Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:19 pm

Well, looks like I might settle for these for the next days...

A film from the 1950s: To Catch a Thief
A film about fathers: High Life
A film about friendship/best friends (Best Friend Day, June 8): The Lighthouse
A film with a herb or spice in its title (Herbs and Spices Day, June 10): Rosemary's Baby (rewatch)
A film about a meteor (Meteor Day, June 30): Night of the Comet

I already saw Gallipoli (1001 Movie List) and Killing Them Softly (K title), and have Uncut Gems as a freebie as well, so I'm a bit late, but well on track.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:52 pm

A Film from the 1950s:

DESTINATION MOON (1950)

This one's pretty cool on paper, although the entertainment value of actually watching it might vary for some. No real stars in the cast but it's written by Robert A Heinlen and produced by George Pal. It's in technicolor, which makes this possibly the oldest Technicolor sci-fi I've ever seen.

What we have here is an attempt to accurately portray what a trip to the moon might be like, 20 years before we actually did it. So there's no aliens or space creatures or anything. As a result, it's a bit dry in the plot department. We get an explanation of how a rocket might exit the earth's gravity (via a Woody Woodpecker cartoon!), then when the rocket launches we witness the effects of G-Forces and later weightlessness. The only real "drama" that happens involves one astronaut becoming unmoored during a space walk, and then later an attempt to return to Earth with a possibly-insufficient amount of fuel left in the rocket. So this would no doubt bore many viewers in 2020, but if you were a kid in 1950 this must've been really cool, especially if you were a science geek like me.

The copy that's available on Youtube is really nice, that early Technicolor really pops. And I'm a big fan of the matte paintings of the moon's surface as well. Cool stuff.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:55 pm

Also, did we lose Takoma? What did I miss?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:58 am

She hasn't logged in a while, which is weird. Hope she's fine.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:30 am

Yeah, I haven't seen her around for a couple weeks.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:43 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:55 pm
Also, did we lose Takoma? What did I miss?
Last interaction I saw with her she said the conversation had turned "alienating". I'd hoped that didn't mean she was gonna go away again but I haven't seen her since that post.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:09 pm

:(
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Torgo » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:03 pm

DP and I were joking around in the Baker's Dozen Game about some movie idea he had that involved titties. I hope our locker room humor didn't alienate Takoma into leaving.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:46 pm

Does anyone have a way of contacting her outside of this forum? She's a great poster.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:57 am

Here are some quick words on the first 5 (or 6) of the month...

A freebie: UNCUT GEMS
I started the month with this one, even before I settled in the categories for the month. But it was on Netflix and all my brothers were talking about it, so why not? The film follows Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) the owner of a jewelry that also happens to be a compulsive gambler. Ratner spends the course of the film going through a chain of bold transactions and shady deals to try to win enough money to pay his debts. The films success lies mainly in two things: first, in how it evokes a sense of constant dread, and uneasiness as we witness the extents that Ratner would go for his "win", and second, in how it manages to pull a great dramatic performance from Adam Fuckin' Sandler. As someone who still hasn't seen Punch Drunk Love, it was great to see him in a more raw performance than I'm used to. Kudos to the rest of the cast, particularly Julia Fox, who I think debuted with this. The Safdie Brothers energetic direction also contributes to the sense of tension. This one is pretty good. Grade: A-

Any film that starts with the letters K or L: KILLING THEM SOFTLY
Set against he backdrop of the 2007 US recession and the upcoming Presidential elections, the film follows Jackie (Brad Pitt), a hitman hired to take care of two low-level robbers (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) who steal from a Mob gambling operation. Overall, the film is not subtle at all in how it handles its parallelisms between its plot and the state of the US economy. But despite of that, it is mostly well executed with some solid acting from Pitt, McNairy, and Mendelsohn, as well as Ray Liotta, James Gandolfini, and Richard Jenkins, among others. Andrew Dominik's direction is also pretty effective, as he chooses an interesting, more introspective pace to things. That results in some spots where the film feels a bit slogg-ish, but the performances and the witty script and dialogue help to smooth things over. Grade: B+

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #6: GALLIPOLI (#668)
Set in Australia in the wake of World War I, the film follows competitive runners and rivals-turned-friends Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) as they decide to enlist. As a result, they are sent to the Gallipoli peninsula, where they will face the army of the Ottoman Empire. The film serves as both a war film and a coming-of-age/friendship film as both lead characters grow and become disillusioned with the events around them. Both lead actors are pretty good, but Gibson is the best of the two. The final act is hindered by the sudden appearance of some cartoonishly bad superior officers, but the performances and Weir's direction help carry it through to its tragic ending. Grade: B+

A film from the 1950s: TO CATCH A THIEF
This is my 37th Hitchcock film overall and one that I had always heard it's more middle-tier. Still, it's Hitchcock so why not give it a chance? The film follows retired cat burglar John Robie (Cary Grant) as he is framed for a series of robberies at the French Riviera, forcing him to investigate who's behind it. Overall, I agree with the general consensus that this is middle tier Hitchcock. The story isn't that interesting and the reveal and the last act lack the punch and impact of other of his films. However, Grant more than carries it with his suave performance, and his chemistry with co-lead Grace Kelly is superb. Also the dialogue and script are great as we get to see how much Hitchcock liked to play with words and innuendo to push the envelope. Grade: B

A film about friendship or best friends: THE LIGHTHOUSE
This is another one I wanted to see for a while, so I was willing to flex the categories a bit to include it. The film follows a duo of lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) as they try to keep their sanity after ending up stranded by a storm. There's certainly a lot to unpack here but I'll just say that this film entered a select group of films I felt the urge to rewatch within 24-hours of the first watch, which I did (the select group includes Persona, Memento, and a couple of Lynch films, among others). Eggers takes what seems like a mish-mash of Greek mythology and Norse folklore to really dig into the psyche of these two men, particularly Pattinson, who seems to be carrying a lot of issues like a shady past, alcoholism, homosexual repression, and just plain daddy issues. Both performances are great, while the direction and cinematography are mesmerizing and gorgeous with some haunting imagery. Definitely the kind of film that sticks with you in more ways than one. Grade: A

A film with a herb or spice in its title: ROSEMARY'S BABY (rewatch)
This is one I hadn't seen in a good while, but I felt it was due for a rewatch. The film follows a young couple (Mia Farrow and John Cassavettes) that find themselves in the middle of what seems to be a Satanic cult that threatens the safety of their unborn baby. This is a film that lives and succeeds on its dread and atmosphere as well as the tragic eeriness of its resolution. Polanski does a great job of building up the tension and setting up the stage for what happens later on the film, but it is Farrow's performance that carries most of it. A combination of frailty and determination, she sells the role of the woman that's up against the world and then more....
Having been so long since I first saw it, I was surprised by two things: First, I didn't remember that Guy was in on it, which is an inherently dark and tragic twist, augmented by how far he goes for things to happen. And the second thing is probably the weirdest, but after the ending, I was thinking to myself "wasn't there a quick flash where we see the baby with black eyes?" Turns out that there isn't, but that says a lot about how effective the film it is in that I had lived all these years creeped out by an image that didn't exist, but was rather created by my subconscious. Creepy stuff.
Chilling, creepy, and effective, which is the least I ask from a "horror" film. Grade: A
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:06 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:46 pm
Does anyone have a way of contacting her outside of this forum? She's a great poster.
I've reached out to her before when she's left, I think if she's left for a reason as opposed to, god forbid something's actually happened to her, she'll either come back or not in her own time. She knows how much her presence is appreciated.
It's an interesting point though, if this place were more welcoming to women, there'd probably be more than one woman here.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:11 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 1:57 am

A film from the 1950s: TO CATCH A THIEF
This is my 37th Hitchcock film overall and one that I had always heard it's more middle-tier. Still, it's Hitchcock so why not give it a chance? The film follows retired cat burglar John Robie (Cary Grant) as he is framed for a series of robberies at the French Riviera, forcing him to investigate who's behind it. Overall, I agree with the general consensus that this is middle tier Hitchcock. The story isn't that interesting and the reveal and the last act lack the punch and impact of other of his films. However, Grant more than carries it with his suave performance, and his chemistry with co-lead Grace Kelly is superb. Also the dialogue and script are great as we get to see how much Hitchcock liked to play with words and innuendo to push the envelope. Grade: B
Believe it or not, I was raised (by my mother) believing that this was the pinnacle of Hitchock and therefore one of the great peaks of cinema. I'd seen this at least a dozen times by the time I was in my mid to late 20s, when it finally occurred to me that maybe it wasn't THAT great. I still like it a lot, but I think the magic of the Riviera, European diamond thieves, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant... you get the point... kinda cut through my mother's small Southern existence and made the larger world seem like a dream to her. Hence, the magic. Considering how young I was when I started watching it, the same was probably true for me.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:37 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 2:11 pm
Believe it or not, I was raised (by my mother) believing that this was the pinnacle of Hitchock and therefore one of the great peaks of cinema. I'd seen this at least a dozen times by the time I was in my mid to late 20s, when it finally occurred to me that maybe it wasn't THAT great. I still like it a lot, but I think the magic of the Riviera, European diamond thieves, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant... you get the point... kinda cut through my mother's small Southern existence and made the larger world seem like a dream to her. Hence, the magic. Considering how young I was when I started watching it, the same was probably true for me.
That's interesting to read. Still, all things considered, the film is no dud. It would fall on my Hitchcock middle tier (#30 out of #37), but there's a lot to like. I would say my main gripe is with the last act. It sorta fizzles with little to no oomph.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:15 pm

For what it's worth, I just chatted with Tak via e-mail. She's fine but with the end of the school year, she's decided to take some time off the Internet.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:45 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:15 pm
For what it's worth, I just chatted with Tak via e-mail. She's fine but with the end of the school year, she's decided to take some time off the Internet.
Glad to hear that it wasn't us this time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:31 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:45 pm
Glad to hear that it wasn't us this time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:44 pm

I'm glad that we haven't scared Tak away for good. I was always interested in reading her view on things, movies or otherwise.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Torgo » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:24 pm

Excellent! This forum's sophistication, maturity and quality of discourse shall go back to normal in the (hopefully) near future.
No offense to the present company, that is.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:47 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:44 pm
I'm glad that we haven't scared Tak away for good. I was always interested in reading her view on things, movies or otherwise.
I don't think she's ever scared, I think she has occasionally expressed a sort of exhaustion from time to time.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Slentert » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:54 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:47 pm
I don't think she's ever scared, I think she has occasionally expressed a sort of exhaustion from time to time.
Yeah, scared wasn't the right choice of word. And I do think you're right that we should keep in mind how we and this forum can be perceived by women and whether or not we're alienating anyone or making them feel uncomfortable. (Which is not an attack on Torgo or Death Proof, I think we're all guilty of this kind of behavior sometimes)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:35 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:54 pm
Yeah, scared wasn't the right choice of word. And I do think you're right that we should keep in mind how we and this forum can be perceived by women and whether or not we're alienating anyone or making them feel uncomfortable. (Which is not an attack on Torgo or Death Proof, I think we're all guilty of this kind of behavior sometimes)
Yeah, I'm definitely not singling anybody out, I'm as guilty as anyone I'm sure. Must be tiring though to be the only woman on a forum of any kind.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:15 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:15 pm
For what it's worth, I just chatted with Tak via e-mail. She's fine but with the end of the school year, she's decided to take some time off the Internet.
Yeah, I think the stress of dealing with COVID 19 along with an uncertain educational plan that probably had to change several times and not being able to do the side hustle would wear anyone out.

Hoping she comes back fully refreshed.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:06 pm

I'm happy to hear that Tak is alright. I'll eagerly await her return in the meantime.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jun 17, 2020 2:08 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 2:30 pm
In Episode 13 I go back to In the Heat of the Night to try to process some of what is happening in the US and around the world through the prism of that film. And, of course, I talk about the last 5 films I saw in May. Thanks to anyone who listens

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 13 (June 3, 2020)
For those listening, here's the link for Episode 14 of my podcast...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 14 (June 15, 2020)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:32 pm

A film about friendship/best friends (Best Friend Day, June 8): X-Men: First Class

I'm sure I'm stretching the category here, although in fairness if this film were about anything the friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr would be central to its ideas. But really the film is about (:channels George Constanza:) nothing. It has nothing to say and cares about how it says it only in the most lackadaisical, slapdash way. It errantly pretends that filtering Bond through the X-Men (mostly by showcasing "period" furnishing and putting women in "classic" lingerie as frequently as possible) is an adequate substitute for ideas. There are nods to the mutant struggle for acceptance as a metaphor for gay rights, but there's no effort to put any substance behind the idea, just repetition of the hokey phrase "mutant and proud" and a particularly embarrassing scene where Hank McCoy clumsily invents the phrase "don't ask, don't tell."

It's telling that a movie set at the height of the Cold War has absolutely nothing to say about the politics or social circumstances of the period, as if the setting will do all the work for it. Don't even get me started on the black character
who is literally named "Darwin" because he adapts to survive any situation and is somehow still killed off
. Given the decent reviews this was a huge disappointment.

On the other hand...

A film about LGBTQ+ lifestyles (LGBT Pride Month): The Watermelon Woman

Significant as the first U.S. feature film directed by a black lesbian, Cheryl Dunye, this movie at first glance may seem like a rough-and-ready student film with mostly amateur acting, but it really rewards attention and a closer look. Set in the Philadelphia area in the mid-90s, the film follows the efforts of a young filmmaker attempting to track down a black actor who appeared in early films a maid or "the help" who she knows only as "the Watermelon Woman". The filmmaker, played by Dunye herself, is also trying to navigate her relationships with her best friend, her other co-workers at the video rental store, and a new romantic interest who appears on the scene. There are also interviews with notable queer figures including Cheryl Clarke and Camille Paglia. At times awkward, at times funny, at times sobering, the film is mostly a clever way of interrogating history, and how--and who--creates it. Highly recommended, and free on Criterion.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:45 pm

kgaard. wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:32 pm
A film about friendship/best friends (Best Friend Day, June 8): X-Men: First Class

I'm sure I'm stretching the category here, although in fairness if this film were about anything the friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr would be central to its ideas.
Oh trust me, you didn't stretch it as far as I did :D
kgaard. wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:32 pm
But really the film is about (:channels George Constanza:) nothing. It has nothing to say and cares about how it says it only in the most lackadaisical, slapdash way. It errantly pretends that filtering Bond through the X-Men (mostly by showcasing "period" furnishing and putting women in "classic" lingerie as frequently as possible) is an adequate substitute for ideas. There are nods to the mutant struggle for acceptance as a metaphor for gay rights, but there's no effort to put any substance behind the idea, just repetition of the hokey phrase "mutant and proud" and a particularly embarrassing scene where Hank McCoy clumsily invents the phrase "don't ask, don't tell."

It's telling that a movie set at the height of the Cold War has absolutely nothing to say about the politics or social circumstances of the period, as if the setting will do all the work for it. Don't even get me started on the black character
who is literally named "Darwin" because he adapts to survive any situation and is somehow still killed off
. Given the decent reviews this was a huge disappointment.
As for the film... overall, I think I agree with your premise, but I was entertained enough by the flash and bangs, and the solid performances (particularly Fassbender and Bacon) for it to bother me. Still, it just barely gets a B for me.

The thing with Darwin was something I read afterwards. I'm not a comic book guy, so I had no knowledge of his powers and how it was used on the comics, but when you look at how they executed it, it's really telling and definitely bothersome.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:01 am

I did like Fassbender, he was the best part of the movie.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by MrCarmady » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:33 am

I remember digging First Class for its vibe of the mutants just hanging out. I am also a sucker for James McAvoy, which helps.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:49 am

Doing some reworking of my entries, but finally got through:

See a film with a 6 in the title (June)

Six Underground (2019)
Imagine a mix of Fast and the Furious, Oceans 11, The Man in the Iron Mask and Bayhem. Throw in some laughing gas and cool visual woo. The end result is part of the reason why I don't jump into just any action film anymore. Or why I generally avoid Michael Bay films (and based on Twitter, I might not have much more to worry about there). Ryan Reynolds is no Will Smith or Nicolas Cage, but you knew that. Melanie Laurent can kick some a*#, but she can't do it alone. Probably didn't help that they threw newcomer Corey Hawkins as a PTSD soldier as the newest recruit. Not that he's bad or anything, but it's straight outta clicheville. Throw in bickering, movie quotes, bad comedy (nuns flipping off people...how edgy!), people dodging/running for their lives, military hardware, female objectification, and US flag waving. It drowns out having the lead from A Separation playing the good brother and an interesting sequence on a boat that features a phone app.

I'd give Bay points for trying to insert more serious thoughts and pieces into this film. But the refugee camp and people marching on the streets both exist less organically and more a desperate attempt to make these anti-heroes seem likable. Bah! D-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:55 pm

This was one of the new entries I was working on.

See a horror film (June)

The Wicker Man (1973)
Christian policeman (Edward Woodward) heads to the island of Summerisle to find a missing girl. Only nobody's seen her and the locals don't seem to be talking. While trying to find out what happened, the cop starts to revolt at the blatant paganism going on at the island. Although a girl at a bar (Britt Ekland) tries to tempt him, he persists in trying to uncover the truth. Perhaps the town governor (Christopher Lee) know what's going on? Or maybe he should stick around town and try to investigate?

This one works more under the slow burn atmospheric horror category. Director Robin Hardy throws you into the world with no warning...with only Sgt. Howey as your companion. There's some memorable moments with Ekland's slow dance and conversations with Lee's character up until the thrilling climax. A couple of the songs get overused, but otherwise this was well done. B+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:49 pm

Two in a row? Don't mind if I do.

See a film made in the 1950s (June)
See a film set in a submarine (April)
See a film where a word repeats (June)

Run Silent, Run Deep (1958)
Pretty tense sub drama where Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) witnesses his own sub sunk by Japanese forces, gets assigned to desk duty and (off screen) begs for another chance.

He ends up commanding the Nerka, a sub that was supposed to go to Lieutenant Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster). He stays on as his first mate, but things start to get tense when Bledsoe learns about where the boat is headed.

Director Robert Wise is able to blend the thrilling action with drama and a bit of humor effectively. The two leads are solid enough to sell the material while an able supporting cast including Jack Warden and Don Rickles help them out. There's some narrative issues that detracted for me, but overall, it captured the intensity of being in a sub while trying to hunt down enemy forces. Thumbs up. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:03 pm

Yeah, I pretty much agree, although I think I was a bit more lenient with my grade. I really liked Lancaster in it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:23 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:55 pm
This was one of the new entries I was working on.

See a horror film (June)

The Wicker Man (1973)
Christian policeman (Edward Woodward) heads to the island of Summerisle to find a missing girl. Only nobody's seen her and the locals don't seem to be talking. While trying to find out what happened, the cop starts to revolt at the blatant paganism going on at the island. Although a girl at a bar (Britt Ekland) tries to tempt him, he persists in trying to uncover the truth. Perhaps the town governor (Christopher Lee) know what's going on? Or maybe he should stick around town and try to investigate?

This one works more under the slow burn atmospheric horror category. Director Robin Hardy throws you into the world with no warning...with only Sgt. Howey as your companion. There's some memorable moments with Ekland's slow dance and conversations with Lee's character up until the thrilling climax. A couple of the songs get overused, but otherwise this was well done. B+
Possibly one of my 31 Favorite Horror Movies, it has definitely been on the list at times.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:36 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:55 pm
This was one of the new entries I was working on.

See a horror film (June)

The Wicker Man (1973)
Christian policeman (Edward Woodward) heads to the island of Summerisle to find a missing girl. Only nobody's seen her and the locals don't seem to be talking. While trying to find out what happened, the cop starts to revolt at the blatant paganism going on at the island. Although a girl at a bar (Britt Ekland) tries to tempt him, he persists in trying to uncover the truth. Perhaps the town governor (Christopher Lee) know what's going on? Or maybe he should stick around town and try to investigate?

This one works more under the slow burn atmospheric horror category. Director Robin Hardy throws you into the world with no warning...with only Sgt. Howey as your companion. There's some memorable moments with Ekland's slow dance and conversations with Lee's character up until the thrilling climax. A couple of the songs get overused, but otherwise this was well done. B+
Somehow missed this, but yeah, I agree with Wooley. This is one that has stuck with me big time. Definitely one of my favorites.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:29 am

My middle pack of the month...

A horror film: OVERLORD
Set in World War II, the film follows a small group of soldiers with the mission to destroy a German radio tower. However, they end up discovering a secret lab where Germans have been performing experiments on dead people that result in immortality and super strength... "zombies", for all intents and purposes. After seeing it, I wouldn't consider it a horror film properly, more like an action/sci-fi/thriller mish-mash, but there's enough to warrant the "horror" tag anyway. When you boil it down, the film doesn't seem to have "high" aspirations other than to be a non-stop thrill ride, but it does achieve that pretty darn well. From the get-go, the film has you on the edge of your seat with a nerve-wracking opening as the soldiers plane approach enemy territory, and it ends with an adrenaline-fueled, long tracking shot as one of our heroes escape from an explosion. Most of the cast is solid and really likable. Lead Jovan Adepo leans slightly towards bland, but he has the heart needed for the role, while Wyatt Rusell has the volatile and raw side of the spectrum. Funny thing, as I saw him, I could've sworn I had seen him before, which led me to discover he's the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. And after reading that, it clicked, and I just can't unsee it. I mean, seriously, the resemblance to both is uncanny. Pilou Asbæk (i.e. Euron Greyjoy) has the hammier role as the bad guy, and he does it well. One could argue there could've been more "zombies", and it does play things a bit safe, but overall, I thought it was a lot of fun. Grade: B+

A film about a meteor: NIGHT OF THE COMET
Not necessarily a meteor, but meteors can come from comets, so I continue to flex the categories a bit. This one follows two sisters (Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney) as they find themselves alone in California after a passing comet turns most of the population into either ashes or mindless zombies. I had heard good things about this one, here and in social media, but I have to say it just didn't work that well for me. The performances are subpar, the pacing is weird, the plot seems unfocused and somewhat rambling, it isn't gory enough to be horror nor funny enough to be comedy, so it ends up in a somewhat stale middle spot where you can enjoy some of its goofiness, appreciate its innocent charm and absurdities, but not much more. Grade: C

A film with a repeated word in its title: EYE FOR AN EYE (rewatch)
This is one I had seen back in the day, and remember being somewhat disturbed by it, so I decided to give it a rewatch. The film follows Karen McCann (Sally Field) as she tries to cope with the rape and murder of her teenage daughter at the hands of a vicious criminal called Robert Doob (Kiefer Sutherland). When Doob walks away on a technicality, Karen finds herself struggling on whether to continue with her life or take matters in her own hands. The 90s are filled with these crime and/or home invasion thrillers, but I think most of them haven't aged properly. First of all, none of the performances are great, although Sutherland might be its saving grace. Also, Ed Harris is a blessing, even in minor, thankless roles like Karen's husband. Second, the film tries to juggle too many subplots that don't really amount to anything in the end. Aside from its main plot, there's the friendship Karen develops with a woman at a grief counseling group, as well as a couple of guys that help her get a gun and plan Doob's murder, but both subplots end up leading nowhere despite significant screen-time. Finally, despite teasing a more significant moral dilemma in its title, tagline, and first half, the film drops it in the second half, because of course, Doob is vicious and evil, and he has to die. There still some enjoyment in it, but in the end, it is the equivalent of a slightly above-average TV film. Grade: C

A film with Marilyn Monroe: HOME TOWN STORY
Marilyn Monroe doesn't have a huge filmography and, for better or worse, most of her films weren't available streaming. I've only seen two (All About Eve, Some Like it Hot), but couldn't get my hands on her other most notable films (Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Asphalt Jungle). I ended up settling for this one, where she has a small role, but was the only one available. The film follows Blake Washburn (Jeffrey Lynn), a former Senator that returns to his hometown after losing his reelection bid and starts running a small newspaper. Sparked by his political rival whose father owns a big motor company, Washburn starts targeting big corporations with his editorials. For half of its duration, I was mildly interested, but by the second half, I was rolling my eyes at how it became pretty much a propaganda for capitalism and big businesses. Considering the time it was released, I suppose it came to be as a result of McCarthyism and the Cold War. Still, Lynn is pretty good in the lead role, as is Marjorie Reynolds, who plays his girlfriend. Donald Crisp has perhaps the showier role as the above-mentioned CEO who gives Blake a speech on what "true profit" means. Monroe plays the role of Washburn's secretary and, despite being known as a sex symbol, I've always liked how in the few roles where I've seen her, she's usually confident and strong-willed, despite those oogling around her. The other plus I can think of is that the film is barely an hour so it ends up feeling quite breezy despite its flaws. So if you're a Monroe completist, or are just trying to get another one under your belt, this might be a quick choice. Grade: C

A film about fathers: HIGH LIFE
Oh boy, where to begin. First, this is my first Claire Denis' film and only my third Robert Pattinson film. With that said, I was not prepared to how... heavy this film would be. The film follows Monte (Pattinson), the surviving member of a space crew of criminals sent on a mission to a distant black hole. For reasons that are revealed as the film progresses, Monte has been left alone on the ship taking care of baby Willow. I finished this film last night and, for most of the day, I've been thinking about it still not sure what to make of it. But on my way home from work, while listening to a podcast interview with Denis herself, it somehow clicked. Different people can get different things out of it, but to me it's a story about second chances and what we make of them. Most of the characters, or at least the ones we focus on, are - directly or indirectly - given a chance to atone for their mistakes. Unfortunately, not all of them use it wisely, but for those that do and struggle through, it ends up being a rewarding, beautiful experience. I can't think of a better way to describe how this film felt for me. Grade: A-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:45 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:29 am
My middle pack of the month...

A film about a meteor: NIGHT OF THE COMET
Not necessarily a meteor, but meteors can come from comets, so I continue to flex the categories a bit. This one follows two sisters (Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney) as they find themselves alone in California after a passing comet turns most of the population into either ashes or mindless zombies. I had heard good things about this one, here and in social media, but I have to say it just didn't work that well for me. The performances are subpar, the pacing is weird, the plot seems unfocused and somewhat rambling, it isn't gory enough to be horror nor funny enough to be comedy, so it ends up in a somewhat stale middle spot where you can enjoy some of its goofiness, appreciate its innocent charm and absurdities, but not much more. Grade: C
You have made Wooley sad.
You should feel bad.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:30 pm

My apologies Woolster. What can I do? what did I miss?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:45 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:30 pm
My apologies Woolster. What can I do? what did I miss?
I just love that movie. The relationship between the sisters and their strength against this crazy new world and approach to dealing with this crisis, are almost enough for me alone, but I also love the way the look of deserted Los Angeles, I love the "zombies" (especially the zombie Highway Patrol), I love the whole part in the mall, I think that was just pitch-perfect (even if the budget forced them to use a cover of Cyndi Lauper), I love Geoffrey Lewis' villain, I love Mary Woronov's sacrifice, I love "Gone To See Santa" gag, and of course, I do NOT cross against the light!
It's one of my biggest comfort-movies, even though it's such a tiny little movie.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:51 pm

Wooley made a strong case for it in one of his threads, which was what led me to check it out. It's worth a read if you can locate it.
This was a movie that was never really on my radar, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:10 pm

Yeah, I liked Night of the Comet as well, but I can also see how it might be a "cup of tea" (as in, "not my") movie. Its strengths are perhaps not as obvious as its weaknesses at first glance. For me, at least, it's these odd little offbeat films that rewatches often most reward. Like, the first time I watched A Boy and His Dog, my respose was mostly "wtf" and "I don't know, man" but a second viewing revealed its idiosyncratic joys. This doesn't always work, of course--Buckaroo Banzai never clicked for me, for example--but with the right movie it can do wonders.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:24 pm

kgaard. wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:10 pm
Yeah, I liked Night of the Comet as well, but I can also see how it might be a "cup of tea" (as in, "not my") movie. Its strengths are perhaps not as obvious as its weaknesses at first glance. For me, at least, it's these odd little offbeat films that rewatches often most reward. Like, the first time I watched A Boy and His Dog, my respose was mostly "wtf" and "I don't know, man" but a second viewing revealed its idiosyncratic joys. This doesn't always work, of course--Buckaroo Banzai never clicked for me, for example--but with the right movie it can do wonders.
I think you're probably right on this.
I have a lot of nostalgia for the movie from seeing it in the theater when I was exactly the right age and amount of horror fan and hitting puberty and all for this to really sing for me.
When I revisited it about 12 years ago, it left me kinda flat and I was so disappointed, I think because of how actually small the movie is compared to how I remembered.
But then when I re-revisited it a few years ago, with my expectations reset, I was absolutely charmed by it in a new way and since then I have just loved it every time.
It is a small movie. And it's really more character-driven than action-driven, which I think catches people off-guard. It's very much about Reg and how strong she is and about her and about Sam and how she may have been hiding in her suburban, Valley, cheerleader life but actually has real strength and depth deep down inside her as well, even if she doesn't want to admit it. And then the rest of the movie just has so many nice touches from little things like the step-mom's fake nails on top of the pile of dust that the rest of her became (or the dog's leash on its pile of dust), to the menacing Willy and his "in your worst nightmares, you wouldn't believe" style, to Mary Woronov's compassionate villain, and again the Santa gag and the great "The whole burden of civilization is upon us".
It's just got quirky, plucky charm to spare, enough for another whole movie. So I love it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:54 pm

I was going to say that I ranked Night of the Comet higher. It was a pleasant watch.

For my #7 film for June, tackling a stone cold classic.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:09 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:35 pm
Must be tiring though to be the only woman on a forum of any kind.
Weird post, just looking for clarification on what exactly you mean here because she is not the only woman :shifty:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:53 am

The Nameless Two wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:09 am
Weird post, just looking for clarification on what exactly you mean here because she is not the only woman :shifty:
Really, you're gonna engage me in this way?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:55 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:53 am
Really, you're gonna engage me in this way?
??? I'm not doing anything wrong here, uh, chill
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:56 am

Given my history on how I typically, you know, engage people, you should probably think at this moment that I am offering you a PROFOUND level of respect so back off if you can't
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:03 am

The Nameless Two wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:56 am
Given my history on how I typically, you know, engage people, you should probably think at this moment that I am offering you a PROFOUND level of respect so back off if you can't
You're saying that your history of negative engagement should dictate how I respond? It doesn't work that way. If you want to have some discussion about this, have it openly and fairly, with respect to other posters (me in this case), as you always should. Don't open with a challenge, especially to someone you haven't established any positive relationship with in the past.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:08 am

Wooley wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:03 am
You're saying that your history of negative engagement should dictate how I respond? It doesn't work that way. If you want to have some discussion about this, have it openly and fairly, with respect to other posters (me in this case), as you always should. Don't open with a challenge, especially to someone you haven't established any positive relationship with in the past.
Lol, you are policing my tone by policing my tone? What a joke
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:12 am

Like, you understand that Takoma is not the only woman who posts here, correct? I'm not really speaking for myself here, I said nothing wrong by asking for clarification. All you needed to do was offer me some clarification and instead you went on the defense? Why? Just own up to it, man
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by The Nameless Two » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:17 am

Oh no, now Wooley's back online, back to being tone bullied by someone who I've had nothing but positive retort with in the past. Riiiiight, I'm just some nobody who you have no relationship with, so why do you respond to my posts? What bullshit
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