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Excellent movie based on a true story. All the “actors” are indigenous people.
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AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON
(1962, Ozu)
Freebie



"In the end, we spend our lives alone... all alone."

An Autumn Afternoon follows Shūhei Hirayama (Chishū Ryū), an aging widower torn between his parental duty of arranging a marriage for her daughter, Michiko (Shima Iwash!ta) and her desire to remain with him and take care of him and her younger brother. If it sounds similar to other film, that's because there are several parallelisms between this film and Ozu's own Late Spring, which I saw in December last year.

I won't deny that there is a certain element of "been there, done that" to the film, since it pretty much follows the same beats as Late Spring, but coming 13 years after that film, it's interesting to see tinges of "evolution" and "growth" in how men and women, fathers and children interact. Just like with Late Spring, I have some very minor issues with the notion of an "arranged marriage", but that's not on Ozu, but the culture itself. Still, I like how Hirayama doesn't force things on his daughter as he's setting things up ("I'm not insisting on this other man. If you don't like him, you can say so") which, again, shows some degree of growth in the country's overall culture and Ozu himself.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot and the PR HOF4.
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The Little Stranger (2018)

Post WWII gothic drama with Domhnall Gleeson as the local Dr and Ruth Wilson as the eldest daughter of the local knobs that live in "the Big Hoose". they become close and you start wondering if his intentions are towards her or the estate. Gleeson looks properly evil in this at times.





Paprika - (2006)

I had a hard time with Paprika - it's almost impossible to follow, although you always have a sense of what's going on (a machine that can view and analyse dreams, and allow you to share them, causes everyone's dreams to start merging and spilling over into the real world.) I loved the early references to From Russia With Love and Roman Holiday. The dreams were amazing. Sometimes you just have to go with it I guess - though I prefer to know what's going on.

6/10

Foreign Language countdown films seen : 47/100


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9069332

Chicago 10 - (2007)

This was my second go at Chicago 10 - on my first go around I didn't finish it. I just don't like it as much as other people do. This time I read up on the period and why the Chicago Eight were on trial. I shouldn't have to do that if the documentary is doing it's job properly. Some of the 'zany' characters weren't as endearing to me as the doco thought they were - but I felt the requisite amount of outrage over police brutality and authoritarianism on display in Vietnam-era America. Real events are mixed in with the trial - but in a choppy kind of way, and I never felt an enjoyable kind of narrative flowing at any stage. Reading about it all was far more pleasurable than experiencing this film. Peace man. ✌️

5/10
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.




Old Henry (2021)

Likeable western regarding a taciturn man looking after his farm and trying to make sure his son grows up the right way (much to his sons dissapointment). Their backwater life is thrown into turmoil by the arrival of some banditos! Refreshing to see Tim Blake Nelson in a leading role and he really does not disappoint. Stephen Dorff mugs well as the main baddie....enjoyable movie!!



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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
No Time to Die (2021)

I really enjoyed No Time to Die - Skyfall is still my favourite of the series, but this is a definite step up from Spectre. It's very much a close sequel though, so you might want to rewatch before you head to the cinema. I liked that it had a lot of the things that make the Bond films such reliable entertainment - the locations, the action, the cars - while at the same time moving away from some of the things that are outdated like the sexism. I think the way the character of Bond in the movie is at times feeling like he is left behind by things moving on, and at other times proving how he's still got it and is absolutely still awesome sums up how the films themselves are.

I think a lot of the complaints people have are unfounded - I've seen people complain about Bond's 'replacement' 00 just based on the trailers - but I think it was all done well; the world moves on, some things she does better, some things he does and they have a respect for each other as people in the end. Rami Malek's villain might not be a classic, but his poison garden villain lair certainly is. And no spoilers, but I thought the ending was fitting.

I like how Craig's Bond films have become a whole contained arc of their own as well as having a place in the whole Bond history. There were a few nods to earlier films (like the reuse of 'All the Time in the World') and times where everything even looks like it could be in the sixties or seventies. It's throwaway, but I really liked the bit where Bond just uses his phone to take a photo of something - no need for tiny cameras or exploding pens!

I would have liked more of Q and Moneypenny, because Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris are two of my favourite actors and I really like their characters in this series. I did like the glimpse into Q's flat and his cats (although he's apparently got over his fear of flying...).

The plot based around some kind of DNA targetting bio-weapon is utter nonsense, but seems fairly sensible in comparison to the plot nonsense we got in Black Widow. I've never bought into the romance between Bond and Madeleine Swann, she's far too young for him, so while I appreciate what they're going for it doesn't quite work for me.

Worth seeing on the big screen, anyway.





The Glass Wall (1953)


Billed as a dramatic film noir, The Glass Wall is more of an immigration melodrama tale than a typical crime story noir. It stars Vittorio Gasman as Peter Kuban, a Hungarian stowaway who is forced to jump ship in New York City in order to find the American soldier (Jerry Paris) whose life he saved in the war, and who would provide an immigration exemption for the Hungarian to become a legal alien. On the run he meets up with an out of work gal (Gloria Grahame) who is also trying to survive by hook or by crook. She is taken with Kuban, and endeavors to both hide him and help him find the American G.I. for salvation.

The story itself is a bit overwrought. It causes one to wonder why the entire NYPD and the Federal authorities, along with the newspapers, would be so determined to find a single harmless stowaway. But without the chase there would be no tension nor drama.

However the chief interests in the picture are several quite aside from its story. Gasman was one of Italy’s premiere actors, and with his performance he is able to sustain belief in Kuban’s plight. Gloria Grahame fans will be fascinated by her somewhat unusual role as a frumpy low class unemployed factory worker whose survival mode is suddenly softened by love and altruism. Grahame shows her talent as an actress beyond playing femme fatale temptresses. Grahame stated that she always considered herself as a character actress, which is on display here as she is able to show her stuff.

The diamond in the rough in the movie is Robin Raymond, who plays a burlesque dancer that Kuban comes across. She learns that he is a fellow Hungarian (“Hunky”), and therefore wants to protect and help him, and by whom she becomes captivated. She may only have 10 minutes or so of screen time, but she is absolutely riveting and mesmerizing as a salt of the earth burlesque queen with scruples who quickly becomes attracted to the protagonist. How this actress had a long career without getting any starring roles is a true mystery.

The picture would have been much less fascinating without the wonderful location and studio cinematography of Joseph Biroc (It’s a Wonderful Life, Hammett). His photography captures the New York City of the early 1950s as well as any that had been done before. The shots of the United Nations building (whose glass facade suggests the movie’s title) are ground breaking and unique. Surely the iconic sequences of the U.N. inspired graphic designer Saul Blass and Alfred Hitchcock 6 years later in the writing and production of North by Northwest (1959).

Ironically the story of a hungering illegal immigrant with a mission translates nicely to current times. In that way the narrative is palatable. But the best parts of the picture are its acting and cinematography.

Available on YouTube.

Doc’s rating: 6/10



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Vengeance Is Mine (Hadi Hajaig, 2021)
5/10
M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
7+/10
Curse of the Fly (Don Sharp, 1965)
5/10
In Search of Famine (Mrinal Sen, 1981)
+ 6/10

Indian film director Dhritiman Chatterjee goes on location to make what he hopes to be a classic but some of the locals object to his production's supposed hedonism.
The Collection (Marcus Dunstan, 2012)
5/10
Operation Hyacinth (Piotr Domalewski, 2021)
+ 6/10
Witch Hunt (Elle Callahan, 2021)
5/10
The Clouded Yellow (Ralph Thomas, 1950)
6.5/10

When Jean Simmons is framed for murder, ex-British agent Trevor Howard, a new employee at her residence, tries to help her.
Forever Rich (Shady El-Hamus, 2021)
6/10
The Darkness (Tharun Mohan, 2021)
+ 4.5/10
Mystery in Mexico (Robert Wise, 1948)
5.5/10
The Mad Women's Ball (Mélanie Laurent, 2021)
6.5/10

In 19th century France, socialite Lou de Laâge is put in an asylum for hearing voices of spirits, but nurse Mélanie Laurent believes her and tries to help her.
The Addams Family 2 (4 Directors, 2021)
6/10
Corporate Responsibility (Jonathan Perel, 2020)
5/10
Accidents Will Happen (William Clemens, 1938)
5.5/10
Mystery Street (John Sturges, 1950)
6.5/10

Complex, twisty murder mystery, set in Boston, is crammed with suspects and a strong Ricardo Montalban in the lead.
Fever Dream (Claudia Llosa, 2021)
5.5/10
South of Heaven (Aharon Keshales, 2021)
+ 5/10
The Hidden Room AKA Obsession (Edward Dmytryk, 1949)
6/10
I Like Life a Lot AKA Nekem az élet teccik nagyon (Kati Macskássy, 1977)
8/10

Poignant, funny, beautiful, unmissable animated short made up of letters narrated and animated by Hungarian schoolkids,
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Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1390847

Sideways - (2004)

I watched this last night and loved it. I don't know what was wrong with me when I watched it for the first time on release - where I didn't like it. Watching the natural chemistry between Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church on this road trip was pure magic. Payne's Oscar winning screenplay results in my favourite moment in the film, where Maya (Virginia Madsen) relates why she likes winery so much, and it all has a profound connection for the both of them and the way they relate to people. Haden Church's obsession with sex is so much fun as well - and leads to plenty of conflict. But it also helps his good friend, who you can see is suffering so badly after his divorce. The film as a whole is touching, funny and meaningful. It's one of Giamatti's career bests. Can it crack my top 25 films of the 00s? Will it make the top 100? Who knows.

9/10



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Bob le Flambeur (The Gambler) (1956)
Along with all the other million reasons I love Melville, it is the continual "off the path" sojourn. That has been my expectations and his suave twists of a favorite story. The lesser path of the typical gambler commits a Heist of a High Stakes Casino. Bob (Roger Duchesne) is no degenerate, deep in the hole, loser. He's, actually, pretty [email protected] [email protected] good at it. He's habitual. EXCEEDINGLY habitual. He doesn't owe big, but Bob gets a crew together to stage safe cracking during an armed holdup after one night of losing his high winnings.
Bob's charming style and class extend to everyone else in this film without losing the tension or impending menace. And, of course, a befitting, quite entertaining, excellent ending for this Melville classic film brimming with class and style.







Gods and Monsters (1998)
I have fallen in love with this beautiful, beautiful soul in this delightful old gentleman, Ian McKellen since witnessing him in Ricard III in '95. I had regrettably passed over this endearing, delightful (because it's IAN) representation of Director James Whale's final months.
Along with Brendan Fraser - doing pretty [email protected], good, Lynn Redgrave, whom I would have loved to have seen more to her than the lingering, disapproving House Maid. It is a rather even-toned story that is in no way a critique, the cast, and their dialogue carry it along beautifully. There is no outrageous, slanderous drama. An endearing, older man was one of the few openly gay men in Hollywood during the thirties dealing with a recent stroke's effect on his brain.
In no way a classic of its own, it is very much an enjoyable, very kind representation of James Whale's final days.
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Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)

Good quality British noir/suspense drama about an unhinged young man (Dirk Bogarde) with a penchant for marrying and murdering women for their money. High quality production values in the elaborate sets, cinematography and the well written, and at times, amusing dialogue. Top-notch acting all round but a particularly noteworthy role from Margaret Lockwood, who gives an excellent character performance as his common though street-wise second wife. Interesting back story in this, in that due to a lack of success among some of her previous pictures, her high billing was partly blamed for the picture's poor reception. Despite praise from director Lewis Gilbert and Bogarde who had convinced her to take the part, with both agreeing that it was her finest work, she would not appear in another feature film for 21 years.

Overall a high class version of a fairly typical formula from the day, only being somewhat let down by the overly silly and convenient ending.

7/10



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
I Like Life a Lot AKA Nekem az élet teccik nagyon (Kati Macskássy, 1977)
unmissable
Not true. I missed it. But it's time to correct my mistake. :O

EDIT: Watched it. Pretty disturbing when children narrate horrible events. They understand a lot and these events really have an impact on them. Also, the animation is great, slightly resembling the works of Marcell Jankovics.
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"Rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined." - Chris Marker



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)

Good quality British noir/suspense drama about an unhinged young man (Dirk Bogarde) with a penchant for marrying and murdering women for their money. High quality production values in the elaborate sets, cinematography and the well written, and at times, amusing dialogue. Top-notch acting all round but a particularly noteworthy role from Margaret Lockwood, who gives an excellent character performance as his common though street-wise second wife. Interesting back story in this, in that due to a lack of success among some of her previous pictures, her high billing was partly blamed for the picture's poor reception. Despite praise from director Lewis Gilbert and Bogarde who had convinced her to take the part, with both agreeing that it was her finest work, she would not appear in another feature film for 21 years.

Overall a high class version of a fairly typical formula from the day, only being somewhat let down by the overly silly and convenient ending.

7/10
I've seen Dirk in The Servant (1963) and can imagine him doing a very good job in the role and would be curious to see how he does, having enjoyed him as much as I did in The Servant.





Three Colors: Blue, 1993

Julie (Juliette Binoche) is the only survivor of a car accident that kills her husband, Patrice, and her daughter. While her instinct is to destroy almost all remnants of her previous life and live a life of solitude, she finds that being numb is not so easy to sustain. Between grappling with her husband's legacy---he was a famous composer, though there are rumors that Julie actually wrote or co-wrote much of his work--and struggling with revelations about his personal life, Julie cannot maintain distance from her feelings.

This film is a masterpiece. I'm obviously about to say a lot of nice things about it, but if you've been holding out on watching it, do yourself a favor and get it in front of your eyeballs ASAP.

It's hard to know where to begin with this film, but it feels right to start with Binoche's central performance, which is a brilliant portrayal of someone who is strong and yet vulnerable. Julie has experienced a significant trauma, and yet she manages to find a place for kindness and compassion for those around her. Julie, understandably, does not want to feel. And so when she does express emotion, you can see in Binoche's face the way that connections and feelings must push past an internal gatekeeper.

From a visual and directorial standpoint, I was completely swept away by this film. The blue of the title is very literal. The color permeates the film. What it represents---memory or emotion or grief--is hard for me to nail down at the moment, but I loved the way that it surrounds Julie, at times literally. The most concrete blue in the film is a sparkling gemstone mobile that is the only keepsake of Julie's daughter that we see. Julie takes it with her to her new apartment and several times during the film stops to gaze into it. But blue is also in the neon signs in the background, and in the unabashed tinting of several scenes, and in the large pool where she swims alone.

I also loved the stylistic choice to have certain sequences fade out and then fade back in. It somehow seems to capture the way that, when you're feeling an overwhelming emotion, it can seem to "fade" on you for a moment before you snap back to reality. I also loved how Julie and other characters move in and out of the frame. In one sequence, the young man who came on the car accident meets Julie to return a necklace to her. For several seconds, the necklace moves toward Julie, seeming to float in the air like a ghost--and for Julie that is certainly the effect of it.

Something I found very moving about the film is the way that Julie connects to other characters. The lesson of the film is not "cheer up! Other people have it just as bad!". Instead, Julie is able to find some semblance of balance through helping and supporting others. A homeless musician, or a woman from her apartment who is coping with the fact that she's spotted her father at a sex show in which she performs. It's not about Julie fixing their problems, but juts about her connecting with these people and making them feel seen. "You came, and that's the same thing," her friend tells her, when Julie gets out of bed at night to come and see her.

On a lesser note, I thought that the film had some interesting things to say about fame and legacy. Julie's husband was famous, and so people don't hesitate to badger Julie or take pictures of her still-bruised face in the wake of his death. Through the film, other people attempt to control her husband's legacy, at times in direct opposition to Julie's wishes. At one point, a news reporter remarks that he "belongs to all of us." The film doesn't seem to take a strong position one way or the other on this question, but it is interesting to watch Julie struggle with the way that others are comfortable using and/or manipulating her husband's work and life to their own ends.

Again: masterpiece. I'm so pleased I watched it and sorry it took me this long. I imagine a rewatch will be incredibly rewarding.




HALLOWEEN KILLS

This is likely an inaccurate rating as I’m having to dissociate my experience of the film (worst audience I’ve had in a VERY long time) vs. how I would have experienced the film if I weren’t in a perpetual state of pissed off.

The film is substantially more ambitious than Halloween 2018, in scope, theme and character. It subverts the expectations of the Ten Little Indians/Final Girl structure the original immortalized in favor of ensemble panic ala Fritz Lang’s M. It also amps up Michael’s brutality and sadism to a level that is almost befitting of Rob Zombie’s take, albeit maintaining the “Boogey Man” characterization, where his psychology remains alien and purely evil.

My primary issues are related to dialogue, tone and a general sense of unintentional chaos to the pacing of the film. It’s often repetitive, which is something trying to cover this much ground absolutely shouldn’t be, reducing many characters to repeated thematic slogans that would make a Nolan script feel subtle.

It also has a bad case of “middle sequel-itis,” where so much of it merely feels like capping off plots from 2018 and setting up HALLOWEEN ENDS. This being an issue will really be decided with the latter drops next year.

All-in-all, it’s still among the very best in this franchise and a superior slasher sequel that tries to do something different. I’ve got to admire that when I see it.