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That's fair.

I've watched a (very small) handful of students grapple with gender identity issues, but a key difference is that they are surrounded by peers who know what gender they are supposed to present as. Deviating from what they are expected to look like or behave like is commented on by peers. (With the caveat that kids are actually pretty tolerant of a certain "non-typical" range of behavior. If a girl plays football or a boy wants to draw with chalk, they aren't immediately pounced on or bullied.)

I really love this film showing how someone might explore a different identity and how gender expectations work in Laure's favor. Because they believe Laure is a boy, they treat her a certain way. Laure does take her shirt off and, because she is pre-puberty, it's just a chest to them. It's this magical zone where Laure gets to create her own expectations and not be penned in by the ones that have always been placed around her.
That's a good reading of the film. Overall, it's a fine film and I might return to it sometime in the future to see if I warm up to it. From the other films I've seen from Sciamma so far (Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Petite Maman), I wouldn't say I love any of her films yet, but that may change sometime in the future.
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That's a good reading of the film. Overall, it's a fine film and I might return to it sometime in the future to see if I warm up to it. From the other films I've seen from Sciamma so far (Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Petite Maman), I wouldn't say I love any of her films yet, but that may change sometime in the future.
I think that Tomboy is more subdued than you'd maybe expect. Like you'd expect it to be all about angst and threats of violence. But instead it shows this person existing in what we as the viewer know is a temporary state of being able to try out a different identity.

I know it doesn't get the pulse going, per se, but I liked that for the most part it lacked sensationalism.



Everything Everywhere All at Once
8.5/10 - A fun movie that proves that Hollywood can still be original, great cast especially Michelle Yeoh. Loved this crazy movie

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
7/10 - Another fun movie, i love when actors play fictionalised versions of themselves and Nicolas Cage does a wonderful job



I think that Tomboy is more subdued than you'd maybe expect. Like you'd expect it to be all about angst and threats of violence. But instead it shows this person existing in what we as the viewer know is a temporary state of being able to try out a different identity.

I know it doesn't get the pulse going, per se, but I liked that for the most part it lacked sensationalism.
I think I might've been expecting for it to be less subdued, so that may play a part in my reaction to the film. I don't know if I'll ever end up loving it, but I still admire what it does, at the very least.




Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11046386

American Gangster - (2007)

I remember when this came out - it was quite well-received then, but when I watched it yesterday I thought perhaps time might not be kind to it. In the end (and I watched the Extended Edition with an extra 18 minutes) I enjoyed it a whole lot. It's a finely crafted gangster film that manages to pull off all of the tricks it wants to. Denzel Washington is superb as the unflappable Frank Lucas, and Russell Crowe (no stranger to Ridley Scott films) also puts in one of his better performances. I was on the absolute edge of my seat during the raid scene near the end, while also appreciating the grand story of a giant among crime figure's rise and fall. It starts off a little disjointed, scene by scene - it wants to tell a story that occurs over many years, so the film can't waste time by having scenes seamlessly blend into each other. However, once all of the chess pieces are in place the film feels more smooth, to the extent that I can't fault it much at all.

8/10
I didn't think much of this one, I'm afraid; it had about one really good chase scene, and then the rest of it was a bunch of tepid, incohesive gangster cliches in an overlong package, with too much screentime wasted on Crowe's character with not much reason. Wasn't a fan, I gotta say.



I forgot the opening line.
I didn't think much of this one, I'm afraid; it had about one really good chase scene, and then the rest of it was a bunch of tepid, incohesive gangster cliches in an overlong package, with too much screentime wasted on Crowe's character with not much reason. Wasn't a fan, I gotta say.
I thought the procedural aspects were really great, and Crowe's character being an ultra-rare incorruptible not just assumed but methodically shown to us - how and why he was different to those on the force who just took 'contributions' from the drug czars of the time. I was glad to spend time with his character - it made him more layered and not just your usual stereotypical hero cop. Although he had no flaws as a cop, he had innumerable flaws outside of his work, to the point he's always in court opposite his ex-wife. I liked his yearning to pass his bar exams and become something more - and the relationship he eventually develops with Lucas, which for me was completely unexpected. The first time I saw the film though, I brushed it off somewhat - liked it far far more this time.
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Latest Review : Aftersun (2022)





Joshua Tree, 1993

Santee (Dolph Lundgren) has been convicted for the killing of a police officer resulting from that officer stopping a truck that Santee and his partner were using to transport illicit goods. Following his conviction, Santree breaks out of custody and goes on the run, abducting deputy sheriff Rita Marek (Kristian Alfonso) along the way. But Santee isn't just on the run---he's out for revenge against those who led to his conviction.

Going into a movie like this, you're hoping for big dumb fun, and I have to say that for the most part I felt that it delivered. Santee punches (and eventually shotguns) his way through countless baddies, while Rita is conveniently a martial arts expert who gets to knock down her own fair share of toughs with well-timed roundhouse kicks.

The plot is half in service of Santee getting his revenge and half in service of developing the romance between Santee and Rita. On both fronts it does pretty well. Santee must jump through several hoops to finally land on the person who caused his misfortune. The main action set-piece actually occurs about halfway through the film, as Santee takes on a warehouse full of bad guys. While I felt myself slightly tuning out, I bet most action fans would appreciate this sequence. The plot itself is also decently twisty, if a bit predictable. It's one of those movies where the police chasing Santee are also starting to figure out what's up, and build some nice tension from the parallel investigations.

The romance element is a real mixed bag. Alfonso more than holds her own, and it's a huge compliment to her that Rita's attraction to Santee feels natural, considering how actively disrespectful he is to her and the danger he puts her in over and over.

But my gawd is this movie distractingly and almost pathetically horny. It creates visual inconsistencies and jarring edits to the point where it's like "Was this really worth it?" In one really subtle scene, Santee jams the barrel of a shotgun in between Rita's breasts, something that is shown in close-up. But the following wide shot shows the gun resting several inches down her chest. During two different scenes a body double is used, and it creates distracting edits as close-ups of the double inelegantly transition to shots of Alfonso. In one truly laughable part, Rita emerges from a shower with a full face of makeup (You're a wizard, Harry!). Moments that could have felt sexy and dangerous (like Rita undressing for a shower) lose their charge because of the insistence on blunt body close-ups. The film has some visual flair (see the image at the top of this review), so the "point camera at boobs" approach to the sexy stuff is disappointing.

Outlandish objectification aside, I did appreciate that Rita was a pretty tough character in her own right. I wish they'd done a bit more with the banter between her and Santee because too many of their interactions involve her asking smart questions and him saying some variation on "You talk too much." About the third time, it starts to strain credulity that she'd find it charming. Some of her best sequences are those where she's untethered from Santee, including a scene where she tries and fails to get help from a bunch of sexist yahoos at a rural bar.

I was looking for something a bit trashy and ended up with a movie a step above what I'd expected.




Nope (2022)


Peele might be losing me a bit after this one...I think people will walk away with drastically different opinions on this one based on expectations. Will this alien movie stand up 10 years from now?

WARNING: spoilers below
This movie practically turned into a comedy for me the last 45 minutes or so....anyone else?





Rewatch - One of my favorites modern film franchises - A very good manga adaptation for the screen. One of the best out there. The amount of effort here is amazing.
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A Kiss Before Dying, 1956

Dorothy (Joanne Woodward) is a college student dating the handsome Bud (Robert Wagner). But when Dorothy becomes pregnant and wants to keep the baby---and act that would alienate her from her wealthy father--Bud sees his future at stake and goes to increasingly desperate measures to solve his "problem." But Dorothy has an older sister, Ellen (Virginia Leith) who, along with Dorothy college tutor (Jeffrey Hunter) are determined to discover the truth.

Overall this was a really fun thriller, centered on a particularly cold performance from Wagner as Bud.

Every plot summary you read includes the fact that Bud will try to kill Dorothy--and this is also obvious from the first 5 minutes of the film--but what you don't know going in is just how long that sequence of the film lasts. The most horrifying section of the movie is a long, almost 40 minute first act where Bud tries to end the pregnancy or hurt Dorothy in various ways. In one moment, he lets her tumble down some stone stairs, barely hiding his hopeful expression when he asks if she's okay. Later, he turns to poisons stolen from the chemistry lab. Through all of this there are multiple scenes of Dorothy and Bud together--her alternately excited about the baby and anxious about the fact that Bud is unhappy. It really drives home that this is not a crime of passion.

Immediately after Dorothy's death, it is interesting watching Ellen try to piece together what happened to her sister. She uses information from a letter Dorothy wrote her, along with what was found in her purse to determine that Dorothy planned to marry someone. This investigative portion of the movie is also engaging.

The last act is where things get a bit dodgy. With Dorothy out of the picture, Bud ends up wooing Ellen out of a perverse sense that the family's wealth is rightfully his. Obviously this doesn't seem like the wisest thing for Bud to do (are there no other rich girls around to woo?), but it just passes the sniff test. The real problem is that this final sequence requires that Ellen get dumb. Real dumb. The movie tries to reconcile her stubbornness and denial by grounding it in conflicts she's had with her father about being too controlling, but come on! She literally decides to have an important conversation alone with Bud standing on the edge of a steep precipice, Ellen what are you doing?!?!?!

Bud does make for a great, odious villain. While there could be some classism involved in the idea of the murderous have-not abusing the poor rich girls, I think that Bud would have played about the same if he had also been wealthy. He's a person who wants what he wants and will do whatever he needs to in order to get it. It made me think a bit of the young woman who was sexually assaulted by a high school peer who videotaped the assault, and when she finally went to the police, the judge asked her if she wanted to proceed because of the damage she'd do to her rapist's future. It's this really dark side of making sure that people get the opportunity to "live up to their potential", even if it means hurting other people along the way.

I have seen the 1990s remake with Matt Dillon, though I have very little memory of it. I feel as if that movie made a bigger deal out of the killer's fixation on the wealthy family.

Good stuff, but too bad they did Ellen dirty like that in the last act.




Victim of The Night
Nope (2022)


Peele might be losing me a bit after this one...I think people will walk away with drastically different opinions on this one based on expectations. Will this alien movie stand up 10 years from now?

WARNING: spoilers below
This movie practically turned into a comedy for me the last 45 minutes or so....anyone else?
No, it didn't for me.
I left thinking that Peele has actually become too good for the Horror/Sci-fi genre as he made something really special with this film but could be moving more into truly great auteur director territory. Except that he also made a movie that makes me think of films like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind so maybe he should just keep making great Sci-fi.



BEAT THE DEVIL
(2002, Scott)



"I like a wager, but I like the concept of 'winner take all'."

From 2001 to 2002, BMW Films produced a series of short films dubbed as The Hire to serve as some sort of elaborate car ads. The premise of the shorts feature a nameless driver (Clive Owen) being hired by different clients for various tasks. The short films were notably directed by directors like Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, John Woo, and others, while also featuring prominent stars like Forest Whitaker, Madonna, and Don Cheadle, among many others.

Beat the Devil is the eight of this series, and it features the Driver accompanying James Brown to meet the Devil (Gary Oldman) as he tries to renegotiate a deal he made with him in his youth for fame and fortune in exchange for his soul. Now older and not able to "do the splits anymore", Brown wants an "extension", but the Devil wants to race for it, which serves as the excuse to have our Driver drive a BMW Z4 real fast down Las Vegas Strip.

I had no idea about the existence of these shorts until a Twitter friend brought it to my attention. It features the usual hyper-kinetic direction by Scott, full of fast-paced cuts and a sensory overload of visuals and sound, which I'm sometimes on the fence about. But what makes it work are the performances of Oldman and Brown. Both give committed and entertaining performances to what is otherwise a glorified "car ad", but they make it interesting to watch.

Grade:
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LISTEN
(2014, Nyoni & Ramezan)



"I can't go back. I can't. I beg you to help us."

That's the plea for help from a wife and mother (Zeinab Rahal) at a police station. Her husband has hit her repeatedly and has threatened to kill her and their teenage son (Yusuf Kamal El-Ali). What's the catch? She's a Muslim woman covered with a burqa, living in the Netherlands where nobody understands her language. Moreover, the translator (Amira Helene Larsen) brought to assist her is not translating her words properly, not conveying the urgency of her situation.

Listen was a simple yet harrowing short film. But even in its apparently simple premise, directors Nyoni and Ramezan use a carefully layered approach to the scene where we see the woman's testimony from different perspectives, while examining how others react to her claims. There is a lot of physical performance, especially from Larsen, who I thought was great in how she transmits her frame of mind with her eyes and overall demeanor as she's listening.

I'm hardly an expert, but as far as I read, the Qur'an is very clear regarding domestic violence and spousal separation. But that is not necessarily what's put "on trial" here, but rather the lack of empathy because of misunderstanding, the effects of the language barrier, gender roles, isolation, and the bureaucratic barriers put in place for a woman to get the help she needs. It's not that we don't listen, but that we listen what we want and how we want, and act according to our interests and beliefs, instead of those of who we're listening.

Grade:



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Elvis (2022)

Baz is back! Luhrmann's flashy, colourful style proves the right choice for taking on the life of Elvis Presley in all his rhinestone-clad glory.

It's about as good as a musician biopic could be - which is a limitation as well as a strength, because there's something a little samey about this particular sub-genre. The editing is very cleverly done, but there are times when it feels a little bit like an extended montage, rather than digging too deeply beneath the surface. The main drama of the film is Elvis's manager, Colonel Parker (played with convincing smiling menace but a rather less convincing accent by Tom Hanks), convincing him to do a residency in Vegas to pay off his own debts, and at this point the film slows down a little.

The music in this was superbly well chosen and mixed - there is Elvis on stage, songs sung by other people, mainly black musicians in Memphis who Elvis borrowed from/stole from/was inspired by, sometimes modern updatings of Elvis songs and sometimes what sounds like more straightforward dramatic movie score but is clearly also a take on an Elvis song.

Austin Butler's performance as Elvis is excellent - it feels genuine, not at all like an impersonation, and if he doesn't get a. nominated for awards and b. a lot more work after this it will be a real shame.




Office Space (1999)




My wife smoked a blunt before I put it on so she was laughing the whole time. I was amused the whole time. I liked the supporting characters better than the lead, not unusual for a comedy. It was good, definitely worth watching. That's as far as it goes for me.
I liked this movie a little more than you did...Gary Cole was brilliant






6th Rewatch...ran into this channel surfing yesterday and had to watch it because this film has never lost its rewatch appeal for me. Herbert Ross does a glorious job of opening up this stage play to look like an actual movie about six women who hang at the same beauty parlor. The film has one of the most quotable screenplays since Young Frankenstein and some glorious performances, especially Sally Field, robbed of an Oscar nomination for her tower of strength Ma'Lynn.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

The Black Forest (Rodrigo Arag„o, 2018)
5/10
Public Hero #1 (J. Walter Ruben, 1935)
6/10
The Silver Horde (George Archainbaud, 1930)
+ 5/10
Donbass (Sergey Loznitsa, 2018)
6/10

The Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine is a hellhole where anyone of a different ethnicity is lucky to get out of there alive. Against all appearances, this is not a documentary.
Our Eternal Summer (Emilie Aussel, 2021)
+ 5/10
Mimi (Warwick Thornton, 2002)
6/10
Wood and Water (Jonas Bak, 2021)
+ 5/10
Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot, 1999)
+ 6.5/10

Actor Alan Rickman who played the medical officer on TV series "Galaxy Quest" in the past gets caught up in an adventure with real-life aliens, including Patrick Breen.
Prey (Dan Trachtenberg, 2022)
6/10
Holy Emy (Araceli Lemos, 2021)
5/10
The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga (Jessica Oreck, 2014)
5.5/10
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris (Anthony Fabian, 2022)
6.5/10

In the '50s, when widowed London cleaning lady Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville) becomes obsessed with a haute couture "frock", she travels to the House of Dior and turns the place upside down.
The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra, 2013)
6/10
They/Them (John Logan, 2022)
5/10
Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon (Chia-Yung Liu, 1990)
6/10
Minions: The Rise of Gru (Kyle Balda, 2022)
+ 6/10

12-year-old Gru (Steve Carell) wants to become a supervillian, but when the Vicious 6 reject him, he seeks help from his Minions. When his fave supervillian, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin), gets kicked out of the V6, he seeks to learn from him.
Luck (Peggy Holmes, 2022)
6/10
Paradise Highway (Anna Gutto, 2022)
5.5/10
The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (Iryna Tsilyk, 2020)
6/10
Seven Chances (Buster Keaton, 1925)
7+/10

Buster Keaton must get married by a certain time to inherit a fortune, but when too many "brides" show up, they think he's trying to pull a fast one.
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Nope (2022)


Peele might be losing me a bit after this one...I think people will walk away with drastically different opinions on this one based on expectations. Will this alien movie stand up 10 years from now?

WARNING: spoilers below
This movie practically turned into a comedy for me the last 45 minutes or so....anyone else?
I appreciated that the movie re-envisioned the idea of an extra-terrestrial visit. For decades, movies have been stuck solid on the flying saucer or large metallic spaceship image. My guess is that Peele's movies are still a wild card, kinda like M Night Shamalayan. They work well in my frame of reference, but who knows about what people will want to see 25 years from now.

For me, I really appreciate that Peele has jumped into whatever his genre is and is upsetting some of the conventions. Having seen a lot of cinematic aliens over the years, this was a new approach. Not being too dreadfully serious worked for me since I end up cringing at movies like that which try at high seriousness.