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The Wolf of Wall Street (2012)





Love me some Leo. Not at The Aviator level, but good stuff.



Yes, true. I kind of felt they were
WARNING: spoilers below
physically restricted from leaving their ‘circle’ (Camp Arcadia). Hence Mike’s wife can’t go find him and be with him and Chris, even though they are only about a mile apart.
But you are only
WARNING: spoilers below
trapped if you die in the circle. And Mike's wife didn't die yet, or at least that was my understanding. I just wish that some of the rules had been a little clearer. You'd think, for example, that Justin would ask Mike and Chris what happens if they try to leave.


No, my issue was only with the ‘Go to sleep’ bit. Sure, Aaron is the more submissive of the two and it’s well-telegraphed, but surely people don’t just go to sleep literally the moment someone tells them to? Unless we’re meant to think he gave up on trying to convince Justin re Anna and just decided to go to sleep. You make a great point about Justin using a different type of control - I love it and I hadn’t thought of that - though I think toward the end, when Justin first agrees to stay, and then lets Aaron drive the car, he relinquishes that control too.
I didn't think that Aaron actually fell asleep in that moment. He just stopped trying to talk to Justin. I think that moment was just about Justin bullying Aaron into silence.

Absolutely. And that bit has a logical gap too. I first felt that they don’t age at all, that’s the point of the ‘good diet’ conversation etc. But then, how could Aaron and Justin have possibly grown up there from when they were toddlers until at least their teens? That one just about kills the diegetic logic.
Right. I guess the question is how long
WARNING: spoilers below
loop actually lasts. Three moons might imply three months?

But then that also makes you question the nature of the loop. For example, if the loop always "resets" to the beginning, then how does that work when a new person enters the loop? The bit with Mike and Chris suggests that people always start in ignorance and at the beginning. But if Aaron and Justin were to get trapped, then wouldn't the "beginning" be different?


This is what I mean by there just being enough nagging questions that I wish it had been a little clearer. Some elements of ambiguity work really well (like "the struggle" tug of war), but I wanted to know a little more about how everything worked.



[quote=Takoma11] But you are only
WARNING: spoilers below
trapped if you die in the circle. And Mike's wife didn't die yet, or at least that was my understanding. I just wish that some of the rules had been a little clearer. You'd think, for example, that Justin would ask Mike and Chris what happens if they try to leave.


Ah, fair enough. I read it differently.
WARNING: spoilers below
I felt you’re trapped if you stay long enough for the third moon to manifest, and the suicide is just part of the worship-ritual to honour whatever they think ‘it’ is.


I didn't think that Aaron actually fell asleep in that moment. He just stopped trying to talk to Justin. I think that moment was just about Justin bullying Aaron into silence.
Interesting. I like that and it kind of explains it. I don’t know why on Earth I actually thought he fell asleep on the spot. ‘Go to sleep’ could simply be, as I think you’re suggesting, a form of ‘Shut up’.



Right. I guess the question is how long
WARNING: spoilers below
loop actually lasts. Three moons might imply three months?

But then that also makes you question the nature of the loop. For example, if the loop always "resets" to the beginning, then how does that work when a new person enters the loop? The bit with Mike and Chris suggests that people always start in ignorance and at the beginning. But if Aaron and Justin were to get trapped, then wouldn't the "beginning" be different?


This is what I mean by there just being enough nagging questions that I wish it had been a little clearer. Some elements of ambiguity work really well (like "the struggle" tug of war), but I wanted to know a little more about how everything worked.
Yes, I’m 100% with you there. The struggle as the best ‘speculative’ element by far and needed no explanation.
WARNING: spoilers below
You do get a sense that they think ‘it’ is in the sky as it’s a UFO cult, and since we get the shots from this being’s POV when Shane throws the ball in the air.
.





Veronica, 2017

In early 1990s Spain a young woman named Veronica participates in a seance with two classmates during a solar eclipse. Veronica is attempting to contact her dead father, but something seems to go wrong during the seance and Veronica is haunted/possessed by a strange presence.

I liked this movie, but I actually find that I don't have much to say about it. The performances are good (hat tip to the young actors who play Veronica's little brother and sisters--they were really good and natural in their delivery!), and there are several suitably frightening sequences.

One thing that I thought was interesting (and a bit disappointing) was the way that the film seemed to shift gears toward the end.

There are a lot of implications in the first 2/3 of the film that (MODERATE SPOILERS
WARNING: spoilers below
Veronica's father may have sexually abused her. In one scene he appears, nude in her room. In another scene, a shadowy hand passes down to Veronica's groin and she begins to bleed. Many times we see Veronica held down by hands on her bed. In one particular moment, Veronica wants her mother to stay home because "it doesn't come when you're around."

However, it is later explained that the figure is merely a demon attached to Veronica because she didn't say goodbye at the end of the seance.


This was definitely an okay horror movie. Given how well the family dynamics are portrayed, I wish that the family had played more strongly into the horror from a thematic point of view. Don't get me wrong--the scenes with Veronica and her younger siblings are really powerful. But the structure of the film around it--which is heavy with exposition--could have done more.




Ah, fair enough. I read it differently.
WARNING: spoilers below
I felt you’re trapped if you stay long enough for the third moon to manifest, and the suicide is just part of the worship-ritual to honour whatever they think ‘it’ is.
But the one character (the guy living in the shack) tells Justin that
WARNING: spoilers below
you either kill yourself or the creature kills you to reset the loop, and that what the creature does to you is brutal.

(And when I read the script, I found an explicit reference to the length of the cult's loop)

Here's what he says:

"My loop's short at hell, bro. Hell, some are even shorter. Hell, you fools up at that hippy-dippy camp bullsh*t, you're something like, what, ten years now? You gotta kill yourself before the restart or that thing, that thing'll do it for ya. And it's much worse than anything you can do to yourself. But that camp prefers that thing doin' it for them, doesn't it? Yeah, considers it sacred even. It'll snatch you right out of your shoes."

So from this we can see that the camp's loop is actually really long (about a decade) which explains how Aaron and Justin lived there for so long without getting trapped.

The camp isn't committing suicide. They wait until the end of the loop and then they let the creature kill them to trigger the reset. It explains why they want Aaron to stay just a few more nights (so that he will be there when they are all killed and thus get trapped in the loop), and why Justin is kicked out (because they don't want him there stuck in the loop).


Yes, I’m 100% with you there. The struggle as the best ‘speculative’ element by far and needed no explanation.
WARNING: spoilers below
You do get a sense that they think ‘it’ is in the sky as it’s a UFO cult, and since we get the shots from this being’s POV when Shane throws the ball in the air.
.
I almost imagine
WARNING: spoilers below
that they are in like a crystal ball. Because "it" also seems to be in the lake. I see it as being in like a big globe around them.



But the one character (the guy living in the shack) tells Justin that
WARNING: spoilers below
you either kill yourself or the creature kills you to reset the loop, and that what the creature does to you is brutal.

(And when I read the script, I found an explicit reference to the length of the cult's loop)

Here's what he says:

"My loop's short at hell, bro. Hell, some are even shorter. Hell, you fools up at that hippy-dippy camp bullsh*t, you're something like, what, ten years now? You gotta kill yourself before the restart or that thing, that thing'll do it for ya. And it's much worse than anything you can do to yourself. But that camp prefers that thing doin' it for them, doesn't it? Yeah, considers it sacred even. It'll snatch you right out of your shoes."

So from this we can see that the camp's loop is actually really long (about a decade) which explains how Aaron and Justin lived there for so long without getting trapped.

The camp isn't committing suicide. They wait until the end of the loop and then they let the creature kill them to trigger the reset. It explains why they want Aaron to stay just a few more nights (so that he will be there when they are all killed and thus get trapped in the loop), and why Justin is kicked out (because they don't want him there stuck in the loop).




I almost imagine
WARNING: spoilers below
that they are in like a crystal ball. Because "it" also seems to be in the lake. I see it as being in like a big globe around them.
Yes, that makes sense. Imagine if they ever address it and you’re spot on!



Interstellar (2014) - Christopher Nolan

- Staight up one of the best film ever made, almost 3 hours of pure brillance and it's really fascinating. I don't care what everybody say Christopher Nolan is one of the best if not the best director working today he's a genius. Such a masterpiece definitely in my top 50 ever.
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I'm playing catch-up on the 2020 Film Challenge, so it'll be an eclectic mix of films for the next few weeks!



Where Evil Dwells, 1985

This is a film from the Cinema of Transgression movement and has a very experimental vibe. It is a reaction to the real life story of a killer who murdered his friend, something made sensational by the involvement of drugs and alleged satanism.

For a film intent of shock, this one did not hold my attention very strongly. There were some really potent sequences and imagery (my favorite being the inter-cutting of a first-person point of view shot going up roller coaster tracks with the murder of the victim), but the whole thing was too disjoint for me. It also sometimes pushed past its own effectiveness. The murder sequence was really shocking . . . until an extended close-up of the killer stabbing a very fake head in the eyes. The film clearly intends a degree of humor and exaggeration about everything, but I felt disconnected from what was on the screen.

I'm glad I watched it, but I'm also glad it was only 28 minutes long.




Tammy and the T-Rex (1994).



Tried a little too hard to be a cult film.
A practical spoof of teenage sex movies, horror films and "B" sci-fis.

I read there's was an edited version shown in theaters that removes the gore, but apparently I watched the uncut version - the gore is cartoonish and I can't imagine how bad this movie was without it - for instance, the T-Rex steps on a guy and flattens him (much like Christopher Lloyd's character n Roger Rabbit after he gets run over by a steam roller) then later a lady peels the dead body up off the pavement like pulling up an old "Colorform" off a glossy background! The gore was the most entertaining part!

It's a silly movie with a silly premise, but almost worth watching if you're in the mood for something mindless that you know is going to be bad going in. I enjoyed character of Byron - probably the most original character in the film - as he is an outspoken yet cowardly, flamboyantly gay, young black man who enjoys dressing in African garb (and he's also the son of the town's Sheriff).
You also get a 23-year-old Denise Richards playing a teenager (who's acting is pretty bad, but she does a mild strip tease at the end in white lingerie!)

Some of you guys may just want to advance it to that last part at the end!





Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019, Céline Sciamma)

Agree with the samoan lawyer! This is as close to perfection as it gets. A visually exquisite, sensual masterpiece. And what a great ending.



Midnight in the Garden of good and evil. (1997)


Fairly flat Clint Eastwood adaptation of a book that is watchable for Kevin Spacey. Although very different the tone of the direction reminded me of "Bonfire of the Vanities"...bit of a potboiler with some fairly blunt points to make about class and the legal system.





Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019, Céline Sciamma)

Agree with the samoan lawyer! This is as close to perfection as it gets. A visually exquisite, sensual masterpiece. And what a great ending.
Yeah, it's pretty great. A friend and I hashed out a few minor philosophical issues with it, but overall a strong, sensual, beautiful film.

And the actual moment of "the lady on fire" is breathtaking. Would have loved to see it on the big screen.



The Endless (2017)

Another recommendation garnered from MoFo, thanks guys/gals Liked this, not as spooky as I was hoping for but definitely held the interest. It's an interesting premise for a story and actually had me laughing at points e.g. when Aaron is relating his experiences of dating The strongest part if the film is the differing attitudes between the brothers to both their past and present and how they perceive them so differently. Besides the mumbo-jumbo a touching film.



The Endless (2017)

Another recommendation garnered from MoFo, thanks guys/gals Liked this, not as spooky as I was hoping for but definitely held the interest. It's an interesting premise for a story and actually had me laughing at points e.g. when Aaron is relating his experiences of dating The strongest part if the film is the differing attitudes between the brothers to both their past and present and how they perceive them so differently. Besides the mumbo-jumbo a touching film.
Do you have your 2 cents to offer on the ‘Go to sleep’ scene? I’m gathering opinions!





WR: Mysteries of the Organism, 1971

As you all know (because I will not stop talking about it until I'm done), I'm working on the 2020 Film Challenge. One of the categories was the Yugoslav Black Wave. But another category was Roger Ebert's Great Movies. When I saw that this one was on both lists (no, I'm not counting it for both categories!) I decided to check it out.

This film is a mix of documentary footage, a propaganda film, and a fictional narrative. The propaganda film is a pro-Stalin movie, and it takes up the smallest part of the footage. The documentary footage begins as an exploration of the work of Wilhelm Reich (a contemporary of Freud) and the healing/transformative power of orgasm/sexual energy, before exploring other offshoots of modern sexuality including interviews with Betty Dodson, footage of a transgender (or maybe just transvestite?) woman living in New York, and a sequence in which Jim Buckley has a plaster cast made of his penis. The final piece of the film is a story about a communist worker who believes in sex as part of liberation who gets involved with a visiting Russian ice skater.

I quite enjoyed this film. It had its own unique rhythms, but with structure. I think that experimental or unconventional film can sometimes feel random, as if the rejection of conventional structure is enough. This film felt like it had clear structure and purpose, though both were unconventional. While there is a clear sense of humor to the movie, it manages to tow the right side of the line in terms of treating its subjects (especially its real ones) with respect. Watching women receive "sexual therapy" could easily have veered way into exploitative territory. And while I did think that it was kind of lame that the film only shows women receiving this therapy (a man at one point describes it, but only women are portrayed in the act, and I have to wonder if they were dodging adding an element of homoeroticism), I can at least say that there's more parity than usual when it comes to nudity from both genders.

I guess I should warn anyone interested in this film that it does contain scenes and images of unsimulated sexual activity and body parts. For me, if what's happening on screen is consensual that's not something that bothers me. But I will admit to being a touch surprised at how explicit certain sequences were. Not in a bad way. Just in a "glad I'm not watching this with grandma" way. (Or maybe grandma would be in to seeing Jim Buckley get a penis cast--what grandma likes is her own business!). The only part that I didn't like (and actually fast-forwarded past) was what looked like actual footage of someone receiving electro-shock therapy. That did feel like it crossed a line (both of privacy and exploitation) that I wasn't comfortable with.

If you happen to be a Criterion Channel subscriber, there's a really fun extra about how the director helped the BBC censor the film. Instead of cutting scenes or using black bars, he added psychedelic effects and/or rogue goldfish to hide nudity.




Welcome to the human race...
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R.I.P.
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Turkey Shoot (1982)




One of those movies where humans hunt humans, low budget Australian style. I saw it billed as an exploitation movie but I'd say no. An amusing cult film with some good moments, that's all. Not far off from being Turkey Shlt.