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'Laurence Anyways' (2012)

Dir.: Xavier Dolan

Some critics called this overlong and self indulgent. It probably is both of those things but itís also really engaging. Itís essentially an on/off love story spanning over several years focused on Laurence and his girlfriend Fred - but with one crucial element Ė Laurence feels he was born in the wrong body. (I use the pronoun Ďheí here as that is what the character is introduced to us as).

Xavier Dolan is just such a great writer as well as director. Iíve seen all 7 of his features now and his dialogue in arguments and relationship scenes is so believable. Yes the film strays into some rather lavish territory at times, which seems off kilter with some of the tone but itís still a very interesting watch. The relationship is charted as Laurence goes through a transition and his partner has to cope with his changes and assess exactly what she wants from life.

Suzanne Clement as Fred is amazing in this film. Utterly brilliant performance. The soundtrack is also great - Depeche Mode, Fever Ray, Kim Carnes, The Cure, Prokofiev, Beethoven, Brahms.

Dolan recently hinted he wonít be making any more films as so few people watch them. Hopefully he was just being churlish as heís brilliant at it.






Flora and Son 7.5/10 one of the most underrated films from last year
The Iron Claw 8.5/10 - this film deserved more love during the award season, even though i knew the story beforehand it was still devastating to watch
American Fiction 7.5/10 - a very witty and enjoyable film with the wonderful Jeffrey Wright
How to Have Sex 7/10 - another underrated gem from 2023
Nimona 8/10 - a truly delightful and entertaining film, with humor and heart



SANJAY'S SUPER TEAM
(2015, Patel)



"Growing up, there was just no dialogue between me and my father. I had this fear of approaching him with questions about why we were doing what we were doing. And to be honest, I had no interest. I just wanted [the daily worship ceremony] to be over as quickly as possible."

That is how animator and filmmaker Sanjay Patel described his relationship with his father, when he was a child. One of enduring without understanding, or even without interest. Which makes more interesting how that very same thing is what he used as inspiration for his Academy Award nominated short film Sanjay's Super Team.

The short film presents the contrast of young Sanjay and his father each absorbed into their respective daily "rituals" in front of a "box". Sanjay spends his time watching his favorite superhero TV show while drawing superheroes in his notebook while his father performs a daily Hindu ritual in front of a wooden shrine. Each of them annoyed and dismissive of the other.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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Dune: Part Two -


Have you ever had a really fun vacation day where a friend or family member constantly told you about all the things you would do not on the current day, but the next day? It makes living in the moment difficult, doesn't it? I ask because this sums up my main gripe with Dune: Part Two: it could use a little less continuation and a little more closure. Despite this issue, Villeneuve raises the bar for epic sci-fi and fantasy filmmaking here.

If you are also tired of how weightless, spontaneity-deprived and scale-free action scenes in movies like this one have been lately, this movie's will feel like a shot in the arm. From the small scale to the knife fights to the large with the spice harvester takedowns, you will feel the jolts of adrenalin and have the visceral reactions you have missed. As for how this half compares to the first half, if you also felt it was workmanlike, and unlike Lynch's movie, not strange enough, this one makes up for it. As odd and unsettling as Lynch's movie may be, this one's vision of the Harkonnen home world in particular from its conformity to its disregard for the sanctity of life - even their own - may surpass even the 1984 movie's most alien moments. I also approve of how much more room for character growth there is here on the whole, which not only applies to ones introduced in part one, but in this one as well. Stilgar and Chani, and thus the Fremen in general, benefit greatly as a result. The most redeemed character, however, is Feyd, with credit going to Austin Butler as much as Villeneuve and company. Whenever I saw Sting on screen in Lynchís movie, I laughed. Butler, on the other hand, gave me a much more appropriate reaction of reminding me of how Joffrey from Game of Thrones made me feel. The way Part Two captures the story's mystical moments also deserves credit. This applies to Paul's visions, but especially for how it captures what a spice high is like.

Again, what prevents me from fully embracing it is that it looks too much into the future: not into its own, mind you, but at the other books in the series. The finale in particular, despite how it made me think more about the implications of a messiah like Paul existing and the fate of the Fremen than the 1984 movie did, suffers as a result. What should have been a momentous occasion ends up being more setup than payoff. Is my franchise fatigue talking? Maybe, but it is possible to deliver the kind of payoff you desire from an ending while providing setup at the same time (see The Empire Strikes Back). Regardless, the quality of the action, character development, artistry, direction, etc. notwithstanding, the movie and its predecessor succeed at capturing Frank Herbert's vision, which is sadly even more like our planet in 2024 than it was in the '60s. Oh, and even though I complain, will I buy a ticket for Dune Messiah anyway? Yes, probably.





Io Capitano


One of the most harrowing cinematic journeys of late, Io Capitano is Europe's answer to El Norte.
The European co-production is a fictionalized story based on the actual journeys of many young African migrants seeking to escape soul-crushing poverty in their home countries by making their way North, with sometimes deadly consequences for them.
Even if they manage to escape death crossing the Sahara, there is no shortage of corrupt officials along the way seeking to rob them of everything they have.
While it is quite unlikely to prevail as the Best International Feature at next Sunday's Academy Awards, it is definitely a very worthy nominee, and one can only hope that being one of the nominated movies will increase the number of moviegoers willing to give a real-life tale of adversity in a desolate desert the attention that it very much deserves.



Hello!


The Boy and the Heron ~ 君たちはどう生きるか
Interesting piece. Miyazaki seems to reflect on taking refuge in a fantasy world as a means of escaping the pains of life. Perhaps a parallel with himself, since he experienced bitter pain at a very young age.

WARNING: "Your Movie" spoilers below
My favorite part is at the end, when the main character chooses to go back to the pain rather than rule in the fantasy world.


The name chosen for the Western market is, unfortunately, terrible. The original name "How do you live?" should have been kept.







1st Rewatch...This wickedly funny, unapologetically bloody, and endlessly imaginative action comedy just dazzles the viewer from one scene to the next. You know from the opening credits where we are informed that the film was directed by "An overpaid tool" that we are not in for the average cinematic experience. This movie goes far beyond breaking the fourth wall {"That's a fourth wall breaking a fourth wall...that's like sixteen walls."). but it never wants us to forget that we are watching a movie. This movie also contains my new favorite movie character name...Magasonic Teenage Warhead. Ryan Reynolds appears to be having a ball in the title role.






1st Rewatch...This zany action comedy about three BFFs (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis) who hate their bosses and decided to hire a professional to murder them provides laughs despite all of the stupid things that these guys do. Bateman works hard at keeping this comedy anchored in some reality, but the real laughs in this movie come from the three bosses. Kevin Spacey as Bateman's egomaniac boss, Colin Farrell as Sudeikis' lazy cokehead boss, and especially Jennifer Aniston as Day's boss, a sexy dentist who is sexually harassing and blackmailing Day. And I love the fact that Bateman and Sudeikis don't think what Day is going through is so bad.







Umpteenth Rewatch...The winner of eight Oscars, this dazzling 1972 musical is just as riveting as it was during its original release over 50 years ago. Bob Fosse blindsided Francis Ford Coppola by winning the Oscar for Best Director over Coppola for The Godfather and I'm probably one of the few people who think the Academy got this one right. Fosse's re-imagining of the 1966 Broadway musical that takes place in 1931 Berlin is much more realistic look at what the Nazis were doing outside, while within the walls of this nightclub, they were laughing at it and trying to pretend it wasn't happening. This is the story of an English teacher named Brian Roberts (Michael York) who comes to Berlin intrigued by the horrors of WWI but finds himself involved with a flighty, self-absorbed nightclub singer named Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) who wears bright green fingernail polish and doesn't care about anything except the next party. The non-musical scenes are actually one of the reasons Fosse nailed that Oscar...watch that first scene where Brian, Sally, and Fritz meet Natalia (Marisa Berensen) for the first time, or that scene with Sally, Brian, and Max at Max's mansion, or the scene where Sally and Brian fight over Max. And no matter how many times I watch it, the "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" scene still chills me to the bone. No MGM fluff here...in my top five of the greatest musicals ever made.



AMERICAN FICTION
(2023, Jefferson)
A film from an African-American director



"People are more than their worst deed."

American Fiction follows that "slice of life" from Monk, a professor that finds himself frustrated with his academic work, his career as a writer, as well as the way he sees African-Americans are portrayed and/or perceived by students, potential readers, and everyone around them. To counteract, he decides to use a pseudonym to jokingly write a book full of stereotypical "black" tropes in an effort to send a message. But to his dismay, the book is critically acclaimed and well received by audiences, putting him in the position to either continue with the deceit or own it.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the synopsis was that it sounded a bit like Spike Lee's Bamboozled, a film I have a lot of appreciation for. That comparison is not meant as a slight on either film, because both use different methods for perhaps somewhat similar goals. While Lee's focus is more on the macro of that portrayal and perception of African-Americans in media, director and writer Cord Jefferson goes for a more personal and small-scale approach as he contrasts Monk's academic life with his personal one, as he struggles with several family tragedies and situations.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot







1st Rewatch...Director F Gray Gary knocked it out of the park with this epic look at the evolution of gangster rap, primarily through a group called NWA who not only had to fight rampant racism in their struggle to make a name for themselves, but also through the machinations of an unscrupulous manager (Paul Giamatti). This movie contains one powerhouse scene after another, the one where the guys are hassled by cops coming out of the studio for no reason made my blood boil. There are standout performances by Corey Hawkins (In the Heights, The Color Purple) as Dr Dre, Jason Mitchell as Easy E and O'Shea Jackson, playing his real life father, Ice Cube. Make the sure the kids are safely tucked in bed before watching this one.



AMERICAN FICTION
(2023, Jefferson)
A film from an African-American director





American Fiction follows that "slice of life" from Monk, a professor that finds himself frustrated with his academic work, his career as a writer, as well as the way he sees African-Americans are portrayed and/or perceived by students, potential readers, and everyone around them. To counteract, he decides to use a pseudonym to jokingly write a book full of stereotypical "black" tropes in an effort to send a message. But to his dismay, the book is critically acclaimed and well received by audiences, putting him in the position to either continue with the deceit or own it.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the synopsis was that it sounded a bit like Spike Lee's Bamboozled, a film I have a lot of appreciation for. That comparison is not meant as a slight on either film, because both use different methods for perhaps somewhat similar goals. While Lee's focus is more on the macro of that portrayal and perception of African-Americans in media, director and writer Cord Jefferson goes for a more personal and small-scale approach as he contrasts Monk's academic life with his personal one, as he struggles with several family tragedies and situations.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
OMG, I can't believe you mentioned Bamboozled because that movie flashed through my mind when I was watching this too.



Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
The Lost Weekend - 8/10
One of the darkest (but great) movies I've seen, and I've seen this a handful of times.. I saw the first half yesterday, and just finished the rest today. One of my favorite performances/characters (Ray Milland). What I also love is how his best gal never gives up on him, no matter what. Now in the real world, this probably hardly ever happens, BUT, that's why a movie is great. Life sucks, but for a couple of hours, you might see great moments of humanity, even at her own cost.





Zulu (1964)
I didn't finish watching it. I found it boring. But damn, that Natal Park in South Africa is gorgeous. Best thing about this movie as far as I could tell is some fabulous scenery.



I think you missed that the review you replied to was not about the original The Exorcist, but last year's sequel (which, by the way, does deserve all the hate it's getting)
On second look, you're right, pahaK. After closer examination of the poster I see it advertises The Exorcist: Believer. Yeah, it sounds pretty dreadful. Cheers.




By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47812875

In the Electric Mist - (2009)

In the Electric Mist has all the hallmarks of a difficult transition from the pages of a book to the screen - it feels like a faithful transferral that has nonetheless let the subtext be diluted. That's my take anyway. Tommy Lee Jones gets to beat the living hell out of nearly every character in this film - and I have to emphasise beat the living hell, because as Detective Dave Robicheaux he gets brutally vicious without ever really voicing his anger. He's on the hunt for a person barbarically murdering hookers, and also an age-old case where a black man was gunned down, and his remains surface 50 years later. He also becomes good friends with the ghost an old Confederate General. John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard and Mary Steenburgen round out a cast that includes Ned Beatty in a small role. It's somewhat uneven and doesn't really tie it's loose ends up - but it's not deserving of derision. It's just an adaptation that doesn't completely come off, despite being compelling enough to stick with until the anticlimactic end.

5/10
It always surprised me that of the 17 Dave Robicheaux novels that James Lee Burke had written up to 2009, that this one was chosen. Full title: In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead (1993). It's good, but a tad weaker IMO than most of the others. It's also a little strange if one is not familiar with Robicheaux. Tommy Lee Jones is a good choice to play Robicheaux, but it's very difficult to do the story justice in 1-3/4 hour. Again, the book is better.



Dune 2021


Finally got round to watching Dune in prep for part 2.. not quite sure what I feel at moment, love the look beautifully polished which is what was expected with Villeneuve, leaves me wanting more though, part 2 needs to deliver it and I'm hopeful


Mission Impossible: Fallout


Good harmless ludicrous fun.. like in real life Hunt would be dead about 807 times by now..I watch this purely for Henry Cavilles arm shuffle.. or punch reload, y'all know what the **** im talking about. I don't know if anyone knows it but these films are crazy nuts, I'm so excited for dead reckoning I could almost pee.