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Phoenix (2014) -


I was hesitant to check this out since I feel like I've seen all fiction and nonfiction about World War II under the sun, but I'm very glad I did. A postwar story, it's about singer and Holocaust survivor Nelly (Nina Hoss), who not only has to start her life all over again, but also with a completely new face since a gunshot wound required reconstructive surgery. Despite a lucrative offer from friend and protector Lene to move from Berlin to what would become Israel, she seeks out husband and fellow musician Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), who works at a nearby nightclub with the same name as the title. While labeled as a drama, the suspense resulting from what follows, such as whether Johnny will recognize her, Johnny's plans for this new "stranger" in his life or what Nelly learns about his wartime activities makes thriller more fitting.

Having seen the also great Transit and Undine, I'm glad this movie also demonstrates Petzoldís talent for telling crisply written stories in which the performances are the special effects and that have an elegant, handcrafted quality. It's also reassuring that after many years of watching movies and subjecting myself to all kinds of CGI and explosions that movies relying and only relying on these elements can still affect me. To be more specific, Hoss and Zehrfeld's performances may prove that less is more, i.e., ones where a single look, a gesture (or lack thereof) cut deeply. I also appreciate the references to classics with similar stories like Vertigo, which are well-timed and do not remove you from the moment. Oh, and if youíve already predicted that this movie's ending leaves a mark, I'm not ashamed to spoil that you are right. I also have to give credit to composer and frequent Petzold collaborator Stefan Will's mournful, jazzy and atmospheric score, which sets just the right tone. The movie does require quite a bit of suspension of disbelief on the audience's part - after all, can someone really look that different, especially with early 1940's surgical techniques - but after considering how good everything else is, this is more nitpick than flaw. It results in what could end up being another World War II classic that proves that Petzold is also an expert at stories about identity in flux, and for lack of better words (and a dollar to Hideo Kojima), if love can bloom on a battlefield.






This style of editing isn't my cup of tea. Everything seems disconnected and honestly, kinda boring. Wasted potential, Ana de Armas was amazing.
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Canít believe this movie is 10 years old. Tempus fugit.

Re-watch & I didnít appreciate this the first time round. Ten years later I really loved it. The entire family explodes after Bevís funeral. Amazing ensemble cast.




Terrific Swedish/Norwegian movie set in Oslo. Really enjoyed it. I should watch it again if I can get to it.
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The problem is that it lost its sense of meaning: if everything in the movie feels completely fake and over-the-top, then I cannot care about what's supposedly being depicted at all.


It is hard for movies that try to be experimental to achieve this balance between experimentation and suspense of disbelief. Kubrick's 2001, for example, has a lot of experimentation, especially for a science fiction movie, but it managed to maintain its experimentation consistent with the movie as a whole.

At what point does a film need to adhere to realism, or need to be believed, to retain meaning? Sometimes it's more about the techniques a director uses where we find the core value in a film. Not in its ability to perpetuate an illusion of real character living a real life.


Absurdity, the grotesque, camp, surrealism, satire, farce are just a few approaches a director can use to step away from what can be passively accepted as being real, and force us to contemplate the artificiality of cinema. All of these things can still have meaning though, even if they push our suspension of belief well past the breaking point. Sometimes the absurdity is exactly the point.


Personally, I think someone like David Lynch and his approach to filmmaking has more to say about real world America than most sober minded directors, and his entire approach is about the embrace of the artificial. He makes films that make sense on a primal or subconscious level, that we hopefully also can understand intuitively. That short circuit reason to get to more abstract truths. Thankfully, not all films take this route, but equally thankfully, some do.


It all gets down to what we are looking for in a movie. For some, to enter into the world of film is to simulate a dream state. And as we all know, when in a dream, we can accept the most preposterous of scenarios as reality. In fact, they sometimes say more about reality than reality does. Just last night I dreamt that Donald Trump had his head shaved, was stuffed down a sewer pipe and had his face attacked by rats. And as I stood there in my dream, looking at the former president bleeding from his cheeks, his suit dripping in toilet water, his shorn head wet and shiny and grumbling about unfair the world has been to him, while it is a preposterous image to think of once I awoke, in the moment of dreaming it, it has more to say to me about modern politics than anything I've read recently in a newspaper. Sometimes what our rational mind rejects is brimming full of tactile or emotional or some kind of subconscious meaning. Sometimes being too careful about being realistic will destroy this type of illusion.


I think this more surreal approach is what mother is going for. I think we are meant to relate to the basic nightmare scenario of one unwanted guest after another showing up at our home. Thats all we should need to remain on board as it proceeds to have less and less relationship to what we can accept as reality and moves more and more to the sort of thing we might remember from a nightmare. The films hysteria is an outgrowth of all the anxiety and apocalyptic terror that is unfolding. To dial it back may diminish its impact.


Now that doesn't mean we have to like this particular example, or that there aren't criticisms to be made. Like I said, I'm not sure how well it worked for me either. But I still do think we can find an emotional or spiritual or intellectual or allegorical meaning in a piece of art, even if it refuses to play in the sam sandbox of reality we normally live in. Sometimes I find it to be even more honest than a film that demands we believe it as some kind of real world truth



Star Wars Episode IV (B)

Straight up not as good as I expected. Lots parts where not much happens, not much energy at all. There's some good pulpy moments here and there, but it just isn't great. Even the iconic lines I always hear are just eh. I guess most of the good stuff I remember from Star Wars came from episode V.



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Boldly going.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods
8/10.
I have not been impressed by superhero movies lately, but this, I'm happy to say, is surprisingly good. They even finally address - in a satisfying way - the "Wisdom of Solomon" which is the first 'S' in Shazam.
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The Force is Favreau
Shazam: Fury of the Gods
8/10.
I have not been impressed by superhero movies lately, but this, I'm happy to say, is surprisingly good. They even finally address - in a satisfying way - the "Wisdom of Solomon" which is the first 'S' in Shazam.

I wonder how much cocaine they did before they arrived at



WARNING: "You look. You see. Seeing Cannot be Undone. You will NEVER be the same." spoilers below
Feeding Skittles to dark unicorns to enlist them into the cause of fighting minotaurs.



Hilarious product placement a la E.T.



🔴Marvel Fan⚪️❤️Elizabeth Olsen+Tom Hiddleston❤️
really loved it one of the best scream movie,
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https://youtu.be/M-7QBR6hugc Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch -Elizabeth Olsen
https://youtu.be/78oLEoy5Npo Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow-Scarlett Johansson
https://youtu.be/0LXhnd-CMrQ Agatha Harkness-Kathryn Hahn
https://youtu.be/4E880wNeB2g Yelena Belova-
Florence Pugh
https://youtu.be/V8BhIsWTGUI Clint Barton-Hawkeye-Jeremy Renner
https://youtu.be/wX7VibqBUrk Loki Lufeyson-Tom Hiddleston



Luther: The Fallen Sun. I know Iíve watched the show Luther and liked it but canít remember a single damn thing about it. This follow up movie is a pretty good thriller with some surprisingly intense moments. Idris Elba continues to be able to do anything and Andy Serkis gets to ham it up as basically a Bond villain. Fun time.



The Barefoot Contessa (1954) -


As others have noted, aside from the first act, Maria's character is underdeveloped since her inner workings are left a mystery and largely occur on the peripherals of the various characters around her. Aside from a couple brief scenes here and there, we don't get to know her much, nor do we ever come to understand her thought process. In fact, her rise in Hollywood while making her three films, while this should be the most interesting part of her arc, is mostly glossed over. Her character instead exists as an idea for the various men around her to ponder over, making this a surprisingly male-focused film. Perhaps her mysterious nature is at the heart of the film's commentary on Hollywood though. Historically, actresses in Hollywood weren't treated that well. They were sought out and consumed for their talent and looks before being discarded later on to make way for younger actresses. Just as Hollywood refused to understand numerous actresses, and just as the characters in the film refused to understand Maria, we're unable to understand her either. Therefore, distancing us from her isn't done without reason. Such an unconventional concept comes with its pros and cons though. While this certainly makes for a complex film in some respects, it also underserves her character and misses out on an opportunity to flesh out an interesting trait about her. For instance, in spite of how various men in the film attempt to control her, she's shown to have enough agency to walk away from them, which was a fairly bold concept for the time. This is contrasted by Harry lacking the courage to stand up to Kirk's abuse. As it stood though, with so little insight into her inner workings, this concept was rendered superficial. In short, this is a rather difficult film to rate. On one hand, the way it handles Maria's character is generally something which leaves me cold. On the other hand though, it's clearly what it wants to be with its critique of Hollywood, so I'm hesitant to score it as low as I normally would. So, while I can somewhat excuse the movie's flaws, I can only do this to a certain extent.
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Scream 6 (2023)

So Iíll start with the negatives. This addition has some of the the most cringe worthy script lines out of the entire franchise. There were many moments where people were looking at each other, not quite believing what cheesy line had just been said. Some of the acting especially in the reveal was also so ropey/OTT that it bordered on comical.

Having said that on leaving the cinema I felt like this movie was good fun. It was a good choice to take the setting out of the fictional town and base it in New York. It certainly brought a fresh feel to the movie. I did not feel that the absence of Neve Campbell took anything away from the plot. Jamie Lee Curtis not being in a Halloween film seems that there is something badly missing but here it did not seem the case.

I overheard people saying how scary and bloody it was but I didnít feel that it was any more graphic than its previous entries.

So in summary, if you are a die hard fan of this series you will probably enjoy this. With a less cheesy script it couldíve been vastly improved but itís not the worst in the series.

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Big Boys Don't Cry (2020)

A disturbing true story of the man Paul Connolly who was abused in a children's home. Not an easy watch but a rewarding one. How he managed to move on and build a life when there were numerous suicides after St Leonards is truly admirable.
Got to say Michael Socha is amazing portraying the aggressiveness and vulnerability of Paul.
Hard to rate:





Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

Set in London and Paris of the late 1950s, this is a delightful tale of a widowed English cleaning lady who, after being overcome by a lovely Christian Dior dress she sees which was recently purchased by her employer, becomes captivated by a fanciful determination to find a way to travel to Paris to purchase a Dior gown of her own. The title sounds a bit like a Jacques Tati film, but it is a cinematic adaption of the Paul Gallico novel, Mrs. ĎArris Goes to Paris (1958). Itís directed by Anthony Fabian from a screenplay by Olivia Hetreed (Girl With a Pearl Earring).

The Veteran Lesley Manville (Mr. Turner; Phantom Thread) gives a perfect and nuanced portrayal of the titular character, and is supported by a seasoned cast including Isabelle Huppert (The Piano Teacher; Elle), Lambert Wilson (The Matrix films), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter films; Hotel Mumbai), and Ellen Thomas (Teachers; Dr. Who).

Although her stingy employer, Lady Dant (Anna Chancellor), finds excuses to deny Harris her overdue salary, Mrs. Harrisí dream of purchasing her own Dior gown becomes possible as she unexpectedly comes into some money from several sources. This allows her to travel to Paris and to approach the lofty House of Dior. Her reception there, the ups and downs of her quest, along with the relationships she acquires, form the basis for the movie. In time honored fashion every character in the film arrives to a gratifying outcome.

Pictures like this one donít come along very often in modern times. With todayís assault of razzmatazz, violence, social justice, and salacious productions, itís refreshing to become emerged into a simple, gracious story that respectfully tugs at oneís heart strings. The viewers quickly find themselves drawn into Mrs. Harrisí quest, and soon learn that theyíre pulling for her success. Lesley Manvilleís compelling and memorable performance resulted in a well deserved Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress.


Docís rating: 9/10