The Resident Bitch's Movie Log

→ in
Tools    







Black Snake Moan (Craig Brewer, 2006)
Imdb

Date Watched: 8/29/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, my nomination
Rewatch: Yes


Although the posters for this film - with the tagline "Everything is Hotter Down South" and their emphasis on Christina Ricci's chain - would have you believe that Black Snake Moan is a soft core interracial bondage porn, it really is nothing of the sort. That said, it is about an old black man who chains a young white nymphomaniac to his radiator in order to cure her of her wickedness. But this is no porno.

Black Snake Moan is a fable. It's not meant to be taken literally. The viewer is not meant to believe every detail of the story. But what you are meant to do is connect with its characters - with all their damages, flaws, and weaknesses. And in that, I think the film succeeds admirably.

Its greatest strength is in its central performances. Samuel L. Jackson turns in what I believe is the finest performance of his career - even doing his own singing and learning to play the guitar for the role. He gives his bluesman Lazarus an authenticity unlike any other character I've seen him play. Sure he still drops a "motherf***er" or five in the film, but I almost forget who I'm watching. I believe the hurt when he confronts his wife, I believe the barely leashed rage when he confronts his brother, and I believe the terror when he is witness to Rae's fits. And on that note, Christina Ricci is a wonder as Rae. She is absolutely fearless with this performance. She puts forth an explosive combination of sexuality, madness, and vulnerability. And though the story itself is hard to believe, the bond these two characters form is, for me at least, very easy to buy into. The two actors work wonderfully together and the supporting cast, including Justin Timberlake as Rae's anxiety ridden boyfriend, are also solid.

But there's more to love than just that. The cinematography and the incredible soundtrack work together to create a thick atmosphere that completely immerses you in this world of sex, God, pain, and redemption.

This film was once in my top ten and, while it has slipped a few places, it is still to me an incredibly moving and unforgettable movie watching experience.

+



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





Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (James Gunn, 2017)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/1/17
Cinema or Home: Friend's House
Reason For Watching: Friend wanted to watch it
Rewatch: No


Still too sci-fi heavy for my taste. Still too much CGI. Groot is still lame. But it's got a good soundtrack and I got a couple of chuckles out of it. Probably won't watch it ever again.






Empire of Passion (Ai no bôrei) (Nagisa Ôshima, 1978)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/2/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, jiraffejustin's nomination
Rewatch:No


Possible Spoilers Ahead

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. I went into it without having read anything about it and so was unaware of the horror aspect until it happened. Once it became clear what the movie was about, I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little: a married woman has an affair and she and her lover decide to murder her husband so that they can be together, only to have everything fall apart in the end. Not exactly the most original premise.

But even a cliche like that can work well for me if the filmmaker gets creative with the details and the performances are strong. Unfortunately, neither of those things really happened. The performances were very theatrical - and therefore off-putting for me - and much of the horror elements just came off as cheesy, especially any scene that showed Gisaburo's ghost. Also grating were the characters of Toyoji - who from the very beginning struck me as obnoxious and not at all attractive - and his weird-ass brother (What was up with that guy, anyway?).

There were some things that I liked. I thought the scene where Seki gets a ride from ghost Gisaburo was actually well shot and creepy - at least until the final faceless bit. I also thought the score was very good.

Ultimately, however, the film was something of a chore for me to get through and I frequently found myself checking the time.

+





M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/3/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, cosmicrunaway's nomination
Rewatch:No


Since joining this forum eight years ago, I'd seen M mentioned many times - alongside the image of Peter Lorre staring at his reflection - but until tonight had no real idea what the film was actually about. I knew only of its reputation.

Having now seen it, I've got mixed feelings. The overly theatrical performances frequently took me out of the film as did the completely silent scenes. I also didn't care at all for that ending speech by Beckert's "lawyer," but that has everything to do with my own opinion on the subject and is not the fault of the film.

That said, the film looked great and the combination of the imagery and the use of sound - such as the whistled "In the Hall of the Mountain King" - did make for some very eerie scenes. More than once I was reminded of more modern crime films such as Zodiac. I also thought the use of the Beggars association as surveillance was quite clever.

Ultimately though I found myself respecting the film a lot more than I actually liked it.

+





Passengers (Morten Tyldum, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/5/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, Citizen Rules's nomination
Rewatch: No


This is not a film that I am likely to have ever watched on my own as I typically avoid live-action science fiction, save for the occasional action flick like Demolition Man and The Fifth Element or emotional dramas like Her or Eternal Sunshine. I'm also not overly fond of either of the film's stars, so I wasn't exactly looking forward to this.

However, I was actually a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I certainly didn't love it but never found myself feeling bored either. I was invested enough in the story and the characters to keep me interested, but not enough that I felt any strong emotion towards any of them. I also liked the look of the film. I thought the design of the ship was very interesting and some of the effects, particularly the pool scene when the gravity failed, were really well done.

There were a couple of things that bugged me though - particularly the character of Gus. I found myself rolling my eyes a bit at this obvious deus ex-machina. It struck me as a bit of lazy writing to have another pod fail just as things were getting particularly hopeless and, out of the thousands of people on the ship, of course that pod contained someone with the knowledge and security clearance they needed to solve their problem. And just as suddenly as Gus Ex Machina appeared so he was disposed of.

Another thing that bugged me was an obvious issue that was ignored. Jim and Aurora sure had a lot of sex and he certainly wasn't wearing a condom. Was Aurora sterile? Did the ship have an inexhaustible supply of birth control on board? Seems like sooner or later she'd have gotten knocked up a time or two and the poor kid(s) would be cursed to grow up with nobody but mom and dad. I would've liked to have seen that issue addressed.

I'm kind of on the fence as to how to rate this. I don't think it's great, but I did enjoy it more than the other noms I've watched so far.

I guess I'll give it an unenthusiastic
-





Lone Star (John Sayles, 1996)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/9/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, Joel's nomination
Rewatch: No


I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. I thought it was a solid flick - though that last twist (which I could see coming a mile away) was a bit unnecessary. I thought the performances were all pretty strong (and it was nice seeing so many familiar faces) and I found myself engaged with the story. However, I wasn't overly attached to anyone or anything in it.

I did, however, really like the message that the reality of what people are often doesn't match the image of them we have and I enjoyed watching the different relationships change as the various characters came to understand that. I never found myself bored but it definitely didn't blow me away either.

-





Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/10/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, cricket's nomination
Rewatch: No


I really wanted to like this film. I'm usually quite the sucker for emotional dramas, but unfortunately I found myself quite detached from it. From the start, I found the two main characters, Steve and Die, to be quite unlikable. He is violent, unstable, and unpredictable. She is immature and irresponsible.

I did have a tiny bit of sympathy for Die, because she was thrown into the situation of being a single mother to a child this troubled. However, I found that sympathy dissolving more later as she let her motherly love cloud her judgement as Steve became more and more out of control and dangerous.

As to the film itself, I thought the performances were mostly strong and the cinematography looked good. However, I really hated the soundtrack. The segment that featured "Wonderwall" in particular only increased my detachment from the film. I found it distracting and it didn't enhance the film for me at all. Though admittedly part of that is my own personal distaste for the song itself, but I think something less well known might've fit the mood of the scene better. A lower volume would've helped too.

Overall the film is well crafted, but my own personal prejudices left me unable to connect with its characters and therefore unable to overcome my apathy.

+



Mommy is my favourite film of its year. Glad you didn't hate it and i can see why you would have some of those problems; particularly the soundtrack even though i like it.





Night On Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1991)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/18/17-9/21/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, Nestorio Miklos's nomination
Rewatch: No


I'm just going to come right out and say it: I did not like this movie. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was watching it for a Hall of Fame, I'd have shut it off before the first segment was over. It took me three tries to get through it. I found many of the characters irritating and hard to believe. Winona Ryder was exceptionally awful in the L.A. segment, Roberto Benigni's ridiculous "confession" in the Rome segment was just grating and so was the blind woman in the Paris segment. I might have found some connection with the cabbie's story in the Helsinki segment, but by then I had pretty much mentally checked out of the film and was just counting down the remaining runtime.

That said, I didn't completely hate everything about it. I liked the look and the atmosphere of the film and, although I'm not generally a fan of Tom Waits, I thought his music fit the movie's tone rather well. I must also admit that I did actually enjoy the New York segment and really liked the interactions between Helmut and YoYo. But those few positives just weren't enough for me.

+



Night On Earth (Jim Jarmusch, 1991)
My thoughts are pretty analogous. I liked the atmosphere too, but everytime I started to sink into a setting, the segment would end. I wish the whole thing had been a Helsinki segment. I typically do like earlier Jarmusch a lot though.



I typically do like earlier Jarmusch a lot though.
The only other Jarmusch I've seen is Dead Man - which I can't decide if I like even though I've seen it a few times and own the DVD. I will say though that Dead Man was at least bizarre enough to keep me from getting bored, though its Neil Young soundtrack irritated me quite a bit.



The only other Jarmusch I've seen is Dead Man - which I can't decide if I like even though I've seen it a few times and own the DVD. I will say though that Dead Man was at least bizarre enough to keep me from getting bored, though its Neil Young soundtrack irritated me quite a bit.
I love Dead Man (lukewarm on the wanky soundtrack though). Stranger than Paradise, Ghost Dog, and Broken Flowers are all very good too IMO, but Down by Law is probably the best and most accessible. I recommend that pretty highly.





Time of the Gyspies (Dom za vesanje) (Emir Kusturica, 1988)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/24/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, Jeff Costello's nomination
Rewatch: No


I didn't know anything about this film when I started it and my immediate reaction was not a positive one. The first part of the film introduces us to some very quirky characters doing odd things and I was - unpleasantly - reminded of Wes Anderson. I struggled to fight the urge to shut it off.

But later the film takes a drastic change in tone and becomes much more serious. Unfortunately it also takes the almost likable protagonist Perhan into a life of thievery, human trafficking, and deceit. The story itself was interesting enough, and it was good to a get a glimpse into a different culture, but the further Perhan got into the criminal life, the less I liked him and the more I struggled to stay fully engaged.

Ultimately I had no strong feelings for the film, either positive or negative, and it's probably not one that's going to stick in my memory for long.

+





Paranorman (Chris Butler and Sam Fell, 2012)
Imdb

Date Watched: 9/24/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I felt like it
Rewatch: Yes


I first watched Paranorman back in 2014 and found it rather disappointing. I didn't like the look of the clay figures and found the movie a bit uninspired.

I'm not sure what possessed me to give it another shot tonight, but I had a considerably better experience with it this time around. This tale of an oddball outcast whose differences ultimately make him into a hero is far from original and I'm still not overly fond of the character designs, but I was able to engage more with the story and was at least reasonably amused with it. It'll definitely never be among my favorites but it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.

-





La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
Imdb

Date Watched: Finished 10/7/17, not sure when I started it.
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, edarsenal's nomination
Rewatch: No


This one was a huge struggle for me and it took several attempts over several days to get through it.

I’m not especially fond of watching old films, I’m not especially fond of watching black and white films, I’m not especially fond of watching foreign films (they’ve got to really grab my interest if I’m going to commit to reading a movie for a few hours), and I’m not especially fond of watching films about war. Now, none of these things by themselves are enough to make me dislike a film and there are films that have several of these strikes against them that I still enjoy. This is not one of them.

While I understand what Renoir was going for with his commentary on classism and prejudice and I get that the film’s values and view of war are similar to my own, it just didn’t work for me. Try as I might, I simply did not care about any of its characters. I didn’t care if they escaped. I didn’t care if they died and by the time Boeldieu made his sacrifice, I’d long ago mentally checked out of the film. The excrutiatingly drawn out ending didn’t help matters, either. (Did we really need to see what’s-his-face talk to the ****ing cow?)

I don’t deny that the fault in this lies with me – that my attention span and patience seem to be shrinking with age and that I probably wasn’t in the best frame of mind to be watching this - but I found it absolutely unimpressive and overly long for what it contained. Usually I can find something to praise about any film – maybe one of the performances was strong. Maybe a bit of dialogue moved me. Maybe some unique and interesting cinematography or set designs were featured. But on this I have nothing. I was utterly bored.

I’m hesitant to even rate it because no matter what I choose, it won’t really be fair. But I shall do as I often do and base my rating on my movie watching experience.

-





The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo) (Oriol Paulo, 2016)
Imdb

Date Watched: 10/30/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 14th Hall of Fame, Sarge's nomination
Rewatch: No


I really struggled to get into this movie at first and it took several attempts to finish it. Admittedly though, issues in my life at the time probably contributed to my inability to focus.

None of the characters were likable and there was nothing particularly notable about any of the performances. However, the story was intriguing and the all of the misdirection in the plot did keep me guessing for awhile, though I did see the final twist coming. Once I finally settled in and was able to engage with the film, I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Overall it was a well crafted film and I was impressed by it, but now that all its secrets have been revealed, I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. There just isn’t anything really to return to.






The Frozen Ground (Scott Walker, 2013)
Imdb

Date Watched: 11/17/17
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: A friend's recommendation, also because I love John Cusack
Rewatch:No


The Frozen Ground tells the story of serial killer Robert Hansen and of Jack Halcombe, the Alaska Trooper that pursued him. The film is based on actual events, though I don't know how faithful it is to those events, nor do I particularly care.

As a whole, it's a pretty standard story of one man's pursuit of justice. There's little that is truly outstanding about it, but I also have very few complaints. The film does well to set a mood, the cast - including (a rather subdued) Nicolas Cage, Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris, and 50 Cent - is solid, and it keeps a good pace. But there is one exception: John Cusack. He is both the one really outstanding thing in the film and my only real complaint. This performance is unlike anything I've seen him do before. He's always struck me as incredibly likable, even if the character he is playing isn't really a good guy. Here, however, his performance was chilling. I forgot who I was watching. That wasn't the likable John Cusack. That was a killer. Every minute that he was on the screen I felt uneasy but also mesmerized. And the one complaint I have is that he wasn't on screen enough. Even so, he made the most of the little time he was given and for his performance alone do I give the film my rating.