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Youíre the disease, and Iím the cure.
American Pie 2 (2001):
A great sequel that lives up to the original. It ties with it. The scenes at Tall Oaks are hilarious.
9/10
American Wedding (2003):
The 3rd film in the quadrilogy, probably has the funniest scene in the series with the bachelor party. The European cousin.
9/10
American Reunion (2012):
A proper conclusion to the series. Jim’s Dad being drunk was awesome.
8.5/10
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ďI really have to feel that I could make a difference in the movie, or I shouldn't be doing it.ď
Joe Dante





Slut in a Good Way, 2018

I really enjoyed this sweet little Canadian comedy.

Charlotte (Marguerite Bouchard), Megan (Romane Denis), and Aube (Rose Adam) are high school friends on summer break. After a rough break-up with her boyfriend, Charlotte and the others end up wandering around and stumble into a store called the Toy Depot. Eyeing several attractive young men working there, the three girls apply for jobs at the depot. Once there, Charlotte's decision to "free" herself from emotional dependence by sleeping with all of her male co-workers causes a serious disruption to the social order of the store and to her friendship with Megan and Aube.

The thing I enjoyed most about this film was its portrayal of Charlotte, and specifically the way that it captured the mercurial nature of a dramatic teenage girl while still acknowledging the genuine frustrations she encounters trying to be free. Charlotte is the kind of person who does everything to the extreme. When she discovers that the men in the store have been keeping "score", she is crushed and embarrassed and embarks on a crusade of abstinence, something that spills over into the other women at the store.

And on the flip side, the film take an empathetic approach to Charlotte's male co-workers. They aren't bad guys, per se. One of them, Antoine is very sympathetic to what Charlotte is going through because he has also experienced an upsetting break-up. But they are realistically oblivious to the double standard that they have toward the sexual activities of their female peers. In calling Charlotte out for acting like a "slut", one of the other female co-workers coolly asks why no one ever says anything when one of the male workers always tries to sleep with any of the new female co-workers.

Ultimately the film encourages empathy for both male and female characters. When Antoine decides to join the abstinence crusade and Charlotte tells him it's only for the girls, Antoine responds that he also needs some time and space to process the way that he's been hurt.

There is also a message in there about letting people take their own approach to love and sex. The title comes from a conversation in which the girls all apologize for the way they have used words to hurt each other. "I'm sorry I said you were a slut in a bad way" and "I'm sorry I said you were a virgin in a bad way." These characters are learning to let go of the labels that imply judgement about prudishness or purity or promiscuity. And letting go of those things allows them to move at their own pace. There's a nice subplot about Charlotte's friendship with Lune, a soft-spoken co-worker who became pregnant, was guilt tripped by her boyfriend into not having an abortion, and then abandoned by him. Lune is not an object of pity--and she's actually a really fun character in many ways--but she speaks bluntly about her own regrets and offers an interesting perspective.

Overall I thought that this was a fun, sweet little comedy. It's a film with no bad characters, only ones who need to do some growing up. It's a light way to spend 90 minutes.




An element of Fury Road that isn't present in The Road Warrior is the way it organically establishes that every single individual and thing is commodified in a horrifically direct fashion.

-Beautiful women become breeders.
- Older women are milked like cows.
- Max is a "blood bag."
- War boys only exist to be foot soldiers

Little details are peppered throughout, like Max's shorn hair immediately being collected and him being tattooed with his purpose. This goes beyond the usual scavenging and the mighty controlling materials. In FR, the inhabitants of this world are the materials worth controlling.

It's an idea that makes the subtext more pointed towards today's society.

I only wish FR were slightly less polished and processed to capture the roughness and grittiness of RW. It would then be perfection (it's already pretty darn close and my admiration grows with every viewing).
While perhaps not in the specific ways you mention here, I feel like a lot of that ground was covered in Thunderdome, and Thunderdome expanding significantly on The Road Warrior, making Fury Road, as I said, just the next one.



Hee hee.
I know this is really not good but I have great affection for it from my childhood.



Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

Really enjoyed this after so many years. The air of menace is still very strong and the story still intriguing.




Professional horse shoe straightener
'The Apple' (1998)


Samira Makmhalbaf's debut (made when she was just seventeen). Very intriguing, morality tale based on a true story of two girls locked up by their parents until the age of twelve. It uses the Kiarostami trick of having some of the real people involved in the incident play themselves on screen. And to this end it almost feels like a documentary. Some real footage is even used apparently. The rest of the footage was shot on film stock that was unused by her father (Mohsen Makmhalbaf) when he made his last film.

It's an engaging look at Iranian society, nurture Vs nature, the role of women/men and lends empathy to all characters, no matter what their choices and consequences.

7.4/10




I hope you saw the original with Steve McQueen!
Yes Matt, I have (years ago) and it is very good. Perhaps if I'd seen it more recently I'd be more inclined to bash the newer version!



While perhaps not in the specific ways you mention here, I feel like a lot of that ground was covered in Thunderdome, and Thunderdome expanding significantly on The Road Warrior, making Fury Road, as I said, just the next one.
The problem is that Thunderdome isn't a good movie.



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The Vast of Night (2019)


Great example of a tight film. Really impressed by the meandering style of filming and the lead actors were superb.


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Too weird to live, and too rare to die.



The Vast of Night (2019)

Great example of a tight film. Really impressed by the meandering style of filming and the lead actors were superb.
I agree with you. Here was my commentary from last May:

The Vast of Night

Caught this delightful picture last night, which had been bought by Amazon and put up on its site 5/29/20. It's a sci-fi mystery by new director Andrew Patterson, starring Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz. Producer, director, writers, and some of the actors are freshman in the industry. The excellent cinematography is by veteran M.I. Litten-Menz.

Everything clicked on this picture. It's set in the 1950s, framed as a story on a Twilight Zone copy, Paradox Theater. Slow to build, it carefully sets the background, then gradually quickens the pace to intense thriller levels as the story unfolds. They've adroitly captured the intense but innocent feel of the 1950s sci-fi monster flicks, such as The Blob, and others. The production design was impressive on what must have been a low budget.

The acting is first rate, especially from Miss McCormick and the old pro Gail Cronauer; but it is the fresh and exciting cinematography by Litten-Menz that provides such captivating and engaging photography. The 90 minute film goes by quickly, although it leads to a somewhat anticlimactic finish.

You can be sure that director Andrew Patterson will be offered lots of work for much bigger money as the result of this first time feature. Will look forward to any future productions he helms.

Doc's rating: 8/10





The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945

Dorian Gray (Hurt Hatfield) is a young man whose outlook on life is impacted by two friends with opposite approaches. Basil Howard (Lowell Gilmore) is a more gentle spirit and pushes Dorian in a more moral direction. It is Basil who paints the titular, flattering portrait of Dorian. Henry Wotton (George Sanders) on the other hand endorses a more cynical, hedonistic lifestyle. And it is his musings on the fleeting nature of youth that leads Dorian to make his fateful wish--that his portrait bear the weight of age and sin. When Wotton convinces Dorian to conduct a cruel "test" on his fiance, Sybil (Angela Landsbury), it starts Dorian down a road of cruelty and violence.

I really loved this movie, on pretty much every level.

Maybe most of all I loved the style, color, and framing of it. This is a black and white film that sometimes jolts into color when Dorian's portrait is on screen. The black and white itself is gorgeous. And there are too many shots to count that were just splendid. As the weight of Dorian's guilt begins to close in on him there is a shot of Dorian framed inside the noose-like shape of a horseman's whip. Other shots of the "wrong side of town" look almost otherworldly.

From a story point of view it's also enjoyable. I have not read Wilde's original story, but the narrative progression in the film is satisfying. After what happens with Sybil, Dorian has put himself on a cycle of hurting others, all the while trying to cultivate a cold and distant personality that never quite covers up the guilt he feels and his uncertainty about what he has done. The action is frequently accompanied by a great score--a song that Sybil sings, a somber Prelude that Dorian is fond of playing, and other moody pieces.

There's something really excellent about the way that Dorian does harm. The way that he manipulates others or draws them into immoral pursuits takes a huge toll on those in his circle. Part of what is fascinating about the story is that Dorian (MODERATE SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
only actually kills one person. But his actions lead to at least three suicides and one accidental death. Dorian's behavior becomes like a poison to the people around him.
.

I watched this film as art of the Queersighted collection on the Criterion Channel. I read a few pieces of writing about why this film is considered to be in that category and it was interesting. Nothing that I'd picked up on too much on my first watch--aside from the obvious affection that Basil has for Dorian and the way that Basil tries to help Dorian be a better person, in one sequence giving him the book "The Light of Asia" about the life of the Buddha. At this point I would be interested to read the original novel and more writing about the story and its historical context. It feels reductive to say that Gilmore's gentle performance is what sells this aspect, but the character--who is distinctly single and interested in male beauty--is perhaps notable for signaling being gay in many ways and yet being the closest thing that the film has to a moral center.

My one, very minor, criticism of the film is that the ending felt a bit rushed. Like, a lot of plot happens in about 10 minutes. It's a little jarring after almost two hours of building tension and scenes that do not rush themselves.

I would highly recommend this film. It has a compelling story and great visuals.




The trick is not minding


The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945

Dorian Gray (Hurt Hatfield) is a young man whose outlook on life is impacted by two friends with opposite approaches. Basil Howard (Lowell Gilmore) is a more gentle spirit and pushes Dorian in a more moral direction. It is Basil who paints the titular, flattering portrait of Dorian. Henry Wotton (George Sanders) on the other hand endorses a more cynical, hedonistic lifestyle. And it is his musings on the fleeting nature of youth that leads Dorian to make his fateful wish--that his portrait bear the weight of age and sin. When Wotton convinces Dorian to conduct a cruel "test" on his fiance, Sybil (Angela Landsbury), it starts Dorian down a road of cruelty and violence.

I really loved this movie, on pretty much every level.

Maybe most of all I loved the style, color, and framing of it. This is a black and white film that sometimes jolts into color when Dorian's portrait is on screen. The black and white itself is gorgeous. And there are too many shots to count that were just splendid. As the weight of Dorian's guilt begins to close in on him there is a shot of Dorian framed inside the noose-like shape of a horseman's whip. Other shots of the "wrong side of town" look almost otherworldly.

From a story point of view it's also enjoyable. I have not read Wilde's original story, but the narrative progression in the film is satisfying. After what happens with Sybil, Dorian has put himself on a cycle of hurting others, all the while trying to cultivate a cold and distant personality that never quite covers up the guilt he feels and his uncertainty about what he has done. The action is frequently accompanied by a great score--a song that Sybil sings, a somber Prelude that Dorian is fond of playing, and other moody pieces.

There's something really excellent about the way that Dorian does harm. The way that he manipulates others or draws them into immoral pursuits takes a huge toll on those in his circle. Part of what is fascinating about the story is that Dorian (MODERATE SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
only actually kills one person. But his actions lead to at least three suicides and one accidental death. Dorian's behavior becomes like a poison to the people around him.
.

I watched this film as art of the Queersighted collection on the Criterion Channel. I read a few pieces of writing about why this film is considered to be in that category and it was interesting. Nothing that I'd picked up on too much on my first watch--aside from the obvious affection that Basil has for Dorian and the way that Basil tries to help Dorian be a better person, in one sequence giving him the book "The Light of Asia" about the life of the Buddha. At this point I would be interested to read the original novel and more writing about the story and its historical context. It feels reductive to say that Gilmore's gentle performance is what sells this aspect, but the character--who is distinctly single and interested in male beauty--is perhaps notable for signaling being gay in many ways and yet being the closest thing that the film has to a moral center.

My one, very minor, criticism of the film is that the ending felt a bit rushed. Like, a lot of plot happens in about 10 minutes. It's a little jarring after almost two hours of building tension and scenes that do not rush themselves.

I would highly recommend this film. It has a compelling story and great visuals.

Iíve heard so much about this film for about 20 years almost, now. If I recall correctly, thereís many fans of the film on this site.



Iíve heard so much about this film for about 20 years almost, now. If I recall correctly, thereís many fans of the film on this site.
I expected it to be good, and it was even better than I'd hoped.



The problem is that Thunderdome isn't a good movie.
Well, I disagree with that but everyone's entitled to their opinion.