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I thought The Post was fine.




Hard movie to follow. Flashbacks, forward-flashes, it’s all over the place. Cage very good as twin brothers. Not bad. I did finish it, but 2 hours seemed like 3 hours.
I got the same impression, not about following the film, but about being a long one, I thought the same about Synecdoche, New York, and the latest I'm Thinking of Ending Things, maybe that's the intended. I liked them all, this one specially, uh, I was thinking what about Adaptation. did I like. I started compiling quotations that built certain characters in my mind, and Kaufman seems to be a guy of quotations, we can see that in his latest film, in his interviews, and when I'm trying to say what I liked about this film this comes to mind:

Chris Cooper as John Laroche:
"I'm probably the smartest person I know."

Meryl Streep as Susan Orlean:
"I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately."

Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman:
"That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago."

I don't know if that's the case with everybody else, but this film built characters by certain sentences they said, some were just ingeniously funny, others were very reveling.



Tonight, it's a new one, Paul Schrader's The Card Counter. I'm mixed on this one. On the one hand, it's well crafted, acting is excellent and tension is constant. On the other hand, it's slow, full of a sort of toxic masculinity that mainly makes for glaring stares, especially in the context of a movie about poker where half of the movie is people staring at each other, tying to not reveal any emotion. Outside the game, they are still concealing their emotions, which threaten to boil over at any moment.



I typically love movies about gambling, but your review seems to confirm what I originally thought about the trailer. The subject matter outside of gambling is the heavier/meatier part of the movie, no? Reviews seem pretty mixed across the internet so far.



Martyrs Lane (2021)

A traditional ghost story that doesn't offer surprises or crazy twists but trudges confidently on a well-tread path. It's sadder than scary, but many of the best hauntings are rooted in sorrow. A good example of how the film doesn't need to be original to be just fine.
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I haven't seen A Man for All Seasons, so I can't speak to the d quality of Scofield's performance. But if it's better than Burton, I'll be damned.

I think Burton was robbed too...sometimes I think he's better than Taylor...sometimes.



I typically love movies about gambling, but your review seems to confirm what I originally thought about the trailer. The subject matter outside of gambling is the heavier/meatier part of the movie, no? Reviews seem pretty mixed across the internet so far.
The gambling part is fairly procedural and dry. The other part of the plot, the characters' various traumas, is the "weight" of the plot and somewhat reminds me of the feel (though not the plot) of The Deer Hunter or movies about holocaust survivors, in the sense that I know, in a factual sort of way, that these terrible things happen to people, but I'm not sure how to make entertainment out of it.



minds his own damn business
Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman:
"That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago."
That was actually Donald Kaufman, the brother.


I'll tell you what I like about this film, which is likely to make my top 25 for the 00s. It's a true story, mostly. The Orchid Thief was a real non-fiction book from 1998. Susan Orlean (Streep) and John LaRouche (Cooper) are real people, the author and subject of said book. Charlie Kaufman was hired to adapt this non-fiction book before he had success with Being John Malkovich. He decided instead of adapting the book (which he couldn't do) to put himself into the adaptation trying to adapt the book, and inventing a non-existent twin brother (Donald) to act as his Hollywood id, giving him advice on commercial formula which has nothing to do with the book whatsoever. Robert McKee, the script whisperer, is also a real person (who looks remarkably like Brian Cox irl), who provides unhelpful rote formula structure which also doesn't help.


So in the end
WARNING: spoilers below
Kaufman fabricates a preposterous plot twist that epitomizes the laziest of Hollywood contrivances that he has been trying to avoid, turns the entire film into the kind of film that he hates, sacrifices his fake brother/alter ego Donald at the altar of the kind of film Donald was pushing him to write the entire movie, and then has Donald reveal the soul of the entire movie, both in the scene quoted above, and in his final death rattle.



It's the exact kind of surreal meta-ness that people who hate Charlie Kaufman can't stand, and exactly what I adore about his films and approach to narrative subversions. Donalds are a dime a dozen in this business.
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West Side Story, 1961

In a New York City neighborhood, tensions run high between two rival gangs. The Jets, led by Riff (Russ Tamblyn) repeatedly squabble and rumble with the Sharks, led by Bernardo (George Chakiris). Standing outside it all, yet unavoidably bound to the conflict, are Riff's brother Tony (Richard Beymer) and Bernardo's sister, Maria (Natalie Wood), who fall swiftly in love. But the gang violence threatens to destroy the happiness of the young lovers.

Another film I've been meaning to see forever, that I've only ever known through short snippets and GIFs, and turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.

Musicals can be pretty hit or miss with me. Setting aside whether or not the music itself is good enough to listen to, characters suddenly bursting into song can come across more silly than genuine. Musicals are a genre that tend to push up against the borders of my suspension of disbelief.

In any event, West Side Story circumvents any of those pitfalls through the simple mechanism of being TOTALLY EXTRA. Dancerly, balletic movements punctuate almost all of the scenes. Yes, there are the moments that you're definitely in the middle of a number, but are you every truly out of a number in this movie? I don't think so. At any moment someone might punctuate a strong statement with a kick or a twirl.

And that might sound like I'm poking fun at the film, but it's quite the opposite. The movie happily blurs the line between the allegorical world of dance and the "real" world of the film, which makes the transitions between scenes and sequences far less jarring. It results in a far more immersive experience. It also makes it feel far less absurd that a hardened street gang would twirl around like they're running a few minutes late for a turn in Swan Lake. These street kids will sing and dance their emotional traumas, their fatalistic outlook on life, and their semi-serious attempts to stab each other.

Maria and Tony didn't super grip me as a couple, but that doesn't really matter. It is enough to see the way that the oppressive hate from both sides sabotages something as simple as a teenage crush.

What I think the film conveys best is the way that the hatred between the two groups comes both from bias and from a sense of being unsettled. These are all very angry young people, and they have nowhere to point their anger but at each other. It's interesting to see that neither side will cooperate with the police. But with an inability to do anything about authority figures, they turn on each other.

Which isn't to say that I found them entirely sympathetic. The Jets (with whom we spend the most time) are a veritable study in wounded, impotent masculinity. They bluster about fighting with rocks, knives, and guns, and yet are entirely unprepared for the consequences of such violence. In the scene that feels the most "real", the Jets harass and sexually assault Maria's best friend, Anita (Rita Moreno), seemingly only stopped from committing rape by the timely intervention of an older man. One of the Jets then protests that they didn't choose the way the world works. Right, but um . . . . you do get to choose whether or not you rape someone. I did wonder in that moment how self-aware the film was with that exchange. To me, it indicated young people who, in the face of a degree of helplessness, have assumed a victim mentality that they can't control anything, even their own actions.

From a technical point of view, the choreography and the way that it blends with the camera techniques are pretty aces. At one point I genuinely thought something was very wrong with my TV before realizing it was just a very colorful transition. There are "standalone" dancing sequences in open spaces, and also sequences that take place in more complicated sets. I thought it all looked great. Even the songs that didn't do too much for me still felt very watchable because the dancing and camera looked so good.

To my eye, the only real misstep was the makeup on the actors playing the Puerto Rican characters. Like, wow. After watching, I confirmed what I hadn't understood while watching, which is that Rita Moreno (who is Puerto Rican!) was wearing a bunch of darkening makeup. I guess she had to wear it to match the skin tone that they put on the other (white) actors. Anyway, kind of yikes. It just doesn't look good---it very obviously looks like people wearing a ton of thick makeup.

Despite this, though, a really good watch overall. Deservedly iconic.

Great writeup of one of the few movies I consider to be a full 10/10 (even though I don't actually rate movies on any kind of scale).
There is so much that I could say about this film, and you've said a lot of it, but I really honestly find the movie rather daring for a musical of its era, especially compared to Wise's next one, The Sound Of Music, which is, to me, pretty much what I don't want in a musical.
By contrast this one is not only edgy and topical, but also fully embraces Jazz (both the music and dance forms) and has some of the most exciting dance sequences I've ever seen.
And it's a great looking film.



Great writeup of one of the few movies I consider to be a full 10/10 (even though I don't actually rate movies on any kind of scale).
There is so much that I could say about this film, and you've said a lot of it, but I really honestly find the movie rather daring for a musical of its era, especially compared to Wise's next one, The Sound Of Music, which is, to me, pretty much what I don't want in a musical.
By contrast this one is not only edgy and topical, but also fully embraces Jazz (both the music and dance forms) and has some of the most exciting dance sequences I've ever seen.
And it's a great looking film.
Yeah, I think that in something that looks like a cheery, almost Disney film, to have someone talk about their parents being abusive addicts, or to have such a (relatively) realistic sequence of sexual assault is unexpected. And, honestly, so were the deaths in the film. I think that the bright colors and the choreography acts as this interesting buffer, which allows the film to put some more daring ideas and content into the film. Like, did that dude just do a pirouette and then say his mom is a junkie?





In the Wake of the Bounty (1933)

Australian film detailing the events of the famous 'Mutiny on the Bounty' incident, made two years prior to the much more widely known MGM release. The film is notable for featuring the first screen performance of Errol Flynn, who appears as Fletcher Christian. Those familiar with the basic plot of the story will find no surprises in the mutiny or its lead up, which is quickly breezed through with what has been described as rather mediocre acting, though interesting nevertheless.

The film really picks up however at around the mid-way point when it shifts to a semi-documentary format. It details the lives of the mutineers and their families on the Pitcairn Islands, from the time of the incident up until when the film was made. This offers a fascinating insight into a rarely told part of the story, showing real footage of the islanders and how they lived. Evidently the film makers found a lot of cooperation from the people in helping to examine what has always been a controversial subject. Definitely not the greatest movie, but enjoyable given its unique perspective.

6/10



Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

For some reason I always thought this movie was about a big court case for a lawyer or something. Didn't know it was about a custody battle. Threw me off a bit. It was well executed, acted and directed. Like many movies from this time period I appreciate the hell out of them super glad I watched them but ok with never revisiting them. Plus Streep just turns me off because I think she is a very good actress but imo overrated plus her politics are unbearable which doesn't help. I went into that on the Streep forum.

The kid in the movie would swing from bad, to annoy to good to very good from one scene to another for me ha. Hoffman was great and Streep was adequate enough. It was sort of refreshing to see pity for the father during a custody battle. Fathers get the shaft during custody/divorce hearings alot. The court scenes were a bit over the top but definitely the most engaging part of the movie. I can see where a movie like Iran's A Seperation took inspiration from this flick. Anyways I see why the movie is considered a classic but it dragged for me a bit.

Personally I'd give it a weak
.

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I came here to do two things, drink some beer and kick some ass, looks like we are almost outta beer - Dazed and Confused

101 Favorite Movies (2019)





Open Hearts, 2002

In a tragic accident, a young man named Joachim (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) accidentally steps in front of a car being driven by Marie (Paprika Steen). Joachim ends up paralyzed from the neck down, and his depression and bitterness over his injury drives a wedge between himself and Cecille (Sonja Richter), his girlfriend. By coincidence, Marie's husband Niels (Mads Mikkelsen) works in the hospital, and soon he and Cecille strike up a co-dependent and then sexual relationship.

This film (part of the Dogme series, though it does seem to break a few of the rules) is the kind of film that seems more interested in observing than in necessarily making a statement about the choices and actions of its characters.

Something that the film does very well is show the way that a certain subgroup of emotions--guilt, anger, grief, regret--often don't have a "home" and thus end up being pushed onto the people around the person feeling the emotion.

In the case of Jaochim, he directs his anger outward at Cecille and at the incredibly patient nurse, Hanne (Birthe Neumann) who cares for him in the hospital. Joachim's abuse drives Cecille away, while Hanne's smirking reaction to his vulgar insults is what ends up finally breaking through his malaise a bit.

But what happens between Marie, Niels, and Cecille is more complicated. Marie is understandably torn apart by what happened, despite it not really being her fault. It is this guilt that leads Marie to encourage Niels in supporting Cecille, only realizing too late the nature of their relationship. Cecillem, reeling from her boyfriend's hateful language toward her, is looking for comfort. Niels, for his part, doesn't seem to fight the pull of the affair all too hard. In fact, when finally confronted with his actions, he seems immensely relieved to be able to point the finger at Marie for "forcing" him into spending time with Cecille.

It was interesting to see the contrast between the characters of Cecille and Niels and what it means for them to be engaged in the affair and what it means for them to think about "walking away." For Niels, he has a wife but he also has three children. When Niels is absent, the weight of running the household falls entirely on Marie. His character is very self-centered in his approach, blaming his family and especially his wife, for the fact that he feels "trapped." Cecille's situation is different, because she is looking more for a supplement, not a replacement. the contrast between how they feel about their relationship is shown neatly in a moment when they are interrupted during sex by a phone call from the hospital. Cecille leaves with no hesitation, but the look on Niels' face shows that he hadn't quite accepted his role as second-most important.

I have a friend whose husband several years ago suffered a traumatic brain injury, something that has permanently altered their relationship. He cannot work, and they no longer have a romantic life. They also have a young child. She has essentially become a caretaker for her child and her husband (and also their main source of income). From this lens, something that I felt didn't entirely feel honest was the scene at the end where
WARNING: spoilers below
Joachim basically gives Cecille his blessing for her to move on from him. It just didn't feel realistic. I know many people who have had boyfriends/girlfriends or spouses who have suffered from long-term or chronic situations, and none of them have resulted in one giving the other permission to go off on their own. It felt like a plot move intended to push Cecille's character to ask what she really wants, but it didn't feel authentic to me.


The performances here were very strong, and I appreciated that the film approached all of its characters with nuance and empathy. It is a complicated, messy situation, and the film doesn't try to offer any pat answers or lessons.




The Dark Crystal -


I've wanted to watch this movie again since I finished the very good Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and this thread gave me as good an excuse as any to do so. Coming across like an epic even though it's only a little over 90 minutes long, it takes place in a broken world - as evidenced by the titular broken jewel - and focuses on two races who could not be any more different. There's the Mystics, who as their name implies are always looking to the skies for answers, and the Skeksis - one of the most gruesome and unappealing villains in all of fiction, if you ask me - who are only concerned with their ill-gotten power. Our hero, though, is Jen, the apparent last member of the Gelfling race who is prophesized to restore the crystal and thus balance.

This may say more about me than the movies I watch, but so many of them these days have me reaching for my cell phone. This one, on the other hand, made me put it down. Not only is every frame a visual feast, but they also reward the observant eye whether it's the cleverly designed flora and fauna in the woods or the crowd of Podlings in the wings of the palace. Also, the painted vistas and puppetry hold up despite their age and have a physicality and personal touch that even the most sophisticated modern CGI could not replicate. The movie is labeled as dark fantasy, which I think fits given the subject matter and how revolting the villains are - especially during the dinner scene - but it still manages to be adorable and funny and at just the right times. Fizzgig and the Podlings - the non-turned ones, that is - have a lot to do with this, as does the irascible Aughra, who comes across like a mix of Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings and Dorothy from Golden Girls. Credit also goes to Trevor Jones' score, especially for how it adds so much atmosphere and wonder with its simple motif.

Like the best fantasy, there is much more to take in while watching this movie beyond its imagination, lore, and old-fashioned underdog story. I can relate to its desire for those in power, who lately seem to fall into the movie's dominant camps, to understand one another, come together and that in doing so would make our world one worth living in and preserving. If there's a fault in the movie worth calling out, it's that it could be more tonally consistent, especially when it comes to the scary scenes. While I've praised the comic relief, it reminded me of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie - which the Hensons also worked on, coincidentally - in that the violence does not always mesh with the scenes that are meant to appeal to children. Granted, I first watched this movie as an adult, but scenes like the one where the Skeksis drain the poor Podling's essence are pure nightmare fuel. Despite this flaw, I still rank this as one of the best fantasy movies I've seen and consider it an achievement in puppetry on par with the original Yoda. It's just too bad that with the Netflix series' cancellation, we may never get to visit this world again.
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Last Great Movie Seen
The Tomb of Ligeia (Corman, 1964)



The Dark Crystal -
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I highly, HIGHLY recommend this documentary on the making of the film. I've watched it almost as much as the film itself. It really shows you just how much it was a labor of love.






Beeswax, 2009

Jeannie (Tilly Hatcher) and Lauren (Maggie Hatcher) are twin sisters, each suffering their own mini crisis. Jeannie is in a worsening dispute with her friend Amanda (Anne Dodge), with whom she co-owns a boutique. Lauren is essentially unemployed and unsure what to do with her life.

Here is the challenge with a film like this: you know when someone uses the phrase "Millenials" as an insult? Yeah, the people in this film are the kind of people they are imagining. In short, they are awful, and spending time with them is a chore.

On the other hand, the film and the actors in it very keenly and very accurately lampoon exactly the kind of wishy-washy narcissism that keeps so many young adults (and adults!) in a state of mediocrity. Jeannie spends the whole film avoiding just having a conversation with Amanda to really hash things out. Instead she spends a ton of time complaining to her friends and family, and having an unproductive meeting with a lawyer.

What the film also shows is the way that the characters have placed themselves in an echo chamber. There is no kind truth-telling here. Worst in this regard is maybe Jeannie's boyfriend, Merrill (Alex Karpovsky). Merrill clearly thinks of himself as being supportive, and yet in the most symbolic scene between them, he first forgets Jeannie in the car (she is a wheelchair user) and she must flag down a stranger to help her get out. Once inside where they are to have a meeting with a possible investor for the boutique, Merrill says he "wants to let Jeannie do the talking here" . . . and then proceeds to not only do all the talking, but in the process say things like "And of course the store will never be a big success."

I couldn't help but draw comparisons between this film and something like Frances Ha, but I think that Frances Ha works a bit better because we see some character growth. I will say that I think that the lack of character growth in Beeswax was intentional---it's showing us how these behaviors mean that the characters are repeatedly putting themselves into the quicksand. But it does generate a bit of narrative frustration.

As a character study, I think that this film is solid. But I imagine most viewers will struggle as I did, watching self-centered people make bad choices and sling passive-aggressive insults for 90 minutes.




Kramer vs Kramer (1979)

...Plus Streep just turns me off because I think she is a very good actress but imo overrated plus her politics are unbearable which doesn't help. I went into that on the Streep forum.



Hm. I gotta go find this Streep thread. Just to add to her being overrated, I consider her the greatest living actor, bar none.
I don't know anything about her politics.



The Dark Crystal -


I've wanted to watch this movie again since I finished the very good Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and this thread gave me as good an excuse as any to do so. Coming across like an epic even though it's only a little over 90 minutes long, it takes place in a broken world - as evidenced by the titular broken jewel - and focuses on two races who could not be any more different. There's the Mystics, who as their name implies are always looking to the skies for answers, and the Skeksis - one of the most gruesome and unappealing villains in all of fiction, if you ask me - who are only concerned with their ill-gotten power. Our hero, though, is Jen, the apparent last member of the Gelfling race who is prophesized to restore the crystal and thus balance.

This may say more about me than the movies I watch, but so many of them these days have me reaching for my cell phone. This one, on the other hand, made me put it down. Not only is every frame a visual feast, but they also reward the observant eye whether it's the cleverly designed flora and fauna in the woods or the crowd of Podlings in the wings of the palace. Also, the painted vistas and puppetry hold up despite their age and have a physicality and personal touch that even the most sophisticated modern CGI could not replicate. The movie is labeled as dark fantasy, which I think fits given the subject matter and how revolting the villains are - especially during the dinner scene - but it still manages to be adorable and funny and at just the right times. Fizzgig and the Podlings - the non-turned ones, that is - have a lot to do with this, as does the irascible Aughra, who comes across like a mix of Tom Bombadil from The Lord of the Rings and Dorothy from Golden Girls. Credit also goes to Trevor Jones' score, especially for how it adds so much atmosphere and wonder with its simple motif.

Like the best fantasy, there is much more to take in while watching this movie beyond its imagination, lore, and old-fashioned underdog story. I can relate to its desire for those in power, who lately seem to fall into the movie's dominant camps, to understand one another, come together and that in doing so would make our world one worth living in and preserving. If there's a fault in the movie worth calling out, it's that it could be more tonally consistent, especially when it comes to the scary scenes. While I've praised the comic relief, it reminded me of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie - which the Hensons also worked on, coincidentally - in that the violence does not always mesh with the scenes that are meant to appeal to children. Granted, I first watched this movie as an adult, but scenes like the one where the Skeksis drain the poor Podling's essence are pure nightmare fuel. Despite this flaw, I still rank this as one of the best fantasy movies I've seen and consider it an achievement in puppetry on par with the original Yoda. It's just too bad that with the Netflix series' cancellation, we may never get to visit this world again.
Always loved this movie. Watched it relentlessly in my youth, sometimes every day for a week, then revisited it when I was in my mid-30s and loved it, and then once more in my early 40s.
The cancellation of the series was kinda heartbreaking to me as I really don't like very many shows, almost none really, and I loved that one. Much better than the gawd-awful Game Of Thrones.