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Strange Victory (1948) Directed by Leo Hurwitz. I watched this today on the Criterion Channel. This is an excellent documentary about prejudices in post World War II America. It is thought provoking, articulate, compelling, and powerful. Highly recommended.





Hypnotic - (2023)

Yeah.... no.
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It isn't really a movie, but it is directed by one of the best filmmakers working today:



A Strange Way of Life (2023)

Although it's barely over half an hour long, this Western from Almodovar really hits home in the way only one of his films possibly could. When it's over, you feel you've really gotten to know the main characters, and can't stop but wondering what fate awaits them...



I forgot the opening line.

By Possibly Lonesome Heroes Productions, Kind Stranger Productions, A Lasting Dose Productions, Game Theory Films - https://www.tiff.net/events/riceboy-sleeps, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71784341

Riceboy Sleeps - (2022)

It took a while for Riceboy Sleeps to get here, but it was worth the wait. It'll have you quietly crying in the cinema (or at home), and works so well in the way it flows that it kind of reminds you of your own familial connection and love. Achingly intimate, we find ourselves siding with Korean mother So-Young (Choi Seung-yoon), raising her son Dong-Hyun (Ethan Hwang) by herself in Canada after Dong-Hyun's father commits suicide. How much should they hold on to as far as their Korean heritage goes? How do they become a part of the community they live in? Where are they going? As best they can, they navigate turbulent waters - until a devastating diagnosis changes the whole equation. Wonderful score, cinematography and overall feel to the performances and screenplay - a beautiful film and one I enjoyed watching very much on the verge of tears much of the time. Well worth seeking out and seeing.

9/10


By May be found at the following website: http://www.movieposterdb.com/poster/aa9da71a, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17817492

Closely Watched Trains - (1966)

Absolute classic - one of the great Czechoslovakian films about a young train station dispatcher becoming a man amid the madness of the final weeks of the Second World War. Extremely funny and extremely moving and tragic - my review of it is here. Knocked me off my feet.

9/10
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By Possibly Lonesome Heroes Productions, Kind Stranger Productions, A Lasting Dose Productions, Game Theory Films - https://www.tiff.net/events/riceboy-sleeps, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71784341

Riceboy Sleeps - (2022)

It took a while for Riceboy Sleeps to get here, but it was worth the wait. It'll have you quietly crying in the cinema (or at home), and works so well in the way it flows that it kind of reminds you of your own familial connection and love. Achingly intimate, we find ourselves siding with Korean mother So-Young (Choi Seung-yoon), raising her son Dong-Hyun (Ethan Hwang) by herself in Canada after Dong-Hyun's father commits suicide. How much should they hold on to as far as their Korean heritage goes? How do they become a part of the community they live in? Where are they going? As best they can, they navigate turbulent waters - until a devastating diagnosis changes the whole equation. Wonderful score, cinematography and overall feel to the performances and screenplay - a beautiful film and one I enjoyed watching very much on the verge of tears much of the time. Well worth seeking out and seeing.

9/10
I very much enjoyed this one too.



That's some bad hat, Harry.
Fletch Lives (1989)



3/5

Chevy Chase is great in the role of Fletch. I wish they'd made at least one more of these movies with him in the lead role. Fletch Lives doesn't have the cohesion or the surprises of the first film but it's still very funny.
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That's some bad hat, Harry.
Out of Sight (1998)



4/5

Some top performances, a witty script that reflects Steven Soderbergh's direction. Jennifer Lopez is great in this. It's a top-notch role. It took me until by umpteenth viewing to recognise how good that character is. Easily her best performance.



21 (2008)


Truly dazzling, especially given the authenticity of the story. The technical details like editing and dialogue are a bit average though. I had to look up the Kevin Spacey legalities to remind myself of everything there, and I was surprised to see he actually was found innocent/acquitted of everything (so far)....

My Vegas movie watching is basically complete now after this one. I'll be in Vegas this weekend!



LILO & STITCH
(2002, Sanders & DeBlois)



"This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah. Still good."

Lilo & Stitch presents an unconventional family unit, united by blood but broken by tragedy, in young Lilo (Daveigh Chase) and her older sister Nani (Tia Carrere). With their parents dead in a car accident, Nani struggles in taking care of Lilo, who seems to be handling the trauma by acting out at school. Things get more complicated, when they stumble upon Stitch (Chris Sanders), a seemingly aggressive alien that has escaped from its planet.

Obviously, Lilo and Stitch form an unlikely bond as they both help each other cope with their respective issues and traumas. It is through this bonding that they both learn to control their behavior while forming their "ohana" or extended family. It is in this concept of a broken little "family", united by choice, that the film really got to me. It is Stitch itself who says the above quote where he proclaims his choice and desire for this family unit to work.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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Albert Pyun Roulette, Part 2:
Cyborg -


Plot: A martial artist hunts a killer in a plague-infested urban dump of the future.

This dystopian action movie is as fundamental and derivative as it gets, but it does enough interesting things and makes the most of its peanuts budget that it was worth my while. Its "wall at the typical Chili's or Applebee's" approach to production design and costuming work for me because in a world where nobody can make anything new, everyone would likely make use of whatever junk was lying around. As for Van Damme, I'll still never choose to watch anything because he's in it - I watched this for the director, for what it's worth - since I still don't think he's that good of an actor. He at least has the physicality and martial arts talent to make the action scenes memorable, as does Klyn, who brings blue eyed soul - sorry, couldn't resist - to his villain role. Also, contrary to popular criticism, I think the use of flashbacks works - questionable hairstyling notwithstanding - as does the spiritual allegory despite the unintentional comedy.

Again, while there's barely anything new in this, there's still lessons to learn in it about the power of hope and that a little kindness goes a long way. Your mileage may vary on Van Damme, but as flexible as he may be, I doubt the movie will win him many new fans. Also, if you didn't already know Cannon produced the movie to salvage a failed production, you would assume as much pretty quickly. Pyun and company deserve a pat on the back regardless. Besides, what someone does with too little tends to be more interesting than what they do with too much.







1st Rewatch...Absolutely love this luminous coming of age story that provides a magical blend of smiles and the occasional tear. Saoirse Ronan received an Oscar nomination for lead actress for her performance in this lyrical melodrama about a young Irish immigrant who journeys to America to begin a new life, with a place to live and a job already arranged for her, but a family crisis finds her almost throwing it all away, including a new romance. This movie features spectacular production values, a screenplay rich with authentic Irish and Italian sensibilities and an enchanting performance by Ronan, another actor I have added to my list of actors incapable of giving a bad performance. Fans of The Notebook will have a head start here.






3rd Rewatch...Though I love Fight Club, most cinephiles probably consider this gritty crime drama David Fincher's masterpiece. A veteran cop (Oscar winner Morgan Freeman) six days from retirement and a young detective just sinking his teeth into the job (Oscar winner Brad Pitt) are teamed to find a serial killer (Oscar winner Kevin Spacey) who is committing brutal murders based on the seven deadly sins. There's a part of you that wants to take a shower when this movie is over, but its ugliness and uncompromising look at the workings of a criminal mind fascinate and continue to through more than one watch.






1st Rewatch...I have to admit I enjoyed this creepy psychological thriller a little more than I did the first time. This look at karate as a religious cult stars Jesse Eisenberg as a nerdy accountant who gets brutally mugged one night walking home and is afraid t leave the house until he decides to begin taking karate classes which begins changing his life in a multitude of ways. I don't want to say much more for those who've never seen it, but if you're looking for something a little different in your creepy, give this shot. The first two thirds of the movie are quite engrossing until a plot twist takes the wind out of its cinematic sails, before bouncing back for a fantastic finale. The film is anchored by the icy performances of Eisenberg and Alessandro Nivola as his sensei.




Fallen Leaves (2023, Aki Kaurismäki)

Simple but captivating love story from the Finnish master of tragicomedy. The love for ordinary, forgotten people and their joys and misfortunes shines through, as the film delicately straddles the line between bittersweet optimism and outright depression but never succumbs to the latter. We follow the characters as they go on about their lives working (and getting laid off from) tedious blue collar jobs, afflicted with loneliness, alcoholism or financial problems, spending their time after work in karaoke bars or at home with the constant barrage of news about the war in Ukraine as their daily soundtrack. But the warmth of humanity is always there, as is Kaurismäki's lovely sense of humor and irony-laced dialogue. I was just in love with the vibe of this film—we definitely need more movies like this in this insanely callous, cynical world we live in.





You Can Live Forever
What a beautiful, tender yet heartbreaking love story.
Excellent writing & directing by the two fimmmakers Watts & Slutsky. The portrayal of the conservative community wasn't stereotypical.

Every one played their part well, including the two leads. Especially Anwen O'Driscoll. The little gasps, the heavy breathing & the stolen glances were so nicely acted by her.

Absolutely loved this little gem.





Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny - (2023)

Better than the previous installment, but still a far cry from the original trilogy. There are a few things to enjoy here and there thou.



The Iron Claw (2023)

Over-wrought and indulgent true live(s) story about a family whos lives revolve around the 'sport' wrestling. Didn't really see the point of this and the wrestling scenes trying to put some gravitas into the storyline are just laughable. Thought this was really poor.