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I found this film a little confusing and hard to follow
Same.

Even as I was watching it, it all felt a bit muddled. It's a big reason I never checked out the third Iron Man.



10 Foreign Language movies to go

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The Wolverine - (2013)

Not a huge fan of this character, despite having seen around half a dozen movies with Wolverine in them - and despite having enjoyed Logan quite a bit. This was in my queue though, and at the moment I'm sticking to a strict rule of watching all of the movies in my queue, because it's very often the ones I don't want to watch that turn out to be the hidden gems. This was okay. It didn't leave me with that empty feeling I often have when watching a generic superhero movie, but it didn't strike me as an absolute classic either. There were some elements I really liked, especially having the link it does to Japanese culture, and the action scene on the bullet train was exciting, as was that final scene with the unbeatable giant armoured samurai. I hadn't seen the previous film, but the main important plot point from that was provided for me in the opening scenes of this. It didn't bore me or make me feel I wasted my time, but it just needed that little bit more emotional impact to really stand out more. It needed a little more tragedy and moments of consequence on a grander scale.

6.5/10


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High Road to China - (1983)

I had to pause this after the first 10 minutes because my mind wouldn't stop asking, "What the hell ever happened to Bess Armstrong anyway? Did she die?" because after the 1980s I never saw hide nor hair of her. Turns out she didn't die - every movie she appeared in flopped. This should be far more exciting than it is - how could Brian G. Hutton make Jon Cleary's adventure seem so flat? Well, for starters, he really fell in love with shots of those two biplanes flying - around half of the film is just watching those two planes. It gets dull after the first 3 or 4 minutes, even though it's striking at first - by the time we get to the dogfight we're fly-fatigued. Much better viewed in a cinema, stuff like that - because I'd imagine it being quite beautiful on the big screen. If this did having a showing - I'd be tempted to go. Armstrong and Tom Selleck don't exactly set the screen on fire though, and Brian Blessed is wasted (both figuratively, and literally by the looks of his performance.) The scenes with Robert Morley in them are awful. Also - why do these people keep landing their planes in all of the most dangerous places on their way to China? Just land somewhere peaceful guys. Nice flying - but when they're on the ground this film stops dead.

6/10


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Belle - (2013)

I really love Belle, and that's in spite of it never really bending any rules or departing from a tried and true formula. Tom Wilkinson really puts his all into his role as Lord Chief Justice of England, and likewise Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Belle. Belle was a real person, the black daughter of a British Royal Navy officer and the Jamaican slave he loved. She was raised by her grand-uncle after both died, and that person just happened to be Lord Chief Justice, which means she has a dignified and esteemed place in upper class society. Her colour would obviously have been an issue to some, but not her family - and so when the Chief Justice has a case come before him which involves the murder of a group of slaves, and Dido falls in love with a lawyer of diminished class despite being engaged to someone her equal in distinction, this issue of race and slavery becomes pivotal in many people's minds. The way this plays out is so very pleasing that Belle is a film that makes me feel great - especially when looking at the painting that remains depicting the real Dido Belle. I just love it.

8/10


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Gold Diggers of 1933 - (1933)

What a cute little old film this is - and that's despite a lyric or two in it's songs obviously coming from a time when guys could be expected to be a little forceful when it comes to petting in the park. The whole depression era attempt to brighten spirits shines through, and I really like the musical numbers, not to mention how many "awwww"s came out of me when characters (no matter how good or bad, handsome or not so handsome) fell in love with each other. Everyone gets their guy or girl in this film - and there's some breezy and fun comedy in it to boot. I can see myself watching this again. I've seen Joan Blondell in a few films now, and I'm becoming a fan.

7/10
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Victim of The Night
Same.

Even as I was watching it, it all felt a bit muddled. It's a big reason I never checked out the third Iron Man.
You were wise. While IM2 is muddled and pretty uninspired, Iron Man 3, frankly, sucks.



10 Foreign Language movies to go
I don't know if it's because I'd just watched the first Iron Man or read a little about it, but Iron Man 2 seemed fairly straightforward to me. I do have to admit though, that it did lack that spark of creativity that makes a really good superhero movie. It spent a lot of time not going anywhere. I enjoyed some aspects - like the Ivan Vanko character.

I'm not really hyped about Iron Man 3 now - it's on the backburner.






Act of Violence - Released in 1948 and directed by Fred Zinneman this tense melodrama stars Van Heflin as WWII veteran Frank Enley. When his local paper in Santa Lisa, California discovers his wartime record they run an article on the small business owner which is picked up by the national press. In New York City it's seen by Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) who packs his suitcase and gun and hurriedly boards a cross country bus.

Zinneman lets the story play out at a measured, tension-filled pace as Parkson arrives in Santa Lisa and tracks Enley to his home. A very young Janet Leigh delivers an easy to overlook but ultimately pivotal performance as Frank's devoted but unsuspecting wife Edith. Without giving too much away, Parkson's relentless pursuit of Enley is rooted in their shared experience in a German prisoner of war camp.

The story takes an unexpected detour of sorts once Enley hastily leaves for Los Angeles under the guise of attending a business convention. It is there that the implacable Parkson again tracks him down and Enley eventually chances on barfly and implied working girl Pat (Mary Astor). After drunkenly unburdening himself to her and mentioning that his business is worth 20,000 dollars she in turn puts him in touch with a ridiculously shady lawyer named Gavery (Taylor Holmes) who consequently brings in the thuggish Johnny (Berry Kroeger). The implication being that Johnny will take care of the problem in a permanent manner.

The group watching this took bets on how this would shake out and we all got it mostly wrong. Still though it was an enjoyable 80 or so minutes of edgy, well acted drama.

80/100



Deadtime Stories 1986


OMG where has this quirky horror anthology been hiding all my life, this was so good and so 80s, utterly ridiculous! Bright.. colourful.. demented.. tongue in cheek.. real nice practical special effects too, definitely a labour of love, I think the third and last installment as my favourite, I'm positive the actors were told to be way over the top cartoonish, it's hilarious




Serpico (1973, Sydney Lumet)

A very good character study, based on a true story of a cop going against the grain and trying to fight police corruption. Loved how unflinching and gritty it was, and Al Pacino's performance was outstanding. I didn't like the music though (i thought it was very ill-fitting and distracting at times). Not the best Lumet film I've seen (I find his second collab with Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon, to be superior) but still very impactful.



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Serpico (1973, Sydney Lumet)

A very good character study, based on a true story of a cop going against the grain and trying to fight police corruption. Loved how unflinching and gritty it was, and Al Pacino's performance was outstanding. I didn't like the music though (i thought it was very ill-fitting and distracting at times). Not the best Lumet film I've seen (I find his second collab with Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon, to be superior) but still very impactful.

The only bio-pic I like... Except the party. "Everyone loves you, Paco!"



Victim of The Night
I don't know if it's because I'd just watched the first Iron Man or read a little about it, but Iron Man 2 seemed fairly straightforward to me. I do have to admit though, that it did lack that spark of creativity that makes a really good superhero movie. It spent a lot of time not going anywhere. I enjoyed some aspects - like the Ivan Vanko character.

I'm not really hyped about Iron Man 3 now - it's on the backburner.
Until the recent batch of Marvel movies came out I actually had Iron Man 3 as the worst film in the MCU, below Thor: The Dark World.



Victim of The Night



Act of Violence - Released in 1948 and directed by Fred Zinneman this tense melodrama stars Van Heflin as WWII veteran Frank Enley. When his local paper in Santa Lisa, California discovers his wartime record they run an article on the small business owner which is picked up by the national press. In New York City it's seen by Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) who packs his suitcase and gun and hurriedly boards a cross country bus.

Zinneman lets the story play out at a measured, tension-filled pace as Parkson arrives in Santa Lisa and tracks Enley to his home. A very young Janet Leigh delivers an easy to overlook but ultimately pivotal performance as Frank's devoted but unsuspecting wife Edith. Without giving too much away, Parkson's relentless pursuit of Enley is rooted in their shared experience in a German prisoner of war camp.

The story takes an unexpected detour of sorts once Enley hastily leaves for Los Angeles under the guise of attending a business convention. It is there that the implacable Parkson again tracks him down and Enley eventually chances on barfly and implied working girl Pat (Mary Astor). After drunkenly unburdening himself to her and mentioning that his business is worth 20,000 dollars she in turn puts him in touch with a ridiculously shady lawyer named Gavery (Taylor Holmes) who consequently brings in the thuggish Johnny (Berry Kroeger). The implication being that Johnny will take care of the problem in a permanent manner.

The group watching this took bets on how this would shake out and we all got it mostly wrong. Still though it was an enjoyable 80 or so minutes of edgy, well acted drama.

80/100
Well, this looks right up my alley.



Victim of The Night
Deadtime Stories 1986


OMG where has this quirky horror anthology been hiding all my life, this was so good and so 80s, utterly ridiculous! Bright.. colourful.. demented.. tongue in cheek.. real nice practical special effects too, definitely a labour of love, I think the third and last installment as my favourite, I'm positive the actors were told to be way over the top cartoonish, it's hilarious
I saw this several times when I was young and I actually have it in one of my queues now, might have to revisit.



Victim of The Night

Serpico (1973, Sydney Lumet)

A very good character study, based on a true story of a cop going against the grain and trying to fight police corruption. Loved how unflinching and gritty it was, and Al Pacino's performance was outstanding. I didn't like the music though (i thought it was very ill-fitting and distracting at times). Not the best Lumet film I've seen (I find his second collab with Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon, to be superior) but still very impactful.
If you like movies and you like DDA (and to a lesser degree, this film) and you like to read at all, you might consider this book:


Great book on how movies are (or at least were) made as well as some great insights about DDA, which was one of his personal favorites, as well as Serpico, Network, and many other films of his.
Quick read too, his style is as if he were just talking to you at a cafe table.



Same.

Even as I was watching it, it all felt a bit muddled. It's a big reason I never checked out the third Iron Man.

The third one was better than the second one, but the first was the best.



The third one was better than the second one, but the first was the best.
Yeah I also like Iron Man 3. I like where they took that character.



Well, this looks right up my alley.
I think it might be. Touches of noir and Zinneman avoids any rah-rah moments, instead focusing on two flawed and damaged veterans and their respective partners. The cinematography by Robert Surtees is also a major selling point.



The King (2019)



Very good movie because I really liked the realism of the setting. Really feels like the 15th century.
Something I want to watch.





Boy, 2010

Boy (James Rolleston) is a young man growing up in a small New Zealand town in the mid-80s. He lives with his younger brother, Rocky (Te Aho Eketone-Whitu), under the care of relatives. His mother died years earlier, and his father, Alamein (Taika Waititi, who also wrote and directed) has been long absent. But when Alamein suddenly reappears--hunting for "treasure" that he left buried at the home--Boy has dreams that they will all run away together as a family.

I thought that this was a really solid film and there were things I liked a lot about it. That said, I didn't like it quite as much as I expected to.

Rolleston makes for a very good lead. He does a really excellent job of portraying a mix of real and false confidence, as Boy tries to appear cool enough for his classmates, the girl he likes, and ultimately his father. As the stakes get more serious, the cracks begin to show in Boy's optimistic, cool facade.

Waititi is both funny and, I'm not sure of the right term, maybe "negligently menacing" as the no good Alamein. What I think this film captures in several moments is the way that adults can have the maturity of a child, but because they are adults they are capable of much more harm than a child. This is incredibly heartbreaking in a scene where an inebriated Alamein drives the boys home from a party and things go wrong.

I will also praise the very lived-in feeling of the setting and the characters. I read that this movie was filmed in the town where Waititi grew up, and used several specific locations from his childhood. There is a level of specificity and reality to the world of this film that provides a nice counterbalance to some of the more fantastical moments in the movie.

All that said, I was surprised to find myself held at a bit of an emotional distance from this film. In all honesty, I have a student in my class dealing with some really upsetting things relating to parental choices, and there's a possibility that I just wasn't receptive to the film because I didn't want to engage with the emotions I'm feeling around that situation. At some point if I rewatch the movie I will be interested to see if I can sink into it a bit more.