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The Platform (2020)


This movie almost made the 'couldnt even finish' list because of how grisly some of the violence and food consumption behavior was, but I wanted to get through the philosophical message it was trying to convey. It really didn't payoff, and I have seen a lot of other people criticize it similarly. The movie was fine, but the themes didn't go as deep as I may have liked them too.





Bridge of Spies, 2015

Lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) is asked to act as defense counsel to a man named Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) who has been arrested as a Soviet spy. Donovan goes beyond just the rote defense of his client, and his impressive performance leads to a additional ask: he becomes the chief negotiator in trying to arrange a deal to trade Abel for a captured American pilot named Powers (Austin Stowell) and an American student (Will Rogers) who was arrested in East Berlin. All the while, Donovan's work takes a toll on his family.

This was a solid true-history film with engaging lead performances, though it somehow seemed to lack a compelling momentum.

In some ways, this movie feels like two different stories inside the same film. The first story is about a man defending someone who is supposed to only get a gesture of a real trial. The slow forging of respect between Donovan and Abel is nicely done, especially with the note that Donovan never asks Abel if he is guilty or not.

The second story is that of the tense prisoner exchange, as Donovan tries to triangulate between the German and Russian governments, everyone hypersensitive to whether they are perceived as coming out with the better deal. Donovan's "aw shucks" yet shrewd approach to these negotiations is entertaining as he comes up against much more tight-lipped representatives for the other countries.

With such a prestigious catalog of people working on this film--co-written by the Coen brothers, directed by Spielberg, etc--you expect it to look good and it does. The sets and costumes, especially the snow-covered streets of Germany, look great.

At the same time, the film seems to back off of one of its most interesting themes, namely the difficulty of doing the right thing even in difficult circumstances. When Donovan starts defending Abel, he quickly becomes a target of hatred, including people firing a gun into his home and nearly hitting his daughter. He's seen as being un-American and is criticized by the police who are meant to be protecting him. Donovan is living up to his duty as a lawyer and to the principles of democracy and due process, but a lot of people vilify him as if he is on Abel's side.

But at the end of the film, the hostage exchange complete, he becomes a hero. While this might honestly be true to life, it felt like a bit of a cop-out. Obviously we can respect him for following his values, but it feels overly convenient that he doesn't have to reckon with any difficulty. The films chooses to leave its last moments as Donovan watches children clambering over a fence, causing him to flash back to when he saw some young people gunned down trying to cross the Berlin wall.

While the film is willing to show some parallels between the two sides, it definitely hews toward the Soviets being cruel and the Americans being professional (if grudgingly so). Powers is tortured, Abel is merely questioned. Donovan's harassment is forgotten as strangers on the train now smile at him on their daily commute. It feels like it wraps up a little too neatly and loses some of the nicer nuances from the first half of the film.

A solid film, but not one I would imagine revisiting.




Victim of The Night


Bridge of Spies, 2015

Lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) is asked to act as defense counsel to a man named Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) who has been arrested as a Soviet spy. Donovan goes beyond just the rote defense of his client, and his impressive performance leads to a additional ask: he becomes the chief negotiator in trying to arrange a deal to trade Abel for a captured American pilot named Powers (Austin Stowell) and an American student (Will Rogers) who was arrested in East Berlin. All the while, Donovan's work takes a toll on his family.

This was a solid true-history film with engaging lead performances, though it somehow seemed to lack a compelling momentum.

In some ways, this movie feels like two different stories inside the same film. The first story is about a man defending someone who is supposed to only get a gesture of a real trial. The slow forging of respect between Donovan and Abel is nicely done, especially with the note that Donovan never asks Abel if he is guilty or not.

The second story is that of the tense prisoner exchange, as Donovan tries to triangulate between the German and Russian governments, everyone hypersensitive to whether they are perceived as coming out with the better deal. Donovan's "aw shucks" yet shrewd approach to these negotiations is entertaining as he comes up against much more tight-lipped representatives for the other countries.

With such a prestigious catalog of people working on this film--co-written by the Coen brothers, directed by Spielberg, etc--you expect it to look good and it does. The sets and costumes, especially the snow-covered streets of Germany, look great.

At the same time, the film seems to back off of one of its most interesting themes, namely the difficulty of doing the right thing even in difficult circumstances. When Donovan starts defending Abel, he quickly becomes a target of hatred, including people firing a gun into his home and nearly hitting his daughter. He's seen as being un-American and is criticized by the police who are meant to be protecting him. Donovan is living up to his duty as a lawyer and to the principles of democracy and due process, but a lot of people vilify him as if he is on Abel's side.

But at the end of the film, the hostage exchange complete, he becomes a hero. While this might honestly be true to life, it felt like a bit of a cop-out. Obviously we can respect him for following his values, but it feels overly convenient that he doesn't have to reckon with any difficulty. The films chooses to leave its last moments as Donovan watches children clambering over a fence, causing him to flash back to when he saw some young people gunned down trying to cross the Berlin wall.

While the film is willing to show some parallels between the two sides, it definitely hews toward the Soviets being cruel and the Americans being professional (if grudgingly so). Powers is tortured, Abel is merely questioned. Donovan's harassment is forgotten as strangers on the train now smile at him on their daily commute. It feels like it wraps up a little too neatly and loses some of the nicer nuances from the first half of the film.

A solid film, but not one I would imagine revisiting.

Of all movies, this is the one that made me hate Spielberg less. And Tom Hanks. I can't stomach either anymore and I don't know what even made me give this my time, but it was a very competent spy-thriller and I mean that as a compliment.



Of all movies, this is the one that made me hate Spielberg less. And Tom Hanks. I can't stomach either anymore and I don't know what even made me give this my time, but it was a very competent spy-thriller and I mean that as a compliment.
Big name, mainstream movies often don't get my attention. I've seen more of Tom Hanks this week (and still possibly have Sully on deck) than I have in the last 10 years.

This movie was a competent spy thriller, and it was fine. Maybe more than fine.

Glancing at their filmographies, I dd really enjoy the Tintin film and I liked Lincoln. Had no interest in Ready Player One, The BFG or The Post. I suspect I might enjoy West Side Story if only because I watched the original recently.

For Hanks, I thought he was really good in News of the World. I also really liked him (and everyone, honestly) in Cloud Atlas. Mostly he's been in a lot of stuff that hasn't interested me, like Inferno. I still dig him as an actor, but I feel like the material doesn't tap into what can make him a really interesting presence on screen. The scene at the end of Captain Phillips where he has a breakdown while being cared for by a young corpsman is the closest to that energy as I've seen from him in a good while. (Well that and, I'm not even joking, David S. Pumpkins).



Gladiator (2000)


I actually decided to re-watch Gladiator because I talked about it the other day.

It had been over ten years since I watched it. One of the best movies ever made, without a doubt. It's absolutely perfectly executed: 2.5 hours without a single wasted line of dialogue. Just epic line after epic line. It certainly is not a subtle movie, but it is not bad in any way: people who dislike it dislike it because they dislike what it is trying to be since it is EXACTLY what it is trying to be, executed to perfection. Absolutely unforgettable and one of Riddley Scott's best together with Blade Runner. Since I watched this one now, I decided to put it into my top 10.

Inside Out (2015)




I'm not one who thinks that animated films are just for kids, but I felt like this was more suited for them. I liked the concept and the animation is great. I don't have anything negative to say at all, but I was never more than amused.
Most Hollywood animated movies are for kids. Pixar's movies are well-made, but they almost never hit very high notes, either.

One that is not is Sausage Party. Not very good thought.



S&Man (2006) 3/5
This is part documentary, part mockumentary about voyeurism, horror movies and underground films. The filmmaker JT Petty was given some money to produce a film about a voyeur who was taking video of his neighbors. The guy had been arrested, but the charges against him were dropped when the neighbors found out that the video he had shot would be played as evidence in his trial. Doh!

Petty attempts to get the voyeur to allow him to film him but the guy is not biting. Petty has used most of his money. So what to do?
He decides to make a documentary about horror. He interviews some people in the industry, a sexologist and a psychiatrist.
The best thing about it is the way Petty weaves the documentary with the mockumentary. Dr. Clover assures as that in her experience all snuff films are fake while we watch, admitted stalker and horror filmmaker, Eric Vost kills his actresses on screen. Petty asks to speak to some of his actresses but Eric stonewalls him. Is Eric a murderer or are we being played by JT Petty? Either way it is an umcomfortable watch and an interesting essay on horror.




God this was terrible.



I forgot the opening line.
Kathy Bates and F. Murray Abraham were in the stage version of Frankie and Johnny...
I'd like to have seen that - with those two playing those parts, a whole different feel would have permeated the story.
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I forgot the opening line.

Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1398268

A Very Long Engagement - (2004)

I'm going to need to watch this again I'm afraid - I had it pegged as a romance, but it really plays as a mystery and as such by the time I was well and truly lost it was too late. This isn't a film you can switch your brain off for - because each clue and person creates a complex tapestry that makes up Mathilde Donnay's (Audrey Tautou) investigation into the disappearance of her fiancÚ on the battlefield of the Western Front during the First World War. Chances are he's dead, but Mathilde feels in her heart he's not, and since there's no definitive proof either way she plunges forth into a world of intrigue that involves the destiny of a group of condemned French soldiers and the war's aftermath. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's whimsical style strangely suits the trenches well, with little flourishes and moments of focus on the various surreal and strange peculiarities of trench warfare. At the same time, love and desire entwine the fates of people as often happens during war. I found myself liking this far more than I thought I would, but feel the need to follow all the strands before I reach a final verdict - there's a lot here to like, even though I'm not sure about the sepia tone which drowns out all colour at certain times in the film.

7.5/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9299106

Mars Attacks! - (1996)

I can say definitively that Mars Attacks! sucks. I've tried a few times, but no matter how much leeway I give the dumb gaudiness, there's just not enough genuinely clever comedy, or even remotely funny invention, on display. The rest is a bright confection of junk culture, ill-used celebrity and cheesy 50s sci-fi callbacks. I know it's meant to be a loving pastiche that celebrates the cheap science fiction young people would be drawn to in the early days of the genre, but that doesn't make up for the fact that the screenplay and performances miss their mark completely - making the whole endeavour look ill-considered and a very silly waste of $100 million. Some of the design looks fantastic - everything else about the film is horrible.

4/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67974172

The Velvet Queen - (2021)

Wildlife documentary featured during the 'Cinema for the Climate' section at Cannes, involving two men searching Tibet for the rare snow leopard, and coming across every other animal you can think of - from bears to wolves to things I don't even know the name of. Hate seeing those clips where wolves separate young beasts and take them down while the animal's mother fights desperately for it's life. Nature can be cruel. The rest of the film is a visual treat, and conveys exceptional beauty in wonderfully serene landscapes that tower and marvel.

8/10



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Starfvckers (Antonio Marziale, 2022)
+ 6/10
Presence (Christian Schultz, 2022)
4/10
Mister Scoutmaster (Henry Levin, 1953)
+ 6/10
My Policeman (Michael Grandage, 2022)
6/10

In the 1950s, museum curator David Dawson and policeman Harry Styles have an affair which can get them both in trouble with the law and doesn't sit too well with the latter's future wife (Emma Corrin) who happens to be the former's sister. 40 years later the story continues.
Falling for Christmas (Janeen Damian, 2022)
6-/10
The Willowbrook (Zach Koepp, 2022)
4/10
Susannah of the Mounties (William A. Seiter, 1939)
6/10
The Lost King (Stephen Frears, 2022)
- 6.5/10

Amateur historian Sally Hawkins wants to find the body of Richard III (Harry Lloyd) to reform his image as a usurper in the eyes of most of all England, but she encounters problems most of the way.
The Box (Lorenzo Vigas, 2021)
5.5/10
Cry Terror! (Andrew L. Stone, 1958)
6/10
Taurus (Tim Sutton, 2022)
5/10
Amsterdam (David O. Russell, 2022)
6/10

WWI Veteran/doctor Christian Bale, ex-nurse Margot Robbie, and veteran/lawyer John David Washington who falls on love with her, try to solve a convoluted mystery involving the U. S. President, a mysterious businessman (Rami Malek) and Senator Robert De Niro.
The Sad Horse (James B. Clark, 1959)
5.5/10
Paradise City (Chuck Russell, 2022)
5/10
Rodin (Jacques Doillon, 2017)
5.5/10
Manon (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1949)
6.5/10

Prostitute CÚcile Aubry hurts several people through her desire of money, especially former French Resistance activist Serge Reggiani who turns into a murderer after he saves her.
The Lion (Jack Cardiff, 1962)
6/10
Deborah (Noga Pnueli, 2022)
5/10
The Peterville Diamond (Walter Forde, 1943)
6/10
It Happened Tomorrow (RenÚ Clair, 1944)
6.5/10

Otherworldy Pop (John Philliber) gives a newspaper to turn-of-the-century newspaper man Dick Powell who learns that it has the news of the next day. This complicates the life of him and phony clairvoyant Linda Darnell.
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THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
(1944, Lang)



"It's not that, but... I was warned against the siren call of adventure at my age."

This Fritz Lang film follows Wanley, a married man that ends up meeting Alice Reed (Joan Bennett), the subject of a beautiful painting he and his friends were admiring on a shop window earlier. Unfortunately for Wanley, what might seem like an innocent meeting ends up leading into disaster, as they both end up with a murder in their hands. The two then try to cover it up while also trying to keep Richard's DA friend off their scent.

Robinson does a great job as the man unlikely drawn into things beyond his control. It only adds to the tension to see his seemingly well-conceived plans crumble under the most minuscule details. Bennett also adds a certain level of uncertainty, as we're never really sure where she stands, which is heightened when Heidt (Dan Duryea) enters the scene as a third party determined to blackmail both of them. Duryea easily steals the second half of the film which, based on the handful of films I've seen him in, seems to be the norm. He's excellent.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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I watched Scarlet Street and when I researched it there were several mentions of The Woman in the Window. Same director and three leads. I'll have to check it out.



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The Worst Person in the World - 7.5/10
She's the center of the movie, crises, but without the twists and turns. It felt very natural flowing, without explosions or overly dramatic scenes. It was very subdued and not that predictable. Although I knew what was on the character's mind, I wouldn't mind if there were a few scenes where she's unsure, or if the audience isn't unsure... One user critic described it as an existential crisis on film relatable to many 40-year olds who are trying to adjust to a world much different than the ones we were born in. The internet changed the world, but who's to say things would have worked out if it wasn't invented. People still have many of the same problems they did a thousand years ago.

And then when you add music from the 60/70s, it's going to make the movie better, especially two very good songs by Harry Nilsson.




I don't actually wear pants.
Well I just finished Noroi this afternoon. It's my favorite horror film. It's effectively incredibly creepy with minimal to no jumps scares, and the last scene still haunts me after about the fourth time I've watched the film. Today when I finished Noroi, I actually stopped breathing a bit and my heart raced at the ending scene. I even knew to expect it, and it still scared me half to death. Is it weird I want to watch it again? Oh, a numerical value. 10/10.
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