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I'm probably just repeating what Stu said, but Faye Valentine's sexualized appearance definitely should not stop anyone from continuing Cowboy Bebop. Her getup is very much meant to manipulate her more toxic and animal-brained marks. She never comes across as a mere sexualized plaything. In fact, she may be one of the best realized female characters in fiction.

Cowboy Bebop is one of the best pieces of art in any medium. It's so damn good.
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Last Great Movie Seen
Time (Bradley, 2020)



The B-Side -


A low-key Errol Morris documentary - an anti-Fog of War, if you will - that's no less interesting that's about his friend and colleague Elsa Dorfman (R.I.P.), a photographer who championed Polaroid film. Very much a love letter to photography - particularly film photography - it's bound to make photography experts and enthusiasts appreciate the medium even more and amateurs want to explore it further. I also like how the movie explores what we lost when film photography lost the war to digital, namely how we lost imperfections, human touches, what have you like black bars and chemical stains that Dorfman made into her trademarks. It's also a joy simply to listen to hear Dorfman talk about her career and the people it let her associate with like Allen Ginsburg, who ended up being one of her best friends. Again, Dorfman is no Robert McNamara or Steve Bannon (thank God for that), but the movie proves that Errol Morris doesn't need to have someone who makes their kind of headlines as his subject to craft a compelling documentary.





I just watched this, agree it's a film of it's time with a few wft scenes but solid and believe-able.



You probably know that Sjöström played the old man in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, which was the first Bergman movie I ever saw.
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Re-watch. One of my favorite movies.



A very good movie. Unusual interesting storyline & the 3 leads were terrific.





I just watched this, agree it's a film of it's time with a few wft scenes but solid and believe-able.
I was going to post earlier asking if that movie had a poster showing this enormous stone head half buried in the sand. I remembered seeing it all the time while browsing at Blockbuster. I don't know why I never picked it up. I guess add this to the list of films I need to watch like The Furies and Black Swan.



I was going to post earlier asking if that movie had a poster showing this enormous stone head half buried in the sand. I remembered seeing it all the time while browsing at Blockbuster. I don't know why I never picked it up. I guess add this to the list of films I need to watch like The Furies and Black Swan.
As you could tell from my review, I would recommend it. I would also recommend going into it with as little advanced knowledge as possible. I tried to keep my review really vague because I think there are a lot of fun things to discover in it.



A system of cells interlinked
Kiki's Delivery Service

Miyazaki, 1989





Continuing on through the Studio Ghibli collection with my daughter, we watched Kiki's Delivery Service over the weekend. Stelly just loved this one, especially the cat. I liked it more than I thought I would, but a great deal of my enjoyment stemmed from seeing her so taken with the film.


Sound of Metal

Mardur, 2020





This film manages to avoid over-dramatizing and over-the-top acting, presenting a realistic peek into the deaf community. A recovering addict and metal musician finds himself with sudden onset hearing loss. Most of the film focuses on the various ways he tries to cope with the tragedy, and not so much on metal music, in case folks are expecting music to play a large part in the proceedings. As an aside, this is fine, as I found his band to be pretty much unlistenable, and I am a metalhead. Ahmed is stellar, well deserving of any Oscar attention he receives.
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A system of cells interlinked
Oops, one more. (SPOILERS AHEAD)

I had attempted to wipe this film from my mind by subjecting myself to shock therapy for 43 hours straight, but instead of forgetting the film, I managed to fuse my body with one of the skulls of Ghidorah, after which I was electrocuted, transferring part of my consciousness and that of Ghidorah into a giant metal lizard. Our consciousnesses merged, becoming one mega-mecha-consciousness, after which, we ran amuck, smashing up a city, and getting into a tag team match with a giant monkey and a giant lizard. The aforementioned giant monkey and lizard were natives of The Hollow Earth(TM Disney Theme Parks, 2021), a place with inverted gravity that you reach by flying a spaceship into a tunnel, which goes through a gravity warp gate, so as to make sure you don't implode, unless you are a monkey, in which case you just climb up by sliding down while holding on to a hatchet. I know this all happened, because a conspiracy theorist, who has a super-secret plan to infiltrate an evil corporation, which he announced publicly on his podcast, because that's what you do to keep **** secret, documented everything, broadcasting it to everyone, including the people who run the evil corporation.

Kong vs Godzilla

Wingard, 2021






I'm probably just repeating what Stu said, but Faye Valentine's sexualized appearance definitely should not stop anyone from continuing Cowboy Bebop. Her getup is very much meant to manipulate her more toxic and animal-brained marks. She never comes across as a mere sexualized plaything. In fact, she may be one of the best realized female characters in fiction.

Cowboy Bebop is one of the best pieces of art in any medium. It's so damn good.



I know ya'll mean well, and I do intend to give the show another shot. But I'm going on 17 years of men on the internet telling me how I should feel about objectifying content. Does it tend to work?



But when I do watch it maybe Stu and I can team up for a Newbie/Expert review thread and you can all gloat when it turns out I love it.



But when I do watch it maybe Stu and I can team up for a Newbie/Expert review thread and you can all gloat when it turns out I love it.
I propose we start a MoFo reaction channel on Youtube. Episode 1: Takoma reacts to Cowboy Bebop. Episode 2: Captain Terror reacts to Commando. And so on...
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Captain's Log
My Collection



You probably know that Sjöström played the old man in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, which was the first Bergman movie I ever saw.

Also, the Death figure with a scythe in the Seventh Seal - another allusion.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.

Senior Moment (Giorgio Serafini, 2021)
5/10
The Glass Bottom Boat (Frank Tashlin, 1966)
6/10
Phobias (3 Directors, 2021)
- 5/10
Out Stealing Horses (Hans Petter Moland, 2019)
6/10

Somewhat convoluted tale of love, loss and memory covers multiple time frames and characters. Stellan Skarsgård adds some gravitas.
The Salt of Tears (Philippe Garrel, 2020)
+ 5/10
Hotel (Richard Quine, 1967)
6.5/10
Malmkrog AKA Manor House (Cristi Puiu, 2020)
5.5/10
A Night to Dismember (Doris Wishman, 1983)
5/10

With a Criswell-type narrator, trippy music/sound, sex and some not-so-tastefully-done '80s gore, this is an interesting mental breahdown art-horror.
Pink Narcissus (Anonymous [James Bidgood], 1971)
5/10
Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (Randal Kleiser, 1976)
6/10
Apparition (Isabel [Victor] Sandoval, 2012)
5/10
Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (Cyril Frankel, 1960)
+ 6/10

In Canada, two girls are molested by a wealthy family patriarch (Felix Aylmer) whose family always gets him off.
The Man Is Armed (Franklin Adreon, 1956)
5/10
Concrete Cowboy (Ricky Staub, 2020)
6/10
Señorita (Isabel [Victor] Sandoval, 2011)
5/10
Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1947)
6/10

Humanist noir where the leads (Dane Clark & Gail Russell) seem at least 10 years too old, but it's still full of poetic touches.
Man in the Vault (Andrew V. McLaglen, 1956)
5/10
Black Pond (Jessica Sarah Rinland, 2018)
6/10
Enhanced (James Mark, 2019)
+ 4.5/10
Chaos Walking (Doug Liman, 2021)
5.5/10

Way too complicated sci-fi actioner still has a few rewards if you aren't tired of seeing most of them. Tom Holland & Daisy Ridley shown here.
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It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



Chaos Walking (Doug Liman, 2021)
5.5/10

Way too complicated sci-fi actioner still has a few rewards if you aren't tired of seeing most of them. Tom Holland & Daisy Ridley shown here.
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The book series on which this movie is based is really good. I'm actually not that interested in seeing the film, because the power of the book is so much about the internal life of the main character and I can't really imagine a movie doing it justice.





Stakeout, 1958

A man named Ishii (Takahiro Tamura) is the prime suspect in the killing of a pawnbroker. When Ishii goes off the radar, two police detectives, Yuki (Minoru Oki) and Shimooka (Seiji Miyaguchi) stake out the home of Sadako (Hideko Takamine), one of Ishii's former lovers. As the two watch Sadako, they become more invested in her personal life, and Yuki in particular takes an interest in her.

Another film from the Japanese Noir collection, and this one was very interesting.

The primary focus of most of the film is on helping us to try and understand Sadako's life, and just how Ishii might fit into it. There is a lot of speculation from the detectives--will she assist him? Turn him in? Will he kill her and then himself?--and we get different hints from other characters about Sadako's daily existence. Sadako is married to a very stingy man and is helping to raise children from his previous marriage. So is her mundane life an escape from something, or is it something from which she wants to escape?

There are two aspects of the film that are done very well, in my opinion. The first is the way that Yuki begins to project his own emotions onto Sadako. As he watches the way that she is treated and the mundane nature of her domestic life, he begins to speculate about how she must feel. In parallel form, he puts himself in the position of Ishii, thinking about how he might approach Sadako.

When Ishii finally does show up in the film, the movie takes a nice chunk of time to explore how he feels about Sadako and how she feels about him. Parts of this align with Yuki's ideas, while others do not. What Yuki finally begins to realize in the last act is the way that Sadako lacks agency, and even when she takes steps to gain some control over her life, there is always someone there (even Yuki himself) to shut her down.

While this is billed as a crime thriller, to me it was more of a drama. As Yuki and Shimooka continue their weeks-long stakeout, they are forced to a place of empathy with Sadako. For both Sadako and the police, Ishii would provide at least a source of excitement, even if he also brings a degree of danger with him.

I am a bit on the fence about how I feel about the number of scenes we get from inside Sadako's house or her neighbors'. While they flesh out her character and situation a bit, they pull us away from Yuki and Shimooka. I kind of liked the notion of just seeing her life through the lens of the men having to watch her and the ideas they develop about her. The voyeuristic nature of what they are doing is sometimes explored--such as in two different scenes where they follow Sadako--but I wish we had seen the characters grapple with it a bit more. As it is, the main reflection comes at the very, very end of the film.

An interesting concept, but I wish it had been a little more pared down.






Take Aim at the Police Van, 1960

A police van transporting prisoners is attacked and several inmates are killed. A prison guard named Tamon (Michitaro Mizushima) is accused of negligence and is defamed in the local papers. Incensed, he sets out to determine who was behind the attack on the prison van.

This film starts out incredibly strong. The attack on the prison van is well-staged, and the first part of Tamon's investigation includes some really striking moments, such as when one of his leads, a dancer/stripper(?) is killed by being shot through the chest with an arrow. There is a constant sense of lurking danger and possibly even broader conspiracy. When Tamon visits the house of the woman's employer and sees a wealthy woman practicing archery with incredible accuracy, I was like "Oh, yes." This is the kind of film that trades in a very engaging outlandishness meant to keep you guessing the whole way through.

And yet I have to say that around the halfway mark my attention began to flag. Was this due to my mood? Due to the film? I'm not 100% sure. All I know is that all of a sudden there would be men running around with guns and I wasn't totally sure who they were and I just didn't have the interest to rewind to try and figure it out. The second half of the film has some memorable set-pieces (including a truck dripping gasoline that is being chased by an encroaching flame as the main character is tied to the steering wheel), but I felt that I had lost the plot and it reduced the impact of it all.

I did really enjoy the way that the film was shot. Despite some aspects having a sort of B-movie feel, there were some really neat angles and stagings of things, such as the way that a bridge/overpass frames a certain character after he has been in a fight with another man. Just these occasional moments of really nice composition and artistry.

I wish I'd stayed engaged with this one. Again, I'm not sure of this was on my end of things or if the film itself maybe just ran out of steam or was unclear in its second half. This was another entry in the Criterion Japanese Noir collection and I'm glad I checked it out.

I remember watching this the same weekend as a few other Japanese noirs and finding it inexplicably hard to follow.*It seems we had similar reactions.*I do remember enjoying a few other films from that Nikkatsu box set more, particularly the ones with Jo Shishido, although my memories are pretty vague.*


Suzuki would eventually get frustrated by studio demands and go on to make much more distinctive films within and outside the gangster genre, eventually getting fired because his films allegedly made no sense and made no money.*Tokyo Drifter is a favourite, and Gate of Flesh and Youth of the Beast are great as well, all making masterful use of colour.*Branded to Kill, the film that instigated his firing, is worthwhile as well, although I do remember it leaving me a bit cold.*I've seen a few others but those should be the priority.*





Black Art: In the Absence of Light, 2021

This documentary uses the 1976 exhibition entitled "Two Centuries of Black American Art" as a pivot point, looking both forward/into the present and back to the 40s, 50s, and 60s in terms of the production and reception of art by Black artists. The film is framed with interviews and commentary from David Driskell (who organized the 1976 exhibition and is an accomplished artist and art scholar in his own right), as well as contemporary artists and art historians.

I absolutely loved this documentary. Loved it.

To begin with, I have always loved watching people create, whether it's cooking, woodwork, painting, drawing, sculpture, fashion design---I am totally taken by the creative process. Even if the final product doesn't move me or isn't to my taste or style, I am fascinated by watching someone explore a methodology or try something new. In that spirit, I really appreciated the way that the film allowed the different artists to articulate both their point of view and show us a bit of their process. Whether they are reclaiming keys from destroyed pianos, turning photographs into vibrant paintings, or adapting classic works into contemporary context--I was there for it all.

I also thought that the film did a great job of framing the issue of Black representation in artistic spaces. One of the film's experts drops the stunning statistic that only 1.2% of artists in museums are Black artists. Not only is there a lack of representation, but it creates a high-pressure situation for artists who are shown in galleries because their art can be seen as a monolithic claim about "the Black experience". While many of the artists interviewed do have some overlaps--for example their regard for the portrayal of Black bodies and specifically Black men--they are all individuals bringing their own cultural and artistic focus to their work. The film really makes the case for why you can't just pick one or two artistic voices to highlight. The power of art comes in part from seeing it in context and contrast to other artists.

As a personal note, my sister and her husband were really floored by a show they saw several years ago from Kehinde Wiley (who created the stunning portrait of Obama that hangs in the National Gallery), and brought back some postcards of his work. I was excited to see him get a fair amount of screen time.

Even if you aren't a big art person, I would still highly recommend this film. It is informative and inspiring and it introduced me to half a dozen artists I had not heard of before. Tragically, Driskell died last spring of complications from Covid. I think it's amazing that this film creates such an in-depth record of his thoughts about Black art and specifically his place in it.




I remember watching this the same weekend as a few other Japanese noirs and finding it inexplicably hard to follow.*It seems we had similar reactions.
Glad it wasn't just me! All of a sudden it was like "And who are these guys?!"

Suzuki would eventually get frustrated by studio demands and go on to make much more distinctive films within and outside the gangster genre, eventually getting fired because his films allegedly made no sense and made no money.*Tokyo Drifter is a favourite, and Gate of Flesh and Youth of the Beast are great as well, all making masterful use of colour.*Branded to Kill, the film that instigated his firing, is worthwhile as well, although I do remember it leaving me a bit cold.*I've seen a few others but those should be the priority.*
I have definitely seen Branded to Kill and I am pretty sure I've seen Youth of the Beast.

Some of the titles on his IMDb page are, um, interesting.



I was going to post earlier asking if that movie had a poster showing this enormous stone head half buried in the sand. I remembered seeing it all the time while browsing at Blockbuster. I don't know why I never picked it up. I guess add this to the list of films I need to watch like The Furies and Black Swan.
Funny you mention it, I had the same experience of seeing the VHS box at Blockbuster back in the day and being curious and no idea why I never rented it, it's certainly a compelling image. When I finally watched it (maybe a dozen years ago) it wasn't whatever I was expecting from the box-art, but it was good and memorable.