Rate The Last Movie You Saw

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Hypothetical or otherwise mentioning Hitler and the atrocities involving the Holocaust potentially being humanised to that of Chris Kyle’s is abhorrent. You began by claiming this to be an extreme example which kind of lets you off the hook in comparing the genocidal maniacs name to what we saw in American sniper, why use an extreme example in the first place? An extreme example not being worthy of comparison makes the mentioning of it futile, so you obviously feel there is a fairly strong comparison.

Questioning somebody’s political views to how they’d feel seeing mercy shown to Hitler, this dumb biopic you created in your has no place in this discussion.
Save your indignation. Chris Kyle WAS a terrible person and war criminal that bragged about how he followed orders to break Geneva accords and extrajudicially killing 30 US citizens in NOLA after Katrina (which is heavily disputed but him thinking it’s a story that makes him look good says a lot). It’s not as though I compared Hitler to an actor I don’t like.

It wasn’t that it wasn’t worthy of comparison. It is. It illustrates why white washing abhorrent figures to be heroic is problematic.

What may not be worthy is the effort of engaging you in this conversation, as you’ve yet to offer a single cogent point to defend this film.



Anyway, I think we've gotten pretty far afield of the film at this point. If either of you would like to continue this let me know (profile comment/PM/whatever) and I'll spin it off into a new thread for a bit to see if it can re-center on the movie and isn't stuck in a loop.



I'll give it a watch, i've seen four Cronenberg's movies; Existenz was meh, but i thought History Of Violence, Videodrome and Crash were all great on their own.

What i like about Cronenberg that his narratives are complex and tackle on powerful themes, and he has his own style yet his movies are all 90-100 minutes long and accessible to moviegoers.

I wasn't much impressed with Lynch's work besides Mulholland Drive so i think this films are more of my cup of tea.
I liked Existenz though not his strongest, wanted to like History of Violence but found it a bit pedestrian (for me anyway). I had forgotten how good Crash was...thanks for reminding!



The point of invoking something extreme is to establish a principle. The proper response is to either acknowledge agreement in principle and focus on disagreement as to degree, or to explain why the comparison is invalid in kind, and not merely in degree.
I do not believe it to be proper to mention Hitler, the Nazis and Holocaust in this discussion therefore I will not validate it with a proper response.

Regardless I’m not going to talk about this subject anymore me and the other chap clearly have differing views and I will just leave it as that from here.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?


Le Doulos (1962)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, this is the third film of his I've seen and I am quickly becoming very much a fan of his. I'm looking forward to two other films of his I have on my watchlist.

Melville brilliantly leaves you wondering, till the very end and even then I feel I'm not completely sure, who could be trusted, who informed on who, in this quite brutal noir masterpiece of trench coats, whiskey, and gunplay.
The opening placard setting the turbulent pace of this film: You must choose: Die. . . Or Lie.
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Anyway, I think we've gotten pretty far afield of the film at this point. If either of you would like to continue this let me know (profile comment/PM/whatever) and I'll spin it off into a new thread for a bit to see if it can re-center on the movie and isn't stuck in a loop.
Nah. I’m done.





The Last Circus, 2010

During the Spanish Civil War, a clown is forced to fight for the Republican Militia. Though he proves incredibly proficient with a machete, he is eventually captures. His son, Javier, tries to free him, but the attempt goes horribly wrong. Years later, an adult Javier (Carlos Areces) gets a job at a circus as a sad clown. He immediately ends up on the radar of the circus's Happy Clown, a man named Sergio (Antonio de la Torre) whose drunken, violent temper is often centered on jealousy and possessiveness of his girlfriend, an aerial artist named Natalia (Carolina Bang). When Natalia begins to cultivate a relationship with Javier, things quickly get out of hand, something that is further complicated by a figure from Javier's past.

I have avoided watching this film for years because I must have had it confused with the plot of another film about people being tortured by clowns or at a circus? I don't know.

In any event, I really enjoyed this movie. The two main aspects that I enjoyed were the visual style of it and the dark sense of humor--and the two are definitely intertwined. From almost the very first scene as Javier's father stands in a line of other circus workers who have been drafted--an embarrassed soldier realizes that the bearded lady is, well, a lady and relieves her of military duty--dressed in a comedic little girl's outfit, complete with golden curls, the movie is operating on a visually stunning and darkly comic wavelength. The color scheme is at once colorful and muted, a sense of grime hanging over everything we see.

The world that de la Iglesia has created is one of violent slapstick. A repeated visual gag involves a circus motorcycle stuntman with a miscalibrated turbo booster that constantly launches him into the side of a building. In another sequence it seems that a piano may have actually have been dropped on Javier during a performance. But in the same film someone's fingers might be ripped off. And all of this heightened by the colorful and dramatic costumes of the performers. One of my favorite aspects was Natalia's ever-changing set of wigs--both a fun visual gag and a nice nod to her conflicted nature.

The violent dynamics of the central love triangle mostly work, especially thanks to the performances of the three main actors. My only real complaint about the film has to do with the love triangle, and specifically the tired trope of "woman has to choose between the nice guy and the sexy bad guy". Obviously there are women who love and/or are sexually attracted their abusers, but I always think that a film has to do a little more heavy lifting for an audience to buy such a relationship from the outside. We see some enthusiastic sex scenes between Sergio and Natalia, but in terms of why she considers it love . . . ? To be fair, Natalia herself seems perplexed and conflicted about her attraction. But it's tricky ground because Natalia's actions at time seem to frame her as almost as bad as Sergio because of the way that she pursues Javier. I guess I get a little tired of the idea that female characters have to choose between good sex and a loving partner, as if these are mutually exclusive things. (Lest you think I'm reading into this, another character literally says this to Natalia, exhorting her that she can't "have her cake and eat it, too").

Generally, though, the characters are well drawn enough that the tropes of the love triangle aren't that bothersome. Among other things, the way that it all plays out might be predictable in a general narrative sense, but the way that the characters express their emotions is pretty shocking. As the film wears on, Javier's desire to rescue Natalia from Sergio becomes more and more twisted and more and more destructive. Javier already carries a lot of emotional baggage from the traumatizing experiences of his childhood, and the violence and hatred that Sergio brings out in him pushes him to the edge. Even Sergio, who is a larger than life villain and thinks that jokes about dead babies are hilarious, has a handful of moments of humanity.

The movie is dark and graphically violent, but de la Iglesia manages the tone and pace masterfully. I will admit that around the last 15 or so minutes I felt myself beginning to fatigue. The whole film is a sustained pitch of violence and intensity, and as it built to the climax I was sort of ready for it to be over. The screaming and drama and (admittedly gorgeous) overblown and otherworldly final set piece was a bit lost on me. I will say that the very last shot was beautiful and tragic and PERFECT for the film that came before it.

Definitely recommended, and you'll know in the first 15 minutes or so if it's your brand of dark humor.




The Last Circus really had poor advertising, from the new title (the Spanish title translates to Ballad of the Sad Trumpet) to the poster making it look like Kill Joy’s Psycho Circus, rather than the oddball, Jeunet-esque thing that it is.





Cosmos, 2015

Zulawski's Possession is one of my favorite films of all time. The only downside to watching movies from a director whose other work you adore is that the new movie has some big shoes to fill.

Friends Witold (Jonathan Genet) and Fuchs (Johan Libereau) are on some sort of pseudo-vacation (Witold has just failed his law exams and Fuchs has just left a cushy gig at a fashion designer). Arriving at a guest house, Witold is immediately obsessed by a dead bird he finds hanging by a string in the woods. Suddenly seeing omens everywhere around him, Witold descends into a sort of delirious madness trying to find the meaning behind it all, while at the same time grappling with the dark fear that it might not mean anything.

Cosmos belongs to that tricky sub-genre of films that are intentionally frustrating and confounding. And I was, indeed, frustrated and confounded.

What the film has going for it is a really beautiful, lush look. The colors absolutely pop, to the point that it feels like it could be another dimension or some variation on the real world. The sequences alternate the outdoors with the domestic setting of the guest house. There's also something to be said for the unapologetic way that the film offers up various mysteries, such as an odd running joke that every time Fuchs leaves the guest house at night (presumably looking for sex?), he returns with scrapes, bruises, a black eye, etc. There's an undeniable and unsettling element of erotic energy through the whole thing, mainly manifested in Witold's interest in the daughter who lives at the guest house, Lena.

On the down side, the film pushes Witold into manic mode pretty early on in the runtime. As he rants about birds and bits of wood and perfect mouths, the film can't help but rise to his level of intensity. At one point I thought that the film must be nearing its final act, only to find that I was only 35 minutes into the movie! I had a lot of trouble keeping pace with the movie, especially through its middle third. The film's third act goes to a place of truly breaking with reality and that aspect pulled me back in.

Everything in the film is meticulously well-staged. A sequence where Witold sits on a huge rock on a beach in a full outfit and holding an umbrella as a large wave crashes around and over him. Or a moment when the dining room table begins to tip over and Witold and Lena catch it together, sharing a meaningful look and breath. It all looks excellent and painterly. Even when it doesn't make sense, it looks great (a real necessity in the intentionally-frustrating sub-genre).

I think that it's unfortunate that this film is branded as being sci-fi in a few places. In my opinion that sets a certain expectation and this film isn't sci-fi. It's more like an existential, borderline meta exploration of narrative (in the film, Witold repeatedly talks about writing a novel but being unable to finish it).

I probably owe this one a rewatch when I'm in a more patient mood.




The Last Circus really had poor advertising, from the new title (the Spanish title translates to Ballad of the Sad Trumpet) to the poster making it look like Kill Joy’s Psycho Circus, rather than the oddball, Jeunet-esque thing that it is.
Yeah, I'll be honest and say that the poster is a huge reason I've ignored it for so long.



Yeah, I'll be honest and say that the poster is a huge reason I've ignored it for so long.
It looks like something produced by Fangoria and DTV from the early 2000s.

I only watched it because someone in RT made a best of the year list and every screen cap they posted was very far from what I had been under the impression of.

I think it was... Who was it with the Laugh Clown Laugh avatar? JShade?



It looks like something produced by Fangoria and DTV from the early 2000s.

I only watched it because someone in RT made a best of the year list and every screen cap they posted was very far from what I had been under the impression of.

I think it was... Who was it with the Laugh Clown Laugh avatar? JShade?
It won a ton of awards at the Venice International Film Festival, which is what finally got me to read more about it.

I honestly am now curious about what other film I confused it with. There must have been some torture-y circus themed movie that came out roughly around the same time. (Or maybe The Devil's Rejects and the popular image of the one character in clown makeup?).



Tremors: Shrieker Island - The seventh of the Tremors movies and this one also stars Michael Gross as survivalist/gun enthusiast Burt Gummer. I think these have long since lost whatever residual charm was left from the first. That one was a surprisingly entertaining creature feature from 1990 while this one covers the same ground of the last few. Yet they still manage to make them passably diverting. Part of that has to do with Gross of course and his by now familiar character and part is them finding new ways for the creatures to menace mankind. This one has a billionaire adventurer (Richard Brake) breeding genetically modified Graboids so he can hunt them on his private island. Gummer is tracked down by a scientist from a neighboring island's nature preserve. The rest of the movie involves the billionaire and his rich a-hole clients getting steadily whittled down by the monsters while Burt and the scientist (Jon Heder) also try and track down and kill the creatures. The budget appears to be bigger than the previous two movies as far as location filming goes (off the coast of Thailand I think) and there's plenty of gorgeous jungle scenery. But the CGI is definitely skimpy in parts until the finale.
WARNING: spoilers below
Unless there's a reboot it looks like this might be the last Tremors entry of the franchise because they finally kill off Burt Gummer. They give him a good sendoff as befits an enjoyable character that ended up with such an unexpectedly long cinematic tenure.
70/100
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Underwater -This is a perfectly serviceable thriller in the "trapped miles below the sea" genre. There's been others like Leviathan, The Abyss, Deepstar Six and Deep Blue and this borrows liberally from them and other plotlines. In fact, the one big difference this can claim is that it was made and released in 2020. That's mostly it. Still though it's not a slog in any sense of the word. There's a strong cast featuring Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel and Jessica Henwick plus decent cinematography. And director William Eubank (whose last feature was the criminally underrated The Signal) knows how to establish and then ratchet up tension. I think it might have existed adequately as a straight up escape and survival thriller without the introduction of a well worn "previously unknown species" trope. Honestly, outside of maybe padding an undernourished script these underwater monsters don't add much to the proceedings. Watch this if you're partial to the subgenre otherwise it's okay to skip it. 75/100
Yeah, I was surprised to find this better than it should have been. Can't necessarily run out and recommend it to everybody but it's certainly better than I as expecting.



(Or maybe The Devil's Rejects and the popular image of the one character in clown makeup?).
Ahem . . .

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Five Easy Pieces (1970)

Have to say I was taken aback by this, the sturdiness of the story and the performance of Jack Nicholson....it's a fairly linear film but Nicholson just imbues the character of Bobby. Pent up frustration crossed with a devil-may-care attitude and a good heap of sarcasm. For folk like me that first knew "Jack" for playing "Jack" this was a true revelation....I also believe he was doing a lot of screenwriting during this period too.




Wonder Woman 1984 - 6/10



Papillon (2017)

This was pretty good, some of the dialogue is a bit creaky (Charlie Hunnam's especially) . I can forgive.