Movie Tab II


Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
War and Peace (Sergei Bondarchuk, 1967)

This is a true rarity: a film which tells a gargantuan story, based on a nation's most-popular/important novel, which expands the envelope of cinema on several levels. As enormous as much of the film is, it never strays too far from the story of its three central characters: Natasha (Lyudmila Savelyeva), a young, highly-emotional girl who feels strongly for her first love; Prince Andrei (Vyacheslav Tikhonov) who proposes to her but reneges when she acts foolishly; and Pierre (director Bondarchuk), her married cousin, who has always loved her and wishes to correct a mistake. Fifty plus years ago, the entire Soviet Union government contributed $100 million to make this awesome film, thus making it in today's dollars the most expensive film ever made. Even so, the film is mind-boggling and a totally-personal triumph for the director. The battle scenes have probably never been equaled, and the camerawork is creatively-luxuriant and bends to the stories' necessities. It truly is among the most spectacular films ever made, but Bondarchuk can even turn a simple scene into an emotional apocalypse through subtle photography, sound design and music. In fact, there are so many folk songs sung by many of the characters that it occasionally seems to be a haunting musical. This film may well be vastly underrated by me, but if you get a chance to watch it, try to see the Russian DVD (Ruscico); the rest of those on the market greatly reduce its power.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

That's how you spent your last 3 days?

It was ok but I still think it's an overrated 8 hour film or whatever it was.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
but if you get a chance to watch it, try to see the Russian DVD (Ruscico); the rest of those on the market greatly reduce its power
Are you saying the 2K restoration's high picture quality strips it off of its visual power in some way, offering too pristine a quality and therefore a sterile feel to the film in place of the rough and more nuanced feel of the DVD version? Or is the 2K restoration and/or other DVD releases devoid of some scenes?

I watched it only once years ago when it was only available on DVD but if I were to ever rewatch it, I'd probably grab the 2K Blu-ray, so I'd like to understand your reasoning.

That's how you spent your last 3 days?
More like his last 8 hours. And he managed to throw in a couple of shorts in between.
It was ok but I still think it's an overrated 8 hour film or whatever it was.
Say whatever you want but it's easily the greatest epic of all time Objectively, in terms of scope. And subjectively, if you have good taste.
"Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined." - Chris Marker

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Allegro non troppo (Bruno Bozzetto, 1976)

I love that whole movie - it's in my top 100. It's half a satire on the animation of Fantasia and half a black-and-white live-action jab at Disney's serious attitude towards the orchestra/conductor presented as a slapstick Fellini spoof. and this part is funnier the more you appreciate Fellini. The B&W live-action section has a despotic conductor who keeps his orchestra of little old ladies and his animator prisoners until he needs them for the classical music accompaniment and the animations. This part is done as a spoof/satire of Fellini by way of the Marx Brothers. There are surrealistic touches throughout the film, including many seemingly mean, violent ones involving some of the creations of the animator (Maurizio Nichetti) and a lovely cleaning woman who's mutually attracred to him. The conductor ts a particularly hateful character but that just makes him funnier. I haven't even gotten to the idiot "narrator" or some kind of dancing gorilla thing. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, the animation's the thing.The "cartoons" are beautiful, spectacular, funny, melancholic, sexy, witty, surrealistic and thought-provoking. I could go into more details about it, but I'll just say the combo of classical music and deeply personaI animation creates huge emotions. I especially love the Bolero Evolution sequence and the Sibelius "Valse triste"/Homeless Cat segment too, which can be seen here.

Welcome to the human race...
That's how you spent your last 3 days?

It was ok but I still think it's an overrated 8 hour film or whatever it was.
Curious now as to what you consider an accurately-rated 8-hour film.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

Curious now as to what you consider an accurately-rated 8-hour film.
Only one I've seen. Never got to Shoah yet.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Tokyo Story (1953) [REWATCH]

"It's dawn and the sun is out. It's going to be hot today, isn't it?"

The challenge one faces when attempting to write about a legend is that firstly, the legend is well known and therefore many have studied it to death, and secondly, the legend is worshipped, and therefore one has to find a way to bypass its status of a masterpiece and tackle it on a more personal level. The legend is Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, and the personal approach is perhaps the only way to write about the film and still create an interesting piece of text.

I first watched Tokyo Story back in March 2013. I'm quite sure it was my first Ozu film and a sort of gateway to Japanese cinema. It was by no means the first Japanese film I have ever seen but certainly the first of this kind. I remember liking it very much but still leaving with a 'that's it?' sort of impression. Rewatching it now, almost 8 years later, I confirm - yes, that's it! But after numerous other Ozus, Naruses, Yamadas, Goshos, Shimizus et al, that 'it' took on some inexplicable, deep meaning. Back in the day I watched other Ozu films and liked them more than Tokyo Story. Perhaps I still do. But that's beside the point.

I come from a very small family and one that seems to get smaller each year. I never felt that way before but recently I've been finding myself moved by cinematic depictions of families, especially in Japanese cinema. Of course, it's best when the depicted family is a perfect one - that's when my heart starts racing. But usually, this is not the case. As much as the importance of both love and family have grown in my eyes tremendously, the idea that family is family no matter how bad its members are is largely lost on me. It's too idealistic even to me. However, the idea that a black sheep can still reunite with their loved ones... When depicted skillfully and with a lot of heart like in Yoji Yamada's About Her Brother, now that's touching and relatable in some ways. But Tokyo Story is not about that.

The most surface-level meaning to Tokyo Story, to put it as ambiguously as possible, is that one should keep close to their family before it's too late. Then, you have a lot of other observations and meanings to the film, both apparent and hidden, that I'd rather not mention in detail here so as not to ruin the experience of those of you who still haven't seen this film (seriously, what are you waiting for?!). I'm not intending to enter into polemics with the film's message. As long as I believe that you ought to keep close to those you love, not all of us are fortunate enough to have their beloved ones in their family. Another point, children are entitled to their own lives and do not owe anything to their parents - a point the film is not denying. I believe the film is downright saying this but still focusing on the feelings of the parents. That's perhaps what makes it so powerful and humane.

Ozu's approach is original even though it's just your usual shōshimin eiga that was quite popular at the time. But Ozu ignores the 180-degree rule. Ozu tells the story like nobody before him but many after. The things he talks about - sure, say, the idea that the bonds of love are stronger than the bonds of blood. Naruse did that as early as in 1932 in his beautiful silent No Blood Relation. But the way Ozu talks about it. Or rather how he doesn't talk about it at all but shows it - that's interesting. And how Chishu Ryu's character copes with loss. How he utters "It's dawn and the sun is out. It's going to be hot today, isn't it?". There is not a hint of melodrama in that but it hits you hard all the same. This is pure melancholy.

So perhaps Mizoguchi was right to praise Ozu and say what Ozu does is much more mysterious than Mizoguchi's own films. After all, Ozu's films are, or at least this film - Tokyo Story is, pretty straightforward. But Ozu's films are all about life. And what's more mysterious than life?

Two weeks ago I rewatched Tokyo Story, a film mostly composed of gorgeous static shots with the camera placed relatively low so as to imitate the point of view of a person sitting on the floor. I especially loved the pillow shot portraying three-or-so women in kimonos standing on the bridge. Quite breathtaking! All actors give convincing performances. Chishu Ryu and Chieko Higashiyama create perhaps the most charming couple of all time! And Setsuko Hara - what a charming flower she is! A morning glory of film! And definitely a more presentable morning glory than that of my own. ;) Oh, how I love Japanese films that evoke mono no aware. Makes me want to watch Shimizu's Ornamental Hairpin again. Makes me want to watch other Ozu films, other movies from the Noriko Trilogy. Makes me want to watch movies. The journey of a cinephile is a long one, so it's good to get back to a familiar place from time to time.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

For me, this is easily Tarantino's best film, and no matter where he drew his "inspiration", it's crammed with quirky, interesting characters and witty dialogue. Iconic scenes abound - the restaurant scene, the dance, the miracle shooting, suitcase, the watch, foot message, the Gimp, prank call, "clean this ***** out", walk the Earth, etc. Just thinking about many of the minor characters makes me smile; people like Steve Buscemi's Buddy Holly, Eric Stoltz's Lance, and Christopher Walken's Captain Koons. Much has been made of the film's non-linear structure, but I find it to be not that significant, at least while watching it. It adds something more to discuss after it's over, but while watching it, I mainly think about how great Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel are. Back in 1994, this is the way I called the Oscars: I said that Samuel L. Jackson should win Best Actor for Pulp Fiction, but since he was nominated Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jules, and John Travolta was nomed Best Actor for Vincent Vega in the same film, I said, well, that's pretty tough, Samuel L. because there's no way you're going to beat Martin Landau ("Let's shoot this fu(ka") for Best Supporting Actor.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
I hated Pulp Fiction when I first watched it back in 2011, I couldn't stand the excessive swearing and as I literally watched it in between some of the best films ever made and films that made me a cinephile and changed my life (Werckmeister Harmonies, Stalker, Seventh Seal), Pulp Fiction seriously let me down.

I really liked Pulp Fiction when I rewatched it in 2014. I remember watching it in a rented room with a laptop on my lap (after all it's called a LAPtop, eh?!). I'd definitely become more open-minded since 2011 and simply enjoyed the film for what it was. I even found myself caring for the characters toward the end of the film.

It's been years and I might rewatch it. I've watched all Tarantino films since and even though I don't think Pulp Fiction is a masterpiece nor even Tarantino's best, I agree it's a fun film.

Not So Recent Viewings:
The Light House (Eggers, 2019)-
Elf (Favreau, 2003)-
I'm Thinking of Ending Things (Kaufman, 2020)-

The Mimic (Huh, 2017)-

Borat: Subsequent Movie Film (Woliner, 2020) -

I'm Thinking of Ending Things (Kaufman, 2020)

It's been some time since I've been compelled to jot some thoughts down after watching a film, but here I am. I'll start off by saying my limited experience with Kaufman has been a mixed bag. LOVE Being John Malkovich (written by), likeEternal Sunshine (written by), and HATE Synecdoche, New York. This falls somewhere in the middle.

I'd break this experience up into three pieces
1. The Car Scenes
2. The Farmhouse
3. The School

Similarly to how the woman gets annoyed with Jake for being overly pretentious, I definitely felt this through much of the car scene dialogues. How much of this was intentional and how much was Kaufman to flex, I don't know. Probably comes down to the adaptation and I have not read the original book. There's a few clever moments in here however, perhaps if you've seen A Woman Under The Influence and Oklahoma five times, you'd pick up more than me who hasn't seen those in near a decade- but for me man at 15-20 mins a piece these car scenes could just feel overly elongated. Despite speaking only like two cliche overly pretentious grad students could, somehow always to keep me engaged, and a bit tense however, especially in the second series where Jake keeps asking if we're going back to the farmhouse. The feel created in these moments was actually surprisingly well done, in this stranded world- similar to how the woman describes her painting I guess. Although she seems perfectly calm, there's an unnerving presence.

The Farmhouse is the absolutely brilliant part of the film, my God was this unsettling, surreal, and extremely uncomfortable. Cloest thing to Eraserhead I've ever seen, and that's one of my top ten films so this is huge praise for me. In this 30-40 minute scene Kaufman takes on surrealism as well as Bunuel, Lynch, or Svanmajer. It's also on level of scariness as some modern greats of Get out and Us. I believe this is the only part of the movie where I picked up some of the symbolism, and there's some interesting statements on aging through out. I can't say I gathered a hollistic picture of what's being said- if there really is anything- but I was STRESSED through this whole interaction. Which is hard to do with 0 character build (the woman doesn't even have a name) and very little emotional response from our protagonist- outside of confusion. Never fear. As I said this is a modern Eraserhead, would've made an amazing stand alone short film

And then came the school scene, where our backgorund janitor is finally tied in! And this is where the film completely lost me, my God. All the drama, all the intensity, all the chilliness of it just went away the minute they started dancing and there forward. I no longer care enough to dissect any meaning , I'm no longer engaged, I no longer feel anything watching this. I'm sure for other audience this is the mind blowing moment where we can connect all the odd dots, for me this is the moment Kaufman fails in carrying the energy. And I can't really expect him too. This final series feel ADHD, over done, and frankly empty to me.

It's hard for me to tie this altogether, since as a viewer I did fail too- and as a movie it failed to keep me. But there's still something special about this Netflix original. Oddly it would've felt more complete to me if it ended about 35 mins early, when she confronts the janitor. But hey I'm not as smart as Kaufman or the quantum physicist and wanna be diligent scholar who are our protagonists (are they)? But the farmhouse stretch is enough for me to reccomend this unique horror experience


Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
American Graffiti (1973)

Really expected to dislike it but ended up liking it very much! Great late-night mood and just a lot of fun spiced up by competent filmmaking. Didn't expect Harrison Ford in this! Also, great music.

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

Peerless gangster saga, both about the American Dream and the American Nightmare, is masterfully crafted and acted by a cast which seems to fully inhabit each and every character, so much so that the viewer believes they know them all well. All the scenes flow smoothly from one highlight to the next. The Godfather is generally considered one of the best post-classic Hollywood movies with old-fashioned storytelling magic. The only thing I can think of as being "unusual" about the storytelling is the way it starts at the wedding, but even that turns out to be awesome since it's the film's longest set piece.

Unlike many others here, this is my easy pick for Coppola's best film. It's a totally stand alone, audacious, suspenseful tale of the Mob (or Family), told in a traditional story arc. The beginning, middle and end are perfect. The acting is uniformly terrific, and the cast is easily the greatest of The Godfather movies. I have come to appreciate how superb Part II is, when blended with the original, but it took me a while to accept it as almost as great. Maybe this film is a tad more melodramatic than the second one, but even though Brando should have won Best Supporting Actor here (well, maybe not, Joel Grey, anyone?) and Pacino should have been nominated Best Actor (vice versa of the way they actually were), Brando dominates this film in his few scenes. It's just that the film is so rich in all its characters that distinctions among importance are irrelevant. After all, like I said before, the entire cast is pretty damn impressive, so I'll shut up before I have to name them all. Just don't forget to leave the gun and take the cannoli.

cricket's Avatar
Registered User
January, 2021 movies watched-

Crazy Murder (2014)
- An A+ for revolting.

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
+ A very good movie but it's nothing more than expected.

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) Repeat
The only "thriller" I can think of that touches my soul.

Philadelphia (1993)
A good movie that would have been better if I saw it 20 years ago.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Just not for me.

Becky (2020)
Excruciatingly typical.

Aniara (2018)
- Above average Swedish Sci-Fi.

VFW (2019)
+ Good time nonsense.

Barry Lyndon (1975) Repeat
Leaves me a little cold, yet I find it practically flawless.

In a Glass Cage (1986) Repeat
Above average for a sick film but it's another that leaves me cold.

Rudderless (2014)
+ Kind of like a good made for TV movie.

Shame (1968) Repeat
One of my favorite movies from director Bergman.

The Sea Inside (2004)
+ A very moving film starring the great Javier Bardem.

Sundays and Cybele (1962)
Foreign language Oscar winner that I can't believe I didn't know about before.

The Day of the Jackal (1973) Repeat
Much more enjoyable this time with knowing what pace to expect.

The Man from Nowhere (2010) Repeat
Above average action film but the lack of originality was more apparent this time.

Carcinoma (2014)
- Well done but not easy to get through.

The Guilty (2018)
A lot out of very little.

Vampyr (1932) Repeat
Love the visuals and sounds but that's it.

La Dolce Vita (1960) Repeat
Still not sure what to think of this one.

The Whisperers (1967)
- Decent kitchen sink that I thought should have been better.

January viewings-21

January watches (includes rewatches that have never been rated on here):

*missing poster is The Badge Of Marshal Brennan
NomsPre-1930 Countdown

Fashionably late to every party since 1473!


Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979

Possible spoilers ahead

I saw Mirror quite a few years ago now and it was so impenetrable to me that it took a long time to rediscover the desire to give Tarkovsky another whirl. When I saw first Andrei Rublev and then later Stalker pop up on our top 100 list I knew it was about time. And what a densely challenging, frustrating, thought-provoking, otherworldly, rewarding experience it ended up being.

It’s clear that Tarkovsky intended this film to be an intensely personal experience for each individual that takes the leap into this almost 3-hour long spiritual journey, whose modest plot follows three men as they venture into the mysterious Zone, in search of a Room which supposedly has the power to grant a person’s innermost desire. I feel it’s pointless to try to discern any concrete “point” Tarkovsky was trying to make; it’s so densely packed with ideas that each viewer will draw a different conclusion. The fact that you can find masses of wildly varying interpretations of this film around the web is proof of that. At any rate, I can’t pretend to completely understand even my own feelings about it after one viewing.

Purely as a piece of visual art, it’s beautiful and full of unforgettable images. It’s not a beautiful world they inhabit, certainly not, at least, in the pre- and post- Zone sequences (emphasised by the murky sepia-toned cinematography, contrasting the escape into the expectant colour of the Zone). But the way it is photographed (along with the sparse soundtrack) gives it a distinctive magical-realist quality for which I struggle to find a comparison. The languid flow of the camerawork, allowing us to absorb each shot, the lingering close-ups of the wonderfully expressive performances of Kaydanovskiy and Solonitsyn particularly, suck you almost into a trance at times.

I’m sure it’s possible to let all of this good stuff simply wash over you and enjoy the imagery without even trying to dissect the film’s many themes too much. But there’s so much there that it seems a shame not to at least try to pick apart what it all means to you.

For me, the journey of the Stalker, the Writer and the Professor is a metaphor for life itself, and the three men each represent the vastly different approaches we can take to finding happiness within it – led by God, by art, by science. In reality we are of course complicated beings more than likely dominated by a combination of these things, in conflict with one another, just as the three men butt heads – like the writer mocking the Stalker with his crown of thorns, and the latter, near the end of the film, decrying lack of faith and the spread of cynicism. Their snaking, illogical route through the Zone is the similarly snaking one our lives take, stumbling around in the darkness in search of meaning and an ideal of desire fulfilment and contentment. The nature of the journey changes as our philosophy and mindset does, just as the Zone becomes crueller as the writer infects the group with his increasing agitation and scepticism. The journey, and the destination, is about so much less than giving us what we want, as much as revealing to us our deepest truths, things we wouldn’t admit even to ourselves. The “meat grinder” has this effect on the writer, who admits that his profession is a torment to him, and at the precipice of the Room we learn that a previous Stalker, “Porcupine,” learnt this same reality in the harshest of ways.

Be careful what you wish for, then. Whether it is indeed a real, magical place, or – more likely – a product of the imagination, the Room is a dangerous proposition, revealing not what we tell ourselves and others we desire, but what our true nature dictates we do. In this way, beyond the superficial (like the visual transition to colour), the comparisons to The Wizard of Oz are apt. The men ultimately find that what they seek is a facade, but not in the “you had it in you all along” kind of happy way of Fleming’s film. The men are ultimately shown the unattainability of what they set out to obtain.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something that has felt so mysteriously resonant, made me think so much. I can’t pretend to have a theory about all of it, and maybe mine is the shallowest of possible interpretations. But it has made me keen to revisit and dig deeper into the mystery.

A system of cells interlinked
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something that has felt so mysteriously resonant, made me think so much. I can’t pretend to have a theory about all of it, and maybe mine is the shallowest of possible interpretations. But it has made me keen to revisit and dig deeper into the mystery.
Where did you watch this? I am having trouble finding a place to access this...
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

Love that Stalker review Skepsis. I feel similarly about my thoughts on it doing the movie justice, but I think they do. Because Stalker is about the never ending spiritual journey and it's encapsulated perfectly here. I plan on watching this and Solaris again sooner than later. Can't wait.