Movie Tab II


First time viewings + Re-Watches July + August

To Catch a Thief 1955 Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Raging Bull 1980 Directed by Martin Scorsese (Re-watch)
Akira 1988 Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (Re-watch)
Spirited Away 2001 Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Parasite 2019 Directed by Bong Joon Ho

+ Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 1927 Directed by F.W. Murnau
+ Un Flic 1972 Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
+ John Wick: Chapter 3 2019 Directed by Chad Stahelski
+ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 2019 Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Forbidden Planet 1956 Directed by Fred M. Wilcox
The Mercenary ‘Il mercenario’ 1968 Directed by Sergio Corbucci
A Bridge Too Far 1977 Directed by Richard Attenborough (Re-watch)
The Incredibles 2004 Directed by Brad Bird
Dragged Across Concrete 2019 Directed by S. Craig Zahler

+ Gaslight 1944 Directed by George Cukor
+ The Dirty Dozen 1967 Directed by Robert Aldrich
+ Three Days of the Condor 1975 Directed by Sydney Pollack
+ Straight Time 1978 Directed by Ulu Grosbard
+ Clear And Present Danger 1994 Directed by Phillip Noyce (Re-watch)
+ K-19: The Widowmaker 2002 Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Re-watch)
+ U-571 2000 Directed by Jonathan Mostow
+ The Lost City of Z 2016 Directed by James Gray

Angel Face 1953 Directed by Otto Preminger
Charade 1963 Directed by Stanley Donen

Robinson Crusoe on Mars 1964 Directed by Byron Haskin

I'm not old, you're just 12.
Ouija - A "by the numbers" horror flick for easily scared teens. Jump scares galore but no sense of dread. The sequel proves it could have been so much more.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse - Trippy and fantastic animated film, has fun with, reveres, and subverts it's source material, with enough hidden jokes to merit a billion re-watches. This is how you make cartoons, people!
"You, me, everyone...we are all made of star stuff." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

Thank God I‘m an atheist.

Mara (2016) Tunnard
The psychologist in this horror film discovers that an unpunished mass murderer hiding in the community can summon the sleep demon to take up residence in town (one symptom the beast is lurking is sleep paralysis) then it feeds off the pools of guilt within each of her victims. The cover art has the heroine soaking in the bathtub, so one would naturally assume there would be at least one scene with a little gratuitous nudity, right? . . . Wrong.


To Please A Lady (1950) Brown
There is zero chemistry and zero romance between a star reporter (with her own nation-wide franchise operation) and a race car driver. The sticking point in their relationship is that driver has been involved in a few fatal racetrack crashes and she suspects he may enjoy secretly causing them; she says as much in her feature article that gets him banned from racing. The gripping drama in the film consists of a few hyperbolic race announcers dramatizing the vehicular dog fights (midget cars going in circles) to the audience.

Jeopardy (1953) Sturges
This is the story of a family fishing vacation (mom, dad and junior) on a deserted Mexican beach. Hubby gets his leg trapped beneath a condemned pier just as the tide begins to come in and mommy has to rush off to get help. An escaped convict heading north commandeers her and the car and couldn’t care less if her husband drowns. She gives him a twirl with the added promise of a lam romance and soon he’s back at the beach grunting and sweating to get the girder off her husband’s leg. Police sirens scream in the distance; the convict hot foots it down the beach; and the family sits down to roast some marshmallows over the camp fire, the end.


A Private War (2018) Heineman
You are here for the acting; Rosamund Pike crafts a great a swaggering pirate/journalist in this film. Even as a detached objective observer, one can’t help being emotionally scarred by the atrocities one sees; PTSD is an occupational hazard for the War correspondent. This was a questionable chew because of the hidden Geo-political bias within the film. (Real world example: as I write these lines, there is a classic textbook “fake news” event playing out in the media; Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi Arabian oil refinery a couple days ago, but the media doesn’t ask the question: why on earth would they do that? They don’t link up this event (duh) with Saudi Arabia invading and attacking the country next door [something impossible without access to American spy satellites and logistical support]. It makes your skin crawl that attacking an oil refinery is considered a war crime and newsworthy, while dropping bombs on the Yemenese people for the last four and a half years doesn’t rate a mention in the official pressand back to our film blurb currently in progress.) The West dismembered and lobotomized the Libyan state in the name of freedom and democracy (the film ghoulishly feasts on Gaddafi’s downfall) but now it’s a country where one can buy and sell human beings at open air slave markets. Notice no one points a moral finger at our depraved indifference to mass suffering.

Turn me on, Dammit! (2011) Jacobsen
At a party in this tiny Norwegian hamlet (they have to bus in all the 15 year olds in the region in order to make up technically a single Social Studies class of them in school) our heroine discovers the boy she secretly likes may secretly want to return her affection. She mistakenly confides to girl #2 who also secretly carries a secret torch for the same guy. (Damn, why are Norwegians so secretive?) Girl #2 immediately goes into bitch mode and orchestrates a campaign against her, soon our heroine finds herself branded as a super slut and ostracized at school. Which is the least of her preoccupations; she is a bit overwhelmed by her newly discovered libido which seems to have a one track mind all of its own. Unfortunately, the first-time director doesn’t quite know to best exploit the elements in this story. I liked that her best friend religiously avoids dating because that would be the beginning of end, a romance would lead to a marriage which would lead to a cradle and her tombstone and she would never escape this dead-end town and a dreary life.

News from Home (1977) Akerman
The director slowly acclimates to life in New York City in this experimental film exploring urban wallpaper. It begins with static shots of empty industrial streets, then musters up a little confidence to move the camera in a 90 degree angle pans and include a few of the urban denizens, before heading down into the bowels of the city. You can see her hit her stride when she does a 356 degree twirl in a crowded subway platform (not a 360 degree one, because returning to the original visual marker would have shown she now totally unfazed by the New York hustle and bustle.) There is one long continuous shot out an open car window moving down a street which wonderfully echoes the stops and starts in the subway scenes. All those antique trucks and cars were a blast, particularly all those old VW beetles. The dialogue in the film is the director reading a year’s worth of letters from her mother trying to guilt her into returning home.

Dawn Rider (2012) Miles
This cliché riddled western gains by the twisty plot and anachronisms. Given the time period, would a bank be foreclosing on a ranch someone built by themselves out in the sticks? Our hero has no back story; he returns home (on the run from the law) only to have his father die in his arms (for some reason dear old dad only speaks Spanish) but he never bothers to translate his father’s dying words, So each time he visits his childhood friend’s ranch, he always passes under the gateway to the “diamond” ranch and never the lair of the double cross gang. I loved that the letter of the law is just a line in the dirt that depends on where one is standing at that particular moment in time. It turns out, he is not a wanted man; a wealthy family back east out of revenge (mistakenly) has simply hired a posse of lawmen to bring him back dead or alive.

Louisiana Story (1948) Flaherty
This is clearly an industry film (commissioned by ESSO) to promote the benefits of the Petroleum Industry to a gullible public. After signing away the drilling rights to their land for a song; a drilling rig is installed a stone’s throw from their shack. The company representatives are honest dealers and the oil rig workers are always happy and smiling; the young boy is allowed to play on the platform (!) with huge slamming pipes and heavy steel chains continuously whipping around, When the well comes in (it remains dry until the boy blesses it with a Cajun prayer) the noisy drilling rig is then replaced with an underwater pipeline system (say what?) that magically allows the land to remain unscarred from massive industrial exploitation. The film gains from the subversive subtext where the director clearly shows the exact opposite is happening: Oil Companies usually fleece backwater rubes (and the city slickers for that matter) quicker than the local population can say “Hee haw”.


The Impasse of Desir* (2010) Roode
A psychiatrist discovers his wife is having an affair. When a new patient sees her in the street (she looks somewhat like the woman he is obsessed about) he thinks he is merely imagining her. It would be great therapy to symbolically kill this hallucination and the doctor manipulates the patient into knocking off his wife for him. His patient slowly recovers his wits (early on, there is a wonderful shot of him riding the bus and his head swivels around as if its disconnected from the rest of his body) and the shrink becomes progressively more deranged. Although the third act drops a lot of hints he may have been unhinged at the beginning; we overhear his office phone message where the psychiatrist refers to himself in the third person. Another patient mentions his second marriage is generally thought of as a bad match because his second wife is way too young and too pretty for him. Unfortunately, the psychological drama part of the film hides the black comedy of transference. This would make a great second feature with Lovesick (1983) because that film would tease out all the understated comedy.

In My Skin* (2002) de Van
This psychological horror film about alienation is definitely not for the squeamish. I think this works because the director set up just enough of the outer world which could be best described as lacerating. Her job in an advertising agency is highly competitive with the non-performers being quickly thinned from the herd and the go-getters seize all the promotions and lucre. This could also be described as a kind of sensual affliction because the heroine does everything with such warmth and passion; zeroing in tenderly on the object of her desire and openly declaring her love.

Harakiri*(1962) Kobayashi
During an economic downturn, an older samurai wanders into a shogun estate and asks to use their ceremonial courtyard to end his life in dignity. A few days earlier another samurai had asked the same thing and fearing if they gave one unemployed samurai a free hand-out, soon they would be inundated with thousands of other beggars so they quickly turned his request it into a cold blooded public relations stunt in order to save a few pennies. The spiritual emptiness of the so-called “noble” clan is immediately revealed by their complete bewilderment that another beggar would so quickly show up after the first. Didn’t he get the memo? The film is rich in irony. The older man has an air of desperation about him, he longs for the silence of the grave; he has no future, everyone he cared about and loved is now dead. His profession of heroic self- sacrifice and honor has been replaced with cowardly thugs and swaggering braggarts. This is another classic anti-authoritarian screed from Kobayashi pointing out the great grubbing men leading society are usually unfit to even work as dog park attendants.

Ombline (2012) Cazes
There is a nice opening scene where a mother quietly reads a book to her small child directly in front of the camera then returns to a scene when she entered prison after being sentenced to three years for a violent crime; she’s angry and surly, her face is stitched up from a recent fight, it’s almost as she was trying to calm herself down and not the baby. A fellow inmate in the bunk behind her says: “I’ve seen this before . . . I think you’re pregnant.” Unable to process big emotions, she flies off the handle at a moment’s notice, but they simply take her child away after these episodes and place her in isolation. Gradually the idea or perhaps the spritz of maternal hormones induces her to rebuild her life from scratch with her child at the center of her life.

La Capture (2007) Laure
This is a drama about a young actress and dancer overcoming a horrible childhood by stumbling upon the healing qualities of the art. There is a nice video piece of hers where she is followed by a small platoon of waiters on a forest path and each time she turns and looks back at them, they all swoon and fall to the ground at her glance. She has evolved to a place where she is happy enough and well-adjusted enough in her life to risk returning home to rescue her mother and brother and confront her violent father; a gregarious pillar in the community, but a jealous man with a hair trigger temper at home. I loved the late September/early October look that even suggested the early morning chill. The father’s (hunting?) jacket is color coordinated to go with the falling leaves.

On the Trail of Igor Rizzi (2006) Mitrani
Two criminal under-achievers struggle to find easy money in the city; their opening caper is a primer on how not to rob a house. One of the guys was once a famous European soccer star (his business agent stole his millions) now living an emotional Apocalypse of his own making; he thinks he’s made a home town pilgrimage. There is a strong Omega Man vibe to all this, he dribbles a soccer ball (during winter) through abandoned playgrounds and deserted streets which is a great in-joke, a simple reverse from these austere downtown locations would reveal streets bustling with cars and people.

Blue Ruin (2014) Saulnier
A typical “Man on Fire” revenge story made atypical by moving up the act of final bloody revenge into the first reel, so the story mutates into a wonderful meditation on the endless ripple effects of violence. The eponymous title is the abandoned car he lives in at the beginning of the story that has to be retooled for the road to get the job done.

Burning Palms (2010) Landon
Five vignettes in sunny Los Angeles about sketchy life partners, absent parents, stoned au pairs and relationships that are completely messed up. These stories will be icky and extremely offensive for most the audience but wicked black comedies for the twisted few. Spoiler alert: stop reading. I mean it. Okay, you’ve been warned. In one of the stories, two guys purchase a black market child. They get a great deal on the kid because she is stuck in a single setting, the mute mode. They immediately bundle her up in her Sunday best and leave her on a hiking path for the mountain lions after she drops the F-bomb.

Onibi: The fire Within (1997) Mochizuki
This is a character study of a killer released after two decades in prison. In his younger days, he was feared as the “Ball of fire” in the Yakuza underworld. He has out grown the violence of his youth and is now bored stiff with anything connected to it. He actually turns over a new leaf and goes straight; he is both saved and undone by the love of a woman. When she finds out about his past, she immediately enlists his expertise in getting revenge on a sexual sadist who destroyed her sister’s life. He unemotionally coaches her through the steps of a successful hit, but thankfully she can’t go through with the murder. However he discovers she has no sister and the tragic tale of abuse is hers. This slowly begins to percolate and bubble up inside him, slowly eating away at his peace of mind.


The Squid and the Whale*(2005) Baumbach
Two warring intellectuals enter the final act of their dramedy as couple and as a family. The audience is placed in a superior position of looking down this hapless couple because the presence of the other one seems to induce bad behavior; they are helpless against venting their rage, which fills the film with inappropriate parental choices and cringe moments. Almost immediately they enlist their children as pawns in the struggle. As a literature professor (and soon to be unpublishable novelist) Dad tends to pontificate on anything large and small; he can do a quick top five list on anything at the drop of a hat. He also has the tendency to loudly point out the woofers that surround him are not exactly smoldering, Italian screen Goddesses. The older boy pleads: “For the love of all that is decent and sacred! Please stop sharing! I don’t want to know the grisly details about your last bout of sex with your newest boy toy . . . mom.” On the cusp of releasing her best-selling novel, she tends to overwrite.

All That Jazz*(1979) Fosse
Despite gearing up for a long running Broadway show, the entire run time of this entire film could be less than a couple of fading heartbeats. This appears to be the proverbial life flashing before one’s eyes as one dies: he is almost immediately negotiating for extra time with the angel of death. Inside the theater, he’s a genius; outside of it, he burns the candle at both ends as a Dexedrine popping, chain smoking home wrecker. There is a completely insane moment when the director imagines his moment of death as a show tune; well at least he went out kicking.

Z*(1969) Costa-Gravas
If I had to encapsulate the film in a single word, it would be exuberant. There is a lively mise-en-scene with lots of energetic camera-work. There is a nice counterpoint between the stylized beauty of an evening of Russian ballet and the raw courage of people out in the streets risking their lives for a crumb of social justice and truth. Despite this being is a grisly tale of an outbreak of “the falling disease’” where progressive people and eye witnesses simply pass out (usually after they’ve taken a lead pipe to the head) the film is filled with black humour. There is a priceless moment when the prosecutor tells the General his testimony doesn’t jive with the facts, the victim couldn’t have possibly tripped and fallen to his death while crossing a street; an autopsy has revealed the victim died from a crushed skull. From his startled reaction the audience can almost read the thought balloon appearing beside his face: Why on earth would you go and do an autopsy? I gave you the official cover story. I’m trying to run a country here. Good God, I’m surrounded by idiots!

The film ends the military seizing power in a right wing coup where they simply prune all the subversive elements from society and make all the boo-boos go away. In addition to chucking great swaths of judicial law, culture, and learning; they also ban the last letter of the alphabet because as everyone sane person knows, it is clearly a large, blinking neon sign meaning radical socialism.

Tiresia(2003) Bonello
An amateur gardener snatches a delicate flower from the wilds (one of the prostitutes from the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris) to see if she can thrive in a basement cell without sunlight. I loved that you had to stop at certain points in the film and completely revise everything you thought was occurring in the story. If one film could be destroyed by spoilers; this meditation about the desperate search for spiritualty and a deeper understanding of life, would be it. Worry and despair is the lot of the ordinary people, and they will flock to anyone who will give them a glimmer hope or even the comfort of a deliberate lie which contrasts with the lack of turmoil in the spiritual caregivers, they all seem a rather untroubled bunch. The two main characters are both strangely thoughtful; she is particularly forgiving given the circumstances.

The Harder They Come (1972) Henzell
This is a vibrant tale shot on a shoe string budget in the Jamaican favelas about a country boy coming to the big city and discovering it is completely rotten to the core. The system is rigged at every turn against the little guy. No amount of inherent talent, drive or dumb luck will suffice. The crooks and the crooked always win out in the end. They start by taking your possessions and happiness then they start chipping away at your dignity. And if you refuse to kneel before them, they will nail your hide to the wall as a warning to others. There is an energetic soundtrack to the film.

*= rewatch

A few first time viewings and re-watches September

Mud 2012 Directed by Jeff Nichols

Notorious 1946 Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Re-watch)
Glory 1989 Directed by Edward Zwick (Re-watch)

+ The Seven-Ups 1973 Directed by Philip D’Antoni
+ Body Heat 1981 Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
+ The Great Beauty 2013 Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
+ Arctic 2019 Directed by Joe Penna

American Graffiti 1973 Directed by George Lucas (Re-watch)
The China Syndrome 1979 Directed by James Bridges
The Long Good Friday 1980 Directed by John Mackenzie
Ad Astra 2019 Directed by James Gray

- Rope 1948 Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

+ Wait Until Dark 1967 Directed by Terence Young
+ Licence to Kill 1989 Directed by John Glen (Re-watch)
+ White Sands 1992 Directed by Roger Donaldson
+ Let the Right One In 2008 Directed by Tomas Alfredson
+ All the Money in the World 2017 Directed by Ridley Scott

The Friends of Eddie Coyle 1973 Directed by Peter Yates
The Yakuza 1974 Directed by Sydney Pollack
Year of the Dragon 1985 Directed by Michael Cimino
Take Shelter 2011 Directed by Jeff Nichols
Outlaw King 2018 Directed by David Mackenzie

- Black Rain 1989 Directed by Ridley Scott (Re-watch)
- State of Grace 1990 Directed by Phil Joanou

September, 2019 movies watched-

The Great K & A Train Robbery (1926)
- Nothing but a good time from the westerns list.

Broken Blossoms (1919)
+ A very heavy movie for it's time.

Asphalt (1929)
Recommended for those looking for an early noir.

The Cameraman (1928)
Maybe my favorite Buster yet.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
More than any other silent film I've seen, it's one hurt by time.

The King's Speech (2010)
+ A good movie but not best picture material.

Safety Last (1923)
- An easy watch with plenty of good gags.

Booksmart (2019)
Good, nothing special.

Way Down East (1920)
The 4th D. W. Griffith/Lillian Gish collaboration that could potentially make my list for the Pre-30's countdown.

Hell's Hinges (1916)
Excellent watch for old western fans.

The Unholy Three (1925)
One of the silents I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint.

The Broadway Melody (1929)
Not bad, but I believe it's the lowest rated best picture winner.

The Phantom of the Opera (1925) Repeat viewing
+ Love it in parts but not as a whole.

The Navigator (1924)
Good but I think I'm getting Buster burn out.

True Grit (2010)
Totally enjoyable but it felt a bit off to me.

The Lost World (1925)
Lots of fun.

Greed (1924)
+ One of the best of the silent era.

Life (1999)
- Funny with good feeling.

Seven Chances (1925)
Maybe I'm not getting Buster burn out.

A Dog's Life (1918)
A nice way to spend 33 minutes.

A Page of Madness (1926)
+ Didn't love the movie but loved the experience.

Total September viewings-21
Total 2019 viewings-136

Thank God I‘m an atheist.

Judy (2019) Goold
Unless you can name five Judy Garland songs off the top of your head (not including “Somewhere over the Rainbow”) this film probably isn’t for you. This is a bleak, pessimistic dirge (with tiny moments of grace) set near the end of her life when she was unemployable. Drinking brings out all her emotional demons; she is still smarting that a [b-l-e-e-p] studio head stole her childhood. The film opens as she becomes homeless; the legendary singer flies to London basically to get fired.


The Silence of the Lambs* (1991) Demme
This is a sly feminist rant about a young woman slightly disadvantaged by all the slinging testosterone in the macho world of man hunters. Through hard work and dedication, this little bird quietly girds and toughens herself up and wins her moment of triumph and the reward of the delicious nosh at the pupa nursery. For some reason I found the characters directly addressing the camera a little annoying this time around. Also the film is missing a huge chunk to the story: the girl suit is endlessly primed through-out the film but is never revealed (granted it would be utterly disgusting to look at) still the film is missing that essential scene.

Vortex (2019) Gan
This is a Chinese thriller about a mechanic who gambles away his paycheck every week until he is up to his neck in debt and at the mercy of his bookie. With its raised subway and Gondola system the city of Chongqing features prominently. There is a lot of happenstance in the film; e.g., when he has to throw a duffel bag full of money into the river, a life preserver magically appears right beside him before his toss; or when he steals the car, he finds a duct taped kidnap victim locked in the trunk. The little girl is excellent, all she has to do is purse her lips and look forlorn and the gambler can’t abandon her. There are also some discernable differences in film standards, when the little girl gets between stuntmen, they really throw her around.

Emma Peeters (2018) Palo
Having organized her life around fruitless auditions and acting classes, Emma decides to chuck it all in on her birthday. The expiration date for any actress is 35; if you haven’t made it by then you never will. She uses her last seven days to tie up the loose ends, say goodbye to her friends and plan her (hopefully painless) suicide. This is kind of a cute rom-com.


The Young Lieutenant* (2005) Beauvois
The daughter of a super cop returns to head the homicide division after a leave of absence. She could have easily become the Chef of police but she loves actual police work too much. She loves fighting for the victims and nailing bad guys. The previous resident of her new office has hung expensive whisky bottle cartons on the walls like trophies and the first thing she does upon entering is to rip them all down. She hasn’t had a single drop of alcohol in 733 daysI loved that she was always surrounded by booze. There is a social aspect of unwinding and knocking back a couple of pints after work; she has to sit there perched on her bar stool with the ice cubes melting in her club soda, watching everyone else get ripped. Plus as a formality everyone offers her a free tumbler. She keys on the brimming enthusiasm of a rookie Lieutenant from the sticks. She takes him under wing realizing only later, if her only child had lived he would be the same age as he is now. Even though she is as tough as nails, there is a suggestion that the horrible things she sees (and does) as a murder investigator in Paris, is the thing that slowly eats away at her soul.

Bitter Moon* (1992) Polanski
A man regales a fellow passenger on a Mediterranean cruise about the great love of his life. He opens with the meet cute on a city bus in Montmartre (a district in Paris exclusively reserved for tourists) when he is thrown off the bus for being gallant, as it pulls away the beauty stares at him framed in the rear window; however, just below her on the bus is a large advertisement for the “Oh la la” escort service, suggesting his intoxication may not be with her person but rather the shape and hue of her dress (which has its own visual arc in the film, ending up later as a shiny latex skin). This serial romancer shows her the door when he finished with her, but she refuses to leave, agreeing any crumb of affectation he deigns to give her will be enough. He takes this as a personal challenge to fathom just how much cruelty and rejection she can endure. His story is a farce, hers is a tragedy. Hugh Grant plays the conservative stiff-upper-lip Englishman totally disgusted by the story, yet he hangs on every twist and turn, believing the little tramp will be his reward for listening. Unless you can pull out all the gallows humour in the situations and the sight gags (on the cruise ship she stays in the DS cabin [“déesse” is French for goddess]) you are going to find this film a bit of a slog.

Luce (2019) Onah
A popular straight-A student, out of boredom or idle amusement, wants to see if he can get one of his teachers fired for being annoying. On the surface this is about identity but this is another ode to the cold blooded sociopath; so the ending is wrong that shows him burdened with crippling regret and worry, he has pulled the wool over the eyes of everyone in the story; except for the one person who sees him for who and what he really is. He is a master manipulator of people (when his mother begins to doubt his version of the events, notice how he subtly pushes her away by switching to her first name.) Luc(ifer) has a great future ahead of him.

Story of a Love Affair (1950) Antonioni
A wealthy industrialist marries a young beauty, then after seven years of marriage, decides to have her past checked out, which is clearly an example of why one should let sleeping dogs snooze. The gumshoe he hires notices everyone in her home town is strangely tight lipped until he stumbles upon a suspicious death. The young man from her past (penniless then and penniless now) travels to the city to get their stories straight, which rekindles their romance. Although this is a Film Noir/crime drama, the first feature film by Antonioni is already imprinted with his restless loneliness and alienation.

God’s Comedy (1995) Monteiro
Through the swirl of the Milky Way, from the other side of the universe, God watches with interest an Ice cream emporium in Lisbon, Portugal, The man in charge lives to make gourmet ice cream and his work is a labour of utter love. A single moment of inattention from one of the ditzy shop girls could ruin the ice cream parlour’s sterling reputation; so he is obsessed with their personal hygiene and cleanliness, (although this may be just be an excuse to run his fingers through their hair. This is definitely Art House with its long takes, slow reveals and leisurely pace. With his leather bound scrapbook of thoughts, at first he appears to be a trichophiliac who gets a little too greedy for his own good.

The Goldfinch (2019) Crowley
A young boy is orphaned after an improbable tragedy and the only person he can name is a kid in his class, so Children’s Services shows up at their expensive New York apartment, asking for a favor. What was to have been just a few days stretches into months and on the eve of being officially adopted, his ne’er do well father pops up and whisks him off to the barren Nevada desert. Years later, when he returns to Big Apple, he bumps into the rich kid who would have been his brother and learns the goofy/angry father was bipolar. There is a nice echo from the emotionally removed mother in the past to her entitled daughter in the present that has no problems marrying him, just as long as he knows she will never love him. The eponymous painting is a great metaphor; the bird is tethered to its perch with an airy chain. I loved the limited adolescent point of view, in his quest to set things right our hero never has quite enough information or insight to make sense of the world around him. He lives in a thicket of emotional theft longing for the moment of forgiveness.

Castle in the sky (1986) Miyazaki
The shots looking up at the drifting clouds . . . the aerial shots looking down at the earth . . . the moments of falling . . . floating . . . and gliding . . . one can almost feel the wind billowing on your face in this children’s anime. It gains by the tiny suggestions of adult things. The girl creeps up on her trench coat wearing nemesis about to club him over the head with a wine bottle, then cuts to a look-alike knocked over by the gun battle raging in the hallway outside then cuts back to him laid out on the floor. This cutting cleverly saved thousands of unfortunate incidents where three or four year kids watched the film then whacked someone over the head with a beer bottle. The castle in the sky is bizarrely called La Puta, isn’t that Spanish for “she who loiters at night on street corners”?

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Nilson & Schwartz
Zak (a young man with Down’s syndrome) has fallen through the cracks and lives misfiled as a resident in an old folk’s home. He watches an old tattered VHS wrestling tape at least ten times a day. He has one dream in life, making it to the Salt Water wrestling school in Florida and becoming a professional wrestler. After another failed escape attempt (when he spots an opening, these attempts tend to done on the spur of the moment) he is flagged as an escape risk and transferred to a room with additional security features (like bars on the windows) his new roommate is completely sympathetic to his plight and supplies him a fool proof escape plan. This is sweet because his adventure is entirely dependent upon meeting all the right people at all the right times. When Zak finally blows that Popsicle stand (coated head to toe in butter to shimmy through the bars) hot footing it down the street in just his skivvies in the early morning mist, you are rooting for the guy.

Lady J (2018) Mouret
Lady J is bemused when a knavish libertine comes to visit her estate; even though he has pressing business in Paris, he can’t be torn away from their riveting heart-to-hearts and long daily strolls together. She must have something going for her because the weeks turn into months with ne’er a flagging of interest on his part. Although a visiting Parisian confidante points out the obvious, he can’t show his mug back in Paris until after he’s consummated the affair. Still it must be something like love because they become a couple. Until the day, in order to tease out more of a commitment from him, she announces that she is becoming a little bored with him and she is thinking of moving on. (There are only faint traces of Mouret’s patented deadpan absurdity in the film and this is one of them.) He immediately falls to his knees and smothers her hands in hot kisses then disappears in a cloud of dust like the roadrunner. She plops down on the sofa afterwards: what just happened here? They were together for years and remain affectionate; unfortunately, the lady holds a grudge and she wants her pound of flesh.

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (2012) Akers & Dupre
This is a documentary of the retrospective and a performance piece the artist did at MoMA in 2010. Abramović re-invents that classic museum moment of staring down at a work of art (someone in the film says the average time spent in front of the Mona Lisa is 30 seconds.) One of the first participants to sit across from her is Ulay, once a lover and close collaborator; the piece itself is an iteration of their “Nightsea Crossing”. At the end he reaches across the table (and the years) and clasps her hands, the scruffy grandfather of performance art with his grizzled beard still unheralded and avant-garde; while the grandmother of performance art in her tailor-made medieval robe (her long grey hair meticulously dyed jet-black) has gone mainstream and commercial. It’s hilarious that the same gallery goers that would camp out overnight and line up around the block to enjoy a situational cuddle with the artist would be repulsed by the self-harm and violence of her earlier pieces. I loved her inventiveness with its simple emotional resonance; it doesn’t hurt that the object of heartrending beauty the artist is gazing at is the person in front of her.

Official Secrets (2019) Hood
After enduring the media barrage of elite politicians openly lying to the public night after night Katherine (a British espionage translator) shares a routine memo from the NSA asking for any dirt they can use to blackmail and strong arm certain recalcitrant countries into voting for a UN Resolution officially sanctioning the 2003 attack on Iraq. There are three different threads in the film; her personal battle; the legal story; and how the incident played out in the media. There are some delicious Orwellian moments like when an investigator suggests (slyly) to Katherine that he has also stood at the Ground Zero Peace memorial in Hiroshima and found it emotionally devastating, then asks: are you in favor of (mass murder) war? Or she learns that when one is charged under the official secrets act: they sit at both tables. She has agreed (one has to sign the confidentiality agreement in order to work there) to appoint them also as her official legal defence team . . . in their prosecution against her. In the terms of the specific parts of a story, the resolution section here is probably the best one I’ve seen all year.


Manhunter* (1986) Mann
The character arcs between of the antagonist (a serial killer becoming the red dragon) and the largely hidden arc of the protagonist are almost identical right down the emotional and physical scarring, both are avid dreamers. Hannibal Lector gives a helping hand to both fledging dragons. Note Will Graham’s incidental cruelty: he falls asleep on a commercial flight with his grisly crime photos on his lap with a little girl sitting beside him. He baits his hook with a slimy tabloid reporter. He walks his aim up Dollarhyde’s body with (instant kill Teflon) bullets before the head shot. There is a great moment when Will realizes they share a passionate hobby of kill videos together. I loved the use of windows and mirrors (showing the white dragon emerging) until this mere reflection explodes fully materialized out of a pane of glass into Dollarhyde’s house.

The Verdict* (1982) Lumet
An old friend gives a lawyer a paper bag full of money for a couple hours of work in a malpractice suit. This guy is so down at out he no longer chases ambulanceshe chases hearses (they are easier to catch) plus there is usually a decent outlay of finger food at the wakes. There is a great use of the (then) newfangled Polaroid camera where he sets the pictures on the foot of her bed in the hospital ward and waits for the image to develop . . . what also emerges is the stark revelation that this will be his final case, he’s finished after this. She needs someone to fight for her; he decides to go out slugging. This is just great story of redemption well told. If you have an eagle eye, you can spot a young Bruce Willis (who hasn‘t begun to shave yet) working as an extra who manages to strategically plunk himself right behind the plaintiff's sister and husband during the courtroom scenes.

Bright Star (2009) Campion
Mr. Brown loves to proclaim loudly that Miss Fanny Brawne is a pathological flirt and a menace to anyone in a uniform or a pair of trousers. He has her number and she most certainly has his: he’s a dunderhead. Together they form a triangle with John at the apex; both are in love with his great talent and opposed to the other’s bad influence on him. Fanny is expected to marry well and so she shall. The only time her mother is remotely concerned is when they watch him behaving strangely in the garden with Fanny and her little sister comes into the kitchen explaining that John is pretending to be a bumblebee and her mother comically rushes out to save her daughter from the sting of poetry. John knows (as does everyone else) that a relationship is out of the question plus he wouldn’t inflict his great pennilessness on her. They both know they will never be together, they are taking what Jack Foley and Karen Sisco in Out of Sight called a “time out.” Their time together is rendered with ethereal imagery and visual runners. This is a wickedly ironic, had John lived, the Brawnes would have only rated a mention in the official tome of his life as a family that resided briefly next door to him during the Hampstead period.

A Colony (2018) Dulude-De Celles
A coming of age story set in about the same narrative space as Eighth Grade, although there is an additional whammy here of a recent move to farm country (a last ditch attempt by her parents to save their crumbling marriage) and she doesn’t know a single soul in her new school. She spends the first week hiding out in toilet stalls and abandoned classrooms. This also suggests that school can be a way of removing the difficult task of forming your personal identity and education supplies scholarly factoids one can memorize and trot out occasionally to shut down any serious questioning; particularly in the history class where the students learn how the white man rescued the savages (despite living quite nicely without the white immigrants for centuries) and lifted them out of their astonishing ignorance. The native boy is visibly angry the teacher allows the racist running commentary from the Peanut gallery during the lesson.


Tomorrow (2015) Dion & Laurent
I was always wondering (until this film) whether or not the moment would come during a climate documentary when they would actually mention the obvious, that climate disruption isn’t going to be a minor inconvenience. As a species we have left the (11,500 year old) Holocene- and entered the Anthropocene period (which is incompatible with continued human existence). The impetus for this film comes from a 2012 report that mentioned the sixth great mass extinction event on earth is now underway. In a nutshell: all the poison and pollution we pump in the atmosphere will eventually return to surface acidifying the oceans in the process. As the oceans die they will gradually lose the ability to produce oxygen, slowly asphyxiating the life forms on earth dependent on it. That said, this documentary about how a sustainable future can be possible is hopeful and optimistic.

* = rewatch

A New Life (2002)

Vile experimental delirium that’ll appeal to much darker tastes. It often feels Lynchian, but the highly caffeinated cameraman, regular closeups, & out of focus shots give it a unique style.

The Plague of the Zombies (1966)

A small English town infested with chalky green zombies. It takes some time to get going, but has enough campy fun to be watchable for genre enthusiasts.

Four Murders Are Enough, Darling (1971)

A typically zany Oldrich Lipsky comedy, with an emphasis on comic book affectations. Fun with a wonderfully bombastic climax.

Beggars of Life (1928)

Two vagabonds troublesome adventure. Dark melodrama, thrills, and some action. Entertaining all the way through.

Valley of the Bees (1968)

A young man who grew up in a religious order seeks to return home. Well shot, dour medieval setting with a deadpan lead.

October, 2019 movies watched-

Flesh and the Devil (1926)
- A little more excitement would have been great.

Rocketman (2019)
More entertaining than good.

Climax (2018)
- My favorite of the 5 Gaspar Noe films I've seen.

Blood Diamond (2006) Repeat viewing
+ Action/thriller mixed with real world horror and it works.

Cruel Intentions (1999)
Wonderful trashy fun.

Monsters, Inc (2001) Repeat viewing
Better than I can rate it.

The Music Man (1962)
+ A better than average musical for me.

El Camino (2019)
As a Breaking Bad fan, I loved it.

High Noon (1952) Repeat viewing
+ I got more out of it this time.

Blood Simple (1984) Repeat viewing
+ One of my favorite Coen movies.

A Dog's Journey (2019)
- One of the better dog movies I've seen.

John Wick 3 (2019)
It was ok.

Ghostbusters (1984) Repeat viewing
Deserving of it's classic status.

Elmer Gantry (1960) Repeat viewing
Didn't think I could love it more than before but I did.

3 From Hell (2019)
+ Good fun even if not in the same class as The Devil's Rejects.

Total October viewings-15
Total 2019 viewings-151

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Haven't had much time for movies lately, but I managed to catch some.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) -

Look, guys, I'm all for progressive, but do we really need to make things all-inclusive? If the producers wanted to be really hip, they should have included a gender fluid Spider(wo)man, but no, they didn't have balls big enough for that. Also, the story is full of cliches I've seen in movies multiple times, and the flashy visuals are far from what I would consider pleasant. By the way, it's mildly amusing how Marvel made a watchable movie and the Internet is like OMG IS THIS A MASTERPIECE.

巨乳ドラゴン 温泉ゾンビVSストリッパー5 [Big **** Dragon: Hot Spring Zombies vs. Strippers 5] (2010) -

Just how hard is it to make those heavenly creatures known as Japanese girls look slutty? Answer: It's almost impossible. But guess what, the director nailed this one. Well, the title promises a lot, but the final outcome is an insult to any pure and serious appreciator of cinema. Sure, there are plenty of boobies to be found here, so if you're weak-minded enough not to be able to google "jav", you're probably gonna have a blast. Otherwise, just stick to Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead, a far superior exercise in Japanese sh*t cinema.

ユメ十夜 [Ten Nights of Dreams] (2007) -

You see, it's so sad to see old masters struggling to make a great film, and instead dabbling in technically competent yet underwhelming short stories. Not that Jissoji's and Ichikawa's stories were particularly bad... It's just that all the rest was but a mindless CGI fest trying to be as good as Hanagatami (2017), and needless to say, failing miserably. CGI monsters and jump scares were appealing when I was a kid. Now as an adult I demand something more refined.

風たちの午後 [Afternoon Breezes] (1980) -

It's not a coincidence this was made by the director of one of the best films of the 90s (March Comes in Like a Lion for those of you who are illiterate in quality Japanese cinema). The story's depressing, but also creepily beautiful, and the proto-Noisy Requiem (1988) ending is parallel to the finale of director's sophomore effort. I reckon Setsuko Aya is the cutest sapphic stalker in the history of cinema, and the movie is so much superior to some lesbian festival bs like Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) it's not even funny. It's so depressing you have to dig so deep to find quality cinema anymore..
In the strictest sense lesbians can't have sex at all period.

A system of cells interlinked
It's Minio!
"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP

Thank God I‘m an atheist.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Kasdan
I didn’t know that The Rock’s patented eyebrow crock was a contractual obligation for all his films. Here "smoldering intensity" is written into the character he plays (literally on screen) as part of the avatar’s skill set. There’s a little bit of humor with Jack Black playing a 16 year old girl crushing hard on a fellow same sex player, but then Jack Black being funny isn’t exactly a stretch. The film actually tells the audience that each successive sequence will ramp up the dramatic stakes and danger to insane levels, although the audience can see this is clearly untrue. The penultimate level in the film has a girl walking up to two dimwits guarding an isolated tool shed in the sticks. High stakes? Doubtful.

I Confess (1953) Hitchcock
There is a nice bit of dish where Hitchcock’s daughter relates how she visited the set in Quebec City and watched the villain wrap up his final monologue in ten minutes then it took Monty “what’s my motivation?” Clift four long hours to emote a single reaction shot to it. I can only imagine the fire storm of protest this would have provoked in the pious 50s had the story been released in its original version. This film demands a re-watch because nowhere in the film do you learn the Priest and the woman had a bastard child together and the pesky lawyer was blackmailer, as is this is a Hitchcock film that has had its McGuffin surgically removed.


Here Alone (2016) Blackhurst
This is essentially a low budget Huis Clos set in the forest in a post-apocalyptic world filled with vicious flesh-eaters. She lives in the woods because cites are zombie central; the mere whiff of raw skin is like firing the starter pistol for the 100 yard dash finale at the Olympics. Returning from one of her supply runs, the heroine stumbles upon an injured man and his daughter on a roadside and nurses him back to health, which allows her to work through her guilt of having out lived her own family.

Jour de Fête (1949) Tati
During a civic holiday in a small French village some pranksters show the local mailman a stunt film being show in a side show carnival tent involving helicopter pilots and parachutists and tell him this America delivers the mail. The next day the mailman “goes postal” trying to replicate the American efficiency on his route. This is a whimsical homage to comedies of the silent film era.

The Petrified Forest (1936) Mayo
This contains two of cinema’s most unlikely romantic Romeos ever, a hobo and a mad dog killer. The hobo, not having eaten in a couple of days, stumbles upon a last chance roadside diner in the desert and orders a meal, figuring the lumps he is going to take will be worth it. The radio blares the real time updates on the massive state-wide man-hunt for a mad-dog killer (Humphrey Bogart channelling the most notorious outlaw of the day, John Dillinger.) The diner also happens to be the designated rendezvous point for him and his girlfriend. At the end, even though the coppers tell him his girl ratted him out; he immediately heads back into the town to bust her guns blazing out of jail. All of the main characters have retreated into past (The Petrified Forest) and live entirely in the faded memories of their youth. The only person in the film dreaming about a better future is the waitress. The hobo has an idea to make all her dreams come true.

The Lighthouse (2019) Eggers
On the jerking boat heading towards (cabin fever) island, a grey phallic symbol materializes out of the mist and the fog announcing the metaphorical cockfight about to unfold between a new hire, who has to do all the grunt work and the senior man puffing on his pipe all the while huffing how bloody useless and stupid he is. With a black and white photography that pulls out every nook and crag of their ghostly faces; the small rooms lit with kerosene lamps and matchstick flicks; and the 1.19:1 aspect ratio you are here for the art house cinematography.


Glengarry Glen Ross* — (1992) — Foley
The police are summoned to a real estate office to investigate the theft of a couple of phones and a clutch of winning lottery tickets locked in a desk drawer. The cops grill the salesmen one by one because the thief can only be someone inside the office. The winning lottery tickets turn out to be merely a list of suckers sent from the head office’s market research they will use for cold calls; basically worthless in the real world. The schlubs who man the desks are basically conmen selling swamp-land in Florida as the steal of a lifetime. Each stick of dialogue is like a chisel stroke aimed at the heart and eventually with enough hits your heart comes apart. There is a classic scene where the Alpha male establishes his dominance by “flashing” the loser mutts; a real man could sell a million dollar mansion on the hill to a homeless person. This is a wicked 'winner takes all' satire of neoliberalism.

Juliet, Naked — (2018) — Peretz
The two main characters are birds of a feather; she has gone the safe route all her life and quietly done exactly what was always expected of her without protest. The rock star is the king of spectacular flame outs; his scenes in a music club bathroom and the hospital were almost painful to watch. If there is a wrong way to do something he is going to find a way to make it happen, about the only thing he does with a little foresight is that he has his heart attack at a hospital reception desk. Although this appears to be a light and frivolous rom-com, this is the heavy drama of two people coming to the metaphorical dead-end of their lives. They can either live on in quiet desperation self-medicating, or they can do the impossible and courageous; they can turn around and walk past the years and years of waste and try to salvage what remains of their lives.

The Criminal — (1960) — Losey
Johnny Bannion is the anti-hero in this hard boiled gangster film. He’s had years to think about the final score and when he gets out of prison in a couple of days, he’s going to make that happen. Unfortunately the underworld has changed in his absence, the old fence now belongs to new crime boss and instead of a polite gobble at his lucrative heist; he demands the whole enchilada. Most of his crew quickly end up in dumpsters when they refuse to fork over theirpromissory notes. The new boss sends him right back to prison as a way to loosen his tongue. A few weeks ago he ran the joint and now in his brief absence, he becomes the one with a target on his back scrambling to stay alive each day. There is a nice counterpoint between the clueless warden and a facilitating head guard with x-ray vision who knows exactly what is happening at all times but turns a blind eye to the outcomes.

The Naked Prey (1965) Wilde
I avoided this for years because at first glance this appears to be a one dimensional chase film, but there is an immediate reversal where the white hunter black heart character says that after their safari he is going to hang a shingle in the slave trade (the film takes place in 1880s Africa) and become fabulous rich. He then has to immediately choke down his own bitter bile. With the true nature inserts of big cats running their next meal to ground, the African shrub-land is shown to be a hostile place; simply stepping into a gopher hole and coming up lame probably means you’ll have to suffer the nightmare of watching yourself being eaten alive before nightfall. In reality the bush-men probably run for days chasing down their prey, yet put a skinny white dude in front them and they all suddenly become hilariously knock-kneed, asthmatic and unable to find the business end of their spears and arrows.

Sudden Fury (1975) Damude
A no-budget nail biter set during a pleasant ride through the countryside where a hen pecked husband thinks he is going to get his rich wife to fork over the cash for his latest get rich quick scheme. The two main characters here are typically nice Canadians just trying to be helpful. The husband can’t be a bad guy and always improvises his way forward by buying time until the very last moment possible when he is forced to be nasty. There is a hilarious bit where he knows his plan is foolproof (cottage country dies after the summer) so there won’t be a single annoying passer-by to help his wife yet at the same time he thinks his wilderness lodge idea will turn a healthy profit in this vehicular dead zone.

Belle and Sébastien (2013) Vanier
A children’s adventure film where a small French village is hunting a beast that is snacking on their sheep, they suspect a horribly abused dog gone feral. The small boy (who probably should be riding a school desk) spends all his time helping his uncle with the goat herd and playing on the mountain. He comes face to face with the beast several times and never once does it try to eat him. Eventually Belle loses her fear of boy and coaxed into a mountain stream, the dark mastiff with matted fur comes out the other side all fluffy and snow white. At the same time the Nazi’s arrive in the village and set up an outpost to cut off an escape route to Switzerland.

Each Dawn, I die (1939) Keighley
I liked this prison drama because certain medieval tortures like the being put on the rack, being boiled in oil, or being buried alive (the hole) disappeared with the advent of civilization, although solitary confinement still persist in certain backward sadistic nations: immolation is a great behavior modifier. After revealing their various crimes to the public, a crusading journalist, James “You dirty rat” Cagney gets sent to prison by the same criminal forces being powerful enough to stitch him up. This eerily echoes the fate of another crusading journalist whose crime blotter almost exclusively featured the open criminality of some of the world’s most powerful organizations. At his appearance in a Kangaroo court a few weeks ago, after only six months in “the hole” at Her Majesty’s Belmarsh Prison, the world’s most heroic journalist (being stitched up with total mainstream media indifference) appeared mentally disheveled, having great difficulty sorting out answers to simple questions like: where are you? What day is it?

The Ballad of Narayama (1983) Imamura
The peasants in this remote Japanese village savour the fleeting, earthy pleasures of a hard scrabble life dependent entirely on the feast or famine that nature concedes. They are quick to laugh and sing but quicker to protect the fragile food stores they need to in order to survive the winter. Backward superstitions with astonishing cruelty and prejudice are the norm. It’s a thing where at the first snowfall anyone 70 years of age is considered a useless eater and is lugged (sometime dragged kicking and screaming) to the sacred mountaintop and left there to freeze to death. But a great spirituality comes with living in roil of the seasons, the cycle of life has always been thus; it only appears cruel without another turning of the day. In the grandmother’s final waking moments, as a reward for a life well lived, she will see the face of God.

Timbuktu (2014) Sissako
The Taliban moves in and takes over the moral tutelage of a remote village in Mali. The desert is a harsh, unforgiving place to live your life so there is a de facto live and let live philosophy; the villagers accept the jihadists and their dopey philosophy at first. The film has a lot of poetic moments. On a routine patrol, a jihadist stumbles across a secure hiding place sheltered from the prying eyes of the village below and he cuts loose (he has had classical ballet training) on the rooftop. Another jihadist sentences any villager caught with a cigarette dangling from their lips to 20 public lashes, yet he drives out into the desert and hides behind a sand dune to fill his lungs with nicotine. At the beginning when sharia law is being first applied, a person (usually a woman) points out the absurdity of the ordinance, and there a few priceless reactions from the (gun-toting) foot soldiers obviously agreeing with her: wow that is completely nuts. Although they quickly shake it off and learn to turn a blind eye to their hypocrisy and casual cruelty. All the men become lady killers; if a local beauty refuses a prince charming, the guy can simply go old school, under sharia law women marry their rapists. The appeal of fundamentalism is one is never at a lost in a white and black world, all the questions and answers to life have been written down in the holy book, you just have to look them up and learn those pithy aphorisms by heart. True believers have the great gift of serenity knowing they can never be wrong, and everyone else on the planet can never be right.


Les Félins (1964) Clément
This is a Gallic thriller about a jet-setting playboy/gigolo who fleeces rich women. During a stay in New York he seduces the wife of a mafia crime boss and has to return to the France over the kerfuffle. Unfortunately, the boss wants more than a pound of flesh and sends a few of the boys after him with a simple task; bring back his head in a box. It’s a little ironic when he escapes their clutches with just the clothes on his back he has to hide out in a homeless shelter in the French Riviera, the playground of the rich. When the thugs do a routine sweep there, he decides the next course of action is to somehow catch the eye of the shelter’s main benefactor, a lonely widow with a nun companion devoting their lives to helping the poor; hiding out in an isolated mausoleum crammed with life sized Giacometti sculptures and Picassos seems a much safer bet. Suffice to say, everyone here is working an angle. Costa-Gravas was an assistant director on this. The marble busts and a shrunken head the lady keeps on her desk are subtle reminders of his fate. There is a great brassy energetic score by Lalo (the Mission Impossible theme) Schifrin. This is alternatively known as The Love Cage and Joy House, but these don’t do the wonderful French title justice, what exactly in the film is felonious and feline? The meaning of which only comes with the last scene.

Booksmart (2019) Wilde
An academic overachiever and class president has an emotional meltdown when she learns on the final day of high school that all the druggies and wastrels have gotten into spectacularly great universities and colleges also; meaning they did all their homework assignments and the extra credits, plus they never missed a Friday night’s revel. This gives her and her LBF a single night to lose their reputations as clueless book worms. This is an epic party crawl told from a female perspective. The film gains from a few scenes where a few of the teen caricatures become flesh and blood when reveal their hopes and fears for the post-high school world. There are few great one-liners and a great paranoid drug trip in the film.

* = rewatch

Being watching horror films the last two months, but managed to see this as well.

The 13th Warrior (1999) -

The average curiosity I had discovering those beasts are one of the only pluses I can think of.

Pathfinder (2007) -

Not Apocalypto, not even close. The Vikings and the atmosphere are not that bad, everything else is.

Lessons of Darkness (1992) -

The Kuwatian oil fields after the Iraqi war, an apocalyptic mess, captured as something out of this planet.

Into the Abyss (2011) -

Death penalty all-in-1: the state, the executioner, the priest, the perpetrators, there victims and families.

Into the Inferno (2016) -

Great shots, yes, but I hoped for something dramatic. Would appreciate more mythology as well.

City Lights (1931) -

Probably my favorite Chaplin's movie. The last scene is one of the apogees in cinematographic history.

One Week (2008)

The melancholic account of a recently diagnosed cancer patient going on a soul-searching trip through Canadian country. I want to bludgeon someone with an acoustic guitar now.

Nothing but Trouble (1991)

A snooty financial advisor is detained in a pg-13 house of horrors after ignoring a stop sign. The humor is juvenile and often falls flat, but Aykroyd and family are entertaining. Very emblematic of the time, and immodestly tries to mimic Tim Burton’s weird and goofy Hollywood vibe: ill-fitting pop interlude, colorful nighttime cinematography, silly brass-heavy score, and slimy plastic-y suits & makeup. I thought it was dumb fun.

The Far Side of the Moon (2003)

A seemingly aimless story of a lowly man in the aftermath of his mother’s death. It has an effective bitter mood and some attractive cinematography, but the philosophical content isn’t enough to fully reward the tedium.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Man becomes invisible and is pursued by unethical bigwig with paint guns. I had a John Carpenter obsession growing up, but this one always passed me by. Nothing really makes it a discernible Carpenter flick unfortunately, but it’s a decently entertaining Hollywood comic thriller.

Limbo (1999)

I’ll stay away from a plot summary because I’d probably just make it sound boring, and the meaty parts happen halfway through. A beautiful and very well put together drama & thriller. Technical aspects are aptly (for a movie like this) unobtrusive. Story and characters take the lead: the people are very down to Earth, relationships feel realistic, actors have great chemistry… but the ending is the letdown of all letdowns.

Cold Fever (1995)

A Japanese man travels to Iceland in order to fulfill a burial rite for his parents. This mostly follows a leading straight man encountering various idiosyncratic tourists & townsfolk. My kind of movie; offbeat dry wit, gorgeous cinematography, gorgeous airy 90s score, and an occasionally meditative bittersweet mood. This movie has a ton of soul & character. One of my new favorites. @MonnoM, I’ll point this recommendation your way.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
Phoenix [War of the Wizards] (1983) -

An old Chinese proverb says: "there is nothing crazier or more incoherent than a Taiwanese fantasy wuxia film.". It's been a while since I've seen so inadequately made film! However, the special effects are quaintly beautiful, Richard Kiel fighting the protagonist is a pleasure to behold, and in case you don't know what you live for, it's probably just to see a pterodactyl fighting a stone golem, or whatever else that petrified f*ck was! The scene depicting a bunch of assassins eliminating each other to prove who's best for hire is as hilarious as it is badass. By no means the best of what Taiwanese fantasy schlock can offer, but still more than a worthy ordeal, and a reminder of how much you can achieve when you have no talent, but lots of heart!

The same opinion in Chinese (using pinyin cuz it's inhuman to learn those characters): Nĭ hăo. Nǐ hěn piàoliɑnɡ.

스윙키즈 [Swing Kids] (2018) -

A new offering from the director of the ever-bright and life-affirming little gem SUNNY (2011) is an energy-packed marriage of a prison camp film and a dance movie. With its strong antiwar message, it's an unlikely treatise on the importance of dreams, on why one has to stick to them even in the direst of situations. It's about finding friends in supposed enemies. Finally, it's about the inability of leaving the shackles of ideology, the bitter truth that you can't change the world, but that even in confinement you can find freedom through your passion and connection to other people. Despite its deeply bleak melancholy, the movie reminded me of director's previous film SUNNY in how it reverses death and uses it to celebrate life.

The Modern Love scene is absolutely astounding, and one of the best choreographed sequences I've seen in a very long time. It's also the best scene in the movie, so if you watch it, and dislike it, you can skip the film, and just go rewatch La La Land or some other terrible music film Americans released lately.

(The third act was a little bit disappointing with its use of trite Hollywood tropes, but the finale avoids needless maudlin sentimentality, and confirms this is a three star film)

The same opinion in Korean: F*ck this sh*t, I'm learning Chinese instead.

Midsommar (2019) -

Not as masterful a folk horror as The VVitch, but nevertheless a worthy ride. The Wicker Man of our century with an underlying theme of coping with loss and some pleasant cinematography to go with it. As a sidenote, Michael Snow had a point in how powerful an upside-down camera shot can be, how bizzare it feels, and how quickly it makes the viewer insecure. Oshima's use of it in The Man Who Left His Will on Film is yet another good example of this. I wish it was used in more films, but at the same time wish it wasn't. It would've weakened its impact.

The same opinion in Swedish: Helvete, Svenska javlar. Fika, fika, Ikea.

Trash Humpers (2009) -

(F)art for edgy high school kids. This is like Gummo stripped off everything that made it good.

Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot

風の歌を聴け [Hear the Wind Sing] (1981) -
- can't really remember much, but it wasn't terrible
BU・SU [Bu su] (1987) -
- early Ichikawa, very good, but also forgettable
赤×ピンク [Girl's Blood] (2014) -
- this had a lot of potential, but ended up as merely a passable watch
Love Is All (2014) -
- amor vincit omnia except for uninspired love scenes glued together
満山紅柿 上山 柿と人とのゆきかい [Red Persimmons] (2001) -
- a nice albeit kinda bland documentary
饺子 [Dumplings] (2004) -
- Doyle's cinematography is great, but the rest is simply uninspiring
向左走·向右走 [Turn Left, Turn Right] (2003) -
- a pretty neat romantic comedy with freakin' crane shots and one helluva ending, but sadly it's just a shallow normie trier romance - Johnnie To can do better
Passion (2008) -
- Hamaguchi is a beast, and I'm so glad this flick surfaced (along with 4h-long Intimaces!!!), this is kinda like Rohmer for those bored with French courtship and too insecure to watch his Korean doppelganger releasing the same downheartening anti-romance for the umpteenth time - the scene at school is freakin' glorious - watch this sheet just for it
団鬼六 女秘書縄調教 [Secretary Rope Discipline] (1981) -
- the title says it all, it's a great Oniroku Dan pinku, just not for the faint-hearted and vanilla-loving bores PS: Junko Mabuki > your girlfriend

Welcome to the human race...
The Wicker Man of our century
Way too much stupid talk on the forum. Iroquois, I’m thinking about you.