Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:42 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:39 pm
Here's Episode 19! Special Birthday episode with some of your recommendations and your thoughts on what you recommended...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 19 (August 17, 2020)

Thanks to Popcorn Reviews, Captain Terror, Apex Predator, and kgaard, who recommended some of the films I talk about in this episode. Check it out!
I feel like a famous person! :)

I watched Bambi some years ago for the first time since childhood and was surprised at how slight the story was. It's almost plotless for the first half of the film, as Bambi 'n' friends just sort of walk around acting cute until the "plot" kicks in around halfway. I'm not familiar with the original story, so maybe there's just not enough material for a full hour? This isn't a knock against the film, I was just sort of surprised.

Having said that, it's a freakin' gorgeous movie to look at. It's been about 10 years now but I still think about that rain shower scene from time to time. I'll probably buy the blu ray one day just so I can have that.

EDIT: Hey, I found it! Surprised to find that Disney allows such things on Youtube.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:17 pm

I think the focus of Disney at this point in their trajectory was more on the "sensory" aspect of animated films as opposed to the "story" aspect, which can be evidenced by things like Fantasia, or other films from the same era like Dumbo. There's a simplicity to their stories that was probably seen as endearing and appealing to kids at the time, while giving them a chance to test these "new" medium with the combination of animation, colors, music, etc.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:26 pm

Thief wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:17 pm
I think the focus of Disney at this point in their trajectory was more on the "sensory" aspect of animated films as opposed to the "story" aspect, which can be evidenced by things like Fantasia, or other films from the same era like Dumbo. There's a simplicity to their stories that was probably seen as endearing and appealing to kids at the time, while giving them a chance to test these "new" medium with the combination of animation, colors, music, etc.
Agreed. See also The Old Mill short. The rain scene is a perfect example. Looks like they were just showing off what they could do. (I'm 100% on board with this approach, by the way. Wish they'd use the current technology that way.) I keep rewatching the ripples at the end of the rain scene. I can't tell if that's animated or a camera/film effect. Love it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:28 pm

Watched a good one for Aviation Day (today), will post something about that later. (By "good one" I mean that it fits the category well, not that it's actually "good".)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:50 pm

I assume you took Apex' recommendation of watching Turbulence 2 and 3 back to back, right? :D


Anyway, anybody interested can throw more recommendations to the ring. For example, Torgo recommended a couple of Swiss films, but they are not available streaming, so feel free to recommend more for any of the categories still open. Slentert? Charles? Anybody?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:58 pm

Today is the day that I learned there are at least 3 Turbulence movies.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:02 pm

My continuing deep-dive into ancient B-Movies continues this month with director William Nigh and the film Atlantic Flight (1937).
I'd actually forgotten that aviation was one of the categories, so I was pleased when reminded of it because this one involves actual aviation history. I'll let Wikipedia do my work for me:

Henry Tyndall "Dick" Merrill (February 1, 1894 – October 31, 1982) was an early aviation pioneer. Among his feats he was the highest paid air mail pilot, flew the first round-trip transatlantic flight in 1936, was Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal pilot during the 1952 presidential elections, set several speed records, and would go on to be Eastern Air Lines' most experienced pilot with over 36,000 hours until his retirement in 1961. In total, Merrill flew over 45,000 hours as pilot in command, covering over eight million miles.

At a time when record-breaking pilots were treated as celebrities, pioneer aviators like Dick Merrill gained a unique status. His most famous flight was a 1936 round-trip transatlantic flight that has gone down in the annals of flight as the "Ping Pong Flight."


You can read more about that flight here if you're so inclined:
The "Ping Pong Flight"
He had planned his transatlantic flight for some time but was unable to finance it on his pay as an Eastern Air Lines (EAL) pilot. Things changed when he met millionaire singer Harry Richman, famed for Puttin' on the Ritz. After taking in the singer's show in Miami, Merrill "planted" the idea for a round-trip flight of the Atlantic. He brazenly declared that they "take the plane to Europe… then we'll gas her up and fly her back. It's never been done."

Richman, who had recently gained his pilot's license, had been able to secure a Vultee V-1A capable of making the flight. The aircraft, NC13770, had originally been built for Lieutenant Colonel George R. Hutchinson's proposed all-freight New York-London-Moscow airline, which never started up. Since then it had served a number of pilots in various record setting flights; in 1935 Jimmy Doolittle used the aircraft to make a record 11-hour-59-minute transcontinental flight, and six weeks later Leland Andrews repeated the flight, then used it to set a long-distance speed record between Los Angeles and Mexico City.

Merrill and Richman extensively modified the Vultee V-1A for the flight. Using Eastern Air Lines mechanics, Merrill had extra fuel tanks installed and a 1,000 hp (750 kW) Wright Cyclone with a two-blade constant-speed prop fitted. The most modern equipment was sought out including the Hooven Radio Direction Finder (licensed to Bendix). It was Richman's idea to fill empty spaces in the wings and fuselage with 41,000 ping pong balls, which it was hoped would allow the aircraft to float if it was forced down in the ocean.

After modifications were carried out, they took off for London on September 2, 1936. The two aviators were a "odd couple" with Richman flamboyant while Merrill was always the studied professional. In a later interview, Merill revealed a peculiar predilection to perfume. When flying, he usually had a vial of Surrender or Evening in Paris in his pocket, stealing an occasional sniff over the Atlantic.

When they were 600 miles (970 km) off the coast of England, the pair ran into bad weather and eventually decided to put down in Llandilo (now spelled Llandeilo), Wales, about 175 miles (282 km) west of London. The flight took 18 hours and 36 minutes, the fastest Atlantic crossing to date. The next day Merrill and Richman completed their flight to London. While in England, Richman, ever the showman, christened the Vultee, the Lady Peace.

On September 14, they began the return flight from Southport, England. During the flight, while bucking headwinds, Richman decided to dump 500 gallons of fuel, leaving them with insufficient fuel to make New York City. Furious that Richman had panicked, Merrill was forced to put down on a soft bog at Musgrave Harbour in the Dominion of Newfoundland. After minor repairs and refueling, a week later they landed in New York. The usually easy-going relationship between the two pilots had been strained but they ended up as friends again.

The round-trip flight cost Richman $360,000, and is known in aviation history as the "Ping Pong Flight." Richman sold autographed ping pong balls from the flight for years after.
Short version is that he made the first round-trip Transatlantic flight, and Monogram Pictures capitalized on his fame by putting him in a film. This is not a recreation of his flight, but rather a fictional story in which he plays a pilot. At one point in the story another pilot is injured in a crash and the only way to save his life is with a serum only found in England (sounds legit). So in order to save his friend's life, Merrill must - wait for it - MAKE A ROUND-TRIP TRANSATLANTIC FLIGHT! What a plot twist!

It will surprise no one to learn that Mr Merrill is a terrible actor, and this is a low-budget Poverty Row film so I am in no way recommending it to movie fans, but I do find it interesting from a historical perspective. Merrill's actual plane was used in the shooting, and his real-life co-pilot also plays a role. By the time I was born there were very few "firsts" left to achieve so I've always thought it was cool that guys like this could become celebrities back in the day by doing things besides sports or entertainment.

And here's another Wiki tidbit that I found amusing:
Both Dick Merrill and Jack Lambie, his real-life "Coronation Flight" co-pilot and co-star in the film, received $2,500 for their roles in this movie. Dick had not taken the filming seriously but gladly accepted the windfall. He was a teetotaler in an age when the "hard-drinking" "fun-loving" aerial adventurer was seen as the norm. Considered very easy-going yet serious, his one foible, however, was that he was an inveterate gambler throughout his life. Merrill blew his entire salary from the film at Santa Anita the weekend after shooting wrapped.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:28 pm

Hmm, sounds interesting; at least from a "historical perspective", like you say. I'll add it to my watchlist, maybe not for this month, but some time down the road.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Aug 21, 2020 2:24 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 6:28 pm
Hmm, sounds interesting; at least from a "historical perspective", like you say. I'll add it to my watchlist, maybe not for this month, but some time down the road.
Well, like I said I don't know if actually sitting through the film is necessary, but I do find it an interesting curio. Other than maybe Sally Ride, I don't remember a lot of people from my childhood who were famous for "doing stuff" outside of the entertainment world, if you know what I mean, so I always found it cool that folks like Earhart or Lindbergh could actually achieve celebrity status.

It's also a peek at a time pre-television, where a movie was pretty much the only way to capitalize on one's fame. In 2020 we'd probably put Merrill on Dancing With the Stars or something but back then your choices were radio or movies. So whether you could act or not, you got a movie made around you.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:36 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:58 pm
Today is the day that I learned there are at least 3 Turbulence movies.
The second Turbulence has a group of people who are trying to overcome a fear of flying by taking a flight where terrorists take over. Part 3 has to do with a farewell concert for a heavy metal musician which is crashed by terrorists.

And now you know! :P
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:47 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:36 pm
The second Turbulence has a group of people who are trying to overcome a fear of flying by taking a flight where terrorists take over. Part 3 has to do with a farewell concert for a heavy metal musician which is crashed by terrorists.

And now you know! :P
Both of those sound incredible. What have I been missing??
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:33 pm

Thief wrote:
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!
Another month, another storm. We will be hit by another storm later today; the perks of living in Hurricane Alley. Not a very organized one, but anyway... if we lose power, and I can't get online for some time, carry on without me. AVENGE ME!!!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:09 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:39 pm
Here's Episode 19! Special Birthday episode with some of your recommendations and your thoughts on what you recommended...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 19 (August 17, 2020)

Thanks to Popcorn Reviews, Captain Terror, Apex Predator, and kgaard, who recommended some of the films I talk about in this episode. Check it out!
Finally got a chance to listen to this, thanks for the shoutout! :up:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:16 pm

A film from the 1970s: Zardoz

GIANT STONE HEAD FLYING THROUGH THE AIR YELLING AT PEOPLE AND SPITTING GUNS OUT OF ITS MOUTH, ALSO SEAN CONNERY WEARS A DIAPER 10/10
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:16 pm

More seriously, while Zardoz has plenty of lah-di-dah nonsense and goofiness, what I genuinely do like is that, first, Boorman knows what he is doing, technically. If you can get past Sean Connery’s diaper (a challenge, I know), it actually looks pretty good, yeah? Like, the giant stone head flying around is actually pretty impressive (well, mostly, there are a couple of janky bits), and a later scene with projected images is both absurd and visually impressive. Most important, though, is that the movie is totally sincere. It’s not phony. Boorman means all of this, even if half of it comes across as gibberish. I’ll take Boorman’s bizarre philosophical meanderings over Hollywood cynicism any day.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Rock » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:42 pm

Did you like the part where Charlotte Rampling gives Connery a boner for science?
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:40 pm

Rock wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:42 pm
Did you like the part where Charlotte Rampling gives Connery a boner for science?
“Do you like Charlotte Rampling?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never Charlotte Rampled.”
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:51 pm

kgaard. wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:40 pm
“Do you like Charlotte Rampling?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never Charlotte Rampled.”
Hee hee.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:14 pm

Saw Joe versus The Volcano last night, and I'm still wondering if what I saw was just a silly mess or absolutely brilliant. Leaning towards the latter.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:25 am

Thief wrote:
Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:14 pm
Saw Joe versus The Volcano last night, and I'm still wondering if what I saw was just a silly mess or absolutely brilliant. Leaning towards the latter.
When I first saw it, outside of the beginning part of him going to work, I thought it was a silly mess. I stood up in the theater as the credits rolled and yelled at my friend who convinced me to go see it that he owed me the money I paid for the ticket.
I have subsequently come to see things differently.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:39 am

You may come to convince me to give it another whirl. I found it rather underwhelming the first time I saw it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:15 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 11:39 am
You may come to convince me to give it another whirl. I found it rather underwhelming the first time I saw it.
I do think Meg Ryan's triple-performance is nearly worth the run-time. If one doesn't have much else to do.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:41 pm

I've had some real life issues/bout of depression/etc keep me away, but I'm back with a double bill.

See a film with Dog in the title (August)

Dog by Dog (2015)

Didn't help that I tried (and tried) to sit through Arctic Dogs. It's not the worst animated film I've seen (I think the honors go to Food Fight), but it's pretty doggone uninspired as the plot veers between Norm of the North and Monsters U (but I wanna be a mail delivery doggy! Nonsense, you're a fox and too lightweight to boot.) Don't quite get the hatred towards the main character...he's trying to be slick when he ain't, but at least he didn't burn down part of a forest and never apologize for it (The Nut Job...available on Netflix again!)

So I settled for this documentary which shows the deplorable conditions of puppy mills as well as the efforts of some people in several states to change laws to make the conditions better. Outside of one sequence which threatens to become about the dangers of living next to a hog farm, the documentary hits its expected marks of outrage and hope towards the end. The dogs are adorable.

Oh, and I don't plan on seeing any dog shows in the future unless it's Best in Show. The film explains why. B-

See a film with a primarily senior cast (August)
See a film based on a book (August)
See a romantic film (August)
See a film starting with an O or P (August)

Our Souls at Night (2017)

Unlike the random goings on of And So It Goes, this one benefits from the lived in chemistry between Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as two widows named Louis and Addie start spending time at night laying in bed and sharing intimate discussions together. Although this causes the coffee club clique (led by Bruce Dern) to start to talk, the widows click until some unfinished business threatens to undo their relationship.

The cast for the most part makes this work including Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon) who plays Addie's grandson as they're able to smooth out some rough patches and give the material room to breathe. One exception is Matthias Schoenaerts as Addie's grown son who can't do much with what appears to be a one-note character (and the accent doesn't help).

Still, the starpower and message is more than enough to keep this watchable for about 100 minutes or so. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:19 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:41 pm
I've had some real life issues/bout of depression/etc keep me away, but I'm back with a double bill.

Hope you're doin' better, man.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:12 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:41 pm
I've had some real life issues/bout of depression/etc keep me away, but I'm back with a double bill.
Sorry to hear that, Apex. Hopefully, you're feeling better now.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:04 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:19 am
Hope you're doin' better, man.
Usually, these spells last for maybe a week max. This one took about 3 weeks to get over. Could be the pandemic/could be what's going on in the US but I couldn't shake it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:13 am

And now I'm up to three titles for August. But I guess I'm maintaining focus?

Watch a film featuring a volcano (August)

Into the Inferno (2016)
Netflix original documentary has quirky favorite Werner Herzog revisit a subject he's kind of explored before in Encounter with the End of the World: Volcanoes. Plenty of nice looking footage with lava and other outputs of the volcanoes give this one a fighting chance to be good. But the human tales are a bit hit or miss this time around as he seems focused on the mythology placed on volcanoes by humans. Highlights include a Vanuatu tribe worshiping the spirit of an American GI who lives in a volcano (although a missed opportunity occurs when Herzog mentions there's already been a schism. Don't threaten us with a good time and not deliver, Werner) and North Korea which people use to prop up their country's "founder". An excavation thing in Indonesia goes a bit overlong and doesn't go anywhere good. Maybe a bit more hit or miss than Lo and Behold, but still a marginal recommendation due to its visuals and Herzog's quirky narration. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:14 am

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:12 am
Sorry to hear that, Apex. Hopefully, you're feeling better now.
I am feeling OK now. This one lasted longer than usual. Maybe it's the real world issues are getting me down more than usual? Or maybe the forced isolation?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:16 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:14 am
I am feeling OK now. This one lasted longer than usual. Maybe it's the real world issues are getting me down more than usual? Or maybe the forced isolation?
I'm glad you're feeling better now, Apex. Just remember that we're all here for you if you ever need anyone to talk to.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:47 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:14 am
I am feeling OK now. This one lasted longer than usual. Maybe it's the real world issues are getting me down more than usual? Or maybe the forced isolation?
Glad to read you're better. If you ever need someone to talk to, you know where to find me.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:06 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:04 am
Usually, these spells last for maybe a week max. This one took about 3 weeks to get over. Could be the pandemic/could be what's going on in the US but I couldn't shake it.
A lot of it going around. One of my closest friends just called me over to spend the day with him while his family was out of town because it turns out he's come down with Major Depression. Painful. I hope you stay feelin' better.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:43 pm

Thanks for all the kind words. It's going to be one of those things I'm gonna have to deal with, at least until the pandemic ends and I can go back to therapy.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:34 pm

Any film that starts with the letters O or P: Open 24 Hours

Our film opens with the main character having just been released from prison. She'd been convicted of setting her boyfriend on fire. Turns out the boyfriend was a serial killer who made her watch his murders until she finally snapped and torched his house. (This all happens before the movie begins.)

So now she's out of jail and trying to start a new life, starting with applying for a job at a 24-hour gas station/convenience store, working the overnight graveyard shift. So far so good, except that she is still dealing with some major PTSD (understandably), in the form of hallucinations and overall paranoia which is making her transition less than smooth.

I wasn't in the mood to watch people being killed or anything, but this wasn't bad. The "ambience" of an overnight gas station is sufficiently unnerving anyway, so it was pretty effective when things start to get menacing. If I ever had to work in one of those places I'd spend my entire shift convinced that the next customer was going to rob/murder me, so maybe I was just bringing that to the table, but I felt like the film made good use of that unease. And the underlying "is this really happening or is she losing it" element makes for some tense moments. The violence was a bit more than I was hoping for but we've all seen worse.

File this under "pleasant suprise". A minor work for sure, and not worth seeking out the cruddy 360p Youtube version I had to watch. But if it ever shows up for free in decent quality, horror fans might find it worthwhile.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:00 pm

Saw Final Exam last night. Oh, Cap, what did you got me into :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:08 pm

Thief wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:00 pm
Saw Final Exam last night. Oh, Cap, what did you got me into :D
My one enduring legacy at this site will be that I convinced literally everyone to watch Final Exam,.a film I didn't even like. :oops:
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:48 pm

https://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 0#p1271704

Although Final Exam did make for a good discussion a few months ago. If I'm not mistaken you're the Friday the 13th fan, right? You'll probably find it an interesting read.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:01 pm

I skimmed through a couple of pages of that discussion. Interesting takes.

I agree with a couple of the points made in that I think that Final Exam, despite being an overall mediocre product, is still a notch above the average slasher. I think crumb mentioned the use of light and space in the last stretch, and I agree. There were two shots that stuck with me direction-wise...
1) Right after the "final girl" finds the nerd guy dead (BTW, I thought there was a more honest gut-punch quality to her calling to him repeatedly, trying to convince herself that he's joking, instead of the usual "Ahhh! he's dead!" reveal), but anyway, right after that, she runs down the hallway banging on doors trying to find some help while the camera slowly moves down the hallway. I thought it was a pretty nice moment and shot that, like Rock and crumb mentioned, seems more focused on the actual effect of the violence than in the violence itself.

2) As the "final girl" is running around the building, not sure where to hide, she stumbles upon a large, emtpy hall with a staircase on the back. As she is running from side to side, the camera pans with her, but as it moves to the left with her on the foreground, you see the calm silhouette of the man walking down the staircase in the background. I thought this one looked pretty cool and reminded me, albeit briefly, of Halloween.
And along that line, the thing with the killer's identity also reminded me of Halloween in that the killer is nothing but a cypher of evil and violence. Not that it's executed as well or given as much thought here as it is on the latter, but I got the feeling that's what they were going for. Remember that it wasn't until the sequel that they came up with the connection between Laurie and Michael Myers just to keep on cashing on sequels.

And on the topic of similarities and homages, I also thought there was a bit of an homage to the Giallo, specifically in the murder of the pretty blond girl. The way it was staged, in the art room, with paintings all around, the lighting, and the color and way the blood flowed during the murder felt like something along that line.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:31 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:39 pm
Here's Episode 19! Special Birthday episode with some of your recommendations and your thoughts on what you recommended...

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Episode 19 (August 17, 2020)

Thanks to Popcorn Reviews, Captain Terror, Apex Predator, and kgaard, who recommended some of the films I talk about in this episode. Check it out!
Episode 20 is due for this week, but in the meantime, I recorded one special episode of my podcast.

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Special Episode I (Se7en)

In this episode, I talk about one specific scene from one specific film that I love. In this case, John Doe's surrender from Seven. Check it out.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:39 pm

Decided on a couple of shorts to breeze through some categories.

See a film featuring a clown (August)
Vultures in the Void (2014)

Wasn't necessarily in the mood for a clown horror (and there's quite a few available on Prime/Netflix). Quick Change would have worked, but not streaming anywhere. So I chose this one.

A space short about a guy named Lucky Mike who works with the captain of a freighter names Sunset to steal a cargo and split it 50-50. But two space pirates interrupt things: Deadspeed (Bai Ling) who might have a connection with Mike and her cohort who calls himself Space Clown (Tommy Lister). He's doing this for the notoriety, but nobody seems to be feeling the nickname.

Thanks to an attack on the freighter by Mike, there's a ticking clock before people come to the ship's rescue. Deals get thrown about, accusations fly and loyalties shift.

On the surface, this one's alright. The interactions and back and forth is mildly amusing.

But it too often feels like a concept short designed to pitch for fundraising for a more elaborate one featuring better acting and special effects (Ling is particularly bad, but nobody's giving it their best effort outside of maybe Lister).

Feel free to skip this space-themed Mexican standoff. D+

See a film with Left in the title (August)
After You Left (2019)

Aah, this one is more like it.

Short about a woman named Andrea (Adriana Santos) who takes a look back at her relationship with Alex (Marjia Abney) as she waits on her to drop off her stuff from when they were living together. She is torn between her feelings for wanting to resume what's going on and accepting that things have changed.

Director April Maxey does a fine job of finding the shorthand in the relationship both in the present day and looking back at the highs and lows of the past. The acting is solid and the film manages to slip in some emotions in the mix as well.

Something tells me Takoma might go for this one. It's certainly worth a gander for anyone. B-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Apex Predator » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:05 am

And I'm not done!

See a film with an 8 in the 1001 films you need to see before you die (August, 884)
See a film set in school (August)
See a film with a 4 in the 1001 films you need to see before you die (April)

Clueless (1995)
Yes, I've never seen this one. Interestingly, I have seen Iggy Azalea's homage to the film with Fancy.

Cher (Alicia Silverstone) seems to have it all, but something is missing. She starts by trying to set up her no-nonsense debate teacher (Wallace Shawn) with her environmental studies teacher. When things start to work there, she decides to take newbie student Tai (Brittany Murphy) under her wing helping her become popular along with the help of bestie Dionne (Stacey Dash). But during the school year, things take some turns that nobody can predict.

Bright teen comedy directed by Amy Heckerling (who also has been through the territory with the memorable Fast Times at Ridgemont High) struts its stuff on the screen with the confidence that Cher walks the halls and sidewalks of the high school. There's plenty of laughs in this film along with more than a little heart. And much like Cher, there's more going on the surface of the film than you'd expect.

But I had to take points off for that line about Kentucky. You'd think I wasn't gonna say anything? As if! B+
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Captain Terror » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:06 am

Thief wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:31 pm
Episode 20 is due for this week, but in the meantime, I recorded one special episode of my podcast.

Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - Special Episode I (Se7en)

In this episode, I talk about one specific scene from one specific film that I love. In this case, John Doe's surrender from Seven. Check it out.
:up:
I've never heard the story about Fincher getting the "wrong" script. The most memorable part of the film, and the studio axed it? Typical.

EDIT: "axed" :D
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:12 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:05 am
And I'm not done!

See a film with an 8 in the 1001 films you need to see before you die (August, 884)
See a film set in school (August)
See a film with a 4 in the 1001 films you need to see before you die (April)

Clueless (1995)
Yes, I've never seen this one. Interestingly, I have seen Iggy Azalea's homage to the film with Fancy.

Cher (Alicia Silverstone) seems to have it all, but something is missing. She starts by trying to set up her no-nonsense debate teacher (Wallace Shawn) with her environmental studies teacher. When things start to work there, she decides to take newbie student Tai (Brittany Murphy) under her wing helping her become popular along with the help of bestie Dionne (Stacey Dash). But during the school year, things take some turns that nobody can predict.

Bright teen comedy directed by Amy Heckerling (who also has been through the territory with the memorable Fast Times at Ridgemont High) struts its stuff on the screen with the confidence that Cher walks the halls and sidewalks of the high school. There's plenty of laughs in this film along with more than a little heart. And much like Cher, there's more going on the surface of the film than you'd expect.

But I had to take points off for that line about Kentucky. You'd think I wasn't gonna say anything? As if! B+
I remember seeing this in theaters with my two best friends and not really liking it. Seeing all the praise it gets has made me wonder if I had wrong expectations or what, but I've been meaning to rewatch it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:16 pm

Anyway, sorry I haven't posted, but I've been quite busy with home and work stuff. I will try to post my reviews later tonight, and new categories maybe tomorrow.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:27 pm

Here is my final batch of August...

A film set on a plane: LA GUAGUA AEREA (recommended by Mike)
This is a local (Puerto Rican) film, one that I had heard about and wanted to see for a long time. Unfortunately, for numerous reasons, there's little to no preservation efforts here and the availability of local films is usually reduced to bootlegs or YouTube uploads from whoever has it. A good Twitter friend, also from Puerto Rico, reminded me of it and I'm grateful for that. Set in the 1960s, the film follows an assorted group of Puerto Ricans that are traveling to New York for different reasons; hence the title, which can be translated to the "Air Bus". For a bit of background, the 1950s and 1960s were a period of significant migration of Puerto Ricans to the US, particularly New York. Political and economic changes here drove thousands of locals up north looking for the "American Dream". I'm not sure how this will play for someone from another country, but what makes it work for me is the way that the story plays with our little quirks and idiosyncrasies, like clapping when the plane lands, or bringing a pot of rice on the flight and sharing it with everybody after tasting the airplane food, or bringing a bag of live crabs for a relative in the States. But in the midst of the funny things, there is a strong commentary of how our socio-political situation makes us feel sometimes trapped, sometimes inferior, and sometimes ashamed of our nature and culture, but also how we cherish and enjoy the company of others. The ensemble cast is solid, even though it leaves little room for development of any character. For locals, I would say it's a must-see. For anybody else, maybe a lot will be lost in translation, but I'd say most will have fun with it. Grade: A-

A film from the 1970s: THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH (recommended by Defining Disney)
This is a film I hold dear to my heart. Back when I was a kid, we had several LPs of Disney classic films (I remember we had The Rescuers, Aristocats), but Winnie the Pooh was always my favorite. I'm not even sure if I ever saw the actual film, but regardless, I knew the dialogues and the songs by heart. Which is why when the guys at Defining Disney brought it up, I didn't hesitate. Add to that the fact that it was an opportunity to show my kids something that I loved from when I was a kid. The film is really a set of three or four short films that Disney spliced together. It follows Pooh and the gang as they deal with rain, wind, weight, and Tigger. Overall, the film is very funny, but I think the main plus it has is the earnestness with which these characters interact. I find it so endearing and heart-warming that you can't help but love it. The animation is very classic, and the voice talent was pretty good (I saw it dubbed, for the kids). If anything, I'd say that the film loses a bit when it kinda shifts its focus to Tigger in the last part (never liked Tigger), but the epilogue is poignant and touching enough to bring it all back together. As much as I loved going back to the Hundred Acre Wood, I enjoyed more taking my kids on the "journey". For the most part, they were into it, they also didn't like Tigger that much (yes!), and went on to watch the 2011's Winnie the Pooh and 2003's Piglet's Big Movie afterwards. Good job, Pooh! Grade: A

A film featuring a volcano: JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO (recommended by Best Ever Film Pod)
I had a hard time finding recommendations for this category. I was more on the mindset of a "disaster" film, but couldn't find any available streaming. When the guys at Best Ever Film Pod recommended this, I liked the idea since I had never seen it (fwiw, I still haven't even seen Sleepless in Seattle). Unfortunately, it wasn't available streaming either. But after more unsuccessful attempts at other "volcano" films, I budged and rented it, and boy, am I glad I did it. The film follows Joe Banks (Tom Hanks), an everyman working a miserable clerical job at a factory. When he receives the news that he's dying and only has 6 months to live, he abruptly quits. He then receives a proposition from a wealthy businessman to spend his last days at a remote island in the Pacific, and in the end, sacrifice himself to a volcano so that the natives would exchange an important mineral with him. If the premise sounds crazy, it's because the film is crazy. Surreal and bizarre in a sorta Lynchian way, the film works mostly as an allegory for fate and purpose, free will and life/death, but without ever feeling too heavy or dense. The film is still funny in its execution and earnest in the treatment of its characters. It might feel a bit messy, but in the end, I was feeling more like I had seen a brilliant masterpiece rather than a mess. Kudos to Meg Ryan for her triple performance as the three women that Joe finds along the way. Grade: A-

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title: HARD EIGHT (rewatch) (recommended by Lewzr)
This is another one I had trouble getting recommendations. More than one people came up with Eighth Grade or Eight Men Out, both of which I've seen recently, but when someone at Twitter brought up Hard Eight, I didn't think much of it. I saw Hard Eight back in 2008 in one of those "channel surfing" strokes of luck. I caught it just as it was starting and for some reason, I was glued to it from the start. There's something rather intriguing and intense about that opening with Philip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly that doesn't quite let you look away, and this intensity extends all through the film. The premise is simple, an enigmatic gambler called Sidney (Baker Hall) takes the younger John (Reilly) under his wing and teaches him how to work Vegas. But when John and his girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) get in serious trouble, Sidney has to step in bringing back a past that he wanted to leave behind. This is Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature film and although there's "low stakes" to its scope and story, he still directs the hell out of it. There are several excellent long and tracking shots, mostly following Sidney through the casino or as he arrives at a motel. The film has also a great pace, assured but breezy for a 100 minute film with a lot of dialogue. But that's because the dialogue and the performances are the real stars. Like I said, Baker Hall and Reilly are magnetic, but Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson are also great. A great film and my #3 PTA. Grade: A

A film from Switzerland: SENNENTUNTSCHI (recommended by Folk Told)
If I were to list some of my main horror film "fetishes", films that deal with legends and/or the occult would be near the top of the list. So when someone at Twitter brought up this, I was more than happy to indulge. The film is based on an Alpine fable, which is explained during the first hour or so, in which a group of herdsmen in a remote cabin come up with a crude doll made of hay, rags, and a broom to, well, pleasure themselves. When the "doll" takes life, she decides to take revenge on her abusers. Here, the film takes a bit of a back-and-forth, broken narrative, as it follows the three men, as well as a local policeman that's trying to help the girl. There is a bit of an awkward-ish tone to the film, but in the end, I think it works. The pace might be a bit uneven, as it takes perhaps a bit too much to get things going, and I'm not sure that we needed one of the flashbacks/time jumps, but overall, this was a mostly enjoyable, odd "horror" film. Grade: B

A film set in school: FINAL EXAM (recommended by Captain Terror)
Well, Cap, I did it. I contributed to your enduring legacy in the annals of Corrierino history. This film follows a group of college students left at campus near the end of the school year, that are being terrorized by a killer. In many ways, the film presents itself and feels like your typical cheap slasher, with its relative low budget and not-so-great acting. The characters fit the typical slasher template to a T (smart good girl, cute "slutty" one, handsome guy, dumb jock, nerd guy) and you can see the connective tissue to Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Giallo films. But despite this, I think it managed to successfully work with the tropes of the genre. Also, like I said on an earlier post, despite appearances, there are hints of more "care" put to this than to other slashers. The use of the camera is solid, and the way the film treats some of its characters (particularly the main girl and her nerd friend) feels different. There's also the randomness and ambiguity of the killer, who doesn't seem to have any other reason than just the desire to kill. In a world where films try to hard to make absurd connections between killers and killed, there's a certain freshness to a film that features a killer that just *kills*. The acting isn't very good, but if you're into this sub-genre, I don't think you'll regret watching this. Grade: B-

A film with the word "Left" in its title: THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN (recommended by Mike)
This is yet another one I had trouble getting recommendations. This online friend mentioned this one, even though he hadn't seen it, but I'm always up for a western. The film follows the titular character (Bill Pullman), a somewhat meek and not so bright ranch hand that sets out to seek revenge for the murder of his friend and partner but ends up uncovering a deeper conspiracy. This one was a pretty good film. There's a lot of moments of introspection and thoughtfulness about past glories and regrets, but there's also a good dose of tension and action. Performances are quite good also. Pullman is solid, but I think Tommy Flanagan and Jim Caviezel steal their scenes as the former members of Lefty's old posse. The details of the conspiracy feel a bit half-baked, but I don't think its inner workings were as relevant, other than to advance the plot. I also feel there could've been a bit more done with Kathy Baker's character, who plays the widow of Lefty's partner. Regardless, the film is well made, well acted, and worth a watch. Grade: B+

A film featuring a clown: TERRIFIER
None of the recommendations I got for this category were available streaming, but when I saw this was available on Netflix, I seemed to remember someone recommending it months ago, so I decided to give it a chance. And boy, what a surprise it was. The film follows a murderous clown that goes by the name of Art, who terrorizes a group of female friends as they seek refuge in an abandoned building. I kid you not that this is probably one of the best horror films I've seen recently. From "simpler" things like the creepy makeup of the clown to the way the film manages to subvert some tropes of the horror genre. The film manages to have some good scares, but it's also gory as hell with the clown using saws, knives, and blades to do his thing (heads are stabbed, bashed in, and cut, characters are split open) So if that's what you're going for, this is it. But even though the overall package is good, the thing that won me over was a simple detail that I'd like to share for anyone that has seen it...
Halfway through the film, the clown is terrorizing what seems to be the main girl. However, she manages to get the upper hand, knocks him over and starts beating him with a 2x4. As she defyingly starts taunting him to get up, he slowly gets on one knee and.... pulls a gun from his ankle and shoots the girl. There's a simplicity to that that you just gotta love. As he realizes he has no more bullets, he goes back to his bag, puts another magazine and finishes the girl by shooting her repeatedly in the face. I mean, it's not only the fact that they off the girl that we've been following for almost 40 minutes, but also, how many slasher films can you remember where the killer pulls up a gun? Like I said, it's a very simple detail, but I loved it.
The main con that the film has are the performances. Not that they are bad, but some of them are on the weak side. Other than that, I can just say that I enjoyed the hell out of this and it has stuck in my mind since. Grade: A-

Once again, thanks to all for the great recommendations.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:03 pm

This was my final tally for August...

A film with the number 8 (Eight, Eighth, etc.) in its title: Hard Eight (rewatch, recommended by @lewzr)
Any film that starts with the letters O or P: Odd Thomas (recommended by @newguyreview101)
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #8 (i.e. 18, 380, 851): Within Our Gates (recommended by @I_Be_Scruffy)
A film from the 1970s: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (recommended by @definingdisney)
A romantic film: Priceless (recommended by Apex Predator)
A film set in school: Final Exam (recommended by Captain Terror)
A film featuring a clown (Clown Week): Terrifier
A film from Switzerland (National Day, August 1): Sennentuntschi (recommended by @FolkTold)
A film from John Huston (born August 5): Fat City (recommended by kgaard)
A film based on a book (Book Lover's Day, August 9): Bambi
A film with the word "Left" in its title (Lefthanders Day, August 13): The Ballad of Lefty Brown (recommended by @mikefilms21)
A film set on a plane (Aviation Day, August 19): La Guagua Aérea (recommended by @mikefilms21)
A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21): The Straight Story (recommended by Popcorn Reviews)
A film featuring a volcano (Vesuvius Day, August 24): Joe versus The Volcano (recommended by @bestfilmseverpod)
A film with the word "Dog" in its title (Dog Day, August 26): Barking Dogs Never Bite (recommended by Captain Terror)

Freebie for the kids: The Lion King (rewatch)


Rewatches aside, it was a really strong month. Films like The Straight Story, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Terrifier, Joe versus the Volcano, La Guagua Aérea, Fat City, and Barking Dogs Never Bite, all were among the best I saw.

The weakest? Probably Final Exam, but don't feel bad, Cap. I'd still say it's worth a watch.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:01 am

I'm finishing up the categories for September. Give me until tomorrow to post them all.

In the meantime, here is an advance...

A film with the number 9 (Nine, Ninth, etc.) in its title
Any film that starts with the letters Q or R
A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #9 (i.e. 19, 290, 980)
A film from the 1980s
A science-fiction film
A film with the word "Fall" or "Autumn" in its title
A film with a primarily Hispanic/Latino cast (Hispanic Heritage Month)
A film primarily set in the workplace (Labor Day, Sep 7)
A film based or featuring video games (Nat'l Video Games Day, Sep 12)
A film from Mexico (Mexican Independence Day, Sep 16)
A film with the word "Dance" in its title (Nat'l Dance Day, Sep 19)
A film featuring Native American characters (Native American Day, Sep 25)
A film based on a comic book (Nat'l Comic Book Day, Sep 25)
A film from Robert Bresson (born September 25)
A film with a question in its title (Ask a Stupid Question Day, Sep 28)

I'll post the other categories tomorrow. There they are! :)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:12 am

Thief wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:27 pm

A film featuring a clown: TERRIFIER
None of the recommendations I got for this category were available streaming, but when I saw this was available on Netflix, I seemed to remember someone recommending it months ago, so I decided to give it a chance. And boy, what a surprise it was. The film follows a murderous clown that goes by the name of Art, who terrorizes a group of female friends as they seek refuge in an abandoned building. I kid you not that this is probably one of the best horror films I've seen recently. From "simpler" things like the creepy makeup of the clown to the way the film manages to subvert some tropes of the horror genre. The film manages to have some good scares, but it's also gory as hell with the clown using saws, knives, and blades to do his thing (heads are stabbed, bashed in, and cut, characters are split open) So if that's what you're going for, this is it. But even though the overall package is good, the thing that won me over was a simple detail that I'd like to share for anyone that has seen it...
Halfway through the film, the clown is terrorizing what seems to be the main girl. However, she manages to get the upper hand, knocks him over and starts beating him with a 2x4. As she defyingly starts taunting him to get up, he slowly gets on one knee and.... pulls a gun from his ankle and shoots the girl. There's a simplicity to that that you just gotta love. As he realizes he has no more bullets, he goes back to his bag, puts another magazine and finishes the girl by shooting her repeatedly in the face. I mean, it's not only the fact that they off the girl that we've been following for almost 40 minutes, but also, how many slasher films can you remember where the killer pulls up a gun? Like I said, it's a very simple detail, but I loved it.
The main con that the film has are the performances. Not that they are bad, but some of them are on the weak side. Other than that, I can just say that I enjoyed the hell out of this and it has stuck in my mind since. Grade: A-
Wow.
I feel like maybe I'm just gonna have to rewatch this. Because I hated the movie with a passion and thought it was also probably the single worst movie I saw last year.
I can't think of a single thing I liked about it. And the part you liked so much was a part I singled out in my write-up as being one of the worst moments of a downright contemptible film.

However...
I had seen the movie's predecessor, in which Art The Clown is really played as an omnipotent, supernatural thing who is always just filled with child-like glee by the terror and torment of... well, anyone. It was utterly fascinating and frightening to me and I was very excited for Terrifier.
But, they changed the character so much for Terrifier, where he is not only just a regular, ultra-misogynistic serial-killer, but not a very good one, and worst of all, one who gets pissy and full of impotent rage, and acts like a big fucking baby, even as he does probably the worst thing I've seen done to women on-screen, and I've seen a lot of misogynistic horror-movies before.
So, I am willing to consider that my hatred for this movie and my assessment that it was the worst movie I saw in '19 was too heavily influenced by how much I loved the character in the previous film and how deeply disappointed I was by them completely changing the character to something that I didn't like at all and that was also just jarringly different from the one I did love.
It's possible that if I can shake off my extreme disappointment that I will be able to see the movie at least somewhat the way that you saw it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Thief » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:23 am

Do you know where's your writeup for it? I'd love to read your full thoughts on it.

Anyway, I read about the connections to the other films with the clown *after* I saw the film, so obviously, I didn't have that frame of reference. I was thinking of tracking down those films, but now I'm wondering if I should, LOL.

One funny thing, since you mentioned the misogyny in it... I typically watch films at night, after the kids go to bed. Usually, when my wife comes for a night snack, she sits with me, watches whatever I'm watching for whatever long it takes for her to eat her snack, and then goes to bed. But with Terrifier, she stayed... and she casually came a few minutes *before* the "saw" scene. It doesn't surprise me cause I know her, and I know she likes horror, action, and thrillers, but I just found it curious that of all the films and TV shows I watch every night, this is the one she stayed for... and she saw all the rest of it! So there's that...
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by Wooley » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:41 am

Thief wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:23 am
Do you know where's your writeup for it? I'd love to read your full thoughts on it.

Anyway, I read about the connections to the other films with the clown *after* I saw the film, so obviously, I didn't have that frame of reference. I was thinking of tracking down those films, but now I'm wondering if I should, LOL.

One funny thing, since you mentioned the misogyny in it... I typically watch films at night, after the kids go to bed. Usually, when my wife comes for a night snack, she sits with me, watches whatever I'm watching for whatever long it takes for her to eat her snack, and then goes to bed. But with Terrifier, she stayed... and she casually came a few minutes *before* the "saw" scene. It doesn't surprise me cause I know her, and I know she likes horror, action, and thrillers, but I just found it curious that of all the films and TV shows I watch every night, this is the one she stayed for... and she saw all the rest of it! So there's that...
Here ya go, if you want it. https://corrierino.com/forum/viewtopic. ... 9#p1259769

I just re-read it and was reminded that I actually didn't just hate the character, I thought it was a really bad horror movie regardless. Do with it what you will.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2020

Post by kgaard. » Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:01 am

All right, time to blow through the rest of these...

A film from John Huston (born August 5): The Maltese Falcon

My original intention was to watch Under the Volcano, but on her turn my wife picked this one, and though I have seen this, it was a long time ago and a rewatch was a welcome pleaasure. I have nothing of note to say about this one--just that it's a classic for a reason.

A film based on a book (Book Lover's Day, August 9): Out of Africa

Sydney Pollack's gauzy portrayal of African colonialists, based on the autobiography by Karen Blixen (writing as Isak Dinesin), suffers from a lot of the usual problems of the movies of its type--attentuated timelines, a decent amount of white saviourism, narratve aimlessness--though it's just about worth it for Meryl Streep and (to a lesser extent) Robert Redford, and I admit to kind of enjoying its languid pacing. Not without merit.

A romantic film: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

My wife picked this one, too, and the reason is probably more interesting than the movie. We both watched this on a plane back in 2003(?) coming back from a trip to Europe. My wife loved it and I, to be kind, did not. As it happens, my wife's family is basically Toula's (only Jewish, not Greek) and mine is basically Ian's (only I have siblings). Anyway, due to several factors, but yes, including our dissimilar backgrounds, we actually broke up soon after this. Not so much because I disliked the movie, but it was symptomatic of the issues between us at the time. Of course, given that we are now married, we sorted these things out. Watching this again now, almost 20 years later, I ...didn't actually hate it. While I wouldn't call myself a fan, I do appreciate how it avoids some of the pitfalls of a lot of movies of this ilk: comic misunderstanding that could easily be resolved if only the characters spoke to each other, contrived break-ups and reattachments. It has an uncomplicated sweetness.

A film with a primarily senior cast (Senior Citizens Day, August 21): The Straight Story

Yeah, I love this one. Totally accessible Lynch. Otherwise I'll just endorse Thief's fine review above.

A film featuring a volcano (Vesuvius Day, August 24): Moana

I love this one, too! I've seen it before, of course, but honestly? This is my favorite Disney film. Great songs, an interesting and well-thought-out story, and a finale and conflict that relies on grace for resolution over violence. What's not to like?

A film set in school: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Okay, a lot of this takes place in history, but it's for a school project! And it ends at school! I'm counting it! Another rewatch, I confess I'm not a huge fan of this--its dopey humor is just a bit too dopey for me--but my kid wanted to see it and it is pretty gentle (one unfortunate and dated use of the f-word slur aside) and the leads' charms are apparent. Mostly harmless.

A film from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list whose ranking includes the #8 (i.e. 18, 380, 851): Young Frankenstein

Yet another all-time favorite. My parents used to check this one out from the library frequently (on VHS!) so I know it by heart. Endlessly quotable and probably the artistic height of the Mel Brooks canon. My son is also now a fan, which gives me a huge case of the feels. A family treasure.
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