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The Resident Bitch's Movie Log - Volume 2

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Yellow Submarine (George Dunning, 1968)

Date Watched: 08/25/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by HashtagBrownies
Rewatch: Yes.

It's a rare occasion that we get an animated film nominated in a general Hall of Fame and, as a lover of animation, I should be absolutely delighted that this time around we've got TWO of them. I should be. I am not.

We've somehow managed to get two animated films that I don't like (and neither of them are even Miyazaki! ). But whereas the other mostly suffers from not having any nostalgic value for me, this one has that and a few other issues. The biggest issue is that I am not a Beatles fan. They have some songs that I like and I've enjoyed some of the work that each member has done separate from the band, but I am not a Beatles fan and so the music is not really a plus here. (The fact that I despise most musicals doesn’t work in its favor either). What's also not a plus for me is the style of the animation. The 1960s were before my time and I'm not one to partake in illicit substances so the psychedelic colors don’t really appeal to me. My sobriety and general dislike of fantasy didn't exactly help when it came to trying to follow the bonkers story either (Between the Meanies, the Kinky Boot Beasts, the Boob, and the Dreadful Flying Glove, what the **** was even happening in this movie? Nevermind. Don't answer that. I don't actually care). So ultimately I was left in a state of both boredom and confusion, which does not make for a particularly pleasant movie watching experience, but at least it is pretty short.

Banshun (Late Spring) (Yasujirô Ozu, 1949)

Date Watched: 08/29/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by ahwell
Rewatch: Yes.

I first watched Late Spring back in 2015 for the 6th Hall of Fame. I did not like it. Out of the 19 films nominated then, I ranked it 13th. I was not pleased to see it nominated again, but was hopeful that I might have a better experience this time.

Overall I think I did have a better experience. On a technical level, the film is excellent. It is beautifully framed and filmed, the soundtrack works well, the costuming looks great, and the performances are strong. But I still don't like the movie and I still don't like it for the same reason I didn't like it before: Noriko. I had some sympathy for her resistance to the idea of an arranged marriage and thought it was sweet how much she cared for her father - but watching a grown ass woman throw a fit over the mere idea of her widower father remarrying just made me want to slap her across the face.

Gangs of New York (Martin Scorsese, 2002)

Date Watched: 08/30/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by neiba
Rewatch: Yes.

I remember watching this movie back when it was new and being pretty thoroughly unimpressed by it. Though I can't remember why exactly I disliked it then, I can say now that this is a very flawed film. The biggest issue is with its characters. I know that several of them were based on or inspired by real people, but not once during the nearly 3 hour long runtime of this film did I ever buy into the idea that they once actually existed. Add to that the fact that nearly all of them were violent and corrupt and it becomes a little hard to find a side to get behind.

But even with all of that, I was never bored (and that's saying a lot considering how damn long this movie is). The characters and the sets were all very colorful and though I didn't believe for a second that Bill the Butcher or Amsterdam were real people, I was interested enough to want to see the story through to its bloody end.

Gangs of New York is not a great movie and it'll never be a personal favorite, but overall this rewatch was quite a pleasant surprise.

Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

Date Watched: 09/02/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by CosmicRunaway
Rewatch: yes

I first watched this movie back in June, after having my curiosity aroused by clips I'd seen of the film and by the attention it had gotten during awards season. My initial impression - and how I described it in my previous review - was that Jojo Rabbit was what would happen "if Wes Anderson actually knew how to write people and made a film about something that actually matters" and called it "a Nazi Germany version of Moonrise Kingdom." While I stand by that comparison as it relates to the look and in some ways the feel of the film, with its vibrant colors and quirky characters - Jojo Rabbit is something quite different. It's something special.

Make no mistake: This is a Holocaust movie. This is a movie about people struggling to survive. It's a movie about ordinary people risking everything to do what's right. The horrifying tragedy at its core is coated in a sweet shell of silliness and satire that makes it go down easy. But it is a Holocaust movie and I think a brilliant one at that.

I've seen criticisms of its use of comedy in telling such a story, but it always makes Nazis and their ridiculous ideals and hypocrisies the butt of the joke, while also showing how the fervor of Nazism came to be and just how crazy it was - especially with the very apt comparison of it to Beatlemania. (And to that end, the soundtrack - which included German versions of familiar songs by the Beatles, David Bowie, and Roy Orbison - was excellent).

I've also seen criticisms of the humanizing of certain characters, particularly Klezendorf. But I actually appreciated this aspect of the film. I think it's important to never forget that the real monsters of this world are indeed human, that things are often not black and white, and that the lines between heroes and villains are rarely as clear as we like to think they are.

And as Jojo Rabbit examines all of this, it is carried on the shoulders of an impressive cast who turn in wonderfully charming and endearing performances and a director who skillfully strikes just the right balance of humor and heart. I didn't love this movie the first time I saw it, but I think I just might love it now.

Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Pleased to see how much Jojo Rabbit has grown on you. I thought it was really good, very much one of my favourites from last year. Found it funny at times, surprisingly sweet and touching and on ocasion heartbreaking. And the performances were great. Thought it was very smartly done. Thought it did a good job of showing how effective propoganda can be in shaping the opinions of people who for whatever reason can be easily influenced; in this instance being a child. And I liked how the more the kid began to question what was going on and question Hitler directly the more of a d*ck unworthy of adulation he became.

I had expected the character of Hitler to feature significantly more than he did actually but for the sake of the film I think that was for the best. Feel they judged the screentime just about perfect, not allowing the character to dominate proceedings.

I thought Scarlett Johansson was excellent, a really captivating and enchanting performnce. Her character reminded me a lot of Robert Benigni's in Life is Beautiful, a parent doing everything they can to try and protect their child and maintain their innocence.

In terms of the comedy the only thing that didn't quite work for me was Rebel Wilson. Taika's Waititi's Hitler worked because it was in the kids imagination. And Sam Rockwell's character just about managed to toe the tricky line of tone. But felt she was just way too broad and cartoonish; the character/performance too silly and like a caricature. But that aside very good

Pleased to see how much Jojo Rabbit has grown on you. I thought it was really good, very much one of my favourites from last year.
I agree with pretty much everything you said about it, though Rebel Wilson didn't bother me and I don't find ScarJo "captivating," though I liked her performance. Jojo is one of my favorites of 2019 too, but that's not really saying much since I think I've only seen four or five movies from last year. Speaking of last year's movies, have you still not seen Joker? If not, what the hell are you doing?

Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)

Date Watched: 09/04/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by Citizen Rules
Rewatch: Yes

I've long counted Schindler's List among my favorite films, but the reality is that I have very, very mixed emotions about it. I don't think I respect any film more than I respect this one. I think it's masterful and important and is absolutely essential viewing. But I hate watching it. I hate watching it so much.

The cinematography, the sparse use of color, the score, the performances - all are top notch - and work wonders to tell this ultimate story of redemption. The story of a Nazi war profiteer who used his influence and money to save the lives of thousands of Jews. The film does well to utilize an enormous cast of extras and on-location shooting to recreate with stunning authenticity the lives and sufferings of the victims of Germany's extermination efforts, while contrasting it sharply with experiences of those who perpetrated it and profited from it. It is a truly great film, but every time I force myself to endure this marathon of human suffering, I come away feeling like I've been kicked in the gut. It's not at all a pleasurable experience.

As an aside, I don't understand the complaints about the ending scene at Schindler's grave being "manipulative." Of course it's manipulative. It should be manipulative. The whole damn film was over three hours worth of emotional manipulation. If it didn't manipulate your emotions and make you feel something what the hell would even be the point film at all?

Schindler's List is a gut-wrenching film, as you said. However, despite being brilliant in almost every way, the one thing which stands out more than anything (and I know this is entirely personal) is that I laughed more during this film (twice) than I do most comedy films.

I know that sounds awful, but the absurdity of a couple of the actions just made me laugh. I guess it's a kind of laugh or cry situation.

La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011)

Date Watched: 09/05/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 23rd MoFo Hall of Fame, nominated by me
Rewatch: Yes.

For this Hall of Fame, I decided to take a small gamble and choose a film I'd only seen one time - something I've never done before. I was blown away by it when I watched it last year, but would I still love it now? I was nervous to find out.

I won't deny that it does lose some of its wow factor when watching while already knowing the reality of what is going on between Vera and Robert, but there is still no shortage of things to admire and appreciate on rewatch. It's an incredibly beautiful film to look at. Its rich colors and the way the shots are lit and framed are mesmerizing. The soundtrack does well to enhance the mood of each scene and the film blazes on at such a quick pace that 2 hours seems like nothing. But the thing that really carries the film are the two central performances. The intensity and menace that Antonio Banderas brings to his role as Dr. Robert Ledgard is both unnerving and incredibly sexy and Elena Anaya's turn as the volatile Vera is absolutely captivating.

But I think the thing that really draws me in is the lack of any sort of moral law and the many shades of gray in both the tale it tells and the characters that inhabit it. It's a horror movie that doesn't go for gore or cheap jump scares. Instead it presents an idea that is far more disturbing to me than any of that. And as witness to this twisted story of revenge, my sympathies lay with both Vera and with Robert and yet also with neither. The Skin I Live In is confusing. It's unsettling. It's repulsive and yet intriguing. But mostly it's provocative and unforgettable.