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ᱬWanda Maximoff-Scarlet WitchᱬElizabeth Olesnᱬ
Everything Everywhere All At Once - 2022

Well I'd been in a rut with movies then you see something that restores your faith in cinema. Wowey is this movie awesome. I legitimately and genuinely laughed out loud, cried and was in awe at some scenes. There was no heavy handed agenda, it was an Asian-American cast that felt genuine and not cast to make some diversity quota. What a splash of cold water to the face on the desert that is Hollywood right now. The acting was phenomenal. Michelle Yeoh is always great but she deserves an academy award next year for this what a force. James Hong is in it I always love him. Stephaine Hsu is a new chick to me but she was outstanding and I didn't realize this until after but Ke Huy Quan who was Short Round and was in the Goonies is in it. He hasn't acted since those 2 movies, I mean wow what a way to come back. I think he at least deserves a nomination he looked like he never left.

I don't want to give to much a way but I can not recommend this flick enough. What an inspiring piece of film making. It will put you through the ringer emotionally. It's uniquely weird in the best sense. I'll be watching it again and buying it on blu ray to support it. My rating might go up after another viewing.



loved michelle yeoh , she one of amazing actresses
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https://youtu.be/M-7QBR6hugc Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch
https://youtu.be/78oLEoy5Npo Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow
https://youtu.be/0LXhnd-CMrQ Agatha Harkness
https://youtu.be/4E880wNeB2g Yelena Belova

https://youtu.be/V8BhIsWTGUI Clint Barton-Hawkeye
https://youtu.be/Zy66zOMkGsM Loki Lufeyson



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'The Innocents' (2021)

Directed by Eskil Vogt


Very dark supernatural thriller from Norway focussing on morals, good Vs evil, personality forming from childhood. Disturbing in parts. Very well directed and some of the child performances are outstanding. The Director Eskil Vogt wrote most of Joachim Trier's films, so clearly has huge talent.






Meet Me in St Louis, 1944

A year in the life of the Smith family, focusing especially on Esther (Judy Garland), who is in love with the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), and the mischief of her little sister Tootie (Margaret O'Brian).

This is considered a musical classic, and deservedly so. It's one of those movies where you just hear song after song that you know, especially The Trolley Song and Garland's rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

For a musical, it's interesting to see the way that so much of the action takes place in the family home. The set design is really masterful in the way that the house manages to feel large enough for a song-and-dance number, and yet cozy enough to give that family sensibility.

The story itself is mostly very gentle and domestic in scope. When the possibility of the family moving to New York comes up, it raises emotional turmoil in the adults and children. Esther must navigate young love and the possibility of loss at the same time. Esther's sister, Rose (Lucille Bremer) has to deal with a rivalry with another woman she thinks has her eye on Rose's crush.

My only hangup with the film was the character of Tootie. Now, O'Brian's performance is absolutely fantastic. Whether it's a sequence where she has to go and prank a scary neighbor on Halloween night, or the way she delivers the line "Aw, it'll take me days to dig up all the dolls in my cemetery", her presence is undeniable.

But Tootie herself? Too much for me. And also kind of a sociopath? There's a sequence in the middle of the film where Tootie returns to the house late at night with a busted lip, a tooth that's been knocked out, and a fistful of hair in her hand, claiming that John assaulted her. Insert classic sound of record scratching to a stop. It then turns out that Tootie and her sister put a fake body on the trolley track to derail the trolley. This whole sequence was bizarre and off-putting to me, and made me feel like "What is wrong with these people?!".

An interesting musical and overall very enjoyable.




'The Innocents' (2021)

Directed by Eskil Vogt


Very dark supernatural thriller from Norway focussing on morals, good Vs evil, personality forming from childhood. Disturbing in parts. Very well directed and some of the child performances are outstanding. The Director Eskil Vogt wrote most of Joachim Trier's films, so clearly has huge talent.

Easily one of the best films of 2021. Gave it the same rating few months ago.
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It's funny, despite being a horror fan and being pretty high on Coppola at that time, I remember this movie, seen in the theater on its initial release, being just so abysmal that I have never, ever been able to bring myself to endure it again.

While clearly connected to FCC's Dracula from a year or two before*, this one was was directed by Kenneth Branaugh, not Coppola.


*: I assume it was the same studio, but if not, then it was at least cashing in on the success(?) of the former.





Meet Me in St Louis, 1944

A year in the life of the Smith family, focusing especially on Esther (Judy Garland), who is in love with the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), and the mischief of her little sister Tootie (Margaret O'Brian).

This is considered a musical classic, and deservedly so. It's one of those movies where you just hear song after song that you know, especially The Trolley Song and Garland's rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

For a musical, it's interesting to see the way that so much of the action takes place in the family home. The set design is really masterful in the way that the house manages to feel large enough for a song-and-dance number, and yet cozy enough to give that family sensibility.

The story itself is mostly very gentle and domestic in scope. When the possibility of the family moving to New York comes up, it raises emotional turmoil in the adults and children. Esther must navigate young love and the possibility of loss at the same time. Esther's sister, Rose (Lucille Bremer) has to deal with a rivalry with another woman she thinks has her eye on Rose's crush.

My only hangup with the film was the character of Tootie. Now, O'Brian's performance is absolutely fantastic. Whether it's a sequence where she has to go and prank a scary neighbor on Halloween night, or the way she delivers the line "Aw, it'll take me days to dig up all the dolls in my cemetery", her presence is undeniable.

But Tootie herself? Too much for me. And also kind of a sociopath? There's a sequence in the middle of the film where Tootie returns to the house late at night with a busted lip, a tooth that's been knocked out, and a fistful of hair in her hand, claiming that John assaulted her. Insert classic sound of record scratching to a stop. It then turns out that Tootie and her sister put a fake body on the trolley track to derail the trolley. This whole sequence was bizarre and off-putting to me, and made me feel like "What is wrong with these people?!".

An interesting musical and overall very enjoyable.

I also like that one quite a bit. I agree that the trolley track sequence is the weakest part of the film, but it's still pretty solid.



Welcome to the human race...
Jurassic World Dominion -


putting the NO in dinosaur
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Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0



'The Innocents' (2021)

Directed by Eskil Vogt


Very dark supernatural thriller from Norway focussing on morals, good Vs evil, personality forming from childhood. Disturbing in parts. Very well directed and some of the child performances are outstanding. The Director Eskil Vogt wrote most of Joachim Trier's films, so clearly has huge talent.

I sadly missed this one when it (briefly) played in theaters here. I'm gonna rest it soon cause I'm really looking forward to it!





Meet Me in St Louis, 1944

A year in the life of the Smith family, focusing especially on Esther (Judy Garland), who is in love with the boy next door, John Truett (Tom Drake), and the mischief of her little sister Tootie (Margaret O'Brian).

This is considered a musical classic, and deservedly so. It's one of those movies where you just hear song after song that you know, especially The Trolley Song and Garland's rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

For a musical, it's interesting to see the way that so much of the action takes place in the family home. The set design is really masterful in the way that the house manages to feel large enough for a song-and-dance number, and yet cozy enough to give that family sensibility.

The story itself is mostly very gentle and domestic in scope. When the possibility of the family moving to New York comes up, it raises emotional turmoil in the adults and children. Esther must navigate young love and the possibility of loss at the same time. Esther's sister, Rose (Lucille Bremer) has to deal with a rivalry with another woman she thinks has her eye on Rose's crush.

My only hangup with the film was the character of Tootie. Now, O'Brian's performance is absolutely fantastic. Whether it's a sequence where she has to go and prank a scary neighbor on Halloween night, or the way she delivers the line "Aw, it'll take me days to dig up all the dolls in my cemetery", her presence is undeniable.

But Tootie herself? Too much for me. And also kind of a sociopath? There's a sequence in the middle of the film where Tootie returns to the house late at night with a busted lip, a tooth that's been knocked out, and a fistful of hair in her hand, claiming that John assaulted her. Insert classic sound of record scratching to a stop. It then turns out that Tootie and her sister put a fake body on the trolley track to derail the trolley. This whole sequence was bizarre and off-putting to me, and made me feel like "What is wrong with these people?!".

An interesting musical and overall very enjoyable.

One of my absolute favorite movies of all time. But I agree with your comment on the tooth scene, it never really made much sense to me. Otherwise, I absolutely adore the Toothie character, she's like Shirley Temple mixed with James Cagney (an unholy combination as I've ever heard one).


The entire movie is made up out of these little moments that make me giddy just thinking about them, even when, on a dramatic level, the story itself is rather shaggy.



5th Shorts Hall of Fame

Night and Fog (1956) -


I've watched this a few times and each viewing cements it as one of the best documentaries and short films I've ever seen. It's hard to watch, but I find the imagery in it highly important given that so much holocaust denial and antisemitism still exists in the world.

While most war films/documentaries hold back on showing the full extent of what was inflicted on people during those times, Resnais shows the worst of what went on in the concentration camps and it makes for a truly powerful and unforgettable experience. This documentary confronts you with so much suffering and misery to the point that some of the images, like mountains of hair and landscapes of dead bodies being bulldozed into pits, take on an otherworldly and alien feel. As I said, a lot of holocaust denial and antisemitism still exists in the world today and, if seeing buckets filled with severed heads, soap made from human skin, or charred remains and skulls don't mean anything to those people, I'm not sure that anything exists on film that can can convince them, as far as I'm concerned.

With that being said, what prevents me from giving this documentary a perfect rating is that it's a fairly straight-ahead experience. As with all works which detail atrocities, they'll likely move you the first time, but after you watch them a couple more times, you'll start to grow accustomed to them. When I first watched this, I found it to be among the most harrowing films I had ever seen. When I rewatched it this time though, its impact was more diluted. To compare it to The House is Black, the beauty of that film never loses its impact for me (and I'm pretty sure I've seen The House is Black more times than Night and Fog), so I prefer that film by a pretty decent margin.

Regardless, as you can see from my rating, I don't mean to imply that Night and Fog isn't memorable by any means. It still is. Very much so for the reasons I listed above. The impact it had on me when I first watched it is truly unparalleled. Given this, it's essential viewing for all cinephiles, even though I've grown accustomed to it over time.



ANTES QUE CANTE EL GALLO
(2016, Cruz)



"The 'rooster is gonna crow' for that girl soon. If she's like that now, I don't know how she'll be when she's a little woman."

The "rooster crowing" is a slang term in Puerto Rico for a girl's first period, the entrance into womanhood and therefore, her sexual awakening. An entirely normal and expected phase, that can be problematic when the environment around the girl is not the best one. That is the case with Carmín (Miranda Purcell) in this wonderful Puerto Rican film.

Antes Que Cante el Gallo, translated as "Before the rooster crows", follows Carmín as she struggles with the above while living with her strict grandmother (Cordelia González). To complicate things, her mother is moving to the US looking for a better job, and her father Rubén (José Eugenio Hernández) has returned home after a prison sentence.

Technically speaking, the direction by Ari Manuel Cruz is pretty good and the cinematography by Santiago Marí Benet is impeccable. There are some really good shot compositions along the film, and the overall camera movement is solid. There is also great use of the mountain and country landscapes where the film is set. This, paired with a pretty good production design results in a film that feels real, as opposed to other local films that feel and look like a "fake" Puerto Rico.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot
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Victim of The Night
While clearly connected to FCC's Dracula from a year or two before*, this one was was directed by Kenneth Branaugh, not Coppola.


*: I assume it was the same studio, but if not, then it was at least cashing in on the success(?) of the former.
Coppola produced, I had forgotten. When it was released, they threw his name heavily in the marketing because of Dracula and because Coppola.



Coppola produced, I had forgotten. When it was released, they threw his name heavily in the marketing because of Dracula and because Coppola.

Francis Ford Coppola presents Kenneth Branaugh's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


That should have been the poster. Just to irritate people.


I'm not surprised he produced. It was very much meant to be paired with Dracula. I know I saw it in the 90s, but I was a teenager, and have no recollection of my opinion of it. Dracula hit when I was in middle school and I'll just say, the eye in the moon seemed really cool at that age (my understanding as an adult is it's not actually that great of a movie, but I'm not clear on the matter). I don't remember coming out of Frankenstein feeling that way about anything in that movie.



The Wrecking Crew (Phil Karlson, 1968)




As featured in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood... , a product of its time but still a whole lot of fun with all its ridiculousness. Dean Martin is the king of cool and the ladies of the film are wonderful - especially Sharon Tate. Plenty of cheesy lines, action scenes that are so bad you'd have no idea Bruce Lee was involved, catchy music, and a ridiculous plot. Lots of loveable stuff and endearing qualities that are hard to find nowadays. A nice fun watch and I'd watch the others if they were on TV too.
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Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon (2008)--Is the outrageous story of a young sissy who becomes a gay porn icon (kind of a Marlboro Man type). It is available on Prime. Jack Wrangler aka Jack Stillman grows up among Hollywood royalty and finds his way into the beginning porn industry of the Seventies. He marries an older woman, Margaret Whiting, a successful singer with a similar childhood background. Luckily for him this switch keeps him out of the life during the AIDS epidemic thus saving his life. Jack is entertaining, exhibitionistic and endearing.

Four our of Five popcorns



The Dons of Disco--(2018) This is the story of Den Harrow a European disco idol of the Eighties. Who was actually both the singer/song writer Tom Hooker and Italian model. Stefan Zandri. This is a lip-syncing scandal ala Milli Vanilli and the battle between both the aging Den Harrows for acknowledgement as the Eighties pop stars. It is also on Prime.

Four out of Five popcorns



MALICE IN WONDERLAND
(1982, Collins)



"Alice tasted it, and finding it very nice ... she very soon finished it off."

Malice in Wonderland is a short film directed by Vince Collins *loosely* inspired on Carroll's novel. It takes ideas from its narrative and presents them through a series of bizarre, trippy, and sexually charged visuals and sounds that include fluids, appendages, vulvas, screams, and laser sounds.

The animation style is extremely aggressive and in-your-face with a non-stop flow. Even though it borders "closely" to sensory overload, there is still a hypnotizing quality to it all. It is also nice to recognize how Collins and graphic designer Miwako interpret the different elements from Carroll's story, like the Cheshire Cat, the Queen, the Rabbit, etc. in their own way.

Grade:



Full review on my Movie Loot or in the 5th Short HoF thread.





The Clock, 1945

On a two-day leave, soldier Joe Allen (Robert Walker) meets New Yorker Alice Maybery (Judy Garland) at Penn Station, and the two embark on a whirlwind romance.

File this as another Garland film that is, hey, pretty good!

The beginning third rolls along just fine as the two meet each other and, after a little bluster, realize that they really like each other.

But the best part of the film is easily the middle, where a dinner date morphs into something else entirely when the couple snags a ride with a milkman who then needs their help when disaster strikes. This middle section is endearing and really unlike anything I associate with romantic comedies of this era. The sheer amount of time devoted to their adventure with the milkman is interesting, and it shows something about both of their characters. (It also includes a sequence where a drunk man--played by Kennan Wynn--harasses an entire diner full of people, including a woman played by Angela Landsbury's mother for an unbroken 3 and a half minutes!). In other words, this middle act is weird and wonderful and does a far better job of showing how two people could consider themselves in love after just a day than most comedies with that arc.

The movie does lose a little steam in the last act, and for me it's mainly because it can't seem to decide what to think about the couple's plan to get married before Joe goes back on duty. At this point, the clock of the title takes on a double meaning. (Originally it seems to reference the clock where the two meet for their date). Racing against time to get all the necessities for a marriage license, hustling around the city battling indifferent public servants. Is it romantic? Is it foolish? The movie seems to oscillate from one point of view to the other. In one seemingly critical moment, Alice and Joe sit on a bench at the clerk's office next to a woman wearing the exact same dress that Alice is wearing holding the arm of a sailor. Yet the movie does seem to want to lean more on the "It's romantic!" side of things, and I had a mixed response to it.

Well worth checking out for its strange and magical middle act.




[The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent] It sounds good to me, definitely worth a look. I like Cage better in comedy, ever since Raising Arizona.

It tickles me though: Cage must be on the Hollywood "A" PC list. On Wikipedia they said about the film,that it "... underperformed at the box office, grossing $28 million against its $30 million budget", whereas they usually would say about that lousy of a return that it was a "flop", or a "box office bomb"...
Had high hopes for this one, but it didn't connect with me at all. It was good to see Cage back in comedy, but I couldn't click with the writing. Made it for a half hour, then had to bail. Hope I didn't miss the good parts later in the film!





The Harvey Girls, 1946

Susan Bradley (Judy Garland) responds to a matrimonial ad, making her way out west to Arizona to marry a man she's never met. On the way, she meets a group of Harvey Girls, women who will work as waitresses in a restaurant chain that serves train customers on layovers. When Susan discovers that the love letters written to her were done so as a prank by the owner of the local saloon, Ned Trent (John Hodiak), she decides to stay on as a Harvey Girl to get revenge. This also involves clashing with local showgirl Em (Angela Landsbury) who happens to be in love with Ned.

This was mostly a slice of good fun, with Garland once again owning the screen in her role as soft-but-tough Susan.

The song-and-dance numbers are fun and engaging, and the rivalry between the two businesses provides a decent narrative against which the love-hate romance between Susan and Ned can develop. Garland is effortlessly charming in her role, especially in sequence where her temper flares up, such as when she takes a pair of pistols across to the saloon when they steal all of the steaks from the Harvey kitchen. Hodiak is also good in the role of Ned, especially as he begins to clash with the locals who want the Harvey restaurant gone at any cost, even if that means endangering the lives of the women who work there. Landsbury is also really good in her role, even if it feels as if the character could have been given a lot more depth.

The only thing that feels off about the movie is how it wants to have things both ways with the characters of the showgirls (who are maybe also meant to be prostitutes? Unclear). Pitting the morally upright Susan against Em feels like a cheap way to make Ned realize that he wants to live life the "right way". The movie is happy to offer up a moment of sisterly solidarity between Susan and Em, but mainly because it seems happy to pat Em on the head as long as she'll get out of the way. Framing the showgirls as the problem (and not, you know, the men who patronize them) is obnoxious. Especially with the spark that Landsbury brings to her role, it also feels like a waste.

Buoyed by good supporting performances, well worth checking out.




11 Foreign Language movies to go

By IMP Awards / 2021 Movie Poster Gallery / The French Dispatch Poster (#2 of 2), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63083885

The French Dispatch - (2021)

Wes Anderson appears to be in creativity overload, as evidenced by The French Dispatch which roars along at a frantic pace so fast that I couldn't take all of it in on first viewing - there are a few interesting things going on in each s̶c̶e̶n̶e̶ s̶h̶o̶t̶ frame of film, and second of sound. It's not as instantly loveable as The Grand Budapest Hotel, but still a fabulous film which I will no doubt watch many times. Anderson's ensemble is now enormous, and includes Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet, Christoph Waltz and Jeffrey Wright. This is his first anthology film, taking the form of different stories printed in The French Dispatch - a magazine edited by Bill Murray's Arthur Howitzer Jr., who has just passed away. Let me just add that my favourite moment was the introduction of Willem Dafoe, discovered by Jeffrey Wright's character sitting in the "chicken coop" of a French police station wide-eyed and asking if he's about to be done away with.

Liev Schreiber and Timothée Chalamet both appearing brought back bad memories of A Rainy Day in New York, but this film, while intelligent, isn't as pretentious as that disaster. It's a kaleidoscope of amusing characters, wonderful imagination, and visual delight. If you hate Wes Anderson's films, you won't be won over with this one, but as a fan I think this is up there with his best - and my rating will probably go up on future viewings.

8/10
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