From now on I have my own review thread. My name is mattiasflgrtll6!

→ in

@cat_sidhe I hope you still read my stuff.

@lenslady Seen this sci-fi chiller?

Hi Mattias,

Yes I did see this pic, though it was many years ago. I think you hit a lot of 'right notes ' in your review, as the term ' Stepford Wife' soon became a catch phrase for many who supported the woman's movement. And I'd say you are correct to note that the movie was ahead of its time. It concerned not just women's issues, but addressed the pressure for people of a certain place and time to conform unilaterally: and become soulless standard suburban issues, supposedly representing the middle class American Dream, but really trading in their unique individualism for a vacuous mask.

Good review, Mattias and I' m glad you found this 'thoughtful ' sci fi film still meaningful.

Don't let these flaws deter you from giving Paranormal Activity a chance. Although they prevented it from being a truly good movie, it's still a decent one. It gives the uneasy sense of dread I'm looking for in a horror piece, and the way it concludes is very shocking, yet natural. It won't leave me sleepless in Seattle, but it could be time to set up a video recorder or two.
Well, it left me sleepless in Asheville once. It definitely got in my head, though not being able to sleep because I ate a ton of junk food watching it may not have helped.

But yeah, very Blair Witchy in the kinds of reactions and moods it produced in me. Definitely got under my skin for a few days.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Rick Dalton is down in the dumps. Even though he's been a successful TV actor for some time now, he's tired of getting typecast in the same kind of role every time, the villain who gets his ass kicked. His stunt double Cliff Booth's career has fallen by the wayside as well, working with Rick but not getting any other work. While they're dealing with their personal problems the Manson cult is starting to gain traction.

This is a unique movie, even by Tarantino's standards. It harkens back to the dialogue-focused films in the vein of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, but it's quite different from those as well. While the stories are fun to watch, it's more strictly focused on character, both the people we are following and the 60's setting itself. The signs, classic posters, vintage stores, classic music and movie sets in their charming rough glory really transports you to a different time. It's not just a cute homage, he puts you right on the spot.
The main arc is populated by Rick Dalton's dreams of becoming more than just a B-grade actor, feeling insecure with himself and feeling he's lost it. Leonardo Dicaprio brings a level of sincerity and admirable dedication to the role. Dalton is a starving artist. He's clearly got a lot of talent, but never gets a chance to fully utilize it. When he eventually even struggles to remember the simplest of lines, he loses it in what is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Yelling at himself in the mirror to lay off the alcohol and do the god-damn job an actor's supposed to do is hilarious and very relatable to anyone wanting to be taken seriously as an actor. Sometimes when I'm recording lines and I just keep doing takes of the same line over and over and over again I feel like I'm going insane. Is something wrong with me? When am I going to be good enough? Thankfully in this case, this results in Rick doing the best damn acting job he's done in his whole life. The scene with him as the mustached villain holding a little girl hostage threatening to cut her throat is legitimately intimidating. He finally found the confidence he needed to be truly great.

Cliff Booth's story is less structured and mostly consists of him pissing people off and showing everyone who's in charge. But that doesn't mean it's not a helluva lot of fun to watch. Bruce Lee being shown as a cocky little kid whose mouth is bigger than his fighting skills is pure gold. Mike Moh did a great job playing him. Cliff throwing Lee so hard he creates a buckle in Janet's car got a big laugh out of me.
When Cliff drives the flirty hippie girl Pussycat to George Spahn's movie ranch, we get a very tenseful sequence. He doesn't really trust anyone there. People are staring out the windows, the "farm" looks more like a barren wasteland and Squeaky is so desperate to stop him from saying hello to George it's like she's holding him hostage. Cliff's meeting with George is short, but amusing. Bruce Dern gives a colorful portrayal of a senile and cranky old man who's been kept isolated from the world for God knows how long. He's happy someone came to visit him, even if his grouchy behavior indicates otherwise, but Cliff still leaves feeling frustrated and disappointed he's forced to live with all these weird-ass creeps. His irritation reaches its peak when a guy who looks like he hasn't showered in a year punctures one of his tires.
WARNING: spoilers below
The resulting impulse to come over and beat his face bloody over and over again is a well-placed sudden shock of violence. Since the movie has been pretty restrained up to this point, you don't expect Cliff to get so angry he will beat someone to the point where their face is disfigured. It's funny in a darkly humorous way.

The friendship between Rick and Cliff is also a huge factor into what makes the movie so enjoyable, and gives it a touch of heart. Apparently Dicaprio and Pitt became friends in real life during the production, and some of that definitely translates into many of the scenes. When they are watching Rick's part in a television show and commenting while they're doing so, it feels very natural and loose, how you'd really hear two friends converse while they're doing something together. It wouldn't surprise me if this is one of the parts that were improvised.

All right, let's talk about Sharon Tate. Margot Robbie's performance as Tate is adorable. Quentin Tarantino adored Sharon Tate, both as an actor and a person. And while I don't know her as much more than "That girl from Valley Of The Dolls!", I think he made me fall in love with her a little too. My favorite part is when she goes to a movie she's co-starring in in the theater, and finds it so exciting to watch herself and hear the audience behind her laugh. She can feel the admiration people have for her.
WARNING: spoilers below
I also love that her real-life fate was changed to something much more uplifting. Usually this would be a serious breach of historical accuracy, but is that really what you come to a Tarantino movie for? Her murder being prevented and Rick coming over for a friendly visit is the perfect conclusion you can give to her. She get to continue spreading joy and making people smile.

My favorite actor Al Pacino gets a few nice moments to shine, creating a very eccentric and funny personality in Marvin Schwarz. "Who's gonna beat the s'hit out of you next week? Mannix? The Man From U.N.C.L.E.? The girl from U.N.C.L.E.? How about Batman & Robin?" Unfortunately, and this is one of the few problems I have with the film, he's extremely underutilized. He only appears in a 3 minute long scene in the beginning, and at the halfway point or so he appears for a few more seconds. Maybe there's a lot that got cut out, but when I saw him in the trailer I thought he would be a major important character. Instead it's only just barely more than a cameo.

The pacing can be slow at times too. It never hurts the movie severely, but it feels a little directionless at points. This is only for short stretches though, most of the time I had a blast.

WARNING: spoilers below
The final act does go all-out with the violence and mayhem, and does so with a touch of black humor. Cliff is so stoned that you think he's practically defenseless and an easy target for the Manson cult members, but then he suddenly starts stabbing people left and right and brutally beats Squeaky's face to a bloody pulp, even more so than the ass-holes who damaged his left tire. His dog (which I haven't mentioned until now) gets in on the action as well and demolishes Tex's crotch to the point where it probably looks like an anorexic gerbil. Nothing is more satisfying however than when one of them disturbs Rick relaxing in his pool and he responds by bringing out the flamethrower from one of his movies. Rick's just as much of an action hero in real life as he is onscreen.

Even my friend who's not a fan of Tarantino found a lot to like in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. It's funny, it's nostalgic without ever feeling self-indulgent, and it's got one of the best acting duos I've seen this decade. I promise it'll be worth your dime.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Man Trouble

Harry Bliss isn't at the top of his game. He's stuck in an unhappy marriage where the arguing never seems to end and he's got his ass up in debt. He seems to find some meaning when he gives one of his clients a dog to protect her home and forms a connection, but things start to go awry when someone blackmails him into stealing a manuscript from her friend.

Man Trouble is a weird beast of a production. There are all the right ingredients to make something good. You've got a talented director (Bob Rafelson), an excellent cast (Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, Beverly D'Angelo, Michael McKean, Harry Dean Stanton, Veronica Cartwright, Lauren Tom) and a good screenwriter (Carole Eastman)... and yet somehow, it doesn't quite work.

It's not all bad. Jack Nicholson is enjoyable in the main role of Harry, playing him with his usual natural charisma, where even when the script is not the best he makes the most of it. Ellen Barkin is decent as Joan Spruance (until the third act, which I'll get to later). She doesn't have the same lustful aura of Sea Of Love, but gives her character enough credibility you buy into the romance between her and Harry. She's best in the quieter scenes where Joan and Harry get to know each other and share some interests and details from their lives.

There are some amusing lines and moments here and there. Nothing laugh-out-loud funny, but Nicholson's affable dry wit (particularly in the marriage counsel scenes with him and Adele, amusingly portrayed by Lauren Tom), some slightly absurd moments and most of all, the cameo from Harry Dean Stanton provide some smiles and chuckles. Even Barkin gets a few in.

The one thing I did like in the third act was
WARNING: spoilers below
the twist of who broke into Joan's house. When it turned out to be Eddy I was genuinely surprised, probably because he'd barely been in the picture until then.

The animated opening sequence is cool.

The first problem with this movie is that it has no idea what it wants to be. Is it a romantic comedy or a thriller? It goes back and forth between the two all the time, undecided what to settle on. The tone shift in the third act is so inconsistent with what came before that it's jarring. If you want to inject some suspense into your romantic comedy you have to set it up much earlier. Even though you see Harry get blackmailed, it doesn't become a major plotpoint until much later on. You do hear about someone breaking into Joan's house, but it's treated too lightly to make you fearful for her life (with the exception of the break-in at the garage, which I admit actually rattled me a bit).
And although there is humor, it becomes more infrequent as it goes on. Harry Dean Stanton's cameo when he showed up was such a relief since I finally got something to chuckle at again.

I brought up earlier how for the first two acts, Ellen Barkin is decent. In the third however, she's... honestly pretty awful. She screams at the top of her lungs and seems like she's mad at the director for not giving her something better to work with rather than Nicholson's character himself. Veronica Cartwright is sadly also bad in her small role as Helen Dextra. In one scene she's just flailing her arms around and sounds like she's coughing up a hairball.

The aforementioned suspense which comes into full force in the third act is not very suspenseful. Instead it's very boring and halfbaked, with only Stanton lightning up the mood a little.

It's an okay watch if you're a fan of Jack Nicholson. It's definitely not the carcrashing disaster reviews make it out to be, but set your expectations low.

@lenslady Ever seen this one? It's not a dog (pun maybe intended), but Nicholson has done much better.
Don't remember seeing this one Mattias. It's even possible
I saw it long ago, because Nicholson is one of my top favorite actors.I've rarely seen him in a bad movie, and he seems to lift every movie he's in to a higher level, with his mesmerizing screen presence. So if I saw it, it's been
(conveniently) forgotten. But I enjoyed your review
( as usual ) as you made real the good and not so good elements of what sounds like a so-so movie.

I probably wouldn't seek it out , based on the review, though if it turned up at my doorstep like a lost dog on a rainy night, I'd likely take it in- if just to compare notes with you.

I can recommend two of his ' later' films which I rewatch - About Schmidt and the hilarious As Good as it Gets. Don't know if you' ve seen them, but would Iove to read your reviews when you do.

Btw Man Trouble alas sound like a movie that is less than the sum of its parts- great , eminently watchable actors
and ( previously) excellent screenwriters. But ultimately, not a good movie.

Both Schmidt and 'Gets' are imho more than the sum of their parts. Schmidt has a sad, even depressing, undertone but its main character and premise become universal through Jack's portrayal - and there is enough to laugh at too.

Good as it Gets may not be as brilliant as it could (should?) be l, but is very very funny, with Jack delivering lines and sarcastic barbs as no one else can - and yet still - somehow- sustaining our empathy. I don't ever get tired of rewatching this one.

I especially liked the 'noodle salad' speech - and was very satisfied to fetch the warm rolls from the bakery

Hope you'll watch and enjoy these films some time.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
@lenslady Thank you as always for the positive feedback. I like your analogy of finding a lost dog in the rain.

As Good As It Gets is pretty good. I love About Schmidt. I wrote a review for it on the first page, you even commented on it.

@lenslady Thank you as always for the positive feedback. I like your analogy of finding a lost dog in the rain.

As Good As It Gets is pretty good. I love About Schmidt. I wrote a review for it on the first page, you even commented on it.

You're welcome. And lol oops, too bad we don't have an index list on these review threads.

Anyway I went back and enjoyed some of your early reviews; GWTW , Schmidt and Regarding Henry. Also liked what you had to say about Tom Skerritt in Top Gun. . He's usually a supporting actor but plays his roles as solidly as any star. He can be a meanie too, but in general, has Paul Newman's kind of unaffected affable presence - liked him best in Steel Magnolias. Pure southern charm - telling 'Weezer' that the way he gets along with his wife is by 'making it a point of never dealing with his wife'. Lol

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here

Ad Astra

After an electrical circuit malfunction threatens the entire planet, Roy McBride is sent on a space mission to Neptunus to possibly find his father, who went missing 29 years ago, and to put a stop to the problem. As you might've guessed, it's not exactly smooth sailing...

From the trailer, this looks like your typical gotta-save-the-planet sci-fi adventure. And there's nothing wrong with that of course. But in reality this is an intimate character journey, combined with some really beautiful visuals. Just like in Mandy, you're kind of put into a trance, where you just let the picture-esque quality absorb you. This is a case where the cinematographer deserves just as much credit as the director.

The cast is very strong, with great performances from veteran actors such as Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones as well as Ruth Negga. But who the movie truly belongs to is Brad Pitt. It's extraordinary how you can go from the carefree Cliff Booth to the reserved and hurting Roy in the same year. The change from a distant to a much more personally involved and wounded person is portrayed in a very realistic manner. Roy finds he's got his own personal demons to deal with. His father always cared more about his work than establishing a meaningful relationship with his son. And Roy starts to realize he's becoming the same as him. He neglected his wife in favor of the mission, and is prepared to die without ever really living.

The confrontation between Roy and his dad is underwhelming on a scientific level. Clifford found nothing, didn't even come even close to what he was looking for. But that's exactly the point: sometimes we reach too far to find answers that might not be there. Roy tries to talk his dad into returning to earth with him, but Cliff isn't looking to be rescued. For him life on earth is practically meaningless at this point. How could he live with the shame of spending all this time searching for extraterrestial life and wind up with nothing? Roy's pain over losing his father is very emotionally captivating. He never got the reconciliation he wanted. But he learns an important lesson: always put personal happiness before everything else, or else you end up confused and lost.

There are a few things that drag it down for me though. For instance, the dialogue can be a little on-the-nose at times, with Pitt pointing out things that are already obvious to the audience. It's also left vague how Roy actually fixed the electrical circuit problem. I know it's not the main focus in the end, but still would've liked to see how he solved it.
The fight scene between Brad Pitt and the alien was intense and well-orchestrated, though I'm not sure about the decision to make it look like an ape. Why would there be aliens on Mars that look like gorillas? Or did someone bring their pet onboard. I don't know, just struck me as odd.

If vast space landscapes coupled with character introspection sounds good to you, I highly recommend Ad Astra.

8.7, rounded up to

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
It: Chapter Two

Moooom! The creepy clown is jumping at the screen again!

27 years after the members of The Losers' Club defeated It, visions of the clown start popping up again. Mike Hanlon calls everyone up for a meeting to come up with a plan to defeat It once and for all.

Like the first movie, it starts off promising enough with the opening scene. Eddie and Adrian just want to have a nice day at the theme park, but are confronted by a couple of bullies who try to intimidate them. They get annoyed, but walk away from them. After they get cornered again however, Adrian starts mouthing off, going so far as to insult one of their haircuts. As you might expect, this doesn't end well. What makes this scene so much more impactful than any other in the whole movie is that it's the only one which feels real. The violence inflicted upon them just for their sexuality is very disturbing, and the tragedy is heightened when Adrian gets thrown off a bridge. It then finds him as well and eats him brutally, but the scariest part is the homophobic violence shown just before. Though it's still notable for being the only scene where any restraint is shown with the clown at all.

As you can tell, I'm already getting into my negatives. This movie was horrendous. As someone who wasn't even a fan of the first one, I would much rather watch that one again since it seemed to care about its characters at least. Which is something It: Chapter Two doesn't.
If you're looking for good character development and interactions, look elsewhere. Instead it seems more interested in wasting its time on extremely obnoxious and laughably unscary jumpscares. I was laughing out of embarrassment every time the movie tried to be scary. Who did they think they were fooling? Fortune cookies cracking open Gremlins-style, one of them having an insect with a baby's head? A Paul Bunyon statue showing off its big scary teeth? A naked old lady with hanging tïts? A hobo making out with your mother? These attempts at trying to spook you were so phony I couldn't tell if they were trying to be funny or not. There's one part which clearly was supposed to be intense, but for some weird god-damn reason they added comedic music to it. It completely ruins any sense of danger they tried to establish, and comes off as a cringeworthy way to make the audience laugh, since at the test screening everybody already laughed anyway.

The CGI effects work is as fake-looking as it gets. Honestly, I'm surprised a lot of it even got past the pre-production stage.

The dialogue is horrible. Instead of incorporating humor into the script naturally when it fits, every serious moment is ruined by a stupid one-liner. Richie especially deflated the tension all the time by either pointing out they are in trouble (as if we're too dumb to get it) or saying something goofy at the most inappropriate time. If they were going for a horror comedy it's too tonally inconsistent, not to mention most of the jokes are so lame anyway they're not funny. And when they try to be heartwarming it's so overdone and cliché that you keep rolling your eyes at the self help-esque quotes they keep spitting at you. I swear, there are maybe FIVE MONOLOGUES throughout, and they all sound exactly the same.

Even Beverly's dad, one of the few creepy things about the first, comes off as a joke in the few scenes he appears in. The way he sprays his daughter furiously with perfume is so absurd I couldn't take it seriously, not to mention the moment where Beverly's inside a bathroom filled with blood and he keeps chanting "COME TO DADDY". Just like everything else it's too over-the-top.

And for a clown as powerful as It,
WARNING: spoilers below
the way he gets defeated is absolutely pathetic. Forget fighting him to death, trick him in any way, or even the ritual Mike keeps going on about (which conveniently he "forgets" way too late it doesn't work). No, let's just call him a few hurtful words and he'll shrink to the size of a baby. I sh'it you not. The most evil and otherwordly clown alive is weakened by being called a regular circus clown. The scriptwriter really must have backed himself into a corner with this one.

The acting is mixed. Bill Hader is good (even though I find his character a bit annoying). Jessica Chastain gave a very earnest performance, and was probably the best out of the main cast. Isaiah Mustafa and James Ransone were all right. James McAvoy was a little off however, which was disappointing. His stuttering doesn't feel like it comes out naturally. Jaeden Martell as the kid version of Bill did it much more convincingly.
Bill Skarsgård, and this might come as an unpopular opinion, was pretty hard to watch. To be fair the material he gets is ridiculous, but his line delivery was so exaggerated and goofy I wondered if he was trying to keep himself from cracking up or something.

Most of all however, I was bored to tears. With all the constant repetition of jumpscares and scenes dragging on and on, I kept asking my friend "How much do we have left?" since I could barely wait to leave the theater. No way in hell the merciless 2 hour and 48 minute run time is justified.

The biggest higlights are the cameos by Stephen King and Peter Bogdanovich. Skip this sorry excuse of a "horror" movie.

Harsh, but I can't really find much to disagree with you on.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Dirty Duck

Willard's life is going nowhere. He's stuck at an awful job as an insurance investigator with a pushy boss, and is always too nervous to ask the girl at the office he has a crush on out properly. But one fateful day when he meets a pimp at a bus, everything changes for him...

The only movie stranger than this I can think of right now is Begotten. This entry from the underground genre isn't perfect, but never unengaging and quite entertaining in its weirdness.
The animation is crude, but it somehow fits it very well. There are lots of creative sequences such as the cop who can turn himself into a police car. Or is it the other way around? There are also some truly absurd representations of sex, none of which are erotic in any way but very humorous. As expected in the underground world, people get naked easily or are just walking around that way for no reason. For example, Eddie the duck rips Willard's clothes off at one point, and instead of finding a new set of clothes before going back to work, he just comes there naked. I find it amusing how his boss never comments on it in any way.

It's pretty hard to tell what the plot is, but I'll try to describe it. Willard's confidence is very low, but he sees an opening when a pimp convinces him to buy some dope from a dealer. He's also been sent on an assignment to check on the claim of an old woman who supposedly is dead. He meets "Good Duck" (whose real name is Eddie) and his mother, who has the claim. It turns out she's still alive, but she insists that she'll be killed by a wizard on this Tuesday. Oddly enough, when Willard grumpily wishes her dead, she dies of a heart attack right way. Her heritage says whoever kills her will be in charge of her son. Eddie's mad at him at first, but then decides to cheer him up and show what life is all about.

The poster kinda falsely midadvertises Eddie as a slick player when he's more of a goofball hippie who kinda bumbles his way through everything. Mark Volman's slacker-like voice suits him well and delivers in my opinion the funniest line in the movie ("Shut up, Yoko!").
Howard Kaylan also voices the protagonist Willard to enthusiastic effect, really getting across his massive insecurities and hormone-charged issues.
The voice acting in general is pretty solid. The best one has to Robert Ridgely as the stuck-up police officer who is all about patriotism and *hates* ducks. Especially when they crap in his coffee! He's also hilarious as the overly ecstatic pimp who tries to sell Willard on the idea of weed.
Cynthia Adler also does a good job as Willard's boss and one of the lesbians that he and Eddie meet.

The soundtrack is very groovy and fun to listen to.

Yet, for as much enjoyment you get out of the trippy sequences throughout, Dirty Duck still has its flaws.

For one, Willard is made almost too pathetic, to the point where it's hard to root for him at times. Even though he's supposed to be the underdog, his bizarre behavior is hard to justify at times. The movie also is supposed to be about his spiritual journey to becoming a more confident man who can turn his life around, but the scenes are so loosely strung together that this narrative gets lost in the process. And why did Eddie turn into a woman all of a sudden?

Dirty Duck is not as smart as Fritz The Cat or even The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat, and is pretty homophobic and racist at times, but if you just want to kick back and get immersed in a surreal experience, this might just be your jam.


mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here

The Antenna

The Turkish government starts installing new TV antennas all over the country in preparation for the state-mandated propaganda show The Night Bulletin. Mehmet, who works as a superintendent at an apartment complex gets the job of supervising the installation of it. But strange things start happening right away. A tenant falls off the edge of the roof, and a thick, black slimy subtance begins penetrating every area of the building. And he's the only one who seems to notice something's wrong...

This is one very spooky sci-fi thriller. You're really drawn into this bleak, uncompromising world where everything is tightly controlled and any unfortunate mishaps are quickly brushed over. When one of tenants fall off a roof taking a look at the antenna, nobody seems to care how exactly that happened. "Work accident" is the only explanation given. This nonchalance over a tragedy is pretty eerie right away. Even Mehmet doesn't question it at first, only hoping he can stop dozing off at work all the time.

The cinematography contributes a great deal to the unsettling atmosphere. The attention is directed to every weird thing that's going on, most of all the disgusting black liquid penetrating every area of the building. The night time scenes are darkly lit, but never hard to follow. Every storage room have a very haunting look, like nobody has been in there for years.

The music is terrific throughout. It sells you on the creepiness and danger of the situation. You also get stressed at various moments when a character is in danger and the soundtrack increases the tension.
Not to mention the sound design, they did a great job of making the black liquid sound just as gross as it looks.

Ihsan Öhal, gives a good mostly muted performance. Much like the audience, he's simply an observer. Once Mehmet takes matters into his own hands and has to do some deep digging of his own after getting ignored, he gets more and more emotionally affected by the horror that's been unleashed, and he portrays this transformation very convincingly.
A big standout is Enis Yildiz as Farat. When he accidentally eats the black ooze as it penetrates his food, he goes from a regular family father to a coldblooded psychopath. The look in Yildiz' eyes as he menacingly walks around with a scissor is the creepiest thing in the entire movie. The part where daughter Cemile hides in the wardrobe hoping she won't be discovered is especially intense.
Elif Cakman is good as Cemile, at her strongest when she tries to flee from her father.
The final scene Cemile's in really stayed with me. Farat stabs her in the back with a scissor and you presume she dies from her wounds. Then she turns out to be alive, but instead of making out of there slowly dies, her breath slowly being taken away as she gasps in a raspy voice. It's absolutely terrifying.

The social commentary is woven into the story very well. People get so brainwashed by The Night Bulletin that they don't notice the black liquid slowly reaching and killing them. And as Mehmet finds out, they already know about the black substance reaching the building. It was planned from the start. The faceless individuals you see in the last act represent those who've had their voices and individuality taken away completely, now nothing more than servants for the government. A message about the importance behind freedom of expression has rarely been communicated as effectively.

This has all the makings of a future cult classic. Hopefully more people will be as enthralled by it as I was.

Account terminated on request
Regarding the OP's first post here, every time I've seen Gone with the Wind, I've had roughly the same question: Holy crap, how much money did it take to pull this thing off?

50 speaking roles
2400+ extras
Sweeping scenes that sprawl on forever

..............all without CGI. Holy................

Never liked the last scene though. Probably shouldn't have seen first as a young kid; I didn't understand the need for the occasional unhappy movie ending.
When women have a poet, they want a cowboy.
When they have a cowboy, they want a poet.
They'll say "I don't care if he's a poet or cowboy, so long as he's a nice guy. But oh, I'm so attracted to that bad guy over there."
Understand this last part, and you'll get them all.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
Circus World

In an effort to reignite success into his circus show, Matt Masters wants to tour in Europe. He also has a hidden motive behind this however, to find his old love and mother of stepdaughter Toni. Once he finds her, he comes to realize it's not only the circus he'll struggle with...

I quite liked this movie. John Wayne is mostly seen as a macho western star, but once in a while he can also be subdued and sensitive. His character gets to deal with a lot of emotional difficulties throughout, and the inner pain is portrayed in his face very well. Rita Hayworth and Claudia Cardinale as his wife and daughter are just as great. I liked Hayworth in You'll Never Get Rich, and she didn't disappoint here either. The chemistry between her and Wayne is so believable that if you told me they got along just fine behind the scenes, I would have believed you.

What's most interesting is how it portrays the relationship between Lili and Toni. Lili wants to connect with her daughter again, but constantly has to do it under the guise of being a complete stranger. Not to mention the potential emotional lashout Toni might suffer if she figures out the reason she really is there. Your father killing himself and mother then falling in love with your stepdad would definitely be a hard pill to swallow.

The scene where Toni finds a note revealing what really happened to her father contains the finest acting moment in the whole picture. Her reaction to this is devastating, and Cardinale portrays the anger and hurt so convincingly it's scary. Matt understandly gets shocked, but was also prepared this might happen.

Thankfully it ends on a sweet note as she and Lili come to Matt's rescue when his life is in danger.

It's not just the drama that makes the movie however. It's also about a circus. Henry Hathaway directs these sequences with a clear affection for the art, since they are quite spectacular and entertaining to watch. I feel a bit mixed about the use of animals since it was hard not to worry about them getting hurt for real, but watching the performers and clowns doing their thing is a joy to behold. Imagine being a trapeze artist and trying to do 100 swings in the air!

The energetic score by Dimitri Tiomkin does a good job of setting the circus atmosphere.

As heavy as the story gets, there are also a few comedic moments. The funniest one for me is when Toni and Steve (The man she is in love with, but Matt has reportedly been antagonistic towards) are kissing each other, trying to hide from her father. But Steve is sick of sneaking around, and decides to tell Matt in a confronting manner that he genuinely loves her daughter and that he should stop treating him as an enemy. But since he is now in a good mood after Lili wants to stay, he gets the first word and happily asks Toni how her trapeze act is going, as well as tells them they can "go back your secret hiding place that nobody knows about". That final line is really what makes it.

If you come for Wayne the action star you'll be disappointed, but if you want a well-acted drama with realistic and engaging characters you might get your value out of it. Along with The Barbarian And The Geisha this is one of his most underrated works.

I've never heard of Circus World, but it sounds interesting. I recently watched a bunch of John Wayne movies for the Westerns Countdown, so I might watch this movie too.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
The King Of Staten Island

Ever since his dad died in a firefighter incident, Scott's life hasn't managed to go anywhere. He spends every day smoking pot and talks about opening a tattoo resturant (but never follows through on it), plus has a case of ADD and Crohns disease. He also has to take care of his mother by himself when his sister goes away for college. But one day a seemingly minor event changes everything...

Besides Judd Apatow's brand of humor, I didn't know what to expect from this film. Not a lot of interesting movies were playing in theaters, so I thought I might as well give this one a chance.

I had never seen Pete Davidson in anything before this, but after his performance in this film I won't forget him. While at first Scott doesnt seem like much more than a crazy manchild, I really started to feel affectionate for the guy after a while. You laugh at his inappropriately timed comments and shortsighted decisions, but Davidson also portrays how his impulsive behavior makes him doubt his own selfworth, that maybe he's too stupid to ever reach any higher.

The conflict that stirs up after his mom (superbly played by Marisa Tomei) hooks up with a new boyfriend doesn't feel cliché in any way. You understand Scotts worry once he learns he's not only someone he got off with on the wrong foot, but is also a firefighter just like his dad. His stubborn inability to give him a chance to the fear of going through another loss or the idea that she goes for the same type just as a vain replacement for his father feels justified.
We're shown Ray doesn't think highly of him either, judging by the conversation with Margie where he dismisses the tattoo resturant concept and thinks he'll never amount to anything. The fact that she doesn't even defend her son is even sadder, like there might be some truth in what he says.

Since I mentioned Ray, I should also talk about Bill Burr. Even though his face looked familiar, not once did I recognize that was him since he completely disappeared into the character. He walks the line between likable and kind of arrogant, which is hard to pull off, but he manages to do so perfectly.

But while the movie does get heavy, it's also hilarious much of the time. Not just Davidson, but also Burr, Tomei, Pamela Adlon, Steve Buscemi and the actors playing Scott's friend circle get moments to shine in terms of comedy. At times silly, other times deadpan, the humor always feels natural to the characters and progression of the story. It feels very "hangout" in terms of tone, where you are just observing these people sharing laughs and poking fun at each other. Additionally, there are times where it can get uncomfortable and funny at the same time, most of those momens owed to Davidson.

Apatow's daughter Maude does a very good job as Scott's sister Claire. She's kind of a regular in his films, but this is her most memorable part so far.

Does the plot take expected turns? Sure. Every relationship gets a happy ending, everyone gets along in the end (except for Ray and his ex-wife Gina) and even Igor's potential catfish girlfriend is actually real. But none of that matters as long as you're having a good time, which I definitely did.

The King Of Staten Island isn't Apatow's most serious film (that would be Funny People), but I do think it's his most sincere. Whether you know who Pete Davidson is or not, I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a good laugh along with engaging characters.

mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
La Verónica

Verónica has a big aspiration in life: To gain 2 million followers so she can become the beauty company Beaut's next icon. But in the process of achieving that goal, she also jeopardizes her marriage and family life.

I'll be honest, when I saw the description "Her life falls apart, one post at a time.", I thought it would be an annoying excercise in portraying shallowness in such a flashy manner it would feel like nothing more than a vanity piece, kinda like The Bling Ring.

But when I was finally forced to give it a chance, it turned out to be have much more brimming under the surface. You see, Verónica is not just an attention seeker, she's a vacuous sponge who drags everyone down with her in the process. No matter whether it's a friend or a family member, if she's not able to use them to the benefit of her popularity, they're worthless to her. Everyone has to conform to her standards instead of the opposite.

Her relationship with husband Javier is a joke. She constantly has to be at the center of attention, even though he has a very demanding job as a football player and has to help, or more accurately be the only one taking care of their daughter. To make it worse she is constantly jealous despite his incredible faithfulness to her. The scene where she accuses him of blowing a kiss at someone (which he did because she was a fan), then exaggerates the story more and more with every sentence is one of the funniest parts of the film. Or how about when she makes him cheat on her just to get it overwith, but cries like crazy because he was enjoying it? You can really not blame Javier for becoming exhausted with her drama.

She's also jealous at the attention given to the baby, without once considering they'd be closer to each other if she took care of it too. The carelessness she shows towards her child Amanda is the main reason this is such a disturbing character. Whenever she cries she puts on deafening music to cancel out the noise instead of comforting it, and even when it's not crying she still feels nothing but absolute contempt.
WARNING: spoilers below
We are given details on how she had another daughter in the past that died, which an investigator suspects she was responsible for. The script does try to misdirect us a little, but the confirmation that she was behind the death is not a surprise. What does jolt you however is the way she was killed. It was more than pure neglect, she wanted this child to die. It brings another creepy layer to the disgusting behavior she displays towards Amanda, and brings about the tragic climactic point where she decides to repeat her past "mistake" once again.

The acting from Mariana Di Girólamo is superb. Her facial expressions and body language really sell you on self-obsessed Verónica is, and fully convinces you there's no limit whatsoever to how far her villainy can go. She's pitiable, yet unlikable enough that you don't start to feel bad for her. Even when cornered by her investigator she coldly issues a threat that she will turn the case around to make him look like the bad guy instead. The evil circle of vacuousness never ends.

The directing is always focused on the characters facing the camera and very little else, which might sound unimaginative, but is actually the most suitable look for this story.

An engrossing character drama with a touch of black comedy, La Verónica is one of the most surprising gems from The Gothenburg Film Festival.