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You may be right, but we didn't. He was an idiot and his banging around through life was really causing nothing but unpleasantness for anybody. I really thought, at best, we were supposed to see him as the character who's supposed to be fun and funny but actually isn't, is kinda pathetic, and at best we end up feeling a little sorry for him that he's such a dipshit at that age.
The problem is that the film needs him to act as a counter-balance to the way that Miles is gravitating toward becoming a curmudgeonly shut in. And honestly I think that Church himself has such a likable vibe that it pushes you toward liking him. Then again, that charisma works for the character because it shows how Jack manages to be so successful in his horndog ways.

I guess it's not so much a problem with the film and its intent as much as me getting tired of spending time with his character.



Long time since I came here. Hope everyone is doing okay.


Wiñaypacha (2017)



Now comes a film I saw recently. It's from Peru. It's a heartbreaking tale, really heartbreaking, beware, told in a decayed language, aymara. I recommend this film to anyone who liked The Turin's Horse for more than the photography. It's filmed in Allincapac mountain, 96 fixed shots, very simple, very effective. I won't tell much, it's about an old couple living in the pain of being forgotten by the one they love, a painful hope they can't throw away while a prophesized tragedy surrounds them. It's a very dramatic film that will make you cherish the time you have with your loved ones, will make you think for at least a day. It's full of metaphors about globalization, and the cultures we were given to protect.






Having just re-played through TNT and Plutonia over the winter I thought this may be some dumb fun. I was half right. Just an Aliens ripoff done poorly. Marines go to a moon, Phobos, where a scientific research facility has gone silent. Well it's been overrun by demons and a battle ensues. The story is bad and the fx are worse. It's loaded with a pet peeve of mine - CG squibs. Those things need to go away. I know why they use them but holy cow! they look bad when they're done good and when they're done bad, like here, I mean you can't even appreciate the gore because it's so clean. Make things messy again. Red Kool Aid in a water balloon would be better than cg. Also, the BFG, is a turd of a weapon in this. Severely under powered. Anyway, this is terrible





The Square, 2017

Christian (Claes Bang) is a curator at a prestigious art museum and also the father to two adolescent girls. Through the course of the film Christian is embroiled in various uncomfortable situations, including the unfortunate results of a poisoned pen trick he uses to get back items that were stolen from him, a hookup-gone-wrong with an American woman named Anne (Elizabeth Moss), and a controversial ad campaign intended to promote the museum's new exhibit. Along the way the themes of trust and privilege frequently arise.

As I watched this film, sitting through scene after scene of squirm-in-your-seat discomfort, the only thing I could really compare it to was how I felt watching Force Majeure. On a whim I went to the director's page on IMDb and sure enough, this film was made by that same director.

So if you have seen Force Majeure (which I would consider at once one of the best dark comedies I've seen in along time AND some of the most cringe-inducing 100 minutes I've watched on film), you have a good sense of the kind of staging, social interactions, and middle-aged/upper-class privileged cluelessness you'll be encountering here. As he did so masterfully in Force Majeure, writer/director Ostlund uses relatable situations to keep you hooked to the main character, while then showing how his (and our) worst impulses impact those around him.

The question that hangs over the whole film is that of the social contract and our obligations within it. There's a quote (which maddeningly I cannot track down) that goes something like "The People, in theory are wonderful and amazing. But people in reality are rude and difficult and maddening." Which is to say that so many of us hold ideas like fairness and kindness and giving in high esteem, but in a moment of coming face-to-face with a stranger might feel disgust or fear. Further, who do we implicitly trust, and why?

Bang keeps Christian just in the right frantic zone where you can hold out hope that he might realize the error of his ways and do the right thing. What is shrewd about the film is that all of the characters are some mix of selfishness and humanity. The film could have just as easily centered on Anne, who is her own special version of selfish and vaguely demented. One of the best sequences (and by "best" I mean, set cringe-meter to HIGH) involves a post-hookup confrontation between the two in which the power dynamic between them continually shifts, all while standing in front of a jarring art exhibit and under the bland gaze of a museum guard.

The standout sequence in the film comes close to the end and is the image most often used to promote the movie. It involves a performance artist called Oleg (Terry Notary) who takes a performance too far in front of a crowd of museum employees and patrons. If the movie's themes could be reduced to a short film, it would probably be that sequence, which of course manages to be funny and incredibly upsetting at the same time. A woman asking for help through what are obviously fake laughs and smiles while hundreds of people just watch on in silence is agonizing. At times the film shows us the full outcome of an interaction, other times we are shown only the first part and forced to guess or infer the rest.

I had no real criticisms of the film. It is definitely hard to watch if vicarious embarrassment is hard for you. I broke it into three or four viewings.

Definitely a must-see (as is Force Majeure!).




Re: The Square. Slappy, @neiba and I did a podcast on that a few years ago, and it's one of my favorites. So many great insights:

Discussion thread



The best way to get it is to subscribe with iTunes. The next best ways are to just download it with this link (or add the podcast feed into your RSS reader). Or you can just listen right now with this embedded player:




Force Majeur is still one of the best overlooked comedies of the last twenty years, mostly due to people's resistance to considering it a comedy.
Indeed. I think the fact it’s a comedy doesn’t mean it can’t feel a bit sad at times, though.



Indeed. I think the fact it’s a comedy doesn’t mean it can’t feel a bit sad at times, though.

It is sometimes amazing to me how frequently people simply lose sight of how comedy and tragedy naturally compliment eachother


I've got no issues with pure comedy per se (I think Airplane is one of the greatest films ever made) but I think the frequency with which popular culture lifts comedy completely free from sadness, is a small tragedy of its own. I think people lose sight of how something can be funny when it doesn't telegraph that you are allowed to laugh at it. And why it is important to laugh at the things which can easily break us.


To me, the description of the wife describing the clomp of her husband's ski boots running away from them, can still make me laugh just thinking about it.



Force Majeur is still one of the best overlooked comedies of the last twenty years, mostly due to people's resistance to considering it a comedy.
I read (small parts, to avoid spoilers) of two different reviews, and the framing of both made it sound like a drama.

I had to radically recalibrate my expereince of the film about a fourth of the way in when I realized it was comedy.



So, I kind of watched Rules of Attraction (2002). I am on the road doing work, so I didn't have time to really pay attention, but when I looked up, what I saw was consistently awful. Everytime I looked up, someone was reaching an orgasm or vomiting or committing suicide or bumping a line of coke. The actors were chewing the scenery and making every weird face imaginable, especially James Van Der Beek.



I didn't listen (volume was turned down so I could work), but everything I saw was childish, crude, nihilistic, and hyper-sensualized. Kind of like what some 12-year-old's fever dream of what college must be like.

I don't know what it was really about. I don't want to know. It was awful. Zero out of five bathetic O-faces.



Re: The Square. Slappy, @neiba and I did a podcast on that a few years ago, and it's one of my favorites. So many great insights.
Good conversation and an interesting listen.

I liked your discussion about the idea of who art is for and the line between public/private.

I didn't quite have my thoughts together to write something about it, but I did think that it was interesting that the only times in the film that people are willing to intervene are three different moments when a woman is being physically threatened, and all of those involve to different degrees an element of "performance":
WARNING: spoilers below

1) The woman who claims to be chased so that she can steal their things. This is a performance in a square, and the threat is not real.

2) The (fictional) little blonde girl being exploded in the square

3) The woman who is attacked by Oleg during his performance

But when the "victim" or person in need isn't a cute woman, well, too bad. A man who needs money? A child who has fallen down the stairs? Tough luck. Yes, Christian grudgingly buys a woman a sandwich, but clearly his takeaway from that whole situation is her perceived lack of gratitude.


I also took the name of the main character, Christian, as a criticism of people (and maybe especially religious people) who make lofty claims about charity, gratitude, community, etc. But push comes to shove those people behave just as selfishly. I have students who will come to class with the Bible as reading material, tell me about Sunday school, and an hour later tell me that there are no "real" homeless people, they are all secretly rich and they are just pretending. And sitting ten feet from them is a child who I know to actually be homeless. In fact, some of the worst deception, child abuse, bullying, and selfishness have come from students/families who loudly tout their Christianity. As seen in characters in the film, it's more of a "badge" that people wear for clout and less an actual real-world philosophy or way of life.



To me, the description of the wife describing the clomp of her husband's ski boots running away from them, can still make me laugh just thinking about it.
For me, it's the part where he has the breakdown in the hallway and is like "Do you realize how hard it is for me to be a coward?!". LOL.



So, I kind of watched Rules of Attraction (2002). I am on the road doing work, so I didn't have time to really pay attention, but when I looked up, what I saw was consistently awful. Everytime I looked up, someone was reaching an orgasm or vomiting or committing suicide or bumping a line of coke. The actors were chewing the scenery and making every weird face imaginable, especially James Van Der Beek.



I didn't listen (volume was turned down so I could work), but everything I saw was childish, crude, nihilistic, and hyper-sensualized. Kind of like what some 12-year-old's fever dream of what college must be like.

I don't know what it was really about. I don't want to know. It was awful. Zero out of five bathetic O-faces.
This is one of those reviews that’s intended to be negative but captures why it’s fantastic.



Women will be your undoing, Pépé





The Batman (2022)
++++ (potential for a greater enjoyment in future watches)

FIRST: A Disclaimer: I care - extremely, very little - when it comes to Robert Patterson. In the few I've seen, it's continually gone down and down. So I groaned when I first heard of him playing Batman. But then I equally moaned when Michael Keaton stepped up and did, in my eyes, pretty d@mn f@ckin good. So, skeptical but very curious, I went to the cinema with my brother with a relatively open mind to see where this dark rabbit hole would traverse in this stand-alone version outside the Justice League world.

And, I gotta tell ya, while the Emo kid bit threw me a bit, I did warm to it, and Patterson's portrayal of a Sophmore Detective/Vigilante addicted to being The Batman and ready to forget being Bruce Wayne. That initial rage that would become a cold menace in many Batman films has taken full reign with more savagery than many predecessors for me. Where the quick, efficient dispatching of opponents is here, a more brutal unleashing of every ounce of grief and pain within the cowl-wearing young Bruce Wayne. Director/Writer Matt Reeves creates a "darker" Se7en-induced production with poignant grit beyond our beloved theatrical renditions of Batman.
We have a rain-drenched, shadow-encased Gotham of political corruption where crime is rampant and bold as f@ck. There is no glimmer of light by anyone attempting to be a "good person." Even the shining "First Family," the Waynes have dark secrets.
A well-grounded, truly bleak domain that The Batman goes to war with. A Batman that exhibits his Detective skill beyond playing on a computer as he tracks a unique Riddler that steps out of his typical bright green-coded attire and giggling temperament. His dementia is truly twisted instead of comedic fodder, adding to the truly dark tone that takes a Comic Book Hero out of a Comic Book World into a more cinematic world of realistic danger and brutality. Albeit retaining that, it is still a Comic Book Hero story. The usual Batman Toys/Gadgets are here, more muscled cars/bikes that, (I have always been a fan of the toys and gadgets), I truly enjoyed them in this setting. Especially the feral growl of his suped-up, turbine-engined batmobile.
I must also express that Zoe Kravitz's Selena Kyle is a fitting Catwoman to Patterson's The Batman. Since both Kravits and Patterson were previous friends, their chemistry worked exceedingly well on screen for me. Kravitz blended and balanced the temperament and determination of her character with moments of vulnerability and, thereby, a well-rounded personality quite nicely for me.

I WILL be seeing this again. Hopefully, once more on the Big Screen, but I definitely will be as well as the next The Batman should Reeves have the opportunity to continue.
__________________
What I actually said to win MovieGal's heart:
- I might not be a real King of Kinkiness, but I make good pancakes
~Mr Minio



AMBULANCE

The perfect Michael Bay movie.

5/5
My expanded justification for giving Bay’s new opus a perfect score.

https://boxd.it/2JXLX9



Victim of The Night
The problem is that the film needs him to act as a counter-balance to the way that Miles is gravitating toward becoming a curmudgeonly shut in. And honestly I think that Church himself has such a likable vibe that it pushes you toward liking him. Then again, that charisma works for the character because it shows how Jack manages to be so successful in his horndog ways.

I guess it's not so much a problem with the film and its intent as much as me getting tired of spending time with his character.
All I can say is I did not like him and neither did my wife (at the time) and neither of us thought we were supposed to.



I miss my own personal groan knowing that a new Transformers film is coming out



I watched a few from Bogdanovich lately. I love The Last Picture Show, and as I've gotten older I've come to appreciate Ben Johnson's character even more.


Saint Jack is the other one I checked out. I found it to be a little confusing for follow, but it is a nice time capsule of an era before gentrification. I was interested enough in it to go find a copy of the book afterwards. It was written by Paul Theroux, his son Louis Theroux did Louis and the Nazis back in 2003. I've actually became pretty close friends with one of the twins featured in it, she wasn't too thrilled when he did a recent interview with them in 2020 and only featured like 30 seconds of it in one of his newer specials.
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yours truly,
Kayden Kross



I care - extremely, very little - when it comes to Robert Patterson. In the few I've seen, it's continually gone down and down.
Whaaaaat?

Have you seen Good Time or High Life? I've found over the last 10 years or so that he's doing good work in interesting films.