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Since May


Midsommar (Aster, 2019)
Aster is seriously the director to look out for right now, between this and Hereditary he's doing brilliant things. This one is perhaps slightly less lasting but haunting none the less. His cult obsession reminds of of Polanski, as does much of the directorial style. One of the best modern day horrors.
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Jojo rabbit (Waititi, 2019)
Hard to remember you're not watching a Wes Anderson film, during this colorful and touching WWII piece. Very human, and well balanced. The final quote really sticks. Probably will rate higher with another viewing
++

American Murder: The Family Next Door (Popplewell, 2020)
This is actually the laziest true crime documentary I have ever wasted my time watching. You will get much more insight off about any amateur Youtube video diving in the case. News collage mixed with facebook posts, no drama, no effort, no intrigue. And it's actually an interesting case, but this was a waste. F*ck Chris Watts, and F*ck this lazy production

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Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



Nostalgic Halloween week. Revisiting 80s & 90s movies I haven't seen in many a moon:



The Night Flier (1997) -

Miguel Ferrer plays the usual sweet, affable, kindhearted, considerate and generous individual who works for a highly reputable tabloid that, in absolutely good faith, puts him on the case of a vampiric serial murderer. Hacky writing and OTT characters, but a comfortable & spooky atmosphere with a big Fulci-esque climax. Also, the movie takes its runtime to build up the big face reveal of the villain, so you can thank the marketing team for putting it on the poster.


Deep Rising (1998) -

A group of ruffians board an ostentatious cruise ship intending to rob it, but are foiled by the offspring of CG water tremors & the langoliers. Dumb fun action horror. There are actually some pretty funny one liners, a consistently fun plot, and a likable wise cracking hero played by Treat Williams. It seems a bit more self-aware than most of its ilk. Best consumed with testosterone, caffeine and popcorn.


Pumpkinhead (1988) -

A rural shopkeeper employs a rubbery demon to enact revenge on a group of cityfolk. I did not remember how great the cinematography is. Although there's plenty of camp, there are also some powerful and morbid moments that aren't drug down by it.




Leviathan (1989) -

An underwater Alien rip-off with elements of The Thing thrown in. It's not too ham-fisted until the gore commences. Most of it is a lot of fun, with a decent cast and a well-paced build to the horror, but is bookended by one of the tackiest, most phoned in endings I've ever seen.


Mimic (1997) -

Killer man-sized roaches in New York. Steamy dark blue-green-yellow cinematography is the most standout element, along with Charles S. Dutton stealing every scene he's in. The great atmosphere carries it most of the way, but the final act is too hectic for my tastes, and hinders the creepiness that came before it. Still my favorite Del Toro movie behind Pan's Labyrinth.


Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) -

A heavy dose of twisted, fantastical, borderline surreal horror that goes way beyond even Barker's original vision. Christopher Young's score is even more aptly epic. The movie is batsh*t and creative enough for me to forgive some silliness and implausibilities.



Lord of Illusions (1995) -

A neo-noir horror movie about a private eye getting mixed up in a case involving real magic. Special effects range from outstanding twisted practical effects to some absurdly corny CGI. It's a unique horror movie, though the noir elements and lead character are cliche (that may have been the point; a homage to old school gumshoes).



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
October, 2020 movies watched-

Possessor (2020)
+ A must watch for fans of Sci-Fi/horror.

The Nightingale (2018)
I was pleasantly surprised at how brutal this historical revenge tale was.

Borat 2 (2020)
- The dude is just funny.

Totally Under Control (2020)
Excellent documentary even if it's liberal propaganda.

A Man and a Woman (1966)
Beautiful French romance with it's share of pain.

October viewings-5
2020 viewings-121



Hello! I'm glad to be here.



Deep Rising (1998) -

A group of ruffians board an ostentatious cruise ship intending to rob it, but are foiled by the offspring of CG water tremors & the langoliers. Dumb fun action horror. There are actually some pretty funny one liners, a consistently fun plot, and a likable wise cracking hero played by Treat Williams. It seems a bit more self-aware than most of its ilk. Best consumed with testosterone, caffeine and popcorn.
Pleased to see a positive reaction. This is a longtime favorite of mine. I think it's considerably better than its reputation. The movie doesn't have the obnoxious level of self-awareness that bugs me about a lot of modern movies with B-movie premises, but everyone in front and behind the camera seemed fully aware of the type of flick they were making, yet it still treats itself seriously enough for viewers to invest in the stakes. Famke Janssen at the peak of her sex appeal is another highlight.

Speaking of dumb, fun, testosterone-fueled action-horror-comedies starring Treat Williams, you ever seen the 80's zombie buddy-cop flick, Dead Heat? That's another favorite of mine I'd recommend.
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Pleased to see a positive reaction. This is a longtime favorite of mine. I think it's considerably better than its reputation. The movie doesn't have the obnoxious level of self-awareness that bugs me about a lot of modern movies with B-movie premises, but everyone in front and behind the camera seemed fully aware of the type of flick they were making, yet it still treats itself seriously enough for viewers to invest in the stakes. Famke Janssen at the peak of her sex appeal is another highlight.

Speaking of dumb, fun, testosterone-fueled action-horror-comedies starring Treat Williams, you ever seen the 80's zombie buddy-cop flick, Dead Heat? That's another favorite of mine I'd recommend.
The purpose of that binge was to rewatch movies that I already knew I had fun with in the past. I may have underrated it a bit. It's hard to imagine anyone that likes OTT slimy action not enjoying Deep Rising.

Haven't seen Dead Heat, but it looks good. I'll seek it out soon.



Seen in November

Possessor
-: You rarely see gore like this in horror and action anymore, so this was a fun change of pace. The characters are a bit boring, which makes me hesitant to re-watch it, but I’m still excited to see what Brandon Cronenberg comes up with next.

All About my Mother Re-watch
-: Not as good as I remembered, but I still love the characters and colours.

The Last American Virgin
: An average sex comedy that evolves into a heart wrenching critique of itself. I know it’s a bit of a cult classic, but I’d like to see it become more popular.

The Merchant of Venice (2015)
: I miss the theatre.

Saboteur
-: Maybe it echoes ‘The 39 Steps' too much and is tonally inconsistent in parts, but since it’s Hitchcock you’re guaranteed excellent chase scenes and a nail-biting ending.

Red Heat
: Not one of Arnie’s best ventures; it’s watchable but doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before.

The Mask Re-watch
+: I miss these silly CGI slapstick films. Jim Carrey is great as always, and the style and presentation of the moonlit city is what my mind always goes to when I think of noir.

The Blob (1958)
+: I don’t hate ’tell don’t show’ old B-movies (I mean, I love The Fly and The Incredible Shrinking Man), it’s just that there wasn't enough Blob action for me; too many scenes of teenagers goofing around or arguing with the police.

We Live in Public
: Documentary about a crazy tech guy who created intense art projects which represented his view of the internet. Quite an interesting guy, and he might’ve predicted the prevalence of social media?

Dancer in the Dark
+: Manages to re-evaluate the musical genre while not insulting the genre and still being an excellent musical in its own right. Björk is as good as an actress as she is a singer, she does amazingly at portraying a childlike but brave and determined mother. I know some critique it as being melodramatic, but I quite like that; sometimes we all need a good cry in our lives (and Hollywood musicals can be quite melodramatic so it kinda ties into the meaning of the film).

The Exorcist 3
+: Should’ve just called it something else, it’s a good horror but it’s unfair to compare it to The Exorcist. George C. Scott is amazing, in fact nearly all of the acting in this film is very good. Despite being quite quaint in comparison to the Exorcist, it manages to pack in a few good scares. The scenes of people describing crimes really echo ‘Seven’, even though this was made before that.

On the Town
: I honestly preferred the dancing over the actual songs, but yeah I had fun.

Scream 2
-: Of course you can’t really live up to the first one, but it still manages to be quite suspenseful and have humorous scenes that make fun of itself.

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Saw these ones as part of an online film festival

Paris is Burning
: One of those documentaries where the director doesn’t intervene and just lets the subjects speak for themselves. A very humorous but tragic story that offers a whole new perspective on NYC. Director gave an introduction for this one, so that was cool

Keyboard Fantasies
-: I don’t care for music documentaries, but the premise interested me enough to check this out. A documentary about a dude that made an electronic album in the 80’s that sold like 50 copies, now it’s a cult classic and we get to see his touring life with his band. Cool examination of a single person and shows how fun the young indie touring artist scene is.

Siberia
+: My first Abel Ferrara, so I have no idea whether this was a unique film or a boring retread of his previous work. Still, I found it an interesting one of those ‘dreamscape’ films. Abel introduced this one, so I appreciated that.

Honeymood
: If ‘The Odyssey’ was a romcom set over a single night. I like how it depicts how you love a partner even if you’re arguing with them, but that’s about it really.

Wildfire
: A really solid character piece with great performances.

Ashes and Diamonds
-: I have the same thoughts about this that I'd have to a Bergman film; it has great visuals and an incredible effective ending, but it just doesn’t resonate with me that much.

Irish Destiny (1926)
: Feels like one of those old Soviet propaganda films but within a different context. Loses some of the tension in the second half, but it’s still a really good political drama. Our head of government gave an introduction to this one, so I guess they were really f*ckin' pumped for a restoration lol.

Wolfwalkers
: Tomm Moore/Cartoon Saloon never missteps. Suffers from most of the cliches that kids films suffer from, but the animation and music are ten times better than most kids films. Also has amazing voice acting and emotional resonance too. Will definitely be checking out this one again. Q&A with Tomm Moore afterwards, that was interesting.



October watches (doesn't include films previously rated or marked as seen on here):


November watches (doesn't include films previously rated or marked as seen on here):


The one w/o a poster on the second row is Maruja (1959)
Thr four w/o posters on row five are (l-r):
Dr. Sex (1964)
Slander House (1938)
Pink Panic (1967) short
Sicque! Sicque! Sicque! (1966) short
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Noms
Pre-1930 Countdown


Almost famous for having nailed Madonna once



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
November, 2020 movies watched-

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
+ Pretty good for me and I can understand the love.

Across the Universe (2007)
A great experience more than a great movie.

All About My Mother (1999)
- My 2nd movie from this director and now I'm hooked.

No Reason (2010)
- Passable German extreme film.

Rolling Vengeance (1987)
- Decent enough 80's cheese.

Pig (2010)
+ It has it moments but it gets tiring.

November viewings-6
2020 viewings-127



First time viewings + Re-watches September, October, November


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The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 Scott Derrickson
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National Lampoon’s Vacation 1983 Harold Ramis
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+ Phenomena 1985 Dario Argento
+ Night Moves 1975 Arthur Penn
+ The Darjeeling Limited 2007 Wes Anderson
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Atlantic City 1980 Louis Malle
Used Cars 1980 Robert Zemeckis
The Final Countdown 1980 Don Taylor
Hoosiers 1986 David Anspaugh
F/X Murder by Illusion 1986 Robert Mandel
Gardens of Stone 1987 Francis Ford Coppola
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+ The Quiet Man 1952 John Ford
+ Super Fly 1972 Gordon Parks Jr.
+ Breaker Morant 1980 Bruce Beresford
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- Run Silent, Run Deep 1958 Robert Wise
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Shadow of a Doubt 1943 Alfred Hitchcock
The Trouble with Harry 1955 Alfred Hitchcock
Jean de Florette 1986 Claude Berri
Manon of the Spring ‘Manon des Sources’ 1986 Claude Berri
??rating?? A Visitor to a Museum ‘Посетитель музея’ 1989 Konstantin Lopushansky
In the Mood for Love 2000 ‘花樣年華’ Wong Kar-wai
Good Night, and Good Luck. 2005 George Clooney
Tenet 2020 Christopher Nolan
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+ Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion 1970 Elio Petri
+ Ghost in the Shell 1995 Mamoru Oshii
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Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles 1988 Brian Mills (TV Movie)
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Planes, Trains and Automobiles 1987 John Hughes



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby, 1971)



Harold and Maude certainly isn't meant to be some political diatribe. It's not about economics or conservatiism vs. liberalism, although it wouldn't be hard to pull that out if you want to discuss where its heart lies. Do I look up to Maude? Of course I do. She's not like anybody else. Is she wacky and a wacko? Of course; that's why I love her. Harold and Maude is just much simpler in its basics than people seem to think it is, although its details can be complex. Harold represents Death and Maude represents Life. That's not anything too tough to grasp. If you find this a simplistic look at life, especially for a draft-age kid who could go to Vietnam at anytime (it was made in 1971) somehow personally insulting, then I think you're taking it much too seriously. Yes, and that includes the fact that Maude is a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp (remember the tattooed number on her arm?)

First and foremost, Harry and Maude is a comedy, and one I've been laughing at out loud at for almost 27 years now. It's definitely one of the blackest comedies ever made, but it probably does have the funniest sets of "deaths" of any black comedy I've seen. I do not find anything reasonable about any of the characters that the film seems to make fun of, nor do I find the concept of being drafted to go and fight in a war which seems to have no meaning something to be proud about doing. Harold was probably supposed to be about seven years older than I am, but I was in the last group that actually had their birth dates numbered in the draft, so even if it happened to me after I saw Harold and Maude, I definitely can relate to something about why Harold sees death as the way to live and "fake death" as preferable to real death.

Secondly, Harold and Maude is very romantic. Yes, the Priest's verbalization of what it would be like for Harold and Maude to make love makes him sick, but I find it hilarious. Harold and Maude is one of those films where you can see why opposites attract or maybe even why people who are actually similar at heart seem to be opposites; they were born at different times and went through similar things at different times. You just need to sit down and talk with someone about why they seem different. I mean, even Harold is a bit taken aback at how brazen Maude's antics seem to be, but whatever you say, Maude never really hurts anybody. At least not compared to what she must have lived through in the camps. Besides, Maude knows what we do not know. Maude knows how everything will turn out, and she lets Harold make his own choice on how to live and whether to die. If you ask me, if Maude wasn't good for Harold, then the ending would have been a much bigger downer than it is.

My fave scenes in the flick, besides Harold's suicides, are the ending, the awesome scene where they're having a picnic, pick flowers and then the camera pulls back to show you where they are, and the scene with the motorcycle cop. If you don't know, the cop is played by Tom Skerritt (Alien), and he's hilarious. Now, if I had some reason to be worried about any of the characters running around loose on the street who might actually endanger people, it would be this cop. If his pistol didn't misfire, he probably would have shot a pedestrian stone dead.
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It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
+


You know that scene near the beginning of The Apartment where Jack Lemmon comes home after a long day's work and then waits for some executive and his escort to vacate his apartment? He eats a TV dinner and drinks a bottle of Coke (a sly preview of Wilder's next film, One, Two, Three) while he's watching late-night TV. The channel is going to show the classic Grand Hotel, but instead they list all the cast and just when Jack's excited, they go to those late-night TV commercials they had during all-night movies back in the day. That scene really reminded me of how I'd stay up all night at the neighbors' house babysitting and watch tons of old movies with those lousy, ridiculous commercials. Another anecdote I can tell you about The Apartment was that when I bought my first VCR, it was one of the movies I bought along with it. I used to watch it every time it was on TV, but I hadn't seen the film for a few years, and it was the best film I could buy at a reasonable price.

It is really an acerbic drama masquerading as a "light romantic comedy". It's about a bunch of wealthy, misogynistic creeps taking advantage of women and Jack Lemmon's poor schmuck. But Jack gets blamed for the poor behavior, and Shirley MacLaine is demeaned so much, she tries to commit suicide! Light entertainment? It does have Billy Wilder and writing partner I.A.L. Diamond's usual quota of wit and dark satire, but it's one of Wilder's most dramatic films, at least since Some Like It Hot. But it's also a very good movie and obviously one of his most beloved.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)




In my original 100, I placed it at 49. It's very entertaining, an impressive technical achievement and well acted by Hanks and Sinise. As far as some other themes it touches (women's lib, AIDS), it's not particularly successful but at least it addresses them. I prefer it as an offbeat comedy more than a serious drama or a weepie. I've said before that it's basically a Cliffs Notes version of the second half of 20th century American history. You should study the real thing rather than take it from Forrest Gump.

Forrest certainly does experience many things which are important to our life, but he's not responsible for them. They would have all happened and been discovered without him. In other words, Hunt and Liddy would still have been discovered without Forrest, and honest to God, they were! The point of Forrest Gump and what makes it an important stepping stone for many people who have no concept or desire to learn about the history of the United States during the last 50 years is that movies can actually teach them something about reality which is totally separate from vampire love, torture, wizards, werewolves, paranormal bull****e, bogus witches, etc. When I used to teach at my school, more teenagers probably learn about the concepts of the reality of rock and roll, civil rights, modern U.S. political assassinations, the Vietnam War, AIDs, etc., from Forrest Gump. However, the key is that it makes most of them want to learn the OTHER truth about all those subjects after watching it.

On the other hand, if they had a woebegone teacher such as I, they also learned about cinematic history as well as that of other important concepts which hopefully lasted them the rest of their lives, but Forrest Gump can only be considered something hellacious if you think that it's specifically responsible for the [Current] Downfall of Western Civilization. It's so ancient at this point that I find that difficult to believe. Besides, Forrest Gump probably has more reality in it than most films do because there are just so many films made nowadays which have NO reality whatsoever.



Arena (1989) -

One human becomes a contendah in the alien-dominated pro fighting of the future. Who would want to see puny humanoids fighting eachother when you can get awkwardly immobile aliens slinging rubber appendages.

These kind of movies often only look fun from afar, but this one stays pretty entertaining throughout, and is enhanced by the cool 80s sci-fi set zeitgeist.



I hope the extra pair of hands got paid well.

Knives Out (2019) -

Clever, well-made, elegant (sans vomit) spin on a murder mystery with little replayability.


The Jacket (2005) -

A war veteran with PTSD is (perhaps falsely) accused of a crime and institutionalized. A psych thriller that makes the viewer question the lead's dismal reality. Not particularly unique, but good.


Waiting for Guffman (1996) -

A mockumentary about a quirky small town cast producing a so-bad-it's-good play. It's shot in a dry, fly on the wall style that could have had an influence on The Office and the like.


Stay (2005) -

A psychiatrist starts to question his sanity while trying to help a suicidal patient. I expected a standard reality-bending psych thriller, but this is more artistic than most of its ilk, with as much Lynchian influence as a quickly paced Hollywood thriller will allow. Despite that, the story never really grabbed me and I felt somewhat disinterested when it came time for the big emotional climax.

Possessor (2020) -

A business in the near-future uses humans as surrogates to commit gory assassinations. There's a very bleak dark ambient tone with an experimental shooting style. It doesn't have a good enough atmosphere to carry it through tedium, but I liked it overall. Especially the twisted montage scenes.


Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962) -
?
A man tries to save women from the slave trade in Chinatown's seedy underworld. Dark & disturbing subject matter even by today's standards, racial insensitivities, terrible supporting acting, an eerie caricatured Chinese/Theremin score, cool sets with flimsy cardboard hidden passageways, dramatic Vincent Price narration, silly action scenes that appear to be lifted from a Laurel & Hardy film, a slow-motion Vincent-Price-escaping-slave-traders-in-an-Opium-den-while-high-as-a-kite scene, a dwarf lady that's supposed to pass as a girl but looks like she's pushing 60, and a hard to follow plot.

At times I felt like giving this 1/5 and would flip to 4/5 in the next scene. This is incredibly bizarre for a cheap old Hollywood thriller. I recommend it to fans of older weird cinema.



There is no explanation given for the horse.





Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)
+ Art House Rating




Come and See basically tells the story of a boy who is thrust into the unknown horror of World War II. His country, and more specifically, his village, needs him to help combat the Nazis. The central character, probably no more than 15, feels pride in being allowed to fight with what amounts to a Resistance movement, since there is really no organized military involved. Director Klimov is a master of sight and sound, and although the film is accessible to everyone, there are periods where it almost seems like an experimental film. After a particular loud nearby explosion, a hum stays on the soundtrack for maybe 20+ minutes because the characters are unable to actually hear each other. One thing about Come and See is that even if you can sense the feeling that you should expect the worst, when it shows up, you are not prepared for how visceral and spontaneous it truly is. I don't really want to reveal anymore, but the boy, despite spending an idyllic couple of days with a girl he meets along the way, looks at the end like he's literally aged from 15 to about 30 in the span of weeks.

Here's an interview with director Klimov who discusses how he tried to make the movie for years but was blocked by Soviet censors. He and his co-writer lived through the war and says, "That subject was too sacred for us to be false" and he says, "I think the film is rather reserved... we could have shown such things there, but no one would have beren able to watch it, and our work would've been in vain." I've also included an obituary which highlights the fact that he had problems with the government before and after all the films he made. His wife's death and the whole experience left him incapable of making another film the remaining 18 years of his life.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
December, 2020 movies watched-

The Right Stuff (1983)
Exceptional crowd pleaser.

Lolita Vibrator Torture (1987)
- A better than average extreme film.

Flesh Meat Doll(S) (2016)
15 minute extreme short that delivers the sick.

Underworld (1927)
One of many good movies from Josef Von Sternberg.

Secrets & Lies (1996)
+ So emotionally rewarding.

Downfall (2004)
Incredible.

Pig Pen (2015)
A few decent moments but too amateurish.

Dard Divorce (2007)
Pretty decent extreme film with lots of violence.

The Help (2011)
- A little uneven but good quality and story.

December viewings-9
2021 viewings-136
7 year total since keeping track-2299



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)




Chinatown begins with almost a perfect recreation of the best opening credits which a classic mystery NEVER actually began with. The Sepiatone, the fast scroll, Jerry Goldsmith's sexy, jazzy score, the mistaken-identity opening, Gittes' obsession with sex... they're all perfect.

And the film does build and build... My fave mystery (both as book and novel) has always been The Maltese Falcon, but Sam Spade never lets anybody get his number. Scripter Robert Towne lets Nicholson's Gittes fall for Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), and their chemistry is terrific, so by the time we reach the most-Noirish ending of any Noir, our guts are just as busted up as Gittes. The ending is not rushed at all. After all, what do you want to see? Gittes cry and then go blow away Noah Cross like the ending of Taxi Driver? I don't think so, I hope.

You know, I've seen this movie so many damn times and the first time I saw it was one of the first drive-ins I went to in 1974, but for some strange reason, I never realized that Nicholson's Jake Gittes acted almost completely like an amateur at the beginning of Chinatown. I mean, Sam Spade seems like a pro in The Maltese Falcon, but when one of Gittes' "operatives" takes photos and shows them to him, Gittes blows him off ("Is that all you got?") and shows no signs of realizing who Noah Cross (John Huston) is.

Then, later on when Gittes is doing his own photographic essays, he knocks down some tiles a la Ben-Hur to try to announce his presence!

The scene where the "real" Evelyn Mulwray shows up is a classic where Gittes talks about "contemplating the moon", but it introduces many of the concepts of Film Noir into modern film usage. "Noir" literally means "Black" in French, but since most film noirs were made and shot in America before the French defined the term, I think that we are allowed to adapt the definition to mean anything which seems to involve a man, a woman, a mystery and something "Pitch Black". I cannot think of a plot more "black" or "noir" than Chinatown, so you will never convince me that it's not a perfect example of film noir. Even though the cinematography by John Alonzo of Chinatown is often crisp and bright, the plotting is dark and murky, but that doesn't mean that Alonzo doesn't go out of his way to use plenty of shadows throughout the film.

An homage to The Maltese Falcon is apparently the character named Ida Sessions. Well, Iva was the name of Sam Spade's partner Miles Archer's wife, and Spade was having an affair with her before Miles got "lead poisoning" and died. Let's see. It's also about halfway through Chinatown that one of the great reveals occurs and I'm talking about the line, "It's bad for the glass."

Gittes may be an amateur as a private dick, but he does go out of his way to sing about what he thinks of the real Evelyn Mulwray - "I love you and just the way you look tonight... "

What do you think of the scene in the bathroom where Gittes finds the flaw in Evelyn's iris? Wasn't that just about the sexiest scene in screen history?

As Chinatown inexorably moves on to its finale, who else is haunted by Gittes' comment that in Chinatown he was trying to keep somebody from being hurt? Chinatown is crammed with scenes which no other film contains. Do any others contain chases through orange fields? How about people getting knifed in the nose and spending 40% of the film with a huge bandage on the nose? Then again, many films refer to something which happened to a character before the movie started, but very few do not reveal what it was that happened [in Chinatown].

How about all the fun clues and foreshadowing spread throughout the movie which lead you to the identity of the murderer and the chief baddie in the flick? In the very first scene where Curly [who rules] (Burt Young) looks at the photos which Gittes got of his wife cheating, Curly says, "They don't pay you as much for skipjack as they do for albacore." Later when Gittes looks at the photos of Mulwray arguing with who turns out to be Noah Cross, Walsh says he could only make out one phrase due to all the noisy traffic, "apple core". In Yelbertson's office, there are several photographs of big fish on the walls. Later on, in Yelberton's secretary's room, Gittes sees lots of photos of Mulwray and Cross and learns who Cross is.

Just for fun, the "midget" (Polanski) who slices up Gittes' nose tells him that next time he'll cut the rest of it off and feed it to his goldfish. Later on, Gittes speaks the line, "What do you think of them apples?" just in case you forgot about "apple core". Gittes finally meets Cross and has lunch with him on Catalina Island at the Albacore Club. His lunch is a fish served with the head on. Cross says he prefers them that way and Gittes says that it's fine "as long as you don't serve the chicken that way." Of course, later on we learn that the Old Age Home is "sponsored" and does some work for the Albacore Club. Then we also learn that Mrs. Mulwray is Noah Cross's daughter.

As a side note, in the restaurant where the pianist plays "The Way You Look Tonight" the arrangement seems to highlight how much the melody resembles that of "As Time Goes By" (Casablanca).



Le Dîner de Cons (1998) -

A group of country club douchebags have weekly dinner parties to invite & exploit 'idiots' that they meet. A golfing-related back injury renders one host incapable of attending, and he is left in the care of his 'idiot,' who unintentionally takes steps to sabotage his life. I love this premise. A well acted dialogue driven comedy that had me giggling throughout most of it. I only wish we got to see Pignon (the idiot) at the dinner party, accidentally wreaking havok with the purest of intentions.


Kikujiro (1999) -

An irresponsible man with a short fuse is paid to take a young boy to meet his mother for the first time. It's moving, hilarious, and charming, but far from the Hollywood sense. It's a deadpan comedy, with ocassional surreal or very un-family friendly content.


Divorcing Jack (1998) -

A rebel journalist accidentally gets mixed up in a murder mystery and political conspiracy with a wild, somewhat eccentric cast. A comedy thriller with a fun, crass attitude.


Homicide (1991) -

A Jewish detective is put on a case that seems connected to a Jewish conspiracy, involving folks that gatekeep him for not speaking Hebrew. Joe Mantegna is such a good actor here. The kind of actor that makes me forget I'm watching a movie character. Mamet's naturalistic dialogue helps too. It feels like there was more story to be had here, but it was cut off at the neck to fit a runtime.

Or...
WARNING: "Homicide" spoilers below
the ending is the writer's way of illustrating how personal biases can often make things seem bigger than they are. I like that message.



Dead Heat (1988) -

An undead officer (named Roger Mortis) and his buddy take on a group of folks who are turning corpses into criminals. Fun easy watch for fans of camp. The schlocky horror elements are the highlight (especially the undead butcher shop), but the wisecracking tries too hard, isn't as funny or well-acted as it needs to be, and gets annoying pretty quickly.


Gozu (2003) -

A young yakuza member searches for his missing brother. An old favorite, but not quite as great as I remembered. It's oft associated with disturbing gore-laden horror films, but is in better company with dark surrealism. Slow and dry (a bit too slow), with exceptionally weird and perverse characters carrying a straight-man(ish) lead through a series of unpredictable events. Nearly every scene is bizarre enough to make you uncomfortable, and absurd enough to make you laugh. Things to avoid for the next month: custard, milk, and ladles.




Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Jim Carey plays not Jim Carey. Who would have thought?

Soul


Gives you the patented "Pixar feeling" once you're finished, and the all new "Existential Crisis" while you're watching. Does its job, while still remaining pretty generic and predictable, in line with most modern animated movies (I didn't say all!).

Return of the Jedi


Not sure why people dog on this one while holding the first (I refuse to say A New Hope) on this pedestal. In my opinion they both share a lot of the same flaws, and end up being fun space action films and not much more. Which is totally fine, these films are iconic for a reason, but I think Empire is the only one that feels fully realized (So controversial, I know).

Perfect Blue


Good movie for all the blind people out there, because they just tell you everything that happens and what it means in one scene.

Hope I did this right!