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The Rover - Watched this not too long ago but I liked it so much that I felt compelled to watch it again. Second movie from director David Michôd following up Animal Kingdom. Taking place ten years after a world financial collapse it focuses on deracinated drifter Eric (Guy Pearce) as he aimlessly wanders the Australian outback. Three men on the run from an unspecified robbery damage their getaway vehicle and steal Eric's. The rest of the film involves his single minded pursuit of the thieves and his stolen car. That is a bare bones description though. Pearce turns in a galvanic performance as a hollowed out husk of a man. The spartan script by Michod and Joel Edgerton doesn't bother holding the viewer's hand or shedding light on what's going through Eric's mind at any given moment. It allows the audience their own interpretation. Some might see this as a shortcoming or needlessly opaque but to me it made the film.

Robert Pattinson costars as Rey, the younger brother of and part of the crew led by his brother Henry (Scoot McNairy). He was wounded during the robbery and left for dead and crosses paths with Eric who uses him to lead him to Henry and the other two men. Rey is a bit simple minded and has what some would call a complicated relationship with his older brother. He's a born follower and can't help but imprint on what he sees as an authority figure in Eric.

This all takes place against a backdrop of what under normal circumstances would be considered a somewhat feral and foreboding place called the Outback. So the barter system/flea market economy and the ubiquitous army patrols don't come off so much as apocalyptic as they do marginally sketchier. I thought the payoff in combination with Eric and Rey's story arc was up to snuff. This is one of Guy Pearce's best roles, right up there with Memento and The Proposition. And it was also Pattinson's first steps in his journey to divest himself of the albatross that was Twilight.

85/100
I also liked that one quite a bit.



The Rover - Watched this not too long ago but I liked it so much that I felt compelled to watch it again. . . . . It allows the audience their own interpretation. Some might see this as a shortcoming or needlessly opaque but to me it made the film
Yeah, it is a very solid and very compelling film.

This is one of Guy Pearce's best roles, right up there with Memento and The Proposition. And it was also Pattinson's first steps in his journey to divest himself of the albatross that was Twilight.
Pearce is great in this, and this was the film that had me taking Pattinson seriously even while he was still getting crap about Twilight (and having seen the first film, I'd pretty much written him off as an actor).



ONE WEEK
(1920, Keaton & Cline)

I'm pretty sure I had seen bits and pieces from this short before. However, this is the first time I had seen it whole and what a hoot it was! Like most of the Keaton shorts I've seen so far, the highlight are the stunts and physical gags he pulls. In this instance, the many ways he uses this house to create some great physical comedy.

But aside from the excellent stunts and physical gags, there's an effective sentimentality in it as we see the groom struggle and eventually resign to not having a proper home. But, as the saying goes, as long as they're together, their home will be wherever they are.

Grade:

Full review on my Movie Loot
Wonderful film-- a short, really. Evidently it was keaton's first independent film. Here's a clip of the famous wall falling on him scene, which he used in several films. No room for error here...





To the Bone, 2017

Ellen (Lily Collins) is a young woman who has spent years coping with severe anorexia. Having gone through multiple in-treatment experiences, she finally lands at a treatment house run by Doctor Beckham (Keanu Reeves). As she bonds with some of the other patients, including fellow anorexic Luke (Alex Sharp), Ellen struggles to find a reason to stop her way of living.

It is hard, often, when watching a film about any kind of addiction or mental illness to comment on the accuracy or insight of the story if you have not yourself experienced what the main character is going through. I have never struggled with anorexia, though several years ago while growing frustrated with food allergies I stumbled on a great solution: not eating. Food allergies, macros, calories . . . you don't have to worry about any of them if you aren't eating. I had a ton of energy. I felt giddy, and when I finished a workout, borderline euphoric. Now, this only lasted about a week. Partly because my family was like "You look terrible and you need to eat something." But mainly because what I was doing was clearly, laughably unsustainable. The idea of trying to live that way for months or years is mind-blowing to me.

My incomprehension is exactly what Ellen gets from almost everyone around her. What might on the surface seem like caring or well-meaning is instead oppressive. Everyone has a theory about her eating disorder: it's images in magazines, no, it's that she's actually gay, no, it's because her mother is gay and also struggles with mental health. And what really hurts is that Ellen herself doesn't quite seem to know what drives her need to count her calories or keep her arms thin enough to put her hand around.

The strength of the film is its cast. Reeves is solid as the sympathetic doctor, Retta is good as the live-in nurse who actively monitors the patients in the house. Leslie Bibb is on hand as a woman named Megan who, against all biological odds, is pregnant. Collins does a great job of portraying someone who feels frustration and guilt that only compound what she already is coping with.

I'm not entirely sure what to think about the way that the film approaches the idea of how someone might recover from an eating disorder. It is, in a word, oblique. On the one hand, I think that it would have felt cheap to suggest that Doctor Beckham taking Ellen to a few art exhibits and a few weeks of talk therapy would fix an ongoing problem. On the other hand, the film's route of Ellen having a sort of dream vision that sets her on the right path feels almost too . . . magical. That said, I kind of imagine that's how it goes for some people. Either something clicks or it doesn't.

I also had some mixed feelings about the budding romance of sorts between Ellen and Luke. On the one hand, the boisterous Luke is a nice counterpoint to Ellen's more dour manner. And it is nice to see an acknowledgement that men can be just as vulnerable to eating disorders are women. But the flip side is that I don't really love it when movies about people with mental health struggles suggest that they just need to find the right man. There are a lot of moments of Luke trying to cajole Ellen into eating that are meant to be cute, but sometimes come off as weirdly controlling.

Overall a good film with a stunning central performance from Lily Collins. Well worth checking out even if its central message seems a bit muddled at times.




Wonderful film-- a short, really. Evidently it was keaton's first independent film. Here's a clip of the famous wall falling on him scene, which he used in several films. No room for error here...
It's a wonderful film indeed. However, that shot of the wall falling on him is not from One Week. I think it's from Steamboat Bill, Jr. (or Our Hospitality?) both which I haven't seen. Still, amazing stunts that the guy pulled.
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The Happiest Days of your Life (1950)
+++ School days, school days, mismatched, crazy, school days.

Without warning, a small All-Boys School run by Alastair Sims has been doubled in attendance by the arrival of an All-Girls School run by Margaret Rutherford. Everyone clashes and all are turned upside-down in this strict and prim setting. And, of course, they must somehow work together as supporters of both schools arrive on the same day to ensure things are as they should be when they are not.

A witty comedy that mixes dry, high-brow humor with outbursts of rambunctious behavior done with subtle charm by the distinct talents of the two leads and the entire cast.
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A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Thomas More stands alone and is condemned for it by the ruling King Henry VIII.

Played with infinite dignity and grace by Paul Schofield, Thomas More, in good conscious, is incapable of playing along with the rest of the court. Henry VIII (played with the sizable roughness of Robert Shaw,) having divorced his first wife for Anne Boleyn by declaring himself as the Ruler of the Church of England.
No longer in the King's Graces, More, having been assigned High Chancellor after Wolsey's (Orson Welles) demise, is cast out and is legally pursued, imprisoned, sentenced, and executed.

The focus of this film is placed on Schofield's quite able shoulders as we witness the insistence of him bending to the King's Will by denying his Devotion to God and his tenacity to stand tall.
It is an impressive sight to see him as a quiet, earnest fellow with such conviction and inner strength.



11 Foreign Language movies to go

By It is believed that the cover art can or could be obtained from the publisher or studio., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8862663

Kings of the Road - (1976)

I wrapped up Wim Wenders' Road Trilogy with Kings of the Road yesterday, a film with obvious parallels to Easy Rider but by no means exactly like it. As usual, it took me a while to get my head around the change of pace and style, with Wenders really being creative in making each of these three films very distinct from each other. The pace in Kings of the Road really eases up, with two characters joining each other by chance and driving along the West/East German border. One is a man who has just departed his marriage - attempting suicide by driving his car into a river - he's "adopted" by Bruno (Rüdiger Vogler) a travelling projection-equipment repair mechanic and both of them unknowingly learn quite a great deal about themselves. I initially thought this film's length and lack of script in it's conception was going to hurt it, but by the end there was tremendous depth to it's characters - their interaction with the landscape and German cinema at a low (but turning) point in it's history said a lot about the human condition in general - they were allowed to breath and reveal themselves so thoroughly I felt I knew them personally. There was an undercurrent of people struggling to communicate through all 3 of Wenders' Road Trilogy films, and in the final few miles along it a kind of resolution with these two men having learned. I look forward to going on this journey again.

8/10
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By It is believed that the cover art can or could be obtained from the publisher or studio., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8862663

Kings of the Road - (1976)

I wrapped up Wim Wenders' Road Trilogy with Kings of the Road yesterday, a film with obvious parallels to Easy Rider but by no means exactly like it. As usual, it took me a while to get my head around the change of pace and style, with Wenders really being creative in making each of these three films very distinct from each other. The pace in Kings of the Road really eases up, with two characters joining each other by chance and driving along the West/East German border. One is a man who has just departed his marriage - attempting suicide by driving his car into a river - he's "adopted" by Bruno (Rüdiger Vogler) a travelling projection-equipment repair mechanic and both of them unknowingly learn quite a great deal about themselves. I initially thought this film's length and lack of script in it's conception was going to hurt it, but by the end there was tremendous depth to it's characters - their interaction with the landscape and German cinema at a low (but turning) point in it's history said a lot about the human condition in general - they were allowed to breath and reveal themselves so thoroughly I felt I knew them personally. There was an undercurrent of people struggling to communicate through all 3 of Wenders' Road Trilogy films, and in the final few miles along it a kind of resolution with these two men having learned. I look forward to going on this journey again.

8/10
I liked that one much more than I expected.



Boys from County Hell (2020)

An Irish horror-comedy about the beer-loving road workers who raise the local blood-sucking legend from its grave. It's funny at times, and its take on the vampire is OK. It's not great, but I don't expect horror-comedies to be.

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The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974)

Kinda like Polanski but done in Giallo style. A slow-burn psychological horror that leaves the viewer doubting what's real and what's not. It looks gorgeous, it has an impeccable soundtrack and a lead performance that doesn't pale in comparison to the likes of Mia Farrow or Catherine Deneuve. Definitely a pleasant surprise.
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I did not know this was a musical. Loved the ending.
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A couple of Vietnam Veterans come to visit their former colleague who has settled down with his girlfriend and their kid on her fathers estate. As their time together in Vietnam slowly starts to start spill out the reason for the visit becomes clear. Has a sense of dread from almost the first frame of the film. Shooting on 16 mm adds to the overall icky vibe. Good movie though.



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'A Hero' (2021)
Dir.: Asghar Farhadi





Such a well directed tragedy steeped in farce from Asghar Farhadi. His films are always dry in tone but with a moral dilemma, and this is perhaps his most nerve wracking in terms of letting the audience figure out what the right choice is for the main protagonist - if there even is one. It's the story of a man who goes to jail for debt, who then goes to considerable lengths to repay it. However, the web of deceit and lies get bigger until the whole situation spirals out of control into a moral dilemma of epic proportions that go some way into commentating on the fallacies of Iranian law.

Farhadi gives little hints and tidbits about the plot rather than holding the viewer's hand and there is also one lovely bit of diagetic music in the background of a scene. These little nuances show that Farhadi goes the extra mile in his films. Another excellent Farhadi film and right up there with 'A Separation' as his best.




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'Ashes and Diamonds' (1958)
Directed by Andrej Wajda


Incredible political thriller from 1958. Shows the cynicism of the people just as Poland begins it's rebirth on the day World War 2 ends. The film spans 24 hours or so in the lives of a young resistance fighter, and is masterfully shot and directed. Like a concoction of Fellini and Pawlikowski in terms of tone and cinematography. Brilliant film.




It's a wonderful film indeed. However, that shot of the wall falling on him is not from One Week. I think it's from Steamboat Bill, Jr. (or Our Hospitality?) both which I haven't seen. Still, amazing stunts that the guy pulled.
Oh yes, that's true. I couldn't find a clip of the one from One Week. He did the stunt in One Week, "Steamboat" and one other, which I can't remember. Unbelievable stunt.



Avengers: Endgame

Not bad, but not great. Sure seems like did a lot of copying with that "time heist" plot. A time machine in a van? Everybody knows only DeLorean's can time travel.



Tragedy of Macbeth. One helluva adaptation of this play. Particularly loved the way Joel Coen did the witches.

The Last Duel. This was great as well. Aside from Alien I’m not particularly in loved with any other Ridley Scott movie so this might be my second favorite of his.