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Blue, 1993

Against an unchanging blue backdrop, Derek Jarman and a handful of voice actors explore Jarmanís experience of being seriously ill with AIDS, the impact itís had on his physical and mental state, and the social framing of HIV/AIDS.

An involving mix of the personal and the political, uniquely suited to expression through film.



Full review




The Third Man - (1949)

This was an impromptu watch - a time-filler, but this second viewing of The Third Man absolutely stole my attention. Every scene in it demands attentiveness - each one with clever little things going on in it. Whether it's visual, smart dialogue, a great twist in the story, that unusual zither score, the great performances - or usually all of those things combined. It's the ultimate pleasure for a movie-lover, and so to hell with anything else I might like to do - I was glued to the screen. This time I had the StudioCanal Blu-Ray edition of it, and it looked fantastic. Despite it being a noir mystery, it's easy to follow with Joseph Cotten's Holly Martins finding clue after clue leading to the unravelling of the tangled web of deceit surrounding his black-market bad guy friend Harry Lime (a super Orson Welles, delivering a truly great performance) who is meant to be dead. The fascinating Italian actress Alida Valli rounds things out. There are only so many movies I can admit to loving in the real sense of the word "love" - and I think The Third Man is one of those films.

10/10
Agree 110% with your rating! IMO it's one of the best films ever made. Here's some commentary I did a coupla years ago:

The Third Man

Producer Alex Korda had sent British novelist Graham Greene to Vienna after WWII to conceive and write a screenplay which
would capture the wantonness and treacherous times in the post war-torn city. After much research Green developed a screenplay, The Third Man, the novelization of which was published following the filmís highly popular reception.

The opening monologue over depict
ed scenes of the war-changed city, and how it was divided up into policing sectors by the Allies, set the dynamic expectant mood. Holly Martins, an American pulp western writer, has been invited to come to Vienna by his old friend Harry Lime, who has promised Martins a job. Unfortunately upon arrival Martins learns that Lime has been killed in a pedestrian auto accident. Martins soon suspects that there has been some foul play after inquiring about the incident with some of Limeís associates, physician, girlfriend, and the porter where Lime resided.

WARNING: spoilers below
Lime suddenly appears in the flesh, and eventually meets with his old friend. The truth comes out about Limeís nefarious deadly black market schemes which had resulted in many innocent deaths. A British Major Calloway convinces Martins to help snare Lime, who has agreed to meet again with Martins and Limeís girlfriend Anna Schmidt. On his arrival Anna warns Lime who flees to the cityís mammoth sewer system. The police lead by the Calloway and Martins chase Lime, who is ultimately shot.


This film is as close to perfection as one could imagine. Everyone involved in the production was at their finest: co-producers Alex Korda and David O. Selznik, Director Carol Reed, cinematographer Robert Krasker, musician Anton Karas, every single actor in the cast, and the phenomenal editing by Oswald Hafenrichter.

Reed had brought with him both Krasker and Hafenrichter who had worked with him on
Odd Man Out, and The Fallen Idol respectively. With these men Reed captured the deepest essence of noir darkness and design, never to be outdone in film to this day. Although Reed had three crews working simultaneously (one each for night, sewer system, and day shooting), it was the impressive night framing, glistening cobblestone streets, back alleys, ubiquitous rubble, and foreboding mood that he captured so palpably.

Each actor was perfect. When David O. Selznik agreed to join as co-producer he brought along Joseph
Cotten and Orson Welles to fill the roles of Holly Martins and Harry Lime,originally written as British characters. Also under contract to him was the ravishing Alida Valli, who was being promoted by Selznik as the next Ingrid Bergman. Some of Germanyís finest actors were enlisted: Paul Hoerbiger, Ernst Deutsch, Erich Ponto, and the fiesty Hedwig Bleitreu as a landlady.

Itís hard to imagine the impact of this picture without the phenomenal score by zither artist Anton Karas. In a happy accident, Reed heard Karas play at a party, and was galvanized by the sound and its relevance to the story and mood of Reedís picture. He practically hired Karas on the spot to fashion the sole music track, and brought him to London to overdub the music during a 6 week session-- the same amount of time used for the entire Viennese shoot. Never has a score represented
the style of a film, and in this case the era of mid 20thCentury Vienna, more exquisitely than didKarasí stylings. It evokes the gamut of emotions from nostalgic, to haunting, to lively, to humorous. And its use was unique in film as being a single instrument without vocals. The only other score that comes close is David Shireís eerie piano score for Coppolaís The Conversation.

The film includes two of the most famous scenes in movie history: Harry Limeís electrifying first entrance into the film by suddenly shining a night time spotlight on
Welles, framing him in a doorway displaying his sardonic and whimsical smile with hat askew; and possibly the most iconic ending in film history-- after Limeís funeral, as Anna takes the long walk back to town on the autumn leaf strewn lane, she walks straight past Martins, who had beenleaning on a wagon waiting to reconcile with her. Rebuffed, Martins lights a cigarette, then throws down the match in disgust. The screen goes to black.

Books and countless articles and lectures have been written about
The Third Man. The British Film Institute selected it as the #1 film in their list of top 100 British films. In my view itís one of the best films ever made.







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






Things looked fairly bleak on the movie front tonight, so I consented to have my artistic taste elevated with a narrative documentary about an exhibition of paintings by Johann Vermeer, the movie Close to Vermeer. It was opening in an indie theater, down the street from a good food hall, so it seemed like a nice night out. It documents the assembly of an exhibition of a group of paintings by the 17th century Dutch painter with lots of commentary on things like a particular shade of green used on people's necks in one painting. It addressed some issues about authenticity of a particular painting.

I'd make two remarks about this movie, a type of flick I would probably not otherwise have seen - one being that it was done quite well in spite of being very dry, academic ramblings on the art. I would also remark that I'm middling on Vermeer himself, one of many decent European painters of that several century period; his art is nice but it didn't redefine paintings for me. It did for the people that made the movie.

Being a documentary, it has no drama or acting, just erudite commentary by experts in Euro painting. It was better than staying home, watching TV, but unless you really have an interest, you might skip this one. By the way, I've seen a couple of Vermeer's paintings in person and, unlike one of the commentators, I didn't faint.




I forgot the opening line.

By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56565517

Transit - (2018)

Alright - I want to see more Christian Petzold films. Transit is one I'd seen before, and remembered liking - but another dive in last night had it firming as a favourite of mine. Really strange in one regard - it's based on a novel which is set during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, but Petzold brings everything forward to right now, making the occupation a present-day affair. The historical details are unimportant - refugees are fleeing, crackdowns and "spring cleaning" are being implemented and our protagonist, Georg (Franz Rogowski) needs to find a way out. He happens upon the papers of a novelist who has recently committed suicide, and decides to steal his identity - but this causes complications when he meets the novelist's widow and her lover. A quote from Indiewire says this film is "like Casablanca written by Kafka" - and it really does have a Casablanca feel to it, with self-sacrifice, forbidden love, hidden identity and life under an occupying power being integral parts. The end has a real Casablanca twist to it. But Transit is much more than that - it's the psychological peculiarity of travelling from nowhere specific to nowhere specific, and having constantly changing scenery as your basic "home", plus the anxiety of waiting - whether it's waiting to depart, or waiting to die, these two things have a tangible similarity to each other. Franz Rogowski gives a fascinating performance of one refugee's flight - the stress, weariness and sense of defeat. To top all of that off, the ending is simply superb - those last few shots, and last lines, are perfect. Just like with Phoenix, Petzold sure knows how to end a film in the most impactful and wonderful way. A great story, and great movie.

9/10


By The poster art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44294608

Chappie - (2015)

If James Cameron had of made Short Circuit, it would have been pretty close to Neill Blomkamp's Chappie - an action-oriented, CGI-infused science fiction film with lots of added cuteness. The cute aspect is the surprisingly adorable robot, whose A.I. will only work if it learns from experience, which means you see Chappie (Sharlto Copley) go through infancy, childhood, adolescence and so forth as gangsters try to fool (okay, I'm going to say "him" from now on) him into becoming an near-invincible crime machine. I love Chappie. The rest of the film is a little stultifying. Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver play characters that don't have all that much to them, and the story is a little threadbare - so Chappie's charm is the only thing it has going for it. I love Chappie, but I don't love Chappie. Nice effects, action and so forth - a little too mainstream and Cameronesque. Not a bad movie by any means though.

6/10
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My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.

Latest Review : A Perfect Couple (1979)





How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)

I laughed many times and liked this musical. There's a lot more to this movie than your typical well crafted fare. There's an underlying message here illustrated through the main character that is very relevant even today in corporate life and there's other innuendo in there as social commentary on what was going on back then but I'm not going in depth. Quick synopsis is that a poor unskilled charmball cleverly sneaks his way into a large corporation with the help of a mysterious guidebook and wows the distinguished and highly educated suits through smooth talking and misdirection, climbing his way to the top. A secretary is not a toy.

I found this gem while searching IMDb lists, having never heard of it until 10 minutes before renting it and now I'm glad I did.

78/100



Professional horse shoe straightener
'R.M.N.' (2023)



Latest film from Cristian Mungiu (4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days) about small communities harbouring xenophobic and racist views about immigrants entering the area. The characters are so well written.

Will make your blood boil. If you have an ounce of compassion.







A Place in the Caribbean, 2017

Sofia (Lali Gonzalez) and her father, Marcelo (Daniel Zacapa) take a cruise to Honduras, but then fail to make it back to the boat before it departs. They end up at a beachside resort in Honduras, where Sofia meets the dashing Paolo (Rodrigo Guirao Diaz), while Marcelo meets local bartender Angela (Ana Clara Carranza). Meanwhile, author Gael (Jose Zuniga) begins to fall for Camila (Gabriela de la Garza), who happens to be the girlfriend of his editor.

Not a movie Iíd steer anyone away from, but neither is it a film Iíd strongly recommend.



Full review



Soldier of Orange (1977)

+


With the upcoming war countdown I had to finally get to this one directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Rutger Hauer. It's just different than the rest and did not disappoint. Big focus on friendship which of course leads to questions of betrayal. Not much action but a very cool war film.



I forgot the opening line.

By C@rtelesmix, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47068415

Samba - (2014)

Once it's up and going, and found it's rhythm, Samba is a pretty decent feelgood movie with excellent performances from two magnetic leads - Omar Sy and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Sy plays illegal immigrant Samba Cissť - caught by the authorities, he meets Alice (Gainsbourg) via his legal aid team and the two start a slow courtship which is enhanced by Samba's winsome sense of humour. Omar Sy can turn any situation into a laugh-out-loud moment with a wry comment or expressive look, and it was these moments I loved best about the film. It doesn't lean too heavily into any kind of pro-immigration stance or comment about racism at all (I don't think there was a single racist moment in the film) - it wants to intently focus on the characters instead, and their personality and circumstance. Samba is desperate to stay in France, and desperate to work despite not having the correct papers. Alice is recovering from a nervous breakdown, and battling chronic insomnia. They bring out the best in each other, and Alice can appreciate how easy and fun life is for a change when Samba is with her - always making a comical observation and being supportive, despite his own troubles. This was made by the duo that wrote and directed The Intouchables (also starring Omar Sy) and it simply did to me what it set out to do : made me feel good. A great mood enhancer, and a film with many fine comedic moments.

7/10





Rťalitť (2014)
or Reality in English

I would compare this movie to Mulholland Drive in that the end doesn't tie up the story and a lot of confusion and overlapping between the segments makes it grow into a puzzle that probably can't be solved. My big complaint here is that damn harpischord or organ or keyboard bit that plays throughout the whole movie. You can't help but get disappointed because you know this could have been a great movie if it had a normal linear story behind it.

5/10



Cool Hand Luke - 1967

Found it cheap on blu ray at Barnes and Noble. I remember watching it when I was super little, my dad liked the movie. I remembered next to nothing. I knew the famous line "What we got here is a failure to communicate". I just didn't remember how it was delivered. I remember there being a stand off at the end but that was about it. So I'd say this was basically a first watch. Paul Newman was as cool and charismatic as the title insists. I had a feeling it was a Florida setting, I read they shot it in California but they did make it look and feel like Florida. I was iffy the first half hour of the flick but then you settle into and I really enjoyed it. Took a minute to get use to George Kennedy not being in Naked Gun too lol.

One of my favorite comedies is "Life" with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. You can tell they took inspiration from this flick. Someone involved in that film really loved this film. It's almost beat for beat in some parts. Cool Hand Luke is basically a middle finger to the man and the establishment by Luke. I really enjoyed it, especially the ladder half. Pretty cool ending.


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I came here to do two things, drink some beer and kick some ass, looks like we are almost outta beer - Dazed and Confused

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