Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:06 pm

Jinnistan wrote: I would start with Zhang Yimou (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, To Live) and Taiwanese directors Edward Yang (Taipei Story, Bright Summer Day, Yi Yi) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (Dust in the Wind, A City of Sadness, The Assassin).

And if you aren't fluent in Wong Kar-Wei, there's little reason to avoid that particular Hong Kong auteur.
Re: Zhang Yimou, I'm not sure about the others but I couldn't find Raise the Red Lantern on any streaming service.

I'm being a bit anal about what I choose because I want a film that's purely "Chinese" (not Hong Kong, not Taiwan), but I think that Popcorn's recommendation is spot on in that regards.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:28 pm

Thief wrote:I'm being a bit anal about what I choose because I want a film that's purely "Chinese" (not Hong Kong, not Taiwan), but I think that Popcorn's recommendation is spot on in that regards.
Yeah, the Cultural Revolution took a bite, didn't it? Generally speaking, Hong Kong and Taiwan's film markets are way more advanced due to this.

Still, Zhang Yimou is "purely" Chinese, and try Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, The Empress and the Assassin).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:33 pm

Even though it's Taiwanese, everyone ever should watch A Brighter Summer Day. It's almost undoubtedly better than anything else that will be listed.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:39 pm

Jinnistan wrote: Yeah, the Cultural Revolution took a bite, didn't it? Generally speaking, Hong Kong and Taiwan's film markets are way more advanced due to this.

Still, Zhang Yimou is "purely" Chinese, and try Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine, The Empress and the Assassin).
I had Farewell My Concubine and The Assassin in mind, but they weren't available on any of the streaming services I have.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:20 am

Jinnistan wrote: I would start with Zhang Yimou (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, To Live) and Taiwanese directors Edward Yang (Taipei Story, Bright Summer Day, Yi Yi) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (Dust in the Wind, A City of Sadness, The Assassin).

And if you aren't fluent in Wong Kar-Wei, there's little reason to avoid that particular Hong Kong auteur.
Chungking Express!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:23 am

Wooley wrote: Chungking Express!
I second this. It is in my top 10 movies of all time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:29 am

I need to see Roma this week to finish off my February challenge, but it'll be hard with our outdoor trip.

Also, my power has been off for the last 20 hours and my house is SO COLD.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:45 pm

Hooo, boy! Saw The Birth of a Nation last night and, wow! Technical aspects aside, that was a real piece of shit.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:56 pm

A film featuring a prominent blind character


Don't Breathe (2016)
"Just because he's blind don't mean he's a fucking saint, bro"
Traditionally, blind people are seen by most people and portrayed in media as "frail" people, in contrast with the loss of any of the other senses (hearing, voice, etc.) Sure, there are some "fantastical" exceptions (Daredevil, Chirrut in Rogue One), but the loss of sight is typically followed by the need of constant assistance. There is a film or TV show, which now escapes me, where someone disguises as a "blind man" to perform a heist or something, and when it is revealed, the character that unknowingly allowed it says in disbelief "but he's blind". The bottom line is that nobody expects shenanigans from "the blind guy". When approaching this project, I read that director and co-writer Fede Alvarez wanted to play with the idea of "taking 'abilities' away from the 'bad guy', instead of 'adding'", which is the basis of his 2016 "horror" thriller.

Don't Breathe follows Rocky, Alex, and Money, a trio of petty thieves that rob houses using information from the security company of Alex's father. After a disappointing score, Alex (Dylan Minnette) is decided to step out while Rocky (Jane Levy) wants to move away from her alcoholic mother, along with her little sister. However, Money (Daniel Zovatto) learns of a potential target so they set out to perform the perennial "last score". The target? A 60-something, US Army veteran (Stephen Lang) that happens to be blind, who just received a court settlement after the death of his daughter in a car accident. Of course, being a Special Forces vet, the "blind man" turns out to be not as easy a target as they expected.

Overall, this was a surprisingly thrilling and well done film. The performances aren't anything to write home about, but they are solid. The real treat here is to see how Alvarez manages the tension and the setting of keeping this kids trapped inside the blind man's house. To achieve this, he uses several long takes and solid camera movement to keep us in the action. Alvarez also makes great use of the light (or lack of). There's a particularly effective moment where the "blind man" turns off the lights in the basement where the kids are hiding, which obviously puts him in advantage (after all, he's already blind). The way Alvarez shots the scene, putting us in the character's feet as they try to find their way, was one of the peaks of the film.

The film loses a bit of its grip towards the end as Alvarez and his co-writer, Rodo Sayagues, tries to stretch the plot more. There are about 4, maybe 5, "false endings" towards the end, which makes it feel like they weren't really sure how to finish things. There were 2 or 3 of those which would've been pretty dark and grim, and I could've been satisfied with. However, they chose an open ending, which wasn't bad, but not necessarily the most satisfying. Turns out they're somehow gearing up for a sequel, which ehhh, I'm not quite sure what to think of.

Despite its flaws towards the end, the film is a pretty well done thriller. There is still a certain darkness to how it ends, which goes back to the point I made in the opening paragraph. In the end, nobody expects any shenanigans from "the blind guy", but we all know he's not a fucking saint.

Grade: B+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:15 pm

Thief wrote:Hooo, boy! Saw The Birth of a Nation last night and, wow! Technical aspects aside, that was a real piece of shit.
The silent film, or the 2016? I feel like I've heard this comment about both versions. :)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:17 pm

Captain Terror wrote: The silent film, or the 2016? I feel like I've heard this comment about both versions. :)
The silent film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:42 pm

Thief wrote:
The silent film.
Funny, when I watched it in my early 20s I was somehow oblivious to the overt racism. It was no doubt a terrible VHS print, so maybe parts of the plot weren't clear to me. (This was a common occurrence in my early days of silent-film research. I completely zoned out during my first few attempts at Metropolis, due to terrible prints and deficiencies in my attention span.) Plus I was probably just so impressed with myself for watching a classic that maybe I was only half paying attention. Anyhow, I've always wanted to revisit it in the digital era just to see it in better quality, but the hate it gets makes me think my time would be better served elsewhere.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:53 pm

Captain Terror wrote: Funny, when I watched it in my early 20s I was somehow oblivious to the overt racism. It was no doubt a terrible VHS print, so maybe parts of the plot weren't clear to me. (This was a common occurrence in my early days of silent-film research. I completely zoned out during my first few attempts at Metropolis, due to terrible prints and deficiencies in my attention span.) Plus I was probably just so impressed with myself for watching a classic that maybe I was only half paying attention. Anyhow, I've always wanted to revisit it in the digital era just to see it in better quality, but the hate it gets makes me think my time would be better served elsewhere.
I kept trying to convince myself that I was approaching it from a historic and technical perspective, which kinda (just kinda) softened the blow. During the first half, I was shaking my head, but going with the flow. However, towards the 90 minute mark, Griffith amped up the racism, and it reached a point where it was making me physically angry. I'm not ashamed to admit that I lost interest some time after that, and probably spent the last half hour going back and forth from my cell phone to TV as it finished. It's nothing more than a piece of manipulative, racist propaganda. Well directed and technically sound racist propaganda, but racist propaganda nonetheless.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:11 pm

Thief wrote: During the first half, I was shaking my head, but going with the flow. However, towards the 90 minute mark, Griffith amped up the racism
This makes sense because I can guarantee that by then I'd either zoned out or straight-up fallen asleep. Like, I knew it was about the Klan obviously, but I was viewing it as sort of a history lesson, and one that was being told from a perspective 70+ years from mine. Being "about the Klan" does not necessarily mean it's racist after all. So years later when I'd read about how heinous the film is I'd wonder what I missed, or if I was in fact a racist for not noticing. :oops: I'll probably give it another go one of these days, but it's not high on my list.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:46 am

Captain Terror wrote:Like, I knew it was about the Klan obviously, but I was viewing it as sort of a history lesson, and one that was being told from a perspective 70+ years from mine. Being "about the Klan" does not necessarily mean it's racist after all. So years later when I'd read about how heinous the film is I'd wonder what I missed, or if I was in fact a racist for not noticing. :oops: I'll probably give it another go one of these days, but it's not high on my list.
I'll help you out. The film is about the Klan's heroic victory in successfully intimidating black people from voting.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:19 am

holy crap, THREE HOURS??
Yeah, there's no way I finished that without dozing off. I just skimmed through it on Youtube and the new Kino version is indeed gorgeous but....three hours.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:38 pm

Jinnistan wrote: I'll help you out. The film is about the Klan's heroic victory in successfully intimidating black people from voting.
They had to, since black people had been roaming wildly after being freed, oppressing white people. The one time they were given the chance to vote, they ended up committing electoral fraud, and after gaining majority in the Legislature, they went on to drink booze and eat fried chicken during legislative meetings (yes, this is shown on film) :roll:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:07 pm

Thief wrote:
They had to, since black people had been roaming wildly after being freed, oppressing white people. The one time they were given the chance to vote, they ended up committing electoral fraud, and after gaining majority in the Legislature, they went on to drink booze and eat fried chicken during legislative meetings (yes, this is shown on film) :roll:
Them crazy coloreds! You can't take 'em anywhere.

I noticed a lot of white actors in facepaint last night, which is something else I didn't recall from my first viewing. Can't say I'm surprised about that one.

Too bad, because the imagery of the Klansmen on horseback is pretty cool if only they weren't, you know, THE FRICKIN KLAN.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:06 pm

Yeah, I don't think there's any way I'm going to see Birth of a Nation. The same way I'm going to see any Hostel film or A Serbian Film.

Life is just too short for that.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:43 pm

Apex Predator wrote:Yeah, I don't think there's any way I'm going to see Birth of a Nation.
That sounds like racismism
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:56 pm

Charles wrote:
That sounds like racismism
"There were very fine people on both sides."
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:42 pm

Quick takes on the last watches of the month...

Birth of a Nation (1915) You already read what I had to say. Trying to suppress all the offensive crap, the film is technically well made and the performances are ok. But that's just a little speck against all the blatant racist propaganda it's trying to serve.

Instant Family (2018) Charming family comedy. Formulaic and cliché? maybe, but it still presents several truths about the adoption process, even if it does it in not so subtle ways.

Spring in a Small Town (1948) Interesting story and some solid direction. Unfortunately, the performances aren't very good, with the possible exception of the main lady.

With that, I close another month with my 15-film-goal achieved.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:33 pm

This was the tally for my #FebruaryofLoveandAwards

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Second Best
A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D: Dressed to Kill
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 20, 32, 42): (see list here) Roma (#200)
A film currently nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: The Favourite
A film from the 1910s: The Birth of a Nation
A film with the word "Love" in its title: In the Mood for Love
A film featuring the name of a couple in its title (any gender): Zack and Miri Make a Porno
A romantic film: The Big Sick
A sequel: Before Sunset
A comedy: Instant Family
A film that features football prominently (Super Bowl, February 3): Rudy
A film that features the President of the USA as a prominent character (President's Day, February 18): Mars Attacks!
A film from China (Chinese New Year, February 5): Spring in a Small Town
A film directed by an African-American or with an African-American cast (Black History Month): Widows
A film from John Ford (born February 1): Stagecoach

Had to rush it this week, but again, I reached my 15-films-per-month goal.

Best? Before Sunset or Roma

Worst? Zack and Miri Make a Porno or The Birth of a Nation for different reasons, obviously.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 pm

I'll be out of the country during the weekend and probably won't be getting online a lot, so I'll just post the March categories for anyone that wants to jump ahead.

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel):
A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F:
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #3 (i.e. 13, 23, 32): (see list here)
A film from the 1920s:
A documentary:
The third part on a film franchise:
A film with the word "Spring" in its title:
A film directed by a woman:
A film with a woman's name in its title:
A film about salesperson or stores (Salesperson Day, March 1):
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, March 5):
A film about math or mathematicians (Pi Day, March 14):
A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17):
A film about aliens or alien abductions (Alien Abduction Day, March 20):
A film from Spike Lee (born March 20):

As usual, recommendations are more than welcome!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:57 pm

My Amazon Prime after about a week of acting stubborn and refusing to play relented yesterday and I got to finish Stagecoach.

Things that I've had an issue with (the weak comedy elements, the standard racism when it comes to dealing with the Native Americans...although not the Mexicans so much) remained. And after seeing the shootout sequence, I think I do get why Takoma had serious issues with animal cruelty (although one bad joke by a Mexican character also kinda implied the inferiority of women for laughs :roll: )

But there's also a lot to like about this one. There's the sequence where The Ringo Kid (John Wayne in a star-making turn) has to jump on the lead horse to save the wagon from being abandoned. The scene where the doctor (Thomas Mitchell, who won an Oscar) tries desperately to get himself sober to treat one of the passengers who had gotten sick. The gradual thaw in the relationship between Dallas (Claire Trevor) and Mrs. Mallory (Louise Platt). The changing dynamics between the Kid and Curley (George Bancroft). Only Ellsworth (Berton Churchill), the banker hellbent on heading to Lordsburg feels a bit too one note.

Is it great? Nah, can't go that far. It is pretty good.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:00 pm

Just spitting out ideas for March:

Film with the number 3/Film about aliens or alien abductions: The Three Stooges in Orbit (1962) Prime
Film whose title starts with a E or F: A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Film from the CIMDb 250 whose ranking contains a 3: Judgement in Nuremberg (1961) (also LOL at someone ultimately deciding to try Bohemian Rhapsody because of this)
Film from the 1920s: College (1927) Prime
Documentary: Acorn and the Firestorm (2018)
Third Part of a Film Franchise: ?
A film whose title contains Spring: After Winter, Spring (2015) Prime
Film directed by a Woman: Leave No Trace (2018) Prime (also directed Winter's Bone)
Film with a Woman's Name in the Title: Jane Eyre (1944)
Film about Salespeople or Stores: Empire Records (1995) Netflix
Film set in New Orleans: Low and Behold (2007) Prime
Film about math or mathematicians: Pi Day Die Day (2016) Prime
Film from Ireland: Scapegoat (2017) Prime
Spike Lee film: She's Gotta Have It (1986) Netflix

Reserve the right to make some changes (perhaps could use Family Video for some entries).

Still plan on seeing (February leftovers):
2 States (2014)
Roma (2018)
Black Panther (2018)
Love and Friendship (2016)
Ernest and Celestine (2013)
This is Not What I Expected (2017)
Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
Dick (1999)
Moonlight (2016)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:36 am

FWIW, I updated the list in the first page to bold the ones that apply (the ones with a #3).

Some suggestions about the math films...

13 must-see math movies
List of films about mathematicians
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Death Proof » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:05 am

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Three Kings
A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: The Faculty
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #3 (i.e. 13, 23, 32): City of God
A film from the 1920s: Nanook of the North
A documentary: Jiro Dreams of Sushi
The third part on a film franchise: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
A film with the word "Spring" in its title: Spring Breakers
A film directed by a woman: Pet Semetary
A film with a woman's name in its title: Foxy Brown
A film about salesperson or stores (Salesperson Day, March 1): Mannequin
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, March 5): Tightrope
A film about math or mathematicians (Pi Day, March 14): October Sky
A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17): Song of the Sea
A film about aliens or alien abductions (Alien Abduction Day, March 20): Strange Invaders
A film from Spike Lee (born March 20): Inside Man

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:34 am

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Probably a rewatch of Three Colors: Blue
A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: F.A.R.T: The Movie
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #3 (i.e. 13, 23, 32): (see list here) Castle in the Sky looks nice
A film from the 1920s: Probably The Passion of Joan of Arc
A documentary: Either Divine Horsemen by Maya Deren or Triumph of the Will, we'll see how long I wanna watch
The third part on a film franchise: Die Hard 3, it's been a while
A film with the word "Spring" in its title: Spring
A film directed by a woman: Detroit
A film with a woman's name in its title: I'll try to find time for Jeanne Dielman
A film about salesperson or stores (Salesperson Day, March 1): Not sure about this
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, March 5): Oh, that might be a tough search as well
A film about math or mathematicians (Pi Day, March 14): Pi
A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17): Calvary
A film about aliens or alien abductions (Alien Abduction Day, March 20): Extraterrestre, 2011
A film from Spike Lee (born March 20): Chi-Raq

I'll also try to finish February
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:46 am

Charles wrote:A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17): Calvary
A thousand times yes to this.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Death Proof » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:15 pm

Charles wrote: A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: F.A.R.T: The Movie

Oh, why would you do that to him. *weeps*

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:30 pm

A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: F.A.R.T: The Movie (F)

Eight writers were used to create this 90 minutes long clip show where not a single joke lands. The movie revolves around a woman who can't stand her boyfriend's farts and wants him to come to the new year's eve party. That plot is essentially dropped after the first 20 minutes where it cuts between clips of the guy watching fart related stuff on tv and the girlfriend talking about farts with people at the party.

The woman wakes up at the end, credits roll over the theme song.

Literally not a single part of this is good, and lemme tell ya, no humor is too low or juvenile for me. This is complete, utterly incompetent trash.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:55 pm

Charles wrote:A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: F.A.R.T: The Movie (F)

Eight writers were used to create this 90 minutes long clip show where not a single joke lands. The movie revolves around a woman who can't stand her boyfriend's farts and wants him to come to the new year's eve party. That plot is essentially dropped after the first 20 minutes where it cuts between clips of the guy watching fart related stuff on tv and the girlfriend talking about farts with people at the party.

The woman wakes up at the end, credits roll over the theme song.

Literally not a single part of this is good, and lemme tell ya, no humor is too low or juvenile for me. This is complete, utterly incompetent trash.
bruh, why
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:12 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
bruh, why
I honestly didn't think it'd be that bad; I have very broad tastes and I'm very lenient with movies in general. Nothing there at all though.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Death Proof » Sat Mar 02, 2019 5:59 pm

Charles wrote:A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: F.A.R.T: The Movie (F)

Eight writers were used to create this 90 minutes long clip show where not a single joke lands. The movie revolves around a woman who can't stand her boyfriend's farts and wants him to come to the new year's eve party. That plot is essentially dropped after the first 20 minutes where it cuts between clips of the guy watching fart related stuff on tv and the girlfriend talking about farts with people at the party.

The woman wakes up at the end, credits roll over the theme song.

Literally not a single part of this is good, and lemme tell ya, no humor is too low or juvenile for me. This is complete, utterly incompetent trash.

F.A.R.T. the Movie makes Tommy Wiseau look like Fellini.

Shepherds we shall be, for thee, my Lord, for thee.
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, our feet may swiftly carry out Thy commands.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:05 pm

It really does. It is absolute bare-minimum film making. The shots are static, there is no music, barely any direction at all. The jokes all fall flat because the director does nothing to enhance the jokes, he just films the actors reading the lines.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:44 pm

Thief wrote: A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F:
A film with a woman's name in its title:
EVERLY Joe Lynch, 2014

This is a one-location action/comedy that seems to be striving for a Free Fire sort of vibe, but ultimately did not work for me. (I liked FF, for what it's worth) Salma Hayek has been held captive for a number of years by a bad guy and forced to work as a call girl. The film deals with her attempts to break out of the hotel in which she and the other girls are being kept and Bad Guy's henchmen attempt to thwart her plans. So the film's raison d'etre is to have Salma kicking ass in ultra-violent ways and calling guys "pendejo" before shooting them, etc. You get the idea. I'm completely fine with that and there were times when I was onboard, when I got a genuine chuckle out of the madness. I just don't think the writers/director are quite skilled enough to pull it off. Too many moments that were weird just for the sake of weirdness, and didn't seem to flow naturally from the premise they'd established. Also, I can handle the winky superviolent stuff but it becomes less fun for me when innocent people are being hurt/killed. I know it's all make-believe but I'd just prefer to watch bad guys being punished, thanks all the same. And this one makes the grave mistake of involving a child, which is even less funny and just comes across as mean-spirited. Again, I'm not against any of this in principle, it just wasn't handled well here.

I should also mention Salma's wardrobe. The film begins with her totally nude. Then she's in a short nightie for a bit. And when another character suggests she wear something more practical, she changes into yoga pants and a tank top. Which is, technically, more practical for an escape attempt but also offers lots of jiggling opportunities in the bargain. So in a film about a woman attempting to escape a sex trafficking situation we get shots like this:
Image
She's got a gun, though, so it's empowering, see?
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Apex Predator
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:54 pm

The Future Perfect (2017)
See a title starting with E or F
See a title directed by a woman


This was kind of a mixed bag for me.

Xiaobing is a Chinese immigrant who moved to Argentina who loses her job in a family owned deli when she can't understand Spanish. She does find another job in a supermarket where she befriends a computer programmer from India. Meanwhile, she decides to take up a Spanish language class to get better at assimilating even as her family wants her to settle down and marry a nice Chinese guy.

The film does a good job at leaving you kind of discombobulated at the beginning sort of how like she was being in a land that she doesn't understand a word of what others are saying. As Xiaobing makes the way in her world and in class, she remains likable throughout.

But the film also flips back and forward in time as things play out and certainty gives way to possibilities, an idea that plays better in concept than in reality. And the film struggles to make the complexities of learning a new language play off in the screen as her past and present make way towards the future.

Maybe this was a bit too experimental for my taste. But it's short and OK.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:58 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
EVERLY Joe Lynch, 2014

This is a one-location action/comedy that seems to be striving for a Free Fire sort of vibe, but ultimately did not work for me. (I liked FF, for what it's worth) Salma Hayek has been held captive for a number of years by a bad guy and forced to work as a call girl. The film deals with her attempts to break out of the hotel in which she and the other girls are being kept and Bad Guy's henchmen attempt to thwart her plans. So the film's raison d'etre is to have Salma kicking ass in ultra-violent ways and calling guys "pendejo" before shooting them, etc. You get the idea. I'm completely fine with that and there were times when I was onboard, when I got a genuine chuckle out of the madness. I just don't think the writers/director are quite skilled enough to pull it off. Too many moments that were weird just for the sake of weirdness, and didn't seem to flow naturally from the premise they'd established. Also, I can handle the winky superviolent stuff but it becomes less fun for me when innocent people are being hurt/killed. I know it's all make-believe but I'd just prefer to watch bad guys being punished, thanks all the same. And this one makes the grave mistake of involving a child, which is even less funny and just comes across as mean-spirited. Again, I'm not against any of this in principle, it just wasn't handled well here.

I should also mention Salma's wardrobe. The film begins with her totally nude. Then she's in a short nightie for a bit. And when another character suggests she wear something more practical, she changes into yoga pants and a tank top. Which is, technically, more practical for an escape attempt but also offers lots of jiggling opportunities in the bargain. So in a film about a woman attempting to escape a sex trafficking situation we get shots like this:
Image
She's got a gun, though, so it's empowering, see?
I saw this movie on TV about a two years ago, but had forgotten everything about it, until I read your post of course.
And yeah, it's not very good. I recently watched Polar on netflix, and that is another action movie that wants to address sexual abuse against women, but at the same time has the camera aggressively leering at every female buttock and breast it can find. And conveniently, it is also not a good.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:04 pm

Just some recs for you guys (these are all on Amazon Prime unless otherwise noted):

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Three Identical Strangers** or The Third Eye (fun/trashy Italian Psycho rip-off)
A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: Erik the Conqueror; Farewell My Lovely; First Reformed; For a Few Dollars More; Free Fire
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #3 (i.e. 13, 23, 32): These are hard to find streaming, but Psycho (#33) and Diabolique (#230) are great. The Handmaiden (#233) is on Amazon Prime and it is excellent!
A film from the 1920s: Nosferatu; The Kid; Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
A documentary: Chicken People; Cropsey; Blood Brother; I Am Not Your Negro**; Samsara; 4 Little Girls
The third part on a film franchise: Red Riding In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (Hulu)***; Thor Ragnarok (Netflix)
A film with the word "Spring" in its title: Spring (Shudder)
A film directed by a woman: She-Devil (the combo of Roseanne and Meryl Streep must be seen); The Fits; You Were Never Really Here; Lady Bird; Beyond the Lights; The Hitch-Hiker (50s version)
A film with a woman's name in its title: Heathers; A Fish Called Wanda; Lila Says; Ginger Snaps; Dakota Skye
A film about salesperson or stores (Salesperson Day, March 1): Christmas Again
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, March 5): Double Jeopardy (partly set in N.O.)
A film about math or mathematicians (Pi Day, March 14): Between the Folds
A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17): Breakfast on Pluto; Let Us Prey
A film about aliens or alien abductions (Alien Abduction Day, March 20):Annihilation; The Arrival;this amazing short
A film from Spike Lee (born March 20): 4 Little Girls; When the Levees Broke;

** A MUST SEE!

***You'll want to watch the other two films first, but they are all excellent. I saw them all in the theater back to back to back (they were all released at the same time in 2009)
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:59 pm

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): The Third Night

Good horror is hard to make. Good comedy is really hard to make.

And yet it never ceases to amaze me that so many filmmakers seem to decide that they'll try their hand at a horror-comedy.

Here's the thing: this could have been an effective horror film. I almost get the sense that the glibness and "humor" were imposed on the film as a way to undercut criticism.

The plot follows a couple, Meagan and Jonathan, who have just purchased a home in the countryside. Within hours of their arrival their cat has gone missing and a mysterious note appears. An unseen stalker watches the couple. In the woods nearby, a grown man and his teenage companion hunt and spend the night in the woods.

This kind of horror film always fails to land for me. If it were played as straight horror, it would probably be pretty good. The location is suitably creepy. Unfortunately, the film also tries to be funny, with cutesy chapter titles. There's also the constant use of the potential death of the cat, which lingers unpleasantly over the film. Under the guise of showing the "stalking", there are plenty of shots of the female lead in her underwear or the couple having sex. Then there's the unexplained fact that (spoilers, but easily guessed ones!)
apparently dozens of couples/families have gone missing at this same house and no one has ever looked into it?
It wasn't unwatchable by any means, but it's also nothing special. Though the actor who plays the male lead does actually have the last name Hartburn.
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crumbsroom
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:13 pm

Takoma1 wrote:Three Identical Strangers**
Yes!
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:22 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Yes!
It's also a documentary.

Really, there's no excuse not to see this film. It's one of the best things I've seen in at least the last year.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:55 am

Thief wrote: A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel):
A documentary:
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS has been on my Netflix queue for months, so thanks to Takoma for pointing out that I can stream it.
I felt like I wasn't as outraged by the experiment as the film wanted me to be, probably because I'm a cynical SOB that assumed this sort of thing was going on anyway. But watching the researcher guy chuckling as he reviewed his old notes, and then admitting that there's twins that still haven't been notified, got my blood a-boilin'.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:58 am

A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: Fine Dead Girls

As Amazon reminded me when I looked up this film, I actually watched about thirty minutes of it a year and a half ago and then stopped. I couldn't remember why. Oh, yeah! Because it was super stressful and triggering!

The film opens as a woman, accompanied by a policeman, enters an apartment building and accuses the elderly landlady of kidnapping her son. None of the tenants will speak up, and so eventually the policeman escorts the woman home. Once there, she tells the story of why her son was taken.

In a flashback (99% of the film is the flashback), we see the woman, Iva, and her girlfriend, Mare, moving into the apartment building. The landlady, not realizing they are lesbians, imagines that one of the girls will be a match for her son, Daniel. Things get a bit crazy as various subplots play out involving a prostitute who lives on the first floor, and an abused wife who lives on the second floor. When the residents of the apartment discover that the women are gay, some light homophobia begins to take on a more aggressive tone. Daniel, who has bet the prostitute that he can seduce Iva, gets angrier and angrier with each subsequent rejection.

This movie manages to serve as both borderline satire/allegory and a surprisingly realistic portrayal of the dangers faced by gay men and women, especially in certain countries. The tenants aren't the only ones who know what's going on in their building. A pair of policemen wander through the film, never doing much more than observing. When the abused neighbor shows up sporting yet another injury, they just shrug as she tells them that she slipped in the bathroom (again). The landlady's husband takes a very live and let live approach, remarking that the women being lesbians has no impact on him--but he doesn't offer the women much help or push back all that strongly against his wife as she stokes hatred and aggression against the women. Within the apartment building (in which everyone claims to be a good Catholic) there are secret abortions, murder, incest, prostitution, and various other goings on.

The film does have some darkly funny moments, such as the prostitute clumsily attempting to seduce Iva, or the policemen reacting to a thrown dildo with an indifferent, "Look, a cock's just fallen from the sky." But the film is ramping up to what you just know is going to be violence against one or both of the women. Any time that one of them cleverly puts down Daniel (the horny, unpredictable son), you sort of smile but then cringe knowing that he's the kind of guy whose wounded pride could be deadly. It's a stark and upsetting look at the violence, intimidation, and harassment that gay women can face in a society where being out and gay is legal, but still not tolerated by the majority.

The film is odd. Many scenes are incredibly short. But I think it's well worth recommending. Not to mention I don't feel like I see that many Croatian films that aren't war-related.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:06 am

Thief wrote: A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F:
A film from the 1920s:


THE FRESH LOBSTER (1928)

Cheating a bit here, as I watched this one late last month, but it's too good not to share. A 6-minute short depicting the consequences of an ill-advised midnight snack. (Seriously dude- lobster and a pickle? What were you thinking?)
A combination of live-action, cel animation and stop-motion, along with an awesome lobster costume and some delightful goings-on.
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Apex Predator
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:37 am

Takoma1 wrote:Just some recs for you guys (these are all on Amazon Prime unless otherwise noted):

A film with the number 3 (Three, Third, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Three Identical Strangers** or The Third Eye (fun/trashy Italian Psycho rip-off)
A film with a title that starts with the letters E or F: Erik the Conqueror; Farewell My Lovely; First Reformed; For a Few Dollars More; Free Fire
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #3 (i.e. 13, 23, 32): These are hard to find streaming, but Psycho (#33) and Diabolique (#230) are great. The Handmaiden (#233) is on Amazon Prime and it is excellent!
A film from the 1920s: Nosferatu; The Kid; Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
A documentary: Chicken People; Cropsey; Blood Brother; I Am Not Your Negro**; Samsara; 4 Little Girls
The third part on a film franchise: Red Riding In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (Hulu)***; Thor Ragnarok (Netflix)
A film with the word "Spring" in its title: Spring (Shudder)
A film directed by a woman: She-Devil (the combo of Roseanne and Meryl Streep must be seen); The Fits; You Were Never Really Here; Lady Bird; Beyond the Lights; The Hitch-Hiker (50s version)
A film with a woman's name in its title: Heathers; A Fish Called Wanda; Lila Says; Ginger Snaps; Dakota Skye
A film about salesperson or stores (Salesperson Day, March 1): Christmas Again
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, March 5): Double Jeopardy (partly set in N.O.)
A film about math or mathematicians (Pi Day, March 14): Between the Folds
A film from Ireland (St. Patrick's Day, March 17): Breakfast on Pluto; Let Us Prey
A film about aliens or alien abductions (Alien Abduction Day, March 20):Annihilation; The Arrival;this amazing short
A film from Spike Lee (born March 20): 4 Little Girls; When the Levees Broke;

** A MUST SEE!

***You'll want to watch the other two films first, but they are all excellent. I saw them all in the theater back to back to back (they were all released at the same time in 2009)
Before I tackle Takoma's recommendations, let me catch up on other things.

Terror: That sounds like not one but two Cosby Show episodes. One even tried to do what Junior did years later (and failed). Also, I remember that someone else from Britain hated Everly (maybe Mark Kermode?)

Takoma:
Wait, 3 Identical Strangers can be streamed now? On Prime? Hmm... I might have to take a month off from this to catch up on all the films I need to watch!

For a Few Dollars More could complete my run with the Man with No Name trilogy.

Not sold on Free Fire. But I know some who dug it, so make of that what you will.

Will co-sign on Psycho and Diabolique. The former might surprise, but I did find a lot to like about the film. For the most part.

Nosferatu is a fine choice. Although I wasn't keen on Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I did get a good education out of the film so there's that.

I Am Not Your Negro is a good one as well. Was 50/50 on 4 Little Girls but ultimately went with Spike's first film instead.

She Devil is best remembered for the fact that Roseanne was never meant to be on the big screen. And that Meryl has a nice knack for comedy.

The Fits should be seen by all. It also fits (see what I did there) the EF category as well.

Beyond the Lights is another fine one. It may work a bit better as a showbiz drama than as a romance, but that's my two cents worth.

If you haven't seen Heathers or A Fish Called Wanda, see them please.

I keep forgetting about Christmas, Again. It had some solid critical acclaim, but I can't seem to pull the trigger. It does sound a bit like All is Bright, though.

Can't recommend Double Jeopardy. The legality of the premise took me out of the film which only works as a star vehicle.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:03 am

Apex Predator wrote: Takoma:
Wait, 3 Identical Strangers can be streamed now? On Prime? Hmm... I might have to take a month off from this to catch up on all the films I need to watch!
Wait--sorry. It's on Hulu. I was so excited that I forgot to make a note of that.
For a Few Dollars More could complete my run with the Man with No Name trilogy.
For whatever it's worth, For a Few Dollars More is hands-down my favorite of the trilogy.
I Am Not Your Negro is a good one as well. Was 50/50 on 4 Little Girls but ultimately went with Spike's first film instead.
4 Little Girls is an amazing documentary and I think it should be much more widely seen.
She Devil is best remembered for the fact that Roseanne was never meant to be on the big screen. And that Meryl has a nice knack for comedy.
There's a part in She-Devil where Meryl Streep absentmindedly pulls a gummy bear out of her hair and dejectedly eats it. I thought it was hilarious when I was like 10 and I think it's hilarious now.
I keep forgetting about Christmas, Again. It had some solid critical acclaim, but I can't seem to pull the trigger. It does sound a bit like All is Bright, though.
Have you seen Sun Don't Shine? It also stars Kentucker Audley and I find him oddly compelling.
Can't recommend Double Jeopardy. The legality of the premise took me out of the film which only works as a star vehicle.
Shut your mouth! Double Jeopardy is awesome, and it pairs nicely with Kiss the Girls for an "Ashley Judd kicks butt" double feature. Plus, Tommy Lee Jones. Plus Roma Maffia (who was also in Kiss the Girls). Plus some adorably dated scenes of characters using THE INTERNET.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:01 am

Takoma1 wrote:A film directed by a woman:
Madeline's Madeline, Takoma. On Prime.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:55 pm

Jinnistan wrote: Madeline's Madeline, Takoma. On Prime.
I'll add it to my possibles list (really don't like Miranda July, but do really like Molly Parker).

For that category I've been looking at Leave No Trace, Hysteria, and Movern Callar.
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