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One Piece: Clockwork Island Adventure (Atsuji Shimizu, 2001)

Another sub-1-hour film but there's a lot more money behind it this time and it pretty much nails everything that makes the series great. Our main cast are as lovable as always (though Nami being relegated to damsel in distress is a bit unfortunate) and the side characters and villains-of-the-week are pretty great too. The pacing here is impeccable as well. It does everything it needs to in that short stretch of time without ever feeling rushed or scant on content. What really makes it shine is just how well it captures the One Piece feel, especially in the world/character design and the imaginative fight sequences. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.
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FRUITVALE STATION
(2013, Coogler)
A film with a title that starts with E or F



"I'm tired. Thought I could start over fresh, but... s**t ain't workin' out."

Based in real life events, Fruitvale Station follows the events surrounding Grant's death at the hands of two police officers at the titular train station. Grant (Michael B. Jordan), who was coming from celebrating New Year's Eve with his girlfriend and friends was either involved or in the vicinity of a fight on the train, which resulted in the police detaining him along with others, when one of them shot him in the back as he was lying down.

Even though the film veers close to melodrama at some points, it never tips over. It also feels a bit overlong, but Coogler manages to keep it together for the most part. But if there's anything deserving of praise here, it's Jordan's performance. He is so effortlessly good in the role, without overselling the part. Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz are also pretty good as Grant's mother and girlfriend, respectively.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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H-8... (1958)

+


Many call this the best Croatian movie ever made. It's based on the true story of a terrible crash with a bus and a truck that occurred a year earlier. They show how the crash happens at the beginning of the film and we learn the results, including where some of the victims were sitting. Then we go back to watch the people's journey, get to know them, and wonder who will be sitting in those seats. On YouTube with subtitles and recommended.





Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell (Emmett Malloy, 2021)
6.5/10

The short life of rap innovator The Notorious B.I.G. is shown through home -made videos, interviews and his music.

I am very intrigued by this.



That sounds cool; can you share that paper with us here somehow?
Thanks. Jesus, I wish I could. That was 30 years ago this May. It was on actual paper. Backed up on a floppy-disc.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell (Emmett Malloy, 2021)
6.5/10

The short life of rap innovator The Notorious B.I.G. is shown through home-made videos, interviews and his music.

I am very intrigued by this.

It's a pretty easy watch, mostly a tribute. His mom can be funny sometimes. I was a little disappointed the stuff with Tupac wasn't clarified any better than it was 20 years ago, but it's apparently still unknowable.
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It's not a great film but it's a pleasant enough diversion, distracted a bit by the weaknesses above, but really all you need in this one is the great Barbara Stanwyck unleashed. And she is.
Agreed. But what mostly hurts it, for me, is that the disparity between her character and his is just a bit too much. It goes back to that problem of not really believing that a character would fall for another character.

I liked it, but it was a full step down from what I had hoped it would be.



Battle of the Sexes (2017)

A really boring account of a media "sensational" affair.
Grim.





The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957

Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is out on a boating trip with his wife, Louise (Randy Stuart), when a strange, sparkling cloud passes over him. Months later, Scott notices that his clothing seems a little loose. What at first seems impossible is eventually confirmed by his doctor--Scott is shrinking.

Where in the world did a movie called The Incredible Shrinking Man get THE NERVE to be genuinely dramatic, thrilling, and emotionally moving?!

For years I have imagined that this movie would sort of fall into that kind of 50s sci-fi/horror subgenre of a cool poster, effects that are fun but don't quite live up to the poster, and lots of scenes with pseudo-scientific talk by men standing around indeterminate bubbling beakers.

But instead the film is a shockingly good mix of effects set-pieces (Scott holding a phone as big as he is; being chased by the housecat; fending off a spider with a nail) and observation about how Scott's condition impacts him and his relationship with Louise.

It is interesting that the film explains Scott's condition as "anti-cancer". Much of what he goes through has parallels with someone suffering from a chronic illness. Even as Scott shrinks, his condition impacts Louise and their relationship. In one moment he even explicitly says, "Every day I became more domineering." It seems like dark humor, as at this point he is literally living in a dollhouse, but it shows a degree of empathy for the way that a chronic condition can impact not only the person with the condition but also their loved ones. The film does a great job of showing us the loving, deep relationship between Louise and Scott (and the actors have really solid chemistry in their banter). Louise is unfailingly supportive of Scott, but both of them are under incredible strain. By establishing their relationship so well, it becomes all the more painful as it starts to fall apart.

Still, though, this is Scott's story. Around the middle of the film, a series of events leads to the focus of the film being almost entirely on Scott. And at this point, it almost begins to delve into an existential exploration. Having given up on a cure, Scott is forced to reckon with what his life even means at this point. There is a moving sequence in which Scott sits with a woman who is part of a circus act and is also "miniature" (I put this in quotes because I am not sure what condition she is meant to have).

And the ending! Oof! I won't say anything specific, but it really landed in a beautiful place. So far from the cheesy 50s sci-fi stereotypes.




@Takoma11 Nicely written expose of The Incredibly Shrinking Man. You really delved into the deeper meaning of the film. I looked up the scriptwriter, Richard Matheson and he has an impressive body of work including writing a number of screenplays for the original Twilight Zone TV series and the ill fated 1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie...among other things.



@Takoma11 Nicely written expose of The Incredibly Shrinking Man. You really delved into the deeper meaning of the film. I looked up the scriptwriter, Richard Matheson and he has an impressive body of work including writing a number of screenplays for the original Twilight Zone TV series and the ill fated 1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie...among other things.
Yeah, Matheson has some really good stuff on his resume (including maybe my favorite Twilight Zone episode, the nearly wordless "The Invaders").

For me, the film was very much like The Man with the X-Ray Eyes--a movie with a pretty over-the-top title that leads you to expect something cheesy, and instead there's some really interesting character work in there.

Have you seen The Incredible Shrinking Man? The part at the end where (MAJOR SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
he becomes infinitely small and thus kind of one with the universe, and ruminates on the idea that his physical self may be diminished but not his soul was pretty beautiful. Lots of credit to the actor for delivering that final monologue and that final line, "To God there are no zeroes" that could easily have come off as goofy.



Yeah, Matheson has some really good stuff on his resume (including maybe my favorite Twilight Zone episode, the nearly wordless "The Invaders").

For me, the film was very much like The Man with the X-Ray Eyes--a movie with a pretty over-the-top title that leads you to expect something cheesy, and instead there's some really interesting character work in there.

Have you seen The Incredible Shrinking Man? The part at the end where (MAJOR SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
he becomes infinitely small and thus kind of one with the universe, and ruminates on the idea that his physical self may be diminished but not his soul was pretty beautiful. Lots of credit to the actor for delivering that final monologue and that final line, "To God there are no zeroes" that could easily have come off as goofy.
I had to look up Twilight Zone The Invaders, but hell yes! Even as a kid I knew that was one powerful episode, thanks in large part to one of Orson Welles' favorite Mercury Players Agnes Moorehead...of course she rocked her roll as Endora in TV's Bewitched too.

Yes I've seen The Incredible Shrinking Man a couple times and like you said it's way above the typical atomic monster 50s sci fi B flick. And it is thought provoking, especially as he ponders his new existence in a strange new world.

The Man with the X-Ray Eyes...I love that film too!





The Ladykillers, 1955

A group of criminals, led by "Professor Marcus" (Alec Guiness) and including strong-man One-Round (Danny Green), Harry (Peter Sellers), Louis (Herbert Lom), and Claude (Cecil Parker), rent a room from an elderly woman named Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson). Pretending to be a band of musicians, the men plot to pull off a heist, using the unsuspecting Mrs. Wilberforce as an accomplice. Unfortunately, the men are not prepared for the quirky nature of their landlady.

This, to me, is an example of a comedy that just misses the mark. While I would say that I enjoyed it quite a bit, there was something missing that kept me from fully grasping hold of the narrative. Frustratingly, I feel like I mostly have nice things to say about it, and it's hard to say why it didn't really click with me.

Johnson is a delight as the opinionated, brusque Mrs. Wilberforce. In one sequence, the men have tricked her into transporting a trunk full of loot back to her home. But the men can only stare (and sweat!) as she stops the car to get out to berate a man who is being unkind to a horse. It's a great portrayal of a woman whose flighty nature would seem to make her vulnerable, but also makes her wonderfully unpredictable.

The actors playing the criminals are all fine. Guiness wears a ridiculous set of false teeth that easily make up about 45% of his character's personality. As things get tough and the men begin to squabble among themselves, their individual characters begin to emerge more strongly.

I would say that the heist sequence in the first half was my favorite set-piece. Perhaps part of my disappointment is that none of what came after quite managed to match the giddy high point of that part. Much like how I felt about The Lady Eve, I just expected something that would give me a bit more spark. I am more than happy to hear from others who love it. Again--it isn't so much that I disliked parts of it as the fact that it just didn't grip me.




Yeah, Matheson has some really good stuff on his resume (including maybe my favorite Twilight Zone episode, the nearly wordless "The Invaders").

For me, the film was very much like The Man with the X-Ray Eyes--a movie with a pretty over-the-top title that leads you to expect something cheesy, and instead there's some really interesting character work in there.

Have you seen The Incredible Shrinking Man? The part at the end where (MAJOR SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
he becomes infinitely small and thus kind of one with the universe, and ruminates on the idea that his physical self may be diminished but not his soul was pretty beautiful. Lots of credit to the actor for delivering that final monologue and that final line, "To God there are no zeroes" that could easily have come off as goofy.
It's a miracle that ending was allowed to stay as is, and not replaced with something more cliched. Especially so considering this was Matheson's first feature credit (I think).
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Agreed. But what mostly hurts it, for me, is that the disparity between her character and his is just a bit too much. It goes back to that problem of not really believing that a character would fall for another character.

I liked it, but it was a full step down from what I had hoped it would be.
I don't disagree with you. I've never really been a Henry Fonda fan and this movie is one of the big reasons. I think virtually any other star of the time would have been better and made the movie better. But she's fantastic.



...The Man with the X-Ray Eyes--a movie with a pretty over-the-top title that leads you to expect something cheesy, and instead there's some really interesting character work in there.
That's a good little movie, there.



COMING 2 AMERICA



I couldn’t help but think of Bill & Ted Face the Music while watching this one. Both are imperfect but so many of the people return with their hearts in the right place and their dedication to make a decades-late sequel that is far better than it has any right to be.*

Both successfully hit the right amount of nostalgia, avoided cheap repetition and brought the laughs.*

It’s simply a heartfelt and fun movie that left me smiling. Sometimes that’s all a movie needs to be.



I don't disagree with you. I've never really been a Henry Fonda fan and this movie is one of the big reasons. I think virtually any other star of the time would have been better and made the movie better. But she's fantastic.
Conversely, I love Fonda and had no problem believing in their romance.

Sullivan’s Travels is better though.