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11 Foreign Language movies to go
Then there's the stylistic choice to announce the results as we are watching the events. As a skier prepares to go down the hill, the narrator will say, "And here's Smith, about to place 6th."
Hehe. That's why television stations should never hire sports commentators who are also psychic.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.


Latest Review : God's Not Dead (2014)



Victim of The Night
Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) — My introduction to Jarmusch was the scattershot The Dead Don’t Die, but this one is way more my speed: a dark mood piece that I could really vibe too.


Night of the Comet (1984) — A really fun, campy zombie movie with a light 80’s feel to it. Not much more too it than that, not that it needs to be.
I actually enjoyed tDDD, though I admit its flaws, but OLLA is a movie that really stuck with me (and my friends, for that matter).

Night Of The Comet has been a low-key favorite movie of mine since I saw it in theaters and I don't care what anyone says, I think the movie has a heart and a brain and is also fun and I don't know what the hell more you want.



Night Of The Comet has been a low-key favorite movie of mine since I saw it in theaters and I don't care what anyone says, I think the movie has a heart and a brain and is also fun and I don't know what the hell more you want.
It also stars the great Kelli Maroney.


A rare movie that checks all the boxes.



I watched Black Bear, which I never heard anyone mention outside of Aubrey Plaza briefly promoting it on her social media. But it’s got a 90% on Rotty Ts so I gave it a shot. It’s a nifty little mindtrip of a movie that I’m not sure I fully understand but enjoy speculating on. Excellent performances too. And I wouldn’t have known about it if I wasn’t cyber-stalking my celebrity crush.



Best part of waking up
Jurassic World: Dominion C-

I found this Jurassic Park entry mildly amusing, but ultimately thought that there were too many characters and not enough story.

Was that the worst villain in movie history, or what?



The Two Faces of January -


Taking place in beautiful, sun-kissed Greece, our guide in The Two Faces of January - literally and figuratively - is tour guide and American ex-patriate Rydal (Oscar Isaac), who's on the outs with his family, having skipped his dad's funeral. Hardly the trustworthy type, he uses his good looks to woo his mostly American, college-aged female customers and his fluency in Greek to swindle them at the local bazaar. Rydal befriends married couple Chester and Colette (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) - partly due to Chester reminding him of his dad - and soon learns they're as shady as himself. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, he becomes their ticket to safety and perhaps his next mark.

This movie lends credence to the argument that the best acting occurs in confined spaces. Proving that they're not just movie stars, sparks fly whenever Isaac and Mortensen engage in their many close-quartered games of one-upmanship. Dunst is no less impressive in her more passive role for how her facial expressions speak volumes. Credit also goes to cinematographer Marcel Zyskind for accentuating the natural beauty of the Mediterranean setting and for making the more off the beaten path locales seem like no places for tourists. Like so many other noirs, this one is hard to say much about for fear of spoiling it - complimenting its surprises seems like a spoiler in and of itself - but I'll praise them anyway. They all took me for a loop and made me wonder how any of our gang would have a leg to stand on afterwards. After all, Hossein Amini, who made his feature directorial debut with this movie, wrote Drive and considers Le Samourai his bible, is no stranger to good noir. Presumably because it underperformed, he hasn't directed a movie since, which is a shame because he shows potential.

The movie is not without its flaws: whether they're a product of the source material of Amini's script, members of the trio sometimes make decisions that raise red flags. There are also some developments that are implied that I wish had been shown instead. It ended up exceeding my expectations anyway for how it works as noir and as a story about how complicated the father-son relationship can become. I watched it on Father's Day, and while it may actually be an anti-Father's Day movie, watching it on that holiday made the experience all the more resonant.



I watched Black Bear, which I never heard anyone mention outside of Aubrey Plaza briefly promoting it on her social media. But it’s got a 90% on Rotty Ts so I gave it a shot. It’s a nifty little mindtrip of a movie that I’m not sure I fully understand but enjoy speculating on. Excellent performances too. And I wouldn’t have known about it if I wasn’t cyber-stalking my celebrity crush.

I saw this show up on a friend's letterboxd account. I don't really know what they thought about it, but it got my curiosity piqued and it's on my proverbial, "I want to get to this one soon," list. Like, "near-near future soon," not, "sometime this year" soon.



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
I watched Black Bear, which I never heard anyone mention outside of Aubrey Plaza briefly promoting it on her social media. But it’s got a 90% on Rotty Ts so I gave it a shot. It’s a nifty little mindtrip of a movie that I’m not sure I fully understand but enjoy speculating on. Excellent performances too. And I wouldn’t have known about it if I wasn’t cyber-stalking my celebrity crush.
I liked Black Bear, but found it somewhat confusing. I'm not sure I totally understood it, but Aubrey Plaza is great in it and the film was interesting. I rated it a
.



Allaby's Avatar
Guy who likes movies
Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) This was actually pretty good. It's a satisfying and entertaining film that gives the viewer exactly what you expect. If you like to watch naked women being killed, then this is the movie for you!



Victim of The Night
It also stars the great Kelli Maroney.


A rare movie that checks all the boxes.
And the wonderful Catherine Mary Stewart.
I actually did a write-up of NotC where I talked about spending half my life looking for my Reg.



Too Many Cooks (1931)



I enjoyed this amusing little film that ran 1 hour & 17 minutes.

A romantic comedy about an engaged couple (Al & Alice) about to build their dream home, but become besieged by family members that want to butt in.
The title is a pun because Alice's family name is "Cook" and she has a bevy of interfering relatives, but Al has an uncle (his only relative) who holds money & employment over the young man's head in order to obtain a room in the future house. And each of the betrothed has a best friend (who can't stand each other upon meeting) who also stick their noses in.

Not uproariously funny or slapstick, the humor is subtle and the acting is a bit stunted with the way lines are delivered - typical for an early "talkie," yet a very engaging little story (and Dorothy Lee as Alice is a real cutie)!




THE HEART OF THE WORLD
(2000, Maddin)



"Tragic calculations! Triple-checked! No mistakes! The world is dying of heart failure!"

Set in an alternate reality, The Heart of the World follows Anna (Leslie Lais), a scientist studying the Earth's core (or "heart"). As she is being courted by two brothers: Nikolai (Shaun Balbar) and Osip (Caelum Vatnsdal), a theater actor, she discovers that the "heart" of the world is in danger and she must warn the population to avoid a catastrophe.

This is a very interesting short film, not only for its odd plot but mostly for the way it is constructed. Writer and director Guy Maddin set out to make a film that was as frenetic as possible, at roughly two shots per second, but also constructed in a style that is reminiscent of very early German and Russian silent films, like Metropolis.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the 5th Short HoF thread
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I just finished a big collection of Blaxploitation movies on the Criterion Channel today ahead of them disappearing at the end of the month. Honestly, I’ve always loved Blaxploitation movies more than your more typical New Hollywood movie. It’s amazing what centering something other than the usual string of White guys will do, even if the movies are admittedly much rougher around the edges. Top of the Heap and Sugar Hill were a pair of especially delightful discoveries, and I’m always up for a good Larry Cohen movie (and this collection had two).

Beyond Blaxploitation:

1. Top of the Heap (1972)

2. Original Gangstas (1996)

3. Sugar Hill (1974)

4. Black Caesar (1973)

5. Three the Hard Way (1974)

6. Cleopatra Jones (1973)

7. Trouble Man (1972)

8. Across 110th Street (1972)

9. Shaft’s Big Score (1972)

10. J.D.’s Revenge (1976)

11. Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song (1971)

12. Truck Turner (1974)

13. Thomasine & Bushrod (1974)

14. Coonskin (1975)

15. Friday Foster (1975)

16. Blackbelt Jones (1974)

17. Space Is the Place (1974)

18. Dolemite ((1975)

19. Petey Wheatstraw (1977)

20. Lord Shango (1975)

21. Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)



11 Foreign Language movies to go

By "Copyright 1950 Paramount Pictures Corporation" - Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from the original image., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/inde...curid=85715545

Sunset Boulevard - (1950)

This always stuck out as one of the all time greats that I hadn't seen - but from last night I can cross it off the list, and oh boy, I had a great time with it. I never knew much about it, for as time went on I avoided learning anything at all so I could go into it completely fresh and unexpectant. I did not know the story would focus solely on a relationship between the 'hard on his luck' Joe Gillis (William Holden) and faded silent screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) - I thought the plot would be more intricate. This simplicity is right up my alley, and I found there was a gold mine in the camera's withering, unflattering gaze at a guy doing something morally objectionable, and a lady not wanting to let go of a gloried past. I was especially shocked to suddenly find Buster Keaton during the card game scene. I loved Sunset Boulevard more than words can say, and far more than I was expecting to, despite it's reputation.

10/10


By Pathé, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60259526

In the Name of the Land - (2019)

I was shocked into giving this a high rating due to it's unbelievable ending - apparently, farming in France is so fraught with difficulties financial and practical that a French farmer commits suicide every 2 days on average. Can that be accurate? A suicide every couple of days? In this, a young man, Pierre (Guillaume Canet) inherits a farm from his father and raises a family there, but soon he has to expand to be able to pay of loans, and that expansion leads to more debt, and more work, which makes life hard. When the goat shed burns in an unexpected blaze (shades of Minari) Pierre becomes clinically depressed - eventually terrorizing his own loved ones with bouts of madness. This is based on director Edouard Bergeon's own life, and got him a nomination for a César Award for Best First Feature Film. It remains, to this date, his only feature - but it's a good one.

7.5/10



I mainline Windex and horse tranquilizer
The Thing - 10/10
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The Wolf of Snow Hollow -


Jim Cummings continues to prove his expertise at telling stories about and at playing men whose professional and personal crises reveal their identities in this always entertaining horror comedy. Like in Thunder Road, he's a cop again - this time in a small Utah skiing town - but he's dealing with a different (and possibly actual) monster: a serial killer who attacks at midnight and only when there's a full moon. With each kill, Cummings' Jim Marshall loses more of his composure, and as a result, risks acquiring his next AA chip. To make matters worse, his relationship with his rising college freshman daughter becomes even more tenuous.

I like how Marshall's increasing strain and one step forward, two steps back progress ride a fine line between making you laugh and feel bad for him at the same time. This is partly because Jim's such a good actor and has an endearing presence, but I also give credit to him for experimenting with more sophisticated filming techniques, one highlight being the cross cuts between the attacks with the places Marshall hid his booze. These techniques combined with the increasing body count earn the movie its horror label. The rest of the cast also hold their own, my favorites being Riki Lindhome as Marshall's partner - whose loyalty likely keeps him employed - and Chloe East as Jim's daughter for how she never hesitates to call out her dad's failings. It's also nice to see Robert Forster - sadly for the last time - as the sheriff and Jim's ad. Oh, and I'm sure other reviewers have called out how well the movie parallels lycanthropy with the toxicity of Marshall and the town's most dudebro residents and visitors, but I'll do it anyway.

Could this movie be described as Thunder Road with a werewolf? Maybe. Despite the horror elements, Arnaud and Marshall are not terribly different, nor are their relationships with their families and co-workers. The police procedural serial killer story also has plenty of familiar beats. It's still great, and since Cummings is relatively new to feature filmmaking, I get that he wants to stick to familiar territory and establish his brand before trying something else. Besides, as I stated above, I was invested in the story and the characters enough to disregard any familiarity. It ends up being an funny and chilling little movie that's an effective reminder of how dangerous - or is it authentic - we are when we're pushed to our limit. It's also bound to make you want to know everything about Jim Cummings' career plans.




Birth (2004, Jonathan Glazer)

I really liked Under the Skin (flawed masterpiece and kind of underrated imo), so I was curious to delve deeper into Glazer's body of work. This movie came up, and it piqued my interest due to its subject (reincarnation). Within the first 20 minutes it became painfully obvious there was something way off about Birth and the rest of the movie sadly reinforced that impression, which is a shame because it could have turned out so, so much better and creepier, had it been served with a better script. That's not to say it's a complete waste of time though (it wasn't for me anyway). Despite all the badness, there are some fine moments here that are strangely fascinating, like Joseph's meltdown scene, or that creepy scene when Clara confronts the boy, or the ending scene on the beach. The huge problem is the script which makes key parts of the film unconvincing and ineffective, and the film suffers as a whole.



Victim of The Night

By "Copyright 1950 Paramount Pictures Corporation" - Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from the original image., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/inde...curid=85715545

Sunset Boulevard - (1950)

This always stuck out as one of the all time greats that I hadn't seen - but from last night I can cross it off the list, and oh boy, I had a great time with it. I never knew much about it, for as time went on I avoided learning anything at all so I could go into it completely fresh and unexpectant. I did not know the story would focus solely on a relationship between the 'hard on his luck' Joe Gillis (William Holden) and faded silent screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) - I thought the plot would be more intricate. This simplicity is right up my alley, and I found there was a gold mine in the camera's withering, unflattering gaze at a guy doing something morally objectionable, and a lady not wanting to let go of a gloried past. I was especially shocked to suddenly find Buster Keaton during the card game scene. I loved Sunset Boulevard more than words can say, and far more than I was expecting to, despite it's reputation.

10/10
I had the same experience when I saw it, I was really impressed by how it still managed to meet or exceed my expectations despite expectations.