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'Farha' (2022)

Directed by Darin J. Sallam



Farha is a story that tells the harsh reality of a young girl (the titular character) who makes a choice to stay with her father as Israeli forces invade her Palestinian village in 1948.

Farha is a clever girl who wants to educate herself and go to school against her father's wishes, who wants her to marry a local boy. Just as he finally grants her wish by enrolling her at a school in a nearby city - tragedy strikes and Israeli forces move in. What happens next is an extremely harrowing series of events are the inhabitants of the village are 'displaced'. There is no big budget here. No expensive camera trickery or visual effects. This is a straight up story about how Palestine was brutalized by Israel. And it's not for the feint hearted in the slightest. Karam Taher is terrific in her first ever acting role.

Director Darin J. Sallam is Jordanian (the film was shot in Jordan), and in her first narrative feature, smartly directs on what must have been a shoestring budget, from the point of view of Farha, which we learn at the end is based on a true story (Sallam learned about it from her Palestinian father). It's bleak and makes the viewer angry. But it's emotional, relevant and needs to be shown to a wide audience.

File this under important stories that need to be told and listened to.

8.2/10






Victim of The Night

By The Numbers, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69028880

The Batman - (2022)

I have to confess right off the bat (no pun intended) - I'm not really a Batman fan. I am a fan of Tim Burton's initial Batman film, and Christopher Nolan's second entry in his trilogy - The Dark Knight - but I never read comics as a kid. Most comic book superhero movies do nothing for me, but there are notable exceptions. Joker was one of the best films of 2019 for me, if not the best. The first two Superman films to feature Christopher Reeve were fantastic. X-Men First Class and Logan are up there. Dredd made up for the crime that was Danny Cannon's Judge Dredd, which Stallone and Armand Assante made laughable. These are the exceptions - but they are great exceptions. Whenever a new comic book character-inspired film is coming out, I'm not one of those people champing at the bit to see it. Once one has rave reviews and great box office returns however, I decide to check it out - so of course I had to see The Batman.

We were going to get here eventually - Batman films were getting darker and darker, so after Nolan took things a step further than Burton we seem to be getting one now that has been inspired by Fincher's Se7en. The Riddler - far from a prancing Jim Carrey, has now been directly correlated with real-life serial killer The Zodiac. I don't mind these two aspects to The Batman at all. What did throw me a little though was our semi-goth Bruce Wayne - alone, depressed and with an emo look that he has down pat. I found that bizarre - and the 3-hour long movie a little bloated and grindingly dispiriting. Gotham is so corrupt and crime-ridden it now resembles the New York of Escape From New York. The finale was grand however, and brilliantly put together. John Turturro was wonderful as Carmine Falcone - perfect casting. For fans, this seems like an interesting take on the character that some might love. For me though, the great and good balances with the bad to get me into middling territory. Perhaps in time I'll love it more, or hate it more - but it's also possible this will end up my only viewing of The Batman. If the sequel pans out and is great though, I'll watch this again.

6.5/10
I'm with you. I was very hopeful for this. I've come to really like Pattinson and I liked the ideas they were mining (I do know these comics pretty well) but I also thought it ended up being a balance of good and bad (looking at you, totally unnecessary except to feed a sequel Joker cameo and overlong run-time). It ended up kind of in the middle not because it was overall average but because the average of high and low parts landed it there.
By the way, thank you for "champing at the bit" no one ever gets that "right".



Prey -


While I still have a lot to see, this will be hard to top as the best action movie of the year. Set in 18th century North America, our hero is Naru (Amber Midthunder), a talented hunter who is eager to prove herself, especially since her male cohorts doubt her abilities and take credit for the traps she sets. Fed up, she sets out with loyal dog Sarii to prove herself. Instead of her intended target of a mountain lion, she runs afoul of an infinitely more challenging mark.

Possibly due to also thinking the best parts of the first Predator movie are when Arnie and company must rely on their instincts and the environment first and their guns second, Trachtenberg and company maintain this vibe throughout, and luckily, it doesn't wear out its welcome. Scenes like Naru setting traps and improvising weapons like a hatchet on a rope are my favorite examples of this. Filming in the beautiful, untainted Alberta countryside all but enhances Naru's vulnerability, as does Midthunderís performance, which I'd rank above Arnie's since she has the acting chops and the physicality. I also applaud the movie for making the Predator the Jaws-like force of nature I know and love, which Trachtenberg likely had to fight for in these days where it's as if all motivations must be explained, and if you're hoping the good stuff earns the movie its R rating, you won't be let down. Again, Midthunder does star-making work here - I also hope we see the towering Dane DiLiegro again, who plays 'Ol Dreadlocks - but I can't say the same of rest of the cast, most of whom come across as bloodless. Other than that, I think it's the rare streaming service exclusive that is worthy of its hype. Oh, and Sarii is the coolest dog to appear in a movie in a long while.





Re-watch. Good movie. Unusual story.
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Prey -


While I still have a lot to see, this will be hard to top as the best action movie of the year. Set in 18th century North America, our hero is Naru (Amber Midthunder), a talented hunter who is eager to prove herself, especially since her male cohorts doubt her abilities and take credit for the traps she sets. Fed up, she sets out with loyal dog Sarii to prove herself. Instead of her intended target of a mountain lion, she runs afoul of an infinitely more challenging mark.

Possibly due to also thinking the best parts of the first Predator movie are when Arnie and company must rely on their instincts and the environment first and their guns second, Trachtenberg and company maintain this vibe throughout, and luckily, it doesn't wear out its welcome. Scenes like Naru setting traps and improvising weapons like a hatchet on a rope are my favorite examples of this. Filming in the beautiful, untainted Alberta countryside all but enhances Naru's vulnerability, as does Midthunderís performance, which I'd rank above Arnie's since she has the acting chops and the physicality. I also applaud the movie for making the Predator the Jaws-like force of nature I know and love, which Trachtenberg likely had to fight for in these days where it's as if all motivations must be explained, and if you're hoping the good stuff earns the movie its R rating, you won't be let down. Again, Midthunder does star-making work here - I also hope we see the towering Dane DiLiegro again, who plays 'Ol Dreadlocks - but I can't say the same of rest of the cast, most of whom come across as bloodless. Other than that, I think it's the rare streaming service exclusive that is worthy of its hype. Oh, and Sarii is the coolest dog to appear in a movie in a long while.







SF = Z







SF = Z




[Snooze Factor Ratings]:
Z = didn't nod off at all
Zz = nearly nodded off but managed to stay alert
Zzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed
Zzzz = nodded off and missed some of the film but went back to watch what I missed but nodded off again at the same point and therefore needed to go back a number of times before I got through it...
Zzzzz = nodded off and missed some or the rest of the film but was not interested enough to go back over it



An Awkward Sexual Adventure (2012) Romcom/raunchy sex comedy. 2.5/5
I enjoyed it up to a point. That point came when you know what a horrible person the fiance is, so you are fine with the leading man falling in love with the stripper. It could have ended there but it kept going. Tiresome.

For the cast, it's got three adorable brunettes, two attractive but not wildly sexy guys. Maybe its a Hallmark movie for dudes. It definitely had that Hallmark feel, but Christmas was not an issue. Two of the characters are Jewish and two are Indian so they maybe Hindu, Sikh or Muslim. Who knows? Here we are its winter and Christmas time is not an issue. And sexy shenanigans abound: strippers, threesomes, roleplay, BDSM and going down are touched on in a comic way.
I enjoyed it. It was silly and fun until I was over it. The only question I have is why anyone would cosign a loan for a manic, pixie, dreamgirl?

,



Is It Me (2022) 2.5/5 I was very disappointed in this comedy concert film of Sebastian Maniscalco. All his other specials were top notch. Hilarious stuff. Sad to see it. Everything was somewhat amusing but nothing had me howling. Bill Burr's lastest Bill Burr live at Red Rocks. wasn't the greatest some of it was just alright. But some of it was genius. I guess being dad's has eaten into some of their time on the road refining their work. But if you want to see a young comic who is at the top of their game Sam Morril's Same Time Tomorrow is great. Oh almost forgot, Ari Shaffir's Jew is great.
Yeah, I was a little disappointed in Is It Me as well. I haven't seen any of his other specials, although I'll look for them since you recommended him.

I was drawn to him because he's anti W-SJ, and those parts were enjoyable. He really lays on the NY Italian thing, almost like a cleaned up shadow version of Andrew Dice Clay. I pretty much like Bill Burr as well. I'll have to check out Sam Morril.



I forgot the opening line.

By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35036573

Bachelorette - (2012)

A light day for films watched means I only have Bachelorette to talk about today. It's one of those films where the three principle characters are horrible people, and you ask yourself, "Am I going to expected to root for these people?" You are. By the end I'd given up and actually grown fond of these three twits. Regan Crawford (Kirsten Dunst) reads stories to 12-year-old kids with cancer for the kudos it wins her - she's jealous of the fact that Becky (Rebel Wilson) is getting married before her. Katie Lawrence (Isla Fisher) loves to party, and is ditzy and dumb. Jenna Myers (Lizzy Caplan) is the darker one - and supplies the cocaine. When they're caught out for calling Becky "Pig Face" behind her back, the bachelorette party is off - so they resort to making fun of Becky's large wedding dress, accidentally ripping it in half and staining it. The rest of their night will be about their desperate attempts to repair the dress. Most of the fun this film tries to conjure is in the way these girls are tripped up by their own shortcomings - but some tired tropes start to seep in when they learn valuable life lessons and find some happy endings for themselves. I liked some of the darker aspects - drug abuse and suicide are two topics most comedies of this type will avoid - but the film doesn't get the most out of every situation which has potential. In the end it was good, but could have been much better.

6/10
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Spread Hope and Joy :)
Today's watches:

The Apostle (1997) -



"And then I bashed his face in with a baseball bat!"

Borderline bad and not for me. Lots of Evangelical frenzy praying and a fat Americana atmosphere that I'm not particularly fond of in general. @Yoda listed it together with The Lives of Others as humane films. Well, since the latter wasn't humane (but at least was good from what I remember) I never expected this one to be humane either. Still, I hoped for a somewhat better film, seeing it on Yoda's top 10. Oh well. I guess we have different tastes in film and different ideas of humane to boot. I don't regret watching it, though. At least Duvall's performance was not too shabby.

The Unfinished Dance (1947) -



"I'll murder your entire family and make you watch."

Bad and not for me. But at least it looked alright and Karin Booth was beautiful. Also, that girl's eyes were EVIL! I really hoped this would turn into a slasher and the girl would end up murdering every major person in the film. Well, I guess we'd have to wait at least another 30 years for a plot like that.

もう頬づえはつかない [No More Easy Life] (1979) -



That's not how you do yoga, stupid broad!

Good but not for me. After 110 minutes of waiting for the Sachi Arai song, they went ahead and used one of her weakest ones during the ending credits. The plot on feminism and promiscuity was kinda meh, very much like another film from the director called The Four Seasons: Natsuko. But at least No More Easy Life looked, felt, and sounded good.

കൊടിയേറ്റം [Ascent] (1978) -



Looks good, what else can I say?

This was very good. Finally, a quality film! There was enough subtlety, humility, and elegance in the cinematography to elevate it into great film territory. Ascent even has the Vertigo effect used in one of its scenes, but it's used so subtly, you can easily miss it! I think that's very telling since the Vertigo effect is usually very noticeable and in-your-face.

Still have lots of time today so I'm off to watch some more!
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The Apostle (1997) -



"And then I bashed his face in with a baseball bat!"

Borderline bad and not for me. Lots of Evangelical frenzy praying and a fat Americana atmosphere that I'm not particularly fond of in general. @Yoda listed it together with The Lives of Others as humane films.
I'm definitely confused by the critique of "Lots of Evangelical frenzy praying and a fat Americana atmosphere." Why is this bad? You don't have to identify with it. You don't have to agree with it. My memory is that the other big evangelist (heh) for this film on this site, back in the day, was both not an American and a fervent atheist. @Piddzilla, in case he ever sees this.

The film is establishing a deliberate sense of place and time. Obviously you can't identify with the place or its culture. That's the whole point, no? To put you in that unfamiliar (and maybe even uncomfortable) place, to try to understand it. This sounds like exactly the kind of discomfiting thing you'd praise a film for doing (or, more frequently, chastise someone else for not appreciating). There's a degree to which you reacting to this film about "Americana" feels strikingly similar to critiques about Americans blanching at foreign films about places and customs strange to them. It seems like the same gut-level resistance to the Other, but with an air of high-mindedness based purely on who that Other is.

I am, of course, perfectly willing to accept that someone might not find this film as brilliant as I do (though admittedly thinking it's "borderline bad" is pretty hard for me to wrap my head around), but to find that acceptance I'd probably need to hear a more substantive critique.

Well, since the latter wasn't humane (but at least was good from what I remember) I never expected this one to be humane either. Still, I hoped for a somewhat better film, seeing it on Yoda's top 10. Oh well. I guess we have different tastes in film and different ideas of humane to boot. I don't regret watching it, though. At least Duvall's performance was not too shabby.
I guess I'd want to know more about what "humane" means, then, because if painting a subtle portrait of a tortured soul, a human struggling with the contradiction of their ideals and their behavior the same as all of us, then I honestly can't tell what would be.

All that said, I appreciate that you watched it.



Spread Hope and Joy :)
I'm definitely confused by the critique of "Lots of Evangelical frenzy praying and a fat Americana atmosphere." Why is this bad?
It's just something I usually do not like. For what it's worth, one of mark f's favorite films, Elmer Gantry, is also a film about a preacher, but I loved that one. It just felt and looked better. But maybe I need a certain level of artifice to get into oriental (occidental?!) atmospheres better.

You don't have to identify with it. You don't have to agree with it.
As much is clear. But the amount of preaching in this well exceeded the level of acceptance. Four times. And I don't mean the "style over substance" thing because the film's style is lacking, oh boy, is it lacking. Anyway, having the message is not enough. You also have to PORTRAY it well. Watch Ordet or Winter Light or Diary of a Country Priest - all better religious films and also films that know how to PORTRAY the message well. The Apostle looked like the average film you watch on TV. Like a character study undressed from everything that makes cinema good.

This sounds like exactly the kind of discomfiting thing you'd praise a film for doing (or, more frequently, chastise someone else for not appreciating). There's a degree to which you reacting to this film about "Americana" feels strikingly similar to critiques about Americans blanching at foreign films about places and customs strange to them. It seems like the same gut-level resistance to the Other, but with an air of high-mindedness based purely on who that Other is.
I think you overestimate my open-mindedness. No matter how open-minded you try to be, some things just aren't for you. It's not really that Americana is bad, but the way someone shows it can be. That being said, the film is pretty bland visually, too. It just doesn't *feel* good. If it doesn't feel good, I couldn't care less to go further than that. The same goes for the dance film I watched.

Also, I don't think understanding a film is necessary for liking (or disliking) it. From my experience, the opposite is true. I had some instances of films I initially loved but after talking about them with others and thinking about them myself, I better understood what they were about and ended up liking them less. Because they became kind of open books to me. And I like the mystery. So yeah, I didn't pick at people for disliking foreign films because they didn't understand them. If anything, I picked at people for disliking foreign films because they couldn't get into them. They couldn't feel them. You know, feel the film before understanding it, as Bresson said. And I say, if you don't feel it, what's the point in understanding it?

I am, of course, perfectly willing to accept that someone might not find this film as brilliant as I do (though admittedly thinking it's "borderline bad" is pretty hard for me to wrap my head around), but to find that acceptance I'd probably need to hear a more substantive critique.
The opening scene shows that Duvall seemingly really cares about converting the dying guy inside the automobile after the crash. But Duvall seems to be so much into the preaching thing that the dying guy himself stops mattering to him. What matters is just that Duvall converts him before the guy dies. That he kind of wins over the sinner by converting him. That he does his monthly number of conversions and can sleep well. But also that he sees his own salvation in the salvation of others. You can already tell he is a sinner himself even if only because we all are. And you can tell that he's persistent for a reason. Nice beginning to a character study type of film (not my favorite type of film, by the way) that tells a lot. But then, the movie continues. And all your guesses turn out to be true. And so after fkin up, Duvall tries again and he keeps on doing his thing, but we all know how it's gonna end for him. Though on the nose, I think the opening scene is good, and the film could've ended with it. There's not enough good style to be amazed with whatever comes after the opening scene. But maybe I'm missing something.

I guess I'd want to know more about what "humane" means, then, because if painting a subtle portrait of a tortured soul, a human struggling with the contradiction of their ideals and their behavior the same as all of us, then I honestly can't tell what would be.
Watch The Human Condition trilogy and you will know. To be truly humane, a film has to have something that is hard to describe. Something that TRANSCENDS its story.

All that said, I appreciate that you watched it.
Umm, I'd watch almost anything these days. I kind of went downhill in that way because I used to be much pickier and also more strict with my ratings.



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Bill Burr's lastest Bill Burr live at Red Rocks. wasn't the greatest some of it was just alright. But some of it was genius. I guess being dad's has eaten into some of their time on the road refining their work. But if you want to see a young comic who is at the top of their game Sam Morril's Same Time Tomorrow is great. Oh almost forgot, Ari Shaffir's Jew is great.

I think the "trip" bit was one of his best. But, he fell into a ditch when he started talking about a lesbian, and then kept going on and on. I don't even remember it - I just kinda tuned it out, I guess.



I posted the link to the last one in my comedy thread
https://www.movieforums.com/communit...t=47891&page=2