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Thief's Monthly Movie Loot - 2022 Edition

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Yup, Patrick's one of the most consistently entertaining video essayists I've found on Youtube. At any rate, if you're still interested in some more commentary on Predator, I did write a few things about it here, if you're in the mood.



I'm caught up editing the first episode of 2022 of my podcast, but if anyone's interested, you can check out my guest appearance on the podcast Cinema Recall, where we talk about PTA's Phantom Thread.

Cinema Recall: PTA Meetings: Phantom Thread (2017)

Cinema Recall is available on most podcast platforms, also.
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Check out my podcast: The Movie Loot!



THE CONSEQUENCES OF FEMINISM
(1906, Guy-Blaché)
A film from before 1920



"A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves." --Gloria Steinem

Gender roles are established by society to sorta tell people how to act, speak, dress, and conduct themselves based upon their assigned sex. For example, men work, while women stay home and clean and cook, and if everybody behaves as is expected, there is no harm done. But what if roles were reversed?

Pioneer director Alice Guy-Blaché explores that in this 1906 short film, which features a series of scenes in which men and women roles are reversed. This results in a lot of funny and shocking interactions, primarily because we're not used to see the tables turned; men ironing and cleaning, and women lounging on the couch or fighting in a bar.

I thought this was a really clever and witty short film. It's amazing how many of the things we see in it are still relevant, so I can't imagine how much of a cultural shock it would've been back in 1906. Not necessarily for *what* people are doing, but for *who* is doing it. Let's hope for a world where we don't have to be shocked or surprised by these.

Grade:



Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
I did watch The Rough House a few days ago, the pratfalls and slapstick did get a little tedious in places but it did also have a little inventiveness here and there as well so it wasn't too bad. Might give The Consequences Of Feminism a look next week if'n I find it's readily available to me.
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NomsPre-1930 Countdown


terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.



I did watch The Rough House a few days ago, the pratfalls and slapstick did get a little tedious in places but it did also have a little inventiveness here and there as well so it wasn't too bad. Might give The Conswquences Of Feminism a look next week if'n I find it's readily available to me.
Most of these early silent short films are available on YouTube, or even Wikipedia. Here is the link for this one...




PIERRETTE'S ESCAPADES
(1900, Guy-Blaché)
A film from before 1920



"Life is about using the whole box of crayons" --RuPaul

A simple, but beautiful short film from Alice Guy-Blaché. In this one, a young woman seems to reject the advances of a young man, and ends up happy and dancing with a female harlequin.

Considering that it was made more than 100 years ago, the film uses some beautiful hand-coloring techniques that really make the colors pop, most notably the woman's pink dress and the harlequin's green suit. It is a testament to the early silent film era's attempt to use "more crayons" than they were given to with black and white.

But it also seems to be a call for diversity and acceptance, as far as the female character goes. A young woman that refuses to do what's expected of her, and chooses an "escapade" instead, but one that makes her ultimately happy.

Grade: N/A



Aaand here's the main reason for all those early silent cinema watches! It's the first episode of 2022 of The Movie Loot - Episode 53, where me and my friend Brian Skutle (film critic, podcaster at Sonic Cinema) talk about silent films, the birth of cinema, slapstick comedies, and the transition to sound.

The Movie Loot 53: The Silent Loot (with Brian Skutle of Sonic Cinema)

As usual, those interested can also check it out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all the main podcast platforms.



Aaand here's the main reason for all those early silent cinema watches! It's the first episode of 2022 of The Movie Loot - Episode 53, where me and my friend Brian Skutle (film critic, podcaster at Sonic Cinema) talk about silent films, the birth of cinema, slapstick comedies, and the transition to sound.

The Movie Loot 53: The Silent Loot (with Brian Skutle of Sonic Cinema)

As usual, those interested can also check it out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and all the main podcast platforms.
Good one!
Some thoughts:

*I second the Die Nibelungen recommendation. It's a long commitment but worth it. For years Part 1 was my favorite because that's where all the cool fantasy stuff is. Dragons, dwarves, etc. But lately I find myself looking forward to Part 2, in which Kriemhild goes on a violent rampage of revenge. Modern attention spans might find it a challenge, but it's definitely worth watching just to admire the scale of the production. It's a huge movie(s) and it's a shame that it's not more prominent in pop culture, especially among fantasy fans.

*Speaking of huge movies, back in the 90s I watched the 1925 Ben Hur many times. (I didn't know about the 1907 version until you posted about it.) Again, another very impressive production of epic proportions. Seek out the version that includes Technicolor scenes, if possible. Lots of stunning moments, not least of which is the chariot race which I prefer to the '59 version. The limitations of the cameras at the time mean that the race is filmed in more of a verite style, for lack of a better word, and therefore is much more intense than the Heston version, imo. Can I guarantee that no horses were injured? No, unfortunately.

*Don't let the weird title dissuade you from watching He Who Gets Slapped. It's a great performance from Chaney and it's also got some great visuals courtesy director Sjostrom. One's feelings about clowns will no doubt have an effect on one's enjoyment, of course.

*As a Laurel & Hardy fanboy I sometimes feel like I mention them too often, but I think they (and especially Stan) should be included more often when the Chaplin/Keaton/Lloyd debate comes up. They are obviously much more well-known for their talkies but their silent era includes some classics as well, so I feel like they're often (almost always) overlooked.
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Good one!
Some thoughts:

*I second the Die Nibelungen recommendation. It's a long commitment but worth it. For years Part 1 was my favorite because that's where all the cool fantasy stuff is. Dragons, dwarves, etc. But lately I find myself looking forward to Part 2, in which Kriemhild goes on a violent rampage of revenge. Modern attention spans might find it a challenge, but it's definitely worth watching just to admire the scale of the production. It's a huge movie(s) and it's a shame that it's not more prominent in pop culture, especially among fantasy fans.

*Speaking of huge movies, back in the 90s I watched the 1925 Ben Hur many times. (I didn't know about the 1907 version until you posted about it.) Again, another very impressive production of epic proportions. Seek out the version that includes Technicolor scenes, if possible. Lots of stunning moments, not least of which is the chariot race which I prefer to the '59 version. The limitations of the cameras at the time mean that the race is filmed in more of a verite style, for lack of a better word, and therefore is much more intense than the Heston version, imo. Can I guarantee that no horses were injured? No, unfortunately.

*Don't let the weird title dissuade you from watching He Who Gets Slapped. It's a great performance from Chaney and it's also got some great visuals courtesy director Sjostrom. One's feelings about clowns will no doubt have an effect on one's enjoyment, of course.

*As a Laurel & Hardy fanboy I sometimes feel like I mention them too often, but I think they (and especially Stan) should be included more often when the Chaplin/Keaton/Lloyd debate comes up. They are obviously much more well-known for their talkies but their silent era includes some classics as well, so I feel like they're often (almost always) overlooked.
Thanks for the notes and recommendations!

I do plan on checking all the Ben-Hur versions during the next few months (maybe not the recent remake, though).

As for Die Nibelungen, I trust Darren a lot, so I will definitely take his recommendation in consideration. Same applies to He Who Gets Slapped, especially since it was brought up by two people.

I do remember you praising Laurel & Hardy quite a bit back in our other forums. I know I've seen some shorts here and there, but probably before I got into films seriously. If you have a few recommendations, let me know!



I do remember you praising Laurel & Hardy quite a bit back in our other forums. I know I've seen some shorts here and there, but probably before I got into films seriously. If you have a few recommendations, let me know!
There's nothing that's gonna hit as hard as The Kid or City Lights, drama-wise. For me it's mostly about the gags. Some of their silents that make me laugh the most are
The Two Tars, about tempers flaring during a traffic jam
Big Business, in which they attempt to sell Christmas trees door to door (and tempers flare)
or The Finishing Touch, in which they (attempt to) build a house



ONE WEEK
(1920, Keaton & Cline)
A film with the number 1 (One, First, etc.) in its title



"Home is where the heart is"

There is no clear answer as to when or where this quote comes from. Nevertheless, it has become a staple for house decorations, presents, poems, songs, and even films. The basic premise is that the edifice where you live in is irrelevant, as long as you're happy in that place; that your "heart" is in it.

Some of that sentiment can be felt in this hilarious Buster Keaton short from 1920. In it, Keaton and Sybil Seely play a newlywed couple that receive a DIY house as a gift. The house is supposed to be built in one week (thus the title of the short), but things get complicated after a rejected suitor changes the labels on the crates.

I'm pretty sure I had seen bits and pieces from this short before. However, this is the first time I had seen it whole and what a hoot it was! Like most of the Keaton shorts I've seen so far, the highlight are the stunts and physical gags he pulls. In this instance, the many ways he uses this house to create some great physical comedy.

But aside from the excellent stunts and physical gags, there's an effective sentimentality in it as we see the groom struggle and eventually resign to not having a proper home. But, as the saying goes, as long as they're together, their home will be wherever they are.

Grade:



Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
Watch both the Alice Guy's just now, The Consequences Of Feminism is amusing enough but sadly does run a little short of ideas before the end. Always humbles me with just the sheer amount of patience and work that must have gone into hand-tinting those shorts such as Pierrette's Escapade, some lovely vibrant colour in that particular one that really brings it to life.

Sadly never seen One Week but I'll probably rectify that shortly as well (yeah I know the drill by now, it's probably on YouTube ).



Watch both the Alice Guy's just now, The Consequences Of Feminism is amusing enough but sadly does run a little short of ideas before the end. Always humbles me with just the sheer amount of patience and work that must have gone into hand-tinting those shorts such as Pierrette's Escapade, some lovely vibrant colour in that particular one that really brings it to life.
Glad you liked both! As for The Consequences of Feminism, I actually like the turn it takes towards the end, because I truly believe that if men would somehow found themselves in the position that women are actually in, they would push back against it; and yet, women are expected to accept it. I think the short drives that point quite cleverly, especially for the time it came out.

Sadly never seen One Week but I'll probably rectify that shortly as well (yeah I know the drill by now, it's probably on YouTube ).





Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
Glad you liked both! As for The Consequences of Feminism, I actually like the turn it takes towards the end, because I truly believe that if men would somehow found themselves in the position that women are actually in, they would push back against it; and yet, women are expected to accept it. I think the short drives that point quite cleverly, especially for the time it came out.
The ending was fine, it was the minute and a half or so prior to that with the men looking after the children that I thought just got a little repetitious.

Muchas gracias de Señor Lazybones



DEVIL
(2010, Dowdle)
Freebie



"I don't believe in the Devil. You don't need him, people are bad enough by themselves."

Upon being presented with unexplainable evil, different people will resort to different possible explanations. Some will explain it as human nature while others will attribute it to higher powers. When tragedy strikes, is it all just fate, luck, or are there more sinister machinations behind? That's part of the dilemma that's brushed over in this moody supernatural thriller.

Based on a story from M. Night Shyamalan, Devil follows a group of five people that end up stuck in an elevator in an office building. Coming from different walks of life, the group tries different ways to cope with the anxiety, but tension escalates as time passes by and they seem to be haunted by an evil presence. In the meantime, a detective (Chris Messina) is sent to investigate the incident.

With time, we realize that there might be more to it than just a broken down elevator. Was it chance that put all of these people here at the same time, or were they drawn by some force? For example, the detective was actually there investigating an earlier suicide, when the events in the elevator started, which puts him right in the middle of far more sinister occurrences.

Most of the characters backgrounds unfold as the plot progresses, as we see them interact and each of their backgrounds are exposed. Here is where the film excels most, as director John Erick Dowdle manages to create an unsettling and dread-filled atmosphere in an enclosed space where you're really not sure who to trust. He is also helped by solid performances, especially Bookem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green.

On the other hand, where the film fails is in how it tries to hold the audience's hand with a clunky and unnecessary narration, and by ultimately explaining too much of what's going on. The story has potential and I applaud its attempt to perhaps subvert some tropes with an anticlimatic ending. Unfortunately, it is hindered by the issues I mentioned, which results in an awkward resolution and a lack of a proper closure.

Grade:



Haven't watched Devil, but I still have vivid memories of people's reactions when M. Knight's name showed up during the trailer, both times that I saw Scott Pilgrim back in 2010; the first time, a guy literally went "Oh no!", and the second time, a woman just said "Nevermind!".





That's funny. I have no aversion to M. Night, especially since my reaction to his first batch of films was more or less opposite to the "general public". Anyway, I don't think the issues with Devil had to with the story, but more with scripting and overall execution.



Awwww look at the ickle fluffy-wuffy bunny
I remember watching Devil a few years back and thinking it moderately enjoyable but aside from the premise and the screen blacking out every so often I don't really remember too much else about it tbh. Just about to watch One Week with lunch - a fairly enjoyable short even if not quite up there with his best imo and I liked both that Ms. Seely also joined in some of the physical antics and that the train sequence initially subverted expectations.



That's funny. I have no aversion to M. Night, especially since my reaction to his first batch of films was more or less opposite to the "general public". Anyway, I don't think the issues with Devil had to with the story, but more with scripting and overall execution.
What makes it even funnier is, the trailer didn't actually look bad to me...



...but it was telling how far M. Knight had fallen by that point that the mere mention of his name was enough to bring about an immediate, verbal rejection by multiple people in a theater.