the first time (also in a theater) was in 2019 and I was 18 years old so I understand where you're coming from. ;)
Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:16 pm
Videodrome is simply one of my favorite movies Of All Time. I saw it way too young and it really shaped so much of my interest in film and keeping on the edge in the culture I consume.
I just got the Arrow blu-ray of it and I'm glad to own it now. It's probably like top 5 horror movies for me.
User avatar
MrCarmady
Posts: 4973
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:29 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by MrCarmady » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:47 pm

Anatomy of a Murder is so fucking good. Duke Ellington's score is top 10 of all time for me. Have you seen Laura?
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:49 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:47 pm
Anatomy of a Murder is so fucking good. Duke Ellington's score is top 10 of all time for me. Have you seen Laura?
I have. I was actually thinking about rewatching that one tonight. I remember liking it quite a lot.
User avatar
Captain Terror
Posts: 2492
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:06 pm
Location: New Orleans, LA

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:47 am
Just got myself the Arrow blu-ray box set containing almost all of the Price/Corman/Poe films
This sentence almost gave me a heart attack but then I remembered you live in Europe. I REALLY need to get a region-free player.
User avatar
MrCarmady
Posts: 4973
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:29 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by MrCarmady » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:56 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:49 pm
I have. I was actually thinking about rewatching that one tonight. I remember liking it quite a lot.
Had the pleasure of re-watching it on the big screen recently, it holds up. Dana Andrews' smirk should be in the Louvre.
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:59 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:24 pm
I mean, when I saw it for the first time (also in a theater) was in 2019 and I was 18 years old so I understand where you're coming from. ;)

Ha! Fucker.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:10 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:52 pm
This sentence almost gave me a heart attack but then I remembered you live in Europe. I REALLY need to get a region-free player.
This is how I feel about a lot of Criterion/Scream Factory/Twilight Time titles.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:13 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:56 pm
Had the pleasure of re-watching it on the big screen recently, it holds up. Dana Andrews' smirk should be in the Louvre.
Damn, that must've been a fun movie to see with a crowd.
I used to not be a fan of Dana Andrews, thought he always was a bit too square for my taste, but he has grown on me over the years. I think it was The Ox-Bow Incident that made me see him in a different light.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:14 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:59 pm
Ha! Fucker.
:D
User avatar
Thief
Posts: 2640
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:20 pm
Location: Puerto Rico
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Mon Apr 13, 2020 6:19 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:56 pm
Had the pleasure of re-watching it on the big screen recently, it holds up. Dana Andrews' smirk should be in the Louvre.
I was commenting this to Slentert on Twitter, and the ambiguity of that film is what really makes it work for me. There is really no attempt to *solve* the case but rather to make you question how trustworthy is this system we put our lives on. I love it.
--- UNDER CONSTRUCTION ---
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:14 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:49 pm
I have. I was actually thinking about rewatching that one tonight. I remember liking it quite a lot.
So I did end up rewatching Laura last night and halfway through the movie I thought "Damn, I should have watched this movie past Sunday, it would've made for a perfect Easter film!".

I saw this movie one time before, a couple of years ago, but I forgot just how incredibly entertaining it is. It isn't a particularly deep or even moody example of the noir genre, some plot points are fairly ludicrous. But purely on a surface level, there is plenty to enjoy. The central mystery, no matter how absurd or clumsily handled, is still told in an engaging manner with each scene revealing a new piece of information that changes your view of the characters and the dynamics between them (in that way you could say it's actually perfectly handled). The script isn't just stacked with zingers, it has a specific rhythm that is simply intoxicating. There is an extravagant elegance to the entire thing that is impossible to deny. One of those movies that makes you blurt out "They don't make'em like they used to".
User avatar
MrCarmady
Posts: 4973
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:29 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by MrCarmady » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:40 pm

Great stuff, Laura feels very much to be in The Thin Man territory because it's a film that manages to almost entirely run on charm, with some danger thrown in the mix to keep things slightly spicier. That one scene, though, wish I could re-watch it and not remember that that's coming.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:42 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:40 pm
Great stuff, Laura feels very much to be in The Thin Man territory because it's a film that manages to almost entirely run on charm, with some danger thrown in the mix to keep things slightly spicier. That one scene, though, wish I could re-watch it and not remember that that's coming.
Ooh, that's a perfect comparison. And yeah, same.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 15, 2020 3:56 pm

Lemonade Joe (1964)

This Czechoslovakian experimental Western Musical Satire (yes, you've heard that right) is perhaps not always laugh-out-loud funny, but it is amusing and playful all the way through. It's so visually inventive that you wonder why its look hasn't been copied and reproduced countless times over the years. The way Lipský experiments with color tinting and editing in this makes the worn-out western genre feel so alien to a point that it almost becomes paradoxical.

One awkward moment is a brief (but still uncomfortably long) sequence where blackface occurs. At first I was like, this movie has been parodizing classic American movie imagery for the entire time, maybe this will serve some purpose. Turns out, it does not, it is just used in the same way blackface is always used, it's not satirizing anything. Somewhat of a disappointment.

Also, I'm pretty sure the Coen Brothers must've been inspired by this when making The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Not only the singing cowboy but especially the way this captures the movement in the bar brawls reminded me of the opening segment of that movie.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:56 pm

The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)

I was feeling rather sad and lonely today so I returned to this heartwarming movie about sad and lonely people. C.C. Baxter and Fran Kubelik are locked into repeating these same things that always end up hurting them every time again until they finally decide to break the cycle, and when they ultimately do so it is one of the most invigorating things I've ever seen in a movie.

Over my many viewings of this film, I have gained rather mixed feelings about Jack Lemmon's Charlie Brown-esque lead character, that is to say that he is instantly endearing and relatable but also full of self-pity and a bit of a dick. By this time, I felt more emotionally connected to Shirley Maclaine's tragic yet inspiring Fran, never allowing herself to become some kind of martyr, and I truly appreciated how a lot of this romantic comedy is about Baxter learning more about Fran besides just the image of her he has created in his head, and loving her all the more for it.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:38 pm

Santa Fe Trail (1940, Michael Curtiz)

Somehow this movie's politics are almost worse than if they were simply "maybe slavery wasn't so bad". What this posits instead is the more insidious "Who are we to say slavery is good or bad? Can anybody? Don't think for yourself, just do what you're told. If you want something to change, don't do anything about it, just wait for it to eventually happen".

And if people want to respond to this with that you have to ignore a movie's politics while watching it, I just have to say that it's very hard to do so when basically every other scene is build around shoving its hideous message in your face as hard as possible. Especially when the movie itself is serviceable at best. Don't get me wrong, it's not badly crafted, this is a Michael Curtiz movie after all, but everyone involved has done far better (okay, perhaps not Ronald Reagan).
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:45 am

Slentert wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:38 pm
Santa Fe Trail (1940, Michael Curtiz)

Somehow this movie's politics are almost worse than if they were simply "maybe slavery wasn't so bad". What this posits instead is the more insidious "Who are we to say slavery is good or bad? Can anybody? Don't think for yourself, just do what you're told. If you want something to change, don't do anything about it, just wait for it to eventually happen".

And if people want to respond to this with that you have to ignore a movie's politics while watching it, I just have to say that it's very hard to do so when basically every other scene is build around shoving its hideous message in your face as hard as possible. Especially when the movie itself is serviceable at best. Don't get me wrong, it's not badly crafted, this is a Michael Curtiz movie after all, but everyone involved has done far better (okay, perhaps not Ronald Reagan).
That sounds unpleasant. I think I'll pass.
User avatar
Rock
Posts: 2452
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:48 am
Location: From beyond the moon

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:50 am

Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:47 am
Gate of Flesh (1964)
Obviously, this is a movie that has a lot on its mind politically, but I was mostly viewing it through a lens of sexual repression. Back in 1964 this must've been quite salacious, but less so now if you just watched Videodrome the night before. It's only been growing in my mind ever since though.
Really enjoyed this one when I saw it last year. Suzuki's boisterous Technicolor visuals feel both subversive and empowering, in its handling of said salacious content but also in the theatricality it lends to the lives of some pretty marginal characters.
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
____
Blog!
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:18 pm

Viva Maria! (1965, Louis Malle)

A Zapata western starring Brigitta Bardot and Jeanne Moreau as two burlesque singers who become revolutionaries? Sign me up! The end result is quite silly yet delightful, with humor that often borders to slapstick. Sometimes a little bit too broad for my taste, but its comic strip approach to the western genre is a welcome change of pace after yesterday's all-around conservative Santa Fe Trail.

Viva Maria! reeks a bit too much of a white savior story for my 2020 sensibilities to fully embrace it, though the entire thing is too breezy and dippy to even pretend that it has anything serious to say about the political subjects at hand. And while in the 1960s there was an abundance of films that celebrated the toppling of oppressive regimes, many far more thoughtful in their respective commentary, very few of them provided this much goofy fun.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:36 am

Go Go Tales (2007, Abel Ferrara)

It took me a while to realize that this is, in fact, a comedy. I'm not talking about your typical Marx Brothers-esque laugh riot, but this is funny the same way Mean Streets is funny for a long time, only this one never becomes truly dark.

But while Go Go Tales maintains its rapid fire screwball-comedy pacing and musical-like liveliness throughout, there is a melancholic touch to the entire thing with strip club-owner Ray Ruby (played by the ever-dependable Willem Dafoe) yearning for simpler, scuzzier times, his real problems not being that he is a gambling addict and a terrible bussinessman to boot, but that he is a dreamer, an artist, an idealist.

No matter how dynamic and high-spirited this movie might be, there is a sense of (mostly self-inflicted) doom hanging over anything that happens, which Ferrara is able to milk both tension AND more comedy out of. Ultimately, in Go Go Tales, even a happy ending can't escape its inevitable, ironic punchline in the following sequence.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:50 pm

"You're not very nice. Just like me.
Why do we change, I wonder?
I was always so sweet...
Books don't even excite me like they used to."

"What if I look inside myself and don't find any gems?"

"I've got no idea at all. I just go from one day to the next."

Dammit, no one warned me Whisper of the Heart (1995) was going to be so relatable.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 04, 2020 4:52 pm

Le Silence de la Mer (1949, Jean-Pierre Melville)

In a small town in occupied France during the early years of WWII, a German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of an older man and his niece. Both of them are obliged to accept this decision, so the only form of rebellion that is left for them is to refuse to speak to this "intruder", hence the titular "silence". Von Ebrennac respects their choice to do so, even going as far as praising their sense of pride for their home country. Nearly every night though, he comes down to the living room to warm himself by the fire, while in the meantime giving his monologues about his life, his country, his music, his political beliefs... It is his way of relating to his hosts which occasionally can turn into a sort of self-loathing. The old man and his niece continue giving him the silent treatment, pretending he is not even there, however doing so becomes increasingly more difficult when the "enemy" becomes human and not merely a symbol.

Melville transgresses our usual notions of rebellion and respect in his debut feature, an adaptation of a 1942 novella that had become a rallying cry for the French Resistance (of which Melville had been an active member). It's a deceptively simple film, Melville is able to bring so many nuances to the table that reaches far beyond the limited scope of this tale. Most of it is so powerful, intense and evocative, that you're willing to forgive it its occasional moments of clunkiness, especially given the lack of professional experience Melville had as a director at this point in his career.
User avatar
Popcorn Reviews
Posts: 2759
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:22 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 04, 2020 4:58 pm

Have you seen Le Samourai? If not, I highly recommend it. It's one of my all-time favorites.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 04, 2020 5:04 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 4:58 pm
Have you seen Le Samourai? If not, I highly recommend it. It's one of my all-time favorites.
I did, last month.
Slentert wrote:
Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:47 am
Le Samourai (1967)
This just oozes with cool. For a movie that is so well-known for its economical and precise visual storytelling, it must be said that even the very few dialogue it contains is pretty much perfect.

"Nothing to say?"
"Not with a gun on me."
"Is that a principle?"
"It's a habit."
User avatar
Popcorn Reviews
Posts: 2759
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:22 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm

Must have missed your write-up of it, sorry.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 04, 2020 5:20 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Must have missed your write-up of it, sorry.
No need to apologize, I don't expect you to remember every single thing that gets posted on this site. God I knows I don't :P
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon May 04, 2020 5:31 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 4:58 pm
Have you seen Le Samourai? If not, I highly recommend it. It's one of my all-time favorites.
Mine too.
User avatar
Popcorn Reviews
Posts: 2759
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:22 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon May 04, 2020 6:49 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 5:20 pm
No need to apologize, I don't expect you to remember every single thing that gets posted on this site. God I knows I don't :P
Lol thanks.
Wooley wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 5:31 pm
Mine too.
:up:
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 05, 2020 9:07 am

When You Read This Letter (1953, Jean-Pierre Melville)

When both her parents die in a car accident, Thérèse Voise feels like she has no choice but to leave her convent and to refrain from her future life as a nun that she had planned out for herself to take care of the family store and her underage little sister Denise. There is a stark difference between the austere nunnery she came from and the sunny, louche Côte d’Azur where the rest of the movie takes place, with its sordid cabarets and doubious, lascivious figures like Max Trivet, who gets caught up in the affairs of the two sisters in a rather complex manner.

I always forget how much more darker and salacious French movies from the 1940s and 1950s were allowed to be compared to the American cinema of the time period. There is a carnal tension underlining everything here that makes the melodrama pop all the more.
When You Read This Letter is noticeable in Melville's career for being one of the few that mostly focuses on female characters and their emotions, yet the movie can hardly contain its interest in the seedy Max character, whose rather casual approach to violence is honestly shocking, especially when contrasted against Thérèse's flagellating selflessness.

The only thing that really holds this down for me from being a really great movie is its reliance on often times rather contrived plot points, with the ugly ironic ending probably being the worst offender. Still, I don't think this deserves to be as dismissed among Melville's filmography as it often is now.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 05, 2020 7:28 pm

Pretty Poison (1996, David Burton Morris)

Makes me appreciate the original film all the more when seeing how so much of the story's strength is still able to bleed through despite having a bland soap opera star with a bad haircut and a cute but rather amateurish sitcom actress as the leads instead of, well, Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Especially since Weld's former reputation as a child actor and Perkins pretty much playing another variation on his Norman Bates-character played a big part in why those original characters worked so well, and that's without even mentioning both their obvious talent.

To be honest, it's already a major achievement that this movie doesn't suck completely. When I first discovered its existence earlier today I was convinced it would be absolutely terrible, but compared to a lot of other made-for-TV thrillers, it's actually rather adequate. It's the kind of movie that, if I didn't already knew it was a remake of a genuine cult classic, I would say it could use one himself. The material is just that strong, even with a lackluster presentation and missing Perkins and Weld's "rapport".
User avatar
Wooley
Posts: 4219
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue May 05, 2020 10:11 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 7:28 pm
Pretty Poison (1996, David Burton Morris)

Makes me appreciate the original film all the more when seeing how so much of the story's strength is still able to bleed through despite having a bland soap opera star with a bad haircut and a cute but rather amateurish sitcom actress as the leads instead of, well, Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld. Especially since Weld's former reputation as a child actor and Perkins pretty much playing another variation on his Norman Bates-character played a big part in why those original characters worked so well, and that's without even mentioning both their obvious talent.

To be honest, it's already a major achievement that this movie doesn't suck completely. When I first discovered its existence earlier today I was convinced it would be absolutely terrible, but compared to a lot of other made-for-TV thrillers, it's actually rather adequate. It's the kind of movie that, if I didn't already knew it was a remake of a genuine cult classic, I would say it could use one himself. The material is just that strong, even with a lackluster presentation and missing Perkins and Weld's "rapport".
What on Earth made you watch this?
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue May 05, 2020 10:23 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 10:11 pm
What on Earth made you watch this?
A friend mentioned it on Twitter earlier today, and it seemed like such an odd curiosity that I had to check it out.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 09, 2020 10:50 am

Lacombe, Lucien (1974, Louis Malle)

Lucien Lacombe, played wonderfully by Pierre Blaise, who would've definitely been a major movie star if he didn't die a year after his movie came out, is a young man who is getting bored working in a hospice during World War II so he decides to join the resistance. When they refuse him because he is too young, he joins the German Police instead. Whether Lucien is just naïve or plain immoral isn't entirely clear (I like to believe it's a combination of both, he doesn't realizes the consequences of his actions, but doesn't much care about it either when he is faced with them) but what is obvious is that he is hungry for power and excitement.

When he meets a Jewish tailor who is being extorted by some of the members of the Gestapo, he falls in love with his young daughter. Lucien is willing to protect this family and even gives them presents from time to time, at least for as long as he can wield power over them, consistently reminding them he could get them arrested any minute if he wanted to.
The scenes in the apartment of the tailor between the three of them (and the grandmother, who refuses to speak to the young Nazi) are layered with tension, where each character has some kind of leverage against the other ones.

The movie has a measured, matter of fact deliberateness to it, which some people might find off-putting, but that I love when it is used as carefully and meticulously as it is here. There is also a ticking clock build into the narrative, because it is 1944 and we're constantly reminded that the Americans are coming, and whenever Lucien gets too comfortable in his position as a teenage-fascist, we know it won't last for long. In the end, it's probably for the best that the movie obtains from showing us the inevitable execution of our protagonist, because like the Jewish tailor says "Somehow, I can't get myself to totally despise you" which isn't nearly the same as sympathizing with him.
User avatar
Slentert
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:23 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon May 11, 2020 11:46 am

Ocean's Eleven (2001, Steven Soderbergh)

Rewatch

This is pretty much my platonic ideal of what I want a Hollywood blockbuster to be like. Thrilling, funny, with genuine panache, smart but never talking down to its audience, and all of this while rocking an all-star cast that is firing on all cylinders. This has such a nice flow to it, no real lulls to be found.

The Big Three (Clooney, Pitt & Damon) generally get the most love but I think Gould and Cheadle are the most fun, making me laugh every time they open their mouths. Though I must admit Damon is always entertaining when playing a dumb yet endearing schmuck, which he is far better suited for than being the action star he is most known as. Maybe it is because his big, round potato head makes him look like a Peanuts character, he is even called Linus in this for God's sake.

The only real gripe I have with this movie is how the narrative treats Julia Roberts' character as just another item to be stolen. I never really buy the ending for that storyline, even though I love all the early scenes between her and Clooney. While it is already established early on that she still has feelings for Danny, by the end he is so obviously manipulating her that her immediately running back to him just doesn't sit right with me.
Otherwise, it is a perfect piece of escapism.
Post Reply