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A film about the last days of the Bosnian war in the Balkans. It's not a war movie, it's not about shootings and heroes, and good guys against bad guys, and action everywhere, it's a slow burner about everyday life, everyday routine following a team of aid workers that clean what needs to be cleaned. It shows their struggles to provide basic aid due to shortages, bureaucracy and lack of support. A lot of dark humor involved, you'll laugh in some parts for sure, other parts will make you think about those who lived there, about injustices, about prejudice, about their future. This reminded me of Beyond Borders without all the blood, all the drama, A Perfect Day is more intense, less morality and more down-to-earth, it's about getting thing's done, no thank you, no medal, it'll make you ask yourself if you'd do what they do, what they go through.



I feel like heíd already proven himself a talent with The Assassination of Jessie James, Hurt Locker and The Town (especially this one) long before he did WR. Itís not his performance thatís the issue. Itís the character written for a white actor.
Well, I never saw HL and I didn't remember him from Jessie James (which I didn't enjoy nearly as much as many other forumites so I've never gone back and re-watched). So I had only seen him as Hawkeye and in American Hustle and I guess he was in S.W.A.T. but I barely remember that.
And like others have said, I thought the character being white was actually a point of the story. Aside from the fact that he's really not a savior and none of the Native Americans see him that way, thereby kinda dispelling the White Savior trope, I think a film that shows the hardship of Native American life in this country from the perspective of a sympathetic white figure is important to opening the eyes of so many people (and maybe that's too much to put on a movie, but having been on some of those reservations and seen poverty and conditions that I had never seen the like of in the United States, it is something I feel kinda strongly about). But, if you feel like he should have been Native American I don't feel the need to argue about it. It's certainly not something I even considered before you mentioned it because I thought the point was, as I said, for him to not be loved by the Native Americans, to not be a White Savior, and to be an avatar for a largely white audience immersed in the horrible treatment of Native Americans in this country.



Well, I never saw HL and I didn't remember him from Jessie James (which I didn't enjoy nearly as much as many other forumites so I've never gone back and re-watched). So I had only seen him as Hawkeye and in American Hustle and I guess he was in S.W.A.T. but I barely remember that.
And like others have said, I thought the character being white was actually a point of the story. Aside from the fact that he's really not a savior and none of the Native Americans see him that way, thereby kinda dispelling the White Savior trope, I think a film that shows the hardship of Native American life in this country from the perspective of a sympathetic white figure is important to opening the eyes of so many people (and maybe that's too much to put on a movie, but having been on some of those reservations and seen poverty and conditions that I had never seen the like of in the United States, it is something I feel kinda strongly about). But, if you feel like he should have been Native American I don't feel the need to argue about it. It's certainly not something I even considered before you mentioned it because I thought the point was, as I said, for him to not be loved by the Native Americans, to not be a White Savior, and to be an avatar for a largely white audience immersed in the horrible treatment of Native Americans in this country.
You should check out the Hurt Locker and the Town. He also has an exceptional shootout in Jesse James, notable for its close proximity and realistic sloppiness. Iíd give that another shot too with adjusted expectations. I usually like films more a second time when I know what Iím looking at, but that may just be me.

I think implying the people need to see Native Americans through the eyes of an outsider captures the problematic essence of this type of narrative i.e. audiences couldnít similarly connect with a Native American culture. Do you at least see the advantage having an actual Native American in the story to exist beyond a symbol of suffering for white characters to navigate would provide to the story? It would be like doing Hotel Rwanda except Don Cheadleís character is now played by Tom Hanks. The lens is now shifted to the ďotherĒ and itís utterly unnecessary when his character exists to bring the outsiders into this world.



I think MKS point is very valid. I kinda agree with him, even if I hadn't thought about it. But regardless of whether the character was white or Native, I still think that script needed a bit more polish to push it into greatness.
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Annihilation (2018)


I probably shouldnt even post every time I watch this, but I had to show it to a friend for the first time. Likely my favorite movie of the past 5 years.
Yes it is amazing. Likewise one of my favorites from the last decade.



Manhattan - 1979

I never like saying a movie aged poorly but yikes. I guess it's feasible to be in your 40s and date a teenager but man does it take me out of this movie. I just had a hard time buying their relationship which makes the end feel unearned and weird. I mean people rooted for that? This movie can't help Woody's cause now a days. Every relationship in this feels bizarre and unrelatable, maybe it's a NY thing.

Also oozes of Jewish lol. Not a bad thing but Woody can't help it haha. I felt like I was watching a rough draft of George Costanza haha. The movie itself was gorgeously shot and really is a love letter to NY. Every wide shot of the city felt like a moving painting. Plus the score was amazing as well. Really beautiful, and elevates the movie alone.. Just the movie didn't do much for me narratively, it was just dull.



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101 Favorite Movies (2019)





Game of Death, 1978

Pressured by mobsters, a martial arts film star named Billy (Bruce Lee) is the victim of a series of "accidents" on set. When one such mishap nearly kills him, he takes the opportunity to fake his death and go underground. But when his girlfriend is kidnapped by the mobsters, Billy must come out of hiding to save her.

I had known going into this film that Bruce Lee had died during the making of it. But I had not realized the extent of the story. The footage of Lee used here is from an entirely different story--one that has nothing to do with mobsters and movie-making.

It is almost hard to rate this as a film, because the quality of what is on screen is so variable.

The downsides here are obvious--for almost the first 3/4 of the film, there is heavy, HEAVY use of doubles, meaning that Lee's character is off screen or has his back to the camera or is buried under absurd "disguises" almost all of the time. It creates a distance from the character because he doesn't feel real. And in trying to center a film on a character we never really see or hear, the film ends up very flat and bland, with no secondary characters stepping up to liven it up a bit.

The positive, however, is that most of the footage that Lee filmed before his death was for the climax of the original movie. Thus despite the clunky first 3/4, the final act is really engaging as Billy must fight level after level of baddie (including Kareem Abdul-Jabar!) on the way to rescuing his gal.

This one is worth checking out on two levels: both for the absurdity of the way they tried to cobble together the first 3/4, and the incredibly fun final showdowns.






Game of Death, 1978

Pressured by mobsters, a martial arts film star named Billy (Bruce Lee) is the victim of a series of "accidents" on set. When one such mishap nearly kills him, he takes the opportunity to fake his death and go underground. But when his girlfriend is kidnapped by the mobsters, Billy must come out of hiding to save her.

I had known going into this film that Bruce Lee had died during the making of it. But I had not realized the extent of the story. The footage of Lee used here is from an entirely different story--one that has nothing to do with mobsters and movie-making.

It is almost hard to rate this as a film, because the quality of what is on screen is so variable.

The downsides here are obvious--for almost the first 3/4 of the film, there is heavy, HEAVY use of doubles, meaning that Lee's character is off screen or has his back to the camera or is buried under absurd "disguises" almost all of the time. It creates a distance from the character because he doesn't feel real. And in trying to center a film on a character we never really see or hear, the film ends up very flat and bland, with no secondary characters stepping up to liven it up a bit.

The positive, however, is that most of the footage that Lee filmed before his death was for the climax of the original movie. Thus despite the clunky first 3/4, the final act is really engaging as Billy must fight level after level of baddie (including Kareem Abdul-Jabar!) on the way to rescuing his gal.

This one is worth checking out on two levels: both for the absurdity of the way they tried to cobble together the first 3/4, and the incredibly fun final showdowns.


Not sure how you watched this, but the Criterion release has an extended cut of the fight footage that better fleshes out Lee's ideas of adaptability in combat, so very much worth seeking out. I think it might be on Youtube as well.


As for the movie, it's probably more an interesting artifact than a good movie, but despite its origins as a shameless cash-in, I do find it interesting how the story elements parallel the way it exploits Lee's image and how it ends up being self-defeating in that respect. All the imitation Lees in the world (even when choreographed by Sammo Hung) can't compete with the real thing. I do like the motorcycle/warehouse scene, though.


Anyway, real heads know that Game of Death II is the superior Game of Death movie.



Anyway, real heads know that Game of Death II is the superior Game of Death movie.
This is true even without having actual quality Lee footage.

I find the original GoD pretty repugnant, especially in its use of actual funeral footage of Lee. Itís a gross degree of exploitation.

The film is also formally incompetent as Robert Clouse joints generally are (Enter the Dragon was clearly ghost directed by Lee and Black Belt Jones born out of that relationship formed between Kelly, Lee and Clouse making GoD). Thereís a reason his other films are the most boring Chan flick around (Battle Creek Brawl cuz whatís cooler than martial arts? Chan roller skating!!!) and Gymkata.



You should check out the Hurt Locker and the Town. He also has an exceptional shootout in Jesse James, notable for its close proximity and realistic sloppiness. Iíd give that another shot too with adjusted expectations. I usually like films more a second time when I know what Iím looking at, but that may just be me.

I think implying the people need to see Native Americans through the eyes of an outsider captures the problematic essence of this type of narrative i.e. audiences couldnít similarly connect with a Native American culture. Do you at least see the advantage having an actual Native American in the story to exist beyond a symbol of suffering for white characters to navigate would provide to the story? It would be like doing Hotel Rwanda except Don Cheadleís character is now played by Tom Hanks. The lens is now shifted to the ďotherĒ and itís utterly unnecessary when his character exists to bring the outsiders into this world.
I'm not fully sold on your argument here; it feels a bit like you're bringing a lot of your own expectations to the film and saying it should have met them. Giving audiences an avatar for understanding the conflict of a movie is pretty standard filmmaking technique. If this movie were about getting audiences to identify with a Native American character, then I think it would make sense. But getting a predominantly white audience to see, through their own eyes, what the film does want to show about the hardship of life for Native Americans living on reservations in this country, actually requires that the avatar be one of them. The audience must identify that the avatar is like them. I don't think your Hotel Rwanda example applies because this is not that movie. It almost seems like you're saying all these stories must be told a certain way. As someone with enough Native American blood to have qualified for a minority scholarship for college (which I declined, by the way because I live a white existence), I very strongly see the value of the way this film approaches the situation. But I also see that it's simply ok to tell the story of this white guy caught in the conflict of his own whiteness versus the minority people he is trying to help but is not one of. His otherness is actually really important to this film.



Not sure how you watched this, but the Criterion release has an extended cut of the fight footage that better fleshes out Lee's ideas of adaptability in combat, so very much worth seeking out. I think it might be on Youtube as well.
I'll keep my eye out for it.

As for the movie, it's probably more an interesting artifact than a good movie, but despite its origins as a shameless cash-in, I do find it interesting how the story elements parallel the way it exploits Lee's image and how it ends up being self-defeating in that respect.
Originally Posted by ThatDarnMKS
I find the original GoD pretty repugnant, especially in its use of actual funeral footage of Lee. Itís a gross degree of exploitation.
Yeah, I'm not sure I'd have watched the film as a whole if I'd known the degree of what was done to make it. I agree about the funeral footage, but also that weird part where they use a frozen paper mask or some of the moments of Lee that were clearly spliced out of totally unrelated shots.

It would be one thing if this was a film that Lee wanted to make and they were left with a handful of unfinished scenes. But he wanted to tell an entirely different story than the one here, and the fact that it uses his images without his consent in a context he didn't agree to is icky.

And the scene where a stunt gun "accidentally" actually shoots Lee was an unfortunate reminder that such a thing actually did kill Lee's son.

Maybe my rating is too high, but I really did enjoy that last act. The wikipedia page made mention of a documentary that restores some of that original footage and places it more in context.



This is true even without having actual quality Lee footage.

I find the original GoD pretty repugnant, especially in its use of actual funeral footage of Lee. Itís a gross degree of exploitation.

The film is also formally incompetent as Robert Clouse joints generally are (Enter the Dragon was clearly ghost directed by Lee and Black Belt Jones born out of that relationship formed between Kelly, Lee and Clouse making GoD). Thereís a reason his other films are the most boring Chan flick around (Battle Creek Brawl cuz whatís cooler than martial arts? Chan roller skating!!!) and Gymkata.
Yeah, the funeral footage is pretty gross. I remember it was used in Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth two years prior (albeit in a more biographical context...right before it speculated that Bruce Lee faked his death and would come out of hiding a decade after the fact). Why is THAT one of the most common Brucesploitation tropes?


Aw, I kind of like Battle Creek Brawl. I think the real problem is that the stuntmen Jackie was saddled with don't even come close to keeping up, so Jackie has to do his shtick at like 25% speed. I mean, there's no way in hell it's a worse movie than Rush Hour 3 with its cut to hell action scenes, Chris Tucker as a sexual predator and Roman Polanski cavity search. And I hear some of his recent movies are even worse?



Apparently Clouse has a movie called Golden Needles that sounds like Enter the Dragon but with Joe Don Baker instead of Bruce Lee?!? There's no way that isn't worth checking out.



Judgement night (1993)
8/10





Oz aka Twentieth Century Oz, 1976

Teenager Dorothy (Joy Dunstan) is a groupie for a band she loves, and she is particularly in love with the lead singer (Graham Matters). On route from a gig in the band's van, they get in an accident and Dorothy gets knocked on the head. She wakes up in an alternate reality where she is gifted a pair of red heels and soon meets up with a laid-back surfer (Bruce Spence), a cranky mechanic (Michael Carman), and a cowardly biker (Gary Waddell) who help her on her quest to see a musician called The Wizard (also Matters). But hot on their trail is a psychopathic trucker (Ned Kelly), who blames Dorothy for his brother's death.

I had never heard of this film before stumbling across it on Kanopy, and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. That's not to say that the film is without its flaws, but it's the kind of movie where the flaws almost add to the oddball energy of the whole thing.

The whole thing has a kind of strange, low-budget tone that I found rather appealing. The translation of the Wizard of Oz story is done in a way that reflects thought, but not a lot of thought ("What if the good fairy was a fairy, like a gay guy? Get it? Because he's a fairy? LOL!"), and yet at times it resulted in some really enjoyable moments. In one of my favorite sequences, the Biker rolls up to a gas station and bullies everyone in sight, including telling Dorothy he's going to stab her. But not a minute later she realizes he's all bluff, asks if he's in the women's room because he's illiterate, and slaps the sunglasses off of his face as he meekly protests. Likewise, the interpretation of the Scarecrow as a space-cadet surfer is weird-good, and Spence gives off plenty of golden retriever energy in his role, even as he towers over the other actors.

One element that has both a good and a bad side is the villain of the piece, The Trucker. Displaying some of the "not a lot of thought" aspect of the film, he just wants to corner Dorothy so that he can rape her. Not, um, super imaginative as a take on the Wicked Witch. But the saving grace here--at least for me as a viewer--is that this doesn't really feel like a film in which someone will actually be sexually assaulted (and while the character is like 16, the actress is very clearly in her mid-20s). And I don't know if it's because Kelly was uncomfortable with pretending to threaten someone or just generally uncomfortable in front of a camera, but in one moment he's clearly working hard not to be rough with the actress playing Dorothy. This allows for the confrontation with the Trucker to be genuinely humorous as Dorothy fends off his advances and the men rush to save her instead up icky, and I appreciated that it managed to keep the tone light. The only real downside to this part of the plot is that it uses up runtime for a plot element that clearly has like zero stakes.

Ultimately, though, it's not the defeat of the trucker that's the main point of the film. The real heft--and, yeah, it is a bit surprising when you realize there's some heft here--is all to do with Dorothy chasing after the Wizard just because he's famous. I don't want to spoil the ending by discussing it, but I thought that the last 10 minutes were pretty solid and actually kind of brought some thematic coherence to a film that felt a bit slapdash up to that point. It was also really sweet watching the Surfer, Mechanic, and Biker grudgingly bond with Dorothy and become a sort of support for her.

I imagine that this will bore the pants off of some viewers, but I thought it was overall charming. I will also add that, with the exception of Dorothy and the surfer, no one had pants that fit correctly--why?! Is there something about Australia in the 70s I need to know in terms of jeans styles? Maybe my rating seems a bit high, but I was very entertained and I could see coming back to this one when I need something goofy and light.




Candyman (2021)

A modern classic for the ages. An intelligent masterpiece that combines subtle social commentary with a thriller. It's a work of art that is simultaneously highly entertaining and subversive in subtle ways. It's artistic nature might not be evident for the movie fan without vast experience with Kiarostami, Ozu, Bergman, and Tarkovsky.




I'm not fully sold on your argument here; it feels a bit like you're bringing a lot of your own expectations to the film and saying it should have met them. Giving audiences an avatar for understanding the conflict of a movie is pretty standard filmmaking technique. If this movie were about getting audiences to identify with a Native American character, then I think it would make sense. But getting a predominantly white audience to see, through their own eyes, what the film does want to show about the hardship of life for Native Americans living on reservations in this country, actually requires that the avatar be one of them. The audience must identify that the avatar is like them. I don't think your Hotel Rwanda example applies because this is not that movie. It almost seems like you're saying all these stories must be told a certain way. As someone with enough Native American blood to have qualified for a minority scholarship for college (which I declined, by the way because I live a white existence), I very strongly see the value of the way this film approaches the situation. But I also see that it's simply ok to tell the story of this white guy caught in the conflict of his own whiteness versus the minority people he is trying to help but is not one of. His otherness is actually really important to this film.
What did you say here that isnít done with Olsenís character? Why double down?



What did you say here that isnít done with Olsenís character? Why double down?
Elizabeth Olsen is only a white woman. How are men supposed to understand the plight of native people if they don't see a man on the screen? (I wrote that sarcastically, but maybe there's a grain of truth to it? Just googling "Do men relate to female protagonists?" turned up some grim results.)