Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

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crumbsroom
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by crumbsroom » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:57 am

Thief wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:31 pm
Casually I had checked if Marketa Lazarova, The Cremator, and Fireman's Ball were available streaming, since they came up in most searches I did for "best Czech films", but none of them were. I'll check the others. Thanks.
I really need to watch Marketa Lazarova.

I think I don't have a very great copy, and ever since criterion released a version, I haven't wanted to watch mine

But I just should. It's just sitting there. Who cares if it isn't perfect

FTR I think Fireman's Ball is my favorite of all I've seen
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:28 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:21 am
Hey, Thief. According to JustWatch, How to Train Your Dragon is on Prime right now. Is that incorrect?
It just appears to be a rental, Takoma.

The Dragonhearts are streaming on Netflix, though.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:46 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:28 am
It just appears to be a rental, Takoma.

The Dragonhearts are streaming on Netflix, though.
Aw, too bad.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:27 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:21 am
Hey, Thief. According to JustWatch, How to Train Your Dragon is on Prime right now. Is that incorrect?
It is :( I saw it there a couple of days ago, but when I looked for it, it wasn't free.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by undinum » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:14 am

A film about marriage: THE LOVERS (Azazel Jacobs, 2017)

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts are a long-outta-love couple who begin to rediscover each other when their extramarital Others (Aiden Gillen and Melora Walters) make a final push for divorce. It's a movie about marriage as well as a movie about movies about marriage, in an unassumingly clever and pleasurable way you don't really see anymore. There seems to be a conscious effort to play with and eventually subvert the structure of what Stanley Cavell codified as comedies of remarriage, but you never catch it admiring itself: it makes its modes enhance each other. The knowing parallelism in the set-up and Mandy Hoffman's ever-present studio-systemy score threaten to overitalicize the action till the actors seize it, make it real and vital, and it's all the more emboldened. After a half-conscious morning kiss has confused and frightened them both, Letts' character enters their bedroom in just a towel, freshly showered. He sits on the bed with his back to his wife, she dressed for work, and he closes his eyes, body twitching and plumping with laboured breath. Presenting himself. We watch him with her for a few long moments from the other side. With no force-fed close-up we sense every droplet on that pasty & sturdy & strangely enticing hunka flesh, feel it all through her gaze, and on the next cut back to Winger, we see the gaze, and feel all of it, too. He nudges closer, she flares everywhere, and out of a witty parody of animal courtship comes a rare raw chemistry. They finally tear into each other, and the magnitude of the moment starts to settle in. With grace and restraint, Winger and the filmmakers have done what's so seldom done in films about sexuality: make a woman fully sexual without sexualizing her. Rarer still, a sixty year-old.

The schematic nature of the set-up is justified in the aftermath of their re-coupling, early parallels gone wildly askew in the couple's differing reactions and approaches in dealing with their side-pieces when they're able to pull their hands off each other. There are some great light touches here: Letts' full-bodied post-coital laughing (cf. his half-bodied pre-coital argh-ing); Winger's squirmingly true apology to Gillen's character after she falls asleep listening to his poetry ("It was really good, I was into it!") while fantasizing about her husband. It's practically an entire act in briefly-interrupted montage, but proves perfect prelude to the recontextualization that comes when their millennial son (Tyler Ross) finally arrives with his girlfriend (Jessica Sula, A++). In his visit, tipped in the opening scenes with the dynamics therein carefully developed since, and his outraged rejection of his parents' "bullshit world", there is the kind of dive into contemporary intergenerational tensions that no American filmmaker besides Baumbach even seems interested in seriously attempting. There are no answers at the bottom, and thanks to our consumerist technopoly, no bottom. But if there's any boomer bullshit worth fighting for, it's the gentle private pleasures of amorality.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:21 am

Hmm, I've really, really liked Tracy Letts in the few things I've seen him lately so I'm gonna keep that one on my backpocket for another month.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by undinum » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:03 am

His seemingly sudden leap to the bigs as a performer was a very welcome surprise. I like to think that a dying Sam Shepard called him into his parlour in order to hand down the sacred mantle of Hollywood's Pulitzer-winning-playwright-turned-A-List-character-actor
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:29 am

An action or adventure film


Watchmen (2009)
"We don't do this thing because it's permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we're compelled."
Human nature is a complex term that has defied philosophers, psychologists, and scientists for as long as humans have existed. The notion that humans are inherently good or bad is part of it, with numerous philosophies arguing that there is an inherent "goodness" in humans and that we strive to do what we believe is right, sometimes even if it puts us at odds with the law or others. That's part of what is encapsulated in the above quote, and in the essence of Watchmen. The quote is what rogue vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), arguably the lead character of the novel/film, tells his psychiatrist to justify his vigilantism and his actions "beyond the law". He *has* to do what he does, and there's no point in fighting it.

I was introduced to the Watchmen world a couple of weeks ago when I decided to read the novel. I was never compelled to see Snyder's film, perhaps because of a lack of familiarity with the source material, my overall indifference or dislike for Zack Snyder's aesthetics, or because of the polarizing reception it ultimately got. But when I saw the 2019 TV series gathering serious buzz and praise in social media, I thought if I should reconsider. Thanks to Nameless who encouraged me to read the comic first cause I absolutely loved it (read it twice within the last two months). I've never been much of a comic book expert, but the complexity of the characters, the beauty of the artwork, the attention to detail on how the panels flow, the depth of the story and how it unfolds... it was impressive. Still, perhaps for the reasons mentioned above, I tried to keep my expectations on check regarding the film.

Set in an alternate 1985 where, among other things, superhero activities have been banned, Watchmen follows a group of former heroes as they deal with the murder of one of their past members called The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). This murder spurs Rorschach to investigate while trying to alert or recruit his former colleagues: Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Ozymandias (Matthew Cooke), Silk Spectre (Malin Ackerman), and Doctor Manhattan (Billy Crudup). The latter is the only one that has actual superpowers, which came as a result of him being trapped in an atomic whatchamacallit during the early stages of the Cold War. Each of the characters are forced to face their own nature as each struggles to do what they believe it's right.

From the get-go, the task of adapting the novel puts a baggage of dread over whoever takes it. Creator Alan Moore has expressly disavowed any adaptation stating that what he and Gibbons created is meant to work only as a comic. Still, attempts to make a film out of it have been in and out of the oven since the mid-1980s. Once-attached director Terry Gilliam tried his hand at it and after walking out called the project "unfilmable". Most fans and critics consider the depth and complexity of the themes and structure of the novel to be too hard to translate to a feature film. Still, after his success with 300, Snyder - a self-professed comic book fan - was tapped by WB to bring the project to life. In a 2008 interview, he said he was introduced to comic books in general at an early age by his mother, and compared Watchmen to "the music you feel is written just for you". So perhaps in a way, he felt "compelled" to do this film.

The problem with the film adaptation is mostly two-fold for me: First, the breadth of themes, stories, and subplots of the comic is indeed so ample and complex that the film ends up feeling neutered and incomplete, and by consequence, what does make it to the film feels rushed and abrupt. Second, despite Snyder's apparent appreciation of the source material, the way he adapts it indicates there seems to be a misunderstanding of the general themes and goals of the comic book, which range from a general deconstruction of the traditional superhero by presenting them all as flawed individuals and not "uber-cool bad-asses" to a misrepresentation of the motivations, the psyche, the nature of some of the main characters, most notably Rorschach. On the contrary, Snyder seems more interested in portraying kick-ass heroes and extreme violence with little of the subtlety and nuance of the novel.

A third issue is that, although Snyder's overall visual aesthetics seem to be on-point and he does have a talent for emulating on screen exact panels of the comic book, sometimes he does it at the expense of the story and the performances. His strict adherence to the source material ends up feeling like a checklist of moments to put on screen, and makes the performances feel trapped inside boxes with no room to breathe and little organic flow from one setpiece to the other. Add that to the vast amount of themes, stories, and subplots I mentioned above, and the result can't help but feel - again - rushed and abrupt.

The film still manages to work on some levels. Like I said above, the overall visuals are sharp and there are a couple of notable performances that keep things afloat. The most notable is Haley, who was a fan of the novel and actively sought out the role of Rorschach. His performance is perhaps the biggest plus the film has and, despite the trappings that the script puts him in, he still maintains many of the nuances of the character. Morgan and Crudup are also pretty good in their respective roles. On the other hand, Cooke, Wilson, and Ackerman's performances are subpar. Wilson and Ackerman, who might be the closest the audience have to identify with, lack any chemistry and feel more like empty characters. Finally, Cooke's performance is not only weak, but he is extremely miscast for the role.

One of the main themes of the novel and the film is the validity of the actions of these so-called "superheroes"; the fact that they are compelled and insist in doing what they do, and derive pleasure from it. Even thought it's not always portrayed effectively, each of the characters are faced with the same struggle: they *have* to do this; it's in their nature, even though people might not agree with their methods and even when the results aren't the ones they expected. The same can be said about adapting this novel. Countless people said they shouldn't, some tried and couldn't. In that aspect, I give props to Snyder, for being compelled to take this enormous task in spite of what others might say, and trying to make something out of it, even though we might not agree with his methods and even when the end result isn't the one we expected.

Grade: C+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:01 am

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #1 (i.e. 10, 215, 901): Things to Come

This is a sci-fi film from the 30s.

Beginning in the 50s, a group of men cannot enjoy their Christmas Eve with the threat of war hanging over them. Sure enough, war is declared. The conflict drags on, and we see little vignettes. One of the men becomes a pilot--he shoots down an enemy, but then attempts to save himself and the other man from poisonous gas. Another of the men works tirelessly with his daughter to fight a new plague. The war spans on for decades.

The narrative picks up again in the 70s, in a post-apocalyptic town ruled by a man called Boss. He has eradicated the plague in his town by simply shooting anyone who has it or who tries to come near. But one day a man lands in a strange aircraft, claiming that he intends to usher in a new era of worldwide peace.

After this long sequence, we again flash forward several decades. The descendants of our main characters now live in technologically advanced underground cities. As they push to begin outer space exploration there is an anti-science movement that feels threatened by the continual push of scientific progress. There is no real resolution to the story, as it ends with the launch of a spaceship (carrying the great-grandson and great-granddaughter of the original main characters) to orbit the moon.

The strongest sequence of the film is certainly the scenes taking place in the post-apocalyptic town, but there are interesting conversations and visuals all throughout the film. A very moving, concise bit of imagery involves a dead soldier hanging in some barbed wire. To show the passage of time, the image fades to the same wire, now only holding tattered scraps of the dead man's uniform, his body long gone.

While the final act did drag a little bit for me, this was an interesting and different little piece of sci-fi. As with many sci-fi films of the time, it struggles to imagine a future where middle aged white men aren't the default leaders. Back in the 1940s sequence a wife tells her husband, "All I wanted was to serve you and make you happy" ( :roll: ), and the female characters in the narrative 100 years later aren't quite far enough removed from this. There are, of course, no non-white characters. Something that's interesting about older sci-fi is seeing all the things that people couldn't imagine changing. Like, naturally we will have instantaneous communication and amazing technological advances, but a woman wearing a pair of pants or shoes without heels? NEVER! (Okay, to be fair, everyone in the future wears a sort of skirt-cape combo, but no woman in the film ever gets away from a very heavily "glam" look, if you know what I mean).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:36 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:01 am
everyone in the future wears a sort of skirt-cape combo,
Who knew that Raymond Massey had such a great pair of gams?

Big fan of that one, and I just want to point out the production design. I'm especially a fan of the effect where miniature machinery footage is rear-projected to look massive. The cityscapes and vehicles and even the 3D text scrolls all give the film a distinct look.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:56 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:36 pm
Big fan of that one, and I just want to point out the production design. I'm especially a fan of the effect where miniature machinery footage is rear-projected to look massive. The cityscapes and vehicles and even the 3D text scrolls all give the film a distinct look.
Yes!

While the shot of the soldier on the barbed wire hit me the most emotionally, there are some really great montages and "scene setting" sequences that look incredibly distinct. I'm not sure what the right word is, but there's almost an immersive/scrapbook quality to how they convey information through both text and imagery. It's nice, because it allows the scenes with characters to move forward without the burden of too much exposition. No one has to be like "Say, Max, isn't it nice that over the last 50 years we have eradicated most diseases?". There's still a little of that, but the montage/text sequences do a lot of the heavy lifting.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:25 am

Slow and steady does the job. Here are my quickies on the middle "five" of the month...

A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B: ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE
Charming, fun, odd, crazy... those are all terms that can be used to describe this weird mish-mash of a musical and a zombie apocalypse film. The film follows a group of high-schoolers as they try to find their friends and relatives in the midst of a zombie outbreak. The mix-up is effective, even though I wish the songs would've been more fun or tongue-in-cheek instead of straightforward "popsy". Still the characters are likable and there are some good scares and surprises. Not great, but fun. Grade: B

An animated film: A TURTLE'S TALE: SAMMY'S ADVENTURE
I had already seen an animated film, but this one was with the kids. Found this streaming last weekend (you'll all be amazed at the amount of obscure, unknown foreign animated films out there) so it was a mildly effective time-killer. The film follows a turtle (the titular Sammy) as he hatches from his egg and ends up going on around the world meeting other animals and having all sorts of adventures. The animation and voice-acting were solid, and the film had its moments, but it was a bit overlong and lacked a proper climax, fizzling out towards the end instead. My kids were enjoying it but towards the last act, they kinda lost interest. Meh. Grade: C

A film about marriage: MARRIAGE STORY
More like "Divorce Story", amirite? Seriously, the film ends up being a fairly accurate representation of what it is to go through the process of divorce, as spouses and lawyers play "tug-o-war". There is a bit of an odd-ish, dark humor-ish tone to the film that might clash a bit with the subject matter, but it mostly worked for me and the performances keep everything afloat. ScarJo and Adam Driver were pretty good, but I really enjoyed more the performances from all the lawyers (Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta), all of which were great. I think the climatic "argument" scene everybody talks about felt a bit forced or staged, but the last two scenes (the karaoke scene, and the reading of the letter) really stuck the landing for me. Grade: A-

An action or adventure film: WATCHMEN
See above review. Grade: C+

A film from or with Paul Newman: THE VERDICT
I think I've pretty much liked/loved everything I've seen Paul Newman in. I haven't seen a lot, though, so I was looking forward to this category as a means to discover more of him. This film received critical acclaim and various Oscar nominations, so it seemed like a sure shot. It follows Newman as Frank Galvin, a down-and-out lawyer that decides to take a big case of malpractice against a Catholic hospital. The "David against Goliath" premise is not ground-breaking, we've seen this done a thousand times, but it usually lends itself for effective, audience-pleasing results. Still, I had some issues with it, most notably with how quick Galvin has his "change of heart". There's also an important subplot with his girlfriend (Charlotte Rampling) that I don't think was effectively executed. Regardless of this, it was enjoyable and solid. Grade: B

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #1: THE MALTESE FALCON (#147, rewatch)
My idea to incorporate this "1001 Movies" list was to have more options to choose from, and what do I do? Rewatch something :D Still, this is one I hadn't seen easily in more than 10-15 years. As I rewatched it, I was reminded of how excellent it is. I'm struggling to come up with films that have such tight directing and pace, great performances, snappy dialogue, and effective atmosphere. Everything works here, from Bogey's cool-as-ice performance to Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Mary Astor... everybody's great. Plus the flawless rat-tat-tat dialogue makes for one fun watch. Seriously, this is a gem of a film and I'm glad I needed a rewatch to remember that. Grade: A+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:32 pm

Would you believe I've been mired for a couple of weeks on a Finnish drama?

A Moment in the Reeds is about a young man who returns home to Finland from a French college where he tries to help his father with construction jobs in and around the cabin. His interest picks up in a refugee from Syria who is hired as a handyman even though he doesn't speak Finnish. But when his father gets called away on business, things take a turn.

The first part of the film is OK as you can feel the tension between the father and son and the father and the handyman. But things slow to a crawl when the guys start to talk to each other in English.

It literally takes 10 minutes to get from the two's first conversation to when it starts to turn erotic. And with (supposedly improvised) lines like asking about when the refugee will come back home to Syria and what he thinks of Finland, the film quickly turns into a slog.

I'm probably going to just stream the rest of it to be done. But I think this may end up one of my worst films of 2020...much like Strangeland was last year.

For what it's worth, also saw The Return of the King (2018) last night. Melanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) plays the older daughter of a family whose younger daughter gets proposed to by a French army captain (Jean Dujardin, The Artist) before he goes to Austria. When he fails to keep his promise to write, the elder daughter starts to make up these letters that show all the adventures that the Captain is having while he's gone. Ultimately she kills him off freeing the younger daughter to marry a nobleman.

But three years later, the problems begin when he unexpectedly returns to town.

Film does manage to wring laughs and some dramatic moments out of the situation. Dujardin playing around with both guns to be used in a duel is just hilarious. As well as some improvising by both characters as the situations sometimes grow dangerous. One sequence towards the end works precisely because it subverts expectations.

I have to admit that the director kept things moving well enough that you don't think about how the story is a bit on the cliched side. Laurent is fine as a woman who chooses to be single but even as she's repelled by his unethical doings and lothario ways, she starts to slowly fall for his "charms".

A sequence where the younger daughter turns out to have a thing for being slapped doesn't click. The film does get predictable as it goes, although it's mainly due to its genre. More notably in the second half.

More cute than hilarious, I'd give it a B- for its execution.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:40 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:56 pm
Yes!

While the shot of the soldier on the barbed wire hit me the most emotionally, there are some really great montages and "scene setting" sequences that look incredibly distinct. I'm not sure what the right word is, but there's almost an immersive/scrapbook quality to how they convey information through both text and imagery. It's nice, because it allows the scenes with characters to move forward without the burden of too much exposition. No one has to be like "Say, Max, isn't it nice that over the last 50 years we have eradicated most diseases?". There's still a little of that, but the montage/text sequences do a lot of the heavy lifting.
(Sorry it takes me so long to have a conversation.)

Also wanted to say that this sort of "speculative" variety of sci fi is very rare in 1930s cinema, so Things To Come is valuable just on that level. Outside of the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon serials I'm struggling to think of any others. And I'm drawing a complete blank on the 1940s. So it's interesting to me just to see what people in the 30s thought the future might be like. ("People" meaning HG Wells)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:30 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:40 pm
(Sorry it takes me so long to have a conversation.)

Also wanted to say that this sort of "speculative" variety of sci fi is very rare in 1930s cinema, so Things To Come is valuable just on that level. Outside of the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon serials I'm struggling to think of any others. And I'm drawing a complete blank on the 1940s. So it's interesting to me just to see what people in the 30s thought the future might be like. ("People" meaning HG Wells)
Well, like I said, it's interesting to see what people thought would change and what they assumed (or what their audience hoped?) would stay the same.

I think it's really fun to divide "progress" into the technological and the social. I think that bolder sci-fi imagines the social aspect, while more "conservative"/risk-averse sci-fi limits itself to new technologies but keeps the social order basically the same. Again, in the future, everyone is white. With the single exception of one female character, they are all male. All important decisions are made by the men.

I've always preferred sci-fi that thinks about relationships/values/etc and how that might be different or might evolve. I lean toward someone like James Tiptree/Alice Sheldon over someone like Wells, though I do realize they published in very different eras.

Also, consider this bonkers (if true) piece of trivia: Before filming started, author H.G. Wells told everyone connected with the movie how much he'd hated Fritz Lang's movie Metropolis (1927) and how he wanted them to do the opposite of what Lang (whom he called "Lange") and his crew had done.

Like, whaaaaaaat?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:44 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:30 pm
Also, consider this bonkers (if true) piece of trivia: Before filming started, author H.G. Wells told everyone connected with the movie how much he'd hated Fritz Lang's movie Metropolis (1927) and how he wanted them to do the opposite of what Lang (whom he called "Lange") and his crew had done.

Like, whaaaaaaat?
Well, it wouldn't be unprecedented. I have to presume Howard Hawks directed Rio Bravo basically as a counterpoint to High Noon.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:50 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:44 am
Well, it wouldn't be unprecedented. I have to presume John Ford directed Rio Bravo basically as a counterpoint to High Noon.
It's just an odd hostility to have. Also . . . Metropolis is so clearly superior.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:25 am

And I was just informed it was Howard Hawks that directed Bravo and not John Ford. Will correct now.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:22 am

*whew* Well, it wouldn't be a "challenge" if there wasn't a sprint to the finish line. Once again, finished on the nick of time today with one full watch and a half-watch, finishing one that I started last night. So here are my last quickies...

A film with the number 1 (One, First, etc.) in its title: ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER
Thanks to Tak for recommending this. This documentary follows the events prior, during, and after the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where a group of Palestinians took hostage and eventually murdered, members of the Israeli delegation. The documentary is nicely narrated by Michael Douglas, and inludes interviews and footage of the preparations of the committee of Safety: B+

A film from the Czech Republic: PROTEKTOR
Set during the advent of World War II, the film follows journalist Emil Vrbata (Marek Daniel) and Hana, his Jewish wife (Jana Plodková) who is an actress. As Nazi forces invade Czechoslovakia, Emil is forced to take drastic measures to protect his wife from the enemy while trying to balance his sudden rise to fame within Nazi circles. It is neatly acted, but I had some issues with how the motivations of each character works. Still, I'd say it's definitely worth a watch. Grade: B+

The first Best Picture winner you haven't seen (starting with Wings): CIMARRON
Oh boy, where to begin? First, the film follows Yancey Cravat (Richard Dix), a restless settler in 19th Century USA, as he tries to abandon his past while trying to settle with his wife (Irene Dunne) and start a newspaper. Well, the film certainly has an epic scope and some great production values for the time being. But my main gripe with it is that it doesn't seem sure of what to make of the character of Yancey. The story seems to jump back and forth between glamorizing the "heroics" of American settlers pushing west, to presenting the harsh truths of their lives. Unfortunately, the film rarely, if at all, stops to delve into the mind of Yancey, choosing instead to put him in a figurative and literal pedestal. Grade: C

A film nominated for a Best Picture Golden Globe this year: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
This one might need some time to settle in my mind. The film follows the friendship of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a middle-aged "has been" star struggling to get work on TV, and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Their daily shenanigans take them on a journey through 50s and 60s Hollywood as we also see the decline of the Hollywood Golden Age with the advent of television. I just finished this one a while ago and, right now, I'm struggling a bit with the "looseness" of the plot, but I really, really loved both lead performances. As I'm puzzling over it in my mind, I might say that it's one of the most positive and uplifting films I've seen recently; certainly the most among Tarantino's works. Grade: A tentative A-

A film featuring a dragon: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
This is a film that escaped me back in 2010. It follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a teenage Viking that has to leverage his new friendship with an injured dragon with his village's constant fight with the creatures. This one was a lot of fun. Gorgeous animation, great voice-performances, and a pretty cool and moving story. The great action setpieces are very well balanced with a rather deep story about prejudices and how we have to accept ourselves the way we are, instead of how others want us to be. My kids were also very into it. Probably one of the best animated films I've seen recently. Grade: A-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:23 am

I'm half asleep and I didn't proofread that, so I hope it came out ok. Going to bed!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:30 pm

Thief wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:22 am
A film with the number 1 (One, First, etc.) in its title: ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER
Thanks to Tak for recommending this. This documentary follows the events prior, during, and after the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where a group of Palestinians took hostage and eventually murdered, members of the Israeli delegation. The documentary is nicely narrated by Michael Douglas, and inludes interviews and footage of the preparations of the committee of Safety: B+
Yeah, I think it's really eye-opening. It makes for a heck of a pairing with Spielberg's Munich. I just happened to watch the one before the other and I felt like I understood it so much better.

A film featuring a dragon: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
This is a film that escaped me back in 2010. It follows Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a teenage Viking that has to leverage his new friendship with an injured dragon with his village's constant fight with the creatures. This one was a lot of fun. Gorgeous animation, great voice-performances, and a pretty cool and moving story. The great action setpieces are very well balanced with a rather deep story about prejudices and how we have to accept ourselves the way we are, instead of how others want us to be. My kids were also very into it. Probably one of the best animated films I've seen recently. Grade: A-
Did you get it from the library, or did you cough up those big bucks for a rental?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:15 am

Making mental note to watch How to Train Your Dragon as soon as it ends up streaming somewhere decent.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:34 am

I did not finish my last section of categories, but here's how I'd classify what I did watch:


Fine to Pass the Time
A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B: Brain on Fire
An action or adventure film: Book of Eli
An animated film: Mr. Bug Goes to Town
An anthology film: Tales of Terror
A film about cops or law enforcement (Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, January 16): Maniac Cop 2


Recommended
A film with the number 1 (One, First, etc.) in its title: One Armed Swordsman
The first film from any director you like: Hard Eight
A film featuring a dragon (Appreciate a Dragon Day, January 16): How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #1 (i.e. 10, 215, 901): Things to Come

I didn't see anything BAD this month, which was really nice.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:38 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:30 pm
Did you get it from the library, or did you cough up those big bucks for a rental?
*cough*Downloaded*cough* :shifty: But anyway, my kids like it so much that we rented the second one on Prime this morning, and closed the day with the third one which is free on Hulu.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:46 am

Ok, so first month is in the bag. Here's my tally...

A film with the number 1 (One, First, etc.) in its title: One Day in September
The first film from any director you like: Bad Taste
The first Best Picture winner you haven't seen: (once again, start with Wings; if you've seen it, then see Broadway Melody, so and so) Cimarron
A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B: Anna and the Apocalypse
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #1 (i.e. 10, 215, 901) The Maltese Falcon (#147)
A film from the 1900s: Rescued by Rover
An action or adventure film: Watchmen
An animated film: I Lost My Body
An anthology film: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
A film nominated for a Best Picture Golden Globe (Drama or Comedy) this year: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
A film from the Czech Republic (Independence Day, January 1): Protektor
A film about cops or law enforcement (Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, January 16): The French Connection
A film featuring a dragon (Appreciate a Dragon Day, January 16): How to Train Your Dragon
A film about marriage (Spouse's Day, January 26): Marriage Story
A film from or with Paul Newman (born on January 26): The Verdict

Not an awful film among those, although Cimarron got pretty close.

As for my favorite, not counting The Maltese Falcon rewatch, there were a bunch that were pretty close: I Lost My Body, Buster Scruggs, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and How to Train Your Dragon.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:54 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:34 am
Fine to Pass the Time

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #1 (i.e. 10, 215, 901): Things to Come
By "Fine to Pass the Time", does that indicate pretty good, good, or average? I gave that one a 7/10, which indicates I thought it was pretty good.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:21 am

Thumbs Down:
The Chaperone (Title with the number one/once/first/etc)

Marginal Thumbs Up:
The Great Train Robbery (Film from the 1900s)
The Return of the Hero

Thumbs Up:
The Big Heat (See a Films to See Before You Die with a 1 in the rank)
Anatomy of a Murder (See a film beginning with A or B)

Never finished that Finnish film. *shrugs*
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:41 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:54 am
By "Fine to Pass the Time", does that indicate pretty good, good, or average? I gave that one a 7/10, which indicates I thought it was pretty good.
Whoops! I put the films under the wrong headings. I'd definitely recommend it, despite not loving it per se.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:28 pm

Here's the complete list of categories for February...

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title:
A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D:
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 12, 82, 912)
A film from the 1910s:
A comedy film:
A sequel (second parts only):
A film nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award this year:
A film featuring the name of a couple in its title:
A film with the world "Love" in its title:
A film with an African-American cast (Black History Month):
A film featuring football prominently (Super Bowl, February 2):
A film that features the President of the US as a prominent character (President's Day, February 17):
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, February 25):
A film from the Dominican Republic (Independence Day, February 27):
A film from Vincente Minnelli (born on February 28):
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:23 pm

Some initial thoughts:

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title: I'm sure it would be a rewatch for everyone in here, but LOTR: Two Towers is on Netflix; Kubo and the Two Strings is amazing, but I'm sad to see it's no longer on Netflix; Taking of Pelham One Two Three is on Prime; I'd recommend the films Two Step and Dig Two Graves, but neither seem to be streaming.

A sequel (second parts only): Hellbound Hellraiser 2 (Hulu/Amazon); Scream 2 (Netflix); Candyman Farewell to the Flesh; Bride of ReAnimator;

A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D: (All of these are on Amazon) Carnival of Souls; Catch Me Daddy; Charade; Christmas Time; Christmas Again; Coffy; Coherence; Cut Snake; DOA; Dead Man Walking; Dead Ringers; Death Watch; Dementia 13; Demon; Diabolique; Django Kill If You Live Shoot

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 12, 426, 712): Gonna have to see if I can find any streaming. I have the Criterion Channel, but I know many in here don't.

A film from the 1910s: M'Liss (Prime)

A comedy film: (All on Prime) A Simple Favor; Behind the Mask; Bernie; Brittany Runs a Marathon; Logan Lucky; Moonstruck; Nina Forever; Pride

A film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar this year: Little Women
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:32 pm

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title: Two-Lane Blacktop
A sequel (second parts only): Wrong Turn 2 (that's the only one I'd recommend)
A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D: Clean, Shaven
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 12, 426, 712) Beau Travail (#929)
A film from the 1910s: L'Inferno (1911)
A comedy film: Harold and Maude
A film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar this year: Parasite
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Feb 02, 2020 6:05 pm

What I'm thinking for February:

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title: Two Night Stand (2014)
A sequel (second parts only): Scary Movie 2 (2001)
A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D: Cutie and the Boxer (2013)
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 12, 426, 712): The Band Wagon (1953)
A film from the 1910s: I'll pick something from YouTube.
A comedy film: The Other Guys (2010)
A film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar this year: The Irishman (2019)/Marriage Story (2019) (low key, I hope to see BOTH)

Also, at some point I WILL see Blade Runner: Director's Cut (waited an ETERNITY to see this one streaming somewhere).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:08 am

A sequel (second parts only): Prom Night 2

I do not understand why this one only has a 5.7 on the IMDb, I thought it was a lot of fun and enjoyably bonkers in its hallucination sequences.

Back in the 50s an absolutely wretched popular girl called Mary Lou is accidentally killed as she is being crowned Prom Queen in a prank gone wrong. Thirty years later, innocent nice girl Vicky is dating the son of Mary Lou's killer. As prom approaches (Vicky is in the running for Prom Queen), she begins to have strange dreams and visions involving the long-dead Mary Lou.

The thing that I liked most about this one was simply the visuals. It's delightfully gory, and there's also a humor and strangeness to Vicky's visions that's really interesting, like when a gym sequence is happening and a volleyball net suddenly morphs into a inky black spider's web. My favorite visual was when a hallucinating (or is she?) Vicky falls *sideways* into a suddenly-liquid blackboard. I thought that the effects were really solid and fun to look at.

From a story point of view, it's also pretty interesting. Vicky is a likable lead, and watching her slowly get possessed by Mary Lou is a compelling plot progression. Vicky doesn't understand what is happening to her, and the film lets her slowly go more and more off the rails. She can't really turn to anyone, even her sympathetic boyfriend. Mary Lou wants revenge against those who wronged her, but she never hesitates to take down anyone who stands in her way. This means that people get killed off who are perfectly nice characters. The order of deaths was not always predictable, and I liked that a lot.

The negatives? Well, there was a long sequence set in a locker room that leaned into the full frontal nudity in a way that crossed over from startling to "Oh, come on" pretty quickly. It's weird, because the first few shots use nudity in a way that is incidental and unsettling, and then it's just like, "Yup. Still naked." Do any of the male characters even so much as take of their shirts? Of course not.

I was also kind of bothered by the character of Bill coming off as semi-heroic. Look, was Mary Lou an awful person? Obviously yes. But he burned her alive and we see little or no remorse from him. Yes, he's sad that his son is in danger, but it also kind of seems like he killed someone, got away with it, and no one really thinks it's a big deal. As horrible as Mary Lou is, and as reckless as she is in her pursuit of revenge, she does kind of have a good reason to be angry.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:13 am

For the love of humanity, don't see part 3 of Prom Night unless you're a masochist. Outside of a ridiculous sequence here or a huh ending there, nothing to rush out and see.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:35 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:08 am
A sequel (second parts only): Prom Night 2
A couple of years ago I did an all-80s October, and this was probably my favorite thing that I saw that year, for most of the same reasons you've mentioned. The dreamy bits reminded me of something like Phantasm, the lead actress really embraces the bonkers-ness of it all, and the Tales from the Crypt-style ending is right up my alley.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:02 am

I can't believe I'm saying this, especially since I consider Prom Night to be tied for the worst slasher I've ever seen, but you guys have sold me on Prom Night 2.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:12 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:02 am
I can't believe I'm saying this, especially since I consider Prom Night to be tied for the worst slasher I've ever seen, but you guys have sold me on Prom Night 2.
I definitely think you'd be into it. Meanwhile I have absolutely zero interest in watching the original ever again.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:19 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:35 am
A couple of years ago I did an all-80s October, and this was probably my favorite thing that I saw that year, for most of the same reasons you've mentioned. The dreamy bits reminded me of something like Phantasm, the lead actress really embraces the bonkers-ness of it all, and the Tales from the Crypt-style ending is right up my alley.
I think that the Phantasm comparison is a good one. Prom Night 2 doesn't quite capture the genuine melancholy of Phantasm, but it does spend a solid 30+ minutes putting its lead character through a surreal wringer--a mix of real nightmares (like the aggressive guy in the leather jacket who pushes her up against the locker and starts pulling at her clothes) and just really out there stuff (like the spider-web volleyball net).

I also agree with the praise for the lead actress--she really does a good job of creating three very distinct modes: normal Vicky, Vicky starting to be possessed, and Vicky fully possessed. I also liked the genuinely wholesome relationship between Vicky and her boyfriend. Aside from the pretty one-dimensional Mean Girl, I thought that the cast of teenagers was refreshingly likable and that added some tragedy and impact to their demises.

Wooley: I thought it was a good time. It's at the very least good and fun with some memorable kills and enjoyable practical effects. Keep expectations in check, but I was pleasantly surprised.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:28 am

I'm just gonna have to radar Prom Night 2 for October.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:31 am

A film from the 1910s: Two Knights of Vaudeville

I've been trying to make more use of my Criterion Channel subscription, and so I've been searching up the different categories and seeing if I can find something applicable (I hope it won't shock you all to learn that Prom Night 2 was an Amazon Prime watch and not a Criterion). While searching for the "title with 2 in it" category I came across this short film from 1915.

The film follows two men who find an envelope of three theater tickets dropped by a wealthy man. The men (along with a female companion) attend an upscale vaudeville performance. The second half of the film involves them going to a run-down vaudeville show and trying to emulate the acts they saw at the upscale theater.

I was very intrigued by this film. It was made by a company called "Ebony Studios", which was a white-owned studio that featured African-American performers. I was interested to read that this film was actually produced by an African-American (a man whose brother later went on to become the NFL's first black coach, according to a piece of trivia I read).

What makes things a little complicated is that the film is very much two African-American men speaking in a parody-level "dialect" (as written out in the speech titles) and doing foolish things. On the other hand, could I see a white silent star playing the same role and doing basically the same things (minus the dialect)? Yes. Also, the dialect was SO outlandish that I almost had to wonder if it was intentionally over the top as a joke. ("Yas sah! We'vre gonna be gattin' outta hyar!").

One review that I read noted that it was significant that the film actually features black actors (and not white people in blackface), and that it skips the more egregious stereotypes of the time. I may look around more tomorrow, but I could not find an essay from a black film critic or from someone who specialized in the history of African-American studios/actors/producers who had weighed in. I can certainly say that the physical comedy was funny at times. The vaudeville acts at the beginning are fun to watch (especially the drunk juggler). I thought that the two leads were personable, despite their over-the-top personalities.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:32 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:28 am
I'm just gonna have to radar Prom Night 2 for October.
Why did I think that everyone else in the Horrorcram had already watched it except me? Was Captain Terror just that enthusiastic that it made me think five other people had seen it?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:37 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:32 am
Why did I think that everyone else in the Horrorcram had already watched it except me? Was Captain Terror just that enthusiastic that it made me think five other people had seen it?
You may be surprised. There's a decent amount of horror I haven't gotten around to from the early days to the last few years.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Rock » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:54 am

Is Prom Night II the Slumber Party Massacre II of the Prom Night franchise?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:02 am

After mostly lurking, I'm hoping to do this a bit this year. I'll never get to all the categories but it's a nice challenge to hunt around for films I might not otherwise check out.

So this is what I did in January:

The first film from any director you like: They Live by Night (Nicholas Ray). Apparently this was the first time a helicopter shot was used for action (rather than just broad scenery), and it was the first shot of Nicholas Ray's directing career, so everything must have seemed easy after that. This is a terrific, empathetic noir. Ray's sympathy for the outcast and the outlaw is established from the get-go.
A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B: Blackmail. Early Hitchcock, so early it started as a silent, and ultimately both silent and sound versions were filmed (I watched the sound version). My favorite bit of trivia with this one is that the lead (cast for a silent) had a thick Czech accent; proper dubbing didn't exist yet so they just had another actor read her lines from off-camera, trying to match her mouth movements.
A film from the 1900s: Life of an American Fireman. Documentaryish short about, well, being a fireman. Mostly I love watching this stuff for the period detail.
An action or adventure film: Aquaman. Ooh, let's just be kind and say this one wasn't for me. One general critique about this subgenre of film is that many more of them need to aim for lower stakes; world saving becomes a dreary exercise when it has to be done over and over.
An animated film: Lady and the Tramp. Cute, and only a little bit racist! Also, The Sword in the Stone (yes, I have a small child), which is basically a series of thinly connected vignettes. They're fine, I guess, but there's really no story to speak of, just a bit of gesturing at Arthur's coming of age and rule.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Rock » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:20 am

kgaard. wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:02 am
Also, The Sword in the Stone (yes, I have a small child), which is basically a series of thinly connected vignettes. They're fine, I guess, but there's really no story to speak of, just a bit of gesturing at Arthur's coming of age and rule.
Oh man, blast from the past. This seemed to be on steady rotation in my elementary school's "I don't wanna teach today, class, let's watch a movie" collection, but I've rarely thought about it or heard it discussed since.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:49 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:32 am
Why did I think that everyone else in the Horrorcram had already watched it except me? Was Captain Terror just that enthusiastic that it made me think five other people had seen it?
That could very well be the case. When it comes to 80s films I'm accustomed to being late to the party, so I was similarly surprised that relatively few had seen it. I don't even expect anyone to like it, just figured the first film would have driven enough people to have checked it out.

And for Wooley: Tak is correct when she says to keep your expectations in check. I am not suggesting that it is as good as Phantasm, only that it was reminiscent of it in parts. I disliked about 75% of what I watched that month, so it just stood out to me as one that I'd rewatch in the future. I was just glad to have an EC Comics type of story as opposed to another slasher. Keeping in mind some of the things that you and I both like, I think this one would appeal to you.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:54 am

Rock wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:54 am
Is Prom Night II the Slumber Party Massacre II of the Prom Night franchise?
You know, a case could be made that it is. As I recall SPM2 had precious little connection to the first, is that correct? If so, they're similar in that way. Also, Part 1- slasher/Part 2- supernatural.
PN2 contains zero guitar-playing jackasses, though, so it wins. Or loses, depending on one's feelings about such things.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:13 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:49 am
That could very well be the case. When it comes to 80s films I'm accustomed to being late to the party, so I was similarly surprised that relatively few had seen it. I don't even expect anyone to like it, just figured the first film would have driven enough people to have checked it out.

And for Wooley: Tak is correct when she says to keep your expectations in check.
Always do. ;)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:28 pm

kgaard. wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:02 am
After mostly lurking, I'm hoping to do this a bit this year. I'll never get to all the categories but it's a nice challenge to hunt around for films I might not otherwise check out.
Woohoo! Thanks for joining in. That's actually the spirit of the challenge; to, well, challenge ourselves to see films we might not see any other way.
kgaard. wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:02 am
So this is what I did in January:

The first film from any director you like: They Live by Night (Nicholas Ray). Apparently this was the first time a helicopter shot was used for action (rather than just broad scenery), and it was the first shot of Nicholas Ray's directing career, so everything must have seemed easy after that. This is a terrific, empathetic noir. Ray's sympathy for the outcast and the outlaw is established from the get-go.
A film with a title that starts with the letters A or B: Blackmail. Early Hitchcock, so early it started as a silent, and ultimately both silent and sound versions were filmed (I watched the sound version). My favorite bit of trivia with this one is that the lead (cast for a silent) had a thick Czech accent; proper dubbing didn't exist yet so they just had another actor read her lines from off-camera, trying to match her mouth movements.
A film from the 1900s: Life of an American Fireman. Documentaryish short about, well, being a fireman. Mostly I love watching this stuff for the period detail.
An action or adventure film: Aquaman. Ooh, let's just be kind and say this one wasn't for me. One general critique about this subgenre of film is that many more of them need to aim for lower stakes; world saving becomes a dreary exercise when it has to be done over and over.
An animated film: Lady and the Tramp. Cute, and only a little bit racist! Also, The Sword in the Stone (yes, I have a small child), which is basically a series of thinly connected vignettes. They're fine, I guess, but there's really no story to speak of, just a bit of gesturing at Arthur's coming of age and rule.
The only Nicholas Ray I've seen is Rebel Without a Cause, but I've had In a Lonely Place on my "to watch" list for a while. I've also heard good things about They Live by Night so I might bump it up a bit.

I haven't seen Blackmail in a while, but I do remember having some issues with the lead man's performance. I also never fully felt the threat of the blackmail, but I do think it's an ok film and worth watching in the context of film history, as a bridge between silent and sound cinema.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:23 pm

Completed list...
Thief wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:28 pm
Here's the complete list of categories for February...

A film with the number 2 (Two, Second, etc.) in its title:
A film with a title that starts with the letters C or D:
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #2 (i.e. 12, 82, 912)
A film from the 1910s:
A comedy film:
A sequel (second parts only):
A film nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award this year:
A film featuring the name of a couple in its title:
A film with the world "Love" in its title:
A film with an African-American cast (Black History Month):
A film featuring football prominently (Super Bowl, February 2):
A film that features the President of the US as a prominent character (President's Day, February 17):
A film set in New Orleans (Mardi Gras, February 25):
A film from the Dominican Republic (Independence Day, February 27):
A film from Vincente Minnelli (born on February 28):
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