The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

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Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/8/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th HOF, Camo's nomination
Rewatch: No


I really didn't know what to expect from this film going in and my previous experiences with Cuarón films have been... well, not especially memorable. Unfortunately, this wasn't an exception.

But that doesn't mean I hated it and really there's nothing actually wrong with it. From a visual standpoint, I thought the film was really beautiful which seems to be par for the course with Cuarón. The rich, earthy tones fit well with the mood and the setting and there were some very interesting shots, particularly the swimming scenes. I also appreciated the themes of death, love, betrayal, and discovery. The performances were all solid as well.

However, the constant narration really took me out of the film and I found Tenoch and Julio to be far more irritating than endearing. Ultimately I respected Y Tu Mamá También far more than I enjoyed it.




"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





U Turn (Oliver Stone, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/9/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th HOF, Topsy's nomination
Rewatch: Yes


Possible Spoilers Ahead

Though IMDb and Wikipedia would have you believe this is a crime thriller, it's actually much more so a dark comedy. Sure, the dread, tension and unease are laid on thick, but so is the film's twisted humor.

The film centers around a drifter named Bobby (Sean Penn) who, while traveling to Las Vegas to pay off a sizable debt owed to a gangster, finds himself stranded in hell (otherwise known as Superior, Arizona) when his car breaks down. Here he encounters the town's colorful, volatile, and not too bright residents. After a series misfortunes leaves him broke - not only without the money for the gangster, but without even enough to pay off the town's white trash mechanic (hilariously played by Billy Bob Thornton) - he finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue, sex, and murder.

While I find the story to be well crafted and engaging and Penn's performance to be solid, it's really those colorful townsfolk that make the movie for me. Not surprisingly, my favorite of these characters is Joaquin Phoenix's hot-headed dimwit Toby ("The name's Toby N. Tucker. People around here call me TNT. You know why? 'Cause I'm just like dynamite, boy, and when I go off somebody gets hurt!) who thinks every man is trying to "make time" with his equally dimwitted girl Jenny (Claire Danes). However the whole cast is really great. Jon Voight as the blind homeless man spouting crazy stories, Jennifer Lopez as a young seductress with secrets to hide, Nick Nolte as her husband, and Powers Boothe as the town's sheriff. A few other familiar faces pop up as well, including Laurie Metcalf and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Liv Tyler (Phoenix's then girlfriend).

U Turn is a film that is perhaps a little light on substance, but delivers a really heavy dose of entertainment. I've loved it for a long time and while it's not my nomination, I really hope the other participants enjoy it as much as I do.

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The Grand Budpest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/12/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th HOF, edarsenal's nomination
Rewatch: No


This is the sixth Wes Anderson film that I have seen and the third that I've been obligated to watch for a MoFo Hall of Fame. (Can y'all do me a favor and stop nominating his crap, please?)

Once again, I like the the look of the film. Wes Anderson has a keen eye for color and camera angles. His films virtually pop off the screen. And were that enough to make me actually like a movie, I might be a fan. But it isn't. Yet again, I didn't buy his characters. They don't act or speak like real people (yes, I know he's not trying to make them seem real, but damn it, that doesn't mean I have to like it) - though Gustave seemed far more believably human than most Anderson creations. So I do give some credit for that but he's still not human enough for me to care what happened to him. I also don't find Anderson's particular brand of quirk at all amusing and this was no exception. As with the other five Anderson films I've seen - The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, and Moonrise Kingdom - I spent most the movie with a completely straight face. That is, when I wasn't muttering "This sucks" or checking to see how much longer it would be until the end.

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Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/13/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th HOF, my nomination
Rewatch: Yes


Although I've seen Romper Stomper many times and the most recent watch was only about 18 months ago, I'd somehow forgotten just how unrelentingly brutal this film is. From the opening scene to the last, it is packed with a level of realistic violence that is seldom seen in other films. And this isn't just a bunch of gunfights but rather street fighting with fists, boots, knives, boards - anything they can get their hands on - and people are left bloodied and limp on the street.

But the film has more to offer than simple barbarity. Russell Crowe turns in a stunning (and terrifying) performance as the charismatic leader of the gang of neo-Nazi skinheads who inflict terror on the Vietnamese inhabitants of Melbourne (that is, until their victims decide to band together and fight back). He absolutely disappears into the role. But his is not the only impressive performance. Daniel Pollock is a wonder as well as the quiet and more sensitive Davey - the only one of with any shred of humanity in a mob of monsters. Sadly though, this was Pollock's final performance - he commited suicide by throwing himself under a train at the age of 23.

What's interesting too is that - though the story doesn't end well for its characters - the film looks at them with an eye that is far more observant than it is critical or preachy. And this makes Romper Stomper that much more powerful and unsettling.

+





Barbara (Christian Petzold, 2012)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/15/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th HOF, cosmicrunaway's nomination
Rewatch: No


I had some really mixed feelings on this one. It's beautifully shot, the acting was solid, and the basic story was interesting, but I struggled to get through it. Barbara's coldness - while understandable given the circumstances - was really off-putting to me and it took me a good long while to get to like her. And, while I also understand the quietness of the film, the pacing had me squirming and struggling to concentrate.

That said, I really liked Dr. Reiner. Even when he wasn't speaking, there was a definite warmth to him that I found very appealing and really liked the way he contrasted Barbara's manner. I also really liked the scenes between Barbara and Stella and loved the way the film ended, but it was a bit of a battle for me to get to that point.

+





The Sword in the Stone (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1963)
Imdb

Date Watched: 1/17/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Animation Tournament
Rewatch: No


So... yeah, thirty-five is not the right age to watch this movie for the first time. About thirty years ago would've been a good time. But that didn't happen for me and without nostalgia on its side I found the movie mostly irritating. The animation is not bad, but not great and while the songs were few, they were really annoying especially when Arthur sang. Also Merlin most definitely did not strike me as the greatest wizard, especially when Arthur was constantly put in peril because of Merlin's ineptitude. And his straight up abandonment of the boy near the end didn't put him in any favorable light for me. But, of course, being a Disney movie, everything worked out in the end.

There were a few scenes that I really enjoyed - like the wizard duel and the flirty squirrel - but overall this just wasn't for me. At least not adult me. I might've liked this had I seen it as a kid.

+



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Grand Budapest is my second favourite Anderson flick.

Also, can a film review from you, for a film that stars Phoenix be taken objectively?
__________________
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



Also, can a film review from you, for a film that stars Phoenix be taken objectively?
If you want objectivity from a review - regardless of the film's stars - you're in the wrong thread.



Welcome to the human race...
If you want objectivity from a review - regardless of the film's stars - you're in the wrong thread.
I suppose a better way of phrasing the question would be to ask how much the presence of someone like Phoenix or Crowe influences your overall subjective opinion of a film, whether in terms of a numerical rating or just general thoughts and feelings about it.
__________________
Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.



I suppose a better way of phrasing the question would be to ask how much the presence of someone like Phoenix or Crowe influences your overall subjective opinion of a film, whether in terms of a numerical rating or just general thoughts and feelings about it.
I've said this countless times before and frankly I'm getting tired of repeating it: I'm probably a little more likely to give a favorable review to a film with certain actors in it, but their mere presence isn't enough to make me like it. If a movie is otherwise deeply flawed and just doesn't appeal to me, then I'm not going to like it no matter who is in it or how strong their performance is. I don't love or even like everything Phoenix has done and there are a few Russell Crowe movies that I flat out hate.

Again, if you want objectivity, go elsewhere.





From Up On Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka kara) (Gorô Miyazaki, 2011)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/19/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: Animation Tournament
Rewatch: No


After my experiences with the films of the other Miyazaki, I'd been very hesitant to give this a try. To my relief, From Up On Poppy Hill contains no real fantasy elements, aside from a couple of dream sequences. The story is simple and sweet - two kids meet, develop feelings for each other and work to save a clubhouse - and the animation is quite beautiful. I really have very few complaints about the film and the few things that did bother me - the soundtrack (which was too loud) and the roof jumping scene that should have left the boy totally scratched and bloody instead saw him with no immediately visible wounds - were pretty trivial.

That said, however, I just wasn't all that invested in these characters or this story. It struck me as solid but not outstanding in any way. Still, I can think of worse ways to spend 90 minutes.


+



I haven't watched From Up on Poppy Hill yet. I asked my room mate about it (who loves Miyazaki), and she said that when she first saw it, she actually really disliked it. Upon thinking about it she thought it had a nice story, so she decided to watch it again, and liked it a little more. She's since watched it a third time, but still only thinks it's okay at best.

Her less than enthusiastic response has me a bit sceptical about it. Right now I'm just hoping that I'll have a similar reaction to you (liking it slightly more than expected) haha.





Withnail & I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/21/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 12th Hall of Fame, Neiba's nomination.
Rewatch: No


When this was announced as a nomination, I was actually quite glad. Though I knew nothing of its content, I'd heard great things about it. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the film was killed within the first few minutes and, truth be told, it took me several attempts to complete it.

I think a big problem is that this is supposed to be a comedy and it's a rare thing for a live action comedy to work for me. But moreso my issue was with the characters. Rather than finding this pair of neurotic losers amusing, I found them incredibly irritating. Making the experience worse still was that I didn't like any of the other characters, what few there were, either. And I liked Uncle Monty least of all. Heaven forbid a gay character in a movie from this era actually behave anything like a normal human being. No - let's make the gay uncle a rapey creep, because reasons.

So yeah, not amused by this. Not amused at all.




Welcome to the human race...
Oh, dang. Withnail has been a favourite of mine for well over a decade by this point, but I can concede that its idiosyncratic sense of humour definitely won't work for everyone.

You do raise a good point about Uncle Monty, though. I feel like I could argue the point that he's got more complexity than just being a "rapey creep", especially considering the reveal that

WARNING: "Withnail" spoilers below
Withnail lied to him about Marwood being a closeted gay in order to gain access to the cottage, which presumably makes Monty interpret Marwood's resistance as him simply being too nervous about his homosexuality to accept his advances


that doesn't exactly excuse Monty's actions (he definitely crosses a line towards the end, even if it's under false pretenses) but at least explains them a bit better than him just being a stock-standard sexual predator.



I've never seen Withnail because I hate the actual look of the film. However, having heard many of the lines quoted time and time again, as well as seeing clips here and there, I'm fairly confident I wouldn't like it even if I did watch it.
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5-time MoFo Award winner.