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Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Flesh + Blood (1985)

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writers: Gerard Soeteman (screenplay), Gerard Soeteman (story)
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson
Genre: Adventure, Drama


I saw Flesh + Blood in the theater because I liked Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner and I wanted to see him in other movies. I hated it.



I remember liking this... BUT, I caught it somewhere in the middle at a friend's house (and he probably had his bong loaded up for company!)
I remember being shocked that somebody was catapulting plague-ridden raw meat into somebody else's fortress... and thought that was "so cool!"
I could see a teenage guy liking this.

I saw Flesh + Blood in the theater because I liked Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner and I wanted to see him in other movies. I hated it.
It was a nomination in the 13th Hof, some quotes:

This was just 2 hours of debauchery. SilentVamp

I can't tell you how many times I looked at the clock on this tedious and tiresome watch. Raul

Hmmmm, I don't really know what I just watched. Sarge




Captain Fantastic (2016)

Director: Matt Ross
Writer: Matt Ross
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler
Genre: Comedy, Drama

"In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent. "

This didn't feel like a movie that would be called Captain Fantastic....From that poster and title it looked like it was going to be a Wes Anderson type film, it wasn't...I have a hunch that the poster and title was designed to hook Wes Anderson fans.

Right at the start of the movie my senses were enriched by seeing a beautiful deer, leisurely walking through the deep evergreen woods. I was thrilled that much of the movie was filmed in my home state of western Washington and the lush woods in the movie is indeed what the rural areas look like....Then my emotions were assaulted by seeing a close up killing of the deer, as it's throat is slit and blood pours forth. Yes, it's a CG deer, but the emotional impact is the same.

Heartwarming??? Yes I always find watching someone eating the heart of a deer 'heartwarming'...or was that the liver?

The whole opening scene put me in a dismal mood that took 20 minutes to recover from. Yes, folks I timed how long it took for the film to win me back into it's good graces. Eventually it did win me back, but that opening scene can never make me feel this was, 'Heartwarming, Funny'.



Beautifully Performed?
Oh sure everyone did their jobs fine, but I wasn't blown away by any of the actors, nor did I connect to any of the characters. If you like kids some of them were cute. And if you like naked kids you get to see that too (sarcasm). Sure nudity is naturally, but should the parents of a child actor encourage a small child to be naked on the set? Not that it bothered me personally, but I feel bad for the small child who wasn't old enough to make that decision for herself.

I'd like to have seen more originality in the script and in the themes being explored, not by showing 'shock scenes'. Shock scenes are a sign of a director who doesn't have much to say.



I could forgive it for some serious plot holes if the movie had been done more as a comedy, as oppose to a drama with some lighter moments.

The fake heart attack to steal groceries made no sense, especially as the father had just went to the bank and gotten lots of money...and earlier on the bus he had warned his kids 'how going up against 'the man' could defeat them and it wasn't fair, but that's how the real world works, so it was best to avoid confrontations'.....then he decides to have his family shoplift? I thought they were a super intelligent and socially-politically wise family?

And what's with the idea that if they drove to New Mexico and showed up at the funeral, the grandfather would have them arrested. How? The movie never explained how they would be arrested for attending a funeral.

Too many glaring plot holes and that's poor script writing as it assumes the audience won't care. Well I do care.

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I may watch Somewhere since I've really enjoyed everything else I've seen from Coppola. The Virgin Suicides is my favorite so far.
I think you'd kinda dig Somewhere, I'm pretty sure you'd like it.




I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Director: Ken Loach
Writer: Paul Laverty (screenplay)
Cast: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy
Genre: Drama


"After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance."

Director Ken Loach serves up a simply little indie-British film with a big punch. That punch is about the everyday man being ground down by the wheels of bureaucracy and red tape. I, Daniel Blake is this generations Network (1976), only this time around it's not a TV network newsman who's mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore! It's a quiet carpenter, Daniel Blake who's steaming mad and just want what he's worked for, and wants respect.




What pulls us into the story is a chance encounter between Daniel and Katie a mother of two children who's in desperate need of financial help but can't get any from her local allocation office. Luckily for her, Daniel befriends her and that starts their story.

There's one plot hole in their story, or maybe it's a missing scene and that kind of bugged me. But other than that, it's a nice smaller movie that was easy to watch and refreshing as it didn't go over the top in the story or in the film making. Very well balanced

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The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)

Die Ehe der Maria Braun (original title)
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Writers: Pea Fröhlich & Peter Märthesheimer (screenplay)
Cast: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny
Genre: Drama
Language: German

"A World War II widow seeks to adjust to life in postwar Germany."

The subject matter of post WWII Germany and what the people had to do to survive the aftermath of the war is something I'm interested in. Movies like this are a bit like a time travel machine and we get to go back to a time and place we could never visit ourselves.

I liked the actress who played Maria and I liked her character too. She's very practical and very efficient, that's how I think of Germany and so she represented that aspect well...She did what she had to do or starve. And that represented the hardships the Germans had to face after their country was destroyed.



I liked the scenes of the people cleaning bricks from the rubble. They did that: men, women, children & old people all gathered, cleaned and stacked bricks so that they could be used to rebuild.

I also liked the way the film had their apartment with a big hole blown in the side of it, which reminded me of Marlene Dietrich's German classic, The Blue Angel (1930).

I liked the dialogue too that Maria spoke. She had this cold wisdom that suited her. The film did drag for me in the last hour and truth be told I wish it had been edited down to 90 minutes. There was about an hours worth of story stretched to 120 minutes, and that made me lose interest towards the end.

Maria was a beauty! She was the best thing in the movie, her and her personal wisdom.

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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring (2003)
Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom (original title)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Writer: Ki-duk Kim
Cast: Ki-duk Kim, Yeong-su Oh, Jong-ho Kim
Genre: Drama
Language: Korean

"A boy is raised by a Buddhist monk on an isolated floating temple where the years pass like the seasons."

A fine film, ruined by animal sadist Kim Ki-Duk. Unfortunately I seen the original version that included the most horrific animal torture scenes, rocks being crammed into the mouths of a fish, frog and snake. These were real animals that died thanks to this film. The cool, peaceful location of the floating monastery on the lake, doesn't wipe away the animal torture that was done to make this movie.



Had all the animal abuse scenes been not done, I would rate the first two segments, Spring and Summer . I love movies that are quiet and slow paced, that take me to a special place, like the floating monastery on the lake and show me a world I've never seen before. The lack of action, the lack of dialogue was a plus for me. The introduction of the girl took the story in a different direction, which I liked equally well.



But when we get to the Fall segment and the young man who ran away after the girl, returns, it's a different actor. I hate that when that's done. It was so obvious it's not the same person, that emotionally I rejected the idea that he was indeed the same character, and the film's story then began to fall apart in Fall, ha.

The replacement actor was cheesy bad, he reminded me of one of the characters from The Man from Nowhere. The bit with the two dumb detectives was out right silly. Though I'm guessing the director wanted to introduce some light comedy at this point in the movie.



Winter
, that segment was done very differently as it relied on visual imagery. Only after awhile, seeing snake after snake after snake, became repetitive...making me think the director was going for exhibitionism, in lieu of any real substance.

The whole Winter scene is like that, I thought the woman in the purple face scarf was more kitschy than mysterious and by this point the director seemed like he was trying way too hard to be artsy. Kim Ki-Duk is no Andrei Tarkovsky and relies more on gimmick and locations to make this movie seem like it's more than it really is.



Spring again...crap! if I hadn't already seen enough animal torture I had to watch yet another little boy torture more animals! Excuse me, but aren't these people suppose to be Buddhist?





Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Genre: Drama


"A depressed uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies."
The first time I tried watching this I had to shut if off after the hospital and morgue scenes, as I wasn't in the mood for a depressing film, so never finish it....until recently that is.

Going into this, I expected to dislike it, but...surprise! I actually thought it was really good. Even more surprising is, I didn't find the rest of the movie overly depressing. Powerful yes and somber too, but I like somber movies.



Casey Affleck was phenomenal in this as the depressed uncle with a failed marriage and a tragic event buried in his past. It was powerful how he was so deep within his own inner turmoil and kept his emotions bottled up...and yet we can sense he's been crushed inside and is utterly devastated by his losses.

Anytime an actor can nail a performance, the movie will get high marks in my book, and Casey Affleck won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance here. For once the Academy got things right!

I like movies that are grounded in reality without spoonfeeding the audience or dumbing it down and Manchester By The Sea is very grounded in reality and intelligently made.

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Forbidden Games (1952)

Jeux interdits (original title)
Director: René Clément
Writers: Jean Aurenche (dialogue), Jean Aurenche (screenplay)
Cast: Georges Poujouly, Brigitte Fossey, Amédée
Genre: Drama
Language: French

"A young French girl orphaned in a Nazi air attack is befriended by the son of a poor farmer, and together they try to come to terms with the realities of death."

I'm very impressed with this film!...Forbidden Games is a very engrossing story that's both sentimental, while being a bit disturbing too. The film in a way feels like an old Twilight Zone episode, not so much in structure but due to the strange subject matter. What the children do after the bomb attack is odd, extremely odd! And yet believable.

I mean that in a good way, as this was a very unique perspective on the psychological damages of WWII on the people and especially the children of rural southern France.



I thought this was well done and both child actors were excellent. It's actually amazing that the little girl could get so much emotions on the screen, if only some adult actors could do that. I don't know if she was acting or perhaps the director was telling her frightening stories for a reaction from her. Either way it was amazing the way the shattered world of the children came alive on the screen, I would never have thought of the subject matter, very creative idea for a movie and put together nicely. I enjoyed it.

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Just call me "Peg-legged Peg"

Forbidden Games (1952)

Jeux interdits (original title)
Director: René Clément
Writers: Jean Aurenche (dialogue), Jean Aurenche (screenplay)
Cast: Georges Poujouly, Brigitte Fossey, Amédée
Genre: Drama
Language: French

"A young French girl orphaned in a Nazi air attack is befriended by the son of a poor farmer, and together they try to come to terms with the realities of death."

I'm very impressed with this film!...Forbidden Games is a very engrossing story that's both sentimental, while being a bit disturbing too. The film in a way feels like an old Twilight Zone episode, not so much in structure as due to the subject matter. What the children to after the bomb attack is odd, extremely odd! And yet believable.

I mean that in a good way, as this was a very unique perspective on the psychological damages of WWII on the people and especially the children of rural southern France.



I thought this was well done and both child actors were excellent. It's actually amazing that the little girl could get so much emotions on the screen, if only some adult actors could do that. I don't know if she was acting or perhaps the director was telling her frightening stories for a reaction from her. Either way it was amazing the way the shattered world of the children came alive on the screen, I would never have thought of the subject matter, very creative idea for a movie and put together nicely. I enjoyed it.

I love this film.. Im glad you enjoyed it!
__________________
That, biscuit boy, is a UV lamp.



I love this film.. Im glad you enjoyed it!
It was a pretty cool film, but weird little kids, ha

I seen Aguirre, The Wrath of God last night, that was pretty impressive, have you ever seen that?



Just call me "Peg-legged Peg"
It was a pretty cool film, but weird little kids, ha

I seen Aguirre, The Wrath of God last night, that was pretty impressive, have you ever seen that?
Nope I havent... really havent had an interest in seeing it..




Dances With Wolves (1990)

Director: Kevin Costner
Writers: Michael Blake (screenplay), Michael Blake (novel)
Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Genre: Adventure Drama

"Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military."

Kevin Costner not only stars in this but directed and produced it too. You can tell this is a labor of love as there's so much packed into the movie, it's truly an epic and yet it feels so personal.

I can't think of no other actor who at the time could have filled Costner's boots. And no, I'm not a big Kevin Costner fan...but he was the right fit for this role. And at 3 hours long the film might seem like a journey just to get through, but thanks to Costner the actor and Costner the director those 3 hours fly by!



One of the most important aspects of film making is to give the audience a character they can relate to...someone who serves as a proxy as we experience the world of the movie through their character. And Costner is perfect for that he's the everyday guy, someone who's fed up with the killing in the Civil War and just wants to escape the stupidity of it all. And he does escape it and ends up in the middle of nowhere, which to him is the most beautiful place on Earth.

I could easily see that given the same place, time and circumstances that I too would have taken a similar path...and that makes Dances With Wolves a personal film, as I can 'live' history for the duration of the film.



I love the cinematography AND I respect the fact that Costner as the producer spent a quarter of million dollars on animatronic buffalo that were used in the hunt. No buffalo were killed during the film! Costner is not the type of person to do that and that fits with the theme of embracing nature as his character John Dunbar does.

I have to say the voice over narration was a thing of beauty. It gave me a sense of awe and longing that his character experienced.

My favorite interaction was between Costner and Graham Green as Kicking Bird. I've seen other movies that respect and show Native Americans as a proud people, but even better, we see that they are just people. I loved the way Kicking Bird interacted with his wife, he reminded me of myself...Kicking Bird was a well developed character, but so was many of the Sioux, and that's very nice to see in a movie.

I think so highly of Dances With Wolves, that I plan on watching the extended 4 hour version when I get a chance.

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Dead Poets Society (1989)

Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Tom Schulman
Cast: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Drama


"English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings."

After hearing so much high praise for this movie, I have to say I was underwhelmed by it, and this is usually my type of movie. But nothing worked for me here, except the actual premise of 'seize the day', OK that was good, but the execution of that premise was hap hazard.

I didn't like Robin Williams in this. Robin was great as a stand up comic and had a fast paced witty mind, but in this movie, it's like he's not the character, but he's playing Robin Williams. He was great in his comic movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, but I just didn't buy him as this maverick teacher who could reach the kids. Other than telling them to rip pages out of a school book or standing on the desk, what is it he did that was so special. I think John Lithgow would have been a much better choice for the role, maybe even John Cleese.

And the script itself is lacking. I never felt like I got to know the students other than the one who wanted to be an actor. It was like they were all interchangeable.

The scenes seemed forced and I didn't buy many of them. I never bought into his teaching methods either...And the head school master was like a mustache twirling movie bad guy, and so was the father of the student who wanted to be an actor. Too cliched... Elia Kazan once said of movie characters, every bad guy character should have some redeeming quality that the audience can identify with and every good character should have a dark flaw. I thought a lot of the scenes were just silly and the characters were not fully realized.

Sorry but I don't get the love for this film, actually I do get it, it's the theme of young people finding themselves. I just don't think the movie did that very well.

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Dead Poets Society (1989)

Director: Peter Weir
Writer: Tom Schulman
Cast: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
Genre: Drama


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On this one, Rules, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you.

First, I'd recommend a re-watch in a year or so - I kind of felt the same way about this movie when I first saw it, but it's really grown on me. I seem to have new revelations with each watch. I've almost enjoyed it more with rewatches (except for "Neil's" story - that part's always a downer, but everything around it seems to get better).

Good point about Mr. Perry (Kurtwood Smith) - I thought for sure after his magnificent performance as one of the greatest villains ever in Robocop, followed by this role, he'd be forever typecast as one of the most hated character actors (or I should say those you love to hate), but I guess his years in a comedic role on That 70's Show saved him from the typecasting. But yeah, he doesn't have a single redeeming quality in this movie - he's a straight out ultra-authoritative bastard!

I thought we get a good feeling for Todd's character (Ethan Hawke) as he is somewhat of a lynchpin for the climax, but I thought his build up, if understated, was more than enough.

I also thought we got a decent glimpse into Knox Overstreet (love that name!). Charlie Dalton and Cameron (the snitch) served their roles in the group well. So I see the student's as layered with their stories obviously with Neil & Todd in the lead, followed by Knox (almost has his own little subplot movie), then with Charlie the rebel and Cameron the conformist as the polar opposites, with Meeks & Pitts bringing up the 4th string.

I particularly love that one kid - he's not in the club, but he's the kid who never wants to participate in class, writes the crappy poem and shows no enthusiasm? I just love how HE ALSO decides to stand on his desk at the end.

Considering Neil's plot in the story and the role Robin Williams played, I always find it strange that Robin committed suicide in real life. I always walk away thinking that Neil had deeper problems than just his father (yet, in the movie we only saw a very happy, positive, enthusiastic young man with a parental obstacle that he'd be able to oppose in just a couple years, upon reaching legal adulthood) - but what he did was a rash spur-of-the-moment action that was nothing more than an immediate revenge against his father. As they say; a permanent solution to a temporary problem.



On this one, Rules, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you.

First, I'd recommend a re-watch in a year or so - I kind of felt the same way about this movie when I first saw it, but it's really grown on me. I seem to have new revelations with each watch. I've almost enjoyed it more with rewatches (except for "Neil's" story - that part's always a downer, but everything around it seems to get better).
I could see how a rewatch of a movie like this adds 'special tidbits' about the characters with each watch. I think a lot of people like this movie for the same reason they like The Graduate, there stories about young people adrift and looking for meaning and direction in their life. Most people can see a bit of themselves in that, so relate to it, but not me...I never felt adrift or with out direction. Maybe that's why the movie didn't speak to me. Normally I can find one or more characters that seem a bit like me, but not here.


Good point about Mr. Perry (Kurtwood Smith) - I thought for sure after his magnificent performance as one of the greatest villains ever in Robocop, followed by this role, he'd be forever typecast as one of the most hated character actors (or I should say those you love to hate), but I guess his years in a comedic role on That 70's Show saved him from the typecasting. But yeah, he doesn't have a single redeeming quality in this movie - he's a straight out ultra-authoritative bastard!
For me every time I see Kurtwood Smith I think of the captain from the alien time ship from an episode of Voyager. Did you see that episode. It was a two parter called Year of Hell. Very memorable.



I could see how a rewatch of a movie like this adds 'special tidbits' about the characters with each watch. I think a lot of people like this movie for the same reason they like The Graduate, there stories about young people adrift and looking for meaning and direction in their life. Most people can see a bit of themselves in that, so relate to it, but not me...I never felt adrift or with out direction. Maybe that's why the movie didn't speak to me. Normally I can find one or more characters that seem a bit like me, but not here.


For me every time I see Kurtwood Smith I think of the captain from the alien time ship from an episode of Voyager. Did you see that episode. It was a two parter called Year of Hell. Very memorable.
I think I relate most to Todd - I was like that in highschool = terrified. I could barely speak to anyone outside my own friends. So that part hit home, especially him finding his courage to "stand up" at the end.

And I also belonged to a club (a Junior Masons type thing) and there was this one kid who's father was one of the "dads" who'd oversee every meeting, and I swear he was like a combination of Mr. Perry and Mr. Nolan (the headmaster). He was absolutely humorless, I never saw him show affection to his son whatsoever - all this guy did was look for any boy stepping out of line so he could discipline - it was obvious that he got off on it. After I had a fight with him, I quit the group. My point of mentioning this real-life person is that (to me at that time) there really were adults who seemed complete villains.

Can't say I ever saw that episode of Voyager (which is weird because I did follow that one) - although it sounds familiar, so maybe I saw bits of it. Will definitely look for it as I'm a fan of Kurtwood Smith (yet, I never got into That 70's Show). I'd love to see him in some sci-fi!