Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:02 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:52 pm
:up: I thought that was a very fine joke, Tak.
*high five*
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:55 pm

The joke was OK. ;)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:08 pm

Well, after an intense weekend of parenting :D here's a few quickies on the first batch of films I've seen this month...

Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) See review a couple of posts back.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) Since I planned on watching the second one, I decided to revisit this one. Still hold the same opinion; It's a very fun and enjoyable film, despite its lack of originality of novelty. Grade: B+

Seven (1995, rewatch) Even though this is my #2 film of all time, I hadn't seen it in a good while. Being the "seventh" month, I knew I wanted to see it, and it was as great as I remembered it. Great acting and great direction, and the whole last act still packs a punch of tension and dread, even for the umpteenth time. Grade: A+

For a Few Dollars More (1965) I might have to agree with Tak on how good this was. As enjoyable as the first one, but I think I found a bit more depth to it. Lee Van Cleef owned every scene he was in. As for it being better than the third one, I will hold that judgment until I rewatch it. Grade: A-

47 Meters Down (2017) There are some interesting things here and some good execution, but overall, it fails to excel on any aspect. There are some tense moments and some interesting, although not that unexpected, twists but not much else. Grade: C+

The Fate of the Furious (2017) Bonkers. That's the only word I can use to describe this film and maybe the route this franchise has taken. I mean, what other film can have an evil Charlize Theron hacking and controlling a horde of hundreds of "zombie" cars in the middle of Manhattan to chase our heroes? It was crazy fun and probably my second favorite of the franchise. Grade: A-

The Emperor's New Groove (2000) Can you guess why, or with who, I saw this one? ;) Anyway, saw it dubbed in Spanish for the benefit of the kids. It was very fun with some simple, neat animation. Lots of cool, memorable characters and a nice message. They were hooked all of the film and so was I. Grade: B

American Reunion (2012) Better than I expected, although still far from great/good. It felt like an organic and natural follow-up and it was nice to see most of the cast back, the themes it tries to touch were good, until it devolves into more of the same shenanigans as the first films, and when it does, a lot of the jokes fall flat. Also, despite some interesting ideas, a lot of them are merely brushed over. Grade: C+, maybe a bit lower.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:18 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:08 pm

The Emperor's New Groove (2000) Can you guess why, or with who, I saw this one? ;)
It made me smile when I logged in to Letterboxd this weekend and that showed up on my "recent activity from friends" list. Fun times. :up:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:11 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:18 pm
It made me smile when I logged in to Letterboxd this weekend and that showed up on my "recent activity from friends" list. Fun times. :up:
Thanks :) I'm sure you'll see more of that in the next... years? :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 24, 2019 1:05 am

Thief wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:08 pm
For a Few Dollars More (1965) I might have to agree with Tak on how good this was. As enjoyable as the first one, but I think I found a bit more depth to it. Lee Van Cleef owned every scene he was in. As for it being better than the third one, I will hold that judgment until I rewatch it. Grade: A-
I think that of the three films, it has the most depth and complexity of character, and those things never get lost in the heist/escape type plots. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is certainly more "epic," but For a Few Dollars More is the story that sticks with me. And I love the dreaminess of the flashbacks.
47 Meters Down (2017) There are some interesting things here and some good execution, but overall, it fails to excel on any aspect. There are some tense moments and some interesting, although not that unexpected, twists but not much else. Grade: C+
I think that the most effective elements are the dynamic between the sisters and the paranoia about whether or not they've been abandoned by the men in the boat. But I agree that despite a few tense moments it doesn't really generate a lot of narrative momentum.
The Emperor's New Groove (2000) Can you guess why, or with who, I saw this one? ;) Anyway, saw it dubbed in Spanish for the benefit of the kids. It was very fun with some simple, neat animation. Lots of cool, memorable characters and a nice message. They were hooked all of the film and so was I. Grade: B
Such a great film. And endlessly rewatchable. It's one of the few meta/snarky/4th-wall-breaking kids movies that I enjoy. It's fun instead of smug and full of great little details (did you notice that the "poison" that's poured into the plant turns the plant into a llama shape?).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:26 pm

I apologize for the lack of updates here, but I've had a couple of intense days :-/

Still managed to squeak a few films, some of them R-rated! :D

I seriously doubt I'll finish this month. Still about 4 films behind, but with only three days left and little time and energy, it's pretty much impossible. I might go with short films just to pat myself in the back, LOL.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:20 pm

Just last night I checked the July categories to see where I stood and I think I only came up with a paltry 3. I'll post the embarrassing results when the month is over.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:35 pm

Ok, update on the last films seen...

WarGames (1983) Surprisingly, this is a film I don't remember watching, despite growing up in the 80s. The thing is that it's a lot of fun. Loved the opening, and the whole film was very entertaining and thrilling, despite what can be seen as a too convenient and simplistic resolution. Broderick was great. Grade: B+

Dead Ringers (1988) Neatly acted and directed, there's a perennial sense of uncomfortability throughout this film. Irons is excellent in the dual role, and Cronenberg and Co. make the transition of the dual roles to be almost seamless. Not as icky as some of Cronenberg's films, but certainly disturbing. Grade: A-

Maya the Bee Movie (2014) Very simple film, with vibrant, colorful animation and cute, likable characters. The story and theme is well transmitted, and it overall, enjoyable despite feeling a bit cheap-ish at times. My kids enjoyed it. Grade: B

La La Land (2016) For some reason, I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. From the get-go, I felt pleasantly "bombarded" by the use of colors along with wardrobes and set decoration, the dance/song sequences were neatly choreographed and fun. But also, Gosling and Stone's performances were excellent. And that ending? Woof... loved it. Grade: A+

Synecdoche, New York (2008) Such a bizarre and weird film, held together by Philip Seymour Hoffman's honest performance. I don't think I can say too much right now cause this is one that I'll probably have to give some time to wallow in my mind, but I was entertained, puzzled, and moved all throughout. Grade: A

It's the last day of July, and I still have 2 or 3 films to finish. But like I said, I'll probably go with some short films, if I can, tonight.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:59 pm

I've been thinking of revisiting La La Land. From what I remember, the set design, the acting, and the ending were all fine. I just didn't care enough about the relationship between Gosling and Stone to feel much of a connection towards some of the later scenes. I also didn't care for most of the musical numbers, which strangely grew less prevalent as the film went on. Whiplash is still my favorite Chazelle film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:04 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:59 pm
I've been thinking of revisiting La La Land. From what I remember, the set design, the acting, and the ending were all fine. I just didn't care enough about the relationship between Gosling and Stone to feel much of a connection towards some of the later scenes. I also didn't care for most of the musical numbers, which strangely grew less prevalent as the film went on. Whiplash is still my favorite Chazelle film.
I still haven't seen Whiplash, but to go with what can be a common comparison, I think Moonlight resonated with me a bit more. Still, that final scene really felt like a gut punch, but moreover, the whole theme of giving up love in favor of a dream, and what is a dream if you don't have love... it really got to me. I think both films were excellent.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:08 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:04 pm
I still haven't seen Whiplash, but to go with what can be a common comparison, I think Moonlight resonated with me a bit more. Still, that final scene really felt like a gut punch, but moreover, the whole theme of giving up love in favor of a dream, and what is a dream if you don't have love... it really got to me. I think both films were excellent.
Fair enough. I still think the ending is definitely a cool concept, even though I was ultimately left cold by it.

Out of curiosity, did you see First Man?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:10 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:08 pm
Fair enough. I still think the ending is definitely a cool concept, even though I was ultimately left cold by it.

Out of curiosity, did you see First Man?
No, this is my first Chazelle.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:13 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:10 pm
No, this is my first Chazelle.
I actually haven't seen it as well. Biopics aren't my favorite kind of film, but I heard from some here that it's really good. I might check it out someday.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:20 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:13 pm
I actually haven't seen it as well. Biopics aren't my favorite kind of film, but I heard from some here that it's really good. I might check it out someday.
I felt it was the 2nd best movie I've seen from 2018, so it definitely has my vote of approval.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:26 pm

Stu wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:20 pm
I felt it was the 2nd best movie I've seen from 2018, so it definitely has my vote of approval.
I'll definitely take that into consideration. :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:58 pm

I'll try to finish Moonlight and For a Few Dollars More tonight.

Got American Sniper rented for later this week and also plan on seeing Whiplash and Get Out. Hopefully, they'll fit in some categories for next month.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:13 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:58 pm
I'll try to finish Moonlight and For a Few Dollars More tonight.
If you go another month without finishing Moonlight . . . .*shakes fist*.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:23 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:13 pm
If you go another month without finishing Moonlight . . . .*shakes fist*.
I'm further into this than I have been before. :up:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:51 am

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:35 pm
Ok, update on the last films seen...

WarGames (1983) Surprisingly, this is a film I don't remember watching, despite growing up in the 80s. The thing is that it's a lot of fun. Loved the opening, and the whole film was very entertaining and thrilling, despite what can be seen as a too convenient and simplistic resolution. Broderick was great. Grade: B+
I feel like this movie holds up surprisingly despite being irrevocably of-its-time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:54 am

I still haven't seen Moonlight.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:16 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:54 am
I still haven't seen Moonlight.
It is beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, touching, heartbreaking, and surprisingly frequent touches of optimism and hope.

A friend of mine is an actor who has collaborated several times with the man who wrote Moonlight, and so I have seen the film and also two of his plays (Choir Boy and Wig Out!). I love his writing and his depth of characterization. I think that he is a profound artistic voice and I'd encourage you all to not only see Moonlight but also to keep your eyes out for his other works.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:52 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:16 am
It is beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, touching, heartbreaking, and surprisingly frequent touches of optimism and hope.
I loved Moonlight and agree with this. It's also a surprising and I would say, hopeful film. After the first two acts, I was surprised for the turn it took on the last one. I was really moved by it and it's my favorite of 2016 so far.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:54 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:51 am
I feel like this movie holds up surprisingly despite being irrevocably of-its-time.
Good to hear. Watched it a hundred times as a kid but have always avoided revisiting it as an adult, afraid it wouldn't be as good as I remembered. Maybe I'll give it a shot.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:54 pm

Wooley wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:51 am
I feel like this movie holds up surprisingly despite being irrevocably of-its-time.
Agree 100%
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:45 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:52 pm
I loved Moonlight and agree with this. It's also a surprising and I would say, hopeful film. After the first two acts, I was surprised for the turn it took on the last one. I was really moved by it and it's my favorite of 2016 so far.
I think that a lot of people avoid it because they think it's going to be a depressing misery slog.

How, you think, could a film about an impoverished, gay, black child be anything but?

But Jenkins and McCraney aren't interested in telling a story of oppression. They are interested in telling a story about people in which oppression (internal and external) are important elements, but not the heart of the film.

The scenes that I remember from Moonlight are primarily the more uplifting ones: the swimming lesson, the hookup on the beach, the dinner at the diner.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:52 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:45 pm
I think that a lot of people avoid it because they think it's going to be a depressing misery slog.

How, you think, could a film about an impoverished, gay, black child be anything but?

But Jenkins and McCraney aren't interested in telling a story of oppression. They are interested in telling a story about people in which oppression (internal and external) are important elements, but not the heart of the film.

The scenes that I remember from Moonlight are primarily the more uplifting ones: the swimming lesson, the hookup on the beach, the dinner at the diner.
I think...
...the whole last act has its share of sadness and melancholy, but in the end it's full of hope and uplift. Like you said, from the dinner at the diner, to their whole conversation in the apartment, it's all so honest, so true.
Seriously, I love this film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:16 pm

On another note, I was able to wrap up the month of July last night. Like I said, I went with short films for what I had left, but was able to catch up with one essential and another that someone here (or in another forum) recommended. Here are my quickie takes...

La Luna (2011) Very cute and simple Pixar short about a kid who accompanies his father and grandfather on a boat trip to their unique "work" on the moon. Very earnest and simple, the animation was fun, and it's just 7 minutes short. Grade: B+

And waaaaaaaaaaaaay on the other end of the spectrum, I closed with Un Chien Andalou (1929) and Scorpio Rising (1963), which I think someone recommended to me here or in another forum. Two very different and yet very similar experimental films. Both consisting of a loose narrative, driven by surreal and bizarre visuals and sound/music instead of dialogue. I enjoyed both to varying degrees, with Chien getting the upper-hand. Scorpio was interesting, and I loved how the music/soundtrack drives the visuals, but I wasn't as into it as I was with the other one. Still, both recommended.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:26 pm

So here is July's tally...

A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Seven
A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: Mission: Impossible - Fallout
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): (see list here) For a Few Dollars More (#107)
A film from the 1960s: Scorpio Rising
A musical: La La Land
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": The Fate of the Furious
A film about sharks (Shark Week): 47 Meters Down
A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1): Dead Ringers
A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4): American Reunion
A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): Un Chien Andalou
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): La Luna
A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23): Synecdoche, New York
A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26): WarGames
A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27): A Fistful of Dollars
A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30): The Emperor's New Groove, Maya the Bee Movie

Not counting rewatches, the best film was La La Land.

Worst? Probably 47 Meters Down or American Reunion, none of which were really bad bad, but just meh-diocre.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:37 pm

Here are August's categories...

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title (not a sequel):
A film with a title that starts with the letters O or P:
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #8 (i.e. 18, 28, 208): (see list here)
A film from the 1970s:
A thriller:
A film set in school:
A film featuring a clown (Clown Week):
A film about drinking or beer (International Beer Day, August 2):
A film with the word "Left" in its title (Lefthanders Day, August 13):
A film from South Korea (Independence Day, August 15):
A film set mostly on a plane (Aviation Day, August 19):
A film set in Hawaii (joined the US on August 21):
A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21):
A film about dogs (Dog Day, August 26):
A film from William Friedkin (born August 29):

You know the drill, recs are welcome!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:18 pm

August 2019 plans:

See a non-sequel film with the number 8 in the title: The Hateful Eight (2015)
Film starting with the letter O or P: Our Souls at Night (2017)/Outcasts (2017)
Film from your IMDB Top 250 list featuring an 8: Modern Times (1936)
Film from the 1970s: Either Annie Hall (1977) or The Last Detail (1973)
Thriller: Zodiac (2007)
Film set in School: Outcasts (2017)
Film featuring a Clown: The Clown at Midnight (1999)
Film about Drinking or Beer: Wine Country (2019)
Film with the word Left in its title: The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)
Film from South Korea: Revenger (2018)
Film set Mostly on a Plane: Soul Plane (2004)
Film set in Hawaii: Running for Grace (2018)
Film about Dogs: Benji (2018)
Film with a Senior Cast: Our Souls at Night (2017)
William Friedkin Movie: Deal of the Century (1983)

All first time watches. With some categories, I did struggle to come up with good entries.

Other titles I came across:
Left Behind (2014/Netflix)---Not really recommended unless you want to see Nicolas Cage try to save a plane or think the original film would have done better with more name actors and a bigger budget.
Book Club (2018/Prime)---Ratings appear to be middling for this film about a...you know that decides to tackle 50 Shades of Grey. Yep.
5 Flights Up (2014/Netflix)---Ratings are lower for this than Book Club. Relationship drama about emotions that could get in the way of them moving.
All the President's Men/A Clockwork Orange/Mean Streets/Network/Taxi Driver/Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore/Cabaret/The Castle of Cagliostro---All are on Netflix currently. Can vouch for Orange/Network/Driver/Cagliostro.
Train to Busan (2017/Netflix)---Interesting addition to the zombie genre; this is set primarily on a train.
Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag (1995/Prime)---Joe Pesci, a young David Spade, and a case of who's got the bag.
Lilo and Stitch (2003/Netflix)---If you haven't seen this story of two siblings and an odd dog, give it a whirl.
Eighth Grade (2018/Prime)---Mmm, I might have to reconsider my selection for the school title now.
Eight Legged Freaks (2002/Netflix)---For those who love scary spider films, this might work for you.
Eight Men Out (1988/Prime)---Baseball movie about the 1918 White Sox and their World Series decisions might work if you like good acting or drama.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:23 pm

JULY---

A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: Midsommar
Great, if you're into this kind of thing. (I definitely am). WTF levels are about the same as Hereditary, but this one is treated with a bit more humor. Not all of the jokes worked for me, but I thought it helped to keep things from becoming too self-serious. Some gross stuff and unpleasant moments, though, so caveat emptor. Recommended.

A film from the 1960s: Watched a few from the 60s in July--
Satyricon (Fellini) So I used to think I knew what the phrase Fellini-esque meant, but now that I've seen all of his films I'm confused. (I'd previously only seen 8-1/2, maybe twenty years ago.) I was expecting non-stop harlequins and dwarves and, I don't know, pipe organs and stuff. But Satyricon is the only one that I'd consider "weird". In his later films he frequently abandons narrative and typical story structures and so on, so those are unorthodox and might be less accessible to a casual viewer, but I was surprised at how non-weird most of his stuff is. So anyway, Fellini is pretty great. Liked pretty much everything I saw.

The Patsy (Jerry Lewis) Maybe my 2nd-favorite Lewis film.
The Family Jewels (Jerry Lewis) One of my least favorite. Not funny enough and too sappy.

A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": Spider-Man: Far From Home
About as good/fun as the better MCU films, depending on how you feel about such things. If you're a nerd that is already familiar with Mysterio, certain plot developments are going to be predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I always liked Favreau as Happy, so it's fun to see him get some screen time. The Peter/MJ stuff is cute. I'm easy to please when it comes to these things.

A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): Spirits of the Dead
Cheating? Don't care!
This is an anthology of Poe stories directed by Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim, some of whom are French! I'm counting it.
Vadim's Metzengerstein turns out to be one of the most faithful Poe-to-screen examples I've seen. The male lead in the story has been replaced by Jane Fonda, and her outfits are decidedly NOT period-appropriate (think Barbarella in the 19th Century), but the meat of the story is intact. I would've predicted that this one would be hard to adapt to the screen but they nailed it. Haven't read William Wilson in a while so I'm not sure how faithful Malle's version is here, but that one was good also. Finally, Fellini takes Never Bet the Devil Your Head and runs with it. Bearing almost no relation to the Poe story, it's nonetheless a fun late-60's freak-out, starring Terence Stamp as a failing actor, getting drunk and driving his Ferrari recklessly. I wouldn't recommend this one to someone looking for "horror", but for Poe fans it's nice to see a collection of Poe stories that haven't been done to death. Good one.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:31 pm

And now I'm about to watch Daughter of Darkness starring Mia Sara and Anthony Perkins, a film which I noticed Letterboxd friend Thief12 has rated 1-1/2 stars some time ago. Let's do this!
#YOLO
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:54 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:31 pm
And now I'm about to watch Daughter of Darkness starring Mia Sara and Anthony Perkins, a film which I noticed Letterboxd friend Thief12 has rated 1-1/2 stars some time ago. Let's do this!
#YOLO
Ha! The funny story is that someone, I don't know if it was here or on another forum, recommended me 1948's Daughter of Darkness, but for some reason, I chose this when I was browsing Prime. But anyway, there are some nice mood vibes in the first half, and it's always nice to see Perkins and Sara, but other than that, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:08 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:54 pm
there are some nice mood vibes in the first half, and it's always nice to see Perkins and Sara, but other than that, I wouldn't recommend it.
Well I've given myself the task of watching every Stuart Gordon film, so it can't be helped. Them's the rules.

(Wait- I thought this was made for TV. Why am I seeing boobies?)
Namrata579
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Namrata579 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:04 am

That was quite informative post!!
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:40 pm

Heaven help me, I think I liked Daughter of Darkness. :oops:
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Jinnistan
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:26 am

Why aren't you people watching Daughters of Darkness instead? More the merrier, dummies.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:33 am

A film with a title that starts with the letters O or P: Personal Shopper

I posted a longer review in the Horrorcram about this one. Overall I liked it quite a bit, but I did struggle with the first half.

The film follows a woman who is mourning the death of her twin brother. They both believed themselves to be mediums, and she is waiting for a sign from her brother that he is in the afterlife. As she waits, she works as a personal shopper for a wealthy actress/model. As time goes on, strange things begin to happen and as an audience we have to question how much of it is real and how much might just be in her head.

The movie gets points for style, but the sluggish pace of the first half was rough for me. It gets a lot more stimulating (ghosts! (maybe!) mysterious text messages!) in the second half.

I heard that this film was booed at Cannes, but that it also won a prize for direction. I honestly find both of those things a bit surprising. I'd give this one more of a 7/10. There were some really strong elements (and Kristen Stewart totally anchors the film in her lead role), but I felt that it was missing something.

This one is on Netflix if you're interested.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:45 am

Also, for the category of the number eight, I'll throw the horror-comedy Eight Legged Freaks in the ring. It's a fun time.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:26 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:26 am
Why aren't you people watching Daughters of Darkness instead? More the merrier, dummies.
Daughters of Darkness > Daughter of Darkness ('48) > Daughter of Darkness ('90)

But I liked all of them.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:35 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:33 am
I heard that this film was booed at Cannes, but that it also won a prize for direction.
I haven't seen this one yet, but the "getting booed at Cannes" thing always makes me laugh. Like have you ever encountered booing at a movie? I haven't, even in the crummiest suburban second-run $1 shows, when those existed. Yet the Cannes crowd is seemingly booing something once a year at least. Or if it's not booing it's mass walkouts. Why does the world's premiere film festival audience behave like they're at a pro wrestling match? This is off-topic, just something that always makes me chuckle.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:17 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:35 pm
I haven't seen this one yet, but the "getting booed at Cannes" thing always makes me laugh. Like have you ever encountered booing at a movie? I haven't, even in the crummiest suburban second-run $1 shows, when those existed. Yet the Cannes crowd is seemingly booing something once a year at least. Or if it's not booing it's mass walkouts. Why does the world's premiere film festival audience behave like they're at a pro wrestling match? This is off-topic, just something that always makes me chuckle.
Well, I feel like Cannes probably has a more concentrated dose of films that walk a fine line between being impactful and being totally pretentious.

I will say that I felt like Personal Shopper pulled both visual style and important plot points from other films I've seen. I don't think it's a "rip off" of those films, but I have to wonder if the booing is sometimes a way of saying "Your average crowd might not know where you got this from, but I do."

Like, in the film Along Came a Spider (which I generally think is okay), there is a sequence on a train that is such a rip off of the train ransom scene in High and Low. And I was kind of annoyed when I saw that. How many people realized that the scene was lifted? Probably not many. So maybe the booing partly comes from feeling like directors are trying to get away with something?
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A Fake Account
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by A Fake Account » Sat Aug 03, 2019 6:59 pm

Booing at Cannes is a way for audiences to register their votes ahead of the jury, which oftentimes makes some baffling choices. Because the boos and walkouts always end up getting reported on, it puts out a headline telling the world that, no matter what award this thing may end up with, somebody out there thought it was shit.

Still, the funniest audience reaction at Cannes was at the screening of The Neon Demon a few years ago where the on-screen dedication to Refn's wife, Liv, prompted someone to exclaim, "Fuck you, Liv!"
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Captain Terror
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Aug 03, 2019 8:00 pm

Booing at Cannes is a way for audiences to register their votes ahead of the jury, which oftentimes makes some baffling choices. Because the boos and walkouts always end up getting reported on, it puts out a headline telling the world that, no matter what award this thing may end up with, somebody out there thought it was shit.
Good point, I was forgetting the competition element of the thing.
I have to wonder if the booing is sometimes a way of saying "Your average crowd might not know where you got this from, but I do."
Ha! Yes- one of my pet peeves, actually. Some of the most obnoxious crowds I've been in have been when watching classic movies in an "art house" setting. Not booing, just going overboard in their desire to advertise that they were "in the know". One example that comes to mind was the "train entering the tunnel" at the end of NxNW. The crowd erupted into laughter liked they were watching a Chaplin film or something. "Hey everybody! I got that naughty sight gag, did you?!" It's like tone it down, chief, we got it.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:09 pm

A thriller: Berlin Syndrome

So this was a slightly above average entry in the "woman held hostage by deranged man who 'loves' her" subgenre.

An Australian woman named Clare (Teresa Palmer) is visiting Europe on a whim and has been drawn to Berlin's architecture. While there, she meets charming teacher Andi (Max Riemelt). After a romantic day and a night of hot sex, Clare finds that Andi has "accidentally" locked her in his apartment. Overlooking the incident, the two go on a second date, and this time Clare discovers that Andi really has no intention of ever letting her leave.

Much of the credit for why this film works belongs to Palmer and the way that she plays Clare. Clare has a desire to survive, and there's a delicate balance of compliance and risk-taking required if she's going to make it out alive. Watching Clare navigate her captivity is the best element of the film. There is one shockingly stupid character decision late in the film, and I find it really hard to believe that Clare has been in Germany for as long as she has and yet hasn't managed to pick up the words "hilfe" (help) or "Polizei" (police), both words that I know from just watching a handful of German films. (Okay, I took a semester of German, but these words were already in my vocabulary from a single viewing of Run Lola Run). But aside from these dubious moments, the film feels very believable in terms of how Clare behaves.

The weakest element of the film is the character of Andi. It's not through any fault of Riemelt's performance, but there's never much given to us behind the character. We learn that his mother left him and his father. Okay. But Andi is smart and incredibly good looking and charming. This is a man who should have no problem getting a girlfriend. So does he desire domination? Maybe. The film is thankfully short on any scenes of torture or sexual assault (Andi does make Clare pose in sexy lingerie and he does hurt her when she tries to escape), and it doesn't seem like that's a dynamic that he actively desires. We quickly infer that Andi has done this before, so what's his deal? We see Andi eyeing one of his female students, but the film never ventures to say if this is a constant element of himself that he needs to repress.

Now, the movie The Room made a pretty compelling argument about the fact that these stories rightfully belong to the survivors. And Clare is put front and center for most of the action. But the lack of motivation for his character, or understanding of how long this behavior has been going on (the windows are already reinforced before Clare arrives) leaves you feeling adrift. It wouldn't be such a problem, except that we spend a lot of time with Andi. We watch him with his co-workers. We watch several scenes of him talking and having dinner with his father. These scenes don't feel like they are intended to normalize him, but neither do they offer much insight into his character.

Cate Shortland, who made this film, also made the compelling film Lore, the drama Somersalt, and is currently filming the Black Widow movie. Her direction is another element that elevates this above the usual. There's an interesting scene in which Andi is running a boys basketball practice while some sort of girls' team (synchronized swimming? gymnastics?) practices in the background. As Andi watches the girls, the boys all stand frozen, so still that I wondered for a moment if the film was intentionally freezing on that moment, but then you realize that the boys are waiting for the whistle. Likewise, a long sequence in which Clare is left alone in the apartment without power is both dreamy and horrifying as you realize that here is a woman both bored and also possibly on her way to starving to death.

Despite Shortland at the helm, I was a bit disappointed with the jiggle-jiggle sex scene at the beginning. Can we put a moratorium on sex scenes where the attractive female lead is sprawled completely naked on a bed while her male co-star sort of hovers over her with his pants still on? Those scenes always feel so male-gazey and one-sided to me, especially when portraying women who we know are going to be victimized.

I was also a bit disappointed with the ending of the film, which felt abrupt and a bit unresolved. Look, we all know that these films end one of three ways: (1) The kidnapper kills the victim and moves on to his next target, (2) The victim goes crazy and accepts her fate, or (3) The victim manages to escape somehow. I won't say which way this film goes, but there were a few loose ends that I wanted to see tied up.
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:57 am

A film from the 1970s: The Devil Witch/Baba Yaga

I mean, this is pretty much just an interesting little piece of lesbian horror/exploitation.

Valentina is a respected photographer who one night has a run-in with an older woman, Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga immediately begins to seduce Valentina, primarily through supernatural means. But sexy fantasies soon give way to more serious results, as people around Valentina begin to drop dead.

There's not much plot to this film, and the main reason to watch it (aside from the fact that it's a total boob-fest) is the series of dream/fantasy sequences. Maybe my favorite strange sequence is when Valentina is gifted a dominatrix doll (like, a kids' size doll, but in leather). After a seeming power outage, Valentina discovers that her camera has been used. Developing the photos, she discovers the doll transformed into a living woman.

There's another interesting notion in the film, namely that Baba Yaga puts some sort of curse on Valentina's camera. When Valentina tries to use the camera, she ends up hurting those around her. The relationship between Baba Yaga and Valentina is almost classically abusive, if you set aside the supernatural element. Baba Yaga seduces Valentina and at the same time isolates her from her friends and alienates her from her career/passion (photography).

I tend to need a little more subtlety in a film to find it sexy. Just parading topless women around doesn't do much for me, and becomes more comical than erotic. There are some moments where the film shows more restraint (no pun intended), and I kind of wish the whole film had gone more that route (though I'm sure some people appreciate the more over-the-top approach).

I also wasn't sure how to take the film's moments of racism. They almost seem like they are meant to be taken as a joke ABOUT racism, but it was a little hard to tell. Valentina tells a black male model to "forget he has an education" and show her some "primal drive. Channel you ancestors. You know, the ones in the jungle who ate all those missionaries". Later we see Valentina's sort-of boyfriend shooting a commercial for laundry detergent in which the laundry detergent is played by a white man and the representation of a dirty stain is played by a black actor. It's so broad that it felt like parody, but it was honestly a bit hard to tell.

Not the best film, but it's got a short run time and enough interesting moments to be worth recommending.
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Apex Predator
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:59 am

I considered Berlin Syndrome for a while, but based on the description, I don't see myself watching it.

In related news, I just found a way to add Snowpiercer to my list for August!
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Takoma1
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:45 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:59 am
I considered Berlin Syndrome for a while, but based on the description, I don't see myself watching it.
It's a lot less exploitative than most films of this type, and the focus is primarily psychological. I would mildly recommend it, especially because I really like both actors.

Snowpiercer is really something, and it was really intense to see it in the theater.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:20 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:59 am
In related news, I just found a way to add Snowpiercer to my list for August!
Snowpiercer is easily one of my favorite films of the 21st century. It's a thrilling action flick with some suspenseful action sequences with touches of absurdity thrown in here and there. Of course, a bit of suspension of disbelief is required, but that's in service for some multi-layered social commentary where the train acts as a microcosm of the world's political structure so I didn't mind it.
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