Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:58 pm

A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14)
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13):

Gandahar (1987)

This is the third and final feature from Rene Laloux (of Fantastic Planet fame). An army of black robots that otherwise look exactly like Iron Man are terrorizing the peaceful Gandaharians, petrifying them with their laser beams and carrying the corpses into a giant sentient brain-thingy. Queen Ambisextra (yes, her real name) sends her son to investigate and he is the hero of our tale. Some time-travelling happens and then some other stuff, but I'm mostly here for the eye candy and this delivers the goods.

Image

Much like Fantastic Planet, this one deals with a pretty simple plot but dresses it up with gorgeous backgrounds, weird/funny creatures, and a very deliberate pace that is very much at odds with most animated films. Less hearty viewers may find themselves dozing off. There is also a US version entitled Light Years, with well-known actors providing the voices (Glenn Close, among others) but I watched the original French version because I'm awesome. I can recommend this to any FP fans out there. There's multiple versions on Youtube of watchable quality.

More eye candy:
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:00 am

Captain Terror wrote:A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14)
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13):

Gandahar (1987)

This is the third and final feature from Rene Laloux (of Fantastic Planet fame). An army of black robots that otherwise look exactly like Iron Man are terrorizing the peaceful Gandaharians, petrifying them with their laser beams and carrying the corpses into a giant sentient brain-thingy. Queen Ambisextra (yes, her real name) sends her son to investigate and he is the hero of our tale. Some time-travelling happens and then some other stuff, but I'm mostly here for the eye candy and this delivers the goods.

Image

Much like Fantastic Planet, this one deals with a pretty simple plot but dresses it up with gorgeous backgrounds, weird/funny creatures, and a very deliberate pace that is very much at odds with most animated films. Less hearty viewers may find themselves dozing off. There is also a US version entitled Light Years, with well-known actors providing the voices (Glenn Close, among others) but I watched the original French version because I'm awesome. I can recommend this to any FP fans out there. There's multiple versions on Youtube of watchable quality.

More eye candy:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Sounds really fun!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:31 am

A Biblical film: Esther and the King

So this film was a pleasant surprise (and I'd recommend it to others who are struggling with this category as I often do). I'm not really into bible films, as they combine a lot of genres I'm not a huge fan of: historical, big-scale prestige pics, religious stories, etc. Also, I felt no guilt in slightly tuning out the longer battle sequence--I got two insurance claims completed and read a chapter for a book study--which let me just really be focused on the story elements.

In this film, Esther is a young woman who is engaged to be married to soldier Simon. Meanwhile, the king is struggling to deal with his unfaithful wife, Vashti. A scheming official, Haman, seizes the opportunity to murder Vashti and plans to position a woman of his choosing as the new queen. Things don't quite go to plan when a cull of the prettiest gals in the land results in Esther being brought to the king. He chooses her as a potential wife, and then Haman must continue to scheme in order to push through mass murder of the jews and take control of the kingdom.

Phew!

The film held my interest through a mix of action, thriller elements, and even some humor. To begin with, the film contains several scenes of sudden, shocking violence to demonstrate the danger and ruthlessness of Haman and his co-conspirators. At one point, Esther is gifted a golden cloak (more on this later), and Haman orders a henchman to kill the woman in the gold cloak. When another woman up for consideration steals the cloak, she is mistakenly pulled into a dark corner of a hallway by the henchman and brutally strangled. The castle is a dangerous place for the women who have been summoned--and there is a distressing sense of their powerlessness as both their enemies and the "nice guys" order them around and make decisions about their lives with no concern for their well-being. In one scene, Esther and two other girls are "gifted" to some guards to be raped and then passed around to other regiments. The king happens upon this and fights off the guards (who do not recognize the king in his wrestling attire), but then just walks away without comment to the women or having taken any measures to make sure they won't befall the same fate while trying to return to their rooms.

Then there was the occasional and very welcome humor to the film. Some of it is more obvious, such as when Esther displays modesty . . . and is immediately rewarded with, "Here, you are modest. Please, put on this garish golden cloak!". But there's also a knowing humor to the way that Haman frequently tries to manipulate events (often trying to get someone executed) by quoting only parts of the law. The king is constantly having to prompt him to "finish the saying," and the film seems to be making a point about the way that knowledge of the law allows for manipulation when others are not in the know.

Finally, the film does a pretty good job with its central love triangle. Esther loves Simon, but she also begins to feel genuine affection for the king (especially after he tells her that he wants her for a wife but will give her a week to decide if she agrees or if she wants to go home). Esther loves both men in different ways, and the film does a good job of showing this without making it seem like Esther is betraying Simon. The film does cop out on this in the final act, but it makes for some decent dramatic tension as Esther struggles not only with her own desires and feelings, but also with the knowledge that the king is being manipulated and without her there might not be anyone to speak the truth to him.

Overall, not bad. Bava is credited as a co-director, and I feel like the lurid murders and use of color is what most speaks to his style.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:30 am

A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Every Day

Watching a film based on a book you really like? Dangerous.

I read David Levithan's novel about 5 years ago and thought it was pretty great.While the film cuts out a lot of content from the book, I actually think that this was a pretty good adaptation.

Here's the general plot: A person, known only as A, is a 16 year old being who wakes up every morning in a new body. It's always someone A's age, and always someone in the general vicinity of the last body. Never the same person twice. Only for 24 hours. While in the body of a teen boy named Justin, A falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon, and the next day A breaks their own rules and goes back to interact with Rhiannon again. Finally telling Rhiannon the truth, the two struggle to find a way to be together when A is a different person each day.

Generally speaking, I liked the film. The characters are all realistic and for the most part likable. There aren't any one-dimensional villains. The many, many different actors who play A all do a really good job of portraying a consistent character, and the actress playing Rhiannon does a good job of keeping a similar rapport with all the different actors. The film brings in a diverse range of characters for A to embody, and there's a nicely subtle message about sexuality in terms of Rhiannon loving A for who A is and not for the body A inhabits.

Having read the book, I did have a few issues with how the film portrayed certain elements. I didn't mind at all that they completely cut a subplot about one of A's previous "bodies" trying to track him down, or that they totally cut another subplot about A possibly tracking down another being with similar "powers". I was also glad that they kept the novel's ending intact and didn't go a more "Hollywood" route with it.

I did mind the following:

1) The film shifts the main point of view to Rhiannon. What you lose here is the multiple sequences in the novel showing A in different bodies and how A reacts. In the novel we get to see A experience life in the body of an obese teen, a girl who has a drug addiction, a young man in an abusive home life, and so on. The film does show one sequence where A lands in a young woman who is suicidal and doesn't know what to do. I appreciated this, but I really liked those sequences in the text and missed them in the film.

2) In the novel, it's made very clear that A tries to have minimal impact on the lives of the teens they possess. A doesn't try to "fix" people (like making the obese teen work out), and really tries not to mess up their schedules. This meticulous work slowly comes unhinged after A meets Rhiannon. But because the film puts their meeting right at the beginning, it gives the impression that A just plays fast and loose with other people's bodies. This makes A a lot less likable.

3) I didn't think that the film did as good a job as the book in terms of addressing the issues of consent that naturally arise. It was hard to tell from the film if A and Rhiannon were meant to have had sex or just done some making out, but it's still kind of gross that A is using the bodies of other teen boys and girls for sexual activity without their permission. While there is still some sexual activity between the two in the novel, it is extensively discussed as a moral dilemma, while in the film they never seem to question it.

4) The book goes out of its way to not just have A always ending up in sexy people. The film has a bunch of different body types, genders, and ethnicities, but all of the people of color are used in more platonic sequences, while whenever A and Rhiannon are getting romantic it's when A is in the body of a more attractive white male. It felt like the movie wanted things both ways: have a diverse cast AND basically just tell a story about two hot white people falling in love. The result is to make A feel much more gendered as a male, which undercuts the fascinating premise that A has lived an entire life alternating between genders, races, social classes, etc. There are some nice touches (such as the fact that A is good at putting on makeup and knows about women's fashion and casually mentions having been "a lot of boyfriends and a lot of girlfriends"), but you can feel the film's gravity pulling A into being presented as being more "truly" male.

Anyway, of course there are going to be a lot of nitpicks when a book is adapted. For all of my complaints, I still thought that this was a fun, unique story and I was pleased with how they brought it to the screen. Definitely recommended (though I'd recommend the book even more).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:21 am

Takoma1 wrote:A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13): Every Day
I haven't read this but it seems almost impossible to adapt so I guess it's a minor miracle that they pulled it off at all, flaws or no flaws.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:04 am

Captain Terror wrote:
I haven't read this but it seems almost impossible to adapt so I guess it's a minor miracle that they pulled it off at all, flaws or no flaws.
I'd highly recommend the book (and it's super quick to read--I think I read it in like two days). It was almost hard to critique the film, because I had so much background on the character of A. To the film's credit, it just straight up dumps you into the action. Later on there's a little bit of exposition, but because the movie hits Rhiannon's point of view more frequently, the audience is left to figure out A's deal mostly on their own for the first 20 minutes or so. I was honestly shocked (but pleasantly surprised) that the film wasn't done with a constant voice-over by the character of A. Then again, that would require assigning A a "true voice," and a huge part of the character is that A's race/gender/sexuality are unknown.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:06 am

A B-movie: Hobgoblins

Bad, bad, bad. And 95% of that wasn't fun-bad, just "why?" bad.

Strange little aliens induce people to hallucinate that they're living out a fantasy, and then those people die in the fantasy or something. It was so hard to care.

Maybe with a group of friends to thoroughly mock it would be fun. But just watching it by myself was a huge slog.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:53 am

Takoma1 wrote:A B-movie: Hobgoblins

Bad, bad, bad. And 95% of that wasn't fun-bad, just "why?" bad.

Strange little aliens induce people to hallucinate that they're living out a fantasy, and then those people die in the fantasy or something. It was so hard to care.

Maybe with a group of friends to thoroughly mock it would be fun. But just watching it by myself was a huge slog.
"It's the 80's..."



To this day, that is probably still THE worst movie I've ever seen on MST, and that's saying something; I actually felt like Rick Sloane actively hated ME personally when he made it, and targeted it to torture me specifically. Just fucking... ugh.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:52 am

Captain Terror wrote:A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14)
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13):

Gandahar (1987)

This is the third and final feature from Rene Laloux (of Fantastic Planet fame). An army of black robots that otherwise look exactly like Iron Man are terrorizing the peaceful Gandaharians, petrifying them with their laser beams and carrying the corpses into a giant sentient brain-thingy. Queen Ambisextra (yes, her real name) sends her son to investigate and he is the hero of our tale. Some time-travelling happens and then some other stuff, but I'm mostly here for the eye candy and this delivers the goods.

Image

Much like Fantastic Planet, this one deals with a pretty simple plot but dresses it up with gorgeous backgrounds, weird/funny creatures, and a very deliberate pace that is very much at odds with most animated films. Less hearty viewers may find themselves dozing off. There is also a US version entitled Light Years, with well-known actors providing the voices (Glenn Close, among others) but I watched the original French version because I'm awesome. I can recommend this to any FP fans out there. There's multiple versions on Youtube of watchable quality.

More eye candy:
Image
Image
Image
Image
This looks so me.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:23 pm

Wooley wrote: This looks so me.
Oh yes. An easy recommendation for a Heavy Metal fan. His second film Time Masters is also great but it's much harder to find a decent copy of that one.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:13 pm

I want to warn everyone that Strangerland is now on Prime and to avoid it at all cost.

Except maybe Rumpled. He might like things about it.

I ended up choosing April Morning (on Prime) as my Revolutionary War movie. Featuring Rip Torn, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chad Lowe at his Chad Lowiest, for whatever that's worth. And ha-ha, it's based on a book so I guess Silver Linings Playbook is out. :P

As for B-Movie, went with a B-Movie horror from Netflix's pile...which should prove interesting when I get down to it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:18 pm

Captain Terror wrote:A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H
A film featuring robots prominently (Nat'l Robotics Week, April 6-14)
A film based on a book/novel (Nat'l Library Week, April 7-13):

Gandahar (1987)

This is the third and final feature from Rene Laloux (of Fantastic Planet fame). An army of black robots that otherwise look exactly like Iron Man are terrorizing the peaceful Gandaharians, petrifying them with their laser beams and carrying the corpses into a giant sentient brain-thingy. Queen Ambisextra (yes, her real name) sends her son to investigate and he is the hero of our tale. Some time-travelling happens and then some other stuff, but I'm mostly here for the eye candy and this delivers the goods.

Image

Much like Fantastic Planet, this one deals with a pretty simple plot but dresses it up with gorgeous backgrounds, weird/funny creatures, and a very deliberate pace that is very much at odds with most animated films. Less hearty viewers may find themselves dozing off. There is also a US version entitled Light Years, with well-known actors providing the voices (Glenn Close, among others) but I watched the original French version because I'm awesome. I can recommend this to any FP fans out there. There's multiple versions on Youtube of watchable quality.
I guess I'm going to be the one that wasn't a big fan of FP. I dug the visuals, but its story left things to be desired.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:36 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
I guess I'm going to be the one that wasn't a big fan of FP. I dug the visuals, but its story left things to be desired.
That's fair. Having seen it countless times I'd be hard-pressed to describe the plot to anyone. As I said earlier, the eye candy is enough to make it worthwhile for me. These are like progressive rock album covers come to life. I acknowledge that appeal is limited, so I wouldn't recommend these to just anyone.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:42 am

A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Marlena the Murderer in Four Acts

So I had never heard of this film and I'd imagine that most of you have never heard of this film, but I would highly encourage you to check it out.

A man on a motorbike, Markus, arrives at a desolate, rural hut/home. He asks the woman inside where her husband is, and she replies that he'll be home soon. "But isn't that his body in the corner?" he asks. Marlina, the woman, has been keeping her husband's death a secret, but the local men have figured out that she is alone. Markus calmly tells Marlina that he has a bunch more friends on the way, and that they are going to take her livestock and rape her (and also suggests that she get dinner going). Marlina takes extreme actions to save her own life, but she is then pursued by the friends and family members of the men she has injured.

This film, made and set in Indonesia, was really interesting (and also horrifying). It is modern, and yet the treatment of its characters (and in particular its female characters) seems like it should be from a different century. When Marlina makes it to a police station to report her rape, the officer taking her statement asks her why she "let" Markus rape her. He then tells her that she'll need a rape exam, but that the police won't have the rape kits until the next month.

Through her journeys, Marlina is sometimes assisted by a heavily pregnant (10 months!) friend, who is physically abused by her husband and casually accused of infidelity because of an old saying about how breech births mean that the woman has cheated on her husband.

The film repeatedly highlights the interactions that Marlina has with other women: the pregnant friend, a little girl working in a cafe, and an older woman who climbs aboard a truck that Marlina has hijacked ("Come sit back here with us," she says, seeing Marlina holding a machete to the driver's throat, "Isn't your arm getting tired?"). Aside from the men who attack Marlina, the men in the film aren't particularly evil, but they are almost uniformly indifferent to Marlina's precarious and vulnerable position.

I thought that this was a really interesting film. The juxtoposition of more modern technology (all the characters have cell phones) with the brutal rural storyline (it's almost a day's journey to the nearest police officer) was startling.

Considering the bleak premise and horrifying victimization of the main character, this film wasn't as soul-destroying as the first 20 minutes led me to believe it might be. On Amazon Prime and highly recommended.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:46 am

Apex Predator wrote:
I guess I'm going to be the one that wasn't a big fan of FP. I dug the visuals, but its story left things to be desired.
I think I was too young, 12-13, but already smoking weed, to have had any sense of the story. It was all just kind of a cool trip for a teenager, ya know.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:08 am

Takoma1 wrote:A film with the number 4 (Four, Fourth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Marlena the Murderer in Four Acts

So I had never heard of this film and I'd imagine that most of you have never heard of this film, but I would highly encourage you to check it out.

A man on a motorbike, Markus, arrives at a desolate, rural hut/home. He asks the woman inside where her husband is, and she replies that he'll be home soon. "But isn't that his body in the corner?" he asks. Marlina, the woman, has been keeping her husband's death a secret, but the local men have figured out that she is alone. Markus calmly tells Marlina that he has a bunch more friends on the way, and that they are going to take her livestock and rape her (and also suggests that she get dinner going). Marlina takes extreme actions to save her own life, but she is then pursued by the friends and family members of the men she has injured.

This film, made and set in Indonesia, was really interesting (and also horrifying). It is modern, and yet the treatment of its characters (and in particular its female characters) seems like it should be from a different century. When Marlina makes it to a police station to report her rape, the officer taking her statement asks her why she "let" Markus rape her. He then tells her that she'll need a rape exam, but that the police won't have the rape kits until the next month.

Through her journeys, Marlina is sometimes assisted by a heavily pregnant (10 months!) friend, who is physically abused by her husband and casually accused of infidelity because of an old saying about how breech births mean that the woman has cheated on her husband.

The film repeatedly highlights the interactions that Marlina has with other women: the pregnant friend, a little girl working in a cafe, and an older woman who climbs aboard a truck that Marlina has hijacked ("Come sit back here with us," she says, seeing Marlina holding a machete to the driver's throat, "Isn't your arm getting tired?"). Aside from the men who attack Marlina, the men in the film aren't particularly evil, but they are almost uniformly indifferent to Marlina's precarious and vulnerable position.

I thought that this was a really interesting film. The juxtoposition of more modern technology (all the characters have cell phones) with the brutal rural storyline (it's almost a day's journey to the nearest police officer) was startling.

Considering the bleak premise and horrifying victimization of the main character, this film wasn't as soul-destroying as the first 20 minutes led me to believe it might be. On Amazon Prime and highly recommended.
I was supposed to see this at a festival last year but because of some stupid mistake, I missed out on it. Have been trying to get a hold of it since.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:52 pm

Since you're all so great, I'd like some solid recommendations for the 1930s film; maybe one that can help me clear some blind spots. Going by Letterboxd "popularity" and the IMDb Top 250, these are the Top 20 films I "should" see...

Modern Times
City Lights
It Happened One Night (also rec by Death Proof)
Bringing Up Baby
The Rules of the Game
Freaks
Duck Soup
Grand Illusion
Vampyr
L'Atalante
The Invisible Man
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Scarface
Trouble in Paradise
The Mummy
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thin Man
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
L'Age D'Or

The ones in bold are the ones I might be more drawn to. Tak also recommended White Zombie and someone in another forum recommended Angels with Dirty Faces, which also seems to be up my alley.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:12 pm

Thief wrote:Since you're all so great, I'd like some solid recommendations for the 1930s film; maybe one that can help me clear some blind spots. Going by Letterboxd "popularity" and the IMDb Top 250, these are the Top 20 films I "should" see...

Modern Times
City Lights
It Happened One Night (also rec by Death Proof)
Bringing Up Baby
The Rules of the Game
Freaks
Duck Soup
Grand Illusion
Vampyr
L'Atalante
The Invisible Man
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Scarface
Trouble in Paradise
The Mummy
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thin Man
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
L'Age D'Or

The ones in bold are the ones I might be more drawn to. Tak also recommended White Zombie and someone in another forum recommended Angels with Dirty Faces, which also seems to be up my alley.
Wow, those are all great so the obvious answer is all of them, but to keep things simple I'll just suggest that you move Robin Hood into the bold category. One of my all-time favorites that I've watched a hundred times and never fails to leave me in a state of utter joy. One of the best examples of old-time Hollywood firing on all cylinders. (See the gorgeous bluray print if possible, or stream in HD or whatever. The colors are eye-popping.)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:39 pm

Thief wrote:Since you're all so great, I'd like some solid recommendations for the 1930s film; maybe one that can help me clear some blind spots. Going by Letterboxd "popularity" and the IMDb Top 250, these are the Top 20 films I "should" see...

Modern Times
City Lights
It Happened One Night (also rec by Death Proof)
Bringing Up Baby
The Rules of the Game
Freaks
Duck Soup
Grand Illusion
Vampyr
L'Atalante
The Invisible Man
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Scarface
Trouble in Paradise
The Mummy
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thin Man
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
L'Age D'Or

The ones in bold are the ones I might be more drawn to. Tak also recommended White Zombie and someone in another forum recommended Angels with Dirty Faces, which also seems to be up my alley.
My recs on the list:
It Happened One Night---Some fine scenes if you can get past some of the misogyny.
Bringing Up Baby---Classic screwball comedy. Big laughs plus Swinging Door Susie.
Freaks---If you're into horror, this one's definitely a must. Home of the Gooba Gabba.
Duck Soup---Top tier Marx Brothers with some great laughs and some of the happenings just might hit home.
The Invisible Man---Nifty special effects featured in this film that straddles between thriller and horror.
The Thin Man---Another classic comedy; this one features brilliant chemistry and a party that wraps things up.
White Zombie---If you're not all zombied out, this offers a different take on the legend and a classic Lugosi performance.

Others I'd mention (maybe you've seen these):
Frankenstein---One of the classic horror movies.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington---Politics and the battle between idealism and cynicism.
Grand Hotel---Star studded cast in a story where "nothing much happens".
Stagecoach---Another classic trope (bunch of strangers travelling together) realized featuring a first class performance from Wayne and a touching performance by Trevor.
39 Steps---I think Takoma recommended this one; solid thriller from Hitchcock featuring an interesting third act and some running/hiding.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:09 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
My recs on the list:
It Happened One Night---Some fine scenes if you can get past some of the misogyny.
Bringing Up Baby---Classic screwball comedy. Big laughs plus Swinging Door Susie.
Freaks---If you're into horror, this one's definitely a must. Home of the Gooba Gabba.
Duck Soup---Top tier Marx Brothers with some great laughs and some of the happenings just might hit home.
The Invisible Man---Nifty special effects featured in this film that straddles between thriller and horror.
The Thin Man---Another classic comedy; this one features brilliant chemistry and a party that wraps things up.
White Zombie---If you're not all zombied out, this offers a different take on the legend and a classic Lugosi performance.

Others I'd mention (maybe you've seen these):
Frankenstein---One of the classic horror movies.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington---Politics and the battle between idealism and cynicism.
Grand Hotel---Star studded cast in a story where "nothing much happens".
Stagecoach---Another classic trope (bunch of strangers travelling together) realized featuring a first class performance from Wayne and a touching performance by Trevor.
39 Steps---I think Takoma recommended this one; solid thriller from Hitchcock featuring an interesting third act and some running/hiding.
Thanks for the tidbits. As for the last bunch, the only one I haven't seen is Grand Hotel, which I also have in mind as far as watching all the BP winners, so I'll chalk it up a notch.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:49 pm

Thief wrote:Since you're all so great, I'd like some solid recommendations for the 1930s film; maybe one that can help me clear some blind spots. Going by Letterboxd "popularity" and the IMDb Top 250, these are the Top 20 films I "should" see...

Modern Times
City Lights
It Happened One Night (also rec by Death Proof)
Bringing Up Baby
The Rules of the Game
Freaks
Duck Soup
Grand Illusion
Vampyr
L'Atalante
The Invisible Man
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Scarface
Trouble in Paradise
The Mummy
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thin Man
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
L'Age D'Or

The ones in bold are the ones I might be more drawn to. Tak also recommended White Zombie and someone in another forum recommended Angels with Dirty Faces, which also seems to be up my alley.
I won't even pretend it's close for me. Freaks all the way.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:34 am

Slentert wrote: I was supposed to see this at a festival last year but because of some stupid mistake, I missed out on it. Have been trying to get a hold of it since.
I really liked it. There was a balance between humor and tragedy that helped keep it from turning into misery porn. It's a dark humor, to be sure, but the story had this interesting dynamic where it had kind of a slow pace, and yet there was this compelling momentum to it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:19 pm

A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): The Rake

So, imagine Oculus, only . . . not good.

In this film, Ben and his sister, Ashley, are at home with their parents on Christmas Eve. Ben catches his father, a psychiatrist, watching an interview with a deranged man who claims to be possessed by a creature called the Rake. We're given a little exposition dump about the Rake being a sort of monster "parasite" that "infects" people and then kills. Later that night, the deranged man comes to the house and kills the mother and father before removing his own eyes and cutting his own throat in front of the children.

Flash forward to years later. Ashley has been in and out of mental hospitals. For reasons I did not understand and did not care to rewind to figure out, Ashley's foster sister (or something) is pregnant with her husband David. Ashley comes to stay with them, as does Ben and his wife, along with some other couple who are just there to be murdered. Ashley begins having visions and Ben starts to believe that his sister's rantings are not just figments of a damaged imagination.

This could have been an interesting film (again, echoes of the "siblings returning to process and revenge parents' death" plot from Oculus), but it's attempts to have serious moments come off as more exploitative than deep. There are several discussions about abortion, but we are shown imagery of basically a fully-grown fetus in pieces. But at the same time that the film is building abortion up as a horrible specter, it's also going on and on about how the Rake "wants" the unborn babies. This could feel like one of those "damned either way" predicaments, but instead it feels like the film is just enjoying trotting out the grisly imagery and nauseating implications of babies being harmed.

The core trio of characters (Ben, Ashley, and Nicole, the pregnant foster sister) are actually pretty sympathetic, but the characters of David and Ben's wife are cartoonish and entirely unappealing. Watching David berate Ashley over and over again makes it feel very odd that Nicole is in love with him.

Ultimately, this is a film without much logic. The creature effects are actually pretty good, but the movie just doesn't ever gel. There's no clear direction to it. With even a little thought, the monster itself doesn't seem to make much sense. This one had some moments of potential, but it lacks coherence and the ending just marches right into an obvious foregone conclusion.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:30 pm

Takoma1 wrote:A film prominently featuring siblings (Siblings Day, April 10): The Rake

So, imagine Oculus, only . . . not good.

In this film, Ben and his sister, Ashley, are at home with their parents on Christmas Eve. Ben catches his father, a psychiatrist, watching an interview with a deranged man who claims to be possessed by a creature called the Rake. We're given a little exposition dump about the Rake being a sort of monster "parasite" that "infects" people and then kills. Later that night, the deranged man comes to the house and kills the mother and father before removing his own eyes and cutting his own throat in front of the children.

Flash forward to years later. Ashley has been in and out of mental hospitals. For reasons I did not understand and did not care to rewind to figure out, Ashley's foster sister (or something) is pregnant with her husband David. Ashley comes to stay with them, as does Ben and his wife, along with some other couple who are just there to be murdered. Ashley begins having visions and Ben starts to believe that his sister's rantings are not just figments of a damaged imagination.

This could have been an interesting film (again, echoes of the "siblings returning to process and revenge parents' death" plot from Oculus), but it's attempts to have serious moments come off as more exploitative than deep. There are several discussions about abortion, but we are shown imagery of basically a fully-grown fetus in pieces. But at the same time that the film is building abortion up as a horrible specter, it's also going on and on about how the Rake "wants" the unborn babies. This could feel like one of those "damned either way" predicaments, but instead it feels like the film is just enjoying trotting out the grisly imagery and nauseating implications of babies being harmed.

The core trio of characters (Ben, Ashley, and Nicole, the pregnant foster sister) are actually pretty sympathetic, but the characters of David and Ben's wife are cartoonish and entirely unappealing. Watching David berate Ashley over and over again makes it feel very odd that Nicole is in love with him.

Ultimately, this is a film without much logic. The creature effects are actually pretty good, but the movie just doesn't ever gel. There's no clear direction to it. With even a little thought, the monster itself doesn't seem to make much sense. This one had some moments of potential, but it lacks coherence and the ending just marches right into an obvious foregone conclusion.

Is there a scene where someone wakes up to the creature at the end of the bed?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:56 pm

Charles wrote:

Is there a scene where someone wakes up to the creature at the end of the bed?
Not that I remember, but maybe? There's a decent scene where Ashley follows the creature out into the woods. To be entirely honest I started writing lesson plans about halfway through and didn't see everything on screen.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:46 am

Some quickies on the first 5 watches of the month...

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Overall competent, but ultimately unremarkable. The film follows the formula, but does little to separate itself from the first Avengers, or any other superhero film for that matter.

The Hateful Eight (2015) Solid film, despite some slight unevenness in its pace. Most of the performances are great, and Tarantino's dialogue is snappy and fun, but it doesn't bring it up to my QT Top 5.

Three Identical Strangers (2018) Powerful documentary about three brothers separated at birth and adopted by three different families. Seamlessly transitions from light fun to infuriating indignation, while asking how far should we allow our institutions to go for the sake of "science".

Cold War (2018) Bleak and depressing story about love, and perhaps the idea of love, in the aftermath of war. Beautifully shot and neatly acted.

Safety Last! (1923) Hilariously funny comedy about appearances and trying to make ends meet. My first Harold Lloyd film, and it was impressive to see how much control he has of his physicality.


Potential next films: Lifeboat (boat), Risen (Biblical), and Persepolis (Iran). Will try to find Freaks (1930s) and Stalker (IMDb) as well.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:48 am

Thief wrote:Three Identical Strangers (2018) Powerful documentary about three brothers separated at birth and adopted by three different families. Seamlessly transitions from light fun to infuriating indignation, while asking how far should we allow our institutions to go for the sake of "science".
It's pretty excellent. And, as you note, the tonal shifts are really something else.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:58 am

Thief wrote:Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Overall competent, but ultimately unremarkable. The film follows the formula, but does little to separate itself from the first Avengers, or any other superhero film for that matter.
While I admit that Ultron was a fundamentally inconsequential, disposable entry in the MCU, I still kind of enjoyed it, moreso than the fairly generic, overrated original actually, as I felt like it had more moments of actual personality, like the unexpectedly dark/surreal visions (no, not THAT Vision...) that Scarlet (no, not THAT "Scarlet"t) Witch planted in the various heroes' heads, giving us some rare, more visually expressive/evocative insight into their individual fears & desires, a couple of surprisingly exciting action scenes like the Hulkbuster fight or the big chase in South Korea, or this sequence showcasing Ultron's 'birth" in a surprisingly abstract, stylish manner:



And yes, it was lame that Ultron's arc was the typical Terminator/Matrix "self-aware machines" premise where he went back-and-forth between just wanting to destroy The Avengers and then the entire human race with little rhyme or reason for why, but Spader sounded like he was having so much fun being Tony Stark's evil metallica child that I couldn't help but have a bit of fun myself, y'know?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:30 pm

Thief wrote: Potential next films: Lifeboat (boat), Risen (Biblical), and Persepolis (Iran). Will try to find Freaks (1930s) and Stalker (IMDb) as well.
Looks like we can compare notes on Risen (probably seeing that one this weekend...rain being in the forecast and all). Persepolis is pretty good.

Also looks like I got some other gems to get through later on (when? dunno).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:46 pm

Thief wrote: Safety Last! (1923) Hilariously funny comedy about appearances and trying to make ends meet. My first Harold Lloyd film, and it was impressive to see how much control he has of his physicality.
One thing I like about Lloyd's films is that they give a glimpse of what life was like for a handsome young fella in the Jazz Age, as opposed to the usually-downtrodden Chaplin, Keaton, L&H, etc. I love all of them of course, but I just appreciate the different perspective that Lloyd offered. (If I'm not mistaken, Safety Last finds him in need of money, so I guess this would be a bad example but you get what I mean. He's rarely, if ever, portraying a literal tramp.)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:29 am

A film from the 1930s: Nothing Sacred

I'm sure anyone who watches older films is familiar with that mental distancing that you have to do in terms of some of the (from our modern view) pretty messed up social/cultural dynamics on display.

In some films, these unpleasant elements are relatively minor and the film overall so charming that you can largely let them go. Think Casablanca.

Nothing Sacred ain't no Casablanca.

It's a shame, because the premise is actually quite interesting. A young woman named Hazel (Carole Lombard) is erroneously diagnosed with radium poisoning. A New York reporter, Wally (Fredric March), goes to her small town to get her story for his newspaper. On the day he arrives, Hazel finds out that she is not dying after all. Offered a trip to New York, Hazel allows Wally to believe that she's ill. Pretty soon, all of New York is essentially rubbernecking at the "dying" woman. As Wally begins to fall in love with Hazel, she begins to feel the pressure of her deception.

There's huge potential in this story, and the film does score some dark points in terms of how much the wealthy people of the city love starring teary-eyed at the "dying little girl". It's essentially a critique of "reality culture" and misery porn. Lombard shows some good comedic timing with her role. There are also some pretty funny risque jokes. At one point, Wally needs to help Hazel fake a fever. He says, "Hmm. We need to raise your pulse to 160. Quick. We gotta have you gasping and panting and covered in sweat." His solution of course is that they . . . fight.

And yet.

The film is funny, but it's not amazing. So when the wide-eyed black character pops up (not once, but twice), it easily pulls the film into awkward territory. The shame of it is that the actor delivers a few lines without the exaggerated dialect, and he's really funny! Also, he's the only black person in the whole film and he's a liar and a thief and specifically he goes to rob a woman he thinks is dying. Hm.

And back to that fight that they have to raise her pulse. I don't know. The sight of a man repeatedly (and very hands-on-boobs) pushing a woman down on a bed, throwing her around, and ultimately even punching her in the face never rises to the level of slapstick mania that would make it funny instead of kind of creepy. Combined with the fact that he's genuinely angry with her in the moment, it feels pretty icky.

Finally, I just felt kind of grossed out in general by the premise. Yes, the film is critiquing people who are using a dying woman for amusement/diversion, but Hazel lies to get money and attention and free meals. We learn early in the film that there are several women who are dying of radium poisoning, and so Hazel using their suffering for basically a free vacation makes it really hard to enjoy her as a protagonist.

It's a film that has its moments. But for every genuine laugh, there was a racist or sexist cringe following swiftly on its heels.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:35 pm

Thief wrote:Since you're all so great, I'd like some solid recommendations for the 1930s film; maybe one that can help me clear some blind spots. Going by Letterboxd "popularity" and the IMDb Top 250, these are the Top 20 films I "should" see...

Modern Times
City Lights
It Happened One Night (also rec by Death Proof)
Bringing Up Baby
The Rules of the Game
Freaks
Duck Soup
Grand Illusion
Vampyr
L'Atalante
The Invisible Man
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Scarface
Trouble in Paradise
The Mummy
Only Angels Have Wings
The Thin Man
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
L'Age D'Or

The ones in bold are the ones I might be more drawn to. Tak also recommended White Zombie and someone in another forum recommended Angels with Dirty Faces, which also seems to be up my alley.
I love White Zombie.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:36 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wow, those are all great so the obvious answer is all of them, but to keep things simple I'll just suggest that you move Robin Hood into the bold category. One of my all-time favorites that I've watched a hundred times and never fails to leave me in a state of utter joy. One of the best examples of old-time Hollywood firing on all cylinders. (See the gorgeous bluray print if possible, or stream in HD or whatever. The colors are eye-popping.)
Agreed. Flynn lives up to his reputation.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:44 pm

Stu wrote:While I admit that Ultron was a fundamentally inconsequential, disposable entry in the MCU, I still kind of enjoyed it, moreso than the fairly generic, overrated original actually, as I felt like it had more moments of actual personality, like the unexpectedly dark/surreal visions (no, not THAT Vision...) that Scarlet (no, not THAT "Scarlet"t) Witch planted in the various heroes' heads, giving us some rare, more visually expressive/evocative insight into their individual fears & desires, a couple of surprisingly exciting action scenes like the Hulkbuster fight or the big chase in South Korea, or this sequence showcasing Ultron's 'birth" in a surprisingly abstract, stylish manner:



And yes, it was lame that Ultron's arc was the typical Terminator/Matrix "self-aware machines" premise where he went back-and-forth between just wanting to destroy The Avengers and then the entire human race with little rhyme or reason for why, but Spader sounded like he was having so much fun being Tony Stark's evil metallica child that I couldn't help but have a bit of fun myself, y'know?
I think this movie was seriously damaged by studio-meddling (pretty well-documented and leading to Whedon's departure after delivering them one of the highest-grossing films in history and the realization of everything they were trying to accomplish). When I watched all the deleted scenes first and then re-watched the film, it was instantly, dramatically improved. And I'm sure there was more. The third act should have been shorter and the second much longer. Still, it has some cool stuff and it really starts to get us into the "Tony Stark is maybe more the problem than the solution" which is integral to the entire franchise.
I can't go with you calling Avengers "generic" though. There was nothing like it before and it has maybe twenty scenes that I think are better than almost anything Nolan ever did (just to pick an example) for the genre, not to mention it sets the tone, really for the entire genre, leaving DC/WB and Fox just flailing behind it trying to sort out how to tell these stories.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:31 pm

Captain Terror wrote: One thing I like about Lloyd's films is that they give a glimpse of what life was like for a handsome young fella in the Jazz Age, as opposed to the usually-downtrodden Chaplin, Keaton, L&H, etc. I love all of them of course, but I just appreciate the different perspective that Lloyd offered. (If I'm not mistaken, Safety Last finds him in need of money, so I guess this would be a bad example but you get what I mean. He's rarely, if ever, portraying a literal tramp.)
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Safety Last!

Watched this one today (on the new Criterion channel!) and enjoyed it. The big set pieces were good, but I also liked the little moments, like when he tips the kid $1 to play along and then finds a way to steal back the dollar.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:16 am

Takoma1 wrote:
A film from Harold Lloyd (born April 20): Safety Last!

Watched this one today (on the new Criterion channel!) and enjoyed it. The big set pieces were good, but I also liked the little moments, like when he tips the kid $1 to play along and then finds a way to steal back the dollar.
There's a lot of little stuff like that that really works. For example, the way he sneaks back into his job and pretends to be attending a client while his boss was looking back, or the different ways he manages to fend off all the angry clients.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:19 am

Stu wrote: And yes, it was lame that Ultron's arc was the typical Terminator/Matrix "self-aware machines" premise where he went back-and-forth between just wanting to destroy The Avengers and then the entire human race with little rhyme or reason for why, but Spader sounded like he was having so much fun being Tony Stark's evil metallica child that I couldn't help but have a bit of fun myself, y'know?
I will probably get on some of my issues with the film later, but I agree about Spader. I liked how he managed to mix a certain robotic and arrogant tone at the same time, without also going full Raymond Reddington.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:28 am

A film mostly set on a boat (Titanic Remembrance Day, April 15): Murder on the High Seas

Is it really a murder mystery if the murder happens with 4 minutes of running time left, and if it's only a mystery for about 30 seconds?

This film is more of a drama/thriller than a mystery. A man named Dick is upset when his father loses a court settlement to a gold-digger seductress named Vera. Determined to prove that his father is innocent, Dick concocts a plan to be on the same cruise ship as Vera, pretend to be wealthy, and get her to try to blackmail him.

Various complications ensue, including a Texas millionaire who falls for Vera, a figure from Vera's past showing up unexpectedly on the ship, and Vera's intense partner who pushes her to make yet another score.

About halfway into this film I started to appreciate it. In the beginning, neither Vera nor Dick are particularly appealing leads. She's shown as very superficial, while he has all sorts of charmingly antiquated opinions about women that he's happy to share with anyone and everyone.

But halfway through the movie, as the two begin to feel a mutual attraction, the film kicks into a better gear. We begin to see the way that Vera is tired of her grifting life. No, she's not threatened (explicitly) by her male partner, but you can see that she senses a bad ending coming for her. Dick, for his part, becomes more interesting as he has to reconcile his mission to save his father with the fact that Vera isn't the monster he imagined her to be.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:30 pm

Yes, still January :shifty:

The first film from any director you like


Following (1998)
"Everyone has a box."
Or so tells Cobb, a skilled burglar, to his protegé of his victims' desire for privacy, secrecy, and intimacy. The "boxes" in question are meant to hold not only things that are dear to people, but also things that people feel that represent them and define them. The line might be taken from John Steinbeck's East of Eden, which says "nearly everyone has his box of secret pain, shared with no one". Considering Nolan's frequent literary inspirations, I don't think it's a long shot. The aforementioned thief, Cobb, revels in finding out about people's "secrets" and ultimately, in bringing them out to light, which is the premise of Christopher Nolan's neo-noir, debut film.

Following focuses on the above mentioned protegé (played by Jeremy Theobald), a young, struggling writer that decides to "follow" random people in order to draw inspiration for his writings. Eventually, he finds himself confronted by Cobb (Alex Haw), who takes the young man under his wing not only on a quest to "follow", but to get inside people's lives as they commit a series of seemingly random burglaries and break-ins. Cobb, who doesn't seem to be interested in the material stuff, claims to be more interested in the emotional and psychological effect his burglaries might have on his victims: "You take it away, and show them what they had", he says. The young man ends up caught up in the thrill of it, while also seeking a relationship with one of their victims.

Even though I still haven't seen Interstellar or Dunkirk, and even though I'm not as much of a fan of The Dark Knight trilogy as most people, I still consider myself a fan of Nolan work. I love Memento and The Prestige, and although I haven't revisited them in a while, I enjoyed both Inception and Insomnia a lot. Watching Following, you get a chance to see many of Nolan's frequent themes and ideas come to be. Whether it's the subject of trust, and the trust his characters put in objects and physical things (a picture? a top spin? a journal?), or how most of his characters end up losing themselves, their identities and/or their sanity, as they get deeper and deeper into whatever they're doing.

Following brings all of that to the table, with a finely crafted, broken chronology (which is another Nolan trademark). The echoes of Memento, or rather the impact this one had on it, are fairly evident as the story follows some similar paths of deceit and lies. Theobald and Haw are solid as the leads, but this film relies mostly on its style and structure. Take that away, and you're left with a pretty conventional story. But, much like Cobb, Nolan knows how to draw the unsuspecting viewers inside his web and pull the rug from beneath us in the end, sometimes more than once. And when that happens, you're more or less left like the characters, looking back at everything and wondering how the hell he managed to get the best out of us.

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

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:03 pm

April Morning (1988)
See a film dealing with the Revolutionary War
See a film based on a book


Adam (Chad Lowe) struggles with getting his father Moses (Tommy Lee Jones, good) to like him. But Moses has a lot on his mind. Starting with the fact that there's a town meeting scheduled for later tonight considering Solomon Chandler (Rip Torn) arrived in town beaten and robbed by Redcoats. His good friend Joseph (Robert Urich) is working on the rights of man they plan to send to the British in Boston.

But that meeting, which Adam talks Moses into attending, turns into a call to stand firmly against the British soldiers who are heading towards Lexington. But the tense, if bloodless confrontation ends up taking a notable turn.

Jones is fine as the pacifist father who presumably learned hard work and parenthood from his father, etc. So is Susan Blakely as Sarah, Moses's wife and Adam's mother. The film does manage to touch on the inner conflict between Adam's pacifist upbringing and the very real possibility that war might be on the horizon. And it gives punch to Moses's instructions on how to load a gun (he's being stern because it could mean the difference between life and death).

But the film could have taken better advantage of various drama and conflicts in the plot. Such as...
the idea that nobody confronted Solomon for firing that first shot. It was a real possibility that if he hadn't, the British would probably have just walked past them without anything happening. Considering it led to casualties, I would have thought someone would have said something. But nah.
A perfectly competent, but kind of dull film that somehow manages to not take full advantage of its dramatic moments, April Morning is less "The Shot Heard Round the World" and more Mehvolutionary War.

Next: This plot seems familiar...
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:23 pm

Following is quite good. Pretty effective debut film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:23 am

A film with a title that starts with the letters G or H:
Here Comes Peter Cottontail

So I'm almost 50 and have no children, but every couple of years or so I revisit this childhood favorite. This is a Rankin/Bass stop-motion TV special (the team behind Rudolph, of course), and the main attraction for me is Vincent Price as January Q. Irontail, the evil rabbit who enters an egg-delivering contest against Peter C in order to win the title of Easter Bunny.
This film includes the following:
*Montressor, the giant bat (Edgar Allan Poe reference there)
*Bonnie the talking bonnet
*A caterpillar with a human head, aviator helmet, and French accent
*Santa Claus
*A tarantula piloting a rocket
*Esmerelda the Witch

I'm not sure what any of this has to do with the resurrection of Christ, but it's a lot of fun. :)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:07 pm

Pretty glad I gave Following a shot a few months back in one of these challenges (I think I had to decide between this and Strictly Ballroom). It felt pretty self-assured from a first time director.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:29 pm

Quickies on my mid-month 5 watches...

Lifeboat (1944) This was pretty good. Not top-tier Hitchcock, but maybe within the next two rungs. If anything, it lacked a bit of subtlety, but it was well acted and had a nice pace.

Persepolis (2007) Overall, it was interesting and fun. The animation was clean and neat, and the voice performances were good. However, I really didn't find myself engaged in it.

The Happening (2008) What the fuck was the plan with this? Seriously. I mean, during the first half or so, Shyamalan did manage to convey a nice creepy vibe, but what was up with the performances? the way everybody delivered their lines? and the ending? Don't know what to think of this.

The Tingler (1959) Vincent Price is great and the actress that plays his wife too. I thought it was fun for the most part, but the story does have a weird, abrupt climax that falls a bit under the weight of the gimmick, but you gotta give it to William Castle for trying to bring a whole experience to the theater.

Freaks (1932) Extremely unsettling, but full of good performances and a nice pace for the most part. Unfortunately, you feel the studio cuts in the way the climax abruptly ends, and with the tacked-on ending. Still, I really enjoyed it.


Potential next films: Risen (Biblical), still trying to find Stalker for the IMDb category, and still not sure what to watch for the "book-based", "Fourth" and "American Revolutionary War" categs.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:02 am

Thief wrote:Freaks (1932) Extremely unsettling, but full of good performances and a nice pace for the most part. Unfortunately, you feel the studio cuts in the way the climax abruptly ends, and with the tacked-on ending. Still, I really enjoyed it.
Freaks is one of my top 10 horrors. Maybe even top 5.
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Thief
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:12 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Freaks is one of my top 10 horrors. Maybe even top 5.
It was really great. I only wish we could've seen an unfiltered version.
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Charles
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Charles » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:16 am

Thief wrote:appening[/i] (2008) What the fuck was the plan with this? Seriously. I mean, during the first half or so, Shyamalan did manage to convey a nice creepy vibe, but what was up with the performances? the way everybody delivered their lines? and the ending? Don't know what to think of this.

The Tingler (1959) Vincent Price is great and the actress that plays his wife too. I thought it was fun for the most part, but the story does have a weird, abrupt climax that falls a bit under the weight of the gimmick, but you gotta give it to William Castle for trying to bring a whole experience to the theater.
First you criticize The Happening, then you talk about Gimmicks in The Tingler? How dare you!

Seriously though, when my mom and I watched The Happening, we both found it upfront good at what it did. I saw it twice and I still love it.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:18 am

Thief wrote: The Tingler (1959) Vincent Price is great and the actress that plays his wife too. I thought it was fun for the most part, but the story does have a weird, abrupt climax that falls a bit under the weight of the gimmick, but you gotta give it to William Castle for trying to bring a whole experience to the theater.
One of my "if I had a time machine" fantasies is to see this one in a theater full of teenagers in 1959. The "scream for your life" bit must've gotten pretty rowdy, I'd imagine. :)
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:23 am

Thief wrote:
It was really great. I only wish we could've seen an unfiltered version.
Agreed, but what is there is still so fantastic.

I also like the slightly scandalous vibe to some of it. Like the scene where Venus is talking to Phroso in the bathtub, and her eyeline is clearly directed at a personal area, and the scene continues for quite a while before revealing that Phroso is actually dressed.
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Thief
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:43 am

Charles wrote:
First you criticize The Happening, then you talk about Gimmicks in The Tingler? How dare you!

Seriously though, when my mom and I watched The Happening, we both found it upfront good at what it did. I saw it twice and I still love it.
I think that I should've been more clear in my writeup, but I didn't hate the film. I just found it odd and awkward in its overall execution, specifically as far as the performances go, the dialogue delivery... it was weird. But I kinda liked the eerie vibe, the direction, and most everything else. The ending? well, I just felt that they didn't do nothing with whatever they were building up, so there's that.
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