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Victim of The Night

Jayne Mansfield provides a little bit of spice in an otherwise dull film.

Promises! Promises! (1963) -
- when a pair of bazookas is all your film offers, you know you have done goofed
Can't say I was mad about it, though.



The Innocents (2021)




This is not my type of horror but it looked so good that I had to try it. I prefer sadistic horror since I don't get frightened anymore, as opposed to the more supernatural stuff which this movie would be. One thing this movie does have that has always freaked me out is evil children. This is a slow paced movie but it had me squirming right from the start. It is unnerving. I probably wouldn't watch it again but it's very good and a lot of members here would like it.




Jayne Mansfield provides a little bit of spice in an otherwise dull film.


Little Women (2019) -
- congrats, Greta Gerwig, that's the second insufferable schlock of a movie in a row
She's Too Young (2004) -
- "hey guess what guys i have syphilis" is almost a funny line
Promises! Promises! (1963) -
- when a pair of bazookas is all your film offers, you know you have done goofed
They/Them (2022) -
- why are people saying it's something phobic when the biggest issue with this film is that it's just a bland subpar slasher
God's Not Dead: We the People (2021) -
- not that bad, I've seen worse films. All 6 of them.
Answers the question, "How many cinematic kick-in-the-nuts can one person take?"

Five apparently.






Duel at Diablo - This is one that I've watched a number of times. It's a 1966 Western directed by Ralph Nelson and starring James Garner, Sidney Poitier, Bibi Andersson, Bill Travers and Dennis Weaver. Garner plays Jess Remsberg, an Army Scout looking to avenge the murder of his Comanche wife. Poitier plays Toller, an ex-Buffalo Soldier now working as a horse breaker for the Army.

On one of his many scouting missions Remsberg runs across a lone rider on a faltering horse. The rider is being pursued by a party of Apaches. Upon rescuing her he is surprised to find it's a woman named Ellen Grange (Bibi Andersson) and takes her back to her home and husband Willard (Dennis Weaver). She was taken as a captive by the Apaches and now seems determined to return to them.

Remsberg's friend Lt. "Scotty" McAllister (Bill Travers) has been tasked by his commander to lead an cavalry unit of untrained soldiers taking horses, ammunition and supplies to a neighboring fort. Remsberg is conscripted to serve as a replacement scout and Toller is also forced to go along to collect on the rest of the forty broken mounts he owes the Army. In the meantime, Apache chief Chata (John Hoyt) has gathered together a large number of people in an effort to escape the intolerable conditions at a local reservation. All these disparate elements and people are eventually thrown together in a confrontation at an isolated waterhole in Diablo Canyon.

This is anchored by two impressive performances from James Garner and Sidney Poitier. It was Garner's first Western since leaving his long running TV series Maverick. This was also Poitier's first ever Western but you certainly couldn't tell. He either took plenty of riding lessons or had a general affinity for horses. Given the time in which this was made the problematic portrayal of Native Americans is present with Hoyt's Chata being the most noticeable. It is somewhat mitigated with a few attempts at social commentary but in keeping with the film's harsh portrayal of frontier life the Apaches do come off as barbaric killers. But then a lot of the so called "civilized" populace is also portrayed in a negative light. Despite all of that I've always thought of it as a good to great Western.

85/100





Brief Encounter - (1945)

How was love just captured on camera like that? There are few better movies about it than Brief Encounter - it completely swept me away. The part of Laura is played by Celia Johnson, who I've seen in This Happy Breed, but really noticed here. Dr Alec Harvey is brought to life by Trevor Howard, who I've mostly seen as an old man in movies from the 60s to the 80s. It's hard to describe just how real the film feels - it's not a love story that takes place in flowered meadows, although our furtive lovers do abscond to movies, a rowboat and other places. It's doomed, because both are married, and as such it becomes something of a sordid affair, with both of them stealing kisses in dark tunnels and borrowed apartments. Surrounding them is the hubbub of life, which seems obscenely pointless and annoying now they've found something most pure - especially the interrupting ninny we see at the beginning and end. Great film.
I agree. It is a small film with a compact story, but it draws in the viewer very quickly. I loved the film and it's two leads. I fell in love with Celia Johnson, and Trevor Howard did a nice turn as well.

Did you see her as the head mistress in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)? It was Maggie Smith's picture for sure, but it's one of the few I've seen Celia Johnson in.

Brief Encounter
manages to rise above its soap opera type secret romance, and to galvanize the viewer's attention until the last frame.



Susan Tyrells performance in Fat City is probably one of my favorites of all time.
That red barrette in her hair that kept slowly slipping down with each passing scene probably deserved a supporting Oscar nomination as well.





Mephisto, 1981

Hendrik (Klaus Maria Brandauer) is a stage actor in 1930s Germany who is passionate about becoming a success. In the role of Mephisto, he catches the eye of a Nazi general (Rolf Hoppe), and becomes something of a darling of the growing political regime. As those around him, including his fellow actors and his lover (Karin Boyd), are driven away or even killed, Hendrik turns a blind eye in pursuit of his own fame.

There is little in this film that is subtle, as we are explicitly given the reference of the story of Faust and then watch as Hendrik hustles to curry the favor of the Nazi general and the rest of the Third Reich elite.

But subtlety in not necessary in a story like this, and in fact the lack of subtlety really calls to attention just how extreme Hendrik's compartmentalization is as the society around him deteriorates into intolerance and violence. In one early scene, Henrik leaves the theater to see a group of soldiers beating up a Jewish man. He moves as if to intervene, and is quickly driven off by one of the soldiers. This moment is upsetting, but also relatable. It asks a lot for people to put their own well-being on the line for another person.

But by the middle of the film, Henrik is blithely telling his lover--who is biracial--that she cannot leave the house, but that he will buy her a radio so that she can stay connected with the outside world. When she responds to this with indignation and protests that she's just as German as anyone else, he basically rolls his eyes at her, as if it's her ignorance and not the bigotry around her that is worthy of derision.

As with many films that combine theater and film, there are some absolutely sumptuous visuals here. The movie makes the most of Hendrik in his Mephisto costume--his stark white face and crimson red-lined cape. But there's a level here: Mephisto is a character he plays, and his power is, ultimately, an illusion.

There are a lot of films about complicity and what it means to go along with something that is morally wrong. It would seem as if the choices of an actor would pale in comparison to choices made by politicians or soldiers. But through Hendrik's story we see how easy it is to let one's own well-being and success lead us to a place where we are willing to overlook blatant atrocity.




28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
They/Them



Brilliant title....disappointing film. I think a lot of people are hating on this movie because they are expecting a slasher film, which this basically is not. There is very little slashing to be had in this film. There are some forced silly moments when Kevin Bacon directs the campers to the boys cabin or the girls and one person doesn't move to either saying..."I'm trans, where do I go?"

Bacon saves the film at least, a little bit. But overall, it feels a little bit more than a direct-to-video stylized film. Disappointing, but I did not hate it.
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Monos, 2019

In the wilderness of Columbia, a group of child soldiers serving a group referred to only as "the Organization" watch over an American engineer they call Doctora (Julianne Nicholson) who has been taken hostage. As conflicts and relationships develop and implode within the group, they venture deep into the jungle where things slowly and steadily get out of hand.

Wowza. The kids are not alright.

A frequent refrain about this film has to do with it being Lord of the Flies-like. And I get that. You've got a group of adolescents basically making up their own rules, developing strange and often violent rituals among themselves.

But where this film deviates from that line is in the presence--and often lack thereof--of adults.

The ever-present adult is, of course, Doctora. Whatever authority she might have is frequently taken away as she suffers various abuses at the hands of the adolescents. In one particularly disturbing scene, Doctora and Swede (Laura Castrillón) cower in an underground bunker as the group--called Monos, meaning "monkeys"--is attacked. In a moment of compassion, Doctora holds Swede and tells her that they will be okay . . . only for Swede to begin kissing her. Wavering--because surely an ally would be a welcome thing--Doctora finally pushes Swede away, and the young woman laughs at her in derision. As the group gets deeper into the jungle, the cruelties toward Doctora mount, and we begin to understand that simply running away will not be an option for her.

Then there's the sometimes presence of Messenger (Wilson Salazar), a man who serves as the interface between the organization and the Monos. He puts the Monos through punishing, excessive physical "training", manipulates them into telling on each other for indiscretions, and is the arbiter of who gets to have sex with whom. These scenes serve to highlight the degree of brainwashing and abuse these kids have endured. Whether they initially joined by choice or were forced into serving as soldiers, they are all twisted up and enmeshed in the strange and violent hierarchies of the Organization.

The movie keeps the Monos in a precarious position where they are at once detestable and sympathetic. At what point do you write someone off and decide that they deserve what they get? The most sympathetic character is the sensitive Rambo (Sofía Buenaventura), who is either transgender or simply choosing to pass as male. But even the least sympathetic character, the violent Bigfoot (Moisés Arias ) is not without certain sympathies. In the final act, adults take two very different approaches to how they deal with certain teens who end up at their mercy.

It's also important to mention just how good this film looks. It has a dreamy/nightmarish and yet saturated look.

Highly recommended.




11 Foreign Language movies to go

By May be found at the following website: Collider.com, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9884480

Breach - (2007)

I didn't think much about this political thriller before watching it - I knew nothing about Robert Hanssen, or what he'd done. After watching this I would have thought the whole world would know about what Hanssen had done, which is described as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history." Chris Cooper has a ball with playing him - and is the main attraction for seeing Breach. Hanssen wasn't only sending all of America's secret stuff to Russia, he was a complete sexual deviant - all the while living a life of upstanding religious piousness. Young agent wannabe Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) - a prodigy - is sent in undercover as Hanssen's assistant, and after being particularly hard on him, Hanssen begins to see a bit of himself in O'Neill and the two start getting close. This is all done with your usual thriller tempo and style, but like I said - it's Chris Cooper's performance that made it worthwhile.

7/10


By http://www.impawards.com/2004/terminal.html, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=709437

The Terminal - (2004)

Being a Steven Spielberg film, this is a little too sickly sweet and sentimental for me, but everything else about it is good enough to balance that off and as such it's a watchable two hours. You might think the story of one man being denied entry to New York, and also unable to go home - thus becoming stuck in the airport and living there - unrealistic, but the true story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri (who was stuck in Paris) involved him living in an airport from 1988 to 2006 - some 18 years. Again, truth is far stranger than fiction. There's not much to really say about this movie, which feels like feel-good fluff (albeit great feel-good fluff.)

7/10


By The cover art can or could be obtained from the distributor., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20813196

The Big Steal - (1990)

This is one of those Australian films where our love of cars becomes a central defining aspect - but it's something I don't share with my fellow countrymen. As such, I hated this comedy. You have to be of a certain mindset to gel with it, and that includes believing that your car is up there on a level with the person you love. It's somewhat sexist and homophobic, and has our hero win back the girl (after treating her like dirt) just by asking her - not by actually doing something to make up for past indiscretions. I was looking forward to seeing this, because it has Ben Mendelsohn in it - but it rubbed me up the wrong way.

3/10


Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17121263

Stuck - (2007)

I've always had a soft spot for this Stuart Gordon horror film - a visceral and agonizing "true story" which converts a man's need for help from society into a very pointed and literal cry for help from the garage of the lady who has run him over - as he's stuck to her windshield. It has to be watched and enjoyed to get the full effect of the agony and grimace-inducing horror.

7/10
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loved the 5 short episodes its so cute,glad to see rocket aswell on one of the episodes

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“I was cured, all right!”
Xie ying wu (AKA Bloody Parrot)

From the opening credits I knew I was in for no traditional wuxia/kung fu. This film breaks the wave of the Shaw Brothers time and uses fantasy elements. Unintentionally funny, some good action, weird violence. Good time.
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Monos, 2019


It's also important to mention just how good this film looks. It has a dreamy/nightmarish and yet saturated look.

Highly recommended.

Glad you liked it. Very good film which draws inspiration from Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now.




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The Innocents (2021)




This is not my type of horror but it looked so good that I had to try it. I prefer sadistic horror since I don't get frightened anymore, as opposed to the more supernatural stuff which this movie would be. One thing this movie does have that has always freaked me out is evil children. This is a slow paced movie but it had me squirming right from the start. It is unnerving. I probably wouldn't watch it again but it's very good and a lot of members here would like it.
Yeah I really liked it too. Not normally the type of film I like either, as supernatural stuff isn't my thang. But it was done really well.





I Married a Strange Person, 1997

In this animated film from Bill Plympton, Grant (Tom Larson) is newly married to Keri (Charis Michelsen). But Grant soon develops a strange lump on his neck that gives him the power to warp and shape the reality around him. This creates a strain on the relationship between Keri and Grant and also makes Grant the target of a nefarious group who wants to steal Grant's powers.

Plympton, for me, falls into that category of creatives who I can appreciate, but mostly in small doses. His fixation with body mutilation and distortion, combined with a focus on sex, starts to feel a bit old hat after a while. Fortunately, this film has a narrative that's zany enough that it keeps things moving even past the hour mark.

Part of the humor in the film comes from the way that characters around Grant act with only mild surprise or annoyance to the way that he reshapes and warps the objects and bodies around him. This is sort of funny, but it was hard to get a read on whether the film thinks what Grant is doing is wrong or if it's just a fun exploration of goofy wish fulfillment. Yes, this might seem like an overly-serious thing to say about a movie where a giant lizard man teams up with a television clown to steal a lump out of a man's neck, but the film's interest in distorting women's bodies in the interest of sexual gratification starts to feel uncomfortable. This could be seen as a tongue-in-cheek critique of the kind of point-of-view you'd expect from a guy like Grant, but there are several asides that aren't from his point of view that push this same dynamic.

A problem with making the characters so subdued is that it's harder to get invested in them, even within the very wacky reality of the film. (This is a movie where a lawn full of grass comes to life, hijacks a lawnmower, and tries to run down the man who has been committing the crime of cutting them down for years.) There's something a bit too muted about the emotional tone of the film. It works as a funny contrast in small doses, but in a film where we have to stick with the same characters for 72 minutes, you want to feel like Keri or Grant are people. When Grant literally changes Keri's body to make her look like different women, or to grow her breasts so large that they burst out of their house, you want more of a reaction from her than, "Grant! Knock it off!". There's a lot of sex and sexual content, but I wish there had been more passion.

The kind of movie I'm glad I watched once, but don't imagine watching again.






Buddies, 1985

David (David Schachter) signs up to be a "buddy" to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a young man who is dying of AIDS-related complications. As the two discuss love, death, gay rights, and other weighty matters, they forge a strong relationship. But David is unprepared for the emotional toll of caring for someone who is terminally ill.

In a heartbreaking case of life imitating art, the director of this film, Arthur J. Bressan Jr., died of AIDS at the age of 44, just two years after its release. Geoff Edholm likewise died of AIDS, at the age of 33, just four years after the film. The fates of these two men add some heft to the conversations that take place through the film, including its ideas about the responsibilities of those left behind.

Something that is really refreshing about the film is that it's not just some "us vs the world" take on what it means to be gay (in 1980s America! in the middle of the AIDS crisis!), which it could easily have been. Yes, we do read part of an editorial claiming that AIDS is a punishment sent from God to gay people, but for the most part the conversations about being gay and gay acceptance are nuanced. I loved that the character of David has supportive parents. His mother knows he is gay and is proud of his work in gay rights. When David tells her that Robert's family has disowned him and won't come visit him, his mother replies with a sigh that "not all parents are like us." This is not an easy place to be gay, but the characters are not without their allies.

The conversations between David and Robert are frank and interesting. Robert talks about having been in an open relationship with his boyfriend, Edward. Robert says that he thinks their relationship could have survived him having AIDS, but that a mix of Edward being afraid to catch it from Robert AND the guilt that he might have given it to him "killed his love." The two have different points of view on pride parades, which David finds tacky and says he doesn't like the idea of putting himself on display. Robert argues that showing themselves as gay is important and necessary to help normalize being gay. David is arguing that he doesn't want to be defined by his sexuality, while Robert is saying that visibility is necessary for acceptance. They both have valid points, and the film resists being preachy one way or the other.

Something that the film really drives home in a powerful way is the isolation that Robert experiences. He is literally quarantined with a huge sign outside of his door blaring "CONTAGION!". When David first comes into the room, he's practically in a hazmat suit: gloves, apron, and a face mask. His family won't come to visit him, and neither will his lover. It's not how anyone should experience the last days or weeks of life, and for all their conversations about gay rights, the heart of the film is the way that David provides Robert with emotional and even physical intimacy that he's missing. In one sequence, Robert confesses that he masturbated the night before and, while everything "worked", it wasn't really him experiencing sexual satisfaction. The next day, David brings in some soft-core VHS tapes, and holds Robert as Robert works toward orgasm. It's a scene that could have felt lewd or exploitative, but the camera stays focused on Robert's face and David's hands on Robert's shoulders, giving him presence and pressure without being invasive or even overly sexual. There are so many things that David takes for granted--a supportive family, a loving romantic partner--that Robert has lost because of who he is and what he's been through. Witnessing this pushes David to a different understanding of what it means to be an advocate.

It is true that the film has a low-budget look to it, and that some of the acting and line delivery can come across a bit stilted. But this story and the places it's willing to go are so outside of what would have been given big studio support, that it's "shortcomings" in those areas actually serve to reinforce that this had to be an outsider story. (Note: This wasn't directly a @Rockatansky recommendation, but his writing about the director put it on my radar, so *hat tip*)

Bressan apparently mainly directed adult films, but this film speaks to such an intimacy and understanding that you can feel how personal it is. I love that part of the film's message is that through helping others, we can build our own empathy and worldview. Even two people who are, on the surface, almost demographically identical (young, white, gay, male, New Yorkers, etc) can still learn from each other.

Highly recommended.




Thanks for the shoutout, although I suppose I should keep nudging you to watch the pair of surprisingly artful and sensitive pornos I watched from him.


Also, how did you watch this? I see it's on Vimeo for rent, but wondering if it's on any other services. The Blu-ray looks to be out of print.