The Resident Bitch's Movie Log - Volume 2

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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones, 2005)
Imdb

Date Watched: 01/30/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MoFo Top 100 Westerns Countdown, recommended by @cricket
Rewatch: No.


I had some trouble engaging with this film. It's a good looking movie and features very good performances, but its populated with characters that aren't especially likable but I wouldn't call totally despicable either and, honestly, I didn't find them all that interesting... at first.

Once Pete (Tommy Lee Jones) enacted his plan to punish his friend's killer, things got real interesting. I really enjoyed the power dynamic between Pete and his captive. I also thought Barry Pepper did a fine job of showing the gradual breakdown of Norton's arrogance and selfishness and that final scene of him begging for forgiveness was really powerful.

That said, there were some things that I wasn't too keen on. Well, really, there were a couple of characters I wasn't too keen on: the patrolman's wife, Lou Ann, and Rachel, the married waitress who was carrying on affairs with both Pete and the town's sheriff. January Jones and Melissa Leo both did fine jobs with their performances, but too much time was spent with them and some of their scenes just felt like filler.

That is pretty insignificant gripe, however and I thought this was a very solid film overall. I didn't love it, but I do think there's a good chance that I'll like it more if I watch it again. It's unlikely that I'll get back around to it before the voting deadline, but it may still sneak its way onto my ballot.






The Hunt (Jagten) (Thomas Vinterberg, 2012)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/01/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 21st MoFoHall of Fame, nominated by Neiba
Rewatch: Yes.


I first watched this movie about three years ago when it was nominated for the 13th MoFo Hall of Fame. I was very much impressed by the stellar performances and the heartwrenching story. I also found the film to be both challenging and frustrating, as it was very difficult to watch the events unfold while knowing the truth of what happened. I felt strong sympathy for Lucas as he watched his life disintegrate around him, all because of a lie.

But I also had to ask myself how I thought I would react if such accusations were made against someone I knew. Who would I believe? If that person was shown to be innocent, would I still have doubt? I gave these ideas more thought this time around and, while I still don't know how I would react in such a situation (and I hope I never have to find out), it did help me to feel a lot less anger towards the reactions of the other people around Lucas - that is, of course, with the exception of what happened to Fanny. I could never feel less anger over something like that.

That said, I do think I actually enjoyed Jagten a little less this time than I did in 2017 but I still have a lot of respect for the way it makes me think and it will probably rank high on my ballot.






Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/04/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 21st MoFoHall of Fame, nominated by Siddon
Rewatch: No.


There are few things that I find more tedious than having to sit through an unfunny comedy and Being There was an absolute chore to watch. I didn't find a single scene amusing (though I'll grant that this statement is probably true of the majority of the comedies I've seen) and the dramatic elements failed to engage me. I simply didn't give a crap about any of its characters or any of the events of the story.

In fact there is absolutely nothing about this film that I did give a crap about and I cannot think of a single bit of praise to offer it. About as close as I can come is to echo what I said about The Squid and the Whale: There have been many movies that I've hated than this one - though none of those films have been nominated in this hall of fame.

I'm probably being far too generous with this rating, but **** it.

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That's a shame, MV. Although it's been a very long time since I last saw it, I enjoyed Being There.
__________________
5-time MoFo Award winner.



I hope you're not as hard to please in bed as you are with movies.

It's always interesting to read responses to Pretty Baby. I got a chuckle out of Siddon acting like the FBI was legit about to bust his door down and haul him to prison. I watched Breakfast Club for the first time just 3 or 4 years ago, and I enjoyed it, but as with most coming-of-age movies, I think you have to be the perfect age for it to have the ultimate impact. Moonstruck was good for one watch, but I have no interest in ever re-visiting it. Wedding Crashers is fun (although a bit overrated by my peers), and I'm surprised by how many people dislike Owen Wilson, since to me he usually comes across like a chill, down-to-earth dude. I've been asking Santa for a lesbian sex tape of Rachel McAdams and Isla Fishers for the last fifteen years.

That final battle in Dark City is indeed very silly looking. It's a movie with cool ideas and a great aesthetic, but I've never loved it. Tree of Life is a movie I respect far more than I enjoy; although I really dug the creation-of-the-universe, history-of-the-earth stuff in the first hour; it was just the human portion of the story that left me indifferent. I've seen Three Burials . . ., and remember liking it, but nowhere near to the degree that Holden Pike and others seem to love it. At this point I barely even remember anything about it. Not yet seen Being There. Many people think highly of it, so it's a shame you didn't get more enjoyment from it.
__________________



I hope you're not as hard to please in bed as you are with movies.
Nah. I'm, uh... easy.

Ahem.

It's always interesting to read responses to Pretty Baby. I got a chuckle out of Siddon acting like the FBI was legit about to bust his door down and haul him to prison.
That was pretty damn funny.

I watched Breakfast Club for the first time just 3 or 4 years ago, and I enjoyed it, but as with most coming-of-age movies, I think you have to be the perfect age for it to have the ultimate impact.
That's probably true. I grew up with it and Heathers and love them both, but when I've tried to watch any of the other teen movies there was just no connection.

Wedding Crashers is fun (although a bit overrated by my peers), and I'm surprised by how many people dislike Owen Wilson, since to me he usually comes across like a chill, down-to-earth dude.
Yeah, I'm not sure what the issue is exactly but I can't stand him. I was about to say that it's his voice, but I love Cars and that performance is just his voice so...

That final battle in Dark City is indeed very silly looking. It's a movie with cool ideas and a great aesthetic, but I've never loved it.
Agreed.

Tree of Life is a movie I respect far more than I enjoy; although I really dug the creation-of-the-universe, history-of-the-earth stuff in the first hour; it was just the human portion of the story that left me indifferent.
I didn't particularly like either portion, but I preferred the human parts. The rest of it just felt like outtakes from BBC Earth.

I've seen Three Burials . . ., and remember liking it, but nowhere near to the degree that Holden Pike and others seem to love it.
I think it mainly just appealed to the Sadist in me.

Not yet seen Being There. Many people think highly of it, so it's a shame you didn't get more enjoyment from it.
I went into it without any expectations so I can't say I was disappointed. Just really, really bored.

Oh well. I've only got one nomination left to watch for this HOF and that's my own nomination, Quills. So I definitely won't be having that problem tonight.





Quills Philip Kaufman, 2000)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/06/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 21st MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes.


There is absolutely nothing about this film that I don't love. I love that it addresses sexuality and sexual freedom and expression. I love that it addresses the clash between science and religion (or at least what passed for science in 18th century France). I love that it pokes fun at religion. I love that it addresses censorship and artistic freedom while not neglecting to address the effects art can have on the people that consume it. I love that we see the clash between the archaic notion that the mentally ill be punished and the more enlightened ideas of therapy and rehabilitation. I love that the Marquis de Sade is perhaps the least sadistic of the film's three key characters, despite his name being the root of the very word.

I love the performances. I love how in your face Rush's de Sade is. I love the more nuanced role Phoenix plays. I love the way Michael Caine chews up the screen as the evil doctor. I love seeing Simone's transition from naive young girl to sexy seductress.

Speaking of transitions, I love the way the asylum itself devolves from an idyllic and serene place of peace to a dark, claustrophobic nightmare. I love the color palate and the way it changes as the story progresses. I love the costumes and the sets.

But perhaps what I love most (aside from just how incredibly hot Joaquin Phoenix looks in this) is the film's wry sense of humor. And it is funny as hell - funnier than any comedy I've seen and the laughs keep coming even with repeated viewings.

When I first watched Quills, it was instant love for both the film and for Joaquin Phoenix. Never before had I come across a movie so perfectly suited to my tastes and in the roughly 20 years that have passed since then, no film has yet surpassed it. I doubt any movie ever will.






Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, 2012)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/15/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: I was in the mood for some gratuitous violence
Rewatch: Yes.


It's been a number of years since I last watched this movie and while I've always ranked it among my favorites, I'd kind of forgotten just how much fun it is. So much violence. Such dark humor. And such great performances.

And, of course, people usually praise Christoph Waltz for his Oscar winning role as dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz for his performance - and rightly so - but his has never been my favorite of the film. Jamie Foxx is also wonderful as Django, the slave turned bounty hunter on a mission to rescue his wife, but he is not my favorite either. That title has always been held by Leonardo DiCaprio who is chillingly great as mandingo-fighting plantation owner Calvin Candie. But not far behind are Samuel L. Jackson as Calvin's head slave and Don Johnson as Big Daddy, another plantation owner who doesn't take too kindly to Schultz and Django killing his overseers.

But the main thing here is the violence. This is Tarantino so of course the audience is treated to a most satisfying blood bath in the end and damned if I wasn't grinning ear to ear through the whole thing.

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Fury at Furnace Creek (H. Bruce Humberstone, 1948)
Imdb

Date Watched: 02/23/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MoFo Top 100 Westerns Countdown
Rewatch: Yes.


This is a pretty straight-forward Western about two estranged brothers that unexpectedly meet up while trying to clear the name of their dead father. There's nothing particularly exceptional about it, but it had an interesting story and kept me engaged. Victor Mature kept the ham relatively in check (which is actually slightly disappointing, since his hammy-ness is what I typically enjoy about him) and the other performances are decent as well. The film looks good, given the limitations of its age. About the only complaint I have is that the attempts at humor fall flat, but that's a very minor issue and I enjoyed it overall.

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Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/08/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: MoFo Top 100 Westerns Countdown
Rewatch: Yes.


I swear, every time I watch this film my opinion of it changes. I never love it or hate it, but sometimes I come away feeling annoyed and other times I come away feeling amused. This latest viewing had me on the more positive side of the line, but the film still doesn't quite resonate with me the way so many other animated films do. It just doesn't spark the same sort of emotions and I don't love the character designs or the story.

It is a funny movie, though, and an entertaining enough watch that it'll likely find itself a place somewhere on my Westerns ballot.

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Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/16/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, nominated by someone who wanted to see me suffer
Rewatch: No.


From a visual standpoint, Eyes Wide Shut is a beautiful and interesting film. The colors, the costumes, the lights - they all pop out of the screen to create dazzling imagery.

Unfortunately, nothing else really worked for me. The characters were underdeveloped and unengaging. It had that Paul Thomas Anderson-like quality of featuring sh**y people doing sh**y things to each other while not being sh**y enough to be interesting. What little plot there was felt weak and failed to intrigue me and it dragged on for far too long. And even the sex felt, well, not particularly sexy. The two leads never actually do anything and that was the tamest looking orgy I've ever seen depicted. I also didn't feel any sort of dread or real threat of danger when Dr. Harford was found out and being followed, but maybe that was just because I didn't care.






Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/17/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No.


I haven't got a clue who picked this for me or why.

I thought the basic premise of the film was interesting but I never felt fully engaged with the story or the characters. The dialog felt a bit unnatural and I had to turn on the subtitles to even figure out what was being said some of the time. I was also a bit bothered by just how little the high school felt like a school. Where were all the students? The faculty? The only "adults" we see (I put that in quotes because damn those are some old looking teenagers) are the vice principal and Pin's mother.

Speaking of... that was the one scene in the film that I genuinely enjoyed. The awkwardness of seeing these drug dealing, violent kids gathered around a table and being served breakfast by a very wholesome mom was pretty damn funny. Beyond that, though, I found it to be a mostly forgettable but not unpleasant experience.

+





Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/19/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, I think it may have been nominated by John-Connor
Rewatch: No.


Although this is not a movie that I think I ever would have chosen on my own, I can understand why someone would pick this for me. With films like Army of Darkness, The Fifth Element, and Verhoeven's own cheese-fest Showgirls in my top 100, it makes sense that someone would think that I'd like this as well.

Unfortunately it didn't quite hit the mark, though it gave one hell of a shot at it. Almost all of the necessary elements are there - the ridiculous premise, the over-the-top acting, the ridiculous effects - but it lacks a certain something: It lacks a memorable central character and it lacks memorable lines. There's no equivalent to Bruce Campbell's Ash or to Bruce Willis's Korben Dallas (or Chris Tucker's Ruby Rhod). And while Showgirls doesn't have the most interesting characters, there's something inherently amusing about people trying and failing to be sexy and it does at least have stupidly quotable lines like "everybody's got AIDS and sh**." All that said, I do understand that this is intended to be satire but the humor just didn't land for me and I appreciated the effort but was ultimately a bit underwhelmed by it.

+





Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/20/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, I think it may have been nominated by Captain Spaulding
Rewatch: No.


I never had much desire to watch this movie. I'm not a fan of Ryan Gosling or anyone else involved in it. I think the only Refn film I'd seen prior to this was Bronson, which is great, but is carried by a mesmerizing performance from Tom Hardy (who I'm biased towards anyway). All the images I'd seen from it looked very slick and stylish, but never hinted to me at anything of substance and so I went into this with basically no expectations.

I won't go so far as to say that I loved it - I didn't love it - but this was a welcome surprise. Although there are obvious exceptions (see Gladiator and others) I tend to favor films with complicated characters that are neither completely good nor completely bad. I like stories of redemption. I like bad guys with a heart of gold and Refn and Gosling definitely deliver. I really enjoyed seeing him going from tenderly kissing a woman one moment to kicking a dude's head in the next. I liked his gentle interactions with the kid, Benicio.

But the one thing that I didn't like - the thing that kept me from loving it - was that I felt I didn't get enough of that tender side. It's a rare instance that I complain about a film being too short, but I really would've appreciated another scene or two of the driver and Irene or the driver and Benicio to better fortify the believability of his motivations.

It's a pretty small complaint though and its possible that its importance will fade if I revisit the film later on. Not a home run, but a very good and surprising selection. Thank you to whoever chose it.

+



So sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy Starship Troopers very much. I adore that film. I agree that it doesn't have the things you mention though.

BTW, is that GIF from a game?





Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/21/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, No idea who nominated this.
Rewatch: No.


I hope I don't offend whoever chose this film for me, but I found it incredibly dull and a chore to watch.

For being a horror film, it sure lacked tension and suspense. It lacked atmosphere and believability. And I don't mean believability in terms of its basic premise. I mean that I don't believe its characters. They didn't feel much like real people, especially the central character of Mark. I felt absolutely nothing for him. Not disgust. Not empathy. Nothing. And I was just as apathetic to his victims. Nothing about the performances, the characters, the story, or the cinematography stood out to me as being anything special.

About the only thing I liked about the film was the scene between Mark and Helen's mother. That had tension. That kept me interested. But my engagement with the film started and ended with that one scene and it is the only reason why I don't rate it lower.






The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/21/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, no clue who picked it.
Rewatch: No.


I don't care much for horror. I'm not overly fond of British films and, well, the 70s really isn't my decade when it comes to movies. Add to that the fact that my best friend described this film as "terrible" and the result was that I went into this film with really low expectations. Really low.

I actually found myself pleasantly surprised - though not overly so. The story and the premise were interesting but I didn't feel any sense of dread or tension with this one either. Sure the idea of it is horrific, but the execution just came off as kind of silly (though probably much less so than what I've heard about the infamous remake). That silliness did keep me entertained enough for its 88 minute runtime, but had it gone on much longer (or contained any more singing ) the outcome for me probably would've been quite different.

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Pickup On South Street (Samuel Fuller, 1953)
Imdb

Date Watched: 03/23/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The Personal Recommendation Hall of Fame, no clue who picked it.
Rewatch: No.


Pickup On South Street has a lot going for it - it looks good, it has decent acting, and an interesting premise.

Unfortunately it also has two major things working against it - annoying characters (Mo and Candy in particular) and a love story that I simply didn't buy. (She meets this dude a couple of times - during which he treats her like crap - and I'm supposed to believe that she's in love and would risk her life for him? Yeah, no.) As a result, I was not at all invested in these characters or their fates and struggled to get through this despite its short runtime.