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10/10


A very funny movie...



If you haven't seen Raising Arizona (1987), that IMO was the film which really anchored them on the map. It's hilarious. Nicholas Cage, Holly Hunter.
I'll have to check it out.




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The Red Shoes - (1948)

One of the best films I've seen this year - this hit me like a brick to the face, and I'm still a little stunned. Never seen Anton Walbrook in anything before I watched The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. He's really something (and won the alternate Academy Award in Danny Peary's book.) I never thought I'd enjoy ballet - but the performance at the mid-point of this film was incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. The whole film is incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. What an ending!

10/10


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The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - (1943)

Gorgeous and heartfelt, this is a film I look forward to rewatching - the kind that will only increase in appreciation as time goes by. I really enjoyed it. This was recommended to me a couple of years ago by a friend who said "If you don't like it, we can't be friends anymore." It would be impossible not to like this. It's impossible not to love Clive Candy (played by Roger Livesey) and the story of honour and fairness in a world where both existed once. The world changes, but Candy never does.

8/10



Professional horse shoe straightener


Shiva Baby, 2020

Danielle (Rachel Sennott) leaves a steamy (and paid!) encounter with her sugar daddy, Max (Danny Deferarri) to attend a funeral event at the home of family friends. However things go quickly off the rails when Max arrives at the house. Under the inquiring eyes of numerous older relatives and family friends, Danielle's life is picked apart. Danielle's childhood friend and rival Maya (Molly Gordon) is also at the party, only heightening the tension.

I'm sorry, but this movie is classified as comedy-drama, when clearly it is a horror film.

Okay, to be fair, the film deliberately plays many sequences as if they are a horror film, which is probably the most effective comedic aspect. Danielle stumbles through the gathering to the plucking and bowing of disjoint and jangling violins, as relatives lurch out at her from doorways like something out of a creature feature. The screams of an upset baby punctuate many of the scenes.

There's so much to unpack with this film, and the interactions are incredibly loaded with layers of meaning and different power dynamics.

At a very basic level, it's interesting that Danielle, in a very literal way, is always the one seen as "making the mess", even when others are clearly to blame or at least a significant part of it. Everything about Danielle's life is picked apart: her weight, her job prospects, her (lack of a) husband/love life. She is bisexual, which her parents have decided to refer to as "experimenting". There is something particularly ruthless about the way that Danielle (and Maya) are subjected to constant comparison.

Something that the film really nails is the flutter of mixed messages that young people can receive. Danielle is at once overly babied and mocked for not being more of an adult. She's told repeatedly that people are proud of her and believe in her, while the next moment everyone pulls confused faces about her studying "feminism". It's definitely true that Danielle has fallen into a trap that many people do: she has gone to college but she doesn't have any specific direction for her studies or plans for what to do after she graduates. I think something that the film observes very keenly is that Danielle is kept to busy defending her choices to others, that she hasn't had a chance to look critically at her choices herself.

I also thought that the character dynamics of the movie were portrayed very well. Danielle's relationships with Maya, Max, and her parents all evolve and gain depth and poignancy as the film progresses. In fact, to discuss what I loved most about this aspect of the film would be to give away key plot points and developments.

During this film I was like "Man, this is getting really intense!!" only to realize that I was a mere 20 minutes into it. As someone who genuinely suffers when forced to watch a character endure repeated humiliation and put-downs, I wasn't sure I'd feel good about watching the full 80 minutes. But there is just so much good character work, and the saving grace of the film is the journey that Danielle goes through during the gathering. I even found the ending kind of uplifting and sweet.

I can already hear the criticisms that Danielle isn't "likable" (similar to some of the criticisms of Frances Ha), or whatever. But I don't think that she's meant to just be someone we like. She's someone who, trapped in a cycle of coddling and criticism, has not made the most of the advantages given her. The funeral gathering becomes a sort of trial by fire whereby all of her mistakes and regrets are laid bare in front of a well-meaning but also unsparing audience. Everything that she does is understandable, even as it's frustrating. It's not "Why would she do that?" so much as it is "Oh, sweetie!!! Don't do that!".

I also found the film genuinely funny, with most of the humor admittedly arising from the antics of the older set of folks at the gathering. "Tell me: does this bathroom have an operating fan, or a window that can be opened?" or "And off we go! Like a flock of turkeys!".

Anyway, I'd be more than delighted to have a spoiler-text loaded discussion with someone else who's seen this one.

Thought you might like this one. Have you seen 'Krisha', it reminded me of that in the way of tension and dialogue.



Professional horse shoe straightener

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The Red Shoes - (1948)

One of the best films I've seen this year - this hit me like a brick to the face, and I'm still a little stunned. Never seen Anton Walbrook in anything before I watched The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. He's really something (and won the alternate Academy Award in Danny Peary's book.) I never thought I'd enjoy ballet - but the performance at the mid-point of this film was incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. The whole film is incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. What an ending!

10/10


By http://www.movieposterdb.com/poster/9ff801c3, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16615953

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp - (1943)

Gorgeous and heartfelt, this is a film I look forward to rewatching - the kind that will only increase in appreciation as time goes by. I really enjoyed it. This was recommended to me a couple of years ago by a friend who said "If you don't like it, we can't be friends anymore." It would be impossible not to like this. It's impossible not to love Clive Candy (played by Roger Livesey) and the story of honour and fairness in a world where both existed once. The world changes, but Candy never does.

8/10
Both great P and P films. Apparently, Martin Scorsese makes his cast watch The Red Shoes before shooting each film.





The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Was really looking for a depressing 3+ hour movie about peasant farmers in turn of the 19th century Italy and much to my surprise I found one. This is not a very plot driven movie more a slice of real hard living and at that it is very good. The main characters include a widow with six children who does the laundry for a living and owns a cow. The local priest is trying to convince her to give up her two youngest children to the orphanage since she can't afford them anymore. A hard working farmer with a few kids, including a newborn, whose oldest son has been accepted into school just when he would be able to help the family in the fields. His father lets him attend school on the advice of the priest who tells the father that God has given his son a gift and it would be an affront to God not to accept this gift. This story leads to the title of the movie and it's crushing end. Another thread is a couple courting each other. They end up married, visit her aunt, who is a Nun at an orphanage in Milan, on their wedding night and come back to the farm with a little kid. All I could think of was poor kid! As you can probably tell, faith plays a huge part in these families. The film starts with the fall harvest and follows them through winter and into the next spring. At one point I was like "Jeez, just give one of these people a small victory!" It does contain a scene that is probably the hardest thing I've ever sat through and it involves a pig. In a film like this it obviously isn't included for shock value but it is quite disturbing.



Idiocracy (2006)


I felt like watching a dumb movie last night, and I've seen this one a half dozen times. I still laugh at some of the stupid humor, but it definitely hits a little differently now in the current political climate.



Intolerable Cruelty - (2003)

This film would have been far better than The Hudsucker Proxy, but for it's two main characters being impossible to like or root for. Marylin (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a gold-digging, cold and calculating woman. Miles (George Clooney) is a high-priced lawyer with no scruples. By the end of the film I think we're meant to be in their corner - and to think maybe they've changed - but I couldn't see why. I found the film to be funny on occasion, but uneven. Billy Bob Thornton and Geoffrey Rush add some much needed sparkle. This was the best of the worst, but still not really good. Great opening credits though.

5/10
This is the only one I've seen from that "bad Coen bunch" you posted. I still found it OK-ish and entertaining, but it's probably at the bottom of my ranking.
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This was my first from Carax and Sparks. (aside from a few clips and a few riffs from each respectively).

I've been wanting to see HM for forever but just never managed to get it it. I will say that Annette inspired me to check it out sooner rather than later as I want to see how much of my dislike for this film came from Sparks or Carax (a Spotify scan is already leaning me towards the former as the cause).
You know I'm a Holy Motors fan, but as far as Carax, I would also recommend The Lovers on the Bridge for a more "conventional" film. Then again, that sums up my Carax experience so...




Intolerable Cruelty - (2003)

This film would have been far better than The Hudsucker Proxy, but for it's two main characters being impossible to like or root for. Marylin (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a gold-digging, cold and calculating woman. Miles (George Clooney) is a high-priced lawyer with no scruples. By the end of the film I think we're meant to be in their corner - and to think maybe they've changed - but I couldn't see why. I found the film to be funny on occasion, but uneven. Billy Bob Thornton and Geoffrey Rush add some much needed sparkle. This was the best of the worst, but still not really good. Great opening credits though.

5/10

Only 5/10? Have you forgotten Kerchner? I think this has some of the funniest moments of any Cohen Bros. movie but it does fall apart after the Rexroth court proceedings. I don't remember anything about the movie after Billy Bob shows up. 5/10 is about where I have it



"Honor is not in the Weapon. It is in the Man"
Viva (Anna Biller, 2007)


Excellent feature film debut from the writer-director of The Love Witch. Set in the 1970s, this film has the look and feel of a 1970s film/sitcom that is truly homage to that decade's exploitation films. A bored housewife is ditched by her career-minded husband, so she discovers a new sense of freedom and becomes a call girl. There are plenty of the exploitation, but still Biller tends to make it more subtle with nuances of graphic nudity, complete with musical numbers during various portions of the film. The film reminds me a bit of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls minus the insane violent final act with this film having a more satisfying ending.
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You know I'm a Holy Motors fan, but as far as Carax, I would also recommend The Lovers on the Bridge for a more "conventional" film. Then again, that sums up my Carax experience so...
I intend to see that and Bad Blood as well. He's been someone I've intended to explore for a while.

For the record, it wasn't the unconventional nature of Annette that was off putting to me. It was the execution. Much of it seemed very superficial and obvious, even going so far as to explain the central metaphor in the end. I find the constant proclamations of the film's "weirdness" to be vastly overstated.

Unless they also think some of the terrible effects work is what made it weird. Then agreed. But maybe Carax is a bit like Lynch in that he sometimes prefers an amateur effect for whatever reason.





I actually liked it more than I thought I would.
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I'll just dumb my watches from the last month or so here.

A Classic Horror Story (2021)
Too meta for my tastes.
Fear Street: 1666 (2021)
Weakest of the series, and that's even without the ridiculously diverse puritan village.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North (2021)
Worse than the series, but still OK. Too many plotholes.
Blood Red Sky (2021)
Awfully boring take on vampires.
The Story of Adele H. (1975)
Kinda nice, but really not my kind of film. Adjani was great.
The New Gladiators (1984)
One of the weaker dystopian Italian Scifi's.
New Rose Hotel (1998)
Really mixed feelings about this. Maybe there's more than meets the eye on the first watch.
Satan's Slave (1982)
Not sure if this deserves its cult status. The remake/sequel is way better.
The Suicide Squad (2021)
Surprisingly entertaining. Wouldn't be a huge crime to go with half-a-star more, even.
The Relic (1997)
A decent monster film. I used to like this more, though.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Yet another film my brother recommended but felt meh at best.
And God Said to Cain (1970)
A spaghetti western with horror aesthetics. Looks great, but the story is rather average.
Herod's Law (1999)
A dark political satire. Not far from getting extra half-a-star, either.
Wer (2013)
Rather disappointing take on werewolves. So cheap that even the wolfmen don't have make-up.
TerrorVision (1986)
Great title song, but not much else.
Sweet Girl (2021)
Hey, a lackluster Netflix original. An action film that wants to be more mature only to end up in the incredibly naive territory.
The Green Knight (2021)
I wanted a movie, but only got a series of beautiful images.
I'm eagerly awaiting to see another great film any time soon
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I intend to see that and Bad Blood as well. He's been someone I've intended to explore for a while.

For the record, it wasn't the unconventional nature of Annette that was off putting to me. It was the execution. Much of it seemed very superficial and obvious, even going so far as to explain the central metaphor in the end. I find the constant proclamations of the film's "weirdness" to be vastly overstated.

Unless they also think some of the terrible effects work is what made it weird. Then agreed. But maybe Carax is a bit like Lynch in that he sometimes prefers an amateur effect for whatever reason.
Been too long to cite specifics, but I remember having a viscerally unpleasant reaction to Mauvais Sang. But I also have an aversion to Binoche that you might not share.*


You won't find it boring, is what I'm saying.*




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The Red Shoes - (1948)

One of the best films I've seen this year - this hit me like a brick to the face, and I'm still a little stunned. Never seen Anton Walbrook in anything before I watched The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. He's really something (and won the alternate Academy Award in Danny Peary's book.) I never thought I'd enjoy ballet - but the performance at the mid-point of this film was incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. The whole film is incredibly beautiful and filmed to perfection. What an ending!
I watched The Red Shoes for the first time semi-recently and I was shocked by how good it was. Like, I was aware of its excellent reputation, and it still managed to way exceed my expectations. I think it's a shame that the ballet-centric plot probably keeps some viewers away.

Have you seen 'Krisha', it reminded me of that in the way of tension and dialogue.
I haven't! Thanks for the recommendation!




Found myself watching this over the weekend and once again I found myself thinking how much better it is than it should be.
And once again I found myself saying, "Wow, is the writing in The Simpson's Movie really better than like 80 or 90% of mainstream films?" To which the answer is probably yes.