Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

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crumbsroom
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:55 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:44 pm
I like how they see "could" as a compliment. "Hey kids, we could have done so many things. It's really amazing at what we could have done. If only we also had a little shoulda woulda." I guess that beats trying to take credit for rock and roll, civil rights and the moon landing, and all of the other things accomplished by the "silent" generation ("silent" due to their utter indifference to marketing their generation) that boomers happened to watch on TV.

But I also wouldn't go so far as to write off this kind of boomer navel-gazing. I don't mind Big Chill, but Return of the Seacacus 7, a film that Chill tried to replicate, is a genuinely excellent motion picture.
Oh, I don't write it off. At least not towards specific films. I like Seacacus as well and it's got its share of Chill navel gazyness as welll. I do like throwing large buckets of skepticism towards the general trend of this particular generation puffing up their own importance though. My whole childhood was about living in reverence to the hippy movement, and finding my own generation empty. It was of course all nonsense, but was so pervasive, it took years for me to realize it. And FTR, I'm similarly skeptical towards the punk generations supposed ownership of 'realness' or my 90 generations monopoly on......sadness? Just because you wore the corresponding costume in your youth, doesn't mean you were a part of anything you damn hippies (or punks or grunge mopes or whatever we pretend to be when we are teenagers)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:07 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:55 pm
And FTR, I'm similarly skeptical towards the punk generations supposed ownership of 'realness' or my 90 generations monopoly on......sadness? Just because you wore the corresponding costume in your youth, doesn't mean you were a part of anything you damn hippies (or punks or grunge mopes or whatever we pretend to be when we are teenagers)
You mean like those ascetic straight-edge shits? They thought jaded was a type of jewelry. I'm kind of happy that I missed out on the 'joining' gene. My tribe never had to tattoo it. Oh sure. I had costumes. Wonder Woman, padded bovine, plastic clown shoes. Frequently combined. I obviously didn't have time for roll calls.

But paradoxically, I'm also happy that, from my own social perspective, I was of a generation that relatively did not care for its own generation. It can be very sobering, and I highly recommend losing faith in that scratch with urgency and viciousness. It's much like your zodiac sign, a careless circumstance of birth, and you weren't even invited to the consummation.

(Paradoxically, I'm also strangely happy to be a scorpio. I've never really gotten to the bottom of why. I'm certain it's foolishness and vanity involved.)
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:24 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:18 pm
And, no The Big Chill is not the worst offender regarding this, but it is very much a part of the greater filmmaking culture that was going on during the 80's.
out of curiosity, what do you consider to be bigger offenders?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:17 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:07 pm
You mean like those ascetic straight-edge shits? They thought jaded was a type of jewelry. I'm kind of happy that I missed out on the 'joining' gene. My tribe never had to tattoo it. Oh sure. I had costumes. Wonder Woman, padded bovine, plastic clown shoes. Frequently combined. I obviously didn't have time for roll calls.

But paradoxically, I'm also happy that, from my own social perspective, I was of a generation that relatively did not care for its own generation. It can be very sobering, and I highly recommend losing faith in that scratch with urgency and viciousness. It's much like your zodiac sign, a careless circumstance of birth, and you weren't even invited to the consummation.

(Paradoxically, I'm also strangely happy to be a scorpio. I've never really gotten to the bottom of why. I'm certain it's foolishness and vanity involved.)
While movements like the hippy counter culture are of great interest to me anthropologically and worth looking at as a whole, as soon as I start hearing the stories of someone who likely didn't further any good cause from that movement much beyond maybe putting a flower in their hair or smoking weed in a parking lot, the crank in me comes out. It's like that Doug Stanhope bit on patriotism. Don't bind yourself to accomplishments that have nothing to do with you. Admire what changed, but don't put yourself in the center of it. The boomer generation in particular seems to have a grossly inflated sense of its self when it comes to the better angels of 60's societal change and they can't help but show their narcissistic hand when recounting the foibles of their youthful days. It's just all kinds of gross to me, especially when one can see it happening over and over again in all sorts of media from movies and television to music and news stories. I just became exhausted and intolerant with it over time.

I'm a natural contrarian though and whatever personality disorder this grows out from, I can't help but be skeptical towards anyone who feels a need to ingratiate themselves into a gang of like minded people. Having a need for comfortable belonging in a larger group just seems mutually parasitic to me. Not terribly healthy in the long run. It's much too easy to sit around and discuss what is wrong with the world and what needs to change and all of the virtues you possess that will facilitate this change when you have a passive and agreeable peer group. Stand your own ground when talking about what you believe in, and don't worry if it falls in line with anyones orthodoxy. Foster open, frank and fair dialogue with those who don't see eye to eye with you. Learn from them. Let them learn from you. If I sit with a bunch of friends and I find they are all nodding in agreement with me as the night goes on (which would never happen, of course) I know I wasted my time talking with those people that night. I'm into dialogue, and of finding the blind spots in my own shoddy thinking, not back pats. Fuck back pats.

And, yes, I'm a Sagittarius.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:19 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:24 pm
out of curiosity, what do you consider to be bigger offenders?
I honestly wouldn't even know. Probably movies I haven't thought about since. My gripe was more about just the pervasive feel movies from the 80's had when reflecting on the 'love generation'. Big Chill isn't as bad as much of that trash because it is an entertaining enough film.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:50 pm

one thing that might have hurt my viewing of Big Chill was that every song on the soundtrack has been played to death on the Oldies Rock stations that my parents listened to (and probably still listen to). but it was never supposed to be a movie for someone like me either. my generation's existence crises are way more apocalyptic thank goodness.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:30 pm

A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": Despicable Me 3

I unabashedly really like the first Despicable Me movie. I went to see the sequel in the theater and walked out after the first 10 minutes. I found this listed on a "Top 50 Highest Grossing Films" site.

To me, this film was more of a return to form, but still not as good as the first film.

In this one, Gru is fired from the Anti-Villain League and ends up going home to his birthplace ("Freedonia") and reconnecting with a long-lost twin brother, Dru. Dru wants to learn to be a villain. Gru wants to earn his place back in the AVL. The main villain of the piece is a guy named Balthazar Bratt, an embittered former child star who is obsessed with the 80s, the time when he was the child star of a popular TV show.

I got some smiles out of a few of the visual gags. The animated movement of the Bratt character is well done and the characters and settings are colorful and engaging.

But this is a film for kids and it lacks ambition. If you asked the filmmakers, "What a funny idea?", they'd just be like "Butts!". There are no fewer than four separate gags involving naked butts. Ha? The setting of Freedonia is used as a generic Eastern European country. At one point one of Gru's daughters accepts a piece of cheese from a boy and this means she is engaged to him. Meh.

Also, I know that I'm overly sensitive about the content of children's entertainment, but I had really mixed feelings about the physical aggression between the lead couple, Gru and his girlfriend Lucy. She twists his arm, threatens him, slaps him, etc. The visual gag is "Hee! Little woman hurting big guy!", but I found it uncomfortable, especially considering that the various subplots mean that we see little of them as a functional couple.

Not as grating as the second film, but totally lacking in the level of humor or emotion that made the first film so enjoyable.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:38 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:17 pm
And, yes, I'm a Sagittarius.
Like a flaming arrow shot through the darkest heart of this entire madness.

That's a back pat. Walk it off.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by crumbsroom » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:55 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:38 pm

That's a back pat. Walk it off.
The damage is irreprerable. I will never be the same. I've been indoctrinated into belonging and I hate it.

Gives self back pat for defending own honor over rejecting any and all back pats.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:31 pm

A film about sharks (Shark Week): Jurassic Shark

There are only two kinds of shark movies I care to watch: really good, or really, REALLY bad.

With a 1.6 rating on the IMDb, this one was too "good" to pass up.

An evil corporation drills "too deep" and unearths some frozen Jurassic-era ice. The ice all melts into a nearby lake. Oh, this film does not have the budget to show us a big piece of ice, so this is all told to us by two people standing in a hallway. Meanwhile, a group of college students and a quartet of art thieves end up at the lake.

I often find "so bad it's good" movies kind of boring. But this one was blissfully dumb in all the right ways. Things I loved: repeatedly when a character would be eaten or get lost or something, another character would call for them. But for like a REALLY long time. So a character is pulled underwater and the other character will be like:

"Kim! Kim! . . . . Kim! . . KIM! KIM! . . . . KIM! . . . Kim! Kim? Kim! . . . .KIM! . . .. .Kim? Kim? . . . .Kim!"

There are several parts where characters are pulled underwater by the shark, but you can see the actor or actress just hunched under the surface of the water.

The "shark" looks like a graphic from a mid-90s video game.

The plan that the art thieves have (their haul sank to the bottom of the lake) is to send someone out to get it. Then that person gets eaten. Then they send someone else out. That person gets eaten. And so on. And so on.

The girls' shirts constantly appear and disappear. The best is when they are tied up by the criminals and magically their shirts reappear.

The shark can fly. For no reason at all, the shark can fly.

This would be a great one if you like watching these howlers with a group of friends.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:35 pm

A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1): The Black Case; The Devil’s Toy; Madame Tutli-Putli

In my search for a good Canadian film to watch, I stumbled on a long list by a Redditer. Many of the films turned out to be shorts, and so I decided to watch one film from the list and then two other shorts that are available on the Criterion Channel.

The Black Case was a short, but bleak, film about a young indigenous girl and her baby cousin who are taken to some sort of boarding school or infirmary. Things get off to a creepy start as she is examined by a doctor whose words she cannot understand. But things really get scary when she must spend the night supervised by a nurse who clearly has some issues.

The Devil's Toy is a documentary (free on the National Film Board's website!) from 1966 about the introduction of skateboarding to Montreal. The film's first half is a mock "danger"-style documentary. The skateboards are described as if they are wild animals, and the skateboarders (many of them clad in sweaters and turtlenecks) as if they are an invading army. The film aims to show off the unnecessary oppression of the children. It sort of succeeds. The police don't want the kids zipping down the street or through parks and I was kind of like . . .yeah. What we see the kids do is often dangerous and inconsiderate to others. They are given a roller rink in which to skateboard. It's a fun look at a specific cultural moment, but the cries of intolerance feel a little faint compared to what other populations endure.

Madame Tutli-Putli was the best of the three shorts by far. It's a stop-motion film that follows a woman laden down with all her possessions who boards a train. As the train makes its journey into the night, menacing things begin to happen on the train. This film was so good. It begins with the contrast between Madame and her possessions (which look old, dusty, and well-worn) and the train which is ultra-modern and sleek looking with an eerie purple light. The film evoked a lot of emotion from me. I think that it just has to be seen. The animation is spectacular. If you can get a hold of this one, see it immediately!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:18 am

Took care of some business with one of June's leftovers and then decided to pursue a July film.

A Quiet Place (2018)
See a horror film (June)

Went into this knowing little (after having people spoil both Jordan Peele movies AND Hereditery online). Thank goodness.

Sound plays an important factor in this film. The villainous creatures have sensitive hearing and will attack any loud noises.

As a result, the family has had to learn to stay inside after dark and sign language which allows them to communicate. The father (John Krasinski, who also directed) is trying to invent something to scare these creatures away. The mother (Emily Blunt) tries to hold down the fort while being pregnant. The kids work on being useful while dealing with life that is most definitely not normal.

Not only was this good for some scares, there's also some well done drama as well. B+

The Big Chill (1983)
See a film about friends (July)

Yeah, pencil me disappointed.

A group of Michigan grads and friends reunite at the funeral of one of their own. They spend a weekend together which involves reflection on their lives of idealism versus reality, alcohol, drugs, and occasionally sex.

First, the good. The acting is well done by the cast which includes Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, JoBeth Williams, Mary Kay Place, and Meg Tilly (which I think was someone's favorite over at HorrorCram). The soundtrack is aces. And I do like the idea behind the film which is how a bunch of alumni deal with being in the real world now as opposed to being fresh faced graduates out to conquer the world.

But, the film seems more content in skimming the surface and examining whether a couple of would be couples should try to get together or not. Perhaps you could blame the music being placed front and center instead of dialogue or character development. I kept waiting for insight and revelations that might change lives and make this movie pay off. But that wait never seemed to be fulfilled. And how they were able to solve a subplot involving one character's biological clock being taken care of really felt like a stretch.

I'm kind of glad to have seen this one. But too often, this played more like The Big Meh than anything else. C-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:33 am

I dug A Quiet Place quite a bit. Sure, some of the scary moments were telegraphed ahead of time and I'm not sure how I feel about the twist at the end, but I still found it to be pretty suspenseful and quite engaging from beginning to end. A fairly unique concept. Apparently, they're making a sequel, but I'm not sure if I'll see it. My gut is telling me that it's just going to be more of the same thing, but who knows.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:55 am

I was really torn on A Quiet Place.

It's a neat concept and there are some really strong performances across the board. The writing is good as well and there are some really memorable set-pieces.

But it also hit some really frustrating beats for me. I did not like the fact that there were several plot flaws that I didn't even have to think that hard about for them to bother me.

Things like:
If the waterfall is safe because of the constant white noise, then why not just set up a house with constant white noise playing, waiting until the creatures adapt and start to ignore it, then just live there full time?

And if an animal/creature has super-sensitive hearing, the idea that a loud noise would cause it/them pain is incredibly obvious and literally the first thing I thought of when we first saw one of the creatures.
I also did not care for the
father dying. Not because it was sad, but because that was the part of the story that felt the most mechanical and manipulative. Like, the daughter has ALMOST figured out making the hearing aid work. It felt like it was a depressing moment just for the sake of having that moment as opposed to something that arose naturally from the story. To me, that part stood in stark contrast to the part where the wife steps on the nail. That felt much more real and like actual bad luck/bad timing.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:32 pm

I agree on both counts, Tak.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:35 pm
Madame Tutli-Putli was the best of the three shorts by far. It's a stop-motion film that follows a woman laden down with all her possessions who boards a train. As the train makes its journey into the night, menacing things begin to happen on the train. This film was so good. It begins with the contrast between Madame and her possessions (which look old, dusty, and well-worn) and the train which is ultra-modern and sleek looking with an eerie purple light. The film evoked a lot of emotion from me. I think that it just has to be seen. The animation is spectacular. If you can get a hold of this one, see it immediately!
Ah, I remember this one.


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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:58 pm

Re: A Quiet Place, I think Tak brings up some interesting points about how some things hold or doesn't hold to close scrutiny. But still, I won't deny I enjoyed it on a purely visceral and emotional level.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:15 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:58 pm
Re: A Quiet Place, I think Tak brings up some interesting points about how some things hold or doesn't hold to close scrutiny. But still, I won't deny I enjoyed it on a purely visceral and emotional level.
I was fine until the
father's death. That whole extended sequence didn't work for me and it kind of soured me on the whole thing. It was the combination of having a very "scripted" sequence immediately followed by the problem being solved in a way that just makes you roll your eyes.
I'd probably give it a B+ for the first 75% and then a C- for the last act. And unfortunately those final feelings are the ones that tend to linger.

Jinnistan: Thanks for posting that link! Everyone watch it right now!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:08 pm

A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster"



Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
"You should have killed me, Ethan. The end you’ve always feared is coming. It’s coming. And the blood will be on your hands. The fallout of all your good intentions."
It's been more than 22 years since Tom Cruise dangled himself as Ethan Hunt into our screens for the first time. 22 years, 6 films, 5 directors, and countless "bosses", "villains", and "team members" later, everything seems so different and yet, also not. During the course of the franchise, Hunt has remained the same committed, skilled, almost superhuman agent, and yet he has grown and evolved, in the same way the franchise has evolved around him. After a slick start helmed by Brian De Palma, and an awkward sequel by John Woo, the next four films have stabilized and redirected the franchise in one consistent direction, regardless of the director involved. This latest installment, in many ways, brings Hunt face to face with his past actions going back to the third film; The "fallout of [his] good intentions", so to speak.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout follows Hunt and his team of secret agents as they try to recover a trio of plutonium cores lost after a botched handoff. Reluctantly paired with CIA agent Walker (Henry Cavill), Hunt and his team have to travel from Paris to London to Kashmir in pursuit of the cores, which have been taken by escaped anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) and his mysterious partner known as John Lark. The plot sets up the table for an array of thrilling action sequences, which much like Cruise, have become the staple of the franchise. From a motorcycle chase around Paris to a foot chase across London or a helicopter "dogfight" in the mountains of Kashmir, the film never fails to deliver in the action front. The commitment from Cruise and his crew for the use of practical effects, as opposed to CGI, is commendable and effective.

But as thrilling and important as the action sequences might be, I find their way to handle the character of Ethan Hunt to be the best of this "evolution". Ever since M:I-3, Cruise, the producers, and the writers have gone to great lengths to somewhat "humanize" Hunt, to turn him into an emotional, real being. This Ethan Hunt is haunted by past choices, burdened by his responsibility as team leader, and what he might see as an inability to protect the ones he loves. Most of this "emotional anchor" relies in the presence in some way of Michelle Monaghan as Hunt's estranged wife/ex-wife, who we first met in M:I-3, and who serves as his perennial drive. This film puts him face to face with the decisions he made in previous films in order to protect her.

It's good to see that Hunt has some level of "vulnerability" in spite of his job and skills, and that he is not the cold, emotionless spy that James Bond is. He cares, about his team, his friends, and his loved ones, sometimes to the detriment of his mission, which is what sparks the story on this film. But it's also good to see humor and lightness in the dialogue and direction (the foot chase across London comes to mind). The return of Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg as members of Hunt's team all help to bring that sense of camaraderie and familiarity to the film. But also a huge part of why this film works is the presence of Henry Cavill as CIA agent Augustus Walker. I've skipped all of the DCEU films, so I think this is the first film of his I've seen, but he killed it. I really enjoyed his sometimes cocky, sometimes friendly vibe, and he and Cruise really played well off each other.

Cruise, who has produced every one of the films, has always used the franchise to work with different directors: De Palma, Woo, Bird, and Abrams, who also became a producer after directing the third one. But by the fifth one, it seems he has settled into a comfortable relationship with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, with whom he has collaborated in one way or another six times since 2008's Valkyrie (with at least three more collaborations on the pipeline). McQuarrie returning to direct Fallout is the first time that a director returns to the franchise, but this is also the first time that a villain (Lane) returns on the series. With two more sequels already on schedule, both written and directed by McQuarrie, it's obvious that the franchise is holding onto this specific thread, en route to a potential ending to the series? Who knows. But as of now, Fallout feels like a proper closure to what was started more than 22 years ago. The "fallout" of Cruise's good intentions.

Grade: A-
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:57 pm

A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4): The American Soldier

This was an interesting little film. Shot in a gorgeous black and white, it's a borderline-parody of sorts of gangster films. Ricky, a former American soldier, goes to Munich where he's hired by three shady police detectives to kill several people on their hit list. Things get a little complicated when one of the detectives sends his girlfriend when Ricky asks to be provided with a prostitute. The two hit it off and it seems like they might run away together.

The film is definitely at its best when it pushes the drama to a slightly surreal place. There is a hotel maid who Ricky assaults/seduces who becomes obsessed with him. In one scene, the maid walks in as Ricky and the detective's girlfriend are starting to have sex. Totally undeterred by her presence, they just carry on. But then the maid just plops herself down on the corner of the bed where she delivers a monologue. Later, Ricky and the girlfriend pass by the maid as she uses a large knife to threaten suicide while on the phone with her boyfriend. The final shot of the whole film gives a certain sequence in They Live a run for its money.

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but a fun watch nonetheless.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:08 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:15 pm
I was fine until the
father's death. That whole extended sequence didn't work for me and it kind of soured me on the whole thing. It was the combination of having a very "scripted" sequence immediately followed by the problem being solved in a way that just makes you roll your eyes.
I'd probably give it a B+ for the first 75% and then a C- for the last act. And unfortunately those final feelings are the ones that tend to linger.

Jinnistan: Thanks for posting that link! Everyone watch it right now!
Yeah, the resolution was indeed too convenient; I think I even mentioned it in my "quickie" back when I saw it. Overall, I think we mostly agree, but I just wasn't as "soured" as you by the resolution in the end.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:28 pm

Maybe it was a tad bit convenient, but I think I had my jaw dropped for a good 3-5 minutes afterwards. So I found it to be effective.

Takoma, were you as bothered by what happened in the first ten minutes or so as in the truck scene?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:34 pm

Apex Predator wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:28 pm
Maybe it was a tad bit convenient, but I think I had my jaw dropped for a good 3-5 minutes afterwards. So I found it to be effective.

Takoma, were you as bothered by what happened in the first ten minutes or so as in the truck scene?
You mean with the
girl turning on the airplane toy and the brother being taken?
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:52 am

A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): The Widow Couderc

Alain Delon and Simone Signoret (from Diabolique) star in this 1971 film.

The plot follows a woman, the widow Couderc, who is fighting against her dead husband's family to keep the farm on which she lives. She has always had a contrary relationship with them (raped by her father-in-law, hated by her sister-in-law, having done years of back breaking labor to keep the farm productive), and she feels that she has earned the right to live out her years on the farm. The i-laws want to sell the farm. Into her life comes Jean (Delon), a criminal on the run. The widow takes Jean in to help her with labor on the farm, but quickly grows fond of him. Competing with the widow is the daughter of the in-laws, Felicie, a young woman who perpetually totes around her infant son (father unknown). Internal pressure builds as the widow becomes more and more invested in Jean, it seems only a matter of time before things go off the rails--and that's not even counting the looming threat of the law.

Overall I just really liked this one. The only downside was the weird horndog-ish need to repeatedly show Felicie's breasts. The first time it happens (when Felicie breastfeeds her infant in front of Jean as an excuse to flash him) it was like, "Okaaaaaaay." But by the fourth time it's like: we get it. The actress was 22 when she made the film, but she looks quite a bit younger and it all feels pretty pervy, especially an extended shot of Jean groping and licking her breast.

That one element aside, there's a lot here to like. When the widow asks, "Don't I have a right?" when talking about the farm, her argument is pretty persuasive. It's easy to see how this argument could extend to all people who have been victims of wage slavery. Her plight showcases the way that women, or by extension anyone who has worked with no compensation, pour their lives and labor on someone else's behalf and retain no legal rights to any of the fruits of that labor.

The character of the widow is pretty great, in my opinion. She is incredibly honest about her motives and emotions. She works hard and wants what she has earned. When Jean's attraction to Felicie becomes more and more obvious, she does not turn on Jean. She tells him that her feelings are hurt and (very reasonably) is like "How about you don't have sex with her on my property?". She is very attracted to Jean, but she never tries to use her position of power to pressure him. For a woman who has never had a positive sexual relationship in her life, it's understandable why she begins to be hopeful.

The character of Jean was a little trickier for me. He's caught between his attraction to Felicie's nubile body and his attraction to the widow's personality and grit. The film treats this like it's a real conundrum and it's a bit eye-rolling. I'm not discounting the power of physical attraction, but his disregard for the widow's feelings is hard to watch. The fact that he's screwing around with someone who looks like a teenager, already has an infant, and who acts in many ways like a child herself, is pretty unappealing. What largely redeems his character is the fact that he sees through the widow's tough facade and perceives just how vulnerable she is and how tenuous her position is on the farm. His character is played a little closer to the chest, and it's hard to tell if he really does want to settle down, or if this is just a brief respite from an impulsive, criminal life.

The films larger political themes seemed to have to do with how communities can team up on people. When the law does begin to catch onto Jean, one of the detectives asks, "So is he a Jew or a Yugoslav?". I don't know much about French culture following the first world war, but there were several moments that seemed like they were alluding to things like that.

Good performances and a story that builds really nicely.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:50 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:55 am
I was really torn on A Quiet Place.

It's a neat concept and there are some really strong performances across the board. The writing is good as well and there are some really memorable set-pieces.

But it also hit some really frustrating beats for me. I did not like the fact that there were several plot flaws that I didn't even have to think that hard about for them to bother me.

Things like:
If the waterfall is safe because of the constant white noise, then why not just set up a house with constant white noise playing, waiting until the creatures adapt and start to ignore it, then just live there full time?

And if an animal/creature has super-sensitive hearing, the idea that a loud noise would cause it/them pain is incredibly obvious and literally the first thing I thought of when we first saw one of the creatures.
I also did not care for the
father dying. Not because it was sad, but because that was the part of the story that felt the most mechanical and manipulative. Like, the daughter has ALMOST figured out making the hearing aid work. It felt like it was a depressing moment just for the sake of having that moment as opposed to something that arose naturally from the story. To me, that part stood in stark contrast to the part where the wife steps on the nail. That felt much more real and like actual bad luck/bad timing.
Totally agree with all points, and could name a few more plot flaws that were egregious enough that I left admiring only the craft and not the film that craft produced.
Completely agree about
the father dying, that seemed so manufactured and unnecessary, at least the way it was executed, which was poorly. I mean, even in that moment it felt like there were still other options than self-sacrifice
and it took all the steam out of the climax of the film.
And, as you've pointed out, the central conceit about about
sensitive hearing/white noise being a way to hide/loud noises being THE weapon, it's like, really, all the worlds governments and scientists and thinkers, and modern society being as loud as it is, shit, just car-horns alone should have tipped the scales.
And a woman who just had a baby takes out one of the monsters one on one with nothing but a regular, anybody might have one, shotgun? And these things are a serious threat?!
I think I was more soured than you, Tak, my eyes ached from rolling when this movie was over and I felt like how could all that fail be hidden so easily behind good filmmaking when most moviegoers are really just about the story.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:39 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:50 am
I think I was more soured than you, Tak, my eyes ached from rolling when this movie was over and I felt like how could all that fail be hidden so easily behind good filmmaking when most moviegoers are really just about the story.
Well, I do honestly feel like the movie does a decent job with its characters. The acting is good, especially from Blunt. So it has style and acting on its side, and then some major flaws in the writing.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:06 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:39 am
Well, I do honestly feel like the movie does a decent job with its characters. The acting is good, especially from Blunt. So it has style and acting on its side, and then some major flaws in the writing.
Agree completely.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Stu » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:39 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:55 am
I was really torn on A Quiet Place.

It's a neat concept and there are some really strong performances across the board. The writing is good as well and there are some really memorable set-pieces.

But it also hit some really frustrating beats for me. I did not like the fact that there were several plot flaws that I didn't even have to think that hard about for them to bother me.

Things like:
If the waterfall is safe because of the constant white noise, then why not just set up a house with constant white noise playing, waiting until the creatures adapt and start to ignore it, then just live there full time?

And if an animal/creature has super-sensitive hearing, the idea that a loud noise would cause it/them pain is incredibly obvious and literally the first thing I thought of when we first saw one of the creatures.
I also did not care for the
father dying. Not because it was sad, but because that was the part of the story that felt the most mechanical and manipulative. Like, the daughter has ALMOST figured out making the hearing aid work. It felt like it was a depressing moment just for the sake of having that moment as opposed to something that arose naturally from the story. To me, that part stood in stark contrast to the part where the wife steps on the nail. That felt much more real and like actual bad luck/bad timing.
Those are all legit criticisms of certain implausibilities/holes in A Quiet Place, but I feel like, in addition to the overall taut execution of the premise, they also put more than enough thought into how the family could've possibly survived the monsters (details like the sign language, the sand everywhere, the ways they planned ahead for the birth, etc.,) that I'm willing to forgive whatever holes were inevitably left over in the concept, because I think there was always going to be some of those around, no matter how much they thought it out.

But, my real problem with critics of the film is not with the people who have certain specific quibbles like those, but with the people who react in bad faith and just flat-out refuse to meet the film halfway on its basic premise, the people who complain about how impossible it would've been to survive for as long as they did because "OMG, there's no one they wouldn't have made some sort of noise the monsters hear within like, a week at the most, and they all should've been killed almost immediately!". That's technically true, but if you follow that logic, then the entire movie is nothing but watching but a family of corpses slowly decompose for an hour and a half, and there's plenty of great movies out there you can use that same logic against, like Jurassic Park, Speed, Arrival, etc.:
"Hey, it's not possible to recover dinosaur DNA to the point to where you can clone them, so why did they do that in the movie?" Because if they don't, then there's no movie. "Hey, why did the mad bomber trust that, not only would Jack make it to the bus on time, but the bus would not accidentally, prematurely go above 50 MPH and then below it before he got the ransom money?" Because if he didn't, then there's no movie. "Hey, how does learning a new language somehow rewire your brain so you can see through time non-chronologically? Languages can't do that, so why'd they do it in the movie?!" Because if they didn't, there'd be no fucking movie! :D
So this CinemaSins-style attitude I've seen some people take towards Place, this idea that the premise of a film of a unique, high-concept film with so much cinematic potential has to be completely plausible, as if the goal of every single film should be to be completely, 100% realistic all the time, is just really close-minded and frusturating to witness, as if people are refusing to take any sort of flights of fancy from drab reality, and is one of the lamest things I've witnessed with regards to movie criticism out there.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:32 pm

Stu wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:39 pm
Those are all legit criticisms of certain implausibilities/holes in A Quiet Place, but I feel like, in addition to the overall taut execution of the premise, they also put more than enough thought into how the family could've possibly survived the monsters (details like the sign language, the sand everywhere, the ways they planned ahead for the birth, etc.,) that I'm willing to forgive whatever holes were inevitably left over in the concept, because I think there was always going to be some of those around, no matter how much they thought it out.
My issue is not at all with the premise, nor with the notion that these people could have survived for as long as they did.

But my problem with the film comes down to two issues with the writing that intersect:

1) The sequence we've been discussing is so much a "story beat" and not something that feels natural to the action that it sticks out. And once something feels written as opposed to something that "just happened", it kind of pulls to the forefront all of the other elements in a film that feel written. For me, personally, that artificial flavor spoiled what could have been a tense and powerful final act.

2) The whole thing with the
hearing aid working as a weapon wouldn't seem dumb if the film had trusted the audience a little more. But instead we get the world's most cliched scene as we get a nice long look at a bunch of newspaper clippings with absurdly on-the-nose headlines. I think one was even like "IS IT SOUND?!?!?!?". This unfortunate framing gives us a world in which defeating these creatures is something that the army (and I'm sure a ton of private citizens and corporations) were attempting.

I mean, for crying out loud, the technology already exists! There are stores that broadcast a high-pitched sound because younger people have better hearing and the high-pitched noise (which older people simply can't hear) keeps the teens from loitering. Similar technology is used to deter animals. In it's clumsy need to push exposition onto the audience, it hobbles its own climactic resolution. We are being asked to believe that the army went out to fight giant ears and didn't think to use any of the sound-based weapons that they already have?

The movie would have done much better to simply give no clues about how the whole thing went down. Just start with the family, give us some basics (ie how long they've been on the road), and that's it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:47 pm

A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): Moonstruck

This is a classic, and one that I'd never seen before. I remember catching a few minutes of it on TV when I was little and being totally baffled.

The story follows Loretta, a woman who considers herself unlucky in love. She agrees to marry boyfriend Johnny, who immediately after proposing leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother. Tasked with letting Johnny's estranged brother, Ronny, know about the marriage, Loretta soon finds herself drawn to Ronny. Meanwhile, Loretta's father is pursuing an affair with a younger woman.

I don't have much to say about this one, except that I really liked it. Cher makes for a fun lead, and she and Cage have a great time with their manic whirlwind romance. It's nice seeing the more down-to-Earth version of Nicholas Cage (yeah, I know that's relative when it comes to him) because it lets his natural charisma shine through.

It's also quite well-balanced in terms of the film giving time to the romantic complications of Loretta's parents. It all comes together nicely in a final sprawling dining room table showdown.

If you haven't seen this one yet, it's currently on Amazon.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:38 am

A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23): Flawless

So I remember this movie coming out, seeing the ads for it on TV, but ultimately being deterred by some pretty tepid reviews.

Walt (Robert De Niro) is a security guard living in New York. He lives in a run down hotel/apartment. Among his oddball neighbors is a gaggle of drag queens, mentored by Rusty (who is a singer and prefers the term "female impersonator" and whom we later learn wants to actually transition).

There is a "big picture" plot, which is that a man has stolen a lot of cash from a local gangster, and the money is somewhere in the hotel. The first time that the tough guys come to the hotel looking for the money Walt goes upstairs to investigate the sounds of a struggle. While on his way up the stairs he suffers a stroke that leaves him with partial paralysis on his right side. He ends up paying Rusty for singing lessons in an attempt to improve his speech. As the two men work through a rocky friendship, the threat of Mr. Z (the gangster) looms in the background as he becomes more and more determined to find the missing cash.

Gay and drag culture have become so much more mainstream that there are parts of this film that feel very dated. After insulting Rusty, Walt trots out the old "If you can take a dick, you can take a joke" punchline. There's very little variety to the style or mannerisms of the other drag queens in the film.

Datedness aside, this was an okay film. While I liked the friendship plot, I was kind of overwhelmed by the amount of violence (including the killing of a pet) that came with the whole gangster subplot. It certainly makes for a more action-packed climax, but it adds a sense of unease to the film that made it hard for me to enjoy the humor. Seymour Hoffman and De Niro have decent chemistry, but the missing money subplot often distracts from their character development.

I also had mixed feelings about a romantic subplot between Walt and a woman at the place where he goes to dance. He's pretty bluntly dismissive of her ("She's a whore") in the beginning of the film, which is weird because she is clearly way out of his league. After his stroke he gets into a romance with her and it just feels very contrived. She's gorgeous and a good 25-30 years younger than him. Is it impossible that a 29 year old woman would want to hop in bed with a 56 year old man who called her a whore and is also paralyzed? No. But the film does basically zero to convince us why she would want him. There's this repeated message about "finding someone who loves you as you are", and that's great, but it only seems to apply to the De Niro character and the proof that he's still a "real man" is reduced to sex with a much younger woman. It's a cringe-worthy cliche and particularly glaring in a film that is supposedly examining the nuances of what it means to be a "man".

I would have liked this one a lot more if it had just put its focus on the relationship between Rusty and Walt. There are some pointed political moments in the film (such as when Rusty and several other drag queens confront a group of gay Republicans), but it would have been nice to see some of those moments emerge more naturally from discussions between the two men.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:47 am

Also, I'm looking on Amazon for Westerns, and for those not watching For a Few Dollars More they also have:

The Magnificent Seven
The Proposition
The Big Country
Django Kill! If you live . . . shoot!
The Hatred


I would especially endorse the last three on the list. They might not be as well known, but they are pretty great! The Hatred is a horror-western that I was championing a few months back.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Wooley » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:46 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:47 pm
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): Moonstruck

This is a classic, and one that I'd never seen before. I remember catching a few minutes of it on TV when I was little and being totally baffled.

The story follows Loretta, a woman who considers herself unlucky in love. She agrees to marry boyfriend Johnny, who immediately after proposing leaves for Italy to visit his dying mother. Tasked with letting Johnny's estranged brother, Ronny, know about the marriage, Loretta soon finds herself drawn to Ronny. Meanwhile, Loretta's father is pursuing an affair with a younger woman.

I don't have much to say about this one, except that I really liked it. Cher makes for a fun lead, and she and Cage have a great time with their manic whirlwind romance. It's nice seeing the more down-to-Earth version of Nicholas Cage (yeah, I know that's relative when it comes to him) because it lets his natural charisma shine through.

It's also quite well-balanced in terms of the film giving time to the romantic complications of Loretta's parents. It all comes together nicely in a final sprawling dining room table showdown.

If you haven't seen this one yet, it's currently on Amazon.
Legitimatley, as you say, a classic.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:06 am

A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27): 10,000 Dollars for a Massacre

As I mentioned in the earlier discussion about westerns, I like 'em intimate and a little surreal.

While my list of all-time great Westerns would probably contain several very expected titles, a film that's stuck with me for about the last three or four years has been Django, Kill! If you live . . . shoot!, which completely shocked and charmed me with its surreal, unconventional narrative, its emotionally impactful violence, and its subversion of the typical western hero/anti-hero.

I was skimming the offerings on Amazon looking for a little of that same magic, and the plot description of 10,000 Dollars for a Massacre used the word "dreamy".

And it was . . . okay. The film started with a really promising, disconcerting sequence. A relaxed Django lounges on the sand, looking out and musing about the beauty of the water. "But you seem to be more interested in the sky," he observes, and the camera pans over to reveal that Django is sunning himself next to a corpse.

Riding into town, Django peruses the wanted posters, deciding that none of them are up to his level of challenge. Meanwhile, outlaw Manuel raids the home of a wealthy man, trashing the place and stealing the man's daughter, Dolores. The father ups the reward for Manuel's capture, promising Django a thousand more dollars to return Dolores. Django is interested in maybe making a life with Mijanou, a beautiful saloon worker, and so he declines. Later, however, Django is ambushed by some of Manuel's men and shot in the back. Mijanou nurses Django back to health, and Django is now more willing to talk about that bounty. When Mijanou sees Django taking money from Dolores' father, she becomes angry and breaks things off with Django.

Django takes off after Manuel, eventually tracking him to a ghost town, ruled over by "Caballero", a man who adorns his suspenders with the stars of murdered sheriffs. But Django has a very relative sense of morals, and so he agrees to team up with Manuel to rob a stagecoach. Django makes Manuel promise no murder, but things do not go as planned, and there are unintended consequences for all involved.

I really liked the beginning and the last 20 minutes of this one, but the middle lagged something awful. There is just zero character development of any of the characters. I'm not opposed to amoral protagonists, but Django in this film is also pretty uninteresting and hard to read. The female characters have no chance to be interesting, because they are so shallowly written. This is especially true of Dolores, who *MINOR SPOILER*
we twice see being grabbed and assaulted by Manuel, and who scowls or pulls away from him when he approaches her, and yet who later professes her love for him. The way it's shown just makes zero sense.
. The best character in the whole film is hands down Manuel, which is largely due to the fact that the actor playing him, Claudio Camaso, has a natural charisma that the actor playing Django (Gianni Garko) sorely lacks. Just with the way that he pauses or looks at other characters, Manuel has ten times the depth and interest of Django.

The final extended sequence takes place in a wind-blown abandoned town, and it's wonderfully staged. The problem is that I had almost no emotional investment in the characters. I wish the film had just gone weirder and/or devoted a little more time to developing its characters. The premise is very intriguing and there's an eerie atmosphere. But ultimately I was disappointed.

If you haven't seen Django, Kill! I would again highly endorse it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:46 am

Guys!

Look, I'm not gonna tell you what you must watch.

But Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is on Amazon Prime and it is one of the more unique films that I've seen about friendship. Highly, highly recommended. It is a film with a gentle spirit.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:05 am

A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26): Hackers

Just barely enjoyably dumb enough that it was worth watching, I guess.

It's amazing what 20 years does to a film: a casual scene of transphobia aged far worse than the use of floppy disks and modems.

"Fun fact": Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie got married after this movie. Interesting because I felt like the chemistry between them was almost non-existent.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:19 pm

Ok, so on a bit of a personal note, since you all know that we are in the middle of an adoption process. We've been paired with a pair of brothers for about a month now, we've visited them a couple of times, and this weekend, they'll have their first weekend pass with us :shock: So, any parenting advice I should know about? :D :shifty: particularly with a 6 y/o and a 5 y/o??
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:03 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:19 pm
Ok, so on a bit of a personal note, since you all know that we are in the middle of an adoption process. We've been paired with a pair of brothers for about a month now, we've visited them a couple of times, and this weekend, they'll have their first weekend pass with us :shock: So, any parenting advice I should know about? :D :shifty: particularly with a 6 y/o and a 5 y/o??
They will probably be feeling nervous and may have had a life that was unpredictable, which can leave kids in an untrusting place.

Be clear, be consistent (know what the rules are and be firm but kind), be honest.

Good luck! How wonderful!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:10 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:03 pm
They will probably be feeling nervous and may have had a life that was unpredictable, which can leave kids in an untrusting place.

Be clear, be consistent (know what the rules are and be firm but kind), be honest.

Good luck! How wonderful!
Oh yes. Their social worker shared their story with us and it's... quite a thing :( At least both kids clicked with us during the three visits we've had. Last two visits, they've literally ran to meet us so at least they seem receptive. Obviously, living with us is a whole different animal so we have to be ready for anything.

Thanks for the words!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Captain Terror » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:35 pm

Yay! I have absolutely zero parenting experience to pass along, just wanted to say this is awesome.
I know a couple of families that have taken in kids from bad situations and it's the greatest thing. Good luck!
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:10 pm
Oh yes. Their social worker shared their story with us and it's... quite a thing :( At least both kids clicked with us during the three visits we've had. Last two visits, they've literally ran to meet us so at least they seem receptive. Obviously, living with us is a whole different animal so we have to be ready for anything.

Thanks for the words!
One thing to be prepared for is the sharp, unpleasant drop from the honeymoon phase to the testing phase.

With students from challenging backgrounds in the past, there's sometimes this whiplash where they go from working really hard to get you to like them and to please you to being deliberately provocative or disobedient. It's a way of testing you, like, "Do you still love me NOW?!"

I would hope that the social worker on your case has helped you and your wife to prepare for these behaviors. It's part of why establishing firm and clear rules early on is helpful, even if they are being little angels. That way if they do go through a testing phase (they might not!), the rules are already in place and they are already aware of the consequences, so it isn't something you're "making up" out of anger or in the moment.

EDIT: And by "rules", I sort of also mean routines. "When we are done with dinner, we take our plates over to the sink" or "We turn the TV off at 7 o'clock." One good rule of thumb for routines is to try to phrase them in a positive way. So instead of saying "No saying mean things", you say "In this house, we speak kindly and respectfully to each other." I know that this is very classroom (because that's my background), but if there's a way to get them involved in setting up expectations and routines, that will really help. Kids tend to have more respect for routines when they are the ones who helped to make them.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Thief » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:52 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:36 pm
One thing to be prepared for is the sharp, unpleasant drop from the honeymoon phase to the testing phase.

With students from challenging backgrounds in the past, there's sometimes this whiplash where they go from working really hard to get you to like them and to please you to being deliberately provocative or disobedient. It's a way of testing you, like, "Do you still love me NOW?!"

I would hope that the social worker on your case has helped you and your wife to prepare for these behaviors. It's part of why establishing firm and clear rules early on is helpful, even if they are being little angels. That way if they do go through a testing phase (they might not!), the rules are already in place and they are already aware of the consequences, so it isn't something you're "making up" out of anger or in the moment.

EDIT: And by "rules", I sort of also mean routines. "When we are done with dinner, we take our plates over to the sink" or "We turn the TV off at 7 o'clock." One good rule of thumb for routines is to try to phrase them in a positive way. So instead of saying "No saying mean things", you say "In this house, we speak kindly and respectfully to each other." I know that this is very classroom (because that's my background), but if there's a way to get them involved in setting up expectations and routines, that will really help. Kids tend to have more respect for routines when they are the ones who helped to make them.
Yeah, we've read about the honeymoon period and to expect a shift as time goes on. Heck, even the Mark Wahlberg film, Instant Family, got that right :D But anyway, I was a teacher/professor for 12-13 years and I made a habit of establishing the classroom rules early on and it usually worked out fine. They were adults, but still. We've already established a sort of "reward sheet" where we will give them stars for every chore or duty they fulfill, and after a period of time (weekend, or week) give them a simple reward (go to the park, get ice cream, etc.) Simple routine things, like you say: washing your hands, going to bed early, taking away your toys. We also don't want to be too rigid, but plan to establish a sort of routine/schedule for them to follow. Like I said, not too rigid or strict, but more of a guideline of "what you can do now that it's summer" and "what you can do when it's school time". I'm sure it will be a learning process and I'm sure we'll botch things here and there, but I'm confident we can get through.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:40 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:52 pm
Yeah, we've read about the honeymoon period and to expect a shift as time goes on. Heck, even the Mark Wahlberg film, Instant Family, got that right :D But anyway, I was a teacher/professor for 12-13 years and I made a habit of establishing the classroom rules early on and it usually worked out fine. They were adults, but still. We've already established a sort of "reward sheet" where we will give them stars for every chore or duty they fulfill, and after a period of time (weekend, or week) give them a simple reward (go to the park, get ice cream, etc.) Simple routine things, like you say: washing your hands, going to bed early, taking away your toys. We also don't want to be too rigid, but plan to establish a sort of routine/schedule for them to follow. Like I said, not too rigid or strict, but more of a guideline of "what you can do now that it's summer" and "what you can do when it's school time". I'm sure it will be a learning process and I'm sure we'll botch things here and there, but I'm confident we can get through.
Sounds like you guys are going to be just fine. Enjoy!
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Apex Predator
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:46 am
Guys!

Look, I'm not gonna tell you what you must watch.

But Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is on Amazon Prime and it is one of the more unique films that I've seen about friendship. Highly, highly recommended. It is a film with a gentle spirit.
I like how you waited to say this until after I sat through The Big Chill... ;)

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
See a film featuring computers or IT people.

Loosely fitted documentary by Werner Herzog focusing on the invention of the internet to the good and bad things about it to possible futures.

Considering it's tackling a big subject, the reach proves to be too big at times like when focusing on the bad (which could have been expanded easily enough) or those who are coping with a disorder seeking refuge in West Virginia.

Werner's quirky narration and his knack for finding some interesting stories such as the hacker who bluffed his way to a big find over the phone or the first message between computers keeps you interested through the weak moments. There's probably more Elon Musk than necessary, but I guess he hadn't embarrassed himself with the Thailand rescue efforts or Pravduh yet.

Overall, a solid documentary.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:49 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:31 am
I like how you waited to say this until after I sat through The Big Chill... ;)
Mrs. Palfrey is really good. It features a platonic relationship between an older woman and a younger man that is really something I haven't seen before in film. The acting is great. It's the kind of film that thrives on positivity.

It does qualify as starting with the letter M.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:00 am

And here's a bit of a swerve:

Kirikou and the Sorceress (2000)
See a film from France

Kirikou asks his mother to give birth to him as the film opens, so you know he has spirit and chutzpah. He quickly finds that he's one of the few males in his African village and his uncle is fixing to confront the Sorceress Karaba, a journey to which nobody has returned. So Kirikou decides to join him which turns out to be the first of many things he does to try to make village life better for his mother and everyone else.

The animation is charming and I enjoyed how Kirikou was able to use his thoughts and wisdom to outwit the many dangers he faces on his various journeys. Plus I think there's a good lesson to be learned about asking why are things the way they are. Plus, the music was fun.

I had two issues with it:
1. I got through the nudity just fine (it was tastefully done like what you might see on a vase or a painting). But the one scene where Kirikou kisses...oh boy, that was awkward to say the least.

2. It got frustrating that everyone kept doubting Kirikou. I mean I can understand the children questioning him about the boat and the tree. But even after they did songs about him, they're still doubting and questioning his wisdom that they were singing about a few minutes before. Odd.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It worked as it appears animation abroad tends to be more interesting than the ones in the US. This is available on Amazon Prime (as is Ernest and Celestine and the Audrey Tautou Priceless if you're looking for a French film to see on this month's list).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:33 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:00 am
And here's a bit of a swerve:

Kirikou and the Sorceress (2000)
Never heard of it.

A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30): Support the Girls

Lisa starts her day crying in her car, trying to pull it together. She is the general manager of a Hooters-like restaurant called "Double Whammies", playing the role of house mother, bouncer, interviewer, etc. The bulk of the film takes place in a single, strange day, as Lisa must navigate a series of stressful situations including rude customers, a would-be-thief stuck in the ductwork, hiring and training new girls, and trying to raise money on the side for a co-worker who is in a legal bind.

Support the Girls is a comedy, but I appreciated the way that it walked that fine line, because these women are in an exploitative situation where men comment openly on their cup size, call them "bitches", touch them, where by an unofficial rule there can never be two black women working the floor at the same time, and their assistant manager (not Lisa) wonders if it might be lucrative to "rent the girls out" to events like frat parties.

As the day starts to unravel, we get more glimpses of Lisa's personal life, as well as the personal lives of the other girls. The central relationship in the story is the friendship between Lisa and Danyelle. Lisa, knowing that the restaurant's owner wants to fire her, understands that Danyelle is her natural successor. But both women struggle to reconcile their need to be employed with the fact that, for all the talk of "respect the girls", they work in an inherently disrespectful environment.

What the movie gets very, very right is that most of the humor comes from the situation, not the women themselves. This isn't a movie that revolves around "stupid women with big boobs are stupid" humor. Yes, some of the employees are young women who make mistakes (maybe my favorite being a young woman who reveals to an appalled Lisa a brand new tattoo of Steph Curry down her entire right side).

I did a case study at a Hooters while I was in college (spoiler: it was gross and the manager I spoke to was pretty racist), I have a friend who is a stripper, and recently I listened to a really interesting audio piece by a woman who spent several years as a go-go dancer. So many of the details of working in a "sex as entertainment" work environment hit true to those experiences. The film doesn't paint the women as passive victims, but rather as people in a challenging situation who have to make their own fun and cultivate their own internal environment of love and support.

There's a scene in the final act where Lisa is away from the bar and things go wrong, very wrong. But what's kind of great is that it isn't played like slapstick. Instead it's a mix of funny things, really uncomfortable moments, and confusion. It's watching a pot boil over in the messiest of ways, and I found myself not knowing whether to laugh or cringe as the hostility between the servers and the customers grows and grows.

Regina Hall is pretty great in the lead role, as a woman who is trying to cultivate love and happiness while being slowly dragged down. This is the only acting credit for Shayna McHayle, who plays Danyelle, but I thought that she was really charismatic and fun to watch. She has sort of a sleepy-but-whip-smart vibe and I was glad that her character was given so much to do. I also really enjoyed Lea DeLaria as a lesbian patron of the restaurant who has no patience for the misogynistic attitudes of some of her fellow patrons. (I knew she looked familiar--she plays the woman who hits on Goldie Hawn's character in the lesbian bar in The First Wives Club).
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Slentert » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:46 am

Apex Predator wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:00 am
And here's a bit of a swerve:

Kirikou and the Sorceress (2000)
See a film from France

Kirikou asks his mother to give birth to him as the film opens, so you know he has spirit and chutzpah. He quickly finds that he's one of the few males in his African village and his uncle is fixing to confront the Sorceress Karaba, a journey to which nobody has returned. So Kirikou decides to join him which turns out to be the first of many things he does to try to make village life better for his mother and everyone else.

The animation is charming and I enjoyed how Kirikou was able to use his thoughts and wisdom to outwit the many dangers he faces on his various journeys. Plus I think there's a good lesson to be learned about asking why are things the way they are. Plus, the music was fun.

I had two issues with it:
1. I got through the nudity just fine (it was tastefully done like what you might see on a vase or a painting). But the one scene where Kirikou kisses...oh boy, that was awkward to say the least.

2. It got frustrating that everyone kept doubting Kirikou. I mean I can understand the children questioning him about the boat and the tree. But even after they did songs about him, they're still doubting and questioning his wisdom that they were singing about a few minutes before. Odd.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It worked as it appears animation abroad tends to be more interesting than the ones in the US. This is available on Amazon Prime (as is Ernest and Celestine and the Audrey Tautou Priceless if you're looking for a French film to see on this month's list).
A childhood favorite. When I was in elementary school we watched this every year.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Apex Predator » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:32 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:33 am
Never heard of it.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:52 pm

:up: I thought that was a very fine joke, Tak.
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Re: Thief's Monthly Film Challenge 2019

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:00 pm

Having run all of the categories, here are my results from July:

The Great/Good
A film with a title that starts with the letters M or N: The Maids
A film from the 1960s: Petulia
A film from the current IMDb 250 whose ranking includes the #7 (i.e. 17, 27, 73): Sherlock Jr.
A film from a Canadian director (Canada Day, July 1): The Black Case; The Devil’s Toy; Madame Tutli-Putli
A film with "America" in its title (Independence Day, July 4): The American Soldier
A film from France (Bastille Day, July 14): The Widow Couderc
A film with the word "Moon" in its title (Moon Day, July 20): Moonstruck
A film about friends or friendship in general (Int'l Day of Friendship, July 30): Support the Girls

The Passable
A film with the number 7 (Seven, Seventh, etc.) in its title (not a sequel): Madonna of the Seven Moons
A musical: Swing Time
A film from the Top 50 highest-grossing films list, or a "typical blockbuster": Despicable Me 3
A film from Philip Seymour Hoffman (born July 23): Flawless
A western film (Day of the Cowboy, July 27): 10,000 Dollars for a Massacre

Skip
A film about sharks (Shark Week): Jurassic Shark
A film prominently featuring computers or IT employees (SysAdmin Appreciation Day, July 26): Hackers

Overall it was a really good month! I don't regret any of the films I watched, and even the two "skips" have wonderful so-bad-it's-good shared watching potential.
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