33rd Hall of Fame

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The Bank Job



I'm a big fan of British crime films, films set during the 70's or 80's, and films "based on a true story".

Ok so the time period is captured fairly well, not the best like a Tarantino, Scorsese, or PTA would do, but well enough. Like someone else said, we are teased with a great soundtrack in the beginning but it seems like it's just to suck the viewer in. Consider me sucked. Some cool ass cars btw. Overall I give the replication of the era a B.

Based on a true story? Well I don't exactly know the true story but I read a little about it after seeing John Lennon and Yoko Ono at a dinner party with Michael X. That part is true, as is quite a bit more including the brutal murder of Gale Benson. I'm certain that there are quite a few liberties taken, and I wouldn't mind seeing a documentary because it's a fantastic story.

As a British crime film it is solid entertainment but for me a little uneven. It tries to give us both good fun and gritty realism, and I think I would've liked it more had it picked a side.

I like Jason Statham plenty but he seemed out of place here. He's a very likable action star. There's nothing wrong with that but I kept having to remind myself that the action I'm used to when I see that face is never going to come. Cool to see Craig Fairbass who stars in the Rise of the Footsoldier film series which I absolutely love. I noticed Mick Jagger in the beginning likely only because Phoenix gave the heads up, but I probably would've noticed him later on my own. Funny that his first appearance was soon after the John Lennon scene.

Roger Donaldson has made a few good films. Correction; Roger Donaldson has made a couple of good films and a few I like. The Bank Job fits right in.

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Shoplifters




Second time seeing this film about a dysfunctional "family" and it's still as good as the first time. I consider this more of a character driven than plot driven movie which works fine if the characters are interesting and fortunately for us the characters in Shoplifters are all interesting. The unusual thing with Shoplifters is usually in a movie like this, where you have multiple characters with different stories, one of the characters will stand out as a favorite. I didn't have a favorite. I thought they all held their own and each character could have had their own movie that I would be willing to spend some time with.

The movie follows a basic approach - showing the highs then the inevitable crash. There's a moment in the film where you feel the end is near (Grandma). I like how the ending answers most of the questions I had about how this "family" came to be. When it's all over the only character I felt really bad for was the little girl who we know for certain had it much better with her adopted family.



I forgot the opening line.


Shoplifters - 2018

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Written by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Starring Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Kairi Jō
Miyu Sasaki & Kirin Kiki

What is going on with the central family in Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters? We only seem to scratch the surface, and that's because our attention is constantly diverted to the emotional bonds that make up one of cinema's most ad-hoc jumble of a familial unit. They're poverty-stricken because patriarch Osamu (Lily Franky) is injured and can't work - but they're not completely relying on welfare to survive either. "Grandma" Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) gets a pension (that's meant to be for her deceased husband), and that's supplemented by generous payouts from Aki's (Mayu Matsuoka) parents - while Aki herself works at a fetish club. Osamu's wife, Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), works for an industrial laundry service. In the meantime all of these income streams are bolstered by the items they need not buy because Osamu and young Shota (Kairi Jō) regularly shoplift. Is everyone basically looking after themselves here, or does the Shibata family pool their resources? That might be as complex as figuring out how these people really relate to each other - which is further complicated when Yuri (Miyu Sasaki) becomes an addition to the clan.

Yuri is a character who gives Shoplifters a Gone Baby Gone twist to it - Osamu and Shota see her one day abandoned without a babysitter or guardian, and bring her home so the starving kid can at least have something to eat. Then they notice the bruises, which prompts the Shibatas to basically adopt her. There's a naturalness to that which feels right in the circumstances, but it's tough to sit and think about this situation. Later on we learn that Shota became part of the family in similar circumstances - he'd been left in a car to swelter, and Osamu had rescued him. Wouldn't you want the Shibata's to be your family, rather than some bunch of abusive and neglectful miscreants? We see all the members of this family bond, and there's genuine love for each other here. There's also a streak of criminality that goes deeper than mere shoplifting though, and when Shota sees Osamu steal a purse - going against his "stealing from a business is okay" principles, the hazy lack of morality to what they're doing becomes clearer. Haven't Yuri and himself been stolen themselves?

Having seen a few of Hirokazu Kore-eda's films by now, it does seem that Shoplifters is the crowning achievement he was always building up to. He'd focused entirely on child abandonment in 2004 film Nobody Knows and familial separation in 2011 film I Wish. I haven't seen Like Father, Like Son (2013), but it sounds like it asks similar questions to this film. He very often makes films that deal with matters concerning family and emotional ties, and here he's asking the basic question of "what makes a family"? By the time Shoplifters finishes you've learnt just how disparate all of the strands of the Shibata family are - and that Osamu had previously killed Nobuyo's original husband in what's described as a "crime of passion". From the outside it sounds like a dysfunctional mess, but when gathered together they seem the envy of many a truly maladjusted brood. This is brought home in a late scene when they go to the beach, and Hatsue wistfully reflects on how glad she is that she didn't spend her final years alone, without care and attention.

Shoplifters purrs along for the most part, and Kore-eda has a cast that all seem very intent on giving their very best. It's an interesting note to make that for brief periods of time the cast and crew making a film become something of a family themselves because of the close proximity and intense bonding that occurs during such an out of the ordinary endeavour. Family has more to do with bonding than it does with blood (again, I haven't seen Like Father, Like Son, but that's something it explores) and that's really exemplified in Shoplifters. Families also tend to hand down certain behaviours - it's commonly known that abusers were often abused themselves, and it's the way Yuki starts to try and steal herself that sets Shota on a path of guilt and doubt when he learns that Osamu isn't as noble as he was making himself out to be. This is all done with a deft hand as Kore-eda sprinkles his opus with a variety of comical and fun moments - but never at the expense of the central drama.

It might be a delicate balance that ultimately holds them together, but the Shibatas are a sweet clan when you look at them on an emotional wavelength. If the world really were a perfect place, all families would be as caring. Hirokazu Kore-eda expresses here what he thinks the basic elements are to what makes a family - the bonding, learning/teaching, care, attention, work, love and thought invested in other people who actively share your life with you. That's all above and beyond being biologically chained to another person through blood - although that's normally enough to give people the impetus to connect, and join together. I knew someone once who, as a child, lived in a country destroyed by war and would steal food in order to help the family survive. It became a part of who they were, and they could never kick the compulsion to steal - because it was a core part of how they'd show love. Shoplifters reminds me a lot of that bittersweet contemplation, and it's an exemplary film of it's kind made by a filmmaker who continues to grow in stature. It shows up some state-sponsored mandates as being suspect and heartless, despite their necessity. A very heartfelt, meaningful movie.

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Remember - everything has an ending except hope, and sausages - they have two.

Latest Review : Aftersun (2022)



2022 Mofo Fantasy Football Champ
Treasure of the Sierra Madre



Every time I see this film I seem to waffle back and forth as to how much I like it. At the forefront is some real decent performances. Walter Huston definitely steals the show with his character. But this time around I quite find the story a bit too bland for my tastes. A lot seems to happen and yet nothing happens all at the same time. It's a real well shot film by Huston too though. It's more of one of those films that I can appreciate quite a bit while yet not really caring for it all at the same time.

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Trouble with a capital "T"

Shoplifters (2018)

I thought Shoplifters would be right up my alley when I first heard about it sometime back. Right from the get go I was hooked and very interested to learn more about these people and their very different type of lifestyle and the 'family unit' that they had formed.

I loved the unique world that the movie shows us it's up close and personally and focused. I liked the actors, thought they all were real good and I liked the characters they portrayed too. The 'shoplifters' were intriguing and seemed like real people and not just mere props in some movie. I don't even know what city they were in, but it doesn't matter as it was like a candid view of a world that one would never see and to me that's cool.

Shoplifters was a unique story that was told well...and was #17 on my Foreign Language countdown ballot.




Let the night air cool you off
A Man for All Seasons

Pretty far from a bad film, but also one that I didn't absolutely love after this initial viewing. Good, but probably not something I'll return to voluntarily, or at least for some time. It's got a good moral, the acting is all good, it doesn't look bad, but it felt like it was missing some kind of spark to me. Something that took it from being above average into that next stratosphere. I feel bad because I don't know what that thing would be or even how you go about improving this film. I think it did quite well and I've never made anything in my life, so let it be known that I do see the irony in me saying about a classic film. A good solid film and maybe one I'd possibly love if I had that same type of conviction.



I forgot the opening line.
@jiraffejustin @edarsenal @beelzebubble @cricket @rauldc14 @Hey Fredrick

Two weeks to go until the deadline by my watch. Pretty good because most of us have either finished or nearly finished. ed - I'm looking at you with a worried expression on my face.



There Will Be Blood



2nd time watching after first watching this about 7 or 8 years ago, and my feelings remain the same.

It's extraordinary, and I'd probably view it as one of the 10 greatest films ever made. Practically flawless as far as I can tell.

Daniel's hate is impressive, especially against Eli considering that they have things in common. They're both greedy conmen, Daniel is just on another level. Notice how he never answers anyone's questions, he just ignores them, unless answering benefits him, a true sociopath. What a great idea for Paul Dano to play both Eli and Paul. It's like for no reason other than to make people wonder and it works.

A longer film that's never boring, and spellbinding despite not being a thriller. It's a masterpiece.




I forgot the opening line.


Aftersun - 2022

Directed by Charlotte Wells

Written by Charlotte Wells

Starring Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio & Celia Rowlson-Hall

Well - giving Aftersun a second watch was a rather emotional experience. In the interim I'd learned that this debut from Charlotte Wells is an autobiographical tale - something that you can kind of pick up on while watching the movie without even knowing it. Although we don't know exactly what happened to Calum (Paul Mescal) and his 11-year old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio) outside of the time-span of the movie in any detailed or specific way, it's easy enough to learn outside of it that Charlotte Wells herself didn't live with her father growing up, and that he died when she was 16-years old. That would make any look back upon times they shared together particularly poignant and as she gets older those memories will be revered. Wells calls the film "emotionally autobiographical", which makes it unclear just how much the events in the movie correspond with real life, but what that must mean is that the feelings you get from watching the film are an accurate reflection of her real-life relationship with her father, and the actual events don't matter as much. In any case, the events in the film by themselves don't amount to much - it's the tapping of those emotions that makes it great.

In the film we watch Calum and Sophie go to a seaside Turkish resort for a holiday - just the two of them together. Some of this we see through video footage, which an adult Sophie is watching - now living with her partner and child. You can see that it means a great deal to her. Throughout the movie we see fantasy sequences where an adult Sophie is at a rave with the version of Calum that she knew as a young child - and that the two are completely separated from each other. They find it hard to really know each other deep down, or communicate in an emotionally open manner. 11-year old Sophie doesn't know that her father is depressed. The normal, average, everyday events that the two go through - dinners at restaurants, playing pool, swimming etc., are all charged with the manner in which Calum tries to hide from Sophie his anxiety, stress, sadness and anger - it's very important for him to not infringe on their time together by revealing this. In the meantime, perhaps because of the way Calum is holding back, the two find it hard to connect - although it also has to be noted that the love the two have for each other is full and requited.

There are two large moments of disconnect that live on in Sophie's memory. The first is when there's a karaoke night, and although Calum and Sophie often do a version of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" together the latter is surprised to be knocked back even though Sophie has entered them into the line-up. Calum is far too mentally anguished to go up in front of a large crowd of people, so all he can do is look on as poor Sophie braves it herself, hoping to force Calum up onto the stage with her by purposely battling under the glare alone - but not even this can move him. It has to have been embarrassing for Sophie, and her anger shows when she refuses to go in for an early night with her father - leading to a night alone for Calum with his demons and Sophie her young adventurous and observational spirit. The second moment of disconnect is when Calum dances to Queen/David Bowie's "Under Pressure" alone, and Sophie watches - the lyric "this is our last dance" playing in her mind over and over, possibly because it was the last time she'd ever see her father dance.

Paul Mescal would be nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Calum, and I really saw it in all it's glory the second time I watched the film. It's not easy for an actor to both show something and hide it at the same time, while getting an audience to really believe in what he or she is doing. At the same time his relationship with young Sophie/Frankie was extraordinarily sweet and loving, which is another duality that's hard to pull off - the fact that the two love each other so much while at the same time not being able to connect and share their true inner selves. It must be harder when the mother/father and child are estranged, and I can't pretend to know what that must be like. Calum also hides his smoking from Sophie, although I'd reckon on her knowing her Dad smokes - because it's something that I would have picked up on as a kid. Frankie Corio is also very good as Sophie - Wells picked her out from 800 other applicants for the part - a carefully chosen piece of casting that worked out perfectly well.

I don't think it's a particular spoiler to talk about how the film ends, but be warned I'm about to. One of the final images in Aftersun we get is that of Calum having said goodbye to Sophie in a spectral version of the airport the two actually said goodbye to each other at. He walks down a passageway, and disappears back into the rave we often get a minds-eye look into. That empty passage, and disappearance, along with the sounds and context this is placed into was an overwhelmingly emotional moment that connected me with the people I've lost during my life. They disappear just like that - into an unreachable void after drifting away. Behind a forever-closed door. It was such a good choice from writer/director Charlotte Wells, and managed to tell us a lot with just a simple mental image. It was such a powerful moment in the film, put forward with simplicity but much thought and meaning. It got way past my defenses, and even though (or maybe because) I've seen the film before it surprised me. I felt it, which means it was great filmmaking.

Overall, the rest of the film is subtle and really from Sophie's point of view - she's at that difficult age where she's far too young for adult type stuff, but way too old for childish games and being treated differently. She's mature enough to tend towards gravitating towards the teenagers at the resort she's staying at. This all ought to mean that Sophie and Calum can open up a bit - but it is more difficult to do that with a parent, and here we've got an estranged one at that. Without any siblings or friends around, it feels like Sophie is lonely - and Calum looks lonely as well. The two miss an opportunity to talk about their loneliness, or anything really serious during the trip - they want to have fun, seeing as this is a holiday, but they also won't have many chances to really talk and get to know each other. It's an agonizing lost chance, and with hindsight a really important one that Sophie nevertheless always remembers with fondness and regret. I'm surprised Aftersun didn't manage a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Avatar : The Way of Water could have easily made way for it. It's devastating, and an emotionally contemplative and superb movie.




2022 Mofo Fantasy Football Champ
There Will Be Blood



My third watch and it had been quite awhile. It's a cool story and Day-Lewis' character is a total badass. I'm not sure I'm all that keen on Paul Dani here though, I just found his performance a bit grating at times. The film looks real marvelous too. It's a good film and the pacing is very well done for an almost 3 hour film. Never lose interest and that scene at the end is something else.




Mona Lisa (1986)
This is an entertaining Neil Jordan film that takes place in the London underworld. The always watchable Bob Hoskins, a driver, who has just been released from prison proceeds to his ex-wife’s house where he causes a riot in front of her house as he can’t take no for an answer.
Now that he has paid respects to his family he is off to get a job; looking up the criminal kingpin who led to his arrest, Sir Michael Caine. He gives him the chore of escorting a call girl and wants him to spy on her as well. She on the other hand is quite a bit much more savvy than our hero. She wants him to track down a young woman of whom she is fond.
Now things get messy. The driver begins to fall for the call girl. He finds the young woman, a drug addicted prostitute who has a very nasty pimp that runs like Usain Bolt. It ends with the criminal king pin and the pimp being gunned down by the call girl. She turns the gun on our man who is the one who armed her. He has a rude awakening. The call girl doesn’t care for him. He escapes
We then finding him sharing this story with his buddy who he has been telling the tale to all along. It made me wonder if the tale were just a way to pass the time between the two buddies.
I don’t know why I only retold the story. I found it quite funny in bits. Mainly the visuals. The kooky plastic platters of spaghetti with the levitating, Hoskins in the work attire he bought for himself and the pimp vaulting chasing the driver and the call girl through the seaside boardwalk. I was a bit puzzled that the driver was so na´ve. It just didn’t seem possible for a man in this milieu to be so innocent. But maybe he was just a patsy.
Was it entertaining? Of course. Was it better than many of the other films we have seen in this hall of fame? Nope.