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Watched White now & definitely have never seen it. Ninety-two minutes, but seemed much longer.

Finished the trilogy with Red, which, it turns out, I have seen in whole or in part. I liked Blue best of all with Red following close behind.

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Good movie though too long. The guy who played Amir as a grown man - Khalid Abdalla - was excellent in this.



Finished the trilogy with Red, which, it turns out, I have seen in whole or in part. I liked Blue best of all with Red following close behind
That's because Blue is the best. It's quite interesting you think that though, as I have a theory that Blue appeals to a European viewer more than a US one and Red vise versa. But this is just based on the last 20 years on the net talking about these films on sites like this.
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That's because Blue is the best. It's quite interesting you think that though, as I have a theory that Blue appeals to a European viewer more than a US one and Red vise versa. But this is just based on the last 20 years on the net talking about these films on sites like this.
Interesting since what I read concluded that Red is the best. I just thought that Blue had a nice pace & who doesnít like Binoche.





Crimes of the Future, 2022

In an unspecified future, human bodies have begun a series of mutations, growing strange new organs. Saul (Viggo Mortensen) experiences such mutations at a rapid rate, and he has become famous as a performance artist with his partner Caprice (Lťa Seydoux) removing his new organs in public surgeries. The two become entangled in a political movement centered on a new type of digestive system when they are approached by the father (Scott Speedman) of a boy whose mother killed him for possessing such a system.

This is a conceptually engaging film that, despite good performances, doesn't quite hit as hard as I'd hoped.

There are a lot of Crash vibes here (no, not that Crash. The other one. The good one.), and that's a good thing. Early on, a seemingly timid government official (Kristen Stewart) tells Saul that the organ removal surgeries are "the new sex". In a world where most people have stopped experiencing pain in its original form, body mutilation and destruction have become the preferred sensory interaction between two people. While I honestly rolled my eyes at characters saying things like "I wanted you to cut into me," there were some little moments that I found very effective, such as a shot of one woman using what basically looks like a pizza cutter to slowly saw into another woman's foot. It also leads to a hilarious uncomfortable sequence where Stewart's character slowly corners Saul and a decidedly awkward kiss leads to Saul sheepishly conceding, "I'm not very good at the old sex."

So it's an interesting concept in the science fiction sense of things. But I also think that from an allegorical point of view it's also kind of neat to think about. In an era where people put their most personal, intimate pieces of their life on the internet for the entertainment and scrutiny of others, the visual of people literally flaying themselves on camera feels inescapably like commentary. I think it also gets into the input fatigue that most people can't help but feel these days. So many things are thrown at us each day, that it takes more and more extreme things to stand out from the crowd. In Crimes of the Future, that line becomes the live, for entertainment autopsy of a child. At the same time, it also invites the question of when things need to be seen. In the father's need for people to see the insides of his child's body---the insides that led his own mother to decide he was inhuman enough to merit murdering him and calling him a "creature"--has shades of Emmett Till.

Performance wise, I thought everyone was on point. Mortensen's Saul seems perpetually uncomfortable. His character, due to his constant mutations, is racked with breathing problems and unending digestive issues. (I read that Mortensen was also suffering from a pretty painful leg injury, so maybe the discomfort wasn't entirely acting). Seydoux plays an interesting boundary between someone who seems to be highly empathetic, and yet is still navigating the dynamics of what it is that she does in her art.

The effects themselves are also delightfully gross, with a kind of matter-of-factness to how many of the scenes are shot that add to their effectiveness.

There were a few things, though, that kept me from really clicking with this one. The first is that the whole subplot with the dead boy and his family felt somehow underdeveloped. I never totally understood why it was that the mother who didn't want the kid had him, and the dad who cared a lot about him didn't. I also felt as if, in general, the world of the film wasn't all that well fleshed out (sorry). I read that the film was all shot in a single warehouse, and there's a sense of non-reality here, as if there were only 30 people available to be in the film. Finally, I'm really over movies with audacious visions of the future that just show us the same bodies over and over. We see three different fully nude women, and they all are the same type and in the same age range. All of the "sex" interactions we see (whether the "new sex" or "old sex") are between men and women, with the exception of a scene between two women. This movie has its male gaze blinders on hardcore and frankly it's boring. The guy covered with ears? Interesting! The two pin-up women who get naked and lay around for no reason? Boring!

The ideas here are wonderful, but the story and the world feel a bit underbaked, and as a result the film as a whole left me cold.




I forgot the opening line.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - (2022)

Sometimes it can be hard tracking down the reasons I feel indifferent to a movie. Multiverse of Madness does enough for me not to hate it, but doesn't do enough for me to really like it - so it feels like it hits dead center of that middle ground. Sam Raimi seems an odd choice to direct, seeing as most of the filmmakers in the Marvel franchise have been made with a forward-thinking mindset. To see some of his tropes, such as possession of the dead, make it into this film felt out of place - though I did appreciate the Bruce Campbell cameo, even though it was a little silly and slapstick (to be expected I guess.) The only time I felt the film was doing something really interesting was introducing Captain Carter and the alternate Avengers in the other universe Doctor Strange visits, and seeing them all die horrible deaths in a battle with the Scarlet Witch - it felt like an Avengers film gone eerily wrong. The rest was that painful shade of average that makes me feel like this Marvel film will be forgotten over time. If we'd have spent more time with the alternate Avengers in the other universe I feel like this film would have really benefited.

5/10


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Thor: Love and Thunder - (2022)

After reading all of the caustic comments about Love and Thunder throughout 2022, I was curious as to why this appeared to be the most criticized Marvel film. I also felt a little guilty enjoying it - but I did a little bit. Nowhere near as much as Ragnarok, but this is probably the lightest in tone of all Marvel films - it's a silly, crazy comedy that's very oddly mixed with what would have been a super creepy villain in any other Marvel film, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). Gorr really is in the wrong movie. Love and Thunder would more suit a Bugs Bunny or perhaps Pikachu (to those who think I'm exaggerating, one of the Gods is actually a large Tamagotchi.) This is the Monty Python or Zucker Bros version of a Marvel film, and it goes all the way as far as absurdity and silly is concerned. I'm not praising it as great - but I like it a little bit. It doesn't really fit into the Marvel universe, and plays more as a parody of superhero films, plus the jokes don't all hit, but there are so many that some do - and I, for one, loved the screaming goats. This is like an MCU film made by an absolute lunatic.

6/10
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Latest Review : Days of Heaven (1978)







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





A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, 2015

This documentary short follows the story of a young woman named Saba, the survivor of an attempted "honor killing" by her father and uncle. With a surviving victim, the case cannot be dismissed in a rote way. As the court date approaches, Saba facing incrasing pressure to publicly state that she forgives her attackers so that they can be set free.

Ah, yes. The kind of movie that makes you want to put your fist through the wall.

What is there to say, really, when it's all right there on the screen? For as long as time, patriarchal societies have imposed controls over women's bodies and choices and lives using institutionalized physical, psychological, and sexual violence to punish women who step out of line.

Saba's crime is not, as you might assume, a sexual encounter. Instead, she has married a man to whom she was initially betrothed before her family set their sights on another prospect. She has disobeyed her father, and that merits putting a bullet in her head.

A lot of the frustration of the film is recognizing that there are systems in place that could put a stop to such murders (and in Saba's case, attempted murder). The police investigate, and the lead investigator seems genuine when he says that he hopes she will not forgive them and will actually pursue justice. There is a lawyer who is very sympathetic to the plight of women in Pakistan and their position as second class--or worse--citizens. And blatantly rigged though it might be, there is a court system in place.

But this is where the theoretical aims of a justice system and the reality of it collide: in how a society responds to injustice and what the official system is willing to do. It might be nice to think that this is limited to countries like Pakistan where bias is so overt (Saba's father talks about her like she's a pet and not a human being), but it shows up everywhere. If you doubt that, try googling "Justin Schneider Anchorage assault". In theory, Saba could refuse forgiveness. But she is slowly being backed into a wall. The decision to "compromise" (ie set them free and they'll totally promise not to try and murder her again) is made by the town elders. I'll give you one guess about the demographics of that group. And even underneath that, Saba is expected to follow the direction of her eldest brother-in-law. What is presented as a personal choice is not really a choice at all.

Amidst all of the wall-punch-inducing garbage, though, I must say that I loved Saba's spirit. Guess what: she was shot in the face, shoved in a bag, and pushed in a river by her own family members because they threw a little temper tantrum and she is MAD AS HELL. No demure waffling here. No making excuses for the pathetic imitations of men that are her male relatives. She's incredibly blunt about the horrific nature of their crime and her desire for them to be punished for it. She is well aware of the limitations on her freedom and her life's potential.

The kind of harrowing and necessary documentation that one day will hopefully be the relic of a forgotten time.




When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)




A woman tries to get ahead in life but what she needs, money and men, also get in the way. A great Japanese film.





Crimes of the Future, 2022

We see three different fully nude women, and they all are the same type and in the same age range. All of the "sex" interactions we see (whether the "new sex" or "old sex") are between men and women, with the exception of a scene between two women.
Watchlisted-thanks!



Brutal (2017)

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Japanese extreme film that definitely lives up to it's title. Under 70 minutes long and split into 3 chapters. Part 1 is man, and we watch the man brutalize and kill women. Part 2 is woman, and we watch the woman brutalize and kill men. Part 3 they cross paths and there's a twist. It's unfortunately a little bit low budget but it works fairly well. Passable for fans of sick films and on Tubi.





Real Steel, 2011

Charlie (Hugh Jackman) is a washed up boxer whose career became obsolete when large robot fighting took center stage. Hustling and barely keeping his head above water, Charlie learns that his former girlfriend has died and his son, Max (Dakota Goyo) needs a guardian. Max's aunt and uncle (Hope Davis and James Rebhorn) want custody, and Charlie extorts money from the uncle in exchange for Max. But when Charlie is put in charge of Max for a few weeks, the two discover a fighting robot named Atom who seems to offer them both a chance at success.

Every time I tried to cozy up to this near-future tale of rock-'em-sock-'em, it pushed me away like a fighting robot, um, pushing away another robot.

The fundamental problem I had with this movie was an utter lack of like or interest for any of the characters, aside from the robot. And this is a problem with the writing. A serious problem with the writing.

I kept wondering, who is this movie for? It's not for little, little kids, because you've got salty language thrown in there. Is this movie for 13 year olds? Maybe? But it definitely wasn't for me. I'll admit that the movie put me on its bad side almost right out of the gate when a child sassily told an adult "boo-yah". Boo-yah? And the writing only gets worse as the film goes. At one point, Max and Charlie are arguing and Max says, "Look, we can go around and around on this all night, but my decision is final." Why is this child being written like he's an exhausted middle manager in his mid-40s?

And the writing, of course, poisons everything. The character development is so thin. So thin. The characters fall into the laziest of tropes. There's a cowboy hat wearing baddie who practically goes "yee-haw!" every time he's on screen. Evangeline Lilly plays a woman who owns a gym that, say it with me, belonged to her father but has now fallen on tough times. She's trying to run a business, but when Charlie looks at her she giggles and minces around like she's in elementary school. Olga Fonda plays the Strong Russian Accent Bad Guy, while Karl Yune plays the Aloof Japanese Bad Guy.

Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo have some fun chemistry as they tentatively build their father-son bond. I think that the acting, especially from Goyo, is not bad at all. But he and everyone else are saddled with weak material. The story itself didn't even make all that much sense to me (Atom gets into the final of a championship just by . . . asking?). I also never felt like the movie figured out what it was doing with Atom. Was he meant to actually be sentient? Yes? No? I was never clear on this point and it made it really hard to know how to feel about the sequences involving him.

There are some fun sequences involving the robot, in particular when Max teaches the robot to dance. The final fight scene is well done, and the special effects are really solid. It was easy to forget that I was watching two computer generated and/or puppeted characters slug it out.

At the same time, I didn't enjoy the way that a lot of the movie was filmed. Things are done in montages, or in slow motion and I didn't understand why. It undercuts the emotion of the last act.

Good effects and good effort in the performances, but overall kind of a misfire for me.




LAND AND SHADE
(2015, Acevedo)



"Was it worth leaving?"
"I do not know if it was worth it."

Land and Shade follows Alfonso (Haimer Leal), an aging sugar cane worker that returns to his home after 17 years, upon learning that his adult son is now ill. The reason for his illness? The sugar cane plantations that surround their home are frequently burned, which results in toxic ash rain that basically covers the house and makes life unbearable.

The film is a hell of a slow burn, with a very pensive pace that could border on soporific for some; but there is a pretty darn good film in there for those patient enough. Director Cťsar Augusto Acevedo holds our attention with a very skilled and meticulous direction. I really liked his frequent use of long takes and wide shots that give this landscape a beautiful and eerie look at the same time.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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I forgot the opening line.

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Okja - (2017)

Some movies grab you in such a way that they become emotionally exhausting. Bong Joon-ho had me just the way he wanted me last night - captivated and passionately involved in Okja. Honestly, I was giving serious thought to becoming a vegetarian. The story involves a genetically engineered "super-pig" Okja, which is raised by a farmer and his granddaughter, Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), who is very close to the animal. Unfortunately a corporation involving CEO Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton) and public face of the company Johnny Wilcox (Jake Gyllenhaal) have selected Okja as the winner of a "Best Super-Pig" competition, and take him away to be tested on. The film involves Mija and a group called ALF (Animal Liberation Front) trying to rescue Okja. There's a lot in the film's climax that's super hard to watch, but overall this is a wonderfully put together film. Paul Dano shows up as a member of ALF, and Bong Joon-ho had author Jon Ronson co-write the screenplay with him. It's a film that doesn't shy away from including moments that really shock and hurt, which makes you question where all of this will go - you know that perhaps it won't turn out well, but you pray it does. Animal cruelty is such a difficult subject, but it's handled in a very adroit manner here. The Host is now the only Bong Joon-ho film I haven't seen yet.

8/10


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Argentina, 1985 - (2022)

A true story and courtroom drama, Argentina, 1985 tells the story of the upper echelon of Argentina's military going on trial for crimes against humanity. From 1976 to 1983 the junta ruled in a military dictatorship, and thousands of innocent Argentinians disappeared - victims of Stalin-like purges where horrifying torture and murder were commonplace. It features The Secret in Their Eyes actor Ricardo DarŪn, and it's obviously a very emotional and important subject for the South American nation. Santiago Mitre tries to whip up more drama by including main prosecutor Julio Cťsar Strassera's family in the story, but the main emotional thrust comes from the testimony of those who survived the torture or saw their loved ones dragged away, never to be seen again. A lot of the film involves court procedure, and it's a very highly rated film by most who see it. I sure hope it doesn't beat The Quiet Girl or All Quiet on the Western Front for this year's Best International Feature Film Oscar - it's IMDb score is lower than those two, so fingers crossed.

6.5/10



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Bullet Train
That was fun.
8/10.
WARNING: "References to Deadpool and Speed" spoilers below
I enjoyed the references to Deadpool (Ladybug - played by Brad Pitt, who played the very unlucky Vanisher in Deadpool 2 is very lucky in this movie and kills Domino, and he also fills in for Ryan Reynolds; as well as the references to Speed (they're on a high-speed train that crashes at the end, and Ladybug's Handler is played by Sandra Bullock).


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30th Hall of Fame

Ship of Fools (1965) -


The "I wasn't engaged by much" kind of film isn't always my favorite type of film to review as I often struggle to come up with interesting thoughts to say, but I'll try my best here. As you can probably tell, I was kind of underwhelmed by this one. To cut it some slack though, it does have some interesting ideas here and there. For instance, Dr. Schumann's relationship with La Condesa is a compelling dynamic since the senses of doom and determination they both have make for a fine contrast. This is the kind of dynamic which should act as the emotional core of the film. Also, Lowenthal's friendship with Glocken has some potential since the two bond over both being outcasts (the former being Jewish and the latter having dwarfism). Also, Tenny's drinking problem in the film is colored when you consider actor Lee Marvin being a heavy drinker. Finally, since the film is set several years before the start of World War II, the fates of a few characters are colored by how their situations will grow worse in the years to come. In spite of this potential though, I found myself deeply unengaged by much of the film. Part of the issue was that, with so many main and side characters the film had to cut back and forth between, the memorable characters I mentioned up above didn't have enough time to leave a lasting impact on me. Rather, cutting away from them so much constantly broke my engagement time and time again. The sub-plot of the rich uncle and his nephew, Mary's characterization, and the Spanish laborers being deported back to Spain stuck out as the weaker aspects to the characters and, though their stories could've potentially worked in a different film, it probably would've been best to cut them from this film. In short, I'd describe this film as a compelling 90 minute film stretched out to 2.5 hours.
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