A noob's journey through cinema

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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by crumbsroom » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:08 pm

Slentert wrote:a slowly unspooling thread of post-noir intrigue
This is a good way to put it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:56 am

I rewatched Inside Llewyn Davis and man, even a lower tier Coen Brothers movie is great.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:32 pm

Slentert wrote: To be honest, I wasn't entirely convinced by The Long Goodbye either when I watched it the first time. Only after a rewatch I started to really appreciate it, and now it is one of my favorite movies of all time.
As it should be. I did think it was awesome the first time.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Torgo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:35 pm

It's interesting that there were three movies in 1999 about men in white-collar jobs who were dissatisfied with their existences and who tried to turn things around in ways that initially seemed promising, but ended up resulting in disaster, i.e. American Beauty, Fight Club and Office Space. Actually, you could include Eyes Wide Shut in the mix. They're obviously not completely the same, but they do share a common theme of calling the American dream into question. There are several other movies with this theme that came out before and after (Glengarry Glen Ross, Fargo and Wall Street come to mind), so was it a result of the good economic times in the late '90s? Was it just a coincidence? Who knows. It's fun to think about, at least.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:57 pm

yeah, we were all getting too comfortable in our suburban, middle-class lifestyles (to paraphrase Irving Kristol, we weren't exactly Rome or Athens). which is probably why there were a bunch of thinkpieces from the sort of guys who wrote for The Weekly Standard about how The War on Terror will give the US an opportunity to find our warrior selves again, just like we did against the Nazis and Communists and so forth. no more worrying about trifling consumer choices and the like.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:59 pm

also, Stu, you should have watched Shadows first. better way to get a good feel for the Cassavetes style without feeling too exhausted.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:24 pm

So I just watched The Duke of Burgundy and I honestly couldn't connect to it. Perhaps I just lack the right experience to relate with it? (I've never been in a relationship) What did y'all think of it? Help me to understand this movie better.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:36 pm

Torgo wrote:It's interesting that there were three movies in 1999 about men in white-collar jobs who were dissatisfied with their existences and who tried to turn things around in ways that initially seemed promising, but ended up resulting in disaster, i.e. American Beauty, Fight Club and Office Space. Actually, you could include Eyes Wide Shut in the mix.
I would definitely add Being John Malkovich to the mix, and am tempted to add American Psycho - although it actually opened in early 2000, we all know the timid studio had it on the shelf in 1999.

I think that a certain theme of dissociation runs through the films as well, probably most explicitly in Fight Club and Psycho, but all of the men in these films are trying to escape themselves in unhealty psychological ways. I would say that the materialism aspect is less evident in Malkovich ("it's just Topo Gigio, no?"), although the scene of Malkovich buying designer towels over the phone has a certain allure.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:40 pm

Oh, I forgot about Magnolia. A lot of dissociative escapism there, from both men and women. And Donnie's American Dream was appropriately pitiful.

Good year for film.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:29 pm

Slentert wrote:So I just watched The Duke of Burgundy and I honestly couldn't connect to it. Perhaps I just lack the right experience to relate with it? (I've never been in a relationship) What did y'all think of it? Help me to understand this movie better.
I thought that it was an interesting look at a relationship where the ostensible power dynamics are very different than the reality (ie.
life with a pushy submissive
).

My main issue was that I found both of the main characters kind of annoying.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Torgo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:35 pm

Jinnistan wrote: I would definitely add Being John Malkovich to the mix, and am tempted to add American Psycho - although it actually opened in early 2000, we all know the timid studio had it on the shelf in 1999.

I think that a certain theme of dissociation runs through the films as well, probably most explicitly in Fight Club and Psycho, but all of the men in these films are trying to escape themselves in unhealty psychological ways. I would say that the materialism aspect is less evident in Malkovich ("it's just Topo Gigio, no?"), although the scene of Malkovich buying designer towels over the phone has a certain allure.
Ooh, good ones. You could also throw the Errol Morris documentary Mr. Death and possibly The Matrix into the mix, with the exception that Mr. Anderson's escape pays off for him.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:37 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
I thought that it was an interesting look at a relationship where the ostensible power dynamics are very different than the reality (ie.
life with a pushy submissive
).

My main issue was that I found both of the main characters kind of annoying.
Yeah, I got that part. But I guess I found the two main characters to be kind of dull, therefore wasn't particularly invested in their relationship. A movie that is kinda similar (yet less absurd/surreal) is Phantom Thread. I thought the characters in that were far more richer and layered than the ones in The Duke of Burgundy.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:33 pm

Slentert wrote: Yeah, I got that part. But I guess I found the two main characters to be kind of dull, therefore wasn't particularly invested in their relationship. A movie that is kinda similar (yet less absurd/surreal) is Phantom Thread. I thought the characters in that were far more richer and layered than the ones in The Duke of Burgundy.
Yes, I thought that they were dull as well. I liked the visual look of the film, but it didn't do much for me in terms of its narrative.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:51 am

Takoma1 wrote:
I thought that it was an interesting look at a relationship where the ostensible power dynamics are very different than the reality (ie.
life with a pushy submissive
).

My main issue was that I found both of the main characters kind of annoying.
I think they're supposed to be a little annoying, at least to each other. Despite it's '70s Eurotrash inspired style, I think it's primarily a relationship comedy about the lengths the characters go to for each other and how they end up getting on each other's nerves as a result, just in a relationship whose dynamics are way more rigid than average.

My problem with the film and with Strickland in general is that he knows how to work with the pieces of a narrative, but seems to cop out at some point in putting it together. This one montages its way through what should be a major story point. In Fabric's ending at least feels a bit more at home in its episodic, giallo sitcom style. I like what he does stylistically enough to give him a pass, but I can't help but be a bit frustrated with the results.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:15 am

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

It's a shame that most people only seem to remember the diner scene from this movie. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty funny scene, and an iconic Jack moment. But it doesn't come close to the best moments of Five Easy Pieces (like Jack playing the piano for Susan Anspach, or him giving that speech to his father) and it actually sticks out like a sore thumb, a little broader and less subtle than what the rest of the movie is like.

Five Easy Pieces is very insidious with its brilliance, it slowly creeps up on you and even when you're not entirely convinced at first, the varied range of emotions at play here will linger on long after you put the disc back in its case. And man, there is something electric about a young, hungry Jack Nicholson, before he became a parody of himself.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:50 pm

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Exciting, funny and sad, Dog Day Afternoon is one of those 1970s New York City films you want to live inside of, a movie so rich with humanity and texture and detail that it feels like you can step through the screen.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:52 pm

Bringing Out The Dead (1999)

Usually, the crowd at my local repertory theater leaves immediately once the words 'The End' appear on screen. This time, almost everyone stayed in their seats until the credits ended, just sitting there, soaking in the darkness, like we all just went through some collective traumatic experience we all needed to recover from. Eventually, we only left because the audience for the next screening was already waiting outside. Slowly and confused, I found my way to the exit, it was already dark outside, and when I stopped at a traffic light, I noticed how the city looked so... different. I walked to the station, where I would have to wait fifty minutes for a train back home, and sitting on a dirty bench, next to a puddle of vomit, I couldn't stop thinking about the movie I just saw. Scorsese and Schrader took the disillusioned realism of Taxi Driver and injected it with the manic energy and surreality of After Hours, making New York City look like a dark forest from a very grim and drug-induced fairy tale, with Nicolas Cage as the lonesome knight in his white ambulance, driving through endless nights, trying so safe anyone in order to redeem himself, but only leaving behind ghosts in his rearview mirror.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:22 am

Malpertuis (1971)
Baroque, grotesque, and injected with a healthy dose of camp, Harry Kümel's fable is something to marvel at. With its extensive sets and masterful staging, we are lured into the vast, decaying ruins of Malpertuis, with its spiral staircases that seem to ascend and descend into infinity and dusty corridors that twist and turn in odd ways.

I watched the Dutch cut, which is apparently longer and busier, stocked with weird edits and a waking-dream-within-a-dream sequence that was deleted from the shorter version that originally premiered at Cannes. Also, Orson Welles is dubbed by a Dutch actor in this, which only adds to the other-worldliness of it all.



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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:39 am

whoa, I've never even heard of this one. what other crazy shit have y'all been keeping from me?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:00 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:whoa, I've never even heard of this one. what other crazy shit have y'all been keeping from me?
Even in its country of origin, Belgium, it isn't really well known. Kumel's other 1971 film, Daughters of Darkness, is in fact more popular overseas than it is here.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:29 pm

I don't remember a lot about Malpertuis, but I gave it a rare 5-star rating which I never do. Must've really dug it, guess I should watch it again.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:19 pm

Slentert wrote: Even in its country of origin, Belgium, it isn't really well known. Kumel's other 1971 film, Daughters of Darkness, is in fact more popular overseas than it is here.
Oh, if from the director of Daughters Of Darkness, I may have to give this a spin.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am

The Leopard Man (1943)

Probably my least favorite of the Val Lewton- Jacques Tourneur collaborations, yet still a very entertaining and exciting proto-slasher. It is also noticeable how Lewton was already creating strong female characters before it was hip, and I'm not talking about the kind of flawless superhumans marketing departments like to promote, but characters that feel like actual people that have weaknesses and are allowed to make mistakes.

I know a lot of people find this movie a mess because it doesn't seem to settle on just one lead character. And while I have to admit I found this to be a bit jarring at first, I started to like how the focus constantly shifted to the next victim (almost like a more extreme version of what Hitchcock would do almost two decades later in Psycho), showing us how these women got in such vulnerable positions. This can be a young woman waiting at a cemetery all alone, trying to convince herself that her boyfriend didn't stood her up, or a teenage girl heading over to the grocery store at the other side of the town, because her mother asked her to even though she didn't wanted to go. Actually, that whole first kill is just perfectly executed, reminding us of the heights of Cat People. The classic Lewton philosophy of "If you make the screen dark enough, the mind's eye will read anything into it you want" plays out wonderfully here, especially because this young girl tries to convince herself there is nothing hiding in the shadows, it's all just her imagination, until, when it is already too late, she realizes she was right after all. Maybe it's because the movie starts out this brilliantly, that the rest feels so much weaker in comparison?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:19 am

Kill List (2011)

I have watched this movie several times now, the last viewing wasn't even that long ago, and it still manages to surprise me, like little details of it creep up behind my back and grab me every time. Director Ben Wheatley takes us on this crazy adventure with its wild turns and genre hopping, which all shouldn't work on paper yet it does when you watch the actual movie. It starts out as this typical British, kitchen sink, almost Mike Leigh- esque couples drama, that slowly (but in some way also very abruptly) turns into this odd hitman movie, with quick flashes of exuberant violence, while in the background some other sinister and disturbing forces are insidiously taking the upper hand until those explode in the final 20 minutes. It shouldn't surprise you because the clues were already there but just like the characters, you deliberately chose to ignore them until they became undeniable.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:35 am

Slentert wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:19 am
Kill List (2011)

I have watched this movie several times now, the last viewing wasn't even that long ago, and it still manages to surprise me, like little details of it creep up behind my back and grab me every time. Director Ben Wheatley takes us on this crazy adventure with its wild turns and genre hopping, which all shouldn't work on paper yet it does when you watch the actual movie. It starts out as this typical British, kitchen sink, almost Mike Leigh- esque couples drama, that slowly (but in some way also very abruptly) turns into this odd hitman movie, with quick flashes of exuberant violence, while in the background some other sinister and disturbing forces are insidiously taking the upper hand until those explode in the final 20 minutes. It shouldn't surprise you because the clues were already there but just like the characters, you deliberately chose to ignore them until they became undeniable.
That was a good, surprising film. I remember thinking while I was watching it, "ok, this is like a drama... no, wait! it's a heist film?... oh! the horror!"
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:57 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 am
The Leopard Man (1943)

Probably my least favorite of the Val Lewton- Jacques Tourneur collaborations, yet still a very entertaining and exciting proto-slasher. It is also noticeable how Lewton was already creating strong female characters before it was hip, and I'm not talking about the kind of flawless superhumans marketing departments like to promote, but characters that feel like actual people that have weaknesses and are allowed to make mistakes.

I know a lot of people find this movie a mess because it doesn't seem to settle on just one lead character. And while I have to admit I found this to be a bit jarring at first, I started to like how the focus constantly shifted to the next victim (almost like a more extreme version of what Hitchcock would do almost two decades later in Psycho), showing us how these women got in such vulnerable positions. This can be a young woman waiting at a cemetery all alone, trying to convince herself that her boyfriend didn't stood her up, or a teenage girl heading over to the grocery store at the other side of the town, because her mother asked her to even though she didn't wanted to go. Actually, that whole first kill is just perfectly executed, reminding us of the heights of Cat People. The classic Lewton philosophy of "If you make the screen dark enough, the mind's eye will read anything into it you want" plays out wonderfully here, especially because this young girl tries to convince herself there is nothing hiding in the shadows, it's all just her imagination, until, when it is already too late, she realizes she was right after all. Maybe it's because the movie starts out this brilliantly, that the rest feels so much weaker in comparison?
I really liked this movie and thought it was a worthy Lewton/Tourneur. I'd rewatch it any time. I've always been surprised that people don't like it more. I'm not saying it's I Walked With A Zombie but I think it's good.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:20 pm

Wooley wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:57 pm
I really liked this movie and thought it was a worthy Lewton/Tourneur. I'd rewatch it any time. I've always been surprised that people don't like it more. I'm not saying it's I Walked With A Zombie but I think it's good.
I mean, I definitely like The Leopard Man, I gave it 3,5 stars out of five, but it's still second tier Val Lewton for me.

This is how I would rank the Lewton efforts I've seen:

First Tier
1. I Walked With a Zombie
2. The Seventh Victim
3. Cat People

Second Tier
1. The Curse of the Cat People
2. The Leopard Man
3. The Body Snatcher
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:12 pm

I rewatched Goodfellas today and I immediately started smiling when that Warner Brothers logo appeared at the start, since these kind of gangster pictures used to be their bread and butter in the thirties. And it were those movies that Scorsese grew up on and that inspired him, so it was nice to see it all come full circle.

But when I'm being completely honest, mobster Scorsese isn't my favorite Scorsese. I prefer the descent into madness that movies like Taxi Driver and Bringing Out the Dead offer us, or his offbeat brand of comedy that you can find in stuff like The King of Comedy or After Hours. Hell, I even take the subdued melodrama of something like The Age of Innocence over this. Not that I have any real complaints towards Goodfellas, it's an impeccably made movie, vibrating with life, that throws you from one brilliant scene into another. If you think about it, Goodfellas is the perfect cable movie, every five minutes another great segment starts, so you can pop in whenever you're ready. But it just misses that one secret ingredient to call it one of my favorite movies.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:31 am

Slentert wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:20 pm
I mean, I definitely like The Leopard Man, I gave it 3,5 stars out of five, but it's still second tier Val Lewton for me.

This is how I would rank the Lewton efforts I've seen:

Second Tier
1. The Curse of the Cat People
2. The Leopard Man
3. The Body Snatcher
The Body Snatcher is one of my favorite older horror movies period. I would put it above The Leopard Man and Curse Of The Cat People, myself. Possibly Karloff's best performance, really shows that he was an actor not an archetype.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:33 am

Slentert wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:12 pm
I rewatched Goodfellas today and I immediately started smiling when that Warner Brothers logo appeared at the start, since these kind of gangster pictures used to be their bread and butter in the thirties. And it were those movies that Scorsese grew up on and that inspired him, so it was nice to see it all come full circle.

But when I'm being completely honest, mobster Scorsese isn't my favorite Scorsese. I prefer the descent into madness that movies like Taxi Driver and Bringing Out the Dead offer us, or his offbeat brand of comedy that you can find in stuff like The King of Comedy or After Hours. Hell, I even take the subdued melodrama of something like The Age of Innocence over this. Not that I have any real complaints towards Goodfellas, it's an impeccably made movie, vibrating with life, that throws you from one brilliant scene into another. If you think about it, Goodfellas is the perfect cable movie, every five minutes another great segment starts, so you can pop in whenever you're ready. But it just misses that one secret ingredient to call it one of my favorite movies.
After Hours is my favorite Scorsese.
Goodfellas... I just get bored and therefore disappointed during the 3rd act every time I try to watch it. Including the first time.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Rock » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:57 am

Yeah, I recognize Goodfellas is obviously great in a lot of ways, but it doesn't grab me as much as some of his others. I'll go ahead and blame its slickness, which causes it to not feel as locked into a distinct point of view as some of the aforementioned movies. Mean Streets and Taxi Driver are my favourites, and after that it's some jumble of The King of Comedy, The Last Temptation of Christ, After Hours, The Wolf of Wall Street (although I suppose that could be accused of the same thing) and Bringing Out the Dead. And although I can't really fault the movie for this, there's a particularly obnoxious and lazy brand of flashy filmmaking that it directly inspired.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:38 am

I really, really like Goodfellas, but I rarely find myself as eager to revisit it as I am with some of his other movies. Still, if I see it on tv, I'd be fine with watching it as it's definitely a fun film. I'd take Taxi Driver or Raging Bull any day though.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:55 am

Wooley wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:33 am
After Hours is my favorite Scorsese.
For me it's a tie between that and Taxi Driver. I love both so much but they're such different movies, it gets impossible for me to choose one of them.
Wooley wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:33 am
Goodfellas... I just get bored and therefore disappointed during the 3rd act every time I try to watch it. Including the first time.
I felt the same way about Goodfellas the first time I saw it, but I didn't have that problem anymore upon a rewatch.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:57 am

Wooley wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:31 am
The Body Snatcher is one of my favorite older horror movies period. I would put it above The Leopard Man and Curse Of The Cat People, myself. Possibly Karloff's best performance, really shows that he was an actor not an archetype.
I agree on Karloff''s performance. I like The Body Snatcher, but obviously, it isn't one of my favorites.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:01 pm

Dutchman (1966/1967)

A middle-class black man is sitting alone on an empty train. He looks out the window and notices a beautiful young white woman waiting at the station. She is clearly eyeing him up. The man is surprised by this at first, but than goes back to his paper. Before he realizes it, the woman has entered the train and creeped up behind him. She immediately starts to seduce him in a very aggressive manner, very playful at first, but than starts to provoke him, pushing him over the edge... And slowly this story of a meet cute between two young people turns into a tale of how white supremacists view, treat, use and appropriate black people.

This movie really surprised me. It's based on the notorious play of the same name by Amiri Baraka, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for this. Considered too radical for American movie studios at the time, it eventually got produced overseas, so they build the inside of New York train wagon at a British studio lot. Features a haunting score by John Barry (composer of many James Bond films) making the entire thing feel like a horror movie, and I guess in the end it eventually becomes one. And while I know this movie wasn't exactly widely screened at the time, I don't think we will get something this radical out of current cinema anytime soon, nowadays it would probably be discarded as "not feminist enough".
Not even indie cinema gets this audacious anymore.

It's on youtube for people who might be interested, and runs for less than an hour.

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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:49 am

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

During this rewatch I was oddly moved by Erich Von Stroheim's Max, a character I didn't find particularly memorable the first time around, especially when standing next to the grandness of Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond. But now I noticed the sadness behind Max' stiffness, and how his actions influence the way we perceive the other characters, especially Norma. He used to be Max Von Mayerling, one of the great directors of the silent era, and the discoverer of Norma Desmond when she was only 16 years only. He became her first husband, and even when she remarried a couple of times after that, he kept admiring her. When Norma's stardom started to decay, Max sacrificed his directing career, his Hollywood status and his last name to dedicate the rest of his life to serving her. He became the director of her own reality, writing her fan letters every day, making her believe the studio can call every moment to start the production of that new picture, feeding into her fantasies. When Max reveals all of this to Joe Gillis (William Holden), it makes us see not only him but also Norma in a different light. Up till now we've only seen Norma when she is older yet in constant denial of that fact, lost all touch with reality, while pushing her whims onto anyone. But knowing someone would put himself through the wringer like that for her, it makes us wonder what an exceptional human being she must've been, long before Hollywood destroyed her.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:10 am

Slentert wrote:
Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:01 pm
Dutchman (1966/1967)

A middle-class black man is sitting alone on an empty train. He looks out the window and notices a beautiful young white woman waiting at the station. She is clearly eyeing him up. The man is surprised by this at first, but than goes back to his paper. Before he realizes it, the woman has entered the train and creeped up behind him. She immediately starts to seduce him in a very aggressive manner, very playful at first, but than starts to provoke him, pushing him over the edge... And slowly this story of a meet cute between two young people turns into a tale of how white supremacists view, treat, use and appropriate black people.

This movie really surprised me. It's based on the notorious play of the same name by Amiri Baraka, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation for this. Considered too radical for American movie studios at the time, it eventually got produced overseas, so they build the inside of New York train wagon at a British studio lot. Features a haunting score by John Barry (composer of many James Bond films) making the entire thing feel like a horror movie, and I guess in the end it eventually becomes one. And while I know this movie wasn't exactly widely screened at the time, I don't think we will get something this radical out of current cinema anytime soon, nowadays it would probably be discarded as "not feminist enough".
Not even indie cinema gets this audacious anymore.

It's on youtube for people who might be interested, and runs for less than an hour.

Image
Sorry, couldn't resist; I'll try to watch Dutchman sometime. Good write-up, Slent!
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:42 am

Haha, thanks.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:19 pm

A Simple Plan (1998)

Sometimes, when a director who is mostly known for comedic movies takes a pass at a so-called 'serious drama', there is a reluctance to insert some humor into it, even when the material is in dire need of some. There is some ridiculous stuff in this (the whole plan of recording the 'confession', people flying through the air when they get shot) yet the movie doesn't want to acknowledge this and therefore it becomes silly. Not that A Simple Plan is a bad movie, but it could've been so much better if Raimi wasn't so committed to playing it straight.
I also have a hard time believing this movie's depiction of a 'good man's step-by-step descent into evil'.
The movie reaches a redline of Hank deliberately (and senselessly) murdering someone in the first 30 minutes. Where do you go from there?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:29 am

Slentert wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:49 am
Sunset Boulevard (1950)

During this rewatch I was oddly moved by Erich Von Stroheim's Max, a character I didn't find particularly memorable the first time around, especially when standing next to the grandness of Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond. But now I noticed the sadness behind Max' stiffness, and how his actions influence the way we perceive the other characters, especially Norma. He used to be Max Von Mayerling, one of the great directors of the silent era, and the discoverer of Norma Desmond when she was only 16 years only. He became her first husband, and even when she remarried a couple of times after that, he kept admiring her. When Norma's stardom started to decay, Max sacrificed his directing career, his Hollywood status and his last name to dedicate the rest of his life to serving her. He became the director of her own reality, writing her fan letters every day, making her believe the studio can call every moment to start the production of that new picture, feeding into her fantasies. When Max reveals all of this to Joe Gillis (William Holden), it makes us see not only him but also Norma in a different light. Up till now we've only seen Norma when she is older yet in constant denial of that fact, lost all touch with reality, while pushing her whims onto anyone. But knowing someone would put himself through the wringer like that for her, it makes us wonder what an exceptional human being she must've been, long before Hollywood destroyed her.
This is one of the things that most resonated with me when I first saw it last year. You have three (or four) characters in Norma, Joe, Max (and Betty, if you want to include her despite being slightly underwritten) embracing the film's central theme of trying to relive past glories. But to me, it is Max the one that shines through because he is the one that's doing so more out of selflessness.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:31 am

Thief wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:29 am
This is one of the things that most resonated with me when I first saw it last year. You have three (or four) characters in Norma, Joe, Max (and Betty, if you want to include her despite being slightly underwritten) embracing the film's central theme of trying to relive past glories. But to me, it is Max the one that shines through because he is the one that's doing so more out of selflessness.
Exactly. During all the big scenes, just seeing him pop up in the background was quietly heartbreaking.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed May 01, 2019 6:51 pm

The Beach Bum (2019)

Harmony Korine’s latest is deeply hilarious and seemingly goes nowhere in between. I was actually surprised how much I liked this one considering how it finds most of its humor in showing the sheer decadence of these rich, privileged people. The trailer of the movie suggests that Matthew McConaughey’s Moondog goes on some spiritual journey in an attempt to become a better person, while in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Moondog in this movie is a textbook example of someone failing upwards, who learns nothing in the process, does whatever the fuck he wants, and eventually gets rewarded for this. His so-called writing process of creating the next great American novel comes down to him jotting down some words on his typewriter once in a while in between a hangover and his afternoon nap, usually with some cocktail or a massive joint in his other hand.

And his actual poetry is mediocre at best, while his audience mostly exists out of people who don’t strike me as the kind that enjoys the art form, and who seem more amused by his whole clowns act rather than actually being appreciative of his writings. Moondog is like a cute, untrained puppy, the kind that people applaud because he only pooped on the stone floor instead of the expensive carpet. Korine seems to suggests that if you’re rich and confident enough of your own genius, people will tolerate everything you do and even praise you for it. He’s probably right about that.

This might sound like I was somewhat offended by this movie, which I certainly am not. I don’t even have any kind of disdain for the Moondog character, despite all the ways I previously described him. In fact, I actually had some mild admiration for him while watching this. Or jealousy might be a better word for it. I envy how he has seemingly found peace in this crazy, empty world, only allowing whatever brings him joy into his own personal bubble. "I’m a reverse paranoid. I’m quite certain the world is conspiring to make me happy." he says with a smile. Can you even imagine ever having such a carefree attitude towards everything in life?

There is something poetic about how Korine portrays this world of advantage and indulgence. You can almost describe it like a perverted feelgood movie. There is a weightlessness to it all. Like every moment your feet can leave the ground and you will float around in the air, going wherever the wind will take you, dancing in between the pink clouds.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 04, 2019 6:28 pm

Witness (1985)

Witness is yet another one of those movies where I was only familiar with its poster and reputation, and only had a vague notion of what it actually is about. I was expecting a Hitchcockian kind of suspense thriller, only to see that storyline being ditched after twenty minutes or so. Like if Robert Donat in ‘The 39 Steps’ decided to, instead of trying to clear his name, hide at an Amish village and fell in love with a young, single mother.

Not that I was particularly bothered by that transition, since Peter Weir’s portrayal of the Amish culture felt very respectful, as far as I, someone not from that culture, can tell. And the romance felt very honest, mostly expressed through long stares and brief turnarounds. Harrison Ford has been rocking that “Get off my lawn!”-vibe for decades now, but here he shows a more sensitive side of himself. You can completely understand how this rough big city cop could get charmed by the peaceful and austere life style of his hosts, yet it is clear that he doesn’t belong here, and probably never will.

Yet while I said earlier that the movie ditches the thriller aspect after twenty minutes, it doesn’t abandon that thread completely. It abruptly interferes sometimes, casually undermining everything else that’s been happening, until the last 10 minutes, where it completely takes over. While that final is tense and engaging, it just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s probably the most logical conclusion, but it’s not exactly what I wanted it to be.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Sat May 04, 2019 6:55 pm

For some reason, I always get all this 80's Harrison Ford films (Frantic, Witness, and Presumed Innocent) mixed up. If Witness is the Amish one, I think Presumed Innocent is the one with the twist in the end, right? So that leaves Frantic, which I don't seem to remember anything from. I should probably rewatch them all.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 04, 2019 6:55 pm

Question: I'm thinking of starting a blog where I would occasionally post more lengthier pieces (I already have a few in the can). I already post these short write-ups on here and on letterboxd, and I'm planning on continuing to do so, but I'd like to have a place to highlight some of my longer writings. Yet, honestly, I'm also scared of doing so because I don't think my writing is good enough to be so prominently featured. I legitimately consider myself a bad writer but I just have so much fun while doing so.
What do you guys think? Should I take the jump or not?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat May 04, 2019 7:26 pm

ideally you ought to improve/feel more confident the more you write. and some good-faith constructive criticism could help as well if that's what you're looking for. although I don't know how I, personally, would critique another person's review.

tl;dr: go for it
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sat May 04, 2019 7:29 pm

If you're comfortable, go for it. As long as your passionate, I'm sure the people who read it will get a lot out of what you write. Also, like Oxnard said, the more you write, the more you improve.

If you do create one though, can we have a link to it? I'd be curious to see it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 04, 2019 7:34 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that I should do it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat May 04, 2019 7:35 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:29 pm
If you do create one though, can we have a link to it? I'd be curious to see it.
Of course! You guys would be the first people I'd share it with.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat May 04, 2019 7:35 pm

I feel somewhat guilty in not contributing many effort-posts to this forum. I have a big list of anime I've been meaning to get to so maybe that could be a project. just gotta find the time.....

but don't be afraid to suck. especially on a hole-the-wall message board like this.
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