Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:01 pm

MrCarmady wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:52 pm
Drugstore Cowboy is good. I love Scott Pilgrim but it's quite a divisive film, you either buy into its humour / aesthetic or it can be pretty off-putting. Plus the protagonist is a real piece of shit. Vampire's Kiss is one of my favourite movies of all time, it has the funniest performance of one of the funniest actors alive. People who put it in the 'so bad it's good pile' are spectacularly missing the point.
That's the one with the popular Nicolas Cage meme, right? I've read other people saying the same about it so I will keep it close. Still, I think I'm already settled on The Naked Kiss for this one.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:49 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:42 pm
Same with films with the word "Kiss" in its title. Here's what I've found so far...

The Death Kiss (1932)
A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
Vampire's Kiss (1988)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Kiss of the Tarantula (1976)

Again, those are available mostly on Prime. I think I'm leaning towards The Naked Kiss, but I'm open to other suggestions.
Image

I mean, the obvious answer here is Kiss Meets the Phantom, but to each his own I guess....
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:08 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:13 pm
The House of Seven Gables (1940)
The House of Seven Corpses (1974)
I liked "Seven Corpses" (surprise) but I don't remember enough about it to determine whether I'd recommend it or not.
"Seven Gables" is one I haven't seen in forever, but the combo of Vincent Price and George Sanders would suggest you're in for a classy, if somewhat dull, adaptation.
Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:57 pm
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
The Lost World (1925)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
"IAMMMMW" is one of my all time favorite movies, but it's one I grew up watching as a kid. Hard for me to predict what a first timer will think of it in 2020. Also it's pushing the 4 hr mark so bear that in mind.
"Lost World" is another favorite but, again, depends on one's tolerance for silent films (and minor characters in blackface). Your kids might get a kick out of the Dinos, and it's a fun precursor to King Kong.
"SPvTW" is not my favorite Wright but it's fun and is probably the most accessible one out of those three I've seen.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:20 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:49 pm
Image

I mean, the obvious answer here is Kiss Meets the Phantom, but to each his own I guess....
Trust me, it was my first choice :shifty: but it isn't streaming anywhere :(
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:49 pm

The Naked Kiss is probably going to be my choice as well, but I can confirm that Vampire's Kiss is worth it for prime-cut Nic Cage.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:03 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:20 pm
Trust me, it was my first choice :shifty: but it isn't streaming anywhere :(
Oh, is it not on the Criterion Channel? :P
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:37 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:57 pm
I might as well continue with the others! How about those with "World" in the title?

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
The Lost World (1925)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
The New World (2005)
Futureworld (1976)

Ghost World is also on Prime, which I haven't seen in almost 20 years, so I wouldn't mind a rewatch, but I think I should stop dallying around Scott Pilgrim and finally watch. It's on Netflix, and the others are mostly on Prime, but The New World is on Vudu.
Scott Pilgrim is a lot of fun to watch. Haven't seen Mad World, but I gotta think some of those jokes would land.

Ghost World was one of those things I think I liked back then, but I didn't think it was a great film worth the hype.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:40 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 3:37 pm
More questions... my experience with Gus Van Sant has been limited to his mainstream films (To Die For, Good Will Hunting, Psycho, and Finding Forrester), but here's what I can find available streaming...

Drugstore Cowboy (Prime/Tubi)
Gerry (Tubi)
Paranoid Park (Hulu)
Restless (Prime)
Promised Land (Netflix)
The Sea of Trees (Netflix)
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (Prime)

Any recommendations on these?
I could add My Own Private Idaho to that list you've seen. It's worth a gander if you haven't.

Haven't seen any of those listed. But I'm going with Cowboy for what it's worth. From what I've heard, Gerry is one of those love it or loathe it films.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:17 am

And I start July off with a bad mistake.

See a film made in Argentina (July)

What the Waters Left Behind (2017)

I could have sworn I considered this at one point last year. I should have not tried it here.

The concept was interesting. Its execution was lousy.

A group of documentary filmmakers decide to head to Epecuen, the site of a 1985 flooding that wiped out a coastal community known for its mineral baths. They have a survivor who is willing to talk and help give the film enough juice that it might make Berlin's festival. Um, OK.

Things start going wrong when their van is sabotaged leaving them stranded. The standoffish director agrees to go on a ride with an older man in search of gas and a new fuel line while two (the rakish hunk and the guy's wife) decides to make out with each other. And those remaining including a lesbian camera operator, the survivor, and a guy who likes to draw decide to shoot scenes at a local cemetery.

BUT, are they truly alone? And if not, what will be left of them?

I could deal with a good proper telling of Epecuen. The visuals of the remains of the town are striking and the story is fascinating. Doesn't matter whether it's a dramatic retelling or a real documentary. That's a proper interesting story.

But it just gets exploited in favor of a bad cross between The Blair Witch Project and Wrong Turn. They spend too much time supposedly trying to give depth to the characters. But with a few exceptions, it doesn't really help. Which really hurts it when the horror begins with about 30-40 minutes left.

Yeah, this is supposedly an homage to a horror classic I'm leaving out due to not being associated with this film's name. Although I did give a hint earlier.

The editing is atrocious. It takes literally 3 minutes to go from the cemetery back to the van. Which needs to happen because one character got bit by a snake. And don't get me started with about 5 smash cuts tinted red for no good reason. And it never happens again either.

Then there's a sequence I guarantee would raise Takoma's blood pressure
a pretty shocking sexual assault scene that exists and lingers just so one character can get hero points for killing the rapist. Yay?
I was able to guess what was going to happen towards the end, and I usually suck at that sort of thing. But when you spend the last 20-25 minutes hoping for the film to just end, your mind starts to wander and think about these things.

I've seen this horror film get a decent amount of praise largely due to its homage efforts. But based on what I've seen, color me unimpressed. F
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:04 am

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:42 pm
Same with films with the word "Kiss" in its title. Here's what I've found so far...

The Death Kiss (1932)
A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
Vampire's Kiss (1988)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Kiss of the Tarantula (1976)

Again, those are available mostly on Prime. I think I'm leaning towards The Naked Kiss, but I'm open to other suggestions.
Kiss Of The Spider Woman.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:04 am

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:57 pm
I might as well continue with the others! How about those with "World" in the title?

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
The Lost World (1925)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
The New World (2005)
Futureworld (1976)

Ghost World is also on Prime, which I haven't seen in almost 20 years, so I wouldn't mind a rewatch, but I think I should stop dallying around Scott Pilgrim and finally watch. It's on Netflix, and the others are mostly on Prime, but The New World is on Vudu.
The World According To Garp.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:06 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:49 pm
Image

I mean, the obvious answer here is Kiss Meets the Phantom, but to each his own I guess....
As a kid, almost nothing made me happier than that movie.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:18 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:04 am
Kiss Of The Spider Woman.
Saw it a couple of years ago. Good film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:11 pm

Thief wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:12 pm
Forgot to share this; came out yesterday....

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 15 (June 25, 2020)
Once again, forgot to share the last episode of my podcast. Posted it a couple of days ago...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 16 (July 3, 2020)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:44 am

Got off extra early and decided to make a double header of it. Only one title counts for this, though.

See a Blockbuster film (July)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Never answers the question why this film was needed (all we really need to know about Han's past was in Star Wars where he shoots first and is skeptical of everyone). But it does settle for a decent time at the movies. Alden Ehrenreich doesn't quite hit all the notes like Ford did, but he does manage a solid take on Han. He also has solid chemistry with Emilia Clarke as a woman from his past who he hopes he can rekindle things with (although that might prove to be challenging). Woody Harrelson is solid as the reluctant mentor and Thandie Newton makes the most of her time as his wife and fellow thief. But it's Donald Glover who steals the show by not only getting down the voice and mannerisms of Lando, he manages to nail the persona as well. Where's his movie? C+

Bonus:
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019)
This never fully answers the question why either, although I think there is room for interpretation. After an interesting past which includes a stint with the Communist Party and almost exiling to Cuba, Stokes starts recording the news programs (and everything else) in 1975. But she starts recording all the news in 1979 when the hostages were captured by Iran. She feared the news was biased and perhaps withholding information so she decides to record what she sees. It quickly turns obsessive with her interrupting errands to change out the tapes and wanting to talk to her family about what had happened. Some insight from her family is shown, but it settles for a surface look at hoarding vs collecting and whether she was doing a public service or falling prey to mental illness. Still some good moments including 5 minutes of footage where the film shows several stations reacting slowly to the events of 9/11. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:36 pm

A musical: Hamilton

A musical in its purest form--not only is there almost no dialogue whatsoever, this is of course a film of the original stage show. In high school we watched a recording of a Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with William Hurt and Christine Baranski. Looking at it now it's less static than I remember it; nonetheless, filming techniques for the stage have made some progress since then. The great loss, of course, is the immediacy of live theater, but given that there is no theater at all in New York right now, it's a loss that this movie can at least slightly mitigate. The "race-swapping" of most characters (not, as a rule, the British or their allies) does encourage thinking of the founding of America in terms of the contributions of immigrants, slaves, and the "unseen" people who did the work but without the credit. Less salubriously, it tends to erase the fact that many of the characters portrayed were themselves slaveholders--all, or almost all, mentions of slavery in the show are in terms of abolition, not a true reflection of the time. Even so, the show is a great deal of fun, the performances are great, and there some powerhouse voices (including Phillipa Soo, Renee Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., and my personal favorite, spittle-engorged Jonathan Groff, whose high camp portrayal of King George III is my favorite part of the show).

One of the advantages of living in New York (at least in normal times) is access to theater--I saw this on Broadway on its last night of previews, just before the cost of tickets went through the roof. As I said, this version is not quite the same as seeing it live, but for all of us, it will do for now.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Jul 11, 2020 7:18 pm

A film from the 1960s: Chimes at Midnight

Orson Welles spent absolutely ages getting this made, first as a stage play and eventually as this film. It's something of an egotistical exercise, as Welles culls from multiple Shakespeare plays to create a story that centers the relationship between his Falstaff and Prince Hal (Keith Baxter) and Hal's relationship with his father, Henry IV (John Gielgud). The main problem with the movie is a technical one: the sound is pretty bad, making the dialogue frequently difficult to hear. Shakespearean language can be challenging in the best of circumstances, so this is not helpful. It is nevertheless a great film, because the core of the story--friendship and betrayal--and the complexity of the characters comes through in spite of the occasional loss of clarity. Falstaff's clowning masks a palpable sadness and loss of promise. Baxter is excellent as the seemingly feckless Hal who must turn on his past life to become King Henry V, and Gielgud's rich voice cuts through the poor sound quality. The supporting cast is equally good and Welles makes the most of a meager budget in his sets. The staging, direction, and editing of the feral Battle of Shrewsbury is an amazing achievement and by itself makes the movie worth a recommendation.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:20 pm

I think this counts.

See a Musical (July)
Funny Face (1957)

Fashion photographer (Fred Astaire) heads to a bookstore on the plans of the editor (Kay Thompson) of an influential magazine where he spots an employee (Audrey Hepburn) that draws his eye. Of course, she's not happy with this as an intellectual and a follower of emphaticalism. The photographer is able to convince her to be the girl for their latest trend largely because it involves a trip to Paris. But something funny happens while they're working together.

Largely known as the film where Hepburn does a modern dance while wearing black at a Parisian cafe, both Hepburn and Astaire prove lovely together with their dancing. Astaire has a lovely bit dancing in front of Hepburn's hotel room involving a cane, a hat and a cape. Hepburn is able to hold her own when they do dance together such as in front of a country church or in the Eiffel Tower. There's a nice mix of Gershwin tunes that will keep your toes tapping.

Singing, Hepburn is OK. She struggles with her first tune, but gets better as the musical goes along. Astaire is fine and Kay Thompson surprises as they're able to make Clap Yo' Hands into a rousing number just before the finale.

The biggest problem this had was the age difference. Although Hepburn insisted on him doing this, it's really distracting in that he's old enough to be her father. Which kind of gives parts of the third act a different spin than what director Stanley Donen was looking for. Also, I kept getting distracted by Hepburn's odd accent. Considering her character is supposed to be from Greenwich Village, I'm pretty sure that's not what a native would sound like.

This mod take on My Fair Lady is not quite s'wonderful, but it was entertaining enough. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:44 pm

Oh, looky. I got another one.

See a film set in France (July)
See a film where the phone plays an important part (March)

Nothing to Hide (2018)
Three couples and one man are old friends who meet together for a dinner party. Someone decides that it would be fun to put everyone's phone on the table and answer every call and text in the span of the party. But the game takes a dark turn as secrets about each other start to come out.

Director Fred Cavaye is able to blend the humorous and more serious natures of the film well enough. The cast led by Berenice Bejo (The Artist) is game and capable of making the twists work. And the film blends the awkward with the unexpected funny equally well.

Too bad the ending may be the worst I've seen since High Tension's. C+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:44 pm

And here are the first films I've seen in July...

A blockbuster film: KNIVES OUT
Had heard/read a lot of hype around this one, so I was looking forward to it. The film follows Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a detective that is investigating the death of a famed, wealthy writer (Christopher Plummer) the night after a large family gathering. It features an ensemble cast in the roles of the writer's children, grandchildren, and house employees, all of which are potential suspects in the murder. Overall, I can say the film was a lot of fun. Rian Johnson's fast-paced and energetic direction keeps things moving, and the script is full of clever and funny quips. The supporting cast, which includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Lakeith Stanfield, and many others, is impressive and most of the performances are top-notch, but based on what I had read/heard I kept expecting a bit more cleverness in the way the plot unfolded. Still, like I said, the film is a lot of fun to watch and I really liked how Johnson peppered a good dose of current social commentary in the story. Grade: A-

A film about chaos and disorder: SPECKLES: THE TARBOSAURUS
This is a Korean animated film that follows the life of a young dinosaur as it deals with all the hardships of growing up and living in a chaotic world. My wife found this and thought it would be a good option for the kids, but I have to say it is one of the bleakest, most depressing "children" films I've seen, to the point that I was seriously expecting for it to end with the asteroid obliterating all the dinosaurs. It didn't, though, but it still featured the death of most of the relatives of the lead dinosaur, lots of dinosaur kills and deaths, volcanoes erupting destroying everything, tunnels and caves collapsing, and whatnot. Still, the kids were mostly into it, for better or worse. The older one even got to the point of bawling towards the last act after a particular death, but I suppose that means the film was effective. The animation is serious, not cartoonish, and pretty good. However, the film's length hinders the overall effect, and the pace feels a bit choppy as it does a couple of time-jumps. It also features a voice-over/narration that felt awkward and ultimately I don't think was necessary. Not sure if it was an English thing, but I didn't like it. Maybe not something to get out of your way for, but if you have kids that are into dinosaurs, perhaps a bit older than mine, then this might be an option. Grade: B

A film with the word "Kiss" in its title: THE NAKED KISS
This film follows Kelly (Constance Towers), a prostitute that hides in a small town while on the run from her pimp. Eventually, she decides to give up her lifestyle, despite the attempts of the local police captain (Anthony Eisley) to take her out of town, which is ironic cause he does have sex with her when she gets to town, and before deciding to give up prostitution. But anyway, the film does manage to be a somewhat dark look into what can be called the "facade of suburbia", as Kelly's constant attempts to do good are undermined by hidden perversions and corruptions. The film manages to convey that sense with a lurid style to it. Director Samuel Fuller makes some conscious choices in terms of directing and use of music that are quite effective. Some of the performances are spotty, but Towers carries most of the film as we see her struggle with her morals and the morals of those around her. Grade: B+

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #7: THE NAKED GUN: FROM THE FILES OF POLICE SQUAD! (#780, rewatch)
This is a rewatch, a film that I had seen several times when I was a kid/teen, but hadn't seen in a long time. However, for the day I saw it, it was exactly what I needed. The film follows Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) as he investigates the involvement of a wealthy businessman (Ricardo Montalban) in the local heroin trade as well as an assassination attempt on Queen Elizabeth II. But obviously, you all know that the plot is just an excuse for the constant barrage of jokes, slapstick, visual gags, and puns that the ZAZ guys throw at us. The thing is that most of them work pretty well, from the silly to the clever. I thought it was interesting to see that a lot of the jokes that I found hilarious when I was 11 or 12 (like Drebin and the statues on the ledge) fell flat now, while others, like the verbal puns and gags, felt more clever now than they did before. Most of the cast have excellent comedic timing in their delivery, and the film really doesn't have much of a slow patch. Really fun, top-notch comedy. Grade: A

A western film: MAN OF THE WEST
This was recommended by a Twitter friend/acquaintance. The film follows Link Jones (Gary Cooper), an aging former outlaw that is reunited with his old gang after a botched train robbery leaves him stranded. I really didn't know what to expect, but I didn't expect the film to be so good. There's a simplicity to the way the story is presented which makes it easier to focus on the characters and their decisions. For what it's worth, I think this is my first Gary Cooper film, but I've heard this is considered as one of his best performances. Regardless, I really liked the way he conveyed a mixture of resolve with regret and self-doubts, if that makes any sense. The rest of the cast is pretty good as well, with Lee J. Cobb and Julie London being the other highlights, aside of Cooper. The film does its best to avoid typical clichés and conventional tropes, and feels more accomplished and mature than other films of the genre. And although I don't think the film goes full into "depress" mode, there still is a certain bleakness or "down-to-earth" quality to it that I really appreciated. Probably one of the best westerns I've seen. Grade: A-

Aaaand this is where we took Disney+ for a spin...

A film about sharks: FINDING NEMO (rewatch)
This film follows clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) as he crosses the ocean trying to find his missing son (Alexander Gould) with the help of various other animals, including Dory (Ellen DeGeneres). This is one I've seen a couple of times, but we wanted to show it to the kids. They had already seen Finding Dory but I think they enjoyed going back into this world. I think the film's biggest asset are the characters. From Marlin and Dory, to Bruce and Crush, and finally the tank fishes, they are all colorful, unique, and charming and the voice performances are on point. Also, the animation is gorgeous. My main complaint is that I think the film lacks a proper climax, and the last act sorta feels like on the same level as what preceded it. Still, it's a fun film and, like I said, full of charming characters. The kids liked it a lot and I enjoyed it revisiting it with them. Grade: A-

A blockbuster film: TOY STORY (rewatch)
The kids are familiar with the characters, they even have the two lead toys, but I don't think they had seen the first film, so it was one of our main choices. As most of you know, the film follows Woody (Tom Hanks), as he struggles to maintain his position as Andy's "favorite toy" after the arrival of shiny Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). This feud leads to them being lost outside of the house and then having to work together to return home. One of the first things that surprised me, even though I'm obviously not holding it against the film, is the quality of the animation, particularly the "humans", when compared to the newer films. To me, it was a bit distracting, but like I said, that's not something I'm holding against the film. The truth is that it is an endlessly enjoyable film, full of great characters and excellent set pieces. Definitely a must-see for any fan of animation or films, period. Grade: A

A freebie for the kids: ONWARD
Set in a world where magic has become obsolete, replaced by modern technology, the film follows elf brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) as they race against the clock to find a magic gem they need in order to bring back their deceased father, at least for a day. The film follows a certain formula that reminded me a bit of Up, but does so with enough charm to make it work. The voice performances are pretty good and there seems to be a lot of chemistry between Holland and Pratt. The final revelation was very predictable, again, drawing some parallelisms with Up with the message of "what you want/wish is right in front of your eyes", but like I said, it works on the strength of the characters. Finally, the last action setpiece is pretty cool, and the resolution is very touching and manages to shave away some of the predictability that preceded it. The kids had a blast with it, and so did I. Grade: B+

And now for the smoothest segue ever...

Any film that starts with the letters M or N: THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
This film follows Leon (Bradley Cooper) an aspiring photographer that, after being rejected by a gallery owner, starts pushing himself into threatening situations to take bolder pictures. This puts him in the path of a butcher/serial killer (Vinnie Jones) that brutally murders random passengers in the subway. If the title and description makes this sound as some sort of gory splatterfest, well, it's because it is. Fortunately, most of the film is well executed to put it above the usual fare in the genre. Putting aside some spotty uses of slow motion and CGI, the direction from Ryuhei Kitamura is effective, with several good tense, thrilling, and scary sequences. The initial attempts to bring up the duality between Leon and the killer, and the parallelisms to vegetarianism are a bit clumsy, but Cooper is convincing as he conveys the deteriorating state of mind of the character. I also liked how, despite offering some brief explanation to what's happening, the film doesn't dwell too much in it leaving more to the imagination. Finally, there is a certain boldness to the last act in terms of how much it pushes its envelope that I found satisfying, as far as horror films go. Grade: B+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:21 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:44 pm

Any film that starts with the letters M or N: THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN
This film follows Leon (Bradley Cooper) an aspiring photographer that, after being rejected by a gallery owner, starts pushing himself into threatening situations to take bolder pictures. This puts him in the path of a butcher/serial killer (Vinnie Jones) that brutally murders random passengers in the subway. If the title and description makes this sound as some sort of gory splatterfest, well, it's because it is. Fortunately, most of the film is well executed to put it above the usual fare in the genre. Putting aside some spotty uses of slow motion and CGI, the direction from Ryuhei Kitamura is effective, with several good tense, thrilling, and scary sequences. The initial attempts to bring up the duality between Leon and the killer, and the parallelisms to vegetarianism are a bit clumsy, but Cooper is convincing as he conveys the deteriorating state of mind of the character. I also liked how, despite offering some brief explanation to what's happening, the film doesn't dwell too much in it leaving more to the imagination. Finally, there is a certain boldness to the last act in terms of how much it pushes its envelope that I found satisfying, as far as horror films go. Grade: B+
I feel like I always have to drop by and grin whenever anybody has this reaction to this movie. I was a fan of the story years before this was made. And there is some license taken. And yet I feel that they made a surprisingly good horror movie out of it that completely satisfies me both as its own entity and as a reasonable representation of the short-story.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:00 pm

A film set in France (Bastille Day, July 14): 5x2

The disintegration of a marriage over five scenes, but told in reverse order. This one didn't really work for me. The end is the beginning, so I'll spoiler this.
The opening scene is a real problem, as it culminates in the rape of the (now ex-)wife Marion (Gillian Anderson doppelanger Valeria Bruni TedeschI) by her former husband, Gilles (Stephane Freiss). If the ensuing scenes--a dinner with his brother and his brother's boyfriend, their son's birth, their wedding, the beginning of their relationship--had humanized Gilles or helped me to understand why she loved him once then I would have understood the aim of structuring the movie this way, but ... they don't? He's just a cold, self-absorbed asshole, and each scene just confirms what we already knew, that he's awful. (There is a small nod to the idea that he has some affection for his son, which is something but also not much.) Marion comes across as a slightly naive, slightly needy person, who is punished for her flaws in outsized ways.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:54 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:11 pm
Once again, forgot to share the last episode of my podcast. Posted it a couple of days ago...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 16 (July 3, 2020)
Here's Episode 17 for those listening...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 17 (July 16, 2020)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:41 pm

A film about chaos and disorder (Pandemonium Day, July 14): Fight Club

I think I haven't seen Fight Club since it came out, back in 1999. And boy, those scenes near the end really played differently in a post-September 11 world. It affected me, to be honest, because I remember very well what it was like in New York that day and the days after. And the thing is, this is something that the movie has totally nailed on: the young man alienated from the modern world, driven by a sense of purposelessness, expressing that alienation in acts of increasing violence--this could easily describe someone like Mohammed Atta, or Dylann Roof, or Anders Breivik, or any number of young men who have found purpose in calculated destruction.

I don't want to confuse the film's insight into something as an endorsement of that thing. Fincher has called Fight Club a coming of age movie, which it is (if a dark one), but it's also a comedy, a fantasy, and a kind of a romance. It has an (extremely) unreliable narrator, which calls into question a great deal of what actually happens in the movie, especially as it climbs into ever-greater levels of absurdity. As an example, in the climactic conflict
between "Jack" and Tyler Durden, there is a moment where Durden is dragging Jack by the hair, and we see on a security camera Jack literally dragging himself by the hair, which is of course a physical impossibility. Soon after, Jack shoots himself in the face to rid himself of Tyler, and he's ... basically fine? Followed by the operatic conclusion of buildings exploding and crumbling in an unsettling preview of real life.
So what does this all mean? One possibility, I think, is that the movie defies a conventional understanding of meaning. In one scene, Tyler Durden is driving down the wrong side of a highway, telling Jack he needs to stop trying to be in control, to "let go." I find this a useful way of understanding the movie itself: rather than try to fit into a specific structure, or see it as an instruction manual for how to live, or any of the other ways we impose meaning on things, we can just ... let go. We can immerse ourselves in its comedy, its tragedy, and its absurdity, and let categorization be annihilated.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:30 pm

See a film from the 1960s (July)
See a film with Summer in the title (June)
See a film dealing with friendship (June)

The Endless Summer (1966)
Surfing documentary focusing on two friends who travel across the globe searching for the Perfect Wave at a time when it's winter in California. The visuals are the main attraction here with the waves looking gorgeous and the different countries looking interesting. The Sandals provide a good soundtrack with its guitar heavy riffs. Points off for the narration which at turns can be informative and funny or juvenile and occasionally facepalm inducement. Still the journey is a solid one reflected in my grade. B
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:39 pm

kgaard. wrote:
Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:41 pm
A film about chaos and disorder (Pandemonium Day, July 14): Fight Club

I think I haven't seen Fight Club since it came out, back in 1999. And boy, those scenes near the end really played differently in a post-September 11 world. It affected me, to be honest, because I remember very well what it was like in New York that day and the days after. And the thing is, this is something that the movie has totally nailed on: the young man alienated from the modern world, driven by a sense of purposelessness, expressing that alienation in acts of increasing violence--this could easily describe someone like Mohammed Atta, or Dylann Roof, or Anders Breivik, or any number of young men who have found purpose in calculated destruction.

I don't want to confuse the film's insight into something as an endorsement of that thing. Fincher has called Fight Club a coming of age movie, which it is (if a dark one), but it's also a comedy, a fantasy, and a kind of a romance. It has an (extremely) unreliable narrator, which calls into question a great deal of what actually happens in the movie, especially as it climbs into ever-greater levels of absurdity. As an example, in the climactic conflict
between "Jack" and Tyler Durden, there is a moment where Durden is dragging Jack by the hair, and we see on a security camera Jack literally dragging himself by the hair, which is of course a physical impossibility. Soon after, Jack shoots himself in the face to rid himself of Tyler, and he's ... basically fine? Followed by the operatic conclusion of buildings exploding and crumbling in an unsettling preview of real life.
So what does this all mean? One possibility, I think, is that the movie defies a conventional understanding of meaning. In one scene, Tyler Durden is driving down the wrong side of a highway, telling Jack he needs to stop trying to be in control, to "let go." I find this a useful way of understanding the movie itself: rather than try to fit into a specific structure, or see it as an instruction manual for how to live, or any of the other ways we impose meaning on things, we can just ... let go. We can immerse ourselves in its comedy, its tragedy, and its absurdity, and let categorization be annihilated.
I haven't seen Fight Club in a while, but I admire, and overall enjoy, how decidedly bonkers that last act is. Sure, there are countless things that don't make sense, but I don't feel like they muddle the main message.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:32 am

See a film involving chaos and disorder (July)
See a film with World in the title (July)
See a film starting with the letters G or H (April)
See a drama (April)

Goodbye World (2014)

Imagine The Big Chill crossed up with a mini-marathon of Revolution.

James (Adrien Grenier) and his wife (Kerry Bish) and daughter (McKenna Grace) live off the grid in Northern California as he expected society to collapse. In this type of film, he's proven right and a bunch of college friends move in with them. There's his old business partner (Ben McKenzie) and his wife (Caroline Dhavernas), a radical (Mark Webber) who spent time in the hoosegow before becoming a college speaker and a student (Remy Nozik) who's sleeping with him, a former aide (Gaby Hoffman) to a Senator who was caught in a viral scandal with her former boss, and a hacker (Kid Cudi) who considered killing himself before the stuff went down.

But as time moves on, the house proves just as dangerous on the inside with various secrets threatening to pop out at any time as it is on the outside with some National Guardsmen who take an instant dislike to James.

Although the crisis itself is kind of interesting, I never fully bought into just how fast everything moved and broke down. Only hours without power and internet? Really? It doesn't help that everything feels like it's happening dozens of miles away. And the characters aren't thick enough or interesting enough to compel you to keep watching as the drama (or is it melodrama) starts to boil over. Not even having Hoffman wearing a mop head for a wig and reciting a speech out of George Washington can save this mess.

The cast does what it can, but really director and co-writer Denis Hennelly should take the blame. Moments are interesting, just not the film as a whole. D (I think).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:00 am

A blockbuster film: X-Men: Days of Future Past

For all of his seeming personal faults, Bryan Singer really gets the X-Men in a way no other director has. The plot of the film, based on some of the Chris Claremont/John Byrne run that ended just before I started reading comics, is pretty silly--time travel stories have a tendency to be that way--but it is entertaining. Unlike First Class, this movie recognizes that relationships are the beating heart of these stories: the friendships--"past" and "future"--of Charles, Erik, Logan, and Raven set against their competing ideologies and goals provides the story's tension and emotional heft. Peter Dinklage is great as the closest thing to a villain the movie has. My chief complaint is that the design of the Sentinels (both designs, in fact) were something of a letdown--they really needed to be bigger and less bright, more menacing. That aside, the movie makes for a satisfying bridge to Logan, and we can ignore Dark Phoenix altogether.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:28 am

See a Western (July)

Slow West (2015)
Young man from Scotland (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is saved from death by a veteran bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) who reluctantly takes him under his wing as the former is trying to find this girl he's fallen head over heels over. But as it turns out, the bounty hunter may have his own reasons for agreeing to do this.

This modern western chooses to follow western genre conventions while constantly finding ways to subvert them. You can thank the confidence displayed by writer/director John Maclane which has similar energy to other fascinating debut films like She's Gotta Have It and Shallow Grave. Robbie Ryan makes the backgrounds pop. Also, this is well acted considering you have Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn who plays a quietly menacing bounty hunter with a coat that seemed inspired by Kid Rock.

You never know what's gonna happen next until the end in this well done film. B+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:49 am

See a film starting with M or N (July)
See a film involving meteors (June)

Um...

Meteor Strike (2010)
TV film about a scientist who realizes that something is wrong when a meteor shower goes deadly and the (presumably) estranged husband who operates the disaster management team in San Francisco. But it turns out, that shower was just the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, their son and daughter (and her current lover) as well the scientist's sister and a news team all end up caught in the mix.

Smartly, this film mainly plays it straight...a strategy that mostly worked for Sharknado. But without the eye popping special effects of sharks spinning into tornadoes, this one falls flat due to not enough special in the effects and a general feeling of dullness. Occasionally a bit of humor works, mainly involving our leather jacketed hero and his interactions with the news team. But other than that, meh. D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:34 pm

Still have a few days to go in July, but I wanted to throw this one early cause I wanted to do something a bit different for August. These are the categories I have set up for the next month...

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title
Any film that starts with the letters O or P
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #8 (i.e. 18, 380, 851)
A film from the 1970s
A romantic film
A film set in school
A film featuring a clown (Clown Week)
A film from Switzerland (National Day, August 1)
A film from John Huston (born August 5)
A film based on a book (Book Lover's Day, August 9)
A film with the word "Left" in its title (Lefthanders Day, August 13)
A film set on a plane (Aviation Day, August 19)
A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21)
A film featuring a volcano (Vesuvius Day, August 24)
A film with the word "Dog" in its title (Dog Day, August 26)

Since my birthday is in August, I'm gonna take one recommendation for each category from anyone as a "gift". Whichever film I'll see, whoever's recommendation, I will give you a shoutout on the next episodes of my podcast, maybe even read a snippet from your review, or whatever.

I'm not gonna limit a lot, but it would be preferable if recommendations are available on Netflix, Prime, and Hulu. I also got Disney+ this month, but I'm still not sure if we're going to stick with it. Also, those other free channels like VUDU and Tubi.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:26 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 2:34 pm

Since my birthday is in August, I'm gonna take one recommendation for each category from anyone as a "gift". Whichever film I'll see, whoever's recommendation, I will give you a shoutout on the next episodes of my podcast, maybe even read a snippet from your review, or whatever.
Sounds fun. :up:
Just to clarify- we're to suggest one film for each category? Or just one film total?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:45 pm

Suggest all that you want. I'll weigh all recs I get here and on Twitter, and then decide which ones I'll watch.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:22 am

A film with "America" in its title: Leningrad Cowboys Go America

Charming, weird, low-key road movie about a Russian band who, failing at home, come to America because we'll "buy anything" (true!). The tone of the movie is set by the band's astonishing shared pompadour hairstyle (shared even by the dog and the baby) (according to Wiki, this particular variation of pompadour is called a "quiff"). There's no real story here, just a series of vignettes of the band, first in the vast wasteland of home where, in a running gag with a real payoff, their guitarist freezes in the night, then a trip to New York, with a fun cameo from America's Aki Kaurismaki, Jim Jarmusch. Traveling west on the way to a gig in Mexico, they work to survive the road and their beer-guzzling manager, adapting to America's strange ways and local flavors. America at its rawest but not its worst, I felt more than a twinge of nostalgia for the days I drove up and down Texas highways myself. A film with a truly benevolent spirit.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:23 am

My Early Thoughts for August

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title Either 8 Days: To the Moon and Back (2019, on tape) or The Hateful 8 (2015/Netflix)
Any film that starts with the letters O or P Leaning towards Odd Thomas (2014/Prime) or The Princess and the Frog (2009/Netflix)
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #8 (i.e. 18, 380, 851) Clueless (1995/Netflix), which I've never seen!
A film from the 1970s Annie Hall (1977, on Tape) or Taxi Driver (1976/Netflix). The latter would be a re-watch from years ago.
A romantic film Annie Hall (1977). Time to see if I should mess with Woody Allen or not.
A film set in school Clueless (1995/Netflix)
A film featuring a clown (Clown Week) Not impressed by the options. Either Clown (2019/Prime) or a re-watch of Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988/Netflix)
A film from Switzerland (National Day, August 1) Fine with either The Divine Order (2017/Prime) or The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch (2017/Netflix)
A film from John Huston (born August 5) Fat City (1972/Prime) or San Pietro (1945/Netflix)
A film based on a book (Book Lover's Day, August 9) Fat City (1972) or Our Souls at Night (2017/Netflix)
A film with the word "Left" in its title (Lefthanders Day, August 13) The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017/Netflix)
A film set on a plane (Aviation Day, August 19) Soul Plane (2003/Netflix) or Hijacked: Flight 285 (1996/Prime) which I think was a TV movie?
A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21) Either Our Souls at Night (2017) or Book Club (2018/Prime)
A film featuring a volcano (Vesuvius Day, August 24) Into the Inferno (2016/Netflix)
A film with the word "Dog" in its title (Dog Day, August 26) Either Wiener Dog (2016/Prime) or Arctic Dogs (2019/Netflix)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:48 pm

Puerto Rico will be hit by a storm later today, so there's a very, very high possibility that I'm gonna be without power for one day? 10 days? who knows. Anyway, I only had one category left, so to work around it, I saw a short film titled Seven (pretty darn good, BTW) just to finish things off. Anyway, just wanted to let you know in case you don't see me online for a while. It's no big deal, winds are 40-45 mph, but the power grid here is so ridiculously fragile that we all know power will be an issue. Whenever I come back, I'll post my usual reviews and thoughts, summary, whatever. Right now, it's cleanup and prep time. See you on the flipside!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:07 pm

I'll eagerly await your return. In the meantime, stay safe out there.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:17 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:48 pm
I'm gonna be without power for one day? 10 days? who knows.
Isn't hurricane season fun? How boring it must be to live inland. :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:28 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:17 pm
Isn't hurricane season fun? How boring it must be to live inland. :D
:roll: Yipee :D Hurricane Season: Pandemic Edition


Seriously, though, we can handle it. It's a "nothing" storm. It doesn't even have a clear center, and it's not a proper storm yet. Winds are just 40-45 mph. BUT, the big but here is our shitty power grid, which makes this a major "inconvenience" to put it mildly.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:39 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:28 pm
:roll: Yipee :D Hurricane Season: Pandemic Edition


Seriously, though, we can handle it. It's a "nothing" storm. It doesn't even have a clear center, and it's not a proper storm yet. Winds are just 40-45 mph. BUT, the big but here is our shitty power grid, which makes this a major "inconvenience" to put it mildly.
Yeah, that's what I mean. The uncertainty of it all. Brought my car in for repairs a week ago and got word today that it won't be ready until Monday. That's annoying at any time of the year, but now I'm monitoring the tropics every day hoping I don't get caught without a vehicle. There's that extra layer of angst that accompanies otherwise mundane events for half of the year. Yipee!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:47 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:28 pm
:roll: Yipee :D Hurricane Season: Pandemic Edition


Seriously, though, we can handle it. It's a "nothing" storm. It doesn't even have a clear center, and it's not a proper storm yet. Winds are just 40-45 mph. BUT, the big but here is our shitty power grid, which makes this a major "inconvenience" to put it mildly.
Yeah, this one doesn't even look big enough to have Trump come down and throw paper-towels at you.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:56 pm

Judging by the satellite images, it seems we'll just get a lot of rain and that's it. It sorta reconstituted itself farther from us than we expected, but there's still a nasty "tail" that will hit us. And again, the issues with the power grid remain.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:06 pm

That's good to hear. Just stay safe out there, Thief. If you do lose power, I'll miss your presence here.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:21 pm

Fingers crossed that the lights stay on.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:00 pm

Here's some recs for you, Thief:

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title: Haven't seen any of these but I've heard promising things about Eighth Grade (Prime), 8 Men Out (Prime), Hard 8 (Prime) and The Hateful 8 (Netflix), 85: The Greatest Team in Football History (Prime) is another option.
Any film that starts with the letters O or P: Pieta (Tubi/Vudu), Om Shanti Om (Netflix), Observe and Report (Netflix)
A film from the 1970s Netflix has a bunch of them: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian, The Castle of Cagliostro, Taxi Driver. Prime has Cooley High, JD's Revenge, Phantasm, and Sister Street Fighter, all I've liked to varying extents. And I'm sure there's other options out there for either service, let alone Tubi or Crackle.
A romantic film Priceless (2008) which is streaming on Prime with Audrey Tautou. Mentioned this already on Twitter.
A film set in school Perks of Being a Wallflower (Netflix), Lady Bird (Netflix), Eighth Grade (Netflix), Cooley High (Prime), Wrestle (Prime) which I'm going to try to talk more of you into seeing, Election (Prime)
A film featuring a clown (Clown Week) Quick Change is on Vudu, and apparently the Animal Crackers (Netflix) movie has a clown in it. Do with this what you will.
A film from Switzerland (National Day, August 1) My Life as a Zucchini which is streaming on Netflix, suitable for the whole family!
A film from John Huston (born August 5) Mainly the three World War 2 documentaries (San Pietro, Report to the Aleutians, Let There Be Light) (Netflix/Prime) and Fat City (Prime) Have seen none of them.
A film based on a book (Book Lover's Day, August 9) Snowpiercer (Netflix), V for Vendetta (Netflix),
A film set on a plane (Aviation Day, August 19) Liked Air Force One (Netflix) back in the day. Turbulence 2 and 3 (but not 1, strangely enough) are on Tubi.
A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21) Redwood Highway (2014) might be a category reach, but the main character is older, it's pretty good and it's on Prime. Less good, but definitely fitting would be I'll See You in My Dreams (2015) which is on Netflix.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Torgo » Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:18 pm

The Boat is Full and Dangerous Moves are a couple of other good Swiss movies worth watching. There's also the documentary Dark Star: HR Giger's World, but I'm not sure if that counts.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:21 am

Thief wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:56 pm
Judging by the satellite images, it seems we'll just get a lot of rain and that's it. It sorta reconstituted itself farther from us than we expected, but there's still a nasty "tail" that will hit us. And again, the issues with the power grid remain.
Yeah, my buddy, Danny, is down there and I always worry about him and his family. He told me the infrastructure was the biggest problem with these storms. I wish y'all the best, I really do.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:26 am

I do hope you stay safe, Thief.

We'll try to keep the thread going. But your presence will be missed if the power goes out.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:36 am

Thanks to all for the good wishes. It's still a bit early, but it seems we're gonna be lucky. The storm sorta split and we're eeking right through the gap. It's still there, so we can still get rain and winds, but so far it's been quite calm here at home. Scattered rains, some brief gusts, but not much else. We'll see how the night goes.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:03 pm

Well, we're not entirely out of the woods yet, but like I said, it seems we caught a lucky break. I live in the north and we've only had some scattered rain, not a lot of wind. My mom, who lives in the south, told me this morning there was a lot of wind there though, so there's that. Anyway, thanks all for the support. After Hurricane María in 2017 every storm/hurricane brings back the PTSD.
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