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SF = Z


[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



Best. Christmas. Ever! (2023) Netflix original. Directed by Mary Lambert. Heather Graham, Brandy and Jason Biggs all feel miscast and none of them do a good job in the film. Their characters aren't very interesting, which doesn't help. I found the kids in the movie more interesting than the adults and the child actors do better with the material than the adults. Madison Skye Validum has some amusing moments as a child genius who tries to prove that Santa isn't real and Abby Villasmil has a cute storyline about thinking she has superpowers. The plot isn't well developed and the central conflict is resolved too early and too easily, so the story goes in some odd directions that don't really work. There are a couple funny moments and the two girls in the movie are adorable, but overall this isn't very good.






1st Rewatch...The movie that made being a cowboy and riding a mechanical bull cool held up surprisingly well on my 1st rewatch. Travolta is all kinds of sexy in this movie...that first shot of him entering the bar after shaving his beard from the tip of his boots to the top of his cowboy hat still makes me gasp. Debra Winger is deliciously natural as always and her final ride on that mechanical bull is one of the movie's best scenes. And for a guy who has played more than his share of bad guys, Scott Glenn offered one of his most chilling here. It felt a little longer than I remembered, but it's a pretty smooth ride.






4th Rewatch....I know Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for this movie, but I'm one of the few people who thinks Joaquin Phoenix owned this movie and should have won him his first Oscar. As he always does, Joaquin disappears inside the legendary Country and Western singer, offering a performance that leaps off the screen at you and scratches at your heart. Watch him in that scene where his daughters almost catch him beginning to beat first wife Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin) or that Thanksgiving Dinner where his father (Robert Patrick) can't stop criticizing him and drives him away from the dinner table to the tractor outside stuck in the mud. Love the scene where he proposes to June on the bus and the concert at Folsum Prison too. Don't get me wrong, Witherspoon works very hard in the role of June Carter, but I've seen June Carter and she just fails to convince in this role. I still think that Oscar should have gone to Felicity Huffman for Transamerica. Patrick and Goodwin are both superb in very unsympathetic roles though.






2nd Rewatch...This movie gets better with each viewing. It's not just the electric, sex-on-legs performance by Austin Butler that might have won him in an Oscar in another year, it's Baz Luhrman's dazzling, inventive, and eye-popping approach to the staging of a story that everybody knows. You don't learn anything we didn't know about Elvis, but it's presented in the most imaginative way possible, utilizing just about every cinematic storytelling technique you can think of. And I don't care what anyone else says, I thought Tom Hanks made a terrific Col Parker, a performance of strength and risk that can alienate the viewer. It takes a little too long to get started and a little too long to wrap up, but I love this movie.



Bottoms 7/10 It's just a fun silly comedy movie

Gran Turismo 7.5/10 Enjoyed it more than i thought i would,having never really gotten into the game itself

Theater Camp 7/10 Some very funny moments in this

To Have and Have Not 8/10 A brilliant classic with two of the greatest actors of all time



Raven73's Avatar
Boldly going.
Dark City
7/10.
Repeat viewing. It's basically the Matrix meets The Truman Show. A physical simulation by aliens instead of humans, or a virtual one made by machines.

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Boldly going.



I forgot the opening line.

By www.impawards.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6744979

Sense and Sensibility - (1995)

Well, here's another Jane Austin novel I have to read - Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility deserves all the love I've been hearing for it over the years, and I deserve all of the derision for not watching it until now. What a golden era the 1990s were for Emma Thompson - she's marvelous in this, and of course she wrote the screenplay making for what could have been an amazing double on Oscars night. She won one for that screenplay, but her performance lost out to Susan Sarandon for her role in Dead Man Walking. It's hard to argue with that. Anyway, I loved this movie - it's overflowing with greatness in every aspect of filmmaking. There are wonderful recreations of life in 19th Century England, and of course Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Tom Wilkinson - which makes it very easy to like. A very emotionally testing story for the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne - and who among us hasn't been through the wringer of unrequited love or the belief you were set for a future with someone only for things to crumble to pieces. My empathy to anyone going through that. Anyway - a great big tick beside Sense and Sensibility, for it was great and a film I'm going to hold in very high esteem from this point onwards.

9/10


By http://www.empiremovies.com/posters....vingcastle.htm, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7596766

Howl's Moving Castle - (2004)

I have a few Studio Ghibli films under my belt now, and it's more enjoyable to watch them when you're actually expecting the craziness you end up getting - usually with a helping of cuteness added. In Howl's Moving Castle that cuteness is the character that's a living being made of fire - Calcifer. How on Earth do I describe it - Sophie Hatter is turned into an old lady when the Witch of the Waste casts a spell on her, and she has to seek out wizard Howl to help her out - but because the spell makes her unable to talk about what was done to her, she ends up becoming his cleaning lady. Also, the kingdom they all live in is at war - in a kind of steampunk society. Ahh - it's all complex and crazy, but I'm starting to really enjoy these films to the hilt. So imaginative, and so grand in scope and animation style. If only Sophie could stop trying to take the initiative and mucking things up! Her ideas are crazy! Loved this, and I'm at the stage where I'm enjoying Studio Ghibli films so much I'd like to go back and watch Spirited Away again.

8/10


By https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094137..._=ttmi_ref_pos, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69360088

Three Men and a Baby - (1987)

I bet you the French original is funnier - but this isn't bad. I'm not sure if I watched this back in the day, but I'm on a mission to see all the stuff I didn't think I was into when it was new. Three Men and a Baby, for some reason, got stuck with Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson - and I have to wonder, why didn't they get three better comedic actors? I guess it was hard to cast - because the men have to be manly eligible bachelors to offset how unusual it is they're all looking after this baby. If you get, say, a Martin Short, it doesn't work. So, much like in Cary Grant movie Penny Serenade, this makes a lot of fun from what it's like when you start caring for a newborn - and I'm sure those who had recently been through it, or were going through it, enjoyed this all the more. It's not too bad, for mainstream fare - and made $240 million 1980s money on a $11 million budget. Could have been better though.

6/10
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Latest Review : Red Rock West (1993)




By www.impawards.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6744979

Sense and Sensibility - (1995)

Well, here's another Jane Austin novel I have to read - Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility deserves all the love I've been hearing for it over the years, and I deserve all of the derision for not watching it until now. What a golden era the 1990s were for Emma Thompson - she's marvelous in this, and of course she wrote the screenplay making for what could have been an amazing double on Oscars night. She won one for that screenplay, but her performance lost out to Susan Sarandon for her role in Dead Man Walking. It's hard to argue with that. Anyway, I loved this movie - it's overflowing with greatness in every aspect of filmmaking. There are wonderful recreations of life in 19th Century England, and of course Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Tom Wilkinson - which makes it very easy to like. A very emotionally testing story for the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne - and who among us hasn't been through the wringer of unrequited love or the belief you were set for a future with someone only for things to crumble to pieces. My empathy to anyone going through that. Anyway - a great big tick beside Sense and Sensibility, for it was great and a film I'm going to hold in very high esteem from this point onwards.

9/10
I'm trying to remember if I've actually read Sense and Sensibility. (I think it may be the only Austen I haven't read.).

The film is, as you say, deserving of all the love. For me it really captures how a lot of Austen's work feels when you read it.

It's interesting: I think that Austen might have, for me, one of the best track records in terms of how much I've enjoyed movie/miniseries adaptations of her work.



Dark City
7/10.
Repeat viewing. It's basically the Matrix meets The Truman Show. A physical simulation by aliens instead of humans, or a virtual one made by machines.

This one's an old favorite, a combination of sci-fi, fantasy and film noir. Somehow my first DVD copy stopped working and I had to buy another one just so I would not see that vacant spot on the shelf.



There's often a point in art, literature or movies when a genre is used up...no sense in doing more of this. Westerns got there a long time ago, WW II movies also. Private eye movies are yesterday's news and have been for a while. IMO, superhero movies hit that point tonight with The Marvels. To me at least, aside from the quality of the animation, this movie is a bomb, a very large bomb. Nothing about it made much sense plot wise. Acting was zilch. I seem to recall an interview with Sam Jackson who snidely quipped that as long as they pay him, he'd do these movies until the cows came home. I guess they paid him for this dog.

Really....why? All there is in this flick is chasing, shooting, superhero antics, sparse dialog and credits. I've seen all that superhero posturing before, seen spandex, lightning coming out of eyes and "human" bodies tumbling off into the distance, just to turn on their laser thruster and jet back to the action. I've seen that so many times.

I don't know why I consented to see this except for a lack of an alternative suggestion. The theater was next to the food destination, so I only had to park once.

I don't think I'll ever get those two hours back again.

Minus That's 3 popcorns below zero.






Lake Mungo - #7 on Mike Flanagan's list of Top 10 Most Underrated Horror Movies. Right off the bat I really don't consider this pseudo-documentary straight up horror. It's Australian and well made for what it is but it just didn't generate many scares with me even though I was certainly open to it. The plot and principal players were accessible with actors doing a credible job of playing the Palmer family.

I don't think it's a spoiler to reveal that the movie opens with 16 year old Alice Palmer drowning. Her parents Russell and June and her brother Matthew soon after start experiencing seemingly paranormal events in their home. Just like any documentary it's methodical in introducing a lot of the people who knew Alice the best. Boyfriend, friends, classmates, grandparents. But then they all share something in common as it turns out in that they really didn't know Alice. In their search for some answers and a semblance of closure her mother June contacts psychic/spiritualist Ray Kemeney. But, just like the ongoing events in their home, this only leads to more questions.

I did appreciate how the ending
WARNING: spoilers below
subverted the usual expectations of a clear resolution with the family moving out of their home and getting on with their lives. It's a dark and poignant sort of ending made even bleaker by a setup involving June and Alice's mother/daughter dynamics and Alice's ability to somehow glimpse the future.
I didn't dislike this movie. Not in the least. But I also wasn't bowled over by it. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind.

75/100



Back from the hiatus and watching some movies again.


The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965, Martin Ritt)

An excellent spy movie that I definitely need to revisit some time in the future. It's on the cerebral side, with not much action (if at all) and a pretty convoluted plot that I had a bit of trouble following at times (or maybe I just wasn't in the mood). Top notch writing, directing and cinematography, and the performances from the cast are stellar. Very good!



doubledenim's Avatar
ďSugar is the most important thing in my lifeÖĒ
The Killer (2023)

A half rating for the amount of the Smiths songs I actually heard and being half of what my expectations for a Fincher movie is.








SF = Z



[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 absolutely love Lake Mungo, and on multiple levels.

1) I think it does look like a documentary, along with the messiness of real life
2) I think the acting is really strong, especially the actress who plays the mother
3) I like that it allows nuance and aspects of the story that don't make it "obviously true" that supernatural things were happening.
4) Most of all, I think that it serves as a harrowing allegory about the anxiety and fear that comes with growing up. For me, the line that stands out the most is when
WARNING: spoilers below
she has seen the figure, and she talks about going into her parents' bedroom. They are asleep. She suddenly decides not to wake them up, because she realizes they can't help her. For me, that line is heartbreaking. There comes a time where you realize that you can't be protected from certain things in life--even by your parents/family--and in this film that existential dread is given a personification in what happens on the beach
.
5) I love the way that the photographs are used, as well as the information from the psychic's sessions. The part where we learn that
WARNING: spoilers below
the vision on the beach wasn't her only vision
is something I somehow missed on the first viewing. Partly because THAT SCENE occupies so much of your attention.

It's just hands-down one of my favorite movies. It makes me feel a whole range of emotions very deeply.



I absolutely love Lake Mungo, and on multiple levels.

It's just hands-down one of my favorite movies. It makes me feel a whole range of emotions very deeply.
I didn't misread that ending did I? It has to do with
WARNING: spoilers below
Alice's consultation with Ray where he asks her to imagine herself opening the door to her house and going inside. She ends up in her room where she sees her mother. At the same time June is taking a last look around the house before the family leaves for good. Now, it had been established that June never really "gave herself wholly" to her daughter just like her own mother and Alice's grandmother had never really connected with her on that level. Alice is able to somehow see the future (which is how she caught a glimpse of her doppelganger at Lake Mungo). And if June did have that heartfelt "connection" with Alice she might have sensed her daughter's presence and realized that it wasn't over. That Alice was still there, inextricably tied to the house and unable to leave.
I may not have found the movie truly frightening but that ending did resonate with me.



I didn't misread that ending did I? It has to do with
WARNING: spoilers below
Alice's consultation with Ray where he asks her to imagine herself opening the door to her house and going inside. She ends up in her room where she sees her mother. At the same time June is taking a last look around the house before the family leaves for good. Now, it had been established that June never really "gave herself wholly" to her daughter just like her own mother and Alice's grandmother had never really connected with her on that level. Alice is able to somehow see the future (which is how she caught a glimpse of her doppelganger at Lake Mungo). And if June did have that heartfelt "connection" with Alice she might have sensed her daughter's presence and realized that it wasn't over. That Alice was still there, inextricably tied to the house and unable to leave.
I may not have found the movie truly frightening but that ending did resonate with me.
Exactly my understanding. Alice was
WARNING: spoilers below
having these premonitions, who knows how many, before she saw the vision on the beach.

There's also the fact that the dad has the vision of Alice and she screams at him to get out of the room.


So many elements pointing to this family that clearly loved their daughter, but had some disconnect between them.