Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:51 pm

Yeah, I wasn't expecting to like it that much. Have issues with the gender politics in it, but overall, a fine film.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:34 pm

Thief wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:51 pm
Yeah, I wasn't expecting to like it that much. Have issues with the gender politics in it, but overall, a fine film.
That's always going to be an issue with the majority of older films. Women weren't exactly given a lot of options at the time.

And filmmakers weren't exactly imaginative to rethink the roles of women, either.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:41 pm

It's Only the End of the World (2017)

A writer named Louie (Gaspard Ulliel) who hadn't seen his family in years returns home to tell his family that he's dying. But it doesn't take long to realize why he's been away so long.

Antoine (Vincent Cassel) is hotheaded and has apparently married mousy wife Catherine (Marion Cotilliard) between visits. Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) is his younger sister and she barely remembers him at all. Mother Martine (Nathalie Baye) is worried about him and takes to smoking and drinking.

Will Louie be able to tell his family about what's happening? What will their reactions be?

I didn't have any issue with the performances here. They're fine. Musically, the song choices are decent.

But the script on the other hand feels stilted as if this were a play. You keep waiting for something to happen, but all too often, it feels like the cinematic equivalent of wet fireworks.

It's all anticipation with no impressive booms or shows of color.

Dolan is now 0 for 2 for me. Strike three and I may well be out on him.

D

Next: Go for the pin!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:17 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:41 pm
Dolan is now 0 for 2 for me. Strike three and I may well be out on him.
I thought that Mommy was excellent and that Tom at the Farm was flawed but with some impactful moments. He's certainly a talented writer/director.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:44 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:17 pm
I thought that Mommy was excellent and that Tom at the Farm was flawed but with some impactful moments. He's certainly a talented writer/director.
Mommy was the first film I saw from him. Much like that one, World managed to give everyone one scene that they could turn into a highlight reel.

But also like Mommy, it felt like he needed someone to take over as a writer. He's not good at making built tension pay off.

Although to be fair, he was adapting from a play...
One that ended fairly similarly to the movie.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:09 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:44 pm
Mommy was the first film I saw from him. Much like that one, World managed to give everyone one scene that they could turn into a highlight reel.
You didn't like Mommy?! Or at least think it had enough merits to count as being worthwhile?! That kind of shocks me, to be honest. I thought the performances were really great and the central dilemma really well realized.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:36 pm

Heh. I apparently gave Mommy a B- so crisis averted for now. :oops:

I think my largest issue with that one was a structural decision that took a lot out of it.
Namely, the decision to include that crawl at the beginning that more or less gave away what the big decision was going to be about.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:44 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:36 pm
Heh. I apparently gave Mommy a B- so crisis averted for now. :oops:

I think my largest issue with that one was a structural decision that took a lot out of it.
Namely, the decision to include that crawl at the beginning that more or less gave away what the big decision was going to be about.
I don't think that the film needs the overall trajectory to be a mystery to work. In fact, I feel like the film is intentionally giving you that context so that you can consider the merits and problems with such a system. Knowing where the characters were headed didn't make their journey any less compelling or heartwrenching for me.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:22 pm

Wrestle (2019)

Four teenagers in an Alabama high school listed as failing are all members of its wrestling team, coached by recent college graduate Chris Scribner. Over the course of a year, Chris and the teens will have to deal with various family issues, drugs, teen pregnancy, mental health issues, and troubles with the law as they make the march over to state where only the top 8 wrestlers in the state in each weight division can compete.

The four boys also have something else in common: the lack of a dominant male figure in their lives. Chris tries to take that role as wrestling coach, but it's not always a good fit.

Of course, you have the angle of these athletes trying to make it into state. But you also have the students trying to grow into men, those that would value a college education and the doors it would open. And because this IS Alabama, race relations with the mostly white police do play a role as well.

I've seen several wrestling movies (VisionQuest, Take Down, bits and pieces of Legendary). But this is clearly the best of them all, perhaps because it shares some DNA with Hoop Dreams in that sports are a window into what people can be and who they are.

See this one.

Next: True life story of a terrible crime, a rush to judgment, and justice delayed.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:54 pm

Hey.

Stop what you're doing!

If you got Prime, I got waa-waa-waa-Action for you!

Who Killed Captain Alex? is now streaming.

This ends my announcement. Now back to the thread in progress.

And give me the cookie now!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:55 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:54 pm
Hey.

Stop what you're doing!

If you got Prime, I got waa-waa-waa-Action for you!

Who Killed Captain Alex? is now streaming.

This ends my announcement. Now back to the thread in progress.

And give me the cookie now!
Seconded! This is your chance to see Uganda's gift to cinema.

Image
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:33 pm

Honest truth, there's a honesty and a joy to their filmmaking that makes it rise above something like The Incredible Bulk.

If more films from Wakaliland became available to stream, I'd definitely check them out.

Onto something a bit more serious...

Central Park Five (2012)

There's been a lot of discussion about Ava DuVarney's When They See Us, which is a mini-series dramatization of a case involving a sexual assault of a jogger in Central Park and the railroading of justice involving five accused young African American men who were quickly tried and convicted of the crime and the years they had to wait before they found the right assailant.

This is the documentary version of what happened in the 1989 case that enthralled a nation and even features Donald Trump in a cameo (I think it had to do with a full page ad in the New York Times that he purchased?).

Among the directors is TV documentarian Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah, and David McMahon. With the recollections of four of the men who were accused (and later cleared) on what they were doing that night, footage of the hours long interrogation that each of them had to endure, memories of the TV and newspaper coverage, and discussion of the trial from multiple perspectives, an infuriating case builds brick by brick of a travesty of justice.

Yeah, they may have been cleared. But the ultimate point of this is that this will hover over them for the rest of their lives (who knows what they might have become if they weren't victims of a rush to justice?).

It's well done.

Next: A photographer reflects on her life and that of her neighbors when she gets some surprising news.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Mon Sep 23, 2019 3:03 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:33 pm
Honest truth, there's a honesty and a joy to their filmmaking that makes it rise above something like The Incredible Bulk.

If more films from Wakaliland became available to stream, I'd definitely check them out.
I totally agree. Seen within the context of the situation and limitations of the filmmaker, I'd say it's a pretty interesting watch.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:21 am

I'm currently gathering ideas for my HauntedWeen 2019.

In:
Mom and Dad (2018)
Suck (2009) (Someone was raving about this in RT, not sure who though)
Us/Ma (2019) (Finally using my Redbox free coupon)
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

Possible:
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
The Lords of Salem (2013)
31 (2016)

It's early so this list might be edited as I think of more.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:57 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:21 am
I'm currently gathering ideas for my HauntedWeen 2019.

The Lords of Salem (2013)
31 (2016)
I would watch both of those if I were you.
I'm not saying you'll like both or either, but they are worth seeing as they are their own thing and while I wouldn't necessarily say they both succeed completely, neither really totally fails either, so you're safe in that regard.
Plus, you get Sex Head.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:44 pm

I might've thrown some of these suggestions to you or others on my thread, most of which where thrown to me first by someone else, but here they are anyway... (trying to stay away from the obvious ones)

Green Room
It Comes at Night
Train to Busan
The Witch
The Wicker Man
Chained
Don't Breathe
Martyrs
Crush the Skull
Bone Tomahawk
Kill List
Stoker
Summer of 84
Scarecrows
The Day of the Triffids
Night of the Demon
The Bay
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue
Spring
The Tingler
Slither
What We Do in the Shadows
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil


These are all of varying quality (some great, some fun) but I think all of them are, at least, worth a watch.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:47 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:57 pm
I would watch both of those if I were you.
I'm not saying you'll like both or either, but they are worth seeing as they are their own thing and while I wouldn't necessarily say they both succeed completely, neither really totally fails either, so you're safe in that regard.
Plus, you get Sex Head.
Will keep that in mind.

I did some blind buying as our one video store is going out of business.

Ended up getting 2001 (so no excuses on the inevitable re-watch), American Sniper (my 2014 project gets another boost), The Bronze, and Mom and Dad for about $8. Also, I might have to look into getting one of those video racks for free (transport might be an issue, but I can get more room for other things as a result.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:12 am

I've got the best and worst of 2019 to do to try to revive this AGAIN. But here's a look at the films my college is showing this semester:

The Return of the Hero (2018)
Mrs. Hyde (2018)
Ismael's Ghosts (2018)
Memoir of War (2018)
The Raven (1943)
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (2017)
Spider Thieves (2017)
The Unheard Woman (2016)
The Cave (2019)
Tokyo Fiancee (2014)
Hidden Rivers (2018)
What is Philanthropy? (2016)

Thoughts?
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:24 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:12 am
I've got the best and worst of 2019 to do to try to revive this AGAIN. But here's a look at the films my college is showing this semester:

The Return of the Hero (2018)
Mrs. Hyde (2018)
Ismael's Ghosts (2018)
Memoir of War (2018)
The Raven (1943)
The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (2017)
Spider Thieves (2017)
The Unheard Woman (2016)
The Cave (2019)
Tokyo Fiancee (2014)
Hidden Rivers (2018)
What is Philanthropy? (2016)

Thoughts?
Well, first, did you end up watching either of those Rob Zombie movies?

As for the list, I have actually only even heard of one of those movies, so I'm not much help.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:46 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:24 am
Well, first, did you end up watching either of those Rob Zombie movies?

As for the list, I have actually only even heard of one of those movies, so I'm not much help.
Sadly, no. The only two "scary" things I watched in October were Mea Maxima Culpa, a short based on The Telltale Heart, and Horns.

I'm guessing the film you've heard of is The Cave which did get nominated for Best Documentary in this year's Oscars.
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sweet

Post by Irenna372 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:50 pm

Nice!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:01 am

It's time to revive this by looking back at 2019. Let's start with the 10 worst films I've seen this past year:

84. The Liberator (2014)

Simon Bolivar (Edgar Ramirez) rises from aristocracy to become a vaunted military leader who frees parts of South America from the Spanish. Even if you discount the fact that director Alberto Alvaro once got some assistance from Hugo Chavez for a 2007 take on this film with Danny Glover, the biopic is too afraid to get its hands dirty (he's a great lover, soldier, speaker, etc). Throw in a murky conclusion and some cringe worthy dialogue and this film can't free itself from the cliches.

85. Julius Caesar (2017)

The idea of having all the characters in Julius Caesar played by women is an interesting novelty. Perhaps setting the play inside a prison could have worked in better hands. But the results here are confusing when it isn't dull. To be honest, I had more fun imagining this as a morning show version of The Late Shift where Regis as Brutus planned to take out Ryan Seacrest as Caesar.

86. Scapegoat (2009)

Made for Irish TV true story on a murder of a society woman and how a military person ended up being framed for it. It does play to the nightmare of being accused of a horrible crime while being stuck with a legal team with zero belief in your innocence. But it's basically a tonier version of a Dateline NBC special replete with a couple who serve as exposition feeders while exploring the crime scene with a psychologist who's testing to see whether he's sane enough for trial.

87. One Red Nose Day and a Wedding (2019)

While the short for Love Actually for Comic Relief worked due to its multiple storylines and its good use of Rowan Atkinson, this take on Four Weddings and a Funeral doesn't work. Probably in my case because I haven't seen the film. But even if I had, the entire film centers around the wedding between the offspring of Hugh Grant's character and Kristin Scott Thomas's one. Ninety percent of its jokes seems centered on Father Gerald's inability to do the wedding ceremony. Although its heart is in the right place, not sure if I'm looking forward to next year's short.

88. The Curse of Robert (2016)

Girl gets hired to work at a museum where a doll exhibited comes to life and murders people. But of course, nobody believes her. If it wasn't so obvious where the film was heading in the first 30 minutes or so, there could have been some dumb fun involved. But this wouldn't excuse the super long intro and ending hinting at more sequels that keep this at feature length.

89. The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang (2008)

The story of how a club person goes from partying all night and sleeping all day to becoming a responsible woman and revive her tap dancing skills is strictly amateur hour except for the tap dancing which kind of feels well done.

90. Eleven (2019)

British have all but won World War 1, but its commander wants one final attack to rub the German's noses in it. It is so dull and cliche filled that you feel every one of those minutes. The title refers to when they sign the armistice. Not a novelty sequence involving a friendship on the field, nor even a scene that takes place in present day makes you feel anything than boredom.

91. Monrovia, Indiana (2018)

Documentary showcasing the small town life in an Indiana town. One minute, we're at a Lions Club meeting where they're discussing buying a new bench for the library. The next is spent at a town meeting where they discuss whether to annex in some more property. The next is spent at a mattress sale at school. And...snooze.

92. Strangerland (2015)

When their children disappear after a sudden sandstorm in the Outback. a couple struggles to keep it together while searching for them. The sheriff seems a bit distant to helping them because his somewhat slow stepson might be a suspect. Nicole Kidman tries, boy howdy does she try, to keep the melodramatic film together. But the lousy script and direction leave everyone drowning in stupidity. Low point: Kidman tries to seduce her daughter's boyfriend by wearing her clothes.

93. The Heirs (2015)

Go nowhere film about bored rich Mexican kids from well to do families who take up various violent and criminal activities to get a rush. Not even a trip to America can do anything but making me feel like I wasted my time watching this.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:46 am

Here's the dishonorable mentions:

83. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

Oz Perkins is the new Ti West, prove me wrong.

Anyway, this story about a caretaker of an elderly horror writer who slowly learns there may be something in the house spoils its film early and wonders why there's no suspense or interest in its ultimate outcome. Speaking slowly and repeating passages several times are used to bring what might have worked as a nifty short film to feature length. Shame this is Paula Prentiss's first film in about 3 decades.

82. Naples '44 (2017)

The story of a British soldier who gets inspired by his term in Naples to write about what happened in World War 2 has a lot of potential. Too bad, most of this documentary squanders it by including clips from movies that were set in Naples and snoozy narration from Benedict Cumberbatch. There are some interesting parts that remain. Perhaps they should dramatize it for the Oscars?

81. The Outcasts (2017)

The film tries so hard to be the NEXT Mean Girls (one of the girls has a big picture of Tina Fey), but this wannabe comedy between the have-nots in the high school world who get revenge on the haves thanks to one teen's information gathering that would make high school namesake Richard Nixon proud doesn't come close. Everything feels like it's been done better elsewhere and then the film fizzles out towards the end with a big shrug.

80. It's Only the End of the World (2017)

Xavier Dolan whiffs in this story based on a play of a writer who has a big reveal to tell his family but thanks to their dysfunctional hangups, he struggles to come up with the way to tell them. A relatively all-star cast can't hide the fact that the film is one long wait for little result.

79. Malibu Beach Rescue (2019)

Answers the question whatever happened to Savage Steve Holland. This story of a teen guy reluctant to join a teen group of lifeguards until he has a change of heart is full of cliches, but it works in a mindless, pleasant enough way before the story starts to lose its stretch in the last third. Low point: the chill bus driver has to repeat a key bit of information that could change things for its lifeguards several times because nobody is paying attention.

78. Guava Island (2019)

Really wanted to like this island set drama involving Rihanna and Donald Glover, the power of music, and starting a revolution against the corrupt leaders. But it's little more than an excuse to do alternative videos to This is America and Summertime Magic. The ending kind of implies that maybe with a larger budget, things might have proven more interesting? Shame, the chemistry is fine enough and Cuba looks interesting as the island.

77. Madamoiselle Paradis (2017)

The story of a blind, but talented pianist who regains her sight and courage with the help of a talented doctor could have gone down several interesting holes (the link between being physically challenged and talent, the clash between science and faith of a sort). But it goes down the least interesting path...gee, the life of an Austrian woman in the 1700s sure is difficult. And yeah, I did notice I'm going against 100 percent of Rotten Tomatoes critics with this one.

76. So's Your Aunt Emma (1942)

Zazu Pitts leads this story of a spinster who let her sisters bully her into not marrying a boxer. But she gets a chance to help out his son who gets up with crooked managers and the mob with the help of a disgraced reporter. A bit more violent than I was expecting, but one scene where Pitts pretends to be the lady everyone is getting herself confused with does crackle.

75. Farmstead (2019)

Documentary focuses on a year inside a farm run by a young couple in Ohio. But too bad most of the interesting stuff about its survival and family life seems to have been left on the cutting room floor. There is some drama involving one of their top clients who faces bad luck, but mainly it kind of gets shrugged off. Not even a scene where the wife cries because she's stressed out from raising the family and having to up the amount of cheese produced because of new sales can't hide the fact that this sort of thing could have been better done.

74. Hotel Frankenstein 3 (2018)

For some reason, this is the first Adam Sandler film I've seen in a while. And he's not horrible? While there does seem to be some vacationing going on in the film as Dracula, his daughter, her husband and their friends go on a monster cruise, the humor and lessons seem to be on the tolerable side of things. Also, for the third entry of the franchise, I had little problems catching up to speed on what happened before. And there's a few moments where the guy behind Dexter's Lab is able to slip in some weird stuff into this film which made me smile. But I don't think the Macarena is going to come back, you guys.

Alright, tomorrow, we'll tackle 73-60.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:16 pm

I haven't seen any from those two batches, but I'm reading.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:10 pm

Now we're starting to get into the middle sections...:

73. Mothers and Daughters (2016)

It's fairly appropriate that the lead character played by Selma Blair is a photographer. Because a lot of this film is as deep as a photograph. This anthology looking at various people and their relationships as mothers or daughters is fairly well acted (considering its cast, it almost has to be). But none of the stories stand out.

72. Like Father (2018)

I have to presume since the director is married to Seth Rogen that she could get him on her Netflix film. The plot is basically like Drunk on a Plane except father (Kelsey Grammer) and daughter (Kristen Bell) wake up on her honeymoon cruise (it became available after her fiance left her at the altar). Although there's some CHEAP plugs for Carnival Cruises and too many of its issues get shrugged off, it does make it more about the bonding of a workaholic father and daughter who is heading down the same path than finding her a new beau (Rogen shows up as a Canadian teacher/potential love interest). The other couples they're assigned a table to are diverse but are underused. Bell and Grammer do share a chemistry that does make this a pleasant diversion.

71. Four Sisters and a Wedding (2013)

Second Filipino film I've seen and the first with an actual budget concerns itself with four grown women who try to prevent their younger brother from getting married to Princess, the daughter of a family who made their fortune with massage parlors. But perhaps the larger family might want to take care of their business. The cast is likable for the most part, except possibly for what appears to be a refugee from the telenovela world who plays the matriarch of the parlor clan. There's a couple of choice moments (a high stakes game of charades, the other sisters stepping up to a two timing producer) and it's entertaining enough that it might be worth a go. Even with the constant apologies.

70. Wolves (2016)

Michael Shannon plays a professor who is up to his neck in gambling debt. His son is a star basketball player who is getting interest from top colleges. The basketball scenes are well done outside of one sequence in the first round of the playoffs which plays like a bad fever dream. The family drama is not milked for its maximum potential. And by the time we get into the last 20 minutes or so, this thing falls apart faster than a freshman dealing with a full court press. Also, I don't think I can unsee one scene involving Shannon that just grossed me out.

69. April Morning (1988)

Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation about the opening part of the Revolutionary War features solid turns from Tommy Lee Jones as the hardnosed father and Robert Urich as his neighbor as well as Chad Lowe at his Chad Lowiest. It's all too obvious what happened and how there was no dramatic payoff for that is something to be openly questioned. It's pretty bloodless for those who worry about that sort of thing, but it's also fairly devoid of drama for the most part.

68. The Big Chill (1983)

A big college reunion occurs after one of their own kills himself where everyone takes time to reflect and listen to classic songs. During the weekend, people deal with their hopes and dreams and listen to classic songs. There's not a lot of character development or drama (and the only story that does get managed has a ridiculous outcome), but hey, the soundtrack IS killer.

67. Frankenstein (1910)

Not a ton to say about this 15 minute short or so. But it does have some nice rock moves, particularly in the monster's creation. And although the story itself takes some creative license from the book, I can't complain too much with the results...especially for when it was made.

66. Three Stooges in Orbit (1962)

The stooges (with Curley Joe) are struggling to maintain their job as kiddie show hosts until losing their apartment and renting with a scientist whose invention draws interest from Martians. Of course, being the Stooges, they'll end up using this invention at some point. Predictable, but with a few good laughs.

65. Green Book (2018)

Normally, I consider it a good year when the Best Picture winner ends up in my top 10 to 20 films. Yeah, that's not going to happen for 2018, lol.

This odd cross between Driving Miss Daisy and The Odd Couple has Viggo Mortensen as a sweaty, hot tempered Italian who is hired to drive the cool, refined Dr. Shirley (Mahershala Ali) to a bunch of tour dates including some in the Deep South. They have to use the titular book to find decent places for Shirley to room in the segregated South. This film hits a pothole with casual racism and cliches aplenty, but the stars do manage to keep this going on the road.

Still, the weakest Best Picture winner since Crash won in 2004.

64. 300 Miles to Heaven (1985)

Film about two Polish kids who decide to help their parents with some big bills from an "illegal" business in the Communist land who end up in Denmark, but things quickly get complicated when they end up in a refugee camp. The cliche riddled script kind of negates an emotional finale involving a phone call.

63. Horns (2014)

This supernatural mystery involving Radcliffe's outcast character who tries to find out who was really behind the murder of his longtime lover. Things take a turn when he wakes up with horns that allow him to hear what everyone is thinking. Film kind of struggles to work the horn thing to its full advantage without making it seem unbalanced or finding the right tone, but thanks to the emotional underpinnings of the romance, the film peaks in its third act.

62. Back and Forth (2016)

Brazilian road trip with four telemarketers driving to Sao Paulo for one of their own getting married who ends up picking up a father and son stuck out on the road looking for the man's ex. But along the way, things take a turn. I'll never not get fooled by the boss acting tough just so she can surprise everyone with the RV trick. Pleasant, but inconsequential.

61. Wine Country (2019)

A group of women who met and bonded while working at a pizza place go to Napa Valley for someone's 50th but they all have various life issues that threaten their bond. Although director Amy Poehler kind of drops the ball at a couple of sequences, the bond between the women is solid and there are some laughs to be found. But considering its cast, it's still a mediocre disappointment.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:18 pm

Driving continues through the middle:

60. Captain Kidd (1945)

A full throated performance by Charles Laughton as the titular character who tries to keep his unscrupulous ways while also working on his high society manner is the best thing about this pirate film. Randolph Scott provides the swashbuckling as a kid who joins the crew while withholding a crucial secret and Barbara Britton provides the looks that intrigue multiple men.

59. Dr. Seuss's The Grinch (2018)

Take two of the remaking of the near perfect short proves to be likable, but forgettable. Benedict Cumberbatch proves solid as the voice of the titular character and although they do play around a bit with the short, it's thankfully far less of a mess than the Jim Carrey one and does provide some emotional backing. The lack of a musical score is kind of telling, though.

58. The Island Murder (2018)

A standard retelling of the story of a white woman who accuses several Hawaiians of an unspeakable crime and what happens when they go to trial. I think it could have been told with some more drama and intrigue (after all, they did get Clarence Darrow involved), but it is serviceable.

57. Asterix and Cleopatra (1969)

While there is some dated elements to this animated film, the film about a bet between Cleopatra and Caesar does have its charms. The scene where Obelix finally gets a taste of potion after being denied was fun. The musical numbers were forgettable, though.

56. Juanita (2019)

Poor Alfre Woodard. She's stuck as an Ohio nurse who decides she's had enough of her family and moves west to Montana where she befriends diner chef/veteran Adam Beach. Film seems a bit too intent on making fun of her at times (count the number of scenes that might as well end with a record scratch), but the way they treated Beach's family with dignity and grace was appreciated. Wish they could have done more with Woodard's.

55. Blind Detective (2013)

Tone appears to be the primary problem with this one. One minute, it's a goofy comedy involving a blind detective, a rookie partner and his love of food. The next, they're diving into a murder mystery that feels out of Criminal Minds. Thankfully, leads Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng maintain their charm.

54. Holiday in the Wild (2019)

I think I've stumbled onto a new Netflix genre: romantic drama where the lead has to fix themselves before diving in. Kristen Davis dives in as the well kept wife who is rattled by her husband's declaration of divorce minutes after their child moves out to college. But her planned vacation to Africa takes a turn when she heads to an elephant sanctuary and helps with healing the animals there. Pleasant stuff.

53. Judge Priest (1934)

The story of a Kentucky judge who tries to help out his son on his first case about a taciturn father of his beloved accused of assault has some cringey elements (Confederacy plays a solid role). But thankfully, director John Ford plays on the subversive elements involving the Judge (Will Rogers) and light fingered Poindexter (Stepin Fetchit) and matronly Aunt Dilsey (Hattie McDaniel) by having him treat them with dignity and grace. Not really hilarious, but the drama does hit its third act well enough and Rogers does show off some charm throughout.

52. 42nd Street: The Broadway Musical (2019)

Odds are you've heard a few of these numbers before. The making of a musical play during the height of the Great Depression and the young female who desperately tries to get chosen for a role (right out of Allentown, Pennsylvania) is familiar, but charm, solid dancing, and nice production take this a ways. I wish they kind of left the mentality of "Hey, you're in town, you must get hooked up!" on the cutting room floor, though.

51. The Future Perfect (2017)

I think they were trying for something big about an immigrant from China who finds her life opening to possibilities in Argentina when she takes Spanish lessons. But the constant moving back and forth with time and role playing just confused me more than it should have especially for a film that's barely feature length. But then again, maybe feeling lost in translation was the point?

Next time, we'll cross the halfway point of the year.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:14 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:18 pm
Driving continues through the middle:

60. Captain Kidd (1945)

A full throated performance by Charles Laughton as the titular character who tries to keep his unscrupulous ways while also working on his high society manner is the best thing about this pirate film. Randolph Scott provides the swashbuckling as a kid who joins the crew while withholding a crucial secret and Barbara Britton provides the looks that intrigue multiple men.
I really enjoyed this film, probably because Laughton is so damn good.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:38 am

Wooley wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 11:14 pm
I really enjoyed this film, probably because Laughton is so damn good.
From that spot on up, we're at the films I did start to like.

And I didn't forget that Abbott and Costello movie, either.

I'd gladly compare the top 15 or so I've seen last year with anybody else's list.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:23 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:38 am
From that spot on up, we're at the films I did start to like.

And I didn't forget that Abbott and Costello movie, either.
Yes!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:10 pm

Wooley wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:23 am
Yes!
Don't get too excited...I haven't watched it yet.

But considering I did grow up on Abbott and Costello, I figure it's only a matter of time.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:07 pm

Alright, we dive down in the halfway point and I suspect you might recognize a few titles here:

50. Mea Maxima Culpa (2010)

Short based on The Telltale Heart has a compelling lead performance by John Byrne. But alas, they could have found better actors to play the cops and I think they overplay their hand in the finale. Still, it's not a bad warmup for your October horror month.

49. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

There's a dark energy that carries this saga of a woman wanting answers as to who killed her daughter and why haven't the police done anything about it. But although Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand provide great performances, the writing does kind of fall off a cliff in the film's last third as it tries too hard to contrast the mother's desperation with the deposed deputy's redemption.

48. The Milky Way (1936)

A lot of what passes in this one was done a bit better in The Freshman. The song and dance, the rise and fall and redemption of an everyman, the goofy physical stunts. But for a film that's probably more famous in the remake with Danny Kaye, there's still a decent amount to appreciate. Harold Lloyd is one of those actors who sound almost works as an additional advantage.

47. The Theory of Everything (2014)

This look at the life and first love of Stephen Hawking does have its appeal. Redmayne does a fairly good job getting at the core of the scientist while Felicity Jones is likable in the thankless role of his first wife as the film shows the impact of them going from young lovers to her having to treat and care for him as though he's another child. Although in many ways this is an improvement on the many factual errors prevalent in The Imitation Game (although supposedly, the ending was less neat than it was here), there's also one scene involving a pencil that defies explanation that cancels that out.

46. The Architects (1990)

The story of a man who finally gets his chance to practice his skills on a cultural center in East Berlin only to face tall odds thanks to Communist bureaucracy has some parallels to the director and his struggles to make an impact on cinema while under Communist rule. It works best as a character study as it compares his efforts to work within the system with his home life where his wife is struggling to deal with life with little choice.

45 is a double! :oops:

44. Jane Eyre (1944)

One can feel for the rough life that Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine) has lived just to get to this point but at the same time find the relationship with cold, distant Rochester (Orson Welles) a bit problematic. Getting through that part is a bit of a grind. The film is well shot and they do find a spot for Elizabeth Taylor as one of Jane's classmates.

43. The Harder They Come (1973)

This star vehicle for Jimmy Cliff and reggae music mostly shines through with likable charm and enthusiasm to cover through some clumsy moments (most notably, a scene with a machete that reminds me of a Troma production). One of the standout moments of 2019 for me is the scene where Jimmy is driving around a golf course in a convertible with birds flying around and You Can Get It If You Really Want on the soundtrack. The smile on his face is catchy.

42. Andhadhun (2018)

These films from India sure do feel like they get put together using one of Jimmy Fallon's random-meters on the Tonight Show. In this instance, it's a film noir featuring a blind pianist who ends up as a witness for the murder of his client by his wife and the chief of police. Thanks to his job, the musical numbers get taken care of easily enough and the film is willing to dive down some dark holes.

41. The Life of Brian (1979)

I've finally caught up on the Monty Python trilogy. Although some of the jokes are fairly dated on this one, there are others that really nail the target. The best joke is at the end, a delirious mix of visuals and music that need to be seen to be believed. Still, and I guess I'll take the hit here, I think this is the weak link in the trio?

Tomorrow, 40-31!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:16 pm

Alright, now we're starting to get to the good stuff:

40. Haunted House (1908)

The special effects, particularly when you consider the time this was made, are pretty durned good. From the tilting of the building to the furniture appearing and disappearing, you might be forgiven in thinking this was made decades later. Then comes the climax and whoa!

Didyaknow this was the influence behind The Babadook?

39. The General (1926)

My first Buster Keaton film and I'll give him his due when it comes to physical humor, he stands tall. With all the extras and train sequences, I'm surprised this didn't cost 2-3 times as much as it did. But the politics behind the film did leave a sour taste in my mouth.

38. Gilda (1946)

Although best known for Rita Hayworth turning around when being asked whether she was decent, the film should be better known for its cautious balance between being a film noir and a rags to riches story. Sometimes the differences in tone can be a bit much, but Hayworth and Glenn Ford showcase their sparks as it starts to become clear that they had a relationship prior to her marrying the casino owner, and it didn't end well. I do kind of wish they had reworked that last third of the film; I think the drama could have been more potent than it ultimately was.

Didyaknow: Rita Hayworth was offended when an atomic bomb named for this role was exploded in Bikini Atoll.

37. Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (2003)

This documentary is as much about Turner as it is about how people perceived of Turner based on various films/plays/books written about him. Among the talking heads is Henry Gates Jr. who argues that if people don't like a particular take of Turner that they need to work on their own version of it.

36. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Brooklyn is as much a character of It as Nola in this confident debut from Spike Lee as she tries to decide between three well-meaning but flawed suitors or continuing her carefree lifestyle. There's one scene that nearly caused me to stop watching, but that meant I would have missed the ending which made this worthwhile.

35. Blue Velvet (1986)

This David Lynch comeback focuses on a mystery involving the son of the hardware store owner who finds an ear and ends up getting caught up with a nightclub singer, a kidnapping scheme, and a gangster with a serious addiction to nitrous oxide. Dennis Hopper made a memorable villain turn, Dean Stockwell does a lip-syncing scene that deserves a double take and Laura Dern looks endearing then as she does now. It almost makes one forget the scene that serves as a commercial for Heineken.

Didyaknow: Hopper reportedly used Frank Booth as a template for his role as Koopa in Super Mario Brothers.

34. Lo and Behold (2016)

Director Werner Herzog makes this documentary about the dangers and advantages of the internet into a flawed, but interesting documentary. The low point would be a sequence where Herzog questions a family whose daughter died in a car crash (mainly because it felt a bit exploitative) and being bullied online after her death.

33. The Boxing Girls of Kabul (2012)

Another documentary. This one focuses on several young women in Afghanistan who have to balance their religious beliefs while participating in the sport of boxing. The high point is a scene where one family discusses the highs and lows of her participation on the team.

32. Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation (2019)

Another documentary, this time from PBS. This explores the whole Woodstock festival and the half a million things that almost wrecked it and the creative solutions that made it work at the end. One never finds out what happened to these people, let alone find out how this changed an entire generation. But it worked more as both an exploration of peace, love and music at a time when life in this world was at its most tumultuous as well as showing the spirit of cooperation and the power of working together.

Didyaknow: One of the acts at Woodstock was Sha Na Na.

31. Born in Gaza (2014)

One final documentary in this set covers the dangers and challenges felt by kids in Palestine who have to adjust when Israel turns their home into a war zone. This covers the missed opportunities and childhoods abandoned by those forced to grow up too soon.

Next time, only one documentary along with a musical, a western and an animated film as we dive from 30-21!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:47 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:07 pm

The Life of Brian (1979)

I've finally caught up on the Monty Python trilogy. Although some of the jokes are fairly dated on this one, there are others that really nail the target. The best joke is at the end, a delirious mix of visuals and music that need to be seen to be believed. Still, and I guess I'll take the hit here, I think this is the weak link in the trio?
It's probably my favorite of the three, possibly because the story felt the most coherent and it felt more . . . empathetic than the other films? But I've seen them all spread over many years, so it's hard for me to feel solid about comparing them.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:25 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:47 pm
It's probably my favorite of the three, possibly because the story felt the most coherent and it felt more . . . empathetic than the other films? But I've seen them all spread over many years, so it's hard for me to feel solid about comparing them.
Considering The Meaning of Life is pretty much a collection of shorts and The Holy Grail does go on several tangents, you are probably right about Brian being the most straightforward when it comes to its story. May well also be right when it comes to its empathy.

But part of my problem might be the power of anticipation in my mind. Having not seen Brian in forever, I was taken with various accounts on how great it was. The end result did have some laughs...but it wasn't quite the film as I thought it would be.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:31 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:25 am
Considering The Meaning of Life is pretty much a collection of shorts and The Holy Grail does go on several tangents, you are probably right about Brian being the most straightforward when it comes to its story. May well also be right when it comes to its empathy.

But part of my problem might be the power of anticipation in my mind. Having not seen Brian in forever, I was taken with various accounts on how great it was. The end result did have some laughs...but it wasn't quite the film as I thought it would be.
I thought that in many ways it painted in much broader strokes, and less in in-the-moment silliness (of course there is still plenty of that). So despite the absurdity, I actually cared about the characters, something I can't say about a movie like Holy Grail.

I do think that it's the kind of movie that would not play well with high expectations of hilarity. I thought that it was more, I don't know. "Subdued" is the wrong word, but a different element of humor for large parts of it. Not the kind of crowd-pleasing quote-fest (and I have nothing against a crowd-pleasing quote-fest) that you get with other films.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by crumbsroom » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:37 am

Life of Brian is both their best film and their funniest film. And as a satire is both scathing and compassionate about its subject matter. People on both sides of the aisle in the religion debate should be able to take something away from what Life of Brian says. Unless you are a dogmatic asshole and are blindly immovable in your convictions.

It's hard to think of a comedy that is better.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:38 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:31 am
I thought that in many ways it painted in much broader strokes, and less in in-the-moment silliness (of course there is still plenty of that). So despite the absurdity, I actually cared about the characters, something I can't say about a movie like Holy Grail.

I do think that it's the kind of movie that would not play well with high expectations of hilarity. I thought that it was more, I don't know. "Subdued" is the wrong word, but a different element of humor for large parts of it. Not the kind of crowd-pleasing quote-fest (and I have nothing against a crowd-pleasing quote-fest) that you get with other films.
I guess I did too by default? But then again, I never considered Meaning of Life all that quotable.

crumbsroom wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:37 am
Life of Brian is both their best film and their funniest film. And as a satire is both scathing and compassionate about its subject matter. People on both sides of the aisle in the religion debate should be able to take something away from what Life of Brian says. Unless you are a dogmatic asshole and are blindly immovable in your convictions.

It's hard to think of a comedy that is better.
I've come around some (back in my teens, I would call myself one of those fundamentals). I can appreciate the challenges brought by XTC's Dear God and laugh at some of the foibles of Life of Brian and not feel bad inside. I enjoyed Glory, Glory for crying out loud.

I do think he has a sense of humor. Otherwise, why would the platypus exist?

And I am fine with its message. I guess my issue is that some of the jokes felt a bit tasteless and tacky.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:51 am

I think Brian is a pretty great film on its own and may or may not be the best MP film.
But, Holy Grail is really fucking funny and more surreal, which is a different kind of fun that I really enjoy.
Which, of course, is why I really love Meaning of Life, because it is a surreal fucking film and, even thought it is a collection of shorts, it ultimately feels cohesive to me, not just a Now For Something Completely Different-type compendium.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:54 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:16 pm
Alright, now we're starting to get to the good stuff:

40. Haunted House (1908)

The special effects, particularly when you consider the time this was made, are pretty durned good. From the tilting of the building to the furniture appearing and disappearing, you might be forgiven in thinking this was made decades later. Then comes the climax and whoa!

Didyaknow this was the influence behind The Babadook?

39. The General (1926)

My first Buster Keaton film and I'll give him his due when it comes to physical humor, he stands tall. With all the extras and train sequences, I'm surprised this didn't cost 2-3 times as much as it did. But the politics behind the film did leave a sour taste in my mouth.

32. Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation (2019)

Another documentary, this time from PBS. This explores the whole Woodstock festival and the half a million things that almost wrecked it and the creative solutions that made it work at the end. One never finds out what happened to these people, let alone find out how this changed an entire generation. But it worked more as both an exploration of peace, love and music at a time when life in this world was at its most tumultuous as well as showing the spirit of cooperation and the power of working together.

Didyaknow: One of the acts at Woodstock was Sha Na Na.
Haunted House is almost everything I ever wanted in a surreal old short-film. I really enjoy crazy shit like this and was very happy when I finally saw it a couple years ago.

The General is just fucking brilliant.

Didn't Sha Na Na actually precede Hendrix's world-crushing set as Electric Church? And I heard they were really well-received, even Hendrix dug it.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:59 pm

Wooley wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:54 am
Haunted House is almost everything I ever wanted in a surreal old short-film. I really enjoy crazy shit like this and was very happy when I finally saw it a couple years ago.

The General is just fucking brilliant.

Didn't Sha Na Na actually precede Hendrix's world-crushing set as Electric Church? And I heard they were really well-received, even Hendrix dug it.
Yeah, I think they were on right before Jimi and the Sky Church. I have no idea how good they were, but I know the crowds were largely gone before Jimi hit the stage. Largely because I guess it was Monday morning at that point.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:09 pm

More films in the solidly good category:

30. Blow Out (1981)

I think a better title for this is Brian De Palma's The Conversation. Both films deal with people who overhear something they shouldn't and both leads become obsessed with trying to figure out what they heard and how to fix things. This one has a solid performance from John Travolta as a sound technician for a B movie studio and decent ones from Nancy Allen as an escort and John Lithgow in a role that becomes clearer as the film proceeds. The ending is a bit of a whimper, but how could it not when the sequence in the climax is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.

29. Stagecoach (1939)

This may be one of the first films in the gather a group of people on board of a stagecoach/boat/train/car and see what happens genre. The comic attempts are fairly poorly done because it feels too broad. What makes this work is a strong performance from John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, showing he is more than just tough talk and swagger he became known for and a solid turn from Claire Trevor as a woman who all but gets kicked out of her town in the opening scene. The Native Americans get shoddy representation here, but I guess that was to be expected because it wasn't until more modern Westerns where the filmmakers took more care.

28. Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table (2017)

Documentary that focuses on Brennan, who got into the restaurant business because her husband got sick, and the rise of her career as she took not one but two restaurants in New Orleans to the top of the class. It gets into multiple innovations that she helped create including Bananas Foster, the creation of the celebrity chef and jazz brunch. Various talking heads show up here including a couple of big chefs you've definitely heard of. But its secret weapon is the wily Brennan herself, still capable of running the restaurant even as she's in semi-retirement at the time this was made. And of course, we do get a section covering Katrina and how The Commander's Palace was rebuilt to shine again!

27. Kirikou and the Sorceress (2000)

Perhaps best known here as the avatar of that poseur Takoma, Kirikou is about a little boy who comes into this world asking questions of everyone he meets from his mother to the evil Sorceress who runs their African village with an iron fist. But it's his perseverance and scrappiness might prove the difference between the village surviving or dying off. There was one scene that kind of bothered me, but there's such a charm in its journey that odds are good you won't mind much.

26. Kinky Boots: The Musical (2019)

The 2005 film with Joel Edgerton and Chiwetel Ejiofor has been converted into a musical with help from Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein. A guy inherits a dying shoe factory until he meets a feisty drag queen who has an unusual idea to save it. Although this drags towards the middle end when lead character Charlie seemingly forgets everything he learned from the start and Lola heads over to a nursing home, the musical manages a bright finish at a Milan fashion show. Its secret weapon: Matt Henry, who brings forth charisma and energy as Lola. Also, one of the strangest boxing matches you'll see.

25. Is Also a Double. :oops:
This is not a good thing. Not at all.

24. To Sir, With Love (1967)

This works best as a star vehicle for Sidney Poitier as an engineer who agrees to take over a class of roughs. Not only do you get to see the transformation happen when he starts treating them with respect, you also get to see Hyacinth Bucket as a sympathetic teacher. The crush one female student has on Poitier is kind of the weak point, but I still can't explain how Lulu managed to show up.

23. Ernest and Celestine (2013)

Another animated film, this one explores the unusual friendship between a mouse and a bear. Prejudices built up over time start to melt away as they really start to get to know each other and come up with a scheme that will help out both of them. Full of charm and quiet moments even as things take a predictable turn towards the end.

22. The Freshman (1925)

I eluded to this in my Milky Way review, but this is probably a better showcase of the talents of Harold Lloyd. His every man looks help sell this comedy that works because it's so relateable...we all wanted to make friends and become stars on the athletic field. That jig feels fresh and fun.

21. Snowpiercer (2014)

I really need to step up the pace of films I've seen if I'm gonna finish my 2014 travails sometime before I pass on. Anyway, the visuals of this Bong Joon Ho are outstanding, whether we're talking about what it is people are eating in the lower classes of the train or the breathtaking vistas towards the end. But it's the little moments that click too such as a group of rebels posing with Tilda Swinton and a shoe or a class which quickly reminds you of Fox News, only with more propaganda. And there's a nifty fight scene between the rebels and guards that ebbs and flows with time as different tactics get used by both sides. It's more than enough to make up for the main story that exists and a third act that tries a shift that doesn't work.

Next time, we dive from the good to the really good as we head towards the honorable mentions!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:21 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:09 pm
More films in the solidly good category:

30. Blow Out (1981)

I think a better title for this is Brian De Palma's The Conversation. Both films deal with people who overhear something they shouldn't and both leads become obsessed with trying to figure out what they heard and how to fix things. This one has a solid performance from John Travolta as a sound technician for a B movie studio and decent ones from Nancy Allen as an escort and John Lithgow in a role that becomes clearer as the film proceeds. The ending is a bit of a whimper, but how could it not when the sequence in the climax is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock.

29. Stagecoach (1939)

This may be one of the first films in the gather a group of people on board of a stagecoach/boat/train/car and see what happens genre. The comic attempts are fairly poorly done because it feels too broad. What makes this work is a strong performance from John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, showing he is more than just tough talk and swagger he became known for and a solid turn from Claire Trevor as a woman who all but gets kicked out of her town in the opening scene. The Native Americans get shoddy representation here, but I guess that was to be expected because it wasn't until more modern Westerns where the filmmakers took more care.

21. Snowpiercer (2014)

I really need to step up the pace of films I've seen if I'm gonna finish my 2014 travails sometime before I pass on. Anyway, the visuals of this Bong Joon Ho are outstanding, whether we're talking about what it is people are eating in the lower classes of the train or the breathtaking vistas towards the end. But it's the little moments that click too such as a group of rebels posing with Tilda Swinton and a shoe or a class which quickly reminds you of Fox News, only with more propaganda. And there's a nifty fight scene between the rebels and guards that ebbs and flows with time as different tactics get used by both sides. It's more than enough to make up for the main story that exists and a third act that tries a shift that doesn't work.

Next time, we dive from the good to the really good as we head towards the honorable mentions!
I saw Blow Out last year, I think, and it became my favorite De Palma. It's great.

I enjoyed Stagecoach, but wasn't as crazy about it as some people.

I remember loving Snowpiercer, although I think the subtext becomes a bit more heavy-handed as the film progresses. I do feel like I owe it a rewatch.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:24 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:16 pm
Alright, now we're starting to get to the good stuff:

40. Haunted House (1908)

The special effects, particularly when you consider the time this was made, are pretty durned good. From the tilting of the building to the furniture appearing and disappearing, you might be forgiven in thinking this was made decades later. Then comes the climax and whoa!

Didyaknow this was the influence behind The Babadook?

39. The General (1926)

My first Buster Keaton film and I'll give him his due when it comes to physical humor, he stands tall. With all the extras and train sequences, I'm surprised this didn't cost 2-3 times as much as it did. But the politics behind the film did leave a sour taste in my mouth.

35. Blue Velvet (1986)

This David Lynch comeback focuses on a mystery involving the son of the hardware store owner who finds an ear and ends up getting caught up with a nightclub singer, a kidnapping scheme, and a gangster with a serious addiction to nitrous oxide. Dennis Hopper made a memorable villain turn, Dean Stockwell does a lip-syncing scene that deserves a double take and Laura Dern looks endearing then as she does now. It almost makes one forget the scene that serves as a commercial for Heineken.

Didyaknow: Hopper reportedly used Frank Booth as a template for his role as Koopa in Super Mario Brothers.
I agree about Haunted House and The General, in terms of their respective technical strengths. They are both impressive films for their times.

Haven't seen Blue Velvet in 10-15 years, easily. I remember enjoying it, but I really should give it a rewatch.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:28 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:07 pm

41. The Life of Brian (1979)

I've finally caught up on the Monty Python trilogy. Although some of the jokes are fairly dated on this one, there are others that really nail the target. The best joke is at the end, a delirious mix of visuals and music that need to be seen to be believed. Still, and I guess I'll take the hit here, I think this is the weak link in the trio?
Ok, here's my confession... I started watching this about a week or two ago, but ended up dozing off after 30 minutes. Not really the film's fault, but like I've said here before, what's becoming the norm in my movie nights :( Two nights in a row I tried to finish it and ended up waking up with the credits rolling, so I decided to give up... for now. I will try to pick it up at the end of the month, cause I realized I didn't need it for my challenge... but I still wanna finish it, so I hold any thoughts on it until.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:32 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:09 pm
More films in the solidly good category:

29. Stagecoach (1939)

This may be one of the first films in the gather a group of people on board of a stagecoach/boat/train/car and see what happens genre. The comic attempts are fairly poorly done because it feels too broad. What makes this work is a strong performance from John Wayne as the Ringo Kid, showing he is more than just tough talk and swagger he became known for and a solid turn from Claire Trevor as a woman who all but gets kicked out of her town in the opening scene. The Native Americans get shoddy representation here, but I guess that was to be expected because it wasn't until more modern Westerns where the filmmakers took more care.

21. Snowpiercer (2014)

I really need to step up the pace of films I've seen if I'm gonna finish my 2014 travails sometime before I pass on. Anyway, the visuals of this Bong Joon Ho are outstanding, whether we're talking about what it is people are eating in the lower classes of the train or the breathtaking vistas towards the end. But it's the little moments that click too such as a group of rebels posing with Tilda Swinton and a shoe or a class which quickly reminds you of Fox News, only with more propaganda. And there's a nifty fight scene between the rebels and guards that ebbs and flows with time as different tactics get used by both sides. It's more than enough to make up for the main story that exists and a third act that tries a shift that doesn't work.
Like Stagecoach. Love Snowpiercer.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Wooley » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:48 pm

Thief wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:21 pm
I saw Blow Out last year, I think, and it became my favorite De Palma. It's great.
Same.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:42 pm

I think of the De Palmas I've seen, Blow Out might be the best. But I still do have some that I need to see.

It's time for my 2019 Honorable Mentions:

20. Shallow Grave (1994)

Contrary to popular belief, I don't automatically hate films without one likable character. I just think they have a greater burden to overcome to pull things off.

Danny Boyle's first film has energy and ideas to spare as three roommates are awfully slow to let the police know their flatmate has died, in large part due to a large pile of money in a suitcase. As each of them have various designs on what to do with the body and the money, things quickly take a humorous dark turn. Christopher Eccleston is memorable as an accountant unafraid to do the dirty work while Ewan McGregor plays a reporter who seems like he's got the closest thing to an actual conscience.

19. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

I think this inspired's Primus's Lee Van Cleef.

The story of two bounty hunters who make a tentative alliance to take down the murderous outlaw called El Indio. Two guys showcasing their cool, bad ways with a villain you're rooting to see comeupped, Klaus Kinski in a small role and a memorable score from Enrico Morricone. What more do you want from a Western?

Sorry Tak, but The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is still just a bit better. Blame Eli Wallach.

18. I Am Evidence (2017)

Documentary that focuses on rape kits and how many of them are just sitting there unused (there's a disturbing scene showing a backlog of them just sitting there in an abandoned warehouse). But it also looks at several people whose stories are connected to those kits who are trying to prove they are more than just victims. Mariska Hargitay narrates and shows up as her role in Law and Order SVU led to her receiving letters from fans who suffered similar fates to those in this film.

17. Wrestle (2019)

Another documentary, but this one deals with several young men with no father who find a father figure of sorts in their wrestling coach, a guy ten years their senior. The film goes through a wrestling season in a small Alabama high school which may be facing the ax, sharing their triumphs and defeats while trying to make the state tournament. Because the majority of the athletes on the team are African American, there is a scene where some explain to their coach about how their experiences with cops are different from white people.

16. A Quiet Place (2018)

Spooky horror throws us in the middle of a scenario where we have to work things out for themselves. After a tragedy early, we sit in on a family who is trying to survive against creatures who seem to have taken over the world. The father has an idea about how to protect themselves. The joy of this as it were comes down to the lack of sound of the film . Noise which they use to track humans. You can argue with parts of the film, but it all worked well enough for me.

15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rian Johnson's film has gotten a lot of hatred and vitrol online due to various factors. But I think it's the same kind of noise that was spewed by those who decried the idea of a female Ghostbusters unit.

What I really liked about Jedi is the little things that connected with previous films in the series. Luke's reluctance to take on Rey as a Jedi serves as a parallel to Yoda taking on Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. Finn and Rose's venture to a casino to retrieve someone who could break a code offers reminders of Luke and Obi Won's trip to the Cantina to find a smuggler pilot as well as everyone's adventures in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. The cute new Porgs come from the same world as the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

But the film isn't just interested in the past. It also wants to go its own route. It explores hero worship with Poe and Rose. It dives into what happens when dreams get washed up by the dark reality of the world they live in. It's about the search for hope when everything is growing dark. It's about finding your own voice. It's not about giving up when everything goes dark, but choosing to fight back anyway.

Oh, and that one scene in the throne room is really cool.

14. His Girl Friday (1940)

The boss of a newspaper fights to keep his star reporter (and ex-wife) from shuffling off to upstate New York and getting married to an insurance salesman in this fast paced screwball comedy. The one liners fly fast and furious as the chemistry crackles between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell.

But Hildy wants more than just someone who gives her sparks. No, for her, this is about the excitement and thrills of being a reporter. Of getting the exclusive scoop of an escaped criminal, a convicted murder, trying to prove his innocence and deciding she must try to make things right.

Beware of anyone selling a used rolltop desk.

13. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Many people remember this (hell, it's been spoofed) for its scene of two people kissing on a sandy beach as waves crash the shore. But the film is a lot more than that.

A newly transferred soldier tries to survive as his commander tries to force him to join their boxing team prior to a big tournament. He's fallen for an American who is becoming a dance person in a nightclub. His best friend has an alcohol problem and has rubbed the officer in charge of the base brig the wrong way. Meanwhile, an officer sympathetic to the transfer carries on an affair with his commanding officer's wife. Meanwhile, the winds of change are starting to blow in the Hawaiian breeze.

Good cast and performances and a meaty plot leads to a memorable resolution.

12. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

The first anime I've watched in a blue moon dives heavily into philosophical sci-fi stuff.

Cyborg agent leads a team trying to put the stop to a hacker called The Puppet Master. This proves to be a jumping off point on what it means to be yourself in a technology advanced world. Throw in some cool visuals and exciting sequences and you got me hungry for more.

Not sure on this because he's either seen this multiple times or never seen it...but recommending this one to Rumpled regardless.

11. Central Park Five (2012)

From Ken Burns and his daughter and her husband, an in-depth look at the five young men accused of sexually assaulting a jogger in Central Park in the 1980s. From the nerve-wracking opening hours as they kept waiting for their parents and the OK to head home to the media attacks on their character (hello, Donald Trump!) to the trial and conviction and to exoneration and ultimate redemption, this film serves as a tour de force as facts get laid out and a convincing case is made that there was a huge rush to judgement and to convict.

And yes, I need to see the Ava DuVarnay mini-series as well.

Next time, see the top 10 films I've seen last year!
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:01 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:42 pm
20. Shallow Grave (1994)

Contrary to popular belief, I don't automatically hate films without one likable character. I just think they have a greater burden to overcome to pull things off.

Danny Boyle's first film has energy and ideas to spare as three roommates are awfully slow to let the police know their flatmate has died, in large part due to a large pile of money in a suitcase. As each of them have various designs on what to do with the body and the money, things quickly take a humorous dark turn. Christopher Eccleston is memorable as an accountant unafraid to do the dirty work while Ewan McGregor plays a reporter who seems like he's got the closest thing to an actual conscience.
A little detail that I always remember from this one is how after
the Eccleston character grabs Kerry Fox aggressively, she has bruises around her mouth the next day.
It's always bothered me how films with "realistic violence" will underplay the results of even minor violence. It was nice to see some acknowledgement of that.
19. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

I think this inspired's Primus's Lee Van Cleef.

The story of two bounty hunters who make a tentative alliance to take down the murderous outlaw called El Indio. Two guys showcasing their cool, bad ways with a villain you're rooting to see comeupped, Klaus Kinski in a small role and a memorable score from Enrico Morricone. What more do you want from a Western?
Correct.
Sorry Tak, but The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is still just a bit better. Blame Eli Wallach.
Incorrect.

I love Eli Wallach and his character is super memorable. However, I think that The Good, The Bag, and the Ugly lags badly in the sequence with the Civil War soldiers. Like, I've fallen asleep multiple times when the film gets to that part. I struggle to watch it all the way through in one sitting. For a Few Dollars More is both more lean as a story and more intimate in the stakes.

I also think that it's use of layer flashbacks in revealing what happened to
the sister takes the whole fridging element to a different and much more interesting/moving place than just about any other film that uses this plot element.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Thief » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:56 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:42 pm

19. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

I think this inspired's Primus's Lee Van Cleef.

The story of two bounty hunters who make a tentative alliance to take down the murderous outlaw called El Indio. Two guys showcasing their cool, bad ways with a villain you're rooting to see comeupped, Klaus Kinski in a small role and a memorable score from Enrico Morricone. What more do you want from a Western?

Sorry Tak, but The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is still just a bit better. Blame Eli Wallach.


16. A Quiet Place (2018)

Spooky horror throws us in the middle of a scenario where we have to work things out for themselves. After a tragedy early, we sit in on a family who is trying to survive against creatures who seem to have taken over the world. The father has an idea about how to protect themselves. The joy of this as it were comes down to the lack of sound of the film . Noise which they use to track humans. You can argue with parts of the film, but it all worked well enough for me.

15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Rian Johnson's film has gotten a lot of hatred and vitrol online due to various factors. But I think it's the same kind of noise that was spewed by those who decried the idea of a female Ghostbusters unit.

What I really liked about Jedi is the little things that connected with previous films in the series. Luke's reluctance to take on Rey as a Jedi serves as a parallel to Yoda taking on Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. Finn and Rose's venture to a casino to retrieve someone who could break a code offers reminders of Luke and Obi Won's trip to the Cantina to find a smuggler pilot as well as everyone's adventures in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back. The cute new Porgs come from the same world as the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

But the film isn't just interested in the past. It also wants to go its own route. It explores hero worship with Poe and Rose. It dives into what happens when dreams get washed up by the dark reality of the world they live in. It's about the search for hope when everything is growing dark. It's about finding your own voice. It's not about giving up when everything goes dark, but choosing to fight back anyway.

Oh, and that one scene in the throne room is really cool.


13. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Many people remember this (hell, it's been spoofed) for its scene of two people kissing on a sandy beach as waves crash the shore. But the film is a lot more than that.

A newly transferred soldier tries to survive as his commander tries to force him to join their boxing team prior to a big tournament. He's fallen for an American who is becoming a dance person in a nightclub. His best friend has an alcohol problem and has rubbed the officer in charge of the base brig the wrong way. Meanwhile, an officer sympathetic to the transfer carries on an affair with his commanding officer's wife. Meanwhile, the winds of change are starting to blow in the Hawaiian breeze.

Good cast and performances and a meaty plot leads to a memorable resolution.
These are the ones I've seen, and I generally agree with your takes. Maybe the only one that has diminished a bit in my mind since watching it is A Quiet Place, but I still think it's an effective horror thriller.
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Re: Apex Predator's Film Thread Volume 2.0

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:41 am

Thief wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:56 pm
These are the ones I've seen, and I generally agree with your takes. Maybe the only one that has diminished a bit in my mind since watching it is A Quiet Place, but I still think it's an effective horror thriller.
I could not get over some (in my mind) pretty serious plot issues. Just multiple things that I could not ignore and that were scattered through the film. By the end I was just frustrated. I appreciated the direction and the performances, but as a whole I wasn't that impressed.
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