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Tonight, it was The Boys in the Boat - It's a feel-good, true, athletic challenge movie. It's 1936, time for the infamous Berlin Olympics, a showcase for Hitler and the nazis and "aryan" supremacy. A gritty team from the University of Washington (state) enters the 8 man rowing team. They manage to row their way to the top of the American heap, in time to get a serious coach, and serious training, and in time to be sent to Berlin. The sympathetic hero is a guy named Joe Rantz, an impoverished guy, living in a junkyard and abandoned by his family. Will they win against the nazi juggernaut?

I have to admit an eye-rolling attitude toward feel-good sports movies. Nevertheless, this is pretty good. The athletic drama as well as the political drama are compelling and mainly fairly accurate. The FX people did a decent job of recreating the huge athletic venue that could seat 100,000. Minimal run-time is expended on Hitler rants. Thankfully, he's a minor character, mainly appearing in a couple of ceremonies. I had to check to see who wanted work bad enough to play Hitler in this movie. It's a guy named Daniel Philpott. I have to admit that, if my only movie work was to play Hitler, I'd get a job in Burger King instead.




I forgot the opening line.
Page 4000! Fitting on the eve of a new year.


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Pollock - (2000)

The troubled artist - here Jackson Pollock (played by Ed Harris in a passion project of his that he also directed) - often dies young, and leaves behind a retina of people who spend their lives discussing them. Pollock was the kind of artist who splashed paint around without conforming to object or shape, but when you watch his story his method kind of makes sense. In Pollock it's his alcoholism that clearly defines him - an addiction that would kill him in the end. I thought Harris was great here (he lost out on an Oscar to Russell Crowe in Gladiator - and shouldn't have really.) Marcia Gay Harden won a Supporting Actress Oscar for playing his long suffering partner Lee Krasner - who was also an artist. They were poor, and struggled. An interesting biopic about a man who we definitely side with - but when he grabs a booze bottle it eats away at the stores of patience and respect we have for him. Look out for Bud Cort in a small performance as writer/art dealer Howard Putzel - and Amy Madigan, who really kills as Peggy Guggenheim.

7/10


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Funeral Parade of Roses - (1969)

It took me a while to find my way in, but once there I found Toshio Matsumoto's feature debut an absolutely brilliant film. Protagonist Eddie (Pītā) works in an underground gay bar in Tokyo, and we see his life in a nonlinear, experimental film manner that is truly original. Reviewed here in my watchlist thread.

10/10


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Scum - (1979)

Set in an English borstal, Scum shows us just how institutionally corrupted these places are, and how hopeless everything is for the kids trapped in them. Reviewed here in my watchlist thread. Features a really young Ray Winstone.

7/10
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We miss you Takoma

Latest Review : Le Circle Rouge (1970)



Sanctuary. A thriller about two people in one hotel room locked in power struggle…a very sexy power struggle. This was terrific. The actors are charismatic and play compelling, interesting characters. The single location never gets stale. Charming, funny, intense, sad. It’s on Hulu.



The Bib-iest of Nickels
I watched the Empire film From Beyond. It was filmed a year after Re-Animator, has the same director (Stuart Gordon), and the same central cast of Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. That in mind, I didn't enjoy it very much. I felt like it lacked strong characters and like the high concept didn't payoff in the end. It's still among the better ones in the Full Moon catalogue, but it isn't among my favorites.



The Holdovers (Alexander Payne, 2023)




Very well written and pretty much hit my expectations. Nebraska remains my favourite Payne film but this is one of his better works. A little disappointed that it didn't stick with the group of students staying over Christmas and it just switched to the story about Tully and his family which leant a little too much into familiar predictability but was executed well nonetheless.
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SF = Zz



[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



I forgot the opening line.

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Possession - (1981)

I've seen Andrzej Żuławski's L'Amour braque, so I knew this was going to be a wild ride - and it sure was. It actually starts off in a world that could pass for reality, and characters that could also - but as the film goes on everything starts sliding towards pure insanity, and by the end of the film we're in nightmare land. Mark (Sam Neill) comes home to his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and son Bob in West Berlin after being away on some kind of secret spy mission - and finds a woman who no longer loves him. This sends Mark over the edge, and his unbalanced behaviour has a detrimental effect on Anna, who frequently leaves him and Bob - at first going to her lover, but eventually taking up residence in an apartment full of slimy monsters. The movie is more arthouse than horror movie, and if you want to analyze it I'm sure it'll take up the rest of your life. There's almost too much going on - but I really liked it a lot. Fascinating madness. A filmmaker who has freed himself from any narrative restraint there might be. A howl in the night.

9/10


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Joint Security Area - (2000)

This was Park Chan-wook's (Oldboy, Decision to Leave) breakthrough film. It takes place on the border between North and South Korea, and is really great both visually and performance-wise. A lot of heart and humanity in this mystery/thriller - my whole review is on my watchlist thread here.

8/10



The Two Popes (2019)


Even though I'm not a catholic I found this a very engaging portrayal of the meeting between current Pope Benedict XVI and his successor Pope Francis respectively played by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce as two very different kinds of men. Serious tones here such as the "dirty war" of murders and abductions carried out by the church backed military junta that ruled Argentina from 76 - 83 and how a young "Francis" navigates his way through that dark period, and Benedicts dealings with child sex abuse cases within the church but throughout there are moments of Levity and humour and you can't help but like both Popes as presented here, with predictably fine performance by Hopkins and Pryce. Worth the watch.

"I was making a joke, a German joke - it doesn't have to be funny" - Pope Benedict XVI



Gone back to reading


Film #1 of the year, 4/5 Tense with good drama and punchy argument scenes, there's something about fierce arguments in films that are to me exciting, but in real life i want to be far away from them. Guess i could share that with the therapist if i ever get one.



The Magnificent Seven (1960)

A great rewatch and features a fine ensemble cast. The music and characters drive this film on. Good viewing after a few to many on Hogmanay

No rating, you know what you are getting and this sure delivers. Personally James Coburn plays my favourite gunslinger but all the 7 (with Eli Wallach as the baddie), make this a fine film. Remake wasn't bad but Sturgess was really on top of his game here.





Drunken Master - (1978)

5th re-watch. Thunderfoot is amazing
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Film #1 of the year, 4/5 Tense with good drama and punchy argument scenes, there's something about fierce arguments in films that are to me exciting, but in real life i want to be far away from them. Guess i could share that with the therapist if i ever get one.
Terrific movie.
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Adapted from a brilliant short short story in The New Yorker a few years ago. Movie was very mediocre full of unneeded back story & exposition. Two leads exceptionally good, but itís a horrid movie.



Not much for Kristen Stewart to do, but sheís very good as Diana. Not much of a movie, but I liked it.



Re-watch of an excellent movie. Matt Damon very good as are his two female co-stars.



No Hard Feelings (2023)


4/10. Disappointing movie. A comedy without comedy, sex scenes without sex.


While it was somewhat entertaining to see Lawrence's cleavage, witnessing her now botched up plastic face was kinda terrifying.


The whole +30 female trying to make a 19 year old have sex and drink was uncomfortable predator-ish. If the genders were swappe, the actors wouldve been cancelled



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I can't say that 2023 has been a stellar year for film exactly and this weekend's viewing hasn't done much to change that.


Wonka (2023)

I really like Paul King as a director and this is full of cute and quirky touches but unfortunately not much of a story. It's chocolate box pretty but more of a hollow chocolate egg than a Wonka bar.



The Killer (2023)
Fincher is a craftsman but what he crafts can be pretty nasty. Perhaps this film is a kind of metaphor. I'm not really sure what else it is. Tonally uneven, at times it plays like a satirical dark comedy, if someone forgot to put in any actual comedy. If the soundtrack and the tediously banal voiceover were taken out it could have been more interesting, perhaps.
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Next Goal Wins (2023)

If you think Taika Waititi couldn't make a worse movie than Thor: Love and Thunder, watch this. Everything about it was so derivative, saccharine and superficial. Worse, it wasn't funny.



No Hard Feelings (2023)


4/10. Disappointing movie. A comedy without comedy, sex scenes without sex.


While it was somewhat entertaining to see Lawrence's cleavage, witnessing her now botched up plastic face was kinda terrifying.


The whole +30 female trying to make a 19 year old have sex and drink was uncomfortable predator-ish. If the genders were swappe, the actors wouldve been cancelled
Very mediocre movie. Canít imagine why Lawrence took the part. Or why she frolicked naked on the beach for that matter.



Very mediocre movie. Canít imagine why Lawrence took the part. Or why she frolicked naked on the beach for that matter.

I don't know, perhaps she wanted to show her body and the results of plastic surgery to the world.