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Worst movie of the 2020s so far?
I could think of far worse movies than this. But yeah, it's not great.
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Victim of The Night
The theme of age--and the way that the boys covet age and authority--is definitely present, but it never feels fleshed out in a satisfactory way. At times it has the feeling of a Twilight Zone episode stretched to feature length. Not always in a bad way, but at times there are things that feel redundant.
Book is much better.



Victim of The Night

By http://www.impawards.com/2019/captain_marvel_ver2.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56660636

Captain Marvel - (2019)

I have virtually zero comic book experience, and as such had no idea who this new member of the Marvel franchise would be. Another origin tale at this stage had me tearing my hair out at first, but this film slowly won me over with a thunderclap of a finish. We're thrown in at the deep end with Captain Marvel because we pick up on a story that seems to have started some time ago, but there's a reason for this that you'll get once you've seen the whole film. I'm sure those familiar with the character will have figured out where this was heading much faster than I did - and once again I'm being vague on purpose for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. Nice to see Ben Mendelsohn get a Marvel gig, and Brie Larson gets by with plenty of charisma. A de-aged Samuel L. Jackson (we're getting a portion of the next Indiana Jones film with a de-aged Harrison Ford) had me questioning where all of this ability to bring the past back to life will head in cinematic terms. Like I said, I was pretty much hating this at first, but by the end it had completely won me over. Oh, and Goose - you're a star! But are you real or completely CGI?

Bring on Avengers : Endgame!

7/10
Two things:
1. When she flies right through the big space-ship and blows the whole thing up.
One of my favorite frames ever from a Marvel comic, it was actually Nova who did it, but man I loved seeing it on the big screen and then she just flies up to Ronin and he's like, "Yeah, we out."
2. I hope you watched the post-credits scene(s).



I saw a couple movies recently...

I regularly take advantage of the interlibrary loan system and borrow movies for free. And my most recent viewings were of two movies from 1987 dealing with life among society's down and out.



BARFLY (1987) 7/10
starring Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway, Alice Krige, J.C. Quinn, Frank Stallone
directed by Barbet Schroeder
written by Charles Bukowski



IRONWEED (1987) 7/10
starring Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Carroll Baker, Michael O'Keefe, Tom Waits
directed by Hťctor Babenco
screenplay by William Kennedy, based on his novel

Overall, I thought both movies were very strong. But there were certain things about one movie that I liked more than the other. For example, I thought that Meryl Streep was very powerful and very moving in the role of Helen Archer in Ironweed. However, her performance definitely had the feel of a movie star doing a "turn." I was reminded of something rather catty that critic Pauline Kael once said about Streep, saying that she had made a career out of seeming to overcome being miscast. (I don't remember the quote word for word, and I'm probably paraphrasing.) Granted, that's rather harsh, and while she's not necessarily one of my favorite actresses, I think she's generally better than that. Her performance of the musical number He's Me Pal is also quite a stunner (albeit a momentary digression into fantasy). But for my money, Faye Dunaway was definitely right on the money with her performance as Wanda Wilcox. Between Dunaway and Streep, I think Dunaway takes the prize. If you remember Dunaway from her performances in '60s and '70s movies like Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Chinatown (1974), Network (1976), Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), or her gloriously uninhibited trainwreck of a Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981), you'll remember her very much as a powerful actress with a radiant glamour which definitely recalls old-school Hollywood. (Although that likeness probably has as much to do with the retro film noir ambience of Chinatown and the conflation of her own screen image with that of Crawford's post-Mommie Dearest as much as anything else.) But in Barfly there is definitely something disturbingly de-glamorized about her, something very much stripped down to barely functioning wires. Her elegently wasted Wanda Sykes is almost barely recognizable as the classic Dunaway of old, brilliantly spare and yet somehow spiritually aristocratic. In Barfly and Ironweed, both Dunaway and Streep deliver extremely moving portraits of alcoholic, ravaged women, but Dunaway's somehow feels much more authentic and is less "showy" (for lack of a better word) than Streep's.

On the other hand, I felt a great deal more emotionally moved by Ironweed than I did by Barfly. Somehow, in the Schroeder/Bukowski film, you get this feeling that the wasted and self-destructive behavior of Mickey Rourke's Henry Chinaski is something of an indulgence. Granted, you're not really given much insight into Chinaski's past, but you almost feel like there's a willful refusal of "normal" society's standards of what's generally considered to be sober, sensible, or productive. Sure, that's perhaps the whole point of the movie, a kind of sympathy with a "rebel stance" against the mainstream. But while I do empathize strongly with rebellious behavior myself, in Barfly's case I wasn't necessarily convinced that it was anything positive. However, the movie definitely has its charms. The acting is wonderful, the chosen filming locations are effective, and Bukowski's writing does have a certain wit. (There's also, I feel, something brilliantly and sneakily subversive about the casting of Frank Stallone as the belligerently macho bartender Eddie, who Rourke's Henry regularly gets into these admittedly rather pointless fistfights with. I rather like the idea of the brother of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo being cast as the face of traditional, all-American "ladies' man" machismo. Chinaski's rebellion against such an ideal is actually the one rebellious aspect of his character that I can identify with and relate to.)

With the Depression-era tale of Ironweed, on the other hand, you have characters with extremely tragic backstories, who carry a great deal of sadness and guilt with them. Jack Nicholson's Francis Phelan, for example, is wracked with guilt over accidentally dropping and killing his infant son, and he regularly sees the ghosts of dead people from his past. In a way, the characters from Ironweed seem to be much more tragically human than those in Barfly. In Ironweed, you feel like these people have legitimate - or at least understandable - reasons for clinging to the bottle, and their alcoholism seems more strongly rooted in personal tragedy and adverse social circumstance. Whereas in Barfly the drinking feels like so much faux-bohemian self-indulgence and a refusal of society's standards. Honestly, Chinaski seems to frequently resemble nothing so much as a fascination strain of bacteria under a microscope, while Nicholson's Francis Phelan feels more like a flawed, vulnerable human being with whom one sympathizes much more strongly. Henry Chinaski may make the a truthful statement when he says that "Nobody suffers like the poor", but Francis Phelan more strongly embodies the truth of that statement.

Ultimately, however, what prevents Ironweed from being completely superior to Barfly is its rather overly weighty, depressive and gloomy feel. There's very little of the energy and humor of Barfly. Ironweed is ultimately superior in its sense of humanity and vulnerability, but Barfly somehow manages to be just a tad more fun to watch!

"To all my friends!"
Loved both of these movies...Dunaway is brilliant in Barfly. Ironweed is not an easy watch, but well worth it. Streep is fantastic.





Excellent movie. Really enjoyed it.[/quote]

Did @AgrippinaX say she liked this movie? I think she did.
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Iím here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Thatís why Iím here now.







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





Very good movie. Very powerful. Amazingly, the excellent lead actor - Felix Kammerer - has never been on camera before.



Excellent movie based on a true story. Both leads really good. No surprise there.

@AgrippinaX, I think youíd like this movie.





Excellent movie. Really enjoyed it.

Did @AgrippinaX say she liked this movie? I think she did.
Yes, I really didnít expect to, but I did like it, I felt it was original (which I realise I say often, but itís genuinely always a pleasant surprise given how much stuff is out there).





Very good movie. Very powerful. Amazingly, the excellent lead actor - Felix Kammerer - has never been on camera before.



Excellent movie based on a true story. Both leads really good. No surprise there.

@Agrippina, I think youíd like this movie.
Ah, thatís a great nudge, thank you. I really need to watch that. Have it on my list.



'Capote' (2005)
Dir.: Bennett Miller



It's not a poor film by any stretch, but it didn't really hammer home any particular themes or drama. Perhaps as Capote is more celebrated in the US as a legendary literary figure, the film would mean a little more if you grew up there.

Have you seen the other Capote film that was released around the same time? Infamous with Toby Jones? I liked it a bit more than Capote.



matt72582's Avatar
Please Quote/Tag Or I'll Miss Your Responses
Harry Chapin: When in Doubt, Do Something

It's on YouTube and Prime.... I didn't know a thing about Chapin, and know less than 5 songs, but I enjoyed this one a lot.









L'Enfant, 2005

Sonia (Dťborah FranÁois) is a young woman who has just given birth to a baby boy, Jimmy. She comes home from the hospital to find that her pickpocket, hustling boyfriend Bruno (Jťrťmie Renier) has subletted her apartment and isn't exactly thrilled at the prospect of fatherhood. When Sonia lets Bruno take Jimmy for a short walk, he uses the opportunity to sell the baby through a black market connection. By the time he realizes the gravity of what he's done, it may be too late.

A lot of people are more than happy to give their opinions about who should or should not be allowed to have and raise children. While I of course have my own views, I think we can all agree that stupid, selfish people belong right down toward the bottom of the queue.

It's challenging, in many ways, to root for this couple. Even Sonia, who is the more sympathetic of the two, is hard to take at times. I mean, she and Bruno get into a rock fight while she's holding Jimmy in her arms. Later, with Jimmy in the back seat of the car, they get into an adorable wrestling match in the front seat as the car hurtles down the highway. We don't know the details of their relationship before the baby, but the fact that Bruno is a guy who makes his living stealing from others was obviously known to her.

And Bruno is . . . man. Bruno is a piece of work. He mainly collaborates with a 14 year old boy to steal purses and rob the elderly. He has on speed dial the kind of person who can sell a baby. Every action we see from Bruno is selfish, often explicitly hurting both strangers and those closest to him. When Sonia reacts in disbelief to the fact that he sold their baby, he shrugs and tells her "We'll just have another one." Bruno is probably in his mid-20s, but he's just old enough that you can't write off any of his behavior due to youth.

But this film isn't just about watching terrible people being terrible. Slowly, just by a matter of centimeters, something begins to change in Bruno. It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that he really tries to "make things right". It's a bit different than that. But somehow you can tell that he's realizing something about the life he's living and the effect he has on others.

I really enjoyed the way that the film evokes realism. There is no score--the only music comes from the environment. The things that happen to the characters all feel "in bounds". And maybe most importantly, the kind of character arcs and growth that we see seem genuine in all their frustrating stutter-stops. The film is working right around the limits of empathy. I honestly didn't think that even Sonia seemed equipped to parent a child. But there's something to be said for people who make an effort, and the movie gives us a glimpse into what that might look like for even a person as despicable as Bruno.






Kramer vs Kramer, 1979

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman), who works in a high-profile advertising firm, is shocked when his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) declares that she's leaving him. Saying that she believes that their son, Billy (Justin Henry) will be better off without her, she leaves him behind with Ted. Ted experiences a sharp learning curve of single fatherhood as he must juggle work and child-care. But over a year later, after Ted and Billy have found a routine, Joanna arrives back in New York, suing for custody of Billy.

This drama, centered on great performances from both Hoffman and Streep, gives a sympathetic look at the way that assumptions about gender roles within the family and in society can lead to unfairness and injustice.

What I liked most about this film is that it didn't take any shortcuts in terms of getting the audience's sympathies on the side of either parent. While it's true that we spend almost all of our time with Ted, the writing and Streep's performance keep Joanna from being anything close to a one-dimensional villain.

The film also doesn't sugarcoat what life is like for Ted and Billy once Joanna exits their lives. There's the very stereotypical "dad trying to parent" stuff at the beginning: Ted struggles with making breakfast without burning it, loses his temper when Billy tests boundaries, and tries to keep his work happy while dealing with all the little fires that come with having a kid. But even once they settle into a routine, things can be challenging. Ted's workplace isn't at all understanding about Ted's parenting responsibilities, and right as he prepares to go into his custody battle with Joanna, he is fired. I appreciated that the movie didn't go down that simple route of saying that, hey, if you just try you can totally balance a kid and a job! That's just not reality.

Once things get into the courtroom, Ted has to push back against the idea that women are more naturally suited to be parents. What's ironic about this injustice is the fact that this very assumption is what led to Joanna being so miserable. Ted never took her desire to go back to work seriously and just assumed that she'd carry on in just the role of "wife-mother" in perpetuity. Both Ted and Joanna experience unfairness and hurt because of this assumption. I loved the little startle that Ted gives when he hears Joanna's salary. Despite all he's learned, it's clear that some part of him still didn't quite believe that she could successfully go back to the work force.

I found Streep's performance to be very interesting. She's clearly someone who is having to work through some serious issues. She misses her son and wants to be with him, but there's obviously a lot still going on in her head. Despite having gone off on her own and worked on herself, she's still deferential in a way that seems almost pathological.

I also really loved the way that the film portrayed the friendship that develops between Ted and his neighbor, Margaret (Jane Alexander), who is also recently divorced from her husband. While he initially blames her for putting the idea into Joanna's head, the two eventually bond over their shared experiences and become allies. (Though, interestingly, we only really see her helping him with his child and not the other way around. Hmm.)

Despite the film's being famous for the courtroom showdown in the last act, those were my least favorite scenes. So much yelling! So much interrupting! I can't speak to the realism of these sequences, but they felt over the top in ways that were not enjoyable. I did appreciate the painful element of Ted and Joanna having to watch their lawyers go after the other. (Though only Joanna actually apologizes for the behavior of her lawyer. Again: hmmm.) I was also pretty mixed on some of what we see from Ted that the film seems to think is okay. Let's set aside the part where he kisses a woman--a stranger--without asking her first because he's jazzed about getting a new job. I did not care for the part where Joanna first talks about wanting custody of Billy and Ted yells at her and then throws and breaks a glass against the wall. Like, sorry. Are we just supposed to see this as a passionate outburst? Combined with what we know about Joanna's self-esteem issues, and considering that this takes place in public, this feels more adjacent to abuse. (Yes, the film makes sure to have Joanna testify that she was never physically abused. But for a third time: hmmm.).

For the performances alone, this one is worth a watch. The story's relatively even-handed portrayal of the characters also makes for good viewing.




Streep wrote that courtroom monologue?! Good for her!

She insisted that Joanna's reasons for leaving actually be spelled out? Good for her!

She filmed the whole movie while pregnant and in mourning? Dang, girl!

Hoffman hit her to get her "in character" and used Cazale's death to get reactions out of her? What the actual hell!

I stand by all of my "hmmmm"s from my review!



You only just watched Kramer vs. Kramer?


That movie needs more props. It kind of gets forgotten as some kind of soapy, topical cinema in comparison with a lot of the other great American new wave. But it's one of them, as far as I'm concerned.


And who the **** is Robert Benton?



I forgot the opening line.
2. I hope you watched the post-credits scene(s).
I always make absolutely sure that I catch all the post-credits scenes in the MCU films - when they're not teasers or bridges to the other movies they're damned funny and entertaining. I appreciated the Endgame setup and Goose's rather unusual hairball-vomit.
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.




Victim of The Night
I always make absolutely sure that I catch all the post-credits scenes in the MCU films - when they're not teasers or bridges to the other movies they're damned funny and entertaining. I appreciated the Endgame setup and Goose's rather unusual hairball-vomit.
I really liked
WARNING: "mildly spoilery for one scene" spoilers below
the Endgame setup scene. As short as it is, there's just something about it, the way they set it off and she shows and there she is and all she says is "Where's Fury?"
I just really liked that.



'Capote' (2005)
Dir.: Bennett Miller


I know very little about Truman Capote, (was even unaware he wrote 'Breakfast at Tiffany's') and thought this film would fill in a lot of blanks. Phillip Seymour-Hoffman's performance is obviously brilliant, but in terms of the quality of the film it doesn't really grab the viewer.

It felt alot longer than the 2 hour running time. The content is mostly based around Capote's life and events leading up to writing the book 'In Cold Blood', in which he befriends a convicted serial killer who's early life is somewhat similar to his own.

But that's about it really. Not much else happens. We see glimpses of Capote's life in high society New York, his relationships, his fondness for alcohol and holidaying on the Spanish coast. But this film is neither a biopic, nor is it a 'slice of life' film that shows a few days or weeks in the life of someone, as films such as 'Blonde', 'Spencer' or 'Jackie' do so well. This sits somewhere in between. The film version of 'In Cold Blood' looks a more gritty, thrilling affair which may appeal more to my tastes.

It's not a poor film by any stretch, but it didn't really hammer home any particular themes or drama. Perhaps as Capote is more celebrated in the US as a legendary literary figure, the film would mean a little more if you grew up there.


I think the drama is to be found in Capote's relationship with Smith. The complex relationship he has with befriending a man who has committed a horrible act, and after many years of not knowing how to end his story, finds himself shamefully and secretly hoping for this friend being executed. Just so he can have 'his ending'



I'm not sure how much of this ended up on screen, but Capote also apparently was somewhat in love with Smith. And was tortured through the rest of his life about his relationship to his story and being witness to his death.



I also don't think Capote is necessarily a great film, but for these Hollywood type biopics, I think it is a significant step upwards. I think it is nearly great.


One should definitely both read the book this is based on (Capote was absolutely one of the last great American novelists, and the fact that he really didn't write much after this is a terrible shame) and the original film of it, which is a legit masterpiece.



Probably also the Toby Jones version too. But I haven't seen it.



I forgot the opening line.

By http://www.impawards.com/2019/avenge...game_ver2.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59301815

Avengers : Endgame - (2019)

In what seems to be a repeating pattern with me and Marvel films during this specific period, I was not very impressed with the opening stages of End Game, but was soon won over with it's mix of comedy and all-out "kitchen sink", breathtaking and cataclysmic action. I tell you, when time travel was unveiled as our hero's plan to right the wrongs of Infinity War I was rolling my eyes - but the way it was handled, delivering most of the film's comedy in a light-hearted first half, I got onboard with it and just let "anything goes" happen. From there on things just got better and better as Thanos, Nebula and Gamora become involved in what should have been a simple plan. I thought the final battle was great - and it seemed to take much inspiration from those Lord of the Rings battles a couple of decades ago. I liked that they divided the film into a first half comedy and second half action spectacle. Also, what seemed a kind of dumb move on Doctor Strange's part in Infinity War is finally unveiled as a pretty smart move. Stark was crucial to the "one in fourteen million" chance. Well, I never thought I'd be enjoying these films this much really - what a cast - when the credits roll at the end you realise that this is probably the biggest collection of big name actors ever assembled. That's worthy of a good score.

I wasn't so sure about the direction the Hulk is going in (I've watched the trailers to the rather bizarre She-Hulk : Attorney At Law) but most everything else I'm pleased with. That said, I reckon that Phase Three of the MCU is going to end up being the best - by the sound of it, there are many cracks starting to appear in the Marvel empire.

8/10

I really liked
WARNING: "mildly spoilery for one scene" spoilers below
the Endgame setup scene. As short as it is, there's just something about it, the way they set it off and she shows and there she is and all she says is "Where's Fury?"
I just really liked that.
The whole cliffhanger ending of Infinity War (it was kind of a shock really) and the gravity that gave Captain Marvel was handled really well. Thankfully, Endgame came hot on the heels of that film.